It's that time of year again when we celebrate the purveyors of analog acoustics and non-digital noises.
Record Store Day, the Black Friday of in-person music shopping, is back Saturday for a seventh year. That means rare releases, sales and in-store concerts at independent record shops across the Tampa Bay area.
The “holiday” was cooked up by a small group of store owners who've since watched participation grow to more than 1,000 stores around the world. Record labels, for their part, have upped the limited-edition releases from about a dozen in 2008 to more than 400 for this year, and the offerings have diversified. What was once the domain of obscure indie rockers and stuff for deep-crate-digging connoisseurs now ranges from a reissue of the The Velvet Underground's “Loaded” to a special Katy Perry “Prism” picture disc LP (you can see our RSD shopping list†here).
Vinyl record sales grew for a seventh straight year in 2013, climbing 32 percent, even as overall album sales dropped 8.4 percent, according to Nielsen Soundscan. That growth came as even digital music sales declined for the first time ever, while streaming services like Spotify gained users.
The actual records are only one component of RSD, though. Keith Ulrey, owner of Microgroove in Seminole Heights, likes to issue a reminder: “It's called record STORE day, not record day,” he said. “It was started to generate local interest in the community to support a once-dying breed of shops ... the special releases are just perks.”
Here's a look at the Tampa Bay area stores stocking Record Store Day releases and what they'll be up to:
♦ Mojo Books & Music, 2450 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa — A mile from the University of South Florida, the student hangout and coffee shop opens early (8 a.m.) and owner Melanie Cade says they've ordered “65 percent more” RSD releases than 2013 (a lot, considering what they stocked last time). There's a free drawing for past releases, t-shirts and other stuff for anyone in line before 8. Free Pabst Blue Ribbon beer will flow once the afternoon concerts start at 3:30. Eleven bands are set to play through midnight, including Empire Cinema and a solo set by David Vassalotti (of acclaimed Tampa post-punk outfit Merchandise). Deals on used stuff include buy one get one free “budget vinyl” and a buy two, get one free CDs and DVDs. The vegan bake sale -— an annual tradition — will raise money for charity. There's also official Record Store Day goodie bags with purchase, while they last.
♦ Daddy Kool Records, 666 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg – The shop opens at 8 a.m., with ABC Action News broadcasting the party live from the store. Out front will be a sidewalk sale featuring used LPs, cassettes, posters, patches, stickers and more at reduced prices, along with storewide sales inside all day long. Local rapper Infinite Skilz and his crew will be there making the 600 block of St. Petersburg bounce from noon until 3 p.m., and rock-reggae band Passafire will be dropping by for an acoustic set and signing around 4 p.m. (before they headline Jannus Live that night).
♦ Microgroove, 4906 N. Florida Ave - The beautifully-merchandised Seminole Heights shop housed in a former garage will open at 9 a.m. with the upcoming Commune & Co. coffee shop serving up a preview with free cups of its “pressure cold brewed, nitro tapped, ice coffee.” In-store concerts by Empire Cinema, Fistful, Radarmen and others start at 1 p.m., with free Pabst Blue Ribbon beer during the performances.
♦ Banana's Music, 2887 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg – Famous for its warehoused collection of records numbering in the millions, the 11,000-square-foot retail store (once given a nod in Rolling Stone as one of the best in the U.S) plans to stock hundreds of RSD releases. The store serve free Green Bench Brewing Co. beer and hold free drawings for prizes all day. RSD goodie bags with purchase while they last. Every used item in the store is 15 percent off, and food trucks will have breakfast and lunch for sale. In-store performances by DJ Tyson Mink, S2E, Lauris VIdal, the Anderson Brothers, Luxury Mane and Orange Gravity run from 9 a.m to 7 p.m.
♦ Planet Retro, 2414 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg - The store opens at 9 a.m. with a large selection of RSD releases along with a sale on all used vinyl. Five DJs (DJ Rozak, Earl Grae) and 13 bands (Blast and the Detergents, Kevin K, Sonic Graffitti, Funeral Dazies) will perform in the shop from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There will be free food, beer, raffles and giveaways throughout the day.
♦ Sound Exchange, 14246 N. Nebraska Ave, Tampa; 805 W. Bloomingdale Ave, Brandon - The Tampa store will be giving away vintage keychain fobs in the shape of a record to the first 15 customers who purchase $25 of used vinyl. The Brandon store will have a DJ and live bands throughout the day, including Brandon-based The Caleb Hyers Band.
♦ Disc Exchange, 6712 Central Ave, St. Petersburg - The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with lots of in-store specials, including 10 percent off of used items. DJ Invisible will provide music.