Let’s get physical

The Miami Valley celebrates Record Store Day 2013

By Leo DeLuca

Photo: Record collectors celebrate Record Store Day 2013 on Saturday, April in the Miami Valley

Founded in 2007 and launched in 2008, Record Store Day (RSD) is designed to bring “independently owned record stores and artists together to celebrate the art of music,” according the event’s official website, recordstoreday.com. What began as the brainchild of independent record store employee Chris Brown has blossomed into an international phenomenon.

Every year, artists and labels work together to design and release nonpareil vinyl, CD and cassette recordings. These releases are available exclusively on RSD, pressed in limited quantities, and frequently become sought-after collectors’ items. In an increasingly digital world, Record Store Day is a means to recognize and value the art of physical media.

The holiday is observed the third Saturday of April and is often promoted with live in-store performances by artists across the globe. The festivities are designed to be a “celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.”

Aligned with an independent ethos, the founders of Record Store Day have even gone so far as to place parameters on stores allowed to participate. According to their official website, a “Record Store Day participating store is defined as a stand alone brick and mortar retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50 percent music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70 percent located in the state of operation. (In other words, we’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores – not online retailers or corporate behemoths).”

As Dayton has a fascinating and groundbreaking musical history, it only makes sense that the Gem City has embraced the holiday wholeheartedly. I had the opportunity to speak with Omega Music’s Tomiwa Balogun, Record Gallery’s Ian Bonnett and Toxic Beauty Record’s Joshua Castleberry about Record Store Day. Ghettoblaster – a locally-based independent music magazine with international distribution ­– also offered insight. Dayton, Ohio Record Store Day enthusiast David C. Obenour is the founder and editor Ghettoblaster. Here is what they all had to say about celebrating Record Store Day:

How long have you been involved with Record Store Day?

I’ve been involved with Record Store Day here in Dayton for the last two years. – Dave Obenour

This will be Omega Music’s third year participating in Record Store Day. – Tomiwa Balogun

I have been involved in RSD since its beginning when I was working at Gem City Records. We all were excited for it, but still not sure if it would actually take off. – Ian Bonnett

This year will be our sixth year celebrating – making us the only Miami Valley record store to participate in every RSD. It’s been great seeing it expand year after year. – Joshua Castleberry

What are your plans for Record Store Day 2013?

Omega Music, Blind Bob’s, 5th Street Wine & Deli and Thai 9 have donated money to help us rent the Neon for a free screening of “I Need That Record!” It will play around 10 p.m. and the rights to the movie were given for free by filmmaker Brendan Toller. Brendan’s been to Dayton a number of times and had lots of good things to say about the city. We’ve also coordinated with other local businesses in celebration of Record Store Day. Namely, if you shop at Omega, Toxic Beauty or Record Gallery, you can bring in your receipt to participating stores in the Oregon District and get a discount. If you then bring all these receipts to the Neon, there will be a special raffle for two shopping sprees in the Oregon District. In addition, we’re hosting music trivia at Blind Bob’s and offering up prizes to the winners. -DO

This year we are hoping to see our biggest turnout. We will be carrying the limited-run Record Store Day products and also selling rare, vintage records from our vault. Additionally, we plan to have local food truck Harvest Mobile Cuisine offering their menu from the hours of 3-9 p.m. We will also be running a discount program with some of the local bars and restaurants in the Oregon District (if you present a receipt from Omega Music you will receive a discount). Finally, record store day wouldn’t be complete without a full day of live music. Here is our line-up: Noon, Good English / 1 p.m. Giant Steps / 2 p.m. Goodbye (formerly Esther Caulfield Orchestra) / 3 p.m. King Elk (super group of Andrew & the Pretty Punchers, Southeast Engine, Sitandance and Smug Brothers) / 4:20 p.m. Buffalo Killers / 5 p.m. Wheels / 6 p.m. The Seedy Seeds / 7 p.m. The New Old Fashioned / 8 p.m. The Story Changes / 9 p.m. My Latex Brain -TB

We at the Record Gallery have lost a bit of space this past year, so unfortunately we are unable to host bands. We are a used store, so we won’t have any RSD exclusives, but we are planning on having a few sales. -IB

We will open at 9 a.m. that day. We hit the limited edition titles pretty hard. It’s our thing. The past six weeks have 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 many of those limited edition titles as I can to supply this area. We will also be doing two ticket giveaways throughout the day for an Alabama Shakes concert and The XX & Grizzly Bear concert. Basically, we use the day to celebrate all record stores. I always encourage my customers to go to other shops after they’ve spent some time at mine. All record stores are unique and each has its own flair going on. We’ve done live music in the past, but this year we’re really focusing on the limited edition titles. -JC

Which Record Store Day 2013 releases are you most excited about?

The Robert Pollard double box set. -DO

There are so many releases this year, but I will give you my top picks: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks played Can’s album Ege Bamyasi live in its entirety and that is being released on LP. As a Nigerian, I’m looking forward to the Sorrow, Tears and Blood 12” from Fela Kuti and also Jandek’s vinyl boxed set. -TB

Most excited for the GZA Liquid Swords re-issue/Chess set. -IB

Live Captain Beefheart recorded by John Peel, Daniel Johnston Fun (first time on vinyl), Phish Lawnboy (been wanting this for 15+ years), Tame Impala EP, The Rough Guide To Psychedelic Brazil. -JC

In many ways, Record Store Day is a response to the digital age – an age in which physical media has diminished. How have you witnessed artists and labels respond to the dwindling presence of physical media? How has it changed their approach to creating physical media?

I feel like a really good thing that’s come from the reduction in physical product sales is that labels aren’t being quite as lazy as they used to be. For instance, at one time, inserts in CDs were often one-sided and very cheap. When there is no real thought put into the physical product, you have to expect it’s an unreasonable price. These days, labels like Now Again Records do these gorgeous packages. If you were to just download the tracks, you’d be missing out on such a huge part of what the release really is. -DO

At the record store, we’ve seen firsthand that there seems to be a healthy population of people who still relish the physical format. While it is true that CDs aren’t selling as well as they were a decade ago, the resurgence of vinyl has really helped to give the physical format new, fresh life. At a certain point, record companies understood that it costs nothing to bundle a digital download with the record (that is standard with most new vinyl). There are also some record companies like Epitaph and Nonesuch that have taken it one step further and choose to bundle a CD with the vinyl. Vinyl is really back in a big way (it never really went anywhere), but we are selling just as many copies of the new Justin Timberlake album on vinyl as we are Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix. Additionally, artists are having measured success with the name-your-own-price model – wherein the band releases their album on a website and allows the fan to decide what they want to pay or can pay for it. Radiohead did this with In Rainbows in 2007 and it worked fantastically for them. -TB

So far RSD has been a great response. Vinyl sales have been steadily rising over the past few years and all the reissues they release each year help the new collectors get things that are generally a lot harder to find in the used market. I don’t think vinyl is going away any time soon. -IB

RSD is a response to people not going to physical record stores to purchase music. Whatever they buy, 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. The purpose of RSD is to let the world know there are physical indie record stores and we’re not going anywhere. -JC

Record Store Day takes place Saturday, April 20. For more information regarding special releases and schedules, visit recordstoreday.com, ghettoblastermagazine.com, omegamusicdayton.com, recordgalleryofdayton.com and toxicbeautyrecords.com. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Leo DeLuca at LeoDeLuca@DaytonCityPaper.com

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