Each month we handpick a collection of reissues, limited editions or just straight classic long-players that deserve a place in any record collection.
JB HI-FI EXCLUSIVE RED OPAQUE VINYL
There’s a moment halfway through opener Under Pressure where Adam Granduciel, the album’s architect and songwriter in TWOD, sustains incredible tension in a hypnotic guitar loop for over a minute. Eventually, the spell is broken when cascading drums drop in and the song erupts once more like the broken banks of a swollen river. It’s a pattern of mesmerising drama that reveals itself repeatedly throughout the 60 minutes of Lost in a Dream, demonstrating Granduciel’s compositional prowess. He has a penchant for crafting long-form guitar-driven songs that step deep into commercial territory without sacrificing face. Lost in a Dream dips from dark to light; a crucible of loss, depression, anxiety and fear represented through rich musical textures of swirling guitars and synths and words of lost love and opportunity. Listen to it once and it will be a pillion for life.
TOP TRACK: Under The Pressure
FAST FACT: The recording of Lost in a Dream took two years to record, as Granduciel could only ever lock down long- time engineer Jeff Ziegler for four days at a time.
20TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION YELLOW VINYL
Long before Coldplay became music press pariahs, the band were proudly held aloft by critics, celebrated as a new wave leading an optimistic pathway out of Britpop’s comedown. Few bands strike the commercial nail on its head with a debut album, but Parachutes’ intelligent balance of melodic rock and melancholic break-up anthems resonated with audiences, helped by singer Chris Martin’s monumental rain-soaked walk on the beach. Jonny Buckland taps the technique of Nick McCabe, The Edge and Jonny Greenwood here, layering depth and ambience on his guitar work, while Martin resurrects the tenderness and range of Jeff Buckley and demonstrates control and ambition with his vocals; there’s a surprising quality to these songs that belie its freshman status. Parachutes was the pause, reflection and reset that British music needed.
TOP TRACK: Shiver
FAST FACT: The globe on the front cover was bought for £10 and was shot using a disposable camera.
LIMITED EDITION WHITE VINYL
Kicking off as a pub rock band, the second signing to Regular Records (after Mental as Anything) tuned into Gary Numan – plus a whole bunch of Bowie and Roxy – and their sound evolved accordingly. It also helped that the brains of the outfit, the classically trained Iva Davies, had the right look for the dawn of the 1980s. This debut album deftly combined the use of electronics and a classic five-piece band sound, with Icehouse a sparse portent of what was to come, before kicking into upbeat post- punk pop on single We Can Get Together. The top tracks just kept coming after that – Sister, Walls, debut single and side two opener Can’t Help Myself – and we were left with what was still a classic Australian debut album by the close of the decade, and arguably the band’s most triumphant work.
TOP TRACK: Walls
FAST FACT: Originally the band name and title were flipped about. After signing an overseas deal and discovering that there was a Scottish band called The Flowers, to avoid confusion Iva Davies just went with the album’s title track, Icehouse, as their new moniker.
Talk about a sleeper hit. When The Blues Brothers originally hit cinemas in 1980 it did OK, but nobody predicted the cult smash that it would later become. Meanwhile, the soundtrack took a while to take off too, eventually entering Australian charts in late 1983, following the Ray Charles-led single Shake Your Tailfeather. With the movie a love letter to classic blues and soul, a top-notch soundtrack was almost guaranteed, with Jake and Elwood Blues (AKA John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) and their band of incredible session musos really jamming. From opener She Caught the Katy to spirited covers of the Peter Gunn Theme and Stand by Your Man, via Sweet Home Chicago and tracks with guests such as Aretha Franklin and James Brown, right through to closer Jailhouse Rock, this remains a top party starter.
TOP TRACK: Everybody Needs Somebody to Love
FAST FACT: The Blues Brothers came together for a Saturday Night Live sketch, with Dan Aykroyd’s love of the blues a big instigator. They also drafted in some of the finest players, including Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn from the legendary Booker T and the M.G.’s.
TOP VINYL TIP
New vinyl is covered with shrink wrap that preserves the record in transit and will keep it in pristine condition in the racks. However, removing the shrink wrap to play the record can be a precarious undertaking. How many times have you reached for a knife to slip into the open end of the sleeve? Stop! You don’t want to damage the cardboard sleeve or indeed the vinyl inside. Using just the weight of the record, gently move the end of the sleeve from side to side in a sawing motion on the thigh of your pants for two to three seconds, and the friction will pull apart the plastic.