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Stores Tue Apr 24 2012

Recap: Record Store Day 2012

Record Store Day — come get your bargains (photo by Kelly Loris)

A few Transmission staff members headed out into the fray over the weekend to check out the scene at record stores around town. With some successes (and failures) under our belts once again this year, here's our recap of Record Store Day 2012 in Chicago.


The back-to-back CHIRP/Record Store Day weekends in April have to be the hardest time of the year for Chicagoland record collectors. Not only do they drain bank accounts, but the latter weekend's (sometimes not-so) limited editions bring on exaggerated frustrations. However, that doesn't stop many of us from standing in line for hours or ditching good friends to do so. With that being said, my Record Store Day began the same way it has the last couple years — Permanent at midnight. A line that stretched onto Winchester waited patiently as passersby asked, "What's this line for?" then looked on incredulously when someone answered.

Considering the many people who'd amassed, the line inside Permanent moved swiftly and even allowed a little time to browse stock. (I'd love to know how much existing stock is purchased on Record Store Day.) They were clearly expecting a busy evening since three employees were gathering special release requests, two were ringing up hauls and one was bagging those hauls with freebies. I did worry a little bit about what'd be available by the time I reached the desk, but was pleasantly surprised that only one item I expected to purchase had sold out. After some sleep, it was back to the grind at Dusty Groove in the morning. By the time I arrived, it was comfortably full, but there was no line. Of course, by then, the special release crates had been picked over pretty well and anything that was truly limited was gone. Like many stores, Dusty Groove made note that patrons would be limited to one of each item, which goes to show that even those who are in business to sell are not fans of the eBay flipping that's become a stain on Record Store Day. There's still some mighty fine digging to be done there, though.


En route to the next stop, my companion for the day ducked into Reckless on Madison for one of her most anticipated special releases and walked out ecstatic that they had it and no other store (especially the one she waited nearly two hours to enter) did. At Hyde Park Records, WHPK DJs spun some serious jams. While browsing, a gentleman went on a rant about how he'd've bought the entire soul section if he'd won the March 30th Mega Millions jackpot. I bid him good luck on the next drawing and continued to find some deals, as always. A couple years ago, Hyde Park Records didn't receive any Record Store Day special releases. This year, they had an entire rack full of them. I'd say that's progress.
-James Ziegenfus

While I have taken part in a few Record Store Days past, this year was the first where I was determined to get my hands on a few of the exclusive RSD releases. Before, I was more interested in the in-store performances, sales, and just having an all-around good time. This year there were two exclusives I had to have: a Fun. 10" gear-shaped record and a 7" of the band Jukebox the Ghost playing a couple of cover songs.

The two nearest record stores by my apartment are Dave's Records and Reckless Records, but I knew Reckless would be more crowded and Dave's had free Molly's Cupcakes, so I ended up at Dave's. Friday night I checked the list of exclusives he'd gotten and he had both records I was looking for plus a few others I'd be interested in buying, including the Pretty in Pink soundtrack pressed on pink vinyl, the Empire Records soundtrack on orange vinyl, a Lana del Rey 7" (don't judge) and a Michael Buble 7" my kid sister was interested in (she also requests that you do not judge).

We arrived at Dave's about half an hour before opening, and the line was already around the block. Once doors opened, everything was run pretty smoothly — all RSD releases were behind the counter and you could only request one copy of each item. Not bad. It took about an hour for us to get in the door, and once inside I saw the Jukebox the Ghost record and Pretty in Pink soundtrack sell out with just a couple people still in front of me in line. Once I finally got to the front, I was told they were sold out of everything I was looking for except the Lana del Rey 7" and unsurprisingly, the Buble 7". We picked up both and ran over to Reckless.


Unfortunately, Reckless was also sold out of everything, but the nice employee behind the counter informed me that their downtown location still had one copy of the Fun. 7" and three copies of Pretty in Pink. We immediately hopped in the car and drove over there, but sadly the Fun. record was purchased sometime in those 10 minutes it took to get there. I did land a copy of Pretty in Pink, so the trip was worth it. While we were down there, we decided to check out Record Breakers, but they were pretty picked over as well.

