For rock & roll fans, the holidays are coming early this year: artists ranging from Bob Dylan and Nirvana to John Mayer and the White Stripes are releasing limited-edition vinyl gems for Record Store Day's third annual Black Friday celebration. While thousands of Americans hit up Walmart for discounted refrigerators, here are the must-have releases to be found at your surely much calmer and cooler local indie record store:
Band of Horses' Sonic Ranch Sessions seven-inch (Copies Available: 2,000)
The deluxe edition of Mirage Rock, the rockers' latest LP, included a five-track, self-produced EP entitled The Sonic Ranch Sessions. Now, two of those sessions' cuts – "Mirage Rock" and "Relly's Dream" – find their way onto limited-edition seven-inch vinyl.
Bob Dylan, "Duquesne Whistle" seven-inch (Copies Available: 5,000)
The opening track from Dylan's 35th studio album Tempest appears on vinyl for the first time here, but the real treat is a previously unreleased version of Blood on the Tracks' steely blues burner, "Meet Me in the Morning."
The Gaslight Anthem, Hold You Up 10-inch (Copies Available: 3,000)
Four months after dropping Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem offer up a 10" red vinyl disc featuring two brand-new acoustic cuts, "Misery" and "Hold You Up," plus a gritty take on Bon Iver's "Skinny Love."
Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah" split single (Copies Available: 4,000)
In the time since its recording, Leonard Cohen's 1984 spiritual "Hallelujah" has become one of the most covered songs in music history (over 300 versions have been performed on record and in concert). But it was the late Jeff Buckley's haunting cover appearing on his sole studio album, 1994's Grace, that stands apart from the bundle. Here the two renditions share equal billing for a split-single seven-inch.
Joe Strummer, Live at Acton Town Hall double LP (Copies Available: 1,800)
In November 2002, former Clash bandmates Joe Strummer and Mick Jones reunited for a historic reunion performance at West London's Acton Town Hall. Played just over a month before Strummer's untimely death, the gig – during which the rockers unspooled renditions of "Bankrobber," "White Riot" and "London's Burning" – marked the first time the two had shared the stage since 1983. The legendary performance, previously available only as part of a digital box set, now arrives as tandem LPs.
John Mayer, The Complete 2012 Performances Collection 12-inch (Copies Available: 2,800)
Released this summer as a digital-only EP, this five-track collection includes live acoustic renditions of four standout tracks from Mayer's latest album Born and Raised, including "Queen of California" and "Shadow Days." The highlight? "Go Easy on Me," a wistful ballad that finds Mayer admitting, "I'm not quite as strong as you see me."
My Morning Jacket featuring Brittany Howard, "It Makes No Difference" 10-inch (Copies Available: 2,000)
Before their Newport Folk Festival set was cut short by rain in June, My Morning Jacket were joined onstage by the Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard for a run-through of The Band's soulful 1975 lament "It Makes No Difference." The memorable rendition gets the RSD treatment with a proper release on 10" orange vinyl.
Nirvana, Incesticide: 20th Anniversary Edition (45 rpm) (Copies available: 4,000)
In late 1992, Nirvana released Insecticide, the first and only compilation LP offered up during the band's run. Kurt Cobain agreed to release the material – recorded in less-than-stellar audio quality – in exchange for having complete control of the album art. Twenty years later, the album has been remastered using the original analog master tape and recording sources. It arrives on two 180-gram virgin vinyl discs, cut for the first time at 45 rpm. Cobain's disturbingly intimate album art is also recreated here, and the gatefold, wrapped in gold foil, includes the lyric sheet art.
The Shins, "No Way Down"/ "Fall of '82" (Swift Sessions) seven-inch (Copies available: 2,500)
Richard Swift, the Shins' keyboardist since 2011 and a producer in his own right (the Mynabyrds, Damien Jurado), helps cook up radically reimagined takes on "No Way Down" and "Fall of '82," two of the peppier cuts off his new band's recent Port of Morrow.
The Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground & Nico (Scepter Studios Acetate) (Copies available: 5,000)
The April 1966 Scepter Studios recordings captured on an acetate disc of Velvet Underground & Nico have long been the stuff of legend. Scooped up at a Canadian flea market in 2002, the recordings soon landed in the right hands, and at long last they're available on 180-gram vinyl. Fans will cherish the alternate mixes of Lou Reed's narco-confessional "Heroin," among other classic cuts.
The White Stripes, trio of seven-inch singles (Copies available: TBA)
The Stripes may have called it quits, but the treats from Jack and Meg keep coming. Three early 45s have been re-pressed on red vinyl, featuring material spanning the band's storied career. One single pairs their cover of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down" with "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground"; another has "Fell in Love With a Girl" bumping uglies with "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." But the highlights are live renditions of "Hotel Yorba" and "Rated X," recorded at the A-side's namesake in southwest Detroit.
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