CRATED UP

Few things get the old Vinyl  Connection pulse racing as effectively as the gift of records. I was recently gobsmacked by the offer to plunder three crates of dusty vinyl that, my benefactor said, had been sitting in the garage for a couple of decades and that he would never play again. A quick flick suggested there was much of interest musically while also hinting that their home lo! these many years had been a dusty garage. Still, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and complain that it needs a good floss, do you? So I stammered my thanks, and loaded up the car boot.

Since then I’ve been slowly and steadily working through the crates, cleaning as I go. As selections have their covers wiped down, the vinyl rinsed, deep cleaned, then issued new underwear* and a transparent overcoat, they are transferred to a separate box I can dip into at will. It is like a private garage sale you don’t need to trawl the streets for**.

* Fresh inner sleeves. Or, as the on-line store calls them, “100 PCS LP Vinyl Record Inner Sleeves, 12 Inch Semi-Transparent Inner Plastic Record Cover Sleeves with 0.08Mm Thick Anti-Static Material”

** Which is just as well. Winter has arrived with a bone-numbing flurry of freezing days.

Inspired by 1537’s recent Teardrop Explodes post, I decided to share a few of the discs that have stood out in the listening and also been welcome additions to the VC shelves.

*

The Teardrop Explodes – Kilimanjaro. (1980)

My first encounter with Julian Cope was via his legendary book on Krautrock. I picked up a couple of later solo albums (liked them) and worked backwards through the crazed pagan wonder of Jehovakill and Peggy Suicide. So The Teardrop Explodes are, in a way, the final stop in a twenty-five year St Julian reverse pilgrimage. I’ve enjoyed this vibrant, energetic record a lot: good tunes, brass, Cope spearheading the attack. Interestingly, the cover is quite different to that on the original release, showing not the band all psychedelically lit, but a posse of zebras strolling away from the titular mountain. Looks like this might be the re-issue from a year after the original 1980 release.

Cocteau Twins – Garlands (1982)

By the time I discovered the Cocteau Twins we were in the Compact Disc era. That didn’t worry me, I was busily discarding vinyl as I acquired the new shiny discs. Idiot. So discovering the debut Cocteau’s album in the crates was a real thrill. This first LP has a harder, more guitar-drenched sound than the later, more ethereal work. Yet it remains a mesmerising, slightly threatening listen. Imagine walking through a foggy forrest, full of echoing drum spells and other-worldly ululation, reaching up to touch a frost-fringed leaf and finding blood on your fingers…

The Jesus And Mary Chain – Psychocandy (1985)

While the Cocteau Twins were developers and prime exponents of dream pop, fellow Scots the Jesus And Mary Chain brought a noise-rock sensibility to their post-punk sound. I’d tried to get into this debut album via a CD I picked up a while back, but failed. Somehow sitting down with the vinyl made a world of difference. The Reid brothers have taken elements of Sixties pop then sand-blasted it with waves of distorted guitar. Risking cliche, it is not absurd to describe Psychocandy as Beach Boys melodies mugged by Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”.  A thing of beauty and terror.

Jefferson Airplane – Flight Log (1977)

Jefferson Airplane was a major player in the emergent San Francisco scene of the Sixties. This fascinating 2LP compilation offers a whistle stop survey of both the original band and the evolutions that sprang from it. In addition to an Airplane selection, we have tracks from Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship as well as samples of various solo projects: Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen. Fabulous art direction, too.

Hope you enjoyed joining the dig. Maybe I’ll share further discoveries another time. 

With heartfelt thanks to A/C 🖤.

60 comments

  1. Being a lover of 80s rock, this seems like it was a great haul.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You bet, Jeff. I was deeply in thrall to progressive music (70s) through the first half of the 1980s, so had quite a few holes in the collection. Happily, some of these are now filled!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Idiot indeed! Wait… I’m talking about me because I did the same thing with my vinyl after CDs were introduced. Sounds like a good haul. Were any of these warped? That would be my main concern sitting in a garage. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fortunately, the crates were sufficiently full that, although quite dusty inside and out, they had been vertical throughout many changes of season. Phew.

      Thank you for outing yourself as another sad discarder of vinyl, Marty. I’m imagining, however, that you are way smarter than VC in that you have avoided embarking upon a hugely expensive ‘vinyl buy-back’ program!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What a find / gift. I had similar (much smaller scale) last year when a pal had to shift a lot of records as he moved into a flat with less space. I still have a few to go through, and it excites me no end to do so. (Yeah – I suppose i am a bit of a saddo. 😉 :-D)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is wonderful having the opportunity to go digging in your own home. Thanks for sharing your own ‘bequest’ story, onceuponatime.
      – Bruce

      Like

  4. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    I love what you said about the Cocteau Twins-slash-J&M Chain, good transition there. That Garlands record is so short too! Like half an hour I think. And maybe her adoration for Siouxsie most on display there. I grabbed that on CD recently and ceremoniously whip it out come October. Fitting right? And well put on the psycho candy. They had a real sound and clear aesthetic, though I felt like I wanted to like them more, and should have, but the noise got in the way sometimes. I think Darklands was more palatable for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right! When I got the CD of Garlands (working backwards from “Treasure”) I was quite huffy about the light content. These days, I rather like an album that charges in, does its thing, and leaves promptly. 🙂

