Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It’s thrive or die for Criminal Records, Earwax Records and Atlanta’s mom and pop shops

By Chad Radford

Just a few hours before the annual Halloween parade descended upon Little Five Points on Saturday, Oct. 18, independent record store owner Eric Levin stood on the sidewalk at 1154-A Euclid Ave., swaying from side-to-side, giddy with excitement. Overhead, local artist R. Land stood atop a tall ladder, drilling screws into a temporary sign with a primitive green and yellow lizard-monster spitting out the words "Criminal Records."

It was the day after opening day at Criminal's new location, one-tenth of a mile from its former digs between Junkman's Daughter and Aurora Coffee. Inside, employees scrambled between partially assembled shelves carrying stacks of CDs and working to make the place look presentable. An air of excitement filled the room, and in the periphery the first few intrepid customers cautiously checked things out.

Unless you've been living under a rock for several years, it's no secret that Criminal's move is a potential catastrophe. The economy is bad, unemployment is high and free music is just a mouse click away. But Levin, who also heads the Alliance of Independent Media Stores and founded the annual Record Store Day, doesn't show any signs of concern over the financial doom and gloom on everyone's mind.

To read the rest of the article:

Classic Rock Videos

Top 30 best rock songs of the 50's

Vinyl Record News & Releases:


Metallica’s …And Justice For All will be reissued on vinyl on December 1st. The album is the latest in the band’s plan to re-release their entire catalog on vinyl.

Available October 28th on vinyl:

Bloc Party - Intimacy CD/LP+MP3 (Atlantic)
Indie store exclusive — enhanced CD featuring bonus tracks! Bloc Party’s third album is a thrillingly radical record, bristling with percussive innovation, scorching riffs, orchestral sampledelia and biting emotional candor. Vinyl includes MP3 download.

Cradle Of Filth - Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder CD/2xCD/LP (Roadrunner)
Chronicles the story of the world’s first serial killer, French nobleman and soldier Gilles De Rais. Like they had done with the story of Elizabeth Bathory, Cradle Of Filth weave a tale of murder, the occult, and sinister deed around their trademark metal sound. Fueled by breakneck speed, crushing guitars, and haunting vocals, the band has delivered their hardest most aggressive and chilling piece yet. Deluxe edition includes a ten-track bonus disc featuring demos, live tracks and remixes.

Deerhunter - Microcastle CD/LP Coming Soon… (Kranky)
Highly anticipated follow-up to 2007’s Cryptograms album which launched the band into the stratosphere of hype. Features the song “Saved By Old Times,” which includes a vocal collage by Cole Alexander of The Black Lips.

Dreamend - Long Forgotten CD/LP (Graveface)
Songs loosely based on stories and memories of a relative from the far past. Music to listen to while driving through abandoned cities and ghost towns. Banjo and vocals are at the foreground of the landscape, drumming is minimal and guitars are the ghosts. Packaged in a chipboard gatefold sleeve with a twelve-page booklet of photos by Christy Romanick. Gatefold vinyl package features a pop-up book and includes four extra songs.

Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads CD/LP (Motown)
Off With Their Heads could/should be described as being the first “proper” Kaiser Chiefs album with a solid base on which is constructed a series of tracks which come together as an altogether less frenetic and more cohesive piece of work than previous outings and is almost certainly the better for it. Produced by Mark Ronson and Eliot James and mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, LCD Soundsystem, Run DMC). Includes the single “Never Miss A Beat.”

Kottonmouth Kings - The Green Album CD/2xLP (Suburban Noize)
The Green Album is the tenth studio full length from one of independent music’s most resilient and tested groups. They will be donating a portion of the proceeds to environmental causes.

John Legend - Evolver CD/CD+DVD/2xLP+MP3 (Sony)
Guest performers include Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Estelle. Deluxe edition includes DVD. HQ-180 double vinyl includes MP3 download.

