Record Store Day 2020 “RSD Drops” Finally Approaching!

After two COVID-19-induced delays, Record Store Day 2020 is finally (sort of) happening. Instead of the usual huge event, in an attempt to “socially distance” RSD, the releases will drop on three Saturdays over as many months. These “RSD Drops” occur August 29, September 26, and October 24, and in my opinion might fail the social distancing test. In particular, the August 29 drop has huge releases with diverse audiences; I predict that this first drop will be rather busy, leaving the latter two far emptier. I’ll be lining up early at Music Millennium on August 29 (last year’s event at Everyday Music was unsuccessful) for a large set of releases. Here are this year’s most noteworthy RSD items:

August 29

David Bowie - I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour ’74)

During the second leg of the 1974 Philly Dogs tour (itself the rebranded version of the Diamond Dogs tour), having recruited some of the musicians from the sessions that became Young Americans, David Bowie veered further into a Philly soul sound. The RSD2017 release Cracked Actor captured an early Los Angeles show, which served as a transitional period between the contemporarily released David Live’s sound and this new RSD2020 release, I’m Only Dancing. Sourced from “recently discovered” archive sources, I’m Only Dancing uses a mid-October Detroit show with encores taken from the tour’s penultimate concert in Nashville. Available in limited 2LP and 2CD configurations, I’m Only Dancing marks the long overdue first official release of any “Soul Tour” material, filling arguably the biggest hole in Bowie’s live cannon. (Note: there are also RSD LP and CD releases of the 1996 ChangesNowBowie live-in-studio session, although it’s musically insignificant and not worth mentioning separately).

Tyler, The Creator - Cherry Bomb / Cherry Bomb (The Instrumentals)

Long promised but never delivered until now, an official vinyl release of Tyler, The Creator’s 2015 album Cherry Bomb finally arrives in stores. The main album is an RSD First release limited to 7250 copies on 2LP translucent red vinyl (standard black vinyl presumably available later), but there’s also an RSD Exclusive 2LP of the instrumental album on opaque pink vinyl limited to 4500 copies. The main album only uses the standard “flame shirt” cover, though the instrumentals LP has the alternate “Chur Bum” cover. It remains to be seen if US and EU pressings will vary, or if the eventual wide release will utilize the other cover variants. Still, this means that all of Tyler’s albums except Bastard now have official vinyl editions.

Pink Floyd - “Arnold Layne (Live 2007)”

Sony/Legacy will drop a 7” of the last Pink Floyd live performance of their first single, “Arnold Layne.” Recorded at the May 2007 Syd Barrett Tribute Concert, the final trio incarnation of the band is joined by Jon Carin on keyboards and Ride’s Andy Bell on bass. The 7” has a B-side art/lyrics etching, and 7400 copies will be available.

Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom EP

Previously only available in a (now extremely rare) signed webstore edition of 1000 copies, Charli XCX’s SOPHIE-produced Vroom Vroom EP gets a 12” 45rpm clear vinyl repress of 2000 copies. Her vinyl pressings typically sound phenomenal, so I expect nothing less of this one.

Slint - “Breadcrumb Trail” / “Good Morning, Captain”

For as much as the 25th anniversary reissue of Slint’s Spiderland includes, it doesn’t include all the important material. Previously unreleased alternate mixes of “Breadcrumb Trail” and “Good Morning, Captain,” supposedly drier than those on the finished math rock classic, are on a new 45rpm 12” single. Cut by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service, the single limited to 2500 comes on clear vinyl with a glow in the dark slipmat.

Billie Eilish - Live At Third Man Records

Originally a limited storefront-only Third Man release, Billie Eilish’s live acoustic set at TMR Nashville’s Blue Room now gets a wider release of 17,000 copies via Interscope. The original Third Man release is D2D, and save for minor design changes and a new poster, this reissue should be identical. Eilish’s debut album last year sold 176,000 vinyl copies, or 2-3 times as many as any new album in its release year since the vinyl revival began. This can be attributed to her fervent fans obsessively buying every color variant, but that’s still a lot of copies (as a casual listener, I bought one copy of the standard edition). While shoppers can be distanced at RSD Drops, it could be hard to enforce rules on potentially long lines. Having quite a few big releases on the August 29 drop might defeat the purpose of spreading out RSD events; most of the pop and rock record-buying audiences are likely interested in at least something from this drop.

