Check out 16 essential Record Store Day releases


On Saturday, we, the people, celebrate the tenth anniversary of Record Store Day, the day record stores and record labels come together to celebrate getting off your butt and going into the recorded material emporium of your choosing and spending that money on exclusive releases in stores on that day only. (Unless they don’t sell out; then you may see them again.)

Here are 10 releases that jumped out at us (or are of special interest to Austin listeners).

No, this is not nearly all of them or all of the good ones (the full list can be found here). No, not every store will have every record. (A list of participating stores can be found here.)

Yes, getting all of them would set you back a lot of money.

But man, there’s a lot of spectacular music here.

David Bowie, “Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74)” A previously unreleased live recording from September 1974, a transitional show between the Diamond Dogs tour and the Philly Dogs tour, the sci-fi glam god turning into the soul man who fell to Earth. Produced by David Bowie and mixed by Tony Visconti, over the course of three LPs.

 Vic Chesnutt, “West of Rome” The late, great songwriter’s second album, on vinyl for the first time. This version features a rejiggered track listing, two studio outtakes, four-track demos and live versions of songs from the same era. A deep dive into real-personhood at its most raw, broken and beautiful.
Steve Earle, Live at the Continental Club”  Two song 7″ featuring live versions of Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and his own “Fixin To Die”.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Welcome to 1979”  One of the great Americana singer-songwriters of his era throws down six live cuts with his band on this 12″ EP.  Side A: 1. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Jagger/Richards) 2. Storm Windows (Prine) 3. Heart on a String (Jackson/Buckins) Side B: 1. Atlantic City (Springsteen) 2. Sway (Jagger/Richards) 3. Never Gonna Change (Isbell)
 Robert Johnson, “The Complete Recordings” Here, have some roots of 20th century human expression. Not that most folks who are interested in this music don’t have it yet, but this is a pretty nice package, all 42 known recordings on three LPs.

Luna, “Penthouse Deluxe”  Remaster of this gorgeous album with a second LP of unreleased tracks, rare b-sides and demos, including an extended version of their “Marquee Moon”-style, guitar shimmer-jam “23 Minutes in Brussels.”

The Meters, “A Message from The Meters–The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977” Three LPs collecting 40 single sides of some of the greatest funk — no, make that the greatest music — ever recorded. Essential listening for all conscious humans.

 Ramones, ’76 – ’79 Singles Box  Speaking of music that changed the world, here are slices of perfect punk as they were meant to be heard, (seven-inch) black plastic discs going round and round and round and round. No word if this is some of the singles or all of them or what,but they will come in a cigarette-style outer box. which makes a nice paring with the Sex Pistols – “Anarchy In The UK –The UK & US Singles” The four original UK 7″s and one US 7″ presented in replicas of the original 1977 sleeves, housed in a singles box.

  Santana, “Live at The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 16, 1969” First time on wax for this legendary, career-making set. Peace and blessings to drum god Michael Shrieve.

Sun Ra, ” Janus”  Totally excellent compilation of five rare tracks from the Sun Ra Arkestra, drawing from tapes recorded between 1963 and 1970. A swell introduction to the man from Saturn.

UGK, “Too Hard to Swallow” The first album by Houston hip-hop legends Bun B and the late Pimp C gets the vinyl treatment for the first time in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

Various Artists, “Girls In The Garage – Oriental Special – Volume 9” Female-fronted garage pop from throughout 1960s Asia.

Various Artists, “Where The Pyramid Meets the Eye” Tribute compilations were all the rage in the early Nineties and this 1990 tribute to Roky Erickson remains one of the all-time best. Nearly every song is a keeper; personal faves include heartbreak of Bongwater’s “You Don’t Love Me Yet,” the space-frippery of Julian Cope’s “I Have Always Been Here Before” and Poi Dog Pondering’s “I Had to Tell You.” A double LP with three bonus tracks previously available only on the cassette.

The War On Drugs, “Thinking of a Place”  This two-part song, on 45 RPM over both sides of a 12″, is the first new music since 2014. from these gauzy guitar thinkers who absolutely do not sound like Arcade Fire, no way.

