Is a ten-inch with four versions of Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters theme (original, instrumental, dance remix, dub) supercool or over-the-top ridiculous? And does it help at all to know that the release commemorates the film's 30th anniversary and glows in the dark? I couldn't tell you.
That's Record Store Day, though. Celebrating its seventh anniversary this Saturday, April 19, it was originally intended as a day for vinyl hounds to pay homage to their local brick-and-mortar retailers, but it's since swallowed itself whole and become a Goliath that people love and hate in seemingly equal measure. We all know this. And for 2014 you can add to its list of potentially polarizing features a partnership with Red Bull Sound Select—alongside the exhaustingly long lines, of course, and the equally exhausting list of exclusive RSD releases (11 pages this year), which includes such absurd, fantastical albums as the Vitamin String Quartet performing Weezer's Pinkerton. (My bemusement at the Ghostbusters record—another one of those exclusive RSD releases—was heightened when a friend who owns a record store in Pennsylvania told me that more than 20 of his customers had already reserved copies.)
But with more than 20 local retailers taking part—as well as the occasional pop-up shop—Record Store Day has become almost impossible to ignore, at least in Chicago. And I doubt even the most jaded, crotchety discophile will be able to resist at least looking at the list of small-run releases. Because for every picture disc of Korn's The Paradigm Shift, there's a reissue of Pussy Galore's Pussy Gold 5000; for every Rockabye Baby: Lullabye Renditions of David Bowie, there's Chuck Inglish's series of four new singles with four different collaborators (Action Bronson, Chance the Rapper, Chromeo, and Mac Miller & Ab-Soul). In other words, the smart thing is to learn to coexist with Record Store Day.
The Reader is here to help, as it so often is. Our music staff have compiled an interactive Google map covering the city and near suburbs, where each of the little "pins" is a shop participating in Record Store Day—click on one, and you can see that shop's discounts, giveaways, perks, in-store performances, and other special events. Everything's also in a list below the map, in case that works better for you.
But wait, there's more! For a look at some of the art and science that goes into keeping a record store stocked the other 364 days of the year, see this week's feature story—Leor Galil writes about tagging along with Permanent Records manager Dave McCune to the Chicagoland Record Collectors Show in Hillside. Buying spiffy records one day a year is all well and good, but it's nothing compared to waking up at 4:30 AM on a Sunday and trekking to the burbs to do your crate digging. And the vinyl that gets shelved after a trip like that is what really keeps your neighborhood record store humming. —Kevin Warwick
View Record Store Day 2014 in a larger map
Choose your own Record Store Day adventure
All shops participating in Record Store Day stock a selection of special RSD releases, but in most cases retailers don't know until the last minute precisely what they'll get. So these listings don't attempt to address that question—they're about special events, in-store performances, discounts, promotions, and giveaways. Late changes are always possible, so check with the store if you want to be 100 percent sure.
Bric-a-Brac Records Free pizza delivered from Dimo's thoughout the day, plus coffee from Wormhole (which isn't free). Live performances from Ne-Hi, Gourmet Jerk, Uh Bones, an Empire Records soundtrack cover band, and others. DJ Marvelous Hagler spins. 8 AM-9 PM, 3156 W. Diversey, 773-654-3915, facebook.com/bricabracrecords.
Bucket o' Blood Books and Records The shop opens earlier than usual, with free coffee and doughnuts, and hosts live performances from Ty Maxon and Jason Swearingen (of Love and Squalor), followed by an acoustic open mike. 10 AM-8 PM, 2307 N. Milwaukee, 312-890-3860, bucketoblood.com.
Dusty Groove America Free coffee and breakfast pastries from West Town Bakery for anyone in line in the morning, coupons for free sandwiches from the Cheesie's food truck for the first 50 customers, special gifts for the first 100 customers, giveaways, raffles, and a magic show in the afternoon. 8 AM-9 PM, 1120 N. Ashland, 773-342-5800, dustygroove.com.
Gramaphone Records In-store DJ sets by Chicago Skyway, Chicagodeep, Taelue, Dave Cook, and DJ Mar. New local releases are 10 percent off on vinyl, and every $15 purchase gets a free Gramaphone tote bag. 11 AM-8:30 PM, 2843 N. Clark, 773-472-3683, gramaphonerecords.com.
