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Vinyl Emergency

Interviews and anecdotes centered around our connection to vinyl records, featuring musicians, album collectors, LP manufacturers and beyond.
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Vinyl Emergency
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Aug 13, 2019
In a relatively short amount of time, Matt Ross-Spang has grown from Sun Studio tour guide to one of the most sought-after producers and engineers in music. Having moonlighted behind the boards at Sun after business hours while juggling high-school, Matt helped bring the historic studio back to its analog roots and eventually stepped out on his own at the behest of Grammy-winner and Nashville studio staple Dave Cobb. This led to Matt engineering releases for John Prine, Jason Isbell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amanda Shires and Josh Ritter, as well as helming records for Margo Price, Lucero and Iron & Wine's latest collaboration with Calexico. Recently, Amazon even plucked him to produce, curate and debut a unique digital audio series featuring Al Green's first new recording in nearly a decade. To sum it up best, NPR describes Ross-Spang as "a music history geek with a brilliant ear for blending studio precision with spontaneity," while Rolling Stone touts him as "one of the most trusted arbiters of the Memphis sound."
 
That last moniker rings especially true this month, as Sony/Legacy celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of Elvis Presley's most pivotal years by releasing a massive 11CD box set and 2LP vinyl edition of performances from August 1969 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. All originally recorded to 8-track and newly mixed to analog by Matt, this string of shows is especially notable for featuring a full orchestra and the live debut of one of the King's biggest hits, "Suspicious Minds." Recorded at Sam Phillips' iconic studio in Memphis, today's interview features Matt's insight on the psychology of recording, examples of records where the room acts as an instrument, his trajectory within the industry and how a career in documenting music has changed the way he listens. Matt's social media and additional information on his work can be found at southerngrooves.com. To learn more about Sam Phillips Recording Service, visit samphillipsrecording.com.  
Jul 30, 2019

For close to a decade, Cleveland's Gotta Groove Records has earned its reputation as "the artist's preferred pressing plant." By having their quality assurance team play every 25th LP or 7" that comes off their presses, they're known for going the extra mile and implementing some of the highest standards in the industry, whether manufacturing limited 100-copy runs or thousands upon thousands for worldwide distribution. On the cusp of their 10th anniversary, Gotta Groove sales and marketing VP Matt Earley chats about where they've been, where they're going and how the vinyl business can stay vibrant and innovative. Visit GottaGrooveRecords.com and follow @gottagrooverecs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jul 16, 2019

Enjoy this rerun of Episode 64, featuring our conversation with the great Rosanne Cash. Tour dates and more are available at rosannecash.com, and her latest album She Remembers Everything is available wherever you get music.

Jul 2, 2019

Since the late 1970's, both Evelyn Shriver and Susan Nadler have worked with an impressive list of country music's biggest names. Armed with their shared PR experience, the duo headed up Asylum Records as the first women to ever helm a major country music label and flipped Nashville's Music Row on its ear, building longtime partnerships with Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Lorrie Morgan, Randy Travis and more. Their countless years of experience, legendary debauchery and hilarious stories of life behind-the-scenes and on the road are now part of a new podcast courtesy of Momument Records called Shady Ladies Of Music City, which encourages listeners to submit their own country music rumors for discussion on the program, to find out if they're tall tales or legendarily confirmed stories. Today, Susan and Evelyn sit down to discuss the homogenized state of mainstream country radio, Pittsburgh's National Record Mart (the first music store chain ever in the United States), the industry's reaction to the launch of the compact disc, their childhood memories of 45RPM singles, and how to get rid of gold records. Podcast info, social media and more are available at shadyladiesofmusiccity.com.

