New App Helps Locate Record Stores Anywhere In the World

Posted by on Mar 21, 2012 in Music, Tech & Interactive | 2 comments


I’m in Amoeba Records off of Sunset boulevard in Los Angeles, running my hands along the wise, graying liver spots of a record cover that is older than I am. The letters are worn; the album has forgotten its full name. I take it home and sit by its side, waiting for its black ridges to tell me the stories they need to.

I’m in a small town in Wisconsin as I move across the country into a new adult life; one eye on the bulging Penske and one on a copy of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. I rub the technicolor case against my thumbs as if it’s a lamp,  as if suddenly, 1995 will reappear; I’ll be standing at my 6th grade locker, innocent and invincible again.

I’m in my father’s basement after a 2011 flood streaked Joni’s blue face with new tears. I mourn the rippled, pixelated icon, transferring it like a transplanted heart into a clean bin.



 I buy music on itunes almost every single day. I love the convenience, and I love being able to lust / attain immediately. Streaming and downloads are the future of the music industry, undoubtedly. Most people are too busy to tolerate the unknown of investing in an album or band they haven’t previewed in some fashion.


 To all of you who still believe in the mystery, the little guy, the underdog, the feel and smell of a paper sleeve, the sound of dragging your nail across the binding ridges of a new CD, the electric snicker of a worn needle: I applaud you. Please don’t change, or at least not too quickly.


And, if I may, I’d like to task you with occasionally pulling a friend or two to your local, independent record store. Just force them to have one grand, happy experience. (Saturday, April 21st, aka Record Store Day is a great day to get kickin’ on this.)






If you don’t know where to find a local record store, you can use the handy new app by The Vinyl District. With an expanding worldwide database formed via music enthusiasts, user submissions, etc., this free app (iPhone and Android) uses a geo-location system to find the nearest record store and guide you to it. Also via the app, you can check in, share purchases on FB / Twitter, and participate in discussion boards to interact with other music lovers. 


And, if you care, do your part to make sure this list is up to date. If your favorite local store isn’t mentioned, you can email its name, address and website to to see it added! Find out more and download the app here.


Lastly, if you have a great, personal story about a local record store, please post it below! I’d love to gather these stories together to do some type of series surrounding Record Store Day!










Need a Playlist for Your Yoga Routine?

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Music | Comments Off

Minnesota Public Radio just published a great Classical Yoga playlist, including tracks by Andrej Panufnik, Bach, John Dowland and John Tavener. You can hear the full playlist on Spotify

Actually, I’ve been using this playlist to steady my breathing during stressful afternoons at the office, and it works great!


{img via fuckyeahyoga}



Rock Out, At the Office??

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Music | Comments Off

Want to share this fun story I just came across on NPR:

M5, a telecom company based in New York City, has started a company tradition of hosting band practice for its employees once a week. In each session, bands of 4 or 5 colleagues will get together and, led by a local music educator, work through covers of rock songs.  The only rules for these sessions are: you must have fun, and you must only play an instrument you don’t already know how to play; it gets people in the habit of learning new things, which is great for morale and productivity. Office founder Phelim White explains that the company founders met while playing music, and have long wanted to find away to incorporate the spirit and philosophy of a rock band into their business environment. 

The weekly band practices will culminate this May when the company holds a birthday party in New York City, the centerpiece of which is a battle of the bands content that pits each office against each other. 

Read the full article here.


Peter Frampton Finds Lost Guitar 3 Decades Later

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Music, Music News | 1 comment


Peter Frampton sold millions of records with the help of a customized Gibson guitar. It was even featured on the cover of his 1976 live album Frampton Comes Alive! Three decades ago, that guitar was destroyed in a plane crash over Venezueala … or so he thought.

Just last month, he was happily reunited with his lost instrument!

Read the full, incredible story on NPR



And Our Voices Floated Through the Mountains

Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in Folk, Music, Music Videos | 1 comment

In February, the San Diego-based band The Tree Ring hosted a free show in the Big Laguna Trail (only accessible by foot). Carrying their instruments up into the mountains, they nestled at the top, playing to a small circle of fans, birds and trees.

