Vinyl love: Spiritualized “And nothing hurt”

(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: Spiritualized
Album Title: And nothing hurt
Year released: 2018
Details: standard black, embossed morse code on cover

The skinny: Many of you know by now that I’m a pretty big Spiritualized fan, my favourite of their albums still being 1997’s “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space“. So I was pretty eager to get to listen to this latest, the eighth for the outfit, ever since I heard this album was a sort of return to 1997 form. I’m currently on the third spin through and I’m just letting it wash over me. It definitely sounds better on my turntable than on my iPod and it’s definitely Spiritualized. Perhaps I’ll have a more concrete opinion after a few more spins…

Standout track: “I’m your man”

Best tunes of 2001: #9 Spiritualized “Stop your crying”

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When we first moved to Ottawa in 2001, my wife Victoria was working for Rogers Cable, having transferred there with her job in the company’s call centre. After a couple of months, though, she end up quitting the job when she found it too much with the workload that her studies demanded. It was good for her in the long run but we took a hit financially for a while and we lost the benefit we received of discounted digital cable service. I may be misremembering it now but I feel like we had every channel known to humankind for the low, low price of free. Of course, we couldn’t afford such luxury on my own meagre salary, so the cable service was cancelled completely when she left the job.

One of the channels I discovered during that brief period was the Edge channel. Connected, I believe, to Toronto’s alternative rock radio channel, it played more music videos than the traditional MuchMusic was doing at the time and of the specific type of music that often appealed to me. And it was here that I first heard the song (and watched the video for) “Stop your crying” by Spiritualized.

I knew that a new album by the band was forthcoming, of course. I had been hotly anticipating it since I fell hard for their third album, 1997’s “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”, and in the four year interim, had gone back to purchase and play and replay the previous two. Jason Pierce, meanwhile, had sacked the majority of the band after the “Ladies and gentlemen” tours, enlisted new players, and brought in over a hundred other hands to help record the new album. For “Let it come down”, he moved away from the shoegaze and space, towards a different wall of sound created by symphonic elements: horns and strings and choirs.

The aforementioned video for the song matches the mood and flow of the song perfectly, starting with Jason Pierce seemingly standing alone on a stage during the song’s quiet intro and punch-to-the-gut opening lines. “Nothing hurts you like the pain of someone you love. There ain’t nothing you can gain that prepares you enough.” Then, the lights come up, revealing a stage full of musicians for the exuberance of the chorus lines, while Pierce remains still, singing, oblivious to the other players on the stage, still alone. And he does this throughout, even at the end, when the orchestra is trashing the place and their instruments, he is focused on delivering his message of love and hurt. The video is cut with stills showing images of Pierce and members of his band at intimate moments, suggesting that each of them (and really, us) are all dealing with personal demons and angst. And Pierce, at the centre of this whole storm, wants to take all of our pain away. So great.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.

Best tunes of 2001: #16 Lupine Howl “Vaporizer”

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We moved Victoria and our cat Lucy up to Ottawa from Toronto, as well as the majority of my stuff, at the end of July 2001. I remained in Toronto to close up the rental store I was running at the time and moved up at the end of August. Pretty much right away, I started in at my new job with Enbridge gas and Victoria started her master’s studies. Victoria had a few friends but I didn’t really know anyone. She was almost immediately immersed and busy in her studies so I was left to my own devices quite a bit. And since we weren’t exactly rich either, I stuck around the house quite a bit, reading or surfing the Internet, searching for new music. And I spent hours doing this last.

It was during these hours of searching and surfing that I came across Lupine Howl. It probably won’t surprise you that it was the fact that the band was formed by ex-members of Spiritualized that first attracted my attention. There are plenty of stories about how it went down but apparently Jason Pierce sacked bassist Sean Cook, guitarist Mike Mooney, and drummer Damon Reece after the gruelling tour in support of “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”. (You might remember that this was my number one album in my best albums of 1997 list.) The trio quickly formed a new band and got right to work writing new material.

“Vaporizer” was released as a single in 2000 but appeared on their debut album, “The carnivorous lunar activities of Lupine Howl”, in 2001. It is also the first song I heard by the band and caught my ear right away. Partially because it actually sounded nothing like Spiritualized but also because it is catchy as all get out. The sound is psych rock but not spacey. Instead, they look back in time, manifesting a funk and jive. It’s got a grooving bass line and funky guitar flourishes. It’s a song for sunglasses and cruising the mean streets real slow, the windows open and the volume cranked.

It’s one of those songs that begs repeat listens so I have played it and continue to play it in bunches. Enjoy.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.