Last year, Jack White, who owns Third Man Records in Nashville, Tenn., and plays a mean guitar, was the official ambassador for Record Store Day.
This year, for the seventh annual event, he's making the biggest splash by spending his Saturday creating the World's Fastest Released Record. At 10 a.m., he's taking the stage at the Third Man Records complex in Nashville to cut a live version of "Lazaretto," the title song from his forthcoming solo album. They'll rush the master, along with photos from the event, to the plant and have vinyl 45s back at Third Man for sale that day.
Obviously, you won't be able to pick one up at Sound Cat or The Attic or any of the Pittsburgh stores participating in Record Store Day on Saturday, but if you have a little extra money lying around you should be able to get your hands on a few rarities.
The hot product this year includes the double-vinyl version of the first new Pixies album since 1991, "Indie Cindy"; the five-box LP set of "The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden"; the complete R.E.M. "Unplugged" sessions from 1991 and 2001; and four previously unreleased Bruce Springsteen songs.
In a statement, this year's ambassador, Chuck D, sang the praises of the record store.
"The founding members of Public Enemy were, and still are, DJs. The tool and fuel for DJs has forever been recordings. And where these recordings have long connected, with pros and fans alike, has simply been The Record Store, the connection point of listener and the recording.
"Motown's Berry Gordy had a record store. Elektra founder Jac Holzman had a record store. The STAX label had their Satellite Record Shop right next to their studio. Keith Richards opens a conversation with Mick Jagger as teenagers on a UK train platform because he had a stack of hot blues records in his arms after leaving a shop. Well you should have an idea of what I'm saying here."
The record store remains a place where you can gather and talk to people in real life about music. In Pittsburgh, we've hit yet another Record Store Day with all the indie hotspots -- Jerry's, Eide's, Dave's, Attic, Mind Cure, Sound Cat -- still floating despite more sobering music sales news in 2013.
Sales (digital and physical) were down 6.3 percent in 2013, as streaming increased 32 percent, according to Nielsen Soundscan. (It was the first decline in digital sales since the iTunes store opened.) However, while CD sales declined 14.5 percent, vinyl sales grew 32 percent from 4.5 million units sold in 2012 to 6 million sold in 2013.
That of course does not include the $3 Moody Blues album you may have bought at Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill. In commemoration of Record Store Day, its beloved proprietor was honored Monday with a City Council proclamation of "Jerry Weber Day" in Pittsburgh.
It happened in a perfectly Pittsburgh way. Last year, City Council President Bruce Kraus recognized Dave's Music Mine, the South Side store within his District 3. Mr. Weber, who's been in the business 40 years, says was he was giving longtime Jerry's customer Kraus a hard time, in a joking way, saying, "I gave Dave his start and he's getting a proclamation!"
This year, the councilman called Mr. Weber and told him it was his turn.
"I was like, 'Bruce, I was jagging you. I don't care about a proclamation!" Mr. Weber said.
Jerry's, at 2136 Murray Ave. (412-421-4533), won't have any of the hot RSD exclusives as it does not traffic in new product, but it will be giving away 25,000 LPs and offering an expanded $1 sale.
Dave's Music Mine, 1210 E. Carson St. (412-488-8800), will open at 8 a.m. with RSD releases and will do concert ticket giveaways every hour and offer door prizes and gift bags.
Michael Seamans, owner of Mind Cure Records, 3136 Dobson St., Polish Hill (412-621-1715), says, "I will have RSD releases in stock from the staple labels that I deal with -- Death Waltz, Light in the Attic, Matador, etc. -- and will also be running a 20 percent off sale on all used records and Mind Cure releases. and all $1 records will be 50 cents."
720 Records, 4405 Butler St., Lawrenceville (412-904-4592), will offer RSD exclusives, 50 percent off used records, cafe specials and live DJs all day.
Also participating, according to www.recordstoreday.com:
• Attic Records, 513 Grant Ave., Millvale, 412-821-8484.
• Desolation Row, 410 S. Craig Street, Oakland, 412-681-9111.
• Eide's Entertainment, 1121 Penn Ave., Downtown, 412-261-0900.
• Area Exchange stores
• Sound Cat, 4526 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-621-3256.
• Stedeford's, 417 E. Ohio St., North Side, 412-321-8333.
• The Slipped Disc, 260 Atwood St., Oakland, 412-688-8899.
• Wicked Discs, 406 S. Craig St., Oakland, 412-682-5007.
Along with the Pixies, LCD Soundsystem, R.E.M. and Springsteen releases, watch out for these among releases, and remember that stores don't always get everything they order:
• The Flaming Lips, "7 Skies H3 LP" and "Gates of Steel" 7-inch: The band's 24-hour song boiled down to 43 minutes, and a single cover of the Devo song Gates of Steel.
• Various, "In Utero, In Tribute, In Entirety" LP: Jay Reatard, Ceremony, Thursday, These Arms Are Snakes, Circa Survive and more cover Nirvana's final studio album.
• Soundgarden, "Superunknown: The Singles" 5-by-10-inch box: Vinyl versions of "Spoonman," "Fell on Black Days," "Black Hole Sun," "The Day I Tried to Live" and "My Wave."
• Built to Spill, "Ultimate Alternative Wavers" gold vinyl LP.
• Mudhoney, "On Top: KEXP Presents Mudhoney Live on Top of the Space Needle" LP.
• Pogues, "Live With Joe Strummer" double LP on red vinyl.
• Neil Young, "Cow Palace 1986" LP.
• Allman Brothers, "Selections From Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theater 1992" double LP.
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