On the 12th annual Record Store Day (April 13). the fourth annual Record Store Crawl — an event that puts vinyl enthusiasts on a bus and shuttles them between various indie record shops — hit New York City.
This year, the NYC crawl expanded to include Manhattan. Revelers gathered at arrived at Hill Country BBQ Market for a lunch buffet and bottomless Deep Eddy Vodka (a sponsor) around noon on Saturday while singer-songwriter Sophie Auster and Americana band Hollis Brown performed sets.
Stops on the crawl included Turntable Lab in Manhattan, HiFi Records in Queens, and two Brooklyn stores — Halcyon and Rough Trade. At the latter store/venue, The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne was parked next to a giant silvery head. Named King’s Head, the art exhibit debuted in Ohio in 2015 and is finally starting to see the rest of the country (the walk-in exhibit inspired the Lips’ latest album).
From snapping up exclusives to live music on a bus, here’s the breakdown of Warner Music’s Record Store Crawl 2019.
12:00 pm: Hill Country BBQ opens its doors to crawlers, who get everything from chicken wings to gift bags with assorted vinyl titles.
12:33 pm: Sophie Auster wraps her satisfying full-band performance with the perfect amount of energy for an afternoon crowd — enough to get you amped up, but still leaving you wanting just a little bit more (and, in fact, there was more).
1:03 pm: Hollis Brown, named after the classic Dylan song, urge the crowd to “keep supporting independent music and music stores”; a bit of preaching to the choir, sure, but always worth reminding people. They brought their energized set to a close with the muscular “Do Me Right” from upcoming album Ozone Park.
1:32 pm: After everyone gets onto the bus, RSD Crawl organizers start raffling off various prizes while the bus winds its way through Manhattan. Highlights include the Bad Boy 20th Anniversary box set, Led Zeppelin t-shirts and an R.E.M. DVD.
1:45 pm: Arriving at Turntable Lab, the line for the exclusive RSD material is well around the block. The line-averse crawlers skip the exclusives and opt for the proper Turntable Lab store, which boasted an in-store DJ throwing down smooth grooves while people perused the diverse stock.
2:15 pm: With just minutes to go before the bus takes off, people finalize their decisions. A Prince collector snags some classic ‘80s 12 inches and one young kid gets Loaded — that is, the final Velvet Underground album.
2:39 pm: “I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve sang on a moving bus,” Sophie Auster says with a laugh before kicking off an intimate on-bus performance. With an acoustic guitarist accompanying her and another member of her band keeping rhythm on a wooden box, Auster opened with “Mexico,” a beguiling song with a classic feel that details a noir-ish tale about taking a man for all he’s worth south of the border.
2:50 pm: As the bus hits Queens, Auster pulls out a cover of Annie Lennox’s glorious “Walking on Broken Glass” that gets the whole bus clapping and smiling.
3:19 pm: At HiFi Records (which featured a Deep Eddy Vodka refill for those still thirsty), one crawler flips through the exclusives and announces there’s a title left from “Soccer Mommy, whoever that is.” “Oh my God!” exclaims a nearby man. “That’s literally the only title I wanted!” Naturally, he happily takes the For Young Hearts EP off her hands.
4:10 pm: The crew poses for a group photo near penultimate stop Halcyon.
4:20 pm: At Rough Trade, the final stop on the crawl, there’s a long line — but it’s understandable, considering Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is at the end of it. He’s at the massive Brooklyn record store to sign LPs, chat with fans and introduce King’s Head, the shiny, silvery walk-in art exhibit that features new Lips music and trippy visuals. The band’s latest album, King’s Head: Music and Songs, came out in limited quantities on RSD 2019 and sees wider release in July.