Hayleigh Chamberlain looks at the vinyl stores across Liverpool that are stocking local music and helping support the local music scene.
Liverpool is a big city that has a big reputation for its music scene. There are many independents to go and see throughout the city, but there are many major vinyl stores that everybody who loves vinyls, and music in general, will know about.
These record stores can play a big part in promoting the local scene by stocking Merseyside artists alongside established national acts, and Chris Mac from Defend Vinyl in Wavertree believes that this is an important part of their role.
“We think it’s vital to stock LP’s and vinyls of all sorts – to feature local music for the Liverpool music scene,” says Chris. “Liverpool’s all about music, so we want to show that and get these bands and artists out there for recognition.”
Defend Vinyl is an independent record store situated away from the busy city centre, sitting on Smithdown Road in Wavertree surrounded by takeaways and places serving alcohol till 3am, right in the centre of the student section.
“You shouldn’t judge bands and artists by they’re following.” – Emily Wilkinson, music fan
The shop is small but, a lot like Probe in the city centre, it packs a lot inside, meaning you’re likely to find hidden gems the harder you look. And, when going into vinyl stores it is very likely that the owners are playing vinyl picks of their choice for the store, but don’t be surprised if it’s of a little-known local outfit that they want to promote.
“Its very important to us as an independent record shop,” says Chris. “We’re all about letting customers buy their favourite bands’ albums on vinyl, but we’ve got to show the ones trying to make it big too.”
Defend are actually one of the very few vinyl stores in Liverpool who do offer LP’s from new local acts, stocking many artists signed with Liverpool’s Mellowtone Records in particular, such as local favourites such as Edgar Summertyme and Nick Ellis.
Dig Vinyl, who are probably the city’s most popular independent record store, are another that are known for supporting the local music scene. They are hidden in Soho’s basement but that hasn’t affected them being well-known to the locals.
The store is always busy and is frequently coming in with brand new stock. This stock however, isn’t all just well-known bands from the past and present.
Dig Vinyl are big supporters of stocking local talent and, like Defend, Dig Vinyl want to keep this support current and fresh for local customers, regularly tweeting about the latest local talent they have in stock.
So, what is the point in stocking all these LP’s from artists and bands who people don’t really know, even if they have been signed to local record labels?
Even though these signed bands and artists are signed to local labels, they still need that extra push in promotion to get noticed by more locals. Not everybody in the city who has a passion for music cares about bands who aren’t happening right now – some just go with the way in which bands become more recognised to the public.
On the other hand, some music lovers in Liverpool enjoy getting to know every band they can.
Emily Wilkinson, a music lover and frequent vinyl buyer from Defend, Dig and Probe says: “I absolutely adore music, whether that be from old 60s to right now. I love hearing new sounds and if I hear a new band play when I’m out, or I catch something I hear in Dig I’m like ‘I have to listen’, because they could be the up-and-coming band to watch out for. You shouldn’t judge bands and artists by their following.”
Defend and Dig Vinyl especially are also helping push out promotion for Liverpool’s signed and unsigned by using their social media and store presence to help promote Liverpool Psych Festival, open mic nights, and gig posters for all bands local and new.
“I love how these record places are promoting them and getting them out there for other listeners like myself,” says Emily. “I think it’s vital to support your local music scene, no matter how small or big the band or artist may be. Music are these people’s life in a different way that it is my life, so I fully support vinyl shops contributing to this.”
It is no secret that specific and popular Liverpool record stores are wanting to contribute to their local music scenes, and having these vinyl stores increasing popularity for bands and artists that may not still have touched the radar is important for the city and for music in general.