Time to break out the record spindles and the traffic cones. It's not often that you find traffic jams around the nation's remaining independent music stores, but the fifth annual Record Store Day is creating such a buzz that it could just be gridlock central at your friendly neighborhood tunes retailer when doors open Saturday morning.
A few hundred different titles are being released exclusively to 1,700 participating indie record stores on Saturday—most on vinyl, which is suddenly the preferred format of twentysomething music geeks, although you'll find a fair share of actual CD releases in the mix, too.
Most of the releases are limited editions, pressed in runs of anywhere from 100 to 10,000 copies. That's why you'll see a lot of rock & roll night owls suddenly become early birds to get the most coveted and potentially rare items coming out Saturday.
Here are 20 instant collectors' items worth making the trip for, before your local outlet runs out (and be warned, not every store will have every title):
2. The Civil Wars' Live at Amoeba and "Billie Jean." The hot folk duo (no, that's not an oxymoron!) have two releases slated for Record Store Day. One is a full-length live CD recorded at L.A.'s Amoeba Records, the most popular indie record store in the world right now. Fortunately for fans, this one isn't a limited edition. But they're also putting out a 7-inch single of their acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's biggest hit, and you'll have to be one of the first 1,000 takers to nab that one.
3. The Flaming Lips' Heady Fwendz. Even music geeks who aren't specifically Lips fanatics may be lighting a flame to find this one, since the double LP is made up of freshly recorded collaborations with such unlikely bedfellows as Coldplay's Chris Martin, Ke$ha, Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Yoko Ono, and Nick Cave. This one has a pretty healthy run of 10,000 copies, but you can still expect it to be sold out in a lot of stores by day's end.
4. Ralph Stanley's "Single Girl"/"Little Birdy." Maybe you've longed to experience the thrill of buying a 78 rpm record on the day of the release. Short of buying a time machine, this is your best shot at that, as the octogenarian bluegrass star releases the only 78 on this year's list.
6. Mastodon/Feist. The lovely songstress Feist recently released an excellent album called Metals, and though it wasn't all that musically heavy, it must have put her in a metal mood somehow. Because for this split single of 5,000 copies, Feist covered metal band Mastodon's "Black Tongue," from their latest album, and to return the homage, Mastodon recorded "A Commotion," from her most recent effort.
8. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' Live at the Legendary Sun Studios. If Potter didn't have enough fans already as a Bonnaroo favorite, she's picked up a lot of country followers after her recent hit duet with Kenny Chesney. They'll all want this live album, so it's a good thing it's being made available in two formats: 5,000 copies on CD and 2,000 vinyl LPs.
9. Never to Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax. A few boxed sets are showing up on this year's list, including this collection of B-sides from the classic Memphis soul label, pressed onto ten 7-inch singles with a run of 4,000.
10. Ryan Adams' "Heartbreak A Stranger"/"Black Sheets Of Rain." These were both Bob Mould covers that Adams performed at a tribute concert to the Husker Du frontman in L.A. last year. With only 500 copies pressed of the single, this one will be an instant collectors' item.
11. Pretty in Pink. Nothing musically rare here, just the chance to have this John Hughes soundtracks on pink vinyl. Your turntable will have never looked prettier. You can also get The Breakfast Club on innocent white vinyl. (The suddenly no-longer-gothy Ally Sheedy from the end of the movie would surely approve.)
12. Devo's Live in Seattle 1981. Maybe there's a reason it took 31 years for this concert to come out as a two-LP set: It was originally recorded on a cassette. But if it sounds good enough for Mothersbaugh and company, it probably sounds good enough for 2,000 serious Devo devotees.
13. David Bowie's "Starman." This picture disc has the grooves pressed over the sight of Bowie (no, not Jimmy Fallon, but the actual Bowie) in full Ziggy Stardust regalia. The studio version is the A-side; the B-side is a live "Top of the Pops" rendition. Run: 2,000 copies.
14. Run-DMC/The Carolina Chocolate Drops' "You Be Illin'." Here's some serious cross-genre, single-song fun. On one side of these slabs of green 7-inch vinyl: Run-DMC's original. On the other, a cover by one of the most celebrated acoustic acts of our day. Run: 3,000 copies.
15. James Brown's "There It Is"/"Pass the Peas." A 7-inch single containing two never-before-released outtakes from what many musicologists consider the greatest live album ever, Live at the Apollo. Run: 3,000 copies.
16. Public Image Ltd.'s One Drop. This 12-inch, four-song EP has the John Lydon-fronted band's first new material in 20 years. Run: 1,500 copies.
17. Garbage's "Blood for Poppies." It's only been 10 years since Garbage released a new single. You were expecting blood-red vinyl, right? Nope, white. Run: 1,000 copies.
18. ABBA's "Voulez-Vous Extended Dance Remix." What color would ABBA be, if it were a color? If you answered "transparent blue-glitter," bully for you for correctly sussing the hues of this very limited 12-incher. Run: 890 copies.
19. Iggy & the Stooges' Live at All Tomorrows Parties. Possibly the best news about this 12-inch picture disc? It's one of the few releases of the day that's not a limited edition.
20. Phish's Junta Deluxe. The band is reissuing their first album as a three-LP vinyl set, limited to 5,000 copies. No big deal, you say? Then maybe this will be big enough for you: Half of those will be the "Pollack edition"—which, no, is not a national slur, but a reference to "a hand-carved, hand-printed linoleum block poster by Jim Pollock, created exclusively for this release." The editions with the bonus poster will be randomly distributed but clearly marked.
If none of those catch your fancy, you can still look out for exclusive vinyl releases from Katy Perry, Pete Townshend, Wilco, Paul McCartney, Joey Ramone, M. Ward, Janis Joplin, the Knack, Metallica, Miles Davis, Coldplay, Genesis, Foster the People, Lana Del Rey, the Byrds, the Black Keys, Bruno Mars, Neon Trees, Regina Spektor, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Sara Watkins with Fiona Apple, St. Vincent, the White Stripes, and others too numerous to wrap our minds around.
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