Once again, Record Store Day’s exclusive vinyl releases tread the line between desirable and derisible.
With every passing year, Record Store Day and its value to the independent records shops and labels it’s supposed to benefit is placed under more scrutiny. When Universal’s list of 2016 releases was leaked last month, FACT’s Miles Bowe cast his side-eye over the latest crop and highlighted some of the problems that fans have noticed getting more apparent. Why, for example, are there large vinyl runs of records that you can easily find at your local thrift store (or Discogs, for that matter) for under a dollar? Why are smaller labels finding it so hard to get records pressed in the months leading up to April 16?
Now that the full list has arrived, we’re able to see the bigger picture. As usual there’s plenty of good stuff peppered between the baffling selections, needless picture discs and crates and crates of “heavyweight” vinyl (pro tip: 180g pressings don’t boost the quality).
We put our heads together with The Vinyl Factory to pick out the 10 releases worth standing in line for and the 10 that will have our fossil fuel-deprived descendants shaking their heads in horror.
Clint Mansell & Kronos Quartet
Requiem for a Dream OST
Now this is what we’re talking about. Few would argue with the influence ex-Poppie Clint Mansell’s Requiem for a Dream OST has had on mainstream cinema – the main cue, ‘Lux Aeterna’, has become a movie trailer staple, most notably used to promote Peter Jackson’s blockbuster Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It’s frankly surprising that it’s taken this long for the soundtrack to arrive on vinyl – surely this kind of thing is what Record Store Day is all about?
Etienne De Crecy
Etienne De Crecy’s original Super Discount LP dropped way back in 1997, and the vinyl version has been tough to find for at least a decade. It’s still solid, too – aside from the obvious value of having bona fide deep French house classic ‘Prix Choc’ on wax, there’s plenty more in that vein from Alex Gopher, Motorbass and other French scene luminaries.
La Via Della Droga
White vinyl with poster
Goblin’s score to low-budget Italian crime flick La Via Della Droga is far from their best, but it’s languished on CD since the ‘90s, with fans like us desperate for a vinyl version. AMS has done a cracking job making sure Goblin’s entire catalogue eventually makes it to wax – whether they needed to tie this into Record Store Day is another matter, but regardless of that it’s going to be worth the purchase. Try before you buy with our Beginner’s Guide to Goblin.
‘Les Là-Bas’ (Bonobo Remix)
French double bassist and Don Cherry collaborator Henri Texier may have struggled to gain recognition beyond the insular European jazz scene, but the opening track from his 1977 LP Varech has made him a regular on Discogs want-lists for years now. The breezy psych-jazz riff of ‘Les Là-bas’ gets its first ever 12” outing here, backed by a shuffling Bonobo remix from way back in 2004, with artwork by celebrated designer Leif Podhajsky.
Iggy And The Stooges
Metallic vinyl LP
Metallic ‘KO is a bug-eyed document of a band circling the plughole for the final time at their last gig in 1974, and it’s a great buy for punk completists. Iggy is the captain of his sinking vessel, lacquered with sweat, spit, blood and egg yolk as he fends off missiles from the agitated biker-heavy crowd, while Ron and Scott Asheton’s proto-punk pounding is bolstered by James Williamson’s sleazy lead guitar and Scott Thurston pulling Jerry Lee Lewis moves on piano. The failing unit career through a foul-mouthed ‘Louie Louie’ and a transcendent ‘Cock In My Pocket’; Iggy’s bloodymindedness and contempt for the blockheaded crowd is palpable from the count-in: “One! Two! Fuck you pricks!”
(Music On Vinyl)
7″, PVC sleeve, silver vinyl
Hammer horror veteran James Bernard didn’t initially write the score for F. W. Murnau’s 1922 expressionist horror classic, but since Hans Erdmann’s original was lost long ago, this reconstruction is about as good as we’re likely to get. For some reason, the full score – released by Silva America on CD back in 1997 – isn’t included here, but an excerpt is pressed to silver 7″ vinyl and presented in a PVC sleeve, so there’s that.
5xLP coloured vinyl
To coincide with Lush’s first tour and new material in 20 years, the ‘90s shoegazers have lined up this stunning career-spanning box set. Spread across five colour vinyl records, the release collects their previous albums and EPs. With all of those original items either out-of-print or never previously available on vinyl, we can confirm that this is an absolutely essential reissue.
La Legge Dei Gangsters
2xLP Blue and green vinyl
An Italian soundtrack composer and library musician consistently overshadowed by Morricone and Alessandroni, awareness of Piero Umiliani’s genius is beginning to spread, not least on this brilliant soundtrack from Siro Marcellini’s 1969 thriller La Legge Dei Gangsters or Gangster’s Law. The plaintive theme ‘Crepusculo sul mare’ and unsettling romance of ‘Epilogo’ are surely worth the queue alone.
