Tuesday, March 10, 2009

List of Exclusives for Record Store Day 2009

Record Store Day ‘09 is quickly approaching, it is April 18. This is a great time to support your local record stores, and also to grab some great exclusive items. Here are just a few of the musicians who have decided to support the 2nd annual event:

Akron/Family - “Everyone Is Guilty” 7″

Leonard Cohen - 7″

Elvis Costello / Jenny Lewis split 7″

The Decemberists - 7″

Def Jam Records “History of Def Jam” 4xLP

Domino Records Blood on the Tracks compilation LP

Bob Dylan - 7″

Flaming Lips / Black Keys split 7″

Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope reissue + 3 bonus tracks

Jesus Lizard - 7″ Box Set

Booker T Jones - 7″

Magnolia Electric Co. - 7″ (1000 copies)

Mastodon - Crack the Skye 180g vinyl + 7″

My Morning Jacket - CelebraciĆ³n De La Ciudad Natal 2×10″ + CD

Pavement - “Live in Cologne 1997″ LP (2500 copies)

Radiohead - “Series of vinyl EPs”

Sonic Youth / Beck split 7″ (2500 copies)

Sonic Youth / Jay Reatard split 7″ (2500 copies)

Bruce Springsteen - 7″

The Thermals / Thao split 7″ (1000 copies)

Thrill Jockey Records Toreism compilation LP (900 copies)

Tom Waits / Lucinda Williams split 7″

Wilco - Ashes of American Flags DVD (non-exclusive; just 2 weeks earlier than mass release)

Other artists mentioned but with no specific release details:

Black Kids
Rivers Cuomo
Flight of the Conchords
Jane’s Addiction
Modest Mouse
The Smiths
The Stooges

Classic Rock Videos

The Beatles - I Am The Walrus

Music News & Notes

No More New Nirvana Songs

Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic relayed some bad news for fans of the grunge icons: There are no more unreleased Nirvana songs.

“There’s not going to be any new Nirvana records,” Novoselic told the Washington State’s Legacy Project (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer). “What there is, is video. There’s a lot of video.”

Novoselic wouldn’tgo onto detail about the content or nature of the videos, nor did he have any release dates in mind. He did, however, say that he and Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, are no longer on bad terms.

The last unreleased Nirvana song to surface was “You Know You’re Right” (which was included on the 2002 compilation Nirvana and the 2004 box set With The Lights Out). “You Know You’re Right” saw the light of day after a nasty legal battle that pit Love against Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl over how to best release it.

Novoselic goes on to call Cobain a “genius,” saying, “He transitioned through mediums. It seemed [to happen] very easily.” The bassist also expressed regret that he didn’t do more to prevent Cobain’s suicide. “There’s anger. There’s regrets. I was angry. It’s just a waste. You know it was the fucking drugs,” Novoselic said. “It’s pretty bad. All in 20-20 hindsight, you know. Kurt called me the first time he did heroin and he told me he did it. And I told him, ‘Don’t do it man. You’re playing with dynamite.’"


New Fleetwood Mac Music?

Mick Fleetwood has stated that Fleetwood Mac will record another album as soon as they are done touring.

"I have three hairs left. If they don't all fall out following the tour, we've talked about recording again. I don't think we want to just sit around for another five years. We're all healthy, we still have loads of energy. Plus, some of us still have mortgages to pay."


Unruly Fans

An Iron Maiden concert in Bogota, Columbia was marred by violence this past Saturday when police had to fire tear gas at more than 100 people trying to crash the gate. One officer was hit by a rock thrown by the crowd and had to undergo reconstructive surgery.


Phish Concert Bust

According to MSNBC about $1.2 million worth of drugs were confiscated at this weekend’s Phish concerts at the Hampton Coliseum. Additionally, 194 Phish Phans were arrested, with most being charged with drug possession, use or distribution. That's a lot of Phish drugs and parties that were ruined.


Island Records Announces 50th Anniversary Events

Chris Blackwell founded the label in 1959 in Jamaica, using only £1000 and moved the organization to London in the early-60's where it became one of the most successful independent labels in history. Their roster over the years reads like a who's who of music, including U2, Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Traffic, Free, Fairport Convention, Toots & The Maytals, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer, the B52s, Melissa Etheridge, The Slits, Amy Winehouse, PJ Harvey and Paul Weller.

