While the vinyl record format has been steadily making a comeback over the last few years, 2014 can officially be coined “The Year of Vinyl” as record sales saw a ridiculous 49 percent surge than that of the previous year. And while these numbers look great on paper, independent record stores still remain a dying breed as online sales seem to dominate points of purchase, which is exactly why Record Store Day remains so important to brick-and-mortar shops.
Every year, dozens of acts put out exclusive LPs, tracks, B-sides, live recordings and other gimmick releases to get people in record stores and spending money. Think of it as the Black Friday for the shops.
Buffalo, despite not being a huge city or major market, is lucky enough to be able to support a hand full of shops, and this year, like years past, each of the stores will be hosting some local (and non) showcases, all free, to show appreciation toward their loyal customers. Here are three showcases worth checking out on April 18.
Del Paxton with Cages, Bryan Johnson & Family at Black Dots (223 Lafayette Ave.)
Closing in on its two-year anniversary, the punk-centric West Side record store Black Dots will be hosting a trio of local acts, led by indie-mo trio, Del Paxton. DP just signed to indie label Topshelf Records, and last week released a split record with label mates, Gulfer, which you can pick up at its performance at Black Dots beginning at 5 p.m. While you are there, pick up a copy of Cages stunning and unclassifiable (avant-garde folk would probably do), “Vivipary,” released on Black Dots’ own imprint label.
Handsome Jack w/ Pine Fever, Sleepy Hahas and more at Record Theatre (3500 Main St.)
The University Plaza location will be opening its doors at 9am this Saturday and will be offering a day long showcase of some of Buffalo’s most varied acts. From the retro rock sounds of Handsome Jack to the toe tapping buskers of Pine Fever to the ever evolving psych garage rockers, Sleepy Hahas, there should be something for everyone. Expect tons of giveaways, prizes and even food at the bustling shop.
Yellowcard at Record Theatre (1800 Main St.)
Remember that pop-punk band with a violin player back in the early 2000s? Yellowcard? Yeah I didn’t know it was still around either, but the band will be appearing at the other Record Theatre (at Main and Lafayette) to promote its RSD 10” “A Perfect Song” and playing an in-store set around 4:15 p.m. This Record Theatre location traditionally is known for hosting touring bands in the store, so if Yellowcard still does it for you, then head over. (The band will perform later that night in Town Ballroom.)
As for some of those exclusive Record Store Day releases I mentioned, as a vinyl buyer, here are three records that I hope to come across in my findings on Saturday morning. It should be noted that most, if not all, of the RSD releases are very limited so don’t hold your breath finding one of these unless EBay is your preferred point of shopping, just consider yourself very lucky if you do. Check out the full list here.
Father John Misty – “I Love You, Honeybear” 7-inch colored vinyl
Father John Misty’s sophomore album, “I Love You, Honeybear,” was one big old love letter to his wife, and for Record Store Day, he will be releasing an acoustic version of the title track, along with an unreleased B-side on a bright red, heart-shaped record. If you aren’t lucky enough to find a copy, just buy the whole record (it’s fantastic) and then catch FJM in person Aug. 1 in Town Ballroom.
Air – “Playground Love” 7-inch colored vinyl
The French electronica duo scored Sophia Coppola’s haunting film, “The Virgin Suicides” back in 2000, andwill be releasing an all-orange version of the score’s dreamy single, “Playground Ground” along with additional album track, “High School Lover.”
Okkervil River – “Sleep and Wake-Up Songs”
One of my favorite bands is once again getting in on the RSD fun this year, releasing seven-track EP of songs recorded between the band’s “Down The River of Golden Dreams” and “Black Sheep Boy” albums. This is the first and probably the last time this will be pressed on vinyl so if you are an Okkervil fan, don’t hesitate to grab a copy or two.
Bonus local picks
Many local bands like JOHNS, Mallwalkers, Failures’ Union and Roger Bryan & the Orphans have released some or all of their discographies on vinyl, and RSD is a great excuse to pick up some of these records on the cheap to localize your vinyl collection.