Showing posts with label Vinyl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vinyl. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Hymie's Vintage Records


Well, this post took long enough to write.

I had planned on visiting a number of record stores in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. There were several that I used to frequent in the 1980s and 1990s and I wanted to see which ones were still in business.

What I remember as Hymie and Hazen's was on Lake Street in South Minneapolis and that store has morphed into this version, pictured above. It's a fantastic improvement, to be totally honest with you, and I love what the store has become. Adam is the right guy to run the place. I remember the old owners and what it was like to stop in and browse through the stacks back in the good old days. The store is a little more organized now and is friendly in a way that the previous incarnation was a bit "diffident."

A record store has to seize onto something weird in order for it to have the kind of magic that keeps you coming back. I don't know what other retail establishment could do in order to accomplish that. There has to be something in the racks that you find and grab onto and buy immediately. Every great record store that I've been in, I've found something that blew my mind and that was that.

Really, this store is now the equal of any in the country in terms of vintage vinyl. In many ways, their selection dwarfs that of anything here in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's a keeper, it really is.

I think that if you're going to survive in this game, you have to have a cafe or ready access to food and a place for people to sit down and absorb the atmosphere. I know that the trend has been to cram as much product as possible into the smallest possible footprint because of overhead and operating costs, but someone really needs to study the business model for a modern-day record store and help figure this out. Because I had other stores to visit, I couldn't stay as long as I wanted. Now I regret that.

This was going to be the first stop in Minneapolis. I had plans to move on to the Uptown area and I visited Hymie's in the early evening hours of May 26th, 2020.  This photo was taken after I left. The time stamp is just after five PM.

Fast forward through one of the most harrowing afternoons I can remember. You could see crowds beginning to gather. You could see people carrying signs. You could see everything coming together and I don't think I've ever experienced that before.

When I left Hymie's, I headed down Lake Street. You could see the way that the protests were starting to emerge after the death of George Floyd the day before. I could see people beginning to assemble in the area of Lake Street and Hiawatha, another area that I remember from over 30 years ago when I lived in the South Minneapolis area around Cedar Avenue and 36th Street.

You know the rest of the story. The city, and the country exploded in protests and unrest. I missed it by mere hours, and was on the road home to Maryland the next morning.

Some day, I do promise to visit Hymie's and see if I can find a few more treasures. I hope they are still there and I hope to continue the tradition. What happened was far more important than my trip down memory lane. Social change is happening, and the events of May and June 2020 are more important than anything I could have written about here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

XTC Go2 and Go+ Covers




XTC's Go 2 album and the "extra" EP factored in as well. XTC were a prolific band, always laden with great songs and never at a loss for tracks or brilliance.

After Barry Andrews left the band, they carried on with Dave Gregory.

Wikipedia:

UK LP: V 2108

Side A

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"  

2:36

2.

"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"  

4:37

3.

"Buzzcity Talking"  

Colin Moulding

2:41

4.

"Crowded Room"  

Moulding

2:53

5.

"The Rhythm"  

Moulding

3:00

6.

"Red"  

3:02

Side B

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Beatown"  

4:37

2.

"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"  

4:41

3.

"Jumping In Gomorrah"  

2:04

4.

"My Weapon"  

Barry Andrews

2:20

5.

"Super-Tuff"  

Andrews

4:27

6.

"I Am the Audience"  

Moulding

3:48

[edit]2001 Remastered CD: CDVX2108

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"  

2:36

2.

"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"  

4:37

3.

"Buzzcity Talking"  

Colin Moulding

2:41

4.

"Crowded Room"  

Moulding

2:53

5.

"The Rhythm"  

Moulding

3:00

6.

"Red"  

3:02

7.

"Beatown"  

4:37

8.

"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"  

4:41

9.

"Jumping In Gomorrah"  

2:04

10.

"My Weapon"  

Barry Andrews

2:20

11.

"Super-Tuff"  

Andrews

4:27

12.

