The vinyl archives

Vinyl — it’s making a comeback. We’ve all picked up on that. You don’t just get albums in their standard black design either; pinks, whites, yellows and more all allow musicians to flex some artistic licence when releasing records. Everybody’s vinyl archives will differ, whether they just showcase the classics, they’re a medley of new and old or they’re nothing but modern. Mine? Well, it’s a mishmash at best…

Between 2014 and 2016, vinyl sales boomed not only in the UK, but across many parts of the world. The seemingly sudden resurgence appeared to cast CDs out of favour, and pressed records began to rise in popularity against the digital download. It was a time for die-hard, old-school music fans from the 1970s and ’80s to rejoice, as vinyl was no longer an outdated medium that had morphed into a trend among edgy jumper-purveying hipsters.

Since then, what I buy in physical format has become an even more considered process, with only albums that lend themselves to being played on turntables being what I purchase as a 12-inch LP. Would that electronic effect or scuzzy riff be lost within the quintessential crackling of a record player? Or would that be the ultimate collection of tracks to spin? Careful thought goes into this for me.

We talked not long ago about the so-called Golden Age of the double live vinyl album, which mostly focused on rock and metal. When turntables were the only way to hear music, before even cassette tapes were on the scene, every genre would’ve been available in that format. Nowadays, I personally lean towards acoustic or more softly melodic material being what I buy on 12-inch. Both Loyle Carner’s full-length albums are utterly spellbinding, for instance. However, I certainly appreciate that you can’t beat The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ either. 

Having said all that, did I buy a going-cheap copy of a Crystal Castles record a few years back? I certainly did. Is there Bonobo’s ‘Migration’ nestled away in my library? There is (albeit that one was a gift). Should I also confess to a Lil’ Bow Wow single — yes, while that was still his rap stage name — also being among my vinyl collection? Well, the cat’s out of the bag now.

What else? A number of sensational jazz records that I inherited, a Mogwai offering and even some Michael Kiwanuka is all in there. It’s such a mix because I personally don’t want every album in my vinyl collection — I think only the music that truly meshes with the warm fuzziness of vinyl works well. Otherwise, it’s a good old CD or digital stream for ease. 

A few sleeves among the vinyl archives…

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