Vinyl Minded: Amy Winehouse and Woo

Amy Winehouse

Frank (Island/Universal Music Recordings)

2-LP Picture Discs

It's frankly astonishing that Amy Winehouse's debut album Frank was recorded when she was still on her teens. It's such a gorgeous, mature, knowing record from start to finish; even when she's singing about clubbing and, of course, fuck-me pumps, she does so with an experienced tone.

It also highlights what a tragedy it is that she's gone. Back to Black might get all the plaudits in retrospect, but Frank certainly deserves to be celebrated. This reissue, on beautiful double vinyl picture disc, does exactly that.

The four sides of vinyl are basically snapshots of a life that burnt so bright for a devastatingly short time. We see Winehouse shooting pool, walking her dog, playing with her skirt, and there's one shot of her discarded shoes.

"Frank has also been released on 2LP picture disc, using the artwork from the original classic sleeve on LP1 and two beautiful images by renowned photographer Valerie Phillips from the original artwork photo session, shot in 2003 on LP2," reads the press release.

"The thirteen songs on Frank announced the arrival of a peerless artist, a phenomenal writer and performer, and a true once-in-a-generation talent, and the images on this release show the young Amy at the beginning of her incredible but tragically short musical journey," it continues.

In the end, we only got two full length albums from Winehouse. Perhaps we should have listened to her a little closer while the world still had her.


Xylophonics + Robot X (Independent Project Records)

2 LP, digital download

The good people at Independent Project Records really need to be commended for their work. Whether they're putting out vinyl or CDs, they put so much care into the packaging including the sleeve art, as well as the actual quality of the sound - each release is a piece of art in its own right.

Woo is a cult UK project composed of brothers Mark and Clive Ives that has been active since 1975. Their ambient folk-jazz saw them experiment with electronic instrumentation at a time when few others were doing so -- they might not get the plaudits of Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream, but Woo were certainly pioneers.

This release combines their 2016 album Robot X with 2017's Xylophonics into one gorgeous double package.

"Robot X and Xylophonics tell a story of retro-futuristic visions from different angles: both proudly experimental, they combine a deluge of musical influences to offer something that is, quite remarkably, deeply layered and minimalist at the same time," reads the press release. "The unpredictable instrumentals invite listeners to attach their own fantasies to what they hear, whether those fantasies belong to the past, the present or, more likely, a robotic future."

The stamped, etched cardboard sleeve featuring a wonderfully rudimentary-looking robot is the icing on the cake.