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Since the formation of Record Store Day in the US, where its headquarters are still based, back 2008, the event has grown and expanded globally with international organisers in the UK, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Poland. Record sales have been on the rise for a long time now, and did in 2019 outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, which is pretty cool.

Obviously, this year’s Record Store Day is a bit of a write off, seeing as we’re all locked up away at home due to the global pandemic. Luckily, that means we should have all the time in the world to listen to our current favourite records, while planning what to purchase once we’re yet again allowed. Record stores will be hit hard by the current situation, so I’m personally gonna treat myself to a couple more than usual once this thing settles – it’s all for a good cause, right…? Support independent businesses and hard working musicians, it’s a no brainer. In honour of this year’s Record Store Day, we figured we’d catch up with some of our artists to find out what’s currently on their turntable.

Thomas Jäger, Monolord

Album: Benefit
Artist: Jethro Tull

One of my fav records is Benefit by Jethro Tull. It hooked me with the midrange punch guitar and reeled me in with the clever lyrics and melodies. I love it.

Sally Gates, Titan to Tachyons

Album: Irony is a Dead Scene
Artist: The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton

I had some friends turn me on to ‘Irony is a Dead Scene’ when it first came out. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Emperor, Today is the Day, Cryptopsy, etc. I hadn’t heard anything from Dillinger Escape Plan or Mike Patton, other than a couple of FNM tunes on the radio. This record grabbed me immediately, as from the first track it’s a completely chaotic, twisted, and weirdly upbeat ride. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of juxtaposing multiple genres within quickly changing song structures, while retaining a coherent flow.

From here I went down the wormhole of this style (avant-rock/math metal), and came across Fantômas, Mr Bungle, and more Dillinger albums. (The Fantômas ‘Directors Cut’ album became another inspiring record for me in a different way, as a go-to soundtrack while working on paintings). These bands quickly became favourites, and had a marked influence on my writing style. ‘Irony..’ is such a short, perfect 18 minutes, and continues to influence me now. I’ll often throw this on for inspiration on the way to a gig, particularly if it’s free improv. Favourite track: ‘When Good Dogs do Bad Things’. 

Peter Hughes, Sons of Huns & Danava

Album: The Evil One
Artist: Roky Erickson

Roky Erickson was a Texas-born rock ’n’ roll howler best known for his early years with The 13th Floor Elevators, whose lysergic reverb-soaked hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was written by Roky at the tender age of 15 and would endure as his highest charting song and the definitive composition of his career. The 13th Floor Elevators are credited as the first Psychedelic Rock group and their first two albums, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & Easter Everywhere are the most notable. The Elevators LSD-steeped sound rippled across Texas west to San Francisco and clearly influenced the sonic palette of a number of bands that went on to enjoy larger commercial success, the heavyweight of the bunch being boogie behemoths & fellow Texas natives ZZ Top. Guitar hero Billy Gibbons first found his footing on the Texas club circuit with his band The Moving Sidewalks (an obvious nod to the Elevators, as Gibbons himself freely admits) who later toured as the opening act for Hendrix before going on to form ZZ Top. Even Janis Joplin considered contributing her soulful blues-tinged vocals to the 13th Floor Elevators before deciding to head to San Francisco instead. Continue reading here…

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

Album: Gorilla
Artist: Gorilla

Originally, I was going to talk about another artist’s album but unfortunately as RSD got cancelled as well as our European tour, I have chosen the first Gorilla album Maximum Riff Mania. This album was recorded in 2000 exactly 20 years ago, so this makes this a special year for Gorilla as it’s the 20th anniversary of this debut album. Gorilla have put together an ace Coloured Vinyl limited edition reissue, with CD, poster, photos and sticker inserts (limited to 300 copies). It reminds me of very happy times! We recorded the album at Toe-rag studios, back when it was pretty much the only totally analogue studio around and practically no one was really releasing vinyl, and it was all about the CD. We recorded and tracked our set live at the time, including most of the vocals straight from the studio floor. I was using my Rickenbacker 4001 through my trusty gig rig, a seventies Orange OR120 head, and  a Celestion Greenbacks loaded Orange 4×12. The straight-to-tape warmth of the sound, and our super tight performances still make me really proud, considering we’d only been together for a year or so! We didn’t compromise on anything it was influenced by all music that Gorilla loved and not led by any trends that were happening in the year 2000. Maximum Riff Mania “fuck the safety net” rock’n’roll! 

