Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Classic Rock Videos

More of Dion- and an all-time classic:

New Vinyl Releases

As always, I thank DJ Spyder over at http://dj-spyder.blogspot.com for his invaluable data:


Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer [LP w/bonus download]
Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Black Sabbath - Live Evil [2 LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (Rare And Unreleased 1989-2006) [4 LP Box] (180 Gram Vinyl and Includes Download Card and Book)
Cocteau Twins - Head Over Heels [Deluxe Edition] [2 LP] (180 Gram Vinyl plus Sunburst & Snowblind EP on Lilac Colored Vinyl]
Cocteau Twins - Head Over Heels [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Fijiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs [LP]
Kardinal Offishall - Not 4 Sale [2LP]
Margot and The Nuclear So & So's - Animal! [180 Gram Vinyl includes download insert [2LP]
Margot and The Nuclear So & So's - Not Animal includes download insert 180 Gram Vinyl 2 LP]
Marty Paich - I Get A Boot Out Of You [LP]
Michelle Williams - Unexpected [Includes download insert] [2LP]
Moldy Peaches - Moldy Peaches
Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul [2 LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Of Montreal - Skeletal Lampin [2LP] [180 Gram Vinyl Double gatefold jacket]
Rachael Yamagata - Elephants Teeth Sinking Into Heart [2LP] Colored Vinyl
Rise Against - Appeal To Reason [LP] [Limited Edition Picture Disc]
Rise Against - Appeal To Reason [LP] [Limited Edition w/full album digital download]
Robin Thicke - Something Else [2LP]

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at Gigwise.com's 50 most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album cover art as compiled by their crack staff:


28. Millie Jackson: ‘Back To The Shit’ (1989) Just what I want to see, some pop diva taking a dump. Add to this some great tracks like "Muffle That Fart" and "Love Stinks" and you have a tasteless album cover.

Millie Jackson is an R&B/Soul music singer/songwriter. Her vocal performances are distinguished by long, humorous, and explicit spoken sections in her music; She has also recorded many disco songs, some dance music songs, and a few country styled songs. She is the mother of R&B singer Keisha Jackson. Great example Mom.....



28. The Mars Volta: 'DeLoused In The Crematorium' De-Loused in the Comatorium is the first studio album by the progressive rock band The Mars Volta. Based on a short story by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, it is the hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who tries to kill himself by overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The attempt lands him in a week-long coma during which he experiences visions of humanity and his own psyche. Upon waking, he is dissatisfied with the real world and jumps to his death. The story of Cerpin Taxt is based on the death of El Paso, Texas artist (and Bixler-Zavala's friend) Julio Venegas.

De-Loused became both critically and commercially their biggest hit, eventually selling in excess of 500,000 copies despite next-to-no promotion, and was featured on several critics' "Best of the Year" lists.

The album cover is the work of famed artist/designer and oddball Storm Thorgerson, who is responsible for some of the best cover art in the industry.



28. El Vez – ‘Son Of A Lad From Spain?’: El Vez (born 1960) is the stage name of Robert Lopez, a Mexican-American rock and roll artist, who performs and records original material and covers classic rock songs. Mixing the styles of Elvis Presley and many other American rock artists with his own Latin-American heritage and music, he is known for expressing revolutionary views through his the satire and humor in his songs.

Lopez's main persona and style is very similar to Elvis Presley, as his stage name suggests. However, he is not strictly an Elvis impersonator; on his recordings and in his live show, he covers many non-Mexican artists, such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, T. Rex, Queen and the Beatles. Also known as the "Thin Brown Duke", "The Chicano Elvis"or "The Mexican Elvis", he got his start in the Latino punk band The Zeros and played in Catholic Discipline with the folk singer Phranc. The guy is a walking (and sleeping) parody of himself.



28. Smashing Pumpkins: ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the third album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, released on October 24, 1995 on Virgin Records. Produced by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, Flood and Alan Moulder, the 28-track album was released as a two-disc CD and triple LP. Led by the single "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", the album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, a first for the group. The album spawned four more singles over the course of 1996 and has been certified nine times platinum.

Praised by critics for its ambition and scope, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness earned the band seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997. The album was voted the 29th greatest album of all time in 1998 by Q magazine readers. In 2003, the album was ranked number 487 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Art direction for the album cover is credited to Frank Olinsky and Billy Corgan. The actual illustrations are digital collages put together by John Craig. The design for the album cover was inspired by a combination of the face from the painting Fidelity by Jean Baptiste Greuze and the body from the painting Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Raphael. Why she is floating in space, I have no idea.

