Vinyl Edje

It took awhile but I finally added a turntable with speakers to my home office listening experience. The records I own have been calling me to play them again or for the very first time (I’m referring to past Record Store Day purchases that have all remained sealed for years).

Vinyl Edje is Born
AUDIO-TECHNICA
AT-LP120-USB Turntable + Audioengine A2 Speakers

We visited New York City on Fathers Day to make a professional turntable purchase at The Turntable Lab (TTL).  They are located in the East Village on 84 East 10th Street. My son and I are solid fans of this unique seller that primarily markets to the DJ crowd. I have purchased Record Store Day hard to find recordings from their online store, which I’ll be spinning. Browse their Web site to get a perspective on the packaged turntable solutions they feature as well as their unique product mix. They also move plenty of turntables through Amazon.Com.

TTL is rated one of the world’s best record shops by The Vinyl Factory where my browser has been happily stuck of late. I intend to share what I have learned from The Vinyl Factory in a future post.

ttlev-frontage-1024x683
Picture courtesy of The Vinyl Factory

You may have seen the recent Web article that SONY/Japan is adding dedicated record pressing production SONY’s vinyl Japanese products. What took people by surprise is SONY’s return to vinyl pressing after 28 years of shuttered plants. I respect the manufacturing analysis SONY reached that primarily pressing for themselves and next phase subcontracting production for other record companies can be a sustainable business. I’d prefer to see SONY open 1-2 U.S. plants as all the NA facilities can’t meet the manufacturing volume for output. That’s a great problem for the music industry to have. The hundred-year-old vinyl LP record averages $30 at retail for a single 180-200 grade vinyl recording. At that price, I am forced to be selective about the limited amount of vinyl I can purchase per year. Vinyl collecting continues to grow at a steady rate and will reach the $1 billion annual sales target by the end of 2018 (if not before).

It feels great to hold a record jacket in my hands and be in concert with the artwork, design and extensive liner notes you can find included with some recordings.  I purchased Alice Coltrane’s record the day I bought my Audio Technica turntable. I wrote about WORLD SPIRITUALITY CLASSICS 1: THE ECSTATIC MUSIC OF ALICE COLTRANE TURIYASANGITANANDA in March. It’s next on my playlist and certain to add a warm spiritual healing to our home. Another reason I acquired the limited vinyl edition is to read Ashley Kahn’s liner notes. Ashley is a subject matter authority on John and Alice Coltrane. I have several of his books in my music library. He was a consultant to LuakaBop for this historic recording.

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Back to Black Friday Record Store Day 2013

Our Record Store Day 2103 took place in Brooklyn, New York, specifically the Williamsburg and Green Point neighborhoods.

Our First Stop: Rough Trade NYC – Williamsburg, 64 N 9th Street

We ventured inside the music outpost I had anticipated shopping in for a week now. It is a work in progress as construction crews were hard at work as we walked about. Rough Trade NYC had a well stocked Record Store Day section as I had expected. I quickly found the vinyl LPs and EPs I sought from the Record Store Day checklist. Granted they were a little more expensive than other record stores in the area, but they are facing significant start-up costs and I didn’t mind paying extra to support their brand.

The Rough Trade NYC store register system is dependent upon an Internet connection. We were informed the Internet was unavailable? The only option for payment this morning proved to be good old hard cash.

The Second Stop: Permanent Records, 181 Franklin Street, Green Point

We walked about Green Point in among the Row Houses. The Permanent Records shop was quaint and homey. The staff played an Arista sampler that featured Ian Drury, Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. I purchased a couple of EPs. My son picked up the two Fall Out Boy Record Store Day items.

The Loot 😉

Gene Clark Here Tonight: The White Light Demos Omnivore Recordings LP

Harry Nilsson Rarities Collection Columbia Records LP

The Rolling Stones Got LIVE If You Want It ABKCO Records 7″ 45 

Van Dyke Parks Come To The Sunshine / Farther Along 7″ 45

Various  Artists Zabriskie Point Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Water Tower Music 2 LP

Rough Trade Shops Albums of the Year 2013

As we enter the holiday shopping period music organizations publish their best album lists of 2013. Rough Trade Shops has created its Albums of the Year 2013 List (Top 101).

I look to see if the musicians and their recordings I have blogged about the past year are on these lists. I discover I need to cast a wider net when it comes to best of the year album lists. I am gaining a fuller appreciation for the music education Rough Trade Shops provides the music of our heart.

Guardian Green Room at Rough Trade NYC

Rough Trade NYC held its soft opening yesterday at 64 N 9th Street in Brooklyn. The music of our heart was there in spirit even though I was teaching a computer course in Connecticut on Monday. I was socially connected via the Rough Trade NYC Twitter Page and checked in at the breaks and lunch time 😉

Rough Trade NYC

Photo Courtesy of Instagram/Cool Hunting

The 15,000 square-foot music outpost is a former HBO prop warehouse that has been re-fitted to house a meticulously curated collection of books, magazines, records, and CDs, as well as a sizable performance space. Rough Trade NYC is the latest addition in a trend of label-associated record stores that have opened in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn over the past few years alongside Mexican Summer’s shop Co-Op 87 and Captured Tracks.

