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Yes, dear readers, another lager. Why do I do this to myself? Because I love all of you and want to be the voice of informative reason and….nah, fuck that, I just like whingeing.
So, I’ve had mixed responses to this brewery in the past. I originally hated their Pacific Ale, but I’ll do a re-review soon, because I’ve actually grown to like it, and drinking it in summer makes me comprehend what they were trying to do much better. But this is a review for their lager, and as much as I want to like it, I can’t. It’s not horrid, but it has all the usual hallmarks of adjunct-style lagers with a few hops added in there to try and mask the nasty. And it doesn’t work. Stale grain and odd bitterness at the end make for a middling drink. Avoid. They can (and do) do much better than this.
I’ll come out and say it - I prefer the Rolling Stones to the Beatles. I always have. I know that their backgrounds compared to their respective musical styles/images are a bit mixed up (i.e. the [originally] clean-cut Beatles were actually Liverpudlian thugs and the Stones were twats from art school) but the Stones, for me, were always harder edged and more interesting. And in terms of longevity, well, this album was released in ‘73, and the Beatles were, well, dead by this time. Let It Be, fuckers. And any bloke who can be clinically dead like Keith Richards and still be SOMEHOW WALKING deserves kudos. Anyway, digression aside, this album was laid-back, but quite dark and in some places raucous and hellish, like a lot of their catalogue. Famous for the single “Angie”, I like it for the infamous “Star Star”, or “Starfucker”, as it was called and should have remained so. A very cool album which was bagged by that shithead Lester Bangs but which deserves its place alongside their classics.
Updating this at work is, i imagine, probably not the wisest thing to do. But oh well. It beats doing actual work. Only problem is, now I’m craving beer.
Anyway, I’m not a great authority on hefeweizens. I’ve never been entirely won over by the style, but I am beginning to appreciate them more than I used to. Obviously, the summer weather helps this, as drinking beer that’s reminiscent of banana and citrus in the cold is never that fun. Regardless, I’ve rarely come across an Aussie version that I think has truly captured the style. This one comes close though. Burleigh continues to confuse me with their mix of great to good to middling to what the fuck, and this one is probably in between the good and great categories. From my notes, its aroma was no great shakes, but the taste was refreshing, banana and clove flavours throughoutfinished up with the refreshing citrus that is characteristic of this brew. Again, not the kind of beer I’ll make a habit of but definitely one of the better Australian interpretations. I’m not sold by the marketing though - and I’m pretty sure the man himself would be more than a little confused by the porn moustache. Actually, what am I talking about - he’d probably love it. He’d even dress it up in a little smoking jacket…
Anyway, the album behind it is another of those retro-doom-reloaded outfits, Jex Thoth. Like Blood Ceremony, another female-fronted doom band, but as much as I love Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth blows that band out of the water in many ways. True occult-laden 70s-style proto-doom stylings with meandering, melancholy passages, psychadelic arrangements, and Jex Thoth herself, who has to be one of the most charismatic frontwomen ever. Her silky, beautiful yet menacing voice just make this record, and apparently her stage presence is even better. Not that I’ve ever had the good luck to see them live. And unless airfares get remarkably lower in price, I’m unlikely to. Digression aside, this is very worth picking up if you like your doom occult, melodic and melancholic.
For easy-drinking session beers, you could do a lot worse than the beers from Malt Shovel Brewery. They’re generally flavoursome enough that they satisfy, so long as your palate isn’t wanting a particularly orgasmic tastebud experience. I’ve had many a Golden Ale (pale) or an Amber Ale on a warm day and been happy downing a few in a session. However, as is no secret, I hold a healthy suspicion of most Aussie-brewed lagers, and stay away from them. This pilsener doesn’t exactly make me want to convert, either. It’s by no means the worst of its kind - LAGERARSE is very minimal, hops are good and present, but apart from that, it lacks in character. Again, on a hot day, I’d have no problem imbibing a few of these in a row, but it’s just not the sort of beer that grabs me.
