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Russ Ryan Crate Minds: An Interview With Ewan Of Rarekind Records

Rarekind is a Brighton community pillar and has been for well over a decade, diversifying through trends & generations to meet ever-changing demands whilst staying true to its roots of pushing fantastic soul-drenched records across a cross-section of genres.

An OG Art Gallery turned Record Shop, Owner and Manager Ewan has been behind the counter since day one and kindly took time out last week to have a chat with us about Rarekind’s past, present and future….

An Interview with Ewan Hood of Rarekind Records

How long have you been buying and selling records for and where did it start?

I’ve been buying records since the early ’90s and selling for a little over 15 years.

I used to buy stuff in the first incarnation of the Rarekind Gallery when it first opened and ended up working there part time and taking care of the record part of the store, it grew out of that, I used to do a lot of digging and would turn up stuff often, so when I started working in the shop I was able to introduce second hand stuff I’d found over the years alongside the new releases.

When Rarekind opened its doors how soon after did online sales come into play?

We started selling online when we moved to our current location on Trafalgar St, Brighton, around 2006-7, so 2-3 years after we started.

You’ve seen first hand the evolution in record-buying trends since doors, how healthy is the Brighton scene at the moment?

Brighton has always been a great place for records, being such a musical city and quite alternative, plus close to London there’s always been lots of shops and people interested. I’m constantly surprised by the interesting and unusual stuff that comes through the shop.

Right now I’d say things are very good, there are a few different shops who are good at what they do and everybody specialises in something slightly different. The city center is very compact so you can check most of them out in a short space of time.

The place is packed with music enthusiasts, and we also get a lot of visitors which helps, I think quite a few people head here specifically to check out Brighton’s Record shops

What’s your personal holy grail record?

Ah that’s an ever changing question, the couple that spring to mind are Smiff and Wessun Dah Shining (promo / test press) and Muchos Plus – Nassau’s Discos.

When did you start using Discogs and how do you use it in your day to day?

We joined discogs at the start of 2007 and had probably been using it for a little while before then. It’s integral to how we operate now, obviously for selling, but also the information is fantastic and has totally changed the game.

Any tips for people browsing your crates, in the shop and on Discogs?

Hopefully, our physical shop is a place where you’ll find some interesting and unusual well-priced stuff, my main tip would be to get stuck in and have a rummage, we have lots of cheap crates and new stock going out 4-5 times a week.

We keep most of our second-hand stuff exclusive to the shop, but we do put a few tasty and unusual bits up on our discogs. We generally have around 2,500 titles listed – the vast majority of our new releases are on there and we try to go direct to labels and artists as much as possible, so hopefully our discogs store has some interesting stuff.

What do you predict for the future of Rarekind and where are you aiming?

More of the same really, everyone who works here loves records and all we really try to do is provide the service and selection we would like to see if we were customers ourselves. We’ve done a couple of releases in collaboration with labels and artists in the past and would like to do more of that at some point.

I hope the current interest in vinyl continues and that new releases don’t become prohibitively expensive!

Massive thanks to Ewan for taking the time out to chat to us, if you’re ever in Brighton do go and pay his team a visit or check his online crates out if you’re further afield!

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Russ Ryan Crate Minds: An Interview With Julian Gascoigne of Rook Records

Rook Records opened its online doors in 2016 and has since had a meteoric rise through the Discogs seller charts. Specialising in Soul to Afro and Disco to Techno, Julian’s taste was founded & refined in over a decade of digging and now, luckily for us, shared with the world!

We paid a visit to Rook Towers last week to have a catch up with the man himself, to gain an insight into how this all started and to the inner workings of Rook Record’s operation.

Interview with Julian Gascoigne of Rook Records

How long have you been buying and selling records for and where did it start?

I started Rook Records in 2016. I’d been DJing professionally for the last few years but got tired of the late nights and being forced to take gigs that bored the hell out of me. I always knew I wanted to start a business, and with vinyl being on the up and having always been an avid collector, it seemed like the perfect fit. I had originally planned to open a coffee / vinyl shop in London, but when the application for the place I found fell through, I started trading online as a stop-gap till I found another place. I guess that stop-gap is still going on…

At what stage did the vinyl habit turn into a viable business?

I guess pretty quickly after I started trading. I’d built a decent website and starting listing stuff on Discogs, and pretty soon I was turning over enough for a (very) small wage. I supplemented it with DJ gigs for the first year or so, but after a while it just became apparent that I had no spare time for anything else, and at that time it became my full-time gig.

Tell us about are the benefits and drawbacks of being online only?

As I alluded to in the first question, I had originally wanted a shop. I guess the appeal of that is the social aspect, meeting other vinyl heads and chatting about music is a pretty sweet job. However, there are a tonne of benefits to being online only. One of the main things I love is having my weekends back. Having always DJ’d for money, weekends were always work-time for me. So being online only, I operate normal business hours and it generally means I get to hang out on the weekends now, which definitely pays dividends in my relationships and social life.

Personal holy grail record?

Price Exchange – Deception

It goes in phases I guess, but for the last year or so it’s got to be Deception by Price Exchange on 7″. It’s a killer soul jam with an afro cuban kind of edge used by Madlib in a track he did with Guilty Simpson. I’ve always been hankering for a copy (I’m hoping me saying this doesn’t drive the price up on Discogs?!)

Favourite record you are stocking today?

Hotline – You Are Mine

I’m actually holding an OG of Hotline’s You Are Mine (also titled Can You Do It?). It’s a Nigerian boogie LP from 1986 and is absolute fire. The condition’s pretty mashed though, but I guess that adds to the charm somewhat.

Top three record shops?

