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Record Store Day Preview: Feist, Mastodon, Flaming Lips and More Offer Exclusive Releases

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Other artists have also cooked up unexpected covers for Record Store Day, including Detroit electro-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Portland folkies Blitzen Trapper. For their Motown-focused covers-EP, We Almost Lost Detroit, whose title is taken from the song by the late poet/hip-hop forefather Gil Scott-Heron that the band covers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. pay homage to their hometown by putting their own spin at the works of other Motor City artists including, surprisingly, Madonna’s "Like a Prayer." "It’s the most fun thing I can imagine releasing," says band member Josh Epstein. Blitzen Trapper, for a 7" split-single they’ll release on RSD, reached back to outtakes from their 2008 Furr sessions; they dug up, and will release two previously-unreleased tunes, one of which is the backwoods crew’s take on the timeless betrayal ballad, "Hey Joe." Frontman Eric Earley says that although the song has been covered by many acts, his band gave their version – based on Jimi Hendrix’s classic 1966 debut single – a drastic alteration. "We switched pianos for the guitar," Earley says. "It's just a cool song."

Animal Collective, by comparison, used Record Store Day as motivation to release one of the most experimental undertakings they’ve ever concocted. Titled Transverse Temporal Gyrus, the 12-inch Record Store Day release is a reworking of material from the band’s March 2010 interactive live show at New York’s Guggenheim Museum for which they digitally-manipulated ambient tracks and spit them out via 36 speakers. The RSD release combines original recordings with the Guggenheim creations; together they’re now blended into a never-before-heard aural collage. "Personally I think it's going to end up being one of my favorite Animal Collective releases," says group member Brian Weitz, a.k.a Geologist. "It's always fun when projects come up, like the Guggenheim installation or Oddsac, where the nature of the project pushes us in (an experimental) direction." The band is also debuting a website on RSD that will allow listeners to partake in a different aural experience with each visit.

Yet despite artists' embrace of Record Store Day, holiday co-founder Kurtz still says he’s looking ahead: he says his next goal is to get every artist to place a RSD button on their website. Kurtz says that because they’ve primarily pointed to digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon on their websites, artists have "created this perception that there are no record stores." Guitarist Derek Trucks, whose band with wife Susan Tedeschi, Tedeschi Trucks Band, will release a live EP on RSD, agrees with Kurtz, saying that he believes independent record stores need to be more visible. "I think it's supremely important," Trucks says, explaining that he cherishes the experience of visiting a store to buy music. "There's something about going to a record store with people who actually know music and give a shit." Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness, whose iconic band will issue a limited-edition mint-green reissue of their 2011 full-length Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes on RSD, concurs. "Who wants to buy a fucking record at Wal-Mart?" Ness says. "I don't."

Kurtz feels his work is only getting started: he hopes to expand Record Store Day to additional countries in the coming years. But he still can’t help but be amazed by just how far the holiday has come in only five years of existence. "It’s way beyond what we ever thought it would be," he says. "After the first year, when we started getting emails from Paul McCartney saying how much he loved record stores and how much he supported what we were doing, we kinda knew we were onto something."

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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