Record Store Day 2021: Nashville Public Radio Staff Picks

After Record Store Day 2020 was parsed out across three different release dates to limit crowds during the pandemic, #RSD2021 will constitute two special days of analog appreciation in support of independent record stores everywhere. We have those good ‘n plenty in Music City, U.S.A., so buy local today (June 12) and/or Saturday, July 17 to keep your favorite Middle Tennessee purveyors of vinyl humming along with needles in their grooves.

Check your couch cushions for any spare change after you peruse the full list of RSD releases here. Tune in to WNXP all day for picks from artist releasing records for #RSD2021. If you see us out and about, please say hello and tell us what you’re buyin’ and excited to start spinnin’!

Here are some of our faves, even sourcing our News Room pals at sister station WPLN.

Celia Gregory, Morning Host & Special Programs Manager

Lee Perry Roast Fish Collie Weed & Cornbread Cover

Lee Perry – Roast Fish, Collie Weed, & Cornbread
So what if much of my favorite music was made before I was born, and/or in a different country. The glory of RSD is its inclusion of special one-offs, modern singles, cool collaborations AND vinyl rereleases from all genres and generations — like this one from seminal dub Reggae singer/producer/DJ Lee “Scratch” Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. In my humble (hungry?) opinion, Jamaican tunes are primo for palling around the house and making dinner, whether or not you get down on the collie weed, or you’ve got fish and cornbread on the menu. When my months-long kitchen renovation is *finally* finished and I’m feeding myself square meals once again, I’ll be jamming to this LP originally released in 1976, preceding The Upsetters’ stand-out Super Ape in 1978.

Jerry Garcia Band Album Cover

Jerry Garcia Band – Jerry Garcia Band (30th Anniversary)
If Reggae is dinner-making music, Jerry Band is historically “lazy Sunday” breakfast fare in my household. This 30th anniversary release features an iconic mid-’80s-early ‘90s JGB lineup — longest collaborator John Kahn on the low end, David Kemper on drums, essential backing vocalists Jaclyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones, and Melvin Seals behind his almost combustible Hammond B3 — gracing The Warfield in San Francisco in 1990. The show was the first released in an official capacity on CD the following year, to the delight of rabid Dead Heads hither and yon. Memorable sets replete with classic Jerry compositions, plus covers that rival the originals (don’t @ me), means I’ll be picking up this whopper on July 17 for sure. Our discs are basically worn out, and Jerry solos sound even more majestic on wax. But if flipping five LPs at home is not your speed, you could always boogie to Melvin Seals & the JGB live and in-person inside a freakin’ cave come August 8. Never miss a Sunday show.

Marquis Munson, Production Coordinator & Evening Host

Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor Series
My new hobby has been going to record stores and spending hours to find some forgotten gems. I found Kobe Bryant’s rap record on vinyl in New York, and some classics, as well (I hit the jackpot with two Sly and the Family Stone albums). But I also have a target list of albums I just absolutely must have and when I find them I’m buying them, no questions asked: Nas Illmatic, one of my all time favorite hip hop albums; De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising, since their music isn’t on streaming services. Lupe Fiasco’s debut album catered to teenage Marquis Munson’s skateboarding obsession and told me stories deeper than “snap your fingers, do your step, you can do it all by yourself.” I was too young to enjoy the A Tribe Called Quest/De La Soul era of hip hop. But Lupe served the next best thing. This deluxe set features the first record plus Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 for the first time on vinyl.

Jewly Hight, Editorial Director & Midday Host

Maria McKee Album Cover

Marie McKee – High Dive
In 2003, after a decade and a half of country rocking, Maria McKee flaunted her independence with a baroque suite of singer-songwriter pop, now released on vinyl.

Willie Jones Album Cover

Willie Jones – Right Now
Real talk: I’ve lost count of the country-pop performers I’ve heard copping rap-like vocal cadences, but Willie Jones’ debut showed that he’s fully capable of sliding from hip-hop fluency into traditional-ish country singing, and leaning on the rich, grainy resonance as he does it. It will be released on RSD 2, July 17.

Me’Shell NdegeOcello – Peace Beyond Passion
Lemme testify that this 1996 work of provocative social theologizing through virtuosic, bohemian, jazz-, rock- and hip-hop conversant singer-songwriter R&B deserves a damn deluxe, 2 LP pressing.

Tony Gonzales, WPLN News Editor

La Femme Album Cover

La Femme – “Runway” / “Me Suive”
I owe it to WBEZ-produced podcast Sound Opinions (which airs on 90.3 FM twice each weekend) for turning me onto La Femme’s super slick “French surf rock” a couple years ago, and I’ve tried to be patient about their slow drip of singles before the latest album hit. The RSD release is a 12″ with songs “Runaway” and “Me Suive.”

Life Aquatic Soundtrack Cover

Various Artists – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This double vinyl release in cerulean blue is also on my list, for RSD day 2 next month. It arrives just as my 3-year-old daughter has been requesting a lot of “Steve Zissou songs” lately, which we only have on CD, and mostly play in the car (where it’s not as easy to dance or be silly).

Chas Sisk, WPLN Senior Editor

Pearl Jam – “Alive”
Pop music lovers can often name a moment when their tastes were changed. For me, that moment was seeing Pearl Jam perform “Alive” on Saturday Night Live in the spring of 1992, which I watched on a TV in a friend’s basement in my small town in South Carolina. A week later, I was at the nearest record store (an hour away) buying a copy of Ten. That disc is right here with me now — the oldest album still I own. Experience that magic for yourself with this 12″ release out on July 17.