We know the plot well—online proliferation brought the suits to their knees and ushered in a new era where art funnels itself straight from the maker, dealing a righteous deathblow to the Man. But BitTorrent fiends, serial Spotify-ers, YouTube cruisers: Hear ye. Record Store Day is the excuse you need to show some love to an artist you dig and a shop that carries their stuff (they like dough, too). Given the huge range of participants, it’s unlikely that you won’t find your personal gem in this stack. Below, a meager attempt to cover the span of it—turntable recommended. Condolences, cassette loyalists.
At The Drive-In
Relationship Of Command 12”
There isn’t much left to say about Relationship Of Command, but with the recent collapse of The Mars Volta and subsequent rise of Bosnian Rainbows, it’s even rarer in retrospect. When At The Drive-In split, the rhythm section and guitarist Jim Ward moved into the post-emo of Sparta, while the two afros indulged in Volta’s hifalutin’ experimentation, but neither could truly fill the gaping hole left in the hearts of ATD-I fans. Nor could, many say, the reunion that swept through the Big-Fest circuit last year. This 12” reissue of their landmark album with two bonus tracks may offer some consolation.
Fear Of My Identity/Who Have I Become 7”
At the turn of the century, when people pondered the future of rock music, you have to wonder whether they were thinking, “Yup, surf pop revival.” For it has arrived again, and might have already left—ask Los Angeles group Best Coast, who were the best thing about the trend with their popular LP, Crazy For You, before going deeper than lovesick beach-bumming and cleaning up their fashionably-washed sound on last year’s The Only Place. If you’re wondering what’s next for the busy duo, head for the two fresh tracks featured on their incoming vinyl single.
It’s now been almost five decades since Bob Dylan “went electric,” a move that doesn’t seem as momentous as advertised when considering the whole of the man’s career. All of his music continues to connect with new crowds well into the next century. Movies have been made, documentaries filmed, books written, and still, we can say we’ll get to hear something fresh from Mr. Dylan, even if it was recorded long ago. A Record Store Day 7” containing two unreleased outtakes from the Self Portrait sessions will tide over those waiting for Bootleg Series, Vol. 10.
Brian Eno/Nicolas Jaar/Grizzly Bear
Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear 12”
One particularly special Record Store Day tidbit will come in the form of two remixes by young New York producer Nicolas Jaar. Brian Eno’s ambient colossus Lux, a four-part ambient piece clocking in at 75 minutes, will be tackled on the A-side, while the B will hold a version of Grizzly Bear’s “Sleeping Ute,” one of the tracks from their recent Shields which exemplified that album’s trippy tightrope-walk of concision and impulse. Jaar, whose melancholic, low-tempo LP, Space Is Only Noise, launched him to prominence in 2011, rounds this out as an intersection of top-end talent.
Built To Spill
Built To Spill left an enduring mark on some of the Northwest-corner bands that would soon launch past them into commercial prominence. While the Death Cabs or Modest Mouses might have “hit the big” in a truer sense, the vitality, brains, and chops behind Marstch & Co. make them a definitive indie rock band. Those of us who have yet to see them play can look to the reissue of Live, recorded during the Keep It Like A Secret tour and in print once more. Just thinking of “The Plan” as an opener releases the spine-tingles.
Sheep Go To Heaven (Live)/Jesus Wrote A Blank Check (Live) 7”
Steady alt rock soldiers since 1991, Cake make hit singles whenever they’re not busy being critics’ darlings—you don’t have to throw a stone too far to hit someone who’s heard “The Distance” or “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” And while few bands can take six years off, build their own solar-powered studio, and still hit the top of the charts when the record’s done, it’s still their live set that makes fans happiest. If that’s you, head for the new 7” with previously-unreleased live takes of “Sheep Go To Heaven” and golden-oldie “Jesus Wrote A Blank Check.”
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
Frank Freeman’s Dance Club 12”
Frank Freeman’s Dance Club’s A-side contains four tracks taped by John Peel at a Beefheart show in Kidderminster, UK; the B rounds it out with four other songs from the era—the concert took place in 1968, between Strictly Personal and Zappa-produced freak show Trout Mask Replica. Don Van Vliet’s work remains a touchstone for seekers of music that rejects, well, every norm humanly possible, an artist whose influence continues to be felt. This is the closest many of us can get to taking in a live performance.
