Record Store Day 18.04.20

Saturday 18th April 2020 would have been Record Store Day 2020 @RSDUK!

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Fo independent record shops like Strand Records, RSDUK has been a great day to highlight the love of vinyl and music generally. It’s also been a good day to sell records too of course. The immense support we have received since being part of RSDUK is evidenced by these photos and the commitment, dedication and endeavour of our army of crate diggers is both appreciated and applauded.

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To be honest, we can never quite get over the level of support we receive on RSDUK in our shop on The Strand in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. A queue starts forming around c.04:00am (maybe even earlier?) and the shop is effectively mobbed from opening time until mid-afternoon. For the last couple of years we have had live DJs in the afternoon too. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

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We can’t celebrate in our favourite shops today but we can still support them online. Please get in touch with us if there is anything you require. What gaps need filling in your vinyl collection? Let us know and we’ll track them down!

We generally post items second class but we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Thank you for being you . . .

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Stereolab – “Emperor tomato ketchup”

Stereolab

Stereolab are a long-time favourite of Strand Records. The pop groop were formed in 1990 by Tim Gane (ex-McCarthy) and Lætitia Sadier. The band have always seemed very imaginative and exotic to us with their sound, sleeves and song titles. They feel very European and their music has incorporated a myriad of influences from lounge, 50s/60s space pop, funk, krautrock, jazz, easy listening, bossa, samba, etc. Underpinning much of the band’s sound is the relentless 4/4 beat of motorik (‘motor skill’).

Their early albums did occasionally incorporate lighter pop songs but generally the sound consisted of droning guitar and organ-based garage rock songs, albeit with a European rather than American feel. By the time of their third album, , Mars Audiac Quintet (1994) the band had introduced more of a lounge, pop feel to their sound and they scored minor chart hits with the singles, Ping Pong and Wow and flutter.

For many, Stereolab’s fourth album, Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996) is the highlight of their entire back catalogue. The album was a very polished mix of easy pop, funk, krautrock and even elements of dub. The album retains experimental songs alongside lushly produced electronic melodies. Part of the album’s sheen comes from the sumptuous string arrangements by Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas, Microdisney). Why not check out the sheer beauty of Cybele’s reverie or the urgent, cosmic bop of Les Yper-sound

We are currently stocking the reissue album of this space-age pop meets Krautrock classic.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Stereolab “Emperor Tomato Ketchup” (brand new vinyl reissue)

Stereolab's fourth album from 1996. Arguably the high-water mark of their entire back catalogue (they have an amazing back catalogue by the way). Please note that the price includes second class postage and packing. This is a brand new, reissue vinyl copy.

£26.00

The Specials (1979)

Specials debutReleased in October 1979, The Specials’ eponymous debut album perfectly captured the energy and excitement of the late seventies British SKA revival. The Specials were a blistering live act and this LP, produced by Elvis Costello, is testament to that. The band took the timeless offbeat skanking sound of SKA and rocksteady and infused this dance beat with the energy and anger of punk.

The Specials revered 1960s SKA and this is reflected by the inclusion of 4 respectful and essential cover versions of tracks from that period. There’s the smash hit rocksteady take on Dandy Livingstone’s A message to you Rudy, a powerful version of Prince Buster’s Too hot, the desperately exciting Monkey Man (Toots and the Maytals) and the mellow You’re wondering now written by Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd and covered by The Skatalites amongst others. There was also a high-octane, uptempo, loosely-based take on Rufus Thomas’ The Dog entitled Do the Dog. The latter track was bang up to date as it directly addressed the contemporary increase in violence on UK streets; All you punks and all you teds, National Front and Natty dreads, Mods, rockers, hippies and skinheads, keep on fighting ’til you’re dead …

The cover versions are all top notch but The Specials’ original compositions truly astound the listener. 1979 was a relatively bleak time in Britain with a rise in unemployment, inflation, strikes and racial tension. It felt like Britain was lving on the edge and The Specials somehow encapsulated all of the associated societal disenchantment, frustration, anger, fear and bitterness in their songs.

The raw, noisy Concrete jungle vividly reflects the very genuine threat of inner city violence, Nite Klub depicts the saddest disco in the world with bad beer and frustrated fellas aplenty and Blank expression details the souless misery of endless drinking in tough backstreet boozers. The slower-sounding studio version of the energetic number 1 live hit Too much too young focusses on teenage pregnancy whilst the calypso-sounding Stupid marriage deals with the trial of a rude boy charged with criminal damage. Are we still all having fun? I told you these were bleak times!

Little bitch is a an extremely fast heavy skank that is rather harsh lyrically whilst the slower It’s up to you and It Doesn’t Make It Alright both take a heartfelt stance against racism. Although the lyrics and tone of some tracks reflect the bleak themes of late 1970s Britain, the overall sound is generally very bright and energetic (partly thanks to the pop-tastic Elvis Costello). This album is an amazing social document and a very fine collection of 14 wonderful songs.

We stock the 2019 reissue of this classic album and please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

The Specials (1979)

40th anniversary half speed master edition double album. The price stated includes second class postage and packing.

£25.10