In the late 1990s, Portland-based programmer Kevin Lewandowski shifted his musical discography efforts from a manually maintained drum'n'bass website to a community-built effort, and named the effort Discogs
. The site
grew, slowly at first, focusing on documenting any and all details of electronic records, then hip hop, rock and jazz, and eventually any sort of recorded audio, more or less. Other key changes include the 2005 addition of the Discogs Marketplace
, and the contentious Version Four update
, which changed the way submissions are moderated, making all pending submissions publicly visible. The latter change resulted in "the oggercide
," but it was the former that brought about a vinyl revolution
, uniting a world of record sellers small and large in one well-visited vinyl (and CD, cassette, DVD, etc.) record store. Last month, Discogs held its first in-person record sale
, in Portland, Oregon.
On March 15, 1969, The Velvet Underground played its last show of a three-day engagement at The Boston Tea Party in Boston, Massachusetts. The entire set was recorded by a fan directly from Lou Reed's guitar amplifier. "Reed’s guitar is, of course, way up front and the rest of the band is barely audible. The result is a mighty electronic roar that reveals the depth and layers of Reed’s playing. Over and undertones, feedback, string buzz, the scratch of fingers on frets and the crackle and hum of tube amps combine to create a monolithic blast of metal machine music." - Head Heritage
Previously available on a bootleg CD
, The Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes
has finally made it to vinyl
, courtesy of Tummy Tapes.
Check out one of the most unique VU boots in existence. [more inside]
The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who's Buying Up All the World's Vinyl Records. By age 30, he had about 30,000 records. About 10 years later, his bus company expanded, making him rich. Not long after that, he split up with his wife, and the pace of his buying exploded. "Maybe it’s because I was alone," Freitas said. "I don't know." He soon had a collection in the six figures; his best guess at a current total is several million albums.
The Case for CDs
-- as CD sales continue to plummet
, Grantland's Steven Hyden takes a "glass-half-full perspective" on those numbers, discusses format nostalgia, and the five types of albums that justify the continued existence of CDs. [more inside]
“I’ve used the contemporary archaeology of Olompali to address the concept of stereotype, in this case, what we generally consider to be the ‘hippie,’"
- California state archaeologist, E. Breck Parkman has published a paper analyzing the diversity of vinyl records excavated from the ruins of Rancho Olompali in Marin County, California. The site, formerly closely associated with the Grateful Dead, was the home of the Chosen Family commune from 1967 to 1969. The commune and the mansion both met their end in '69, razed by an electrical fire. [more inside]
New York’s golden era had hip-hop luminaries digging in the crates at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention.
Record dealer John Carraro reflects on introducing old music to the likes of Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Large Professor, Buckwild, Diamond D, Prince Be, Mr. Walt, and DJ Clark Kent, among others.
Vinyl Terror and Horror
uses physically altered vinyl records and many turntables to produce an eerie soundscape.
It used to be that a CD or good old fashioned 12" vinyl would simply play, and your only indication of when it was about to end would be the album tracklisting printed on the sleeve. Hearing another song start up just as you thought the album was finished and got up to change the record was always an unexpected thrill - a surprise encore in your bedroom, a sort of reward for listening right through to the end. Yes, the iPod and its many variants have transformed the way people listen to music, but as someone who grew up waiting excitedly when an album finished to see if there was an extra hidden treat at the end of an album, I'll always see the death of the secret song as the sad flipside of its success. [more inside]
Why Would Anyone Buy a Cassette Tape?
"I went back to the merch table to see what was on offer and saw - among other things - a cassette tape. I figured that participating in a weird economic trend would be worth the $5, so I bought it. Needless to say, I don't own anything that could play a cassette tape."
Vinyl -- Alan Zweig feat. Harvey Pekar -- 2000 -- M VG+
"Yeah, the music is the most important thing. I wish it were the only thing. It's not. I'd be better off if it were the only thing."
A documentary about the most noble mania.
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]
"If you spend any time looking for records at flea markets and garage sales, you come to recognize a variety of common vintage records: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Barbra Streisand, box collections of "best of" classical music, the band America.
And then there are the rare finds, the albums that you would never expect to exist. My latest find at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair falls into that category ... it became my possession for $2. And now yours, via SoundCloud, for nothing."
Sounds of X-15s, Atlas missiles, Nieuport biplanes, and more
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
, another song from Handwritten.
We Buy White Albums
is a New York record store dealing exclusively in first pressings of the Beatles' self titled 1968 double album (aka the White Album). The store is actually an art installation from Rutherford Chang
. The inventory is growing (currently over 700 copies), with vinyl condition ranging from very good to scratched, warped, and graffitied, all filed by serial number. Each copy is being digitized and photographed with plans to press a new double-LP made from all the recordings layered upon each other and a composite cover of all of the photos. Vinyl collector site Dust and Grooves has an interview with Chang and a lot of pictures of the "store" and individual copies
BBC DJs Mark and Lard show of some of their treasured vinyl recordings which are "particularly hard to find these days in this kind of condition": Mull of *Kintyre
, Messing about on the River
, Rocking around the Christmas Tree
, Bright Eyes
). NSFW - although somehow they got away with broadcasting it in the middle of the afternoon.
