by Ed Biggs
The ninth annual Record Store Day is imminently upon us – a day still very much needed despite the much-vaunted revival in vinyl sales. Not only will independent record stores enjoy a significant bump in income, a chance to empty and replenish their stock with fresh releases, but newcomers will also get the chance to experience for the very first time the curious enjoyment that comes from rifling through plastic sleeves in a welcoming environment. What is being celebrated is an ethos, a culture, rather than merely a format – the idea of consumers still wanting to take physical ownership of the music they enjoy.
It’s an ethos that many dismissed as laudable but ultimately futile when RSD started in 2008, a throwback to a bygone age ultimately irrelevant in the age of Spotify and playlists. But the vinyl revival has made a mockery of that idea, particularly when you bear in mind the recent news from America that vinyl sales outstripped the revenue made by the industry through advertising from free streaming in 2015. It’s a mindset that has caught on – even the likes of HMV, dead on its feet a little over four years ago, has based its resurgence partly on organising its music collections around the kind of knowledgeable ‘staff recommendation’ culture that so many love about independent stores.
But with supermarkets due to stock vinyl in their stores, the revival is in danger of being smothered in its infancy. Major labels are dumping catalogue titles on the market, buying up increasing amounts of the capacity of the limited number of pressing plants, crowding out the independent distribution networks and outlets that have been in large part responsible for the revival thusfar. But with even the likes of Justin Bieber getting involved this year making his recent album Purpose available on vinyl, the majors are certainly helping out with the spirit of RSD itself.
So visit your nearest independent record store on Saturday (April 16th) and see what takes your fancy. Any money you spend will be helping to keep the fire alive. And if you enjoy it, remember: don’t buy your records at the same time you do your groceries!
Here’s a selected list of highlights from the official list of special releases for RSD2016:
David Bowie – ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ – single, 12” picture disc – eternally underrated Bowie gem joins the wealth of re-issues of the great man’s back catalogue.
Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Tractor Rape Chain’ – 7” single – DCFC cover Guided By Voices, possibly the schmindiest of indie things ever.
The Fall – Bingo-Master’s Break-Out! – Mark E Smith’s 1978 debut EP gets a blue vinyl reissue, along with ‘It’s The New Thing’ single.
The Flaming Lips – Lightning Strikes The Postman – CD album – an alternative mix of the Lips’ 1995 album Clouds Taste Metallic, which comes with an exclusive comic book illustrated by frontman Wayne Coyne.
Foals – ‘Rain / Daffodils’ – 7” single – previously unreleased track ‘Rain’, with a cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Daffodils’ backing it up.
Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People – 180gm vinyl – a 1,000 copy run of a special acoustic version of Turner’s 2015 album is likely to be one of the most sought-after items of RSD2016!
Jay Reatard – Blood Visions – red gatefold LP + 7” bonus disc – the garage rock loony’s debut album from 2006 gets a re-issue with a bonus 7” of demos.
Manic Street Preachers – ‘A Design For Life’ – 12” single – one of the greatest comeback singles of all time is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and this is a re-issue with new artwork.
The Orb – The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld – 4xLP set – sumptuous re-issue of Alex Paterson’s psychedelic dance epic from 1991, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Check out our recent article on it here!
Alan Partridge – ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ – exclusive picture disc – yes, that’s right, the archive of Alan’s on-air radio chatter and awkward exchanges with listeners can take pride of place in your collection!
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