A New Record Store

Morning everyone – sorry for not posting in nearly two weeks. I’ve spent the last week and a half with a very heavy cold and writing simply hasn’t been an option. I got the cold because I got soaked in a torrential shower on Valentines Day when I rushed into town to pick up a copy of Island Hopping by Joe Strummer on 7″. I still maintain the subsequent illness was for a worthy cause.

Anyway, I haven’t had the chance to write on the blog about my trip on Tuesday 18th February to a record store I hadn’t visited before. Whilst still ill (and clutching a delicious Ferrero Roche milkshake for comfort food), I made the forty minute train journey to Ballymena. I hadn’t actually been to Ballymena before either so it was all quite the adventure.

The store is called Track Records and is situated in Hill St. It’s a lovely little place and the staff are very friendly. They’re also very generous too. I had asked them on Facebook if they had any Clash/Joe Strummer vinyls (they hadn’t). After telling them I’d still call up regardless they very kindly offered to specially get Clash/Joe Strummer items in for me! Top notch customer service indeed. They got some old Mojo/Uncut magazines with Clash covers in specially for me. I was delighted – they’re somewhat more unusual items that would be extremely hard to find here. Track Records are the only record store that I know of that sells vintage music magazines at all actually.

That extremely nice bonus aside, I came away with some great gems, ones I don’t think I’d find in Belfast really. I got a copy of American Life (the single) on 12″ vinyl. I wasn’t actually aware that single was even released on vinyl so it was a real suprise to me. I also got a copy of Like A Virgin (the album) too. The condition was great and I couldn’t refuse the price. I also got Ladyhawke’s first album and the special edition of Melody AM by Royksopp. It’s a lovely shop and I’d definitely go again!

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Soft Cell – Torch

A very underrated duo. Tainted Love is a classic but Soft Cell have so many better songs in my opinion. One of these being their hit single Torch. Torch – which reached #2 in the UK singles chart in 1982 – was the biggest hit self penned hit Soft Cell had. Well deserved too – the song is fantastic. Torch was a non-album single though it features on remastered deluxe editions of both Non Stop Erotic Cabaret and the remix album Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing. What I absolutely adore about Torch is the feeling of authenticity it has. Everytime I listen to it I can just picture what those seedy clubs in London would have looked at. It’s incredibly effective in that regard. Lyrically, I think Torch is about feeling a deep connection to a musical performance. The irresistible arrangement is what makes Torch special for me though. I just love the saxophone and I love how very uncluttered the whole song sounds. It’s incredibly danceable without having to do t0o much. Very effortless stuff indeed. The 7″ of Torch is really good but the extended version (which clocks in at nearly nine minutes) is far superior. Just an excellent song from a duo that really deserve more praise.

A Trip To The Market

ImageToday was a Sunday with a difference. I went to St Georges Market, situated in Belfast city center. I had a great time. The atmosphere was great, there was a brilliant variety of stalls and the food was delicious. I had my first paella today and it was divine. Almost as divine as my trip to the vinyl stall.

It was the only record stall there, but it had such a good selection I didn’t need another stall. On display, I found a mint condition original pressing of Sandinista! by The Clash. I simply couldn’t refuse – even the original sticker was intact. It looks, quite simply, perfect. I bought it and it’s now set to became a most treasured item in my ever-growing Clash collection.

Sandinista! aside I also found a few other gems. There were a few New Order vinyls, but the one I settled on in the end was the 12″ of Confusion. Again, the condition was simply marvelous. The other vinyl I bought was Disco by Pet Shop Boys. It was perfect looking also – all the vinyls at the stall looked great really. Disco was one Pet Shop Boys vinyl I was particularly keen to get so I was delighted to find it this early. My next vinyl record trip will be on Tuesday where I’m going to Ballymena. I’ve never been there before, so it’ll certainly be something different. Very much looking forward to that!

My New Vinyl Endeavour

This is a post I’d never expect I’d ever write. I’m a heavy CD buyer, but I’ve never collected vinyl. That is, until about two weeks ago. My dad was looking at his music collection and in doing so, he unearthed his old vinyls, which he hadn’t seen in goodness knows how long. Me and Dad have a fairly similar music taste so a lot of albums I love were discovered. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac, Graceland by Paul Simon and Songs From The Big Chair by Tears For Fears being just three examples. Needless to say, I was in my element.

They were just three vinyls in a larger batch he gave to me. The 12″ of Blue Monday has become a particularly prized item in my music collection. It got me thinking though because a few months ago a family friend kindly gave me about a dozen Madonna vinyls. And I have a very limited amount of vinyls myself that I bought in a now closed down vintage store here in Belfast about two years ago. I’ve no turntable so I’ve not been able to hear any of it. And I’ve always wanted one to.  Getting this influx of records has made me finally bite the bullet: at long last, I’m going to get a turntable and start a vinyl collection!

Of course, I’ll need to be limited with my vinyl. I’ve got around about 500 CDs, and there’s just no way I can possibly replicate that on vinyl. It’s just not financially feasible. So I’ve set myself some limitations. For now, I’m only going to collect Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, The Clash/Joe Strummer and Factory Records vinyls (New Order, Joy Division etc). Amazingly, it doesn’t seem too difficult to do. I’ve discovered a great shop in Belfast city centre (situated in Wellington Place) called Dragon Records. I’ve already bought about six vinyls from there. For Factory Records and The Clash/Joe Strummer, they’ll be my main source. I’ve actually already bought some Clash/Joe Strummer and New Order records from there. I’m going to a few other places in the next couple of days too. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new found hobby progresses!

Madonna Vinyl Treats

20131223-132311.jpgThis was a post I was intended to have published two days ago. Things got in the way though, like the combination of necessary duties in preparation for Christmas (still can’t believe 2013 is coming to an end). Added to that I wanted the only posts I made yesterday to be dedicated to Joe Strummer with it being the eleventh anniversary of his death. I do love this time of year but it’s chaotic all the same.

I don’t tend to post about new additions to my music collection, but I’m going to make an exception here. I got a lovely and most welcome gift on Saturday courtesy of a family friend. She knows that I’m a massive fan of Madonna so she gave me some of her Madonna records from her collection. I’ve got some vinyl but none of which are Madonna, so to say I’m delighted as an understatement! The vinyls she gave me were the following (all 12″ records):

  • I’m Breathless
  • Holiday
  • Borderline
  • Rain (picture disc)
  • Like A Prayer
  • Fever
  • True Blue
  • The First Album
  • Papa Don’t Preach
  • Who’s That Girl (Soundtrack)
  • Deeper and Deeper (picture disc)
  • Vogue
  • Bad Girl (with poster)

I’m so pleased with what I got. Some of the records – like the picture discs of Rain and Deeper and Deeper I didn’t even know existed. They’re also my first picture discs too! I also wasn’t aware that the 12″ of Bad Girl came with a poster (reproducing the cover of the vinyl). Rain and Bad Girl in particular are two of my favourite Madonna songs, so I’m thrilled to have 12″ records of them in my collection. Honestly,  I love each song and album that was given to me.  They’ve definitely formed a unique part of my music collection. Now, time to finally get round to buying that turntable….