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Record Store Day 2014 Shopping Guide: 30 Essential Releases

Record Store Day 2014, shopping guide

As another Record Store Day arrives, this year’s celebration of independent record stores has a crossroads quality about it.

The burdens the event can put the very retailers it also champions has been a source of debate for some time, but in 2014 you see headlines like this one from The Quietus — “Is Record Store Day in Crisis?” — and a report by FACT that some RSD exclusives are already on eBay. Meanwhile, the massive list of special releases also contains some oddities: If an eight-LP Cake box set doesn’t do it for you, cassettes from Green Day and Skrillex (of his occasionally brilliant Recess, but still) are here to herald the coming tape-pocalypse. And while we could make an argument that Jay Z and Linkin Park’s 2004 “mash-up” record Collision Course predicted rap’s own crash into present-day electronic dance music … well, that blue vinyl and DVD package will be one expensive conversation piece, won’t it?

This year’s big record-buying day — April 19, in case you need reminding — also brings some of its finest reasons ever to come out and support your local independent record shop. From a Guinness book-worthy Jack White record to a box set using sounds from outer space, we’ve put together a list of 30 releases (in alphabetical order) for your Saturday crate-digging. Please bear in mind that not allwill be available in all stores — here’s that full release list again, and you can find participating stores here. If RSD is at a crossroads, meet us there:

