Mix Tape: Volume 4: Side 1 & 2

This is a mix tape that I put together in 2010 and listened to a lot at the time, I called it ‘Dreamstate’ and made an image for the cover:

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The tracks are split for a C90 cassette, so up to 45 minutes a side. I’ve used youtube this time, although they videos are mostly irrelevant, it’s not for watching but for listening.

SIDE 1:

1. Moonlit Sailor – Sunbeams (5:29)
2. Stafrænn Hákon – Járn (8:30)
3. Balmorhea – Bowspirit (5:17)
4. Audrey – Carving and Searching (3:19)
5. Ioseb – When The Bomb Hit The House Next Door (9:53)
6. God Is An Astronaut – Fall From The Stars (4:27)
7. Phantogram – You Are The Ocean (5:49)

SIDE2:

 

1. The Album Leaf – Eastern Glow (6:06)
2. 65daysofstatic – I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood (5:27)
3. Efterklang – Horseback Tenors (5:48)
4. Harmonia – Veterano (4:00)
5. Mew – White Lips Kissed (6:45)
6. Sigur Rós – Glosoli (6:18)
7. Sufjan Stevens – The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders (7:02)

Apple Music Link:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/dreamstate/idpl.u-mJy8DerI6zdbq

 

The Listening List

Some more things I’ve listened to, without all the covers this time as I will never keep up if I do that every time:

20/04/2017 – 18/06/2017

Sufjan Stevens • Nico Muhly • Bryce Dessner • James McAlister – Planetarium
Slowdive – Pygmalion
Lambchop – Is A Woman
Kraftwerk – The Model
Portishead – Over
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Slowdive – Souvlaki
Björk – Biophilia Remixes | Part Eight
The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
Forest Swords – Compassion
Delia Derbyshire And Elsa Stansfield – Circle Of Light
Slowdive – Just For A Day

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Nirvana – In Utero
Jonas Reinhardt, Jürgen Müller – The Encyclopedia Of Civilizations Vol. 1: Egypt
Nirvana – Nevermind
Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
Zomby – With Love
Spiritualized – Amazing Grace 3 EPs Box Set
Slowdive – Slowdive
Sonic Youth – Sonic Nurse
Sonic Youth – Murray Street
The Future Sound Of London – Archived
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
Mogwai – Rock Action
David Bowie – No Plan EP
The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
Cocteau Twins – Four-Calendar Café
Mew – Visuals
Cozmic Corridors – Cozmic Corridors
Steve Reich – LSO Percussion Ensemble – Sextet | Clapping Music | Music For Pieces Of Wood
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Asobi Seksu – Citrus
Gorillaz – Humanz
Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes.
Björk – Biophilia Remixes | Part Six
The Future Sound Of London – Archived : Environmental : Views
Field Music – Tones Of Town
Bjørn Torske – Nedi Myra
Faust (7) / Ulan Bator – Faust / Ulan Bator
Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) – Camera / Richard Pinhas
Actress – AZD
Cocteau Twins – Milk & Kisses
Mew – Frengers

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.

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 22)

Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead
Oval – Textuell
Future Sound Of London – Lifeforms (Single Version)
Jherek Bischoff – Automatism
Max Richter – Dream 13 (minus even)
Sigur Rós – Svefn-g-englar
Jonsi – Animal Arithmetic
Nosaj Thing – Eclipse/Blue
Explosions In The Sky – Be Comfortable, Creature
MONO – Dream Odyssey
Mew – Making Friends
Thom Yorke – Black Swan
Mogwai – Ether

Record Store Day 2016 – Mew

On record store day 2016 number 1 on my list of things to pick up was by Mew,titled “And The Glass handed Kites”. The first store I went to didn’t have it, the second did, but they sold it straight away, so I had a 50:50 chance and blew it. I then had a look around Ebay and it was in the region of £90 on there. I’ve mentioned before that this is one of the failings of RSD, there are a lot of people who buy just to immediately sell at inflated prices thereby not rewarding the loyal customers who frequent the stores throughout the year.

