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The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store

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)
posted by shoesfullofdust on Apr 24, 2010 - 19 comments

turn me over play me again

Messages in the Matrices of Records
posted by sleepy pete on Apr 7, 2010 - 43 comments

March Madness History Edition: Girls Six-on-Six in Iowa

The national record (PDF) for the most career points scored in high school basketball is held by a woman: Lynne Lorenzen from Ventura High School. Lorenzen and her sisters played six on six basketball, a fast paced and high scoring game. Six on six was a great tradition in Iowa, surviving until 1993, when Oklahoma became the last state to have games. There is both a documentary and a book detailing the nuanced history of the game in Iowa.
posted by achmorrison on Mar 7, 2010 - 12 comments

Hoot Owlin Again

Strange & wonderful album covers. [more inside]
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist on Feb 26, 2010 - 16 comments

Songs your grandmother danced to...

Mult-link Youtube: victrolaman
posted by grumblebee on Jan 8, 2010 - 7 comments

Moog-y Christmas

Do you like musical instruments with lots of keyboards? And lots and lots of dials? Then you may like 36 15 MOOG: Stuff with Moog and/or 60's and 70's vintage synths in it. (related Ask MeFi) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 24, 2009 - 14 comments

highway hifi, ultramicrogroovey revolution!

Peter Goldmark, developer of early color tv technology, is lesser known for a cooler invention, the Highway Hifi – the first recorded-music player for an automobile. The under-dash system played records provided by Columbia Records which played at 16 ⅔ rpm even when the vehicle was in motion. It was first released with Chrysler models in 1956 but lackluster promotion of the option by both Columbia and Chrysler led to the option being discontinued before the 60s. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Oct 12, 2009 - 36 comments

"It was the worst day of my life."

25 years ago today, Vicki Dunbar Nelson and Jean Hepner played the longest tournament rally in tennis history, lasting 29 minutes and 642 shots (SLNYT). [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Sep 24, 2009 - 24 comments

I wish I'd had the spunk to attempt to sail around the world at thirteen.

"In the beginning, they asked if I was sure I really wanted to do it," says Laura Dekker, the thirteen year old Dutch girl who wants to become the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone. "They have sailed around the world so they know what could happen and that it's not always fun, but I realize that too. But I really wanted to do it so my parents said, 'Good, we'll help you.'" (Additional Youtube link for people who don't like having to read words.)
posted by SkylitDrawl on Aug 25, 2009 - 57 comments

"Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future."

Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao ("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for. And then, of course, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
posted by Keter on Jul 27, 2009 - 47 comments

A tool for 20th-century Australian History

Even after some deliberation it is difficult to find reasons to support the appointment of women Trade Commissioners. The Virtual Reading Room of the National Archives of Australia is a mine of information about Australia, its relationships and past attitudes.
posted by mattoxic on Jul 8, 2009 - 7 comments

If at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving.

Canopy Formation Parachuting Record: 81 100
Formation Skydiving Record: 400
69 :pɹoɔǝɹ uoıʇɐɯɹoɟ ƃuıʎlɟǝǝɹɟ [also, champion freeflying duo Spaceland Anomaly]
posted by not_on_display on Jun 30, 2009 - 19 comments

Every Person is Capable of Being the World's Best "Something"

"The whole dream is that everybody has a world record in them," said Dan Rollman, president and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based Universal Record Database. Since the site went live last fall, more than 1,000 feats have been documented - ranging from the most binder clips on a face (now up to 34) to the longest toenail (seven-eighths of an inch) to the most whoopee cushions sat on without smiling or laughing (presently up to 18), and a few records involving mustaches (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Beyond the basics of setting records, the URDB is based on three principles: 1. Honesty and accuracy are pretty much everything, 2. Don't hurt yourself. Don't hurt others. Don't hurt the planet, and 3. Waste sucks. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 20, 2009 - 22 comments

We Got Time for David Wilson and his Stacked Praxinoscopes

We Got Time [QT video, YT video] is a mind-boggling music video by David Wilson for the band Moray McLaren. It comes with a handy making-of video that explains how the in-camera effects were achieved, the platter artwork, and some very nice behind the scenes stills.
posted by carsonb on Apr 25, 2009 - 29 comments

Vinyl makes a comeback this Saturday

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]
posted by mediareport on Apr 16, 2009 - 89 comments

