What better way to celebrate the burgeoning spring season than to head down to your favorite local music spot for the second annual Record Store Day — set for April 18 this year. Aside from the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get from supporting a local business and the excitement of meeting the only other person in your town who owns all the original Pavement singles, you can also get some pretty cool releases that are available only for the event. The first step: visit the Record Store Day website and find your local participating store. Then show up on Saturday with next week’s grocery money and go crazy. Consider it your own personal economic stimulus package.
Of course, working your way through all those special releases can be daunting. So before you have a meltdown trying to decide exactly which 7-inches you should spend your cash on, or what vinyl reissues you will max out your credit card with, we at Prefix are here to offer our assistance. We’ve highlighted some releases that we think are particularly intriguing, as well as broken down the full list of releases and RSD-related events. So pour over these and get your shopping list ready. Because let’s face it: downloading albums is kind of lame compared to visiting an actual music haven filled with everything you need — including, you know, other people who love music too.
Highlights: The Most Compelling RSD Releases
There are a number of RSD-only releases that look pretty damn fantastic. Some offer sneak peaks at upcoming albums, others give us a look back at great bands past, and some catch great live bands doing what they do best. Here’s what we’re most excited about:
Matador is easily the front-runner for Best Label honors for RSD 2009. They are giving us three exclusive releases, and each seems as interesting as the next. Check it out:
- Pavement: Live in Germany LP 1998 This is not the same record that was offered to those who pre-ordered last year’s deluxe reissue of Brighten the Corners through Matador’s Buy Early Get Now program. This version features new artwork, but still gives us a nice peak into some live late-era Pavement. If we get to the store early enough. Or camp out overnight. Do what you got to do.
- Sonic Youth/Beck Split 7-inch Getting these two indie legends on a record together makes this amazing already, but they up the awesomeness by covering each other. Sonic Youth will take on Mellow Gold’s “Pay No Mind,” while Beck nerds out on “Green Light.” Brilliant artists covering each other, with plenty of slacker goodness to go around. Count me in.
- Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard Split 7-inch As if their split with Beck weren’t enough, Sonic Youth contribute a new song to the B-side of this split with singles-master Jay Reatard. Expect a lot of guitars, in all their loud and wonderfully crunchy glory, on this one.
Tom Waits: Live from the Glitter and Doom Tour 7-inch
Any release by Waits is worth checking out. Except maybe for some of his films (Mystery Men is overlooked for a reason). But this should be a great taste from a brilliant performer for those who missed the tough ticket that was the Glitter and Doom tour.
My Morning Jacket: La Celebracion De La Ciudad Natal 2×10-inch
Say what you will about last year’s divisive Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket are still one of the premiere live acts going. And this rare vinyl release is full of classic tracks from Jim James and company, mixed in with those more perplexing new songs (that sound much better live than on record, by the way). Pick this up and hear a white boy from Kentucky tap into his inner Prince. It’s just as fun as it sounds.
Wilco: Ashes of American Flags DVD
OK, so this one will eventually be available to the public at large. But Record Store Day patrons can get it early. That’s pretty cool. But you want to know what’s awesome? Those who buy the RSD version of the movie will be given access to a full download of a Wilco show.
Magnolia Electric Co.: “It’s Made Me Cry” 7-inch
It’s been a while since Jason Molina, or any of his bands, put out a 7-inch, so it’ll be nice to see Molina tackling the single again. The release also serves as a nice warm up for the band’s new album, due this summer on Secretly Canadian.
The Thermals/Thao with the Get Down Stay Down Split 7-inch
Kill Rock Stars provides us with this tasty split single. The Thermals use their side to give us demo versions of “When I Died” and “You Dissolve,” two stand-out tracks from their recently released, and excellent, Now We Can See. On her side, Thao and her band provide the unreleased “Cool Yourself You are Flush Red” and a cover of Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”
Radiohead: 10-inch vinyl series
For the Radiohead completists out there, and there are a lot of you, there is this series of reissued singles out early just for Record Store Day. The set runs through the entire singles history of the band up to Hail to the Thief. And before you think these are just collector’s items to complete your collection, don’t forget there are some classic B-sides floating around in these singles. “Polyethylene 1 + 2” anyone?
