Organisation, U.S. distributor of PMC loudspeakers, along with retail partner
SoundStageDirect is proud to introduce PMC’s “From Studio to You” concept at
the New York Audio Show on April 12 through 14. Leading industry icons and
Grammy-Award-winning experts from the world of professional recording will help
both audiophiles and music lovers alike grasp the tools and techniques employed
to capture the essence of music in its purest form. For many, this will afford
a rare, unique and likely first-time opportunity to experience sound at the
closest point to which the recording was made, when the magic was captured.
The Sound Organisation
and SoundStageDirect will present PMC loudspeakers and host recording-industry
professionals in the Spellman Room on the ﬁfth ﬂoor of the New York Palace
Hotel. A packed schedule throughout the weekend commences at noon on April 12
with a VIP/press presentation from Darcy Proper, a three-time Grammy-Award-
winning mastering engineer and current director of mastering at one the world’s
most technically advanced studios, PMC-equipped Wisseloord Studios in Holland.
Proper, who began her
career in the classical department of Sony Music Studios, is in high demand for
her work mastering historical reissue projects and stereo and 5.1 releases for
major artists such as REM, Marcus Miller and the Eagles. Her presentation will
focus on the rarely intersecting worlds of professional recording and high-end
Friday afternoon will
also host Jim Anderson, internationally recognized engineer and producer of
acoustic music and 11-time Grammy winner, presenting a selection of classical
and jazz recordings mastered using PMC loudspeakers.
Proper returns on
Saturday to lecture on the mastering process and demonstrate how mastering can
bridge the gap between the pro and audiophile worlds. Anderson will again be on
hand to discuss his latest work with Chicago-based singer/songwriter/pianist
Patricia Barber. Teamed together for over 20 years, Anderson has recorded all
10 of her albums, including the newly released Smash. His recent work on Modern
Cool in 5.1 surround on Blu-ray was awarded the Stereophile Magazine’s “Recording of the Month” in October 2012 in
addition to its Grammy win in the “Best Surround Album” category. Anderson’s
presentation will feature these two works in stereo, surround and
high-resolution. The day will conclude with a presentation from Los
Angeles-based recording engineer Joseph Cali, who will unveil the recording and
mixing process that went into the production of acclaimed singer/songwriter
Lori Lieberman’s latest album, Bricks
Against The Glass. Lieberman will be on hand to perform a free-ticketed
live session on Saturday evening, playing music from the new album, which was
mixed on PMC speakers.
weekend, special guests will present their music using PMC twenty series
loudspeakers in stereo and fact.3 speakers in a surround conﬁguration. With a
strong professional recording studio pedigree, the speakers will enable show
visitors to hear music exactly like it did in the studio. The show concludes
with Proper, Cali, Lieberman and mastering engineer Ruairi O’Flaherty hosting a
panel discussion entitled “The Art of Making an Album.”
SoundStageDirect is a leading retailer of both vinyl LPs and hi-fi
equipment. Based in Doylestown, Pa.––just outside Philadelphia––their success
is attributed to exemplary customer service and a passion for both music and
all things audio. Visit soundstagedirect.com
About The Sound
Orgnaisation, based in Dallas, Texas has been importing and distributing the
highest performing audio equipment from Europe for over 15 years. We pride
ourselves for our service and support of the specialist retailer and helping
them deliver real value and excitement to their clients. Visit www.soundorg.com
PMC is a UK-based, world-leading manufacturer of
professional monitor and audiophile speaker systems. PMC designs feature its
uniquely engineered Advanced Transmission Line (ATLô) technology, which
provides a near-identical, high-resolution, wide-bandwidth signal response
across the complete product range. Proprietary drive units,
The RP1 Performance Pack turntable includes the Rega Bias2 .moving magnet cartridge, upgrade drive belt and a high performance 100% natural wool turntable mat usually suppliedwith the P3,P5 and P7.
You will also find a 14mm diameter rubber spacer fitted to the balance weight shaft which ensures the plug and play design of the RP1 remains.
Designed and engineered to achieve outstanding performance way beyond the expectations of a product at this price point.
Upgraded drive belt The increased drive delivered by the upgrade belt offers greater speed stability and accuracy. This is especially noticeable during long musical notes which adds greatly to the musical performance of the turntable.
Bias 2 cartridge A hand assembled moving magnet cartridge which uses a high quality elliptical stylus and parallel wound coils that would usually be found in cartridges costing many times the amount. Housed in Rega's unique lightweight high rigidity cartridge body the Bias 2 offers a detailed, balanced performance with tight bass and excellent stereo imagery.
Turntable Mat A high quality mat manufactured from 100% natural wool. Wool having stiffer fibres than synthetic man made material directly improves coupling between the phenolic resin platter and the vinyl LP.
Plug & Play Setting up your RP1 takes seconds, push the balance weight all the way to the end stop, this will automatically set the tracking weight to the desired setting for the Rega Bias 2.
Excellent build quality, reliability and ease of use combine to make a product which will offer a lifetime of musical enjoyment. Omitting all the usual gimmicks allows us to concentrate the manufacturing costs on the high quality parts necessary to reproduce records accurately.
The minimalist design of the Rega RP1 perfomance pack and the use of extremely high quality components ensure that this turntable will last for many years.
The all new completely British-made RP1 Performance pack turntable features:
Brand new Rega RB101 tonearm.
Precision main bearing and sub-platter assembly.
