Damn the man!

Celebrate Record Store Day 2014

By Kyle Melton

You walk into your local record store. You’re browsing through the racks of vinyl, listening to the music playing over the speakers. It’s an album you’ve never heard before, so you ask the guy or girl behind the counter, “Who is this?” Next thing you know, you’re walking out with a dozen new albums your kind record store clerk recommended to you, and you couldn’t be more thrilled for someone showing you the way. Such is a scene played out day after day at your local independent record store.

Conceived in 2007, and first celebrated a year later, Record Store Day (RSD) is an international celebration of independent record stores. It returns this year on Saturday, April 19, offering retailers and customers an incredible array of limited-edition re-issues, compilations, one-offs and any other number of holy grail items, almost always issued on the resurgent vinyl format. In a commercial climate that seems to favor the Big Box Goliaths, independent record stores present something unique and unmistakable: an informed, intelligent staff and an environment that makes buying a record an invigorating experience that transcends the mere exchange of dollars and cents.

Here in Dayton, we are fortunate enough to have three stores officially participating in RSD: Omega Music in the Oregon District, Disc Exchange by the Dayton Mall and Toxic Beauty in Yellow Springs, who holds the distinction of being the only store in the region to have celebrated RSD every year since it began.

“The first year, there were around 10 people that came in for the event, but there were only 3-5 titles exclusive to the day,” Toxic Beauty owner Josh Castleberry recalled. “The second year, there were around 50 titles that came out and more ‘die hards’ started to show up and take notice of the event. Every year since, it’s just gotten bigger and bigger with most stores opening at 9 a.m., which is pretty early for us record store employees. There have been so many out-of-print and never-before in-print records coming out, it’s been easy to drop an entire paycheck that day.”

The coordination of the RSD organization with labels and artists to create exclusive, limited-edition releases stands as one of the defining characteristics of RSD. 2014 is no exception. If you’re looking to fill your record collection with some new goodies, this year will see releases such as an R.E.M. Unplugged boxed set, a Devo live set from Max’s Kansas City, a split release from The Cure and Dinosaur, Jr. and a highly-touted live album from Tame Impala. Keep in mind, these releases are highly limited and are distributed throughout the world. So, if you want to see these in your record collection, make plans to get up and out early.

“[In the] early part of the day we’ll have a small line filled with ravenous record collectors snagging the hard to come by titles,” Castleberry said. “We only let a handful of folks in at a time those first few hours so fans can take their time and not feel like there’s total craziness going on.”

“Get there early,” Omega Record owner Alex Staiger suggested. “We’ll be opening at 9 that morning and there’s sure to be a line.”

While RSD may be an early start on your Saturday, the celebration does not stop simply at buying music here in Dayton. For the past two years, Omega Music has presented live performances throughout the day from local acts such as Buffalo Killers, Motel Beds, Astro Fang and countless other local favorites. In keeping with this tradition, Staiger and his family have put together another day filled with live performances from Neon Warship, M Ross Perkins, The New Old-Fashioned, Shut Up! and many more (for full schedule, including times, please visit facebook.com/OMEGAMUSICDAYTON).

“People have grown to really appreciate RSD and what it stands for, they get excited about their favorite artists and get more involved with the music scene,” Staiger said. “It’s a large socializing event for people who love music.”

Record Store Day has certainly found an audience – artists are willing to offer unique releases to the customers who support both the artists and the independent stores that carry them. And it goes beyond that. It represents a willingness on the part of music lovers to seek out those establishments that continue to struggle against the corporate monolith and offer an experience and an environment that caters to the rebellious spirit that has always been at the core of great music, in any genre.

“You can’t buy these special releases on Amazon the day of or go to Wal-Mart and pick them up with your groceries,” Staiger said. “You’ve gotta go to your record store.”

“Both customers and artists alike have started to realize that the indie record store/music shop is the backbone of the band-to-fan relationship,” Castleberry concluded. “It’s a meeting ground for music fans/artists to both get turned onto new music they didn’t know about and to let their voice be heard and tell folks what music they’re into. Without us, the indie record store, music just wouldn’t be as fun.”

Record Store Day 2014 takes place on Saturday, April 19. In the Dayton area, official participating stores are Disc Exchange, 121 N. Springboro Pike, Omega Music, 319 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District (facebook.com/OMEGAMUSICDAYTON) and Toxic Beauty Records, 220 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs (facebook.com/ToxicBeautyRecords). For more information on Record Store Day, including a complete list of titles, please visit recordstoreday.com.

Reach DCP music editor Kyle Melton at musiceditor@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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