THE BEGINNING

Eleven reasons to wake up early on April 16th.

Fucked-Up

ELEVEN REASONS TO WAKE UP EARLY ON APRIL 16TH

In 2010, while distributing the May issue of Loud And Quiet, we completely underestimated a relatively new holiday called Record Store Day. The independent music outlets of the country had nightclub-like queues outside them. At Rough Trade East, in Shoreditch, London, it was one-in-one-out. We had to surrender our latest edition to a bouncer at the door.

Blur were largely to blame. They’d used the annual celebration of indie stores (which has taken place on the third Saturday of April since 2007) to release ‘Fool’s Day’ – their first single in seven years. Bat For Lashes fuelled the clamor too, releasing a hundred copies of the previously unknown ‘Howl’ on 7-inch vinyl. LCD Soundsystem got involved. And Gorillaz. And many, many more. London’s Puregroove Records threw a party that went on into the night and spilled out into the street. Record Store Day – which had been founded by six Americans as a retaliation to the impersonal nature of the digital revolution – had landed in the UK, and rather spectacularly.

“It was kind of a wild success out of the gate, four years ago,” says co-founder Eric Levin, “but 2010 was a huge tipping point. When we first proposed the idea, it was simply for the US market, not by design, mind you; we were just not thinking outside the US. The rest of the world took notice immediately, the UK most significantly, and some celebrations took place overseas even that first year, in 2007.”

Levin, who owns Criminal Records in Atlanta, Georgia, says that, “Rough Trade was instrumental in taking up the mantle across the pond and should be commended,” but as we elbowed our way through more and more shop doorways, it was clear last year that all the great independent stores of the country were doing their bit to celebrate physical music retail as a unique experience. The only difficulty seemed to be hearing about these super limited releases before the day itself, by which time ‘Fool’s Day’ was yours for just three hundred quid on Ebay.

This year, more of a noise is being made about special Record Store Day releases prior to April 16th, perhaps because even more limited records are being planned by labels indie and otherwise. A full list is going to be published on the official Record Store Day website, but those announced so far already reads like a minefield of the great, (Grinderman’s ‘Evil’, Fucked Up’s ‘David’s Town’), the ghastly (Debbie Harry and friends sing Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Tonight’, Green Day covering Husker Du’s ‘Don’t Wanna Know if You’re Lonely’) and the completely pointless (Mastadon’s ‘Live at The Aragon’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’). To make some kind of sense of it all, we’ve put together a list of reasons to camp outside your local record store on the eve of April 16th.

‘David’s Town’ by Fucked Up
(Matador)

By the time Record Store Day comes around, ‘David’s Town’ may well go under a different name, but while its title is still TBC its content isn’t. An eleven-track twelve-inch, it features brand new material from the Canadian hardcore punks and acts as an introduction to the band’s third studio album, ‘David Comes To Life’, which is due for release later this spring. The long player proper is based on a play set in late ’70s England, which has been written by the band themselves. ‘David’s Town’’s job is to set the scene of this forthcoming tale and we’re told does so with the help of guest vocalists and by sounding “very un-Fucked Up”, making it Record Store Day’s most intriguing release.

‘Eternal Youth’ by Rolo Tomassi
(Holy Roar)

Two days after Record Store day you’ll still be able to buy ‘Eternal Youth’ on CD, released via Rolo Tomassi’s own new imprint, Destination Moon. But if you want this 36-track (!) compilation of early cassette recordings, original demos and split 7” releases on triple vinyl you’ll have to fight for it on April 16th. Hardcore shred label Holy Roar are responsible for pressing this collector’s edition of noise onto vinyl, and by featuring tracks like ‘Apocalypso 2009’, which was once kept company on a limited disc by tracks from The Bronx and Fucked Up, it’ll make a night on the cold pavement outside your local store well worth it.

‘End Blood’ by Yeasayer
(Mute)

Limited to two hundred copies, ‘End Blood’ is a 7” that is exciting due to the sum of its parts (two unreleased tracks called ‘Swallowing the Decibels’ and ‘Phoenix Wind’) and that it’s a definite farewell to the band’s 2010 album ‘Odd Blood’ that can only mean that Yeasayer will soon start working on their third album, if they haven’t already. This parting shot, then, is one for the super fans and true collectors.