Abbey Road Forever

A Day in the Life of Abbey Road; (sorry for the prosaic lead-in link - at least I didn't use the word "iconic!") Enjoy watching Beatles' fans and locals negotiate London's famous Abbey Road crosswalk. I miss album covers; I'm of the generation of high school kids who spent a zillion hours flipping through them in record stores. The best of them - like Abbey Road - could be high-impact and sometimes accompanied their records like a kind of graphic mini-novel. What were some of your favorites and why?
posted by Dex Quire on Mar 10, 2009 - 42 comments

Revival Revival

The Folkways Collection is a downloadable, 24-part podcast series that "explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)."
posted by Miko on Feb 16, 2009 - 27 comments

You like vinyl? I've got your vinyl right here.

Desperate Man Blues Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jan 31, 2009 - 15 comments

Obamas crack problem

Obama may just be able to keep that precious Blackberry after all for personal use. Although anything business related will be housed by this potential giant brick phone. The question is how secure and private will his emails be? How private should they be? Has Dick set a precedent that personal records stay personal?
posted by brinkzilla on Jan 21, 2009 - 27 comments

A New Creation Resurrected from Obscurity

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]
posted by jonp72 on Jan 16, 2009 - 23 comments

Rumors of the death of physical media

Hard Format celebrates the art of record and CD packaging.
posted by box on Jan 16, 2009 - 13 comments

Perfect Pat!

First QB in NCAA history to win four bowl games. Patrick White has been a record setting quarterback during his four years at West Virginia University. An early season Heisman trophy candidate, White is the all-time rushing QB in history, and apparently, an unassuming ladies man.
posted by netbros on Dec 27, 2008 - 21 comments

78 labels

Ted Staunton's archive of labels from 78 rpm records. Perhaps most easily explored through the massive "Decades" pages of thumbnails.
posted by OmieWise on Nov 24, 2008 - 16 comments

It's nice to share. Cheney sued over not releasing VP documents to the public.

The Society of American Archivists, American Historical Association, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are suing Vice President Dick Cheney for not transferring the vast majority of his records to the National Archives and Record Administration for eventual release to the public. [more inside]
posted by rokabiri on Sep 16, 2008 - 31 comments

Jerry Wexler

Legendary record man and music producer Jerry Wexler died on August 15, at the age of 91. His keen insight, and his deep love and appreciation for the artists he worked with resulted in an extraordinary enriching of American music. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 17, 2008 - 16 comments

Digital Vaults

This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own poster or movie from your collection.
posted by netbros on Jul 17, 2008 - 16 comments

the tail wagging the dog

webofdeception.com is a bizarre, timecubesque linkdump maintained and updated by private investigator and domain squatter Joseph Culligan. In addition to sleazy dirt-digging on various celebrities and politicians, Culligan also includes a huge resource list of links to databases and public-record searches. [more inside]
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jun 29, 2008 - 14 comments

Death Lives!

Death were a proto-punk trio of black Jehovah's Witnesses based out of Detroit back in 1974. They were almost signed to Columbia, but bailed on the label when Columbia wanted them to change their name. Instead, they self-released a 7" which is now quite a collector's item, influenced as it was by, “Iggy and Stooges, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Who”. But the story doesn't end there. Recently, Bobby Hackney, whose father played in Death along with two of his uncles, learned of the band and, lo and behold, his dad found the master tapes for their unreleased full-length in his attic. Is a new chapter in punk rock history about to be written?
posted by stinkycheese on Jun 11, 2008 - 35 comments

Geekin' out on your Grandma's Gramophone

[PREVIOUSLY on METAFILTER] Each week between 2005 and 2007 (and sporadically thereafter), Basic Hip Digital Oddio's Kiddie Records Weekly offered children's recordings issued by big labels during the 1940's and 1950's. This cache now holds approximately 214 phonograph records, the covers and sounds therein lovingly digitized, ready for you to absorb.
posted by not_on_display on Jun 3, 2008 - 10 comments

Worship some vinyl

Today is Record Store Day!
What is it about music? It is Love and Passion channeled through a medium that cuts across and through actual definition straight to your soul whether you love Blues, Reggae, Country, Punk Rock, or Quawwali music, your favorite artists take you places you could otherwise never go - and that place is often a place of love and inspiration. - Marc Weinstein [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Apr 19, 2008 - 38 comments

The Thousand Pound Bench Press

A while ago, Slate did an article on “The Race For The Thousand Pound Bench Press.” That milestone has been reached but not without controversy, mainly due to the use of the bench shirt, a super-tight supportive shirt without which those Herculean weights could not be lifted. The bench shirt has its defenders but many argue that it amounts to nothing more than cheating. By way of example, here is a video of the current unassisted (or “raw”) bench press record and here is a video of the current assisted bench press record. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 10, 2008 - 79 comments

epilogue

20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time from Blender Magazine. "They include MCA Records’ decision in 1989 to pass on a Seattle upstart band called Nirvana while also betting big on “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz,” the debut album of a hair-metal band called Pretty Boy Floyd."
posted by plexi on Mar 15, 2008 - 50 comments

1,000 Albums to Hear Before You Die

1,000 Albums to hear before you die compiled from The Guardian's assorted music reviewers (assisted by readers who then told them which ones they missed). You won't want to be planning to expire any time too soon with these to get through.
posted by rongorongo on Mar 13, 2008 - 114 comments

His Master's Voice

"And I saw records made! Music literally written in wax!" RCA Victor takes you, step by step, through the records manufacturing process of 1942. A few years later, they brought us the cassette tape, though it wasn't exactly "compact" yet. And let's not forget that RCA "exclusive": Living Stereo! "You know, in this gimmicky world of ours, RCA has never lost sight of what they started out to do: to reproduce sound with so much clarity and fidelity that you could "close your eyes and think you're there."
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 19, 2008 - 12 comments

A 12-inch by 12-inch canvas.

Before Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover in 1938, at the age of 23, all albums came in plain brown wrappers. Steinweiss's idea to create a package that had something visual on the outside to lure the consumer was a huge success. A tribute show for the 90-year-old Steinweiss will be held at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, California, until February 23, 2008. More about Steinweiss here and here. First link via.
posted by amyms on Feb 19, 2008 - 13 comments

(NSC) - RIP Ron Murphy, master vinyl cutter.

Ron Murphy cut records, but not just any records. Responsible for cutting the actual vinyl master plates of much of the now revered Detroit Techno including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance's seminal Knights of the Jaguar, and much more - he demonstrated impeccable craftsmanship and skill in both mastering records for sound and aesthetics at company known as Sound Enterprises source link AKA National Sound Corporation. Schooled in Motown, dubplates and jukeboxes, he is the bespoke-crafted, analog link between the digital future and analog past that is the roots of Techno music and modern techno DJ culture. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Feb 13, 2008 - 15 comments

When Music Lived in Nice Houses

Record Envelope is a blog devoted to the bygone era of creative sleeves for vinyl 45s.
posted by dhammond on Dec 12, 2007 - 10 comments

The Nickel-in-the-Slot Player.

On this day in 1889 the first jukebox was installed at the Palais Royale Salon in San Francisco. And the rest is history. Take a stroll through Wurlitzer's Jukebox Museum, and check out their 1950's promo film on jukebox manufacture: A Visit To Wurlitzer. Happy birthday, jukebox! [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 23, 2007 - 5 comments

Hello out there, kats and kittens...

WFMU's The Hound has been delighting record geeks for the past few decades with sets of some of the wildest, wooliest rockabilly, R&B, blues, gospel, garage rock, and punk that can be dug out of crates. His site offers full podcasts, and individual mp3's under the show links, and organized by artist, and title. Bo Diddley singing to Kruschev! Blues songs about the Kinsey report! The Cashmere's talking about the hop! Brownie McGee singing about baseball's integration! Roughly 4 million variations on 'The Twist!' And that;s just the tip of this glorious iceberg. [more inside]
posted by jonmc on Nov 18, 2007 - 12 comments

“I'm a minor player in my own life story.”

Anthony H. Wilson: 20th February 1950 - 10th August 2007
posted by Webbster on Aug 10, 2007 - 74 comments

My name is Zoom and I live on the moon...

