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Indies release ‘anti-Record Store Day’ record

By | Published on Monday 16 March 2015

Sonic Cathedral / Howling Owl

With Record Store Day zooming into view, just there, on that horizon we all know and love, it’s surely time for some detractors to the indie-record-store-celebrating party to step forward. And doing the honours this year are indie labels Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl.

Though it’s not an especially brutal assault, more an open musing about what Record Store Day has become. And some commentary on the well known problem for indie labels at this time of year, getting time on a vinyl press so that you can have your Record Store Day special releases, or any records for that matter, on sale on time.

The two labels issued a statement as they announced a non-Record Store Day release, which will see Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete cover each other’s songs on a limited edition release that will be released one copy a day over the next year.

Say the labels: “We are releasing one copy a day for a whole year via selected shops and to make some sort of point about how every day should be record store day, and because it seemed like an amusing, foolhardy thing to do”.

They go on: “Make no mistake, though, this is not a protest against record shops, because we love record shops (some copies of this record will actually be available in them). It’s not even really a protest against Record Store Day, which is essentially a good idea, or was when it began in 2007, even if it is far too focused on ‘product’ rather than the actual shop spaces and their role in the communities they serve”.

But, they say, “If it’s a protest against anything, it’s what Record Store Day has become: just another event in the annual music industry circus that begins with the BBC Sound Of… list and ends with the Mercury Prize, co-opted by major labels and used as another marketing stepping stone”.

They then note the big artists and labels putting out releases for Record Store Day, which certainly generate some media hype, but are they really in the spirit of the project? Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl would say not.

“Because of the rules and regulations – minimum pressing amounts, no direct to customer sales, blah blah blah – Record Store Day really isn’t fun, and it’s certainly not beneficial to small, backs-to-the-wall labels like Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl. But we are still affected by it. Badly. There are currently no copies of Spectres’ album ‘Dying’ on vinyl in the shops because the repress is somewhere towards the back of the queue after some Foo Fighters studio scrapings, a host of EPs by The 1975 and about a million heavyweight ‘heritage rock’ reissues that no one really needs”.

They conclude: “The final irony was getting a call to say that this very seven-ich was going to be delayed and might not be shipped until after Record Store Day. We’ve switched plants, and fingers crossed they will appear on time for the first copy to go on sale on 18 Apr. If they don’t, well, there are 364 other days on which to buy and release records…”