Chris Mosser

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Five Awesome Record Store Day Releases You Probably Won't Be Able To Buy

It's harder than it looks.

Record Store Day is this Saturday the 21st, and unlike those of us for whom every day (or at least, every payday) is Record Store Day, it's a great occasion to head out to the neighborhood shop for some communal companionizing and geeking out, perhaps some live music, perhaps some live libations too, but certainly ample opportunity to support a time-honored vocation that, for some towns, no longer exists, much less thrives as it does in Austin.

The drawbacks to Record Store Day are numerous and well-established - but before we begin grousing, let's peruse five fine RSD Exclusive releases that are worth getting excited about but, as we'll discuss below, we probably shouldn't get too excited about, because chances are slim we'll actually manage to score them.

Bleachers - MTV Unplugged

Jack Antonoff is a known nostalgia-monger and it's cool that his band Bleachers was among the first to participate in last year's revival of MTV Unplugged, recording an acoustic set in New Jersey that includes mostly-wooden versions of a bunch of their hits, such as "I Wanna Get Better", "Don't Take The Money" and "Rollercoaster", plus guest appearances by the likes of Lorde. Lordy, it'd be nice to have a copy. Too bad it ain't gonna happen.

AC/DC - Back In Black (cassette)

A kickass summertime soundtrack if there ever was one - best blasted from a mid-70's Camaro with T-tops on a sunny day - the second-best selling album of all time would be pretty great to have on sparklin' new cassette, except for the fact that I already have it on vinyl and CD, and that I don't own a working cassette player and have no intention of abandoning my existing retro vinyl obsession in favor of yet another fad based upon an arguably obsolete medium, and that NOBODY you know will be able to find one on Record Store Day.

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison: 50th Anniversary Elegacy Edition

One of the all-time great live albums - so great, in fact, that for me this is what Cash should sound like, not in some sanitary studio with no miscues, no sweat, no danger. Or at least not the kind of danger he was stirring up at Folsom. I've heard that the prisoners who witnessed this live session exhibited a markedly-low rate of recidivism. Why, who knows - but stats be damned, it was clearly more likely than your chances of laying your mitts on this fine deluxe box set.

David Bowie - Welcome To The Blackout: Live In London '78

A pattern emerges with cool live releases being my personal M.O. this Record Store Day. This one from the Thin White Duke is previously unreleased, a concert captured in London on the Heroes tour, slathered lovingly across three vinyl records, and also featuring what looks like a pretty fantastic photo spread from that same show. Bowie at the height of his prowess - if only you could manage to procure a copy. You can't.

The Cure - Mixed Up 

Disintegration was The Cure at a point of maximum creative quality - to the point where it seemed for a moment that the band had no clue what to do next. One of the things they dillied about with in 1990 was Mixed Up, a collection of dance remixes of a bunch of their hits, including songs dating almost back to the beginning. It was kind of underwhelming at the time, but this new picture disc vinyl version will be just the thing to have you pouting in disappointment as you depart your favorite neighborhood record store, defeated and alone.

So Why, you may wonder, will it be so hard to find these and just about any other quality exclusive release on Record Store Day? First, the record stores themselves are under the sway of RSD Central Command, who impose a strict set of rules upon the participating retailers, including the prohibiting of individual special orders, or the holding of certain product for even the most loyal of regulars. Second, the stores are in no way guaranteed that their orders will be filled in full, so even they will have no clear idea what they'll have until the day itself arrives - leaving the buyer blind as far as locating any individual title. And third, there are no safeguards in place to prevent resellers from swooping in early with huge budgets, buying up anything of value en masse, and then relisting those "exclusive" titles on Ebay or wherever else at huge markups. Any normal person who just wants to buy one particular release is playing quite the uphill game, a frustrating situation to say the least, especially for those of us who patronize record stores on a regular basis - there is no reward for the people keeping the trade alive to begin with.

Don't get me wrong - I encourage you to get out and enjoy Record Store Day, in spite of its flaws. It's a great excuse to get together with fellow music lovers, and here in Austin, there are many great stores in which to partake - just don't get too terribly worked up in advance over something you just HAVE to have. Of course, you might get lucky.

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