Black Friday Record Store Day Preview: Our Ten Favorite Releases!


The Cardigans
Long Gone Before Daylight (180g vinyl)

Famous for their 1996 smash "Lovefool", from the genius First Band On The Moon album, the band's stateside status dropped off significantly when they abandoned the upbeat European pop sound that made them stars in the first place. By the time of Long Time Before Daylight, which finally saw a US release in 2004 (a full year after it hit shelves in the rest of the world), eight long years had passed. Additionally, the band's midtempo country leanings had no place to go at pop radio.



In the eleven years that have passed since, mainstream radio formats have totally embraced hooky pop country, making many of the songs on this album worthy of serious consideration. Once you get past the idea of a pop country Cardigans, you'll be struck by how wonderfully singer Nina Persson's voice fits into the rock-country genre and how a song as beautiful as "You're The Storm" has been burning up the airwaves. Maybe this RSD release will change that. Crazier things have happened.



Johnny Cash
Man In Black Live In Denmark 1971 (2 LP)


While the marketplace seems to be flooded with posthumous Cash releases of varying quality, this live set from '71 is taken from a TV broadcast that aired only on Danish TV and never released on vinyl, making a must for even fair-weather fans, as it contains some truly inspired performances by Cash, wife June Carter Cash, the Statler Brothers, and some truly incendiary picking by Carl Perkins.



Unlike his politically charged album of the same name from that same year, he delivers favorites like "A Boy Named Sue", "Sunday Morning Coming Down", and "I Walk The Line" with a fervor you may have forgotten he had.



Coheed And Cambria
The Color Before The Sun Official Band Demos (12" vinyl)

If, like me, you found the band's most recent studio outing to be their most restrained effort yet, you'll no doubt find the band's demos for this album all the more enlightening. as Claudio Sanchez's vocals appear here pretty much au natural and bring a complete different kind of intensity to the songs.



There is something to be said for taking in such an explosive band in such an intimate and musically organic setting, which is perfect for vinyl.



Dressy Bessy
Lady Liberty b/w What Is Life (7" blue vinyl single)

Denver's Dressy Bessy return from a lengthy hiatus, and make their Yep Roc Records debut, in fine fashion with a single that charges out of the gate like the alt rock thoroughbred that they are.



The B-side, a cover of George Harrison's "What is Life?", is not to miss as well, featuring guest vocals from R.E.M.'s Mike Mills.





Egyptian Lover
Egypt, Egypt b/w Girls (7" die-cut pyramid shaped vinyl in 3-D packaging)

First off, this one gets an A+ for effort, as the packaging itself is a sight to behold, but its also your opportunity to re-discover (or discover for the first time) this pioneering 1983 hip hop gem.


While few seem to consider L.A. a hotbed of rap and hip-hop until N.W.A.'s arrival later in the decade, this single stands as a reminder that Egyptian Lover, with his vocoder and on-the-fly analog synth melodies, was truly ahead of his time.


Garbage
Self-titled debut album 20th anniversary remaster (2 LP's on pink vinyl)

Has it been 20 years already since Garbage first unleashed their sophisticated edgy rock anthems upon an unsuspecting world? While one can't be blamed for taking that news kind of hard, the elaborate lengths the band went to make this vinyl re-issue something special will hopefully ease the pain.


Hearing this sterling remaster on warm vinyl will breathe new life into already familiar classics (did I just say that?) such as "Only Happy When It Rains", "Stupid Girl" and "Vow". Heck, it just might make you fall in love with Shirley Manson all over again.



David Gray
A Thousand Miles Behind (2 LP)


One has to wonder why David Gray, for all his success, is not yet a household names akin to those whose music he celebrates on this 2007 collection of covers, especially when his treatment of songs by the likes of Tim Buckley, Dylan and Springsteen resonates so completely.


The true standout on this collection, to my ears, is his achingly on-the-money reading of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going To Rain Today", but that could very well change tomorrow due to the amazing breadth of Gray's talents to make already-iconic material his own.



Gang Of Four
Songs Of The Free (purple/blue/yellow splatter vinyl)


The band's first album after the exit of original bassist Dave Allen (who left to form Shriekback) remains a very under-appreciated aspect of the band's catalog, which is a shame because the addition of Sara Lee on bass and backing vocals adds a variety of shades and colors to the band's sonic palette that gave the band their best shot at the sort of mainstream success that others (like Talking Heads) attained around the same time.



The album did feature their biggest US dance hit in "I Love A Man In A Uniform", but other gems such as "We Live As We Dream, Alone" and "Muscle For Brains" make this an album worth exploring for those who wrote the band off once the original line-up splintered.


Mini-Mekons & Robbie Fulks
Jura (LP)


Seeing as how longtime Chicagoans (by way of Britain) the Mekons came at country from a punk point-of-view, much like country traditionalist Robbie Fulks did, its amazingly fitting that the two collaborated for a very successful UK tour last year.



It is that tour that brought them to Scotland, where the material for this album was written on the spot and recorded live-to-tape. Grab this vinyl because there will be no other physical format release of this album.


Tenacious D
Live! (LP)


Those who have seen the dynamic duo of Kyle Gass and Jack Black in concert know that it is in the live setting where |The D" truly shines and this live set taken from their 2012-13 European tour all but confirms it.



The album contains all the best moments from their three studio efforts and comes damn close to being the only "Mighty D" record anyone really needs.

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