Record Store Day happens every April, but it’s a holiday so nice, they hold it twice. The Black Friday edition of RSD comes the day after Thanksgiving, so avoid the mass of humanity at the big-box stores by getting to your local independent record shop and picking up these limited items—and don’t listen to the fun-hating snobs who pooh-pooh the event as a crass commercial exercise. There’s a solid batch of releases for this year’s Black Friday, which you can peep in its entirety at recordstoreday.com. These are our picks for the most crucial items. (Pro tip: Music Millennium stocks nearly everything that’s on the release slate, but downtown’s 2nd Avenue Records has better prices, if a smaller selection.)
The United States of America
This 1968 self-titled debut—and only full-length album—by experimental LA outfit the United States of America is a wild, mind-expanding classic that mashes together primitive synth explorations with acid rock. It’s been reissued countless times over the years, but this is the first instance the ultra-rare mono mix has been given a re-release, making this a must for fans of ’60s psychedelic and avant-garde music.
Willie Nelson, Spirit
A spiritual (no pun intended) sequel to his classic Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson’s 1996 album Spirit is a concept album featuring stripped-down instrumentation, with forlorn piano and guitar augmented by Nelson’s Spanish-style guitar licks. Light in the Attic’s releasing this overlooked gem, one of Willie’s most unjustly neglected records, for the first time ever on vinyl, and today is your only chance to get it. (Another of Nelson’s albums, 1971’s Yesterday’s Wine, is also seeing a reissue.)
Tangerine Dream, Electronic Meditation
For one album only, German ambient band Tangerine Dream had electronic music pioneers Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler in its ranks, alongside founder Edgar Froese. In 1970 the trio made the first Tangerine Dream album, Electronic Meditation, and its free-jazz informed psychedelic freakouts are very different from the chrome-smooth kosmische musik the band would become renowned for. This Varese Sarabande reissue won’t be an audiophile pressing or anything—the press materials seem to suggest that it’s mastered from a CD—but it’ll be an easy way to pick up this formative work on wax.
Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Blank Generation
Some Record Store Day releases are designated “RSD First,” which means they’ll continue to be made and sold after Record Store Day. But this Friday will be your first chance to get ’em, and you won’t want to wait in the case of this 40th anniversary double-LP reissue of Richard Hell’s seminal 1977 album Blank Generation. Simply put, this is one of New York art-punk’s formative texts, featuring the classic title track and “Love Comes in Spurts,” and this new edition includes an extra disc of outtakes and alternate versions. If this record isn’t already on your shelf, you know what to do.
Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Pivoting from the loud electric sound of Crazy Horse, Neil Young made this lovely acoustic album in 1992 while suffering from tinnitus, and it resulted in one of his biggest hits. This was during the CD boom, so existing vinyl copies are incredibly scarce, which makes this two-LP edition much anticipated. This release also has an “RSD First” designation, meaning it will continue to be in stores after Black Friday.