Record Store Day Logo

Cue Andy Williams or that clip of Homer Simpson frolicking in the Land Of Chocolate. That’s where my mind is right now while writing this article and waiting rather impatiently for this coming weekend when Record Store Day descends upon indie record shops across the world.

I’ve participated in Record Store Day now for the past two years, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. My passion for the physical medium with its nice, big artwork and scientifically-placed grooves has grown mightily over the past six years, and I’ve collected many pieces of vinyl in that time period. From the joy of collecting rarities to enjoying just some of the best damn music recordings of all time, vinyl feels good, and Record Store Day is a day devoted to those feels.

This year’s Record Store Day — officially announced by ambassador Mr. Chuck D of Public Enemy — has procured perhaps the largest collection of releases to date, with lots of interesting collectibles, weird splattered vinyl colors, and even cassette tapes. Yes, cassette tapes. Whatever your fancy, this year’s list is big and beautiful. Here are my picks for standouts amongst that large list.

Space Project 7″ Box Set

SPACEMAN

Jay Chirinos wrote an article devoted to this special release from Lefse Records, which features artists such as Spiritualized, Beach House, and The Antlers interpreting sounds and transmissions from the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space missions. How cool of a concept is that? You’re about to find out on April 19th when it’s released on CD, LP, and what I plan to pick up, the limited 7″ box set with each track devoted to a specific mission set, such as Jupiter, Io, Neptune, etc. This one is sure to sell out fast and will definitely be awesome to listen to (and show off) at your next party.

“Tell me that’s not the trippiest sounding album of the year so far,” says Mr. Chirinos, and I can’t help but agree. Still not sold on the idea? Take a listen to Youth Lagoon’s “Worms” down below.

Placebo – Ball of Eyes

Placebo - Ball Of Eyes

No, this is not the ’90s English alt-rock band that released the popular trip-hop-influenced “Pure Morning” and Without You I’m Nothing. This is even better. This is the project of Belgian producer Marc Moulin, who lead an underground group of the same name in the early-1970s and released a trilogy of influential jazz-rock records that have been sampled many times by artists such as Pete Rock, J Dilla, and Madlib. While Moulin may have fallen into obscurity, his records live on, and they are being specially reissued for Record Store Day this year.

I’m probably going to end up picking up the entire trilogy of records, but my favorite of the three has to be the first, Ball Of Eyes. With amazingly taut funk and fantastic elemental jazz instrumentation, this record contains an even flow and memorable sounds. Take a listen to the album below, and then mark this one down on your lists.

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters 10” Single on Glow-In-The-Dark Picture Disc

ghostbusters

Has it seriously been thirty years since Ghostbusters was released in theaters? That’s maddening. The comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis (may he rest in peace) was critically-acclaimed and destroyed the box office back in 1984, and it continues to be great to this day, owning up to “classic” status. Perhaps just as classic is its theme song by Ray Parker Jr., which topped the charts, was nominated for an Academy Award, and remains one of the most memorable theme songs in film history.

So how does Record Store Day celebrate that? Well, you’re in for a real treat. They’re releasing the original single, which also featured the instrumental version, on a mind-blowing glow-in-the-dark 10″ vinyl. That means you’ll be rocking out to this baby in the dark, which is the coolest thing you could possibly ask for when it comes to busting ghosts and, of course, re-watching Ghostbusters. This is a limited-run vinyl, so pick this up on Saturday while supplies last!

Liars – “Mess On A Mission” 12” Single on Clear Vinyl (and some string)

messonamission

If you aren’t caught up on some of the best new music out right now, look no further than my review of the new Liars LP, Mess. This record contains a hit-after-hit assault of incredible, grimy dance-punk and some of the best tracks I think will be released in 2014, the single “Mess On A Mission” being one of them. The mix of blippy electronics, spacey, layered atmospherics, and volume-11 dance party beats is such a satisfying blend that it must be owned in one form or another. If that form is vinyl, even better.

Last month Liars released their LP on vinyl that came vacuum-sealed with garishly colorful string for you to do whatever with. As impressive and intriguing as that was, it’s nothing compared to what they offer for this Record Store Day release, with the string actually embedded in the vinyl itself. This is intended to be very limited and very unique, so do yourself a favor and pick this up.

Oliver Hart – The Many Faces of Oliver Hart 3LP Reissue on Red Vinyl

The Many Faces of Oliver Hart

Michael Larson — aka Eyedea, aka Oliver Hart — was an unstoppable freestyling machine, putting some of the best rappers and emcees to rest with his invigorating lyricism and jazz-influenced style. He released a dozen or so records and had guest spots on others right up until his death in 2010, which forced fans to reflect on just how truly remarkable a career he had in underground hip hop. The album The Many Faces of Oliver Hart or: How Eye One the Write Too Think (as in “All Of Her Heart”) is perhaps the best summation of his talents, which included incredible rhyming and flow, the use of wonderful samples and beats, and a penchant for truly revealing storytelling.

The album is going to be reissued by Rhymesayers Entertainment on Record Store Day in a 3LP set on red-colored vinyl to match the album’s artwork, with an etching of the artwork on disc three’s F-side. It’s both a collectible and one of the best pieces of music to own, so yes, pick this one up.

Honorable Mention: LCD Soundsystem – The Long Goodbye

thelonggoodbye

James Murphy is still a mad musical genius as exemplified by last year’s production of Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, but we all know him well enough for his work as LCD Soundsystem. He produced three albums in the 2000s that were undoubtedly among the best dance records of their time, so when it was announced that he was going to officially retire the moniker, it was bittersweet. The least he could do to quench our thirst for more was to record his four-hour last concert at Madison Square Garden back in 2011, both to wax and to film in the documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits.

The film is already out on DVD and Blu-ray, but the sound-only equivalent will be released on Record Store Day in a deluxe, 5-disc box set containing (most of) his now legendary final show. It will be released regularly in stores in about a month, but get it first on RSD.

Those are my top picks for this year’s Record Store Day. I’ll most likely be at Amoeba Records in the early morning along with other music and record lovers looking to own these releases and more. For a full list of releases, visit RSD’s official website, and join in on the fun and festivities this Saturday, April 19th.

Other releases I plan to pick up:

  • Bonobo: “Get Thy Bearings” – 10″ Single
  • Dinosaur Jr./The Cure: Side By Side: Just Like Heaven – 7″ White Vinyl
  • Disclosure: “Apollo” – 12″ Single
  • The Field: From Here We Go Sublime – 2LP + CD Reissue
  • MGMT: Congratulations – 2LP 180-Gram Reissue
  • Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death – 3LP Clear Vinyl
  • Of Montreal: Satanic Panic In The Attic – 2LP 10th Anniversary Reissue on Yellow/Light Blue Vinyl
  • Oneohtrix Point Never: Commissions – 1 LP
  • Slipknot: Vol. 3 – The Subliminal Verses – 2LP 10th Anniversary Reissue on Clear Vinyl
  • Soundgarden: Superunknown: The Singles – 10″ Box Set
  • The Velvet Underground: Loaded – Pink/White/Black Splatter Vinyl