‘I’m So Convoluted’ by Various Artists
(Agitated)

‘I’m So Convoluted’ is an Anglo-Yankee, 4-way split of underground space psych featuring the highly stoned Mugstar and Wooden Shjips-supporting Rituals From The Heads & The Big Naturals from the UK and Carlton Melton and Koolaid from the US. And while there’s a good chance that if you’re into this kind of drone rock you might struggle to make it out of the house at any point this year, you’re going to have to to get one of the 250 copies of this cosmic 12”.

‘Evil’ by Grinderman
(Mute)

Essentially the same songs three times over, ‘Evil’ is a 12” that is a little more inspiring than it looks on paper. That the repeated track is from the band’s 2010 album ‘Grinderman 2’ – rather than a new, unheard blues monster – fuels the naysaying, but wait! As well as ‘First Evil’ – a Nick Cave/Warren Ellis early demo of the track – there’s a remix on here by production team Silver Alert that features lead vocals by The National’s Matt Berninger, and, even more impressively, a re-working from dystopian kruat disco trio Factory Floor too, which will probably take up the whole of side two. There’s only 750 copies available worldwide, mind you, so don’t expect them to be on shelves for long.

‘Frantic Romantic’ / ‘Shake (Together Tonight)’ by The Scientists
(Agitated)

Re-issues are a big part of Record Store Day, but none (not even that copy of The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ that you don’t need) are more vital than this forgotten post-punk pomp from 1979. The Scientists were from Perth, Australia, but they sounded more like the New Yorkers of the time. ‘Frantic Romantic’, then, is a new wave lust song that will shame your entire Ramones collection, while ‘Shake (Together Tonight)’ is Blondie’s ‘One Way or Another’ meets ‘Teenage Kicks’, only better.

Split 7” by Matthew C.H. Tong / Wet Paint
(Records Records Records)

Ahead of new album ‘Woe’ (released May 2nd), London’s answer to Pavement and Pixies, Wet Paint, will lift ‘Dead Night’ off of that record for this limited (there’s 250 in total) split 7” with Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong. ‘Present and Correct’ is Tongs’ offering, which isn’t commercially bassy like Kele’s solo stuff, nor the type of disco pop piffle that Russell Lissack pushed under his Pin Me Down banner. It’s crooning, charming electro folk, like that Connan Mockasin producing Patrick Wolf.

Split 7” by Deerhoof / Xiu Xiu
(Polyvinyl)

Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and Deerhoof Drummer Greg Saunier have decided to celebrate Record Store Day by covering each other’s songs for this limited split release. The former will take on ‘Almost Everyone, Almost Always’ from the recent ‘Deerhoof Vs Evil’ album (a dreamy, semi sad track that’ll no doubt become starkly harrowing in Stewart’s hands), while Saunier will try his luck with something from ‘Dear God, I Hate Myself’. Not the cheeriest release of the day then, but it’s sure to be the one of the most powerfully emotive.

‘Tomboy’ by Panda Bear
(Paw Tracks)

You’ll be able to buy Noah Lennox’s fourth album without day job Animal Collective five days before Record Store Day, but if you can bear (mind the pun) to wait you can get a special clear vinyl LP edition of it, plus a free T-shirt. Claw blimey. Enough!

‘Under Cover of Darkness’ by The Strokes
(Rough Trade)

The Strokes may be one lazy, rich band, and with ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ already having been given away for free this seven-inch certainly seems to be as needed as a re-issue of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’, which is also coming on Record Store Day, but this band have always had a knack for delivering when in comes to vinyl b-sides, like when ‘You Only Live Once’ was backed with a cover of Mavin Gaye’s ‘Mercy Mercy Me’, featuring Eddie Vedder and Josh Homme. For that reason, it’s still probably worth keeping an eye out for.

‘Vorwärts’ by Various Artists
(Mute)

It means ‘forward’, and it’s quite a clever title for an orange 12” record made up of exclusive unreleased songs by bands on the Mute label. Even the old tracks – like Can’s ‘Millionspiel (Edit)’ from 1970 – haven’t been widely heard until now, giving the whole 10-track compilation (which also features Liars, S.C.U.M. and Moby) a progressive, new feel, which you’re not going to get from a repressing of ‘Just Like Honey’.

Originally published in issue 26 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2011

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