Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. For today’s instalment, we spin an energetic debut EP from LA newcomers Cuffed Up.
Much as even the most intrepid musical explorers amongst us may appreciate the thrill of the new, there’s much to be said for an emergent band who can artfully redirect the sounds of a bygone era. In the case of Los Angeles alt-rockers Cuffed Up, such influences are the US’ ’80s punk institutions of the West Coast, British pop-punk veterans The Buzzcocks and a healthy dose of ’90s grunge rockers. Though perhaps not the only fresh-faced band to channel such influences, this enthusiastic quartet certainly channel their favourite acts of yore with a degree of style seldom heard by their ostensible contemporaries – a fact attested to by their brief yet charming debut EP. It’s a brief listen at less than a quarter of an hour but its high-energy presentation makes it a vital document and standout song French Exit serves as a particularly potent affirmation of the band’s talents.
British indie stalwarts Hassle Records are the label responsible for releasing Cuffed Up’s debut EP outside of the band’s homeland and they’ve certainly released a product here that speaks of their stout quality control. Pressed to a neon-yellow 12″ slab of wax, this four-track collection has been pressed at 45rpm for maximum fidelity and boasts stupendously quiet surfaces free of any audible imperfections. It’s also a weighty disc in hand, with tidy surfaces free of the marking which all-too-often appears on brand-new records. A digital download has also been included for the listener’s on-the-go needs.
Aside from the gorgeous yellow vinyl, this isn’t amongst the most extravagantly packaged of releases we’ve reviewed here at Vinyl Corner but that is understandable considering that this is the band’s debut EP. The cover is a standard-width non-gatefold affair wrought from typical cardstock and, though perhaps not remarkable in terms of construction, is certainly stout enough to feel reasonably sturdy. One thoughtful touch is that the barcode has been relegated to a hype sticker on the plastic sleeve in which the cover is presented, rather than having been printed directly onto the back cover. It’s also commendable to find a label eschewing the one-use plastic shrinkwrap in which most new records are sold and instead offering the buyer a reusable plastic sleeve with their purchase.
Cuffed Up’s debut EP is an immediately likeable slice of punk-infused post-grunge rock that fans of those styles’ innovators would do well to give a hearty spin. Hassle Records have produced a similarly solid vinyl release here, which makes the title an easy recommendation.
Enjoyed this feature? We’re always looking for further albums to highlight on Vinyl Corner – and if you have a vinyl release that you’d love to see written about here, please get in touch at email@example.com – it would be great to hear from you!