This year’s Record Store Day yields over 550 different titles that will be made available for the collecting (hoarding) masses. There’s a metric ton of vinyl, of course, in a wide spectrum of colors in solid, marbled, transparent and otherwise. But there’s also a number of releases coming out on the ever-resurging cassette format, and even a CD or two for the old school heads.
After weeks of poring over the RSD release schedule like it’s a fantasy sports draft sheet, here is Billboard’s list of 25 picks to keep an eye out for this Saturday (April 13).
His Majesty’s Pop Life/Purple Mix Club (Warner Bros.)
The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) (Legacy Recordings)
We may have yet to see the real treasures that abound in the mythical vault of the late Prince Rogers Nelson. But this slow drip of titles from inside its confines is moving along at a swagger as cool as its creator. And this RSD, two true holy grails will be up for grabs and will surely have hardcore Prince fans up bright and early Saturday morning. From Warner Bros. comes a highly rare Japanese import from the Around The World in a Day era. Originally released in an increment of 500 copies, this four-sided remix album features different versions of such beloved Purple faves as “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Little Red Corvette” and the complete “Erotic City.” Meanwhile, Legacy Recordings comes through with one of the hardest-to-find Prince Easter eggs in existence. Initially created as a gift for people who attended Gianni Versace’s Fashion Week exhibit in Paris just before the release of his Gold Experience LP in 1995, The Versace Experience cassette is a career-spanning mixtape containing unique snippet versions of several Gold tracks, exclusive material from the New Power Generation and songs from the guitarist’s unsung fusion group Madhouse.
Bingo Hand Job
Live at the Borderline 1991 (Craft Recordings)
With the exception of Mountain Stage, MTV Unplugged and a handful of other radio and television performances, R.E.M. did not play to the general public in 1991. Save, however, for a pair of shows at London’s Borderline club the week that Out of Time was released, where they were billed under the pseudonym Bingo Hand Job, which sounds more like a Guided By Voices song than a band name. Long coveted by R.E.M. fans as one of the rarest bootlegs on the black market, the full set from the March 15 show has been made available as an RSD exclusive. With stunning, stripped down renditions of such classic Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe fare as “World Leader Pretend,” “Disturbance at the Heron House” and “Perfect Circle” alongside covers of “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s “Dallas” and the Mancini/Mercer standard “Moon River,” you better get up early to catch this one in stock.
The Loneliest Punk (ORG Music)
After a 15-year absence from the marketplace, the sole solo album from The Pharcyde’s Fatlip is back in circulation as an RSD exclusive from ORG Music. No doubt the instances of sexism and homophobia peppered throughout The Loneliest Punk (get it?) makes for some uneasy listening in the age of #MeToo. But Fatlip’s one-of-a-kind flow, memorable guest spots from Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and Shock G of the Digital Underground and some outstanding production from the likes of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde beat-maker J-Swift, the 45 King, Sam Spiegel and the rapper himself helps make Punk a true lost classic of California hip-hop.
Live at the Palomino 1983 (Omnivore Recordings)
The alt-country movement was still in its relative infancy back in 1983, and Lone Justice was undoubtedly one of the great new voices of this growing sound of college radio. They were also a band who were far fiercer onstage than they were in studio, which makes this previously unreleased half-hour blast caught on tape at the famous Los Angeles club The Palomino featuring the original lineup of Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni and Don Willens such a score. Songs from their forthcoming eponymous Geffen debut like “Working Late” and “You Are The Light” are compounded by country covers, including “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, as well as other band classics as “Drugstore Cowboy” and “Cotton Belt” in this definitive live document of a group that deserves to be heard about more.
The Charlatans UK
Some Friendly (Beggars Banquet)
Us and Us Only (Universal)
When it comes to bands from the Madchester scene, nobody touches The Charlatans in terms of consistency and recorded output. If The Stone Roses only recorded as much as their baggy brethren did. Out of print forever, their evergreen 1990 debut Some Friendly gets a well-deserved remaster on clear vinyl, while the group’s equally indelible sixth LP, Us and Us Only, gets its very first reissue in honor of its 20th anniversary, also on clear wax.
Baby I Owe You Something Good (Tuff City Records)
As George Clinton winds down a career on the road that spans seven decades with a farewell tour this summer, there’s never been a better time to dive deep into the discography of funk music’s one true papa. This limited edition 10-inch on Tuff City contains three previously unreleased recordings from 1967-1968 along with their instrumental counterparts on the flip, featuring an early version of the Funkadelic band comprised of the core trio of guitarist Eddie Hazel, bassist Billy Bass Nelson and drummer Tiki Fulwood and expressing shades of a Maggot Brain future.
