Friday, November 27, 2009

Preview of a new series: Vintage Vinyl

I really have no respect for the music industry. While some of my most beloved releases do in fact come from early 70s - an era where major record labels actually signed innovative original bands - the last 30 years or so have been nothing but pure garbage. I've already gone on record here stating my belief that the internet is saving our culture from the grips of musical paralysis. Thanks to the freedom for anyone to say and do as they please, intelligent folks like you are finding music-nerds like me to help guide you to music that would be impossible to discover through the uber-controlled and dumbed down airwaves of traditional media. The major labels hate the internet. Unfortunately for them, they only see it as a way for people to download music without paying for it. They are focusing all their time trying to shut down file-sharing sites and ban ordinary citizens from the internet just for downloading some of their oh-so-precious and yet oh-so-crappy-and-overrated mainstream music. I want to see these companies fail. This new series of posts, starting next week, will be my little way of screwing these jerks without ever sharing a file or encouraging piracy in any which way.

Let's face it. You know it. I know it. We all know it. The best and most original Rock music came from the early 70s. These albums were released on a format known as the Vinyl LP. These vinyls have for the most part long gone out of print, usually replaced with poorly mastered, often highly compressed CDs. Here's what we should do. If you owned a LP player in the 60s-70s-80s and have since stored in your attic or wherever, pull it out and set it up. If you, like me, are too young to have been around in the heyday of vinyl, either bug your parents for their old turntable, or get yourself a refurbished model on the cheap. Alternately, hunt down garage sales and see if you can snatch a bargain. Regardless of how you do it, make sure you have a way of vinyl playback.

If you live in a big city, small city or even some remote towns, odds are that there are plenty of places to hunt down used vinyl records. Here in Toronto, there are oodles of shops specifically made to buy and sell used circler wax, a.k.a. vinyl records. Even thrift stores usually have a small selection of used vinyls. You can usually find endless copies of old Progressive Rock classics on vinyl at prices a fraction of what you would pay for a new CD of the same album. Here is the clincher: even a slightly worn vinyl record will usually beat the snot out of a CD in terms of sound quality. Cheaper, better sound and since we're getting these second-hand, the record labels don't get a penny! Think of this as a totally legal form of screwing the same record companies who have shunned Progressive music at the expensive of mindless derivative crap for so many years.

The internet will in fact be the downfall of the music industry, but not because of its ability to share music files freely between users. The recommendations to be posted here will become your guide, helping you know what to look for when shuffling through all those used vinyls. I'll explain the sleeve design, point out if the album has an interesting gate-fold or other unique packaging characteristics. I'll rate the production of the albums and try to convey how good these old things can sound. Heck, if you're interested, I'll even link to guides that help you digitally capture your vinyls onto your computer and clean up the pops and scratches for perfectly legal mp3 copies of the same music all without giving those money grabbing jerks at the big labels a single penny.

You might point out the artists will also be missing out on any royalties if we exclusively purchase music this way. I might point out that the royalties earned by the artist is but a tiny fraction of the cost of a new CD, and that most of these old bastards are plenty rich enough as it is. Roger Waters doesn't need any more royalties. Period. Do yourself a favour and make your next Pink Floyd album purchase a used vinyl record.

Let me know if you have any requests as to which albums or artists you would like to see me cover here.

Until next week,

Keep the Prog Alive!

1 comment:

Jen Bear said...

Joe's Garage by Frank Zappa :D