What It Takes for an Independent Record Store to Survive Now [Pitchfork Media] Even as legacy music shops continue to shutter across the country, Midwestern institution Used Kids has managed to stay afloat for the last 30 years and counting. How do they do it?
To forestall a German blockade, at the beginning of World War II the Royal Navy built huge, multimegalitre subterranean oil storage tanks across the country. In 2009, the facility at Inchindown in the Scottish Highlands opened for visitors - and something remarkable came to light. [more inside]
Sly Stone leaping and kicking the air in his ultra-70s platform heel boots. Thelonious Monk at the piano, a weapon slung across his shoulder and surrounded by the accoutrements of underground resistance. Bruce Springsteen grinning and leaning on his buddy, sax man Clarence Clemmons. If you're any kind of music fan, these iconic album cover images will probably be familiar to you. And they are only the tip of the iceberg: there were so, so many more designed for Columbia Records, over the years, by art director John Berg, who has just passed on at the age of 83. So long, John, and thanks for all those killer record covers.
Zoo Zajac is a 130,000 sq ft (120,77.4 sq m) pet store in a small town in Germany. The owner, Norbert Zajac, got his first pet, a golden hamster, when he was 4 years old. He started breeding and selling animals at 8 years old. Today his pet store is officially recognized as the largest in the world and has a selection of animals better than many zoos. They stock 250,000 individual animals of 3,000 different species.
Ever wonder what a record needle looks like as it travels down a groove? What about the surface of a DVD? Even if you haven't, you should still take a look (SLYT)
A Guinness World Record Diary: Dr. Strangeline, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee and Love the MTA
Cleaning a vinyl record with wood glue. "This trick works because the glue and record are somewhat chemically similar, so the glue only sticks to stuff that's not supposed to be there."
If you've encountered delicately uplifting chimes and bells or a singing saw, seen the contributions of a string quartet in a Sigur Rós video, heard the last recording by Lee Hazlewood and noticed the gentle singing and music, or listened to Yukihiro Takahashi consider words, then you've possibly encountered the Icelandic band amiina. [more inside]
"The thought of someone releasing records to not make money always struck me as a fascinating example of how economics and music sometimes make for strange and uncomfortable bedfellows." For a couple of years in the mid-to-late 70's, a few strange record labels popped up with the sole purpose of taking advantage of a little-known loophole in the tax code that allowed record labels to take valuable tax write-offs for unsuccessful releases. These records were often released without the musicians' knowledge and either quickly destroyed, kept in a warehouse, or given in small quantities to a handful of record stores. [more inside]
65 to 70 million U.S. adults, 3 or 4 of every 10, have an arrest or conviction record, greatly reducing their chances of getting a job, if they even get an interview, as many job applications ask applicants to check a box if they have a criminal record. "Ban the Box" is the slogan used by groups who are trying to counter this practice. The ban is spreading with cities and states around the country "banning the box" from government job applications, and some jurisdictions are forcing private employers to ban the question, too. A few major companies have removed such questions from their applications ahead of the local and state requirements, with Target following Wal-Mart's decision (previously).
Target Bans the Box. Target Corp., one of the nation's largest employers, joins the growing number of cities and states to Ban the Box. Most Ban the Box legislation has been targeted towards public employers and contractors, but there has been a growing trend to enact legislation applicable to private employers, including in Target's home-state Minnesota. Target is one of the few private employers to take the step, and as far as I can tell, the largest yet. [more inside]
Japanese baseball's single-season home run record has been broken. Set by the legendary Sadaharu Oh (still holder of the world career home run record) in 1964, it stood for 49 years. In recent years, several players had come close to breaking it... only to be walked for the rest of the season, by teams managed by Oh himself. The record was broken by Wladimir Balentien, who's from Curaçao -- an island familiar to baseball fans partly for its oddball names which combine Dutch, Papiamentu, and other influences. In affectionate tribute, Notgraphs published this guide to figuring out your Curaçaoan name.
Heard: a free iOS app that could solve a lot of arguments, and probably end a lot of marriages. It continuously records audio into a 12-second buffer (extend it to 5 minutes for $1.99), letting you save what you just, um, heard. Part Orwellian, part Chappellian (NSFW).
Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? This week, CNN interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife. Clemente stated that the FBI had ways of accessing those calls, and that all calls are recorded. [more inside]
Record Store Day encourages music lovers to support their independent record store on the third Saturday of April. Since 2008, the day has been growing in popularity, and this year more than 700 stores across the U.S. are participating. [more inside]
Every Word Handwritten is a new short film by New Jersey rockers The Gaslight Anthem centered around the lifespan of a single vinyl record. It's title comes from a line in Handwritten, a song off their album of the same name. The Gaslight Anthem have long written about the power of old music formats, from their proclamation that they're the 'last of the jukebox Romeos' on their first album to their many invocations of the mythical 'radio' on songs like Angry Johnny and the Radio and Queen Of Lower Chelsea to 45, another song from Handwritten.
The Okeh Laughing Record, a novelty recording, was first released in 1923 and rose to #8 on the Billboard charts, becoming the highest ranking anonymous* recording ever. It's history and provenance is completely unknown**. It has since appeared as the soundtrack to cartoons, on Dr. Demento and on Jean Shepard's radio show. [more inside]
"THE CLOUDS stretched across the Texas sky like a highway. And soaring along those lanes, lofted nearly 8,000 feet by the hot air rising from the earth, two hang gliders raced in tight pursuit of the most prized feat in this high adrenaline niche sport: farthest ever flown." The NY Times on breaking the hang gliding long distance record.
"You know why we did [that]? So a DJ could take a lunch break. When you have all three-minute records, you don't even have time to go to the bathroom. Or you just want to stop for a minute. So that's 19-and-a-half minutes of 'I don't have to worry about a thing.' But I didn't do it to create this thing. I just did it to help the DJs out."
Yes, he only shot 48% from the floor, but last night, Jack Taylor, a sophomore guard from Div. III Grinnell College in Iowa, set a new men's NCAA basketball scoring record (on any level) by dropping in 138 points in Grinnell's 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible. This is the "insane" boxscore. You know a player has a big game when an opposing player (Faith Baptist Bible's David Larson) scores 70 points and becomes a footnote. So how'd he do it? [more inside]
The world record for Flash Anzan was broken this year at the 2012 All Japan Soroban [abacus] Championship. Competitors in Flash Anzan sum up 15 3-digit numbers that are displayed in turn within a set time. The record is now 1.70 seconds, which means that each number is displayed for just over 0.1s. Here is a video of a "slow" 1.85 seconds seconds where the numbers are barely readable. [more inside]
The old and the new videos for Dayvan Cowboy by Boards of Canada. Old (Joe Kittenger's 1960 jump) and new (Felix Baumgartner's 2012 jump). As previously followed on MetaFilter.
The 2013 Guinness Book of World Records has spoken and Ostego, MI's 3'8" Zeus the Great Dane is the tallest dog in the world.
July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States. 70% of Iowa - the nation's largest corn producer - is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 50% of the nation's corn crop as poor or very poor. Today U.S. corn prices reached an all-time high. The impact will be global. Wired looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought".
Rock band Def Leppard has decided upon a unique solution to the problem of making their music available for electronic distribution despite conflicts with Universal Music Group: Re-record their entire back catalog as accurately as possible. They're calling the songs 'forgeries.'
...The cult of and luster for country blues among these record collectors came about because not only were recordings by Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James and Robert Johnson not successfully sold to African Americans, but other record collectors were not interested in them either. There were so many collectors of New Orleans jazz that not only did the recordings became too expensive to collect, they also didn't want them -- they wanted to find something that required more energy to uncover, and more energy to actually appreciate. Anyone who has ever listened to Charley Patton knows that you have to learn how to listen to him, you have to really struggle -- it is a work of archeology, really, to make out what he is saying. It is powerful, and I don't want to deny its power, but you have to learn how to hear that power, and African Americans, when these records came out, didn't necessarily hear that.From an interview with Marybeth Hamilton, author of In Search of the Blues [more inside]
The art market entered a new phase on Wednesday evening when “The Scream”, a pastel drawn in 1895 by Edvard Munch, was sold for $119.92 million at Sotheby’s auction of Impressionist and modern art. The winning bid, which came by telephone, set a world record for any work of art offered at auction. [more inside]
At the age of 49 years and 4 months, Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies is the oldest baseball player to ever earn a regular roster spot on a Major League Baseball team (Satchel Paige pitched 3 innings in a 1965 game at age 59 as a publicity stunt). There are many current players, including some of the game's best, who weren't even born when Moyer made his MLB debut, making Moyer's feat all the more impressive.
