Record Shops – Hong Kong

I’ll was in Hong Kong for just under a week in July so I had a look to see what record shops there were to visit. Part of the reason for putting it here was so I would be able to find it and refer to it while I am there.

I did that, tried to find two of them, they didn’t appear to exist anymore and I gave up, it was very dissapointing, although I stil had a very nice time.

Hong Kong Island:

Classic Shop: Room 201, Won Hing Building, 74 – 78 Stanley Street, Central. Tel: 2541 7733. Email: classicshop@wtt-mail.com

Collectables: 1/F, Hong Kong City Hall Low Block, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central. Tel: 2559 9562. Email: collectableshk@yahoo.com.hk. Website: http://collectables.jrstation.com

Walls of Sound: 3F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2805 1584

Kowloon:

The Beat Records: G/F, 53 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2780 0956. Email: thebeat53@yahoo.com.hk

Old Sound Collection: 13/F Sino Centre, 582-592 Nathan Road. Tel: 2359 9826

Paul’s Records: Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel: 9841 7136

Shun Cheong Record Showroom: Room 801, Wing Lung Bank Centre, 636 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2332 6397. Email: service@shuncheongrec.com. Website: http://www.shuncheongrec.com

White Noise Records: 1/F, 720 Shanghai Street, Prince Edwards, Kowloon. Tel: 2591 0499.

Zoo Records: Shop 325, 3/F President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 23092911. Email: webmaster@zoo-records.com. Website: http://www.zoo-records.com/

Back To Music: 1F, 45 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, Hong Kong

London 7th June – Record Shopping

Back home from London and back at the MacBook. I had about 5 hours of wandering time on Friday morning with no pressure to be anywhere or do anything so it was time to have a wander. The first place I stopped to browse through the record racks was ‘Sounds of the Universe’. Upstairs was new vinyl, and I browsed through that, almost buying a couple of things but didn’t want to blow my limited budget straight away. There was a fair bit of soul, jazz, electronic and rock upstairs but I was dripping wet from the persistent rain on the walk there and a little uncomfortable, so I moved on around the corner where I knew there were two more shops.

I went to Sister Ray first, I’ve been there before and headed into the smallish basement to see what I could find down there. It didn’t take long. I’d been looking for ‘The Epic’ by Kamasi Washington for a while (it had been on sale in a local record store and I kept thinking next time I go I’ll get it, then it was gone). It’s a triple album, in a nice box with some extra pages with a story on I haven’t read yet, nicely packaged.

It seems that this and subsequent releases are quite polarising, in that a lot of people don’t seem to see any value in it whatsover, other than appreciating the skill if the musicians. I’m much simpler than seasoned jazz listeners, I either like it or I don’t, at a high level, so I enjoy listening to it? Yes I do, that’s all I care about really.

I actually bought all but 1 of the records I got at Sister Ray, the next was from 1959, and I mentioned it before, John Lee Hooker, ‘House of the Blues’. A re-issue which was very reasonably priced at £11, as many of these 1959 albums are now, although the originals in good condition are, of course, much pricier, but I want them to listen to not as an investment so a re-issue is fine for me.

I was looking for a Howlin Wolf album as well but didn’t find it, I’m sure it’s been reissued at some point though.

There was a lot at Sister Ray that I didn’t look through, spending most of my time in the Jazz and Blues section. Last time I went through the Krautrock and some of the rock, electronic etc, indie, punk, all that, but I was still damp and uncomfortable so I just did what I felt like doing and didn’t worry about maybe missing something good. While in the jazz section I saw a John Coltrane re-issue of ‘A Love Supreme’, which was an album I’d been meaning to get for ages so that became number 3 in Sister Ray.

I was about done down in the basement but had a very quick scout around and did find one more thing that was a nice surprise. I’ve been looking for a copy of Takk by Sigur Rós ‎for what seems like forever, and there was one just sitting there. Not the original, which I think was released as 10″ vinyl, but a repress from 2015 on 2 x 12″ with one 10″ containing a single track on one side and etching on the other. The cover is embossed and the 10″ slips quite cleverly in a pocket in the sleeve. Not that I knew this at the time as Sister Ray is one of those shops where you take a photocopy of the sleeve to the counter and they get the records for you from the shelves behind them.

the actual albums behind the counter

So I was delighted to get a copy of Takk, and it’s a really nice re-issue, although not cheap. I had tried to get it from Canada once and the one I bought worked out about £30 cheaper than that one, so I feel a little better about it.

Just across the road is Reckless Records, so I popped in there and didn’t find much, but I was looking for rather specific things and so limiting myself, there was plenty there really. I bought another re-issue, as second 1959 album, this time from Ornette Coleman and ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’, which I’d streamed a lot since writing the Best of 1959 post, so I was glad to find that.

This is Reckless Records, inside and out. I did see one album that I seriously though about getting and I am regretting a little that I didn’t, but never mind, too late now.

I then went to Phonica, as it was quite nearby but didn’t expect to really find anything as it is mostly for DJ’s I think, white label vinyl, electronic, not very mainstream. I didn’t find anything.

I then went back to Sounds of the Universe and had a look in the basement where there were some used records and a lot of books. I could have at this point bought the couple of albums that tempted me earlier, but I was close to having spent enough and they were both quite pricey. So I headed off to find Fopp, which would be my last record shop for the day. I was really very wet by now and getting grumpy and at the point where I just wanted to have a sit down with a coffee. Fopp was disappointing really, I bought nothing there.

And that was it. I’m pretty pleased with my purchases and, I ended up back in Leicester square where this happened:

Methyl Ethel – Oh Inhuman Spectacle

A few months ago I was visiting my son, who is attending University in London, and found myself with a little bit of time to have a wander around with the help of a phone app that contains the locations of record shops. The furthest I walked to was Flashback, and it was also the best. I only browsed downstairs as that was where the used vinyl was but there’s plenty upstairs to have a look through as well. Here are some images of it:

I had a vague memory of hearing Methyl Ethyl on Radio 6 and I think I’d liked it so when I saw the album in excellent condition I thought I’d give it a go. I think it was £8, or around there, certainly not much more than that.

I have since listened to it repeatedly and it is very much a grower. I’ve gone from liking it to loving it, which is better than loving it immediately and then growing tired of it Slow burners seem to have a longer listening life.

Methyl Ethyl are essentially one man, Jake Webb, who hails from Perth, a fairly isolated part of the planet that somehow managed to also give us Sleepy Jackson/Empire of the Sun in the form of Luke Steele and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. On this album, his debut, Webb handles all of the instrumentation and production and a good job he did of it as well.

