• Paul McCartney releases new album Egypt Station as deluxe vinyl box set

    By | June 21, 2018

    It’s his 17th solo album.

    Paul McCartney has revealed details of his new album Egypt Station, which will be released via Capitol Records on 7th September.

    Read more: Paul McCartney made an experimental Christmas mixtape for the Beatles in 1965

    Featuring new singles ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Come On to Me’, Egypt Station is described by McCartney as a emanating from a “dream location” that “reminded [him] of the ‘album’ albums we used to make,” Rolling Stone reports.

    Egypt Station was produced by Greg Kurstin, who is responsible for all but one of the album’s 14 tracks. It will be released as a standard vinyl edition, on limited edition coloured vinyl and as a deluxe vinyl box set, details of which are yet to be revealed.

    You can pre-order each of the versions here ahead of their release on 7th September. Listen to the new tracks below:

    Photo: Oli Gill

  • Paul McCartney made an experimental Christmas mixtape for the Beatles in 1965

    By | December 13, 2017

    Listen to the lost compilation of tape loops, hits and samples.

    The original tape mix that Paul McCartney cut as a record for his fellow Beatles in 1965 has surfaced online, reports Dangerous Minds.

    Read more: Supergroup of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Paul McCartney was planned in 1969, but McCartney was on holiday

    Only four copies existed of the Unforgettable vinyl, given by McCartney to George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr for Christmas in 1965. All were believed to be lost.

    “I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home, on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically,” shared McCartney in an interview with Mark Lewisohn taken from The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film.

    “I would sit around all day, creating little tapes. I did one once called Unforgettable and used the Unforgettable Nat King Cole “Is what you are …” as the intro. Then did a sort of “Hello, hello …” like a radio show. I had a demo done by Dick James of that, just for the other guys because it was really a kind of stoned thing. That was really the truth of it,” McCartney explained to Barry Miles in Many Years From Now.

    Listen to the 18.5 minutes from the mix below.

  • The 10 most collectable records of 2015

    By | November 30, 2015

    We begin our end of year review with a look at the 10 most collectable records of 2015.

    Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking back at the year in vinyl, from the best artwork to the most important reissues, the strongest 7″s to the most complete LPs. As we did last year, we’re starting things off with something a little less clean-cut. Here, more than in any other list, it’s important to set out our terms.

    There are many factors which make a record collectable, and many reasons why those factors will mean more or less to every individual (just take a look at our number one…) The first thing to say is that rather than rank these releases as a definitive list, we’re taking each as an opportunity to discuss a different aspect of what we deem to be collectable, and by extension, valuable.

    The most ostentatious mark of value is, of course, monetary. Given that we’re dealing with this year’s new releases and reissues, the time period in which a record can accrue value is relatively short, so any increase should be treated accordingly. While some records will look to artificially create value through limited runs or extravagant packaging, others will simply go up in value through a combination of quality and demand. The most desirable Record Store Day releases are a good example of the former, Arca’s self-released 12″ which topped last year’s list, a good example of the latter. In every case, an inflated re-sale price tag can only tell you so much.

    Collectability can also be defined in terms of the desirability of an individual object for a specific fan base; a record that acts as a trophy or fills some unassailable void (like Ringo’s No. 0000001 copy of the White Album). By the same token, rather than looking at records as totems, collectability can also be seen in terms of series, where a completed set represents more than the sum of its parts.

    Being confined to the last twelve months, we’ve also taken into account some more timely trends (perhaps most strikingly where vinyl is concerned with video game soundtracks), nodding to the movements which have seen a revival of interest among DJs, and elevating the artists who have helped define them. There is really no point discussing collectable records in a vacuum.

    One final word before we start. The records we’ve picked below are subjectively collectable, a list of ten releases we believe to retain some intrinsic value. In doing this, we have sought to keep these choices as accessible as possible, opting (for the most-part) against high-end box sets in favour of ten records with ten unique stories to tell.


    Catch up on all our end of year lists:

    The 50 best vinyl LPs of 2015
    The 30 best vinyl reissues of 2015
    The 20 best 12″s of 2015
    The 20 best 7″s of 2015
    The 20 best record sleeves of 2015
    The Year in vinyl tech
    The 10 best vinyl soundtracks of 2015


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    10. Ragnar Kjartansson / The National

    A Lot Of Sorrow

    (4AD)

    If a pragmatist gauges collectability by monetary value – both on release and secondary markets – then, pragmatically speaking, A Lot Of Sorrow isn’t especially collectable. Retailed at £120, it’s not worth an awful lot more six months on, especially in relative terms. But concept can be as alluring as capitalism, and it’s on qualitative grounds that A Lot Of Sorrow scores points.