High quailty low vibration motor.
All new Phenolic resin flywheel effect platter for excellent speed stability.
VPI Industries Inc. is a high-end audio manufacturer that was started by Sheila and Harry Weisfeld, the founders and co-owners thirty five years ago. Both Jonathan, >our oldest son and VPI Industries began at the same time in 1978 with our first product, a record weight in two different sizes. Then, we introduced a turntable isolation base in December of 1978.
Our first major product, which is still in production in an improved form, was our HW-16 record cleaning machine introduced in 1981. Harry Weisfeld, then a dedicated audiophile, wanted his records to be as clean as possible (including the dirty ones whose sonic potential lay beneath a layer of contaminants). However, the only available record cleaning machine at that time was the Keith Monks Record Cleaner. How could a newly married husband justify this expense to his wife! (“Too bad some of those conversations were not recorded for posterity”, says one reviewer”; no doubt they would have had a familiar ring to many audiophiles and their designated others). Without much choice, Harry decided to make a record cleaning machine for his own use. This became the original HW-16, which sold for less than 1/5 the price of the Keith Monks Cleaning Machine. The 16 was noisy, but so was our corn popper.
Soon after the cleaning machine, the infamous DB-5 or "magic bricks" were introduced. These were wood-encased ferrous metal blocks designed to absorb stray electromagnetic radiation from electronic components.
This was followed by VPI manufacturing bases for both the Denon and JVC direct drive motors.
And then the HW-19 turntable followed by the MK2 and then MK3 and then the MK4. These tables have become an industry standard for High End performance at an affordable price.
With the introduction of the TNT Turntable came the reality of Harry’s promise to produce a state-of-the-art turntable at something less than a state-of-the-staggering price.
In 1985, the PLC, or "power line conditioner" was introduced. "A new product" and "a new child"; Mathew, our youngest son was born.
Then, in 1995, Harry and Sheila Weisfelds’, oldest son, Jonathan, then seventeen years old and a Junior in High School, was killed in a horrific car accident with two other boys. The tonearm that Harry and Jonathan had been working on became a reality (as a living memorial to the Weisfelds’ son). Jonathan had worked at his parents' factory and was helping his dad design a new tonearm. This tonearm became the "JMW Memorial Tonearm". A percentage of every tonearm that is sold is put into the "Jonathan Weisfeld Memorial Fund" with the funds being used to further Arts and Music.
The introduction of the Aries, later the Scout and then the Scoutmaster, and then finally the Super Scoutmaster brought our company into new areas of business and manufacturing while at the same time increased our sales. Most VPI turntables regardless of vintage are upgradeable. VPI manufactures a variety of turntables which range in price and available options, as well as the JMW tonearm series, the SDS and three record cleaning machines.
Our latest product was the 30th Anniversary “Classic” Turntable. It is the culmination of thirty years of work and the beginning of a new generation of turntables. Simple, mechanically correct, low in cost, and excellent at extracting the excitement locked in those vinyl grooves.
Sheila and Harry’s sonic philosophy is to reproduce the dynamics of live music in one’s home, and that the illusion of reality cannot be duplicated without convincing resolution of low-level detail, along with a natural sense of acoustic space. We use live concerts, reel-to-reel tapes, and a Yamaha Disclavier grand piano as sonic references. Mathew is the trombone and piano player in our family, Jonathan was the guitarist, playing both the acoustic and electric guitar. And Harry played the accordion in his youth.
All VPI products are built in the United States in Cliffwood, New Jersey using American made parts and labor. We are an old school American manufacturer sourcing American made components whenever possible, even if they are more expensive than foreign components. The tonearm lifters are the only part of the JMW tonearms that aren’t made by any American manufacturer and are thus purchased abroad.
VPI sells to about 100 US dealers and exports to 65 countries overseas.
Sheila Weisfeld was formerly a Speech and English teacher in the New York City school system and holds a Master’s Degree in teaching the Speech and Hearing Handicapped, along with a second Master’s Degree in Audiology and post-graduate credits. Sheila is involved with numerous volunteer organizations on both the local and international fronts.
The founders and co-owners of VPI Industries would be Harry and Sheila Weisfeld.
Harry Weisfeld's background is in mechanical engineering and racing cars (like many other High End designers)! He enjoys fishing and photographing birds (hawks and eagles are especially a favorite) in his limited free time.
Mathew Weisfeld, the younger son, is the next generation of VPI. A Holmdel High School teacher who completed his Master's Degree in Education in August of 2009. He is an adjunct Professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey. Mathew is a proud Martial Artist.
Weezer doesn’t look like rock stars, its amusing name doesn’t evoke stadium-heights glories, and the group’s lyrics don’t exude confidence or flash. For precisely these reasons, and the fact that the band’s songs on its self-titled debut are the stuff of air-guitar dreams and shout-it-out choruses, the quartet became ironic arena-rock stars equally celebrated by in-the-know hipsters and mainstream radio listeners. Replete with urgent melodies, quirky confessional narratives, wry humor, and gargantuan hooks, Weezer (Blue Album) remains the best geek-rock record ever made.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI, Mobile Fidelity’s analog version of the 1994 release Rolling Stone named the 297th greatest album ever recorded finally possesses the grand-scale sonics that the music’s bunker-busting hooks deserve. Cars frontman Ric Ocasek’s polished production is now both free of artificial ceilings that squashed the explosive dynamics and rid of the compression that saddled the frequency range. Instrumental separation is vastly improved, and the amount of midrange energy seemingly doubled. This reissue is guaranteed to help you rock out.
Underdogs and misfits, Weezer emerged from Los Angeles as nerdy kids that eschewed traditional party-hard ways in favor of studying Kiss records, engaging in conversations about old LPs, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. The band’s awkwardness joyfully translates in its songs on its 1994 debut, largely concerned with jealous insecurities, pop culture, true-to-life heartbreak, common accidents, youthful misconceptions, and daydreaming. Unlike many of their indie-rock peers, Weezer finds no need to conceal feelings in obscurities, snark, or impossibly impenetrable quirkiness.
While every song on Weezer is a delight, “In the Garage,” the ultimate ode to a heavy-metal practice space and private musical retreat, best spells out the album’s appeal and the band’s intent. “I’ve got an electric guitar/I play my stupid songs/I write these stupid words/And I love every one/Waiting there for me/Yes I do, I do/In the garage/No one cares about my ways/In the garage where I belong” sings leader Rivers Cuomo, his voice often meshing with that of Matt Sharp, and giving the material a barbershop-quartet harmonic boost in line with the catchiness of the guitar-driven bridges and rhythmic foundations.
More than three-times platinum, the Blue Album, as it’s often called, also claims an iconic cover that pays tribute to that of the Feelies’ Crazy Rhythms. The picture—as well as the bubblegum-inspired content within—has become an indelible part of modern culture. Weezer graces must-have lists from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Guitar World, and more. And needless to say, “My Name Is Jonas,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Buddy Holly,” and “Undone (The Sweater Song)” are all modern classics.
Don’t pass up the chance to secure your lowest-numbered copy of this endearing album. Order from Music Direct today!
Weezer Weezer (Blue Album) Track Listing:
1. My Name Is Jonas 2. No One Else 3. The World Has Turned and Left Me Here 4. Buddy Holly 5. Undone (The Sweater Song) 6. Surf Wax America 7. Say It Ain’t So 8. In the Garage 9. Holiday 10. Only in Dreams Released exactly six years after the band’s Pinkerton album, The Lion and the Witch was designed as a collector’s item. Limited to 25,000 copies on CD, the EP captures Weezer performances from Japan in Spring 2002. In addition to spirited takes of six favorite tunes, the mini-album contains a number of unique characteristics long-prized by fans. And it’s never been on LP. Until now.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity’s 180g LP presents the music in the best fidelity it’s ever enjoyed and puts music lovers feet away from Weezer’s onstage position. Moreover, the celebrated artwork—designed by Los Angeles-based duo kozyndan—can finally be appreciated in large-scale format. In every way, this reissue brings to fans everywhere the EP’s myriad simple pleasures for the very first time. It’s an ideal and integral part of the ongoing mainstream vinyl resurrection.
Originally expressly intended for indie record stores, The Lion and the Witch lasts just over 25 minutes yet makes up for brevity in terms of fun, looseness, and uniqueness. The band plays the rare instrumental “Polynesia” before lighting into “Dope Nose” and commits a few lovable gaffes throughout.
Specifically, leader Rivers Cuomo begins the third verse of “El Scorcho” too soon and bassist Scott Shriner forgets the words to “Holiday,” causing his fellow band members to break out in laughter. Warts and all, this hook-ridden affair is a souvenir-worthy snapshot of an excellent pop-rock band relishing in its identity as geeks and goofballs.
Don’t pass up the chance to grab this piece of memorabilia. Whether you own this on CD or were never fortunate enough to snag a copy, it’s never sounded better.
Order your lowest-numbered LP from Music Direct today!
Weezer The Lion and the Witch Track Listing:
1. Polynesia/Dope Nose 2. Island in the Sun 3. Falling for You 4. Death and Destruction 5. El Scorcho 6. Holiday
We Just played this and it is amazing Kiss Destroyer Resurrected This album has received recognition many years later. In 1989, Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #36 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". In 2003, it was ranked #496 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, it was placed at #60 on Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time. The album was also featured in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
This is KISS’s 1976 multi-platinum, landmark album Destroyer: Resurrected, newly remixed from the original master tapes by the album’s original producer, Bob Ezrin. Ezrin pulled the tapes from the vaults and painstakingly remixed the entire album, enhancing the sound and bringing out its rich texture and vibrancy, while keeping the integrity of the original recording intact. Destroyer: Resurrected will also include rare and unreleased recordings rediscovered during the remixing process, plus the originally intended cover artwork.
Hot on the heels of their breakthrough hit album Alive!, KISS released their fourth studio album Destroyer which is considered the most ambitious studio recording of KISS's '70s catalog. Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, was brought in to produce the album and among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to KISS were sound effects, strings, a children’s choir, reversed drumming and the eerie, echoing sounds of screaming children over Gene Simmons’ vocals on “God of Thunder.” Upon its release, Destroyer reached the No. 11 position on the Billboard Top 200 and, with the help of the surprise top-10 hit “Beth,” was their first album to go platinum.