Maggie and Terre Roche started performing professionally in the late '60s, just a little late for the folkie boom but also a bit too distinctive to blend easily with the singer-songwriters of the early '70s, even when they became acolytes of Paul Simon and recorded backup vocals on There Goes Rhymin' Simon. By 1975, they had their own album on CBS, with tracks produced by Simon (and backed by the Oak Ridge Boys and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) and ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith... Seductive Reasoning is not completely a folk nor a country album, which no doubt hurt its commercial potential... Songs such as "West Virginia", "Down the Dream", and "The Mountain People" touch on early joy and disillusionment/disappointment, while "Jill of All Trades" and "The Burden of Proof" reflect a few more years of life under one's belt and the smoothing out that can come with them. "Underneath the Moon" and "Wigglin' Man"... are more straightforward getting-laid songs, funny as hell... while several of their albums have been as good as Seductive Reasoning, none were better. Nor did they have to be. - Todd Mason (previously) [more inside]
The University of Florida Book of Insect Records (UFBIR) names insect champions and documents their achievements. [more inside]
Tai Star spent seven hours balancing 600 quarters, 501 dimes, 313 nickels, 1699 pennies and five foreign coins (3,118 coins in total) on a single dime. It's not his first attempt to break a record.
Star explained: 'It is on the very corner for a few reasons: to make it easy to see that it is on one dime and I think the structure of the table is most sturdy there - plus I just like precarious balance.'
Classic album covers, now with kittens!
You must have heard about frisbee, a flying disc based pastime, haven't you? Throwing a flying disc can be more exciting than you think. You can try to break one of the world records (there's a record for 1-year olds and a challenge for 102+ years old women). Alternatively, you can play some competitive games, including some well known ones like ultimate and some you probably haven't heard about: buttgutts, a game of immense skill played between two teams of one to ten players each. The objective is to hit the oppostition's butts with discs.
The Mix Tape of the Gods: made to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per second, now traveling 300 million miles per year
August and September 2011 mark 34 years in the journeys of Voyager 1 and 2. The two scientific probes, progeny of the Mariner program, were sent out to survey this solar system and beyond. Voyager 2 completed the Grand Tour in 2009 (excluding Pluto), and Voyager 1 is getting closer to interstellar space (previously). Both scientific probes were sent out in with a time capsule from 1977, golden records secured in plain view on the outside of the Voyager Spacecraft. These greetings from earth (alt links: Coral Cache, Archive.org) were recorded in the form of 116 images, a collection of sounds of this planet, greetings in 55 languages (YT), 27 songs from around the world, and brain waves of Ann Druyan, then recently engaged to Carl Sagan. For all that work, the "Mix Tape of the Gods" almost didn't get sent into space because of some last-minute writing in the run-outs. [more inside]
The World's Worst Records: an arcade of audio atrocities, including such classics as Hamsters for Jesus, Christmas in the Stars (Star Wars Christmas Album), Homer the Happy Little Homo, Someone Walked over My Grave, and many more! Slightly NSFW.
Mattel's Hot Wheels for Real campaign documents "the existence of a testing facility 'hidden for 43 years,' where all sorts of bad-ass driving happens on huge Hot Wheels tracks." Their first real world stunt: a Guinness world record 332 ft. jump off a giant orange track at this year's Indy 500.
Texas is burning. Despite it being only April, due to severe drought conditions, over 1.8 million acres have already burned throughout the state, which could soon surpass the two million acre record set in 2006. Here are the 10 largest current wildfires as seen from orbit. [more inside]
Earlier today, Graeme Obree revealed that he is gay, attributing his struggles with mental health in the 1990s to this. "I was brought up thinking you'd be better dead than gay." [more inside]
Four years after being spawned Fraser River Sockeye salmon return to the same creeks in which they were born to mate, spawn and die. Salmon have a strong preference for heavier returns every four years. Prior to 1913 this cycle peaked every second odd year (IE: 1905 - 1909 - 1913). However in 1913 (a year that had a record high 31 million fish harvested) construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway along side the Frasier river resulted in massive rock slides that prevented most of the returning fish from making it to their ancestral streams. Clean up efforts in subsequent years and the construction of fish ladders at Hell's Gate saved the Salmon from extinction and switched peaked returns to every second even year (IE: 2010 - 2014 - 2018) but numbers of fish returning were way down. Until now. This year's projected returns are the highest since 1913's record year and not far short of it. This is bound to make the organizers of Salute to the Sockeye very happy. [more inside]
Record label Fool's Gold, run by DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs, has just put their entire catalogue online for free streaming with links to paid downloads for each track. [more inside]
Saturday, a four man rowing crew (pictures) broke the 114 year old record for rowing across the Atlantic. [more inside]
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