The good news for Taylor Swift fans: She is participating in Record Store Day again with a vinyl exclusive, for the second straight year. The bad news is that it’s in quantities of … Wait, that’s good news, too — there will be 115,000 copies available of “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions,” worldwide, about 10 times the amount that were pressed for her RSD 2022 single.
Is that enough to meet demand, or keep legions of Swifties from queuing up before dawn along with the Record Store Day regulars on April 22? Not likely, but the volume of the pressing —more than four times as many as any RSD exclusive to date — should keep panic over procuring a copy to a lower level.
That’s just one of about 300 releases coming out on vinyl (and, in a very few instances, CD or cassette) for Record Store Day 2023. Other artists with albums or singles on the roster include Pearl Jam, the 1975, Wilco, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Björk, Billy Joel, Post Malone, Madonna, Beach House, Nas, the Rolling Stones, the Black Keys, Sparks, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Carole King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Miles Davis, Dolly Parton, Orville Peck, Em Beihold, U2, Warren Zevon, the Pixies, Chet Baker, the Ramones, Muddy Waters and three out of four Beatles — Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
The only title made public prior to Thursday was a joint release by the couple that shares the title of Record Store Day 2023 ambassadors, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, a four-song studio EP titled “The Sound Emporium EP.” (Read Variety’s previously published interview with Isbell and Shires about their ambassadorship and forthcoming release here.) Additionally, it was announced that Shires has a separate EP of her own coming: “Live at Columbia Studio A.”
For a complete list of titles coming out April 22, go here. For a list of participating stores, click here.
A small sampling of immediately notable items from the 2023 list:
Taylor Swift, “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” (115,000 copies, worldwide)
It’s a lot more substantial than last year’s RSD Swift instant collectors’ item, a 7-inch single release of an alternate mix of the track “The Lakes.” (Hefty or no, that record was so sought after that some stores held raffles rather than put what copies they had on the racks, or auctioned them for charity.) The two-LP set arriving this year has Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon to redo the entirety of “Folklore” in even more intimate arrangements. The music was previously only available digitally following its premiere as a Disney+ special. This two-LP set, pressed on grey vinyl and released in a gatefold jacket, marks the recording’s first physical release. (CD-buying hopefuls will still have to wait.)
Pearl Jam, “Give Way” (15,500 copies on LP; 4000 copies on CD)
Pearl Jam can be counted on to have a live album going into stores for RSD almost every year. This 17-track live set, taken from a March 1998 show in Melbourne, was supposed to be released later that year as a promotional companion to a home video release, but never came out apart from “an extremely limited amount surfacing over the years,” according to their reps. For non-vinyl fans, this is one of the few items on the list to have a CD iteration as well, albeit in far fewer numbers than the two-LP set.
Elton John, “Don’t Shoot the Piano Player” (4000 copies)
John is another of RSD’s most fervent boosters. This splatter-colored two-record set includes the original album on the first LP and 10 session demos on a second disc — most, but not all, for songs that ended up on the finished release. This edition is designated as “RSD First,” meaning it may eventually come out in a different or unlimited edition. But be warned that it may not; several of Elton’s Record Store Day titles have not subsequently been issued in any other form. A “Piano Player” boxed set has been rumored, but in the meantime, it’s best not to sit on this.
The Black Keys, “Live at Beachland Tavern March 31, 2002” (5000 copies)
Many of the live albums that come out from RSD are culled from larger CD or digital boxed sets, but here’s one that’s never seen daylgiht before — a never-before-released recording of the Keys’ first show at Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, near their hometown, in 2002, on tangerine vinyl. Were they born ready? Let’s listen and find out.
The 1975, “Live With the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra” (2500 copies on LP; 400 copies on cassette)
Nine of the 10 songs on this symphonically enhanced live set are derived from the band’s second album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.” The number of copies being made available in the U.S. is surprisingly low for a group of this stature, although presumably the quantity will be greater in the U.K., where the band is this year’s Record Store Day ambassador.
Jerry Lee Lewis, “Live at the Palomino Club” (2000 copies)
On “fiery red smoke vinyl,” this two-record set is said to have been planned to commemorate Lewis’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, but it also, of course, comes out not that long after his death, which soon followed. A numbered poster is included inside the gatefold package.
Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, “The Sound Emporium EP” (11,750 copies)
Amanda Shires, “Live at Columbia Studio A” (2700 copies)
On “Sound Emporium,” the first couple of Americana splits duties equally, with one previously unrecorded original by both, plus a Richard Thompson cover (“Beeswing”) and an oldie Isbell did on his first post-Drive-by Truckers album and knew he could improve upon (“Tour of Duty”). The quantity is high, so the RSD ambassadors won’t have to take embassy meetings with fans upset about being shut out. Separately, Shires’ solo EP includes four numbers re-recorded from her latest album, “Take It Like a Man,” previously only available as streaming music videos, with Isbell and Maren Morris sitting in.
Various artists, “Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era (1964-1968) [50th Anniversary Box]” (6000 copies)
Has it really been 50 years since the first Lenny Kaye-curated “Nuggets” compilation came out, looking back to an era of garage- and psych-rock that peaked a few years before that? Yes, so let’s indulge in some nostalgia for nostalgia. A five-LP boxed set includes the first early ‘70s double album, a second volume of two LPs that was planned but never came out, and a fifth disc of songs that were considered for the first “Nuggets.” Kaye is back on board as curator, and liner notes writer, with help from one of the original avatars of the era being celebrated, Jac Holzman.
Amythyst Kiah, “Pensive Pop” (2500 copies)
Kiah has been slaying covers on tour, exploring material from pop and rock genres with a different attitude, and four are included in this EP: Tori Amos’ “Sugar,” Green Day’s “Hitchin’ a Ride,” Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
Son Volt, “Day of the Doug” (1700 copies)
The Sir Douglas Quintet, “Texas Tornado: Live from the Ash Grove Santa Monica 1971” (1500 copies)
If you love Doug Sahm and his classic band, RSD has got you covered — literally, with a brand new Son Volt collection of covers, and via a live album catching the man and his band in their early ‘70s prime. On the Son Volt release, “the intro and outro tracks are phone messages that Doug left Jay Farrar over the years,” per the label.