Friday, February 13, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

The Beatles - Come Together

Album Cover Art

Molly Hatchet - Kingdom of XII

Named after a famous 17th century axe murderess, Hatchet Molly, who would behead her lovers with the hand tool Lizzy Borden made famous. Molly Hatchet was formed in 1971 by Dave Hlubek and Steve Holland. Danny Joe Brown joined in 1974, Duane Roland, Banner Thomas, Bruce Crump in 1975. When they finally got their recording contract with Epic they got some help and advice from Ronnie Van Zant, who was originally suppose to produce the album, but was unable to due to the tragic plane crash in '77. Because of this the band's debut was not released until late 1978. Fortunately for the band, this late delivery did little to deter their popularity. By the time their second record was released, the band had became enormously popular and stayed that way for many years despite the departure of vocalist/frontman Danny Joe Brown. Brown left the band in 1980 due to health problems stemming from diabetes. Others have stated that the band worked hard on the road, and drank just as hard, which was the reason that Brown had to go. Brown returned to the band in '83 for a successful tour and the release of "No Guts No Glory". The band has gone through numerous lineup changes since the mid 80's and as of the mid 1990's was touring without any original members, although many members had been with the band for many years including Bobby Ingram and John Galvin. (Both had played on Danny Joe Brown's 1981 solo disc.) Eventually founding member Dave Hlubeck returned to Molly Hatchet.

Michael Fremer Vinyl Review

I am very proud to continue our new feature (look for this every Friday), music reviews that are written by the senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine- Michael Fremer. It has been a pleasure to speak with Michael and learn more about audio sound and equipment. In fact, his new DVD, "It's A Vinyl World, After All" has hit the shelves and is selling out very quickly. This is a must have for anybody who loves vinyl, it is a true masterpiece.

Additionally, make sure to stop by his site, and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.


The Beach Boys (reissue)
Pet Sounds
Capitol T 2458 180g mono LP

Produced by: Brian Wilson
Engineered by: Chuck Britz
Mixed by: Brian Wilson
Mastered by: N/A

Review by: Michael Fremer


This is neither the time nor the place to extol the virtues of this classic album that has more than stood the test of time. You already know about it and perhaps own a copy or two. If you don't, then you can buy this new Capitol 180g reissue and be sure you have a competently produced, reasonably priced reissue, though clearly cut using a digital source that produces a record that's a thin, pale imitation when compared to earlier reissues.

The Brian Wilson classic, originally mixed in mono and issued in stereo on both CD (in a box set) and vinyl (separate LP), was meant to be heard in mono and that's the version Capitol wisely chose to reissue here.

Capitol doesn't say whether an analog or digital source was used as a mastering source but what really counts is the final sound, heretic as that might sound to some.

To find out how good this reissue was, I compared it to a pristine original Capitol issue, the 1971 Brother Records reissue produced for Warner Brothers, the Carl and The Passions twofer and Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray's 1995 DCC Compact Classics Edition as well as to the version included in the CD box set.

All of the vinyl reissues sounded superior to the original pressing, though pressing variability was far greater back then so it's difficult to know whether the copy I have is representative of what originally was issued. However, others with whom I spoke, who have original pressings, corroborated my findings: the original pressing is somewhat dark, closed in, a bit muffled and dynamically compressed compared to all of the reissues.

The Brothers/Warner Brothers reissue as well as the version on the Carl and the Passions twofer, are by far, the best sounding reissues in my opinion. They are the most open, exuberant and analogue-y. Of course they were cut when the master tape was but five years old, which gives them a major advantage over what came later.

There's more depth and space between instruments, which are presented with greater texture, transparency and dimensionality. For instance on 'God Only Knows,' the wood block that's passed through an echoplex or some other sort of delay unit available at the time has a sticky, round, three dimensional immediacy. You can hear the dimensionality and spaciousness provided by Western Studio's echo chamber. The mono image on 'I Know There's An Answer' is enormous and within that image the tambourines jump out and ring, the reedy sounding bass harmonica bellows with a visceral texture. You can hear the mix as well as the separate elements standing out as if they are literally irrepressible. But most of all what stands out is the speed of the attack and the length of the sustain and decay as Wilson adds elements to the mix.

