If you thought that the indie music industry would have no hand in Black Friday, you’re wrong! The morning after Thanksgiving, Record Store Day participating stores will be offering exclusive releases of vinyl and CDs for the money-guzzling holiday. Get something for yourself! Get something for a friend! Go out and support your local record store! For some tips on what to get, I’ve put out a list of the ten releases I’m most looking forward to. You can view the entire list of releases at the Record Store Day website.
Make sure to check the collection at Stinkweeds, Revolver Records, and all Zia Records locations. Not every store chooses to stock everything on the RSD list, so it is always a good idea to call the store beforehand. If you want an item that sounds especially rare, try to get there early. Many won’t go early, labeling this event as “corporate,” so beat those guys out first.
Biz Markie’s seminal sophomore effort is reissued as a colorful 12” picture disc. This album, which features the classic “Just a Friend,” highlights Markie’s animated and lovable personality, as well as his heavy rapping chops. Though the music is definitely feel-good, this record is mostly on my list because of the amazing cover art. Who wouldn’t want chemist Biz Markie on a rotating picture disc?
This is a 7” split of each artist’s rendition of Cohen’s famous “Hallelujah.” There is not much to say about the packaging or the edition, aside from it being a sweet collection of two recordings of a beautiful song. With over 300 cover versions of the track, it’s good to see a release give credit to the man who composed it in the first place.
This record is a perfect addition to anyone’s blues collection. For Record Store Day, Legacy Records is releasing an LP and CD of Death Might Be Your Santa Claus, a group of blues holiday songs from the first half of the 20th century. These recordings are extremely rare, so it’ll make a good holiday gift for those people who like having limited edition stuff and won’t actually listen to any of it.
What seems to be the most expansive release for this year’s Black Friday celebrations, Light In the Attic Records is compiling 11 45RPM singles of producer and musician Lee Hazelwood’s discography. Along with the 7”s, Light In the Attic wanted to make sure to give you the best bang for your buck, adding a Lee Hazelwood poster, a rare picture sleeve for a Woodchucks single, a 45RPM adapter and a sleek box to stuff everything in. Psych-rock and blues will populate the bunch, and with a beautiful package like this, fans won’t want to miss out.
Mogwai’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will was one of my favorite releases of 2011. The tracks are mostly all guitar-driven, pounding rock instrumentals, but highlights “George Square Thatcher Death Party” and “Mexican Grand Prix” bring out the synths and vocal effects, too. For Black Friday, Sub Pop is releasing A Wrenched Virile Lore, a colored LP consisting of remixes of tracks off that record. Electronic kings Tim Hecker and Zombi offer just two of the ten remixes. Expect a lot subdued effects, spooky echoes, and dark, dark renditions.
6. Rockabye Baby – Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of the Flaming Lips
I have to ask – why hasn’t this been made yet? The Rockabye Baby crew, which turns rock songs of The Beatles and Radiohead, to name a few, into dulcet instrumental lullabies, returns to cover the music of rock-weirdos the Flaming Lips. I could see the results being quite endearing, especially if they adapt anything from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This 12” LP, which features adorable cover art and colored vinyl, is sure to put the kid in you to sleep. If you have children and they like this, you have achieved successful parenting.
Sargent House Records and Polyvinyl Records release a split 7” of dream pop group Asobi Seksu and shoegaze-metal trio Boris covering each other’s songs. Asobi Seksu puts their own take on “Farewell”, from Boris 2007 release Pink, while Boris brings out the fuzz and dreamy vocals for Asobi Seksu’s “New Years”. If you haven’t listened to these groups yet, be ready for them to bring the noise. Listen to Boris’ cover of the newly titled “Neu Years” here:
For Black Friday, RSD is bringing back the three of the 7” singles released for the White Stripes’ critically acclaimed third studio album, White Blood Cells. Of those three, “Fell in Love With a Girl” resonates with me the most. This is a kick-ass, less-than-two-minute song that goes much faster than other White Stripes tunes, focusing on the heart-pumping adrenaline that comes with, well, falling in love with a girl. The B-Side, their quirky cover of “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” is a rare treat for all White Stripes lovers.
Along with Porgy & Bess, Miles Davis’ classic Sketches of Spain 12” is being released on Black Friday. Davis’ music has always been hit or miss for me. In the end, I can only take so much muted trumpet. However, with Sketches of Spain, Davis ditches the cup mute for a flugelhorn and works with a full orchestra, leading to less improvisation and more fully constructed beauty. Of all the renditions of “Concierto de Aranjuez,” this is one of the best.
10. Skrillex – Bangarang EP/Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP/More Monsters and Sprites EP
Basshead, noise manipulator and brostepper Skrillex jumps on the vinyl bandwagon with three EPs on thick, 180-gram pressings. Basically, I’m just curious to see what would happen if Skrillex was played on vinyl at really high volumes. Would you be able to hear any of the screwed intricacies populating his material? Would the record just scratch itself while playing, the needle skipping erratically over grooves? Would it explode as soon as it hits the turntable? I guess we’ll find out on Friday.