Well, this got out of hand a little. So, as I previously mentioned, this show uses only records from my own shelves which I’ve cleaned and then played, linking my amp directly to my computer. This took a while, but the main issue is that I didn’t really take note of how long it was going to end up being. It was a bit of marathon and runs for just short of 5 hours. The longest show yet I should think.
Arrived at the Record Shop at 6:15 to be about 80th in the queue, which was a few more than expected, but it could have been worse. Looks like less in the photo but I counted.
The shop lets 5 people in then it is one in, one out, so I’ll be a while yet.
Now 8:07, the shop opened at 8:00, I’m hopeful I’ll be inside by 9:00 but I just did the calculation in my head using an average of 10 minutes per person and it worked out at about 13 hours, which can’t be right, I bloody hope not anyway.
This is the pre-entry list, although I won’t be getting all of them even if they are still there:
Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom Jónsi & Alex – All Animals Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Public Image Limited – Live At Brixton Academy 1986 S U R V I V E – RR7400 Sigur Rós – Liminal Remixes Sigur Rós – Route One Spiritualized – Fucked Up Inside Sufjan Stevens – Mystery Of Love EP Alex Sommers – Untitled
Further down we can see what I got, or didn’t. I also have a secondary list of things to get if none of the above are left or if it is still there at a later date:
Brian Eno with Kevin Shields – The Weight Of History / Only Once Away My Son Cure, The – Torn Down Cure, The (1) – Mixed Up – Deluxe Edition David Bowie (2) – Now David Bowie (3) – WTTB David Sylvian – Dead Bees On A Cake
Ennio Morricone – Drammi Gotici
Ennio Morricone (1) – Autopsy [Original Soundtrack] Madness – I Do Like To Be B-side The A-Side Public Service Broadcasting – People Will Always Need Coal
Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To Tom Waits – Brawlers Tom Waits (1) – Bastards Tom Waits (2) – Bawlers
Various Artists (13) – Planet Terror – Original Soundtrack
Various Erased Tapes Artists – 1+1=X Zero 7 – 7 x 7
I eventually got in to the shop somewhere between 11 and 12, so that was a 5 hour queue at least, probably nearer 6, I’d lost the will to live by then, aching feet, legs and back at that point and I even thought of giving up at one point. Got into the store and there was a guy in there who went in 40 minutes before me, he had already bought his records but was just browsing around the non-RSD stuff. He was still in there when I left, which would be fine, if he hadn’t been outside complaining about how long everybody was taking beforehand. I think there were about 80 in the queue still when I left.
So what did I get? I almost got a Led Zeppelin 7″ but put it back as I refused to pay £15 for a 7″. I almost got the David Sylvian album, but I have a sneaky suspicion it will still be there in a few weeks time as there were several copies. I almost got the three Tom Waits albums, but I think it was a rip off as they were £30 each, £90 for all three, just seemed a bit much. Anyway, the list of what I decided to buy, oh, also, the bold items in the list above I saw there but chose not to buy.
Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut £30
Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom £30 Jónsi & Alex – All Animals £25 Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997) £24
S U R V I V E – RR7400 £22
Alex Sommers – Untitled £25
All of the above, which totals £156, were over priced, except the S U R V I V E album. I don’t blame the record shop for the pricing, they are adding their normal margin for these things. I was really disappointed to not get the two Sigur Ros releases but they would have caused me to go over £200 so there’s an upside.
Public Image, Sufjan Stevens & Sigur Ros had all gone, Spiritualized would have sent me way over the top of my budget so left it there as there were 7 or 8 copies.
I have only ever owned 4 Hendrix records, I’ve had some CD’s and some cassettes over the years, but only 4 actual records and I’ve lost all of them along the way so there is a void in the H section of my shelves that really needs something in it.
I saw a job lot online of 6 albums and, well, I bought it. They worked out at £5 each and in that job lot were 3 of the 4 albums I owned.
The ones I had were Isle Of White, Band of Gypsies and Cry Of Love or, if you are looking at the picture, top left, bottom left and bottom right. The missing one is War Heroes, which I must now find to get back to where I was 25 years ago. I had Cry of Love/War Heroes as a double album in a gatefold sleeve, I may have given it to my brother, I forget.
