On Saturday, April 21, vinylmania reaches its annual peak with Record Store Day, a great and gross celebration of the best musical format ever invented*. A vital booster shot to music retailers worldwide, as well as a major headache to small record labels trying to get their releases pressed, only to be thwarted by majors reissuing bargain-bin-cluttering titles for 25 times their worth, RSD is the archetypal blessing/curse event for music fanatics. Despite all of this, every RSD—now in its 11th year—yields some important products. As someone who strives to accentuate the positive [cough], I hope to point you toward some high-quality reissues and archival treasures. Grip while you gripe (and vice versa), sisters and brothers. (See participating Seattle stores after the jump.)
*As asserted by Neil Young and other audio savants who know more than you do.
David Axelrod, Song of Innocence (Now-Again)
A sacred masterpiece of orchestral funk, jazz, and soul that has been sampled more times than you've had hot sex.
Brian Eno with Kevin Shields, "The Weight of History" / "Only Once Away My Son" (Opal)
Ambient-music progenitor/legend and shoegaze-rock god in dream-collaboration shocka. Worth waking up extra early for and camping out in front of your favorite emporium with your fellow Aspergers-y misfits.
Baby Huey, The Baby Huey Story: Living Legend (Run Out Groove)
Robust R&B and funk from the big and big-hearted Chicago belter and Curtis Mayfield protégé, who died of a heart attack at the way-too-young age of 26.
Jeff Beck, Truth (Friday Music)
The zenith of the former Yardbirds guitarist's solo career, featuring the shatteringly beautiful Ravel cover, "Beck's Bolero," and one of the greatest renditions of Bonnie Dobson's "Morning Dew," aided magnificently by one of Rod Stewart's greatest performances.
The Beau Brummels, Bradley's Barn (Friday Music 2xLP)
A nuanced country-rock cult classic by the once-celebrated/now largely forgotten San Francisco folk-psych group, gratefully revamped for its 50th anniversary.
Spectrum, Highs, Lows & Heavenly Blows (Medical)
A 1994 album by former Spacemen 3 guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember, Highs is a sublimely dreamy bliss-scape of analog synths and crystalline guitar meditations.
Chris Bell, "I Am the Cosmos" / "You and Your Sister" (Omnivore 7")
Fortieth-anniversary re-release of this single by the former Big Star power-pop deity. Bell stretches out for a ballad of majestic ache on the A-side and downshifts into a spangly, intimate romancer on the flip, which This Mortal Coil famously covered.
Doris Norton, Personal Computer (Mannequin)
Much-coveted 1984 Italian coldwave classic that is sure to revive interest in a long-overlooked musician.
Common, Can I Borrow a Dollar? (Nature Sounds 2xLP)
Chicago rapper's jazzy, funky, pun-loving, pop-culture-infatuated 1992 debut.
Thomas Andrew Doyle, Incineration Ceremony (Sub Pop)
Sub Pop earns a Nobel in underdog championing with this reissue of Tad's 2017 solo album. In a feature on Doyle in this paper, I wrote that it "conjures both the gravitas of a European art-house film score and the grandeur of Hollywood blockbuster soundtracks. Synth-based and buffeted by strings of most morose hues, the music here elicits profound existential angst. In a realm overflowing with rote gestures, Doyle finds a compelling way to wring deep emotions from a judicious palette of instrumentation and timbres."
Also worth braving clusterfucks:
Dr. Octagon, Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation Deluxe (Bulk)
Popol Vuh, Messa Di Orfeo (OneWayStatic)
Pink Floyd, Piper at the Gates of Dawn (mono) (Legacy)
Creation Rebel, Dub from Creation (On-U Sound)
Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock & His LA Squires (Yep Roc 7")
Linda Perhacs, I'm a Harmony (Omnivore 2xLP)
The Open Mind, The Open Mind (Sunbeam)
Nico, "I'm Not Saying" / "The Last Mile" (Charly 7")
Harry Nilsson (produced by John Lennon), Pussy Cats (Real Gone)
Prince, 1999 (Warner Bros.)
Bernard Purdie, Cool Down (Sugar Road)
The Rolling Stones, Their Satanic Majesties Request (ABKCO)
Lalo Schifrin, Enter the Dragon OST (Rhino)
Run the Jewels, Stay Gold Collectors Edition (Run the Jewels Inc. box set)
Bert Jansch, L.A. Turnaround (Earth)
The Honey Drippers/Brotherhood, "Impeach the President" / "The Monkey That Became a President" (Tuff City 7")
Laraaji, Sun Transformations (All Saints)
Shocking Blue, Singles Collection (A's and B's Pt. 1) (Music on Vinyl)
The Kinks, Phobia (Friday Music)
MC5, "Looking at You" / "Borderline" (Harmonic 7")
MC5, "I Can Only Give You Everything" / "I Just Don't Know" (Harmonic 7")
Lulu, Heaven and Earth and the Stars (Demon)
Arthur Lee and Love, Coming Through You (RockBeat)
Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison: 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition (Legacy, 5xLP)
Madonna, The First Album (Sire)
Motörhead, Heroes (Silver Lining Music)
Nazz, Fungoe Bat Acetates (RockBeat)
Sly & Robbie, Militant Dub (Music on Vinyl)
Small Faces, "Lazy Sunday" (stereo) / "Ogdens Nut Gone Flake" (Alt mono mix) (Charly 7")
Soundgarden, A-Sides (IGA)
The Stooges, The Stooges (Detroit Edition) (Elektra 2xLP)
Marnie Stern, This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That (Kill Rock Stars)
Melvin Sparks, Texas Twister (Tidal Waves Music)
Sun Ra, Astro Black (Modern Harmonic)
Tangerine Dream, Zeit (Varese Sarabande)
Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On (45th Anniversary) (MTN)
Swans, Die Tur 1st (Virtual)
The Sundays, Reading, Writing And Arithmetic (Fugitive)
Various Artists, Electroconvulsive Therapy Volume 4: The Art of Survival Records (Medical)
Various Artists, Girls in the Garage Volumes 2 and 3 (Past & Present)
Groundhogs, Scratching the Surface (Fire)
Serge Gainsbourg & Michel Colombier, Le Pacha OST (WEWANTSOUNDS)
J Dilla, Ruff Draft: Dilla's Mix (Pay Jay)
Bo Diddley, 16 All-Time Greatest Hits (Sundazed)
Participating Seattle stores
Wall of Sound
Jive Time Records
Bop Street Records
Sub Pop Records
Zion's Gate Records
Neptune Music Company
Porchlight Coffee & Records
Silver Platters (Sodo)
Sonic Boom Records
Holy Cow Records
Singles Going Steady
Spin Cycle Records
Light In The Attic Record Shop