Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Metallica rocks worldwide charts with new album

Get Your Copy of Death Magnetic

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hard rock band Metallica, hoping for a rebound in its fortunes after a difficult decade, has topped pop charts around the world with its first album in five years, its Warner Bros. Records label said on Wednesday.

"Death Magnetic," which was released worldwide last Friday, went to No. 1 in the United States and Britain, as well as such countries as Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and drummer Lars Ulrich's native Denmark.

Warner Bros. said it expected more No. 1 rankings as charts in other countries are finalized. The Warner Music Group Corp unit handles Metallica in the United States and Canada, while Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group has international rights.

In the United States, "Death Magnetic" sold almost 490,000 copies in the week ended September 14, despite being on sale for only three of those days. Albums are usually released on a Tuesday in the United States and a day earlier everywhere else. But Metallica opted for a Friday street date to make the release a global event.

Its last album, 2003's "St. Anger," released a few days ahead of schedule to combat music piracy, kicked off at No. 1 with 418,000 copies. It was ultimately considered a commercial and critical disappointment, coming on the heels of singer/guitarist James Hetfield's lengthy rehab stint, the departure of bass player Jason Newsted, and a fan backlash against Ulrich's loud condemnations of music piracy. The band's near demise during this period is immortalized in the documentary "Some Kind of Monster."

"Death Magnetic" ranks as one of the biggest chart-toppers of the year in the United States. Only albums by rapper Lil Wayne, British rock band Coldplay and teen idols the Jonas Brothers have done better. It also makes Metallica the only band in chart history to have five albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, according to Warner Bros. They were previously tied with the Beatles, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band.

Metallica will begin the first leg of a North American tour near Phoenix, Ariz., on October 21.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)


My friend in music, DJ Tom, over at has told me about a great new contest. Here are the details as well as a message from the band SNEW:

For Immediate Release:

Lancaster, Pennsylvania- (September 17, 2008) and the hard rocking band SNEW have just announced an interesting contest called SNEWED TOMATOES. The contest is being held to help promote the band as well as give ten lucky winners an autographed copy of SNEW’S new CD, “SNEW YOU,” as well as a $10 gift certificate to download music.

However the Grand prize winner (picked by the band among the top ten finalists) will win a SNEW Customized Squier Bullet Guitar!

The contest is open to US Residents over the age of 13. Contestants are to create a fictitious product using the SNEW name. They can use any graphics arts program to create the product. They can also use construction paper, anything really, and take a picture of it and upload it at:

All images submitted will be posted in the photo gallery at

The contest deadline is October 31st and the top 10 winners will be picked November 5th with the Grand Prize winner being chosen on November 10th.

Videos Located at and


Tom Johnson at


Album Cover Art

Let's continue our album cover art series as complied by the staff at Gigwise:


42. Roger Waters: ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking’ The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is a concept album by English musician Roger Waters. Some notables assisting Waters during the recording of the album were conductor Michael Kamen, actor Jack Palance, saxophonist David Sanborn and guitarist Eric Clapton. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in April 1995.

The album concept is about a man's midlife crisis and how he dreams of committing adultery, among other things. The album takes place in real time from 04:30am to 05:12am. Its cover prompted controversy for featuring a rear-view nude photograph of the model Linzi Drew. In some regions, the album has been released with this picture censored. Sorry folks, I would have certainly stopped my car and given her a ride to anywhere she wanted to go!



42. Bjork: 'Volta' –Volta is the Grammy-nominated sixth full-length studio album from Icelandic singer Björk, a follow-up to 2004's Medúlla and comprises ten new tracks. The Icelandic singer is always provocotive and as to what on earth she is wearing, well, you may have to ask her, I certainly have no idea!



42. Tori Amos – ‘Y Kant Tori Read’ Y Kant Tori Read is the name of the 1980s synthpop band (and their self-titled debut album), formed by now-famous singer and songwriter Tori Amos. The band consisted of Tori, singer-pianist Kim Bullard, and future Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, as well as long-time Amos collaborator guitarist Steve Caton and various studio musicians. Best estimates suggest that Atlantic pressed between 15,000 and 20,000 copies af the album (a typical pressing size for an unknown, untested artist), divided among LP, CD, and Cassette releases. The vast majority of the LP copies went to radio stations as promotional copies for on-air play, as only a small percentage of radio stations were set to play CDs in 1988. What happened to the rest of the copies? They were shipped to record stores for sale, but very few did sell. Those that didn't sell were recalled by the record company. There, they were turned into cut-out releases, then sold back to record stores at a discount, who then sold them to customers at a discount.

