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.
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.
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.
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 (more). NSFW - although somehow they got away with broadcasting it in the middle of the afternoon.
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.
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.
Vintage Vanguard 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)
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]
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]
Record Envelope is a blog devoted to the bygone era of creative sleeves for vinyl 45s.
What is the value of your vinyl record? An archive of the marketplace of wax.
1980s Vinyl Multimedia In the 1980s UK, artists were busy embedding multimedia-enabling compiled computer code into the locked grooves of their vinyl releases (and some cassette tapes). Who knew?
"With VinylVideo™, you can now transform your old record player and your TV set into a brand-new home movie medium - quickly, conveniently, and without complicated instruction manuals. With the revolutionary VinylVideo™ Picture Disks, for which numerous top-name artists have already produced exclusive works, you can now design your own TV viewing program featuring picture quality that is truly extraordinary." Hey hey that sounds useful! Maybe their next big idea is replacing DVDs with Viewmaster reels. Check out the real audio informercial if you have the chacne.
Digital Needle is a virtual gramophone open source program that converts scanned--yes, scanned--vinyl records into audio.
The end of Vinyl II? Stanton ships Final Scratch, which enables a DJ to manipulate (mix, scratch, cut...) any music on their PC with their turntables. Besides not needing to carry all the weight and bulk of crates of records around, DJs can now skip the expensive and complicated step of cutting their own records in order to play original tracks. Is vinyl going to die for real this time?
Show and Tell Music - Thrift Store Vinyl. There are lots of vinyl sites out there, but some of the items in this collection had me floored. And the quantity is just as impressive as the quality -- several pages of unintentionally funny Christian vinyl you have to see to believe. MP3 samples too! Via BoingBoing, but got lost under a lengthy EFF post (which was also good).
In an a era where so much music seems overly mechanical Funk45.com and Galactic Fractures are terrific reminders that danceablity can be warm and loose and that human-powered music is the funkiest. These sites have what every good music site should have, encyclopedaic knowledge, detailed info, and truckloads of audio that makes you wanna find a good record store and hunt down the 45's yourself. And it's all presented in a way that encourages you to dig deeper. The song You Got Me Mama by Hayes Ware is a favorite, but there's plenty of great stuff. requires RealAudio
Frank's Vinyl Museum is an invaluable resource for those of use who think that there's a thin line between trash and treasure. It's also a great place to indulge your taste in guilty musical pleasures without having to actually buy any of these crappy records at your local thrift store.
Recordnerd.com : Possibly a repeat - sorry if it is. This is a cool site for record nerds like me to get rid of some old stuff and search out some new stuff at the same time.