Vinyl Moon Volume 028: Long Intuition

My second album arrived from Vinyl Moon this week and it is really rather good. Before I go any further I will re-iterate that it is too expensive for a UK subscriber, there, that’s said, no need to mention it again until next time.

VINYL MOON creates an immersive music experience by curating a mix of new songs by emerging artists, pressing them on limited edition vinyl, and packaging them in original artwork record jackets. – This is true, they do, and this months is really a rather lovely thing:

Volume 28 is titled  – Long Intuition.

I don’t think I need describe it much as you can see it in the images I stole from Discogs, saves me doing it myself, but having lovely and interesting packaging is not the whole story of course, what about the music? Well, below are the first three tracks so you can have yourself a listen. I’ve played the album twice all the way through so far and I like it, some great selections.

Full Tracklist

A1 1st Vows All I Hear Is Waves
A2 Instupendo Play Palette
A3 Steven Bamidele You Can’t Put Out This Fire
A4 Jacqui Siu Fluorescent Flowers
A5 Kloyd Balearo
B1 Dr. Doctor Turbulence
B2 Moods Truth
B3 Girlhood Together
B4 Siobhan Sainte Midnight
B5 Shuhandz & High Flown Apex

If you this looks like something you may like yourself, then here’s a link VINYL MOON 

I’ve already paid for the next one but I’m going to play this one several more times before getting my expectations up for that one.

Vinyl Moon – Volume 027: Skyride

The first album received as part of a new subscription with Vinyl Moon arrived last week. I thought I’d actually give it a bit of a listen before commenting on it, that’s only fair, though the first thing that has to be mentioned is that for international subscribers it is quite expensive at $39 (which today is equivalent to £29.14).

The album arrived in a nice custom mailer and, apart from a very slight ding in one of the corners of the cover, everything was fine. I opened it all up and, just as I had expected, there had been a lot of attention to detail when creating this release. The cover was a glossy gatefold with a embossed title, inside there was a die-cut art insert along with a lyrics and info booklet. The vinyl itself was, transparent blue, or translucent marbled sky blue officially. It all looked rather nice. Here is an image swiped directly from the Vinyl Moon site due to my inherent laziness:

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Looks nice doesn’t it? It does, but the more important thing is what is actually on it, well, here is the tracklist with some of the tracks available for you to have a listen to (but not all of them as some just aren’t available online at all):

Side A

thanks. – Chacho Song
Motherhood – Save Me

Sam Frankl – Gold Rush

Strangelove – From Heights

Plastic Picnic – Bite

Side B

Glassio – Papaya
Ella Rae – Someone Else

Williott – Back of the Prius

Mørk – See You Dance

Skela – Secret

I would suspect that many of the above artists are completely unknown to most people, myself included, but that is sort of the point of the whole series. It is analogue music discovery, which is a nice idea and I do really like most of the tracks , particularly the opener by thanks. who have almost no online presence and, as far as I can tell, this track is their only release.

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I have paid for the next one, so I’ll wait and see what’s on that before deciding whether to continue with the subscription, I’d like to, it is just the cost that is putting me off. All in all pretty much a success this one, it is an interesting and different concept.

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The Retro Store – Vinyl Subscription

As a reminder, I placed my original order on 27th August, I e-mailed the company around October 15th to ask where my first package was and was advised that they are in the process of moving from what was, essentially, a bedroom business so there are inevitable delays. I then wrote again, 9th November, and was told on 11th November that they had a few issues with Royal Mail but my box is on its way to me now, if I don’t have anything by next week get in touch.

Next week came and ended and I had nothing. On the 17th November I wrote again and said “I have still not received anything. At this juncture I feel it appropriate to refund my payment and call it quits”. It had been 82 days since I placed my order.

40 minutes or so later I received a reply “All of our packages are out in the post with Royal Mail. I can have a proof of postage sent over to you tomorrow afternoon when I jump into the office. Going forward logistics will be much slicker, you’ll be happy to know!”

Actually, no not really, at this point I don’t really give a shit, and I’ll tell you why, because on the 11th November I was told my package was on its way to me, and it wasn’t, because the package, which arrived today is post marked 17th November. I have much less of an issue with the delays than being told something that isn’t true, NEVER lie to your customer, be honest always and the customer will understand. Lie to them and you’ve lost a customer.

