Monday, July 12, 2010

The black circle is spinning again

I love to read about the vinyl record resurgence and yes, vinyl is a 'hot' item in other parts of the world.  Here's a great article, read on:

Tifa Asrianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

It’s almost a cliché to say that vinyl records are for old folk, people who have so much time for the Beatles or Beethoven.

Invented in the thirties as then the most convenient sound-carrying medium, the black vinyl fell by the wayside in the late 1980s, soon after the mass-production of the compact disc (CD).

And as the compact disc has now been eclipsed by the even more convenient mp3, the strange thing is that long-playing (LP) records is making a comeback, especially among serious music fans who scoff at the cold comfort of mp3s and the miniaturized music of the CD format.

Some of Indonesia’s pressing plants were forced to shut down in the early 1980s and today no local music is released on black vinyl, but a group of dedicated music fans are going against the odds to collect vinyl records, both from local and international artists.

These people formed a kind of cult, speaking in their own language, showing off their collection online, logging on to eBay and Amazon to salivate over what’s in store and when necessary showing up in person in a small number of LP—peddling vendors left in some cities like Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya.

One of the collectors is Idhar Resmadi. The 24-year-old student from Bandung started collecting vinyl records in 2005, when he was still in his sophomore year. His first LP record was the greatest hit collection The Beach Boys Greatest Music, an obligatory item for collectors. He bought it for only Rp 50,000 (US$6).

“When I started collecting, I was a student and did not yet earn a living, so I only bought [LPs] when I had the money. But my quest for records only intensified in 2007,” he told The Jakarta Post .

Another vinyl aficionado is Anizar Yasmeen, a staffer at a state-run university in Malang, East Java. He only became interested in records earlier this year after his friends in Balikpapan—an affluent oil city in East Kalimantan—brought him into the eye-opening experience that comes with collecting vinyl.

The first LP he purchased was Led Zeppelin IV and Hot Space, an LP by Queen featuring glam rocker David Bowie. He got the Led Zeppelin album for Rp 50,000 and Hot Space for only Rp 30,000.

These first two LPs, in spite of their defects, left a lasting impression on him.

“Those first LP records already had scratches, but they still sound great. They are quality LPs records that I prize,” he said.

As any vinyl record collector are likely to do before querying skeptics, they launch into a long rant about how superior the sound quality of an LP compared to the dry sound of music from compact disc or the treble-heavy and tinny sound of mp3s.

“The sound is overwhelming, even the hissing and crackling sound that comes out of the player give you a feel-good sensation,” Idhar said.

And it is also predictable that the collection of both Idhar and Anizar have grown in number pretty rapidly in the past years, with Idhar amassing 80 LP records on his shelves including classics from Sonic Youth, Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine and Anizar owning 30 LP records from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Cocteau Twins and 10 EP records.

Idhar was convinced that LP records would soon catch on in the country and become a new trend after meeting with so many like-minded youth. Last year, he found a community in which members could meet and swap their collections or simply buy from others.

But as any other vinyl buffs would argue, swapping or selling is always a bad idea. “I always buy, never swap and sell. LP records are becoming more expensive by the day and are hard to find. And as you know, collectors usually have their own musical preferences. In Indonesia, LP records of metal bands are the most sought-after. Some collectors are not content with owning them on CDs they also buy LPs.

My preference is indie rock and pure electronic music,” he said.

Anizar is more eclectic. His collection ranges from LPs by hard-core bands like Shai Hulud and Have Heart to influential indie rockers the Smiths and lots of the Beatles.

“It is not easy to get LP records here in Malang, so I usually ask my friends who travel to Jakarta, Bandung or abroad [to buy me records]. I got my Beatles LPs from a friend who traveled to the Netherlands,” he said.

Anizar also goes online, connecting with people who sell LPs on their online store or community websites like Kaskus or even Facebook.

And logging on to these websites have somewhat taken its toll on him, financially. “The price range of LP records in Indonesia is between Rp 150,000 and Rp 300,000. I never have a budget for buying records.

