Record Store Day: Get the goods

I would have wanted to cheer when I first heard Jack Black’s character from High Fidelity say, “Do we look like a store that sells ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You?’ Go to the mall!,” except for the fact that the song can bring a tear to my eye on most days. Independent Record Stores have been portrayed as snobbish, cold places for mass society, and refuge from top forty riff-raff for the rest of us so called music lovers. Although I would argue that this harsh depiction doesn’t actually hold up in every independent record store, especially in Bellingham where everything is a little more mellow, I still value the thought that the person behind the counter actually cares about what record I’m taking home.


Though we’ve been told that the record industry has died several deaths in recent years due to modern technologies, hometown record shops remain, vinyl is still pressed, and customer service music savants file new releases accordingly for our anticipatory fingers to flip through on our way home from work. This culture has been rewarded with its very own international holiday: Record Store Day. This year it will be happening on April 20 with participating shops in Bellingham at Avalon and Everyday Music, conveniently located across from each other on the corner of Railroad and Magnolia.


Record Store Day has been in effect for the past six years in an attempt to revive the independent record shops of the world and celebrate a product that hasn’t been stripped of its artistic value. Independent record stores are given privileged access to special issues of promotional items (posters, stickers, magazines), vinyl, CDs, and even tapes, often with more festivities including giveaways and live music. Both Everyday Music and Avalon are slated for inclusion and there’s reason to believe that we’ve got the sweeter deal in comparison to larger markets, like Seattle and Vancouver.


According to Spencer Willows at Avalon, “We get as good of a fill as they [Seattle/Vancouver] do, with less competition for the records.” This sentiment isn’t to be taken lightly, seeing that many folks from north and south have caught on to this phenomenon and have been coming to Bellingham on Record Store Day in past years to get their fill of limited releases. There is no shortage of reasons to show up early for the possibility of getting your hands on what’s expected in the shops. With lines around the block in past years, show up early if you have specifics on your list.


Willows gave us the scoop on some of the most unique and sought after records to expect on Record Store Day. Among them was a vinyl reissue of The Band’s The Last Waltz, previously unreleased David Bowie, and Built to Spill’s live double album, which will have the most copies coming into stock at Avalon.


First time re-releases to vinyl seem to be the most prized finds for those already planning to hit up record store day. The Flaming Lip’s Zaireeka will be released for the first time ever on vinyl in a four-disc box set. This 1997 release is heralded for it’s experimental intricacies, with the intent to have all four discs played simultaneously for a juxtaposed sound. Also on Avalon’s list is El Michels Affair’s 2009 Enter the 37th Chamber, featuring instrumental live versions of Wu Tang Clan songs.


In addition to what’s happening in both record stores, Avalon will be hosting some of Bellingham’s finest local talent to celebrate from 1pm-4pm featuring Ben VonWildenhaus, The Shadies, WATERBEAR, and Girl Guts closing out the afternoon.


Record Store Day events will be happening on April 20 with Everyday Music opening their doors at 9am and Avalon at 9:30am. Both will be giving away promotional items, but it’s best to get there early as these, as well as many of the releases, can run out early. For a full list of Record Store Day releases and locations check out: