RSD Q: record store daze


New sounds

Seeing OHHMS in Oxford was a shorter and more pumped gig than their Bloom and Cold EPs indicated. A Terrorizer interview explains the former – they don’t do long sets, they don’t think doom should bore the audience – and debut album The Fool, just released on Holy Roar Records, explains the latter ‘coz its six-track 60-minute offering is anything but mono-paced yawn-outs. Instead, it fires off some higher-plane Neurosis rage BUT, crucially, does it less sombrely… OHHMS got more r.o.k., more of that mid-era Pelican thickness going on, maybe even a touch of long-lost Acrimony. Much promise in these long Fool forms. Good ohhmens.

RSD 10

Record Store Day came and went, fast as a stylus slide down a run-out groove. Oxford’s Truck Store gave advance notice of a queuing system for the RSD section of the shop – monitored, controlled, keeping it fair, you get the idea. Nothing objectionable in that, no doubt there are many other shops that have to do the same on Vinyl Vulture Day, but when you actually roll up late morning, long after the whoreds, and find a queuing system in place… it sucks fat logs. IT’S HALF PAST ELEVEN ffs, no buzz out here no more. The over-excitables lining up round dawn’s crack to score some designer V have long gone, replaced by the second/third/fourth wave of music punters and/or dullard moany bastards (me, it seems) who want to buy something, RSD or not, on this day in this shop to do a timely little summat for the deeper cause – independent music retail.

And we’re queuing. To get into a shop that is, literally, half empty. Right… F-RSD for now, let’s just hit the Regular Joe section and yes, very happy to see the new OHHMS CD in the racks. Nice one #1. Nice one #2 is when the queue system dissolves, some sort of record shop normality returns  access for all  and we get to have an unscripted, unmonitored free-form browse. 

The best bit isn’t the limiteds and the special eds, though.

RSD weekend bargain

RSD bargain: very rare

It’s the unexpected box of reductions on regular records (cheers Truck) and before I could stop it, SunnO)))’s Kannon – a long-time list dweller – slow-burned my eyes with a bargain £12 tag: an Official Find, a pound per inch. THIS is what RSD needs to do more of: give every physical-format music fan a reason to visit the shop and pick something up. Right now, CD buyers get shit-jack from the whole shebang, yet probably do more than anyone to keep these shops alive.

So, it was a day of two sides. Side A – the RSD edit – was forgettable and a bit shit. Side B – the deconstruction mix – was a gem. More Bs, please. How was your day?


Iggy completed his seventh decade. Prince turned 57 and one year. Plenty of options for celebrating their lives and music, but for a radio programme with a deep purple (not that one) twist, Bobby Friction’s tribute on 6Music is a pretty good shot at it. And if, by some freak time management occurrence, you’ve only got four and a half minutes to give then give ’em to the very last track – Whole Lotta Love, live, Prince Rogers Nelson style. Six string s-excess, and no, of course it ain’t faithful.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind




The great RSD swindle?

Yesterday was Record Store Day (RSD): best day of the year for record store shoppers.

Race down there silly early, wishlist in hand/in head from store email (you are on their mailing list, right?), feast eyes on vinyl goodies, get paws on summat new, feel rightly proud for helping to keep the record stores alive.


Get down there mid aft like a normal, no list in hand/head coz it’ll have been vultured by the earlies, feast eyes on vinyl goodies, recoil from the prices, try to shake off emerging RSDD (record store day disappointment) for the second year in a row, find something that was on your very own non-RSD list, feel proud for helping to keep the record stores alive, reflect on the fact that you do this every week anyway and think, actually, is this whole RSD thing a bit of a con?

OK, not a con exactly but a distortion with a misdirected focus.

Like you, I love music. That’s an understatement, as it is for many of us. We can be compulsive and nerd-like but it comes from a good place – we’re just very very keen. We’ve all got our own obsessions yet we can all get along in the same space, and nowhere is that space better defined than a truly great independent record shop. Those places feel like home, and if you’re lucky enough to have one as your local, you’ve got it made. Every week you can get some music IN YOUR HANDS, and that last bit’s absolutely crucial for those of us bothered by record shops and premise behind RSD: the browse, the immersion, the search, the discovery, the exchange, the thing you take with you. The physical elements of music.

So I feel bad for saying that Record Store Day leaves me feeling a bit cold.

Not the publicity or the occasion itself, or the ready-made excuse for going to the record shop on this very day – that’s exactly what we want and need for our music-dealing havens.

Nah, the bit that grates is its contrived gold-rush. The RSD special editions. The engineered ‘rarities’. The sky-scraping prices – 10 quid for a 7-inch single??? 10-inch EPs that sell for album prices, albums that sell for $$*@!!$!??? Very quickly you feel priced out but, swept along by the day’s momentum, you try to convince yourself that this disc is worth it. You look again. And again. And those repeat looks tell you this: it’s not worth it. It’s a 7-inch single with two tracks that you’ve already got, and it’s a tenner if not more. PUT IT BACK. It’s an RSD selfie – proof of presence, proof of participation.

Hmmm. I used to buy records all the time and I love the records I’ve got. They have their stories and they’re definitely part of mine, but when CDs came along, vinyl became pretty much obsolete. There was no choice but to buy CDs … fair enough. I love CDs too. Now we’re in a vinyl revival, so we’re told, yet it looks more and more like a revival for those who’ve got the cash to spend twice as much per album as a CD costs.

Sorry, but no.That makes no sense to me.

I’d rather buy more music. Vinyl is now saved for favoured bands or special releases, and that’s a subjective thing that’s got nothing to do with what RSD dictates will be released on April the Whatever each year.

So instead of creating a faux collectors’ market each April, why doesn’t RSD do justice to its own name and remember that it’s about the SHOP and the music? I don’t remember seeing it called Limit$d V$nyl Day or Records-Only Day. It’s Record Store Day. Why not turn it into a chance for everyone to buy more music in their favourite record shop? As well as stocking the limit$d v$nyls, indie shops could cut the prices of non-RSD vinyl and CDs for the day. I know that the suppliers have a big hold on what happens as far as stock goes, but as a music fan and record-store customer, this is what would make the day unbeatable. Something for all fans and customers, not just the dawn-start v$nyl grabbers.

I did buy a new CD, but it wasn’t RSD approved. Already it sounds fckn immense and I’m only two and a half tracks in (clue: Seattle). I’ll probably divulge more in a review some other time, but the point is already made – ’tis the music, not the spectacle, that really delivers.

That was my day. How was yours?