Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

There’s room for everybody on Record Store Day (April 21).

Because old-school vinyl attracts both the cultivated (who appreciate crackling analog warmth) and the retro-chic (who buy 12-inches of 1989 by Taylor Swift at Barnes & Noble), the first RSD marked a big opportunity for music sellers back in 2007. Major labels now reissue classics and print never-before-scratched exclusives (this Saturday, make sure you bag Back in Black by AC/DC, “Back & Forth” by Aaliyah, a number of David Bowie rarities, Prince’s 1999, and tons more) while salt-of-the-earth indie record stores offer deals and hoist flags in their neighborhoods: We are here. We like music. Come join the community—especially since it’s on the rise again.

CDs and vinyl have outsold digital downloads this year, for the first time since 2011, according to revenue reports from the Recording Industry Association of America. With such sticking-around power, we’ll likely look back on this trend as something more. We’ve taken it seriously since the beginning in Minnesota. Here’s where you can partake in RSD, in both the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, with live music (and donuts) thrown in:

Metro Record Stores

Roadrunner Records (Minneapolis)

The store on Nicollet opens at 9 a.m., promising a fast-moving line, records released from their secret vault, and coupons with every purchase good through June. At noon, a grill gets toasting on the patio. People chill, and six musical acts take a backyard stage (in the “motorcycle graveyard”), including folk-rock group Billy & Ernie Batson, alt-pop band Mere Kats (with a new CD), and garage-rockers The Carnegies (also with a new CD). Later on, get your fried-chicken fix at Revival, kitty corner. Learn more.

Down in the Valley (Golden Valley, Maple Grove, Crystal)

The largest indie chain in the Twin Cities, Down in the Valley has locations in Maple Grove and Crystal as well as in Golden Valley, where a special acoustic performance by Dave Pirner and Ryan Smith of Minneapolis-born alt-rock band Soul Asylum will break in RSD. For entry, purchase the band’s limited-edition, previously unreleased LP Live from Liberty Lunch or buy a general admission ticket, on sale at 7 p.m. until capacity is reached. Performance starts at 8 p.m. Learn more.

The Electric Fetus (Minneapolis, Duluth)

It’s year 50 for the Electric Fetus, and the iconic Minnesota institution always does RSD right, this year with Peace Coffee, Glam Doll Donuts, nationally acclaimed hotdogs from Natedogs, gourmet grilled cheese by O’Cheeze, smothered-in-toppings ice cream by Minnesota Nice Cream, daringly flavored beers from Dangerous Man, and free goodie bags. Stay for hourly giveaways of gift cards and concert tickets, plus seven performances including hip-hop artist Greg Grease and math rockers Why Not. It’s kid-friendly: The tots can learn about recycling vinyl and make their own album cover. Learn more.

Fifth Element (Minneapolis)

This indie hip-hop store is the official retailer of local label Rhymesayers. So, for RSD, all Rhymesayers CDs are 50 percent off, vinyl 20 percent off—with deals on paraphernalia, too (think: sunglasses, tees, socks), so you can expand your library and outfit your closet in state pride. Learn more.

Flashlight Vinyl (Minneapolis)

Get up early; shoppers will probably start lining up at 7 a.m. for the 8 a.m. gourmet donuts and coffee, provided by Minneapolis’ wonderfully named Sssdude-Nutz. Once you’re in, stick around for giveaways and a performance by Twin Cities-bred rapper Carnage the Executioner at 4 p.m. Also: Come back Sunday (4/22) for 25 percent off all used vinyl. (No vendors market this year, thanks to the bonkers weather.) Learn more.

Caydence Records & Coffee (St. Paul)

Caydence’s cozy café vibe gets a little cozier, with an additional 3,000 vinyls for sale. Their sidewalk sale includes art and books. Nonprofit Twin Cities Catalyst Music promotes all-ages local music onsite. From 9 to 11 a.m., sample Gray Duck Chai, then apps from Tongue in Cheek restaurant until 2 p.m., and dig into peanut butter-and-kimchi sandwiches from Cook St. Paul from 3 to 6 p.m. Live acts include indie-rock group ColourCaster and punk-inflected The Bad Man. Learn more.

Hymie’s Vintage Records (Minneapolis)

Hymie’s annual block party features six acts, this year including the aching country-blues of Charlie Parr, the hip-hop genius of Toki Wright & Big Cats, and the New Orleans jazz stylings of Southside Aces. It’s pretty much a pre-summer music festival. Learn more.

Solid State Vinyl Records (Minneapolis)

At just over a year old, Solid State has expanded, offering candles, pillows, necklaces, and coasters in addition to vinyl and CDs. On RSD, the first 50 customers who spend more than $50 get a swag bag, but everyone can treat themselves to Peace Coffee and Daily Coffee, plus donuts from local bakery Mel-O-Glaze and tacos from food truck Flagsmash. Later, at 7 p.m., Minneapolis indie group Early Eyes performs. Learn more.

Know Name Records (Minneapolis)

RSD happens to mark Know Name’s 41st, making the occasion extra special. A glass artist onsite will make custom pieces and knick-knacks for shoppers, and singer-songwriters Averil Bach, Todd Jameson, and Renée Austin will perform. Learn more.

Southern MN

Tune Town (Mankato)

Twenty shoppers at a time wander through this beloved Mankato establishment, to peruse for 10 minutes before checking out. This means you don’t have time to agonize over what you’re going to get, and the line progresses in a smooth, predictable fashion (with rules against saving spots and budging). The Heavy Metal Grill food truck stops by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with Philly Cheez-Whiz steak sandwiches and mojito-lime chicken tacos. For early arrivals, Coffee Hag passes around free joes at 7 a.m. Three Modest Mouse tickets will go by day’s end, and seven acts will play, from singer-songwriter Stacy K. to rock band Fury Things. Learn more.

Rochester Records (Rochester)

After moving to a bigger location, right next to its old space, Rochester Records is ready to become the city’s purveyor of pleasant surprises—that feeling you get when you find the title that’s escaped you for so long. With staff committed to tracking down releases, this place encourages visitors to open up about the deep cuts of their dreams. Learn more.

Northwest MN

Mother’s (Moorhead)

Mother’s points out that RSD is for all the indie record stores out there, the ones able to get their hands on the holiday’s exclusive releases. That means it’s also for our little local music scenes. (Something we might forget, given the big-label releases.) Mother’s has put in its biggest order yet this year—up 50 percent from last year. The lineup includes indie-rock band Go Murphy and singer-songwriter (and Moorhead native) Pat Lenertz. As a thanks to loyal customers, free pizza goes around at 2 p.m. Learn more.