Concord launches Vinyl Corner

The press release :

Concord Music Group launches new section of website devoted to rarities and collectables: The Collector's Corner


Site features rare vinyl, box sets, out of print releases & more from Concord Music Group's Rich Legacy

Hollywood CA – Withlabels such as fantasy, Speciality, Prestige and Stax, the scope pf the Concord Music Group catalog is as deep and eclectic as your beloved public radio station left of the dial and as vast as the greatest neighbourhood indie store. The quandary now is where to go to find a colection of Jerry Garcia's oeuvre with Meri Saunders or to find Soultrane on vinyl without having to take out a second mortgage or trolling onlone until your fingers turn blue. Well record collecting has just turned a corner…right here…

Concord Music Group welcomes you to The Collector's Corner

 Everything is here, from Carolina Bluesman Pink Anderson (whose name inspired Syd Barrett to christen his little English quartet Pink Floyd) to Albert King playing tribute to that other King, Elvis Presley; to the classis comprehensive Miles Davis and John Coltrane box sets from the Prestige vaults.

 Audiophiles and rarity hunters will also discover the bliss of having Waltz for Debby and Credence Clearwater Revival's chronicles on vinyl is no longer relegated to the labyrinth of online auctions. In The Collector's Corner, visitors can peruse through the titles available in the venerated vinyl format.

In addition to great collectibles, each month The Collector's Corner offers reviews, pointers and suggestions from experts and Concord Music Group staffers. They'll share the must-have collectibles, from the historic to the bizarre.


  and see what special surprises have been tucked away. Its all been packed into the collector's sorner.


Feautured Vinyl Titles

Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus

Bill Evans – Walts for Debby

Yusef Lateef – Eastern Sounds

 John Coltrane – Soultrane

Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane


Our take :  

Although there is currently a limited catalogue, and the records are not deluxe issues(standard vinyl and simple packaging) you have here the opportunity to get some of the best jazz music recorded and mastered by some of the best names in the business, such as Rudy van Gelder, Steve Hoffman and Kevin gray. Not all releases but on some. As well as the Credence compilation you also have the new release by John Fogerty which is classic Credence territory and although most likely a digital source sounds pretty good. The records are all  modestly priced too. Definitely worth checking out.


Las Vegas Audiophile show

T.H.E. Show to Audiophile Societies: Come on In!


July 26, 2008 — T.H.E. Show, aka The Home Entertainment Show, has put out a welcome mat for members of "authentic Audiophile Societies throughout the globe."1 Scheduled for January 9–11, 2009, in Las Vegas, the same dates as the Consumer Electronics Show down the road, T.H.E. Show has for the first time offered members of audiophile societies paid access to over 100 anticipated active-display suites in both the St. Tropez and Alexis Park hotels.

Society members will also be able to buy products from a number of vendors of software and rare LPs and CDs; their Alexis Park salesroom, the Parthenon, is frequently packed to the gills during T.H.E. Show. Acoustic Sounds, Classic Records, Discland, Elusive Disc, M•A Recordings,, and Reference Recordings have already confirmed their presence, and more companies are expected to come on board.

While a free ticket to Las Vegas's "alternative" audio event will not grant access to CES's overwhelming number of trade-and-press–only high-end exhibits at the Venetian and Sands hotels, T.H.E. Show promises something rarely experienced on this planet: the cross-pollination of audiophile societies. "We already have plans to bring members of different audiophile societies together," T.H.E. director Richard Beers told Stereophile. "We're considering inviting audiophile-society members to our annual exhibitor reception on Thursday evening. That might include keeping exhibits open longer, just for audiophile-society members. After our daily free lunch for exhibitors, industry, and press, we may offer a separate, low-cost lunch for audiophile-society members, complete with a speaker. We may also use the Parthenon room for an audiophile-society reception at which audiophile-society members from Greece, Japan, the US, and other countries can network. We're working it out as we speak."

Beers also promises a first-time demo sale on January 11, run by Audiogon. Audiogon will publish a list of equipment for sale, with exhibitors collecting tax monies to submit to the Nevada Tax Board—a welcome development for exhibitors, who have discovered that the first people to enter their rooms at a show's opening already want to haggle over the price of demo equipment.

"The reason we can issue this invite now," says Beers, "is because our expansion into both hotels has given us room to accommodate audiophile-society members. We can also offer very reasonable accommodations, $169/night, through our website."

Although exhibitors are notoriously slow to sign up for T.H.E. Show until summer's end, Beers already has commitments from 51 manufacturers, plus Stereophile Forum's Buddha's priceless NFS Audio. Among the best known are Acoustic Zen, Art Audio, Atma-Sphere, Audio Research, DarTZeel, deHavilland, Edge, Fidelis AV, GamuT, Magnepan, Pierre Gabriel, Purist, Rockport Technologies, Sound Application, Soundsmith, Stillpoints, VMPS, and WAVAC. VMPS will stage a major demonstration in which live music will be recorded in one room and played back in real time in the next. If you've never experienced such a demo, the results can be sobering. Few companies dare risk such comparisons, which expose the strengths and weaknesses of everything in the signal path, including the sonic degradation caused by long cable runs between rooms.

So far, Beers has sent invitations to 37 audiophile societies, and it's possible he'll extend the invite to newly emerging vinyl listening societies as well.

