Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

December 14, 2012

Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

to the Beatmerchant.

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Frankie Neilson of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, which offers CDs and vinyls, such as this Amy Winehouse album.

Martin van den Hemel photos
By Martin van den Hemel – Richmond Review
Published: January 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Updated: January 13, 2012 11:47 AM
 
History has a way of repeating itself, and so it appears with the predicted demise of CDs since downloading music from the Internet became a multi-billion dollar industry.

 Big box music store HMV recently closed its store at Richmond Centre mall after gradually placing less and less emphasis on its music CD collection. And HMV tried to fill a void left by the closing of A&B Sound in Vancouver.

 But business has never been better for Frankie Neilson, owner of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, a specialty music store in the heart of the fishing village.

 “I think the big box stores…haven’t survived because they haven’t been giving people what they want. They stock all the same stuff,” said Neilson.

 Much like when CDs came on the scene in the 1980s, many pundits wondered how long it would take for vinyl albums to become extinct. And although vinyl albums aren’t being mass produced anymore, there’s no shortage of demand from audiophiles seeking the authentic sound quality they offer.

 Similarly, downloads from iTunes for play on iPods and other MP3 players doesn’t have the same quality and range of sound offered by music CDs or vinyl records.

 Neilson said one customer walked in after spending thousands of dollars on iTunes downloads, but had nothing to show for it and is now buying vinyl.

 Aside from better sound quality, having something you can hold, along with the signature artwork on CD jackets, along with additional content such as lyrics, that can’t be replicated by online downloads.

 Beyond that, people miss going to a store and chatting about music with people who are knowledgeable about it, he said.

 Over the past five years, Neilson said it’s a shame that the technology is becoming more important than the music itself.

 “The music is what’s important, not the technology,” he said.

 
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The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

August 19, 2012

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer blues duo plays Steveston

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Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers are the Harpoonist and the Axe Murder ~also known as HAM

By Matthew Hoekstra – Richmond Review
Published: August 17, 2012 9:00 AM
Updated: August 17, 2012 9:45 AM

Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers admit their band name might scare some people off. But the duo says they’ve “made their peace with that.”

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer—or HAM as they’re otherwise known—combine blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and have a live show that’s anything but usual. They swing into Steveston Aug. 17.

 The Vancouver musicians limit their sound to whatever they can play between them—using only their mouths, hands and feet. Hall provides the vocals and blues harp, and Rogers handles the drums and guitar.

 The co-ordination between instruments—and themselves—is a show in itself, and the duo is proud to boast that it takes just minutes to get soaked with sweat.

 Music came to Hall when he was 12, living in Toronto. His grandmother gave him a harmonica and a book: Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless. At the same age, on the other side of the country, Rogers was falling in love with the guitar.

 The pair met in a studio session for a radio jingle advertising the Jamaican Pizza Jerk and decided to embark on a musical project together. A song by Kris Kristofferson referencing the blues harp inspired the “harpoonist” in the band’s name. Rogers, being the guitarist, became “the axe murderer.”

 The band, one of 20 finalists in the Peak Performance Project professional development program hosted by a Vancouver radio station, is now touring in support of their 2011 album Checkered Past. It’s the duo’s third album, addressing classic blues themes of heartbreak, addiction and layoffs.

 The band’s Steveston show is part of the Music at the Cannery summer concert series. The concert, organized by The Beatmerchant record store, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Admission is by donation ($5 suggested); arrive early to get a seat.

 Coming up in the series: Tommy Alto on Aug. 24, and Swell & Swag and the Swagmen on Aug. 31.


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