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.
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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)
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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:
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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:
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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)
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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
Chipzel's Super Hexagon soundtrack will be printed on hexagonal colored vinyl in custom clear sleeves designed by Cory Schmitz. There will only be 1600 made. Preorder quickly, I suspect.
I wish I got a free 7" when I bought a new pack of briefs. Read the rest
The land speed record for a regular bus has been shat on. "Bus Hound," powered by biomethane derived from cow manure, clocked 76.785mph in speed trials in England.
Operated by Reading Buses, the vehicle was painted black and white in honor of the Frisian cows whose excrement powers its mighty engines. It was designed to advance the "power and credibility of buses fuelled by cow poo," reports the BBC.
"Most importantly we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow," Chief engineer John Bickerton told them ."We're modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation."
Ars Technica's Sebastian Anthony writes that biomethane is a promising technology, far greener than natural gas, but close in performance: "not only are you leaving those fossil fuels in the ground, you're also combusting methane that would've otherwise ended up as an atmospheric greenhouse gas."
If you're wondering, the answer is yes: Britain has also invented a bus powered by human excrement.
GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said: "Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself."
One human's annual output would would fuel the Bio-Bus for 37 miles. And if you're all out, there's always chip fat. Read the rest
Portland area archivist Cliff Bolling has curated and digitized thousands of 78 records. One prized addition is this variegated series from Pathé's Chanticleer line. Bolling says this was an attempt by the French company to gain market share in the US. The series featured popular American songs, like this version of "Bye Bye Blackbird." by The Virginia Creepers. Read the rest
Peter Lardong makes playable (and edible) records from chocolate, a century-old tradition we've posted about previously. (via Laughing Squid)
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Video below of Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, 1971. Read the rest
Smithsonian looks at Amanda Ghassaei's experiments 3D printing records and laser cutting grooves into playable plastic, paper, and wood discs. Read the rest
Here's an excellent 1956 RCA Victor promotional documentary about how vinyl records are made. More than 50 years later, the basic process remains the same even as the number of pressing plants has dwindled, driving up the price of new platters. Read the rest
Afrika Bambaataa donated his vinyl to Cornell University Library's Hip Hop Collection. (Professor Bambaataa is a Visiting Scholar there.) But before the wax goes on its way, you can watch it being sorted, organized, and, yes, spun, at Gavin Brown's enterprise gallery in NYC's West Village. There are "Lunch Breaks" shows this week with Crazy Legs, Joe Conzo, Grandwizzard Theodore, and Break Beat Lou, and the collection will remain on view until August 10. Unfortunately, no digging allowed!
"Spend Your Lunch Break with Afrika Bambaataa's Legendary Record Collection" (Paper)
More details on the exhibition at Gavin Brown's enterprise. Read the rest