It’s the most wonderful time of the year… That’s right, Record Store Day. The excitement, the unity of eager queuers, the smell of that shiny black vinyl as you release it from its sleeve, the empty pockets at the end of the day… But most of all, the music. A day dedicated to celebrating our favourite music, and those wonderful shop-owners who provide us with so much of it.
Ahead of the big day this Saturday (21st April), we thought we’d share some of the special releases that we’re most looking forward to this year. From the emotion-strewn nostalgia of classics by artists no longer with us, to some not-yet heard releases from some of favourite new bands, here’s what we can’t wait to get our hands on…
Soundgarden – A-Sides
The day I learned that Chris Cornell had tragically left us all too soon also happened to be the day I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I remember the day well. I listened to Soundgarden’s A-Sides on the way to and from the clinic, trying to find release in a band in whom I’d sought comfort on such days for the last 20 years. And, as I gazed out of the train window, I soon forgot my health worries as the realisation of what an immense loss the world had just suffered hit me.
It may seem dramatic being so affected by someone you’ve never met, but I guess I’ve always found something particularly therapeutic about Chris Cornell’s voice. From the raging passion of ‘Jesus Christ Pose’, ‘Outshined’ and ‘Rusty Cage’, to the heartbreaking desperation of ‘The Day I Tried To Live’, ‘Pretty Noose’ and ‘Fell On Black Days’, it’s always been something I’ve sought refuge in; a voice that’s stirred a feeling in me that few other artists ever have.
Released for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day 2018, A-Sides is a compilation album with songs spanning Soundgarden’s thirteen-year career. It was originally released on 4th November 1997 through A&M Records.
Haley – ‘Bratt’
Formally known as Haley Bonar, American artist HALEY has previously charmed listeners with 2016’s Impossible Dream and played on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’, as well as for the BBC 6 Music Festival in Glasgow. Now, under her new moniker, she recently shared ‘BRATT’.
Propelled by uptempo, looped beats, it flows with a twinkling, ethereal haze and the subtle impassioned power of HALEY’s delicate vocals. Oozing an exquisite, emotion-strewn splendour, ‘BRATT’ sparkles with a shimmering, captivating grace, showcasing HALEY’s ability to create stirring, heartfelt creations.
‘Bratt’ will be specially released on a Memphis Industries 7″ for Record Store Day.
Courtney Barnett – ‘City Looks Pretty’/ ‘Sunday Roast’
Though I haven’t yet heard either of these singles yet, I have every confidence they’ll be worth the £9.99 I’m hoping to spend on Saturday. I’ve loved everything else Courtney Barnett has created, from 2013’s Double EP A Sea Of Split Peas (featuring the absolute self-love anthem that is ‘Lance Jr’) to the recent first taster of her upcoming album, ‘Nameless, Faceless’ – a refreshingly honest take on male chauvinism.
Courtney Barnett is probably my favourite, and most relatable, lyricist. She has a unique ability to tackle everyday life with a perfect wit and raw honesty; that, combined with her woozy vocals and infectious jangly melodies, makes for an utter dream, and I cannot wait to hear more from her.
‘City Looks Pretty’/’Sunday Roast’ is out on 12″ exclusively for Record Store Day via Marathon Artists. Tell Me How You Really Feel, the upcoming album from Courtney Barnett, is out 18th May.
Blanck Mass – ‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’
Artists who release via Sacred Bones have been my obsession since listening to The Soft Moon’s latest album Criminal a few months ago, so I’m super keen to hear what Blanck Mass’s RSD release sounds like.
He came to my attention through Gazelle Twin, who contributed a remix of ‘The Rat’ to his latest EP, World Eater Re-Voxed. Here on ‘Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck’, the sonic punch of Blanck Mass manifests itself in “a couple of anti-macho pop songs” about a “pair of walking hardons” he observed at a truck stop whilst touring last year. The context will resonate with anyone who becomes enraged when they overhear ignorant people spouting trash in public (aka me).
Neither track will appear on a future Blanck Mass album, as the style deviates from his musical norm – making it the perfect release for RSD.
Odd Scene b/w Shit Luck is a 2 track 12″ released exclusively for Record Store Day via Sacred Bones.
L7 – Fast & Frightening
What’s the opposite of a ‘Shitlist’ – a hitlist? Well, that’s what Riot Grrrls L7’s Fast & Frightening album should be at the top of!
Since watching the ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ documentary (which Tash recommended to me), I’ve been listening to these punks on the regular. This album is filled with rarities, cover versions, tracks only found on compilations or one-off split 7″ singles, and plenty more.
It’s the first time the record’s been released on vinyl, and the perfect purchase for anyone who was lucky enough to score a tickets to their Electric Ballroom gig in Camden on 12th June.
Fast And Frightening is a 2LP out for the first time on vinyl for Record Store Day.
Rage Against The Machine – Democratic National Convention 2000
“Anger is a gift” – Zach de la Rocha’s powerful lines on ‘Freedom’ taken from RATM’s self-titled debut (released back in 1991) still burn with meaning and motivation. In the current political climate, I think we all need RATM more than we need oxygen most days.
This live recording of their protest concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2000 – attended by 8,000 people – is proof that Rage were a band unlike any other; politically informed, militantly organised and immensely talented.
Each time I think I’ve discovered all I need to know about this band, something like this crops up. They may have split back in October 2000, but their ideologies remain relevant and inspirational.
Live At The Democratic National Convention 2000 is an exclusive Record Store Day release of RATM’s concert in protest of the American political party system.
