Vinyl Skipping? Don't Panic, Here are a Few Tips!

Vinyl Skipping? Don't Panic, Here are a Few Tips!

If you notice your vinyl is skipping, there are a few different things that could be going wrong. The issue could be your individual records or it could be coming from your record player. Here are some tips for stopping those annoying skips!

How to Maintain a Vinyl Record Player

How to Maintain a Vinyl Record Player

It's important to treat your record player with a little TLC every so often. Here are a few tips to ensure your record player never stops spinning your favorite vinyl.

1. A Clean & Sharp Stylus is Key

To clean the needle of a record player, use a very soft brush (preferably a carbon fiver stylus brush) and a small amount of cleaning fluid to remove any dust or dirt buildup. 

Always brush from back to front to avoid damaging the needle. 

When the needle starts to dull it may begin to miss-track, lose audio detail, and even distort the track. Using a magnifying glass, you can check to see if the needle is dulled and needs replacing. If used regularly, the stylus should be cleaned every three of four weeks.

2. Optimal Listening Environment

For the best audio quality, your turntable needs to be in the best environment. Don't let your record player sit in direct sunlight. Avoid exposure to heat, moisture, and dirt. It should be placed on a flat surface with special care to reduce sonic vibrations to reach the turn table.

3. Keep It Clean

Make sure that your records have been cleaned recently and that they are stored in a vertical position to avoid a buildup of dust or dirt. And always handle your records by touching the edge or the labeled surface. It is best to avoid touching the grooved surface to ensure that oils and dust aren't pressed into the grooves.

Happy listening! 

Why We Prefer the Vinyl Sound

Why We Prefer the Vinyl Sound

It just sounds better, ya know?

When you first drop that needle to spin a new, crisp album, do you ever feel the need to close your eyes and smile and just say, “Mmmmm”.  

An Interview With Neal Carpenter

An Interview With Neal Carpenter

Neal Carpenter, the artist behind our upcoming record of the month Good Guys, has a unique perspective on the music industry in his role as a songwriter. 

We had the opportunity to sit down with Carpenter to discuss all things music. Check out the full interview below, and be sure to subscribe by July 15th to get your hands on this signed, EXCLUSIVE pressing of Good Guys

Neal Carpenter - Good Guys

Neal Carpenter - Good Guys

Neal Carpenter's Good Guys has never been released on Vinyl until now. We partnered with Neal to make it happen.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound

Jason Isbell's The Nashville Sound is probably the most anticipated Americana record of 2017 and we are thrilled to bring it to the Magnolia Record Club. Isbell is the South's answer to Bruce Springsteen, with characters that each deserve their own novel, hard luck, down but not yet out, while still creating universal narratives that connect with a larger audience. He also knows how to be a quiet folkie on one song like "Last of My Kind" and full on southern rocker on the next, "Cumberland Gap".

Like Jackson Browne, Springsteen, John Prine, and so many of the greats, he also does a great job of dealing with the political climate through narrative and melody instead of beating people over the head with it. "White Man's Wold" and "Hope the High Road" both go all the way to the valleys of human darkness without killing the dream. "It's not too late", he's singing. "We're all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate."

The name of the album says a lot about Isbell's place in musical landscape. "The Nashville Sound" is in many ways a re-orienting of the way Nashville music sounds. Simple production, a real band, not fireworks or walls of sound like contemporary country. He is literally claiming a new sound for Nashville, one that I obviously align with personally. I think you will see a bunch of Grammy's in his hands come next February.

Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1

Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1

It has been really satisfying to me to watch the rise and domination of Chris Stapleton over the last few years. 2 Grammy's, 4 CAM Awards, Americana Artist of the Year, and the songwriter du jour. He has a one-in-a-generation voice and while most people consider him country, his music really crosses many genres: Rock, Soul, Country, Folk, and Blues. He's a purveyor and miner of emotion, the hard knocks and tough breaks of life. I also love watching him do all of that with his wife Morgan by his side onstage with a voice as good as his. I consider him a kindered spirit.

