This Saturday, April 21st, is Record Store Day. For those of you unfamiliar, Record Store Day is an annual event held at record stores around the globe celebrating independent brick and mortar record stores, and their importance to both the music industry and the communities they serve. Every year, record labels put together special limited edition releases across any and all genres, with something to pique the interest of even the most discerning customer. The inaugural Record Store Day was on April 19th 2008, making this the events 11th year.
As for Reggae releases, this year the event boasts exclusives from genre heavyweights Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, as well as Eek-a-Mouse and The Maytones. Limited to 3,500 copies in honor of the bands 30th anniversary, Sublime will release their first demo cassette 89 Vision for the first time on vinyl. The 10” EP features “Don’t Push” and “Ball & Chain” on Side A, and “Slow Ride” and “Date Rape Stylee” on the B side. Slightly Stoopid will drop Stay the Same/Prayer for You, featuring Don Carlos, a 7” single limited to only 1,000 copies with a dub version of the track on the B side. 1,500 copies of the Eek-A-Mouse classic “Ganga Smuggling” will be pressed on green vinyl inside a hemp paper sleeve, backed by the highly sought-after dub remix from Roots Radic on the flip side. Jamaican reggae duo The Maytones are pressing 900 copies of their 1984 album Only Your Pictures on 180-gram vinyl.
For fans of the more ska-centric end of the reggae spectrum, Record Store Day 2018 also has offerings from The Skatalites and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong. The Skatalites Grammy-nominated 1994 album Hi-Bop Ska will be issued for the first time on vinyl, limited to only 900 copies. Any fan of Rancid will tell you that they have never shied away from incorporating ska and reggae rhythms into their music, and on Tim Armstrong’s 2007 debut solo album those influences are abundantly clear. For Record Store Day 2018, the album will be pressed on white vinyl for the first time ever, also limited to 900 copies.
A couple of oddballs to round out this years ska/reggae offerings… The Police will issue a 7” picture disc version of their 1978 single “Roxanne” pressed on red telephone vinyl. Lastly, a song that has nothing to do with reggae, Cheech and Chong will release the title track from their breakout hit film, “Up in Smoke” (also from 1978), as a 7” picture disc, this one pressed in the shape of a marijuana leaf complete with a scratch and sniff sticker!
Vinyl records are experiencing a huge resurgence in recent years due to the superior sound quality and consumers still looking to own a physical copy of the music. Whatever your pleasure, there is certain to be something that interests you dropping on Record Store Day this year. So, get out there and support your favorite artists and your local independent record store!