December 30, 2013

French Rockets

All you need to know is this band is French, started in the '70s, and they are back at it again. They are also face painters times infinity.

I do have one important question, were all the members bald already or did they have to shave their heads to be in the band.

A little Kiss, a little Kraftwerk, a little Blue Man Group only silver, I give you Rockets.











December 28, 2013

December 21, 2013

2013 in Review

There are three things that I am most proud of in 2013.

I returned to playing music in a serious band again (Positive No), my record label turned 5 (Little Black Cloud Records) and then with a small team of Richmond locals, we created a soon to be annual music / food / art festival called the Fall Line Fest.

All of these things have really connected me to this city, the people who live here, and our local culture in ways that I find endlessly inspiring. I LOVE making music but I have always been equally passionate about sharing music I love with others too so I am very happy to be heavily invested in both sides of these passions.

I can only hope 2014 brings more of the same. New songs to write, record, and share (Positive No single / full length !!!). Find new music to fall in love with. Help continue to make the city I call home one that continues to be a beacon for great art. I am proud to call Richmond home. I can't wait to see what this city offers next year and more importantly, what I can do to help.

My memory isn't what it used to be so I am sure I am forgetting some of the musical highlights of this past year however below is what I can recall loving on a stage and or recorded.

Listen to my Spotify playlist of these artists here.

Best of 2013

Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities
Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse
Two Inch Astronaut - Bad Brother
No Joy - Wait to Pleasure
These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
Bottomless Pit - Shade Perennial
Pinkunoizu - The Drop
Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister
Pity Sex - Feast of Love
Lorelle Meets the Obsolete - Corruptible Faces
The New Lines - Fall in Line
Oblivians - Desperation
Bass Drum of Death - S/T
Shannon and the Clams - Dreams in the Rat House
The Liminanas - Costa Blanca
Connections - Private Airplane
The Mantles - Long Enough to Leave
King Khan & The Shrines - Idle No More
TV Colours - Purple SKies
Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!: Todo Roto

I Love Them So Much That I Put Out Their Album

Universe People - Go to the Sun
Stephen Brodsky - Hit or Mystery

Runners Up 

Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio
Braids - Flourish // Perish
Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana
Dreamdecay - NVNVNV
Deafheaven - Sunbather
Grouper - The Man Who Died
La Femme - Psycho Tropical Berlin
Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty
Jenny Hval - Innocence is Kinky
Wire - Change Becomes Us
Savages - Silence Yourself
Holograms - Forever
Mogwai - Les Revenants (Soundtrack)

Reissues

39 Clocks - Pain it Dark
The Dentists - Some People 
Clothilde - French Swinging Mademoiselle
The Clean - Vehical
Toy Love - Toy Love
The Verlaines - Juvenila
Marcos Valle - Garra
VA / C'est Chic! French Girl Singers of the '60s
Snapper - S/T 

Local Loves

Canary Oh Canary
Snowy Owls
White Laces
Clair Morgan
Hoax Hunters
Dead Fame
Arkaics
Dumb Waiter
Nelly Kate
Warren Hixson

Favorite Positive No Moments

Playing on stage inside a giant blanket fort we built for our Via Florum record release party.
The Well (RIP) creating a menu inspired by our band
Recording with J Robbins
Playing the Fall Line Festival along so many bands we love.
Released our debut EP 
Recording and releasing a Christmas song with friends in under 12 hours.
Meeting Bob Nastanovich (again - since we crossed paths in Hoboken in the early '90s)
Local venues for giving us a chance to play there.
Making new friends, one of whom will be our bass player in 2014.
Unbutton / Davenport Cabinet show that have three of my oldest friends in the band.



Live

My favorite live shows of 2013 were Fall Line Fest related. Our band kicked off the bill and was followed by: CruiserSuburban Living, Helado NegroSpeedy Ortiz, and Pity Sex. As it turns out, not only was all of the music that night incredible but all of the band members were great to work with too. When this show was over we ran over to see Stephen Brodsky (I released his solo album this year) and Hop Along. I saw a lot of tremendous music that weekend but the best part was that I didn't have to leave my backyard to do it.