“A power trio in the time honoured tradition of blue cheer and cream, Gorilla recorded the ten track album at London’s analogue friendly Toe Rag Studios. Superbly led by Guitarist/Singer John Redfern, the threesome bridge the gap between old school riff rock and the more recent genre practitioners with dexterity. While the thunderous Coxsackie recalls The Stooges, circa fun house, a potent combination of poppy melody and grungy sounds ensures that She’s Got A Car isn’t far removed from peak period Nirvana. Although clearly boasting enough knowledge of metal history to keep the retro rockers happy, the first Gorilla album suggests they also have the armoury to impact on the immediate future.”
–  Record Collector review

“Imagine if you will Jimi Hendrix jamming with The Who, then throw in a dose of Black Sabbath, then you almost have the rumbling roar which is Gorilla. This is analogue sound at it’s finest and instead of ripping off their hero’s, Gorilla take the influences and make them their own. It’s unfair to label Gorilla as a stoner band although there are elements contained – they are a damn fine rock n roll band who know their way around their instruments and make on hell of a glorious racket.”
– RockSound review

Album available here.

Outside Reckless Records on Berwick Street in Soho, London.

Once again Record Store day is upon us, a day to celebrate music in physical form, all while helping musicians put dinner on their table. Record Store Day was started to “celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store.”, and is now on it’s 11th year after the 2008 launch. As much as I love Record Store Day and the idea behind it all, I must admit I tend to do my shopping at quieter times, when I don’t have to queue just to get into the shop. What can I say, I’m a lady of leisure! I prefer my records to be bought peacefully without anyone impatiently waiting for me to finish flicking through the 70s section. In honour of this year’s Record Store Day (as I also did for the last one), I’ve gone through my record collection to pick out my current Top 10. I say current, as these things change, and my collection keeps on growing. I do see a slight pattern here with all albums being released between 1968 – 78, so any later recommendations are also very welcome!

Free – Tons of Sobs
Released – 1968
Acquired – Sister Ray Soho, London

Free’s 1968 debut album Tons of Sobs might just be one of my favourite albums and the fact that they were all under 20 when recording it is just beyond me; a nineteen year old Paul Rogers (with sexy, sultry lyrics such as “You don’t need your horses baby, you’ve got me to ride, you don’t need your bed, I’ll keep you warm inside.”), an seventeen year old Paul Kossoff on lead guitar, nineteen year old Simon Kirke on drums and baby Andy Fraser on bass and keys, at the tender age of only sixteen, makes you wonder what they put in the water back then, definitely not social media and internet, that’s for sure. Anyway, during the bands short-lived career they proved themselves to be one of the great British blues bands of the late 60s and early 70s, with ‘Tons of Sobs’ proving why.

Human Instinct – Burning Up Years
Released – 1969
Acquired – Reckless Records, London

Sticking with the sixties blues, this one a year later than the last and from across the globe in the form of New Zealand’s ‘Human Instinct’ and their debut album ‘Burning Up Years’. The band stood out amongst their peers with their stand up drummer / singer Maurice Greer, who till this day is still active with the band, as well as guitarist Billy TK who was known as the “Māori Jimi Hendrix”. The album, which also carries elements of psychedelia featured several covers such as The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ as well as Neil Young’s ‘Everybody Knows This is Nowhere’. The album never got as big as it’s follow up ‘Stoned Guitar’, but it’s still an absolute gem and well worth a listen.

Slade – Alive!
Released: 1972
Acquired: Second hand store

When mentioning Slade it’s almost impossible to not think of their Christmas banger ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ and I mean, with good reason, it’s great pop tune and gets played a million times on the radio every Christmas. However, Slade is so much more than that, something that their 1972 live album ‘Slade Alive!’ proves. The entire album is great as it combines both ballads with boogie, but the opening track alone is worth this record being in my top 10; a mind-blowing cover of Ten Years After’s ‘Hear Me Calling’, the harmonies, the build ups and the absolute explosions, the song itself is a force of nature and I can’t even imagine the excitement of being in that audience.

