Record Store Day 2014: A Collector’s Guide

Nothing will save you come Saturday, but this is worth a try.

    As Record Store Day expands its reach, collectors and shop owners experience more and more problems. Diehards camp outside shops in the early morning, shuffling around with newfound friends, only to get worked up over releases that either weren’t there to begin with or were snagged by the friendly face ahead of them. (Ha, looks like someone is getting unfollowed on Twitter.) Owners, meanwhile, tend to buy more product than they can sell, offloading it in the bargain bins with the hopes that some random Doors fanatic will want a Morrison Hotel singles boxset in July. They won’t.

    It’s a dog-eat-dog situation, and the truth is, we all do it because we love vinyl, and well, they want us to keep comin’. Still, the third Saturday in April doesn’t have to be a pity party; if only we tempered our expectations by remaining patient, doing our research, and refusing to get cocky. Nobody should ever expect to get anything on RSD. Each “win” should be a surprise, and your haul shouldn’t reflect your great finds, but rather your streak of good luck. If you go in with that mindset, you’ll either walk away smiling or feeling a little like that sad dad in Vegas. You were beaten, but hey, you played the game.

    (Go record shopping with Albert Hammond, Jr., The Men, and Third Man Records.)

    And if you played it right, it’s hard to believe you’ll walk away empty handed. That’s why we put together this guide for you. Because like you, most of us are heading out Saturday looking for R.E.M.’s Unplugged set, and like you, few of us will be drinking beers together listening to it come noon, which sucks but whatever. Outside of the impossible rarities, there are still plenty of realistic must-haves, the releases that aren’t fluff in disguise or destined to be lost in record store limbo. Just don’t walk up to the counter all wallet-happy and ready to unload your budget on frivolous buys.


    We don’t want that, this guy doesn’t want that, and next-week-you doesn’t want that either. So, take a sharp look below, take some notes, or even print this out. If you have suggestions, let us know, too. After all, we aren’t experts, per se, and these suggestions aren’t ironclad. We have our preferences and you have yours. Rather, this is all advice from a community you’re clearly a part of; otherwise, why the hell would you be reading this? Well, you may be new, and if that’s the case: Howdy, welcome, have fun and… please move to the back of the line.

    See you Saturday with the donuts, folks.

    –Michael Roffman