The short answer is obviously, almost everything. Almost everything that is coming out is rehashed re-releases on somewhat inferior versions (like the bane of record collecting existence, the picture disc) and way over-inflated prices. However, I have put together this buyers guide (based solely on my own personal tastes) and lumped them into three loose categories: You can feel good buying this, you shouldn’t buy this, and you should feel deep shame about buying this. I’m not going to cover all the releases, just the ones that are loosely in my interests; punk, hardcore and 60’s , 70’s and 80’s reggae.
YOU CAN FEEL GOOD BUYING THIS
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. — Invisible Eyes and Phantom Cathedral LP (Bam Balam)
OK, this is outside of my usual wheelhouse, but not terribly so. Japanese hard rock psychedelic, a lot like a less fuzzed out High Rise — but with those elements and blending in some drone, some of Sunn O))), some of Sonic Youth and well, drop acid and enjoy this. Or don’t if that’s not your thing. It’s a new release, and limited quantities, so feel good about this one.
Death Grips — Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix) LP (Harvest)
Is this the new Death Grips? I dunno. I’m not a huge hiphop aficionado, nor am I deep into Death Grips discography, but what I’ve heard I’ve liked a lot. Think Atari Teenage Riot with the live show of a punk band hellbent on destroying themselves. From what was leaked, this is interesting and really could be called a punk band in the modern era.
Desmond Dekker and the Aces — Pretty Africa LP (BMG/Trojan)
A lost album from 1974? Desmond Dekker? If you’re into ska from the late 60’s/early 70’s this is for you. If you’re wondering, the title track is a great song about the racism of the UK in the Windrush era, and is pretty Africa conscious. Get this.
Green River — Live At The Tropicana 1984 LP (Jackpot)
The first grunge band? Early live set that’s pretty damn good and more complete than the versions that are floating around? If that interest you, then you should get this. Somewhere between a sped up Flipper and toned down late-era Black Flag, Green River played a key role in Seattle in the mid to late 80’s. The only downside is that there’s faaar too much banter on the tapes I’ve heard, but outside of that, it’s a pretty neat document that’s probably a decade too soon to cash in (although most of the people in Green River did OK).
Lee “Scratch” Perry — Rootz Reggae Dub — Special Edition 2xLP (Megawave)
Lee “Scratch” Perry is a dub legend, and the new songs on this should be interesting. Punky reggae party indeed.
Link Wray — “Vernon’s Diamond”/”My Brother, My Son” 7″ (Easy Eye Sound)
A 1958 recording cut straight to acetate and left on the shelf for half a decade. Vernon’s Diamond is apparently an early version of Ace of Spades, which is a great Link Wray song.
Motorhead — Rockaway Beach 7″ (Motorhead Music)
Uhhh Motorhead covering The Ramones? Where else in this list should this go?
Motorhead — Overkill/Bomber 2×7″ (BMG)
Uhhh two of Motorhead’s best songs? Where else in this list should this go?
Ramones — Live At The Palladium 2xLP (Rhino/Warner Brothers)
Weeeeellllll this is clearly a way to cash in. This set appeared in the 40th Anniversary Road To Ruin version, on CD. Now it’s on vinyl. The only saving grace is that this 1979 set is a good one. Aimed directly at the Ramones super-fan for sure, this isn’t a great entry point if you’re new to the Ramones. It’s also what some fans feel is the end of the golden era of Ramones. I think there’s no bad era, but with Marky fully in the drum position it’s full speed ahead. I’m also a bigger fan of the live sets from 1979–1982, than the actual recorded output. There’s some life there when some of the records dwell a little too much on some songs.
Various Artists — Industrial Accident The Story of Wax Trax! Records LP (Wax Trax!)
To coincide with the documentary about the label and store of the same name, this LP should be interesting. It’s a greatest hits package of the label (including Ministry, Front 242, KMFDM, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Revolting Cocks, among others) with a twist; apparently these songs were never released. Now, all of those bands have a fairly prolific level of output through the 80’s and 90’s. Surely unreleased stuff is going to be, well, bluntly put underwhelming? With that said, curiosity will likely get me to actually buy this when I see it for cheap six months down the line. If you’re not aware of industrial music, this is a compilation for you — mostly synthesizer driven, not quite the Ministry with guitars from the track selection that I’ve seen, this will still be abrasive enough that you’ll probably get something out of it.
YOU SHOULDN’T BUY THIS (BUT IF YOU DO, AT LEAST IT’S A DECENT BAND/RELEASE)
13th Floor Elevators — The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators LP (Charly)
Positives? It’s a legit re-issue of a classic psychedelic record. The band might actually see some money from this. Negatives? It’s a fucking picture disc. Picture discs are fucking bullshit and you know it.
