ISSuE FouR - TALkING AbouT RECoRD SHoPS WITH mAC DEmARCo, SEYmouR STEIN, HookWoRmS, JuDE RoGERS, mICHAEL CHAPmAN, bEN HoWARD, PEAkING LIGHTS, HouNDSTooTH, DAvID HEPWoRTH, DouGLAS DARE, HISS GoLDEN mESSEGER, WILLIAm TYLER AND STEvE GuNN
COMING APART THE DEBUT ALBUM 16th SEPTEMBER
“Just the thing for listeners who always found Sonic Youth too timid and bound to rock convention” — THE WIRE
THE NEW ALBUM 9TH SEPTEMBER TRUEPANTHER.COM
True Panther Sounds
WELComE To A DELuXE PRESSING Since we last spoke we’ve been pretty busy being a record shop, I mean… that is our job after all. This years Record Store Day was an unprecedented success, not just for our shop, but globally for independent record shops, labels, artists and music fans. In Devon we invited our good friend Gold Panda (see previous issue for our developing bro-mance) to perform instore as part of our celebrations and amazingly he did. For me, convincing a world renowned musician to spend Record Store Day at our shop in exchange only for a cream tea (honestly), removed all of the cynicism that has slowly crept into ‘RSD’ over the years. As Drift, I think our proudest day. Mistakenly, people still thought I was interested in how much items were being listed for on eBay and I was privy to blow by blow updates throughout the day. Looking back though, lets leave it with this summary; it was well and beyond our highest EVER trading day and this small independent record shop, based in the rural Devon countryside, appeared in numerous broadsheet newspapers and several times on national radio. That my friends, ain’t too bad. As i’ve reached out to other shops, my experience is far from unique. It’d be naive to declare that times are good, but I think it’s fair to say awareness is high and good will to record shops is booming. A few people have taken their sweet time to get back to us, but in our experience of running Deluxe, we have been met with a unanimous ‘yes’ when we ask people if they’d be interested in getting involved. The following interviews and articles will testify (convince you, reaffirm, enlighten…) record shops are still important places and I bloody love being one.
Contributors: Jude Rogers, David Hepworth and James Endeacott. Chief Sub-Editor: Katie Weatherall Associate Editor: Crispin Parry Distributed: Forte & Windsong International Archive: Danny Ford Thanks to: Seymour Stein, Mac Demarco, Houndstooth, Micheal Chapman, Steve Gunn, William Tyler, MC Taylor, Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, MJ, Dan Plunkett, Douglas Dare, Sofia Ilyas, Leah Wilson, Andy Morrall, Lyssa Thompson, Graham Smout and Gareth Dobson. Advertising and Marketing Opportunities: email@example.com www.deluxe.so
Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information or any consequence arising from it. Published by The Drift Record Shop in association with British Underground.
Forte UK Independent Music Distribution firstname.lastname@example.org www.fortedistribution.co.uk
P R AC T I C A L LY FR I E N DS In May of this year, MC Taylor (of Hiss Golden Messenger) and William Tyler rolled through my town as part of their “Practically Friends” UK tour. Both were promoting new albums (MC, his superb new ‘Haw’ LP and William was supporting his latest stellar effort, ‘Impossible Truth’) and I was very glad to accommodate them. After the obligatory late night Civil War discussion with the Drift accounts department, I took MC and William to the shop for a stiff coffee and to talk records.
What record stores did you grow up? (WT) I grew up in Nashville, which at the time, when I was a kid, I am trying to think if we even had any independent record stores and I don’t think we did. That’s crazy! I grew up as a kid going to Tower Records, there was an outlet there that had an Indie/import section. I guess whoever the guy there who was consuming the most psychedelic drugs was allowed to do all the ordering... because there was everything there from dub records to death metal to Pavement 7”s and stuff like that. So that’s were we went to get records (MC) I grew up in a town called Irvine in South California. The first store I remember going to was a combination skateboard record shop called “Shaved Wave” and that is where I started buying music for the first time, and then graduated to a store nearby called Hyde Park Corner where they had Cocteau Twins records. ‘Hyde Park Corner’, I’m guessing they were Anglophiles? (MC) Yeah, that was a little lost on me. But they did have a lot of imports. You would never find a place like that now in the States. I suppose it has become more about international business, with everything having a dual release anyway, but are there places you have found recently
where you can track down obscure stuff ? (MC) You can track stuff down anywhere really. My local shop in Durham (North Carolina) is Full City Records, which is a really great shop. It’s quite similar to this [Drift]. Like, there is some stuff that I could conceivably order myself, but a lot of times it’s nice to go ask Chas, the guy who runs it, to order it for me. It might a little bit more expensive but you know he makes a little money off it, and I get to say that I bought it there, it’s nice. Do you remember the most really cherished thing you first bought? (WT) I do remember literally the first thing I ever bought, it was a classical record, the William Tell Overture. I saw it in a cartoon when I was seven, and thought, ‘I want to own it’. It was the first time I remember wanting to own a piece of music.
Fahey record, but then right around the same time that got closed down, Grimey’s, which I know you are familiar with, became the only game in town. Now, there’s a couple other indie stores in Nashville but that’s still kind the main one. What do people think of Third Man Records, as a Nashville resident? (WT) I am pretty biased because I am friends with a lot of those guys and I think what they’re doing is really cool and impressive. Have you had a go in the booth yet? (WT) I haven’t gone in the booth yet. I have seen some shows there. Honestly, what they are doing is pretty amazing. They have so much money they can make whatever they want happen. They seem like a very grownup operation.
Good on them for having it! (WT) Yeah I know... There was a really cool record store in Nashville when I started buying records actively. It was called ‘Off Twelfth’ and was kinda like this place, but a little smaller. The guy who owned it, more power to him, but he was a kind of a snob. I actually was in there one day when a guy came in who wanted to buy the new Radiohead record, and he said (tutting) “... I don’t carry that”. He did not stay in business long but he had an amazing selection of weird stuff and old cool vinyl. That’s where I found my first John
(WT) Seriously, they are, they licence stuff. They give everyone their masters back after five years, they are pretty ‘legit’, but just in terms of a community resource, they are really good at reaching out to people. They’ll do shows, they will give a local punk band an opening slot, and they actually care about it. It’s cool, they are part of the new “Nashville’s not a lame city anymore” vibe. When I was a kid, Nashville was a pretty tough place to live if you were not into country music, which no one as a teenager is.
that’s kind of what’s there. (WT) Yeah, well it’s a living legacy, it’s for real. It’s still going on. What’s the name of the huge country music store? Damn, we covered it in the last issue! (MC) Earnest Tubbs. (WT) Earnest Tubbs! That place is amazing. There is another place downtown called The Lawrence Brothers Record Shop, which is on the same strip as all the honky-tonks are, and their whole thing is that they have surplus stuff from the 70s and 80s. Like, 15 unopened copies of some record. A lot of it’s not great, but they also have 15 unopened copies of John Ford just sitting in a box. You know what I mean. That’s where I found a copy of that record. They don’t know what they’ve got, and they don’t care. You just go down there and you can dig. I’m sure it’s all been picked over by now. There was another great store I bought a lot of stuff at growing up, called ‘The Great Escape’. It was a used store. (MC) That’s still there. I’ve been there (WT) When I was working there I sold a Louvin Brothers record to Jello Biafra. That was a proud moment. So you actually worked there? (WT) Yes, I did work there.
I suppose that’s the legacy, isn’t it, Was that the only store you have worked in?
“I think there is something really good about the 21st Century. It’s potentially a really great place to be. You are talking about celebrating the local and regional but at the same time we can still obtain anything from anywhere”
(WT) I was actually Grimey’s first employee. It used to just be Grimey, then when Grimey had to go and buy something (weed), I would watch the store for him for a couple of hours, and he would pay me with one record. There was this one record he would never sell me. It’s ‘The Adventures of Ali and His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay’. It’s a pro-dental hygiene spoken word record that Muhammad Ali did for kids that is literally the one record that Grimey would not sell. He sold his entire other collection. So when I next make it over there, I am going to pester the hell out of him to
listen to this record! (WT) He probably has it on some sort of a shrine. So where else, UK specifically, have you seen this week? (MC) We made it into Jam Records yesterday in Falmouth. We both have to be a little bit careful, because we are both record obsessives and are doing this, hopefully, to come home with money, so we have to be really careful on tour not to spend everything. So when you get back to the wife/ girlfriend you have to explain why you have come home with as many records as you left with? (WT) You are supposed to come home with fewer records! (MC) Yeah, never come home with more. If you come home with the same amount you might be able to explain it somehow, but do not come home with more! Where has been good to play an instore? (WT) Well, we are lucky enough to know people everywhere that have cool stores. Around where we are, Harvest Records in Ashville, is a really incredible place. There is a really cool place I just played called Horizon Records in Greenville, South Carolina - really special. (MC) Just in terms of other record stores, not necessarily to play, but Aquarius in San Francisco was my local shop for a long time.
(WT) This is something I wanted to talk about, because we were in Cardiff and there was a store that Mike wanted to check out that was not there any more. (MC) It was all old stuff. I had gone there last time I was in Cardiff a couple of years ago and it was a really intense collection of real American roots music records, like all stripes, but stuff I had only heard of but never seen copies of. I was looking forward to seeing it again and showing William because he had not seen it before. (WT) I was sad but also a little relieved I would not have to spend any money there. (MC) I think like any place, you have to diversify and roll with the punches a little bit. (WT) I think buying music has become such an exotic thing for people now that most of them do it for one day a year. But you have to meet the demands of your community a little more than when I was a kid. If you had an indie store, they would be the ones that didn’t carry a Radiohead album. But then you had Tower Records or whatever for that... Now, Grimey is the mainstream record store AND independent record store and has to meet the needs of both demographics. And I think that’s just how the market has changed. (MC) I feel that sort of snobbery, that was part and parcel of record store culture, honestly where most of us got our bad attitudes from, part of like being a music freak, is really a thing of the past, thankfully. It’s not very nice. (WT) If High Fidelity was written now,
they would have to be nice to everyone. (MC) The thing that all the record stores that are surviving now have in common is a really intense curatorial aspect, that is often very locally connected. Like Bull City Records sell all the new releases but are also in tune with the local community so they are always in touch with all of us that make music around there. So that’s where I did the release for ‘Haw’. It was a tiny little thing and free, but I really like that place. They set up this thing that is like a reciprocating relationship. That really has to happen now. You have to have a good relationship with other people in the music community. The other thing is that everyone that runs a record store that is surviving are really nice now. People are trying to meet the demands of anyone that comes into their shop, not, like, their own personal kingdom anymore. When we were first starting to get a bit bigger I was forever saying to people “thanks so much for coming in” and then I realised that if you go too far in that direction you start to sound like a charity, and this whole “support your local record shop” stuff. The point in people saying that is that you should do, or they will go, and then it will just be down to multinationals and the Internet, but at the same time, you can’t lay it down all the time - “thank you for buying one record ever” - because otherwise, you are misinterpreting what you are trying to do. It’s all about curating, again. (WT) Totally a curatorial aspect. There’s so much information now, and people’s attention spans have been shrunk and there’s so much more music. So, if there’s a place people trust and they get behind something, it can really make the difference. (MC) It does make me wonder if it’s a slight return to what it must have been like in record stores in the 50s, 60s, 70s. There’s so much information that it’s just noise and for so many people it’s hard to decipher what a record even is, so they come into a place like this, the record stores we buy stuff at. We are going there because there is someone behind the counter that is thinking really hard about this stuff, and trust is like a big thing. So I can go into Chas at Bull City, and say “hey, what are you listening to, what’s really good?” That’s the job of the person behind the counter. To know the tastes of the community. I know William and I are playing the long game. We are not going to make a million dollars at it, and I think record stores are that way too. I am a proponent for keeping things small, which is definitely a shift from the way A&R Warner guys thought 15 years ago. ‘Small’ was definitely a word they would not have uttered. There is something good about being small and growing slowly. We have a while to do this.
the 21st century. It’s potentially a really great place to be. You are talking about celebrating the local and regional but at the same time we can still obtain anything from anywhere. All of this information is available to us but at the same time we are connected to the communities we live in. That requires that you are enthusiastic about where you live. A lot of people are not fortunate enough to choose where they want to be. (WT) Travelling though the States is fascinating. There are certain small towns that are filled with local flavour and colour, and people who care about the community, and others that are filled with chain stores, and you could be anywhere. On your travels, which have been the best record shops you have come across, and why? (MC) I have always liked Honest Jon’s. (WT) Me too! (MC) That’s a place where I can go into and say “give me whatever this is you are playing”. I have bought culture records, Trembling Bells, Candy Stanton. All stuff I shouldn’t be carrying on the plane. (WT) Aquarius for me, in terms of being in the States. Also, Goner Records is incredible. Lastly, which is the weirdest store you have come across, and why? (WT) I have been in some weird stores in Istanbul, in a flea market, a really cute girl in her twenties was running a store, books and records. She had all of this insane Turkish psychedelic stuff and they knew how much it was worth too. I sat in there for four hours drinking tea and listening to stuff and bought what I could afford. That was a good experience but I am not much of a record digger. One time, on tour with Lambchop, in a Sheffield store, they knew who we were and let us into the attic where they kept all the used stuff they had not priced yet, and it was pretty ridiculous the stuff they had in there. (MC) I think I would class going to an HMV or its equivalent as pretty weird. The way people deal with music there is the weirdest of all. It’s a pretty odd way to deal with art. Wrap it in plastic, stack it high, a million copies of something... (WT) What are those plastic things like chastity belts for CDs they used to have. (MC) Who would want to steal the shitty records?!