While all-volunteer audiophile societies are notoriously slow to respond during the summer, Bob Levi of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society has already shared T.H.E. Show's invitation with the organization's 800 members. Folks from Denver (home of the Rocky Mountain AudioFest) and San Francisco Bay areas (the Bay Area Audiophile Society) are also expected to respond. Members of legitimate audiophile and vinyl societies who have not received invitations can contact T.H.E. Show at or (702) 242-4545.

Oil pushes up prices

Vinyl LPs in groove again, but oil prices to send a jolt

Sales increase by 77 percent over last year Vinyl LPs in groove again, but oil prices to send a jolt
Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Oregonian

By Luciana Lopez

(Originially published on 7/24/08)

The good news for record fans: Interest in vinyl is way up. The bad news: So, thanks to higher petroleum prices, is the cost.


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Even as sales of physical CDs are tanking, vinyl records, though still a niche product, are enjoying a resurgence, with sales of both new and reissued albums taking off. But because vinyl is a petroleum product, the soaring prices for oil mean collectors need to brace themselves for anticipated price increases.

"It's kind of cool again with a brand-new generation of people," said Terry Currier, the owner of Music Millennium in Portland, Oregon. Vinyl has sold so well there lately that Currier is rearranging the floor space to bring vinyl up to the main from the downstairs level. "You knew vinyl was taking a good, strong hold when Costco and Wal-Mart started carrying USB turntables."

Those turntables, which plug into a computer's USB port, have helped make vinyl more accessible. Album art also comes across far better in the large LP format, bringing out details and allowing for more nuance in the images. But ultimately, Currier notes, vinyl just sounds better.

"Listen to an mp3 and listen to a good piece of vinyl and the sound quality is amazingly different," he said. "We're bringing in everything that we can get our hands on."

More labels, as well, have begun including a code for a digital download with their vinyl sales so consumers don't have to choose between the sound of vinyl and the portability of a digital file.

"I think the idea of selling vinyl with an mp3 download code is genius, and that's helping vinyl's popularity grow," Erika Lerner of Seattle's Barsuk Records wrote in an e-mail. "It seems pretty rad to buy a record (old-fashioned) and get the songs digitally (new-fashioned) at the same time."

Everyone from Elvis Costello to Disney has caught on, with new vinyl releases being announced every week. Fred Meyer now is selling vinyl, though the chain got into the game inadvertently, when an employee ordered R.E.M.'s new album, "Accelerate," on vinyl accidentally earlier this year. Still, Fred Meyer put the vinyl on the shelves, only to watch it fly off. A pilot in 60 Fred Meyer stores went so well, spokeswoman Melinda Merrill said, that the chain will now stock vinyl in all its stores with an electronics section.

Fred Meyer isn't alone. By this time last year, Nielsen SoundScan had tallied 454,000 vinyl records sold; so far this year, the number is 803,000, a 77 percent increase; 2008 vinyl sales could reach an all-time SoundScan high of 1.6 million, the company predicts.

In contrast, CD sales are down 16 percent from this time last year, and digital albums are up by 34 percent, less than half vinyl's rate of increase. But vinyl remains unlikely to make up for the sales slippage in CDs because downloads and actual CDs still sell in the tens of millions, while records are only a minor portion of the recorded music market.

But while dollar record boxes of future yard sales are getting a new supply, vinyl pressings are expected to get pricier because of the higher price of petroleum, from which vinyl is made. The pressing plant used by Seattle's Sub Pop records, for example, recently raised its prices, citing petroleum costs as one reason.



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At United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tenn., Jay Millar, director of marketing, noted that the industry is based, in every sense, on petroleum, from the vinyl itself to the oil that keeps the machines lubricated to the gas used to transport records, which are heavier than CDs.

"Realistically there's not a component involved in our manufacturing that hasn't gone up," he said, noting that the company is weighing a price increase. "I think it's inevitable."

Putting an album out on vinyl is a bigger commitment than making a CD, said Mike Jones, the CEO of CDForge in Portland. Last year, the company's volume of vinyl work doubled from 2006, and Jones expects a similar increase this year. The basic cost of a CD is about $1 a unit; for vinyl, which is a more labor-intensive process, it's more like $4 to $8 a unit for the initial pressing. "The artist and the record label really have to believe in its importance," he said.

CDForge doesn't press vinyl itself; they deal with Rainbo Records, in California, where the cost of vinyl's gone up since the start of the year.

"It's gone up 11 percent since January 1st, and I understand another increase is coming, about a 4 to 6 percent increase," Steven Sheldon, the company president, said. Including gas prices, the per-record cost has probably gone up 20 to 22 cents a record, he said.

Though price increases aren't ideal, he said, he doubts the price bump will be enough to drive away consumers.

Ironically, record sales are softer in one area where they stayed strong throughout the years: among DJs. For years, DJs kept record culture alive, spinning vinyl in clubs.

"So many DJs over the past couple years have switched over to playing mp3s versus vinyl," said Aaron Marquez, owner of 360 Vinyl in Portland. Marquez, who spins under the moniker DJ KEZ, remains a vinyl stalwart. His store now deals more in hip-hop, he said.

Because so many dance labels are small, independent outfits, they can't absorb price increases, such as the cost of gas, as well, Marquez said, squeezing them out of the vinyl market. "I've been involved in this business for 8 or 9 years," he said. "I've seen prices go up a lot."

