National Album Day UK, 40th Anniversary Releases This Month

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It’s back. The UK’s National Album day is celebrating the 80s, and with so many 1980 40th anniversary records being reissued this year, some great ones this month are being made available for Record Album day in the UK.

Tim’s Twitter Listening Party has a day long lineup of play along and Tweet fun you can enjoy anywhere in the World. Join us here. Hint: There’s a Cure album bash at the end they didn’t get in the article.

Tim’s Twitter Album Day Info

Some of the records we can get stateside, which is good because the rise of international shipping rates has made import record collecting that more expensive. Yup, it’s the price of the record itself to ship. But many are limited editions, so you color vinyl fiends got itchy fingers, I know.

Events for National Record Album Day UK

40th Anniversary Editions In October

 

Talking Heads classics are being reissued on colored vinyl again. I did pick up a colored vinyl on Remain in Light a couple of years back. If you missed out on that, Rhino Records has reissued Talking Heads 77(Green), Fear of Music (Silver), and More Songs About Buildings And Food(Red). So we know you have played and battered your original copies for years.

And not to forget the masters of techno kraft, Kraftwerk! Parlophone records are reissuing  Kraftwerk on colored vinyl with German sleeves on October 9th, 2020. These German Language versions are available for the first time stateside. However it’s a limited release, so if you haven’t preordered stateside, do so. If you can’t catch a copy stateside, try Resident Music, UK. Contact them and see what you can do about combining orders for shipping, as you have been warned, it is rather high.

RSD Drop 2,  2 TONE Records!

Sadly didn’t make it to the day, health issues. So I got to do the “buy it later if you can find it hunt”. My mission was to pick up two 2 Tone Records Ska compilations. Dance Craze is the soundtrack to a film I saw back in the day when the whole Ska craze came about. I luckily found one last copy at Jackpot Records here in Portland, and did the “you made my week dance” for the people at the counter. So glad to be able to shop local. This record brought back such great memories of a viewing of the concert film with Quadrophenia and another film my aging brain can’t remember.

The story of 2 Tone Records’ radical cover art

The hunt for the This Are 2 Tone with Various Artists (The Selecter, Madness, Rhoda Dakar & The Special A.K.A, The Swinging Cats, The Specials) was another matter. I thought I would call up Ziongate Records since they did me a solid at RSD drop 1, however they had sold out on the day. The scary thing is, the counter person said, “Are you the one who got Tones on Tail off us?” Damn, it’s scary when you are the only person they remember like that. He said,” Okay, I’ll do you a solid. I’m checking Discogs, there are a few shops on their that we have worked with that know how to ship”. I was saved. I’m still waiting for Bucket of Blood Records in Chicago to ship. But with a name like that, it’s gotta be Serendipity?

Rhino Records

Resident Music UK

Jackpot Records

Ziongate Records, Seattle

Bucket of Blood Records

Dance Craze 2 Tone Records Film

RSD2020 Drop 1 Hits Portland

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I’m taking this first drop of Record Store Day 2020 as a sign of some possible good changes that can happen for the worldwide event. It was postponed once, then re configured to socially distanced in three drops. And a wonderful way to get our minds off the violence here in Portland. 90 + days of strain here and COVID on top of it. It made all of us a bit giddy finally being about to go to an event.

Still The Wee Hours

Yes, it’s the much delayed RSD 2020, postponed and reformed into three drops, the last Saturday of August, September, and October. The split of the RSD only vinyl releases into three drops makes it a thrill for some to come back three times, for me, it was all or nothing on the first drop. Plus, I had other strategies.

It’s 5:00 am on Saturday 29th, 2020. I hit the corner of Burnside where Music Millennium resides (3158 E Burnside St, Portland, OR), a real brick and mortar record shop. Yes, it’s actually brick and mortar. I see a few people milling about sort of in a line, socially distanced. Not too many, is this a good sign? List in hand, I meet the owner of store, Terry, handing out wee passes to stand in line at 9:00. Got a few hours to kill.

