Good music, rare releases, friendly service

What’s not to like about Rockford’s seventh annual Record Store Day?

On Saturday, Rockford music lovers will be able to celebrate local businesses while snagging some rare releases from their favorite artists.

The seventh annual Record Store Day takes place on April 19, with record stores on every continent except Antarctica participating. In Rockford, Toad Hall, 2106 Broadway, will be taking part for their sixth year, and Culture Shock, 2239 Charles St., for their fifth.

Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 by a group of record store owners and employees as a way of building appreciation for record stores in the digital era. It’s celebrated the third Saturday of every April with a slew of special releases from a wide range of artists. These releases can be anything from brand new albums to classic, limited edition reissues.

The Record Store Day releases are often so limited that store owners won’t know exactly which items they’ll be carrying until they arrive, regardless of how many copies they requested.

“The stuff is so limited that we order what we want, and we get what we get,” said Toad Hall owner Nick Naruz. “But it makes it kind of fun, because people will come from other towns and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you have this. My record store didn’t have it.’”

Culture Shock owner Skyler Davis said Rockfordians are already gearing up for the day.

“We’re getting a few phone calls, some people checking on some things,” he said. Some of the more popular releases people are looking for include a brand new album by the Pixies, called “Indie Cindy,” “a 7” by Nirvana that has “Pennyroyal Tea” and “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” on it and a reissue of the Doors’ “Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine” that comes on clear gold vinyl.

Shoppers with specific items on their wish lists may want to arrive early, because Record Store Day brings a huge amount of people into the stores.

“It’s by far the busiest day of the year, and it’s the day we do all our best sales, too,” Naruz said. In addition to the Record Store Day releases, Toad Hall will have a 50 percent off sale on all their used vinyl. Davis said despite the sales, Toad Hall still makes their best profits on Record Store Day because they move so much product.

But Record Store Day is about more than the new releases. Both Culture Shock and Toad Hall will have special events throughout the day.

Davis said Culture Shock will be having a sidewalk sale, snacks and live DJs during the day and performances from local bands Seasaw and Super Super at night.

“We definitely try to showcase our local music,” Davis said. “Or even if they’re not local, a lot of independent artists or independent labels, we’ll get them involved somehow.”

Toad Hall will have free food and giveaways, including items like a turntable, T-shirts, gift certificates, tote bags, CDs, buttons and more. The store will also have live music from The Defeated Royals, another local band.

For both Davis and Naruz, the magic of Record Store Day is seeing their store fill up with customers.

“Just seeing people getting into our record store is great,” Davis said. “These people who are usually buying these things online or at chain stores, now they’re getting inside the store.”

Culture Shock and Toad Hall will be extending their hours for the day. They’ll both be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“I would encourage everyone to come out, even if they’re not into vinyl,” Naruz said. “There’s something for everyone.”

For more information about Record Store Day and specific releases, visit


-Jessica Cabe