By Cole Parkinson
Usually I take this time to talk about sports but this week I’m throwing a curveball.
Other than sports, my other big obsession is music, so this week I want to go through my top five vinyl records in my collection.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean these are my top five albums of all time or favourite albums by that particular band, these are just the ones I think have the coolest overall package including music on the record, cover art and of course vinyl colour.
I started collecting records around three years ago but it’s really ramped up in the past year as bands have started reissuing albums that were either unavailable on vinyl or were only printed once, which can carry massive price tags.
Alright let’s get this started!
5. Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2xLP, black vinyl)
Now I’ll admit this record isn’t anything special in terms of collectability and it is just the standard black two LP but there is something special when this one hits the turntable. Music wise it’s impeccable and I think it’s safe to say it is one of the best albums released in the 00s. I also prefer when they come in a gatefold cover rather than just a sleeve so bonus points. The cover is definitely creepy but it has to be one of the most unique covers I can think of. It also captures the essence of the record incredibly well. The first half of the record is incredibly strong with “Sowing Season”, “Degausser” and “You Won’t Know” while the second half isn’t as strong but it still has some spectacular songs in “Luca” and “Not the Sun”.
If you are a fan of alternative, rock, or even punk, I would highly recommended The Devil and God but if you do take the dive, it’s an album you need to just listen to without any distractions.
Favourite tracks: “Degausser”, “You Won’t Know” and “Luca”
4. Weezer – Pinkerton (1 LP, translucent blue with black marble)
Next up is Weezer’s sophomore effort Pinkerton, my personal favourite Weezer offering. This is my latest purchase and it took me awhile to pull the trigger because I wanted a sweet colour instead of the regular black (even though I settled on the Mobile Fidelity remastered black vinyl of the Blue Album). The gatefold opens to a pop up scene of the front cover which is very cool. Like with The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, I think the first half is stronger than the second. “Tired of Sex”, “No Other One” and “Across the Sea” are fantastic tunes that I think are the strongest on side one. The second half has “The Good Life”, “El Scorcho” and my personal favourite “Pink Triangle.” The debate around Weezer fans has always been the Blue Album or Pinkerton. But for me, both are incredible and Weezer has yet to replicate them, though I think they were close with fantastic back to back albums Everything Will Be Alright in the End and the White Album.
Favourite tracks: “Tired of Sex”, “Across the Sea” and “Pink Triangle”
3. Green Day – nimrod. (2xLP, bright yellow vinyl)
Green Day’s nimrod. was released in 1997 and for the 20th anniversary they reissued the album on two LP’s on a very cool bright yellow. After Dookie and Insomniac, Green Day went in a different direction with nimrod. The 17 songs present have plenty of different styles ranging from punk rock, surf rock and ska which makes it a great record to spin when you are in the mood for a variety of different styles. While Insomniac is at the top of my list of Green Day records, this one is right behind it. While “Hitchin’ a Ride” and “Good Riddance” have seen quite a bit of prominence, I would argue the gems come from the deeper cuts. “Haushinka”, “Uptight”, “Prosthetic Head” and “Scattered” are some of the best tracks on this release. Another track that has really grown on me lately is the instrumental “Last Ride In” which is Green Day if they decided to just play surf rock. While nimrod. never reached the levels of Dookie, I would definitely recommend giving this one a listen, especially if you haven’t heard it in its entirety.
Favourite tracks: “Scattered”, “Haushinka” and “Prosthetic Head”
2. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (1LP, pink)
In the two spot is Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. After the previous two albums were criticized for being too heavy on arena rock anthems, the band were in a rough spot as drummer Warren Oakes left during the recording of the album White Crosses and bassist Andrew Seward split from the band a few years later. On top of all of that, singer and guitarist Tom Gabel came out as transgender and changed her name to Laura Jane Grace. The result of both the transition and two long standing members leaving the band, Laura along with guitarist James Bowman recruited Atom Willard to play drums on the album, which in my eyes was quite possibly the greatest addition the band could have made. With the addition of Willard, the band recorded what would become Transgender Dysphoria Blues with Grace playing bass for the majority of the record, save for Fat Mike of NOFX filling in on a couple songs.
The record is pressed in a bright pink to support breast cancer and only 500 copies were made. A part of me wanted to keep it completely unopened when I bought it but I believe records were meant to be played and not collected just to display on the shelf.
Favourite tracks: “True Trans Soul Rebel”, “Paralytic States” and “Black Me Out”
1. blink-182 – The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (2xLP, rainbow splatter)
And my number one is blink-182’s only live album The Mark, Tom and Travis Show. Originally released in 2000 promoting Enema of the State, the live songs showcase blink in all of their stage presence glory. While there are obvious parts that have been touched up in the studio after the fact, I don’t think it subtracts from what’s present on this album as it could almost qualify as both a punk record and a comedy album. The banter between Mark and Tom between the songs is what makes this album so enjoyable for me. Now it won’t be for everyone as their sense of humour isn’t for everyone but if you like dumb jokes and pop punk this is a record you need to give a listen.
The rainbow splatter was a Hot Topic exclusive from a few years ago and I picked one up used in really good condition. The reason it picks up the number one spot is due to when I bought it. It was one of the first records I bought when I decided to start collecting vinyl. That being said it isn’t my go-to record to listen to when I break out the vinyl. Personally I think live records lose something when the side ends and you have to flip it over. I prefer live tracks flowing from beginning to end with no breaks in between but that’s just me. Nonetheless this is my favourite live record and I have a good feeling it will reign for a very, very long time.
Favourite tracks: “Dumpweed”, “Going Away to College” and “Pathetic”