It would seem they DO make them like they used to

I’m still not 100% certain that the differences I perceive between vinyl and CD aren’t just in my mind as a result of having read too many audiophile websites. It must be said that a number of LPs in my collection beat the pants of their CD equivalents. The most recent of these is the latest Damon Albarn project, ‘The Good, The Bad & The Queen‘ which, while still not sounding perfect, is a lot less cluttered and compressed sounding on vinyl.
I have a habit of buying albums I particularly like on more than one format. I thought I’d got round that with the new Wilco album, ‘Sky Blue Sky‘. Pre-order offers from their American store listed the 180g audiophile double vinyl as coming with a free CD copy of the record. Excellent, I thought, just the one purchase this time. Then, a few weeks later, came the announcement about there being a CD/DVD edition with a sizeable amount of content on the DVD. Thus came my second purchase of the album. I’m sure I’m a fool when it comes to music, but once again I don’t regret it. My double vinyl arrived from America today – rather speedily, it must be said – and it sounds beautiful, not to mention its excellent gatefold packaging and the quality of the vinyl. Wilco have pulled off this trick with their last two studio albums as well – ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘ is available on an import HQ pressing from Sundazed records, while the last album, ‘A Ghost Is Born‘ should still be fairly readily available on double 180g vinyl. Both sound terrific and are notable improvements on the CD editions. This is less obvious with the new album, which manages to convey its warmth on CD also, however the vinyl still has that natural sound that sad types like myself talk about without ever really explaining.
If you’ve got a decent vinyl setup, and can deal with occassionally getting a truly shit pressing, then you might know what I’m talking about. It’s certainly not for everyone, but this latest release is a fine example of how to do things properly.
In addition to all of that, the CD tucked in with the vinyl is an enhanced edition allowing access to a variety of exclusive content over the coming months, which for some reason is absent from the UK editions of the CD and CD/DVD copies.
Other notable decent vinyl releases of late: Manics – ‘Send Away The Tigers‘, Arctic Monkeys – ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare‘ and the spiffing Arcade Fire – ‘Neon Bible‘ which is double vinyl, but the forth side is etched with the bible design from the sleeve. Should you wish to point out why I’m mad to like vinyl, please do. If you wish to join the LP lovefest with tips of your own I’d also like to hear from you.

Speaking of Arcade Fire, seems a good excuse to post this beguiling cover of ‘Guns Of Brixton‘ from when they were on the BBC‘s ‘The Culture Show‘.


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