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Record Store Day 2017

Sunrise Records

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day!
Record Store Day 2017
It’s been a a sad year for music stores in Canada, what with HMV Canada going into receivership, with all locations shut as of April 14th. Granted it was as far from an independent as you could go, it was still a physical brick & mortar presence in Canada where you could buy records or CD’s in, with staff that were passionate about music and media.

As HMV began to liquidate, from the ashes the announcement came that Sunrise Records would be taking over the leases and expanding across the country in old HMV locations. A Canadian independent since 1977, Sunrise Records is now one of the only record store chains left in all of Canada. Always a favourite of mine, I was gutted to see their flagship location on Yonge Street in Toronto shut several years ago (damn you Toronto retail rent!). Sunrise was always a go-to for our RSD hunting, and I’m especially glad to hear of it’s expansion and am hopeful for its country wide success,

SO! Record Store Day 2o17, ten years on, how this day has grown. Without further adieu following are some of RSD 2o17 releases on my radar (psst – I haven’t included the rerelease of the ‘Dark Crystal’ soundtrack as I picked up a first pressing many years back when I was still lived in Brighton, UK, BUT if you find this, you should get it. Even if you don’t have a record player, just go out and get one, trust me.) RSD 2017 picks

1. The Cure – Greatest Hits  –  (2 x LP picture disc)
2. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Lime and Limpid Green 10″
3. The Cure – Greatest Hits Acoustic (2 x LP picture disc)

Second Row

4. T-Rex – Electric Warrior – Gold Vinyl
5. The Doors – Live at the Matrix ’67
6. Shocking Blue – At Home (‘Shocking’ Blue Vinyl)

Third Row

7. Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing (12” EP Picture Disc)
8. David Bowie – BOWPROMO
9. David Bowie – Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) 3 x LP

Fourth Row

7. The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction
8. The Distillers – Coral Fang
9. The Music Machine – (Turn On) The Music Machine

Music

Mourning The Man Who Fell To Earth

Mourning the Man Who Fell to Earth

“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.” – Dean Podestá, ‏@JeSuisDean

A fist closed around my heart this morning waking up to news that the Starman really was just that now.

I think many around my age would have known him first as Jareth, and for many too the Goblin King would have been their first love.

That was my introduction to Bowie, followed by an old cassette of ‘Low’, one of the few in my Dad’s music collection that I’d play ad nausem in a worn out yellow Sony Sports Walkman. Finding a British first pressing of that album a few years ago in NYC was one of those “Holy Grail” moments for a vinyl lover. I was ridiculously broke at the end of that trip, and chose not to eat that day in order to afford the record. A decision I don’t regret; Low remains my favourite from Bowie’s expansive career, and one of my all time favourite albums period.

His art influenced and inspired, his interests, exposed many to other formative works. I even remember experimenting with the Dadaists cut-up technique as a way to reorder scenes from Woyzeck in theatre school because *Bowie* used that method to create some of his lyrics. So many little connections for so many of us, evidently clear by the outpouring over his death.

So before I wind up down my own rabbit hole of grief; with tales as to why and how this man I never knew meant so much to me, I’ll end off here with something my dear friend Peet wrote instead because it’s pretty bang on:

It feels like family because, for so many of us, it is family.

This funny looking man has been a huge figure in my life for well over 20 years. Not in a “Oh, I liked Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” type of way (honestly, I haven’t seen it), but in a “well, I listen to him fairly regularly all of the time and always have”. He influenced and impressed upon me in numerous ways, many of them likely unknown even to myself. I know that it’ll be a while before I even fully register this, because it’s so strange and new.

I was blessed enough to seen him perform several times, and went to his Hollywood Walk Of Fame star unveiling. Weird how that’s the one I’m remembering today. Him, this odd guy with poorly dyed red hair, and his gorgeous inhuman wife, on the street in front of the Knitting Factory, existing in the real world, out in the sunlight, smiling and waving to the lunatics who’d shown up to share in this admittedly-meaningless moment…

And now, what? Now we all have Black Star (which I am dreading listening to again for fear of hearing goodbye, as I have never been able to listen to Joey Ramone’s final album). We still have Ziggy. We’ll always have the Duke and, yes, Jareth. 

He’s never going away, you know? Family doesn’t do that. That stay with you in little ways forever.

I fell to Earth once. But I am back now. David Bowie Le Petit Prince by Onlyleigh.

