's New Year's Message

2014 was a fantastic year for vinyl. 2015 looks to be an even better one.'s editor Michael Fremer looks back on the year past and forward to next year on this "one take" video self-shot after a four day room-cleaning binge during which he discovered vinyl treasures hidden in plain sight.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Since I am old and closer to hip- replacement than hip, there were a number of albums you mentioned I did not know of, so what I did was open a second window to Youtube and paused your video and took a listen to an artist you mentioned so I could gain an ideal of their art, which worked well for me and had me put a number of your recommendations on my "to buy" list. Thanks for all the heads-up and wish you and your family a great 2015 and beyond. PS I did watch all your video. And, yes, the future is what you make it, so all you young people stay in school, work hard, and put your cell phone away during class, please.

Michael Fremer's picture
hipper than you think!
recordhead's picture

It's just was I was looking for. I've got a few Christmas bucks to spend on LP's and now I know a few to look for. FYI, I highly recommend Slints LP Spiderland.

I hope you'll post more videos like this in the future. With so many titles on vinyl, this would be a great way to get a short and sweet thumbs up or down review. Keep up the life saving work.

HalSF's picture

Thanks for this, and for all that you do. After that rabble-rousing finale, all I can say is that I'm glad you don't use your power for evil!

Paul Boudreau's picture

Your mention of Neil Young's semi put-down of vinyl made me wonder whether he has heard a decent, modern stereo system and what records can sound like on one. Maybe he hasn't.

Michael Fremer's picture
considering the AR and KLH turntables he uses on his Blu-ray set but that might just be for art's sake. I think he was there to promote PONO and didn't want to muck it up. I understand...
Paul Boudreau's picture

...when an old hippie implies that you're old-fashioned!

AQ Shane's picture

Let's face it, Neil these days is a pitchman for digital in the form of his Pono player. All his words about sound quality should be heard with that in mind.

Paul Boudreau's picture


Thing Fish's picture

For your wonderful heartfelt comments on last years vinyl activitys. It makes my heart leap with joy when I think of the new pressing plants and what 2015 might hold. It just shows how a trend can be bucked :)

TapeMonkey's picture

I want Michael Fremer to teach Fatalism 101. "Alright, it's the first day of class. Go out and live your lives. You all get A's. I'll be in my listening room if you need me."

TapeMonkey's picture

I got into vinyl not because of any sound differences (I don't have very good/trained ears, nor a very good system) but because of the general experience of it. You don't press play on iTunes or youtube, you ~put a record on. It's ritual. It is an experience you are invested in. Before I had a turntable, even watching the youtube videos of people filming their turntables playing a song was more relaxing.
And I've noticed as a result that my interest in music has grown more. Since getting interested in vinyl, I am not more interested in CDs, more interested in buying music (as opposed to, uhh, you know... the other option. I've actually—finally—begun buying all those albums I torrented the last decade that I liked (and dumping the rest, which I only had for the sake of having).
And I totally agree about listening to the whole album sequenced. I remember when I got my first CD player, how cool it was to play the single over and over without rewinding... and then ignoring the rest of the album. Even the tracks I liked began to feel cheaper. It was almost too convenient: you had nothing invested in the music.
So here's to 2015 and new appreciations with old (in a manner of speaking) things!

BliggigtyBlah's picture

Grew up around records, but didn't personally invest in the format until 2013. Since then, Michael, you've got me further hooked with your enthusiasm for the wax. To the point that I just ordered Real Estate's Atlas without giving it a listen (Amazon is selling it for $9).
Any other time you are backed up on reviews, please drop another of these videos. I kinda like the quick run down off all the music that's impressed your ears.

Michael Fremer's picture
Next time I won't produce the video until I have more than "great" and "swell" to say about a particular record.... once is about all you can get away with that!
AQ Shane's picture

Having been to Mikey's place I'm totally shocked it only took four days to clean out that listening room!

I'm voting for this Fremer Claus thing of found records to become an annual year-end tradition!

Michael Fremer's picture
I'm still organizing and cleaning but almost done!
RobWynn's picture

I was going to watch the video regardless, but seeing Slint's "Tweez" in the intro image was huge!!

I hope you review more albums like this and Real Estate's "Atlas". It is something that I've been hoping for for a while now. It will give additional exposure for some of these worthy bands.

I also hope you do more of these videos to clear out the backlog of things to review. The quick thumbs up many times is good enough for less major releases (not necessarily major label releases).

For those curious about SLINT, please check out their magnum opus SPIDERLAND. It was recently reissued as a box this year, which almost immediately sold out (at least the colored vinyl version) but has also been re-issued as a single disc 180g version along with a CD (that includes 14 bonus tracks) and a DVD documentary. It is about $25, while there is a basic copy also available, regular weight, no extras for about $10.

