It's almost here.
Record Store Day 2017 is Saturday, April 22, and it could be the best one Phoenix has seen yet.
With more record stores participating than ever before, bands playing throughout the day at multiple shops, and a strong slate of releases, Record Store Day looks like it'll live up to its rep as a national holiday for music fans. Locally, Zia Records, Revolver Records, Stinkweeds, The Record Room, Asylum Records, and several more shops will host Record Store Day (or what's commonly known as "RSD") festivities, which began a decade ago.
According to the Record Store Day website, the event was founded in 2007 "as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores" throughout the US. Now, the event's spread around the world to every continent — save Antarctica.
For new participants and seasoned RSD veterans, it's important to have a plan of action, as the fun runs from about 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. around the Valley. It's not uncommon for people to start forming lines well before 7 a.m. to snag copies of specially packaged vinyl in all sizes and colors.
This year, there's a little something for everyone. There are some killer Prince and David Bowie releases including Bowie's live Cracked Actor triple LP from a 1974 live performance which was mixed by the late pop legend's longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, and multiple Prince 7-inch and 12-inch singles. There are re-releases from Dolly Parton, Thelonious Monk, and a killer picture disc version of Venom's At War With Satan, which originally came out in 1984.
And that's just the tip of the vinyl iceberg.
While there are a number of ways to skin this particular cat, here's a few suggestions about where to go and what to keep an eye out for while you are enjoying what should be a beautiful day for record shopping. There are bands playing all over town, and if you like talking about music, it's about the best day of the year to make new friends.
(Editor's note: Full disclosure, two of Tom Reardon's bands are playing on Record Store Day. Hillbilly Devilspeak play at The Record Room, and The Father Figures play at the 19th Avenue and Camelback Zia location.)
It would be most fitting to pick up your copy of the aforementioned Venom album at Asylum Records, 108 West Main Street in Mesa. Not that other stores don't carry their fair share of metal or support darkly comical devil dabblers. But none of the other stores in town celebrate metal quite like Asylum, home of the "Blue Couch." While at Asylum, RSD shoppers might also want to look for the 10-inch version of Today Is The Day's dark and brutal How To Win Friends & Influence People: 25th Anniversary Remaster, which has never been out on anything but cassette in the past.
Depending on what time you make it to Asylum, you might be able to get a little face time with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth who will be making an appearance, a long with members of the band, Doll Skin, who are signed to Ellefson's label, EMP Label Group. Also making an appearance at the store will be Michael Bruce and Neil Smith of the original Alice Cooper Band and Larry Thomas, a.k.a. the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld.
How can you beat hearing "No records for you!" from the actual Soup Nazi when you fumble your question at the counter about Bevis Frond's RSD release?
While on the east side, you might want to hit up the three East Valley locations of Zia Records, where you'll find live music during the day as well as a great selection of RSD releases. As you travel south from Asylum, you can hit the Mesa Zia location, 1302 South Gilbert Road, where Weslynn and People Who Could Fly are both playing some tunes during the afternoon.
While you're there, keep a look out for a copies of The Distillers Coral Fang LP and Noise Addict's 10,000 Kids With Guitars double LP. You really couldn't go wrong with either record, especially if you like your music a little on the snotty side.
From there, make your way a little south and west to the Chandler Zia location, 3029 North Alma School Road, to check out the ever popular Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers at 3 p.m. and pick up a copy of Television Personalities' They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles or R.L. Burnside's Long Distance Call: Europe Recordings. Both records originally appeared in 1982 and while they may be on the opposite ends of the musical spectrum in many ways, both feature artists at the top of their game getting down and dirty in their respective genres.
For the truly adventurous record lovers from the east side, these three stops could just be the beginning.
We recommend hitting Double Nickels Collective at 45 West Southern Avenue and while they are way too cool to be part of the RSD madness, every day at Double Nickels is kinda like Record Store Day. You're guaranteed to find something good there, especially if you are willing to dig and owner Michael Pawlicki is a walking, talking lexicon of music knowledge. Just try to stump him.
After hitting Double Nickels, take a quick run over to the Tempe Zia, which is just at the northwest corner of Mill and Southern. Killer locals Lonesome Wilderness take the stage at 1pm and there will also be AAWL Dog Adoptions happening in the early morning, so you can take home a new best friend along with your new copy of The Doors' Live At The Matrix '67, which features a mix from Bruce Botnick who mixed the band's eponymous 1967 debut. "Back Door Man" kicks off side A of the recording from March 7, 1967, and the song is just as slinky, sexy, and subversive as it was when it came out 50 years ago.