Ask me? Record Store Day is one of, if not the best, day of the year. Christmas and even Halloween lose all appeal when faced off against independent record shops, limited release vinyl, and queueing. If Brits are the masters of queueing, then I consider myself a master of excitedly queueing on one particular day for records I woke up at 6am to find.
Last year, I added Patti Smith’s Hey Joe/Piss Factory and Anna Calvi‘s Live at Meltdown to my collection. Not to mention the free coffee offered ’round the back of Newcastle’s RPM, Reflex, and Beatdown Records (my “locals”). This year, it’s these releases that have all my attention.
Arcade Fire – Arcade Fire EP
One of the first Arcade Fire songs I ever heard was My Heart is an Apple from the 2003-released Arcade Fire EP. This to the point in which I still tell people that my heart is both full and an apple. I won’t say Napster had anything to do with it, but in rural England in a place where No Cars Go in the early noughties, you do what you can. The Arcade Fire EP will be released for the first time on vinyl and if I don’t find this individually numbered Holy Grail by my favourite band in the world, I’m going to be quite sad.
Arcade Fire EP is out for the first time on 12″ vinyl for Record Store Day.
Daughter – Music Before The Storm
Life is Strange: Before the Storm was Daughter’s first deep dive into the world of scoring and as a massive fan of the game series wherein music is so much a part of the experience that it’s as big a character as the storm it speaks of. In a flagship store on Portobello Road this January, the instantly recognisable track Flawsbroke out of the speakers and my heart, filling it with kind of pain I want to experience again and again. Music from Before the Storm is a double LP that belongs with me, and I shan’t hear otherwise.
Music From Before The Storm will be out for the first time on 2LP clear vinyl for Record Store Day.
(Honorable mentions that will break my bank account: Twin Peaks (Music From The Limited Event Series – Soundtrack) and every single Bowie record available.)
GOAT – Double Date OST
GOAT are at the forefront of the psych resurgence, and the elusive Swedes are rarely away from my thoughts, so it’s exciting to see them cross over into a more popular medium with the soundtrack to Benjamin Barfoot’s comic-horror. The disc is blood-red and features ‘Run to Your Mama’ amongst other tracks. I might even see if I can pick up a copy of the film on Blu-Ray somewhere – the band themselves appear in one scene which, from the trailer, looks suitably trippy.
Double Date will be limited to 500 copies on 10″ for Record Store Day.
The Heads – Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere
This is a re-issue of The Heads’ second album from 2000 and is widely considered to be the Bristol psych survivors’ best. However, I’ll be trying to get hold of a copy (on clear blue vinyl naturally) because the band’s set at Liverpool Psych Fest in 2015 led to me and my housemates making a new, old friend. He was dancing so curiously that we couldn’t help but say hello and have knocked around with him the last couple of years on-and-off. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Jon B and there’s no Liverpool Psych Fest this year, and, to be honest, I miss him.
Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere will be limited to 500 copies on clear blue vinyl for Record Store Day.
The Lovely Eggs – Eggland
I still haven’t got round to picking up wobbly lo-fi psych indiepoppers The Lovely Eggs’ fifth album but having observed their career at a distance, both fascinated and slightly daunted, this RSD release – in Special Fried edition, white vinyl with a yellow yolk centre – has me captivated. Single ‘Wiggy Giggy’ had heavy rotation on Marc Riley’s 6Music show (normally around the time I would actually be frying things for dinner) so it seems like it’s the time to crack on.
Eggland LP will be limited to 500 copies in a special hand-packed sleeve for Record Store Day.
Otoboke Beaver – Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver
Lately, I feel as though I’m being increasingly led to Japanese music. Gideon Coe played Otoboke Beaver’s ‘anata atashi daita ato yome no meshi’ on his show last month and I’ve been curious about this self-described ‘“Japanese girls ‘knock out or pound cake’ band” ever since. Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver was designed as an introductory compilation for Western audiences, and is a furious non-stop melee of punk and garage with songs written in Kyoto’s slang. Perfect for dinner parties then.
Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver, a compilation of Otoboke Beaver’s output from 2010-2015, will be released on solid pink 12″ for Record Store Day.
Finally, we’d like to give a special mention to Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é. We actually all singled it out as a particularly special record, and both Mari and John have written about what it means to them…
There’s two kinds of people in this world: people who desperately want a special edition version of the outré-emotional sound of young (and sadly departed) Jeff Buckley playing his heart out in the East Village’s most famous little dive, and people who are lying to themselves. I’m in the first category.
I’d never been hugely into Jeff Buckley – I knew ‘Grace’ and ‘Hallelujah’, though having been brought up on Leonard Cohen, I had always favoured the original of the latter… However, in the early days of meeting my partner Paul, I would stay over and he would play music all night as he slept. One of his most-played night time albums was Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-é – an absolutely perfect collection of exquisite lullabies. Being a light sleeper, I would lie awake and listen to the gut-wrenching raw emotion of each and every syllable. From the heartbreaking pleas of ‘Lover You Should’ve Come Over’, to the poignant cover of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’ and the soaring, quivering emotion of ‘Just Like A Woman’, I challenge anyone with a heart and working tear ducts to listen to this album with dry eyes. It’s a truly special collection of spellbinding songs from an artist who left us much too soon.
Live at Sin-é was Jeff Buckley’s debut release for Columbia Records in 1993. Exclusively for Record Store Day, it’s being released as a limited edition with four individually designed LP jackets and an eight page, full colour booklet of photos and liner notes.
Find info on all the Record Store Day releases here. And, in the run up to Saturday, have a listen to our Record Store Day playlist!