Rarekind Records

Lived about 100 yards from this one for a good few years. The owner Ewan is always super helpful, and the shop holds some killer stock, especially if you’re into your hip hop, funk and soul (which I certainly am).

Honest Jons

My bro used to work in this shop, so I used to frequent it whenever I had some spare digging cash as a kid. They’re the ones that put me on to various African and Latin bits that started me off in a love affair with those genres and is definitely one of the key reasons why Rook specialises in those kinds of records.

Alan’s Records

Certainly one of the destination London shops, this one’s bang in the middle of East Finchley and a bunch of A roads. Alan’s got a killer selection of jazz and fusion, among numerous other noteworthy things, and his knowledge and friendly demeanor are second to none. Added in the fact that if you go mid-week, you’ve usually got the place all to yourself to dig to your heart’s content!

How do you use Discogs in your day to day?

Discogs is a vital tool for me. Business-wise I couldn’t run without it, simple as. It accounts for a significant proportion of my sales and is pretty much open constantly on my work laptop. As a general vinyl head too though, it’s the most incredible tool. If ever a tune catches my ear, my first port of call is the Discogs app on my phone so I can check the price and add it to my Wantlist (where it may stay for some time… I tend to have expensive taste).

Any tips for people browsing your crates?

Just enjoy it really, after all that’s what this is all about. We try and put audio clips up for everything on the site, so just see where your ears take you!

What do you predict for the future of Rook Records and where are you aiming?

In general, I guess I’m just hoping for more of the same. I’m one of those annoying people who loves their job, so as long as I can keep doing it, it’s fine by me. We’ve started running a Rook Records YouTube channel where we get DJs to send us in filmed vinyl mixes of their favourite records. I guess I’m hoping to expand this more creative side of the business, and potentially use it to launch a record label and perhaps some events in the near future. I’m planning to set up a little make-shift studio in our new Hackney HQ, so hopefully we’ll get some live stuff broadcasting out from there soon. Watch this space…

Huge huge thank you to Julian for giving us the Rook Records 101. Hugely exciting times ahead, go check out his digital crates for the full picture!

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Javi Gómez Martínez Press It Again, Sam! 15 Albums Which Need To Be Reissued

There is one thing he can’t buy… a dinosaur!

– Homer Simpson

It might be true that the “Simpsons did it first” meme applies to almost every single thing that has happened in the 21st century. In Season 3 of The Simpsons, infamous TV presenter Kent Brockman couldn’t buy a dinosaur with all the money he won in the lottery. Let’s think about how that could apply to the Discogs community. What can you not buy even if you win the lottery? Exactly, records which have never been pressed in vinyl or which are very scarce (well I mean, you can buy the latter but this introduction would sound less dramatic).

Conversations about albums in serious need of a reissue happen all the time in the Discogs forums. In order to do my research, I could use two different methods:

  • The scientific method: Involves a lot of hard work and endless hours of research, most likely leading to disappointment and hitting my head against the keyboard on one or several occasions.
  • The slacker method: Sneakily sharing a meme with our community and wait for all of you to do the work.

Sorry not sorry, I actually never meant for all of this to happen but after reading all of your comments, I knew I had to do something with it. So no, this is not some sort of evil masterplan, this is just me trying to amplify your voice and, who knows, maybe we can get some label out there to reissue these albums in the future.

15 albums that the Discogs Community wants to see reissued:

AFX ‎– Analogue Bubblebath 5

AFXAnalogue Bubblebath 5

As you might know, the mighty Richard D. James goes by plenty of nicknames. With a wildly expansive discography and his eternal status as a cult artist (at the same time as a successful one, which is not a common thing), some of his records have been out of print for decades. Thanks to the magic of blatant lies, 310 Discogs users claim to own this record, while 1,447 would like to own it.

Current availability

There aren’t any copies available for sale at the moment, but feel free to add it to your Wantlist.

Alice In Chains ‎– Facelift album cover

Alice In ChainsFacelift

The first album by Seattle grunge band Alice In Chains has never been properly reissued on vinyl besides several bootlegged copies during the last 29 years, turning it into an obsession for fans worldwide. This is quite special since this album sold more than 2 million copies, but it was released at a time when CDs were already more popular than vinyl records.

Current availability

Just so you know, a NM copy of Facelift won’t be yours for less than $100.

Beck ‎– Midnite Vultures album cover

BeckMidnite Vultures

The year 2000 wasn’t exactly what you would call the hottest year in the history of vinyl. By then, our beloved format was not very popular for new releases. That was the case of Midnite Vultures, the album by Beck containing the megahit “Sexx Laws”. Highly sought after among the fans of the eclectic artist, only a limited run of vinyl records was ever pressed by the label Bong Load Records.

Current availability

Feel free to get it starting at more than $180 if you’re feeling extra.

Fiona AppleWhen The Pawn…

It’s hard to believe that this masterpiece by Fiona Apple (I mean masterpiece like every other Fiona Apple album ever released) has never been released on vinyl. We’ve heard the rumors that some reissue label out there was working on it long time ago, but we haven’t had any further news. And we need to own them all!

Current availability

Forget about it.

Guided By Voices Same Place The Fly Got Smashed album cover

Guided By Voices ‎– Same Place The Fly Got Smashed

It’s easy to get lost in the vast catalog of Guided By Voices, we’re not going to lie. The alternative rock outfit fronted by the endlessly inventive Robert Pollard has released a whopping total of 168 releases since 1987. Fans of the band from Dayton, Ohio aren’t exactly what you would call casual and a lot of them (sorry, us) will kill to be able to have a complete collection of all their output. With a proportion of 74 “haves” and 460 “wants”, this release seems to be the definitive holy grail.

