Record Store Day returns for its ninth iteration on Saturday, and though the Reader joked that this ersatz holiday had jumped the shark four years ago, it continues to thrive. I’m pretty ambivalent about RSD by now—it sometimes feels like the only thing separating people who queue up for picture discs of Justin Bieber’s Purpose or Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence” and people who camp out in front of Best Buy for Black Friday deals on HDTVs is the time of year. Then again, RSD has had a Black Friday version since 2011.
Many RSD early birds have had the displeasure of waiting in line behind an eBay reseller who buys up a store’s entire stock of a special release—it’s the kind of thing that can put a person off records, record stores, and even days. But the faithful keep coming back. This year’s list of RSD releases is far from the best I’ve seen, but a handful of items have caught my eye—and among them are a few available for the first time, including previously unissued 1984 demos by grunge progenitors Green River and a seven-inch of unreleased songs, “Sweet Maria” b/w “Missouri Waltz (Missouri State Song),” by transcendentally inept cult band the Shaggs. Sun Ra‘s Spaceways (a compilation of live recordings from 1966 and ’68) and Kevin Gates‘s recent Islah will be available for the first time on vinyl.
Most special releases are pressed in runs of 1,000 or more; anything made in smaller quantities is generally called a “regional release.” One of the most enticing this year is native to Chicago: Cannots, a collaboration between jazz drummer Charles Rumback and guitar wunderkind Ryley Walker. The release I’m personally most excited about is regional too: Numero Group’s cassette compilation of the complete recordings by early-90s Chicago rap group Stony Island. It’s only available at the label’s pop-up store at Comfort Station, where the surviving members of Stony Island will reunite for a performance at 2 PM.
Record Store Day’s multitude of in-store performances give shoppers a good excuse to keep exploring even after the early-bird deals evaporate. Chicago has more shops now than last year, and Pilsen is becoming a new hotspot for vinyl—Pinwheel Records and 606 Records have opened since 2015’s RSD, and an online vintage and vinyl shop called Shady Rest is preparing to move into a storefront on 18th Street. To help you manage your options, the Reader has assembled an interactive map where each store’s clickable “pin” includes details about in-stores, discounts, and other specials; because this information remains in flux, we’ll continue updating it through Friday evening.
Your menu for this year’s Record Store Day
Shops participating in Record Store Day usually stock a selection of special RSD releases, but in most cases retailers don’t know till the last minute what they’ll get. Consequently these listings don’t mention RSD inventory—they’re about special events, in-store performances, discounts, promotions, giveaways, and the like. Late changes are always possible, so it’s a good idea to check with the store if you can.
We’ve omitted a few Chicago shops—Out of the Past Records, Let’s Boogie Records & Tapes, and both locations of the Exchange—because they aren’t doing anything for Record Store Day.
Boiler Room Record Store Day Brunch PBR presents a pop-up record store at this Logan Square pizza bar, with acoustic performances by Molehill, Model Stranger, and A Friend Called Fire. Alex White spins, and prizes will be raffled off. Noon-4 PM, 2210 N. California, 773-276-5625, boilerroomlogansquare.com.
Bric-a-Brac Records Free coffee from Wormhole, free doughnuts from Doughnut Vault, and free pizza from Dimo’s, plus live performances throughout the day from Thing, Bleach Party, Bruised, KO, and more. 8 AM-9 PM, 3156 W. Diversey, 773-654-3915, facebook.com/bricabracrecords.
Dave’s Records The shop will give away Molly’s Cupcakes, candy, posters, and other gifts. Receipts from Record Store Day can be used as coupons for 20 percent off your next purchase. 10 AM-8 PM, 2604 N. Clark, 773-929-6325, davesrecordschicago.com.
Dusty Groove Free snacks and gifts all day, Dusty Groove’s traditional RSD magic show in the afternoon, and a “wheel of fortune” you can spin with each purchase. 8 AM-9 PM, 1120 N. Ashland, 773-342-5800, dustygroove.com.
FeelTrip Pop-Up Shop Local label FeelTrip brings a pop-up record shop to burger bar Parts and Labor; FeelTrip artists will DJ and raffle off prizes. Noon-4 PM, 2700 N. Milwaukee, 773-360-7840, http://feeltrip.co.
Fletcher’s 1 Stop Records Selected stock on sale beginning at noon; possible in-store performance by the Chicago Blues All-Stars at 2 PM. 10 AM-7:30 PM, 457 E. 75th, 773-874-4484.
Groovin’ High Hundreds of RSD exclusives on sale. 7 AM-8 PM, 1047 W. Belmont, 773-476-6846.
