THE BRONX — Earl Moodie sees collectors from as far away as Kosovo and France at his record store on White Plains Road.
Moodies Record and Tape is weathering rent hikes as well as the trend of digital downloads to retain its status as a cultural and street-music hub. It is stores like Moodies that Record Store Day, taking place all day Saturday, is designed to celebrate.
Record Store Day encourages music-loving folk to support their independent record store on the third Saturday of April. Since 2008, the day has been growing in popularity, and this year more than 700 stores across the U.S. are participating.
Moodies Records, surviving in its own idiosyncratic way since 1982, is an example of the kind of culture that Record Store Day was designed to promote and protect.
"It's a rough time in business, but we still sell a lot of oldies," Moodie said of his store, which pays the rent by selling DVDs and concert tickets, as well as classic reggae vinyl albums.
"Being out of the Caribbean, we listened to just about anything: Latin, Bosa Nova, Jazz, Blues, Bee-Bop, Doo Wop," said Moodie, who moved to The Bronx from Jamaica in 1969, of his early days in New York City.
Being a student of so many different styles has served Moodie well.
He got his break working with Brad Osbourne in his legendary Bronx music store, Brad's Record Den, in the early 1970s. Brad's was a critical link in bringing reggae music to the United States, and was also where early hip-hop DJs bought many of their records.
"When I was at Brad's, you could see the development of rap," he said.
But in 2013 it's a different landscape.
Even as vinyl record sales are increasing, a single day for record stores is not enough to stop great retailers from going out of business. Bleecker Bob’s in the West Village was shuttered earlier this month, and the final day for Williamsburg's Sound Fix is on Record Store Day.
Each Record Store Day, limited run, mostly vinyl releases are offered for sale to selected independent stores by record labels, distributors and the bands themselves. Some of these collectible records — often featuring colored vinyl and with elaborate packaging — end up on eBay in a flash, at generous markups. But they are intended to serve as stimulating bait for music lovers to expand their collections with hard-to-find releases.
Here's a roundup of some of the Record Store Day parties around town:
► The East Village's In Living Stereo will throw a party, with guest DJs and live in-store performances from bands — they will be jumping with NYC-based psych rockers Prince Ruperts Drops, and an acoustic set with Alex Bleecker and the Freaks. DJs start spinning at midday, bands from 2:30 p.m.
► Just around the corner, Other Music (15 E. 4th St.) has invited their favorite DJs, artists and labels to spin records in the shop (last year Four Tet and Black Dice were among the guest DJs). Other Music will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Also in the East Village, The Turntable Lab has called in the favors, with a massive list of DJs playing all day.
► Cake Shop's Record Store Day Party starts rocking from 8 p.m. and features Literature, Grand Resort, The Hairs, Cascading Slopes (featuring members of The Drums), Kip (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart — solo set) and Sparxx.
► The West Village's Generation Records has lined up one of the strongest Record Store Day parties in NYC with four bands on the bill throughout the afternoon, starting with the Brooklyn-based, three-piece noise/folk band forgetters. Joining them will be Salinas Records’ Swearin’, Doug Gillard (of Guided By Voices and Nada Surf fame), and Livids (featuring New Bomb Turks’ lead singer Eric Davidson). Store opens at 10 a.m. and bands start at 2 p.m.
► Down in the Financial District, J & R Music is hosting New York's metal legends Anthrax at 12:30 p.m. for a free, in-store signing, while Midtown's iconic DJ hangout Rock and Soul, has a pumping lineup of DJs performing including Rob B Rob, AirForceMontana, TRS, Rugged One, Polarity and Jenny Blaze.
This year’s batch of vinyl goodies on offer include exclusive offerings from the likes of David Bowie, The XX, Double Dagger, Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear, Built to Spill, Mumford & Sons, the Rolling Stones, Pulp (After You), Pink Floyd, GZA (Liquid Swords album — packaged in a box that doubles as a Chess Set), Bob Dylan, Stephen Malkmus And Friends (covering Can's Ege Bamyasi) the White Stripes, the Grateful Dead (Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966) and Notorious B.I.G. (1994 debut album, Ready to Die, will be reissued as a 2-LP numbered white vinyl set with an alternate cover). MGMT are even releasing a cassette featuring a new track, "Alien Days." It will also come with a download code, in case you can't find your cassette deck or old Walkman.
Two great compilation albums from 1993 are being offered on vinyl for the very first time: Red Hot's AIDS benefit "No Alternative" (Pavement, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys) and the soundtrack of Richard Linklater's fourth feature film "Dazed and Confused" (ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, War, Deep Purple, Kiss). Perhaps appropriately, "Dazed and Confused" is being pressed on "weed green" vinyl.
Note that each store will be carrying different releases — no one store will stock every special release. A full list of releases is noted here.
Many independent stores such as Second Hand Rose Music in Greenwich Village and Good Records in the East Village won't be carrying the limited edition Record Store Day releases, but will still be open for business and will be well worth visiting. Good Records has prepared an epic list of hard-to-find, second-hand vinyl that will be available — check it out here.
Michael Ross, founder of iconic hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl said on the Record Store Day website, "Getting our records in record stores validated our existence. If we saw our 12" in the racks at Rock & Soul in New York City that for us was the ultimate! There's still something about the role of the record store in the process of discovery of music that can never be replicated."
Participating Record Store Day stores include:
In Living Stereo
2 Great Jones St.
Doors 10 a.m., DJs midday, bands from 2:30 p.m.
15 E. 4th St.
10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. DJs, artists and labels will spin their favorite records.
J & R Music
23 Park Row
11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Meet Anthrax at 12:30 p.m.
Good Records NYC
218 E. 5th St.
Midday - 8 p.m.
Cake Shop record store
152 Ludlow St.
Cafe/store open from 9 a.m., party with bands from 8 p.m.
210 Thompson St.
Doors 10 a.m., bands 2 p.m.
Rock and Soul
462 7th Ave., Ground Floor.
DJs all day, vinyl sampling clinic with DJ Funktual at 4 p.m. exploring the most fun and obscure samples in hip-hop history.
57 Pearl St., Brooklyn.
Midday - 9 p.m. Instore DJs all day