I think it means if the curb goes up too steeply, it’s going to come down that way again. If it goes up gradually, it gets to a point where you are in control.
Both ‘Haw’ and ‘Impossible Truth’ are out now on CD and LP and come high recommended by us.
(MC) The foundation is solid. I think there is something really good about
H E L L’s teeth Houndstooth are a five-piece rock and roll band from Portland, Oregon. A heady mix of two southerners (Katie Bernstein and John Gnorski), two Detroiters (Courtney Sheedy and Mike Yun), and a Canadian (Graeme Gibson). Their debut LP ‘Ride Out The Dark’, out on the superb No Quarter label (Nathan Salsburg, Endless Boogie, Old Calf), is a thoroughly modern take on the bashed up Americana album. So how did they get there?
There are tons of record stores in Portland! We mostly frequent the smaller shops in town, that tend to have limited but consistently great collections. We’d put Mississippi Records, Clinton St., Beacon Sound, and Exiled at the top of our list, and Music Millennium gets special mention for being a long-lived Portland institution with a good vinyl room. Where did you all grow up and which stores did you frequent? We all grew up in different parts of the U.S. and Canada. Katie is from outside of Atlanta, Georgia, John from Virginia (near Washington DC), Mike and Courtney from Detroit, and Graeme is from Kelowna, British Colombia, up across the border. John frequented the now shuttered Orpheus Records in Arlington, Virginia, and Graeme went to a vinyl/tape/CD store called Memories up in B.C. Katie used to buy music and watch skate videos at a store called ‘Sea of Timeless’ in Marietta, Georgia, that was in a strip mall next door to an ice-skating rink. Do you remember your first purchase? What was it? What format? Graeme: The first records I remember having with my Fisher-Price turntable was the ‘Raffi-Baby Beluga’ LP, Police’s ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ 45, and the ‘Kiss-Dynasty’ LP. I don’t have any of them now. John: I remember buying REM’s ‘Automatic for the People’ on cassette when it came out, but I think I got The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’ on vinyl at a yard sale even before that. I also remember listening to ‘Abbey Road’ on 1/4” reel to reel! My Dad had a portable tape machine in the basement. Katie: My first purchase was U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ on cassette and the soundtrack to the movie ‘The Commitments’.
Cotton Jones, Angel Olsen, Staple Singers, Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, Michael Hurley, Sonny and the Sunsets, Philip Glass, Deep Time, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Lee Hazelwood, Black Sabbath, Robert Wyatt and the list could go on endlessly. We all agree on a lot of music, but we also have very divergent individual tastes, so it always keeps things interesting.
I read that you are also members of Parson Red Heads, Denver, Swim Swam Swum? Does Portland
record stores always smell like records, just like used bookstores smell like old paper: iTunes has no scent. Long live record stores!
Your artwork is great, did one of you paint it? Thank you! John painted the pictures on the record and did the 7” cover and our other merch as well. He was hoping we’d have the budget for a 10’x10’ foldout wall mural to be included with every LP, but we’ll have to wait ‘til next time for that. Maybe a coffee table book too… How important to you all is a good-looking physical format? John likes to run, Katie rides her bike a lot and does yoga, and we think Mike has a gym membership. Graeme eats a lot of protein and Courtney sticks to a healthy vegan diet. We are all body positive and have pretty healthy physical formats. Having said that, we’re pretty into drinking beer and eating pizza after a late show. It’s all about balance.
Yes! There’s a lot of talent in Portland, and a lot of musicians end up playing in multiple bands. The majority of shows we all go to in town are our friends’ bands and they run the gamut from noise shows in houses to rock shows at dive bars and more formal shows at the fancier venues. There’s not really any trace of competition among bands here, and while some might say that it belies a lack of professional ambition, we’d just argue that it’s the way a music scene is supposed to be. We’re involved and interested in all kinds of bands, and it’s rare to feel alienated at any local shows.
But in terms of LPs, CDs and such, the physical object is extremely important! As most music lovers know, there’s no substitute for holding a beautiful record jacket in your hands while you listen to a piece of vinyl for the first time, and it’s a great joy to thumb through stacks of records just for the sake of checking out the amazing variety of designs over the ages. Bo Diddley’s ‘Gunslinger’ LP cover comes to mind for instance, and there’s ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake and the cover of J.J. Cale’s ‘Naturally’ that looks like a psychedelic paintby-number worthy of hanging on the wall. It’s so much easier to develop a relationship with a record when you can have it lying around your living room with you rather than appearing only as a name in a list that you scroll through.
Who else are you listening to at the moment?
Records stores are still important right?
have an embracive music scene? Are you all rooting for each other?
Of course! The immediate access to practically all contemporary music on the internet is a great convenience, but it’s a lot more satisfying and adventurous to go out to the store, hear what they’re playing at the shop, dig through the bins to find things you’d never seek out in the digital realm, and stumble upon an older record that might not ever exist in MP3 or CD form (there are so many!). A trusted record store owner is a great source of recommendations in an age when the blogs are so saturated that it’s hard to cut through the hype and spin and flashing advertisements and get at the actual music half the time. And record stores always smell like records, just like used bookstores smell like old paper: iTunes has no scent. Long live record stores! photo: Jaclyn Campanaro
You guys are spoilt, Portland has a killer record scene…. where do you shop?
‘Ride Out the Dark’ is out now on CD & LP via No Quarter Records. If you want to fall in love with them right away, check out ‘Canary Island’ from that album. www.noquarter.net
S u lli van’s o f W est G la m o rgan by JUDE ROGERS I can still remember the walk there, every footstep, like it was a journey into another world. Leave my front door, turn right, then left at the end of Pengry Road. Right at the crossroads by the video shop, the chemists, the newsagents. Then fifteen minutes walking slowly downhill, past the British Legion, the dentists, the doctors, the butchers, the Midland Bank griffin, the charity shops. And then just past the turning to Cross Street, there it was.
A black-painted place on a corner, its windows filled with t-shirts and cardboard displays. This was a million miles away from the pomp of Virgin Megastore, HMV and Our Price. It didn’t matter. Sullivan’s was ours. A tiny record shop at the bottom of Gorseinon, packed to the gills with tiny things that would change our little lives. Before I was in my mid-teens, music was something that came out of the radio that I captured onto blank tape. My two fingers pressing record and play together – clunk-CLICK. I got pocket money, but not much; certainly not enough to buy many records. But when I was 15, things started to change. I got a Saturday job helping out at a local newspaper, plus a paper-round in the week, and I started making plans for those pennies like nobody’s business. And then, on a Monday, I’d wander down the High Street, push open that heavy wooden door, and see what treasures lay inside. Small local record shops aren’t usually glistening, glamorous places, and they definitely weren’t nearly twenty years ago. This was Sullivan’s. It was dark, dingy, in need of a good going-over with a feather duster, and hard to get around too. Packed CD racks lined the walls on each side, with laden cassette shelves above them, while another CD rack, double-sided, stood stiffly in-between them. Take it from me: if more than three people were in the shop, you’d pray a cat wouldn’t suddenly arrive and demand to be swung. After weeks edging around Sullivan’s buying nothing at all, the first album I bought here was in October 1993 –The Lemonheads’ Come On Feel The Lemonheads, on cassette. I still remember that thrill. Walking nervously through the door, shyly shambling over to L, and – wham – seeing Evan Dando’s face there, in stark black and white. That heavy jaw line. That hair wisping in the wind. My heart is rushing just writing this; remembering how new these feelings were, and how vivid they felt, at fifteen, my head dizzy, my heart in my mouth. These images, these songs, had a lightningbolt effect – they cracked through the sky, electrified everything, opened up the world to me. Crossing the threshold to Sullivan’s was the teenage equivalent of going through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia.
Record shops used to be much scarier places back then, though. Instead of lions and witches, we had silent men behind the counters, flicking through hefty record catalogues, or rifling through boxes packed with jewel cases. I didn’t mind, really. In Sullivan’s, I was left very happily to my own devices, to my pawing through the inlays of Madness compilations, or my analysis of the outer sleeves of the Kinky Machine cassingles. Slowly but surely, I became more confident, until I started to explore the shop counter itself. This was the shop’s mother lode; the place that held the real gold. Pin-boards full of badges bearing messages I didn’t quite understand. Piles of magazines that looked different to my beloved Selects. The 59p singles box allowing a chance to find something new, at relatively little risk. Here were pulse-quickening, heart-racing, chest-pounding unknowns. Here was the big world beyond me. And then came the summer of 1994. I had finished school by this point, and tertiary college – a dazzling, grown-up place, without uniforms – metaphorically and literally lay around the corner. My braces were newly off. My hair was shorn short. And there I was, finally plucking up the courage to curl my fingers around a Beatles badge, destined for a prime pinned spot on my new rucksack– one of Paul’s face, I remember, his fringe heavy over his eyes. Then I took another one, a small mod target, and a tiny Specials one, which I would later wear, occasionally, on my lapel. I’d only put it on after leaving the house, though. This felt like an act of transgression, like I was putting on another person. Here was a young girl very keen to grow up, but a little scared to as well. But grow up I did. At tertiary college, I made new friends from further afield, and Sullivan’s became our favourite free period destination. Sometimes, we even mitched off lessons to make the walk into town – our own pop education mattered much more to us than A-Level French. And so, on the morning of the fourteenth of March 1995, Dan Cuthill and I sat on Sullivan’s ice-cold front step, me in my grandmother’s old sheepskin coat, him in a holey grunge jumper, waiting to see if the van had arrived. And it had.
The two of us sharing a Walkman on the way back to college, an earphone each, blasting out Elastica’s Elastica to the Midland bank griffin, the charity shops, the butchers, the doctors, the dentists...all the way back to a table in the canteen full of expectant ears. Like most fly-by-night teenagers though, I wasn’t particularly loyal to Sullivan’s. I had other great loves. There was the Llanelli branch of Woolworth’s, for instance, for the boy-next-door charms of its fantastic bargain bin (I’ll never forget the 99p synth-pop compilation that introduced me to Kraftwerk). Then there was the mysterious, handsome shop with no name in the Stepney Arcade, where I bought Joy Division’s Closer for £1. Then there were the good looks of Swansea’s HMV, and the edgier thrills of rock shops like Derrick’s. But Sullivan’s was different. Sullivan’s was mine. Sullivan’s is the first place I went when I turned 18, spending the pound coins stuck to my cards on whatever I could (The Prodigy’s Firestarter on CD single, and Denim’s Denim On Ice, since you ask). I remember waking up that morning and knowing that I had to go there. It had helped me grow up. I owed it that much. It meant that much. Sullivan’s also held out far longer than many other small local record shops. It had no room to expand, and no real spirit to change, unlike so many other shops that have reinvented the wheel. I last went in there in around 2005, and it finally closed its doors just over five years ago. A shop selling handbags now occupies its space, and it makes me laugh that it still looks like it needs a feather duster. In a way, I’m glad that it does, because perhaps there’s still a bit of me in there, after all this time. For in the corners of these places, these very ordinary places, the ordinary world would disappear, and the extraordinary one arrive. These are the places where our lives are defined.
