Music

Record Store Day

A guide to wax-based happenings around the secret vinyl paradise that is the Twin Cities.

Record bins at Treehouse Records
Treehouse Records

Now in its seventh year, this worldwide celebration of all things vinyl has made itself a surprise success much like the resilient breed of shop it celebrates: in a web-based world and an uncertain industry, local record stores and the LPs that line their shelves are going through a bit of a 21st century renaissance. The Twin Cities, though, has long enjoyed an exceptionally vibrant community of independent record stores, and just as each one has its own specialties in its stacks, every store has its own way to party for this year’s Record Store Day (April 19). Here’s what’s happening at each of these beloved spots around town.

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Mark Trehus's Treehouse Records is the adult music lover's version of the shop's namesake: it's like a cozy, near-magical hideaway, except here no passwords or precarious climbing are required. The store is small, but it's an institution; expect a line and a little friendly madness in the clamour for the nearly 300 new and special releases the shop is stocking for RSD. Live music returns this year with an acoustic performance from Sub Pop's LEE BAINS III.

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Roadrunner Records in Kingfield is a quiet, old school kind of place, stocked with an excellent balance of new releases, budget bins, local artists, and hard to find gems. Its festivities this year include the unleashing of special RSD releases and used vinyl into the stacks, bargain records out front, drinks and grilling out back, and an awesome custom-made Roadrunner Record Store Day shirt that comes free with a $50 haul. 

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The sleek, hip-hop focused Fifth Element stays true to its Rhymesayers connections with big sales on the label’s merch and CDs, along with giveaways, DJs spinning the shop’s wares, and live performances from local favorites such as Lizzo and Dem Atlas.

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Joe Furth built his third version of St. Paul’s Eclipse Records as an all-vinyl oasis, stocking his shelves with an eclectic mix of new and used records. This year, the downtown shop is hosting live DJ sets by local music personalities, including Martin Dosh, Martha and Neil Weir of The Chambermaids, Jake Rudh of Transmission, and Danny Sigelman of Secret Stash Records. Limited edition Record Store Day prints from Eclipse's recently defunct neighbors at Big Table Studio are available in the store.

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The new records half of Loring Park’s HiFi Hair and Records has a few treats from Midwestern punk rock heroes Hüsker Dü and Die Kreuzen stashed in its lushly memorabilia-decorated space, along with 20 percent off Twin/Tone albums and T-shirts. And the salon's jukebox, filled to the brim with local rock acts, is like a party of its own.

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Sub-culture outposts Extreme Noise and Into the Void have the Twin Cities’ best and hardest to find selections of punk rock and heavy metal, respectively. Volunteer-run Extreme Noise is celebrating its 20th year of providing a truly impressive variety of punk rock, metal, and independent music to punk teens and oldtimers alike, ringing in Record Store Day with coffee and pastries for morning, veggie dogs and soda for the afternoon, and live music.

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Into the Void is a relative newcomer to the Twin Cities, having opened as a sister store to its Dublin location in 2012. It's a welcome addition to the slowly-stirring milieu of Lowertown in St. Paul, conveniently tucked around the corner from punk-friendly and metal-minded Capitol Guitars. Visit for discounts on its well-curated selection of the heavy stuff.

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Know Name Records in far South Minneapolis and Golden Valley’s flagship Down in the Valley provide visitors with a trip to a more incense-scented past, full of Jim Morrison wall hangings. Down in the Valley promises a healthy portion of special Record Store Day releases, and is offering 20 percent off used vinyl and other merchandise in the store.

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Know Name is keeping things pretty low-key, with some sales on its inventory, but the team there is gearing up for the shop’s 37th birthday party later in the month. For both stores, their further-out locations mean they’re a little less crowded, and intrepid record hunters might have a better shot at picking up hard to find records and special releases.

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The Electric Fetus and Hymie’s Vintage Records go big for Record Store Day. The Fetus, a Minneapolis standby since it opened in 1968 (and survived a tornado in 2009), is hosting tons of live music from acts such as Sonny Knight & the Lakers and Middle Class Rut, along with DJ sets starting at 10 a.m. Peace Coffee and the shop’s Nicollet Ave. neighbors Glam Doll Donuts are serving sugar and caffeine to fortify the drooping individuals who’ve been waiting in line since dawn, with World Street Kitchen and Chef Shack food trucks rolling in for the afternoon.

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Picker’s paradise Hymie’s is once again shutting down the street for a Pabst Blue Ribbon-sponsored block party, featuring local artists and crafters, a beer garden furnished by Merlins Rest Pub, bins of free records, and live music all day from 14 local acts, including Martin Devaney, The Cactus Blossoms, Pennyroyal, and Black Diet's album release performance. And that's just outside. On top of all that is the shop's completely daunting collection of 45s and quite possibly the best international record selection in the Cities.

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Barely Brothers and Agharta Records are the newest vinyl spots in the Cities, both just off the new light rail Green Line. The folks at Barely Brothers opened just shy of the deadline that would let them sell special RSD releases, but they do have them in store and a few creative ideas about how to give them away for free. They’re also celebrating throughout the afternoon and evening with music from at least four bands including High Crimes and Two Harbors and 10 percent off everything in the shop.

Agharta2-640x400.jpgAfter a couple months of gathering up a diverse inventory of new and used records, Agharta is combining the festive atmosphere of Record Store Day with its own official opening celebration, featuring live music from Blackthorne, Blinds, and others, plus special deals and general merriment.

Photos of Treehouse, Into the Void, Roadrunner, Hymie's (by Mark Vancleve), and Fifth Element from Facebook.

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