double-LP

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On this day in music history: June 27, 1966 - “Freak Out!”, the debut album by The Mothers Of Invention is released. Produced by Tom Wilson, it is recorded at Sunset-Highland Studios of TTG from March 9 - 12, 1966. Signed to MGM distributed Verve Records in early 1966 by producer/A&R man Tom Wilson (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, The Velvet Underground), Wilson signs the band believing them to be a white blues band akin to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, not realizing how musically varied and idiosyncratic they actually are. One of the first double LP sets ever by a rock band, the album is recorded in just four days worth of studio time. Clocking in at nearly sixty one minutes, the fourteen track two LP set is a concept album satirizing rock music and America. The entire fourth side of the album is taken up by the experimental and abstract “The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet in Two Tableaux)”. The twelve minute plus avant-garde instrumental featuring Dr. John on piano (credited under his real name Mac Rebennack). The track appears on the album in its unfinished state after the label cuts off the recording budget for the album after Zappa spends over $12,000 renting percussion instruments to use on the track. In all, producer Tom Wilson spends nearly $35,000 of MGM Records money by the time editing and mixing is completed. Before it’s released, label executives insist that two lines from the third movement of “Help, I’m A Rock” (“It Can’t Happen Here”) be removed, believing them to be references to drugs. Though a section of “Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet” with Zappa dropping the “F” bomb is left intact. The original mono and stereo releases of the album vary not only in their mixes but include edits that differ noticeably from each other. Original pressings also feature a map of Hollywood printed inside the LP gatefold titled “Freak Out Hot Spots!”, along with an offer to send in for a copy of the map. The map is removed from subsequent reissues, but reprinted as part of “The MOFO Project/Object” set in 2006, featuring the original stereo mix of the album, alternate takes, unused mixes and live recordings. It quickly establishes Frank Zappa’s reputation for the social commentary and satire that is constant throughout his career. “Freak Out!” peaks at number one hundred thirty on the Billboard Top 200, earning the band a loyal cult following. Going out of print in the early 70’s, Zappa is first reissues the album (after purchasing his master tapes back from Verve) in April of 1985 as part of a boxed set titled “The Old Masters - Box One”. The album is remastered and reissued in 2012, with a double 180 gram vinyl LP set following in 2013. “Freak Out!” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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There was no such thing as Classic Rock in 1976 — the phrase, and the radio format it inspired, wouldn’t come into common usage until the mid-1980s. But there was already some notion of a rock and roll canon, a list of key albums that FM listeners needed to have in their collection. At the start of 1976, Bob Seger had zero albums on that list. Twelve months later, he had two: Live Bullet, the double LP documenting some blistering hometown sets at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, and Night Moves, his first platinum album, whose title single would peak at No. 4 as 1977 began.

His next record, 1978’s Stranger in Town, would go platinum within a month. I bought all three at once that year, because they were the ones Columbia House offered. But I knew there were others. As a budding, 13-year-old music obsessive, every record in the canon triggered a cascading need for several more. Some might be content with Elton John’s Greatest Hits, but I wanted the entirety of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and then some way to prioritize the rest of his back catalog. Destroyer was not enough KISS; At Budokan was not the sum total of Cheap Trick.

Fast forward to this decade. I hear someone singing “If I Were a Carpenter,” which reminds me Seger did a surprisingly heavy version of that song on Smokin’ O.P.’s, which I haven’t heard for a while. I reach for my copy, only to find that it’s gone. This is bothersome, but correctable, I imagine. I am a gainfully employed adult, living in a city with multiple wonderful used record stores, plus there’s an entire Internet at my fingertips. I decide to go on a spree, replacing not just the missing album, but finally adding the several I never purchased to my collection.

But I discover something odd: Bob Seger’s old albums are not only missing from my shelves. They seem to be missing from the world.

Seger is one of the few remaining digital holdouts — there’s nothing beyond the odd Christmas tune available on subscription services, and even on iTunes his only studio album for sale is 2014’s Ride Out, which sits beside two anthologies and two live albums.

Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?

