Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Record Store Day Preview

Music lovers will want to start making plans to get select, one-of-a-kind titles being released from the far-flung likes of Pearl Jam, U2Courtney BarnettNoel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Weezer and Elvis Costello on Record Store Day on Saturday, April 13.

Concertgoers lucky enough to be at Coachella on April 13 can hit the air conditioned pop-up record shop on the Empire Polo Club festival groups that will be carrying Record Store Day exclusives along with new releases from Coachellafest artists (this writer was fortunate to pick up an autographed Gary Clark Jr. audio CD when the emerging artist performed there for the first time in April 2012). There will also be 30,000 vintage releases in the store, all curated by Coachella staff. Additionally, there  will be merchandise like tees and totes that can only be purchased on that date.

Here is a roundup of some of the high-profile releases available on Record Store Day.

Blues harmonica legend James Cotton (who passed away in 2017) will be celebrated via Late Night Blues (Live At The New Penelope Café)captured in Montreal, Canada back in 1967. Being released on vinyl for the first-time ever, all 14 tracks of the recording reportedly feature Cotton's incredible talents on the blues harp.

Michigan-spawned rockers Greta Van Fleet's outstanding 2017 LP From the  Fires will appear on vinyl for the first time. 

Pearl Jam's live performance at Seattle's Easy Street Records shop in 2005 will be released on vinyl for the first time.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett will issue a new single titled "Everybody Here Hates You"; the release features hand-illustrated artwork by the artist. The 12-inch vinyl is limited to only 2,000 copies.

The album cover artwork of Sigur Rós 'Lunar Halo.'
Sigur Rós is celebrating this year's event with two exclusive vinyl albums, each limited to 2,000 copies and produced on black heavyweight 12-inch vinyl with a spined sleeve and printed with special inks. 22° Lunar Halo is a brand new dance work by leading Taiwanese choreographer CHENG tsung-lung, who selected his favorite music from throughout the Icelandic troupe's career; those recordings were then twisted, bent and broken and then recreated into something new. The second release is Variations On DarknessSigur Rós' soundtrack to a series of choreographed performances from the Iceland Dance Company.

Coachella-bound Weezer will be featured on the RSD exclusive Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets, a collection of rarities housed on limited-edition vinyl.

On a related note, April 13 will see the release of Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Weezer. The latest in CMH Label Group's Rockabye Baby series aimed at little listeners, parents and tots can check out re-imagined classics such as "Island in the Sun," "Beverly Hills," "Buddy Holly" and "Undone - the Sweater Song."  

Elvis Costello & the Imposters' Purse EP is essential for fans of the songwriting great; the title collects songs that Costello wrote with Burt Bacharach, Sir Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

The cover of the vinyl edition of 'Stroke Manor' being
released on Record Store Day, April 13, 2019.

One of the most important releases coming on RSD arrives via Yep Roc Records, which is issuing a new disc from The Minus 5, the aptly-titled Stroke Manor. In November 2017, musician Scott McCaughey was nearly killed after suffering a stroke that also wiped out his musical memory (he was a member of the Minus 5 and long-time touring member of R.E.M.). While still in the Intensive Care Unit he began writing down thoughts that came into his mind; those stream-of-mind thoughts jotted down onto a notebook anchor "Stroke Manor," which will be issued on both audio CD (2,500 copies worldwide) and vinyl (2,000 copies). The disc features contributions from Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Corin Tucker, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and others.

Omnivore Recordings is issuing four eagerly-anticipated titles on vinyl for RSD. I Don't Like the Way This World's A-Treatin' Me is a four-song tribute to Woody Guthrie. Pioneering L.A. Americana troupe Lone Justice's previously-unreleased Live at the Palomino, 1983 should generate renewed interest in the groundbreaking group (read my review of the group's 2018 release The Western Tapes, 1983  here). Culture's The Nighthawk Recordings is a seven-song EP featuring four unreleased songs; Dennis Quaid & the Sharks' terrific 2017 album Out of the Box (you can read my recent review of Quaid and company's album here) rounds out the list.

Island Records, Interscope and UMC have also announced that U2: The Europa EP, a new 3-track EP, will be released on April 13. The Europa EP: Side A features an exclusive new mix of previously unreleased material from U2's recent eXPERIENCE +iNNOCENCE Tour: Charlie Chaplin's electrifying speech from the movie The Great Dictator (1940) underscored with a mash-up of Songs Of Experience album track Love Is All We Have Left and 1993 classic Zooropa, leading into a performance of New Year’s Day recorded live in Dublin, Ireland on Nov. 5, 2018.

Side B is comprised of two "Euro"-tinged remixes: St. Francis Hotel's mix of the original album version of "New Year's Day" and Jon Pleased Wimmin's Euromantic mix of "Love Is All We Have Left."

The EP cover art (seen on the right) is a Chaplinesque homage to the Europe-themed artwork of U2's 1993 album Zoorapa and features the figure 130, in celebration of Chaplin's 130th birthday which falls of April 16, 2019.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will use the occasion to release their Wait and Return EP — a special remix collection of tracks which will be released exclusively for Record Store Day 2019

Released as a limited edition 12” pressed on teal-colored vinyl with new sleeve artwork by Gareth Halliday, it will feature three new remixes of tracks taken from the #1 UK album, Who Built the Moon? London-based French DJ/producer Nicolas Laugier, aka The Reflex, provides remixes of “She Taught Me How to Fly” and “Keep on Reaching,” while British artist Richard Norris reworks “Black & White Sunshine.” The forthcoming release follows the huge success of last year’s 12” of “It’s a Beautiful World,” which was the UK's biggest-selling vinyl single of 2018.

The full track-listing for the Record Store Day exclusive vinyl is: 

A1. ‘She Taught Me How To Fly’ (The Reflex Revision)
A2. ‘Keep On Reaching’ (The Reflex Revision)
B1. ‘Black & White Sunshine’ (Richard Norris Remix)

Noel says: “I love Record Store Day. It gives us, the artists, a chance to put music out there that otherwise might never see the light of day. I love the fact that the items are very limited edition and I do utter the phrase ‘I’ll save that for Record Store Day’ a LOT.'”

“She Taught Me How To Fly” was the third single to be taken from the album Who Built the Moon?, which also features the other tracks remixed on the EP. The album debuted in the UK at #1, achieving gold certification in less than two weeks after its release— making it a hat-trick of #1 UK albums for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The Mercury-nominated Who Built the Moon? was also a record-breaking 10th consecutive chart-topping studio album in the UK For Noel— no other artist has achieved such a feat. 

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds recently announced new UK tour dates for summer 2019 with support from Gaz Coombes— with all shows now sold out. The 11-piece line-up will perform in more intimate venues in Edinburgh, Llandudno, Hull, and— for the first time ever for Noel—The London Palladium in May. With Noel currently recording new material in studios in London and LA, the shows are a chance for fans to potentially hear the new material for the very first time.

For more information, including a complete list of stores across the U.S. participating  on April 13, visit RecordStoreDay.com.

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