You're the star today! In 1976, ABC's Record and Tape Division came up with the Captain Zoom Personalized Birthday Record. A two-minute song with 8 instances of the birthday boy or girl's name was recorded and mastered for a paper-thin flexible 7" record. It was sent in an envelope along with the lyrics to the song, a mini-coloring book, and an order form. In 1978, the Record and Tape Division was disbanded. Robert Stiller, a sales consultant who was involved with the project at ABC, bought the rights to the project and began distributing the record with his own company. Captain Zoom left a lasting impact on those who heard his little jingle.
And there's a wedding version too. How sweet.
posted by mkb on Jul 28, 2007 - 22 comments

Anti-RIAA clearinghouse

An impressive array of anti-RIAA articles, mostly from people within the music industry.
posted by Dr. Wu on Apr 24, 2007 - 13 comments

pre-vinyl

78Man is a member of YouTube, who has created a collection of 378 videos of 78rpm records playing on the phonograph or gramophone. It's an amazing mix of blues, ragtime, jazz, old quirky songs of all kinds and more. Choices include: I'm tired of fattenin' frogs for snakes. She's lazy,She's lousy and she loves it. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 12, 2007 - 34 comments

In a future time, children will work together to build a giant...

Two industrial robots spin records.
posted by phrontist on Feb 6, 2007 - 21 comments

swimming for peace and friendship

Martin Strel is at it again. Back in '02 he swam the Mississippi River, then went on in '04 to make a world record swim of 930 miles in the Yangtze river. Now he plans to swim the 3,375 mile Amazon "for peace and friendship", starting February 1st.
posted by lisalisa123 on Jan 20, 2007 - 28 comments

Regarding Paramount Records

...In 1924 New York Recording Laboratory decided to expand its reach into that market by purchasing the Black Swan label. Founded in 1920 or 1921 by black entrepreneur Harry H. Pace, the pioneering company recorded everything from ragtime to grand opera, as long as it was sung by African-Americans... Paramount's biggest star was Ma Rainey, a blues moaner who influenced the legendary singer Bessie Smith... Paramount did not neglect male blues singers, who tended to be folk artists in the sense that their music was made initially for the entertainment of isolated rural communities. These included the singers and guitarists Charlie Patton... Blind Lemon Jefferson...
Compliments of the Season from ParamountsHome--where, among many other things, one can find an online copy of David Evans's biography Charley Patton in Parts 1, 2 and 3 or look at a picture of Skip James in 1932, not to mention a view of Paramount's promotion of Patton as the Masked Marvel. And that is not, as they say, all...
posted by y2karl on Dec 18, 2006 - 14 comments

Old school grooves

"In the monitor booth the sound technician listens to the rehearsal through a loudspeaker, and in cooperation with maestro Ellington, brings the music to its highest sound perfection before transmitting it through the electrical circuits to the recording machine!" Record Making With Duke Ellington (1937). [YouTube]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 27, 2006 - 11 comments

Rolling Stone from Texas

'Pavarotti of the Plains' In 1957, Don Walser stopped recording country music and became a National Guardsman, just as rock 'n' roll took over the airwaves. He stayed with the Guard for 39 years, but around 1990, his performances at Henry's in Austin, Texas developed a following. By the end of the decade, he would sign to Sire Records, open for Ministry and the Butthole Surfers, collaborate with Kronos Quartet and be honored with a National Heritage Award. Walser retired from his music career in 2001 because of ill health. He passed away on Wednesday at age 72.
posted by NemesisVex on Sep 21, 2006 - 17 comments

Twee is the Heavenly Option

as often nostalgic and sad as they are summery and blissful, indiepop songs have long been the refuge of popkids the world around who embrace DIY but reject the rebellion of punk and pretentiousness of indie-rock. Over the years the regional focus has shifted from the twee bands in the united kingdom in the 80s to australia in the early nineties, to the northwestern united states, and to strangely.. sweden. Maybe its the combination of warm scarfs and good social services, but for whatever reason sweden's young generation has embraced the genre and, armed with casios and knit sweaters, have set about reminding the rest of us how truly wonderful and affecting it can be
posted by petsounds on Sep 3, 2006 - 29 comments

Filesharing...USSR-style

X-ray records are records etched into discarded x-ray film. State censorship and lack of resources were the mothers of invention in the USSR and Eastern Europe, and apparently millions of these records were made. Without this crucial conduit of illicit western music, perhaps there would have been no Plastic People of the Universe and no Velvet (Underground) Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Mostly, though, these are just the coolest picture discs ever.
posted by snofoam on Sep 2, 2006 - 10 comments

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