Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Salazar-obsessed to deliver great rock'n'roll

As I continue to review bands for the Internet radio station, I have selected two bands that I thought you would be interested in hearing about. I will have more band reviews to come!


Hailing from New York, New York, is a unique rock band called Salazar. With infectious melodies and poignant lyrics that are perfectly blended in with the band’s total affliction and obsession for melody, mystery and passion, the CD is a must have for any fan of great rock and roll.

The band’s debut CD, “Cinematocracy,” reveals just how professional and complete their music is. The cut entitled “Don’t Fade,” is an infectious and expressive song, a song that you will pleasantly hear in your head hours after listening to it. With its James Blunt-Shannon Hoon like delivery, it is just the type of seductive pop that listeners clamor for and this acoustic rock song has “hit” stamped all over it.

Another cut called “Shake It Off,” is a pleasant, slow-tempo number with delicious strings complimenting the engaging vocals and piano work. The song takes you on a musical journey and mesmerizes the listener, as the acoustic setting is expertly transformed into a piano/strings and guitar masterpiece.

“Dark Corners” embellishes the band’s persistent creativity and is a profoundly rich ballad that is delicate, yet strong. The cut, “Electric Apology,” is easily digestible, with tight and structured guitar riffs; a sure toe-tapper.

Drawing from their influences such as Bowie, the Band, Wilco, the Allman Brothers and many, many more, Salazar’s debut CD, “Cinematocracy,” is full of creative melodies, musical passion and a delicious catchiness that will have the group’s fans eagerly awaiting more.

The Brothers Salazar:

Drums & Vocals - John Federico
Bass & Vocals - Jesse Greendyk
Vocals & Guitar - Nate Gowtham
Piano & Keys - Michael Kester

Visit the band at:

Seminole County-review

Seminole County

Having already finished a highly successful European tour, the rap-rock duo called “Seminole County” focuses on their sights on capturing audience’s ears with their impassioned rock-rap repertoire. This rocking duo, female rapper/singer JJ and her highly skilled band mate Byron J, have definitely gelled by mixing their unique talents in the release “Reasons.”

With cuts like the rapid-fire vocal delivery of the song “Memories”, which is perfectly blended with straight forward rock and roll and awe inspiring backing vocals, the song is a pivotal step for the up and coming duo. Complete with lush soundscapes, electronica and flat out rock, the band certainly captured exactly what they intended to with the cut. The song, “it’s okay,” is a perfect example of how two voices and introspective lyrics strike out at any love that’s gone bad.

“Simple Dark”, with its rap verses, gloomy guitar riffs, smart boy-girl lyrics and heavy rock chorus is bruised, yet in its own way, tender. The acoustic setting for the song “Playin’ Me” is the perfect prelude to the Evanescence-like rocker it ultimately becomes.

All in all, this is a rare collection of fresh rock melodies that is played with obvious zest, daring ingenuity and is the optimum vehicle to present the talents of both members of the duo. Already with an invitation from the Official Grammy Foundation and a performance for the official Grammy Showcase, Florida chapter, supporting the Backstreet Boys on their “Never Gone Tour,” and gigs at the Orange Bowl in Miami (2005 BCS Championship Game) as well as opening for John Legend, Seminole County is certainly headed for bigger and better roads ahead.

Seminole County are:

JJ- vocals
Byron J- keyboards

Friday, October 26, 2007

Radiohead- the new music distribution path?

Radiohead-Blazing A New Digital Trail

By Robert Benson

With the British art-rock band Radiohead releasing their new album entitled “In Rainbows” as a digital download and sold it for whatever their fans volunteered to pay, is this going to become a new trend in the methods that bands supply their music to the public?

With CD shipments to retailers down 13% from last year, this innovative way to eliminate the middle man, the record label, has proved exactly where the music industry is headed. But there is a catch, the release is only available via the web site ( and cannot be purchased in retail stores. The band will also offer fans a deluxe-edition box set that includes vinyl and CD copies of the release, plus a CD of bonus tracks and a lyric book on December 3.

Will this technique catch on? One can only guess, but given the restraints that some record companies have on their artists, early reports suggest that most consumers are actually paying for the release. This release may have made the band more money than previous releases by eliminating the “manufacturing” costs of a CD, including promotion, marketing, distribution and the record label’s cut.

An interesting element to this is that the release is getting more “word of mouth” promotion and publicity than most albums. People are intrigued and are talking about it and large web sites (mostly corporate) are not discussing it mainly because the record company(or lack thereof) is not asking them that they do so.