As moved as I am by the song itself, there’s a beautiful purity in this whole environment. Listen closely and you’ll hear that at it’s heart, this is love song. It’s written for the trees, for the wide salty sea, the untamed sky. And so, it is only fitting to send these words off through the mountain, to let them rise into the branches and echo boundlessly.


THE TREE RING: HIKE-IN SHOW from Destin Daniel Cretton on Vimeo.


This video features the lovely talents of:
Joel P West: Organ, Vocals
Kelly Bennett: Violin
Douglas Welcome: Bass
Darla Hawn: Drums
Jon Titterington: Guitar, Bells
Destin Daniel Cretton: Director, Producer, Editor
RON NAJOR: Producer
Brett Pawlak: DP
Jay Verkamp: Sound
Christopher Arata, Kenny Laubbacher and Alex Wilcox: Cameras
Trevor Fernando: Assistant Sound

Surprising Trends in 2011′s Music Sales

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Music News | 1 comment




Last Year’s Stats Are In. Is this pretty much what you expected or are you surprised?

Music Sales Stats from the The Nielsen Company show that (somehow) music sales in the U.S. are up 1.6 percent in 2011. While physical album sales declined, this was sharply countered by a 16.8% increase in digital album sales and a 9.6% growth in track purchases. And, a few more quick facts from the May, 2011 Nielson report:

    • Digital retailers received more than half of all music transactions, propelling a 12.4 percent growth in sales over last year.
    • Vinyl sales increased 37 percent in the beginning of 2011 over the same period last year.
    • 2011 saw the most successful Record Store Day in the event’s four-year history. Album sales at independent record stores increased over 39 percent the week of Record Store Day (April 16) from the prior week – an increase of 180,000 units – and 12.7 percent compared to 2010.
    • Rock is the most popular genre of music, with 32 percent album share, while pop music represents 40 percent of all current digital tracks sold.


A deeper look into the new ditgial music landscape, brought to you by Mark Mulligan’s Music Industry Blog:

  • In 2011, Spotify hit 2.5 million paying users, Rhapsody 800,000 and Sony Music Unlimited 800,000.
  • Pandora’s IPO started trading in June, and by July it had added more than 20 million registered users, to hit 100 million in total. This makes their total active user base a whopping 36 million, aka: 3.6% of all US radio listening hours.
  • “After a year or so of relative inactivity in the digital music service space, 2011 saw the arrival of a raft of new players including Blackberry’s BBM Music, Android Music, Muve Music , and Rara. The momentum looks set to continue in 2012 with further new entrants such as Beyond Oblivion and psonar.”



Introducing.. Chigliak Records

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Music News | Comments Off

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is now a business man! Vernon has created Chigliak Records, an imprint of Jagjaguwar. Check out Amateur Love, the first band set to release a record with the Chigliak enterprise:

Tula: A Spacial, Holy Sound

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Folk, Music, Music Videos | Comments Off



In a crowded stairwell in Schöneberg, Fanny Risberg’s voice literally recalibrates the air around her. She breathes forward into the chorus, shifting the cramped steps into such a spacial and holy place, it wells outwards from the video screen. It is inconceivable, really, that Tula’s sound can make my monitor bend forward, to make a stream come forth from it (I know this), but I do not know how else to explain that when I listen, my eyes feel windswept; my lungs feel swollen and complete.

 When I watch Fanny’s hands as she sings about getting swallowed down by the sea: “underneath roses grow from nothing and lilies fly the sky, down, down, down, the colors grow free on the ground and around me, surrounds me the most delicate sounds, I want to stay.” She moves her fingers, reaching for something that isn’t there— as if she is pulling on the flowers growing on the seafloor, petaled tethers to this mystical homeland.

