Vinyl love: Lush “Gala”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Lush
Album Title: Gala
Year released: 1990
Year reissued: 2016
Details: translucent vinyl, disc one in limited Origami box set, Record Store Day 2016 release, limited to 2000

The skinny: This year’s Record Store Day was scuppered back in April for obvious reasons and the Plan B was to split the usual special releases between 3 separate ‘drops’ at the end of August, September, and October. I wasn’t able to make it to any of my local shops for the August drop but hope to get out in a couple of weeks for September’s drop. In the meantime, I thought I’d share this, the first in a five part series on the Lush box set, “Origami”, that 4AD put out for Record Store Day 2016. This set includes a reissue pressing on coloured vinyl of each of Lush’s twelve inch releases. Disc one is “Gala”, a compilation 4AD originally put out as an intro to the band in the US, gathering together material already available in the UK from the band’s first bunch of EPs and a couple of rarities. The track below is one of my all time favourites from the comp and really, by the band, and appeared at number 8 on my Best Tunes of 1990 list.

Standout track: “De-Luxe”

Vinyl love: Depeche Mode “Violator”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Depeche Mode
Album Title: Violator
Year released: 1990
Year reissued: 2014
Details: 180 gram, gatefold

The skinny: A couple of weekends ago, I started spinning some Depeche Mode and sharing snaps of the few albums I own of theirs in my vinyl collection (yeah, I need few more), all in a bid to stir up the creative juices and finish my Top Five Tunes post that featured their best tunes of the 90s. Well, it worked. I posted that on Friday and if you’ve read it, you’d know that 60% of the songs on that list come from this very album (and the song below wasn’t even one of them). To say that “Violator” is my favourite Depeche Mode album is an understatement. Isn’t it everyone’s? Nine tracks and each one is incredible. Not a skippable track in the bunch. One of many reasons why it was a must for my vinyl collection when I first started collecting again. And this 180 gram reissue sounds perfect. That’s all there is to it. It’s perfection.

Standout track: World in my eyes”

Best tunes of 1990: #30 The Northern Pikes “She ain’t pretty”

#29 >>

We start off this list with one of the handful of songs that I can say with certainty were being listened to by these ears of mine back in 1990. I can blame the Canadian Content radio rules for the overplaying of this track so that it caught my notice, but blame also belongs to a certain high school friend named Brian, who would eventually make me a cassette tape copy of the album on which this song appears, a copy I still have to this day.

For those of you reading this from outside of Canada and who might never have heard of this group, The Northern Pikes were formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1984 as a quartet and were headed by principal songwriters and singer/guitarists, Jay Semko and Bryan Potvin. The band released four albums on Virgin Records Canada before breaking up in 1993, citing exhaustion as a reason for their dissolution. They later reformed in 1999 to help their label put together a greatest hits collection and then, to tour in support of said compilation. The success of that original reunion tour and the new passion that resulted saw the band release two more albums and they still exist today as a trio.

“She ain’t pretty” is the band’s best known song from their best-selling third album, “Snow in June”. Notice, however, I didn’t say it was their best song. I’m not even sure it’s the best song on that album but it was definitely the song that drew me in originally. That and its cultural significance for Canadian rock and its popularity are good enough reasons to me for the song to win out over any of the other great, and perhaps, deeper tracks on the album and earn on a spot on this list.

Written by Bryan Potvin, “She ain’t pretty” tells the sad, sordid tale of a Joe Normal dude who meets and becomes infatuated with a physically attractive woman but who turns out to be quite a horrible person – a “model from Hell”. Listening back to it now, the blues rock and rockabilly swagger has a timeless quality, even though Potvin’s raw vocals has a definite eighties edge to them. But really, the story seems to lack credibility. Why would such a woman who wore a mink even bother condescending to a date with a jeans wearing, dish washing, musician hack? This is a question that never occurred me back in the day. Instead, I was enamoured with witty lines like: “Her ego wrote checks incredibly fast but her personality didn’t have the cash”. Even still, it’s a fun track that never fails to bring a smile whenever it pops up.

Finally, I just want to give additional props to the creators of the music video for the song, whoever they were, because it was and still is quite entertaining and incidentally, it was nominated for a Juno for its innovative use of claymation morphing techniques.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1990 list, click here.