If you’re battling the crowds today and of a mind to give the gift of music, you’re probably already aware that it’s Back to Black Friday, brought to you by the folks behind spring’s annual Record Store Day. (And if you’re like us, you’re patronizing your local, independent stores.) There are a slew of special releases out in conjunction with Back to Black Friday, many of them vinyl odds ’n sods geared to superfans and obsessives, but others – like the 7-inch singles sets from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Doors and Janis Joplin – feeling like real keepers. Check out all the special releases here.
Here are three local picks (one from the aforementioned list) for your fearless Friday:
The Jigsaw Seen, “Winterland” – The long-running L.A. quintet (they’ve had the same lineup since 1996) in November released a brilliant concept album that is more about the season than it is the holiday. Their brainy, Nuggets-worthy pop is perfect for anybody reared on a diet of ’60s and ’70s music, or who wants more nutrients than much of today’s pop seems to serve. Dave Davies of the Kinks (along with L.A. pop vets such as Kristin Callan, Lisa Jenio and Morley Bartnoff) guests, and the vinyl packaging – the Jigsaw Seen was nominated for a Grammy for best packaging for their 2000 album “Zenith” – is splendid. “Winterland” even comes with snowflakes. [The Jigsaw Seen plays a record-release show Dec. 1 at the Silverlake Lounge.]
||| Stream: “What About Christmas?”
Dntel, “Life Is Full of Possibilities” – A lot of today’s electronic music can trace its roots to beatmaker Jimmy Tamborello’s 2001 album, which was just released in deluxe vinyl fashion on Sub Pop. The album was especially notable because of the song “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” which marked the first collaboration between Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard – an alliance that would go on to yield the Postal Service and its 2003 album “Give Up.” Gibbard is not the only notable collaborator on the album; Mia Doi Todd, Rachel Haden and Chris Gunst also vocalize. Back in the day, Pitchfork nailed it.
||| Download: “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan”
Silversun Pickups, “Seasick” – Like I said, many of the Back to Black Friday releases are for superfans and obsessives. The L.A. quartet of Brian Aubert, Nikki Monninger, Joe Lester and Christopher Guanlao are holed up in a studio somewhere working on their third album. The “Seasick” 10-inch vinyl release offers three previously unreleased tracks, the title song along with “Broken Bottles” and “Ribbins and Detours” from the “Swoon” sessions. I’m a little bit put off that SSPU’s label declined a request for a preview stream of the songs before the release (I mean, really? Maybe if I ask nice, they’ll play it for me first at Origami.), so I’m taking this one on faith. If you want a sure thing, get Iron and Wine’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” LP/CD of their KCRW session. Sam Beam nailed that one.