Get Thee to a Shoppery!

What's a "record store"? If you've never been to one, it's time for you to paddle away from your computer keyboard's virtual Amazon and enter the real world of bricks and mortar. And if you're, ahem, an older buyer who hasn't been to one in a while, it's time for you to remember the future. (Band? Nationality? Year? Famous guy who joined them later? Answers below.)

This Saturday (April 19) is the first annual Record Store Day, a celebration of independent shops across the U.S.A. (and the U.K., too). More than 300 stores are scheduled to participate, with giveaways, live performances, and other events.

What's the idea? Well, as Eric Levin tells Billboard, "It seems that there is a perception that record stores are something of a joke, like we are all dinosaurs stuck in the tar." Eric, owner of the Criminal Records shop in Atlanta, is also head of the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, one of several indie organizations spearheading Record Store Day (RSD). The idea, then, according to Music Monitor Network president Michael Kurtz, is "to get the word out on what is happening in our stores and show our place in the community."

To help achieve that, RSD participants will be giving away free promo stuff (from 25 suppliers), expected to include things like a Rhino Records calendar, samplers from Sony BMG and Universal, and 3-D glasses for viewing an exclusive Björk video. And some limited-edition vinyl singles will be available only at RSD stores, including a 10-inch of Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks' "Cold Son" (with three unreleased tracks) and a 7-inch of Vampire Weekend's "A-Punk" with a demo of "Oxford Comma" on the B-side. The day isn't only celebrating vinyl, though; it's meant to celebrate everything you can find and touch in a record store.

339718 "There's nothing as glamorous to me as a record store," says Paul McCartney. Other RSD supporters include Bruce Springsteen: "I'll go to a record store and just buy $500 worth of CDs." Nellie McKay: "Independent record stores are aural cathedrals." Peter Gabriel: "I was introduced to lots of great music through my local record store." Norah Jones: "It's important to keep indie record stores alive because their unique environments introduce music lovers to things in a very personal way." Wayne Coyne: "The cool record store: an actual place where you can stand and simply be surrounded by your heroes." Ian Gillan: "Buy real records in real shops, or I'll come 'round your house and scream at your mother."

Some artists are putting their presence where their mouth is, so to speak, by doing in-store performances and/or meet-and-greets on Saturday, including Metallica (Rasputin's, Mountain View, CA), Thrice (Zia, Phoenix), Panic at the Disco (Waterloo, Austin), Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls (Newbury Comics, Harvard Square, Boston), Regina Spektor (Sound Fix, Brooklyn), Nada Surf and Ben Taylor (Vintage Vinyl, Fords, NJ), Steve Earle and Allison Moorer (Manifest, Charlotte, NC), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (CD Central, Lexington, KY), and Kate Nash (Mainstreet Music, Philadelphia). There will also be events like a barbecue showcase for bands on the Soundtree label at Stinkweeds in Tempe, AZ, and a veggie-burger cookout at Luna Music in Indianapolis.

For more info, including a complete list of participating stores, go to recordstoreday.com - and on Saturday, be sure to go to an actual record store! -Ken Richardson

And oh yeah, those trivia answers: Remember the Future was the hit album (and FM track) by Nektar, a band that - although formed in Germany - was made up of Englishmen. The release year was 1973. Years later, Larry Fast would temporarily join the band.

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