Kevin Cole's Guide to Record Store Day 2023

Record Store Day
Kevin Cole

Record Store Day initially started in 2008 as a means to support and help keep independent brick and mortar record stores alive when online shopping and digital music became a threat. But today, RSD has evolved into a global celebration of music, vinyl, and independent record stores. For music lovers and vinyl collectors, RSD might as well be a high holiday. 

This Saturday, April 22, is the highly anticipated 2023 edition of Record Store Day. On Saturday, hundreds of limited edition records will be released at over 250 participating independent record stores. Like every year, there’s a ton of goodies to be excited about, including rarities, long out of print re-issues, first time releases, demos, colored vinyl, picture discs, etc. in all kinds of formats including 7”, 10”, and 12” vinyl, cassettes, and even a few novelty 3” records! 

If you’re new to RSD, not all releases are available at all stores and quantities are limited. So, to that end, here are a few of my tips for Record Store Day:

    • Be like a boy scout and have your list ready, know which stores are participating, and know what you want.
    • I am not a morning person, but on Record Store Day, I am absolutely a morning person. Stuff sells out fast!
    • Most participating stores have a “Record Store Day” section. Go there first. I know this sounds obvious, but I also know once you’re in a good record store, it’s easy to get distracted!
    • Have fun and be kind! Again, obvious, but it needs to be said. You’re not going to get everything you want and being super competitive about the crate digging can take the joy out of it for you and your fellow music fanatics.

My RSD 2023 wishlist is llloooooonnnnngggg, but without further ado… 

Five Six Record Store Day 2023 Releases I Can’t Live Without:

Pearl Jam — Give Way

Recorded in Australia during the 1998 tour, Give Way features 17 previously unreleased live recordings. The CD of this performance was supposed to be a promotional item, but for some reason never saw the light of day to the public… until now. This double-disc vinyl release features live versions of “Given To Fly”, “Faithfull” and “Do The Evolution.” 

MORE FOR THE LOCALS: Also being released for the first time on vinyl is Mike McCready’s late ‘90s project The Rockfords, with Chris and Rick Friel, Danny Newcomb and Carrie Akre. And on the Seattle front, Alter, the collaboration album between experimental music groups Boris and Sunn O))), features guest appearances from Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Joe Preston (Earth, Thrones, Melvins, High on Fire), Phil Wandscher and Jesse Sykes (both of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter). This album has been out of print for 15 years and will be available as an exclusive Lava Red edition for Record Store Day 2023.

Hüsker Dü — Tonite Longhorn

A double album of rare, early Hüsker Dü live recordings from 1979 and 1980. Recorded at the legendary Longhorn Bar in Minneapolis. I was at several of these shows and am excited to revisit the rush and  intensity of these early shows and also to pay tribute to the hearing loss suffered pogoing in front of Bob Mould’s amps.

MORE FOR MY MINNIE PEEPS: The Cactus Blossoms reimagining of 4 early Bob Dylan songs will be released on blue vinyl and Soul Asylum’s legendary 1993 MTV Unplugged performance will be released in its complete form which includes four previously unreleased songs that weren’t part of the broadcast.

Taylor Swift — Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions

🚨UNABASHED SWIFTY ALERT🚨Written and recorded during the early days of the COVID lockdown, 2020’s folklore surprised a lot of people, including me. It was a departure for Swift, being more of an indie folk record than a bombastic pop album, and it ended up winning Swift her third Grammy for Album of the Year! Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, is the soundtrack to a documentary where Swift and her collaborators perform the album together for the first time and includes appearances from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Aaron Dessner of the National, and Jack Antonoff. (And, no, I don’t have tickets to the Taylor Swift Seattle show yet… let my bank account recover from RSD 2023 first!)

Mike D — Brazil 45 Boxset Vol. 4

So what’cha want? A copy of this 1000-run record, featuring Brazil’s rich music, curated by hip-hop royalty, Mike D of the Beastie Boys. The first three releases in this Brazil 45 series have all been outstanding, and with Mike D curating this year’s selection, I’m anticipating another mind blowing collection of Brazilian rarities including some funky psych and dream rock. 

The RSD website wrote: “Circling back to the psychedelic rock vibe, we have both sides of a supremely rare Modulo 1000 7" compacto originally released on Odeon Records in 1970. Mike’s love for the dreamy 70s MPB / ‘Clube Da Esquina-esque’ lush sound is represented by two selections from the impeccable Erasmo Carlos.”

Various Artists — Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 

Lenny Kaye is a legendary guitarist who was a part of the Patti Smith Group. Lenny curated this groundbreaking and influential compilation of the first generation of garage rock and psychedelic artists 50 years ago and now we have another chance to grab it via an anniversary run. This box set includes the original 2-LP set, the planned but unreleased Vol. 2, and a single LP of songs that were considered for the original set, but didn't make the final cut. Like the original, this set is curated by Lenny Kaye with the full involvement of Jac Holzman — the original pioneers of Nuggets. Lenny has also written new complete notes.

BONUS: Lenny Kaye will be on my Annual Record Store Day Preview show today (Friday, April 21st, 4-7 PM PT) talking about putting this album together!

Beach House — Become EP

Late Spring, early Summer is the perfect time for Beach House. Become is a new EP featuring five previously unreleased songs recorded during the Once Twice Melody sessions. I basically wore out my copy of last year’s Once Twice Melody, so I cannot wait to get my hands on this crystal-clear vinyl RSD-exclusive. It’s only limited to 8,000 copies in the US, so don’t sleep on this dreamy album

Other RSD 2023 Albums I Want (in no particular order)

  • Slum Village — Trinity (Past, Present And Future)
  • Carole King — The Legendary Demos
  • Joe Strummer — Streetcore (20th Anniversary)
  • Brian Eno — Forever Voiceless
  • Ramones — Pleasant Dreams
  • Sigur Ros — Kveikur
  • Sunn O))) & Boris — Altar
  • Soul Asylum — MTV Unplugged
  • The Cactus Blossoms — If Not For You (Bob Dylan Songs Vol. 1)
  • Terry Callier — Hidden Conversations
  • Vopli Vidoplaiassova — Tantsi
  • Björk — the fossora remixes
  • Ol’ Dirty Bastard — Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
  • Tom Tom Club — Tom Tom Club (Expanded Edition)
  • And — much to my wallet’s chagrin — about 100 more. 

Record Store Day is one of my favorite days of the year and I love celebrating it with the KEXP community and my local record stores. Tune in to Drive Time (4-7 PM PT) on April 21st for an all Record Store Day 2023 show! It’s my Annual Record Store Day Preview show and I’ll be playing as many picks as I can fit into three hours. Also! Lenny Kaye has an exclusive interview for Drive Time, talking about his Nuggets compilation. Tune in for today’s Record Store Day preview on Drive Time and look for me tomorrow in record stores around the greater Seattle area.