Record Store Day 2013 takes place April 20, featuring new releases, reissues of out-of-print albums and other rarities. I’ve pulled out 10 titles or sets of releases that jumped out to me personally. If it’s anything like last year, you’ll have to get here early to get those in-demand releases (check out last year’s coverage here).
The Bats – By Night
The debut release by The Bats, part of the Flying Nun clan of New Zealand jangle-pop bands. The Bats are fronted by Robert Scott, sometime bassist of The Clean, a band whose cult infamy has helped lead to their brethren being rediscovered by a new generation. I haven’t heard By Night, but having quite enjoyed 1987’s Daddy’s Highway, I’m sure their debut is just as chockfull of jangly delights. Seriously, I want to just jump on an airplane slash time machine and live in New Zealand in the ’80s and listen to awesome bands like The Bats, though they’re still around making fine records today.
Best Coast – Fear of My Identity b/w Who Have I Become
I’ve only heard “Fear of My Identity” live and haven’t yet heard “Who Have I Become,” but anyone who’s followed Best Coast knows their one-offs, B-sides and bonus tracks rival their album tracks (see “Mean Girls,” “Storms,” “Sun Was High” and “Something in the Way”). So I’m betting on this one being a one-two punch.
Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me
The soundtrack for the upcoming documentary about cultish power-pop band Big Star. I for one can’t wait to see this movie. Their story is fascinating, as Big Star wrote some of the best rock songs of all time and are considered creators of so-called “power pop” but saw commercial failure despite their sizable critical success, contributing to the band’s implosion and subsequent shelved, awesomely strange and sad Third/Sister Lovers release. In the meantime, this soundtrack offers previously unreleased versions of Big Star favorites like “In the Street,” “The Ballad of El Goodo” and “Holocaust”; see the whole tracklist here.
On this split 7”, Omaha-based synth-pop band Icky Blossoms comes up with a version of Siouxsie and The Banshees’ goth classic “Arabian Knights” that stays faithful to the original but blows up the chorus with a booming Europop feel, while Atlanta’s Black Lips take on Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson’s “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” which I’m pretty sure I heard at their last L.A. show while seeing toilet paper fly and bare ass cheeks. Limited run on colored vinyl.
The Flaming Lips – Zaireeka
Bitch all you want about how hard it is in the Spotify age to listen to an album meant to be played on four discs at once. The Flaming Lips’ landmark 1997 album still inspires listening parties to this day — one just took place at The Echo this year. I heard it with a group of friends and strangers at someone’s house in the early 2000s. The experience still seems quaint and sort of magical to me — how often do you sit with a group of people doing nothing but listening to recorded music together, much less the sort of surrealist, multidimensional pop that the Flaming Lips offer? Different players, volumes, start times, omitting discs and having different listeners will change the way the songs are heard each time, not to mention that the music housed on Zaireeka is nearly overwhelming in its psychedelic, sometimes frightening scope — OK, I’ll stop there, lots of people have opined at greater length about Zaireeka, this is just the first chance we’ve had to have it on vinyl. Quick, someone get me three more record players.
The Glove – Like an Animal
The only album recorded by The Cure’s Robert Smith and Siouxsie & the Banshees’ Steve Severin’s side project gets a vinyl re-release. It’s intriguing for a number of reasons: as a footnote for fans of both bands, as it was released after The Cure’s Pornography and S&TB’s A Kiss in the Dreamhouse, during pivotal periods for both bands creatively speaking; and its music is appealingly low-stakes post-punk that sounds somewhat removed from time, with singer Jeanette Landray (a dancer and then-girlfriend of Banshees drummer Budgie) delivering lyrics penned by Smith like “inches of glass all shiny and new/screaming laughing fucks me to death.” If you don’t want to hear that on shiny vinyl, we are just different people.
The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Duh. It’s been out of print for at least a decade. “Juicy”! “Big Poppa”! You need this hip-hop classic, reissued on white vinyl.
Orange Juice – Orange Juice/Rip It Up/Texas Fever/You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever
You can be like me and spend $40 to buy an original Rip It Up and then not eat for a week and still not have the other albums by seminal cult new wave pop band Orange Juice. OR you could get these reissues. They also come with download cards.
Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun
Whoa, if ever there was a record from the past decade or so that needed to be reissued on vinyl, it’s this one. It’s available for the first time in the U.S. on vinyl. Cue up “Svefn-g-englar,” remember the early ’00s and bask in Sigur Ros’ heavenly gobbledygook.
Theme Song 7” Splits
Even with all the Factory Records releases, classic rock reissues and new songs from acclaimed artists, some of the coolest Record Store Day releases this year have to be the split 7” records of theme songs from classic TV shows, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents/The Munsters and The Twilight Zone/The Outer Limits. They’re very limited, so get there early if you want to spin these come Halloween.