Yes, it’s that time of year again. Record Store Day 2019 is tomorrow – 13th April. Amongst the hundreds of awesome releases you can pick up this year, we checked out six you might not want to miss:

iDKHOW

iDKHOW have become a bit of a phenomenon over the past year and a bit, from being labelled as one of the hottest new unsigned bands of 2018 to quickly getting picked up by Fearless Records. The Utah duo consists of former Panic! member Dallon Weekes on lead vocals, bass, guitars, piano and a bit of everything else, and his long term friend Ryan Seaman on drums and percussion (the two of them also having played together in the Broebecks). It’s a bit of a twenty one pilots style line-up with a not so dissimilar alternative pop sound. They’ve also been described as “what you would want The Beatles to sound like in a modern era.”

Taking their full name (the long winded I Don’t Know How But They Found Me) from the Back To The Future movie franchise and with a futuristic quirky backstory to the band created by Weekes, they’re certainly a duo seemingly ahead of their time, and have a fresh, modern feel to their music but with a definite retro vibe. That backstory, for anyone who’s interested, involves the band originally having been formed in the late 70s/early 80s but the world wasn’t ready for them, (a bit like how the early 1950s wasn’t ready for Marty’s rendition of Johnny B Goode). Now they’re back to utilise and harness the power of the internet and social media, and the world are rediscovering them. The whole thing gives a fun little twist to their tale and makes the band just that bit more entertaining.

They’ve only released one official EP so far – ‘1981 Extended Play’ – but it’s full steam ahead and they’ve been booked for a bunch of gigs worldwide and you can catch them at Slam Dunk Festival this year here in the UK. Their Record Store Day 2019 release is of course, their aforementioned debut ‘1981 Extended Play’ which is available on a limited edition (and very beautiful) red transparent vinly LP for the first time. The retro style of instant classics like ‘Choke’ and ‘Bleed Magic’ are bound to fit the medium of vinyl perfectly and pop out the speakers. This is absolutely how this band were meant to be listened to. After all, they are an 80s band, right?
[WORDS: Becton Simpson]

GREEN DAY

The antithesis of everything that Woodstock once stood for, Green Day’s iconic 1994 performance has been forever immortalised in their newest release – a limited edition vinyl of the performance. The 1994 festival commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock’s first ever year. The poster promised ‘2 more days of peace and music’; but, Green Day weren’t there to enhance the harmony, they were there to make a statement.

Anarchy at its finest, their thirty minute performance was crucial to the band’s identity and their growing success. Complete with onstage mud flights, verbal abuse and even exposing himself to the crowd by pulling his pants down, Billie Joe Armstrong’s performance was as rebellious as it was entertaining. His mother however, didn’t see it in quite the same light; Armstrong told Rolling stone magazine that she sent him a hate letter detailing her disappointment in his disrespectful behaviour, even going as far as to say that if his father was alive he would be disappointed in him too.

It takes less than three songs for the crowd to ensue into a pit of madness, a neurotic machine completely enthralled by the punk-rock trio. It’s muddy and raw, and the performance probably left those security guards asking why they didn’t get paid more after being battered by a wall of oncoming mud and battling fans that break onto the stage. Green Day still provide a well put together musical performance, with true to record vocals and a tight percussion throughout the entire set: even when Billie starts to launch mud right back at the crowd and beat the stage floor with his microphone. It is this energy that transcends their antics and flows into their set, making the performance all the more powerful.

Each jibe at the crowd is entertaining and is what truly makes this album worth owning, from abuse like ‘I hope it rains so much you get stuck’, to the well put statement ‘this isn’t love and peace this is f*cking anarchy’, right down to the final moments where Armstrong ends the set with the comical ‘Okay we’re done. Goodbye.’ Complete with gritty humour, bass and drum interludes, and Billie’s iconic vocals, this is necessary to any punk fan’s collection. This release for Record Store Day is limited to 6,800 copies on April 13th – get it whilst it’s muddy?
[WORDS: Sophia Watson]

BASEMENT

In their first release since 2016’s ‘Promise Everything’, Ipswitch rock outfit Basement solidified their return form a brief hiatus with the phenomenal ‘Beside Myself’.

Whereas past releases were dripping with a 90’s post grunge vibe, ‘Beside Myself’ saw Basement take on a far more radio rock approach that still maintained the appeal of its heavier predecessors.

Despite this nuanced change of pace the guys still managed to drop an album filled with their hooky anthems without sacrificing momentum and having a lacklustre delivery that strays dangerously close to “sell out” territory.

The release saw frontman Andrew Fisher produce the band’s most harrowingly accessible material to date, delving into the deepest recesses of his own psyche, only to remerge with start critiques of his own insecurities.

You can now pick up this beautiful 7″ coloured vinyl of the main single ‘Be Here Now’, in tantalising blue and white.
[WORDS: Adam Hopkin]

THE USED

Following on from their incredible R&L performances and UK/Europe tour, the legends that are The Used made a final stop off at the equally legendary Maida Vale Studios in London in September 2018, before the long trip back home to their respective countries. The recordings are now set to be released for the first time on limited edition 12” for Record Store Day 2019.

Anyone who’s anyone has done a Maida Vale session at some stage in their careers, and the platform has provided some of the most beautiful, interesting and exciting renditions of various songs over the years. Different bands approach the session in different ways. Sometimes they opt for a more stripped back, acoustic sound. Sometimes they bring in different instruments. And sometimes they just plug in, whack up the volume and rock out. Such as it was with The Used. ‘Rise Up Lights’, the gutsy rocker off 2017’s epic album ‘The Canyon’ sounds just as gutsty and gritty as it does on the original.

