Monday, October 20, 2008

Purest sound come from old vinyl records

written by Mark Erbacher

In an age when MP3 players are the norm and everyone holds their iPods and earbuds as treasures, it is a shock to some to learn that while CD sales continue to fall, vinyl record sales continue to climb.

It can’t yet be said that vinyl is taking over CDs and other digital forms of music. According to the music-tracking system Nielsen Soundscan, in 2007, only about .2 percent of music sales were on records, compared to 10 percent for digital downloads, and 89.7 percent of sales on CDs. But this small slice of sales for vinyl represents more than a 15-percent jump in sales over 2006 — up to 990,000 records from 858,000 the year before.

So one must wonder why people are going back to what many thought to have been a format that “died” more than 20 years ago. For many, it’s about actually owning the record. In the Digital Age when people can have literally thousands of songs at their fingertips with their MP3 players, it’s endearing to have a large cardboard cover — prime real estate for artwork. The somewhat archaic form of records allows for large sheets of liner-notes where lyrics and other cool things can be written.

Records are also substantially cheaper than other formats readily available today. While new vinyl can cost as much as a CD, it’s easy to walk into local shops — like Sisters of Sound Music in Manhattan — and buy five used records in good shape for 10 bucks. This allows college students and others short on funds to really collect music and learn to appreciate great old albums.

Since records are an older form of music, they require a bit of work, of course. To play a record, one must actually take the record out of the sleeve, put it on the turntable, place the needle on the track, etc.

However, this allows for people to really appreciate music. On an MP3 player, so often people skip from track to track, blindly switching genres and styles of music, but listening to a record is more like reading a book — it’s better listening from start to finish.

When people do decide to listen to a record from start to finish, it opens doors to new tracks that people who are only interested in top 40 hits would miss out on.

And when it comes to sound quality, nothing can match the warm soft sound of a vinyl record. The secret is the analog recording. According to, “original sound is analog by definition. A digital recording takes snapshots of the analog signal at a certain rate — for CDs it is 44,100 times per second — and measures each snapshot with a certain accuracy.”

The fact that the digital recording chops the sound wave into a number of steps lessens the quality of the sound and can be heard relatively easily if one was to listen to a digital recording and then an analog record recording of the same song.

So dig through those basements and ransack those attics; get those old turntables out and start playing records again. When you hear the superior sound quality and read the lyrics sheet, you’ll be glad you did.

Mark Erbacher is a junior in political science. Please send comments to


New Vinyl Website Focuses on the Social Elements of Records and Music

written by Robert Benson

Well, we made it. The vinyl record revival is in full swing. With many mainstream artists issuing new releases via the format and independent artists following suit, it is a great place in music history. Add to this the numerous reissues of classic LP’s and the vinyl comeback is complete.

Along with the vinyl revival are new Internet web sites that cater to collectors and music lovers. One such site that has just launched is, is social marketplace that will support independent artists, labels and record stores and will aid in the spreading of musical innovation to the global community of music lovers and record collectors.

I spoke with NYLVI co-founder Ivar Lien about the goals, ideals and values of this new, growing vinyl record community:

There are many vinyl sites on the Internet today, what will set yours apart from the others- what will make you unique?

We think there are two main aspects that set us apart from other sites. First of all, we have structured our marketplace to reflect the world's major music scenes. This we hope will make it easier for users to discover more new music and that local artists will be able to find a bigger audience. To make this possible we are cooperating with some of the finest bloggers from these scenes, so previews of all their posts can be read on our scene pages. Instead of creating distant editorials and boring recommendations, we think it's much better to give the word to local experts, who participate in these scenes on a daily basis.

A second aspect we think set us a part from other services is how we emphasize the social aspects of vinyl collecting. We want to be something more than a simple marketplace. Through various features we want to include the users and enable increased interaction. We want to be a community for music and vinyl enthusiasts, a place where they can meet, share and exchange knowledge and experiences.

Obviously, you and your partners feel that vinyl is a good niche to get into, but why the interest in vinyl- where do you see the vinyl record in, let's say ten years from now?

NYLVI is definitely all about vinyl. We love pretty much everything about the format, but also part of the reason we have started a business focused exclusively around vinyl is that we think it's very compatible with the digital future of the music industry. In the next years we think vinyl's position is going to grow much stronger. In music and art in general, it seems like it's a strong movement away from postmodernism and over to what Bourriaud has called the altermodern, where more art is made as a protest and reaction against standardization and commercialism in an increasingly globalized world.

Digital music enables fast and easy sharing between people, which we love, but it also makes music and songs feel more like a commodity. The vinyl revival can be seen as reaction against this, where both artists and listeners appreciate the more exclusive qualities of the vinyl format. In ten years vinyl will still be a niche format, but hopefully a bigger and more vibrant niche!

Is your site 'modeled' after anyone in particular?

No, we cannot say that we have modeled our site after anyone in particular. Of course we have glanced at other sites for inspiration, however these sites span across a wide range. We have tried to take ideas from these sites and turn them into something new with NYLVI. The most important thing for us has been to do our own thing and create something that music and vinyl lovers hopefully will enjoy using. That said, we live in a time where speed of change is accelerating, and we constantly look forward and will continue to develop and improve to be one of the most complete and enjoyable places to buy music on vinyl.

So this will be a global site, encouraging members from all over the world?

Yes, part of what we found so fascinating with starting an online marketplace for vinyl was how we in a way would be situated at the junction between the global and local. Here users, artists, labels, record stores and collectors from around the world can come together and, by drawing on special knowledge from within local scenes, explore new music or discover old classics they have been looking a long time for.

What does NYLVI mean or stand for?

It both means and stands for VINYL first of all! But we also want NYLVI to be associated with the same values and ideals as your local independent record shop: knowledge, enthusiasm and love of music, support of artists and musical communities, and contribution to local variations and musical diversity.

What do you listen to, what is your kind of music?

Close to impossible to answer this. I guess we have an extremely broad music taste. We're big fans of garage rock, like the whole line of bands from the 60's like The Sonics and Chocolate Watchband and upwards with The Pandoras, The Lemon Spiders, The Fleshtones, The Fuzztones, The Cramps, Reigning Sound, Swingin Neckbreakers, King Khan & BBQ and Los Peyotes and, and, and.... But we are also big fans of African Funk and high-life music. I guess one of the records we have been listening most to this year is the Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump compilation, which is really awesome. And it's a lot of new exciting music coming out from London now, the outernational inspired artists like Roots Manuva and Radioclit have all been making really cool music lately. And there are so many other artists too from Bo Diddley and Bob Dylan to Momus, Xiu Xiu and OOTORUICHI. It's a long list.

So if you are a buyer or seller of vinyl records, brings a fresh new online presence that will continue to bring the value of the vinyl record to the forefront, both musically and socially. After all, it is about the music and music is a social phenomenon in itself.

Classic Rock Videos

The Charts- Deserie

Album Cover Art

We are now winding down's list of the most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers as compiled by their crack staff. Let's explore #9 on thier list:


9. Rammstein: ‘Sehnsucht’ So how does rotting flesh, impaled skulls and mutilated faces fit in this category? I have seen better effects in horror movies. Oh well, it must have offended somone, somewhere.

Sehnsucht (German for "Longing", "Desire" and sometimes "Hunger") is the German NDH-metal band Rammstein's second album. It was released on August 22, 1997.

The album booklet folds out to reveal six different covers, one for each band member (each photo depicting the member with a facial mutilation). The cover most commonly seen features Till Lindemann with a muzzle and odd metal objects blocking his view, as they are placed over his eyes. The cover art was created by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein. The album is the only album entirely in German to be certified Platinum by the RIAA in the United States. The album cover on the right features Rammstein drummer Christoph Schneider.



9. Kevin Rowland: 'My Beauty' Uh, ewwwwww. Kevin Rowland is an English singer-songwriter and frontman for pop band Dexys Midnight Runners. Rowland draws on his Irish ancestry in much of his music. For a singer who had it all going for him, this was a nightmare of a career move.



9. The Beatles – ‘Yesterday and Today’- I am amazed that this would make the 'worst' list, this is an iconic cover, and certainly a highly valuable and collectible piece of art. I have certainly seen worse, but here it is at #9 on the Gigwise list.

Yesterday and Today (rendered as "Yesterday" …and Today on the record label and in most published discographies) is the ninth Capitol release by the The Beatles, and was issued only in the United States and Canada. The album is remembered primarily for the controversy surrounding its original cover image, the "butcher cover" featuring the band dressed in white smocks and covered with decapitated baby dolls and pieces of meat. The album's title is loosely based on the song "Yesterday". Early album cover proofs show the word "Yesterday" in quotes.

