Record Store Day returns this weekend—Saturday, April 21—and while the retail holiday continues to earn sour-grape scorn from some quarters, it remains a really fun time for the majority of kind, reasonable record buyers. (Don't be like the haters. Enjoy yourself, damn it!) Local stores like Everyday Music, Music Millennium, Jackpot Records, and Tender Loving Empire have events and performances planned throughout the day; meanwhile, your best bets for scoring the day's exclusive vinyl are at downtown's 2nd Avenue Records, who have the best prices, and Music Millennium, who stock the most titles.
We're very excited about a few releases this year. Here's what's on our shopping list:
• Wipers, Live at the Met, December 31, 1982—Recorded in Portland and released by Jackpot Records, this is a document of one of Portland's two most important bands (the other being Dead Moon) at their rawest and realest.
• Pink Floyd, Piper at the Gates of Dawn (MONO)—The original and significantly different mono mix of Pink Floyd's 1967 debut is still a rarity. (It briefly made a vinyl reappearance in a 1997 reissue.) This replica of the original album release, complete with Syd Barrett's wonderfully daffy psychedelic classics and the flipback-style album jacket, comes in a psychedelic slipcase with a poster. It's purest Record Store Day bait, and I'm biting.
• Baby Huey, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (2-LP)—The only album by gritty soul singer James Ramey came out in 1971, a few months after his untimely death at 26. While it's been reissued several times over the years and taken on its deserved status as a classic, this RSD edition purports to be directly mastered from the analog tapes and includes a second disc of instrumentals, a fitting addition for an album that's been sampled in countless hiphop tracks.
• Thelonious Monk, Monk—There are a lot of good jazz reissues to pick up, including one from Ornette Coleman, several from Sun Ra, and a mid-'80s 12-inch from Miles Davis that should probably be avoided, but since I can't afford everything, I'll reserve my dollars for this 1964 set from Monk, a cool, smoky session from the pianist at the height of his powers. It's been reissued before, but I still don't have one.
• David Bowie, Welcome to the Blackout (3-LP)—A complete live set recorded in London in 1978, this comes from the same "Isolar II" tour that resulted in Bowie's Stage album. Bowie nuts are gonna need to bring this one home on Saturday. A few other, less essential Bowie titles are making their way to RSD shelves as well, including a promo compilation, a neat demo version of "Let's Dance," and a colored vinyl reissue of his 1967 debut album, but this live one is the must-have.
• David Axelrod, Song of Innocence—A perfume-scented psychedelic classic, David Axelrod's 1968 album is an unexpected 27-minute concoction of rock, jazz, and orchestral sounds. Featuring members of the Wrecking Crew, it's a reminder of a time when the record biz really was adventurous, and crazy studio extravaganzas like this were possible. Originals are not impossible to come by, but they are pricey, so it'll be nice to have this one easily accessible.
• Neil Young, Roxy - Tonight's the Night Live (2-LP)—A previously unreleased live album from 1973, this finds Young and his tequila-fueled cohort running through the first draft of his classic Tonight's the Night album during a multi-night run that also marked the grand opening of LA's Roxy nightclub. I've heard bootlegs from this era and they are sloppily fantastic. Like the David Axelrod album, this is an "RSD First" release, which means that it will continue to be available after the shops close on Saturday.
• Eric Clapton, Rush (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring "Tears in Heaven")—Just kidding.
If picking up an armful of newly pressed vinyl isn't your thing, be aware that for Record Store Day, all Everyday Music locations are having a big sale on CDs (20 percent off new, 50 percent off used), and Turn Turn Turn is selling around 1,000 used albums and 12-inches—funk, soul, and disco stuff, mostly—out on their sidewalk for a buck a piece. Meanwhile, Beacon Sound will be offering a very select amount of RSD titles coming from independent labels, while also putting out lots of used vinyl for the day and offering 20 percent off titles on their own label. And lovely Kenton shop Speck's Records and Tapes has some festivities planned, while Tanner Goods is holding a pop-up with a live performance and DJ sets.
Or stay home and grouse. It's up to you. Happy Record Store Day, everybody else!