It’s that magical time of year again when local record stores are flooded with special vinyl and cassette issues from hundreds of artists. Lucky for Charleston, Monster Music & Movies is in on the official international event, with a delicious mix of new music flooding its doors every day in anticipation. The West Ashley store will open its doors bright and early, at 8 a.m. for us super nerds, and day-long festivities shall ensue. Look forward to live music from noon until 7 p.m., a food truck rodeo, jump castle, and Monster’s famous sidewalk sale (cheap vinyl lovers, here’s lookin’ at you). Food trucks include Greek’n Out, Dough Boyz, Krystyna’s Polish Food, Annie O Love Granola, and Bottleneck Coffee (free coffee for the first 100 people in line 7-8 a.m.).
A few CP music writers recently sifted through the official Record Store Day release list (you can too at recordstoreday.com) and narrowed down the titles they’ll be on the hunt for come Saturday. Here’s what they said:
Picks by Kyle Petersen
Jeff Tweedy, Warmer
While the warm, and folksy charm of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s 2018 solo album had a fans-only sort of quality, it was still a sturdy collection of tunes from one of the more distinctive voices in indie rock from the last quarter-century. And this collection of RSD exclusive outtakes from those sessions, in addition to being a nice addition for Tweedy completists, also likely benefits from the fact that he often leaves his weirdest and best material on the cutting room floor.
Julien Baker, 7″ “Red Door” b/w “Conversation Piece”
While this RSD-first seven-inch will likely see a wider release later on, getting the fan-favorite live tune “Red Door” down on exclusive vinyl release should be the feather in the cap of many who have fallen deeply for the graceful pathos that wells deep within Baker every time she builds from a whisper to a (by indie folk standards) roar.
Albert King, Born Under a Bad Sign
As one of the most iconic blues records of all-time, to call Albert King’s legendary Stax debut LP Born Under a Bad Sign essential is a considerable understatement. This all-analog reissue, mastered from the original mono tapes and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, is the first mono mix of the album on vinyl since the album’s original 1967 release.
Picks by Vincent Harris
Bill Evans, Evans in England
Any chance I have to listen to Bill Evans working his magic on piano is one I’m going to take, especially if it’s a release I haven’t heard before. There’s just something about Evans in a jazz-trio setting that seems perfect, and he always had a special kind of telepathy with bassist Eddie Gomez, who accompanies him on this live set recorded at Ronnie Scott’s in London in December of 1969. I’m looking forward to hearing a genius at work one more time.
Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks — Original New York test pressing
Much like the reissue of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper a couple of years ago that featured alternate takes, this Dylan set will hopefully be like reshaping history that we once thought was carved in stone. In classic Bob Dylan fashion, there were different versions of monumental songs like “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Idiot Wind,” and maybe my all-time favorite Dylan song, “Shelter From the Storm,” that never saw the light of day, at least officially. Now they will, thanks to this release.
Sly & The Family Stone, Woodstock Sunday August 17, 1969
With all due respect to Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone’s performance at Woodstock has always been a secret highlight of the festival. The band’s set was a burst of technicolor psychedelic funk-rock, an explosive revival-service-style show that featured thrilling versions of songs like “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” and “I Want to Take You Higher,” and captured Sly at the absolute peak of his preacher-pimp oratorial genius. It was lightning in a bottle, and the pie-eyed, mud-covered hippies were not ready for it.
Picks by Lorne Chambers
Otis Redding with Booker T & the MGs and the Mar-Keys captured live at the Monterey International Festival, Just Do it one More Time!
Some artists just need to be listened to on vinyl. Otis Redding is one of them. And that’s why the release I’m most excited about this year is a previously unreleased live recording of the King of Soul at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival just months before his tragic death at the age of 26. Being called “the greatest live soul record never released,” this classic performance has been remastered and includes opening sets by Booker T & the MGs and the Mar-Keys.
Townes Van Zandt, The Best of Townes Van Zandt
There are few in the Americana world more revered than Townes Van Zandt. And this special Record Store Day release is a two-LP compilation of some of the best songs written by the late, great Texas songwriter and recorded over the course of his often-tragic life. This collection of 16 songs is a great snapshot of an artist who has become bigger in death than he was in life and whose music has influenced so many of the artists that I love today.
John Hiatt & Lilly Hiatt, You Must Go! / All Kinds Of People
Folk-rocker Lilly Hiatt will be playing across town at the High Water Music Festival on Record Store Day when a special seven-inch vinyl will be released featuring her and her nine-time Grammy Award-nominated father, songwriting legend John Hiatt. Last fall, the talented father and daughter recorded a version of one another’s songs. John covered “All Kinds of People” from Lilly’s critically acclaimed album Trinity Lane, while Lilly took on “You Must Go” from John’s 1995 release, Walk On.
Picks by AsiahMae
Moses Sumney, Black in Deep Red, 2014
Black in Deep Red, 2014 was sparked by Sumney’s first and last time attending a protest, right after the Mike Brown murder verdict in 2014. Though short (the EP clocks in under 10 minutes), the experimental new record brings out a side of Moses we usually only see on Twitter — the side that voices the unrest through song. This is the Moses I’m ready for.
Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, Music of Many Colours
Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers are two of the greatest men in music, period. This joint album, that came after a three-week tour in Nigeria in 1979, was released in 1980 and out of print since 1989, so some of us (and by some, I mean me) have been searching high and low to find this album on vinyl for most of our lives. This feels like a dream come true.
Various Artists, Malcolm X: Music From The Motion Picture
The soundtrack can make or break a film for me. With Malcolm X, the soundtrack is a standalone masterpiece. Soundtracks are to capture not only the essence of the film, but also the essence of the era, and with tracks from Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Coltrane, and Duke Ellington, Malcolm X does an amazing job of allowing the listener to time travel, even without the film in view. Did I mention it has Aretha Franklin’s version of “Someday We’ll All Be Free?”