The lines were long, the heat was rough, the music-geek quotient off the charts, but one thing made it all worthwhile in the end: the booty. That is, the limited-edition vinyl that has become the hallmark of Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record retailers and the music they sell that occurred on Saturday in the U.S. and Britain.
In my case, said loot was made up of the new Flaming Lips double LP, "Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends," which features, among others, Erykah Badu, Bon Iver, Kesha, Chris Martin and Lightning Bolt; the double-LP teaser of Lee Hazlewood's 1968-71 work, "The LH1 Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides"; "The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr.," which is exactly what it purports to be; a 7-inch single of the Carolina Chocolate Drops doing Run DMC's "You Be Illin'"; and an album by surreal Finnish metal band Circle, called "Manner." (Alas, I missed out on essential releases from Feist/Mastodon, Lee Perry and Peter Tosh, among others.)
In Los Angeles, the frenzy was focused on three different stores along Sunset Boulevard: Amoeba Music in Hollywood, Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake, and Origami in Echo Park. I opted for Vacation, the little store across from Sunset Junction that is owned by the dudes who run Hydra Head Records. At 10 a.m., when the doors opened, the queue extended down Sunset and around a corner.