Every April, vinyl geeks from around the world congregate at local music shops to celebrate Record Store Day. It’s a chance for them to get their hands on limited-edition LPs they can’t buy online or at chain stores and catch intimate in-store performances. The tradition began in 2008 and it’s grown bigger and better every year, playing a key role in keeping record stores alive. Ahead of Saturday’s big event, we’ve combed through the exhaustive 2019 release list and pulled out our 10 favorite exclusives. (Regrettably, Cheech & Chong have been left out.)
Soccer Mommy, For Young Hearts
Two years before she wowed indie-rock fans with her full-length debut, Clean, Soccer Mommy — a.k.a. Sophie Allison — was already an uncommonly vivid singer-songwriter. This eight-song EP, recorded while she was an undergrad at New York University, is full of gorgeous sad-weekend anthems like “Inside Out,” “Grown” and “Henry.” Originally released as a limited-run cassette by Orchid Tapes in 2016, and long out of print, it’s back on green-smoke vinyl for Record Store Day. S.V.L.
Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks — Original Test Pressing
After spending less than a week at New York’s A&R Recording Studios with producer Phil Ramone in 1974, Bob Dylan thought he was done with Blood on the Tracks. Test pressings of the new album went out to critics, but at the last minute Dylan changed his mind and re-recorded half the songs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The New York pressing has been widely bootlegged over the years, and many fans believe it’s the superior version of the album. The complete New York sessions were released on the exhaustive More Blood, More Tracks box set in 2018, but this is the first time that original test-pressing version of the LP has ever been officially sold on its own. A.G.
Elton John, Live From Moscow
In May of 1979, Elton John became the first major Western pop star to perform in Soviet Russia. It was a stripped-down show where he was only joined by percussionist Ray Cooper. The duo played songs from his whole career, including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and “Better Off Dead.” Bootlegs drawn from a BBC broadcast have circulated for decades, but this is the first time it’s ever been released on vinyl. A.G.
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Jeff Tweedy, Warmer
Jeff Tweedy has been on a creative kick during Wilco’s year-plus “extended break”: Just last fall, he released a memoir and his first-ever solo album of new songs (Warm), and those same sessions were so fruitful that they also yielded a whole other 10-song set, out this weekend. Recorded at Wilco’s Chicago studio, the Loft, Warmer will make its first appearance as a limited run of 5,000 vinyl copies. S.V.L.
Rockabye Baby!, Lullaby Renditions of Weezer
Savvy parents know that Rockabye Baby!’s instrumental covers LPs are endless fun for rock & roll kids and their adults alike. Now the series is getting in on the cross-generational Weezer party with sleepy-time takes on “Say It Ain’t So,” “El Scorcho” and, yes, “Only in Dreams.” The deeply soothing 12-song set is out on clear vinyl for RSD. (Also of note for Weezer fans: Dusty Gems & Raw Nuggets, an RSD-only vinyl pressing of demos, B sides and live cuts from the Blue Album era, previously only available on deluxe editions of that 1994 classic.) S.V.L.
Courtney Barnett, “Everybody Here Hates You”
This RSD-exclusive 12″ single features a biting A-side from Barnett, who pairs epic-bummer lyrics (“I feel stupid, I feel useless, I feel insane”) with satisfying guitar crunch as only she can. (The B side, “Small Talk,” is a loosie from last year.) Like 2016’s “Three Packs a Day,” it’s a reminder that even her castoffs are casual gold. S.V.L.
Lost in Translation (Music From the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The stellar dream-pop soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation is seeing its first vinyl release since the film came out in 2003. Highlights include five songs by My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields (including the syrupy “City Girl”) as well as “Just Like Honey” by the Jesus and Mary Chain. Sixteen years later, these shoegazing gems still make you want to wander the Tokyo streets at midnight. A.M.
Various Artists, Woodstock — Mono PA Version
Instead of choosing between two competing Woodstock anniversary concerts this summer, snag the soundtrack in mono that puts you right back in the mud of the 1969 original. The 3LP features the full-length versions of the songs that were shortened for the soundtrack in 1970, so hopefully on this one you can hear Neil Young harmonize with his CSNY bandmates. A.M.
Various Artists, Office Space
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the cult classic Office Space, the soundtrack is being released on a limited-edition “stapler red” vinyl printing. It’s full of Nineties hip-hop classics, featuring everyone from Canibus to Kool Keith, Slum Village and Ice Cube. The highlight, of course, is Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta,” the perfect song to play while smashing up an office printer. A.G.
Bingo Hand Job, Live at the Borderline 1991
Unless you’re a serious R.E.M. scholar, you’ve probably never heard of Bingo Hand Job, the fictitious name used by the Athens, Georgia alt-rock greats for a pair of secret acoustic gigs at a London club in the spring of 1991. Recorded just after the release of Out of Time, this official bootleg includes live takes on several highlights from that album (“Low,” “Half a World Away,” “Radio Song”) plus older classics like “Fall on Me,” “Perfect Circle” and “Swan Swan H.” It’s out on a two-LP edition of 3,000. S.V.L.