Sales of vinyl records increase for the sixth straight year; popularity of lensless glasses possibly related

Sales of vinyl records increase for the sixth straight year; popularity of lensless glasses possibly related

Oh, happy day! Music sales have finally reversed their perpetual downward trend over the past several years, and, in an unprecedented display of humanity, the RIAA has opted to discontinue their tyrannical opposition to gratuitous file-sharing!

If only fate were so kind. As it turns out, overall album sales in the US did, remarkably, show a slight increase in 2011, but the more significant news at the moment pertains the sales of vinyl records, which have grown every year for the past six years and which increased by 25% in 2011, from 2.8 million in 2010 to 3.5 million. Have vinyl record manufacturers felt the urge to contact their doctors yet? Because this commercial erection appears to be lasting way longer than four hours.

What could possibly account for the ongoing resurgence of a medium that was previously shunned for its supposed obsolescence? Ironically, it may have something to do with the physical prominence and relative indispensability of records themselves — in other words, as a way of implicitly counteracting the digitization of music and entertainment in general, people have returned their interest to a format that requires their attention and may be a greater signifier of their passion for music than something as impersonal and easily discarded as MP3s. That’s just one theory though. Given how objectively inferior the sound quality of records are when compared to CDs, I’d like to chalk it up to some form of misplaced elitism, but I’m also quite willing to appreciate the fact that records do have their appeal, even if that appeal is based entirely on the subjective preference of the listener. Don’t hate.

Meanwhile, here is the top 10 best-selling vinyl albums of 2011, all by really white artists:

01. The Beatles - Abbey Road (41,000)
02. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (29,700)
03. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (27,200)
04. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (26,800)
05. Radiohead - The King of Limbs (20,800)
06. Adele - 21 (16,500)
07. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (16,200)
08. Wilco - The Whole Love (14,900)
09. The Black Keys - Brothers (14,200)
10. The Black Keys - El Camino (13,800)

• Vinyl:

Ghostface Killah gets beer named after him, because who doesn’t want to taste Ghostface in their mouth?

Whenever I’m listening to albums by Wu-Tang or Ghostface Killah, I find myself preoccupied. No, it’s not the blunt that I’m trying to roll, nor is it the utter disgrace that music journalists cannot name all 9 members of Wu-Tang. It’s a more personal matter. To really understand them, I think it’d be best if I were able to smell them, to touch them… to taste them. Ghostface Killah, in particular, has always had a special place in my heart. While the doll replica of him serves as a perfect centerpiece for the shrine in my room where I pray to the Wu, I still find I feel a little lost.

Luckily, Twisted Pine Brewing knows my pain. Thus, when they set about to make the spiciest beer ever, they aptly called it Ghost Face Killah. Why? It’s a wheat ale with six different chili peppers: Anaheim, Fresno, jalapeno, serrano, habanero, and bhut jolokia, the ‘ghost’ pepper. Upon its initial release last year, it was only available in Colorado, but this is my year. Starting this month, the beer will be sold in Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Nebraska, Missouri, and Louisiana. I will be crossing many state lines to pick up my own individually bottled 12 ounces to fiery freedom. The chili peppers will have me sweating my ass off, but at least I’ll feel that much closer to my own Ghostface. I just hope I’m not disappointed, because my Asian glow already makes me feel like I’m running a fever every time I get drunk.

