Welcome to Far Out’s weekly vinyl corner feature, where we look to bring you a tempting selection of records from some of our favourite artists, bargain vinyl deals to look out for, and unmissable limited-edition releases. This week we’re driving up to the Highlands to celebrate some of the best sounds from Scotland.
In 2021, the vinyl comeback enjoyed another milestone year as record sales surpassed that of CDs for the first time in three decades. The return to plastic has been steadily climbing since the invasion of streaming services in the late 2000s. While the weightless, highly accessible and practical format is great for discovering and consuming lots of new music while you’re out and about, there’s nothing like coming home for to bit of vinyl.
Fellow collectors worldwide will agree that if there’s an artist or album you love, there’s always a good reason to have the turntable at the ready and a 12” space reserved on the shelf for inevitable expansion. The sound quality of vinyl brings something more hearty and vibrant with its analogue warmth and crisp definition that there really isn’t a substitute for.
So if, like me, you have a soft spot for these groovy discs of plastic, allow me to walk you through ten hot picks for this week. We have a selection of classics from Donovan to Primal Scream and some modern picks from Belle and Sebastian and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
The following selections have been handpicked by Far Out Magazine, and as a result, we may earn from qualifying purchases.
The 10 best vinyl deals available on Amazon this week
Primal Scream – Screamadelica
Screamadelica is the third studio album by Scottish alt-rock band Primal Scream, released in September 1991. The album was produced mainly by the late great Andrew Weatherall and became their first commercial success, helping to push the band firmly into the limelight and winning them the Mercury Music Prize in 1992.
The double LP release housed such classics as ‘Movin’ On Up’, ‘Loaded’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Higher than the Sun’ and ‘Slip Inside This House’. The eclectic mix has something for everyone with its seamless blend of rock, electronica, gospel and jazz. This item has recently been reduced from £31.99 to £21.84.
Available for purchase here for £21.84.
Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada made the perfect ambient electro album for rock lovers in 2005 with The Campfire Headphase. The experimental blend of ambient, trip-hop and folktronica evokes vivid imagery despite the lack of words. If you usually shy from electronic music, you might find common ground with this record, thanks to its thumping beat drops and heavy use of acoustic guitar.
One half of the duo, Mike Sandison, once described the making of the album: “We usually imagine our music to have a visual element while we’re writing it, so we were picturing this character losing his mind at the campfire and compressing weeks of events into a few hours, in that time-stretching way that acid fucks with your perception.”
Available for purchase here for £27.15.
Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
In the midst of the 1980s, while synth-pop held the flame of popular music, the trio, known as Cocteau Twins, decided to take modern musical technology in a novel direction. The band was characterised by its pulsating, shimmering soundscapes that heavily influenced the shoegaze era. These otherworldly scapes were seasoned with Elizabeth Fraser’s iconic vocals that imbue the subconscious with palpable clarity while often indecipherable.
Cocteau Twins’ work reached its climax in 1990 with the release of Heaven or Las Vegas. The masterpiece is adorned with prominent moments, including ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’, ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’, ‘Pitch the Baby’, and ‘Iceblink Luck’.
Available for purchase here for £18.99.
Belle and Sebastian – A Bit of Previous
With seven years having passed since the last Belle and Sebastian album – excluding 2019’s soundtrack for the Simon Bird film Days Of The Bagnold Summer – it was high time Glasgow’s finest indie group returned to the studio. Released back in May this year, A Bit of Previous brings new life and maturity to Belle and Sebastian’s trademark upbeat instrumentals and Stuart Murdoch’s ever-absorbing lyrical concepts.
The album is home to foot-tapping hits like ‘Unnecessary Drama’ and ‘Working Boy in New York City’ as well as some considered reflections on the modern world and political perversion, namely ‘If They’re Shooting At You’ and ‘Come On Home’.
Available for purchase here for £19.11.
