Wax Ecstatic: How local distributors are celebrating Record Store Day | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Wax Ecstatic: How local distributors are celebrating Record Store Day

Wax Ecstatic: How local distributors are celebrating Record Store Day
CP File Photo
Inside Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill

When vinyl and record players made a resurgence in the mid-2000s, many thought it to be little more than a pretentious fad. But unlike bell bottoms and jelly sandals, which emerged just to disappear again, records are still here, and the industry is thriving. 

Although 2019 marked the close of longtime Bloomfield vinyl store, Juke Records, two new ones have appeared since the beginning of the year. One opens on Saturday, the official international Record Store Day (RSD). 

Since the first RSD in 2008, there are businesses that participate in every continent except Antarctica. A way for customers, musicians, and staff to come together and celebrate the unique culture of vinyl, special releases are made exclusively for the occasion. Below you can find out which record stores in Pittsburgh are taking part in RSD and what exactly they are providing. 

Jerry’s Records. 2136 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill.

Can’t make it out on RSD? No problem. Starting on that Saturday and running until April 20, Jerry’s Records will have over 10,000 LPs for a dollar each. The sale takes place during regular business hours and occurs in the basement in front of the main store.

Owner Chris Grauzer explains: “Being an all-used store, we won't have the RSD releases, however, we will be well stocked with tons of great used LP's, 45’s and 12" singles.”

The Government Center. 519 E. Ohio St., North Side.

New to Pittsburgh, The Government Center opened Sat., March 23. Owner Josh Cozby hopes that his shop can become a community space for young and old music lovers alike. So, The Government Center is having a party. 

“Every day is Record Store Day,” says Cozby. “Our plan is to celebrate music we love, especially local stuff. We will open up at our normal time, 11 a.m., with free food and lots of giveaways. We’ll have a bunch of rare, weird, and unusual releases hitting the shelves in addition to the extensive used and new selection already in the store. From 2 p.m. on there will be live music in the shop.”

Lindsay Dragan (solo set) plays at 2 p.m., Ryan Hoffman & the Pioneers at 4 p.m., Old Game at 6 p.m., and Fuck Yeah Dinosaurs at 8 p.m. 

The Exchange. Multiple Locations.

Vinyl fans know that the special RSD titles are often in very short supply, and this year promises to be no different. Jerry Micco, Exchange buyer, explained that some manufacturer partners have reached out and “in some cases, we will be receiving a fraction of what we had ordered. Because of this, it is best to shop early to avoid disappointment. We hope that the usual high spirits and camaraderie won’t be in short supply.” 

Desolation Row. 410 S. Craig St., Oakland.

Taking part in RSD since its creation, this North Oakland store turns 15 this year. “We'll have a lot of the RSD special releases in stock (fingers crossed - you're never guaranteed the items that you've ordered),” says Kristofer Collins. “The day is always a fun one at the shop, and we're really looking forward to it.”

Wax Ecstatic: How local distributors are celebrating Record Store Day
Cap: The Government Center on the North SideCP Photo: Lisa Cunningham

Attic Record Store. 513 Grant Ave, Millvale.

After almost 40 years of supplying Pittsburgh with all its vinyl needs, Attic’s biggest draw is that they order every limited release available. There will also be 20-percent off all used and 10-percent off all new records and CDs. “We will be providing yummy food from local establishments and live DJs,” says owner Fred Bohn. “Every year it gets bigger, and we work hard to make sure everyone has a great time.”

SuperMonkey Recording Co. 813 E. Warrington Ave., Allentown.

Opening at 8 a.m., SuperMonkey will only sell new, mint, and unopened vinyl.

Get Hip Records. 1800 Columbus Ave., North Side.

Get 20-percent off Get Hip’s entire selection of new and used vinyl. Along with free beer, giveaways, and other surprises, Get Hip will have DJ sets by the host of Flipside Scotty’s Flashback on Radiocore.org from 12-3 p.m., then DJ Jesse Novak, host of WYEP’s Roots and Rhythm Mix, will take over the turntables from 3-6 p.m. In the Get Hip Warehouse, performances by local punk rock legends, The Cheats, plus the Scratch and Sniffs and the Chokers will begin at 7 p.m. Get Hip Records will remain open during the performances for all your record needs. 

Music To My Ear. 3003 Babcock Blvd., North Hills.

Starting at 8 a.m., customers can get 20-percent off all used vinyl, 99 cent CDs, 10-percent off new vinyl (excluding Record Store Day releases), and 15 -percent off all electronics at Music To My Ear and upstairs at Northern Audio. Hundreds of new and used vinyl and CD titles are being added to the store, including exclusive Record Store Day releases, highly sought-after Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab titles, and new audiophile pressings from Analogue Productions.

The Hawkeyes are also playing live from noon to 3 p.m., and a few more surprises are in store, like chances to win pairs of tickets to Stage AE concerts. 

Vinyl Remains. 2907 Glenmore Ave., Dormont.

Small but mighty, Vinyl Remains generally avoids major label offerings and specializes in getting super limited horror movie soundtracks. This year, there will be a four-for-$1 sale on the $1 record bins. “I also always have secret gifts for those who spend over $100,” says owner Greg Anderson. “I will be getting a ton of horror movie t-shirts that will be available.”

Record Store Day. Sat., April 13. Multiple Locations. Multiple Times. recordstoreday.com

Introducing Preserving Hardcore
Wax Ecstatic: How local distributors are celebrating Record Store Day
Preserving Hardcore
Preserving Hardcore Sneak Preview

After years spent working in the Pittsburgh music scene, A.J. Rassau accumulated such an extensive record collection that his basement was overflowing. In January he started thinking about opening a store. Now, Preserving Hardcore, a record store tending to hardcore music fans, makes its debut on RSD.

“If I was realistic I should have waited until May 1 to open with the amount of work I had to do to be ready,” says Rassau, “but how could I justify missing RSD when it's that close? I've been putting in about 12 hours of work a day for a month now prepping the place.”

Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 13, Rassau hopes to make Preserving Hardcore a substance-free space where music fans of all ages can relax and have fun. 

“I personally feel like the RSD concept got high-jacked pretty quickly by major labels but I think it's still an important day to remind people of the importance of both physical media and the stores that provide it. It's not just about ownership, it's about curating your own library and not facing any of the censorship or politics that are already becoming inevitable on streaming platforms. With my space also serving as a performance space and Hardcore Museum I hope that it provides a place where kids can hopefully become enthralled with some combination of punk rock, live music, or physical media.”

Preserving Hardcore. 1102 Fourth Ave., New Kensington