Back Up Plans

I had called the smaller shop I go to second on the day, Jackpot Records (3574 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR), and they had a strategy of putting half the stock on line, half in store. I was told they didn’t know how many were coming to physically stand in line. You see, we’re are still on social distancing restrictions and no crowds above 20 people at this point. Many of the shops were afraid they would get shut down by the health department when they had just reopened their doors. So I had the records I wanted the most, bookmarked in the phone, ready to buy in line and pick up later. 

Back at Music Millennium, my pass that I was given amounts to a boarding pass for a record shop. I am to arrive in a lot of 20 people at 9:00. Since my flight doesn’t depart for some time, I catch a few laps at the now infamous Laurelhurst Park, and find a socially distanced coffee stop, read a book, go back to car, read some more. Finally at about 8:45 a.m. I get in the line, standing on my number. People are somewhat confused, we are so used to the camp out.  We start joking with each other, it’s the traditional” What are you hoping for?” The record store workers remark, “Hey, maybe we are onto something. Maybe this is how we should have been doing this.” I have to agree, it’s a lot less stress on the standing in line, not so bad in groups of 20 or so.

I managed to get in during my time slot, it was eerily quiet and standing on taped x, scanning the shelves. Luckily my list I had been encouraged to bring, the one I had obsessively put the pictures of each record and title next to,  worked really well. I was only able to to find three of the records, my top pick of Tones on Tail rerelease of POP, the first time on vinyl since original release, was already gone. Yup, the speculators had been there. I came back with David Bowie’s John I’m Only Dancing Live, the Cure Seventeen Seconds Picture Disc, and Ultravox 12 inch single of Sleepwalk.

I had planned in advance if the other two records had been wiped out, the strategy of both standing in line at Jackpot and having their order page up for that 10 am release, bookmarked Amoeba Records, who had their RSD sole online sale because of moving locations, and several other UK and US online record sites I have bought from before. Sadly right at 10 am, even though I had had it on the ready, both POP and New Order John Peel Sessions had been wiped out, while I was standing in line. I was also on the lookout for the Jamaica Ska collection that seemed to not make it to Portland shops? Sigh. And Amoeba and Rough Trade were crashing.

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On To The Speculation Battle

After begging in the store that they check their back up area, and looking around a second time, I sat in my car and started the now yearly task of trying to  find the UK shops that put up their spare copies at GMT time 7 pm, which with the 8 hour difference it was about that time. Was getting hit with $28.00 to $30.00 shipping fees and gave up. I Twittered with my friends in the UK who were already hunting their EBay copies. The ones I could find were all from the UK and speculation hunters had them on auction already. Never lose hope. I kept looking and finally found a domestic shop in Seattle, WA, Zionsgate, that had POP at price plus shipping. I wondered if it could be true, because Amoeba’s site was crashed, as was Rough Trade and other online shops. I took a chance and ordered it, and sent a message to them via eBay. I got a reply, yes, it had been set aside for me. Well, this was eBay, and well, you know how that can go. So I looked for the website and Googled info on them. Yes indeed, they were a real live shop. So I called, because I had a hunch, a feeling in my gut. I talked to a very nice lad and confirmed that he had set it aside and it was my order, I then asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have gotten any copies of the New Order John Peel Sessions 1982 in?”, “Yeah we had that come in, I’ll check….” He claimed to have a copy, banded it together with POP. The next morning I had a bill through eBay. It’s due to hit our mail facility today at 8pm. Here’s hoping that the disasters at the USPost machines made hand sorting keep it pretty clean.

The Take Away

Overall, I want to thank all of the independent record stores in the US, Canada, and world wide for not giving up on RSD this year. The tradition was started as a way to help support small, independent stores, keep vinyl alive, and in this time of COVID forcing many brick and mortar shops to close for good. Many had to sell RSD strictly online due to local ordinances. Many of the shops have learned that doing the distanced and limited access by ticket, may actually be an overall good thing to do in the future.

Suggestion for next drop in September and next year: Create a website ticket boarding pass the night before online at an allotted time to reserve a space in line. Keeping to groups of 20-30 per hour. It was a lot less stressful for shoppers and employees. Just a thought.

Encourage people to bring lists. There are a lot of covers to look at. 