Reviews at the time of release in 2016 were reasonably positive, aggregating up to somewhere around the 70-75% mark but I would go slightly higher than that as often reviewers don’t get to give an album the time it sometimes needs to be fully absorbed. My own personal experience of this was with Rockbird by Debbie Harry, released in 1996. The reviews I read were really positive, ‘A return to form’ and all that sort of guff. I bought it. I didn’t like it much despite wanting to and despite repeated listenings, it wasn’t a return to form.

This on the other hand is a great debut that showcases a number of different avenues that they could take and while a couple of the tracks seem a little incomplete I can’t hold that against it because I like those well enough also.

I Bought 4 used albums from Flashback on the day and these are they:

Vinyl Vault – Cheltenham

A couple of weekends ago I visited Cheltenham and stopped in, for the first time, in a basement record shop called Vinyl Vault. The picture below makes it look bigger than it really is, but there was a great selection and I found three albums that I was really pleased with.

vinylvault

There were a couple of albums that I asked if they had and they looked and didn’t, but I’ve been in shops where you just get a grunt, the chap in Vinyl Vault wasn’t like that at all, really helpful and welcoming.

So the three albums I found were –

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Double red vinyl in excellent condition. I’m not absoluelty sure what it is about Poliça that I like, I just know I like them. Here is a track from this album, ‘Warrior Lord’:

The next album I stumbled across in Vinyl Vault was this one, which I had been considering buying from Amazon, it was in my basket and had been for a couple of weeks I just hadn’t pressed the button to buy it:

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In excellent condition again, which one would hope for as it isn’t very old.

And finally, a lovely copy of ‘Spirit Of Eden’ by ‘Talk Talk’, a re-issue but I don’t care, it’s a brilliant album:

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At the till I got a small discount, £3 to make it a round number, which was nice and all in all I’d say my 45 minutes in Vinyl Vault was a very positive experience.

On the way back to the car I walked through a shopping mall and, much to my surprise there was a HMV. Now I’m not really a big fan of this chain but I did pop in and when I popped out again I had three more albums. These are they:

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A nice day out, but more expensive than I was intending!

RECORD STORE DAY 2018

The full list of UK Record Store Day releases has now been published and I have a problem, and that problem is what I would like from it, namely all these:

 

==> Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut
Format:
12″ 180g LP
Label:
Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ Records
More Info:
The now legendary ‘Abbey Road’ version of ‘the Isness’ was the originally conceived version before last minute wholesale changes resulted in new tracks , different mixes and/or edits appearing in a wholly different order for the commercial release of ‘the Isness ‘ in 2002 . The ‘Abbey Rd ‘ version had been initially promo’d to ecstatic reviews , receiving an unprecedented 6/5 stars from Mixmag ‘ it’s like a beam of white light from heaven’.

Brian Eno with Kevin Shields – The Weight Of History / Only Once Away My Son
Format:
12″ Vinyl
Label:
Opal
More Info:
2-track double A side 12 . The unexpected, fully welcome, and deliriously successful pairing of professional ex-glam sound genius Brian Eno and his new sidekick, My Bloody Valentine noise sculptor Kevin Shields. Begging to be listened to on noise-canceling headphones or very, very loud speakers, the duo blast off with a drum track that is instantly, almost comically subsumed into a nine-minute sound-cleanse of bells, drones, and a soaring rocket flare that may be a guitar. Ambient but hardly static, its tones and textures return throughout, as if tracing long and inaudibly developing melodies. Not immediately identifiable as either Eno or Shields’ work, a rich, enveloping piece of music – Pitchfork.

Cure, The – Torn Down
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Polydor
More Info:
First time on vinyl for 16 new mixes by Robert Smith. Presented as a 2LP picture disc set in a die-cut gatefold sleeve with a download voucher.

Cure, The (1) – Mixed Up – Deluxe Edition
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Polydor
More Info:
Robert Smith has remastered The Cure’s remix album from 1990. Now presented for the first time as double picture disc set in a gatefold sleeve with a download voucher.

David Bowie (2) – Now
Format:
1 x 180g 12″ White vinyl album
Label:
PLG UK Catalog
More Info:
The first commercial release of a rare 1977 US only compilation promotional only LP on white vinyl. The tracks are drawn from the Low and Heroes albums (all audio remastered from the A New Career In A New Town box set) and the package now features a newly designed inner sleeve with black and white images taken in Berlin in 1977 by Corrine Schwab.

David Bowie (3) – WTTB
Format:
3 x 180g 12″ Black vinyl album
Label:
PLG UK Catalog
More Info:
This previously unreleased 3 LP was recorded live at Earls Court, London on the 30th June and 1st July, 1978 by Tony Visconti and was mixed by David and David Richards at Mountain Studios, Montreux, 17th � 22nd January, 1979. The newly designed trifold sleeve features imagery by photographers Sukita and Chris Walter.

David Sylvian – Dead Bees On A Cake
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Virgin EMI
More Info:
First time on white vinyl for David Sylvian’s album from 1999. Now expanded with the addition of 4 non-album tracks, The Scent of Magnolia , Albuquerque , Cover Me With Flowers and Aparna and Nimisha .

Ennio Morricone – Drammi Gotici
Format:
LP
Label:
Rustblade
More Info:
White vinyl. Ennio Morricone’s score to a RAI television mini-series of gothic horror, broadcast in 1978

Ennio Morricone (1) – Autopsy [Original Soundtrack]
Format:
Double 12″
Label:
Arrow Records
More Info:
The giallo thriller genre afforded Ennio Morricone the opportunity to push back musical boundaries and take his compositions into the outer realms of avant-garde experimentation. Armando Crispino’s 1975 horror masterpiece, Macchie Solari (commonly known as Autopsy) is undoubtedly one of the more grisly films of this genre and, responding to the heightened subject matter, Morricone ditched all but one conventionally melodious track in favour of a full-on atonal assault of wretched strings and hellish arias.Never-before released on vinyl, it is presented here on double translucent marbled orange 180 gram vinyl, with 350gsm gatefold sleeve. Newly mastered by James Plotkin with liner notes by Lovely Jon.

==> Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom
Format:
12″ 180g LP
Label:
Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ Records
More Info:
The Isness is a vast samplerdelic sonic galaxy where a huge range of instruments ( from sitars and numerous eastern instruments to flutes, banjos and conventional rock n roll instrumentation) and countless musicians are employed ,collaged and twisted using the studio as instrument ( much in the tradition and lineage of the Beatles and other 60s exponents) to form a startling new vision of cosmic space music and to redefine the possibilities of what ‘ the song ‘ could be in the new millennia with its by turn : cosmic , wildly surreal , absurdist lyrics on epic songs such as ‘ the Galaxial Pharmaceutical ‘ ‘ the Mello Hippo Disco Show ‘ ‘ Divinity ‘ and many others !

