Categorised as FEATURES., MUSIC.

Another year has rolled past and that means another fantastic day (SATURDAY 16th APRIL ) of shopping for exclusive releases and a multitude of instores in all of your favourite record shops. It’s always so warming to walk in to a small record store and find it packed to the walls with people who are actually engaging with physical music releases rather than downloading everything or buying their records in Tesco when they do their weekly shop.

Record store day is my favourite summer festival; you don’t have to camp, you don’t have to do very much travelling, you get more than a hangover and hazy ‘memories’ for your money and you still get to enjoy lots of brilliant music. I think of it as the birthday of music except it is the record buying public who get all the presents. Last year I managed to get my hands on a good portion of the limited releases, my favourites of which were Of Montreal, Black Van and some other bits which have embedded themselves so deeply within my record collection that I no longer know what they were.

This year’s festivities look as good as ever with about 100 limited/early releases from bands past and present, I’m most excited by the prospect of Vivian Girls, Cults, Wild Fang and a Deerhoof and Xui Xui split 7″. Early releases from The Kills, Wavves and Yeasayer all sound promising too. (You can see the whole list here.)

Record Store Day is primarily about supporting your local independent store and that is a very good thing but there is definitely something to be said for the high street chains who provide the vast majority of people with their music. There are at least two very good reasons for the existence of high street retailers; the first is that a lot of the people who work in high street record stores actually do really care about music and it’s as important to show an appreciation to them for what they do as it is to your link at an independent. Secondly, and this one is really integral to the health of independent music, high street chains actually provide a far larger amount of demand to small independent labels than independent stores do, purely due to their size. Without HMV you would not have the huge number of independent labels that are putting out niche and obscure albums and singles which the majors won’t touch because “it’s got no chance of selling 40,00 records”. This is a very good thing because it keeps music healthy and allows independent labels to provide a legitimate challenge to the majors. This is all before you even begin to think about the entire industry of independent distributors, publicists and publications that benefit directly or indirectly from the presence of chains.

In short, record store day for me is all about enjoying and appreciating your music vendors, whoever they may be. It is also a real chance for the independents to reach a bigger audience and share their expertise with the unfamiliar. So, have a stroll around, listen to something you would never have thought to listen to before, buy a record or two and enjoy the atmosphere!

This is what happened the last time Deerhoof and Xui Xui got together:


Marcus Harris


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