Welcome to March! My blog this month is a compendium of three-dot-style news, reviews, and thoughts: 2020's edition of Record Store Day--Bart's busiest day of the year and a big day for vinyl-lovers worldwide--is set for Saturday, April 18, with Brandi Carlile (pictured above) acting as this year's ambassador. “What independent record stores do is that they mine, archive, love, meticulously care for, and make available to you other people’s dreams,” Carlisle said in her announcement. Watch this space for news of exclusive releases as we get closer to April 18. As always we'll have a list at the counter for you to peruse in advance, with door prizes, drawings, treats for customers and an early opening that day...Want to stay current on the latest trends in the music and concert business? Bob Lefsetz is a music-industry lawyer and media analyst who publishes The Lefsetz Letter, an email newsletter with everything from concert reviews to updates on the latest trends. Lefsetz can pontificate at times and doesn't shy away from politics, but he's on top of what's happening in music and popular culture, and his infrequent mailbags include feedback from well-known musicians and industry movers and shakers. I don't always agree with him, but he's often insightful and definitely ahead of the curve. You can sign up for his free e-newsletter here...On the extremely short list of books about record store culture, British author Nick Hornsby's High Fidelity is at or near the top. The 1995 novel is hugely entertaining and spawned a great 2000 film with John Cusack, Jack Black and Lisa Bonet that stands up to repeat viewing. Now HULU has done a reboot starring Bonet's (and Lenny Kravitz') daughter Zoe Kravitz as the romantically-challenged, fourth-wall-breaking record store owner. Set in Brooklyn, the ten-part series hews closely to the film and book while expanding the story and adding more of a female perspective. Despite a weaker ending than its predecessors, including a finale that doesn't approach the punch of Jack Black's surprisingly soulful rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" at the end of the film, it's still must-see TV for music junkies.
Ever notice how there's no shortage of great songs about Sunday morning, the mellowest time of the week? From The Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" (the first song on their first record) to Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (famously covered by Johnny Cash) to Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning," one could make a strong playlist just using songs with the word "Sunday" in it--and that's not including Maroon 5's and The Commodores' cheesier entrants. I find any Nick Drake record works well in a mellow, reflective setting. Also recommended: Freddie Hubbard's Polar AC, a compilation of some of his best work for CTI...Another great source for tracking trends and discovering new music is Jeff Pollack's Music + Media Group. Where The Lefsetz Letter is just one guy's opinion, Pollack's Essentials provides an ongoing list of articles and links from various entertainment-industry sources about trends in how people use media, along with a weekly playlist of the five most notable new songs across multiple genres. If you're like me and love seeing data about how consumers access music, TV, and film, Pollack provides fascinating reading. You can sign up for his free e-newsletter here...One true sign that you've crossed the line into true obsessiveness about your collection is entering it into Discogs, the world's largest database of music releases. But even if you haven't crossed that line, the Discogs Blog is regularly updated to include lists of the biggest-selling and the most-valuable records (that's right, someone just paid $5,000 for that obscure punk 12-inch limited edition). For updates on all things vinyl, you can read the Discogs Blog here.
A couple of recently announced releases we're looking forward to: Haim's Women in Music Pt. III--featuring a cover shot at LA's legendary Canter's Deli--is out April 24, while Car Seat Headrest (pictured above) will release their next album, Making a Door Less Open, on May 1...One of the big music stories in February was the massive fire at the Banning, California plant of Apollo Masters, the company that makes around 75% of the lacquer plates used for vinyl manufacturing. The industry is unsurprisingly banding together to create short- and long-term solutions that will keep the flow of records in the exploding vinyl space uninterrupted...If you follow our Facebook and Instagram feed, you already know we regularly post vids of new releases and desirable used records we've recently gotten in. For a longer look at everything scheduled to come out by date/format, a great source is Pause and Play...It may be an increasingly digital, streaming world, but there is still no substitute for the superior tactile and aural experience of vinyl. This great piece from InsideHook explains why Millennials--the youngest age group to remember life before the Internet--are still embracing the quality experience that only vinyl can provide.