==> Jónsi & Alex – All Animals
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

Madness – I Do Like To Be B-side The A-Side
Format:
LP
Label:
USM
More Info:
Fans of Madness have been requesting a vinyl release of their B-sides for some time now. ‘I Do Like To Be B-Side The A-Side’ contains the B-sides for the first eleven Madness 7 singles. Collated on a 12 LP on heavyweight black vinyl, the album’s packaging has been designed by long-time Madness collaborator Paul Agar and features a wonderfully surreal black and white image of the band on a diving board at a holiday camp, 1950s style. Tracks include ‘Madness’, ‘In The City’ and ‘Mistakes’.

==> Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Format:
LP
Label:
Rock Action Records
More Info:
Ltd coloured vinyl repress of long out of print collection of Mogwai singles, b-sides and rarities.

==> Public Image Limited – Live At Brixton Academy 1986
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Virgin EMI
More Info:
Previosuly unlreased on vinyl. The entire Brixton Academy concert from 1986.

Public Service Broadcasting – People Will Always Need Coal
Format:
12″
Label:
Play It Again Sam
More Info:

==> S U R V I V E – RR7400
Format:
LP
Label:
Relapse Records
More Info:
This is a one-press only, RSD exclusive release. This is a live-in-studio recording of S U R V I V E’s essential synth soundscapes, famous for the Netflix smash Stranger Things score.

==> Sigur Rós – Route One
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

==> Sigur Rós (1) – Liminal Remixes
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

==> Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To
Format:
Double LP
Label:
Space Age Recordings
More Info:
Berry coloured heavyweight 180 gram vinyl double LP in a gatefold sleeve with new artwork layout. Re-mastered by John Rivers at Woodbine Studios especially for vinyl release.

==> Spiritualized – Fucked Up Inside
Format:
Single vinyl LP
Label:
Glass Records Redux
More Info:
Re-mastered by John Rivers at Woodbine Studios especially for vinyl release. Milky clear coloured heavyweight 180 gram vinyl LP in an embossed and hot foil finished sleeve

==> Sufjan Stevens – Mystery Of Love EP
Format:
10″ Transparent Vinyl
Label:
MOV
More Info:
10 featuring 3 new songs by singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens from the critically acclaimed movie Call Me By Your Name Exclusive for Record Store Day, only 5.000 individually numbered copies will be available worldwide

Tom Waits – Brawlers
Format:
Blue LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on red vinyl

Tom Waits (1) – Bastards
Format:
Grey LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on grey vinyl

Tom Waits (2) – Bawlers
Format:
Red LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on blue vinyl

Various Artists (13) – Planet Terror – Original Soundtrack
Format:
LP
Label:
Varese Sarabande
More Info:
Planet Terror was part of a double feature film release between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Planet Terror stars Rose McGowan, who sings on three tracks exclusive to this soundtrack. The majority of the score is composed by Robert Rodriguez with contributions from Graeme Revell, (The Crow, Sin City), Chingon and Nouvelle Vague. White Vinyl. No download code.

Various Erased Tapes Artists – 1+1=X
Format:
3xLP Box Set
Label:
Erased Tapes
More Info:
Produced by label curator Robert Raths, 1+1=X sees all Erased Tapes artists come together and make an album as a collective – sharing the same space, instruments and musicianship in a residency at Vox-ton in Berlin to record 20 exclusive songs in celebration of the label’s 10-year history. The 3-LP set, accompanied by a book of photographs documenting the recording process, is housed in a bespoke, hand-assembled white box with a recessed X that slides open on one side.

Zero 7 – 7 x 7
Format:
Seven x 7″ box set
Label:
New State Music
More Info:
Zero 7’s debut album ‘Simple Things’ sold over a million copies and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the band as Best Newcomer at the Brit Awards. The album featured singers Sia, Sophie Barker and Mozez. ‘When It Falls’ followed with the same guest vocalists along with Danish singer Tina Dico. Their third album ‘The Garden’ was nominated for a Grammy Award with singers Jose Gonzalez and Sia. Two further albums ‘Yeah Ghost’ and a best of ‘Record’ completed their time with Atlantic Records.For Record Store Day 2018 they are launching an exclusive collectors 7 box set. The package contains seven 7 s, containing 14 tracks picked by the band. 4 tracks are taken ‘Simple Things’: ‘Destiny (ft. Sia & Sophie Barker)’, ‘In The Waiting Line (ft. Sophie Barker)’, ‘Distractions (ft. Sia)’ & ‘I Have Seen (ft. Mozez)’. 3 from ‘When It Falls’: ‘Home’, ‘In Time’ & ‘Somersault’ (split across 2 sides).Another 4 from ‘The Garden’ ‘Futures’ & ‘Today’ (both featuring José González)’, ‘Pageant Of The Bizarre (ft. Sia)’ & the instrumental ‘Dreaming’. The final 2 come from 2009’s ‘Yeah Ghost’: ‘Swing (ft. Binki Shapiro)’ & ‘Pop Art Blue (ft. Martha Tilston)’.Packaging wise – the artwork will be made by the bands’ original design collaborator – Julian House, director of creative agency ‘Intro’, using elements & samples from their iconic ‘Simple Things’ album artwork. The sleeves will also be colour coded & placed into a cruciform overwrap sleeve with heavyweight vinyl. This is the 1st time some of these tracks havel be made available on vinyl & all of them have never been cut as 7 s. Side A. Destiny (ft. Sia & Sophie Barker) Side B. In The Waiting Line (ft. Sophie Barker) Side C. Distractions (ft. Sia) Side D. I Have Seen (ft. Mozez) Side E. Home (ft. Tina Dico)Side F. In Time (ft. Sophie Barker) Side G. Somersault Part 1 (ft. Sia)Side H. Somersault Part 2 (ft. Sia)Side I. Futures (ft. José González) Side J. Pageant Of The Bizarre (ft. Sia) Side K. Today (ft. José González) Side L. Dreaming (ft. Sia) Side M. Swing (ft. Binki Shapiro) Side N. Pop Art Blue (ft. Martha Tilston)

 

At a rough guess, based on previous RSD’s, that is about £675 of records, which means I will need to be more selective. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you would like anyway, if you aren’t near the front of the queue you won’t get everything you want and there is no guarantee that the store will have all the releases anyway, it is often very much about how lucky you get that day. I’ve just gone back and marked ‘Must have’s’ with ==> which lessens any financial blow but not a very small bundle of anxiety that is, ridiculously, already starting to build.

