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Record Store Day 2014 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

A genre-by-genre tip sheet to the best releases arriving Saturday

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With hundreds of new releases and reissues hitting physical music shops on Record Store Day, the purchases you make this Saturday could easily provide enough listening material for a year. To help you focus your shopping (and spending), we broke the list down by genre and offered five picks for each one. By Nick Murray

Courtesy Excursion Records

Metal

Mastodon's Live at Brixton leads Record Store Day's metal selection (and is packaged with a DVD of the concert), but don't miss the vinyl release of two recent LPs: Motörhead's Aftershock and Korn's The Paradigm Shift. Elsewhere, Pantera and Poison Idea are teaming up for a split 7-inch and Botch are reissuing their out-of-print early tracks on a proper LP.

Courtesy Mercury Records

R&B

This year, Record Store Day's R&B offerings are mostly archival: Donny Hathaway's Live at the Bitter End 1971 will be getting its first vinyl release and Sam Cooke's Ain't That the Good News will be reissued for the 50th anniversary of its original pressing. Elsewhere, a remaster of Big Mama Thornton's 1975 live LP Sassy Mama! will be "presented in an 'exact replica' LP package" — an elegant way for Vanguard Records to admit that they couldn't improve upon the portraits from the original cover. The best new and unheard material comes from Charles Bradley and Gil-Scott Heron: The former will issue a 12-inch featuring two tracks cut from last year's Victim of Love; the latter will have solo piano recordings of a few old songs issued by XL under the title Nothing New.

Courtesy EMI Nashville

Country

This year's most notable country music Record Store Day releases come from a pair of artists who have been dead for a combined century: All 24 tracks off Hank Williams' The Garden Spot Programs, 1950, a collection of radio shows the singer made halfway through the century, will hit stores in the middle of May, but come Saturday a 10-inch EP will give fans an advance listen to a select eight. And while many of Bob Wills' Tiffany Transcriptions — selections from radio shows the King of Western Swing had recorded a few years prior — were released in 2009, a new 12-inch packages ten remaining cuts into a single LP. Among the living, stand-outs include Steve Earle's Townes: The Basics tribute, Dolly Parton's new "Blue Smoke"/"Home" 7-inch and the vinyl release of Eric Church's The Outsiders, which is said to include a bonus track featuring a cover of the Beatles' "Come Together."

Courtesy C/Z Records

Indie Rock

Unsurprisingly, there's no shortage of noteworthy indie rock Record Store Day releases. Chvches' Recover EP, for one, includes two new remixes of the title track, Haim's "Forever" 12-inch includes the Giorgio Moroder remix of its own and Cults' Upstairs at United features live-to-tape recordings of songs like "You Know What I Mean" and "Were Before." Built to Spill, on the other hand, are offering the first vinyl pressing of their 1993 debut, and Conor Oberst and Dawes' split 7-inch makes the perfect gift for the Bright Eyes fans who long ago wore out their copy of Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova's collaborative 10-inch (which, incidentally, turns 10 on this very day).

Courtesy LaFace

Rap

Record Store Day ambassador Chuck D leads the way with two Public Enemy releases, and while It Takes a Nation of Millions is the classic, the RSD edition adds little more than a bigger price tag and a lenticular-printed cover (look it up). The better bet is the first vinyl release of the group's overlooked 2012 LP Evil Empire of Everything – buy it alongside the reissue of Outkast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and the first printing of Ice T's recent greatest hits collection. For a leftfield pick, look for grime beatmaker and Danny Brown collaborator Darq E Freaker's "Ironside" 12-inch, a record whose disorienting production would likely make Chuck and the Bomb Squad proud.

Courtesy LCD Soundsystem

Live

Though live albums dot the entire list of releases, this year's Record Store Day contains enough noteworthy concert recordings that it's worth highlighting five additional potential purchases from across the spectrum. Deadheads will surely gravitate toward the 1979's Live at Hampton Coliseum, and fans looking for smaller, darker jams should go further with J Spaceman & Kid Millions' Live at Le Poisson Rouge. Devo's Live at Max's Kansas City: November 15, 1977, though, includes not just a full set but an introduction from fan David Bowie, and Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes' Live at the Greek rocks out over three discs. There's also LCD Soundsystem's The Long Goodbye, a recording of the group's final show that itself stretches across five.

Courtesy Epic Records

Classic Rock

The classic rock fan's dilemma: Your thirst for vinyl remains strong, but the supply of new releases relevant to your interests continues to diminish. This year's archival crop includes a collection of Creedence's 1969 singles and the Animals' self-titled EP, which had previously never been released on vinyl in the U.S. Similarly, the songs on the Allman Brothers' colon-heavy Selections From: Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 had previously only been released on DVDBruce Springsteen fans, meanwhile, can look for a reissue of the Ronnie Spector & the E Street Band's "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" 7-inch and Springsteen's own American Beauty EP, which contains four previously unreleased songs.

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