Friday, January 23, 2009

We Can Only Dream!

Most expensive turntable in the world

The turntable started out as a device used to play music by rotating a phonograph record on a a circular horizontal platform, but it has evolved into a music instrument itself and some models now are just as much as the costliest instrument. The record player was the most popular device for playing sound from the 1870s through the 1980s, but in the modern work-a-day world of iTunes and Sattelite radio, the record player is often overlooked. DJs and Turntablism brought new life and new expensive turntables to the consumer and keeps the record player adapting.

Vinyl is alive and kicking because the most passionate and wealthy audiophiles know that CD’s or mp3’s sound can‘t touch anything on these—the most expensive turntables.

Continuum Caliburn – up to $112,000

Vinyl isn’t dead, and The Continuum Caliburn turntable proves this by aiming for audio perfection. The price for this expensive turntable starts at $90,000 and goes up to $112,000, depending on finishes and includes some amazing technology. The tonearm alone sells for $12,000. The turntable uses a magnetically levitated magnesium platter suspended in a vacuum to assure there are no vibrations.

Clearaudio Statement - $125,000

This 770-pound hunk of wood and aluminum features a magnetically-driven sub-platter that completely eliminates contact with the main platter and real time speed control. A 176 lb pendulum ensures that the platters are always level and a high speed microprocessor-controlled motor drive unit, similar to that used in the Mars rover, keeps the records turning.

Basis Work of Art - $150,000

This Work of Art uses a “mass-spring-dampener” suspension system to completely isolate the turntable from the listening environment while an AC synchronous instrument motor provides the speed-stability necessary to put the most ardent audiophiles at ease. The Work of Art’s support structure is so rigid that audible resonance is eliminated.

Goldmund Reference II - $300,000

The successor to the 25-year-old Goldmund Reference is a high-precision turntable with level calibration to less than 1/100th of a millimeter and its stylus, pivot and counterweight “perfectly aligned for optimal dynamic balance.” Three Teflon tubes prevent vibration of the wires as they carry signal from the turntable. The turntable also features a digital processor that provides RIAA correction which, I’m guessing, has nothing to do with those people who sue people for downloading MP3 files.

The world’s most expensive turntable is limited to a mere twenty-five units with only five being made per year.

(taken from the most expensive journal)

Classic Rock Videos

Looking Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album Cover Art News

U2 accused of copying American artist's album cover

U2's No Line On The Horizon and Taylor Dupree's Specification Fifteen

The Irish rock band have chosen a design by acclaimed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto for the sleeve of their fortcoming album No Line On The Horizon.

But Taylor Deupree, a musician from New York, used the same image for his 2006 CD Specification Fifteen, a collaboration with fellow electronic artist Richard Chartier.

Mr Deupree said: "OK, come on people, do some research before you release an album cover. U2's forthcoming album, No Line On The Horizon, is nearly an exact rip-off of mine and Richard Chartier's Specification Fifteen, which came out a couple of years ago.

"Both covers feature a photograph by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Specification Fifteen was created directly in conjunction with Sugimoto and his retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, so before people run off about how cool the new U2 cover is, show them ours first.

"Naturally, when something we have slaved over, fought for recognition over, is so easily undone by pop culture, it feels a bit cheap. What for us is one of the greatest achievements in a career thus far is simply a phonecall for U2."

His claim comes just months after Coldplay were accused of plagiarising the music of guitar legend Joe Satriani for their hit Viva La Vida.


The Decemberists Release Cover Art For New Album

This is the new cover art for the new Decemberists record Hazards of Love, due on March 24th.

As usual, Colin Meloy's wife did the honors.

Music News & Notes

New ISIS Release Set For May

ISIS, the innovative Los Angeles-by-way-of-Boston-based band, has set a May 5 release date for its much-anticipated new album, "Wavering Radiant" (Ipecac Recordings). The CD, produced by Joe Baressi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE), will receive a limited-edition vinyl release on April 21. TOOL's Adam Jones contributed guitar to two songs from the LP.


