Record Store Day Guide: Olivia Rodrigo/Noah Kahan, Pearl Jam and More

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Record Store Day 2024’s Most Wanted: Olivia Rodrigo & Noah Kahan, Talking Heads, Laufey, Pearl Jam, Ateez, David Bowie, Beatles, Wilco and More
Record Store Day 2024’s Most Wanted: Olivia Rodrigo & Noah Kahan, Talking Heads, Laufey, Pearl Jam, Ateez, David Bowie, Beatles, Wilco and More

There’s a certain type of vinyl geek that has all 387 exclusives coming out for Record Store Day 2024 committed to memory — color variants, pressing quantities and prices included. The rest of us may need a bit of guidance, which is where this look at 25 wallet-worthy releases comes in. Obviously, our list represents less than 10% of this year’s RSD population, but you can go to the full list — found here — after you get a start (or a reminder) with our rundown, which includes a mixture of the most obviously commercial titles and an assortment of cred or cult items.

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Poring over this list, you may notice that some battles never go away, like Beatles vs. Stones, although this year we can add K-pop sensations Ateez to that eternal battle of the boy bands. Other top titles this year range from contemporary favorites like Noah Kahan (who has two RSD exclusive releases — one by himself, and one with Olivia Rodrigo), the Weeknd and Laufey to the more tested Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Talking Heads.

Buckle up and hold onto your wallet. Following, after a bit of unboxing, is a starter set of credit card bait:

Olivia Rodrigo & Noah Kahan, ‘Stick Season/Lacy – From the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge’

(7″ single, color vinyl, 15,000 copies)

On Record Store Day Black Friday last November, Rodrigo and Kahan were in their own friendly battle for who was attracting the most newbies to the RSD lines, with respective releases that flew off the shelves. This time, they’ve teamed up, for a “pop favorites cover each other’s tunes” release. Rodrigo may be a SoCal girl, but she can adapt to “Stick Season,” and Kahan is proving he can be as jealous of the mysterious “Lacy” as much as anybody. Will 15,000 copies be enough to satiate the demand of both fan bases for long? Don’t count on it.

Noah Kahan, ‘I Was/I Am’

(LP, blue vinyl, 15,000 copies)

It’s Noah Kahan’s world, and we’re just living in it. OK, Taylor Swift and Beyonce gets to share it, too. But Kahan’s “Stick Season” has stuck around the top 10 of the Billboard 200 like practically nothing that doesn’t have Swift’s or Morgan Wallen’s name on the spine. Naturally, newbie fans are relishing his lesser known back catalog. On RSD Black Friday five months back, a re-release of his out-of-print “Cape Elizabeth” EP soared out the door, its 5,000 copies doing a quick disappearing act. For a followup release — a vinyl reissue of Kahan’s 2021 debut album —his label has determined not to leave quite so much money on the table, and the pressing number for this one has been tripled, from 5K to 15,000. It likely still won’t last the day in a lot of stores.

Talking Heads, ‘Live at WCOZ 77’

(2 LPs, black vinyl, 8000 copies)

Talk to very many music fans of a certain age and it’s clear that one of the most sought-after titles this Record Store day is a never-before-released (in full) Talking Heads live set. Seven tracks from this 1977 live-in-studio show for a Massachusetts radio station were originally included on the “The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads” concert compilation. That means the other seven tracks never were, and make their debut here. The double LP was pressed at 45 rpm, for higher fidelity and, probably, maximum bass response. Tina thanks you.

The 1975, ‘The 1975 Live at Gorilla’

 (2 LPs, white vinyl, 7500 copies)

Well, somebody’s been in the headlines, hasn’t he? What a remarkable publicity campaign for this project Matty Healy managed to pull off this week. But even without that little news boost, this would be a key RSD release. Last year, The 1975 put out a live album for RSD that went so quickly, I can vouch that it was the only title I could not find at all in the wild, even after visiting multiple stores in the morning hours. This one has a higher pressing quantity, so the odds are a bit better. It’s a celebration of the band’s debut album 10 years later, which is to say, recorded in the year of our lord 2023. It has already been out in some form — specifically, packaged with the original debut release as a double-CD — but that could only be obtained at the time a direct-to-consumer exclusive on the group’s website, so it barely counted. This marks the first appearance of the concert in question on LP, as also the first chance to walk into a store and find it.

