Record Store Day 2019

On April 13th 2019 Record Store Day rolls around again. I found myself scrolling through the full alphabetical list of available releases hoping there was nothing there that I absolutely had to have, I got to F. Now there has to be something inherently wrong to be looking at a list of records and not wanting to find anything so I took a little time to consider why I felt this way, the answer was threefold:

1. Inconvenience – Last year I arrived in the early hours of the morning at the record store to find myself far back in the queue. I was there for several hours and didn’t get my top two picks (still don’t have them).

2. Expense – There are probably 20 albums on the list that I’d be happy to buy, That’s going to work out at between four to five hundred pounds, which I don’t have right now and is more than I’ve ever spent in 1 hit on records.

3. Disappointment – It’s inevitable. The one year I managed to pick up everything I was hoping for I had to resort to ebay and paid 3 times the list price, which I don’t plan on doing again.

This time I have 5 top picks, which are:

The Future Sound of London – Yage 2019

In 1986 iconic group The Future Sound of London released the UK Top 40 chart album “Dead Cities”, from which came a track “Yage”. Such has been the interest in this masterpiece of electronica over the years that the guys have been back into the studio to revisit it. Here, on this limited edition, individually numbered LP press exclusively for 2019′ s Record Store Day comes the results. “Yage 2019” takes the core of the original and rebuilds it. All together there are eleven tracks reconstructions and interpretations, woven together (as FSOL do) into a 42 minute dreamscape journey across the 2 sides of vinyl. Only 1000 copies of this release will be pressed on vinyl.

Gorillaz – The Fall

The Fall is the fourth studio album by British virtual band Gorillaz. The album was officially announced on 20 December 2010 as a holiday gift to fans. The Fall was first released on 25 December 2010 to stream for free on the Gorillaz website, only available as a download for paying members of the band’ s Sub-Division club, a premium access campaign the band ran throughout 2010. The album features fewer guest artists than previous Gorillaz albums; collaborators include Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash and Bobby Womack. 1 x 140g 12″ colour tbc vinyl album for RSD 2019.

Max Richter – La Prima Linea

First Release on Vinyl Limited Numbered Edition on Transparent Red Vinyl Italian director Renato de Maria’ s 2009 crime drama La Prima Linea (The Front Line) takes us back to the late seventies and the home-grown Italian terrorist cell of the same name. Based on the real memoirs of a Prima Linea member, Sergio Segio (played by Riccardo Scamarcio) the militant underground organisation employs violence to achieve their political ends and ultimately to attempt to free Sergio’ s lover, Susanna, from prison.The beautiful and melancholic soundtrack is instantly recognisable as Max Richter’ s work, making its debut here on vinyl for Record Store Day. Richter is a respected composer in his own right, having accumulated a large fanbase for his studio albums (Memoryhouse, The Blue Notebooks and most recently, Sleep). He has also won multiple awards and nominations for his soundtracks including Waltz With Bashir, Lore, The Leftovers and most recently Mary Queen of Scots.To accompany this release, Silva Screen have pressed a limited edition of Max Richter’ s “The Leftovers” on Transparent Red Vinyl which is currently available.

Sigur Rós – Variations on Darkness

Soundtrack to a series of choreographed performances from the Iceland Dance Company, originally commissioned for Sigur Rós’ s Nordur og nidur festival at Christmas 2017. Choreographer Valdimar Johansson was granted access to unreleased Sigur Rós material, as well as multitracks of chosen songs from the band’ s catalogue, and personally created a score of high Nordic drama. “The best thing we’ ve done in ages,” said Jonsi on hearing Variations On Darkness for the first time. Vinyl exclusive to Record Store Day. Limited edition on black heavyweight 12″ vinyl. Spinned sleeve with printed with special inks.

Sigur Rós – Lunar Halo 22″

Soundtrack to brand new dance work by leading Taiwanese choreographer Tsung-lung, being premiered in Taipei to coincide with Record Store Day. Cheng Tsung-Lung chose his favourite music from throughout Sigur Rós’ s career, which was then twisted, bent and broken, and finally added to in the band’ s Reykjavik studio to create a new perspective for the Cloud Gate dance company. Vinyl exclusive to Record Store Day. Limited edition on black heavyweight 12″ vinyl. Spinned sleeve with printed with special inks.

The List

Click to access rsd19-releases-printable-120319.pdf

RSD 2018

Arrived at the Record Shop at 6:15 to be about 80th in the queue, which was a few more than expected, but it could have been worse. Looks like less in the photo but I counted.

The shop lets 5 people in then it is one in, one out, so I’ll be a while yet.

Now 8:07, the shop opened at 8:00, I’m hopeful I’ll be inside by 9:00 but I just did the calculation in my head using an average of 10 minutes per person and it worked out at about 13 hours, which can’t be right, I bloody hope not anyway.

