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White Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Armed Forces

  (Item #: costearmed_1701) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • A KILLER Top Copy and one of the best to ever hit the site -- Triple Plus (A+++) sound from beginning to end
  • Some of the biggest, boldest rock sound ever recorded -- just amazing on a pressing like this
  • 5 Stars and a Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album - every track is amazing
  • AMG is right: Armed Forces "...ranks as his third masterpiece in a row."
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White Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
King of America

  (Item #: costekingo_1704_) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Elvis's brilliant 1986 release finally comes to the site with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two
  • Side one was right up there with the best we played, earning a strong Double Plus (A++) grade for its weight and richness
  • Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is only one highlight among many - these are some of his best songs
  • AMG raves: "Stripping away much of the excess that cluttered Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello returned to his folk-rock and pub rock roots with King of America, creating one of his most affecting and personal records ... one of his masterpieces."
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White Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
This Year's Model

  (Item #: costethisy_1703) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • WOW -- an incredible Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two for this Elvis Costello classic!
  • You're gonna love the sound here - full-bodied and punchy with a solid low end and excellent presence for Elvis's vocals
  • The bass is right - the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs are clear and the band swings the way it's supposed to
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most remarkable thing about the album is the sound — Costello and the Attractions never rocked this hard, or this vengefully, ever again."
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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Armed Forces

  (Item #: costearmed_1611) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, giving you killer sound for this classic album
  • 5 Stars and a Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album
  • AMG is right: Armed Forces "...ranks as his third masterpiece in a row."
  • Some of the biggest, boldest rock sound ever recorded -- just amazing on a pressing like this
See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
My Aim Is True

  (Item #: costemyaim_1701) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An amazing copy, with side two earning a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grade and side one damn close to that
  • The sound is HUGE - lively and open with killer bass and excellent presence
  • A massive step up sonically from most early domestic pressings, which more often than not are exceptionally gritty and hard
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "A phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music."
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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
This Year's Model

  (Item #: costethisy_1702) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • One of the true Elvis Costello classics returns to the site on UK vinyl with Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • You're gonna love the sound here - full-bodied and punchy with a solid low end and excellent presence for Elvis's vocals
  • The bass is right - the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs are clear and the band swings the way it's supposed to
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most remarkable thing about the album is the sound — Costello and the Attractions never rocked this hard, or this vengefully, ever again."
See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Imperial Bedroom

  (Item #: costeimper_1701_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • Double Plus (A++) or close to it throughout, very spacious and transparent
  • Geoff Emerick engineered, creating a unique sound - a sound which only works if you have the right pressing
  • This dense, darkly serious album contains some of the best songs EC ever wrote - the last of his True Classics
  • Allmusic 5 Stars: "Essentially, the songs on Imperial Bedroom are an extension of Costello's jazz and pop infatuations on Trust. Costello's music is complex and intricate, yet it flows so smoothly, it's easy to miss the bitter, brutal lyrics."
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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Trust

  (Item #: costetrust_1702) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent copy of this Better Records favorite with both sides rating Double Plus (A++) on quiet vinyl
  • The clarity and transparency here are superb, allowing you to appreciate subtleties in the high end even when the bass and drums are really POUNDING
  • Incredibly tough to come by — this is only the third Hot copy on the site since 2013!
  • 5 stars: "Arguably, their most impressive album... demonstrates all sides of Costello's songwriting and performing personality..."
  • "...this is rock and roll as eloquent, hard-hitting pop, and Elvis has turned into such a soul man that I no longer wish he'd change his name to George and go country."
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Domestic Elvis Costello Records

No Action

  (Item #: costello_domestic) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

Domestic Elvis Costello pressings don't usually do all that much for us. Boosted highs, poor bass definition and copious amounts of grit and grain -- '70s Columbia at their best, what else is new? The first album and Spike are the only Elvis records I know of that sound good on domestic vinyl. Forget the rest. If you love Elvis Costello as much as we do around here, we suggest you do yourself a favor and trash your domestic LPs -- you need a British or German copy to even get in the ballpark, and that's far from a guarantee of good sound. Elvis is "Still the King," but you would never know it without the right pressing -- like this one.

