Record labels of all sizes have been releasing special limited edition items for Record Store Day over the past few years in an attempt to drive hardcore music fans back into brick-and-mortar independent retailers. This is awesome, but actually getting your hands on any of these collector’s items can be very, very tricky – for one thing, there simply aren’t any independent record stores anymore in many areas, and a lot of this special stock ends up getting snapped up by people who immediately flip the records on eBay for a substantial profit. So with that in mind, here’s a taste of some of the best rare and previously unreleased music that came out on Record Store Day. You can decide for yourself whether or not any of this stuff is worth going out of your way to track down and acquire.
1. Best Coast, “Fear of My Identity” b/w “Who Have I Become”
This 7-inch single features two brand new, previously unreleased songs featuring singer and songwriter Bethan Costentino’s dad Ricky on drums.
2. Stephen Malkmus, Ege Bamyasi
Pavement and Jicks frontman Stephen Malkmus recorded this surprisingly faithful cover of Can’s entire 1972 krautrock masterpiece last year in Germany. Good luck ever finding a copy of this thing.
3. the xx, Sunset Reconsider [Jamie xx Edits]
Two new mixes of tracks recorded during the Coexist sessions by xx member Jamie xx. He actually made the song “Sunset” sound even more languid and lovesick. Good work, Jamie xx.
4. Bob Dylan, “Wigwam” b/w “Thirsty Boots”
This new 7-inch features outtakes from Dylan’s 1970 album Self-Portrait. The a-side is an early recording of “Wigwam” without brass accompaniment, and this track is a previously unreleased outtake penned by Eric Andersen.
5. MGMT, “Alien Days”
This is the first single from MGMT’s upcoming third album. A special cassette version of the single was released exclusively to stores participating in Record Store Day. It’s a pretty good track – it’s kinda like a cross between The Flaming Lips in the late ’90s and Syd Barrett’s acid-damaged music after he quit Pink Floyd.
6. Pulp, “After You”
This 12-inch single features three versions of Pulp’s recent single produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy – the original mix, this excellent remix by the Belgian DJ team Soulwax, and a third mix.
7. Mumford & Sons, Live from Bull Moose
This live EP was recorded live at the Bull Moose record shop in Scarborough, Maine on August 3, 2012.
8. R.E.M., Live in Greensboro
This EP includes five live recordings from 1989 that had to be cut from a forthcoming live disc on the reissue of Green for space. All five cuts are exceptional, which should give you some sense of how amazing the full live set will be.
9. Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear
This single features two new remixes by ambient producer Nicolas Jaar – a version of Brian Eno’s “Lux” on one side, and this spacey mix of Grizzly Bear’s “Sleeping Ute” on the other.
10. Big Star, Nothing Can Hurt Me
This soundtrack for an upcoming documentary about the cult band Big Star features previously unreleased alternative mixes, demos, and new mixes of songs from their three classic records.
11. Elliott Smith, Alternate Versions from Either/Or
This 7-inch single is home to four previously unreleased demo versions of songs from the late Smith’s 1997 album Either/Or, including this subtly different recording of “Ballad of Big Nothing,” one of Smith’s all-time best compositions.
12. Superchunk, “Void” b/w “Faith”
Indie rock heroes Superchunk recorded two brand new, very rocking songs for this 7-inch single. This is prime Superchunk, by the way, not some tossed-off afterthoughts.
13. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Animal X”
This previously unreleased cut was recorded at La Fabrique in France during the recording sessions for Cave’s most recent album Push the Sky Away.
14. Shearwater and Sharon Van Etten, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
Singer-songwriter Sharon Von Etten teamed up with indie rockers Shearwater to record this faithful, rough-and-tumble rendition of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty’s 1981 hit.