Current availability

There is only one copy for sale for $1,450 (ouch!).

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions ‎– Through The Devil Softly album cover

Hope Sandoval & The Warm InventionsThrough The Devil Softly

Hope Sandoval made the very long hiatus of Mazzy Star easy for fans. Over the late nineties and the 2000s, she collaborated with a lot of other artists like Air, Massive Attack, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Chemical Brothers…and she also started her own personal project: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. They have released three albums so far. The one in the middle, Through The Devil Softly, has never been pressed on vinyl.

Current availability

Sorry. It just doesn’t exist in vinyl, but you can still buy a CD if you want to own it.

Massive Attack ‎– 100th Window album cover

Massive Attack100th Window

You really never know what Robert del Naja is up to. One day he might be releasing game-changing music with Massive Attack and the next one being a world-renowned street artist in disguise (I mean, maybe? ¯_(ツ)_/¯). Either way, there is one album that was mentioned by some of you which could do with a reissue, and that’s their 2003 forward-thinking 100th Window.

Current availability

If you really need this record right now, you can count yourself lucky, prices for a NM copy range from $93 to $356 roughly.

P J Harvey ‎– Rid Of Me album cover

PJ HarveyRid Of Me

Alright, yes, this was our own idea BUT we can see many of you reacted to it, my favorite comment being the one Christopher Convex in our Facebook post: “Never in the history of music did an album from the ’90s deserve a remaster so badly!” Amen, brother. Please, can someone make this happen soon?

Current availability

The record doesn’t reach stratospheric prices, but you won’t land a copy in your Collection for less than $160.

Sparklehorse ‎– Good Morning Spider album cover

SparklehorseGood Morning Spider

Believe it or not, it’s already been 9 years since Mark Linkous took his life. We have to thank him for some of the most beautiful songs an indie rock artist has ever produced. Good Morning Spider, released in 1998, showed an artist and a project at its best. Emotional, raw, complex, candid, and yet poetic and magical.

Current availability

There aren’t many copies available for sale, but you can check it out yourself here.

The Cure - Wish album cover

The CureWish

There isn’t a fan of The Cure on Earth who won’t mention how much Wish deserves a reissue. It’s true, the album was released on vinyl back in 1992 (even though most likely with fewer copies than its CD version) and it hasn’t been reissued since. Every The Cure fan should have the opportunity to listen to classics like “High”, “From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea” or “Friday I’m In Love” in his/her turntable. Can’t anybody do something about it? We demand an answer.

Current availability

The good news is that there are a lot of copies available in our Marketplace.

The Mars Volta ‎– De-Loused In The Comatorium album cover

The Mars Volta ‎– De-Loused In The Comatorium

This is exactly what I was looking for right now. The Mars Volta insane debut De-Loused In The Comatorium was released in 2003, one of the worst years for vinyl sales. According to the information on Discogs, 15,000 copies of the album were released in total back in the day (first with a batch of 5,000 copies, and then with another one of 10,000 copies). That was it, the album was received with a great deal of critical and commercial success. In 2014, the Dutch reissue label Music on Vinyl answered the prayers of fans worldwide with a new edition in vinyl of De-Loused In The Comatorium. The bad news? Those reissued albums have reached very high prices in our Marketplace as well. Oh, the irony!

Current availability

Be our guest.

The Smashing Pumpkins ‎– Machina / The Machines Of God album cover

The Smashing PumpkinsMachina / The Machines Of God

Even though some of you suggested Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, after a quick check I realized that there are several versions with pretty decent prices (let’s take into account we’re speaking about four LPs). But that got me thinking… what about the last album The Smashing Pumpkins released during their first run together? Machina / The Machines Of God arrived at a time when CD was set to dominate the music industry forever (little did we know…), and therefore the release on vinyl was limited. Hopefully, some label boss reads this and reissues the album 😉

Current availability

You can land a copy on Discogs, but it won’t be cheap.

Throbbing Gristle with Albrecht/d. ‎– Music From The Death Factory cassette album cover

Throbbing Gristle with Albrecht/d. ‎– Music From The Death Factory

Released in 1976, Music From The Death Factory is the most highly sought album by wreckers of civilisation (sic) Throbbing Gristle. This really needs a reissue! 51 Discogs users claim to own it and it’s never been sold in our Marketplace. Moreover, it was originally released in cassette, so a vinyl edition would be incredible (if you’re into stuff which will probably make you feel extremely uneasy).

Current availability

That’s not a possibility right now.

Tom Petty ‎– Wildflowers album cover

Tom PettyWildflowers

You’re still missing Tom Petty and so are we (it’s hard to believe two years have passed since he left us). In a discography full of great albums, Wildflowers stands out as one of the most beloved releases among his fans. Just by checking the prices on Discogs, it’s clear that we could all do with a cheaper reissue of this album.

Current availability

Up to you, but you won’t be able to find anything under almost $275.

Tool ‎– Ænima album cover

ToolÆnima

I don’t know anyone with equidistant feelings about Tool. Either you love them or you hate them, and normally it goes with sheer intensity in both ways. These days, they are everywhere thanks to the release of their long-awaited comeback album: Fear Inoculum. But back in 1996, their second album Ænima was a huge success, and, for many, it remains their best album.

Current availability

Well…just so you know, Ænima won’t be yours on vinyl for less than $500.

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Russ Ryan Crate Minds: An Interview With Will Baxter of ColdCuts // HotWax

Since its conception & launch in 2015, Will’s ColdCuts // HotWax has grown from strength to strength specialising in the club-centric Electronic, Dance & Disco crossover and never compromising on quality.