This is his follow up record to Traveller, and I am thrilled to have it as a part of Magnolia Record Club. It doesn't dissapoint. His voice can carry nearly any song, but he does takes on classic country, southern rock, and folky heartbreak songs. It was recorded live in the historic RCA studio in Nashville, writting another chapter between those historic four walls. My personal favorite is Stapleton's cover of the Willie Nelson song, "Last Thing I Needed, First thing This Morning" following his tradition of reviving classic songs, just like he with George Jones' "Tennessee Whiskey." I hope you enjoy this genre bendinf artist at the peak of his powers. 

RECORD STORE DAY: 10 Records We're Looking Forward To

RECORD STORE DAY: 10 Records We're Looking Forward To

The 10th Annual Record Store Day is just TWO days away! We're getting excited and wanted to let you know what records we're most looking forward to, so here you go:

 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Welcome to 1979

Prince - Sign O the Times

John Paul White and Donnie Fritts - John Paul White Sings Donnie Fritts, Donnie Fritts Sings John Paul White

The Head and the Heart - Stinson Beach Sessions

The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

Bruce Springsteen - Hammersmith Odeon London '75

Stevie Ray Vaughn - Live at Carnegie Hall

The Lumineers - Song Seeds

Iron and Wine - Archive Series Volume No. 3

Paul McCartney - Cassette Demos

 

Wilco - Schmilco

Wilco - Schmilco

April

Wilco is my favorite band. I love other artists better than them, but as a band, in my lifetime, I think they are without equal. Part Americana, part experimental rock orchestra, they are a group of ridiculous musicians centered around the songwriting genius of Jeff Tweedy. This is their tenth album, Schmilco, and sending out this record to the Magnolia Record Club is a dream come true. Their albums tend toward one of two directions, the weird rock n roll albums like Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, or the subdued Americana of Sky Blue Sky and Being There. I have seen them live probably 5 or 6 times and they never disappoint.

Schmilco finds them in probably the most subdued state of their career. Wistful melancholy melodies about growing up; without ever veering into complete nostalgia. Songs of beauty and ache, wonderfully choreographed on the production side of things. To me, this is a record you play all the way through, on a mellow day with partly cloudy skies, hopeful but somber. This record is intimate and honest. The best kind of record. I hope you enjoy Wilco as much as I do. Go see a show. You will thank me later.

-Drew

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors - Souvenir

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors - Souvenir

MARCH

I find it much easier to write about other artist’s records than my own, but I could not be more proud to present Souvenir to you. This album has been an incredible journey for me. For the first time ever, I started writing songs with my bandmates, Nathan and Rich, and they renewed a creative spark in me that had been dampened by the ruthless touring schedule of the Medicine album and having two little kids at home. We started meeting weekly and writing together, sharing thoughts, life, music, stories, and laughter. Many of the songs on this album came out of those times - “The Morning Song”, “Fight for Love”, “Postcard Memories” and others. They also each have a song they wrote alone on the album - “Sometimes” by Rich, and “Yellow Rose of Sante Fe” by Nathan. 

Through the trust, friendship and camaraderie we built over 10 years making music together, they learned my voice, my phrasing, and I have been pushed musically by them since we began this journey. I also wrote a number of songs alone that reflect the state of my own heart and perspective, “Wild World”, “New Year” and 2 or 3 others that are part of my continuous search to make sense of the joy and tragedy that we all experience throughout the course of our lives. 

It continues to be an overwhelming honor to have people who let these songs into their lives. People who carry their own stories, their own laughter and sadness, and let our music be a part of the soundtrack. I am beyond proud of Souvenir and I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much we enjoyed making it.

Much love,

Drew

Turntable Shoppers Guide

Turntable Shoppers Guide

Shopping for a turntable?

Here are some of our top picks and why! This selection offers a combination of lower end models, middle range, and top notch players to meet your specific needs. Choose between modern and vintage style turntables. Click the image to learn more!

Audio-Technica AT-LP120

Everybody's favorite. The best turntable for the most people. It's the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable with built-in preamplifier. 

Audio-Technica AT-LP60

The ultimate beginner turntable. Affordable, easy to use, decent sound quality for the price. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable. The LP-60 is also available with Bluetooth for a higher price

Fluance High Fidelity

If you don't need USB recording, you could choose this turntable over the AudioTechnica AT-LP120. The Fluance High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player has dual magnet cartridge, elliptical diamond stylus, belt drive, built-in preamp, adjustable counterweight & anti-skating, solid wood cabinet RT81.

