Every year for the last seven years, independent record stores nationwide have collaborated for Record Store Day, when for the third Saturday in April, independent record stores receive and sell exclusive releases from artists old and new to share with fans. This day is meant to serve as a way for record companies, artists and local residents to show their appreciation for the generally-unappreciated establishments. These special releases range from reissues of fan favorites, to 7" covers and even to a blood-infused pressing of a particular vinyl record. Chuck D of Public Enemy leads the charge as this year's Record Store Day Ambassador, with The Doors' John Densmore as a sideman. Here are some items to keep an eye out for this year as you scavenge Chicagoland's great selection of record stores.
Oldies but goodies
This year brings reissues of 1960s landmark vocal and soul releases by The Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. The albums of the latter two are celebrating their 50th anniversary, both chock full of the artists' classic hits, so be sure to grab these and listen to these artists' dulcet voices as if they were still pressed on 78 rpm vinyl.
Another trend of Record Store Day is the release of specially-recorded live concerts that bands decide to put out on vinyl for this one-day release. Usually folk bands, like The Civil Wars and Frightened Rabbit, are more likely to release stripped-down live shows, but this year, Devo, Foals and Cults are all getting in on the action. The intimacy of these shows translates into a special vinyl that sounds as if the show were happening right in your living room.
A fad that was arguably not even popular in its "heyday," picture discs always make an appearance on RSD. This year, you can own vinyl-imprinted photos of Katy Perry, David Bowie, Sky Ferreira and Devo, the last of which is a recording of Devo's closing performance at the 1995 Sundance festival. While the picture-printed side of the vinyl usually can't be played, these would look a lot better displayed on your shelf than playing on your turntable.
Side by Side series
One of the annual specialties only available on Record Store Day is the "Side by Side series," which puts an original song on one side with a cover of the track on the b-side. This year, Dinosaur Jr. offers their cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and Devo and The Flaming Lips will both release their take on "Gates of Steel."
Bonus: Third Man Records yet again reinventing vinyl
Jack White and Third Man Records always have something up their sleeve for Record Store Day. 2013 brought you the Record Booth, where visitors to the Third Man Records shop in Nashville, Tenn., could record and press their own vinyl record right there in the shop, while 2014 will bring you the "World's Fastest Record." Jack White will perform the unreleased title track from his upcoming album, Lazaretto, which will be recorded live at 10 a.m., then sent to a printing plant nearby and will be available for sale that afternoon. They plan on continuing to print and deliver this special release as long as there is demand, which there most definitely will be.