Love it or hate it, it’s safe to say Record Store Day is here to stay. What started as an honest-to-goodness movement to encourage listeners to get out and support independent music retailers who were suffering in the advent of Amazon, streaming services, and the industry’s stark shift from physical to digital formats has quickly mutated into a halfhearted “holiday” with its fair share of icky elements.
Amid the ugliness of desperate novelty records and greedy “collectors” re-listing rarities on eBay while they’re still waiting in line to pay, some Milwaukee-area record shops, local bands, and other area businesses are doing their part to make this happening a worthwhile occurrence for all. On Saturday, April 22, the consumer event will basically be a full-fledged local holiday, complete with new releases from Milwaukee bands, sales and giveaways galore, in-store shows, and much more.
1. Acme Records & Music Emporium
After a few years away from celebrating Record Store Day, Acme Records & Music Emporium is back at it. The Bay View shop will have DJs (including Katie Rose, Sahan Jayasuriya, Stephen Strupp, and Eric Mildew) taking turns spinning records for one-hour shifts. At 5 p.m., Nathaniel Heuer will treat shoppers to a free Blight Record Project performance. On the vinyl side of things, Acme will putting out a great collection of used records (more than 500 premium used records will be new to the shop this weekend). And for the first time in many years, Acme will also have some new major label Record Store Day releases in stock.
2. Bullseye Records
As always, the independent East Side record retailer will apparently be offering a number of rare Record Store Day releases and a large section of sale-priced LPs.
3. Lilliput Records
For this year’s Record Store Day installment, Lilliput Records (and Milwaukee Record to a lesser extent) have ambitious plans for a day full of live music, DJ sets, a pop-up cafe, raffles for concert tickets and other goodies, and the chance to get discounts at nearby businesses. Oh, the store will also have some new Record Store Day releases on hand and will be offering sales on a variety of non-RSD releases all day long. Come for the deals and stay for free performances by Doubter, Heather The Jerk, and William Seidel. You can see more info here.
4. Rushmor Records
Obviously, Milwaukee’s longest-running record shop is celebrating Record Store Day. They’ll be stocking holiday exclusives from nationally-known artists, along with local RSD releases from Triple Eye Industries (more on that later) and Lack Of Reason. Speaking of Lack Of Reason, the band will play an in-store performance starting at 1 p.m.
5-8. Triple Eye Industries
It isn’t unusual for Triple Eye Industries to get in on the Record Store Day festivities. Though the Milwaukee label has been involved in some recent iterations of the consumer holiday, what they have planned for this year’s Record Store Day blows every one of those installments out of the water.
Instead of the typical one or two releases on Record Store Day, Triple Eye will has a staggering four releases from as many artists that includes goodies like lathe cuts, picture discs, unconventional handmade packaging, and even a full-fledged action figure. You can get the full scoop on Triple Eye Industries’ limited edition releases from Banana Clip, Whaler, M.Ape, and Red & Black here.
9. Volta Records
In the first Record Store Day in its existence, Volta Records—which used to be Greenfield’s Exclusive Company—is celebrating in a big way. The shop has ordered more than 300 Record Store Day 2023 titles, including great limited run and special variant releases. Volta will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, and the first 50 people in line will be a free general admission ticket to Summerfest. Beyond the RSD release, the suburban record store will offer sales all day long and will give away some goodies throughout the day. Oh, and 102.9 The Hog will have its van parked outside Volta on Saturday and will be giving away items to shoppers as well.
10. We Buy Records
Over in Riverwest, We Buy Records will have a curated selection of Record Store Day releases, including some UK RSD titles, that mostly land “on the rare groove end of things.” Stock up on soul, funk, reggae, and jazz releases. There will also be a “huge drop” of used $3 and $6 LPs in a variety of genres.
Though it doesn’t appear as if Musical Memories has anything specific planned for Record Store Day itself, it’s a downright awesome record store in Milwaukee that deserves some love. If you have time after hitting all these other places, stop by Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.