Record Store Day Is Coming To Ireland This Saturday, With A Raft Of Exclusive Releases
Music, as we know, is one of Ireland's calling cards around the world. Apparently, you can't walk into a pub in Dublin without bumping into a poet or a musician, though to steal Ardal O'Hanlon's joke, in other countries they just call them drunks.
The stereotype we have as a nation of musicians is accurate though, and our thriving independent music scene is something of which we can all be proud. The lockdown has been a nightmare for those dependent on playing and making music for a living, with pubs, gig venues and clubs closed - which makes this year's Record Store Day more vital than ever.
For those not up to speed, Record Store Day is (you'll be surprised to hear) a day dedicated to the magic of record stores, the staple of any good independent music scene and the place to hear new music, meet like-minded heads and, of course, buy records. Record Store Day features exclusive releases and in-store concerts, and while this year might not see gigs, they've knocked it out of the park in terms of unique records. The 2020 Edition will be split over three days, and the first of this is this Saturday, August 29th, and is shaping up to be a celebration of Irish talent, both new and old.
Inhaler, fronted by Bono's son Elijah Hewson, are releasing three singles on vinyl only format. They were listed on the BBC's Sound of 2020 - which means they must be good, right? - and are tentatively touring Ireland in September, so stock up now so you have something of theirs to listen to when it inevitably gets cancelled.
David Keenan's A Beginner's Guide To Bravery is already the best-selling Irish vinyl album of 2020 and his live album, Alchemy & Prose: Live Recordings will be featured as part of Record Store Day 2020. It was recorded live at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in January (remember gigs? They were fun) and is absolutely guaranteed to fly off the shelves.
Westmeath's finest, The Academic, are also putting out their 2015 EP Loose Friends on 12", so you can grab a copy of that and pretend like you're cool enough to have an original from before they were famous.
More Like ThisMore Like This
Villagers will be releasing their first album Becoming a Jackal, first put out in 2010, on double LP, so you can really, really pretend like you were cool enough to know them back when nobody else did. A word of warning, however, is that to do this you'd have to be of an age that you could have legitimately been cool in 2010: I, for my sins, am this age and in fact a decade ago might have been the last time I could have been considered in the same general area as cool.
For those wanting to pick up some classics, then look no further than Christy Moore's Prosperous. It's getting an LP-only re-release, and if you don't think that's worth copping on vinyl then go get your head checked. Your aul Da might be wrong about a lot of things, but he's not wrong about Christy Moore, who by this stage is basically the nation's cool Grandda. There's just 1000 hand-numbered copies going, so get there early.
If you are actually your Mam, or at least my Mam, then U2's first ever single 11 O'Clock Tick Tock is available on a limited run on vinyl to celebrate 40 years since its original release, and about 30 years since U2 were any good. Fortunately this comes from the period when (and, in light of the last few decades, this is hard to believe) U2 were genuinely really good. That track was produced by Martin Hannett too, and he produced everything Joy Division made, which is about as big an endorsement as you could get in 1980.
Those wanting the absolute deepest cut of Irish blues (and to earn my undying respect in the process) can look no further than Cleveland Calling, a first-time-ever release of a session done for an Ohio radio station in 1972 by the finest guitarist ever to emerge from Donegal (and the world) Rory Gallagher, which is available on LP.
The availability of individual records is entirely dependent on which store you go to, but with around 40 record stores across Ireland taking part, shouldn't be too hard to find one. Each has a unique selection and you just have to show up and see what you can dig: which is basically the best thing to do in a record store anyway: enter with an open mind, have a listen and then see if it's what you like.
There's a very good reason that films like Empire Records, High Fidelity, Pretty in Pink and Good Vibrations feature vital moments that people share while crate-digging: because no meaningful human relationship was ever formed by sitting on your hole in your bedroom listening to Spotify. Get out in the world (while you still can) and go support your local record store this Record Store Day.