It's that time again, folks: Record Store Day is nearly upon us. You know the drill once you're there -- scouring the stacks for that one record you've been obsessing over for the past four years, nodding your head idly to the music playing in the overhead, turning to the person next to you and noticing the record they're holding and saying "That's a good one" or "If you like that, you have to hear their first record," maybe wrapping it up by discussing the merits of Miles Davis's mid-'70s output with the clerk.
And if you don't already spend your Saturdays at the record store, you've got more than a few reasons to show up on April 17. In its short lifespan, the number and quality of exclusive releases for Record Store Day has risen exponentially. We here at Prefix know how tough it is to try and keep it all straight, so once again we're offering our Guide to Record Store Day. Hopefully, this'll help you figure out what's out there to be had, so you can spend your hard-earned bucks smartly. So, take this knowledge and go out there and get yourself some music. The digital outlets will still be there on April 18.
Without further adieu, here are the highlights from this year's crop of Record Store Day releases:
2010 is the year of the RSD reissue. There is a big stack of classic records being repressed on vinyl in limited quantities for the occasion. Chief among them is the new vinyl pressing of Modest Mouse's The Moon & Antarctica, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Right up there with it is Merge's new version of the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, pressed on six, 10-inch records in a beautiful set of gatefold sleeves. Of course, if you like your indie-rock reissues with a little more age to them, go pick up a brand-spanking-new copy of Devo's Duty Now for the Future, which will be reissued on vinyl and CD just for Record Store Day.
Those are some pretty clutch reissues, but they are also just the tip of the iceberg. You can also get new vinyl copies of Tom Waits's Mule Variations, Sonic Youth's EVOL and Confusion Is Sex, Deerhoof's Apple O' and Green Cosmos, and Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros' Global a Go-Go and Streetcore. And, since Vanguard is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, they'll be repressing albums by greats like Mississippi John Hurt, John Fahey, Doc Watson, and Buddy Guy.
Early Vinyl Releases
After you've caught up on the past with those reissues, it's time to look to the future. A bunch of artists are putting their albums out early for Record Store Day, and often in special, exclusive packaging. The Hold Steady will release a limited-edition vinyl pressing of their new album, Heaven Is Whenever, so you can get it before the May 4 street date. Roky Erikson's new album with Okkervil River, True Love Cast Out All Evil, will also be available on vinyl early. And although that one is only three days ahead of the release date, why wait if you don't have to? There will also be copies of Josh Ritter's So Runs the World Away, Apples in Stereo's Travellers in Space and Time, and Plants & Animals' La La Land, all available before their official release date. As if that weren't enough, other artists like the Black Keys, LCD Soundsystem, the Thermals, and countless others will offer up vinyl singles that preview material from their upcoming records.
There are some labels that are, and have been, at the forefront of the Record Store Day blitz, giving us piles of great releases. It's not all that surprising that Sub Pop, Matador, and Merge Records are all huge RSD contributors considering they all made their names on those dusty shelves for decades. Just take a look at all the stuff they're offering up.
Sub Pop is just pelting us with exclusive stuff come April 17. They'll offer up a new EP by Beach House, Zebra, that includes two brand new tracks and two new versions of songs from Teen Dream. They'll also be releasing SP20: Casual Nostalgia Fest, which comprises a number of essential performances from the label's 20th anniversary celebration shows. And then there's a bunch of new singles from newcomers like Happy Birthday, Coco Rosie, Dum Dum Girls, and Male Bonding.
While Sub Pop may have it in variety, Matador is coming with some pretty solid releases itself. At the top of the list is an exclusive version of Pavement's best-of collection, Quarantine the Past. If you weren't down with the selections on the other version, these have been hand selected by a RSD contest winner. Let the celebration/contention begin!
Fucked Up will be releasing their Daytrotter Sessions on limited-edition 7-inches, and to make them all the more personal, they've designed ten different covers for the record. And, ever the straightforward fella, Ted Leo doesn't have any different covers or fan-picked compilations. What he's got is a 7-inch with two new songs -- and, if you ask me, that is plenty exciting on its own.
We've already mentioned the new vinyl pressing of 69 Love Songs, which, let's face it, will be the highlight of your RSD day if you've got the dough. But there's some smaller gems coming out of the Merge camp. There's two new songs on a 7-inch from last year's best new power-pop act, Telekinesis, as well as a new pressing of Superchunk's "Misfits and Mistakes" single. Plus, the two newest Merge bands, Let's Wrestle and the Love Language, will share a split 7-inch.
Awesome RSD Exclusives
Beyond new vinyl pressings of classic albums, early pressings of upcoming albums, and stacks upon stacks of singles, Record Store Day has its share of surprises, too. Peter Gabriel is splitting a 7-inch with Bon Iver, for example, and the two will be covering each other's songs. Oh, and Gabriel will be doing the same thing with Stephen Merritt, too.
Two of the biggest releases will come from the Flaming Lips and Wilco. The Lips will release their rendition of Pink Floyd's classic album, on seafoam green vinyl. Meanwhile, Wilco is offering up a 4-LP, expanded edition of their live album, Kicking Television, complete with eight new tracks and deluxe packaging.
It's not all about hearing your favorite artist, either. The Mountain Goats are are mixing it up by releasing a film for Record Store Day. The Life of the World to Come is a DVD that puts a haunting performance by John Darnielle front and center. He performs his 2009 album of the same name in its entirety, at the same Pomona College location where he took piano lessons as a kid. Shot by Rian Johnson, director of Brick and The Brothers Bloom, the DVD is bound to give a new perspective and style to an already great album. Don't believe me? Check out a clip for yourself:
We hope this gives you an idea of what excites us most about April 17, but there's plenty more to be had on the shelves, so check out the full list of releases at the Record Store Day site. And don't forget about all the events going on, too. Bands are performing in stores all over the country that day; keep an eye on those here. There's bound to be more info coming as the day gets closer, so keep checking back here for all the info you need, and we'll see you out there on April 17. We'll be the ones fighting you for the last copy of 69 Love Songs or The Moon & Antarctica or Duty Now for the Future -- or all three.
What album are you most looking forward to getting at this year's Record Store Day? Let us know in the comments below.