One of the odder aspects of the vinyl resurgence of recent years has been the return of the humble movie soundtrack. Throughout 2015 and moving into the close of 2016, the release of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: AWESOME MIX 1 and reissue of Pulp Fiction’s original soundtrack have dominated vinyl charts.
While many would look down on these background soundscapes and mood setting compilations as lesser art forms, the figures show that for many, they can prove just as resonant as any classic LP. Sifting through the record crates at Discrepancy Records we pulled out seven must-have soundtrack albums.
Spice up your collection with a little love from the world of film: presenting 7 absolutely killer soundtracks on vinyl.
Based on the memoir of filmmaker and journalist Jon Ronson, Frank is equal parts love letter and send up of indie culture. It’s the This is Spinal Tap of underground music.
Focused upon the enigmatic Frank, it tells the story of a reclusive front man who lives with his head enclosed in an enormous papier-mâché mask. Adding to a sense of realism, vocals are provided by Michael Fassbender and other members of the supporting cast with the help of composer Stephen Rennicks.
The tracks channel the personas of outsider musicians like Chris Sievey and Captain Beefheart into 21 of the weirdest songs ever set to film. The climactic I Love You All draws on the drug-wearied delivery of Jim Morrison to provide a grandiose opus of off-kilter song craft.
One of the godfathers of modern electronic music, Moroder’s scoring of the 1978 prison drama Midnight Express remains a DJ favourite to this day. Laying the foundations for electronic dance music, the LP exists as a treasure trove of the producer’s chunky arpeggios, phased out synth washes and four-to-the-floor rhythmic pulses.
Putting a few cheesier pop-leaning numbers aside, it’s an ambrosial blend of melodic disco and trance-inducing sequencing.
Featured Artists: Barry Louis Polisar, Kimya Dawson, The Kinks, Buddy Holly, Mateo Messina, Belle & Sebastian, Sonic Youth, Mott The Hoople, Cat Power, The Velvet Underground, The Moldy Peaches, Antsy Pants, Michael Cera and Ellen Page
Film fanatics might be divided on the merit of Jason Reitmen’s over the top indie quaintness, but the film certainly made an impact. Few can deny ever having heard the expression “sounds like something from the Juno soundtrack.”
Playing out like an eclectic mix tape, the album’s distinctive sonic profile collects everything from the classic rock of Sonic Youth and The Kinks to heavy helpings of the lo-fi indie folk of The Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson. For those enraptured with the gentle humour of the film, it’s definitely worth the shelf space.
With a sequel to Danny Boyle’s iconic 90s film well on the way, it’s the perfect time to revisit the original’s reissued soundtrack. While a sequel in the world of these scattered Scots may run the risk of falling short of the mark, the common threads of nihilism and excess of the original continue to ring true two decades on.
An expertly sequenced mix of post-punk, Brit pop, classic rock and techno, the album perfectly aligns with the countercultural lifestyles of the film’s drug addled protagonists.
Featured Artists: Mogwai
A fully fledged Mogwai album by another name, this ambient score represents one of the most recent studio helpings from the post rocking Glaswegians. The LP was adapted from the score of 2015 documentary film Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise.
The bleak outlook of the documentary aside, the group’s instrumental sound never fails to project the gravitas and majestic sense of space that defines their signature sound. Seeing the group step back from their usual bombast and into a more delicate world of background music evokes a sense of minimalism and restraint which is too difficult not to enjoy.
Featured Artists: The Beatles
Inspired by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, The Beatles’ third film captured the Fab Four at the height of lysergic excess. While not considered an official album, this collection of leftover Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band outtakes and newer songs cement its spot in Beatles history with some of the group’s most innovative and downright loopy material.
While the film proved to be one of the beginnings of the end for the increasingly divided band, it also made some of their greatest musical strides.
Featured Artists: Dick Dale & His Deltones, Kool & The Gang, Al Green, The Tornados, Ricky Nelson, Dusty Springfield, The Centurions, Chuck Berry, Urge Overkill, Maria Mckee, The Revels, Statler Brothers and The Lively Ones
This placing might not come as a shock, but this ultra-stylised soundtrack has more than earned its place. Quentin Tarantino has made a career in film by infusing the disused ephemera of popular culture with new life. The soundtrack from the director’s second feature film is no exception.
This oddball collection of tracks weaves together forgotten B-sides, bygone hits, and bubble-gum pop into one of the most distinctive soundtracks ever made. The longevity of the album establishes that regardless of what idiosyncratic elements Tarantino draws into his pop culture mosaic, the end product will generally stand up to repeat listening.
Can’t get enough? We’ve listed twenty best movie soundtracks of all time. Check them out here.