For the Record: Saturday, April 22 will once again see the nation celebrating Record Store Day – an annual event which, since 2007, has offered up the opportunity to support independent record stores when they need it the most. It’s an often-stated fact that people don’t really buy physical media anymore, no matter how much retro value we place on vinyl records.
But Record Store Day sees musicians – from the big leagues to the indie – putting out rare music, cool reissues, pictures discs, exclusive tracks and more, in order to give the stores a much-needed bump. It’s just a very cool thing, and this year is no different. There are a lot of great releases and we can’t cover them all, but here are some highlights…
“The Badge” (45”, vinyl single)
Portland punks Poison Idea formed in 1980, and they were known for a no-bullshit approach that straddled the line between punk and hardcore. They were also known for an anti-authority attitude, encompassed beautifully by the song “The Badge.” Later covered by Pantera (a version which popped up on the soundtrack to The Crow), the lyrics were heavily anti-cop.
“Young and tough, truth and justice, fantasy, Fresh out of the academy, Five-time loser bust his head, make your day, Unless you’re paid off then you look away.” No subtlety in that message. So it’s a bit of a surprise that, alongside this RSD special release, the b-side is a remix which has been done by a Portland cop. Has the world gone mad? Have Poison Idea softened? Yes and no, but listen for yourself.
Violent Femmes (40th Anniversary Picture Disc, vinyl LP)
The 1983 debut album from Milwaukee folk-punks the Violent Femmes is much loved, and of course the “Blister in the Sun” single was one of the great alt-anthems of that decade. This is the first time that album has been released as a picture disc, the iconic album cover printed beautifully on the record. Whether that makes it worth it if you already own the album – that’s up to you. But it’s a great album, immaculately packaged to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Hello (First ever vinyl printing)
New York native Poe’s 1996 debut album Hello had a massive effect on the people that heard it at the time. The trouble is, not nearly enough did. Hopefully this RSD release will help change that. It’s a phenomenal record, straddling the lines that separate rock, pop and hip-hop with balletic dexterity. There are collaborations with Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum and late Detroit rapper J. Dilla on there, but it’s the cool vibe and expert songwriting that stands out. Magnifique.
Jonathan Goes Country (Remastered on red vinyl)
While he’s probably best known for his proto-punk work with the Modern Lovers, and songs such as “Road Runner” and “Pablo Picasso,” anyone who’s seen Jonathan Richman over the last couple of decades knows that he’s pretty much left those songs behind. He’s an enigmatic artist, and this 1990 album is a nice example of how he likes to stretch out beyond genre norms. Displaying a Kinky Friedman-esque biting wit combined with Johnny Cash charisma, this is a country album in the purist, non-redneck sense. The red vinyl, to match the cowboy boots that he’s sneering at on the sleeve, is a nice touch.
Blur Present the Special Collector’s Edition (Blue vinyl, double album)
Originally released in Japan back in 1994, The Special Collector’s Edition compiles the b-sides from the singles released from the first three Blur albums — Leisure, Modern Life is Rubbish and Parklife. You could be forgiven for assuming, then, that a lot of these songs were considered not good enough for the albums and a lot of not will be relatively disposable. Not so. This captures the Brit-pop band in its prime — the early, raw years. This RSD exclusive, on beautiful double clear vinyl, makes for a great time capsule. And for fans that didn’t buy every single, it’s a wonderful way to hear old songs for the first time.
Made You Look: God’s Son Live 2002 (Released on vinyl for the first time)
Apparently, fans have been asking for an official release of this 2002 sold out show from New York’s Webster Hall for years, and it’s not hard to see why. The rapper is firing on all cylinders on his home turf, and it’s awesome that the show has a proper vinyl release for the first time for RSD. A snippet of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” and an appearance from Ludacris are just a couple of the highlights.
FLSD EP (Purple vinyl)
Keith Morris (of Circle Jerks and Black Flag fame) saves most of his creative energy, his new material, for OFF! these days, and everything that band puts out is stunning. This exclusive RSD release, or gorgeous purple vinyl, features four album outtakes on side A (to be played at 45rpm), and some improvisational on side B (33rpm). And all of it is low key brilliant.