Jude Rogers writes for (amongst others) The Guardian, The Observer, the New Statesman, The Quietus and in 2003 co-founded the quarterly magazine-shaped love letter to the city in which she lives, ‘Smoke: A London Peculiar’. This August (‘13) Smoke produced “From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea”, a compendium of words and images inspired by London’s reaction to all that happened in the years between the city being awarded the Games and the ceremonial burning of Bradley Wiggins’ sideburns. More information online at www.smokealondonpeculiar.co.uk
the sh o ega zing Lynyrd S k ynyrd When we asked them for their big tip for 2013, our good friends at Jumbo Records in Leeds said simply one thing… “Hookworms”. Their debut LP ‘Peal Mystic’ has been a regular player on my stereo since and The Leeds based five piece are gathering more and more momentum as the year unfolds with Space Rock that falls somewhere between Spaceman 3, Wooden Shjips and Hawkwind. Julian Cope is a fan! We spoke to MJ from the band. This week I see that you’ve signed a deal with Weird World for the US release of your Pearl Mystic LP. So you now share a label with Peaking Lights, Smith Westerns and Salvia Plath amongst others. How was 2013 been for you? It’s been cool thanks. The whole thing’s been pretty surreal - the reaction to our record and the amount of people that have come to see us play. I’m just excited to get on with finishing our new LP now. The guys/ girls at Domino/Weird World are the nicest people but obviously we’ll never be able to overstate the importance Gringo Records holds to us as a group.
Norman Records have recently started a physical outlet to compliment their webstore. They stock a great selection of stuff across most genres (except tech metal) but you kinda need a car to get there. Leeds lacks a really great second hand record store. There’s a place called Relics but they’re too savvy to the price of stuff and it’s totally unaffordable unless you’re one of those guys in suits you see sweating round town on a lunchtime. Branching out geographically - Vinyl Tap in Huddersfield is a gem.
Good records always find an audience, but it must be pretty gratifying to do so straight off the bat?
Where did you grow up and what shops formed your record collections?
I think it’s hard to answer this without coming across like a dick, but yeah it’s really nice that people have been so open to the music we’ve made. Obviously it’s not the reason we did it, but the ‘success’ has made it easier to continue doing it. I think the quantities of records we sold in the first few weeks surprised just about anyone.
I grew up in Nottingham with Selectadisc (rip). I’d have never ended up in the place I am now without their extensive stock of the Dischord back catalogue. Also really love Rob’s Records for second hand and Music Exchange is amazing too, though I don’t get back there very often now.
Although we’d suggest you share more in common with the USA Psych bands; yourselves, TOY and Temples have been described as leading the UK psych revival. Do you feel part of that scene? Are you a psych band? Who has influenced you most as a band? When we started this band the idea was to do something like Reigning Sound meets Pissed Jeans, though I guess we didn’t really manage that. I don’t feel part of any scene, though I identify the most with the Leeds DIY grouping (Bilge Pump, That Fucking Tank, Cowtown etc) even if we no longer have the right to self identify as a DIY band. A journalist repeatedly asked me recently if I have an affinity with a band like Toy; I’ve never met them or knowingly listened to their record so I don’t really understand how I can. Bands in the UK I feel closest too would be more like Cold Pumas, Kogumaza, Sauna Youth and Vision Fortune. In the last issue we spoke to Jumbo about the Leeds scene and there shop. They flagged you guys up as the band they’re most excited about - so, are shops important to you? Sure, I wouldn’t have the taste in music I have without record shops. Jumbo is great and have been so supportive of our music right from the beginning. They rearranged the way they file records lately into more concise little genres. I liked that. Besides Jumbo, where else is good in Leeds and where is good for what? Jumbo is the best record shop in Leeds. There is also Crash but the last two times I went in there they were playing tech metal, so I don’t know so much about them.
Do you remember your first purchase? What, where? Format? My first tape was The Beach Boys - Twenty Golden Greats. First 7” was Beecher/Leif Ericsson split on In At the Deep End. First 12” a Snuff record, though I can’t remember which one right now. First CD will have been something absolutely dreadful like that B52s Flintstones Theme.
Jumbo in Leeds all the time I went to Sister Ray recently and the guy serving me was a condescending prick. Shame, considering it was part of the Selectadisc family, but I can’t really bring myself to go in since. What makes a good shop? * Good recommendations * A good second hand section * Staff that don’t have an ‘I’m better than you vibe’ Anything you’ve discovered for the first time in a record shop? I first heard that new Unknown Mortal Orchestra LP when I was in Jumbo and bought it on the spot. I used to buy stuff from Out of Step (RIP) in Leeds on a whim practically every day. Why are record shops still important? I don’t think it’s an overly sentimental position to consider a record shop a huge part of the way we consume music. I don’t get the same satisfaction from scrolling a website as I do browsing actual sleeves. Also, with the internet essentially enabling us to hear anything we want whenever we want, then a curatorial stance can allow you to discover things you may like in a more satisfying way. What are you listening to at the moment? Anyone you want to flag up?
Your favourite purchase? The last couple of days: Physically my favourite record I own is probably Shellac - 1000 hurts. Sentimentally it’s probably my original copy of the Cap’n Jazz LP. Going back to your LP, the artwork is pretty stunning. Was this you? What is the story? All the art was created by JW, who plays guitar. I agree, it’s really beautiful. The colour is called Pearl Mystic and came before the final title of the record.
Jim O’Rourke - Eureka Ty Segall - Twins Outer Limits Recordings Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic Joanna Gruesome debut LP on Fortuna Pop Group Inerane - Guitars from Agadez Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin Wrangler Brutes - Zulu No LP (Static Shock) UV Race - Homo
Artwork and physicality is an important part of the process isn’t it? Sure - our LP was conceived as two sides of a record. The art was being worked on as we worked on the music - they’re of equal importance. You’ve travelled around a fair bit, what record shops have particularly stood out to you?
Pearl Mystic’ is out now on CD and LP via Gringo and Faux Discx and later in the year on Weird World. JW of Hookworms provided us with band photo on the following page. Dress sharp.
Shops I’ve spent a lot of money in lately:
Visit these labels online to discover other gems like Vision Fortune, Cold Pumas and Fists.
Kristina in Dalston Piccadilly in Manchester
A LONE GUNMAN Steve Gunn is a New York-based guitarist and songwriter. Seemingly beamed from a different time with a career already spanning nearly fifteen years, Steve has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings, also notably serving as guitarist in fellow Philadelphia-bred troubadour Kurt Vile’s band, the Violators. We spoke to him recently about taking time off.
Everything about your album ‘Time Off ’ seems to be carefully crafted; the cover is a series of snapshots of your life. It’s a pretty personal work, no? You literally earned “time off ”, right? Yeah, the album is pretty personal, but it also tells the story of others, which I guess is an indirect reflection on myself. I suppose I did earn “time off ’’... it was a long time coming. ‘Time Off ’ has just landed over in the UK and is getting some superb reviews. There was a time when solo guitar struggled to find an audience, but artists like yourself, Nathan Salsburg, Daniel Bachman, MC Taylor, William Tyler and elder statesmen like Glenn Jones and Michael Chapman are getting the audience you all deserve… what changed? That’s great to hear. The guys you mentioned are great guitarists in their own right, and have been been putting out great material consistently for a while now. Perhaps more and more people have been taking notice because there has been so many great records that have come out in the past 5 years. You’ve played in Kurt Vile’s band recently, were you itching to get some downtime to record your own LP? The album was something that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. It finally happened naturally with the band that formed and everything. I had been playing the songs solo quite a bit, and the bassist and drummer fell right into place and helped flesh out the material. It was an easy and fun record to make for us. We kept it comfortable and loose. We really got a handle on the songs in a live setting before recording them, which really helped. The style between your own solo work and Kurt Vile’s LP’s is pretty different, I am guessing you have a lot of influences in the mix? Yeah, there are a lot of influences on my new album. I play all different sorts of stuff on guitar, or try to, I should say. I tried to incorporate all of what I
have done differently as a player in the album. The album is an extension of the different kinds of things I’ve been doing for the past six or so years. More recently, I’ve been getting into singing, so it was a natural road to go down and try to write some proper songs and mix everything together. “Old Strange” celebrates Jack Rose, your dear and departed friend and muse. Jack’s influence seems to be gathering momentum rather than fading; I guess great work will always find an audience? Yeah, I suppose so - hopefully. Jack was an undeniably great artist, musician, and person. He really did live and breathe his music, and was a true great. It was really special for me to get to know him. Seeing him play was always a huge inspiration. Where did you grow up? And which record shops (or outlets) were your earliest experiences? I grew up right outside of Philadelphia, in a small town called Lansdowne. It’s the same town that Kurt Vile grew up in. I started going into the city a lot when I was in high school, and there were two record stores I used to go to: 3rd Street Jazz & Rock, and The Philadelphia Record Exchange. 3rd street closed a long time ago, and The Record Exchange is still going strong. Those guys who run that store were a big influence on me. They had pictures of Sun Ra and Dead C posters on the wall and stuff - kind of a mind-blowing place for a high school-er to go into. I still go there. Do you remember the first record you bought? And where? I used to order a lot of hardcore and punk 7”s in the mail... I have really fond memories of getting some of those through fanzines and magazines like Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll. Mostly local and US bands putting out their own stuff, DIY-style. All with handwritten letters and all. My first LP that I ever bought from the Record Exchange was a band called ‘Judge’ - a hardcore band from NYC. The very next LP I bought
was Greatful Dead’s American Beauty - go figure - probably the most polar opposite records in the whole place. I was certainly buying and listening to things that ran an insane spectrum. Around this time, I remember hanging at this party house in Philly and hearing the first Stooges record and Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ in the same night... I went out and bought the CD’s the next day. Have you played in record stores much? Good times? Horror stories? I have done a lot of instore shows... It’s often fun, but sometimes can be stressful and a bit awkward. It depends I guess. They can be the best kind of shows too. I like playing with a PA with speakers and stuff... I am no good at singing when there isn’t a mic and it’s really, really intimate. I’m always up for playing at a record store, though. What makes a good shop? Usually, it’s obviously always the owner. They are responsible for the general aesthetic and feel of the store. It’s gotta be comfortable and pleasant. I like stores where the owner treats people that walk off the street looking for a Stevie Ray Vaughan CD the same as someone looking for a Japanese psych reissue. More of a kind of communitybased music appreciation center than an exclusive record nerd club. I hate going into the snobby stores. I still buy classic rock records - and I like cheap records. I suppose I am more of a gatherer than collector. I also like listening stations. I can hang out for hours in a store that has tons of used stuff that I can listen too. I know the records can get scratched up and all, but it helps to figure out what you wanna buy. I like going into a store and getting something I had no idea that
I was going to buy, and not for too much money! It’s also nice when the owners and employees play interesting records and like to talk about it. Do you still shop regularly, and if so, where? Yeah - I go to stores a lot. There is a store called ‘Record Grouch’ in Brooklyn that is my favourite in the city. In Philly there is The Record Exchange. I just went into the record store called A1 here in New Nork for the first time, and they have a great selection of African, reggae, rock, all kinds of different stuff - cool place, it’s been there for a long time. Which is your favourite record shop(s) you’ve ever been to? Hmmm... that’s a hard question... I like Harvest Records in Asheville, North Carolina, Acme Records in Milwaukee, Jerry’s Records in Pittsburg is pretty mindblowing because of its sheer size. Mississippi Records and Exile in Portland, Oregon... Beautiful World, Hiding Place, and Record Exchange in Philly -- and everywhere else! What have you been listening to recently? Anything/anyone you want to flag up? A lot of reggae - Keith Hudson, King Tubby, Wackies. It helps in the summer heat of NYC. This Otis G Johnson reissue on Numero Group is really excellent. The Chance reissue on Paradise of Bachelors is also mindboggling.
Steve’s ‘Time Off ’ is out now on CD and LP via the Paradise of Bachelors label and is honestly superb. The first track, “Water Wheel”, might well be the best song you’ll hear all year long! www.steve-gunn.com www.paradiseofbachelors.com
OU R FAVOU R I T E WA S T E O F T I M E by DAVID HEPWORTH Now that you can buy records without setting foot in a shop, it’s worth thinking about what we might be missing. David Hepworth looks at 50 years of record shops, from family businesses to megastores and beyond.
