Ask Manny Kool about the hype and hope surrounding Saturday's Record Store Day — a glorious all-day bonanza for geeked-out vinyl and music fans — and the smooth-pated, normally chill dude in charge of Daddy Kool in St. Petersburg widens his eyes.
"Oh god," he says.
Kool has ordered more exclusive one-day-only merchandise than ever before for the seventh annual salute to indie record shops. "I've never spent so much money," he sighs, joking, "I've mortgaged the house." Mojo Books and Music in Tampa also has an unprecedented bounty of RSD-exclusive merch on the way, some 65 percent more than last year.
If that sounds risky, well, Manny's house should be just fine. Vinyl is hot, a once-dusty relic now very much in vogue with old and young. Plus, thanks to the increasing hullabaloo, indie shops routinely make more money on Record Store Day than they do the following month. It's not just a fun day for them; it's essential.
This year looks to be gangbusters as well, as such major acts as Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Green Day, David Bowie, the Pixies, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and many, many more will have RSD-exclusive releases, all in the name of helping indie stores hang in there against Target, iTunes, Amazon and others.
Like many hip, indie-spirited enterprises — think SXSW in Austin or the Sundance Film Fest in Park City — RSD has gone a bit corporate, as major labels have busted in on the feel-good act at a time when the whole music biz could use some love.
And yet, the big boys make sure to keep things hip and offbeat; last year, my haul included a Jack Daniels-infused 7-inch (or 45 RPM) of Eric Church single Jack Daniels and a limited-edition glow-in-the-dark 12-inch (a regular 33 RPM LP) of the Poltergeist soundtrack. Nerd alert!
Herewith, a veritable milk crate of RSD 2014 tips, goodies, locations and more. Here's hoping you score the vinyl of your dreams.
A few must-have RSD 2014 exclusives
There's no guarantee how many copies your preferred record shop will have of each release. Some might have 15; some might have bubkes. But therein lies the thrill of the hunt. Get up early and load up on coffee and cash. Then go after the goods, including the following gems. (To read the full release list, go to recordstoreday.com.)
Henry Mancini, The Pink Panther (Legacy)
This 50th anniversary 12-inch reissue of the soundtrack is printed on — yep, you guessed it — PINK VINYL. Must. Have.
Peanuts Portable Turntable
Crosley electronics has made an RSD-exclusive Peanuts-inspired portable record player. Orange and yellow, it has an old-school comic-strip version of Charlie Brown on the cover exclaiming, with rare Chuck positivity, "I'm real proud of my record collection." My heart is breaking.
Otis Redding/ Aretha Franklin, Respect (Warner Bros)
Fetch me the drool cup: This gold-colored 7-inch vinyl is another chapter in RSD's Side by Side series. Respect was originally written and recorded by Redding in 1965, so he gets Side A. Flip it over and the Queen of Soul, who made the song even more famous in '67, wails away.
Bruce Springsteen, American Beauty (Columbia)
Only 7,500 copies were printed of the Boss' 12-inch RSD contribution: four never-before-released cuts, three of which — American Beauty, Mary Mary and Hey Blue Eyes — were recorded during the sessions for his latest album, High Hopes. This one's going to go fast, boys and girls.
The Pixies, Indie Cindy (Pias America)
The alt-rock darlings (well, if you can call Black Francis a "darling") will release an RSD-only double-album vinyl version of their first new album since 1991's Trompe Le Monde. I know Daddy Kool has this one, 'cause I held the heavy-duty beauty, if only briefly, in my own two trembling hands.
Katy Perry, Prism (Capitol)
As proof that vinyl isn't just for geezers anymore, the current pop princess is getting in on the RSD fun, releasing a 12-inch vinyl picture disc of her latest album for fans. Only 5,000 copies are out there.
David Bowie, Rock 'n' Roll Suicide and 1984 (Rhino)
The Thin White Duke is spreading the love this year, releasing two different picture discs on both sides of the pond: Rock 'n' Roll Suicide (from 1972's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars) in the U.K.; 1984 (from 1974's Diamond Dogs) in North America.
