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One of the greatest opening salvos of any band, Wire’s first three albums are all essential slabs of vinyl, and chart the legendary band’s development from sneering art-school punks to heroic post-punk pioneers. Hitting the racks in 1977, Pink Flag’s 21 songs spanned a mere 35.37. Yet this was no Ramonesstyle 1-2-3-4-athon, and its deconstructed punk was served up with an abrasive intelligence matched with invention and irony. Its impact spread far and wide, with Strange later covered by R.E.M. and Three Girl Rhumba a costly influence on Elastica. Chairs Missing arrived in 1978, and while a small semblance of punk remained, the band’s loftier ambitions provoked arty experimentation. The oblique pop of the album’s two singles, the dissonant I Am The Fly and the fragile Outdoor Miner, demonstrated how far they’d come. Named after the number of gigs the band had played in their career at the time of the album’s release, the post-punk threshold was fully crossed with 154, issued in 1979. The band now fully embraced the abstract and, instead of song fragments, Newman, Gilbert, Lewis and Gotobed were creating fully realised, complex soundscapes.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 16 of Long Live Vinyl hits the shelves on what would have been Prince's 60th birthday. Our cover story focuses on the astonishingly prolific decade between 1978-88, when the Purple One released 10 albums that shaped the future of pop. We also round up the 40 essential Prince releases on vinyl that your collection should not be without and profile the cover art that accompanied his remarkable catalogue. Elsewhere this issue, we speak to The Smiths legend Johnny Marr about how he made his best solo album yet – Call The Comet – in his home city of Manchester, hear how Josh T Pearson raised the bar with his own latest record, and sit down for a chat with post-punk icons Wire. In our packed features section, we find out which record changed everything for former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and meet famous 4AD artist in residence Vaughan Oliver to talk through his classic designs for the Pixies, The Breeders and Cocteau Twins. Also this month, we turn the spotlight on a label that's become a Chicago institution with a mind-bogglingly diverse roster – Drag City, Mark Elliott travels to Belfast for his latest cratedigging adventure in The Trip, and we take an in-depth look at the making of Carole King's career highlight, Tapestry. If all that's not enough, our packed reviews section rounds up new releases and reissues by The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Orb, Kamasi Washington, Let's Eat Grandma, Richard Hawley and many more, plus you'll find expert hardware buying and HIFI DIY advice, as well as turntable, speaker and accessory reviews. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today!