So what was in the package? Well, the opinions below are mine alone, there is every possibility that other people will have completely opposite ones.

Hello This is……. Paul Evans

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This is the sort of album I would pick up in a £1 bin, actually, I wouldn’t pick it up, I’d flick past it in the search for something good. It doesn’t fall into any of the categories I listed as a preference. I played it, well, I streamed most of it, hate it. I remember the single ‘Hello This is Joannie’, a catchy but annoying song from 1979 that I had hoped to never have to listen to again. I have a wooden box, full of albums, this is going in there and will probably only see the light of day again if I have a sudden desire to melt albums into fruit bowls.

The single is below, don’t be fooled, repeated listening may lead you to commit terrible crimes:

 

McGuinness Flint ‎– McGuinness Flint

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McGuinness Flint was a rock band formed in 1970 by Tom McGuinness, former bassist and guitarist with Manfred Mann, and Hughie Flint, former drummer with John Mayall; plus vocalist and keyboard player Dennis Coulson, and multi-instrumentalists and singer-songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle.

It’s folk rock, I have nothing against folk rock, but this particular folk rock bored me to the point I considered pouring molten lead into my ears just for a bit of light relief. OK, that’s a bit harsh, but it is again not in one of the categories I listed as a preference, and it is, to me, quite dull and will probably join Paul Evans in the wooden box. To be entirely fair, I will listen to it a second time before deciding, but I am not hopeful.

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

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This would have been a perfectly acceptable choice had I not received a copy as part of a job lot a couple of weeks ago. It is not really in my listed preferences but I happen to like Bowie so, fine, except I already have it, now I have two.

Synopsis? Not great. 3 chances, 3 fails. I may as well have taken £15 in notes and burned them, the outcome would be just about the same. The whole thing has been a massive disappointment.

If you have an even a half decent CRM system you can load a customers entire vinyl database and ensure that you never send something they already have, it isn’t difficult and should be an option. An export from Discogs for example uploaded into a customer portal as a .csv, so it is up to the customer to keep it up to date. Now there’s an idea, if the Retro store are reading this you can have that for free. It is also vitally important to make the first order as perfect as it can be, this was a long way from that, 86 days from payment to receipt of goods and the goods were poor.

I don’t know when I will receive the next package, presumably some time around 17/12/2017, or before 15/02/2018.

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So if I tag this post on twitter will I still get a bonus item do we think?

 

 

 

Vinyl Subscription Services – The Retro Store

When vinyl subscription service That Special Record recently closed I thought I’d try another service, this time with The Retro Store. I bought a 3 month plan on 27th August 2017 and received nothing. I wrote to them a couple of weeks ago and was told that they are in the process of moving from what was, essentially, a bedroom business so there are inevitable delays.

As a customer rather than a perfectly genial chap who is prepared to be patient, this is awful, two months and nothing? Luckily I am the perfectly genial chap and my patience was rewarded on the 31st of October when I received a message that Box 1 had been shipped. It is 3 days later now and it hasn’t arrived, but at least it is on the way.

So this subscription service is for used vinyl and for £15 a month for three months you receive 3 used vinyl albums, although it has now gone up to £18. You do get to list your preferences and I am very interested to see how my preferences have been interpreted as I think I made them pretty difficult:

CULT FILM SOUNDTRACKS
AMBIENT
DRONE
ELECTRONICA
HOUSE
POST-ROCK
EXPERIMENTAL
MODERN CLASSICAL

I had meant to put DEEP HOUSE, but it’s too late now. They have example boxes on their web site (which weren’t there when I signed up, and my £45 3 month subscription is now £54) and it will be interesting to see what they make of my genre choices having seen the examples:

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I have three of the above and want only 1, none of them really fit into my requested genres though, unless you use a crowbar.

 

When it arrives I’ll let you know how delighted (though I feel it more likely to be disappointed) I am.

 

Vinyl Subscription Services

I’ve spoken before about being a member of a record club many years ago, this was for cassettes at first and then, later, CD’s. This model has been resurrected for vinyl lovers in various different flavours.  I subscribe to just the one, ‘That Special Record‘ , which I have mentioned numerous times and will again shortly, but there are several out there, so let’s have a look at them.

