Before the Iron Maiden post, I was about to type a blog bit about Javier, a canny buyer from Santiago who was making a living here in Edinburgh sending boxes of records back home to Chile. He’d go to the charity shops, record fairs, car boot sales and the VoxBox Backroom picking up bargain records. Of course, he was after the usual rarities that EVERYONE is after [see Where Are All The Records?] There’s no guarantee that you’ll get hold of a 1966 copy of Revolver or the many other nice records but he didn’t need to rely on them as he had found a niche. An unlimited supply… and he could pay his rent here for years while supporting his family in Chile.
The answer was Phil Collins albums of the early 1980s. The ones with his face hogging the front covers. I’m talking about Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going, No Jacket Required and …But Seriously.
In the UK, these smash albums of the 1980s are derided, defaced and usually pass from a fan’s loft to a record shop, then to a charity shop before being sent to landfill or turned into a cakestand, coasters, a bowl, or the like. Recycling vinyl is trickier than you’d imagine it should be and I’ve been arguing for years that they should turn spent records into a flooring material… Until then, we’ll have to put up with people turning dud records into clocks.
Some vinyl clocks are better than others.
We sell run of the mill copies of Face Value and the other Collins albums for £1.50 in the backroom. A minty one, we’ll stick a cheeky fiver on and see how it goes. My Chilean friend, Javier would buy bags of Backroom records. Artists like Phil Collins, ELO, Olivia Newton John, Elton John, Duran Duran, Vangelis, Rod Stewart, ABBA and Simply Red. SIMPLY RED! I had to ask. How can you make this work?
He told me…
“See this album? Phil Collins… (Only he said theez album and Pheel Collins)
I can sell theez album for fifteeeen pounds in Chile. Not equivalent to fifteeeeen pounds. Fifteeeeeeen pounds in Chilean money.”
Fifteeeeeeeeeeeen quid! My jaw hit the floor… And I’m selling them to him (With discount) for a bit more than a pound. For a box of 25, he told me, it averages out at about £3 per record to get it to his Chilean record shop in Santiago. £1 a record. Shipping £1. Import Tax £1.
Javier moved back this year and I never did ask him why he thought his fellow Chileans had such an appetite for 1980s pop. I had imaginings of the dictator Pinochet sitting in his tower seething at the news that Easy Lover Phil has had another global smash hit. Then, against all odds, the film career. Buster! Damn you Collins! Your albums are revolting!
I did a bit of background reading expecting to find that Pinochet banned western music. But no, the opposite was true! By letting in western and neighbouring Argentinian music it undermined Chile’s own music industry hitting the exposure that the anti-Pinochet Chilean folk and rock musicians could get. Some were tortured or exiled. Folk musician Victor Jara was tortured and killed, others were simply ignored by state controlled media. If you like, there’s a lengthy article here about the Pinochet regime [1973-1990] and Chilean pop music here. You can hear a revolutionary number by Victor Jara below.
I was also saddened but not surprised to read that music was used by torturers. Cat Stevens, Nilsson and George Harrison are among the western artists that were played according to an article citing survivors recollections. No mention of Phil Collins (and you can make up your own joke here). The same thing goes on in Guantanamo these days and the US government doesn’t even pay the artists royalties. I’m reminded of the fantastic and powerful play/film Death and the Maiden starring Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver which explores an imagined post-dictatorship South American country and the accidental meeting between a torturer and his victim where Schubert’s string quartet masterpiece Death And The Maiden had been the torturer’s tune of choice.
I wondered if Phil played Chile often? No, it seems he waited until Pinochet left power before playing a gig in Chile in 1995. Doing some research, I found that Collins was not even, as has been widely reported, a Tory voter. (Thatcher was a longtime supporter of Pinochet for among other reasons, his help to UK forces during the Falklands conflict). He also donates all the royalties earned from his music sales in South Africa to a charity. AND, to his credit, Phil played The Secret Policeman’s (Other) Ball for Amnesty International in 1981 which was to highlight atrocities committed by regimes such as that of Pinochet’s in Chile. I suppose In The Air Tonight has lyrics that would have some revolutionary appeal and hope. In the end Pinochet was voted out. -Not really due to 1980s pop but I have really grown to like Phil a bit.
