Welcome to the Vinyl Revival

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Who doesn’t love a faded memory jumping straight back into the spotlight questioning why you ever forgot it? This particular memory is the humble vinyl that is currently having a more successful reincarnation than Gary Barlow’s return to the spotlight.

A statement collectors piece for all music lovers, vinyl was overshadowed by the ever popular digital download making it a mere memory or relic hidden away in the dusty corners of record stores. Increasing interest in digital music saw the closure of multiple independent record shops in the UK with 540 store closures in five years and little to no interest in the once popular vinyl. What a turnaround it has had in the past couple of years with record sales more than doubling in 2013 and the release of David Bowie and Daft Punk’s LPs generating such a buzz vinyl sales reached a ten-year high.

Since it’s introduction by Columbia Records in 1948 vinyl has had a great following thanks to the alternative sounds and character an LP has to offer. Vinyl lover and collector, Robert Nelson said the rise in record sales is due to both the artwork and sound quality that has revived the vinyl appeal, he said: “to own a vinyl record really means something, from the artwork on the sleeve, to the lyrics printed on the booklet, the vinyl record is special, it is a relationship.”

Dan Lurinsky, manager of music store Rubadub agreed and stated: “I wouldn’t want to just sit in the house with a big hard drive and have nothing to look at. I like having something to look at and flicking through things and finding things by accident.”

There is no denying that the annual Record Store Day events, held in April, have helped to propel vinyl sales and raise awareness introducing people to the wonder of physical music; music that you can see, touch and smell whilst admiring the craft that goes into pressing a record that can be cared for, making it a loyal purchase. Record Store Day has helped music lovers to appreciate not only vinyl but their local music stores as Robert said: “it encourages people to go into their local music stores and look at what is available. In most cases, these small independent stores are a treasure trove of old vinyl that will appeal to the collector.”

Similar to all good things, Record Store Day can be seen as a bit of a hindrance. What we have to remember is that independent stores, like Rubadub, are pressing records all year round and have deadlines to meet but with Record Store Day it makes it hard to meet deadlines due to a backlog at pressing plants with companies re-releasing products, as Dan explained: “it’s a lot of big weighty companies trying to cash in on it.”

Held annually I wondered if making Record Store Day more than a once a year event would encourage more people to discover records but like all good things, less is more. Having one day to value a time tested musical relic in a fun filled day of music is better than having multiple events where people can lose interest because it’s the same thing happening over and over again. Record Store Day is arguably a great event, minus some inconveniences to independent stores, for music lovers to come together to talk to like-minded people having a good time. Dan stated: “every day is Record Store Day for us, but the actual day and the build to it is one of the best days of the year. It’s just an absolute laugh, all the staff really enjoy it, all the customers who come in all year round love it, we have DJs playing all day and we get the beers out –  it’s just a good day.”

Rubadub experienced one of the busiest Record Store Day’s this year thanks to the increasing interest in vinyl and the growing appreciation of spending time in independent stores browsing through LPs and finding treasures. With the store packed when the doors opened it’s great to see more people getting involved in a fun event highlighting a statement object for every music fan, Dan said: “I think it’s the most fun we’ve had on Record Store Day, in here anyway, it was a bit of a drunken weekend after that.” That’s how you celebrate one of the greatest methods of listening to music. Long live the vinyl revival.

 

Published on Scotcampus.

Kasabian Top 5

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Electronic rock quintet Kasabian are gearing up to awe music fans with their fifth studio album 48:13. Produced by guitarist and style guru in his own right, Sergio Pizzorno and named after it’s duration, Kasabian’s new release has taken the band in a new sound direction. With a more electronic feel compared to previous releases in Empire and Days Are Forgotten, the 13-track album is said to be the most honest offering from the Leicester lads who have already released one single from their upcoming release, Eez-eh. Not a band to do things in halves the release of their new album, available 9th June, will see the 2010 Best British Band BRIT Award winners headline the world famous Glastonbury Pyramid Stage after a killer performance at Radio 1s Big Weekend. To welcome back Kasabian we’ve taken a look at their top five tracks that are a must have on everyone’s iPod. What are your favourite Kasabain tunes?

Fire
A track that creeps up on you, it tricks the listener into thinking it’s another indie melancholy tune before bursting into the powerful chorus that just begs to be screamed back at a gig. Fitting perfectly well within the Kasabian back catalogue of indie electro rock it utilises Pizzorno’s skill on guitar to make you sway along before jumping around like a looney.

Club Foot
The song that propelled Kasabian to their current status Club Foot is a loud, dangerous track with a melody that will burrow itself into your mind so you’re forced to sing it all day long. The aggressive introduction infused with dance floor potential cements the band’s debut single as a mirror to earlier Indie rockers, Primal Scream and The Stone Roses; great bands to be compared to.

Underdog
Featured on their debut self-titled album the psychedelic rock tune is arguably Kasabian’s statement track. Opening with an infectious guitar riff it immediately pulls you in and challenges anyone not shake what their mama gave them, a statement track to any indie nightclub playlist.

