Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Vinyl Revival

By Natasha Aftandilians

Vinyl records have long been considered a dinosaur in the modern music world, an ancient relic of our parents and grandparents’ memories. In this day and age where even CDs are slowly being phased out and forgotten, it would seem there would be little hope for vinyl in a culture that values portability and ease when it comes to technology.

But the world of vinyl is undergoing a revival that is saving the format from total extinction. Nielsen Soundscan data shows that vinyl record sales topped two million units last week alone, a roughly 37 percent improvement from 2008 sales. Sales are on target to reach their highest mark since 1991, with genres like alternative and classic rock selling the most. The medium has gained some considerable momentum from the mid-to-late 90s when it was a format mostly utilized by underground musicians and DJs. Now many popular mainstream artists release their music on vinyl that comes with digital downloads of the tracks, giving fans a bigger bang for their buck.

Vinyl records and record players are no longer a thing of the past, and they have grown increasingly popular amongst the college crowd and those with a real passion for hearing music in its truest analog form. Retro-chic hipsters are flocking to independent record stores like Amoeba Records or Rasputin Music to browse the aisles overflowing with records from every genre and artist imaginable.

But it’s not clear if this vinyl comeback is being caused by those who see records as simply something kitschy and nostalgic much like Polaroid cameras, another technological treasure revived by the hipster set. Just go down to your local Urban Outfitters and you can see classic portable record players on sale, along with records by artists like MGMT, Sonic Youth and Fleet Foxes.

Undoubtedly, a large part of the appeal of vinyl records is their nostalgic value; it’s hard to put on a record and not instantly feel transported to a time of Mods, hippies and disco dancers. The vinyl revival is a way for Generation Y-ers to reconnect with the glamorous decades of the 50s, 60s and 70s, years that we try to relive through our fashion sense and music taste.

I was initially ambivalent about this trend when I first noticed it gaining popularity. I had not yet been “converted” to the way of the record player, and was quick to dismiss it as a fad that was being propagated by those trendy hipsters who embrace all things vintage. As I did some research online, I felt myself being drawn in. Images of sitting on my bed on a rainy day, reading a good book while listening to an old Bob Dylan record dreamily played out in my head.

Deciding to try it out for myself, I acquired a Crosley portable record player. Reminiscent of old leather suitcases from the 1950s, it truly had a vintage feel to it that was irresistible. I couldn’t wait to pop in a record and hear for myself what all the fuss was about. A classic album like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” seemed like the most logical place for a vinyl newbie for me to start.

Once the needle dropped on the thick black plastic, the faint baselines and drum-beats emerged. From that first rocking guitar riff of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to the sultry, sitar-drenched “Within You, Without You”, and to the cacophonous orchestral explosion ending of “A Day in the Life,” I was completely absorbed in the music. There was something hypnotic about watching the record spin, as the grooves in the plastic slowly blur and fade. The subtle scratches, static and crackling sounds only added to the listening experience.

This is where vinyl truly trumps digital music. The rich and nuanced sound quality of analog recording is something that can’t be replicated by CD recording or MP3s. Vinyl records have grooves carved into them that mirror the original sound’s waveform, which means that no information from the original sound is lost. The science behind it gets even more technical but it basically proves that analog, vinyl recordings are the truest way of listening to music.

The most glaring disadvantage of vinyl record players, and one of the main reasons for their downfall, is their size and inconvenience. You can’t exactly take your turntable with you when you walk to class or go to the gym, and you can’t purchase individual songs with records, or listen to as wide a variety of songs as easily as you can with MP3 players. These obvious factors have kept people away from vinyl for so long. For people our age who have been exposed to the ease of iPods since our early teens, it’s hard to imagine any other way of listening to music.

But nothing tops vinyl when it comes to quality. It’s not just the sound quality either. Listening to vinyl is an experience that enraptures all your senses; running your fingers along the delicate grooves of the plastic, studying the album artwork and watching the record endlessly spin are all parts of the experience that make vinyl records so fun.