I buy it once I got the money. Last month, I was almost broke from buying too many records,” he said.
Things are looking up for Idhar. He lives in Bandung, a city known for its creative industry and thriving music scene. In the city, Idhar can find shops selling records like Unkl 347 and Quickening.

Idhar also ventured into some districts in Bandung, known as haunts for record collectors. And now that he already earns a living, each month he spends Rp 500,000 to buy up to three LP records.

In Bandung, new vinyl releases (yes some foreign artists still release their album on vinyl) are available for Rp 400,000, whereas used records can be purchased at Rp 20,000.

However, for rare albums, prices can skyrocket. A release of Indonesian legend Koes Plus—a perennial favorite among music fans is available at Rp 6 million. But today, even a new release is offered at a seriously inflated price. An online vendor in Bandung offered a 3-LP reissue of brit-rock legend Stone Roses’ self-titled album at Rp 1.6 million.

But Idhar’s most prized possession is one released by local artists called Injak Balik (Step Back). The LP is a compilation of music from several Indonesian independent bands released by a French label in 1997. The album is politically-charged and only 10 records can be found in Indonesia.

“Those 10 LP records were given to members of the band. I met one band member who went bankrupt and offered the record to me for Rp 70,000. Some people have made a bid for the album. They can pay up to Rp 3 million. But I won’t sell it,” he said.

Some of vendors who reaped the windfall from the booming LP market is Ipank Knapi. The thirty-year-old who runs his business from his parents’ home in Rawa Belong, South Jakarta has been selling records since 1999, but the market thrived only in the past couple of years.

One of indication is the increasing price of LPs.

“As CDs are getting cheaper, the prices of records are skyrocketing. I bought a Guns and Roses record for $12 years ago, now the price is $900,” Ipank said.

For his inventory, Ipank usually goes for mail order, online shops and eBay, using PayPal as his means of payment. This is not an easy venture for Ipank, as Indonesia is known as a haven for credit card fraud. Some of online stores overseas have refused to do business with Ipank.

“If they denied my orders I would ask for a reference from other vendors that I have worked with. For instance, an online store called Revelation refused to deal with Indonesian buyers, but after they got the reference, they contacted me and we’ve been doing business ever since,” he said.

Ipank had opened two shops in Slipi and Ragunan in South Jakarta, but both had been closed. For now, he does business in selling LPs of metal and underground music on Facebook. On Facebook, he can sell up to 30 copies quickly enough.

“I like underground music so I focus on selling the genre. But if I open a store one day, I will sell all kinds of music,” he said.


Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales - Week Ending 07/03/2010

1. 45 - Piece Kor "All I Want Is My Baby Back" / "Words Of The Raven" Laray - $3,785.00

2. LP - The Beatles & Frank Ifield "On Stage" VeeJay Portrait Jacket - $3,000.00

3. LP - Brimingham Sunday "A Message From" - $2,850.00

4. LP - The Doors "self titled" Mono Promo - $2,576.28

5. 45 - The Elite U.F.O. "Now Who's Good Enough" / "Tarantula" MAI - $1582.77

As always, the Ebay Top 5 is brought to us by:

Vinyl Record Talk will be back with a new show Tuesday, July 12th.

Music News & Notes

American Idol's Blake Lewis Announces Special Release

American Idol's Blake Lewis will release his newest album, Heartbreak on Vinyl, on vinyl of course, with a wealthy of new, never before released content, this August.

Lewis, who recently topped Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay Chart and the Dance Club Play Chart at #1 with the title track "Heartbreak on Vinyl," will sign, hand-number and personalize each of the only 500 available Limited Edition Double LP copies sold. The album, pressed in a unique red vinyl, is currently available for pre-order at and will be delivered to customers beginning August 3rd.

In addition to the personalization of each LP, Lewis is offering a slate of new content with each purchase including free instant access to the digital album, 13 remixes of the chart-topping single "Heartbreak on Vinyl," and free membership to his VIP Opendisc site. The VIP Opendisc site offers exclusive content from Lewis including video messages, promo videos and "making of" clips, interactive Q&A sessions, remixes, bonus audio and track by track commentaries and much more. To top it all off, by the time each LP is delivered, those who purchased it will also receive a free MP3 of an unreleased track "'Till We See The Sun."


Corrosion Of Conformity To Record New Song Featuring Classic Line-Up

Legendary metal act Corrosion Of Conformity have announced plans to release a new 7-inch single titled "Your Tomorrow Pt.1 & 2" through Southern Lord Records. The new recordings features the same line-up from their iconic "Animosity" album. "Your Tomorrow" is to be pressed onto black 180-gram wax vinyl.


Exhumed Announces Reunion, Plans To Record New Album

American death metal group Exhumed has announced their reformation after a five year hiatus. The band will consist of vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey, guitarist Wes Caley, bassist Leon DelMuerte and drummer Danny Walker. The band will also be recording a brand new album, their first since "Anatomy Is Destiny" in 2003, which is eyeing a Spring 2011 release.

Matt Harvey stated: "I'm totally fucken psyched to be making music with Exhumed again, it's been way too long. After a few years off and away from the death metal scene, I feel rejuvenated and ready to hack, maim and kill once again. I wanted this to be a continuation of what the band was doing and was on its way to doing, not a reunion or some weird nostalgia thing, so the first person I started talking about this with was our guitarist Wes (Caley), who has been writing some great songs for the new album, and once he got the ball rolling with Leon (DelMuerte, bass, vocals) and Danny (Walker, drums), it come together quickly and easier than ever!"


Atheist Reveals New Album Details

Progressive death metal legends Atheist have revealed details regarding the band's upcoming studio album, the first release from the band in over seventeen years. The album's title has been set as "Jupiter" and is planned for release by mid November, 2010.

Founding member Kelly Shaefer commented by saying:

"we are almost done with guitars and vocals, and we start mixing with the tone goblin himslef Jason Suecof in Orlando, FL on July 15. We have been working our asses off for a year and have taken great strides to make this the record we, as fans, would want to hear from Atheist . It’s ferocious, intelligent, and dead balls heavy as shit! When people hear this they’re going to say, ‘it’s Atheist!”


Pearl Jam Play 'Last Gig For A Long Time' In Portugal

Pearl Jam are set to take a break from music after playing their last gig in “a long time” in Portugal. The band's frontman Eddie Vedder made the announcement during the band's set at the Optimus Alive festival on Saturday (July 10).

Speaking in Portuguese, he told the crowd: "Thank you for coming to our last show. Not our last ever, but our last in a long time."

Pearl Jam's appearance at Optimus Alive was the last date scheduled on their 2001 tour calender. The group were among the performers at last month's Hard Rock Calling festival in London.

They released their last studio album, 'Backspacer', in 2009.


DIMMU BORGIR: New Album Title, Complete Artwork Revealed

Norwegian symphonic black metallers DIMMU BORGIR have set "Abrahadabra" as the title of their ninth studio album, which will be released in Germany on September 24, in the rest of Europe on September 27, and in North America on October 12 via Nuclear Blast Records.

When asked about the central figure in the artwork and who/what he's supposed to represent, artist Joachim Luetke responds: "I think that's obvious. Since the whole 'setting' is located in an icy, bleak, winter-y, post-industrial era, we're pretty close to H.P. Lovecraft's nameless elder gods. They're represented by the mask's tentacles. In short: the mask/face personifies dominion of powers far beyond mankind. The nameless gods witnessed the birth of our universe and they'll watch it implode. To them, the age of mankind is but a blink of an eye."

Luetke's artwork and layout art also graced two other DIMMU BORGIR albums: 2003's "Death Cult Armageddon", which has sold 130,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, No. 10 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and No. 170 on The Billboard 200 chart; and 2007's "In Sorte Diaboli", which has sold over 75,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and at No. 43 on The Billboard 200 chart.


TOMORROW'S OUTLOOK: Debut Album Track listing, Final Cover Art Revealed

Norwegian metallers TOMORROW'S OUTLOOK have revealed the track listing and the final cover artwork for their forthcoming debut album, "34613".

