The resurgence of vinyl

In the age of iPods and mp3s, illegal downloading and burned CDs, you would think that vinyl would be so, like, 1960. But I've recently been feeling an odd pull to the 12 inch black discs. And I'm not the only one. New bands are starting to release their albums on vinyl and there are even blogs and websites devoted to LPs. My roomate got a turntable earlier this year and I've caught myself scouring the stacks of records instead of flipping through CDs at the local record store. 

So why is this archaic art form making a come back??
The answer might lie in something that my Intro to Rock professor, Mark Katz, talked about during the last day of class. The musical theme of this decade has been three R's: Retro, Recycling and Revivalism. 

Let's break it down. A lot of today's popular music is in some way borrowing or stealing from music decades earlier. First, take sampling. Artists -- mostly in hip-hop -- have started recycling older music by sampling it and putting new words, beats or ideas over top of it. Sure, they're creating new music, but they're taking something old and bringing it back. Prime example: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West samples Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman." An even more extreme example is my new addiction Girl Talk, where Gregg Gillis uses as many as 25 different songs to create something totally new. 

Retro and revivalism sound the same, but there are tiny differences. Retro refers to bands that are taking some of the ideas of older music but taking it to a different level. Take the lo-fi garage rock that was popular in the '60s. You're seeing that same rough and unpolished approach to music today in bands like The White Stripes or The Strokes. It may not be exactly the same style of music, but it has the same aesthetic.

Revivalism is pure copying of an earlier style of music. For this I'll use the example of disco. Bands like the Scissor Sisters have brought back that "four on the floor" drum beat and falsetto singing that the Bee Gees popularized in the '70s. 

So in light of all these musical trends, it starts to become clear why the album is making a resurgence. Popular music now is being heavily influenced by musics of the '60s and '70s. So it makes sense that how we listen to this music would be influenced in the same way. It doesn't feel right to listen to lo-fi stuff like The White Stripes on a digitized mp3. I need some crackle and pop of a record to make it feel right. 

I still love CDs and my iPod is always by my side. But there is something distinctly different in the experience of putting on some vinyl. It's an experience. Taking the record out of the sleeve, starting the turntable and lowering that needle to the groove. You can't compare to that. And the little imperfections are what make it beautiful. 

Go buy a record and put it on, see if you don't agree.


So Long, Sparks

I know a couple of people who will be very unhappy upon hearing that their favorite caffeine-injected awful tasting excuse for an alcoholic beverage is no more. I, on the the other hand, will dance upon its grave.
Apparently the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa "Candidate 2" Madigan,  claimed MillerCoors was illegally marketing the "beverage" to underaged consumers, by sponsoring an air guitar champion, or something.

“These drinks are extremely dangerous in the hands of young people,” Madigan said in a statement. “They contain substantially more caffeine than coffee or soda and are marketed as a way to ‘power’ your nights by staying awake and drinking more alcohol. This is a completely inappropriate message to send to younger audiences.”

Get the full story over at Gawker.


Nice Price Books

A review from the folks over at Vinyl Records finally convinced me to take my first trip to Nice Price Books, a little bookstore that sits right at the edge of Carrboro on Main Street. As much as I love books, what really drew me to this store was the music collection. Thousands upon thousands of CDs, tapes and records are piled up in the on the walls, on the floor and everywhere that there is space.

I have always loved sifting through stacks of music trying to find the "diamond in the rough" and this is the perfect place to do it. I was in there for an hour and didn't even notice. I could have spent another couple of hours browsing around.

But I walked out of the store three records richer and only $15 poorer. Can't beat that.

Here's what I bought:

Photo of Nice Price Books taken from Vinyl Records Blog.


Out of a job

It looks like the economic crisis/disintigration of the journalism industry has hit me sooner than expected. Much sooner.

I just found out that this will be my last week at Chapel Hill Magazine, the publication I have been interning with this whole semester. Oh, and this is after they asked me to stay on for next semester just a few short weeks ago.

According to the editor, it had nothing to do with performance, but was a decision from higher up to not have any interns next semester and instead hire a full-time employee to do all the work the interns did.

As disappointed as I am, I understand. I don't really blame anyone for what happened, I just wish I had known sooner. The economy sucks and journalism is taking a huge hit. It happens. I just didn't think it would happen before I even graduated.

So, I guess I'm back on the market. If there are any publications or journals that are looking for an intern for next semester (January to May) let me know.

