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Record Store Day 2013 Buyer's Guide: Ten releases we're excited about

Record Store Day 2013 Buyer's Guide: Ten releases we're excited about

19 April 2013, 10:00


Since the inaugural Record Store Day in 2007, the annual celebration of music and local record shops has risen to become a highpoint in the diary of both hardcore vinyl crazies as well as the more sedate music lover.

This year, the event is supported by some incredible live music in the UK capital with the likes of Wire, Smoke Fairies, Matthew E White and Steve Mason lined up to play sets in Soho’s Berwick Street while leathery mod Paul Weller drops into East London’s Rough Trade for an evening set. Up in Scotland, Fence Records’ Girl Canaveral and eagleowl join Honeyblood and Trembling Bells’ Mike Hastings at Edinburgh’s Vox Box and over in Wales the legendary Cardiff store Spillers has sets from Sweet Baboo and Railroad Bill.

But most will be focused on the real prizes for the day: those silver or black discs of audio pleasure pressed up with the rarest of the rare tracks and released in highly limited numbers. You’ll see them (and us) clutching shopping lists, lined up at an ungodly hour, waiting for the doors to open. With hundreds of incredible releases on offer, it can be difficult to know where to start so we asked our writers and staff what they’d be grabbing from the shelves first…

10. MGMT – Aliens Days

MGMT Alien Days

Format: Cassette
Label: Columbia
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release

Limited edition, collectible cassette single of the first music from their upcoming album, comes with a digital download code.

The Connecticut psych-pop duo have been rather quiet of late. After diving headfirst into public consciousness with the disturbingly catchy though inconsistent Oracular Spectacular (tracks even featured on the cultural zeitgeist that was Gossip Girl), Goldwasser and VanWyngarden followed up by embarking on the art-pop anglophile odyssey that was Congratulations, which though the better of the two releases, fell flat in the face of their previous chart admirers.

So with Oracular producer David Fridmann back on board, will we see MGMT reconcile with fans of their club friendly hits? This seems uncertain, as live-recordings of Alien Days suggest it wouldn’t feel misplaced on Congratulations, with its slow-burn, cosmic prog-rock tinged foray into spiritualism covered with VanWyngarden’s trademark near-whisper vocals, which helm the song’s spoken-word intro.

If that’s not enough to get excited about, it’s being released on cassette – take that retro vinyl enthusiasts! Well, I’m intrigued to hear the studio version, and provided I can locate my Walkman, I’ll find out early on Saturday when I get to hear what’s likely to be the first track from their forthcoming self-titled LP.

Jason Williamson

9. Music Finland with The Line of Best Fit – The Limited Record Store Day Edition 2013

Best Fit and Music Finland - the RSD release
Format: 10″ Vinyl
Label: Music Finland
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

Six track vinyl, 1,500 copies only and absolutely free.

It might stink of more than a touch of nepotism to include this in the list but we’re immensely proud of the Best Fit-curated selection of Finnish indie and electro that’s being released on Record Store Day. We’ve worked closely with the people at Music Finland to choose six of the best bands coming out of the Nordic country and 1,500 10″ vinyls will be available from every store in the UK as well as several across the world.

One of The XX’s favourite bands, Phantom, feature on the release, along with a number of artists we’ve kept a close eye on in the last 18 months – LCMDF, Sin Cos Tan, K-X-P and Husky Rescue. There’s also a track from the incredible Millennium, the new project from Ville Haimala of Helsinki/Berlin based house group Renaissance Man. The best thing of all, of course, is the record’s being given away for free!

Paul Bridgewater

8. Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me

Big Star Nothing Can Hurt Me

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Omnivore Recordings
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

Limited First-Edition 2-LP 180-Gram on colored vinyl of the soundtrack to the soon-to-be released documentary film (Magnolia Pictures). All previously unissued versions of classic Big Star songs. Download Card Included.

1. O My Soul (1973 Demo)
2. Give Me ANother Chance (Control Room Monitor Mix 1972)
3. In The Street (2012 Movie Mix)
4. Studio Banter (1972)
5. Try Again – Rock City (2012 Movie Mix)
6. My Life Is Right (Alternate 1972 Mix)
7. The Ballad Of El Goodo (Alternate 1972 Mix)
8. Feel (Alternate 1972 Mix)
9. Don’t Lie To Me (Alternate 1972 Mix)
10. Way Out West (Alternate 1973 Mix)
11. Thirteen (Alternate 1972 Mix)
12. You Get What You Deserve (Alternate 1973 Mix)
13. Holocaust (Rough 1974 Mix)
14. Kanga Roo (Rought 1974 Mix)
15. Stroke It Noel (Backwards Intro 1974)
16. Big Black Car (Rough 1974 Mix)
17. Better Save Yourself (2012 Movie Mix)
18. I Am The Cosmos (2012 Movie Mix)
19. All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain (2012 Movie Mix)
20. September Gurls (2012 Movie Mix)

Big Star have done pretty well from the last couple of Record Store Days, with some fine reissues of their three studio albums. Last year’s release of Third stood out in particular – 1 in every 300 copies of contained a 1970s test pressing of the record.

