It's April and the smell of vinyl is in the air. Record Store Day is this weekend, that annual celebration of those places where the things you illegally download live. This equates to a wealth of exclusive releases and reissues, some of which are made in such small quantities they are practically only available for one day. The entire list is available on the official Record Store Day website. Here is the list of the six most exciting Record Store Day releases of 2012. Feel free to note which records you're excited about below, but please include a digital download with your comment so we'll actually listen to it.
6. Genesis - Spot The PIgeon EP Spot The Pigeon is a lost entry in the Genesis catalog, three extras from Wind & Wuthering, one of the records in the confused period between Peter Gabriel's departure and the time when Phil Collins owned his spot as the band's frontman. The Record Store Day edition is the most official release of Spot The Pigeon since its original run in 1977. While it's far from the band's best work, the Close To The Edge era Yes vibe of the second half of "Inside And Out" is more than enough reason for this album to continue to exist.
5. St. Vincent - "Krokodil" "Krokodil" is exciting for exactly two reasons. It's the first song Annie Clark is releasing since her fabulous Strange Mercy record, and it's more of a rocker than anything on said album. The only complaint that can be taken seriously about Mercy is that Clark didn't show off her avant-garde shredding chops enough. It appears that "Krokodil" might remedy that situation.
4. Tortoise - "Lonesome Sound/Mosquito"
This double 7" is a reissue of the very first recordings by the Chicago post-rock pioneers. Like many RSD releases, this is aimed more at the collector and completist than the casual listener. "Lonesome Sound" is a cover of a tune by Freakwater and features prominent vocals, which melt into Slint-ish spoken word on b-side "Reservoir" and disappear completely by "Mosquito." By the time the second seven inch is flipped, you're hearing a song that would appear on Tortoise's first full length record. Nobody should dive into these 7" expecting to hear Tortoise's best work, but these four sides show the most drastic evolution in the band's career. 3. Bill Evans - Selections from Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate
Jazz nerds are likely to be particularly nerdy about Bill Evans' recently unearthed collection Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top Of The Gate, a trio set with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morrell. This document has been likened to a time capsule, and its June release will be the first time the recordings have gone public. As a teaser, Resonance Records is releasing a 10" of four cuts from these sessions - standards "Yesterdays," "My Funny Valentine," "Someday My Prince Will Come," and "Here's That Rainy Day," blank slates for the impressionistic pianist in one of the most fertile periods in his career.
2. Tower Groove Records compilation
Local upstart label Tower Groove Records is nothing if not committed. Its debut release is a double LP compilation of local artists, with a very small number available a month early for Record Store Day on colored vinyl, which does not come cheap. The contents within are worth the dough - tracks by a laundry list of STL's finest, including but not limited to Old Lights, Catholic Guilt, Bug Chaser, and This City Of Takers. The always awesome Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra contributes to four different artists, and the comp features fun nuggets like Sleepy Kitty's cover of Pavement's "Box Elder" and Doom Town's incestuous cover of Bunnygrunt's Misfits referencing "Where Eagles Dare Pt. 2." The sheer ambition of this comp is a middle finger to the naysayers of local music; here's twenty-two bands who aren't just good, they're vinyl good.
1. Feist/Mastodon - Feistodon
Feistodon might be awful, but it doesn't matter; its existence is enough. The fact that Canadian songstress Leslie Feist and Atlanta beard-metal quartet Mastodon even suggested releasing a split seven inch in which they cover each other's songs is noble. That both followed through and Feistodon can be physically held in your hands this Saturday is phenomenal. Feist's take on Mastodon's "Black Tongue" has potential, as the track is one of the more conventional and melodic on last year's The Hunter. The chances of Mastodon's cover of Feist's "A Commotion" being anything better than decent and/or funny are slim, but again, that's not the point. Feistodon, like Record Store Day itself, is all about the principle.