The Epic Archives Vol. 3 (Real Gone)
Mid-to-late-80s era Cheap Trick deserves more credit than it gets, which makes this third volume of the band’s Epic Archives series a grand reintroduction to this understated period in the classic lineup’s storied tenure, along with some stuff from the ’90s and early ’00s as well. Among the treats in this set are their contributions to the soundtracks for Top Gun, Say Anything, Caddyshack II and Gladiator, the song “Big Bang” from the Japanese version of 1990’s Busted that’s better than anything on its original pressing and a grand version of The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour.”
Live at Carnegie Hall 1977 (Legacy Recordings)
Forty-two years before establishing his seemingly endless residency at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel made headlines with this performance at Carnegie Hall to test drive songs from his forthcoming fifth LP The Stranger, including the hit ballad “Just The Way You Are” and a freshly written “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” in addition to early faves like “Captain Jack” and “She’s Got A Way.” If you own the 30th anniversary box set for The Stranger that came out in 2008, you own this Carnegie show on CD. But it’s well worth hearing on vinyl, and the cover art is classic late ’70s Billy Joel.
Evans in England (Resonance)
Recorded the week before Christmas in 1969, this latest discovery from Resonance Records captures Bill Evans with longtime bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell in a beautifully parlayed performance at Ronnie Scott’s nightclub in London. This fourth release from the label’s cache of unreleased Evans is limited to a 2,000 copy vinyl run but will enjoy a wider release on CD the following Friday (April 19).
The ‘1999’ Party – Live at the Chicago Auditorium March 21, 1974 (Rhino)
Originally released in 1997 as a double CD set, The ‘1999’ Party is a chronicle of Lemmy-era Hawkwind’s epic set from the Chicago stop on their self-financed tour of North America just prior to the release of their classic fourth LP Hall of the Mountain Grill. Maybe some Greta Van Fleet fans will pick this one up and learn something about how heavy psychedelic space rock is really done.
Art Ensemble of Chicago
The Spiritual (ORG Music)
2019 marks the 50th anniversary year for the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In addition to an excellent new live tribute album on Pi Recordings, a recently released massive box set chronicling their tenure at ECM and a transcendent performance from the surviving members at this year’s Big Ears Festival, ORG Music commemorates the group’s golden age with a beautiful vinyl repressing of the most definitive work of their early years. The Spiritual, originally released in 1974, is quintessential Art Ensemble, capturing the core quartet of reedsmen Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell, trumpet master Lester Bowie and bassist/banjo player Malachi Favors in full flight with a heaviness on par with Black Sabbath.
The Sugar Hill 40th Anniversary Box (Rhino)
Before Def Jam, Tommy Boy and Jive, there was Sugar Hill Records. Hip-hop might’ve been born in the Bronx, but it was pressed up and shipped for distribution out of North Jersey where Sylvia Robinson’s vision helped the sound segue from the streets to the nightclubs as the ’70s became the ’80s. This six-LP set is the definitive anthology of this pioneering imprint in the history of the genre.
In Transition (Legacy)
When Jeff Buckley set forth into the unknown of the music biz with his transcendent debut LP Grace, little did he know it would become the only studio album he’d release in his brief lifetime. Three years later, this second-generation artist would be dead, the victim of a tragic swimming accident on Memorial Day Weekend in 1997. But enough material was amassed from his short existence that his catalog would grow exponentially in his absence. This latest posthumous title is culled from Buckley’s first studio session for Columbia Records, and includes haunting, spare renditions of such Grace faves as “Mojo Pin” and “Last Goodbye” (titled here as “Unforgiven”) along with a cover of Nina Simone’s “If You Knew” and an extended version of his timeless take on “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, who is surely a great granddad to Jeff up in heaven.
Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records (Wax Trax!)
What started as an edgy, earthy record shop in 1974 transformed into the harbinger for the intersection of loud guitars and dance beats that defined a subgenre known as industrial. That’s the story of Wax Trax!, chronicled in a great new documentary that will be screened at the House of Vans in Chicago on Record Store Day. This exclusive edition of the film’s soundtrack features a gaggle of classic and rare material from such label heavyweights as Front 242, Ministry, KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Young Gods and more. Hazy memories of alternative night at The Griffon in New Paltz, NY, not guaranteed with purchase.