This is the pre-entry list, although I won’t be getting all of them even if they are still there:

Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut
Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom
Jónsi & Alex – All Animals
Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Public Image Limited – Live At Brixton Academy 1986
S U R V I V E – RR7400
Sigur Rós – Liminal Remixes
Sigur Rós – Route One
Spiritualized – Fucked Up Inside
Sufjan Stevens – Mystery Of Love EP
Alex Sommers – Untitled

Further down we can see what I got, or didn’t. I also have a secondary list of things to get if none of the above are left or if it is still there at a later date:

Brian Eno with Kevin Shields – The Weight Of History / Only Once Away My Son
Cure, The – Torn Down
Cure, The (1) – Mixed Up – Deluxe Edition
David Bowie (2) – Now
David Bowie (3) – WTTB
David Sylvian – Dead Bees On A Cake
Ennio Morricone – Drammi Gotici
Ennio Morricone (1) – Autopsy [Original Soundtrack]
Madness – I Do Like To Be B-side The A-Side
Public Service Broadcasting – People Will Always Need Coal
Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To
Tom Waits – Brawlers
Tom Waits (1) – Bastards
Tom Waits (2) – Bawlers
Various Artists (13) – Planet Terror – Original Soundtrack
Various Erased Tapes Artists – 1+1=X
Zero 7 – 7 x 7 

I eventually got in to the shop somewhere between 11 and 12, so that was a 5 hour queue at least, probably nearer 6, I’d lost the will to live by then, aching feet, legs and back at that point and I even thought of giving up at one point. Got into the store and there was a guy in there who went in 40 minutes before me, he had already bought his records but was just browsing around the non-RSD stuff. He was still in there when I left, which would be fine, if he hadn’t been outside complaining about how long everybody was taking beforehand. I think there were about 80 in the queue still when I left.

So what did I get? I almost got a Led Zeppelin 7″ but put it back as I refused to pay £15 for a 7″. I almost got the David Sylvian album, but I have a sneaky suspicion it will still be there in a few weeks time as there were several copies. I almost got the three Tom Waits albums, but I think it was a rip off as they were £30 each, £90 for all three, just seemed a bit much. Anyway, the list of what I decided to buy, oh, also, the bold items in the list above I saw there but chose not to buy.

Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut £30
Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom £30
Jónsi & Alex – All Animals £25
Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997) £24
S U R V I V E – RR7400 £22
Alex Sommers – Untitled £25

All of the above, which totals £156, were over priced, except the S U R V I V E album. I don’t blame the record shop for the pricing, they are adding their normal margin for these things. I was really disappointed to not get the two Sigur Ros releases but they would have caused me to go over £200 so there’s an upside.

Public Image, Sufjan Stevens & Sigur Ros had all gone, Spiritualized would have sent me way over the top of my budget so left it there as there were 7 or 8 copies.

Time to listen to this for the second time:

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Really very good.

Thats all for now.

 

RSD 2017 (1)

Well I made the effort to get my arse out of bed and get down to Record store day, and I find myself at the back of a very healthy queue. This may mean that I don’t get anything I’m looking for but I stand a better chance than previous years where I usually rock up around lunch time.

4 Albums: Number 2

 

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The 2nd of the 4 albums I listened to last night was by Oval, it’s called ’94 Diskont’. I am convinced I first heard Oval on a compilation of Electronic music I had several years ago but I can’t find the damn thing now to confirm that, anyway, this is Oval’s fourth album which was originally released back in 1995 but which I bought just a couple of months ago in a rather nice, ever so slightly spattered orange vinyl. Here it is on the deck:

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The colour imperfections don’t really show up in the picture but there are specks of grey and white in there, which is something that I understand happens a lot with black vinyl but doesn’t show up because the black dominates everything. If it is not delibarate then it is due to some different colour vinyl from an earlier press still hanging around in the machine. I learned this from a vinyl podcast called ‘The Vinyl Guide’, which currently has around 40 episodes all running at about an hour or so long and presented by Nate, who is an enthusiastic and engaging presence. I highly recommend a listen, it’s very professionally produced and has an interesting and diverse range of guests and subjects. you can find it at http://www.thevinylguide.com/

Back to Oval, they do weird things to create music, such as deconstructing music and digital audio by using knives, paint, and tape to damage the surfaces of compact discs, and R-4492910-1376422606-4960.jpegthen stitch the sound back together in loops of melody, which is punctuated by the disc’s physical skips, due to the damage inflicted.

