TRANSISTOR’S Record Store Day 2018 Picks

photo fae Nikki A. Rae at Record Store Day 2016

For those amongst us who enjoy the sound, smell, sight and sheer eye-watering expense of vinyl, Record Store Day is pretty much our musical Christmas, not least because vast sums of money will be spent on gifts, all of them for ourselves. However, with the sheer volume of releases, re-releases and special editions on offer, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, so we’ve assembled some of our finest vinyl collectors to give you their hot picks for RSD ’18.

Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Twin Peaks – Music From The Limited Event Series

Not to be confused with the indie-pop outfit that share the same name, Twin Peaks is easily one of the finest pieces of entertainment to grace us and while it may have changed over the past couple of decades, its quality is consistent. This includes its score and soundtrack which range from flourishes of cheesy soap opera romance to borderline nightmarish remixes of classic tracks, all adding to the formula that makes Twin Peaks such a stunning piece of art.

Sufjan Stevens – Mystery of Love EP

While its title song may have been “done dirty” at the Oscars according to some people, there’s no denying Sufjan Stevens crafted one of 2017’s most beautiful songs for an equally mesmerising film. Call Me By Your Name wasn’t a film that relied on its soundtrack but it was one that was vastly improved by its gorgeous music which all comes to the tracks featured on this EP. If you’re maybe in the mood for something a bit different from your usual rock affair then this will be right up your street.

Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror)

The original version of one of 2018’s best albums (so far), the 2011 version of Will “Massive Furry” Toledo’s best album is a brilliant insight into how a songwriters’ style can change as they do as people. Some of the lyrics are different, some of the breakdowns are different, the whole mood of the album has changed in 7 years, and I just think it’ll be cool to hear the original on a beautiful, heavy piece of vinyl mate, ok?


Will Sexton (@WillSheSleeps)

Florence + The Machine – “Sky Full of Song”/”New York Poem (for Polly)”

Really hope someone will be able to pick up this gorgeous new single from Florence + The Machine (AS I’M WORKING THE WHOLE WEEKEND NOO!)*. Lovely new art-pop single from Florence and co. Love the ethereal, stripped back sound and it’s nice to hear something fresh from the band, being the first piece of music in 2 years since the gorgeous How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. What is more interesting is the new single is backed by Florence’s first recorded poem! Coming from her first book Useless Magic (released 5th of July), New York Poem (for Polly) will be a very interesting listen!

*Prizes for anyone who sorts oor Will out

Josh Adams (@jxshadams)

The National – Boxer (Live from Brussels)

What’s not to love about one of contemporary rock’s greatest bands releasing a Record Store Day exclusive vinyl, documenting their 2017 performance of arguably their most important album front to back?

Anyone who’s managed to catch The National performing tracks from Boxer live, either in concert or on YouTube, will know not only the added energy they bring to certain songs – such as Squalor Victoria or mistaken for strangers – but the deft touch of dynamics and tension the group tweak for some of their biggest numbers (see: Fake Empire and Slow Show). Also, it has a cool as shit reworking of the original album’s cover art. Gimme… NOW.

Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Motorhead – Death or Glory

In a move that’ll shock absolutely no one, my hot pick for RSD ’18 is a reissue of Motorhead’s 1993 album Bastards under the guise of Death or Glory. If anyone’s interested, which they’re not, ‘Head were, as ‘Head do, having some trouble with their record company, and the family-friendly titled album was only largely released in Germany, and in the rest of the world, you couldn’t even steal it. A real shame considering it was one of the best, if not the best, albums they’ve ever produced.

Sure you’ve got Motorhead by numbers tracks like Burner and Born to Raise Hell, but Bastards had a wider range and more emotional depth with songs like Lost in the Ozone and Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me, a harrowing song about the horrors of child abuse. A must listen for the most seasons of Motorhead fans, or for anyone who wants a crash course in the band’s range & depth.