Which isn't to say it's not a deep record — it's just a record that wears its depth lightly, couching it in gags and a multitude of weird voices and ball-busting autocritique. The almost-hit-single "Passin' Me By" stands out most clearly as a foundational text for modern nerd-rap of all stripes, but the whole record operates in previously uncharted territory, foregoing both tough-guy posturing and didacticism in favor of honesty. It's about hormonal mischief and formative heartbreak, the mistakes these guys have made and the mistakes they'll make again, and the fact that it's one of the funniest-on-purpose rap albums ever made never quite overshadows its precocious intelligence. 20 years later, it's time for another Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. [more inside]
Tempero Brasileiro (mp3)
is a collection of rare Brazilian tracks originally issued on 7″ vinyl. Compiled by Edson Carvalho, one of the top São Paulo crate diggers. [more inside]
For his video "I Will Never Change", London-based musician Benga used 960 records to create a stop-motion waveform of the song
. [more inside]
Limited Editions: Record Store Day 2012
is almost upon us. Started in 2008, this internationally celebrated day is observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose is to celebrate the art of music with hundreds of recording artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl. [more inside]
is a new web site that's attempting to list all record shops world wide. Allows you to rate/review shops you're familiar with and scope out the scene in places you're travelling to.
Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell
in at their Volta Laboratory
in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison
worked from his Menlo Park facilities
, and Emile Berliner
worked in his independent laboratory
in his home
. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile
, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners
, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders
, respectively. [more inside]
In summer 2011 The Flaming Lips released collaborative vinyl EPs with Lightning Bolt, Neon Indian and Prefuse 73. The 'starter blob' of vinyl for each disc was assembled by hand using random amounts of different vinyl colors, ensuring that every record would be unique. Here are a couple of Flickr photosets
of the finished products (and a bit of the process) as they came off the presses. [more inside]
On June 29, 2011, the last remnant of what was once Columbia House — the mightiest mail-order record club company that ever existed — quietly shuttered for good. Other defunct facets of the 20th-century music business have been properly eulogized, but it seems that nary a tear was shed for the record club. Perhaps ... a new generation of music fans who had never known a world without the Internet couldn't grasp the marvel that was the record club in its heyday. From roughly 1955 until 2000, getting music for free meant taping a penny to a paper card and mailing it off for 12 free records — along with membership and the promise of future purchasing.
The rise and fall of the Columbia Record House club--and how we learned to steal music
The music industry Loudness War
. Research into actual sales rankings
, Radio Impact
, Listener ratings
and Hearing loss
, all show better results for music
with a higher dynamic range.
Pates Tapes is an online music project from Charles Pates
comprised of hundreds of hours of mixtapes culled from vinyl and cassette. Just click and play.
Dirtbombs' drummer Ben Blackwell has created a map of Detroit of labels
offering "vinyl releases throughout all eras". He also has a blog
and participated in the SXSW panel "How to Make Money With Vinyl" (mp3
) as an employee of Third Man Records.
is popular dance music from northeastern Brazil. Forró em Vinil
is a blog with out of catalog forró gems for download. But wait, is this legal? [more inside]
is a Japanese web site featuring the cover art for every Blue Note album ever released. Other labels are featured as well.
Pitchfork TV presents I Need That Record!
(one week only), Brendan Toller
's documentary feature
examining the plight of independent record stores in the U.S. Featuring Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Ian Mackaye (Fugazi/Minor Threat), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) Chris Franz (Talking Heads), Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Pat Carney (The Black Keys), Bryan Poole (Of Montreal), and many more figures of the indie record making/selling scene. Plus the wild animations of Matthew Newman-Long
! (previously mentioned
"Chris Supranowitz is a researcher at The Insitute of Optics at the University of Rochester. Along with a number of other spectacular studies (such as quantum optics, trapping of atoms, dark states and entanglement), Chris has decided to look at the relatively boring grooves of a vinyl record using the institute’s electron microscope.
" More complete study here
In 1975 and again in 1984-1992 Dr. Demento was distributed on LP vinyl records.
There was a history
of distributing shows on transcription discs
, but this and other shows are now found all over the internet along with other forms of "bootlegs" thanks to digital recording and LP record players co-existing. [more inside]
Researcher John Meyer
has devised an objective index demonstrating that mp3s offer far lower fidelity than either vinyl LPs or standard CDs. And yet this
eight-year study at Stanford University shows that prolonged exposure to mp3s leads young listeners to prefer the format. No wonder record producers are despairing.
DVDs to save the music industry (video interview)
Record Producers discuss illegal downloads, home
studios and why 5.1 DVD sound just might be the future. [more inside]
RCA Victor's record manufacturing process in 1942: Part one
- Part two
Is it "a momentary blip on the inevitable decline of a dying format" or "the onset of an extended revival that will see the record outlive its arch-nemesis the CD?"
Last year more people bought vinyl LPs than in any year since Nielsen started keeping track in 1991, nearly doubling sales from the year before
. Turntable sales rebounded sharply
in 2006. This Saturday, coordinated with the 2nd international Record Store Day
, dozens of artists and labels are releasing exclusive vinyl versions of unreleased tracks, rare 7" reissues, remasters and new songs, solely to participating stores. Here's the full list
(most with cover art here
). [more inside]
The New Creation
was born in 1970 when Chris Towers, an unknown guitarist from Vancouver, decided to form a Christian rock group with his mother Lorna as lead singer and their neighbor Janet Tiessen on drums. Scared by reports of the hippie excesses of the Manson/Altamont era, Lorna Towers wrote doom-laden, apocalyptic lyrics for the New Creation's aptly titled album, Troubled
. The band was unpolished, yet somehow captured a unique lo-fi sound comparable to a hybrid of the Velvet Underground and the Shaggs
. The group might be totally forgotten today, if an aging hippie record dealer named Ty Scammel
hadn't rescued a copy from a $1 bargain bin, leading to the album's rediscovery
by collectors of Christian rock and outsider music
. [more inside]