Gorillaz - G-Sides and D-Sides

Parlophone will reissue Gorillaz’ never before on vinyl releases G-Sides and D-Sides in editions of 15,000 copies. Respectively comprised of B-sides, remixes, and outtakes from the self-titled first album and Demon Days, the single LP G-Sides and the mammoth triple album D-Sides are pressed on 180g vinyl and listed as RSD First releases. RSD First releases that appear standard are usually distinguished by a foil stamped number, although no distinguishing features here are mentioned.

Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band - “Instant Karma”

Seemingly done the same way as the 2018 Imagine “ultimate mixes’ box set, there’s a 7” “ultimate mixes” single of Lennon/Ono’s “Instant Karma” (and if replicating the original single as advertised, it will also include “Who Has Seen The Wind?”). Limited to 7000 copies, the sleeve is supposedly a “faithful reproduction of [the] original UK sleeve.”

The Weeknd - My Dear Melancholy,

It’s far from his best work, but as mentioned in my modern vinyl bootlegs feature, the Weeknd’s 2018 project My Dear Melancholy,’s received several LP bootlegs since its initial release. After several delays, the EP officially drops on vinyl with an etched B-side. It’s marketed as an RSD First release limited to 3000 copies.

September 26

Bill Evans - Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest

If you’re unwilling to buy the DSD download or CD, there’s now a repress of Resonance’s Bill Evans Some Other Time live 2LP, originally released for RSD 2016. The first edition of 4000 now commands high aftermarket prices but expect this one to only cost $50 (compared to $150+). Due to the repress’ alternate cover, investment-obsessed collectors with the original can still sleep comfortably; otherwise, the 2020 edition is identical to the 2016 one.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins - …What That Is! and Because Is In Your Mind

Third Man will reissue two later-career Screamin’ Jay Hawkins albums, 1969’s …What That Is! and 1970’s Because Is In Your Mind. There appears to be a wide black vinyl release forthcoming, but the color variants (fluorescent orange for …What That Is! and opaque white/blue mix for Because Is In Your Mind) are exclusive to RSD. Both albums are pressed on 180g vinyl at TMP and housed in direct-to-board jackets.

The Doors - The Soft Parade: Stripped

By now, an over-pressed Doors album featuring material just released on CD is RSD tradition. Despite the 2020 chaos, this year is no different, with The Soft Parade: Stripped dropping on vinyl. This mix, released on MQA-encoded CD in last fall’s The Soft Parade deluxe set, removes the horns and adds a few new Robby Kreiger guitar overdubs. “Limited” to 12,000 copies likely to soon appear in bargain bins, the exact pressing details are unknown (but it could possibly be a Bernie Grundman cut from a hi-res file).

Paul McCartney - McCartney

For those who missed the other 124 vinyl pressings, Paul McCartney’s self-titled debut solo album gets yet another reissue, this time in a half-speed mastered edition. Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios used the original master tapes to make a vinyl-specific hi-res transfer without digital peak limiting. (Steve Rooke and Guy Massey mastered the currently available pressing cut at normal speed.) It’s advertised as an RSD First release of 7000 copies – there is no info on if it’s numbered, on colored vinyl, part of a 50th anniversary extravaganza, or whatnot.

The Notorious B.I.G. - It Was All A Dream: The Notorious B.I.G. 1994-1999

Although the individual albums are easily and affordably available, a new 9LP box set entitled It Was All A Dream collects the Notorious B.I.G.’s core albums pressed on clear vinyl. Including Ready to Die, Junior Mafia’s Conspiracy, Life After Death, and Born Again (the latter thankfully the only Frankensteined posthumous release included), the set with new liner notes is limited to 2000 units.

