Saturday, June 26, 2010

Music News & Notes

Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’ To Feature Eight Different Album Covers

Arcade Fire are set to release their new studio album, ‘The Suburbs‘, later this year. The forthcoming album will reportedly have eight different album covers including the one pictured above.

Although yet to be officially confirmed, a sales catalog distributed by the Alternative Distribution Alliance, one of the companies that distributes the album to retail stores, list eight different album covers for the release.

‘The Suburbs‘, the band’s third studio album, is set for release August 3 (August 2 in the UK/Europe).


Michael Jackson Father Sues Over Wrongful Death

Michael Jackson’s father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor charged with administering him a lethal dose of anaesthetic. In papers filed at a federal court in Los Angeles, Joseph Jackson accused Dr Conrad Murray of negligence and secrecy. The lawsuit also claims that clinics the doctor was registered had failed to provide adequete training.

The lawsuit, which is seeking $75,000, was filed exactly one year since Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009.

Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson’s death.

The doctor’s spokesperson told the Press Association defended his client and said they were aware of the wrongful death suit.

Only $75,000?? Something fishy here......


A bust from the past - Cops raid UK's 'largest' vinyl bootleggers

In a bust from the past, cops have raided a vinyl record forgery factory in West London.

Police and anti-piracy officers from the UK record industry think the fraudsters ran the biggest vinyl copyright theft operation in the country.

200 'stampers', used to press vinyl records, were seized during the raid, including some used to press copies of rare Rolling Stones bootleg recordings. Two German men were apparently at the property when police entered, both of whom were charged with copyright offences. It's been suggested that the plant might have been responsible for producing the majority of illegal vinyl releases in the UK.

It seems that this raid was linked to another that recently took place at Scenario Records in the Ladbroke Grove area of West London, though the exact link isn't clear.

The industry, which had been in terminal decline since the advent of CDs in the mid 80s has seen a major revival as CD users embraced downloads but music lovers craved the nostalgia and technical superiority of the physical format.


Optional Cover Art of Michael Jackson's Final Album

A never-before-seen picture of Michael Jackson which serves as an optional cover art of his tenth studio album "Invincible" has hit the web. It features the short-haired Michael with a sad expression and a blue glittery ring painted on his left eye.
The picture emerged on the heels of Michael's upcoming one-year death anniversary which will be marked by various tribute shows on June 25. Entitled Michael Jackson's Blue Eye, it was taken by French photographer Arno Bani in 1999.

Along with 11 other never-before-published portraits of the late King of Pop and 50 contact boards, the image will be auctioned by Auctionneers Pierre Berge & Associes in Paris in December this year. Auctioneer Frederic Chambre claimed bidding for each portrait is expected to start at around $1,228.

One would expect lots of bidding......

Indie record stores are keeping vinyl alive

By Kerry Gold

There are dozens of record stores across the country hanging on as chain stores fall all around them. In the vinyl business, it’s survival of the smartest.

Here's the usual scenario. A boomer has a vinyl collection he's amassed over the last 30 years that is so big it takes up a part of his basement. The kids are gone, he and the wife are renovating or downsizing to a condo, and he's discovered there's a whole new generation interested in his collection of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd records. It's time to unload the collection.

It so happens that there are tons of boomers across the country retiring their beloved vinyl, which has enabled used record stores to keep afloat. Add to that the record industry trend toward new vinyl releases, and business gets even better. Not great — but good enough to keep going, which is all that a record store can ask these days.

The independent record store is an ode to rock 'n' roll nostalgia that has somehow managed to survive an obstacle course of new technology, Internet downloading, economic downturns and an aging market.

It's a relic that's seen better days, but there are dozens across the country hanging on. The vinyl record is an important component.

"We have seen an increase in new vinyl sales, absolutely," says Matt Flook, a manager at Toronto's Sonic Boom Music. "We have opened a whole second area of our store, dedicated to vinyl. We are getting new vinyl several times a week, large shipments. I think it's a reaction to the digital age of music — people are getting rid of CDs and making copies of them, but still there is a large portion of music buyers who want to own the record."

In Vancouver, Zulu Records is an institution. Owner Grant McDonagh has made vinyl a bigger priority due to demand.

