Record Collection Update

Earlier in the month was my birthday. So naturally my record collection has benefited. Here’s a few things I’ve either generously been bought as presents, or have picked up with money I’ve got for my birthday.



Leading with one of my favourite metal/hardcore releases from last year, Code Orange’s ‘Forever’. This was kindly bought for me from one of my best friends and it’s great. It’s on black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and on the gatefold it’s matte black with gloss back text and the Code Orange panther logo in the middle. This is a fantastic pressing the actual vinyl feels really heavy and sturdy and it’s sounds amazing.

Secondly, something I just picked up with some birthday money, FKA Twigs’ 4 track ‘EP 1’. Released with no artwork, but with a music video to accompany each of the tracks. This was my first exposure to FKA Twigs and I think, although these tracks are great, she has definitely improved massively since this EP dropped. Regardless, this was a must have for my collection.

Thirdly, and probably the most impressively, I got the deluxe edition of Radiohead’s 2016 record, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’. This double LP comes in a 32 PAGE BOOK! With loads of additional artwork and lyrics, it’s gorgeous. Interestingly, it comes with a wrap of recording tape used from actual album sessions dating back as far as Kid A. They said instead of throwing them away they’d put them with the special edition, which is a lovely touch. I’m so glad I FINALLY own a physical copy of what was one of my favourite albums of last year.

Next, an absolute classic. Daft Punk’s groundbreaking 2001 LP ‘Discovery’. It’s almost criminal that I haven’t picked this up sooner. Everybody knows at least a handful of tracks off this record and to hear them all as they’re supposed to be heard in the full album form is fantastic. Released in a glossy gatefold package, if you’ve somehow been living in a cave for the past 20 years and managed to completely avoid Daft Punk, do yourself a favour and listen to this album.

ANOTHER CLASSIC! Weezer’s Self Titled / Blue Album is another absolute essential in my collection and one of my best friends picked this up for me. This album has gained platinum certification and it’s not hard to see why. Massive Beach Boys influence and for a debut album the band just found their sound immediately. I first got into this album when I was pretty young, around 9/10 and I feel like it’s grown with me. Truly an album that’s stood the test of time and i’m still finding bits to love now. Pretty minimal artwork but the music can stand on it’s own very very comfortably.

Finally, James Blake’s ‘Overgrown’ LP. Not my favourite James Blake release, in fact it’s probably my least favourite full length from him but still such a solid release. Gorgeous gatefold album again with a slick picture of Blake homed in the middle. This is a great pressing, i’m pretty sure it’s 180 gram so nice and heavy and it sounds amazing. It’s like James Blake just makes music to be heard of vinyl, and he does it so well.

Let me know anything you’ve picked up lately or anything I should check out!

First Hurdle Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Record Collection Update


Since I invest a lot of time and money into buying and appreciating vinyl, every now and again I’m going to post a small update on things I’ve recently bought. I’m a massive supporter of independent music shops and definitely encourage people supporting their local scene (See my post on record shopping in Manchester here).  So here’s the last five records I picked up.


Beginning with Solange’s critically  acclaimed 2016 effort ‘A Seat At The Table’. This is a gorgeous double LP on pure black vinyl. The disks are housed within lyric bound sleeves and a gorgeous photo covering the full side of one of the sleeves (pictured above). The records themselves feel very sturdy and have a decent weight to them which is great. This was one of my favourite albums of last year and I’m glad that I’ve finally grabbed a physical copy. I picked this record up online due to none of my regular record stores having any copies. If you’re into soul influenced and political RnB then this album from the lesser know Knowles’ sister will be right up your street.


Secondly this is The Antlers – ‘Live In London’ gatefold double LP. The Antlers are a really great indie rock band who’s album ‘Hospice’ is what brought my attention to the band (definitely worthy of a listen). This is surprisingly the first live album that I’ve bought on vinyl! I didn’t intentionally seek out this record but I saw it for sale in Fopp for five pound which for a double gatefold album is insanely cheap. Again on solid black vinyl a particular highlight is the dreamy rendition of ‘Hospice’ closer ‘Epilogue’. In the actual gatefold itself is a creative drawing of the venue which The Antlers played when this record was recorded.


Next is Sampha’s debut full length album ‘Process’. I wrote a review to this album here. Although this album is still very new (released only earlier this month) it’s certainly not to be ruled out as an early album of the year contender. It’s that good. On solid black vinyl the disk is housed in a sleeve with one side lyrics and credits, and the other a picture of Sampha as a child next to his late mother who this album is largely about. I picked this up from Piccadilly Records in the centre of Manchester for the very reasonable price of £15.99. This LP also came with a CD copy which is great for having on in the car or to pass on if you don’t play CD’s and want to put someone on to a great release.


