Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wax Trax Records – Denver Nuggets #01

638 E. 13TH AVE.
DENVER, CO 80203
CD STORE: 303.831.7246
VINYL STORE: 303.860.0127

Wax Trax Records is, quite simply, my favorite record store.  Period.  Not only does it have an excellent selection of fairly priced audio recordings, but it’s also fiercely independent.  When I was younger, friends and I would plan days around a trip to Wax Trax.  Later on, I lived around the corner and would browse and socialize fairly often.  I still make a point to cruise over to Wax Trax pretty often.  Wax Trax has been through some changes over the years (storefronts, staff, ups, downs) but through it all it has remained a great record store.  Its current incarnation features the Wax Trax I storefront and Wax Trax Vinyl storefront.  The WTI spot features CD’s, DVD’s and shirts.  There is also a cool little stage/venue area where bands perform during special in-stores and weekend matinees.  Wax Trax Vinyl has loads of new and used LP's and 7"s, plus a few tapes.  Being a vinyl nut, this is the place I frequent most.  Although they carry many genres in both new and used conditions, their stock of new rock ‘n’ roll vinyl records (punk, garage, indie, etc.) is a definite highlight.  The other highlight is that Wax Trax is easily the most local band/label friendly store in Denver.  They are always willing to help promote a local band's release, whether popular or smaller profile.  In the age of digital music and downloads, it thrills me to no end that Wax Trax is still thriving.  Be sure to stop by when visiting Denver.  If you live in the Denver Metro area and Wax Trax isn’t a frequent stop, get with it!  Now, let’s check out what my pal and Wax Trax employee Dave Boyo has to say:

Three Random Queries For Dave Boyo Of Wax Trax
 1. What’s the funniest thing you ever told a customer?
 “There was a dude who would wear a gas mask/air filter type mask while shopping.  He came up to the counter to ask a question.  He asks the question while wearing the mask and sounded like an airplane pilot on a radio.  So I asked him ‘aren’t you supposed to say ‘roger that’ when I gave you your answer to your question?’  The other dudes I was working with totally cracked up.  Dude never came back.”
2. What is the most requested used record?
“That’s a tough one.  There seems to be a ‘most requested’ LP for each genre.  The Beatles ‘White Album’ is the most requested overall.”
3. 45rpm or 33 1/3rpm?
“I prefer 45’s lately.  It’s always rad to discover a killer b-side track on an old 45.”

Many thanks to both Dave Boyo and Wax Trax!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

HoZac Records / HoZac Hookup Klub – Willing And Label #01 / Busy Singles #02

HoZac Records is an independent record label based out of Chicago, IL.  It was founded in 2006 and specializes in garage, punk, psychedelic, sleaze-pop and any other kind of fringe rock ‘n’ roll sub-genres you can rattle off.  HoZac (short for Horizontal Action, a zine that pre-dated the label) has been a huge fave of mine over the last few years.  They have a strong catalog that features bands that are mainstays with the label such as Radar Eyes, Heavy Times and Rayon Beach plus a slew of one-off records from bands such as Spider Fever and Gentleman Jesse & His Men.  The label has a strong affinity for vinyl and the first 200 of each pressing is done in a ‘Gold Edition’ that features not only gold vinyl (duh), but 7”s feature alternate artwork from the standard pressing.  Very cool.  The latest batch of releases includes LP’s from Puffy Areolas and The LimiƱanas as well as 7”s from King Louie’s Missing Monuments and People’s Temple.  HoZac also happens to have a fantastic singles club known as the HoZac Hookup Klub.  Each 7” is limited to 500 copies and is only available through a subscription that’s on a first-come-first-served basis at the beginning of each ‘Round’. Recent singles from the Klub have come from artists such as Dan Melchior, Squish, Homostupids and a few others.  The label is quite prolific and shares a spot at the front of the garagey-punk pack with peers such as Goner and Dirtnap.  Todd, the main man behind HoZac, was nice enough to indulge me in answering three questions that you’ll see below.  I plan to wrap up future spotlights in similar fashion.  Much thanks to Todd and go check out HoZac Records if you haven’t already for cryin’ out loud!