It was also incredible to see The Breeders and El Vez. It felt like a private performance for 350 friends which for the festival promoter who put on this local event, I am certain is NOT what they were going for.

Last but not least, I still can't believe I got to see The Swirlies play this year. They sounded better than ever and also balanced out the worst performance I saw of 2013 / that night, Kurt Vile.

PS:

Happy to still have a full time job with insurance (says the woman presently on crutches)
Honored to have Nancy Sinatra follow me on Twitter
Returned back to Seattle for the first time since the '90s and saw so many wonderful old friends
Recorded with J Robbins
Spending every day with the love of my life, Kenny.
WRIR for being the sound of our city.
The roof over my head and all its glorious colors and toys.
One of my last remaining family members beating breast cancer
The joys of a screened in porch
A hurricane free summer / fall
Bob's Burgers
Les Revenants  - the idea of lost loved ones reappearing is emotionally and psychologically stirring
It has been a great year for beer. I am on untapped as TKW.

Thank you friends for all the remarkable things you do that keep me inspired and feeling loved.

November 29, 2013

3. I Would Die 4 U : Tales of a Female Music Enthusiast

Part 1.

I developed a taste for alternative music as I moved into my middle school years however I held onto one mainstream musical obsession up until the ninth grade. In 1984 I was 12/13 and in that awkward place between child and teen. Prince was the first Pop star who introduced me to sex appeal, even if I had no real idea what sex was no less sex appeal. Whatever it was, I wanted to explore it.




I loved Prince's music but his persona stretched far beyond his top 40 hits. The record and the movie Purple Rain was already iconic worldwide and had pushed him into superstar status. All television, radio, and print that mentioned Prince was recorded or cut out by me, and then I revisited these things obsessively until every lyric, dance move, movie dialog, and melody had been memorized. I was a super fan swept up by and into his neo-romantic Revolution.





But what made Prince so appealing to me?


First of all, Prince’s written language reflected a coding almost exclusively used by kids in school passing notes to each other (or as this article ponders, graffiti - also a youth movement.) As if mirroring the language of my people, his signature abbreviations like "I Would Die 4 U" read like the messages held within the folded pieces of paper my age group kept in our pockets, purses, and notebooks. On a side note, who could have guessed that cell phone technology would lead all of us down the Prince path with texts from from friends and family reflecting something once exclusive to his purple majesty and tiny, torn bits of notebook paper? 

Revisiting Purple Rain as an adult, I am perplexed by the topics his lyrics touch upon: bananas, masturbating, doves, the Lord, computer blues with a dominatrix overtone, and a deeply emotional reaction in ballad form to rain the color of purple. This was not a bridge for a Holly Hobbie loving little girl into adult lust, it was a 42 minute push straight into psychedelic desires of the flesh. These subjects were not found in any book or record I owned so the combination of these themes delivered me to a place that one could not travel to in a car or plane. I call it hormonal transcendence. This would be reason number two for my fascination. 

He was to me what I imagine Hendrix was for suburban girls one generation older than me. Their extended manhood was released through orgasmic guitar solos. Their vocal attack added one more layer of Rock and Roll dirty talk. If I wanted to flirt with adulthood, this music took me there. What better escape from a mundane teenage bedroom than through a man who wore more eyeliner than I did wrapped in size 0 violet suits, ruffles, and sang about a girl named Nikki who was a sex fiend. It sounds ridiculous hokey now but to a 13 year in a training bra, my mind was blown. There were no capes in my closet. There were no lace teddies accented by bullet belts and stiletto heels. I had not skinny dipped in Lake Minnetonka. The trashy glam world Prince and his female entourage flaunted (Apollonia / Vanity) replaced my Barbie dream home fantasies for good.











 Lastly, his exotic mysticism and eroticism had a hypnotic effect on me. I grew up in a small town with mostly upper class white people so there wasn't much about Prince that seemed cut from my little suburban world. Besides his Afro Hispanic appearance (although his family claims he is 100% black), much like Bowie before him (and other gender benders), he was also my first exposure to men who wore make up, heels, and dressed in a flamboyant fashion. His interviews and film characters have always portrayed him as a heterosexual male, but his soft spoken, feminine overtones made him less threatening and even more appealing to a barely teenage girl.  Petite and seemingly sensitive, Prince was the perfect introduction to sex for a little girl on her way to becoming a woman.