I’m listening to Cry of Love now and it is much better than I remember it. I seem to recall always being a bit disappointed with it and War Heroes because it didn’t have any of the songs I knew on it, but now I know a lot more of them and Cry of Love is really very good indeed. I wish I could have enjoyed it more when I originally had it as I probably would have kept hold of it.
A1 Freedom (Backing Vocals – The Ghetto Fighters) 3:24
A2 Drifting (Vibraphone – Buzzy Linhart) 3:46
A3 Ezy Ryder (Backing Vocals – Chris Wood, Steve Winwood, Drums – Buddy Miles) 4:09
A4 Night Bird Flying 3:50
A5 My Friend (Bass – Noel Redding, Harmonica – Gers) 4:40
B1 Straight Ahead 4:42
B2 Astro Man 3:37
B3 Angel 4:25
B4 In From The Storm (Backing Vocals – Emeretta Marks) 3:42
B5 Belly Button Window 3:34
I played Isle of White a lot in my teens, not least becasue it was a time when I could still enjoy a good drum solo, which is not the case so much anymore, anything over 2 minutes and I tend to get a bit bored.
It was from this album that I learned to play Foxy Lady (well, I say learned, I could play the main riff and that was about it) and All Along the Watchtower which I always played in a style more akin to Hendrix than Dylan.
A1 Midnight Lightning
A2 Foxey Lady
A3 Lover Man
B2 All Along The Watchtower (Written-By – Bob Dylan)
B3 In From The Storm
I’m looking forward to putting this one on the turntable and giving it a spin after all these years just to see if the drum solo is as long as I remember it to be and whether I can resist skipping it.
[Update: The record was filthy and I had to give it a good clean, it plays lovely now. Drum solo approaching, I’m drying the dishes so I will probabaly manage to get through it!)]
[Update 2: Drum solo wasn’t very long at all, guess I was thinking of something else]
Band Of Gypys I always really enjoyed, though I’m not entirely sure why, I think it was because I’d read somewhere it was all new material with what was to be his new band, had he not died. And the article, if I’m remembering it right talked of a new direction, so I was open to that.
A1 Who Knows 9:34
A2 Machine Gun 12:38
B1 Changes 5:11
B2 Power To Love 6:55
B3 Message Of Love 5:24
B4 We Gotta Live Together 5:51
Here is an excerpt of Machine Gun
The other albums I know little about, they are:
Crash Landing (1975)
A1 Message To Love (Voice – Buddy Miles) 3:14
A2 Somewhere Over The Rainbow 3:30
A3 Crash Landing (Voice – Barbara Massey, Linda November, Vivian Cherry) 4:14
A4 Come Down Hard On Me 3:16
B1 Peace In Mississippi 4:21
B2 With The Power (Voice – Buddy Miles, Jimi Hendrix) 3:28
B3 Stone Free Again 3:25
B4 Captain Coconut (Percussion [Slinky] – Jimmy Maeulen) 4:06
Midnight Lightning (1975)
A1 Trash Man 3:16
A2 Midnight Lightning 3:52
A3 Hear My Train 5:18
A4 Gypsy Boy (New Rising Sun) 3:51
B1 Blue Suede Shoes 3:28
B2 Machine Gun 7:27
B3 Once I Had A Woman 5:44
B4 Beginnings 3:02
Nine to the Universe (1980)
A1 Nine To The Universe 8:45
A2 Jimi/Jimmy Jam 8:04
B1 Young/Hendrix 10:32
B2 Easy Blues 4:30
B3 Drone Blues 6:16
I will not be going mad and trying to collect everything ever by Hendrix as there is so much out there that it probably couldn’t be completed in a lifetime, but I will be looking out for them a bit more now, particularly War Heroes and the official albums that were relapsed while he was still alive.
One of the shelves holding my records collapsed, it was not a very strong shelf and it was holding rather a lot of albums, so it was not entirely unexpected, it was just a matter of time. Nothing fell out, the whole shelf just dropped and rested on the 7″ singles beneath, but it did mean I had to re-arrange everything and in doing so I was surprised by how many David Bowie singles I had. I knew I had several but this was more than I thought:
And in list form they are:
A Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B Because You’re Young
A Dancing In The Street (Clearmountain Mix)
B Dancing In The Street (Instrumental)
A Modern Love
B Modern Love (Live Version)
A Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
B Giorgio Moroder – Paul’s Theme (Jogging Chase)
A Fashion (Edited Version)
B Scream Like A Baby
A Ashes To Ashes
B Move On
A John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) (1975)
B John, I’m Only Dancing (1972)
A Breaking Glass
B1 Art Decade
B2 Ziggy Stardust
A Absolute Beginners
B Absolute Beginners (Dub Mix)
A Wild Is The Wind
B Golden Years
A David Bowie / Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America
B Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America (Instrumental)
A Beauty And The Beast
B Sense Of Doubt
A Blue Jean
B Dancing With The Big Boys
A China Girl – 4:11
B Shake It – 3:49
B Tumble And Twirl
A White Light/White Heat
B Cracked Actor
A Let’s Dance
B Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
Hmmmmmm, now then, what if all those lovely B-Sides were put together to form an entirely new Bowie album? Ridiculous, why would anybody do that? Why? Because I love that sort of thing that’s why.
Let’s see, some rules, if the track is both an A-side and a B-Side then choose one of the A-Sides in it’s place. If it isn’t on Spotify then it doesn’t get in and no live versions. There, enough rules, this album is going to be called:
Just add water and stir
(“I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir” – David Bowie, 1975)
Well, I reckon that’s a pretty bloody good album. Party because it makes no sense and yet, for that reason, it does.
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
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
I recently watched the Netflix series ‘The Get Down’ which is based in the South Bronx, New York in 1977 around the birth of Hip-Hop, Rap and DJ-ing. I was immediately and repeatedly struck by the inclusion of the track ‘Vitamin C’ by Can from the album Ege Bamyasi, which I think was released around 1972.
I didn’t have a copy on vinyl, although I’d heard it a lot, so last week I got one. Maybe I’ll talk about it more another time but for now I just wanted to share the track.
The Electronic/Dance section of my local record store is probably my favourite.It’s not a big section but every month or so a super cheap album by somebody I’ve never heard of will appear there and decisions will then have to be made. I’ve sometimes just bought them, sometimes streamed a bit of it to see what it is like and sometimes left it there, though sometimes I’ve picked it up weeks later anyway.
With the price of new vinyl releases being in the £15-£30 range one has to be as frugal as possible, of course some releases are must haves and so you have to pay what’s asked if you want it, but one of the great joys for me in music is discovering new things, so when I see an album with a cover I like, by an artist I’ve never heard of in the Dance/Electronic section priced at £4.00, well, I’m probably going to give it a go. This was the case with ‘II’ by ‘Gala Drop’. I had no idea what it sounded like as I couldn’t get any phone reception to stream a bit of it and took a chance on it, and I’m so glad I did.
Before I say any more, why not press play below and have a listen for yourself:
In the couple of weeks since I bought it I must have played this album 20 or more times now, vinyl and streaming combined that is, and hear things in it that were quite possibly not meant to be there but serve as bookmarks to me of what I’m hearing. I’ll explain, while it is classified as Electronic, Rock, Funk / Soul, I hear Dub, Disco, Dance hall and, most oddly perhaps, Prog Rock, the latter being long passages that remind me of King Crimson. There’s also Space Rock, Psyche and Acid Jazz, I know, it’s an odd mish mash but somehow it really works.
Gala Drop are from Lisboa, Portugal, where the album was recorded and mixed. They are:
Afonso Simões: Drums, Percussion and Synthesizers
Guilherme Gonçalves: Electric Guitar and Synthesizer
Jerry the Cat: Congas and Vocals
Nelson Gomes: Drum Machine and Synthesizers
Rui Dâmaso: Electric Bass
You And I
Let It Go
Samba Da Maconha
You may have heard of American ex-pat and veteran of the Detroit music scene Jerry The Cat who has worked everyone from Funkadelic and Parliament to Derrick May and Theo Parrish. He sings on the majority of the tracks and some of the tracks which could have turned out to just being elongated jams have more cohesion to them as a result of his contribution.
I think this album was a bargain for what I paid for it and there’s something I am unable to describe about it that strikes a chord with me, perhaps the nostalgic air of the influences I hear, perhaps not, but I do know that I like it, a lot.
The other LP I picked up in the That Special Record black Friday sale was Brannten Schnüre – Sommer Im Pfirsichhain. Before I say anything more, I have to point out that all lyrics are in German, which I don’t understand, but don’t have a problem with. I was listening to Xmal Deutschland back in the late 80’s and had no idea what they were singing about either, but it didn’t really matter to me. I also had a great love for a track by Barbara Morgenstern, ‘Die Liebe (R. Lippok: Schneekristall Mix)’ which was on the album ‘Rough Trade – Electronic Volume 1’. So this Brannten Schnüre album being in German is absolutely fine with m, sometimes it’s better not to know.