Power to the People's: Record Store Rises from the Ashes

As I stated in earlier posts, I love the stories about record stores. Here is another:

By: Ashley Woods

With a little help from his friends, Brad Hales is still unpacking. The shelves of his personalized, one-of-kind shop are filling up with shoeboxes with labels like "Early James Brown," or "60s Funk." The walls are being painted in primary colors, covered with bright, cheerful murals. It looks like he hired the Jackson 5 as interior designers.

People's Records, one of Metro Detroit's most eclectic vinyl shops, is starting a new life in a new location. And bursting with new life it is.

When a fire at the Forest Arms Apartments last winter flooded much of his basement shop, where people from around the world came for his collection of rare vinyl, Hales says he had a good idea what to do next.

"I had to reopen as soon as possible," he says. "I never really questioned that."

For five years, Hales, 34, operated out of the basement of the Forest Arms, which also contained Amsterdam Espresso coffee shop. It was a vibrant corner of Midtown, just south of the Wayne State University campus.

When a fire erupted in an upstairs apartment early in the morning of Feb. 6, gutting the 102-year old structure, thousands of records were destroyed. The colorful nook had been packed with 12-inch records, 78s, and 45s, some of it rare and highly collectible. For years, Hales has been digging for long out of print Detroit soul and funk jams from the 1960s and 1970s (which he also rather famously spins at DJ residencies he has in Detroit and Ann Arbor).

Bringing it all back home

But a fire and a flood could not deter Hales. The day after the shop on Forest was destroyed he made three record buys from dealers, and opened a temporary store in the basement of his Detroit home on Third St. He eventually built the collection back up to where it needed a new storefront. He found a former millinery, at the corner of Woodward and Peterboro St., near Zaccaro's and Atlas Global Bistro, perfectly suited for his needs. Well, almost perfect.

"There was carpeting on the floor," he says, "and a lot of water damage, too. There was a wall down the middle that we had to take down, ceiling tiles missing. But it was one of the only places I could afford." Hales leases the 1,100 sq. ft., two-story space from the Cass Ave. Development Corp. He spent two months this summer at the new location this cleaning, pulling up carpet, scraping and painting.

Now, vinyl junkies walk across restored hardwood floors while they scour through the seemingly endless crates and boxes of records. Despite losing several thousand records in the fire, People's Records is already packed to the gills with hard to find vinyl. And only vinyl. That’s right, no CDs or cassettes to be seen.

Hales says the basement is currently empty, though he wouldn't be opposed to renovating it in the future. There's street parking in the front, as well as a parking lot in the back.

Born in Detroit and raised in Wyandotte, Hales describes himself as "kind of an outcast" in high school. He says the only thing he wanted to do after graduating from high school was "keep working in record stores."

That's what he did, putting in stints at Desirable Discs in Dearborn and Encore in Ann Arbor, with a short detour working in Zingerman’s Bakehouse. On top of his DJ gigs, he has also performed in local progressive-minded indie bands like Teach Me Tiger, Easy Action and Human Eye.

He professes a love for music of all spectrums, but says his main interest is in combing Detroit to add to his collection of choice 45s from the 1950s to the 1980s. His collection of records grew, until, he says, "I just started selling them, so I could buy more. Sell three, buy one. I compare it to being an antique collector."

Destination: Detroit

Hales says the 45s he covets were often produced by local labels, sometimes out of private homes, in runs as small as 100. Some 40 years later, only a handful are left, and Hales' joy comes from tracking them down.

He says he was inspired to "get my hands on records that were made around here, and sell them to people around here, so we could keep them (in Detroit)."

Indeed, if Hales gets his hands on 10 copies of an in-demand 45, he often only lists one copy on eBay, and keeps the rest to sell in his store. "I want local DJs to have access to this music in the future," he says.

With Detroit's international reputation as a haven for rare vinyl, keeping records in the area is a challenge. "Detroit is a destination for record buyers across the nation, across the world," he says. "That's something that is unbeknown to most people around here."

Some of his regular customers hail from as far away as England and Japan. "(Collectors) bring their families to Detroit for vacation, and they spend all their time combing the record stores for finds, dragging along their wife and kids," he says.

