Friday, February 25, 2011

Doi-Oing - Blue

An oldie but goodie that was featured on the seminal Northern Exposure: East Coast compilation mixed by Sasha & Digweed:

Vinyl Records Spin Back Into Vogue

Via USA Today:

By Brian Passey, USA TODAY

CEDAR CITY, Utah — As both a music lover and record store owner, Tim Cretsinger is excited about the recent resurgence of vinyl record albums.

"This is my favorite thing to do — hold a batch of records like this," Cretsinger, owner of Groovacious in Cedar City, Utah, says as he hugged a stack of new records close to his chest. "It reminds me of the old days."

The old days are making a comeback.

According to recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers, vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold, the format's best year since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

Vinyl's increase in popularity is providing a beacon of hope for independent record stores — an industry that has suffered with the increase of digital downloads this past decade.

When Cretsinger moved his business from Keiser, Ore., to Cedar City in 2000 there were two other record stores in the college town of about 28,000. Now, the closest independent record store is in Las Vegas, 175 miles away.

"Vinyl seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who have hung in there," he says. "It's kind of a surprising light at the end of the tunnel. It's incredibly exciting."

Not only have vinyl album sales picked up, but the interest in record players has increased as well. Cretsinger said he got tired of directing his customers to other businesses where they could purchase turntables, so he began offering a small selection at his store in January.

Like Groovacious, Plan 9 Music stores in Richmond and Charlottesville, Va., are fairly new to the turntable market, but have offered vinyl records since the first store opened in 1981, says owner Jim Bland. Although he never quit selling vinyl, Bland says sales were slow for many years as CDs dominated the market.

However, as CD sales plummeted in recent years, Plan 9 Music found itself with some open space on the floor. That empty space is now back to the basics.

"It's filled in with vinyl," Bland says.

As a way to promote their businesses, 700 independent record stores across the nation have joined together since 2008 to celebrate Record Store Day on the third Saturday of April. Record Store Day regularly features limited-edition CDs and vinyl records available only at independent retailers.

"Last year all the cool stuff was vinyl," Bland says. "People were lining up to get it."

Like Record Store Day itself, Cretsinger says, listening to music on a vinyl record is an event. It forces listeners to sit down at a turntable and listen to the music, giving them an opportunity to enjoy the cover art and read the liner notes.

"There's something organic and historical about playing music that way," he says. "It sounds better."

The scratches and pops often associated with the vinyl sound are all part of the "warmth" Cretsinger and other record store owners such as John Kunz, of Waterloo Records in Austin, say vinyl offers.

Kunz says CDs are more convenient than vinyl and easier to manage, so they had their place in the music industry for a time. However, Kunz sees a change in his customers' taste from the digital sound of Internet downloads to what the classic vinyl format offers.

"I think there was a pendulum swing back to the analog sound," he says. "It's sound waves rather than zeroes and ones emulating a sound wave."

Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium in Portland, Ore., says vinyl aficionados treat their passion as art, as opposed to a product.

"People didn't interact with CDs the way they did with vinyl," Currier says. "I think people lost that interaction they had with the vinyl."

The music lovers buying these records aren't necessarily those who grew up with them in the 1960s and 1970s. Record store owners across the nation say teenagers and young adults constitute a large portion of their vinyl customers.

"There are tweens, teens and twentysomethings looking through Mom and Dad's record collection," he says. "All of a sudden Mom and Dad are a lot cooler than the kid might have expected."

Currier says it's almost like vinyl appreciation skipped a generation. Now purchasing vinyl is "cool" for younger customers because it's "retro." For the youngest of the customers, it might even be something their parents never experienced.

Bland agrees: "It's cool; it's hip. My 14-year-old's even getting into it."

Among Cretsinger's customers at Groovacious in Cedar City is Matthew Montgomery, a 25-year-old Web developer, freelance music journalist and student at Southern Utah University. Montgomery says he began to seriously get into vinyl about two years ago, and now it's practically his exclusive musical format.

He says there is an "aesthetic difference" in the sound of vinyl records compared with the digital downloads purchased by many others of his generation.

"I think vinyl is incredibly exciting," Montgomery says. "To see a resurgence in it is beautiful."

Montgomery says the act of walking into a record store to purchase his music is part of vinyl's allure as well.

"To me that represents a cultural idea that is incredibly attractive," he says. "It's a place you can explore and learn and talk to people."

While vinyl sales help independent stores stand apart from nationwide retail chains, even Best Buy seems to have noticed the popularity of vinyl records.