And you know what? Again, the theme fits. This Alice Cooper album was actually the first I ever heard, long before I’d heard of “School’s Out” and the other cool horror-themed rock Cooper released in the 70s. This, his 18th album, is pure late 80s hard rock - which isn’t altogether a bad thing. Every track was written to a simple formula, and the formula’s pretty effective - cool but simple riffs, incredibly catchy vocal melodies and hooks, and sexual innuendo up the wazoo. Of course it’s effective - most of the great rock/metal songs are written this way, so why fuck with a winning strategy? That being said, though, I’ve heard much better formulaic 80s hard rock, and as much as this album is lauded, I only find myself playing it every now and then. Good bread-and-butter headbanging material but nothing overly remarkable. Good starting point for delving into a fascinating musical career, though. And thus, we come full circle…pilseners and lagers were the gateway beers for me before finding my true loves: Ale ale ale ale….
Coopers was the brewery that opened my eyes to the possibility of better beer. Growing up drinking the normal macro fare, when I had my first Coopers Red it was an amazing revelation. The Red and the Pale Ale still reign as among my first choices for session beers, even though my taste has largely moved on to bigger and hoppier things. I will always feel everlasting gratitude to this brewery for its role in making me hate Caaaarldon, making me realise that life is too short to drink crap beer, no matter how cheap it is. However, this brewery has done some horrible things, such as Coopers Clear, and some middling things, like this lager.
It’s better than your average macro pale lager, don’t get me wrong. On tap, this is actually quite drinkable, probably because it’s served ice cold. However, at fridge temperature, the more unsavoury flavours come out and does it no favours. On the whole it’s a fairly inoffensive Euro-style pale lager, but it’s got the typical stale malt notes, that grassy aroma that I find a little unappealing, and very little that’s memorable except for the faint, ever-present LAGERARSE. These sorts of lagers have to be drunk Aussie style to be palatable - near freezing, on a hot day with a shitload of dead charcoaled meat. Otherwise, it’s pretty bland.
Which brings me to this Judas Priest album. I think Judas Priest is one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. They have a legacy that is unquestionable. However, they also have some very iffy moments. This is not exactly one of those iffy moments, but it definitely led them straight to Ifsville. This was where the more commercial elements they’d introduced in the previous album, Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather (name depending on if you’re the rest of the world versus America), really came to fruition. While those commercial elements worked quite well for the latter album, they fall flat on this one. There are a couple of their signature razor-shard speed metal tracks mixed with mainstream rubbish. They basically made an even-more accessible version of Killing Machine, and of course, every chump loved it, and people still say it’s their best. Which is complete bollocks: that honour goes to either the 70s masterpiece Sad Wings of Destiny, their 80s comeback Screaming for Vengeance or the utterly insane (if terribly overproduced) speed metal monster of Painkiller. British Steel is the first Priest album I ever owned/heard, and I still spin it occasionally because it’s a fun listen, but it’s in no way their best, and in fact led to the crime that was Point of Entry. Just as the lager above led to the abysmal horror that is Coopers Clear and Coopers 62 Degrees. I have spoken.
Pig’s arse is a great little term. As far as I am aware, it’s purely Aussie, much like “ranga”. If it was not at least coined by John Elliott, he has definitely made it his catchcry. I myself have used it, infrequently, but to great effect. Like, in response to ”some modern metal is awesome”. Or “Tony Abbott has some good points”. Or “Christmas is a beeeauuuuutiful time of year and you’re just a big grumpy sourpuss”….You get the idea. Anyway, there could not be a more inappropriately-named beer than this one. It’s not bad enough to be referred to in the negative sense when asked the question “would you drink this beer in a pink fit?”, nor is it meaty and delicious like a real pig’s arse. I feel bad being indifferent about it, because it’s brewed by a great little pub called the Pig & Whistle on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, which is one of my favourite places on Earth, and because their other beers, in particular a lovely brown ale, are quite good. But unfortunately they don’t bottle them - just this pils.
So what’s it like? Well. Lagery. Not particularly inspiring, but better than your average lager. Certainly not up to the standards of great German or Czech pilseners. It’s just….there. Like this beer in general, on a warm day it would go down easier than water. It does have enough of a flavour to keep one mildly interested, and minimal LAGERARSE. But, like most lager-style beers I drink, it just doesn’t gel with me. Now if they started bottling the brown ale, I’d be happier than a pig in the proverbial.
