Matt Sullivan, left, and Patrick McCarthy from the Light in the Attic Records visited nine record stores in the L.A. area separately before joining forces to spin discs at Origami Vinyl. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
Neil Schield knew he could make a handful of changes for this year's Record Store Day, his third and the organization's fifth annual celebration. Doors could open at 8 a.m. rather than 10; the number of shoppers in the store was upped to 10 from five in 2011; and rather than use staff to play music, bring in guest DJs.
It all worked swimmingly at the vinyl-only record store two doors down from the Echo nightclub where bands were playing a free show all day. The first customers arrived at 5 a.m. and camped out on Sunset Boulevard in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. By the time Schield opened the small store's door, more than 40 people were on line to enter.
The first person in line, a student named Jake Leistre, was able to get all of the pieces on his wish list - albums by Sigur Ros, Dinosaur Jr. and Animal Collective - and a few other goodies. He probably was not joking when he said "it's probably ramen all week" as he paid.
Eliasarts music supervisor Jason Kramer sets up at the turntables in the loft of Origami Vinyl. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
Compared to other stores that opt for a frenzy when they open their doors on Record Store Day, Schield goes for a calm atmosphere, encouraging his cashier to take her time; one staffer is charged with alerting those online of records that have sold out. The vibe was peaceful, a throwback to the days when stores like Origami Vinyl were the only places to get hip music.
Schield had a healthy amount of product on hand - 1,304 LPs, EPs, box sets and seven-inch singles, all of them Record Store Day releases. Some were in abundance - The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr. and Smugglers Way, a 24-page zine with five FlexiDiscs - and in other cases there was only one copy on hand, the Sara Watkins/Everly Brothers split 7-inch, for example.
Origami Vinyl owner Neil Schield takes a spot behind the cash register for a few minutes. He spent the day restocking shelves and fetching records for customers. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
Within an hour it was easy to see which items were sitting high on fans' wish lists - the Flaming Lips' And Heady Fwends, Iggy Pop and the Stooges' Raw Power and the Mastadon/Feist split single were sold out in 45 minutes. The 12th, and final, copy of Sigur Ros' Hvart/Heim was bought just before 10 a.m. Ten minutes later, the Arctic Monkeys 7-inch on white of vinyl of "Don't Sit Down (Cause I've Moved Your Chair)" and "Brick By Brick" was sold out. By 11 a.m., a good 15 titles were gone. Max Sweeney was capturing activity in the store and the Echo on film for web posting at a later date.
One of the early arrivals secures a copy of Light in the Attic's Lee Hazelwood compilation. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
Music for the first four hours was provided by student disc jockeys from Loyola's KXLU. The afternoon started with a set from KCRW DJ and music supervisor Jason Kramer, who spun cuts by King Charles and the L.A. band No. Matt Sullivan and Patrick McCarthy from the reissue label Light in the Attic spun an eclectic mix that included tracks from their new Lee Hazelwood release, vintage soul from Johnny Adams and mega-obscure '70s country rock from Canadian Native Americans.
Origami closed at 10 p.m., 14 hours after opening. Schield said he would sort through all the details of sales on Monday, but as far he was concerned this year's Record Store Day surpassed last year's by 45 percent - and last year's Record Store Day was by far the biggest day of sales in the store's history.
Sunday, he took the day off.
At 7:30 a.m., about 40 people have another half-hour to wait before entering Origami Vinyl. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
While iPhones were the most commonly used devices for holding wish lists, plenty of others used other old-fashioned methods. (Photo: Phil Gallo)