The word Michael was looking for is "math rock" or "post rock". Slint were in the vanguard, along with POLVO (check out their stuff on Merge if curious). Another 90's indie rock movement was "Slow Core", which was pioneered by CODEINE (among 1 or 2 others) who saw a re-release of their catalog on Numero Group in either 2014 or 2013. If curious, I'd recommend FRIGID STARS. 2LP versions with original LP + demo/live stuff, along with CD of both LPs worth of songs so pretty good deal and nice packaging to boot.

I haven't heard the new LINDA PERHACS but her 60s underground classic is called PARALLELOGRAMS and is available in a single LP format from Sundazed or as a 2-LP set from Mexican Summer / Anthology Records, both for $22.

Speaking of Mexican Summer / Anthology, one of my two most played LPs of the year (along with Real Estate's "Atlas") was a first time release of demos/unreleased songs by ROBERT LESTER FOLSOM called "Ode to a Rainy Day". They also re-reissued his private press LP "Music and Dreams" which is great 70's soft rock. They offer a bundle deal if you want to take the plunge.

Oh… also, if instrumental rock is your thing a la Slint's Tweeze you might be interested in the WOODSMAN, MONO, or the late great CUL DE SAC.

Sorry, I need to shop but love to share musical interests.

Thanks for all the great work in 2014 Michael. look forward to all your reviews in 2015.

Jumping Bean's picture

Can't agree more about Slint, one of the most visionary bands of the 90s. Spiderland is a genius album and I was beyond stoked to see Michael talk about them.

If you like Slint you guys should all check out the new DMM vinyl reissues from the band Mineral. They took that sound in the late 90s and really created something new and visionary.

Zoltan's picture terms of how important it was for me in my formative years. I just bought the box set last year. Very surprised and pleased to see Tweez in that image!

Michael Fremer's picture
For all of that great information. Your comment proves yet again that we have the best readers and best 'vinyl community' on the Internet... I have copied and pasted your comment and will start making lists!
Zoltan's picture

I don't think it's wrong. They influenced both really. Tortoise (obviously sharing a member) and Mogwai etc would not exist without them and those are usually called post-rock rather than math rock (which I would agree with, they are fairly loose). In general that stuff is called post rock in Europe. Math Rock is more of a US term.

flatmap's picture

Loved these vinyl quickies. Would enjoy a regular video feature like this... extemporaneous highlights of records you've grooved on or discovered in the preceding week.

dhaskell's picture

-- Is Swedish. Racist.

He's the best.

isaacrivera's picture

Jose Gonzales was born in Sweden, but he is ethnically Hispanic. His parents are Argentinean who fled the country because of the ultra conservative military coup d'etat of 1976. I really doubt he is racist!

isaacrivera's picture


Michael Fremer's picture
If that's his real name, then he's still Hispanic whether or not he's living in or a citizen of Sweden, right? If a guy names Jose Gonzales immigrates to America from Colombia and becomes a naturalized citizen, then he's an American but he's still Hispanic. On the other hand, if his name is really Lars Frederickson or Bernt Breqvist or something like that and he's just taken the name Jose Gonzales, well then that's like William "My name Jose Jimenez" Szathmary A/K/A Bill Dana. So which is it?
dhaskell's picture

Just busting balls.

BUUUUUT are you German?

Heartbeats off Veneer is one of my 5 favorite tracks ever.

isaacrivera's picture

He was born José Gabriel González from immigrant Argentinian parents. Clearly he is ethnically Hispanic. Culturally, he grew up in Sweden, so that is another matter altogether...

beatnik's picture

somewhere in here. On the Kapp label, IIRC.

larson manor's picture

I really liked your comments at the end of the video. I totally agree that you should always trust what you think is the future. Trust in your heart and your ears when it comes to music. When CDs came out in the early 80's as the new format for the future and I did experiment, but I never gave up my vinyl collection. I always felt there was something missing when I listened to CDs, so I trusted my ear and went back 100%, to vinyl. I had a lot of friends that thought that I was an old dude that couldn't give up the past. Well, it's 2015 and I'm still listening to vinyl and it is the future. Cheers to 2015 and cheers to vinyl.

Paul Boudreau's picture

I bought a Phish CD because of the car on the cover...

Michael Fremer's picture
The bane of my early '70s existence. The people who bought those were so high on themselves. They'd drive around with this smug, self-satisfied expression. The offensiveness was compounded by the large expanse of glass and the roof height. They were on display and loved it. And if they had "running lights" hanging upside down from the bumper, they aimed them in your rear view mirror, not on the announce behind you the presence of a BMW 2002! .....
Paul Boudreau's picture

all of us, my friend. A jerk in a car is a jerk no matter what kind of car it is.

