OKAY, OKAY—Black Friday is a horrible concept, responsible for such atrocities as: camping in Walmart parking lots, Bumpits, tramplings, and cherry cordials. But you know and I know that your crocheted pencil warmers and hand-whittled crucifixes are going to take WAY longer to make than you thought they would, and let's face it... music (music) makes the people (makes the people) come together (yeah).
Record Store Day usually happens in April, but to stimulate your seasonal shopaholicism, record labels have started producing extra-collectible editions of beloved rare releases exclusively for the shoppingest shopping day of the year. Take a look at what we think is worth trampling your fellow consumer for this year.
THE SHINS, No Way Down
Naysayers, in addition to saying "nay," have been saying it's not the same since frontman James Mercer revamped the Shins lineup. But all other sayers—you! Me! People with ears!—know that this year's Port of Morrow album is a damn great pop record, and we'll swear it by the hair on our shinny shin shins. This 7-inch features alternate versions of two killer album tracks, and be sure to check out the record's special, inexplicable promotional video. Ideal recipient: fans of Portland music; yeasayers. NED LANNAMANN
VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO, Scepter Studios Acetate
This is a 1966 demo that was found at a garage sale and released just for you! And other people! The Velvet Underground's haziness paired with the deep mono-drone of Nico is heavenly and drug noddy (nods to buying and being on drugs, see also: nodding out on drugs). Ideal recipient: anyone whose ears would perk up to hear that this record is on 180-gram vinyl, gold foil stamped, and individually numbered, or anyone you know with beaded curtains. EMILY NOKES
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Death Might Be Your Santa Claus
A collection of blues, jazz, and gospel from the '20s through '50s, featuring holiday songs from Harmon Ray, Bo Carter, Butterbeans and Susie, and the Reverend J.M. Gates. Comes in both CD and vinyl! (The CD version includes two extra tracks, including "Santa" by Lightnin' Hopkins.) Ideal recipient: the coworker who listens to Murder City Devils' "364 Days" on loop every December. MEGAN SELING
LEE HAZLEWOOD, You Turned My Head Around: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1967–1970
One of the wryest, driest, slyest singer/songwriters ever to hit the Top 10, Hazlewood also ran a label (LHI) and produced the rare singles (including two by Ann-Margret!) collected in this box set on genius reissue label Light in the Attic. Ideal recipient: appreciators of skewed country pop and acid folk and all Hazlewood fanatics (why aren't you one yet?). DAVE SEGAL
THE FAT BOYS, Pizza Box
Is it music? Is it pizza? IT IS BOTH, MY FRIEND. The Fat Boys were pure rap magic, and their flat-out perfect 1984 debut album comes in a delicious-looking picture disc reissue—made to look exactly like a pizza. Ideal recipient: any living human being, obviously. NL
WANDA JACKSON, Capitol Rarities
The ever-influential First Lady of Rockabilly (the early, country/rock/hillbilly sort, not the Bettie Page bangs/flaming dice graphics/cuffed jeans, er, style of more recent times), Wanda Jackson's Capitol Rarities showcases six Capitol-era rarities on a 10-inch record. Ideal recipient: your snazzy white cowboy boots, false eyelashes, and clip-on ponytail–wearing aunt. EN
LEONARD COHEN/JEFF BUCKLEY, Hallelujah
Jesus Christ, why would you give this song as a gift? "Here, friend, listen to this and open a vein while crying your face off." Unless you want blood on your hands, make sure the giftee is emotionally stable enough to handle it, or at least stuff their stocking with a bottle of Prozac, too. Ideal recipient: a Leonard Cohen–loving ex. MS
LOVE, Forever Changes
Both silky and gritty, Forever Changes is the greatest orchestral psych-pop album ever. This reissue of the LA band's 1967 peak comes with a bonus 7-inch featuring an unreleased edit of "Alone Again Or." Ideal recipient: somebody curious to know what the Summer of Love sounded like without it being filtered through the typical Baby Boomer lens. DS
THE ROLLING STONES, The Rolling Stones
This 1964 self-titled EP from the Stones is kinda crappy, with some okay covers alongside some shitty ones, but it's super-duper rare, and it's a damn sight better than those shitty new tracks on that greatest hits album that just came out. Ideal recipient: first-time great-grandfathers. NL
JUDAS PRIEST, Screaming for Vengeance
The best-selling Priest album of all time has turned 30 years old! Screaming for Vengeance is a hits-packed, classic metal album—and by hits, I mean YES, this is the album with "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" on it. The anniversary edition picture disc has a bitchin', 3D, mechanical war hawk on it! Ideal recipient: appreciators of brutal metal falsetto or anyone whose bones you would like to jump. EN
JOAN JETT, Bad Reputation
A clear vinyl LP comes with a bonus CD and features kick-ass songs like "Doing All Right with the Boys," "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)," and "Shout," as well as some live footage from '82, '83, and '98. JOAN JETT 4-EVER. Ideal recipient: a tween who needs to kick that Taylor Swift habit. MS
DAVID BOWIE, The Jean Genie
Not only does this 7-inch reissue of the glam-rock classic come with a totally rare Top of the Pops version of "The Jean Genie" on the B-side, but the picture disc has an absolutely magnificent vintage photo of Bowie and Cyrinda Foxe leaning on a bar, shot by Mick Rock. It is amazing. NL Ideal recipient: poor little greenie.
COUNTERPOINT: Fuck Black Friday!
Black Friday—and Record Store Day, for that matter—is bullshit! We asked Andrew Neerman of Beacon Sound what they'd be doing for this gross, greasy, consumer-driven non-holiday, and he replied:
"Thanks for asking but we're not really doing the Black Friday thing. We will be carrying a few titles that we actually care about (M83, Mogwai, Velvet Underground) but, to be honest, this and Record Store Day are increasingly turning into an embarrassing sham. The major labels and giant one-stop distributors are all over it—any time 7-inch singles cost $7 wholesale, you know something is wrong with the picture. So... yuck.
"On the other hand," Neerman continues, "we certainly will be open that day with a killer selection of stuff that no one else has, including the new Andy Stott LP, Pye Corner Audio on Ghost Box, and Robin Pecknold's entire record collection, which he sold to us last month before leaving town. Much more exciting than a bunch of major label re-presses!" Beacon Sound, 1465D NE Prescott, beaconsound.net