Saturday, November 7, 2009

Album Cover Artwork from Sacred Oath and Mudvayne

SACRED OATH's Debut Repackaged In Twentieth-Anniversary Edition

Cult classic debut from SACRED OATH repackaged in twentieth anniversary edition for store shelves November 10.

WorldSound label group has repackaged the cult classic debut album from Connecticut heavy metallers SACRED OATH, A Crystal Vision, in a twentieth-anniversary edition (compact disc) for release on November 10, 2009.

Originally released by Mercenary Records in 1988, A Crystal Vision has come to be regarded as one of the seminal metal albums that spawned the power metal movement of the '90s, despite the band breaking up shortly after its release.

The reissue faithfully preserves the contents, song order, and front cover design of the original Mercenary release but features the front cover artwork as it was always meant to be seen, in full color. The original pressing of the vinyl LP had the artwork in brown sepia tone, much to the band's dismay.

I cannot tell you how pleased I am that this album is still being celebrated twenty years later, and that the cover art will finally be seen as it was intended back then, says Rob Thorne, the band's lead singer and founding member. This is certainly the best edition of A Crystal Vision ever.

The package also contains an eight page booklet with song lyrics, art, and unseen archival photos of SACRED OATH from 1988.

This reissue is part of WorldSound's exclusive license to press and distribute the entire SACRED OATH catalog, including the acclaimed live album Till Death Do Us Part, Darkness Visible and the self-titled Sacred Oath which was released on August 25. Distribution is through E1 Entertainment in the U.S.


New MUDVAYNE Album Artwork Unveiled

Bring Back Those Black Lights!

Here is the artwork for the new self-titled album from MUDVAYNE. Reportedly the first album to ever use blacklight-reactive ink (making it only visible under a black light), the CD's cover image was created by world-renowned tattoo king Paul Booth.

Every bit of art and text in the packaging of the record will be printed on ink that can only be seen under a black light .

Commented Booth: This project has been absolutely killer to work on! The whole black light concept was totally experimental and quite the challenge, so of course, as an artist, I was drawn to it like a moth to a bugzapper.

He added, I am happy to see bands focusing more energy on their album art… something I thought the Internet had killed. Hailz to MUDVAYNE and everyone at the label for going the extra mile!

The album will be available in the following formats:

***1. Super Deluxe - Limited-edition run of only 1,000 copies which will be sold direct to the consumer from the band's site. Pre-order it at starting next Tuesday, November 10 and receive the digital album two weeks before release!

It contains:

a. The deluxe version of the album
b. The album on glow-in-the-dark vinyl (also blacklight-reactive)
c. A 24-inch blacklight
d. A 24x24 poster designed by Paul Booth in blacklight-reactive ink
e. An 8x8 blacklight-reactive decal designed by Paul Booth

***2. Deluxe – Limited-edition first run of 100,000 copies. Pre-order it at starting Tuesday, November 24 and receive the digital album two weeks before release!

It contains:

a. The album in jewel case
b. A LED, keychain-sized blacklight
c. Special blacklight-reactive packaging designed by Paul Booth

***3. Vinyl

a. Glow-in-the-dark vinyl (also blacklight-reactive)
b. Blacklight-reactive art designed by Paul Booth

***4. Jewel Case

a. Blacklight-reactive art designed by Paul Booth

Due on December 22 via Epic, Mudvayne has been described by drummer Matt McDonough as the best CD the band has recorded since our second album, The End Of All Things to Come.

The album was produced by Dave Fortman's (SLIPKNOT, EVANESCENCE) right-hand man, Jeremy Parker, and is "a little more retro for MUDVAYNE" from a songwriting point of view, according to singer Chad Gray. We've been kind of making this natural progression, and I think for this one, we just sort of naturally regressed, he told Noisecreep.

We took the smarter songwriting guys that we've become and mixed it with the not-smart songwriting guys that we were ... I mean, we used to just take 20 parts, cram it together, and call it a song. Over time, playing in a band, you kind of know what to expect. It doesn't really make it easier, but you kind of have this thing in your head that you kind of know where you're going. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel before entering the tunnel. It's faint, and dim, but it's there.

