“Record stores can’t save your life. But they can give you a better one”
Nick Hornby is about to be proved right again. On Saturday (21 April), life will become markedly better for music enthusiasts, vinyl fiends and friends of independent record stores around the country. Why? It’s Record Store Day.
Record Store Day was founded in the USA in 2007, and was such a hit that it soon took off in the UK. This year marks the UK’s fourth annual celebration of the delight that can come from flicking through the racks, being inspired by magnificent cover art, savouring the moment you remove the record from its sleeve and drop the needle for that first spin… the first of many. Record Store Day honours the place where this enchantment begins.
As vinyl sales rise (up by 40% on 2010 according to the Official Charts Company), the format maintains a strong following and manages to stay relevant, undeterred by intangible digital mediums. The popularity of this annual happening has also grown. Many store owners encounter early-morning queues of record addicts eager to get their hands on special releases. For the record, I’ll be one of them.
Attic Records, on Patrick Pool, will be celebrating with giveaways and live acts. Confirmed to appear so far are local ska and indie merchants Littlemores, and bluesy, earnest songwriter Mark Wynn. “It’s one of the most important days of the year” say Gaz and Alex from Attic, “It’s about showing your love and support for the few independent record stores out there”. The Inkwell on Gillygate will mark the event by opening The Inkwell Coffee Lounge, somewhere to kick-back after an excitable day of discovering something new, or revisiting an old favourite. You’ll also get another chance to catch Mark Wynn, and experience instore sets from Fox North Coalition and our 29 Days of Local Music Showcase headliners The Buccaneers.
Over 400 limited edition Record Store Day releases will be distributed around the 206 stores participating this year from the UK and Ireland, a number which has continued to grow yearly since the day’s UK launch. You can see the full list here. The exclusive releases we’ll be treated to this year range from The Misfits to Beach House by way of Ryan Adams and Orbital (whose DJ set was streamed live at the RSD launch event in March). The event also included a performance by Public Image Ltd, this Record Store Day is especially significant for John Lydon and Co as it marks the release of their new EP ‘One Drop’.
We’re also being treated to a huge Wrong Side of the River over at Bar Lane Studios this Saturday to mark the launch of The Babies 7” single on independent York label Bad Paintings. The day will start with a jumble sale, record stalls, DJ’s and bands going on until the early evening, when WSOTR will kick off in true independent, DIY style – showcasing the home-grown talent of White Firs, Fawn Spots, Man Screams and Sam Forrest, interspersed with fine spinmanship from DJ Paul Fuzz.
How will you show your appreciation for the independents this Record Store Day 2012? We’d love to know what’s on your must-have vinyl list from this year’s varied offerings.