Some small labels and artists, though, are still willing to take a chance on vinyl. Portland indie media cooperative Tender Loving Empire, for example, is putting out the new Boy Eats Drum Machine album, "Booomboxxx," on vinyl in September. The label does particularly intricate and beautiful album art, often by visual artists who work with the company on other projects, such as comic books.

Jon Ragel, the artist behind Boy Eats Drum Machine, is subsidizing the label's expense in pressing the record, said Jared Mees, who co-founded the collective. Creating 300 vinyl records will cost more than 10 times as much as pressing a similar number of CDs, he said.

Ragel had to convince Mees about choosing vinyl, but it was an easy sell. "It didn't take much," Mees said. "The packaging is going to be beautiful."

Luciana Lopez: 503-412-7034;

Grandmaster flash interview

Me and Grandmaster Flash

Posted Jul 24th 2008 8:30AM by Mo Rocca
Filed under: Mo's Videos, Mo Rocca

Grandmaster Flash was the first man to lay his hands on vinyl and make music. Other DJs saw the turntable as a simple piece of equipment. They handled the record gently by its edges, placed it on the turntable, and carefully dropped the tonearm on the vinyl.

Flash made the turntable into an instrument. Like Pollock with a brush and canvas, Flash took control of the tonearm and worked the vinyl. He redefined the DJ as recording artist.

His legacy is huge: At South Bronx block parties, he invented the spinning and cutting techniques that extended short drum breaks (what he called the "get down" portion of songs) and combined pieces of different songs into seamless and often hours-long musical marathons. He invited vocal artists to rap over the extended drum breaks. These MCs were the first high-profile rappers. The long drum breaks also became the accompaniment for the first break dancers.

In short he helped father hip-hop music. (He's quick to note that this was not his achievement alone. DJ Herc was combining songs for block parties before him.) BUT because Flash dared to touch the vinyl, he was able to combine and recombine music seamlessly. Anyone who's been to a dance club knows what this means. You don't know where one song ends and another begins. It's one continuous "get down" — and you can dance forever.

(Truthfully there is an upside to the wedding band stop and start. You can easily excuse yourself after a lousy song – or escape before the slow dance.)

So here's my interview with Flash…  

Vinyl survival


Vinyl survives in a digital world

By Brooke Bates

Jim Bishop is a hopeless nostalgic and still keeps stacks of records that he plays on his radio shows,  “Friday Night Jukebox” and “Warped Records.” He even has the first record he bought.
Jim Bishop is a hopeless nostalgic and still keeps stacks of records that he plays on his radio shows, “Friday Night Jukebox” and “Warped Records.” He even has the first record he bought.

Photo by Michael Reilly

A turntable sits in the display window at eValley, Harrisonburg’s eBay store, next to a stack of 45s. It’d be easy to compare the set to a forlorn puppy in a pet store.

“It’s been there for a while,” says Manager Rob Smith. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been sitting there for a year.”

As brick-and-mortar music stores sing the woes of digital domination, a nostalgic few are dodging cold, hard technology to run toward the warmth of vinyl. The archaic format’s survival isn’t quite enough to be dubbed a revival. But someone, somewhere, may still be lowering the stylus to the surface and savoring the crackling static. 

Nostalgia in a new age
Jim Bishop’s favorite Christmas gift probably looked similar to eValley’s lonely phonograph.

“I can still see the thing,” the public information officer for Eastern Mennonite University says excitedly, remembering the 45 rpm record player he received in 1954. The thought stirs memories of the first 45 he bought: “The Flying Saucer” by Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman, which is still stacked in his closet with the rest of his collection.

“I’m a hopeless nostalgic,” Bishop says. “I still play them a lot. I hate to see them on the shelf.” He also plays them — or at least burned and downloaded copies of them — on his radio shows, “Friday Night Jukebox” on WEMC and “Warped Records” on WSVA.

But he’s reluctant to transfer them all to CD.

“I have a hard time dealing with change,” Bishop admits. “I would welcome a move toward vinyl coming back, but I’d be surprised.”

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s Year-End Shipment Statistics, LP and EP sales increased by more than 36 percent between 2006 and 2007. This is the first increase in vinyl sales since 2001, which was only a 3.7 percent increase from 2000.

Jay Leavitt, the general manager of Plan 9 music stores, says vinyl makes up 15 to 20 percent of their total sales. The trend, which was dominated by used vinyl sales several years ago, has rocketed with new releases in the past year and a half.

Elvis Costello released “Momofuku” on vinyl in April; the CD came in May. Nine Inch Nail’s “The Slip” will debut in LP form in August. A flood of indie rock bands, like Built to Spill and Fleet Foxes, are also spinning old school, throwing in a code for vinyl buyers to download the songs online.

Even kids who are too young to associate needles with noise are grabbing a part of history. College students make up the majority of vinyl buyers at Plan 9, says Jason Knicely, the vinyl buyer at Plan 9 in Harrisonburg.

“It’s the first widely accessible form of recorded music,” he says. “It’s a piece of history, especially if you get a first press.”

The hunt for rare classics is part of the thrill. It’s more satisfying than the lazy, instantaneous click of a download, he says, wearing a black T-shirt with an icon on his chest that resembles the center label of Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times” single.

Plus, vinyl is more than music; it’s tangible. “LPs have wonderful cover art and extensive liner notes on the back. You can’t do that on a CD,” and certainly not on a tiny iPod screen.

“As soon as CDs are over with,” says Bruce Allen, owner of America’s New Artist record label in Lexington and Nashville, “all you’ll be collecting is titles and sounds.”

Vinyl interaction
Digital music wipes out more than just the physical album. “There’s nothing like putting the needle in the groove,” Leavitt says. “You have to be more involved; you have to flip it over.”

Though Race Ashlyn’s LPs are buried in storage, his memories of spinning vinyl at the radio station are vivid.

“I miss … the physical aspect. Cueing up songs was more involved,” says the market manager of WSIG and WBOP in Mount Crawford. “We used to be able to make magic happen in real time.” He describes the orchestration it took to transition from one record to the next, now a useless skill.

“It took me years to get over it,” he laments of the change. But there’s plenty not to miss.

“They get scratchy. They’re difficult to maneuver. They skip,” Ashlyn lists. “It’s just not a practical format.”

Digital downloads, on the other hand, are “faster, cheaper and you only pay for the songs you want.”

Even after a 36 percent boost, the 1.3 million vinyl sales in 2007 don’t come close to the 42.5 million albums or the nearly 810 million songs downloaded that year, according to the RIAA.

“MySpace and all the digital download services make it more affordable and more accessible for artists to get their product out there,” and for fans to get the product, says Benny Quinn, Allen’s mastering engineer.

With cheaper, easier digital recording, any home can be a studio. Bands don’t need to depend on labels to produce their first album. They can cater to cherry-picking audiences who download a few songs at a time.

That accessibility is also the music industry’s nightmare: quick, easy illegal downloads that don’t compensate the industry.

Even so, Allen “wouldn’t trade digital for anything” because it lets him “do everything much faster and more compact.”

The next ‘dinosaur’ format
But digital is not without its downsides, either.

“Digital is real hard,” Allen says. “Clean and crisp, but a harder sound when it goes down to record. Analog is a warmer sound, not right there in your face.”

When Allen sends his artists’ recordings to Benny Quinn Mastering in Nashville, Quinn uses a combination of old analog and new digital equipment to produce that warmth — but without the muddiness of extra noise.

Sound is mechanically reproduced from a record, Quinn explains. “The stylus actually touches the vinyl, which adds noises, the ‘snap, crackle, pop, clicks’ that happen in the process. Nothing actually touches an audio CD; it’s read with a laser. It doesn’t introduce additional noise.”

Behind the additional noise, though, the sound produced by analog processing is “more pleasing to the ear” than digital recording, he says. “We have constantly been striving to mimic the analog sound without the additional noise.”

Quinn has been a mastering engineer since the mid-’70s, putting the final sonic touches on albums by artists from Johnny Cash to Jewel before they go to the manufacturer.

In the ’80s, he turned to digital mastering and its kinks. “People were talking about how hard-sounding [original CDs] were,” he says. “They were very clean, but not quite as natural sounding as the instruments themselves.”

That quality has improved. Even Bishop admits that instruments he missed when he memorized songs on vinyl come through on CD; it’s vinyl’s thumping bass compared to a CD’s “drumstick tapping on a cymbal.”

Still, Quinn says, the distortion and resonance that sounded warm on vinyl still sound harsh on CD.

“It’s not necessarily all about audio quality,” he admits. “It’s very evident that most of the public wants something they can put their hands on quickly.”

They want compact and portable, and “you can’t play a 12-inch vinyl record in your car,” he says. “You can’t stick it in your pocket.”

Even CDs will soon go the way of archaic vinyl and clunky cassettes. People immediately upload CDs to their computers, Ashlyn says. Hard-drives — not CD racks — are the music storage of choice.

“I already see that CDs are dying,” Leavitt says, admitting that stores are struggling. “The format is a bit of a dinosaur, slowly going towards extinction.”

He predicts that CDs will one day be the vinyl of today, fighting to make a barely noticeable dent in the digital world.

“Vinyl is trying to make a comeback, but it never will,” Allen says. “Digital will always be here. As long as there are computers, it’s not going anywhere.”


There go the 78s


A Trove of Old 78s Heads to Syracuse



For 30 years, the turntable tucked in the corner of Records Revisited rarely rested. All day it spun at 78 revolutions per minute, whirling some aging pancake placed lovingly on it by the shop’s owner, Morton J. Savada. A heavy needle was always burrowing into the scratchy grooves of those brittle old discs to bring forth the music of Harry James, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and others from the first half of the 20th century.

The records were rarely repeated, yet the supply — perhaps a quarter-million 78-r.p.m. discs — never ran out.

Records Revisited was packed floor-to-ceiling with discs of a vintage and variety that drew a steady stream of record buffs to 34 West 33rd Street. The shop, more like an archive than a store, held approximately 60 tons of swing, big band jazz and other style, forming one of the largest collections of 78s in the world.

The shop has been closed since Mr. Savada’s death in February. Last Thursday, his son, Elias Savada, was poring over a cardboard box, one of 1,300 being filled with records and put on waiting trucks. The collection will be sent to Syracuse University’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, which will now have the second-largest collection of 78s in the United States, after the Library of Congress, university officials said.