It only took one album for me to see the light and realize that the newfound attention that vinyl is receiving is well-deserved and not merely a fad. I suggest that if you really love your music, treat yourself to the joy of vinyl and let yourself get lost in the music.

A special thank you to the author, Natasha Aftandilians for allowing me to reprint her wonderful article!

SOURCE: www.newuniversity.org

New Music Releases – November 17

Some amazing music this week including the Paul McCartney, Good Evening New York City (2-CDs & DVD)release, Fall Out Boy’s Believers Never Die, Greatest Hits (CD & DVD), Morrissey , with Swords (2-CD deluxe edition) Rod Stewart ‘s Storyteller (4-CD box set), Rush, Working Men, the band’s first "best-of" live performance compilation, the Doors - Live in New York (6-CD box set), and Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club (remastered 2-CD & DVD edition). Also look for new albums by Norah Jones (The Fall), John Mayer (Battle Studies), American Idol’s Kris Allen debut, new music from Leona Lewis (ECHO), Vic Chesnutt (Skitter on Take Off), Alexandre Desplat - The Twilight Saga New Moon - The Score and the debut self-titled album by Them Crooked Vultures.

Alejandro Escovedo checks in with a double LP reissue of A Man Under The Influence, 70’s rockers Yes reissues their LP Relayer on vinyl, Janet Jackson releases Number Ones (Greatest Hits), look for David Bowie’s Space Oddity on vinyl (remastered with bonus CD), four reissues by the Blood Brothers, Sun Ra - New Steps (remastered), some early Spandau Ballet - Heart Like A Sky/Through The Barricades as well as Atlantic Records-The Time Capsule (11-disc box set), Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978 (3-CDs) and Score 20 Years of Merge Records - The Remixes. Look for lots of Christmas music next week and the weeks to come!

Buy New Music Here

13th Chime - The Lost Album
A Fine Frenzy - Oh Blue Christmas
A Grave With No Name - Mountain Debris
Alejandro Escovedo - A Man Under The Influence- Deluxe Bourbonitis Edition (2-LP vinyl reissue with bonus tracks)
Alexandre Desplat - The Twilight Saga New Moon - The Score
Anberlin - Anberlin - The Anthology
Annie - Don’t Stop
Anthony Narvaez - Light Show & Audio
Bad Lieutenant - Never Cry Another Tear (vinyl)
Baroness - Blue Record (vinyl)
Beak> - Beak>
Bell Orchestre - As Seen Through Windows (vinyl)
Bellflur - Last Quarter Of The 20th Century Blues
Blood Brothers - Burn, Piano Island, Burn (reissue with bonus CD)
Blood Brothers - Crimes (reissue with bonus CD)
Blood Brothers - March on Electric Children (reissue)
Blood Brothers - Young Machetes (reissue with bonus CD)
Boyz II Men - Love
Casting Crowns - Until the Whole World Hears
Chairs - Nine Ways
Chief - Mighty Proud
Corey Smith - Keeping Up With The Jones
Dan Zanes - 76 Trombones
Dave Rawlings Machine - A Friend of a Friend
David Bowie - Space Oddity (remastered with bonus CD) (vinyl)
Devin Townsend - Addicted
Doors - Live in New York (6-CD box set)
Fall Out Boy - Believers Never Die - Greatest Hits (CD & DVD)
Felt - Felt 3 A Tribute to Rosie Perez
Forever the Sickest Kids - The Weekend Friday
Hawksley Workman - For Him And The Girl
Horrors - Whole New Way (vinyl)
Janet Jackson - Number Ones (Greatest Hits)
John Entwistle - Rigor Mortis Sets In (reissue with bonus tracks)
John Mayer - Battle Studies
Justin Bieber - My World
Keane - Hopes and Fears (with bonus CD)