Michael Fremer's picture
just having some fun at Bimmer owners' expense...
Paul Boudreau's picture

I no longer own one although I'd love to (rust never sleeps). Now I don't own a car at all and haven't since I sold the '73 BMW 2002tii a dozen years ago. Zipcar is a wonderful thing for us urbanites.

PanaSound's picture

with a BMW the prick is behind the wheel. Sorry - couldn't resist.

bmilwee's picture

I too was pleasantly surprised to see this much loved album's cover on your site. Incidentally, the CD version of this album stipulates on the back: "This recording is meant to be listened to on vinyl." - In large letters. If anyone is looking for more Albini recordings that really, really rock, the 1st 3 Jesus Lizard LPs are about as intense as it gets - not to mention Steve's earlier band Rapeman, "Two Nuns and a Pack Mule."

Michael Fremer's picture
And that's pretty intense and the drum sound!........
BliggigtyBlah's picture

My son wants to be a drummer. I played Shellac for him and now that's all he wants to hear. Then I showed him the cover of Dude Incredible and now he wants to see a monkey battle. Now I want to see him play drums during a monkey battle. Nice work, Shellac.

avanti1960's picture

Thanks to your enthusiasm and excellent web site (and some other notables) I have now done a 360 full circle back to the world of vinyl. Last summer, got the turntable and records out of storage (after 24 years!), first new vinyl record in 27 years, now new turntable system, many new vinyl releases, and low and behold- (here's the 360 part) NOW BUYING VINYL TITLES OF MY CDS THAT ORIGINALLY REPLACED MY OLDER (NOW DEFUNCT) VINYL TITLES. Thanks man!
Tony Anello,
Suburban Chicago

audiof001's picture

And that's completely awesome! Welcome back.

VirginVinyl's picture

I've admire Peter Gabriel work and more when he open up his studio called Real World Records. I was into to this world beat, or call it what ever you like, world music. At the time you can mail order the real world vinyl from there Womad catalog. I have a copy of HiFi+ magazine Peter Gabriel interview they asked him about MP3 files verses Vinyl. Peters mention that consumers were interested in quantity rather then quality. And that he believes that vinyl is superior then these digital files. Fast forward to now and Mr Gabreil does a 360. If you go to the Real World website you'll find a limited release of their roster on vinyl. I have contacted real world and have ask them to explain why they put so much emphasis on MP3 and Digital files dowloads and not release high quality 180g pressings. I can't find that email in my inbox anymore. It's sad to see how the decision makers at Real World, are making decision to abstain from vinyl releases. I purchase a copy of Syriana (limited production) there vinyl pressing had the hallmark of budget cost cutting. And on that note there Real World 25 year anniversary is issue on 3 CD box set only. Not available on vinyl. Don't they see this vinyl resergent. I would like to see Acoustic Sound reissue the Real World entire catalogue or even start with Peter's solo catalogue. To be honest some of these Real World records on vinyl from the past need to be reissue. Thanks Mike for sharing those albums. I'm always looking for new sounds.


Paul Boudreau's picture

I imagine all the Classic Records PG reissues were analog-sourced although I might be wrong for the later ones. They might be hard to find and expensive at this point, however.

Michael Fremer's picture
It's a testament to the quality that Classic Records (many of them) go for big $$$ on Ebay.
Jim Tavegia's picture

And there is no doubt that vinyl is more costly to market, but the fact that it can sound better should be the reason to do it. You don't even have to have large runs anymore, but now that United is "full up" production wise until the middle of 2015 does tell you that enough people care about the sound of their product that they "get it". There are places that do modest qty runs to make it a good decision to press it. I have bought a few of the "Upstairs At United" pressings which are great. Recorded by the fellows at Welcome To 1979 on analog R2R is fun stuff. Ray LaMontagne on vinyl is great. 2015 will be another banner year for vinyl for sure.

beatnik's picture

A friend of mine in Florida, who launched Re-Vinyl Records a year ago, tells me he's having trouble finding plants to press his indie rock reissues. The ones he's used in the past are booked solid, as are any others he's contacted. He has already had to delay some releases, and I fear Re-Vinyl might not survive because of this.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I think that some will not be able to have their product released when they want. I It will require some advanced planning. As in most things in live who you know plays a part. Depending upon who is doing that groups tracking you might find a recording house that has close ties to a pressing plant to be of some contact help. An example would be that Welcome To 1979 in Nashville has a good relation ship with United Records and records all of their Upstairs At United releases and Welcome can also cut the masters in house. Your friends might try that approach. United is crazy busy, but they can do smaller runs based on their schedule. also offering their work as a 2496 download would also be a huge plus if they keep their recorded quality high, which I'm sure they would do. Just my 2 cents.

