Record Store Day UK celebrates its 10th anniversary on April 22nd 2017 with an extensive list of limited edition releases available only through select independent record stores.
Once a high-street staple, the independent record shop has seen difficult times over the last decade. Music consumption shifting heavily towards digital and streaming saw hundreds of record shops close across the country during the noughties, with only HMV and Fopp of the major chains still surviving as players in music retail.
Things have however improved over the past few years. Despite (or perhaps, because of) the rise of streaming, demand for a physical product has once again increased - vinyl sales in the UK are now higher than digital downloads. Times may still be tough, but it would seem the future of independent record shops has somewhat stabilised.
We visited three very different independents across the UK ahead of Record Store Day, and spoke to the passionate, enthusiastic staff who run these shops.
Spillers Records – Cardiff
Established by Henry Spiller in 1894, Spillers Records in Cardiff’s Morgan Arcade is the oldest record shop in the world. They have consistently traded on the same premises since opening, and sell a selection of new and used vinyl.
Ashli Todd has worked at Spillers for twenty years, running the shop for the past 7. “The people are the best thing about my job” says Todd. “Over the counter, behind the counter and within the industry: 99.999999% amazing people”
Record Store Day has helped bring a new lease of life to many independent Shops across the UK, for most overtaking the Christmas period as the most important time of year trade-wise.
From this year's limited releases Ashli is looking forward to the ‘Creation Rebel - Starship Africa reissue’ “It’s being released by On-U Soundm and is the greatest sci-fi dub soundtrack never put to film" and “all three Colleen album reissues that the Leaf label are putting out, every one of them is an essential example of singular creative finesse”
Forever Records – Nottingham
Whilst Spillers Records is the oldest record shop in the world, it’s encouraging to see new independent record shops open in the UK. Based in Nottingham, Forever Records has been open for nine months.“We sell a curated selection of the best new releases and reissues plus quality second hand. We stock most genres but I tend to swing to the more alternative side of music” says owner Joey Bell, who has been working in record shops his whole life.
“We sell a curated selection of the best new releases and reissues plus quality second hand. We stock most genres but I tend to swing to the more alternative side of music” says owner Joey Bell, who has been working in record shops his whole life.
“I love talking to my customers about new records; it feels great to have a shared passion with so many different people” says Bell, who will be participating in Record Store Day for the first time on the 22nd. “There are some great records this year, I’m really excited about the David Bowie – ‘The Cracked Actor’ as I love that period of Bowie’s career. During that tour he morphed from “Diamond Dogs” to the soul sound of “Young Americans”. The ‘BOWPROMO’ is very exciting because for me ‘Hunky Dory’ is one of Bowie’s greatest albums, so it will be great to hear these different versions. I also love the track ‘Bombers’ so it will be nice to have that on vinyl.”
Sister Ray – Berwick Street, London
One of the UK’s most iconic record shops, Sister Ray stands at the centre of London’s Berwick Street and is seen by many as a mecca for vinyl junkies and music fans.
Manager Phil Barton has been at Sister Ray (formally Selectadisc) “On & off about 30 years” and likes best that “No two days are the same, ever” working at an independent. Sister Ray recently expanded to a second premises at East London’s Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, and famously attracts huge crowds on the morning of Record Store Day at its Soho location.
Phil is really excited about RSD 2017, picking out Julian Cope’s ‘Drunken Songs’ as a key release this year “the man is a genius” alongside The Chameleons ‘Where In The World EP’ “Mark Burgess is a hero, and we lost the original drummer John Lever this year RIP”.
Ahead of Saturday’s Record Store Day, here are a few of our favourites from this year’s limited edition releases.
Elastica - Elastica
As we recently touched on in our Women in Britpop post, rumours about Elastica reforming originated from the band's short regrouping to remaster their eponymous debut. This RSD release via Rough Trade features the original album along with a flexi disc and fanzine.
Madness - Drip Fed Fred / Johnny The Horse (RSD)
A double A-side from Madness' 1999 album 'Wonderful' sees the tracks appear on vinyl for the first time. Also notable for its contribution from Ian Dury, being his last vocal performance before his death.
Cabbage - 'Young, Dumb And Full Of...'
Cabbage remain one of the most exciting prospects in new music at the moment. RSD 2017 sees their debut 'Young, Dumb And Full Of...' released on special orange vinyl.
Slaves - Take Control
A rose gold foil cover and white vinyl release of 'Take Control' complete with 35mm photodiary marks Slaves' status as Champions of Record Store Day 2017.
Kate Nash - Agenda EP
Like RSD, Kate Nash's debut 'Made Of Bricks' is ten this year. Another RSD 2017 Champion, Kate Nash's 'Agenda EP' is a special pressing featuring four tracks, her first new music since 2013.
Neil Young - Decade
A champion of the physical formats, Neil Young, remains one of the most regularly included artists in our playlists. This classic Neil Young best of album, long deleted on vinyl, is re-issued here as a three-disc 140gm black vinyl set with two art prints.
Primal Scream - Mixamatosis
An essential collection of Primal remixes, including a much sought after mix from Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Sex Pistols - God Save Sex Pistols
A re-worked version of 'Never Mind The Bollocks' that sees the artwork, track-listing and track versions amended to its pre-release state. A great chance to grab an artefact of a moment in punk history.
999 - Live & Loud
Another band that emerged from the countercultural explosion of 1977, 999's 'Live & Loud' captures the vital energy of a British punk gig in the late 1970s. This RSD edition features hand numbered coloured vinyl.
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse
The earliest, previously unreleased recordings of Brian Jonestown Massacre collected together on double 180gm vinyl. A must for fans of the prolific band, formed in the early '90s, who remain one of the leading pioneers of the alternative scene.
Record Store Day UK is April 22nd 2017.
View the full list of limited edition releases here >