Omnivore Celebrates Record Store Day with Vinyl-Only Releases

Record Store Day (April 20, 2013) is an opportunity for music fans across the nation to re-experience the lost art of purchasing music over the counter. But it’s more than that. Record stores, while scarcer than they were ten years ago, remain a place to hear about new music, discuss it with fellow fans, and experience non-virtual face-to-face social networking.

Here are three more reasons to get to a record shop on April 20: Omnivore Recordings will release limited-pressing vinyl collectibles that are musts: The soundtrack to the long-awaited feature-length Big Star film documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me will be available in a special, limited edition (4,000 worldwide) 180-gram, two-LP translucent yellow vinyl pressing ahead of its standard release configurations; a collaboration between the Old 97’s and Waylon Jennings will be released as disc one of a double 7" 45 rpm gatefold single on yellow vinyl (the second disc features two Old 97’s demos) in a limited edition of 1,500 world wide; and the North Carolina band Three Hits will issue Pressure Dome, a 12" five-track EP of released and previously unreleased material (1,000 world wide). Their original 45 release by the same name came out originally on the Hib-Tone label (home of R.E.M.’s debut single), and the band bears other connections to the early era of American indie-rock.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Original Soundtrack): After years in the making, the band’s story will finally hit the big screen in the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures), coming to theaters this summer. An official selection of the SXSW Film Festival (2012), winner of the Best Documentary at Indie Memphis (2012), and a hit at the BFI London Film Fest and DOC NYC, the film chronicles Big Star’s initial commercial failure and subsequent critical acclaim, further solidifying the enduring legacy of one of pop music’s greatest cult bands. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me traces their origins and history — from 16-year-old Alex Chilton skyrocketing to stardom in the late ’60s with the Box Tops and their #1 hit “The Letter,” to the serendipitous meeting of Chilton and local Memphis singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Bell, through the tumultuous recording of the landmark albums #1 Record, Radio City and Third, culminating with the group’s implosion due to failed record sales, personal breakdowns, and the death of Chris Bell in 1978.

Those three records (all of which are on Rolling Stone’s list “Top 500 Albums of All Time”) have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by R.E.M., The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Beck, Jeff Buckley, and The Flaming Lips, to name just a few.

With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews, and a rousing musical tribute by some of the bands they inspired, the film is a story of artistic and musical salvation. The Omnivore Recordings soundtrack captures the essence of the documentary and plays like audio version of the film, featuring all previously unissued versions of classic Big Star, Chris Bell and Alex Chilton songs. The soundtrack includes 21 previously unheard period mixes, new mixes made specifically for the film, and alternate takes and demos.

For this special, limited, first-edition Record Store Day pressing, the double LP will be released on 180-gram RTI HQ translucent yellow vinyl (download card included), with mastering by Larry Nix at L. Nix Mastering. The project was overseen by the documentary’s executive producer, John Fry, at Ardent Studios in Memphis. The additional standard configurations (CD, CD/DVD deluxe, double-LP standard weight black vinyl and digital) will be available at a later date to be announced.

Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings: Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings: Imagine if Waylon Jennings came to see your band. Imagine if Waylon Jennings liked your band. Liked them enough to talk you up in press like The Austin Chronicle. Imagine your A&R guy telling you to write Waylon to thank him and see if he wanted to record some music with you. Imagine if Waylon said yes.

Waylon Jennings attended an Old 97’s gig in 1996, and later that year joined Ken Bethea, Murry Hammond, Rhett Miller and Philip Peeples in a studio in Nashville to cut two tracks. Imagine the youthful energy of Old 97’s with the classic delivery of Waylon Jennings. Sadly, Waylon passed away and these recordings — some of Jennings’ last — never saw the light of day. Until now.

Omnivore Recordings will issue the first-ever release of those two songs, “Iron Road” and “The Other Shoe.” “Iron Road” would eventually arrive as a live version on 2005’s Alive & Wired along with “The Other Shoe” (which first appeared on Old 97’s second album, 1995’s Wreck Your Life.) Two more previously unissued demos are added: “Visiting Hours” (a live version appeared on 2011’s The Grand Theater Vol. 2) and “Fireflies” (re-recorded by Rhett Miller for his acclaimed 2006 solo album The Believer). These four songs will be available on double yellow vinyl 7" set, packed in a gatefold sleeve with art from Jon Langford (of the Mekons and Waco Brothers, and renowned painter of Country Music icons) and insightful and hilarious liners from the band’s Rhett Miller, which put you right there in the studio. The package also includes a download card, offering digital files of the four tracks.

Alt-Country, Outlaw Country, or just plain Awesome Country, the Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings double 7" is a must for fans of any or all of those genres. These historical documents finally see the light, 17 years after being recorded!

Three Hits: Pressure Dome: It’s pretty cool to be label mates with a band like R.E.M. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers’ first single was released on Atlanta’s Hib-Tone Records in 1981. Four years later, a band named Three Hits would also be on that label’s roster with the 7" single “Pressure Dome” b/w “Numbers,” produced by Don Dixon at Mitch Easter’s Drive-In Studio, much like R.E.M.’s. Three Hits was started by Sheila Valentine and Michael Kurtz at Appalachian State University. Along with classmate Jim Biddell, they began rehearsing between the bins at Schoolkids Records, eventually adding Michael’s brother Danny and touring up and down the East Coast — even sharing the bill with Alex Chilton at CBGB’s in New York. Twenty-two years after “Pressure Dome” was released, Kurtz co-founded Record Store Day — a yearly feast for music junkies, where references to labels like Hib-Tone are commonplace — it’s only fitting that Three Hits’ classic single should be available for the first time in nearly three decades for Record Store Day 2013.

Now wait, why is it on a 12" purple piece of vinyl if it was just a single? Well, in addition to the original singles’ two tracks, there’s a third song from the Dixon sessions, “Picture Window,” plus and additional two tracks produced by Huw Gower (The Records) from their long out of print 1989 E.P. Fire in the House. The download card also offers up two previously unissued songs, “Just One of the Guys” and “Wild Volcano,” for a total of seven downloadable tracks. In a celebration of independent music, independent labels and independent record stores, Omnivore Recordings is proud to present the Three Hits 12" EP Pressure Dome for Record Store Day 2013.      

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