Amoeba-Hosted McCartney Performances Earn Grammy Nods - CD To Be Released On January 27, 2009

On June 27, 2007 Amoeba Music - the legendary Los Angeles music store - hosted an intimate performance with Sir Paul McCartney which Variety called 'a once-in-a-lifetime performance: a relaxed and gregarious McCartney in a setting intimate enough for him to interact with fans.' Four of the songs from the performance were released on the 12' vinyl 'Amoeba's Secret' (Hear Music/MPL Communications Ltd.) and now two of those tracks have garnered McCartney Grammy nominations.

'That Was Me' is up for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, while 'I Saw Her Standing There' is nominated for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.

What began as an extraordinary night with McCartney has blossomed from a limited run vinyl release to Grammy nominations and a January 27th CD release of the 4-song 'Amoeba's Secret' album on Universal.

The LA Times said of Amoeba hosting the event '[McCartney's] delight proved that Amoeba was the right spot for this event. A club or theater might have made for better sightlines and more predictable sound (actually, the sound was fine), but it wouldn't have had the communal aura of this fan fair.

Here, the 800 or so folks in their Wings T-shirts and Sgt. Pepper jackets - plus a few hard-to-spot celebs, most notably Ringo Starr, who got a shout-out from his old pal at show's end - could bask directly in each other's joy. And with no fourth wall to protect him, McCartney could let that mood get under his skin.'

Photos and video can be seen at:


'Watchmen' Original Score and Soundtrack Details Released

By Michael Doran

March 3rd is the street date set for the release of the both the Original Score and Soundtrack for Warner Bros. highly-anticipated big-screen adaptation of Watchmen, Warner Sunset/Reprise Records announced Thursday. The film is due to open nationwide March 6th.

Music From The Motion Picture Watchmen, the film's official soundtrack, includes My Chemical Romance's reinterpretation of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row," recorded exclusively for the film. The band's frontman Gerard Way is well-known to comic book readers as the creator of the popular Dark Horse Comics title Umbrella Academy. The soundtrack also features a collection of classic songs by such artists as Nat King Cole, Simon & Garfunkel, and Janis Joplin, which according to the announcement, "once heard in the context of the film, will never be thought of the same way again."

Watchmen Original Motion Picture Score features music by recording artist, composer, and music producer Tyler Bates, who was asked to score the film by Watchmen director Zack Snyder. Tyler, who also scored the Snyder-directed films 300 and Dawn of the Dead, has also scored the soundtracks to The Day the Earth Stood Still, Showtime's Californication, Slither, Rob Zombie's Halloween, and The Devil's Rejects. According to the announcement, he is known for his "surprising juxtapositions of music styles and flair for delicate, atmospheric touches, as well as stressing emotional vibrancy over traditional formulas of music compositions."

Bates has also been chosen to score the Watchmen's DVD added story, "Tales From The Black Freighter."

Both collections will be released in multiple formats – the physical CD and a digital album will be available on March 3rd, and a vinyl edition of the soundtrack will be released on March 17th.



Harvey Splitting From Cave & Bad Seeds

Mick Harvey is leaving Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds after playing with the group for the last 25 years. The pair formed the band in 1983 after collaborating on the post-punk group the Birthday Party.

In a statement, Harvey said "After 25 years I feel I am leaving the band as it experiences one of its many peaks; in very healthy condition, and with fantastic prospects for the future. I'm confident Nick will continue to be a creative force and that this is the right time to pass on my artistic and managerial role to what has become a tremendous group of people who can support him in his endeavors both musically and organizationally."


Springsteen Snubbed

In a big surprise, Bruce Springsteen's theme from The Wrestler was not nominated for an Academy Award today. The song had already won a Golden Globe and a Critic's Choice Award for best song from a motion picture.

Peter Gabriel did receive a nomination for Down to Earth from the movie Wall-E.


Faithfull Surrounded By Stars On New Album

Veteran 60's singer Marianne Faithfull will be surrounded by top-shelf collaborators on her new album "Easy Come, Easy Go," which is due March 17 from Decca Records.