There is a spectacular messiness about the whole thing, probably due, in part to the multitude of tracks and the sheer madness of the energy Wilson attempted to cram into the mix.

The new reissue is a far more pristine and orderly affair that's also dry, flat and boring. For instance on 'God Only Knows' the wood blocks are pretty good but not nearly as woody. All of the elements that assume individual spaces on the WB issue are packed into a flatter plane. On ' I Know There's An Answer' the tambourine doesn't have nearly the same texture, the bass harmonica doesn't vibrate your gut the same way, the tympani loses some of its majesty, the banjo loses the appropriate timber and what's especially noticeable is the flatness of the spatial plane and the lack of reverb 'hang time.'

It's easy to conclude that the record was cut using a digital source yet when I compared it to the box set's CD issue, the record sounded far more convincing. However, for some reason that's what I usually find when comparing LPs cut from digital sources with CDs probably made using that same source. 'Euphonic colorations?' Who cares?

Switching to the DCC Compact Classic Edition, you get a superb combination of clarity, spectacular detail, a big sonic space, great reverb 'hang time,' depth, visceral instrumental textures and depth-charge bass that's not overdone and extremely well-controlled but perhaps a bit rounder and fuller than Wilson originally intended but that's pure speculation.

So while I'd bet Capitol's new LP issue was sourced from digital, it does sound very good and better than the CD version. Perhaps it was sourced from high resolution digital or perhaps the LP cutting process adds just the right amount of 'coloration' to make it sound richer, fuller and more sonically satisfying, which it is. Still, it's a pale, thin and flat edition compared to the ones that are definitely analog.

If it was cut from digital do I wish it had been cut from analog? Of course. If it was cut from analog and I'm just wanking, well, if I find that out after the fact, I'll let you know! So since the DCC Compact Classic version is OOP and probably expensive if you can locate a copy and since the Carl and the Passions—So Tough/Pet Sounds twofer and the WB single edition from 1972 is rare, this new Capitol issue is a good choice, particularly since the 180 gram pressing is absolutely perfect. My copy was dead quiet, flat perfection. My source at Capitol says Rainbo in L.A. pressed it. I hope all of their current 180 gram output is this good in terms of pressing quality.

I just wish Capitol had used an analog master tape because this "clean, pristine" reissue will most likely bore the shit out of you the way CDs usually do.

Yes, it's better sounding than the CD version but it shares all of CD's worst qualities: flat, dimensionless, tinny, textureless and emotionally stunted.

Anyone who's bought this and thinks it sounds good can only think so because they haven't heard one of the good reissues.

Capitol had an opportunity to produce sonic greatness and instead insults one of Brian Wilson's greatest recordings.

SOURCE: Reprinted By Permission

Pick up Michael's DVD's Here:

Music News & Notes

Nada Surf Re-Issue Three LP's For Vinyl Release

The group are re-releasing three of their albums The Proximity Effect, Let Go and The Weight Is A Gift on vinyl this April 14th as all three have been out of print and for sometime (available on CD but no longer on vinyl).

The bands latest album Lucky was released last year to critical acclaim . If you're a long time Nada Surf fan then this will no doubt tickle your fancy as well so make sure you pick them up when they get their release this April.


Sonic Youth LP

Sonic Youth’s 16th album, The Eternal, will be released on vinyl, compact disc, and digital album by Matador Records on June 9 and was produced by John Agnello and the band.

Recorded through November and December of last year at the band’s Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, NJ, The Eternal features many firsts for a Sonic Youth album, including a number of shared vocals between Kim, Thurston, and Lee, and the studio debut of former Pavement/Dustdevils bassist Mark Ibold, a member of Sonic Youth’s touring band for the past few years.

Matador will shortly announce a Buy Early Get Now opportunity for the album with some very interesting bonus material.

