It’s (still) the most wonderful time(s) of the year: Record Store Day.

The annual celebration of all things 7″, 12″ and beyond – we’re talking about vinyl here, get your heads out of the gutter – is a celebration of independent record stores, and the increasingly rare experience of holding a music product in hand, complete with tons of reissues, rarities and exclusive first-time vinyl pressings.

As a diehard lover of the physical experience of owning music – the touch and feel of the packaging, the liner notes, the artwork – as well as the hunt for an elusive collectible or unexpected rarity hidden deep in the crates, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the holiday.

Of course, like everything else, this year’s festivities are a little bit different amid the pandemic: originally planned for April 18, organizers ultimately postponed the event and decided to spread it out across three dates: August 29, September 26 and October 24. (Record Store Black Friday is also still happening on November 27.)

After making some recommended selections for the August 29 drop, I’ve sifted through the crates of releases planned for the second date, and picked out my Top 5 picks that my readers would likely be most eager to track down. (You can also check out the full list of releases here.)

Happy hunting…