As a teenager in the ‘60s I had two favourite daydreams. The first involved the actress Judy Geeson and a duvet. In the second I was locked overnight in a record shop. Ideally, I fantasised a 12-hour period of incarceration, during which I would be able to play all the records I wasn’t already familiar with. I drew up a mental playlist beginning with Animal Tracks by the Animals, Five Live Yardbirds, Otis Blue, The Who’s My Generation and the Rolling Stones’ - Out Of Our Heads. I didn’t dare dream of actually taking them away. I simply wanted to hear them. In fact, I just wanted to be near them. I was a music-mad 15-year-old who would exchange any spare cash for vinyl. Nonetheless I owned probably a dozen albums and maybe 30 singles. Unless you were some kind of soap-dodging beatnik, this was what passed for a big record collection in the 1960s. Our passion for music was bred out of scarcity. The fact that it was so hard to find out about, hear and most of all own music is what fed our fever and placed record shops at the heart of our dreamscapes. We spend every spare minute in record shops in the hope that something new might have arrived. We hung around in the Record Bar or Spinning Disc as long as the custodians would tolerate us and dreamed that one day we might achieve our ambition of being able to spend every day in the vicinity of vinyl. We wanted to cool our cheeks on the Clarifoil with which EMI products were coated. We wished to admire the raven’s sheen of the fine, heavier-than-thou products of the Decca record company. We yearned to scan the Pye Golden Guinea rack for garishly packaged compilations of rhythm and blues originally recorded for the Chess Label in far away Chicago. Nobody will every feel a lust for product quite like our generation did, back when the demand was immense and the supply so short. It’s a long time since record stores have been temples. The massively-stocked megastores of today stand in the same relationship to the little kiosks of the ‘60s as out of town multiplexes do to the funky little fleapits of our memories. They are efficient, convenient, and well-run but they have, let’s be honest, not much in the way of romance about them and now they are coming under pressure from new, more efficient methods of distributing music, forcing them to examine what they’re there to do. It seems a good time to look back at the way they have shaped and been shaped by the music they sold. INPOST WAR BRITAIN dedicated record shops hardly existed outside the major cities. The light, robust vinyl from which pop music would be hewn was only just being perfected. Record players still revolved at 16, 33, 45 and 78 rpm and came with a stylus that you
could invert in order to play 78s. The manufacturers had recently emerged from a VHS/Betamax style argument about formats and raw materials were still on ration. If you wanted to buy Cliff Richard’s Move It in the late ‘50s you might go down an arcade to visit a shop that did most of its trade in electrical goods or musical instruments. These were sound family businesses trading under names like Vallance’s, Thornes, Auty, Murdoch, Marshall’s and Elliott. The people who put out the records, companies like EMI, Phillips and Pye, had their roots in electrical goods and distributed pop records alongside their wireless sets and fridges. You would point to the single you wanted on the hit parade that was patiently hand-lettered once a week by a member of staff. A disapproving gentleman (sometimes wearing a white coat) would search for the actual single from the closely-packed shelves behind him. This would then be carefully placed inside a cardboard sleeve advertising the shop’s other services, put in a brown paper bag and finally exchanged for a few shillings. The whole ceremony was as clinical and pleasure-proof as many features of that decade. After the Beatles things began to change. It became clear that sheet music was not coming back and pop
records had to be treated as FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) rather than music. High-street chains like Boots and Smiths got in on the act and there was a growing realisation that the public wanted to actually listen to LPs before splashing out the thirty bob that was being asked for them. Sixth formers who could clearly only afford to buy Fresh Cream or John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the event of a birthday windfall or a record token from a distant aunt would approach the counter and ask to audition them through small speakers in tiny, hot listening booths. The ladies in their nylon overalls, who were having a break from selling soaps or tissues, would fix them with a basilisk stare and ration them to two tracks before pointing out that there were actual paying customers who wished to hear The Sound Of Music. By the late ‘60s it had become difficult to hold together a retail environment that could satisfy customers for Shades of Val Doonican on the one hand and, say, The Deviants’ Ptoof! on the other. The music coming over the shop PA would not prove acceptable to either traditional customers or the new generation of shaggy-haired, greatcoat-wearing ‘heads’. In addition the bawdy packaging of records on new hippy labels like Harvest and Deram would be likely to frighten off window shoppers. The people who bought those
shopping by category. In the fullness of time each of these sub-divisions would demand a store of its own but for the moment it was just about possible to hold the fragile consensus together. By the mid ‘70s it was evident that there was a market for just about anything and so just about anything could be released. In the end the only retailers who could afford to invest in this increasing catalogue, even if that meant stocking one copy of everything released by the major record companies, were thenew breed of megastores. These might be modelled on HMV’s flagship shop on Oxford Street, which had whole departments devoted to new formats like cassette (the leading sound carrier by the early ‘80s) and sub-genres like comedy, international, disco, reggae, soundtracks or classical. I worked in HMV for a while in the ‘70s and we sent back more product than most record shops could even dream of stocking.
records did so as a statement and they wished to buy them from people who shared their worldview. The era’s counter-culture marketing demanded its own sales environment. When the first Virgin shop opened on the first floor above a shoe shop in Oxford Street in 1971 it was like moving into our own place after years having to do your parents’ bidding. Here you were encouraged to hang around, to recline on huge scatter cushions and listen to the latest from the Flying Burrito Brothers on headphones as bulky as a helicopter pilot’s. Arrayed around the place were the other accoutrements of the hippy society: stars-and-stripes rolling papers, bottles of patchouli oil, photographs of half-naked girls dressed as nuns, copies of IT, “Keep on truckin” posters, obscure novels like Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing In America and even, amazingly when you thing about it, bootlegs. Dotted elsewhere in Soho were fearsomely hip outlets like Musicland, One Stop and Harlequin, which specialised in imports. If you were
there on Friday afternoon when the importers came hotfoot from Heathrow and dispensed their cargo of fat, shrink-wrapped Al Green, Isaac Hayes and Little Feat new releases straight from the back of the van, you felt as if you were buying your milk straight from the cow. It wasn’t long before every high street in the nation seemed to have its own funky little record shop, generally named after a much loved record or band: Harum, Spanish Moon, Bonzo, Moondance, Happy Trails or Mr Fantasy, Most of these were far from robust enterprises, run more for love than for profit. You would begin to put interesting legends on the divider cards in the racks, marking the beginning of creeping categorisation. The world of music could no longer be encompassed by “Pop A-Z”. We now had country, blues, heavy metal, reggae, soul, West Coast, funk and the rest. As the number of releases grew it was taken for granted that some people would begin
A shop like this, with its massive buying power, could afford to be committed to both breadth and depth. Of course we’d have Dark Side Of The Moon piled high and sold at list price but we’d also sell you a stereo rest record (“I am now standing in the right channel”), a cassette of train noises, and import copy of You Don’t Have To Be Jewish, the Japanese three-record set of Lotus by Santana, a quadraphonic copy of Tubular Bells and the much applauded, difficult to source and bloody impossible to sell album Lost At Sea by Glenn Phillips out of the Hampton Grease Band. The prevailing economics of the record business at the time meant that ‘classics’ were often being deleted and devotees had no alternative means of tracking obscure releases down. Thus if you had a source of import copies of Michael Nesmith’s Tantamount To Treason or you knew how to get your hands on Pete Atkin’s Driving Through Mythical America you could have customers almost weeping with gratitude. Smaller retailers began to specialise. The people who had been capitalising on the revived interest in singles during punk started shops like Rough Trade, where they would sell you anything as long as it wasn’t popular. These were the shops you weren’t supposed to tread in unless you were qualified. These were the real-life outlets that spawned the mythical Championship Vinyl in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Then the dance music shops emerged, dispensing expensive, inscrutablypackaged 12-inch singles from a counter built artificially high to keep customers in the preferred position of subservience. Record retailing has always been beset by the problem that the kind of staff knowledgeable enough to be able to help the public are generally the very people least inclined to do any such thing. The people I worked with didn’t need catalogues or microfiches. Their entire professional pride was invested in their ability to tell a customer that the track they were vainly trying to describe was Rock Candy by Montrose and you could get it on a Two Originals double cheaply but it was a German pressing and not as good as the original album which we stocked on import – “just down there on your left in Groups, M” – without actually making eye contact with them. MARKETING WASN’T INVENTED in the ‘80s. It only seemed that way. The new unit of consumption, the CD, no longer seemed to require trained handlers. You didn’t have to hold a CD like a cocktail waiter’s tray, taking care not to smudge the playing surface. Its square corners, relatively robust materials and more stackable dimensions made it ideally suited to the same techniques that applied to the selling of soup. The fact that it did not have the same materiality, the fetish value, the appeal to the soul that a record could have, seemed to make it more suited to the new forms of exploitation. Nobody ever fell in love with a CD, let alone a cassette, which suited the new forms of dispensation.
Top: Today at Rough Trade East in London. Above: HMV’s famed listening booths in the 1960’s. Top Right: A slide of the Dobells shop.
the people who really know about piling high and selling cheap. They took over volume retailing, knocking out Robbie Williams and Dido CDs at heavy discounts alongside their groceries and toothpaste and in the process robbing the small stores of the gravy that used to keep them going. Meanwhile, in the last few years, even the megastores have had it tough. Tower in the USA has been brought down by the fact that online stores can now match their range and if you give people the option to avoid going out and shopping they will often take it. The megastores are now facing a challenge not just from downloading and supermarkets, but also from their own scale. The staggering range of the deep-catalogue retailers can result in customer bewilderment and numbness.
Record companies moved their emphasis from simply manufacturing music and putting it in front of people to working out ways of getting them to pay for it. This was the era of the big-selling single and the barefaced exploitation of the chart return shop to get the leverage that could get a record as far as the lower regions of the chart and that all-important slot on Top of The Pops. It was the era of coloured vinyl and special sleeves and limited editions
only available through the outlets that returned a diary to the research company who ran the chart. At this point record retailing split along Gentlemen v Players lines with the specialist shops cultivating their faithful core of regular buyers, while operators like Our Price and Woolworth rode the boom for all they were worth. But eventually even they would be edged out of the business by the supermarkets,
Sheer scale is the simple phenomenon that explains 90% of the changes occurring anywhere in show business. Where once there were a handful of new releases every week there are now hundreds in all shapes, sizes, formats and genres, reissued, repackaged, remastered, perpetually reheated. With the advent of the independent labels the market is no longer constrained even by the likelihood of profit. Records come out because people want to put them out, not because anyone wants to buy them. In this day and age a 15-year-old would have to be locked in his local record shop for a month before he could get round to listening to even a fraction of what’s available.
AS THIS PIECE WAS GOING to press, Spillers of Cardiff, which has been trading since 1894 and describes itself as the oldest record store in the world, is under threat of closure. Rent reviews are rendering its business no longer viable. The Manic Street Preachers are among many former customers who have pledged their support, pointing to the amount of their “musical education” they got there. “It was the only record shop in Wales where we could get the music that made us who we are”, they said in a statement. But supply is no longer the problem. The hour of endless plenty is at hand. Wales is in the same flat world as the rest of us and it’s as easy to get the most obscure music in the smallest town as it used to be in London and New York. We no longer behave like Pavlov’s dog when a big new release hits the racks. We suspect that we’ll be able to get it tomorrow, next week, next year, at some point in the future. Record shops are no longer our only point of access to a hidden world. Their fervent hope has to be that in the future they once more become places where we choose to go and waste our time.
This article was originally published in The Word Magazine - see photograph on previous page and David has kindly allowed us to reprint it in Deluxe. Spillers in Cardiff continue to work hard and remain open as one of Britain’s most loved and respected independent record shops.
I ntro d u cing d o u glas dare This month, London-based singer-songwriter Douglas Dare joins one of the most respected and reliable rosters around, Erased Tapes, with his debut EP “Seven Hours”. The son of a piano teacher, Douglas may have had a head start, but his composition work is striking and well advanced of his 23 years of age. Off the back of supporting his new label mate Ólafur Arnalds around Europe, we spoke to Douglas about his record shop résumé.
I read that you grew up in Bridport, which record shops did you grow up with? Bridport is a tiny town but I was very lucky to grow up with a very cool little independent called Bridport Music. The store, unlike many other independents, has survived and I was very proud to see it featured in the documentary, ‘Last Shop Standing’.
I did jump in to some stores when I could but I found most dealt more with musical instruments than records, something I think more places there are having to do to keep their doors open. I’m sure there’s some great record shops out there. Recommendations please. We spoke to Peter Broderick in the last issue of Deluxe. Erased Tapes always focus on high quality packaging, that’s important right?
