It’s 2016 and vinyl is thriving. What a time to be alive. It’s been growing for a while and sales have increased by over 60% since January. This April marked the 9th year of celebrating independent music stores and with more than 250 record labels releasing around 500 limited addition LPs, there was pretty much something for everyone. The North East’s record stores didn’t let the side down this year with many local retailers stocking one-off vinyl by an array of artists; plus local bands played sets throughout the day across town.
This year saw music-lovers turning up as early as 6am to make sure they bagged some musical treasures. So, to give a brief lowdown of the day…at JG Windows they held giveaways for hi-fi systems and multimedia systems whilst stocking 80% of the exclusive LPs. Vinyl Guru in Sunderland provided tea and coffee alongside some vinyl treats whilst celebrating the existing records with their 3 LPs for £10 offer. Across the other side of town at The Bottle Shop Bar & Kitchen near Beatdown Records, DJ sets were scheduled in the evening from the likes of SoulJam and Popklubb.
In an increasingly digital age, it’s relevant to remember that every day should be Record Store Day. Music shouldn’t just be celebrated on the third Saturday in April
I headed down to RPM Records to see what was up for grabs. We were greeted by tea, bacon sandwiches and a surprisingly short wait. I managed to get my hands on Desmond Dekker’s ‘Rude Boy Ska’; recorded from the final studio session before he died, and “The Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits’; a selection of timeless singles restored from the original tapes that were released back in 1969. Unfortunately, with the commercialisation of Record Store Day, prices have swarmed up so it was difficult to narrow my choices down to a student budget. Nevertheless, the whole day celebrates the little guys – the independent record stores. It’s undoubtedly their busiest day of the year, helping sales boost tremendously and it keeps them going so I suppose I can’t complain too much. But, there were so many more LPs on the limited edition list for 2016 that I wanted to pick up. Foals released a 7” single featuring their cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Daffodils’ and an unreleased track called ‘Rain’. As an avid Foals fan I’m gutted, to say the least, that it was sold out by the time I flicked through the remaining records. The Slits released their incredible cover of Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ – a 10” reissue described as punky reggae.
Space re-released their debut album Spiders to mark it’s 20th Anniversary, whilst Leon Bridges released Louisiana Sun, recorded from the Coming Home Sessions with tracks not on the original album. The list goes on. Even Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge got involved with a picture disc of two episodes of the radio show ‘Knowing Me, Know You’.
Unfortunately, with the commercialisation of Record Store Day, prices have swarmed up so it was difficult to narrow my choices down to a student budget
Another Record Store Day down and another success. It’s an exciting time of the year for music enthusiasts with some real pearls being released. In an increasingly digital age ,it’s relevant to remember that every day should be Record Store Day. Music shouldn’t just be celebrated on the third Saturday in April. We should stroll through the LP filled isles of our local record store more than once a year.