Welcome to the Sound of Boston guide to Record Store Day—an annual celebration of independent record stores marked by exclusive releases and limited distribution records, bringing fans, staff, and artists closer together. Or so they say.
Many complain that Record Store Day has simply become another opportunity for major labels to rake in more money. Here at Sound of Boston, we would like to focus on the myriad independent record stores in Boston participating on April 18th, as well as a few select releases from local and national acts. Check out this map to get around from store to store. And if any participating record store catches your eye, check out our recurring column “Record Hunter” in which we have profiled all of the shops at greater length.
PARTICIPATING RECORD STORES
12b Eliot (basement)
Cambridge, MA 02138
Indie fans, metalheads, punk rockers, rap and hip-hop enthusiasts, lovers of the experimental and the avant-garde—drop what you’re doing and get over to Armageddon Shop. Armageddon is doing exactly what many other records stores aren’t: supporting the underground and local music scenes.
In Your Ear
957 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
At In Your Ear, you may feel like you’re entering a dungeon when—after seeing a barred window and an eye-level sign, but no formal entrance—you realize that the store is actually located underground. But with 50,000 used LPs, CDs, cassettes, and DVDs crammed into the space at cheap prices, In Your Ear proves that looks aren’t everything.
Many locations (check the map for details)
Shopping for vinyl at Newbury Comics is a far cry from what comes to mind when you think of an authentic music discovery experience. But don’t be too quick to turn up your nose. If you want to stay up to date with the modern music scene, head over to Newbury Comics. All of the bases are covered.
486 Commonwealth Ave,
Boston, MA 02215
Nuggets offers an exceptional selection of classic rock albums, with all the standard artists and bands you might want: Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, Traffic, and Yes. The ‘new arrivals’ section, a few crates located at the front of the store, offers an interesting selection of relatively rare and noteworthy records. For all of your 60’s and 70’s needs, Nuggets is a great place to start.
26 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143
Somerville Grooves is a quaint little record shop located in the middle of Somerville’s Union Square, whose “hip” status seems to escalate every day. Grooves has fit right in among the plaid-shirt-wearing and bike-riding locals, offering a hearty selection of records from all genres, including rock, indie, R&B, reggae, electronic, and classical. Founded in recent years, Somerville Grooves proves that record stores aren’t a thing of the past.
844 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Weirdo Records near Central Square shows the value of mom-and-pop record stores over Internet retailers and corporate tastemakers. Weirdo specializes in the eclectic and avant-garde. The local music, sixties/seventies, and world music sections are particularly noteworthy. Only at a record store like Weirdo can you find your own taste through self-guided discovery. You never know what you’ll find, but that’s the point.
Other Participating Stores and Events
Other participating record stores include Skippy White’s in Roxbury, Deep Thoughts JP in Jamaica Plain, Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain, and UGHH (Undergroundhiphop.com) in Boston. In addition, (although not an official RSD event) do617 and Pabst Blue Ribbon have teamed up to bring a pop-up record store to Brighton Music Hall on April 18th.
SELECTED RELEASES (alphabetical order)
Built to Spill
For the first time ever, Built to Spill’s first record Ultimate Alternative Wavers is available on vinyl. The first effort from the classic 90s indie rockers, this record is certainly a deep cut for fans of the band and kindred spirits (Pavement, Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr.). Ultimate Alternative Wavers features the eponymous track “Built to Spill” and “Nowhere Nothin’ Fuckup,” a lyrical tribute to Velvet Underground, although instrumentally more akin to Sonic Youth.
The legendary and timeless Eno will be releasing My Squelchy Life for the first time on vinyl, offering a never before-heard bonus track, “Rapid Eye.” Originally recorded in 1991, My Squelchy Life remained unreleased (although bootlegged) until it’s 2014 release as a bonus disk to the reissue of 1992’s Nerve Net. This record is sure to offer plenty of atmosphere for fans of Eno and ambient music, although there isn’t much in the way of new material.
Legacy Recordings will be re-releasing the first seven Bruce Springsteen records in honor of Record Store Day. Unless you have been living under a rock, there should be nothing new here (see: “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Born to Run”). As we alluded to earlier, Record Store Day is not only a day to patronize your local record store in search of indie releases, but also an opportunity for Legacy Recordings to re-release Bruce Springsteen albums!
For better or worse, the last year has brought Mark Kozelek (who typically records as “Sun Kil Moon”) into the spotlight. First, for his brilliant full-length Benji, then for his unbecoming feud with The War on Drugs. For those of us who know Mark Kozelek as the combination brilliant, tortured artist and indie-rock bully, this album adds more to the portrait. It is an eight song album of “drastically rearranged acoustic covers of Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs,” that shows both Kozelek’s daft composition and AC/DC obsession.
Oneohtrix Point Never
Oneohtrix Point Never, the alias of producer Daniel Lopatin, comes from a mispronunciation of Boston’s own WMJX, 106.7. More or less a local act (Lopatin hails from Wayland, MA), Oneohtrix Point Never has been lauded by the indie music press for 2011’s Replica and 2013’s R Plus Seven. Warp Records will be offering a 3-song EP of commissioned works from Lopatin, including work for Red Bull Academy and Koji Morimoto anime.
Run The Jewels
Stand-out hip-hop duo of 2015, Run the Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike), will release a four-track EP for RSD. The unheard track, “Bust No Moves,” is sure to be the spotlight. The EP will also include “Pew Pew Pew” from Run the Jewels, “Love Again” and “Blockbuster Night Pt. 2” from Run the Jewels II.
Chicago’s Twin Peaks may be relative new-comers, but they bring a distinctly vintage sound reminiscent of the Rolling Stones and garage rock. As a follow up to 2014’s well-received Wild Onion, the Chi-town boys will be releasing a 7” featuring two unreleased tracks: “In The Morning (In The Evening)” and “Got Your Money.” Recorded onto 2” tape with an analogue setup, this RSD exclusive can only further their old-school reputation.
In honor of RSD, XL Recordings offers fans of wildly popular indie rockers Vampire Weekend a single of “Step” with an added instrumental track and remix featuring Danny Brown, Heems and Despot. There is literally nothing new about this single, except that it will be pressed on white vinyl for a limited run of 3,000.
For the first time in 15 years, Violent Femmes will be releasing new material. Their RSD EP, titled “Happy New Year” and recorded on New Year’s Eve, will feature a new track: “Love Love Love Love Love,” described as an “ode to old-fashioned romance.” This RSD exclusive should be a taste of whats to come, as Violent Femmes supposedly have more on the way this spring.
Until now, Get Behind Me Satan has remained the only White Stripes commercial release unpressed on vinyl. The 2005 classic features the syncopated garage-rock of “Blue Orchid” and the Grammy-nominated “My Doorbell.” Jack White’s Nashville-based Third Man Records will also release Elvis’ very first single ever recorded.
Check out the full RSD lineup here for a complete list of exclusive, limited run, and first releases in honor of Record Store Day. And remember: Record Store Day isn’t just about buying exclusive new releases, but also patronizing your local independent record store in whatever way.