The label is collaborating with Blackwell to put on the Island 50 Festival which will start off in May with Island Life, a week of shows at London's Shepherds Bush Empire. The current lineup for the shows:

5/26 – Sly & Robbie & the Compass Point All-Stars featuring Very Special Guests
5/27 – The Fratellis, Very Special Guest, Bombay Bicycle Club
5/28 – Yusuf (Cat Stevens) and Friends, Baaba Maal
5/29 – Paul Weller, Ernest Ranglin, Spooky Tooth
5/30 – Keane, Tom Tom Club, Ladyhawke
5/31 – Amy Winehouse, Toots & the Maytals, I Blame Coco

More events are planned.


New Vinyl

BURBANK, Calif. - (Business Wire) Oklahoma City psych/prog/experimental pop quartet STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS have signed to Warner Bros. Records. After spending the last few years traversing the galaxy as the road crew for fellow Oklahomans The Flaming Lips, these four young men have gained a collective lifetime's worth of knowledge and experience while inadvertently inhaling enough helium and confetti to power a free-floating circus of their own.

They have independently released a six-song EP, "That's Cool," in 2005, followed by a 7" single in the UK, "Toast & Marmalade For Tea" / "Chemical," on Half Machine Records in 2008. Both feature cover art by Wayne Coyne. SDWD are now sprinkling the final magic dust on their first full-length album, THE BIRTH, recorded with local Oklahoma studio whiz Trent Bell. It's scheduled to collide with earth in 12" vinyl form, with download card for redemption of the full album, on May 19th. The glistening satellite CD and all digital retail forms impact the Solar System on June 2nd.

Fresh news for collectors: National Record Store Day is April 18th (one of the most important holidays on the calendar), and to celebrate, STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS have joined forces with their employers The Flaming Lips to record a version of the Madonna classic, "Borderline," backed by The Black Keys' take on Captain Beefheart's "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles." Both tracks are taken from the forthcoming WBR 50th Anniversary compilation COVERED: A REVOLUTION IN SOUND, out March 10th. Wayne Coyne has directed a pretty great performance-based video for "Borderline," and will become available exclusively through Amazon.com beginning Mar 10.

Now armed with a brand-new, freshly minted Warner Bros. Records 7" single on yellow vinyl, "I Can't Get Away" / "The Birth," SDWD are ready to hit the road with the singular commitment and clear understanding of what it means to engage an audience in their live experience. Once you have seen them, you won't forget them. "I Can't Get Away" / "The Birth" tracks will also be available digitally via iTunes on March 17th, and through all other participating digital retailers on March 24th. Here now, in their own words, is their story:

STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS have a split personality. One-half Oklahoma stoners with nothing to do but roll joints on their King Crimson record sleeves, and one-half tireless roadies/confetti launchers/space bubble technicians for their psychedelic brethren and rock'n'roll superstars The Flaming Lips. Somehow over the past couple of years, SDWD has found a way to live a freak-out, roller-coaster ride, smashing the real world into a fantasy land of psychedelia. SDWD's forthcoming debut record is titled THE BIRTH with good reason, as it has been known to induce labor in rare cases, in which babies are said to have been born in a mist of pink smoke. In the meantime, here's a taste of what's to come in the form of the debut Warner Bros. Records single "I Can't Get Away" / "The Birth."

So, sit down, and turn it up loud, for a mind-trip of emotion and mood, recalling everything from "upper" dance freak-outs, to "downer" Floyd-esque anthems. SDWD has also learned a thing or two about a live show during their years on the road with The Lips, packing a Super Nova of lights, smoke, and riffs into any given bar, club, or arena. The feeling can only be described as insanity, always on the verge of exploding into calamity, but held together by unmatched musicianship and a love of all things psychedelic.


Amy Winehouse to make live comeback with Cat Stevens, Paul Weller

Amy Winehouse is set to make her live comeback this May, celebrating her record label's birthday.

The singer - who has not performed in front of an audience since last September - will join Keane, Paul Weller, The Fratellis, and Cat Stevens among others to play a series of shows to mark the 50th anniversary of Island Records.

The gigs, staged at London Shepherds Bush Empire this May, will be billed as Island Life and will see the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Ladyhawke and I Blame Coco playing support slots at the dates.


Metallica Cancel Sweden Concert After James Hetfield Contracts Stomach Bug

Metallica were forced to cancel their second of two concerts in Stockholm, Sweden, over the weekend after frontman James Hetfield came up ill and had to be briefly hospitalized. According the band’s spokesperson, Hetfield was diagnosed with dehydration caused by a stomach bug. Unfortunately for Metallica fans, Hetfield’s ailment struck right before the band was set to perform.

With Hetfield out of commission, the band’s remaining members, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo took the stage to tell the crowd that the night’s show was canceled and that they were “truly, truly, truly sorry.”

