Some #longreads as you scramble for something to do in the hours leading up to the “Big Game”…
“Vinyl or CD’s?” is an argument that has raged on for decades, and the shifting fortunes of both formats in the last few years has inspired numerous articles promoting one side over the other. LA Weekly has an extensive and informative piece on the debate, providing a history of the creation of the technology as well as insights into the music recording process to help support the claim that compact discs do in fact “sound better.” That should be good news to record companies, who apparently view the recent surge in vinyl sales as “just a fad” even if there are reasons to believe this isn’t the case.*
We mentioned earlier this week that Sundance saw the premiere of the new Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck, and because our love for Nirvana has barely diminished over the years, multiple publications from a variety of backgrounds have pieces on director Brett Morgen and his film, including Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Beast.
As a companion to our recent review of the fantastic new Sleater-Kinney album No Cities to Love, you may want to read this extensive feature on Carrie Brownstein for Consequence of Sound’s quarterly literary magazine FACES.
Do not adjust your flickering screen: Rust Is Just Right is recommending that you read an interview with Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit. Stereogum has a fascinating discussion with the guitarist that shows his good humor and self-awareness of his place in music, and Borland provides an interesting perspective of the business and how bands operate.
And finally, Pitchfork has a couple of worthwhile pieces from “The Pitch”, both relating to leaks: the first analyzes the quest to determine whether or not the SoundCloud leak of unreleased Aphex Twin material was genuine, while the second examines the history of digital album leaks from the past two decades.
Prepare yourself for a return to a normal work-week with new videos and other fun distractions…
Broken Social Scene just released a music video for the track “Golden Facelift”, which originally was recorded during the Forgiveness Rock Record sessions but received new life when it was included in a recent compilation. Pitchfork has the story behind the song if you’re interested; otherwise, just sit back and enjoy this fan-made montage of all the horrifying events from this past year, with a slick BSS soundtrack.
The year 2014 was a bummer for a lot of people, but not for those who benefit from the rebirth of vinyl, as the recent boom shows no signs of slowing down with this latest year of sales. While the pretty bar graph shows a significant increase in the volume of sales, it doesn’t provide the needed caveat that vinyl still represents only a small percentage of total music sales, because that would require more research and more complicated analysis.
You thought that just because we’re now in the new year that we were beyond the time for lists? Well, think again, because Slicing Up Eyeballs has a list of the 100 best albums of the 80’s as determined by its readers. I have to say, I was rather surprised that a website with that name would only list Doolittle as number three, but apparently that’s how democracy works.
Consequence of Sound has an excellent extended interview with Death From Above 1979’s Jesse F. Keeler, with topics ranging from a potential sale of host Sami Jarroush’s guitar to Keeler’s “Mosh Mondays” with his kids.
New York Magazine has an extended profile of the founders of Rap Genius, the lyrics annotation website, with an eye on their grand plans for the future. Spoiler Alert: the guys are exactly the kind of dudebro assholes you would expect.
Here’s the perfect diversion for any Monday: a Tumblr that mashes up Morrissey/The Smiths lyrics with old Peanuts strips.
And finally, the Tumblr “Fuck Yeah Spoon” shared a brand new Spoon song that made its debut at a show in Houston a few nights ago. Even though the fan-made recording is not album-quality, it’s clear that “Satellite” is a beautiful ballad with a nice chugging beat, and we will certainly be hoping for an official release of some sort in the future.
Some reading material as you argue that August 9 is totally inappropriate for “Boring and Dull Day”…
We neglected to mention this article last week, but Pitchfork has a really excellent look at the business of making vinyl, delving into the specifics of the industry and their relationship with different record labels. They argue that the trendline shows that the vinyl “resurgence” is likely here to stay, but its ceiling is probably capped due to the physical capacity of the pressing factories at the very least.
Pitchfork also recently did an interview with Cymbals Eat Guitars, an underrated indie band that’s gearing up for a new album set to be released in a couple of weeks. Lenses Alien was a pretty solid release, but their debut Why There Are Mountains is definitely worth seeking out. Check out the first track of that one, “And the Hazy Sea”:
The Quietus has a couple of features worth reading this weekend. First, there’s an interview with Jody Stephens, the last surviving member of the brilliant group Big Star, along with John Fry, who helped engineered those albums. The two provide some great anecdotes and background about working on those records, as well as a first-hand account of the intra-band dynamics. Then there’s this tribute to Teenage Fanclub’s classic Bandwagonesque, an album that’s unfairly known more as the answer to a trivia question these days in the US than for its great quality.
And if you find that you still have time available this weekend, Interpol provided the entirety of their recent set at Lollapalooza on YouTube. That’s mighty kind of them.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend, whether it was spiritual, musical, or “miscellaneous”, and we also hope that you didn’t mind waiting an extra day while we recuperated. I believe my stomach is proof that Costco should not be allowed to sell jellybeans.
Record Store Day was this past Saturday, and perhaps you scored some cool vinyl or just enjoyed a good excuse to spend a weekend afternoon scouring the racks at your local record store. I only picked up a 7″ Mudhoney/The Sonics split-single, mainly in part to my reluctance to splurge on vinyl. And now I have some ammunition when a so-called “audiophile” tries to insist that I’m missing out on superior sound, courtesy of Vox. I’ll just be sure not to mention the Nyquist-Shannon theorem, because I have it on good authority that it’s not really handled correctly in the piece. Otherwise, it’s a great scientific explanation of sound recordings in different formats; of course, if you prefer the sound of vinyl, feel free to keep rocking.
There weren’t really that many videos to share this week, but there was this footage from Soundgarden’s SXSW appearance that was just uploaded, with the band ripping through “Rusty Cage”.
Next week marks the return of the Pixies, who will release their first album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde. NPR has Indie Cindy available to stream right now, so be sure to check that out while you read a feature of the band from Crack Magazine.
Finally, it’s the 20th anniversary of Above the Rim, one of my favorite movies to watch whenever it shows up on cable. First, there’s a look at the making of the film with the screenwriter, Barry Michael Cooper, courtesy of Complex. When you’re done with that, have some fun with a more irreverent look with a roundtable discussion about the unique greatness of the film from Grantland. If you’re wondering why we’re discussing a basketball movie on a music site, you should probably check this slideshow, then ask yourself why you bothered to pose the question considering this was one of Tupac’s great roles, and it featured “Regulate”.