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 favourite stores, along with some local artists to listen to right now.
1. Spiller's 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: Boy Azooga - 1, 2, Kung Fu.
With their debut winning the Welsh Music Prize, this Cardiff-based band on Heavenly Records mix tropical flavours with good old fashioned rock and roll. Catch them live!
2. Tangled Parrot, Carmarthen
The Tangled Parrot is owned by former punk Matt Davies, and is an award-winning record shop that has supported a variety of local artists and Welsh language acts. Living up to its idiosyncratic name, Tangled Parrot is something of an industry maverick, specialising in records and CDs from the fringes and sometimes the extremes of music alongside rare second hand records. As well as the main Carmarthen shop, you’ll find Tangled Parrot shops in Swansea and in Hay on Wye.
Local listen: 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
Andy's Records can be 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
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
Cob Records is one of Wales’ most famous independent record shops, and 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
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
Diverse is a Newport independent record shop, that 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
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 go to the Sŵn Festival website.