TEAC TN-300

The sleek TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable with built-in preamplifier and USB digital output is known for its ability to please both beginners and audiophiles alike.

Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player

If you're on a strict budget, you will need to purchase a player with built-in speakers, unless you already own speakers. Turntables with built-in speakers do not produce the greatest sound performance, but if you want to start small, this is the way to go. Classic Turntable Stereo System with Built-in Speakers, USB for MP3s, Headphone Jack, & AUX Input.

Electrohome Signature Classic Turntable

The Electrohome made the list because of its retro design and warm, natural vibrancy. This record player delivers a full sound with an acoustic cabinet and four speakers for hi-fi audio performance.

Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway

Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway

FEBRUARY

Six or seven years ago Ellie and went to see Grace Potter at the Ryman. We had great seats, about 8 rows from the stage. We knew Grace's performance would be a big, bold rock-n-roll show, but we weren’t ready for the opener: The Carolina Chocolate Drops, a Grammy-winning folk trio. Rhiannon Giddens was one of the key creative forces in that band, and has since left to start her own solo work. Her new album Freedom Highway is a chronicle of American history through the eyes of a black woman, spanning the slave narratives of the 1800’s all the way up to today. These are interesting times we live in and I find that music is one place to find truth and dignity, to hear the stories of other people and let those stories change the way you see the world. 

The songs were recorded in deep south Louisiana in wooden rooms that pre-date the Civil War. The walls have stories, as they say, and Rhiannon lets the stories into her songwriting. This album is a genre-defying act of unity and solidarity, saying to us that while we are all very different, we are also all very similar. We all have a story to tell. There is as much Patsy Cline as there is Nina Simone in her writing and production. I think this album will go down as a very important one, and I have been moved by it already. I hope you will too. 

Best,

Drew

Record Player Accessories

Record Player Accessories

Whether you're just getting into the world of vinyl, or you have been holding onto your grandparent's dusty turntable for a while, every good vinyl collector needs cleaning accessories to keep your collection in top condition. 

Here are three products we recommend to start you off. Check out our blog on 5 Tips for Cleaning Records  to learn more. 

Turntable Lab: Carbon Fiber Anti-Static Record Brush

Click the image for details!

RCA RD1006 Discwasher Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit

Click the image for details!

Anti-Static Carbon Fiber Cleaner with Stylus Brush

Click the image for details!

Lori McKenna - The Bird and The Rifle

Lori McKenna - The Bird and The Rifle

JANUARY

There are a lot of songwriters in the world, and it is dang near impossible to find the diamonds hidden in the sand. Lori McKenna has a pretty unconventional story. She had been a songwriter in the Boston area -- unknown and hardly noticed until well into her 30’s -- when Faith Hill recorded one of her songs. A mother of 5, and still a Massachusetts resident, she has stayed faithful to her incredible capacity to take the mundane and transcendent parts of life and weave them into moving universal narratives. This is her new record, nominated for THREE Grammy’s this year: Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Song for “Wreck You,” and Best Country Song for Tim McGraw’s cover of “Humble and Kind” from this album. 

I had the great fortune of having Lori McKenna as a special guest for the VIP party at Moon River this year and we did a Bluebird Cafe -style in the round show with her, myself and Sean McConnell. The room was blown away by her, and so was I. This album is everything I love about music. Recorded live with Dave Cobb -- the lauded producer behind recent classic albums by Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton-- The Bird and the Rifle is like a good friend in your passenger, having fun but also telling you the truth about your life and their own, and that’s why the friendship works. 

We are incredibly honored to present this Grammy-nominated (I bet she wins one or two of those...stay tuned) album by this tremendous songwriter!

-Best, 

Drew

3 Speakers Worth the $$$

3 Speakers Worth the $$$

One great way to enhance your vinyl experience is to invest in high quality speakers.

Here are three of our favorites. Click to learn more!

Magnolia Mixtape

Magnolia Mixtape

DECEMBER 

Hello Friends.

