My Bleep and Warp Saga: Where the Fuck Were My Eps?

This story begins back with my love of Boards of Canada. The most recent instalment in this story however starts with a birthday present from Connie (for my 29th birthday), who graciously offered to buy me the remaining unowned albums by my all-time favourite artist Boards of Canada. I had already purchased Tomorrow's Harvest back when it came out and the repress of Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi were bought on vinyl as a Christmas gift as part of the repressings. Later, the Hi Scores EP was added to my collection. So, after deliberation I ordered the EP bundle that included Twoism, A Beautiful Place Out in the Country (my all-time favourite EP) and Trans Canada Highway as a single bundle on the 6th September 2014, a few days before my birthday. Dispatch date was a few days from then. That was later updated to the 19th of September, so we were already 12 days later or so from the original date, but hey that's not too bad, right?

Well... this post originally started being written on the 16th of Feburary 2015 which was 163 days after my original order, and I still hadn't recieved the EPs. I held off posting this because I wanted there to be a good and happy ending. And this past weekend, on the 20th of June 2015, 287 days after my original order... the three EPs finally materialised on my doorstep, and were finally in hand. This post has been adapted from the original post.

Over the course of those 287 days I have been in touch with Bleep a lot, with the first correspondence being on the 22nd September.

16 Days Since My Order

"Hi Mark I am hugely sorry about this, the Trans Canada Highway EP is not currently in stock, but in the manufacturing stage, so the bundle unfortunately is still on pre-order. I am waiting for an answer for when it will be in stock, I should have this in the next few hours so Ill let you know right away."

Of course there was no follow up email a few hours later, so on the 29th I decided to email again.

23 Days

"Hey Mark. Unfortunately not, I have spoken to the manufacturer and am waiting to hear back an ETA on the vinyl. I am hugely sorry for the delay, as soon as I have news Ill let you know right away."

I waited another week before my next email, still optimistic about my EP bundle coming "soon".

30 Days

"I am hugely sorry but we still do not have an ETA on the Trans Canada Highway EP repress. As soon as we do Ill let you know, sincere apologies for the delay in you receiving your order."

So there is was - "we still do not have an ETA" was better than "soon" or "a few hours", so I decided there and then to leave it a bit.

65 Days

"I am really sorry but we still do not have an ETA on the Trans Canada Highway EP, I have spoken to Warp but they are unable to give a date for when it will be in stock."

At least there is an admission that it's not Bleep's fault per se, but instead Warp's fault - they are the label that are doing the repress, so that makes sense. I decide to wait again before messaging them for another update. In the meantime I did take delivery of the Hi Scores EP, which was great. Thick and heavy vinyl and free from defects. Pretty wonderful actually.

88 Days

"Unfortunately we still do not have an ETA on the bundle, I am really really sorry for the continued delay. As soon as I have news from Warp Ill let you know right away."

Same old story. I forgot all about it until 160 days had passed. It had been so long since my original order, I wondered if I owed them interest on the payment. Or maybe they owed me money back seeing as inflation has been negative.

160 Days

"The item you have chosen is still on pre-order, so it is yet to be dispatched - we notify all customers when their orders have been dispatched to avoid confusion. Unfortunately this pressing has been continually pushed back by the manufacturing team, we've enquired about it to the label but they are not sure of a date yet either."

So at the time of the original writing of this post it was 163 days and counting. I decided to email them again in April.

209 Days

"We have just spoken to the label who have said that they hope that these will go into manufacture mid-April so should arrive by the end of the month, fingers crossed"

At this point, I was just amused at the constant run of messages that I had in my email account. It was this post that would have pissed me off the most, I guess, if this wasn't me waiting on my own gift - if I had bought this for anyone else other than me, to find out 209 days later that they hadn't even made it to manufacture I'd probably have blown my fucking lid. As it was, I just shrugged and waited again. That was until...

286 Days

"Part of your Order has been dispatched"

I actually almost fell over when I saw the email. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't handle it. Could it really be here? The day I was waiting for for over nine months? If Connie and I had fallen pregnant a month after Joni had been born we would have already welcomed our new child into the family by this time. Could it be true?

The answer, friends, was yes it was.