The Hal Willner-produced project, his first full album with Faithfull since 1987, features covers of Morrissey's "Dear God Please Help Me," Neko Case's "Hold On, Hold On" and the Decemberists' "The Crane Wife 3."

Cat Power and Sean Lennon will guest on the Case cover, while Nick Cave joins in on the Decemberists song. "Easy Come, Easy Go" also includes takes on Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" featuring Keith Richards, Espers' "Children of Stone" featuring Rufus Wainwright and Briano Eno's "How Many Worlds" featuring Teddy Thompson.

"The fact we were all in the room together, the musicians and myself," says Faithfull. "That's what gives this recording its urgency,"

Here is the track list for "Easy Come, Easy Go":

"Down From Dover" (written by Dolly Parton)
"Hold On, Hold On" (written by Neko Case, ft. Chan Marshall and Sean Lennon)
"Solitude" (written by Billie Holiday)
"The Crane Wife 3" (written by The Decemberists, ft. Nick Cave)
"Easy Come, Easy Go" (written by Bessie Smith)
"Children of Stone" (written by Espers, ft. Rufus Wainwright)
"How Many Worlds" (written by Brian Eno, ft. Teddy Thompson)
"In Germany Before the War" (written by Randy Newman)
"Ooh Baby Baby" (written by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, ft. Antony Hegarty)
"The Phoenix" (written by Judee Sill, ft. Sean Lennon)
"Dear God Please Help Me" (written by Morrissey)
"Sing Me Back Home" (written by Merle Haggard, ft. Keith Richards)


No Stewart, Faces Reunion

Despite reports that the Faces are reuniting for an album as well as a tour with Flea on bass, Rod Stewart's spokesperson told Billboard "there are no plans for a Faces reunion tour this year." Additionally, a spokesperson for Flea tells Billboard the artist "knows nothing" of a Faces tour.

Guitarist Ron Wood reportedly told the U.K.'s Daily Mirror that he and Rod Stewart wrote an album's worth of new material during a Christmas vacation, and that Flea would be participating in an upcoming tour. However, the online version of the piece has since disappeared from the Daily Mirror Web site.

Rumors have swirled since last fall that Stewart, Wood, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones were planning to tour for the first time since splitting in 1975. The musicians reportedly rehearsed last year with Stewart touring bassist Conrad Korsch filling the role of the late Ronnie Laine. But a recent report in the New York Post suggested the members didn't get along during the process and that a tour seemed unlikely.


Keith Urban Names New Album

Keith Urban has christened his new album "Defying Gravity" and, as previously reported, will release it March 31 on Capitol Nashville.

First single "Sweet Thing" rises 12-8 this week on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, Urban's 18th top 10 hit there.

Urban says the title phrase "comes from the lyrics of a song on the album and it just struck me at the time as a phrase that really defined the joyous, optimistic and uplifting spirit that seemed to show itself while making the album."

The artist will begin an extensive North American tour in May, with a rotating crew of support acts that will include Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, the Zac Brown Band and Dierks Bentley.

Record Stores

Long time readers of the blog know how much I love the independent record store. That said, I try to feature as many stories as I can about these wonderful retail outlets, it is the home of vinyl and where memories and friendship merge. This story is about a record store in the Baltimore, Maryland area and the other about a record store in Florida. If you are in the area, please purchase your vinyl records at these outlets.

Never-ending summer

Back-room record store proves vinyl is alive and well

Written by Carrie Wood

If anyone ever wants proof that vinyl isn't dead, they need not look any further than Celebrated Summer Records.

Located inside of Legends Comics on York Road near the traffic circle, Celebrated Summer is a back-room record store that doesn't try to be "everything for everybody," according to owner Tony Pence.

While other, larger record stores have felt the crippling effects of the economic recession and the transition to digital music, Celebrated Summer has survived because of its niche market.

"It seems that those are the types of stores that are hit hardest by downloading and things like that, whereas a store like mine which is much smaller and specific… I can keep going like this," Pence said.

Pence opened his store in August 2006 after splitting off from his original employment at Baltimore-based Reptilian Records. He was also inspired after visiting Japan and seeing how similar stores are laid out there - in the back of other stores.

