Eleanor McEvoy – love must be tough

When you listen to a record such as this, full of clarity, perfect detail, delight in every instrument and vocal phrase it really begs the question why doesn't every musician want their music to sound like this? Half-speed mastered by Miles Showell, this record really brings Eleanor and her cheerful outlook on life and love right into your house, band and all.

 I picked up the 'Yola' cd second hand some years ago without knowing much about her, despite living less than a hundred miles from where she lives and records. It turned out to be one of that years delights, both for the music and the sound quality. It regularly features, I discovered later, on  audiophile favourites(favorites if you're in the US) lists and is thoroughly well deserved. I remember being surprised at what a beautiful warm sound came from the CD. I picked up teh vinyl edition afterwards and somehow wasn't that impressed. I expected to be blown away and I wasn't. A second vinyl edition came out later on which apparently fixed things but I haven't picked it up yet.

This album is blowing me away. 

 Its full of the simply beautiful combination of Eleanor's husky voice, touching and joyful lyrics, backed up by wonderful musicians playing a cool breezy, and at times rag-time(!) jazzy music.

Over the past few years there have been plenty of sultry jazzy female singers, Norah Jones, Diana Krall etc. Frankly they all bore me to tears. I'm far more persuaded by the folksy charm of Eleanor McEvoy. Its not quite an Irish traditional hooley but it could be the warm up for one, or the cool down. 

 

Really if you don't buy this you're doing yourself a great disservice.

 

The packaging is simple enough, really just there to provide a few details about the recording, musicians and to protect the lovely 180grm silent pressing. Diverse does it again!!

Marvin gaye – Let’s get it on

Enticed by the bright orange carrot of 15 extra tracks, which I've never seen on another vinyl edition of 'Let's get it on', I finally plumped and bougght my first 180grm record by the Vinyl Lovers label.

 As previously announced here in News some months ago the Vinyl lovers label released a slew of interesting titles on vinyl. Owned or associated with Lilith records the very name of the label inspired excitement in me and no doubt many other vinyl fanatics. Strangely the music was licensed from Universal Music Russia, making it sound like a possibly dubious operation. But apparently it was all legal and even the neighbourhood shop close to you is bound to have a few titles.

 I already have a copy of this record on a re-release from the last five years or so. Pressed on shoddy vinyl and the sound is equally unimpressive. I was looking forward to teh possible improvements that Vinyl Lovers could bring to mylong suffering stylus.

 The record comes in the original gatefold sleeve, inclusive of Marvin's little penned tribute to the wonder of sex, and how really, we shouldn't feel too guilty about it. Sex is different to love though but is simply marvellous in its own right. Err, thanks marvin.

The records are excellent vinyl pressings, flat and silent. They're housed in my favourite paper sleeves with the plastic lined inners. Its all looking good.

I put the record with the fancy house label on the turntable, drop my  stylus and …..Ouch!! Possibly one of the brightest, most ear-piercing sound I've ever had the misfortune to hear. I really don't know how they managed this. My entire CD collection is more natural sounding than this atrocity of sound while my downloaded mp3 collection certainly comes close. It is reasonably detailed and clean sounding if that's what you're looking for.

 Really, what is the point?? If we're listening to vinyl record, its not because we're neanderthals who can't read the small print on a cd!! Or is it? Maybe that today makes up the majority of 'Vinyl Lovers' and who this record is aimed directly at.

You, dear reader, would be far better off saving your money to buy the entire Sundazed reissues of 'Sly and teh family stone'. Funky, warm and natural sounding.

 

Incidentally(it should really be the focus), the music on this record is of course peerless and its nice having the extra tracks. Its not as earth conscious awakening or inspiring as 'Heal the worl…' err I mean 'What's going on' but its a highly enjoyable and slightly sleazy listening experience. But you're probably better off joining me in the search for an original in good condition.

7″ box sets of albums

I thought I’d have a little rant. I see Jet are just releasing their new album on a 7″ box set which set me thinking. Or my teeth grinding.

This has to be the most irritating way to release an album.

Apart from looking cute it has no practical benefit whatsoever. It sounds worse and its the most irritating listening experience. You have to get up every couple of minutes to change the side/record. That’s no way to listen to an album. Its ok for a single because you probably want to listen to teh same song over and over again. But it completely ruins the experience of an album. Imagine listening to Pink Floyd that way.

I do have sets of Garbage’s first album and I think I had a Paul Weller box too. I never ever listened to them!

It amazes me that the 7″ single is what has been apparently selling so well in Britain as opposed to the sonically superior 12″. Then again if teenagers are only buying them because they’re cool to look at and don’t even have a turntable to play them on…

What do you think?

Let me know in the forums 🙂

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

My Bloody Valentine started life off in London as a slightly fey indie band typically associated with the London indie scene at the time, NME etc.

In 1988 they released ‘Isn’t anything’ on creation Records. This was a huge step forward into noise rock and the scene which was later to become known as shoegazing. For many this is still their best album.

For the next three years, Kevin Shields, Colm O’Coisig and the rest of the band holed up in a studio and produced and engineered what was to become the masterpiece, not just of MBV, but of the era.

Loveless is like nothing else you have ever heard. The record cover, a pink haze which might depict the fender of a guitar suggests at what is within. A common tale at the time was that when people first put it on they thought their record player was broken.

A testament not so much to the playing on the guitar as to the production that followed, Loveless contains brilliant tunes shrouded in guitar feedback, overdubs, reverb and, well, noise.

Belinda Butcher, and apparently a speeded up Kevin Shields, provide glimmering translucent vocals amongst this dreamlike cacophony. The voices were to be used more like an instrument than voices in their own right. They are part of the whole and not the primary focus. The lyrics themselves are indecipherable but apparently a lot of the songs are about making love.

Much of the album follows this pattern, ‘Only shallow’ and ‘To here knows when’ being some highlights. Right at the end of the record when you think it couldn’t get any better ‘Soon’ appears and introduces a lolloping dance beat which sets dance floors alight.

Loveless truly is in a class of its own.

Loveless is such a mind melding blend of sonics that it is difficult to criticise the actual sound quality of it. I had a Creation pressing. When I bought the recent Plain recordings issue, I did discover that it was clearer and somewhet more distinct. Its on excellent quality vinyl and in a nice gatefold sleeve. Plain are from the Runt distribution group of labels, the same group who bring you 4 men with beards.

If you see it, buy it!