      I think ‘Darklands’ is in the crate too. Will make a point of giving it a focussed listen.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        You know, I’m not sure I could bear more than 30 minutes of Garlands-type material now that I think of it. Consider The Cure’s Disintegration, clocking in around 70 mins. It’s hard! Get in and get out! Think you’ll like Darklands. Nine Million Rainy Days is a kind of standout.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. kingclover · · Reply

          I like Garlands. It’s my second favorite Cocteau Twins album. It’s different than the other ones but in a good way.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

            I know! I consider Liz my favorite artist I think, which is a hard thing to say (to call out just one). I love all of their albums in different ways, I don’t think I can really rank them either. I go in and out of liking them differently. Garlands is the most “jagged” I think, and that has its time and place for sure.

            Like

          2. pinklightsabre · · Reply

            In fact I have their last album in the Bose CD player by my bed and haven’t taken it out in several months. I’ve come around to liking that one quite a bit even though you might call it their most polished, and perhaps starting to lose some of their “oomph,” or succumbing to whatever fatigue or other challenges they may have been facing then. I don’t delve into the band’s history but sense that in that album. And yet I love it too.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. ‘Milk and Kisses’? Yeah, that’s nice. I don’t mind a kind of drift, a softening of edges. Got used to it with my prog favourites of the mid-late 70s.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. pinklightsabre · ·

              Right. It’s “flowy” I think, if Garlands is jagged. And then victorialand I’d call shimmery. The opening track on that is how I visualize the sound of snow on a bright winter morning, with sun coming through. Try it some time 😝

              Liked by 1 person

            3. If I visit you in winter, it’s a deal.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. kingclover · ·

              As my third favorite is Milk and Kisses, even though a lot of people think it’s their worst. It was their best since Treasure I think. And it was especially good after the horrendous Four Calendar Cafe, which I hate.

              Liked by 2 people

            5. OK. Here we go. Top 5 Cocteau Twins albums:
              1. Victorialand
              2. Heaven or Las Vegas
              3. Treasure
              4. Garlands
              5. Milk and Kisses

              Liked by 1 person

            6. pinklightsabre · ·

              Top 3, likely that run in ‘86. I guess you can’t really consider The Pink Opaque an album can you (more of a collection right?). But that one and victorialand and the Budd one and Heaven and Las Vegas, I love all those. I recently read the lyrics to the songs on Heaven and Las Vegas and kind of marvel over her song writing, it’s so kind of alien sand perfect. Some of those songs in particular. What about you guys? Do I sound like a loser on a Friday night doing this, by the way?

              Liked by 1 person

            7. Must listen to the Budd one again. Good get on The Pink Opaque; singles were vital to the band.

              My kind of Friday loser, dude. Cheers.

              Liked by 1 person

            8. pinklightsabre · ·

              I never tire of the Budd. And hey, it’s your autumn! Fire it up, your soundtrack for the coming gloom.

              Liked by 1 person

            9. We count the seasons from the first of the relevant month, so we now in Winter, bro. And bloody freezing it’s been, too. Enjoy some warmth you lucky bastard. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            10. pinklightsabre · ·

              I’m still in my sweater and we can’t quite open the windows at night yet if you can believe that! I love the PNW but it does make for a moody brew. Heavy on the moss and the mushrooms you know. We’re heading to Colorado for several days though soon and it’s quite warm there up in the mountains. So yeah, will think of you while you’re shivering with your Shiraz 😝

              Liked by 1 person

            11. Hope Colorado brings all you hope for, my friend.

              Liked by 1 person

            12. kingclover · ·

              The Pink Opaque would be my favorite if I was counting compilations.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. pinklightsabre · ·

              Yeah I’ll give you that on the Four Calendar Cafe. And though I like Blue Bell Knoll okay I find the production distracting and just plain bad. So there you go. I haven’t spent much time with her new material but plan to soon! So much to kind of do you know. Like sleeping and eating and so on.

              Liked by 1 person

        2. Another in the crate was 17 Seconds. First Cure LP I’ve listened to that I actually enjoyed! 😅

          Liked by 1 person

          1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

            That one’s super! Amen to the dark, and those bass riffs…

            Liked by 1 person

  5. “Psycho Candy” is slow-motion pop, somewhere between resignation and pleading. An endless emotional trip that growing up brings. From Jefferson Airplane I have also a very good compilation album: “2400 Fulton Street”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lovely description of ‘Psychocandy’, Herr Hotfox.

      Just had a look at the track listing for ‘2400 Fulton Street’. Looks like a well-considered selection. Like the themed sides.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember that Kilimanjaro Zebra cover but not the music. I will refresh the memory.
    Clients occasionally offer me records but I’m duty bound to decline. The fact that it might be a swag of Jim Reeves albums does make it easier for me to say ‘No thanks’.
    Yours looks like a nice hoard overall. It would be great to see what else you find to be interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Julian Cope is a rather interesting character, in almost every way. Worth putting on while doing some pottering about, for sure.