Hales says the community's response to the new People's Records has been outstanding.

"We've been extremely busy since we opened,” he says. “I had a carload of people waiting to get in this morning when I unlocked the doors. And we're busy until I close at night."


Ashley Woods is a local freelance writer

SOURCE: http://www.modeldmedia.com

The Vinyl Revival and the Resurrection of Sound

Written by Robert Benson

It’s all over the news- from countless newspaper features (including a write-up in the Wall Street Journal), online articles and even the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. It’s the vinyl record revival and more importantly, the resurrection of analog sound.

Yes, vinyl records, left for dead with the advent of the ‘digital age’ are selling again. In fact, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sales of vinyl records jumped to 1.3 million last year, which represents a 36.6% increase from 2006; a figure that some industry experts feel does not accurately represent the true sales figures. The experts deem it to be too low because independent record stores sales, where vinyl does the best, are not usually included in these figures. Additionally, according to Billboard Magazine, vinyl record sales jumped 77% in the first half of 2008 (when compared to the first half of 2007), selling more than 803,000 units.

This is not a fad or cycle; music lovers young and old are being drawn to this historic audio format. Moreover, it seems to be a worldwide event, preorders and sales of vinyl records are on the increase in many countries across the globe. In the UK alone, sales of seven-inch singles (45’s) have climbed 87.3% compared to the same three month period last year.

Vinyl is cool again. Teenagers, who once may have scoffed at their grandparents’ and parents’ record collections, now wait in line to get the latest releases. More and more mainstream artists are releasing new material via the format and Capitol Records (along with many other major record companies) are now reissuing classic albums on vinyl. And now, along with the baby boomers, a new generation is discovering the special allure that vinyl records have - the limited editions, colored vinyl, picture discs, audiophile records (180-220 gram), the album cover art and the sound - all elements in this grand resurgence.

This resurgence is fueled by many other factors. Let’s explore some interesting aspects of the vinyl record.

The Sound

Yes, the hiss, snap and crackle of a record are soothing music lovers around the globe. Vinyl records use analog recording methods; it is a clear, well-defined sound. The music is not compressed and digitized into the ones and zeros that you get with the CD or MP3; or what I term as “binary sound.” There is a warmth, an ambience that vinyl brings to the music and since the human ear hears in analog-not digital-vinyl records naturally sound better. So this is the secret that the DJ’s, record collectors and audiophiles knew all along!

The Collectible Factor and Availability of Vinyl

Most recording artists are also fans of other artists’ music; they own vast and eclectic record collections. Sometimes finding rare and collectible vinyl created by artists who have influenced their own music and whom they admire can be just as satisfying as creating and recording their own music. They also delight in finding rare vinyl of their own music. In fact, John Lennon was an avid record collector and amassed quite a collection of Beatle’s bootlegs.

Buying and selling records is big business. Besides the garage sales, flea markets and yard sales, online auction sites such as eBay sell millions of records. It is reported that eBay users buy and sell six vinyl records each minute (or an average of one every ten seconds) totaling more than three million records each year. Some records still maintain their value decades after their initial release and have sold for thousands of dollars. It’s been reported that the album that is bought and sold the most in the vinyl format is the Beatles’ “White Album.” Other acts such as Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, among many others, are highly sought after and still command top dollar for specific releases. Soul and jazz music, along with classic rock, are always in demand. Additionally, online giant Amazon is committed to expanding their ‘vinyl section’ offerings to include thousands of music artists.

There is also a lot of vinyl support in such musical genres as hip-hop, punk and heavy metal. “Indie” music is now being pressed into colored vinyl, limited edition releases and picture discs. These are the future collectibles and sometimes sell for higher-than-average prices. The online community has responded as well with literally thousands of web sites dedicated to the vinyl format. Many music artists are making sure that they give their fans a choice of music formats, with vinyl appearing to be taking the lead.

The Vinyl Experience

In our age of iPods and MP3 music, playing a record is almost a ritual experience. There is the physical interaction between the person playing the album, the music itself and the machine. Playing a record can be a communal event where the music is shared with friends and family. But it is not only the music that intrigues the masses. Add unique and compelling album cover art and deluxe packaging, and a whole new generation of vinyl record lovers can share in this phenomenon. Going hand-in-hand with the increase in vinyl record sales is the increase and availability of turntables. Nationally, turntable sales shot to over 500,000 last year compared to 275,000 in 2006. Manufacturers of turntables have given the consumer a plethora of options to choose from, from the very affordable unit to some that cost thousands of dollars. Students in colleges around the U.S., as well as globally, are now beginning to consider a turntable in their dorm room one of their necessities.