In early 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker had The Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece entitled "A Somnambulant Adventure." For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. The group played along as they were tired of the usual photo shoots and the concept was compatible with their own "black humour". Although not originally intended as an album cover, The Beatles submitted photographs from the session for their promotional materials. In particular, John Lennon pushed to use it as an album cover. A photograph of the band smiling amid the mock carnage was used as promotional advertisements for the British release of the "Paperback Writer" single. Also, a similar photograph from this shoot was used for the cover of the 11 June 1966 edition of the British music magazine Disc.

In the United States, Capitol Records printed approximately 750,000 copies of Yesterday and Today with the same photograph as "Paperback Writer". They were assembled in Capitol's four U.S. plants situated in different cities: Los Angeles; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Jacksonville, Illinois. Copies from the various plants may be easily differentiated by examining the number printed near the RIAA symbol on the back; for example, stereo copies from the Los Angeles plant are designated "5" and mono Los Angeles copies are marked "6". Mono copies outnumbered stereo copies by about 10 to 1, making the stereo copies far more valuable today. A small fraction of the original covers were shipped to disc jockeys and store managers as advance copies. Reaction was immediate. The record was immediately recalled. All copies were ordered shipped back to the record label, leading to its collectability. It has been substantiated that the record was indeed for sale in some stores in limited areas, probably for only one day.

Capitol initially ordered plant managers to destroy the covers, and the Jacksonville plant delivered most of its copies to an area landfill. However, faced with so many jackets already printed, Capitol quickly changed course and decided instead to paste a new cover over the old one, cropping the open end of the album jacket by about 1/8 inch to address problems where the new sheet was not placed exactly "square" on top of the original cover. Tens of thousands of these were sent out. As word of this manoeuvre made the rounds, people attempted, sometimes successfully, to peel off the pasted-over cover of their copy of the album, hoping to reveal the original image hidden below.

Copies that have never had the white cover pasted onto them, known as "first state" covers, are very rare and command the highest prices. Copies with the pasted-on cover intact above the butcher image are known as "second state" or "pasteovers"; today, pasteover covers that have not been altered in an attempt to remove the white cover are also becoming increasingly rare and valuable. Covers that have had the white cover steamed or peeled off to reveal the underlying butcher image are known as "third state" covers; these are now the most common (and least valuable, although their value varies depending on how well the cover is removed) as people continue to peel second state covers to reveal the butcher image underneath. In December 2005 a "first state" copy of the album was sold for $10,500.

Then-president of Capitol Records, Alan Livingston, has in recent years confirmed the existence and private sale of twenty "first state" butcher covers, salvaged from his personal collection. These still-sealed pristine items with the controversial cover are the very rarest specimens. The so-called "Livingston Butchers" today command prices of $40,000 and up among collectors.

At the time, some of the Beatles defended the use of the photograph. Lennon said that it was "as relevant as Vietnam" and Paul McCartney said that their critics were "soft". However, not all of them were as comfortable with it. George Harrison commented, "I thought it was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naïve and dumb; and that was one of them." Capitol Records apologized for the offense. Yesterday and Today was the only Beatles record to lose money for Capitol.



9. Led Zeppelin: ‘Houses of the Holy’ I agree with this selection, though I would have it rated higher. I loved this cover when it came out and time has not changed my thinking. And the music is top-notch. Kudos to Zeppelin.

Houses of the Holy is the fifth album by English rock band Led Zeppelin released by Atlantic Records on March 28, 1973. The album title is a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "Houses of the Holy." It was the first Led Zeppelin album to not be, at least unofficially, titled after the band. The album represents a turning point for the band, as they began to use more layering and production techniques in recording their songs.

Although Houses of the Holy initially received mixed reviews, it has since become regarded by critics as one of Led Zeppelin's best albums. The album produced the favorites "Over the Hills and Far Away", "Dancing Days", "The Song Remains the Same, "D'yer Mak'er", "No Quarter" and "The Ocean", and it has sold over 11 million copies in the United States. In 2003, the album was ranked number 149 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The cover art for Houses of the Holy was inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End. (The ending involves several hundred million naked children, only slightly and physically resembling the human race in basic forms). It is a collage of several photographs which were taken at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. This location was chosen ahead of an alternative one in Peru.

The two children who modelled for the cover were siblings Stefan and Samanatha Gates. The photoshoot was a frustrating affair over the course of ten days. Shooting was done first thing in the morning and at sunset in order to capture the light at dawn and dusk, but the desired effect was never achieved due to constant rain and clouds. The photos of the two children were taken in black and white and were multi-printed to create the effect of 11 nubiles that can be seen on the album cover. The results of the shoot were less than satisfactory, but some accidental tinting effects in post-production created an unexpectedly magical album cover. The inner sleeve photograph was taken at Dunluce Castle near to the Causeway.

