Saturday is the seventh annual Record Store Day. We've all read the controversial coverage of how the intiials RSD spell doom for the vinyl release schedules of actual boutique vinyl labels and the shopper's holiday is bloated with Aerosmith reissues (sweet love in an elevator, why are there Aerosmith reissues?!). But among all the garbage being dumped on us (no different than any other day for the music industry), true collector's items and keepsakes exist. Record Store Day might seem like it misses the point of going to a record store on the surface, but there's still opportunity to dig, hunt, and fight off a grown man that's weaker than you for an obscure test pressing.
We thought it'd be fun as a staff to share our takes on this year's cache of exclusives. Since we're merely a small army, we in no way came close to rating the 700 releases set to drop in 24 hours, but we did pluck a few from the lot we deemed worthy of our praise or our educated and professional criticism—always professional 'round here.
Dolly Parton, “Blue Smoke”/”Home” 7″ (Masterworks)
The 9-5 VHS tape box didn't last long in my household. I chewed through it in fits of teething savagery, and it only was later that I learned the glory of its contents. Yes, this was my first brush with pop-country music's most perfect specimen, but thanks to her still-roaring career, it would not be the last. As part of this year's RSD, she's releasing a limited edition 7″ vinyl, housing two songs, “Blue Smoke” and “Home” off her new album set for a May 13 release. “Blue Smoke” moves from a bouncy, banjo-led uptempo to a soulful gospel sing-a-long at half-speed. The vinyl cover art has sparkly-eyed, bouffant-crowned Dolly floating in the night sky with the moon like an angel; not that anyone needs to be told the songstress watches over us. Let her participation in Saturday's holiday serve as a friendly reminder. – Caitlin Greene, News Editor
Poison Idea/Pantera, Side by Side Series (Rhino)
“It took 10 years to find the most degenerate people to get in the band, and I think we've finally found them. We're pretty happy.” Poison Idea vocalist Jerry A said in an interview with Moshable fanzine in August 1990, shortly after Feel the Darkness was released. They were fat and ugly, had notorious drug habits and made music that was practically unlistenable by any normal standards. Yet, the LP would go on to be one of the most important hardcore/punk releases of all time.
Four years later, Pantera released a cover of “The Badge” as part of the soundtrack for The Crow, the 1994 cult-classic staring Brandon Lee. The song they chose is perhaps the most quintessential from Feel the Darkness, a vicious anti-cop tirade with blistering guitar work and repulsive vocals. Nearly as licentious in reputation, albeit with more money to support their addictions, Pantera does justice to the intensity and utter revulsion in a way that few other bands could, electing to include the Taxi Driver samples that appear in the original. Now you can buy this exclusive RSD release and flip between these two versions of the same song until your head hurts, or just wait and put it up on ebay once they sell out. – Reggie McCafferty, Contributing Writer
Skrillex, Recess CS (Big Beat Records)
Forgoing discussion of the inherent contradiction that presents itself with computer-based music on analog formats, I would like to take a moment to empathize with the cassette player that will be the vehicle for Recess’s sonic imposition. Let’s assume it’s the classic tape recorder/player, encased in matte black plastic that showcases the three lustrous black cubes with their customary signifiers—square, circle and triangle (I omit the rewind and fast forward cubes for the sake of conciseness)—indented into them. That cassette player is dreading the moment Skrillex’s cassette is set inside its plastic frame, anticipating when the triangle cube is fixed into its lowered position, feeling the transferal of potential energy into the kinetic energy of Recess’s first track, “All Is Fair In Love and Brostep.” The small plastic speakers—sheathed in a grate of silver plastic designed in the likeness of chrome—shake, rattle and falter. Suddenly there’s no more sound. As it turns out, cassette players weren’t designed for dubstep. Who would’ve thought? – Zach Wilks, Intern
Milk & Cookies, Not Enough Girls (In the World) 7″ (Captured Tracks)
