Record Store Day Is Here To Stay – By Jim Kaz

I’m still pinching myself…has vinyl really made a full-fledged comeback? The answer is a resounding “Hell yes!” The once, almost-extinct format has been garnering far more buzz than its CD counterpart, which up until the past few years had dominated everything. And let’s not even talk about MP3s. While it’s easy to appreciate the convenience and portability, music collectors still need the real thing. Let’s face it, software by itself is pretty damn boring. And, you’ve got nothing to show for your investment.

Vinyl on the other hand, is collectable and just plain sounds better. Guitars are warmer, drums are grittier and with the vocals, you get all of the nuance and dynamics. MP3s—and even CDs to some extent—sound sterile in comparison.

With Record Store Day quickly approaching on April 20, the masses are starting to take notice, which only helps in getting labels to do more vinyl releases. Several of said labels will be releasing special editions for the event, which is great, but what really counts is that our beloved mom-and-pop record shops get the notoriety and foot traffic they desperately need.

Here you’ll find a few Record Store Day release highlights to salivate over. Have at ‘em.

Adicts

The Adicts
All The Young Droogs

Punk’s original pop derelicts released this glam rock-infused gem a little while back. It now pops extra hard in crisp white vinyl. (DC-Jam)

 

Astralwerks 20_20

Astralwerks
20/20 Music Box Set
The Astralwerks label has been cranking out strange, interesting rock and electronic music for 20 odd years now. Launching the careers of ex-new waver Fatboy Slim, AIR, Basement Jaxx and others, the label has also done stuff with OG machinists Kraftwerk. To celebrate its 20-year milestone, Astralwerks is releasing this sweet little box containing 20 flexi-disc singles of the aforementioned artists and more—just in time for Record Store Day. For fans, don’t wait, there’ll only be 1250 out there. (Astralwerks)

Aerosmith

Aerosmith
Reissues

Sony is doing triple duty for Boston’s favorite sons by reissuing heavy-vinyl editions of the band’s self-titled debut (featuring “Dream On”), the superior Get Your Wings and the all-time classic Toys In the Attic, featuring nuggets such as “Walk This Way,” “Uncle Salty” and “Sweet Emotion.” (Sony Legacy)

Big Country

Big Country
The Journey

While there’s at least one Big Country song on virtually every ’80s rehash compilation, there’s still no denying the sheer originality and six-string brilliance of this troubled Scottish band. And there’s not a lot made out of the fact that now-deceased singer Stuart Adamson was once a member of classic original punks, The Skids. Street cred aside, it’s nice to see the band back in action. Replacing Adamson on vocals here is none other than Mike Peters from The Alarm, another band that put forth a few punk-infused, populist anthems in its heyday. On this strictly limited vinyl run, you’ll find more than a few nods to the old school. (Cherry Red)

The Cure

The Cure
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

This was the turning point for depressed goths—The Cure going totally pop. In actuality, the pop was always there, but had never surfaced to this extent. Either way, on this double album, the formula worked a charm. Check it out in plush red wax. (Rhino)

The Damned

The Damned
Pure Punk: 1977-1982

The Damned infused its brand of punk with a sharp sense of humor and a theatrical bent. This picture disc compiles odds and ends—demos, live bits—from the first part of the band’s career. Sound quality is so-so, but for fans, it’s a nice little package. (Cleopatra)

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys
Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

One of the first punk albums I ever heard as a kid gets a welcome reissue, this time on thick, heavy vinyl. There’s just no denying the hooks and insanity of songs such as “Holiday In Cambodia” and “California Uber Alles”, and for me, it recalls a time when I learned the key to a successful life: to not give a f*ck about what anyone thinks. On that note, this should be required listening for youths of all stripes. (Cherry Red)

Dust

Dust
Dust/Hard Attack

Before he joined one of the greatest bands the world has ever known, Marc Bell, aka Marky Ramone, played drums for a power trio called Dust. Filled out by future KISS producer Richie Wise and bassist Kenny Aaronson, the band cranked out heady, proto metal and released two albums. Now, you can get ‘em both in a svelte 2-fer package. (Legacy)

Ghost BC

Ghost B.C.
Infestissumam

The buzz band of the moment is actually comprised of several avid, obsessed record collectors. And these masked heathens know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to getting fellow collectors all hot and bothered. This new album has several different variations for different parts of the world, which while challenging, is great fodder for collectors. For the uninitiated, Infestissumam is a musical work to behold, with blissfully melodic songs such as “Year Zero” and “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen.” There’s certainly no sophomore slump here, and without sounding too righteous, this is the album of the year thus far. (Loma Vista)

The Glove

The Glove
Blue Sunshine

The Glove is what came out of a brief collaboration between The Cure’s Robert Smith and Siouxsie & the Banshees’ Steve Severin in 1983, while the two were swapping hair and mascara tips. The resulting LP was an escape into hazy psych-pop territory, and has actually held up quite well over time. Check it out here in cool blue plastic. (Rhino)