In 1974 the album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best album package. The cover was rated #6 on VH1's 50 Greatest Album Covers in 2003.

Jimmy Page has stated that the album cover was actually the second version submitted by Hipgnosis. The first, by artist Storm Thorgerson, featured an electric green tennis court with a tennis racquet on it. Furious that Thorgerson was implying their music sounded like a "racket", the band fired him and hired Powell in his place. Thorgerson did, however, go on to produce the album artwork for Led Zeppelin's subsequent albums Presence and In Through the Out Door.

Soul singer Dee Dee Warwick dies in NJ at age 63

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Dee Dee Warwick, a soul singer who won recognition for both her solo work and her performances with her older sister Dionne Warwick, has died. She was 63.

Warwick died Saturday at a nursing home in Essex County, said Kevin Sasaki, a family spokesman. She had been in failing health in recent months, he said, and her sister was with her when she died.

Warwick had several hits on the soul and R&B charts in the 1960s and 70s, including "Foolish Fool," "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)" and a version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" that was later covered by Diana Ross and The Supremes.

Warwick also was a two-time Grammy Award nominee and sang backup for Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others before starting her solo career.

Warwick was the niece of gospel singer Cissy Houston and a cousin of Whitney Houston.

Born in Newark, Warwick was a teenager when she began singing with her older sister in the late 1950s. The two performed as The Gospelaires and also collaborated and sang with the Drinkard Singers, a long-running gospel group that also featured some of the Warwicks' aunts and uncles and was managed by their mother.

Most recently, Warwick provided background vocals for her sister's recent one-woman autobiographical show, "My Music & Me," which played to sold-out crowds in Europe this year. She also performed on the title song from Dionne Warwick's gospel album, "Why We Sing," released January 2008.

This Date In Music History- October 20


Jay Siegel of the Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight") was born in 1939.

It's Snoop Dogg's birthday (1972).

Tom Petty ("Refugee")is 55.

Wanda Jackson ("Right Or Wrong") turns 71.


Led Zeppelin’s concert documentary, ‘The Song Remains the Same,' premiered in New York in 1976.

In 1979,'The Long Run' (by the Eagles) began its yearlong run on the charts, including nine weeks at #1—one more week than Hotel California's reign at the top.

Bill Haley, Pat Boone and Elvis Presley all appeared together in concert at a Cleveland High School in 1955 (the concert was filmed for a documentary of Cleveland DJ Bill Randle but never released).

John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their "Wedding Album" LP in 1969 (with a photo of their own wedding cake and a copy of their marriage certificate included). Highlights included the cut "John and Yoko," in which the couple yell each other's name for 25 minutes.

The Rolling Stones had the number 1 song in the US in 1973 with "Angie.” It made #5 in the UK. It is often reported that the song was written about David Bowie's wife at the time, the former Angela Barnett, but many reliable sources say that the song is really about Anita Pallenberg, the long-time love of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

In 2005, Jazz vocalist and pianist Shirley Horn died of diabetes complications in Washington, D.C., aged 71. In a career lasting five decades, she worked with Miles Davis, Quincy Jones and Wynton Marsalis.

The Elvis Presley film "G.I. Blues" premiered in 1960.

In 1977, three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, his sister Cassie Gaines (one of three backing singers) and manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed in a plane crash en route from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The remaining members, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson were seriously injured, but all recovered. The band was finished for ten years, until the survivors invited Ronnie's younger brother Johnny to join them in a reunion concert in 1987.

The Four Seasons' "Big Girls Don't Cry" was released in 1962. It will become their second consecutive Billboard #1 hit.

"The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in 1962. This novelty song, which was recorded in less than two hours, has become an annual favorite.

In 1969, The Who played the first of six nights at New York's Filmore East performing a two-hour show featuring the songs from 'Tommy.'

The Police made their US debut at C.B.G.B.S, New York in 1978. The trio had flown on low cost tickets with Laker Airtrain from the UK, carrying their instruments as hand luggage.

In 1960, Roy Orbison had his first UK No.1 single with 'Only The Lonely.' The song was turned down by The Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley, so Orbison decided to record the song himself.

US country singer, songwriter Merle Travis died at age 65 in 1983. Invented the first solid body electric guitar. Wrote 'Sixteen Tons' 1955 US No.1 for Ernie Ford.