How To Buy Meat, the record album

In the late 1960s, the US Department of Agriculture released this LP titled "How To Buy Meat." The voice is that of Sandra Brookover, Consumer Meat Specialist. The record, a collection of public service announcements, was meant for radio stations and never saw a commercial release. Due its scarcity, I expect the imminent release of a 180 gram, gatefold reissue of the record. Limited edition, 'natch.

Have a listen: "How can you tell a blade chuck roast from an arm chuck roast?" (MP3)

(Weird Universe)

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Cut and play your own vinyl records with this $81 machine

Designer Yuri Suzuki of Pentagram and killer Japanese electronic kit maker Gakken collaborated on this fantastic-looking Easy Record Maker. The US$81 (!) device enables you to cut and play your own (very) lo-fi 5" albums! Susuki will demo the device on his Instagram tomorrow. From DesignWeek:

The machine comes with ten blank five-inch discs [with more available for purchase]. You can plug in the audio source from any device, such as a computer or phone and then “engrave sound directly from the recording stylus,” Suzuki tells Design Week. You can then instantly playback sound using the tone arm and in-built speaker...

“When I was a high school student, I was in a punk band – my friends and I always dreamed of pressing a record, but we knew how expensive it was,” he explains. “Personally this device is my teenage dream machine!”

You can also design your own label and sleeves, which is another “platform to express yourself”, Suzuki adds.

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Worldwide vinyl supply may be threatened after devastating Apollo Masters fire

The vinyl record industry could be in for real trouble after a devastating fire on February 6th completely destroyed the vinyl manufacturing facility, Apollo Masters, in Banning, CA. Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records, tells Pitchfork via email:

“From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide. There are only TWO companies that make lacquers in the world, and the other, MDC in Japan, already had trouble keeping up with demand BEFORE this development.” (The emphasis is Blackwell’s.)

Blackwell also wrote that there have been “whispers” of another company “entertaining the idea” of entering the lacquer marketplace, but that Apollo was also the “primary or possibly only supplier of the styli” that are used in the vinyl pressing process. “I imagine this will affect EVERYONE, not just Third Man Pressing and Third Man Mastering, but to what extent remains to be seen.”

Read the rest on Pitchfork.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash Read the rest

Man climbs stairs with head

The Guinness Book of Records recognizes Li Longlong of China as the person who has climbed the most consecutive stairs with his head. He's held the record since 2012, but extended it in 2015.

This video is of his latest attempt was on the set of CCTV Guinness World Records Special in 2015, where he achieved a new record by climbing 36 stairs.

Guinness posted an article about him this week, explaining the rules thus: "the participant must not pause for more than five seconds between steps, and that no part of the body other than the head may touch them." Read the rest

Watch the world's fastest juggler

David Rush now holds the Guinness World Record for the most juggling catches in 60 seconds. Rush had the record before, with 556 catches, until Michael Ferreri snatched it with 558. Now, 586 catches later, the record is Rush's once again. From UPI:

Rush also decided to take on his own record for speed juggling using the slower cascade pattern of juggling and managed 502 catches in one minute, beating his own 2016 record of 428 catches.

The Idaho man, who has broken more than 100 Guinness records to promote STEM education, said the speed juggling records were the most difficult that he has attempted.

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Arthur C. Clarke reads his short story "Transit of Earth" (1975)

Arthur C. Clark's short story "Transit of Earth" appeared in the January 1971 issue of Playboy. It's a moving tale of an astronaut stranded on Mars, on the verge of death, waiting to watch the Earth pass in front of the Sun. Above, Clarke's reading of the story as found on his 1978 spoken word LP that also includes "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Star."

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Cut your own vinyl records at home with this machine

For a little over $1500, you can own a machine that will cut vinyl records in the comfort of your own home. This machine, the Phonocut Home Vinyl Recorder, is being promoted as a way to make your own analog "mixtapes," for musicians to record on demand, and for "people in love" to woo their beloved. But, primarily, they think pro studios will want it to "produce unlimited amounts of super affordable test cuts of recording sessions." From the look of their already-funded Kickstarter campaign, they're probably right on all accounts.

Fast Company:

The Phonocut’s interface is as simple as possible by design. You plug into the device via an audio cable, connecting it to a music source like your computer or your phone’s headphone jack... Then you hit play, and the 18-pound vinyl lathe uses a diamond-tipped needle to cut 10-inch records in real time to the music. These records are small and are only able to hold about 15 minutes of music per side...