So why are some Chilean fans prepared to pay so much for the Collins albums that we deride? Well, I think many Chileans couldn’t afford the music they liked in the 1980s and those that felt deprived then may now be in a position to compensate for that now. Also, that the longevity of UK artists in the rest of the world when they seem past their sell by date back here may appear mysterious until you realise that most of the world hasn’t seen Brass Eye (“I’m talking nonce-sense”) or read about Sting’s lengthy tantric sex sessions or Mick Hucknall’s 1000 conquests and Bono’s jet-setting hat. And maybe because of that, they are better placed to judge the music on its own merit rather than on the personalities that made it. I should also stress that Chile has a healthy appetite for all other genres of music.
I do keep in touch with Javier -Every month or so I raid the backroom and fill a box to go to Chile. ¡Viva la Revolución!
However, even with my newfound respect for the man, (and did you know he also paid for David Crosby’s Liver transplant!?) I still think Collins murders Tomorrow Never Knows…
Even a lighthearted blog bit about how someone can make a living selling Phil Collins records can quickly descend into one about serious human rights abuses. Coincidentally [and in these vinyl revival times, inevitably] he is reissuing his back catalogue on vinyl with bonus tracks and so on in November.
On a more upbeat note, direct proof that music can aid a revolution can be found in the Velvet Revolution of Czechslovakia. The Velvet Underground became unlikely heroes in Czechslovakia due to, among many reasons, percieved coded messages in the songs. “The cozy brown snow of the east”. The future PM Václav Havel was a fan.
“Did you know that I am president because of you?”
So Tesco are selling the Iron Maiden album in 55 Metro stores to see how it goes. They have priced it at £24 which has undercut Amazon who are selling at £24.99. It is worth noting that the price Independent shops are being charged for the new Iron Maiden 3LP set is £20 plus VAT. Or exactly £24. The buggers.
A spokesman said they are selling so many record players that they’d be as well start selling records too. That makes sense; it was only a matter of time. Tesco can sell what it likes and I’m sure it has made financial sense for Bruce Dickinson and the rest of Iron Maiden, although the mental picture of hordes of metal fans trooping in to pick up the new album under the harsh sterile lighting of Tesco does seem a little absurd.
Even if Tesco wasn’t selling records, I would have been reluctant to buy in this release unless asked to by a customer. If a record costs me £24, I’d have to price it at about £36 -so even without Tesco, Amazon have undercut us already. And even if the customer wanted to buy it from us and was happy to pay the extra amount, I’d be tempted just to drop in to Tesco to save having to go through the distributor’s new laborious ordering process then wait for a cardboard box. That way I’d also get a few Clubcard points.
I don’t even mind that there is a price difference. How could anyone really complain… VoxBox: “I’ll take 5 copies please and see how they do”. Tesco: “We’ll take 5000 copies and make a display in 55 supermarkets”. I’m sure Tesco only look at the profit to be made and that they honestly don’t look at how it might affect the smaller record shops at all. As to the band… It maybe shouldn’t have come as a surprise -they clearly shop on the high street and now look more like your well-spoken girlfriend’s dad than stadium rockers.
Bring my daughter, bring my daughter… home by 10.
We have an account with Warner the (label and) distributor. I generally use it for ordering back catalogue classic albums. -Warner bought Elektra, Atlantic and Reprise and so distribute The Stooges, Love and The Doors as well as the Led Zeppelin reissues and Neil Young. More contemporary artists include The Flaming Lips, The Black Keys, The Dead Weather and Royal Blood who we also stock and Michael Buble who we don’t.
I try to roughly price match Amazon + P&P on these records and can just about keep the price down. With new releases on the major labels, it is usually more difficult to compete on price than with the Independent releases. The selling prices tend to start HIGH then come down very quickly as sellers that are at least nominally based in the USA sell via Amazon. [Shops in the USA pay about 20% less than we do].
In fact the “Amazon price” is often fine, but underneath, the sellers that sell through Amazon are often impossible to compete with. How they can buy the record, pay for packing materials, pay Amazon a seller fee, pay someone’s wages and then even make a loss on the postage cost itself and still make it worthwhile is beyond me. Especially if any profit is being properly taxed. [Records allegedly coming from the USA cost £1.26 for postage when the real cost would normally be nearer $8] Someone should call the cops.
Another reason I tend to avoid the more expensive new releases is that the record companies can often overestimate the demand for new records and the price will tend to drop as shops that have bought it in start to reduce the price to cost price or less to get rid of unsold copies and then overstockists can come in and sell the rest at a knockdown price. So we try to focus on the usual different records.
