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Your Local Guide to Record Store Day

Exclusive releases will entice music lovers to independent stores. But the annual event is about much more than snagging good tunes.

John Lennon famously said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

Less controversial, the folks behind Record Store Day have said the annual get-out-and-buy-vinyl campaign is more important than Christmas.

That's because thousands of shoppers will flock to independent record stores across the nation on Saturday in search of exclusive, one-day-only releases. But ask any vinyl enthusiast, and they'll tell you that while Record Store Day is certainly about snagging those enticing rarities, it's also about supporting local business.

Think about it. Think of the folks who run the local stores here in town. You probably know their names, asked them for recommendations and had some pretty great discussions about music.

Not too long ago, I asked Val and Shayne over at for some recommendations for 60s psychedelic garage rock. They gave me a list of 11 must-hear albums, from classics like The Grateful Dead's Aoxomoxoa to lesser-known wonders like The Small Faces album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. (Seriously, how good is that album's opening track?) I ended up buying The Zombies Odessey and Oracle. Great choice.

Try getting that advice from some hapless associate at a big box store.

Look, I love the convenience of streaming and downloading music online. In fact, as I write this, I'm using Spotify. At some point today, there's good chance I'll switch to Pandora or the people-powered Turntable.fm.

But somehow those services feel passive, like background music. When it's time to really dial into the tunes, you just can't beat selecting an album, pulling it out from the paper sleeve, dropping the needle "oh so gently" and letting it rip.

Here's a look at the local stores that will help make that happen, on Saturday and every other day.

239 Harrison St. in Oak Park; Opens at 9 a.m.

"We don't know what we're getting, just get here early," according to the store's Facebook page. They'll open at 9 a.m. and offer donuts, coffee and a storewide sale on all used items. Oh, and if you snagged the store's recent Groupon offer you can only use it on used items, not on the exclusive Record Store Day releases.

179 S. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park; Opens at 10 a.m.

The venerable South Oak Park Avenue shop is offering 20 percent off of all used merchandise, including LPs, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes. They'll have a few items from the special Record Store Day releases, too.

As an added bonus, owner Alan Heffelinger says they'll offer "free homemade cookies that my wife and kids will make on Friday night."

The Old School Records

7446 W. Madison in Forest Park; Opens at 10 a.m.

The Madison Street store is promising "tons" of special releases. A small sampling: LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Lee Hazelwood, Destroyer and more. They'll also offer discounts, including 10 percent off all used items and 20 percent off all budget items.

DJs from Chicago's Sonorama collective will be spinning in-store for most of the day. Two music local music acts featuring kid talent are scheduled: Althea Grace at noon and Daniel Fromberg at 2 p.m.

Cyklopx Records

7511 W. Madison St. in Forest Park; Opens at 9 a.m.

The "one stop pop culture shop" will serve free refreshments and free tunes, courtesy of an in-store performance from Chicago indie-rockers Canasta. They'll perform at 11:30 a.m.

The store is also throwing a sale — 10 percent off vinyl and 25 percent off CDs.

On the store's Facebook Page and Twitter feed, Cyklopx is promising to reveal on their official website some of the exclusive releases they'll be selling on Saturday.

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