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The spoils of Record Store Day

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The dust of Record Store Day has settled and I've finally had time to let my purchases settle into my eardrums. My wallet is noticeably lighter and my vinyl collection is a bit deeper. Sure, I missed out on the out-of-print-on-arrival Piebald and Jimmy Eat World reissues and I wasn't prepared to drop the massive funds required for the Flaming Lips box set or the Rancid deluxe edition, but I did walk away with a few gems.

For starters, the Warner Bros Side by Side split series tickled my fancy with cheeky match-ups of classic bands' original songs and loving tributes by adoring admirers.

First up, a classy looking seven-inch slab of orange wax contained Hüsker Dü's classic love-lorn lament "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely". The flip-side was Green Day's equally love-lorn, yet noticeably snottier take on the same song.

Next, I ripped through another installment in the Side by Side series featuring The Ramones and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Side A featured the classic Ramones song, "Havana Affair", which is an ode to mid-20th century American expansionism and exploitation during the Cold War. The subject matter is pretty impressive considering that it is coming from the same guys who wrote songs like "Beat on the Brat" and "I Just Wanna Sniff Some Glue".

Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are basically legends themselves by now, supplied their phenomenal, surfed-up, chilled-out take on "Havana Affair" on side B. The Chili Pepper's version was originally hand-picked by Johnny Ramone to appear on the spotty (KISS? Marilyn Manson? U2? what the FUCK?!?!?) 2003 Ramones tribute album We're A Happy Family. I'm just glad that I was able to buy the best song off of that tribute album á la carte and didn't have to listen to Rob Zombie cover "Blitzkrieg Bop". Yuck!

My favorite purchases of the day, were multi-colored pieces of perfection featuring some of the best local acts. First off, The Kemps are one of the most outstanding acts in the city right now. Their cooler-than-cool approach to dirty garage punk makes the White Stripes seem like the Spin Doctors. Their groovy track, "Graveyard Kitten" crops up as one half of their split with Vacation Club.

THE KEMPS: Baby J
  • THE KEMPS: Baby J

Vacation Club, who are quickly erupting in the local scene, supplied their bouncy ode to 60's pop "How We Do". In addition to their contribution on the Kemps' split, VC also released an EP of new songs that was the true highlight of my RSD. At only three songs, the little 7" still manages to pack quite a wallop. "Feeling Bad" is a faster track that sounds like The Beach Boys doing a Municipal Waste cover. It serves as a reminder that VC is no mere retro throw-back band; they wrap their sugary packages with a hint of biting thrash that makes their sound truly unique.

I'm really excited to hear more from both The Kemps and Vacation Club but I'm also ecstatic about the prospects of Glory Hole Records, the upstart label responsible for both 7"s. I hope that they keep the ball rolling and don't wait until next year's RSD to release new material.

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