Stop the speculative buying. Yes, then there is the never ending evil speculator shopping deal. While it looks like this social spacing and some record stores forced to do online sales only kept some of the speculation at bay, it still was a problem. It’s time that RSD worked with eBay to not allow RSD titles to be sold online until a specific date, giving legit record stores time to get their copies up and make it a bit more fair. In some countries they have rules on this, apparently not in the US.

One last thing. Take a stroll to the shops a day or two after RSD. Sometimes records get misplaced in the shuffle or someone decides against a purchase. It may be under the artist in the regular slot the next day. I was strolling through a shop looking for Dead Kennedys and came across a Bob Marley RSD that my friend in the UK had not been able to find. I bought it and asked him if he still wanted it. He was thrilled. And all he had to do was pay shipping, I owed him a record or two favor myself. Pay it forward.

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RSD at HOT POOP Records

Amoeba Issues Apology for RSD Day Downed Servers

NME RSD

Vinyl Revival Interview With Author Graham Jones

vinyl revivalTo start off my series of social media sites and blogs that I follow and highly recommend, I asked a few contacts on Twitter to tell me about their adventures in music and record store worship over the years. I felt that during this time of lockin music blaring and worship we could all use even more entertainment to help us get through. Please check out their films, blogs, and all other goodies listed.

My first kind victim is Graham Jones, author of The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made it Happen, a documentary based on the book The Vinyl Revival. He’s created two other fun books, The Last Shop Standing and Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops. He has a great presence on Twitter, where he shares some of his tales, and a podcast. Actually, he’s got a lot going on.

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So how did the “I gotta blog/write book about record shops!” come about? 

Back in 2009, I had been working as a record company sales rep for 25 years and so many of the shops I was visiting were closing. Not only were they losing their business but some of their homes. It was a very depressing time for record shops. In the UK 540 had closed in just 4 years. Nobody seemed to be noticing the record shops vanishing from our High Street, so I decided to do something about it and write a book. My Auntie who was in her 80’s told me when she was a child the High Street had coin shops, stamp shops, and candlestick makers yet nobody talks about them anymore. I wanted to document the stories of record shops before they all closed. I toured the UK and interviewed 50 record shops who I thought would be amongst the ‘Last Shops Standing’.

How did you first get the push that writing and blogging just weren’t enough, it had to be a documentary? 

Much to my surprise, the book did well, it seemed to strike a chord with music fans. It also brought an amazingly lot of publicity for record shops. Many had features in their local paper, many did radio and TV interviews thanks to the book. I was approached by a film company to turn the book in to a film which again I knew would bring lots of publicity for the shops. The film company struggled to get the film financed so we ended up going down the crowdfunding route. The money was raised by music fans. We were grateful to the artist Richard Hawley who organized a fundraising evening for the film. Along with a soundman, a cameraman, the producer Pip Piper and myself piled into a car and drove around the UK interviewing musicians in their favourite record shops. The film became the Official Film of Record Store Day 2012 and was screened in over 90 venues across the world on the day.Strange Requests and Comic Tales From Record Shops

What are some future projects you may be developing?

My third book ‘The Vinyl Revival and the Shops That Made it Happen’ was also turned in to a film. It features Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Phil Selway of Radiohead and updates the situation. It had a cinema release at the end of 2019 and came out on DVD last month. Bad timing as all the shops were shut. It is also available on Vimeo.

I have just started a Podcast telling funny stories from the crazy world of record retailing. You can listen on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/5k0WMLkk9sjtxs5N8hR54l

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your books/blog/FB/Zine/Twitter full of great content?

It is not difficult; the world of record shops is ever-changing. Being known as the man who has visited more record shops than any other human plus the three books and two films have made me a magnet for record shop tales. Most days I will get an email from a record shop somewhere on the globe with a funny tale of what has happened in their shop.

Along with meeting some great record shop owners and, have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing? 

Interviewing Paul Weller, Norman Cook, Richard Hawley and most of all Johnnie Marr was a thrill. Johnnie Marr spent ages with us and was full of very funny anecdotes. It is always lovely when somebody you admired turns out to be even nicer than you could have hoped. I also spent an enjoyable weekend in the company of Andy McClusky of the band OMD in Oslo. We were both talking at a music festival and we were both from the same area of the UK. Andy was a big record shop fan, so we had a lot in common.

