Record Store Day might only come around once a year, and while you should be out supporting your local, independent record stores all year round, us here at The Aquarian— as well as the Record Store Day Association — understand that you might need a little enticing to get you to go back to the roots of physical music. So, with the holidays around the corner and Record Store Day being months away, Black Friday is the perfect time to bring together two of the best things the world has to offer: music and the gift of giving.
Here, you can find which exclusively released albums for RSD’s Black Friday are the perfect ones for you to venture all the way out of your house to go buy — either for a family member, a friend…or for yourself, because nobody knows your music taste better than you do!
Playing In The Band, Seattle, WA 5/21/74 – Grateful Dead (Grateful Dead/Rhino) It is the longest running (uninterrupted) Grateful Dead song ever recorded and now it’s being released on a single, double-sided LP, for the first time ever. The 47-minute song — yes, you read that right — “Playing in the Band” is a staple track for any self-proclaimed Dead Head. Recorded in the music hub of Seattle almost 45 years ago, the song is one of the most dynamic tracks of the band’s and one of the most relatable, as it’s often heard in an autobiographical way due to the personal lyrics that Robert Hunter wrote so eloquently, so any true music fan would — and will! — appreciate this version of the song.
Duke Ellington Plays With The Original Motion Picture Score Mary Poppins – Duke Ellington (Rhino/Warner Brothers) The Duke originally put out this album in 1964. It’s currently being re-released in 2018. If his music doesn’t stand the test of time, then I don’t know what does. Jazz influences, theatrical buildups, and pop elements don this interpretation of the legendary Disney musical soundtrack and score, making it one of my favorite Duke pieces of all time. His personality shines through the whimsical instrumentals in a way that I, personally, don’t think can be replicated. This red pressed vinyl comes at the perfect time for jazz fans, Disney fans, and music fans, as the new film, Mary Poppins Returns, hits theaters this December.
When Bad Does Good – Chris Cornell (A&M) The loss of Chris Cornell still haunts the music industry and it’s been a topsy-turvy ride without his real emotion and raw voice belting out songs many people know and love. Now, this Black Friday, you can pick up a previously unheard, unannounced, and unreleased piece of Cornell’s musical archives. Pressed on 7” black and white marbled vinyl, this RSD First has 5,000 copies being released and I’ve never felt so strongly about a piece of music being a must have. Not only is this special because of whose music it is, but because of its truly rare and unique quality to it.
Live In Glasgow December 19, 1977 – Ramones (Rhino/Warner Bros.) Two, 180-gram LPs, one legendary band, and songs from three studio albums. Can you ask anything more of one purchase? The Ramones performed in Glasgow in 1977, and while every live performance of theirs was a stellar event in itself, they didn’t always cover ground off of all of their records. At this show, the band’s setlist was more well-rounded than ever, playing everything they had at the time from “Judy Is A Punk” to “California Sun” to “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and it was all captured, fans and fun and all, for a live album — this live album.
Rare Power – Iggy and the Stooges (Sony Legacy) If you’re looking for music with the most infectious and timeless energy to date, this is the perfect record to pick up this holiday season. It not only touches upon the classic Iggy and the Stooges sound, but the most honest version of that, for it features outtakes and mixes of their most iconic tracks off of their landmark album, Raw Power, that have never been commercially released before — let alone on vinyl. The label themselves know how special this is, titling the RSD Exclusive Rare Power, a truthful, yet ironic spin on the Raw Power album that jump started their stellar career.
Happy Xmas – Eric Clapton (BHB) Is it really a list of Record Store Day Picks if there isn’t at least one holiday-related piece of music on it? One of the most talented and well-known musicians to ever grace out ears, Eric Clapton, is putting out his first collection of holiday songs ever this year. Can you believe this man has never had a single Christmas song out until 2018? After being in the industry and having such a lengthy, thriving career for decades? As shocked as we all are, you can celebrate the release of that album by purchasing this 12” single of an unreleased holiday track that is not a part of the full album; which means you, too, can have an extra piece of Clapton holiday magic in your collection.
Africa/Rosanna – Weezer (Crush Music) Over 30 years ago they were Toto’s hits. Now, they’re Weezer’s. The A-side of this 10” literally Africa shaped picture disc is “Africa,” with the B-side being “Rosanna” — two songs with a rich history, great melodies, and timeless lyrics. This RSD exclusive is not just a great gift of fans of ‘80s pop rock music fans of ‘00s alternative rock fans, but for people for collect vinyl no matter the genre, because how often do you find records (with great music on it) that are shaped like a continent? Rarely, so this release is a win-win for no matter who gets it and who listens to it.