David Bowie, ‘Waiting in the Sky (Before the Starman Came to Earth)’

(LP, black vinyl, 8000 copies)

Here’s an alternate version of the “Ziggy Stardust” album, assembled in late 1971, that was pulled by Bowie before it had a chance to be pressed, so that he could rethink it for 1972 as what turned out to be a classic for the ages. It’s a good thing he had a second thought, because he hadn’t yet recorded “Starman,” “Suffragette City” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” when he took this first stab at a tracklist. Songs that show up instead include “Velvet Goldmine” and covers of Chuck Berry and Jacques Brel songs. Of course, it’s still a hell of an album with some substitutions, and fun to listen to as a might-have-been alternate-reality release for Bowie.

Ateez, ‘THE WORLD EP.FIN : WILL (X Ver.)’

(2 discs, 12″/7″ combo, clear vinyl or black ice vinyl, 15,000 copies)

Ateez has been named Record Store Day’s first K-pop artist of the year, and the group is celebrating with an edition of its latest album with different artwork in two randomly distributed color vinyl variants, along with a bonus 7-inch single containing two previously unreleased songs. If there’s anything that’s likely to get a different demographic in line for RSD, the way that Swift and Rodrigo exclusives did in the past couple of years, it’d be this title.

Rolling Stones, ‘Live at Racket NYC’ and ‘The Rolling Stones (UK)’

(‘Racket’: 7000 copies, LP, white vinyl) (‘Rolling Stones (UK)’: 6000 copies, LP, black/blue swirled)

Stones fans have a choice of the 1964 version of the band, as heard in a 60th anniversary edition of their self-titled album of mostly R&B classic covers (“I Just Want to Make Love to You”), or the 2023 version, which saw the group doing a short and fairly intimate show in NYC to promote its latest album, with Lady Gaga in tow. Sixty years passing have not put a dent in their making a racket.

Sparks/Noël, ‘No. 1 Song in Heaven/Is There More to Life Than Dancing?’

(2 LPs, white and green vinyl, 1500 copies)

This is the kind of unexpected, well-packaged release that makes Record Store Day special. It’s a two-fer combining two concurrently released albums from 1979 that no one previously thought to package together. Well, one of them has been out of print pretty much since that year, entirely. But first, let’s mention the main attraction, “Number One in Heaven,” one of Sparks’ most legendary (and, in Europe), successful efforts, produced to influential neo-disco perfection by Giorgio Moroder production. The companion album here, “Is There More to Life Than Dancing?,” was in a similar sonic vein but found Ron and Russell Mael themselves in the producers’ chairs. The muse for their Svengali-dom at the time was a female singer named Noël, subsequently so obscure that some wondered if the Maels somehow just made her up. (Apparently not; she did release one subsequent album without them.) The two albums come together inside a thick plastic pull-out sleeve, bound even when you pull them out by a printed cardboard strip. But, of course, if it’s only one album and not both you plan to keep out for company, they’re easily stored separately as well. The quantity on this is very low; get it before it dances off to heaven.

The Beatles, ‘The Beatles Limited Edition RSD3 Turntable’

(turntable and 3” single bundle) Plus: The Beatles: “Til There Was You” (3” single, 1500 copies), The Beatles: “She Loves You” (3” single, 1500 copies), The Beatles: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (3” single, 1500 copies), The Beatles” “I Saw Her Standing There” (3” single, 1500 copies)

Things like this are the kind of stuff that people cite as reasons they hate Record Store Day — or love it. Does anyone need a Beatles-branded turntable that only plays three-inch records (a fairly recent, not altogether necessary invention)? Possibly not. Will you want one so that you can pull out your vintage Beatles dolls and pretend that they are playing these tiny records? I think I can speak for everyone in saying: Absolutely. If you already have a three-inch record turntable — doesn’t everyone by now? — you can buy the four singles separately apart from the bundle. Happy Ed Sullivan anniversary year.

