Vinyl is (has been) back. And it’s arguably here to stay.
For the last two years, sales of vinyl records easily outpaced those of CDs. And purchases weren’t confined to ultra-hip indie music shops. Big-box retailers like Target and Walmart are now big-time players, selling re-pressings of classic albums, as well as new drops from some of the world’s most successful pop-stars.
Meanwhile, Record Store Day, the traditionally once-a-year infusion of vinyl rarities and reissues into independently owned record stores across the country, has been to independently owned vinyl music stores what Black Friday is to big-box retailers.
Record Store Day is held on Saturday, April 22 at music retailers across Northeast Florida. The announcement of this year’s RSD carried news of exclusive vinyl from a diverse range of artists, from Taylor Swift to Beach House, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, T Rex, the Magnetic Fields and many, many more. This year’s RSD also coincides with the much-celebrated 50th anniversary of hip hop. As such, there’ll be a range of exclusive releases from hip-hop artists, including Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Rza, Nas, Slum Village, Prince Rakeem, Chief Keef and more.
With hundreds of reissues, previously unreleased live recordings, unique box sets and eclectic compilations on offer for each RSD drop, even the most fervent vinyl fiends are likely to be overwhelmed. So we reached out to a handful of local record store owners to find out what they’re rolling out and what they’re excited about.
875 Stockton St | Riverside | MAP
Specialty: Punk, metal, new and used rarities, pop, indie
Picks by James Siboni, owner/operator
Agnostic Front – Victim In Pain
AF was one of the first punk bands I ever heard. These guys started my a 20-plus-year obsession with the genre. This is a reissue of their classic, debut LP.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – At The Jazz Workshop 1970
Art is one of the greatest jazz drummers to ever live and his records are some of my favorites. This is a live session that is previously unreleased, made during a great time in his career.
Death – Fate: The Best Of Death
Death were the greatest death-metal band (so much so, the entire genre is named after them). Their first four LPs were their best work. This record is a greatest hits from those first four. So, it’s literally the best or the best in my opinion. It’s also worth mentioning that Death was from Florida, which makes them even cooler.
(London) Suede – Suede Demos
Of all the great British rock bands in history, Suede is pretty close to the top of my list of favorites. This release is demo versions of their first record. I’ve never heard it before and I can’t wait to put this record on and catch of glimpse of what these songs sounded like before they reached their final form.
1026 Edgewood Ave | Murray Hill | MAP
Specialty: Eclectic, indie, rarities, books
Unfortunately, this will be Eraser Records last ever RSD. Multi-talented owners Matthew Anderson and Lauren Hamilton will not be renewing their lease when it expires later this year. Fortunately, the duo is throwing down big for their final Record Store Day, with a vendor market, live music and, of course, tons of cool records.
Picks by Matt Anderson, owner/operator
The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute
T. Rex – Rockin and Rollin
Sparks – A Woofer In a Tweeters Clothing
The Orb feat. Lee Scratch Perry – The Upsetter at the Starhouse Session
81d King Street | St. Augustine | MAP
Specialty: Indie, re-pressings, used essentials
Picks by Tonevendor staff
David’s Pick: Sir Douglas Quintet – Texas Tornado
Hannah’s Pick: Beach House – Become
Dan’s Pick: Albert Ayler – Europe 1966
Check out these other great independent record stores in our region:
Wolfson Equipment and Records
3801 University Blvd W #4 | San Jose | MAP
Located in a nondescript industrial park near the intersection of Powers Avenue and University Boulevard, Wolfson Equipment and Records is a crate digger’s dream. Though the store boasts 5,000 sq. ft. of records, CDs, cassettes, books and miscellaneous music ephemera (posters, flyers, tees, buttons, etc.), a few seemingly arbitrary RSD rules have kept Wolfson from (officially) participating in the event (something about not having windows). No bother, owner Ron Johnston says his store still draws an RSD crowd, simply by sticking to the store’s modus operandi; putting out hundreds, if not thousands of new arrivals each week. Of particular note, Johnston says his recent acquisitions include some eclectic collections––‘80s mopecore like the Smiths and The Cult on vinyl, a vast assortment of classic and rare soul albums on CD. A good bet on any given day, Wolfson is a must-see on RSD.
Yesterday and Today
1522 Hendricks Ave | San Marco | Map
Formerly a weekend pop-up at the Beach Blvd. Flea Market, Yesterday and Today has a good selection of used rock, pop, soul and jazz records. They get new inventory pretty consistently and they have been the region’s longest-running participant of Record Store Day.
DJ’s Record Shop
2999 Edison Ave | Westside | Map
Operating out of the same space, at the corner of Edison and McDuff, since the late 1960s, DJ’s is easily the oldest active record shop in Northeast Florida, if not the whole state. Most of their stock is older than most of our readers, and some of it could be considered downright obsolete. CDs, LPs, 45s, 78s, cassettes, 8-tracks, VHS tapes, laser discs and even the occasional book, as well as vintage stereo components and random collectibles whose target market may or may not actually exist. They specialize in golden era rap, classic jazz and old-school R&B, but you can still find the occasional cut from the 21st Century, if you look hard enough. If you have OCD, or you’re claustrophobic, or allergic to dust, mind the exits; you will lose your mind, quickly.