"We converted our bins around the New Year — as it stands now, half our store is CDs, the other half vinyl, new and used on each side.

"We get tons of old vinyl traded in and we do quite well with it. It just depends on if it is a classic band that younger fans still care about."

The old-time record store, with its collection of vinyl records and rock posters, is one of the few music shrines left for music fans. The only other physical place left would be the burned-out club or venue that is stained and smelly from years of concert debauchery. Most every other place to purchase or learn about music has gone online — which simply doesn't have the same romanticism with everyone in the virtual community hidden behind their keyboards. It's that "music nerds only" feeling of belonging that makes the record store a draw, and successful record store owners know that.

It's also a sanctuary for music nerds who have turned the vinyl record into a pretentious antidote to new music formats like iTunes and file sharing. An MP3 file, they argue, doesn't have the same warm play of a vinyl record. For them, to listen to Pink Floyd's The Wall any way other than as it was intended, on vinyl, is like pouring 25-year-old single malt whiskey over ice cream. You'd be missing the point and losing out on the flavour, big time.

It's this appreciation for the finer things in life that has kept the beleaguered record store hobbling along. Many mom and pop record stores across Canada have definitely lost the good fight and have had to close shop.

"For example, record stores in the suburbs that just focus on used CDs, that would be a tough thing to do," says Flook. "It's tough to expect to float just on that. We wouldn't be able to do that — we need vinyl just to survive."

But others have managed to carve out a niche market and keep afloat, sort of like a Darwinian distillation of the most resourceful, forward thinking and brave. When times get tough, the toughest really do survive. And as we've seen from the fall of the corporate giant record chain, small is sometimes a good thing.

"I think the difference is the smaller store is easier to adapt," says McDonagh. His store even expanded several years ago. "And the people who run these stores know quite a bit about music," he adds. "That's what it's about, the music. That's why a few stores do quite well."

Flook concurs that the independent record store must be staffed with employees who know a lot about music and how to appraise old records. Music knowledge is part of the draw — certainly not a major focus of the corporate record store.

Last year, Virgin Records closed shop, including the one in Manhattan — the highest-volume music store in all of America. Considering that CD sales fell 20 per cent between 2007 and 2008, it's not surprising that the industry would be especially hard hit by the economic downturn that followed in 2008 and 2009.

Flook says that the independent record store industry might have benefited from the fall of the corporate giant.

"A lot of those people are having to come to our stores, and realizing it's a whole different thing than those corporate stores."

And CDs, too, just aren't useful anymore. The compact disc never had that prized authentic quality but it was easier to use than a vinyl LP. By the late '80s, the CD had revolutionized the record market, almost entirely replacing the vinyl record in every major store. The CD had a strange too-perfect sound and was less destructible than the vinyl record, which was always getting scratched or warped. Sure, they all but destroyed the art form that is album cover art, but music fans were willing to make the trade-off for a format that didn't take up so much space on their shelves.

In the last five years, however, CDs have gone the way of the tape cassette. Digital downloading has become the favourite method of obtaining music, not only because it's often free (and often illegal), but because it's just so easy and accessible, and hey who doesn't own an MP3 player?

While the Internet has been the kiss of death for big music retailers, it's no big threat to the vinyl record. The vinyl record has always managed to hold onto its cool, and hipster kids and old boomers both understand that no serious music fan would be without a turntable.

The artists are also getting in on the act. There is even such a thing as Record Store Day to celebrate record store independence. Every year in April, small stores celebrate with in-store performances and the release of special editions, such as this year's cover of Dark Side of the Moon by Flaming Lips, or Neko Case's new album released on clear vinyl.

As these indie stores have proven, diversity is the key to survival. Many of the successful stores have in-store performances, featuring local or visiting artists, usually with a record to promote. Artists love to support indie record stores. Billy Bragg recently played Zulu and stuck around to sign autographs.

"You have to keep people shopping in your store," says Flook. "We have concerts, we carry T-shirts and video games, all kinds of CDs and DVDs, Blue Ray, all that stuff.

"We try to make it a place to come and you can see music, hear music and buy music."


