Cassette Store Day Provokes A Mixed Reaction in Phoenix

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Photo by Troy Farah

Sure, you know about Record Store Day, but some people don't have $15 to drop on a 7" single and maybe some people are just a little bit nostalgic for lo-fi. If that sounds like you, then get ready for Cassette Store Day, coming to you worldwide this Saturday September 27.

Although this is only the second year for Cassette Store Day, the event seems to be gaining steam as analogue becomes vogue again. For many DIY musicians, the cost to produce cassettes is far cheaper than CDs or vinyl, making it easier to give their fans something besides an MP3. Like its predecessors Record Store Day and Free Comic Book Day, CSD serves as a great way for people to get excited about music again.

"They provide a real tangible experience that is sorely lacking in today's massively digital culture," says Robbie Pfeffer, co-founder of local cassette label Rubber Brother Records and frontman for the weird punk-funk band Playboy Manbaby. "They're fun, they're inexpensive and they're hand-made. They're little pieces of art that hold art. Also, they include digital downloads, so you don't suffer for the medium."

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Record Store Day? More Like Record Store Life.

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Record Store Day is tomorrow. So I shouldn't have been surprised when my editor said, "Hey, maybe you can write something about Record Store Day."

Makes sense. I do write under the moniker Record Store Geek.

It's just that my editor has only asked me for one specific column in the entire two years I've been here: My first one (Defending My Guilty TV Pleasure: Ancient Aliens). So I was surprised.

You think I'd be thankful I've had this much freedom (I am) and serve it up, but here's the problem: I don't want to write about Record Store Day.

But I'd love to write about record stores. Hell, I'll teach a class on record stores.


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10 Best Record Stores in Metro Phoenix

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© 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki, via Wikimedia Commons
Phoenix is flush with record stores. Here are 10 you should know.

There is no shortage of vinyl -- and places to get it -- in the Valley. Jazz, blues, rock, psych, soul, oldies, Latin, children's, soundtracks, surf, drag, indie, metal, punk . . . it's all here somewhere. The key is finding who has what you want. More often than not, each record store has at least a little of everything. Yet, not all record stores are created equal. Some focus on vinyl and only vinyl, and most stock some CDs (they're not dead yet), while others are more "full-service," offering everything music-related under the sun from DVDs to movies to T-shirts to musical instruments.

See also: Record Store of Your Dreams: How Do You Find It?

On a recent sunny Wednesday, I sped about the Valley to see which music outlets offered up the best vinyl. I also was interested to discover which stores offered a comfortable shopping experience, with reasonable prices and knowledgeable employees. Of course, every record shop has its own vibe and atmosphere -- that's what makes each so fun to explore -- and there are plenty of variables. Therefore, as a former record store owner, someone who has been involved in record collecting since age 10, and has been in more record shops across the globe than I care to remember, I know something about what makes a good record store.


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Record Store Day in Phoenix: Wavves, Marked-Up Tapes, and Puppies (?)

Record Store Day 2013 in Phoenix

Record Store Day, the annual event in which stores put out their best inventory, dorks jostle for those elusive RSD exclusive releases, and everybody throws down a nice all-day party, is back again. There are plenty of festivities at all the Valley independent retailers, and, hey, maybe this year you'll actually chat up one of the many unconventionally good-looking strangers awkwardly nudged against you between the stacks!

After the jump: Everything you need to know about Phoenix Record Store Day 2013 festivities.


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Record Store Day's Hot Heavy Metal Vinyl Releases

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Lauren Wise
You know what I like . . .

It looks like all these Record Store Days are paying off. In 2012, global sales for vinyl records hit $171 million, their highest point since 1997 -- the same year that Hanson's "MMMBop" topped the charts.

This Saturday, April 20, marks the sixth annual Record Store Day, when artists and labels dish out rare and exclusive releases to fans that results in a sort-of major shopping day on the musical calendar.

There are lots of reasons to love vinyl, especially heavy metal vinyl -- besides the fact that you can play them backwards and get the messages Satan wants you to hear.

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Mastodon's Bill Kelliher on Covering Feist and The Flaming Lips

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Mastodon is old-school American heavy metal at its finest. The band is known for a distinctly sludgy sound, mixing stripped and distortion-heavy instrumentals, intricate grooves, and vocal harmonies that alternate between clean melodies and harsh screams.

The band has five full-length albums under its belt to date, with its latest, 2011's The Hunter, rapidly becoming known as one of their best. The record is still making waves. On Tuesday, it was named the best album of year at the 2012 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards by UK metal authority Metal Hammer.

While the band appears super-hardcore -- the tattoos trailing across vocalist/guitarist Brett Hinds' face go hand-in-hand with the Mastodon brand, and the members rarely smile on stage -- they're quite easygoing and open to just about anyone's interpretation of their music. In fact, earlier this year Mastodon, excitedly recorded covers of the Flaming Lips and Feist (with those artists returning the favor) for Record Store Day.

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Record Store Day Round Up 2012: Valley Stores Offer Up Exclusives, Live Performances and More on RSD

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Clint Kirk
The Love Me Nots go on a Record Store Day tour.
As we inch closer to Record Store Day we're directing our attention to the wonderful independent storefronts participating in this weekend's revered event. In recent years the indie-moniker has been thrown around so much that it's almost diluted the meaning of the word. Luckily RSD helps us revel in the independent spirit with loads of exclusive material, in-store performances and limited releases available only at your friendly-neighborhood-music-purveyors.

For added clarity, the official website defines a RSD participating store as a:

Stand alone brick and mortar retailer whose main primary business focuses on a physical store location, whose product line consists of at least 50 percent music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70 percent located in the state of operation.

Here's a look at what some of the Valley shops have planned for you this year.

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10 Record Store Day Exclusives You'll Have to Fight Me For

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http://www.recordstoreday.com
It's almost here: Record Store Day. The day the industry bands together and does its best to shine a light on the independent record stores that dot neighborhoods in cities all over the U.S. Now, I could take this opportunity to lecture about how music fans should treat normal days like Record Store Day, but here's the thing: I get it.

For some folks, music is just something you download (hopefully via some legal channel, like eMusic or iTunes). And that's not wrong . But then there are those of us who just need to collect. We're hoarders, really, just with awesome stuff. So yeah, I don't need a special day to visit the local shops, but there is a kind of glee that comes over me when I look at some of what the labels are trotting out to reward the faithful (and maybe inspire some newbies to stop by).

Here are the exclusives I'm most excited about (coming tomorrow: Phoenix's Record Store Day events). What are you most pumped to pick up? Leave a comment below.

Phoenix stores participating in RSD (according to the official website): Stinkweeds Records, Revolver Records, Tracks in Wax, Rockzone, Zia Records, and Hoodlums New and Used Music.

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