Thank you for the art, the music, you. See you in the stars xx

Le Petit Prince Bowie Art by: Onlyleigh

Music

The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle

The Cramps Psychedelic Jungle

Artist: The Cramps
Album: Psychedelic Jungle
Cost: $24.99 CDN
Found: Hits & Misses, 799 Queen St West, Toronto, ON, CANADA. (NOW CLOSED)

There will never be anyone quite like Lux Interior.

The singer and founding member of the most excellent garage punk band the Cramps, died in 2009 from a heart condition.

I remember being pretty floored reading the news, floods of posts streaming by on Facebook. Such an outpouring, and such an incredible loss.

Years ago I saw the Cramps play at the London Astoria. The show was sold out, the venue absolutely packed with Cramps fans of all sorts, and the temperature soaring. I wasn’t wearing the most practical of outfits for a sweltering gig and was absolutely melting throughout the show. I can only imagine how Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were fairing on stage under the bright lights (and clad in PVC no less).

I was absolutely enamoured throughout the gig by Poison Ivy, watching her play with an effortless cool and rocking that guitar atop the tiniest of stiletto heel boots, swaying with the beat. The chemistry between Lux and Ivy onstage was electric.

Psychedelic Jungle Green VinylPsychedelic Jungle was the first Cramps record I ever picked up.  We stumbled across this on one of our weekend wanders around Toronto at Hits & Misses which specialized in Punk and Metal vinyl. Very sad to report that Hits & Misses is now shut, and sorely missed as it was a go to if you were after vinyl from those genres. Continue Reading

Music

June Mixtape: On Days Like This, In Times Like These

Whoops! I seem to have missed May’s Mixtape last month. Admittedly in May I was really listening to a few specific songs ad nauseam, which though great for when I’m in the zone working on something, doesn’t translate well into a mix for others to enjoy.

So, for this months mixtape I’m channelling a ton of nostalgia – 80’s & 90’s gothic rock style nostalgia. I was born too late to be one of the London Batcave kids, but I did catch the tail end of 90’s goth, frequenting the darkwave / trad goth room at Slimelight. I remember being utterly entranced by the older kids with crimped hair, winklepicker boots, and their ability to mix beautifully lace & drapey crushed velvets.

I always try to continue to expand my musical interests and not limit myself to one specific genre, but there’s something rather fun and comforting coming back to this music, “like a healing hand“.

Music

5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Record Store Day

Record Store Day Sonic Boom

The popularity of Record Store Day increases with every passing year. With many rediscovering a love for vinyl or being introduced to the medium as it becomes more accessible, attendance for this international day of independent record store love will continue to rise.

With larger crowds heading out each year it pays to do a little prep work in advance to save from getting overwhelmed on the actual day. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of Record Store Day:

1. Do Your Research

Time to get your music nerd on. The RSD site has a list of Official Releases for Record Store Day 2015 on www.recordstoreday.com, the list posted is the US one, so look for links to other country lists such as for the Netherlands or the UK etc, as available titles differ between countries.

You can also find out what shops in your area are participating on the RSD site. They won’t have information on what each retailer will be receiving stock wise, so best to check directly with your independent shop.

Often smaller shops won’t be constantly updating their websites, so time to Facebook creep and see what they’re posting about RSD. Many will have sneak peaks of what they’re getting in leading up to the day.

2. Make A List

Of the available titles being released for RSD in your country – what’s on your list to pick up?

Don’t have a list? Make it! Be aware that you’ll most likely not be able to find everything you’re after. So this is where you need to prioritize your picks, and try to find out in advance if a certain store in your area is getting in your “must-have“. Don’t be a dick though and irritate the hell out of an indie store about whether they’re getting something in or not. Certainly ask, but if they don’t know, they don’t know.

3. Map It

You’ve got your list of albums made and you know what stores to hit. Time to map out your record store day crawl so you’re not crisscrossing the city and wasting time.

Something to take note of is opening times as well – many stores will open earlier than normal, so rise and shine, grab a coffee and get a head start.

4. Dress Comfortably & Be Prepared To Wait

A lot of people will likely be out depending on where you live. Be prepared for possible long lineups and having to wait to even get into a store. Patience is a virtue, keep a calm head and dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather in your area. Layers are your friend!

5. Know Where You’re Headed Afterwards

The best way to wind down from the day is by having a bite or a drink with some friends. Knowing where you’re going ahead of time will save grief in trying to decide when people are hungry and tired. Have a few options as to where you can decamp to that will be relaxing and have space should you want to go through your RSD hauls together.