Agnes Strange – Strange Flavour
Released – 1975
Acquired – Flashback Records stall outside Black Heart during Desertfest London 2019

Southampton’s boogie rock three piece Agnes Strange only released this one full length album, and later the compilation record ‘Theme for a Dream’ which featured unreleased material and demos. ‘Strange Flavour’ has a strange but delicious flavour indeed and contains just as much boogie as blues, as well as some spaced out Hawkwind vibes during ‘Travelling’ and psych jams, solos and pretty harmonies for ‘Loved One.’

Rainbow – Rising
Released – 1976
Acquired – Bought second hand for the outrageous price of £3

I was first introduces to Ritchie Blackmore through Deep Purple’s Machine Head, before my dad later sat me down and put on Rainbow Rising around the age of fourteen, stating “This is one of the best albums within this genre, listen.”,and listen I did, and right he was, as per usual. Opening track ‘Tarot Woman’ sets the bar for the album and became an instant personal favourite alongside “Starstruck”, and of course, the eight minute twenty six second symphonic showpiece of the record, ‘Stargazer”, which features Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. This was Rainbow at it’s finest, while they were still fronted by the late, great powerhouse of a man, Ronnie James Dio,

T2 – It’ll All Work Out in Boomland
Released – 1970
Acquired – Some Californian record store

T2’s 1970 album ‘It’ll All Work out in Boomland’ is probably what one could call a progressive masterpiece, which is mellow, melodic, melancholic and heavy all at once. T2 should be up there while discussing the likes of King Crimson, as well as carrying Pink Floyd-like elements and some heavy rock influences. My first ever encounter with the band was through the third track ‘No More White Horses’, which was enough for me to start the hunt to add the album to my collection. The record is only four songs long, with the fourth and final one, ‘Morning” being a 21 minute long epic journey through all the elements mentioned above.

Rory Gallagher – Calling Card
Released – 1976
Acquired – Apollon, Bergen

Rory Gallagher first made a name for himself as guitarist and founding member of Taste, before later going solo and recording and releasing names under his own name. Calling Card was Gallagher’s eight studio album and shows that he just got better and better with time. He was in 1972 voted Melody Maker’s International Top Guitarist of the Year, ahead of Eric Clapton. Also check out his “Live in Europe” album, “I could’ve had Religion” is the most beautiful blues song.

Judas Priest – Stained Class
Released – 1978
Acquired – Gift from my Dad

Judas Priest was and still is, one of the most influential heavy metal bands the world has even seen and is still going strong today. Their fourth album ‘Stained Class’ is absolutely spectacular and paved the way for so many bands after them, and is also often cited as being their best ever record. A must among heavy metal fans!

Hawkwind – Space Ritual
Released – 1973
Acquired – Brighton vintage shop (For the neat price of £4!!)

The fact that I’ve managed to make Rainbow’s Rising and Hawkwind’s Space Rituals part of my record collection for the total cost of £7 is just insane, take my money! This two-disc gem from Hawkwind’s heyday features Lemmy on bass before he was kicked out of the band, and gives you a teeny tiny insight into the madness that it must have been seeing the space kings live in the 70s as it was recorded on the road in London and Liverpool.

Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous
Released – 1978
Acquired – Bought second hand

Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous is a live double album recorded in London, Philadelphia and Toronto in 1976 and ’77 before being released in 1978. Since first hearing this album it’s been hard going back to their studio ones as the raw energy displayed on this record is nothing that could ever be transferred from stage and into the studio. “Is there anybody here with any Irish in them? Is there any of the gals that would like a bit of more Irish in them?” Phil Lynott politely asks before breaking into an extended jammy version of 1976’s “Emerald”, which is a personal favourite of mine, as well as “Suicide” and “Johnny The Fox meets Jimmy the Weed.”, to mention a few. All in all, the album showcases one of the finest rock ‘n’ roll bands I know at their absolute peak.

