When Mariah Carey isn't hanging with her kids and hubby Nick Cannon or beefing…
- Posted on May 23rd 2011 5:00PM by Lonny Knapp
Courtesy of Startime | Cooking Vinyl
As virtual record stores like iTunes and cloud-based services such as Spotify threaten to make physical music formats extinct, Sonic Boom is a throwback to a bygone era. Before signing vinyl copies of the band's sixth album, drummer John Eriksson chatted with Spinner about the place of old-fashioned records in the digital age.
"Music fans will always want the physical product; it's the same with books. It's not as thrilling and romantic to read it on a computer," he says.
When Eriksson first started buying music, vinyl was the preferred format. These days, he keeps an extensive digital music library, but continues to buy new releases on vinyl. To this day, buying fresh wax stirs his soul.
"It is the same feeling you have when you fall in love," he says. 'You know, butterflies in your stomach."
For years, doomsayers have predicted the death of physical records. Nevertheless, as modern acts like Peter Bjorn and John fuel the niche market, old-fashioned vinyl records continue to make a comeback.
Fans of vinyl credit the analog format's staying power to superior sound quality. While that's a matter of taste, one thing is certain: vinyl records look a lot cooler than an intangible digital file.
As a matter of fact, remembering back to when he bought his first record, Eriksson says the cover impressed him almost as much as the music contained within its grooves.
"It was Van Halen's '1984,'" he says. "The cover was magical; there's that angel smoking a cigarette. It was so cute and cool at the same time."
Peter Bjorn and John are best known for 'Young Folks' the whistle-laden smash from the band's 2006 album, 'Writer's Block.' That track was such a huge hit, it threatened to turn the Swedish indie rockers into one-hit wonders. In response, the band distanced themselves from the poppy sound of their breakout hit.
Their follow up, the somewhat experimental 'Living Thing,' proved that Peter Bjorn and John aren't a one-trick pony. However, the record failed to produce a single on par with 'Young Folks,' and some fans lamented the turn to an edgier sound.
Eriksson, however, doesn't feel that 'Living Thing' was a departure. He says the cover art, a dark illustration featuring three mounted animal heads (one would assume to represent each band member) gave the record a dark aura.
"We didn't think it was dark at all, we thought it was happy and poppy," he says. "If we put flowers or hamsters on the cover, people wouldn't have thought it was so dark."
Fans and critics hail the band's latest release, 'Gimme Some,' as a return to form, and tracks such as 'Second Chance' and 'Breaker Breaker' come close to recapturing the infectiousness of 'Young Folks.'
Is it a coincidence that the cover is likewise lighthearted? The album art is dressed in pink and blue hues and features a three-thumbed hand giving the triple-thumbs up -- perhaps a sign from the trio that good times are ahead.
These days, listeners most often see an album's cover as a tiny thumbnail on an iPod screen. It's really too bad. As a guy who came up buying music on vinyl, Eriksson knows that a well-designed record sleeve captures the spirit of the album it sheathes.
"That's why Black Sabbath has those dark and dreary covers," he says. "It wouldn't have the same impact if they had have pictures of pretty flowers."