The Allman Brothers Band
Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh PA, January 17, 1971 (Numbered, “Pittsburgh steel” gray vinyl)
The Allman Brothers Band are too jammy for some, too “white boy blues” for others, but when they’re at their best they’re simply a great rock & roll band. This double gatefold live album, recorded in Pittsburgh in ‘71, is a little bit of all of that, and it certainly please longtime fans. Yes, side 3 and 4 have just one long song on each, but damn are they firing.
“Recorded direct from the band’s soundboard and restored and remastered, this recording captures the arc of the ABB’s sound as they were ramping up to the classic At Fillmore East album recorded just 8 weeks later (March 1971),” reads a statement. “When you listen, it’s apparent how tight and in the pocket the original ABB line-up – Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe – were on this recording.”
True enough, and the gray vinyl is gorgeous.
Live From Mabuhay Gardens, November 14, 1980 (Galaxy blue-colored vinyl)
San Francisco new wave / post-punk band Romeo Void are probably best known for the sultry and strong “Never Say Never” single, though this live set from their home turf was recorded a year before that song was released. Still Debora lyall’s part-spoken approach on songs such as “Nothing for Me” and “Talk Dirty to Me” (not the Poison song) are super-cool.
The Covers (Vinyl debut)
It’s already been three and a half years since we lost dear Eddie Money, a man who, you can take it from us, was a darling to interview. This is the debut vinyl release of a bunch of covers originally released over two EPs in 2009. Even when Money’s versions don’t hit right, such as the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” there’s still fun to be had. His version of Beatles deep cut “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” is surprisingly great, and his “When I Come Around” (Green Day) is hilarious. In a wonderful way.
Hollywood Blues Summit: Live at the Ash Grove, July 30, 1971 (Previously unreleased)
Blues names don’t get much bigger than Muddy Waters, and it’s wonderful to hear this previously unreleased live set from the now-gone Ash Grove in Hollywood. Waters is tearing it up on “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Got My Mojo Working.” That god that the set had been preserved and lovingly restored.
The Long Lost Bird Live Afro-Cubop Recordings! (Double 180-gram gatefold vinyl)
As big a name as Muddy Waters is in blues, Charlie Parker is in jazz. This RSD release features a selection of rare live cuts recorded in the 1940s and ‘50s in New York, L.A. and Portland. It’s a must for jazz heads and casual Bird fans alike.
The Best of the Rest: Rare and Unreleased Recordings (Vinyl debut, gatefold)
Fans of Dylan, Cohen and Cash will all find something to enjoy in Ochs’ deep, introspective and authentic folk storytelling. Plus, he has a song called “Love Me, I’m a Liberal.” Sold!
Sir Douglas Quintet
Texas Tornado Live: Doug Weston’s Troubadour, 1971 (LP pressed at 45rpm)
Despite the title and the fact that the dude on the sleeve (Sir Douglas, we assume) looks like a full on country singer, it would be easy to think that this is a country release. Apparently though, the Sir Douglas Quintet were a shit-kicking rock & roll band and this set, from the Troubadour here in Hollywood in 1971, captures them in all their glory.
Bossa Nova at Carnegie Hall (Limited edition 180 gram vinyl)
Back in November 1962 at the celebrated Carnegie Hall in New York City, a bunch of Brazilian musical legends gathered together, and the event has been re-released here after going out of print for decades. The likes of the Sergio Mendes Quartet and Carmen Costa prove just how great this music can be, and this vinyl release does them proud.
The Invisible Band Live (Gatefold, clear vinyl)
Scottish pop-rockers Travis played their The Invisible Band album from start to finish in Glasgow, in May of last year. The whole thing was recorded for this special RSD release, on top slabs of glorious clear vinyl. It’s really quite lovely, both in terms of the packaging and the music.
“Playing The Invisible Band live was a lot of fun. There are so many memories folded into these songs for us and for everyone who came to the shows,” said singer Fran Healy in a statement. “The tracklisting on this album worked really great live so we decided to record and film the final show in Glasgow. There is always a chance I’ll get a sore throat when I know there is a taping coming up, but thankfully it all went without a hitch. I think it was the best we played the album that night.”