Magnolia Record Club has officially been sending vinyl records to mailboxes all over the country for one year! I could not be more thrilled to be trusted to bring you great and often unique offerings for music and vinyl lovers like yourself. In that spirit, I am also thrilled to bring you Magnolia Mixtape, Volume 1! We decided that a great way to end the year for the Record Club each year would be for me to make a vinyl mixtape of songs and artists that I love and put them together on a Limited Edition pressing and make that available ONLY to y’all. I think this is a great way to celebrate new music and the Holidays all at once. Most of the artists on this mixtape are friends of mine and artists we have toured with throughout the years. Some are big name national touring artists like Alabama Shakes and Josh Ritter, while others are brand new artists like Ry-Lo and Caitlyn Smith. I think you will love the ride we are taking you on with Magnolia Mixtape, Volume 1. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

-Drew

We are excited to offer the first ever Magnolia Mixtape (Volume 1), completely curated by Drew Holcomb, as our limited edition December record of the month only available through Magnolia Record Club. This LIMITED PRESS compilation will include a number of Drew's personal favorite songs from this year pressed onto a red marble vinyl. Subscribe / Gift by December 15th to get your copy, or to give the gift of music this holiday season!

  1. SHOEGAZE - Alabama Shakes
  2. GETTING READY TO GET DOWN - Josh Ritter
  3. NEW FRIEND - Ry-Lo
  4. SEA OF LOVE - Langhorne Slim & Jill Andrews
  5. HOLY DAYS - Sean McConnell
  6. JERICHO - Marc Scibilia
  7. ROCK AND A HARD PLACE - David Ramirez
  8. TACOMA - Caitlyn Smith
  9. IF WE KEEP DOING NOTHING - Kris Allen
  10. CLAUSTROPHOBIC - Cereus Bright
  11. ALL MY WORRY - Kate York & Joe Pisapia

Dave Barnes - Carry On, San Vicente

Dave Barnes - Carry On, San Vicente

NOVEMBER

We are excited to feature the latest record by Grammy nominated songwriter Dave Barnes, "Carry On, San Vicente" AUTOGRAPHED as our November record of the month. Subscribe by November 15th to get yours! 

"Dave Barnes is a performer that – similar to Chris Stapleton – the industry has a soft spot for. And, he’s earned every bit of that praise. With cuts from Blake SheltonBilly CurringtonTim McGraw, and Kelly Clarkson to his credit, he’s definitely one of the most-respected singer-songwriters of this era.

At the same time, Barnes has been a recording artist for a long time, and his ninth album qualifies as nothing short of ear candy. In the notes that accompany the disc, Barnes talks about his being influenced by such 70s California mainstays as Fleetwood Mac and Jackson Browne, and it shows here.

In fact, if you were to have told me that these songs were lost and unreleased tracks from The Eagles, I would have definitely believed you. Barnes does an unbelievable job conjuring up the magic of Frey and Henley. And, keep in mind that Carry On, San Vicente was recorded – and finished – long before Frey’s untimely passing. So, this stands as a noble tribute to a sound that defined him as an artist as opposed to trying simply to cash in on the moment.

Now, that being said…the music. “She’s The One I Love,” the opening cut, paints within that said musical scheme rather effectively from the opening kick-off. It makes you want to switch the time machine back to 1975, and take a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. Damn, it qualifies as sonic ecstasy. Other highlights on the album include the title track, which is reminiscent of “New Kid In Town,” as well as the emotional depth and straight-ahead lyrics of “Need Your Love.” The acapella opening of “Glow Like The Moon” will also stir some memories, as well.

All along the way, the songwriting of Barnes takes center stage. When you hear a track like “Sunset Santa Fe” or “Nothing Like You,” you realize that as good as other artists make his compositions sound, there’s nothing like the real thing….and Dave Barnes is the real thing. Hopefully, this album will open more eyes to that unique talent!"

Sounds Like Nashville

Why Vinyl?

Why Vinyl?

"Why should I start a vinyl collection?"

We hear this question regularly. What are the pros and cons of collecting vinyl records? Is it worth the investment? Does it really sound that much better than digital music? Here's what we have to say about it.

