Author Archives: Gotta Groove Matt

The New Face of Vinyl: A Survey

If you are not already familiar with Ben Meador’s and Owen McCafferty’s book project entitled The New Face of Vinyl, you should definitely check it out if you have any interest or skepticism regarding the recent vinyl resurgence.

After their successful Kickstarter campaign, the authors are currently planning trips across the country to meet and speak with people who work with vinyl records, collect vinyl records, and have a variety of other connections to the format. We (TVD Cleveland) are huge fans of this project—not only because it’s about vinyl, but because the authors are from Cleveland themselves…

To help them facilitate conversations with folks who are interested in being featured in the book, Ben and Owen are hosting a survey to gain some preliminary insights and contact info. They are looking to meet with “people aged 15-25 who have found a new fascination in listening to, owning, or collecting vinyl records. The cities we are visiting include: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and Nashville.”

We invite you to become a part of this project by taking a few moments to complete their short survey today!

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Cleveland Lo-Fi Band Total Babes Offers Free Track “Be So True”

Cleveland lo-fi band Total Babes are excited to share their latest track “Be So True” off their debut album Swimming Through Sunlight out August 30 on Old Flame Records and Continental Mind.

Swimming Through Sunlight is available from Old Flame now on cassette now, and you can pre-order the vinyl now too!

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These Trails

A personal fav of ours at TVD Cleveland—These Trails have ridden the wind from the Honolulu hills (circa 1973) to the black-hearted traders circles (circa the millennium) to today. Their one album fuses musical traditions of the nations in service of a young idea: assumptions of the eternal, couched in the personal.

These are songs of and for all kinds of folk, created and offered in all innocence. It is, and was, music of the then — and it can never happen again. But, you can grab the wax from Drag City now!

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The New Face of Vinyl: Youth’s Digital Devolution

And you thought vinyl records were dead? Not so fast.

The New Face of Vinyl is a project that explores why young people across the United States have started a digital “devolution” by buying and listening to vinyl records. Throughout the country, young people are buying more and more vinyl, thus getting back to the analog roots of listening to music. Collecting and listening to vinyl has become a unique experience for many teens and young adults throughout the world who have chosen to explore the once forgotten black wax. Photographer Ben Meadors and writer Owen McCafferty are setting out to discover what vinyl means to these people, and will create a full color photo documentary book to tell the story.

The project at its core, explores and focuses on the cultural changes occurring as a result of this new found interest in vinyl. The reasons why vinyl has become so popular now are vast; Owen and Ben want to set out to New York City, Cleveland, Chicago, Portland and San Fransisco and talk to young record collectors, store owners and occasional vinyl-lovers to find out what keeps bringing them back for more.

After collecting all the pictures and interviews, the team will compose a 180+ page full color photo-documentary-book to tell the story, and share their experiences with the world.

Owen and Ben have chosen to use the popular organization Kickstarter to help collect donations in order to cover the traveling and printing expenses of the project.

The project won’t receive funding if $6,500.00 isn’t raised by July 31st 2011, so visit the site and make a donation to help Ben and Owen make this exciting project a reality.

Keep an eye on their site for updates, photos, and stories. You can follow the project on Twitter via @newfaceofvinyl.

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Ctown Happenings – Laura Stevenson & The Cans

Laura Stevenson & The Cans is an incredible live band and they’re playing in Cleveland on May 9th in support of their sophomore release, Sit Resist (their first for Don Giovanni Records). Live, the band centers their songs around Stevenson’s gorgeous voice and wraps it with rich instrumentation and textured melodies.

Laura Stevenson was schooled in the traditional music of her grandfather and grandmother (composer of “The Little Drummer Boy” and vocalist for the Benny Goodman Orchestra respectively) from an early age. It wasn’t until she started performing with Bomb The Music Industry in her teens, that she began writing on her own. Privately crafting songs on the softer side of indie rock and traditional folk, Stevenson was soon tapped as the band’s opener and, with the addition of Mike Campbell and Alex Billig in 2007, Laura Stevenson and the Cans solidified. The following debut LP, A Record, won them fans far and wide having been downloaded over 25,000 time since it’s 2008 release.

Sit Resist, an album centered around never sitting stagnant, sees a matured band that has been continuously at work writing, arranging and touring for the past three years. Lyrically, Stevenson’s pen has a sharp, poetic tone, making it impossible not to be taken in by her stories. Where A Record crackled with Stevenson’s intimate voice alongside gentle acoustics, begging the listener nearer, Sit Resist commands the attention of all within earshot with its rich instrumentation and textured melodies.

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Drag City Records Highlight!