Elias Savada seemed flush with nostalgia and pride as he opened Box 495, and reached in to pull out a record for one last spin.

What do you know? It was Gene Krupa’s “Drum Boogie.” The elder Mr. Savada would have noted the obvious: that Krupa had a big hit with the lively jump tune and was featured with his big band performing it in the 1941 film “Ball of Fire,” with Anita O’Day singing and Roy Eldridge on trumpet.

Now only Mr. Savada’s handwriting remained, offering some scribbled details of the recording, on the brown paper record sleeve. Mr. Savada placed the disc on the record player and dropped the needle down, filling the store with the music that Morty Savada lived for.

“This is what dad loved, this sound,” Mr. Savada said. “He always had a record on when he was here.” When he was here, Mr. Savada ran the shop himself. Actually, he stopped doing business two years ago when his health declined, but he often visited his beloved collection, which remained in the shop after he died at his home in Harrison, N.Y., on Feb. 11 at age 85.

Many die-hard collectors used to gather at Records Revisited to find obscure singles on those 10-inch disks that featured one song per side, and which Mr. Savada kept organized alphabetically and by style on white floor-to-ceiling shelves lining the walls and the many narrow aisles.

After the Krupa record, Mr. Savada unpacked another box and pulled out MGM record 10160-A. It was in fair to good condition and had a perky yellow label from which Mr. Savada read out loud: “Marion Hutton sings ‘My Brooklyn Love Song,’ from the R.K.O. picture ‘If You Knew Susie.’ Orchestra conducted by Sonny Burke.”

The song featured humorous lyrics delivered in exaggerated Brooklynese, culminating with the claim that a boy’s love for the Brooklyn Dodgers has diverted his concentration on his “goil.”

Mr. Savada did not use a computer to keep track of his records, opting instead for index cards filed in a tan metal cabinet. The cabinet was still there, and Elias Savada scooped up a bunch of loose business cards scattered on it. There were cards from WCBS radio, as well as WNYC, WGBH, and the BBC and Reader’s Digest. There were individual clients, including a business card from Carol Hemingway, who according to Mr. Savada’s notation on the card was “Ernest H’s daughter in law,” who, he also noted, bought a Dwight Fisk recording put onto a cassette by Mr. Savada, which sold for $10.

Elias Savada said that neither he nor his brother or sister had any urge to take over their father’s business. Still, Elias is something of an archivist — he is a consultant in the movie industry whose specialty is determining whether certain television shows and other material has fallen into the public domain.

He said that his father, always an avid record buff, ran the family’s apparel company, but that after acquiring a small collection of 60,000 records, he opened a record store and got out of the garment business, which was flagging anyway because of competition from importers.

The Syracuse University archivists couldn’t be more pleased with the obscure records arriving in numbered boxes. Not only is there a huge swing collection, but also recordings of country, blues, gospel, polka, folk and Broadway tunes. Suzanne Thorin, the university’s dean of libraries, said the truckloads of Mr. Savada’s records — at least, the tiny percentage sampled so far — has revealed fascinating auditory treasures, including Carl Sandburg reading his own poetry while accompanying himself on the guitar, and Hazel Scott, the pianist and singer. There are also many rare recordings preserved only on V-Disc records produced for American military personnel overseas in the 1940s.

Mr. Savada said that his father had a policy of never selling the last copy of a recording. “He was running a business, but he knew he had an important archive here and he had a responsibility to maintain it.”


Vinyl Preservation Society


Music lovers rediscover the timbre of the turntable and return to vinyl

BOISE, Idaho — Travis Dryden spent his childhood listening to his parent's records. And then he left them behind with the other detritus of his pre-college years to be sold for pennies at a yard sale.

Lured by the portability of cassette tapes, the iridescent gleam of compact discs, then the miniaturized wonder of MP3 players – who needed the fragile, antiquated technology of an LP?

As it turns out, Dryden did.

Now, like thousands of other reborn vinyl addicts, he scours record stores around the country, trying to get those lost records back.

"I abandoned a lot of my collection, unfortunately," Dryden said. "I started at record stores, thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales. When I travel for business I seek out record stores and thrift stores at the cities I visit."

Right now, Dryden said, his collection is small with only about 500 albums. But it might as well be 50,000 – as co-founder of the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho, a rapidly growing group in Boise, Dryden gets the opportunity to listen to selections from thousands of records at the organization's monthly meetings.

The group started last year with a handful of people. They brought CDs, MP3s and records, meeting in each their homes to talk and listen to music. Again and again, Dryden said, the group found themselves choosing the warm hum of the turntable over the cold precision of digital formats.

"We found our love of vinyl overtook the others," he said. "We knew there had to be others like us."

They were right. Word spread about the group that gathered to listen to vinyl, and Dryden and his brother Chad spent three months coming up with the structure that would form the skeleton of the Vinyl Preservation Society. Eight months later, the group has more than 100 members. And Dryden hopes to see chapters spring up around the nation, and eventually the world.

At a recent meeting Dryden said a typical member "is just someone who can embrace a Pink Floyd song followed by Bobby Darin. It's mercurial, it's a big social experiment, and it's probably the only place you can stand up and play a piece of music you had nothing at all to do with creating and people will honestly clap for you."