For those not familiar with record-industry jargon, a cut-out release is a release that either had too many copies made or for some reason didn't sell up to the expectations of the company. The record company buys back the releases, and cuts or somehow otherwise "marks" the CD case, LP sleeve, or Cassette case and card, not destroying the music, but making the product distinguishable from full-price product. These cut-out CDs, Cassettes, and LPs are then sold back to record stores at a considerable discount, (usually 50 percent or more of the original price) which is then passed on to the consumer. The marks are there to prevent customers from buying releases at a discount and returning them for a full-price refund.

The dominatrix outfit is scarry enough, but add in the voodooo hairdo and it makes me want to be spanked!



42. Nick Cave: ‘Henry’s Dream’ - Henry's Dream is the seventh album released by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, on May 12, 1992. There are possible references to John Berryman's series of poems The Dream Songs, which logs the dreams of the protagonist Henry. This album remains a big favourite amongst Bad Seeds fans, although Nick Cave himself was reportedly unhappy with the production by David Briggs. Briggs preferred a "live-in-the-studio" method he had used with Neil Young. This led to Cave and Harvey re-mixing the album, and ultimately to the Live Seeds recordings, as Cave wanted the songs "done justice". It was the first album to feature long-standing members Martin P Casey (bass) and Conway Savage (piano, organ), both Australian. The latter is a singer-songwriter in his own right and has contributed distinctive backing vocals to a handful of Bad Seeds songs; here he and Cave deliver a rousing duet in the chorus of 'When I First Came To Town'. The album is considered by some to have a vague "concept", i.e. song narratives overlapping and/or sharing characters.

The album's artwork was designed by Anton Corbijn.

Spin cycle: Vinyl returns

Ever on the lookout for vinyl related material and news, Author Richard Bammer was kind enough to allow me to reprint his wonderful article about the return of vinyl. It is upon us, let's all enjoy it and the music!

LPs are hip status symbols among young fans, but finding turntables takes effort


By Richard Bammer


The vinyl LP, believe it or not, is making a comeback. True, record album sales have steadily declined in the past 25 years - to 3.4 million discs in 1998, reaching an ebb with 900,000 sales in 2006 - as music consumers, young and old, gravitated to the more easily available CDs and online downloads of mp3 files.
Curiously, however, sales reports show that while CD sales declined 17 percent last year, to 511 million units shipped, vinyl LP sales jumped 37 percent, to nearly 1.3 million.

Deejays, audiophiles and hardcore fans of vinyl are hardly surprised by the news, but industry watchers say some music buffs, especially those in their late teens and early 20s, are ditching their CDs for the rich, warm sound of the LP. Analog sound, not digital or electronically "sampled" sound, offers more sonic rewards and pleasure because it is closer to the actual sound created in the recording studio, they note.

This emerging trend has prompted all the major record labels (Warner Bros., Sony, EMI, BMG, Universal) to not only issue new discs by artists such as Radiohead and Coldplay but also to re-issue some popular albums from their back catalogs. In fact, Warner Bros. on Friday released the new Metallica album, "Death Magnetic," in a five-record (45 rpm) boxed version, available in some retail outlets and through the company's online vinyl store, And the few record-pressing plants still making vinyl are "completely booked," said Josh Bizar, director of sales for Music Direct, a Chicago firm that specializes in home sound systems and vinyl discs.

New vinyl records, because they are printed in relatively small quantities, "are instantly collectible and disappear (from store and online shelves) almost as soon as they come out," he said, adding that "smarter" consumers are buying two copies and re-selling the extra on eBay "for ridiculous sums of money" - and getting it.

The resurgence of vinyl is due in part to its exotic and somewhat retro appeal - after all, its newest fans were not even born when CDs were initially mass marketed - but some teenagers say the reason is not only the sound quality, even the pops and clicks of imperfect records. They say some music is available only on vinyl.

"In a time when you can (illegally) get virtually any CD you want at the click of a button, for free, there's something exciting about finding something that no one has heard yet (er, in a long time)," said Sarah Rouleau, a senior at Buckingham Charter High in Vacaville and a former pop music columnist for The Reporter. "In fact, in online torrent communities, for instance, obscure, fresh-from-vinyl mp3 rips are in hot demand."

Additionally, Rouleau noted many hip-hop and rock 'n' roll groups "have begun adding fuzzy or crackling loops to their tracks to sound like old LPs, as a kind of tribute to the old technology and sound.