About 100 Best Buy stores now carry a small selection of new and classic albums following a test period that began in the fall of 2008, says Best Buy spokeswoman Erin Bix. Best Buy also offers 14,000 vinyl titles online.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Master Burger List Review Bonanza - Pt. 11 - Prune Restaurant

Last Thursday, I finally had a chance to get downtown during lunchtime and check out the burger on offering at Prune. Those of you who follow food websites like Eater and Grub Street are aware that chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton has a memoir titled Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef being released on March 1. For an excerpt, check out this link. You can also pre-order your copy of the book here.

Plain and simple, the burger ($12 and only available during lunch service) was waaaay too greasy. The English muffin (which they use instead of a traditional bun) was saturated with butter as was the patty, which is a mixture of lamb and beef (which is similarly done at M. Wells). The lamb flavor does come out and definitely gives the burger depth in flavor.

Here's the burger when it arrives (which took a bit longer than expected):

Now here's a crosscut:

As evidenced in the photo, there's serious fat drippings on the plate (not to be confused with patty juice, which there was none - though the burger wasn't dry, due to it swimming in a pool of butter). I mean, don't get me wrong...I love butter and unctuous burgers, but this was overkill. Not only that, the burger itself was bland. Concurrently, the fries (of the Mcdick's variety) were well seasoned and perfectly crisp.

Unfortunately lunch was sub-par, but I'm glad to have finally tried their burger. On that note, I would most definitely recommend stopping by for dinner service.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

Video for 'Lotus Flower' from The King of Limbs

Produced and Directed by Garth Jennings
Choreographed by Wayne McGregor
Director of Photography- Nick Wood
Editor- Leila Sarraf

You can purchase the new album here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Laurent Garnier presents LBS (Live Booth Sessions) - Saturday, March 26 @ Le Poisson Rouge

Laurent Garnier's new project titled LBS featuring himself, Scan X and Benjamin Rippert will be in New York on Saturday, March 26. They'll be playing at Le Poisson Rouge. You can purchase tickets here.

Here's a glimpse of one of the nights he did in Scotland:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blair - Nightlife

Courtesy of Dirty D:

Barney Blair Perry began his professional career in his hometown Buffalo, New York, as a guitarist. In 1978, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in recognition of being one of the best R & B songwriters of the period.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Greg Wilson - Campfire Storyteller


On January 20th, I did something I’ve never done previously. I stood before an audience and, for close on an hour, talked about my musical journey – from when I was a child in New Brighton, right up to what I’m doing nowadays. I’ve been in similar situations before, where I was being interviewed, or I was interviewing someone else, but I’ve never stood alone and spoken for so long.

It was a strange, but ultimately satisfying experience. The audience was really warm and attentive, and the feedback afterwards was pretty overwhelming. The whole thing was filmed and is now available to view online:

Greg Wilson Campfire Part 1 from ditto campfire on Vimeo.

Greg Wilson Campfire Part 2 from ditto campfire on Vimeo.

Greg Wilson Campfire Part 3 from ditto campfire on Vimeo.

Greg Wilson Campfire Q & A from ditto campfire on Vimeo.

Angelo Sosa (of Top Chef) to open new venture in Midtown East

via Diner's Journal:

February 1, 2011, 8:42 am
Angelo Sosa Expands His Sandwich Repertory

Angelo Sosa, who once worked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, has been embedded with sandwiches in recent years.

His latest project, Social Eatz, at 232 East 53rd Street, is to open before the end of February with a menu of burgers, tacos and sandwiches, mostly inspired by the Far East. His Vietnamese French Dip made with skirt steak may be the only Vietnamese sandwich in town that is not a banh-mi. Korean-style burgers garnished with kimchi, and a kung pao chicken sandwich are also in the works. A cocoa-rubbed steak taco was not inspired by Asia.

Mr. Sosa, the chef who made his name at Yumcha, a Chinese restaurant in Greenwich Village where he ran the kitchen for just a few months, then went on to work at Buddakan in the meatpacking district, first took his Asian palate to the world of sandwiches with Xie Xie on Ninth Avenue, which has closed. This new venture, in an industrial-style space, is informal but does offer waiter service for about 70 seats.

Mr. Sosa’s partners are a group called Circle Hospitality, which owns a karaoke bar, Pulse Karaoke in Times Square, and another group, Chace, owned by Ace Watanasuparp and Chatchai Huadwattana, who are about to open Ember Room with Todd English and Ian Chalermkittichai.