Part 2 

In March of 1985 The Purple Rain tour came to Nassau Coliseum and attending this concert wasn't just a dream to me, it was a necessity. My mother was always tremendously supportive of my passion for music so it wasn't all that shocking that she was excited to take me to see Prince live. What I can't recall, and honestly am glad I don't remember the details of because its utter impossible absurdity makes this story all the more amazing, is how a group of friends and their mothers also all agreed to attend this concert with us. We were a gaggle of grade schoolers going to see a man have simulated sex in a bathtub on stage in the presence of our mothers and thousands of screaming fans. Yes it was totally surreal but it really did happen. Purple orgasms everywhere.





This was my very first Rock concert so to get a better understanding of what to expect, I watched Duran Duran's Arena live concert film. Using my ridiculous kid logic, this was actually how I prepped to see Prince in a group setting. In turn I absolutely believed I would be brought to a frenzied state of non-stop screaming that would lead to my inevitable collapse. I seriously spent weeks fearing that I destined to faint from a sensory overload. I was very excited to see my favorite performer live and in person but I was also scared to death of losing control and my knees giving out. I love that I thought this reaction was an absolute fact in my mind. The reality was, once we entered the arena I was too busy soaking every inch of it in to lose my mind. I was so transfixed by every inch of the room's sights and sounds that there was no way I was going to scream over or collapse and miss one second of it. All of that worry leading up to the show was for nothing and damn you Duran Duran and your fire breathing windmills for misleading me.




For a first concert, I don't think I could have done much better. The only downfall to this is knowing that most artists I would see for the rest of my adult life would never top that experience. Ignoring the whole it was my first concert so therefor it was the best aspect, we are talking about Sheila E as the opener with Prince and the Revolution as the headliner. Everyone's stage presence and performances were flawless, energetic, colorful, and sexy. Every moment was larger than life and their staging put the audience in a fantasy setting with some of the best musicians on the planet. It not only showed me that women had an equal place on a stage with men (talent before gender) but that you could develop a unique sense of style and own it. Hell, if you worked hard enough, you could fill a stadium with people who applaud it.




This is part of an ongoing series I am writing. The last one I wrote can be found here.

November 12, 2013

We made a video!

Here is the very first Positive No video shot entirely by us on an iPhone and edited by Kenneth Close. I give you "Georgia Purchase Agreement".


October 1, 2013

Positive No - Via Florum

Sadly my writing time here has diminished as my band gets busier. The good news is however I have new music to share rather than just words and or pictures.

I give you two years of work, available now via all the usual digital music sites.

August 31, 2013

Fall Line Fest 2013

I have been slacking on writing blog posts but with good reason. I have been working hard with a small team of people to make this Richmond music / food / arts festival come to life. It is hard to believe this is just 6 days away but it is! These shows will be packed and they will sell out so get your tickets now. Don't make me feel like a jerk when I tell you I can't get you in somewhere because you didn't get a ticket in advance. Plus our band Positive No is playing on Saturday, 6pm sharp at Gallery 5.


June 21, 2013

Positive No : FREE Summer Mix

Hi ya.

    Hopefully this will be the first in a series of free, little mixes put together by various members of our band Positive No. I did this one and it is a continuous mix of songs in one mega MP3. It is by no means a playlist of our band's or my personal influences. The theme here is summer and my take on what that means. If you are familiar with the radio show I did for about 4 years, you know I love a good theme.

I tried to pick a mix of all different kinds of music from a bunch of different decades. Some will be familiar and hopefully a few will be unfamiliar but pleasant surprises. Download it at the link below. (click "enjoy")

Happy summer friends.

Enjoy,
Tracy

PS: Our proper band website is here.