140,000 Vinyl Records Donated to St. Vincent de Paul in Seattle

St. Vincent de Paul Society of Seattle/King County received 140,000 vinyl records donated by Bop Street Records of Ballard. Pacific Logistics, Two Men & a Truck and Rontra Freight Inc. donated five truckloads of service to the charity's warehouse.


PRLog (Press Release) – Jun 24, 2010 – SEATTLE/BALLARD/GEORGETOWN...Bop Street Records of Ballard donated approximately 140,000 vinyl records and other items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Seattle/King County today. Five truckloadswith cases of records were transported to St. Vincent de Paul at 5950 4th Ave. S. (Georgetown) throughout the day by Pacific Logistics, Two Men & a Truck and Rontra Freight Inc. An estimated 80,000-Vinyl LPs, 35,000- 45s, and 27,000-78s ranging in genre from Jazz, Country, Folk, Easy Listening, Soundtrack, Opera, Rock and more are among the donations. There are records from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Artists include Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra and countless others.

St. Vincent de Paul is making plans to sell the records with a special Summer Record Sales event in the next month, through its thrift stores and by other means. Proceeds of the sales will help St. Vincent de Paul in its mission to prevent evictions, hunger, utility shut-off and more to neighbors in need in our community.

Bop Street Records is moving from their former 9500 sq ft. location to a 3500 sq. ft new location at 2220 NW Market Street in Ballard. Owner Dave Voorhees has been in the vinyl record business in Ballard for more than 30 years. Bob Jacobs, longtime friend and Wallingford resident, contacted St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Andre de Klaver to arrange the donation on behalf of Voorhees. St. Vincent de Paul was chosen by Voorhees to receive the record donation because he is impressed with St. Vincent de Paul’s work and has been a long-time shopper at St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores.

The book Vinyl Lives, published by Aventine Press in 2010, portrays 25 leading independent record stores around the country. Bop Street Records was the only Seattle area store featured in the book. An article in Air France Airlines in-flight magazine mentions three places to go in Seattle and one of them is Bop Street Records. Last year there were more vinyl records sold than any time since at1991. The vinyl record market is growing in double digit rates.

“We are overwhelmed with the magnitude of this donation. This is good music. It’s great to recycle useable records and with proceeds from these records we will help many neighbors in need, “ says Andre de Klaver, St. Vincent de Paul Society of King County Executive Director.

St. Vincent de Paul is known for its 101 all-volunteer groups in Western WA who make home visits assess needs and provide aid to the needy, as well as for its thrift stores, food and clothing distribution, and other programs to serve the poor. The 211-Community Information Line refers more people to St. Vincent de Paul than to any other agency in Seattle/King County. This past year, St. Vincent de Paul helped over 220,000 cases of need in Western Washington by preventing eviction, hunger, utility shut-off and more.

Contact: Richard Bray, Donor & Community Relations for St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County at 206-335-3239 (cell) or

# # #

St. Vincent de Paul fosters "Compassion in Action" to help neighbors in need in Seattle/King County. We make home visits to assess needs and prevent eviction, hunger, utility shut-off and more. We run food banks, meal programs, thrift stores and more.

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This Date In Music History - June 26


Georgie Fame - British rhythm and blues and jazz singer (1943)

Billy Davis Jr - 5th Dimension (1940)

Larry Taylor - Canned Heat (1942)

Mick Jones - Clash, Big Audio Dynamite (1955)

Ivan Julian - Richard Hell And The Voidoids (1955)

Chris Isaak (1956)

Patti Smyth (1957)

Terri Nunn - Berlin (1961)

Harriet Wheeler - Sundays (1963)

Colin Greenwood - Radiohead (1969)

Mark Decloedt - EMF (1969)

Country singer, Gretchen Wilson (1973)

Nathan Followill - Kings Of Leon (1979)

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1910, Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager. Before working in the music business Parker ran a troupe of dancing chickens. He died on January 21st 1997.


"The Kraft Music Hall" debuted on NBC radio in 1933.

In 1955, Elvis Presley (Scotty Moore and Bill Black) played the first of three nights at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. The local paper ran a preview which read; “A good looking youngster who has become a juke-box favorite with his "That's Alright, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Presley is expected to repeat some of his hit tunes at the Airmen's Club show in addition to mixing up a few country tunes with some "bop" and novelty numbers.”

