On November 27th, Parquet Courts continue their stream of new releases with Monastic Living EP. The record is their first for legendary UK record…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.
This past September London trio Micachu & the Shapes released their third album Good Sad Happy Bad on Rough Trade. Around its release, New…Read More
jennylee (aka Jenny Lee Lindberg, also of Warpaint), has shared “never” the first single from her debut solo album, right on!, which will be…Read More
Post-punk band The Pop Group will be performing an exclusive noise set at Dismaland, the “bemusement park” created by notorious art-provocateur, Banksy and friends…Read More
Girl Band has shared a new video for brand new track “Pears For Lunch” from their forthcoming release Holding Hands With Jamie. Rounding out…Read More
Manhattan is the seventh studio album from Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts for Rough Trade Records, and his first since 2011’s A Turn In…Read More
After the recent announcement of their third studio album, Micachu & The Shapes will release Good Sad Happy Bad on September 11th, and the…Read More
Today Palma Violets have shared the official video for current single “On The Beach” taken from their second album Danger In The Club, which…Read More
Girl Band have announced their debut album, Holding Hands with Jamie, out September 25th on Rough Trade. Girl Band live are known for their…Read More
Micachu & The Shapes have announced Good Sad Happy Bad, their forthcoming full-length, out September 11th via Rough Trade Records. The band has also…Read More
After playing the main stages of Glastonbury, Bonnaroo and most recently Coachella, blues-rock band Alabama Shakes rolled into Toronto to headline Field Trip Festival…Read More
Singer-songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson (AKA SOAK, a merging of the words ‘soul’ and ‘folk’) has been on the U.K.’s musical radar for the past few…Read More