Central Phoenix folks will want to check out both Revolver Records locations (4747 East Thomas Road and 918 North 2nd Street) for copies of The Smiths' The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 7" EP and The Cure's Greatest Hits (acoustic and electric versions available for RSD) LPs. The stores open at 8 a.m. on RSD and have some pretty killer deals going all day long, including half-off used LPs (priced under $5) and 20 percent off all other used records, CDs, shirts, and books.
While on Thomas Road, swing by The ‘In’ Groove Records, 3406 East Thomas Road, where they are featuring a full day of in-store appearances by a staggering 17 bands and artists including I am Hologram, Cheap Hotels, and Blank Waves. The 'In' Groove also has some killer sales, including three-for-one on their $1 records and discounts on many of their other items.
We recommend looking for Shocking Blue's At Home European import that features the song "Love Buzz." The song was famously covered by Nirvana on Bleach (Sub Pop) in 1988, although that particular slab of wax was not released until a year later. If you haven't heard the original, you should definitely check it out. And if you get really lucky, you'll be able to take home a whole record's worth of the late '60s Dutch rock band's good stuff on, you guessed it, blue vinyl.
As you make your way a bit further north, you can check out what's happening at Stinkweeds, the Valley's 30-year-old indie rock mecca. The Central and Camelback store always has a killer selection of music, and April 22 will be no exception.
There will be special gift bags for the first 100 visitors on RSD, and the store is hosting an after-party at The Newton (just west of the record shop at 3rd Avenue and Camelback) starting at 8 p.m. Stinkweeds is the perfect spot to pick up a copy of Giant Single: Profile Records Rap Anthology Vol. 1. Not only will you get instant respect thanks to your excellent taste in historic hip-hop, you'll have the soundtrack for your next dance party in a double record set.
While you're there, stay with the multiple-LP theme and hope you stumble across the Just Say 50 Sire Records 50th Anniversary Vinyl Box Set. It includes four LPs of classic Sire Records releases including songs by Ramones, The Smiths, Madonna, The Replacements, and many others. It's a bit pricey, but still, it's four records of songs you probably love. There's also a really tempting double live Lou Reed record coming out for RSD: Perfect Night: Live in London from 1998. While Lou's later stuff is not for everyone, with his "talk-singing" style, this is a must-have for all his rabid fans.
Making your way down Camelback, make a stop at the northeast corner of 19th Ave and hit yet another Zia location. Kool Keith signs some records at 3 p.m., and there will be bands all day including Fairy Bones at 1 p.m. and JJCNV at 6:30 p.m. This location always has some great stuff on Record Store Day, so keep an eye out for Jane's Addiction's killer Been Caught Stealing 12-inch EP with the "B" side to end all "B" sides featuring the "LA Medley" which sees Jane's tearing through the Doors' "LA Woman" into the Germs' "Lexicon Devil" and then wrapping up with X's "Nausea."
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Speaking of "Lexicon Devil," be sure and pick up the Germs' 7-inch EP of the same name. Each 7-inch will feature one of four available covers: red, pink, yellow, and orange. And the vinyl color will match the cover.
As you leave Zia with your happy ears and growing record collection, go north on 19th Avenue to Dunlap, where you can hang a left and make your way to The Record Room, 2601 West Dunlap. Chat with jovial owner John Rose while you peruse their excellent selection of RSD titles and used records. Rose has invited a bunch of his musician friends to provide the RSD soundtrack, so come for the deals and stay for the vibe. Shovel, Dephinger, Brea Burns and the Boleros, and the debut of the Jesus Ponies, among others, are sure to please even the most eclectic music fans in the Valley. While you're at it, pick up the Jesus Ponies stellar new record, Conditional Love Casino, as well as the Count Five's mono mix revamping of Psychotic Reaction. If you smile nice and pretty, Rose might just sell you his own personal copy of that one.
For those who have one more stop in them, the Thunderbird Road (2510 West Thunderbird) Zia location is a nice way to end (or begin) your Record Store Day. Live bands and dog adoptions bookend the celebration and maybe, just maybe, one of the elusive records you've been looking for will be waiting for you in North Phoenix. It might be the monument to Texas Psychedelic mastermind Roky Erickson called Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye - A Tribute To Roky Erickson. The Julian Cope version of "I Have Always Been Here Before" is nothing short of mind altering, and the Butthole Surfers' cover of "Earthquake" will shatter what's left of your psyche before Bongwater's take on Erickson's soulful "You Don't Love Me Yet" melts your face off.