Three Random Queries For Todd Of HoZac Records
1. Who designed your 7” center labels?
"That was me, we decided to make a classic 60s looking a-side with a uniform logo b-side and the band name printed both upright and upside down in case you're trying to read it while it's spinning."
2. What is the most annoying thing you have to do for the label?
"Probably dragging endless boxes to the post office, and/or getting our pictures taken."
3. What is your favorite record store in Chicago?
"There's so many good ones, actually, Permanent and Reckless probably get the most votes (and are closest to my place) but there's others like Dave's, Laurie's and Cyclopx that are really good too. When I first moved here in 1996, it was Dummyroom on Grand Ave just west of Ashland that had the best selection, then RAW Records in Evanston took the title around 1997 after relocating from their Voodoo Jive store out in Bannockburn. RAW was probably the best record store I've ever been to, anywhere. It was just this insane selection of everything I was interested in. They ended up selling their entire stock to Amoeba LA when that store was in it's planning stages. I've still never been to a store that would tell you to put stuff back ("ehh, you won't like this," or "this looks way better than it sounds") that you were trying to buy, that was the most sincere customer service I've ever experienced!"
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Radar Eyes - "I Am" by HOZAC RECORDS

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vincas ‘Blood Bleeds’ LP – Brand Spankin’ #05

Released June 2012

Atlanta’s Douchemaster Records has made a name for itself by releasing a strong selection of garage-rockin’ and power-poppin’ records over the last several years.  ‘Blood Bleeds’ by the band Vincas is the latest DMR release and it’s a bit of a departure from their usual sounds.  Vincas, out of Athens, GA, fits a bit more easily under the realm of post-punk.  ‘Blood Bleeds’ is a very galloping and rhythmic album with scathing guitar work and cavernous vocals.  Think Birthday Party or Jesus Lizard and you’d be getting close.  The one thing that makes this album a nice new addition for DMR is that it still feels like a garage record.  ‘Blood Bleeds’ is like a post-punk party as opposed to a funeral.  Vincas does an excellent job stretching out their influences while still maintaining an aura of just plugging in and letting the beer and sweat fly.  It’s a bit reminiscent of mid-era Rye Coalition although I think Vincas has more focus early on.  I am def looking forward to what Vincas will come up with next, but until then I’ll be happily spinning their current album.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Woollen Kits and Jacco Gardner on Trouble In Mind Records – Busy Singles #01

Trouble In Mind continues their outstanding singles series (not so much a series as a way of label life) with two new entries.  Australia’s Woollen Kits brings ‘Shelley b/w Down Your Street’ to the table while The Netherlands’ Jacco Gardner adds ‘Where Will You Go b/w Summer’s Games’.  Woollen Kits’ ‘Shelley’ is a top-shelf charming sing along while ‘Down Your Street’ adds a bit more grit as it strums along in similar garage-y territory.  Mr. Gardner’s tracks are firmly in the new-wave-of-psychedelic vein that TIM has delved a little more into over the last couple years.  ‘Where Will You Go’ is a wistfully beautiful song that weaves in and out of an insanely catchy chimed melody.  ‘Summer’s Games’ is more of an upbeat poppy number that reminds me of some of the Beatles’ more baroque-esque efforts.  These are two fantastic 45’s.  For the collectors out there, the first 500 of each 45 come on randomly mixed color vinyl in a TIM sleeve with download codes to boot.  Add those usual attributes to the list of why TIM is one of my fave labels currently in operation.
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Woollen Kits - Shelley by PressWolfPR
Jacco Gardner - Where Will You Go by PressWolfPR

Retisonic ‘Robots Fucking’ LP – Brand Spankin’ #04

Released March 2012
Retisonic rose from the ashes of post-hardcore luminaries Bluetip in the early 00’s.  After a few musically strong releases it seemed they fizzled away with hardly a peep by 2005.  Well, the dudes decided to resurface this year and give us ‘Robots Fucking’ and I’m sure glad they did.  It's not quite brand spankin' new, but close enough.  Released by Germany’s Arctic Rodeo Recordings, Dischord Records is carrying it stateside.  This album is a full realization of the lean post-punk sound the band strived towards during their more active period.  Angular guitars, crisp drums, tight bass and soaring vocal melodies make this the bands best work.  I’d say it’s a shame this didn’t come out 10 years ago when this sound was more popular, but really it’s like a breath of fresh air in 2012.  The art/packaging is of course classic Jason Farrell.  The jacket and transparent green vinyl come in a mylar-type embossed sleeve sealed by a Retisonic sticker.  Bad freakin’ ass.   ‘Robots Fucking’ is a cerebral album made by a few folks banging and strumming on real instruments.  You know, like in the 90’s.  Thanks for the stunning reminder of how it’s done fellas.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Young Guv & The Scuzz 'A Love Too Strong' 12" EP - Brand Spankin' #03

Released July 2012
Young Guv & The Scuzz is the full band incarnation of Ben Cook's solo efforts under the moniker Young Governor.  Their new EP 'A Love Too Strong' was recently released by Oakland, CA's Southpaw Records.  Ben Cook is a prolific songwriter based out of Toronto, Ontario and splits his time between Young Guv, Fucked Up and a new project called Yacht Club (a Canadian Wham! 2.0 that rules so far).  He was also in the fantastic power-pop juggernaut Marvelous Darlings.  Busy guy.  'A Love Too Strong' has Ben's pop sensibilities in full effect, and The Scuzz are like a secret weapon that have been unleashed to propel these tunes.  Young Guv fans will notice the usual laid back melodic style and chorus-y flange-y guitar work, but The Scuzz is a kick ass band that really makes all the hooks sink in.  Pick up a copy on white vinyl from Southpaw and spin it repeatedly.  Mr. Cook only knows how to write hits, especially as Young Governor, and this EP is no exception.  I certainly hope that we get to hear more of The Scuzz as Young Guv moves forward! 
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Young Guv and The Scuzz - Heal Over Time by southpawrecs