Jun 18, 2019

Over three proper full-lengths and nearly a decade of touring, NYC quartet Soul Coughing merged spoken word, jazz, hip-hop and various avant-garde subgenres into a sound completely their own, notching a few 90's college radio and alt-rock hits in the process. This year, vocalist/guitarist Mike Doughty is on the road celebrating the 25th anniversary of their critically-acclaimed debut LP Ruby Vroom, performing a "real-time remix" of the record from start to finish with a new backing band. On today's show, Mike heralds Led Zeppelin IV, Miles Davis' hand-painted cassette collection, Memphis' Goner Records and the countless master tapes or unearthed treasures lost to the 2008 Universal Studios fire in Hollywood. He also discusses leading a creative writing class for prison inmates, and their inquiries as to how musicians get paid for songs they've listened to in jail. Find the recent vinyl reissues of Soul Coughing's discography wherever you buy music, and visit mikedoughty.com for tour dates, social media, solo material and more. 

May 28, 2019
As an in-demand session musician, keyboardist/pianist Jeff Babko has built a diverse career, both on record and on the road. Aside from his own original music, he's recorded or toured with the likes of Neil Young, Smokey Robinson, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow and Frank Ocean, while working on scores and soundtracks for films and TV, including Garden State, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, The Good Place, Arrested Development and the upcoming mega-sequels Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4. This year also finds Jeff -- a member of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! house band -- releasing a new album on vinyl ("El Musico," available via CDBaby) as well as touring with the radio variety program Live From Here. On today's show, Jeff recounts buying several Oingo Boingo releases for a complete stranger, his favorite record stores to visit while touring, why the songs on "El Musico" were not originally intended to be shared, and how eating mediocre pizza changed his musical DNA. Follow @jeffbabko on Twitter and Instagram, visit jeffbabko.com for news updates and watch the current Netflix special Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Never Forget for the Rest of Your Life, as well as the new Amy Poehler-directed film Wine Country, to catch Jeff in action.
May 14, 2019

Vinyl Emergency may not have existed without inspiration from Billy Fields. Within the record industry, he's known as the resident vinyl expert for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, the artist and label services arm of Warner Music Group, overseeing all aspects of vinyl production, including marketing, sales forecasts and strategy. For record lovers on Twitter, Billy is a required presence, keeping the world updated with weekly vinyl sales numbers and trends, while being a vocal advocate for quality vinyl, no matter who's releasing it. Recorded in Nashville during this year's Music Biz conference, Billy dives into the cyclical nature of music retail, his college days working at Tower Records, how Bandcamp and Qrates are working with unsigned artists to create custom limited pressings, and why his team strives to keep the price of albums down, while still giving musicians and fans what they want. Follow @billysezvinyl on both Twitter and Instagram.

Apr 30, 2019

Since launching in 2007, the Los Angeles-based comedy label ASpecialThing has churned out laughs on 7, 10 and 12" formats, putting influential voices such as Patton Oswalt, Cameron Esposito, Karen Kilgariff, Jonah Ray and Kyle Kinane to vinyl. Today, on top of his early love for hip-hop, how he swayed his parents to buy him a Muppet Show album and what it's like to get a Grammy, AST co-founder Matt Belknap takes us through the in's and out's of putting stand-up sets to wax. Plus, as producer of the groundbreaking podcast Never Not Funny, Matt will co-host Pardcast-A-Thon -- a 12-hour, live-streaming telethon version of NNF -- on Saturday, May 4th. Proceeds benefit children's cleft palate charity Smile Train, for whom Matt and the gang have raised over $1 million during their past nine fundraisers. Watch all the craziness for a good cause via youtube.com/nevernotfunny, purchase albums from ASpecialThing via astrecords.bigcartel.com, follow @mattbelknap on Instagram and subscribe to NNF's weekly podcasts on the Earwolf Network however you listen.

Apr 16, 2019

As popularity rises for vinyl subscription services, Table-Turned continues to stand out as an option for those looking to take a deep dive into specific genres of their choosing. On this episode, co-founder Dane Erbach provides some history on the company, as well as how his local record store is becoming a prime spot for punk rock in the suburbs, how Table-Turned is humanizing music, what vinyl his 7 and 4-year-old sons have been into lately and much more. Visit table-turned.com for subscription info, as well as jetsam-flotsam.com for music on Dane's own label.