Commented the band: "'34613' has been in the works for the past two and a half years, so it feels real good to complete the tracklist with a new song called 'Ice Mountain'.

"'Ice Mountain' is about one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. It's about how the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time (1912), struck an iceberg and sank.. resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people.

Love the artwork on this one.....


NIGHTFALL: 'Astron Black' Track Listing, Artwork Unveiled

The cover artwork for "Astron Black And The Thirty Tyrants", the new album from reformed Greek metallers NIGHTFALL — featuring frontman and lyricist Efthimis Karadimas alongside Evan Hensley on guitar, Stathis Kassios on keyboards and Jörg Uken on drums — can be viewed below. The CD is scheduled for release on August 31 (one day earlier internationally) via Metal Blade Records. The cover artwork was created by Travis Smith (OPETH, DEATH, NEVERMORE, KATATONIA).

Commented the band: "The front cover depicts the sea, the grand opposite of the sky-cum-space, and the means we humans are inventing to explore the unexplored. We are part of this universe and we use its planets to navigate, to tune our lives through the 'time' set by their motion, and who knows, may be to escape to some day in the future."

This Date In Music History - July 12


Walter Egan ("Magnet & Steel") turns 62.

Christine McVie - Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac, Solo (1943)

Wilko Johnson - Dr Feelgood (1947)

John Wetton - King Crimson, U.K., Uriah Heep, Roxy Music, Asia (1949)

Liz Mitchell - Boney M (1952)

Dan Murphy - Soul Asylum (1962)

Tim Gane - Stereolab (1964)

Robin Wilson - Gin Blossoms (1965)

Tanya Donnelly - Belly (1966)

John Petrucci - Dream Theater (1967)

Dominic Howard - Muse (1977)

They Are Missed:

Singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton died of cancer in 1979 (age 31). The Stevie Wonder produced "Loving You" gave Minnie a US #1 single in 1975. She worked at Chess records singing backup for various artists such as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters. She also sang lead for the experimental rock/soul group Rotary Connection, from 1967 to 1971. Also a member of Wonderlove in 1973, a backup group for Stevie Wonder.

In 1983, former Traffic member Chris Wood died of liver failure after a lengthy illness. Also played with Jimi Hendrix in 1968, appearing on the Electric Ladyland album and worked with both John Martyn and the Small Faces.

The late Barbara (Mama) Cowsill of the Cowsills was born in 1928 (died January 1985).

Born on this day in 1950, Eric Carr, drums, Kiss. Carr died on November 24, 1991.

Born today in 1960, Ray Gillen, member of Black Sabbath (died 1st December 1, 1993).

Born on this day in 1952, Philip Taylor Kramer, bass guitar, Iron Butterfly. His disappearance on February 12, 1995 caused a mystery lasting four years. On May 29, 1999, Kramer's Ford Aerostar minivan and skeletal remains were found by photographers looking for old car wrecks to shoot at the bottom of Decker Canyon near Malibu, California. Based on forensic evidence his death was ruled as a probable suicide.

In 1996 - Jonathan Melvoin (Smashing Pumpkins) was found dead in a New York City hotel of a heroin overdose.

Saxophonist, composer and arranger Benny Carter died in 2003 (age 95). He worked with Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and composed many TV theme's including Ironside and M-Squad.

American singer Earl Nelson (Earl Lee Nelson) died in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2008. One half of the duo, Bob And Earl, (recorded ‘Harlem Shuffle’ in 1963). Nelson sang background vocals on "Rockin' Robin," a #2 for The Jackson Five in 1972.


In 1954, 19 year-old Elvis Presley signed a recording contract with Sun Records. He also gave in his notice at his day job at The Crown Electric Company. Sam Phillips from Sun Records originally wanted to use the 19 year-old to make demos of songs meant for other artists, but soon realized that here was the man who could bridge the gap between white and black performances.

Frankie Lymon, the Everly Brothers and Connie Francis starred on Alan Freed's first official "Big Beat" TV show on ABC in 1957 (it had two previous "test runs").