ColdCuts // HotWax’s unassuming entrance could lead to any old warehouse, but on entry you have an orderly & perfectly categorised wax wonderland, priding itself on reliability, speed & dope records! ColdCuts // HotWax is strictly online, predominantly selling on Discogs, but Will and his team have an expanded vision of a shop front for the business and much much more.

Big boss man Will took time out to give us an insight into the story, workings & future of ColdCuts // HotWax!

Interview with Will Baxter of ColdCuts // HotWax

Where did it all start, and when you first started out, did you picture this?

ColdCuts // HotWax came about really as a natural progression from my uni days spent listening to, playing and selling records. I always loved curating music for events, pushing new records to my mates and digging around record shops for second-hand bits. So when it came to graduation and the panic set in of what next, I decided to sell some of my record collection and start up ColdCuts // HotWax.

I never pictured it going this far. I always thought I’d try it out for a year, learn some lessons and move on. But thanks to all those independent record labels pushing out great music and the support of our loyal customers, we’re still going strong four years later.

You’ve had a meteoric rise through Discogs, what are the key things you focus on when it comes to selling?


From the start, I wanted to make sure the music in our store was carefully curated. If I didn’t enjoy something I wouldn’t bring it in. Over time that may change as we look to expand into different genres, but at the beginning, I think it’s important when selling records it comes directly from what you love.

Also with selling over the internet, you do lose the personal touch you get with buying a record in a record shop. So, with our service, we’ve focused on making it as personable as possible. Treat people how you’d like to be treated. It’s an often-used mantra but it’s important to remind yourself of that when your back is up against the wall with replying to messages and getting orders out in time.

When did you start using Discogs and how do you use it in the day to day operation of CCHW?

We’ve used Discogs from the beginning. It’s been instrumental in getting us off the ground, especially in helping us shift those second-hand bits. Without Discogs, it would’ve taken a lot longer to get our name and catalogue out there.

Do you have a holy grail record?

I’ve always quite liked finding an obscure record, rather than those holy grails.

JKD Band – Dragon Power

I found a tribute album to Bruce Lee titled Dragon Power by a UK band called JKD Band. ‘Africa’ and ‘Dream Machine’ are the ones that really caught my ear on the album. Real bumping disco-funk tracks, which you’d never associate with a Bruce Lee tribute album!

Bill – I Feel Good With You / Space Lady

Also, another one I’m quite rating at the moment is a 45 single titled I Feel Good With You / Space Lady by Bill. The track on the A is great but that Space Lady on the flip is honestly one of the nicest songs I’ve heard in a while. I guess that one has holy grail potential but you can still pick it up for like 50 or 60 quid, so it won’t rob you of food for a month.

What can we expect from CCHW in the future?

In the near future, we’re hopefully going to take a step into the record label territory. Our idea is to split our releases between two labels; one for contemporary music and the other for reissuing old gems from the past.

Also, in the distant future, we have plans to get a proper brick and mortar shop going. That’s always been the ambition from the beginning, so hopefully we’ll be able to fulfill it one day.

Big thanks to Will for taking the time out, we can’t wait to see his project develop over the coming years and be sure to check the ColdCuts // HotWax catalogue.

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Kat Bein Elbow: An Abbreviated Album History

Every generation has its poets, and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey is an everyman lyricist for the ages. His passionate rhyme and flowering diction make noble the grit of years spent in pubs, the chaos of industrial city streets, and the ho-hum of a modern mind’s musings. The band reflects its home of Manchester through and through, but with grand instrumentation and sweeping emotion, Elbow takes its blue-collar attitudes to lofty heights.

Elbow formed in Manchester in 1990 under a different name but took up this famous moniker in 1997. Garvey is joined by Craig Potter on keyboard, piano and backing vocals, Mark Potter on guitar and backing vocals, Pete Turner on bass and backing vocals, and Richard Jupp on drums. Their mix of droning rhythms and sweet melodies sounds quite inspired by The Velvet Underground, except they layer all these sounds into one, then add big orchestral moments and wonderful use of bright harmonies.

The band has been showered in critical appreciation since its earliest days, with three Mercury Music Prize nominations and a win. Its song “First Steps” became the BBC theme for the 2012 London Olympics, and its eighth studio album is to be released Friday, Oct. 11. Here is a complete breakdown of Elbow‘s catalog thus far.

Elbow: An Album History

Asleep In The Back

(2001)

The songs of Asleep in the Back were written over the course of six years, six of which were rerecorded tunes from those ill-fated Island sessions. The dreamy, dreary 12-track collection spoke to the quiet doubts and everyday shortcomings of the common man. Garvey‘s lyrics speak of addiction (“Red,” “Powder Blue”), boredom (“Any Day Now”), fear of growth (“Presuming Ed [Rest Easy]”), nostalgia (“Scattered Black and Whites”), and sexual desire (“Bitten By The Tailfly”) in a tender way with a somewhat beaten and tired delivery. Even its love songs – including the title track that actually came later as a bonus – are twisted depictions. The music’s ethereal atmospheres and bursts of bright, chaotic boldness give movement to the mood, conjuring a cinematic feeling from start to finish. It’s beautiful in a really modern and relatable way, and it was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize while it earned the band a BRIT Award nomination for Best New British Band.

