Kansas City, MO quartet Shiner are seen as giants of the indefinable mathy/space-rock scene, having built a rabid cult following while touring with acts like Jawbox, Hum and more during the mid-90's/early-00's. For the last five years, the band has done sporadic reunion shows in support of pressing their albums to vinyl for the first time, beginning with 2001's "The Egg," followed by "Starless" (2000) and most recently "Lula Divinia," coinciding with that record's 20th anniversary this year. Today, vocalist/guitarist Allen Epley discusses his journey from 70's AM favorites to indie heavyweights like The Jesus Lizard, his current musical role in Chicago's production of the Blue Man Group, recent happenings with his current trio The Life & Times, how the remastering process works for the Shiner vinyl pressings -- plus how Fall Out Boy's Joe Trohman got that reissue campaign going -- and more!
From highly-influential albums like 2001's "The Tyranny of Distance" and 2003's "Hearts of Oak" to his collaboration with Aimee Mann in The Both to the charming, seemingly effortless covers he's laid down in salute to Tears For Fears, The Pogues, Split Enz and more, it's abundantly clear that Ted Leo loves the art of songwriting. Through his kinetic guitar work and a voice that reaches for the rafters, he can jump remarkably from a protest motif to waxing nostalgic, or the 2 Tone movement to power pop, often within the same song.
NEW EPISODE with singer/songwriter Austin Lucas, whose unique backstory in opera, hardcore punk and country have taken him all over the world! We chat about the influence of fellow Indiana native John Mellencamp, his early attraction to "We Are The World" and the La Bamba soundtrack, having an album rejected by his previous record label, why women are too often the villain in country songs, the songwriting career and massive record collection of his father, and much more.
Recorded in front of a live audience at Pinwheel Records in Chicago, we celebrate Vinyl Emergency's first birthday with vocalists/guitarists Chris Broach and Bob Nanna of influential emo quartet Braid! On top of performing three rare acoustic songs, the guys also chat about working with J. Robbins on Braid's iconic 1997 album "Frame & Canvas," what they currently have been purchasing on vinyl, hilarious tour stories, their first introduction to vinyl as kids, the differences in writing and releasing albums now versus during their original tenure in the 90's, their upcoming side projects, and so much more!
If you've read an album review, music article or artist interview in print or online in the last fifteen years or so, chances are you've read Steven Hyden's work. Aside from freelancing for Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Slate and more, he's also been a staff writer for both The AV Club and Grantland, and joined UPROXX as their culture critic last summer. He's also host of the Celebration Rock podcast and author of the fantastic 2016 book Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, which breaks down the history of specific rivalries or beefs within pop music and explains their relation to our daily lives
A longtime employee of indie record store chain Bull Moose in the US Northeast, Chris Brown is credited with having the original idea for Record Store Day, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this April. Also known for his detailed YouTube videos for RSD fans -- often showcasing the physical releases for the first time each year -- Chris discusses the history of RSD and his annually anticipated videos, his early love for classical vinyl, playing in bands and much more!
A seminal power-trio of early-to-mid 90's alternative-rock, Buffalo Tom are fresh off the funding of a brand new album via PledgeMusic, and plotting tour dates this year around the upcoming 25th anniversary reissue of their influential third album, Let Me Come Over. Today, singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz discusses the feeling of having his music on vinyl for the first time, discovering tons of classic 45's that were left behind by his neighbors, the eclectic sounds of 70's AM radio, the democratic nature of Buffalo Tom choosing their album art and earning some cool points with his daughter for getting a song dedication from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.
Instead of a typical Best Of recap episode at year's end, I thought it'd be fun for Cameron Schaefer -- partner and head of music at Vinyl Me, Please -- to return to the show to look back at each of VMP's 12 albums of the month for 2016 and talk about why each record was chosen, the reactions to each release from subscribers and other vinyl fanatics, and what challenges or unexpected awesome surprises awaited them during the process. From Nada Surf to Nina Simone, Big Bill Broonzy to Beck and everything in between, this is a great way to learn more about the how's and why's of the selection process for Vinyl Me, Please which continues to wow long-time collectors and first-time spinners year after year.