  1. Alice Cooper - School's Out
  2. Diplo - Summer's Gonna Hurt You 2012 Remix
  3. The Jesus & Mary Chain - Surfin' USA
  4. Snapper - Hot Sun
  5. Chris Stamey - The Summer Sun
  6. Confetti - Warm
  7. Superchunk - Learned to Surf
  8. GBV - Hot Freaks
  9. CocoRosie - Lemonade
  10. Tera Melos - Sunburn
  11. Ice Cream for Crow - Captain Beefheart
  12. Fugazi - Burning
  13. Bill Cosby - Sunny (Yes, that Bill Cosby)
  14. Still Corners - Endless Summer
  15. Jacco Gardner - Summer's Game
  16. Pink Floyd - Summer '68
  17. Throbbing Gristle - Hot on the Heels of Love
For some reason this song didn't want to play nice so it didn't make it into my mix. Here is a bonus summer treat.

June 20, 2013

FIRST ANNUAL FALL LINE FEST : RVA

Well gang, here it is! We will have more bands and events to announce in the upcoming weeks. I am honored to be a part of this and can't wait to see this fest grow in the years to come.

Our event is set up around the general stretch that the First Fridays Art Walk takes place (about a one mile area). We are hoping however that the Richmond community will take this special weekend to throw their own shindigs, sales, cook special menus, craft special beers. You know know, snazz things up for a few days in the name of great music, art, food, drink, and fashion. Below is our official press release.





RICHMOND, VIRGINIA September 6th & 7th, 2013
40+ Bands across Four Venues plus Food and Arts Events


The first annual FALL LINE FEST will be taking place in Richmond, Virginia on September 6th and 7th, 2013, sponsored by Venture Richmond, Taste The Local, and Need Supply Co.  Featuring 40+ bands across four venues on two nights, as well as various events at nationally recognized restaurants and art galleries, FALL LINE FEST plans to bring attention to the increasingly impressive cultural offerings of Richmond.
Born out of a shared love of their city, the organizers of FALL LINE FEST first and foremost set out to showcase many of the aspects that make Richmond great.  With a focus on music, art, and food, the event will balance national / regional talent alongside the best and brightest hometown favorites, all presented within a walkable portion of the downtown area.  A list of confirmed acts performing at FALL LINE FEST is below, with additional musicians to be announced soon.
While not being presented by a large production company, FALL LINE FEST is driven by a  volunteer team combining years of experience and know-how to create what will surely be an extraordinary first year for the annual festival.
Weekend passes for FALL LINE FEST will be $20 in advance and are on sale now via the festival website.  A limited number of VIP passes are also available now for $55, granting special privileges and perks.

FALL LINE FEST WEBSITE:
http://www.FallLineFest.com

MUSICAL LINE-UP:
Big Freedia
Neon Indian (DJ set)
Cold Cave
No BS! Brass Band
Helado Negro
Hop Along
Inter Arma
Josh Small
Dads
Cruiser
The Southern Belles
Photosynthesizers
Earthling
White Laces
Suburban Living
Alison Self
Ohbliv
DJ Mikematic
Doe the Paperboy
The Snowy Owls
Springtime
Dead Fame
Hold Tight!
Better Off
Black Liquid
Positive No
Ms. Proper
Houdan the Mystic

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS / GALLERIES / VENUES:
1708 Gallery
6 Studio / Gallery
ADA Gallery
Candela Books & Gallery
Gallery 5
Ipanema
Pasture
Quirk
Rappahannock
Saison
Strange Matter
The Camel
The Hippodrome

May 24, 2013

Football Etc.

It's always super exciting when a band sends you a message and it turns out they are really good. If bands like Tsunami, An Horse, Rainer Maria make you go weak in the knees, may I recommend to you Football Etc?





May 10, 2013

Positive No : Powers of Ten : New Song Alert!



You can read more about the song here.

"Powers of Ten" will be a part of a 5 song EP we are in the middle of recording with J Robbins at his studio Magpie Cage. This 12" record / digital long player will be available through my record label Little Black Cloud later this summer.


May 5, 2013

Bands / Musicians Who Have Stayed With Me since 1990

This is a work in progress as I am sure I have missed quite a few bands / musicians but this is the initial list I could think of. Out of nearly three decades I can't say I ever had one bad experience with opening my home to bands. Sometimes only one or a few members of a band would crash at our place sp instead of listing people's individual names, it seemed more logical to list just their band.

