Tomorrow is the 5th annual celebration of Record Store Day, the day in which vinyl enthusiasts flock to their local shops for some limited run items that will surely get turned around on Ebay in a matter minutes to be sold at astronomical prices.
Having worked at a record store for over four years, I saw the launch of this holiday first hand and can say from personal experience it can be a little overwhelming. First off, there’s a lot of bullshit: rudimentary vinyl reissues of albums “remastered” to a point of perfection you supposedly have never heard before, cheaply made 7″ releases with material you’d never care to listen more than once to, etc. Maybe it’ll come pressed on colored wax or perhaps it’ll be an old record slipped into a different sleeve, but as Morrissey once advised on “Paint a Vulgar Picture,” don’t ”buy both and feel deceived.”
Record Store Day may be a perfect opportunity for object fetishists to get their kicks, but if what you care about first and foremost is the music (and preferably music you’ve never heard before), then you’re in luck. We’ve sifted through the catalog and chosen a handful or two of RSD items that we feel are worth the long lines and “Jingle All the Way”-esque retail battles. Check out what we’re most excited about below.
The White Stripes may be gone but they still have a load of tracks that are pretty hard to come by. Always the vinyl enthusiasts, the duo put out several 7″ singles over their career, many of which are still exclusive to vinyl. Both sides of this 45 are taken from two out of print singles the band released in 2000 and 2002.
Domino Records joined in the RSD fun this year by publishing an old fashioned zine for the event. Entitled “Smugglers Way,” it contains a boatload of contributors for the print, art, and layout, as well as flexidiscs with exclusive new material from Real Estate, Cass McCombs, John Maus, Villagers, and Dirty Projectors. Check out Maus’ “No Title (Molly)” below.
In one of the most unexpected pairings this year, folk-pop Canadian Feist has joined forces with sludge metal rockers Mastodon for a 7″ where the two artists cover each other’s songs. The chance meeting took place over a run-in backstage at “Later with Jools Holland” and the rest is history. Mastodon will also have a split 7″ with The Flaming Lips, where they cover “The Soft Bulletin” classic, “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton.”
Culled from an old cassette recording found in a super fan’s shoebox, this 2-LP set shows the art-synth originators at their creative zenith.
The crowned jewel of the RSD haul might be this 2-LP set from The Flaming Lips which features collaborations with the most unlikely of guests including Ke$ha, Biz Markie, Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Chris Martin, Nick Cave, and a half dozen or so more.
Shabazz Palaces, consisting of Digable Planets’ Ishmael Butler and multi-instrumentalist Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire, had one of the most unique LPs in hip-hop last year with “Black Up.” This EP contains the duo performing tracks from their full length debut live at KEXP’s studios in Seattle.
If you own a copy of M83‘s opus “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” on CD, you’ll notice a listing of the song “Mirror” listed between the two discs on the back of the case. Although I haven’t tried searching a pregap space on disc two, the track is virtually nowhere to be found on the album. Whether this was intentional or not, the band corrects the problem with this etched 7″ single.
While her records often keep the music in a weird state of controlled chaos where outbursts come in brief flare-ups of loopy guitar and synths, there is an even rawer and more dangerous side to St. Vincent that every-so-often sees the light of day, such as her brutal performance of Big Black’s “Bad Penny” and “Kerosene” at last year’s “Our Band Could Be Your Life” show at Bowery Ballroom. The “KROKODIL” 7″ which contains two new songs from Annie Clark and company that apparently tap into that rage, rumored by the disc’s press release which states, “[KROKODIL] showcases Clark’s aggressive guitar chops and marks a stylistic departure from [St. Vincent's most recent album] “Strange Mercy.”
Sufjan Stevens and Rosie Thomas have been frequent collaborators for years, but this split 7″ is the first time they shared equal billing. On it will be two tracks that act as a call and response between the two artists: the A-side will feature “Where Was I?” (a remake of Thomas’ “Where Were You?”), while the B-Side contains the new song “Here I Am!”
Last but certainly not least is this odd little vanity project by Built to Spill‘s Brett Nelson. Available only on CD, this project features Nelson taking nine Dinosaur Jr songs (mostly from “You’re Living All Over Me”) and re-imagines them in ’80s synthpop versions. The tremendous benefit that this disc has over EAP’s work in the past is it actually features vocals from the person it’s covering, with new vocal parts recorded by Dino frontman, J Mascis for each track. Check out their cover of “Tarpit” below.