I discovered the Long Island, NY left over glam rockers/proto-punkers, Milk & Cookies over a decade ago back when heady music geeks friends were getting sacked from Tower Records, and Cherry Records was kicking out the glam rock obscurities compilations like, Velvet Tinmine, Boobs, and Glitterbest. Originally signed to Island/Sire back in the 70s, and later repressed in the early oughts on a self-titled album re-issue (also via Cherry Red/RPM Records); Captured Tracks is bringing back the snappy, snotty, and whiny 7″ banger, “Not Enough Girls” b/w “Nots” in time for RSD. A sign of future things to come as Captured has plans to re-release their album as a triple disc LP, you get the opportunity to hear the esoteric power poppers who could have been kings; who have had an influence on the Fuzz City sound (Warm Soda, Big Tits) and countless other indie contemporaries throughout the Bay Area, and elsewhere. – Sjimon Gompers, Mr. Week In Pop
Rockabye Baby!: Lullaby Renditions of David Bowie
I have a few questions regarding the Record Store Day release Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of David Bowie. First, who is the intended audience of this series? Music-loving parents who want to deprive their children of the originals? Infants with record players? Second, why hasn't the Bowie album come sooner? Is there a higher demand for lullaby versions of Jay-Z, Rush, Tool, P!nk, Blur, Pearl Jam, Guns N' Roses, The Pixies, and Radiohead, than David Bowie, the man who arguably has the most kid-friendly music out of all of these? I mean, some Radiohead songs are already lullabies, right?! My own confusion aside, the Bowie covers are extremely relaxing and lend themselves well to xylophones and bells. The Rockabye Baby! website was being finicky (I guess they are pretty scared of the album leaking before Record Store Day), so I was only able to hear bits of “Changes” and “Rebel Rebel.” They were twinkly, to say the least. I feel like if I was flipping through anyone's vinyl collection and saw this, I would either never mention it or vomit.
The Muppet Movie: Original Sound Track Reissue
In my opinion, the best Record Store Day repress is The Muppet Movie soundtrack. Originally released in 1979, the soundtrack went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Children's Album. The film is most notable for “Rainbow Connection,” a song that will melt the heart of any human or Muppet. The second most notable song is Gonzo's “I'm Going To Go Back There Someday,” which is about watching your dreams slip away. Listening to that song on repeat sent me into an abyss of tearjearking Muppet videos, of which many exist. The last song on the soundtrack, “Finale: The Magic Store,” will make you even more mushy as seemingly every Muppet ever created sings a reprise of “Rainbow Connection.” No other Record Store Day release will make you cry like this one. After thinking about this soundtrack long and hard and taking my deep love of The Muppets into consideration, I want The Muppets to be celebrities like they are in their movies. If Record Store Day is attempting to attach a price to nostalgia, I guess they succeeded. – Quinn Moreland, Associate Editor
The only things I plan on picking up on Record Store Day:
Heavens To Betsy, Calculated
The Julie Ruin, Brightside/In The Picture
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, She's On It/Jack The Ripper
Someone give me $100 so I can buy this:
– Edwina Hay, Photo Editor
Songs:Ohia, Journey On: Collected Singles 7″ Boxset (Secretly Canadian)
The one-year anniversary of Jason Molina’s untimely death was just under a month ago, so Record Store Day is as good of a time as any to celebrate the egregiously under-appreciated singer-songwriter, who was just as mysterious as he was brilliant. He’s best known for his work with Songs: Ohia—particularly their 2003 album The Magnolia Electric Co.—and on RSD Secretly Canadian is releasing a box set of nine 7”s featuring some of the group’s rare, never-before-heard recordings from 1995-2002. Molina’s lyrics and vocal tone can tend to be kind of…uhh, heart-wrenching, so this might not exactly be a pick-some-flowers-and-celebrate-spring kind of collection, but if you’re still feeling the wintertime blues and/or want to educate yourself on one of the most misunderstood songwriters of the past 20 years, pick this up. – Ryan Bort, Editor
Jay Z/Linkin Park, Collision Course
Holidays are fun. They’re when families come together, good food is shared, and happy memories are made. At least, that’s how we like to imagine them. Somehow, even after all this time, isn’t it still shocking to come home and remember how much you actually hated living there? Sorry, but you were NOT COOL when you were 13 years old. You know it. Your mom knows it. We definitely know it (and can relate). Nobody likes to be reminded of their awkward period, and nothing says “reliving bad memories” like fighting with your adult brother and spending the night in your lumpy, twin-sized childhood bed.
