Last week, I posted about The Sounds of the Office, a 1964 vinyl record released by Folkways Records of field recordings by Michael Siegel. This week, it's The Sounds of the Junk Yard, another 1964 Folkways collection of Siegel's field recordings, ranging from an Acetylene Torch to Alligator Shears to a Paper Baler.
Moses Asch founded the incredibly influential Folkways Records label in 1948 to record and share music and sounds from around the world. Along with bringing the music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and Elizabeth Cotten to wider audiences, Folkways, acquired in 1987 by Smithsonian, also issued incredible sound recordings from the Ituri rainforest, Navajo Nation, Peru, and many other locations and indigenous peoples across the globe. (In fact, the label provided several tracks for the Voyager Golden Record, now 12+ billion miles from Earth! Researching that project with my partner Tim Daly, a DIY musicologist himself, I've become absolutely enchanted by Folkways. If any of you dear readers have Folkways LPs collecting dust, I'd give them a wonderful home.)
Along with music, Folkways released LPs with poetry, language instruction, nature sounds (frogs! insects), and other field recordings. The Sounds of the Junk Yard reminds me of an Einstürzende Neubauten album but was issued a decade before the birth of "Industrial Music" was born.
"Some junk yard equipment is common to all of them, some is more specialized," wrote Siegel in the album liner notes. "All these sounds were recorded in yards in Warren, Pennsylvania."
Hear more samples at the Smithsonian Folkways page here. Read the rest
That's not dust on the stylus, that's Uncle Fred!
Andvinyly presses cremated remains into a vinyl record.
Read the rest
Zach Cowie is a cratedigger of the highest order. Following gigs at Rhino and Sub Pop, Zach turned his insatiable record collecting into a job: He's a music supervisor for TV and movies with credits like Master of None and The Little Hours and curated musical selections for the fashion label Rodarte. As a DJ, Zach (aka Turquoise Wisdom) frequently makes the scene in LA and elsewhere, sometimes spinning with pals like Elijah Wood and Andy Cabic (Vetiver). It seems that his destined role in life is to turn us on to the best music we've never heard of. And he's got a Voyager Golden Record tattoo, so that makes me like him even more. Here's an interview with him from Dust & Grooves.
Zach is now recording a monthly set for NTS called "Play It As It Lathes" that mixes ambient, psych, spiritual jazz, prog, cosmic country, dream pop, folk, and every other far-out genre you can imagine into stunning two-hour sets.
"It's the best place to hear what i’ve been listening to at home lately," Zach says.
Turn on and tune in below.
(Thanks, Jess Rotter!)
Image at top by Eilon Paz/Dust & Grooves Read the rest
According to Biff Hutchison's description, this 11'½" breaks the Guinness World Record of 10'6". Rolling Stone has more.
Not happy with sharing the title with [friend and rival Dalton] Smith – who we can only imagine Hutchison considers his greatest rival in the world, the Bird to his Magic in the world of pogoing – Hutchison saw a shot at not just being the lone jumper standing atop Pogo Mountain (as problematic as being on top of a mountain on a pogo stick sounds), but absolutely crushing the old record.
Here's some more extreme pogo:
Read the rest
The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library
is a treasury of the past, in particular its online Wunderkammer
, where glorious high-resolution scans of old artwork and book illustrations pile up insufficiently explored. [via
] Read the rest
This delightful tour of how the United Record Pressing plant in Nashville makes clear vinyl albums is narrated by Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Read the rest
I really dig the design of this 1966 portable record player! If I had one, I'd play Manfred Mann's "Pretty Flamingo" on it too.
"You can treat it just like a transistor radio and the sound is free of distortion however you carry it!"
Read the rest
Our multitalented artist pal Coop meticulously designed and built an indie record shop entirely out of LEGOs! Right this way to Brick City Records!
And yes, he really did make tiny versions of his favorite LP covers in Photoshop, print them on decal paper, and stick them to LEGO tiles for the records:
Read the rest
Released in 1957, Co*Star: The Record Acting Game was a series of 15 vinyl LPs with recordings of actors and other celebrities like Vincent Price, Talulah Bankhead, and Don Ameche performing one role in two-character scenes from movies, plays, and novels. Each record contained a script and you were supposed to act opposite the recordings! In 1977, the game's original label Roulette Records reissued the series. They're available used on Discogs for around $4 - $50, depending on the star and, of course, condition.
You can experience the Vincent Price edition right here.
And below is one person's demonstration of the George Raft edition!
(via Weird Universe) Read the rest
Other Music, my favorite New York City record store, is closing down after more than two decades in the East Village. Other Music was a hub of avant-garde culture both locally and via their phenomenal weekly newsletter reviewing new releases, from experimental electronica to post-punk indie to freaky psych reissues, and everywhere in between. Whenever I visited Manhattan, I made a beeline to Other Music, and loved hearing staff recommendations (and peeking at what other customers were buying).
“We still do a ton of business — probably more than most stores in the country,” co-owner Josh Madell told the New York Times. “It’s just the economics of it actually supporting us — we don’t see a future in it. We’re trying to step back before it becomes a nightmare.”
Business has dropped by half since the store’s peak in 2000, when it did about $3.1 million in sales, said Chris Vanderloo, who founded the shop with Mr. Madell and Jeff Gibson after the three met as employees at the music spinoff of Kim’s Video in the early ’90s. (Mr. Gibson left Other Music’s day-to-day operations in 2001.)