Cast Of Thousands

(2003)

Elbow‘s second record is a celebration on a gray Sunday afternoon. Its 11 official tracks ebb and sway with a calm pace between gloomy moods (“Ribcage,” “Fugitive Motel”), upbeat tempos (“Snooks [Progress Report]”), clashing distortion and emotive exuberance. The title is a reference to their 2002 Glastonbury performance. The band recorded the audience singing, “we still believe in love, so fuck you,” then featured the sample on the climactic track “Grace Under Pressure.” The record plays through with spots of psychedelia a la the Beatles in Magical Mystery Tour, especially on “Fallen Angel” and “Grace Under Pressure,” then wraps with a short and detached sort of ode to love in dreams. Bonus Japanese and American editions include “Whisper Grass,” “Brave New Shave,” and “Lay Down Your Cross” in various arrangements.

Leaders Of The Free World

(2005)

The band’s third album was entirely self-produced and showcases an edgier rock attitude, chock full of catchy melodic hooks with hair-raising electric guitar. “Forget Myself” opens with a rhythm made from industrial clashes and moves toward a triumphant mess. “Leader of the Free World” sees Garvey take on politics, commenting on the re-election of George W. Bush as US President, whom he sees as a sniveling little boy. Even the acoustic ballads pack a bit of an upbeat punch, from the reflective “The Everthere” to sweet breakup anthem “The Stops.” Lots of songs center around loving someone despite their letting you go, as well as familiar themes of nights spent in bars. The cover depicts five characters form the album’s songs. The Japanese version includes bonus tracks “McGreggor” and “The Good Day.” Integrated music and video DVD. “Mexican Standoff” was also recorded in Spanish, a B-side to the titular single release.

The Seldom Seen Kid

(2008)

This LP beat out Radiohead‘s In Rainbows (itself is very reminiscent of old Elbow) for the Mercury Music Prize. It’s highly orchestral and cinematic with lots of rock groove, a clear moment of growth artistically and emotionally. “Starlings” opens with an exciting mix of quiet melodies and startling blasts. The Western-tinged rocker “Grounds of Divorce” became a huge hit for the band. It’s about a friend of Garvey‘s named Bryan Glancy, who died from excessive drinking. He calls him “the seldom seen kid,” a line from which the LP gets its name. The album’s original closing track, a heartbreaker called “A Friend of Ours,” was written by Glancy and sung in tribute. Mostly, though, The Seldom Seen Kid is fresh and upbeat, begetting the band’s biggest hit to date, “One Day Like This,” which has become a popular wedding song. The UK-version of the LP concludes with a hidden bonus track called “We’re Away” that follows the closing-track “Friend of Ours” after five minutes of silence. A special deluxe edition also includes non-album track “Hotel Istanbul” and “lullaby.”

Build A Rocket Boys!

(2011)

An album all about growing up and going through the awkward and important teenage years, Garvey looked to the past to find lyrical inspiration, because success and money had made it hard to write about the present with Elbow-esque discontent. The album was made with the ease of success in the air, but they were conscious not to try to repeat the motions. Indeed, Build A Rocket Boys! Wades between the catchy rock hits of The Seldom Seen Kid (“With Love,” “Neat Little Rows”) and the somber, humming atmospherics of earlier works (“The Night Will Always Win”). It’s sweeping and uplifting on opener “The Birds,” as it welcomes the nostalgia while chiding those that tell old men not to spend too much time in reverie. “Lippy Kids,” the album’s bit hit from which it takes its name, celebrates hoody-wearing teens who get an unjust bad wrap. The self-produced LP is as experimental as ever and was Elbow‘s third Mercury Prize nomination.

The Take Off And Landing Of Everything

(2014)

Imbued with Garvey‘s breakup from longtime girlfriend Emma Jane Unsworth, this sixth studio album plays in blue and grey hues, but everything’s got a silver lining. The Takeoff And Landing Of Everything means that the endings of life’s adventures are as important as their beginnings, and the title track serves as the emotional climax with a sprawling seven-minute epic that settles in a repetitive mantra. The album was also partially inspired by time Garvey spent in New York City, most notably on the uplifting urban wonder of “New York Morning,” while “Charge” and “My Sad Captains” keep the drinking song tradition. The four songs “Real Life (Angel),” “Honey Sun,” “Colour Field” and “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” featuring music written primarily by other members, and the album’s final song, “The Blanket of Night,” shares an often unheard human side of the refugee story, which remains a hot political point in Elbow‘s England and around the world today.

Little Fictions

(2017)

If The Takeoff And Landing Of Everything was Elbow‘s break-up album, Little Fictions is a record about new love and renewal. It is the first without the band’s founding drummer Richard Jupp who left to pursue other projects, which perhaps explains some of the jazzier rhythms on “Gentle Storm” and “K2.” In the years since The Takeoff, Garvey met the woman who became his wife. The album was released about two months before their first child was born, an immense and joyous change reflected in the lyrics of “Magnificent (She Says)” and the eight-minute title track. “All Disco” was inspired by a comment Pixies frontman Black Francis quipped to Garvey about not taking the specifics of things too seriously, “K2” reflects the chaos of the Brexit vote, and the video for “Gentle Storm” features actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Giants Of All Sizes

(2019)

The band comes out swinging with distorted guitars and glitchy orchestral clips on this eighth studio album that tackles issues of discord and discomfort at home and abroad. As the band’s native England finds itself further muddied by the chaos of Brexit, Elbow blends a harder alt-rock edge into its signature emotional ambiance. “Dexter and Sinister” kicks things off with a six-minute, two-part musical journey, while “Seven Veils” follows with a poetic ballad. “Empires” is a prog-rock beauty that mirrors personal faults against greater political mess. Hints of the right-wing political wave color the lyrics of “The Delayed 3:15” while “White Noise White Heat” tackles injustice and apathy. It’s the band’s heaviest album yet, in terms of percussion and attitude, though it still swims with moody atmospheres. It’s a strong offering for a band that lives squarely in its own sweet spot for two decades running.

