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For the Record

Article Published: Apr. 19, 2012 | Modified: Apr. 19, 2012
For the Record

From left, Fat Cats Music & Video employees Matt Groce and Michael Pierce prepare the store’s inventory for Record Store Day, returning Saturday, April 21.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Picture the “cool record store.”

“It is where you can talk to people who are like you,” The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne said in a interview. “They look like you, think like you and, most tellingly, like the same music as you.”

According to Coyne, the only comparable experience to visiting an independent record store would be visiting an art museum, “an actual place where you can stand and simply be surrounded by your heroes.”

Record Store Day, returning Saturday, April 21, celebrates the heroes not only emblazoned on record jackets, but those beyond the counter.

As singer-songwriter Tom Waits said in a similar interview, “Folks who work here are professors. Don’t replace all the knowers with guessers – keep ’em open, they’re the ears of the town.”

Boone’s ears of the town – Fat Cats Music & Video and 641 rpm – are celebrating in all-too-fitting style, with a day full of live music, giveaways and discounts.

Fat Cats’ landlords are even getting in tune, letting the store utilize one of its strip’s vacant spaces for live music, starting at 2 p.m. and featuring Sweater Teeth, Lisa Frank and Clover Buds. Around 5 p.m., members of The Native Sway and BPL will convene for a jam session, followed by No Eyes at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

The Record Store Day celebration continues at Black Cat Burrito (127 N. Depot St.) at 10:30 p.m., as 641 rpm presents L.A.-based Wreck of the Zephyr, with Clover Buds opening. Admission is free.

All throughout the daytime, customers can expect discounts and exclusive releases from the Record Store Day organization. “We’re going to get a lot of good stuff,” Fat Cats’ Michael Pierce said.

That includes exclusive vinyl releases from Animal Collective and Temporal Gyrus, as well as The Black Keys’ “El Camino” special edition, the Carolina Chocolate Drops covering Run DMC, Devo Live in Seattle 1981, the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star,” Buddy Guy, The Misfits, the deluxe edition of Phish’s “Junta,” a limited-release Grace Potter single, a Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice single, Uncle Tupelo LPs and a Townes Van Zandt limited LP.

“These are all on vinyl and will all be on sale, first come, first served,” Pierce said.

Fat Cats will also host a storewide sale on its regular inventory, while offering some free vinyl giveaways. The store will open an hour earlier than usual at 10 a.m.

Along with its Record Store Day exclusives, 641 rpm is offering a cash sale that Saturday, meaning customers receive a discount when paying in cash.

“I’m stoked about some of the stuff we’re getting in, like The Flaming Lips’ double LP,” 641 rpm owner Travis Reyes said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a few of those. I’d like one myself.”

He’s not the only one. Record Store Day was originally founded in 2007 as a celebration of independent record stores throughout the United States, in which stores and artists come together “to celebrate the art of music,” the organization’s website reads.

Its effect is noticeable, Reyes said, although he’d prefer customers to visit all throughout the year, rather than just one day.

“The original intention was to bring everyone’s attention to the fact there are still these brick-and-mortar shops … and that people should support them,” he said. “You shouldn’t just run up there one day of the year.”

The benefits of visiting an actual record store are obvious, Fat Cats owner Kevin Frith said.

“We’ve been here 17 years,” he said. “Michael (Pierce) knows more about music than anybody who’s worked here – you could ask him about Blind Melon Chitlin’ or the latest indie group from Denmark, and he’d have an answer for you.”

Reyes would like to up the ante with a regional celebration of independent record stores, featuring local and regional labels and releases and “keeping it fun” in the process, he said.

“There are a lot of labels in the Carolinas and the Southeast,” Reyes said, many of which can’t be found in big-box retailers, making independent record stores all the more relevant.

“Independent record stores are a vital source of the ever-changing cool,” guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani said on “They respond to the street faster than the chains can. They help us telegraph to each other what’s ‘now’ and what’s not, what we should be telling our friends and neighbors about, and what’s about to take off, or, no longer hot. Musical trends are confirmed at the local independent record store, by you and me.”

For more on Record Store Day, visit Fat Cats Music & Video is located at 965 Rivers St., and 641 rpm is located at 691 W. King St., both in Boone.

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