Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 08, 2012  |  0 comments
Last night, before heading over to Other Music for Julia Holter’s in-store performance, I stopped by In Living Stereo and had a nice conversation with sales manager Steve Cohen. I got to hear a few of Steve’s own recordings through a system made of Dynaudio loudspeakers and Rega electronics, including the new, slick-looking Apollo CD player ($1095). Though the recordings were made using simple keyboards and sent straight to 4-track, the richness of the music and balance of the system far overshadowed any sonic limitations. It sounded great.

I was also pleased to see that In Living Stereo now carries Wharfedale’s affordable overachiever, the Diamond 10.1 loudspeaker ($350/pair), and its considerably bigger brother, the 10.2. At just $100/pair more than the 10.1, the 10.2 at least looks like it can provide a much bigger, more solid and controlled sound.

Julia Holter hit my radar in November 2011, while I was preparing my year-end list of favorite recordings.

Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 08, 2012  |  1 comments
It’s one of those things. I can still clearly remember the moment I first set eyes on Sophia Knapp. She was strolling through the back room of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, with a confidence, flair, and singularity that left no room for questions: She was in the band.
Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 05, 2012  |  7 comments
During Definitive Audio's Music Matters 7, held Wednesday, February 29th, in Seattle, Linn's Steve Croft presented his company's Music Moments page, where people can share their fond musical memories.

In the conclusion to our CES show report, I wrote: “Hi-fi is about making music. CES is about making money.”

But maybe I was being naïve. Though I’d love to pretend otherwise, high-end audio is as much about commerce as it is about music. This fact is inescapable. Yet the focus on money was so great at CES that I left Las Vegas wondering whether there was some better way. Isn’t there a better, more appropriate way to showcase high-end audio, one that sets aside monetary matters and, at least for a short while, puts music matters first?

I left Seattle last week wondering if we had already found that better way.

Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 05, 2012  |  8 comments
It was already way past dark and I could hardly make it out, but it was the first thing that really caught my eye upon arriving in Seattle for the Definitive Audio Music Matters event (report to come). Could it be possible that there was a record store right across the street from my hotel? I had seen the black and white sign—Records, CDs, and Tapes—but still, I couldn’t be sure. That sign could have announced a place that once was, a place once filled with treasures, long forgotten or dearly missed.

I decided to check it out as soon as I could. When I did, I was very happily surprised by what I discovered. Neptune Music wasn’t merely real: It was unbelievable.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 28, 2012  |  0 comments
Masaki Batoh’s Brain Pulse Music, available today from Drag City, is “a collection of seven prayers and requiems to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

The album utilizes Batoh’s Brain Pulse Music (BPM) machine, a wildly futuristic device partnered with headgear, goggles, and a motherboard, said to be developed and built by MKC, Inc. The BPM machine, editions of which will also be available for sale from Drag City, monitors brain waves and transmits them via radio waves to the motherboard, which, in turn, converts the radio waves into pulses that are then outputted as sound.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 27, 2012  |  1 comments
Sharon Van Etten and balloon sculpture at the Bowery Ballroom, NYC, 2/25/12. Photo: Michael Lavorgna.

To be moved by Sharon Van Etten’s warm, sensuous voice, the remarkable power and soul in her phrasing and delivery, the heaviness of her sad words, you need only listen to her latest album, Tramp (see my review in the March issue, on sale now). Its effects are immediate. To be absolutely captivated, charmed, dazzled by her presence and promise, to want to get to know her better, it helps to see Van Etten perform live.

On Saturday, February 25th, Sharon Van Etten walked out onto the stage before a packed house at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom. She wears a red dress, black heels, a guitar, and an honest smile.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 27, 2012  |  0 comments
Girls’ new 7" single, “My Ma” backed with “Love Life,” is limited to a one-time pressing of just 1000 copies, and will be available from 159 specially selected record stores on May 22.
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 23, 2012  |  8 comments
On the topic of real hi-fi in the real world, Pro-Ject Debut III turntables and Grado SR80i headphones are available at CB2, the Crate & Barrel offshoot for modern, affordable home goods. No joke: Hi-fi is hip again.
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 22, 2012  |  6 comments
I was sort of surprised when I saw that Urban Outfitters, the hipster home and apparel shop, had started selling LPs. I was more surprised to learn that they had a headphone listening station—you can actually walk into the store with your iPod and audition a bunch of headphones. But now Urban Outfitters is carrying Music Hall turntables and Audioengine powered loudspeakers. I really like this.
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 22, 2012  |  1 comments
I just saw a rainbow fall into the floor
Shattered into pieces, your eyes ask “What for?”
These days I’m all alone out in the middle of the world
These days I’m trying to tell myself you’re just some other girl

–"Off the Wall," Lee Ranaldo

It was around noon on Sunday, October 16th, 2011, and I was in the lobby of the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Jennifer Atocha broke the news. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore had separated after 27 years of marriage and 16 awesome full-length albums with their band, Sonic Youth:


Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 16, 2012  |  3 comments
D.o.A.: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle—I found this CD at a small shop in Paris, in April 2000, a few months before becoming Stereophile's editorial assistant.

Gah! I’m beginning to dread receiving these awesome updates from the mighty Princeton Record Exchange, simply because I can’t get down there fast enough! And, if I did get down to the store, the amount of money I’d wind up spending would make me sad.

But the records would make me so happy.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 13, 2012  |  0 comments
I’m in love with Eric Chenaux’s Guitar & Voice, to be released on CD and LP by Constellation Records on March 6.
Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 10, 2012  |  1 comments
I’ve mentioned my old band, The Multi-Purpose Solution: We play a type of hard, fast, guitar-driven rock and roll, inspired by all kinds of things, including: New Jersey, Sonic Youth, the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, pizza, beer, brotherhood, women, Tom Waits, Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Thompson, anger, desperation, the Cure, and Metallica.

But I also make music with my dear friend, Todd.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 10, 2012  |  0 comments
At the US debut of Colleen Murphy's "Classic Album Sundays," to be held March 11 at Bellwether, listeners will be treated to Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

Sunday, March 11, Time TBA: Classic Album Sundays, Colleen Murphy’s popular UK event, makes its US debut at the new Bellwether venue (594 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

With Classic Album Sundays, Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy shares her passions for great music and high-quality sound, inviting guests to listen to an entire record, from beginning to end, on vinyl.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 10, 2012  |  2 comments
Jeff Joseph of Joseph Audio introduced me to this beautiful cassette deck; I spotted the pic at