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Primal Scream



From their psych roots to the rave-pop of Screamadelica, through to the ear-grind of XTRMNTR and beyond, Primal Scream have kept it real. John Earls champions the band’s singular talent

There’s an ugly sneering towards Primal Scream from some critics – it’s as if Bobby Gillespie’s deep passion for music is something to be mocked. Oh, why can’t he just relax and shut up about The Stooges and listen to Jess Glynne instead?

Wanting to stop people caring is absolute balls. Calling your singles compilation Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll is one neat riposte: an even better one is sequencing those 31 singles in order and offering it up as a reminder that Primal Scream are one of the most varied bands of their generation.

Gillespie’s explanation to Long Live Vinyl that he and guitarist Andrew Innes generally choose the bangers from their albums as singles makes perfect sense when the Primals’ singles are listened to together.

Over the course of two hours, they switch from C86 jangling via rave, rockabilly, country-rock, dub, psychotic dance, hoedowns, prog and Krautrock to a hard-won euphoria. It should be a bewildering mess. That it isn’t is because of the restless energy that’s propelled Gillespie, Innes and their collective’s talents over the past 33 years.

Innes’ view that Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll should only feature their “serious” singles means there’s no place for their debut All Fall Down or recent Record Store Day releases Mantra For A State Of Mind and Golden Rope. More debatable is the decision to bisect Volumes 1 and 2 of the vinyl editions seemingly at random, with two singles from 2000’s Xtrmntr on Volume 1 and one on Volume 2. Yes, the breathless thrum of Accelerator is a terrific way to start an album. But so too would have been Swastika Eyes, one of the most startlingly odd singles to launch an album from a major band since, well, Kowalski from Primal Scream’s previous album Vanishing Point. Xtrmntr is generally regarded as their best album alongside Screamadelica, so from a commercial as well as coherent view, putting all its singles on Volume 2 would have been most sensible.

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About Long Live Vinyl

In our cover story, we look back at The Stones Roses' classic 1989 debut album 30 years on from its release. Producer John Leckie takes us inside the making of the record and Peter Hook reveals how he would have made it sound even better. We also count down the 60 greatest debut albums of all time, from Are You Experienced to Unknown Pleasures. Elsewhere, the irrepressible Bobby Gillespie guides us through Primal Scream’s new best-of collection, Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll, Kevin Morby explains why a concept album about religion might be the best record he’s ever made, and we meet the outrageously talented Aldous Harding to hear about joyful new LP Designer. We also profile the legendary Stiff Records and take an in-depth look at The Cure’s Disintegration – which turns 30 this year as the band prepare to headline Glastonbury. Legendary photographer Norman Seeff recalls shooting Blondie, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones, and if that's not enough we bring you the widest range of new album, reissue, turntable and accessory reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.