Joy Division – “Unknown pleasures”, “Closer” and three classic 12″ singles

JD

Unknown pleasures landed in 1979. Where the sound came from is anyone’s guess! In all probability, Messrs Curtis, Hook, Morris and Sumner intended to create a noisy punk record. That did not happen. A special kind of magic occured in Strawberry Studios, Stockport in spring ’79. Many words have been used to describe Joy Division’s debut album; bleak, scary, mysterious, austere, industrial, brooding, gloomy, dark, chilling, sad, intense, etc. Ultimately, this astonishing album still sounds like the future despite being released over 40 years ago. Once you have heard Unknown pleasures, you can never forget it.

Ian Curtis’s lyrics are honest and unflinching, the guitars are minimalist and, at times, howling, the bass and drums deeply pulsate. Over this powerful, surging instrumentation is the production of ‘fifth Beatle’, Martin Hannett who generated a unique effects-laden, cavernous sound. Stockport’s Spector displays a brave, imaginative and ‘anything goes’ attitude to production.

Unknown Pleasures gives the listener ten tracks of raw, committed lyrics, disoriented melodies and brutal, dogged rhythms. The futuristic sound makes it feel as though Unknown pleasures is a new release. The album is so full of energy. Oh, and you get Peter Saville’s iconic Factory Records’ sleeve of course.

WE CAN OFFER THE ICONIC “UNKNOWN PLEASURES” ALBUM FOR £15 (free delivery in Stoke-on-Trent or £3 postage for up to three albums outside Stoke-on-Trent). Just contact us via the form below. Payment is via paypal.

Please note that the following Joy Division reissues are all being released on Friday 17th July;

    • Transmission/Novelty 180g 12″ – £12
    • Love will tear us apart/These days 180g 12″ – £12
    • Atmosphere/She’s lost control 180g 12″ – £12
    • Closer 40th reissue 180g LP on Crystal Clear Vinyl – £21

We offer free delivery in Stoke-on-Trent or £3 postage for up to three albums/12″ outside Stoke-on-Trent.

The three non-album singles ‘Transmission,’ ‘Atmosphere‘ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘ are being reissued with 2020 remastered audio. Since the demise of Factory records, these singles have never been repressed or reissued before and are cut on 180g vinyl, featuring the original artwork on heavyweight board. ‘Transmission‘ will feature an embossed sleeve.

JD

If you wish to order either Unknown pleasures, Closer or any of the three non-album singles ‘Transmission,’ ‘Atmosphere‘ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘, please contact us via the form below. Payment is via Paypal.

Please note that, in addition to our free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery and our standard £3 for up to three albums/12″ 2nd class delivery options, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options. If you require these options, please just let us know.

Thanks x

 

Kevin Rowland’s “My Beauty”

The Strand boys were big fans of Dexys Midnight Runners back in the 1980s and remain fascinated by the music and trailblazing exploits of Dexys’ main man Kevin Rowland. It’s fair to say that Kev is singular-minded in his approach to life, music, culture and fashion. It’s no exaggeration to say that he is a hero for Strand Records. In fact, the Strand boys used to talk about opening up a record shop and cafe called The Little Nibble in honour of a spoken word moment during the track This is what she’s like from 1985’s mighty album, Don’t stand me down.

Rag Doll

Anyway, why are we discussing Kev now? Well, it’s because of this amazing 2020 video for Kev’s version of Rag Doll which he released on 1999’s My Beauty album of covers. The video features Kev’s grandson Roo. The My Beauty album is being reissued on 25th September via Cherry Red. Rag doll was originally written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and was first released by the Four Seasons in 1964.

Back in 1999, My beauty was not only dismissed as an artistic and commercial failure but it was ridiculed for the sleeve; Kev wearing a dress and stockings during the ‘macho’ era of  ‘lad rock’. The backlash Kev received was frightening really.

In 2020, hopefully we can all celebrate the music of My Beauty and the spirit of the Rag Doll video. All of us are authentic. Many of us may have had to hide elements of ourselves for fear of ridicule or victimisation. We each have an identity. The wonderful music Kev creates is borne of his love, yearnings, defiance, honesty, frailties and passion. His very soul.

We all need to acknowledge the importance of humanity and acceptance.

 

 

 

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

VU

The Velvet Underground formed in 1964 in N.Y.C. and released their debut album, with German-born singer and model Nico, in 1967.  The Velvet Underground were managed for a while by pop artist Andy Warhol and their debut album is a unique mix of rock, pop and avant-garde noise experiments, all developed in the setting of pop art. This was the genuine ‘sound of the underground’.

The album has sometimes been referred to as the alternative Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (released in the same year). It is an incredibly creative, imaginative, eerie, nihilistic and experimental album, which proved very influential in the later development of punk rock and new wave. The album covers a wide spectrum and does not feature a duff track although one or two could possibly be called ‘challenging’.