Doctor Who and The Daleks / Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
2XLP yellow vinyl
Whether you’re a Whovian or not, these restored soundtracks to the two maligned Doctor Who “movies” from the 1960s (featuring Peter Cushing as the time traveling Doctor) should be enough to pique your interest. They might not be as instantly appealing as the Radiophonic Workshop’s finest output, but with a suite of sounds from Gerry Anderson collaborator Barry Gray, they’re not to be sniffed at. Doctor Who fans should also look out for the vinyl issue of Genesis of the Daleks, inarguably one of the finest storylines in the series’ long and checkered history.
Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
2xLP red and blue vinyl
Like the cult TV show, the music of Xiu Xiu is elusive, dark and dreamy. Perfect, then, that Jamie Stewart’s outfit has interpreted Twin Peaks for a new work that feeds off the chaos and trepidation in Angelo Badalamenti’s original score. Commissioned by David Lynch himself, the reworking was performed first in Brisbane and then at St John’s Sessions in London. If you missed it live, here’s your chance to own it on vinyl.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Live in Switzerland 1997
Don’t misunderstand us here – we’re not slagging off prog rock. We would never do that, and Tarkus is legendary, end of story. But Tarkus was released in 1971. Why anyone would want a wax document of a 1997 show that’s so unremarkable there’s almost no mention of it on Google, we have no idea.
The Final Countdown
12″ electric blue vinyl
Did you realize it’s the 30th anniversary of Europe’s overplayed bro-out ‘The Final Countdown’? We didn’t either, but thankfully there’s a 12″ reminder on electric blue vinyl just for Record Store Day. An original copy will cost you a whopping two dollars on Discogs, and we feel it’s pertinent to point out that it’s already been pressed over 40 times.
Empire of the Clouds
12″ picture disc
Iron Maiden’s The Book of Souls was something of a return to form for Bruce Dickinson and the lads. Not that its predecessors were bad or anything (Blaze Bayley is thankfully a distant memory), but The Book of Souls captured the essence of classic Maiden. Saying that, why we need ‘Empire of the Clouds’ pressed to picture disc with an interview and a gatefold sleeve is unclear. Tax loss, maybe?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
10″ picture disc
There’s something magical about a 10″. It’s the size, really – the look of a 78 disc and with a sturdiness and quality you don’t get from the humble 7″. Why, oh why, then, do we need two cues from last year’s (actually quite good) Star Wars: The Force Awakens pressed to picture disc? We’ll tell you why – because Disney is a merchandising machine, and knows full well that the Star Wars market is stronger than Rey’s command of the force. Fans will buy this to put on a shelf, where it will no doubt gather dust until we’re all deader than Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. No turntable required.
Road to Revolution Live at Milton Keynes
2xLP black and red splatter vinyl
‘Linkin Park’ and ‘Milton Keynes’. Two fictional places obviously perfect for each other in so many ways that the least Warner Bros could do is let us preserve the memory of the night of June 29th 2008, without being forced to confront the shattering reality of what really went on at the National Bowl. Some live shows are destined for posterity, others make a virtue of the ravishing march of time. Perhaps there was just something too ephemeral about the digital, CD and DVD releases this concert has already received.
We’re not here to slag off Marilyn Manson or his satanic second album, but seriously, this thing has been repressed and reissued to death. A quick scan of Discogs points to over 50 different releases on CD, cassette and vinyl, available for as little as 71p. The album’s 20th anniversary is one temptation too far for UMC though, who can’t resist rolling out yet another ‘limited’ cassette release.
Classic Album Collection
10xLP box set
What started as a zany ‘60s TV show about imaginary band The Monkees soon developed into an actual band. The manufactured Beatles-wannabes released nine studio albums, many of which were fraught with music creation controversy. The Monkees’ songbook is neither essential nor rare, so this 10-LP colour vinyl box set is just a terrible clog on pressing plants.
20th anniversary picture disc
Exactly 20 years has passed since Britpoppers Space released their debut album, and let’s face it, the goofy humour on Spiders hasn’t aged well. At all. What’s Record Store Day’s marketing solution for that again? Oh yeah, a picture disc. Hopefully it’ll detract from the grooves, because no one needs to hear this in 2016.
Rockin’ All Over the World
2xLP John Eden mix on gatefold vinyl
Just because something’s not been reissued on vinyl for 35 years, doesn’t make it difficult to get hold of. “One of THE hard rock anthems of all time,” notes the press material. Sure, but who on earth needs a double LP reissue of a record listed over 300 times on Discogs for between £2 and £5? 1977, the year of its release, was a watershed. Anyone born before already owns a copy, anybody born after couldn’t care less.
(Let Them Eat Vinyl)
An addendum to the Libertines’ “comeback album” Anthems For Doomed Youth, already being milked on Record Store Day for a 7” vinyl box set, this is about as nondescript as they come. Live albums rarely work on vinyl anyway, particularly when they’re capturing a band who haven’t troubled the zeitgeist in over a decade. File next to Emerson, Lake and Palmer in the un-Googlable black hole where the worst of RSD resides.