MUDVAYNE wants to give the fans a chance to hear another track off the forthcoming album. The band has teamed up with AOL's Noisecreep to debut the track Scream With Me. Head over to starting Tuesday morning, November 10 to listen to an exclusive stream of the song.

MUDVAYNE's fourth studio album, The New Game, has sold more than 200,000 copies in the United States since it came out in November 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD shifted 48,000 units in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 15 on The Billboard 200 chart.

Classic Album Covers UK Stamp Series

After the success of 2009’s British Design Classics, 2010 opens with a look at the classic art of the album cover. For decades the album sleeve has been the canvas for some of the most imaginative graphic artists in the world. This stamp issue salutes this unique art form and celebrates some of the greatest examples, used by UK artists.

This band of designers and photographers have not only reflected the visual styles of many musical cultures, but have also defined and created them, too. The stamp issue explores some of the most potent graphic images of modern times, many of which have provided a visual soundtrack to people’s lives.

Many of the most significant graphic designers of the last 40 years are represented by this selection of ten iconic album covers.

This issue celebrates the work of the album sleeve designer, not the music. Royal Mail began with very extensive research of existing lists and polls of ‘Greatest Album Covers’ in books, music press and the web. This trawl of literally thousands of albums uncovered many that were common to most lists.

The editors of three of the UK’s most influential music publications together with a number of graphic designers and design writers were asked to independently list the most significant album sleeve artwork used on records by British artists.

Royal Mail reviewed all the research to assemble a shortlist of albums that spanned the decades from the 1960s. Some albums could not be included for operational reasons (for instance, designs that were too dark), after final deliberation the ten albums were arrived at.

Vinyl record company is working on a groovy thing

By Gregg MacDonald
Fairfax County Times
Thursday, November 5, 2009

For one Merrifield company, vinyl records never lost their groove.

Furnace MFG Media Duplication Solutions touts itself as the "sole U.S. provider of high-performance vinyl records."

The company, as part of its overall compact disc, DVD, Blu-Ray and USB duplication business, also manufactures vinyl records for major labels and artists such as Tom Petty, Neil Young, Green Day, R.E.M., Metallica and Madonna.

Eric Astor, Furnace's president and chief executive, is also the company's top audiophile and vinyl proponent.

"Record albums are an experience that can't be duplicated digitally," said Astor, 38, of Falls Church. "I remember saving up for them, smelling them, reading the liner notes, admiring the artwork on the cover. It was an event."

A new generation is discovering vinyl. Based primarily on the sales of vinyl records, the company this year has already doubled its 2008 revenues and moved into a new facility three times larger to accommodate climbing record sales.

Astor declined to reveal how much the privately owned company has made this year, saying only that Furnace is a "multimillion-dollar" business.

"We are on track to make 1 million records this year," said the company's chief operating officer, Manish Naik, of Vienna. "Part of my job is to see that we don't let vinyl take over the entire business."

Vinyl record sales are spinning upward. Nielsen SoundScan reports show that vinyl record sales increased 85.8 percent between 2006 and 2007 and 89 percent between 2007 and 2008.

Naik says that many Best Buy electronics store locations dedicate space to vinyl records. "Go to the Tysons Corner location and see what they've done there for yourself," he said.

"Vinyl never died," Astor said. "What happened was that sometime in the late 1980s when compact discs were all the rage, all the major record labels put out an edict that discs were the way to go."

Astor said because MP3s and music downloads have brought down CD sales, vinyl records are being looked at as profitable once again. "Vinyl is more expensive to make than a CD, but you make more profit than you do from selling downloaded music," he said.

But Astor said the vinyl experience is the real selling point. "Music used to be fun and dangerous. There was a level of insanity that was unpredictable. A vinyl recording captures that much better than the limited frequency range that digital recordings are capable of. People are hearing music again the way musicians actually made it, and the way they wanted you to hear it."

