10 Must-Have Record Store Day Releases
Photo By Erik Hess
Part of the reason Record Store Day has grown in popularity over the years is the wide array of exclusive releases bands put out specifically for the event. Whether it's limited 7-inches, vinyl reissues, or deluxe box sets that you set your sights on, the sheer amount of cool, unique albums that are released on Record Store Day are enough to get all types of music lovers out in droves to pick up these collectibles -- all while supporting their independent local record shops at the same time.
The list of exclusive releases this year is quite impressive and more extensive than ever before. So for your convenience, ahead of Saturday's Record Store Day, we've come up with a list of what we feel are the 10 must-haves of this year's bumper crop of RSD releases.
See also: How to Write a "Vinyl is Back!" Story
While Built to Spill's 1993 debut album isn't their best work, the simple fact that Ultimate Alternate Wavers is being released on vinyl for the first time for its 20-year anniversary makes this record well worth seeking out. Plus, it's being pressed on gold wax specifically for Record Store Day (the lucky folks in the Pacific Northwest can even get it on green vinyl). From the hilariously endearing album art itself, to the tremulous guitar-rock anthems like "Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup," "Lie For a Lie," and the epic, guitar-fueled closer, "Built Too Long Part 1, 2 & 3," this album presents fans with the sonic origins of the ramshackle charms of Built to Spill, traits which they have adhered to throughout their two-decade-plus career.
The Pogues with Joe Strummer - Live in London
This release captures a 1991 live show by the Pogues at the Forum in London, during a time when Shane MacGowan was taking a hiatus from the band. The group called on Joe Strummer to fill in, and their creative collaboration makes this show legendary. This is the first time this performance has been released on stand-alone vinyl (it was included as part of the import-only Pogues 30 box set), with the band tearing through some Pogues classics like "Summer In Siam," "Rain Street," and "Sunny Side Of The Street," as well as the feisty Clash anthems, "London Calling," "Straight To Hell," and "Brand New Cadillac." Strummer was eventually sacked as MacGowan's temporary replacement the following year, but at least we have this live document of their potent but short-lived collaboration.
Oliver Hart - The Many Faces Of Oliver Hart or: How Eye One the Write Too Think
This 2002 solo effort by Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen is being released on vinyl for the very first time by Rhymesayers. The triple-LP -- with Eyedea recording under the moniker Oliver Hart -- is being put out on red vinyl, with an etching of the original artwork on Side F. Not only does this collection capture the inspired, rapid-fire verses of the burgeoning MC, but Mikey also recorded, mixed, and mastered the entire record at his own home studio. This was definitely a passion project for Eyedea, and the album fully expresses his artistic talents and creative vision, while sharing the spotlight with his talented friends (Slug and Carnage the Executioner among them). We lost Micheal far too soon, but his music and his legacy still lives on, especially in this stellar collection which is simply brimming with an urgent, distinctive vitality that was all Eyedea.
Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart
This 50th anniversary reissue of Otis Redding's stunning 1964 debut solo album captures the soulful, impassioned elegance of one of the best vocalists who has ever lived. This reissue features the original mono recording, and is foil stamped as well for you collectors out there. Redding helped define the Stax Records sound with his rich, sonorous vocals and stellar songwriting, and this album is packed with his stone cold early hits like "That's What My Heart Needs," "These Arms of Mine," "Pain In My Heart," "Hey Hey Baby," as well as some choice covers. All the songs are propelled by Redding's soulful vocals, as well as the top-notch Stax in-house band, which gave these songs their R&B groove. Pain In My Heart started Redding on his all-too-brief creative journey to music stardom, and his debut album still pulses with an elegance that will live on for as long as people love good music.
Phosphorescent - Song For Zula EP
Phosphorescent's catchy jam "Song For Zula" was one of the clear standouts of Matthew Houck's 2013 hazy guitar masterpiece, Muchacho. So, the inclusion of the stellar title-track makes this limited-edition EP well worth picking on those merits alone. But it's the live solo tracks that truly make this record a must-have, as Houck's brief but stunning solo session for Oregon Public Broadcasting is collected here. Matthew's fragile, emotional vocals over sparse guitar arrangements lets his haunting lyrics take on an added resonance. Houck played a pared-down version of the EP's glorious title track for the OPB session, along with other Muchacho gems, "A New Anhedonia," "Terror in the Canyons (The Wounded Master)," and "Down to Go," which all sound stunning and pure.