Back when the Eurovision song contest wasn’t almost entirely sung in English I used to watch it just to put the subtitles on and see the translations of the lyrics, some of them were hilarious. Take the 2001 Bosnia & Herzegovina entry ‘ Hano’:
Even if the sun came out promptly at half past two Even if from a clear sky thunderbolt struck me You wouldn’t care, you wouldn’t wink Much less when I call you, turn you head
Not picking on this song in particular, there are loads with terrible lyrics, it’s just the first one I found that I though mildly amusing. Here it is (I think) in all it’s glory ** WARNING – Catchy Chorus, you have been warned **
I’ve now wandered miles off track, so let’s get back on topic. The album was released in 2015 on Aguirre Records and is listed as Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country – Style: Experimental, Drone, Folk. Can’t really argue with that, it does sometimes reminds me of a German Cocorosie. The album was a limited run of 300, which brings me to another topic, which is valuable albums of the future. There are a number of mail order vinyl companies in existence now that create album versions specific to them or supply the lions share of limited runs and it is these that are predicted to be the albums that will carry the most value in the future, but more on that another time, I’m drifting off again.
The record label, which you can find here, had this to say about the album and the group:
Brannten Schnüre is an experimental dark folk group out of Würzburg, Germany. Christian Schoppik composed and played all the music, Katie Rich whispers, recites and sings. Together they make astoundingly beautiful folk with a rich instrumentation leaning towards the atonal spectrum. Instrumental wanderings stand alongside Nico-esque poetry tales. Christian plays the accordion and in some songs guitar and flute. Inspired by hierophants like Nový Svět and David Jackman, solemn song fragments (a lot of old greek rembetiko-recordings) are modified and looped, with additional instruments and voices being integrated later on. His music has been described as “surreal folkcollage” and “german hauntology”.
With the emergence of Schoppik’s second project, a dada cabaret called Agnes Beil in 2010, Brannten Schnüre moved closer to the song structures of its frivolous sibling. The songs of Schoppik’s latest creation Sommer im Pfirsichhain are further accompanied by a female singing voice, lending the pieces the voluptuous quality of a stickily tense midsummer. Sommer Im Pfirsichhain (Summer In The Peachgrove) is the second part of a quartet of releases. The first being Aprilnacht which got released on Sic Sic Tapes last year. Part three Geträumt hab’ ich vom Martinszug and part four will follow later.
Reference points are bands like Winter Family and Twinsistermoon. Music etched on folkloric, ritual elements transferred into the 21th century. Also worth mentioning is the hand-drawn artwork which is made by artist Gwénola Carrère.
It does have a childlike quality at times, although more on the darker side of childhood, possibly because of the atonal German it is sung/recited in but also the music itself is sparse. It’s a strange mix at times, ambient, folky, electronic, drony and, as with ‘Lichter Am Wehiher’, looped, on this occasion a looped backwards vocal that merges into a monk like chant.
To give you some idea, below are three tracks from the album. I like it’s quirkiness, it’s strangeness. This music isn’t going to go shooting up any charts, it’s not going to be super popular, but, in some ways, that enhances its value as it exists far outside popular culture in a place where few wander, but it is very much worth the discovery.
First things first, I need a vinyl storage solution. I’m currently using a two shelf unit that was in the garage for two years waiting for me to get around to taking it to the recycling centre along with a bookshelf that was fine but is now a bit knackered from the weight it’s carrying. I’m not looking at anything bespoke, that’s lovely but far too expensive so I had been looking at something from IKEA. Apparently EXPEDIT was the way to go but IKEA
stopped making that range in 2014. The replacement was KALLAX, which seems a little expensive at £40 for the one pictured. I think I’d need at least three to house the records I already have and another to be sure and for a little future space, so £16o, not a kings ransom and it will have room to put my turntable and amp on top of it. If you look at the picture below, you can see I’m struggling for space, not just for vinyl but my amp is hanging of the edge of the shelf top.
If anybody happens to now of a good cheap place to get vinyl storage in the UK then I’d be delighted to hear from you.
