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Third Man Records has officially made history in celebration of their 7th Anniversary by launching the first record played in Space. The launch of the ICARUS CRAFT, a custom “space-proof” turntable attached to a high-altitude balloon, occurred on July 2nd just outside of Marsing, Idaho, spinning Third Man’s THREE MILLIONTH record pressed. The ICARUS CRAFT was designed and engineered by Kevin Carrico, longtime friend and electronics consultant for Third Man Records, and launched with the invaluable assistance of SATINS (Students and Teachers in Near Space.)
The goal of our mission was to send a vinyl record up as high as possible and document it being played there. Near space (our ultimate destination) is a regular destination for NASA (it’s the closest we come to mimicking the atmosphere of Mars, so it is traveled to often for tests), but our mission was made complex by the fact that we weren’t simply flying a stationary object, but a turntable that we wanted to work — and work well! — so the endeavor became more of a professional high altitude flight than one might expect. Because of this, we had several, oft-changing government standards to meet while refining our design, selecting camera angles, and weather proofing our craft in case of inclement weather — all while keeping the weight down and the maintaining enough battery capacity to keep the record spinning in cold air of the Earth’s atmosphere. We needed low winds, a clear sky, and approval from the FAA and the FCC, all which coincided perfectly on July 2nd.
The craft reached a peak altitude of 94,413 feet at 1:21:20 flight time (roughly 1000/feet/minute) when the balloon burst (a truly beautiful sight) and the descent began. For the entire hour and twenty minutes of ascension, the Icarus turntable faithfully played Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn” (from “Cosmos” by Symphony of Science composer John Boswell) on repeat, using an impressively sturdy phono cartridge and stylus as well as an onboard flight computer programmed with a few different actions to keep the record playing while it was safe to do so. Once the return to Earth began (with the craft attached to a parachute and falling about 4x faster than it rose), the turntable automatically went into “turbulence mode,” where the record continued to spin, but the tone arm was triggered to lift from the record surface and stay in its locked position, to protect both the needle and the record itself. When Icarus reached the ground — a vineyard, to be exact — the record still spun, unfazed by its incredible journey.
Beyond the potentially bumpy ride, Carrico’s other hurdles to jump in making this project a success had to do with the just how incompatible space & vinyl records actually are! According to Carrico, “As you rise higher and higher into the thinning atmosphere, temperature and increasing vacuum (lack of air) can cause issues. Vinyl has a rather low melting point (160°F), and without air to keep things cool, you could wind-up with a lump of melted plastic on your hands if a record is exposed to the sun for too long. Without air, things in direct sunlight can get very hot while things in shade can get very cold. This constant expansion and contraction can physically distort a vinyl record rendering it unplayable. so our turntable platter also served as a heat-sink in order to keep the vinyl cool in direct sunlight.” The gold plating on the record was another measure to keep the grooves from losing their shape.
From its conception to flight, this endeavor took over three years, with much of that time spent in research and development, as Carrico tested each component of the craft separately and in combination with others. Of course, Carrico was often pulled away to tend to other Third Man Records projects including rehabilitating the Recording Booth and Wax-O-Matic that now reside at our Cass Corridor location. The discoveries made while working on vintage machines like these actually proved helpful in solving issues with Icarus, and visa versa, many solutions developed for Icarus were implemented in Third Man’s machines, full circle.
Carrico’s #1 resource in the success of this project was his father Dr. John P. Carrico, PhD, a physicist that worked on the Mars-Viking missions and provided endless enthusiasm for his children’s endeavors, large and small. Carrico’s brothers John, himself an astrophysicist, and Tim, who works in the aerospace analytics industry, also provided a wealth of information in making this launch a success. Third Man Records would like to offer its most sincere appreciate to the entire Carrico family.
Gary Lantz of MFK Interests was another member of the team of supreme importance, acting as our thermodynamics engineer and performing many of tests that made the launch go as smoothly as possible. David Jankowski of SATINS provided endless flight-support coordination, and all the members of his incredible team (including Paul Verhage, flight engineer, Rachel Verhage, tracking coordinator, and John Kernkamp, senior lab technician) were invaluable. Third Man Records would like to thank you MFK Interests and SATINS, for loaning your truly worthy personnel to this mission.