The full list can be found here: https://recordstoreday.co.uk/releases/rsd-2018/?p=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Record Stores In Istanbul

I was in Istanbul, Turkey, last week and before going I did a bit of research on record shops there, of which there are a decent number and from what I know the prices are pretty good, with the conversion from GBP to Lira being quite favourable. This is taken from the Istanbul Guide:

Jammin’s Vinyl Records

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In a calm corner of Şişli away from the frantic crowds, Jammin’s offers “vinyl records & friendship.” This indicates the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in the shop, where you’ll probably want to sit and enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee with owner Cem Ülkü. The shop focuses mainly on foreign records from the 70s and 80s, although Ülkü also has a love of the Turkish psychedelic era – notice the illustrations on the walls by Burak Şentürk, who illustrated the Barış Manço song “Nick the Chopper” for the Anatolian Rock Project.

Analog Kültür

Located at the end of one of Istanbul’s coolest streets, Analog Kültür is a welcome addition to Istanbul’s record store scene. Run by vinyl enthusiast and DJ Kaan Düzürat, it is an intimate space, brimming with old and new, Turkish and international classics. A mixing desk is built into the counter, flanked by two Technic 1210s, from where the shop’s staff and visiting musos select an eclectic playlist. Whether you’re a serious collector or casual browser, pop in here and you may find it difficult to leave.

Lale Plak

Lale Plak is located in Tünel Square at the very top of Galip Dede Caddesi, a street sloping down from Tünel to Galata that is known for its music shops. Hakan Atala, the owner of Lale Plak (which has existed for over 50 years), keeps an extensive stock of records in his store including iconic 70s Turkish singers such as Barış Manço or Ajda Pekkan, as well as (Western) classical music, and world music. The records at Lale Plak are all new, not second hand, and signed jazz records are available for purchase.

Mono Plak

Mono Plak is a vinyl shop specializing in folk, rock, jazz, and vintage Turkish music. Located in the pretty district of Çukurcuma, on a street parallel to the Museum of Innocence, Mono Plak has a carefully selected batch of records organized by genre. From The Grateful Dead to Aretha Franklin, Black Sabbath to the Talking Heads, or the Rahbani brothers to Zafer Dilek, there is a wide variety of Eastern and Western classics and rarities from past to present.

Mandala Müzik Evi 

Mandala Müzik Evi, in the Aslıhan Pasajı in Galatasaray, which is also a great place to hunt for second-hand books, will be familiar to fans of the movie Issız Adam as the place where the main character, Alper, first meets his love interest Ada. (She is looking for a second-hand novel, he for a collector’s item LP.) With Mandala’s extensive second-hand collection there is a good chance that you, too, will find what you are looking for (musically speaking, that is.) Mandala’s stock, divided more or less equally between 33 and 45 RPM, focuses on 1970s music, both Turkish and foreign.

Zihni Müzik

The Asian side’s answer to Aslıhan Pasajı is of course Akmar Pasajı in downtown Kadıköy, long known to students as a place to buy course books and English-language readers. Zihni Müzik is located on the basement level of the passageway. The store has one of the biggest collections of LPs in Istanbul with around nine thousand records in stock, of which nearly three quarters are second-hand (most of the records are 33 RPM, although a considerable stock of 45s is also available).

Vintage Records

Also on the Asian side, in the upscale Moda district, is Vintage Records. The store, barely five years old, has a vast collection of second-hand LPs, and is particularly strong on Turkish pop/rock of the 60s and 70s as well as English-language classic rock. You can also find various kinds of musical equipment (amps, speakers, etc.) for sale here.

Kontraplak

Kontraplak, a new addition in the Beyoğlu area, caters to the underground crowd while maintaining a balance of well-spun classics. A record player sits in the back to explore any album you might want to further explore, and a couch rings the far wall for you to sit, relax, and take in the musical view. A surprisingly wide-range of genres are on offer, anything from chamber pop to jazz to acid techno can be tracked down here. The friendly vibe of the staff and the basement-like feel of the store bump up the exclusivity vibe, as does the collection of obscure titles that they carry.

Opus 3A

On the European side, Opus 3A in Cihangir stocks new records rather than second-hand. Its collection focuses on jazz, as well as legendary Turkish 70s pop icons such as Barış Manço or Ajda Pekkan, with some rock and classical music as well. Most of Opus 3A’s records are 33 RPM.

Deform Müzik

Another record store in Cihangir is Deform Müzik owned by Ozan Maral and Tayfun Aras who are also known as the DJ duo Deform-E. The store’s second hand stock is a mixture of all kinds of genres including 50s and 60s soul and funk or rock as well as Turkish and international records.

Vinyl events in the city:

Deform-E and vinyl market Kadıköy’s favorite hipster bar, Arkaoda, frequently hosts the owners of the Deform store who spin their products in the DJ booth as the duo ‘Deform-E.’ Vinyl markets are also set up in the garden area where a selected collection from the area’s best shops come together for fingers to browse through.


A lot to go at there, much digging to be done. I went to none of these. My three days in Istanbul were for work and I saw the inside of hotels, motorway and the inside of offices, absolutely nothing else of note, I may as well have been in Coventry for all the culture I soaked up. This was a major disappointment to me, but there just wasn’t any opportunity to go exploring. I am back in April and need to try and get a flight back on a Sunday instead of a Thursday so that I can have some time to wander in the city and go to some of the shops above. I’ll let you know how it goes.

A Gal Called Dinah

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I visited the new used vinyl store today that opened up in Leamington Spa at the weekend. There wasn’t a whole lot there that I could get excited about but they did have a large £2 an album section that was mostly full of records that nobody would want, but I found a few bits and pieces of interest, one of which was Dinah Washington ‘A Girl Called dinah-washington-a-gal-called-dinah-vinyl-lp_5958262Dinah’. There are a few reasons why it caught my eye, one is the cover, which I rather liked, also that I have a sudden interest in old jazz and blues albums, I’ve always been interested, in a peripheral way, but recently I’ve actually been buying them when I see them and when they are cheap. At £2 there wasn’t any risk in buying this one and having played it I was blown away by the quality of her voice, it really is quite wonderful. I’d heard her before but never really paid any attention until now.

As is often the way, I’ll pick a record up and then go and read about it, I had no idea she had died so young:

Early on the morning of December 14, 1963, Washington’s seventh husband, football great Dick “Night Train” Lane, went to sleep with his wife, and awoke later to find her slumped over and not responsive. Doctor B. C. Ross came to the scene to pronounce her dead. An autopsy later showed a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital, which contributed to her death at the age of 39. She is buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

The sound of the recording is crystal clear on the vocals and the difference between modern recording techniques and the old analogue methods is pretty obvious, I have to say, I prefer the old analogue, it gives you that feeling that the artist is there in the room with you in a way that modern recordings usually don’t.

Tracklist

A1 Fly Me To The Moon
A2 Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
A3 Miss You
A4 A Handful Of Stars
A5 Destination Moon
B1 You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
B2 Red Sails In The Sunset
B3 Where Are You
B4 Coquette
B5 Take Your Shoes Off Baby
Not on the album but taken from the 1958 film ‘Jazz on a summers day’ and worth watching just because it’s amazing!

Record Store Day 2017 (6)

So some things happened, basically around stumbling over RSD 17 releases that I didn’t get on the day and, perhaps in a couple of cases, didn’t know I wanted.

Head records in Leamington had a second shipment after RSD for some reason so there were a couple of things there that were gone on my previous visits but had since turned up again. As a reminder, I had already picked up the following:

Field Music ‎– Tones Of Town
Faust (7), Ulan Bator ‎– Untitled
Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) ‎– Camera / Richard Pinhas
Cocteau Twins ‎– Four-Calendar Café
Cocteau Twins ‎– Milk & Kisses
Mew – Frengers
Future Sound Of London – Archived : Environmental : Views

Then, from the second shipment I picked up:

Asobi Seksu – Citrus
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Steve Reich – LSO Percussion Ensemble ‎– Sextet | Clapping Music | Music For Pieces Of Wood
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The LSO video above is the whole 28 minutes or so of Sextet, because it is an amazing piece of music and, apparently, really hard to play! Performed by Neil Percy, Sam Walton, David Jackson, Antoine Bedewi, Philip Moore & Simon Crawford-Phillips.

Earlier in the week I was on the Cowley Road in Oxford and briefly poped into Truck, who, much to my surprise, had this:

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David Bowie ‎– No Plan EP

So I picked that up and, to my further surprise, they had this 7″ single:

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The Smiths ‎– The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

So that must surely be that for RSD 2017, although there were a couple of Ennio Morricone  soundtracks that I’d like and there’s the soundtrack to Belgica by Soulwax, and Popol Vuh, and the three Spacemen 3 albums of course and possibly Sun Ra & Merzbow and, and, no, that has to be it, has to be, this whole thing is too damn expensive.

Record Store Day 2017 (5)

As I’ve never been up very early on RSD before, usually arriving just before lunch, certainly never queueing, I had never before witnessed the phenomonen of hunting in packs. There were at least three people doing so, shouting across the racks to each other, “There’s a ‘Pineapple Express'”, “Yeah, got it”, and suchlike. It’s a jolly good idea really, as long as you don’t find that more than one of you want something and there is only one left. Perhaps there has to be some bargaining before heading to the till.

I’m pretty sure that there were some people in teams, each with a list, each covering one of the two shops taking part. This is also a good idea, and one I would do myself if I had anybody to do it with. Vinyl buying is a pretty solitary affair for me. Most people I know seem to think it’s all a bit ridiculous, and I can see their point, but most of those people didn’t grow up with it, perhaps don’t understand it’s attraction for me, and probably have a secret Barbie collection or somesuch and have failed to make the connection.

Some of it is nostalgia, there’s little doubt about that, but it is also the physical object. I have several streaming options but what is mine? I have paid for the right to listen to something digital, not something I can hold, or cherish, or enjoy in a more tactile way. I can listen to almost anything I might want to, and do when out and about. Quite often though, I will find something new to listen to and if I find myself starting to like it, I stop listening to it and go and buy a vinyl copy if one is available. That is a bit ridiculous but it makes sense to me.

There’s also music that just isn’t available to stream, such as an album I received a few months ago by ‘Life Garden’, it’s not on Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music, I can only listen to it on vinyl, although there are a few tracks on youtube. The thing is, I really like this album and it’s lack of instant availability seems to make me like it more. It has an exlusivity that makes it more appealing and though I would like to send a whatsapp to a friend with a link so they can hear it too, I can’t, there’s nothing to send and for some reason that is a good thing. Same with the RSD release by ‘Future Sound Of London’, I listened to all six sides yesterday but it isn’t available to stream and that does make the listening experience all the better I think.

I do wonder if, like movies, there should be a delay between physical releases and streaming, so an album is physically released and can’t be streamed for 3 months or so. It seems a good idea to me although I know it will still be ripped from CD and distributed one way or another. I can’t be bothered with all that anymore, since the capacities of phones have increased I don’t need to fill an MP3 player up with ripped CD’s or downloads, it’s too much hassle, just download to listen off line, it’s easy.

I’ve managed to listen to a lot of records over the last 3 or 4 days, which is great as I have been having trouble finding the time for the last four months, however, I now have a chair outside by the back door and I can listen to records whilst simultaneously throwing things for the dog to fetch so that he can run excitedly back with them and then refuse to give it back to me to throw again, that’s his thing, he’s very possesive over sticks and balls.

I’ve been critical of RSD before and some of those criticisms are still valid. Record shops are doing pretty well nowadays I think, with RSD having been a big part of their resurgence, but for some of us RSD is pretty much every week but that loyalty and spending isn’t rewarded on RSD itself. I’d like to see some kind of loyalty card, perhaps a phone app, upon which you can rack up points over the year and those points decide where you are in the queue, not just how early you manage to get out of bed once a year. So the initial queue is formed based on the loyalty points and then everybody else queues as normal behind. I’m not saying it’s a perfect system but it could work, as long as it was clear beforhand that it would work that way.

 

Record Store Day 2017 (4)

I was back in town on Sunday and popped into the Record Shop just to see what was left from RSD. I picked up three things, two of which I meant to get on the day and one which was a bit of an impulse buy to be honest, this being:

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Field Music ‎– Tones Of Town
Label: Memphis Industries ‎– MI074LPX
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Yellow
Country: UK
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Pop Rock, Indie Rock

Tracklist
A1 Give It Lose It Take It 3:56
A2 Sit Tight 3:02
A3 Tones Of Town 3:05
A4 A House Is Not A Home 2:36
A5 Kingston 1:54
A6 Working To Work 2:51
B1 In Context 3:37
B2 A Gap Has Appeared 2:01
B3 Closer At Hand 2:29
B4 Place Yourself 3:02
B5 She Can Do What She Wants 3:06

I like it, but didn’t need it, I think I was seduced by the yellow vinyl.

The ones I’d originally intended to pick up were:

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Faust (7), Ulan Bator ‎– Untitled
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB263
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Limited Edition
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A1 –Faust (7) Serendipität 5:03
A2 –Faust (7) Dialog 4:34
B1 –Ulan Bator Bâton-Rouge 5:16
B2 –Ulan Bator Sakura 4:54

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Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) ‎– Camera / Richard Pinhas
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB264
Format: Vinyl, 12″, Maxi-Single
Country: Germany
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Krautrock, Space Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A –Camera (10) Saftwehr
B –Richard Pinhas Dronz 5 – Hamburg

The last one, with the Richard Pinhas track was as a result of this: Richard Pinhas ‎– Reverse. As the tracks on the album are Dronz 1 – 4 and this seems to be an extension, the give away being that it’s called Dronz 5, I’m smart at spotting stuff like that.