    The recording captures the collaboration between Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, who teamed up in 2013 to play the track ‘Sorrow’ repeatedly and continuously for six hours at MoMA. The marathon concert interrogated the potential for repetition to produce “sculptural presence within sound”.

    The release echoes that concept on vinyl – with ‘Sorrow’ pressed down 99 times, across nine, clear, identically packaged LPs; all housed within a functional acrylic box. Like Trevor Jackson’s FORMAT, A Lot Of Sorrow follows the archival turn in contemporary art but through near-laughable obsessiveness it pushes object fetishisation one step further.


    FrameShot4 copy

    9. Christian Marclay / Various Artists

    Live at White Cube

    (The Vinyl Factory / White Cube)

    Thereʼs nothing more collectable than a series, particularly when every sleeve has been hand-screen printed to designs by Christian Marclay. Released in conjunction with the artistʼs solo show at White Cube earlier this year, the series features performances from the worldʼs leading experimental musicians cut direct to disc in the gallery and pressed in editions of 300. Our mobile pressing plant, The VF Press was on hand to produce the records, which are among the first to have ever been pressed live in a gallery.

    Collectable in so far as youʼll need all fifteen to complete the series, here are records you could witness being performed and pressed for free before purchase. OK, we’re a little biased but weʼve included this series to highlight that collectable need not mean prohibitive expense nor outlandish novelty.

    Documents of a process of experimentation and improvisation, a number of specific releases also stand out, notably Thurston Mooreʼs collaboration with Christian Marclay, which rekindles a creative partnership first forged in the spaces of downtown NYCʼs no wave scene in the early ʻ80s and has sold for £70 since.

    And far from an anachronistic practice, the setʼs emphasis on contemporary music also sees Mica Leviʼs return to composition after her score to Jonathan Glazerʼs Under The Skin won a BAFTA at the start of the year, and Ryoji Ikeda collaborate with Marclay on the final 12” of the series. The VF Press was also in operation at Barbican for Doug Aitken’s Station To Station where Savages, Nozinja and Giogrio Moroder were produced in a similar fashion.


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    8. Rupture

    Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel

    (Digger’s Digest, French Attack)

    This year’s lavish reissue of holy grail vocal jazz fusion album Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel is an instant collector’s item. Recorded in France in ’73, but never commercially released, the original has held a mythical position for over four decades. No one knows how many copies were originally made, but you can bet your needles it’s less than 100 – which goes some way to explain why a first pressing has never traded on Discogs and why dealers push four digits for it.

    The reissue, a joint production from Digger’s Digest and French Attack, brought this rare groove masterpiece back within reach, but with just 500 released, it sold in a flash. With demand still far outweighing supplying, and no sign of a repress, this one’s a wise investment.

    Other reissue collectables this year include Mariah’s absurdly cult album Utakata No Hibi, and ‘Disco Shitan’, a super rare Italian cosmic disco banger from the ‘70s. We also reckon Athens Of The North’s 100 copy reissue of soul burner ‘Thousand Years/Party Time’ has the makings of a rarity, just like the revered father pressing.


    shit and shine2

    7. Shit & Shine

    Chakinʼ

    (Rock Is Hell Records)

    Craig Clouse rarely does things by the book. Following Shit & Shineʼs stellar showing in 2014’s top 100 records list, this yearʼs contribution comes in the form of five differently coloured, hand-printed editions of Chakinʼ, which originally appearedon just 250 cassette tapes. As collectable as those are is, weʼre here to talk about the vinyl, and why Chakinʼ is a perfect example of how hand-crafted anomalies can be both collactable in themselves and relative to the market.

    Not shackled by round numbers, there are 407 copies of Chakinʼ out there, each with variously different sleeve patterns. Hereʼs the breakdown: Green background print, limited to 149 copies. Green/Grey background print, limited to 3 copies. Green/Yellow background print, limited to 8 copies. Grey background print, limited to 99 copies. Yellow background print, limited to 148 copies.

    While ‘Green/grey’ is obviously the combination to covet, the concept is charmingly shambolic, somewhat random and wonderfully egalitarian. While weʼre not suggesting Shit & Shine super-fans are going to go out and complete the set, this kind of variation lends an intrinsic value to each individual object. Needless to say, the record is also heisse scheisse, and the kind of thing that should sky-rocket when S&S finally get the credit they deserve.