John Lennon, ‘Mind Games EP’

(EP, black vinyl or glow-in-the-dark vinyl)

The “Ultimate Mix” treatment has been given to Lennon’s first two post-Beatles solo albums, “Imagine” and “Plastic Ono Band,” and at some point this year it will have a third volume in the form of a sonic upgrade to the 1973 album “Mind Games.” This EP offers RSD shoppers will offer a four-track teaser of that work — including the famous title track, but also, intriguing a non-album track, “I’m the Greatest,” that Lennon wrote and demo-ed for a Ringo Starr album around that time, with George Harrison and Klaus Voorman joining in to nearly form a Beatles reunion. A rougher version of this demo was was released in 1998 on the “John Lennon Anthology” boxed set, so it’ll be interesting to see if the mixing tech bumps it up to a track on the same par with the version Starr cut to lead off “Ringo” in ’73. Note: this EP is available in two types of vinyl, basic black for the purists and a glow-in-the-dark shade for nocturnal thrillseekers.

Pearl Jam, ‘Dark Matter’

(LP, yellow-and-black vinyl, 15,000 copies)

Pearl Jam rarely misses a chance to release something for Record Store Day’s semiannual events, although obviously they usually go archival with that. This RSD release, though, is a brand new album, released to the masses on black vinyl on Friday but available in a yellow-and-black variant for indie store shoppers the following day, for anyone who can wait an extra 24 hours to get the Andrew Watt-produced effort.

Wilco, ‘The Whole Love Expanded’

Now here’s a beautiful box. The “Whole Love” album from the early 2010s has been lovingly packaged and updated as a three-LP set, with the original album spread across the first two discs, followed by alternate and live takes on the third. The big news may be the eye-catching packaging, which includes a peekaboo slipcover that contains the separately jacketed individual discs, plus a full-sized softcover booklet that includes not just lyrics but more of the kind of abstract art found in the various covers. With the outtakes, some come from SiriusXM or iTunes sessions around that time, But there’s also a fun collaboration with Nick Lowe, recorded for “Austin City Limites” in 2012 and previously available only on a late-teens RSD 7-inch single that quickly sold out. They are trying to break your budget with such an elaborately put-together set, but there won’t be much cause for regret.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, ‘Live in France: The 1966 Concert in Limoges’

“Jazz detective” Zev Feldman’s efforts at uncovering never-before-released efforts usually fall in the jazz genre, but he steps outside it a bit with this commemoration of a 1966 concert by the woman some consider the first queen of rock ‘n’ roll, the gospel-singing, electric-guitar-slinging Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Most of the world now knows, via Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” movie, how influential she was on Presley, although she’s always been a heroine to the cognoscenti. As good as Yola was in her brief appearance in the recent film, anyone who loves early rock owes it to themselves to hear the real Thorpe rip it up, while she was still in her prime. Feldman’s efforts always include great, copious liner notes, and with this set, Tharpe’s respective American and French biographers both make substantial contributions, with additional testimonials from figures as diverse as Henry Rollins, Susan Tedeschi and Billy Gibbons.

The Weeknd, ‘Live At SoFi Stadium’

(3 LPs, 7500 copies) The first live album ever from the Super Bowl headliner of a couple years back was recorded as the Canadian superstar closed out his stadium tour at L.A.’s SoFi Stadium around Thanksgiving time in 2022. Spread across three LPs, the set runs to 26 tracks. (If that sounds like more side-flipping than you asked for, the album will likely come out later in other formats, as it’s marked as an “RSD First” release, not an “RSD Exclusive.”)