I didn't add Yo La Tengo or Silkworm because I lived in their homes (cat sitting) for many weeks rather than them staying with me.

In no particular order:

Jawbox
Treepeople (pre-Built To Spill)
Archers of Loaf
Small 23
Pegboy
Failure
Superconductor (pre New Pornographers / Thrones)
Seaweed
Rye Coallition
Sparkmarker
Heavy Vegeatable
Powerdresser
Isis
Cave In
Jessamine
Karp
Fitz of Depression
Peechees (members of Bratmobile/Rice)
Red Stars Theory (members of Modest Mouse / 764-HERO / Satisfact / Lync)
Refrigerator
Garden Variety
Railroad Jerk
Cloud Room
Narrator
Lync
Sunn O))))/Engine Kid/Thorr's Hammer
Sunny Day Real Estate
Jawbreaker
Walk the Plank (Calvin Johnson)
Sons of Ishmael
Sleep Capsule
Some Girls (American Nightmare / Locust / Cold Cave)
Dharma Bums
The Rapture
Dรคlek
Haste

May 3, 2013

The Positive No Cooking Show

Phew! What a year so far. With all that has been going on with the record label and band, I am sad at how little free time I have had to write.

I will get back to writing / posting my music related short story series later this Spring but for now, here is a little light viewing.


We will be posting a brand new single next week and have another exciting band announcement just around the corner too. 

For my old friends viewing this and thinking what the hell happened to you? Life post accident (you know, the whole being run over by a car thing) followed by pneumonia this Winter has meant I have spent a lot of time motionless and stuck in bed. I might be a butterball but I promise you, I am doing really well otherwise. Older. Wider. But still alive and really happy about that. 

March 26, 2013

French Music Podcast

 If you missed the swinging French music show Sara and I did exclusively for WRIR this past Sunday, here is a link to download it in full. Enjoy! xo

March 14, 2013

Hosting WRIR Tonight!

It's FUNd drive time at our ole community radio station WRIR! I surrendered the radio show I founded (Cause & Effect) last Fall but I have been asked to come back to help JJ with the whole begging for donations thing.

Independent radio stations don't like interrupting their one of a kind programming to have to ask for your help but as an all volunteer operation that still has bills to pay like rent for the building and equipment to transmit our signal, it has to be done.

The show theme for tonight is how a WRIR DJ is born.

JJ and I will be sharing two hour long sets based on the music of our lives. I have picked songs that represent my life from 1971 to 1990. These will be just a sampling of how as a music obsessed person I traveled from a world of just my parents music and top 40 radio drivel to the eclectic music junkie I still am today. They say a path is formed one stone at a time so my path to becoming a DJ is filled with what I am sure many will consider some surprisingly weird Rock(s).

What I really learned about myself as I meditated on the music that shaped my early life is that I love me some weird Pop songs and it has become clear to me that I was born this way. Tune in from 7PM to 9PM and hear where a DJ's earliest roots are based in. I will also try to explain how some people go to church to be a better, more enriched and wiser person but some of us turn to music and in my case, independent radio stations and record stores. These are my holy places and I am a better person for all of the things these two worlds have introduced me to.

If you feel the same way, then please consider donating to your community radio station. You support local record stores by shopping in them but radio stations don't get your business just as passive listener. We need you to be an active listener and help us keep WRIR alive and thriving.

97.3 FM on your dial for locals or stream us live at www.wrir.org.

I will post my entire playlist with samples of everything plus why I played it after the show is done. I think it will fit nicely into my short story series that I have been sharing here over the past 6 months.



February 22, 2013

Flogging Molly's Matt Hensley Interview At HOHNER


Here is a video of Matt Hensley, retired pro skater gone Flogging Molly member being interviewed at our office. Some of you might not know this but besides working at a record store and running a record label, my full time day job is with Hohner (fretted department).

Having Matt in the office for the day was terrific and I think his passion for music is really captured nicely here. During this interview he also connects skateboarding to music, something I am always especially interested in hearing more about.




February 6, 2013

This is me bragging.

