Yes, it’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is here, and with each Thanksgiving comes another Black Friday, the day for consumers to start off the holiday shopping season on a mad, frenetic note. This year is just in the latest one in which numerous retailers in the U.S. have made headlines by blackening Thursday, or Thanksgiving Day itself, with sales starting on the holiday. So many might give thanks that the folks behind Record Store Day are waiting until the traditional Friday for the second of their twice-yearly events.
In keeping with tradition, Mike and I have once again selected our picks for the crème de la crème of titles being released this Friday from many of our favorite labels, including Legacy Recordings, Omnivore Recordings, Rhino Records, Varese Sarabande, Blue Note, Sundazed and more. Don’t hesitate to head over and drop by your local independent record store, and don’t fear the crowds. With everybody at the mall and the big boxes, the Black Friday RSD event is usually a bit more manageable than the April festivities. You can find a full list of RSD Back to Black Friday exclusives (and a list of participating shops) here.
Without further ado, we’ll kick things off with five of Joe’s favorite slabs of vinyl due tomorrow…
American Hustle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia/Legacy)
Writer-director David O. Russell’s 2013 motion picture American Hustle transported viewers to the era of bell bottoms and disco with a cast of oddly irresistible con artists, mobsters and feds. Though the Academy Award-nominated production and costume design were crucial to revisiting the film’s time period of 1978, much of the heavy lifting was accomplished thanks to the movie’s impeccable soundtrack. In fact, the movie was so stuffed with music that a number of the film’s songs weren’t included on the original CD release of the soundtrack. Legacy has rectified that with a new 150-gram double-LP release on red and blue vinyl containing six tracks not on the original soundtrack CD. To the era-defining hits by America (“A Horse with No Name”), the Bee Gees (“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”), Wings (“Live and Let Die”) and Elton John (“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), the album featured surprising tracks like Duke Ellington’s “Jeep’s Blues,” Mayssa Karaa’s Arabic rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and a new recording by Jack Jones of the Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh standard “Real Live Girl.” It also had three tracks from Jeff Lynne and ELO including the exclusive instrumental “Stream of Stars” and the rare Japan-only Zoom bonus track “Long Black Road.” This deluxe vinyl presentation – with red Columbia 360 Sound labels – adds key recordings by Todd Rundgren (“I Saw the Light”), Steely Dan (“Dirty Work”), The Temptations (“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”), David Bowie (“The Jean Genie”), Ella Fitzgerald (her 1956 treatment of Cole Porter’s “It’s De-Lovely”) and Frank Sinatra (his 1946 Columbia version of “The Coffee Song”). The end result is a perfect accompaniment to the film and an incredibly entertaining listen in its own right which both avoids kitsch and celebrates a memorable musical era.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Marvel Music/Walt Disney Records)
American Hustle has an unlikely companion on this list. The music of the seventies played a far more surprising part in Marvel Studios’ 2014 blockbuster superhero space epic Guardians of the Galaxy. With a mix tape playing a prominent role in the film – and providing a source of both great emotion and humor – it’s only appropriate that Disney/Marvel is actually releasing the Star Lord’s favorite tunes on cassette as depicted in the film! Rupert Holmes’ “The Pina Colada Song,” The Raspberries’ “Go All the Way,” Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” and Blue Swede’s version of B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling” are just four of the, well, awesome hits you’ll hear on this must-have tape (which doubles as a cool collectible for fans of the smash hit movie).
Wham!, Last Christmas (Legacy)
Can it be that “Last Christmas” is really 30 years old? Since its original release in 1984, the song by writer-producer George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s Wham! has become a staple of every holiday season, spawning covers by such latter-day pop stars as Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale, Ariana Grande and even the legendary Carole King. For Black Friday, however, the original recording is back on a special 12-inch vinyl release co-produced by our very own Mike Duquette! And that’s not all. “Last Christmas” will be backed with a special, previously unreleased instrumental mix of the song – and it’s all on red and green vinyl! Hands down, this is the most festive item of the Black Friday RSD line-up – you know you want to give it your heart!