October 24

Booker T and the M.G.’s - McLemore Avenue

Continuing Craft’s AAA reissue series of lesser-beloved titles is Booker T. & The M.G.’s McLemore Avenue, the Stax house band’s 1970 Abbey Road tribute album. Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl cut the LP, pressed at Memphis Record Pressing and packaged in a tip-on jacket. If last year’s Albert King Born Under A Bad Sign reissue is any indication, the 2500 copies of McLemore Avenue will sell extremely fast.

Lou Reed and John Cale - Songs For Drella

For the first time since its original release, Rhino will reissue Lou Reed and John Cale’s collaborative 1990 Andy Warhol-themed song cycle Songs For Drella. Limited to 8000 (or 8500 – the exact number is unclear) copies, the 53-minute album is now spread over three sides with a side D etching.

Miles Davis - Double Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

Much like last RSD Black Friday’s Early Minor: Rare Miles From the Complete In A Silent Way Sessions LP, a 2LP of Miles Davis Bitches Brew outtakes will grace record store shelves. It features 10 tracks and is limited to 6000 copies on opaque red vinyl. While nothing can be confirmed about this record, it’ll likely be produced similarly to Early Minor. That was cut at SST from the Mark Wilder digital masters and pressed at MPO; the sound is average and the pressing decent, but the jacket is quite flimsy. For the relatively low retail prices, though, the quality is acceptable.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata: The 1974 Version

If two LPs of revivalist boom bap reasonably bores you, a slightly abbreviated single disc edition of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s 2014 album Piñata drops October 24. With a Blaxploitation-themed alternate cover (hence the “1974 version” title), the LP limited to 2000 copies is an Alchemy 1/2 speed cut, appropriate for its 50-minute runtime.

The Rolling Stones - Metamorphosis UK

First released in 1975 to combat bootleggers, ABKCO will reissue the full-length UK version of Rolling Stones’ 1975 rarities collection Metamorphosis (containing pre-Sticky Fingers outtakes). It’s unknown if this RSD pressing of 7600 units is a new remaster, but it’s pressed on “hunter green” vinyl and comes with a full-color iron-on album art t-shirt transfer.

Grateful Dead - Buffalo 5/9/77

Latest in the never-ending string of Grateful Dead live album box sets is their May 9, 1977 show at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Transferred by Plangent using its analog preamps and remastered by Jeffrey Norman, the concert is spread over 5 LPs with a side 10 etching. There will be 7700 available copies. (Note: for those wondering, RateYourMusic lists 223 official Dead live albums. While this count may not be exact, it’s a helpful estimate for those scientifically calculating how many more live Dead LPs are necessary.)

Due to COVID-19 safety measures varying by location, call your local RSD-participating stores in advance for information regarding shopping rules and release stock.

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, music lover, record collector, and highly opinionated sneaker enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @MalachiLui.)

Warszawa's picture

I like The Cure's first foray into the new millennium--Bloodflowers (insert groans of disapproval). I just wish it wasn't being reissued on picture disc : (

You rock Mr. Lui! Don't let the moribund "intelligentsia" of the analog world get you down.

MalachiLui's picture

the cure picture disc releases are RSD first releases, and will get a standard edition at a later point. due to the eventual wide availability of that album on vinyl, i decided not to include it (but some picture discs actually sound quite great).

other notable omissions are the reissues that get on down is doing this year (specifically the “mingus ah um” redux). almost all of their reissues are cut from CDs (or similar sources), so why even bother telling people to waste their money on it.

Warszawa's picture

I've already earmarked funds for a few of your recommendations. Cherry Bomb isn't my bag though. Flower Boy is exquisite and Igor is a masterpiece (personal favorite album of 2019), but I just don't get most of Tyler's pre-2017 output--excepting Tamale which is the aural equivalent of a carefree afternoon spent inside a bounce house in technicolor land.

