So, that turntable this vinyl revival encouraged you to purchase or revisit (or simply keep using!)… well, it’s almost that definitive time of the year when it deserves to spin some new records. In addition to Boxing Day, of course, and, well, every Sunday afternoon of the year. Indeed, Record Store Day 2023 is just weeks away!
The annual celebration of records and everyone involved in it takes place on Saturday 22nd April and, keeping with tradition, will see hundreds of records – over 400, in fact – become available to purchase on that day.
Since the full list of exclusive RSD releases was announced, the What Hi-Fi? team has been discussing which ones they’d be prepared to elbow an elderly crate-digger out of the way for in order to add it to their vinyl collection – and perhaps you have been too (though probably without the elbowing part because you are an upstanding member of society).
Part of the thrill of this annual team collaboration is being able to share it with our readers, so in the comments below please do let us know which RSD releases are whetting your appetite the most too.
Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna Live
By Jonathan Evans
One of rock’s all-time great vocalists, at the peak of her powers, performing tracks from one of her great albums, and some of Fleetwood Mac’s most-loved songs, live on stage; what more could we ask for?
Well, having all the above available for the first time on vinyl, of course. This two-LP set features Stevie Nicks live at the Fox Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills on 13th December 1981 and includes stone-cold classics such as Edge Of Seventeen, Leather And Lace, Gold Dust Woman, Dreams and more. Can’t wait…
Beach House – Become EP
By Becky Roberts
The Become EP comprises five songs from the studio sessions of Beach House’s 2022 album Once Twice Melody, arguably the best and most beautiful yet from Baltimore’s dream-pop duo. (It certainly made my list of favourite albums of last year.) Beach House said they didn’t think these handful of tracks were a good fit for OTM, but later realised that they “fit in a little world of their own”. “To us, they are all kind of scuzzy and spacious, and live in the spirit realm,” says the band. “It’s not really where we are currently going, but it’s definitely somewhere we have been.”
Where Beach House are ‘going’ is anyone’s guess, as they are definitely one of those bands who seem to reliably make the same-sounding music – lush, expansive, stargazey – over and over but are somehow able to keep it fresh and enthralling with every release. If the tracks on the Become EP are anything like the quality of OTM, though, it will be a must-own. This exclusive RSD release will be on crystal-clean vinyl, with its digital release following on 28th April and a full physical-format release in May.
Bluey – Dance Mode
By Tom Parsons
Forget The Last of Us and Happy Valley – the best show on TV these days is Bluey, hands down. Funny, warm and sweet-natured, each eight-minute episode is a slice of pure joy that easily transcends the ‘kids’ show’ tag.
A huge part of the appeal is the music. Composer Joff Bush seems to have a knack for producing compact little bangers, and Dance Mode is the bangingest of all. That it’s the lead track of this second Bluey album is a strong sign, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t most drawn to this RSD release by the zoetrope effect on the vinyl, which features the canine stars of the show dancing.
Of course, another big part of the appeal is the idea of owning a solid memento of a show that we’ve loved so much as a family but that my son will inevitably grow out of before too long. That’s worth all the dollar bucks in the world.
Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous
By Harry McKerrell
I love Thin Lizzy more than is perhaps appropriate for someone born well into the 1990s, but I won’t apologise for my affection for Phil Lynott and his motley band of Irish rockers. Live And Kicking, described by NME (opens in new tab) as the greatest live album of all time, has earned its place in the pantheon of classic records, live or studio.
While RSD’s special Hammersmith 15/11/1986 release might smack of flogging a dead rock horse, its relative exclusivity (limited to 1600 copies) will have many Lizzy devotees like me digging out their wallets once more.
The boys are back in town… again.
Miles Davis – Turnaround: Rare Miles From The Complete On the Corner Sessions
By Alastair Stevenson
Miles Davis was one of the seminal band leaders and most prominent jazz musicians of all time, so getting to hear previously unreleased cuts from his final On The Corner Sessions is a huge deal. These cuts haven’t been widely available on vinyl before and were taken in his final days. The all-star band includes Michael Henderson on bass, Al Foster on drums, and James Mtume on percussion. There are also special guest appearances from big names including Bennie Maupin and Dave Liebman. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the 12-inch special edition release is actually coloured kind of blue – Sky Blue, to be precise.
