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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Record Store Day: Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat/The Twilight Sad - Covers 7"

Hi sorry my bad. I've been delaying stuff again, haven't I? There's no real excuse other than slight laziness, so I'm gonna try and catch up on a few things this week. Record Store Day was over 2 months ago now, so let's start with that.

I have what can be described at best as mixed emotions about Record Store Day. Some of the releases are really good and it's nice to see independent record shops doing a lot of trade, but it doesn't seem to encourage people to keep returning to the same shops and the prices tend to be inflated for no real reason. Moreover, it misses out on a huge part of what makes independent record shops great - RSD seems to many to become a bit of an exercise in getting into a shop, checking what you are looking for of the day's releases and getting out. You might as well be going to a chain to get your music like that, really. This single is sort of a case in point for me. I didn't buy it on Record Store Day itself, I got it a couple of days later from Avalanche (having been in Stoke on RSD itself - more on that in a later post) after work. I went in, had a bit of a wander round, picked up a few bits and stopped to talk to Kev about releases while I paid for my stuff. He told me about how RSD had been, and how this was probably his favourite release of all those the shop had stocked and we chatted about The Twilight Sad. That, for me, is why independent record shops are great. Not because they happen to have limited releases one day a year, but because they are staffed by people who are well-informed and care about what they are selling. RSD will have to make some big changes if it's ever going to capture that.

Right, that's my mini-rant over, let's move on to the single.

So this release is a rather lovely split, in which Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat and The Twilight Sad each cover a song by the other. The artwork may look familiar to those of you who read my post about The Twilight Sad's album Forget The Night Ahead posted a good two years ago, as the art for both was done by the same person. This chap, known as dlt also did the artwork for the past two Frabbit albums (and associated singles) and basically about half of the Scottish bands that I love. Amazing. This cover is very distinctly "The Twilight Sad", and I'm totally down with black on grey. I also really like the fonts on this sleeve. In all it looks very nice.

The other side has another Twilight Sad-y drawing, and you'll spot I have number 284 of 500, for all you pressing info fans. Plain black record with what appears to be a hand-stamped label (on the other side, the label is blank), keeping the look very minimal.

So we've got two covers to discuss. First, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat covering Alphabet, from the latest Twilight Sad album (an album I, shamefully, am yet to properly listen to). I'm not sure if I've spoken before about how much I love the work of Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat combined, so to keep it short I'll just say that they make utterly incredible music. The Twilight Sad chose to cover (If You) Keep Me In Your Heart from Everything's Getting Older, the album which (deservedly) won the first Scottish Album of the Year Award. The covers show an interesting swap of elements from each act - The Twilight Sad's synths are replaced with Bill Wells' pianos (and vice versa), and James Graham's pained and urgent vocal delivery trades places with the laid-back drawl of Aidan Moffat. This makes each cover sound distinctly like its coverer (is that even a word?), and makes the release a really interesting listen. It's really worth a try, especially for fans of those involved, and now that it's on Spotify you don't really have any excuse not to.

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