Illustration: Kristen Uroda for NPR; Reference: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Charts: Katie Park/NPR

Iron Maiden to release new album, “The Book of Souls” September 4th. 11 songs. 92 minutes. This is Maiden’s first EVER double-LP. 

The album’s said to have a “live feel” in that they went into the studio, wrote songs and immediately laid down the tracks. One of the two tracks written entirely by Bruce Dickenson is the band’s longest song ever; the album’s closer “Empire of the Clouds” coming in at a whopping 18 minutes, one second.

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On this day in music history: May 1, 1989 - “Disintegration”, the eighth studio album by The Cure released. Produced by David M. Allen and Robert Smith, it is recorded at Hookend Recording Studios in Checkendon, Oxfordshire, UK from November 1988 - February 1989. After the breakthrough success of The Cure’s 1987 album “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me”, bandleader Robert Smith finds himself at odds with the tidal wave of fame and mainstream exposure that comes his way. Newly engaged to his childhood sweetheart Mary Poole, she and Smith move to the Maida Vale district of London, in semi seclusion to get away from the press and fans. Feeling pressured to follow up “Kiss Me”, and depressed at the prospect of turning thirty, Smith begins taking LSD to cope. The result is a return to the bands dark, gothic sound of years past. Upon hearing the finished album, The Cure’s US record label Elektra Records feel that Smith and the band have committed “commercial suicide” by making a deliberately “gloomy” record. They even go as far as asking Smith to push back the release date of the album feeling that it is “willfully obscure”. To everyone’s surprise, it becomes The Cure’s most commercially successful album. “Disintegration” also is the final Cure album to credit founding member Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst who is fired during the recording sessions. Originally The Cure’s drummer and later keyboardist, his contributions to the band diminish throughout the 80’s as his drinking and drug taking escalate. It’s later revealed that Tolhurst did not play on the album at all, but Robert Smith gives his old friend partial songwriting credit along with the other band members. It spins off four singles including “Fascination Street” (#1 Modern Rock, #46 Pop), “Lullaby” (#5 UK, #74 US Pop) and “Love Song” (#2 US Pop, #18 UK), the latter becomes The Cure’s biggest single in the US. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2010 as triple CD deluxe edition, featuring the original album on the first disc, the second disc featuring demos and tracks as works in progress. The third CD features an expanded version of the live album “Entreat” (titled “Entreat Plus”) including all twelve songs from “Disintegration” performed live. It is also reissued on vinyl as a 180 gram double vinyl LP, releasing the full album in that format in its entirety for the first time. Original LP pressings released on a single disc omitting “Homesick” and “Last Dance”. This is done to improve the vinyl LP’s sound quality. At nearly seventy two minutes, the full album is too long to fit on two LP sides comfortably.  "Disintegration" peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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The first installment of my vinyl shares coming your way. Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid Double LP (Neon Green & Hot Pink). Fucking amazing album for fans of the remarkably unique. The guy is the culmination of centuries of storytelling and the evolution of Hip-Hop. I’m not blowing smoke up unguarded asses here when I say that he is the absolute greatest lyricist every to script words over a beat. Granted, there are different aspects of “great”. Some (emo kids and delicate damsels) may take “great” to mean how an artist’s words “move” them. Okay. Roll with that. lol But that can’t be measured other than in volume, as in, “how many people the song has moved”, which isn’t a fair scale because of marketing. Duh. But I’m talking about unique talent. Originality. Complexity. Design. Creativity in the art of writing. Take it from a writer. This fucking guy is a freak genius. His lyrics are extraordinary. SO extraordinary that they leapfrog over most peoples’ perceptions. He won’t get the credit he actually deserves for a few hundreds years. Maybe more. But art schools and collage-course Creative Writing classes in the far future will be dissecting this guy’s words like they do Shakespeare’s now. They are that fucking amazing. And unlike most of his earlier albums, this one comes with the lyrics and it’s more decipherable in general. I don’t want to say dumbed-down, but maybe just more “clearly stated”. One of his most obvious critiques is that nobody can understand what the fuck he’s talking about (shocker lol). This one still needs to be studied to fully appreciate, but you can pick up a lot more from it just by casually listening than you could with his past works. 