Do you remember your first purchases? I think the first music I bought was a second-hand cassette tape of Burt Bacharach’s Greatest Hits. I think it must have been all I could afford with my pocket money. I still have it somewhere. So you’re London based now, which record shops do you frequent? What is good for what? I’m often in Rough Trade East, it’s really close to my house and I try and get to the instores as often as I can. It’s good for finding some smaller, lesser-known artists, but not that much for obscure music to be honest. I seem to find that on this small stall at Broadway Market. I played an instore at this great little place called Vinyl Pimp in Hackney Wick. Incredible amount of records, and the owner, Hon, is a very cool chap to speak to. Highly recommended. Where else have you enjoyed on your travels (in terms of record shops)? Liverpool had a great independent called Hairy Records, which had loads of old, rare finds. Sadly closed now I think. You recently took off around Europe in support of Ólafur Arnalds, did you get a chance to see any European shops?
It’s great that Erased Tapes pay so much attention to this detail and I’m happy because I know they focus on this only when the music is right, and not before. Robert, the label founder, really appreciates the quality that we as musician’s deliver and he reflects this in the packaging. When I buy vinyl it’s not only because of the sound quality, but because it’s a pleasure to actually hold the artefact and then treasure it. The great packaging of all the Erased Tapes catalogue makes this even more of a pleasure, you’re proud to own the record. Does downloading have a place for you? How do you feel personally about Spotify? I haven’t downloaded music for a long time but I have no problem with others doing it. Of course I’d like to tell people how the sound quality is better and physical music means you actually own it rather than a download site licensing you the music, but ultimately it’s up to the consumer. In terms of Spotify I have mixed views: I can see that it’s not supporting new artists financially in any way and I’d love that to change, but at the same time it’s important that new artists can be found on there. Hopefully the platform will enable listeners to become fans by allowing them to listen to your music for free and later buy gig tickets, merchandise and maybe even buy your record... if you’re lucky.
This summer, Erased Tapes celebrated it’s 5th birthday with a stunning hand-assembled vinyl box set (‘The five most luxuriously packaged 7”s I think I’ve ever seen’ said our brothers at Norman Records). “V” is a collection of five seven-inch records carrying ten exclusive songs recorded by Erased Tapes artists, hand numbered units, screen printed inners… every part of the attention you expect from the label. The record company was established by German-born Robert Raths in early 2007. Raths defines his main interest as ‘a dialogue between two opposite poles, between traditional and contemporary, between digital and analogue’. Its roster of contemporary classical music composers includes Ólafur Arnalds from Iceland, German pianist Nils Frahm, Canada-based Ukrainian continuous music pioneer Lubomyr Melnyk, the US ambient duo Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie aka A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Portland’s multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick. www.erasedtapes.com
Your EP feels like a very crafted thing. How did the process work? We started with basic piano guides and built up from there. I improvised bass using a pretty old Casio and we recorded that with a SM58 directly pointed over the keyboard speaker. That was one take and ended up being the bass we used on the final recordings. We tried to eliminate that ‘red light fear’ you can get in studios as it just doesn’t bring out the best in us. We recorded a lot using tape and this meant we really had to commit to takes from the beginning. I loved the process and I think it worked brilliantly for these songs. Are you looking forward to seeing your EP on the racks of record shops? Yes, definitely. Seeing it on the racks will really bring it to life for me. This EP is the first recording I’ve ever put out so it’s all new and very exciting. What do you look for in a record shop? What makes for a conducive shopping experience? I look for rare finds and I like knowledgeable and interested staff. I love to talk to the owners and this personal experience is great, I often end up buying a lot! So you’re a fly on the wall in my shop and someone asks me over the counter about your music… how would you like it described? I love to be recommended an artist that I haven’t heard before but prefer to make my own opinions when I first hear the record, so I think I’d like it if I heard you say, “You’ve just got to hear this for yourself.”
hi s t r o u s e r s had no at m o s p h e r e
I t’s a fa m ily affair Peaking Lights capture the sonic adventures of LA duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, all dub enthused jams and organic electronical pulses. Three albums in, released on a who’s who of buzzy labels, I reached out to Aaron to talk about what’s coming up for the band, looking back at their influences and most importantly how record stores have crafted them.
So firstly, where are you at, both physically and with the band? We had another baby in February so that has been pretty time consuming for the last few months. Been a long last year, mostly spent in the studio doing a few remixes a month and production work for other people - some off the top of my head: Young Galaxy on Paperbag, Clinic on Domino, Land Of Light on ESP Institute. And ones not yet out: Roedelius (of Cluster) on All Saints, William Onyeabor on Luaka Bop, as well as a bunch more! I produced a track for a dude named Brolin which you will probably hear shortly. Also out soon, I produced a track as Nice-A-Bunks for dancehall artist Bookfa under the wing of the Duppy Gun project that will be out on Stones Throw. Peaking Lights wrote a few new tracks: one appears on the Sub Pop 1000 LP, another is due out soon on a dublab Proton Drive 7”, and then we participated in the Stone Roses cover LP put out by Flaming Lips covering the track “Shoot You Down”. Went to NYC recently as part of the Red Bull Academy shows. It was great to meet longtime influences and general shredders: Adrian Sherwood, The Congos, and Lee Perry - INSANE NIGHT! Also, did music supervision for a surf movie that just came out called ‘Slow Dance’ - possibly the weirdest surf movie soundtrack yet! And was great to work with such a bunch of forward thinking dudes - Rippers not Trippers! On top of it all we’ve been working on a new record - really exciting for us! We moved into a spot that’s more set up studio-wise and have slowly been building our studio up. We’re recording it ourselves and think it sounds insane! Very stoked! Can you talk about what you have planned for the next twelve months? Hoping to get this new record finished soon, also have a collab LP we’re working on with ‘someone’ (dont want to spill the beans though). If we get to a point where touring is an option we might do that for a bit, but no promises. I thought ‘Lucifer’ was heading into a dub world already, but ‘Lucifer In Dub’ really explored some amazing analogue textures. Who were your biggest influences? And why were you interested in producing dub versions of the album? Creatively, it was a test, we knew we wanted to do a dub of whatever came out of that record before we recorded it and had talked with both labels about releasing the dub version. It was a very important aspect
to our development as a band. We try and stay busy reinterpreting our own work. We wrote and recorded ‘Lucifer’ in a little under 3 weeks, and then toured on it for half a year. We never had the chance to develop those songs on Lucifer so the dub in a way served that, we were able to work with Sonic Boom on the mastering end, and honestly he really nailed it. What is your favourite part of the album process? Writing, sketching, recording, producing, playing live, promoting? Let me start with least favorite! Promoting is the worst! I know it has to be done and I can really see that it helps when we do it, but man, it feels like a waste of our creative time. All the others are kind of in the same boat of pleasure, it’s just that it’s the chicken and egg kind of thing. You gotta have the new songs to play live and playing live makes you want to write new songs. I do love the studio though and have been touring for 20 years before settling down now. Your mixtapes have built up a really strong reputation, do you enjoy the crate digging process to find new (or old!) material? Yeah! If I was rolling in the warbucks, I’d drop so much on records! My Discogs ‘want list’ is insane! And I can’t
“I like to be in a shop that if you buy some weird shit they point you towards something else weird” go into a record store and not walk out with a massive stack. Any extra money I have goes to buying rare records or stuff I like... I also buy whole collections and flip or trade stuff I don’t need or want... but yeah, that’s my drugs. If it’s not giving away too much insider knowledge,
where has been a particularly good source for you? There are a lot of good sources but buying collections from the right area of town is huge... also the random thrift store find is an amazing turn here and there... a few of my most insane finds are from thrift stores... for me, I dont dig specifically for one genre. A lot of times, when I travel I’ll seek out what’s the deepest regionally, like what genres are specific to the area I’m digging for records in... I’ll look stuff up and do research before I travel, I usually get producer names or private press label info from the area, that kind of thing... With that in mind, what shops do you frequent regularly? LA is the best city for records right now. I swear it seems like everything moves west eventually! Outside of the deep regional stuff, that you may literally have to go to the town it was made in to find, record stores are getting pretty cool: there’s the massive ones here like Amoeba, which banks on having quantity; then the specialised stores, like Mount Analog in LA or Deadly Dragon in NYC, that are smaller and focused on a few specifics that other bigger stores might not bring in or keep on their floor; then you have diggers’ delights, like Avalon, where it’s just focused on serious, weird, deep head records... record stores are in a rad place right now. Being frank, how nerdy are you? Are you all about the jams or does the cover have to be perfect? The songs have to be insane. I like a copy of a record that won’t skip or be insanely noisy but sometimes I’ll grab a shitty copy just for reference... A good cover is nice, but I don’t have to have a perfect cover. I come from the soul/reggae 45-collector state of mind versus the jazz/classical state of mind. On your travels, which shops have really stood out to you? and why? I wont let you get my records. Where did you grow up? What shops formed your earliest experiences? I grew up in a small beach town called Avila Beach, the little area I lived in was called See Canyon. It’s in California, it’s really small, 500 people population or something, there aren’t any record stores there. The closest city was 15-20 minutes away, there were two record stores there: Boo Boos, which had some used stuff but a lot of new stuff, a pretty focused selection and was on the pulse for contemporary taste, great shop; and then there was Cheap Thrills, with a shit ton of used records and a total mess, digger’s paradise,
it seems like the only new records they have are dead stock, they have a massive wherehouse with hundreds of thousands of records they don’t put in the store (apparently the only person they let go through it is DJ Shadow). This was/is my spot, whenever I visit my parents I go there and leave with several boxes of crazy shit! Do you remember your first purchase? - And the format? My mom was a waitress at this Cuban/Puerta Rican/ South American restaurant for 15 years, right by Boo Boos Records. I use to steal her tip change and save up, then go to Boo Boos and buy tapes. Think the first tapes I bought, think i was 8 or 9, were Too $hort ‘Life is....’, NWA ‘Straight Outta Compton’, Guns and Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’, Bob Marley ‘Legend’, Iron Maiden ‘Number of the Beast’ and Peter Tosh ‘Legalize It’. This was all pre-parental advisory stickers... I would hide the tapes from my parents and listen to them on this little boombox. My cousins and I were camping in our front yard one time after I got this stack of tunes, we were jammin the tapes in the tent, then went to go on a hike. My mom and my aunt went in to hear what we were listening to and I left Too $hort in the player... I don’t know if your familiar with that record, but it’s SO NASTY and GOOD!!! When we got home, my mom and aunt were like, “we listened to those tapes aaaannnnnd...” it was pretty funny they were like, “do you know what c*** means? do you know what bitch is?” They made me return the tapes... those are still two of my favorite rap records - although the first record that was given to me was for an easter egg hunt, my mom hooked me up with the first Wham LP! I was maybe 4 or 5.
If your record collection was for sale in its entirety tomorrow… what would you be most heartbroken to see sold? Some of the weirder, deeper ones that aren’t on the charts yet: this Syrian boogie/disco record by this dude, Raymond Samuel, is insane; there’s this LP by a dude named Ernesto Guerrero with a track called “Soul Shoes” - easily the heaviest fuzzed-out funk track I’ve ever heard; also this deep, loner psych 45 by this dude, Len Boatman, on Deep Sea Records - I played it for Egon of Now Again and flipped him out! I had a collection I sold in 2003 that was everything I had collected from when I was 14 to 26, it was about 3,000 records. The area I grew up in is between San Francisco and Los Angeles, so I would go to both areas for punk shows, so a lot of the stuff was from then - all pre-eBay buys. I also lived in the bay from when I was 19 to 26 and bought sh*t tons of records, and worked on a legendary soul buy in Oakland so I had some insane stuff... I sold that collection for about $20,000 and used the money to travel for two years.
Frankly, they’re doing a way better job than we ever did. I never liked working at the counter. My favourite part was always going out and buying records, sorting, listening to stuff and pricing. There’s no glory in being a counter jockey. I alway ask people ‘what makes a good record shop’ but seeing as your last LP was called ‘Lucifer’ let’s flip this… What makes a bad record shop? I hate record stores with eBay prices, I’d rather buy from eBay... also, when record stores don’t price and then use eBay or Popsike to price when you go to check out - it’s fucking lazy! I like to be in a shop that if you buy some weird shit they point you towards something else weird, however it sucks if they try and direct you to whatever band or music is being pushed at the front counter. I hate it when I try and bring a portable record player in and listen to stuff and they won’t let me... when I can listen to stuff I tend to buy twice as many records, no joke!
Do you have any longterm wish lists that you’re always searching for? Yes, but I won’t reveal... Am I right in thinking that you guys are connected to the The Good Style Shop in Madison, Wisconsin? How did that come about? What is your favourite part of working behind the counter?
You can listen to tracks and loads of dope mix tapes the band have produced via their label’s websites.