Garbage – Witness To Your Love
By Kashfia Kabir
There’s no way I can resist Shirley Manson’s distinctive vocals, still as raw and unique today as they were in the ’90s. Originally recorded for a charity compilation in 2008, Witness To Your Love was finally released as a single last year and gets its very first vinyl pressing – on a transparent coloured 12″ – for RSD 2023. It’s a trip-hoppy, dreamy, guitar-led, grunge-tinged alt-rock tune that you don’t hear much of these days, and this exclusive release also features three previously unreleased tracks by Garbage – Cities In Dust, Blue Betty and Adam And Eve – and “exciting, vibrant artwork”.
The 1975 – Live With The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
By Lewis Empson
Fresh off their latest number-one charting album, a sold-out tour and a Brit Awards win, The 1975 are releasing what can only be described as a holy grail for fans this Record Store Day. The indie-pop band are offering a never-before-released version of their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, in collaboration with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. This stunning clear vinyl two LP set features iconic tracks such as Somebody Else and The Sound as well as a rendition of Chocolate from their Music For Cars EP.
Midlake – Live at the Roundhouse
By Becky Roberts
If I had to pick a London gig that I most yearned to be at last year – and trust me, there were many – it would be Midlake at the Roundhouse last April. Luckily for people like me, and of course those who were able to attend the gig and dug it, the show – which was held to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary – is being pressed to coloured (side A red, side B orange) vinyl for Record Store Day for fans to live (and relive) in their living rooms.
The live double album is actually the indie rockers’ first, which spans its catalogue, featuring tracks from latest album For the Sake Of Bethel Woods, and ventures back through their direction-changing Antiphon (the first post-lead-singer-Tim-Smith record), their ‘very Midlake’ The Courage Of Others, and of course the die-hard classics from 2006’s The Trials Of Van Occupanther – ya Roscoes and Head Homes and whatnot.
“We’ve been embraced so warmly all of these years,” Midlake’s Eric Pulido shares, “and knew our show at The Roundhouse would serve as the perfect night to celebrate our 20-year relationship with our first live album.”
Taylor Swift – Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions
By Ketan Bharadia
Taylor Swift’s Folklore was the best-selling album of 2020 and marked a significant shift away from the pristine pop of her previous efforts into something more subdued and thoughtful. It was made during the heart of the COVID-19 crisis and involved Swift working remotely in her home studio while her producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff were based elsewhere.
The Long Pond Studio Sessions is the soundtrack to a documentary that was released on Disney+ where Swift and her collaborators perform the album together for the first time. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver makes an appearance too. This production features sparser arrangements than the standard album and has a lovely intimate feel. The standard album is a more polished affair, but this one has plenty of charm.
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Streetcore
By Chris Burke
After a number of self-described ‘wilderness years’ post-Clash, Joe Strummer formed The Mescaleros in 1999 and embarked a roll of three great albums before his death in 2002. The last two were released on Californian punk label Hellcat, home of Clash-influenced bands like Rancid. This felt like full-circle for the rockabilly-punk icon, and his return to musical form made Strummer’s untimely demise hurt even more.
Streetcore, finished and released posthumously in 2003, is a great record to have gone out on. Strummer dug deep to sprinkle some of his old Clash magic over Coma Girl (an ode to Glastonbury festival, where you can still find Strummerville), the country-blues of Long Shadow, anthemic rocker Arms Aloft, and a heartfelt version of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song; which exactly 20 years after first hearing this album, still makes us a little teary for the loss of a true genius. Re-released for RSD on Dark Horse records, you’ll do a lot worse than to snap up this limited edition coloured vinyl pressing.