Guardian Green Room

The Guardian Green Room is a multipurpose “Interactive Digital Lounge” that delivers the Guardian’s Music content to Rough Trade NYC shoppers. It is housed inside one of the shipping containers which is the interior “theme” of Rough Trade NYC.

The room is outfitted with touchscreen displays that visitors can use to read Guardian music coverage, as well as to communicate with the outside world.

“Visitors will be able to explore the Guardian’s music and cultural coverage, interface and engage with the Guardian’s wide assortment of interactive content, browse store events and daily happenings, compare music tastes and cultural trends across the Atlantic, share insights, ideas and opinions,” The Guardian states.

The room is positioned as an in-store content creation hub. The Guardian and Rough Trade NYC have established a powerful “International” partnership. Their mutual goal is to prove Rough Trade NYC to be a trusted global symbol of personable music retail.

I champion this idea. My guess is that the synergy The Guardian and Rough Trade NYC is generating will help forge informed customers who will make pertinent music selections with lasting value. I also feel the digital content will help people browse record stacks with a more discernible taste. This team approach will aid customers who aren’t sure what they want to buy. Having accessibility to interactive content becomes the next logical step music consumers could take before/after utilizing the in-store listening stations. I think The Guardian Green Room will serve as an opinion influence.

I applaud Rough Trade NYC as they bivouac in with their strategy to neutralize Internet music purchasing. Buying on the Web is a cold and nebulous experience. It’s great to have these sanctions lifted by a music outpost that cares about promoting and selling music for the right reasons, personal enjoyment, deeper connection and final satisfaction!

Rough Trade NYC Coming to Brooklyn!

I champion with all the music of our heart Rough Trade who possesses the gumption and drive to swim upstream against all odds.

I have hoped some stalwart record store company would step up to become the Amoeba Music of the East Coast. I miss Tower Records, HMV and Virgin Records in New York City terribly.

I have been on a contact high all day since I read this informative article ,”Records Are Dying? Not Here” by Ben Sisario, the New York Times staff reporter who covers the music and culture scene. The article illuminates what is happening at Rough Trade NYC. The store’s grand opening is Monday November 25, 2013.

Geoff Travis is the founder of both Rough Trade Records and the Rough Trade Chain of Record Shops. He boldly claimed earlier this year, “Our new store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will open in the next 6 months when all the other record stores in New York have closed down.”[2]

Bryon Smith for the New York Times

Rough Trade NYC is partnering with Bowery Presents to offer live music just about every day in the 300 person performance space inside Rough Trade NYC. They will also have a coffee bar that I am eager to sample.

I am psyched that Rough Trade NYC will serve as the beachhead store for our Back to Black Friday Record Store Day 2013 Brooklyn treasure hunt.

I can’t wait to step inside Rough Trade NYC and experience a compelling record shopping experience.

We’ll see you next Friday Rough Trade NYC but until then it’s No Sleep Till Brooklyn 😉

This Just In

Here is another informative article about Rough Trade and vinyl from the tres chic publication The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/23/rough-trade-new-york-store?CMP=twt_gu

Freewheelin on Jones Street in Greenwich Village

My son took me on a revelatory side-excursion in Greenwich Village yesterday as he turned me on to a “new” vinyl record store, Record Runner. Matthew loves to shop there and I became an immediate fan. As an avid music collector these past 50+ years I savor the moments spent browsing vinyl stacks in well-organized and managed record stores.

Record Runner is located on 5 Jones Street, New York City, NY. I was taken with the store owner’s interaction with customers as Matt and I flipped through the bins. It was fun to see him assume the role of tourist guide with Japanese customers as he explained the significance of Jones Street in record album photographic history.  Bob Dylan is a favorite son when it comes to the Village. Many of the local record stores feature Dylan’s music recordings lining their walls.

The famous photograph of Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo was taken in February 1963 by Don Hunstein. Dylan lived a short ways away at 161 West 4th Street at the time. It is a beautiful romantic moment held in time by the camera lens as the couple traverses slush filled Jones Street.

The late Suze Rotolo wrote about her life in Greenwich Village in the book, A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

Here is a picture of Jones Street from the Bleecker Street end, note Record Runner in the lower right corner of the picture.

I have every intention of going back to Record Runner soon with Matt to purchase Bob Dylan’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” remastered on 180 grade vinyl. 😉

Vinyl Sales Mojo Rising!

2.9 million vinyl LPs have been sold in the U.S. so far this year, up 33.5 percent from 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In fact, vinyl has been steadily on the rise since bottoming out in 2006, when only 858,000 records were sold. In just seven years, the 65-year-old format has bounced back at an astonishing 338 percent!