"I Am the Audience"  

Moulding

3:48

13.

"Are You Receiving Me?"  

3:06

[edit]Go+ (Bonus disc included on initial pressing)

  1. "Dance With Me, Germany" [dub version of "Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)"] – 3:17

  2. "Beat the Bible" [dub version of "Jumping in Gomorrah"] – 2:06

  3. "A Dictionary of Modern Marriage" [dub version of "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"] – 2:27

  4. "Clap Clap Clap" [dub version of "I am the Audience"] (Moulding) – 2:17

  5. "We Kill The Beast" [dub version of "The Rhythm"] (Moulding) – 2:05

And there you have it. White text on a black background, courier type, but very much a send-up of the marketing of music and bands. By the late 1970s, album art was in its heyday. XTC couldn't be bothered, even thought their subsequent records came with fantastic covers.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bob Mould Sunshine Rock




Leave it to Bob Mould to bring us yet another perfect album of hard hitting rock and roll songs.

Look at this thing. It’s beautiful.






I can’t wait to get this.


Friday, February 8, 2019

Sophie Ellis-Bextor The Song Diaries




There is new music on the way from Sophie Ellis-Bextor in March:

Sophie Ellis-Bextor ‘The Song Diaries’ – the new album out 15th March 2019

The Orchestral Greatest Hits

Pre-order the new album now & receive 5 tracks immediately including ‘Love Is You’ plus the Orchestral and Orchestral Disco Versions of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Take Me Home’. 19 incredible tracks including ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, ‘GrooveJet’, Take Me Home’ plus ‘Love Is You’ 

The album includes orchestral versions of 6 x Top 10 hits plus many more fan favourites

“Joyous, exhilarating reinvention and reminiscence” - Evening Standard ****

Available on CD, Limited Deluxe Digipack CD, 180g Gatefold Double LP and Limited Edition Gatefold ‘Baby Blue’ Coloured Double LP

140g double LP, gatefold

1. GrooveJet (Orchestral Version)­­
2. Take Me Home (Orchestral Version)
3. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Version)
4. Move This Mountain (Orchestral Version) 
5. Music Gets The Best of Me (Orchestral Version)
6. Mixed Up World (Orchestral Version)
7. Catch You (Orchestral Version)
8. Me and My Imagination (Orchestral Version)
9. Today The Sun's On Us (Orchestral Version)
10. Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) (Orchestral Version)
11. Bittersweet (Orchestral Version)
12. Not Giving Up On Love (Orchestral Version)
13. Young Blood (Orchestral Version)
14.Love Is a Camera (Orchestral Version)
15. Wild Forever (Orchestral Version)
16. A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (Orchestral Version) (Bonus Track)
17. Love Is You (Bonus Track)
18. Take Me Home (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track) 
19. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track)

She has never been given her due in America, and sort of reminds me of another version of Kylie Minogue - a tremendous artist who lives in the pop/dance music/fashion world who should really be a bigger star but sort of already is.






Every band should sell their own tea towel.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Who is Desperate to Have This?




Please ignore my vacant stare, but who in the name of all that is holy has been screaming for this to come out?

Recorded between Fez in Morocco, Dublin (HQ), New York (Platinum Sound Recording Studios) and London (Olympic Studios) and produced by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, No Line On The Horizon debuted at number 1 in 30 countries across the globe in 2009.

Lead single ‘Get On Your Boots’ was followed by ‘Magnificent’ and ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’. The album has been fully remastered with two additional remixes added to celebrate its 10th Anniversary – ‘Magnificent (Wonderland Remix)’ by Pete Tong and Paul Rogers and ‘I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’ (Redanka’s ‘Kick the Darkness’ Vocal Version).

I can’t think of a less interesting U2 album than No Line on the Horizon. It is the dishwater cafe of U2 albums, the one I think no one would miss (apart from that whole Lemon thing where they put out seven or eight versions of it and the running time equaled an album, basically). There’s nothing on this album I would miss, but that’s just me, I guess.