The Boise group isn't alone in its love of vinyl. Coffee houses and lounges in cities like Portland, Ore., are featuring vinyl record listening sessions. Stores like Urban Outfitters are selling portable record players. Last fall started a vinyl-only section. Vinyl record pressing plants are ramping up production, and some musicians are selling albums primarily on vinyl, including coupons for MP3 downloads of the songs for portability's sake.

Independent record stores are seeing more people turned on to vinyl, said Michael Bunnell with The Record Exchange in Boise. Events like Record Store Day, held annually in April to celebrate independent record stores and the vinyl culture, are gaining popularity, he said.

Still, for vinyl revivalists its more about the ethos than the trend. Proponents applaud the expanse of cover art, so decadent compared to the tiny screen of an iPod. Those with a finely tuned ear laud the warmer sound, compared to digital music's brighter, louder and compressed tones.

And the nostalgia is a draw even to those who weren't around to remember the records the first time they were played.

"I like the sound – it's intriguing, not so perfect," said Alina Schimpf, 21, who first began listening to records after seeing a turntable and vinyl collection at her 25-year-old boyfriend's apartment. "It's kind of cool, a novelty. I'd really like to get a turntable but it's kind of an investment."

Her boyfriend, Morgan Davis, remembers the thrill of sneaking into his father's vinyl collection.

"It's like a historical document," Davis said. "When I was younger I'd listen to my father's vinyl . . . He'd get mad if I scratched them up, so I'd listen when they were not around."

Boise collector Jim Leonard prefers vinyl for its "warmer sound" and convenient play length – about 20 minutes to a side.

"I never felt that the introduction of a new format meant you had to abandon the old one," Leonard said. "When you play an acoustic record on a Victrola, it's an indescribable, magical sound."

Listening to a record forces you to listen, said Don Jewell, a 60-year-old member of the group.

"It just seems more human to me, more human and direct. When you're listening to it you need to get up and change the record, flip it over. There's no playing 4,000 songs like in an MP3 player," Jewell said.

The physical involvement somehow makes the medium more precious, said David Hale, who gave a presentation at a Vinyl Preservation Society meeting about his grandfather's role as a promoter for Atlantic Records.

"It's music in the raw: You're pulling the vinyl out of the case, making sure you get that needle in the exact spot, making sure you lift it clean so you don't scratch it," Hale said. "There's definitely more reverence there."

Irish vinyl sales up  

Vinyl record sales up, popular with a new generation

Tower records report 36% increase in LP sales, with popular artists including Dylan, the Beatles and Jeff Buckley

IT really is the 1980s all over again. Even though album sales are continuing to decline, vinyl is making a comeback. Irish sales of records increased by 20% in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period last year, while 11% fewer compact discs were shifted.

Retailers say there is increased demand for vinyl versions of both old classics and new releases by mainstream and alternative artists. In an age when it is possible to store an entire music collection on a sleek portable device the size of a credit card, renewed interest in cumbersome long players (LPs) seems an anomaly.

Music enthusiasts claim the surge of interest can be attributed to the “warmer” sound of LPs and their often lavish packaging. These qualities are attracting a new legion of fans in what is seen as a backlash against the sterility of digital technology.

“Our vinyl sales are up 36%,” said Clive Branagan, store manager of Tower Records on Wicklow Street in Dublin. “It takes more of an effort to listen to a record — you have to sit down and play the thing properly from start to finish whereas a lot of people growing up now with mp3s listen to one track more than the album itself.”

Classic artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan remain popular vinyl choices, but the spread of artists is widening. “One of our best selling LPs is Jeff Buckley’s Grace which Sony reissued this year,” said Branagan. “It actually outsold the CD for a couple of months. A lot of people whose parents would have bought records are now getting into the habit themselves.”

Danny Duggan is a DJ and promoter of Sleepless Nights, a club night billed as “old-fashioned Motown & Northern Soul the way it was supposed to be played — on vinyl”. He said: “It’s a richer sound, there’s more resonance to it. Digital tends to be slightly clipped at the edges with a cleaned-up sound. There’s more to hold and love than an mp3 player too.”

While most customers are in their 30s, a new generation is discovering the pleasure of vinyl. Dave Kennedy, owner of Road Records in Fade Street in Dublin, said: “We’ve got newer, much younger customers, teenagers and those in their early 20s buying mostly new bands on 7-inch singles. We will get a lot of people in who will have iPods in their pockets and they are still buying records. A few people I’ve spoken to have taken to the whole iPod culture and now realise they’ve no physical product at home because everything is in this little white box.

“We were getting people saying: ‘All I want to do is go home in the evening, listen to a record and relax but I’ve got to turn on my computer and find the files.’ Whereas you put on a record, sit down and read the paper.”

Some smaller record companies are including a coupon with vinyl releases with a unique code allowing the customer to download an mp3 version of the same album for free.

Kennedy said that even though Radiohead’s album In Rainbows was available to download from the band’s website for whatever price fans wanted to pay, a double vinyl version sold well. “We had people who came in and said they had paid five cents to download it and they handed over ¤20 for a copy on vinyl.”

Peter Collins of the Sony Centre in Dundrum Town Centre said record turntables have become more popular in the last year or two. “It’s usually kids or wives buying them for dads or husbands. We sold a fair few around Christmas.” Turntables cost between ¤100 and ¤150.