In an interesting scene cut from the Last Shop Standing film, Richard Hawley said that you’ll never find a 13th Floor Elevators album in Tesco. Now It may just be a matter of time.
Last Shop Standing, the book, deals with the closing of many of the UK’s record shops in the 1990s-2000s and delves into the reasons why. This was pre-downloads and a common theme was the supermarkets undercutting the traditional record shops and selling CDs as loss leaders in a battle against their competitors. This also hammered HMV, eating into its market share and making it look expensive. When the supermarkets would be selling the new releases for a price lower than the shops were able to buy in for, some shop owners would try to clear Asda out of CDs on the Monday morning to be able to sell them later in the day. This wasn’t sustainable and supermarkets offered no prayer for the dying independent shops -which is only to be expected -big businesses are run by accountants, not people.
A fear is that with a new Tesco-Amazon-HMV price war, some shops will be the collateral damage. It’s perhaps less of a worry if they stick to the big releases on major labels as smaller shops will have probably shied away from them anyway for the reasons above. A greater concern would be that they expand into independent label territory placing large orders to fill their shelves and depriving small shops of their usual small orders with top ups as and when needed. This can already happen with HMV and many albums both indie and mainstream can take off and sell out quickly as it is. [*see anecdote below]
On a positive note, an upside to supermarkets stocking vinyl could be that even more people will get into records and that could help shops in the long run. A kind of “trickle down” economics. So it’s a long blog post and Tesco are so far only dipping their toe into record retail. Maybe one day they’ll sell releases on our record label, FoxBox Records. It’d actually be great if, for example, they stocked and supported SAY Award winner Kathryn Joseph and local labels. Thankfully, I’m not too sure that Tesco really know what they’re doing yet [the turntables they sell are truly awful] and with their recent financial woes, I’ve decided now is the time to strike back.
VoxBox Dairy Range coming soon.
*A wee anecdote: An Edinburgh shop ordered a Bob Dylan Box Set recently and had 10 pre-orders. They had ordered in good time, however, the order went unfulfilled as the label/distributor [Sony] had sent all the available copies to Amazon and HMV. The shop was advised by Sony to buy the 10 copies from HMV and Fopp and send them a copy of the receipts: They’d get a credit note to that value.
**Since typing this I’ve found a European distributor that is selling for about £18. It’s a strange time with vinyl, I might get a few in after all.
So asked Carlos from Chile a few years ago. “Zhe Beatlesh sold millionsh eh. Where are zhey? Zhe Who? BEEG Band! Zhey sold millionsh… So where are the recordsh?”
Carlos would come to the UK every 6 months. He’d stay a month and buy enough records from shops and record fairs to fill a container. He’d then ship the load back to Chile and sell them from his record stall over the next 5 months. Then repeat. Again and again. Every time, he’d ask me, genuinely asking, somewhat bemused; “Where are all ze recordsh?”…
Of course there are still plenty records around and many great albums are easy enough to find cheaply, but Carlos was after the classic collectable British Rocktet; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen and Pink Floyd. They indeed sold millions, so everyone must have a copy of 1966’s Revolver kicking around right?
Swinging ’66… Check out the inner sleeve advertisements! *See bottom of post*.
For some years after opening, a pair of Polish gents would come in once in a while with a list of the classic rare albums. The Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, The Zombies’ Odessey [sic] and Oracle, The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society, Caravan on brown Deram, Led Zeppelin albums with Plum labels. Sabbath’s Paranoid and Juicy Lucy on Swirly Vertigo. LOUD CUT Beatles’ Rubber Soul, then the usual Pink Floyds and so on. The Who Sell Out with poster! They were full time record dealers sent here on a buying trip for a wealthy Russian. One day in Glasgow and Edinburgh then down to Birmingham and Manchester, then London. They would take one side of the shop each and meet at the counter before heading to the backroom… going through everything precisely and quickly. Not much chat. Clearly in a hurry, they would clean us out of the high end records for their Russian oligarch and everything from Dire Straits and Deep Purple to Madonna for their own CLASSIC ROCK and Pop fans of Poland.
