Everything old is new again


Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in, oh, 17 years: I bought a brand new album on vinyl, the terrific “It’s Blitz” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I think it was the cover (above) that made me buy it in that format rather than a CD, something about that image and the lack of type gives it the feel of a classic 70s or 80s album — something New Wavey by some arty NY band on the Ze label maybe — which I’m sure was intentional given the electro/disco/rock sound of the record. It just felt like it was begging to be owned on 12″ vinyl instead of whatever piddly size a CD is.

It helped that the album came with a code to get a free digital download of it too which a lot of new releases are doing these days (at least in the States) and should encourage more people to shell out the couple of bucks extra for the vinyl. I’ve noticed that in my local music emporium the vinyl section is a lot bigger than it was last year and has been moved right by the front entrance, so maybe there is a demand for it among da kidz these days which reminded me of this piece in The Guardian recently about the return of fanzines (which inspired my big post about vinyl):

“Roy belongs to a kind of retro-vanguard within the youth of today who increasingly disenchanted with Web 2.0 reality, seeing its limitlessness and hyper-linked pseudo-connectivity as the problem, something working against the intimacy of a real, grounded community. “Fanzines say ‘hello it’s me, I’m here’. The internet is a bit scary to me – it is bigger than us, beyond our control.” There’s a groundswell of revived interest into analogue formats like vinyl (especially seven-inch singles) and cassettes (often encased in elaborate, hand-decorated packaging)…”Music is associated with tangible artefacts to me. A MP3 is a file – it can be erased in one click. Collection makes recollection possible. The albums you’ve listened to, the books you’ve read, they sit on your shelves, and it is memory made visible. There is no romance involved with MP3s.”

It probably doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, just a few analog King Canutes trying to hold back the unstoppable digital tide, but I can’t tell you how great it felt to be coming home from work with a new record in a bag. I almost felt, well, at least 29 again.

As it’s so new I’m not going to post any tracks from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs album but here’s a clip of them doing the single “Zero” on the Letterman show (I notice Dave has the vinyl too!) which also gives you a chance to see the lovely Karen O in action.

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One Comment

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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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