04/20/2012 02:48 pm ET

Chicago Reader's Guide To Record Store Day

Record Store Day has most definitely busted out of its britches. Since its first installment in 2008, this homage to independently owned brick-and-mortar record stores has grown from a small underground phenomenon into an ocean-straddling monster. It's just about impossible to keep up with all the discounts, promotions, and in-store performances, and because the number of special releases has nearly reached 300--many of them gimmicky or extravagant in the extreme and pressed in tiny editions--some shops are sure to begin the day with lines stretching down the sidewalk outside.

This year's Record Store Day is Saturday, April 21, so you've still got time to plan. The PDF of all the special releases is now practically a novella, and because of its ballooning size it's been broken down into three categories. (Miles Raymer has some advice on navigating the list.) Record Store Day Exclusive Releases are available only on Record Store Day, and at no later time and at no other stores--once they're gone, they're gone. They're usually pressed by the thousands and tend to feature artists more likely to play an auditorium than a dive bar. Highlights include Genesis's 1977 Spot the Pigeon EP on blue vinyl, a reissue of Mclusky's 2002 full-length Mclusky Do Dallas, a vinyl release of Leonard Cohen's recent Live in Fredericton EP, and three colored versions of the Misfits' 1982 album Walk Among Us.

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