Records, once thought to be part of a bygone era, have experienced a resurgence in the last few years. More and more music lovers, young and old alike, are rediscovering the beauty of the turntable and the LP.
Even I, a ’90s child and hoarder of various compact discs ranging from Celine Dion to Backstreet Boys to the latest from Taylor Swift, can attest to having a relatively recent love affair with the vinyl format. In fact, I claimed my dad’s old turntable as my own, and I have started collecting various albums to sit alongside it. Personally, I attribute my new preference for vinyl to the tactile nature of the product. It’s not something you can just press play on and then walk away. When you drop that needle onto the record and it starts to follow the ridges, turning it into music, it’s almost like time slows down. You want to be there to hear every second of each song, and as soon as the first side is done, you need to flip the album over so there’s no delay. It becomes an experience, not background music.
With the increase in people like me who have a newfound interest in vinyl, labels are now reissuing classic albums from bands like The Rolling Stones, and popular artists are jumping on the bandwagon with small-batch pressings of limited edition recordings. Many of them wait until Record Store Day (RSD) rolls around — taking place each year on the third Saturday of April since it was officially launched in 2008 — to make those special purchases available to the public. There’s an argument by independent labels saying that RSD is dying, but I think the occasion still shines a light on something that audiophiles embrace. It’s not about complaining that large record labels have stolen the thunder from these smaller businesses; rather, it’s about discovering hidden gems and growing the vinyl enthusiast population to retain it as a viable medium.
While it’s likely too late to have specific albums special ordered to be here in time for RSD, here’s a list of independent stores you should visit on April 18 and beyond to help support local and to find your next treasured album. Most of them have special celebrations planned, so be sure to pop into each of them by making it a full day of record shopping.
10442 82 Ave.
A strong supporter of the local music scene, they stock an extensive collection of vinyl that spans every genre. Orders for all RSD releases have been placed with suppliers from across the globe, but you’ll have to drop by the store to see which titles they managed to snag. Those who arrive early will be treated to free coffee and donuts. Since the space is small, shoppers should expect a bit of a lineup. However, it should be well worth the wait. An in-store appearance by San Francisco electric blues musician, Joe Louis Walker, will happen at 5 p.m.
10764 101 Street
Established in 1985, the shop focuses on rare and out-of-print records. They house thousands of new releases, reissues, imports, collectibles and used albums. Customer appreciation will be celebrated on RSD by providing munchies and sodas to shoppers as they peruse all the new vinyl albums stocked for the occasion.
7913 104 Street
This is the last remaining classical music store in Alberta, specializing in classical and jazz records. In addition, they sell high-end audio equipment and a large selection of headphones. For RSD, they will be having a sale — 25 per cent and 50 per cent off select classical, jazz and pop LPs, 25 per cent off select vinyl box sets, and 10 per cent off regularly priced records, CDs and all remaining stock on the music side of the store.
10443A 124 Street
The best selection of ethnic, funk, soul, rare groove and library sounds, as well as every other genre and many RSD special releases will be in stock. There will also be a big sale with giveaways, including a Rega RP1 Turntable ($500 value).
8126 Gateway Blvd
Looking for folk, blues, country, metal or punk albums? This should be your first stop.
10018 82 Avenue
Happy to buy, sell and trade, the shop offers the latest in music as well as collectibles and rarities. Search their selection on RSD when they offer shoppers 20 per cent off of used vinyl.
Edmonton Music Collectors Show (April 19)
Central Lions Senior Recreation Centre
11113 113 Street
Most of the retailers above, along with many of Western Canada’s other premium vendors will converge here for one day to buy, sell, trade and discover music and music-related memorabilia. It’s a chance to network with people who share the same interest, meet local artists, get appraisals on your collection and to wade through a vast selection of music. In addition, to help celebrate the first anniversary of 3dB Sound (located at 10129 150 Street), the first 250 people through the doors at the spring show will receive a reusable 3dB Sound tote bag, perfect for carrying LPs, and the first 500 entrants will receive a coupon for 20 per cent off equipment and turntables from the 3dB Sound store. Patrons of the show can also enter to win an Edwards Audio Apprentice Turntable ($750 value) from 3dB Sound during the event. “Collector’s Hour” admission from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. is $10, allowing eager customers and serious collectors first crack at the merchandise. After 11 a.m., until the show closes at 4 p.m., admission is only $5. The event is cash only with an ATM available on site.