Since its inception in 2008, Record Store Day has occurred annually on a single Saturday in April. But due to the ongoing pandemic, things are going to look a little different this year. The event that celebrates independent record shops around the world will be spread out in “drops” over the next few months. The three separate release dates — August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th — are intended to provide revenues to stores that have struggled during the pandemic while allowing the largest number of them to partake. Ahead of the first drop on Saturday, we’ve combed through the list and pulled out our 12 favorite exclusives.
Billie Eilish, Live at Third Man Records
Last fall, Billie Eilish performed a secret show at Jack White’s Third Man Records. Huddled inside the intimate, 250-capacity Blue Room, the superstar sang several tracks off her smash debut, When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?, which would later earn her five Grammys. Third Man released the set on vinyl a month later, and it’s now quite pricey on Discogs. The RSD edition is pressed on opaque blue vinyl and accompanied by a poster. You might be stuck at home, but the party’s never over. —Angie Martoccio
The Who, Odds and Sods
Who bassist John Entwistle personally curated this collection of Who rarities in 1974. As the title suggests, it’s a mish-mash of material, ranging from debut single “Zoot Suit” (recorded when they were called the High Numbers Band) to their cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It,” the Who’s Next outtake “Who Are You,” and non-album singles like “Long Live Rock.” This was largely done to deter fans from buying bootlegs, but it inadvertently invented the rarities collection in the process. —Andy Greene
The Weeknd, My Dear Melancholy
Released in 2018 as a stopgap between his two most recent pop blockbusters, this six-track EP is a dark, potent dose of the Weeknd’s core sound of emotionally messed-up club jams. (Listen to “Wasted Times” and feel a pang of sympathy for one of the biggest stars in the world.) It’s out for RSD as a special 12″ edition, with all six tracks on one side and an etching on the other — perfect for anyone whose Weeknd appreciation goes deeper than the singles. —Simon Vozick-Levinson
The Black Keys, Let’s Rock (45 rpm Edition)
Last year, the Black Keys released their first album in five years, Let’s Rock, where they returned to the explosive garage-rock sounds of their classics Brothers and El Camino. The band is releasing a limited-edition 45-rpm version of Let’s Rock for Record Store Day, a 180-gram, two-LP set in a “deluxe holographic gatefold jacket,” with all 7,500 copies individually numbered. “It’s this magic that happens with Pat and I,” Auerbach told Rolling Stone when the album came out. “It was the same thing that happened when we were 16 and started playing, and magically, it just sounds like music.” —Patrick Doyle
John Lennon, “Instant Karma!”
Ahead of the release of the massive box set Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes, celebrate the late Beatle’s solo career with this 1970 single — which he famously wrote, recorded, and released in just 10 days. Newly mixed with artwork exactly like the original 50 years ago, “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” features Yoko Ono, former bandmate George Harrison, bassist Klaus Voormann, keyboardist Billy Preston, and drummer Alan White. It also marks the first time Lennon worked with producer Phil Spector, which really should have been the only time. —A.M.
Charli XCX, Vroom Vroom EP
When Charli XCX released this EP in 2016 with maverick Scottish producer Sophie behind the boards, it was an early indicator of the turn she was about to make toward being the most fearless pop innovator of the late 2010s. Dancing deftly around Sophie’s fabulously twisted beats, Charli sounded like the future — and as 2017’s Number 1 Angel and Pop 2 would soon show, that’s what she was. —S.V.L.
Galaxie 500, Copenhagen
Galaxie 500 made three perfect albums of twilight-toned indie pop between 1988 and 1990, refining a sound first suggested by the Velvet Underground’s quieter moments into a new form that would inspire generations of DIY dreamers. Then they broke up. This live album, recorded at the very end of what became the trio’s final European tour, is an essential document for anyone who’s left wanting a little more of that Galaxie 500 magic. First released on CD in 1997, but never available on vinyl until now, Copenhagen hits the spot with its full-hearted performances of favorites including “Decomposing Trees,” “Fourth of July,” and “Don’t Let Our Youth Go to Waste,” plus their psychedelically extended cover of Yoko Ono’s “Listen, the Snow Is Falling.” —S.V.L.
Elton John, Elton John
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Elton John’s self-titled LP, which broke him all over the world thanks to hits like “Your Song” and “Border Song,” he’s re-releasing the album on vinyl with remastered sound and bonus tracks from the 2008 deluxe edition of the album, like piano demos of “Sixty Years On” and “Take Me to the Pilot.” For Elton completists, it’s also the first official release of the “Border Song” and “Bad Side of the Moon” demos. —A.G.
Wipers, Is This Real?
The moody, catchy punk rock of the Wipers’ debut LP has influenced Nirvana, Melvins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus, Spoon’s Britt Daniel, and countless others. So to mark its 40th anniversary, the retail-store–cum-label Jackpot Records has created a limited-edition keepsake reissue. The cover is glossy and reflective, and the LP comes on clear, audiophile-quality vinyl. But best of all, it includes a 45 of some of frontman Greg Sage’s original 4-track recordings of the songs and a gig poster that the reclusive Sage has autographed. Why did Sage give his blessing to a reissue by Jackpot? “They’re from Portland where we recorded it,” Sage tells Rolling Stone. —Kory Grow
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Creepin’ on ah Come Up
Centered on the classic hit single “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” the 1994 debut EP from Cleveland’s finest is a refreshing blast of funk-laced production, cooled-out harmonies, and double-time slick talk. Bone Thugs went on to see massive success after this, and more than 25 years later, Creepin’ on ah Come Up still has one of the most distinctive and original sounds of any Nineties rap release. —S.V.L.
Yusuf/Cat Stevens, “But I Might Die Tonight”
Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman turns 50 this year, and the singer-songwriter (who now writes and performs as Yusuf) is celebrating the anniversary in style, with a newly re-recorded version of the beloved album due out next month. In the meantime, fans can check out this RSD 7” single, featuring a spiritually searching highlight from the original Tillerman on light-blue vinyl, plus an alternate mix of the song that originally appeared in the 1970 drama Deep End on the B side. —S.V.L.
Gorillaz, G Sides/D-Sides
Gorillaz’s 2005 album Demon Days was a rare find on wax before subscription service Vinyl Me, Please put out a new pressing a few years ago. If you’re a completist who’s still looking to fill out your collection of records made by Damon Albarn and his rotating cast of pop eccentrics, you might like the B sides and outtakes on these two triple-LP sets — one to accompany their 2001 debut (G Sides), the other from the Demon Days era (D-Sides), and both available on vinyl for the first time ever. —S.V.L.