Groovin’ High Record Store Day giveaways, plus discounts throughout the store. 7 AM-8 PM, 1047 W. Belmont, 773-476-6846.
Hyde Park Records Fifty percent off all vinyl all day long, plus appearances from some of Chicago's best soul singers, including Syl Johnson, Ruby Andrews, and Linda Clifford. DJs from WHPK will spin records, and at 4 PM there will be a Soul Train-style dance line in front of the shop. 11 AM-9 PM, 1377 E. 53rd, 773-288-6588, hydeparkrecords.net.
Laurie's Planet of Sound Free lunch from Chubby Wieners, giveaways of newly designed tote bags (some filled with goodies), and in-store performances by Mazes, Silver Abuse, Handcuffs, the Lemons, and John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, among others (beginning at 12:30 PM). 9 AM-10 PM, 4639 N. Lincoln, 773-271-3569, lauriesplanetofsound.com.
Logan Hardware The shop will offer free Passion House coffee, and Jivan Ivan (aka "the Record Butcher") will be there at opening time selling LPs, CDs, DVDs, and video tapes by the pound. 10 AM-9 PM, 2532 W. Fullerton, 773-235-5030, logan-hardware.com.
Numero Group Pop-up Shop This RSD-only shop will sell thousands of records, CDs, videos, cassettes, books, magazines, and "all other manners of miscellaneous debris" from the Numero offices. 9 AM-5 PM, Comfort Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee, numerogroup.wordpress.com.
Old School Records Twenty percent off 12-inch singles, plus in-store performances by the Thons and Ono as well as DJ sets by the Scientist, Prognosis, Joey Stax, and Mama G (beginning at 10 AM). 10 AM-7 PM 7446 W. Madison, Forest Park, 708-366-7588, theoldschoolrecords.com.
Permanent Records Free Dark Matter coffee all day, plus in-store performances by Plumb Bob (3 PM), Mines (4 PM), Quicksails (5 PM), and Unmanned Ship (6 PM). 7 AM-9 PM (or so), 1914 W. Chicago, 773-278-1744, permanentrecordschicago.com.
Reckless Records on Broadway In-store "convocation" by Papa Emeritus of Ghost B.C. in his civilian guise (1 PM), plus performances by Lord Mantis (3 PM) and Videobug (4 PM). 10 AM-10 PM, 3126 N. Broadway, 773-404-5080, reckless.com.
Reckless Records on Milwaukee In-store performances by Circuit des Yeux (3 PM), Dance Mania DJs Parris Mitchell and Jammin' Gerald (4 PM), and Kim and Kelly Deal with Morgan Nagler (followed by a signing session).10 AM-10 PM, 1532 N. Milwaukee, 773-235-3727, reckless.com.
Record Breakers Free hot dogs and soda, 50 percent off CDs, and in-store performances by Mike Golden and friends, the Wild Family, Valentiger, Brontosaurus, the New Diet, and Magicks (beginning at 10 AM). 8 AM-11 PM, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0125, reggieslive.com.
Saki In-store performances by Wedding Dress, Minor Characters, Landmarks, Meat Wave, Negative Scanner, and Their/They're/There (beginning at 1 PM). 9 AM-8 PM, 3716 W. Fullerton, 773-486-3997, sakistore.blogspot.com.
Shake Rattle & Read Twenty-five percent off new and used music, silk-screen poster giveaways. Noon-6 PM (or so), 4812 N. Broadway, 773-334-5311, facebook.com/pages/Shake-Rattle-Read/443326455216
Val's Halla Records Sales on everything, raffle for concert tickets, free coffee and doughnuts, and in-store performances by Will Phalen (11 AM), Weepin' Willows (1 PM), and the Real Jane Martin (3 PM). 9 AM-7 PM, 239 Harrison, Oak Park, 708-524-1004, valshallarecords.com.
Village Records Sales on all stock, including 25 percent off used vinyl. Noon-8 PM, 2010 W. Roscoe, 773-549-7868, facebook.com/pages/Village-Records-Chicago/313803071964981.