I’ve been a bit late to the record game – pretty damn late to be honest, but there’s a reason behind it all. My dad was a massive record collector in the 70s, 80’s and early 90s, and had an impressive collection showcasing everything from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Slade, KISS, Ramones, Uriah Heep and Aerosmith, to pretty much every other great guitar based band released during those decades. Some records he’d even get two copies off, one for listening, and one for safe keeping. He’d play them to my mum and make her guess which band it was, which has led to her having a somewhat knowledge about music, but also making statements like ‘It’s like Woodstock upstairs every time you’re back home!’ when I listen to Sex Pistols in my room, and describing Jimi Hendrix like ‘the guy with the big hair.’ Sure mum, the guy with the big, uhm, hair…

Then, the 90s happened and CDs emerged – vinyls were taking up a lot of space, and let’s be honest, made it a b*tch to move house, so my dad, as oh-so many others, gave away his record collection. Early versions and first editions of pretty much all the bands I’ve been obsessing over since forever – gone. This is obviously something that’s been on my mind for a long time, which led  to me refusing to buy records, for the sole reason that I knew it would drive me insane that pretty much every record I’d ever want from the 70s or 80s, my dad had, and gave to someone else but me. A few years back he dug out the ones that he’d managed to keep, and gave them to me – the most precious ones of them all, his entire Ramones collection, all early editions. At this point, I still didn’t have a record player so I brought them home and kept them as some sort of shrine for my dad’s youth and his musical influence on me, and a constant reminder about my childhood and growing up listening to them. Also a reminder that they could have been accompanied by about 1500 more records or so, GOD DAMN IT.

Anyway, I spent quite a while tossing and turning regarding the whole record player issue, and after acquiring a few more records here and there from friends and touring bands staying at mine, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and just god damn go get one. After doing so, I spent my first evening and pretty much all of that first night listening through the records I did have, alphabetising them repeatedly for my own satisfaction, signed up and got a Discogs account and adding a bunch to my ‘Want’ list, all while slowly coming to terms with the fact that I had 100% f*cked myself over financially and that I’d never have any money ever again, cause if there’s one thing I’ve always managed to justify spending money on it’s music and gigs, and if buying records to put in alphabetical order before listening to them ceremonially isn’t an investment in my own happiness, then I don’t know what is – the ritual of flipping the record and dropping the needle while gently caressing the sleeve…  Ah, oh my god. Is this how crack feels like? Anyway, i’m gonna stop this 700-or-so word intro and get to the point before this turn into some semi erotic article about my love for my vinyls; Since acquiring a record player five months or so ago I’ve added a fair amount of records to my ever so growing collection (with the latest one being Rainbow’s ‘Rising’ for only £3 yesterday at Reckless Records in Soho, London – how?!), and in honour or this year’s record store day, which is today, I decided pick my current, and I cant emphasise this enough, current top 10 vinyls in my collection – all in completely random order as god knows it’d kill me to have to pick a favourite. So, without further ado, my thoroughly thought through, non chronological current top 10 vinyls in my collection:

Hällas – Excerpts From a Future Past
Year: 2017
Acquired: Crypt of the Wizard

I first heard Hällas three years or so ago, but it wasn’t until last year I really gave them the time a day after randomly coming across an article about their newly released debut album ‘Excerpts From a Future Past’ – I checked out the album online, and I was sold – two seconds later I scroll through Instagram because I’m a slave to social media like most people in this sad society, and saw that heavy metal record store ‘Crypt of the Wizard’ had a few first pressings in stock – I rushed over, and managed to get my hands on a copy. This album, which I absolutely love, will take you on a cosmic journey through the middle ages, floating through time and space surrounded by Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies, Uriah Heep organ and sometimes even 80s synth. An absolute banger, and almost guaranteed that your dad will love it – mine did.