Apr 2, 2019

Today, we round out our discussions with the main four voices of the acclaimed RecordNerdz podcast: Jason Davis grew up in Brazil, only visiting the states a couple times a year during his teens, before moving to America permanently as an adult and eventually settling down in Brooklyn. On this episode, Jason chats about how he regards his collection as his own private record store, which Metallica album he owns the most copies of, the quality of Brazilian pressings, this year's upcoming Record Store Day, and how vinyl shops are using Discogs to their advantage when needing to dump inventory. Follow Jason on Instagram @spectrum_city_records, and subscribe to RecordNerdz however you get podcasts! Be sure to also check out our previous interviews with fellow RecordNerdz hosts Kristian Sorge, Trevor Ingerson and Mark Piro in the archives.

Mar 19, 2019

Without the influence of J. Robbins, the indie-rock landscape from the 90's through today would be missing a specific tonality, seeped heavily in both nuance and bite. From his songwriting and musicianship in bands like Jawbox, Channels and Burning Airlines to his production/engineering work with The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Texas Is The Reason, Shiner, The Dismemberment Plan and a slew of others, he's a widely respected architect of the sound we know as post-punk. Hot off the recent announcement of Jawbox's upcoming summer tour (the band's first in over 20 years), J. discusses his early love for orchestral soundtracks, how he feels the Jawbox of 2019 can be a better band than they were during their initial run, and why his one-off collaboration a decade ago with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla for NPR remains one of his lifelong favorite experiences. Online, you can visit www.jawbox.band for their schedule, social media, merchandise and discography, as well as jrobbins.bandcamp.com. 

Mar 5, 2019

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more diverse client base than that of Portland, Oregon's Draplin Design Co. From corporations like Nike and Ford to some of his favorite bands (Dinosaur Jr., Old 97's) to the Obama administration and NASA, Aaron Draplin's visual talents run the branding gamut. But out of all the work he's ever done, designing for vinyl records remains his favorite gig. On today's episode, as we discuss his record shopping habits, prized LP's and stories of meeting his musical heroes, you'll learn that the only thing brighter and bolder than Aaron's designs is his own personality. Visit draplin.com to check out Aaron's catalog of work, upcoming speaking and workshop engagements, and to order all things DDC. His 2016 book Pretty Much Everything is available via Amazon or your favorite retailer. He's also @draplin on Twitter and Instagram.

Feb 19, 2019

This year brings with it several anniversaries for songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone: 2019 marks his 50th birthday, two decades as part of The Autumn Defense (formed with Wilco bassist John Stirratt) and subsequently 15 years within Wilco itself. Entering the band during a pivotal shift between A Ghost Is Born's riveting complexities and the more serene nature of Sky Blue Sky, Pat has been a welcome key to the influential sextet since day one, serving up piano, guitar, vocal harmonies and a myriad of other accoutrements. On today's milestone 100th episode from his home in Nashville, Pat reflects on his family's strong ties to show business, the upcoming loss of his neighborhood record shop Fond Object, creating album artwork from thousands of unearthed slides, why John Lennon’s death sparked his deep dive into the Beatles and how Big Star's third album changed his life. Follow Pat on Instagram @sansonic1, and keep current on tour dates and more via wilcoworld.net and theautumndefense.com

Feb 5, 2019

Since being founded in 2011, Cincinnati-based indie label Soul Step has been running a unique business model for musicians who are unable to afford the massive investment of getting their music on vinyl. By Soul Step fronting and recouping all production costs, then splitting profits 50/50 with the artist for a short run of impeccably colored and incredibly limited pressings, everyone from the label to the band to the listener benefits. On today's show, Soul Step owner Melvin Dillon explains the company's ethos, his relationship with the expert record manufacturers at Wax Mage and more about this creative endeavor that's helping musicians express themselves on wax and helping collectors fill their shelves. For label news, their online store and social media, visit soulsteprecords.com.