Since it has been a decade, is there anything U2 have done in this century that rises to the level of being essential as far as their catalog is concerned? I would put Achtung Baby at the top of it all, and everything sort of winds itself down from there. I guess I just don’t like any of the new stuff, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Electric Fetus




I see that the Electric Fetus, a record store in South Minneapolis, has been given a “best in the nation” rating by Rolling Stone, and it jarred a lot of memories for me.

Twenty-odd years ago, it wouldn’t even be in the top five for best record stores in the Twin Cities. It was always a good record store, in my opinion, and great for catalog titles, but definitely not one of my go-to stores.

In no uncertain order, I preferred these options:

  1. Garage D’or in South Minneapolis. I bought so many rare and interesting things here, it’s not even funny. My double cassette version of the Church’s Hindsight came from there, and I remember how the clerk “forgot” to put it in the bag. Thanks again, dirtbag, but I still have it. Oh, wait, I had to go get it on CD as well because, hello, cassettes? Anyway, one of my favorites.

  2. Let it Be in downtown Minneapolis. Easily, the most comprehensively stocked store in the ‘Cities. Tons of great stuff. Never had enough money to go there much, but you could get AMAZING stuff there.

  3. Roadrunner Records in Bloomington. A regular stop on the way home and an important store. I got the Electrafixion album there, and tons of other stuff. They were great when I traded in stuff.

  4. Oar Folkjokeopus. I actually spent more time in the co-op they had in the basement, but oh well. An incredible selection of 45s by obscure bands was had there, and I remember getting bootleg R.E.M. albums there. A must.

  5. Tatters and Platters. A defunct gem, but essential for anyone who cares about music and fashion. This is where you could get second-hand clothes and first-rate music, specializing in British romance and new wave. Is there anything wrong with wanting obscure singles by Love and Rockets? Nope.

I thought Down in the Valley sucked, and I felt like I got ripped off any time I went in there. I remember what it was like to go into Sam Goody’s (sucked!) and I remember a pawn shop on West Lake Street where they had tons of great, great records. I used to go into Hymie & Hazen’s a lot, and that place was really for the jazz crowd who liked 78 rpm records. If you were into heroin and confusion, hey, there you go. Special mention for the store in St. Paul whose name I cannot recall, but I shopped there in the late 1990s before I left the Twin Cities for good and came back.

Positively Fourth Street in Dinkytown was where I went a few times, but, really, I can’t remember it being anything more than disappointing. Same for Flip Side in St. Paul, which, back in the day, had an outsized reputation.

Best Buy and Circuit City had a retail war in the 1990s. There was a time when you could get ten dollar albums at Best Buy, and their bins were always heavily stocked. You go in there now, and they can’t get rid of CDs fast enough. And Circuit City is long dead and buried. There was a brief heyday there, and then it all went south. It gave way to Tower Records (I shopped at the one in Annapolis, Maryland) charging $19 for the new Gomez record. No thank you, jackasses.

As I was moving on from the ‘Cities, there were Cheapo stores everywhere, and the main thing they specialized in was buying up all of the CDs no one could afford to keep. They created this underground economy for people who bought an album, taped it, and then traded it in for cash. All of that collapsed thanks to Napster. Yay!

I went to the Fetus several times, but moved on quickly because it catered to the classic rock / KQ92 crowd. I needed the rare imports and the British stuff. They just didn’t have it.

My memory is fuzzy because I just don’t think about Minneapolis anymore. Did not enjoy living there, do not have good memories, but I still have tons of vinyl, CDs and cassettes that I have never parted with. All of that was purchased in the Twin Cities. I have maybe added thirty or forty pieces of vinyl since I stopped shopping for records by 1994 or so. If never end up back there, I’m fine with it. I live within 90 minutes of standing inside of Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas and, to me, that’s the best record store I’ve ever been in. Waterloo will cure what ails you.