Nico’s breathy vocals grace the warm, tender, twinkly ‘pop’ songs; Sunday morning, Femme Fatale and I’ll be your mirror. There’s also classic rock songwriting evident in; I’m waiting for the man, Run Run Run and There she goes again. And then, there are ‘those’ other five, erm ‘experimental’, tracks. Boy oh boy oh boy! Venus in Furs is S&M set to scary drone rock and All tomorrow’s parties has Nico singing over a relentless sitar-like beat. Heroin was written in 1964 and it is as manic as the subject matter would suggest. It builds from a fuzzy, blissed out meander to a chaotic, noisenik crescendo. The Black Angel’s Death Song is like the darkest waltz Bob Dylan could ever imagine and European Son is seven and a half minutes of compelling, experimental noise.

The Velvet Underground & Nico should be in every record collection. Get it here!

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) – reissued vinyl album

Legendary debut LP from the Velvet Underground. This is a brand new reissue copy of their 1967 album. Please note that the price includes second class postage and packing.

£20.00

 

 

 

 

 

Stereolab – “Emperor tomato ketchup”

Stereolab

Stereolab are a long-time favourite of Strand Records. The pop groop were formed in 1990 by Tim Gane (ex-McCarthy) and Lætitia Sadier. The band have always seemed very imaginative and exotic to us with their sound, sleeves and song titles. They feel very European and their music has incorporated a myriad of influences from lounge, 50s/60s space pop, funk, krautrock, jazz, easy listening, bossa, samba, etc. Underpinning much of the band’s sound is the relentless 4/4 beat of motorik (‘motor skill’).

Their early albums did occasionally incorporate lighter pop songs but generally the sound consisted of droning guitar and organ-based garage rock songs, albeit with a European rather than American feel. By the time of their third album, , Mars Audiac Quintet (1994) the band had introduced more of a lounge, pop feel to their sound and they scored minor chart hits with the singles, Ping Pong and Wow and flutter.

For many, Stereolab’s fourth album, Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996) is the highlight of their entire back catalogue. The album was a very polished mix of easy pop, funk, krautrock and even elements of dub. The album retains experimental songs alongside lushly produced electronic melodies. Part of the album’s sheen comes from the sumptuous string arrangements by Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas, Microdisney). Why not check out the sheer beauty of Cybele’s reverie or the urgent, cosmic bop of Les Yper-sound

We are currently stocking the reissue album of this space-age pop meets Krautrock classic.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Stereolab “Emperor Tomato Ketchup” (brand new vinyl reissue)

Stereolab's fourth album from 1996. Arguably the high-water mark of their entire back catalogue (they have an amazing back catalogue by the way). Please note that the price includes second class postage and packing. This is a brand new, reissue vinyl copy.

£26.00

Saint Etienne – “Foxbase Alpha” (1991)

st etienned new

Right, let’s get this out of the way immediately … WE LOVE SAINT ETIENNE. The haircuts, the sleeves, the nostalgia, the t-shirts, the jumpers, the knowing pop references, Debsey Wykes, the feather boas, etc. Their debut album Foxbase alpha from 1991 remains a unique fusion of 1960s sunshine pop, techno, girl groups and ambient dub. The album hit us like a bolt out of the blue because it arrived during the grunge explosion of the early 1990s and the Strand Records’ boys were never very big on that whole Seattle slacker scene (yes, we do respect Kurt Cobain though … he wore a BMX Bandits T-shirt).

Whilst so many kids were, erm, headbanging to the angst-laced bedroom rock, we were shaking our booty to the Beach Boys pop meets dance sound of Saint Etienne. As mentioned, Saint Etienne’s sound on Foxbase Alpha was so eclectic. You can hear the Brill Building, daisy age hip hop, wall of sound and Belgian new beat in these grooves.

st etienne 2

There is a distinct dub and house culture feel to Foxbase alpha but then there is also a perfect pop sound too. The timeless Nothing can stop us has such a Northern Soul vibe. Bet you can’t keep your feet still when this comes on the decks.

Saint Etienne’s version of Neil Young’s Only love can break your heart will leave you feeling all warm inside and you will also find downbeat ambience (Stoned to say the least), a soul ballad (Carnt sleep) and dub pop (Like the swallow) within the grooves.

This is a super debut of varied sounds and we are currently stocking the reissue LP.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Saint Etienne – Foxbase Alpha (1991) – new vinyl reissue

This is a brand new vinyl reissue copy of Saint Etienne's debut album from 1991. A fantastic mix of Beach Boys, Dub, 60s girl groups, ambient, techno, etc. The price includes second class postage and packing.