Dwight Yoakam, ‘The Beginning and Then Some: The Albums of the ’80s’

(4 CDs, 5000 copies; 4 LPs, 3500 copies)

The minds that control what used to be the Warner Bros./Atlantic catalog have done a wonderful job of boxing up a few artists’ classic albums of the ’70s and ’80s for the occasional Record Store Day extravaganza, including boxes devoted to Randy Newman’s and John Prine’s work. This year, they’ve got two, with a distinct country-rock twist, devoted to Dwight Yoakam and Linda Ronstadt. The Dwight package includes four LPs, devoted to his first three Warner albums from the ’80s plus a fourth disc devoted to rarities, primarily 1981 demos. If you’re in the market for CDs instead of vinyl, there’s also a compact disc iteration of this particular set.

Linda Ronstadt, ‘The Asylum Albums (1973-1977)’

Linda Ronstadt, ‘The Asylum Albums (1973-1977)’
Linda Ronstadt, ‘The Asylum Albums (1973-1977)’


(4 LPs, 3500 copies)

Hasten down our hearts. It doesn’t matter if you already own pristine, perfect copies of the four mid-’70s albums enclosed in this box. (But you don’t, we can almost guarantee.) You may need to have this boxed set in your collection just for the slipcover of Ronstadt in her country-rock prime. The packaging of the four individual LPs within is also primo, including the vintage embossing recreated for the “Prisoner in Disguise” jacket. This one has no bells or whistles — which is to say, no rarities bonus disc like the aforementioned Yoakam set — but it really doesn’t need to give you any extra incentives to get closer.

Laufey, ‘A Night at the Symphony’

(2 LPs, 4200 copies)

In a way, Laufey is following in a classy modern tradition established by Ronstadt when she did her “What’s New” album of standards. But what’s new about Laufey is that she writes all her own material (with a few Great American Songbook exceptions), in a classic style. The Icelandic-American Grammy winner couldn’t be hotter, but there was a literally cool setting back home for this live album, which was recorded in Reykjavík with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. It came out digitally after her 2022 debut album but never got a physical release till now. Aside from original selections from Laufey’s first album and EP (it was recorded before her most recent release, “Bewitched”), this set is notable for having among its 14 tracks a few classics she’s only performed live, like Cole Porter’s “Everytime We Say Goodbye.” She has a “Goddess Edition” of “Bewitched” very shortly on the way, for a wider retail audience, but this palate cleanser will likely be snatched up incredibly quickly by her avid fan base.

Chet Baker/Jack Sheldon, ‘In Perfect Harmony: The Lost Album’

This collaboration between two star singer-trumpeters, Chet Baker and Jack Sheldon, has a pretty interesting providence. Famed Hollywood film producer Frank Marshall’s father was a jazz guitarist who played on the project and had it recorded at his Tustin, Calif. studio, but when the senior Marshall died not long after it was recorded, the tape ended up in a drawer. Baker, who had been off the scene for years when this was recorded in the late ’60s, finally managed a comeback a few years later, and whatever the plans were for this joint studio album, they were forgotten. The younger Marshall always remembered there was a tape kicking around in a box somewhere, and he finally got hooked up with Zev Feldman to do something about it, including the necessary clean-up work. The result is a real kick to hear after all these decades of languishing.

The Replacements, ‘Not Ready for Prime Time: Live At The Cabaret Metro, Chicago, IL, January 11, 1986’

(2 LPs, 6000 copies)

There’s been a great tradition established with the Replacements in recent years: Rhino puts out a fantastic boxed set commemorating one of the group’s classic ’80s or ’90s albums — in this case, “Tim” — and then a live show from the period that is included on CD as part of that box gets its own breakout release for Record Store Day. That custom continues with this fantastic show from early 1986, recorded at the very end of the period the mercurial guitarist Bob Stinson was still in the band. It went down right before the ‘Placemats did their legendarily shambolic “Saturday Night Live” appearance, which explains the album title. As always, band biographer Bob Mehr’s liner notes are worth the price of admission. Your money? Lay it down, clown.

The Tragically Hip, ‘Live At CBGB’s – January 14, 1993’

In Canada, the Tragically Hip are like the Beatles, Stones and Who put together. This early ’90s set from CBGB’s is a good indication of what the fuss was about and what some of us in the lower 50 missed out on. The remaining group members have assembled to be this year’s Canadian Record Store Day ambassadors, and they get the archival release they deserve… complete with a photo of CBGB’s fabled, frightening urinals on the rear sleeve. The translucent vinyl is much, much prettier, and there’s a nice bonus besides: a branded turntable mat that’s thin enough to fit nicely into the album jacket along with the disc.

