Remember when Robert Johnson was all the Delta variant everyone needed? Mask yourself and imagine those more innocent days as you line up this weekend for the second half of Record Store Day 2021, which was split into two parts this summer to theoretically cut down on crowds.
As anyone who witnessed the first of the two “drops” on June 12 can probably tell you, this doesn’t appear to be the result. The morning lines seemed to be as long as ever, and many of the top exclusive releases certainly sold out faster than ever thanks to their limited allowances, as vinyl enthusiasts cured their long quarantine case with therapy from retail. Lines for the July 17 conclusion may be shorter than in June, as there are fewer releases in this particular drop – just over 160 freshly minted LPs (and a few token CDs or cassettes) in the US, and nothing from a current superstar like Lady Gaga the last time.
Don’t count on a drop in interest, however, with a release list that spans the gamut from Foo Fighters to Donna Summer. Actually, it’s not so much a lineup: Dave Grohl and his company are treating Record Store Day like Halloween and dressing up as Dee Gees, a disco-rock band. If you don’t find RSD vacations fun, you can get serious with cirex top by Gorillaz, Aretha Franklin, John Prine, the Beastie Boys, Future, Pearl Jam, Jxdn, Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Richard Pryor, the Ramones, CSNY, Amy Winehouse and, of course, our eternal favorite band, the Various Artists.
Foo Fighters, “Hail Satin” (12,000 copies)
Announced after the unveiling of the original Record Store Day lineup, this new release is a late entry that appears to be Record Store Day Drop 2’s flagship release. Half of the LP consists of the Foos doing covers of the Middle Bee Gees ’70s (plus an Andy Gibb disco number, “Shadow Dancing,” for the intra-disco variety), with the reverse dedicated to live studio versions of tracks from the band’s most recent album, “Medicine at Midnight ”. A complaint from some who have heard the title song “You Should Be Dancing”, or a leak from the full album, is that the Foos are just too loyal to the Bee Gees originals; they don’t rock those songs any louder than the Gibbs. But anyone who’s ever tested their karaoke falsetto with these songs might not mind that they’re studiously – or Studio-54-ious? – servile.
John Prine, “Living in the Other End of December 1975” (8500 copies on LP, 3000 on CD)
John Prine, “Stay Independent: The Oh Boy Years Organized by Independent Record Stores” (3000 copies)
Various artists, “Kiss My Ass Goodbye (John Prine Tribute)” (1000 copies)
Has Prine replaced David Bowie (who is not pictured with an outing this year) as RSD’s new posthumous king? His two vinyl sets were major draws for RSD events last year. As for him being an unofficial flagship artist for this drop, it’s hard to remember the last time someone released three albums for an RSD day. One of them isn’t really a version of Prine per se; “Kiss My Ass Goodbye” is a very limited collection of independent East Nashville artists covering his work. The man himself appears via a single disc distillation of the last decades of his career, via his own label Oh Boy. But perhaps the biggest circulation is a three-LP live album by Prine in the mid-1970s at a New York club. It’s such a circulation that they even squeezed CDs for it, although only about a third of the number of vinyl packages released.
Gorillaz, “Collection G” (980 copies)
Nine hundred and eighty copies (it bears repeating)? Seriously? It wouldn’t be Record Store Day if at least one artist didn’t release a rushed box set in surprisingly small quantities, even by RSD standards of instant scarcity. (Last month was the set Dirty Three, released in an even rarer edition of 400 copies.) The box contains six Gorillaz studio albums that have been released over the past two decades, until the recent “Song Machine” , Season 1. ”If you don’t run into it on your weekend trips, and you probably won’t, don’t panic – this is an“ RSD First ”version, which means there will likely be a crackdown before you know it. (“Don’t panic” are words that, of course, go unnoticed on any RSD.)
Roy Hargrove & Mulgrove Miller, “In Harmony” (3000 copies)
Bill Evans, “Behind the Dikes – The Dutch Recordings from 1969” (3500 copies)
Jazz fans particularly revere RSD as a holy day, in large part thanks to the almost certain presence of something new from the Resonance label every year (or biannually, if you factor in the Black Friday edition that will follow in November). For the June drop, there was a rare instance where Resonance took a day off, and it was “Quiet Kenny” from another Kenny Dorham imprint that unexpectedly became the draw for the Record. Store Day. A month later, Resonance returns and presents one of the most essential releases of the day in a tandem live performance by trumpeter Hargrove and pianist Miller – both of whom have not been with us since the show ended in 2006. If you’re not aware of just how essential this could be for jazz connoisseurs, take a look at who Resonance’s Zev Feldman lined up to contribute to the cover note essays for one of the label’s generally lavish libretto: Sonny Rollins, rapper Common, Jon Batiste, Robert Glasper, Christian McBride, Keyon Herrold and several others came to testify. The beautiful packaging doesn’t deceive – it’s indescribably joyful music. If you miss this weekend’s vinyl which is sure to fade quickly and you don’t have a stomach for the freak out prices, don’t double down on the Lexapro: a CD edition should be out in a week. Meanwhile, one of RSD’s most cherished lore – a new find from a long-buried Bill Evans gang – is also showing up for this event. The fact that it’s on a different label from Resonance shouldn’t confuse you: Feldman is also behind “Behind the Dikes”, although another brand has made the deal to do this one, and the same quality control – and scarcity – are assured.
