Yes, this Saturday is 4/20, but if you can detach yourself from the bucket bong, it’s also Record Store Day. The annual celebration of independent record stores has grown into quite an industry, and as ever, there’s a heap of awesome-looking releases to trawl through once you’ve fought your way through the crowds and thrown enough judicious elbows to make your ways to the crates of vinyl — so much so, in fact, that the selection can be somewhat overwhelming. Never fear, though, because we’ve sifted through the list of this year’s RSD exclusives to bring you the best of the best. What’s on your shopping list?
At the Drive-In — Relationship of Command (LP)
If you’ve ever wanted to own At the Drive-In’s coruscating classic on vinyl, then rejoice, because now you can. The album was released on vinyl back in 2000, but we’ve never seen it anywhere, so this is kinda exciting. The reissue also comes with two bonus tracks, which are helpfully labeled “Bonus Track One” and “Bonus Track Two” on the Record Store Day website. It’s a surprise!
The Notorious B.I.G. — Ready to Die (LP)
Also on this shit-we’ve-always-wanted-to-own-this-on-vinyl front, behold: Biggie’s classic debut LP, on white vinyl, in a nice gatefold sleeve. Sold.
R.E.M. — Live in Greensboro (CD EP)
With no more new R.E.M. material to be had, the “previously unreleased” machine is grinding its way into action, starting with this five-song EP, which bills itself as “an advance taste of the music coming on the 25th anniversary of Green slated for later this year.” It’s five songs recorded on the band’s 1989 Green tour, and also apparently comes with “an original sew-on patch from the 1989 tour.” Wooo!
Beak> — “0898/Welcome to the Machine” (10″)
We previewed this a couple of weeks back, and it’s pretty great, especially the Neu!-ish reinterpretation of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” We wouldn’t have picked Geoff Barrow for a Floyd fan, but on the evidence of this, we’re glad that he is.
Debashish Bhattacharya — Beyond the Ragasphere (LP)
The talents of Debashish Bhattacharya are largely underrated beyond his native India, which is a shame, because he’s one of the best and most innovative guitarists in the world today, bringing the slide guitar to Indian classical music and in the process creating a sound that’s completely new and remarkably beautiful. This record apparently features the talents of Indian contemporaries (including tabla virtuoso Bickram Ghosh, who we were lucky enough to see once, and is amazing) along with like-minded Western types John McLaughlin and Jerry Douglas.
Various Artists — Sub Pop 1000
Enduringly awesome Seattle institution Sub Pop celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and this limited-edition compilation is its anniversary answer to the 1986 Sub Pop 100 LP, which these days sells (or, more accurately, doesn’t sell) for eye-popping sums on eBay. The tracklisting is here.
Double Dagger — 333 (LP) and If We Shout Loud Enough (DVD)
The long goodbye to much-missed Baltimore punks Double Dagger, in the form of a 12″ mini-LP containing six unheard songs, along with a documentary about the band. It won’t bring them back, but hey, it’s something.
Jandek — Vinyl Box Set (3 x LP)
How times have changed, hey? For years, you could only get Jandek’s music on cassette via mail order from the man himself. Nowadays, you can buy his records in a fancy box set for Record Store Day. Still, despite our misgivings about the commercialization aspect of this release, it does still look like a pretty cool thing to have on your shelf — the box set contains three LPs (namely Ready for the House, Six and Six, and Chair Beside a Window), along with three posters. It’s limited to 500 copies, apparently.
Fela Kuti — Sorrow Tears and Blood (LP)
“Previously unreleased outside Nigeria”? Sure, we’re up for a piece of that action!
Mercury Rev — Deserted Songs (LP)
No, that’s not a typo — this is a bunch of outtakes and demos from the sessions for Deserter’s Songs, all packaged up in a swanky 180-gram vinyl box set thingamajig. It comes with all sorts of added extras, about which you can read in exhaustive detail on the RSD release page if you’re so inclined, but clearly it ultimately stands or falls on the quality/noteworthiness of the recordings. Are they any good? We have no idea! But if you happen to run across this on Record Store Day, do let us know.