Rent, on the other hand, has more than doubled from the $6,000 a month the store paid in 1995, while its annual share of the building’s property tax bill has also increased with the local real estate market.
Other Music, I will miss you.
Read the rest
Behold the space age beauty of the Paam Tube turntable, created by French designer Yonel Lebovici in 1968. On eBay, they appear to be listed in the $700 range or less if they're non-functional.
(via Discogs on Instagram and Paddle8)
Read the rest
An exceedingly rare and historically important Beatles record sold at auction today for $110,000. The 78 RPM 10" acetate includes "Hello Little Girl," apparently the first song John Lennon ever wrote (or at least recorded). The flip side is a song Meredith Wilson wrote for the 1957 play The Music Man, titled "Til There Was You." Take a listen below. The Beatles manager Brian Epstein handwrote the label on this particular record that now belongs to an anonymous collector.
From Omega Auctions:
Read the rest
This unique 10" 78RPM acetate record featuring 'Hello Little Girl' on one side and 'Til There Was You' on the other was cut in the Personal Recording Department of the HMV record store on Oxford St, London. Brian Epstein had the disc cut from the Decca audition tapes before presenting it to George Martin (EMI) on 13th February 1962 in his desperate attempt to get them a recording contract. This meeting, despite Martin's initial reticence, was to eventually lead to the breakthrough they were looking for. The disc was later given to The Fourmost to record their own version of Hello Little Girl (recorded 3 July 1963) and then to Les Maguire of Gerry & The Pacemakers (recorded Hello Little Girl 17th July 1963). This is the first time it has come to the marketplace, having been tucked away in Maguire's loft until now. Epstein's handwriting on the labels reads as follows: side 1 Hullo Little Girl, John Lennon & The Beatles, Lennon,McCartney' and side 2 'Til' There Was You Paul McCartney & The Beatles'.
THE TL;DR: “Bershukor: A Retrospective of Hits by a Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend” is a new vinyl collection of Adnan Othman's sixties psychedelic rock that was curated and produced by my brother, and released on Sublime Frequencies. In the 1960s, British and American rock was blowing the minds of young Malaysian teens. They listened to radio hits by Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, and a generation of Malaysian musicians transformed what they heard into a new form of Asian rock and roll that was entirely new of their own. The new genre became known as Pop Yeh Yeh, derived from the Beatles lyric, “She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah).” Berkushor, which means “gratitude” in Adnan's native language, will take you there. It's on Amazon, on forcedexposure, and good ole record stores. If they don't have it in your local vinyl shop, tell them to order it. Sound samples here.
“Bershukor: A Retrospective of Hits by a Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend Adnan Othman” [Sublime Frequencies]
Adnan Othman, on the cover of one of his original releases.
THE LONGER VERSION:
From the “Bershukor” release notes:
Read the rest
The legendary Adnan Othman has long been a driving force in the Malaysian rock scene. As early as the 1960s his groundbreaking songs in the style known as "pop yeh yeh" (rock and roll sung in Malay) were attracting fans across Malaysia and Singapore.
Yasutaro Koide, at 112, was the oldest man alive before he died Monday in Nagoya, Japan.
His death came only months after being confirmed by Guinness as such, and it leaves the situation of his successor unclear. Susannah Mushatt Jones, 116, of Brooklyn, however, remains the world's oldest person. France's Jeanne Calment, who was 122 years old at his death in 1997, is recognized as the longest-lived person on record.
Born in 1903, Koide was born to a world without human flight, ice cream cones, or the Model T. According to USA Today, he said that his secret was "not to smoke, drink or overdo it." Read the rest
Ringo Starr's personal copy of The White Album, the first pressing of the album, numbered 0000001, is up for auction with proceeds going to charity. The current high bid is $55,000. From Julien's Auctions:
It has been widely known among collectors that the four members of the Beatles kept numbers 1 through 4, but it was not commonly known that Starr was given the No.0000001 album. Starr has stated that he kept this album in a bank vault in London for over 35 years. Up to this time the lowest numbered UK first mono pressing album to come to market is No.0000005, which sold in 2008 for just under $30,000. This No.0000001 UK first mono pressing owned by a member of the Beatles is the lowest and most desirable copy that will ever become available.
As the record manufacturing plant certainly had every machine available simultaneously pressing copies of this album it is impossible to say with certainty which records were truly the very first off the press, but these discs were certainly among the very first. The album covers however were numbered in sequence, insuring that this No.0000001 sleeve is the very first finished cover. The top load sleeve is in near mint minus condition and would be near mint if not for the bumped upper right front gatefold corner, but it is overall very clean and fresh with very minor abrasions.
"RINGO STARR'S UK 1st MONO PRESSING WHITE ALBUM NO.0000001" (Julien's Auctions)
Read the rest
Most contemporary "kids music" sucks. However, my favorite reissue label Light In The Attic is releasing a killer children's vinyl compilation titled "This Record Belongs To______" that includes the likes of Shel Silverstein, Nina Simone, Donovan, Van Dyke Parks, Vashti Bunyan, Woody Guthrie, and many other musical greats, along with a storybook illustrated by the talented Jess Rotter. Read the rest
As the vinyl record resurgence continues, the problem is that there simply aren't enough record pressing plants to meet the demand. Indie labels get pushed to the back of the line when the majors place a big order. Read the rest