FACT mag's 100 Best Albums of the 1980s. Inspired, sometimes surprising selections slightly off the beaten path: Whodini, Whitehouse, Suzanne Ciani, Nurse With Wound, and Godflesh while no Talking Heads, R.E.M., or Clash. Complete with free downloadable mixes guaranteed to make you shake your ass like a dork at work. [more inside]
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.
What are Bill Clinton's favorite records? The actual answer is immaterial, since you can generate your own with the Bill Clinton Swag Generator.
If we’re talking about vinyl in 2014, we have to talk about Jack White. In April, rock‘n’roll’s self-appointed analog evangelist celebrated Record Store Day by teaming up with United Record Pressing in Nashville to put out the “World’s Fastest Released Record.” At 10 a.m., White and his band recorded a live version of his new album Lazaretto’s title track at his own Third Man studios, then drove the masters to United, where it went immediately onto a 7” press, before ending up in fans’ hands at the Third Man store. From start to finish, the process took 3 hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds.
“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.
If you were sitting around in the early years of the Great Depression with $247 burning a hole in your pocket (about $3,800 in today's dollars) and were too lazy to get up and change your records when they finished playing, you might have been tempted by RCA's new Radiola Automatic Electrola RAE-26. [more inside]
Scratchy Grooves For almost twenty years, starting in 1984, Bill Chambless on WVUD-FM at the University of Delaware, explored the pop music of 1900 to 1940 on vintage recordings, "scratches and all." Stream the shows at this website, migrated from the original cassette tapes and maintained by his son.
"When laid open, the Waynai Bible measures 43.5 inches tall and 98 inches wide. Closed, the spine is 34 inches thick. The book has 8,048 pages and weighs in at 1,094 pounds." [more inside]
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]
Animated Jazz Covers. Very cool.
The Top 80 Highlights of the World according to Michael Spencer Bown, a Calgarian who may lay claim to the title of 'the most extensively travelled person in human history'. [more inside]
Les disques africains collects, rips, and uploads out-of-print records (and their sleeves!) from the golden age of vinyl in francophone Africa. Don't miss la belle chanteuse Sali Sidibé, psychedelic grooves from Benin, or this incredible 35-minute oral-musical history of Bobo-Dioulasso. New posts appear, as if by some rare magic, every three to four days.
If anyone has heard of artist Bill Stout, it is probably because of his paintings of prehistoric life, or perhaps you recognize some of his movie poster art. Early in his career, Stout produced cover art for bootleg records issued by the Trademark of Quality label. The artist recently published a three-part interview about his work for that label. It has lots of wonderful anecdotes, but most importantly, lots of great art. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
A timeline of Blue Note jazz album covers.
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.
Noted filmmaker Allison Anders (recent L.A. Weekly profile) won 50 rock and pop records once owned by Greta Garbo at auction. She's listening to them, one by one, and writing about them at Greta's Records.
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 (more). NSFW - although somehow they got away with broadcasting it in the middle of the afternoon.
For non-anglophones, the English names of worldwide brands, music bands and other cultural items are both ubiquitous and slightly mysterious. Here what the English (plus some German, Spanish and Japanese) names of 52 brands/logotypes and 30 musicians/records look like when very loosely and somewhat lazily translated in French. Some extras can be found in the comments (note: annoying pop-up at the start).
In 1965 (or 1966, or...1964, depending on your source), three northeast garage rock bands came together to create the definitive early garage rock Christmas Album that time has since forgotten. Merry Christmas from The Sonics, The (Fabulous) Wailers, and The Galaxies features everything from Bob Dylan sound-alikes, fantastic originals, sincere classics... and weird goof-arounds. [more inside]
C'mon over to Lucky's Amazing Sports Lists and kill a little time. The front page is impressive enough, but how about a list of all American football field goals in excess of 60 yards (including a long list in 6 pt type of all female place kickers in American football)? Looking for more focus? How about this page detailing the career of Dave Myers, the 1929 quarterback for the NYU team, who was Black. Basketball more your thing? Check out the history of the Gruman Aircraft Company pro teams, integrated in the 1940s! Or you could just peruse the list of basketball players who have scored 100 points in a single game. The design is crude, but there is far too much information to do justice to in a short post. (Via Stephan Fatsis on the Oct. 29 Hang Up and Listen sports podcast.)