They bring things down a notch with ‘On My Own’, an old classic from their debut self-titled album. It sounds raw and heartfelt, and perfect for the setting. And of course, no Maida Vale session is complete without a couple of covers. Catch Bert making everyone cry with their cover of Linkin Park’s ‘Shadow Of The Day’, a touching tribute to his old friend Chester Bennington. The band played this live at one of the dates on their UK tour, where Bert spoke with great fondness as he shared his memory of Chester supporting him and getting him through a particularly tough time in his life.

Ending on another cover, this time of Nirvana’s classic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, The Used finish on a high and go out with a bang. This particular cover became a staple of their live set, mixed in with their own song ‘A Box Full Of Sharp Objects’. If you haven’t had chance to catch these guys live yet, they always put on a sick show and are playing a couple of the Warped Tour dates. They’re also apparently working on their next album already so hopefully we can catch them back in the UK soon.
[WORDS: Becton Simpson]

IDLES

At the core of IDLES existence is that old quote by anarchist Emma Goldman; “if I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution”. Like the title of their last album made abundantly clear, IDLES embody joy, positivity, community and the need for sheer emotional release – not just as an act of political resistance, but a necessary part of our human existence. IDLES are a musical revolution, their scathingly punk rock politics erupting out of the cathartic chaos of their music, congealing into a comforting clot over the thousand cuts inflicted on us all by our fragmented society. And it’s this emphasis on empathy that’s at the core of META, a remix of their 2015 EP MEAT by a variety of producers outside of the post-punk realm IDLES inhabits.

It’s a leap away from the intense buzzsaw assault IDLES are known for whilst still retaining their identity as a band. ‘Queens’ still has the aggressive post-punk angular guitar assault, but is now complemented by screeching, Radiohead-esque tremolo picked guitar lines and vocals that sound like they’re being screamed through a ventilation grille. ‘The Idles Chant’ has been remixed into an almost indistinguishable club number, but even the heavy effects ladened onto Joe Talbot’s vocals can’t disguise the uniqueness of his delivery, and the song still retains the playfulness of the original version.

But it’s the remix of ‘Romantic Gestures’ that pushes the hardest – and most successfully – against its source, whilst still retaining the identity of the original. Taking Talbot’s unique lyrical delivery of “you are beautiful”, the remix takes this throwaway line and turns it into a new hook that shaves off the lyrical cynicism of the original, exposing the emotional core at the heart of the song. It’s the most musically distinct remix, but at the same time, there’s something about it that’s so very clearly IDLES.

These remixes just make me appreciate what IDLES represent more and more. There’s something universal to latch onto in their songs, the lyrics that leap playfully between comedy and tragedy tapping into something primordial, bubbling away just under the surface of your subconscious. It’s hard to articulate, but it transcends genres, and it’s fascinating hearing how these other artists have latched onto the sheer vivacious energy at the core of IDLES identity, morphing it into something at once new and the same.

IDLES music is loud, uncompromising, brash and intense. Their lyrics are very firmly tongue in cheek, and they’re not afraid to take shots at those in positions of power. But for all the cynicism present in their music, the core of their existence as a band is empathy, compassion and a desire to live and love honestly. You can see it in the presence of their passionate fans, rallying under the banner of AF Gang online and at shows, who have built their own network of support and community, going to the ends of the earth to support each other and the band that brought them together. It’s so vital that in 2019, we have a punk band comprised of white men who are actively working to challenge the growing rise of patriarchy, homophobia, xenophobia and classism in UK society, whilst creating a loving and welcoming space for their fans to become better people at the same time. Empathy is at the heart of this band, and it transcends all barriers, musical or otherwise. Pick up this remix EP and find that out for yourself.
[WORDS: Matthew Wilson]

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

It’s rare to find a band that performed on stage at such a level as My Chemical Romance. The theatrics were ahead of most other acts in the pop-punk genre and this was never more apparent than when the group headed on the road in support of the worldwide famous record; accurately one of the greatest albums of many generations, ‘The Black Parade’. Celebrating life and commemorating death within fourteen tracks, the impact is undeniable and still being hailed as one of the greatest records of the 2000s – and beyond.

It seemed fitting that the New Jersey outfit would record not one but two live recordings from their touring cycle for the 2006 record. Entitled ‘The Black Parade is Dead!’, the group released audio from the night of 7th October 2007, when they performed as “The Black Parade” at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico. The experience of hearing the live atmosphere alongside a march into the afterlife is enough to take one’s breath away and allow listeners to join the march themselves; but when the live footage was released, those who never witnessed the beauty and destruction in person could watch and admire and feel a part of the parade themselves. They would never feel alone ever again.

MCR were masters of disguise throughout their time together, and it plays along well with acting out their beliefs and ideas of the life beyond what humanity can see, hear, feel, and consciously witness. It brings them and their fandom together, and help most fans come to terms with what life throws unexpectedly: fear, pain, depression, sickness, and sudden death. If anyone ever doubts the depth and intelligence of this emo pop-punk type corner of the industry, maybe they need a night to just sit and listen to ‘The Black Parade is Dead!’ and take in the warmth of learning about the process from life to death to the tune of My Chemical Romance. Now emos everywhere can pick up this luscious vinyl set of the original release.
[WORDS: Jo Cosgrove]

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