The Vinyl Countdown with Derek Rickman

Next up on The Vinyl Countdown, Derek Rickman picks 10 tracks that bring back memories, and shares why they’re so important to him – a lovely eclectic collection for you to enjoy…

1. The Snuts – Glasgow

I’m not sure if this is a hometown eulogy to that great city as The Snuts hail from Whitburn, Lothian but this indie anthem craves your attention. It literally bursts into life after a slow deceptive start with soaring guitar figures and insistent drums. Listening to it on my sunbed in Gozo far from Glasgow’s rain lashed streets kept me grounded in some kind of reality.

2. Art School Girlriend – Come Back to Me

Dare I say it? Probably the greatest love song ever written. Yes I’m biased but the reason I’m so invested in CBTM is because the elements work so beautifully, the depth of longing in Polly Mackey’s voice, the nuanced melancholia of the keyboards and the imagery ‘I see your shape appear, it falls apart and slips away again’. I was lucky enough to see her perform it last year at Margate’s Elsewhere and it left me on the edge of tears.

3. Daniel Avery, Jon Hopkins – Glitter remix

I first heard this on a road trip with my brothers to The Lake District. I was having my usual motivational music session in the back seat and the pulsing electronica seemed totally in sync with the blurred landscape of cloudy peaks as we sped past. Through that whole weekend it seemed to be implanted in my subconscious. Staccato keyboard patterns kept bubbling to the surface throwing shapes and colours into sharp focus as we traversed the gloomy pinnacles of Buttermere Edge.

4. Amy Winehouse – Love is a Losing Game

I simply stop whatever I’m doing whenever I hear the drum roll/piano intro to this sublime torch song. Nothing else seems to matter for the next 2.35 minutes. Heavenly production values from Mark Ronson and the vulnerability in her voice is so telling. Bless you Amy.

5. Drenge – Backwaters

‘In the murky backwaters I lay my body down’ what a great lyric from Eoin Loveless. This song is so underrated in the canon of Rock/Grunge I’ve always imagined it could be coupled as a double A side with Nirvana’s Teen Spirit. A wall of dense guitars bombard the senses and ferocious drums from sibling Rory pound out their mission statement. Such a shame then that they played a slowed down version at Brixton Academy when I finally got to see them live.

6. Egyptian Blue – Nylon Wire

One of the few post/punk bands that really seem to cut it. I’ve been following Brighton based Egyptian Blue since they dropped their first EP Collateral Damage in 2019. I love their energy, the taut angular guitars and the subtle interludes in their music. Nylon Wire is no exception. Who wouldn’t want to be in the mosh pit with beer in hand watching these guys run through their set on a Friday night?

7.  Kanye West – Ye vs. the People (starring TI as the people)

This is my go to hip-hop/rap track. It’s such a clever premise with Kanye and TI facing off over political/social divisions during Trump’s mid-term presidency. Contextually it reads like a Twitter exchange as Kanye and TI rant at each other but it’s perfectly balanced and the music/sampling flows beautifully. It’s hard to imagine it working in any other genre of music which makes this track kind of unique. A huge favourite.

8. Echo and the Bunnymen – A Promise

Ian McCulloch’s vocal is so unhinged and visceral here (perhaps his best ever) and Will Sergeant’s stinging guitar arpeggios embellish the dark undercurrents of this early Bunnymen track. There’s a brooding malevolence throughout A Promise (think of the Stones’ Gimme Shelter) and when the Light on the Waves middle section gives way the track just builds and builds to its epic conclusion. A great Rock ‘n’ Roll record.

9. Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks

An unstoppable juggernaut of a song from its endlessly sampled drum intro through the whole 7.08 minutes to Jimmy Page’s echoey slide guitar finale. It just pins you in your seat and dares you to not to listen and engage. I was in the car with my cousin on a long drive back from my uncle’s funeral in Hereford and we put this track on and perversely it seemed to make sense of everything.

10. My Bloody Valentine – Soon

Sometimes music is about memories of a place or an event. This Shoegaze classic from Kevin Shields & Co reminds me of a holiday in Cornwall speeding along the North Atlantic highway, window wound down (cliché I know) with turquoise seas and engine houses burning into my vision. The closing track from the seminal Loveless, the 6.58 minutes of Soon fairly swoon with fuzz heavy guitars and breathy vocals but there’s an arch playfulness to it which I really like. I think I had it on cassette and remember nervously trying to re-spool it when it got stuck in the tape player at Sennen Cove!

I’d just like to thank the magazine for featuring my Vinyl Countdown. It was great fun to put together and my head was literally swimming with music whilst I was writing about each track. Here’s just a few more that didn’t quite make the playlist.

Mogwai – Ritchie Sacramento
IDLES – Heel/Heal
Disclosure – Happening
Radiohead – Bodysnatchers
Aphex Twin – Xtal
Savages – Sad Person
Grimes – Delete Forever
Working Men’s Club – Valleys
Daniel Avery – Slow Fade
Jamie xx, Four Tet, Romy – SeeSaw (club version)

Derek is a writer, poet, painter and hiker who takes striking photos on his travels. You can listen to his playlist here then catch him on his music-filled journeys on Instagram below. Drop us a message if you’d like to share 10 favourite tracks of your own.

Derek Rickman – Instagram

20th January 2022