Crowd gathers outside Rough Trade shop on Record Store Day


Ahead of our Eat Yr Vinyl! Event at Sound Food & Drink (52 Duke St, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 5AA ) to celebrate Record Store Day 2014, here’s our Top 5 Reasons why vinyl kicks ass!


You simply can’t compare what you can do with the packaging of a 12” vinyl, to what you can squeeze on a tiny CD case. Everything looks much better in the bigger size of a vinyl cardboard sleeve! And when you take into account that you can have gatefold sleeves and inner sleeves, that’s plenty of space to do creative things with the artwork, that you just can’t do on CD.

The most famous example is, of course, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which more than any other album before it, showed that rock’n’roll could be considered art, and that album sleeves could be work of art themselves, as well. The sleeve was designed by a bona fide artist, Sir Peter Blake, who a few years earlier had won the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize and was well on his way to become one of Britain’s most respected artists.

Beatles ' Sgt Pepper Sleeve size comparison, vinyl vs. CD

Beatles ‘ Sgt Pepper Sleeve size comparison, vinyl vs. CD


The sleeve just don’t have the same impact on a CD-sized package, which, of course, can’t include the extra cutout insert as the original release.

This is just the most obvious example. We could also mention another Beatles’ release, The White Album: the original packaging included portraits of each Beatle, and a massive poster with a collage and lyrics.

But it doesn’t even have to be such sophisticated a package to make the case for vinyl. The simple, effective design of Joy Division’s debut LP, Unknown Pleasures (by Peter Saville) looks much better and more powerful on a LP record sleeve than on CD.

… and don’t get us started on MP3s! Yeah, music is what matters at the end of the day, and audio files can certainly be very convenient. Nothing against it. But with rock’n’roll in particular, it’s not just about the music! Image is arguably just as important, and iconic record sleeves have played an important part in the history of rock’n’roll, from Elvis to Nirvana. Without the right imagery, rock’n’roll loses a bit of it’s magic, mystique and sexiness.

classic album sleeves

classic album sleeves


Yes, it IS true – the sound of vinyl (analogue) is better than digital. Sure, there is a technical explanation for this, if you are interested, but for those of us music lovers who don’t care much about scientific data, and who are not sound engineers whose ears are tuned to every minutiae of sound, there’s still a difference. And I’m NOT being a Luddite here.

I’ll explain: If I play a CD, I won’t think “Oh my, this sounds awful” like some “sound snobs” may do. Any casual music fan can play a CD and think it sounds great, fair enough… and then wonder how could you improve on a crystal clear sound? If it sounds good it sounds good, and how can you improve on that? But if you play a track on CD and then play the same track on vinyl, if you compare them back to back, chances are you will notice a slight difference, and it’s not just a figment of your auditory imagination. The vinyl will sound ever so slightly warmer and richer, and you don’t need to be an audiophile to tell the difference.

But there’s another side to the story as well. When CDs were introduced in the 80s, one of the arguments in its favor was that vinyl records sounded so bad, could get scratches etc, and that CDs sounded clearer and could last forever. That was one of the great myths of the era! Lots of vinyl records made in the 80’s did sound bad, because the quality of the vinyl used back then was bad. They were very thin as well. Also, lots of people were probably comparing brand new CDs with copies of their old, dusty, 25 year old records.  So, of course CDs would sound better to their over-excited ears trying that amazing new CD thing!

But these days, if you buy a brand new, heavy-weight (180g) vinyl and stick it to your record player, it’ll sound as great and as clear as you’d hope a CD would – actually, even better!

Finally, over the years, CDs do get dirty and scratchy and I, for one, had more problems with CDs skipping tracks and acting weird than I ever did with vinyl records – if you treat your records well, they can last longer than your CDs! Which leads us to…


At the moment, there’s a huge market for old vinyl records. Rare, old records increase in value over time, and any record, if well-kept, will look fine in 10, 20, 30 years time.

The Who My Generation LP sleeve

An original copy of the first issue of The Who’s debut album will set you back a few hundreds of pounds…

As for CDs… these wretched little jewel cases will get dirty, scratched and look like shit in no time! Have you EVER found a 20-year old CD in GREAT cosmetic condition? Probably not, and even if you did, it’d hardly be exciting, would it? There’s always at least a little bit of satisfaction when you find an old second-hand record that still looks mint!!


If we’re STILL talking about vinyl records today (and BUYING them!) it’s thanks to the indies. Independent record shops and independent record labels are the ones who stuck with vinyl, through the thick and thin, over the years. People like Virgin or HMV would just jump into any tech bandwagon, and were quick to dismiss the format. Look where they are now! And HMV, which managed to survive (just about) is now stocking vinyl records again – in an attempt to still be relevant and attract new customers.

As for record labels: indie labels kept vinyl alive because they usually care more about their product than major labels, and over the years indie labels such as Death Waltz, Finders Keepers etc have consistently invested in interesting packages – which was necessary also to make sure they’d sell their releases! Without massive marketing budgets, indie labels know they must focus on quality to succeed.

