Fleeing from Pigeons Records

A record label and blog from the same idiot that gave you Bearded Magazine

Record Store Day

It’s rather sad that Record Store Day was yesterday and I neither blogged about it, nor did I visit an independent record store. In keeping with the ethos of the day though, the message wasn’t about going on one day, but going more often.

Almost inevitably, I love independent record stores, I love their character, I love the fact that the people working there honestly talk about the music they sell and, unlike poor spotted 16-year olds in HMV, they don’t look like they’ve been frogmarched into work that morning by a parent eager for them to learn from getting a ‘proper job’.

This morning I spent a good three hours browsing the Norman Records website and, in true muso fashion, came away with in excess of £190 worth of vinyl, some new, some old and yet afterwards I still cursed myself for not checking if Pete Fowler’s Psychedelic Guide to Monsterism Island had got a vinyl release (it hasn’t, so shame on Lo Records).

What I did find though was that I couldn’t stop spending and, after blowing my non-existent budget, I couldn’t force myself to put anything back on the shelf (“Not Music De Wolfe Volume 1, it’s just so rare” – if only to library music fiends such as myself), I found out there’s a new Thee Oh Sees release in the US that Tomlab aren’t putting out here (yet), and helped out my buddies Ice, Sea, Dead People by picking up their latest single. In there was the true spirit of a independent record store – a hovel of forgotten gems and the best modern music that nobody will hear tomorrow.

But independent record stores are having a hard time, and I find it joyful that something like Norman Records exists. Their prices aren’t the cheapest but, as they say on their website, they “stick to the leftfield side of music where possible cos there’s not much point selling chart crap which is available everywhere at prices we can’t compete with.” This is why I buy my music from indies (and the fact that a lot of places don’t sell vinyl anymore), and with Norman Records, they truly try to sell everything as cheaply as possible, meaning that you’re not paying in excess of £15 for a single heavyweight 12″ like in Rough Trade East, which is good for my pocket as well as my soul.

Although not when I’m buying 19 records…

The shopping list

As I’m sure some might not believe I bought 19 records when I get about 50 a week for free (although rarely on vinyl), here’s what I got this morning (remember that taste is subjective!):

Honk Honk Bonk by Soiled Mattress And The Springs. LP on Teardrops
Deine Eltern by Mit. 5 trk German 12″ on Haute Areal
My Twin Brother’s a Brother by Ice, Sea, Dead People. Heavy weight 7″ on Buyyourself
Hi, How Are You? by Daniel Johnston. Re-issue LP on Eternal Yip-Eye
Yip! Jump Music by Daniel Johnston. Re-issue Dbl LP on Eternal Yip-Eye
Scotchhausen by DJ Scotch Egg. LP on Adaadat
KFC Core by DJ Scotch Egg. LP on Adaadat
Milk Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom. LP on Drag City 
The YS Street Band EP by Joanna Newsom And The YS Street Band. 12″ on Drag City
I Am Leaving by Laura Groves. 7″ on Salvia
Music De Wolfe Volume 1 by Various. 2LP on Megaphone
Forced To Speak With Others by David Shrigley. LP on Cool Pool/ Azuli
Filth by Venetian Snares. 2LP on Planet Mu
Blue Roses by Blue Roses. LP on XL
‘Em Are I by Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard. LP on Rough Trade
Give Blood by Brakes. LP on Rough Trade
Verbs by Au. LP on Aagoo 
Vs Children by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. LP on Tomlab
Help by Thee Oh Sees. LP on In The Red

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2 Responses

  1. david says:

    thing is normans have no rent/rates etc to pay so it can afford to sell things a little cheaper !

  2. Gareth Main says:

    They have their storage costs but certainly they don’t have as many as somewhere such as Rough Trade East. They also don’t have the same number of staff costs or general overheads.

    Unfortunately we live in a time where people are keeping a firm grip on their cash and I’d personally prefer to sit at home and browse the Norman site and pay a little less rather than try to work out RTE’s latest filing system and then pay an extra premium on that.

    Sad but true, and I really can’t see a way out for record stores. RTE have been good in testing their arm and moving to bigger premises and diversifying, I’m just not so sure how other record stores who don’t have the money or expertise to change their business plan can survive.

    It reminds me a lot of publishing, and I’ve certainly been at the sharp end there.

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