After a more aggressive first album, Benjamin Booker’s latest record might surprise you on first listen. After taking time to settle down in his…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.
Destiny Frasqueri (aka Princess Nokia) a newcomer anymore and really shouldn’t be underestimated. Despite a lot of cred coming from the indie scene, Frasqueri…Read More
Rough Trade Records have shared the new Goat Girl video for ‘Crow Cries’ which is Released today as a limited 7” Goat Girl formed…Read More
While still a little under the radar this side of the Atlantic, Nadine Shah is a force to be reckoned with on her third…Read More
Rough Trade released a new track from London’s Goat Girl today. Entitled “Crow Cries,” the song finds the quartet building on the ominous psychobilly…Read More
Video Director James Hankins explains how the video came about; “Kate was very keen on the video involving water and wanted quite a dark…Read More
This is the Kit, the Paris-based group led by Kate Stables, have announced their debut full-length for Rough Trade Records, Moonshine Freeze, the full-length…Read More
ANOHNI will release “PARADISE,” the companion EP to last year’s HOPELESSNESS, on March 17th via Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade. A collaboration with Oneohtrix…Read More
Today, Parquet Courts released the collaboration with Houston rapper Bun B. The track is available in the form of a limited-edition 12″. Side A…Read More
Swedish/American trio Thieves Like Us recently dropped their new video for “Broken Mirror”, taken from their forthcoming, self-titled album, set for release on April…Read More
ANOHNI will release Paradise, the companion EP to last year’s Hopelessness, on March 17th through Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade. In collaboration with Oneohtrix…Read More
Rough Trade will release a collaborative album by Emiliana Torrini & The Colorist Orchestra on Dec 9th, 2016. This is a live album containing…Read More