Buy New Vinyl Here

Kid Harpoon - Once
Kid Sister - Ultraviolet
Kris Allen - Kris Allen
Leona Lewis - ECHO
Les Claypool Frog Brigade - Purple Onion (vinyl reissue)
Lissie - Why You Runnin' EP (vinyl)
Lovely Feathers - Fantasy Of The Lot (vinyl)
Lovvers - Think EP
Matt and Kim - Matt and Kim (vinyl reissue)
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Summer of Fear (vinyl)
Miles Davis - Live In Vienna 1973
Morrissey - Swords (2-CD deluxe edition)
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Norah Jones - The Fall
Nurse With Wound - Space Music (vinyl)
OneRepublic - Waking Up
Patrick Watson - Just Another Ordinary Day (reissue)
Paul McCartney - Good Evening New York City (2-CDs & DVD)
Rakim - The Seventh Seal
Real Estate - Real Estate
Robin Guthrie - Songs to Help My Children Sleep EP
Rod Stewart - Storyteller (4-CD box set)
Rush - Working Men (first "best-of" live performance compilation)
Ryan Trevor - Introducing Ryan Trevor (vinyl)
Sheryl Crow - Tuesday Night Music Club (remastered 2-CD & DVD edition)
Spandau Ballet - Heart Like A Sky/Through The Barricades
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (reissue)
Steve Martin - The Crow New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (vinyl)
Sun Ra - New Steps (remastered)
Tape Deck Mountain - Ghost

Buy New Vinyl Here

The Company Band - The Company Band
The Fall - Hex Enduction Hour (remastered with bonus CD)
Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
tUnE-yArDs - BiRd-BrAiNs
Various Artists - Atlantic Records-The Time Capsule (11-disc box set)
Various Artists - Forge Your Own Chains, Vol. 1 Psychedelic Ballads And Dirges 1968-1974
Various Artists - Hoodwinked Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Various Artists - Psychedelic States - Mississippi In The 60's
Various Artists - Refugees Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978 (3-CDs)
Various Artists - Score 20 Years of Merge Records - The Remixes
Various Artists - Trapped in a Scene UK Hardcore 1985-89
Vermillion Sands - Miss My Gun EP
Vic Chesnutt - Skitter on Take Off (vinyl)
We Shot the Moon - A Silver Lining
Wingdale Community Singers - Spirit Duplicator
Yello - Touch Yello
Yes - Relayer (vinyl reissue)

Buy New Vinyl Here

Music News & Notes


D7i Records and Doomsday Machine Records will issue a split EP featuring Austin, Texas punk-metal stalwarts BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA and Quebec City's mad thrashers BOMBNATION. This release will be made available on 12-inch vinyl and cassette in March 2010.

BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA features the premier crossover drummer, Felix Griffin from D.R.I., while BOMBNATION includes members of FISTFUCK and MESRINE.

BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA's contribution will come in the form of tracks from the "Hatred For The State" EP, while BOMBNATION's songs will be all-new stuff and more crossover-oriented.


THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN: New Album Release Date Announced

Critically acclaimed rockers THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN recently finished recording their highly-anticipated new album, "Option Paralysis", and are readying it as the debut release for their brand new label Party Smasher Inc./Season Of Mist. The opus, recorded in Orange County, California with longtime collaborator/producer Steve Evetts (THE USED, GLASSJAW, EVERY TIME I DIE) , will be officially available on March 23, 2010.

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN vocalist Greg Puciato previously stated about the band's new songs, "Wait 'til you hear what we've got for you now. The vibe when we recorded 'Ire Works' was defined by a feeling of struggle and hope and just staying alive in the face of almost falling apart, feeling triumphant in making it through the previous couple of years, and now the vibe is OK, now we're just gonna fuck everyone up.'"

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN guitarist Ben Weinman told U.K.'s Rock Sound magazine about the band's new material, "The music we are writing is influenced by the feelings I get when I hear and see the real evils of this world. Horrible things that make me really question if there is a God or not. This shit is not comfortable, the world is not comfortable, babies are getting raped in your town for God's sake. Young girls are being sold as sex slaves, but most people sitting at their computers downloading music don't want to know. They want to sit on a message board or play fantasy football while their mommy makes them a sandwich."

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN will embark on tour in December with THURSDAY and FAKE PROBLEMS.