Shadow Of Your Love – Guns N’ Roses (Geffen) 7” vinyl does not necessarily mean small, because if you’re Guns N’ Roses, you do nothing small. Everything the hard ‘80s rock stars have done in their career has been in-your-face big, but in the best way, of course. This single re-release was exclusively found on their “Locked ‘N’ Loaded Box” previously, but now it’s about to be out in the world on its own, ready to wow fans as they turn up the volume all the way on this loud piece of small, red vinyl.
Bad Reputation (Music From the Original Motion Picture) – Joan Jett (Sony Legacy) In all of history, it is seemingly impossible to find someone cooler than Joan Jett. I mean, the hair, the clothes, the style, the sound, the generation defined…It’s not hard to realize her impact both in her own time and in the long term. With a new documentary on the rocker out now, it’s only appropriate to have a new piece of music out alongside it. Pressed on transparent yellow vinyl and featuring the likes of The Runaways, Bikini Kill, Miley Cyrus, and the Sex Pistols, you’re getting more than just a career spanning compilation of music, but also a brand-new Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song, “Fresh Start,” found exclusively on this album.
The LookOuting! – Lookout Records (Hopeless) This two-disc LP only has 1,000 copies coming out for Black Friday, making it an even more prominent purchase than you can imagine. The LookOuting Festival featured bands that LookOut Records have worked with and nurtured since their time at the now legendary DIY venue: 924 Gilman. This venue has been home to bands in the Bay Area for decades and has been home to bands like Green Day, Operation Ivy, The Offspring, and more. Nowadays, the still volunteer run venue is home to bands like The Winona Ryder’s and Pansy Division — both of which have their time on this genre defying, yet rock at heart record. All proceeds from this album go to 924 Gilman, the nonprofit music club that has started so many careers.
Catch a Fire – Bob Marley and the Wailers (Island) For the 45th anniversary of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Catch a Fire, it’s being pressed on vinyl once again, giving fans of all ages a chance to snatch a copy of the outstanding reggae album that is looked at as not only one of Marley’s best, but as one of reggae music’s best. It’s an RSD First release that is hitting shelves in a replica of the “Zip-O-Lighter” jacket and is printed on smoke vinyl — a truly memorable and artistic way to honor one of the greatest albums and artists on an anniversary that is nearing close to half of a century.
A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper – Various Artists (Verve) There are only 2,000 pressings of this album being released, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll need it in your collection as soon as possible. This album is a group of established, professional jazz musicians take on The Beatles’ flawless, arguably most dynamic record of all time: Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. To create realistic, melodic, and still recognizable versions of songs like “With a Little Help from my Friends” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” must have been a tough task, but it came out in a way that jazz fans and rock fans alike will fall in love with. The songs interpreted on this album are stunning, original pieces that I can guarantee would be George Harrison approved.
B-Sides The Beatles – The Smithereens (eOne) Speaking of the Fab Four, the Jersey group did something very special years back. They recorded Meet the Beatles in its entirety. That’s right, the group paid homage to their biggest inspiration and to one of the earliest Beatles albums by re-recording it with as much passion as they could. On this album, though, they took it one step further by playing flawlessly and singing harmonies that are out of this world for a collection of rare Beatles B-sides that not everyone — even the biggest of Beatles fans — pay too much attention to. It’s special, it’s intricate, it’s honorary, and it’s passionate.
King’s Among Scotland – Anthrax (Megaforce) Blue, pink, and purple: these are the colors of the three vinyl albums that come in this stunning Anthrax set. Not only are these three beautiful LPs colorful, but the music played from them are, as well, because it’s a truly vital collection of career spanning songs — such as “Indians” and “One World,” — recorded live at their historic, sold out concert in Glasgow back in 2017. But, wait! There’s more! The triple fold jacket opens to reveal not three discs of Anthrax music, but also a tour booklet to help you fully immerse yourself into the live show where New York City’s finest heavy metal band truly out did themselves.
An American Prayer – Jim Morrison and The Doors (Elektra Catalog Group) It’s been almost 40 years to the day that this record was released — the last one that The Doors put out, which came seven years after Morrison’s passing and five years after the band’s official break up. The album is a stellar collection of Morrison’s poetry, recorded originally in 1969 and 1970, re-recorded with the band’s instrumentation and backing vocals. This unique, anniversary edition LP of An American Prayer is limited edition, comes with a 12-page booklet and lithograph, and is strictly limited to only the 7,000 pressings made for this year’s Record Store Day Exclusive Collection.