Music

Record Store Day

Let your freak flag fly

Attend

What: Record Store Day

When: 12 pm Sat., Apr. 22

Where: Independent record stores everywhere

Cost: Varies

Info: http://www.recordstoreday.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Most days of the year—almost all of them, in fact—Avalon Records leads a pretty unassuming life. It has been holding down the same corner of downtown Bellingham at Railroad Avenue and Magnolia Street for three decades, and owes a decent portion of its longevity to its nonmusical inventory. Odds are, if you have ever had use for a bong, a tapestry for your wall or bed, a poster of “The Great Wave of Kanagawa,” incense, cheeky stickers or a hacky sack, you have purchased one or more of those items at Avalon.

I have certainly bought some of those things there—I’ll let you try and figure which ones.

But all of that other inventory only exists to serve Avalon’s true identity, which is that of a record store. And that is what the shop has always been, long before vinyl’s current resurgence as the preferred way to purchase and listen to music, and back when selling records wouldn’t generate enough income to keep the lights on, much less the doors open. Through changes in the store’s ownership and changes in the music industry itself, Avalon’s commitment to vinyl has been steadfast.

That’s likely why the shop identifies so strongly with Record Store Day, the yearly celebration of all things vinyl and the independent outlets that traffic in it. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Record Store Day arose out of a need to stem the slow die-off of independent record stores by creating an event unique to the culture of such shops, one that would not be merely a symbolic gesture, but would instead generate revenue—preferably a whole lot of revenue. They designated a Saturday in April, got a bunch of independent record stores on board—and then they unveiled the celebration’s core concept, which, in retrospect, has proven to be a stroke of genius.

Instead of merely marking down existing stock and educating people as to the importance of independent record stores, Record Store Day (which is an organization unto itself as well as an event) had the bright idea to enlist artists and record labels to release exclusive content in limited numbers on that day only. Participating stores could order freely from the list of Record Store Day exclusives, but they would not know what and how many they would receive of anything until it showed up in their shops. For those looking to score specific albums, they only way to do so was to wait in line outside their neighborhood record store before opening and then pray like mad the records they desired would be found within.

That system remains in effect, but the scale has changed just a bit.

That first Record Store Day offered 10 special releases. A decade later, that number has swelled into the hundreds, which speaks to the wild, unqualified success of the event. Among the gems in this year’s roster are The Johnny Cash Children’s Album (back on vinyl after 40-plus years, quantity limited to 3,000), Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and “1999” (a 7” out of print for 32 years, quantity: 5,000), the Ramones ’76-’79 Singles Box (quantity: 3,500), live albums from David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, the Grateful Dead, and more—and that doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of the surface.

Because I’m not much of a record collector, for me, Record Store Day has been less about the exclusive releases—cool though they may be—and far more about the giant party that Avalon Records throws each year.

As previously mentioned, Avalon leads a decidedly low-key life. But underneath that mild-mannered exterior beats the heart of a shop that likes to cut loose, and Record Store Day is when they put their penchant for partying, along with their inventory, on full display.

This year’s celebration takes place Sat., April 22, and as they always do, Avalon is going all out. They’ve long since compiled and sent off their wish list to the Record Store Day powers that be, so all that remains is to prepare for the annual, all-day, all-ages, rain-or-shine, free sidewalk concert that happens in front of the shop each year. Per usual, the lineup is entirely local, and the music begins at noon (the shop itself opens at 9:30am) with Danny Vogel, and continues in one-hour intervals with the Second Hand Suits (who will play a set of their favorite garage rock songs, “including one from Bellingham’s loud and drunken past”), Brittany Collins and the Bad Vibes, Maneken Hand, Mo Stafa Super Group, and Marv. Anyone is welcome to wander by and check out a portion or stay for the whole thing.

Kitty-corner from Avalon, Everyday Music will also have their own selection of Record Store Day releases from which to choose, and they’ll fling the doors open at 9am, so strategize accordingly. Not to be outdone, one of the coolest indie record stores you’ll find anywhere, Anacortes’ the Business, will have its own allotment of Record Store Day loot to peddle.

Whether you choose to queue for rare and coveted albums to add to your collection, show up to watch a band or two, or take advantage of one of the other deals that are part and parcel of Record Store Day, know that you’re participating in what has become the world’s largest music event—a celebration so big that it causes Avalon to let their freak flag fly.

SVCR Emmy Lou Harris
More Music...
The Green Frog
Four walls and a grilled cheese

Like all of you, I have spent the past several weeks ingesting the bulk of my musical intake in the great outdoors. From parks to fields to beer gardens to amphitheaters to the streets themselves, no al fresco spot has been safe from the seasonal sonic onslaught.

I’m certainly not…

more »
Subdued Stringband Jamboree
Home sweet home

It is the nature of music festivals to remain in constant flux. Even when their names and locations stay the same over time, they tend to want to grow and change in other ways, from booking bigger and greater numbers of acts, to offering activities beyond music, to adding or subtracting…

more »
Summer Meltdown
Teenage dreams

When Summer Meltdown began in 2000, it was more like a backyard party with big ideas and a welcoming vibe than a traditional music festival. Even when it grew large enough to necessitate internal structure and outgrew its venue—a few times—it still retained its proudly homegrown roots and…

more »
Events
Today
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Northwest Washington Fair

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Bicycle Noir

7:30pm|Cafe Velo

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

12:00pm|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

6:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit River Shakespeare Festival Finale

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

The Cemetery Club

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Help!

7:30pm|MBT's Walton Theatre

An Iliad

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Seafarers Park

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Commercial Street Night Market

6:00pm|Commercial Street

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

USA Dance

7:00pm|The Majestic

Dancing on the Green

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Participle Poetry

7:00pm|Village Books

Burlington Summer Nights

7:00pm|Burlington Visitors Center Amphitheater

Art of Rappelling

7:30pm|Backcountry Essentials

The Heroes

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Tomorrow
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Northwest Washington Fair

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Bicycle Noir

7:30pm|Cafe Velo

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

12:00pm|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

6:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit River Shakespeare Festival Finale

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

An Iliad

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Cemetery Club

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Help!

7:30pm|MBT's Walton Theatre

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

The Heroes

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Cascade Days

9:00am|Concrete

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Rummage Sale

10:00am|Immanuel Lutheran Church

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Lummi Island

Boots & Brews

10:00am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Lummi Art & Small Business Fair

10:00am|Lummi Te'Ti'Sen Center

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Summer Garden Party

11:00am|Skagit Valley Food Co-op

Skagit Woodstock

11:30am|Edgewater Park

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Farm to Glass Distillery Tours

12:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Kulshan Chorus Variety Show

4:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Cooked

5:00pm|North Fork Library

Summer of Love

5:00pm|Heart of Anacortes

Joke-Telling Contest

7:00pm|Point Roberts Community Center

Salish Stories

7:00pm|Chair 9

Comedy and country in Lynden

7:30pm

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

MBT Male Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Sunday
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Bicycle Noir

7:30pm|Cafe Velo

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

12:00pm|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

6:00pm|Vanier Park

Help!

7:30pm|MBT's Walton Theatre

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Cascade Days

9:00am|Concrete

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Farm to Glass Distillery Tours

12:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Doggie Dash

10:00am|Lake Padden Park

Dog Days of Summer

10:00am|Lake Padden Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Trivia Night

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Way North Comedy Showcase #6

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

see our complete calendar »

MBT Help Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Village Books MBT Male Bellingham Farmer’s Market