Oh, and this will blow your mind. I read through this thread and saw stuff I had to come back here and add. How did I forget Northern Lights?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape




Bauhaus are releasing their live LP Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape for Record Store Day and I think it would be a wonderful acquisition if you can get your hands on it. You may be underwhelmed by the quality but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because it’s the coolest shit ever to play this stuff in the dark when you’re trying to think about your problems.

When I got this album, along with Mask, I immediately became frustrated with Bauhaus. Then, I went and got their other albums, and fell in love with everything they have ever done. This is one of those bands where I buy everything they do, up to and through all of the Love and Rockets stuff, of course. Casual fans just need their greatest hits. Some of the deep tracks get a little ponderous, but so does everyone who made a lot of music in the 1970s and 1980s.

Record Store Day is coming, and sometimes assholes ruin it by gobbling up all of the good stuff. Go fight for what’s yours and don’t let them pull their capitalistic bullshit on you.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Song Remains the Same




Led Zeppelin's reissues are impressive to say the least:

Led Zeppelin have announced a reissue of ‘The Song Remains The Same’. 

The classic rock group are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Guitarist Jimmy Page previously teased “all manner of surprises” to mark the milestone.

If you have ever subjected yourself to the whole film, then you know what to expect. The dreamy, almost surreal introduction, the hammering performance, and then you start wondering, "should this song really be twenty minutes long?"

 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wide Awake in America




I have very little interest in post-Achtung Baby U2, but this is a great idea:

U2 have announced the vinyl reissue of three of their classic releases, including their 2000 album ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’.

The three records in question – 1985’s ‘Wide Awake In America’ EP, 1997’s ‘Pop’, and ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ – will be all be remastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl for the reissue, with each record set to be packaged in a sleeve which faithfully reproduces the original release’s artwork.

Both ‘Pop’ and ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ will come with a lyric booklet, while all three reissues will include a special download card.

All three reissues are due on April 13, and pre-order is available now through U2’s official store.

They won't do this, of course, but they really should expand the number of tracks and make Wide Awake in America a proper album. Leave the first side the way it is, and add between five and seven live "bonus" tracks from that era. The tour that U2 undertook to promote The Unforgettable Fire produced a slew of live performances that, when you hear them as bootlegs, are really just astounding. Every U2 show from that era was an event, and it's a shame they are not releasing those recordings in their proper format.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Smiths Know How to Protest




The Smiths had their Record Store Day release etched with the following phrase this year:

"Trump Will Kill America."

What more do you have to say about that?













Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Hill Mining Town




U2 have decided to re-work an old song and release it in conjunction with Record Store Day. They are celebrating everything Joshua Tree related and why not? What other album kicked as much ass as this one did?

Red Hill Mining Town is a bit of a "lost" single for the band. They didn't release it in America because, well, their best stuff from the late 1980s just didn't go down with this demographic. The U2 of 1988 and 1989 was very successful touring Australia and New Zealand, and they were immensely bummed by the critical backlash against Rattle and Hum, of which, there won't be a celebration in this country in a few years when it turns 30. Which is sad because I loved that album. It gave you original songs and live versions and the film itself was an incredible testament to what they could do live. It was full of songs. What's not to love about a band that is generous with songs? Where everyone else was stingy, U2 was giving away as much of itself as it could. For that, they earned nothing but scorn.

Everywhere else, they ate it up, but this country hated that album. Go figure. There's great stuff on it, and All I Want is You is their best single of the 1980s, by far.













Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Proof That There's Money in the Vinyl Record Market




Stories like this remind me that there's a renaissance going on in the music business, and it is centered around making quality vinyl records that hipsters buy and don't listen to:

Down an industrial road in southeast Nashville, framed by yellowing, beige-box warehouses, is a building dressed in incongruous, deep-ocean-blue tiling. A burnt-orange sign above its steel-and-glass doors reads UNITED RECORD PRESSING. Inside is where the first Beatles record in America was pressed, where Wayne Newton was fĂȘted as a 16-year-old whippersnapper with an unfathomable jawline. Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, was provided an apartment there. Racist hotel owners didn't want his money.