This happened many times with different dealers doing the fast fingerwork. Sure enough, we’d get a big sale and grant a bit of discount as they would also take all our hard to shift £3 Van Halen too, but afterwards the shelves would look bare, our best stuff would be gone and I’d feel more than a bit dirty and a tad ashamed. It feels a little like being complicit in overseeing the giving away our country’s finest artifacts.
Of course they must have struggled to get the classic BIG records. Those £200ers and more. They don’t really exist. -They hardly ever come in. You have to be in the business a long time just to even see a copy of some titles. The fact that I’ve not seen many of the foreign travelling dealers in a while, I think, means that they have finally cottoned on that those mint originals are not in the record shops. The shop owners will tend to sell online for quick turnaround rather than let them sit on the shelf getting battered around for a year or more until the right buyer comes in. With the vinyl revival, good records are going to the neighbour’s kids that are now into vinyl rather than the used record shops, the charity shop or even the bin. The new young vinyl fans hoover up everything from the Beatles and Stones to the Motown compilations and The Clash and The Smiths and so on. At least that’s my theory.
The VoxBox policy is to put all the big records that come in on the shelf, at least for a while. But it is a worldwide marketplace and Edinburgh might not have a collector that will pay £60 for a VG+ early second press copy of The Rolling Stones second album. We’ve had one on the shelf for a while. It’s good to have it, I play it sometimes -it sounds GREAT- and I’ll certainly miss it when it’s finally gone.
The UK in the 1960s through to the 1980s had some of the best bands and made the best quality records and so it makes sense that the rest of the world would see a UK original of a UK band that has had huge global success as the copy to own. This will accelerate if China plugs into the vinyl revival. Let’s hope they get back into Wham! or take a shining to the fireside balladeering of Jim Reeves.
And it’s not just the shops and full time dealers; everyone’s been doing it. Ebay has been facilitating the export of the finest UK albums to the rest of the world for 20 years. Last year many thousands were sold and exported to overseas buyers. Anecdotally, from a friend of mine, these are going increasingly to Russia and the Far East. So it is this and the decades of the export of whole shipping containers full of records have led to a national shortage of the classics.
So when Carlos asked “Where are all the records?” I had to reply with a smile; “It’s YOU! You have them all Carlos!”.
Well, I thought, you and Javier…
Part 2 coming up.
*Judging by that advertisement on Revolver‘s inner sleeve, rather than turning off their minds, relaxing and floating downstream, your family were more likely to have been partying to Ken Dodd, Roy Castle, Ron Goodwin, The Seekers, Russ Conway, Vince Hill, The Wurzels, Rolf bloody Harris, Pepe Jaramillo?!, The Singing Postman, Jimmy Shand, The Sound of Music, Paul Jones, Joe Loss and Zoot Money. Only Paul Jones and Zoot have any value these days (ever).
In case you haven’t heard, Friday is the New Global Release Day. Q: Tell me why? A: They don’t like Mondays… There was a meeting and some industry types thought it would revive the music business and some independent shops complained about it but it is now what it is and it’ll be #newmusicfriday from now on. The new release day actually suits our shop pretty well as we’re open Wednesday-Sunday and get most sales over the weekend. We have a new chart scanner too and it’s good to think that selling a few new releases might help a band into the charts. Beep. Scanning is more fun than it should be.
Moving on, I’m happy to say that the our label’s first single release,Vultures by Delta Mainline (above) premiered on The 405’s website with the B-side, a remix by Miaoux Miaoux premiering on the God Is In The TV zine. Finally, the video was premiered on Clash this week. Many thanks to the friendly reviewers and music bloggers that have also picked up on the single so far. An up and coming band need some nice and honest things said about them. Edinburgh’s very own up and coming writing talent Ian Rankin called it a gorgeous single which was very kind. He has been a real champion of Edinburgh talent over the years.
Although it’s available to download, there are only 250 physical copies available for sale. Not enough to hit the charts but maybe enough to get into a future edition of Record Collector magazine… It is on opaque green vinyl and has a printed inner sleeve with Come On Back Now From The Edge artwork and is simply a beautiful package. The record’s centre label says PLAY LOUD as all good records do and that’s good advice up to a point. See below.
Ziggy played guitar but boy, did he ruin your speakers
The Abbey Road production on the song is so good that it even sounds great through a computer; but for the full experience do play it on a decent hifi. Don’t turn it up too loud as it begins quietly and might give you a fright 2 minutes in. Or, hell! Just turn it up and see what happens.
