2014 Vinyl Haul

Tuesday 18 November 2014

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So way back in August I finally got my hands on a beautiful Crosley turntable and my penchant for charity shopping for books spread into second hand records.

But as my collection grew so did my endless spending on records at gigs, records that once purchased I had to clutch onto for dear life for fear of snapping through the rest of the evening. For those jumping around me completely unaware of the lovingly pressed item i'm was desperately holding on to, I doubt they could tell my half hearted movements came with the self doubt of wishing i'd bought  the record at the end of the gig but just could not resist or feared there would be none left.

These almost static times have meant that now I cannot resist buying bundles from the lovely people at Kings Road Merch, my latest haul included Pianos Become The Teeth, Touche Amore, Every Time I Die, Defeater, La Dispute and Letlive. But I doubt this haul will fix me for long with The Ghost Inside's Dear Youth bundle desperately waiting for a purchase. 

When I got in from work last night my first choice of play was the stunning Somewhere At The Bottom by La Dispute and my player has been turning away ever since. I think the reason I have fallen so in love with vinyl is that unlike just picking a song or single you have to (unless you are particularly skilled in knowing where a song is) listen to an album from start to finish in the stunning composition that the band or singer envisaged it in. 

Nowadays everything seems to happen almost too quickly, we meet people quickly and instanteously know them through various social platforms and because of this sometimes too soon we are bored of them - desperate to find the next interest, be it person or trend. This idea fits perfectly into music as well as we favour tracks and playlists we estrange ourselves from listening to complete albums, records gravitate back to the complete regonition of albums as a piece and not just a single track.

Be it a current trend or me acting old fashioned again, I hope current artists pressing their music is here to stay. Not only does it bring the journey of an album back to the forefront but it also brings album art too. Call me dated but I wish I took a step back from our brisk lives more often, we are taking away the mystery of the unknown in life for quick answers and sped up relationships. So in an effort to follow up on this i'm back to being a hermit with the choice of Letlive's Fake History this evening. 
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'Wounds: Volume One' by Renee Ruin

Wednesday 2 April 2014

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Stunning blogger Renee Ruin observes the bad and the beautiful in 'Wounds: Volume One' a collection of evocative and eloquent poetry that will haunt you until you pick it up again.

I waited months for this stunning collection to reach British soil and after tempting fate and pestering Renee it arrived the next day. From the moment I met the palm that graced the front cover I couldn't put Wounds down, it lay next to my bed for weeks tempting me to dip in and out, rereading my favourite repeatedly.

Each poem of Wounds remains untitled, unnamed, but belonging, mirroring each colliding content of Wounds somber tones. Renee traps words in sweethearts, every word of the second poem in this persistent, penetrating voice that watches 'every street on your way home' and steals glances in your car window. A sign off  'Take care, sweetheart. Play fair, sweetheart.' called me back time and time again, 'Living different lives in empty beds.' resonating obsession to strength.

The fourth poem of the collection begins 'I need to feel warmth' a desperate, longing verse of the need to feel overtaking the empty grief that can consume a person depraved of love. The destructive 'I need to know these bones can still break' illustrating the need to feel in a state where it does not matter what you feel as long as you feel something. This unknown torment continuing into the sixth poem 'I'm dragging my knuckles... trying to remember the way home' as Renee's words descend into a madness and unbalance that reiterates Wounds. 

Eight printed pages in will find you in the most intriguing image constructed, 'My sister wrote letters to the dead and hid them in her bedroom drawers.' An idea, an image, a beginning to an unknown story I can only finish in my head. This escape continuing Renee's most iconic words of the entire collection, words that pull away from the self indulgence of a broken soul.

'We forget how little the world owes us. How little we think, how little we care'

A midst hurt it is not difficult to forget that we all feel pain. In the dark corners of our wounds it is hard to remember that there are others that have made it out just fine, others that have gone through much worse and others that never made it out alive. Wounds is restating anguish, stress and torment in beautiful images and enlightening phrasing, a collection worth of hours hanging on every word.

Get your copy here.

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'Death And The Penguin' by Andrey Kurkov

Tuesday 18 February 2014

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What may seem absurd to you and me maybe completely normal to someone else. In Andrey Kurkov's Death And The Penguin there is no room to question the absurd, it is just accepted and as readers we accept it too.

Viktor - a writer who lacks the ability for longevity and sensation previously acquired his penguin Misha when Kiev zoo were no longer able to support them. This is the first little oddity of many we come to accept as readers. The pair are soon swept into a world of political and media corruption yet we are kept to a tiny window of it, on the cusp of everything.

This cusp begins in the form of a unique job offer as an obituarist. A well paid one, all prepared greatly in advance. Yet the burden of such a morose job is the lack of recognition and promise that your work could go unpublished for years to come. With Viktor dwelling on this there are a slew of published obituaries and with that what seemed a simplistic but absurd narrative fell into a surreal novel, edging on a thriller. Death And The Penguin only edges because what it does beautifully is accept everything. Something that mirrors what maybe surreal to us but the norm in a post soviet Ukraine. As long as Viktor is getting paid and still receiving work that is all that matters until the problems face him straight on. And Kurkov's writing means that funnily enough we don't seems to question it past reading the page consciously. He has pulled us into that mindset so flawlessly that nothing is absurd but perfectly normal.

This continues through Viktor's acceptance of the leaving of an illusive vistors daughter - Sonya. Rather than question Viktor just accepts Sonya, the mind set of the novel, reflecting an absurd but deadpan style. Death And The Penguin is unlike anything i've ever read before and probably sounds like it shouldn't work and doesn't work but it does and that is why it is perfect.

I do not want to summarise the novel, you should find everything out for yourself but I promise it is not as nonchalant as it seems. Things get darker, the absurd seems frighteningly real and in the midst of an unstable and corrupt state Kurkov is revealing that maybe we should be striving past perseverance and acceptation even if it means you pet becomes your calling card.

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Review - Polar - Shadowed by Vultures

Sunday 9 February 2014

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Although with Hit The Floor we have to review an album every week, every so often there are those ones that blow you away. Last week I received Polar's Shadowed By Vultures which I did not stop playing from the second I got it. Check out my review here and it comes out tomorrow so it is definitely worth a purchase.
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Live Review - Defeater, Caspian, More Than Life, Goodtime Boys - Corporation Sheffield, 2014

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I was recently lucky enough to review Defeater, Caspian, More Than Life + Goodtime Boys at Sheffield's Corporation. It is amazing to come away so inspired from a show, Caspian are one of those bands that make you want to get stuff done and they have definitely had this effect on me, check out the review here.

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'Delta Of Venus' by Anais Nin

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Anais Nin penned an exotic erotic world made up of individuals writing their illustrious desires in order to make a living, desires that were not always raunchy but beautiful, instinctive and sensuous whilst remaining accessible.

I did not pick 'Delta Of Venus' up with the intention of seeing it as an erotic novel, and I do not think it should be. Yes there is sex but it feels real, Nin has crafted such stunning techniques that her stories are not all about 'the money shot' but working for it too. The read stirs you, pulls you and envelopes you to the characters, their wants, their desires and their relationships and not just the raw sex of it all. And whats more is that she does all of this despite instructions to leave the poetry of it all out.

Anais Nin brings out this eloquent female perspective to what felt like a male dominated genre and what is now a convoluted mess of poorly written trash erotica (do not get me started). Recently it feels like sex is thrown in our faces, either rough and ready or tastefully lit with gentle behaviors - it seems to lack a midway of natural emotions and reactions. So despite 'Delta Of Venus' been written in the 1940's you could place these stories, relationships and characters in any time and they would work as flawlessly as they do in the book.

Characters are not just over stepping what they feel are the decorums of sex but of gender, class and war revealing an insight into human behaviors and psychology.  Windows blocking the light from overhead planes, opium dens filled with entangling hands, voyeurism and becoming someone else. Not all these stories may be for you - but not all of them are to get you off, 'Delta Of Venus' is a window into the sexual world around you that you may never enter. And the beautiful thing is that they are trapped within these pages, you have no choice but to keep reading, you cannot skip to the end, Nin holds you with her characters until you have felt what they felt, witnessed what they have witnessed and explored what they have explored.

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Nin has given a language to sex, and women a place within it. You may not revel in sexual abandon but you have witnessed it with the characters in the pages of 'Delta Of Venus'.  You have felt every tension, every doubt, every touch and every thought as they pushed boundaries and relationships.  Nin has brought you to examine human life in its most basic form and it is not always erotic, but natural delving into stories and desires that could have stemmed from any of us.

Get it here: Delta of Venus (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics): Written by Anais Nin, 1992 Edition, (New edition) Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd [Paperback]
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Staying creative - prints from Ella Masters

Saturday 11 January 2014

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This morning when I got in from my driving lesson there was a stack of parcels left on my bed, now most of them were for Sam but there was a sneaky wee tube that filled me with excitement.

Just after Christmas Ella Masters had a print sale and after lusting after them since all her posts surrounding the Renegade Craft Fair I couldn't resist a few purchases. I spent so long deciding which bearded man I wanted to then find the absolute beauty had included both! As well as the anchor that had been in and out of my basket countless times, I got so exited and I cannot wait to fill my walls with them as the right frames come along. Each drawing has these beautiful wee touches that you have to delve into the picture to find, from the sweet tooth, to messages in bottles and little freckles and blush there is something beautifully human whilst illustrative about Ella's work that I could not resist.

And as excited I am about these prints I am even more excited to see more and more things cropping up on her instagram and blog (especially the tea, who doesn't love tea?). Ella is possibly one of the main reasons I am forcing myself to get up and write again about something other than music, which is possibly my weakest area I feel. Ella's recent post about staying creative (here) made me think about everything I was reading/seeing/hearing again. Made me want to do something again. So thanks Ella, and here is to a more creative 2014.


(Ellamasters.com for all links, amazing content and beautiful things from her etsy!)
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