Alternate Versions From Either/Or 7”
Elliott Smith’s body of work, spanning from the loud alt rock of Heatmiser to a prolific solo career that took him to an Oscar nomination, will receive a new, posthumous entry on Record Store Day. Four outtakes from the hushed, beautiful Either/Or are on the way, and we’ll have to wait ’til the release to see what alternate versions of beloved tracks “Alameda,” “Punch And Judy,” and “Angeles” could possibly sound like. A different vocal take of the ubiquitous “Ballad Of Big Nothing” will round it out.
It’s the summer of 1980—having been freshly snubbed out of a potential record deal, Hüsker Dü stormed Duffy’s in Minneapolis and pumped out a live version of “Amusement” that would later end up as their first single. While the band would go on to bring a signature melodic twist to the hardcore punk formula on albums like Zen Arcade and New Day Rising, this 2×7” reissue of that first single shows the band in its undeveloped youth, and includes two more songs they hashed out with its original B-side, “Statues,” that never saw the light of day.
Ágætis byrjun 12”
1,000 double-LP copies of Sigur Rós’ life-affirming Ágætis byrjun, out of print for years, will be floating around in the States once more on Record Store Day. It was their breakthrough album that marked the moment worldwide audiences got to know their patient, dreamy songwriting and the celestial falsetto of Jónsi Birgisson. Since then, albums like Takk… and ( ) fortified their rabid fanbase and nestled them into a comfortable rock history niche. They just came through Madison Square Garden this March to warm us up for the June release of new LP, Kveikur.
Stephen Malkmus And Friends
Can’s Ege Bamyasi 12”
Here is something that really should happen more often. Stephen Malkmus, of Pavement and Jicks fame, recently conspired with German quartet Von Spar at the Week-End Fest in Cologne to play one of their favorite records in full. That would be Ege Bamyasi by Can, and if you’re unfamiliar, make your way to the original for a delectably-weird disc that spawned the single “Spoon.” The Malkmus-ified version will arrive on 12”, and is sure to leave us dreaming of fantastic who-covered-what scenarios in its wake.
Demon Dance 7”
The Weezer blueprint has received a welcome facelift named Surfer Blood, whose 2010 album, Astrocoast, pushed them into prominence on the loud ‘n’ sunny, punk-tinged pop of tracks like “Swim” and “Floating Vibes.” Since then, the Floridian quartet have only mustered one EP, Tarot Classics, on which four rather-different new songs toyed with polished new-wave. Their upcoming Warner Bros debut, Pythons, will get a Record Store Day preview on a 7” single with two tracks, “Demon Dance” and “Slow Six.”
Tame Impala EP 12”
Tame Impala came a-galloping out of Perth, Australia with 2010’s Innerspeaker, with its Lennon-esque vocals, thickly-washed production, and endless psychedelia dredging up loads of buzz. It would soon prove to be a mere prelude to last year’s twisting, epic Lonerism, which proceeded to take over the planet and land at the peak of year-end top lists across the journosphere. As they tour the world and check off appearances at major festivals, acquaint yourself with their eponymous first EP, a Record Store Day exclusive 12” that will come with two extra tracks.
Record Store Day 12”
Glen Rock-hailing punk/indie peddlers Titus Andronicus do not appear to be slowing down, with their fantastic 2012 LP, Local Business, letting us hear their raucous energy and irreverent lyrics in a new, cleaner light—despite moving away from old production tactics, it’s very much Titus in all their snot-nosed glory. It seems right that they’d be all-in on Record Store Day, for which the band will offer up two brand new songs along with magnificently-titled album track “Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter.” The sleeve will be lovingly stuffed with pics of passed-through record stores.
The White Stripes
It’s been a short while since Jack and Meg White called it a day in order to “preserve what was beautiful and special” about The White Stripes. But Jack’s been quite busy in the meantime, putting together the acclaimed Blunderbuss and, among other things, finding himself dubbed the Ambassador of Record Store Day. Courtesy of his own Third Man Records, the now-classic LP Elephant—now reaching its 10th anniversary—will see a limited-edition reissue, remastered and pressed on colored vinyl (LP one will be red and black, LP two is, for a change, white).