Adrenalin O.D. — Let’s Barbecue LP (Beer City)
Re-issue of a record that was widely available and just repressed earlier this decade. Bonus that Beer City added 5 of the demo songs to this. Here’s my functional problem with this release. You put 5 of the 6 songs on one side of the LP, and the straggler as the first song on side B. Then add some, but not all of the demo songs. Just press the damn LP at 33, and get the whole 7″ on one side and the whole demo on the other.
Bad Religion — My Sanity 7″ EP (Epitaph/ADA)
This song is just like most of the other Bad Religion songs I’ve heard in the last 25 years (outside of “The Walk” , off of The Grey Race). Gone are all sense of urgency and despite the well-crafted lyrics, it seems like Bad Religion are going through the motions and not even giving us the album we want (see the Descendents for playing melodic punk well into their 50’s). The problem, is that Graffin is singing at half the speed — rather than matching the tempo of the song as they might’ve done earlier in their career. At least this is a new song!
Captain Beefheart — Trout Mask Replica 2xLP (Third Man)
You should just get the recent repress on Rhino, or the previous one from Warner Brothers rather than anything on Third Man. An important record for sure, but when used copies sit around $20 on discogs, you have no reason to pay twice that for Record Store Day.
Devo — This Is The Devo Box 6xLP (Rhino/Warner Brothers)
You already own half this box set, and if you’re a Devo collector, you have the 7 CD box set this is based on from 2008 that came out in Japan. While the re-masters are probably a benefit, the originals weren’t that poorly mastered in the first place.
Generation X — Your Generation 7″ (Winstanley Mix) (Chrysalis)
So, this was already remastered twice, most recently on the re-issue that just came out last month! So why this? Well these are rough mixes of “Your Generation” and “Trying for Kicks” two of the best songs by Gen X.
Hawkwind — The 1999 Party — Live At The Chicago Auditorium 21st March, 1974 2xLP (Rhino/Parlophone)
It’s Hawkwind maybe just passed their peak. Lemmy on bass, but no Dik Mik or Robert Calvert… Originally released as a 2xCD package in 1997, then a single CD in 2006, this appears to be closer to the original 2xCD than the single CD, but it’ll be hard to get all those tracks on a double LP.
Iggy Pop — Hippodrome Paris 1977 2xLP (Culture Factory)
This is Iggy at a peak — maybe not his absolute best, but pretty energetic, playing a couple of Stooges songs, and a good selection of his solo “hits” all in rough and ready form. The original recording is a bit rough, so it’ll be interesting to see if this gets cleaned up a bit.
Night Beats — Night Beats Perform The Sonics’ Boom LP (Heavenly / PIAS America)
So this release is new (well in the same way a cover song is new I guess) and I’m never a big fan of covers, but I’m actually cautiously interested in this one; Night Beats definitely have the 60’s sound nailed. Or at least what we think the psychedelic 60’s should sound like. The Sonics are a band that you should know, and Boom is a classic LP. Normally that would be a recipe for disaster, but this might actually turn out enjoyable. Fingers crossed.
Osaka Popstar/Barnes & Barnes — Fish Heads 12″ EP (Demented Punk)
This is a bit out there, but classic Dr. Demento stuff from the 80’s, one side covered by pop punk (light on the punk) Osaka Popstar, and the original on the b-side. Not necessary, but if you’re going to buy Trout Mask Replica, this is probably the best companion possible.
Salvation Army — Live In Torrance LP (Burger)
Totally over the top sweet power pop ala early Green Day, but not as good. Inoffensive, and totally forgettable, I can’t imagine this would be better as a live set.
The Heptones — Swing Low LP with bonus 12″ EP (Burning Sounds)
The Heptones are classic mid-70’s reggae, but often are overlooked in favour of their more upbeat ska contemporaries, or their blissed out dub artists — but The Heptones had Leroy Sibbles, a reggae giant in my opinion, to sing them through the decade. Nothing better than this playing on the patio, but nothing in this package should require your purchase when you can probably pick up a copy in decent shape on CD for cheap.
The Skatallites — Greetings From Skamania LP (MVD Audio)
A re-issue of the 1996 LP, which features rerecorded versions of “Phoenix City” and “El Pussycat”. Not essential by any means, but certainly better than the average release on Record Store Day.
