Enjoy a FREE hot dog/sausage and beer with Record Pressing at 475 Haight Street this Saturday, in recognition of the only holiday in the world dedicated to music!
Admittance fee: Receipt from any local record store dated within the last week (April 9 – April 16).
By Joseph Gregory
If you can take care of a pet rock, you can take care of your vinyl collection. It shouldn’t be a challenge, and most advice is a no-brainer, but there are certainly a few tricks that can prevent damage in the long run.
By David Brehmer
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Canada,” “Black Valley Fight,” “Minx”
Recommended If You Like: Catchy pop with a post-punk twist
With their sophomore album Cities Can Wait, out April 5th, North Texas outfit The Demigs have created a sound clearly born of elder statesmen, but possessing a unique chemistry and energy all its own.
By Joseph Gregory
So you have an extensive vinyl collection and you want to listen to your records on the go; but, record players aren’t like iPods, that’s why we love them. They don’t fit in your pocket and you can’t press shuffle. But, if not maintained correctly, records wear over time, so it’s in every collector’s best interest to back up their collection digitally. The question is how? Below, I have laid out the two primary options for ripping vinyl.
LP to PC ($50-$150)
One of the most popular ways in recent years has been to purchase a turntable with a USB port, so the table can be connected directly to your household computer or laptop. These next-generation turntables typically come with relatively easy to use software that does the LP to .mp3 conversion for you. One of the most praised and affordable LP to PC products is the Ion series, as seen below.
For the most part Ion’s have received consistently good reviews, but there are a few notable drawbacks:
1. They are cheaply made out of mostly plastic; but, they aren’t necessarily meant to replace quality built turntables.
2. “Audacity”, which can be downloaded online for free, has had some issues with mac compatibility (also keep in mind that the majority of computer complaints are the result of user error).
3. Ion’s are not formatted to convert 78’s, only 33 rpm albums and 45 rpm singles.
4. The transfer process can be time consuming; the album must be uploaded, then enhanced, and then split by the user into separate tracks.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Phono preamp/LP-USB-Converter ($150-$200)
If purchasing another turntable seems unnecessary, or maybe you just don’t like the Ion, then there is another option. You can buy a phono stage with a USB port that can connect straight into your computer. Although .mp3 files aren’t the best quality to begin with, most audiophiles agree that when ripping vinyl, this is as good as it gets. Obviously you are going to get what you pay for, but for the most part, any standard preamp will suffice. I recommend the Pro-ject brand because it is affordable, compact, has a great reputation, and its products look sleek enough for James Bond.
This is a great product, but ultimately, the success of the recording is going to depend on the quality of your turntable and the software you use with it. Therefore, you may encounter the exact same issues as with the Ion. Also, it’s considerably more expensive, but again, you get what you pay for.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Some helpful advice before you start ripping:
Don’t place your turntable on a hard surface; someone setting down a glass or even walking loudly can sound like an earthquake during playback. Wash your records beforehand; all the knicks, scratches, and pops will be recorded – a good rinse with a nice ivory dishwashing soap never hurts. Finally, a decent turntable, stylus, and cartridge can go a long way, so make sure you have the right equipment before starting the job.
Good luck, and keep those records spinning, even after they make it into your iTunes.
By Nobo McManus
Extended Play, Joel Gion’s first solo endeavor, gives you the intimate feeling of a bedroom session with the sound quality you’d expect from Record Pressing vinyl. The album is very distinctive in its youthful sounding songs, but you can tell this isn’t his first rodeo. The jacket is especially memorable, donning a very unique style in reference to vinyl from earlier periods. From the vintage illustrations, the entire layout, even down to the font, looks like an old record that someone didn’t mean to give away.
Although Gion is more known for his percussion and tambourine skills in bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, he plays guitar along with xylophone, cowbell, and a few other instruments on this album. His one-man band approach makes sure the tracks are exactly how he wants them, and how you want them, too. Catchy, lo-fi, and endearing, songs like “Modern History” have you in adolescent summer days, with lyrics like “The room stops when you walk in and you’ve got me smilin’ cause you’re my best friend.” While “Control” is a warm, vibrating, xylophone-laced echo, rounding out side A in a fuzzy splendor. The rawness of these songs makes them all seem very real and personal, like a rare 8-track recording, but the meticulous composition can be heard throughout the entire album. “Every Which Way” is a melodic, repetitive love song. A no frills, easygoing riff and a perfect way to wrap up the album. Overall Joel Gion puts on an eclectic show that proves how versatile a musician he truly is. I definitely recommend playing Extended Play – whichever way you play it, just don’t miss this one!
For an exclusive interview with Gion and his take on Extended Play, check it out through Rock Edition, here.