Tag Archives: Gorillaz

RECORD STORE DAY 2012: A Vinyl extravaganza at Bristol’s best independent record store RISE

Record store day 2012 finally arrived in the early hours of yesterday 21st April.  I chose Rise Records, one of the finest record stores in the UK and the best independent record store in Bristol as my vinyl heaven location.

I nipped into RISE on Friday afternoon to see how preparations were going, the staff seemed a little rushed off their feet! With over 400 titles to put out onto the floor and prepare for what they hoped would be hoards of eager shoppers, they had their work cut out.

Each year the event has been going, it has become more popular with more releases and more interest.  Vinyl sales went up by over 40% last year and a welcome niche market has opened up for the musical connoisseur and a lifeline for “real” independent record shops.  Times are hard, and Record Store Day is a welcome silver lining to the dark clouds of economic gloom for record dealers around the world.

Last year I began queuing at 6:10am for the 8am lift off. By the time the shop opened there was a queue several hundred meters long. This time I was told that people were intending to start queuing at 4am!  So with heavy eyelids I set my alarm for 4am and got to the queue for around 4:30am.

It is essential to be in the first 20 in the queue as people are let in 20 at a time.  I was number 8!  This year I managed to even persuade my partner to join the fun!  Ironically I was standing next to the same people as last year as the geek music chat began!

Time passed quickly as the excitement built and the darkness fell away.  Automatic lights came on in the shop to reveal the hundreds of limited edition titles on display, and then by 7am the staff arrived to prepare for the rush.

It was incredibly well organised as they passed out lists to the first 20 people to pick their items strictly to Record Store Day rules – first come first serve.  This prevents any initial over exuberance and “elbowing” tactics for the ultra rare items.  Last year there was nearly a fight over a Dr Who single!

8 o’clock came and we were allowed in, our piles of records waiting for us.  We browsed in ore at the wealth of vinyl on offer to be tempted with yet more purchases.  It is hard to resist!

Some ask, “what is the point of vinyl?”, usually asked with their mp3 in their pocket full of pirated music that they have neither paid for or on the most part ever listened to.

I love music, all kinds and on all formats.  Everything has its place.  Mp3 players are amazing and very convenient; CD’s are excellent quality these days and are also convenient (the original CD’s in the 80’s and early 90’s were simply awful quality); and Vinyl are a different listening experience, superb quality and playing albums the way there were intended to be listened to, with artwork and an emotional experience.

The Vinyl experience is different and more attentive and more emotional.  When record companies began trying to force the death of vinyl in a re-issuing frenzy on CD of back catalogue items in a “bring them in and pile them high” attitude as a cash cow, the emotional aspect of buying records began to be broken.  The start of the death nail for recorded music.

This year many of the items available for record store day are of high quality and much sought after, along with some titles that are the inevitable cash in.  Record store day is more than just getting your hands on some lovely limited vinyl though, it is an event.  RISE had bands on all day and DJ sets, Record store day beer (very good!) as well as special offers and a few give away’s.  With   physical sales of music declining and difficult economic times generally this day has become very important in the record store retail calender.

The highlight for me was seeing Duke Spirit play live at 3pm.  They were superb and I can’t wait to listen to their live album I bought.

My vinyl highlights were The Kinks re-issues; Lee Scratch Perry 3 x 10″ box set; David Bowie Starman pic disc; Refused “The shape of punk to come”; Blood Music 7″; Keith Howard 12″;  Gorillaz 10″, Edwyn Collins tape box and Velvet Underground Loaded on pink Vinyl!

I’m still counting the cost however, as inevitably over enthusiasm got the better of me! Not to worry, it’s only once a year!

A great day for independent music shops – great music, great live music, great beer and a great day.  Thanks RISE for an excellent day!

Roll on next year . . . . .



2010 was an excellent year for music, the death of the album has been much muted, but with the evidence of current releases I don’t see the evidence of the format dying.

With great pieces of work from the old and young, it has been a pleasure to listen to such great music. This is my pick of the bunch for 2010 which no doubt many will disagree with, but that’s the beauty of lists!  I am bit late posting this but better late than never!

#1 – Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation

Many of the reviews for this album were excellent, however an often used phrase when it comes to Paul Weller is the obligatory “return to form”.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  This is the third studio album in a row that has been superb for Weller.   Starting in 2005 with As Is Now, which was the real return to form and he has since gone from strength to strength.