Produced in partnership with Polydor

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Jeffrey Smith Your Guide To Japanese Music, By Light In The Attic’s Yosuke Kitazawa

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We have an incredible guest post from Yosuke Kitazawa from Light In The Attic Records. Yosuke is the Reissue Producer for LITA and is their resident Japanese music expert. He also produced and co-curated Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973. In other words, Yosuke knows of what he speaks. Yosuke was kind enough to share a guide to Japanese music with Discogs for those wanting to dive into some incredible tunes out of Japan! If you’re looking for a good jumping-off point for getting into Japanese music, this is it.

A Light In The Attic's Yosuke Kitazawa in a bar in Shibuya talking about Japanese music
Yosuke Kitazawa at BYG in Shibuya.

There’s been a surge of interest in older Japanese music lately, due in part to the number of recent reissues of excellent music that had been unavailable outside of Japan. From the likes of Yasuaki Shimizu, Midori Takada, Hiroshi Yoshimura, or the overlooked folk-rock scene of the ’60s-’70s, the floodgates are slowly opening up to reveal the incredible amount of amazing music that has rarely been heard outside of Japan, at least outside of collector and DJ circles.

It might be a slow trickle, but it’s good to see that labels from all sides of the world are working together to make these releases happen — and that there’s enough interest and fans hungry for new (old) music to make it a worthwhile endeavor.

Five Essential Japanese Albums:



  • A Guide To Japanese Music: GS I Love You Too (Japanese Garage Bands Of The 1960s)

    Compilation – GS I Love You Too (Japanese Garage Bands Of The 1960s)

    (1999)

    There’s been a number of unofficial releases of Japanese “Group Sounds”/garage bands before this, but ‘GS I Love You’ from 1999 was probably the first legitimately licensed compilation of this music to be released outside of Japan. Big Beat/Ace Records and compilation producer extraordinaire Alec Palao did an excellent job introducing the world to classic bands like The Spiders, The Carnabeats and The Tempters, whose take on post-Beatlemania psych beat music puts any garage band to shame – at the very least in the amount of fuzz that shot out of their Vox or Mosrite guitar clones. Big Beat has continued with their lovingly produced archival releases of Japanese music, with a compilation of the “Japanese Link WrayTakeshi Terauchi, two compilations of Japanese “Ye-Ye” style music, and more recently a collection of Japanese disco.

  • A Guide To Japanese Music: Various ‎– Love, Peace & Poetry - Japanese Psychedelic Music

    Compilation – Love, Peace & Poetry – Japanese Psychedelic Music

    (2001)

    The legitimacy of this 2001 compilation may be a bit dubious, but it had a fairly high profile release as part of a massive series of psychedelic music from around the world. Released in the days before music blogs and YouTube uploads, this was ear-opening for many people. The compilation introduced heavy psych bands like Apryl Fool (with Haruomi Hosono and Takashi Matsumoto, soon to form Happy End), Blues Creation and Speed, Glue & Shinki (many of them detailed in Julian Cope’s book, ‘Japrocksampler‘, from 2007), whose records to this day are very rare and have never been released outside of Japan.

  • A Guide To Japanese Music: Maki Asakawa ‎– Maki Asakawa album cover

    Maki AsakawaMaki Asakawa

    (2015)

    In 2015 the fine folks at Honest Jon’s along with “Japan Blues” mastermind Howard Williams put together a deserving retrospective of Asakawa’s dark and smokey folk blues, the first time her music has been released outside of Japan. Interestingly, this compilation was later released back in Japan as “Maki Asakawa UK Selection” – attesting to how a different perspective and context can breathe new life into something familiar.

  • A Guide To Japanese Music: Tokyo Flashback Compilation

    Compilation – Tokyo Flashback

    (1991)

    Japanese underground music from the ‘80s and beyond is much more well represented compared to that of the decades before — bands like Ghost and Keiji Haino have seen relatively wide releases in this part of the globe. Nevertheless, this 2017 Black Editions reissue of the legendary compilation from Tokyo’s PSF Records is an important release, recontextualizing those two and six other singular artists on the label, run by the enigmatic Hideo Ikeezumi, whose Modern Music store became a hub for the scene.

  • Essential Japanese Albums: Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973

    Compilation – Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973

    (2017)

    The first officially licensed compilation of its kind, this collection features folk and rock artists who went beyond their influences to create a wholly new type of Japanese music that equally embraced their American/British influences and their Japaneseness, deliberately choosing to sing in their mother tongue. It’s refreshing to see and hear that this scene was not merely a copy of their influences, but peers who created timeless music that deserves to be heard around the world.

A few other great Japanese artists whose music is relatively easier to find outside of Japan are Yellow Magic Orchestra, Seigen OnoFar East Family Band, Osamu Kitajima, and Toru Takemitsu.

If you are interested in Japanese vinyl and have time, travel to Japan, visit and dig at Discogs Presents Mystic Crates on November 2nd! See you there!!!

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Jeffrey Smith Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes

When it comes to rock bands from the last quarter-century, very few had the same impact as The White Stripes. Everyone seemed to be screaming “rock is dead” in the late ’90s — until Jack and Meg White came along to resuscitate it. Their music helped change rock radio, shift the music industry back to album-oriented consumption, and celebrate mystique in a way people hadn’t for decades.

the-white-stripes-striped

But before all that happened, The White Stripes were just a frenetic boy teaching himself to play music in his attic and a quiet, artistic girl totally uninterested in playing music at all. So how did they get from point A to point B? The new podcast Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes answers that question. Produced by Third Man Records and Misfire, season one dropped Oct. 8 and takes the listener through the early days of the band and the scene that birthed them.