To Rouleau and her contemporaries, 2008 is an era when many music collections are the same and vinyl LPs offer a completely different audio and tactile experience. As their parents or grandparents knew, it takes time to enjoy a vinyl LP: taking it off the shelf, carefully pulling out the sleeve, equally carefully placing it on the turntable, laying on the needle. It offers a more personal connection to the music.

To some young fans, vinyl LPs are hip status symbols, "kind of a badge of honor" and are a sign of a "determined" music lover, said Bizar.

But while finding and purchasing vinyl - whether in a store, online or at a garage sale or flea market - is not overly difficult, sometimes finding a turntable is, said Rouleau, who has unsuccessfully sought out working record players at thrift stores in the Solano County area. She expressed chagrin at the price of new audiophile-quality turntables, which start at about $300.

"I own a few things on vinyl (lots of bands give them out for free with purchase of a CD), and I've tried to find a turntable, but ... They're awfully expensive to purchase new, and, because they're such a hot item, it's pretty difficult to find them in thrift shops."

But they appear to be plentiful at Collins Music & Collectibles in Suisun City, a longtime and funky Solano County used vinyl and music equipment store, where clerk Dennis Palmer showed off several models and new styluses for sale.

The Vacaville Radio Shack, in Vacaville Commons on Harbison Drive, had fully automatic belt-drive turntable in stock, with many more models - Audio-Technica and the Stanton T.90, with a USB port - available online, prices ranging from $60 to more than $350 for a higher-end model, with some customer reviews posted.

"I get at least one customer a week coming in here asking about a turntable," said salesman Anthony Vasquez.

At Best Buy on East Monte Vista Avenue in Vacaville, store manager Evan Pendley showed off one turntable in stock, the ionAudio for $158. He said a new complete sound system can range anywhere from $400 to $500 to more than $10,000.

Likewise, Bizar, 39 and a longtime vinyl aficionado, suggested record fans invest in a turntable that begins in the $300 range, saying the cheaper, all-plastic models do not deliver good sound quality and may not last as long.

"The turntable is the first link in the chain" of assembling a home sound system, he said, adding that a good stylus (beginning at $50) will offer "100 times the resolution" of sound that a CD offers. "Depth and warmth of the recording come into play," he noted. "It sounds so much better than downloading onto your iPod. It all depends on the turntable and needle - you have to get that music out of the grooves."

Palmer, of Collins Music, agreed and cautioned consumers to beware of buying used equipment.

"We show them that they work," he said of turntables offered for sale. "But that's it. We don't guarantee them or warranty them - unless you're a customer we've known for a long time."

Amazon Vinyl Splurge!

Vinyl sales continue to surge, Amazon now carrying over 250,000 vinyl titles

by Nick Neyland

Want further proof that vinyl is enjoying an unprecedented resurgence? Even the Wall Street Journal is reporting on the phenomenon, pointing out that Amazon has already run out of vinyl stock of the new Metallica album, Death Magnetic. Vinyl copies of the album were all snapped up during the pre-sale on Amazon, meaning fans may have to endure a lengthy wait to get their fix.

Amazon’s recently launched vinyl store now contains over 250,000 titles, and the WSJ article points out that stockists all over the country are filling up their vinyl racks. "People want to hold something," says Kris Jones, who works in London’s excellent Sounds of the Universe record store. "They like the pictures, the artwork."

Vinyl sales doubled in 2007, rising from three million to six million units sold, while CD sales continue to fall. Music industry consultant Mike Allen, who has doubtless fielded plenty of meetings in which industry executives try to figure out how to make some money from record sales, calls the upswing in vinyl purchases “a reaction against the commoditization of music. With vinyl there's something that has innate value--a physical object." Metallica fans who are battling the commoditization of music currently face the dreaded "Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available" message from Amazon.


Don't have a turntable?? Try my new "Turntable Store" Here:

Want to see Amazon's selection? I have picked a bumper crop of classic LPs....Check it out here:

Sony/Legacy to release vinyl again

After focusing on CD and digital releases for the past few years, Sony/Legacy has announced plans to begin releasing vinyl again. Beginning this month, the long-running major label will begin reissuing Columbia, Epic, and RCA releases.

The first batch of releases includes mainstream artists like Boston, Blue Oyster Cult, Jefferson Starship and Cheap Trick, but also Lou Reed's classic, Berlin, and Social Distortion's 1990 album, Social Distortion. Future releases are expected to include albums from The Clash including the forthcoming Live at Shea Stadium.