The Perks

Many recording artists are not only releasing their new material via vinyl but in digital format for those who choose that medium. Many records may come with a certificate for a free Internet download, which can sometimes be a bonus cut that may not be included on the record. It also allows the music to be portable, and the consumer can choose between the alternate formats. As the demand for vinyl continues its upward climb, so to will the affordability of the records. Many mainstream releases via the vinyl format are competitively priced, allowing for more units to be sold. Add to this the already flourishing used vinyl record market, where a music lover can pick up an LP for under five dollars, and we have a new vinyl model that will flourish for decades to come.

Will vinyl records regain their dominant position in the music industry that they once held? One can only guess, but with CD sales continuing to plummet and more and more music lovers discovering the value of vinyl, this historic audio medium will not fade away anytime soon.

Copyright Robert Benson 2008

Classic Rock Videos

Buddy Holly- That'll Be The Day

Album Cover Art

Continuing our album cover art series, let's look at more of Gigwise.com's 50 most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers (according to their staff):


29. Birth Control: ‘Operation’ – "Operation" was BIRTH CONTROL's 2nd album and continued with their pattented hard-rock acid based style not unlike that of DEEP PURPLE. Musically, BIRTH CONTROL blend heavy guitar with heavy organ twirls, not unlike early SPOOKY TOOTH in many ways as well. Band lineup included Bernd "Nossi" Noske (drums, vocals) Bernd Koschmidder (bass) Bruno Frenzel (guitar, vocals) and Wolfgang Neuser (keyboards). Songs are genereally pretty heavy with songs like the harder edged anti-Vietnam war song "The Work is done". The second track "Just Beofre The Sun Will Rise" and the last track "Let Us Do It Now" are actually quite symphonic and show why BIRTH CONTROL were leaning in a more progressive vein than others at the time. The carnivorous cockroach (or whatever it is) caused such controversy that the album was banned in several countries. Even more scandalous: on some copies an image of the Pope was shown cheering the seemingly baby eating bug on.



29. Jo Jo Gunne: 'Jumpin' The Gunne' - (1973) From the front, it appears to be a 'normal' cover (yeah with the band in bed together), but when opened a 'heavy set' nude woman is floating away from the bed. Huh? There must be a reason, but I have no idea what it is. Remember, drugs were prevelant in the early seventies.

Jo Jo Gunne is a rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1971 by Jay Ferguson (keyboards, vocals and guitar) and Mark Andes (bass and vocals) after the two of them had left Spirit. With the addition of Andes' brother, Matt Andes (born California) (guitar, vocals), and William "Curly" Smith (drums, vocals and harp), the four of them were signed to Asylum Records. They had a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart with the song, "Run Run Run", taken from their 1972 self-titled debut album.

The group did not maintain the commercial momentum of their debut release. With Jumpin' the Gunne's tasteless album cover being blamed for drastically falling sales, they broke up in 1975. However they made several notable tracks, especially "Take It Easy," "Broken Down Man," "Neon City," and "Falling Angel."



29. The Beatles – ‘The Beatles’ (The White Album): Only the Beatles could get away with this. Some have said that this was a great cover, no frills and the band certainly delivered the goods musically. That said, even with the constant bickering and arguing, you would think that the band could have sprung for a better cover.

The Beatles is the ninth official album by The Beatles, a double album released in 1968. It is often referred to as The White Album as it has no text other than the band's name (and, on the early LP and CD releases, a serial number) on its plain white sleeve, which was designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton. The album was the first album The Beatles undertook following the death of their manager Brian Epstein. The album was originally planned to be titled A Doll's House, but the British progressive band Family released an album earlier that year, bearing a similar title. The Beatles is often hailed as one of the major accomplishments in popular music.

