Electric Youth broke out in a big way with “A Real Hero,” a song that came to define the sound of the film Drive and its corresponding soundtrack. The duo double down on that impossibly romantic synth sound on Innerworld, their long-awaited debut album. That slow-burning pulse is back in songs like “Innocence,” perfectly capturing the romantic ideal of first love with synthesizers that at first sparkle like eyes being rubbed awake and then dazzle with gentle orchestration. Subtly enough referencing the soundtrackers of ’80s proms like Yaz and Alphaville, Bronwynn Griffin’s breathy voice sometimes floats by as a dream and other times catches onto a lighter-waving sentiment, like “we are the youth, we like to sing” (on “WeAreTheYouth”). Though Electric Youth may lack a bit for originality, Innerworld pretty skillfully avoids sameyness by appealing to current Europop-indebted dance music on tracks like “Runaway,” though they’re at their comfortable best on songs like “Without You,” building from their favored digital throb into a lovable freestyle couple. Griffin and her partner, Austin Garrick, have been a couple since the 8th grade, and thus their ability to make every synth stab feel like a dizzying first crush rings authentic. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard some of the sounds here before, or that they even include the three-year-old “Real Hero”; Innerworld’s swoony romanticism makes you feel like it’s the first time.
Some of our staff have picked out essential albums from Blue Note Records that should satisfy both the purist and the newcomer to go along with Sonos Studio’s brilliant exhibition celebrating the label's 75th anniversary.
A bit about Blue Note’s history: The label was in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, getting its name from the “blue notes” of blues and jazz, or notes sung a bit lower than the major scale for expressive purposes. Moving from traditional jazz to some bebop (including artists like Thelonious Monk) in the 1940s and hard bop (artists such as Horace Silver) in the 1950s, Blue Note distinguished itself by paying musicians for rehearsals as well as recordings, in order to ensure a better final product. With iconic album artwork by Esquire designer Reid Miles (using photographs of the musician in session, taken by Blue Note’s Francis Wolff), Blue Note made its name as one of the most influential labels in jazz music, later issuing records by free jazz musicians like Ornette Coleman and popular musicians like Herbie Hancock, having records sampled in hip-hop records by the likes of Madlib and, now, seeing massive success with mainstream artists like Norah Jones.
Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!
One would correctly assume that a record is reissued because there is a pent up demand for an out of print title. Let’s take the latest reissue of Jimi Hendrix’ Are You Experienced for example. Once this demand is sated, one might conclude that the elevated value for the original would come down, citing the law of supply and demand. This should be especially true because the newest release is pressed on 180 gram vinyl and sounds superior to previous versions.
My experience however, is that the added buzz and exposure adds to the mystique of owning the original and raises the value, especially if the original is in great shape. If you buy records just to hear the music, you absolutely shouldn’t pay more just to get an original. But, if you’ve crossed the line into being a “record collector,” all kinds of other considerations start to creep in. Suddenly condition starts to matter, you tend to be more of a completest in regard to an artist’s catalog, you weigh mono versus stereo, and you start to favor original issues.
A simple analogy would be: if you were an art collector would you want the original Mona Lisa, or a $29 copy? No matter how beautiful they might think it is, most art collectors would not put a repro up in their house, even though they could never afford the original.
Getting back to Hendrix, we see below the original Reprise tri-tone label, which was soon replaced by the two tone label, and then by the 1970s a solid brown label was used.
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On this day in music history: September 29, 1958 - "It's In The Game" by Tommy Edwards hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, also topping the Rhythm & Blues chart for three weeks (non-consecutive) on the same date. Written by Charles Dawes and Carl Sigman, it is the biggest hit for the pop vocalist from Richmond, VA. "It's All In The Game" is originally written in 1911 as an instrumental titled "Melody in A Major" by Charles Dawes who would later serve as Vice President of the United States under President Calvin Coolidge. Songwriter Carl Sigman will write lyrics for the song in 1951 when Tommy Edwards first records it. Edwards original version will peak at #18 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart in the Fall of 1951. By 1958, Edwards has been without a major hits for nearly four years and his label MGM Records is on the verge of dropping him, but he has one final session to go on his contract. Edwards will re-record "It's All In The Game" with a new arrangement and in stereo, making it one of the first stereo 45's released by MGM Records. The new version is released in early August of 1958 and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #40 on August 25, 1958, it will race to the top of the chart five weeks later. "It's All In The Game" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 29, 1973 - "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on October 13, 1973. Written and produced by Stevie Wonder, it is the seventh R&B chart topper for the prolific musician and songwriter. Issued as the first single from his landmark Innervisions album, the song is on the charts while Wonder is recovering from a devastating car accident, which will leave him in a coma for four days. While still in a coma, Stevie's road manager Ira Tucker, Jr. will lean down and sing the melody to "Higher Ground" in his ear and Stevie will respond by moving fingers in time with song. Recorded at Mediasound Studios in New York City, "Higher Ground" will be a virtual "one man show" with Wonder playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals on the track, with co-producers Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil programming the synthesizers. Red Hot Chili Peppers will score a hit with their cover version of "Higher Ground" when they record it for their 1989 album Mother's Milk, even name checking Stevie Wonder in their version.
The Prince and friends concert from his typically private home studio compound that is located just outside Minneapolis is a celebration marking the release of two brand new albums on the same day - tomorrow: Art Official Age which is described as "a classic Prince album produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince and Joshua Welton." Meanwhile the other new album being released tomorrow (Sept 30th) is PlectrumElectrum that is described by Warner who are releasing both new LPs as "a classic band record, with 3RDEYEGIRL, which include Prince, Donna Grantis (guitar), Hannah Ford Welton (drums) and Ida Nielsen (bass)."