Record Store Day started as a way of giving props to independent shops and celebrate them as vital spaces for music lovers, and supporting them by picking up a few releases.
Returning this weekend, it’s now a huge event, with over 200 independent record shops across the UK coming together to celebrate their unique culture. Special vinyls are made exclusively for the day and many stores hold performances and events to mark the occasion.
Despite some detractors pointing out the various flaws in the event, it’s hard to deny the great releases up for grabs.
Here are a few choice picks from the catalogue...
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Death Grips – ‘Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)’
FINALLY ‘Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)’ will be available on record. Released only digitally in 2017, it’s effectively a slew of classic Death Grips tracks – including ‘My Whole Life’, ‘Bald-Headed Girl’ and ‘Rights of Passage’ – put in a blender, annihilated, and reassembled into a 22 minute gabba beast.
It’s a visceral assault on the senses as only Death Grips can deliver. But this isn’t enough. The B-Sides are ‘electronic drum solo dub mix (single take)’ and More than the Fairy’ which feature Les “Primus” Claypool. If this isn’t enough to get you up earlier than work and make you stand outside a record shop an hour before it opens on a Saturday morning, then nothing will! (As picked by Nick Roseblade)
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The Prodigy – ‘Fight Fire with Fire / Champions of London’
After the tragic loss of The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint earlier this year it feels only right to honour him on Record Store Day. ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ also features cult New Jersey industrial hip-hop / hardcore / horrorcore duo Ho99o9, adding an aptly anarchic edge to its down tempo but heavy-hitting production. In fact, Liam Howlett called it “the best collaboration we have done” last year.
The black double gatefold also includes previously unreleased instrumentals and is the only single vinyl release on the group’s ‘No Tourists’ project so far, so it’ll make a great addition to any Prodigy fan’s collection. When you get home make sure to blast at full volume in tribute to front man of the highest order – it’s what he would have wanted! (As picked by Emma Finamore)
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Sunn O))) – ‘Life Metal’
Doom metal titans Sunn O))) sound like their monolithic music has been carved from granite, rather than created in a studio. On their 8th album they’ve teamed up with Steve Albini. Yes, Steve “Shellac/Big Black” Albini.
Sunn O))) with Albini at the helm is basically a Record Store Day no-brainer.
This might be on 180g vinyl but this is probably one of the heaviest RSD releases ever. Rumour has it there is a more melodic companion album coming out later in the year, but for now this will certainly do! . (As picked by Nick Roseblade)
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Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers – ‘Music Of Many Colours’
On limited edition rainbow starburst vinyl, exclusive to Record Store Day, this is the first pressing of this album since the late ‘80s. ‘Music of Many Colours’ is a joint project from Roy Ayers – funk, soul, and jazz composer, vibraphone player, and producer – and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.
Recorded after a three-week tour playing together in Nigeria' s major cities in 1979, Ayers has described the experience as being “about two black men together coming together, one from Africa and other from USA”. A must-listen, and a must-buy this Record Store Day. (As picked by Emma Finamore)
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The Fall – ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’
Though preceded by the maladroit ‘Reformation Post TLC’, ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’ sees The Fall almost incontinent with experimentation and new ideas. The first outing of a line-up that would sustain until the death of frontman Mark E. Smith, here he once again summons previously unknown, unseen courage and power from a hastily assembled (and probably terrified) group of amateur musicians.
Its high point is ‘Fifty Year Old Man’ – a birthday present to self in the form of a 12-minute, noise rock piledriver that abruptly forces a grinding halt midway to allow a passing banjo interlude. “I’m a fifty year old man” he grows, “and I like it!”
Smith never before or since sounded quite so playful as on this record, experimenting with a new lexicon of snarls, whispers and strangled wails, while finding time to pour hot scorn over various targets (Lauren Laverne, Jeremy Kyle, Virgin Trains). ‘Latch Key Kid’ contains a synth line which fizzes like a freshly opened Holsten Pils, there’s an astounding queasy jazz workout in ‘Alton Towers’, while ‘Senior Twilight Stock Replacer’ is a terrace chant for Dadaists. Life begins at fifty. (As picked by Fergal Kinney)
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Anderson .Paak – ‘Bubblin’
From the trap-infused beats to the massive basslines , it’s safe to say that Anderson .Paak’s ‘Bubblin’ is a banger.
For Record Store Day there will be 3,000 cream-coloured 7” up for grabs. This should be part of your shopping list not because it’s limited, not because it’s cream, not because it’s a gargantuan beast about a rags-to-riches story, but because as an added bonus the cream 7” features none other than Busta Rhymes on the remix. As .Paak says “One in the hand, One in the bag, Bubblin’.” (As picked by Nick Roseblade)
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slowthai – ‘Doorman / Peace Of Mind’
‘Doorman’ is slowthai at his most punk, a snarling takedown of “high society”, all glue sniffin’, distorted vocals, stark drums and frantic guitars. For this Record Store Day exclusive, it’s pressed with ‘Peace Of Mind’, giving us slowthai the punk and slowthai the MC on one vinyl.
This second track is equally sinister (and equally laced with dark humour), the Northampton rapper spitting bars over stilted beats, exploring what kind of life is out there for people like him.
This release snappily shows slowthai’s dexterity, versatility and knack for wordplay in just two tracks, just as he’s about to release his debut LP. Cop it this weekend or regret it! (As picked by Emma Finamore)
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