If you are following me on Instagram, then you will know that throughout January I have been sharing a series of posts as a part of my Year of Vinyl challenge, through which I have celebrated owning my beloved Crosley Record Player for a year, by sharing with you my favourite albums on vinyl.
Although I didn’t post as many as I’d have liked, I feel that those I have shared with you all are undoubtedly favourites that I own and are a wonderful reflection of my music tastes. Therefore, I feel I have shared quality and not quantity on this occasion, at least in my eyes anyway.
The albums I have chosen were created by artists and bands whom I adore. I will be writing the frank and honest truth about why each vinyl is held so dearly to me, sharing with you the stories of how I came to own each one and the meaning behind them. I will delve into my subconscious and share with you all my reasons for loving each album, as well as giving you more insight into the tracks that I enjoy the most from each and a little more about what to expect in terms of music style from the artists themselves.
Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese
Without further ado, the first album I chose to share on my Year of Vinyl challenge was Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese. If I had to pick one vinyl to play for the rest of my life, then I can safely say that this would be it. Bad Contestant is an album I have treasured, the sound is sublime on vinyl, and I relish the crackles and imperfections over any clean-cut studio recording. This was one of the very first vinyls I bought for my player, and was also my first signed one that I came to own. When I first opened it, I knew that this album would be very special to me. Matt Maltese is an artist that was born for vinyl, his vocals hums of the 70s. Vintage, with a modern twist, this album is truly unique in both its lyrical content and overall style. Home to songs that suit every mood, I have laughed with this album and I have cried with this album. It has been spun many a time on my record player, and I could not imagine having had the year without it. I adored this album before I owned the vinyl, so I do not doubt that it will always be one that I cherish and play repeatedly. Stand out favourites for me are ‘Like a Fish’ and the vastly contrasting ‘Less and Less’.
That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon
Next up to be shared with you were the striking blue vinyl discs of That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon. An album I have found so beautiful since my very first listen. Although the blue vinyl version was a recent purchase, I already owned this album on standard black vinyl, which I still cannot allow myself to part with. This album has accompanied me through poignant times in my life, and Blaenavon have in turn comforted my many a sleepless night with their soothing songs. Hence why I find myself instinctively drawn to the softer side of this album, with songs such as ‘Let Me See Happens Next’ being held particularly close to my heart. I first discovered Blaenavon through ‘My Bark is Your Bite’, however I initially stumbled upon the acoustic version. Having played this repeatedly via Spotify, it wasn’t until I decided to actually look further that I found That’s Your Lot. To this day, I have no idea why in late 2017, I procrastinated in listening to a band I would find such solace in, for so long. I continue listening to Blaenavon through to the present day, they are a band I completely could not imagine existing without. I have had such an intense love affair with That’s Your Lot. Owning the blue discs was a mini victory for me, having previously dismayed at them being completely sold out. I rejoiced when only last year, this glorious album was restocked in not only blue but was also signed. I think actual tears may have fallen that day.
Isaac Gracie (Self-Entitled) by Isaac Gracie
To say I adore Isaac Gracie would be too weak a sentiment. Isaac Gracie’s music is a part of me and I have grown into the woman I am since discovering his music way back when I was still in university in early 2015. I began listening to Isaac when his music was just early demo releases on Spotify. I have played his pre-album recording of ‘Last Words’ to death, and even now, I still find myself listening to it often. I remember clearly when Isaac announced his debut album release, and again I am certain I cried. Isaac Gracie releasing this stunning album to the world made me feel like a proud mother. It was surreal hearing his music getting radio airplay, when it had previously been with me in my loneliest of times whilst I was away from home. The album consists of a gorgeously, soft, string of melodies. Isaac’s flawless, melting vocals lead us through songs that are deeply emotive, and lyrically poetic. Throughout there is a strong sense that Isaac Gracie is confessing and sharing his secrets with the listener, eluding tales of a broken heart and a wounded relationship. Isaac did so well to release this album that clearly means an awful lot to him, and I remain so immensely proud of his work. Although, I cannot help but feel a wash of sadness when I listen to this album sometimes though, and this is purely for my own selfish reasons, as unfortunately I was not able to make any of Isaac’s live performances on his first tour. Various commitments, fears of travelling and so on, got in the way. I look back now and dismay at why I felt this way at the time. However I hope he will tour again soon. I can assure you I will not miss out a second time. My absolute favourite song from this album, and I would even say of all time is ‘Silhouettes of You’. It is absolutely beautiful and one that I cannot recommend you listen to enough.
Dream On by Alice Boman
Although this is a very new release, I still felt it was fair to include this in my year of vinyl, as I was so highly anticipating this album. My thoughts, and idea of what it was going to be like were in my head long before it was in my hands. Dream On by name and by nature, I myself dreamt of owning Alice Boman’s stunning debut album for months. I first heard Alice’s gorgeously haunting vocals through BBC TV series Wanderlust. The programme itself was a masterpiece of television, capturing so transfixingly the struggles of marriage and love, Alice Boman’s songs laced within the episodes were a match made in heaven, and captured the raw emotion of the programme so beautifully. I found myself completely fascinated with her voice, and as soon as an episode would finish, I would be frantically hunting the song down online. Eventually I’d built up my own little library of Alice Boman songs through her early EP and single releases. Eerily, quiet vocals that scream in your mind, Alice’s music delivers an intense emotional hit that’s also serenely comforting in other ways. I eagerly awaited the release of Dream On as though it was a drug, and I was not disappointed when the dose was administered. My favourite from this album is ‘The More I Cry’ which is an absolutely beautiful piece of music that I will resonate with forever.
Swansea to Hornsey & Pick a Pocket or Two by Trampolene
Where do I start with my next post, an ode to the loves of my life that are Trampolene. Home-grown and oh so beautifully humble for it, Trampolene are without doubt the friendliest band you could ever dream of meeting. I discovered their music initially through Spotify, and was hooked after my first listen. Coming to realise that they were from South Wales like me, I quickly found myself posting on their fan page and it wasn’t long before I was at one of their gigs for the first time. Hand on heart, I would say that this was the best gig I have ever been to in my life, and I’ve been to a lot. Trampolene’s music is fast paced and fantastically driven on bangers such as ‘Alcohol Kiss’, but this band also have the wonderful capabilities to deliver sensitive, acoustic songs, that are so tender and emotional. Look no further than ‘Cinderella’s Shoe’. My heart and mind was stolen from me as I stood directly in front of eccentric front man, and charmer, Jack Jones. A whirlwind on stage and in life, Jack is a fire that burns wildly. His presence is captivating and you cannot help but be drawn in by him. If you go and see Trampolene for yourself I’m sure you too will see how amazing their music and live presence is. Their albums are reflections of this. As an added bonus I also feel it is worth mentioned, that by listening to Trampolene’s music and engaging with the band and their followers, I’ve made a lot of friends, many of which I would say will easily be friends for life, whom I love dearly. I hold the band, those who work with them and their fan base very close to my heart. Trampolene are more than a band to me now, and I feel this highlights the power that music can have in brining people together and creating a sense of not only identity, but community.
Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers by Porridge Radio
Last but not least is the story of how I came to own and love Porridge Radio’s vivid red, energy-packed album that is Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. Possibly the most simple explanation, is that I found myself experiencing love at first sight. I initially set eyes on two members of Porridge Radio, Dana and Sue, at Coventry Central Library when they were supporting the sweet angel that is Phoebe Green. I had travelled from South Wales to England to see Phoebe for the first time. I was immensely happy about this, and truthfully I hadn’t even factored support acts into my little bubble of excitement. My god, did Porridge Radio show me the error of my ways. Despite lacking their full band for various reasons, Porridge Radio certainly did not lack by any means whatsoever in completely captivating me. Dana was mesmerizing and I fell head over heels in love with her voice. I’ve been to many gigs so far in my lifetime, and have been impressed by many bands on stage, but never before and I doubt ever again will I feel as completely flummoxed and utterly in awe of a band as I did that day. I practically fell over in adoration as I approached the merch table, literally threw my money at them and could hardly speak. An unbelievable effect that I have never forgotten nor would I ever want to. I bought this vinyl that day and became a firm fan of their music. Personal favourites of mine on this album are Eurgh and Barks Like A Dog. I love this band and will support them for as long as they exist, because their music is truly unique, powerful and stunning all at the same time. As well as being emotional, meaningful and riveting. I can exasperate so many adjectives and still not achieve what I truly want to say. All I can stress to you is that please, if this band ever appear on your radar, go and see them. If they don’t appear on your radar, then I urge you to make it so. Porridge Radio are a band you need to hear live. I assure you that their album is equally as magnetic. Porridge Radio’s next release Every Bad is due on 13th March. New singles ‘Lilac’ and ‘Sweet’ from Every Bad are available to stream now.
Well that concludes my Year of Vinyl Roundup. I hope you’ve enjoyed having an insight into my love for music, by learning a little more about these fantastically talented musicians, and myself also.
If you would like any more information on any of these vinyls, or if you’re curious to hear about any other albums I own. Please feel free to leave a comment or message me on any of my social media accounts below, and I’ll be glad to get back to you.
All my love, and thank you so much for reading this rather special (and probably too honest) blog post!
I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Let me know your favourite vinyls too! Xx