Aquarius Records properly kicked off Record Store Day in the Mission District Saturday with a barrage of beer and ice cream punctuated by new “day only” releases to soothe the palates of oncoming music aficionados.
“Today is awesome,” Andee Connors, an owner of Aquarius said as he reached into a cooler full of beer and grabbed a Tecate. “There’s stuff here today that’s only available at independent stores.”
Record Store Day was created in 2007 to celebrate the culture behind the nearly 700 independently owned record stores in the country, according to founder Chris Brown.
So every third Saturday of April, record stores all over the country and internationally put on a party and talk vinyl.
And many bands all over the world choose Record Store Day to debut re-releases or new albums in an effort to give back to the neighborhood record store.
Connors was quick to mention that he’ll be picking up a copy of the new Nada Surf album, “If I Had Hi-Fi,” which is a Record Store Day release.
“It’s an all-covers record that is the shit,” he said.
With iTunes, Amazon and illegal downloading of music, Connors said it’s nice to see a large turnout of faithful record enthusiasts.
“It’s our busiest day ever,” he added.
“Today reminds people of records, it brings them out,” he said after discussing with a customer his desire to raid their vinyl collection.
Customers in Aquarius spent their sunny Saturday afternoon browsing the Record Store Day releases and sales section while they drank free beer and ate chips with salsa from a nearby taqueria.
“I’m here to hang out and pick up Sonic Youth’s ‘EVOL’ re-release,” Sammy Franco, a Stanford alumni and DJ on KZSU 90.1FM’s Orangeasm show. “That album makes me feel depresso and fuzzy; it reminds me of beautiful blonde women I kicked to the curb.”
Franco, a former reporter for the Jewish Weekly News of Northern California, was fired for being an anarchist and atheist.
Another record lover pointed out how she loved reading the reviews by the store, which are written on nearly half the records.
Aquarius does a great job at connecting to the people that come into the store, said Tamara Lipton, who came from the East Bay to peruse the records and new releases.
“I can’t decide what I’m going to buy,” she said as she sifted through seven different albums in her palms. “I can only buy one; it’s always a problem.”
Since 1970 Aquarius has been the neighborhood record store, according to Connors. He said that he’s been working at the same spot on Valencia and 22nd streets for 16 years.
Connors admitted he was skeptical of Record Store Day at first citing it has a fake holiday, but now it’s helping his business more than anything, he said.
“Everyday should be Record Store Day,” he added.