• Twisted Pine Brewing:

RIP: Bob Weston, Fleetwood Mac guitarist

From Bob Weston’s official website:

It is with great pain that I must announce that Bob Weston has died. He was found dead at home in his London flat in the evening of the 3rd January, by police making a forced entry. Local friends had become concerned at the lack of response, having not seen him for a couple of days. Cause of death has been attributed to a gastrointestinal haemorrhage. He was found in his bed/armchair [checking] in front of the TV; it is presumed he was asleep and didn’t suffer…

I spoke to Bob just a few days before Xmas; we had discussed him spending Xmas with us, but he had some gigs to do in London. Instead we made plans for a visit early in the New Year. He was in fine spirits, and was involved in several new projects. He also seemed to be very fit…

My family and I have lost a dear friend; the world has lost an enormously talented musician, with unfinished business…

• Bob Weston:
• Fleetwood Mac:

Bang on a Can offer double album free for first 25 days of 2012; yes, Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth is involved

Ah, 2012 is here. The dark vacuum of hopelessness known as 2011 has finalized its reign of terror, and there’s a unanimous feeling of a new beginning inside all of our hearts. This will be our year. The year things happen. Let’s start it off with a bang. A BANG ON A CAN, THAT IS! **someone in the distance boos me**

Bang on a Can, an organization designed as a vehicle for new innovative and experimental music that throws annual summer festivals, has released a new record by The Bang on a Can All-Stars via Cantaloupe Music. The All-Stars, which features Ashley Bathgate on cello, Robert Black on bass, Vicky Chow on piano, David Cossin on percussion, Mark Stewart on guitar, and Evan Ziporyn on clarinet, will be releasing their fifth studio album, Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, February 28. But seeing as it’s both 2012 (the new and brighter future) and the 25th birthday of Bang on a Can, the album is available for free download for the first 25 days of the year! In exchange, listeners need only share a memory, thought, story, or photo of Bang on a Can from the last 25 years to be displayed online. The result will be a scrapbook of memories from all fans of the group. New to Bang on a Can? That’s fine, too. Just mention this news story!

The record features contributions by artists such as Louis Andriessen (with film), David Longstreth (from Dirty Projectors), Conlon Nancarrow, Kate Moore, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn.


Disc 1:

01. Julia Wolfe: Big Beautiful Dark and Scary
02. David Lang: sunray
03. Michael Gordon: For Madeline

Evan Ziporyn: Music From Shadowbang
04. Angkat
05. Ocean
06. Meditasi, Head

Disc 2:

David Longstreth
01. Instructional Video
02. Matt Damon
03. Breakfast at J&M

Conlon Nancarrow (arr. Evan Ziporyn): Four Player Piano Studies
04. Study 2a
05. Study 3a
06. Study 3c
07. Study 11

Louis Andriessen: Life (with films by Marijke van Warmerdam)
08. Part I: Wind
09. Part II: Couple
10. Part III: In the distance
11. Part IV: Light
12. Kate Moore: Ridgeway

Bang on a Can 25th Anniversary Season Schedule (with a couple NY events to be confirmed):

01.17.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Walt Disney Concert Hall
01.18.12 - La Jolla, CA - Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at UCSD
03.10.12 - Cambridge, MA - MIT Kresge Auditorium
03.17.12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Muziekgebouw
03.20.12 - London, UK - The Barbican
03.23.12 - Glasgow, UK - Glasgow’s Concert Halls, Minimal Extreme Festival
03.24.12 - Glasgow, UK - Glasgow’s Concert Halls, Minimal Extreme Festival
04.05.12 - New London, CT - Connecticut College, Palmer Auditorium
04.12.12 - Naperville, IL - North Central College
07.08-29.12 - North Adams, MA - MASS MoCA (Bang on a Can summer festival)

• Bang on a Can 25th Birthday Download:
• Bang on a Can:
• Cantaloupe Music:

Zola Jesus, David Lynch, Sacred Bones all doin’ stuff together: brains across America explode

Somewhere, in a strange parallel universe, Zola Jesus is an unemployed girl looking for work all day on the internet in between bouts of watching ABC’s Revenge (It’s good! No, seriously!) and I am the petite indie goth diva signed to Sacred Bones and collaborating with David Lynch on a new remix. In that magical world, monkeys ride bicycles to work every day! And if you know the secret chant, unicorns will appear to do your housework! Yes, that certainly is a wonderful universe, or Liziverse, as its denizens call it. Welcome to the Liziverse.

But for those of us trapped here in the boring ol’ REAL universe, the news is the other way around — and either way, it’s pretty damn awesome. See, Zola Jesus, wouldn’t you know it, is a big fan of filmmaker-turned-electronic-musician David Lynch. And it seems Lynch is also a big fan of hers. The man behind Twin Peaks and Crazy Clown Time (TMT Review) was given a copy of Zola’s latest, Conatus (TMT Review), and picked the track “In Your Nature” to remix. And from this beautiful appreciationship grew a wonderful, bat-winged thing: a track that keeps only the soaring vocals and re-imagines the melodies. The remix is part of the “In Your Nature” single that will be available to those of us here on Lame Earth on Sacred Bones, come February 21.

Fans can behold the wonder that is Zola Jesus when she tours this winter. Dates are listed below. People can also get a load of Lynch’s Eraserhead soundtrack, deluxe vinyl style, when Sacred Bones reissues it later this year. Okay, maybe the normal world is actually starting to sound pretty rad.

01.19.11 - Sao Paulo, Brazil- Clash Club*
02.01.11 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom*
02.03.11 - Austin, TX – Parish*
02.04.11 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks*
02.06.11 - Tampa, FL – Crowbar*
02.08.11 - Orlando, FL -The Social*
02.09.11 - Miami, FL - Bardot*
02.10.11 - Birmingham, AL – Bottletree*
02.13.11 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light*
02.14.11 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle Tavern*
02.16.11 - Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall*
02.17.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
02.18.11 - New York City, NY - Webster Hall*
02.20.11 - Cincinatti, OH- Contemporary Arts Center*
02.21.11 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall**
02.22.11 - Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College*
02.23.11 - St. Louis, MO - Luminary Arts*
02.24.11 - Lawrence, KS – Granada*
02.25.11 - Denver, CO - Larmier Lounge*
02.27.11 - Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge*
03.01.11 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall***
03.02.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Natural History Museum****
03.03.11 - San Diego, CA – Casbah*

*Talk Normal
**Chris Connelly, Talk Normal
***Wymond Miles, Talk Normal

• Zola Jesus:
• David Lynch:

Björk messes with children’s brains, performs in the round

Brace yourself, for the world is about to be overtaken by mini Björks. Not only are they just as elfin in physical make up, but they are designed with scientific minds that could do much more than just hack into your email account. Where are these genius mini Björkians coming from? Why, the Biophilia (TMT Review) education series, of course.

Iceland’s hottest export (no, not Þórbergur Þórðarson) has collaborated with the New York Hall of Science to bring us a three-week series, in which the minds of middle school-aged beings are retooled as they study crystalline structures, lunar cycles, viruses, and whatever else Björk was singing about on her most recent album to date. If you really want to meet the masterminds of the future, you’ll have to go to Reykjavík, where the Biophilia educational program will be in the school’s curriculum for three years.

If you hate children and are wondering whether any of this matters to you, you’ll be glad to hear that Björk has teamed with The Creators Project and the New York Hall of Science for 10 nights of live performances for what we hear is nothing short of astounding. Each audience member should be ready for their brain to blow out of their skull, as they’ll be sitting just a few yards from the stage, which is set in the round. Some of the highlights include MIDI pipe organs, musical Tesla coils, a 24-piece Icelandic female choir, 10-foot pendulum harps, and an MIT Media Lab alum (could we really call this science without an MIT graduate on hand?).

Six of the special Biophilia shows will be held at the NYHS, and the remaining will be at the Roseland Ballroom. Tickets go on sale January 13 at 10 AM through Ticketmaster.

Björk tourdates:

02.03.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.06.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.09.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.12.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.15.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.18.12 - Queens, NY - New York Hall of Science
02.22.12 - New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom
02.25.12 - New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom
02.28.12 - New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom
03.02.12 - New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom

• Björk:
• One Little Indian: