LATEST ADDITIONS

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 29, 2022  |  4 comments

The longevity of Blondie is proof of the triumph of substance over image. The new-wave icons made quite a name for themselves when they emerged as the platinum-blonde darlings of the New York scene in the 1970s, unabashedly buttressed by the can’t-look-away visual iconography of lead vocalist/songwriter Debbie Harry — but they also had a special knack for transmogrifying the aesthetics of punk, the tenets of bubblegum pop, and their own deep-seated performance chops into something new. The first phase of Blondie’s career is now properly feted in Against the Odds 1974-1982, a massive 10LP/1EP/1 7-inch 45 Super Deluxe Collector’s Edition box set. Blondie drummer Clem Burke got on the line with AP editor Mike Mettler to discuss how the box set came together and why it acts as a “muse” for the band today, how the 7/4 shift in the back half of “Heart of Glass” gave an extra dimension to such an indelible No. 1 song, and how important producers Richard Gottehrer and Mike Chapman were in capturing the Blondie sound in the studio — and, of course, much, much more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 27, 2022  |  0 comments

The Gruvy Awards are back! It’s been a minute since we’ve given any out, but we here at AnalogPlanet felt it was time to reinstate them this year and make these awards an annual event moving forward. The Gruvys are given to the best products we reviewed in calendar year 2022, the ones we found to possess a combination of high build quality, exceptional sonics, and in the case of less expensive gear, provide great value for the money. While a Gruvy indicates a product is deemed to be exceptional, products that haven’t been so awarded should not necessarily be considered unworthy. Read on to see what products made the 2022 AP Gruvy Awards cut. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 23, 2022  |  3 comments

AP editor Mike Mettler asked ace reviewer Mark Smotroff to come up with a list of his Top 10 vinyl releases of 2022, and it was a much harder task than Mark imagined it would be. “Paring down all the vinyl releases I’ve reviewed in 2022 into a list of just 10 choices?” was Mark’s initial reply. Nonetheless, Mark soldiered on, and got his list in fine order. Read the first 5 of his 10 choices — archival releases, in this case, plus a few bonus extra selections — here. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 21, 2022  |  4 comments

As we enter the final home stretch of the holiday season, and — c’mon, fess up now — you’re still contemplating gift-giving options for those on your list at this late hour, we here at AnalogPlanet thought we’d lend an eleventh-hour helping ear, er, hand. To wit: We’ve compiled a hopefully helpful list of analog gear, LP, and box set-related suggestions for anyone and everyone on your list, whether they’re budding analog-audiophile newbies, inveterate collectors, discerning listeners, or hardcore gearheads. The bottom line is, all analog-comers are welcome here on AP, and now it’s time to add some much-better-than-fruitcake ideas into the holiday shopping mix. Read on to find out what we feel are some of the most wonderful — and quite affordable — holiday options for one and all. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 19, 2022  |  3 comments

All I want for Christmas is . . . more vinyl. Just ask Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, who got his first real taste for wax during Christmas as a wee lad, when he received a literal cavalcade of 45s under the tree. In the spirit of the season, Smithereens vinyl fans can rejoice with the news that the four-man New Jersey-bred band’s October 2007 holiday-themed album Christmas With The Smithereens is out now in limited-edition 140g 1LP form, courtesy of Sunset Blvd. Records. Diken got on Zoom with AP editor Mike Mettler recently to discuss all those special 45s he got for Christmas back in 1962, the fine art of album sequencing, and why having Smithereens music on vinyl remains vitally important to the band’s legacy. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 16, 2022  |  3 comments

For a long time now, we’ve had the feeling there were seemingly a bazillion different versions of Vince Guaraldi’s beloved jazz soundtrack to the timeless “A Charlie Brown Christmas” 1965 TV special out there in the wilds of record collecting. Thus, we were quite excited to learn of the new, audiophile-leaning black vinyl 180g 2LP edition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — now in stores and very much in time for holiday gift giving, courtesy Fantasy/Craft Recordings — to hopefully provide us all with some higher-fidelity LP solace. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if this new, expanded 2LP edition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is worthy of getting for those on your gift list — and/or, in the spirit of the season, also get one for yourself. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 14, 2022  |  7 comments

It’s a constant internal struggle we analog audiophiles face on a daily basis in terms of balancing our lofty hi-fi listening goals, system performance expectations, and overall playback aspirations with our concurrent desires to bring as many new converts into the analog fold as we can. Often, we find it downright difficult to manage these proclivities when it comes to separating the ideal from the real without giving off an air of superiority that leads us to appear to others as, well, a bit too exclusionary — all the more reason why a burgeoning new company like Dum Audio has arrived at the exact right place at the exact right time to help bridge that gap for us. Read on to find out how Dum Audio seeks to do just that with what they quite austerely call The Turntable and The System. . .

ken micallef  |  Dec 13, 2022  |  6 comments

When is a DJ cartridge not a DJ cartridge? Danish manufacturer Ortofon seeks to bridge the DJ and hi-fi worlds with their top-of-the-line Concorde Elite moving-magnet cartridge ($439 SRP), one with a clear nod to audiophile listening. Does it hold up as a hi-fi cartridge? Read Ken Micallef’s review to see if the Elite is indeed worthy of Ortofon’s storied pedigree. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 09, 2022  |  6 comments

Two often overlooked albums by The Beach Boys are the main focus of a fantastic new 180g 5LP+1EP box set, Sail On Sailor – 1972, which features the band’s landmark 1973 album Holland plus 1972’s under-appreciated and much misunderstood Carl And The Passions – “So Tough” to form the heart of this excellent new collection buttressed by a previously unreleased, complete, of-era 1972 live performance from Carnegie Hall. Read Mark Smotroff’s thorough review of this truly special box set-cum-document of an artistically transformative, often powerful, and at times remarkably hard-rocking period for a quintessential Southern California band looking for — and ultimately reaching the summit of — some creatively fruitful new horizons. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 08, 2022  |  3 comments

Mark Smotroff was up bright and early on Record Store Day (a.k.a. RSD 2022) back on Black Friday, November 25 — and, spoiler alert, he was able to find most of the RSD Exclusive and RSD First LPs he wanted. Read on to find out what LPs he got, how they all sound, and where you might still be able to find any RSD 2022 goodies you want for your own collection. . .

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