This weekend's vinyl countdown
It's the most wonderful time of the year... if you're into vinyl, that is. Today marks the 8th annual Record Store Day; a day where die-hard fans convene in (what's left of) Dublin's record stores to pay homage to the humble 12-inch and, with any luck, pick up a few exclusives and collectibles.
It's expected that from 8am onwards, music nerds across the globe will flick through racks and pick through some unmined treasures, just like in the good old days. And to create an even grander sense of occasion, a number of acts will stage highly intimate gigs, too: Colm Man Con Iomaire and Mundy (pictured) are bound for Tower Records on Dawson Street, Freebird Records on Wicklow Street is the backdrop for a Cloud Castle Lake appearance, while Jet Setter and Myles Manley decamp to The Record Spot on Fade Street.
The shenanigans will continue into the night when the Bello Bar in Portobello hosts a Record Store Day gig with No Spill Blood and Leo Drezden. If past form is anything to go by, Record Store Day ignites a spark of cameraderie and gaiety amid music fans across the capital.
Ostensibly created to give record stores a much needed leg-up amid the descent of iTunes and Spotify, Record Store Day has shapeshifted to become a fun day out, brimful of cheer and goodwill, for indie kids with cash burning a hole in their pockets.
Causing some consternation this weekend is HMV's decision to 'piggyback' on the celebrations with their own Record Fest.
Offering a 40pc discount on vinyl and calling in the big guns with The Mighty Stef and HamsandwicH live performances, HMV's willingness to get into the spirit of things has ruffled feathers.
Some have called them out for trying to lure customers away from the independent stores. Others have commented that HMV's involvement is proof positive that Record Store Day is a much different beast to what it originally was. No matter; this weekend gives everyone an opportunity to give vinyl its due respect. There's a generation of us music fans - present company included - that can remember the thrill of vinyl's first incarnation. The saving up for absolute ages, the feel of it in your hands, the proud swinging of a square plastic bag as you brought your new find home.
It's a thrill that so many millennials have missed out on, though some are hell-bent on finding out what the fuss was all about. Whether they get their kicks in HMV or elsewhere, I salute them.