By comparison, major labels have invested less and less in the quality of their products, musical or otherwise, and more and more in marketing: they make shit, wrap it in shit, and then market it as gold. The production values of the releases from X-Factor/ Pop Idol type of artists is beyond dire, and the same goes to the “artwork”. Just compare the cover of any Susan Boyle album (probably designed in 5 minutes by a not very talented intern using an old version of Photoshop) with the cover of a Death Waltz release such as The Fog, designed by renowned artist Dinos Chapman (of the Chapman Brothers).

Susan Boyle Album artwork vs. Death Waltz releaseThe Fog.

Susan Boyle Album “artwork” vs. Death Waltz release The Fog, which is a work of art!



And, finally… another reason to love records is because thanks to them we got Record Store Day! Yes, despite all the hype which can get annoying, despite the major labels jumping on the bandwagon and repackaging Aerosmith albums etc, and despite some assholes buying records just to sell them for twice the price on Ebay the next day, it’s hard not to feel excited about Record Store Day if you’re a music lover.

Crowd gathers outside Rough Trade shop on Record Store Day

Crowd gathers outside Rough Trade shop on Record Store Day

Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s “Record Store Day” every month for me, when I go buy records at my favourite indie record shop (in this case, Probe Records in Liverpool) but I gotta admit it, the official Record Store Day still kicks ass! It’s good that there’s a day in the year that helps boosting the profile of small record shops, but, as a music fan, it’s just great to be able to buy exclusive, limited-edition releases on vinyl. It feels special. The same couldn’t be said for CDs or MP3s.

The excitement we feel when we buy a limited-edition release on Record Store Day is the final proof that, indeed, there’s just something about vinyl records that still remains very unique and special…


Come to our Record Store Day party this Saturday 19th April, at Sound Food & Drink. From 12pm-5p, FREE ENTRY!

Record Store Day party at Sound Food & Drink! 19th April 2014

Record Store Day party at Sound Food & Drink! 19th April 2014

We’ll be DJ-ing, playing only vinyl records, and there’ll be a record fair, too. People can buy, sell or trade their old records and are also welcome to play them!

There’ll be live, acoustic music by Songs About Death (yours truly!) and Tom George. Will be fun.

Record Store Day party at Sound Food & Drink! 19th April 2014

Record Store Day 2014 Party @ Sound Food & Drink!

Come to our EAT YR VINYL! event at Sound Food & Drink (52 Duke St, Liverpool) this Saturday, 19th April! It’s RECORD STORE DAY, so to celebrate we’re throwing a party, DJ-ing vinyl records only! (Hopefully spin some brand new one bought on the day at Probe Records…)

Record Store Day party at Sound Food & Drink! 19th April 2014

Record Store Day party at Sound Food & Drink! 19th April 2014

There’ll be also a mini record fair going on, and everyone is welcome to bring their own records to sell or trade.

Live music by Songs About Death and Tom George, plus DJ sets by Ivan Hell (Dirtblonde / Songs About Death) and Esa Shields.

Come and join us – it’ll be fun!



Lucifer Sams, psych band from Liverpool

Ave, Lucifers! Lucifer Sams psych gig at Mello Mello Next Thursday, 13th March

Songs About Death metamorphoses into a full on psychedelic band from one night only! Ivan Hell, Esa Shields, Denis and Jules are… the Lucifer Sams, the most psychedelic of psych bands in Liverpool!

The Lucifer Sams will play a gig at Pete Bentham’s Free Rock & Roll night at Mello Mello cafe, next Thursday 13th March. Expect a wide range of different, psych songs (sung by Ivan and Esa) and long, improvised, feedback drenched jams. Hey man, it will be cool…

Here’s a sample of what to expect – a jam inspired by Pink Floyd’s Interestellar Overdrive:


Liverpool Echo Q&A with Ivan Hell

Here’s the little Q&A the Liverpool Echo did with Songs About Death’s Ivan, ahead of the Liverpool Horror Fest gig at Erics. For info on the gig, please to to the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE.

Liverpool Echo Q&A with Ivan Hell

Liverpool Echo Q&A with Ivan Hell. CLICK FOR FULL SIZE


Jack Nicholson in The Shining

Feeling brave? Join Jack & some ghosts at the Shining Halloween Party @ Motel Bar!

For one evening only, upstairs at Motel Bar (5-7 Fleet St, Liverpool) will turn into a room from the Overlook “Motel”! That’s right – the place to be this Halloween, in Liverpool, will be Motel! Join us and some ghosts for a The Shining-themed party! Film projections while Ivan Hell DJ some songs about death… and a Jack Nicholson / Shelley Duvall lookalike comp! (Dressing the part would help…but we’ll want you to pull some classic The Shining faces!)

And the best part – it’s totally FREE!!!

