Its nearly that time again, Record Store Day will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and on April 22nd, music fans from across the country and world will make their way down to their nearest record store to hunt for some absolute gems and splash their cash on some rare vinyl.
Every year for the past ten years, Record Store Day has filled music fans with joy and excitement releasing numerous different vinyl records from artists across the world. These records are specialised and all hold a difference within them, being special editions, anniversary editions, special 7″, soundtracks, and some of the craziest vinyl releases ever.
Each year the creativity on these records improves drastically. This year sees Aqua release Barbie Girl on Pink Vinyl, David Bowie releasing a Live album, and a sexy edition of his ‘No Plan’ EP on clear and etched vinyl, and a Faulty Towers picture disk featuring audio from two iconic episodes and Toto are releasing a crazy and detailed picture disk for their everlasting track ‘Africa’ the single will feature the continent of Africa as the physical vinyl and is set to be sought after by many music fans.
But thats not all, these sought after items are not the only eye catching releases from this year. Glastonbury Festival in Collaboration with Oxfam are releasing a live album of performances from 2016’s edition of the festival. Acts partaking on this special album include Foals, Muse, Wolf Alice, Editors, John Grant and many more. Blossoms are also jumping on the live album train with the band releasing the recording of an unplugged session taken at Festival No.6 last year.
For me, I will be trying my hardest for items such as Placebo’s collaboration with the late David Bowie as they perform ‘ Without You Im Nothing’ on a gorgeous picture disk. The Cribs re-release for the anniversary of ‘Man’s Needs, Woman’s Needs, Whatever’ on gold vinyl and further releases from bands such as Cabbage, Slaves, The War On Drugs and The Smiths make my want list seem pretty extreme.
Record Store Day is a celebration of not only Vinyl and independent record stores but the bands who create the music that we listen to. Across the United Kingdom, record stores have lined up multiple different acts to perform at their stores. Indie band Palace will be performing at Rise in Worcester as part of the celebrations, Brit Pop heroes Cast will be performing at Banquet Records in London as part of the celebrations, VANT will be taking part in a special show at the Riverfront Stuido in Newport, Rough Trade, Nottingham welcome Willie J Healy and Maximo Park who will both be performing live and playing subsequent DJ sets during the day.
Yet with all this joy and music, there can sometimes be a few people who let it down. Yes I’m looking at you, the people who go into record stores with a list of vinyl and aim to make an absolute bloody fortune off it by selling it on eBay for prices 5x greater than the original cost. Sod these guys. They stop true music fans getting their hands on vinyl they love, or that rare 7″ single of a track they love from their childhood, or the kid who went into a store last year to see the last copy of Slaves extended debut album taken from the shelf to see on the way home that copies were on sale for £200 (yes this is a personal experience). Its a shame, it really is. Vinyl shouldn’t be made to be sold for extortionate prices, it deserves that place on the shelf in-between the Sex Pistols and The Smiths, waiting for that moment to be opened and carefully placed on the turntable and played loud and proud. Not sat in its shrink wrap coffin in the hands of a money grabbing bastard.
We at Let It Happen are all fans of the best, and most satisfying way of listening to music. Here are a few words from some of our writers, and what vinyl means to them:
Joe – “Picture the scene; you’ve just purchased this month’s most hotly anticipated album on 12” vinyl, you’ve been waiting months for its release and you can barely wait to get home and play it. You’re now over at your friends house, tearing off the plastic film, you hastily put the record on your turntable, slotting the needle neatly into the groove before receiving the immense satisfaction as you ease into the opening track, it’s magical. And that’s what vinyl is. It’s tactile, something you can touch, hear and see, it’s admiring the artwork, poring over the liner notes as you lay back to take it all in. It provides an intimate connection with your favourite artists, no matter how big or small, it almost feels as if you’re carrying a piece of the band around with you, no subscription fees, no adverts, just you and the music. And what better way to celebrate where it all began, than with an entire day dedicated to this unassuming black plastic. Not just a celebration of the artists, and bands, but of the independent record stores up and down the country that make all this possible. Countless times I’ve found myself lost in Rise, Bristol, amongst an endless sea of vinyl, a music geek’s paradise, it’s the perfect place to get away from everything . So this Record Store Day, get yourself down to your local record store, stick the middle finger up to the commercial overlords and buy independent, whether you’re an amateur or an experienced collector, there’s bound to be something to suit everyone’s tastes.”
Joseph – “I suppose the resurgence of vinyl is simply because of substance. People are becoming more and more used to consuming music through platforms like Spotify when you can simply listen to what you want, when you want. Vinyl gives you something to hold, a solid piece of evidence that you like a piece of music so much you bought a physical copy of it, in an age where a lot of people will stream an album a few times and call themselves someone’s biggest fan. Part of their appeal as opposed to say CDs is then the collectability of vinyl, as there are often different versions of records, interesting colour variants and limited presses, something that simply doesn’t happen with mass produced CDs. Record Store Day capitalises on this collectability factor by giving people the ability to say “I went out of my way to get a limited copy of this record from my favourite band”. Owning a record, especially a limited RSD release, is almost an extra level of connection to a band.”
Meg – Record stores are something of a mecca for music-lovers. The place to go for that one album you didn’t realise you needed until you held it in your hands. A sanctuary to spend a late afternoon gliding your fingers from A to Z, searching for the next perfect addition to your collection. This appreciation is what’s beautiful about Record Store Day. The queues snaking out of record stores feature every music stereotype you can think of, from the indie teen in her oversized denim jacket to the middle-aged punk in his tatty leathers, yet they are all united by one thing: their love for vinyl. As they queue in their hundreds just to get their hands on that exclusive limited-edition pressing of their favourite band covering their favourite song, the dedication shown by these true music-lovers is certainly something to be celebrated. With large music chains and that particularly overpriced section of Urban Outfitters monopolising the music scene, Record Store Day is essential for independent record stores to get the praise and recognition that they deserve.
We all hope that you have an exceptional day out tomorrow to celebrate vinyl, music and the independent stores that do so much for our communities and the music industry. Stay safe when queuing in the morning and wrap up warm if its cold! We also hope you tick off every record on your list and wish you the best of luck in adding to your collections! (Ps, anyone in Worcester, stay off that Placebo & David Bowie record. Thats mine).
Words from Piran Aston