Attention vinyl lovers! It's that time again. April 19 marks the seventh annual Record Store Day -- the once yearly celebration of that most revered musical medium.
Brick and mortar record stores all over the Bay Area are participating in the event, stocking up on special releases from artists -- including reissues, new releases, interesting collaborations and albums recorded specifically to mark the occasion.
If you live on the mid-Peninsula, there is only one store officially participating in the event the -- Rasputin Music in Mountain View, at 1939 W El Camino Real. However, there are two other large vinyl merchants that will be open for business in the area: The Record Man in Redwood City and Vinyl Solutions in San Mateo.
A manager at the Mountain View location of Rasputin Music said the store is expecting to receive copies of a new Pixies release, as well as some copies of a 7" box set of singles from Bay Area punk icons the Dead Kennedys.
Gary Saxon, owner of Record Man in Redwood City said he won't be carrying any special releases tomorrow. However, Saxon said he is totally on board with the spirit of Record Store Day and plans to keep his normal store hours.
Saxon said he has been trying to participate in the holiday for several years now, but has had trouble registering his store with event organizers. Next year, he said, he hopes to participate.
"Vinyl is back!" Saxon said, recalling when he first opened his store at 1322 El Camino Real in Redwood City back in 1988.
At the time, vinyl was just beginning to be edged out by CDs. But he didn't let that stop him from committing to vinyl. Saxon stocked CDs as well, and still does. CD sales helped him make it through the 90s, he said. But around the mid-2000s, Saxon said he saw a sharp reversal in trends, as CD sales dropped off and more people came in looking for vinyl LPs.
These days, Saxon said, about 90 percent of his business is in vinyl.
He attributes the resurgence in vinyl popularity to people rediscovering the vinyl experience.
"'Zen and the art of records,' is what I call it," Saxon said. There is a whole ritual to playing a record, he said. Pulling the disc out of the sleeve, putting the needle to the groove, listening to the analog sound. "It's richer. … It's the real deal."
Plus, he noted, when you put a record on a turntable, you tend to commit to listening to it all the way through, getting to the "deep cuts." As a result you get a deeper appreciation of an artists full body of work, which is something that selective downloading or skipping through a mix CD won't give to the listener.