Record Store Day: New York City roundup

Posted on 22 April 2012
By Allison Ullrich
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The LES of Manhattan (Lower East Side to the out-of-towners or newbies) is chock full of record stores – you’ll literally come across one on every other block.

Yes, literally. Since there’s only one of me, I hit up four stores for Record Store Day to get the full flavour of how the event goes down in New York City.

Other Music on 4th & Lafayette was Purple Revolver’s first stop. There was a line about 300 deep at 11am, full of hopefuls waiting to get their favorite band’s limited edition – etched yet playable vinyl. I quickly learned you don’t mess with these people.

They would prefer to wait in line for 90 minutes and think about their attack strategy rather than speak to anyone else. It’s true. But hey, that’s New York City right?

But we did come across a couple of people who were more than happy to divulge their hearts’ desires for RSD.

Jess had been queuing at Other Music since 8:50am and was about the 10th person in line. Mclusky Do Dallas, Pussy Galore, and the Arcade Fire LP releases were top on her list. Flaming Lips and Lee “Scratch” Perry were high on Mike’s radar.

What do Jess and Mike have in common? They have both been awake for a ridiculous amount of time and had hit up Kim’s Video & Music off 1st Ave when they opened at 8am.

Since Kim’s RSD was already well under way, I decided to head over and scope it out. After doing a bit of browsing, I spoke with a couple of employees who gave me the low down on their morning.

The vibe in Kim’s was very subdued (the DJ spinning reggae was a nice touch) but apparently this wasn’t the case in the morning.

A fight about the Holocaust had broken out in the line earlier that morning. What ever happened to Peace, Love, and Rock & Roll? The White Stripes 7” (25 copies sold in 30 minutes), Animal Collective 12”, and The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends LP were their most popular and coveted releases for the day.

After snagging The Black Angel’s 7”, I decided to head back over to Other Music to see if the line had dwindled, but it was still growing. What do you expect though, when you have bands like Suckers, Four Tet, Ex Cops, and Wild Nothing spinning their favorite tunes throughout the day?

I decided to post up in La Colombe, the coffee shop next door. This was a great choice because it turns out that after standing in line for three hours and getting your favorite RSD albums, the first thing you do is get coffee (or use their restroom facilities).

I spoke with Jenny and Mike who are true vinyl lovers. This was Jenny’s third RSD and each year, she starts her day off at Other Music.

Apparently the hostility I experienced in line earlier carried on into the store with people pushing their way ahead of you.

Mike has been participating for the last two years and believes “some people come because they genuinely love records and vinyl and some people just do it because it’s a new thing to be part of.” The Lee “Scratch” Perry 10” box set, The Flip Side of Stax, and the Battles LP were their big purchases for the day.

Michael, who has a record collection about 3000 deep, bought the: Public Image Ltd LP, Bob Dylan 7”, Joey Ramone’s 7”, Bruce Springteen’s 7”, Pete Townsend 10” to name a few. Working a paper route as a kid to support his love for vinyl, Michael says: “I hope there will never be a day where there aren’t record stores, and if we don’t keep doing this (RSD) there won’t be anymore left”.

Living In Stereo off Great Jones & Lafayette drew in a nice crowd with their free PBR and live music.

They definitely know how to celebrate RSD in style! Generation Records off Bleecker St. and Thompson was my final stop for the day. People were still pouring into the store around 5pm despite most of their RSD releases having sold out.

Record Store Day (or Christmas in April) has now become a yearly tradition for many, usually involving a mini-tour of the LES’s record stores while possibly grabbing some adult bevvies along the way.

Everyone I spoke with, ranging in age from early 20s to late 40s, are year-round supporters of their local record store. They all own record players and aren’t buying vinyl just for the art, although that is part of the appeal.

Having recently moved to NYC from Austin, it was extremely refreshing to see the hundreds of people out supporting music and the stores that curate it for us. Cheers to a great Record Store Day and let the countdown commence for RSD 2013.