Wax & Stamp

Price: £26 a month

Wax & Stamp is a British subscription service that selects two records every month, one is an LP and one is a single and each week a guest selects one of them. These are selections that are outside the mainstream, as they say on their site: Wax & Stamp send out a wide range of genres, textures and styles. The only thing we shy away from is the mainstream. Every month is a surprise, as we don’t let anyone know what we’re sending out.Last month Wax & Stamp selected ALBERT / PERSON OF INTEREST -EDR002, the guest,  Martin Fitzgerald (RamAlbumClub), selected THE PARROTS – LOS NIÑOS SIN MIEDO which is a Spanish Garage Rock album.

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Here is a track from The Parrots album to give you an idea of what they sent out last time:

Flying Vinyl

Price: £20 a month, £216 a year

Another British service, but this time for exclusive 7″ singles. Focused on the Indie band end of the music spectrum, these 5 singles arrived boxed and with a booklet, explaining what’s in the box. There are alos often prints and lyric sheets included and at least one of the 7″ singles will be on coloured vinyl.

The last box sent out (October 2016 according to the web site, at the time of writing) contained the following:

Jaws – Right In Front Of Me / What We Haven’t Got Yet (On purple vinyl)
Annie Bea/DA7 – Luxury Kills / Dopamine Fiend (On colourless vinyl)
The Bay Rays – New Home / Four Walls
Swimming Tapes – Set The Fire / Souvenirs
Alex Lahey – You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me / Let’s Go Out

Jaws got the coloured vinyl treatment so, as an example, let’s have a listen to that:

Trax & Wax

Price: From £21.90 a month, £180 a year

Trax & Wax appear to be for lovers of the 12″ single which they offer in 5 different box options, Trax & Wax, Disco, Old School, Nu Skool and Techno boxes. You have a choice of 2 or 4 12″ in a box which depends on how much you are willing to pay, the standard 2 is the £21.90 option. As far as I can see you can change which box you wish to receive month on month, oh, and they are also British. Below is a selection of tracks they’ve listed as being in the boxes recently.

Vinyl Me, Please

Price per month: $23 (month-to-month), $25 (3-month) or $27 (annual)

This is probably the best known service of all of them. Vinyl Me Please delivers a surprise album every month and are focused on the deluxe re-issue aspect of the market, providing a piece of art and a cocktail recipie with every album (Nope, I have no idea why anybody would want a cocktail recipie but I guess some do). It appears that they are now 47 records in, and there are some there I’d like for sure, but some I would have no interest in at all. I guess that’s to be expected though. The latest issue, No.47 is The Books – The Lemon Of Pink, originally released in 2003, and it is a very desirable looking thing:

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Here is the track ‘Tokyo’ taken from this album:

Side note: they are actually on No.48 which is Nina Simone – Sings The Blues

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Price per month: $39 (month-to-month), $37 (3-month) or $35 (annual)

The above prices may seem quite steep compared to the others but this service offers 3 LP’s a month for that price based on what you like. You select a #vibe, which I assume is then based on your pre-specified music tastes and you receive records that are broadly within that category. They also do their own branded turntable and have a physical store (it’s in Santa Barbara, California. For people outside the U.S.A you will have to pay postage.

Vinyl Moon

Price per month: $30 (month-to-month), $29 (3-month), $28 (6 Month) or $27 (annual)

Vinyl Moon offers a rather different service by creating a compilation LP of 10 tracks every month. This is what they say is included as part of the package:

  • A compilation/mixtape of ~10 songs by great new bands/musicians.
  • Pressed on gorgeous colored vinyl.
  • Ultra premium record jackets designed by amazing visual artists.
  • A gatefold art sheet that features band info, lyrics, and single artwork for each track.
  • A members-only note about the music, art, and that month’s experience.
  • VIP access to the monthly record release party (Held in different cities)

Each monthly volume has a limited pressing, which must depend on the number of subscribers, so membership is, presumably, closely managed. The last volume to be shipped out contained the tracks below:

Volume 14:
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Side A

  1. Everything Is Green – “Drip Dry”
  2. Mallrat – “For Real”
  3. BF/C – “Temple”
  4. Pleasure Principle – “Let Me Hear It”
  5. PAIDEIA – “Restless Child”

Side B

  1. Arthur Wimble – “Hearts”
  2. Noble Oak – “All I Said”
  3. beGun – “NARI”
  4. Vimes – “Rudal”

 

Numero Group Project 12

Price: From £100 – £375

This is an interesting idea, which will be explained directly by the text from their website:

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These records won’t be available in stores and they won’t be repressed. We’re not issuing them on CD and the only way you can buy them is by joining the club. And that club? It’s limited to just a thousand members.

For listeners of a certain age, the recent news that Columbia House was at last filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was met with a mixture of amusement and sadness. Columbia House thrived in a now-vanished monoculture of limited choices, offering seven (or eight or twelve or twenty) albums for a penny and following up with poorly designed full color catalogs full of a few hits and a lot of misses. Once hooked, a game began in which the warehouse would dispatch a record or tape each month—a surprise, almost always something unwanted— forcing the “club” member to choose between paying up or sending the thing back. And as crazy as it seems now, if you were from Terre Haute, Indiana, or Billings, Montana, this is probably how you got your music.

The 21st century is defined in part by an overwhelming panorama of choices. Especially in the world of recorded music, of which the near-complete history is available in two or three clicks. Want to hear Carly Rae Jepson’s Emotion? Or Ray Charles’ complete Atlantic recordings? You can, and you should. But the question remains—how will you find out about Jimmy Carter & the Dallas County Green’s undeniable 1977 private country-rock masterpiece? And how will you experience it with something resembling the sense of excitement that accompanied those seven Columbia House selections for a penny, the ones you actually wanted? Isn’t the predictability of unlimited choice part of what’s turning us all into such jaded monsters? In a world of unlimited access, we’re exercising some small degree of restraint. Like some poor kid stuck in 1991, we want you waiting by your mailbox. We want you to love every record so much that you keep the custom box it came in.

It’s cheaper in the US and about 50% more for outside the US, so 12 albums would cost you $150 in the UK (or $375 (rather than $450)if you signed up for all three series)

 

That Special Record

Price: From €28 per month with discounts for 3 Months etc.

OK, so this is my faviourite, which is fairly obvious as it’s the one I subscribe to on the 1 LP a month plan. I did look at most of the other services but this just suited me more than the rest and I can’t fault the service I have received from them. Although I have had major concerns about the records I’ve received before actually listening to them, they’ve all always turned out to be something that I liked (Which is a surprise in itself as I’d never heard of any of them). Miguel does a great job over there in Portugal and sometimes offers a more personal touch with a handwritten note or even a free 12″ included. I’ve been a subscriber for 6 months now and at no point have I considered cancelling my subscription, the surprise element of what will be in that months package is really rather fun and I do look forward to it arriving every month. I’ve also recently bought some LP’s from the store as That Special Record is most aligned among all the subscription services with what I am looking for.

As Miguel says: “That Special Record is here to help you discover the best outsider electronic music that’s currently being released on vinyl. I’m a record collector…literally obsessed with weird, obscure, interesting, outsider electronic music so I won’t sell you any records I wouldn’t buy myself. Less is more, that’s why our selection is small but carefully curated.

I also received an album by ‘Unearth Noise’ called ‘Prayer and Resonanace’ which has one of my faviourite cover images ever, so much so that it is in a frame on the wall above my turntable.

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There is also:

The Third Man Records Vault

Price per quarter: $60 for Platinum, $20 for Gold

Mississippi Records’ Community Supported Records

Price: Between $68 and $300

Did I miss some? Let me know and I’ll add them

4 Albums: Number 1

Today I played a triumvirate of records (Except that means three, I don’t know what the equivalent word for four is, hang on, let’s check the internet…………it’s Quadrumvirate, there, I learned something new) and the next four posts here will be about them. Here comes the first record of the four that I played.

This week I received my second album from ‘That Special Record’. (Here is the first one I received just in case you wanted to have look). This month I received a copy of ‘6’ by ‘FP-Oner’ who, I am reliably informed is a chap called Fred Peterkin from the US who is a New York Producer/DJ (Aliases include: Black Jazz Consortium, The Incredible Adventures Of Captain P, Anomaly, Fred P Reshape, FP197 & FP – ONER). I am also informed that the genre is Deep House. Now I really can’t tell my deep house from my shallow bungalow but I do know what I like, and I like this.

Wiki has this to say about what Deep House actually is: Deep house is a subgenre of house music that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. Deep house tracks generally have a tempo of between 120 and 125 beats per minute. This style of house music can often have an acoustic feeling.

Now I do appreciate that the above may lead to further searches for what the House is and what differentiates it from Chicago House and then that will lead to somewhere else, so let’s not do that. Let’s just look at the album that arrived as part of my subscription:

FP-Oner - 6

Artist: FP-Oner
Title: 6
Label: Mule Musiq
Format: 180g 2 LP black vinyl
Track List:
1. Awakening Co-creator
2. Kundalini Rising
3. Decalcified
4. New Life Form
5. Learning Process
6. Adjusted Perception
7. Gather Strength
8. Alternate Reality
9. Reap Love


10. Things To Come
11. Vision In Osaka

I do like Ambient, instrumentals and soundtracks and, to my ears, this album falls comfortably somewhere withing these categories but is much more upbeat than many currently in my collection, which makes it a welcome addition. In everything I’ve read this album is categorised as dance music, and I can see it working brilliantly in a club, but I’m not in a club, i’m in my dining room in a comfy chair, and yet it still works in this environment.

The official blurb has this to say: “6 represents the number of man and his or her limitations, weakness and imperfections. This body of work examines and looks towards one awakening; adapting to a new way of being, creating an alternative and reaping a higher state of mind and being, enhanced by love and serenity, satisfaction and joy.

Having investigated this album would appear to be the second part of a trilogy, that began with ‘5’ and will presumably end with ‘7’. I’m tempted to get them both, going back to get ‘5’ and waiting for the release of ‘7’.

If you would care to see and hear a clip of the album playing on my turntable you can do so by following this link to the Instagram video: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHKvmEEhidg/

The first album I received from That Special Record I as lukewarm about, but this one really is much more to my liking and I can see it getting repeated spins on the turntable. I would recommend pressing play on that video above and having a listen to the track there.

The packaging by TSR was again excellent and the record arrived in perfect condition and the little postcard is always a nice touch as is the plastic cover. I’m very much looking forward to what will arrive in July and am tempted, but can’t afford, to update my subscription to include a 12″ single.

That Special Record

Having looked around for a vinyl subscription service and not had any luck finding one that I thought would suit me, I stumbled across, That Special Record who might well be just what I was looking for. My musical tastes are quite eclectic but I have a penchant for electronic, instrumental and ambient music, which this subscription service seems to cater for quite well.

They are based in Portugal but shipping is included and the 1 LP a month works out at £22.00, roughly what a new vinyl album costs + a bit to cover shipping, say £3.00 of it. What is more intriguing to me though is the surprise that it will be. I like the fact that what I receive I will never have heard of and that there is an opportunity to discover something wonderful. Conversely, I may hate everything I’m sent, but I think it’s worth the risk.

There are a few option available, you can sign up for 1, 3 or 6 months, the monthly cost decreasing the longer your term, although it is all paid up front, so 6 lps over 6 months will be a single payment of around £110, which renews with another single payment after the 6 months is up. There is also the option to subscribe to 1 LP and 1 EP, over the same periods at a higher cost to include the EP. I’ve gone for 1 month, to see how I like it, as I can cancel at any time that way without any up front outlay.

The releases from the last 3 months have been (just the albums not the EP’s):

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Icarus Records

Kevin Verwijmeren – Those Glorious Heights LP / Ambient music to travel deep into lost memories and accept the dark side of life.


 

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Black Sweat Records

Ariel Kalma– Interfrequence LP / Beautiful ambient space library record from the 1980’s, now finally reissued by Black Sweat Records


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Where To Now?

Ketev – Traces of Weakness LP / Hypnotising ambientish techno LP


They’ve been operating for over a year and a full list of everything they’ve issued is available at the site. I find the above intriguing and am quite prepared to give whatever turns up in the mail a fair listen.

“Most of our picks are records limited to 150-400 copies or under the radar records we believe are essential to any record collection. Sometimes, whenever possible, we send our members records pressed exclusively to That Special Record. Our boxes also regularly include stickers from the record labels we work with and a personal postcard with liner notes.”

I’ll update again when I’ve received a record.

Vinyl Me Please

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):

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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
  • Lyric sheet
  • 12×12 orginal art print by Fuco Ueda

Here it is, looking very nice:

pinkerton

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.

The site is here if you’d like to have a look at it: http://vinylmeplease.com/

There are some European versions that do a similar thing, although a little more niche.

http://www.thatspecialrecord.com/
http://waxandstamp.com/
https://www.flyingvinyl.co.uk

I don’t believe I’ve found one that I’m going to join as yet, but I won’t rule it out.