A NEW record company for the Isle of Wight celebrates its debut release this weekend.

Downer by Isle of Wight band Panda Swim is out as a limited edition white vinyl record from today (Friday), and it is already garnering interest from music fans across the UK, Europe, the United States and Japan.

Only 300 copies of the 10-inch record have been pressed, with the first 100 copies being signed by the three members of the grunge-pop outfit from Newport and Cowes.

Panda Swim’s upbeat first single School of Fools was released as a digital track during lockdown last year, bringing the three-piece to the attention of Andy Barding and Tony Pendleton of Wight Vinyl.

The power trio comprise frontman Stu Spiller on guitar and vocals, drummer and producer Guy Page and bassist Joe Perry.

Isle of Wight County Press: Panda Swim's new EP, Downer.Panda Swim's new EP, Downer.

The latter two musicians are gearing up for a busy year as they are also members of popular island indie rockers Coach Party.

Andy, who is also co-proprietor of the AAA Records shop in Scarrots Lane, Newport, said: “Like all good things, Panda Swim found us rather than the other way around. Stu from the band is a customer in my shop.

“I like what he buys and when he played me the demos I could hear some of those records influencing his band. He bought an Everclear (American grunge group) LP from me, and I got to thinking about my involvement with that particular band (I put out a single by them on a label I ran in the mid-1990s).

“And that made me think... I should be doing this again!"

Tony, who presents the weekend Tony P Radio Show from the Island, aired through NCB Radio, said: “The pandemic has forced us to think again about how we do things. Panda Swim managed to write and record their EP in a lockdown, but we still have not met all of the band.

Isle of Wight County Press: Andy Barding and Tony Pendleton, of Wight Vinyl Records.Andy Barding and Tony Pendleton, of Wight Vinyl Records.

“We’ve never seen them play, either. And we’ve only ever seen each other with masks on. That’s all OK in these troubled times… it’s just different!”

The six-tracks on the EP are School of Fools, Oceans, Way Out, Lose Myself and the vinyl-only bonus track Big House.

The distinctive cover for the record was created by artist Fox Rawding of Island band Goo Lagoon.

When first single from the EP, School of Fools, was released during lockdown as a digital download, a throwback skate video was made to accompany it featuring some heritage mid-90s footage of the Island’s John Cattle and Jocky.

A second video, for Way Out, was put out at the end of last year, and a third video for the song Oceans is set for completion in the next week.

To accompany the release, singer Stu will present his own full radio show, standing in for Tony P, on Saturday. He will air tracks from the new EP as well as music that inspired the band to produce Downer.

The band get to play live, pandemic-permitting, at Strings on Thursday, July 15 with their friends The Stayawakes.

As for future Wight Vinyl releases, the possibilities are, according to Tony, endless.

“We have talked about a number of potential releases, but nothing is confirmed yet. So if any Isle of Wight acts want to get in touch, we’d love to hear them.”

The EP costs £10 and is available from AAA Records in Newport, or via mail order through the band’s bandcamp page

It will also be available to stream on all usual channels, including Spotify and Apple Music.

Wight Vinyl can be contacted by email at wightvinylrecords@gmail.com

Watch the School of Fools video here

Watch the Way Out video here