In 1962, the Rolling Stones made their live debut at the Marquee Jazz Club, London, with Dick Taylor on bass and Mick Avory on drums. The band were billed as The Rollin' Stones. They were paid around $25 for the gig.

In 1964, the Beatles appeared at the Hippodrome Theatre in Brighton with The Fourmost and the Shubdubs (whose drummer, Jimmy Nicol, would later fill in for an ill Ringo Starr on The Beatles' world tour). Also in the US, The Ed Sullivan Show re-broadcast The Beatles' first live television appearance on the Sullivan show (from February 9). On the way to tonight's gig George Harrison was involved in a minor crash in his brand new E-Type Jaguar in Kings Road, Fulham, London. Passing pedestrians collected bits of broken glass as souvenirs.

The Beach Boys recorded "Sloop John B" in 1965.

Also in 1965 - The Beach Boys released their home state tribute, “California Girls.” The song only gets to #3 but it immortalizes west coast talent.

One hit wonders Zager and Evans started a six week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1969 with "In The Year 2525, (Exordium And Terminus)."

In 1969, Elvis Presley was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, on sale for 35 Cents.

In 1969 - Blind Faith began their one and only tour with a sold-out show at New York's Madison Square Garden.

The Hues Corporation recorded "Rock The Boat" in 1973.

In 1979, Chicago Rock DJ Steve Dahl’s “disco demolition” promotion was held between games of a Chicago White Sox double-header at Comiskey Park. Disco records were blown up in center field. The damage to the field and the riot that followed caused the second game to be cancelled, with Chicago forfeiting. Sorry folks, disco still sucks.

Simply Red scored their first US #1 single in 1986 with 'Holding Back The Years."

In 1988, Michael Jackson arrived in the UK for his first ever-solo appearances. He performed a total of eight nights to 794,000 people.

Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses) was arrested at New York's JFK airport in 1992 on a warrant from St. Louis, MO. Rose was wanted on charges stemming from a 1991 Guns N' Roses concert.

In 1996, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was charged with drug possession after the death of the bands keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin in his New York Hotel room.

DMX was arrested in Trinidad in mid-concert in 1999 for using obscene language.

In 1999, Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) was arrested in St. Paul, MN, for allegedly kicking a local securit guard in the head during the band's performance. Nice.

A statue erected in memory of John Lennon was unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2000.

Metallica and Napster settle their copyright dispute in 2001. Unfortunately, it comes too late to help either party. Metallica’s lawsuit disillusions fans and Napster ceases being what it was.

New Orleans names its suburban airport after Louis Armstrong in 2001.

In 2004, nearly four decades after their major hit "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night," two former members of the Electric Prunes, vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin, filed separate suites against their record label and music publisher claiming $1 million in owed royalties.

The Moondance Jam festival took place in Walke, MN in 2006. The four day camping and music event features Heart, the Steve Miller Band, the Doobie Brothers, John Kay & Steppenwolf, Alice Cooper, ex-Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung, former Santana singer-keyboardist Gregg Rolie and Ted Nugent.

In 2007, the E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt was named the head of an advisory group to decide what music appears in the Rock Band video game (from Harmonix). The Who, Metallica, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Rush, Bon Jovi, Mountain and Blue Oyster Cult are included.

Also in 2007, the Rolling Stones were paid $5.5 million (or $67,500 per minute) to perform a 14 song set at a private Deutsche Bank party for top-level employees held at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain.

In 2008, Rolling Stone Ron Wood left his wife of 23 years and moved in with an 18-year-old Russian cocktail waitress. The 61 year-old dad-of-four had met the teenager while out drinking and had taken her away to his luxury pad in Ireland. Real smart....

Also in 2008, Beatles producer George Martin was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as the most successful producer of all time.

A brawl with drunken bar patrons in 2009 caused members of Collective Soul to be banned from Myrtle Beach, SC, for one year. The fight spilled out into the streets before the "cops came and escorted everyone away," reported guitarist Dean Roland. Cool....