Neal McCamis. Dennis Corrigan. Josh Neel. Francesco Domenichetti. Adam Sterritt. Adam Craig. Willem Hofman. Purchasable with gift card. Sold Out. West River Kill Dragon Sterling Bonfire Alex Kona Giant's Despair Daniel's Blues Last to Swim Walking Pope Killdragon Facebook www. But he'd prefer not to talk about his heavy history even if it would make you root for him. For one thing, he'd rather not relive some of the personal tragedy a bad breakup, a house fire that inspired his debut, Leave Ruin.
But it also would obscure the otherworldly mythology he creates on Pope Killdragon, an astoundingly original twist on the loner-folk template. He begins the mesmerizing "Sterling" like he's keeping an especially heavy secret, but Showalter is merely an observer and a confused one at that. If his lyrics are occasionally too loopy to pin down what it's "about," they're perfectly suited for an unreliable narrator trying to piece together lost time.
In the darkly comic "Daniel's Blues", he inhabits Dan Aykroyd, racked with depression after the death of John Belushi. I won't spoil the ending, but it's by far the most pathos-laden song ever to recall the decision to take a role in Ghostbusters. Meanwhile, the spare "Alex Kona" is the stuff of Mastodon epics-- foot monsters, sermons from the mount, mothers wailing in the streets-- and to drive that point home, it's immediately followed by "Giant's Despair", an honest-to-god doom-metal instrumental.
Those are the attention-grabbing tactics, but Pope Killdragon maintains these strange juxtapositions throughout: historical fact with whimsical fiction, a mournful delivery of absurd lyrics, an odd allure to the bifurcated sonics where synths sidle up with acoustic guitars.
It's easy to envision the "next Bon Iver! Auto-Tune, Gayngs, rolling spliffs with Rick Ross-- Justin Vernon has made the most of the spotlight by cutting against an image that requires him to continually hurt harder than others. Similarly, Pope Killdragon's playfulness and sense of humor allow it a broader range of emotion than the typical sadsack folkie. Showalter did a good deal of bloodletting on Leave Ruin, and now Strand of Oaks' horizons are limited only by his fantastical imagination.
And that's the cheap stuff. Price gouging? Not according to Better Records owner Tom Port. He thinks a thousand bucks is a bargain to hear a classic rock opus sound better than you've ever heard it sound before—stoned or sober.
This is what passes for fiscal restraint in the world of high-end audio: drawing the line at three figures for mass-produced records that sold in the millions, the same dorm room relics found in milk crates at tag sales. But Port insists that his meticulously curated discs are special. Unlike many record dealers, he doesn't peddle the usual dreck pocked with scratches and pot resin. He traffics strictly in "hot stampers," the very best of the best. Hundreds of factors determine what a vintage record will sound like, from the chain of ownership and whether it's been properly stored to the purity of the vinyl stock and the quality of the equipment that produced it.
One factor many serious record collectors fixate on is the quality of the stampers, the grooved metal plates used to press a lump of hot vinyl into a record album. Like any metal die, these molds have a finite lifespan. The accumulation of scratches, flaws, and other damage resulting from the tremendous mechanical stress a stamper is subjected to— tons of pressure during a production run—leads to a gradual loss of audio fidelity in the finished records.
To ensure the best sound quality, some boutique companies that press heavy vinyl today limit their stampers to 1, pressings. In contrast, during the peak of the vinyl boom, major labels churned out as many as 10, copies on a single stamper. It's preferable to have a record pressed early in a production run, before the metal exhibits signs of wear, rather than toward the end, right before a fresh stamper is slapped on. Tom Port thinks a thousand bucks is a bargain to hear a classic rock opus sound better than you've ever heard it sound before—stoned or sober.
Nab an early pressing of an iconic title produced under ideal conditions, take really really LP care of it for 40 years, and maybe it'll be judged a hot stamper worth four figures. Scott Hull, a recording engineer who owns Masterdiskone of the world's premier mastering facilities, compares producing a vinyl record to making wine. Everything matters, from plating the lacquers to various molding issues to the quality of the vinyl pellets.
Selling these artifacts at these prices requires more than a list of customers with too much disposable income. It takes hard work, chutzpa and catalog copy that ignites neural brush fires in the amygdala.
Port had me at "killer pressing. Although Better Records offers jazz, blues, classical, and the occasional genre novelty faux-Polynesian exotica is a recurring guilty pleasureinvariably it's nostalgic classic rock albums like that Stones semi-classic from that become hot stampers.
The painstaking process begins by scouring the used market—from Salvation Army bins to eBay—for a dozen or more clean LP of an album. Grunt work completed, the hot stamper king and LP minions meet in the Better Records listening room for a round of tests dubbed a "Shootout.
By the standards of your stereotypical tube-loving, power-junkie audiophile, the amp Port uses as the hub of his Shootout machine is shockingly ordinary: a s Japanese integrated transistor amp Album) at a feeble 30 watts per channel, a typical thrift-store find. That can sound nice, but I need accuracy. The other components are much Laptop’s House - Pope (17) - Fiction (Vinyl upscale. Everything has been carefully selected for sonic neutrality, LP. This isn't about conjuring mega-bass or shimmering highs.
The goal is flat frequency response, getting as close as possible to the sound on the original master tape. Nothing added or subtracted. When the shootout finally gets underway, lights are dimmed, eyelids fall and ears peak. With each cut sampled, the usual things are carefully pondered: presence, frequency extension, transparency, soundstage, texture, tonal correctness, and an elusive quirk called "tubey magic" seriously.
Every element is scrutinized in granular detail. If opinions diverge or memories fail, reference copies are pulled from the archive to check benchmarks.
It's tedious work. When the grades are tabulated, a sonic pecking order emerges:. It's tempting to dismiss hot stampers as pseudoscience, like cryogenically treated speaker cablespower amp fuses zapped with Tesla coilsand every other confidence scheme devised to separate affluent middle-aged audiophiles from the contents of their wallets. Pirates Press Edit Label. Pirates Press Profile:. A full service broker providing retail product in vinyl, CD, DVD as well as merchandise to musicians and labels.
Flexi discs are cut at GZ and pressed in San Francisco. For the record label please use Pirates Press Records. Reviews Add Review. Indy Manufacturers by object. Hold Fast Acoustic Sessions Album 3 versions. Sell This Version. Montserrat House. Pale Dawn Album 2 versions. Field Division. Endless Arcade EP 2 versions. Costalito Records.
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