I have a record label called Little Black Cloud Records and it just happened to work out that I have not one but TWO amazing records coming out between now and the end of April.

The first record to come out in 2013 is by a Seattle trio called the Universe People and it is called Go to the Sun. The digital will be out 2/19 and the LP will be done by 3/19. They already have one terrific video but here is their brand new one for the song "Druids". I have written about the band here before so I won't dwell but hot damn I love this song. And band.



The next record to come out will be by one of my oldest pals (not in age but in years we have been friends); Stephen Brodsky. You may recognize him as the singer and guitar player for a band called Cave In but he is also a ridiculously talented solo artist. The first single off his Hit Or Mystery EP is called "Real Surreal Beauty" and you can download the single for free via Rolling Stone. This EP will be available in the digital and 12" format 4/16.



Lastly, I want to celebrate a single I put out on Black Friday by the Richmond, VA artist Malhombre. His 7" features two very talented ladies (April March and Melissa Auf der Maur) and it is available for sale at my web store.



You can check out my label's Soundcloud page here. Sorry to brag but I really love these records so much.




February 5, 2013

This Should Be Interesting


Pacino as Phil Spector for an HBO thing.   


February 3, 2013

I don't even miss the music,

when the vocals are this perfect. Check out The Ronettes isolated vocals on "Baby I Love You".

Hop Along

Had I discovered this album in real time, Get Disowned by the band Hop Along would have made it onto my best of 2012 list. It is always a treat to hear a female vocalist sing like an exciting runaway train AND put some effort into the lyrics.

Here a list of all of the things I think of when I listen to this album. Backyard fireworks, early PJ Harvey, dive bombing birds in spring, Liz Phair doing gymnastics, Weezer covered by Joy Formidable, the best house show you have ever been to, how do siblings play in a band together and make it work, Wye Oak acorns, and a band I should make sure I see play live.





January 29, 2013

CDs on the Comeback?


Does this brand new yet dated looking Newport print ad mean that LPs and tapes are no longer cool and CDs are making a come back?

I am not exactly sure who they are trying to target with this ridiculous marketing fail but you saw it in In Touch Magazine first; CDs are back baby!

PS: Smoking, always stupid.

January 20, 2013

2. Moooooose! : Tales of a Female Music Enthusiast



I attended Wandell Elementary in Saddle River, New Jersey. I was among the tallest girls in my grade and had earned the unfortunate nickname of Moose because of it. The irony is that to this day I am only 5 feet 3 but when you reach nearly that height at light speed before the rest of your class, you are a circus freak in a training bra. Throughout all of grade school I bordered on preppy (Hey, it was the ‘80s and there were whole handbooks dedicated to us) but also a total jock. Like so many kids at this crossroads age between grade school and high school, I could have easily gone in a couple of different directions (See the Breakfast Club for character references).



I could have remained an athlete who wore docksiders and popped collars off the field but once I discovered punk rock, that part of me was erased. For those of you who have seen the movie Valley Girl, I went through a transition much like the lead Julie was heading towards thanks to Randy. Only my Nicholas Cage gateway drug to counter culture was a slender Goth behind a record store counter. If we want to talk true confessions of a music obsessed woman, the movie Valley Girl made me fall even more deeply in love with being an outsider during a a time where I when I was easily influenced. I mean this "Melt With You" montage is teenage girl catnip on par with flavored lip gloss and folded notes that say "Do you like me? Circle yes or no". If I had to pick a side, Randy and Fred win. 


Our story moves to Crazy Eddie, a popular consumer electronics chain in the Northeast that also happened to stock music. The closest location to my home growing up was on Rt. 17 in Paramus and it was there that I purchased my very first LPs, cassettes, and various stereo gear*. It was this one store among the chain with an absurd ad campaign led by a man in a turtleneck no matter what season, and two very thoughtful employees, that accidentally directed me down a path of a lifetime obsession with music.  




Picking up where I left off in my last short story, I had stumbled across the band Midnight Oil via a late night TV show. I didn't know where one would find a band that wasn't played on the radio so I coyly asked the two offbeat looking characters behind the store counter to help me. One of them was an incredibly tall and lanky goth with a hypnotic bird's nest of black hair. His name was Athan and at the time he played in a band called Fahrenheit 451. Every time my Mom or Dad drove me to Crazy Eddie, I prayed that Athan might be working so I could bask in his beautiful, new romantic, Bahausian shadow.

