The list of limited edition releases being ushered out for Record Store Day 2012 considerably dwarfs those of previous years. This coming Saturday, April 21, independent music retailers will be the sole purveyors of a variety of goods arranged with (hopefully) meticulous preparation, and curatorial duties performed by all varieties of record labels from around the world. Of course, there will be plenty of ways for cretinous Internet "flippers" to make a travesty of our favorite holiday, but there are also droves of crucial reissues, brand new material from contemporary artists, and other limited-edition goods for fans' consumption. We chose a handful of the most exciting Record Store Day titles from Bay Area bands to highlight in this list, which is by no means representative of this year's overall selection. As always, the spirit of a record store is contained in the browsing experience, so ideally this list is motivation to patronize local peddlers of sonic goods and spend time digging. (Grab a full list of the 2012 RSD releases in .PDF format.)
Paint it Black / Teenage Rebel / We Are the One
In the first installment of my Label Sampler column earlier this year, local reissue label Superior Viaduct indicated that it wouldn't be fooling around with 7-inch reissues. But Record Store Day has apparently provided the impetus for the label to venture into this classic pop format by re-releasing three early 45s by S.F. punks The Avengers. Considering that The Avengers' discography has been marred by so many semi-authorized releases and flagrant bootlegs, it's relieving to see a local label doing this seminal group justice. Plus, the wild sums that original copies of these records demand should make these reissues all the more enticing.
Naturally, we're excited for the buzzsaw punk rock 'n roll that this EP is sure to deliver courtesy of San Francisco's resident bunny-faced, underwear-modeling promoter of scuzz. But there is an additional aspect of interest in this Record Store Day exclusive: The cover depicts Nobunny flipping off the logo for S.F.'s 30-year-old punk fanzine, Maximumrocknroll. The magazine has a policy of not covering bands that accept corporate sponsorship, so we can infer that Nobunny is peeved by the lack of coverage following his Scion-sponsored 7-inch. We are excited that the editorial decisions of one punk magazine have enough viability to influence artists' cover art. Be sure and pick up Nobunny's RSD release -- it's a testament to the relevance of print.
Chocolate Watch Band
In The Midnight Hour b/w Psychedelic Trip
This Sundazed 45 offers two unreleased tracks from San Jose's Chocolate Watch Band. Although a tenant of the 1960s "San Francisco Sound," Chocolate Watch Band defied the trappings of their era and scene with a more twisted psychedelic pop sensibility that the B-side of this 45 showcases.
Stygian x} Bisection
Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki alternates between dulcet coos and cacophonous bawling while the band's guitarists employ stark riffs and spacious melodies above drummer Greg Saunier's unpredictable, innovative percussion. The group teeters between art-rock and pop with more conviction than most groups occupying such murky territory, and that San Francisco is (or at least used to be) its headquarters seems more than appropriate. We're convinced that Deerhoof's side of a Record Store Day exclusive 7-inch split with Of Montreal will be the lone side spun repeatedly, but no one can be sure until Saturday. (Unless there are detestable opportunists already selling this record on Ebay, like last year.)
Freaks In Love
This staple artist of Alternative Tentacles' eclectic roster is releasing a limited box set containing 25 tracks selected and remastered by the band, along with Freaks In Love, a feature-length documentary chronicling the group's perseverance in the face of all the changes that independent music has endured since the mid-'80s.