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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: Weezer “Weezer”

(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: Weezer
Album Title: Weezer
Year released: 1994
Year reissued: 2016
Details: Mobile Fidelity, limited edition, numbered 011775, 180 gram, transparent blue

The skinny: Just over three weeks ago, fellow blogger Super Dekes over at Thunder Bay Arena Rock posted a review of Weezer’s self-titled album (also widely-known as ‘the Blue album’) and mentioned how he had finally gotten a copy of it on vinyl the previous summer. Coincidentally, I had tracked down a vinyl copy of it myself that very week and when I told Deke so, he suggested I also write a review. Well, I figured one of my ‘Vinyl love’ posts would work just as well, so here we are. I actually saw Weezer live before I heard this album. They opened for shoe gazers Lush at Toronto’s Warehouse in the summer ’94 and at the time, I was only vaguely aware of “The sweater song”. Nonetheless, I was blown away by their set – all crunchy guitars and Beach Boys harmonies – and told Rivers Cuomo as much when I spotted him at the merch table. A friend of mine in university later dubbed a copy of the album for me to cassette and I played the hell out of it. This debut is still Weezer’s most successful piece of music in my books, a classic, and though I spent a few dollars more than did Deke, it was well worth it to procure this limited edition Mobile Fidelity release. They do such a great job all round, what with the remastering, the pressing, and the immaculate packaging. Splendid.

Standout track: “The world has turned and left me here”

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Vinyl

Vinyl love: Ned’s Atomic Dustbin “God fodder”

(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: Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
Album Title: God fodder
Year released: 1991
Year reissued: 2019
Details: 180 gram, limited edition, reissue, numbered 939/1000, black and silver marbled vinyl

The skinny: The moment that I heard that Music on Vinyl was reissuing one of my favourite albums from my youth on vinyl, I got on the pre-order machine immediately, especially after seeing that the initial pressing was numbered and limited to 1000 and pressed to black and silver marbled wax. Yeah. It’s oh so pretty. For a band with such a ridiculous moniker, their music stands up remarkably well. So well, in fact, that it squeezed its way to number ten in the Best albums of 1991 series that I just started last week. It’s noisy and high energy but still melodic. And it brings back a ton of memories of blasting a bunch of these tunes (including the one below) on my stereo in my basement bedroom while my parents stomped on the floor above, the universal messaging that the music is too loud. I rarely turned it down, though, and sometimes turned it up. It just begs to be played at a high volume, which is why I always dig out my high quality headphones when I place this disc on my turntable these days.

Standout track: “Kill your television”