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Elvis Costello - Armed Forces

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: costearmed_2009) 



This White Hot Stamper side one was HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than ANY side of ANY other copy we played. We are awarding it our very special "Four Plus" A++++ grade; the sound goes beyond anything we've heard before. It's also one of less than two dozen such records to ever hit the site.

At this point we've easily done more than a thousand Hot Stamper listings, so we are talking in the range of the top one or two percent for sound. Most audiophiles will go their whole lives without hearing a rock record sound this good, considering the tens of thousands of records we've had to buy, clean and play to find the handful of OFF THE CHARTS copies we've reviewed.

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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

180g Rhino LP Debunked

  (Item #: costemyaim_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

I’m embarrassed to say we used to like the Rhino Heavy Vinyl version, and in our defense let me tell you why: it was (for the most part) tonally correct, fairly low distortion, and had tight punchy bass.

Boy, was we wrong. Now it sounds positively CRUDE and UNPLEASANT next to the real thing -- if by "the real thing" you mean an honest to goodness Hot Stamper copy. The average copy of this record is aggressive and unpleasant. The British pressings are mud. You either have to work very hard to find a good one (which means buying, cleaning and playing lots and lots of them), or you have to luck into a good one by accident.

See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: costemyaim_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

STUNNING! This insanely good pressing earned the rare FOUR PLUS (A++++) grade on side one -- it's OFF THE CHARTS! Side two is incredible as well, earning our standard top grade of Triple Plus (A+++) The sound is incredibly lively, punchy, and powerful; with all due respect, it should MURDER whatever copies you may have. Relatively quiet for this album, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides.

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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: costemyaim_obsess) 



MY AIM IS TRUE is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it.

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

This link will take you to all of our other ELVIS COSTELLO albums.


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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

British Band, British Pressing... Right?

  (Item #: costemyaim_myth) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

The British pressings are simply not competitive with the best domestics. No import, from any country, can touch a good Columbia pressing from the states. The most common stampers for the Columbia pressings have never sounded very good to these ears, but that doesn't mean there aren't some killer copies with different stampers sitting in the bins wearing the generic '70s Red Columbia label. We've heard them. Wish we could find more of them but they are rare and only getting rarer.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Elvis Costello's albums


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Elvis Costello - This Year's Model

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: costethisy_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

PUMP IT UP! This British Import Radar LP has TWO AMAZING SIDES that really convey the energy of this hard rockin’ music. The overall sound is punchy, lively, and dynamic with lots of tight punchy bass. The vocals on both sides are Right On The Money. We don't find copies like this very often -- Hot Stamper pressings are TOUGH to come by.

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Elvis Costello - Trust

The Best Sounding Record of 1981?

  (Item #: costetrust_1981) 



With the right full-range big speaker system, one that can really move air from the midrange down, either side of Trust may end up becoming one of your favorite DEMO DISCS. The overall clarity and transparency of the best British pressings are superb, allowing you to appreciate subtleties in the top end even when the bass and drums are really POUNDING. Play Whisper to a Scream on side two for some of the best pounding on the album. If that song doesn't get your blood pumping, you need a bypass to unblock a few arteries, stat.

Is Trust the best sounding album from 1981? It gets my vote.

See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Elvis Costello Arrayed His Forces

and Produced His Single Best Sounding Record

  (Item #: costearmed_best) 



We consider Armed Forces to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, and a top copy is proof enough to back up our claim. The best copies are extremely transparent and silky sounding, but with unbelievably punchy, rock solid bass and drums.

The sound of the rhythm section of this album ranks up there with the very best ever recorded. Beyond that, the musical chops of this band at this time rank with the very best in the history of rock. Steve, Bruce and Pete rarely get the credit they deserve for being one of the tightest, liveliest backing bands ever to walk into a studio or on to a stage.

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What We Listen For on Elvis Costello's Trust

The Bass Is (Almost) All

  (Item #: costetrust_listen) 



There’s a TON of low-end on this record; regrettably, most copies suffer from either a lack of bass or a lack of bass definition. I can’t tell you how much you’re missing when the bass isn’t right on this album. (Or if you have the typical bass-shy audiophile speaker, yuck.)

It’s without a doubt THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT of the sound on this album. When the bass is right, everything falls into place, and the music comes powerfully to life. When the bass is lacking or ill-defined, the music seems labored; the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs blur together, and the band just doesn’t swing the way it’s supposed to.

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