  1. Sam Cooke, Ain’t That Good NewsAin’t a 50th anniversary a good reason to own the soul great’s final studio album, including civil rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come,” on vinyl? Yes. Yes, it is.
  2. Devo, Live At Max’s Kansas City–November 15, 1977A stacked RSD for Devo devotees also brings 1995 live set Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig and a split single with the Flaming Lips, but this one — on vinyl for the first time — has audio from David Bowie and features New York performances of “Satisfaction,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” and “Gut Feeling” from punk rock’s most famous year.
  3. Dinosaur Jr., Visitors: Dino fans with scratch to spare after picking up oral history Dinosaur Jr. by Dinosaur Jr.  can hear that “country punk” on wax on this box set of the band’s first four singles, plus a fifth single that includes a Byrds cover. The band’s visual partner from 1985 to 1990, Maura Jasper, provies artwork, an essay, and a book of unused work.
  4. Eric Church, The OutsidersSPIN February cover star Eric Church brings his Essential new album The Outsiders to 12-inch vinyl. Listen to it, or set it on fire.
  5. Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My TimeThis one’s super-limited, but 800 of you can own a vinyl picture disc of the alt-pop singer and recent Internet lighting rod‘s thrillingly tumultuous 2013 album Night Time, My Time. Yes, the one with the spooky/artsy/NSFW cover
  6. Flaming Lips, 7 Skies H3Another Day, another Lips stunt — did anybody hold a four-turntable listening session for that Zaireeka vinyl pressing yet? —but this edit of the band’s 24-hour song should be worth hearing.
  7. Heatmiser, Dead Air/Cop & Speeder/Yellow No. 5: Super-limited and also regional, but 500 lucky people apiece can grab these three cassette repressing of Elliott Smith’s former band. That’s right, grandpa: They’re here, they’re tapes, we’ll get off your lawn and listen to them.
  8. Donny Hathaway, Live At The Bitter End 1971: Donny Hathaway’s 1972 Live album, half of which was recorded at New York’s Bitter End, is a soul classic and deeply embedded in hip-hop’s DNA; here’s the first vinyl pressing of a full 1971 show at the venue, including previously unreleased take “Everything is Everything.”
  9. Heavens to Betsy, CalculatedOkay, so we can probably stop with the disclaimers now about RSD exclusives probably being hard to find — this one will be, too — but if you see the only album, previously out of print, from Corin Tucker’s pre-Sleater-Kinney riot grrrl-band, why wouldn’t you pick it up?
  10. Just Friends, “Don’t Tell Me”: It’s doubtful you’ll even find this in the United States, but as SPIN’s Garrett Kamps writes, “Whatever Nicolas Jaar touches … turns into mysteriously addictive stoney gooey bliss.”
  11. LCD Soundsystem, The Long Goodybe: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square GardenFive-LP set of James Murphy-led band’s final show. Need we say more?
  12. Hamilton Leithauser, “Alexandra”: The former Walkmen leading man debuted his entire Black Hours album this week at Joe’s Pub in New York, and here’s a seven-inch of Rostam Batmanglij collaboration “Alexandra” backed with non-LP cut “In the Shadows.” 
  13. Liars, “Mess on a Mission”: The first single from L.A. experimentalists’ new LP Mess, “Mess on a Mission” comes as a yarn-packed seven-inch with promising remixes.
  14. Life Without Buildings, Any Other CityHi-fi! A cult-beloved Glasgow band’s long out-of-print, lone studio album comes to vinyl.
  15. Nirvana, “Pennyroyal Tea”: Backed with “I Hate Myself and Want To Die,” it’s a seven-inch of the planned single that was canceled after Kurt Cobain’ death twenty years ago. Maybe you’ve seen this band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
  16. Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death: A hip-hop landmark comes to triple vinyl. Hypnotizing. 
  17. Oneohtrix Point Never, Commissions 1This 12-inch brings together composer/producer Daniel Lopatin’s commissioned pieces for artworks, performance, and film.
  18. William Onyeabor, What?!: This double 12-inch brings together remixes and covers of the African funk innovator, featuring Daphni (a.k.a. Caribou), Hot Chip, JD Twitch and more.
  19. The Orwells, “The Righteous Ones”: Before David Letterman married Future Islands, he fell head over heels for these Chicago garage-punks. This 12-inch single comes backed with “Always N Forever.”
  20. Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal”: Sardonic Brooklyn noiseniks’ feral first single from upcoming album Sunbathing Animal hits seven-inch vinyl backed with “Pilgrims to Nowhere.”
  21. Pissed Jeans, The Very Best of Sub Pop 2009-2013: Live at the BBCThe beloved noise-punk band sets live in-studio performances of four songs to 12-inch vinyl.
  22. Otis Redding, Pain in My HeartIt’s also the 50th anniversary of Otis Redding’s debut LP. Heard of him? “These Arms of Mine,” no big deal. Sounds so soulful, we’re told.
  23. R.E.M., Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 SessionsWhat it sounds like, spread across four LPs, plus 11 left songs that didn’t originally air on MTV. That Michael Stipe fellow gives a good speech.
  24. Gil Scott-Heron, Nothing NewThis screen-printed LP brings together pared-down re-recordings of old songs (hence the title), tracked in 2008.
  25. Songs: Ohia, Journey On: Collected SinglesRarities the late Jason Molina recorded from 1995 to 2002 come in this box set of nine seven-inches, one CD, and more.
  26. The Sonics/Mudhoney, “Bad Betty”/”I Like It Small”: Two legendary Seattle bands combine with the ’60s garage-rock heroes’ unreleased “Bad Betty” and a track from the alternative-rock pioneers’ new album Vanishing Point.
  27. Tame Impala, Live VersionsHere you’ll find live versions of eight songs by the introspective Aussie psych-rock outfit, recording in Chicago during the band’s 2013 tour and billed as being selected based on how different they are from the studio versions. Gotta be above it? Nah, just gotta get it.
  28. Various Artists, The Space ProjectNow streaming, this vinyl set draws on interplanetary sounds and features Beach House, Spiritualized, Youth Lagoon, and Mutual Benefit.
  29. Veruca Salt, Veruca SaltReunited, and the alt-rock hitmakers are good enough to give us a 10-inch of “Seether” backed with two new tracks.
  30. Jack White, “Lazaretto”: Third Man boss plans to record, press, and release his first Lazeretto single — yes, the title track — all in one day. “The World’s Fastest Record.” Late night’s Stephen Colbert should pit White and Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne against each other in some kind of hilarious contest.