From left to right, clockwise: Music Has the Right to ChildrenGeogaddiTwoismTomorrow's HarvestTrans Canada Highway, Hi Scores and A Beautiful Place Out in the Country.

But that wasn't all. Connie decided the morning that they arrived to get me the final part of the catalogue, the group's third album The Campfire Headphase, and the album I knew that I could get easily at any time, as a surprise Father's Day gift. Of course, this time she wasn't buying it from fucking Bleep. She ordered it at 10am from Amazon and it arrived at 4pm on Sunday, the very next day.

My collection is completed. Fucking finally.

The Graveyear 2014

Each year (well, 2012 and 2013 for sure) I listen to loads of new music, some of which will be brand new to my ears from all new artists, and other albums will be brilliant new albums from artists that I have been in love with for a long time. This year, 2014, has been a strange and different year to almost all other years. I have essentially had to listening lives - one of my music that I listen to... recreationally, I guess, and the other one where I am listening to music for the Monday Graveyard. Yes, these two do bleed across each other, but most of the time they are distinct.

I have done a best-of for the radio show (two part show broadcast on the 29th of December and 5th of January) and it'll be written up too. But this, on my normal blog, is my true favourite albums of the year.

1. The Phantom Band - Strange Friend

I waited around four years for them to follow up my favourite album of 2010. The release of The Wants was when I was in Texas and now I'm a dad and married in Glasow. Time changes. I love everything about the Phantom Band, and their third album took a little longer to click it was all the better for it. I reviewed it for Scottish Fiction over here , so have a read, but this bit is what I think about the album:

"While it might not graft new converts to The Phantom Band ranks, it will please the band’s pals and fans for sure, whilst adding nine new tracks to the band’s catalogue. Strange Friend  feels just like that - a friend you’ve not seen in years that you remember being a little eccentric, but as loyal as you’ll find."

And guess what - I won't have to wait another four years for their next album. They've announced Frears Trending for next year - in January! Excellent.

2. Loscil - Sea Island

I have been listening to Loscil for years and when his last full album Sketches from New Brighton came out I devoured it like a big chocolate cake all in one sitting. In fact, earlier this year it was the only antidote to getting Joni to fall asleep in the dead of the morning when she was brand new. I love a lot of his back catalogue too, my favourite probably being Plume or Endless Falls, but this years massive and sprawling Sea Island continues his run of high quality albums. It is long, yes, and dense, yes, but by goodness it's brilllaint. Sturgeon Bank and In Threes are proper stand outs. And this is one of the few times the two lists merge  - this made the Monday Graveyear list too.

3. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

I wasn't expecting much from this album at all - in fact, I hadn't even realised it was coming out. I picked up the previous War on Drugs album (I really dislike that band name) on a whim based on the recomendation from a friend's brother and it was... okay. I don't remember Slave Ambient making much of an impression on me at the time, but I heard good things about this album and listened to the stream once and bought it. I love everything about it - the dreamy vocals, the Springsteen galloping guitar, and the shimmer reverb effect across the whole album. It's a wonderful record and I've been pushing it onto all my friends at every oppruntinuty.

4. Cloud Nothings - Here and No Where Else

This will be short and sweet like the album - this is the funnest gig I had all year, the loudest album I've lsitened too all year, and the most addictive album in this list. 

5. A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent

I had for the longest time Scribble Mural Comic Journal, the debut album from ASDIG, and couldn't get into it. Albums like that sometimes sit for years on my desk so to speak before they click. In this case it took a dead battery on my iPhone and a powercut in my flat in Aberdeen to get me to listen to it fully - I was in one night and decided to listen to my library and there they were, right at the top, and I thought... sure, why not.

Fast forward to this year, and Sea When Absent comes out and it's like a bolt of lightning. From the first opening notes of Bye Big Ocean they had me, and it's stayed on heavy rotation all year. 

Rounding out the top ten...

6. Ought - More Than Any Other Day
7. Mogwai - Rave Tapes
8. The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace There Is
9. Future Islands - Singles
10. Dalhous - Will to be Well

Get it all in the Wednesday Graveyear 2014: Top Ten Tracks Spotify playlist