Coming soon from Drag City is Mickey Newbury‘s An American Trilogy — a collection of three remastered (from the original tapes!) masterpieces from one of outlaw country’s first.

These are Frisco Mabel Joy, Looks Like Rain, and Heaven Help the Child. Drag City has also taken it upon themselves to release Better Days – a collection of previously unreleased sketches and demos from around the time Newbury was making these records.

An American Trilogy will be released on May 17, 2011 — if in Cleveland, hit up Music Saves to grab a copy….otherwise, check Record Store Day to find the closest indie store to you!

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Vinyl Records 3.0 Challenges and Rewards

If you happened to miss the Vinyl panel at SXSW this past Saturday, don’t fret! [Almost] everything you ever wanted or needed to know about getting your own record pressed is now streaming online!

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No Collapse for R.E.M.

On their new release, Collapse Into Now (available on vinyl and CD on March, 8, 2011), R.E.M. mines the sound of their two most successful CDs, 1990’s Out of Time and 1992’s Automatic For the People. Foregoing the raw, direct guitar sound of 2008’s Accelerate, Collapse Into Now revisits the folky, acoustic/string sound that made those aforementioned CDs so accessible.

On “UBerlin” bassist Mike Mills’ distinctive background vocal call out like an old friend, while lead vocalist Michael Stipe’s “hey now”s recall the “Hey kids” cry of Automatic’s “Drive.” However, the song is more sprite, like 1999’s “The Great Beyond,” with celestial reference and gently expanding synthesizers. “Discover” has a guitar edge, but it made more grandiose and layered by accompanying piano and keyboards. “It Happened One Day” is pleasant, pumping, county fair Americana, with Mills’ singing cascading in a major key.

The band incorporates mandolin (it’s hard not to think “Losing My Religion”) on the maudlin but inspired “Oh My Heart.” “Oh My Heart” might be the best song Stipe has penned and/or sung in a long time. Stipe has often claimed lyrical depth under the guise of irony and campiness, but there is no Stipe-like posturing when he offers such allusions as “the storm didn’t kill me/the government changed” and “I came home to a city/ half-erased/this place needs me here/to here”

The guitar drive of “Mine Smells Like Honey” sounds like a throw off, something improvised off the cuff in the studio, but it has a strong enough refrain to keep interesting.

R.E.M. is past the time of groundbreaking, but Collapse Into Now is workmanlike good.

— Courtesy of TVD Staff Writer Jeff Ehrbar / HearSayNow

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SXSW Vinyl Panel Officially Announced!

Vinyl Records 3.0 Challenges and Rewards

What is the role of vinyl LP in current acts in the marketplace today? The purpose of this panel is to explain and show in depth the role of vinyl in the music marketplace. Panelists will discuss vinyl as the most important tangible music medium. Following explanations of why any band or artist should produce vinyl and which acts are more likely to benefit and why they will benefit from pressing vinyl, they will walk the artist through the process of production including options for customizations; including coloring, cutting, time expectancy, pricing, self-marketing, and selling at the independent retail level.

The explanation of the edge that vinyl has over any other music medium in the marketplace today as well as the pros of producing vinyl in an mp3 dominated music medium era will be addressed. This panel should be open for questions and discussion because the subject is depending on the artist themselves and how they choose to market their music.

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15 Minutes with Broken Circles Records

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brent Lakes, owner of Cincinnati, Ohio -based Broken Circles Records. Broken Circles Records is a regular reissuer of rare late-90’s and early 2000’s albums on vinyl – in most cases, records that were never before pressed on wax (but should have been from the beginning).

TVD Cleveland: Why start a vinyl record label?

Brent: As of 2008, there still were many rock records of the late 90s and early 2000’s that had never been on vinyl. So, I started contacting the labels who had released some of the albums I was a fan of. Some were not interested, but a few wound up being really great to work with. Tooth and Nail has been a great partner from the beginning.

TVD Cleveland: So, is the concentration on reissuing vinyl only?

Brent: That’s how it started. The reissues help to build a customer base. But, Broken Circles is now releasing several new releases on vinyl, digital, and cassette. Deadhorse’s We Can Create Our Own World [currently in production at Gotta Groove] is an example of a new release coming soon. I also do a lot of cassettes.

TVD Cleveland: So, you clearly have an analog niche.

Brent: Yes, National Audio Company is a great place to have cassettes manufactured. There is also a place in Columbus, Ohio called In The Pocket that makes cassettes, including variety of colors. But, Broken Circles also releases downloads of everything for convenience.

TVD Cleveland: Where can consumers grab Broken Circles releases?