Fran Healy will be appearing at Fingerprints in Long Beach on Record Store Day, so be there for that.
Describes Things As They Are (Limited edition, double coke bottle clear vinyl)
Washington DC man Chad Clark has produced the likes of Fugazi, Sparkehorse and Bob Mould. Beauty Pill, however, is his own band and Describes Things As They Are is their 2015 album which has received a RSD rerelease this year. It’s both challenging and enjoyable stuff, surfing on the line between post-punk and jazz.
“This album is certainly the strongest work of my life so far,” said Clark in a statement. “Upon release, it was met with unanimous critical acclaim… People seemed to understand it immediately. Definitely a high point in my life as an artist. Unfortunately, the euphoria of this moment was overshadowed by the private acrimony we endured with our label, that had purchased the rights to the music. Because of this conflict, the album went out of print. But I own the rights now. We’re free to do whatever we want. Towards this end, I have started my own label, which is called Findings, distributed by Misra. Findings is reissuing the album in its original double-vinyl gatefold form.”
The Complete Score From The Catherine Wheel (2-LP 140-gram vinyl)
Rhino send us a huge package just as the article was going to press, but it was pretty much all gold. There are three Talking Heads-related releases, starting with this one. The Catherine Wheel was a dance project by choreographer Twyla Tharp, and Byrne composed the score. As Byrne fans would expect, it’s an eclectic collection of tribal rhythms, experimental sounds, and hidden melody. 42 years after its release, it still has the ability to excite and throw for a loop in equal measure.
Tom Tom Club
Tom Tom Club (2-LP pink colored vinyl)
Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s Tom Tom Club have seen their debut album, also originally released in 1981, given a RSD rerelease in stunning pink vinyl. There’s a whole bonus LP of rare remixes, and new liner notes from the two Talking Heads alum. And hey, songs such as “Wordy Rappinghood” and “Genius of Love” sound as great as they ever did.
The Red and the Black (2-LP red & black colored vinyl)
The third of the Talking Heads guys with a RSD release is Jerry Harrison, whose The Red and the Black is now available on double colored vinyl — one red and one black. Perfect! Like The Catherine Wheel and the Tom Tom Club record, this album was originally released in 1981. That was quite the year for ex-Heads. It deserves to be heard by more people, so hopefully this edition will help. The songs are typically inventive, and the companion LP of instrumental mixes is a joy. Look out for the guest spot from Nona Hendryx.
Pleasant Dreams: The New York Mixes (140-gram yellow vinyl)
Sticking with a (sorta) CBGB theme, the Ramones’ sixth album Pleasant Dreams is given the yellow vinyl RSD treatment, as we get to hear rough mixes of one of da bruddahs’ more under appreciated efforts. To be honest, it sounds like the Ramones — rapid-fire, no bullshit, super-catchy punk tunes. If you already own Pleasant Dreams, you might want the colored vinyl though this is probably one for completists.
Ghosts of Princes in Towers (Remastered vinyl)
A post-Sex Pistols Glen Matlock and a pre-Ultravox Midge Ure came together for the short-lived Rich Kids, who just put out this one album (produced by Mick Ronson). Thing is, is a fucking awesome album and it’s wonderful to see its 45th anniversary celebrated on RSD. The “Rich Kids” track remains a classic, and this remastered version is magnificent. No colored vinyl, no frills, just a great punk/new wave record.
The Stiff Records B-Sides 1984-1987 (2-LP black/green marbled vinyl)
It’s entirely appropriate that this special Pogues release is on marbled green vinyl — not because of some silly St. Patrick’s Day stereotype but because it genuinely fits the Pogues. This collection of b-sides recorded for Stiff Records on the mid-eighties is a lot of fun — and there’s a lot of traditional folk on there (as opposed to their stuff that blends punk in). “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” “A Pistol for Paddy Garcia” — there are stories to be told and drinking to be done.