 

Motorpsycho – Behind the Sun
Year: 2014
Acquired: Amazon

Aah, sweet, sweet Motorpsycho, fellow Norwegian countrymen and connoisseurs of psychedelic jams so intense it nearly crosses the border between pain and pleasure. Despite Motorpsycho being around since before I was even born, it wasn’t until later in life I managed to wrap my head around this band, which I dare say is one of Norway’s finest exports alongside Kvelertak, Turbonegro, oil and Black Metal, and I wouldn’t have discovered them without Shaman Elephant guitarist Eirik, who couldn’t bare the thought of me living my life without the pleasure Motorpsycho provides, so thank you, Eirik. As soon as I heard this album, I knew I needed it, and I needed it straight away, so when my local record stores failed me I turned to Amazon and their next day delivery, sat camp by the door and waited impatiently. This record really sweeps you off your feet, starting out sweet before all of a sudden emerging mellowed out tunes with explosive psychedelic jams, so intense you forget to breathe – my personal favourite on the record being closing track ‘Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock’, which is very much the latter; a song that keeps building until you can’t take it anymore, before it drops into the most beautiful and chaotic organised mess you can even think of, leaving you gasping cause you haven’t exhaled for six minutes.

 

Robin Trower – Twice Removed from Yesterday
Released: 1973
Acquired: Sister Ray Records

‘We all thought this guy would be the next big thing after Hendrix died.’ My dad told me when he first played me Robin Trower, who after the 60’s Procol Harum heydays formed a three piece and started releasing and performing music under his own name, ‘Twice Removed from Yesterday’ being the debut. After buying the album and listening through it, it didn’t take long to get the Hendrix comparison, as the similarity in their sound and way of playing is uncanny. This album starts out slow but beautiful, with three incredibly strong ballads showcasing Trower’s phenomenal guitar playing, before it kicks off and gets funky in ‘Man of the world’, later followed by the sleaziest version of ‘Rock me baby’ I have ever heard – this record is timeless. I had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Robin Trower a few months ago and it was astonishing, being able to watch one of the greatest guitarists from a time when giants walked the earth, someone along the lines of Hendrix himself, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

 

GNOB – Electric Dream Demon
Year: 2018
Acquired: Gifted by the band

Since first coming across GNOB at The Bird’s Nest in South London two years ago they have swiftly risen to become one of my favourite bands in the underground music scene in London, as well as all very good friends of mine. Their eastern inspired psychedelia is a breath of fresh air on the scene, which for a long time was fronted predominately by heavier stoner bands. This album ‘Electric Dream Demon’ is their debut and an absolute gem of an album – the perfect mix of heavy and melodic, all while at the same time incredibly mellow and trippy, with beautiful, eerie and fuzzy vocals as well as a bunch of instrumental jams, which I’m a sucker for.

 

Motörhead – Overkill
Released: 1979

Acquired: Gifted

1979, Lemmy had been kicked out of Hawkwind and his trippy space days were over – he had at this point successfully formed the loudest band in the world and managed to follow up their 1977 self titled debut album with what might just be the greatest Motörhead record to be ever made; Overkill. I wish I was there in 1979 when it was released, to be able to put it on my turntable not knowing what to expect, to then be hit with the most explosive opening track in the history of time. Rock ’n’ roll had come a long way from Elvis was for sure, and there you’ve got ‘Overkill’ coming at you at 150 miles per hour, fuelled by Jack Daniels and speed. In my eyes, this album is one hit after another, showcasing the very best of Motörhead. Picking a favourite track of the album ain’t easy, but let’s face it, ‘Stay Clean’ is pretty damn sweet, not often Lemmy would solo but when he did he did it spectacularly. An incredible album from beginning to end, play it loud as hell surrounded by friends and cheers to three of the finest hell raisers and rock ’n’ rollers the world ever saw – Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke and Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor.


Deep Purple – Machine Head
Released: 1972
Acquired: Christmas present from my dad

I’ve been a fan of Deep Purple for as long as I can remember, and I dare say the Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover era was nothing but sensational – I mean have you heard their Made in Japan album from 1972?! It’s simply astonishing, both political, funky and sleazy. They were kings of their time, there’s no doubt about it. One of my personal favourites from that lineup is 1972’s Machine Head, another album that’s just filled with one banger after another – ‘Pictures of Home’ one of my personal favourites offers all the solos your heart may desire; bass, guitar and even keys. Ah, don’t even get me started on the keys on this album, Jon Lord’s got ya covered from A-Z. The key intro to ‘Lazy’? Holy shit, epic. Thank you Jon Lord for that sweet Hammond beat.