My recollection of the second employee is much less vivid but this can be attributed to the fact that my focus was entirely on Athan who had become my adorable grade school crush. Unfortunately gentleman number 2 has been pushed to a sidekick roll in my memory. My imagination has painted him as Pretty in Pink’s Duckie so while I was mostly star struck by the tall glass of doom and gloom, he was still charming and important to this story line.

During the middle part of this decade I had yet to fully understand what alternative meant or that it carried a distinct wardrobe / ethos / soundtrack. If we agree that the world can be broken down into two sports teams, the normal people verse the not so normal, these two Crazy Eddie employees were captains on the freak side. I approached them with my desperate need to own a Midnight Oil record and they didn't cringe or laugh. Instead they leaned in a little closer to me and inquired further. “You like this kind of music?” I confessed that I didn't know anything about this style of music, but was VERY interested. I felt like a tourist in a foreign country meeting two people who finally spoke my language. We shared an interest in something I had yet to comprehend but there was a bond between us that they not only recognized, but took the time to develop. I believe this is why so many of us on the planet have a deeply personal attachment to record stores and their employees. I know I am not alone in this experience and for those record store clerks who wonder if getting paid minimum wage has any sort of pay off, it does. You help shape young ears who in turn discover who they are through the music you direct them towards. 

Athan and store clerk #2 found me the album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 by Midnight Oil but then they went one step further. They turned over a bright yellow Crazy Eddie bag and with a magic marker in hand, they wrote down a list of bands they thought in their humble opinion I should check out. Before the internet this handwritten list meant really only one thing. In order for me to take any of the bands on their list for a test drive, I would have to purchase them one at a time. And purchase them all I did. Approximately once a month my Mom or Dad would drive me to the store (about 15 minutes from our home), and I would cross another band off their handwritten list. 



While exploring the record racks on my own, there was little I recognized. I didn't really know what “light wave” or “heavier wave” meant but I was instantly compelled or repelled over the album art and the names of songs. I would pick a record or tape that best appealed to me through the tactile / visual experience. This technique of judging a record by the cover is one I know most people my age once relied upon. Our early record collecting ways depended on it. Pre-internet or access to music magazines and fanzines, cover art was the bait that lured a potential listener like me in. Colors, images, patterns, fonts, band photos, song titles, and credits were more important than the music itself because if the record failed to interest someone on the visual level, people were less likely to buy it. Unless the band toured and you had seen them to know what they sounded like, their album art was as important as the music itself. It’s entire purpose is to sell a listener on a band before even one note is heard. Once you spent your hard earned allowance on a record and brought it into your home, your were more likely to give it as many chances as it took to grow on you. Again, this is not an experience unique to me and because I still work at a record store and see this happen first hand. Even with all the bells and whistles that a band can use via modern technology to sell themselves, great cover art or packaging can still lure a person towards making a purchase without a customer having a clue as to what the artist sounds like. 

My favorite part of this story isn't however about the music these two guys exposed me to or how it led me to a lifetime love of underground, underdog music. It is the fact that one of these two people has reappeared in my life multiple times. The Duckie character is someone I will never forget however I still don’t know his name nor did I ever get a chance to thank him for this small gesture that has a long lasting, massive effect on me. Athan and I however have crossed paths many times since Crazy Eddie shuttered its doors in the late ‘80s

The first time we reconnected was when I illegally drove into NYC with my very new driver’s license to buy records. Buying records was that important to me and at the time I didn't know where else to find the kind of music I had decided I liked. I drove 40 minutes to the Tower Record’s in the Village (The Broadway location near where Other Music still stands) with my tattered Crazy Eddie bag in my jacket pocket. I was still buying records off the list. I selected an Elvis Costello LP and carried it proudly to the counter. The man behind the register without looking up at me replied that the record was I was about to purchase was brilliant. I replied that I should hope so because he was the one who picked it out for me. He looked up in shock. The little girl he once knew was now in her late teens and still buying his recommendations. My heart nearly exploded. I never knew what happened to Athan when the store in Paramus closed down but there he was. We caught up briefly and then parted ways. He still confined by a counter and I still being a dedicated kid customer. I was too young to get how important his list was to me at the time so I stupidly never thanked him for what has turned out to be a relief effort on par with emergency rescue. I had been a lost teen and he and his cohort not only supplied me with a map but highlighted which roads to follow.

