Bulky, inconvenient, flawed, outmoded. And killing new forms of music. But that's enough about X Factor and Simon Cowell.
Vinyl, by contrast continues more authentic rise, with sales up in the US last year by 52% rising to a 26-year high. But this, Song Bar's new weekly feature isn't just about vinyl, nor the unquenchable thirst for authenticity, it is about all new music in any format. Why? Because in the world of playlists and song blogs, we naturally tend to nominate songs that have stood the test of time, that may be years old and have proven themselves to have kept their quality, not unlike the vinyl format itself. Vinyl is a collectable item of course, in all kinds of colours and formats, and there's no denying that while they take up space, they remain beautiful artefacts, not only with cover artwork, but also in the vinyl itself.
So feel free to mention those rare and interesting artefacts, especially new and limited releases, including colour and picture editions, or those unusual dual or hidden groove items where a secret track can be found by chance placement of the needle, produced by artists as varied as Monty Python team to Jack White.
So why Vinyl Tap now? First, it's to mark this upcoming weekend's annual Record Store Day on 16 April, but then every Monday we are this section will include small selection of new releases on vinyl or other formats. But this isn't a review or analysis page, it is simply a starting point for you, learned readers, to respond with your discoveries of recent new releases, and to share links and recommendations too. So please comment on what's there and add your own. Vinyl Tap then, to complement the song blog, is basically a boost for the new. And why is it called Vinyl Tap if it's not just about vinyl? Because The Song Bar, is virtual pub, where we have a shameless love of puns.
Before this week's new selection, first let's enjoy that moment when Nigel Tufnel and co incredulously lay hands on the first pressings of their new LP, Smell the Glove. "Simple. Classic." beams their manager. "It's so black, how much more black could this be? The answer is none," says Nigel. But is this where Charlie Brooker got the name for his dark series of twisted TV tales - Black Mirror?
And now brief community-style notice. My dad died a little bit over a year ago, and I am still sorting through his massive collection of music. Among this, is a huge collection of jazz and classical records on 78. Now then, these items certainly are bulky, and inconvenient, and incredibly heavy (possibly even made of shellac or some similar old polymer) but it would be great to play them. In the loft I found this old British-made Fidelity Solid State record player which has an old-school drop-down mechanism handy for those 45s, and also speed switch but 33, 45 and 78. The slight problem is that there is no stylus. Can anyone suggest where I can find one?
This week's releases selection:
Enough preamble. So in advance of Record Store Day, a selection of new releases over the past few days. This selection is made by Michael Moloney, aka our old Song Bar friend – llamalpaca. Michael's vinyl-only record and design store, Chameleon, is in Aberdeen. Check out his website here. Chameleon will be holding a special Record Store Event on Saturday 16 April.
PJ Harvey’s ninth studio album, The Hope Six Demolition Project draws on journeys undertaken by Harvey to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC over a four-year period. The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. Entitled ‘Recording in Progress’ it saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences. There's a limited initial run of asix-panel digi-pack CD and gatefold vinyl both using Munken matt paper stock.
Cate Le Bon – Crab Day. Recorded at Panoramic House studio, West Marin, California last spring, Crab Day was produced by Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick. According to Cate: “It’s the sound of the ‘accidentally on purpose’ coming together of the right people at precisely the right time in an environment that furnished and fuelled the abandonment we felt effortlessly. It’s a coalition of inescapable feelings and fabricated nonsense, each propping the other up".
Graham Nash - This Path Tonight. Produced by Shane Fontayne, this is Nash's first solo record of new music in 14 years. Available on CD, CD with live DVD package and on vinyl. There is also a special Record Store Day release on vinyl which includes an additional two track 7-inch.
And a roundup from last week:
Frightened Rabbit - Painting Of A Panic Attack Inspired by Scott Hutchison uprooting from Scotland to LA.
Deftones - Gore
Teleman - Brilliant Sanity
Alun Woodward - Battle Mountain – Soundtrack to new documentary on about speed cyclist Graham Obree
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