Vinyl love (revisited): The Decemberists “Picaresque”

(I started my Vinyl Love posts pretty much right after the launch of this blog to share photos of my growing vinyl collection. Over time, the photos have improved and the explanations have grown. And looking back at a handful of the original posts in this series, I found myself wanting to re-do some of them so that the posts are more worthy of those great albums. So that’s what I’ll be doing every once in a while, including today…)

Artist: The Decemberists
Album Title: Picaresque
Year released: 2005
Year reissued: 2015
Details: Gatefold sleeve, 2 x 180 gram, Red translucent vinyl, 10th anniversary, Limited edition, side ‘D’ includes “Picaresqueties EP”, Record Store Day 2015 exclusive, coloured booklet, postcards

The skinny: On Saturday April 18, 2015, I ventured downtown early in the morning and lined up in front of Vertigo Records at their old location on Rideau Street. It was probably the first and last time I ever got myself out of bed early for Record Store Day and incidentally, it was (I think) the last time that Vertigo participated in the RSD festivities. I met my friend Jennifer in line and we passed the time in conversation, waiting for the store to open, for our turn to enter, and to locate the RSD exclusives on our respective wish lists. As luck would have it, the store still had enough copies of this special edition, 10th anniversary pressing of The Decemberists’ third album, “Picaresque”, for both of us, so we both went home happy. This album is not only my favourite by the band but also perhaps one of my favourites of all time. Why? A title taken from a style of fiction writing. Fun hummable songs with diverse sounds. The same literate songwriting we’d come to expect from their first two albums. Stories ranging from failed high school sports careers, romantic trysts with spies, star-crossed lovers, and of course, a vengeance that is finally taken within the belly of a whale. And this reissue is an example of how they all should be done, coloured 180 gram vinyl, including a bonus EP filled with rarities, a full colour booklet, and really, just plenty of extra stuff. This is a treasure.

Standout track: “The mariner’s revenge song”


Vinyl love: Mew “And the glass handed kites”

(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: Mew
Album Title: And the glass handed kites
Year released: 2005
Year reissued: 2020
Details: 2 x 180 gram, black and white marbled vinyl, Limited, Numbered 1450/2500, 15th anniversary expanded, RSD 2020 drop 2

The skinny: So here’s one of the four Record Store Day exclusive releases I managed to pick up from this year’s offerings. This 15th anniversary expanded edition of Mew’s fourth album and undisputed masterpiece, “And the glass handed kites”, was released by Music on Vinyl on the second (September) of the three ‘drops’ this year. The record is pressed onto two 180-gram slabs of white and black marbled vinyl, the second disc being of b-sides and alternate versions of the studio album’s tracks, and it includes a lovely 12-page booklet, as pictured above. This album was my introduction to the Danish band and what an introduction it was. An epic and big sound, songs that ebb and flow into each other, creating a sonic dreamscape that would fit snugly in the same solar system as Spiritualized, Ride, and Sigur Ros. Beautiful stuff and this pressing sounds just amazing, well worth the money.

Standout track: “Why are you looking grave?”