Phil Giles

records – why they’re so groovy

Having a massive love of music made record collecting an obvious hobby for me. I try to listen to music at every point I can in the day, if it’s quiet it just doesn’t feel right! I have also spent the last 14 years of my life playing and making music in various bands, and I was brought up listening to quite a variety of music.

The first thing I would like to point out is that I listen to ALL of my records. I think it’s a great way to experience music and having something physical that you can hold and read while you listen is amazing. I bring this up as a man approached me after doing some record shopping last weekend and asked me “Do you listen to those, as I hear people just collect them to look at these days”. And he’s not wrong, which I think is a massive shame and a real waste. Yes the artwork is nice, but the best part is the listening!

It would be impossible for me to go through every record I own (trust me I would love to), and picking an ultimate favourite is a no go. So I thought I would give you a look into the different styles and types of records I own.

my collection so far


Above is a photo of the record shelf in my bedroom. It’s really starting to fill up! I have a total of 124 records made up of 93 12″s, 3 10″s and 29 7″s. I’m also pretty strict on the ordering of my records. They are ordered by band/artists in alphabetical order, then chronological within each artist.

picture discs

Picture discs are pretty self-explanatory, the record has a picture on the playable areas! They look really cool and they are becoming more and more common. I luckily have two of my own to share. The one on the left, Brand New – Jesus 7″, is possibly one of my favourite records just for the amazing photos of jellyfish. The second, Heavens – Patent Pending 7″, features a picture of a band member on each side.



Die-cut records are probably some of the most fun. They are typically a 7″ record pressed onto a 12″ disc then cut to the desired shape. I was lucky enough to pick one up last year while on one of my record hunting days. Nai Harvest/Playlounge – Flower Split ep, is cut into an awesome flower shape!



Records really do come in any colour you can think of these days and I have plenty of single colour discs, but I thought I would share some of the more colourful styles you can get.


Adventures – Supersonic Home 12″ & Citizen – Youth 12″. Both of these records show the weird merge of colours that you can get on one disc. They end up with really unique looks and two never come out the same.


’68 – In Humor And Sadness 12″ has a great purple pearlescent effect which really shines under the light!

The Story So Far – Songs Of The Story So Far 10″ has three sections of block colour inspired by Jamaica due to their Bob Marley cover on the ep, and also has a black ‘splatter’ effect. This record is actually only playable on one side as all of the lyrics are printed on the reverse.

the feature rich

Some artists go all out to make their record special. Lazaretto by Jack White does that and then some. Here’s what it does:

  • 2 hidden tracks beneath the center labels
  • Side A plays from the inside out
  • Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped
  • Matte finish on Side B
  • Both sides end with locked grooves, making an infinite sound at the end of each side
  • The center unused wax contains a hand-etched hologram, the first of its kind on a vinyl record

Yeah you read that right – there’s a hologram! I managed to film the effect when I first got the record:

A video posted by Phil Giles (@likewerealive) on

the real collecting

There is only one band I would say I properly collect their records. Brand New have been my favourite band since I was about 13, so I really feel the need to own everything they put out! Here’s what I have so far:


  • Your Favourite Weapon – white 12″
  • Deja Entendu x2 – 12″ black
  • The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me x 3 – 12″ black, red, clear
  • Daisy x2 – 12″ black, green
  • Jesus – 7″ picture disc
  • The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows – 7″ green

As you can see there are multiple versions of the same album in there. This is due to the fact that many pressings can get released of an album, and they would typically be in different colours each time. This makes for a very expensive hobby sometimes as Brand New’s Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me has 18 different colours, and I only have 3!

record store day

Record store day was started in 2007 and is a yearly event in April which celebrates independent record stores. Artists and labels will release and press special edition versions of their earlier work, or sometimes even record special ep’s for the day! They are then sent to record shops all around the world and only sold through them. With the recent surge in record sales, the queues are fairly hectic and the whole thing will go on for a few days before they sell out totally.


Last year was my first record store day experience. There was one big reason why 2015 was the RSD year for me, Brand New were re-issuing an album. I queued with a friend outside Banquet Records in Kingston from midnight until the shop opened in the morning. That sounds a bit crazy just for a record, but we were still nowhere near the front. The people at the very front arrived while the shop was still open the day before!

Here’s a photo of what I managed to pick up last year:

A photo posted by Phil Giles (@likewerealive) on

  • The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 12″
  • Biffy Clyro – Puzzle 12″
  • Daughter/Warpaint – Split ep 12″
  • God Damn/Baby Godzilla – Split ep 10″
  • Foo Fighters – Songs From The Laundry Room 10″
  • Self Defence Family – Indoor Wind Chimes b/w Cottaging 7″

You might notice the Brand New record I wanted most isn’t there! And it’s true I didn’t get it that day! The person in front of me in the queue got the last one, which was quite upsetting at the time. Luckily there was so much more I wanted that year, so it wasn’t a total failure!

Although there was the disappointment of not getting the main record I wanted, overall I was really happy with what I managed to get and the whole experience was great. Meeting new people and passing the time by talking about something we all love was really great.


After the great experience last year, I was very excited to get back to it again this year! I had a list on my phone of all the records I wanted to get and had planned everything out to keep warm and awake for the queue.

Unfortunately, I became ill on the day I was meant to go and totally missed the event! Lucky I managed to get down to Banquet the weekend after and there were a couple of things I wanted still available:


  • La Dispute – Tiny Dots 12″
  • Death Cab For Cutie – Tractor Rape Chain 7″
  • Derek and Clive – Punk Song 7″

the expensive

Discogs is a great website and is my record collecting best friend. The main part of the site is the huge database of releases from all bands and artists, which gives you all of the CD, record or cassette release information. You can set up an account and log what records in what pressings you own yourself and add things you want to a wish list.

The other part is an awesome community shop where people list anything they want to sell. If someone posts a record for sale that’s in your wish list, you get an email to let you know you can buy it straight away.

Now, remember how sad we all were when I didn’t get my Brand New RSD release? Well, it’s a happy ending after all! I managed to pick it up through Discogs:


Given the title of the section being ‘the expensive’, you might guess that I paid quite a lot for this record. At least three times its original worth! But being a collector, the urge to get the missing items in your collection is greater than the care for what’s in your wallet, even more so when they are your favourite band!

The special edition record included:

  • brown paper bag sleeve
  • the record with the astronaut die-cut from the cover
  • a book with all lyrics and guitar chords written by Jesse Lacey – the bands front man and songwriter
  • a patch featuring some lyrics
  • stickers for the bands own record label
  • a download code to get a digital copy of the album (pretty much all records have this these days)

when will this all end

Hopefully never. With great things like Record Store Day bringing more people into independent record shops every year, the industry will carry on growing. Pressing plants all over the world are struggling with the demand of records as it is. And I think that’s awesome news.

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