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    6. Chiwoniso

    Zvichapera

    (Nyami Nyami)

    French label Nyami Nyami debuted earlier this year with the final recording of late Zimbabwean singer and mbira player Chiwoniso Maraire who sadly died aged 38, at the peak of her career. Weeks before she passed, Chiwoniso stopped by a studio in Harare where she and fellow musician Jacob Mafuleni, captured an enchanting, stripped-down take of ‘Zvichapera’ – a song popularised by Thomas Mapfumo.

    “It was one of the most emotionally intense sessions I’ve ever experienced,” writes Nyami Nyami label head Antoine Rajon in the record’s liner notes.

    The swan song, remix from her brother Tendai Marare (one half of Shabazz Palaces) and silk screened artwork all make for a fitting and beautiful testament to the artist. Totting up those elements and a limited run of 350, we’re taking a punt that Zvichapera will mature into a sought-after item.


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    5. David Wise

    Battletoads (‘Dark Queen’ edition)

    (Iam8bit)

    Digital composers of the ‘90s introduced teens to trippy and daring electronic music while they mindlessly bashed buttons on the NES and Sega Megadrive. It might have been background noise then, but it’s a digging treasure trove in 2015.

    Right up there is David Wise’s glitchy soundtrack – featuring the best pause screen music ever – for the impossibly difficult 8-bit beat’em up Battletoads. Iam8bit pressed up the soundtrack in a limited batch of 300 and sold it exclusively at the San Diego Comic Con back in July. That ‘Dark Queen’ gatefold variant – which plays music when you open it (like a massive birthday card) – now attracts three digits on second hand markets. It’s since been repressed without frills in a generous run of 3000.

    Other gaming collectables this year include Yozo Koshiro’s incredible Streets Of Rage score on Data Discs, Minecraft on Ghostly, Mondo’s reissue of the The Last Of Us, and Super Mario by Koji Kondo on 7”.


    tame impala_currents ltd

    4. Tame Impala

    Currents (Limited / numbered edition + prints)

    (Fiction Records, Interscope records)

    One of the yearʼs heavyweight releases and a collectable record in the traditional sense of the word. While loads of releases will throw in a limited edition run with a print or some kind of extra, these only occasionally become truly collectable. Hereʼs how Currents hit that sweet spot. This edition of was sold exclusively online through Get Music in Australia; it features five individually numbered lenticular prints of the album cover and the singles that preceded it; the appetite and size of the bandʼs following (over a million on Facebook alone) dwarfs its five hundred-copy run.
    
    While all these factors create fertile conditions for collectability, thereʼs one simple fact which has elevated Currents in this instance and pushed its value up ten-fold to between £200 and £300 on the re-sale market, and itʼs perhaps the simplest and most over-looked of all. Currents is a damn good record with emphatic artwork that delivers for Tame Impala fans on every level, and this run is the ultimate trophy edition. No wonder 500 was never going to be enough.


    Len Leise edits

    3. Len Leise

    Edits 001

    (Len Leise Edits)

    One place where value and rarity tends to stay constant is on the international balearic underground. Not so much a genre as a state of mind (once defined simply as anything that came out of Daniele Baldelliʼs record bag a little slower than intended), this brand of cosmic, afro-infused downtempo dance music has played a major role in 2015, both in the glut of reissues weʼve seen from labels like Music For Memory and Emotional Response but also in new music pushed by the likes of Stump Valley and, of course Len Leise.

    A relative enigma, here is an example of a year making a man. Culminating in his first LP Lingua Franca released on International Feel and a stunning afro-dance mix for us, 2015 began with the quiet release of Edits 001 in a run of 150 hand-numbered copies. Doing the rounds in no time, these two tracks sent the price of this 12” spiralling – a modern balearic rarity for a scene of seasoned collectors and DJs experienced enough to have a accrued a fair bit of disposable income.

    Such is the appetite for new music in the scene, and such is the international flavour of its cognoscenti – from Growing Bin in Hamburg to Music From Memory in Amsterdam and Claremont 56 in London – this 12” is a great example of the workings of a global online community in action. There may be a repress in the wind, but for a self-released 12” from an unknown artist to push £70 (itʼs never sold for less than £40) on Discogs is quite something. And if Lingua Franca charts well this winter, you know where those figures are heading.


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    2. PM

    Sweet Thrash

    (Paul McCartney Self-Released)

    The tide somewhat turned on Record Store Day this year, with labels, consumers, even record shops, knocking the annual festival. There’s a feeling (amongst some) that majors have co-opted the event: clogging pressing plants with pointless and novelty reissues – that are then turned out on eBay for dizzying profit.

