In the past decade, we've seen almost a full extinction of CD collecting as iTunes libraries replaced shelves and digital singles began to suffice the average fan. However, there's just something magnetic and endearing about a tangible piece of music (be it vinyl, CD, or even cassette) - they can be pieces of art in themselves. Thanks to Record Store Day we are now annually reminded that there's more to our music lives than a playlist in your pocket.
Whether you're 65 or 16, senselessly clicking a mouse will never replace the unique sentiment of surfing through a record store's aisles of opportunity. So get off your iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, etc., and make a day out of exploring some rare releases from MGMT to Willie Nelson, this Saturday, April 20th at participating locations. And just to give you a head start, here are the 10 items at the top of our musical grocery list.
1. MGMT: Alien Days
Although the quirky, psychedelic rockers' Congratulations didn't respond as boldly to Oracular Spectacular as we would've liked, our excitement for their new music prevails. In special accordance with Record Store Day, MGMT will be releasing a brand new single via cassette called "Alien Days". The spacey, stop-motion spliced promotional video shows the cassette alongside a sock puppet.
01 Alien Days
01 Message 7 from Hearty White
2. The Black Keys / The Stooges: No Fun
It's no secret that what makes The Black Keys so infectious is their cavern- sounding, bluesy tendancies. The Keys' cover of The Beatles' "She Said She Said" on 2002's The Big Come Up felt fresh with their rock club quality sound. However, Auerbach's commanding croons on The Stooge's 1969 track "No Fun" is fearless, unforgiving, raw, and simply an awesome homage to one of their respected influences. Check out this video of pre-El Camino Black Keys, tearing through their rendition of "No Fun". The limited edition orange and red vinyl which will be released on the B Side of the original track.
01 "No Fun" by The Stooges
01: "No Fun" by The Black Keys
3. The Flaming Lips: Zaireeka
Wayne Coyne never allows his fans to grow bored. 1997's experimental Zaireeka instructed fans to play all four discs simultaneously, to capture its full effects. We're particularly curious to hear the album's sound on vinyl, and even more curious to see what will happen when the four albums are played simultaneously on turntables. In their video exclusively for Record Store Day 2013, Coyne explains how untainted the vinyl is: the sleeves are still labeled by the CD numbers. Coyne notes, "It's an absurd and wonderful world we live in."
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: Patterns
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has made this past April seem that much closer to summer, as their fiery EP Patterns explodes with lighthearted pop that speaks for itself. The EP was released digitally two days ago, but this exclusive vinyl edition harbors four tracks from Patterns in addition to two unreleased remixes.
5. Grizzly Bear: Horn of Plenty
Back in 2004, Horn of Plenty was originally intended as an experimental project by Edward Droste. However, the Brooklyn-based band's vocal layering and unique acoustic project actually served as an inspiration to their following work. Albums like Veckatimest and even Shields hint at Grizzly Bear's earliest record. It's a well-deserved reintroduction to their roots.
6. Black Lips / Icky Blossoms: Cowboy Night
The duo of the swift, tang punk of Black Lips, and the synthesized, percussion-driven Icky Blossoms on vinyl is something definitely worth listening to. This premiere Record Store Day album has Black Lips covering "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. On the B Side, the Blossoms take on Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Arabian Nights".
7. David Bowie: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Bowie's first album in 10 years was bittersweet: it has an inescapable presence of all sides of Bowie, but it's likely to be his final record. And that inference alone may propel you to capture this vinyl that features two tracks from The Next Day.
Side A: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Side B. Where Are We Now?
8. Willie Nelson: Crazy: The Demo Sessions
This vinyl is a must-have for any album collector that has a hunger for rarities. On this record, Nelson's music from 1960-66 is featured in its most original form. Although most of them were for recording purposes ("Crazy" was used to pitch to Patsy Cline), this collection illuminates Willie Nelson in a rare, historic light.
9. White Stripes: Elephant
Is it coincidence that the 10th Anniversary of Elephant falls under the same year that Jack White was appointed the Record Store Day Ambassador? Either way, you'd better be on the hunt for this gem, which is anticipated to be the most popular vinyl on sale Saturday, and for good reason.
10. Gary Clark Jr.: HWUL Raw Cuts, Vol. 2
If you're in desperate need to get your hands on Gary Clark Jr. tickets, look no further than your record player this Saturday. The well-respected, young guitarist's genius is easily identified in his song "When My Train Comes In", which is featured on the release as both live and studio recordings. Even better? The vinyl is pressed in either white, clear, or gold, so it's a total win-win.
Side A: When My Train Comes In (Live)
Side B: When My Train Comes In (Album Version)