A fact not lost on anybody who attended last year's Record Store Day block party at Hymie's Vintage Records, the fifth annual mid-April national shopathon was dreamt up by a store owner in Atlanta, not Minneapolis.
"It's not the most ideal day of the year to do this in Minnesota," cracked Laura Hoenack, co-owner of Hymie's Vintage Records. Last year only about half of the bands scheduled to play there on Record Store Day got to perform on the outdoor stage. "We wound up getting snow. It was pretty miserable."
Other than wishing for a later date, though, you won't catch Hoenack or any other Twin Cities shop owners complaining about RSD, which lands again Saturday with truckloads of limited-edition merchandise and the livelihood of store owners nationwide on its shoulders. Hymie's, in particular, is betting on it again with an even more ambitious block party. It will have 15 bands playing and is adding a beer garden and a covered tent (take that, April snow!).
RSD has become such a big deal in the music business that "RSD" itself has become as ubiquitous an abbreviation as SXSW and LMFAO. Some of the big national releases being sold exclusively in participating indie stores Saturday include: a Flaming Lips double-vinyl collection with guests ranging from Ke$ha to Bon Iver; a split single of Mastodon and Feist covering each other's song; a free sampler from Sub Pop Records, and lots of new vinyl reissues from the Kinks, Uncle Tupelo, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osbourne and countless more.
Foremost among the locally made RSD-exclusive releases is "American Buffalo," an all-Minnesotan vinyl compilation from local manufacturer Noiseland Industries featuring Trampled by Turtles, Poliça, Doomtree, 4onthefloor and nine more. Rhymesayers' big RSD exclusive is a 10-inch colored-vinyl single with unreleased songs by Atmosphere and Aesop Rock's collaboration with Kimya Dawson.
Among the Electric Fetus exclusives will be the "Minneapolis 45" -- a 7-inch preview of an all-Twin Cities vintage funk compilation from vinyl-treasure seekers Secret Stash Records, anchored by Rufus Lumley's 1968 nugget "Minneap'lis, Minnesota."
Secret Stash co-founder Eric Foss had his own little complaint about RSD: He said the record-pressing plants that he relies on year-round are getting backed up because big labels "who normally don't care at all about vinyl" are cashing in on the demand. Still, he said, "Record Store Day is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to a much wider audience."
Jake and Lisa Luck, owners of Yeti Records, have put together quite an amazing in-store lineup for RSD to reintroduce people to their store: Although they plans to close, they'll remain open for at least the next couple months.
Here's a sampling of the performers that Yeti and other Twin Cities stores are cueing up for Saturday:
- Yeti Records: Magic Castles (1 p.m.), Marijuana Deathsquads (2), Leisure Birds (3), Mother of Fire (4), Seated Heat (5), Food Pyramid (6), the Blind Shake (7). 3506 Nicollet Av., Mpls.
- Electric Fetus: Secret Stash Records DJs (10 a.m.), Heartbeats (11), Erik Koskinen (noon), Malamanya (1 p.m.), Nightinghales (2), Howler (3), Eric Hutchinson (4). 2000 4th Av. S., Mpls.
- Fifth Element: "Lava Bangers" with Lazerbeak and Plain Ole Bill, plus performances by MaLLy, Auddio Draggon, Jimmy 2 Times, Fundo and Last Word. Set times TBA. 2411 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.
- Eclipse Records: "Celebrity" DJ sets by Kermit Carter (Superhopper), Jim McGuinn (89.3 the Current), Terry Walsh (Belfast Cowboys) and more. 381 Wabasha St. N., St. Paul.
- Hymie's: Outside stage: Brian Just Band (11 a.m.), Big Quarters(12:15 p.m.), Liminal Phase (1:30), Buffalo Moon (3), White Whales (4:30), plus "surprise guests" (6). Indoor stage: Pocahontas County (11 a.m.), the Cactus Blossoms (12:30 p.m.), the Ericksons (2:15), Ben Weaver (3:45), Martin Devaney (5), the Annandale Cardinals (6:15), Is/Is (7), the Goondas (8). 3820 E. Lake St., Mpls.
Mere babes when they won City Pages Picked to Click in 2008, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles have long since outgrown their cutesy, street-busker phase. "Heat," the prolific bunch's fourth album, could be called their first adult record. They made it in New York with Matt Boynton, an engineer for MGMT and Beirut.
There's more electric guitar than ukulele and way more sophistication. The floor-stomping opening track and first single "Just a Kid" even brings in pedal-steel guitar (now that's grown-up!). Michelle's wit and charm as a songwriter has blossomed most of all, whether it's her sexy come-hither wordplay in the snarly "Undone" or her post-breakup poetry in the elegant "Million Things," in which she sings the regretful refrain, "Everything changes in the light."
The official release date of "Heat" was pushed back to May 29 for international distribution. However, the band will have copies on sale Friday at First Ave, a stacked bill with Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons and Communist Daughter (9 p.m., $12-$15).
Wolf in the machine
Moonlighting of late in Dessa's band -- and doing so again Friday at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium -- Aby Wolf returns to center stage Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center with her own group, A. Wolf & Her Claws, promoting their self-titled debut (8 p.m., $10-$12, with Brute Heart opening). The Cedar's nonprofit arm actually commissioned Wolf to debut some of the songs there last year. They've gone through quite a gestation since then.
Like the transformation described in the butterfly ode "Disassemble" (one of just a couple fluttery duds here), Wolf added layers upon layers of electronic grooves and trip-hoppy tones to her former folk-poet self. Locally apt comparisons to Poliça fit hypno-rocking songs such as "Rise Anew," but there's more of an eccentric, Björk-like quality in such tunes as "Pluto." Wolf feeds well off the meaty groove of her capable band, featuring drummer Joey Van Phillips (Mystery Palace), keyboardist Linnea Mohn (Rogue Valley) and electronics wiz Jesse Whitney. Most of the record will, yep, get you in its Claws.
In addition to this weekend's Mid West Music Fest in downtown Winona (www.midwestmusicfest.org), another road-trip-worthy gig is going on Saturday about two hours east of the Cities in Neillsville, Wis., at the Silver Dome Ballroom. The historic venue is run by veteran music lawyer Doug Myren, who lined up the Silver Dome Spring Hootenanny with Jon Langford's mighty Waco Brothers, Grant Hart, Communist Daughter and the 4onthefloor (6:30 p.m., $15). ...
Speaking of Grant Hart, the makers of the "Color Me Obsessed" Replacements fan documentary started a Kickstarter campaign to make another movie on the former Hüsker Dü co-leader. ... Hart's former bandmate Greg Norton recently sat in with a new Chicago-based tribute band, Hüsker Düdes, which will make its Twin Cities debut June 20 at the Turf Club. Shouldn't be too intimidating a gig for them. ...
Two more album-release parties this weekend: Former Ol' Yeller leader Rich Mattson's noisier north-country band the Tisdales touts its third one, "Supercalda," at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall on Saturday (10 p.m., free). ... And veteran pop/R&B showmen the Westside Band has a rare new one, "Chillin'," to celebrate Saturday at Minnesota Music Cafe (9 p.m., $10). ...
While we're waiting to see if any local bands land on the main stages at the Basilica Block Party (announcement Friday), four of the five bands on the June 16 Rock the Garden lineup at Walker Art Center are locally connected: The Hold Steady will headline, and Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles and Howler will also perform. Now if somebody could get fifth band tUnE-yArDs to move here, then maybe we could get Howler frontman Jordan Gatesmith to eat his foot on stage at the show.