Ah, springtime, the long-awaited season of blooming flowers, chirping birds, and comfortably waiting in outdoor lines. This weekend, you’ll get a chance to do just that: Saturday is Record Store Day, and vinyl peddlers around the city will open their doors early and stock a selection of special pressings, re-releases, and rarities.
Nine years in, RSD has become more of a Black Friday affair than a Christmas morning for analog music fans. Participants in years past may balk to see artists like Justin Bieber, Disturbed, and (what year is it?) the All-American Rejects on the 2016 roster. But while RSD may have lost the bulk of its cred, there are still some gems worth venturing out for among the 350-title list.
There are beautiful picture discs commemorating the late, great David Bowie, not to mention fresh wax from a number of Chicago artists. Local guitar prodigy Ryley Walker and jazz percussionist Charles Rumback teamed up for the dreamy new Cannots pressed in fetching electric blue. Sun Ra’s Spaceways sees its first-ever vinyl release this weekend, and Muddy Waters’ legendary Hoochie Coochie Man gets a gatefold 2LP reissue.
Limited editions aren’t your speed? Many record stores are putting out their back catalogs at massively reduced prices. They’re also giving away merch, hosting live bands, and serving plenty of free snacks. It’s a lot to keep track of, so we’ve assembled a handy guide below:
Beverly Records’ Record Fair II: the B-Side
Morgan Park music depot Beverly Records has a lot of vinyl. So much that they’re annexing the bar next door to expand their show floor. Their takeover, termed Record Fair II: the B-Side (Record Fair I was back in November), will feature RSD special releases, 20 percent off all used vinyl, plus bargain bins full of $2 LPs and 45s for 25 cents. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
Bric A Brac
Chicago DIY installations KO and Ovef Ow bring some local texture to Logan Square’s Bric A Brac Records, and there will be ticket and T-shirt giveaways centered around the upcoming punk-horror flick Green Room. Pizza from Dimo’s and doughnuts from the Doughnut Vault compliment a huge selection of limited releases. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
In mock celebration of the presidential race, Bucket O’Blood (also in Logan Square) invites visitors to “cast their vote” with red or blue Jell-O shots. There will also be giveaways from their neighbors, Sideshow Gallery and The Beer Temple. Doors open at 10:00 a.m.
Bring the fam along for an afternoon of crate-digging. Dusty Groove in Wicker Park will feature a wheel of fortune, a live magic show, and a box of toys to distract bored kids. Duck upstairs to Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery at 3:00 for a book release party: Bob Gluck’s chronicle of the Miles Davis Lost Quintet. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
Empty Bottle Hand Over Fist Showcase
Empty Bottle hosts a collaboration between Reckless Records and Revolution Brewing: Hand Over Fist, a light, malty lager named for the symbols of Reckless (hand) and Revolution (fist). The party beings with a panel on women in music moderated by Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins-Olewnik, followed by sets from several TBA local bands. Panel starts at 12:00 p.m.
FeelTrip Pop-Up at the Boiler Room
Grab a slice of Logan Square’s favorite pizza and shop to tunes from Chicago hard-rockers Model Stranger and A Friend Called Fire. Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsors this “Friends of Ribbon” showcase, with beer-themed raffles all day. Any purchase nets you a free can of PBR and, really, can you ask for anything more? Doors open at 12:00 p.m.
East Village’s Permanent Records also has a well-rounded lineup: beers from Half Acre, pizza from Roots (you get a 20 percent discount with your Permanent Records receipt), and coffee from Dark Matter. Make an afternoon of it with live music from outstanding locals like Ryley Walker (finger-style folk whiz) and Hydrofoil (Eno-esque ambient compositions), starting at 5:00. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
Record Breakers (Reggies)
Stop in at Record Breakers in the South Loop to refuel and sample their extensive record selection. Free hot dogs and soft drinks for everyone, plus a selection of beers from hosts Great Lakes Brewing and New Belgium. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
In a typically grand show of power, Reckless Records has a day of events planned for its Milwaukee and Broadway stores. At the Milwaukee flagship, you can catch indie-pop stars Wild Belle at 2:00 and local noisemakers Good Willsmith at 4:00. On Broadway, Savage Beliefs, the infamous punk stalwarts, close out the festivities at 4:00. Across the street at Dryhop Brewers, Reckless teams up with CIMMfest for a meet-and-greet with Butch Vig and Steve Marker from Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. The documentary about Smart Studios, which premiered Wednesday as part of CIMMfest, is the official film of Record Store Day 2016. Doors open at 10:00 a.m.
After a long day of in-store shows and Pitchfork ticket raffles, the crew at Saki will repair to the Burlington at 10:00 for a night of staff DJ sets. Bring your RSD receipt from Saki for a free PBR at the bar. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.
The first 100 people in the door at Shuga Records in Wicker Park get a free pint glass and drink ticket courtesy of Bangers & Lace, good for any Dogfish Head beer. Special “Cinnamon Shuga” doughnuts and live shows from YAWN (and other freaky local acts) make Shuga a can’t–miss stop. Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
Soul Reunion at Hyde Park Records
Hyde Park Records toasts six years on the South Side with a party DJed by an entourage of WHPK’s best. There will be snacks, surprises, and music giveaways at this special soul celebration. Doors open at 12:00 p.m.
And Everywhere Else
And that, literally, isn’t the half of it. With more than 40 participating Chicago businesses, you’re bound to find a sale or show near you (you can map them out here). Raffe’s Record Riot offers an additional free record or CD with every purchase. Everything must go at Shake, Rattle & Read (which, tragically, is closing in May)– 25 percent off new LPs and 50 percent off everything else. In Pilsen, 606 Records and Pinwheel Records both feature live bands, new titles and free swag. Finally, if you’re still on your feet at 10:00 p.m., Ryley Walker and Charles Rumback close out RSD 2016 at the newly re-opened Hungry Brain on Belmont.