Music lovers around the country are bracing for April 16, the ninth annual Record Store Day, an event dedicated to celebrating the culture surrounding a longtime staple of America’s musical identity – the independently owned record store.
A Black Friday for the musically inclined, lines of anxious audiophiles trading crate-digging stories will form during the early hours of the morning, with every gaze focused on the store’s façade.
As usual, a plethora of artists and labels are participating, pressing limited releases exclusively on vinyl and distributing stock solely to independent record stores around the country.
Judging by the high demand last year and sales records that continue to shatter, it’s evident the “resurgence of vinyl” has no end in sight and that these limited releases will be gone before you can change your turntable’s speed from 33 to 45.
As a service to vinyl junkies, a list highlighting 10 of the most intriguing releases this year is compiled below.
10. J Dilla, “The Diary” LP (limited to 4,000)
This release found its spot on this list not just due to the immense talent of the late J Dilla, but because disregarding a posthumous release from hip-hop’s quintessential crate digger on a day celebrating all things analog would prove to be a monumental misstep.
9. 13th Floor Elevators, “You’re Gonna Miss Me” 7-inch (limited to 900)
This 7-inch marks the long-awaited reunion of the band’s 1966 signature track with its original B-side, “Tried to Hide,” both featuring the now-infamous electric jug.
8. Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Africa ’70, “I Go Shout Plenty” 10-inch (limited to 2,000)
The highly influential crossbreed of genres known as afrobeat would’ve never seen the light of day if it weren’t for the experimentation of Fela Kuti. His escapades with jazz, funk, highlife, and African polyrhythms are wholly encompassed on this 10-inch of “I Go Shout Plenty” and “Frustration,” as the brilliance of Kuti’s music is revealed in even the shortest of sittings.
7. John Coltrane, “The Roulette Sides” 10-inch (limited to 4,500)
This 1960 session seemed to have been obscured by the string of brilliant recordings Coltrane belted out for Atlantic in the following years. Luckily, the reissue label Rhino has dug up the original master tapes and is gracing us with a document from Coltrane’s transformative years.
6. Bob Dylan, “Melancholy Mood” 7-inch (limited to 7,000)
This 7 inch features Dylan breathing new life into four standards, all of which will be included on his upcoming album, “Fallen Angels.” Sure, Dylan’s making another album of standards, but what kind of music lover turns their back on new music from Dylan?
5. Sun Ra, “Spaceways” LP (limited to 2,500)
The music of Sun Ra and his Arkestra is a safe bet for anyone looking to brave a foray into the uncompromising inventiveness and spiritually astute ideals of free jazz. Known for his charismatic role as a bandleader, theatrical stage antics and idiosyncratic connections to outer space, Ra was a true outlier in the field of jazz. This release features performances by an extended Arkestra in New York City during 1966 and ’68.
4. Bill Evans, “Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest” LP (limited to 2,000)
From making his rounds in club circuits to cutting his teeth with legends including Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and Chet Baker, pianist Bill Evans rightfully earned his stripes as a giant of jazz. His gentle introspective attack has proven to be immediately recognizable and immensely influential. This release features a newly discovered, never-before-heard studio album Evans recorded just days after his seminal performance at the 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival.
3. David Bowie, “TVC 15” 7-inch picture disc (limited to 5,000)
A permanent void was carved into the soul of music earlier this year when David Bowie passed away shortly after delivering a hauntingly poignant parting gift, “Blackstar.” Record Store Day has proven it is the ideal catalyst to continue the renewed interest that surrounds the man and his music. With 2016 marking the 40th anniversary of “Station to Station,” the folks at Rhino will be pairing the Kraftwerkian kraut rock undertones on “TVC 15” with a new mix of the evocative “Wild is the Wind” on a 7-inch picture disc.
2. Thelonious Monk, “London Collection, Volume 3” LP (limited to 2,600)
This final volume in label Black Lion’s “London Collection” highlights pianist Thelonious Monk’s final recording session as a leader. The first half of the 1971 session is dedicated to the angular solo improvisation of Monk, while the latter finds the jazz giant feeding off bassist Al McKibbon and legendary drummer Art Blakey’s talents. Although late in his career, Monk doesn’t hold back his signature haphazard structural changes and jarring dissonant block chords from becoming the focal point of the music.
1. Iggy & the Stooges, “Metallic K.O.” LP (limited to 1,500)
On Feb. 9, 1974, in Detroit’s Michigan Palace, the Stooges performed their final show (up until 2003) and crossed the line dividing the commercialization of rock from the visceral do-it-yourself attitude of punk. It was during that fateful night when Iggy Pop & Co. made rock ’n’ roll dangerous. The audience was unusually hostile and in little time Pop took advantage and began to lure the attendees before an all-out war ensued. Beer bottles, jellybeans, ice,and eggs were hurled at the band from bikers fuming over Pop’s no-holds-barred nihilistic tear on stage. The recording is seeing an official release after being concealed for 40 years as an obscure bootleg.
Matthew Aquiline is a senior at Lancaster High School.