After a year out of college, I've been brain scrambled by every single thing that has happened to family, friends, crushes, coworkers and people you've never spoken a word to or saw in passing. Those days of college and the carefree world of "finding yourself," (read "boozing") are completely gone for some of us. Last week I had a playlist going to those crazy nights, remembering some people I may never see again, and those I still stay in contact with. These are five albums I will always remember rocking out to and having a good time in my collegiate career (read super happy fun time). I even had a discussion of these albums with my good friend Matt.
Every Time I Die's Gutter Phenomenon - If you didn't know I'm the resident Every Time I Die superfan (sorry Drew), then you obviously don't read my work. (I'm glad you're enjoying the New Yorker.) There was a bit of a split between my friends as to which album, Phenomenon or Hot Damn!, was the better mix. This one always won out, and then we figured to pop the other in afterward. Win. Win. Win. Matt's Memory: "All I can remember is having people come over to my apartment to booze just about every night. Within 45 minutes, Gutter Phenomenon would be on louder than anything you've ever heard with no still bodies in the house."
As Cities Burn's Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest - Easily the most anticipated by the hardcore kids of Southern Louisiana. We loved bands like Norma Jean and UnderOath and mewithoutYou, but to have our hometown band on the map with them, there was reason to rock out and see the guys every time they played. Easily put on at every party every weekend I went out. Matt's Memory - "I remember listening to it in your car before it came out. Or it was some type of Solid State sampler that had some ACB on it. I remember all of us just thinking 'This is too good.'"
The Bled's Pass the Flask/Found in the Flood - There was definitely a tear in the group on this one. I think (and still do) that Found in the Flood is/was the best album by the band to date. It's progressive and thoughtful song writing mixed with Pass the Flask's furry. I remember a lot of just air riffing all the guitar licks on Pass the Flask. Though, I do remember one of Matt's first smartphone rings was the breakdown from "Daylight Bombings." That riff is still flipping sick! Matt's Memory: "I just remember being way too drunk when it was way too late listening to The Bled way too loud. Always mayhem."
Spitfire's Self-Help: I specifically remember Matt showing our buddies and I this album. There were a lot of car rides trying to figure out everything on this album. We were stoked to see the band on their tour with UnderOath and As Cities Burn. I still can't figure out how their guitarist can bend his guitar neck to get those tones...and with ease! Matt's Memory: "I have that Spitfire album and throw it on from time to time, but it's not one of my favorites." (This made me die laughing due to the first part of my memory.)
UnderOath's Define the Great Line - I hated They're Only Chasing Safety. I still do to this day. As a big fan of The Changing of Times, I did not get it at all. While everyone around me loved the album - and there were plenty of nights with this discussion for some reason - I on the other hand had dropped off with paying any interest in the band. Enter some leaked demo's of the band's tracks that was at a party one night, and then I was a bit sold again. I remember everyone agreeing this was the best of the band's work and constantly arguing which tracks were the strongest. Agree to disagree. Wait, is that how that's supposed to be used? Matt's Memory: "I just remember being happy that it was a little heavier than [They're] Only Chasing Safety."
This is too good. See, you try to do something apologetic, and some asshole with no time on his hands has to bring you down....well, fuck it.
See, I'm done. Checked out. My college days are over.
Well, kind of.
Anyone following this blog knows that I've set myself up for a late April 09 deadline to finish the book that I've been playing around with for the past few months. It has to be done. It's an independent study -- and my final class to graduate in May!
After the thread this weekend and apologizing - and realizing that the Internet is still just a giant wormhole for people to bitch and make themselves feel great - I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people scratching their heads and running mouths about my latest project as well.
The fact is, I'm pretty damn proud of my work across the board. Sure, there are some articles and reviews I look back at and critique, but being a self-critic is the best thing you can do as a writer, because if not, you fail, and things progress like this weekend.
On top of that, I have had a successful blog (I think) for the past 6 or so months, and some great talks and articles with some of my favorite bands and artists.
I got to interview Matt Pryor. I couldn't see myself in any shape or form being able to do that four and a half years aog. Being able to shoot the shit with Jesse Lacey backstage, or have one of the few interviews with Rich Balling about The Sound of Animals Fighting on my own radio show that i had for over four years!
So if you think a few comments will hold me down, you think wrong.
With that being said, here is my final paper I will ever have to write for a journalism class - EVER!
Bitch all you want. Bring it. But being asked to be featured on AMP Magazine's Web site relaunch is the next step on my long road "far from" the middle.
Thanks to any staff member or user who has enjoyed my work, your words mean a lot.
love and respect.
Final article and real topic for this week's blog:
Capitol/EMI part of major record companies reissuing classics on vinyl and to major retailers
Nostalgia and discovery. That’s the simple answer for Capitol/EMI Record’s “From the Capitol Vaults” series that began just a few months ago.