Jan 22, 2019

An obsessive record collector since third grade, Josh Berwanger's adoration for glam-tinged rock and synth-heavy new-wave led to the formation of indie quintet The Anniversary, who toured heavily in the early 2000's behind a pair of full-lengths for the Vagrant label at its zenith. On today's program, Josh dishes about his days behind the counter at Lawrence, KS record store Love Garden, spotlights some rare finds in his collection, remembers how having the band's music on vinyl was always part of their record contract, and shares his thoughts on how scaling vinyl production back could benefit the industry long term. We also dig into his latest project Radar State, formed with longtime pals Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic of The Get Up Kids and Gadjits drummer Adam Phillips. Check out the band's tour dates and social media, plus pick up their debut LP "Strays" released by Wiretap Records, at radarstate.bandcamp.com.

Jan 8, 2019

Andy Barron has made a career of visually documenting life on the road for musicians, both on stage and off, over the last decade. He’s currently Chris Stapleton’s official tour photographer, and he’s done similar work for groups like Foster The People and Switchfoot. His résumé also sports freelance photography for the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Joy Williams and New Kids On The Block. A native Californian but now based in Nashville, Andy discusses how to keep things fresh while taking pictures of the same tour night after night, how that same schedule helps you from regretting not taking the perfect shot, how listening to vinyl compares to seeing a film in a movie theater versus at home, how those seeking out a full visual and audio experience with an album benefit due to his hard work, and he dusts off some rare gems in his vinyl collection from Beck, Sigur Rós and Starflyer 59. Check out andybarron.com as well as @chrisstapleton on Instagram to view Andy’s photography, and follow him @andybarron on Instagram and Twitter.

Dec 18, 2018

For over two decades, Polyvinyl Records -- which started in the small Midwestern town of Danville, IL -- has been releasing various offshoots of indie-rock with touches of folk, hardcore punk, chamber pop or new wave, including records from Braid, Japandroids, Of Montreal, Joan of Arc, Deerhoof, Alvvays, Beach Slang, Jeff Rosenstock, Matt Pond PA, Owen, Jay Som, Mates of State and countless others. On today's show, Polyvinyl co-founder Matt Lunsford remembers the hands-on DIY nature of the label’s first releases, the early importance of documenting a scene (along with co-founder and wife Darcie), how long their lead time is at pressing plants for a label of their caliber and adapting quickly to how listeners consume music. Plus, we’ll learn more about recent or upcoming Polyvinyl releases from American Football, Pedro the Lion and Rainer Maria. Shop for the label's music, merch and take advantage of their massive holiday sale at PolyvinylRecords.com, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @polyvinylrecords, or on Twitter @polyvinyl.

Dec 11, 2018
As director of business affairs at the Country Music Association, Aaron Hartley clears rights for online content, works with music publishers on payments for song placements and acts as a liaison between artists and the CMA for television properties. But before working in the world of country music, Aaron cut his teeth by launching Theory Eight Records, a small indie-rock label that has released material for the likes of Bully, Caitlin Rose and Copeland among others.
 
Aside from finding and fixing classic audio gear, Aaron also currently runs Forever Analog, a mixture of a clothing brand and a community that extends beyond his passion for vinyl to celebrate anything tactile, including reel-to-reel players and classic photography equipment. On today’s show, we examine how the CMA was born out out of radio's reaction to Elvis' fame, the importance of Weird Al, how we can prevent hobbies like collecting vinyl from becoming too overwhelming and more. Visit Aaron's websites -- aaronhartley.me and foreveranalog.net -- for updates on DIY projects, insightful blog pieces, his social media and more.
Nov 20, 2018

Eric Astor — CEO and President of Furnace Record Pressing in Virginia — returns to the show to discuss last month’s 2nd annual Making Vinyl conference in Detroit and Furnace’s recent addition of several new record presses. Plus we go over this year’s Record Store Day Black Friday releases with former podcast guest Nick Digilio from WGN Radio in Chicago.

Oct 30, 2018
While it's commonplace for mentors and musical influences to get thanked in a Grammy-acceptance speech, Sadler Vaden made sure to pay homage to his father's physical record collection when, as lead guitarist for Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, the group took home this year's award for Best Americana Album. Since joining the group after the release of Isbell's 2013 breakthrough "Southeastern," Sadler has performed worldwide in one of the busiest and most critically-acclaimed bands working today, even playing side-by-side with some of the classic rock heroes that his dad first spun around the house. On top of his production techniques and overall approach as a solo artist, today Sadler discusses the band’s new live album, his delicate balance between improvisation and structure as a guitarist, and the urge to release non-album singles as quickly as they come. We even examine some vinyl gems and first pressings from his dad's collections on-air!
 