About the ICARUS CRAFT launch, Jack White said, “Our main goal from inception to completion of this project was to inject imagination and inspiration into the daily discourse of music and vinyl lovers. Combining our creative impulses with those of discovery and science is our passion, and even on the scale that we are working with here, it was exhilarating to decide to do something that hasn't been done before and to work towards its completion. And, it brings us great fulfillment to pay tribute to the incredible scientist and dreamer that Carl Sagan was. We hope that in meeting our goal we inspire others to dream big and start their own missions, whatever they may be.“
Watch the launch in its entirety, archived here, or settle for our shorter recap video below, and enjoy the fruits of Third Man Records, Kevin Carrico, and the entire team’s labor. We could not be happier to check this longtime goal off its bucket list.
Join us at Third Man Records HQ in Nashville or at our Cass Corridor Detroit location this Saturday morning, July 30th, to watch the launch of the first record played in space, all while celebrating our 7th Anniversary! If you can't make it, we hope you'll watch the launch from home at thirdmanrecords.com, beginning at 11CT/12EST.
If you CAN join us, we hope you'll consider purchasing a STELLAR TICKET.
Merchandise items AND gold vinyl record included with STELLAR TICKET
In Nashville, those wanting to attend the launch party/Soledad Brothers performance, but don't want a merchandise bundle, can purchase a standalone ticket for $15 here. In addition to our patio viewing area and bar (open at 9:30AM), Nashville will have the gold-plated record from the space launch itself on display, plus a representative from SATINS launch team, as well as Symphony of Science's "Cosmos" composer John Boswell on hand to discuss the project. Bang Candy has also concocted cosmic confections in celebration of the event.
In Detroit, the ICARUS CRAFT itself, plus its creator Kevin Carrico, will be on hand to answer questions and take photos, and the store will be open for anyone to sneak a peek at the launch and listen to bands while shopping.
Both Nashville & Detroit storefronts will open at regular hours (10am local time) for customers to take advantage of our 30% off Anniversary Sale, which will also be valid in the online store (discount taken at check out).
In both locations, customers not wanting to purchase a Stellar Ticket can purchase merchandise a la carte via regular check-out, though all should be advised that lines could be quite long, so prepare for hot temperatures and hydrate accordingly. A la carte exclusive record launch merchandise and limited records WILL NOT be on sale until the completion of the attempted mission. ICARUS t-shirts, however, which are not limited, will be available all day.
The Blue Room in Nashville will be open to the public for continued merriment after the mission with an in-store later that afternoon at 4:30 with Craig Brown, and the additional bands listed above will continue the party in Detroit.
August is turning out to be another busy month full of amazing events at both our Nashville headquarters and our Detroit location! Have a read through our upcoming events below, and get your tickets early!
If you've got tickets, congrats! It's going to be an unbelievable show.
Brought up by a licentious priest when her gangster father goes on the lam, 13-year-old Lila Lee (Rainbeaux Smith) receives a letter from the mysterious Lemora urging her to come to her ailing father's side. Lila embarks on a journey through the swampy Prohibition era deep South in search of the town of Astaroth, an eerie place inhabited by bands of feuding vampires, roving groups of lost children, and enough creepy old men to haunt every young child's dreams. The atmospheric adolescent coming-of-age allegory plays as a Lovecraftian take on Southern Gothic filtered through the low-budget lens of a European art film. Lost in relative obscurity for years, LEMORA's reputation has been somewhat restored thanks to cult cinephiles who laud it as an eccentric and truly unique dark fairy tale about growing up subjected to the unrelenting, lascivious male Gaze. Watch the trailer and purchase tickets here.
Third Man Records is proud to announce Triple Fantasy, an exhibit curated by Laura Hutson that brings together work by three artists who are concerned with the intersection between sex and magic. The artists — Elijah Burgher, Tracy Nakayama and Benjy Russell — address themes of queerness, sexuality and the occult through their unique drawings, prints, paintings and photography. Burgher has had work in the Whitney Biennial and is represented here by Chicago's Western Exhibitions gallery. His drawings, paintings and prints draw largely on sigils and an imaginary cult called the Bachelors of the Dawn that claims the supremacy of homosexual men. Nakayama is an L.A.-based artists whose work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her paintings reference 1970s porn and, more recently, contemporary nudist colonies. She has created a painting specifically for this exhibit, and will have a limited edition print of another painting available. Russell is based in both L.A. and the Nashville area, and uses photography to incorporate ideas of ritual and sexuality. His often surreal work eschews Photoshop in favor of absurdism and in-camera effects. Join us on the 4th for the opening reception, or if you can't make it, stop by in the following 4 days to see this incredible show.
