Vinyl geeks used to making the annual Record Store Day pilgrimage each April had to go with the flow this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic sent organizers into plan B mode. At first, the global event with a local focus was rescheduled for June 20. But ultimately, they settled on doing a trio of record drops starting in late August. The second drop happens this Saturday, September 26, at participating record stores.
Organizers are urging people to shop safely, which means record stores are thinking about details like masks and social distancing. Some have specific rules posted on their websites or social media, but others are simply counting on customers to use common sense and respect their fellow vinyl folk. It’s best to show up with a mask, and be prepared to pace yourself if the store you’re visiting isn’t letting everyone inside at one time. This year, you’ll likely have to live without the thrill of being packed into a record shop humming with people who share the vinyl love.
The Record Store Day website has a list of titles being released for September 26, but you can’t get every title at every store. Selections vary according to what various record stores ordered, and what they actually received. Some offerings are Record Store Day exclusives, but others have been available in other settings. Printing the list ahead of time will make it easier to keep track of what you’re looking for, and what you’ve found. Check record store hours before you show up, and be there early if you’re hoping to get free swag, because it goes fast.
Here’s a look at seven metro Phoenix record shops, along with the basics about their Record Store Day plans. Some offer specials on other merch during Record Store Day, so you could end up snagging more than you’d planned. This year, you might feel better about splurging, knowing you’re supporting small businesses doing their best to keep you in great music despite trying times.
Guitarist Michael Bruce from the original Alice Cooper band does a meet-and-greet at Asylum Records during August’s Record Store Day event.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
2990 North Alma School Road, #5, Chandler
Record Store Day Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Guitarist Michael Bruce, a member of the original Alice Cooper band formed in Phoenix during the mid-1960s, will be at Asylum Records from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He’ll be signing autographs and posing for socially distant photos. Stephen Costantino, who appeared in Return of the Jedi, will be doing a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check the store Facebook page for signing and photo pricing.
2200 East Williams Field Road, #112, Gilbert
Record Store Day Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Grace Records will be enforcing its masks-required policy, and requiring customers to practice social distancing. Only a small group of people will be let in at one time, and there’s a one copy per shopper limit on every Record Store Day title. Check the store’s Facebook page Friday night for a video revealing available titles and the store’s layout.
12 West Camelback Road
Record Store Day Hours: Phones open 7 a.m.
Don’t show up at the shop, because Stinkweeds is doing Record Store Day by phone and online this time around. For the first two hours, they’ll be taking phone orders, so have your list ready when you call. Order then, and you can pick up your bagged order that afternoon after 1 p.m. (or during regular business hours during the week). After 10 a.m. on Saturday, you can order online and pick up your orders Sunday after 10 a.m. Customers can do mail orders on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. You can only order one copy of any given Record Store Day item. Stinkweeds will have goody bags for the first 24 callers on Record Store Day.
The colorful storefront on The ‘In’ Groove in Phoenix.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
The ‘In’ Groove
3420 East Thomas Road, Suite B
Record Store Day Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The ‘In’ Groove will do in-person Record Store Day sales for the first two hours. Starting at 10 a.m., remaining titles will be available on the shop’s website. The shop is doing free shipping on orders over $49 during Record Store Day.
Tracks in Wax
4741 North Central Avenue
Record Store Day Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You can shop in person for Record Store Day offerings at Tracks in Wax. The store has already revealed several of its available titles on its Facebook page.
Uncle Aldo’s Attic
6016 East McKellips Road, Mesa
Record Store Day Hours: Opens 10 a.m.
Uncle Aldo’s Attic is doing 10 percent off music items in the store, other than Record Store Day titles. There’s a limit of three Record Store Day releases per person. Masks are required and the store plans to make gloves available for those who want to wear them.
Multiple Valley Locations
Record Store Day Hours: Opens 7 a.m.
Zia Records is doing a socially distant lineup for the 7 a.m. opening. Unsold Record Store Day items will go up online at 10 a.m. The lineup area outside will be marked at 6-foot intervals, and the store will let small numbers of customers into the store at staggered times. Masks and social distancing are mandatory. There’s a one copy per title limit per person.