For the Record

Singles, shows and specials on Record Store Day

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Local dance/pop rock group Grenades?! will perform live at Omega Music on Record Store Day, April 18

Releases to look for

Record stores – especially independently owned and operated ones – have become increasingly rare within the past decade. Dayton alone lost one locally owned record store after another in the 2000s, including favorites like Dingleberry’s, Renaissance Music Media, Gem City Records, Trader Vic’s and several others. But fortunes for mom and pop record stores have turned around in the past several years due to the resurgence of vinyl – y’know, those 12- and 7-inch round things people used to play at home on these things called turntables. With that changing of the tide, brick and mortar record stores are making a comeback – thanks to rabid dedication of record collectors who love their fuzzy warbles, both new and old.

In 2007 in Baltimore, a group of like-minded individuals thought the concept of the old school record store as a gathering place for music fanatics seeking and purchasing records and CDs in the digital age was something to be celebrated. This was the beginning of what is now known as Record Store Day (RSD), which has been officially celebrated on the third Saturday of every April since 2008 and has grown into a phenomenon for record fanatics all over the world. This Saturday marks the eighth year of Record Store Day events all over the globe, and it is being celebrated right here in the Miami Valley.

The biggest of Dayton’s remaining record stores, Omega Music, which used to hold shop on North Main Street in the Santa Clara Arts District and has now called its Fifth Street location home since 2010, will once again hold a major extravaganza of its own, featuring not only Record Store Day exclusive record releases, but live music from several Dayton-based bands, many of whom will have releases available for purchase that day.

“This will be Omega’s fifth year participating in Record Store Day,” Omega Music shift leader Whitney Pope says. “We decided to have live music for our event because it really sets the mood for the day. Having live bands brings an energy that you don’t get by popping on a record. We try to get a good mix of music playing throughout the day.”

Omega’s edition of RSD will feature live music by punk band New Regrets, indie psych-folkers Forage, Dayton dance-pop rockers Grenades?!, jazz/funk fusionists Dayton Fresh Beat Project and a special collaboration between Kelley Deal’s R. Ring project with Dayton’s Buffalo Killers and Cincinnati trio Ampline. New Regrets guitarist Matt Clark shares enthusiasm for playing the extravaganza.

“Record Store Day has sort of turned into a really big event, and there’s a bunch of great bands playing,” Clark says. “[Omega Music co-owner] Alex [Staiger] asked us to play. Omega has been really good to us, carrying our record and supporting what we do. So, we’re happy to have the opportunity to do it.”

“We’ve played Omega on RSD a few years now,” echoes The Buffalo Killers bassist Zachary Gabbard. “They support us and we support them. That’s what it’s all about.”

This year’s RSD event at Omega Music supports more than the store and the bands playing. Shoppers who bring in a canned good for donation to Foodbank Dayton will get 15 percent off all used media purchases. Local food truck and coffee vendors will be on hand and there will be contests and giveaways for those who make it through the door early enough to take advantage. But those who will ultimately reap the best rewards are the shoppers – the record collecting fanatics who get there early to have first dibs at all the great RSD releases.

“We love Record Store Day,” Pope says. “RSD is undoubtedly our biggest day of the year. I think the reason it has caught on is because of all the awesome people in Dayton who want to support independent stores. This is the one day of the year when we can give a big middle finger to big chain stores like Wal-Mart.”

Record collecting zealots can also maximize their Record Store Day intake by making an additional trip to Toxic Beauty Records in Yellow Springs.

“Once in the door, it will be a celebration of indie record stores and the celebration of vinyl,” Toxic Beauty owner Josh Castleberry says. “We hit the limited edition titles pretty hard. It’s our thing. The past six weeks has been nothing but ordering and more ordering. We try to locate those hard-to-find titles coming out and get as many as we can for the Miami Valley. We have a lot of great record collectors in the Miami Valley and I make it my purpose to secure as much of those limited edition titles as I can to supply this area. We will also be doing ticket giveaways throughout the day for shows at the LC Pavilion. We’ll [also] be running a sale of 10 percent all used LP’s that day. But most importantly there will be plenty of folks hanging out, listening to music, flipping through the racks and spreading good vibes about the indie record store.”

And at the end of the day, spreading good vibes about indie record stores is what Record Store Day is all about.

“The purpose of the day is to inform the public that record stores still do exist, and some of us are actually growing in business everyday,” Castleberry says. “Ten plus years ago, when I was working in physical record stores, we were losing a lot of customers to the big box chains. And then with the introduction of purchasing music online we started to lose even more customers. The purpose of RSD is to let the world know there are physical indie record stores and we’re not going anywhere.”

