April 21st was the fifth annual Record Store Day, the third Saturday in April where participating independent record stores receive exclusive releases from musicians specifically for the event which takes place across North America. These releases are typically on vinyl and are made up of remixes, b-sides, new material or re-issued versions of old recordings.
This year was my first year taking part and actually going to a record store actively seeking out some of these releases. Beforehand, I made a list of what I wanted. While I’m sure most RSD buyers would have gone out in search of Metallica, Ryan Adams, the White Stripes or Iggy Pop, my list contained the usual current fares from pop singers like Sara Bareilles, Florence and the new fun. EP. Needless to say, Record Store Day has gone from being an annual event for music buyers and supporters with a focus on indie rock vinyl singles and EPs to encompassing most genres of music and providing something for everyone. Last year, the big ticket item for me was the 12″ vinyl single for Born This Way by Lady GaGa.
This year’s list of RSD purchases included several 12″ vinyl singles including Arcade Fire and remixes of two of The Suburbs‘ best tracks, Sprawl II and Ready To Die, remixed by Halifax-born Damian Taylor. Both remixes kept true to their original counterparts except they extrapolated on them both by length and adding some extra instrumentation. The other 12″ was for Katy Perry‘s latest hit Part Of Me except the A-side was for the superior Thin Duke Remix. The b-side is the lacking Tommie Sunshine’s Megasix Smash Up, a mash up of Katy’s prior six hits from Teenage Dream.
Several items I picked up were singles put out prior to the release of the album. Garbage‘s first new album in seven years was introduced by Blood For Poppies, a 7″ vinyl with a remix as the b-side. Sara Bareilles has a new EP coming out in May featuring two of the tracks on her RSD 7″, Stay and Beautiful Girl. Kimbra, the female voice from Somebody That I Used To Know that sounds like Katy Perry, had an EP out on CD featuring tracks from her upcoming debut album out in a month or so. The songs have an R&B edge with pop and jazz influences while the emphasis is on the beat – definitely not like Katy Perry anymore.
Already released material I picked up includes a few singles, an EP and an LP. Bruce Springsteen issued a 7″ from his Wrecking Ball album, Rocky Ground, which might take Springsteen followers by surprise but the b-side should be satisfactory, a live recording of The Promise. Florence & the Machine put out a 7″ for their hit Shake It Off which also features the eerily haunting Weeknd Remix as well, definitely a good find. fun. put out a fun-shaped vinyl called The Ghost That You Are To Me featuring acoustic versions of three songs from Some Nights including their hit We Are Young. Meanwhile, Tegan and Sara put out a vinyl format version of their recent acoustic album Get Along that was previously only available as a CD in the CD/DVD package of the same title.
Finally, an exclusive Record Store Day recording comes in the form of a 7″ from Feist and Mastodon, who each have a recording of a song from the other’s catalogue. Feist does a version of Black Tongue, which is naturally heavier sounding than anything from any of her other albums while Mastodon does A Commotion resulting in an interesting interpretation.
Record Store Day is becoming an increasingly worthy event for music buyers, music fans and the industry as a whole as each year results in a significant increase in vinyl music sales the week following Record Store Day. Each year, more and more stores as well as more artists get involved by putting out exclusive music for the day so if you haven’t heard of it before, I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for next year’s event: http://www.recordstoreday.com