The video was directed by multi-award nominated Danish artist and filmmaker Jonas Bak. It’s great. A depiction of our new austere times and shows that a person’s battle against real and internal adversaries can be won -that self improvement is achievable and with it perhaps spiritual enlightenment will follow. Or something like that. [mumbles]
You can order from the band website or pick up/reserve one from the VoxBox shop.
For a cheap copy for your mp3 player, the single is also available from itunes.
Please share, PLAY LOUD and spread the word if you can. This Edinburgh 5 piece have made a world class single and there is still an exciting new album to come. Here is Vultures:
I was away from the shop and my mobile telephone rang.
“Do we have the new Randolph Sleep album? A customer is asking.” It was a VoxBox employee that will remain un-named.
Randolph Sleep is of course Wayne Sleep’s musically talented younger brother. Heeheehee.
No, I didn’t joke at all…
“It’s really a band called Randolph’s Leap you silly sausage! Yes we have a few… on the shelf on the left… and so on…”
It’s easy to get confused of course. One is a prominent leaping man prone to a beauty spot. The other is a prone and sleepy band named after a prominent beauty spot.
Adam points to Wayne’s Leap on top. Randolph’s (more lackadaisical) Leap on the bottom.
The Leap are an 8 piece band and not one of them is called Randolph and I’d wager a quid. One whole poond that they don’t know a Randy between them.
I just wanted to mention them as they are never far from my stereo. The band had a tape release of B-sides and outtakes for Record Store Day the other year. Then a Cassette Store Day release last year AND a Record Store Day live album this year too.
In fact they are not lackadaisical or sleepy at all; The output is quite amazing! The band founder and songwriter Adam Ross is the Scottish Prince. Albeit specialising in rhyming couplets and a clever turn of phrase last seen with Ray Davies rather than Sexy M-FUNKYness. I was tickled by their twitter description. –Quantity, not quality.
I took a while to get around to seeing them play but it was a special and uplifting show. For me, the great thing about the band is the way they seem to play for each other and manage to have lots of fun too. On stage they break into a wee dance at the drop of a hat. Although they are all really bound to hate each other after playing together for so long; they hide this extremely well. An acoustic guitar, electric guitar, trombone, trumpet, violin, bass, drums and… Casio keyboard with the pre-programmed songs too. That’s how they roll. It’s a brilliant, cacophonic, superfun and catchy set up. They also have the best merch stand I’ve ever seen. -I blame the stall for the fact that I now own 3 t-shirts and a mug (more on band merch in a later post). -AND they have the nicest manager in the business -unless you don’t pay him- as one record shop found out. He’s not wide at all but check out his shoes!
Olive Grove man and green shoe wearing band manager Lloyd!
The last time I saw the full band, I think it cost £8, which would be 100 pence to see each band-member. They are worth a whole lot more. But that also highlights the problems faced by musicians in bands these days. That the more people in your band, the less you get paid. As you can imagine, touring becomes prohibitively expensive too. Apparently Adam keeps everyone happy by doing the dishes of the other band members once or twice per month. Bands like this need and deserve our cultural support and certainly more radio play. Email the radio… ask that they play your favourite songs. It all helps.
Adam played a wee solo set at our place on Record Store Day to help plug the band’s new live album that came out on RSD. Their previous album, Clumsy Knot, released in 2014, never made the SAY Award longlist but I feel was a worthy contender for Scottish Album of the Year. Mrs VoxBox plays (the download) in the car and we played it lots on the VoxBox Vinyl Show too.
Here’s Hermit played live on RSD.
I’m happy to say that Randolph’s Leap have a brand new album coming out later in the year on the superb Lost Map Records [Tuff Love Pictish Trail, Rozi Plain, Kid Canaveral, eagleowl, Seamus Forgerty etc]. They play the Electric Fields Festival on April 29th too. (Have a look at the line up!) If you’re in Glasgow, check out their incredibly popular anti-dancing night for dancing -I Can’t Dance To This Music Anymore.
If you just fancy a holiday, look up the original Randolph’s Leap and you’ll find a wonderful place.
So Randolph’s Leap is the place where Randolph Lept right?
…I’ve no idea! Let’s stop asking questions and let’s just enjoy the music and the scenery.
