Record Store Day (the biannual day where vinyl junkies support their habit and small businesses) is almost here. On April 13, the 11th edition of the initiative will take place in music shops around the country. Earlier last week, the 2019 Record Store Day list was unveiled. To make it easier for collectors, I have assembled a guide to the best and most essential picks of this year’s music lovers’ holiday.
Albums are broken down into a “best of” list by genre. 12-inch and full albums are the standouts, but a few 7-inch and 3-inch records are also noted.
Music Monday is a regular series on The Flat Circle that spotlights music news, new releases, live music, and collectibles.
TV And Movie Soundtracks On Vinyl
This was the category with the most interesting compilations. Not just because special film and TV show soundtracks are now on vinyl. There is also great music on many albums.
Office Space – Have you ever identified too closely with the Office Space traffic or copy machine scenes? Well now you can own Office Space’s soundtrack on vinyl. The dozen songs come on red stapler vinyl, making it the perfect piece of flare for anyone’s record collection.
Breaking Bad – The soundtrack for the iconic AMC series seems random without the context of each scene. Gnarls Barkley, Beastie Boys, and Nat King Cole all defined moments on Breaking Bad. Now, they get their due on a double LP.
The Sopranos Peppers & Eggs – This is the Record Store Day 2019 album that I am most looking forward to. The HBO series implemented ingenious placement of music throughout its run. The Sopranos soundtrack was more thematic than Breaking Bad, making for a better listening experience. Produced on “Prozac and booze”-colored vinyl , Peppers & Eggs contains songs from artists like Otis Redding and The Police.
Classic Rock Record Store Day Vinyl
Always the most daunting category, the tempting collection of archives is marked by annual contributions from The Grateful Dead and record company compilations. Here are the highlights from the 2019 list:
The World of David Bowie – A lot of posthumous releases contain tracks picked by someone who is not the artist. Part of a budget-minded compilation series by the Decca label, The World of David Bowie was picked by the artist himself. The LP originally dropped in 1970 and contains music from his early career.
Other David Bowie Record Store Day discs include the remastered Pin Ups and a 7-inch of Revolutionary Songs/Just A Gigolo with Marlene Dietrich.
Purse EP – This four-track 12-inch from Elvis Costello & The Imposters contains hits from five historically great songwriters. In addition to Costello, Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan co-wrote the four songs on Purse.
A Saucerful of Secrets (Mono) – There is a lot of Classic Rock work that does not need tweaking. The way technology enhances Pink Floyd’s sonic genius is always worth a listen. This album captures the band’s transition from Syd Barrett to David Gilmour. Drummer Nick Mason is conveniently taking the LP on tour in 2019.
Imagine Raw Studio Mixes – The stripped-down version of John Lennon’s iconic album may turn out to be a popular item this year. The LP, available on 180-gram vinyl, is comprised of Lennon’s music before studio effects were added to the final mix.
R&B RSD LPs & 45s
In addition to work from The Godfather and The Queen, Prince’s estate is also dropping two albums: The Versace Experience CMG and Prince His Majesty’s Pop Life/The Purple Mix Club.
The Atlantic Singles 1967 – This loaded Aretha Franklin collection includes some of the singer’s best-known work. “Respect,” “A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)” and “A Chain of Fools” are all on this quintet of 7-inch singles.
Sho Is Funky Down Here – The first reissue of this James Brown title features collaborations with David Matthews. The longtime arranger has worked with Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Rich, and Nina Simone, but his time with the Godfather is getting special treatment for Record Store Day 2019. Sho Is Funky Down Here comes with a booklet with liner notes by Brown himself.
“Le Freak” – Chic’s third single marked its 40th Anniversary in 1978. The classic track will feature on a 7-inch with both the original song and a remix from Oliver Helden.
Alt Rock and Indie Rock Vinyl Releases
The annual crown jewel of Record Store Day has a ton of music from notable bands. The collection is headlined by this year’s ambassadors for RSD and a deluxe version of a new LP from John Paul White.
“Jeepster”/”Monolith” – Red Hot Chili Peppers Chad Smith and Josh Klingoffer teamed up for a unique 7-inch. The limited vinyl will feature two T-Rex covers with performances from Klingoffer on guitar and bass.
Live At Easy Street – Pearl Jam are the ambassadors for Record Store Day 2019. Naturally, their EP nods to music shops. The seven-song EP documents their 2005 live show from Easy Street Records in Seattle.
The Europa EP – Record Store Day falls three days after Charlie Chaplin’s birthday, so it is appropriate that U2 will include his speech from The Great Dictator on Europa. The EP also has a live cut of “New Year’s Day” and the songs “Love Is All We Have Left” and “Zooropa.”
Weezer – No alternative rock band had a more surprising hit in 2018 than Weezer’s cover of Toto’s “Africa.” The band is doubling-down on their success with two releases. Dust Gems and Raw Nuggets will feature the BLUE album’s bonus tracks (demo cuts and different mixes). Teal has ten covers of songs, including “Africa,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” and “Take On Me.”
The Hurting Kind – John Paul White’s second solo album since The Civil Wars’ 2014 break up has a collaboration with Lee Ann Womack. It also contains a bonus 7-inch with songs that are exclusive to Record Store Day 2019. The Hurting Kind will be limited to just 950 copies.
I don’t know if 3-inch records will take off, but I also never thought that cassettes would make a comeback. Bad Religion, Culture Abuse, The Dead Weather, Foo Fighters, The Interrupters, The Raconteurs, Rancid, Jack White, and The White Stripes are releasing their songs on mini-music platforms.
How can you play 3-inch discs? By purchasing a three-inch record player made especially for the occasion by Crosley.
Record Store Day Country Albums
Country is an underrepresented Record Store Day genre in 2019. Highlights from this year’s list include two musicians with extensive careers (and one legend with a surprising connection to current news).
Live In Austin – The extremely-limited album features a live performance from Tony Joe White. Cut in 1980, the two-sided LP will feature “Polk Salad Annie” and lesser-known material such as “Even Trolls Love Rock ‘N Roll.” The album will be on white vinyl (of course).
ICON – Few musicians are as well-traveled as Marty Stuart. The country singer has played with Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, and his own Fabulous Superlatives. This compilation album was originally issued by Universal in 2012.
“I Don’t Like The Way This World’s A-Treatin’ Me” – Woody Guthrie’s work as a writer of traditional country music is more lasting than just about any honky tonk or contemporary country musician could hope for. The A-list attraction to this 10-inch may be the B-side “Beech Haven Ain’t My Home” (aka “Old Man Trump”), which details his feelings toward Presidential family patriarch and Guthrie landlord Fred Trump.