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Portland stores to feature special deals for April 20 event

Saturday is shaping up to be a record day in Portland.

Hundreds of independent record stores across the country celebrate Record Store Day the third Saturday of April each year, and this year that’s April 20.

“This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music,” notes the event’s organizers at recordstoreday.com. “Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day, and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances.”

Record Store Day first took place April 19, 2008, the site adds, and it appears a number of record stores in Portland will participate this year.

Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St., will mark the day with a performance by Cooper, a soulful singer, who will release a 7-inch picture disc at the outlet. Meanwhile, Jackpot Records, with locations at 203 S.W. Ninth Ave. and 3574 S.E. Hawthorne St., is promoting the release of a limited-edition boxed set of three recordings by Jandek, the mysterious underground atonal folkie from Texas. Additionally, Steve Turner, lead guitarist of Mudhoney, will be spinning records from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ninth Avenue store, says Tony Gradischnig, “record store clerk supreme.”

A list of participating Portland stores is available on the Record Store Day website. Be cautioned, however, some of the stores don’t actually participate (and a couple no longer exist). One that does is Beacon Sound, 1465 N.E. Prescott St., owned by Andrew Neerman, who says he has a number of activities planned.

“I’ll be giving away newly designed Beacon Sound T-shirts to anyone who spends $100,” he says.

Neerman believes there’s a value to highlighting independent record stores.

“If you think of the classic, independent record store as cultural trading post, social center and bastion of face-to-face interaction, it’s pretty clear how important they are to the lifeblood of a city like Portland,” he says. “The situation is similar to that faced by bookstores in that it’s a tough enough business that it borders on public service at times. Shops like Beacon Sound also nurture the avant-garde and provide a home and outlet for ideas that may not have found mass acceptance yet.

“I also think it’s important that someone can walk into my shop and not feel intimidated or out of place and know they can grab the new Justin Timberlake album if they want to,” Neerman says. “It’s a fun balance to strike and Record Store Day is just an opportunity to celebrate what we do every day.”

Of course, not everyone is completely sold on the value of Record Store Day. Take Alice Larsen, co-owner of BoomWow! Records, 2940 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. While she generally participates in Record Store Day, this year she plans to be more low-key, eschewing the “commercialization” that has come to characterize it, she says.

“(Record companies) create this desire to find these unobtainable hard-to-find releases, and people drive all over town and it’s sort of a big fiasco,” she says. “(Record Store Day) was supposed to be this appreciation, but then it turned into a marketing thing.”

On the other hand, Carol Hagen, manager of 2nd Avenue Records, 400 S.W. Second Ave., says her outlet plans to participate by promoting the release of “Filthkick,” a four-track EP by legendary Portland hardcore band Poison Idea. The reissue will be on red-colored vinyl, she says, noting Poison Idea’s “material is pretty collectible.”

“We have a lot of stock ordered, and we’re expecting a decent crowd,” she says. “Customers seem to be excited (about the day), and that’s the important part.”

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