In football, tickets to certain games are difficult to come by if you support one of the larger clubs, so many have a system in place whereby if you have bought a specific number of tickets for other games during the season you receive priority ticket allocation for the big games. A similar system might well be the answer for RSD. Buy something from the store at least averaging once a month between RSD days and you get let in an hour early perhaps, or for an hour the night before, or perhaps some other deal to reward the loyal customers. I can see flaws in this system as well as it then alienates the casual customer, who are potential future regular customers. Perhaps certain releases, not all, are available to regular customers first, so that at least there is some kind of loyalty factor in play.

I don’t have a definitive answer, but there must be one!

This is not why I started writing this though. Having missed out on the Mew album, and not being prepared to pay extortionate amounts for it I thought I’d have a scout around and see if I could pick up a different album to satiate my thirst for Mew. I have the album ‘+-‘, which I’ve really only just started to like, but that’s all. I had a quick look on Amazon and to my surprise, there it was, at a standard price. I ordered it, half expecting to receive an e-mail to tell me there had been a mistake of some kind, or for a CD to turn up instead of vinyl, but there wasn’t, and it didn’t, to my delight it turned up this morning.

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No. Title Length
1. “Circuitry of the Wolf” 2:45
2. “Chinaberry Tree” 3:33
3. “Why Are You Looking Grave?” (features vocals by J Mascis) 3:50
4. “Fox Cub” 1:15
5. “Apocalypso” 4:46
6. “Special” 3:12
7. “The Zookeeper’s Boy” 4:43
8. “A Dark Design” 3:29
9. “Saviours of Jazz Ballet” (+ hidden instrumental: “Fear Me, December”) 3:18
10. “An Envoy to the Open Fields” (features vocals by J Mascis) 3:40
11. “Small Ambulance” 1:05
12. “The Seething Rain Weeps for You” (+ hidden instrumental: “Uda Pruda”) 4:18
13. “White Lips Kissed” 6:45
14. “Louise Louisa” 7:20

The album was released in 2005, their fourth release, and it was well received, being likened to Sigur Rós, Dinosaur Jr. and Ride. Some consider it a concept album and it has also been described as Prog Rock, I’d agree with the former but not so much the latter. All I can say for sure is that it is a great listen and I’m genuinely delighted to have my own copy.

 

A video with talking and hands

I thought I’d do some videos about Vinyl Records, the first of which is below. I had a spare couple of hours so it gave me something to do at least.

 

Mix Tape: Volume 3: Side 1 (There is beauty in everything)

Everybody’s view of what is and isn’t beautiful is different, my own is that there is beauty in everything, it may not always be pleasant, or uplifting, but it can still be beautiful in some way. Most of us just choose not to look for it, and sometimes, that is the right thing to do, but it does not stop it from existing.

Here, in this 3rd mixtape are songs that to me, in some way, are beautiful.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home
Ludovico Einaudi – Night
Neil Cowley Trio – Lament
Mammal Hands – Mansions Of Millions Of Years
Mew – Comforting Sounds
Sigur Rós – Ára Bátur (at Abbey Road Studios)
Radiohead – No Surprises
Múm – Green Grass Of Tunnel
ANTHONY AND THE JOHNSONS – HOPE THERE’S SOMEONE
Mogwai – Hunted By A Freak
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Iron and Wine – Naked as We Came
Trespassers William – Vapour Trail
Cocteau Twins – Tishbite

Listen to There is beauty in everything by  Verian on Apple Music.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/there-is-beauty-in-everything/idpl.ec46776fe3fc46648b7d80c5eaa510e0

Click the link below to listen to there is beauty in everything by Verian Thomas on Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/user/1136278651/playlist/1eb46gRw1WNd799EXhNxJS

Record Store Day 2016

Well, I was a little underwhelmed by Record Store Day this year as it seems to me that Record Stores are doing quite well nowadays actually and the reason for it’s existence is somewhat diminished. I did pick up two records, of 5 or 6 that I wanted, so a reasonable percentage. They were, PIL live at the O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, which is a double on clear vinyl:

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The other was Roots Manuva, Switching Sidea, a long 12″ single i that it has 5 tracks on each side, the same tracks, but side 2 is remixes of side 1:

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Apparently it’s limited to 500 copies, which is nice.

