With news this month that vinyl sales generated more income for UK artists than YouTube last year, it has become even more evident that the vinyl revival is having a serious impact. Spearheading this revolution is Flying Vinyl, now releasing their twelfth issue. Flying Vinyl’s concept is to champion music on its’ greatest format, and also to introduce you to some of the greatest upcoming and largely unheard of bands around. Last month, I reviewed their April box, a box which many hailed as their best issue yet, so this next instalment, which popped through my letterbox yesterday, has a lot to live up to.
Flying Vinyl returnees Beach Baby, who we previously heard in the August box, are up first, with ‘Limousine’ and ‘Sleeperhead’. ‘Limousine’ jumps into life with a bass intro which hints of a more dark, post-punk offering than we actually receive. Summery guitars and vocals transform this track into an anthem rather than a riot, leaving us with music which breaks in gentle waves onto your eardrums. Twanging guitars overlay persistent drums on B-side ‘Sleeperhead’, although it is the pleasant and harmonic vocals which stay with you, long after the song has ended. Beach Baby could not have possibly come up with a better name considering the music produce. Reminiscent of the warm summers we experience in the UK about once every five years, Beach Baby are one of those bands that you just need to listen to as soon as you feel the sun on your face.
Featuring two singles from their debut EP; ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ and ‘Lolita’, Dream Wife are next. The band dismantle modern pop, and re-assemble it in a more interesting way, as they did from the beginning when they formed Dream Wife as a fake and parodic girl band for an art exhibition. Alongside biting riffs and simplistic chord patterns, the hand claps and dreamy backing vocals on ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ seem to mock and draw from the connotations of the classic girl band, and lead singer Rakel’s feisty melodies are anything but weak. ‘Lolita’ pairs disco drum rhythms with harsh, and sometimes almost whispered, vocals in what would be more of a dance track if it wasn’t for its’ sense of subdued power. In a way very similar to the 1953 rom-com after which they are named, Dream Wife end up providing something very different to what you expect.
Another testament to the current strength of the Reading music scene, Palm Honey bring a less dark sound to new psychedelic music. Dreamy vocals, backed up by similar melodies on piercing lead guitar and echoing cymbals, are the order of the day on A-side ‘You Stole My Blackout’. Flip the record over and ‘Bones’ drifts through the inner-psych of the band; swirling guitars are ever present, as well as hazy drumming; drumming which is at odds with the other sounds you hear, providing the push needed to get the track rolling forward in a straight line, and not let it wander off at too steep a tangent. Palm Honey will always be characterised by their innovative live experience, however, in vinyl I think they have found a format truly befitting of the sound they deserve.
Rival Sons bring us two incredibly diverse tracks, displaying their vast musical range, pressed exclusively onto frankly beautiful, translucent orange vinyl. A-side ‘Thundering Voices’ is the more well known side of the band; driving rock and roll laced with riffs and the ratatat of snare dominant drum fills. Although it is hinted at at times on the first track, it is not until ‘ All That I Want’; the largely acoustic B-side, that we learn of the sheer emotion frontman Jay Buchanan is able to convey through his sustained vocals. While it is tracks like ‘Thundering Voices’ which have gained the band such high profile performances like their current support of Black Sabbath on tour, it is the band’s ability to also produce masterpieces such as ‘All That I Want’ which marks them as a breed apart.
Last up, Klangstof, a minimalist Dutch act, bring us their very first single, ‘Hostage’, along with B-side ‘We Are Your Receiver’. For a band with very little music available to listen to, Klangstof have been able to work up a remarkable amount of hype, and this shows off the quality of the music they produce. ‘Hostage’ is composed of everything needed, and nothing more. Simple beats and gentle melodies are all that are present, and yet an incredible song is still the product. ‘We Are Your Receiver’ is no different, except this time perhaps a more constant sound is produced, with the band’s synth options being utilised to a greater extent. With reports of new music on the way, it is unlikely that Klangstof have reached their peak yet,and I can say without doubt that you haven’t heard the last from this lot.
Has the May box taken the crown of best issue yet? For me, no. But for you, it is very possible. It is certainly not lacking any musical diversity, and no one could possibly say that there is not enough previously unheard musical talent on show, it’s just that the music in the April box connected more with me personally. Is it really an insult to come second place to the acts of last month anyway? What this box has proved is that Flying Vinyl continue to go from strength to strength, and never fail to bring amazing music to the masses, and for that I thank them. Roll on next month I say.
If you are not already a member, but wish to remedy this, head over to Flying Vinyl’s Website to learn more and get started.