Ben Folds on "Brick"

While studying for my Intro to Rock exam (for the very few hours that I did) I came across this cool video of Ben Folds explaining the meaning of his hit song "Brick." On the Ben Folds Live album he explains that it's about him and his girlfriend having an abortion, but I was never really sure that it was the truth. Apparently it is.

He also gives some great insight into how his music was changing from early Ben Folds Five to Whatever and Ever Amen and eventually Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. "Brick" was definitely a different direction for the piano-pop-rock trio, but it's an undeniably beautiful and touching song. And I just love that Darren Jessee was the one that wrote the chorus. Folds seems to be a bit arrogant and the fact that the chorus to their most popular song is not written by him is just great.

There is also a section where he talks about how touring with Neil Young influenced him to make a "stadium feel like a living room." He's done that both times that I have seen him live, making a large venue like UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall feel like a few friends hanging around a piano.

OK, enough blabbing from me. Check out the video for yourself.


Just to break up the monotony

UNC-Chapel Hill may be one of the best public universities in the nation, but that doesn't mean we don't know how to have a little bit of fun, especially when it comes to exam time.

Just hang out in the Undergraduate Library during exam week and you'll see what I mean. First, there is the tradition of the UL streakers. These brave guys and gals streak through the lobby of the library at midnight on the night of the exams, just to break up the monotony of studying. Keep things interesting.

Well it seems like this year there is a new study time tradition: the UL Rave Party.

This flash mob took over the UL lobby at midnight on December 8, right in the middle of exam week. Just to break up the monotony. I think I like this tradition more than the streakers. It's more inclusive. And I don't have to take my pants off to participate. Unless I really want to.

And let me just add that I love that our student body knows the words to our alma mater, "Hark the Sound," and the fight song and will sing it at random times. That's school spirit people.


Here, you look poor, have a Whopper!

I’m not usually one to get all crazy anti-consumerism and corporate America, but stuff like this really pisses me off.

What bothers me is that they seem to have the idea that they are doing something good for the world. Spreading the American way of life.

“You know what this desolate rural area needs? A Whopper.”

And they act so shocked when someone hasn’t had a burger before. Not everyone is as interested in clogging arteries and gaining weight as Americans are. Sorry, Burger King.

This is not a Burger King bashing party. I get fast food every so often and that’s fine. But if we’re trying to spread our culture around the world, handing out greasy burgers is not the way to go. These people have done fine without them so far, and I’d like to see you prove to me how fast food has improved our culture.


Uncharted Released!!!

Exciting news, faithful readers! The first issue of Uncharted magazine hits shelves...err...your internet browser today! If you don't remember, Uncharted is a new arts magazine that I'm writing for that reports on music, visual arts and performance art around the UNC-Chapel Hill community.

As of now the magazine is only online in PDF form, but we hope to get the funding to print future issues. Heck, you can print it out on pretty paper and staple it together if you really want to.

This is a pretty packed issue with articles about the band Cloud Cult, a look at CD Alley on Franklin Street, a beautiful photo story entitled "Quench: Eastern Africa's Search for Water," my article about open mic night at Jack Sprat Cafe, and more.

There is also some content online that wasn't put into the magazine, including an article by me about the Avett Brothers show for UNC-CH's homecoming and a profile on Caroline Robinson, a great singer-songwriter who, incidentally, I mentioned (not by name) in my open mic piece.

I think it looks pretty good, but then again I'm a little biased. Check it out, and also check out the Uncharted website where you can register to get e-mail updates, create an artist page, or even upload articles and photos.


Political Blogging Communities

I've last night and most of today working on a blog for my presentation in Professor Jones' class and I'm finally done!! At least I hope I am. Anyway, with all the hard work I put into it, I figured I would share it. It's a "study" of three different progressive political blogging sites and how they work as knowledge communities. I took a local blog (Orange Politics) a state-wide blog (BlueNC) and a national blog (Daily Kos) and compared them and looked at how the community functions. Check it out here if you're interested or really, really bored.

On a sidenote, after working with Wordpress to create that blog, I think I've decided to move this blog over to Wordpress. It's not happening now, or probably any time soon, but I have decided to start the process. It will still be at www.coreyinscoe.com, but it will just be hosted elsewhere, so if you have this blog bookmarked at noisebazaar.blogspot.com, you'll have to change it.

I like blogger, but there's so much more you can do with Wordpress as far as layout, creating pages and posting. I want to make CoreyInscoe.com more than just a simple blog and this is the easiest way to do it. I'll let you know when I get this thing moved over.

But until then, I'll keep posting on good ole blogger, and I hope to post more regularly now that school is finally winding down.