Record Store Day is this Saturday and though it’s easy for music industry folks to get bummed out about the Hello Kitty picture discs and the Jethro Tull live LPs clogging up the already overloaded vinyl pressing plants for months before the day itself, there are plenty of things to look forward to this year. Most shops host in stores and general revelry throughout the day, and there are, as always, a handful of very cool looking releases that are worth tracking down. Here are 13 RSD releases that cut through the limited, glow-in-the-dark vinyl noise that I’d wholeheartedly recommend picking up.
Last year, a massive 5CD/DVD/2LP box set collecting an insane amount of material recorded during the sessions that eventually produced Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s best album. As with any box set, there’s a bunch of ephemera that’s more interesting than outright enjoyable (studio outtakes, live cuts that don’t stray far from the original version, etc.), but there’s also a fully reconstructed version of the album’s original track listing made up entirely of alternate takes and demos. For RSD, they’ve isolated this box set highlight, turning it into a 2LP version of Alternate Tusk for you to thrill to, with early and unusual takes that offer a new perspective on these incredible songs.
It’s been 30 years since the legendary indie pop compilation C86 crystallized a musical movement in the UK. They’ve reissued this massively influential collection, feturing tracks from jangle vendors like The Wedding Present, Primal Scream, The Pastels, and many, many more, for the first time on vinyl since 1986.
Pioneering hip-hop producer J Dilla’s deep archives have been well-explored since his too-soon passing in 2006, with a seemingly endless stream of reissues and collections flowing at a pretty steady clip over the last ten or so years. The Diary, billed as his “long-lost vocal album,” is one of the most exciting posthumous Dilla releases to date, and not just for the novelty of hearing the man step out from behind the boards to get on mic. The record features guest appearances from acts like Bilal and Kenny Wray, and production from legends like Madlib, Karriem Riggins, and many more, and the RSD edition features a special bonus 7” of album highlight “The Ex,” which is very cool.
Perennially underrated indie rock band The Feelies offer up a 4 song, all-covers 12” featuring studio takes on tracks by Bob Dylan, The Doors, Patti Smith, and Neil Young that have become favorites of their live performances over the years.
Easy Action records has got a super interesting pair of songs from Iggy Pop on a single for RSD, a pair of unreleased tracks recorded in 1983, the A-side, “Fire Engine” features Al Jourgensen of Ministry on guitar, with a collaboration between Iggy and the Cars’ Ric Ocasek on the B-side. Crazy stuff, man.
The World Music Network’s ongoing Rough Guide series continues it’s reign of coolness with a trio of releases this year, including the very great looking Rough Guide To Unsung Heroes of Country Blues, highlighting some lesser-known country blues artists from the early 20th century. I’m excited to dig into this thing and find some new favorite blues weirdos!
The always excellent Light In The Attic label, in anticipation of their upcoming reissue of the Shaggs’ singular Philosophy of the World, has a pair of previously unheard tracks presented as a beautifully packaged 7” single. Fans of off-kilter pop/left-field outsider art will be in heaven with this extremely charming bit of naivete.
It’s insane that a band as influential and beloved as Husker Du does not have any sort of comprehensive box set, collecting their full catalog on vinyl. We’re still not there yet, but you DO have the chance to pick up a reissue of In A Free Land, the second single ever from these indie rock progenitors, originally issued in 1982. This rare 7” is a great snapshot of their early days as a fairly straightforward hardcore punk band.
Metz is one of the best rock bands going. Their forward-looking noise rock destruction bona fides are being bolstered with a pair of split releases for RSD this year: a split 7” with the amazing Mission of Burma via Sub Pop, and a 7” single featuring a pair of songs the band recorded in collaboration with Swami John Reis, mastermind behind greats Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt, and the wildly underrated Hot Snakes. Pick both of these 7”s up and get your fucking head blown off by rock music.
Secretly Canadian’s got a special 7” from one of their flagship acts, the late, great Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Company), whose passing in 2013 was one of the most heartbreaking losses I’ve felt as a music fan. The single, which features beautiful artwork from Molina’s close friend William Schaff, features home-recorded covers of a pair of Townes Van Zandt songs, “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and “Tower Song.” This one’s a must.
Superior Viaduct, another great reissue label, offers up two 7”s on colored vinyl from protopunk/art rock pioneers Suicide. Non-album track “Dream Baby Dream” (regularly covered by Bruce Springsteen in concert) and total weirdo banger “Cheree” are both out there waiting for you in shops, all you’ve gotta do is go pick ‘em up.