Doug Roach, 57, owner of Herndon antique store Roaches in the Attic, agreed. He estimated his vinyl record collection at about 2,000 albums.

"The younger generation is starting to acquaint themselves with the vinyl experience," he said. "There were some records made in the 1970s called 16-track audiophile albums. In my opinion, the clarity of those albums is even better than digital CDs.


Music News & Notes

Paul Revere & The Raiders Complete Columbia Singles from CCM!

Following the success of singles collections from Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, and Jay & The Americans, CCM is super proud to announce the next installment of terrific sixties rock 'n' roll: Paul Revere and The Raiders: The Complete Columbia Singles.

This three CD set will feature 65 classic tracks in all their original hit single glory, meaning those much-sought-after mono mixes (where applicable). Ace engineer and PR&TR tape guru Bob Irwin will handle the remastering chores so you can be sure the sonics will slam like never before.

As usual, there'll be a nifty booklet that includes notes based on in-depth interviews with those on the scene back then, picture sleeve images, and cool vintage photos.

Exact release date is not set yet but look for this CD set either in December '09 or January '10


3 Doors Down release 'The Better Life' fan pack

3 Doors Down has released "The Ultimate Pack," a limited-edition set that includes a re-mastered version of "The Better Life," the band's 2000 debut, according to a press release. In addition to the album, the set includes a limited-edition, re-mastered version of the album on green vinyl. Both the CD and the vinyl record include new album artwork.

Also included in the "pack" will be an "Early Entry Pit Pass" laminate that provides a fan and one guest early admission into shows at venues with general-admission ticketing. The "Pit Pass" will allow fans to grab a place at the front of the venue, but it does not include an admission ticket to the concert.

In addition, the band is including in the new set a limited-edition poster, T-shirt and an instant download of the hit single "Kryptonite."

"The Ultimate Pack" is available for $125 exclusively at the band's website.


B.B. King continues roadwork, some with Buddy Guy

B.B. King isn't letting his recent 84th birthday slow him down as he plots an extensive fall and winter itinerary featuring a mixture of solo shows and co-headlining dates with Buddy Guy. The legendary bluesman returns to the stage Nov. 10in Portland, OR, working his way along the West Coast through early December. Following a New Year's Eve (12/31) performance in Tulsa, OK, King will take a month-long hiatus before hitting the road with Buddy Guy for a theater run that currently spans 13 cities.

King, a 14-time Grammy winner, scored the highest-debuting solo album of his nearly 60-year career with his latest release, "One Kind Favor." The set, which surfaced in August of last year, debuted at No. 37 on The Billboard 200 chart.

Produced by T Bone Burnett (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Roy Orbison), "One Kind Favor" features covers of old blues songs that inspired King as a young man, and was made to sound like it was recorded in the '50s. Players include Dr. John on piano, Nathan East on standup bass and Jim Keltner on drums.

A 14-track live set entitled "B.B. King Live at the BBC" surfaced in March.

After more than 60 years in the music business, King still takes his stage appearance seriously, thanks in large part to a piece of advice given to him by his second cousin, fellow blues musician Bukka White.

"If you want to be a good blues singer, people are going to be down on you, so dress like you're going to the bank to borrow money," King revealed in a recent interview with the UK's Telegraph.


Hair Revival Recording Will Get Vinyl Release

Today's Hair fans will get the chance to experience listening to that musical the same way their parents did when Ghostlight Records releases the cast recording of the acclaimed 2009 Broadway revival on vinyl Nov. 24.

Already a best seller in its digital format, the new cast recording of Hair arrives on vinyl as a limited edition re-mastered LP. The double-album packaging will also include a collector's edition booklet. The $50 vinyl edition is available for pre-order online at Sh-K-Boom. The vinyl set will also be on sale at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre beginning Nov. 24, where the Tony-winning is now playing.