The next two albums are Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic together as Hail Mary Mallon. Great albums for sure. The two make for a team unlike any that Hip-Hop has ever known. The vinyl is undoubtedly my two favorite pieces. The picture disc is some beastly fucking dark art (The album is called Beastiary. See what I…. nvm…that’s getting old), and the green marble has hand-etched art on side D. Just fucking beautifully artistic shit that compliments they’re style of unique Hip-Hop. 

Some favorite tracks on the 4 discs for you to get introduced to would be Aesop Rock’s Dorks and Mystery Fish, and Mallon’s Kiln and Garfield. -cc

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On this day in music history: May 29, 1982 - “Combat Rock”, the fifth studio album by The Clash is released (UK release date is on May 14, 1982). Produced by The Clash and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Ear Studios in London in September 1981, Electric Lady Studios in New York City from November 1981 - January 1982 and Wessex Studios in London in April 1982. Following the epic triple album “Sandinista!” in 1980, The Clash continue forward by refusing to stay in one place musically, or be pigeonholed creatively. In the interim, the band record and release the stand alone single “This Is Radio Clash” (#47 UK, #17 US Club Play) in late 1981, which is first new song to emerge from the sessions of their next full length release. The album in progress is originally conceived as a double LP with the working title “Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg”. However, intense squabbling over music direction during the sessions (initially produced by Mick Jones) results in them scrapping their original concept. Producer and engineer Glyn Johns is brought in to oversee the production, and the material is pared down to a single album instead.  It is the bands most successful album, spinning off four singles including “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” (#17 UK first release, #45 US Pop, #1 UK 1991 reissue) their US biggest hit “Rock The Casbah” (#8 US Pop and Club Play, #30 UK, #15 UK 1991 reissue). In the US, Epic Records services radio stations with a limited edition picture disc LP with a camouflage pattern and 10 x 7 sticker insert, that becomes a rare and sought after collector’s item. “Combat Rock” also marks the beginning of the end for the band. It is the last Clash album to feature members Mick Jones and Topper Headon who are both fired from the band, Jones for being at odds with Joe Strummer, and Headon for his increasingly out of control heroin addiction. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2000, with 180 gram vinyl LP reissues by Music On Vinyl in Europe and Sony Legacy in the US in 2013. “Combat Rock” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

INTERVIEW: JUSTIN STRAUSS WITH SPARKS

Los Angeles, California 

Sparks are the original misfits, the musical Marx brothers, still the ones to watch — everything they create is just out of step with traditional music making, and they’ve been at it faithfully for years. They graced our hall at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles a few years ago, and we’re still feeling that electric light.

This week, for part of his Just/Talk series, music producer, remixer, legendary DJ and Ace friend Justin Strauss sat down with Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks to talk about papier mâché stage props, touring a show with all 250 songs in your discography and a lie that turned into a beautiful truth.

Justin Strauss: When I first got into the band that was to become Milk ‘n’ Cookies, one of the things that we all bonded over was Sparks, then known as Halfnelson. We were influenced by you guys and what you were doing. We saw you play at Max’s Kansas City in 1973 and you became one of the inspirations to form our band. What were you guys influenced by growing up and what made you want to start this band?

Ron Mael: Well, we always really loved British bands. We were in Los Angeles. There were things here that we liked, for example The Doors, Love, and The Beach Boys but, in general, the LA bands were too honest in a way that we didn’t really identify with. We liked flash and that kind of thing, bands like The Who and The Move, where we thought the visuals and the music were one thing.

So that was kind of the inspiration, and it led to some strange times where we would play here early on at the Whisky a Go Go.

JS: How was the band perceived?

Ron: Oh. Well. They didn’t understand.

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A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step 2xLP

/1500 orange marble 180g vinyl reissue || Music On Vinyl 2014

Mondo is releasing a double LP Vinyl of the original 1999 Silent Hill soundtrack for $30! Unexpected but pleasant surprise because who doesnt want to hear the sounds of heavenly and hellish sounds of Silent Hill on a turn table? The record is Pressed on a 2X 180 Gram “Snow Fall” Colored Vinyl, NOT some “Ashy Grey”  (Clear with Heavy White splatter) and features original artwork by Sam Wolfe Connelly. 

