Episode 80: Garon Cockrell (Never Not Funny / Pop Culture Beast)

A music lover from an early age, author and screenwriter Garon Cockrell is rather new to the obsessive world of vinyl. Yet, he's fallen deep enough down the rabbit hole to know that his penchant for classic country, modern pop and horror scores -- especially those reissued by labels like Death Waltz, Mondo and Waxwork -- is unlike any other hobby. As a cast member of the pioneering and award-winning podcast Never Not Funny (hosted by comedian and previous Vinyl Emergency guest Jimmy Pardo), Garon talks today about the genesis of his Pop Culture Beast website, why his new love for vinyl came from not wanting to take music for granted and how Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" started the whole damn thing.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 79: Creed Bratton (NBC's The Office / The Grass Roots)

Founding member of classic rock staple The Grass Roots ("Let's Live For Today," "Midnight Confessions"), musician and actor Creed Bratton turns 75 this month, and has seemingly led multiple lives both before and after his departure from the band in 1968: Dude wrangling in California; Working in an electronics factory in Munich; Literally being chased out of an Algerian town; And most notably, playing a far-weirder version of himself during The Office's iconic eight-year run on NBC. Today, Creed remembers his Dual turntable and collection of 45's, the country-western band his grandparents played in, listening to legendary disc jockey B. Mitchel Reed as a kid, the work of the legendary Wrecking Crew, and his sage advice to anyone pursuing their passions. We also discuss his imminent new album While The Young Punks Dance, his upcoming film The Sisters Brothers (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) and whether the Creed of Dunder Mifflin really was "the Scranton Strangler."

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James Laczkowski
Episode 78: Perfect Vinyl Forever

Today's show is all about getting -- and keeping -- your records clean! Perfect Vinyl Forever is a relatively new service based in Wisconsin, determined to restore albums to "better than new" condition through more scientific means than your standard over-the-counter methods. Founder Steve Evans joins us today to discuss the do's and don'ts of commercially available cleaning processes (like brush-and-solution combos and Spin-Clean Record Washers), how PVF strives to improve the fidelity of brand new LP's, the different types of record collectors he encounters, and the joy he gets from working on Perfect Vinyl Forever with his daughters, who also appear on today's episode to discuss their own appreciation for records as well as their feelings as young women in a collector's culture that isn't always inviting or inclusive. If you're in the Milwaukee area, check out Perfect Vinyl Forever's next record cleaning clinic at Ultra Fidelis in Wauwatosa, WI on January 27, and visit PerfectVinylForever.com for more info!

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James Laczkowski
Episode 77: Justin Perkins (Mystery Room Mastering / Bash + Pop)

Having cut his teeth within the small but tight-knit Green Bay punk scene of the early 2000's, Milwaukee-area producer/engineer Justin Perkins gives tips on mastering records both digitally and for vinyl and discusses temporarily joining Screeching Weasel, being in charge of documenting the final Replacements reunion show in 2015, and how trying to change an album's audio mix after the mastering process is like attempting to cook an already-burnt pizza. Visit mysteryroommastering.com for more info on Justin's studio work, and check out BashAndPop.bandcamp.com to hear his recent musical project, backing up the Replacements' Tommy Stinson! 

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James Laczkowski
Episode 76: Lydia Loveless (Live in Chicago)

Ohio-born singer/songwriter Lydia Loveless has been hailed by Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, NPR and Stereogum, with the latter of which declaring her "sophisticated wordplay and gloriously messy emotions the kind of moody Midwestern rock that sounds best around 2AM." Recorded in front of a live audience at Pinwheel Records in Chicago, Lydia performs acoustically and discusses her newest release Boy Crazy & Single(s) -- a collection of previous non-album tracks and covers, released by Bloodshot Records -- as well as early record store memories, being the subject of filmmaker Gorman Bechard's recent documentary "Who Is Lydia Loveless?," and how her recent acoustic tour has allowed her more time to write not only songs, but journal entries as well. Visit lydialoveless.bandcamp.com to download a digital EP of Lydia's live performances from this episode (with all proceeds benefitting Faith Mission Ohio), PLUS check out @VinylEmergency on Facebook or Twitter for our corresponding Spotify playlist to this episode!

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James Laczkowski
Episode 75: Lilly Hiatt

2017's Trinity Lane, the third album from Nashville-based Lilly Hiatt, is a true triumph within the alt-country/Americana genre, from an artist who has not only overcome personal tragedy, addiction and heartbreak, but has done so while standing outside of the musical shadow of her dad, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter John Hiatt. NPR nailed it earlier this year by saying, "Her willingness to portray herself in moments of anger or neediness that others might deem unseemly, particularly coming from a woman, and to examine gender divisions in emotional labor at close range, is courageous and affecting." Today, Lilly talks about digging through vinyl dollar bins on the road, how her turntable played a part in her newfound independence, playing everything from Cat Stevens to Kendrick Lamar while in the van, what her dream vinyl pressing of Trinity Lane would entail, and the romance that blossomed through the recording of her recent Third Man Records seven-inch.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 74: Autumn de Wilde

This week, Autumn and Jim discuss how her shots on iconic record covers for Beck's "Sea Change," Elliott Smith's "Figure 8" and Jenny Lewis' "The Voyager" came to fruition, the comedy albums that she loved growing up, some long-lost photos Autumn took of Jim during a shoot for "Wilco the Album" back in 2009, and how she uses a certain improvisational wildness within her art while ensuring her subject never feels trapped by it.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 73: Dan Didier of The Promise Ring and Maritime

In the 15 years since their break-up (aside from some 2012 reunion dates), singer/guitarist Davey von Bohlen and drummer Dan Didier -- who already had another group together, Vermont, with fellow Milwaukeean and Volcano Choir guitarist Chris Rosenau -- carried on to form Maritime, whose upbeat power-pop never toured as vigorously as The Promise Ring yet has thankfully sustained a longer life-cycle (Maritime's fifth and latest LP is 2015's "Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones"). Currently, Dan has been focused on "Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker," the recently-released, feature-length documentary on the seminal Bay Area punk trio that he co-produced.

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James Laczkowski