The postman delivered something smashing this week.
As a committed music lover I have over the year experimented with all sorts of formats but have continually found myself drawn back to the vinyl LP. My ears are too shot to really be able to hear the ‘warmer, more organic’ sound that pendants bang on about when stating that it must be vinyl or death but I know where they’re coming from as there does seem to be something about the sound produced by an LP compared to either my CDs, downloads or even cassettes and perhaps warmer is a useful word. However, it is the whole ritual involved with spinning a disc that makes it a more worthwhile experience. If I’m putting on, say for example, the new Tom Petty Alternative Wildflowers, there is the appreciation of the sleeve, the feel of a piece of art in the hand, even the smell of the vinyl and most importantly there is the sense of occasion. I am going to listen to something, maybe for the first time, maybe for the five hundredth but I am going to listen. The shed floor is that wobbly that if I wander about the needle will jump but beyond that I want to listen, I have made an effort (however minimal). A lot of the time these days music is a soundtrack to something else not the main event – that’s not a problem, in fact it’s brilliant but it has devalued the currency of the listened experience in my humble opinion.
So to my problem or gripe. I like to listen but I also like a soundtrack to my days and the wonder that is the iPod classic 160GB is my constant companion. I therefore like to upload any music I buy be it on vinyl, CD or live in my living room. Not unreasonable you say and I agree. So having parted with £27 for the wonderful Petty album, seen here, from the brilliant UNION MUSIC of Lewes and Sutton (can’t recommend them enough) imagine my disappointment when no download code was to be found anywhere about the thing. This is not a one-off. I have bought several recently that I have had to ‘augment’ at extra cost.
I’ve had enough.
I’ve paid for the music and the cost-free download should be included. Some labels get this spot on. Loose Records, for example, supplied the new Israel Nash LP with a download code as a matter of course. That is good business and good PR. I will always buy their vinyl.
So whilst waiting for some labels to get their acts together I urge you to replicate the vinyl experience and listen to the following three tracks or indeed watch the videos whilst streaming to a big screen! Firstly, a beautiful take from the aforementioned Tom Petty album, really different to the original. Secondly, the final track of The Tragically Hip‘s Road Apples album, they’d obviously been listening to a lot of Beatles – gorgeous. And finally if you haven’t investigated Mercury Rev‘s reimagining of The Delta Sweete then you really must. As ever take what you want or need.