MalachiLui's picture

i somewhat enjoy the 2010-11 stuff and of course love the 2017-19 work, but that middle period is very awkward, to say the least. 'wolf' and 'cherry bomb' show tyler trying to be taken seriously as an artist yet not being able to shed the edgy skater kid image. i like his work where it's just one or the other, but think that 'wolf' is his worst record. still, i'd like to have all of his albums on vinyl and find 'cherry bomb' interesting, so i'm hyped for it.

for everyone wondering, my RSD wantlist is: bowie 'i'm only dancing,' charli xcx 'vroom vroom,' tyler 'cherry bomb' (main album and instrumentals), billie eilish 'live at third man,' slint "breadcrumb trail," and lennon/ono "instant karma." would've also wanted the odd future 'OF tape vol 2" release (despite it being a get on down reissue) had it not been recently pulled from the list.

Glotz's picture

BUT they are ALL necessary! (I'll wait until yr in college before explaining why... Be a good kid until then! Lol.)

The Gorillaz G & D sides, Bowie 74, The Doors, Miles, Screamin Jay.. done. (And my bank account just ripped a noisy fart!)

That Mingus too, I would love, but not if comes from a friggin' cd (or similar crap source).

I do wonder what the Evans album sounds like as well...

'Drella is one of my favs, but my Lasted original better keep me going another 30 years..

If I was made out of cash, yes, I would get the Charlie and Tyler. Thank the creator, er, for streaming.

Booker T and MG's would be cool for sure, but RSD is going to break me this year! Where's that new stimulus, Donnie?!?

MalachiLui's picture

let's say each dead live album averages out to 3 hours each (some have many long shows, some only have a few "shorter" ones). the new one will make that 672 hours of grateful dead material. and for older deadheads who do acid, let's say each acid trip is about 12 hours. so 672 hours/12 hours (assuming that you spend your entire trip listening to grateful dead live albums) works out to enough dead material for 56 trips, which is scientifically impossible for anyone to survive. this is all based on the commonly accepted facts about the subject. so EVEN THEN, that's too much lol (i personally find the grateful dead extremely boring fwiw).

Tom L's picture

Surviving 56 LSD trips is absolutely possible. One of my college classmates tripped several hundred times in a couple of years, often daily. He still looked good afterwards, although his pupils were permanently distended and he had trouble completing sentences. Interestingly, he was not a Deadhead, preferring soft rock like Seals & Crofts, Kenny Loggins and America. Yacht Rock, they call it now.
No idea what happened to him after 1980 but I'll bet he's still floating around out there somewhere.

Glotz's picture

THIS is why we need more Malachi! LOL. Great stuff, man.

I thought the exact same thing from 12 to 20, as I was weaned on punk, rock and generally ANYTHING NOISY!! Back in my teens, I could not abide by jazz or anything slow. It was really all about the Replacements, Husker Du, REM and 1000 other new wave, cold wave and punk. The idea that old music was wack was very much a theme until I was really 16 or so.

I say as you increasingly appreciate jazz throughout life, one will invariably hear the Dead through those improvisational glasses. It takes a long time!

Thanks for the excellent capsule reviews above.

xtcfan80's picture

Yes indeed... FWIW.... The Jerry would probably have found Tyler / Cane / Daft Punk boring as well

Warszawa's picture

neurons probably communicated with each other via parcel select ground after about '67. I don't know how many coherent opinions he was able to form after that point.

My teetotal opinion on the matter: I think we've preserved enough of this Jam. : )

Warszawa's picture

neurons probably communicated via parcel select ground after about '67. I don't think he formed many coherent opinions after that.

My teetotal opinion on the matter: I think we preserved enough Jam.

xtcfan80's picture

Perhaps a “Peggy-O” from May 1977 would leave the impression of a coherent thought / musical utterance...try one you might find something beautiful in the strangest of places.....

Happy Will's picture

Personally I love the "Dead" - listen to the interplay and musicianship, the beauty, the space, the lyrics that allow you to imagine, played by people who loved playing and not doing it for the fame. Yes, hundreds of hours of live CD's and not counting.

But then I also like Ascension, and find the Stones and Bowie etc manufactured and.....