Pioneer of podcasting and stand-up comedy veteran Jimmy Pardo joins me this week to discuss his memories of vinyl growing up, working in Chicago record stores, his sales career with MCA Records in the mid-80's, warming up audiences for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and TBS' Conan, and possibly his shortest comedy gig ever, "opening" for Elton John! As host of the incredibly popular Never Not Funny podcast, Jimmy also talks about the fantastic work the show has done for cleft palate charity Smile Train during their yearly Pardcastathon, having raised almost $800,000 since 2009.
In this chat, Jim drops lots of great industry knowledge and we also discuss how ditching his vinyl in the CD era actually led to his career in music, his early and current vinyl obsessions, a funny backstage meeting with The Cure's Robert Smith and why sending fake dog poop in the mail can sometimes work wonders! Check out How To Fix The Music Business however you listen to podcasts or at HowToFixTheMusicBusiness.com, and follow Jim on Twitter @thetrickness.
Derek Jones and Gene Priest -- hosts of the Sharing Needles With Friends podcast -- return to the show to help me go through this year's list of exclusive releases for the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day, happening November 25th. On top of discussing our own relationships with RSDBF and which releases seem worthwhile this year, we also talk about live albums, jazz favorites, whether additional LP's of demos on classic album reissues are worth the extra cost, the recent excitement around the Stranger Things soundtrack, an upcoming Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers box set and more!
It's time for another Collector's Club episode, where we discuss the shopping habits, preferred record stores and unique experiences of your everyday vinyl collector! This time, it's Las Vegas native and current Brooklyn resident Trevor Ingerson from the Record Nerdz Podcast, which you should be subscribing to if you don't already. Today, Trevor talks about how hometown sports began his quest for vinyl, memories of the Las Vegas punk scene, recent digging experiences in Liverpool, that weird time Bob Dylan was on Pawn Stars, Trevor's career in literature and whether there's a link between music streaming and digital books, plus some thoughts on Hum, Mark Kozelek and The Promise Ring!
Benmont Tench, founding member of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, has played on nearly every Petty album over the years -- even the ones not credited to the Heartbreakers, such as Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. His trademark keys are all over classic songs like "Refugee," "The Waiting," "Don't Do Me Like That" and so many more, which you can hear on the recently-reissued Greatest Hits 2LP set, now back on vinyl for the first time in over 20 years, with an alternate cover to boot!
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, rock cellist Gordon Withers became fixated with the Washington, DC music scene early on, making pilgrimages to cities with killer record stores just to pick up new releases from influential bands like Jawbox. Fast forward to 2016, where Withers is now bandmates with Jawbox frontman J. Robbins in Office Of Future Plans -- not to mention a collaborator with BELLS≥, We All Inherit The Moon and The Pauses, among others. He's also known for releasing solo cover albums where the likes of Jawbox, The Joy Formidable and even Pink Floyd's iconic "The Dark Side of the Moon" are done entirely by cello, adding depth and new dynamics to the work he so greatly admires.
If you heard my recent chat with Rocky Votolato, you may remember us discussing a new 7" he appears on as part of the Live On Lacquer series, where artists cover each other's work and do so without any overdubs or tweaking -- all sounds are directly recorded onto acetate as a lathe machine cuts the record's information in real time, before it's sent off for duplication. Today, Levi Seitz from Live On Lacquer as well as Black Belt Mastering joins me to discuss the 7" series, his iconic Scully Lathe, the art of mastering for both digital and vinyl releases, whether there's truth to some of vinyl's biggest buzz words and much more!
