It’s the tenth anniversary of Record Store Day and they have somehow not yet run out of records to re-release/repackage/repress onto wild colors. Just like every RSD, there’s a lot of mediocre stuff to sift through, a decent amount of cool stuff, and a handful of stuff so offensively gimmicky, so nostalgia-baiting, it’s enough to make you resent the record gods for inventing such a day. Here are ten of the coolest looking exclusive Record Store Day releases (rated in number of hell yeahs) and seven of the dumbest (rated in SMHs). Happy hunting!!
The Hell Yeahs
Last year, a deep-dive CD box set featuring everything Big Star recorded around the making their legendary album,Third, and the third disc from that collection, which features all mastered recordings from the Third sessions, is pressed across 2 LPs care of the folks at Omnivore Recordings. This looks to have decent packaging and liner notes, but still doesn’t quite escape the superfans-only zone. 1 Hell Yeah.
Patti Smith’s legendary version of “Hey Joe” was originally released in 1974, and this reproduction of the original artwork of her debut single’s release is a pretty cool piece of business, complete with the original B-side, “Piss Factory.” Not essential but pretty cool, this is a solid 1.5 Hell Yeahs.
One of the discs on last year’s very Fleetwood Mac box set, Mirage Deluxe, was labeled Alternate Mirage, which cobbled together a brand new version of the classic album, remaking the album in it’s original order, using alternate takes, rough mixes, and early versions of each and every track. That sliver of the box has now been pressed to vinyl and is available for purchase and that gets a solid 2 Hell Yeahs.
“Ain’t It Funny” is one of the standout tracks from Danny Brown’s latest masterpiece, Atrocity Exhibition, and the fine folks at Warp Record have bundled the original version, the acapella recoring, and the instrumentals of the track together with a collaboration between Danny and superproducer Clams Casino called “Worth It.” Pressed to 10” picture disc featuring artwork from the Braindead collective, this is a pretty nice piece of business. 2.5 Hell Yeahs.
The legendary Television Personalities singles compilation They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles is back on vinyl, this time on marbled black and white wax. Very solid album, worth owning if you don’t already have it, 2.5 Hell Yeahs.
It wouldn’t be RSD without a slew of Bowie nuggets and this year is no different. The best of the crop is probably the BOWPROMO LP/art print set, collecting early mixes of such legendary tracks as “Queen Bitch” and “Oh! You Pretty Things,” in a package that replicates a run of promotional LPs pressed in 1971 by Bowie’s manager to help score him a label deal. It worked, obviously. 3 Hell Yeahs.
There are a solid number of genre-oriented comps released for RSD each year, many of the best of which come from the Rough Guide To… series, but one of this year’s coolest comps comes from the folks at Colemine Records, a 45-focused Soul/R&B label that have compiled some of their hottest cuts into one handy package. The Soul Slabs Volume 1 2xLP set gets 3 Hell Yeahs.
Luna’s Penthouse is the best thing anyone from from Galaxie 500 ever did after that perfect band broke up. You can grab a deluxe 2xLP version featuring the full album remastered for vinyl as well as a bunch of unreleased songs, demos, and overs. Penthouse rules and this would stand on its own as a solid release RSD or not. 3.5 Hell Yeahs.
If Peter Tosh’s Legalize It is one of the greatest reggae albums ever made, this could have easily made it’s way over to the SMH column. The LP is pressed to Jamaican colored vinyl: red, yellow, and green stripes. Also advertised is a “scratch and sniff” inner sleeve that we can assume is most likely ganja scented (they don’t say for sure in the write up). Classic album, over the top execution, 4 Hell Yeahs.
I was driving to my Nana’s house for Thanksgiving when “Africa” by Toto came on the radio and I said out loud, to my girlfriend, who had been dozing off in the passenger seat, “Man, this is a very good song.” In what looks to be the most Record Store Day release ever released on Record Store Day, you can pick up an 12”, Africa-shaped picture disc with “Africa” on the A-side and Toto’s other main jam, “Rosanna” on the flip side. The ridiculousness of the presentation perfectly matches the insanity of the original track and is perhaps the most brilliantly stupid novelty release to have ever been put out for RSD. 5 Hell Yeahs.
Human meme Bill Murray has teamed up with Letterman bandleader Paul Schaffer and his World’s Most Dangerous Band for a 7” single that seemingly has the same song on both sides? It’s a single from Schaeffer’s upcoming album and it’s mostly harmless I guess, I don’t know. I’m not going to listen to it. 1 SMH.
*To the tune of “Sex and Candy”* “I smell novelty reissues, here…” Marcy Playground celebrates the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut album with a 12” + 7” reissue that I don’t really understand the target market for. Marcy Playground fans I guess? Is this album good? 2 SMHs.
The oddly successful and long-running Rockabye Baby! series of kid-friendly recordings of tracks by such legendary artists as The Smiths, Kanye West, and Radiohead is back with a collection of tracks by the titans of faux mystic dogshit, The Doors. My curiosity to hear a lullabye version of “L.A. Woman” keeps this reigned in to a relatively generous 2.5 SMHs.
They’re repressing a bunch of Prince stuff this year which is cool but also like, most of it is already readily available in most well-stocked shops’ used sections. The most heinous offender here is the 12” maxi-single for the 1989 soundtrack cut and perma-punchline “Batdance.” Way to cash in on the sinister forces of irony, nostalgia, and post-passing archive raiding, folks, 3.5 SMHs.
Corey Feldman’s got a 7” single coming out for RSD and man I am not looking into this stupid thing at all. 4 SMHs.
The worst Record Store Day releases aren’t the ones that are dumb or by bands you don’t like, they’re the ones that you see on the shelf and wonder aloud to anyone listening, “Why????” The 2xLP vinyl debut of the soundtrack to the 2008 stoner action flick Pineapple Express embodies the worst of RSD, with cuts from Cypress Hill, Bell Biv Devoe, and Huey Lewis & The News, as well as a handful of pieces from the film’s original score, penned by Graeme Revell. The only thing saving this dumbass thing from the full 5 SMHs is the inclusion of a solid Spiritualized song. 4.5 SMHs.
Y’all like the 90’s? The Space Jam soundtrack is here so you can finally spin the “That’s The Way (I Like It)” cover that The Spin Doctors did with Biz Markie and the Bugs Bunny rap single “Buggin” that features lines like “Bugs got more props than the Warner Brother’s lot.” Garbage like this clogging up pressing plants is why your favorite album from last year either came out on vinyl three months after it hit Spotify or sold out it’s initial pressing and then disappeared from record stores for half a year. This run of 7,000 records represents the worst of the worst and there’s no way I can give this anything other than the full 5 SMHs.