Record Store Day celebrates it’s fifth year with an action-packed day in Liverpool. Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman and Peter Guy guide you through what’s on and where in Merseyside and beyond.
Nick Hornby‘s novel High Fidelity summed up the exquisite detail of independent record shops.
‘The shop smells of stale smoke, damp and plastic dust-covers, and it’s narrow and dingy and dirty and overcrowded. . . this is what record shops should look like, and only Phil Collins‘ fans bother with those that look as clean and wholesome as a suburban Habitat.‘
I don’t know if Hornby has ever visited the old Hairy Records on Bold Street but the description will surely ring true to any of us who like to spend a spare hour or two a week searching through dusty crates for that elusive KLF 12inch remix or deleted Beefheart bootleg.
Like that other vessel of male escapism, the local pub, record shops are having an increasingly tough time. The process of popping into town and picking up a new CD is actually becoming quite a challenge with only 3Beat and Probe flying the flag for something different in the city centre and The Musical Box hanging on in the suburbs.
It’s estimated that in the last five years an astonishing 540 independent record shops have closed across the UK. Every high street in every town used to have one – as a teenager Getintothis spent many a happy Saturday afternoon in Windsor’s Revolution Records.
We’d go to local record fairs in church halls and come the summer holidays save up the pennies and take a trip to London to stock up on records in Rough Trade and Sister Ray because they had music which would never make it to my home town.
The idea of actually travelling miles to look for records must seem bizarre to teenagers today knowing that what ever song they like is probably just a click away but thankfully as if acknowledging us record collectors need for a support group, two things will happen in April which allow us to pay tribute to the humble record shop.
On April 21, Record Store Day celebrates the UK’s unique independent sector with all manner of events, performances and gigs.
In Liverpool a special limited cassette tape is being released by Payper Tiger Records and Bido Lito featuring Clinic and GIT Award nominees Bill Ryder-Jones, Forest Swords and Mugstar.
Great stuff but even better is the news that a new record store is actually opening rather than closing.
Taking over Hairy Record‘s musty premises is The Musical Consortium Vinyl Emporium with promoter and brains behind the project Spike Beecham promising the new shop will ‘get rid of all those smelly old men in anoraks‘ as well as providing friendly customer service and a hub for the local music community.
Pausing only to worry about whether we’re one of these anorak wearing men with poor personal hygiene, we ask Spike what else he has planned. An excited stream of details follows including talk of stocking brand new vinyl, an upstairs cafe and performance space and the stocking of everything from Leeds Festival tickets to guitar strings and rock memorabilia.
The talk of polite and helpful staff seems a clear dig at the image of the surly assistant deriding punters for their musical choices (think Pete Burns‘ legendary stint as Probe’s acerbic critic in chief) but more interesting is Spike’s desire to create a space where people can simply hang out.
‘I want them to sit here and read the NME and create that vibe and atmosphere,’ says Spike.
I’ll see you by the garage rock section.
Meanwhile Getintothis‘ good friend Jon Hillcock has recorded an incredible Record Store Day podcast with Rough Trade East boss Spencer Hickman – we suggest you put aside some serious listening time and digest this tasty treat.
Also taking place on Record Store Day in Liverpool is an extensive vinyl & magazine fair at Wolstenholme Creative Space.
Labels taking part include ATP recordings, Moshi Moshi, Jagjaguawar, Warp Records and more.
There will also be a CD/vinyl swap shop, all day bar and coffee shop and live music performances & listenings
The event will culminate in a screening of Sound it Out, here’s the promo.
Finally, check out our top tip of a whole host of record store day purchases here.
Getintothis on the sad demise of the indie record store.