Join us 31st October at Motel Bar, for a Halloween party with a difference! From 9pm…

View Facebook event page

The Shining Halloween Party @ Motel Bar

red rum, red rum, red rum…

Ivan Hell... DJ-ing soon, at Motel Bar in Liverpool


Sunday nights in Liverpool are about to get a bit more exciting, thanks to F*CK, the new weekly club night at Motel Bar (5-7 Fleet st). Bringing together local acts playing stripped down sets, film projections and resident DJ Ivan Hell playing some dirty rock’n’roll, F*CK promises to be a different kind of club night, and lots of fun!

Ivan Hell... DJ-ing soon, at Motel Bar in Liverpool

Ivan Hell… DJ-ing soon, at Motel Bar in Liverpool

“We’re not interested in playing indie hits. This night is for people who get excited about the idea of going out for a drink and listen to stuff such as Brian Jonestown Massacre, Neutral Milk Hotel, Deerhunter, Suicide, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins…” explains Ivan “I always wanted to have a regular DJ slot at a place where people would appreciate listening to something like Velvet Underground’s ‘Sister Ray,’ followed by the Black Lips ‘Everyone Loves A Cocksucker’ and Motel Bar is the only place where it’d feel right!”

And it’s no wonder – Motel Bar has already been hailed as the spiritual successor of the original Korova, where F*CK club first started.

“F*CK was one of the first regular nights at Korova [read more about it here], and it was a place where we’d play tunes no one else played, as well as booking some pretty good new local acts, whose members went on to join bands around today in Liverpool, such as Double

Echo, Broken Men and Sunstack Jones” explains Ivan “So, it’s great to do F*CK again, at a place like Motel Bar which feels like “home” unlike any other local venue since Korova!”

“But the vibe will be a bit different, since we only got a limited space and PA. More stripped down, more kinda like Jeff Buckley live at Sin-E if that makes sense… intimate sets, intimate space. But none of the usual boring acoustic acts you see everywhere.”

The initial selection of acts playing at the first (and only!) weekly band night at Motel Bar includes Ivan’s new project, the psych-acoustic Songs About Death, as well as some familiar names from the local music scene: poet/songwriter hero Tom George, Villy Raze (of Dead Class), Sunstack Jones, Rory & Ned, Claire Welles, Dom New

Ivan Hell at Motel

Ivan Hell at Motel

ton, Esa Shields and, making a live return to Liverpool, Amy Corcoran (founder member of Kling Klang).

F*CK Club @ Motel Bar starts Sunday 27th October from 9pm, with live sets by Songs About Death & special guests. The film projector will be showing rare Andy Warhol films all night long, including Chelsea Girls.


F*CK Club at Motel Bar poster

F*CK Club at Motel Bar poster





Ivan Hell and Esa Shields will join forces again, to create a unique, one off film/music experience, exclusively for Liverpool Horror Fest: they’ll perform their experimental, noisy synth music to a simultaneous screening of both versions of The Evil Dead, the original 1981 version by Sam Raimi and the 2013 remake.

The noise created by the duo on their first outing at Sound Food And Drink, Liverpool, was compared to My Bloody Valentine’s Holocaust (the live part of their set when noise go to extremes).

“By screening the films at the same time, with no original sound, just accompanied by this new, experimental, loud music, we hope to create a new and unique way to experience these horror films. It should be very intense” says Ivan.

The event takes place Friday 1st November at Eric’s Liverpool, on Mathew street. Ben Christo from Sisters Of Mercy will do a DJ set afterwards.

More details later.

Syd Barrett Was my Grandad, coming son to Sound Food & Drink

Psychedelic Music Night in Liverpool…Coming soon!

Syd Barrett Was My Grandad. Well, I wish. Well, well, well, Syd WILL be my, and your, grandad, for one and one night only… at Sound Food & Drink (Duke st. Liverpool)

We’re organizing a night dedicated to the finest psych music from the past, present and future. Expect anything from Soft Machine to Sleepy Sun, Yardbirds, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Wooden Shjips, Spacemen3, Love and, of course, lots of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett!

Also, there’ll be a one-off live performance by The Lucifer Sams, playing some truly mind-melting psych music!!!

Add to this 3 projectors blasting psychedelic images, oil lamp lights and best of all, FREE ENTRY… it’s a night you can’t miss, psych people!



Syd Barrett Was my Grandad, coming son to Sound Food & Drink

Syd Barrett Was my Grandad, coming son to Sound Food & Drink



Songs About Death are  returning for a dark, intimate gig at Tabac, on Bold st in Liverpool. It was the place of their first ever gig (see pic below) and this time the band will have as supporting act none other than Screaming Jay Hawkins.

Songs About Death gig at Tabac, Liverpool

Pic taken at the first Songs About Death gig at Cafe Tabac in Liverpool. Cool vibe!

The event starts early, 7pm and is set to end 9pm. FREE ENTRY!

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