Regina Spektor, You've Got Time (Nonesuch)
For fans of Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, quirkcentric piano-pounder Spektor offers a 45 version of the theme song, written specifically for the show. "The animals, the animals ..."
Jack White's record-breaking Record Day
Okay, let me see if I can get this straight: The White Stripes raconteur, who's also the owner of Nashville's Third Man Records (a shop, a studio, a stage), will attempt the World's Fastest Released Record. On Record Store Day, the throwback pale guitarslinger will play a gig at Third Man and record, direct-to-acetate, a live rendition of the title track from upcoming LP Lazaretto. The masters will then be sent to United Record Pressing, who will quickly print up 45s. The cover art will be pictures from the show that just went down. The finished records will then be sent back to Third Man for the waiting throngs. The coolest touch of all: No matter how many fans are waiting in line, United Record says they'll keep the presses humming so everyone gets a copy. Now who's up for a road trip?
Are you ready for a cassette revival, too?
As well as releasing 18-track compilation Demolicious on CD and double 12-inch vinyl, the pop-punkers in Green Day will offer it, albeit a tad ironically, on cassette. That dare-to-be-cheeky aesthetic is what RSD is all about, so don't expect a massive comeback in those flimsy plastic rectangles. Or, for that matter, Sony Walkmen replacing iPods. (Although to be fair, my 2007 Nissan Murano has a tape player, and this might be a fun time to see if it actually works.) EDM boy wonder Skrillex will release his album Recess on cassette, too. Other bands getting in on the clunky fun include Radkey, Jessica Lea Mayfield and Heatmiser. That reminds me: I have some mortifying high-school-era "I love you" mixtapes still floating around in the world. Hopefully, they've disintegrated by now.
Where's the Party?
Indie record shops all over Tampa Bay will be spinning and selling (and, at some magical places, serving up free Pabst Blue Ribbon!) Saturday. Here's where you can find the musical merriment and related geekery:
666 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 822-5665
As well as dozens of live shows up and down St. Pete's Central Avenue, Daddy Kool will have a sidewalk sale (super cheap vinyl, I load up every year) plus the lovable MC Infinite Skillz entertaining the masses from noon to 3 p.m. Opens at 8 a.m. Also, as part of the Daddy Kool Records Record Store Day celebration, they have teamed up with Times sister publication tbt* to host the Ultimate Local Music Showcase concert featuring Good Graeff, Fowler's Bluff, Mountain Holler, Archaic Interest and Sonic Graffiti at 7 p.m. at the Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 258-4829.
Bananas Music and Movies
2887 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 321-6814
The huge record store will dole out prizes, giveaways and live music by DJ Tyson Mink, Sam Esser, Lauris Vidal, the Anderson Brothers, Luxury Mane and Orange Gravity. Opens at 9 a.m.
Planet Retro Gallery
2414 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 218-7434
Local DJs including Earl Grae, Kalani and Pink will spin, local bands including Blast and the Detergents, Sonic Graffiti and Funeral Dazies will play, and local vinyl freaks will enjoy raffles, a sidewalk and, most importantly, free beer and free food. Opens at 9 a.m.
4906 N Florida Ave., Tampa; (813) 667-7089
Glug back some complimentary Pabst Blue Ribbon, peruse the racks of vinyl and enjoy live performances beginning at 1 p.m. by the Heavy Metals, Radarmen, King of Spain, Empire Cinema and Fistful. Open at 9 a.m.
Mojo Books and Music
2558 E Fowler Ave., Tampa; (813) 971-9717
Mojo is promising 65 percent more RSD-exclusive merch this year, plus goodie bags, free PBR, a vegan bake sale and live performances by DJ Suspiria, Empire Cinema, Heavy Metals, Jensen Surf Company, Coldskin, Blood Wave and more. Opens at 8 a.m.
Oldsmar Flea Market, 180 Race Track Road, Oldsmar; (727) 455-9923
Kingfish is promising more than 500 RSD-only releases plus an assortment of other deals.
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.