Originally released as the B-side to the single “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth,”–the heart-yearning ballad co-written and performed by drummer Peter Criss–was quickly picked up by radio nationwide and became the first top 10 for KISS, climbing all the way to the No. 7 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While going through the original tapes, a forgotten vocal piece that was originally edited out in the final mix of “Beth” was discovered and now, for the first time, the complete original vocal recording has been restored and is included in the final mix. Other rediscovered gems include a complete, alternate guitar solo for the track “Sweet Pain,” now heard for the first time since it was originally recorded. The newly remixed “Sweet Pain” with the original guitar solo will be included as a bonus track. In addition to the treasures found buried in the hours of recordings, KISS classics such as “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “Do You Love Me?” and “God of Thunder” were painstakingly remixed by Ezrin as he fleshed out the drums and guitars, bringing out the bottom end to the bass, making his mixes tight and tough.
In addition, Destroyer: Resurrected will now be issued with the originally intended cover art thought too controversial for the time. Created by artist Ken Kelly, the “brown” cover depicts KISS dressed in their ALIVE! costumes and standing on rubble in front of a burning city in ruins. At the time, the record company thought it was too violent and settled for the tamer “blue” version known today. This release also marked the first time that a comic-book illustration of the band appeared on the cover, confirming that the band was transforming from hard rockers to superheroes.
Bring your turntable to SoundStageDirect and have it tuned up for $29.99
Everything will be set up or adjusted on your turntable to ensure it is performing properly
Call us for details 1-877-929-8729
Music and record-player enthusiast joins vinyl-record company as new senior audio advisor. A long-time hobby turned career launches new opportunity, which he hopes will lead to a promising collaboration for local music buffs.
Carl Ohrberg, a vinyl-record enthusiast for over 4 decades, has recently teamed with SoundStageDirect (SSD), coming on board as their new senior audio advisor last week. "I am excited about this new joint venture," he says. "Beyond their reputation as one of the premier online-vinyl retailers, we are in the process of establishing a new audio division. I look forward to setting up, restoring and repairing turntables--virtually anything that has to do with record players-- and serving music lovers across the Delaware Valley."
SoundStageDirect has sold nothing but vinyl records online for over a decade but recently added analog turntables due to the increased demand of loyal customers. “It’s a timely move for both Carl [Ohrberg] and SSD," says Seth Frank, founder and CEO of the company. "It would have been a shame to be selling this caliber of record players without the guidance and experience of the 'Sound Doctor.' He is a true testament to the analog era and the quality of sound produced by the analog music players.” Ohrberg adds, “Record players are a passion for me. My friends say it’s an obsession. They’re probably right.”
Starting at a young age, Ohrberg asked for a record player weeks before his third birthday. The anticipation built until, after finally going to bed the night before Ohrberg's big day, he awoke in the middle of the night to find a brand new turntable on his endtable, its metal parts aglow from the luminescence of his night light. "My parents had set up my new record player while I slept," he recalls. "I turned on the player and watched it spin for the rest of the night. It must have been a form of hypnosis because, since that day, I've been addicted to records and record players."
Turning a passion into a career, Ohrberg has been repairing, restoring and setting up turntables since 1974. His experience and repertoire includes stints at Soundex Electronics in Willow Grove, Pa. and Bryn Mawr Stereo and STO/Sound and Vision, both in Jenkintown, Pa. In addition, Ohrberg has set up and repaired turntables for many of the audio retailers in the Philadelphia-metro area, as well servicing personal clients, setting up and installing high-end audio systems in their homes and offices.
Now that Ohrberg and SoundStageDirect are united, they are hoping to build a community centered on vinyl records and the passion for hearing it on a good ole' record player. The new audio division will serve has a hub not just for service, but for local meet-ups and open conversations about music, vinyl and all things audio. Ohrberg says that growing holistically will serve as a blue print for their future success.
The UT Historical Music Recordings Collection added more than 1,000 vinyl records to its collection Tuesday with a donation from the Audio Preservation Fund.
William Vanden Dries, board of directors chairman for the Austin-based nonprofit, said the new donation includes genres ranging from jazz music to movie soundtracks, all from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The organization, which is dedicated to preserving music and sound recordings, worked with staff at the UT Fine Arts Library to determine which tracks would be valuable to donate.
“We found out which recordings UT didn’t already have in their collection and donated the records we held,” Vanden Dries said. “This specific group came from one collector and is really diverse.”
The campus community will be able to access the additions to the larger collection by September.
The Audio Preservation Fund works with private donors to obtain recordings, restore sound quality when necessary and determine suitable recipients for collections, Vanden Dries said. He said the organization has obtained more than 5,000 audio recordings since he and two other UT alumni started it in 2009 and donates the music to institutions across the country, usually universities or museums.
David Hunter, Fine Arts Library curator and senior lecturer, said the University is grateful for all donations that expand the current collection of more than 200,000 audio recordings.
Hunter said the Fine Arts Library receives between 30 and 50 requests each week during the school year from students seeking specific sound recordings.
“This is an opportunity to add what we’ve been missing to our collection,” Hunter said. “We don’t have any funds to go out and buy LP records, so we are very much dependent on gifts. The Preservation Fund helped us obtain a whole bunch we do not already have.”
Vanden Dries said he hopes his organization will be able to continue aiding University students with their studies through more than donations.
This spring, members of the Audio Preservation Fund created an online catalog archiving collections in the Texas Music Museum, located in Austin. UT alumna Virginia Rowland volunteered in the effort as part of a senior capstone course in information studies. Rowland said creating the catalog helped her recognize the importance of the University’s partnership with outside organizations.
“I think UT should maintain a relationship with the Audio Preservation Fund,” Rowland said. “It’s amazing that [Vanden Dries] has an interest in helping maintain our archives, seeking quality donations and helping students.”
Check out the full article from The Daily Texan here.
Thank you to everyone who bought the Beach Boys, 'Don't Fight the Sea.' $9000 was raised to donate to the Japan relief effort. A big thank you to Rob Christie, Al Jardine and the rest of the Beach Boys for putting this together!
Check out this review of the new Fleet Foxes album Helplessness Blues by Tone Audio.
“So now I’m older,” confesses Fleet Foxes leader Robin Pecknold on “Montezuma,” opening the band’s anticipated sophomore record with a sentiment that largely informs the intelligently crafted, complexly arranged, and gorgeously executed album. Indeed, feelings and realities of being older seemingly consume the sweet-timbered singer-songwriter, who usesHelplessness Blues as a platform for soul-searching, questioning personal identity, reflecting on life purposes, and contemplating existence.
Artists have long ruminated on these weighty matters, but one of the myriad reasons that make Fleet Foxes unique is that at no point does the group invoke self-pity, resort to cloying earnestness, or complain about fame as it raises deep questions that often yield no resolute answers. If the Seattle sextet had any detractors after releasing a 2008 full-length debut that landed on most critics’ Top Ten lists and staging shows that proved its natural harmonizing absolutely ethereal in scope, its latest creation should elevate the band to household-name status. Such is the spectral beauty, cohesive chemistry, and golden-hued ambition contained within.
Whether referred to as roots-rock, folk-rock, or the hipster-coined beardo-rock, the last several years have witnessed an inundation of bucolic music performed by bands that yearn for passed times and bygone environments. Mumford and Sons, Dawes, The Head and the Heart, and Blitzen Trapper are among the acts whose rustic fare evokes simpler times and pastoral pleasures while offering needed relief from a technology-dominant culture that’s far removed from the tranquil, down-home rootsiness conjured by acoustic instruments and easygoing singing. Fleet Foxes stand apart from their contemporaries and followers due to a basic fact: As demonstrated on this filler-free 12-song set, they are plainly superior, deeper, and more soulful than their peers. It’s a truth borne out every year in professional sports. Championship-winning teams claim immense talent and advanced skill sets. For all its romanticism, sheer will only takes you so far.
Whereas the band’s influences shone brightly on its debut, they recede further into the background onHelplessness Blues. Shades of Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Incredible String Band give way to a mix that’s more original, involved, and modern. Fleet Foxes occupy an indefinable territory that both bridges and honors the Laurel Canyon past while taking the former period’s earthy, intricate, and natural elements into a present that delves further into go-for-broke blends of gospel, baroque, Americana, rock, psychedelic, and, on “The Shrine/An Argument,” even avant-garde jazz strains. The amount of time and care the group invested in its craft will be immediately evident to even the most casual listener; more than a year in the making, and captured at multiple studios,Helplessness Blues comes on like record on which every note is carefully considered but never overly polished or overwrought. It’s a difficult line to navigate, and yet, Fleet Foxes and co-producer Phil Ek convert their Swiss-wristwatch-precise obsessiveness into transcendent art.
“So, guess I got old,” vocally shrugs Pecknold on “Lorelai,” continuing to explore a topic that occupies him from the start and stays with him until the concluding “Grown Ocean,” a stomping upbeat tune that reveals glimpses of unvarnished optimism and finds him declaring “I’m as old as the mountains.” Amidst the group’s arching heaven-bound harmonies, delicate fingerpicking, booming drums, and majestic melodies, Pecknold engages in blunt self-evaluation, his confessional meditations on uncertainty, withdrawal, and responsibility contributing to an ebb-and-flow of swelling choral tides and three dimensional textures. Songs pour into diverse structural molds, ranging from “The Plains/Bitter Dancer” suite which commences with layered vocals that sound as if they were plucked from the heights of an European cathedral ceiling and unexpectedly transitions, via flute passages into an uptempo romp, to the concise, closeup, and solitary hymnal “Blue Spotted Tail.”
Purity maintains as important a role as needle-pointed guitar motifs and immediate, wide-open production. Slight pauses, reverb baths, and ornate flourishes don’t decorate as much as flavor and reinforce existing patterns. Such detailing enhances the woody percussion and gypsy sway on “Bedouin Dress,” underscores the dips and dives in Pecknold’s vocals during “Someone You’d Admire,” and allows “Sim Sala Bim” to emerge with equal parts orchestral flair and private abandon. And it’s the latter—as experienced through Pecknold and Co.’s aspirations, hallucinations, desires, and innermost thoughts—that spikes Helplessness Blues with the mystical intensity and engaging hypnotism of a fever dream.
“All these voices I’ll someday have turned off then/And I will see you when I’ve woken/I’ll be so happy just to have spoken/I’ll have so much to tell you about it then,” Pecknold tenders towards the conclusion of “Grown Ocean,” singing like a drifter in no rush to awaken from his sleep.
A lot of people are just as concerned with the quality of the cover as the record itself. Here's an article by Northern Star about the significance of the artwork on record covers.
DeKALB | Peter Olson's dad didn't appreciate his son's records.
The assistant director of the NIU Art Museum and curator of Tuesday's "Listening to the Sounds that Inspired the Graphics" event, Olson said he had to explain to his father why he was filling the display cases of Altgeld Hall with the vinyl albums of Kraftwerk and Multi-Death Corporation. As one musical revolutionary once said, "Parent's just don't understand."
"The question is, ‘A museum? Isn't that where you're supposed to go to see something that is really rare or really special or is grand achievement? Why would you have something in a museum that anyone could go get for a couple of dollars?'" Olson said. "My response would be, ‘there are things that anybody can get for two dollars that have a lot of visual sophistication and artistic integrity to them and it's kind of miraculous that anyone can go get them for two dollars.'"
The event was a guided tour of "Graphics of Their Time," a showcase of iconic album covers and sheet music at the NIU Art Museum. Olson wheeled a stereo down the hall and, from his iPod, played tracks that were originally released on the records displayed. He explained how album covers, which were originally developed by companies as packaging, became a relevant vehicle of expression.
Natalie Brulc, graduate student of fine arts and painting, agreed with Olson that the covers translated music into visual images.
"I was surprised because I did study some graphic design as an undergrad, so I understand that it takes a lot to get the concept out and also to be able to sell the piece," Brulc said. "I think a lot of the work actually speaks for the music. Some of the music I did recognize: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Decemberists, and Joan Jett. I really think that the pictures convey a lot of what the music is."
Olson explained that since the Beatles released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, musical and visual artists have been collaborating on the medium of album covers to release sophisticated graphics. Because almost everyone has a music collection, the general population has acquired a sophisticated taste for visual images.
"What really struck me the most in doing this whole show was the contribution on a mass scale to this kind of visual literacy that record designs have had," Olson said. "It's something that almost everybody has in their house, and I just thought of it as this little mini art collection. A lot of real art people would say, ‘Oh geeze, he's lost his mind. An art collection? It's just a bunch of records!' Well, I went to art school; I know for a fact that there are people that spend a lot more time and invest a lot more intelligence, depth, visual thought and sophistication into one of these covers than they would into a painting on canvas."
We can't get enough of this vinyl love! Check out this article from Connect Savannah.
Video killed the radio star, the compact disc killed the vinyl record, downloading killed the compact disc.
Vinyl, once thought to be as extinct as the passenger pigeon, is making a surprise comeback. According to Nielsen's SoundScan, vinyl record sales have increased significantly over the past four years. In 2009, 2.5 million albums were sold in this country, up from 1.88 million in 2008.
Back in 2001, when the CD reigned supreme, the numbers for vinyl barely registered at all.
At last weekend's third Savannah Record Fair, hundreds of young people - college students, from all appearances, kids who probably weren't even born when those 12-inch slabs of plastic were already starting to disappear from retail racks - combed through boxes and boxes of vintage vinyl LPs. There were very few CDs for sale.
Some came with definite ideas about what they wanted to buy. Others were just enjoying a good browse.
"The biggest thing with the Internet is that the new collectors don't have an appreciation of things like the art and the liner notes," says Florida-based Tom Buby, who's been dealing in used and rare music, and working record shows, since 1978.
"That's kind of too bad, because one of the things that was most fun was seeing who played on what songs, and with who ... that's gone away. Right now, all they have is a Sharpie pen to write down the song listings."
In Savannah, Buby sold mostly inexpensive records. However, he said, "If there's something they really want, I've seen them pull out 25 or 30 dollar pieces. A 40 dollar piece, for a college kid, I think that's pretty good."
Roger Hoppe, a Detroit-area broadcaster who's been dealing records for about 25 years, said the Savannah crowd was buying imports, and specialty things like picture discs. Most of his customers, he explained, seemed to know what they were looking for.
"I met a young lady at the last Savannah show, and she spent about three hours at my table, talking about music," he said. "She was a SCAD student, and she was incredibly knowledgeable. She bought a Kinks box set, and it just blew my mind how much this girl knew about music.
"I was kinda hoping she'd show up here today, because she actually pointed out some rare items that I had, that I wasn't really aware were that rare. A lot of these college students from this generation are - probably because of the Internet - very musically educated."
For college towns, Hoppe puts his crates marked "indie rock," "metal" and "jazz" front and center.
Then there are the other repeat customers: "Over the years, I've gotten the reputation of being the ‘80s guy," he laughed. "I took a lot of flak at first from the ‘oldies' dealers, but now it's turned the corner. I've got a lot of moms and dads, soccer moms who want their Rick Springfield and Bryan Adams records."
The first day of the weekend event happened to fall on Record Store Day, a loosely-organized national salute to the (dwindling) number of independent record stores. Many labels, in the past few years, have begun re-pressing older titles for the new generation of vinyl buyers. For Record Store Day, numerous artists and labels put out limited-edition singles and albums, in commemoration.
Mark Vaquer ran Graveyard, a Savannah record store, for 14 years. He closed the place in 2001.
"Back then, people were thinking ‘Oh, vinyl's on the way out and it's never gonna come back,'" Vaquer said. "Then Napster hit, and the era of the really cheap CD burner started. And that equaled: Kids were not buying CDs any more.
"That's pretty much what killed my store.
"Back then, there were five or six stores in town. Now, there's nothing."
The resurgence of interest in vinyl, Vaquer believes, is multi-generational.
"People see that Mom and Dad have those old albums. ‘What's that?' ‘It's a record.' It looks cool, you put it on a turntable, it sounds better. It sounds better than CDs.
"You put an album on a good turntable, good tube amp, nice speakers, there's nothing better."
