This year's instalment of Record Store Day has perhaps come in for more sustained criticism than any other.
Sure, some of those assessments are merited, particularly when they come from the shops involved themselves.
But let's be honest here: tomorrow (April 18th) an enormous number of music fans will be walking around with huge grins on their faces, their record collections expanded and their wallets contracted.
Clash picks out 7 Of The Best: Record Store Day events in cities (hopefully) near you.
- - -
Berwick Street – street party
Berwick Street is one of London's traditional vinyl hubs. Sure, the number of shops on music's golden mile may have decreased over the years, but it remains a place of pilgrimage for crate diggers. The Berwick St. street party turns the entire road into a festival celebration, this year featuring everyone from Young Knives to Gang Of Four, The 2 Bears to John Cooper Clarke. Diverse!
Sounds Of The Universe – block party
Sounds Of The Universe is an institution – the hub for Soul Jazz Records and a mecca for those who like to dig a little deeper. It's also situated beside a conveniently placed alleyway, meaning that the shop can set up its own block party. This year's line up is stellar, with choice names including grime / funky don Scratcha DVA, Tropics, Karizma and of course the Sounds Of The Universe DJs themselves.
Resident Brighton – all day festival
Resident in Brighton is one of the city's true musical hubs, a place where ideas are swapped, bands are formed, collectives inaugurated and black wax bought by the tonne. Hosting an all day festival for Record Store Day, the shop (and surrounding area) will welcome TRAAMS, Foreign Skin and more with the live music being interspersed with panel debates and live Q&As.
Nottingham Music Exchange
Nottingham is often left off the musical map of the UK, which is entirely, completely unjust. Boasting a deeply independent music scene, Rough Trade East recently saw fit to expand in Nottingham – it's first UK shop outside London. Together, Nottingham Music Exchange and Rough Trade will host a day of live music, featuring Pulled Apart By Horses, The Leisure Society and more. Oh, and it's free.
Newcastle's RPM Music plays a vital role in the local scene, and its Record Store Day event reflects this. Sure, they'll be stocking over 250 additional releases and providing huge discounts on existing stock, but the shop will also throng with live music from Grey Tapes, The King Bees and many more. The action kicks off at 10am and doesn't stop til the shop shuts!
Common logic holds that one the internet came along the point and purpose of a record shop had been superseded. The success of Grooves Records, though, proves that to be completely incorrect – the most northerly British participant in Record Store Day, the shop is located in the Orkney Islands and provides a vital service for the local community. So if any of our Kirkwall readers are free on April 18th, why not head down and support them?
Glasgow's RubADub shop is an enormously influential voice in British electronic music. Doubling as a distribution network, their recent criticism of Record Store Day came with the force of years of experience. Never ones to miss out on a party, though, the RubADub crew will be hosting a special all day anti-Record Store Day event – which conveniently falls on Record Store Day. Expect DJ sets and bargains galore, many of which will be seeing the light of day after years of storage in their famed warehouse.
- - -
So there you have it. Stay in touch via Twitter and let us know how you get on!