Well well, what can I say about this album. With already reselling for prices no less than £150, I’m proud to say that I own a copy of Frank Ocean’s Blond(e) on wax. Available to purchase for only 24 hours on last years Black Friday I HAD to have a physical version of this album. In a stunning minimalistic gatefold sleeve, the artwork gets the black and white treatment. Again on solid black vinyl this has become one of the gems in my collection. On the right hand half of the gatefold you’ll find the picture above but that’s the extent of the artwork (I told you it was minimalistic). I shelled out around £50 for this record including international shipping.  But seeing how much people are paying for these now, I don’t think I would struggle to make my money back.


Finally is NxWorries’ 2016 effort ‘Yes Lawd!’. NxWorries is made up of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Anderson Paak and profound producer, Knxwledge. This is the Rough Trade exclusive clear vinyl pressing limited to only 300.  This is a double LP and the gatefold features pictures of both musicians responsible for the album. It took me a little while to warm to this record but now that it’s hit home, it’s become one of my favourite modern hip hop albums. The soul influences are insane on this album, with Paak literally name dropping Marvin Gaye and Bloodstone in one of the album highlights, Suede. I picked this up from Discogs online for around £30, which for a sold out limited record, still sealed, is more than reasonable.

This will be a frequent feature on the blog and I’ll update every time I pick up another five records or so. If you haven’t heard an album on this list, check it out, you might just find your new favourite artist.

First Hurdle Music.

A Guide To Record Shopping In Manchester

Whether you are a regular to the centre of Manchester or a visitor to this beautiful city, if you’re into buying records, it’s a fantastic place to be. In this article I’ll be giving a brief overview of my favourite places to record shop in Manchester, some independent and some commercial but all worth your time.


VINYL EXCHANGE

Vinyl Exchange is a great little spot in Manchester’s Northern Quarter with a huge selection of new and second hand records. It’s walls are plastered with memorabilia from the Manchester music scene, and an impressive amount of it signed. You can also pick up merchandise from Vinyl Exchange from bands such as The Smiths and The Stone Roses, legends in Manchester and worldwide. I’ve had a few great finds in here and everything is very reasonably priced for the condition and rarity. Their indie section is definitely worth a flick through, I’ve picked up a few gems in there!

vinyl-revival
VINYL REVIVAL

With quite a similar vibe to Vinyl Exchange, Vinyl Revival is a two floored shop again in the thick of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Dealing mainly in used vinyl they have stock of almost every genre you could imagine. The shop is packed with racks and underneath crates full of bargain finds if you have the time to have a good dig. They also have a vast selection of 7″s with some very rare stuff, on my last visit they had an early Brand New 7″ which you, if you’re a fan of, know how hard it is to grab their stuff. They have a great electronic and experimental section which is great if you’re after that one record you might not find in the more mainstream stores.


FOPP

Fopp is the sister company to the humongous HMV. I have opted to include Fopp in this list over HMV (which Manchester also has a huge one) solely based on pricing. Fopp is just off Manchester’s busting Market Street and deals solely in new records. Although this is the most commercial store on the list, and I am completely in favour of supporting independent stores over chains, don’t write it off. Bizarrely you can buy records in Fopp that for the same album is more expensive in HMV. Although they mainly stock indie music and things you’d expect to see in a commercial store, they have a great hip hop and electronic section which you can find releases from Warp records and Hyperdub.


CLAMPDOWN RECORDS

Tucked up on a side street towards Manchester’s Piccadilly station you will find Clampdown Records. Another great independent record store with a hugely varied selection. The back wall in the store is plastered with signed records (available to buy) from some really big names in the music industry. Again you can find most genres you desire in Clampdown Records and it has a real authentic record store feel. Dealing in both new and used records there is some pretty rare stuff in here. It’s a smallish store but if you time it right it’s usually pretty quiet and you’ll have free reign of the racks, everything split into genre for convenience.


CHARITY SHOPS

You don’t have to go far to find a charity shop in the centre of Manchester, and like anywhere they can be full of hidden gems. If you have the time to sift through seemingly endless copies of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (A great album but once you’ve bought it you’re sick of seeing it) it really can pay off. Most of the time, albums will be used and sometimes in pretty bad condition but you might get lucky! Everything is always extremely reasonably priced, usually due to people not knowing what their collection is worth. These are the people you’ll be praising when you’re leaving with a £20 record for £3.