Arab Strap – The Week Never Starts Around Here
In 1996, alt-rock duo Arab Strap released their debut single, ‘The First Big Weekend’, which remains their most popular song to this day. Later that year, they followed up this success with their first full album, The Week Never Starts Around Here. their style is at once accessible and trailblazing thanks to Aidan Moffat’s intriguing spoken word vocal delivery.
While Moffat’s lyrics paint vivid plots of beer-blurred pub outings and sexual encounters, Malcolm Middleton brings sparse instrumentals that oft build into intense, frenetic climaxes. The sound is neither post-punk nor shoegaze but grabs the coattails of both.
Available for purchase here for £25.27.
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy
In 2017 The Jesus and Mary Chain released Damage And Joy, the band’s seventh studio album and first since 1998’s Munki. Damage And Joy contains brand new material alongside reimagined versions of songs that the Reid brothers debuted in various forms between their 1999 break-up and 2007 reunion.
The vibrant rock-out fuzz of an album houses the popular singles, ‘Amputation’ and ‘All Things Pass’. Damage And Joy also features guest appearances from Scottish singer-songwriter Isobel Campbell (‘The Two of Us’, ‘Song For A Secret’) and American alt-pop star Sky Ferreira (‘Black And Blues’).
Available for purchase here for £34.99.
Donovan – Fairytale [Limited Coloured Edition]
While America had Bob Dylan, the UK had Donovan. The salient Scottish folky rose to prominence in the 1960s aged just 18. He wowed the world with his ’65 debut, What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid, which housed early hits ‘Catch the Wind’ and ‘To Sing for You’. Shortly following this early achievement, Donovan hit back harder with his stand-out second album, Fairytale.
This second studio effort planted the seed of Donovan’s musical development into the late ’60s and beyond. It brought hints of psychedelia and folk-rock hybridisation that would become increasingly apparent over his subsequent releases. Fairytale features classic hits, including ‘Colours’, ‘Universal Soldier’ and ‘Jersey Thursday’.
Available for purchase here for £22.90.
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
In 2004, Glaswegian art-rockers Franz Ferdinand released their belting eponymous debut album. The music flowed in the tailwind of the Britpop era and brought a kooky twist to a classic rock sound. The album came with danceable, punk-inspired energy and earned the four-piece 2004’s Mercury Music Prize.
The album features five singles, with ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘The Dark of the Matinée’ taking a comfy seat in the UK top ten and ‘Michael’ reaching the top 20. Elsewhere, though, the album is full of aural treats – there’s not a drab second in its 38-minute run time.
Available for purchase here for £24.49.
Mogwai – Happy Songs for Happy People
Post-rock group Mogwai formed in 1995 and have developed a sound characterised by drawn-out, distorted guitar-based instrumental excursions treated with heavy distortion. Their vastly atmospheric music has made them a speed dial for TV soundtracks in recent years.
Over ten studio albums, Mogwai have kept things fresh with the addition of vocals and thumping rock-out tracks but have always retained a trademark sound. Of these, the greatest and most “Mogwai” Mogwai album is 2003’s Happy Songs for Happy People, which is highlighted by ‘Hunted by a Freak’, ‘Kids Will Be Skeletons’, and ‘Killing All the Flies’.
Available for purchase here for £25.03.
Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque
Bellshill’s alternative rock sensation, Teenage Fanclub, rose to prominence in the 1990s with a constantly developing sound. From noisy and raw beginnings, the band found their early footing in commercial success with their third studio album, 1991’s Bandwagonesque.
The album was famously ranked as the best album of the year by Spin magazine in America, surpassing Nirvana’s landmark album Nevermind and Creation labelmates Primal Scream and their magnum opus, Screamadelica. Success in the US came thanks to the lead single, ‘Star Sign’, which reached number four on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. ‘What You Do to Me’ and ‘The Concept’ followed close behind in the top 20.
Available for purchase here for £25.15.