After more than five decades, vinyl records won't be made there anymore. 

In a post yesterday on Instagram, United Record Pressing wrote: "Spending the last workday at the historic United Record Pressing roaming the rooms of Motown Suite before moving to the new facility." Historic Nashville, an organization that looks to preserve spaces exactly like United Record Pressing, called the news "shocking and sad."

United Record Pressing's operations may be moving to a new space -- in a statement to Billboard, a company spokesperson calls the company's new digs "a game-changer" -- the size of which can conservatively be estimated at two football fields, but the history of its original location is, probably, not going anywhere. Its owners write of having "every intention to honor and preserve it," and a recent push to save Nashville's classic spaces, in no small part owed to Historic Nashville's lobbying, has been successful.

If just one of the handful of remaining producers of vinyl records in Europe or North America was to go offline for a few months, the backlog in work would be huge. They're selling records like crazy all over the world. The question is--who's listening to them?













Thursday, August 11, 2016

Beautiful Thing




This is the E-mail I received after getting the second Stone Roses single, Beautiful Thing.

THIS ITEM WAS INACCURATELY ADVERTISED AS BEING LIMITED TO 5000 UNITS. THE VINYL SINGLE WAS MANUFACTURED TO ACCOMMODATE ALL TERRITORIES AND THE UK ALLOCATION FOR THIS WAS 5000 UNITS BUT A TOTAL OF 6000 UNITS WERE MANUFACTURED GLOBALLY. 

The message goes on to ask me if I want to send it back for a refund.

Who would return a 12" vinyl single because they made 6,000 of them instead of 5,000? Whoever would do that is an asshole.

I am a bit ticked off that they included no B-sides on the two new releases. When you order All For One or Beautiful Thing, you get the single track and nothing more. Given that there have been numerous live performances, I wish they had thrown 3-4 live tracks on these releases as B-sides. At a minimum, there should be an official release of the version of Fool's Gold that appears in Made of Stone

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Origami




Lush can have all my money.

This is an impressive set, and it compares favorably with the Chorus box set, which I absolutely love. There aren't many bands who can say that they're able to deliver their discography in one package anymore because there is the usual label switch to contend with. Lush, thankfully, did not leave 4AD and try to continue with a different music label so it makes it easy to put out something beautiful like this and have it be "complete" in every sense of the word. Now would be a good time for the BBC to issue a double or triple disc of their sessions and live shows.

All three of the studio albums and the two compilations? Wow.

 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Radiohead Establish Their Own Network of Record Stores




You know, if I had it in me, I'd open up a record store and try to get involved in things like this:

Radiohead have announced a huge streaming event, releasing a web page with a few intriguing details. 

Put up on the 'A Moon Shaped Pool' website, the page features a large map with a title of 'Live From A Moon Shaped Pool'. The description reads:

A UNIQUE RADIOHEAD EVENT TAKING PLACE ON FRIDAY JUNE 17 AT RECORD STORES GLOBALLY. FEATURES AN EXCLUSIVE DAY LONG AUDIO STREAM FROM THE BAND, COMPETITIONS, INSTRUCTIONAL ARTWORKS AND MORE.

To me, it makes obvious sense to try to tap into a network of similar record stores and try to organize everyone for promotional purposes. To stream the music into select stores--not a bad idea. You can count on increased traffic in and out of the stores if you're also offering physical product or a guaranteed slate of releases, similar to what they do for record store day.

It would be a good idea to continue to organize and establish a network like this so that other bands can promote releases in this way? What record store is going to say no to Radiohead? Who's going to say no to a chance to increase foot traffic through the store? Once you establish this network, look at sales--do they make a difference or are people going to your online store to buy your music?

Selling vinyl is still problematic because there are only a handful of pressing plants in the world and they are working overtime to keep up with demand. We're a couple of industrial accidents away from having little or no production capacity in the entire world. 