MalachiLui's picture

i like ascension, but can’t bother with the grateful dead. and i’m not a stones superfan, but i consider david bowie to be the 2nd greatest artist ever (for his 1975-80 run mostly). lyrically, i prefer artistic minimalism (berlin-era bowie, kanye, ecco2k, yung lean, bladee, frank ocean, kraftwerk, etc) or extreme verbosity (will toledo, phil elverum, ‘tranquility base’ era alex turner, also kanye, father john misty, james murphy, etc). i like certain lyricists who fall in between those points, but i think i named most of my fav lyricists right there. i prefer lyrics with stark imagery over “well here’s something that sorta makes sense, figure out the rest”

Happy Will's picture

I was linking this thread back to some comments on the Giant Steps 60th thread :)

Happy Will's picture

Well it is good to disagree, some like things in their face and others not, some like to be told and others not, some and can deal with ambiguity and others not, some like violent music others calm, and that is the beauty of this world. But isn't saying "can't bother" a negative form of criticism designed to piss off people? Or if not, a statement of lack of motivation which is your issue and yours alone?

For me, I find the live variations immensly satisfying, and that I am sure is true for "fans" other musicians/groups/bands/orchestras. It liken it to the differences I experience when walking, or riding my MTB, over trails in different times of the year, in different weather conditions, and different states of mind, in different company. All different experiences along the same track.

Warszawa's picture

I think everyone could use a lesson in avoiding categorical dismissal..."In him, the thinker didn't stifle the man of feeling. He was a man of discrimination, quite capable of differentiating between imagination and fanaticism. In the tragedy in question, for example, he condemned the ideas but admired the style, abhorred the conception but praised all the details, found the characters impossible but their speeches marvelous. When he read the famous passages he was carried away, but the thought that the clergy made use of it all for their own purposes distressed him immensely. And so troubling was his confusion of feelings that he would have liked to place a wreath on Racine's brow with his own hands and then have a good long argument with him." - Flaubert

Montpier's picture

Hard pressed to come up with any more disparate 70's white male US/UK popular rock music artists than those two!

I've outgrown ranking but agree that Bowie's 76-80 albums were great -- not so much 'Young Americans' but I was living in Philly at the time so his "soul" attempts struck me as kind of pale. If a fan of those curious what ML thinks of Eno's four 70's "song" albums; 'Another Green World' is a masterpiece IMO.

But as much as I enjoyed the 1978 'Stage' era concert I saw, that live album was completely disposable. And in many respects, feel similarly about the Dead -- you really had to be there, which is often the case for live events.

I was at the Dead's famous New Year's Eve 1978-79 Closing of Winterland concert and it was magical, but the album and DVD now have mostly nostalgic appeal. Was also at a few of the 1980 Radio City shows which 'Reckoning' drew from the acoustic sets holds up a bit better. Had a backstage pass for an early 1990's MSG (oops no "TLA's" Madison Square Garden) show and the Dead were so listless left before the end.

By far The Grateful Dead's strongest and only essential albums remain 'Workingman's Dead' and 'American Beauty' (not sure about the recent 50th anniversary Rhino release) but suspect may be a bit too "Americana-ish" and sparse for ML's taste (?)

MalachiLui's picture

i love the art pop eno records and a few of the ambient ones - 'another green world' and 'discreet music' especially. regarding 'stage,' i think the original version with the weird sequencing and fades is mediocre. however, the 3LP 2017 mix is great, and so is "welcome to the blackout" (the new live album configurations are by far the best parts of the parlophone bowie reissue campaign).

Montpier's picture

Apparently a "First Release"-- so will be more widely available after RSD -- is reissue of The Wild Tchoupitoulas, the only album by this Mardi Gras social group.

Backed by the Meters may be a bit too "rootsy" and "older sounding" for ML's taste but a must-have for any fans of New Orleans R&B.

rich d's picture

Glad you mentioned this. I'm surprised Mr. Lui failed to include it as it's a] one of mankind's greatest, and funkiest, musical achievements and b] from Jackpot Records in his hometown of Portland.

