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Belgium: The Vinyl Frontier

The most beautiful day of the year

The most beautiful day of the year

In truth, this friendship, along with the outspoken social character of the event, is defines the spirit of Record Store Day.

Interview Diederik Decroix
Photographs Various

Record Store Day is turning ten, an event that will not go unnoticed in Belgium. Even more than the last few years, this edition is all about making choices, getting up early, going to sleep waaay past your bedtime and spending your Sunday treating your eardrums to all those gorgeous sounds you’ve just purchased.

The quality of the releases has been a matter of much debate. Along with every vinyl lover, we hope that RSD will once again focus on quality over quantity. An RSD release ought to be special as well as limited — let’s just agree that the umpteenth repress in the exotic colour of the week, decorated with price tag high enough to make us choke in our morning coffee, is not really what we’re after.

Luckily, there are those shop owners who incessantly shepherd us through the heaps of new releases, always in search of the truly divine. In truth, this friendship, along with the outspoken social character of the event, is defines the spirit of Record Store Day. Let’s celebrate peace, love and understanding and find out what each province has lined up for you.

EAST-FLANDERS
Newcomer Vinyl & Voyages celebrates its very first Record Store Day in style. Have your breakfast croissant at the shop from 9AM on while being gently awoken by the first gig of the day. The party lasts until after midnight with shows by Compro Oro Music (Afro-Cuban grooves), among others, and DJ-sets blending Hip-Hop, Funk; Soul, Latin, Balkan, Cumbia and more. 

As always, Ghent is having a field day with gigs in just about every shop and café in town. (Well, almost.) Vynilla has convinced its neighboring businesses to provide food and drinks, turning Sint-Kwintensberg into a full-blown festival. Compro Oro Music hurries over here for their second gig of the day, backed up by Too Tangled, La Jungle, ID!OTS and a bunch of others.

A few streets further along, Music Mania Gent, Democrazy, Vooruit and ourselves are teaming up. The Vinyl Frontier will be streaming all the shows hosted at Vooruit, so keep an eye on our Facebook page. The line-up features delicacies by BLOW trio, Het Zesde Metaal, Mauro Antonio Pawlowski, Tamino, WWWater, Manngold, Krankland and others. By the way, do take note: Music Mania Records is releasing an RSD special of BLOW, a masked trio showcasing the beauty of their saxophone-and-drums purity.

Just off Vrijdagmarkt, Consouling Store welcomes Muziekvereniging de Clingse Bossen (weird electronic noiserock) and Innerwoud (moody drones and haunting soundscapes). Don’t forget to get the Innerwoud & Treha Sektori split 10-inch, an RSD exclusive.

Just outside the city centre, Wool-E shop is feeling festive as well. Onsturicheit (one-man experimental/psychedelic ambient project), The Arch (darkwave/EBM/post-punk) and The Breath Of Life will be welcoming you with their sounds in Sint-Amandsberg.

The RSD virus has also swept Café Afsnis off its feet. Afsnis Record Sale #5 is sure to empty your pockets even further. Across the square, Muziekcentrum Kinky Star celebrates its 20th birthday with nine days of gigs, culminating in a grand RSD finale. Krankland, De Portables, Piquet, Needle And The Pain Reaction and many more are neatly divided between Kinky Star and Trefpunt.

FLEMISH BRABANT
With a little over twenty record stores, it is wise to carry plenty of cash when shopping for vinyl in the capital. Balades Sonores, across from Botanique, celebrates its first ‘Disquaire Day 2017’ with releases from all over the planet and a gig by — you’ll never guess — Compro Oro Music. Are these the hardest working men in show business or what? 

At Chez Pias, Brussels will be treated like royalty with a full line-up featuring DAAN, Stef Kamil Carlens, Newmoon, Kapitein Winokio, Chantal Acda and many more. Good times ahead! 

Bonnefooi, the bar across from AB Café, is back as well with Onda Sonora playing prime quality records all night long. No obvious bits but quality music that's looked down upon by the snobs and hasn’t been played (to death) on the radio. Perfect to wrap up your RSD day.

WALLOON BRABANT
Another newcomer in Wavre: head on over to Meloman for gigs by Phorin, Loïc Joseph and James Walker & The Texas Ranger.

WEST FLANDERS
Compact Center - Ostensche Ploate (definitely the winner of the best name for a record store) has a great selection of RSD releases. A few miles out in Torhout, High Hi and Too Tangled are responsible for good vibes at Topdisc.

LIMBURG
George and the Bear thought one day of celebrations a tad too meaner and has some more names on Sunday. Zimmerman, Fence and Ground Nero, to name but a few.

ANTWERP
Hold on to your suspenders, as our northernmost province clearly has plans to dethrone Ghent as the RSD capital. But first, stop in Sint-Niklaas for the beautiful Visual Vinyl exhibition, which will close on April 23rd with a banging Krankenhaus x Visual Vinyl party with Karawane and Menica as your humble disc jockeys.

In Antwerp, everyone’s in: Tune Up Records, Fat Kat, Wally’s Groove World, Coffee & Vinyl — the whole lot of them.
Tune Up Records has promised us BLOW, Mauro aka Maurits and a surprise act, which has got us all excited. ID!OTS, whose 7-inch is released especially for RSD, is invited for shenanigans with Wardrobe and Halve Neuro at Fat Kat Records. Next, there’s Wally’s Groove World with a Sunday matinee featuring DJs Arne, Calvache, Gerrie 303 and Sir Olf from Hill Men (even though it’s actually on Saturday).

If you’re slightly too inebriated too realise you shouldn’t be behind the wheel, head of over to Mechelen, for The Vinyl Touch will only be selling the RSD releases in its Mechelen branch. And since you’ve made it there, why not stick around for Monotrol Kid, Kapitein Winokio and Ozark Henry?

Small yet significant detail: most in-stores are free, so let’s hear a big fat hallelujah for all the bands, labels and managers who are teaming up with the record stores to make this happen. You rock!