The idea of creating custom vinyl at home might sound too good to be true, but its founder, Flo Kaufmann, is a record specialist with over two decades in the business. He’s partnered with Florian “Doc” Kaps, who has already successfully brought back another analog technology thought lost to the ages—Polaroid film—with his Impossible Project. So if anyone can pull off the Phonocut, it’s probably this team.

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Wilco's lovely new song, video, and forthcoming pop-up book/vinyl package

Enjoy this beautiful song "Everyone Hides" from Wilco's forthcoming 11th album, Ode To Joy, out on October 4.

The album is also available in a limited-edition vinyl box set designed by my Grammy-winning pal Lawrence Azerrad who co-produced the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition with Tim Daly and me. Check out the specs on this extravagant and exquisite objet d' art:

Exclusively available through the Wilco store, the Ode to Joy Deluxe Vinyl Box Set features a limited edition hand-numbered slipcased pop-up art book which includes:

• Ode To Joy LP on 180 gram vinyl • LP jacket and inserts exclusive to this edition • A 22-page clothbound hardcover embossed book printed on 100 point archival paper. The book features collages and unique hand assembled paper constructions that animate and reveal album lyrics including pages engineered with pull out die cut pockets, spinning wheels, paper doors, and unfolding gatefold spreads. • Autographed by the band.

Produced in Chicago, IL with six color printing, metallic inks and collages designed by Wilco’s long-time collaborator Lawrence Azerrad, the limited edition Ode To Joy art book is a rare archive of this work.

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Save the ARC, the largest popular music library in the United States

New York City's ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) is a cultural treasure packed with actual treasures. Inside the walls of this not-for-profit private research library in TriBeCa are 3 million physical audio recordings, many on vinyl records. The ARC's founder, Bob George, is also a cultural treasure -- warm, obsessive, kind, committed, and a walking encyclopedia of popular music -- from obscure folk to the avant-garde. In recent years, Bob's been working closely with the Internet Archive to digitize many of the ARC's scarce 78s for broader access and, yes, preservation. Bob launched ARC in 1985 when his own record collection outgrew his apartment. Now the ARC needs help. They've launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 to keep the ARC alive. From Rolling Stone:

Far from the kind of crackpot hoarding that sometimes happens in cities, George’s archive has been supported by powerhouses in music and entertainment. It houses Keith Richards’ blues collection. Their current board is varied enough to include both Youssou N’Dour and Paul Simon (Lou Reed and David Bowie were both once members). It consulted for Tom Hanks on the making of That Thing You Do. It’s the go-to repository for album art for everything from Grammy exhibits to Taschen books... George’s commitment is dogged. When Martin Scorsese wanted an obscure Italian song in Goodfellas, George roamed Little Italy humming the tune until someone recognized it (“You can solve every problem in New York if you just walk through it,” he says).

At a time when some in the city were scrubbing Keith Haring murals off subway platforms, George was welcoming every genre, including then-unpopular punk and hip-hop (among the archive’s greatest collection is a trove of punk 45s).

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2001: A Space Odyssey, the 15-minute "audiobook" version for kids

In 1984, Kid Stuff Records & Tapes released "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a book/7" record set for children along with "2010: The Year We Make Contact" to coincide with the latter's release that year. Audio of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" adaptation above. Photos of book pages here. Spoiler: HAL still won't open the pod bay doors.

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Listen: HP Lovecraft's "The Outsider" and "The Hound" read by Roddy McDowall

On this 1966 LP, British actor Roddy McDowall -- later known for playing Dr. Cornelius and Caesar in the original Planet of the Apes films -- delivers a wonderful reading of HP Lovecraft's classic short story "The Outsider." First published in Weird Tales in 1926, this nightmarish gothic-inspired tale is arguably one of Lovecraft's finest pieces of psychological horror.

The B-side is a reading of Lovecraft's "The Hound" (1922) featuring the very first mention of the infamous Necronomicon:

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

New anthology of Michele Mercure's 80s synth music from the cassette underground

In the 1980s, Pennsylvania-based Michele Mercure was composing music for theater, film, and TV animation. After a trip to the Netherlands, she became inspired by the German kosmiche music scene of Kluster, Tangerine Dream, and the like. But Mercure cut her own path into experimental electronic music, weaving her synthetic, rhythmic soundscapes with strange samples and cut-up vocalizations, resulting in tracks that move between abstract and ambient dreamscapes and mechanized intensity. For decades, Mercure's self-released cassettes (under the name Michelle Musser) moved through underground trading circles but many of those recordings will now reach a wider group of heads. Beside Herself is a gorgeous 19-track Michele Mercure retrospective released today by the esteemed curators at RVNG Intl. and Freedom To Spend labels. To celebrate the release, Mercure and Mary Haverstick created the wonderful "Electronumentary" above. Below, one of the album tracks. From RVNG:

Mercure’s artistic path never ran through creative meccas New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, and then moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in her twenties, Mercure was already an adept musician when she encountered a local and lively theater scene, and was asked to score an unorthodox performance of Waiting for Godot. The experience was pivotal in marrying music and image for Mercure, and so she began making music for film, television, dance, and theater. It wasn’t until a long sojourn in Eindhoven, however, that she became transfixed by electronic music (ala Conrad Schnitzler, whom she would correspond with for years) that would inform her music to come.

