Remembering The Sony D-88: The Smallest Discman Ever Made

Check out Techmoan’s look back at one of the more impractical products of the CD era.

Somehow the clunkier technologies (like the 8-track tape) have an irresistible charm all their own.

David Bowie and Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Statutory Rape Problem

bowie rape

The late music legend famously deflowered a 14-year-old groupie—before she was stolen away by Jimmy Page. Why it’s important for us to take our heroes to task for their predatory behavior.

(via the Daily Beast)

by Stereo Williams

Since the death of David Bowie on January 10th, fans and media have dissected much of his musical and cultural legacy. Bowie stands as a towering figure over the last 45 years of music, and as a celebrity famous for an ever-changing, enigmatic approach to his life and art, there is much to be analyzed in the wake of his passing. But not all of it is pleasant or even musical. One uncomfortable facet of the iconic rocker’s past has suddenly been thrust into the center of the dialogue, and it’s raised questions about both Bowie and the world that has enabled him and so many others.

The high-profile controversies surrounding contemporary stars like R. Kelly (who was famously accused of statutory rape and taken to court on child pornography charges in the early 2000s) and the backlash against rapper Tyga (following his relationship with a then-underage Kylie Jenner) have led to a broader discussion surrounding legal consent and adult male stars who engage in predatory behavior. And since his death, more fans and commentators have had to question Bowie’s own past with teen girls as well. In a Thrillist piece entitled, I Lost My Virginity To David Bowie: Confessions of a ‘70s Groupie, Lori Mattix recalls a sexual encounter with Bowie when she was only 14 years old…

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Video of the Week: Jimmy Page on How ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Was Written

Recommended Albums #69


The Decemberists: Picaresque (2005)

Picaresque was the Decemberists’ final indie label album before they signed with Capitol records, released the rock opera masterpiece The Hazards of Love and followed it with a number one album, The King is Dead, among other accomplishments.

And although I just referred to the 2009 folk/prog conceptual Hazards as a masterpiece, I would call Picaresque their best collection of songs–perhaps the best any band produced in the decade of the 2000’s.

bookLit rock…geek rock…British folk-infused Dickensian rock…whatever label you apply to this iconoclastic assembly’s music, songwriter Colin Meloy’s hyper-literate, hyper-imaginative tunes set them apart, and earn them more fans and critical acclaim with each release.

Meloy has always liked a good murder ballad, and death and tragic circumstance are staples of his dark-yet-alluring tunes. Put across with appealing melodies in a dialect seemingly all his own, his lyrics typically are as cheerful as the black plague, as exemplified by “We Both Go Down Together” and the epic “Mariner’s Revenge Song” here.

But unlike most bands who specialize in dark, sulky angst it’s clearly a vaudeville here. Of course, the character traits may ring familiar and the harsh lessons may apply in real life. But the songs themselves, constructed out of archaic language and given a veneer of Thespian melodrama, are like the rock music equivalent of unsanitized Brothers Grimm fairy tales. There’s danger, but it’s all ultimately charming, fanciful, bewitching.

If this album appeals to you, the good news is that there is a whole lot more Decemberists catalogue to explore. This band has yet to make a dud album. And my recommendation if you tackle The Hazards of Love next is to listen to the entire 60-minute piece uninterrupted and undistracted, with both lyrics and a concordance at hand. Then listen again. It’s jaw-droppingly brilliant and the best evidence one could cite to make an argument that the era of the ambitious art-rock concept album isn’t quite a thing of the past.

Listen to: “We Both Go Down Together”


Listen to: “The Engine Driver”


Listen to: “The Sporting Life”


Listen to: “16 Military Wives”


Listen to: “The Mariner’s Revenge Song”

The Vinyl Record Factory That Makes Your Niche Music Dreams Come True


Eight-tracks gave way to cassettes, which gave way to compact discs, which gave way to streaming audio and hi-res files. If there’s one constant in the music biz, it is that every format eventually yields to newer, better technology. All but vinyl, that is. Somehow, records have not only endured, but lately they’ve enjoyed a renaissance.

It’s odd when you think about it. Records are archaic technology, a format that is not at all portable and subject to all manner of degradation, from scratches and skips to pops and clicks, if it isn’t properly and lovingly cared for. But audiophiles insist vinyl offers superior sound. We’ll stay out of that debate, but you have to admit it is pretty cool how vinyl works.

“Sound is converted into microscopic ridges and valleys, stamped onto vinyl, played back through an extremely sensitive needle and amplified thousands of times in your living room,” says photographer Alastair Philip Wiper. “It’s almost unbelievable.”

That’s a bit of a simplification, but you get the point. There’s a process to it that borders on artistry, something Wiper—who loves records—discovered during a visit to Record Industry, a pressing plant in the in the Dutch city of Haarlem. The British photographer followed every step in the process, from making the master to pressing the wax to shrink-wrapping the finished product. “Seeing how it’s done really makes you realize how amazingly clever this old-fashioned technology is,” he says…

Read more:

Remembering Warren Zevon on his 69th Birthday


Guster Turns Snowed-Out Philly Show into Impromptu ‘Dumpster Set’ in Pittsburgh

Guster Road Journal

The blizzard cancelled our Philadelphia show and sent the GusBus on a mad dash west to avoid Jonas on Saturday. After a dicey drive we landed in Pittsburgh for an unexpected day off — we love us some PGH and they only got like 5 inches of snow total. It was a nice choice.

After watching 4 hours of CNN reporters in ski goggles we got bored and decided to go play a “Dumpster Set” somewhere in town. We picked a nice blue dumpster over near the Mexican War Streets neighborhood, and at 1:15 we tweeted the location out on the socials:


That gave people in Pittsburgh 45 minutes to learn about the show, find the dumpster, and enjoy a spontaneous random Guster concert.  The hope was that, since it was a weekend, maybe we’d get like 30 people to show up.  Eleven people did.

But we had a great…

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