Now is this a one-time phenomenon or are Radiohead blazing a new musical distribution trail? It could be a bit of both, really. This release is a record label’s nightmare, a band can actually release it’s own material without jumping through the proverbial “corporate” hoops and record label red tape, and actually make money in the process. It also shows an impending trend, where music can be released without the aid of the “hard media” like CDs or vinyl records. There are predictions that in the coming years a lot of bands and artists will follow this lead and may offer album downloads as a market tool to promote their tours as well as sell other merchandise.

In fact, Trent Reznor, of the hard-rock band Nine Inch Nails has stated that they do not have a recording contract with their record label and may follow a similar path of not having a record label to support their next release. Other artists such as Madonna have already followed suit.

So this may be the direction music is heading. Bands have also taken note of the “singles” market, where a consumer can pay for just one or two downloads, and the artist will not necessarily have to have an album release to support the singles. Yes, the digital download is here to stay, much to the chagrin of the record labels as well as vinyl enthusiasts. There is a whole new digital world out there for musicians and one they are running to grab by the horns.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Frame your album covers

Once you have obtained your treasure vinyl, you can now "frame" the wonderful album cover art with an award winning business called Rock Art Picture Show. Check them out!

Monday, October 22, 2007

U2- The Joshua Tree

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, U2 are to re-release "The Joshua Tree" on 20 November.

Billboard reports that the album will be available as a remastered single CD, a double CD, a double CD and DVD collectible box and a double vinyl package.

The members of U2 are contributing new liner notes to the album.

Friday, October 19, 2007 - gauging the true value of vinyl

One of the most informative and helpful sites on the Internet of gauging what a specific vinyl record is selling for is to look at past auction results. The best way to do this is by visiting provides an archive of past auctions. Most of the records have been auctioned at ebay, certainly the largest auction house for rare vinyl records.

Online auction houses are a very popular method for buying or selling records. At, you can check the final auction price that a certain record has brought. Although this might not be a true indication of the record's real value, it does show what collectors are paying for rare items.

There is no fixed price for a second-hand record, no matter how rare it is. The price of a rare record is purely determined by what people are prepared to pay for it.

So with this in mind, you can truly gauge the interest as well as what the specific record may be selling for and even if there is a demand for it. Here is the grading system that utilizes:

Standards for the condition of vinyl records

MINT The record itself is in brand new condition with no surface marks or deterioration in sound quality. The cover and any extra items such as the lyric sheet, booklet or poster are in perfect condition. Records advertised as Sealed or Unplayed should be Mint.

EXCELLENT The record shows some signs of having been played, but there is very little lessening in sound quality. The cover and packaging might have slight wear and/or creasing.

VERY GOOD The record has obviously been played many times, but displays no major deterioration in sound quality, despite noticeable surface marks and the occasional light scratch. Normal wear and tear on the cover or extra items, without any major defects, is acceptable.

GOOD The record has been played so much that the sound quality has noticeably deteriorated, perhaps with some distortion and mild scratches. The cover and contents suffer from folding, scuffing of edges, spine splits, discolouration, etc.

FAIR The record is still just playable but has not been cared for properly and displays considerable surface noise; it may even jump. The cover and contents will be torn, stained and/or defaced.

POOR The record will not play properly due to scratches, bad surface noise, etc. The cover and contents will be badly damaged or partly missing.

BAD The record is unplayable or might even be broken, and is only of use as a collection-filler.


So stop by for a visit today!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A fantastic audio presentation about the evolution of album cover art, the tactile experience of the medium and the future of cover art in the digital age. With unique perspectives by Gary Freiberg (www.RockArtPictureShow &, Professor Rich Shelton (Otis College of Art and Design) and Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired Magazine.;id=7756

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Collector's Quest

I have just joined up with a site called "Collector's Quest" and I look forward to helping others with their "quest" for information about all collecting.
You can visit the site here:

Quest is a TV network combining content, commerce and community, all devoted to the passion of collecting, so stop by for a visit today!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Counter Clock - Vinyl Record Market News-EBAY

When ebay first opened, vinyl record prices were greatly effected. When vinyl records that were thought to be rare started showing up on ebay, the prices for those vinyl records was influenced. When people started to sell vinyl records on the site, what was once thought to be a rare record, in reality had more copies readily available to the public and influenced the resale price of those specific vinyl records.

