Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Venus Furs “Venus Furs”

(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: Venus Furs
Album Title: Venus Furs
Year released: 2020
Details: standard black vinyl, hand written note from the artist

The skinny: A week and a half ago, when I started my annual series counting down my favourite albums of the year, I told the story of how I learned about a new act out of Montreal while perusing one of my favourite sources of all things indie music, Under the Radar. The self-titled debut by this very same act, Venus Furs, captured my imagination and drew me in while listening to it on Spotify through my iPod ear phones. It may have been during my second time through that I went on the hunt for it on vinyl, thinking that something this expansive required owning it in a better format. I ordered a copy of it from frontman Paul Kasner’s own label, Silk Screaming records, and received it within a couple of days, complete with a handwritten ‘thank you’ note from the man himself. Always a nice touch. “Venus Furs” ended up squeezing its way into the number 9 spot in my top ten for the year and if you enjoy noisy psych rock in the vein of Spiritualized or My Bloody Valentine, this might just be for you too.

Standout track: “Chaos and confusion”

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Mew “And the glass handed kites”

(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: Mew
Album Title: And the glass handed kites
Year released: 2005
Year reissued: 2020
Details: 2 x 180 gram, black and white marbled vinyl, Limited, Numbered 1450/2500, 15th anniversary expanded, RSD 2020 drop 2

The skinny: So here’s one of the four Record Store Day exclusive releases I managed to pick up from this year’s offerings. This 15th anniversary expanded edition of Mew’s fourth album and undisputed masterpiece, “And the glass handed kites”, was released by Music on Vinyl on the second (September) of the three ‘drops’ this year. The record is pressed onto two 180-gram slabs of white and black marbled vinyl, the second disc being of b-sides and alternate versions of the studio album’s tracks, and it includes a lovely 12-page booklet, as pictured above. This album was my introduction to the Danish band and what an introduction it was. An epic and big sound, songs that ebb and flow into each other, creating a sonic dreamscape that would fit snugly in the same solar system as Spiritualized, Ride, and Sigur Ros. Beautiful stuff and this pressing sounds just amazing, well worth the money.

Standout track: “Why are you looking grave?”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 1992: #6 Spiritualized “Run”

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Did you ever discover a band in their very early days with one particular song, a song that you loved so much but then never really managed to find out anything out about them until much later? And by much later, I really mean just a handful of years later when this same band has released an album so mind-blowing that they are instantly a favourite band. And did you then think to yourself “I’m sure I know this band” and go back in your mixed tapes and rediscover that ‘one’ song all over again?

If your answer is ‘no’, you might be too young to remember a time before the internet and Google and Wikipedia, when the discovery of music came by chance, close friends, and hours of listening to alternative and college radio, while poring over music mags and fanzines.

If your answer is ‘yes’, I’ll happily say: “Me too”. Perhaps a few times over.

Two examples of this phenomenon that I always have readily available is (The) Verve and their early single “Slide away” and of course, Spiritualized with “Run”. It wasn’t until 1997 that I really ‘discovered’ both of these bands. Spiritualized’s “Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space” was my favourite album that year (“Urban hymns” was very, very close second) and it only took a bit of pre-internet research for me to discover that it was their third record. The hunt for the two previous ones at the CD shops started immediately.

Spiritualized was formed from the ashes of Spaceman 3 when Jason “Spaceman” Pierce acrimoniously split with the other creative force of that band, Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember. The first iteration of Spiritualized was basically Spaceman 3 without Kember but with a few replacements, most notably, Pierce’s then girlfriend, Kate Radley, a distinct band began to rise out of the ether. The sound of their first releases also didn’t stray too far from the tried and true Spaceman 3 sound. Pierce would really hit his stride with that aforementioned 1997 album but their first two albums are very excellent as well.

“Run” was originally released as a single in 1991 but was included on their debut album, “Lazer guided melodies”, the following year and was when I first heard it. The album’s twelve songs are presented as four colour-coded suites and “Run” leads off the ‘Green’ suite, which appeared on the second side of the first disc. Part of the songwriting credits are attributed to J.J. Cale and there’s more than just a subtle wink and hesitant nod to The Velvet Underground here. You know the track I mean. Listening to it, “Run” has got a bass line that rumbles and thumps down, down, down into the depths of your heart. The drums just don’t quit, a droning dream, a brilliant epiphany, loops of ecstasy and rip-roaring guitars. It sounds like a high from which no one should tumble. Yeah. This is how addictions get started. Check it out.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.