Sisters of Mercy
The Reptile House EP (180-gram smokey colored vinyl)
The 4oth anniversary of this early EP from the British goth-rock (they hate the term goth bit c’mon…) icons sees the record given a smoky colored treatment which is perfect, because anyone who has seen them live knows that you see very little of the band and a lot in the way of smoke. The Sisters will be back in L.A. soon, and it remains to be seen if they’ll pull out gems from this EP such as the foreboding “Valentine.” The EP is a timely reminder of just how beautiful this band is.
Show (2-LP picture disc)
Recorded just outside of Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills (home of the Pistons), the Show live album is released on double vinyl for the first time, and to sweeten the deal they’ve made them picture disc records. Robert Smith’s face on vinyl just looks right. Whether this album captures the Cure in their prime is debatable but they were damn good that night in Michigan. The likes of “Lullaby,” “Pictures of You,” and “Friday I’m in Love” sound incredible.
Rio Carnival (Pink & blue swirl vinyl)
The 40th anniversary (is it just us or are there a lot of 40th anniversary releases for RSD this year?) of the classic Durans album Rio is celebrated with an album of remixes, all of which are awesome. The chill “night” versions of “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” are highlights of a release worthy of its place in the Duran Duran canon.
American Life Mixshow Mix (180-gram vinyl)
Released as a tribute to late DJ and producer Peter Rauhofer and also to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the American Life album, Mixshow Mix features eight remixes, six of them previously unreleased and four off them by Rauhofer. Madonna loves a dance mix, and these are certainly danceable.
Bella Donna Live 1981 (2-LP, 180-gram vinyl)
This is another “first time on vinyl” situation, as Stevie Nicks’ show from the Wilshire Theatre, Beverly Hills, recorded in December ’81, is released on double gatefold. It was previously screened on HBO, and later released on VHS and laserdisc as In Concert, but this is the first audio release. Plenty of Fleetwood Mac and solo goodies were aired that night.
A Wizard / True Star (140-gram multi-colored vinyl)
The multi-colored vinyl for this 50th anniversary release really is a trip but the music is tripper. Glammy and operatic, there are elements of Queen, Bowie and Roxy Music there. Which makes sense, considering the history. According to the press release, “US organizers have pledged to donate $1 per copy sold of the stunningly beautiful reissue at US record stores that weekend to the Spirit of Harmony Foundation, combined with a generous donation from Marshall Headphones & Speakers.”
We’re proud to be able to support Todd Rundgren‘s Spirit of Harmony Foundation. The impact grassroots foundations like this offer often reaches beyond music to the communities as well as the children: developing their creative, communication and life-skills and offering a safe place centered around the joy of music,” said Peter Wijk, Brand Director of Marshall Headphones and Speakers in a statement.
Which is nice.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (2-LP picture disc)
We’re coming up on 19 years since we lost ODB, and 28 years since his solo debut album was first released. For RSD, the Wu-Tang man’s work has been done justice with a gorgeous double picture LP. The music is clearly superb, with GZA, RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Masta Killa plus Wu-Tang Killa Beez all popping up. Whether you already own it or not, this is one of RSD 2023’s best.
12 Bar Blues (2-LP blue/green colored vinyl)
Casual fans of the Stone Temple Pilots might have forgotten that Weiland’s 1998 solo album 12 Bar Blues even existed. After all, it hardly set the charts on fire. It does, however, include some of Weiland’s more inventive work, and it’s full of surprises. “Barbarella” is a “Space Oddity”-esque glitter rocker, with Porno For Pyros man Peter DiStefano on guitar. Meanwhile, last song “Opposite Octave Reaction” features Circle Jerks man Zander Schloss on guitar. The 25th anniversary release on gatefold, colored vinyl, is exquisite.
Live in Fresno 1983 (2-LP red 140-gram vinyl)
Recorded in Fresno, CA 40 years ago, this Dio show is considered something of a classic, and this marks its debut on vinyl. Double red vinyl, in fact. The track list is a Ronnie career-spanner, that takes in Black Sabbath (“Heaven & Hell”), Rainbow (“Man on the Silver Mountain”) and of course plenty of his own Dio material. “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow in the Dark” are genre classics, and the artwork here is suitably metal. Magnificent stuff!