For Young Hearts (Fat Possum)
By 2016, Sophie Allison established herself as a breakout star on the BandCamp platform as Soccer Mommy with her fourth collection of songs, entitled For Young Hearts. For RSD, this breakthrough EP gets a significant upgrade from its initial run of 300 cassettes to 1,800 copies on smoke green vinyl with a 24″ x 36″ poster inside for the bedroom walls of home-recording hopefuls across the globe.
“Baby Shark” 7-inch (Pinkfong USA)
My son is definitely responsible for about 1,000,000 of those two billion YouTube views of this inescapably catchy children’s song that you will hear in your sleep if you have a young one at home. Which makes this limited edition 7-inch either the ultimate burn gift for the dad-bro in your life or a sweet incentive to help your child appreciate the value of physical music with a hard copy of their favorite song.
Hallowed Ground (Craft Recordings)
That first Violent Femmes album, which everybody loves, sure is a good one. But on 1984’s Hallowed Ground the Wisconsin folk-punk trio quickly proved their staying power beyond the shock novelty of “Add It Up,” expanding their core sound to include a horn section featuring John Zorn, bluegrass great Tony Trischka on banjo and Mark Van Hecke on keyboards. Craft Recordings’ 35th anniversary edition celebrates this overlooked college radio staple with a limited edition pressed on deep green wax and mastered entirely in analog by Capitol Mastering’s Kevin Bartley.
Stax Does The Beatles (Craft Recordings)
Motown’s unshakable love for the Fab Four songbook is well-documented, but Stax Does The Beatles marks a new beginning in the assessment of the Memphis soul imprint’s romance with The Beatles as well. Compiled thanks to the vision of the label’s Alexandre Levy, this double LP includes funky, far-out translations of such Fab favorites as “Something” by Isaac Hayes; two versions of “Yesterday,” one by the Bar-Kays and the other a live rendition by Carla Thomas; and “Michelle” by Booker T. and the M.G.’s, whose 1970 LP McLemore Avenue is an entire cover of Abbey Road. This is a definite gem from this Saturday’s inventory.
This Is The Devo Box (Rhino)
If society is gonna devolve, might as well do it the Devo way — a band whose vision of the future seems rosy in the now by comparison. This essential jewel of the RSD lot brings together all six albums from the Ohio new wave legends’ Warner Bros. years, including long overdue reissues of such underappreciated works as Duty Now for the Future and Oh No! It’s DEVO.
Erykah Badu/James Poyser
“Tempted” 7-inch (Yep Roc)
The Roots continue to turn in low key classics despite being the hardest working band on late night television. This latest dispatch is the third installment of their ‘Swindles’ tribute to pop idols Squeeze with a new RSD 7-inch that finds Erykah Badu and Soulquarians architect James Poyser giving a gritty soul makeover to the English group’s biggest hit with the help of a mind-blowing studio band featuring Thundercat on bass and Ali Jackson on drums. There’s supposed to be a whole album’s worth of this stuff in the can. Where is it, fellas?
Office Space Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Universal)
One must not jump to conclusions about which RSD title is the best one to get this Saturday. But let’s just say the one with the most flair goes to the soundtrack to 1999’s best comedy that chronicles three office drones dealing with desk life at the turn of the century. And while Michael Bolton might be a major factor in this film, its soundtrack is filled with nothing but some of the hardest hip-hop in the game, including classics by Kool Keith, Ice Cube, Scarface and two Geto Boys cuts, namely that printer-smashing anthem “Still.” Pressed, of course, on Swingline-red vinyl. Just watch out for the cornhole on the way to the record shop, okay?
Live in Moscow (Mercury)
Billy Joel might’ve been the first A-list American to play Russia in 1987. But his longtime frenemy Elton John beat him to the punch eight years earlier when he became the first Western pop artist to play the Soviet Union on May 28, 1979. The concert was recorded by the BBC that night and is now available as a double live album to honor the 40th anniversary of the event. Live In Moscow is also a fascinating document of a most underrated period in the career of the Rocket Man.
Dorothy Ashby/Frank Wess
In A Minor Groove (Real Gone)
The first of two albums she made with flautist Frank Wess in 1958, In A Minor Groove has served as prime source material for such modern greats as Jurassic 5 and Bonobo while evoking a sense of otherworldly rhythm for an era that was clearly not ready for what Dorothy Ashby was bringing to the table with her harp. This limited edition on neon green vinyl restores the album to its original mono sources. Thankfully, this incredible combination — rounded out by bassist Herman Wright and the living legend Roy Haynes on drums — has never sounded crisper or more forceful than it does here.