“Lately I’ve been afraid of getting in a car crash and having my last dying words be ‘shit, I really should’ve gotten the White Stripes story down for posterity,’”Third Man co-founder and White Stripes archivist Ben Blackwell said. “This is my attempt to avail myself to somewhat less lame last words.”

Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes Season One features members of The MC5, Pavement, The Raconteurs, The Detroit Cobras, The Dirtbombs, filmmaker Lance Bangs, and more.

Produced in partnership with Third Man Records.

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Javi Gómez Martínez Ten Influential Bands From Australia

How much do you know about Australia? No need to answer this question if you are Australian, but normally, for the rest of you, the answer tends to land in a strong “not so much”. And you’re not the one to blame. Generally speaking, in all non-English speaking countries, culture coming from English-speaking countries is normally presented as a huge unified indistinguishable compound. This obviously isn’t even close to reality and, without having to dig too deep, it’s easy to figure out that even artists from the same country can belong to scenes geographically and stylistically apart from each other.

Focusing back on our subject, Australia has plenty of unique bands that have found a global audience over the last 50 years. As much as the contribution of the Oceanic country can be felt in the worldwide cultural landscape, it’s rather common for folks outside of the country to not know that some of their favorite bands are originally from there. It’s time to change that. Let’s celebrate these 10 Australian bands which are NOT Jet (sorry, not sorry).

10 Essential Australian Bands

AC/DC

Love ’em or hate ’em, nobody can escape one of the biggest rock bands on Earth. Still active nowadays, the hard rock outfit was formed in 1973 by the Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. In 1975, they released their first studio record: High Voltage. And the rest is history, AC/DC is one of the most successful bands in history against all odds.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A Tasmanian devil (most likely showing its teeth).

The Avalanches

Would a debut like Since I Left You be possible in 2019? Probably not. The current copyright landscape doesn’t allow for the wild creativity that the Melbourne electronic band displayed in their game-changing debut. We will just drop a number here for those who don’t believe us, Since I Left You contains around 3,500 samples from previous recordings according to Wikipedia. After a long hiatus, The Avalanches released their second album, named Wildflower, in 2016.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A platypus.

The Church

The Church has been active non-stop since 1980 and in 2017 they released their 25th album: Man Woman Life Death Infinity. The career of this alternative rock band has evolved through time while remaining a beloved band for the alternative crowd. Their biggest hit is “Under The Milky Way“, a song whose beauty and allure remain intact after more than 30 years later.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A dingo.

Crowded House

Yes, I’m also humming “Don’t Dream It’s Over” as soon I wrote down Crowded House. The duo started their wildly successful career in 1985. Paul Haster and Nick Seymour released music and performed as Crowded House until 1996. Tragically, Paul Haster took his life in 2005 after a long battle with depression. Seymour re-formed the group with drummer Matt Sherrod in 2006 and released two more records. Albums such as Woodface or Together Alone remain as the testament to their ability to couple commercial success with beautiful songwriting.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A koala.

Cut Copy

The 2000s weren’t exactly the most memorable decade, but a bunch of records stood out and remain nowadays as pieces you feel like revisiting over and over again. In 2008, Cut Copy released their sophomore album, the fantastic In Ghost Colours. They kept releasing albums throughout the next decade and are still active nowadays. Few groups have hit the sweet spot between electronic music and traditional instrumentation the way Cut Copy do.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A wallaby.

The Go-Betweens

Fronted by pop mastermind Robert Forster, The Go-Betweens are a band that will instantly put a smile on the face of indie pop lovers. Their influence could be felt strongly in a lot of bands of the nineties (Belle & Sebastian, are you there?). The formula? Melancholic melodies, beautiful orchestral arrangements, and charming lyrics. I literally had to stop writing to listen to 16 Lovers Lane right now. A record doesn’t get much more beautiful than this one.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A wombat.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave must be the first name that popped in your mind when we mentioned Australia in the title. An institution of his own, Nick Cave started his music career fronting the post-punk legends The Birthday Party. Soon after the disbandment of this band, he started Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, still active nowadays. If you want to speak about a band with an impeccable career, they’re a very good example, let’s take a deep breath before mentioning some of the classics they have released over the last four decades: From Her To Eternity, Your Funeral… My Trial, Tender Prey, Let Love In, Murder Ballads, The Boatman’s Call, No More Shall We Part, Push The Sky Away, Skeleton Tree. Just to name a bunch. And that without mentioning all the output of his side project Grinderman and bands of other members of The Bad Seeds (like the incredible Dirty Three fronted by Warren Ellis).

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A kangaroo.

Severed Heads

Severed Heads are an electronic pioneering duo from Sydney. With a career spanning from 1979 to the present day, Severed Heads have always been great innovators and their contribution to the industrial scene is widely revered by the fans of this genre. Their status as a cult act has led to some very highly sought releases in our Marketplace.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A thorny dragon.

Tame Impala

The cultural dominance of Tame Impala over the last decade is out of discussion. The Perth psychedelic band debut album was released in 2010 and, since then, they’ve released two more albums which stand out as some of the best releases of the decade. The beautiful production and fantastic guitar work of Kevin Parker have landed him collaborations with other artists such as A$AP Rocky, Lady Gaga, The Flaming Lips, or Travis Scott, just to name a few. The new Tame Impala record is one of the most awaited releases of the season (it was expected for 2019, but 2020 is looking more realistic at this point).

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A cane toad (but less poisonous and more hallucinogenic).

