Saturday, 16 April 2011

Record Store Day

For the last 3 months things have really been ramping up for Record Store Day, a day where independent record shops get the much deserved spotlight. Excited queue's form outside record shops and extra staff are laid on. Now in it's sophomore year and whilst still fledgling, it's getting more support as it goes on with an increase in stores joining and more in the US, Canada, the EU and beyond. This year musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne recorded messages of support for it, acts like Primal Scream and The Fratelli's were interviewed on TV,  and reporters flocked to some of Soho's finest indie shops. Because of the prominence this is receiving labels and artists release limited edition records (mostly vinyl) which sell out quickly.

So I set off from the breezy Parsons Green station at 9.30 this morning, cup of coffee in hand, tired but intrigued. My destination was Sounds of The Universe on 7 Broadwick Street, a shop i'd not been in before but had wanted to visit for quite a while. Their close affiliation to SoulJazz records means it's pretty much the shop for me, recent excellent releases and re-issues made sure of that- two Bossa Beat compilations, a Delta Swamp comp and a Roy Ayers vinyl amongst them. They don't stock indie rock (Guitar bands), but do stock crates of Disco, HipHop, Rare Soul & Jazz LPs a bit of techno, reggae and plenty of Funk. There's also some educational music dvd's and books.

Outside, it's 10.15 and a motley set of punters had started to form an orderly queue - "An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one."- (George Mikes), and so i joined 9th in line awaiting opening. Whilst there several of us, who hadn't previously known each other, started chatting about records we liked, what we wanted to get on the day and also traded some music stories. One remarked that the queue outside Rough Trade East was '500 strong' with a 2 hour wait, so it was quite nice to know that there was only 20 or so of us standing outside this shop.

At 11am there were over 30 in the line queuing just around the corner and then the wood framed doors were opened. Most of us went straight to the till to ask about the exclusives, no Beastie Boys but a decent number of 'Ubiquitous' by Dennis Coffey which I picked up along with the excellent Charles Bradley album on Menahan (Daptone).

Later and journeying back home to write this and listen to some music, I was quite chuffed to have been a small part of Record Store Day. In these times of uncertainty, with the news about HMV and the decline of physical sales, Record Store Day could yet be the fulcrum that the wider music industry would do well to take further note of.

Record Store Day :
Sounds of The Universe: