Why does vinyl continue to be so popular in the digital age? Here are some explanations

Here are some explanations Why does vinyl continue to be so popular in the digital age?
Have you thought to ask why you’ve become besotted with records again? The notion that music in its tangible, ‘organic’ form has more value than its digital counterpart is one contemporary reason for this romantic idealism.”
Barnes continues, reflecting on the historical aspects of vinyl collecting culture, “Way before the digital age was upon us, vinyl still carried that mystique and became a collectible medium. Forbes caught up with music writer Marcus Barnes and asked him to explain why vinyl continues to grow in popularity when so much of our other entertainment comes from the digital realm. Have you been caught up in the vinyl resurrection? From the days when everyone would gather around the wind-up gramophone to hear those exciting first crackles of a classical recording, to the era when one’s Hi-Fi system and record collection was the centerpiece of their living space. Barnes starts by explaining how the appeal of vinyl makes perfect sense even as the world trends towards purely digital means of cultural consumption, “There’s an air of romance that surrounds record collecting and the shops that curate, stockpile and sell vinyl. Today we still have a multitude of collectors hunting down rare pressings, eager to track down those elusive, mythical one-offs that are said to be out there.”
Read the whole article here.

The Foo Fighters brought up a 10-year-old kid onstage to play Metallica. The kid rocked it. Watch.

The Foo Fighters brought up a 10-year-old kid onstage to play Metallica. The kid rocked it. Watch.
The Foo Fighters are among those bands who like to pull someone out of the audience for a moment of glory during their shows. In Kansas City the other night, Dave Grohl brought up 10-year-old Collier Rule and asked if he could play an instrument. Is anyone else reminded of the time another young kid showed up on Star Search with Ed McMahon in 1992? Coller was given a guitar. Here’s what happened.

This one chart explains why so many heritage rock acts are still touring

Acts from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are still on the road many weeks a year. In the old days, a hit album would generated sales royalties for decades. Today, though, no one is buying albums and those royalty cheques continue to shrink dramatically. This one chart explains everything. Always follow the money. Shouldn’t they be retired by now? Read more at Quartz. Why are they still subjecting themselves to the rigours of touring? For example, in the pre-Napster era, each Doors album sold between one and two million albums every single year. The only way to make up for the lost revenue is to tour.
This one chart explains why so many heritage rock acts are still touring

What are the world’s most popular music genres?

What are the world’s most popular music genres?
At the top of the list was pop, which was cited as a number one preference by 64% of respondents. And although hip-hop has become an important cultural driver in the West, it’s still the fifth most-popular genre worldwide. The IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industries) recently took a survey of 19,000 consumers around the planet to see what sorts of music were the most popular. You will find more infographics at Statista Rock was a reasonably close second. Take a look at this graphic from Statista.

Random music news for Monday, October 15, 2018

This should be an interesting read: Read and Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism. Smash Mouth’s “All Star” musical: This is weird. Michael Buble says his son’s cancer scare has prompted him to quit music. Apple Music gets deeper into analytics with the purchase of this company. Maybe not. Fans of 80s music went nuts over this gig. The US Marines have developed a new sonic weapon that can transmit voice messages to people up to 3,000 feet away. Dammit. It’s just so hard to avoid him for October 15, 2018. Radio: Still not dead (and here’s a handy chart that underscores this…
…but Canada needs to respond faster to the changing digital landscape. Or is this retirement story all wrong? This one focuses on the 80s. Kanye news: Kim says she’s worried that his antics are damaging her reputation. Here’s a plea for Roxy Music to be recognized with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yes. Prince’s estate to Donald Trump: “Cut it out.“
Another Bowie box set? WARNING: There may be Kanye music news ahead. Did Jamal Khashoggi’s Apple Watch record his arrest, torture, and murder…
…or is this lead doomed by a technical impossibility? I gotta get me some of these real-time translating headphones from Google.   A Soundgarden reunion without Chris Cornell? And more: Ye’s back on social media.
Random music news for Monday, October 15, 2018

New Music From The Inbox – Monday Edition! (Oct 15, 2018): SKRAECKOEDLAN, Mr. Koifish, TSVI, and more!

Not quite the kind of fire and brimstone you’d expect from a heavy Scandinavian group, but every bit as loud and impressive. You’d almost expect to see this tune performed on an electric drum kit, but the rudiments are so heavy that it could only be computer generated…right? Watch/Listen: 

Artist: Mr. The subtle acoustic guitar hidden amongst the forest of synths and percussion especially adds to the song’s effect – and before you know it, it’s gone. Koifish
Song: “Hang Our Coats”
Album/EP: Single

Even and shimmering indie pop with a decorum leaning partway between dispersed and minimalistic, “Hang Our Coats” is a deceptively bright tune despite the misleading sombreness in its vocoder vocals. Even the vocal register – you know the one, slightly nasally and high enough to belt for any voice range – fits the bill perfectly. Watch/Listen:  Elements of metal are present but take a backseat to the prodigal guitar displays, pulse-pounding drums, and grit. I’m posting them because stupid WordPress isn’t working for him. Watch/Listen: 

Artist: After the Calm
Song: “Stuck on Repeat”
Album/EP: Single

Good-old-fashioned mid-2000s-era heavy pop punk with a strong emo leaning, “Stuck on Repeat” will help fill that My Chemical Romance-size hole that previous generations of screamo left us. Watch/Listen: 

Artist: TSVI
Song: “Hossam”
Album/EP: Inner Worlds

Now this is interesting. A primarily percussive song with hardly a hint of traditional melody or songwriting structure, “Hossam” is all about pattern fluctuation, syncopation, and varying metre to produce an incredibly fascinating and compelling modern techno track. Anyone want to help out with these annoying ERROR_500s? – AC]

Hardcore heavy rock with a monumental, grandiose, gothic tone, this Swedish export feels oh so characteristically rugged and grim. [Mat Kahansky is back with more music recommendations.
Koifish, TSVI, and more! New Music From The Inbox – Monday Edition! (Oct 15, 2018): SKRAECKOEDLAN, Mr.

Spotify just turned 10. Its impact on music has been huge, both good and bad.

Well, it depends. It boasts nearly 200 million users a month, 86 million of whom are paying for the premium service. Or has it damaged music forever? [This was my weekly music column for GlobalNews.ca. -AC]
Oct.7, 2008, wasn’t the greatest time to release a disruptive new product. Keep reading. With a worldwide financial crisis getting worse by the day, a Swedish start-up called Spotify AB unveiled a new online platform that allowed instant access to a vast library of songs to subscribers in Sweden, the U.K., France, Spain and Norway. While Spotify wasn’t the first streaming service (Rhapsody, a spinoff of Real Networks, launched its product at the end of 2001), it has become the dominant force in the space with a reach extending through at least 65 countries. Everyone has access to at least 40 million songs. (All streaming services have access to the same universal catalogue.)
So has Spotify been a force for good?
Spotify just turned 10. Its impact on music has been huge, both good and bad.

Photos from Phil Collins’ “Not Dead Yet” performance in Toronto

And before you ask, yes, be played his dad’s famous drum fill on “In the Air Tonight” perfectly.   Very cool. His assignment? Benny Sanders and Mayerling Rivera. As the song progressed, the crowd was bathed in rainbow lights while being showered with streamers and confetti blasted from the stage. My foot is fucked,” he told the crowd), the audience was filled with admiration and respect.  

The mix from the sound engineer had the quality of a recording studio session with all fifteen musicians fully engaged. Collins’ “Not Dead Yet Live” concert commenced with a grateful thanks to the cheering crowd. For Collins, who has been performing for over 50 years, the applause exploded from fans as young as 8 to 88 years old. – AC]

Something was in the air tonight (sorry) at The Scotiabank Arena. Trombonist Luis Bonilla delighted the audience with a surprise solo on what we thought was the show closer. From the opening piano chords of “Against All Odds” to the final notes almost two hours later, the audience was as excited in the upper bleachers as they were at the front of the stage. Touching, really. Other highlights of the evening included Follow You Follow Me” that featured a video of the band’s history projected on the back screens as the crowd sang like a well-practiced choir. It was clear that when Phil Collins walked on that stage using a cane (“Sorry. [Andrei Chlytchkov was one against dispatched into the photo pit. As the tune concluded, Nic gave his dad a big hug before returning to the drums. This was the genius of Collins who had a full brass section, along with the band, including percussionist Richie Garcia (whose nickname “El Pulpo” means “The Octopus” in Spanish) and Phil’s 17-year-old son Nicholas Collins on drums. At one point all three performed a drum trio. The younger Collins sat directly behind his father for the song “You Know What I Mean” as it was a duet with Phil providing vocals and Nicholas on piano. Bring back some photos of Phil Collins in concert at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on October 11. We were then treated to an encore with the song “Take Me Home.”
One final thing: Collins reminded the audience that the first place that he sang lead for a Genesis concert was in London, Ontario. The women in the audience seemed to really like the younger Collins. We heard the best of Phil solo with the addition of a sampling of tunes by Genesis: “Another Day in Paradise”, “I Missed Again” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” (from the soundtrack of Tarzan) to “Throwing it All Away” and “Invisible Touch.” He also wove in the Stephen Bishop ballad “Separate Lives” as a duet with one of his background vocalists and “Easy Lover” with the entire quartet of backup singers. Text provided by L. At the beginning of “Sussudio” the entire fifteenth row sprung to its feet to dance, enticing the rest of the audience to follow.
Photos from Phil Collins’ “Not Dead Yet” performance in Toronto

Pressing my own vinyl record with Viryl Technologies

And not only are they improving on existing pressing technology, but they’re also moving things down the field with new innovations like the new upcoming HD-Vinyl technology that uses lasers for cutting the stampers used for pressing records. Viryl is building and shipping two to five of their record pressing units every month. Here’s the whole process.  
Here’s my creation. If you’re in the business of vinyl, it would be definitely worth your while to contact Viryl. Here’s one of the two mass-production machines Viryl has in operation which they call “WarmTone.” This one machine can press 7-inch and 12-inch singles as well as LPs. The vinyl resurrection, now in its 11th year, remains so strong that new companies are being created to feed the demand. Built in East Germany in 1971, it contains a crude computer that guides a cutter head as it digs the grooves into a master version of the record. By placing coloured pellets of vinyl on the puck before you press it, you can make a psych-y sort of pattern. While this is pretty old-school, an experienced operator can make up to 88 records an hour. It then squished the puck into a record using the metal stamped to create the grooves. A hunk of polyvinyl chloride goo called a puck is taken from an extractor (the machine on the left), and placed on the spindle in the press (the middle machine). Start by contacting Rob Manne at rob.manne@viryltech.com
  (They have a deal with Jack White’s Third Man Records, too.)
Earlier this month, I got a tour through their factory/manufacturing plant in Etobicoke where I get to press my own record. Once pressed, the record is placed in the trimmer (within the cage on the right) which gets rid of the jagged remnants around the record’s circumference. At any one time, they have $2.5 million inventory. Viryl Technologies of Toronto, which has been online for a couple of years now, is not only in the business of pressing records, but they’re also manufacturing new pressing equipment. That master is then used to create a metal stamper, which is a negative image of the record. The first thing on the tour was this old-school cutting machine. While most record pressing plants are using tried-and-true technology and equipment (some of it ancient), Viryl is one of two companies in the world designing and manufacturing this equipment. And business is booming. Here’s a look at Viryl’s factory floor.
Pressing my own vinyl record with Viryl Technologies

10 years ago today, Frankie Venom of Teenage Head breathed his last

10 years ago today, Frankie Venom of Teenage Head breathed his last
Anyone else thinking of the Great Ontario Place Riot?)

If you’re interested in digging into Frankie’s story and that of Teenage Head, I can recommend Geoff Pevere’s book Gods of the Hammer. In their day, Teenage Head was a force of nature. But the band soldiered on, becoming a staple on the Canadian music scene for decades. As one of the biggest Canadian bands to emerge of out of the post-punk/New Wave stew of the middle and late 70s, they were poised for international greatness until bad timing resulting from a car crash derailed their chances. And they’re still with us, too. When you drain it, be sure to throw the bottle against the wall. Frankie was one of the most untamable music personalities this country and his presence is still missed (although there are probably a few police departments that might disagree. If you are or ever were a Teenage Fan, raise a stubbie in memory of Frankie today. On October 15, 2008, Gord Lewis of the band announced that original lead singer Frankie Venom had died of throat cancer. Well, most of them.

Using their music to celebrate the Hip

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, singer Raine Maida said it was inspired by a trip to Toronto for the Toronto Music Awards. Arkells, Relentless

Now wait a minute… this song doesn’t say anything about the Hip, the casual listener might say. I didn’t know any of their music. These are wonderfully written songs, complete with skilled storytelling and great compositions that feel like stepping into the lives of fully formed characters just waiting to step up to the mic and sing. Scott Helman, Bobcaygeon from Phantom Power

Hey Rosetta!, Ahead by a Century, from Trouble at the Henhouse

Alert the Medic, Grace, Too, from Day for Night

Barenaked Ladies, Chancellor, from Coke Machine Glow, a Gord Downie solo album 

The Trews, Fireworks, from Phantom Power

Arkells, My Music @ Work, from Music @ Work 

Sarah Harmer and Jim Creeggan, Morning Moon, from We Are the Same

The Stereophonics, Blow at High Dough, from Up to Here

Amos the Transparent, Gift Shop, from Trouble at the Henhouse

USS, Something On, from Phantom Power

Dan Mangan, Nautical Disaster, from Day for Night

Of course, if you want a more complete playlist you can set and forget for four hours, go to the Strombo Show’s incredible tribute to the Hip for the band’s 30th anniversary, originally aired on January 1, 2017. These are more than just songs to sing with buddies around the campfire. While it didn’t necessarily start when news of Gord Downie’s illness was announced, covers of  the Tragically Hip’s music certainly have flourished since then. It’s simple but doesn’t need to be more: “Tragically Hip, Ahead by a Century.”
The Glorious Sons, Gordie

A track from Kingston’s  own Glorious Sons became a major moment when the band played in Toronto two nights after Gord Downie’s death. They’re also more than words and melodies to reflect back a multifaceted and flawed and wonderful nation. Let us know in the comments which ones you’d add.  
Some musicians go one step further. k-os, Crabbuckit

It’s a fast, groovy, sneeze-and-you’ll-miss-it name drop but it’s a fun, cross-genre one that’s worth cranking up. “It was crappy,” he said. On some fateful day, the Hip’s Paul Langlois said that Gord was “relentless — like a dog on a bone,” and a song was born.  
The Trews, … And We Are The Trews

It’s hard to find a Canadian band not mentioned in this song, off their 2012 release and fifth album …Thank You and I’m Sorry.  
Our Lady Peace, Ballad of a Poet (for Gord Downie)

The songs on OLP’s latest album, Somethingness, were already in the works when Downie passed away. And why not? So this song, Ballad of a Poet, is just a recollection of that night. Check these out! Gord was the consummate artist and just transcended everything in that room that night like, ‘That is what I want to do.’” And I kind of heard their name. Seeing this guy who really made that distinction between entertainer and artist. They didn’t want to just sing the Hip’s songs; they wanted to create something new and different but with a little of that Hip flavour or essence that so many love. It’s a gift. As you can see, the audience silences the song for a full minute or two with their applause and shouts, a therapeutic moment in week when many of us were really hurting. “It was terrible — until the Hip came out. In a massive article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail in late August, the band admitted that some of the lyrics were inspired by Gord Downie. There are 13 albums full of wisdom and poetry, nuance and light, love and loss and all things that make life complete. Here’s an admittedly incomplete of 10 of the best Hip covers from artists across the nation, with one extra for good measure. Sometimes only the right song can make things better, even if it’s just for a moment. These are more than just party songs. It seems nearly every Canadian band’s name is mentioned in this track, from Tim Chaisson and Daniel Wesley to Eric Lapointe et Rock Voisine and Jean Leloup, along with “every guy in every band who’s named Gordie.” Considering there are not one but TWO Gordies in the Hip, that’s gotta be a nod.
Using their music to celebrate the Hip

Weekly Survey: If you could go back in time to any musical scene, which scene would you choose?

1984. If you could go back to experience a musical scene firsthand as it was evolving, which would it be? For example:

Elvis craziness
The Summer of Love
New York punk at CBGB
The British punk scene with the Sex Pistols and the Clash
Queen Street in Toronto c. Maybe you wish could have been on Beale Street in Memphis in the 50s or park of some country crew somewhere. Do you ever read music history and think that you were born too late? When/where would you go? Hair metal on Sunset Boulevard
Peak grunge in 1993
Etc. You have Stewie Griffin’s time machine. And don’t feel constrained by any of the above.
Weekly Survey: If you could go back in time to any musical scene, which scene would you choose?

Rock My World Canada, Chapter 12: Broken Social Scene

Find out more about Gandharvas and hundreds of other Canadian artists in the softcover edition of Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide. Follow on Facebook and Twitter, too. Get your copy here. It’s an incredible discography of hundreds of bands. Most of its members currently play in various other groups and solo projects, mainly based around Toronto. [Mike Carr has put together a massive volume on Canadian music history entitled Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide. – AC]
Broken Social Scene is an indie rock band from Toronto, a musical collective with as few as six and as many as nineteen members, formed in 1999 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. The band refuses the label “supergroup,” based on size or the ubiquity of their members, claiming that in the indie scene, everyone is involved in more than one project.  
  This is the latest excerpt from his book. The band was awarded Junos in 2003 and 2006 for Alternative Album of the Year.
Rock My World Canada, Chapter 12: Broken Social Scene