Finally, I did a bad thing, sort of. I found a copy of ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins online and ordered it. There is a slight feeling of having copped out by not getting it on the day and buying it from somebody who seems to have only bought it to sell it, although, at £13 above the sticker price which includes shipping, it’s not a bad buy at all. Most of the others I’ve seen are twice the sticker price without shipping. It hasn’t arrived as yet but this is it:

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Cocteau Twins ‎– Four-Calendar Café
Label: Mercury ‎– 5735405, UMC ‎– 00602557354058
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Purple
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Downtempo, Ethereal

Tracklist
A1 Know Who You Are At Every Age 3:38
A2 Evangeline 4:29
A3 Bluebeard 3:54
A4 Theft, And Wandering Around Lost 4:30
A5 Oil Of Angels 4:37
B1 Squeeze-Wax 3:48
B2 My Truth 4:32
B3 Essence 3:01
B4 Summerhead 3:37
B5 Pur 5:02
C1 Mud And Dark 3:40
C2 Summer-Blink 3:09
C3 Bluebeard (Acoustic Version) 2:53
C4 Three Swept 3:36
D1 Ice Pulse 3:45
D2 Winter Wonderland 2:49
D3 Frosty The Snowman 2:55

The D-Side isn’t going to get much play time from me to be honest, not a big fan of Christmas songs.

So that is RSD 2017 pretty much done for me. I did see quite a number of items on the day that I could have picked up that are demanding ridiculous prices online right now, but I don’t really regret missing out on turning a quick profit. Although I have succumbed to buying one, and am thereby part of the fuel for the whole practice, I do feel the ones I might have picked up just to sell may have caused somebody who really wanted it to miss out, yes, the same as I have in the past, but two wrongs don’t make a right I guess, or something like that.

Record Store Day 2017 (3)

IMG_4868I queued at Head Records in Leamington Spa for just under an hour, which was absolutely fine, it really could have been worse. I have a problem with my neck, which means that standing up like that for an hour is rather painful, and I can’t take medication for it as if I do I can’t then legally drive, so I was pretty relieved to arrive at the front of the queue and finally get inside. It is really quite traumatic being in the queue, slowly approaching the entrance and watching people who have already been in leave with their albums as one of these people may be carrying the last copy of something you want. It is also a bit of an eye opener, I was genuinely surprised at some of the folk and how much they’d bought. One guy brought a helper to carry the stuff, she didn’t even go in the shop, just waited outside for her partner to come out and help with the carrying, I think he had somewhere in the region of 50 albums, which a conservative estimate would be in the region of £1000 worth, which is crazy and I immediately thought, ‘Re-Seller’ which may not be entirely fair, maybe he saved all year for this event, but I couldn’t possibly imagine why anybody would want 50 of the albums released, at best I might want 8, and that’s a stretch to be honest. Perhaps my tastes are less wide ranging than others, but 50, it seems a lot.

At the door, waiting to be let in, I tried to spy what was left on the shelves and was pretty
sure that two of them had already sold out. In the queue I’d watched a video the shop had posted showing the shelves and there was now a black space visible where I wanted there to be two albums. Here is that very video:

I arrived to both disappointment and delight. One of the five things I was hoping to pick up was already sold out, this being ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins, I had thought it might but was still holding out a little hope that there’d be one left. The delight came from there being one copy of ‘Milk & Kisses’ by The Cocteau Twins left, which was the first thing I picked up. One of five achieved, one definitely missed so three more possibilities to get. I mooched about for just a minute and then wnet to the next aisle, which was pretty rammed making looking on the lower shelves rather tricky, however, there was another of my 5, The Future Sound Of London – ‘Environments – Views’, a triple vinyl that was actually less money than I thought it would be and a numbered edition, which I hadn’t realised either, so things were looking up, two more to go.

The main album that I wanted of the two remaining to get was ‘Frengers’ by Mew, a run of 1500 in clear vinyl, pretty much like last years re-issue of ‘And the glass handed kites’. I couldn’t find it. I looked twice and the damn thing wasn’t there, so I did something I don’t normally do and asked. The member of staff who helped me was Molly, which I found out from their Facebook page. She dived into the crowd, went to the bottom shelf where I’d alredy looked twice and re-appeared with a copy. I thanked her both verbally and with a thumbs up as that cheered me up no end. Thanks again Molly. I was so cheered that I completely forgot to go for the fifth album, ‘Citrus’ by Asobi Seksu, but that’s OK as I was 50/50 about it.

On the way to the till I saw a copy of ‘AZD’ by Actress and picked that up as well, I almost had the week before but was undecided, however, I read some reviews and it scored highly, so now was as good a time as any and I had 4 new albums.

I then left the shop without looking for some of the 45’s and a couple of 12” singles I’d thought about getting as my neck was bloody killing me and I’d only been in there 10 minutes. I headed to the bottom of town and Seismic Records. I figured that it would still be busy but that the queue would have died down by now, I was wrong. I just couldn’t do it, not without medication, so I headed off to visit my Mum for an hour.

On the way home I drove past Seismic thinking I could park up and pop in, but the queue was the same size as before and I gave it a miss. A shame because I like that shop and IMG_4873want to support it, however, there were plenty of others doing just that already so that was OK.

When I arrived home the first thing I played was the Cocteau Twins, which held a little surprise for me as I didn’t know it had been pressed on white vinyl, so that was a bonus. I watched a youtube video a couple of days ago, one of those top tips on buying vinyl ones and it stated that coloured vinyl is a bad idea as the quality is lower, which I almost commented on as it’s bollocks, but I held back. I had listened to a podcast which had a guy on who had worked in pressing plants for years and he had said the exact opposite, with black vinyl you can get away with re-cycling offcuts and contaminants are not so much of an issue as they are hidden by the black but with coloured vinyl, single colour in particular, you can’t get away with it so they are generally as good as and often better than black. Anyway, I like coloured vinyl, I like black vinyl too. Picture Discs are a different prospect altogether though, they are crap. ‘Milk & Kisses’ came with a second disc of the singles from the same period which is really nice to have. I remember well seeing both albums on the racks when they came out and I do regret not buying them at the time. I had this idea in my head that by going to a major label the band had somehow sold out and that the music had suffered for it, I was entirely wrong of course but they did release a Christmas single which I also saw and never bought, which is a shame as I would have made a big profit if I had and would have had no problem selling it (it was ‘Frosty The Snowman/Winter Wonderland’ in case you wondered). The two albums had been selling for about £150/200, I wonder if those prices will be sustainable now these re-issues with extra tracks have become available.

Here is a bit of ‘Milk & Kisses’ playing on my own deck.