BONUS POINTS: If you like intimate performances many shops will have special in-stores during RSD. Find out ahead of time who’s playing, where & when.

And have a Happy Record Store Day! (Just keep your hands off my Adam & the Ants Kings Of The Wild Frontier/Ant Music 7″ coloured vinyl and we’ll be cool.)

Photo Credit: Sonic Boom.

Music

April Mixtape: I Still Sleep On The Left Side

April’s mixtape is an odd one in that it kind of became a collection of songs suited to a post break up landscape. I’m no where near this world now, but have been plenty of times in the past. There’s something rather indulgently wonderful about slightly aggressive “screw you music“.

It’s like that feeling of being purposefully splashed by a car and all you can do is flip the bird. You might be drenched in gross, muddy water but channelling all your angry energy into that one gesture is pretty freeing.

The same thing goes with just allowing yourself to feel the end of a relationship. A musical backdrop can be a great remedy as you move you through the pain and anger, till you’re on the other side of it for the better.

Music

March Mixtape: Lunar Theories & Stellar Remnants

I haven’t been making mixes as much as I used to. I’m totally aging myself here, but I think I really miss the intimacy of actually making a physical mixtape.

Much like creating a cut & paste zine, there was something wonderfully tactile about compiling the audio equivalent. Ranging from simple, pen scrawled track listings on a blank cassette insert to the more extravagant and thought out handmade artwork and linear notes, mixtapes were little pieces of art in their own right.

Even though I’ve seen cassette tapes popping up and starting to gain retro cool credibility, realistically, I won’t be rocking a walkman any time soon. Enter 8tracks. I’ve had mad love for this site for awhile, it’s a mixtape for the digital age, curated by real people. I love discovering new stuff via 8tracks, so am going to try and dust off my account a bit and have a go making mixes again. This is the first in a series of monthly mixes – March comes in like lamb this year, nostalgic and dreamy.

Are you on 8tracks? Let me know I’d love to follow you!

Music

Return of the Riot Grrrl – L7 Are Back!

L7- Return of the Riot Grrrl

L7 are badass.

While I may have been running around at 14 looking like a black haired mini Courtney Love in baby doll dresses, plastic barrettes and ripped tights, I counted L7 among my favourite bands.

There was something about them to my teenage self that seemed intoxicatingly dangerous compared to other girl groups. They were strong, fierce women and unrepentant of this. I got the sense that if they wanted to, they could really do some damage.

L7 Are BadassAs a young woman having grown up surrounded by saccharine pop ballads and glossy Seventeen and YM mags extolling the virtues of lip gloss and L.A. Looks gel, the Riot Grrrl movement was like finally being able to breathe after having my head held underwater for so long. Breaking the surface, gasping for that breathe of air you need so badly that it feels like your lungs are being stabbed from the inside/out.

L7 Grunge BandThere’s been a resurgence and interest as of late in the Riot Grrrl scene, and I think a lot of this actually stems from the success of The Punk Singer doc on Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna. It’s kinda appropriate that the charge should come again it seems from Hanna’s direction, given she was very much a pioneer and voice for movement. A new generation are being introduced to Riot Grrrl, and an older generation being reminded of it.

So yes, L7.

There’s been speculation over the past few months as to whether they’d reunite after having been on an indefinite hiatus since 2001. A social campaign has been growing after the following request went out on their Facebook page back in December:

Here’s the situation…
They say to raise a child it takes a village, well to get interest from promoters for L7 to do reunion shows it’s going to take an ARMY. An army of you all. No joke.

L7 Band

Here’s what we need…
We need your continued enthusiasm, your spreading the word by “Sharing” our posts and getting your friends and enemies to “Like” our page.

Well, looks like it worked because news hit today that the original line up of L7 are reuniting with a further string of shows to be announced tomorrow.

AND, for doc loving geeks like myself, a Kickstarter Campaign has just launched in support of their upcoming doc “L7: Pretend We’re Dead“.

AND AND AND it’s being directed by Sarah Price, who produced the fantastic American Movie doc.

This is definitely a Kickstarter to back. For pledging $3,000 or more you and a friend will have a SEANCE WITH L7 to conjure the spirit of Harry Houdini at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood? Uhm!!!?@#&#*(% HELL YEAH.

I am so ridiculously excited that these guys are back together and I’ll finally have the opportunity to see them live.

In the meantime, here’s a little vintage 90’s to tide us all over till then:

Music

Merry Hexmas

Hoping today is absolutely wonderful – whatever or where ever you’re celebrating, wishing you very well xx