Queen + Paul Rogers - The Cosmos Rocks CD/2xLP (Hollywood)
Tracks on the new Queen + Paul Rodgers album are all newly written by May, Taylor and Rodgers. Includes “Say It’s Not True,” previously released at the end of 2007 by Queen + Paul Rodgers as a special World AIDS Day download for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 HIV AIDS charity, plus a “first” for a Queen album — a cover version.

Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns CD/CD+DVD/Vinyl+MP3 (Geffen)
Deluxe edition features a bonus DVD. “I’m so proud of this record. Everybody played out of their skin. Garret “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Bloc Party, R.E.M.) continued his progression from maverick genius to one of the best producers in the world. Musically, lyrically and sonically the best record we’ve made.” — Gary Lightbody (vocals/guitars). Also available as a limited edition double white vinyl with download card.

Squarepusher - Just A Souvenir CD/LP (Warp)
Vinyl package includes a six panel foldout poster. “Just A Souvenir is more in the realms of experimental rock and future jazz, with a touch of electronic treatment and a few very tasteful drills. Jenkinson continues evolving (as a true musician should) in his experimentation with abstract accompaniment of acoustic instruments (mostly his custom-built six string bass guitar once again) and drums that effortlessly morph between organic and digital.” — Gridface

The Band - Music From Big Pink LP
The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium 2xLP
Metallica - …And Justice For All 2xLP
Sun Ra - Sound Of Joy LP
Slayer - The Haunting Chapel LP
Slayer - Hell Awaits LP
Slayer - Live Undead LP
Slayer - Show No Mercy LP
…Trail of Dead – Festival Thyme (10” Picture Disc

Vinyl Record and Music Memorabilia Collection

Ran across this online and thought some of the blog readers would be interested. Sounds like there are many rare and collectible pieces of vinyl to be had!

"I am selling my entire music collection. It consists of over 100,000 vinyl records, most of which are VG+ or better, thousands are rare and valuable collectors items and there are even many one of a kind records. I am also including 40 displays I put together for Rhythm City Casino in Davenport, Iowa that are valued at over $1 million, as well as several jukeboxes, sheet music, old music players, radios, victrolas, wax cylinder records, autographs, yearbooks and much much more. It has taken me 35 years to put together this one of a kind collection. Please visit my website to read more about the sale and everything that's included."

Warner Brothers Records to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Warner Brothers Records has announced that they will celebrate their 50th anniversary with the December 9 release of the book Revolutions in Sound. The book is authored by music historian and educator Warren Zanes. The 240-page hardcover book will contain exclusive interviews, never-before-seen photographs and insider accounts on the hits.

The book will also come with a USB flash drive with 320 recordings from the Warner Brothers, Reprise, Sire and other affiliated labels that reflects the diversity of the company's output. The drive, shaped like the Warner Brothers logo, holds the equivalent of a 20-CD set.

Per the press release:

Ranging from Jimi Hendrix to My Chemical Romance, the Grateful Dead to Madonna, Fleetwood Mac to Frank Sinatra, Tab Hunter to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the who's who of the label's roster reflects an unequalled cross section of cultural history and some of today's most important artists. Other notable artists associated with the company's rise and continuing industry leadership are Green Day, Van Halen, Michael Bublé, Regina Spektor, The White Stripes, Cher, Curtis Mayfield, Ramones, REM, Faith Hill, Alanis Morrisette, Randy Newman, Funkadelic, Seal, Big & Rich, Alanis Morrisette, Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and hundreds of others, many of whom have come to be known as household names over the course of fifty years and whom have continued Warner Bros. success as the industry's No. 1 label in the U.S. for two of the last three years.

Tom Whalley, Chairman of Warner Bros. Records, commented, "The company's 50th anniversary presents us with a singular opportunity to celebrate one of the richest and most storied traditions in the music business. It's a chance for us to reflect on the company's abiding belief in creative freedom and artistic self-determination."