...When I was around four or five, my parents split up, and we didn't get to see a lot of my dad. So, anything that was his in our house was kind of a treasure. And I knew that record album, "American Pie." I can picture it in my head with the thumbs up and Don McLean on there. And in the top right hand corner there was my dad's name on one of those old-fashioned label makers where you could press the letters in with the white and it would come up in white raised letters... [more inside]
Alex in the Chelsea Drug Store. A frame-by-frame archeology of the records and magazines in the Chelsea Drug Store scene of A Clockwork Orange. [NSFW]
The Feynman Files. For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
Julian Cope's "Album of the Month" series brims with personal, passionate, and often mind-expanding writing about records like James Brown's The Payback, Nico's The Marble Index, and a bunch of stuff you've never heard of. (previously) [more inside]
...this symmetric aperture is called the "fenetre de breeze", roughly translated meaning the "zephyr window".
The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946 [mp3 at bottom] lingers on in the memories of record collectors, radio historians, and a generation of post-war vulgarians from Dr. Demento to Howard Stern. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's vivid recording of the contest (conceived at a company stag party) inspired legions of LP cover artists: an early public airing was encased in a sleeve designed by one of the earliest proponents of the illustrated album cover. Later editions were adorned with shockingly detailed renditions of the Great Contest, created by a variety of anonymous geniuses. (Speaking of art, it was also a rumored favorite of Salvador Dali). Though it has inspired various lurid myths, we've learned a little bit about the deepest roots of the contest right here on Metafilter. [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]
Record Shops 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.
DJ Greg Wilson has photos of the Haçienda DJ Booth (no, not the one you're thinking of). DJ Hewan Clarke who played every night for the first four years talks about what it was like in the early days of the Haçienda: What I used to do when I was playing the records… I always had to go out, run onto the stage, stand in the middle of the stage and listen to how it sounded in the club, went back in and readjust it on the mixer and I was constantly doing that because there was no feedback from what was going on outside, you just had to look through that gap. [more inside]
Dick Pfander's obsession with basketball box scores means that every NBA box score in the league's history is now accessible.
Sleeves Received is a collection of the best-designed finds from The Wire's mailbag. (via thingsmagazine)
The University of Florida Book of Insect Records (UFBIR) names insect champions and documents their achievements. [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 rise and fall of the Columbia Record House club--and how we learned to steal music.
The Invisible Fastball. "Six decades ago, a minor league pitcher accomplished something we'll never see again." (Single page version)
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.
Project Thirty-Three "The seemingly infinite number of vintage record jackets that convey their message with only simple shapes and typography never cease to amaze me. Project Thirty-Three is my personal collection and shrine to circles and dots, squares and rectangles, and triangles, and the brilliant designers that made them come to life on album covers."
Digger's Digest offers something for the crate digger in us all, with categories including Post Punk / Synth Pop :: Cosmic / Disco :: Electronic / Experimental :: Middle East & Oriental :: French Library :: Various 7" :: Soundtracks :: French Sounds :: Jazz Funk :: Psych / Prog / Rock :: Afro Latin Caribbean :: Various Library :: Jazz :: Breaks & Drums :: Psych / Prog / Pop 7 plus Cover Art and Podcasts.
"Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers.... What we call art is a game."
What If Your Favorite Album Was a Book? Rock classics from from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin, reimagined as book covers. [more inside]
Do you only have one turntable and a microphone? Do you have a few thousand to drop on a turntable unlike any other? Well, Mike Disher and Joel Scilley are your men. But that's not the only way to get a one-of-a-kind turntable. This one was made from motorcycle parts. Stell Moebel has one that's wall mounted and one that's a functional coffee table (beware of the audio, click mobeldesign). If you can really afford to go all out, pick from one of the world's most expensive turntables.
Nothing compares with the experience of wandering through the archives of a college radio station, reading the stickers pasted on the old LPs and seeing first-hand how DJs viewed canonical records when they first came out. The KEXP blog puts those stickers online in Review Revue. Read contemporary reactions to: Paul Simon, Graceland. Peter Broggs, Cease the War. LL Cool J, Bigger and Deffer. Nirvana, Sliver 7". Lou Reed, New York. Tin Machine s/t. Sonic Youth, Goo. The Stone Roses s/t.
Vintage Vanguard is a Japanese web site featuring the cover art for every Blue Note album ever released. Other labels are featured as well.
Sad breaking news on a previously discussed topic as 16 year old Abby Sunderland is feared lost at sea. [more inside]
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)