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On this day in music history: May 26, 1987 - “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”, the seventh studio album by The Cure is released (UK release is on May 25, 1987). Produced by Robert Smith and David M. Allen, it is recorded at Studio Miraval in Le Val, France, Compass Point Studios in Nassau, The Bahamas, and ICP Studios in Bruxelles, Belgium from September 6, 1986 - January 1987. Following the success of their previous release “The Head On The Door”, Cure front man and chief songwriter Robert Smith decides that a change of locale to work on their next album is necessary, so the band depart for The Bahamas to record at Chris Blackwell’s (founder of Island Records) Compass Point Studios for the initial recording sessions. The eighteen track double LP set is the result of a very prolific period for the band, who record forty songs for the album before being pared down to the final number used on the finished release. The end result is The Cure’s most stylistically diverse and most accessible album to date. The album spins off three singles in the US (four in the UK) including “Why Can’t I Be You” (#21 UK, #54 US Pop) “Hot Hot Hot!!! (#11 Club Play), and their first US top 40 single “Just Like Heaven” (#29 UK, #40 US Pop). When it is initially released, the original CD version of the album omits the track "Hey You!” in order to release the album on a single disc, since the song would make the running time breach the CD’s then seventy four minute time limit. The song is later restored to the running order. The album is reissued as a two CD deluxe edition in 2006, containing demo recordings of several songs and a live version of “Why Can’t I Be You?” from the final show of the “Kissing Tour” in 1987. In April of 2013, the album is reissued on vinyl (available in the US in that configuration for the first time in over twenty years) in a limited pressing (on red 180 gram vinyl) of only 3,500 copies for Record Store Day in the US and UK. The vinyl LP is subsequently is reissued as a standard black vinyl pressing, and is the current version in print. “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” peaks at number six on the UK album chart, number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

The Visions of Sister Gertrude Morgan

Photograph by Michael P. Smith ©The Historic New Orleans Collection

Sister Gertrude Morgan, street evangelist, painter, poet and visionary, created worlds of exuberant joy and unflinching faith using bright acrylics, watercolors, tempera paint, felt tip pen and electric white shoe polish. She painted her vision of New Jerusalem — gardens, high rise apartment buildings, and angels and airplanes, with herself drawn in as the bride of Jesus — on paper, toilet rolls, plastic pitchers, scrap wood, lampshades, Styrofoam trays, wedding dresses and guitar cases. 

From “God’s Greatest Hits.”

New Jerusalem Court, Gloryland St.

New Jerusalem Rose Garden Court

House of Worship

The Angel John Saw

Born in 1900 as the seventh child of a rural Alabama farmer, Sister Gertrude moved to New Orleans in 1939, after hearing a voice from God telling her to spread her gospel through art and sound in the “headquarters of sin.”


Sister Gertrude with Allan Jaffe, a young Ben Jaffe and Sandra Jaffe. Photo by Lee Friedlander. Courtesy Preservation Hall Foundation.

Sister Gertrude Morgan using a megaphone and a tapper to assist in her service in the Prayer Room of the Everlasting Gospel Mission”, 1973, Collection New Orleans Museum of Art

In 1970, Preservation Hall captured a 50-minute recording of Sister Gertrude singing gospel songs in a Prayer Room of the Everlasting Gospel Mission, accompanied only by her stomping foot and a shaking tambourine. They are 14 songs of inflated spirit and deep, abiding faith. Though Sister Gertrude’s paintings achieved wide acclaim in her lifetime, her music remained obscure until 2005, when Philadelphia DJ King Britt re-released her album, Let’s Make A Record, with new beats and instrumentation.



For Six of Saturns, our Jazz Fest celebration, we’ll be celebrating Sister Gertrude. Together with Vinyl Me, Please, we’re re-releasing both the original and remixed albums with a collector’s edition double-LP on vinyl. You can get a copy at the King Britt show and after Jazz Fest on the Ace Shop. All proceeds benefitPreservation Hall Foundation


New Jerusalem Lamb and Wife

Self-portrait

We Are Soldiers In The Army.