Dr. John, “The Sun, Moon & Herbs Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition” (3000 copies)
If there’s anything vinyl enthusiasts love besides the turntable comparison, it’s the promise of a lost or simply compromised album restored. We get a doozy of an example of the latter with this semi-restoration of the 1971 New Orleans poster’s fourth album Dr. John, which was supposedly planned as a three-LP set, before the good Atlantic people don’t put the kabosh on this. Today, Run Out Groove – a label that only specializes in limited editions of rare archival works all year round, not just for Record Store Day – has done an expert job in highlighting which could be something close to Mack Rebennack’s original vision, like, yes, three vinyl tiles – the original Atco LP, with his guest contributions from Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, followed by two full records of unreleased tracks. Does anyone know exactly what the track list would have been? Maybe not, but it’s close enough for rock’n’roll voodoo. Many liner notes say a lot about the story.
Randy Newman, “Rolling With The Punchies: The Studio Albums” (1300 copies)
War, “The Vinyl: 1971-1975” (2150 copies)
Warner Music’s catalog division has done Warner’s work in recent years by offering at least a full (or semi-complete) set of studio recordings from a veteran artist each year, including sets from Prine and Emmylou. Harris in the past. This time, they are a couple. Newman’s box picks up where a previous one, “Lonely at the Top”, which contained all of the brilliant singer-songwriter’s albums from 1968 to 1977, left off, starting with “Born Again” from 1979 and ended. ending with the return to form of 2017, “Dark Matter.” (Spoiler: Every Newman album is a return to form.) It’s especially important to note, in addition to the ability for Dodgers fans to own “I Love LA” on wax, the inclusion of a version two LP of “Faust” which differs from a previous very limited edition which only included the original album spread over four sides; this update puts the original on three sides and fills the fourth with demos of Newman songs that made it into stage production but not the album. Any house that doesn’t have all of these albums is sad. Meanwhile, the joy is really to put War’s top five and top five albums back into circulation via a box set reminiscent of the days when we knew exactly what War was for: a melting pot of soul, funk, and almost rock. too hot not to ruin the hairspray.
Bob Dylan, “Jokerman / I & I Remixes” (7,000 copies)
The “Infidels” era edition of Dylan’s annual Bootleg series has yet to be announced, but there couldn’t be a better nudge to his side’s intentions for later this fall than this EP to. four tracks of reggae remixes from Doctor Dread. It’s not like there isn’t reggae in those 1983 tracks to begin with – not with Sly and Robbie as the rhythm section, joining Mark Knopfler and Mick Taylor on guitar. But that flavor is upped, and not so remixed that it looks like, you know, remixes. (The dub versions that fill the record go there, and that’s good.) It’s a nice teaser for the vault stuff that’s about to come.
Saint-Vincent, “Piggy / Sad but true” (3200 copies)
There seem to be fewer 7-inch singles with every new RSD, which is probably OK – you’re coming for the meat, not the appetizer. But this one, which we weren’t able to preview beforehand, is intriguing: one of the must-see artists of the last decade covers a Nine Inch Nails song for the A side, with Dave Grohl on drums. (It bypasses RSD as it circulates everywhere). The B side is a cover of Metallica. Will a too rare Annie Clark shredding ensue?
Donna Summer, “Bad Girls” (3000 copies)
There is no bonus on this direct reissue of the 1979 double album, arguably the last of Summer’s great classics. So why pick it up, beyond the promise of red and blue colored vinyl? Are there not already millions of vinyl copies circulating? Yeah, but as one record store owner pointed out in an unboxing video, most of the millions of people who bought this album in 1979 took really, really crappy care of it, so you get what you pay for. if you buy a used copy in the bin at 50 cents. It’ll go fast, so it’s time to grab a copy that won’t make you want to turn the volume down and all the lights down.
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