Around the world in 17 Record Store Day releases

We’ve compiled a list of international Record Store Day special releases worth jumping on a jet for.
Vinyl in a record shop, London UK
Record Store Day, the crate-digger's Christmas © Diverse Images/UIG
By Phil Harrison

Talk about a runaway success. In less than a decade, Record Store Day has gone from being a gesture of support for independent music retail to a worldwide celebration of creativity. It’s also become a bandwagon to be jumped on with mainstream labels and artists regarding the day’s increasing prominence as an opportunity to grab a slice of limited edition vinyl credibility.

So, as RSD has got bigger and its parameters wider, sorting the gold from the dross has become ever more important. With releases gushing forth from the slums of Kenya, the souks of Morocco, the fishing ports of northern England and all points in between, there’s also never been more choice. The gold is still there if you know where to look; which is where our globe-spanning, genre-hopping guide comes in.

We begin in the USA, where the brilliant and prolific Run The Jewels show no sign of slowing down after their monumental 2014. Bust No Moves is yet another new jam from El-P and Killer Mike. Up in Canada, there’s smooth, disco-infused R&B from Bob Moses who drops the vinyl version of his All In All album on RSD.

But enough of RSD’s traditional locations. This is a pan-global affair. Who knew that Mexican-Romanian musical relations were so productive? Cumbia meets Gypsy brass for a presumably wild party on the very limited G-Flux vs Fanfare Ciocarlia 7” single.

Chile’s most notable offering will be familiar to lovers of unsettling UK TV drama, as Cristobal Tapia De Veer’s Utopia soundtrack gets a limited vinyl run. Brazil’s Amon Tobin is also a familiar name to UK audiences after years as a stalwart of Ninja Tune. His Dark Jovian double vinyl EP comes housed in a rubber wheel and features reworks from Lee Gamble and Logos. Meanwhile fast-rising Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett offers up a 12” of slow-burning indie-rocker Kim’s Caravan.

Anyone worrying about over-familiarity could do worse than pick up the double album Thai Pop Spectacular. This vinyl treasure trove of some of the wider world’s quirkiest responses to the UK and US pop explosion of the 60s offers new takes on familiar styles.
It’s all very well mining the past. But RSD is a great showcase for current artists attempting to break through too. Take Leila Gobi from Mali, who faced huge cultural obstacles to her musical career but celebrates her first international album release when Leila drops on RSD. Or The West Bridge Band who have emerged from the slums of Kibera in Kenya bearing their own self-invented instruments and a debut vinyl album Kibera Esbera.

Nigeria’s William Onyeabor could tell them a thing or two about perseverance bearing fruit – there’s yet more Onyeabor action this year in the shape of the Atomic Bomb remix album which features reinterpretations from remixers including Spain’s John Talabot and Japan’s Oorutaichi.

Sister Ray Records, Soho
Stocking up for Record Store Day 2015 © Sister Ray

If you’ve a weakness for sprawling, percussive, Sufi-trance epics, you’ll be excited to hear that Morocco’s legendary Master Musicians of Joujouka will be releasing Into The Ahi Srif, their first new vinyl collection since 1978.  

Sweden’s Makthaverskan offer Witness, a 7” slice of intense, abrasive post-punk to trail their forthcoming new album. And Finland’s doomy synth trio Nightsatan offer an immersive audiovisual trip in the shape of Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom, a green vinyl LP to accompany the DVD release of a 30 minute long post-apocalyptic, sci-fi film.

Finally, some offerings from Britain and Ireland. Underrated avant-popsters Field Music will be presenting the intriguing Music For Drifters, their vinyl soundtrack to a film about herring fishermen. Savagely brilliant (and sadly defunct) Welsh post-hardcore rockers McClusky finally release their McCluskyism album on vinyl, and influential Scottish feedback-wallowers Jesus And Mary Chain present a live album of their 2014 performance of their peerless Psychocandy debut.

Still, Record Store Day isn’t perfect. Were you angry when U2 trolled the world’s iTunes users by dumping their Songs Of Innocence album in their accounts last year? Well, now the Irish billionaires are offering you the opportunity to pay through the nose for a vinyl copy instead. Prepare to get cross all over again. 

More on Record Store Day here. 

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