This Saturday, April 20, a great yearly tradition arrives once again.
No, not that one. We’re talking about the sixth annual Record Store Day, which pays tribute to the independently-owned record stores that were once ubiquitous but are often now fighting just to stay afloat in in the iTunes and Amazon age.
The day is more than just a tribute to the fetishization of vinyl; it also honors the sense of community that comes when a bunch of music obsessives get together to talk about their favorite stuff — and kick-fight in the aisles over a limited-edition Roky Erikson 7-inch, or whatever their coveted object may be. (Check out the impressively large list of stores that are participating in this year’s festivities.)
Though there are plenty of live in-store performances, signings, and giveaways, the main attraction has become the vinyl releases that surface for one day only (and then for an eternity on eBay). This year’s list doesn’t have the same parade of heavy hitters as last year’s, but there are still plenty of goodies worth seeking.
Titus Andronicus, “Record Store Day”
Leave it up to these New Jersey garage gods to pen the day’s official anthem. This will be the entrance theme for all Record Store Days from now on.
Double Dagger, 333 & If We Shout Loud Enough
Retired Baltimore post-punk heroes Double Dagger are exiting with a bang: They recorded a half-dozen tracks of new material specifically for Record Store Day, which should provide for some ear-busting thrills, and are also dropping a DVD called If We Shout Loud Enough, which collects live performances and interviews from the group’s farewell tour.
Originally released in 1993 at the height of alt-rock, this charity compilation has never appeared on vinyl. In a lot of ways, No Alternative sums up the spirit of post-Nevermind modern rock better than just about anything, as it includes top-shelf contributions from Nirvana (they contributed the classic b-side “Sappy,” which originally appeared as a hidden track), Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Matthew Sweet, Soundgarden, R.E.M., Pavement, and the Breeders, among many others.
Rob Zombie, “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown”
See, this is the ideal Record Store Day release: I downloaded Zombie’s new single weeks ago, but I intend on picking up the single on vinyl simply because this cover art is crazy-amazing.
Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
One of my favorite albums of all time has been out of print on vinyl for over a decade, which is way too long. Welcome back to my turntable, Big Poppa.
Pulp, “After You”
Though Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker initially dismissed the idea of making new music after the band got back together last year, they ended up in the studio with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and this single also features a Soulwax remix of the tune.
Garbage & Screaming Females, “Because The Night”
Garbage took New Jersey minimalist guitar heroes Screaming Females on tour last year, and they ended up collaborating on a cover of Patti Smith’s Springsteen co-write “Because The Night.” It’s blistering.
Stephen Malkmus & Friends, Can’s Ege Bamyasi
While on tour, the Pavement frontman got together with German quartet Von Spar to cut a tribute to the Krautrock legends’ definitive album.
What are you grabbing on Record Store Day? And where are you grabbing it? Share your plans and experiences below.
Read More on EW.com:
Record Store Day 2012 preview: The best vinyl, the coolest stores
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Flaming Lips, pirate metal, and why you should spend more time in record stores
Mad Season’s Barrett Martin on the new reissue of the grunge classic ‘Above’