UK Inmates Allowed String Guitars Thanks To Campaign Led By Billy Bragg

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg "A New England (live at Amoeba San Francisco: October 2013)"

As reported today by British media outlets including the NME (New Music Express) UK inmates will finally be allowed use of string guitars thanks to a campaign led by Billy Bragg and including such other musicians as Johnny Marr, Dave Gilmour, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. The political campaign which was kick-started by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, with Bragg leading the musicians in the crusade for prisoners' rights, set about overturning the long-standing ban on steel-string guitars in British prisons. According to UK prison authorities, the guitar ban was based on fear of their parts being used as weapons. "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened," said the Cardiff West MP upon hearing news of the lift of the ban.

"The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban," added the MP. Billy Bragg noted upon news of the lifting of the ban that prisoners being allowed use of steel string guitars, "can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing." A long time champion of the underdog and with a history of fighting against civil injustices, Bragg founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to try and overthrow the ban against ban arguing that guitar playing helps greatly in the rehabilitation process of inmates.

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100 Essential Albums for Your Record Collection

Posted by Billy Gil, November 13, 2013 09:40am | Post a Comment

100 Essential Albums For Your Record Collection

Use the promo code vinyl10 to get 10% off any new and used vinyl on

Starting a record collection? Or trying to round out the one you have? Here's a list of 100 records, in alphabetical order, that most people can agree are essential listens. I picked based on two criteria: essentialness and availability. If there's no reasonable way you can pick up the album in store at any given time (and for under $40), it's not on there. If you'd like to head straight to shopping, check out this handy feature at our online store. Enjoy!

Allman Brothers Band Live

The Allman Brothers Band Live At Filmore East (1971)

Hear pretty much the best guitar playing ever.




the b-52's lp amoebaThe B-52’s The B-52's (1979)

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Atoms for Peace Stop By Daily Show For Interview & Performance In Advance of US Leg of World Tour

Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2013 10:40am | Post a Comment
Atoms for Peace "Default" (live on The Daily Show, 9/15/13)

Atoms for Peace fans as well as fans of Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in for a treat last night when the group formed by Thom Yorke with Flea on bass stopped by the Daily Show on Comedy Central last night for both an interview and performance in which they did killer sounding live versions of the songs tracks "Default" (latest single off the band's current album Amok that was released back in February of this year by XL Recordings and for which the current tour is in support of), and "Harrowdown Hill" (off Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser from 2006, also on XL). Last night's performance was the first US set by the side-project supergroup originally formed four years ago in LA when they performed publicly for the very first time at the Echoplex in Los Angeles in early October, 2009.

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20 Essential Records You Need on Vinyl

Posted by Billy Gil, April 10, 2013 09:21am | Post a Comment

20 Essential Records You Need on Vinyl

Use the promo code vinyl10 to get 10% off any new and used vinyl on

In honor of the upcoming Record Store Day, I decided to make a list of 20 records I think everyone should own on vinyl. Take this Record Store Day to build a nice foundation for your record collection. I picked this list based on pretty arbitrary criteria, including what critics generally think are great, what I think is great, what I think particularly sounds good on analog-warm vinyl, and what you won’t have to pay $100 for or scour for (e.g. no hard-to-find ’90s vinyl or things out of print). I also left it to one album per artist. These aren't in any particular order. Send any omissions to this list to Or just leave a comment!

The Beatles Revolver

The Beatles – Revolver

In my mind, The White Album is the greatest Beatles album, but you can’t beat the utterly perfect one-disc punch of Revolver. It should go without saying that every Beatles album is essential and is worth owning on vinyl yadda yadda, but if you have to start somewhere, do it here. Their catalog was recently reissued on vinyl in stereo mix, so you should have no trouble finding them if you’re just starting out — and you should have no trouble finding quality replacements, if your old Beatles LPs are worn out.

Atoms For Peace's 'Amok' Up for Preorder

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2012 03:46pm | Post a Comment

Atoms For PeaceAtoms for Peace, the new band featuring Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, drummer Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco, have announced their debut record, Amok, will be released Feb. 26 from XL. The band released their first single, Default, this week, which also includes the song “What the Eyeballs Did,” which does not appear on the album.

The band debuted in 2009, performing the entirety of Yorke’s The Eraser at Los Angeles’ The Echoplex (the band shares its name with a song on The Eraser, as well as a speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower). Since then, the band toured opening for Flying Lotus and played the 2010 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, while Radiohead released their eighth album, The King of Limbs.

You can here Yorke singing over an eerily beautiful electronic instrumental on the band’s official website, where you can also scroll over an apocalyptic L.A. landscape that includes many local landmarks (no Amoeba, although everything’s on fire so I guess that’s okay).

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