“As you can see, one of us is missing tonight,” Ulrich said. “Trust me, none of you guys wanna hear me, Rob or Kirk sing.” Hetfield was treated and released from the hospital later that night.

“The show WILL be rescheduled sometime this spring,” Metallica wrote on their official Website.


Blur's Graham Coxon to release new concept album

Graham Coxon has announced details of a new, 15-track solo album.

The album, called 'The Spinning Top' is released on May 11. Coxon says the LP, which is primarily acoustic, follows a narrative - the story of a man from birth to death.

"The album is mainly an acoustic journey although there is, of course, some explosive electric guitar action," he explained.

"I wanted to show how exciting acoustic instruments can be, how dynamic and rich and heart-thumpingly raw they can sound at a time when acoustic music seems either too cute or too soppy. Obvious influences here are the amazing Martin Carthy, the late, great Davey Graham and the late, great John Martyn.

Audiophile Audition Review

I want to thank John over at http://www.audaud.com/index.php for the exclusive rights to reprint this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

It’s a Vinyl World, After All (2009)

Any audiophile into vinyl should have this DVD.

It’s a Vinyl World, After All (2009)

Michael Fremer’s Guide to Record Manufacturing, Cleaning, Storage, Handling, & Collecting in the 21st Century
Studio: Music Angle
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 2.0
Extras: Interviews with two pressing plant managers - Pallas & RTI, More on two other record cleaning machines, Vintage turntables at a hi-fi show, Stills of Pallas plant tour, pdf information files, 2 AES white papers on analog playback
Length: 179:45 incl. extras
Rating: ****(*)

Michael Fremer is a contributing editor to Stereophile magazine and editor of his own web magazine, www.musicangle.com, the only publication dedicated solely to the vinyl format. He previously published a DVD which was a guide to the complexities of turntable setup to properly play back vinyl. Fremer’s stimulus for the production of this DVD was the explosion of re-interest in the hoary long-play record, shown by major sales increases as more and more young people come to appreciate the better sound of vinyl vs. both MP3 downloads and standard compact discs. He has been a longtime proponent of the advantages of the vinyl format in spite of the ascendancy of the digital CD, but all the major labels ceased issuing LPs, and it looked for many years like the format was becoming as obsolete as 8-track or cassettes. In the last couple years that has all changed, with major labels returning to LP releases, reissues of some of the best rock, jazz and classical albums, and specialist audiophile reissue labels expanding their catalogs to include premium 180 and 200-gram pressings, 45 rpm pressings, and even pressing on only one side (to avoid problems caused by grooves on the reverse side). The majority of sales are in reissues of classic albums in the rock and blues genres.

Most audiophiles have read about the record pressing procedure or seen still photos of it, but Michael’s visits to the two pressing plants will be a treat since it shows exactly the many detailed steps involved in the process. The vinyl audiophile will be more understanding of the pricing of $30 to $50 for many of these discs when he sees what is involved and how many discs are immediately trashed because they have various flaws. It is of concern to hear that no new pressing equipment for LPs has been made for 20 years! He also looks in on a lacquer mastering session at AcousTech with Steve Hoffman, Joe Harley and others making aural decisions on how best to remaster a classic Van Gelder Blue Note 15 ips master tape for a 45 rpm vinyl reissue.

The demonstration portions of the lengthy DVD have Michael explaining how to properly store, handle and clean your records. He demonstrates the whole cleaning process using the two most popular record cleaning machines, with many different cleaning and preservation fluids and brushes, and stresses that even brand new LPs should be cleaned to remove artifacts from the pressing process. I’ve had just as lengthy an experience with vinyl as Michael, yet I picked up a couple pointers from the DVD - such as the importance of having a clean plastic or paper cover on the record cleaning machine platter so that you are not putting the LP surface you just cleaned down against a dirty platter. And also to frequently vacuum the platter (as well as your turntable platter).

Michael also demonstrates some of his other vinyl gadgets, including a horrendously expensive demagnetizer which works due to the subtle iron content in the lampblack used to color the clear vinyl. However, he doesn’t mention the effort to press premium audiophile LPs out of clear vinyl without the addition of the lampblack, which is said to result in the same enhancement of the sonics. He tends to ad lib his spiels, and I get a kick out of the occasional text corrections with illustrations that are superimposed on the screen to correct errors he made. The sampling of his LP collection and the stories associated with each album were fun viewing. There were also a few navigational errors on this initial DVD pressings - such as the soundtrack being muted for several seconds as each chapter begins - but Michael tells me that will be corrected on the following release. Any audiophile into vinyl should have this DVD.

- John Sunier