First, some general advice: While most of the shops around town will be stocking exclusive Record Store Day releases, we (and in many cases, employees of the shops themselves) don’t know exactly which ones they’ll get. Remember: Even if you know a store will have the release you’re looking for, the phrase of the day is “while supplies last.” So RSD is best appreciated with an open-minded browsing mentality.
Also, we’ve highlighted a few stores here, but there are plenty of others to visit, including Boulder staple Albums on the Hill and Angelo’s in Denver, which will host live performances from a handful of experimental and hip-hop groups.
9 a.m.: Bart’s Record Shop (1625 Folsom Street, Boulder) The lines at some of the bigger stores in Denver will be anxiety-inducingly long in the morning, so start your day off about thirty miles away, in Boulder. Bart’s, a little shop that has recently moved from a small space in north Boulder to a proper storefront on Folsom, will have free coffee and doughnuts on hand for early risers. The shop will also stock a slew of special Record Store Day releases and some other rare finds curated by Bart himself.
What to buy: Pick up an official Record Store Day release. Those will run out quickly, so you might as well get your novelty shopping out of the way first thing in the morning.
11 a.m.: Absolute Vinyl (5360 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder) Before you head back to Denver to breathe the same air as Damien Rice (don’t worry, we’ll get there), take Arapahoe Road to Absolute Vinyl. Run by longtime Boulder resident Doug Gaddy, this shop specializes in old records and amazing audio equipment. But Gaddy knows about new music, too. He’ll have a bunch of special releases and live performances, including a set by Pizza Time at 1 p.m. That project — the brainchild of Denver musician David Castillo — marks the tail end of a farewell tour, so this is one of your last chances to grab a slice of the action.
What to buy: Because Gaddy is a Boulderite, ask him to recommend a good Boulder artist to check out. Or look for Totem, by Denver band Snake Rattle Rattle Snake; it was Westword’s Best Album of the Year, and it is sure to satisfy.
1 p.m.: Chain Reaction Records (8793 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood) On your way back into the Mile High City, stop in at Chain Reaction, a relatively new Lakewood record store. If you’re looking for something loud, this is your place. Chain Reaction is also an official Record Store Day participant, so you’ll be able to find some special-release 45s.
What to buy: The clerks here can most definitely recommend some cool punk. If you’re at a loss, Ty Segall teamed up with Ex-Cult to record and release the “Ties You Up/New Virtues” seven-inch just for Record Store Day; see if they’ve got that.
3 p.m.: Twist & Shout (2508 East Colfax) Now that your car is full of amazing records and you’re dizzy and tired from looking at aisle after aisle of music, it’s time to go to Denver record-store giant Twist & Shout to listen to the dream-like Irish vocals of Damien Rice. He’ll be doing an in-store performance at 3 p.m. You can pick up wristbands now at Twist & Shout for the free show, so if you plan to attend, get over there and get one soon as you’re done reading this. They’ll go fast.
What to buy: We recommend OpenAir Live at the UMS 2014. It features live performances from Denver artists as well as a track from honorary locals Residual Kids.
5 p.m.: Wax Trax (638 East 13th Avenue) Though not an official Record Store Day participant, Wax Trax is a Denver institution, so if you don’t make a purchase here, you really didn’t celebrate properly. This is the place to go when you’re tired of looking at special seven-inch records handmade with South African beeswax by Jack White or whatever.
What to buy: End the day by getting something you know you’ll listen to over and over. There are plenty of novelties available, and those are tremendous fun. But more than anything else, Record Store Day should serve as a reminder of the wonderful resources offered by record stores every day of the year.