Iron and Wine: Live at Norfolk 6/20/2005
This 18-song set comes from Sam Beam’s Woman King tour. And if you haven’t seen Iron and Wine, this disc ought to tell you what you’re missing. Live versions never quite line up with studio versions, as Beam tends to twist his songs into something new, and often special, on stage.
Grizzly Bear: Live on KCRW 7-inch
Will two songs be enough to tide the masses over until the late-May release of the band’s much anticipated Veckatimest? Probably not. But live versions of the new album’s “While You Wait For the Others” and their excellent take on “He Hit Me” are certainly welcome additions to the small but growing discography from one of today’s truly great bands.
Guided by Voices: Hold on Hope LP
The original version of this extended single achieved the strange feat of being better than the album (Do the Collapse) that “Hold on Hope” was taken from. And now it’s available on vinyl with three bonus tracks. Sure, Pollard probably has six or seven box sets of GBV material hanging around in the vaults, but this catches them at the height of their hi-fi powers. So pick this up and remember how much you miss these Dayton heroes.
Flaming Lips/Black Keys Split 7-inch
File this one under “most interesting RSD release.” This improbably split has the two bands taking on songs from the Warner Bros. expansive song catalog. Flaming Lips’ try their hand at Madonna’s “Borderline,” while the Black Keys try to make sense of Captain Beefheart’s “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles.” That’s right, Flaming Lips are covering Madonna. Isn’t that enough? If only the cover art showed Wayne Coyne trying to kiss himself.
Modest Mouse: “Satellite Skin” b/w “Guilty Cocker Spaniel” 7-inch
Isaac Brock sure takes his time between records, so it’s nice to see anything new from Modest Mouse on the shelves. This single has two brand new songs, and is the first in a series of four 7-inches the band will release as a build-up to their new No One’s First and You’re Next EP.
Dead Weather: Hang You From the Heavens 7-inch
This is the first official release from Jack White’s new band with the Kills’ Alison Mosshart. The group has an album coming in June, but this little appetizer of snarly blues rock should give listeners enough to chew on until then. And by June White might have moved on to a new project anyway, so you might as well focus on Dead Weather at the same time White is.
The Full Release List
All those releases look pretty awesome, bu they are hardly the only stuff out there to pick up on Record Store Day. There’s plenty of other great releases, and enough variety that there’s something for just about anybody. We’ve tried to break the big list of releases for you into digestible pieces. Take a look:
Akron/Family: “Everyone is Guilty” b/w “Total Destruction”
Black Moth Super Rainbow: Born on a Day
Blitzen Trapper: “War Is Placebo” b/w “Whipsmart”
Booker T: “Warped Sister” b/w “Reunion Time”
Brandi Carlisle: “Downpour” b/w “A Promise to Keep”
Camera Obscura : French Navy
Chica Libre & Dengue Fever: Split single
Depeche Mode: “Wrong” b/w “Oh Well”
The Decemberists: “The Rake’s Song” b/w “East India Lanes”
Dr. Dog/Floating Action: Split single
Flight of the Conchords: “Pencils in the Wind” b/w “Albi the Racist Dragon”
Gomez: “Airlight Streamer”
Heaven and Hell: “Bible Black”/Neon Nights (Live)
Jane’s Addiction: “Mountain Song” b/w “Standing in the Shower…Thinking”
Jenny Lewis/Elvis Costello: “Carpet Baggers” b/w “Go Away”
Jesus Lizard: 9 x 7-inch set
Loney Dear/Andrew Bird: Split single
Lykke Li/El Perro Del Mar: “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” b/w “At Your Best (You Are Love)”
Metric: “Help I’m Alive” picture disc
New Order: “Temptation” b/w “Hurt” (Live)