Link Wray, “Beans and Fatback” In 1969, eleven years and several lifetimes after his world-historical instrumental “Rumble,” whose twang and shudder was the very sound of 1950s at its seediest and make both power chords and distortion root integer of rock music, Link Wray (1929-2005)  found himself on his father’s farm in Maryland, the “3-Track Shack.” There, he, siblings and friends made three albums: “Link Wray,” “Mordicai Jones” and this one, “Beans and Fatback,” roots records that don’t quite sound like anything else: a blend of blues, country, gospel, Native American chants and folk that sounds like it could have been cut tomorrow. A dispatch from when the old, weird America was turning into something even stranger.












This week: ‘American War,’ an X-Men relaunch, the music of Waylon Jennings and much more

“American War” by Omar El Akkad (Knopf). Terrifying, post-apocalyptic  debut novel from this Egyptian-American author, perhaps a bit slipstreamish (think “Station Eleven,” maybe, “) on the sci-fi spectrum. It’s 2075 and America is a mess — constantly hot, full of refugee camps, the sky filled with drones and fully engulfed in civil war, Akkad examines the Chesnut family over two decades of life during wartime. Expect increasing buzz for this one. (Tuesday)


“Love & Rockets Magazine #2” by Los Bros Hernandez (Fantagraphics). Second issue in the three-times a year, magazine-sized (well, more like Golden Age comic sized, somewhere between a comic and a magazine…look, it looks really cool) version of the greatest American comic book series of all time. Essential reading since 1982 for everyone with eyeballs. Mature readers.  (Wednesday)

“X-Men Gold #1” by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf (Marvel). Given what a Marvel VP’s impressively unfortunate comments about comics, marketing and diversity, it’s not too surprising that the X-books are going back to first principles. This book highlights a lineup that is essentially the classic Claremont 70s/80s crew — Kitty Pryde is the leader with Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, (Old Man) Logan, and Rachel Grey-Summers in the Marvel Girl/Phoenix role, doing super-hero stuff (like fighting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). Rated 12-plus. (Wednesday)


“Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings” (Columbia Legacy) “Outlaw” is a CD tied to a special that airs 9 p.m. Friday on CMT, the broadcast (and CD version) of a set recorded July 6, 2015, at ACL Live. Look for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter, Bobby Bare, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Ryan Bingham, Alison Krauss and a ton more. (Friday)

Father John Misty, “Pure Comedy” (Sub Pop). We are in an era where a Sub Pop act can have a Target exclusive CD edition with five collectible cards. (Friday)

 Future Islands, “The Far Field” (4AD). Not sure that anyone who saw them on “Letterman” ever really forgot it — Dave certainly seemed gobsmacked. Produced by Dallas-based genius John Congleton, they seem to be one of the most personally well-liked bands around. (Friday)

 Joey Bada$$, “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$” (Pro Era/Cinematic Music Group). Guests include ScHoolboy Q, Styles P, J. Cole and Chronixx. (Friday)

The New Pornographers, “Whiteout Conditions” (Collected Works/Concord). The first album in three years from this often-stunning pop act. This is the first album on Concord and the first not to feature songwriter/singer Dan Bejar, which seems like a mistake for both parties. (Friday)

Wire, “Silver/Lead” (pinkflag). Wire has been kicking around in one form or another for more than 40 years. Singer/guitarist Colin Newman is 62. Wire bassist/singer Graham Lewis is 65. Wire drummer Robert “Gotobed” Grey is 65. Not only do they rock harder than bands one-third their ages, they rock more interestingly as well. Inspiring, always. (Friday)

Pierce Brosnan as Eli McCullough  in “The Son” (James Minchin/AMC)

“The Son” (AMC). The long-awaited, somewhat hyped, Central Texas-shot adaptation of Austinite Philipp Meyer’s totally excellent generational novel about a Texas family. Stars not-a-Texan Pierce Brosnan. (Saturday)

‘I don’t feel at home in this world anymore’ on Netflix Feb. 24 and other cultural happenings

“I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Austin filmmaking 16807109_10202566880731066_1936925860904908797_nreasserted itself in dramatic fashion at Sundance when River City actor/writer/director Macon Blair’s “I don’t feel at home in this world anymore” took the festival’s Grand Jury Prize for U.S. feature. It is Blair’s directorial début.