"Those things kind of coalesced and I just decided I would do my own thing in the county and I would base it off of smaller Japanese stores," he said.

After spending about six months looking for a place to establish his business, Pence presented the owner of Legends Comics with an offer.

"He had a back room that was basically filled with trash. I told him that I would rent that room from him, clean it and paint it, and turn it into a record store," Pence said. "He agreed, and that's really how it all started."

But after starting Celebrated Summer, it took Pence another several weeks to actually establish it.

"It probably took me a good two and a half months to make that room even look like the beginnings of a store, considering how it looked before," he said.

After opening, Celebrated Summer has had a steady flow of business and has remained relatively unaffected by the waning popularity of vinyl records. Pence said that the recent boom in vinyl sales, with stores such as Barnes & Noble carrying records and major labels reprinting albums in vinyl, hasn't had much of an impact on his business.

"There's always people there to support it, whether it's an artificial boom [or not]. There's always a solid base of people that seem to be collecting vinyl," he said.

Pence said he acquires what he sells both by ordering new material and buying other people's collections.

He said he sorts through the used records so that his customers don't have to sort through "crates of scratched-up garbage."

"I don't have room to have crates of flea market, crappy records," Pence said. "My soul section is the best of 60s and 70s soul. The rock section is the records you would want to have - The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, et cetera. I prefer to have small, concise sections."

The store carries mainly punk rock, hardcore and indie rock records and CD's - Pence said the store is "about 60 percent vinyl, 40 percent everything else." Although those genres may sound narrow to some, Pence said that there's more of a variety than a lot of people think.

"Because I'm the only employee, the store kind of directly reflects my tastes as well. I like Belle & Sebastian and I like black metal as well as a lot of stuff in between. I'll always order things for people, too," he said.

Celebrated Summer also carries international punk rock and has had several in-store shows with more to come.

Two of the bands that have played there have been from Japan and one of the upcoming bands is from Sweden.

"There's so much there, even though the store is so small," Pence said. "I try to have a good variety of forgotten and ignored music in one place."



Vintage vinyl is back in style

Jen Glantz

Rock 'n' Roll Heaven music store (a retail outlet in central Florida) is a monument to some of the greatest music ever recorded over the last century.

With vinyl records from artists such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles, the store is heaven for music lovers young and old.

"People are attracted to this store because of the nostalgia it brings," said Jeff Nowlin, an employee at Rock 'n' Roll Heaven.

Rock 'n' Roll Heaven is home to many different genres of music, from a rap section with vinyls from Jay-Z to Tupac to a disco and soul section to a Top 40 section with names such as Pink and Madonna.

"Mom and dad's record collection and more," Nowlin said about the collection of music. "We offer something for everyone."

Rock 'n' Roll Heaven sells vinyls anywhere from $4 to $100. Jimi Hendrix vinyls go from $20 to $40, and Elton John vinyls sell anywhere from $4 to $40.

The store is also home to CDs, VCR tapes and cassette tapes.

"Things on vinyl sound a lot better," customer Ron Smith said. "Even with the advancement of technology and CDs, the sound is unbeatable."

The store has been around almost as long as the music it sells.

Operating since 1975, Rock 'n' Roll Heaven gets most of the items it sells from trades. The store also gets merchandise from people looking to sell, large auctions and state sales.

"The coolest thing I have seen in the store was a Velvet Underground vinyl with a cover done by Andy Warhol," Nowlin said.

Nowlin finds that a lot of young people frequent the store despite the age of technology.

"I think the younger crowd is burned out on the new stuff," he said. "In the '80s, it was quite an investment and time-consuming to get a variety of music. Now with technology, people can research all different types of music and find sounds and bands that interest them."

Nowlin also thinks that the younger generation is attracted to things that are blatant, which is why he thinks music is no different.

"There is nothing like holding a 12-inch record; nothing is comparable to that," Nowlin said. "The sound is clearer, and you can connect with the music a whole lot better."


