Smile Politely

Your guide to Record Store Day 2018

It has been a hot minute since I’ve put together a guide to Record Store Day, but I’m happy to do so here for you, dear reader. Record Store Day takes place worldwide this Saturday, April 21st — and that’s no different for here in C-U.

Exile on Main Street in Downtown Champaign, Record Swap in Midtown Champaign, See You CD + Vinyl in Downtown Urbana, and Skeletal Lightning for online needs, if you’re looking to go that route. You have plenty of options, which you can check out below.


100 N Chestnut St #120, Champaign — 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Exile on Main Street successfully completed their bid to save their record store day by raising over $8,000 via their GoFundMe campaign. Thus, RSD Is happening, complete with live music on two stages, and more. Although they have alluded to it in their Facebook event, there might(?) be food trucks at this one. Exile has been plugging away since 2004, and if you read Smile Politely, it is no stranger to the Overture, or other events happening there, that we publish from time to time.

Plus, once you’re done shopping, you can stop over at Maize or Black Dog to get a bite to eat. Certainly, Downtown Champaign won’t be as crowded as it was last weekend during Mom’s Weekend and Boneyard Arts Festival. There’s a bunch of street parking available outside of Exile on Chestnut, so you shouldn’t have a tough time finding a place to park if that’s a concern.

Here is the list of artists slated to perform this year (at publishing time):

  • The Bashful Youngens
  • Emily Blue
  • Fiona Kimble
  • Gatson
  • John Lindell
  • MC Rota
  • Melvin Knight and The Amber Sky
  • Mid-October
  • Motes
  • Pressure Fit
  • Relevator
  • Ryan Groff ( of Elsinore)
  • Sixteen Tons
  • Snayl
  • SPRK
  • The Underwerewolves
  • V.V. Lightbody
  • We The Animals

Photo from Exile’s Facebook page.


114 E Univ​ersity Ave, Champaign — 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Record Swap has existed in Champaign-Urbana for decades now, though has been on University Avenue for a little over a decade now. If you’re interested in learning more about it, I always point to John Steinbacher’s two part series about Record Swap from 2010 — part one and part two. Check out this video by Swede Films profiling Record Swap, I posted it earlier this year.

Record Swap will have some sales (and treats) to look forward to on Saturday — here’s the Facebook event. Parking is usually pretty available around this area, though there are just a handful of spots in front of the store, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re heading to Midtown on Saturday.

The following sales/events will be returning:

  • 20% of all used LPs/CDs/cassettes (except our Special Box – read below)
  • 10% off all new (non RSD Spring 2017) LPs
  • Delicious baked treats and cold brew coffee (first come first serve)
  • Our Special Box*

*We are putting out a special selection of uncommon/rare used LPs that will be only made available on Record Store Day. These include excellent (and 99% original press) copies of classic titles and rarities alike – carefully selected from over 20 years of buying record collections. We will start previewing some of these items very soon.

Record Swap says they “expect to be open at 7 a.m. and have limited stock of the exclusives”, mentioning that they sold out of a few of the “more in-demand” releases within an hour of opening last year.

Photo by Patrick Singer


123 W Main St, Urbana, IL 61801 — 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

See You CD + Vinyl is actually moving fairly soon — they will occupy the back space at the new Cafeteria & Company — so because of that move, they are focused on just selling this year rather than any form of live music. They’ll have coffee and doughnuts for those early birds, and will be stocking 60+ Record Store Day titles, which is a little more than they usually carry (nearly double!). Check out the Facebook event to stay up to date about potential news and info on this front.

Photo from See You CD + Vinyl’s Instagram.


It has been a hot minute since Skeletal Lightning Fest took a hiatus, but I always thought the event was awesome, and we as a magazine supported it. However, did you know that Skeletal Lightning is actually a label and online record store?

You can check out what they have in store here, and they’ll even be donating a portion of their sales to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. While I realize this is not a brick-and-mortar, there is good to be had here.

Photo from Skeletal Lightning’s Facebook page.


If you’re trying to keep riding the wave, check out the following shows happening on Saturday night. The Overture lists them as well:

V.V. Lightbody, Ryan Groff, Minor Moon

► Mporium // donation // 8:30 p.m.

Kilborn Alley

► The Iron Post // cover // 9 p.m.

Airacobra, RedLeg, Edna

► Blackbird // $7 // 9 p.m.

Boneyard Brass Band

► Cowboy Monkey // $5 // 10 p.m.

Top photo by Patrick Singer.

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