For the past two years, I have resisted the urge to seek out the exclusive pieces of vinyl released on Record Store Day. I didn't think the time and effort would be worth much: standing in a line for hours, hoping to find something that I wanted. Plus, there haven't been many items that I really wanted. Matter of fact, the only RSD exclusive that I wanted was that Foo Fighters 12-inch featuring cover songs they had done over their entire career. When I saw the line to get into the record store closest to me wrap around the block, I turned my car around and went home.
This year, there were a handful of records that I wanted to get. A couple of them were modern classics that I wouldn't mind owning on vinyl, even though I already owned them on CD. I still try to stick to a relatively strict code of vinyl purchases (as in, I try not to own something on vinyl and CD), but there are times when I cannot resist. This happened with Bruce Springsteen's catalog between his debut album and Tunnel of Love. Having iconic works like Born to Run and Nebraska are worth the double-dip, in my opinion.
Going into yesterday's event, I had At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command, Braid's Frame & Canvas, and Cave In's Until Your Heart Stops on my list of wants. I also wanted to pick up the debut EP by Their/They're/There, a new group featuring members of Cap'n Jazz and Into It. Over It. I had received some great intel from a record hound friend of mine that a couple of stores in my area usually had smaller crowds and better quantities than other stores. I had to give this a shot.
I woke up at 6am yesterday and got out the door a little after 7. While the first store that I went to had plenty of stock, there wasn't much room to move around. Fifteen to twenty anxious audiophiles were stuffed into an area that was maybe six feet wide. To get your hands on a record, you had to be comfortable with leaving your comfort zone and (somewhat) grope the people around you. I smelled plenty of coffee breath as well as sweat, but if this was my only chance to get these records, I told myself that I could always shower later.
I grabbed the sole copies of Frame & Canvas and Until Your Heart Stops and one of the many copies of Relationship of Command. As I tried to make my way to the T section, I saw my friend Brian holding what turned out to be the only copy of the Their/They're/There EP. Brian is a great guy who loves the kind of music that I love, so seeing him hold this sole copy was fine by me. Better him than some person who is going to sell it unopened for triple the price on eBay.
After talking with a few more friends who came out, I decided it was time to plunk down my cash and get the hell out of there. My grand total was a whopping 90 dollars. Since two of the records were double-LPs, that made the price much more than I usually spend on vinyl. (Usually, I spend about 25 dollars a month on books and vinyl because I like to eat food on a daily basis and have a roof over my head.) Given that I received some wonderful news on Friday about something I can't quite address publicly yet (it involves me working a regular schedule for the first time in sixteen months), I figured, why the hell not?
I came home happy, but I couldn't stop thinking about another store in town that also participates in RSD. When they opened their doors a few hours after most of the other stores opened, I dropped in to see what was available. At a few minutes after they unlocked their doors, the scene was like throwing scraps to a kennel filled with hungry dogs. This place had much less stock and none of the other releases I wanted to check out.
Getting back home, I marveled at the vinyl I got. The Braid 12-inch was on clear vinyl while the other two were on brown marble swirl. I'd say this was worth doing, but I am OK with not stepping into a record store again for a few days. To help fight the temptation, I spent the rest of the day on a golf course. Surrounded by great company and playing in gorgeous weather, I had a wonderful 4/20.
As for next year's Record Store Day, all bets are off, but if they have a few things I'd really like, I'm willing to do this all over again.