Omega Music’s Record Store Day festivities take place Saturday, April 18. The store opens at 8 a.m. with live music beginning at 1 p.m. Omega Music is located at 318 E. Fifth St. For more information please call 937.275.9949 or visit omegamusicdayton.com.

Toxic Beauty Records is located at 220 Xenia Avenue in Yellow Springs and will open for Record Store Day at 9 a.m. For more information please call 937.767.0300 or visit toxicbeautyrecords.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

Releases to look for

With hundreds of records being released specifically for this year’s RSD, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff might be overwhelming. Here are the critic’s picks for the most intriguing releases you should look for.

 

The Stooges, Have Some Fun:
Live at Unganos (Rhino)

Punk forefathers The Stooges are well known for barely-controlled rock and roll chaos from its now-classic three studio LPs, but in 2010 Rhino Handmade issued the limited edition album, Have Some Fun: Live at Unganos capturing “Fun House” era Iggy & Company belting out a short, unpolished but intense set of songs from that album with a fury that could have never been properly condensed onto tape in a recording studio with Steve MacKay’s squealing saxophone intact. For RSD 2015, Rhino has finally made this epic live document available on LP. Hold on to your hats kids – this is not for the faint of heart.

 

Ministry, Ministry Trax Box (Cleopatra Records)

Years before Al Jourgensen and company became the heavy industrial-metal stalwarts they are known to be, Ministry was a synthpop band that exhibited all the signs of ’80s underground dance music: faux British accents, whirring synthesizer melodies and dance beats that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Human League record. This gargantuan 7CD & 1LP box set highlights the evolution of Jourgensen’s music from these obscure origins through his many projects for the now defunct Wax Trax! Records years including Ministry, Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, Pailhead and others, setting the pace for the formative years of American industrial dance music featuring official releases and a plethora of unreleased material. And perhaps the highlight of this box is the LP documenting an early Ministry performance from 1982 in all its synthpop glory. A great set for anyone curious about the early days of Ministry.

 

Guided By Voices,
Do the Collapse & Isolation Drills

Dayton indie rock heroes Guided By Voices had a short stint in the late 1990s and early 2000s where the band abandoned its much beloved half-songs and lo-fi recording techniques for major label flirtations with slick, big studio production and songs sized for modern rock radio airplay. While some hardcore fans and critics consider this era to be akin to GBV selling their souls to the devil, a look back at these two albums recorded for TVT Records finds GBV mastermind Robert Pollard and his band of merry men rockin’ hard with all the catchy pop hooks that made the songs from the band’s early catalog so memorable – just with better sounding production. Long out of print, “Do the Collapse” and “Isolation Drills” are being reissued on LP just in time for Record Store Day where some time and perspective can now pit these two discs right alongside the undisputed 1990s indie rock classics “Bee Thousand” and “Alien Lanes” where they belong.

 

Sun Ra, Calling Planet Earth

Avant-interplanetary jazz alien Sun Ra spent his 40-year recording career pushing the boundaries of jazz and instrumental music with glorious results – especially on the 1974 soundtrack to the film of the same name, “Space is the Place.” This first-time-ever vinyl issue previously only available as an import CD documents a Sun Ra concert recorded in Copenhagen in 1971 finding Sun Ra & the Arkestra working out tunes that would grace the aforementioned soundtrack with astonishing results.

 

Siouxsie & the Banshees,
Join Hands (Polydor Records)

Over the years, Siouxsie & the Banshees’ second full-length for Polydor Records Join Hands has become the much maligned, redheaded stepchild of the Banshees back catalog. But a more insightful critical analysis concludes that Join Hands is the Banshees in the middle of transitioning from UK punk antiheroes to the brooding, bleak, gothic rock the band has since come to epitomize, albeit with an unflattering mix and production that hinders the material contained in its grooves. This remastered, limited edition reissue on 180-gram vinyl restores the album’s originally intended mock-religious artwork in a lavish gatefold package that also includes the album’s intended closing number “Infantry.” With a stout remastering and the inclusion of all the album’s songs, Join Hands can now be heard and appreciated as Siouxsie & Company desired.

 

The Residents, Intermission

Long-time San Francisco-based musical weirdos and experimentalists The Residents recently made a splash at this year’s SXSW festival with the release of a documentary film on the band, “Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents” and a rare live performance at the fest as well. This Saturday, The Residents will reissue its long out of print mini-LP Intermission in a set of 1,000 pieces on clear vinyl, featuring music the band composed for play between sets of its first international tour known as The Mole Show in the early 1980s. The disc’s five songs are distinctly Residents – strange, twisted and yet delightful and even, dare I say, catchy.

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Gary Spencer
Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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