We started Good Style and sold it to one of our friends/employees when we moved out of Madison.
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For anyone who has called past the Drift shop in the last 12 months, you will doubtless have heard Mac DeMarco’s second album “2”, we’ve played it. A lot. It’s a record that never quite lets on how much it’s joking, and that is its disarming charm. They don’t let up live either, DeMarco and his backing band belch, swagger and strut through the album, firing off love songs and ballads amongst cover songs and screaming guitar solos. It all looks like they’re having a lot of fun. I called up Mac during a rare moment of downtime from touring to talk about the live show, the reception to his album and of course… record shops. We managed to catch you twice during the SXSW week. You looked progressively more mad, how was the week for you? It was really, really nuts. We’d been touring for quite a few months before that: we did like two months in the states right before the record came out and no one was coming out to those shows, so that was kinda weird, but also kinda mellow as it wasn’t too hectic; then we went to Europe, then we went to SXSW, so ‘south by’ was right in the middle of the two so it was a little bit crazy. I don’t know, man, I was drinking way too much and it was way too hot... slept in the car most nights, I think people could tell as the shows went on. We played like sixteen shows so maybe one in five was pretty good, but some I was just like yelling at the crowd... I was completely trashed... getting drunk five times a day at different shows. I managed to talk my way into the Captured Tracks showcase in Austin. I got pretty close to the front and you seemed pretty loaded… Did muscle memory just kick in? [Laughing] That show especially: I had a beer rash, I got an allergic reaction from the beer I was drinking and my face was all blood shot... and yeah, it was essentially muscle memory as it was the last show of the whole week and we just ran through what we were doing, but in-between shows we were all like, “what the fuck are we doing?!” The audiences are getting bigger, how much of this is down to hard work and how much of this is down to the killer reviews? Or is it a balancing act? - I mean, a great record will find an audience eventually right?
It started as us trying to just have a laugh and now it’s become part of the set, a thing. One of my things about live shows is that they shouldn’t be that serious. I couldn’t even play the songs like they are on the record if I tried. Half of them are slowed down and I sing really soft... so first off it’s always going to be different. I think it makes it more inviting for people if people aren’t... well, scared. You know, when they go to a show and they’re like, “this band’s really cool” and I’m just gonna go and cross my arms and stand by the wall over there. We’re not like that, we’re not cool guys. Just come and relax, I guess that’s why people get this weird attachment to us.
“Mike Snipper, get that Fucking Adams Family pinball table or i’m like outta here” Touring can be pretty hard [it was Peter’s birthday on the day of the Driskill for example] besides the good bits on stage, how do you make it bearable?
that I wouldn’t necessarily listen to, but were in good enough shape for them to take at the record store. So we’d steal them all from the vintage store and take them all over there and get store credit with our stolen shit so we could get what we wanted. Do you remember the first record you bought and format? Yeah, when I was first trying to buy vinyl (I mean, my mum had some records kicking around and I had some Beatles records...) but going in there, I think I got... it was right when the French disco thing was really kicking off... and it hit my little city by storm and kids were going crazy. I didn’t really get it but I already liked Justice and stuff so I got a Phoenix single 12”. I also got Thom Yorke’s ‘Eraser’ I think, and some Pavement and Black Flag. Have you played in record stores much? Good times? What, like instore shows? Yeah, we’ve done a few. It really depends on which store and how equipped they are to having you play. I tried to book a show in Winnipeg on one of the old self-booked tours like 4 years ago and we ended up playing in a store. In that instance no one knew we were playing and no one knew who we were or why we were playing, you know, trying to get on with their shopping for Christmas presents and shit. Afterwards, they were like, “yo, we can’t pay you, but you can have like $20 store credit” so we all got Robin Williams comedy albums for the 30 hour drive coming up. Some are good though, what is that store in Toronto... Sonic Boom. Man, they had like a stage and shit. That was great. Do you still shop regularly, and if so, where?
I think it was defiantly partly the reviews, a big part of it really. We played a handful of shows opening for bands at like Bowery Ballroom, Musical Hall and some bigger shows in New York... you know it’s funny. Before you get in the Pitchfork realm... playing music, live, is about trying to impress people. So when you get a big review and you’re playing a show, it’s like people don’t really give a shit, you know, how good the show is... maybe they don’t? It’s weird, you start selling out venues and people have no idea what the live show is gonna be like, it’s all just based on hype. Luckily, we have some bullshit that we do that people like, also the internet side of things. There’s a video of us playing in the Pitchfork offices. That video made A LOT of eighteen year olds very interested. That was like eight/ nine months ago and they still come and scream stuff at us that we said when we were playing half drunk at two in the afternoon on some stream... we have a very strange effect on some young men. You’ve been playing pretty constantly all year - I saw you break out ‘Take Five’ (by Dave Brubeck), I also heard a live recording with you guys running through a medley of covers. Is this primarily for your own amusement? I think the medley is a strange thing to me... doing something like that every single night. People get excited when we do it, it’s fun and stuff, but it’s also like, good god, this is so silly, we’re covering Metallica and it’s ridiculous. Initially me and my guys were playing shows to no one who gave a fuck for a pretty long time and it’s just us trying to entertain each other.
[Laughing] He was so drunk.... it’s weird, but it’s like the best job ever. I try to drink less, I cut back a lot. Also, on the intake of other unnamed substances. I’m the only one who drives on the tours. All the other guys have like expired licenses or yadda yadda yadda... so for me, waking up and trying to pop like study pills to drive all day then play a fucking show, it rots your brain. It’s still fun but you gotta look out, you can end up getting pretty sick and fucking yourself up pretty badly. It’s also hard when a load of kids come up after and they’re like, “we know you’re a party guy... come with us, we’ve got like a bong and a case of beer.. lets do it!!” Man, I’m like, “I did this every night this week.” I also try and avoid McDonalds and all that other shit. Where did you grow up? And which record shops (or outlets) were your earliest experiences? I grew up in a city called Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada. As far as record shops went there, when I was really young I’d go to the HMV and buy like “AC/DC BACK IN BLACK REISSUE TO BLACK CD $10 DEAL” and I was like, “wow this is pretty cool”, but I got older and I’d finally realise that I could go to the cool street in town and there was a place called Blackford Music and I remember going in the first couple of times and I was like, “this isn’t like HMV?!” the clerk looks so cool, and he’s playing something really cool over the stereo too. So I grew up and became part of the music community and a lot of my friends started working there. It was a great sport, I bought like loads of my first CD’s there. Well... [laughing] what we’d actually do is go to the thrift store, Value Village, and we’d get a load of CD’s
I’ve been on the run so much that I usually don’t get time, but when we do... there is a place in Montreal called ‘La Fin Du Vinyle’, they have a discount bin... new stock too, but you can spend a day there. Get on a little milk crate and dig through... you can find some seriously crazy shit. Mike from Captured Tracks owns a store in Greenpoint in Brooklyn called Co-Op 87 and they have a lot of cool stuff in there. He’s also starting a new Captured Tracks store soon. He made me move a bunch of records in for the opening, they’re gonaa have a lot of stock... broke my fucking back... it was alright. So Captured is the 360 label then, you’re humping ass to move vinyl? Hell ya, we’re all friends, I just pop in when ever I can. I’m like, “do you have merch for me?” and they’re like “no, maybe next time”... but nah, they’re great. One problem though, you’re Captured Tracks and you’re opening a record store, what one thing do you need to put in there? A fucking pin ball table! Mike was playing with the idea of getting an Addams Family pinball table and now he’s fucking retracted that idea cause it will be noisy and take up too much real estate and stuff. You know what, you want one fucking quote for this article: Mike Snipper, get that Fucking Addams Family pinball table or I’m like outta here. I think it’d be great, I mean you’d be getting in all these other people and pinball nerds and those guys would get into the records and shit.
its the end o f an ear Besides a scrappy list of bands that I wanted to see, the biggest ‘to do’ on my SXSW 2013 list was to spend some time at End of an Ear Records of Austin, Texas. Based in a ramshackle one-storey building out on South Congress, End of an Ear is every part the record buyers’ store. Immaculately curated with a broad collection of music across all genres, I really did have to be careful not to drop more money than I could afford or buy more than I could carry back on an economy flight. Genuinely, there was not a wasted square foot. I called up Dan Plunkett to talk shop.
So you and Blake Carlisle co-founded the store, when and how did that come about?
To that end, what have you been digging recently that I might not have heard of ?
a copy of Big Boys’ “Fun Fun Fun” - You guys have something to do with that don’t you?
We opened the store in May 2005. Me and Blake had talked a while about opening a shop in South Austin and we wanted to focus on reggae, Psych/60’s, experimental, funk and other genres. We wanted to make a store that would blow us away.
There have been a rich slew of these great reissues coming out that we have been giving lots of love: Rodion G.A.’s ‘The Lost Tapes’ (Strut); Paul Chain; Rob Jo Star Band; Dark’s ‘Dark Round the Edges’.
Timmy Hefner put that out. He runs 540 Records and Chaos in Tejas. We are lucky that he works here a couple of times of week. Tim Kerr has a yearly art show here for SXSW and the Light In The Attic reissue of ‘Where’s My Towel’ came out around the same time, so we had a nice big party for his yearly show and the two Big Boys releases. Tim Kerr and Chris Gates both played short sets too.
How did you find the store premises? What were you looking for? We were looking on South 1st for a while and a friend told us about this space that we are now in. We had our eyes on one space for a while, but it just never seemed like it was gonna happen, lots of complications. Anyway, this space came open, the landlord was super cool and eccentric - so it was a perfect match and we have loved it ever since.
Drift got an email from Rodion G.A. out of the blue! He filled in the contact form on our website, he was just really happy to see his record out there on the racks. Do you think all albums find an audience one day? That’s awesome! You just have to believe that great music, or great art, will eventually rise above from the muck and get the recognition and love it deserves. I am
What is your own record shop history? Did you always want to be a record shop guy? Well before, I had been involved with cassette trading, then did a magazine and a small label (ND). I would sell and trade at the record convention in Austin and I remember thinking, ‘wow, this would be cool to do fulltime’ and here we are. Blake has been playing in various bands and collecting records too, so it has been a good match.
Yes, we named the store after his record. We are Robert Wyatt fans, so besides being a cool record store name, it pays homage to him. ‘Old Rottenhat’ probably wouldn’t have worked nearly as well.
Yes! Probably not the best starting point... maybe after letting ‘Rock Bottom’ or ‘Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard’ soak into your soul.
Yeah, SXSW is one of our busier weeks. We are lucky that there are so many festivals that hit here where we get a spin off. SXSW starts off early March with the Interactive Fest, then Film and then the Music. So it makes for a busy month, plus we are trying to get ready for Record Store Day in April. Chaos in Tejas is one of our largest weeks (late May/early June). Psych Fest this year was a lot bigger and business doubled from that as well. There is also ACL, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Fantastic Fest, and a couple of others that I am probably forgetting. We’re buds in real life now, but we’ve been online buddies for a while. You’re pretty good at the social stuff, lots of instagramming and Vine videos. Is this your cold, calculated business mind or are you just too excited about all the new releases?
To my shame, I didn’t realise that ‘The End of an Ear’ was a Robert Wyatt album. Is the store named after the LP?
So I should go and listen to that LP, right?
I was in the store during SXSW week, it must be a pretty crazy couple of weeks?
sure there are still lots of lost treasures out there noy unearthed or that haven’t gotten the attention it needs. I’ve been listening to and buying records for over 35 years now and every week I discover something I have never heard of. Long live Spherical Objects! When I was in the store (March 2013) I picked up
The folks at Criminal Records were the first ones that exposed us to Twitter and the like and how to have fun with it. So we do it where it makes sense, Facebook, Vine, Instagram etc. We love to follow other stores like yours, Mount Analog, Luna, Criminal, Cactus in Houston and many others. Some great ideas come out of it and it is fun. Plus it gives the folks that shop here an instant look at what is happening in the shop. There is a framed letter on your wall from Tony Wilson. How did that come about? I was a big Joy Division fan growing up and was lucky
to have a good friend who was living in Lincoln that I was penpals with. We exchanged tape letters for years where he would send me Peel sessions, tapes of shows and talk about new records. I would do the same for him. Anyway, I just wrote off to Factory one day being a fanboy asking that Joy Division come to Texas and how much I loved them. I sort of forgot about it, then one day this cool package showed up. And for a 19 year old kid that was pretty magical. Now I just need to find my Scritti Politti letter from the same period, ha!