Because a mainer to my vein leads to a centre in my head… [Lou Reed]
I started the Fox Box label last year with the intention of eventually creating a vehicle to help Edinburgh bands that are self releasing music to gain better exposure. Whether on CD, cassette or vinyl, you get a catalogue number and we’ll work together and see what happens.
In the music industry there are a lot of Vultures out there that will pick what’s left of you apart after the sharks get you. ?? What a disaster of an analogy. A maze… The music industry can seem to be a strange maze. Anyway, the idea is to help with advice, sharing contacts and by generally pooling some friendly music people together in a loose collective so that pitfalls can be avoided and the music can be more widely heard.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite Edinburgh bands is Delta Mainline. They are real perfectionists and made a cracking record, Oh! Enlightened, a couple of years ago. It’s fabulous rock music with great patient moments, a couple of belters and really tip-top lyrics too. It’s constructed as a proper album rather than a collection of songs and is so well crafted that you really want to listen to the whole thing from start to finish. It is consequently right up my street and we are still selling them too. The album’s reviews were also pretty fine including some in glossy music mags and the national papers as you can see:
So, when I heard earlier this year that they were recording a new album, I asked if they’d like to be on the fledgling label and after some thought, they said yes. So here we are. They are an experienced band and are used to organising most things themselves so I’m leaving them to do what they do and hope that we (shop and label) can help out a bit with the shop’s contacts and so on.
I’m now incredibly proud to say we will be releasing their new single Vultures on Fox Box Records on August 3rd.
Vultures by Delta Mainline is FXY004
The new album is still being recorded and will have a different sound to the last. It is due for release next year. Before then, we have Vultures, the new single on green vinyl. It’s a really luxury package with great artwork and a printed inner. It was recorded in Glasgow at Chem 19 and mastered by Geoff Pesch at Abbey Road. The B-side has remixes by Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux) and Graeme Ronald (Remember Remember). The single also features the Cairn String Quartet. It’s safe to say, they’ve worked hard on it and have pulled out all the stops! The band themselves have stripped down to a five piece from seven and the sound on the single is nice and mellow before it gives you a Zidane to the solar plexus.
When can you hear this cracking new single, complete with Zidane to the solar plexus? I hear you say. Soon my friend. Very soon.
Meanwhile, if you trust me, you can pre-order and you can also have a shifty at their new website here. -Updated to better match the artwork of the single. Perfectionists you see.
Of course you can also pick the single up from all the best record shops from August the 3rd. There are 250 hand numbered copies and it will also be available digitally.
The Edinburgh launch gig is still to be fully firmed up and will be announced soon.
They are playing Jocktoberfest on Sept 5th and again on 19th September in support of The Telescopes at Limbo. More to come…
Meanwhile you can listen to full Oh! Enlightened album (2013):
Some emails are really fun to read. I received one from Suburban Noize Records in the USA. Big B is coming to town supporting OPM on their European tour. Could he play an acoustic set before the gig?
Nae bother. When not listening to SAY Award winner Kathryn Joseph all day I do find some spare time for some hip hop. Hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it to the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Yes, I looked that up.
So Big B is coming to play in the shop. He’s had a couple of big hits back in the USA. These tracks have had millions of views! I’m looking forward to hearing the stripped down version in the flesh. Taps aff.
Big B -White Trash Life
Big B -Hooligan
OPM said they would like to play too!
It’s now been 15 years since Heaven is a Halfpipe came out in 2000. It was seriously everywhere for a while and became a top 5 single here too. Their debut album Menace to Sobriety did alright.-They were signed to Atlantic. I believe it will be reissued soon. There’s a lot more to them than the hit record and this is a rare chance to see them in the flesh.
They are playing Bannerman’s on 2nd September but before the gig they’ll play a short and intimate acoustic set. It’s a Wednesday and it’s all very early for getting times sorted but it’s certainly an exciting one for your diary. With Big B and 5 members of OPM in the shop there won’t be room for anyone else. Might have to put them on the steps…
Running out of time as the award is starting in a few minutes but I just wanted to mention the album that I think should win this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award. It’s been a good year for Scottish albums.
I was lucky enough to meet Kathryn Joseph after her Edinburgh launch show in January. She came to the fella sitting next to me to say hi to him. He’s a mysterious chap. Anyway, we had a mysterious chat.
“Bloody hell those songs are good… You must have been sitting on those for a while!” Not as a hen. – I’m not Glaswegian. Just sitting on them in a normal parlance chat type sense.