Mercure’s contemporaries became the kindred minds of the Eurock “scene” such as The Nightcrawlers, Lauri Paisley, and Don Slepian.

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Haruki Murakami donating his huge record collection to university

Author Haruki Murakami is donating a large collection of his personal materials -- original manuscripts, letters, foreign language editions of his books, and 10,000 vinyl records -- to his alma mater Waseda University. From the Japan Times:

The donation “is a very important thing for me, so I thought I should explain clearly” by holding a news conference, said Murakami, 69. “I don’t have any children, and it would cause trouble for me if those materials became scattered or lost..."

Using the donated materials, the university in Tokyo is considering setting up an international study center featuring the author’s works. It also plans to create a space that will resemble a study room with bookshelves and music records...

In the envisioned facility to house his documents, Murakami said if possible he wants to organize a concert using his collection of vinyl records, which total more than 10,000 copies.

Murakami, who opened a cafe for jazz enthusiasts in Tokyo while still a student at Waseda University, has said music is an essential component of his career in literature.

Previously: "A Murakami playlist" Read the rest

You can buy Sonic Youth's old music gear and records

Sonic Youth is selling a couple hundred pieces of music gear and a slew of rare vinyl records including test pressings of their own LPs and other fine platters. The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop opens for business today. From Reverb.com:

One of the guitars included in The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop is a '70s Fender Telecaster Deluxe used by Ranaldo, Jim O'Rourke, and Mark Ibold from 1987 to 2009, and Ranaldo's Travis Bean TB1000A Artist. The Travis Bean was stolen in 1999, but Ranaldo got it back in 2002 and continued to play it until 2011.

After that same theft, Kim Gordon used a replacement blue Fender Precision Bass until 2004. This P-Bass, as well as a copper sparkle Ibanez Talman, was used by Thurston Moore and Gordon from 1999 to 2010, throughout Gordon's solo SYR5 gigs.

Befitting a band that helped popularize offsets—a candy apple red Fender Jazzmaster used by Moore for more than a decade and a sunburst Jazzmaster used Ranaldo will also be available in Sonic Youth's Shop. In addition, there are more than 100 vintage and used effects pedals used by all members of the band, including Ranaldo's Klon Centaur Silver Overdrive.

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Listen to Vincent Price's delightful 1969 lecture on witchcraft, magick, and demonology

In 1969, Capitol Records released this incredible double LP set (and double 8-track tape) from Vincent Price titled "Witchcraft-Magic: An Adventure in Demonology." Hear the whole thing above. The nearly two hours of spoken word includes sections on the history and culture of "witchcraft" and helpful guides such as "How To Invoke Spirits, Demons, Unseen Forces" and "How To Make A Pact With The Devil." I certainly wouldn't vouch for the factual accuracy or research rigor of the material, but hearing horror icon Price's silky narration about such topics as necromancy and the "Witches Sabbat" is a joy.

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Fortnite team dominates squads with 61 elimination win

The new record for most eliminations in a single match by a squad is now 61. Watch Fortitude_Fqrbes, Nexjs, tactjc, and TTV NadeXC take down most of the lobby.

There is a lot of swearing, as there should be. Read the rest

Interviews with women in the vinyl record scene

Jenn D'Eugenio is a badass record collector, indie label maven, and vinyl industry veteran who now works at the esteemed Furnace Record Pressing company in Virginia. Recently, Jenn started interviewing her peers in the record scene "to empower and highlight the women that are working in the vinyl / music industry to create, preserve, improve and enhance the art of music on vinyl."

Check out Women In Vinyl for interviews with the likes of Katy Clove of Merge Records, Italians Do It Better label president Megan Louise Doyle, audio archivist Amanda McCabe, and designer Kate Koeppel who makes fantastic products for vinyl collectors.

"Not enough of the female + vinyl focus is on the women behind the record stores, labels, manufacturers, vinyl accessories, etc. and I hope to change that with interviews and stories about these women," Jenn says.

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