This year, the Steady Sounds vinyl record store commemorated the 11th annual Record Store Day with special releases, DJ sets and a live performance by Virginia rapper Chance Fischer.
Vinyl enthusiasts across the country are jumping from store to store in the hopes that they will get an exclusive release of their favorite artists for Record Store Day. Each year, musicians of all kinds prepare special exclusive releases to send to record stores in limited quantities on a Saturday in April.
The list of releases includes established and famous artists like David Bowie and Lil Uzi Vert, as well as smaller underground groups like Phoenix and Robert Glasper.
The event is also an opportunity for record store owners to play musicians in their stores. Artists like Metallica, Beastie Boys, and Wiz Khalifa have all performed in stores for Record Store Day in the past.
Marty Key, owner of Steady Sounds, described Record Store Day as “a celebration of all things vinyl”.
Key, who has owned and directed Steady Sounds for about eight years, says he spent more time researching records than attending classes during his time as a student at VCU.
âSometimes I would leave the classroom to go straight to Plan 9 or one of the thrift stores,â Key said. âAfter doing various things like odd jobs and touring with bands, Plan 9 finally asked me, ‘Do you want a job here? You are here every day.
It wasn’t long before Key ran his own record store.
Key said Record Store Day probably started to draw attention to small record stores, which were on the way out a decade ago. Over the past decade, vinyl has exploded in popularity.
Steady Sounds featured exclusive Record Store Day releases from The Stooges, Sun Ra, Raekwon, J Dilla, The Vaselines and Tom Waits. Like other stores, it also featured more used records than usual.
While he still appreciates Record Store Day and the kind people and new releases that come with it, Key said it has become more marketed in recent years.
âI wouldn’t say it’s past its usefulness, but I would say it’s definitely more like Christmas than it used to be,â Key said. âIt’s a bit of a cash grab, but at the same time I’m really glad it’s there. I think it’s great. “
Steady Sounds featured DJ sets from Area Woman, DJ OlNuBi, DJ Valient Himself and DJ Aaron Bushman.
DJ OlNuBi, real name Armando Munoz, said he enjoys making Record Store Day sets more than other sets. He said these sets are usually shorter, which gives him the opportunity to play more of the music he wants to play, rather than having to entertain for hours.
âI can just hit the highlights instead of having to set the mood for the whole night,â Munoz said.
DJ OlNuBi said he enjoys playing a lot of world music and funk music in his sets. One of the Record Store Day reissues he picked up was that of Brazilian funk musician Marcos Valle. He played it for his set too.
Record Store Day also draws a more laid-back crowd of music and vinyl lovers.
Caleb Bogdan heard about Record Store Day on the radio and decided to take a detour on the way to the beach with some friends.
Collectively, Caleb and his pals Alex Harman and Belinda Nelson collected records from Hank Williams and Marty Robbins as well as a collection of speeches by John F. Kennedy.
Nelson said “we’re going to torture ourselves by playing 126 children’s songs”, pointing to a record of it.
According to DJ OlNuBi, some of the best stores in Richmond to visit on record store day are Plan 9, Deep Groove, and BK Music, although “Steady Sounds is the best,” he said.
Key said Record Store Day leftovers typically last a few weeks after the event, so there are certainly still some vinyl treasures to be found for any record enthusiast who missed the big day.
Quentin Rice Contributing writer