The Vinyl Frontier: Record Store Day 2013

Off the record, this is about to be your new favorite holiday.

Electric Fetus customer David Holmes browses the aisles of records on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at their Minneapolis location. Electric Fetus, along with other record stores in the Twin Cities, will be participating in Record Store Day 2013 on Saturday, April 20th.

Bridget Bennett

Electric Fetus customer David Holmes browses the aisles of records on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at their Minneapolis location. Electric Fetus, along with other record stores in the Twin Cities, will be participating in Record Store Day 2013 on Saturday, April 20th.

Sarah Harper

On the third Saturday of every April, flower children and fogies alike gather on sunny street corners and in dank record pits the world over to flip records in honor of a holiday that grows wilder and bigger every year.

The first Record Store Day was back in 2007 — but doesn’t it feel like it’s been spinning out longer than that? After all, it’s hard to imagine spring’s advent without a spree of sweet sales, cozy in-stores, bodacious block parties and hotly anticipated releases that will only see the light of our money in the lil’ record-stores-that-can — take that, Best Buy.

Here’s a starter kit to get you hooked on vinyl, with Record Store Day 2013 as your gateway. Needles at the ready.

 

The big day

Start soaking up the live tunes, free coffee and steep discounts as early as 9 a.m. at most of these places. Keep it going ’til the last record scratch.

Fifth Element (2411 S. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis): Live deejays and Minnesota-flavored apparel will rule the Rhymesayers roost all day.

Yeti Records (3200 S. Chicago Ave., Minneapolis): Like a migratory bird, if birds drove mobile homes and sold records, Yeti is making its seasonal debut Saturday in the Modern Times Cafe parking lot.

Electric Fetus (2000 S. Fourth Ave., Minneapolis): The superstore is promising performances by Greg Grease, Frankie Lee, 4onthefloor, Dave King Trucking Company and Black Angels.

Treehouse Records (2557 S. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis): Treehouse will release two LPs on its in-house label Nero’s Neptune.

Hymie’s Vintage Records (3820 E. Lake St., Minneapolis): The block party will feature jam sessions from Big Quarters, Buffalo Moon, Wizards Are Real, the Ericksons, Prissy Clerks and many more.

Extreme Noise Records (407 W. Lake St.): Salt Lick, Berate and Scaphe will play at our favorite volunteer-run punk co-op at 2 p.m.

Eclipse Records (381 N. Wabasha St., St. Paul): Locally famed deejays from a few different bands, record labels and radio stations will spin every hour.

 

The new-to-you turntable

Shelling out the cash for a turntable is going to be the most painful part of this whole procedure. Record players are expensive if you don’t know where to look, and if you do know where to look, they’re still pretty expensive.

We can’t help but feel the pull of Craigslist, but we’ll give Jerry Raskin’s Needle Doctor (6006 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park) a shout-out for the bounty of choices on its online store, with turntables ranging from $70 to $7,000.

Things to consider: Some turntables have the power to transfer records to MP3s, but you don’t need that unless you have a mighty collection you’re looking to shrink onto an iPod. Other turntables can store multiple records and automatically flip them, which is awesome and insane — you absolutely do need that.

 

The starter collection

We called on Geoffrey Sirc for some help on this. He’s a University of Minnesota English professor who teaches classes where you listen to hip-hop and Bob Dylan and read Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity.” Unsurprisingly, he’s got some good ideas on what should form the start (and really the heart) of your record collection.

“If you don’t have a good Marvin Gaye album, you’re crazy,” he said. “If you don’t have a couple good Led Zeppelin albums, you’re nuts. Like, get ‘Physical Graffiti.’ Just start with that.”

Other tips from Sirc: Build yourself a Bob Dylan foundation with “Blonde on Blonde” and “John Wesley Harding.” Take a crack at country with George Jones and Hank Williams. Skip the Stones and flock straight to the Byrds. For the blues, start with “King of the Delta Blues Singers” by Robert Johnson. Don’t forget to buy a Joni Mitchell record.

Something we didn’t expect? Opera.

“Just go buy a copy of some production of ‘La Traviata,’” Sirc said. “You might not like it right away, but I guarantee you, in three years, that’s going to be one of your most-played records.”

 

The payoff

Sure, making every day Record Store Day will mean lighter wallets and heavier moving vans, but we guarantee you that becoming a vinyl guy/gal will change the way you listen to your favorite tuneskis. Album art, treats found in the sleeve, the exercise you get while standing up to flip the record — those are just some of the joys you’re in for. Not to mention that hunting for them will give you something to do on all these cloudy Saturdays we’ve been having lately. And of course, you’ll look cool. Go forth and enjoy, Gophs.