Motorhead – Heroes

Heroes was something that came out of the blue, more than a year after Lemmy’s tragic passing. The final word had been growled; no new Motorhead or “lost” recordings. Then seemingly out of nowhere came this emotional, expertly done cover of Bowie’s Heroes. Not too detached from the original that it’s a hatchet job, but retains that Motorhead magic. It then formed part of a covers album, which featured the band covering some of their favourite songs, including a, dare I say it, better than original cover of Metallica’s Whiplash.

Side B features a “live” version of Heroes, featuring the most angelic of voices, the Wacken Open Air Festival choir. Lovely stuff.

The Revival of Vinyl

Just like the weather, music is unpredictable by nature. If it were to abide by a set of rules then many of the greatest artists the world has ever known wouldn’t be around as every song would be a bland rehash of another. The same can be said in the way that music is produced. During most of the 20th century Vinyl was the default format and it seemed like nothing could stop it but that wasn’t the case.

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Music veteran and record store-owner Sandy McLean explained this. “The creation of the CD definitely chipped away at vinyl’s success over time, becoming the new go to format while vinyl became second best. Arguably the final nail in the coffin for us was iTunes. At first it seemed over ambitious to think you could get an album without leaving the house but when it became reality, well that was when we got hit hard”.

The death of the record looked inevitable, sinking to as low as 0.5 million copies annually (Nielsen Soundscan). Recently though, the vinyl has experienced a resurrection that has surprised many. McLean explained that it comes down to various factors. “Vinyl is in the right place at the right time. People have become dissatisfied with digital downloads because even though they are portable, it doesn’t have the same satisfaction as going out, buying a physical copy and starting a collection.” Charlie Ward, 18, from Cambridge said “Records can transport you back to different eras as you’re hearing 100% of the original recording, nothing can beat the crackle of a vinyl, something that digital downloads can’t compare to”. In addition to this, 21 year-old Brendan Yorke stated that he prefers vinyl due to how unreliable downloads are.

Unsurprisingly record stores have benefitted greatly from this revival. From 2009 to 2013 there has been a 9% increase in the amount of record stores in Britain which has allowed for events like Record Store Day blossom into a special yearly event for music lovers. McLean spoke fondly about the event, emphasising that “RSD was a major success this year and it’s no surprise to see why people love it. Not only do you get special releases but you also get to communicate with other people who are passionate about vinyl and music, making the whole process of buying a record that bit more social-able and fun.” Marc Gouk, 19 from Glasgow, criticised the event though, stating that the event was ruined by touts reselling vinyl that were in limited stock for nearly 4 times their original price. McLean addressed the problem though, saying that “the trade association that we work with Entertainment Retailers Association found that only 5% of the items bought on RSD were then resold on auction sites so it was a very small percentage.” He went on to say that “it’s a part of human nature, as long as there are tickets for gigs and vinyl then there will be touts trying to make a profit”.

It’s not been all rosy for vinyl though. Regardless of the fact that 844,122 records have been sold in 2014 alone, critics like 24 year old Brodie McCulloch of Ayr say that this revival will be shortlived as “it is a fad just like pet rocks were back in the 70’s”. As well as this, others like Effy Brown of Glasgow say that it is unfair that “genres like indie rock are benefiting from this revival more than others”. McLean was quick to defend vinyl and address these problems. “In regards to people that say this revival is a fad, I think it’s incredibly naïve to assume that. Vinyl has been around for more than 70 years now and even though the popularity has dipped especially in the 90s, people are now beginning to show their dissatisfaction with other formats and have realised the benefits of records”. Talking about certain genres benefiting more than others, he pointed out that indie rock dominates the sales with artists like Arctic Monkeys and The Smiths but that isn’t such a bad thing. “It draws people into what is for most young people an unfamiliar phenomenon and having artists they recognise like the big rock bands of today and yesteryear means they can slowly ease their way into it all. Lots of genres and sub-genres have enjoyed success in this revival and it’ll only continue as the years go by”.


It doesn’t matter what way you look at it, the popularity of vinyl at the moment is undeniable. By the end of this year sales are expected to surpass 1 million and big stores like Urban Outfitters and HMV are hopping onto the record scene. In what is predominantly an unpredictable sector of entertainment, music will now have to welcome back an old favourite. It may not have learned any new tricks but the sound still packs a bite.