Tag Archives: Retro-Vibe Music

Maddie Jones, and her rock and roll in the Pretty City

Meet Maddie Jones, a singer, guitarist and songwriter, originally from the Valleys, now living in Cardiff. She’s one of those people I’ve wanted to get on We Are Cardiff for ages, and ended up doing an online interview with … and then bumped into her in person at BBC Radio Wales while Hana and I were there to talk about The 42b (We Are Cardiff Press’ first book). She’s every bit as smart and funny in real life as she was to interview online – and I sat about three feet away from her while she sang on the radio. What a voice!

Anyway, enough of me … meet Maddie! Helia x

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I’m originally from just outside Ystrad Mynach, which isn’t far from Caerphilly. You have to make your own fun up there, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes you crazy and creative. Cardiff seemed like such a big city to us, I’ve learnt since that it’s not that huge!

I wrote a song for the Cardiff Songs project about Cardiff from a Valleys person’s perspective. The project came out of the book called Cardiff Songs, by Mike Johnson – who wanted to create a legacy of songs about our city, in the way that so many other cities have. We had the option to cover one of his songs, but I wanted to make mine more personal to me, so wrote Pretty City. It’s one of the things that outsiders say about Cardiff, and I find it to be true, but also hilarious when you look at the place on a matchday, or a hen and stag filled Friday night. So, my song was about the experience of coming down on the train, to a big place, trying to cram in as much fun as possible in a few hours, and then convincing a taxi driver to take you all the way home. It’s from my Valleys perspective, but I’ve lived in Cardiff itself for over four years now, and this is my home.

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When I came home from Nottingham Uni, after the standard ‘stint at your parents, wondering what to do with your life’, myself and some friends moved here to Cardiff. For me, it was to be in a good location to build my career on the music scene, be able to go to loads of gigs, and meet as many people as possible. To be near the action, in short!

I moved to, and still live in Pontcanna. It’s a completely amazing place to live, but we were very lucky to find somewhere we could afford on our artsy incomes. Pontcanna is amazing, I actually wrote a whole article about it once! My favourite cafe is Brava – amazing food, and milkshakes, and rugby player spotting! There are loads of great restaurants too, my favourites are Cinnamon Tree, The Smoke House and Cibo. Pipes Brewery is just round the corner from me, and there’s a butcher, baker (no candlesitck maker), grocer, and a few delis too. Also right by Bute Park/ Taff Trail, and plenty of good pubs too.

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Cardiff’s creative scene has been building in the four years I’ve lived in the city. The music scene particularly is coming into its own, with venues like the Moon, and Gwdihw, and more recently the Tramshed, and new festivals too, like HUB and Free for All. A lot of great artistic stuff goes on, especially around Womanby St, Chapter, and the Abacus. I’m mostly involved in music, obviously, but I enjoy art, film, theatre, dance and all sorts! I try to incorporate it into what I do – designing my own CD covers for example, the most recent one people have to colour in themselves!

Thanks Maddie! Check our the video for her most recent single, Could You Be My Rock and Roll? taken from the Colour Me In EP, which was crowdfunded on Pledge Music, and is available in any format under the sun from her Maddie Jones Bandcamp page.

Maddie Jones website / Facebook pageTwitter / Soundcloud

Photos by Ben Blyth, taken at Retro-Vibe Music, Cardiff

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S is for Specialists in Vinyl. Part Two: Shops Selling New and Second-hand

Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series of Cardiff with her second and final article on the Cardiff music scene in the run up to Record Store Day 2015.

DSCF3355Last time, I investigated Spillers Records, the world’s oldest independent record shop. This time, I decided visit Cardiff’s newest independent record shop, Retro-Vibe Music.

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Strategically positioned at the top-end of the High Street in Cardiff, Retro-Vibe Music can be identified by its bright orange and black fascia. There’s a mosaic of record covers on the shop windows, which reassuringly confirms that they sell vinyl. Approaching their bold shop front you would never guess that they hadn’t been there long.

In fact they opened their doors in Cardiff a few months ago, having moved from Barry, where the business started in 2012. The shop, a hit in its original location, quickly out-grew its premises. Hence owners Claire Richards and Mark Owen made the decision to move to a more central location where they can really showcase their vinyl.

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Having only recently heard of this shop, I decided to pay them a visit. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. They have a whole basement full of vinyl, and, as I have a life-long love of spinning discs, that’s where I headed first. I was amazed by how much space there is for records both old and new. They stock a wide range of artists and have something for everyone.

Although underground, the space is light and airy. There are comfy sofas to chill out on while listening to the music on the turntable hi-fi system and memorabilia to feast your eyes upon. They also have plans for sound booths for customers to listen to records, a really great idea to engage customers.

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While I was in there, I chatted to Claire Williams, one of the owners who very happily provided me with a potted history of their business. She enthused about how she had come into possession of a gramophone record and a whole load of 78s, which she decided to sell on. This led to a thriving business in gramophone records, from which she and her business partner, Mark, branched into other formats and eventually into their business as it is today. Indeed it’s encouraging to see new businesses arriving in what has proven to be a challenging time for the music industry.

Involvement in Record Store Day 2015

The team behind Retro-Vinyl Music are clearly very passionate about the autonomy of the independent record business. Along with Spillers Records, they have signed up to the Record Store Day Pledge to supply Official Record Store Day releases to customers on a first come, first served basis. Their doors open earlier than usual, at 8:00 in the morning, especially for the occasion. Supplies of special releases are limited so it’s best to turn up early if you’re after something specific.

As well as the official releases, they also plan to have live acts perform on the day, billings yet to be confirmed.

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Other Events in Cardiff for Record Store Day

Kellys Records, while not officially signed up for Record Store Day, will be providing customers with generous discounts on many of their records for the occasion. They are also hosting a huge party, after hours, at 10 Feet Tall which promises to be an ‘All Vinyl, All Night’ extravaganza. The party starts at 6:00 in the evening and continues until 2:00 in the morning. Full details of the event can be found here:

All Vinyl, All Night 

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If you’ve never been to Kellys, they are well worth a visit. Situated on the upper floor of the Cardiff Indoor Market, they are an Aladdin’s Cave of vinyl, among other formats, and have an amazing collection of memorabilia from yesterday. You have to visit to take your selfie with the Elvis statuette, if nothing else!

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You can find out more information about Retro-Vibe Music here: 

Their Facebook Page

Their Record Store Day Page 

On Twitter 

Their Website

You can find information about Kellys Records here:

Their Facebook Page 

On Twitter

Their Website 

More information on Record Store Day 2015, including official releases, can be found here:

Record Store Day Website

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you all at Record Store Day in a couple of week’s time!