      Yes, for every Jesus And Mary Chain there are many James Lasts.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I have summited Kilimanjaro. Never quite got into Cope, but maybe some day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Any zebras on the trail?

      Like

      1. I saw some colobus monkeys.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. While I’m afraid I only know Jefferson Airplane (though not that specific compilation) from the bands you highlighted, it’s a joy to read your post, Bruce, since it’s obvious you’re having a ball cleaning and exploring these vinyl records.

    I also always wanted to know but never dared to ask about PCS LP vinyl record inner sleeves, 12-inch semi-transparent inner plastic record cover sleeves with 0.08Mm thick anti-static material – wow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kingclover · · Reply

    What fun. There’s nothing better in the whole world than getting your hands on a humongous pile of old vinyl albums for free. Or at least cheap. Even the part about wiping them down and getting that musty smell off of them , Like the ones you get at the flea market. But it also reminds me of one of the worst experiences of my life. I had about eight crates of vinyl (and a bunch of shopping bags full) from the ’70s and ’80s that I had stored in my brother’s attic one time when I moved, And sometimes you get really tired of lugging them all around with you every time you move, So I kind of just left them there for several years. You know how heavy they can get when you’re moving. And then my brother wanted to clean out his attic and told me to come and get them out of there, And I just kept putting it off for years until finally he told me he was going to throw them out if I didn’t come and get them. I didn’t really believe he would do that, Because he told me that a million times but never did it. And then one day he really did throw them out and I just totally freaked out. I didn’t speak to him for about a year. The least he could have done was take them to the used record store and sold them and then split the money with me or something, but no. So I just really cut back on collecting them after that and was never as enthusiastic again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

      My god that’s awful. If there was a dislike button I’d press it. I have about 400 records from my stepdad, who was a musician from the 60s onward and an anthromusicologist I guess. Some of the gems are Django records from way-way back, and tons of old blues records. They are stowed in a part of the attic I rarely visit. And yet I haven’t really spent time with them ever, but will likely never separate from them. Strange…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We form attachments in many ways, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s a horror story and no mistake. Can absolutely see why you stored them. Having moved my entire collection twice in 2020 it really is a major task, especially when bespoke shelving is in the mix.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kingclover · · Reply

        That’s the best thing about being able to stream albums: You don’t have to move them from place to place.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Cope, Cocteaus, Airplane and the Jesus and Mary people that’s a heady mix for any time of the year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Too true, Neil!

      Like

  11. I’ve enjoyed your sketches of the albums and the conversations above. There’s always going to be nights when I only want to put on headphones, close my eyes and listen to Cocteau Twins. Do you have a quick product endorsement for cleaning, we’re just getting into garage sale season here. You’ve probably got laser-guided ultrasonic lab equipment, but I mean, something a step up from an old teeshirt with a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Cheers from the city that’s produced Blatz beer and The Frogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a bit of room between those two outlier options, Robert. 😅 I’ll put on some think music and get back to you. (Are you on fb or IG or something with message capability?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Bruce, very kind. I’m not on FB etc anymore, but…

        Like

  12. You know you hit pay dirt when the crate has ‘The Parkerilla’ staring at you. Looks like 3 or 4 deep from that one is ‘Warm Jets’?
    CB is due for his annual “wipe down, rinse, deep clean and a new pair of underwear”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After that extended fishing trip, I imagine the annual sluice is well due. (Always lovely to see your handsome face, CB)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Im sitting in the creek witha bar of soap and a cigar getting cleaned up. Giving the fish a break.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A break? You’ll give them food poisoning!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I try to watch that. I kinda like them fish. We dont play for keeps just for the hell of it.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes. Several Enos.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I had all four of those featured records when they first came out.

    They all went away in the great Vinyl Purge.

    I think I owned them all on CD.

    And then as mp3s (or whatever digital files).

    And I’m sure I’ll buy them all again when the next technology emerges, dangit . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (And I had the Zebra version of “Kilimanjaro” too . . . I think it was the initial USA release, with some different tracks than the original UK one).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you are correct. It adds ‘Danger’, a single, and came out the year after the UK release.

        Like

    2. Well, as you are clearly sane enough to only run one medium at a time, when it comes to the 2TB chip-in-your-brain tech, it’ll be a breeze!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The return on investment of time/energy in bringing them back to good condition will be well worth it, definitely some keepers here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neatly put, Geoff. A labour of love, without doubt. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow! I have been the benefactor of such moments a few times in my life, and there’s always that disbelief mixed with anticipation mixed with thanks and then disbelief again. In fact, it happened recently with Brother Craig’s box of 250+ CDs. I’m currently working through them on KMA one at a time… Come to think of it, the similar vinyl experience was from Brother Craig as well… Anyway, you got some real goodies there. I hope you do more posts as you discover more treasures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! That perfectly captures the swirl of delight at such bequests, Aaron. We is lucky music lovers, eh?

      Like

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