The Specials — “10 Commandments”/ “You’re Wondering Now” 7″ (Island)
You’re Wondering Now, is a good tune, but an old track. The new song, 10 Commandments is Saffiyah Khan fronting the band who provide a dub inspired backing track, but it’s missing an element. Anger? I think the vocals are a little too laid back, not confrontational enough. The random drop of a string stanza into the song is also out of place. Outside of those minor quibbles, I’d still rather listen to The Boiler than this tune, so if you’re a completist fill your boots, otherwise take a pass.
Various Artists — Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets Highlights 2xLP (Rhino)
The Nuggets series are great for digging into early garage rock, one-hit wonders and other obscurities, but this vinyl compilation of the full CD boxset is a bit troublesome. It stinks of milking Record Store Day, so I guess in theory I’m OK with that, but man, I can see part two of this coming a mile away.
Wipers — Alien Boy EP 7″ (Jackpot)
Now I have no real opposition to this straight re-issue of a classic record. But I’m not going to listen to it, because I’ve heard these songs a million times. Well maybe not a million times, but the way Wipers songs are written, they are quite repetitive. So I might’ve heard one song a million times, because a lot of repetition happens within each song, and frankly I can’t remember where one ends and one starts.
X-Ray Spex — I Am A Cliche 2xLP (BMG/Mute)
It’s a weird one this one: labelled an anthology, which usually means a hodgepodge mess but in this case it’s a straight reissue of Germ Free Adolescents and a live set from the Roxy 1977 (which means Germ Free Adolescents again, but live). I’m not sure that much can be done with the live set from 1977 — it’s not going to be a great revelation unless a ton of time was put in to improving the sound — so the bass will likely be flabby, EQ all over the place and full of 70’s tape artifacts. With all that said, it’s a fine release on Dayglo vinyl, so if that’s your bag, feel good. Otherwise, find a copy of Germ Free Adolescents and revel in the original.
Youth of Today — One Night Stand 7″ (Revelation)
Again, completists will just get this without really thinking if it’s worth it. One Night Stand is a cover; so is the b-side (Anarchy in Vienna, from a European tour in 1989 — if the copy on discogs is right). One Night Stand has also been released on the REV 100 compilation, so yeah there’s that as well. I’m not a huge Youth of Today fan, never have been (Ray’s voice kills it for me — which is odd for a guy who likes the Crucifucks a lot) so this isn’t for me, but it might be for you.
YOU SHOULD FEEL SHAME BUYING THIS
To be honest, you don’t need to see the covers of these things.
Anal Cunt — Picnic of Love LP (Anti-Corp)
It’s Anal Cunt. The band was bad, and you should feel bad.
Bad Religion — My Sanity 3″ EP (Epitaph/ADA)
What you read above about Bad Religion, except in a format that is a novelty.
Cherie Curie — Blvds of Splendor LP (Blackheart)
Lead singer of the Runaways, makes rock record 35 years later. The voice is still good, but c’mon, this isn’t going be anything better than what came out back in the day. The last LP was lets say limp, and far into the hard rock ballad territory. Pass.
Iggy Pop — The Villagers/Pain & Suffering 7″ (Caroline)
The Villagers is not Iggy at his top. Neither is Pain & Suffering. Now, 1980’s Iggy isn’t for me, but if you like 80’s Bowie, or some of the poppier Iggy songs, this might be for you. Not for me.
Joe Strummer — The Rockfield Studio Tracks 12″ EP (Ignition)
Recorded in 1993, these unreleased tracks Forbidden City (demo version) and Cool Impossible are in no way essential, but might be something you get if you have to listen to everything Joe did. Both these songs are more laid back, and not really the Strummer songs I dig. Perfect songs for playing in a hip cafe or something.
Johnny Thunders — Que Sera Sera Resurrected 2xLP (Jungle)
An “expanded” edition of a record that probably shouldn’t have come out in 1985, and sounds like it came out in 1985. Think the guitar sounds of early U2. There’s a reason lots of this is not that sought after. Apparently, Johnny abandoned these songs during the recording session, now I’m sure junk had a hand in that decision, but listening to this, I can see why one might want to forget these schmaltzy limp songs.
L7 — Burn Baby 7″ (Blackheart)
A midtempo clunker from L7; sounds like 90’s era grunge production. At least it’s new.
Rancid — Ruby Soho 3″ EP (Epitaph)
A novelty format for a novelty band (at this point in time). I will say that at one time Rancid were really good and Ruby Soho is probably the end of that time. But fuck this cash in on a novelty format for collectors only.
The Pietasters — Willis LP (Epitaph/Slugtone)
A reissue of a lesser version of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones is not what the world needs.
Various Artists — STIV: No Compromises No Regrets LP (MVD Audio)
The accompanying LP to the Stiv Bators documentary. Contains very little Stiv Bators content.