Record Store Day

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 17 Edition)

Some #longreads as you prepare yourself for Record Store Day…

It should be obvious that we here at Rust Is Just Right love record stores, and so it would seem to follow that we would appreciate the “Record Store Day” celebration.  However, as the “holiday” has grown in recent years, we have begun to realize that the success of the promotion can be a double-edged sword for the very businesses it was meant to protect: a sudden influx of sales can be good, but it means little to these stores if these sales do not create regular customers, and the emphasis on special releases has the problem of crowding out vinyl production, with limited edition records for established artists taking up space initially earmarked for truly independent bands.  Pitchfork has a piece that breaks down in more detail the ambivalent feelings that Record Store Day has generated.

It may sound counterintuitive at first, but the thesis of this Stereogum essay makes more sense the more you think about it–Brian Wilson certainly had an impact on the creation of punk rock.  Elsewhere on the site, the Anniversary Machine takes a look at the tenth anniversary of Alligator from The National, which marked a significant turning point for the band.  The best point made in the article is that despite what some detractors may say, there is a real evolution from Alligator to the present day in The National’s sound.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is awarding Kanye West with an honorary degree, and FADER has an interview with the president and dean of the school explaining their decision.  Though it has generated a mild amount of heat among a minority of students and some alumni, it is an easily defensible choice, as explained in the piece.

An ugly spat has been brewing between Black Sabbath and drummer Bill Ward, and it has spilled over into the public sphere this week.  Rolling Stone has an interview with Ward explaining the origins of the dispute and the band’s current situation.

The highly-anticipated second album from Alabama Shakes will be released on Tuesday, and Consequence of Sound talked to frontwoman Brittany Howard about Sound & Color as well as the band’s rise to fame.

Finally, Cuepoint has a fantastic piece courtesy of Bethlehem Shoals on the legacy of Percy Sledge, who should be remembered for more than his mammoth hit “When A Man Loves A Woman.”

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 10 Edition)

Some #longreads for your weekend as you avoid the clusterfuck in the desert and watch the Coachella livestream…

On Wednesday, Rust Is Just Right will publish its long-awaited list of the Best Albums of 2014.  Our newer readers may wonder why we are releasing our picks so late relative to the rest of the music world, but rest assured, we will provide our very good explication along with our list next week (or you can go back into the archives and see last year’s list to see our reasons).

Next Saturday is Record Store Day, which is perfect timing for our readers, since in addition to visiting your local record shop to peruse all the special goodies on sale that day, you can pick up some of our recommendations from our Best Albums list.  Dave Grohl is serving as the Record Store Day ambassador, and Rolling Stone talks to him about the holiday and the special release that the Foo Fighters cooked up for the celebration, featuring some very, very early home recordings from Dave.

Independent labels are a significant part of Record Store Day, and one of our favorite labels that was one of the scene’s earliest successes was Seattle’s Sub Pop.  VNYL talks to Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt about the early history of the label as well as some of his favorite records.  On a related note, while not directly affiliated with Sub Pop,* the supergroup Temple of the Dog came from the same Seattle scene,  and fans may be interested to note the legal battle over the master tapes of their only album.

As much as I love Pavement, I never embraced Wowee Zowee as much as some other fans (though it has grown on me a bit over the years).  So it is for the benefit of those fans that we are linking to not one but two appreciations for the album’s twentieth anniversary, one from Stereogum and the other from Consequence of Sound.  The retrospective that got my attention was for another album–last week was the twentieth anniversary of a wildly different classic, 2Pac’s Me Against the World.

For those of you who enjoyed our review of the fantastic new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, Asunder, Sweet and other Distress, I recommend checking out this old interview from last year from Self-Titled with guitarist and “leader” Efrim Menuck, which provides some welcome insight into the workings and motivations of the group.

We have talked several times before about the much-anticipated release of My Morning Jacket’s new album, and Steven Hyden of Grantland helps add to the hype with this piece.

Jello Biafra always provides a great interview, so it is probably worth your time to read what he has to say to Janky Smooth.

And finally, if you’re looking to kill some time this weekend, check out this list from the AV Club of bands that broke up as soon as they hit it big.  You have enough time to listen to their entire discographies in a single weekend!

*Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron were however at one point signed with Sub Pop with their main gig in Soundgarden, so an indirect connection does exist.

Catching Up On The Week (Mar. 21 Edition)

We don’t have any real #longreads for you to scroll through this weekend, but there are a lot of shorter interesting articles that are worth your time.  That’s probably a good thing, because I imagine a lot of people will be focused on the NCAA Tournament this weekend; then again, if you were looking for us a source of distraction, we’re sorry.

First, for the music theory enthusiasts out there, Slate did a piece on one man’s quest to determine the time signature of the theme from The Terminator.  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a time signature in music, there’s a quick explanation in the article, so don’t worry.  For the record, my initial guess was 10/8.

Not The Terminator, but frightening nonetheless

Not The Terminator, but frightening nonetheless

I was glad to see that one of the conditions of the settlement between GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys was a public apology by GoldieBlox.  If the case had gone to litigation, there was a potentially an intriguing fight over how parody in certain contexts should be handled under Fair Use.  Complicating matters for GoldieBlox was the fact that they were using the parody for other commercial purposes.  After all this, I hope everyone learned this lesson: always ask permission, and make sure you get the proper license.

There have been discussions recently on the issue of audio quality and the way that digital technology from both the musician’s and consumer’s perspective has had a significant effect on recording (See “Pono”), this article takes a look at how musicians have attempted to push for greater rights and use of live musicians instead of samples.  The piece makes good points about how difficult it is to actually replicate live sounds, and how musicians (especially string players) are often screwed when it comes to compensation.  However, the article fails to account how some artists take advantage of the more mechanized sound and use it to their advantage (See the entire career of Kraftwerk).  I appreciate their intentions, but it’s not the only pathway.

On a similar note, here’s some more disappointing news for musicians: Late Night with Seth Meyers is booking fewer musical guests than the show did under Jimmy Fallon.  Billboard reports that this is by design, as the show believes that Meyers has other strengths.  Say what you will about Fallon’s ability as a late night host (and believe me, I have), I always appreciated that he would often book underground acts and give them exposure, like Titus Andronicus or Parquet Courts.  Hell, Refused even played Fallon’s show.  Hopefully Fallon will do some similar booking with The Tonight Show in the future.

Record Store Day is coming up in a month, and there are several cool releases to look forward to picking up this year.  But while RSD has provided a lot of good exposure to independent stores in the past few years and have provided a lot of foot traffic, this article explains that the type of product being offered often languishes on the shelves and other such factors mean that the “holiday” may actually hurt several stores.

CNN continues to show that they have little idea about how to do anything right.  Deadspin has a piece on how they used an absolutely awful lede in a story about Kurt Cobain.  The original article has since been altered, but the Deadspin staff had fun in coming up with their own versions of other possibly awful openers that CNN could have opted to use.

Finally, here’s a pleasant song for your weekend: Real Estate recently did a live cover of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, and Pitchfork has the video.  It’s one of my favorite songs, and I appreciate the spirit of the cover.