Aine and I have been competing in Record Store Day for 6 years; we usually win because no one else knows about the contest to see who can visit the most stores. This year our victory is bitter sweet. Record Store Day 2020, during the time of the coronavirus, was a silent tour. We saw no bands. No stores were open. But we stopped by 14 stores and a few Minneapolis musical highlights.
It was fun to do something normal in this horribly unusual time. We are hoping that next year we’ll be slowed down with people and music. In the meantime we’re going to buy music and merch online and encourage everyone else to do the same! Links in the list.
- Cheapo Records in St Paul. This is always our first stop due to proximity to our house. I’ve been shopping there since high school. It has moved across the street at times but always hovering around that corner on Snelling Avenue.
- Barely Brothers Records is a newer entrant to the Twin Cities record store scene. It’s a fun place to see music throughout the year. One highlight was Sarah Shook a few years ago.
- Agharta is just around the corner from Barely Bros. They had a Record Store Day poster on the door that nearly brought tears to my eyes. And we missed their annual cake.
- Hymie’s Vintage Records was a heartbreak – they normally close the street and have a wide range of music. I’ve seen Chastity Brown and The Blind Shake. I don’t think it was the same year, but it could have been. They’re that good!
- Dead Media is a highlight. We’ve seen some interesting bands there and last year Aine got a bunch of home-recorded tapes from the 80’s. If I didn’t know better I would swear I recognized the handwriting on the case.
- The Record Stop on W 38th Street was a new place for us. Looks nice from the outside. And it is very near a friend’s house and we were able to drop off a load of face masks. (Quick, nice pandemic story – Monica runs a homeless shelter and Billy, our grade school friend, donated 350 masks.)
- Roadrunner Records always feels like a serious record collector’s record store. A few years ago we ran into a crush of mine there – so I keep it on the list.
- Extreme Noise was a sad reminder that today would have been a perfect Record Store Day to invite Uncle Billy to take us to the roof top at Stella’s. It’s a sometimes tradition that we really, really missed. Aine did point that we’ll also missed the special smell of teen spirit we’ve enjoyed in the past at Extreme.
- Cheapo Records in Minneapolis was a quick stop. (OK, they all were.) The highlight of Minneapolis Cheapo is out next stop.
- Glam Doll Donuts! Yes, they are open to walk-ups. Pick your donut from the window and they will serve it up. In fact, and I can’t make promises here, we got an extra donut. I ordered a Calendar Girl, but turns out I really preferred Aine’s Fruitty Pebble donut. (Not the real name, but apt description.)
- Electric Fetus Electric Fetus was another heart breaker. One of my favorite Record Store memories is a sing-a-long at the Electric Fetus with Jeremy Messersmith. Aine was young enough to sit on the floor up front – now she’s inches taller than me – so it was a few years ago.
- Hi Fi Hair, next to Loring Park, was closed but at least the park was full. It was great to see some life in the city. I’ve never done it on Record Store Day, but HI Fi Fair is always a great place for a haircut.
- SolSta Records/Solid State Vinyl was one of our last stops, which means we’re getting closer to home again. No food truck, no bands. But you can almost hear the Minnehaha Falls in the distance.
- Final stop – Birolius Editions. OK I found this one when I looked up “record stores near me” and it is. It’s a two minute walk from my house. It’s a house. Looks like they have one record they are selling. Says the music is from St Leo’s but the picture on the website was from Nativity. Don’t try to trick a longtime St Paulite.
I didn’t keep track of the number of places we visited today as we toured but we tied with last year!! And I’m going to give us some extra credit with our musical art stops:
- Prince mural
- Bob Dylan mural
- First Avenue Stars