On RSD 2016 I was hugely disappointed to not get a copy of ‘and the glass handed kites’ by Mew, although I did manage to get a reasonably priced copy about 6 months later, but picking up ‘Frengers’ today was great as it has an online price of £50-£60, sometimes more. I have never really been able to understand why Mew aren’t huge, though for many selfish reasons I’m glad they aren’t. The album closer ‘Comforting Sounds’ is one of my favourite tracks and listening to it on vinyl today has been great. I think I got the last, or only copy but am not sure as I didn’t even see it on the shelf. Here is a little snippet of ‘comforting sounds’:

I sort of collect The Future Sound Of London which goes back to the Cocteau Twins as Elizabeth Frasier sang on the ‘Lifeforms’ single (which is really a mini album) and which I bought when it was released. About a year and a half ago I listened to it again, and not just for the Elizabeth Frasier bit, and found that I liked the whole of it more than I had remembered. This led me to picking up other bits and pieces when I saw them, although some are rather expensive, the ‘Lifeforms’ album and ‘Dead Cities’ being good examples, usually over £60 a copy. Recently I’ve been buying their series ‘Environments’ which is seven albums (although numbered 1-6 and then a 6.5) which has Environments 3 not available on vinyl when the others are, annoying. So this RSD triple was a must. I’ve yet to listen to it apart from the bit you can hear below, I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

Finally there’s the non-RSD album by Actress – ‘AZD’ which the reviews were absolutely right about. It is wonderfully crafted and after only one listen I’m loving it. Part of the reason for this is the album ‘6’ by FP-Oner, which I received from That Special Record as part of my subscription, I didn’t like it at first but with repeated playing it really grew on me and there are parts of the Actress album that remind me of it so I had a point of reference right away, which I hadn’t really had when listening to ‘6’ for the first time.

I do wish I’d had the stamina to queue at Sesimic but all in all it’s been a pretty successful RSD 2017 for me and I know sit in the garden, enjoying the beautiful weather and writning this up while listening to FSOL – Environments 4. Can’t complain really. I hope everybody got at least one thing they wanted.

  • featured image stolen from Head records Instagram.

RSD 2017 (2)

Still queuing. Now I’ve turned the corner and can see the front of the record shop I get to see the people before me in the queue coming out with records in bags and wonder if they just bought what I was after. 


There is still quite a way to go. In case you were wondering, I’m queuing outside ‘Head Records’ in Leamington Spa. It’s been 40 minutes, I’m about halfway. My back hurts. 

RSD 2017 (1)

Well I made the effort to get my arse out of bed and get down to Record store day, and I find myself at the back of a very healthy queue. This may mean that I don’t get anything I’m looking for but I stand a better chance than previous years where I usually rock up around lunch time.

Kenilworth Record Shop

Last week I popped into Kenilworth Record Shop, having not known it even existed until a quick google revealed it to me. It was the nearest on my journey to Coventry and back (I hadn’t been sent there, I chose to go) so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s down an alley and up an old stairs. inside there are three smallish rooms with lots of used vinyl. If you are after classic rock, soul, prog, a bit of reggae then they have loads. There was a small section of Indie, which is where I spent most of my time and found a couple of things that I was after. I also dug through the £1 section, which was a couple of hundred LP’s, and found 7 Toyah albums, I almost did, but I’d never listen to them so I didn’t.

The two Indie albums were both by This Mortal Coil on 4AD, which I’ve had in various guises over the years, Both on CD, one on cassette, but neither ever on vinyl:

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It’ll end in tears

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The first is the one with Elizabeth Frasier singing Song to the Siren with guitar by Robin Guthrie, the Tim Buckley song, and it really is a beautiful thing.

Here is the shop itself:

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The other albums i picked up were:

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Lizard – King Crimson

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Monster Movie – Can

They were a reasonable price and I was given a bit of discount so all good. There were a few oher things there that I could have picked up, but like all used vinyl stores, I like to leave things and to give a bit of time before going back so that new stock has a chance to come in and maybe there will be a gem in there.

For a closer look there’s a video of the shop that they posted on facebook here:

and to close, here’s that track from This Mortal Coil:

 

Long Live Vinyl – A Magazine

I rarely buy magazines nowadays as I never seem to have the time to read them when I do, apart from ‘Record Collector’ now and then, however, I was in town with a couple of hours to spare a few weekends ago and wandered into WH Smith with a view to getting something, although I hadn’t thought much about what, when I spied a new magazine, called ‘Long Live Vinyl’. It’s the size of a record sleeve, about 12″ x  12″, which is a nice idea and comes in at 114 pretty big pages, it is pricey though at £9.99.

I retired to a coffee shop with a Hazelnut Latte and set about reading. It had articles that I would probably expect to see, such as most valuable records in the world, classic album: Revolver, Essential Bowie and a nice piece on Roger Dean, who did the Yes albums and more. None of these came as much of a surprise but were interesting nonetheless and well illustrated with photographs. A guide to Brighton record shops was a good read and if I ever go there I’ll be re-reading before I set off and there was a nice 8 page piece featuring a collector of Price records. Also included were equipment reviews, headphones was one, turntables another, cleaning tips for records along with album releases, new and re-releases.

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It was a good read and I ended up in the coffee shop for about two hours, without reading everything, I still have some pages to go yet. I liked it, I didn’t like the price, but the magazine was really good and it’s great to see a magazine solely focused on vinyl so I wish them all the best with this venture.

PIL – Cambridge

Little record shop in Cambridge had this 10 inch single by PIL, which is now mine. The shop is called ‘Lost In Vinyl’and has quite a large used section, about half the size of the new releases.

SJ Records – Stratford Upon Avon

I was in Stratford Upon Avon today and found myself with a spare couple of hours so I did a quick search on my phone and found SJ Records, which is upstairs in an antique centre opposite Shakespeare’s birthplace. The chap there, who is originally from California, was great. We chatted about records as I flicked through the crates and built a little pile of records that I wanted on a chair. At one point he went off to get a pepsi and offered me one as well, which was very friendly I must say. Here is a quick 30 second look around, although this video I took does make me a little giddy:

There’s very much something for most tastes there and a few things I had, like a really nice copy of Mr.Beast by Mogwai, which I would have bought if I didn’t already have it. There’s some quite pricey records but the vast majority are between £4 and £8. Roughly in line with what one might expect to pay on Ebay but, of course, without the postage cost and the very good company whilst browsing.

So what did I buy? Quite a few 12″ singles, some were a little bit impulse, which is not necessarily a bad thing as I rarely regret impulse buys of vinyl. There were a load of 12″ by The Cult, who I have a soft spot for ever since I first heard ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ so I picked those up, even though I have the albums they are taken from. How could I resist this though?

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In fact, here it is on video (I sound old fashioned saying that I know but what else am I supposed to say?), TURN UP THE VOLUME!

