Happy Sunday folks. Ethereal, cathartic and simply beautiful, The Cinematic Orchestra is the perfect soundtrack to your lush hot chocolates, snug blankets and warm fireplaces as we venture into the season of Autumn.
Enjoy their eclectic collection below. The classic 2007 album of Ma Fleur is the perfect place to start.
I had the privilege of visiting one of the many great independent purveyors of great music today – Rough Trade.
Located across four stretches of UK life in Bristol, London, Nottingham – and even a managing to branch itself across the pond in NYC – Rough Trade has been an integral staple in the discovery of modern music mania here on our doorstep in the UK and in the US.
A somewhat fanciful term for such a warehouse-etiquette but, their ‘headquarters’ are situated in the west of London. They first opened in 1976, right on the doorstep of punk. Now, in their 45th year of trading, they have become a global constituency in the world of music and its industry. Still to this day – as they did in the 70s strife with the punk mania that came before it – they’re celebrating the most exciting new music.
Situated in the most stylistic and cultural pockets of stark cities, their chosen locations were by no means accidental. Diving off main roads into kernels of art graffiti, tapestry and masterful architecture to independent bistro bars, awash with international food stalls and eventually into the crowds who are ready to spring into the new groove of life. Often situated in the most vibrant, culturally contrasting communities in the UK – as well as in the US – they are flagships to the strength of the accompanying cities’ music scenes.
From Portobello Road, Old Truman Brewery to Rockefeller Center itself, it really paints a story.
“As far as we’re concerned, our stores are where the magic happens.
Sure, we sell great music, but the bigger picture is bringing together artists and audiences within a celebratory, inspiring environment, one that welcomes all ages and taste under one roof.”
It’s important to note that they are not merely just record stores, oh no no no. They have also become some of the most celebrated music venues, playing host to some iconic acts in past years that put on simply fantastic, immersive and illusory performances surrounded by an arching wave of artist vinyls and band merchandise.
For me today, I was able to notch off another on the list of all four venues as I visited Nottingham’s store in the area of Hockley. With only one UK venue to go in Bristol, (as well as the obvious one in NYC) I’m holding out hope that I can provide myself an opportunity to visit this one too.
With these being such iconic stores within our music retail, purchasing and general perusers of music, I just had to buy something.
With its fitting home of a tote bag to take home in, I managed to pick up The Cinematic Orchestra’s beautiful story of Ma Fleur, pressed on a clear vinyl with a rarity of exclusive art work present – it was certainly one of the more fitting vinyls to purchase.
With this question an important topic in our modern music manifesto, it seems it is a question that has been begging answers for years now.
With the work of singularity and independence coming into play in the music industry, less and less artists have had to rely on the demanding schedule and pay schemes of record labels. Whether it be independent or corporate, the feelings are mutual with record labels becoming less and less prevalent in our industry.
More so for financial support than anything else – and to merely shift the artists around on a spreadsheet to ultimately balance the books – record labels are not nearly as important for underground and bedroom music artists, who can distribute their own music themselves.
With artists fully in control of their music, their are fantastic sites out there that can allow artists to obtain 100% of all music royalties – without having to do unnecessary splits at the business table.
It is important to uncover that some record labels out there are sourced independently and the majority of them are musicians themselves. Keen, motivated and simply happy to be where they are, these more indie-sleuths of the corporate world are a far more dazzling prospect to keen up-starters and demonstrate a more creative side to the industry. Where investments, global value and profits are still important, these indie individuals like to take a back seat on such matters, and focus more so on the music.
Transgressive, Domino and Mind of a Genius Records are a few that do exactly that. But, with these still alive in our industry, many are far too hesitant with the prospect of incorporating contracts and verbal agreements into their music – when all they want to do is just play it.
So, what’s your view? Are record labels a dying breed? Should we leave them behind as we get our music industry back on track from lockdown? Or do we need them know more than ever simply for financial stability?