On vinyl, it's not difficult to put together 44 minutes of great music, but once record labels began demanding that artists fill up the entire data capacity of a CD, producing an album with a 60 minute run-time and no crappy songs became much more difficult. That's one reason why CD-era music contains so few albums worthy of the "Front-to-Back" title. With that in mind, Indian Summer is an album that totally earns its F-t-B inclusion.
The seventh annual Record Store Day (RSD) is this Saturday, April 19. Record Store Day is an event conceived to celebrate the importance of independent record and music stores to the music-loving community. Sure, MP3s are nice and convenient, but seriously, what about the actual experience of going to a store with a vibe and spending some time seeking out new music on your own instead of depending on an algorithm to do it for you?
I'm going way out on a limb – and deep into the vault – this week, but if you stick with me you'll get it. Before Mumford & Sons, Jake Bugg, the Kings of Leon and the hipster Americana musical movement, there were the Eagles, Pure Prairie League and the Flying Burrito Brothers. But the most under-appreciated and musical of them all were the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the original OMD.
I write and speak the Gospel of Good Sound whenever I get the chance. I am an audio outlier. A high-fidelity voice in the barren desert of a culture that is slowly turning it's back on the beauty and art of sound. I sometimes lose hope that the very idea of actually caring about how things sound is a concept that is slipping away from us.
Friday night is the best night of the week to listen to music (unless you do shift work or have a schedule that doesn't honor the weekend). But all things considered, the Zen of putting on a good record, on a system that sounds good, with people (or a singular person) that you enjoy spending time with makes the non-sense of the week all worthwhile. A decent bottle of wine or a nice single-malt Scotch are optional.
With that in mind, allow us to introduce Front-to-Back Album Friday.
(Scroll down for the link to our initial Front-to-Back album, Moving Pictures by Rush)
Our first Front-to-Back Album is this 1981 gem from Rush. Recorded in the late summer and fall of 1980, this album is a seminal showcase of superior musicianship coupled with a great feel for radio-friendly, accessible rock music.
You know how space movies all pretty much sound the same...creepy, dark ambient-mashups that make you feel like something bad is going to happen any moment? Well, that's pretty much fake, except it turns out it's based on reality (of sorts).
There have always been Katy Perry's, One Direction's, Justin Bieber's and Rihanna's, we just called them Madonna, Tiffany, Leif Garrett, Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Monkees, Pat Boone and Fabian. But popular music was able to transcend the pre-packaged boring artists the middle-men relentlessly shoved into our ear canals because good artists performing good songs always found their way through the clutter.
Most of us non- or marginally-scientific types aren't necessarily interested in the equations to describe a whispering gallery wave, but that doesn't mean we can't visit places where they exist and have conversations with each other while facing the walls on opposite sides of the room. In fact, the next time you're visiting somewhere and you see people talking into the wall remember: They are either a) nuts, or b) having fun with whispering gallery waves.
Every once in a while we get feedback about our products that make us so proud of what we do we have to share. Anyone in the New York who has listened to the radio at any time in the past few decades knows Jimmy Fink. Jimmy is now the afternoon drive DJ for New York's 107.1 The Peak, a bona fide rock and roll radio station where you can catch tunes from across the rock and roll spectrum.
On Thursday, February 13, KEF America hosted an evening of discussion and music at MSR Studios in mid-town Manhattan. Hosted by our Brand Ambassador Johan Coorg, our featured guest was studio legend Ken Scott with special guests Staying for the Weekend, an indie rock outfit from Nashville. Hit the JUMP for a full account of an amazing evening.
Ken Scott, whose production credits and discography span a veritable who's who of important artists (and their albums) over the past 40 years, will be the featured guest speaker at our Masters of Sound event on February 13 at MSR Studios in Manhattan. I got the extreme pleasure of picking Ken's brain (and selfishly asking him the questions I've wanted to ask for a long while) last week.
To most of us, music has become like Facebook: We've got a lot of friends, but not a lot of close relationships. Technology has made it possible to easily and cheaply own more music than ever before, but it has also separated us from our enjoyment of the art of music. We have become hoarders, which isn't a bad thing, but along the way, we've lost our relationship with music.
On February 13, KEF America will host our Masters of Sound discussion about the important link between high quality sound, the artist's vision and the music fan's level of enjoyment featuring world-renowned producer Ken Scott. Featured performers will be Nashville-based Staying For the Weekend, a band on the cusp of sharing the throne currently held by the likes of Kings of Leon and The Lumineers (okay, Staying For the Weekend rocks a bit harder and plays a bit louder then the Lumineers, but check out the writing and performing chops of each and you'll see why I made the comparison).
Recently, Ben Matthews, guitarist and keyboardist from Thunder, and a well-respected audio engineer and producer in his own right, sat down with me for approximately ten questions about playing in front of 100,000 people, recording, and whether or not the kazoo is actually a musical instrument.