RCH ENEMY and LEAVES' EYES are among the confirmed bands for the Metal Female Voices Fest VIII, set to take place October 23-24, 2010 at Oktoberhallen in Wieze, Belgium.

The festival billing is shaping up as follows:


For more information, visit www.metalfemalevoicesfest.be.


Cave In announces CD/DVD reissue of Planets of Old EP

The Boston-based rock outfit Cave In is making the most of its recently unveiled EP, Planets of Old. On January 26th, 2009, the band will package the four-track effort as part of a brand new CD/DVD combo available through Hydra Head Records.

The idea for the double-disc release came about when the Boston natives became impressed with the footage from their July 19 reemergence concert in Allston, MA. Wanting to share this experience, they put together a 13-track DVD. The release will also mark the first time that Planets of Old will be available on CD, as it was originally released strictly as a 12? vinyl back in July.


Cover Match Album Art Memory Game Now Available on iTunes

Album Cover Art is making a comeback from the days when buying an album was more than just the music inside, but also the artistry on the outside. Back in the day, musicians believed that album art was just as important to their fans as their music was. Well, those days are back. Saying “Music as Art“ takes on a whole new meaning as Cover Match, the game, pays tribute to the album artwork of all musicians and the fans who love them in an exciting memory game.

Williamsburg, VA, November 14, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Hunter Research and Technology announces the worldwide availability of Cover Match 1.0 in the iTunes App Store. Cover Match is a mesmerizing new match game for the iPhone and iPod Touch that uses album art from a user’s music library.

“Since the era of CDs and the advent of online music downloads, album cover art has lost a lot of its prominence” says Todd Hunter, Cover Match co-developer. “Gone are the days where people spent hours flipping through album collections, looking at the gorgeous art. We wanted to recapture some of that magic in Cover Match. Using album cover art as the basis for a match game results in a rich, nostalgic visual experience and makes for very compelling game play.”

Graphically mastered and engineered, Cover Match is no ordinary match game. Crisp OpenGL graphics and special effects accompany each level, enhanced by the beauty and exquisite detail of album art. Using a classic arcade format, Cover Match starts off slow with just a few album covers to match, then heats up with unlimited levels of randomly sorted cover art. Cover Match offers billions of memory-testing game possibilities.

Players can choose from fun and scored modes. Fun mode has no limits, no timers, and no pressure. Scored mode tests memory and matching skills using a timer and tap counter. Points are awarded for matches, and a bonus is given for any time or taps leftover at the end of each level.

Other features include portrait and landscape play options and an extensive help section. The game offers a built-in soundtrack, but will also let iPod music play through for a custom soundtrack. If a game is interrupted for a phone call, Cover Match will automatically save current progress and score. Players can compete for high scores to win a place on the online Cover Match Top 25 list. Finally, Cover Match includes built-in album art to augment small music collections, and contains an iTunes shop where free and paid music and podcast cover art are available for download.

Pricing and Availability:

Cover Match works on any iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.1.1 or later and is available for $0.99 (USD) on the iTunes App Store. More information, including screenshots, is available on the Hunter Research and Technology website. Media professionals interested in reviewing Cover Match can request a promotional code to download the app from iTunes at no cost.

For more information, see: Cover Match


Metallica, Slayer & Megadeath To Tour

Back in September, it was reported reported that Metallica's Lars Ulrich was trying to put together a tour with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Well, Lars didn't get his wish, but Slayer and Megadeth will be hitting the road starting January 18 and a 19-date tour.

Slayer recently canceled European dates because of back surgery on frontman Tom Araya. He is reportedly recovering well and will be ready for the January start of the tour.


Queen And Foo Fighters Drummers To Team Up For 2010 Tour

Roger Taylor speaks about plans...

Queen drummer Roger Taylor has revealed he's planning to collaborate with Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins.

Taylor described the US band's drummer was “one of my best blood brothers” and said he hoped they could tour together.

"I’ve been thinking about doing a tour next year - a very quick tour - with Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters," Taylor told BBC 6 Music.

"He’s like one of my best blood brothers! So we might do that. That sounds like fun.”