Interested in album resale prices and sales from one of the largest retailers on the Interent? Have an old album or a collection to sell? If you choose ebay, you can get an idea of what the market is for vinyl with a great resource called "Counter Clock" which is available at

Here is a sample of the information available to you from the site:

First week ending 9/29

"A Northern Soul 45 topped the list, Locations "Mister Diamond Man" / "He's Gone" on Ron Paul Records sold for $3080.00 with 30 bids from a starting bid of $99.99.

Another country "old timey" fiddle 78 RPM came in the #2 spot, Andrew & Jim Baxter "Forty Drops" / "Georgia Stomp" on Victor closed for $2577.00 receiving 15 bids from a starting bid of $49.99.

Next, a Columbian pressing on grey vinyl of Queen's Hot Space LP sold on a Buy-It-Now for $2500.00.

In the #4 spot, a rare Clash picture sleeve "Complete Control" sold for $2,358.00 with 39 bids.

And last, a private press Metal LP, Deathcrush from the band Mayhem, sold for $2,247.00 receiving 28 bids from a starting bid of $10.00"

So stop by (let them know where you found out about them!)and book mark this highly informative is updated weekly and allows you to, not only gauge the interest in a particular genre of music (Northen Soul is a hot commodity- we call it Motown), but can give you a clear picture of exactly what prices some of the vinyl records are selling for. A fantastic resource for any record collector!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How one collector looks for records and reflections on the quest

I discovered a unique, yet classic article about the thrill of vinyl record collecting. Take a look at:


Add your own comments and stories about the wonderful hobby of collecting vinyl records !

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blogging For Dollars

Yes, the title is true, and no it is not "bowling for dollars." At a person can actually make money submitting content on their blog. Now, how does this work?

First, visit the site, sign up and create a profile. Simple. Then take a gander at the opportunites that are presented-people who are looking for a specific topic to be "blogged" about. This works two ways, the blogger gets paid a specified dollar amount for blogging about the "bloggees" (yes that is a word, I just made it up!) particular topic; one that is presented as unique opportunities posed to the blogger. Like I said, simple!

These opportunities for the "pay for post blogger" are unlimited (yes, you have to make a name for yourself) and the blogger just reserves the right to do a particular "job." And, these opportunitiess are posted for the bloggers at seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. This creates an almost unlimited resource for all bloggers to earn extra cash as they blog about just about any category and subject available!

The post is then reviewed by the "powers that be" at Pay Per Post and, viola, if approved, you get paid directly to your PayPal account! Why they even add twenty dollars to your account for your first post, happily touting and promoting the Pay Per Post methods of working at home (unless you sneak it in at work-shhhh) and getting paid to write about a particular topic you enjoy anyway! Of course, there are limits (word of mouth ethics) So sign up today, they are anxiously awaiting new recruits!

The money you earn can be used for anything your heart desires- you can't get better than that. How about saving for that expensive holiday called Christmas? Buy your loved ones what they is good!

Joel Whitburn-Billboard Genius

Today I had the pleasure of browsing around Joel Whitburn's web site found it very enjoyable.

For those of you who do not know who Joel is, he is the most widely recognized authoritative historian on charted music and Joel’s own record collection remains unrivaled the world over and includes every charted Hot 100 and pop single (back to 1936), every charted pop album (back to 1945), and every video to chart since Billboard began its video charts in 1979. Joel also owns one of the world’s largest picture sleeve collections, many of which he displays in the series of books (Top 40 Hits, Top 40 Albums, Top 40 Country Hits) he writes for Billboard’s book division. To date, Record Research has published over 100 books, over 40 of which are currently in the catalog.

I also "toured" the album photo page and have posted a small sample of the intriguing and interesting album cover photos he has on display.

In the market for the latest Billboard reference books? Go to Joel's site and grab these "music bibles" for your reading pleasure. Visit:

Vinyl Collective

My vinyl friend Virgil over at www.vinylcollective is running a contest for people to win test pressings from some of the bands that he promotes (Victory Records / Vinyl Collective Test Pressing Contest). Drop over for a visit!

Friday, October 5, 2007

"Film" on vinyl question

From time to time I receive emails with questions about vinyl and/or the value of a particular record. But, I want to share an interesting question and certainly the source where the gentleman got the best answer:

I have a question regarding record cleaning. I have several 1980's 45's that have been well taken care of for many years, kept in picture sleeves, in plastic and stored in good plastic corrugated cartons. They have not been played and have been stored for years. I noticed this morning that some of the records are still shiny and new looking, while some others are now "cloudy" and dull looking on the vinyl. The vinyl in not shiny anymore... I cannot see my reflection in the runoff groove. They seem to have a film haze on them

Any idea why this is? I can't find any info online about this issue.

