(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 National Album Title: I am easy to find Year released: 2019 Details: black, 180 gram, gatefold sleeve
The skinny: As promised on Thursday, I headed out to one of my local record shops on Friday to procure myself a copy of The National’s eighth and latest studio album, “I am easy to find”. I’ve seen a lot of pics on Instagram already this weekend of the special coloured and clear versions and of course, the expanded multi-coloured set but I opted to get the 180-gram, double album pressing in black for my collection, though I did hold the expanded set in my hand for a few minutes. The album is another change in direction for the five-piece, this time enlisting a platoon of female vocalists to add their touch to the lush instrumentation and to Matt Berninger’s by-now-well-known baritone. I am just now on my third spin through and will likely give it a few more goes on this May long weekend.
(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)
Artist: The National When: September 12th, 2014 Where: Eh! Stage, Ottawa Folk Festival, Hog’s Back Park, Ottawa Context: I had almost forgotten that tomorrow is the day The National is due to release their eighth studio album, “I am easy to find”. They have become one of my favourite bands still regularly releasing music and one of the few that are so reliable, I feel confident purchasing each new album for my vinyl collection without first hearing any of its tunes. I got into them with their fourth album, 2007’s “Boxer”, and by the time 2013 and their sixth album, “Trouble will find me”, rolled around, things had gotten serious between me and the band. While they were touring in support of that album, they headlined the third night of Ottawa’s Folk Festival, for which I had purchased a pass, mostly because The National were appearing there. That year was the final year the festival was held at the pastoral Hog’s Back Park and and the final year before it was rebranded as “CityFolk”. The National’s set on September 12th was mind blowing, my favourite of the festival and likely, of all the sets I had witnessed that year. All of that to say, the release date is remembered. See you all at the record stores tomorrow. Point of reference song: “I need my girl”
As a long time fan of British rock, I’ve always known there was a difference between the music scenes of Scotland, Ireland, and England and those here in North America. I had long imagined and romanticized that everyone over there listened to the same music I loved and other stuff I hadn’t yet heard because I knew that my favourite bands that I saw in tiny clubs in Toronto played to much larger crowds in much larger venues all over their native countries. However, my friends Tim and Mark, after spending a few years living and working in London shortly after the BritPop explosion, returned to Canada with news that most of the people they encountered listened to the same pop music consumed in North America. Still, they conceded, the radio played a lot of stuff that wasn’t played here and as we already knew, the press was very much different and more involved in exploring indie music.
I’ve gotten to learn more of these differences and similarities since starting in on this blogging gig almost eight years ago and in conversing with fellow bloggers from out that way. What hadn’t occurred to me but probably should have is that some of the bands I listen to that get little to no air play in Canada are so overplayed and overblown in England and as hated or ridiculed as Nickelback might be in some circles here.
And so it apparently is with Elbow, whom I love and have done since I happened upon them since the early 2000s. They’ve graced these pages a few times in the past couple years and comments have been decidedly mixed but leaning more towards the negative. I’ve had to forewarn a certain blogging colleague (I’m looking at you Vinyl Daft Dad) that another Elbow post was coming. But I think I can safely say this might be their last appearance for the foreseeable future.
“With love” is track three off the English rock band’s fifth album, “Build a rocket, boys!”. The album was less melancholy than its predecessors, mining the happier memories of youth for subject matter, but this one has frontman Guy Garvey pleading his case for a friend to join him on a night out for drinks. “I give my liver to see you, abide and ride shotgun. A Bacchian scandal awaits me, just can’t do it alone. Your sweetheart probably hates me, but I’ll send you home your dome filled up – with love.” To help Garvey in this Herculean effort, he’s got his bandmates chiming in with a heavy beat and bass accompaniment, ringing guitars and twinkling piano flourishes and encouraging handclaps. The devil has even enlisted the Hallé youth choir to add a big oomph at the chorus, an exclamation mark on the love!
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.