“Yes, I was”
And she was…
And she talked to the Skinny about the making of the album just the other day. That’s all the background you really need.
And that’s about it.
In my mind, Kathryn’s album is the best one on the shortlist.
We only had 5 copies. They sold in a week. Then another 5 copies. They sold in a week and a half. Then all the copies the label had sold out. Then the CDs sold out. If you can play half of a different song from a record and sell it over and over again [with gorgeous lyric and photo newspaper booklet, (showing a boob!) limited to 200 white vinyl copies] then it tends to feel that there is something special going on.
I’m excited that so many people have become so enthralled by Kathryn’s record. It’s a real spooky thing that conjures up Hansel and Gretel forests, roadkill collections, beasties and breadcrumb trails. Love, sex and death are never far away but it’s positive throughout too.
If you like what you hear and get a chance you should see her perform. Go. Bloody hell, go.
Of of all the artists on the shortlist, and I appreciate that taste is subjective and so on. I’m convinced that only one album could, given the right exposure and a bit of a boost from a SAY Award win, go on to be platinum selling by Christmas. And that is bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled. Crazy! Yes. But stranger things have happened.
PS I still love all the other bands.
You’re my favourite band!
New double A side single The Bird/The Worm released on 7″ vinyl on 27th July.
Album repressing on black vinyl out soon too.
Both available from all the best record shops.
Ah it feels like the start of Summer. For those of you with holidays coming or that simply have the time to get away and leave the rat race for a while. Remember, it’s not a race.
Leave VoxBox at 21 St Stephen Street taking a right.
Take a right and walk downhill to the bus stop.
A 29 bus will take you up the hill and heads east along Princes Street. £1.80 for a single. It’s a 5 minute journey and you could walk uphill in 10 mins… but it is quite a steep hill.
Get off at Princes Street. Cross the road and keep going east toward Waverley train station.
You aren’t actually going to the train station. The airport bus, the Lothian Airlink 100, leaves every 10 mins from Waverley Bridge next to the train station. The bus takes 30 mins to get to the airport. An open return is £7.50.
However for the FUN of it, take the Tram to the airport. The TRAM! They’re every 8-10 minutes and leave from stops in the middle of Princes Street. This will be £8 for a return and takes 35mins. Buy a ticket before hopping on or it’ll be £10. Race the bus. For that extra 50p it bloody well IS a race! Zooooooom!!
Tram takes an early lead!
Phew! After all that excitement, you’re at Edinburgh Airport and have enjoyed a thrilling shiny Tram ride. Get in line and queue. Whistle. Queue. Let your mind wander a bit. Check In. Queue. Go through security. Gosh it’s warm and the juice machine is a bit dear and they’ve taken my own bottle of home made diluting juice away from me. Queue while thirsty. Finally crack and buy two bottles of juice. One for now, one for the plane. And we’re off!
Board an aeroplane to Heathrow (Virgin Atlantic). -Requires booking in advance.
Change at Heathrow for a new aeroplane to Los Angeles, LAX. (Virgin Atlantic) That’s about 15hrs From Edinburgh to LA.
Layover -Twiddle thumbs/meditate/snooze for about 2hrs 10mins.
Board a plane to Norman Y. Mineta Airport. This flight will take 1hr 18mins.
All in all, these three flights will come in at about £800 return.
You are now there. If you believe in zen, maybe not. ‘A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.’ ~Lao Tzu .
In case you were wondering and for future reference… This, dear reader, is the way to San Jose.*
There are a reasonable number of record shops in San Jose.
But if you keep going…
From the airport, board a bus to Santa Carla Caltrain Station. About 5mins.
Board a Caltrain to San Francisco Caltrain Station -1hr 28mins.
Take the San Francisco Municipal Transport KT line. About 30 mins.
Disembark at junction of Carl St and Stanyan St.
Walk north on Stanyan Street -4 blocks. About 6mins.
Take a right on Haight Street.
Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, United States
Amoeba Music in San Francisco is one of the largest record shops in the world with a staggering amount of music. There is an even larger one in Los Angeles too. But if you just wanted to pop in there, you’d miss the frivolous and imaginary, longwinded trip to San Jose which seems to be what this blog post is all about…
…or is it?**
*This appears to be the most economical way at short notice. However, if you’d like to save a lot of time and can book in advance, there are direct flights from Edinburgh.
