Smile Politely

Your guide to Record Store Day 2017

Tomorrow, April 22nd, marks the tenth anniversary of Record Store Day – the day that we dedicate to appreciating the indie record store. What does “indie record store” mean, you say? It’s an independently-owned, small-time music shop that probably needs your help. It may be the newly established vinyl place down the road that you think is pretty cool. (Hope it’ll stick around.) Or it could also be the dusty little music place from your childhood that you rode your bike to on the weekends, where you proceeded to drop every cent of your allowance without batting an eye. That place? There’s a Subway there now. (True story.)

It’s also possible that your store is up and running and doing just fine, and if so, it’s in your hands to keep it that way. Indie record stores go through a constant struggle to stay open and keep afloat, and Record Store Day is an opportunity to recognize that fact and seek to remedy it, one person at a time. Do your part to keep small business music vendors alive tomorrow by picking up some tunes from one of your local record stores.

Here are some of the festivities planned for Record Store Day at three of C-U’s best record stores.


116 N. Walnut, Champaign

Exile’s third tenth RSD celebration will feature hundreds of releases you can only find in an indie music shop, with specials that are exclusive to the holiday. Exile always participates in the biannual Record Store Day release day, which means they’ll have some of the freshest stuff to check out. The shop will open up at 7 a.m., so get there early. In addition to the recorded tunes, Exile will continue to uphold its reputation of hosting a slew of great live music. It’ll be an entire day of performances from mostly local bands, with over twenty acts scheduled to perform. They’ll be playing on two different stages, inside and outside, rotating back and forth.

Here’s the day’s full schedule:

10:00 – Los Guapos

10:45 – Jim Hewitt

11:30 – Aaron Short (the Bashful Youngens)

12:00 – Slick Lisp

12:30 – A Fightin’ Duo (the Fights)

1:00 – Winder

1:30 – Single Player

2:00 – Bardo

2:30 – Patrick

3:00 – Vimana

3:30 – the Districts

4:00 – Social Imaginary

4:30 – Kurt Bielema

5:00 – Our Landmark

5:30 – Tricia Scully

6:00 – Motes

6:30 – Stan McConnell (Santah)

7:00 – the 92s

7:30 – Anamoli & M.A.G.

8:00 – Kowabunga! Kid

8:30 – Chase Baby

9:00 – We The Animals

9:30 – the Dirty Feathers

In addition to the music, Exile will have a face painting table, and tables for a couple other great local businesses: Wolf’s Bane Beard Care and Tracks On Wax Candles. This year, a RSD participant can also take advantage of the fact that the Champaign iteration of Black Dog just so happened to move in a block away from the music shop. If you don’t end up spending all your cash at Exile, why not put it towards delicious local barbeque?

Exile On Main St. also have some plans for post-RSD. On Sunday the 23rd, they’ll host what is being called the Record Store Day Afterglow. They’ll offer discounts on the remaining RSD stock and even have MORE live music from three more bands, which will start at 2 p.m. Performances include Katie Flynn, koalasarevicious, and Etumu Elmari.


123 W. Main St., Urbana

This year, See You will offer up a collaboration with Sipyard, the beer garden across the street. There will be music for sale at both locations. See You will start the day off right in the same fashion as last year with coffee and some always amazing Pandamonium Doughnuts. See You’s got a 7 a.m. opening time, so if you want your donut door prize, you’ve got to rise and shine. Try not to get crumbs on the wax. See You will have offers exclusive to RSD, and many great new and used LPs available as well. At 3 p.m., Sipyard will begin spinning records for the occasion, and at 4, the live music will start. In the case of inclement weather, the live music will move from Sipyard into the nearby Pizza M.

Here is the lineup for See You’s RSD celebration:

– Rest You Sleeping Giant
– Sleeping Okami
– Signal to Noise
– Frog is Green
– Xanax Princess
– Kaily Moon Schenker and Nick Keeling


114 E University Ave, Champaign

One of the classic veteran indie music stores in C-U is Record Swap. Though they’ve gone through different locations and incarnations, the place has been in business for almost forty years. If these guys can hang on for that long, they must be doing something right. Each Record Store Day, Record Swap offer up 20% off of all used LPs, CDs and cassettes, and 10% off all new (non-RSD Spring release) LPs. Their 7 a.m. start time should be no sweat for any vinyl geek, especially considering that this year, they’ll be trying out something new: An exclusive rarities selection bin. These will be some of the rarest LPs that the store has purchased over their entire tenure. Check out information from the Facebook page for more specifics on that:

In addition to the standard RSD exclusives, we are putting out a special selection of uncommon/rare used LPs that will be only made available on Record Store Day. These include excellent (and 99% original press) copies of classic titles and rarities alike. 


This concludes your Record Store Day preview, except for one last plea. DON’T let this be a once-a-year excursion for you! Keep the indie record stores open. As a unit, they are a key part of music culture that can’t ever be reproduced or brought back. Shop early, shop often, and shop year round.

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