Dick Doyle, director general of the Irish Recorded Music Association (Irma), said the album market was still depressed. “We are talking about 40% of the market wiped out in the past four years. We have gone from about ¤145m in Ireland to ¤104m last year. It’s all down to illegal uploading and downloading.”

Irma is taking a case on behalf of record companies EMI, Warner, Universal, and Sony BMG in the High Court against internet service provider, Eircom over illegal downloading.


Hunting for gems in Malaysia

Hunting for gems


Collecting vinyl can be a very challenging but satisfying hobby.

EVER felt you were going around in circles? When it comes to vinyl collecting, that is the feeling you get with each visit to the Sunday flea market at Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.

Renowned as the thriving hub of the second-hand market for LPs and obscure vinyl, Amcorp Mall has served collectors well in the last eight years, but there is a niggling feeling that the hunt for good titles and the excitement of stumbling upon a rare find is starting to dry up.

Most will agree that the audiophile crowd with their expensive hi-fi equipment can lay claim to keeping vinyl alive during the format’s lean years. But the true renaissance of record collecting in Malaysia has a lot to do with ordinary (and younger) music fans catching the LP bug, and they shouldn’t be airbrushed out of the story.

“Vinyl is big business. There is a lot of recycling going on between the (vinyl) sellers at Amcorp and you tend to see the same records moving to different stalls every weekend,” said Joe Rozario, 59, who runs Joe’s MAC (Music, Art & Collectibles), a cavernous store at the basement of Amcorp Mall.

Renewed interest

Rozario, known as the “vinyl guru” to his loyal clientele, isn’t too worried about decreasing interest in vinyl collecting because of the limited titles and genre range available to the masses here.

“Do you want to know who is buying vinyl now? Young adults and people aged 30 to 40. This new generation will start off with the basic second-hand titles – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, etc – but they tend to move on and ask for albums that they also grew up with,” he added, pointing out that Britpop bands, grunge groups and heavy metal LPs are much sought after.

“As far as the Malaysian second-hand market for vinyl goes, most of the production and import titles stopped in the late 1980s. That was the period when only hardcore collectors held on to their LP-buying habits while loads of stores were throwing out their stocks to make way for CDs.”

The friendly Rozario, who can count on a stock supply of over 10,000 LPs in his store and home, admits that there is strong demand for rock-based LPs and the enquiries for jazz, vintage soul and Americana records are also growing.

“If you are a music fan with a broader taste, what’s available in the second-hand vinyl market here is rather small in terms of selection. This is not the US or England where you can get a wide range of albums and genres.

“In the 1960s in Malaysia, we had a market cornered by popular music. That carried on into the 70s and 80s. It is very difficult to track down rare and niche albums, whether jazz or classic soul, on LP.”

Of course, the “vinyl guru” sees a niche that needs to be filled urgently. “We do special orders for our customers and we are also making plans to cater to this new, young market.”

Regarded as a walking dictionary of classic rock, Rozario laughs when asked about younger fans badgering him about importing newer rock titles. “You get more people asking about White Stripes on LP than Deep Purple these days. But I’m afraid the costs of bringing in new LPs from Radiohead and the indie type bands are rather prohibitive.”

According to Rozario, adding new LPs from contemporary bands to his store is a risk because some of these records can cost from RM80 to RM250 (box-sets). For the moment, Joe’s MAC store will remain a second-hand vinyl destination, but there are plans afoot later this year to import selected new LP titles.

Store stock

A key reason why new vinyl may be difficult to find here is that most of the stores that deal with vinyl are independent shops that don’t have a contact (or account) with the major record labels. Major labels here also rarely import vinyl, but you can find Universal Malaysia, Warner Malaysia and EMI occasionally activating their vinyl catalogue on special orders.

Apart from audiophile stores offering premium grade LPs and heavy metal specialist stores in Pertama Complex in Kuala Lumpur, the MPH outlet in 1 Utama in Petaling Jaya is a word-of-mouth destination for regular vinyl junkies. The store’s music section, which imports anywhere from 10 to 40 albums a month, is one of the few places in the Klang Valley that maintains a rack for new vinyl with affordable pricing.

InterGlobal Music, an independent label, is also drawn to the vinyl importing game, and with a catalogue that includes the Rhino (180g) titles, Universal imports and MoFi reissues (of classic albums on vinyl), things are beginning to improve on the selection front.

“Vinyl is not a cheap hobby but I’m optimistic that this format will hold a strong, dedicated fan-base. While paying for good vinyl may not be a problem (for some), locating the albums can be difficult,” said Cheah Mun Kit, managing director of InterGlobal.

Major labels rarely press more than 5,000 copies of a given title while specialist labels tend to be more restrictive in their print run.

Another familiar face at the Amcorp Mall flea market is Nazmin Nazin, the “commander-in-chief” of the Helter Skelter vinyl stall that specialises in much sought-after second-hand LP imports from the United States, limited editions and a fair amount of new vinyl.

“You can find dedicated music lovers, a lot of them in their mid-20s, clued up on the vinyl scene. They also know how much an original Stone Roses LP or a rare Smashing Pumpkins pressing can cost,” said thirtysomething Nazmin who has been actively importing vinyl independently for nearly seven years.

Online options

On the subject of the new generation of record-loving fans, the Internet is a major source for obtaining new vinyl. With launching its massive online vinyl store early this year, prices have become more competitive for LPs shipped from the United States rather than the more traditional British online sites.