Thank you,
Seekonk, MA

My answer was to first rule out "smoke", and Dan said it is from a non-smoking household. Then I thought it may be from sunlight (the ultraviolet rays) sounds like ultraviolet light has caused the discoloration. But, the record had not been exposed to the sun. So, my next reply was that the ink had somehow "bled" through to the vinyl record. But Dan found the answer at and sent me the reply they sent him:

Hi Dan...

It might be a transfer from the inner sleeve. Is the
paper sleeve lined with plastic? Some of them are.

If not, it's also possible that in a relatively
unventilated environment, like inside the clear, outer
package in the second photo, a chemical reaction can
occur between the plastic packaging and the records.
Does the material that the "U2 Pac" is made of have a
distinct, plastic-like odor? If so, then it's made out
of polyethylene and not archival. If it's odorless,
then it's polypropylene, chemically inert, and not

Is the seal on the "Pac" relatively tight? Do any of
your other records, aside from this set, have this
problem? If yes to the former and no to the latter
(and the plastic smells), then the condition was
probably caused by off-gassing from the plastic
package. With no place for the gas on the inside to
go, it caused a chemical reaction. Unfortunately,
there's no way to reverse this process.

As a collectible, you should save the original "Pac,"
remove the records and all inserts, and store them
separately. You may be able to find replacement 45's
that are unblemished (and missing the original
packaging) for a good price. Keep the plastic in a
separate storage envelope, away from light, since
exposure to light will cause it to become yellow over
time. Don't throw the plastic away, because if you
ever want to resell it, then it's important to have
all of the original pieces.

Hope that helps!


I hope this helps educate us on this discoloration issue and I want to thank Joe at for his excellent explanation. I sure learned something :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Popular Music Used In Commercials

Stop The Insanity-Hire Someone To Write A Jingle!

Many years ago, in a far away place and time, companies wishing to promote their wares on television would hire songwriters to develop advertising jingles to promote whatever they were selling. But recently, in my mind, some companies have crossed the proverbial line, so to speak, by using classic Beatles’ music to pitch their products.

Am I the only one who is absolutely appalled by the superstore Target using the great Beatles’ classic hit entitled “Hello Goodbye” (although in the commercial they have changed it to “Hello Good Buy,” how clever) to hawk their wares? Couldn’t the corporate big wigs just hire Barry Manilow (who wrote the classic McDonalds’ jingle: “You deserve a break today”) to write a sappy jingle? Just when in my lifetime did the jingle writers become an extinct breed?

However, sadly, this trend has been used over and over again in recent years and there does not seem to be an end of it. Moreover, if I hear the Badfinger song “Come And Get It” (in the advertisement for GMC automobiles), I’ll scream!

When Michael Jackson allowed Nike to abuse the legendary hit by the Beatles’ “Revolution,” it seemed that the floodgates were opened and an advertisement bandwagon was born. But, I am not sure that these companies realize just how many people are offended by their blatant misuse of these classic rock and roll songs. In fact, I will purposely stay away from specific products that are, in my mind, abusing the classic hits from yesteryear.

But, apparently, these starving songwriters (or whoever owns the rights to the music) are being very well compensated for the right to use these classic songs for advertisement purposes. In fact Randy Bachman, formally of the Canadian group the Guess Who and later Bachman-Turner Overdrive, turned down a lucrative offer from a bathroom tissue company to use his song “Takin’ Care Of Business” (how clever) for a television commercial. He did, however, allow the song to be used for an Office Depot commercial, calling the partnership “a perfect marriage.” Bachman also declared, “you make more in one year with that commercial than you do in your entire lifetime of your band in the 70's with that song.” So I guess I can’t blame the artists, if I had written a song twenty years ago and someone offered me six figures for the right to use the song in a commercial, I will be honest, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign on the dotted line. But large corporations and specifically, marketing firms, are just being lazy and careless with our beloved music by bypassing the jingle writers and just plugging in a relevant classic song and that will get people to buy whatever product they are advertising. To me, it is just too convenient. I guess I am naive, but when did it all become about the money, not the music?

Sadly, this trend is catching on like wildfire, and nowadays you can read about many rock legends allowing their classic songs to be used for commercial purposes. Why we have Iggy Pop for Royal Caribbean, Bob Dylan promoting Victoria’s Secret products, Billy Preston teaming up with the Zombies for Fidelity Investments, Led Zeppelin pitching Cadillacs, Aerosmith for Buick, the O’Jays for Coors Beer, Deep Purple promoting Dodge, the Who allowing their music to be used in Cisco commercials, the flower power group the Association pitching Allstate Insurance, why we even have Helen Reddy’s classic anthem hit song “I Am Woman” being utilized in a Burger King commercial. The list goes on and on and when will the insanity end, and are these songs actually helping to sell the products they are endorsing?

