I've gotta thank my friend and coworker Billy Manes for the heads up on Black Friday record store special releases that I'm pretty sure it has exactly never occurred to me to look into, cuz this year has a ton of great music that I, for one, would squeal to unwrap on Christmas morning. Like what, you ask? Well, there's a Cheap Trick box set that includes only the classic albums released from 1977-1979 (someone call the dream police!). Manes went through the roof (a vertical blur, some might say) about Duran Duran's No Ordinary EP (which captures three tracks from a super-limited show in 1993 that previously was only released as a cassette along with their single for "Too Much Information"). There's stuff for those stuck in the past like Dylan fans, stuff for Elvis Costello fans, even Deadheads. New stuff includes a Flaming Lips EP of additional music inspired by the track they did for Ender's Game (CD + vinyl), an Anti Records comp with songs from Neko Case, Man Man and Dr. Dog, as well as a Jim Eno-curated Sondre Lerche release with silk screen artwork. And if you're feeling bookish, Joe Mansfield's tome Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession comes out too, which offers a "range of drum machines covered spans three decades, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s." It's all pretty neat, and it goes on and on, with reproductions of early Nas, a Steve Albini-remastered release of Nirvana's In Utero and limited edition double vinyl of Queens of the Stone Age's Like Clockwork (BLACK ON BLACK.
If you're actually shopping for the kids, there are creative holiday gift ideas like A Musical Tribute To The Songs of Shel Silverstein, featuring My Morning Jacket, John Prine, Andrew Bird and more, as well as a "faithful recreation" of the Vince Guaraldi Trio's Linus and Lucy single and John Denver and the Muppets on picture disc for the first time ever.
But the biggest drop for me? That would have to be the Replacements' All Shook Down, which "has now been remastered from original analog tapes, with a quality pressing it has never seen, giving new life to this classic LP for its first ever US release on vinyl." Which makes it pretty fitting that this was brought to my attention by the dude behind Orlando Weekly's version of Happytown.