Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 11 Best Record Store Day Successes

At 4:00 AM Saturday morning, I pulled up outside a record store in Sherman Oaks, armed with a few graphic novels, a half-read Malcolm Gladwell tome and 2-liter bottle of Pepsi Max.  I was not alone.  In fact, I was 9th.  In a line that would later that day stretch to over 150-people long, I was part of the core group of dedicated music purists.  The starting line-up.  The Breakfast Club of vinyl.  A tenth member showed up at 4:30, in hopes he was the first one to arrive looking for the Cake box set.  When he found out he was the third one to walk up desiring its glory (knowing the store only obtained one copy), he tossed his hand in the air, disgusted by the whole event and marched off cursing with a wicked lisp.  We were a united front and no one was going to break our tribe.
For the next 7 hours, we discussed our purchases.  Who was getting what?  We strategized with each other, plotting which albums we were sure to get, while at the same time conscious of the others' picks.  Like the crossing of the streams in Ghostbusters, there could be no overlap.  With three people in line only there to get the Paramore release (that's dedication...but it is a cool-looking record), our competition was minimal.  Once we had announced our choices, once we had determined our lists, we no longer allowed to make changes or additions that affected anyone else's lists.  That would be seen as treasonous...and there's no telling the severity of the scowl that would be emitted from a pissed off music nerd.  
Finally, the rest of the line showed up as the crack of six came around.  But we were the tribal council.  We had the power in the front of the line to determine who was getting what.  If the twelfth person in line came only for the Joy Division EP, and I was thinking about getting it, it meant I held all the power over their music-buying fate.  But even vinyl aficionados have morals. There were no cuts.  There was no buying for a friend.  There were also no assholes.  We respected each other's right to be there. At the end of the day, we're a community and we protect our own.
As massively successful that Record Store Day is for the fans and styluses everywhere, it is always amazing to watch what limited edition, colored-vinyl, filled with live demos of covers has the most sustainability outside of the store.  I'm not talking about which album you enjoy listening to the most, that's personal, and there's no list for that.  I'm talking about which albums garner the most online demand.  Some of the albums that were predicted to be draws like Outkast, the side by side series, and even the new Conor Oberst had very little online life.  Even the highly hyped Green Day Demos red vinyl was being outbid by the CD version of the same title.  But some titles...some titles exceeded expectations and will now live on in legend of the RSD history.
Here are the 11 Best Record Store Day Successes:
  1. R.E.M. - Unplugged (307) - I've been waiting for this release for 23 years.  It does not disappoint.  Online it's selling for 350% over its list price and there seems to be no dip in the demand.  Despite its popularity it sounds fucking incredible. Only 1000 of these were made, which means it will be in demand for a long time.
  2. Cake - Box Set ($330) - All of Cake's seven albums, plus an 8th never-released album, all printed on different colored vinyl.  Even though it sells for more than REM, it cost twice as much originally.  This thing was so popular it literally caused  a guy to cry in line because he didn't get it.
  3. Ghostbusters ($100) - The surprise of the day.  Whoever thought a 30 year old movie theme song on glow in the dark vinyl would be wanted by everyone in line.
  4. Garcia ($148) - Jerry's first solo album on white vinyl.  Dead fans who are not dead are fighting tooth and nail for this one.
  5. The Liars - Mess On a Mission ($75) - This might edge out Paramore for the coolest looking record.  Clear vinyl with yarn inside.  A truly unique release.
  6. Devo - Live at Max's Kansas City ($107) - From 1977, this is a great uncovered gem by a legendary band. 
  7. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World ($96) - A cult classic soundtrack draws a cult classic crowd. 
  8. Death Cab For Cutie ($95) - DCFC with an orchestra...this is the kind of release RSD is made for.
  9. Childish Gambino ($80) - Donald Glover may be a funny guy, but he had the best packaging of the day.
  10. Life Without Buildings ($102) - An obscure release by an obscure 80s band for the first time in America.  If you don't get this now, you'll never get it.
  11. Jack White - Lazaretto ($475) - Even though this is selling for the most amount of money online, it's not really fair to compare it to the others since you could only purchase it at one location.  It's still cool as shit.  Looks like Jack just raised the bar for coolest RSD release.  Your turn Wayne Coyne.
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