PFM's picture

For the revival of vinyl it was important the quality of the pressings and the attention paid to the cover art and quality of the package. I hope for this new year of 2015 the quality of the reissues and new presssings will keep the actual standards or improve and not get on the mass market which degraded the quality in the 70s and contributed to its replacement by the cd.

Rudy's picture

I don't know, really--I have had some real stinkers, quality-wise, come across my desk in the past year, from companies who should know better. Especially Acoustic Sounds. $75 for the Elvis 24 Karat set, and I had to cannibalize two of them to make one that was playable (just about all of them are off-center). Today, I got in their Living Stereo "Pictures at an Exhibition," and it has a nice "thump" thanks to a warp molded into the vinyl. (The other LP set in the package, from another label, was flawless.) For the prices they ask, their quality control is lacking.

sunderwood's picture

For anyone who doesn't know about it, you can get on facebook and type in vinyl records forever. This is for anyone like us who are interested in anything about records. To leave comments you just have to join by clicking the join button.

Patanalog's picture

Since you're doing some organizing, a suggestion for another video. With your huge collection, how do organize the titles. You must have some kind of a system. Right?


Michael Fremer's picture
Is organized by race.
Rudy's picture

Your Daytona 500 records are separate from LeMans? Or are you the Ben Hur type?

PeterPani's picture

Thanks a lot. It is unbelievable that back in the 90's I was able to purchase the whole vinyl per month that was produced back than. Some months there was nothing new at all. I bought my CD-player in 1982 and sold it 1987 and changed to vinyl. But it is not the best commercial carrier in my opinion. The best was the analog track of the Laserdisc. I am sure the analog track was mostly a copy of the digital track of the same disc. But never-the-less nothing beats the analog track of a well mastered Laserdisc. It is a pity that it was never used as an analog carrier without picture. The industry missed something here, I guess.

Michael Fremer's picture
When I compared the LD (DTS) of Toy Story with the DVD I couldn't believe the sonic difference. The LD stomped all over the DVD...
PeterPani's picture

"Live at the Wiltern Theatre". It beats everything out there including all the best mastered and cut 45rpm vinyl. But it is the analog track that plays that fantastic. The digital track is just CD-quality. The problem with LD was that the analog track was not promoted (these were the digital 90's!) and also the players did not give much to it. To play the analog tracks without too much of the laserdisc-players electronic in the signal path you have to take the analog signal right from the splitter-chip and feed it directly into a buffer-tubed preamp. I still find it nearly unbelievable that Laserdisc was able to carry an analog signal, because it looks so CD. I own a lot of Keith Jarrett live on LD. That is a piano sound!

tube dog's picture

you left out Music Matters. They are making some killer jazz Blue Note reissues right now.

Michael Fremer's picture
I'll take the heat at CES
Elias's picture

GREAT stuff! Wanted to mention though that my copy of L. Cohen's 'Popular Problems' is not of the same quality you describe. Some very obnoxious "tearing" creeps up and rips the beautiful music in half for brief moments. Boo. But the price at my local HMV here in Canada was $20 so can't complain too much. Unbelievable that they stock records, really blows my mind.

Also wanted to add that I love reading your reviews but your videos are also great. Funny and sweet. Keep up the GREAT work Mickey ;)

And finally I'd like to recommend some music! It's a bit more esoteric than maybe you're into, but one of my favourite records of the year was A Winged Victory For the Sullen "ATMOS". Instrumental, brooding but full of light and beauty. And the vinyl sounds AMAZING. Released by Kranky records.
Here's a link to a fan vid to give you an idea...

Elias's picture

is the actual name of the album!

Michael Fremer's picture
Can you see a "U" with a circle around it in the lead out groove area? If so it was a United pressing but more to the point: the noise you describe sounds like "non-fill". If you hold the record in the light "just so" you should see what look like "strings of pearls" in the grooves. That is what non-fill looks like.
Elias's picture

Yep, my pressing has a U in a circle and I can see a beaded reflection at the flawed locations. Side 2 seems worse. I'm curious about what causes non-fill... is it just a bad luck copy or an issue on the pressing template? I have other brand new records with this exact problem and it's infuriating as hell.

Sidenote: found the message "WELCOME TO 1979" etched in the lead out groove area! Any idea what that means??