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Bought your Book? Wanted to be in your Doco? 

We were coming to the end of filming “Last Shop Standing” when we received a message that Paul Weller had asked if he could contribute. We were thrilled to have him. Record shops always tell me when a famous musician has bought the book and various people in the music industry mention it too. I have had messages that the likes of Elton John, Roger Taylor of Queen, Colin Blunstone of the Zombies had copies. Biggest thrill was meeting Johnnie Marr and his first words were ‘Loved the book’. I could have retired then.

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

I am furloughed from my job as it involves traveling around the country selling to record shops. As they are all closed, I have no work. It had given me the chance to listen to lots of records I have not heard in ages. I also started the podcast and have been writing a few things on my record shop blog.

https://grahamjonesvinylrevival.blogspot.com/

What blogs/Zines/Books/Documentaries are you obsessed with right now?

I have been reading a lot of late. Just finished biographies of Robert Johnson, The Go – Between and my favourite was Viv Albertine of The Slits.

Where can people discover your media or publications?

I hate to say it but unless you are in the UK were my books and DVDs are available in record and book shops, Amazon is your best bet. All the books are available on Kindle.

 https://www.facebook.com/vinylrevival1

https://www.thevinylrevivalfilm.com/

Check out on Twitter @revival_vinyl

Message for the world at large right now?

Keep calm and carry on listening to records. Music is here to make the bad times better and the good times even better.

The Writer as a Consumer

The first record bought?

‘Ball Park Incident’, a single by the band Wizzard. First LP Sparks – Kymono  in my House

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

My early memories of my Dad who was a big Beatles fan and used to play them on his record player. Before I bought my own I utilised his. On the radio I listened to DJ’S John Peel and Johnnie Walker who introduced me to new bands. I still get excited today when I hear something new that is brilliant

First gig you went to. Who were you with and what did you wear?

I went with some schoolmates to see the now-disgraced Gary Glitter at Liverpool Empire. These were pre-punk days so I am sure I would have been wearing jeans

Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

Mott the Hoople – though I do remember going in to a record shop with my Mum and her saying ‘He wants a Dr Hoople poster”.

After that, Queen – first time I watched them it cost me 75p

The Beatles

David Bowie

Then punk came along

Buzzcocks

Joy Division – first watched them supporting The Buzzcocks. So many bands I enjoyed during then.

The Stranglers

The Clash

The Smiths

Julian Cope

The Waterboys

The Saw Doctors

Of Monsters and Men

First Aid Kit

What is your favorite new artist/s?

Jade Bird – Best female singer-songwriter I have ever seen. Dynamic live and superb lyrics. The first album came in the charts at number 10. I would expect her to make a big breakthrough with the next.

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

#loverecordshops – promoting record shops and helping organise 20 June as a day full of exclusive vinyl releases.

Favorite music venues?

Barrowlands Glasgow were I watched the Saw Doctors and Waterboys play together on New Year’s Eve. The last number featured a pipe band and as I left the venue fireworks lit up the sky – magical.

Eric’s in Liverpool where I watched so many punk bands.

The Vinyl Revival Film

The Vinyl Revival from Blue Hippo Media on Vimeo.

Watch on Vimeo

DVD Out of Print Documentary The Last Shop Standing

Books:The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made it Happen, The Last Shop Standing, Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops

Vinyl Revival Podcast on Soundcloud

Vinal Revival on Facebook

39 Years of Faith in The Cure and RSD2020

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I remember the first time I heard the music of the new Cure record, Faith, on the college radio station. It was another night of me staying up late to catch the beginning of a student-run set and getting new TDK 90 and longer cassette tapes ready. It was damned difficult for a 16-year-old to find the great imports coming out of the UK. And if you did, it wasn’t the one you had been looking for. Or because it was so costly, as, in a Japanese Kimono sleeve, you wanted to make damn sure you liked as much on the album as possible before you lay down that kind of cash. So most of my early favs were of course taken off the radio. Lucky for me, some of the kids spinning would play the whole record and tell you the tracks off each side so you could edit. It was a way to survive until you could get a clean factory copy. When I heard “Primary” for the first time, it was all I could do to not start dancing on the bed. Frowned upon at 1 am in the morning. Still, it would take a few years before I got a good copy of Faith on CD.