This is an amazing statistic when you realize that record stores are closing at an alarming rate, however sales of vinyl continue to improve. What has been counterbalancing record store closures is that you can now find vinyl albums at Urban Outfitters and at Whole Foods (experimenting with vinyl in 5 locations) available as fun, impulse items. That is significant as retail merchandise buyers add record albums to the store shopping experience. This represents validation of the vinyl sales trend leveraging the power of vinyl’s demographics.

Vinyl creatively displayed at Whole Food

Newbury Comics (a 28 store Boston-based chain, where I have gone and will be going again for Record Store Day – Black Friday 2013 11/29) is making a strong play for vinyl sales in their respective retail sites, as well as online. Amazon via its Vinyl Store is also moving vinyl in measure.

Jack White’s Third Man Records continues to make excitement happen for vinyl music enthusiasts. This past week saw Third Man Records, Rolling Record Store, Fall Tour 2013 rolling along. The closest their road trip came to Connecticut was on October 10th when they paid a stop to New York City at Other Music (15 E 4th St  New York, NY).

Third Man Records walks the walks and talks the talk when it comes to vinyl, especially specialty vinyl.

vinyl

I saw this video of Jack White in his Third Man Store (2011) this morning. He is promoting the singing greeting card edition of Wanda Jackson‘s recording that he produced and plays on plus the Third Man Monkey Band music player (only 25 cents).

Record Store Days – The Book

Record Store Day 2013 is two weeks from today, Saturday April 20th. I still haven’t figured out where I will be shopping on that day. But I’m working on it 😉

Record Store Days jacket

I purchased the book, Record Store Dayswritten by Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo to celebrate the upcoming semi-annual treasure hunt. The book underlines a major passion of mine, it’s written by record collector enthusiasts for vinyl lovers everywhere. The book tells the story of the development of record stores which has become a threatened species.

Peter Buck of R.E.M. fame wrote the foreword where he shares with us his history of working at record stores. He met Michael Stipe while working at Wuxtry Records in Athen, Georgia and they each discovered they were looking to form a band.  His favorite record stores are in Seattle, Washington, most notably Easy Street Records which I have yet to frequent but plan to next time we visit Seattle. May that be soon 🙂

The book is a delightful read. We learn about the origin of record stores and the brave owners who built them. Its well illustrated with 150 photographs of record stores, owners, consumers, and artists.

There is text dedicated to Russ Solomon and Tower Records. I made a special point of visiting Tower Records on Sunset Strip, Hollywood, California in 1978. I was managing the record department at Caldors a discount department store chain in Stamford, Ct. in those days.

Ameoba Music is also featured in the book. I went to Ameoba Music in Hollywood on my birthday a couple of years back .It’s the world’s largest independent music store I found it a cavernous store with a sea of product to choose from and I loved being overwhelmed like that as a music collector.

There is a chapter dedicated to in-store appearances which I get to on occasion. I saw Los Lobos perform an in-store at Tower Records in the Village when The Ride was released in 2004. They performed on the street level of the store that day and then did a signing on the second floor walk up. I always find Los Lobos to be very accommodating to their fans.

All in all this is a cool, fun book that I plan to finish before Record Store Day 2013 😉

Record Store Day 2013 – This Year’s Ambassador is Jack White!

Looking past the doldrums of Winter 2013 to a better Spring and Record Store Day 2013 which this year will be Saturday April  20th.

I think it’s just the best that Jack White is voted Record Store Day Ambassador 2013. He always supports this event and I have purchased several of his exclusive Record Store Day collectibles the past few Record Store Days.

Jack you are the man! Here is what Jack White has to say officially about Record Store Day…

Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered “yes” was… zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, “Can you blame them?” How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse. Well here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click. There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let’s wake each other up.

The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.

Let’s wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s wake each other up.

– Jack White III

Last Shop Standing

I also discovered this interesting movie trailer about the rise, the fall and the rebirth of the independent record store shop.

Record Store Day Black Friday – Shopping Etc.

I have bought records since 1962 when I was 10. My first record purchase was a 45 r.pm. single, “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. I bought that single at the record department at the 5&10 downtown Norwalk, Ct. The H.L. Green 5&10 record department was a mixture of 45 r.p.m. and vinyl records.

I have built a large music collection since then…

Roll ahead now 50 years to Record Store Day, Black Friday 2012. My son and I headed out together as we love to support the record stores and Record Store Day. Today’s shopping excursion consisted of two participating stores.

1) Exile on Main Street, 267 E. Main Street, Branford, Ct.

The pickings were slim there. I picked up the 7″ split single, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley on the Legacy label.

I also bought The Lumineers, Winter EP, a 10″ vinyl recording. We love The Lumineers since we saw them in concert this past April 🙂

Lumineers BF Front

2) Redscroll Records, 24 North Colony Street, Wallingford, Ct.