Willie Nelson & Various Artists, ‘Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 — Live At The Hollywood Bowl Volume II’

(2 LPs, black vinyl, 4500 copies)

There have been a lot of different formats and configurations for the commemoration of the two-night Willie Nelson 90th birthday tribute at the Hollywood Bowl last April. I was there both nights, which were long enough that I can attest no one medium could easily contain all the all-star material. This RSD double-album is the second vinyl release of material from this show, and it has some of the essentials among its 19 tracks, like a Snoop Dogg/Willie duet. It also includes a half-dozen tracks that were left off the much longer CD version (though they did come out as part of the streaming version already). So this is your one chance to have a physical version of Lyle Lovett’s “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys,” Margo Price and Nathanial Rateliff doing a saucy duet of “I Can Get Off On You,” Sheryl Crow’s “Crazy” and a few other gems.

Willie Nelson, ‘Phases and Stages’

(2 LPs, 4500 copies)

Not enough Willie for you, that recent all-star salute? Of course it isn’t. Last year, RSD brought a two-LP set that expanded the “Shotgun Willie” semi-concept album with a second disc of alternate takes. This follows along the same lines, but it commemorates an even better album. “Phases and Stages” is one of the most famous concept albums of the ’70s, with one side of the original LP devoted to the man’s “side” in a divorce and the other to the woman’s. The second disc adds different versions of these songs, which were previously released in an Atlantic boxed set in the 2000s but never directly paired with the original album in a distinct package like this. With the concept of the album being two sides to the same story, it’s kind of cool to have an LP package that offers two versions of a lot of the same numbers.

Nas, ‘Illmatic: Remixes & Rarities’

(LP, black vinyl, 2500 copies)

Nas has become a Sony focus for RSD of late; for RSD Black Friday a few months back, “I Am… Autobiography” rounded up an initial set of Nas rarities. This fast followup marks a 30th anniversary for Nas’ “Illmatic,” in an addendum to one of the classic hip-hop albums of all time.

Neil Young with Crazy Horse, ‘Fuckin’ Up’

(2 LPs, clear vinyl, 5000 copies)

Record Store Day devotees definitely won’t think Neil Young is effin’ up by giving fans a crack at his new live album a week ahead of the rest of the world. Pearl Jam timed their new album to come out in stores one day before a special RSD edition, but Young went them one better, pushing his general release of his album back to six days after Record Store Day. Along with rights on being an early bird, you get clear vinyl, versus the opacity to come for next weekend’s customers. The set was recorded at a private party in Toronto in November, where Young and his band did the “Ragged Glory” album almost in its entirety.

Ringo Starr, ‘Crooked Boy’

(EP, marble vinyl, 2000 copies)

It’s quite a Beatlefest at this Record Store Day, with only Paul McCartney sitting it out this time. There’s the aforementioned Beatles turntable and 3-inch set; the also aforementioned Lennon “Mind Games” EP; and a reissuing of the two more experimental solo albums George Harrison made prior to “All Things Must Pass.” But new material from a Beatle for RSD? That has fallen strictly to Ringo, whose latest EP, for this occasion, is a set of four Linda Perry-written and -produced tracks. If you’re thinking Pink or Christina when you think Linda Perry, don’t be dissuaded; this has the coolest rock feel of anything Starr has done in a while. (The featured guitarist is the Strokes’ Nick Valensi, if that’s any indication.) If you’re in the L.A. area, Amoebe also has a store-specific 7-inch red single culled from this EP.

And…

What else should you be on the lookout for? Consider releases from Gorillaz, Paramore, U2, Fleet Foxes, Television, Sabrina Carpenter, Death Cab for Cutie, Chappell Roan, Maisie Peters, Remi Wolf, Summer Walker and a few hundred others.

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