It won’t be long before we hear he Donovan song “Mellow Yellow” actually promoting the soft drink called Mellow Yellow. Or how about the R.E.M. song called “Orange Crush” being used for, you guessed it, the soft drink called Orange Crush. While we’re at it, how about beating down some more Beatles’ classic hits such as “Ticket To Ride” for the highest bidding airline company, “She Loves You,” for the latest stinky men’s cologne or the song “I Feel Fine,” for an allergy medication? How about using Blondie’s hit single from 1980 entitled “Call Me” for an AT & T commercial? We could be hearing the classic Hollies’ tune entitled “Bus Stop” (plug in any major city bus line here) or “Angel Of The Morning” by Marrilee Rush for some feminine product or even “Baby I Love You” by the Ronettes for a diaper commercial. I have a few for the latest male enhancement product on the market, how about the Three Dog Night ditty called “Easy To Be Hard,” Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” the 1976 hit by Heart entitled “Magic Man” or the Rolling Stones’ hit “Start Me Up?”

While we’re at it, how about the Rolling Stones’ song “Tumbin’ Dice” (plug in any Indian Casino), the Police hit called “Every Breath You Take” for a cold remedy, the iconic Elvis hit “Hound Dog” being used for a dog food commercial? How about the Who’s classic song called “I Can See For Miles” for Lens Crafter or the Mama’s and the Papa’s 60's hit “California Dreamin’” for any airline company?

We can take it several steps further with “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” by the Bee Gees for a telephone company, the Bobby Fuller hit entitled “I Fought The Law,” (plug in any lawyer’s name) or Don Henley’s hit song called “Dirty Laundry” for Tide laundry soap? One could also make a case for the Chicago single called “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” being used in a Timex commercial, the Doors’ classic song “Light My Fire” being utilized by Kingsford Charcoal or the 1972 Rod Stewart hit “You Wear It Well” for any clothing manufacturer.

It’s just a matter of time before we hear the Tom Jones’ song “What’s New Pussycat” in a cat food commercial. Or how about the Raspberries hit “Go All The Way” used for a Trojan commercial? And don’t get me started on sleeping aids like “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics or “Last Night I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All” by the Fifth Dimension, the Robert John ditty, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” or the Everly Brothers number one hit from 1958 entitled “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” How about the Eagles’ classic hit entitled “Take It To The Limit” being used to pitch a major credit card? And any local funeral home would be pleased to use the Queen ditty called “Another One Bites The Dust” or “When I Die” by Blood, Sweat & Tears or God forbid, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. And now that you got me started, how would the hit song by Olivia Newton-John called “Have You Ever Been Mellow” or the Elton John hit called, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” the Chicago hit “Make Me Smile,” or better yet, “Do You Feel Like We Do” by Peter Frampton, being used for the latest and greatest antidepressant to hit the market? One could use the Johnny Nash tune called “I Can See Clearly Now” for any eyeglass maker or “One Headlight,” by the Wallflowers in an Auto Zone commercial. Aren’t you surprised that the hit song by Sammy Johns entitled “Chevy Van” hasn’t been used for a Chevy commercial…..maybe it is the line “and we made love in my Chevy van” that is holding them back.

We could get real creative and utilize the Beach Boys’ hit “California Girls” for the tourism council of California or the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit “Sweet Home Alabama” to promote tourism in that southern state. How about the hit by the B-52’s called “Rock Lobster” for, you guessed it, they could change the words up a bit and call it “Red Lobster!” And we must include more airline companies in this mess, like “Jet” by Paul McCartney, “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller, Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise” or the worst one yet to come, the John Denver penned “Leaving On A Jet Plane” that was sung by Peter, Paul & Mary. And one more just for fun, the Neil Diamond classic “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” utilized for an FTD commercial?

The list seems endless and we may hear some of the aforementioned music paired up with their respective products. Some may seem downright silly, but after all, it is all about the money, not the music.

Author Robert Benson writes about rock/pop music, vinyl record collecting and operates, where you can pick up a copy of his ebook called
"The Fascinating Hobby Of Vinyl Record Collecting."
Contact Robert at

Copyright 2007 Robert Benson

Watch the Led Zeppelin commercial for Cadillac: