The Challenges Facing Neil Young’s Pono Music

ponoNeil Young’s music has been with me for as long as I remember. As a teen I would sneak out of the house to see the midnight showing of his Rust Never Sleeps movie. After moving to California in the 80′s, I’d catch some of his unannounced local shows and regularly attend his annual Bridge School benefit concerts. More recently my band Needle covered Helpless on our debut album. Neil’s latest project is Pono Music, a high-resolution music store and music player. In addition to being the founder and face of the company, he was just named CEO earlier this week. But in this age of ear buds and streaming services, is there room for something like this? And how do you move beyond the rabid Neil Young fans to create viable repeat customers who will make this a sustainable product and service?

I started looking at my own transition from analog to digital to see if Pono would be something that would work for me. The iPod was released in 2001 and I purchased one shortly after that. At the time most of my vinyl records and cassette tapes were being replaced by CDs. The convenience of having all of my music in the palm of my hand was too good to pass up. Years later, as vinyl made its resurgence and more artists released music that way, I picked up a new turntable and pulled out my old records. It was a joy to go back and hear music that way again. Not only did the older stuff sound great but newer material started to grab my attention in ways I hadn’t heard before. If you can combine the high quality sound with easy-to-use technology, I’m all for it and would embrace the format. Below are some ideas to make sure this can happen.

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Posted on 07/17/14 at 4:14 pm Related Articles 0 Comments

Making Noise – The Antlers

On Friday I got to see The Antlers at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. They’re out on tour in support of their latest album Familiars, which was released on June 16th in the UK (via Transgressive) and June 17th in the U.S. (via Anti-). Hana Tajima directed the above video for ‘Palace’ and it’s the first track from the new album. The Antlers have a few more shows in the US this month before heading to Europe in the fall.

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Posted on 07/13/14 at 12:33 pm Related Video 0 Comments

Hands On with the VOX Continental V from Arturia

vox_thumbnailFrom the Doors’ Light My Fire and the Animals’ House of the Rising Son to the Monkees’ I’m a Believer and the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray, the VOX Continental classic organ has made an indelible mark on rock and roll history. Recently an original VOX organ sold on eBay for $1500. Arturia just released their version called the VOX Continental V as a virtual instrument (see our preview post). We were able to get our hands on a review copy and were impressed by the depth of software.

According to Arturia the VOX Continental V is modeled after the of the famous VOX Continental 300 with an added model of the ultra rare Jennings J70. It includes classic stompbox-type modeled effects and microphones along with a guitar tube amp and rotary speaker outputs for vintage live sound. In addition, it offers tight integration with Arturia’s acclaimed range of KeyLab professional MIDI keyboard controllers.

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Posted on 07/2/14 at 11:58 am Related Gear 0 Comments

Martin Guitar Factory Tour


While on a family vacation in Pennsylvania I took a drive to Nazareth, PA and visited the C. F. Martin guitar factory. As an owner of a Martin guitar it was a treat to see how the guitars are made. From rough lumber to a finished product, each guitar requires more than 300 steps to complete. Although there are machines and computers to aid in the process, it’s truly remarkable to see how many people actually “touch” the guitars as they are made. Below are some of them building Martin Guitars. If you’re in PA and have an afternoon, I’d suggest taking the tour. For more information, please visit

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Posted on 06/19/14 at 5:09 pm Related Images 0 Comments

Arturia introduces the VOX Continental V

We love vintage sounds here at the Noise Room and Arturia just introduced the VOX Continental V. The VOX Continental V is their latest vintage keyboard recreation, bringing back the classic sound of the famous VOX Continental 300. This classic organ was used on some of the most famous songs by the greatest bands of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond, the VOX Continental V will give you instant access to these hit making sounds and more.

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Posted on 06/5/14 at 10:57 am Related Gear 1 Comment