Saturday, June 6, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

The Outlaws - Green Grass & High Tides - Part One

Bringing Back the Old School just in time for the 21st Century

By: Alex Young

For children growing up in a digital age, it’s wild to think that some kids’ entire music collection will be a collection of digital memories on their computer. In the current climate of unrest within the music industry because of Internet piracy, there’s a revolution that’s coming back to shine in the spotlight once again – the return of the vinyl record. December 2008’s issue of Rolling Stone revealed vinyl sales are up 60 per cent from 2007 in the United States alone. With the re-release of essential rock albums like LA Woman by the Doors and Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, all kinds of classics are getting a brand new life on vinyl. Whatever your taste may be, there’s an album waiting for you to rediscover it in a way you’ve never heard before and it’s like listening to your favorite albums for the first time all over again. For all of you that have been keeping their loyalty to vinyl strong throughout the years, now you too no longer have to feel like the only analogue dude in a digital world. The influence of the vinyl is anything but forgotten and there are a few characters that have stuck around including like the old school sound technicians, the record storeowners and the collectors. Today you’ll get to hear from each of them and their take on vinyl getting another spin.

There are a lot of differences between vinyl and any other medium but the biggest one is the quality of the recordings themselves. No one can make this any clearer than someone who has been drowning themselves in sound on a daily basis for most of their lives as they know it. This crafty character in the vinyl revolution is like a sergeant sending his troops into battle by telling them what they’re fighting for. This is what the sergeant had to offer the troops to explain to rally the troops in today’s music market. When you are listening to vinyl you are getting a much more intimate experience with the music itself because there’s literally nothing else on the album beyond the musicians.

Analog recording captures a live musician on their own as well as capturing the natural distance and depth within the room. When artists record digitally, the files themselves are already programmed to sound like analog recordings with effects but are actually of a lower fidelity. Mike Trimmer, head of the PA and Live Sound Department at Toronto’s infamous shop Steve’s Music, has worked on the road as a sound and recording engineer for over 20 years. Trimmer took some time to discuss the difference between vinyl and digital sound recordings by pointing out “If you’re working with high end of analog equipment there’s a high fidelity difference. Meaning digital recordings are programmed to sound like live recordings but the quality is a lot thinner which makes some recordings sound more harsh or hollow.” The difference between the quality of vinyl and digital recordings also lies in how the music itself is recorded. Trimmer also said “When you use digital processing, it uses high end modeling equipment that is meant to simulate an analog recording. But when you listen to an analog recording it is just a recording of a live musician and there’s nothing coming between that. The difference is in the detail of the harmonics and textures. Digital recordings are upgraded into a resolution into the 96 range, which is what makes it popular on a recording level. But a CD is still 44.1, which makes it harsher to listen to at high volumes.”

Anyone comparing vinyl to any other medium for music has to keep in mind that vinyl provides a personal experience for its listener. Another character in the audio army breathing new air into the lungs of vinyl is the record storeowner that can speak with technical prowess of someone like the sergeant and the elite lingo of music geeks alike. This character is the record storeowner, who has both a stake in the business and an undying passion that can challenge even the most elite music geeks. Of all the time spent cleaning out your garage rooting through all your parents’ old records from high school it’s only natural to see a flush of memories come back to them all at once. One of vinyl’s biggest appeals is that it provides a truly unique connection between the listener and the music because even there might be 7 trillion copies of Led Zeppelin IV and Sticky Fingers floating around the world, that the copy in your collection was printed just for you.

The grandiose artwork that accompanies every record could be big enough to become a poster and the liner notes could be a novel; these recognizable characteristics allow listeners to identify with their favourite albums in a way that is unheard of anywhere else. Roozbeh Showoeh is the manager of Slinky’s Music in Toronto that sells CD’s, vinyl, and DJ Equipment. Showoeh discussed the personal experience vinyl has to offer anyone that’s willing to listen by saying “It’s interesting to see what an attractive product they’ve become. They’re almost like a fashion statement. Obviously you buy a record for the music but it’s interesting to see people get vinyl for the artwork. I’ve seen all kinds of people frame vinyl, hang it on their walls, use it like a poster and it’s like them using everything that came with the record itself to show their love for the music.”

With vinyl breaking its way back into the mainstream after spending decades in dusty attics and burnt out basements, not everything is perfect for the vintage revival. These are the people who do strive for a more mature quality from their music collection and the people at the heart of vinyl’s survival: the foot soldier that keeps their affection flowing from the heart of music into their inner fanatic. Justin Chard is a first-year Humber College Radio student that interns at Toronto’s heartbeat for modern rock, 102.1 the Edge, and is an absolute vinyl fanatic. Chard owns over three hundred vinyl discs and loves all of them to death, claiming he doesn’t “have the heart” to throw out his albums that are beyond repair. It’s for that reason that Chard finds himself at a crossroads as a modern vinyl collector. “The real bitch is that when you love an album on vinyl to death, it actually dies.” Chard says with a chuckle. “Because of the actual physical contact with the needle, if you’re spinning an album for years on end, it’s obviously not going to last forever. If you break a CD you can just burn another copy, if you lose a tape or hear something on the radio, you can just download it. If you carve one of your vinyl’s to death, it’s great to see how much you can love something like music, but you have to go out and buy a brand new disc.”