Wolfmother

This band from Sydney was one of the last ones who benefitted from the rock revival of the early 2000s. Influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin, the tracks of their self-titled debut album were built over monolithic riffs and catchy harmonies. If you ask me, it’s hard to think of the huge commercial success of bands like Greta Van Fleet without Wolfmother opening that path in the previous decade.

What is their Australian spiritual animal? A goanna.
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Jeffrey Lee Puckett The Replacements: Dead Man’s Pop

I don’t think it’s bragging to say that I’ve been a fan of the ReplacementsDon’t Tell A Soul since its release 30 years ago. If anything, my appreciation has only gotten me a lot of side-eye from the band’s fabled “real fans,” the ones who want Paul Westerberg to stay forever 21 and drunk.

It absolutely has problems but it’s a good album. Really good. Westerberg’s nearly herculean efforts to write songs that were true to him while also appealing to a mainstream audience resulted in a lot of classic Paul, from the undeniably great “I’ll Be You” to the absolutely gorgeous “Achin’ To Be.

Don’t Tell A Soul’s radio-ready sheen — courtesy of Top 40 mixing master Chris Lord-Alge — has taken most of the heat from critics, and Rhino Records’ Dead Man’s Pop arrives to rectify that misstep in honor of the album’s 30th anniversary. That makes this five-disc collection more of a rescue mission than a traditional celebration.

the-replacement-dead-mans-pop

The centerpiece of the box set, comprised of one LP and four CDs, is a remix by original producer Matt Wallace, who was just a snot-nosed kid in 1988. Rhino Records has given him the chance to give the album a mix that’s in line with what he and the band intended; it’s more raw, loose and live.

In typical Rhino fashion, the collection comes with ample bonus material. There’s the entire 1989 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee concert, heretofore only sampled on a rare promotional release called either “Inconcerated Live” or “Live Inconcerated,” and a stack of outtakes, demos and alternate versions (some new, some previously released).

The studio extras range from interesting to outstanding, including the entirety of a drunken session with Tom Waits, and the UWM show is brilliant top-shelf live ‘Mats and deserves its own vinyl release. The band’s beer-fueled chaos was always best heard in concert but let’s be real: The best shows were the ones where the booze didn’t get in the way of the band, and this is one of those shows.

Wallace’s new mix, however, is the historically important aspect of Dead Man’s Pop.

the-replacements-dead-mans-pop-boxset

Lord-Alge’s mix was very much a product of its time. He was clearly not afraid to use every tool at his disposal, sometimes inappropriately, but he also had a gift for making records sound larger than life. The Replacements, however, derived much of their charm from being exactly life-sized.

Lord-Alge didn’t just mix Don’t Tell A Soul but essentially produced it a second time, applying effects to guitars, pouring out buckets of reverb, goosing Chris Mars’ drums, and burying the background vocals of Mars, Tommy Stinson and Slim Dunlap; it’s essentially a different version of what Wallace and the band turned in to Sire Records. Westerberg’s songs still shine, however, and the end result is by no means awful. In fact, it’s fascinating to hear the ‘Mats treated like INXS.

My initial response to Wallace’s mix was muted. It sounded smaller and more cramped, but that’s only because he didn’t compress the living hell out of it in order to sound louder than the competition, as Lord-Alge did. In a direct comparison between mixes, you’ll need to crank the volume a few notches to match the SPLs being fired out of Lord-Alge’s cannon, and once you do it really comes together.

Wallace’s mix peels away the gloss, putting the band back in a basement practice space — although it’s a much nicer basement than the band’s usual haunts. The new mix isn’t nearly as glossy as Lord-Alge’s but is still closer in overall feel to Pleased To Meet Me than Let it Be.

After a few spins, it’s obvious that the Wallace mix — while subjectively a bit too dry — is far better, far more true to the band.

Achin’ to Be” sounds natural, more like a band playing than a studio construct, and that only enhances its defeated beauty. “I Won’t” is finally and fully unhinged, freed from its cage to give us the album’s most ferociously ‘Mats-like moment. “Talent Show” also picks up enough grime that Westerberg’s self-deprecating snark actually sounds more cutting. “We’ll Inherit The Earth,” which isn’t a very good song, at least now sounds like a song rather than a collection of studio effects.

The most interesting track is “I’ll Be You,” which Lord-Alge famously sped up by four percent. It also became the band’s only hit, peaking at No. 1 on the alternative charts and No. 51 on Billboard’s singles charts.

Lord-Alge’s version of “I’ll Be You” might actually be better, although that’s not a hill I’m willing to die on because Wallace’s version is awfully persuasive. How’s this: We now have two different but equally good versions of a Westerberg classic, one dressed like a pop star on speed and one in ripped jeans surrounded by crushed cans of Old Milwaukee.

There’s no debate about the new track listing, which puts the songs in the band’s chosen order. It’s perhaps no surprise that some suits at Sire couldn’t properly sequence an album, and the flow now makes much more sense. “I’ll Be You” is perfectly situated on side one instead of two, giving the album some momentum, and the fearlessly self-indulgent “Rock ’N’ Roll Ghost” ends the album exactly as it should.

If you dislike Don’t Tell A Soul on principle then you’re clearly not likely to care about Dead Man’s Pop, but fans shouldn’t think twice and those on the fence should also seriously consider taking the leap. This is a lot of music for a street price of around $60, and the packaging and superb liner notes, collected in a handsome booklet, include an essay from Wallace and a piece from Replacements biographer Bob Mehr.

Replacements fan-boys can be annoying but there’s reason: Westerberg was one of rock’s best writers for a solid 10 years and Dead Man’s Pop only proves that point. If this is the band’s worst album, its legacy is just fine.

Produced in partnership with Rhino Entertainment.

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