Also on tap for the label in the coming months:

A deluxe box set comprised of ten CDs packaged with an accompanying booklet derived from Zanes' research.
A release of the book as a standalone title by Chronicle Books.
A special album, scheduled February, with classic Warner Brothers songs performed by modern Warner artists.

How to Clean Vinyl Records: 2 Methods

Another great article by Alan Bayer at

How to Clean Vinyl Records: 2 Methods

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Vinyl records are high maintenance. They're like the hot, high maintenance girlfriend (or boyfriend) who takes two hours to get ready to go out. Of course, when they're ready, they look good. In the case of vinyl, they sound amazing, but they take a little extra work to get there. Part of this maintenance is keeping them clean. Here is how to do it:

Before and After listening to a record...

First of all, before listening to a record (and after), give it a quick once-over with a carbon fiber brush designed for records. These brushes are great for removing small particles of dust and lint. They also de-staticize the record, reducing the chance that the record will attract more dust and lint. Most of the time, this is all you'll have to do to keep your records in great shape. If you're noticing that a record is popping and hissing a lot, a quick brush will clean up the sound considerably.

Giving the records a more thorough cleaning...

After listening to a record several times, it will probably get dirty. When your records get dirty, it's a good idea to clean them. Cleaning records doesn't have to be done very often if you treat your records with care, but it's not a bad idea once a year if you listen to a record more than a few times in that year. When you clean a record, the goal is to remove grease, dirt and other contaminants.

To do it properly, you have to use some sort of cleaner. There are many products on the market that are designed for cleaning records. If you want to clean your records on the cheap, you can make your own cleaning solution with some distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.

Here's what you do: Mix up one part 90%+ isopropyl alcohol and four parts distilled water. Add 5-6 drops of dishwashing (non-moisturizing) soap to the mixture. Next, apply the solution to a clean paper towel or record cleaning pad. Do not use your "dry" brush for this! Stroke the paper towel around the records, moving with the grooves. Sometimes it is helpful to use a back and forth motion. Repeat if necessary. Next, rinse the record with more distilled water. Dry with a clean towel. Let the record sit out for at least a few hours to ensure that it has dried completely. Just set the record on a clean towel, vertically leaning against something. After the record has dried, place it in a brand new paper or plastic sleeve, and put it back in its cover. Paper sleeves can be purchased on the internet and eBay, as well as in local record and audio shops.

Using a machine to clean your vinyl...

If you're a baller, you can always buy a Nitty Gritty (or similar device), which is a machine that sucks dust off your records. This system works very well, is very easy, and will help you clean a large vinyl collection. These machines are pretty expensive, but worth it if you have a large collection and listen to a lot of music.

Most of these devices have a platter that you place your record on. Put the record on the platter, and get it spinning (Some machines are motorized, others are manual). Apply some cleaning solution to either the machine's brush (If it has one), or to your own (again, never use your "dry" brush for this!) Add a few drops to the record too. As the record is spinning, hold the brush directly on the record, allowing it to pass several times. Don't use too much pressure. After the surface of the record has been brushed, push the vacuum opening over the surface of the record, and turn it on. Let the vacuum suck the debris off the record for a minute or so. To do the other side, make sure the platter is clean before putting the clean side of the record on it. Repeat for the second side.

Once you have cleaned both sides, let the record air out for awhile. It's true that the solution evaporates quickly, and the vacuum gets most of the moisture off the record, it's still a good idea to let it dry for maybe a half hour or so before you put the record back in a sleeve or play it.

Once it's dry, put it in a brand new paper or plastic sleeve, and return it to its cover. Easy, right?

Keeping your records clean will give you plenty of years of listening enjoyment. In addition, when they start to sound bad, you can just give them a quick wash, and they're back to like new. Enjoy the music!

Author Alan E Bayer is a jazz lover and vinyl record enthusiast who operates, a site where one can find collectible vinyl records, turntables and vinyl accessories. Enjoy the site, and enjoy the sound of music on vinyl.