To someone raised in the MP3 era, the idea of buying music stored on a slab of pressed vinyl, which can only be listened to using a non-portable machine with a needle, might seem a little strange.
And yet music fans of a certain persuasion will be lining up at stores selling just that type of format today, as Record Store Day gives vinyl lovers chance to celebrate their local music shops and track down new releases that can't yet be found online.
Started in 2007, Record Store Day has become an annual exercise featuring in-store performances, art exhibits and other events at participating record stores across North American and parts of Europe. It's also usually marked by special CD and vinyl releases, and this year is no exception: Today sees the release of such limited edition pressings as The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends, on which the Oklahoma band pairs with a diverse crew of collaborators that includes Bon Iver, Ke$ha, Nick Cave, Yoko Ono and others (and which apparently includes bits of DNA extracted from the performers' blood samples mixed into the vinyl pressings), as well as Feistodon, on which sweet Canadian chanteuse Feist trades songs with Georgia metal heavyweights Mastodon.
You can get the full list of today's special releases at the official Record Store Day website, where you can also get a rundown of all participating record stores (and their events) in Canada. (Also, if you like your special release lists to be curated, you can check out Stereogum's list of the exclusives they're most looking forward to.)
And if you're not sure why anyone would get so excited about buying cumbersome discs and records when there is an entire world of music available online, the Record Store Day video feed has two excerpts from Last Shop Standing, an upcoming documentary about record store culture by U.K. filmmaker Graham Jones. In the following clip former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr talks about how listening to records make for a different experience than listening to MP3s:
In another excerpt, rockabilly singer-songwriter (and former Pulp member) Richard Hawley talks about the wealth of learning to be found within a record store's walls: