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Vinyl enthusiasts will be filling their Easter baskets with more than 300 special releases from a wide variety of genres and artists this year from the seventh annual Record Store Day (RSD) happening this Saturday.
The now-international day began in the United States as a way to encourage music lovers to visit their local, independent stores. At the peak, there were approximately 13,000 record stores in the U.S., whereas there are now approximately 2,000.
Though it is a smaller town, San Luis Obispo is fortunate enough to have two independent record stores, Boo Boo Records and Cheap Thrills Records, that will be stocking many of those special releases.
One loyal customer who will be attending RSD at Boo Boo Records is KCPR (Cal Poly’s radio station) business director and mechanical engineering sophomore Roxanne Hoffman.
Hoffman goes to record stores at least once a month to find music for the station and herself. She has attended the last two RSDs, the first in Los Angeles and the second in San Luis Obispo.
“It is a day when record stores are celebrated for continuing to supply their respective communities with physical media, new or old, as well as music knowledge and recommendations,” Hoffman said. “Record Store Day is about supporting the underdogs in the digital age.”
RSD is a chance to not only support local stores, but also to connect with others who share a love of vinyl and learning about music.
“For myself, many DJs and other music lovers I know, finding music is this never-ending quest for knowledge,” Hoffman said. “There will always be some album, song or artist I want to discover, and I will do whatever it takes to get it. Record Store Day becomes another opportunity for me to find what I want or learn about something I will want later.”
Hoffman is also connected to RSD by a collaboration between KCPR and Boo Boo Records. The store will display a special KCPR section of music, which they added specifically for this event.
The day is a chance for music lovers to bond over tunes both new and old. One of the best parts of the day is hearing local bands play in the store as well as talking to the regulars., Boo Boo Records manager Malik Thorne’s said.
“It’s a great day to talk to a lot of customers and people you know in town,” Thorne said.
Boo Boo Records will open one hour earlier than usual, at 9 a.m., to accommodate the large crowd they anticipate as well as to make room for others who want to buy tickets to shows unrelated to RSD.
The rest of the day will be filled with performances from nine local bands up until 7 p.m., including The Monroe, Cuesta Ridge and indie-pop band The Honey Trees.
In front of the store, there will be free silk screening of a unique logo modeled after Sonic Youth’s album art for Goo, to commemorate this year’s RSD. Customers can bring a blank T-shirt or tote bag to get it printed on.
“I think it is one big communal celebration,” Thorne said. “If you are into records and collecting music, it is a way to walk into someplace and meet people who are very similar. It crosses genres.”
While many college students have grown up listening exclusively to digital music, there seems to always be a collection of people with an appreciation for music on vinyl.
“People still love to have records and trade records and the artwork,” Thorne said. “For some people, having a tactile item in front of them has more meaning. With a vinyl record, there is a whole sound spectrum.”
San Luis Obispo’s population seems to appreciate this sound enough to support more than one record store.
“I think we are really fortunate to live in a town that has two independent record stores,” Thorne said. “You have Target and Amazon who carry (a) small, limited stock. Most independent stores have a wider variety to choose from and the ability to support smaller bands.”
The other independent record store in San Luis Obispo is Cheap Thrills Records. Not only will the store carry exclusive RSD releases, but all the records upstairs will be on a sale price, as well as turntables and accessories.
“It is more of a ‘thank you’ for the customers,” Cheap Thrills Records general manager Richard Ferris said. “It has kind of been more of a small label appreciation day then a Record Store Day.”
Most of the RSD releases are re-releases of first albums, such as one that Outkast is putting out, live-recorded albums or never-before-heard songs that didn’t make it onto previous albums. Of course, there is no guarantee customers will be able to purchase all of the releases they hope to.
“We have, of course, as many Record Store Day releases as we actually get filled,” Ferris said. “What you order and what you get on RSD in the store is usually really different.”
It is recommended that customers look around for which stores are carrying which releases, in addition to searching online.