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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 06, 2013 17 comments
Dear Diary:

Dirty Projectors has been around for a decade. This is the group's, what? sixth album? but only the first I've heard since becoming aware of it only a few month ago. How totally clueless have I become?

When I write about Swing Lo Magellan do I fake it and write as if I've known about the group for a decade? I can't do that. So I'll have to admit how unhip and out of the loop I've become.

I know! I'll blame The Beatles and all of the reissues I have to cover. Right!

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 04, 2013 7 comments
The song "Imperial Bedroom" does not appear on E.C.'s fourth album issued back in 1982 but it does as a bonus track on Rykodisc's twofer CD. The twofer's other album Almost Blue does not include the song "Almost Blue," which is on Imperial Bedroom. Got that?
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 04, 2013 2 comments
We recently reported the curious case of Omnivore's reissue of Bert Jansch's Heartbreak LP. The 1981 recording sounded "mono" on the LP but stereo on the MP3 download. We contacted the label and today got this reply:
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 03, 2013 17 comments
Is a fine audio system a luxury or a necessity?
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 03, 2013 14 comments
The Swedish Band The Shout Out Louds released a limited edition of 10 copies of a promo single in a kit that requires the receiver to use a supplied latex mold to produce a record made of ice that actually plays
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 30, 2012 34 comments
"Don't want my MP3," Neil Young protests on side two's "Drifting Back (Part 2)".

Young's lifelong obsession with sound quality is well known and of course welcomed around here. He was one of the first musicians to express serious reservations about digital recording and playback. Back in 1993 he appeared on an MTV News piece along with Peter Gabriel and me too. You can watch it here. "We've lost the sound" Neil laments—and that was before the scourge of MP3.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 28, 2012 8 comments
The $399 iFi iPhono phono preamp first spotted at the 2012 Rocky Mountain Audio Festival is the result of a joint venture between ifi micro ( and U.K. based Abbington Music Research, also known as AMR. ifi micro also manufactures a fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand 192/24 bit USB DAC, a headphone amp and a USB power supply but the phono preamp is of the greatest interest around here.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 27, 2012 8 comments
The classically trained Cuban-born jazz pianist Elio Villafranca and his group the Jass Syncopators recorded this album Direct-to-Disk last Winter at the "Least Significant Bit Studios", which is actually a large room in the production facility converted into a performance space/recording studio.

The double LP set is but one of many DirectGrace D2D records produced by Sound-Smith's founder Peter Ledermann to benefit a charity dedicated to helping some 215 million exploited children around the world enduring child labor, or abandoned to the streets due to the AIDS epidemic and other public health catastrophes.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 27, 2012 13 comments
The late Arthur Lee exited a California prison in December of 2001, having served more than five years of a twelve year sentence for negligent discharge of a firearm. The long mandatory sentence resulted from California's ridiculous, now repealed "three strikes you're out" law.

Before being incarcerated Lee had resurrected his moribund career by teaming with a talented group called Baby Lemonade (named for a Syd Barrett song) much as had Brian Wilson with The Wondermints. Once out of prison, Lee took up where he left off, touring the world as Arthur Lee and Love.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 23, 2012 13 comments
Until the publication of this book this past fall, few people have seen this mind-boggling collection of black and white images shot by the late photographer Chuck Boyd in Los Angeles beginning in 1965. Though Boyd passed away in 1991 this set stops with a remarkable double page shot of B.B. King taken in 1978.