All in all, my Record Store Day experience this year wasn't the best, and next year I'll definitely take a more relaxed approach like years past and also check out some of the in-stores. I did learn that the downtown Reckless location typically takes a lot longer to sell out of their RSD exclusives, in case I ever want to take part in this madness again.
-Stephanie Griffin

My Record Store Day started off with an early wake-up call. I'd had a plan to hit up a few stores early in the morning, but there wasn't much wiggle room in there to dilly dally. I'd unfortunately needed to double-book RSD as the same day I was leading an epic walking tour of the Uptown neighborhood with friends (long story, but we do it monthly and this was the only day in April everyone could meet up). By the time we got down to Dusty Groove, one of my favorite stores, and usually a relaxed spot for Record Store Day shopping, they'd been open maybe 45 minutes, but the line was a dozen deep just to get inside the door. We only had a few hours to spend doing all of our RSD shopping, so, with heavy hearts, we turned away and decided to see how a shop closer to Uptown, or at least on our way, was faring. We sped north, up Ashland to Lincoln, and started to slow as we came up on Laurie's Planet of Sound. I could see the Chubby Wieners hot dog truck from a block away, but didn't see the people until we were right in front of the store. At 9:30am, the line at Laurie's stretched down the block, and far past the "L" tracks overhead, at least 50 people deep, likely more. There was no way we were even getting halfway to the door in the small amount of time we had left that morning. RSD was turning out to be a total and utter failure. Or was it?

Shake, Rattle and Read on RSD (Photo by Kelly Loris)

I'd factored in some shopping time to our Uptown excursion, at none other than Shake, Rattle, and Read a music and book shop beside the Uptown Theater. It's historic (read our interview with the owner in Gapers Block: Book Club) and a great place to shop for used and new records, as my friends all found out. I scored a couple of great Numero Group albums, and my friends also snagged some used soundtracks on LP (at 25% off for RSD) and a Commander Cody album for $.75. That, and an Andy Capp book from the 1960s completed my purchases for the day. On our way out, we started chatting with a gentleman outside having a smoke. Turned out it was the owner, Ric Addy, who was more than happy to chat with us and talk about the building's false front, its history as a part of the structure formerly known as the Green Mill Gardens (a beer garden that took up almost half the block!), and various parts of the architecture that we would have missed otherwise. It was great talking with a really enthusiastic shop owner on RSD, and with a lack of lines, shopping at Shake, Rattle, and Read could not have been more comfortable and pleasant.

Shake, Rattle and Read with owner Ric Addy (left). No line, just hanging out. (Photo by Kelly Loris)

On Monday, I headed out to the Reckless Records location in the Loop after work and ended up easily obtaining the two 7" I'd been interested in finding on Saturday. I'd been thinking of buying the 7" by Thrill Jockey artists The Black Twig Pickers (from my home state of Virginia) as well as the Carolina Chocolate Drops/RUN DMC split 7". I even surprised one of the staff members with that request, and he was very jealous when another staff member found one copy left... and then a second. Everybody won! They still have crates of RSD specials behind the counter, and I even found some great used CDs as well, including the Tortoise and Bonnie "Prince" Billy album the shopkeep said they'd been playing on LP earlier that day.

I've never been into RSD if it meant waiting in line forever. I wanted to shop and crate dive and have a good time like any other trip to a favorite record shop. The hours I spent in the sun walking around Uptown and talking to folks about the history of the neighborhood was great, and I even got the added bonus of scoring some albums I'm going to love listening to, without all the hassle. Next year, I'll follow my normal routine and head out in the early afternoon to my favorite shops, to say hi, browse, and shop with ease. There's no need to lose your head on Record Store Day — after all, it's supposed to be a holiday for music lovers. Let's all remember to celebrate a bit (and maybe go record shopping on more than just once a year).
-Anne Holub

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JOE / April 25, 2012 2:47 AM

Frustration, stress, lack of sleep, sold out, all gone, none left...etc. It really should be re-named 'Record Stress Day' Many of us poor souls had no choice but to go crawling to the profiteers on Ebay and pay 5 times what they were originally sold for. There's gotta be a better way.

paul / April 25, 2012 9:28 AM

The best way to keep from stressing out over not getting the super-limited stuff is to assess your collection, and realize there are already nice albums that you love even more than a Lana Del Rey 7" or a Jack White fluid-filled single. Then, once you realize you don't need these things to be happy, you can enjoy the amazing communities that emerge for this special day and realize they are the difference between ebay shopping and a brick-and-mortar store.

And, to anyone upset over the early birds flipping records on ebay, realize that these people are the best kind of record nerd. They are record nerds that now have an extra couple hundred bucks in their pockets that just wanted the cash they made off flipping the Flaming Lips LP to spend on records that stores sell year-round!

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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