Matthew Tan, a fashion buyer and devoted indie music fan, noted: “If you don’t have a job that takes you abroad, I reckon buying vinyl online is the best and cheapest option for music fans who want the latest releases.

“I pre-ordered the new Portishead album, a double LP, and the Tings Tings debut; they cost me about RM60 to RM70 each (with shipping) from Amazon. The bargains are endless if you surf long enough.”

Auction site eBay and British online sites like Soul Jazz, Juno, Rough Trade and Honest Jon’s are some of the favourite stops for this 27-year-old, who stopped buying CDs regularly since he started his vinyl collection a year ago.

Naveen Balasingam, an engineer in his early 30s, is a rare case in the vinyl-collecting field. Clearly ahead of the game, he started in the mid-1990s, buying radio promo and second-hand LPs on the cheap in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

“There was this little store in front of Taylor’s College (in Subang Jaya) and they were getting rid of loads of perfectly good condition and current titles at RM12 or less. As a student (then), these LPs were definitely cheaper than cassettes and CDs – and my dad had a record player at home. It made sense to buy LPs and they are worth a lot more now,” said Naveen, who has amassed about 400 titles on LP including a nearly complete Soundgarden collection.

Whether spotting an obscure classic at the flea markets across the nation, crate-digging for second-hand gems at places like Amcorp Mall, locating quality buys at audiophile haunts or sourcing for new vinyl online, there is no denying that the vinyl fad is a special, growing niche – and it is here for the long haul.


Put your records on  

Put your records on
Many music lovers rediscovering vinyl

Last Updated:June 28. 2008 7:43PM

Published: June 29. 2008 3:30AM

Matt McKean/TimesDaily
Pegasus Records and Tapes owner Eli Flippen holds the vinyl recordings in his store. The long playing records, LPs, are now coming back into vogue around the U.S.

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Pegasus Records and Tapes owner Eli Flippen talks about the vinyl comeback at

The snap and crackle of vinyl records brings Pine Hill Haints vocalist/guitarist Jaime Barrier back to his childhood when he listened to "That'll be the Day," by Buddy Holly and "Love Potion No. 9," by The Clovers from the "American Graffiti" double LP.

His devotion to the medium runs deep. He recorded his first vinyl record with his band, The Wednesdays, and has released 25 records on his own label.

Barrier is one of many artists and music store owners taking hints from music lovers who, despite the prevalence of digital music, still prefer 12-inch records to iPods.

It all goes back to authentic sound, skips and all.

"Me, personally, I think it's the best sound quality you can get," Barrier said.

"I would say that majority of what I would call the MP3 generation kids, who are true fans of music, are discovering that records sound a whole lot better than MP3s," said Eli Flippen, owner of Pegasus Records and Tapes in Florence.

New buyers perhaps agreed, resulting in the shipment of more than 1 million LPs in 2007, according to statistics from the Recording Industry of America.

Classic rock by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Beatles top re-released album sales at Pegasus, Flippen said.

Most re-releases retain original artwork, and besides being in good condition, are distinguishable from originals by their barcodes.

Artists such as Jack Johnson and Portishead offers deals where consumers buy a record for $14 that comes with a code to download the MP3 version.

When cassettes came out and then CDs, much of their appeal was the promise of clarity. While that may be true, sound resonance suffered, Flippen said.

"So many people don't realize that when you take a CD and put it on your iPod, that you're compressing it, and when you compress anything, you're degrading the quality of the sound," he said.

MP3 sound easily funnels into ears for a night run around the neighborhood, but for rich, room-filling atmosphere, investing in vinyl is the way to go, Flippen said.

"Anybody who is a true audiophile, anybody who has a real nice high-end sound system is going to tell you the original warmth of analog sound of vinyl is always going to be superior to CD format or MP3."

The appeal of vinyl lies in its tangibility to Charles Ricks, owner of Ace Variety, a music store in Sheffield. It's exciting, Ricks said, to "work the needle" on a favorite album, in his case, by Herbie Hancock or Mahalia Jackson.

Vinyl spins around the turntable of the music industry like other trends, said Janna Malone, associate director of the Entertainment Industry Center at the University of North Alabama.

Its return in the 21st century is a like a song on repeat mode. She compared it to the resurgence of boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync in the '90s.

What does new interest in vinyl mean for a music industry that, to many consumers, is singing out of tune with pricey CDs and strict downloading laws?

Cara Duckworth, spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America released the following statement to the Associated Press this month: "The music industry offers a multitude of options to satisfy the many ways fans prefer listening to music, from classic vinyl to innovative digital services. Any way in which consumers can discover and enjoy legal music is ultimately a great thing for fans and the music community alike."

Malone predicts that vinyl will hurt CD sales, but will pose no serious competition. The subject makes for hot discussion in her record industry class; many of her students, who are serious music buffs buy piles of Indie vinyl.

"I think it may take a while for the average consumer to warm up to it," Malone said.

Of course, some consumers, including disc jockeys and collectors, never stopped buying vinyl. Barrier said lots of artists will use records to backup their songs.

Ricks said vinyl will only help the industry.

"It would create an interest in music sales, for one thing," he said. "Every now and then, you need something that will change the mood of ordinary people."