    In the thick of it is this ‘secret’, self-released Paul McCartney record, with two previously unreleased mixes of ‘Hope For The Future’. Pressed as hand scrawled white labels only, selected shops in the UK and US received a single copy and were instructed to quietly file it away. No prior advertising, nor was it listed with the rest of the RSD releases; presumably the idea was that genuine fans riffling Beatles’ racks would find the record, rather than grasping market flippers.

    But with only 100 copies pressed down, it’s become risibly sought-after and inevitably invited three figure sums on Discogs and eBay alike. One fan even splashed £865 on it. Perhaps the insert card with details of how to download a ‘3D printable Paul’ figurine was one temptation too far. Easily one of most valuable records of the year (in price gain at least), completist McCartney fans can visit Discogs to fight over a copy. That’ll be $1,500 please.


    lee scratch perry - i am paint

    1. Residence La Revolution (Richard Russell & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry)

    I Am Paint

    (RLR)

    Buying records can be an awfully passive affair. The simplicity with which you can access records online is both liberating and a little worrying. The period of contemplation between desiring a record and buying it is often brief, card details typed in and confirmation sent before youʼve had a chance to ask yourself whether you really wanted it. Sometimes, the answer would have been no, had there been any more resistance along the way.

    Thereʼs a little more activity involved in getting hold of rare records, particularly new releases (although Warp last year put pay to that by entering collectors into a ballot for new limited edition of Syro). None however, have required such active participation as Richard Russell and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perryʼs I Am Paint, where prospective ʻbuyersʼ were tasked with creating something of equatable value to be bartered for a copy of the record.

    Beyond the fact that the record itself was limited to two hundred and fifty uniquely (and literally) hand and foot-painted sleeves by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the project has spawned a series of unique artworks that are more or less collectable in their own right.

    Profiled on Richard Russellʼs tumblr, some of the most creative barters include a 3D printed teapot, a painted brick proclaiming itself as ‘I Am Stone’ and our personal favourite from Lee Waller, who first sent a letter suggesting he trade his own birthday for a copy, only to have his attempt denied for not having ʻmadeʼ his own birthday. Resubmitting both his letter and XLʼs response as a single image seems to have done the trick.

    An original, generous and endearing project that turns the concept of value, monetary or otherwise, on its head, itʼs been impossible to look beyond ʻI Am Paintʼ for this list. Thankfully, there isnʼt a single one up for re-sale on Discogs, making it not only the most collectable record of the year, but one with which those who own it may never want to part.


    Illustration by Hector Plimmer

  • Can buy me love: Rare Beatles demo of “Love Me Do” sells for $10,000

    By | June 17, 2013

    One of 250 7″s pressed for radio play has sold for a reported $10,000 on eBay.

    Paul who? An original demo of The Beatles’ debut single “Love Me Do” has been sold on eBay for more than $10,000, report Rolling Stone. Predating the Parlophone imprint of the single, the 45, which attributes the track to a certain Paul McArtney (doubtless Lennon and McCartney’s early cockney songwriting alias), came from the seller’s personal collection and is the second such demo to sell for huge sums in recent years.

    One of only 250 demos pressed, this is the second single in the series to break the ten-grand mark, following the auctioning of another “Love Me Do” demo in 2011 for a whopping $17,000.

    The single, which was originally released in 1962, only reached number 17 in the UK charts. It’s a far cry from the news that McArtney was close to forming a supergroup with Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis only seven years later.

  • Supergroup of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Paul McCartney was planned in 1969, but McCartney was on holiday

    By | May 10, 2013

    A mythical telegram sent from Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and his drummer Tony Williams asking Paul McCartney to play bass on a recording they were making in 1969 has resurfaced.

    On 21st October 1969 a telegram was sent to McCartney at The Beatles’ label Apple Records in London. It read (including typo): “We are recording and LP together this weekend. How about coming in to play bass stop call Alan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.”

    While it’s fairly common knowledge that Davis and Hendrix were often close to recording together – Davis was pioneering jazz-fusion and taking his music in a rockier direction, while Hendrix’s psychedelic jams were getting longer, freer and decidedly more improvised – the confirmation that Beatle Paul McCartney would have played bass is seriously tantalising.

