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Record Store Day 2015: The Ultimate Guide

From a Metallica demo to Elvis’ first acetate, these are the best releases of this year’s event

Record Store

Man in Record Store

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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.

Black Bastards

Rap

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.

Willie Nelson

Country

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.

Metallica

Metal

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.

Oddities

Oddities

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.

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