Track listing:
1. Sacred Trickster
2. Anti-Orgasm
3. Leaky Lifeboat(for Gregory Corso)
4. Antenna
5. What We Know
6. Calming The Snake
7. Poison Arrow
8. Malibu Gas Station
9. Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
10. No Way
11. Walkin Blue


Yeah Yeah Yeah LP

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' third studio album "It’s Blitz!" is set for an April 10 release in Australia, but for the fanatics among us, the cover art and tracklist have been revealed today.

The new LP features 10-tracks and was recorded in numerous rural locations across the US countryside. From El Paso's 1,700 acre Sonic Ranch studio to a dairy farm in Massachusetts. The trio worked with two producers on It’s Blitz!: long-term producer TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek (who did the production of the last two LP’s) and Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Talking Heads, INXS) who record their Is Is EP.

Producers aside, the band didn't do everything the same in the recording process. For one thing the band has taken a much more experimental approach, with guitarist Nick Zinner playing a swag of vintage synths on the new release. The band took inspiration from Italian producer Giorgio Moroder's work with R&B songstress Donna Summer as well as Joy Division.

The album also features a few special guests including Bird and the Bee maestro producer Greg Kurtsin, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, and saxophonist Stuart Bogie (Antibalas) among others


Paper + Plastick Records

Vinnie Fiorello has announced the launch of his new endeavor, Paper + Plastick Records, based out of Gainesville, FL. Fiorello is a founding member of legendary ska/punk band Less Than Jake, and founder/former owner of the successful label Fueled By Ramen (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco).

The independent label will take a new and alternative approach to music retail by selling the highest digital quality music files available, along with deluxe digital packaging. The label will also only release physical music on exclusive, multi-colored and oddly shaped vinyl, making all Paper + Plastick releases a must have for recording buffs, vinyl collectors and music fans alike.

“I think that brick and mortar stores are a dying breed,” comments Fiorello. “Chain stores are folding and the stores that remain want you to buy a TV instead of showcasing new music. I choose not to worry about the CD. That’s also dying, so why try to keep it alive now? I would much rather support independent record stores by putting out independent music in the format that I love, the format that kept and keeps the underground vibrant – vinyl.”

Fiorello also plans to release music digitally via the Paper + Plastick website,, weeks before the music will be available on digital retail outlets such as iTunes, and Music downloaded from retail outlets loose their integrity and bitrate, but music from will be high quality digital recordings. Two versions of each album will be available for purchase through the website with varying prices.



Leonard Cohen To Release First Album Since 2004

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen is scheduled to release "Live in London," his first new album in five years, on March 31. The set was recorded from his July 17, 2008, performance at London's 02 Arena during his world tour last year.

The 26-track "Live in London," which will be available both as a double-disc CD and DVD, includes Cohen classics like "If It Be Your Will," "I'm Your Man" and "Hallelujah." It is the Canadian singer/songwriter's first release since 2004's "Dear Heather" and his first live album in eight years.


U2 On Letterman

U2 has signed on to perform five consecutive nights for the Late Show With David Letterman from March 2 through 6. It's part of the massive publicity push for the album No Line on the Horizon, which will be released on the Tuesday of that week.


AMORPHIS' New Cover Art Idea Borrowed From A STATIC LULLABY?

It has been brought to our attention that the cover artwork for "Skyforger", the forthcoming album from Finnish dark metallers AMORPHIS, bears more than a passing resemblance to that of "Faso Latido", the 2005 CD released by the Chino Hills, California post-hardcore band A STATIC LULLABY.

You can see both covers below.

"Faso Latido" is the second album by A STATIC LULLABY. Released in 2005 on Columbia Records, it was the group's last CD with all five original members. The LP was originally supposed to be called "Watch The Sunlight Burn", but has its title changed prior to its release.

"Skyforger" is scheduled for release on May 29 via Nuclear Blast Records. The follow-up to the "Eclipse" and "Silent Waters" LPs, both of which were certified gold in the band's native Finland, was recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki.