I have too many records. Most vinyl aficionados will probably tell you such a concept doesn’t exist, but when albums start stacking up precariously due to lack of shelf space, you’ve got a problem.
That doesn’t stop me, however, from picking up a copy of a favorite album if the price is right, which becomes a dangerous proposition when a particular record store’s selection is top notch. That’s why Record Store Day is a godsend for analog junkies: It’s a great excuse to shell out more dough for wax (including some limited edition special releases), all of which supports local businesses.
In anticipation of Record Store Day on Saturday, I hopped around to four Spokane record stores to check out their inventory and get the lowdown on their RSD festivities. And as tempted as I was to leave my credit card at home, I came away with a few great finds that will inevitably go right on top of my stack.
• Time Bomb Collectibles, 711 N. Monroe St. Although known for vintage toys, games, comics and pop culture oddities, Time Bomb boasts a surprisingly eclectic vinyl selection, and their punk, garage rock and metal sections are particularly impressive. There’s not much filler on display, either, so don’t expect boxes and boxes filled with dusty, dog-eared LPs – just the good stuff. Its Record Store Day specials include 20 percent off all vinyl, and 2 for 1 LPs and VHS tapes priced at $1.
What I bought: “Neurotica” by fuzz pop greats Redd Kross ($8) and the 2011 self-titled debut of English rockers Yuck ($12).
• 4,000 Holes, 1610 N. Monroe St. When I think of Spokane record stores, my mind jumps immediately to 4,000 Holes. It’s been around for years, the staff is reliable and fast when it comes to placing special orders, and its selection is arguably the best and most varied in town. Head over Saturday to hear live music from the Camaros, beginning at 3 p.m.
What I bought: Harry Nilsson’s bizarro “Son of Schmilsson” and a vinyl compilation of the first two albums by ’80s dream pop outfit the Rain Parade (both $9.98).
• The Bachelor Pad, 2810 N. Monroe St . Formerly Unified Groove Merchants, the Bachelor Pad has more than just records – it also specializes in vintage men’s fashion and audio equipment. But the vinyl collection is nothing to shrug at, and it’s heavy on funk, soul and jazz, which is perfect in keeping with its hepcat vibe. Their Record Store Day special: 30 percent off everything in the store.
What I bought: The Monkees’ oddball album “Headquarters” ($3) and a pristine copy of the Breeders’ 1990 debut “Pod” ($8).
• Recorded Memories, 1902 N. Hamilton St. The first things you notice walking into Recorded Memories are the cassette tapes – walls and walls of them. Their vinyl selection also takes up two crowded rooms, and if you’re looking for anything in the classic rock canon, odds are you’ll find it here. The store will also have a selection of Record Store Day special releases, some of which are listed below.
What I bought: Roxy Music’s pop masterpiece “Avalon” ($9.75), “Wild Planet” by the B-52’s ($4.50) and, because the country selection is so impressive, Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” ($2.95).
Record Store Day also marks the release of dozens of limited edition albums, some of which can only be purchased from your local vinyl peddlers. (Availability and quantity aren’t guaranteed at each store, so it’s really a first-dibs scenario.) There are more exclusive Record Store Day releases than I can conceivably list, but here are five that I’ll have my eyes peeled for.
• “The ’69 Singles” – Creedence Clearwater Revival: No American rock band has ever duplicated the brief hot streak that CCR experienced in the late ’60s. In 1969 alone, they released three classic albums (“Bayou Country,” “Green River” and “Willy and the Poor Boys”) and eight singles, including rock staples like “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son.” This limited edition 10-inch compiles those eight landmark songs, four of which cracked the Billboard Top 10.
• “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” – Public Enemy: Hip-hop historians frequently group the genre’s early stages into two different eras – before the release of “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” and after. Public Enemy’s seminal sophomore album, often hailed as the greatest rap record ever, is being re-released in a limited edition with a 3-D cover. The group’s 2012 album “Evil Empire of Everything” will also receive an exclusive double vinyl release.
• “The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden” – LCD Soundsystem: When songwriter-producer-deejay James Murphy decided to retire his acclaimed dance pop band LCD Soundsystem, he threw a raucous, star-studded four-hour concert as its grand finale in 2011. This five LP box set contains all 28 songs from that last performance, which was also documented in the concert film “Shut Up and Play the Hits.”
• “Pennyroyal Tea/I Hate Myself and Want to Die” – Nirvana: Kurt Cobain initially wanted Nirvana’s 1993 album “In Utero” to be titled after the song “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” which ended up being cut from the final tracklist. The song was meant to be the B-side to the album’s third single “Pennyroyal Tea,” but its release was nixed after Cobain’s suicide. Twenty years later, the 7-inch has been reissued with its original intended artwork.
• “Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions” – R.E.M.: Don’t hold your breath for any new tracks from R.E.M. (R.I.P.), but here’s a four-record set that compiles both appearances the band made on “MTV Unplugged” in 1991 and 2001. Included are stripped-down versions of hits like “Losing My Religion” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” as well as 11 tracks that were excised from the original television broadcasts.