Town's new music shop gets into the groove as Record Store Day returns
For much of the population, April 13 will be just another date on the calendar - but for vinyl obsessives, it's a time to rejoice.
Among independents marking Record Store Day with stacks of exclusives will be the newly opened Hex Record Shop – above Woodbridge’s Cake Shop – where Marcus Neal’s passion for music has become a stock-in-trade.
Having dealt in second-hand vinyl at fairs and online since Record Store Day began in 2008, Mr Neal opened a pop-up shop in Ipswich last Christmas and added new releases to the stock.
“They seemed to sell better than the second-hand stuff, which gave me the confidence to open my own place,” said the 39-year-old, who also programs live music at The Smokehouse, in Ipswich.
When the production side of the bakery moved to larger premises in Bentwaters, boss David Wright offered space above the shopfront to feed soaring demand for vinyl, which the father-of-two puts partly down to people yearning for more tangible products of the past, and partly down to the superior sound.
“It could be due to people being able to dictate the equipment they use to listen, but it does have a warmer sound,” he added.
Record Store Day lets traders pick from more than 500 releases to sell in limited quantities on a first come, first served basis.
Hex will stock copies of about 50 releases, alongside its usual new and pre-loved records.
“The selection here is stuff I can get excited about. I believe in it, so I can push it properly,” said Mr Neal, whose own collection numbers in the thousands.
“At school, I’d turn up with tapes recorded from the previous night’s John Peel show or Evening Session to share with friends.
“I thought surrounding myself with records might rid me of the need to feed my obsession, but it hasn’t really worked so far!”
Open Fridays and Saturdays, with plans to open more often and possibly host live music, the shop’s arrival coincides with a Kickstarter campaign by the Cake Shop and Fire Station café to add a pizza, burger and barbecue restaurant to the site.
Hex will be open from 8am for Record Store Day and can be accessed via stairs in the bakery.
Find participating Suffolk shops at recordstoreday.co.uk/home.
Mr Neal’s top Record Store Day picks include Life Metal by Sunn O))), the Meat EP by Idles, Music of Many Colours by Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, and Sicodélicos by Los Destellos.