50 years ago, if you wanted to hear a particular song, you basically had two options: tune in to the radio, and wait for your favorite DJ to spin it; or head down to the neighborhood record store and scoop up a vinyl copy.
These days of course, the options are nearly limitless, and most music fans are much more likely to log-in to iTunes or boot up Spotify than to stop by their local record shop. Yet there remains a certain allure to owning records—the warm, natural sound that comes from vinyl versus digital recordings; the extravagant art work and liner notes you can pour over; the tangibility of holding the physical object in your hand. This Saturday, vinyl fans will celebrate all these reasons, and more, during Record Store Day, an annual celebration of independent music and music stores that also spurs a slew of fun, free events and exclusive releases.
More than 15 different Philadelphia stores will celebrate Record Store Day, including A.K.A. Music, Relapse Records, The Marvelous, and more—and dozens of independent artists and labels will offer exclusive releases. Check out the full list of participating venues here, and the full list of RSD releases here—then keep reading for our top picks for RSD events and exclusives.
Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Store: Documentary Screening at Hideaway Music
In the past few years, more than 500 independent record stores closed their doors, as a result of the poor economy, competition from large and online retailers, market fragmentation, and myriad other reasons. Yet the plight of the independent record store is nothing new. Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Store examines the long and storied history of record stores in the UK from the 1960s to today, and includes interviews from store owners, industry heads, and musicians such as Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, and more—who argue that more than a business, a record store is a cultural institution. Check out the trailer here. We couldn’t agree more!
12 p.m. at Hideaway Music, 8612 Germantown Ave., free.
Record Store Day at A.K.A. Music
Old City stalwart A.K.A. Music joins with local blog Philebrity to host an entire afternoon of free music, headlined by Philly punks Restorations, whose new album, LP2, explores catharsis via super-charged melodies. Philly folk guru Heyward Howkins opens, his low-key folk-pop as breezy as a spring afternoon. Indie up-and-comers Bridge Underwater round out the bill, along with Arc in Round vocalist Mikele Edwards, performing a solo set of spooky fuzz-pop.
1-5 p.m. at A.K.A. Music, 27 N. 2nd St., Free.
Record Store Day at Siren Records
Doylestown mainstay Siren Records hosts free performances from locals Peasant and Plow United, both of whom will also drop new RSD releases. Peasant—aka Damien DeRose—crafts delicate folk charmers imbued with a sense of whimsy, while long-time punks Plow United reunite to release Marching Band, their first record since 1998 and a rollicking romp through harmony-laden punk nugs.
4–6 p.m. at Siren Records, 25 E. State St., Doylestown, free.
And a couple exclusives we’re hoping to get our hands on:
Phoenix, Entertainment 7”. We’re super pumped for French band Phoenix’s fifth LP, Bankrupt! (out April 22), especially after hearing lead single “Entertainment,” an infectious, dance-y groove that’s quickly becoming our go-to spring soundtrack.
MGMT, Alien Days cassette. When’s the last time you bought a cassette? For me, it was probably back in the ‘90s, when I was saving up my allowance for a CD player, but still wanted to hear Midnite Vultures real bad. So there’s something fun and a little nostalgic about hearing “Alien Days”—the first new MGMT song since 2010’s Congratulations—via good ole cassette.
Free Energy, Girls Want Rock b/w Wild Life, 7”. Party rockers Free Energy rep Philly with a limited edition 7” featuring swinging single “Girls Want Rock,” along with previously unreleased b-side “Wild Life.” Only 500 copies available!
The Newport Folk Festival, 1965, 12”. Record Store Day might be a relatively new event in the history of modern music—but there are still tons of exclusives from your fave ‘60s and ‘70s bands, including Cream, Big Star, The Shangri-La’s, and more. I’ve got my eye on this 1965 Newport Folk Festival compilation, which includes a bunch of rare performances from artists like Son House and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
Drive OST, 12” picture disc. Ok, so everyone knows the Drive soundtrack ruled, and here it is on vinyl for the first time in America. We have a feeling this will be a very popular item, so show up early to snag a copy.
Dazed and Confused OST, 20th Anniversary Release, 12”. Because it’s not just Record Store Day, it’s also 4/20. And who among us doesn’t love a little “Low Rider”?