Rock & Roll Tidbits

The Barry Manilow hit "I Write The Songs", written by The Beach Boys' Bruce Johnson, has been recorded by over two hundred artists and has a cumulative, worldwide sales figure of twenty-five million copies.

Seven-foot drag queen RuPaul appeared with comedy legend Milton Berle at the MTV awards. Uncle Milte said, “You know RuPaul, thirty years ago when I was on television, I used to wear dresses too.” “That’s interesting,” the giant cross-dresser snapped. “You used to wear dresses, now you wear diapers.”

During the last years that Elvis Presley performed live, he opened his shows with "The Theme From 2001". When asked about it, Presley said that he felt the number 2001 had a special significance in his life that he couldn't explain. Elvis died August, 16, 1977, which numerically is 8-16-1977. When these numbers are added up, they equal 2001.

The day after Elvis died, Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day, the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland had surpassed the number for any other event in the company's history.

Paul McCartney wrote "Hey Jude" for Julian Lennon after John's divorce from his first wife, Cynthia. The song's original name was "Hey Julian", then changed to "Hey Jules" before settling on the final title.

The members of Exile, who scored a US number one hit in 1978 with "Kiss You All Over", toured with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars in 1965 as back-up band for artists including Brian Hyland and Tommy Roe.

Billboard Magazine printed the first Hot 100 singles chart in August, 1958. Their first number 1 hit was "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson.

When he was a boy, David Bowie took art lessons from Peter Frampton's father, Owen.

In 1963, artists managed by Brian Epstein placed 85 songs in the Top Ten of the British record charts.

In 1966, songwriter Tommy Boyce asked Del Shannon to record the theme for Dick Clark's upcoming TV show Where The Action Is. Shannon didn't like the song and turned it down. It was then offered to Freddy Cannon, who had a #3 US hit with it.

Mary McGregor recorded her 1977, number one hit, "Torn Between Two Lovers" while standing in a bathroom, to take advantage of the room's natural echo.

The Notorious B.I.G. married his flame, Faith Evans, only eight days after he met her. Responding to a reporter’s question on how it was working out, Biggie replied, “She ain’t speaking to me right now.”

Marilyn Manson has always denied rumors that he was a child actor who had appeared on the popular television show “Mr. Belvedere.” “I’ve masturbated during the show when it was on TV,” he explained. “But, I have never been on it.”

At the same time as "Love Will Keep Us Together" was starting to fade from the Billboard Hot 100, The Captain and Tennille had a Spanish version of the same song ("Por Amor Viviremos") enter the chart. It was the only time in Rock history that an act had two versions of the same song in different languages and on different singles, appear simultaneously on the Hot 100.

While Ernie K-Doe's hit "Mother-In-Law" was at the top of the US charts in 1961, Dick Clark decided he would not have K-Doe on American Bandstand because he felt the song was disrespectful towards his Mother-in-Law.

The line from Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode, "That little country boy could play" was originally written as, "That little colored boy can play." Berry knew that in order to get the song played on the radio, he would have to change that lyric.

The world's most expensive record has an estimated value of $180,000 and is in the possession of Paul McCartney. The disc is the first pressing of "That'll Be The Day", recorded in 1958 by the Quarry Men, made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Colin Hanton and John Duff Lowe.

It was Paul Simon who actually wrote The Cyrkle's 1966 hit "Red Rubber Ball" under the assumed name of Jerry Landis.

The studio group who helped Boz Scaggs record the bulk of his hits in the 1970s, including "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" would go on to form the nucleus of the band Toto. Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate and David Paich scored four Top Ten hits of their own with "I Won't Hold Back" (#10), "Hold The Line" (#5), "Rosanna" (#2) and "Africa" (#1).

In 1984, former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page founded a new band called The Firm with ex Bad Company and Free vocalist Paul Rodgers. Page said the group was to be a vehicle to show people that he was not a washed up drug user. In the fall of the same year, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.

Janis Ian got the inspiration for her hit "At Seventeen" while sitting at the kitchen table reading a New York Times article about a debutante. The opening line of the story was "I learned the truth at 18." Janis wrote the lyrics as "at seventeen" because it flowed better.