Iconic NYC record store Other Music to shut its doors

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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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Fantastic space-age "tube turntable" from 1968

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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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Beatles "holy grail" record sells for $110k

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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:

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'.

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My brother produced a '60s Malaysian psych-garage rock tribute to Adnan Othman, and you must hear it

Carl Hamm. Photo: Samuel Dixon

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:

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.

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Just look at this (unofficial) Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground Electric Banana Record Player

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Just look at it.

(Thanks, James!) Read the rest

Buy Ringo Starr's copy of the very first pressing of the White Album

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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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You can now own the Fez soundtrack on gorgeous translucent colored vinyl

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Disasterpiece's remarkable soundtrack for Fez has been released on beautiful pollen-colored vinyl, alongside a striking red-and-gold physical release for the game itself.

Meet the 9-year-old "King of the $1 Record Bins"

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My son Lux, age 9, is an avid record collector. Unlike me, Lux has the patience to dig through the $1 bins wherever there is cheap vinyl to be had: thrift shops, garage sales, flea markets, record swaps, and of course record stores. (His favorite record shops in the San Francisco Bay Area are Mill Valley Music and Amoeba.) Veteran audio journalist and record collector Michael Fremer interviewed Lux for his site, Analog Planet. (Thanks, David Hyman!)

Below, Lux and I after Record Store Day 2015!

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Crosley Cruiser – Vintage-inspired portable turntable

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

Crosley makes a line of vintage-inspired portable turntables in great colors and prints. Thanks to variable speed settings, each player can handle your perennial 78s as well as your newly pressed Hozier record. They even come fully loaded with an adapter for your Lemonheads 45s.

With built-in speakers, you need only the turntable, your album of choice, and a power outlet. If you prefer to listen to Tori Amos on full size speakers, the player also has a stereo output discreetly hidden in back.

If your spouse or partner doesn’t find the hisses and pops of vinyl recordings charming, the headphone jack allows you to immerse yourself in Paul’s Boutique while pretending you're only pending obligation is a paper on Faulkner and feminism. And because no urban hipster is complete without a little irony, your vintage-inspired record play comes equipped with an input for your MP3 player. You will have to provide your own mustache and slouchy beanie, however. – Elly Lonon

Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable Crosley 3 speeds, 9 colors $80 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Tower Records store on LA's Sunset Strip returns to life, one night only

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Like a zombie rising from the dead for Halloween, the iconic record store returns to life for the launch of Tower Records documentary 'All Things Must Pass'

The best children's music compilation record and turntable!

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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

The antique tech shortage that hurts the vinyl boom

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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

303 Aerospace Protectant really preserves plastic and vinyl

I like classic motorcycles and cars. I live by the sea. 303 Aerospace Protectant keeps plastic and rubbery bits looking fresh and new.

I don't know what the hell is in this stuff. I don't know why it is different than Armor-All, but the results are unmistakeable. 303 Aerospace really works.

I spray a rag and apply the milky looking liquid to the surface that needs it. It seems adding a little sea air and some sun to the rubber grommets, caps and fastener covers on my old BMW airhead will cause things to disintegrate before my eyes. A light coating of 303 Aerospace every few months has stopped that completely.

I've seen old vinyl seats come back to life. 303 amazingly even restores some of the lost flexibility in that old Corinthian leather, cracking and peeling significantly slowed to stopped. I've used 303 to keep my plastic kayaks looking new for years, and the fiberglass top on my Volkswagen Westfalia camper. Most amazingly, 303 really does a wonderful job on the horrible plastic covered cardboard dash in that same VW. The bus doesn't look new, but the dash does.

I'd read a lot of complaints from people about Armor-All over hydrating surfaces and cracking them worse. I suspect that might be due to over application, but I find 303 gives me a better, longer lasting finish anyways.

303 (30313-CSR) Aerospace Protectant Trigger Sprayer, 32 Fl. oz. Read the rest

Listen to country songs about Bigfoot (c.1970)

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Yesterday, I went to a terrific parking lot record swap in San Rafael, California and I regret not purchasing "Bigfoot: (Northwest's Abominable Snowman)," an album of country tunes about my favorite cryptid sung by Don Jones. Check out these two songs from the LP, including the title track that includes the "real scream of the true Bigfoot (Sasquatch.)" Read the rest

Influential post-punk dance albums by Liquid Liquid reissued on vinyl!

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In 1983, Downtown NYC post-punk dance band Liquid Liquid released this Michael Sporn Animation Studios video for "Cavern," a killer track whose bassline became the foundation of Grandmaster Melle Mel's pioneering hip hop track "White Lines (Don't Do It)." The excellent Superior Viaduct label has just reissued Liquid Liquid's classic records including Optimo, the EP containing "Cavern." Read the rest

Sisters of Mercy's "Floodland" getting the special vinyl box set treatment

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The Sisters of Mercy's classic 1987 beast of gothic bombast, Floodland, will be reissued next month as a 4-LP vinyl box from Rhino records featuring the original album along with three 12-inches from the time. Floodland was the second full-length released under the Sisters name, and at that point the band consisted of founder Andrew Eldritch, new bassist Patricia Morrison of Gun Club fame, and the thunderous drum machine known as Doctor Avalanche. Meat Loaf producer Jim Steinman brought his orchestral magic to a couple Floodland tracks, including "This Corrosion," above, one of the greatest goth dance songs ever produced.

Sisters of Mercy: Floodland Era Vinyl Box Set (Amazon)

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Tortilla laser-etched into a record that actually plays!

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Enjoy the edible lo-fi sounds of "Jarabe Tapatío," aka "The Mexican Hat Dance." Over at Instructables, learn how to make your own tortilla record! Read the rest

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