Blair, a native of Northern Virginia, directed Austinite Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey (“Togetherness”) and former Austin resident/Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow (whose acting career seems to be growing by the second) in the thriller about a burglarized woman who tries to track down the thieves and finds herself over her head. Blair shot the film last year in Portland, Ore. (Feb. 24)

RELATED: The oral history of Scratch Acid, Yow’s old Austin band

Dirty Projectors, “Dirty Projectors” (Domino). First music since 2012 for this act, which is probably just pretty much guitarist/songwriter David Longstreth at this point. Word has it it’s a breakup album about former bandmate Amber Coffman (who has her own solo record coming out later this year). Solange, Tyondai Braxton, Mauro Refosco and Dawn Richard all guest star. (Feb. 24)

 The Feelies, “In Between” (Bar/None). Man, all the old folks are putting out records. This is the second album this decade and sixth LP overall for these indie rock godfathers, who celebrated their 40th year of existence in 2016. (Feb. 24)

 Old 97’s, “Graveyard Whistling” (ATO). New music from Ryan Adams and these Americana lifers in the same month? Somewhere, Statesman music critic (and former “No Depression” co-editor) Peter Blackstock is firing up the turntable. (Feb. 24)

This week in popular culture: Philippa Gregory, “The Get Down” and “Pete’s Dragon”

three-sisters-three-queens-9781476758572_hr“Three Sisters, Three Queens” by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone). The best-selling historical fictioneer takes on King Henry VIII’s sisters Mary and Margaret, along with Katherine of Aragon, which I didn’t mean to read as “Angelica! Eliza! And Peggy!” as it does. (Aug. 9)

  “The Get Down” (Netflix). Baz Luhrmann recruited writer Nelson George (as well as Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa) to contribute to this insanely ambitious-sounding new Netflix musical drama about New York during the 1970s and the rise of hip-hop, punk and disco. Starring Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito and Jaden Smith. (First six episodes released Aug. 12)

  “Pete’s Dragon.” Texas director David Lowery remakes the 1977 Disney animated film as a live-action adventure with a CGI dragon, transporting the action from early-20th-century Maine to the modern Pacific Northwest. With Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Oakes Fegley as the orphan Pete. Look for an interview with Dallas director David Lowery and a review on Thursday.  (Aug. 12)

 Rae Sremmurd, “SremmLife 2” (EarDrummer/Interscope). There have been so many singles (four) over the past six months for this thing that I thought it was already out. But, nope, here is the second album from the Southern hip-hop duo. (Aug. 12)

The Dead C's "Trouble" (photo: Ba Da Bing)
The Dead C’s “Trouble” (photo: Ba Da Bing)

The Dead C., “Trouble (Ba Da Bing). The newest album from this long-time New Zealand trio, which, in its 30 of so years of existence, have become underground rock icons for moving from rough-hewn, no-fi noise rock to long improvisational excursions. They still sound like nobody else, and nobody else sounds like them. (Aug. 12, but probably in stores now)

Ten records to look out for on Record Store Day

Love it, hate it, look forward to it or avoid it, April 16 is Record Store Day.

Here are 10 records that caught my eye, in no particular order.

