Tag Archives: vinyl

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!

 

 

S is for Specialists in Vinyl. Part One: Spillers Records

Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series of Cardiff with a look at the local music scene. 

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I decided to delve into the exciting events occurring in the run-up to the annual Record Store Day on Saturday 18 April. And where better to start than at Spillers Records, reputedly the oldest record store in the world?

It’s been my great privilege to chat to Ashli Todd, who is joint-owner of Spillers, and to be able to share with you her extensive knowledge of music.

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Q: The music scene in Cardiff is very vibrant. There’s a lot happening. What are you most excited about currently?

A: Oh, good question, it’s the diversity. There are a couple of labels that we stock that have been around for a few years and are really evolving. Particularly I’m thinking of the Peski Records label that centres mainly on alternative electronic music. They’re kind of quite glitchy, sometimes a little crowd rocky, sometimes quite technoey. They are a great label and have been going for a number of years now.

Then there’s another label, Shape Records, who are run by a fantastic local band called Islet. I was at Art College with one of their members.

Both labels have stood the test of time. We can mention them to customers and they will buy things on the strength of those labels alone. It’s always really lovely when a label can generate that kind of support. You know that a label is doing something great when people put their confidence into the releases blindly.

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Q: What are the big releases with them at the moment?

A: At the moment, Shape Records have just released an album by a band called Them Squirrels. Them Squirrels have actually been around for a good number of years; they’re members of the main band, Islet. They’ve been recording between other band stuff over a number of years. As always with these musicians, they always have loads of commitments. But now they’ve released this and it’s fab. Graff who works here has been recommending it to lots of people over the counter.

Gwenno is the big release with Peski, which came out the end of last year, and it’s doing fantastically well. She’s an interesting musician who used to be in a band called The Pipettes, a fantastic three-piece girl band. She’s evolved into a really interesting artist with a lot to say, you know, about politics among other things, which adds another dimension to the music.

Q: If you were to live anywhere else, where would that be and why?

I’d love to live in Barcelona. I’ve been there a couple of times, most recently last year. I was impressed by the amount of independent record shops that are there. All the record shops there were absolutely fabulous. And it’s such a culturally exciting city, such a pleasure to walk around. There’s so much art there. I just found it a real inspiration. I can’t wait to go back. So, yes, Barcelona!

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Q: I’ll have to add it to my places to visit. 

A: You’ll love it there, definitely.

Q: Looking around your shop, I understand that you also sell tickets for gigs. Who would you say are the hottest live acts at the moment?

A: Well, last night I went to see a band called Sleaford Mods. That was a sold-out gig, so obviously quite a hot ticket. It was the second time they’ve played Cardiff; the first time was last year at The Moon Club. They played CF10 in the Union to a 300 capacity crowd. It was fantastic.

They are extremely political, they’re kind of a bit Marmite, people either love them or hate them. A lot of people don’t get it or like it. I always like it when a band doesn’t get the reaction of ambivalence, when it’s literally people venomously do hate them or wholeheartedly love a band and I find that split really interesting. I think it’s normally indicative of real talent. They make a social commentary along with electronic beats. They’re very reminiscent to me of John Cooper Clarke and they draw a punk following.

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Q: What are your favourite venues in the city?

A: Club Ifor Bach, it’s the one really. It’s the longest running, most consistently running of the small venues. They’ve got two great floors. And I like gigs in the downstairs even though there isn’t a stage. It can be really very intimate because it breaks down the boundaries between crowd and performer.

The Moon Club opposite is another decent venue, that’s where the Sleaford Mods played before. It’s run by real music enthusiasts, the bar’s well stocked, and again it’s the size that makes it intimate.

The Globe’s another great venue. It’s well established and has great diversity of music. It’s not as cover-band heavy as it used to be at certain times. The layout is perfect, the height of the stage, everything, they’ve just got it spot on. It’s a great venue. It ticks all the boxes. It’s always a pleasure to see a band there.

There are some gigs in interesting places also, that don’t normally get used. For instance, the St John’s Church have been putting on gigs there.

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Q: Wow, sounds interesting! With Record Store Day just around the corner, what events/activities are you most looking forward to?

A: Well, we’ve got shop favourites both sides of the counter. A band called The Lovely Eggs is gigging with us. They’ve got a new release for Record Store Day, so it’s going to be an absolute honour to have them come and play for us. They’re a great duo from up North and they’re full of character, full of charm. We know customers are going to be excited about that one.

We’ll also be scheduling in some DJs. There will be someone from Penarth Soul Club, who started up quite recently, a guy called Liam Curtin. And we’re speaking to people from the Peski label to see if they can come along as well.

Record Store Day is very much about the releases that are on offer which are mass-produced for independent record shops and are stocked across the country. But it’s important to us to link it into the local music scene as well because you know, that’s a very important part for Spillers.

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Q: What new releases are you looking forward to this month?

A: I’m looking forward to the release a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album (Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress, released on 31 March), which is hot on the heels of their last one. It’s good to have another release so soon as they tend to be sporadic with when they schedule their releases.

Another new release I’m looking forward to is by Australian singer Courtney Barnett. Her album is out this month (Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, released on Monday). She has a really great delivery to her lyrics; a naïve but almost deceptively naïve way of song writing. She has a deceptively simple delivery which isn’t necessarily easy to achieve.

Scottish band Errors also have got an album out (Lease of Life, released on Monday). They’re a band close to my heart. We’ve been following them since their first E.P came out. Their sound has evolved a lot over the course of several releases. It’s always nice when you can track an artist and their progress. And they always draw a good crowd whenever they gig with us.

And Bjork has a new album out (vinyl release date for new album, Vulnicura – as stated on the One Little Indian record label website, is Monday) which I’m very excited about. She’s such an innovator. She’s always working with new producers. She’s so experimental and she’s such a maverick.

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Thanks, Ashli, for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I can see you’ve got a lot to organise for the big day! 

You can find more information about Spillers Records and their upcoming releases/events here:

Spillers Records website

Their Facebook page

On Twitter