Me and Blake are the owners with nine employees: four full-time folks, and five part-timers (that work a couple shifts a week). A lot of jobs are shared. But folks will have an area that they keep up with - ordering, running the front counter, buying used, inventory. A couple of the folks keep track of all the online sales (Amazon, mail orders, Discogs, eBay).
A few come to mind: Yo La Tengo, Gary Wilson, R Stevie Moore, Rorschach, Milk Music, Peelander-Z, Tiny Vipers, Thurston Moore, David Kilgour, The Bats, Razika, Lydia Loveless. A few that we had early on, where the audience wouldn’t be able to fit in the shop now, are Band of Horses, Beirut, Dr Dog, and Black Angels. I’m probably forgetting several.
I notice the shop often opens new lines, areas and display systems. Is it always going to be an evolving thing?
I was speaking to Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian about your store, they’re both big fans! Having a strong relationship with labels and artists must be pretty important? Who are particularly supportive?
What is your buying process, broadly? There are several people that help do the buying. We consult with each other on quantities, band, like “Ok, so how many of this Haxan Cloak reissue will we need?” Everybody kind of has their own area that they keep up with - reggae, jazz, experimental, metal etc. Who else do you have at the store and what sort of responsibilities do they have? Or are you a complete tyrant?
Yeah, it just sort of evolves. We had been wanting to expand our audio equipment area for a while, and when we added one of the adjacent spaces to the shop we knew we wanted to dedicate a lot of space to that. As well as to DVDs and videos. We recently expanded the area for cassettes too. Who have been some of your favourite instores over the last eight years?
For sure. I have known a lot of the Secretly folks for a while, plus Phil from Dead Oceans and Brian from Western Vinyl both live in town and we have been friends for a while. What they are doing is super smart, in terms of economies of scale. They can have a big record, but yet still know how to make money on a record they are gonna sell just a small number of. They also distribute loads of labels we love like Sacred Bones, RVNG, Awesome Tapes, Family Vineyard, Numero,
“I’ve been listening to and buying records for over 35 years now and every week I discover something I have never heard of. Long live Spherical Objects!”
“I just wrote off to Factory one day being a fanboy asking that Joy Division come to Texas and how much I loved them. I sort of forgot about it, then one day this cool package showed up.” Captured Tracks, and Temporary Residence. Matador has been there since we opened. I think the first week we opened I got a call from Dave Martin at Matador who just said, “Ok, lets go!” So we have been dating for a long time now. There are lots of labels and distributors we have worked with over the years such Light In The Attic, Merge, Drag City, and others. Distributors like Forced Exposure and Revolver have also always been there for us since we opened. How about other stores? Which other stores do you speak to regularly and who do you think are doing things right? We are part of a coalition called AIMS so there are a lot of good stores there. We talk to stores such as Landlocked, Guestroom, Luna, Grimey’s, and
Criminal. We are internet buddies with Mount Analog, Cactus in Houston and a few others. It keeps it fun. We went down to Houston recently to visit some of the shops down there - Cactus, Vinal Edge, and Heights Vinyl. Unfortunately we ran out of time to see them all. The economy is kinda f*cked, but with awareness of record stores at an all time high, it’s a pretty good time to be an independent outlet, right? For sure, and I think for some record labels as well. I look at older stores as mentors, like Rough Trade, Other Music, Criminal in Atlanta, Grimeys, Shake It and try to learn from what they are doing and as well as newer stores like Mount Analog, Co-op 87, Celebrated Summer, Armageddon, and others.
If one of our readers is inspired to start their own store one day… what would be your pearls of wisdom? It is more rewarding and easier to sell what you love and know. Start small and grow. Stay positive. Oh and have several smart friends! The shop photos were taken by Crispin Parry and Rupert Morrison during SXSW 2013. The front cover of this issue is Dan’s “Tony Wilson” letter that resides by End of an Ear’s front door.
the R e b el A lliance Birdland Music Virginia Beach, VA www.birdlandmusic.com
Exile On Main St. Branford, CT www.exileonmain.com
Luna Music Indianapolis, IN www.lunamusic.net
Boo Boo Records San Luis Obispo, CA www.booboorecords.com
Good Records Dallas, TX www.goodrecords.com
Lunchbox Records Charlotte, NC www.lunchboxrecords.com
CD Central Lexington, KY www.cdcentralmusic.com
Grimeyâ€™s Nashville, TN www.grimeys.com
M-Theory Music San Diego, CA www.mtheorymusic.com
Criminal Records Atlanta, GA www.criminalatl.com
Guestroom Records Norman, OK www.guestroom-records.com
Shake It Cincinnati, OH www.shakeitrecords.com
Culture Clash Toledo, OH www.thecultureclash.com
Hot Poop Walla Walla, WA www.hotpoop.com
Stinkweeds Phoenix, AZ www.stinkweeds.com
Daddy Kool Records St. Petersburg, FL www.daddykool.com
Jackpot Records Portland, OR www.jackpotrecords.com
Vintage Vinyl St. Louis, MO www.vintagevinyl.com
End Of An Ear Austin, TX www.endofanear.com
Landlocked Music Bloomington, IN www.landlockedmusic.com
Waiting Room Records Normal, IL www.waitingroomrecords.com
THE KING OF N E W YO R K DELUXE met SEYMOUR STEIN Early last December we received a call at the Record Shop from a Gentleman who wanted to commend us on what he thought to be a ‘great looking record shop’. This, i’m delighted to say, is not necessarily a rare occurrence as we quite often have people calling up or writing to us to say what a nice time they had at the shop whist passing through town. This particular morning the caller stood out however as he was phoning from New York. The elderly (his words not mine) gentleman had just seen us on the news and wanted to get in touch to say that he liked what we had to say and wanted to encourage us on the efforts we were putting in. Perhaps I should hold have started the story there. My shop had recently appeared on the Al Jazeera TV network, you see the town where we’re based was in full swing with a civil campaign to protest the opening of a Costa Coffee franchise, not to mention providing some austerity measures to avoid decline of our high street. I had been a talking head and the bit was one of that days rolling news items. I forget what I said exactly but it must have resonated particularly as it provoked an international call of good will. Seymour Stein had picked up the hone in his New York office and given us a call. No secretary, no PA, just the vice president of Sire and Warner Bros. Records on the phone because he thought we should know that what we’re doing is important. My kind of guy. After a couple missed phone calls we finally struck up conversation and have remained in touch since, sporadically talking about Calypso records. On a recent trip to his London office (he was in the UK in part to be presented as a LIPA Companion by Paul McCartney during the Institute’s graduation ceremony) Seymour took the time out to catch up with me and talk about record shops, records, and most importantly about the people who buy them. How important to sire’s early success were independent record shops? Record shops were always important to me, even as a kid. Syd Nathan of King Records, my greatest mentor, taught me early on that it was that last sale over the counter that really mattered; not how many records you pressed, not how many records you shipped out to distributors, and not how many records the distributor put in the stores. Rough Trade in particular was very important. Thankfully, they’re still going strong. In a way they were like an auxiliary A&R department for Sire. If they heard something and liked it, or thought I’d like it, they’d put it aside for me. They would also play me the new Rough Trade releases. Good people! They were very helpful. Incredibly so! Were there any stores who might still be around who were particular early supporters of the Sire label. I know Bleecker Bob’s was around till pretty recently. I knew Bleecker Bob very well. He had a partner called Broadway Al. The original store was near the corner of Bleeker and Broadway. That’s how they got their names. Bob was pretty crazy. Unfortunately, he had a massive stroke more than 10 years ago now, and never fully recovered. I was reading an article about you in Billboard Magazine (2012) where you noted that “39 of the 41 nominees on the first ballot for induction into the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame started their careers on indie labels.” - Do you feel that Independent record stores play a part in supporting the development or artists? Absolutely! The people who started and ran independent record labels were out in the street, and the street is where it all begins. When I was a kid it was R&B labels Atlantic, King, Chess, Imperial, VeeJay, Gee/Rama, Aladdin, Modern, Duke, Herald; Sun in the Rockabilly field; on the pop side the best indie labels were Liberty, Cadence, A&M, Kapp Era, Cameo/ Parkway, Jamie, Dore, and of course Phil Spector’s Philles label; all pioneers helping to fan the flames of what was to become Rock and Roll. It’s thanks to them that Rock and Roll still reigns supreme. In those days, just about all record shops were independent as well. And the best of them stocked all the great indie labels. The first chain store I liked was Tower, a store like no other. I can remember my first experience. I was in San Francisco riding the cable car headed for Fisherman’s Wharf. In the distance, I could see a group of people my age or younger queuing and heading in the same direction. I didn’t know what all the commotion was, so I jumped off the cable and walked over. When I saw Tower, with all those boxes stacked up, displays, and all the categories, I thought I had died and went to heaven. Russ Solomon and Tower Records: revolutionary and fucking amazing.
I guess it was Rough Trade that had the greatest effect on me though. I owe a great deal to Geoff Travis and the people in that store. One day I was in Rough Trade, and I see this guy putting records on a shelf. It was Daniel Miller. We introduced ourselves. He had just put out his first record “T.V.O.D.” and “Warm Leatherette” by The Normal. I told him I liked the record, and licensed it for the United States right there in the shop. Then I made a deal for his second record, an album by Silicon Teens. Both artists were actually Daniel himself. Several months later, early one morning I read in Melody Maker or NME that Daniel had signed a real band, Depeche Mode. I knew it had to be good, I just put on my clothes, grabbed my passport, got a taxi to the airport, and bought a ticket on the Concorde which was quite expensive. I knew if Daniel signed it they had to be great. I had a small office in Covent Garden at the time. I called them, and Paul McNally met me at the airport. We drove up to Basildon, I saw Depeche Mode play, and made a deal to sign them on the spot. Martin Mills, Geoff, Daniel, and a few others were at the forefront of the second wave of indie labels in Britain, as well as Factory in Manchester, Tony Wilson’s label. The first generation were people like Chris Blackwell at Island, Chris Wright and Terry Ellis at Chrysalis, and Richard Branson at Virgin. Before that time, there was only one real indie that could even compete with the UK majors. That was Pye Records, and they had a roster that included The Kinks, The Searchers, Donovan, and Petula Clark. When I first
came to England, EMI and Decca combined controlled nearly 80% of the market. The Dutch major Phillips were just getting started in the UK and had acquired the American Columbia license. A real crusading independent was Nat Joseph’s Transatlantic label, kind of like a UK equivalent to Elektra, with artists like Pentangle, The Johnstons, and The Humblebums. That second wave which also included labels like Cherry Red, Some Bizarre, Creation, Fiction, and Warp were all great. Sire was quite fortunate in picking up a number of great artists from these labels and others. I couldn’t believe that most companies in the US ignored them in the beginning the way the majors back in the 50’s ignored the indies in the pioneering days of rock and roll. I had the greatest respect for all these people, and still do. They are still very successful so I guess you just identified people who were all good at doing their jobs? Exactly. Alan McGee is and A&R genius. We put out three of his bands: My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, and Ride. He’s back now with his new label 359. We picked up The Cure from Fiction, The Cult from Beggars, The Smiths from Rough Trade, Everything But The Girl from Cherry Red, Modern English from 4AD, Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure from Mute, Soft Cell from Some Bizzare, and so much more. All those UK indie guys were passionate, honorable people. Music fans through and through, like myself.
“I’m taking this dollar and buying this record, I don’t need any ice cream. If you tell your mother, I’ll kick the shit out of you” We talked about Rough Trade and Tower for you, what makes a good store? You should know that better than I, but I think having the right personnel who know and love what they’re selling is most important. There are great stores all over the world. One in particular was Rhyner’s, a family owned shop in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I love soca and calypso music. I would go down for Carnival, and buy 12” and albums. I would stand in the shop and sway back and forth. Have you ever heard a record playing in a shop and bought it on the spot? Well the first time. . . . my mother was a great cook. She had to go into hospital at one time and I stayed with an aunt in The Bronx. My aunt was not a good cook, and made a terrible dinner. She gave me and her son, my cousin Zane, each a dollar (a lot of money back in 1956) and said “Seymour, there is a great ice cream place on the Grand Concourse”. On the way, we passed this record store, Cousins. Out of the speaker, I hear (signing) “ooh,
oh yes, I am the great pretender. Pretending that I am doing well” - I stopped in my tracks and said to my cousin “I’m taking this dollar and buying this record, I don’t need any ice cream. If you tell your mother, I’ll kick the shit out of you”. The owner of the store was Lou Cicchetti. A few years later he started his own label, Cousins Records. Biggest hit was Barbara Ann by The Regents; later a hit for the Beach Boys. Do you think you still have the original record that you bought? Yes I do, on the Mercury label. I believe it was written by their manager Buck Ram. Can you imagine that, that his name was Buck Ram. What other record stores formed your earliest experiences? Well, the record shop in Harlem called The Record Shack, and that is where I’d hang out and listen to all the great rhythm and blues records. Those I had a hard time finding at stores in Brooklyn. It was on 125th Street. Across the road was another store, Bobbys, owned by Bobby Robinson, who also had his own labels Fire and Fury Records. There was a store in London my partner Mike Vernon of Blue Horizon Records turned me onto, Dobells. There was a blues store and a jazz store. The blues store also sold Rhythm and Blues. You’d hear things there you didn’t hear in America. What about the New York scene? By the time I was 14, I was working after school at Billboard, so I got all the records for free. It was a great gig. Colony records on Broadway had a really smart singles buyer, Charlie Craig, who was particularly into the very rhythmic dance music. Independent record stores have been through an almost unimaginable transformation in Sire Records 45 plus years (mayor chains, a multitude of formats, digital music and the internet) - Do you feel they still have a valid role in the retail landscape? Well, I am very prejudice, so I am not really a good person to ask. For me, they are very important. It breaks my heart to see them vanishing and I salute all you guys. We’ve got it bad too, record companies, artists, publishers, but you’re on the hardest road of all. We suffer because people are stealing music, but even those people that are still buying are using iTunes and the internet and all that. Like Syd Nathan said, “you’re
the last sale” and that is still so important. We used to hang out in record stores, they were a place for friends to congregate and discuss music. I was at the Great Escape in Brighton this year. I go every year. There was a store on the coast putting on live music in a pub and brining people in to experience what they were doing, Pie & Vinyl. They had great tee-shirts, I bought one. Another great place to see new bands is Liverpool Sound City. Seymour: Hey, where did you get the name Drift from? Not from Luke the Drifter? Deluxe: I love Hank, but no, it’s a little more vague. We used to run a label for about five years. I always did the buying for the record shop physical, but it was called World Video & Music back then. When were were naming the label we had a long conversation about ‘Longview Drift Theory’ – I think it was to do with Estuaries and rivers. The others loved it but I just figured to was too long. I shortened it to Drift and it seemed to have a nice resonance with taking things easy. We renamed the store about ten years ago now. Seymour: You know about Luke the Drifter? Deluxe: ...um, not really. It was a nome de plume for Hank Williams wasn’t it? Seymour: No, not exactly. It was a pseudonym he used for recording spoken word songs, and they were really beautiful melodies. You should listen to ‘Pictures From Life’s Other Side’ – thats one, another is “Be Careful Of Stones That You Throw”. Dion (DiMucci) of Dion and the Belmonts did a version of that song and it did fairly well. Top 30 in Billboard. Dion is a great singer. You know, he was supposed to be on the plane with Buddy Holly, “J. P.” Richardson (Big Bopper), and Ritchie Valens. He gave up his seat to Buddy who was missing his wife so much. Dion lived and Buddy died. It’s a lot to carry around.
ONE OF THE LOCALS Pastoral Totnes, a town with a population of only 8000 people, has had more than its fair share of musical exports in the last few years. Amongst others there is Joe Mount of Metronomy, James Hoare of Veronica Falls, Gabriel Stebbing of Night Works, Michael Lovett of NZCA/Lines. All bitchin’ bands but none of them have seen the unbelievable heights that Ben Howard has in the last 18 months. To his credit he is still a regular Drift shopper, so we spoke to Ben about how things have gone down. A little under two years ago you were in my old shop and I showed you a box of your album that would be released the following Monday. Since then you’ve been Mercury-nominated, headlined international tours, filmed for Letterman, played alongside some of the biggest bands on the planet, recently played the Glastonbury Main Stage and have won a couple of Brits... you did alright, didn’t you? Yeah, things went pretty well in the grand scheme of things. It definitely all becomes very relative very quickly and you’re forced to adapt or it’ll blow your mind, but all in all, it’s been a good old trip and we’ve all had a lot of fun the last couple of years.
so did a lot of the live bands. People are still trying. It would be good to see some council funding going into some of those places that are trying to put on music, but then the local councils are mostly run by useless conservative c***s worried about parking so that’s probably barking up the wrong tree. You grew up in Totnes, so besides us, where did you buy music from? Nowhere really. I just had old tapes in my car from friends or family. I started buying music when I was a little older and had some spare cash. Do you remember your first purchase?
What has been the weirdest moment in the last two years? Touring tends to put you in some weird predicaments along the way, I think anyone who’s spent that much time carousing at night, on those hours, will have a few stories. In all honesty, The Brits experience was probably up there with the strangest times. I’ve always felt the music we put out fell in the gap between commercial and non-commercial music, and it’s fine falling in one or the other but when you’re in the gap it’s hard for people to know where to put you and hard to know where to put yourself. I tend to just get on regardless but every now and then it freaks me out. So the whole thing was fairly bizarre, the pats on the back, the cheshire grins and standing on a pedestal with a healthy fear of ego ramps... Geri Halliwell saying well done topped it off as a nonsensical night... The mad spectacle of it and the random Essex c***s cursing my name.. Yeah, very weird! Things slowly seem to be getting better, but Devon doesn’t have a particularly strong live scene - how did you break out of that? I got on the train and started moving. I went to Europe, I made my way onto tours, I made my own CD’s so I could get paid. Hustle’s a good word for it. I could have done with a few more years writing tunes really, but I liked the idea of going out on the road and life felt like a transitional time for me. Devon felt pretty stale, art college in Falmouth had more inspiring stuff going on, but even there it was a stunted scene. I don’t know why it’s so hard outside of the major cities and especially in the South West to find good music and good places to play, it’s pretty fucked up really and it’s been that way for a long time. Why do you think Devon has been slow on the live uptake and how does one combat that? Yeah, the worst thing is that I don’t really know. It’s definitely a national thing in more rural areas, to give Devon some credit. We had quite a lot of music going on when Dartington was here, but that finished and
The first record I bought was actually for someone else at a tiny store in Paris. It was an early version of Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix, the one with all the naked women on the front. It was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever bought and my friend ended up giving it away by accident. Didn’t you demand a cassette release of your album? Is physicality important to you?
“local councils are mostly run by useless conservative c***s worried about parking so that’s probably barking up the wrong tree” Yeah, I had a van with a tape player so it really made sense to me. It felt like something that I’d want to buy. Physicality’s really important, in books and records, you want something to keep and hold and cherish. People talk a lot about how disposable music is nowadays and
the demise of the physical aspect of things is part of that conversation. That’s why vinyl and live music is having such a resurgence: most of us still completely adore the physical. You’ve travelled around a fair bit, what record shops have particularly stood out to you? We’ve had a good couple of runs through Grimey’s in Nashville, they’re really cool people. And Amoeba in LA is a bit of a wonderland where it’s SO big, you don’t have to talk to anyone. I quite like record shopping in pawn shops now and then. They’re always pretty quirky, little places with strange vibes and the odd find. It’s hard to do record shopping on the road sometimes just because stuff gets broken. That much time, moving place to place has been the death of many a great record that I’ve been itching to get home. What makes a good shop? I think somewhere that really buzzes off music. It sounds daftly obvious but somewhere thats really proud of their record collection and are really into it. Record stores that aren’t run by dickheads also helps. There’s too many record store dickheads and guitar store dickheads, I think it’s a problem. But I guess it all comes down to my first point, if someone’s really proud of their record collection then they’ll be a lot happier and the record store will never turn into an overfished graveyard. Without giving too much away, the records you buy (from me at least) are pretty diverse - thats important right? Yeah definitely. I love keeping my ears open. There’s so much out there and so much genius throughout the genres that you can’t afford to be stuck on one thing these days. I get a kick out of so many different elements: the music and melody, production and sounds, and then some of it’s simply what people out there are trying to achieve. I love the surprise of getting into something that I really thought I wouldn’t get on with. My collection’s definitely looking pretty weird, everything from Talking Heads to Leonard Cohen, to John Talabot, to Bhekamusi Letulli, to John Prine.. It’s a total cluster f***, but I like it. Anything you’ve discovered for the first time in a record shop? That I had Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks the wrong way round. Still doesn’t really make any sense. Why are record shops still important? Because they are the last outpost of civilisation in towns that sell random shit that none of us need.
Oh Michael , L o o k W hat Yo u ’ v e D o ne by JAMES ENDEACOTT You’ve got to love a good record shop. I mean, what else is there? I’ve spent most of my 48 years on this earth hanging around record shops... searching through their racks, chatting to the owners, trying to be cool. I even worked in one in the late 1980s... it was an Our Price in Central London and I sold mostly disco - I want disco - to tourists, but it was a record shop. I once served Ivor Cutler actually but that’s another story. So there I was wandering around Devon on a weeks holiday in August 2013 and what do I stumble upon? A record shop. Not just any old record shop but the almost legendary Drift Record Shop. My good friend Jeff had turned me onto this shop a few years ago to be fair and I’ve been following them on various social networking sites for a cyber age. Nothing prepared me
In the last issue of Deluxe we spoke to Light In The Attic Records about their USA road trips and looked at some of their amazing reissues (in particular Rodriguez’s ‘Cold Fact’ and ‘Coming From Reality’). They have made a superb job of re-releasing Michael’s albums, ‘Fully Qualified Survivor’ and ‘Rainmaker’, and just this last month they have lavishly produced ‘Wrecked Again’ on CD & LP. On the motorway halfway between Leeds and London, we passed a few questions to the man himself. How do you feel about reaching a new audience through the reissues on LITA? Keeps me on my toes. If they’re the same age as me they’re probably dead. LITA make a real effort on packaging, this is still pretty important right? It always has been. It was me that got gatefold sleeves for everyone at Harvest much against EMI’s wishes.
for the delights inside though. I was greeted by a lovely woman behind the counter who offered me a cup of coffee and said if there was anything i wanted to listen to then please ask... I searched, I looked and I chatted the co-owner Rupert came out and we discussed mutual friends and various records we loved as only a record shop owner and a record shop fan can do... As we chatted there was a rumbling coming from the record player... a haunting voice... folk overtones, yet raw and confessional... not knowing who the singer was, I asked Rupert... his eyes lit up - I was a fish, the music was the bait and he was gonna haul me in, take my money and cast me off into the rain sodden streets of Totnes. “It’s a Michael Chapman album, that’s just been re-released on light in the attic records, called Wrecked Again”.
Where did you grow up? And which record shops were your earliest experiences? Leeds. Everything was on 78’s and they were racked up and looked magical.
The singer sounded wrecked - I wanted to get wrecked. I bought the album and had to wait four days before I was home to listen to it. It’s a truly great record... one that will get better and better the more I lose myself in it... and yes, it does sound even better when you are wrecked. I’d like to thank The Drift Record Shop for doing what all good record shops should do... make me welcome, expose me to beautiful music, take my money and leave me with a smile on my face with yet another great record to play and tell the world about. Buy Wrecked Again by Michael Chapman from Drift and thank your lucky stars - we may be ugly but we have the music.
I have to get my missus to do the ordering. Which is your favourite record shop you’ve ever been to? Amoeba in LA
Do you remember the first record you bought? Where? Blue Monday, Fats Domino somewhere in Leeds. Then Little Richard, Chuck Berry. Somebody said they’re all black. How would I know, you can’t see people on the radio. (With the utmost respect) in your time as an artist you’ve seen an almost unimaginable change to the retailing landscape; for you, what have been the positives and negatives? Downloads have fucked it for people like me, they’re only for people who don’t care. I’m not techno and don’t wish to be. What makes a good shop?
How do you feel listening back to ‘Wrecked Again’? Do you want to tinker with it or are you happy to leave it where it lies?
Lots of records, no games, no DVD’s
I’m happy with it ‘cos the remastering is so good. The Americans really know something about it that we don’t. That said, I’ve always thought that the title track should have opened the album and it’s my fault for not bringing it up before the reissue.
When I’m on the road, if there’s a proper record shop in town then I’m in there - nothing I like better. There’s one on the market in Bristol and me and Thurston were in there after our Colston Hall gig - Thurston really loaded up! Otherwise, I’m ashamed to say Amazon, but
Do you still shop regularly, and if so, where?
Michael Chapman illustrated by Drew Christie
It's all about Record Shops.