Thursday, October 27, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Here's an article I would love to share to everyone. It was printed on my first issue and I think only 80 copies were distributed. I've sold a few in every local shows I went, but most of it were given to close friends, and traded to some of my friends abroad. Commitment Record is one of the best European straightedge hardcore/punk label that brings you Vitamin X, X-Men, Oil, Soberesponse, Product X, More Than X in our Hands international compilation, Pointing Finger, Infect, OnexMore just to name a few, and until now Robert is still dedicated, committed, and passionate to the core.
By Robert of Commitment Records, a straight edge label from The Netherlands, well-known forreleasing a large bunch of 7” EP’s of straight edge bands in the last 10 years.
The cassette tape tried it, but it did not succeed. The CD tried it and it did not succeed either. And now the iPod tries, but it will also not succeed. The vinyl record will survive them all. Vinyl was there before them, and will be there long after they will be gone and forgotten!
At the end of the 1940s, the vinyl records as we know them today were developed. The vinyl record replaced the shellac 10 inch record that played on 78 rpm (rotations per minute). The 78 10” shellac record had dominated the music scene for over 50 years – since its introduction in 1898.
The 7” vinyl record was developed in 1949 by RCA Victor and it played on 45 rpm. It was a reaction to Columbia’s 331/3 rpm 12”, that was introduced the year before. After the “War Of The Speeds”, that lasted until 1950, the 45 rpm 7” vinyl record became the standard for short length records (singles) and the 331/3 rpm 12” record became the standard for long play (LP) records.
From the beginning of the 1950s until the 1980s, the 7”’s and 12”’s ruled the record market, but that changed with the introduction of the CD. In a few years, the mass public shifted from vinyl records to CD’s, and by 1988, the CD had taken over the place of the vinyl record as the most important media to buy music on. Still, vinyl did not disappear, mainly thanks to two underground scenes: house and punk/hardcore.
In the dance scene, vinyl, especially 12” vinyl, remained on top. Vinyl gave DJ’s the opportunity to mix songs (by pitching them up or down) and the fact that music from vinyl sounds more dynamic than music from CD also contributed to the popularity of vinyl records in clubs. An experiment even showed than when the same songs was played on CD and on vinyl, the reaction of the crowd was far more enthousiastic when the songs was played from vinyl than when the song was played from CD!
Also in the hardcore scene, especially in the USA and Western Europe, vinyl remained the most important medium to release music on, even after the introduction of the CD. In the beginning, probably the main reason was that vinyl records were cheaper to produce than CD’s. Especially for beginning bands, a CD was one step too far. On a 7”, they could put 4 to 8 songs, and for a quite affordable sum of money, they could produce 500 to 1000 7”’s EP, that they could sell for something between 2 and 4 US dollars. Besides, most bands that started had only 4 to 8 good songs, so it was also smarter to do a 7” than a full length half filled with filler songs. As most punk kids don’t have that much money, the rather cheap 7” was the perfect way to check out new bands. Kids could maybe not afford a CD for 10 US dollars, but a 7” of 3 US dollars they could afford.
So 7” records were cheap to produce, but it also gave more opportunities for doing something nice with the artwork (as with a CD, everything had to be squeezed inside this little plastic box). The artwork of a record has always been important in the punkscene, as punk is not only music, but a way of life – as was reflected in the lyrics, that were most of the time included in the record, but also in the way the record looked. Just take 5 punk records, and try to guess the style of music a band plays from the way the record looks. You will probably be right in 5 out of 5 cases!
A third reason why vinyl was (and still is) popular in punk is that the raw sound of punk sounds much better on a dynamic and raw vinyl record than on a clean and cold digital medium like a CD. The main drawback of vinyl (the pops and clicks) is not such a problem for punk – the music is so loud that you do not hear the pops and clicks in the first place!
Vinyl also became a collectors item. CD releases have most of the time just one edition, but vinyl comes in many different editions: different vinyl colours, limited edition sleeves. I don’t think there is one single punk or hardcore kid who collects CD’s, but the number of vinyl collectors in the punk scene… well, probably, there are just too many!
The situation is a little bit different outside the USA and Western Europe. In Latin America, East Europe and Asia, besides the vinyl record, also the cassette tape had become very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the sound quality of a tape is less than that of a vinyl record, it is not only cheaper to produce, but also much easier to copy. That was an important reason why tape releases were the main way to spread music in the punkscene in these parts of the world. Punkbands from East Europe, Latin America and Asia could not afford to put out vinyl records, so most of them released their music on (self-produced) tapes.
When the CD was introduced in these countries, it ended the already weak position of the vinyl record – not only in the punk scene, but also in the music general in general. So contrary to the USA and Western Europe, these countries were never able to develop a vinyl culture. Almost all pressing plants in Latin America and Asia closed down, so even when, at the end of the 20th Century, punk bands from these countries finally could afford to release records on a more professional media than tapes, they had to choose for CD, as there were no plants to press the vinyl in their area anymore. And besides, most punk kids in these countries did not own a record player in the first place. The situation is a little bit different for Eastern Europe, as they still have pressing plants. It is no coincidence that they days many Eastern European labels are also releasing on vinyl – more than 10 years ago.
The dance and punk/hardcore scenes kept vinyl alive and, very unexpectedly, in a time when the iPod and other digital media cause a revolution on the music market, the vinyl record, especially the 7” record, is making a comeback. In 2001, even in the UK, traditionally a stronghold of vinyl (although less in the hardcore scene than in the indie and dance scenes, strangely enough), 7” vinyl sales had gone down to a mere 170.000 – while in 1998, more than 1 million 7”’s had been sold. It seemed the 7” was as good as gone. But in 2005, in the UK the number of 7”’s sold rose to 1.070.000 again! Even many young people have started buying vinyl and big deparment stores are again selling record players. Thanks to popular indie bands like The Artic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Interpol, who release all their singles on 7” vinyl (many times with limited coloured edition vinyl and special artwork – it almost seemed as if they are inspired with what is already common for many years in the hardcore and punk scene).
Even hardcore bands from Latin America, South East Asia and Australia are more and more releasing their records on vinyl, which is another proof that vinyl will probably not only survive the iPod revolution, but maybe even outlive the CD!
And as a 7” vinyl lover myself I’m very happy to be able to conclude that even in 2006, vinyl still rules the punk scene! And now, just to proof the point, please pick up a beautiful disk of black vinyl, put it on your turntable, turn the volume to the maximum and enjoy the sound of vinyl!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Two of the best bands from South East Asia will give the Malaysian hardcore/punk kids a show they won't forget. Check them out!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Here's one of the closest and newest Record Shop around from where I live. It's just a few block, so you can just take a walk to get there. They have a great selection, but not much of hardcore/punk stuff, although I saw some rare singles of early LA punk bands there. One thing that really caught my attention was the Asta Kask Live EP. The used section is the best place to check, and that's where I got this Minor Threat LP. The staff there was friendly, the place has a good ambience and atmosphere. Still it's a recommendable record shop for music lovers.