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Miracles 'Mickey's Monkey' (plus a Major Lance Bonus ) - Dusted Off #01

Later pressings separated the Holland brothers' writing credits
My current jam is the classic song by The Miracles, 'Mickey's Monkey'.  This song was an A-side single released on 45rpm 7" by Tamla/Motown Records in 1963.  It was written by the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, as was the B-side, 'Whatever Makes You Happy'.  This record was a rarity for The Miracles since Smokey Robinson and various members of The Miracles were the main songwriters for the group.  'Mickey's Monkey' is such a catchy and off-the-cuff tune, you can feel the spontaneity in it's captured performance.  The Lum De Lum De Lai-ai line gets stuck in my head for hours at a time.  Cool tidbit about the song- The Vandellas and Mary Wilson of The Supremes were among the Motown all-stars that provided additional backing vocals on the track.  There was also a dance in the early 60's called The Monkey, which you can see in full effect in the live-performance video I came across (check out The Supremes doing back-ups, plus the other famous faces dancing).  I also had to add a video of Major Lance performing his hit 'Monkey Time,' which was also based on the dance craze and released the same year.  It's not as famous as The Twist or Picking Up Change, but at least The Monkey yielded 2 all-time great songs! 
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Monday, August 6, 2012

The White Wires 'WWIII' LP - Brand Spankin' #02

Released July 2012
‘WWIII’ is the latest album from The White Wires out of Ottawa, Ontario.  They’ve been one of my fave bands ever since I stumbled upon ‘WWI’ in 2009.  The thing that really gets me about The White Wires is how simple and earnest their tunes are while still maintaining an edge.  ‘WWII’ expanded on the bands trademark garage-pop-punk-with-charm sound, but ‘WWIII’ is where it’s culminated to near perfection.  Hummable and head-boppable from start to finish, this is a serious contender for best record of 2012.  Just listen to the track below and you’ll know what I’m sayin’.  Know what I’m sayin’?  This album was recently released by the hit factory that is Dirtnap Records.  Order from Dirtnap and see if they have any of the white vinyl versions left.  Fun music custom built for repeated back-to-back listens! 
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TAD - History's Mysteries #01

TAD- It's Heavy Shit.  Or so says one of the coolest posters in the history of rock music.  And it's true.  TAD was a band from Seattle that ran from 1987-1999.  The band was named after guitarist and frontman Tad Doyle.  One of the earliest bands on the now legendary Sub Pop record label, TAD owed more of their sound to 70's metal than 80's punk.  They were contemporaries of such bands as Soundgarden and Mudhoney and influenced a generation of bands, including early Nirvana.  Um, also, 'grunge' something-or-other.  Although moderately successful in the late 80's/early 90's underground, TAD never quite broke through to a larger audience.  They faced a lawsuit over an album cover while on Sub Pop and were dropped by Giant Records soon after making the jump to the major label- over a more detailed poster of their album cover of course.  Through it all, TAD remained a very respected band by their peers and I champion the band every chance I get.  Like right now.  If you want to check out TAD, I recommend 'God's Balls' and '8-Way Santa' as starting points.  If you wind up getting into them, the documentary 'TAD: Busting Circuits And Ringing Ears' is a must-see.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cops 'Premonitions + 4' 7" EP - Brand Spankin' #01

Released May 2012
Wow!  This is the hit 7" of the summer for me.  Cops is from Atlanta and this is their first 7" following a demo tape that is apparently sold out everywhere.  Ex-Carbonas members Gentelman Jesse Smith and GG King take time out of their burgeoning solo efforts along with a fellow named Ryan Dinosaur to crank out 5 tunes of swift, blown-out punk rock with just the right amount of pop sensibility.  Jesse handles the vocals and guitar while the other two make up the relentless rhythm section.  This smash release is brought to you by the mighty Rob's House Records.  Get it.  Now! 
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Welcome To Tight Globes! - Tevs #01

Hey there internet cruisers!  Tight Globes is a re-launch of a music blog I started last year.  I was pretty unfocused so now it's time for round 2.  Basically, I L-U-V music and records so this serves as an outlet for me to ramble on.  If you browse to the right you'll notice I've got some categories identified in hopes of having things semi-organized.  Fresh posts will be rolling out shortly.  Hope ya dig!
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