What I didn’t get but wanted were three re-issues by Kings of Convenience and number 1 on my list, the Mew album “And the Glass Handed Kites” which goes for £50 online but record store day has 2000 clear vinyl copies for £19.99 each, except I didn’t see one.

I went to Head records in Leamington Spa who had a fair bit in and I did arrive and hour after opening time so who knows what had gone by the time I got there. I headed off to Seismic Records at the other end of town via The Town Hall, which was hosting another record fair, but didn’t make it to Seismic, which is a shame as I like to support that shop.

This is from ‘The quietus’:

The whole event has become a record label promotion opportunity and nothing else. Record shops are merely the vehicle for a quiet time of the year marketing binge. From my point of view, as a record shop owner, RSD is damaging to us in the following ways:

1) The lead up to the day sees a dramatic fall in sales, and the post event effect is similar. Ask around. Do shops’ quarterly figures look any better whenever they take part in RSD? All the ones I know say no. New releases all but come to an end weeks before, and all promotional activities swing behind RSD.

2) The ‘underground’ or ‘niche’ nature of what indie shops provide is being watered down by dross releases with little artistic or cultural merit. It’s not about being a snob, it is about making sure the customer gets value for money. There is enough amazing music out there to change people’s lives without them being dragged into a bogwash of Abba and Status Quo re-issues (all of which sell on original black shit for £1 in my bargain bins).

3) Shops buy RSD stock on a cash-up-front basis, with no possibility of return. Who’s taking the risk here? The labels, the distro, or the shops? The risk is not fairly distributed amongst the players. Do any of these guys know what happens to our cash flow around RSD? I’ve heard of shops having to borrow money to buy stock. I mean for gods sake, how on earth is this helping! The big boys are the worse for this, but for distros like PIAS who continue to operate a no returned stock operation for their entire product, year round, there is little risk on sale from their side. This promotes poor quality. Labels are less likely to sell bilge if they see it all back in the warehouse three months later. Distros and labels like Cargo, SRD, Proper and Discovery operate SOR (Sale Or Return), consignment sales all year round. THIS IS SUPPORT. Expensive and risky on their part, they are working with shops, and this in turn changes the dynamic and it changes the quality (namely in an upward fashion).

4) All this stuff comes out on one day, so in the six month lead up to RSD, the pressing plants are choked full of RSD releases (as investigated by The Quietus here), and as a result the indie labels can’t get anything out in the interim. They’re forcing me to say it… CD is the new vinyl.

5) For many of the huge number of Bowie or Springsteen fans et al ad infinitum. the only option is to go online and pay an insane price for the special release they want from some eBay flipper. Thus encouraging this behaviour further (buying online). Now, as an internet seller I am not against the internet per se, but NOT ON RECORD STORE DAY.

6) Disappointment… perpetual disappointment. Shops will not have multiple copies of every release. As a result a significant number of customers get disappointed and disillusioned. Great…. a promotional event for record shops that leaves customer feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Well that’s just perfect.

The full article is here: http://thequietus.com/articles/19946-record-store-day-2016-shops-bad-reissues-bleugh

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I’m not against RSD, but one point does strike me as on the mark, I am a regular independent record store customer, I spend regularly in them, two in particular and the loyal customer is apt to lose out on RSD and, if you really want something you could very well pay triple the price from somebody who bought deliberately to re-sell at this inflated price, which is a shame.

I certainly was surprised , as the writer of the article mentions, to see Justin Bieber and Status Quo involved, and, to be honest, a load of Alan Partridge picture discs along with a few others which seemed like a waste of time, to me at least. There are great opportunities to re-release brilliant albums on vinyl, but it is not often taken, or so it seems.

Until next year I suppose.