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Vinyl

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”

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Vinyl

Vinyl love: The Cranberries “No need to argue”

(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: The Cranberries
Album Title: No need to argue
Year released: 1994
Year reissued: 2020
Details: 2 x LP, 25th anniversary, limited edition, clear vinyl, gatefold sleeve, essay printed on inner sleeves, bonus tracks

The skinny: I’d been wanting to add this record to my collection for many years now but the only pressing that seemed to be readily available was the one by Plain Records that by all accounts, is subpar at best. Then, The Cranberries’ debut album, “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?“, was reissued in 2018 for its 25th anniversary (which I bought) and so I figured if I could just be patient, a 25th anniversary reissue of “No need to argue” would soon follow. And this release is definitely worth waiting for. The sound and the packaging is impeccable, the album proper pressed across three sides and some bonus tracks included on the fourth side. My wife Victoria and I were both fans of the album back when it was originally released. Of course, we were both quite young back then and were still getting to know each other but we had this album in common. When I lost interest after “No need to argue”, Victoria continued to follow them. However, she’s yet to listen to the record with me since I got it last fall because she is haunted by how frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan passed a couple years ago. But maybe soon…

Standout track: “I can’t be with you”

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Vinyl

Vinyl love: Secret Machines “Ten silver drops”

(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: Secret Machines
Album Title: Ten silver drops
Year released: 2006
Year reissued: 2019
Details: gatefold, 2 x 180 gram, expanded deluxe, limited to 1227 copies, numbered 970

The skinny: Last week, I posted about “Now here is nowhere“, the very excellent debut album by Secret Machines, and the pressing by Run Out Groove vinyl that I couldn’t help but purchase for my collection when it was announced. As I mentioned there, Run Out Groove is a label that solicits votes from music fans on its website for three options each month and the potential reissue with the most votes gets a limited run based on the amount of advanced orders. Well, Secret Machines’ fans must be a rabid bunch because Run Out Groove has already done three pressings from the band in the label’s short history: the aforementioned debut, a rare live record, and this sophomore record, “Ten silver drops”. I’ve read the complaints about the low volume levels on the mastering for this pressing but that doesn’t bother me at all. It just needs to be cranked and it sounds amazing. And yeah, “Ten silver drops” is an album that demands to be cranked.

Standout track: “Lightning blue eyes”