Record Store Day: A Vinyl Revival

Vinyl is seeing a serious revolution in the last couple of years. More people are buying records than before, and it’s easy to understand why: records played through a record player sound so different and give a piece of music a totally different edge. It gives you a sense of nostalgia, and it’s wonderful to appreciate artworks and limited pressings whether coloured vinyl or even picture discs.

There’s even an Official Vinyl Chart now in the UK, and this year’s most bought record so far is Blackstar by David Bowie. Also in the list is recently released 25 by Adele and even Back To Black, released in 2006 by the incredible Amy Winehouse. It just goes to show that an album doesn’t have to be recent to be popular – especially on vinyl.

Record Store Day is a day to celebrate, well, record stores. Over 200 independent record stores take part in the annual event, celebrating the culture of music and records. Now in its eighth year, there are plenty of special vinyl releases especially for the day, and a barrel load of musicians perform in support of it.

So, here are ten of the exclusive releases you need to try and get your paws on…

1. Bastille – Hangin’
The world awaits Bastille’s follow-up to their famous debut album Bad Blood, which is expected later this year. Their track Hangin’ was only previously available on FIFA 16, and its B-side Overload is a cover of Sugababes from the soundtrack of last year’s movie Kill Your Friends. The 7″ single is limited to 1000 copies worldwide.

2. Bring Me The Horizon – Drown/Throne
Sheffield outfit Bring Me The Horizon have taken the airwaves by storm, especially when the release of their latest album That’s The Spirit. Two of the better-known tracks from the album, Drown and Throne, are being released on a 7″ picture disc having been recorded live at Maida Vale.

3. Christopher Lee – Charlemagne: By The Sword & The Cross
You may remember Sir Christopher Lee as Saruman in Lord Of The Rings, as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, or even as Count Dooku in Star Wars. But the cinema legend, who passed away last year aged 93, released his debut metal (yes, metal) album in 2010. It was critically acclaimed and followed up by Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death in 2013, and even a Christmas single.

4. Hozier – Take Me To Church
Take Me To Church EP was Hozier’s first EP, and something that certainly cemented his work in the limelight. The title track is a protest against the Catholic Church’s attitude to homosexuality – and even got nominated for a Grammy. You can grab this EP in a double-sided 12″ picture disc.

5. James Bay – Chaos & The Calm
James Bay’s debut album rocketed straight to number 1 in the album charts, and saw him perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury last year. He even won the Brit Award for British Solo Artist earlier this year. The album is released as a stunning picture disc, exclusively for Record Store Day – and is sure to worth a few bob in the future.

6. Justin Bieber – Purpose
Can anyone even deny that the Biebs’ latest album is an absolute banger? His singles Love Yourself, Sorry and What Do You Mean were all in the top five of the singles charts at the same time, and he managed to break a couple of records along the way. While Purpose is already available on 12″, it is available as a limited edition picture disc exclusively for RSD.

7. Metallica – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
Metallica, who set up Record Store Day in 2008, are releasing a record to fit in with a wider theme this year. Their album is a live recording of a performance at Le Bataclan, Paris, in 2003 – the same venue devastated by terrorist attacks in November 2015. The band, RSD and independent record stores will be donating proceeds to Fondation de France’s “Give For France” charity.

8. Mumford & Sons – There Will Be Time
Marcus Mumford and his bandmates took their music to South Africa for the first time earlier this year, and did a collaboration with local music legend Baaba Maal – combining Mumford sound with Baaba Maal’s vocals. The song shot straight to number one in South Africa – and the RSD release is the first physical release as well as the first time it has been heard anywhere but South Africa. The single is available on orange 7″.

9. Nirvana – Live on Kaos-FM
Recorded in 1987, this Nirvana record could be vinyl gold. It was recorded in the first few months of the band’s life and has a certain raw energy about it. It has been remastered and is available for RSD on coloured vinyl with a sleeve and insert.

10. Slaves – Are You Satisfied
Slaves were arguably the best band to come out of the UK last year. Their debut album was certified silver and was given a Deluxe Edition revamp after being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, to include their famous cover of Skepta’s track Shutdown recorded for BBC Radio 1. The release is solely the deluxe tracks – such as Shutdown and Where’s Your Car Debbie – in their first release on vinyl.

If you’re looking for a start-up record collection in the vinyl revolution, here are ten records you really should be looking at getting, regardless of whether they’re available exclusively for Record Store Day or not:

1. The Smiths – Hatful Of Hollow
Okay, I have to admit here, Hatful Of Hollow is one of my favourite ever albums. But it’s a great gateway into The Smiths and has plenty of well-known songs on it, such as This Charming Man and How Soon Is Now?, which sound even better on a record player.

2. Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
Everyone has watched, or should watch, Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The soundtrack is widely available on vinyl at a very affordable price, and has samples from the film as well as all the music used. It does work wonderfully and sounds terrific on vinyl. If you’re into Tarantino, the soundtrack to his latest film The Hateful Eight is also available.

3. The Clash – London Calling
This album was the eighth best of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Its artwork is iconic and easily recognisable and the album itself is widely regarded as the first post-punk album. It may be nearly 40 years old, but it’s a timeless classic.

4. Arctic Monkeys – AM
You could probably own any album by the band and fall madly in love with it. AM, however, is particularly well-produced, sludgy and sensual – it seems to just take you on a journey. If you’re really going to get into it, you could listen to their debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not followed by their latest album and notice the differences.

5. The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
To switch it up a bit, The Prodigy are an incredible band to play via vinyl. The Fat Of The Land starts with Smack My B*tch Up, as well as featuring Breathe and Firestarter – which all continue to be huge live hits for the band despite their 1997 release. You could even have Music For The Jilted Generation or Invaders Must Die on record and get the same euphoric, loud effect.

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6. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
This album, the debut album by Oasis, went straight to number one in the UK and has hits such as Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Live Forever. It cemented their place in music history, being responsible for the vitality of Britpop in the 1990s alongside artists like Blur. In 2006, a reader’s poll in NME said Definitely Maybe was the greatest album of all time.

7. Nirvana – Unplugged In New York
Nirvana are widely known for their grungey, over-enthusiastic loudness. This is something that is totally lacking in their Unplugged album, which mostly consisted of lesser-known material and covers. It was recorded just months before Kurt Cobain’s suicide and, hauntingly, the studio and set were dressed to look like a funeral. You can feel the pain in Cobain’s voice as he sings Where Did you Sleep Last Night?.

8. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Royal Blood’s self titled debut album is certifiably anthemic. From start to finish, it flows incredibly and works wonderfully on record as well. With tracks like Little Monster and Figure It Out, the album takes you on a journey with so much energy and emotion – it’s hard to comprehend that this music comes from just two people.

9. the xx – xx
the xx’s debut album is very peaceful and expertly composed – perfect for a chilled summer’s day with your boyfriend or girlfriend. In 2010, the album won the Mercury Music Prize and thrust the band further into the limelight. You might remember their track Islands, which remains a popular track despite no major media outlets giving the xx much attention whatsoever.

10. Massive Attack – Mezzanine
With tracks like Teardrops and Angel, this album was released in 1998. This Massive Attack album has real depth and a terrific but haunting atmosphere which works perfectly to be heard on a record player. It’s perfect to be turned up loud on a dark and stormy night.

Jessica Allen

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