Michael Fremer's picture
"Non-fill" occurs when the hot vinyl begins to harden before its fully spread across the surface of the stamper. As you might imagine it's more commonplace on heavier records where there's more material that needs to be spread. It's more difficult to properly press 180g records. It requires more careful monitoring of the temperatures—an area where my sources tell me United is somewhat lax. It is infuriating and with careful monitoring and inspection, records with non-fill can and should be removed from the line and rejected but that requires a careful inspection process. "Welcome to 1979" is a Nashville-based recording studio and mastering facility. The new Spoon album was also cut there.
marmaduke's picture

With a stylish ssmear of black wax on your upper lip as a spokesperson for the yet to be formed Vinyl Producers of the Universe MF would make a rather dapper personna don't you think?
The audition tape of Be All You Can Be; the Future is You seals it for me.
The Turntable Side Chats should be a regular feature for notable records that have not been formally reviewed.
Fremer In the Round. Got Torque?

Michael Fremer's picture
Scott Nagle's picture

First, thank you for the New Year's message. Happy New Years to you and your family.

While I appreciate your thorough, written reviews of records, I really enjoyed this quick video review. I know my local Portland record store did! I would love to see this as a regular feature on Analog Planet.

Michael Fremer's picture
Rick Rubin watched one of the first ones I did like this and told me to make it a regular feature.... his encouragement and yours will make that happen in 2015....
CoGT3's picture

I would love to see this become a monthly installment of impromptu reviews of "great" records you have come across. And don't get too bogged down with production value. If Mickey says the album is "Great" that is good enough for me. Will be stopping by my local LP pusher tomorrow to order the Slint Album.

RobWynn's picture

I would highly recommend starting with Spiderland. If I had to make a tape or burn a CD for someone to turn them on to Slint it would be that album, not Tweez.

I would recommend giving Tweez a listen on Spotify before buying the LP. It is an acquired taste. I bought Spiderland, its follow-up" when it came out in 1991 and loved it. Years later I found Tweez when it was reissued, as well as the 2-song self-titled single that was recorded between Tweez and Spiderland. I've only listened to those two once, but Spiderland many many times over since then.

mbroeska's picture

Well, more specifically Tucker Martine. I had met him a few summers ago in Portland. His wife/partner is Laura Veirs who he also produced and mixed. An album worth checking out is her "July Flame." One more recommendation is Black Prairie's "A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart." They both sound excellent on vinyl and the latter is a double 45!

isaacrivera's picture

Columbia Masterworks ML 5452, a 1960 mono recording, on the back cover at the bottom it prints:

"... In short, you can purchase this record with no fear of its becoming obsolete in the future."

I guess they were right.

762rob's picture

I have always loved that statement! How prophetic it was....

rischa's picture

Analog Planet is my favorite vinyl related website. The only thing that could make it better is more content. I realize you are a busy guy and contribute as often as you can, so what about farming out some reviews/posts to other people? There's so much new vinyl and gear coming out (we're in the midst of a vinyl renaissance, you know ;) ), and it would be great to learn about it through the Analog Planet lens.

Michael Fremer's picture
There's no $$$ to pay anyone and I feel badly about asking anyone to work for nothing contributing to a commercial website. That is the problem...
analogkid14's picture

Looking forward to all the new vinyl, whether they are reisuues like the Beach Boys, or new albums.

I have a few of the Beatle Mono LP's, and they are superb indeed. I hope this will cement not only the vinyl resurgence , but also all analog mastering.

As for your last statement, all I can say is Alleluia Brother !

Brother John's picture

It's times like this that reinforce how blessed I am to be a participating member of this wonderful blog!

Glotz's picture

Polishing a turd... Thanks for the smile- I really needed your humor today. Thanks man.

Mile High Audio's picture

Mikey thanks for the "quickie" (reviews) - II'm keen to research a few titles I had not heard of.

Not sure if you and/or others know about the new and growing opportunity to enjoy albums a la Netflix.... this story may be of interest to some - I am not affiliated in any way - enjoy!

Strength to you covering CES and Happy New Year!

dimsengah's picture

I always like your videos: He's talking to ME. Show and Tell.
The last ten or so minutes of your Testimonial was both superb and profound on so many levels that I would urge everyone to listen to it again and again.


PanaSound's picture

Michael - I really enjoyed the entertaining/informative video & the vinyl recommendations. Nice change of pace. BTW - did you lose your comb? Get a haircut big guy!

Michael Fremer's picture
I didn't really prep for that video. The "ether" moved me to do it on New Year's Day so I turned on the camera and went for it....not worried about having a "bad hair day"!
oregonpapa's picture

You left out Impex Records. You'd better steer clear of Abbie at Newport. :>)