Brent: Primarily though the website and mail order. However, I recently have begun selling through distribution – Revelation and ILC (Independent Label Collective).

TVD Cleveland: What is the first record you ever bought?

Brent: Overcome’s Overcome 7” on Face Down Records.

TVD Cleveland: What, in your opinion, is the best album of all time?

Brent: Pedro The Lion’s Control is my personal favorite.

You can listen to and purchase all of the Broken Circles Records via their Limited Pressing page.

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A Fortunate Bad Date

After finishing Patti Smith’s award-winning memoir Just Kids last week, Malcolm Gladwell’s work Outliers came to mind. In Outliers Gladwell argues that in order to achieve success in an area, luck, fortune, and chance factor as much into the outcome as does a person’s abilities—a proposition I bet Patti Smith would agree with.

Even without reading Just Kids, an observer of Patti Smith’s career would know that controversial photopgrapher Robert Mapplethorpe played a pivotal role in shaping Smith’s image. He took all the pictures on Smith’s classic 70s albums, including 1975’s Horses, one of the all-time great album covers. With a school girl blazer drapped her shoulder, Smith’s detached but cocked glare announced the arrival of a new wave of NYC rock and roll—all in glorious black-and-white.

Just Kids is based upon the Mapplethorpe-Smith relationship. In the book Smith recounts how Mapplethorpe, always ambitious, constantly encouraged Smith to do more: do openings, readings, shows and eventually concerts. After hearing Smith’s first indie single, “Hey Joe”/”Piss Factory,” Mapplethorpe pouted “you didn’t make anything we could dance to.” Mapplethorpe was the first to hear the Smith/Springsteen collaboration “Because the Night.” because she knew Mapplethorpe would be pleased; it was “fulfilling Robert’s dream that one day I would have a hit record.”

So how did Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith meet? On her first day in New York in 1967, she briefly encountered him while looking for a friend from college and remembered him (“I had never seen anyone like him”). Later that summer Smith is working in bookstore from which Mapplethorpe buys a piece of jewelry Smith admires; they strike up a conversation.

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Indie Store Profile: Shake-It Records

While not a Cleveland area record store (they are located in Cincinnati, Ohio), Shake-It Records has strong ties to the Cleveland music scene dating back to the early 90s through its own label imprint (Shake-It). Shake-It Records released the early recordings by the renowned 90’s Cleveland-area rockabilly/punk group, the Cowslingers (in addition records by a few other bands too).

Shake-It the record label started as a mail-order only operation. In 1999, the business was expanded into its own stand-alone retail storefront, and has continued to be the premier indie record store in the Cincinnati area. The record label continues to release new 7″ singles and albums, including the Record Store Day 2010 limited edition 7″ release by the brainy band The Seedy Seeds entitled Roll Deep (Shake 764/ER-06/GGR pressing # 10-0057).

We had the pleasure of speaking with Shake-It co-owner Jim Blase for a quick “answer as many questions as you can in 2 minutes” interview:

What are the top 3 sellers at your store right now? Decemberists, The King Is Dead; Social Distortion, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes; and Daniel Martin Moore, In The Cool Of The Day.

What is the craziest request you have ever received from a customer? Recently, a man walked in wearing a rabbit fur coat and star sunglasses, and asked if they carry fake beards and mustaches. [Editor’s comment: They don’t].

What, in your opinion, is the greatest album of all time? Professor Longhair, Crawfish Fiesta

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Introducing TVD Cleveland!

The Vinyl District Cleveland is now Live! Thanks to TVD for choosing Gotta Groove Records to be the editors for TVD Cleveland.

While everyone knows that Cleveland Rocks (sorry, had to do it), it may not be as common knowledge that Ohio is home to several fixtures in the vinyl music scene and beyond. The state is home to two vinyl record pressing plants (Gotta Groove Records here in Cleveland and Musicol in Columbus), one of the largest vinyl record wholesalers in the U.S. (EDGE Entertainment in Streetsboro), national music publication Alternative Press, several respected recording studios (Ante Up, Acoustik Music/Room With A View Productions, and SUMA to name just three), monumental indie record stores and venues, and of course, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum.

In the weeks ahead, we plan on bringing you profiles of local record stores, live music venues, recording studios, and many other of the great music businesses situated right here in Cleveland and throughout the buckeye state!

Of course, TVD Cleveland is also as much about discussing the amazing vinyl releases and performances occurring in the region as anything else – so if you know of any Ohio music related news, performances, releases, or anything else that you think we should be exploring on TVD Cleveland, definitely drop a line to matt [at] thevinyldistrict [dot] com.

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