Record Store Day 2012: The Editor’s Picks
Record Store Day 2012 is almost upon us. It’s one of only a couple of days of the year (the other being the independent label market day) where music fans really get to binge on limited releases, re-releases and other physical music paraphernalia in unison.
As I have grown older and more cynical with mundane and obligatory festivities such as Christmas and what remains of Easter, I find Record Store Day still elicits that youthful exuberance I abandoned so many years ago. The build up involves weeks of salivating over the ever growing list of releases and thrill of waking up at the crack of dawn (10am or something) to run to my local store in an attempt to get my hands on those ultra rare goods and catch some in-store performances. And whilst I’m always elated with my purchases there’s always someone who managed to get their hands on something better than me, that elusive super limited tour repressing that came encased in two flexidisks and is currently selling for upwards of £100 on ebay.
That’s where my envy turns to spite and eventually venomous outrage unleashed upon the heartless users of ebay and Amazon. Where sellers proudly proclaim that their product is, indeed, that elusive RSD exclusive and you may ‘buy it now’ for an exponentially greater price than the retail. Once again, a festivity that binds us together in our shared passion is reduced to nothing more than rampant capitalism, where the highest bidder is king.
But, “don’t let the buggers get you down” because until your dreams turn to dust you might as well lust over this year’s offerings, which Tom Hinton is very nimbly selecting as as you read this and will be up on the site tomorrow. Besides, RSD isn’t about what you get out of it, it’s about giving something back to your local record store: your time. It’s about going down there and supporting your scene and talking to other music fans about music. It’s also as much about sticking two fingers up to downloading and giving your local shop keeper a pat on the back for somehow making it through such inhospitable times. Most importantly, it’s about affirming that a record store is still one of the central pillars in a local music community, whilst basking in its shelves of boundless possibilities.
For the record these are what I’m looking to get my hands on during RSD 2012:
Public Image Limited – One Drop EP 12″
I’m always afraid when my heroes dredge themselves up in their twilight years to cash in on their youthful success. John Lydon I can almost forgive for doing this because he’s had a pretty rough ride from label EMI who has constantly refused to reissue PIL’s earlier albums in any significant quantity, which for Lydon has resulted in years of financial problems and butter ads. This is PIL’s first studio work since 1992 and is an attempt to recreate the dub influence of metal box but falls short of reclaiming their early urgency. The EP is a precursor to an LP which is being released later in the year.
ESG/Las Kellies – Erase You 7″
This Fire Records release sees the post-punk tour de force that are New Yorkers ESG covered by their contemporary Argentine counterparts, Las Kellies. It’s like a match made in mutant disco heaven and you might want to get to your local store early for this one as it’s limited to 500 copies and only one per person. You might have heard how excited we got about this on the podcast a couple of weeks ago.
Fair Ohs – The Singles Single 7″
This is one of those ultra rare releases we bang on about, limited to only 200 copies, you’re going to have to be quick on your toes if you want to add this to your 7″ collection. Last year Fair Ohs did the impossible and self released a critically acclaimed début album that didn’t completely bankrupt them. For this release the band cover two of Paul Westerberg’s (of The Replacements) tracks from the movie Singles, which the band cite as major influences on their approach to music. You can catch them playing an instore at Flashback Records, London at 7pm on RSD.
Animal Collective - Transverse Temporal Gyrus 12″
When we talk about RSD being a bit of a geekcore thing this is the sort of release we are usually referring to. It’s a 12″ EP of the stems created by Animal Collective and used by visual artist Danny Perez in his ‘Transverse Temporal Gyrus’ exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Simple enough? Well it gets a lot more complicated than that; each band member created individual sounds and songs which were then randomised and combined during the installation and panned across the museum’s 36 channel surround sound system. This EP takes a selection of these recordings as well as a live recording from inside the Guggenheim, combining them with a web link that contains visual content and footage from the installation. Oh and this is the only time that these sounds will be made available.
Refused – The New Noise Theology EP 12″
Refused are back and re-releasing four of their releases on special coloured vinyl in batches of only 300 copies each. That makes them pretty much a 10/10 on the super rare scale. I’ve chosen to dedicate my money to the re-issue of the 1998 release, New Noise Theology 12″. It’s an almost impossible decision because all four releases (Rather Be Dead 12″, Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent re-issue on white vinyl, The Shape of Punk to Come re-issue on double clear vinyl) are so desirable in their own right, I’m literally drooling over that Shape of Punk to Come reissue as it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. But I have to be true to myself and when I was just a boy, a little while before everyone had the internet and music was free, I had a Punk-o-rama DVD that had the video for New Noise on it, I must have watched that video more than a hundred times over the course of one particular summer; it elevated my perspective and called me into action. In all honesty, I will probably buy all four of their releases if the opportunity presents itself.
Smuggler’s Way Flexizine
Smuggler’s Way is a collaboration between Domino and Ribbon music; it is a zine which contains five multi-coloured flexidisks, which in turn contain exclusive and unreleased material from Dirty Projectors, Real Estate, Cass McCombs, John Maus and Villagers. It’s a lovingly crafted project and a fitting ode to a now ancient method of distributing music – the flexidisk. Flexidisks, FYI, used to come free with a variety of music publications and were essentially thin pressed vinyl sheets you can play on a record player but deteriorate quite severely over time and have therefore become quite the collectors item. More info on the project here: http://smugglersway.tumblr.com/
So if you were to take one thing from Record Store Day let it be this, if you put ultra rare purchases on ebay at grossly inflated prices, I will make it my life’s ambition to hunt you down and turn your inner ear, outer.