Helloween

Helloween
Straight Out Of Hell

I’ve always thought of Helloween as being slightly goofy. That said, their stuff is generally well stocked with colossal hooks and loads of guitar acrobatics. This new release is no different. It’s got plenty of speed, big riffs and melody for days—check out the likes of “Waiting for the Thunder” for proof. (The End Records)

Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
People, Hell & Angels
“Hey Joe” single

Hendrix’s music has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts lately. And it’s pretty easy to see why. If you think about, Jimi was—at least metaphorically—one of the first punk rockers, bucking a system that was inherently skewed against him. Beyond that, he played better than everyone else, and was known to kick out more than a few jams in his day. People, Hell & Angels showcases a clutch of tracks Hendrix recorded outside of his regular band in 1968, and displays a more textured, nuanced approach to the songs, as opposed to the more guitar-focused stuff we’ve been accustomed to. The “Hey Joe” single is an RSD exclusive and features the original mono mix. Both promise to be a treat for any turntable. (Legacy)

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden
Reissues

For Maiden fans, this is serious shit. Universal has recently released the band’s first eight LPs, in plush picture discs, and enhanced artwork. Musically, the first five are the ones you really want. But also check out the recent live opus Maiden England ’88 to top it off. (Universal)

Mad Season

Mad Season
Above

I still can’t really wrap my head around an Alice In Chains lineup without Layne Staley. It just doesn’t seem right. For fans of the fallen singer, you can now get a deluxe vinyl version of his 1994 side project with a Pearl Jammer and a Screaming Tree. The music is somber and dark, something akin to what you’d likely hear at a dark, dank supper club—in Hell. And it all sounds ominously fresh in this new heavy-duty double vinyl set. (Legacy)

MC5

MC5
Kick Out The Jams! 1966-1970

This picture disc comp mines the band’s recorded output for rare alternate versions, live tracks and such, making a nice addition to any collector’s stash. While revered in both punk and metal circles, when you get down to it, this is classic rock ‘n’ roll through and through. (Cleopatra)

Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis
Introducing Shuggie Otis

If you’ve never heard the lost psych-soul masterpiece “Strawberry Letter 23,” you are seriously missing out. Shuggie did it first and best, and the guitar break still stands as one of rock’s greatest moments. The rest of his wispy, tripped-out funky rock isn’t bad either, as evidenced on this vinyl comp. (Legacy)

Rage Against the MAchine

Rage Against The Machine
XX 20th Anniversary Edition Box Set

I don’t think anyone ever predicted rap-rock becoming “respectable.” While it’s still not my cup of tea, the fact that this mammoth set contains a 180g LP, a book, CDs and a DVD, means that Rage has really made it. Not sure that we can say the same for the masses of nu-metal bands that pilfered its sound and style, thus turning heavy metal into a joke this past decade (anyone remember Crazy Town?). But, it’s pretty safe to say that Rage Against The Machine never signed up for that in the first place. For diehards, this set is the ultimate document of a landmark album. (Legacy)

Johnny Thunders

Johnny Thunders
Dawn Of The Dead: Live At Max’s Kansas City

Johnny Thunders’ legacy keeps getting plundered by an endless array of bargain basement comps and live outings looking for a quick cash-in. This at least, is one of the better ones, with decent sound and a sharp-looking picture disc. As always, Thunders displays some hilarious inter-song banter. (Cleopatra)

UK SUbs

UK Subs
XXIV

The ‘Subs are back with their 24th LP—on killer tri-colored vinyl, no less. For fans of original UK punk, this new LP does not disappoint. Original Sub Charlie Harper is still as unhinged as ever, as displayed on the raucous “Implosion 77″ and the snotty “Coalition Government Blues.” Best of all, in 24 albums, the band still hasn’t lost its timeless rock ‘n’ roll feel. Cheers to that. (Captain Oi!)

Voivod

Voivod
Target Earth

Voivod is like the little engine that could. In spite of all it’s been through (loss, lineup flux, indifference), it still keeps cranking out highly original and challenging new music. This vinyl issue was recently released in several different color variations, all enhancing its fantastical artwork and strange, sci-fi sounds. (Century Media)

The Who

The Who
The Studio Albums

In many ways, The Who kicked off both punk and metal. Far heavier than their counterparts, the band created a sound that was both bombastic and sophisticated, and has been responsible for the launch of millions of axe-wielding bands. This massive 14-LP box has all of the band’s studio efforts, from the groundbreaking pre-punk blast of 1965′s My Generation onward. (Universal)

Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie
Dead City Radio

This 10-inch little number showcases Zombie’s eclectic side, with shades of vintage glam, hop-hop and modern metal. The sleeve is what we’d expect from the horror-rock icon—out of control…and awesome! Also, check out upcoming full-length Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor when it hits shelves next week. (Universal)

For questions, comments or something you’d like to see, drop me a note at Retrohead77@yahoo.com.

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About the author  ⁄ Shrum

"What if I send in the tape and they don't like it? I mean, what if they say I'm no good? What if they say, "Get outta here, kid. You got no future"? I mean, I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection."

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