The album's sleeve was designed by Richard Hamilton, a notable pop artist who had organised a Marcel Duchamp retrospective at the Tate Gallery the previous year. Hamilton's design was in stark contrast to Peter Blake's vivid cover art for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and consisted of a plain white sleeve. The band's name was discreetly embossed slightly below the middle of the album's right side, and the cover also featured a unique stamped serial number, "to create," in Hamilton's words, "the ironic situation of a numbered edition of something like five million copies."[citation needed] Indeed, the artist intended the cover to resemble the "look" of conceptual art, an emerging movement in contemporary art at the time. Later vinyl record releases in the U.S. showed the title in grey printed (rather than embossed) letters. Early copies on compact disc were also numbered. Later CD releases rendered the album's title in black or grey. The 30th anniversary CD release was done to look like the original album sleeve, with an embossed title and serial number, including a small reproduction of the poster and pictures (see re-issues).

The album's inside packaging included a poster, the lyrics to the songs, and a set of photographs taken by John Kelley during the autumn of 1968 that have themselves become iconic. This is the only sleeve of a Beatles' studio album not to show the members of the band on the front.



29. Marillion: ‘Fugazi’ Studio Album, released in 1984- Emerging as they did in the early 1980s, Marillion have endured a long reputation as a "throwback" to the original progressive rock scene. Their "original" (not quite, but let's not get too technical) lead singer, Fish, was frequently referred to as a pale imitation of Peter Gabriel, and the band itself was often regarded as a similarly pale imitation of Genesis.

I would think that the band approved the cover because it allows for several interpretations-me(?), I'm not bothered by the severed arm, the glass of blood, the lizard but I don't care much for clowns, so I didn't study it for long.

This Date In Music History-September 30


Johnny Mathis ("Misty") is 73.

Marilyn McCoo Davis of the 5th Dimension ("Wedding Bell Blues") turns 65.
Drummer Dewey Martin of Buffalo Springfield was born in Chesterville, Ontario in 1942.

Sylvia Peterson - vocalist for The Chiffons (1946).

Born on this day in 1964, Trey Anastasio, American guitarist, and singer with Phish.

Born on this day in 1933, Soul singer Cissy Houston, and mother of Whitney Houston. Member of Sweet Inspirations, The Drinkard Singers, (with Dionne Warwick), back-up singer with Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross.


In 2006, Justin Timberlake started a two week run at No.1 on the US album chart with his second solo album ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ which also became the biggest album ever for pre-orders on iTunes.

In 1967, Paul McCartney and John Lennon appeared on The David Frost Show, but all they wanted to talk about was how wonderful the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was.

Tragedy strikes David Crosby in 1969, as the CSN member's girlfriend Christine Gail Hinton died in a car crash north of San Francisco. That same day, Crosby, Stills & Nash goes gold.

New York promoter Sid Bernstein contacted Brian Epstein in 1963 and wanted to know more about these Beatles he keeps hearing about, even though they have yet to score a hit in the U.S. Bernstein would go on to promote the band's famed gigs at Shea Stadium. Meanwhile, the Beatles are recording "Money (That's What I Want)" and "I Wanna Be Your Man."

In 1957, Jimmie Rodgers reached number one on the Billboard chart with his very first release, "Honeycomb". Over the next year, he would enjoy more success with "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again".

Mary Ford (partner of Les Paul-- "How High The Moon") died of cancer in 1977.

James Dean died at the age of 24 in a 1955 California car crash.

John Lennon was awarded a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.

Donovan made his U.S. TV debut on ABC's "Shindig" in 1965.

The late Frankie Lymon ("Why Do Fools Fall In Love") was born in 1942.

On The Simpsons tonight in 1993, George Harrison and David Crosby made guest appearances.

In 1996, in the middle of performing his big hit "Tip-Toe Thru' the Tulips With Me" in Montague, Mass., Tiny Tim suffered a heart attack and had to be taken off stage. He died two months later.

Bob Dylan releases "Time Out of Mind" in 1997.

T Rex great, the late Marc Bolan was born in 1947 (died September 16, 1977).

The Rolling Stones recorded the video for "Rock And A Hard Place" at Foxboro-Sullivan Stadium in 1989.

In 1987, L.A.'s Coconut Grove played host to an all-star gathering as Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, and Elvis Costello joined Roy Orbison onstage to tape a TV special. The evening's proceedings were eventually released as "A Black and White Night."

"Incense and Peppermints" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock made its debut on the charts in 1967.

Phil Collins joined Genesis in 1970.

In 1971, Yes kicked off their first tour with Rick Wakeman on keyboards.