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Don't Say "Vinyls"

Vinyl enthusiasts and casual collectors are gearing up for Record Store Day, a ‘made-up holiday’ that promises exclusive releases and live performances at Riverside’s three local independent record stores this Saturday.

A “record shop” sign at the corner of University Ave. and Lemon St. proudly points the way to the Penrose Record Room.

I can already hear the naysayers. Record Store Day is a made-up holiday. Well, every holiday is made up if you go back far enough. Shopping for records on Record Store Day may be like green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, but if the worst hangover is a cash injection for independent record stores, count me in. 

As digital media and streaming exploded around Y2k, music producers and consumers declared physical media dead. The convenience and quality of digital audio made the new technology irresistible. Most of us stream our music. But we do it knowing that there is something less satisfying about our collections in the cloud.

We like to touch, feel, and read our records. The market underestimated the allure of collecting, and vinyl record sales have increased for a decade or more. In 2020, vinyl records passed CD sales to prove that the format wasn’t undead like a zombie but alive like resurrected. 

We have a few independent shops around town, and they don’t mind if you only show up for a made-up holiday. If you’re out and about and want a novelty experience or a seasoned vinyl hunter looking for your white whale, make your way into a shop. Most places have Record Store Day exclusives, and many shops have special events to celebrate their day in the spotlight.

Penrose Record Room 

The Record Room knows how to throw a party. Penrose label artists will be in the store, performing throughout the day. The Record Room offers a curated experience in a full range of genres, though its specialties are Oldies and Soul. If you haven’t checked them out, the store is beautiful and has a prime downtown location on Lemon between Mission Inn and University.

The Rat Hole

It’s a bit on the grimy side. The Rat Hole is what comes to mind when I think of a classic record shop. You could kill a couple of hours flipping through the stacks or pick up a T-shirt, sticker, or pin. The Rat Hole is at 10015 Magnolia Avenue, behind the appliance repair shop.

The Elements Shop

This Brockton Arcade newcomer isn’t your standard record shop. The name “Elements” refers to the four elements of hip-hop culture: rapping, breakdancing, graffiti, and DJing. The Elements Shop is at 6704 Magnolia Avenue and will feature live DJ sets from 1 to 3 p.m.