Live: Right Here, Right Now (4-LP red translucent vinyl)
Let’s nip this shit in the bud. People all too often talk about Dave Lee Roth-era Van Halen like it’s Led fucking Zeppelin, and Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen like it’s REO fucking Speedwagon. Neither is true — and both eras produced some great music. The rest is subjective.
This 4 LP, red vinyl live album, making its vinyl debut, captures Van Hagar in its prime, and they were firing on that tour. Hagar tunes such as “Poundcake” and “When it’s Love” are powerful and anthemic, and Sammy does a great job with DLR songs “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Jump.”
Live at Knoxville Civic Auditorium (3-LP 140-gram vinyl)
English prog veterans Yes are captured here on the Close to the Edge tour, in 1972. Unlike the two versions of Yes that tour today this is the classic lineup of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White. Three LPs, all showcasing the band at their best. The vinyl is plain black but the album art, by Roger Dean, is beautiful.
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
I’m Going to do What I Want to do (2-LP vinyl)
Another live performance on vinyl for the first time, this time by avant-garde jazz-rocker Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. The show is from the 1978 Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) tour, and it’ll delight fans.
Paul McCartney and Wings
Red Rose Speedway (Half-speed mastering)
This Wings album is celebrating its 50th anniversary with RSD, and so it is being rereleased with half-speed mastering. Apparently, that makes it sound better. Fair enough!
According to the press release, “The first Paul McCartney and Wings album to top the US album chart, Red Rose Speedway kicked off a run of #1 albums that included Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, At The Speed Of Sound and Wings Over America. The album’s sole single, ‘My Love,’ was received with similar warmth, becoming Wings’ first #1 single in the US, as well as a staple of Wings and Paul shows for decades to come.”
The packaging, including the awesome pop art within the gatefold, is nearly as delightful as rediscovering these old Wings tunes.
Ray Gun Suitcase (White vinyl)
Again, this album from the punk vets is on vinyl for the first time. The vinyl is pretty in white, and the artwork has been updated. This isn’t Pere Ubu’s easiest listen, to be fair. The previous couple had been relatively accessible, and this saw David Thomas and the boys delving into murkier, more experimental waters. There are plenty of catchy punk bands lout there though — Pere Ubu will always be priceless because they push boundaries and this is a great example. When they do hit their stride, like on “Beach Boys,” they sound phenomenal. God bless ’em!
Late December & Live Acoustic (Double LP)
Maria McKee remains, to this day, a terribly underrated songwriter, singer and performer. A lot of people only know her for the smash “Show Me Heaven” single but her albums have never let her fans down. Not a one. Late December was released in 2007, and its jam packed with introspective songs. A real highlight is the inclusion of “A Good Heart,” a song she wrote for former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey in the ’80s and had a massive hit with. This was the first time, we believe, she recorded it herself and her version is gorgeous. It’s like when Prince sang “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Kinda.
The second LP is live recorded on her acoustic tour in 2006. And it’s lovely.
Pearls Before Swine
Balaklava (Double LP gatefold)
We have to be honest, this ’60s acid folk band is new to us but it’s nice to learn something. It’s all very haunting and poetic, like Leonard Cohen without the deep tones. And the art is beautiful. Dive in!
Blindman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Blood-splatter edition)
If you’re wondering, “blood-splatter edition” is exactly what it sounds like — clear vinyl, with a red “blood” effect, which is remarkably effective when the record is spinning. Meanwhile, this is the soundtrack to the 1971 spaghetti western, infamous for starring Beatles man Ringo Starr and the odd Scouse-Mexican accent that he employed. The score is great, and record comes with a lovely movie poster.
The Rolling Stones
Beggars Banquet (180 gram vinyl, swirling mass of grey, blue, black and white)
Very little needs to be said about the music on this Stones classic. It’s one of their best albums, some would say it’s their best but that’s obviously subjective, and the “bathroom graffiti” art is iconic. It looks gorgeous in gatefold here. Meanwhile, that “swirling mass” vinyl is beautiful, and the record comes with a replica poster of the boys in their prime. Even if you already own the album, this is a special release.
For the Record: For more information about Record Store Day, including a full list of releases, go to recordstoreday.com.
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