What to buy on Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday (slide show)

On the biggest shopping day of the year, skip the department store and support your local indie record shop instead

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Every year, Record Store Day brings vinyl rarities and one-off releases to indie brick-and-mortar music stores—and this year, it'll once again capitalize on the shopping frenzy of Black Friday with a special edition of RSD on Friday, November 29. Show your love for the shiny black plastic discs and the artists who make them, and score some great tunes to boot; plus, the event will bring in-store performances and extended hours to your favorite record stores. Below, find our picks for the best releases, and for more details on what's happening in NYC, visit the Record Store Day website.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Summit Entertainment

    The Flaming Lips, Peace Sword 

    Psych-rock masters the Flaming Lips have a long history of absurdly conceptual physical releases to live up to, and their new six-song EP doesn’t disappoint. The music was inspired by the recent sci-fi flick Ender’s Game, and frontman Wayne Coyne says that the vinyl edition will be inscribed with (pretty great) rebukes of the book’s notoriously homophobic author: “Hey Orson Scott Card You Are Wrong” on one side, and “Gay People Are Cool” on the opposite.—Peter Kirby

  • Grateful Dead, Family Dog at the Great Highway

    The very idea of turning up a virtually unknown live recording by a band as comprehensively documented as the Grateful Dead is almost unimaginable. That's what makes Family Dog at the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 4/18/70, a loveably scruffy acoustic set credited to "Mickey Hart and His Heartbeats" and "Bobby Ace and his Cards from the Bottom of the Deck," a genuine rarity—not least for a fistful of solo tunes by bluesy vocalist and Dead co-founder Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.—Steve Smith

  • Life of Agony, River Runs Red

    These days, Keith Caputo goes by the name Mina, lives as a woman and performs introspective singer-songwriter fare. Back in the early ’90s, though, he was the bleach-haired frontman for superb local alt-hardcore outfit Life of Agony. This Black Friday, don't forget to score a copy of LOA's tough, tuneful 1993 debut, River Runs Red, out on wax for the first time.—Hank Shteamer

  • John Denver & The Muppets, A Christmas Together 

    It's all too easy to fall into the too-cool hipster trap on a day like Black Friday. So while you may be doing your holiday shopping at Williamsburg's new Rough Trade store, be honest with yourself: Does your beloved really want that Lana Del Rey reissue? Or would she actually beam with delight while unwrapping the picture disc version of John Denver's beloved Christmas collab with the Muppets? You know the answer.—Sophie Harris

  • Nirvana, In Utero 2013 Mix

    Among the many elements included in the 20th-anniversary reissue of Nirvana's searing 1993 album In Utero is a special "2013 mix": Remaining band members Dave Grohl and Krist Noveselic worked with the LP's producer, Steve Albini, to produce a remix that hews closer to his original vision for the record. (The famously prickly producer battled with the band over the album's sound when it was first released.) Those tracks get a special RSD release on 45-RPM vinyl.—Amy Plitt

  • The Rolling Stones, Got LIVE If You Want It

    Just try not to get goose bumps while listening to teenage girls go apeshit as the young Stones plow through these 1965 shows. (If the waves of screams bleeding through the mix don’t quicken your pulse, this whole rock & roll thing isn’t for you.) The seven-inch collects the lads’ raw takes on Solomon Burke’s "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," Otis Redding’s "Pain in My Heart" and more (those cuts were previously unreleased on the U.S. full-length of Got LIVE If You Want It), and acts a reminder that the Stones were, without a doubt, the coolest cover band around.—Tim Lowery

  • Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Linus & Lucy"/"Oh, Good Grief"

    Along with hot cocoa, thermal socks and various baked goods, one of the surest comforts of the holiday season is the music penned by pianist-composer Vince Guaraldi for the Peanuts animated television specials. This seven inch—printed on gold vinyl—pairs the brisk, shuffling theme "Linus & Lucy" with ambling b-side "Oh Good Grief." Both tracks will make a good addition to your regular rotation for the next few weeks and beyond.—Andrew Frisicano

  • Nas, Halftime

    Multi-platinum Queens hip-hop star Nas was once a little-known dude who went by Nasty Nas. He busted onto the thriving East Coast scene with debut single "Halftime," a quotable, horn-riffed story that cemented his arrival as rap’s new lyrical king; two years later, the track would show up on his seminal 1994 album Illmatic. Now, the single is getting the Record Store Day treatment with a 12-inch reproduction, the perfect way to celebrate both vinyl and hip-hop’s greatest era.—Marley Lynch

Photograph: Courtesy Summit Entertainment

The Flaming Lips, Peace Sword 

Psych-rock masters the Flaming Lips have a long history of absurdly conceptual physical releases to live up to, and their new six-song EP doesn’t disappoint. The music was inspired by the recent sci-fi flick Ender’s Game, and frontman Wayne Coyne says that the vinyl edition will be inscribed with (pretty great) rebukes of the book’s notoriously homophobic author: “Hey Orson Scott Card You Are Wrong” on one side, and “Gay People Are Cool” on the opposite.—Peter Kirby


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