    Currently displayed in the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague, the stained telegram also includes a reply from McCartney’s aid Peter Brown, saying that the Beatle was on holiday in Scotland and wouldn’t be back for a few weeks, thus consigning the session to the dustbin of music history’s biggest “what-ifs”. [via Telegraph]

    hendrix_davis_mccartney_telegram

  • Former-Soviet record label Melodiya to rerelease classic Russian albums on vinyl; Paul McCartney’s “Back in the USSR” voted for reissue

    By | May 7, 2013

    The omnipotent former state-owned Soviet music house Melodiya Records is reaching back behind the Iron Curtain to embark on an extensive campaign to reissue its “golden collection” of classic Russian albums from the final years of the Cold War.

    While vinyl no longer seems a thing of the past, releases from behind the Iron Curtain are seriously drenched in history. Now, following a successful short-run release last year of the 1987 debut album Geroi Asfalta (Hero of Asphalt) by metal band Aria, the sole provider of music to the Soviet Union between 1964 and 1991 has slated a series of reissues based on the results of a popular vote.

    The releases chosen, which for the most part date from between 1987 and 1989 when perestroika saw ideologies loosen and Melodiya begin releasing records by local rock bands previously only available on self-distriubuted tape, also include a live studio recording by Paul McCartney of “Back In the USSR” from 1988.

    Further reissues planned for the summer include a 1976 radio play version of Alice in Wonderland and the soundtrack to 1969 children’s cartoon “Town Musicians Of Bremen”.

    Although Melodiya is no longer the country’s only musical reference point, Russia lost its capacity to press vinyl records when the manufacturing plants from the Soviet era went of business in the mid-90’s. Now pressed in Germany, Melodiya’s reissues come with a hefty price tag, but according to Melodiya general director Andrei Krichevsky, the necessity to press on vinyl is a response to the general trend we’ve seen in the UK and the US of vinyl sales being boosted by a younger audience.

    “Unexpectedly, the main buyers of vinyl LPs are young people between 20 and 30 years old, for whom it must be a lifestyle choice.” [via The Moscow News]

    For some fantastic Melodiya cover art and our collection of the 30 best 7″ sleeves from the Eastern Bloc 7″, check out our gallery.

  • Paul McCartney’s controversial Wings Over America deluxe reissue tracklist leaked

    By | April 9, 2013

    The latest in a drawn out series of McCartney solo reissues, details about the 1976 live album Wings Over America have leaked with the release expected on 28th May.

    Although as yet unconfirmed, news of the reissuse has been circling for some days, with Vintage Vinyl News reporting (via Billboard) that the release will come in a series of formats, from hi-res digital to triple LP vinyl.

    While all but ten songs were written by Paul and Linda McCartney, Wings Over America caused a degree of controversy when Paul elected to reverse the songwriter credits on the old Beatles tracks from Lennon-McCartney to McCartney-Lennon.

    VVN go on to report that the new reissue will include 8 previously unreleased live tracks from the tour’s San Francisco date. Of course, there will also be a bunch of other extras included which you can peruse at your leisure below, the coolest of which are undoubtedly the 80-pages of drawings by Humphrey Ocean capturing Paul and Linda’s off-stage life.

    Track List:

    Disc 1 (Standard / Deluxe / LP)

    Venus And Mars / Rock Show / Jet
    Let Me Roll It
    Spirits Of Ancient Egypt
    Medicine Jar
    Maybe I’m Amazed
    Call Me Back Again
    Lady Madonna
    The Long And Winding Road
    Live And Let Die
    Picasso’s Last Words
    Richard Cory
    Bluebird
    I’ve Just Seen A Face
    Blackbird
    Yesterday

    Disc 2 (Standard / Deluxe / LP)

    You Gave Me The Answer
    Magneto And Titanium Man
    Go Now
    My Love
    Listen To What The Man Said
    Let ‘Em In
    Time To Hide
    Silly Love Songs
    Beware My Love
    Letting Go
    Band on the Run
    Hi Hi Hi
    Soily

    Disc 3 (Deluxe only)

    Let Me Roll It
    Maybe I’m Amazed
    Lady Madonna
    Live And Let Die
    Picasso’s Last Words
    Bluebird
    Blackbird
    Yesterday

    Extras (Deluxe Only)

    80 pages of drawings by Humphrey Ocean
    60 pages of exclusive photos from the diary of the tour by Linda McCartney
    136 pages telling this tour anthology (programs, pictures, memorabilia, lyrics, notes …)
    8 unreleased tracks recorded live at the Cow Palace in San Francisco
    a DVD featuring the legendary film of 75 minutes “Wings Over The World”.

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