Vinyl – Enough Said!

28 04 2015
Rega RP1 Turntable

My new Rega RP1 Turntable


I was 36 last week and with that in mind and after much discussion and procrastination with my wife about the relative merits of going back to a turntable she bit the bullet and bought me one!

So I am now the seriously proud owner of the Rega RP1, as pictured, what a piece of equipment, and what a sound – I had genuinely forgotten the warmth and range that vinyl offers.

I had an old Garrard about 12 years ago but had gotten rid of it when we moved house along with the majority of my vinyl, I have been undergoing a musical renaissance of late and really just fancied it again. The Rega is bloody easy to set up pretty much plug and play. Not only was it easy to set up but is simple to use and more importantly (not really but to some maybe!) is great to look at with really modern styling.

Currently I own 6 pieces of vinyl so I know for a fact I am going to be off record hunting this weekend to see if I can add a few bits and pieces.

The best thing I own so far is Valtari by Sigur Ros and that is a delight, something I really want though is the latest Godspeed You! Black Emperor offering but I may need to save a few pennies first.

Buying records in their physical form has undergone a resurgence in the UK, I have probably gone on about this numerous times previously on this blog but I still buy CDs (yes god damn it they still exist!), most of my collection is in this digitally recorded format, and I will continue to buy in this way until I physically can’t anymore. Vinyl is different though it is not for everyday listening. I know that sounds kind of stupid but what I mean is that vinyl is special, it takes effort to listen to music in this way, but with it comes feel, texture, smell and the delight of gently handling that piece of plastic before placing it in the spindle. That experience is why I will be switching and buying certain key albums in vinyl, those albums that will either sound great or are intensely personal to me.

What would you recommend?


I’m Changed by Code Murasaki on SoundCloud

12 10 2014

Really awesome track used as the closing credits to the second season of House of Lies

Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater Live [VIDEO]

23 03 2014

Came across this video on YouTube this morning of Jonathan Meiburg of the band Shearwater performing a live radio performance on KEXP in Seattle. It’s a precursor to the bands album of cover songs called Fellow Travelers and the performance is just breathtaking, totally chilled Sunday morning listening.

I love this intimate style performance and actually wish bands and artists would release some of this material in EP or even full length format I would simply just grab it with both hands. I think the appeal comes from the rawness of the sound, you get to really hear the musicianship and the quality of a vocal, a lot of music today is far too overproduced in my opinion.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

An Album a Day: #7 Undertow

20 03 2013

Tool | UndertowI only got into Tool in the middle of last year when coming across the Sober video on Youtube, not even sure how I got there but that’s the benefit of the social web I suppose, we stumble across things on a limitless basis.

Don’t know whether it’s weird or just co-incidental but it’s also a debut album released in 1993 like that of my previous post!

However, other than the release year and the fact that it is a debut album, that is where the similarities end as the sound is far more alternative and progressive, but in the 90’s metal sense rather than the 70’s/80’s rock if you get my thought train?

It’s a cognizant album with many social issues, like drug addiction (seems to be a favourite of rock bands but then I suppose it goes with the territory), tackled in the content through the lyrics and vocals of Maynard James Keenan.

Personally I think he is a great singer and the band are well organised and know how to put across anger at the same time as creating great licks and riffs.

It’s the kind of album I put on when I have a bit of aggression to get rid of.

Album Score: 8 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 7 out of 10

Good album artwork really love the internal B&W photography but lacks lyrics which as you will know by now is a real bugbear of mine!

Track Listing:

  1. Intolerance
  2. Prison Sex
  3. Sober
  4. Bottom
  5. Crawl Away
  6. Swamp Song
  7. Undertow
  8. Flood
  9. Disgustipated

Favourite Track: Sober

Tomorrow’s Review: Much Against Everyones Advice – Soulwax

Next Selection: Truth be Told – Shed Seven

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.

An Album a Day: #6 Tuesday Night Music Club

20 03 2013

Sheryl Crow | Tuesday Night Music ClubShe has always been hot right? Personally I think she has got hotter as she has got older but that’s maybe as I’ve also got older. There is also something very appealing about a hot girl that can also play guitar – am I wrong? Tuesday Night Music Club was of course Sheryl Crow’s debut album and you can see from the album cover that this is a very young Sheryl Crow.

I will also make a small confession now as this post was supposed to happen yesterday but work commitments got the better of me so I am doubling up tonight.

It’s a solid album and very reflective of it’s era of the early 1990’s, the sound is something I would simply describe as soft rock but is often pigeon-holed as pop rock or country rock, for me there is not as much a country influence as in one of my previous posts, The Jayhawks, and I would say that Sheryl is much more effective in her song writing and delivery with a more rounded sound that is not afraid to try something different like in Solidify which has a sound and tempo very reminiscent of funk.

A couple of very famous tracks were born out of this album with Run, Baby, Run and All I Wanna Do gaining a lot of radio airplay and were more the Sheryl Crow sound that we grew to love.

A good solid album with some excellent tracks that really gives a picture of the early 1990’s and where fashion and style were going.

