Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tift Merritt Traveling Alone 2013 Kim Richey Thorn In My Heart 2013

Yep Rock Records has quietly entered the audiophile vinyl market 
with these two releases. Honestly I don't know if they've done it before, but both of these records are double LPs pressed at 45 rpm. For those not up to speed in the vinyl department, 45 rpm sounds considerably better than 33 1/3 rpm. Not just a little better. The 45 rpm 12-inch format has previously been reserved for the overpriced audiophile reissue market.

And so it is curious that Yep Rock put these two out with no fanfare. They just call them LPs on their web site, with no mention of their being pressed at 45 rpm. And vinyl isn't coming back. Yeah, right. Yep Rock lists 320 different CD releases on their site, and almost half that many on vinyl. Their artist roster is quite varied, with interesting acts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today.

Still I'm boggled by the stealth 45 rpm release. Why not tell the
world. They both sound great. Clean, black backgrounds, and
gloriously rich, organic tones. Both records stand firmly in the adult-contemporary-country-singer-songwriter-alt-Americana camp, whose audience is just the kind of geezer that wants to buy a record that sounds that much better than any old record. But then maybe it would seem too elitist to sell to a younger crowd that might just also like these artists.

Whatever the reasoning, it's an interesting development. I haven't spent enough time with either record to really review them, but I like what I've heard so far. And I can tell you that they both sound fabulous. I know that doesn't mean much if the performance isn't there, and I agree, but these are both interesting artists you should maybe already know about. And if you have a turntable, you might just consider finding out what even better sounds like. Or maybe you should buy a turntable, and one of these records (or an old Quadrophenia album in the used bin).

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