Kstarke Records Free food and drink plus in-store sets throughout the day from rappers and DJs, including Tone B. Nimble, Tim Zawada, and MzSaigon. 10 AM-9 PM, 1109 N. Western, 773-772-4880, facebook.com/kstarke.records.chicago.
Logan Hardware No RSD releases, but thousands of LPs, 45s, and cassettes will be discounted. The store’s basement will be open for browsing, and work by Chicago counterculture artist George Hanson will be on display and for sale. Noon-9 PM, 2532 W. Fullerton, 773-235-5030, logan-hardware.com.
Numero Group Pop-Up Shop For the fourth year in a row, the archival label brings its pop-up shop to Comfort Station, with discounted Numero items, dealers selling their own stock, and an exclusive cassette compiling every song recorded by Chicago underground hip-hop pioneers Stony Island. Surviving members of the group play a reunion set at 2 PM. 10 AM-5 PM, Comfort Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee, numerogroup.wordpress.com.
Permanent Records Free Dark Matter coffee at 8 AM, free snacks from Roots Handmade Pizza at 4 PM, and free beer from Half Acre all day. In-store performances beginning at 5 PM by Jim Becker, Hydrofoil (aka Ryan Weinstein, Bobby Burg, and Doug McCombs), and Ryley Walker. 8 AM-9 PM (or so), 1914 W. Chicago, 773-278-1744, permanentrecordschicago.com.
Pinwheel Records In-store performances beginning at 2 PM by Melkbelly, Oshwa, Be Water, Campdogzz, Jude Shuma, Brontosaurus, Vagabond Maurice, Milked, Jesse W. Johnson & Coyote Scream, and Bill MacKay. 10 AM-10 PM, 1722 W 18th St., 312-888-9629, pinwheelrecords.com.
Raffe’s Record Riot Free record or CD with every purchase; free refreshments. In-store performances beginning at 3 PM, including Sun God Ra, Red Plastic Buddha, Terrible News, and the Blue Blobs. 10 AM-8 PM, 4350 N. Cicero, 773-725-1327, facebook.com/raffesrecordriot.
Reckless Records on Broadway In-store performances by Mako Sica (2 PM), the New Candy Store Prophets playing the Monkees’ Headquarters (3 PM), and Savage Beliefs (4 PM). 10 AM-10 PM, 3126 N. Broadway, 773-404-5080, reckless.com.
Record Breakers Giveaways including free soda and hot dogs, plus beer specials from Great Lakes and New Belgium with purchase. In-store performances by Damien Wilburn (10 AM), Flake Michigan (10:30 AM), Daymaker (11 AM), Magicks (11:45 AM), Budway Ferris & the Mutual Magic (12:30 PM), Mitch Mead (1:15 PM), Soft Candy (2 PM), Sheep Numbers (2:45 PM), So Pretty (3:30 PM), and Ego (4:15 PM). 8 AM-midnight, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0125, reggieslive.com.
Saki Live sets at the top of every hour, beginning at 1 PM with Courtesy and continuing till 8 PM with Yeesh, Forfeit, Hanami Quartet, Recreational Drugs, Great Deceivers, and Pussy Foot. Throughout the day, Wyler Road, Virgin Hotels, and Carrot Top staff will DJ. 9 AM-8 PM, 3716 W. Fullerton, 773-486-3997, sakistore.net.
Shake Rattle & Read This venerable Uptown shop closes May 21, and though is won’t carry any RSD special releases, some new items will be in stock—including a framed print from the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows. Everything is on sale: new LPs are 25 percent off, and everything else is 50 percent off. Noon-6 PM 4812 N. Broadway, 773-334-5311, facebook.com/pages/Shake-Rattle-Read/443326455216.
Shuga Records Free doughnuts and coffee, Dogfish Head giveaways, and free gift bags; the first 100 people get a free pint glass, plus a ticket good for a drink at Bangers & Lace. In-store performances starting at noon by Yawn, Hello Ocho, Sexy Fights, and Olivia Schroeder; Frankie Vega spins. 8 AM-10 PM, 1272 N. Milwaukee, 773-278-4085, shugarecords.com.
Val’s Halla Records Sale prices on all inventory, free coffee and doughnuts for early birds, and concert ticket giveaways. Live music at top of every hour beginning at 10 AM; performances by Robinlee Garber, the Hurtin Kind, the New Zeitgeist, Nancy Connelly, TT & Friends, Val & the Raised Right Men, and the Cubes. 9 AM-7 PM, 239 Harrison, Oak Park, 708-524-1004, valshallarecords.com.