Monday, June 22, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

ZZ Top - Tush

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.


Vinyl Cut-Outs

I know, I know, this isn't what records are supposed to be used for. But when you have vinyl that is so beat up and can't be played, I say why not do something creative with it. Here are some cool examples:

Music News & Notes

Athens Landmark Destroyed By Fire

The theater that hosted the first concerts by R.E.M. along with early shows by the B-52s and the Indigo Girls has burned to the ground. The Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia was destroyed on Friday. A statement from R.E.M. read "All of us here certainly wish Wilmont Greene and his staff the best of luck and Godspeed in their efforts to rebuild the Athens landmark."


Coffins To Release Split With Spun In Darkness

Spun in Darkness has announced that they will be releasing a split album with Coffins in September. Horror Pain Gore Death Productions issued the following statement about the split:

"Raw and putrid old school Death Metal! Horror Pain Gore Death Productions has brought together a match made in Hell for this 7-Inch record: Coffins and Spun In Darkness. Japan's Coffins are firmly established as the new leaders of the underground with their horrific style of bonecrushing Doom infested Death Metal that is reminiscent of Autopsy and Winter, with elements of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost. Las Vegas' Spun In Darkness feature ex-members of Goatlord and bleed old school with their destructive, morbid style of pure Death Metal that is simply devastating. This release is strictly limited to 500 copies pressed on White vinyl and features deadly artwork from the legendary Chris Moyen. Essential release for fans of Asphyx, Autopsy, Carnage, Cianide, Divine Eve, Grave, Hooded Menace and Winter!"


Lamb Of God To Support Metallica On U.S. Tour

Popular American metal outfit Lamb Of God has announced in a message to their fan club that they will be supporting Metallica on their tour of the United States from September to December. The message reads as follows:

"So here is some breaking news for you members of the fanclub only! We will announce this soon on the main site, but you hear it first!

"We will be main support on the METALLICA tour of the US from September 14th - end of November. We will be doing a considerable amount of headline shows throughout this tour as well.

"This will be our final US tour of 2009."


dio 1 dio 2 dio3

Dio To Reissue "Killing The Dragon" On Vinyl

Dio has announced that the album 2002's "Killing The Dragon" will be re-issued on vinyl. The album cover is an intriguing 'pop up' type cover than I haven't seen done in a long time. Only 500 hand-numbered copies are being manufactured

DIO's "The Very Beast of Dio" was officially certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 11, 2009 for shipments in the United States in excess of 500,000 copies.

Issued in October 2000, "The Very Beast of Dio" is the second greatest-hits collection CD — and the first to be released in the U.S. — from the Ronnie James Dio-fronted band.

DIO's last release was the "Holy Diver Live" CD, featuring a performance of the classic "Holy Diver" album in its entirety, from start to finish, recorded live for the very first time in 2005 in front of a sold-out London crowd. It also includes, among others, "Heaven & Hell", "Sign of the Southern Cross" and "Mob Rules" from vocalist Ronnie James Dio's BLACK SABBATH days, "Tarot Woman", "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" from the RAINBOW era and "We Rock" from his solo career.


Slayer Delays New Album, "World Painted Blood" Release Date

American thrash metal legends Slayer have been forced to delay their new studio album, "World Painted Blood" until the late summer period, guitarist Kerry King revealed.

"I stopped worrying about that stuff years ago," King chuckles. "Somebody will tell me a date and then I'll say, 'All right, probably two months after that.' If I don't sit and expect things to come out, I can't be disappointed when it gets delayed."


An informed reader led me to the PHK record cleaning machine. Personally, I have not tried the system, but it sure looks good. And, what is most important about this machine is that it is affordable (under $200) for most vinyl record collectors. I plan on buying one asap and will report more about it later. here are the details:

PHK Record Cleaning Machines are carefully handmade and use the vacuuming method to clean records.

Designed to work with household vacuum cleaners, combines efficience, compact size, beautiful finishing and very affordable price.

Go on to understand why the effectiveness, practicality and safety of this system is used and recommended by the most demanding collectors, archivists and audiophiles worldwide.