Ahhh, the thunderstorms are rolling, the baseball teams are swinging, and the whole of humanity fights a frustratingly futile battle against pollen. That can mean only one thing, Record Store Day is almost here! So prepare thy turntables friends, ‘cause Team RSD has another killer slate of releases hitting shelves this week that you don’t want to miss out on.
Don’t know what Record Store Day is? Short answer – it’s the indie record store community’s attempt to get music lovers back to buying physical copies of music … preferably in independently owned, brick and mortar shops. If you’re looking for the full story – click here for the down and dirty details. If you’re already in the know, well, then you understand that Record Store Day is the perfect opportunity for you to shop locally and support your community. It’s also a chance to lay your hands on some seriously choice wax.
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s have a look at some of the sexier releases that’ll be hitting bins this weekend. But take note: these releases are all limited pressings! You’ll be lucky to find more than a couple of copies of these discs at your local record store. So if there’s a title you’re absolutely dying to add to your collection, do not sleep in. Be at that shop the second they open and thank me later.
Now, here are a few discs that really need to be on your radar:
Arcade Fire EP (RSD Exclusive, 3000 copies)
It’s likely that you’re at least casually aware of indie rock icons Arcade Fire. Odds are that you’ve taken the time to cultivate some very specific opinions about their world-conscious politics, not to mention their dramatically eclectic blend of folk and synth-pop and rock and a dozen other musical styles. Whether you love them or hate them, you simply cannot understate their impact on the rock scene over the past decade and a half. And if you do love them, then this limited/numbered, first ever vinyl pressing of the band’s seminal EP (aka Us Kids Know) in translucent blue will prove a fascinating look at a pre-Funeral Fire that was still forming the foundation of their soon-to-be celebrated sound. If that doesn’t scream “must own” for Arcade Fire fanatics, then nothing ever will.
Brian Eno & Kevin Shields The Weight of History + Only Once Away My Son (RSD Exclusive, 5000 copies)
You know Kevin Shields for the waves of cacophonous melody he sculpted behind shoegaze icons My Bloody Valentine. You know Brian Eno because, well, he’s Brian fucking Eno. And if you don’t know those names, then there’s not much we can say to you that doesn’t sound a whole lot like “Have you been living under a rock your entire life or do you just hate music?” I’m confident you don’t hate music (and I’m pretty sure you haven’t been living under a rock), so I’ll go ahead and assume that you understand completely just how exciting it is that these two iconic innovators actually went into a studio to record music together. Those recordings spawned the two tracks on this exclusive, double-A side 12” release, which Pitchfork has called “a deliriously successful pairing” of Eno and Shields that’s “not immediately identifiable as either’s work.” Of course, if you’re a fan of either, you’ll likely want to make that judgement for yourself. Now’s your chance.
Living Colour Live at CBGB’s 12/19/89 (RSD Exclusive, 2XLP, 3000 copies)
The folks over at Legacy Recordings have seriously upped their game over the past few Record Store Day events, but they appear to be going all in with this year’s slate. The vaunted re-issurers of albums from all eras and genres will feature their name on no fewer than 24 releases in 2018, and most of them fall into the realm of “really intriguing” to “must own” releases. If you’re a fan of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s punk & hardcore scene, then you’re probably already salivating over the release of this live set from “Cult of Personality” purveyors Living Colour. Recorded in December of 1989, this recording found the band returning to the cozy confines of New York’s iconic punk club CBGB’s fresh off a relentless tour in support of their breakthrough album Vivid. Judging from the setlist alone (comprised of songs from Vivid and their 1990 followup album Time’s Up), this show looks to be a bit of a thrasher, and also comes packaged in a slick, bootleg-inspired sleeve that should make this release an absolute necessity for fans of the band.
Durutti Column Another Setting (‘RSD First’ Release, 2XLP, 400 copies)
Of course, if the Factory Records fueled “Madchester” scene is more your speed, then you’re probably more stoked about this double LP reissue of the hyper-laid back, Vini Reilly-centric Durutti Column’s third album Another Setting. Many consider this album as the most complete in Durutti Column’s under appreciated catalogue. This two-disc collection (pressed on clear vinyl) features the original album in all its remastered glory, but also includes a non-album single (a cover of Hoagy Carmichael “I Get Along Without You Very Well”) as sung by Factory founder Tony Wilson’s then wife Lindsay Reade. If that weren’t enough to get you into stores this Saturday, you should know the second disc in this set contains a previously unreleased live recording of Durutti Column (featuring Reilly and Bruce Mitchell) from 1983’s Pandora’s Box Festival in Rotterdam. Durutti Column. Live. I will fight you for this release if you get in my way of hearing it. Count yourself warned.
Sufjan Stevens Mystery of Love EP (RSD Exclusive, 10” vinyl, 10,000 copies)
For much of the 2017 fall movie season, audiences across the globe were bowled over by Luca Guadagnino’s unconventional romantic drama Call Me By Your Name. And for good reason, the film is a penetrating, tender-hearted tale of young love in all its impassioned, sloppy, and sensual glory. Bolstering the film’s unabashedly romantic energy were a handful introspective, overtly sentimental songs from indie-ingenue Sufjan Stevens. If you’re anything like me, you probably spent a week or two after you saw the CMBYN obsessing over these songs — “Visions of Gideon,” “Mystery of Love,” and “Futile Devices” respectively — and wishing you could get your hands on a vinyl pressing of them. Those wishes have been granted, and you’ll now be able to spin a full 10 inches of Sufjan’s Elio-inspired emotionalism on sexy transparent vinyl. I really cannot understand how these songs are not being released on peach colored wax though.
Johnny Thunders So Alonesome (RSD Limited Run, 500 copies)
If you’re one of the five or six people (my amazing Editor included) who reads my bi-annual Record Store Day column, you’re probably a little tired of hearing me ramble on and on and on about what Johnny Thunders release is hitting shelves this year or that. At the risk of alienating all of you beautiful, supportive people, I’ll simply say that I don’t care. In his brief, tumultuous life, Johnny Thunders was without question one of the most influential guitarists (behind only Robert Quine) to come out of New York’s punk scene. That means any release bearing his name is more than worthy a mention, and absolutely worth owning. As it happens, 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Thunders’ first solo album So Alone. Rather than just re-release that masterful/underrated album, the folks at Remarkable Records have put together a killer collection of alternate mixes and demos culled from the album’s original studio sessions, which makes So Alonesome an absolutely invaluable companion to the record that the late, great Thunders considered to be his finest work. And yes, you should be interested in hearing that record for yourself.
Jeff Buckley Live at Sin-é (RSD Exclusive, 4XLP box set, 2500 copies)
Did we mention that the folks at Legacy have some seriously sweet releases hitting stores for Record Store Day this year? None of them is more exciting, or more impressive, than this limited, numbered, four LP box set that dramatically expands on the 1993 EP that found a solo Buckley’s music soaring through the cramped confines of his favorite lower east side coffee-house. With this reissued Live at Sin-é, you’ll find the original four track recording that was Buckley’s first commercial release for Columbia Records coupled with an eight page, full color booklet featuring behind the scenes photos and liner notes. You’ll also find three more discs full of candid, heartfelt recordings from Buckley’s unofficial tenure at Sin-é, which found him performing stripped-down versions of classics like “Grace,” “Last Goodbye,” and “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” … not to mention covers of Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman,” and Buckley’s now iconic take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Uncle Tupelo No Depression — Demos (RSD Exclusive, 3000 copies)
Throughout the course of history, terms like “genre-defying” and “game-changer” and “groundbreaking” and “iconic” have been thrown around about albums and recordings a little too frivolously. Realistically, there’s maybe a couple of dozen albums that actually live up to that billing. Uncle Tupelo’s 1990 debut No Depression is one of them, even if it’s one that too few people know about. Just know that if you’ve ever classified one of your favorite bands as “alt-country,” then you owe a particular debt to No Depression. Recorded in 1989, the album found a baby-faced Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and Jay Farrar (Son Volt) sitting down to record a collection of songs that somehow blended the sounds of traditional folk standards and outlaw country music with the angst and energy of punk rock. That uncanny blend of styles quickly was eventually labeled “alt-country.” So yeah, the very style and genre your favorite band dabbles in didn’t exactly exist before No Depression was released. Which means it’s the very definition of an iconic, genre-defying game-changer. And these are the demos that helped form its groundbreaking core.
Serge Gainsbourg & Michel Colombier Original Soundtrack — Le Pacha (RSD First, 100 copies)
If there’s a weak spot in the 2018 Record Store Day lineup, it’s that there aren’t many exciting soundtrack releases hitting shelves this year. Of course, it’s possible that the ones that are being released simply pale in comparison to this soundtrack from Serge Gainsbourg & Michel Colombier. To be completely honest with you, I’ve never seen the film Le Pacha, and I have no idea who Michel Colombier is. Those facts are completely irrelevant, however, when the name Serge Gainsbourg is involved. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, just know that he was a fabulously gifted French musician who, during the 1960s was probably the coolest human being in France (which many also considered the top coolest place on earth). That fact made Gainsbourg at least eligible to qualify as the coolest man alive. Know then, that his soundtrack (being released here for the first time in its entirety on vinyl) was recorded when Gainsbourg still carried that air of cool. Know that this release contains the full, never-before-heard instrumental version of Gainsbourg’s classic “Requiem Pour Un Con.” And know that your record collection will gain about a million extra cool points just by adding Le Pacha’s original soundtrack to its ranks.
John Williams Original Music from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (RSD First, 10”, Porg-shaped vinyl, 3500 copies)
I know, I know, I just told you that there were not many exciting soundtrack releases in this year’s Record Store Day lineup. I’m not counting this release from legendary composer John Williams because it isn’t Williams’ full original score to the film (which is legit some of his best work). Rather, this release is little more than a couple of solid outtakes from that score. The only reason I’m listing it is because it’s those songs have been pressed on PORG-SHAPED VINYL. While I tend to loathe these sorts of kitschy/collectible releases, this one (like the Porgs themselves, who I realize provided absolutely zero narrative value to The Last Jedi and really only exist to sell ridiculous merchandise just like this) is just too damn cute to ignore. So save your nay-saying for someone who cares, ‘cause I’ll be perfectly content to sit back and watch that adorable little creature spinning on my deck.
Trust me, there’s more. I didn’t even mention that re-release of Thelonious Monk’s massively underrated third album Monk, or that insane 10th anniversary release from Erased Tapes Records with new music from Nils Frahm, Kiasmos, and a bevy of other amazing Erased Tapes acts. But hey, part of the fun of going to record stores is maybe discovering some little band or some silly song that might just change your life. And you might just discover something new in the full list of the year’s releases (available in this handy PDF). If you wanna find the closest participating record store, just click here. Happy hunting, my friends.