A&R and Creative Vice President Jane Ventom says it’s an answer to a resurgence brought on by two separate generations.
“There are the Baby Boomers who are revisiting for nostalgia purposes,” she says, “And it’s the iPod generation discovering it.”
“From the Capitol Vault” is a series of repressed vinyl records. There are older re-issues by bands like The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix, and contemporary pressings by bands like Radiohead and Coldplay.
In a market that is fleeting in CD sales, and consistently rising in digital sales, vinyl would seem like the least likely medium for a a major label to invest in.
Ventom says it’s not just the consumers’ demand, but the major distributors that are wanting to stock the units, not to mention an increase in record player sales.
When walking into Barnes and Noble and Best Buy locations, there’s a greater possibility now of a consumer finding a twelve-inch piece of wax along side a silver disc, less than half its older brother’s size.
NUMBERS AND PRICING
In the past ten years, one would think the old medium of twelve-inch grooved wax would become obsolete to an electronic box that holds up to a 100,000 songs, and can be taken anywhere - but the numbers don’t lie.
In 2006, the Year to Date (YTD) sales of vinyl, according to Neilsen Soundscan, was 640,000 and in 2007, as of November, peaked to 782,000.
Virgil Dickerson is also seeing a good year with his company Vinyl Collective, an online store that distributes vinyl and presses original prints through Dickerson’s label Suburban Home Records.
Vinyl Collective is also carrying older reissues with their contemporary pressings.
“With the resurgence of vinyl, there is going to be a demand for other classic records that have been out of print for awhile,” he says.
He says carrying some of the reissues have been great, and many of the Web site’s customers have been pleased with the new pressings.
Dickerson cites price, and the number of reissues, a significant crack in nostalgia’s road though. While some records are harder to find then others, some reissues, he says, are cheaper out of a used bin.
“Take for example a Dire Straights album,” he says. “The reissue may be priced around $20 to $25 dollars. You have fans saying, ‘I saw that in the used bin for $2, why would I pay $25 for it?’”
Dickerson says he doesn’t think it’s collectors looking for used copies, but the retail price being much higher than a record’s worth.
He also says some reissues are getting extreme in number to collect. He cites the many different colored repressings of Alkaline Trio’s back catalog his site has carried this year. “It’s harder for collectors to keep up with it based on the price [of collecting all of them.]“
THE WAY THINGS USED TO BE
Flea markets are a copious, outside shopping center containing novelty items for low prices and plenty of bargains. Some flea markets attract consumers looking for deals on collectible items such as comic books, baseball cards and general vintage items.
John Hill has been selling used movies and CDs for five years from a flea market in Prairieville, Louisiana. But in the past five years, a younger generation has been stopping at his table to sift through the six milk crates of old vinyl as well.
Though most of the records Hill has are original pressings, there is one hidden in one of the crates, new, wrapped in cellophane. It is a repressing of Jimi Hendrix’s live record Band of Gypsys, put out by the “From the Capitol Vault” series.
Hill says he used to be a part of vinyl record conventions, much like baseball card conventions, but those slowly fizzled in the 90’s. For the past five years, he’s been doing fine with selling and trading from the flea market every weekend.
Finding the original copy, opposed to the newer pressings is something, Hill says, is adamant to many of his shoppers who ask for mostly the same bands: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and of course, The Beatles.
Ventom says this is just a small niche market compared to the newer pressing sales.
“These repressings are appealing to those buying for the first time,” Ventom says. “There’s also those consumers buying because their originals aren’t in great condition anymore.”
A COMBINATION OF MEDIUMS
Reasoning for the medium’s new demand may be both a backlash and brotherly bond with the rise of music’s new contender - digital.
“I think a lot of people who have gravitated back to the vinyl format, have gravitated to the aspects that vinyl have to offer,” Dickerson says. “If you get an iPod and fill it up with 1,000 song, it makes music almost feel valueless.”
Dickerson also says vinyl has brought back the intention of an album as a whole, as opposed to picking and choosing songs through digital singles. “When you buy a record, you sit through it the way the artist intended you to listen to it.”
While there’s an embrace of the old medium being more tangible than the contemporary compact disc (bigger artwork and more liner notes), Dickerson says the record companies that are packaging vinyl with digital download cards are satisfying two wants: the physical, intimate enjoyment of music when listening to a record, and the ability to take the music and listen to it anywhere.
“If you see a CD for $15 and a vinyl with a digital coupon for the same price, to me, it’s no contest,” he says.
While Vinyl Collective has seen great business in the past year, Ventom says Capitol/EMI has gotten a very positive response from both consumers and distributors. “All around people are happy with the quality of the record and the quality of the artwork.”