The opening track of ’94 Diskont’ (Do While) is 24 minutes and 4 seconds long, and nothing much happens, it is a loop, however, there is constant change with momentary slowing
down, or warping of the sound and minor variations which, once you get into the track, almost trick you into thinking there is much more happening than there really is, or perhaps there really is a lot more going on than I am conscious of because I am happily lost in it. Judge for yourself, here is the whole opening track:

It’s repetitiveness really does have a calming effect, especially if you have a predisposition for repetition and are able to allow your mind to just drift. The swooping melody counterpointed by clicks and pops works extraordinary well in a multilayered way where the track can be just something to relax to but also bears concentrated listening for the tiny imperfections that are deliberately and perfectly placed.

The album is a double, both coloured in this release, which I’ve just looked up and it would appear that it was for Record Store Day 2013, which means it had spent 3 years sitting in the record shop before I picked it up. All records will find the right home eventually.

Vinyl, LP, Album, Orange Marbled
Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Orange Marbled

The track listing is as follows:

A1 Do While 24:04
A2 Do While ⌘X 4:50
B1 Store Check 3:58
B2 Line Extension 3:02
B3 Cross Selling 6:06
B4 Commerce Server 4:56
B5 Shop In Store 4:00
C1 Do While: Scanner

Remix – Scanner

6:53
C2 Do While: Jim O`Rourke

Remix – Jim O’Rourke

5:36
D1 Do While: Mouse On Mars

Remix – Mouse On Mars

8:55
D2 Do While: Christian Vogel

Remix – Christian Vogel

6:27

When released, this music was looking far into the future and it has taken the music world quite a while to catch up, but many of the works being released now owe a debt to Oval who, 21 years ago, created a template for others to both follow and build upon.

I read one online comment that described the album as “Like being delicately cocooned in fine silk by mechanical spiders.” I think that’s a fair summation.

 

Record Store Day 2016 – Mew

On record store day 2016 number 1 on my list of things to pick up was by Mew,titled “And The Glass handed Kites”. The first store I went to didn’t have it, the second did, but they sold it straight away, so I had a 50:50 chance and blew it. I then had a look around Ebay and it was in the region of £90 on there. I’ve mentioned before that this is one of the failings of RSD, there are a lot of people who buy just to immediately sell at inflated prices thereby not rewarding the loyal customers who frequent the stores throughout the year.

In football, tickets to certain games are difficult to come by if you support one of the larger clubs, so many have a system in place whereby if you have bought a specific number of tickets for other games during the season you receive priority ticket allocation for the big games. A similar system might well be the answer for RSD. Buy something from the store at least averaging once a month between RSD days and you get let in an hour early perhaps, or for an hour the night before, or perhaps some other deal to reward the loyal customers. I can see flaws in this system as well as it then alienates the casual customer, who are potential future regular customers. Perhaps certain releases, not all, are available to regular customers first, so that at least there is some kind of loyalty factor in play.

I don’t have a definitive answer, but there must be one!

This is not why I started writing this though. Having missed out on the Mew album, and not being prepared to pay extortionate amounts for it I thought I’d have a scout around and see if I could pick up a different album to satiate my thirst for Mew. I have the album ‘+-‘, which I’ve really only just started to like, but that’s all. I had a quick look on Amazon and to my surprise, there it was, at a standard price. I ordered it, half expecting to receive an e-mail to tell me there had been a mistake of some kind, or for a CD to turn up instead of vinyl, but there wasn’t, and it didn’t, to my delight it turned up this morning.

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No. Title Length
1. “Circuitry of the Wolf” 2:45
2. “Chinaberry Tree” 3:33
3. “Why Are You Looking Grave?” (features vocals by J Mascis) 3:50
4. “Fox Cub” 1:15
5. “Apocalypso” 4:46
6. “Special” 3:12
7. “The Zookeeper’s Boy” 4:43
8. “A Dark Design” 3:29
9. “Saviours of Jazz Ballet” (+ hidden instrumental: “Fear Me, December”) 3:18
10. “An Envoy to the Open Fields” (features vocals by J Mascis) 3:40
11. “Small Ambulance” 1:05
12. “The Seething Rain Weeps for You” (+ hidden instrumental: “Uda Pruda”) 4:18
13. “White Lips Kissed” 6:45
14. “Louise Louisa” 7:20

The album was released in 2005, their fourth release, and it was well received, being likened to Sigur Rós, Dinosaur Jr. and Ride. Some consider it a concept album and it has also been described as Prog Rock, I’d agree with the former but not so much the latter. All I can say for sure is that it is a great listen and I’m genuinely delighted to have my own copy.

 

Record Store Day 2016

Well, I was a little underwhelmed by Record Store Day this year as it seems to me that Record Stores are doing quite well nowadays actually and the reason for it’s existence is somewhat diminished. I did pick up two records, of 5 or 6 that I wanted, so a reasonable percentage. They were, PIL live at the O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, which is a double on clear vinyl:

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The other was Roots Manuva, Switching Sidea, a long 12″ single i that it has 5 tracks on each side, the same tracks, but side 2 is remixes of side 1:

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Apparently it’s limited to 500 copies, which is nice.