I mean, open a record store or build, from scratch, a vinyl record pressing plant with modern technology? Where would you put your money?













Thursday, May 19, 2016

Star




In order to show some appreciation for the reformation of Belly, 4AD have put together a re-release of their debut album Star. They're putting it out on white marbled vinyl and it includes updates and all of that. A classic! A really, really good album that should have been the foundation of a long and illustrious career that ended up being cut short just a few years later.












Friday, January 22, 2016

Selling You the Same Thing a Fourth or Fifth Time







This is an older article, but it's a damned good read. If you're interested in vinyl, and why wouldn't you be, I think you need to know the latest scam that's being perpetrated by the major labels:


There was a gold rush at Sony and the other majors, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the labels are trying to sell their archive a third time, this time to middle-aged buyers who can remember buying vinyl, naturally switched over to the CD, sold or threw away their old vinyl and aren’t completely happy with streaming today. A look at the vinyl section of a large Berlin store proves the shelves are full of reissues of old titles, mostly from major labels. Record players can be purchased right at the checkout. There’s nothing wrong with that – music should be sold in the formats that meet customer demand. But there are indicators that the majors are actively trying to secure substantial vinyl production capacity at the remaining pressing plants. How? By paying in advance. There might even be presses completely reserved for certain companies. That techno EP can wait – Led Zeppelin can’t. In the course of researching this article, we received emails that confirm such requests by the majors.


If this is the case – and the pressing plants are denying it – it would mean that the majors are attempting to buy their way into an industry that they played a significant role in destroying. And they are attempting once again to starve the indie labels, the very labels that never gave up on vinyl. On Record Store Day, when the shops are full of specially-made vinyl records and customers wait in line for these limited editions, the pressing plants have already had many hard weeks of work leading up to it. Who knows how many machines were quickly patched-up in lieu of a proper repair? Nobody has time to take a breath. The next releases are already on standby, and the machines continue to run at a furious pace.


But the vinyl production process isn’t only slowed down by the pressing plants – there are many steps long before a record is pressed that are also subject to complications. “The problem is the monopolization,” says Andreas Lubich, a mastering engineer and vinyl expert from Berlin. “There are currently many good mastering studios that prepare music for vinyl and also take care of the recording themselves. But the cutting machines are old and have to be used with a great deal of care. Replacement parts are rare and the secondhand market prices are unfathomable. Only a handful of people can repair them. They travel around the world throughout the year and have more to do than they can handle. In the worst case this means that a machine will lie idle for many weeks.”
The trouble starts before that. “There are only two companies worldwide that produce lacquers. One of these companies is a one-man operation in Japan run by an old man who produces the lacquers in his garage. It’s excellent quality, but who knows how much longer he can and especially will want to continue to do this. When we are in contact with him, we attempt to order as many lacquers as we can in order to stock up as much as possible. You don’t really know when you will reach him again. The other company is in the USA and serves a large portion of the market. It is practically a monopoly. This is not good for business.”

The whole thing is worth a read. But for a handful of European companies, running antiquated machinery, the whole vinyl resurgence would grind to a halt.


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Monday, January 4, 2016

Can You Make Money Selling Vinyl Records?




I doubt very much that this will continue:

Music retailer HMV has revealed that they sold one vinyl player every minute in the week running up to Christmas.

As reported by The Scotsman, the company also predicted vinyl sales of around two million in 2016 as the ‘vinyl revival’ continues.


Ian Topping, Chief Executive of HMV, said: “Entertainment products form a major part of the Christmas shopping list. The gift of the year in 2015, though, has to be a turntable as we have seen a huge resurgence in the sales of vinyl.”


Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for industry body the BPI, stated, “Having faced near-extinction in 2007, when only 205,000 LPs were sold, it’s likely we’ll see the best part of two million copies purchased this year.”


He continued: “While some fans are buying vinyl simply to own and collect it, many, naturally, want to be able to enjoy its warm, authentic sound, but unfortunately no longer have access to turntables. So it’s no surprise if retailers are reporting a surge in demand for record players as one of the ‘must-have’ Christmas gifts this year.”

Barnes & Noble used to be a book store. I know because I worked there! Now it's a toy store. And in the middle of the toy store, they sell vinyl records. The problem is, this is reissued vinyl cut from the digital masters used to produce compact discs or music downloads. 




Many of these recordings were made "natively" by a producer and engineer team that employed software such as Pro Tools. Their work went through this digital process (and was not intended at all for a vinyl release) or was converted to a digital master from tapes. You're not getting the same product that you would have gotten thirty years ago when they were still producing albums in vinyl and CD format at the same time. One of the last vinyl albums that I bought was Hold Your Fire by Rush (among many others, but 1987-8 was the "stopping point" for vinyl for me as I was kind of a late adapter to CDs). 





Everything sounds about as good as the equipment you play it on and the speakers you set up. Don't buy this new vinyl expecting something magical--it's all crap. Buy old records and see if you can't tell the difference. If you don't care and can't hear any difference, buy what you like. Old farts have no business telling people what to do.





If HMV can make money doing this, someone needs to get with the clowns at Barnes &Noble. Their abandoned bin full of uncategorized vinyl sits in the middle of the store and does nothing except confuse people looking for the toys their kids asked for a month ago.



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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nostalgia Sells




I think this trend has more to do with the fact that nobody has figured out what to do with their music so they're staying home and playing a few records instead of trying to arrange a collection and manage it through a computer.

The experience of listening to a vinyl record requires a level of attention that you can't get with a computer. Years ago, I bought a computer that came with RCA jacks, figuring that I would hook it directly to my stereo equipment and bridge the technology gap. After a few frustrating days of trying to get that to work, I gave up. I kept ripping CDs and I kept all my vinyl, adding a few titles here and there. But the ability to take music and play it and enjoy it remains as elusive as it was when vinyl went away.

Someone out there is going to figure out how to make, distribute, and survive by giving people an experience with music that won't be corrupted by format changes and business interests looking to cheapen things for the masses. I don't know what we'll see this year, but I doubt it will be cheap or worthwhile.

The saddest thing is, everyone bought that Pink Floyd record thinking they were going to get something. It was the cynical repackaging of twenty year-old material deemed not worth putting on an album, reworked and recycled so that the name could hit the shelves and trick everyone into a moment of nostalgia. It didn't consist of anything more than a few new vocal takes or overdubs and it sold like crazy because we don't have anything new happening in music that's worth anything at all.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Julian Cope 5 O'clock World 10 Inch EP Covers













I suppose that the straights and the money men and the suits and the housewives all thought Julian Cope was going to go straight in 1988 and begin making the sort of music that would shift units and deliver widgets into the marketplace on a regular pace. In the minds of some of these people, an exceptionally long conveyor belt dumping wonderful products into their homes was the wave of the future. No more shopping--no more discerning looks at this item or that to see if it fits to suit or suits to fit--just dump into into the old chute and watch the bank account record the credit automatically.

It's a pity that Cope has disowned the album from which this single came. A bad Julian Cope album is head and shoulders above--and more well thought-out than--anything you'd get from that conveyor belt of consumer goods. My Nation Underground wasn't and certainly isn't bad. Copey didn't have enough songs to flesh it out properly. Imagine the album being set aside and crashed into the brilliance of what became Peggy Suicide. Imagine his Droolian and Skellington sets being combined with all herein and I think it would have been grand. As it is, I'll take his works and enjoy them as is. Critics be damned, they never understood Cope anyway.

This particular single is wonderful enough to merit inclusion and it regularly pops up in my song rotation. Perfectly executed and packaged in a 10-inch single--what's not to love?

The 10-inch single was always a treasure to locate and find. I loved picking them up whenever someone I liked put one out. Now I have to go scour the old collection and see which ones I still have.