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The Gun Club "The Birth, The Death, The Ghost" (1983)

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For the second Drop Date of Record Store Day 2021, scheduled for July 17th, an obscure live album from the Gun Club – the early punk rock band led by the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce – will be reissued in a limited run of 1,800 red-colored vinyl copies. The Birth, The Death, The Ghost was previously released in 1983 and 1989 in the U.K. only. This album was recorded in 1980, before the recording of the Gun Club’s 1981 debut album Fire Of Love . The early lineup included guitarist Kid Congo Powers (aka Brian Tristan), who later played with the Cramps and with Nick Cave. Bass player Rob Ritter and drummer Terry Graham, who both played on Fire Of Love , had previously played with the notorious Los Angeles punk band The Bags (aka The Alice Bag Band). The 13 live tracks were recorded at four different L.A. club shows during that year. These early recordings were sourced from tapes recorded by Graham’s sister Lois, so the sound has a consistently muddy bootleg-like quality. Still, it’s fortuna

"Never Enough": Baby Grand vs. Patty Smyth

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The Philadelphia band known as the Hooters achieved their widest fame in 1985, when they opened the Live Aid benefit concert in their hometown, and when their double-platinum major-label debut album Nervous Night spawned three Top 40 hit singles (“Day By Day”, “And We Danced”, “Where Do The Children Go”). The band’s founders, Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, have also had a hand in writing hit songs for others. Most notably, Hyman co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 #1 hit “Time After Time” (on which he also sang the harmony vocal), and Bazilian penned Joan Osborne’s 1995 #4 hit “One Of Us”. Another common thread that runs through all of the songs mentioned above is their producer, Rick Chertoff. The long friendship between Chertoff and the Hooters founders dates back to the ‘70’s, when Hyman and Bazilian formed an earlier band with vocalist Dave Kagan called Baby Grand. (Hyman, Chertoff, and Kagan also had previously played together in an unsigned early-‘70’s Philly band called Wax). The self

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 46: White Stripes “Greatest Hits” Expanded Edition (2020)

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The 46th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in December of 2020. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months. The 46th Vault package contained an expanded version of the White Stripes’ Greatest Hits album released in late 2020. While the regular vinyl issue of the compilation album was a double-LP set titled My Sister Thanks You And I Thank You , the Vault variation was a 3-LP set titled Aside From That And Besides This , featuring a third disc filled with bonus B-sides and rarities. The first disc was pressed in white vinyl, the second in red vinyl, and the third (the B-sides disc) in splattered red-white-and-black &qu

David Lee Roth's DLR Band (1998)

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It was good to see Van Halen reunite with their original frontman David Lee Roth while Eddie Van Halen was still alive, because it was a reunion that I once thought would never happen . Why? Because a failed attempt was made at such a reunion back in 1996. Roth briefly rejoined the band at that point, recording two new VH studio tracks for the compilation album Best Of – Volume 1 , and appearing on camera with the rest of the band on MTV . But the sham reunion ran aground after Roth and Eddie Van Halen clashed, and the VH frontman slot was then ephemerally held by former Extreme singer Gary Cherone – with whom the band recorded the ill-fated Van Halen III album in 1998. For his part, Roth went ahead and recorded his own surprisingly hard-rocking album with an outfit called the DLR Band, or David Lee Roth Band. This album was distributed on Roth's own indie label called Wawazat!!. The self-titled DLR Band CD sounded quite similar to early Van Halen, but was rawer in nature. One of

Brian May & Friends "Star Fleet Project" (1983 mini-LP)

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Brian May & Friends were a one-off supergroup which paired the Queen guitarist with the late Edward Van Halen. The other “friends” in the band were drummer Alan Gratzer of REO Speedwagon, bassist Phil Chen (who had played with Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck), and session keyboardist Fred Mandel (who had recently worked with Queen and Alice Cooper). The group’s 1983 album Star Fleet Project was a spontaneous work completed in about two days, inspired by the music score for a science fiction television series. The three-song mini-album has long been out of print, but has attracted new attention since the death of Eddie Van Halen, and Brian May has discussed the possibility of an eventual reissue. Star Fleet was the British title of the early-‘80’s animated marionette sci-fi series which originated in Japan as X Bomber . The end-credits theme music for the show’s U.K. version was composed by British keyboardist Paul Bliss, who played with later incarnations of the Moody Blues and the

Norah Jones "Playdate" (2020 Record Store Day Black Friday EP)

For Record Store Day Black Friday in 2020, jazz-pop singer/pianist Norah Jones issued a 7-song, 12-inch vinyl EP titled Playdate , containing songs recorded in 2019 and 2020 which were otherwise unavailable on vinyl. The EP was limited to 2,000 copies. According to the Record Store Day website, Playdate collected B-sides and bonus tracks from Jones’ 2020 studio album Pick Me Up Off The Floor . In truth, only three of the tracks actually seem to fit this description: “Tryin’ To Keep It Together” and “Street Stranger” were bonus tracks on Target stores’ exclusive CD version of the album (as well as some European and Japanese editions), while the former track and “I’ll Be Gone” (the latter a smooth soul duet with r&b veteran Mavis Staples) were both bonus tracks on the digital Deluxe Edition of the album. The other four tracks were issued on non-album digital singles the previous year, those tracks being two collaborations with Brazilian folk-rocker Rodrigo Amarante and two other t

Juliana Hatfield "Christmas Cactus" (2020 Record Store Day Black Friday single)

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For Record Store Day Black Friday in 2020, Juliana Hatfield issued an exclusive 7-inch single titled “Christmas Cactus”. The single was limited to 1,500 copies, and was pressed in magenta-colored vinyl. The single’s two sides had more of a flower-related theme than one related to the holidays. The B-side track was titled “Red Poinsettia”, and the disc’s center sticker denotes the sides with plant graphics instead of song titles. Hatfield is a ‘90’s alternative-rock veteran who has been making girlish-voiced, guitar-fuzzed alt-pop since before Beabadoobee was born. Hatfield’s lyrics have often described disappointment and failed romances, and these two tracks certainly uphold those lyrical traditions. The A-side, “Christmas Cactus”, is a melancholy ballad which seemingly uses dissatisfaction with the growth of a plant as a metaphor for a discontented life. The equally downcast B-side, “Red Poinsettia”, only suggests the holiday season by its title flower imagery; otherwise, the song d

Big Star "Jesus Christ" EP (2015 Record Store Day Black Friday release)

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For Record Store Day Black Friday in 2015, Omnivore Recordings issued a limited edition 10-inch Big Star EP titled Jesus Christ . This EP heralded the 2016 release of the 3-CD set Complete Third , which compiled the complete known recordings from the sessions of the third and final Big Star album Third (which was alternately known as Sister Lovers , and was essentially an Alex Chilton solo album). The 10-inch Jesus Christ EP was pressed in blue translucent vinyl, and its Three Wise Men cover art was reproduced from a 1973 Big Star promo poster. The EP is a good holiday-themed collectible for fans of the early-'70's power pop band. The titular track from the Third album leads off the EP, without the short “Mañana” instrumental which served as its intro on the album. The song is a jubilant jangle-pop tune about the birth of Jesus, using echo-chamber production and baroque horns and drums to add a feeling from another time and place. The EP's second track is an acoustic d