The second challenge I face is re-ordering all these records (in case you were wondering there’s roughly 1000). Now I know alphabetical is the most common option but I have a mix of old an new records, but also a mix of records that I like now and records that I liked years ago that I rarely listen to and I don’t want to mix the two together.
I also have a section that I’m listening to now, so a transient, ever changing shelf of records that I’m currently listening to. I like this. I sometimes flick through my records, well, I say flick, there’s not much room for that but I go through them and find something I haven’t heard for ages and it gets played and ends up on the transient shelf for a while. For the overall sorting of the records I am also conscious of genres, I have a lot of Post Rock, that would be good together, I have, amongst many genres, Electronic and Ambient, Krautrock, and Soundtracks for example, oh, and classical. Now your basic Alphabetically by band/artist name results in such travesties as Kiss sitting next to Kraftwerk (I don’t actually have any Kiss albums on vinyl but theoretically I could have) and this just won’t do. So do I put the Kraftwerk in the Krautrock section? No, because I don’t think of them as Krautrock, I think of them as Electronic. What do I do with Radiohead? I have Trip Hop, I can put Tricky, Portishead and Massive attack together for example, but where exactly do I put Bjork? For me it’s a dilemma. Soundtracks are tough too. ‘Atomic’ by Mogwai or ‘Les Revenants’ is a soundtrack, but it needs to stay with the other Mogwai albums, same with Explosions In the Sky. There must be a logical system that would satisfy my own personal and probably quite annoying requirements.
I really would like some kind of logic applied so that I can find things more easily as, at present, bands are generally lumped together, but not always. Max Richter is a good example, his reworking of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ is in with a big chunk of other Deutsche Grammophon records, but the ‘Blue Notebooks’ isn’t. It’s maddening. I need a plan, but most of all I really need to avoid becoming this guy:
Some years ago I did sell off a lot of my vinyl, as many people did at that time. I glued any covers back together, gave the record a wipe and made sure there was no dust on the covers, then I would send them out in proper mailers. I feel I did too much. I was browsing eBay earlier and, apparently, this is the correct way to treat vinyl records.
If I’d known I could have saved myself a lot of bother.
I’ve been looking at the ‘Vinyl Me, Please’ subscription service for vinyl records, which, conceptually I quite like. It takes me back to the 80/90’s when I was a member of a record club. You may remember the adverts used to appear for them pretty much everywhere in print, ‘Any 6 albums only 99p each’ that sort of thing. I couldn’t find a UK one but here’s a US equivalent (although maybe a bit earlier):
The problem with the service I was a member of was that the first 6 were what I wanted, then they’d send me 4 a month that you pretty much paid normal price for and it was a pain sending them back if you didn’t want them so I usually ended up keeping albums I didn’t really want. In fact, they were cassettes as CD players were pretty new at the time and I couldn’t afford one.
The ‘Vinyl Me, Please’ model seems to work quite well for the U.S., where it’s based but is, I think, too expensive for the U.K, it’s $399 a year, £275 (paid up front, quarterly and monthly plans are more expensive), and for that you get 12 Albums, which works out, near as damnit, at £23 per album. Not outrageously expensive based on what stores are charging, but not a saving either. You do get an art print which, I don’t think, has anything specific to do with the album you receive, and an accompanying cocktail recipe (I think, this may be something another similar service does), which is nice but I don’t see the point of it really. The benefit comes more from the the records themselves and how they differentiate themselves from what else is readily available.
This month’s ‘Record Of The Month’ is Pinkerton by Weezer, and the VMP version has the following:
Translucent blue w/ black marbling 140g vinyl
Gatefold w/ pop-out art
12×12 orginal art print by Fuco Ueda
Here it is, looking very nice:
If you like Weezer, and received this, I think it would be pretty good at £23, which includes shipping. I’ve no problem with that, but if you didn’t like Weezer? You get 4 swaps with your subscription, but I know me and I just wouldn’t get around to it and would end up with several things I probably wouldn’t want.
I think the Record Of The Month last time may have been ‘The Score’ by The Fugees, a good album, but personally I wouldn’t have been very excited to have received it as it wouldn’t be high on my shopping list in a vinyl store.
I don’t mean to sound like I have a downer on this service, I think it is great for the U.S and if I could pay the same price then I might well grab a years subscription, but it’s a bit expensive for the UK, at least I think so.