So it was when Faith was released by The Cure on 14 April 1981. Many of us “alternative” kids had another step into the new genre of Gothic music that was evolving out of Post-Punk.  It was a great follow up to their 1980 release 17 Seconds and tour. It was filled with more moody chords and lyrics in the same vein, but as discordant as the mood of the band. The recording took place at Morgan Studios in September of 1980, without Matthieu Hartley, who left under that creative differences mist.  The recording started at the studios, but the remaining members of The Cure, Smith, Gallup, and Tolhurst, with Former Member Porl Thompson back for cover design, would try several studios after not getting the sound right, including Abbey Road. It was a turbulent time of transition for the band. Did you know that there was a soundtrack to a short film involved? “Carnage Visors” only made it to an extended cassette version and would finally turn up on a 2005 reissue with the single only “Charlotte Sometimes”.

So this record in its 39th year this week will probably get a 40th-anniversary reboot. But I’m happy to have the original track lineup on 180 vinyl. If you’re feeling a little dystopic in these trying times try a little Faith for some classic The Cure dirge. It will make you melt and dance at the same time. Perfect for your home COVID dance club.

Will COVID-19 kill the Independent Record Shops?

Not if we can help it. Americans get their stimulus checks rolled out this week. We know it’s hard, as many are laughing at how little it will cover to pay rent and bills. But if you can spare a few dollars, try to find a local record shop that is doing curbside. Here in Portland, it’s Music Millenium and a few other smaller shops. Others have had to close up. Call up with your list of wants, help keep someone employed in this insanity.

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Record Store Day 2020 Update

You’ve probably heard by now that RSD has been moved to June 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 shut-downs around the world. While it looks like this terrible virus and the country may be shut down through mid- June, keep an eye out on their website. Many artists have decided to go ahead and sell the RSD releases via their own sites. Here’s to a socially distanced line, that will go for blocks. As if anything else couldn’t get more muddled this year.

Record Store Day New Date

How Record Stores are Getting Vinyl To You During the Pandemic

‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis

Support your vinyl shops! Check and see if they are taking phone orders and either doing curbside or shipping. Keep small businesses alive!

RSD Black Friday Finds 2018

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Press The Eject and Give Me The Tape on Vinyl

It was 4:30 am and I could feel a sore throat coming on. Of course, I have to go stand in line. It’s raining. Its Record Store Day: Black Friday. Because one day a year going nuts on RSD wasn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the folks at RSD got together and decided what better way to save an industry, make an unofficial holiday out of it. It’s great because you have several bands releasing or rereleasing classics and improved versions of an album. And now its on Black Friday as well.

I was on the hunt for Press The Eject and Hand Me the Tape by Bauhaus. This live record had only been available as a free second LP with the Limited Edition of their 1982 release “The Sky’s Gone Out”. That was many years ago. Later it was released as a single album. It also had not been officially released in the US until now. For the 40th anniversary colored vinyl releases, a limited edition colored vinyl was available. I was lucky, I got one of the few copies that had showed up. I also picked up Bauhaus Bela Sessions. I was very tired and feeling ill, and slowly weaving back out of the store when at the end, I spied a classic from my childhood: Talking Heads “Remain In Light album. And it had a limited edition, 5500 run on ruby red release.

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I first listened to this record when I was in high school. My art teacher had been telling us to listen to Talking Heads, we didn’t get it. He was obsessed about it. It was the beginning of the 80s and I had been just discovering punk and other post-punk bands on late night college radio a few years before. He played the record for us and some others daily. It was edgy, experimental sounds, and lyrics that touched me. I became hooked on it. When I saw the record in the store, all the memories came flooding back, the art room, stinking paint, air hoses that leaked from the airbrushes, and talking music with other students and the art teacher. It’s one of the only real memories I have of those insane years called high school. It’s what was so great about art class. You could listen to music and make a creative mess and sing and dance. So, yes, even though it was a stretch for cash, I picked it up. It was also nice playing a copy without all the scratches and clay dust covered grooves. I guess sometimes the adult comes out and wants the clean vinyl. But the memory of playing this and hearing it again on red vinyl no less, was just priceless.