All of the tracks on this compilation are versions that haven’t officially been issued anywhere else. While serious fans of the band will probably own a lot of them via some of the incredible bootlegs that have popped up in the last thirty years, this release promises a level of quality beyond those unofficial CD/vinyl releases and sub-par bitrate mp3 versions.

If the mix of ‘The Ballad of El Goodo’ on this record is in fact the one from the bootleg I own, I’ll be a very happy man…

Paul Bridgewater

7. Disclosure featuring Alunageorge - ‘White Noise’ (Hudson Mohawke Remix)


Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: PMR Records
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

The Hudson Mohawke Remix of Disclosure and Alunageorge that dropped online back in February gets a 12″ release for Record Store Day.

The months leading up to Record Store Day are rapidly becoming a testing ground for the potential of digital-only tracks. More than a handful of Saturday’s exclusive releases are well timed physical cuts of tracks that have ridden out their infant successes well enough to get fans salivating for a three dimensional product. It’s also a testament to the enduring success of vinyl that free-to-stream music can turn a profit (or at least break even) on this one special day.

Hearing Hudson Mohawke’s sonic fingerprints over of one of the best tracks of 2013 still makes us shudder pleasantly, nearly three months on. HudMo’s take on the Disclosure/Alunageorge hook-up ‘White Noise’ peels back the smooth, cohesive exterior of the song and the Scottish producer grafts on beats that bite, turning in a club classic and maybe the best remix this year. It’s an intelligent reworking with the subtlety of a panic attack – and it’s all the better for it.

Paul Bridgewater

6. Built to Spill – Live

Built to Spill LP Jacket

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Warner Bros.
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

Stunning 2 LP collection recorded during the 1999 “Keep It Like A Secret” tour. Originally released in 2000, but has been unavailable for more than a decade

I’m sure this isn’t really in the spirit of adventure that Record Store Day is partially about, and some of you might find it a positively uninspiring choice, but it’s been ten long years since Built to Spill’s epic live album, errr, Live was last available on vinyl and with the addition of two extra tracks, lost for that intervening period, it represents an unmissable opportunity.

Recorded between New York, Denver and Seattle, Doug Martsch and co burn through the band’s back catalogue, along with covers of Love As Laughter, Halo Benders and Neil Young (a version of ‘Cortez the Killer’ that outlasts and out-solos the original), with an energy and clarity that often surpasses the recorded versions of these songs. It sounds bloody incredible and has been captured so that you’re able to pick out Martsch’s exhilarating soloing guitar (the right speaker) or Jim Roth’s precise rhythm (the left speaker) depending on what aspect of the band you’d like to focus on.

Forensic detail aside it really is one of the best live records you’re likely to hear, from the bright and hopeful opening track ‘The Plan’, the short emotional punch of ‘Car’ (the best song ever written about being young) to the seemingly unending jam on the cover of Black Uhuru’s ‘Broken Chairs’ that sends Live to a giddy and spiralling wig-out conclusion.

I’d never normally recommend a live album as the best place to start to discover a band’s back catalogue, but I’ll make an exception for Built to Spill. Just make sure you leave me a copy.

Andrew Hannah

5. Shearwater and Sharon Van Etten – ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’/‘A Wake for the Minotaur’


Format: 7″ Vinyl
Label: Sub Pop
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

The A side is a cover of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty classic recorded for the AV Club in the spring of 2012. The b-side is a new song recorded by Shearwater and Sharon Van Etten and is exclusive to this release.

Left off Tom Petty’s Hard Promises after it was decided that the lyrics required a scorned woman’s touch (it’s about wanting to ditch your man) ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ found its way onto Stevie Nicks’ 1981 solo debut Bella Donna, becoming a bittersweet duet with its original penman. Re-recorded as a live session for the A.V. Club’s ‘Undercover’ series, in which Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg shared Nicks’/Petty’s anguished vocal parts in the intimate confines of the former storage closet in the Onion offices.

Three decades have passed since the record was first released but these two gravel-toned former touring partners – imbued with the spirit of heartland rock – have ensured this song remains as ferociously lovesick as ever. The 7″ has a run of 3,000 copies and comes complete with ‘A Wake For The Minotaur’, a brand new collaboration between the two acts.