That's all you need to know! Just show up and enjoy the show!
Dapper Bruce LaFitte, formerly known as Bruce Davenport, Jr. is New Orleans personified, his work heavily influenced by his upbringing in the housing projects of the 6th Ward and one terrible storm that rolled through in 2005. With LaFitte's work is a tribute to New Orleans, featuring vibrant color marker drawings of the parades and marching bands that are a symbol of his home city and a personal passion. Coming to art as a career later in life, Lafitte is now represented by the Louis B. James gallery in life, and his work has been shown in 14 countries around the world, bringing the resilience of New Orleans with it wherever it goes. Join us for the opening reception on August 11th from 6-8pm.
Third Man Records is happy to announce Joyce Manor and Caddywhompus will be joining us in the Blue Room on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Joyce Manor, consisting of Barry Johnson, Chase Knobbe, Jeff Enzor and Matt Ebert, come to from Torrance, California, not at all far from Manhattan Beach, the birthplace of legendary power-punk thrashers, Descendants. Coincidence? We’re not so sure. Their latest record, Never Hungover Again, was mixed by Tony Hoffer, who is largely known for his work with Phoenix, Marianne Faithful, Beck and an ever-increasing list of big name talents. His production lends a superb depth of character to their work. The result is raw feeling: joyous, pissed, pensive and rash. JM attacks their songs with an emo-pop diligence and punk rock vigor that are true to the origins of the sound and also a novel hybrid of both styles. Short and sweet without dizzying the listener. The results are explosive and yet approachable. For those stricken with a timeless ache, here’s a chance to heal. Tickets available NOW.
Punk is work. The thrill is gone. Spray Paint unsettles. The band—made up of George Dishner, Cory Plump and Chris Stephenson—currently touring the US in support of Feel The Clamps, their sixth LP, available now through Goner Records. Not unlike A-Frames, Whirlwind Heat, Brainiac, Arab on Radar, or your friend who takes acid to sleep, they command a post-punk angst, a warped energy, and a musty discontent—but theirs is version that could only come stumbling out of Beerland, TX. SP balances on whatever line exists between frayed atmospheres and detuned, melted punk song structures. The lyrics are hungover and moribund. The vibe is bitter. There’s no room here for miracles. Rock ‘n’ roll is a dead horse. Don’t believe us? Okay, have fun blasting "The Crunge"! Ben Wallers, AKA The Rebel, hails from Hertfordshire, UK, and is the frontman, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the art-punk band Country Teasers (among a half-dozen others). His output prolific, crafted with a darling and daring wit, and delivered with a creaking drawl of half-sung speech. His sound feels culled from the wreckage of classic country and ragged, minimalist garage. His brand of satire is rare in music and tends to spotlight unlikely topics, like the scourge of xenophobia, the sickness of sexism and pastoral darkness from the perspective of those who are actually afflicted with those ideas—all in the name of humor and a culture study of sorts. He’s confiscated your dog whistle and he’s exploring the boundaries of human decency through brazen and uncomfortably blunt satire. He’s a wee laugh riot. Tickets available NOW.
The next installment of our monthly film series, co-hosted by the newly-renovated Belcourt Theatre. Screening information to follow in the coming weeks...
Get your tickets and swing by Third Man Records, Cass Corridor for a nice, mellow, Sunday afternoon performance by the Melvins……..THE MELVINS? Mellow? Sunday Afternoon? This is all wrong. Come cram into Third Man Records and get sweaty on the sabbath with the Melvins and watch em strip the paint off the columns. Bring ear plugs if you want, but they probably won’t work. Dale and King Buzzo are joined by the one and only Steve McDonald (Redd Kross, Off, Tater Totz) and they are planning on brining a little danger back to the Cass Corridor!
On July 30th, in celebration of our 7th anniversary, Third Man Records will reveal our attempt to play the first phonographic record in space — a gold-plated 12” master of Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn” (a moving arrangement of Sagan’s sagacious words culled from his magnificent Cosmos series, previously pressed and distributed as a 7” in their first year of operation, 2009). This record marks our 3 MILLIONTH RECORD PRESSED! The vessel tasked with the mission —The ICARUS CRAFT — is a custom-built “space-proof” turntable attached to a high-altitude balloon designed by Kevin Carrico, who has NASA in his blood, and is responsible for assisting in the restoration of many of Third Man’s machines (Third Man Recording Booth) to working order. Kevin and the Third Man team are aided in their endeavor by SATINS (Students and Teachers in Near Space).
