Record Store Day 2018 Review

For Record Store Day 2018, a sweeping range of releases make up the annual exclusives. The lists reveal the diversity of investments available: to name two, there’s ‘Funk in France’, a lavish and expensive double LP from the jazz guitarist Grant Green originally released in 1969, and ‘The First Album’, a reissue of the eight-track Japanese Picture Disc LP of Madonna’s debut, complete with heart-shaped pink sticker.

There are the usual astonishing displays of determination and patience. You could find company outside some stores more than 24 hours before the doors opened, with those lying in wait apparently fearing that gems such as the 45th anniversary edition of ‘Let’s Get it On’ might get away. Some choose to set up outside Vinyl Revolution, on Duke Street, at an hour of Saturday morning when most of the nearby clubs are still an hour from closing.

A photo of the inside of a record store

No matter your devotion and ability to part with time and money, Record Store Day is a mass show of affection. For all the talk of a vinyl-and-humans renaissance, the day only really emphasises how popular and passionately-run our record stores already are. Whether you’re in Rarekind Records, whose selections range from Led Zeppelin to Thelonious Monk, or Across the Tracks, where a handwritten note on the door casually announces their decision to refrain from the festivities, the sense of a city full of markedly disparate but equally important stores is palpable.

It’s also a great chance to watch live sets: at the Dome, where Green Door Store, QM Records and Love Thy Neighbour have taken over, the all-day Spectrum festival witnesses a string of excellent mini-shows from an intriguing local line-up. Cellist and multi-instrumentalist Abi Wade’s shadowy pop and rippling electronica provides a spectacular start from which the quality rarely wanes, including thunderous rock from Ditz, a charismatic solo performance from a numerically depleted Garden Centre, and a psychedelic closing slot from Dark Horses.

Veterans in the 11th year of the campaign, Resident are impressively organised and bearing balloons, although a daunting queue still runs past the door at midday. Their Tru Thoughts showcase is accompanied by a tremulous evening turn-out from the Physics House Band, whose talents extend to schlepping their gear down a typically congested Kensington Street in the heat.

On its first Record Store Day, Vinyl Revolution distracts day-trippers by setting bands loose on the street. Inside, a cameraman receives perhaps the least surprising retort in the history of music obsession upon asking one shopper what they’re looking for. The response – “I’m just browsing” – seems a mild disappointment given that there’s a Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine album on offer for the occasion. The sounds of clinking beer bottles and revolving turntables are less demure, and make you root for these small businesses and their vital part in a thriving scene.

Saturday 21st April 2018.

Words by Ben Miller.