Record Store Day 2011: A KEXP User’s Guide

This Saturday, April 16, will mark the 4th annual national Record Store Day. Music fans all over the country won’t even think about accessing their iTunes music store, instead opting to gather in their local music dispensaries to celebrate the dispensaries themselves and the bounty of compressed, grooved vinyl that they make available to the public, day in and day out. Festivities will rage throughout the day and into the night, and of course, all of the wonderful Seattle-area record stores will be participating in full force. Read on to find out what they have in store…literally…

In-Store Performances, Appearances, and Signings…

One of the best parts of Record Store Day are the in-store performances. All day long, a number of your favorite bands will be playing intimate sets to packed stores from Ballard to Capitol Hill.

For our complete list of who’s playing where and when, click here.

Chris Mansfield = Willy Wonka?

One of the most interesting promotions of Record Store Day 2011 is a Willy Wonka-style golden ticket hunt that local band Fences is putting on. Six golden tickets will be concealed in copies of Fences 2010 self-titled LP located in the Capitol Hill Sonic Boom and Silver Platters stores. Unwrap the album with the golden ticket and you are granted two spots on the VIP guest list to their show at Neumos on Saturday night. You’ll also get two back stage passes and a grab bag of Fences merch. Just make sure not to overdose on Fences albums in search of the golden ticket like that fat kid in Willy Wonka who ate so much chocolate he became incapacitated. For more info, click here.

The Willy Wonka of melancholy indie music - photo by Hilary Harris

Sub Pop is there for you…

Local label giant Sub Pop will also be making their presence felt in record stores around the Northwest. The Head and the Heart, the label’s new local pride and joy, will be playing in-stores at Sonic Boom Records in Ballard (3 pm) and Easy Street Records in Queen Anne (7 pm). Both stores will undoubtedly be packed to the brim for both of these performances, so if you plan on even getting through the doors we suggest you show up early.

Perhaps the coolest thing the label will be doing, however, is distributing a special sampler of singles, some of which haven’t been released yet, and some of which, including tracks from Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes, are being released for the first time on Record Store Day. The CD sampler will also include 18 prints, a poster, and all kinds of art and info on the bands. For more info including a complete tracklisting, visit Sub Pop’s Record Store Day 2011 page. Here’s a look at the die-cut packaging:

Sub Pop's Record Store Day Sampler

And you can stream the whole thing right here, via Sub Pop’s Sound Cloud page:

And last but not least…

…are the glorious multitudes of LPs, EPs, singles, 7″s, 10″s, re-issues, and probably anything else you can think of that will be hitting shelves for the first time this Saturday. There really are too many highlights to even being to list, but you can see a complete listing of Record Store Day releases via the official Record Store Day website, click here.

If all the in-stores, signings, live shows, and general hoopla seems a little overwhelming, all you have to do to celebrate Record Store Day is to think about what record stores mean to you and how they continue to be an important part of our community as the world — especially the music industry — is becoming increasingly digitized. There’s certainly something to be said about the experience of walking into a brick-and-mortar record store and aimlessly flipping through vinyls or chatting with a clerk. Life-changing music is discovered that way, and it’s nice to have a day of the year set aside to celebrate this experience. So go see an in-store, pick up a new, hot-off-the-press 7″, dust off your record player, say a prayer, whatever — just enjoy the day off work, listen to some music, and think about what how fortunate we are to live in a city with so many great record stores.

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