13 October 2017

5 of Wales’s best independent record shops 

Sŵn Festival – co-founded by BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and industry insider John Rostron – is happening in Cardiff until October 22.

The award winning urban festival celebrates new music coming in and out of Wales in a month long series of events that culminates on Discovery Day on October 21, a day long series of gigs and events at locations across Cardiff. But wherever you are in Wales, you’re not far from a record shop stocking hot new bands that you can listen to anywhere in the world. Here’s five of our faves.

1. Spillers Records, Cardiff

looking though records in store

Spiller Records
Music fan? Then it’s time to plan your pilgrimage to Spillers. It’s the oldest record shop in the world, plain and simple. Since 1894, Spillers has become an integral part of Cardiff’s musical cultural identity and history, sharing new sounds with music lovers for nearly 125 years. Its relatively new home in the Morgan Arcade perfectly befits its image as a quirky independent, and warrants a special trip when you visit the capital.

Local listen: Baby Queens

Group photo on plain background

Baby Queens by Baby Queens
With their self-titled debut nominated for this year’s Welsh Music Prize, this Cardiff-based girl group mix R ‘n’ B with synths, soul and sass to create a new sound with a little bit of help from their friend and producer Super Furry Animal Cian Ciaran.

2. Tangled Parrot, Carmarthen 

Inside photo of Tangled Parrot shop

Tangled Parrot, Carmarthen by Tangled Parrot
Owned by former punk Matt Davies, this award-winning record shop has supported a variety of local artists and Welsh language acts, and become a gig venue and café for the town. Living up to its idiosyncratic name, Tangled Parrot is something of an industry maverick, boasting a mixture of records from up-and-coming artists and a ridiculously rare vinyl collection.

Local listen: Adwaith

Adwaith, group photo

Adwaith by Adwaith
They’ve been referred to as “the future of Welsh music”, played the BBC Introducing stage at Latitude over the summer, and have recorded at Maida Vale. So undoubtedly music industry heads have already started turning in the direction of Carmarthenshire-born outfit Adwaith. Their first single, ‘Pwysau’, drew significant praise from critics, and the post-punk group have continued to excel with their versatile song writing and confident on stage personas.

3. Andy’s Records, Aberystwyth

Exterior photo of Andy's records

Andy's Records by Andy's Records
Found in the historic university market town of Aberystwyth, Andy’s is a purveyor of limited edition recordings that have been keeping its customers entertained for years. With its rich blend of music spanning genres and cultures, Andy’s easily meets the demand of the town’s diverse student population, and will keep dorm room discos dancing for decades to come.

Local listen: Meilyr Jones

Meilyr Jones in art gallery

Meilyr Jones by Meilyr Jones
The former Racehorses frontman’s debut solo album ‘2013’ won last year’s Welsh Music Prize. One listen and you’ll know why. Expect 49 minutes of beautiful chamber pop, indie-soul and lyrics that will make you wistfully want to explore the Ceredigion landscape that created its artist.

4. Cob Records, Porthmadog

Alphabetically ordered records

Cob Records by Cob Records
One of Wales’ most famous independent record shops, Cob Records has been trading since the 1960s, and at its peak was mailing out 7,500 LPs to 25,000 customers around the world. Situated on the North West coast of Wales, Cob stocks an eclectic mix of new and previously-loved records and CDs, and is famed for its support of local bands.

Local listen: H. Hawkline

Hawkline

Hawkline by Hawkline
 You might speculate that Huw Evans’ indie-folk wonky-pop sound was influenced by the formative years he spent growing up on the coastline of north Wales. Listen for yourself. His 2017 album, ‘I Romanticize’, another nominee for this year’s Welsh Music Prize, is a rare treat.

5. Diverse, Newport 

inside of record shop

Diverse by Diverse
This Newport local independent record shop stocks mostly vinyl but still sells new release CDs and tickets for local gigs. They leave the chart releases to the supermarkets and concentrate on indie, punk, country and audiophile LPs. They also stock entry level hi-fi equipment.

Local listen: Bryony Sier

Bryony Sier performing on stage

Bryony Sier by Bryony Sier
Singer-songwriter Bryony shares her stories through her haunting voice and rhythm ‘n’ blues, country-style finger-picking guitar-playing. From the Valleys town of Merthyr Tydfil, her new EP ‘Crossroads’ can be found on the stocked shelves at Diverse. For more information on Sŵn Festival and tickets visit www.swnfest.com/