22 Dreams was an amazing double album of immense diversity from Latin influences to pure poetry.  Wake up the nation is an extension of this incredible creative high point in Weller’s back catalogue.

There is everything on this album,  with a return to “Jam Like” utterances with the title track Wake up the nation, and Fast Cars/Slow Traffic (with Bruce Foxton), along with sweet songs and psychedelia.  His songwriting is superb on this outing and his collaborations inspiring.

A well deserved Mercury nomination for the album, I would urge anyone to give this a listen.  A complete album in the old fashioned sense, listen to it from start to finish.  My album of the year.

#2 Caribou – Swim

A critics favourite this year, near the top of most lists I’ve seen.  I caught onto these a little late, but I got there in the end.

This album is an organic journey that takes you through a wholesome kaleidoscope of sounds and feelings.  It starts with Odessa which is a fantastic track,  one of the tracks of the year.

This album is appealing because it grows with every listen rather than one you quickly want to leave behind.  A complete entity which is what an album should be and I’m confident I’ll still want more a year from now.

#3 Everything Everything – Man Alive

I saw Everything Everything back in 2009 supporting the Rumble Strips.  I’d heard about them and thought I’d check them out.  It was obvious even then that they had something special, and its great that they have managed to transfer this to the studio.

The album is full of surprises, twists and turns.  There is nothing formulaic in anything they do which is a God send when so much music is generic and lacklustre.

I have heard critics criticise them for releasing songs that are “too complex”! If it were unlistenable I would agree but there is a beauty in these songs and the complexities keep life in the recordings.  There is always something more to discover.

#4 Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

This album I would class as the most beautiful of the year.  Smooth, crisp and evocative,  simply wonderful to listen to in almost any mood.

The francophile electro- folk- pop never fails to impress, enhanced by the attention of Beck’s production.

The lyrics flirt with the darker side as this record apparently was inspired by her near death experience following a water skiing accident in 2007.  With this record something truly wonderful was inspired.

#5 Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep

I listened to this album with a speculative ear. This is probably the most surprising album of the year.  You don’t necessarily expect that someone who has been around so long and has had such misfortune could emulate the great songs he has previously written.

This selection of songs is some of the best he has ever written.  Not a bad track on the album.  It is full of collaborations with those that were no doubt inspired by his earlier work.  This could have ended up being a horrible patchwork quilt of guest spots,  but this is far from what has been created.

This is a superb album.

#6 Foals – Total Life Forever

Total Life Forever took me by surprise with the leap forward they have taken from their debut album.  I thought they might do a Pigeon Detectives and make the same album again having such a distinguished sound.

This record is an enormous progression, keeping the edginess of their sound but molding it into something much more refined.   Excellent album with some haunting tracks and a great live band.

#7  LCD Soundsystem – This is happening

If this is the last studio effort from James Murphy et al in this format they will be sorely missed.

Always original, catchy and with a longevity that defines a great album.

#8  Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut

A much underrated outfit, I loved this album.  They have a unique take on the indie format and a sound that is un-mistakenly theirs.  This is an achievement in itself but with the songs that go with it.

Play this album LOUD.

#9 Grinderman – Grinderman 2

We pretty much know what were getting with Nick Cave, but when he does it well it is just superb.   He is on fire at the moment,  his last 2 albums with the Bad Seeds have been classics and now this album is another high watermark.

I love the twisted nature of the lyrics and the grinding gladetorial music.  This is one of his best,  another “old hand” that still keeps coming up trumps.

#10 Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Now,  I have to admit to not being the biggest Blur fan, but since David Albarn has branched out I have become a real fan of his creations.  All the Gorillaz albums have been excellent and this is no exception.  A great piece of work from extremely talented musicians.

The best of the rest :-

#11   Manic Street Preachers – Postcards from a young man
#12   These New Puritans – Hidden
#13   Steve Mason – Boys Outside
#14   Elvis Costello – National Ransom
#15   Sleigh Bells – Treats
#16   Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
#17   Jim Jones Revue – Burning your house down
#18   Skream – Outside the box
#19   Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
#20  Best Coast – Crazy for you
#21  The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
#22  We Have Band – WHB
#23  The Vaselines – Sex with an X
#24  dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip – The logic of chance
#25  MGMT – Congratulations