And…Lou Reed. What can I say? The man who now is (rightly) ridiculed for the utterly abysmal album he did with Metallica this year, not to mention his general descent into medicority, was once a fucking tour de force of musical ideas, ambition and influence. His stuff with the Velvet Underground is obviously above all criticism (yes, I said it, damn you) and a large body of his solo work is impressive too. The man personified early glam and proto-punk. Transformer, possibly his best known solo effort, is also one of his best, as far as I’m concerned. It of course contains the well known “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Perrfect Day”, but the sneer of “Vicious” just slays, and the nasty cheek of “New York Conversation” makes me chuckle every time. The whole album is eclectic and weird, even today, and for that I love it and will forgive Reed for Lulu. Maybe.
I’m not well-versed with this brewery’s output. I’ve had a pale of theirs which didn’t really grab me, and this is in the same category. It’s an English-style bitter which quite faithfully replicates the style - hop driven but not overbearing, fairly middling head, English malts on the back of the tongue, and no obvious faults. As you can tell, though, it didn’t set my world on fire. I must admit I’m more partial to special bitters where everything is just a bit more…elevated. Maybe it’s my inner unacknowledged hipster, I don’t know. I do know that this wasn’t my cup of tea - all the while I was drinking it I was thinking “I’d rather be in a shitty pub somewhere in England drinking the local bitter at room temperature”. It wasn’t bad at all, just not particularly interesting.
Once again, I didn’t do so well in matching the beer to the album. This album, a reissue of the 1985 original, is from one of Italy’s most mysterious doom bands, Black Hole. Weird, obscure and a little difficult to get into at first, it’s one of those albums that takes a few spins to really comprehend. As with most Italian doom bands, they had a handle on the camp horror aesthetic but in a much more melodic and proggy way - rambling, atmospheric pieces with strange ethereal vocals and a subdued tone that at first seems a bit pedestrian but, like subliminal messaging, eventually gets stuck menacingly in your head for eternity. And like a lot of great 80s bands, they vanished into obscurity after this album (and I’m not counting the “album” that was recorded three years later but not released until 2000. There’s a good reason why certain releases should not see the light of day).
In this blog’s previous incarnation, I reviewed Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, and wasn’t overwhelmingly positive about it. It seemed pedestrian and, from where I sit in Expensive Land (aka Australia), not worth the asking price. This one, however, puts paid to that. Now, I’m a massive hophead and I love IPAs, so I suppose my bias is a little apparent, but this was very special. Wonderful aromatic hops on the nose, strong (and I mean bloody strong) hops which still has enough of a malt presence to ensure you’re not making a lemon face, and one of the chalkiest (in a good way), driest finished I’ve ever experienced in a beer. If this, like all imported beers, were not so ludicrously dear over here, I’d happily make it a regular in my beer cupboard. It’s summer here now, and for my mind, nothing goes down better on a balmy night like this than a good, hoppy ale. It also makes me want to try the rest of their range.
For this American classic, I thought pairing it with a classic American roots artist would be the way to go. Ry Cooder’s influence on roots music, and guitar music in general, is undisputed. The man is a stringed-instrument genius, and one of those rare guitarists who can make a guitar really sing, especially when he played slide. On this album, his second, he took other people’s songs and put his own eclectic mark on them. This is one of the few instances where covering Johnny Cash worked (his version of “Hey Porter” is weirdly appropriate). He’s not much of a vocalist, but when you can play guitar like that, who the hell needs vocals?
I’m not overwhelmingly familiar with this brewery’s output. I know I’ve had an English-style bitter which was a bit of alright, and - horror of horror - a no-carb beer (old reviews of these coming soon). Of the latter, I can safely say I would rather emulate a golden shower porn actor than drink that vile concoction again. Yes, it was that bad. Fuck it, bring on 2 girls one….actually, no.
Anyway, this is a beer blog…so where was I? Yes, this one. A schwarzbier according to beeradvocate.com, which doesn’t tell you much, and a limited release like the English-style bitter. And according to the label, a black coffee lager. Well, call me intrigued. As you can see, it looked and poured like a stout, but tasted nothing like one, really. Coffee of course was the predominant flavour and very upfront, but it didn’t really come across as a lager - which is a good thing. More like Coopers Dark Ale but with a much more distinctive taste. But not distinctive enough to make it a habit. As far as their limited edition beers go, I’d much rather the bitter, and they still haven’t made up for that no-carb abomination. Still, I remember it being pretty good for what it was, maybe nothing particularly special or different as I was expecting, but drinkable enough.