Nickel Eye: “Dying Star” b/w “Brandy of the Damned (Featuring Wale)”
Obits: “I Can’t Lose” b/w “Military Madness”
Elvis Perkins: Lorraine Lookout
Pretenders: “Break Up the Pavement” b/w “Love’s…”
Silversun Pickups: Pikul
Slayer: “Psychopath Red”
Sublime: “Superstar Punani” b/w “April 29, 1992”
Taking Back Sunday: “Carpathia” b/w “Catatonic”
Vetiver: “Wishing Well” b/w “Pay No Mind
Whiskeytown: “San Atone” b/w “Great Divide”
10- and 12-inches
Arthur Russell: Love Is Taking Me 2LP
Cursive/Ladyfinger: Split 12-inch picture disc
Def Jam 25: Vol. 1 and 2 (4LP Label Retrospective)
Ben Harper: “Shimmer and Shine” b/w “Spanish Red Wine” 10-inch
Black Kids: Wizard of Ahhhs 10-inch
Gaslight Anthem: Live from Park Ave 10-inch
Oasis: Falling Down Remix LP
Russian Circles/These Arm Are Snakes: Split 12-inch
Various Artists: This LP Crashes Hard Drives
Various Artists: Records Toreism
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz LP
Alla: Digs EP
Cold War Kids: Live at Fingerprints
The Color Fred: The Intervention EP
Rivers Cuomo: Live at Fingerprints (CD or CD/DVD Combo)
Dandy Warhols: Remix CD
Derek Trucks: Already Live EP
Tift Merritt: Live in Buckingham (solo)
Poison the Well: 6-track CD
Various Artists: So Indie It Hurts
Bad Religion: Original EP Colored 7-inch
MC5: “Kick Out the Jams” b/w “Motor City Is Burning” 7-inch
Regina Spector: Begin to Hope LP
Talking Heads: ‘77 LP
The Smiths: “The Headmaster Ritual” b/w “Oscillate Wildly” 7-inch
The Stooges: “1969” b/w “Real Cool Time” 7-inch
Misfits: Walk Among Us LP
Queen: Queen First EP
Bob Dylan: “Dreaming of You” b/w “Down Along the Cove” 7-inch (live from Bonnaroo)
Bruce Springsteen: “What Love Can Do” b/w “A Night with the Jersey Devil” 7-inch
Crosby Stills Nash & Young: Déjà Vu Live LP
Elvis Costello: Picture Disc
Leonard Cohen: “The Future” b/w “Suzanne” (Live from London) 7-inch
King Crimson: 40th Anniversary Tour Box
Neil Young: Live at Canterbury House 1968 2LP
Record Store Day isn’t just about the records. Okay, it’s mostly about the records, but there’s other stuff to be had, including a series of T-shirts designed exclusively for the day. The bands with exclusive RSD shirts include Death Cab for Cutie, Grateful Dead, Jason Mraz, Mastodon, Paramore and Underoath.
Record Store Day Events
Besides giving you some great new music to buy, Record Store Day also gives you a chance to come out and meet some of your favorite artists. All over the country, artists will be stopping by record stores to sign merch, meet the fans, and sometimes perform. The Black Lips are all over Arizona, stopping in both Phoenix and Tuscon. Jay Reatard will be appearing in Nashville. Kim and Kelly Deal from the Breeders will be appearing in Cincinnati. And Jayhawk’s Mark Olson and Gary Louris will be twanging it up down in Austin.
In New York, Other Music has events all day, including guest DJ sets from the likes of Grizzly Bear, and a live performance from Bill Callahan. For you Left Coasters, all three Amoeba Music locations (Hollywood, San Francisco, and Berkeley) have a full Record Store Day schedule as well, with DJ sets from John Vanderslice and Aesop Rock, among others.
Go to the official Record Store Day nationwide events list to check out who’s coming by your record store.
We here at Prefix hope we’ve given you everything you need to experience Record Store Day to the fullest. Record stores are important, as lofty as that may sound, to a lot of people. To musicians, to music fans, to communities. Sure, this day is a symbolic part of the battle to keep the independent record store afloat, but it’s not just about commerce. It’s also about coming together with people who share a common and strong love of music — and finding something really cool to spin on your turntable.