That’s how you know Record Store Day is a true holiday. It can’t be all incredible, must-have releases; nope, that’s the stuff of our imagination, just like our imagination tells us that Christmas at home will feature more cheer than a Bing Crosby classic. Sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and revisit unpleasant memories from your youth. This year, Linkin Park and Jay Z have made it far too easy for us. Embarrassed to admit that Collision Course was the first CD you ever bought with your own money? Don’t be. At the time, your junior high classmates were totally impressed with your budding musical discernment. Sadly, they didn’t know any better, but none of that matters now. You’re here, aren’t you? Why not go for it—take a trip back to 2004 and give “Numb/Encore” a quick, nostalgia-fueled spin. Your grown-up records will be waiting for you when you get back. – Loren DiBlasi, Staff Writer
Father/Daughter Presents: Faux Real – Faux Songs by Real Bands (Father/Daughter)
Levek channeling Dr. Teeth, as though we already don't think of Levek as a band of hippie Muppets. Bent Shapes referencing an obscure episode of Daria. Reminiscing about Lindsay Lohan's best Avril Lavigne impression in Freak Friday thanks to Potty Mouth's cover of “Take Me Away” by Pink Slip. Yup. This is why Record Store Day should continue to exist. Inventive ideas from small corners of the music industry need a platform, and while I'm sure that your eyes are set on that Dream Theatre picture disc, keep some funds set aside for an opportunity to be one of the lucky few to have a record with Sadie Dupuis covering Jose & The Pussycats. Someday this will be worth far more than that Kings of Leon 7″. – Blake Gillespie, Managing Editor
Rating: 5/5 Tie-Dye Bucket Hats
Philanthropically released on Matthews’ own Bama Rags label “In support of Record Store Day” (U.S. retail: $89.95, but hell, that’s less than half the price of a DMB puff jacket).
An eight-sided vinyl set for those who have very understandably worn out the grooves on the first 26 sides of this series (by my count, the cumulative Live Trax vinyl cycle is longer than the Beatles’ whole discography; this volume alone outweighs the entire Stooges oeuvre proper and equals the Velvet Underground’s studio output in length). GOOD GOD were the boys on this fabled April ’96 night. Hear it in the downright telepathic interplay of a not-at-all-excruciating 15-minute jam entitled “Jimi Thing,” and a certainly-not-blasphemous eight-minute take on “All Along the Watchtower.” Vol. 4 pairs gorgeously with your DMB playing cards, puzzle, “firedancer” necklace, leather pocket journal, signed top hat photo etc.… – Michael Wojtas, Contributing Writer
Ray Parker, Jr, Ghostbusters theme + remixes 10″
Who ya gonna call? 10 inches of glow-in-the-dark plastic! Ray Parker Jr’s classic movie hit gets the RSD treatment with a “rare” dance remix and a dub edit. Lovely, but why?
David Lynch, The Air is on Fire 12” Reissue (Sacred Bones)
Anything David Lynch does is worth paying attention to. One of my favorite things of his was when he would read the weather report on a now-defunct LA radio station and one day his contribution consisted solely of his somber voice saying “Today’s thought.. cardboard.” Tomorrow, Sacred Bones will issue a rare 41-minute electronic wash called The Air is On Fire which originally went over speakers with a painting show of his from 2007.
Various, Pop Yeh Yeh – Psychedelic Rock from Singapore and Malaysia 1964-1970: Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies)
For the first time on vinyl, Sublime Frequencies will issue a set of beat, pop and psych tunes from the late 60s from Singapore and Malaysia. Woo, Sunday afternoon jams!
Various, Todo Muere Vol. 4 (Sacred Bones)
The NY label continue their RSD comps with Volume 4. Includes a David Lynch cut, a Zola Jesus outtake and Lust for Youth’s “Illume”, one of the best songs I’ve heard as of late.
Korn, The Paradigm Shift – Picture Disc
It’s a Korn picture disc. That’s all.
LCD Soundsystem, The Long Goodbye – Boxset
This set encompasses the audio of the nearly four-hour long epic last hurrah show James Murphy and Co. played in 2011 at Madison Square Garden. A note to the super fans though: this will be available as a wider release in about a month, so the only neat thing about fighting someone over a copy tomorrow is that you get to have it a few weeks early before they do. – Matt Draper, Photographer