Find Sadler Vaden's 2016 self-titled debut album, as well as Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit's "The Nashville Sound" and "Live from the Ryman," however you get music. You can also download the band's recent live performance with David Crosby to benefit the voter registration non-profit HeadCount.org, and hear Sadler's recent digital singles on iTunes and Spotify. Go to SadlerVaden.com and JasonIsbell.com for tour dates and more.
Oct 16, 2018

Though much of this year's Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival in Franklin, TN was sidelined due to weather-related safety concerns, we still managed to chat with Dawes lead vocalist/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, soulful singer/songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews and Ireland's Grammy-nominated Hozier, who all shared their thoughts about the importance of vinyl in a digital world, and how the medium has influenced their own work. For details on Pilgrimage Festival, visit pilgrimagefestival.com

Oct 2, 2018

Our special guests this week are Grammy-winner John Paul White (formerly of The Civil Wars), acclaimed singer/songwriter Erin Rae, sibling vocal duo The Watson Twins, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Oates of Hall & Oates, Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, photographer "Cowtownchad" Cochran and former Vinyl Emergency guest Austin Lucas, all providing great stories about their appreciation and personal history with vinyl, recorded live at various locations during Americanafest 2018 in Nashville, TN! For details on Americanafest, including how to join the Americana Music Organization, visit AmericanaMusic.org.

Sep 14, 2018

With a long history in journalism covering audio and home entertainment, Shane Buettner began boutique vinyl reissue label Intervention Records in 2015, with a focus on albums from the late 70's to early 2000's that he felt weren't getting the proper, or any, treatment on wax. Inspired by the Music Matters Jazz label and priding himself on overseeing every aspect -- from working with the original analog tapes to art restoration to sleeve printing and assembly -- Shane has released high-quality, in-demand reissues from Everclear, Joe Jackson, Erasure, Judee Sill and more over the last three years. Most recently, Intervention has partnered with 90's power-pop king and former Vinyl Emergency guest Matthew Sweet to reissue and remaster his catalog from 1991-1995, all of which were originally recorded entirely to analog: Girlfriend, Altered Beast, the never-before-on-vinyl Son of Altered Beast EP and 100% Fun. On today's show, Shane discusses what the music industry learned from Neil Young's Pono experiment, how farm-to-table restaurants relate to the vinyl world, and his new website -- vinylreviews.com -- which aims to create a community where listeners can share their thoughts on specific pressings and packaging. We also do a deep dive on how our ears and brains take in music, and why audio source transparency is so important to vinyl's resurgence. Visit interventionrecords.com to pick up Shane's quality reissues, and follow @intervention_records on Instagram for needle drops, pressing updates and more!

Aug 31, 2018

In the footsteps of groups like The Band or The Flying Burrito Brothers, who still exude country rock coolness 50 years on, comes Nashville's Great Peacock. Since their 2015 debut, they've been hailed by publications like No Depression, American Songwriter and Paste for their powerful, poignant mixture of folk, rock, blues and Americana, while sharing stages with Margo Price, Dr. Dog, Colter Wall and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd -- guitarists and co-songwriters/vocalists for the quartet -- sit down backstage at hometown venue 3rd & Lindsley to discuss their connections to vinyl, their favorite music documentaries, whether an artist's name on the front of their records takes away from the album's visual art, how My Morning Jacket's Tom Blankenship and Carl Broemel ended up contributing to Great Peacock's terrific new album Gran Pavo Real and more! On September 13th, they'll perform at Musicians Corner at Centennial Park in Nashville as part of Americanafest 2018, and you can visit GreatPeacock.com for further tour dates, their social media, etc.

Jul 20, 2018

Check out details on our brief upcoming hiatus, and what you can expect when we return.

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