Album Score: 7 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 7 out of 10

Really good sleeve (internally) not so sure about the photo of Sheryl on the front though, very late 80’s in it’s styling! All the lyrics re-produced which is always a bonus.

Track Listing:

  1. Run, Baby, Run
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Strong Enough
  4. Can’t Cry Anymore
  5. Solidify
  6. The Na-Na Song
  7. No One Said It Would Be Easy
  8. What I Can Do For You
  9. All I Wanna Do
  10. We Do What We Can
  11. I Shall Believe

Favourite Track: Run, Baby, Run

Tomorrow’s Review: Undertow – Tool

Next Selection: Much Against Everyones Advice – Soulwax

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.

An Album a Day: #5 The Bends

18 03 2013

Radiohead - The BendsWow, what is there to say about this album that has not already been said? Not a lot in fairness. I remember where I was when I first heard it, I suppose that is something new?

I was working in a convenience store back in my home town and I used to work the really early Sunday morning shift to get all the newspapers ready. As the store was not officially open at that time of the day a colleague and myself always used to listen to a few CD’s, it was he that provided Radiohead. It was the first time I had heard them and instantly I got it, it seemed to hit a chord or nerve within me that has never since dissolved.

Songs of such brilliance and varying sounds around that guitar rock theme, Planet Telex is in my opinion one of the best opening tracks of all time, that almost electronic wind sound before the chords and the bass kick in is just sublime and seriously sets you up for the journey through this album.

It really is a journey and I find it hard to even find a weak track on the whole album. Each song presenting some deep set anger through the aural bliss of five very tight musicians that really know how to layer sound. Yes some of this comes in production but it has to ultimately come from the artist.

It is an album that shows some of the raw youth of Pablo Honey but shows a band that have performed together for a few years and have added a certain level of maturity to their sound, that rawness is still evident in Just, Bones and My Iron Lung but the sophistication comes across in The Bends and Fake Plastic Trees.

It seems a contradiction but there is also an edginess and gentle caress of naivety in tracks like [nice dream], bullet proof and of course Street Spirit but I think that this is more of a constructed naivety, a sound that the band was trying to create rather than genuine innocence in the music.

It has been a real pleasure writing about one of my all time favourite albums and it is still a CD that garners a huge amount of hours of use in my house and along with OK Computer drew myself and my now wife together back in the early 2000’s. That shared understanding of what Radiohead really means.

Album Score: 10 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 9 out of 10

Excellent sleeve with all of the lyrics reproduced and with a real ‘angsty’ styling to the artwork, as I said I really did get it and still haven’t stopped getting it!.

Track Listing:

  1. Planet Telex
  2. The Bends
  3. High and Dry
  4. Fake Plastic Trees
  5. Bones
  6. (Nice Dream)
  7. Just
  8. My Iron Lung
  9. Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was
  10. Black Star
  11. Sulk
  12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Favourite Track: Just

Tomorrow’s Review: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow

Next Selection: Undertow – Tool

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.

An Album a Day: #4 Hollywood Town Hall

17 03 2013

The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town HallI got into Alt County in the late 90’s early 2000’s with bands like Giantsand and Lambchop, so this is how I came across The Jayhawks. Although not typically Alt country in their sound, Country Rock would be the more appropriate term, there is some similarity.

This album, originally released in 1992, was the bands 3rd full length album release and their first on the major Def American label.

There is a huge country influence on the album – obviously! – and this provides the band with their bread and butter sound, the harmonised vocals between Mark Olsen and Gary Louris is typical of the way the Jayhawks work. This is evidenced on tracks such as Clouds and Crowded in the Wings.

The album has some hints of later artists like Counting Crows and Hootie and the Blowfish but especially in the case of Counting Crows, The Jayhawks of a much more guitar-centric sound. Olsen and Louris mix the acoustic and electric sounds very nicely and the addition of organ and piano on Two Angels and Martins Song adds a much more rounded sound.

Country Rock can at times, in my opinion of course, come across quite cheesy and repetitive and on this album although tracks are similar there is a lot more depth to the recordings and the musical process. It is quite simply very easy to listen to and no doubt appeals more to a US audience than a European one.

There is nothing wrong with the album and the band are all very accomplished musicians but for me I have to look at what I continually go back to and listen to over and over again, categorically this is not one of those albums. Now whilst I am trying to review things objectively in this blogging process my taste always has to influence me, I have to be glaringly honest otherwise what is the point and ultimately it’s my blog!

Think more “Eagles” of the Hotel California ilk than anything refreshingly new.

Album Score: 7 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 8 out of 10

The album sleeve is very good with some fantastic black and white photos of the band by Andrew Catlin, there is also a nice written piece by Joe Henry which shifts from the norm.

Track Listing:

  1. Waiting for the Sun
  2. Crowded in the Wings
  3. Clouds
  4. Two Angels
  5. Take Me with You (When You Go)
  6. Sister Cry
  7. Settled Down Like Rain
  8. Wichita
  9. Nevada, California
  10. Martin’s Song
  11. Leave No Gold [Bonus track on European CD]

Favourite Track: Crowded in the Wings

Tomorrow’s Review: The Bends – Radiohead

Next Selection: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.

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