All the information you require for this coming Record Store Day in Edinburgh in one handy blog post. The shop will open at 9am on Record Store Day. We don’t have the Official RSD releases so if you need the Reissues of Bruce Springsteen’s first 7 albums, you’ll have to go to Coda or Underground Solushn. If you are after a nice day out in fashionable Stockbridge, a bit of a browse and a beer or two, topped off with a full afternoon of fantastic live music AND an original 1970s copy of Bruce’s fine double album The River in Excellent condition for £8, then VoxBox will be the place for you.* Music will be between the shop and The Last Word Saloon at 44 St Stephen Street. Kids are allowed in but it might be busy. If the weather is nice, the street is the best place in the world to be. Plenty steps to sit on, boutiques to visit and the Sprio cafe for a panini is lovely. Anyway, here are the timings for a day of the best live music in Edinburgh.
Half hour sets from Supermoon at 12 noon to Garden of Elks at 5 nelks.
I do believe there will be an afterparty at The Electric Circus. Details to follow.
But first, a quick preview of the bands!
“Meursault is dead, and from its ashes rises Neil Pennycook’s new project: Supermoon.
Released on the 27th April 2015, this is a first taste of the new stuff, out on cassette and digital only, building up to a new album in the Autumn. Supermoon material has a bit more tension and needle than later Meursault releases, embracing a darker characterisation, nastier production and a far greater sense of dislocation.
Basically, it’s more minimal, weirder and generally more unpleasant, and I think this is a very good thing.” Yes, it is.
The Holy Ghosts are Edinburgh’s good time rock n roll band. Infused with the finest country rock of 1972. From Gram Parsons to Little Feat via the Rolling Stones. They have 3 EPs and one album of catchy songs under their belt already. The shop label FoxBox released their latest EP on glorious 10 inch vinyl back in March. They’ll play as a stripped down 3 piece.
Tuff Love are signed to Lost Map, Eigg’s finest record label. They played RSD at our place last year. This year they return and have a brand new split single release for Record Store Day. You can listen to “Groucho” above. Which reminds me… Outside of a dog a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
Ahem, moving swiftly on…
Miracle Strip came into the shop a couple of years ago with their debut single, Girl Gang/Stephanie on the Moon, on glorious white vinyl. It’s great! They are releasing their 1st album soon. Copies will be available on limited edition cassette tape with download code on Saturday. You can listen to the first single from the album above.
Poor Things are following up their 2014 album and a split EP (with Catholic Action) with a new split release on Gerry Loves Records in June. You can hear their song from the release above. They’ll be playing a stripped down set on Saturday, and you may even be able to get your hands on a super-limited test pressing of their new release.
Delta Mainline are my new favourite Edinburgh band. Their debut album Oh! Enlightened came out in 2013. The new one will be released next year. The new single “Vultures” on coloured 7″ vinyl is out at the end of June. The B side has remixes by Remember Remember and Miaoux Miaoux. This will be the 2nd vinyl release on the shop’s FoxBox label. They will play a rare stripped down set. I’ll tell you more about this soon.
Randolph’s Leap played at Kid Canaveral’s Christmas Baubles at Portobello Town Hall last year. The set was recorded and has been turned into round and shiny vinyl. It will be released on Record Store Day. Adam Leap will be playing solo.
Garden Of Elks complete the bill. They have a brand new album on Song, by Toad Records entitled A Distorted Sigh. Available on cassette and vinyl. Check out this tasty review from The Herald. “…They’re bloody marvellous live too.” You can see for yourselves.
There will be a merch table in The Last Word Saloon featuring all of the releases. All of them will also be available in the shop. Do take time to give them a listen. I’m constantly being impressed by the quality of the music being made by artists from down the road. In fact, since opening almost 4 years ago, the local releases section has become my firm favourite. The major labels are really missing a trick. The VoxBox team look forward to seeing you on Record Store Day. I’ve a feeling it will be sunny.
Any last minute changes will be announced on the Facebook event page.
And also on twitter –@voxboxmusic.
*Seriously, I think we’ve 5 copies of The River just now.
VoxBox Music became the newest record shop in the world on May 21st 2011. We buy and sell vinyl and other formats of music. We are independent and sell mostly pre-owned records although we are slowly branching into new vinyl too.