April is always an exciting time of the year for music lovers. The summer festival season is usually gearing up with announcements and ticket presales, the commute to local gigs is less likely to take place across a frozen hellscape where snow and ice cover the potholes like a minefield, and, not least, Record Store Day is just around the corner.
Indeed, this year, April 16 might as well be a national holiday for music snobs and vinyl junkies, with a wide array of curiosities, exclusives, and first-look releases hitting record stores worldwide. You can find the full list of releases on recordstoreday.com to begin your purchasing wishlist before you queue up first thing Saturday morning.
Among the interesting items available: 12-inch picture discs running the entire musical spectrum, from Justin Bieber to the Sex Pistols to Ol' Dirty Bastard to the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens; alternate versions of entire albums such as Fleetwood Mac's critically divisive Tusk and Matthew Sweet's finest hour, Girlfriend; an EP collecting David Bowie's early 1966 recordings on the defunct Pye label; and a Run the Jewels cardboard virtual reality viewer, ostensibly to view the duo's ongoing virtual-reality music video projects in style.
Not to mention, of course, selections from collector favorites, such as futuristic free-jazz shaman Sun Ra, power-pop archetypes Big Star, and outsider girl-group The Shaggs, as well as a variety of intriguing compilations which archive obscurities in the fields of country blues, garage psychedelia, Nigerian and Cambodian rock and roll, an old-school Mickey Mouse record player, and a glorious box set of 7-inch singles celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaican rocksteady. Basically, something for every taste, even the most discerning.
About the upcoming summer festival season, one of Colorado Springs' most beloved and iconic festivals, Blues Under the Bridge, has announced its performers for this year's event, taking place on July 30. The headliners possess no less than the highest pedigree: iconic keyboardist and bandleader Booker T. Jones, mastermind behind some of the most quintessential Memphis soul recordings ever produced with his band, the M.G.s, will grace the bridge with his presence, along with Harlem-born electric blues and gospel singer Shemekia Copeland, who was proclaimed the new "Queen of the Blues" and presented with Koko Taylor's crown at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival. Rounding out the lineup is the Southern Avenue Band, Erik Boa & the Constrictors, and Jesse Cotton Stone with the ubiquitous Grant Sabin.
In the meantime, UCCS' Peak Frequency Creative Arts Collective is holding a music festival of its own this week, comprising three nights of performances. Wednesday, April 13, brings alumni of the UCCS music program to the Mezzanine, performing a variety of original compositions and collaborations. Friday, April 15 features the UCCS Creative Music Ensemble and Music Honors Scholarship Ensembles at UCCS' Centennial Hall Auditorium, and Saturday, April 16 brings the adventurous New York jazz saxophonist Tony Malaby to the Mezzanine.
Finally, as an appropriate spiritual precursor to Record Store Day, local indie-rock standouts We Are Not a Glum Lot play the Flux Capacitor on April 15 to celebrate the "re-release" of their 2015 LP, Atychia. While the album was available digitally, you can finally get your hands on a physical copy at the show, where the band will also be joined by Knight in Colors, Hide Anyway and Aeterna Reverie.
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