The Vinyl Fix: April 2014
It's that time of year again: the newspapers are full of 'I remember my first record!' articles and your Twitter feed is nothing but photos of queues of young men with beards taken at six o'clock in the morning. If it's April, then Record Store Day must be almost upon us and if you like vinyl, you'll have an opinion on this now-regular aspect of the industry calendar.
You'll be able to get your fill of RSD articles (most of which will be the same as last year's) elsewhere this weekend, but until then, let's see how we've been getting our Vinyl Fix recently at TMF Towers.
Score! Digging For Records in ... Stirling
Me and Europa Records go back a long way. More than 20 years anyway - it's best not to ponder too long on these things. Visits are irregular now, but it's always heartening to turn onto Friars Street and see it still there, having survived the worst ravages of the record shop downturn. A university town (and now officially a city), Stirling used to support a now long-gone branch of Fopp, but still supports an HMV alongside Europa, meaning residents and visitors are pretty well served musically.
I seem to recall Europa only doing second-hand stuff back in the day, but the front shop now carries a solid selection of new and used CDs and vinyl, with a smattering of DVDs, music books and other memorabilia. Pricing is fair and there's enough stock to keep most punters happy for an hour or so, but Europa's biggest claim to fame is what can only be described as the shed of vinyl out the back, which claims to be the biggest selection in the central belt.
It's maybe a Scottish peculiarity, but as we noted last time, overstocking is a real issue north of the border. The piles - and piles - of unsorted vinyl, 7"s, 12" and albums actually works against making a sale. Even hardened rummagers will weary of flicking through all the crap in the hope of happening over something interesting. The downsides are obvious: uncared-for stock just becomes ever more tatty, and the chances of it eventually selling seem ever more remote. Just hire a skip, guys - and dump all those knackered copies of 'The Chicken Song' or whatever.
But - and there is always a but - the sorted stock is definitely worth persisting with. If you can't find something you want, you're simply being picky. And so, we emerge, with some Welsh indie pop (Darling Buds) and Scottish goths-turned-hair metal (Balaam & The Angel) under our arm, plenty of change from a tenner and a determination to return before too many more years pass.
News and future releases
The The re-release their debut album, Soul Mining on 30th June through Sony Music. Re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Matt Johnson, the album comes in a 12” box as an authentic reproduction of the 1983 release on 180g vinyl, alongside an extra 12” gatefold vinyl of alternative versions and remixes.
The re-mastered audio has been dubbed from original vinyl pressings recorded from Johnson’s original 1982 Thorens TD-147 player using patent ‘Dubbed-From-Disc’ technology, obtainable via a download code contained within the boxset. The set also includes a unique ‘news-poster’ containing extensive notes written by Johnson that detail the making of the album.
American Football have re-released their self-titled album in a 2000-copy 2xLP set on 180g Green/Yellow Vinyl exclusive to the Polyvinyl webstore. An unlimited 180g red vinyl, 2xCD and cassette are also available. The second disc contains a variety of previously unreleased tracks:
10. Intro [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]
11. Five Silent Miles [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]
12. Untitled #1 (The One With the Trumpet) [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
13. Untitled #2 [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
14. Stay Home [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
15. Untitled #3 [Boombox Practice Session, 1999]
16. Never Meant [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
17. But the Regrets Are Killing Me [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
18. I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
19. The 7's [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]
Peaceville Records have an exclusive Katatonia 12” lined up Record Store Day. Kocytean features six tracks, containing rarities from the Swedish band’s more recent period of recorded output.
Pins release re-recorded, re-mastered versions of 'Shoot You' and 'Eleventh Hour' for Record Store Day. Only 500 copies of the heart-shaped vinyl have been pressed.
60s art-pop mod types The Creation have a limited edition singles box set release scheduled for Record Store Day. It features eleven 7”s in picture sleeves, 24-page booklet of unseen photos, memorabilia and essays plus collectable photo cards and a download card featuring all the audio content plus a bonus track.
Napalm Death released a 12" EP, Our Pain Is Their Power on 10th April to mark their appearance at Roadburn Festival. Only 500 copies were pressed.
1. Persona Non Grata
2. Smear Campaign
3. Atheist Runt
2. Our Pain Is Their Powe
3. Weltschmerz (Extended Apocalyptic Power)
Relapse’s reissue campaign of the Death catalogue continues with Leprosy from 1988. Released in the UK on 28th April, the album will be released in a variety of formats, including LP, picture disc LP and 500 copy vinyl box set. The latter includes the remastered core Leprosy album on exclusive colored vinyl; a 2nd LP containing unreleased rehearsal material from the recording sessions housed in an exclusive jacket with original flyer art on exclusive colored vinyl; an exact replica of the original Combat newspaper print LP insert, a Leprosy turntable slipmat, and a download card of all three discs.
Staying with Relapse, they re-issue three long out-of-print LPs from Portland, OR's thrash metal outfit Toxic Holocaust. The albums Evil Never Dies, Hell on Earth and An Overdose of Death will all be available on deluxe vinyl on 15th April.
Last time, we warned you off counterfeit records, knock offs of rare (although not always) records designed to mislead the unwary punter into parting with their dosh. So it seems rather hypocritical to be recommending a shonky re-press of the infamous Los Exitos dos Sex Pistols by Los Punk Rockers, the mysterious Spanish album from 1978 which covers the entirety of Never Mind The Bollocks in its own peculiar style.
No-one really knows much about this history of the record. A few sources repeat the story that the label wanted to licence Bollocks for the Spanish market; not wanting to pay the necessary fees, they instead roped a bunch of local musicians into re-recording the whole thing note for note. This theory overlooks the fact that Virgin had already issued the album in Spain in 1977, negating the need for a local issue, so it seems more likely to have been made for the cheap 'covers' market - like all the Top of the Pops albums we had in the UK.
Whatever the reality, we've been left with an eminently strange record that has its own sense of snotty character. It's rough and ready (sonically it's more first album Clash than the multi-track original) yet competent musically. What sets it apart are the vocals, a manic, almost hysterical performance by someone who only has a vague grasp of phonetic English. Wouldn't the world be a different place if the lyrics really were "We're so pretty, oh so pretty, we will cart her!"? Not the kitsch classic it's sometimes described as, consider it more a missive from an alternate punk planet - and an essential listen for anyone interested in the period.
Punk rock of a more authentic variety arrives in the second part of an ongoing Bikini Kill re-issue series. With the catalogue now back in the hands of the band, 1993's Yeah Yeah Yeah is re-jigged on account of the unavailability of the Huggy Bear tracks that originally made up the flip side. YYY was BK at their most fundamental; recorded on a 4-track, it was the likes of 'Don't Need You' and the thrilling 'Jigsaw Youth' that confirmed their capacity for sheer punk energy, while 'Rebel Girl' (which they would re-record two more times) became not just a band anthem, but a rallying cry for an entire movement.
This new edition comes with seven previously unreleased tracks drawn from practice sessions and live shows. When Nirvana issued Incesticide to combat bootlegs of rare material, you got a sense of an edgier, more experimental act that became suffocated under the gaze of mainstream attention. These 'new' tracks do a similar job for Bikini Kill, highlighting the band's roots in spoken word performance and pre-grunge noise. There may not be another 'Rebel Girl' hidden in here, but in the likes of 'I Busted In Your Chevy Window' you get more than a sense of the righteous fury that would drive Riot Grrrl over the next few years.