Dan Carson

4. At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command

At The Drive In RSD Release

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Twenty-First Chapter
Release type: Record Store Day Exclusive Release

Vinyl re-issue of the original LP + exclusive bonus tracks for RSD

1. Arcarsenal
2. Pattern Against User
3. One Armed Scissor
4. Sleepwalk Capsules
5. Invalid Litter Dept.
6. Mannequin Republic
7. Enfilade
8. Rolodex Propaganda
9. Quarantined
10. Cosmonaut
11. Non-Zero Possibility
12. Bonus Track one
13. Bonus Track two

So At The Drive-In finally decide to address the issue of how hard it is to get hold of a copy of Relationship of Command on vinyl by releasing another, ooh, five hundred of them, and making them available for a just single day.

Best set the alarm clocks then, as not only is this culmination of all things post-this and that-core still as brilliant as the day it was released, Transgressive Records’ long overdue reissue is double-translucent-orange-vinyl-gatefold-bonus-track brilliant. I hope there’s a cellophane wrapper, as I might actually start dribbling.

Whether you own this already or not, battling me in the quest for a copy is strongly advised – the reason nobody could convincingly use the word ‘emo’ after 2000 is that Relationship of Command set the bar so high that other folks’ best approximations of it just sounded like parody.

Thomas Hannan

3. Elliot Smith – Alternate Versions from Either/Or

Elliott Smith - Either or RSD release

Format: 7″ Vinyl
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release

Four unreleased Elliott Smith outake songs for Either/Or

1. Alameda (alternate version)
2. Ballad of Big Nothing (alternate vocal)
3. Angeles (alternate version)
4. Punch and Judy (other version)

Death brings out one’s sense of extreme sentimentality – whether it’s hoarding every possession your loved one ever owned or leaving it on top of their headstone. This is also the same when it comes to the death of your favourite musician, with fans going to great lengths to uncover almost any last snippet of unheard material they left behind.

While those in charge of Elliott Smith’s estate could never pursue the same route as that of Tupac or J Dilla in laying down leftover vocal parts of new music, they’re gradually getting through some of the recordings that remained unsalvaged.

We’ve already had New Moon, a series of tracks recorded between 1994 and 1997, and From a Basement on the Hill, the last record Elliott was working on at the time of his death. But with questions of authorial want and intent aside, this 12″ of four unreleased Either/Or outtakes still offers itself as an interesting appendage to one of Smith’s finest records.

Luke Morgan Britton

2. Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear

Eno Jaar Bear
Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Warp
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release

Split 12″. Each Track remixed by Nicolas Jaar

Side A: Sleeping Ute (Nicolas Jaar remix)
Side B: LUX 2 (Nicolas Jaar remix)

With about as many x signs as you’d expect in an upper school Maths class, this special split release sees electronic pioneer Brian Eno and indie darlings Grizzly Bear, each getting a track reworked by producer-du-jour Nicolas Jaar.

Having disappeared from our feeds since his brilliant remix of Cat Power around this time last year, Jaar looks set to catch up for lost time with dual offerings of ‘Lux’ from Eno’s LUX and ‘Sleeping Ute’ from the latter band’s recent album Shields, and in doing so, will undoubtedly prove himself as one of the most imaginative, as well as versatile, electronic musicians of the moment.

Luke Morgan Britton

1. Pulp – ‘After You’

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Rough Trade
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release

12″ Maxi Single. Regular version of new Pulp song ‘After You’, Soulwax remix, and the band’s own ‘4am Desperation Disco to Disco Dub Version’.

By the time Christmas came last year, I’d forgotten about the first card I’d been given. Perhaps it was because, true to the band’s curiously resilient afterlife, it complicated any clean cathartic farewell, but my cryptic memento of Pulp’s victorious final lap in their Sheffield hometown remained drawer-bound.

But Cocker and co weren’t done with us yet. Come the 25th, his “it’s not socks!” promise proved true, and the band released their only known post-reunion recording to their lucky faithful. And now, that single comes re-packaged and in limited numbers as what will likely be their last look back as they drift off into the sunset, making it one of this year’s hottest potatoes.

However, ‘After You’ is anything but the sound of relaxing armchair springs. Again, in the spirit of their second coming, it goes long past sheer nostalgia to prove there’s still fire enough in their bellies to give the old classics a new vigour. The track, originally demoed in 2000 for the We Love Life sessions, now comes lifted by production from another missed retiree, James Murphy, and its wriggling tension, generous lathering of sardonic wit, and 90s references (Safeway anyone?) add up for a slice of classic Pulp. And never fear – it’s still laced with Cocker’s inimitable anti-sex god persona.

The track comes backed by remixes fine tuned for two different types of dancefloor, one for the swirling limbs of the desperate disco by the band themselves, and one by dance veterans Soulwax.

Sam Briggs

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