And it's on bitchin' colored vinyl.

ncpd's picture

I am a longtime Deadhead who has not needed supplemental help to enjoy their music. I am not here to evangelize for the group. You like them or you don't. What I do think detractors and devotees on this site share is a love of variations in performance and sound. Over their four decade career, the Dead went through many sonic iterations despite playing many of the same songs. It's the nuances in those performances and the interplay among bandmates that make the listening continually exciting. A 1972 version sounds nothing like a 1977 version. Many AP readers own multiple pressings of their favorite albums or will gobble up every outtake from a favorite artist. In that regard, I see similarity, not difference, in collecting hundreds of hours of Dead shows.

Warszawa's picture

to be their primo live recording--I'll give it a stream. I'm not categorically prejudiced against The Dead--but making fun of them and their acolytes is just low hanging fruit that's too hard to resist.

I guess I get it from my father. He used to press custom t-shirts for deadhead nomads to sell during concerts. Suffice to say, they didn't leave him with the most favorable impressions.

Tom L's picture

The two early live albums "Live/Dead" and "Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)" remain the best introduction to the band. Moderate volume is verboten-they must be played LOUD! Remember that the Dead never really had lead singer and were not trained vocalists-they did some interesting things vocally, but the magic is in the instrumental interplay.
To understand the philosophical and intellectual ideas behind their music-yes, they had serious thoughts about these subjects-some reading is useful. "Deal" by drummer Bill Kreutzmann is a fun and very readable look at their history and bassist Phil Lesh's "Searching for the Sound" gets deeper into their musical foundation. Lesh had some serious musical training prior to starting the band.
I should add that LSD doesn't seem to have messed these guys up very badly, although some of them tripped for every show and many days in between. It was the more common killers of our society-alcohol, cocaine, depression and heroin-that took Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and Jerry Garcia.

Tom L's picture

...why I prefer these two Dead recordings as an introduction:
Best performances chosen by the band from multiple shows on a tour.
Professional EQ, mastering and reproduction instead of soundboard or amateur recording.
No excessive "Drums/Space" percussion rambling that drives new listeners nuts.

xtcfan80's picture

Great choices for live Dead-I would add three others. 1. Sunshine Daydream 1972 Aug in Oregon - Great Dark Star and whole show is peak Dead 2. Barton Hall Cornell U May 1977 Duh!!! 3. Bear's Choice 1970 , great Version of Hard to Handle

ncpd's picture

A great question and fun to think about. Before I answer, let me say that there were a lot of Deadheads I wasn't fond of either, so I get your father's perspective. But most I've met are nice people with a love of great music and kinship.

In regards to one recording...someone else already mentioned 5/8/77 which was issued as a standalone and sounds fantastic. That's the first Dead show I (and probably many others) ever owned and I never tire of it. It's from a peak period too - that tour was spectacular night after night.

Also, while a compilation, I think Europe '72 is a great introduction to the band. You get a stronger emphasis on melody and well executed songs rather than experimentation and it has a great selection of beloved songs from the Dead's corpus that showcase how many American musical forms they mixed together to create their signature sound.

If after this, you're still not a fan, that's cool, but I applaud the open-mindedness.

Have fun!

Tom L's picture

I had plenty of experience with these characters and some were great people, especially the women. Many of the guys sucked down huge quantities of cheap red wine on top of their other intoxicants, and they were often unreliable and a huge pain in the ass.

xtcfan80's picture

And ML...You live in Portland, OR...Ask around at Music Millennium and your other record store haunts and you'll probably find a few heads to mentor/enhance your possible Dead enjoyment. Maybe worth your time to gain insight from their experience, heads tend to love sharing with young listeners interested in music...

Vinyl On Tubes's picture

It would appear that the aforementioned records are being released on 8/29 and I know for a fact the Reed/Cale album is a 10/24 drop.

MalachiLui's picture

it’s bolded and underlined between drop sections, although due to the formatting of this website it can’t be in a bigger font.