 

Earthless – Black Heaven
Released: 2018
Acquired: Gig in Islington Assembly Hall, London

Oh Earthless, where do I begin? Despite having created a whole wave of a new generation psych bands emerging from San Diego, there really is no other bands like Earthless. Musically they’re on a different level from any band I’ve ever seen, and they cease to amaze me with everything they do, whether it’s 20 minute long instrumental psych jams, or as on ‘Black Heaven’, structured songs with incredible vocals, where none of them crosses the nine minute mark. This album, despite being very different to former Earthless releases, is still very much an Earthless album, showcasing the skills of some of the best musicians of our generation. As far as seeing Earthless live goes, these guys are probably the closes you’ll ever get to see something along the lines of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

 

Neil Merryweaher – Space Rangers
Released: 1974
Acquired: Discogs

Canadian bassist Neil Merryweather’s been around for decades playing with artists such as Steve Miller, Rick James and Wilson Pickett, but it’s his 1974 solo album ‘Space Rangers’ that stole my heart. My first encounter with Merryweather was through other people’s songs, covering The Byrds’ 1966 single ‘Eight Miles High’, and might I add, doing so spectacularly, and Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’, also originally released in 1966, where he brings the funk like few Canadians dudes have done before him. With Merryweather being a bassist by heart, there is big focus on the bass for melody and not just rhythm, almost taking the place as a second guitar branching out onto solo-like territory. ‘Space Rangers’ touches base within a few different genres, with opening track ‘Hollywood Blvd’ bordering to a pop song, before venturing onto space rock, funk and psychedelia, and it has swiftly become a favourite in my record collection ever since I got my hands on it.

 

Truth & Janey – Topeka Jam
Released: 2018, recorded 1974
Acquired: Rockadrome


This explosive three piece took their name from Jeff Beck’s ‘Truth’ album and guitarist Billy Lee Janey, and they might just be one of 70’s Iowa’s best hidden treasures. Inspired by the great blues guitarists of the 60s, they were heavy like Pentagram, had the funk of Grand Funk, and the rawness of the stooges. Topeka Jam consists of a bunch of previously unreleased songs recorded over several nights in Topeka, Kansas in 1974, and sees the band venture on into endless fuzzy harmonies and jams, with the opening track (and might I add, only track on side one) ‘Midnight Horsemen’ (originally released as a 3 minute long single in 1972) being jammed out into the abyss for a whole psyched out 22 minutes. It’s a bold choice for an opening track indeed, but sets the bar high for the rest of the record, which only gets better and better.

 

Ramones – Ramones
Released: 1976
Acquired: From my dad’s old record collection

When my dad gave away most of his record collection, he did keep a few for himself, his most precious possessions that he kept safe until passing them onto me a few years ago; His Ramones records. I grew up listening to the Ramones religiously, loving the simplicity, energy, but also vulnerability. I loved Joey the most, he was the tall space case and I liked to think I could relate to that. Ramones broke so much ground with what they did, despite how ‘simple’ it was compared to a lot of the other bands of the time – they invented punk and created the whole CBGBs scene, and toured and gigged relentlessly until the very end. Their self titled debut is a perfect example of what the Ramones were about, fast, catchy and short songs, some about what they wanna do, some about what they don’t wanna do, and some, quite a few actually, about love.

In a day and age where most things are becoming digitalised, it is pure joy and excitement we feel about the growing return of the vinyl after it’s downfall in the early 90s when CDs emerged. Record stores are booming, and it’s actually financially viable to open a record store, and survive! What a time to be alive, hey?

While in London recently, we met up with three quarters of last year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands winners, Welsh band Fire Fences, in Soho’s Berwick Street, where you find Reckless Records and Sister Ray records only seconds apart. Why? To find out more about their appreciation of music, and their love for vinyl. As we let the guys loose in the shops, they are overwhelmed with options.