More proof vinyl is making a comeback! Gotta love recycling!
In an industrial and uninviting stretch of Brooklyn, near several strip clubs and a factory that makes electrical tubing, Thomas Bernich’s small plant recycles vinyl and preserves a fading piece of history.
In fact, Mr. Bernich’s workplace in Sunset Park is one of the few of its kind in New York City and in the country.
Inside the one-story, red-brick factory on 42nd Street, boxes of discarded albums from used-record stores are piled high on wooden pallets, awaiting their end and a new beginning.
The records are tossed into a large shredder to start the process of putting music on them again. The used vinyl is eventually fed into a press that creates new albums. “Taking rotten milk and breathing new life into it is not an easy thing,” Mr. Bernich said.
Mr. Bernich and the five employees at his company,Brooklynphono, have preserved the craft of applying music to vinyl.
Mr. Bernich stumbled into the record business after he realized that his talent for sculpture, which he studied at the Pratt Institute, could probably not support a career. But while at Pratt, Mr. Bernich, 40, started collecting records, inspired by a friend’s passion for vinyl.
“You have these moments when you are playing a record when you get caught in a location and time,” said Mr. Bernich, who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “There is a magic with vinyl and the memories that are connected to it.”
When he finally had the chance to buy two used vinyl-pressing machines from a plant that was closing, Mr. Bernich pounced, turning his hobby into a job and opening a small business. While vinyl records are clearly a relic, Mr. Bernich has found a niche. When it first opened in 2003, Brooklynphono was making about 2,000 records a month. Now, Brooklynphono has five pressing machines, making more than 10,000 records a month. It caters mostly to indie-rock record labels based in Brooklyn, but also to several European dance record labels.
One skill that has proved useful is the comfort with tools and machines Mr. Bernich gained while studying sculpture.
“I’m really not very musical, and the best thing I can play is the stereo,” Mr. Bernich said. “This fits because I have mechanical experience.”
He has tinkered with all his pressing machines, attaching them to a customized network of vacuum tubes and other pieces which automate the loading of vinyl plastic and the recycling of excess material and also maximize the power of the presses.
“Essentially, I’ve taken a regular machine and hot-rodded it,” Mr. Bernich said.
When the machines start up, the smell of warm plastic fills the factory. The vacuum tubes suck granules of vinyl from the industrial plastic shredder. The small plastic bits are then pumped into a hot extruder, which melts the plastic. Black vinyl flows out like toothpaste and is then formed into a misshapen puck. At that point, a label is glued on each side of the puck.
The pressing machine hisses as it opens and heats, the puck is slid onto the press, and 120 tons of pressure stamp sound waves into grooves on the vinyl. Once it cools, the flattened plastic is pushed out onto a trimmer, where any excess vinyl is cut, and the black disc is dropped onto a spindle. A record is born.
“I love how you can play a record, look at the cover art, and read the liner notes,” said Heath Bodine, 40, who does quality control at Brooklynphono. “You don’t get that with an MP3 file.”
While new vinyl plastic is still available, the material is expensive and hard to find. Mr. Bernich prefers recycled vinyl because it is suited to his retrofitted machines. “It’s like being a short-order cook,” Mr. Bernich said. “The music is only as good as the ingredients you get.”
A major responsibility for Mr. Bernich and his workers is tending to the pressing machines, which demand constant adjustment. During production, the movement of the machines causes parts to shift, and the slightest misalignment can cause a malfunction and stop production for an entire day. A disc can become jammed inside one of the machines, or the brace that holds the part that stamps grooves onto the vinyl can come loose.
Another worker, Sarah Himmelfarb, 26, wears latex gloves to test the machines and examine records. Every so often, she will stop the machines and use a small mallet to reposition the metal plates that keep the vinyl stamper in place.
Ms. Himmelfarb, who has applied to several medical schools and is waiting to hear back, compares the process of maintaining the presses to diagnosing problems in the human body. “There are symptoms, and they can be caused by a variety of things,” she said.
Zach Cale, a 32-year-old musician and a founder of All Hands Electric, an indie rock and folk music record label in Brooklyn, is one of Brooklynphono’s clients. Aside from the convenience of having records made by a local plant — his label saves on shipping costs by picking up orders — Mr. Cale prefers having his music on vinyl because, he said, fans like the tangibility of a 12-inch album. “We’ve always been really into the physicality of vinyl,” said Mr. Cale, who paid $1,300 for 500 records. “People really respond to it because it’s visual and it feels like you have a piece of the band.”
While vinyl records have largely been consigned to the dustbin of the music industry, Mr. Bernich said he still found magic in turning musicians’ ideas into physical objects to share with the world.
“Once a musician makes a record it lasts a very long time,” he said.
Our very own Seth is quoted in this article by Newcity Music about Record Store Day:
As Chicago gears up to celebrate Record Store Day, here’s a question: why wasn’t cyberspace invited to the party?
Beneath the Record Store Day excitement, beneath the vinyl being spun on shiny turntables in independent record stores throughout the city, there is a quiet humming of discontent. That is, if you listen hard enough.
“Any of my city friends want to go on a Record Store Day shopping spree for me?” wrote Andrew Stratis on the RSD Facebook group this week. He doesn’t live close enough to the stores to go to them, and he isn’t the only vinyl-phile to find himself out of luck for next weekend, seeing as none of the RSD deals are available online. Maybe that’s not really a problem, because Record Store Day is really about celebrating the store, so if you can’t go, you can’t go. But why can’t the record-store community, the one that is so passionately defended by artists and music lovers alike, exist on our computers too?