Ok, so I just had to listen to that three times before carrying on, it’s one of my faviourites of theirs. Then there was Lil’ Devil, classic rock lyrics!:

Livin’ in a shack in a one-horse town
Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goin’ down
Lizard in a bottle, yeah

Dizzy in a haze for 40 days
Hey there, little devil

Come on little devil
Be my little angel
Come on little devil
Be my, yeah, angel, ow

Oh, she came on with an alligator smile
Dynamite lover, scorpion child
Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goes down, yeah

She came on with a cyclone kiss
Hey there baby, you don’t never miss
Lizard in a bottle, oh yeah

The third 12″ single I picked up was from the same album, ‘Electric’ (which is a great album, get yourself a copy), ‘Wildflower’:

The fourth, ‘Rain’, was a mistake. It’s from their second album, ‘Love’ and I like it a lot, but I already have the 12″, so now I have 2, it was £3 so not the end of the world, but I actually picked the wrong one up and left the one I wanted there. Oh well, it might still be there next time I go back and it’s an excuse to put it down below:

These guys are still going, still writing and releasing new music and I’m going to be picking up their latest album at some point. I’ve seen it on the racks but there’s always been something that I wanted that little bit more.

I bought another 4 12″ singles and a couple of albums and as I was about to pay I was given an £8 Tangerine Dream album (Phaedra) that I’d been looking at as a thanks for buying the other records, which was just wonderful, it made my day. So if you ever happen to be in Stratford Upon Avon then pop in, you never know, you might just have a pleasant time and find a record you’ve been looking for.

Rapture – Record Store- Witney, Oxfordshire.

There are 2 record stores within around 20 minutes drive of where I work. This is the first of them that I’ve visited, in Witney, Oxfordshire. It’s in a sort of shopping arcade and the vinyl is all upstairs, which is a bigger square footage than the downstairs. I spent about 30 minutes there but still managed to dig through a lot of albums.

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I am all for stores selling vinyl, which should be obvious by now, but was disappointed. I found 5 albums in all this lot that I thought about buying. One was a re-issue of Phallus Dei by Amon Düül for £8.00, but the cover was absolutely knackered. The other 4 were jazz albums, in a section marked ‘Un-priced Jazz – Ask at the counter for details’. I almost did, but based on the prices of some of the priced Jazz albums in another section I decided against it as I really didn’t think they were going to be at a price I was prepared to pay, which wasn’t much at all. Perhaps I should have inquired, but I didn’t want them enough to bother.

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The feeling I had as I rooted through the albums was that most of the stock was made up of the parts of peoples collections that they were quite prepared to sell as they weren’t very good, or that a load of job lots had been bought up and there was nothing in them of much interest. I don’t want to sound overly negative, because conceptually it’s a nice shop, with a coffee bar, a seating area and a stage for in store performances, which is in the picture above, but for me, they don’t have the stock as yet. There was some to be fair, but the prices were too high for my blood, I can’t spend £40 on an Aphex Twin 12″ single, even if I want it, nor can I spend £18 on a Radiohead 12″ single when I know it’s available on line at £10. At the weekend I was talking to the owner of Seismic Records in Leamington Spa, one of my two local stores, about my willingness to pay a couple of £’s more than an online price as, when you take in to account P & P, it works out about the same, you are supporting a local business, and digging through piles of albums is fun! But £8 more is just too big a gap.

There was a small new vinyl section, but most of it was just a couple of £’s more than I would normally have to pay at my local store near home, so I left it, I would have been buying something just for the sake of buying something.

I did have a quick look through the 7″ singles, and there I found a lot that I would definitely have bought if the prices were lower. £8 for a single that is selling for £2.99 on Discogs, even with P & P is, again, too much of a gap.

I left with nothing, but I do wish them the very best of luck with it and, to be fair, if I’d had a bit more time maybe I would have found something I was prepared to pay an bit more for.

Replacing a CD with Vinyl

It was quite normal a few years ago to replace vinyl with CD’s and to sell off the vinyl, after all, who needed them anymore when you had a swanky indestructible CD instead. I did a lot of that, but last friday I was in Bristol at Rise, a record store I had never visited before (and found through the vinyl district app), when I saw a vinyl repress of a CD I bought in Newbury Comics, Boston, the American one. The album was by ‘Comets On Fire’ and called ‘Blue Cathedral’ which just happens to have beeb re-issued by Sub-Pop as a ‘Losers’ version on blue vinyl. Yes please, and thank you.

It may well be called ‘Rise’ because it’s above a cafe, as you can see here:

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They had a really good vinyl section, probably as large, if not larger than the CD section and I found a lot of things I could have bought, but didn’t, I was being sensible.

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Every album had a sticker on it with a little description, some pertinent information, that sort of thing, which was a nice touch. The albums section turns right at the bottom and spreads across another wall and there are some smaller areas all with vinyl. There are also crates underneath and a small used section to dig through, I spent about an hour in there before leaving with my spoils.

Back to ‘Comets on Fire’ though. I had been looking to replace the CD for a while and had seen copies on the internet, but there’s something a little more special about buying an album from a record shop than from the internet, even if it is a couple of pounds more. If there’s postage to be paid that’s covered anyway. So here is my copy of the brilliant ‘Blue Cathedral’ on my turntable.

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I remember when I first played the CD that I wasn’t really into it and it went on the shelf for several months before it was played again, and, as sometimes happens, I loved it. Andy, who was in Newbury Comics with me when I bought the CD, thought it a good album, he turned out to be right.

The pitchfork review opens with:

Sub Pop debut from these chaotic Santa Cruz psych-feeders beefs up their production values to touch down as their hardest-hitting record to date. Drawing influence from Zeppelin, Hendrix, and Hawkwind, Blue Cathedral scales back the wanton experimentation of their previous albums to fire off post-Vietnam rounds of knotted feedback, monolithic riffs and outer-space jams. And perhaps its most impressive feat? At 53 minutes, it almost feels short.

And gives it an 8.5. I can’t really disagree, although I may have pushed the mark up to nearer 9. I’m a generous marker usually though.

Here’s some music from it:

Track List 
“The Bee and the Cracking Egg” – 7:45
“Pussy Foot the Duke” – 5:07
“Whiskey River” – 7:54
“Organs” – 1:45
“The Antlers of the Midnight Sun” – 4:06
“Brotherhood of the Harvest” – 4:39
“Wild Whiskey” – 3:00
“Blue Tomb” – 10:06

After ‘Rise’ I met up with the family (who tend to abandon me as soon as I come within close proximity of a record shop) at Wahaca for a bit to eat, it’s a few doors down from Rise. I don’t normally write about food but the meal was great, really fresh and vibrant, the waitress was knowledgeable and helpful and it was very reasonably priced, I’d recommend it if ever you are in the vicinity. I didn’t realise at first that it was a Thomasina Miers restaurant, who I remember rooting for to win Masterchef back in the day.