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Record Store Day's Black Friday offerings are beyond special 

click to enlarge Safety tip: Studies show Black Friday shoppers are 15 percent less likely to get trampled at record stores than at Walmart. - KARIN HILDEBRAND LAU /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Karin Hildebrand Lau /
  • Safety tip: Studies show Black Friday shoppers are 15 percent less likely to get trampled at record stores than at Walmart.

re you having trouble coming up with gifts for the music-lover in your life? I mean, you certainly could try to find a Weezer snuggie or KISS coffin on sale somewhere but, mercifully, things can also be a lot simpler.

Since 2010, the annual April-based "celebration of the record store," Record Store Day, has also featured an autumnal counterpart, Record Store Day Black Friday. This year is no exception, taking place on Friday, Nov. 24. While the event does not feature quite as many exclusive, one-day-only collector's goodies as the April event, it does include releases made especially for the holiday season, and participating stores may also choose to carry these Black Friday-launched releases beyond Black Friday itself ... while supplies last, of course.

All things considered, it's probably one of the safer ways to spend the consumerist bacchanalia event of the season, although I suppose there's always the off chance someone could take a turntable to your head.

The full list of Black Friday special releases is available at, and there are definitely some items of interest to be found therein.

As one might expect, "holiday season releases" include plenty of Christmas music, and there's no shortage to be found here. Need two different 7" singles of Sir Paul McCartney's inescapable holiday scourge "Wonderful Christmastime," re-recorded with Macca backed up by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots? You're set! (The green vinyl edition is backed with a Decemberists cover of Big Star's "Jesus Christ," while the red vinyl edition is backed with a live Norah Jones rendition of "Peace.")

Also getting into the spirit with holiday-themed releases are northern Colorado heroes Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Cheap Trick, Twisted Sister, and the ever-weird Tav Falco; not to mention the Christmas on Death Row compilation and a reissue of the late Greg Lake's immortal, anti-commercialization-themed single "I Believe in Father Christmas."

Black Friday also offers the first chance for fans to get a copy of the recently reunited Texas post-hardcore act At the Drive-In's new EP, Diamanté — issued here in fetching "coke bottle green/bone splatter" colored vinyl — as well as the first North American vinyl pressing of Neil Young's much-loved Harvest Moon LP.

Fans of Tori Amos also get two early holiday treats in this year's list. The first is the limited-edition orange vinyl Russian EP, featuring songs from her Native Invader LP, released earlier this year. The second, and definitely odder, is a reissue of Amos' effectively disowned 1988 LP Y Kant Tori Read, a synthpop offering that probably needs to be heard to be truly believed.

And, of course, there are sundry other offerings and oddities that are sure to catch the interest of collectors with a taste for the peculiar, obscure and enduringly hip. You can expand your Sun Ra, Frank Zappa and Tangerine Dream discography, pick up a double-LP copy of Big Star's Third Live concert, and even wow your friends with a new copy of Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space. (To be perfectly fair, Leonard Nimoy's vocal delivery does have a certain nuance — and pitch — that William Shatner's lacks.)

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention at least one upcoming live show, and you'll have plenty of advance notice to prepare for this one. Tickets have just gone on sale for the Sunday, Feb. 18, dual appearance of the enduring Texas-based country singers Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. The critically acclaimed pair will grace the Pikes Peak Center stage, each armed with a formidable back catalog and a slew of songwriting awards.

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