Vinyl love: Various artists “Help: The album”

(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: Various artists
Album Title: Help: The album
Year released: 1995
Year reissued: 2020
Details: 2 x LP, 25th anniversary reissue

The skinny: On September 4th, 1995, many of the biggest names in British rock went into studios across England and Ireland to record a brand new song to contribute to a charity compilation album in support of War Child. These recordings were all handed over to Brian Eno for mixing the next day and on September 9th, the resulting compilation album was released and went straight to number one on the UK album charts (for compilations). Late in August of this year, it was announced by War Child (and many of the contributing artists) that the album would be reissued on vinyl on September 9th, 2020, to celebrate its 25th anniversary and I was one of thousands that frantically went online to pre-order it. Yeah, the first run of 2020 copies completely sold out on the first day and they’ve since had to press a second run. The excitement was palpable the day I found it in my mailbox and walked home with it. In my humble opinion, this is the best the compilation album ever recorded. I distinctly remember when I purchased my first copy of it on CD from the now long defunct Penguin Music in Toronto and there was sticker providing the track listing affixed to the jewel case, so done because the artwork (done by The Stone Roses’ John Squire and Massive Attack’s 3D) was printed concurrently with album’s recording and couldn’t possibly include the finalized track list. My eyes must’ve bulged out of my head upon reading the wealth of my (at the time) favourite artists who appeared on the compilation: Blur, Oasis, Suede, Radiohead, The Boo Radleys, The Charlatans, Levellers, The Stone Roses, and more. The quick timeline on the album’s release meant that many of the songs were either original works in progress or covers of already established tracks. Indeed, two of the songs on this album have already appeared my 100 best covers list (at #100 and #74) and I feel like we might see at least one or two more make an appearance on that list. I still have that CD, though I played the hell out of it over the years, and now I have it my vinyl collection. And that makes me smile.

Standout track: “Come together” by The Smokin’ Mojo Filters (Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher, and Paul Weller)

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”

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!”