It’s interesting to see records get another spin after they were presumed dead for decades. After hearing so many classic cuts such as “Straight to Hell” by the Clash become morphed into MIA’s hit single “Paper Planes” last year, artists that got their start in the vinyl era are clearly not going anywhere. Although vinyl doesn’t have the same pull in the music industry it’s amazing to see that it still has a place in the hearts of music lovers in the twenty-first century even in an age when anyone can practically pull mp3’s out of thin air on the internet. The timeless qualities that come with a vinyl resurrect a connection between a fan and their favorite tunes that the world once thought was extinct with the emergence of tapes and CD’s. It was Bob Dylan that said “the times they are a-changing” but it’s nice to know that the world didn’t forget that, some things will stay golden for a little bit longer.


Music News & Notes

Green Day Reveal New Single

Green Day release their new single ‘21 Guns’ next month.

Taken from their number one album, ‘21st Century Breakdown’, Green Day release this new single on July 13th on Reprise Records. ‘21st Century Breakdown’ has already topped the charts in 22 countries including USA, Germany, France, Japan and Canada and in support of its release Green Day return to the UK this October for their first full tour since early 2005.


AHAB: New Album Samples Available

AHAB, the German funeral doom metal band featuring MIDNATTSOL guitarist Daniel Droste on guitar/vocals and ex-MIDNATTSOL guitarist Christian Hector, has posted a four-minute teaser audio file containing clips of five songs from the group's sophomore album, "The Divinity Of Oceans".

"The Divinity Of Oceans" will be released via Napalm Records on the following dates:

July 22 - Finland, Spain
July 24 - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Sweden
July 27 - Rest of Europe
July 28 - Canada, U.S.

The CD cover, which is a painting by Théodore Géricault called "Le Radeau De La Méduse", can be viewed below.

According to the band, the guitar parts for AHAB's new album, which were mostly written by Daniel Droste this time, are "a bit more complex, yet in a funeral doom and death doom style." Hector says, "It sounds a bit like a mixture of the 'good ole' AHAB style mixed with very atmospheric tunes. So the description of AHAB as it's posted on as a 'riffing funeral doom band' still is valid. You may say there are riffs, that sound a bit like Devin Townsend going funeral doom, CARCASS in slomo or MORBID ANGEL going beyond the slowness of 'Blessed Are The Sick'. Still to some extent the influence of our colleague of Tyranny can still be heard in some few riffs. So most of the music stays the same as you know it, although there are some hints to postcore and classical doom as well. It also maybe said, the songs are much more epic and vast. I think the new riffs fit perfectly to tell the story of the wreckage of the Essex! So Daniel made it quite easy for me to fit the lyrics to the music!"

AHAB is named after Captain Ahab, a character in the novel "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville. Along with its name, the band also draws thematic and lyrical inspiration from "Moby Dick" — some songs even feature direct quotations from the book.

AHAB is:

Daniel Droste: Guitar, Voices, Synths
Christian Hector: Guitar
Stephan Wandernoth: Bass
Cornelius Althammer: Drums


Spookey Ruben Releases New Album

Hi-Hat Recordings artist Spookey Ruben returns to delight us once again with his knack for colouring outside current musical trends: June 2nd marked the release of Mechanical Royalty (via Sonic Unyon), an album that skips merrily through the garden of musical genres, playing tribute to everything from Yacht Rock to death metal.

At the heart of the album lies the seven chapter prog rock epic 16min title track where Spookey Ruben tackles a genre forever riddled with ridicule. With its 12-keyboards-and-a-robe-with-a-30-ft-dragon-on-stage guise, Spookey, historically attracted to projects that absolutely don't fit in the hipster category, manages to tantalize once again with his latest pièce de résistance.

Mechanical Royalty (a pun, alluding not only to the album cover and storyline of the title track, but also to a music business term) is an intense 70s/80s rollercoaster ride, but its Spookey's point of view that makes it feel inviting and brand new, consistently dishing up his excitement for music in his own special heartfelt way.

In addition to his musical prowess, Spookey is the mastermind behind 'Spookey Ruben's Dizzy Playground' (, an ongoing series of short films guest starring notable musicians like Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), John McEntire (Tortoise/The Sea and Cake), Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins). Upcoming episodes will include Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), Brian Borcherdt (Holy F*ck) and Leslie Feist (Feist).


Who Set Releasesd

Geffen Records has released a deluxe 2-CD edition of "The Who Sell Out," one of the group's most important and eclectic albums and the precursor to Tommy.

Released in 1967, it was also Pete Townshend's first attempt at a concept record. Although not a totally successful experiment, it remains a critical hit from a music perspective along with a curiosity in some of the "extras" on the album. The idea behind the set was a broadcast from a pirate radio station, Radio London with jingles and fake commercials included between songs.

The album was a moderate success, reaching #48 on the album charts #13 in the UK) and producing the top ten single "I Can See For Miles."

This new release contains 27 additional tracks, including alternate versions and five that have never before been released. Included are both the mono mix, which has not been available in the U.S. or the U.K. since 1967, plus the standard stereo version. A must have for any fan of the Who- or for rock and roll for that matter.

Hail Vinyl!