«We don’t have places like this in Bridgend! There’s an HMV, but nothing with the amount of options like Sister Ray, or high quality second hand vinyls at bargain prices like Reckless Records!”

We ask them to roam around, and pick out a few albums that have shaped their taste in music, and maybe inspired them as musicians.

James:

Miles Davis ‘Kind of Blue’ – Released: 1959
There was no one in my family that showed me jazz which was quite nice, that I was able to venture on my own journey and explore jazz for myself without my opinions being tainted by anyone else’s. Miles Davis for me was the gateway into a whole new world of music, so unbelievably expressive, without saying any words. That for me, that someone can express themselves so well simply by just playing their instrument, that said a lot. This album, ‘Kind of Blue’ which has also got John Coltrane on it, is incredible. I can put it on anytime, sit back, relax and just enjoy it for exactly what it is.


Freewhelin’ Bob Dylan – Released: 1963
Growing up my dad would play guitar, and he’d always play music such as Stones and Dylan around the house and the one that stood out to me was this record, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’. It’s an absolutely amazing record and totally reflective of the time when it was released. Dylan himself is just magical, I always liked him as a kid but I appreciate him a lot more now I’m older. This record also has this nostalgic feeling of growing up and my dad playing it. I think this is the record Dylan really made a mark for himself with, and made people understand what he was about. Personally, I think this is by far his best record and a good representation of the culture at the time. Take ‘Masters of War’, it’s so angry but at the same time just absolutely amazing songwriting, just another level.

Aaron:
The Strokes ‘Is This It’ – Released: 2001
The Strokes didn’t reinvent the wheel when they released this album, but they just did it really well; the album’s got incredible songs, and carries itself really well. Especially for a first album ‘Is This It’ really is quite something – all the singles on there are huge, hit after hit. Their songs are easy listening but at the same time incredibly well constructed. I just love the fact that despite not doing anything new, it was groundbreaking because they did it so well. The album could have been released yesterday and it would still have been as big as it was.

U2 ‘The Joshua Tree’ – Released: 1987
I went to see these guys last year in their hometown for their ‘Joshua Tree Tour’, and it was absolutely mental. I think this album was just ahead of its time, using guitar effects that hadn’t really been used much before. My least favourite track on here is ‘With or Without you’, which tends to often be the only song anyone knows, but then the rest of the songs on there are just amazing. Another timeless album, as these songs are all pretty relevant today.

Will:
Mac DeMarco ‘Another One’ – Released: 2015
I feel like a lot of music today is very over produced, and often a product of people wanting to get stuff out there as quick as they can without taking too much consideration into the end result. Then there’s records like this, where you can tell so much time’s gone into it, especially with the songwriting behind it, which you don’t really find that much today in newly released music. To find that sort of deep meaning in music you often have to go back all the way to the 70s. My favourite track on there is ‘Without me’, a song that just really chills you out after a long and busy day.

Black Sabbath ‘Masters of Reality’ – Released: 1971
This record seems pretty obvious, because it’s Black Sabbath. I was torn between Vol. 4 and ‘Masters of Reality’ but ended up going with ‘Masters of Reality’ due to the variation in the songs – you start out slow but heavy with Sweet Leaf, and then just a few songs later you’ve somehow got ‘Children of the Grave’ which is just mental and completely takes off. I actually ended up buying this record as well as it was lacking in my Sabbath collection; between my brother and myself we’ve got them all now except for Vol. 4, I guess that’s next on the list.

I did actually buy another record today as well, an EP from Inspiral Carpets, a band Noel Gallagher used to roadie for. Noel Gallagher and Oasis have always been a big influence for myself and my music, so it’s interesting to get some more background there and hear some of the stuff Noel Gallagher was around and listening to before his Oasis days.


“Digital music just doesn’t feel the same, or as real, as a vinyl does. There’s something about putting a record on your turntable and carefully dropping the needle and waiting for it to play, holding the artwork in your hands, and admiring all the time, work and love that’s gone into it.”
– James Lee, Fire Fences drummer