I still aspire to write at least one song as lyrically poignant as this one by Elvis Costello.


A decade later I was working at Caroline Distribution as an entry level sales rep. One of our exclusive record labels Cleopatra Records was in the office for a meeting and in walked Athan to represent the label. It is funny how nearly all this time later, he still managed to make my heart explode with nervous energy. He wasn't just a handsome, well dressed man, he was my musical guru. It hit me like a hammer as I sat in a conference room listening to him speak about the label’s upcoming priorities in 1997. I wouldn't even be in that room working for one of the best independent music distributors (at the time) if it weren't for Athan. My passion for non top 40 music took off with the help of  those two guys at Crazy Eddie and I have spent every day of the rest of my life expanding on that original list they fed me. After the meeting we caught up on the fire escape out the office’s back door as he smoked a cigarette. I reminded him of who I was and he didn't seem all that surprised that we had found each other again. The music business is filled with many people but it often behaves like a small, private community defined by just a handful of people. The joke is you will work with the same person at least twice during your career and I still find this to be very true of the music industry. 

This time I took the time to thank Athan. I tried my best to explain to him how he helped shape me as a person but there really isn't a cool, articulate way to explain that to the catalyst in person. We have worked together for many years after that day and we are still loosely in contact. We may be middle aged now but when I think back to the first albums I purchased, the neon yellow bag I now have framed, or Athan and the other record store employee, I am still a confused teen looking for members of a tribe I had yet to define. 

Athan has gone on to play in many bands over the decades but here is a look at his most recent band, Black Tape for a Blue Girl. 


This post is a humble dedication to those who take the time to share their knowledge in a thoughtful way to strangers. I have lived my life trying to give back to others in a way that has shaped me for the better. For every action, there truly is a reaction. 




*My scores at this Crazy Eddie also included this super ridiculous Sony turntable. It was vaguely portable and I recall dragging this thing on a plane with me and trying to play records on the fold down table in front of me in the late '80s. This is just further proof that my obsession with vinyl started young.

January 2, 2013

And Two 2012 Singles I Loved Plus a Bonus Round





If you haven't noticed, 2012 was all about the ladies for me.

Maybe that is why I am extra excited to release the debut by this band in 2013 (2 ladies, 1 gent). Here is a look at their first video and a second one is on the way! Universe People from Seattle, WA. ! ! !

The Luyas - Animator

The Luyas didn't make my end of year list but for some reason my iPod likes to their play songs often in shuffle mode. In turn their 2012 release Animator has really grown on me. Thanks technology. You know me.





January 1, 2013

Stream the Final Broadcast Album

NPR has the final Broadcast album streaming right now entitled Berberian Sound Studio. There are 39 short, spooky musical interludes that sound exactly like all the wonderful haunting library music that members Cargill and Keenan love(d) so much. Do not however expect vocals from Trish, this is an movie score of the instrumental kind. This album will be out via Warp records next Tuesday on January 8th.

Last but not least here is an interview with James Cargill that includes a great mix he created of sountracky goodness.




Top 5 Records of 2012

I could try to stretch it out and make this list 10 records long but I won't. These are the records I really listened and still listen to weekly.

1) Chris Cohen - Overgrown Path - Captured Tracks



2) Melody's Echo Chamber - S/T - Fat Possum



3) Cate Le Bon - Cyrk - The Control Group



4) Paws - Cokefloat! - Fat Cat



5) Holograms - S/T - Captured Tracks



Runner Up : Mount Eerie - Clear Moon - Self Released



It is tempting to include the records I released this year on my own label but I will step out of my bubble world for today. Obviously I love MalhombreGauchiste, and Dunebuggy because I released those albums in 2012 . Duh.