And behind it we have Acca Dacca. The comeback album after Bon Scott died tragically (and, let’s not deny it, fucking stupidly). I don’t like Brian Johnson-led AC/DC nearly as much as I like the early, arse-kicking, whiskey-and-beer-and-smokes-drenched AC/DC of the 70s, but this album is still worthy. The title track is, of course, utterly legendary, and you could tell they were channeling Bon’s spirit as it’s a real barnstormer of an album. Yet another original pressing, and another one banged up as all hell, but completely worth it. RIP, Bon Scott, this was a pretty fitting tribute.
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Much of the reason I started this project on Facebook and why I continue it over here is about learning. With each new beer I drink, I learn. Not just about what I like and don’t like, but more about styles, brewing techniques, what travels well, &c. &c. And people who followed my last lot of posts know that I have developed a particularly strong antipathy towards lagers. Generally, I find them lacking in character and taste, and as they’re the brew of choice in the mainstream, there are a lot of really bland to bad ones. I have never forgiven my beloved Coopers for succumbing to the pressures of bean counters and making the worst example of a low-joule lager (and that’s facing some pretty stiff competition) I’ve ever had the misfortune of drinking. Even lagers made by reputable microbrewers I find to be fairly rank. And if they don’t have a bland boring taste, there’s what I call the “LAGERARSE” taste - a stale, grainy aftertaste that I’m sure is indicative of lagers but which I find wholly unappealing.
However, every now and then I come across one that is not just drinkable, but which I would happily drink multiples of in a night. This is the first time I’ve come across an American lager that I like (having, admittedly, only had Bud and Miller and a few Canadian lagers…which I don’t really consider beer, but anyway…). This one, Brookyln Lager, is brewed “pre-Prohibition style” according to the propaganda, and with an appealing hop aroma, and a really nice blended malt and hop profile in the tasting department. If this is what lagers were like pre-Prohibition, then seriously, fuck you, Prohibition. It’s partly your fault, Elliot Ness. This is what a lager should taste like, goddamnit. The lack of LAGERARSE is much appreciated, Brooklyn. Now, if only I could get it cheaply. Considering local brews are stupidly priced due to our excise laws, that’s unlikely in the near future. Bastards.
Now, as you might have gathered, I try to match a brew with a record if I can. And these two go together…well, they’re both from New York. Yeah…anyway, Sir Lord Baltimore should have been up there with Sabbath, Deep Purple and Zeppelin as the founding fathers of metal. In fact, they were apparently the first band to be described as “heavy metal”, in a rather deprecating way, of course. This one’s their first album from 1970, another original pressing, and it’s banged up as hell, but the scratches just add to the pulverisingly heavy sound, the almost uncontrolled chaos of the haphazard production, and the way they sound utterly manic and on edge. Apart from the one song where they do a weird Joni Mitchell-esque ballad they put in there for some reason, the rest of the songs are like a stampeding horde of barely-held-together post-apocalyptic trucks bearing down on you while you scream for mercy. Okay, maybe I’m waxing lyrical here, but the first time I heard these songs it’s kind of the impression I had, along with knowing the historical context of when these were laid to tape. Their next and last album was pretty shit - very streamlined 70s hard rock which suffered from the comparitively pristine production, foot off the pedal approach and apparent penchant for trying to write prog. Someone should have told them to keep it loud and ballsy and leave the prog to King Crimson. Anyway, one to definitely hear before you die.
Like the mob in the previous post, Little Creatures have a thing for creating limited-run beers under the moniker “Single Batch”, which I’m assuming is actually true. I’m usually a much bigger fan of their normal output (although nothing tops their flagship pale ale), and this is no exception. A better-than-workmanlike foreign export stout which didn’t really hit any exceptional note, but was definitely worth the drinking time. Acceptable roasted malt flavours and a little chocolatey bite as well.
Blood Ceremony are one of those newish old-school doom bands that have popped up on the scene. Hailing from Canada, they take the best of Sabbath, the best of Jethro Tull (yep, including the flute!), occult themes and a smokingly sensual frontwoman with a voice to die happy to and explore dark lore. This is their first album from ‘08, reissued, and it just kills. If I were more of a smoker, I’d happily get maggoted to this little baby routinely. Beer does a good job of replacing the herb, though.