T-Rex – Rockin’ And Rollin’
By Andy Madden
Glam rock wouldn’t be high on my playlists most days, but one particular album from this year’s list of Record Store Day releases has me reminiscing. Growing up as a kid, the genre was played in the Madden household occasionally – the ‘glam’ side of things I found a little cheesy, but a couple of bands did manage to make an impression. One of which was T. Rex. There was something about Mark Bolan’s voice, lyrics and the band’s catchy guitar riffs that had me transfixed. So it’s great to see the rarity that is Rockin’ And Rollin’ is on the list of RSD releases this year. It was only ever released in Japan and it’s the first time that this album has had a repress. And, with classics like Children Of The Revolution and 20th Century Boy onboard, I can’t wait to take it on a trip down memory lane.
Brian Eno – FOREVER VOICELESS
By Becky Roberts
An instrumental version of his remarkably transcendent, achingly beautiful, pensive – and for that, critically acclaimed – 2022 album, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE, this aptly named LP has ‘best album for remote working’ acclaim all over it. Its arrival was perhaps inevitable, given that last year’s album was his first since 2005’s Another Day On Earth to predominantly feature vocals, and also considering how much it naturally still relies on Eno’s trademark instrumental ambience to convey much of its feeling.
The wordless edition may remove the largely present, most overt delivery of the album’s existentialist musings that is Eno’s narration (The Garden Of Stars won’t be as sinister without his Gregorian chant; We Let It In will not be quite as stirring for its omission of his daughter’s vocals), but letting the music speak alone for the entire 45 minutes will, I’m sure, communicate the album’s oft-sweeping mood shifts just as well – and perhaps manage to be even more transcendent and beautiful. I’ll have to wait and see. FOREVERVOICELESS will be a clear vinyl release on 22nd April.
Keith Richards – Vintage Vinos
By Chris Burke
Essential but long-out-of-print anthology of Keef’s best solo work, that includes prime cuts from solo albums Talk Is Cheap and Main Offender, plus the 1991 live album Live At The Hollywood Palladium backed by the X-pensive Winos – as awesome a bunch of musicians as his mighty reputation could command, including guitarist Waddy Wachtel, regular Stones sax blower Bobby Keys, drummer Steve Jordan and, on the studio albums, Ronnie Wood.
You don’t need us to tell you that the guitar is sublime here, on a mix of tracks that take in reggae (Too Rude), funk (Big Enough, with Bootsy Collins on bass), smokey bar-room blues (Wicked As It Seems) and driving, Stones-y rockers like Connection and Take It So Hard. Richards is an understated, bluesy crooner, and his warm, growly tones and effortless guitar grooves feel right at home on vinyl. A single pressing at the time sold out quicker than Keith can play a pentatonic scale, making it a sought-after second-hand record in subsequent years. Thanks to Record Store Day, you can now snag this double LP without parting with hundreds of dollars.
Doctor Who – The Amazon World of Doctor Who
By Kashfia Kabir
Coinciding with the show’s 60th anniversary this year, this special double vinyl edition covers short stories, snippets and features from The Amazing World of Doctor Who book, originally published in 1976 but brought to life here with voice actors and clever sound design. If you love this classic sci-fi show about a time-travelling alien with two hearts (it’s the Fourth Doctor here) who goes on more adventures than you can shake a sonic screwdriver at, this one’s for you (and me). Chris Achilleos’ iconic fantasy artwork from the original book is reproduced here on the front and back cover, too, which itself is sure to be a collector’s item.
Pixies – Demos
By Becky Roberts
The more obscure of the two RSD 2023 releases from the Pixies (the Massachusetts band is also releasing their 2009 Brussels gig on vinyl), Demos comprises the nine (of 17) tracks that were recorded in the band’s first studio session in March 1987 but didn’t make their first album, Come On Pilgrim.
These remaining songs from that 17-track demo reel, which has become known as ‘The Purple Tapes’, were released for the first time in 2002, but this EP marks their debut on 10-inch vinyl, which, by the way, is purple, comes with a printed inner sleeve and is limited in quantity. While this isn’t new or unheard material – these songs found their way onto subsequent albums from the band in some shape or form, after all – these original demo recordings, especially of Here Comes Your Man and Rock A My Soul, are very tasty indeed – and together here on coloured wax make for an attractive collector’s item for diehard fans.
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