As it transpires, the vinyl revival is most definitely not dead on arrival – black wax is back for good. It might have started as an ironic accoutrement for every hipster speakeasy or mid-century-furnished studio flat, but beyond the vintage box-ticking, its unflagging resurgence is down to a cute paradox: digital music’s frustrating lack of physical ‘collectability’, allied with digital music’s limitless scope for aural adventurousness. Combine the two, and you have a world of listeners craving cultural substance.
So now you’ve managed to steal your parents’ turntable (while they ineffectually shout ALEXA! before ‘putting a record on’) what to pluck knowingly from your burgeoning library of twelve inches? What will make you look tasteful, but not tryhard? Just vintage enough to distract from the fact it’s all been purchased over the past six months?
The good news is, despite there still being less than 100 vinyl pressing plants in the entire world, 2018 saw new openings across all five continents, so sourcing anything new, past or present, is getting easier by the day. However, if you fancy rolling up your sleeves for a spot of ‘crate digging’, remember that persistence pays off, and when it does, always look past the dust and feel for deep scratches across the grooves.
As for the store itself? Your one-stop shop is the virtuous latter-day institution that is Record Store Day, keeping your friendly local vinylman in the limelight: recordstoreday.co.uk.
But the music itself? As anyone knows who’s read Nick Hornby’s classic musing on the male condition High Fidelity, a list is a risky thing – let alone rearranging your collection in autobiographical order. But to hell with it, in no order whatsoever: Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night, José Feliciano’s Feliciano!, Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, A-Ha’s Hunting High and Low, The War on Drugs’ Lost in the Dream, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Leftfield’s Leftism, Lou Reed’s Transformer, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Dead Weather’s Horehound, Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Arguments on a postcard.