This is where Seth Frank comes in. He is the founder of SoundStageDirect, which bills itself as “Your Online Independent Record Store.” “I understand that it’s not Record Day, it’s Record Store Day,” he says, “but I think that the online community should be included. If you don’t live near a record store, you can’t take part in it. There are all kinds of record conversations on the Internet, and it reaches more people than sitting around a store.” Beneath his argument lies the idea that RSD doesn’t recognize online retailers as real record stores, and therefore doesn’t want to include them. When I asked him about his business in Palo Alto, Calfornia, I made the mistake of referring to it as a web site. “We’re a record store, but we’re an online one. I mean, how independent can you be? It’s me and six other people!” says Frank. “People ask me what I do, and I say I own a record store. I understand what [Record Store Day is] doing, I just wish we were part of it.”
Eric Levin, one of the founders of Record Store Day and the owner of Criminal Records in Atlanta, defines a record store and its purpose differently. “Record stores are where a community posts its flyers and its identity. Ask the guy at the counter, after you’ve browsed around and listened to what was playing, and checked out the cool stuff (and hopefully, found something groovy to buy), ask the guy, ‘Hey, I’m new in town, what’s up tonight?’ and you’ve taken your first step into the heart of a new city,” he says. Because for Levin, just as a store is about the people in it, the day is about the atmosphere within the retail locations, not just the special records and releases that could be easily made available online.
“My store is in a community, in front of a park, so there’ll be a beautiful carnival atmosphere with other record stores and vendors and customers setting up shop out front and such. There’ll be food everywhere, dog-rescue groups setting up, vegan bake sale for Japan relief—“ he could go on. Happily, Chicago will be blessed with this kind of atmosphere too, and there’s something to be said for the human contact that comes with walking into an indie record store Saturday and joining in the festivities. You just need to be able to get there.
The solution he offers to online retailers like Seth is this: “We wholeheartedly encourage you to participate [in RSD] by visiting a physical retail store, grabbing a beer, enjoying some music, getting to know the owners and workers and hanging out and being cool,” he told me, “I mean, it’s Record Store Day. Step away from the computer for a second and put up a sign that says, ‘Gone to Record Store Day, You Should Too!’” (Lauren Kelly-Jones)
Let us know what you think!
Correction: We are located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania not Palo Alto, California!
Here's a great review of our friends at the Princeton Record Exchange!
We asked. You commented, emailed, and tweeted, and we’ve tallied up the votes; now it’s time to congratulate the winners! We’re featuring your TOP FIVE record stores this week, one per day, as we impatiently await Record Store Day, Sunday, April 16th, 2011.
We celebrate the stores that make Record Store Day possible and the vinyl enthusiasts—namely you, dear readers—who love them. It’s been great reading your opinions! Count down to Record Store Day with us as we pay tribute to the record stores that make our lives richer every day.
We’re starting off the week with my own personal favorite, New Jersey’s Princeton Record Exchange, or Prex, to those in the know. This nationally-recognized gem is tucked away on a side street in historic Princeton’s beautiful downtown, just blocks away from the illustrious university. It is conveniently located about an hour from both New York City and Philadelphia.
I nodded vehemently when I read reader Smay1001′s comment, “Every record is washed and comes w/a white inner sleeve if the original is in bad shape and a plastic outer sleeve.” Another reader summed it up, “Best vinyl selection, best staff, best prices. Always a stop for me when I visit home (Philadelphia). One of the things I miss most about the east coast.”
Not only do The Vinyl District’s readers love Prex, but it’s been given the distinction of being in Rolling Stone’sTop 25 Record Stores, GQ’s Top Twenty Record Stores, and The Wall Street Journal’s“best music stores in America.” It’s also been featured in The New York Times, Philadelphia Magazine, and Billboard, and recently was called the nation’s best college town record store by Phil Gallo in USA Today.
Prex describes how “from humble beginnings, Princeton Record Exchange has grown to be one of the largest independent music stores in the country”:
“After graduating from college in 1975, Barry, the owner, traveled to flea markets and college towns buying, selling, and trading records. He slept in his van and set up shop on street corners, college book stores (Princeton’s was one), or wherever he could find a space. Eventually tiring of life on the road, in 1980 he established our first store in Princeton, NJ. The throng of customers and massive amount of merchandise soon overwhelmed the small space, so, in 1985, we moved to our present location on S. Tulane St. with five times the retail area. Even so, we are usually packed to the rafters with music and movies.”
Today, no longer sleeping in a van (down by the river?), but now the owner of one of the greatest record stores in America, Barry Weisfeld had these kind words to say when notified of Prex’s most recent accolade:
“We are honored to be voted in the Top Five by The Vinyl District’s growing number of music crazy fans. The mission of Princeton Record Exchange is to recycle music as well as new Vinyl into the hands of music lovers who can appreciate them all over again. We are always looking to buy Vinyl, CD and DVD collections to enhance our in-store selection.
Record Store Day 2010, we had something like 200 people waiting @ 10am when we opened due to all the limited edition Vinyl available one day only and expect it to be crazier this coming Saturday for Record Store Day 2011!
We want to say thanks to record collectors that visit us from all over the world and that have supported us and allowed us to serve LP collectors since 1980.”