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Record Day attracts a record crowd

This article was published in Central Jersey on April 19, 2010


PRINCETON — By 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, a line of more than 80 music lovers snaked down the block in front of the Princeton Record Exchange, Princeton’s independent music store.

”We had a huge mob of people before we opened at 10, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Sabrina de la Torre, an employee of the Record Exchange. “It’s been absolutely crazy.”

The event was the third annual National Record Store Day, a nationwide celebration of independent record stores. At the Record Exchange, buyers volleyed to get their hands on some of the 150 limited edition releases that were distributed exclusively to independent stores Saturday.

The most exciting releases, which included a 10-inch live Bruce Springsteen album, a 12-inch R.E.M release, a 7-inch EP from Elvis Costello and the Attractions and a number of limited edition John Lennon records, “sold out almost immediately,” said employee Jim Edenbaum.

The Lennon records were gone in 20 minutes; Bruce disappeared in 30.
The store also boasted a number of free offerings, including an exclusive Record Store Day Choice Cuts vinyl compilation with tracks from bands like Aqualung and Steel Panther.

Mr. Edenbaum was “blown away” by this year’s turnout, which filled the store and spilled out into the street.

”It’s been bigger every year, but this is incredible,” he said. “It’s so great for the store.”

The event also acted as an opener for the Record Exchange’s 30th anniversary celebration, which will continue all week, culminating with Princeton’s Communiversity festival next Saturday.

Recently named the nation’s best college town record store by Phil Gallo in USA Today, the Record Exchange attracts buyers from throughout the East Coast with its extensive vinyl offerings. Mr. Gallo, co-author of the new book, “Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again,” called the store “the best place between New York and Philadelphia.”

While Ms. de la Torre said the crowd was “winding down” by mid-afternoon, more than a dozen people still waited in line at the cash registers, and the store was packed with adults and young people alike, all searching for a good bargain.

”Jackpot!” shouted one shopper upon finding a copy of “Places Like This,” a 2007 album from the Australian alternative band, Architecture in Helsinki, in the $1.99 bargain bin.

”I’ve been wanting to go see our bands playing across the street all afternoon, but it’s just been too insane here,” said Mr. Edenbaum, grinning.

Local bands Dinner, Richard Barone and Chris Harford with His Band of Changes drew a sizable crowd in front of the Princeton Public Library. As toddlers danced to the music, adults wandered through the plaza with their dogs and chatted with Record Exchange employees.

The event was held in conjunction with the library’s Earth Day Festival, and local businesses cycLAB and the Whole Earth Center had tables promoting sustainable living. The Record Exchange staff encouraged audience members to recycle their old records and CDs by selling them to the store.

Ms. de la Torre credited the event’s diverse clientele to the Springsteen and Lennon releases, which attracted many older vinyl aficionados. Releases from alt-rock groups like the Beastie Boys, the Apples in Stereo and Deerhoof brought in a younger crowd.

”I mean, it’s National Record Store Day; I can’t miss this!” said Brad Wilson, a Princeton freshman and Mercer County native, who has attended all three Record Store Days the store has held since 2008. “It’s a new Princeton institution.”

Though Mr. Wilson arrived too late for many of the limited edition releases, he was just excited to be there.

”I love wandering around the store on any terms,” he said.

”And, after all, what can I do? I don’t even have a record player with me on campus,” he added ruefully.


This Article was written by Julia Baumke and Published in the Central Jersey on 04/19/10. We appreciate their attention to the local businesses of Princeton, and highly recommend Central Jersey to all of our customers.


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