No Depression’s 2020 Record Store Day Black Friday Shopping List
Even a pandemic can’t stop the madness that is Black Friday, though in the name of safety (sure, sure), many big-box stores have already started their sales in hopes of spreading the shopping out a bit. Much more deserving of your money and effort, however, are your local independent record stores, many of which are participating in Record Store Day Black Friday. Much like the three Record Store Day drops earlier this year, the Black Friday event features a list of RSD-only (or sometimes RSD-first) releases that would make fine gifts for the music lover in your life, including yourself.
Many stores are offering appointment shopping on Friday to help keep things safe and socially distant, and most have guidelines shoppers and staff need to adhere to as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. So please check with your local shop in advance to see how Black Friday will work this year.
You can find the full Record Store Day Black Friday list here, but below you’ll find 10 picks, in no particular order, that caught the eye of No Depression staff. (Click the album title to learn more about each release.)
The band that helped inspire our name! Recording of a full concert from Chicago’s Lounge Ax club, originally broadcast live on WXRT. Pressed on two 33 RPM, 150 gram vinyl discs. — Adam Kirr
Recorded in an intimate setting in Athens, Georgia, in winter 2016, this sky-blue vinyl features Luther Dickinson (vocals/guitar for North Mississippi Allstars) backed by Sharde Thomas, Will Sexton, Amy LaVere, and Brandon Chornes playing songs off his Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook Vols 1 & 2. — Sonja Nelson
The Verve Label Group, also known more simply as Verve Records, is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of jazz records. This 12″ EP includes five tracks from some of the genre’s greatest vocalists, but also highlights a new vinyl cutting technique. Instead of cutting grooves in sequence, the tracks in Verve’s “Original Grooves” series are cuts side-by-side, meaning listeners will get “a different aural experience depending on where the needle is dropped.” Five-time Grammy award nominee Betty LaVette shines, offering covers of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and Nina Simone’s “I Hold No Grudge,” while the original versions are “hidden” in between the cuts. — Hilary Saunders
Kaukonen and Hurlbut view music as a conversation. Recorded at Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch in southeast Ohio, this splatter LP features originals and fresh takes on classics, with some improvisation. What we hear in this acoustic marvel is an intimate tête-à-tête celebrating 40 years of friendship. — Amos Perrine
This one is going under the Festivus pole for our 15-year-old daughter, who has recently discovered Elliott Smith. A fabulous companion to the Kill Rock Stars re-issue of Smith’s 1994 self-titled album, this EP includes alternate versions of some of songs, original photography from the same area, and an instrumental of “Mr. Goodmorning.” — SN
“Beatles or Stones?” It’s a dangerous question, but count on instrumental rockers Los Straitjackets to dive in unafraid. To present both sides, they put their one-of-a-kind spin on The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” and The Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side” on this 45. — Stacy Chandler
Huge Chris Cornell fan here! This white 7-inch single features the singer’s cover of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Patience” on one side, paired with his cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” from a SiriusXM live session. — AK
The hippie meets the holy on this collection of apocalyptic psychedelic rock and folk, featuring some of the more obscure bands and singers of the Jesus People Movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. This cool electric blue vinyl features some gems from that musical moment in time. — Henry Carrigan
Drive-by Truckers, who have already released two excellent studio records in 2020, have yet another offering this year — a triple LP live set from Richmond’s best independent record store. Plan 9 Records celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006 and the DBT roared in with a 25-song set from across their catalog. Proceeds from the original show went to benefit the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Family Memorial Endowment, which helps provide music scholarships in the area. The packaging borrows a bootleg aesthetic, including a reprint of the ticket and event show poster. — HS
If you couldn’t get enough of Bachelor No. 2 and the Aimee Mann-heavy soundtrack to the film Magnolia at the turn of the millennium, now you can have all that on one double-album set. This first-ever vinyl release of Bachelor No. 2 includes four songs from the album that ended up on the Magnolia soundtrack instead, along with a re-recording of “Wise Up.” — SC