A day dedicated to vintage vinyl
April 18, 2017
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Record Store Day is right around the corner on Saturday, April 22, and Madison record collectors and music lovers alike are rejoicing. Record Store Day is a day in which local record store culture is celebrated with both live music and ultra-rare music releases and re-releases in local record shops. This year marks Record Store Day’s tenth anniversary, so local stores such as Strictly Discs, B-Side Records and Sugar Shack Records are all preparing to partake in what will most likely be the largest Record Store Day event in history.
Though the atmosphere of the event is exciting all by itself, many people are drawn to the event to pick up the rare records that are released on the day of the event. These releases can range from re-releases of oldies but goodies that have not been pressed on vinyl in decades, to brand new releases from current musicians that might never be on the market again.
The list of this year’s album releases is as exciting as it is long. So, in the name of simplification, I am here to give you my personal highlights, though I implore everyone to do their own research before the big day.
My first suggestion is the 12 inch vinyl release of the group Animal Collective’s “Meeting of the Water.” This record is not only special because it includes the atmospheric and somewhat surrealist sound that Animal Collective is known for, but it was also recorded in the Brazilian rainforest. This album is a tribute to the environmental concerns of the band, and was documented on a new Vice/Viceland TV program airing this summer.
My next album to look for is a repress of the Toto hit, “Africa.” This song has a special place in my heart, as well the hearts of many. Who can resist belting “It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you!” after the pounding drums transition the song from verse to chorus? The answer: no one. This song is fittingly repressed on a 12 inch picture disc in the shape of Africa.
For fans of metal, there are two albums I suggest you keep an eye out for. The first one is a live recording of a 2015 Motörhead concert under the title “Clean Your Clock.” This recording was of the band’s final live shows recorded professionally, as lead singer Lemmy Kilmister died at the beginning of the following year, which makes the album even more sentimental for heavy metal die-hards.
My second metal recommendation is the Coheed and Cambria album “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One.” If there is one word to describe the sound of this album, it would be the word “epic.” The progressive rock band creates a sound larger than life on the songs from this album, including the song “Welcome Home,” which was featured on the videogame “Rock Band.” This album contains heavy rifts from traditional to metal music, but the band does not compromise experimentation. The entire album lyrically is only a chapter of a science fiction saga that is continued throughout all of the band’s discography. The ongoing narrative makes this band extremely unique, and makes this album worth looking for on Record Store Day.
I will admit that, even though I am excited about all these albums, there is a certain one I am most looking forward to, and it is a recording of German artist Peter Shilling’s “Major Tom” on a seven-inch picture disc. Though this artist is deemed as a one-hit wonder in America, I believe that does not undermine the merit of his 1983 pop hit. It perfectly captures an atmospheric quality which is both nostalgic and futuristic, which causes it to sound like the soundtrack of a sci-fi movie set in the eighties. This song is both cheesy and brilliant, which makes the fact that the release of this LP has been limited to 2,800 copies worldwide heartbreaking for me. If I see you grabbing the last copy on Record Store Day, I will be bitter, but I will understand.
My final recommendation is not an album at all, but an idea. I highly suggest you pick up an album that you do not recognize at all. It does not matter whether it is an album with a cool cover, or a band someone in line recommended to you, the most important thing is to enjoy the process of exploration into physical music. This is really what the spirit of Record Store Day is all about—experimenting with music while enjoying the culture you are surrounded by. The one thing to remember before going into Record Store Day is that it is less about what albums you score, and more about the time you had scoring them.