With Record Store Day now tucked under their belts for another 12-months, and some exciting news to share about the not-so-distant future, Jacaranda Records drop by for their first in a series of monthly columns on Melodic Distraction.
“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, charm and gaiety to life, and to everything.” – Plato
Plato was this smart Greek guy from the old days. He had it about right there. It’s been a hectic few weeks here at Jacaranda Records, with more hard work ahead, but there’s a reason we do what we do. Amongst it all – the hours and hours of mundane spreadsheet balancing; countless backbreaking trips up and down staircases with boxes of records; woozy moments spent accidentally inhaling a little too much vinyl cleaning fluid; the exhilarating but exhausting late nights and early mornings – there is a divine musical motivator at work. Well, that and the coffee machine.
April’s big event was Record Store Day, the annual bigger-than-Xmas extravaganza organised by music & entertainment retail industry heads to reward the independent businesses around the UK (and beyond) who keep vinyl culture alive. Every year since 2007, a special drop of exclusive limited edition releases, new or reissue, from artists big and small, spills forth into a frenzied celebration of physical music formats. Crazy Hippo-shaped picture-disc single from Sparks? Check. Beautifully remastered and restored edition of a holy grail David Axelrod album? You got it. Soul Jazz Records are putting out 10 rare and unreleased dub plates from Studio One, in a got-damn 7” boxset? Yeah buddy. Kele Okereke, Bob Dylan, Kesha, St. Vincent and more made a compilation of wedding anthems for same-sex couples? It’s real, it’s magnificent, and it’s here. And of course, we had to put out some stacks of killer second-hand classics. If there’s a anybody still looking for a rare Island pink-label first-press of Mott The Hoople‘s heavy, groovy debut album? Hit us up.
The fun wasn’t solely confined to vinyl geeks either. With a whole smorgasbord of live music throughout the 3-floor venue, including appearances from local legends such as All We Are and Nick Ellis, to bubbling-under, soon-to-be-large acts XamVolo, Red Rum Club, Jalen N’Gonda, et. al. – RSD was no one-trick pony. Did we mention the record fair in the basement? The old-school Mod sock-hop in the record store? Positive Vibration DJs smashing out the bashment classics to a crowd of dancing doormen? The free BBQ? There’s a lot we can’t fit in here, so check out the super-cool video below.
Well anyway, that was last month. Onward and upward from here on in. Three paragraphs in and we didn’t even mention that we’re opening a new venue. You know, it’s a general rule amongst writers that exclamation marks are to be used very sparingly. Repetition is a no-no too, but we want to get the message across here. We’re opening a new venue! The address is at 40 Seel Street, and let me tell ya – if you think the current Jacaranda Records is pretty swish, then you’ve got another thing coming. A pop-up incarnation opens at the end of May, with special events each weekend, leading up to a grand opening at the end of summer. Thousands of records? Check. Food and drink options? You got it. Custom listening booths? Yeah buddy. Live music and DJs? Oh, behave! However, the public details will have to remain slim for now, in the interests of word count. We haven’t even talked about this month’s new releases yet. So we’ll have to move on. Just remember…we are opening a new venue at the end of the month!
We’re here this month to shout about our favourite releases rolling through the store in May! 22a are one of our favourite British labels at the moment. Sitting at the nexus of underground jazz and broken beat, every new release takes a new and unexpected turn. We were excited to hear this one as James ‘Creole’ Omas had previously appeared on his cousin Reginald Omas Mamode IV’s two albums – which were great – and upon hearing the Omas Sextet EP last week we were not disappointed! A lovely blend of jazzy, soulful grooves. And hey, speaking of jazz… the irresistible beatnik lament of Tom Waits’ The Heart Of Saturday Night has been remastered and reissued this month too.
Beyond that laidback, late-night L.A. jive comes a riotous, rumbling sound from Manchester. Yep, them Gallagher lads are at it again, and they’re each releasing a new vinyl single on exactly the same day. Liam’s etched, single-sided 7” for I’ve All I Need measures up against Noel’s shiny blue 12” featuring She Taught Me How To Fly. More fuel for fire on the family feud, with Liam hoping to prove that size isn’t all that matters on May 25th. More Mancunian music is on offer in May, with Better Than That, a new EP from James, complimenting their seven date UK tour.
Elsewhere, Hertfordshire’s hat-wearing troubadour James Bay (you may have heard of him) drops a new album Electric Light on May 18th, teasing fans with lead single Pink Lemonade. Another special release for us – hometown hero Matthew Barnes, a.k.a. experimental producer Forest Swords helms a new DJ Kicks album, making him the latest in a line of legendary DJs, producers, and musicians to craft a personal tracklist for the venerable mixtape series. Interspersed with his own pieces, the 27-track compilation covers ’90s electronica, ’80s post punk, folk, and beyond, with artists ranging from Neneh Cherry to Vashti Bunyan. And what else, eh? Well, continuing in Forest Swords’ spirit of eclecticism, the insanely inventive soundtrack to Sega’s video arcade classic After Burner II is hitting stores for the first time outside of Japan. Channel your inner vaporwave fighter pilot with this gorgeous deluxe vinyl edition. Pew pew!
Anyways, that’s about all we can tell you for now. If there’s anybody who read this far – kudos. There’s still plenty that didn’t make the cut, but you’ll have to tune into A) Ali Bongo’s exceedingly excellent Jacaranda Records radio show and B) Mo Stewart’s monthly YouTube update to get the whole story…