So, let’s get this ale-soaked ball rolling, shall we? This first post combines possibly my favourite brewery with possibly my favourite band.
Mountain Goat is a Melbourne instution, venerated by average punters, hipsters and beer afficianados alike. They’ve made a name for themselves for their homebrew-on-a-larger-scale approach and their signature hop-driven ales. They also try new things, such as their Crossbreed series which are generally limited edition and bit out of left field. Like this India Pale Ale blended with coffee. And it’s noticeable, not just a coffee tinge. You get the IPA aroma and flavour upfront, which is, disappointingly not enough for me, being the massive hophead I am. And the coffee flavour was at first strong and a little strange, but after a while it melded very nicely with the rest of the flavours. Very unusual, but once you get used to it it’s quite pleasant. This is not my favourite beer from them but it’s a nice experiment. I still prefer a straight IPA though, not to mention a paint-strippingly strong coffee in the morning.
Manilla Road. The best band no one’s ever heard of. They’ve been going strong for over thirty years and keep on plugging away, never veering off the “true metal” path but staying interesting and just plain fucking awesome. This album, released in ‘88, was a bit of an extension of their sound into thrash metal territory, which was seriously vicious but still majestically epic. A short-lived experiment but one that’s definitely worth of the ‘Road name. (and this is the only Manilla Road original pressing I own thus far [apart from their more modern releases Voyager and Playground of the Damned]. The asking price for some of those original pressings is, quite frankly, ridiculous…)
I’ve read a lot about why vinyl is considered a superior medium for reproducing audio. I’ve also read a lot that detracts from that view. I don’t profess to understand very much of it, as I’m a) not an audiophile and b) try not to get taken in by snake oil and douchebaggery, as a friend of mine once referred to.
For me, it’s largely a nostalgia thing. I don’t doubt that the nature of the sound is different when reproduced through an analogue system versus a digital one, but that’s less important to me than what vinyl represents. As a kid, I used to listen to my parent’s vinyl collection a lot. And there was a certain ritual involved with listening, gleaned from watching my dad do it every now and again. You’d carefully take the platter out of its dustjacket, place it almost reverently on the turntable. You’d then activate the turntable by placing the stylus over the dead wax at the start of the record, making sure for god’s sake that the arm was elevated to hover above it and you didn’t crash the stylus into the record making a terrible percussive noise OH MY GOD YOU STUPID CHILD GET AWAY FROM THE STEREO! GET AWAAAAAY!. Anyway, then you’d get the velvet brush and, while the stylus was hovering in anticipation, you’d gently apply it to the surface of the rotating record, brushing away all the lint and dust, watching it all pool on the edge of the felt. And once that was done, only then would your ears be able to take in the sweet crooning sounds of the Everley Brothers singing “Bye Bye love! Bye Bye hap-i-ness!” Or hear that thrilling but now oh-so-clichéd drum beat loop which preceded the glass-shattering tones of Barry Gibb telling us that he was a woman’s man by his walk. Yes, my parents had those records. And yes, I still love them, even though I’m an avowed metalhead.
My point is, there was a certain process with putting on a record that I missed for many years when I moved out of home and before I could afford my own audio equipment more sophisticated than a crappy boom box that barely played CDs.
And speaking of CDs…I remember, back when I was in grade 7, first listening to a CD. Or rather, watching as someone put a CD player on and then proceeded to skip to the track they wanted (it was the Beatles White Album, if I recall correctly). And while I was amazed and impressed, a small part of me felt disquiet. And I wasn’t sure why. After having made it through the “digital revolution” which has now culminated in the ultimate ease of music access - the mp3 file - I know why.
Music was, to me, always something that I felt a healthy respect for. When someone puts down something musical into playback form, it’s almost like an extension of their inner being. Without getting mystical and religious here, it’s, as far as I’m concerned, a better part of that person, glorified in a way that we can listen back to. Obviously the quality of that product is not the same across different recording artists, and I’m being an elitist twat here and largely not including manufactured-by-record-company pop (take your pick of artist and/or era, really), but by and large, I have always felt that albums should be listened to from start to end. That they should take you on an aural journey, the songs written and placed in a certain order by the artist to represent where they were musically at the time. Imagine classic Hendrix albums with the songs taken out of context or in a different order? Unspeakable!
Now, imagine my horror when I saw how easy it was to skip to the song you liked. I know people who bought whole albums just for the songs they liked, and with CDs, how easy is it to just skip to those songs and never listen to the rest of the album? And, of course, now you can just download the mp3 of the songs you like, keep them on your hard drive, and never worry about the rest of the artist’s/artists’ output. Ever. You can stay in your little cocoon of ignorant bliss and listen to the latest top 40 songs to your heart’s content, happy in your little pop bubble, never considering that there is a wealth of other material out there that is not played on the radio or gets on the charts.
Yes, there were always singles on vinyl format, and on long play albums. In the 70s, there was a trend whereby bands would not put their singles on their long play albums, but release them separately in the form of 45’s. And due to the length limitation of the vinyl record (50 minutes or so, tops), the full-length album was always digestible in a single sitting and, I generally find, the quality of the songs means you rarely feel the urge to skip songs. These days, however, CDs have a much larger storage capacity. Now, this does not necessarily mean that there will be more filler on a CD-length album as opposed to a vinyl-length one, but I find in practice that this happens more often than not. It’s almost like bands know that there will be certain songs that will be listened to more than others, but they feel obliged to fill up an album with forgettable pap.
As an example, as I write this, I’m listening to an original vinyl pressing of Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind. A classic from 1983. To my ears, it sounds vital, inspired, and (in my opinion) not a bit dated. Every song has its place, every song is carefully constructed for maximum impact (not just the singles), and there’s not a bit of filler. Not only that, it’s an album I only recently (in the last couple of years, actually) listened to. Yet, after many repeated listens, I know each song intimately. However, contrast this with Maiden’s most (as of writing this) recent album, Final Frontier. One hour and 16 minutes of it. Most of the songs utterly forgettable, turgid, bloated constructions with a few memorable riffs here and there but largely going through the motions. Now, you could argue that a lot of that is because of the age of the band and the sheer weight of the number of albums they’ve released in their prolific career, that they’ve finally found their groove, so to speak, and are releasing what the fans want. I’m not what you’d consider a hardcore fan of Maiden, so I can’t speak for those fans, but I know that when I listen to Final Frontier, even multiple times in an effort to “get” it, I immediately forget most of it. Somewhere in that over-an-hour album is a shorter, much more focussed album, with songs that could be pared down and made into a 40 minute-or-so fun romp, but the length of the medium makes it necessary to fill the whole thing with extra fluff. Is that entirely because of the medium or are there other factors at play? I’m not saying that the former is the entire reason, but to me it’s a large part, something that was instigated a long time ago and that many people probably aren’t even aware of.
And this is the crux of my (poorly-realised and probably a bit tenuous) argument here - with the digital age of music came the disposable nature of it. It became easy to skip songs one did not like and/or at first did not “get”. The record music industry at first probably loved it, because you could get more content out there and sell more on the basis of that promise, always knowing that most people would not let a laser beam grace those more inaccessible microscopic bumps on plastic, but that the single, like “Black Hole Sun” off Soundgarden’s Superunknown, would be played over and over and over and that no one would ever hear the more epic, beautiful and masterful songs like “Limo Wreck” or “Like Suicide” off that same album. Now, there’s a push back to vinyl by record companies, because it’s becoming more popular amongst the hipster crowd (ironically, in my case, largely because of the reasons I’ve set out here, even though I am by no means a hipster and would like to set fire to a lot of them) but also because, I’m sure, they realise the hole they’ve dug for themselves with digital music. It’s so damn easy to pirate stuff now, even with so-called copy-protected CDs, and the mp3 format has made that even easier. Bands and their labels are haemorrhaging due to this. But, that’s not my primary concern - it’s that the music itself, which I hold sacrosanct and consider one of humanity’s enduring accomplishments, is itself becoming so disposable that it’s scary.
And that’s why I love vinyl. I’m much more likely to sit and listen to a vinyl-format album from start to finish, because of the ritual. This is probably mostly my own nostalgia. But I also believe that it’s partly because the ethos has changed between the formats. To me, vinyl represents patience and an era where music wasn’t as throwaway as it is now.
And in this long ramble, I haven’t even touched on the artwork and presentation. But just briefly, this:
is, to me, much more desirable than a pile of small, largely cracked CD jewel cases, or a list of songs on an iTunes view.
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