This weekend, Record Store Day will be flooding music outlets around the country with new releases, reissued classics and thousands of fans looking bring home a few of each. Where Jack White, for instance, is mass-producing his latest acquisition (the acetate from Elvis Presley's first session), Bruce Springsteen is breaking down his recent Album Collection Vol. 1 box set, disc by limited-edition disc. The full list includes more split singles, old treasures and strangely-colored vinyl than any single person could possibly consume, so we've broken it down into a few tidy categories and selected the most essential records in each one.
Record Store Day ambassador Dave Grohl leads new releases with Foo Fighters’ Songs From the Laundry Room, a 10-inch featuring two demos, a cover of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” and new song “Empty Handed.” Sun Records – a possible subject if Grohl visits Memphis in a Sonic Highways season two – will compile deep cuts from artists like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich into the Curated by Record Store Day Vol. 2 double-album. Meanwhile, the newer L.A. label Alive Naturalsound will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with four sides of their own, compiling unreleased or hard-to-find tracks by artists like Lee Bains III and the Black Keys.
Bob Dylan’s basement tapes were once rock’s greatest unreleased treasure, and after a 2014 box set made the whole collection available, Band organist Garth Hudson is hand-numbering vinyl reissues of some of the original tracks. Paul McCartney’s soundtrack to The Family Way, a 1966 British film, has long been out-of-print, but those unable to afford an extremely rare old copy (that is, almost all of us) can now buy a new one. U2’s Songs of Innocence might have been the least rare LP ever released, but a vinyl double-album will now appease those who needed the record on more than just their iPhone.
Elsewhere, Jerry Garcia’s 1974 Compliments will be released on translucent green vinyl, and the Dead’s Uniondale, NY, 3/29/90 will be released in a five-LP box set. And where a Courtney Barnett 12-inch will feature a cover of John Cale’s “Close Watch,” Against Me!’s “Osama Bin Laden As the Crucified Christ” 7-inch holds two new versions of the Transgender Dysphoria Blues track.
This year’s Record Store Day will also showcase a series of split 7-inches where each side plays a different artist’s take on the same song. Two of the more notable rock installments feature David Bowie and Tom Verlaine doing “Kingdom Come” and the Black Keys and Junior Kimbrough doing “Meet Me in the City.”
Record Store Day's hip-hop releases seem to targeted at crate-diggers who are content with browsing the new releases. Those fans will have their choice between two J Dilla 7-inches: One, "Love," advertises unreleased material; the other, "Fuck the Police," has been out of print for a decade and will be released on a badge-shaped picture disc. A single degree of separation away, KMD (the early group of Dilla collaborator MF Doom) will be issuing their long-shelved Black Bastards in a CD box set. The record was once held for its controversial cover art – now, it comes with a pop-up book.
Going back a little further, Wu-Tang Clan will be issuing "Protect Ya Neck" and "Method Man" (and a combined five remixes of those tracks) on yellow and black vinyl. The Best of Sugarhill Gang will become available as a double-LP, and "The Message" will be released in the 7-inch covers series, with Grandmaster Flash on the A side and Irish punks Stiff Little Fingers on the B.
This year's biggest country releases are mostly reissues. Dolly Parton's The Grass Is Blue, for instance, will see its first vinyl release. And where Johnny Cash's 1983 Koncert v Prague will now be issued on "Soviet red," Willie Nelson's Teatro will be all gold. Nearly 50 years after it was recorded, Chet Atkins' nearly-lost My Brother Sings will be made available to those who can't afford the original's four-figure price tag, and a few of Charlie Feathers' late-Fifties rockabilly 45s and 78s will be compiled on one 10-inch.
For new stuff, check Lee Ann Womack's acoustic Trouble in Mind EP and Blackberry Smoke's Wood, Wire and Roses. A split 7-inch combines versions of "Brass Buttons" recorded by Gram Parsons and the Lemonheads, and a split 10-inch combines Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" with Steve Earle's new version of the same. Meanwhile, Lydia Loveless and Cory Branan both attempt Prince covers on a split single of their own.
Good news for Wille fans: Not all of the 81-year-old's Record Store Day appearances are archival. Those seeking an unreleased live recording should seek out Asleep at the Wheel's Still the King bonus tracks.
As seems to be the case every year, metal's biggest 2015 Record Store Day release comes from the genre's biggest band, Metallica, who have been enthusiastic supporters of the event since its inception. The groups' latest RSD contribution is a limited-edition cassette reissue of its rip-roaring 1982 demo tape No Life 'Til Leather, complete with artwork replicated from drummer Lars Ulrich's own copy and featuring his handwriting. Metallica's brethren in thrash's "Big 4," Slayer have their own killer release lined up for Saturday, a new song, "When the Stillness Comes," on blood-spattered 7-inch vinyl, while unabashed Metallica fans Stone Sour – the hard-rock outfit led by Slipknot's Corey Taylor – burn through the group's classic "Creeping Death" on their Record Store Day offering, a five-track covers EP.
Other headbanger-friendly fodder includes vinyl reissues from At the Gates and Carcass, an EP of three rare original cuts plus a Nirvana cover from Every Time I Die, a 12-inch picture disc of Mastodon's 2014 one-off song "Atlanta" with head Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes and a slick leather-bound, foil-embossed CD box set of Ministry main man Al Jourgensen's Wax Trax! output, including music by Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, 1,000 Homo DJs and more.
As with years past, some of the most interesting Record Store Day releases are some of the most unusual. A few don't even contain music. Turntable Baseball, a successor to last year's Turntable Football, uses "Decagonaphonic Multi-groove Technology" to host two-player nine-inning competitions. There's even a B side "concession stand challenge," whatever that entails. Basketball fans should jump to Furious Hoops Vol. 1, an indie rock compilation paying homage to the NBA of the 1990s, and those who prefer sports entertainment to actual sports should secure a copy of The Wrestling Album, reissued on Hulk Hogan red and yellow.
Another one for Nineties nostalgists: Polaris' self-explanatory Music From the Adventures of Pete and Pete. The title of Bob Marley Interviews: So Much Things to Say (a collection of conversations with radio host Neville Willoughby) is similarly self-explanatory, and though it was released way back in 1969, the name of The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album also proved correct. This first-ever CD release includes an essay by Sarah Silverman and period photos of the comedian.