PICCADILLY RECORDS

Probably the gem of record shopping in Manchester, Piccadilly Records puts the Manchester vinyl scene on the map. Again based in the middle of Manchester’s Northern Quarter and often counted in top record shops worldwide. When you’ve visited you’ll understand why. I’ve never been in when it’s not busy, but the store is a really decent size and there is plenty of stock for everyone to be flicking through. Everything in Piccadilly is new and still very reasonably priced, usually undercutting the likes of HMV by a few pound which is even more of an incentive to shop independent! If you only have time to squeeze one record shop in to your trip to Manchester, I’d make it Piccadilly Records.

What are your favourite spots to record shop? Get in touch and let me know!

First Hurdle Music.

January Album Of The Month

As we know 2016 was a fantastic year for music and 2017 is going to have to bring some really special music to compete. As the month of January comes to a close I must say that it has gotten off to a pretty flying start.

This year really started on the front foot and the king of ambient music, Brian Eno, didn’t hang around with his ‘Reflection’ project which he released on January 1st. This is another great record from Eno and it marks his 26th solo studio album which is insane!

We got the David Bowie ‘No Plan’ EP made up of tracks from his Lazarus LP recorded in the sessions for his, sadly, last album ‘Blackstar’. It seems even the grave isn’t going to stop Bowie from releasing music.

Bonobo, the British downtempo electronic wizard released his sixth full length ‘Migration’ which I jammed out quite a few times this month.  It’s a very cinematic and transcendent record with a definite tinge of melancholy, it’s a very interesting listen. I’m still really discovering this album but I’m finding new things to love about it after every listen.

Pennsylvanian hardcore band Code Orange unleashed ‘Forever’ which is my favourite thing that they’ve put out. It’s essentially a hardcore album with massive metalcore influence and I can even hear some Fear Factory style industrial metal in their sound too.

The XX released ‘I See You’ which I won’t get into too much detail about because I reviewed it recently so check that out!

Cloud Nothings put out ‘Life Without Sound’ which is another great addition to their pretty solid indie rock discography.

Kehlani released her first full length LP ‘SweetSexySavage’ which to be honest I was pretty disappointed with. I really enjoyed her ‘You Should Be Here’ Mixtape. It’s a fairly bland Trap Soul album and it just got a bit stale a lot earlier than I expected it to. There are still some great tracks on here such as ‘advice’ and ‘distraction’.

Canadian indie / garage rockers Japandroids returned with their first LP in 5 years ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ which is a great comeback and shows they haven’t lost it while they’ve been away.

Georgia trap rap group Migos released their second full length ‘Culture’ which boasts an impressive features list including: Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott & Lil Uzi Vert. They also bagged the number one spot in the Billboard Hot 100 which is absolutely massive for them and rap culture as a whole.

January boasts a lot of great releases but my album of the month is Julie Byrne’s ‘Not Even Happiness’.


Julie Byrne is an indie folk singer from New York. Her 2014 LP ‘Rooms With Walls And Windows’ is one of my favourite modern folk records. I was lucky enough to see (and meet!) Julie live in 2015 and her live show blew me away. That being said, it’s an understatement to say I was looking forward to another full length from Julie Byrne.

‘Not Even Happiness’ did not disappoint. This LP is stunning. Without straying too far from the sound from her first record of ethereal acoustic folk, Julie’s songwriting style is a lot more honest on this project. The songs are spacious and guitar tones are very dreamy it’s almost too easy to get lost in this record.

From the siren song opening track aptly named ‘Follow My Voice’ to the autobiographical ‘I Live Now As A Singer’ this is a gorgeous collection of music.

What music have you enjoyed this month? Get in touch & let me know!


Here’s my signed copy of Julie Byrne’s 2014 album Rooms With Walls And Windows.

First Hurdle Music.

York Trip: Earworm Records.

I was lucky enough to sneak away for a night to York this week with my girlfriend. Amongst all the fun things we managed to pack in, we also found a little bit of time to check out a local record shop.

After doing a little bit of research into the York vinyl scene, it seemed if I had to go to any of the stores it had to be Earworm. And tucked away off a busy winding street right in the centre of York, it wasn’t the easiest place to find. We actually walked past it twice and had to be made aware of the arrowed sign to get us there. Regardless we made it eventually and were greeted warmly by staff and the sound of Anderson .Paak’s Malibu which was a great welcome.

With it only being a relatively small shop they boasted a great collection spanning across most genres. A great mix of new music and classics from all eras across both new and second hand vinyl. I also found the pricing to be very fair on everything I picked up to have a look at.

I made two purchases from Earworm Records: Outkast’s – Stankonia 2 x LP and Venezuelan electronic artist Arca – Mutant album on red vinyl! Both records were second hand but were both in great condition, especially Mutant which is pristine.

Next time I head to York I’ll be definitely making another trip to Earworm records and if you are a lover of records, you should too.

Adam Grime

First Hurdle Music.