Joshua Tehee

Joshua Tehee: Record Store Day celebrates culture of vinyl

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This year, there are 400 exclusive releases planned

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Dynamite Vinyl opened last month in the Tower District and focuses on new, rare records

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You can hit 3 shops along Olive avenue alone on Record Store Day


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There was a time when the idea of a “record store day” was laughable.

Until recently, records — recorded music on vinyl discs — were slightly below books on the list of antiquated entertainment, and record stores everywhere were fighting to stay open. In fact, Record Store Day, the national event happening Saturday, April 18, was started as a bit of triage in the form of publicity.

Record Store Day created a customer base by celebrating the culture of independent record shops, even if it was just for the day. It has been a success.

Stores expect to see 100-deep lines when they open their doors on Saturday. Hardcore collectors and newbies will be looking to score the official Record Store Day releases, which get handed out in limited quantities only at participating stores. Some will have driven in from San Francisco or Los Angeles, just to increase their chances at getting one of the exclusive, limited-run records. There are 400 exclusive releases this year.

The hype of Record Store Day hasn’t come without complaints.✔

“People from the underground tend to have a chip on their shoulder about it,” says Paul Cruikshank, who runs Dynamite Vinyl in the Tower District. The store will open at 10 a.m. on Record Store Day.

For some, the event has become too commercial. Major record labels, sniffing at the trend, are taking advantage of the hype and flooding the market with releases. This hurts independent record labels and artists, because the supply of places that press records hasn’t caught up to the demand. An independent record that should take a week or two to produce, can take months to get out, especially leading up to Record Store Day, Cruikshank says.

But that’s focusing on the “record” part of Record Store Day.

This is should be about supporting local, independent shops, Cruikshank says: “There’s nothing that can be bad about that.”

Cruikshank is a guy who like record stores. He sniffs them out and can name his favorite from every city he’s ever visited.

He started his first record store — Ragin’ Records— in 1988 because he couldn’t find a copy of Social Distortion’s “Prison Bound.”

“So I figured I needed to start a store,” he says. He found himself in a similar situation when he opened Dynamite with his partner Michael Kanz last month.

Granted, Cruikshank is vinyl freak; the kind of guy who only owns records. He had close to 10,000 of them at one point and most of them had never been played.

He wouldn’t think twice about dropping $130 on an album he already owns, because it’s a different pressing and is rare.

Dynamite is stocked with some of Cruikshank’s collection, and some from his partner’s. In all, there are close to 2,500 new titles and 7,500 near-mint and or unplayed records. That’s not counting the 2,500 7-inch singles and 5,000 CDs.

The selection is heavy on new vinyl (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall or the whole range of Burger Records bands), reissues (from Fang, Neurosis) and classic indie-rock stuff (Sonic Youth). Rare foreign and colored pressings line the wall of the shop, along with stuff from local bands like Capitol Punishment. Dynamite has the Fresno punk band’s full catalog, Cruikshank says.

Dynamite isn’t the only local shop to search out this Record Store Day. Also participating:

• For those looking to grab Record Store Day exclusives, the best bets are Fresno’s

Rasputin Music

(at 5611 N Blackstone Ave.) and Visalia’s

Velouria Records

(109 E Main St.). Velouria will be selling limited edition posters and T-shirts and host an after-record store day concert at 6:30 p.m. at Cellar Door.



• If you’re looking for used vinyl (or just a fun party),

Tower District Records

, 302 E. Olive Ave., opens at 9 a.m. with a sidewalk sale, plus live music in the store from Espacio, Ted Nunes, Tangent and Meet Me in Montauk and a taping of Tales from the Crate podcast.



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Free Bird Company

at 838 E. Olive opens at 9 a.m. and will have giveaways all day.



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Spinners Records

will host its own party by raffling off a stereo worth $1,000. The store opens at 11 a.m. at 639 E. Olive Avenue.



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