 In the old Swedish language, the word ‘tula’ means to wander far into the forest— a befitting visual for a band that feels so organic and expansive. Formed and based in Berlin, the five-piece  folk band consists of the spectacular singer Fanny Risberg and guitar player August Zachrisson from Sweden, as well as keyboardist Dorothea Münsch, bass player Andreas Dzialocha and drummer Nikolai Petersen, who all come from different parts of Germany. They are currently touring throughout Europe so check their website to see if they’re coming to your town.

You can hear more from Tula on their Souncloud page and their website.



The following was recorded and published by The Berlin Sessions in December, 2011


Deep Sea Diver: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Music, Music Videos, Pop | Comments Off


For anyone not yet aware that there’s a band out there called Deep Sea Diver, I’ve got some disconcerting news: there are actually TWO bands out there called Deep Sea Diver. This came to my attention when, about a week after I’d purchased Seattle-based Deep Sea Diver’s fabulous new album History Speaks, (out of Germany) featured 3 videos by a band of the same name; my first thought was “wow, this band REALLY gets around.” As it turns out, it’s not physically possible to have a CD release show in Oregon at the exact same time that you’re recording a live performance in Berlin. Weird.

Anyway, as confusing and difficult as it might be to fawn over BOTH bands (kinda like dating two people at the same time, each of whom are named Jesse), I promise that you can handle it. After all, you’re smart, talented and otherwise lovely.


Here are the stats, to help you keep things straight:


Deep Sea Diver #1 (formed in 2007)

Hometown: Seattle

Members: Jessica Dobson, Peter Mansen and John Raines

Genre: Pop / Ambient

New Caves EP (2010)

History Speaks (2012)



Sounds like:


Looks like:

Deep Sea Diver: In Black & White from Sound on the Sound on Vimeo.





Deep Sea Diver #2

Hometown: Göttingen, Germany

Members: Niklas Kramer and friends

Genre: Indie Folk

Main instruments: acoustic guitars, pedal-steel, picked banjo

Beach (single) 2010

Repariate (2010)



Sounds like:


 Looks like:


Phil Cook and His Feat: Wordless, Hungry Blues

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Instrumental, Music | Comments Off


I’m a lyrics-junkie— there’s little more powerful than the right, unexpected word planting itself in your brain and growing wild, synaptic roots. I’m also a harmony-junkie— listen to almost anything in my music catalog and you’ll find a bunch of joyous vocal swirls bowing together.
So now that I’ve told you what I love, get your jaw ready because I need you to be extra shocked when I reveal a current obsession that features NEITHER of these musical characteristics. Yep, that’s right. Just instruments.

Durham-based Phil Cook, of the exceptionally talented Megafun, released Hungry Mother Blues in 2011 (under the moniker Phil Cook & His Feat), and in the joint opinion of everyone I’ve shared it with, “it’s exceptional.” With each listen, I try to understand how this wordless entity can move me so profoundly, and why, ever time my ears are craving an afternoon jumpstart, I return to it.

As a blog-reading enthusiast, I’ve had to work hard at objectively separating myself (the reader) from the subject of an interview or profile. So often, I’ll read a quote and think “Yep, he and I are GOING to be friends. Some day, in some random place, we are totally gonna share and beer and in the process, we’ll probably find out that we’re related.” Such is the case with an interview that Phil did with Indie Week, during which he briefly describes his music philosophy:

“It’s really liberating to just be able to take a little something from everywhere. Fuck that phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’ What I’m trying to master is not any one of these instruments, but forgetting my head and listening to my heart. That’s all I’m trying to do the whole time, no matter what I’m playing.”

I just love this concept. So many people spit hatorade on musicians that try to “do too much.” I have a friend that says “if you have time to learn a second or third instrument, you definitely have time to get better at the primary one. So, uhh, why don’t you just do that.” What Phil is saying is that ultimately, it’s not about the instruments, it’s about channeling whatever oddities are living in your heart— listening to them closely enough to be able to replicate them with whatever sound-making device happens to be in front of you.

Perhaps this is why I’m so magnetized to these songs. It matters not how the heart reaches forth — through a lyric, a banjo or a voice — it maters only that the heart is honest enough to do so.

“Lullaby and Lament”, from Hungry Mother Blues:

The Jensens: