Last night, Parquet Courts performed the song “Captive of the Sun” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Naturally, the guys had a surprise…Read More
Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove. Having successfully promoted and sold records by punk, very early Indie Pop and early post punk bands such as Buzzcocks, The Smiths and Desperate Bicycles, Travis began to manage acts and distribute bands such as Scritti Politti and began the label, which was informed by left-wing politics and structured as a co-operative. Soon after, Rough Trade also set up a distribution arm that serviced independent retail outlets across Britain, a network that became known as the Cartel.
Interest and investment of major labels in the UK indie scene in the late 1980s, as well as overtrading on behalf of Rough Trade’s distribution wing, led to cash flow problems, and eventually to bankruptcy, forcing the label into receivership. However, Travis resurrected the label in the late 90s, finding success with The Libertines, The Strokes and Antony and the Johnsons.
Rough Trade began as a record shop, opened by Geoff Travis on Kensington Park Road, West London, in February 1976. It was inspired by what Travis has described as the “community-based environment” of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and specialised in garage rock and reggae. Steve Montgomery, initially a customer of the shop, was offered a job soon after it opened and became its effective co-manager. Travis and Montgomery were joined by a further employee, Richard Scott, in June 1977.
Rough Trade produced its own record for the first time after French punk band Métal Urbain came into the shop asking for assistance in publicising their music. In 1978, the shop began organising a record distribution network, dubbed “The Cartel”, in collaboration with other independent record stores in the UK. This network enabled small record labels such as Factory Records and 2 Tone Records to sell their releases nationally. It specialised primarily in European post-punk and other alternative rock of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It also dristributed a range of British fanzines such as No Cure.
The Rough Trade label subsequently issued a single by Jamaican reggae singer Augustus Pablo, the debut single by Sheffield band Cabaret Voltaire and the second Stiff Little Fingers single, “Alternative Ulster”. During 1978, the label released singles by The Monochrome Set, Subway Sect, Swell Maps, Electric Eels, Spizzoil and Kleenex. In 1979, Rough Trade’s first album, Inflammable Material by Stiff Little Fingers, reached number 14 in the UK charts and became the first independently released album to sell over 100,000 copies in the UK. Rough Trade’s significance by this time was such that it was made the subject of a South Bank Show documentary.
In 1982, the retail outlets broke with the A&R and distribution divisions, after a decision to allow the shop staff buy out. The distribution wing found itself overtrading by 1991 and shortages of cash flow lead to a filing for bankruptcy. The entire company ended up in receivership.
Rough Trade Records was relaunched in 2000 as an independently owned entity, a partnership between Travis, Jeanette Lee (a former member of Public Image Ltd.), and minority partners Sanctuary Records, as a part of the Zomba Group until June 11, 2002 when BMG bought out this business. In July 2007 Sanctuary Records then sold Rough Trade to the Beggars Group making Rough Trade independent once again 
Since its rebirth, Rough Trade has released albums by artists such as The Strokes, The Libertines, Babyshambles, and Belle & Sebastian.
Girl Band has shared a new video for “In Plastic” from their debut album Holding Hands With Jamie, out on Rough Trade. The clip…Read More
Today, Parquet Courts are announcing a new batch of tour dates in the US and Europe. This comes fresh off the release of Human…Read More
SOAK is coming back to the US in a month and it’s her first ever visit with a backing band! SOAK is nineteen-year-old Bridie…Read More
Parquet Courts are a busy band, after the release of their album Human Performance and countless tour dates, multiple other releases over the past…Read More
Parquet Courts release their forthcoming release Human Performance, this Friday via Rough Trade Records. Today, the band has shared the title track from the…Read More
After watching Parquet Courts play a show in Toronto, I ended up running into Andrew Savage outside the venue. “Hey, man you’ve got an…Read More
Girl Band will return to the US this summer for a July 14th performance at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, followed by an appearance…Read More
Today, Parquet Courts are sharing the video for their brand new single, “Berlin Got Blurry,” which comes from their forthcoming Rough Trade LP, Human…Read More
German techno auteur Pantha Du Prince (aka Hendrik Weber) will release The Triad on May 20th, his first proper studio album since his 2010…Read More
On March 4th, Clarke & Walker will release a new EP, Through The Clouds, worldwide via Rough Trade, featuring a handful of the tracks…Read More
jennylee (aka Jenny Lee Lindberg, also of Warpaint), recently released her debut solo full-length Right On! . right on! was released by Rough Trade…Read More