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Our Record Store: Rough Trade

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.

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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.”

Oldest and most iconic, Rough Trade East (of London)

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.

Fantastic day.

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Record Store Day: Second ‘Drop’ of 2021 is TOMORROW!

That’s right, folks! The second ‘drop’ for Record Store Day drops tomorrow on the 17th. Rife with deals, discounts, rare finds, treasured and limited vinyls, it is another day to celebrate the world of vinyls.

While independent stores revel in the rise in sales and continuous community turnover, one particular store is hoping to get involved this year – for its 100th anniversary special. That store is HMV. As the store is raised of independently owned chain of stores, they would “love” to be involved with RSD, and feel it would certainly benefit the local music vinyl scene, especially in areas where there is not a presence of such independent record stores. While I think independent and chain shouldn’t belong in the same sentence, it would be nice for such a store that is commercial and massive on a music scale to get involved with the help and support of such an industry. Although, many are saying otherwise. Many feel that HMV’s involvement could very well cause this momentous occasion to lose its independency, style and charm that makes it what it is.

THE FULL LIST OF RELEASES:

Happy vinyl shopping, folks!

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Let’s Talk: What are your top vinyl picks?

After HMV reveals their first drop of vinyl exclusives for their 100th anniversary, it just goes to show how popular and powerful this vinyl resurgence has become in today’s music industry.

So, as a topical question for a Thursday, what are your top picks in the vinyl world?

Is it the assorted colour selection you like – or the limited edition that takes your fancy?

Or is it simply the classic music works on the classic black vinyl?

Do let me know your favourites!

I’m very intrigued!

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One Big Year: The Snuts

A ferocious year.

Record deals.

Ad campaigns.

International partnerships.

Released in April this year, their debut album reflects on humble beginnings, emotional dreams, and have since become one of the most exciting and vital bands of the new decade.

But after catching their big break; was it simply the luck of the draw? What makes them grab a number one at debut level as opposed to the thousand other artists who just … don’t?

Above all else, I think it majorly just falls down to the band being in the right place at the right time.

Their debut album, W.L, which was released on the 2nd of April this year, has elements of a perfect music fairytale. The album brings glossy, flourished and instantly catchy indie-rock hooks that resonate with the grandeur of UK music. Even future classics, Elephants and Juan Belomonte make you hesitate and think to yourself, “have I heard this before?,” with them being prominent in style and pizzazz. But for this story, it is more than likely you have listened to this before, yes.

After grabbing ad campaign success with beer powerhouses, Strongbow and titans of sports, Electronic Arts within the FIFA21 soundtrack, it is safe to say you’ve heard the sound of The Snuts before one way or another. Now, challenging the top spot with their debut, they’ve reached unfathomable heights in such a short span of time.

When a band skyrockets like they’ve done, it’s always important to think why. That way, once you get an understanding of how they’ve managed to grow so emphatically, our favourable bands and artists with similar music goals, can simply do the same.

Now, I know it’s easier said than doe per se, as the industry is as unpredictable as the UK weather, but it shows the precedent of how the music industry works and how us as consumers work. It makes me want to spit and squabble at the music industry with how it works internally because, there will be music artists who are just as talented, just as hard-working and dedicated to the cause, and they will not reach the same numbers as The Snuts would do in the span of the year they had. Hell, in the same in five years.

Truth be told, their music is delightfully fun, catchy and downright remarkable if you’re a fan of other indie-dwellers like Blossoms and The Amazons. But it’s not overly complicated or showing anything we haven’t heard of anything before, in fact – it’s quite simple. It’s just tapping into the right audiences, the right “holes” so to speak, and us as consumers will do the rest and play the music.

It’s simply sharing our love for an upcoming UK band among our friends because we’re proud of our music. A Scottish band, no doubt.

A popular trend-setting cause people can willingly get behind. #SNUTSFORNUMBERONE. The proof is in the pudding.

If the four lads from Whitburn pull this off, they will become the first Scottish band to deliver a number one debut album in 14 years. The last band that did that was The View in 2007 – and they haven’t been prevalent in the industry since 2015.

So far, they have topped the score with both vinyl sales and streaming since its release. The question is, they can maintain the speed and claim the top spot from Demi Lovato? Find out tonight.

Emphatic in style and breaking records, Scottish bands certainly don’t make music by halves. They’re certainly out to prove a point and they’re not doing a bad job going about it.