Game Theory, Pointed Accounts of People You Know / Distortion (Omnivore Recordings)
Earlier this week, Omnivore unveiled the first U.S. release of the alternative pop band’s compilation Dead Center. That original French release gained 11 bonus tracks in Omnivore’s U.S. edition and featured new music along with selected tracks from the EPs Pointed Accounts of People You Know and Distortion (produced by Michael Quercio of Paisley Underground greats The Three O’Clock and featuring Earl Slick on guitar!). On Black Friday, listeners will have the chance to experience those two EPs in complete form, as originally heard. Both will be reissued on 10-inch vinyl, with a customary Omnivore twist: the latter will be on green vinyl, and the former on clear vinyl! These EPs provide a fine introduction to the beguiling music of the late Scott Miller’s California band.
Miles Davis, Blue Xmas (Legacy) and Enigma (Blue Note)
The late Miles Davis is being recognized by both Legacy and Blue Note, two of the keepers of the trumpeter’s immense musical flame, on this Black Friday. In 1962, Davis, Gil Evans and bebop singer Bob Dorough turned the holiday season on its ear with “Blue Xmas,” an original tune mocking the crass commercialism of the Christmas season. This recording, along with “Devil May Care,” another Dorough tune recorded by Davis and Evans, is being released by Legacy on a 7-inch 45 RPM blue vinyl single. Blue Note turns the clock back even further – to 1952-1953. Four previously unreleased Davis performances have been unearthed from the Blue Note vault for a black 10-inch single designed in the same style as Miles' original Blue Note 10-inch discs; Enigma features Take 2 of the title track plus "Kelo (Take 1)", "Chance It (Take 3), and "Chance It (Second Alternate) (Take 4).”
After the jump: Mike has his five picks for RSD Must-Haves!
Ennio Morricone, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Capitol)
Released on smoky red vinyl, Morricone's score to Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood's third and greatest film in the loose "Man with No Name" trilogy is a landmark of the spaghetti western genre, with themes that'll get stuck in your head for days. (If you know that first part of the main title, whistle it in a crowd and see who responds to your musical call!) It's long been a favorite soundtrack of mine--and a great reminder of the talents of Leone, Eastwood and the late, great Eli Wallach. (If you haven't read Joe's astounding remembrance of Wallach, I suggest you correct this right now.)
Wu-Tang Clan, C.R.E.A.M. (Loud/RCA/Legacy)
"Cash Rules Everything Around Me" is a pretty bold statement on Record Store Day, but I have so much love for Wu-Tang's breakthrough single released on a die-cut disc that perfectly creates the hip-hop group's iconic logo. I humbly state that I might know a thing or two about quirky single ideas for Record Store Day, and it'll make me very happy to see this single become one of the event's runaway hits.
Dave Matthews Band, Recently (Bama Rags/RCA/Legacy)
As a relatively casual but unapologetic Dave Matthews Band fan (I'll never see them live but I read this A.V. Club feature and immediately answered "Yes!" to the question in the headline), the reissues of DMB's early albums have made me happy. So, too, will this double 10" version of the band's major-label debut EP Recently, which includes both the familiar version as well as a rare promo edition, notable for its alternate track list, cover and insane price tag on the secondary market.
St. Vincent, Pieta (Loma Vista/Republic)
Annie Clark was responsible for one of my favorite albums of 2014 (her fourth breakthrough album as St. Vincent) and one of my favorite live moments of the year (joining Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear and Dave Grohl in an all-star tribute to Nirvana at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, alongside guest frontwomen Joan Jett, Kim Gordon and Lorde). No surprise, then, that this limited 10" of two outtakes from her last album is so high on my shopping list.
Run-D.M.C., Christmas in Hollis (Get On Down)
Several weeks ago, I gleefully left a record fair with a copy of one of my favorite holiday albums on vinyl, 1987's all-star A Very Special Christmas. (This led to a humorous, delicate conversation with my roommate about when exactly I start blaring yuletide tunes on the turntable--don't worry, friends, not until post-Thanksgiving.) Run-D.M.C.'s holiday rap is one of the highlights of that LP, and this lovely little 45 (complete with bonus "audible postcard") looks like a lot of fun for when the album isn't handy.