In a world where streaming is the dominant form of listening to music, free downloads are not hard to come by, and CDs have become nearly laughable to some, vinyl enthusiasts can still be found all over the world. These are what we've found to be the top reasons why this form of recorded music is still respected. 

Analog vs. Digital Audio

To the untrained ear, one might not realize that there is a difference in sound between analog (record players) and digital (CD's, MP3's, radio) systems. But, technically speaking, there is a major difference - and here's why: analog signals are continuous while digital signals are not. The groove of vinyl records are like drawings of the continuous signals, which will be decoded by the turntable. Digital signals are broken down into smaller pieces of information, but to our ears the sound we hear from our speakers remains continuous. Digital audio takes samples of the original audio at a specified rate, while analog audio takes the original sound waves and replicates them exactly. Technology still fails to create digital audio that perfectly replicates the original audio as analog audio is able to do. This means that analog audio produces a much more pure, raw, and original sound than digital audio.

Aesthetic Appeal

For some of us, a major draw to building a vinyl collection is purely the warm, inviting aesthetics that a turntable setup effortlessly offers. Visually, a record player and collection of vinyl records is a neat addition to any room. Auditorily, record players warm a room with their unique sound, as mentioned before. A fellow vinyl-enthusiast says it just right,

"They're the best way to make purchasing music feel like something. Vinyl allows you to have a sentimentality about albums - there's a tactile quality, a ritual to pulling a record out of a sleeve and putting it on and focusing your attention on the act of listening for a side at a time."

Vinyl Community 

Just like community naturally establishes itself around other hobbies or interests such as golfing or painting, vinyl collectors tend to find each other. The beautiful thing about this community is that it's not exclusive. You don't have to have a certain size collection or a certain type of record player to make the cut. My friends and I began our collections in college. We held listening parties in our crowded dorm rooms to take a break from late night studying. There are all shapes and sizes of vinyl lovers. Some, the broke college student kind, others the young professionals, the established middle aged, or the retired. Aside from the fact that community forms around mutual interests, a unique reason that there's a community around this form of music listening is purely because it's not the norm. Collecting and investing in vinyl music is something special to connect and bond over. 

Worth the Investment?

Vinyl sales have been on the rise, not just in the past two years, but for over 15 years. (So, no vinyl is not "just a trend") Vinyl retains most of its value when taken proper care of, making it all the more worth the investment. If one day you decide that your collection is not of value to you, someone else will likely find value in it.

If you got excited while reading the above paragraphs, vinyl will without a doubt be worth your resources. There are still plenty of other reasons to choose vinyl if none of these struck you today. We hope that you make the move if you have decided that you want to join our music-loving community. Check out our Store for recommended products, and don't forget to Subscribe for our monthly vinyl packages!

 

 

 

5 Tips for Cleaning Vinyl Records

5 Tips for Cleaning Vinyl Records

Keeping your records conditioned requires consistent cleaning before and after use, even if your record is brand new. There are many different ways to clean records. This blog highlights safeaffordable, and easy ways to clean vinyl records.

1. EVERYDAY CLEANING. In addition to deep cleaning your records with a wet solution, use a carbon fiber brush to gently clean records before and after each use. If you are deep cleaning your record, you should also remove dust appropriately before washing your record.

2. CLEANING SOLUTION. When your vinyl needs a deeper clean, grab a cleaning solution of your choice. How often you need to deep clean a record usually depends on how often it is used. If a record is noticeably dirty, or does not produce a pure sound, it's probably time for a good clean. You may choose to invest in a cleaning solution as cheap as $2, as costly as $20, or purchase a vacuum, which works wonderfully to safely clean your records. However, the most affordable and easy way to safely clean your record is by using a gentle dish soap.

3. WATER. For optimal results, use de-ionized and distilled warm water to clean records after you have appropriately removed dust and debris from the surface of the record. Warm temperatures are not best for your records, but it is necessary for dissolving the soap. Carefully choose a water temperature just warm enough to dissolve the soap.

4. CLOTH. It's important that you have a soft, lint-free cloth ready to wipe your record with as you clean them. Avoid using an old t-shirt or bath towel.  

5. DRYING. Two simple options for drying your record: either use your lint-free cloth to dry the record, or place your record on the cloth and carefully lean it up against a wall to air dry.