Boston - Boston
Linsey Buckingham - Gift of Screws
Kinks - Everybody's in Show-Biz
Kinks - Low Budget
Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
Kinks - One For the Road
John Lennon - Imagine
Roger McGuinn - Live From Spain
Pivot – O Soundtrack My Heart
Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Obituary – Left To Die [EP]
Colby O’Donis – Colby O
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Rapid Response [EP]
Lady Dottie & The Diamonds – Lady Dottie & The Diamonds
The Ergs – Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend
Dead Confederate – Wrecking Ball
All That Remains – Overcome

Vinyl Is Returning!!

I love stories about record stores, here is another. I want to thank the publication and the author(Amy Williams) for allowing me to reprint this fantastic glimpse into the vinyl record revival

Chattanooga: Record store spins for 20 years

By: Amy Williams

As Chattanooga record store owner Chad Bledsoe sifts through the hundreds of vinyl discs that fill nearly every space in his shop, he pauses at a copy of gospel singer Keith Green’s 1983 album.

“This is a Christian singer that’s pretty unknown, but he’s really good,” Mr. Bledsoe said passing through the dusty albums. “I like turning people onto obscure stuff that I like.”

Wearing an indie rock band t-shirt with black hair hanging past his shoulders, Mr. Bledsoe, 41, sits in his store, Chad’s Records, at the corner or Lindsay and Vine, and talks about records like they are part of his family, which they have been for the past 20 years.

Through the advent of the CD and the demise of the cassette tape, Mr. Bledsoe’s store has survived, and at the core of that existence has been his love of records, especially the rare, vintage kind.

Chad Bledsoe, owner of Chad's record store on Vine Street, sells a couple of vintage vinyl records to Molly Schimpf Saturday. Chad's is celebrating 20 years of selling unique records in Chattanooga this November.

He prizes an unopened copy of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 album, “Street Survivors,” which initially was released with a cover depicting all seven members of the band surrounded by flames. That cover was pulled after the 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.

Mr. Bledsoe bought the store in November 1988 when he was a 21-year-old college student. His parents had wanted him to take a more traditional path — finish college and and get a steady job with benefits — but Mr. Bledsoe wanted to to do something different.

“I saw so many people that would go and do all this stuff — they were going to be this and that — and then they’d change their career and start all over again,” he said. “I thought, I don’t want to waste a lot of time.”

At the time, he was a customer of a record store owned by Bob Courter on Brainerd Road and Seminole Drive. The owner was asking $5,000 for the business, which Mr. Bledsoe said included some posters, a counter, display cases and about 2,000 records.

He remembers thinking about a new car he bought a couple years earlier that was more than twice the cost of the store, and he said he decided it was a good deal.

“When he told me the price, I thought, that’s real affordable,” he said. “It was worth trying because it wasn’t like I was going to get this fortune of stuff, but it had all the things I needed.”

He began acquiring merchandise, and by the time he moved to a new location on Lee Highway eight years later, he needed 80 crates to hold all of his records. He stayed there for three years until moving in 1999 to his current spot near UTC.

“I took a huge cut in traffic flow and it still hasn’t come back to what it was (on Lee Highway),” he said. “All of these businesses (nearby) kind of struggle, and you can’t tell from what day to the next how busy it is going to be.”

In the years he has been on Vine Street, the record store business has changed drastically. Though he carries new and used CDs and DVDs, and he even still sells a few cassettes, much of his stock these days consists primarily of vintage records. Including a growing stock of newly-issued albums, he has about 25,000 records. He buys and sells them on eBay, which he said has revolutionized the way older albums are sold.

The prices for the rare and obscure albums became more reasonable once sellers were able to see what people actually were willing to pay, he said.

“It tests the water a lot better,” the business owner said.

Jimmy Howard has been buying his music from Chad’s Records since the late 1980s, following him through all the moves over the years. Mr. Howard, who lives in Chickamauga, Ga, said he collects old music and puts it on CDs. Mr. Bledsoe always gives him a fair trade, he said.

“He’s always got the good stuff,” Mr. Howard said. “He’s the only one in town that has the hard-to-find records.”

Today, the only employees he has work for trade credit, but he looks forward to the day when the store will run itself, allowing him to do other things.

In the years to come, Mr. Bledsoe said he will probably focus more on vinyl exclusively, both old and new. These days records are making a come back as something people can just sit at home and listen to, he said, and technology allows people like Mr. Howard to record music onto CD.

Record companies also are issuing more music on vinyl and even offering an mp3 along with it. That’s something that makes him feel better about the future of the business.

“It’s coming back,” he said. “I see an interest in vinyl getting stronger, and CDs are there. I think that’s going to be a good niche for me.”

Hail Vinyl!!