£21.00

 

 

 

 

Happy Mondays – Squirrel and G-man … (1987)

Happy Mondays squirrelWell, the complete title is, Squirrel and G-man twenty four hour party people plastic face carnt smile (white out). Released on Manchester’s Factory Records in April 1987, this fantastic slab of industrial funk was produced by ex-Velvet Underground legend John Cale, although I doubt that anyone knows why! It was just the Factory Records way I guess.

The Salford scallies recorded the ten album tracks in December 1986 and it’s a wonderful riot of threatening, edgy, disco-tinged funk. The music and lyrics are every bit as idiosyncratic as Factory Records was. This is independent music made by singularly-minded people for the most unique of record labels.

This raw debut album often gets overlooked for the Madchester-tastic Pills ‘n’ thrills and bellyaches (1990) which is a real shame given that this is the original, unfettered, inner-city sound borne of collective parents’ record collections, young mens imaginations and sheer serendipity. This is the Mondays’ music before celebritE kicked in. Just check out the disjointed jangly funk of Tart Tart

We are currently stocking the reissue album.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Happy Mondays – Squirrel and G-man … (new reissue vinyl LP)

The 1987 debut album from Happy Mondays. This is a brand new reissue copy. Please note that the price includes second class postage and packing.

£24.00

Gene Clark – No other (1974)

Gene Clark 1

In the mid-1960s, Gene Clark was the main songwriter and frontman for The Byrds. Although Gene departed The Byrds in 1966, his ability to write poignant, emotional and compelling music and lyrics never left him. Gene has an amazing back catalogue of compositions, but 1974’s No other album is arguably his crowning achievement.

Gene Clark certainly had the looks and the talent but he rarely seemed to have the timing or the luck to commercially push on from his time in The Byrds. Gene’s natural ability meant that he retained many supporters in the music business and, in 1974, David Geffen provided Gene with a recording budget of $100,000 to record No other. As you can tell upon listening to the album, every single dollar was well and truly spent.

Gene took the No other songs to L.A. producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye who created an incredibly stylish, opulent and multi-layered sound featuring an army of supporting players. On No other you will hear sophisticated, challenging arrangements featuring gospel choirs and swathes of swirling strings. Gene Clark wrote scores of amazing songs but on No other he seems to reach that little bit higher and dig that little bit deeper with Kaye encouraging him all the way. Of course, beneath the lavish sound we must remember that Gene’s songs are both strong and exquisite. Gene could probably play these songs backed only by a kazoo and they would still sound beautiful and delicate yet simultaneously powerful.

Creating this spiritual singer-songwriter classic took time and the ‘project’ ran over budget. This displeased David Geffen greatly. As a result, he provided no money for promoting the LP and so the album went criminally ignored upon release. In fact, No other remained misunderstood for c.20 years until interest in this outstanding piece of art began to grow. There was a dawning realisation that No other could no longer be casually dismissed as a piece of seventies cocaine-fuelled excess, but that it was a timeless work of great beauty, intensity, spirituality and emotion. It is no exaggeration to consider No other alongside Love’s Forever Changes and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks.

4ad Records have released a remastered version of No other with the first ever 5.1 surround mix of this album (created at Abbey Road).

We are currently stocking the reissue album.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Gene Clark – No other (1974) – Brand new vinyl reissue

New vinyl reissue of the 1974 classic on 4ad Records. The original tapes have been remastered at Abbey Road to create a 5.1 surround mix of the LP for the first time. Please note that this price includes second class postage and packing.

£20.00

The Pooh Sticks – 1988 7″ box set (2019)

Pooh Sticks 1

What a gorgeously packaged reissue item this is from Swansea’s jangly power pop indie ‘kids’ . . .  THE POOH STICKS. 

This release is a limited edition expanded version of a box set originally released by Fierce Recordings in 1988. This new version features five different coloured 7” singles.

Unlike the 1988 version, which included A-side singles only (each with an etched B-side), this 2019 edition includes the corresponding B-sides, plus a 24-page booklet. All of the B sides were recorded in 1988 and four of them have never been available before. The other track, the California Punk-esque Hard On Love, was released in 1989 on a flexi-disc and has never been available in any other format.

Tracklist: 1-2-3 Red Light / Double ShotHeroes And Villains / Life’s A Gas, Heartbreak / Sex Head, I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well / Hard On Love, Indiepop Ain’t Noise Pollution / Knock Three Times

It’s a limited release so when it’s gone, it’s gone. Dive in below pop fans!

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

The Pooh Sticks – 1988 boxset (5 x 7″ vinyl plus booklet)

This is a brand new limited edition boxset featuring five coloured vinyl 7" singles and a 24 page booklet. Please note that the price includes second class postage and packing.

£48.00

 

The Fall – top 10?

The Fall

Now then, it’s probably impossible to pick a definitive top 10 for THE FALL but Dave from the grand, incredible Strand Records is gonna try anyway . . .

  1. A figure walks
  2. The Classical
  3. Eat y’self fitter
  4. I am Damo Suzuki
  5. Container drivers
  6. Prole art threat
  7. Frightened
  8. ROD
  9. Bill is dead
  10. Rowche Rumble

Eagle-eyed Fall fans will have spotted that these tracks all date from 1979 – 1990. I was really into THE FALL up to, and including, 1994’s Middle class revolt. After that LP, I only saw the band another three or four times. Clearly, this means that my top 10 is effectively the top ten of THE FALL’s first 15 years or so. I still regularly play the band’s output from their initial recordings up to 1986’s Bend Sinister.

A Figure walks is from the lo-fi, eerie Dragnet album (1979) and I remain fascinated by the primal nature of this track. Four of the tracks in the top ten are album openers; The Classical (1982), Eat y’self fitter (1983), Frightened (1979) and ROD (1986). That says a lot about the strength of these particular songs. All of them are very special and Eat y’self fitter in particular has to be heard to be believed. THE FALL digged repetition.

Container Drivers (1980) is rockabilly on speed whilst I am Damo Suzuki (1985) is a very literal tribute to the Can singer. The desperately urgent Prole art threat (1981) sounds like a runaway train to me and it really gets the pulse racing.  Bill is dead (1990) saw Mark E Smith ‘crooning’ in a poignant tribute to his Dad. Rowche Rumble (1979) sounds like a bunch of schoolkids from Bedrock have gone crazy ape bonkers in the music room.

We currently have a number of THE FALL albums (new reissues) and they are all £19 (which includes postage and packing). The albums we have are; The Wonderful and frightening world of (1984), This Nation’s saving grace (1985), Bend sinister (1986), I am Kurious Oranj (1988) and the compilation Singles 458489 (1990) which is specifically listed below. If you wish to buy the latter, please just click on the Paypal link below. If you want to buy one or more of the other titles, just contact us and we will send you an invoice.

Please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Singles 458489 (1990) – vinyl LP

17 blistering tracks from The Fall’s ‘poppy’ period 1984-89, including Cruiser’s creek, Hit the North, Mr Pharmacist, Victoria, etc. The price includes 2nd class postage and packing.

£19.00

The Specials (1979)

Specials debutReleased in October 1979, The Specials’ eponymous debut album perfectly captured the energy and excitement of the late seventies British SKA revival. The Specials were a blistering live act and this LP, produced by Elvis Costello, is testament to that. The band took the timeless offbeat skanking sound of SKA and rocksteady and infused this dance beat with the energy and anger of punk.

The Specials revered 1960s SKA and this is reflected by the inclusion of 4 respectful and essential cover versions of tracks from that period. There’s the smash hit rocksteady take on Dandy Livingstone’s A message to you Rudy, a powerful version of Prince Buster’s Too hot, the desperately exciting Monkey Man (Toots and the Maytals) and the mellow You’re wondering now written by Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd and covered by The Skatalites amongst others. There was also a high-octane, uptempo, loosely-based take on Rufus Thomas’ The Dog entitled Do the Dog. The latter track was bang up to date as it directly addressed the contemporary increase in violence on UK streets; All you punks and all you teds, National Front and Natty dreads, Mods, rockers, hippies and skinheads, keep on fighting ’til you’re dead …

The cover versions are all top notch but The Specials’ original compositions truly astound the listener. 1979 was a relatively bleak time in Britain with a rise in unemployment, inflation, strikes and racial tension. It felt like Britain was lving on the edge and The Specials somehow encapsulated all of the associated societal disenchantment, frustration, anger, fear and bitterness in their songs.

The raw, noisy Concrete jungle vividly reflects the very genuine threat of inner city violence, Nite Klub depicts the saddest disco in the world with bad beer and frustrated fellas aplenty and Blank expression details the souless misery of endless drinking in tough backstreet boozers. The slower-sounding studio version of the energetic number 1 live hit Too much too young focusses on teenage pregnancy whilst the calypso-sounding Stupid marriage deals with the trial of a rude boy charged with criminal damage. Are we still all having fun? I told you these were bleak times!

Little bitch is a an extremely fast heavy skank that is rather harsh lyrically whilst the slower It’s up to you and It Doesn’t Make It Alright both take a heartfelt stance against racism. Although the lyrics and tone of some tracks reflect the bleak themes of late 1970s Britain, the overall sound is generally very bright and energetic (partly thanks to the pop-tastic Elvis Costello). This album is an amazing social document and a very fine collection of 14 wonderful songs.

We stock the 2019 reissue of this classic album and please note that, in addition to the purchasing option below, we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

The Specials (1979)

40th anniversary half speed master edition double album. The price stated includes second class postage and packing.

£25.10