James Rotondi: Vinyl Is Forever: In Praise of Indie Record Stores

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This piece was originally posted at the MTV Music Blog

For those who only buy their music on iTunes, Amazon.com, or other online digital music services and retailers, the idea of walking into a “brick-and-mortar” record store and plunking down cash for a physical, mechanical reproduction of a recording (also known, for you youngsters, as a “CD” or “LP record”) might seem like a royal pain in the ass. Or perhaps the record shop simply seems like a relic from a bygone era of original Star Trek episodes and 8-track tapes, the province of nerdy, still-goateed Dads who huff and puff that “there are no good bands anymore” (um, not true) and insist that a McIntosh tube amplifier is way better than anything solid-state (um, basically true).

Still, in respect to this month’s Third Annual Record Store Day (April 17, 2010), before you dismiss the independent vinyl and CD shop as hopelessly outmoded, ask yourself when was the last time you had an stimulating chat about rare ’60s garage-psych bands or the hippest new British electro with one of the sellers at iTunes or Amazon. Right: trick question–they don’t have actual people selling records at those sites, of course. Instead, you get the “Genius Sidebar” and “Recommendations,” non-humanoid taste-bots that spit out preferences based on your buying habits, all lovingly thought through by a giant server somewhere. Is that really how you want to be turned on to cutting-edge new music and under-the-radar classics? (“Yeah, dude, I got hipped to the awesome new MGMT record by a Hewlett-Packard BladeSystem Matrix.”) Sweet.

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Okay; those taste-bots are a handy part of the home computer mix, I’ll confess, but they’re no replacement for wandering the aisles and bins of a proper record shop, checking out the featured albums that the store displays to pique your interest, talking turkey with the guys and gals at the counter, and knowing that the money you spend not only buys you a superior product sonically (vinyl and CD quality, of course, literally crushes the tinny sound of MP3s) but helps to support a small business that genuinely cares about putting great music into the world. Do we really want our music consumption controlled entirely by corporate fat-cats who themselves listen mainly to mid-Nineties Phil Collins? Thought not. And while the dudes and dudesses at your local indie record store may not always answer your questions without a certain whiff of hipster snobbery, it’s a good bet that your journey of discovery will take turns that you’d never have traveled while surfing the web.

What’s more, a good record store acts as a kind of brain trust and cultural meeting place for the music scene that surrounds it. “Hanging out in record shops” is a time-honored way to connect with like-minded (and like-eared) enthusiasts, find out what cool gigs are happening in town, and even meet other musicians who may also be looking for a band influenced by “My Bloody Valentine, Kid Creole, and the Fugs.” Getting to know the people behind the indie record racks is a great way to stay plugged-in to the local music scene; without them, you’re arguably just another isolated post-modern punter trolling the internet in your Crocs. Whether you’re picking up “rare groove” sides by Donald Byrd and Mongo Santamaria and sampling them into Ableton Live, or buffing out your collection of Dick Dale and Ventures singles to brag about in the pages of Goldmine, you’re likely to bump into someone who shares your passion.

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As vinyl records continue their remarkable comeback as a viable, even premium form of music enjoyment, the indie record store becomes even more indispensable, a place of vinyl worship where devotees of the LP congregate to buy, sell and celebrate the sheer pleasure of the polyvinyl chloride-based spiral platter. While the wonderfully visceral thrill of watching the needle on a turntable make contact with the grooves of an LP–and hearing those first comforting crackles and snaps–is easy to rave about, so is the visual force of pulling a full-size LP jacket out of a bin and absorbing the cover art in the open air. Those postage stamp-sized JPEGs on the internet will simply never replace the optic bong-hit of a great jazz, psychedelic or new wave LP album cover (or a luscious prog-rock double-album gatefold!), and there’s only one place to have that experience in a way that helps you bring home both the LP and the righteous memory of the first time you held it in your hands: the independent record store, to which we can only say, in the words Mr. Spock used on those original Star Trek episodes: “Live long and prosper.”

Read even more, including a list of rock band The Cringe‘s favorite record stores, at the MTV Music Blog. The author wishes to thank the folks at Criminal Records in Atlanta, GA.

Follow James Rotondi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JamesRotondi

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Wax.fm Catalogs Current and Historical Vinyl Record Offerings – Analog – Lifehacker @waxfm

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Wax.fm Catalogs Current and Historical Vinyl Record Offerings

Wax.fm Catalogs Current and Historical Vinyl Record OfferingsWax.fm Catalogs Current and Historical Vinyl Record OfferingsIf you’re a fan of keeping your music old school and vinyl, you’ll want to check out wax.fm, a site focused on cataloging vinyl records old and new and helping you find places to buy them.

At wax.fm you’ll find indexes of vinyl records by artist, the most popular current releases, and an index of record stores to help you find local places to buy new and old vinyl. The “Vinyl Is Back!” section is a running list of current news articles about the resurgence of vinyl and quite an interesting read if you’re unfamiliar with the renewed interest in vinyl records.

Visit the link below to start browsing records or share your favorite vinyl-centric site in the comments.

Send an email to Jason Fitzpatrick, the author of this post, at jason@lifehacker.com.

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There is already a site that does this: [www.discogs.com]

but hey, the more, the merrier. Reply

why is it not vinyl.fm instead of wax?

This year while doing my taxes I put on a vinyl recording of Mahler’s fifth. I forgot how good vinyl sounds after listening to mp3s for so long Reply

Well I guess this won’t win me many friends. Imo, what was or is good about the vinyl album, are the things that came with it, the art, the liner notes, the pictures. What’s bad, is the disk itself. I think there were good sound reasons for the CD taking over when it did.

I don’t think anything ever really comes back. You can have revivals, renaissances, whatever you want to call them. But if vinyl somehow became big or de facto again, people would once more get tired of the rice crispy sound, especially after the third play or so.

Like I said, there were good reasons for vinyl being replaced by CDs. If there weren’t, we’d still have vinyl as the mainstay format. I still think digital is the way to keep going. It needn’t be mp3 or even CD or Flac for that matter. I just don’t think we should revert to something that had its day and then was replaced.

Also, I question the motives for any talk of a vinyl comeback. Because they sound a bit like romanticism and the yearnings of aging yuppies and middle-aged gen-x’ers. Lots of time and lots of revision can soften up memories so that most anything from the past can have more charm than it did when it was current.

Older people want their youth to come back. And the young are charmed in a different way, the novalty and coolness factor.

I think what I mean is that I want my music to stay quiet, no matter how many times I play it. Reply

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Record Store Day Marks Single Largest Number Of Vinyl Purchases Since 1991

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

davidhall vinyl09 1 23 Record Store Day Marks Single Largest Number Of Vinyl Purchases Since 1991

Despite the fact that nearly the entirety of the recording industry is crumbling in the face of illegal downloading, at least one aspect of the biz is not only holding its own, but continues to thrive in the face of sagging numbers—vinyl record sales, according to Pitchfork.  April 17th of this year marked the annual Record Store Day, in which independent record stores are celebrated with various artists releasing rare/ unreleased material on vinyl.  And according to Neilson Soundscan, 2010’s Record Store Day marked the single biggest day for vinyl sales in the history of Soundscan, which began recording music sales in 1991.

Further, Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz (also of the Music Monitor Network), reports that NYC’s Other Music, Seattle’s Sonic Boom and New Jersey’s Vintage Vinyl all had their most financially successful days ever.  Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope out there for the music biz after all (at least until the inevitable Fall Out Boy reunion).

So what did you score for Record Store Day?  I nabbed a pristine original copy of Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen.  Why, you ask?  Because it’s one of the greatest Boss records of all time, that’s why.

What did you buy for Record Store Day?

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Hear the New Dead Weather Record NOW by Unconventional Means | Crawdaddy!

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Welcome | LP Revival | Vinyl Records, Vinyl LP, Audiophile, 180 Gram Vinyl, 200 Gram Vinyl, Colored Vinyl Records, New Vinyl Records, Limited Edition Vinyl Records, Import Vinyl, Record Store

•May 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Check out LP Revival! We sell cool vinyl stuffs.

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To Have & To Hold – A Film About Vinyl « The Sophisticated Audiophile @atane

•May 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Thanks @atane.

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Pitchfork: Coachella Friday: Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Fever Ray

•April 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Coachella Friday: Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Fever Ray


Also Passion Pit, She & Him, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, Gil-Scott Heron, Specials, more Coachella Friday: Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Fever Ray

Kicking off day one of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, She & Him, Fever Ray, Yeasayer, Gil Scott-Heron, the Specials, Them Crooked Vultures, Sleigh Bells, Baroness, and many more.

Check out a selection of shots by Natalie Kardos and Chris Tuite after the jump, then head over to our photo book for a complete set of full-size photos.

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