Goodbye Kiss
More than just a psychedelic indie band Goodbye Kiss is Kasabian’s take on the classic ballad. A single from the bands fourth album, Velociraptor! it is a gentler offering compared to the vibrant noise we have grown accustomed to with Kasabian tracks and it is a breath of fresh air.

Switchblade Smiles
A plethora of songs to choose from has made this list difficult but there is no way we can ignore the masterpiece that is Switchblade Smiles. The aggressive, take no prisoners, attitude filled track is executed with style and slightly mirrors Eez-eh with an alternative electro rock feel. Now let’s take Kasabain’s chants into the real world and ‘move’ all summer long.

 

Published on Scotcampus.

Sheezus, Lily Allen is Back

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After a four-year break from the music industry, embracing motherhood and marriage, Lily Allen has returned as outspoken as ever. The London singer has always been frightfully honest in her music with songs about a useless lover or cheating, her new album has seen the return of Lily making the headlines again for a mixed bag of reasons.

Daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, Lily has been working on music since the tender age of 15 after leaving school to concentrate on her career. After releasing music on the once popular site MySpace, her tracks quickly started getting airplay on BBC Radio 1 before she signed with major label, Regal Recordings.

Lily did eventually hit the big time after the release of her debut album Alright, Still and her first single Smile, a song dedicated to a cheating boyfriend getting a really hard time all to the delight of young Ms Allen. Honesty with a pinch of salt has always been Lily’s method to a cracking pop song which is evident in her 2006 hit LDN looking at London life with rose tinted glasses versus the harsh reality of inner city life. Catchy melodies and chorus’ of Reggaie infused pop songs helped Lily gain fame before she departed from the music scene.

Personal tragedies have been rife with Lily experiencing several heart breaking struggles including multiple miscarriages before she married her builder and decorator husband, Sam Cooper who she has two daughters with; these experiences are a testament to the powerful woman Lily is. The length of time Allen has been away from the spotlight is enough to make people forget who you are and what you stand for, but thankfully Lily has come back even gobbier than she was before she left. Claiming to have missed the freebies involved in showbiz leading to her revival with new album, Sheezus has had a mixed response.

Coming back with Hard Out Here clearly mocking the popular, Robin Thicke Blurred Lines video and the objectification of women within the music industry, Lily made a big statement with her first single. Reaching nine in the official UK charts the feminist track has been praised by critics but there is definitely a glimmer of “been there, done that” around the single and album. It could be argued that, although witty and thought provoking enough, Lily hasn’t really returned with original ideas. Naming her album a title almost identical to Kanye West’s 2013 rap masterpiece, Yeezus (she claims to be a huge fan) and mimicking the Robin Thicke video before claiming not to be like other female pop stars in album track, Sheezus, Lily then fueling comparisons by name checking them in the chorus.

 

The Lily Allen return has been a strange one with empowering female messages brought down by ironic acts and a nod to every other artist on the planet without actually bringing us anything original. There is no doubt Lily is a true pop star thanks to her previous releases including Not Fair and The Fear with her honesty of “I wanna to be rich, and I want lots of money”. Either way, as a singer she has always made people talk about her and in the world of celebrity if you’re not worth talking about there’s no point really.

 

Published on Scotcampus.

 

Indie Madness: The Libertines Are Back

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Notorious rocker, Pete Doherty alongside co-frontman Carl Barat have confirmed The Libertines are back together. Speaking to an Israeli reporter singer Pete Doherty hinted that he would be interested in reforming The Libertines and within in a matter of days Doherty, Barat, bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell signed a contract to perform to 65,000 lucky fans at London’s Hyde Park on 5th July.

Time in the indie rock quartet was never a bed of roses with band mate conflicts and wannabe bad boy, Doherty’s addiction to crack cocaine and heroine. The success The Libertines received in early 2000 was short lived when the band decided to breakup. Although The Libertines separated, Doherty and Barat went on to have relative success with their new bands Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things but arguably not as much notoriety or achievement. Now back on speaking terms, and pocketing a nice sum of half a million pounds, The Libertines are gearing up to give us a great summer.

A reunion wouldn’t be complete without hints that Pete and Carl are meeting up to discuss new songs, yes new Libertines songs and warm-up gigs are being arranged with ideas of free shows floating around, anyone have Stone Roses 2012 reunion deja vu? The Libertines have returned 14 years after their debut, Up The Bracket and are offering up their blend of outrageous anthems and possibly Doherty’s signature red military jacket.

Tickets for The Libertines biggest show to date went on sale on Friday (2nd May) with expected support acts including Maximo Park, Wolf Alice and Swim Deep. With the indie world in a spin of excitement at the return of the Can’t Stand Me Now singers residents of Hyde Park have been less than amused with the news. Complaints about noise level have already been lodged before Doherty and co. step on stage, clearly not a fan of The Libertines’ blend of raspy, dirty, dangerous rock and roll…although with a history of drugs, fights and burglary Hyde Park is sure to be an unforgettable night, or a blurry mess of indie madness.

 

Published on Scotcampus.