What I didn’t get but wanted were three re-issues by Kings of Convenience and number 1 on my list, the Mew album “And the Glass Handed Kites” which goes for £50 online but record store day has 2000 clear vinyl copies for £19.99 each, except I didn’t see one.

I went to Head records in Leamington Spa who had a fair bit in and I did arrive and hour after opening time so who knows what had gone by the time I got there. I headed off to Seismic Records at the other end of town via The Town Hall, which was hosting another record fair, but didn’t make it to Seismic, which is a shame as I like to support that shop.

This is from ‘The quietus’:

The whole event has become a record label promotion opportunity and nothing else. Record shops are merely the vehicle for a quiet time of the year marketing binge. From my point of view, as a record shop owner, RSD is damaging to us in the following ways:

1) The lead up to the day sees a dramatic fall in sales, and the post event effect is similar. Ask around. Do shops’ quarterly figures look any better whenever they take part in RSD? All the ones I know say no. New releases all but come to an end weeks before, and all promotional activities swing behind RSD.

2) The ‘underground’ or ‘niche’ nature of what indie shops provide is being watered down by dross releases with little artistic or cultural merit. It’s not about being a snob, it is about making sure the customer gets value for money. There is enough amazing music out there to change people’s lives without them being dragged into a bogwash of Abba and Status Quo re-issues (all of which sell on original black shit for £1 in my bargain bins).

3) Shops buy RSD stock on a cash-up-front basis, with no possibility of return. Who’s taking the risk here? The labels, the distro, or the shops? The risk is not fairly distributed amongst the players. Do any of these guys know what happens to our cash flow around RSD? I’ve heard of shops having to borrow money to buy stock. I mean for gods sake, how on earth is this helping! The big boys are the worse for this, but for distros like PIAS who continue to operate a no returned stock operation for their entire product, year round, there is little risk on sale from their side. This promotes poor quality. Labels are less likely to sell bilge if they see it all back in the warehouse three months later. Distros and labels like Cargo, SRD, Proper and Discovery operate SOR (Sale Or Return), consignment sales all year round. THIS IS SUPPORT. Expensive and risky on their part, they are working with shops, and this in turn changes the dynamic and it changes the quality (namely in an upward fashion).

4) All this stuff comes out on one day, so in the six month lead up to RSD, the pressing plants are choked full of RSD releases (as investigated by The Quietus here), and as a result the indie labels can’t get anything out in the interim. They’re forcing me to say it… CD is the new vinyl.

5) For many of the huge number of Bowie or Springsteen fans et al ad infinitum. the only option is to go online and pay an insane price for the special release they want from some eBay flipper. Thus encouraging this behaviour further (buying online). Now, as an internet seller I am not against the internet per se, but NOT ON RECORD STORE DAY.

6) Disappointment… perpetual disappointment. Shops will not have multiple copies of every release. As a result a significant number of customers get disappointed and disillusioned. Great…. a promotional event for record shops that leaves customer feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Well that’s just perfect.

The full article is here: http://thequietus.com/articles/19946-record-store-day-2016-shops-bad-reissues-bleugh

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I’m not against RSD, but one point does strike me as on the mark, I am a regular independent record store customer, I spend regularly in them, two in particular and the loyal customer is apt to lose out on RSD and, if you really want something you could very well pay triple the price from somebody who bought deliberately to re-sell at this inflated price, which is a shame.

I certainly was surprised , as the writer of the article mentions, to see Justin Bieber and Status Quo involved, and, to be honest, a load of Alan Partridge picture discs along with a few others which seemed like a waste of time, to me at least. There are great opportunities to re-release brilliant albums on vinyl, but it is not often taken, or so it seems.

Until next year I suppose.

 

Record Store Day

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Yesterday was Record Store Day here in the UK, and I did pop into town to Head, and I did buy 4 albums. None of which were special record store day releases as there was only one I wanted and I had no chance of getting it without queuing from 7am, and I didn’t want it THAT much. I did think about getting ALiFE pt.1.and pt.2 by P.I.L but it was £38 and I felt that was a little steep. There was also: ENNIO MORRICONE/MY NAME IS NOBODY but that was also too expensive, £28 if I remember rightly.

If I bought singles then there were a couple I might have been interested in, but I don’t buy them, not nowadays anyway.

I thought Head did a good job of things, there was a lot of vinyl there are the shop was busy. It was nicely displayed and I found a couple of new things to buy, so all good. In general though, I don’t need a special day for buying vinyl as I buy it anyway, but the more people that do start buying it, the more the cost will come down, at least I hope so.