In addition to songs not originally featured in the original Broadway production of Hair, the 37-track 2009 revival recording includes the curtain-call reprises of the musical's title song and "Let the Sun Shine In."

The complete track listing for Hair follows:

"Colored Spade"
"Manchester England"
"I'm Black"/"Ain't Got No"
"Sheila Franklin"/"I Believe In Love"
"Ain't Got No Grass"
"Kama Sutra"/"The Stone Age"
"I Got Life"
"Going Down"
"My Conviction"
"Easy To Be Hard"
"Don't Put It Down"
"Frank Mills"
"Hare Krishna/Be-In"
"Where Do I Go?"
"Electric Blues"
"Oh Great God Of Power"/"Manchester England (Reprise)"
"Black Boys"
"White Boys"
"Walking In Space"
"Minuet"/"African Drums"
"Yes I's Finished On Y'All's Farmlands"
"Four Score"/"Abie Baby"
"Give Up All Desires"/"Hail Mary"/"Roll Call"
"What A Piece Of Work Is Man"/"How Dare They Try"
"Good Morning Starshine"
"Aquarius Goodnights"/"Ain't Got No"/"Yip Up The Sun"
"The Flesh Failures"/"Eyes Look Your Last"/"Let The Sun Shine In"
"Curtain Call: Hair (Reprise)"
"Curtain Call: Let The Sun Shine In (Reprise)"




Red Collar will release a limited edition vinyl version of their acclaimed debut album Pilgrim on December 1, 2009 via Loose Charm Records. The 500-copy run will be hand-numbered red vinyl packaged in screen-printed sleeves, and the first 100 copies will also be printed with metallic silver ink. The original album sequencing has been reworked to present more of a Side A/Side B feel and while – due to space – the record will contain only nine of the 11 album tracks, every copy will come with a download card for all 11 tracks in addition to one bonus track, a cover of Jawbreaker’s “Jinx Removing.” A pre-order is available now on Red Collar’s website and via Vinyl Collective, and will also be at the band’s show at the Troika Music Festival in Durham, NC, on November 7th at the Trotter Building (11:30pm set time). Full Pilgrim vinyl.

“This Durham, NC band follows up their promising initial EP with an even better debut album, injecting the EP’s anthemic, post-hardcore sound reminiscent of Fugazi and Mission of Burma with a healthy dose of blue-collar Springsteen rock, a natural fit for the band’s class-conscious idealism, expressed in catchy songs with bristling guitar hooks and shouted gang choruses.” –

Artie Shaw: Making of a Box Set

Every once in a while I find a fantastic article that is both informative and very relevant to vinyl in particular. Take the time to swing on over to the All About Jazz site and read this comprehensive look at the record making process:

SOURCE: JazzWax by Marc Myers

I don't know about you but I've always been curious about how Mosaic Records remasters recordings for its box sets. A long-time fan of Mosaic's restorations and attention to detail, I favor the “Producer's Note" that appears at the back of each set's calendar-size liner-notes brochure. Written by Scott Wenzel, Mosaic's award-winning producer, the note often tosses around terms like “metal parts," “lacquer discs" and “second generation LPs." After listening to Mosaic's new Classic Artie Shaw Bluebird and Victor Sessions, I decided enough was enough. I was going to get to the bottom of the process.

My first call was to Scott Wenzel, who told me how Mosaic's projects begin:

“The entire team here meets to discuss project ideas and the availability of original source material. Once we agree to move forward on a project, we work out a license agreement with the company that owns the masters. Then I research the discographical data and begin to create a master list of each track and the various known takes. I also assign the liner notes to a writer. When I've completed the list, I reach out to one of our superb transfer, sound restoration, and mastering experts to handle the project."

In the case of the Artie Shaw box (and many other Mosaic projects), that person was Andreas Meyer [pictured], who runs Meyer Media. So I called Andreas to find out what steps took place:

JazzWax: Did you simply drive over to Sony's RCA vault and pick out what you needed?

Read the rest here: Artie Shaw: Making of a Box Set