Princeton Record Exchange will celebrate 10th annual Record Store Day on April 22


The crowd at the Princeton Record Exchange at a previous Record Store Day. File photo.

The Princeton Record Exchange, one of the top record stores in the country, will participate in the 10th annual National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 22. The store will offer limited-edition releases and offer a free concert as part of the festivities.

The purpose of the day is to celebrate the culture of independently owned record stores. The event has been growing in popularity every year. Hundreds of limited edition titles are sold exclusively at record stores like the Princeton Record Exchange, and special music events are held all over the country.

The sale of vinyl records has been sky-rocketing over the last couple of years as a new generation has embraced the warmer sound and eye-catching packaging, Record Exchange Owner Jon Lambert said. More than 7 million vinyl records were sold in 2016, a 26% increase over 2015. While many records are available online or in “big box” stores, the main attraction of Record Store Day is a vast amount of titles that are not available anywhere except at participating independent bricks-and-mortar stores.  At last count, more than 400 limited edition titles were being released for the 10th anniversary event. Adding to the collectible appeal, most of these records have limited production runs, typically from 100 to 5,000 pieces.  They are allocated by the distributors to stores around the country, and the stores don’t know what they’ll receive until just before the day. The Princeton Record Exchange orders thousands of pieces each year.

This year’s slate of releases features a wide spread of genres. Classic rock and indie-rock comprise the majority, but there are also exciting rap, soul, jazz, techno, country, folk, metal titles and more, Lambert said. These pieces are often on color vinyl, are numbered, and are heavy 180-gram vinyl or otherwise different from the standard issues.

Some of the highlights include: Bruce Springsteen “Hammersmith Odeon London ’75”, a four LP box set; Grateful Dead “P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, Canada 7/29/66”, a two LP set from their first tour outside the country; Pink Floyd “Interstellar Overdrive” a 12” single featuring an unreleased 15-minute mono mix from 1966; and U2 “Red Hall Mining Town,” a 12” picture disc of an unreleased Steve Lillywhite remix.

Lambert said on the quirkier side, there is a reissue of avant-garde composer Moondog’s classic self-titled 1969 album on white vinyl; Ken Kesey “The Acid Test”, originally released in 1966 in a pressing of less than 500; and a Star Wars 40th anniversary edition Crosley Cruiser turntable. A complete list of limited-edition releases can be found on the Record Store Day web site.

As part of the celebration at the Princeton Record Exchange, free coffee will be given to the first 50 people in line courtesy of D’Angelo Italian Market.

Dogfish Head beer, the official beer of Record Store Day, has a special release for the day, “Beer to Drink Music to ‘17”. The beer will be featured, along with other Dogfish Head brews, at the Alchemist & Barrister starting at 3 p.m., and at the Public liquor store on Witherspoon Street, where there will be a tasting from 4 to 6 p.m. Posters and swag will be given away at those locations and the store.

Chris Harford will perform a free concert at the Record Exchange with the Band of Changes.

Capping off the day, Chris Harford and the Band of Changes will perform an in-store show at 6 p.m.

The store opens at 10 a.m., but customers line up much earlier than that to maximize their chances of scooping up rarer titles. Last year, several hundred people were waiting in line when the store opened.

The Princeton Record Exchange has been buying and selling new and used music and movies since 1980.  The store is located at 20 S. Tulane Street in downtown Princeton.