To celebrate the occasion, Third Man Records will be hosting (literal) launch parties at both its Cass Corridor and Nashville locations, where the viewing of the mission, as well as live bands, exclusive, commemorative merchandise, and limited edition, 12” gold vinyl copies of the 3 millionth pressing, “A Glorious Dawn” will be available for purchase, as well as a few other limited, exclusive LP offerings. In Detroit, the ICARUS CRAFT will be on exhibit with its creator Kevin Carrico answering questions, and in Nashville, the gold-plated record will be displayed. Visitors can take Third Man Impossible Project instant-photos with the ICARUS CRAFT, Gold-plated record, or with designer Kevin Carrico, if you ask him nicely.
Both parties will feature live music and DJ’s (to be announced this week) and will begin at 11am EST/ 10am CST with a takeoff time of exactly 12pm EST / 11am CST.
The pre-recorded launch will be shown at both locations AND streamed online (details to follow) however, exclusive records and merchandise will only be available at Third Man’s physical locations. To avoid waiting in line and be a part of the party at Third Man Cass Corridor and in Nashville’s Blue Room, Third Man Records will offer a limited number of the STELLAR TICKET, which grants access to entertainment and guarantees a bag set aside with your name on it containing each exclusive merch item and a copy of the record. STELLAR TICKETS are not yet for sale, and further details will be announced mid-week.
Those who opt not to purchase a STELLAR TICKET will still be able to purchase the record and merchandise in each respective storefront (the Carl Sagan Record will not be available until after the screening), but will not be guaranteed accommodation to watch the launch on-site or admission into the launch party.
Also in celebration of Third Man’s 7th anniversary, customers both in-store and online will receive 30% off their entire purchase!!! (Bundles and exclusive items do not apply. Cannot be combined with other offers.) The discount will be taken at checkout.
[click image for 3D rendering of ICARUS Craft]
Third Man Records is over-the-moon with excitement to pursue and share with you the ICARUS CRAFT’s mission to spin a record further from Earth than a record has ever been spun...Plan to join us and witness history in the making! You got something better to do?
Continuing our commitment to shining a celebratory light on classic and influential music from Detroit, Third Man Records is honored to re-introduce the world to the undeniable importance of the Detroit Cobras. We will reissue the Detroit Cobras debut records - Mink, Rat or Rabbit and Life, Love and Leaving - on August 26th on glorious black vinyl at a record store near you, and available at thirdmanstore.com for pre-order today.
The band has experienced many roster revisions over the years, especially when it comes to their touring configuration, but the perfectly irreverent Rachel Nagy on vocals and Mary Ramirez, one of the greatest guitarists to ever come out of Detroit, have been near constants and the creative force behind these two records. The first of the two releases also include noted Detroit photographer Steve Shaw (The Fondas) on guitar, the prolific Jeff Meier (Rocket 455, Nathaniel Mayer) on bass, and the pure drum work by Damian Lang (Two Star Tabernacle) making for a line-up of pure perfection.
As one of the earliest salvos in the great Detroit garage explosion of the turn of the century, the Detroit Cobras' Mink, Rat or Rabbit (1998) is a landmark album. Comprised solely of covers songs (as has always been the band's MO) the Cobra's spirited takes on Motown classics ("I'll Keep Holding On" originally by the Marvellettes), garage punk laments ("Bad Girl" originally known as "Bad Man" by the Oblivians) girl group tear-jerkers ("Easier to Cry" originally by the Shangri-Las) and New Orleans soul standards ("Break-a-way" originally by Irma Thomas) and the end result is nothing short of a staple that any record collection is empty without.
Originally released in 2001, the Detroit Cobras' Life, Love and Leaving is the group's best-known effort, coming at a time when bands like the White Stripes and Dirtbombs were also releasing seminal albums that started picking up recognition outside of their collective hometown. Hitting hard with songs by soul heavyweights like Solomon Burke ("Stupidity"), Mary Wells ("Bye Bye Baby"), Otis Redding ("Shout Bamalama"), the inimitable vocals of Rachel Nagy would no-doubt be a template from which folks like Amy Winehouse would work from years later. A landmark collection of covers.
To wet your whistles, here is a previously unreleased song, which has been pressed as a bonus track on Life, Love and Leaving titled "This Old Heart."
Pre-Order the records, individually or as a bundle HERE. Officially in stores August 26th.