  1. “Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks” (Demon). A story-telling record (Remeber those? “Rebel Mission to Ord VBDaleks_CD4pp.inddMantell,” I will never forget you)  on “‘70s Tardis blue colored vinyl.”  LP. Tom Baker (The Fourth and most famous Doctor) narrates one of the key episodes in the extremely long-running series, as the Time Lords send the Doctor on a journey through space and time to try to prevent rhe Daleks from being created. My kids are getting into Doctor Who, maybe they would like it.
  2. David Bowie, “I Dig Everything: The Pye Singles 1966” (BMC/Sacntuary). A six song EP of the tunes a very young Bowie knocked out for Pye in ’66. Bowie before he was BOWIE, essentially.
  3. Buzzcocks, “More Product in a Different Compilation” (ORG): Almost all of the A-sides and a whole mess of B-sides from first-wave punk’s greatest singles act. All of these bangers appeared between 1977 and 1980.  It’s an expanded version of “Singles Going Steady” sort of. Perfect for the younger person in your life who keeps listening to terrible pop-punk. (Do young people still do that or is it all stuff like Bring Me The Horizon now?)
  4. 418457270158-284D.O.C., “No One Can Do It Better” (Get On Down): First time in print on vinyl since this West Coast hip-hop classic dropped in 1989. A rapper from Dallas, production from Dr. Dre, NWA guest
    appearances: What are you waiting for (other than Record Store Day)?
  5. Alejandro Escovedo, “Gravity” and “Thirteen Years” (New West). Two early (and extremely heavy) solo albums from one of Austin’s most beloved are realaunching the defunct Austin label Watermelon as a division of New West.  On 180 gram vinyl.
  6. Fleetwood Mac, “The Alternate Tusk” (Rhino): The “alternate version” (read: alternate takes of songs from) of “Tusk,” previously released on CD in that massive “Tusk” reissue, now on double LP. A few songs really do sound like Pavement.
  7. Ida “Will You Find Me” (Polyvinyl): I used to think you could find this excellent 2000 LP anywhere, but it’s currently going for about $30 on discogs. (That said, if you want it on CD, it will cost you a dollar.) A double LP, gatefold version mastered at 45 for maximum sonic whump. Perhaps these acoustic singer-songwriter-indie-folk-rock titans made a bad record, but I sure haven’t heard it.
  8. The James Brown Revue, “Get Down at the Apollo with the J.B.’s” (Get On DGET54082-LP_JAMES BROWN_LIVE AT THE APOLLO '72own). A full 1972 set from Brown and his funk machine, then operating at yet another heady peak. Previously available as as download but not on LP. As I said, I am not made of stone, people.
  9. Lydia Lunch and Marc Hurtado, “My Lover the Killer” (Munster): Latest collaboration between Lunch, a queen of musical-and-lyrical transgression (both major and minor) since the 70s and Hurtado, one half of the French industrial duo Étant Donnés. I will always give at least a listen to whatever Lunch is up to.
  10. Superchunk, “Tossing Seeds: Singles 1989-91” (Merge): The first LP Merge (Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel) ever released. The Platonic ideal of early ’90s indie rock and a perfect album. Not a bad pairing with the Buzzcocks joint (for obvious reasons).

There are, obviously, dozens more.   Check it out for yourself.

What say you, Austin? What are you looking forward to?

Welcome to Check It Out. Feel free to leave your shoes on, it’s cool.

So, there will be a lot of different stuff going on in this blog:

All sorts of television – the great, the not-so-great and “Vinyl,” a show that should really be called

The correct title. (Thank you to the brilliant David W Alexander Parker for creating this image)
The correct title. (Thank you to the brilliant David W Alexander Parker for creating this image)

Movie things that don’t fit in the Austin Movie Blog (cool home video releases, what’s new in streaming, supplementary notes about movie reviews or maybe some of the angry trolling I got about this thing.)

Music things that aren’t quite right for the Austin Music Source (cool band I find on, say, Bandcamp, what I’ve been listening to, etc.)

Books things that might not be right for the Reader (including comics, comics and more comics).

Cultural detritus from around the Web. A place to discuss all that is new and interesting in culture, or old and interesting in culture, popular or otherwise.

And if I use the word thinkpiece, please feel free to send me a strongly worded note.

A word about the blog name:

I thought I was making a horrible pun that maybe three people would get, as in

a) this blog I would love for you, the reader, to in fact check out, and

b) it is the catchphrase, more or less, of one John Brannon, one of the greatest punk frontmen who ever lived and a man possessed of a truly singular vocal roar. He fronted Negative Approach, one of the three or four best first-gen American hardcore punk bands; Laughing Hyenas, a truly mighty indie rock force back when indie rock could mean everything from the Jesus Lizard to Heavenly to Yo La Tengo to Fugazi; and Easy Action, whose “Kool Aide” is one of my all-time favorite Brannon joints.

Anyway, this is what he looks like:

the Voice
The Voice

And this is the photo that made everyone familiar with both of us laugh out loud:

some dude
Some dude

See? Dumb joke.

The problem, of course, is I completely and totally (and I mean this sincerely) forgot about the phrase’s association with these guys:


In fairness, that (admittedly Grammy-nominated and very popular) song is on “To the Five Boroughs,” which I do not recall as an album with which I spent a whole lot of time. That said, I understand why SEVERAL people have said, “Oh, like the Beastie Boys song?”

No, not like the Beastie Boys song. And definately not like the John Cougar Mellencamp song. Never, ever that. Ever.

In sum, welcome to Check It Out. Watch this space.