In some ways, Saturday will be just another day at the record store for the folks who work and shop at Bull Moose Music.

But millions of people around the country — including lots of major music industry executives — think that’s something worth celebrating.

Saturday will be the fourth consecutive celebration of Record Store Day, a growing national event originally conceived by Bull Moose’s marketing head, Chris Brown. This year, record stores will be hosting hundreds of live shows, and music labels have more than 250 special releases — including lots of collectible vinyl — set to hit stores on that day.

Here in Maine, numerous independent record stores will participate throughout the state. The Bull Moose chain will host free shows by local bands in eight stores from Sanford to Bangor, as well as in Portsmouth and Salem, N.H.

Portland band The Sophomore Beat will be playing on Record Store Day, and will be releasing their new EP “Party Like a Lobster” exclusively in Bull Moose stores that day. The EP comes out officially on April 19.

“Record Store Day gets us all excited about picking up a record at your favorite store,” said Jacob Simcock, the band’s manager. “It gets that spark of life back, which we think music is all about.”

Nationally, one of the special releases for Record Store Day has a decidedly Maine spin on it: “Live at Bull Moose” by The Decemberists. The indie rockers recorded the album during a show at the Scarborough Bull Moose in January.

“I had seen a gap in their schedule and suggested that they do a show here in January,” said Brown. “They were trying to record something for Record Store Day anyway, so they did the show and recorded it. It’s pretty cool.”

The album cover features a picture of the Bull Moose Scarborough store on the day The Decemberists played, with instruments in the foreground and a crowd of fans in the background.

One of those fans, Aubin Thomas of Portland, was first in line to see the show.

“I figured they would’ve gone with a photo of the band, but I’m glad they went for one with the audience in it, because that’s what I remember most about the show — the excitement that I shared with the people I waited in line with and saw the show with made the whole thing even better,” said Thomas.

“The cover photo captures the anticipation everyone was feeling, and I’m glad that I’m part of that moment.”

Other Record Store Day releases with Maine ties include former Maine resident Ray LaMontagne’s “Live Fall 2010” and a 7-inch vinyl re-mastering of the songs “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Son and Daughter” by Queen. Both releases were mastered by Bob Ludwig at his multiple-Grammy-winning studio Gateway Mastering in downtown Portland.

Brown is excited that Record Store Day seems to be growing each year, especially among bands and record labels. Last year, record companies put out about 150 special releases for Record Store Day. This year, there are about 250. (For a complete list, go to

Record Store Day is certainly helpful to record stores in terms of bringing in more potential customers. But it’s also a celebration of the physical record store, a place where people can browse, ask advice and be part of a like-minded community.

“There aren’t that many days people associate with buying music in a store — maybe Father’s Day and around graduation — but now, Record Store Day is becoming that,” said Brown. “And it’s great that companies in New York and Los Angeles are planning their release schedules to include it.”

Jeff Bowers, owner of ORG Music/Warner Bros. Vinyl, said that as a lifelong music fan, he’s glad there is a finally a day to celebrate record stores.

“We need independent record stores for the same reason we need friends and families,” Bowers said. “These living, real-world communities serve us, they make us happy. We can take the headphones off and listen to music together.

“They keep us emotionally intact.” 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]


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