Egypt banned Rock n’ Roll in 1957, claiming the music is "against public morals" and is an "imperialist plot."

Gary U.S. Bonds started a two-week run at #1 on the US charts in 1961 with "Quarter To Three."

Elvis Presley records "His Latest Flame" and "Little Sister" in 1961.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney compose "She Loves You" in a hotel room in Newcastle, England while on tour there in 1963.

In 1964, during a world tour, The Beatles played two shows at Town Hall, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand. The flight from Auckland to Dunedin was tense due the receipt of an anonymous threat that a "germ bomb" had been placed on board the aircraft.

The Rolling Stones released "It's All Over Now" in 1964.

The Byrds went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1965 with their version of Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man." (Only Roger McGuinn from the band played on the song)

In 1966, during a North American tour, The Rolling Stones played two shows, a matinee show at The Coliseum in Washington DC and an evening show at The Baltimore Civic Centre in Maryland. The McCoys and The Standells were the support acts.

In 1973, Rolling Stone Keith Richards and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg were arrested at their home in Chelsea, London on drugs and gun charges.

Cher divorced Sonny Bono after 10 years of marriage in 1974. Four days later, Cher married guitarist Gregg Allman, the couple split 10 days after that, got back together and split again. They did stay married for three years, producing Elijah Blue Allman.

All members of Roxy Music announced that they were going their separate ways for at least a year in 1976.

Peter Frampton unveils the live version of “Baby I Love Your Way" in 1976.

Elvis Presley made his last ever live stage appearance in 1977 when he appeared at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Presley would die less than two months later. The last two songs he performed were "Hurt" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Before the show Elvis was presented with a plaque commemorating the 2 billionth record to come out of RCA’s pressing plant.

Elvis Presley's father Vernon died in 1979 (age 63).

American singer and one-hit-wonder Charlene was at #1 on the UK singles chart in 1982 with "I've Never Been To Me." The song was recorded in 1976 and was reissued by Motown records in 1982, by which time Charlene had moved to England and was working in a sweet shop in Ilford, east London.

In 1985 - The album, "Big River" became the first soundtrack album to be recorded in Nashville, TN.

Elton John and Eric Clapton teamed up for three sold-out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1992.

In 1986 - James Hetfield (Metallica) broke his wrist while trying to skateboard down a hill. One show was cancelled and the remainder of dates on the tour James was on vocals only and John Marshall (later with Metal Church) was on guitar.

"Congratulations, I’m Sorry" was a certified platinum album in 1997 (over one million sales). The Gin Blossoms’ album features "Til I Hear It From You" and "Follow You Down."

In 1999, Elton John was reported to be in talks with a City finance house to secure a $42.5 million loan, using his back catalogue of hits as security. It had been reported that Elton had been spending $425,000 a week on credit cards.

In 2000, Britney Spears hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana announced that a new museum, due to open early next year, would include a section including fan mail, platinum records and genuine items of the singers clothing.

In 2004, one of Eric Clapton`s prize guitars, "Blackie," a black-and-white Fender Stratocaster, sells for $959,500 at an auction that raises more than $7.4 million for Crossroads Centre, a drug treatment facility. “Lenny,” the guitar Stevie Ray Vaughan played from the 1970s until his death in 1990, sells for $623,500. The guitar was donated by Vaughan`s estate.

In 2008, Total Guitar magazine voted Celine Dion’s rendition of the AC/DC track "You Shook Me All Night Long" as the world's worst cover version ever, the magazines editor Stephen Lawson said Dion's cover was "sacrilege." In the best cover versions list, Jimi Hendrix was voted into first place with his version of the Bob Dylan song "All Along the Watchtower," The Beatles' rendition of "Twist and Shout," (first recorded by the Top Notes), was in second place, followed by the Guns N' Roses version of the Wings song "Live and Let Die."

Yes and Asia launched a joint North American tour in 2009. Steve Howe performs with both bands. "This is a monumental event and even though it will be a challenge, I am up for it," says the guitarist. Indio, CA, is the first stop.