Browsing Tag


Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: How Do You Reinvent Rock Music?

April 2, 2018

What’s the world’s largest musical instrument? If you guessed a massive organ somewhere, you’re on the right track. It is an organ, but you won’t find it in a church, or even above ground. It’s the “Stalacpipe” organ in Luray Caverns, Virginia.

Luray explorers had been tapping stalactites (those pointy cave ceiling things) throughout the huge limestone cave for years to make eerie echoes. In 1954, cavern visitor and organ enthusiast Leland Sprinkle envisioned an organ that would play more tuneful music by tapping stalactites with rubber-tipped pistons. Leland tested more than 2,500 stalactites before he found 37 that matched musical notes (and cheated a little by shaving some down to size). How does it sound? Just as spooky as you’d imagine—an uncanny ringing from an unseen source deep underground. Leland acted as the cave’s resident organist for years, until they decided to turn it into a player piano—like it wasn’t creepy enough already.

Artiphon Musical Instrument | $299

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: A Handy, Hangable

October 27, 2016
Tanya Gift Lab

SoundFlex Bluetooth® Speaker 


I’m always trying to fit podcast listening into every at-home task that I can: cooking, folding laundry, braiding my hair. I also like to listen to music while I clean my apartment, shower, and start my work day. My phone speaker isn’t loud enough and doesn’t provide good enough sound quality to be used without headphones. I’ve tried other Bluetooth speakers and because they’re bulky or a pain to move around, they typically hang out in one room. I don’t think this will be the case with SoundFlex because it’s small and slim.

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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Who Smashed the First Guitar on Stage?

December 2, 2015

Smashing a Perfectly Good Guitar Pendant | UncommonGoods

Who smashed the first guitar? Yes, they did.

Pete Townshend, legendary guitarist of the classic British band first destroyed his instrument on stage in 1964…by accident. Soon, the Who was known for the instrument-smashing melees that punctuated their exuberant live shows, including Keith Moon’s exploding drum kit, live on the Smothers Brothers Show. Since then, the annals of rock history have been full of violent instrumental sacrifice, with other performers getting more and more inventive with their destructive showmanship: Jimi Hendrix set his Strat on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival, Keith Emerson abused his Hammond organ with a dagger he carried for just that purpose, and Kurt Cobain made an art form of reviving Townshend-style guitar sacrifice. Today, busted-up basses and six strings are mostly relegated to museum collections, but in the classic rock era, no axe was truly safe in the spotlight.

Smashing a Perfectly Good Guitar Pendant | $75

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Is it Really All About That Bass?

December 1, 2015

Boombox Touch Speaker | UncommonGoods

It depends on the low-frequency context. A stand-up bass in a jazz trio can contribute to a soothing chill-out. The rhythmic bass line of your favorite workout jam can provide essential inspiration. But studies show that Low Frequency Intrusion (LFI)—sounds such as cars with giant sub-woofers that rattle the whole neighborhood—causes negative symptoms in unwitting listeners, including anxiety, decreased concentration, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and insomnia. In other words, intrusive, booming bass is anything but music to many ears. But in other parts of the animal kingdom, low-frequency sound provides essential communication. Some whales use ultra-low notes in their “songs” to keep in touch with each other over great distances because long, low-amplitude sound waves hold their sonic integrity better over large distances in water. So, don’t be surprised if see a blue whale hanging out near the PA at your next rock concert—they’re all about that bass…and krill.

Boombox Touch Speaker | $40

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What’s the Longest Song in History?

November 15, 2015

Drawn to Music | UncommonGoods

Longplayer, an epic musical composition and A.I. project initiated by Jem Finer (of Pogues fame) has been playing for less than two percent of its intended duration. Designed to last a millennium without repetition, Longplayer is barely getting warmed up as it approaches the fifteen-year mark of its sonic lifespan. To put that in perspective, the longest Pink Floyd track is about 25 minutes (“Shine On You Crazy Diamond”), and Wagner’s Ring cycle clocks in at over 16 hours. But these compositions are mere blips compared to Longplayer’s thousand-year run. If you spent your entire life listening to the meditative tones of Longplayer (and who has the time?), you couldn’t hope to hear more than ten percent of the evolving composition. But regardless of how long you can listen, the piece offers a sensory analog to the expansiveness of time and the difficulty that the human lifespan poses to our perception of much beyond “the now.” In an age of music by instant-gratification download, Longplayer serves as a contemplative antidote to the impatient listening encouraged by MP3s or streaming audio.

Drawn to Music | $20

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Reggie Philbert

September 25, 2015


Reggie Philbert – UncommonGoods Security Officer

My hometown…

I’m inspired by…
Every time I play the drums, whether it’s for a concert or just practice. It’s one of the few times I actually feel free and relaxed.

When I was a kid, my favorite TV show was…
Hey Arnold! When I was growing up all the characters on the show reminded me of people in my life one way or another. I liked the morals that every episode consisted of, such as the value of friendships and hard work. It was also a way my younger brother and I would bond.

The word or phrase that best describes me is…

When I’m not at work I’m probably…
Reading a Stephen King novel, practicing on the bass guitar/drums or playing basketball in the park

If I could become an expert on one thing it would be…
Playing piano. I gave up on it when I was younger

One thing I’ve learned from working at UncommonGoods is…
The value of communication, teamwork, and patience.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’ve never learned how to whistle.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Arnold McMayo

July 30, 2015


Arnold McMayo – UncommonGoods Operations Team Lead

My hometown….
Port of Spain, Trinidad

I’m inspired by…

My favorite process in the UncommonGoods warehouse is…
Completing an order and getting it out the warehouse.

If any fictional character could be my best friend, I would choose….
John Wick.

Something that always relaxes me is…

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
Grace Before Meals in Brooklyn

My style is…
All about comfort.

An uncommon fact about me…
I won the ‘Wittiest Person’ in my graduating high school class.