By Gary Spencer

Photo: Local dance/pop rock group Grenades?! will perform live at Omega Music on Record Store Day, April 18

Record stores – especially independently owned and operated ones – have become increasingly rare within the past decade. Dayton alone lost one locally owned record store after another in the 2000s, including favorites like Dingleberry’s, Renaissance Music Media, Gem City Records, Trader Vic’s and several others. But fortunes for mom and pop record stores have turned around in the past several years due to the resurgence of vinyl – y’know, those 12- and 7-inch round things people used to play at home on these things called turntables. With that changing of the tide, brick and mortar record stores are making a comeback – thanks to rabid dedication of record collectors who love their fuzzy warbles, both new and old.

In 2007 in Baltimore, a group of like-minded individuals thought the concept of the old school record store as a gathering place for music fanatics seeking and purchasing records and CDs in the digital age was something to be celebrated. This was the beginning of what is now known as Record Store Day (RSD), which has been officially celebrated on the third Saturday of every April since 2008 and has grown into a phenomenon for record fanatics all over the world. This Saturday marks the eighth year of Record Store Day events all over the globe, and it is being celebrated right here in the Miami Valley.

The biggest of Dayton’s remaining record stores, Omega Music, which used to hold shop on North Main Street in the Santa Clara Arts District and has now called its Fifth Street location home since 2010, will once again hold a major extravaganza of its own, featuring not only Record Store Day exclusive record releases, but live music from several Dayton-based bands, many of whom will have releases available for purchase that day.

“This will be Omega’s fifth year participating in Record Store Day,” Omega Music shift leader Whitney Pope says. “We decided to have live music for our event because it really sets the mood for the day. Having live bands brings an energy that you don’t get by popping on a record. We try to get a good mix of music playing throughout the day.”

Omega’s edition of RSD will feature live music by punk band New Regrets, indie psych-folkers Forage, Dayton dance-pop rockers Grenades?!, jazz/funk fusionists Dayton Fresh Beat Project and a special collaboration between Kelley Deal’s R. Ring project with Dayton’s Buffalo Killers and Cincinnati trio Ampline. New Regrets guitarist Matt Clark shares enthusiasm for playing the extravaganza.

“Record Store Day has sort of turned into a really big event, and there’s a bunch of great bands playing,” Clark says. “[Omega Music co-owner] Alex [Staiger] asked us to play. Omega has been really good to us, carrying our record and supporting what we do. So, we’re happy to have the opportunity to do it.”

“We’ve played Omega on RSD a few years now,” echoes The Buffalo Killers bassist Zachary Gabbard. “They support us and we support them. That’s what it’s all about.”

This year’s RSD event at Omega Music supports more than the store and the bands playing. Shoppers who bring in a canned good for donation to Foodbank Dayton will get 15 percent off all used media purchases. Local food truck and coffee vendors will be on hand and there will be contests and giveaways for those who make it through the door early enough to take advantage. But those who will ultimately reap the best rewards are the shoppers – the record collecting fanatics who get there early to have first dibs at all the great RSD releases.

“We love Record Store Day,” Pope says. “RSD is undoubtedly our biggest day of the year. I think the reason it has caught on is because of all the awesome people in Dayton who want to support independent stores. This is the one day of the year when we can give a big middle finger to big chain stores like Wal-Mart.”

Record collecting zealots can also maximize their Record Store Day intake by making an additional trip to Toxic Beauty Records in Yellow Springs.

“Once in the door, it will be a celebration of indie record stores and the celebration of vinyl,” Toxic Beauty owner Josh Castleberry says. “We hit the limited edition titles pretty hard. It’s our thing. The past six weeks has been nothing but ordering and more ordering. We try to locate those hard-to-find titles coming out and get as many as we can for the Miami Valley. We have a lot of great record collectors in the Miami Valley and I make it my purpose to secure as much of those limited edition titles as I can to supply this area. We will also be doing ticket giveaways throughout the day for shows at the LC Pavilion. We’ll [also] be running a sale of 10 percent all used LP’s that day. But most importantly there will be plenty of folks hanging out, listening to music, flipping through the racks and spreading good vibes about the indie record store.”

And at the end of the day, spreading good vibes about indie record stores is what Record Store Day is all about.

“The purpose of the day is to inform the public that record stores still do exist, and some of us are actually growing in business everyday,” Castleberry says. “Ten plus years ago, when I was working in physical record stores, we were losing a lot of customers to the big box chains. And then with the introduction of purchasing music online we started to lose even more customers. The purpose of RSD is to let the world know there are physical indie record stores and we’re not going anywhere.”

Omega Music’s Record Store Day festivities take place Saturday, April 18. The store opens at 8 a.m. with live music beginning at 1 p.m. Omega Music is located at 318 E. Fifth St. For more information please call 937.275.9949 or visit

Toxic Beauty Records is located at 220 Xenia Avenue in Yellow Springs and will open for Record Store Day at 9 a.m. For more information please call 937.767.0300 or visit


With hundreds of records being released specifically for this year’s RSD, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff might be overwhelming. Here are the critic’s picks for the most intriguing releases you should look for.

Click here to find the critic’s picks:
For the Record | Dayton City Paper

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at


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