13 of the best Record Store Day releases for 2021

13 of the best Record Store Day releases for 2021
(Image credit: Rough Trade)

The first drop of Record Store Day 2021 records arrives on Saturday 12th June. It's that time of year when record shops stock all manner of rarities, reissues, special editions and exclusives produced especially for the big day itself. For us vinyl anoraks, it's like Christmas, but without the family commitments. So better than Christmas, then.

This year, Record Store Day 2021 takes place over two days – the next is Saturday 17th July. Both days will offer another bumper crop of vinyl, with the first drop alone comprising no fewer than 347 releases. If you want to see what's worth checking out without trawling the full list yourself, see our picks below. And if you do want to do the trawling for yourself? We've got you covered there too, with our full list of Record Store Day drop one releases. Enjoy!

The Doors – Morrison Hotel Sessions

The Door's Morrison Hotel studio album turned 50 recently, and here for the first time on vinyl is a collection of rare session tapes from the original recording sessions. It promises to give a unique insight into the creative process that birthed Roadhouse Blues, Peace Frog/Blue Sunday and Queen Of The Highway, among others. The limited edition package was mixed and assembled by The Doors' original engineer Bruce Botnick, who also put together the new liner notes. It's limited and numbered to 16,000 copies, so better get in early Doors (sorry). 

The Academic – Tales From The Backseat

Mick Jagger likes this Irish four-piece (he handpicked them as a support act for the Stones), and so should you. Their guitar-driven sound is uplifting and melodic, and tight as a drum – hardly surprising considering they've been playing together since school. This is their debut album, originally released in 2018, and now getting a special limited edition re-release on yellow vinyl. Very summery.

Warpaint – The Fool. Andrew Weatherall Sessions

Andrew Weatherall, the legendary musician and producer, who sadly died last year, was given access to the master tapes of 2010's The Fool, with two of his efforts making the finished product: Baby and Undertow. For the first time, this Record Store Day edition brings together all the mixes Weatherall created while working on the project, including a never released before, finished version of Jubilee. A must for fans.

Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap

Record Store Day 2021 releases: the complete list (and our pick of them)

(Image credit: Jeepster)

This is a reissue of the band's critically acclaimed album, on green vinyl. Don't know what an Arab Strap is? (Neither did the band, reportedly.) Trust us, don't Google it. But do enjoy this excellent slice of indie rock.

Bernard Butler – People Move On

The ex-Suede guitarist's first solo album gets a reissue for the first time since 1998, and it's no standard repressing – this one comes on two 180g clear vinyl discs, marking it out as a Record Store Day special edition. Get it while it lasts.

The Chemical Brothers – The Darkness That You Fear

Record Store Day 2021 releases: the complete list (and our pick of them)

(Image credit: EMI)

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simon's first new music since 2019's No Geography is a proper summer anthem – an uplifting jam that provides a much-needed glimpse of hope. The single came out in April, but is getting another bite of the cherry for Record Store Day, alongside a B-side which is as yet unreleased. Exciting.

The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin (Companion Disc)

This was originally only available as a promo CD, handmade by the band's management and dished out to lucky media outlets around the release of The Soft Bulletin (one of The Flaming Lips' best-selling albums). It has since been widely circulated among the fan community, and now is available as an official Record Store Day 2021 release. It features outtakes, alternate mixes, and radio sessions from the era. Essential.

Genesis – Live at Knebworth

Record Store Day 2021 releases: the complete list (and our pick of them)

(Image credit: Rough Trade)

This legendary concert was only ever released on DVD and as a two-CD set, but now for the first time it gets the full vinyl treatment. Each one is numbered, so you can be sure you're getting a piece of musical history, and each sale helps raise money for Nordoff Robbins, a charity that uses music to enhance the quality of life for those with life-limiting illness, disabilities or feelings of isolation.

The Jaded Hearts Club – Live At The 100 Club

This supergroup is made up of Miles Kane (The Last Shadow Puppets), Nic Cester (Jet), Matt Bellamy (Muse), Graham Coxon (Blur), Sean Payne (The Zutons) and Jamie Davis. Their ambition? To mine the history of rock and soul music to create original interpretations of lost classics. And with a lineup like that, they're better equipped than most to do so. This is a live recording of their first ever gig, at London's legendary venue, and includes the hits Gloria, Have Love Will Travel, My Generation and Sunshine Of Your Love. It's like the best wedding set ever.

Oneohtrix Point Never – Russian Mind

Record Store Day 2021 releases: the complete list (and our pick of them)

(Image credit: Software)

Daniel Lopatin's experimental electronica has gained popularity since his award-winning soundtrack for Good Time and, more recently, Uncut Gems. He's also grown in stature since gaining production credits for major pop acts like The Weeknd. For RSD 2021, five of his out-of-print works are being released on coloured vinyl. 

Primal Scream – Dixie Narco EP

This rarity hasn't been reissued since its original release in 1992, so it's something of a treat. Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, it picks up a lot of the themes explored in the preceding – and critically acclaimed – Screamadelica album; namely it's a similar blend of acid house and country blues influences, with the same thrilling end result. There's even a rare Dennis Wilson cover. If you missed it first time around, this is the perfect opportunity to right that wrong.

Thelonius Monk – The Custodian's Mix

Step back in time to 1968 Palo Alto, before that town became a tech hub that's home to Apple, Google, Tesla and Facebook. Then, legendary jazz pianist Thelonius Monk took to Palo Alto High School's auditorium with his quartet to deliver an electrifying performance. This limited edition LP was recorded by an unknown high school custodian, so you'll hear the concert as if you were right there in the audience. 

Mogwai – ZeroZeroZero

Mogwai - Record Store Day 2021 best releases

(Image credit: Rock Action)

Mogwai created the soundtrack to the eight-part crime drama TV series ZeroZeroZero, and now it's available exclusively on double white vinyl for RSD 2021. It's only been available digitally before, and comes with a free MP3 download, should you want to listen to it on the move as well. But it's of course all about the vinyl really...

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.