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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”

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Lush “Topolino”

(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: Lush
Album Title: Topolino
Year released: 1996
Year reissued: 2016
Details: yellow vinyl, disc five in limited Origami box set, Record Store Day 2016 release, limited to 2000

The skinny: “Topolino” is the final piece in “Origami”, the five disc box set of Lush LPs that 4AD put out on Record Store Day 2016. And truth be told, of the five records I’ve posted about over the past five weeks, this one is the least likely to hit my turntable on a regular basis. Perhaps a dour way to end the series but even this record has its merits. If you paid attention to the photos of last week’s subject, “Lovelife“, you might notice that the artwork of this week’s record looks eerily similar. The explanation is a simple one. “Topolino” was a compilation of b-sides recorded during the “Lovelife” sessions and as it turned out, it was the final full-length release by the group. Chris Acland, the band’s drummer, died two month’s after its release and Lush disbanded, save for a short-lived reunion almost a decade later… but that’s a story for another time.

Standout track: “Shake baby shake”

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Lush “Lovelife”

(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: Lush
Album Title: Lovelife
Year released: 1996
Year reissued: 2016
Details: pink vinyl, disc four in limited Origami box set, Record Store Day 2016 release, limited to 2000

The skinny: As I mentioned last week, Lush’s third studio album, “Lovelife”, was their Britpop album. Don’t look down your nose at them though. Everyone was doing it at the time. I didn’t mind the change in sound at all because I had gotten caught up in the hype of the scene, just as much as did many of my friends. Still, had you not followed their progression as closely as I did, you might not have recognized this as at all the same band that had us dreaming colours on “Gala” and “Spooky“. Sure, there was some ethereal sounds on “Lovelife” but the guitar driven pop had been amped up and Mike Berenyi’s vocals were without a doubt more obvious here than on any of their previous work. And yeah, she definitely does hold her own in a duet with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker on the tune below. 4AD’s choice of pink for this fourth disc in the ‘Origami’ box set does not just match the colour palette of the album artwork but also feels in line the with the decidedly bubblegum tone of its sound.

Standout track: “Ciao!”