Rough Trade Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
Setting up shop (literally - the first Rough Trade venture was a bricks-and-mortar store in West London) in 1976, Rough Trade’s label arm came to prominence two years later when it joined forces with other independent imprints like Factory in order to distribute records nationally. Known collectively as ‘The Cartel’, this union allowed artists to achieve success without having to join a major label. It really cannot be overstated how important this change was in building and maintaining the health of Britain’s musical underground.
Of course, a big part of the reason Rough Trade are still thriving after all these years later is that their release catalogue can go toe-to-toe with any other label out there. Their early signees read like a who’s-who of punk and post-punk - Cabaret Voltaire, Scritti Politti, Delta 5, The Pop Group. Despite folding in the early 90s, Rough Trade came roaring back in the 21st Century, dictating the terms of the 2000’s rock boom by snapping up bands like The Strokes and The Libertines. As time has moved on Rough Trade has made sure to still offer the best in post-punk - Parquet Courts, Girl Band and black midi currently call the label home - while also overseeing the work of singular talents like Dean Blunt and Micachu.