Coachella 2012: Record Store Day comes early
Right now there is a vinyl connoisseur clutching a copy of Wilco’s "The Whole Love" deluxe box set in his living room as he takes to Twitter and Facebook to boast to friends about snagging one of the 250 copies that were pressed for the fifth annual Record Store Day on Saturday.
As enthusiasts flood independent record retailers across the nation in search of limited-edition vinyl and basement bargains from hundreds of artists and labels, music lovers at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival got a bit of a leg up on everyone else.
At Zia Records -- the on-site, Arizona-based shop where festival-goers can buy albums from the weekend’s line-up as artists make in-store appearances -- all three days of Coachella Part II are Record Store Day.
“Everyone who’s here is here. It’s not like they are going to run off to England with the records,” general manager Brian Faber said of the decision to put out Saturday’s finds a day early. “They get the full experience of Record Store Day with Coachella.”
Early Saturday, Zia looked nothing like the pictures of well-known spots like Amoeba that trickled onto Twitter. There were no crazy, wrap-around lines, and shoppers were more relaxed. One girl was on the hunt for Childish Gambino, but she couldn’t care less if it was the limited 12” red vinyl edition of “Heartbeat” that got 1,000 pressings. She just wanted a CD to make sure she could get it signed at his scheduled in-store appearance later that afternoon.
Faber’s shop continues to make the trek to Indio for both Coachella and Stagecoach, but this year the double-weekend experiment that ran into Record Store Day offered a unique opportunity to celebrate, even though the second weekend added to a logistical nightmare of packing up all of the product and taking it back to Arizona, replenishing the stock that ran out last weekend and making sure they had the limited-edition albums for Record Store Day.
"It took great people. These are the people who work in our store or who have in the past," Faber said as he pointed to the line of busy workers ringing up customers. "The people who come and go at our stores are fans."
Zia carries product of all the artists performing at Coachella who have items on shelves, and the store hands you a special compilation of the festival's acts after a purchase. To tease Saturday’s musical scavenger hunt, they let out a select number of the reissue of At the Drive-In’s EP “Vaya” during Weekend One, which were gone within an hour. This week’s stock went just as fast, Faber said.
Another hot commodity was the release by Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, which features the psychedelic rock band collaborating with folks like Ke$ha, Bon Iver, Biz Markie, Yoko Ono and Erykah Badu –- oh, and the vinyl has some of the collaborators' blood pressed into it. Faber said the double LP “flew off the shelves.”
“[Record Store Day] has reinvigorated the industry to be creative again,” Faber said as a stream of twenty-somethings streamed in and started reaching for vinyl.
Photo: A Zia Records employee pulls a 7" vinyl version of Jimmy Fallon's "Tebowie" at their on-site location at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Record Store Day. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times