(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”
Just over a week ago, on May 2, an album that many consider one of the greatest, if not the greatest debut album ever, The Stone Roses’ self-titled album, celebrated its 30th anniversary. The final track on the original UK release of that album was this dance floor freak out, encapsulated in an epic, eight plus minutes called, “I am the resurrection”. It was steady and funky drumming by Reni, a muscular bass line by Mani, John Squire’s beautiful guitar wankery, and a young Ian Brown brashly invoking New Testament messiah imagery to talk about relationships and the breakups thereof. And then, halfway through the song, Squire takes over and leads the rest of the players through a four minute guitar outro. The album and this song was the template for the psych rock and acid house fusion that was the baggy/Madchester scene.
Almost twenty years later, Jon Lawler decided he needed a creative change from his full-time gig as frontman for The Fratellis. Thus, he formed a side-project with vocalist/keyboard player Lou Hickey called Codeine Velvet Club and put out one self-titled album of retro sixties leaning indie pop before breaking up a couple years later. There was a bonus track on that one album and it was a lounge-flavoured cover of The Stone Roses’ “I am the resurrection” that we never knew we needed.
Where The Stone Roses are still very much revered 30 years later around the world, I feel that Codeine Velvet Club (and possibly The Fratellis) are largely forgotten or ignored outside of England only ten years later. And yet, I do love both versions of this song. I mean, you can’t touch the original for its sheer majesty and near perfection but the gall and cheek of the cover make it a worthwhile go as well.
How do you improve upon a perfect song? More horns and Mike Flowers!
For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.