Co-owner Trina Brenes of Music Coop browses records Friday in Ashland. Julia Moore / Daily Tidings - Julia Moore

Independent music stores have exclusive releases on sale today

For record collectors, today is a holiday. It's Record Store Day, an international event in its fifth year of bringing the music industry together to rebuild one of its foundations: the independent record store.

Record companies and music acts release about 300 special vinyl LPs for music lovers to snatch up today. The one-time pressings are mostly limited to a few thousand copies or fewer, making them hot items.

For John and Trina Brenes, who own Music Coop in Ashland, one of about 1,700 independent record stores in 21 countries taking part in the celebration, the day has a certain energy about it.

"I think it's great, because it's focusing all the attention on the stores," said John Brenes, who opened Music Coop in 2001 in the Railroad District.

He and Trina ordered just over 100 copies of the new releases, he said. Among the artists are James Brown, The Flaming Lips, Phish, The Black Keys, Lou Reed, The Misfits, Townes Van Zandt and Uncle Tupelo.

They also bought a few copies of "The Breakfast Club" soundtrack, which has never been pressed on vinyl.

Across the street, at CD or not CD, owner Lenny Goldberg has stocked about 30 copies of the new releases.

"I actually thought it was a weak list this year," he said, "but some of the releases will zoom way up in value the week after Record Store Day."

Neither store is likely to have eager customers waiting outside their doors this morning, the owners said, but interest is growing.

During 2008, the first Record Store Day, there were about 80 releases, and the music industry has reported a slight but noticeable bump in sales during the last few Record Store Days, according to the founders' website.

The Brenes put out an advance list of what's going to be released so Music Coop customers could scan them and order ahead, said John Brenes.

"I think it's the best record store around," said Mike Connelly, who travels regularly from Klamath Falls to buy records at Music Coop. "It's one of the only ones you can spend a decent amount of time in and come out with something you want."

Connelly won't be coming back for today's celebration, he said, because he didn't know it existed, but he's on board with the idea.

"Nobody remembers their first download," he said. "Everybody remembers their first record."

His first album was Bob Marley's 1973 release "Catch A Fire." He traded his dad's Peter Frampton album and $2 for it, he said.

For Trina Brenes, today is about finally being able to give someone what they've been waiting for.

"To see the face of someone when you're handing them a record they've been dreaming about having, it's the best," she said. "That's what this day's all about."

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or

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