When Seattle-based singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato began releasing solo albums in the late 90's -- at a time when vinyl was all but out of the mainstream consciousness -- it was important to him that every single release of his was pressed to wax. Fast forward to 2016, and he's now celebrating the 10th anniversary reissue of "Makers" on Barsuk Records -- his favorite in his discography, and viewed as his crowning achievement among his fans -- with a tour fronting a talented band that gives new thrilling dynamics to that album's intimacy. Downstairs at Chicago's famed Schubas Tavern, Rocky and I chat about his DIY aesthetic, the idea that music isn't truly real until it's on vinyl, sharing records with his brother and Waxing bandmate Cody (who later went on to form The Blood Brothers), motorcycle movie soundtracks, raising his kids on Neutral Milk Hotel, recording a recent seven-inch live directly to lacquer, recording stories with Chris Walla and Casey Foubert, bouncing around between some of indie-rock's most prolific labels, the differences between himself now and the Rocky who wrote and recorded "Makers," and much more! Visit RockyVotolato.com for all his music, social media and current tour dates.
Vinyl For A Cause is a Chicago-based record label based around music being a driver for charitable good. Every release features two bands covering each other on both sides of a limited-edition seven-inch record that'll never be repressed. Each band also chooses a charity of their choice, where a large portion of the record sales are donated to. Joining the show today are VFAC co-founder Adam Victorn and singer-songwriter Jesse W. Johnson, who appears on one of the VFAC's first releases -- a split 45 between himself and Coed Pagent -- expected to be out later this year. On this episode, we discuss the inspiration for Vinyl For A Cause and their partnership with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, both Jesse and Adam's experiences getting their own records pressed for the first time, where they think the vinyl industry is headed, the age of crowdfunding and much more. Plus, Jesse plays "Stand to Smile" -- a new, unreleased song -- live and acoustic! Visit vinylforacause.com and jessewjohnson.com for more info on our guests this week.
Brother O'Brother vocalist/guitarist and Romanus Records founder Chris Banta has been wowing vinyl collectors as of late with incredibly innovative pressings ranging from the world's first four-color, glow-in-the-dark, liquid-filled LP to a recent seven-inch on Fonoflo Records with customized Monopoly money inside. Based out of Indianapolis, the band's creativity when it comes to vinyl -- as well as their frenzied, retro sound -- have recently scored them gigs at Third Man Records' Nashville and Detroit locations, leading to Chris even using one of Jack White's amps during their set!
Visiting from England, one of my best pals Joe Goodbody stops by to discuss record shopping in the UK, the recent Brexit disaster, the Blur/Oasis feud and his dad's days booking bands for Socialist Workers Party benefit concerts in the 70's. As a stonemason at Westminster Abbey -- regarded as the Queen's church and the final resting place for some of Britain's most respected names -- Joe also discusses what it's like to work daily with material that goes back thousands of years and how he's likely the only person alive to have touched Charles Dickens' skull! Follow @JoeGoodbody on Twitter and Instagram, and visit Westminster-Abbey.org for more information.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of alternative guitar-pop hero Matthew Sweet's debut album. His stretch of critically-acclaimed classics from 1991 through 1997 -- Girlfriend, Altered Beast, 100% Fun and Blue Sky On Mars -- delivered some of the most memorable college-radio hits of that decade, mixing sonic ambitiousness with a knack for lovelorn nostalgia and pristine vocal harmonies. Before he hits the road in September for a series of Midwest and east coast tour dates, Matthew talks about his recent Kickstarter campaign to fund his next album Tomorrow Forever, his early memories of vinyl as a kid, his cameos in the Austin Powers trilogy, his days in the Athens, GA music scene and fighting with then record labels about not wanting to appear on the cover of his albums, which leads to the story of how the iconic Girlfriend album cover came to be. Visit MatthewSweet.com for tour dates and album news, and follow him on Twitter @IAmMatthewSweet. Plus, the winner of our Bob Nanna/Matt Pryor seven-inch contest is announced!