Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tempe's indie music stores spinning from digital impact

In an age when digital music is becoming the norm, independent record stores are feeling a squeeze.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the number of digital albums downloaded online in 2007 increased by 54 percent from the previous year, while CD shipments fell by about 18 percent.

But record stores haven't lost the battle yet, because the numbers show the shift to digital is gradual. Full-length CDs still accounted for more than 82 percent of the music products purchased by consumers in 2007, with digital downloads accounting for 11.2 percent.

Hanging on to the notion that some music fans still prefer the physical discs and records to the digital version, four independent music stores in Tempe have specialized their inventory to help them stay in the game.

Vinyl records

In an unassuming strip mall on University Drive, Memory Lane Records has stood the test of time for almost 25 years. It is one of the oldest independent record stores in Tempe, having forged through the rise of digital music and the presence of corporate retailers.

Owner Eric Finn said what makes his store stand out is a focus on vinyl and hard-to-find music selections. "The majority of music stores want to stick to the rock and roll," Finn said. "I don't think they have the same variety as we do."

Finn hasn't dismissed the digital age completely, though. In 1996, he took the store online, where he now makes a lot of his sales. His musical inventory is searchable and contains detailed information about the condition of every record, CD and cassette tape.

While Finn has noticed a small slowing in sales, he said, he doesn't think he'll lose his customer base over it.

"Basically, people are going to go where they're comfortable," Finn said.

Used music

Although digital music is a new struggle for storeowners to deal with, Steve Wiley, co-owner of Hoodlums Music & Movies, said owning a record store has never been easy.

"It's been challenging for indie record stores for 20 years," Wiley said. "The advantages are given to the corporate places, and that's just how it is."

Wiley and co-owner Kristian Luce faced even more challenges last November when the Memorial Union at Arizona State University caught on fire and ruined their store that was housed in the basement. Hoodlums had been a fixture in the MU since it opened in 1998.

When they decided not to return to ASU, Wiley and Luce faced the decision of whether they should even open another store. But in July, Wiley wrote on the Hoodlums Web site blog, "It's a tough business in a tough economy. However, when it comes down to it, this is what we do. After 20 years each in the biz, it's who we are."

Hoodlums opened in its new location on McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road on Sept. 20, stocking the shelves with used music straight from the collections of the owners.

"We respond to the economy and the conditions of our industry by focusing on used," Wiley said. "People should be able to come in and get a good batch of music and not pay a bunch of money for it."

In its new location, Wiley said they've expanded their jazz, blues and world sections and have also increased their stock of vinyl. But unlike Memory Lane, they do carry a large selection of new releases as well.


Eastside Records, a Tempe music veteran for more than 20 years, has seen the ups and downs of the independent music scene. Located on University Drive and Ash Avenue, the store once was doing well enough to expand its space. But then a couple of years ago, it was forced to downsize because of slow sales.

Manager Michael Pawlicki said they're putting everything they've got into the store, despite how quiet it's been there lately.

"This whole economic thing has soaked down to this level," Pawlicki said. "We're working very, very hard these days."

Eastside has always specialized on the underground punk and metal scenes, and Pawlicki said that a specific focus is necessary for small stores to survive in this market. The store has also started selling used equipment, like stereos and turntables, because the resale value is higher than CDs.

Because of the specialized selections, Pawlicki said there's no great competition with the other independent music stores in Tempe. They're all in the same boat.

"Anyone in a small business knows it's not so easy at this point, but we have to try hard to keep our heads up," he said.


On Scottsdale Road north of the Loop 202, London West Records is a haven for electronic music and DJ's. And according to owner Matt Spangler, it's the only store of its kind in the state.

The store first opened as an import CD shop in 1998, and switched to selling only vinyl in 2002. When Spangler realized that the majority of DJ's were using only digital music now, he knew he had to do something different.

"We made a whole bunch of changes and are trying to keep up with the digital age," Spangler said.

The result was a new Web site that he launched this summer, unveiling a one-stop shop for music production and marketing. The store will now provide flyer design and printing, CD/DVD printing and duplication and DJ equipment repair.

But vinyl enthusiasts don't need to worry, he has no plans of getting rid of the records.

"I'll still buy vinyl. I hope to never stop doing that," Spangler said. "The younger kids still buy it, and they yell at me when I don't carry enough."

Spangler, like the other Tempe music store owners, said he hopes that specializing will help his store stay afloat.

"Everything is changing around in the industry," he said. "We're just trying to stay open."

SOURCE: The Arizona Republic

Giving Back to the Community

Local band opens record store

by Connor Adam Sheets | Valley Voice

Visitors to Saturday's In the Street festival in Frederick may have noticed a new music store downtown.

Argyle's Records, the brainchild of two members of Ecstasy the Flower, a band with Middletown and Brunswick roots, and a Frederick friend, opened its doors during the festivities.

The small, well-stocked shop, located at 332 N. Market St., specializes in selling rare and used vinyl records, but also offers a range of cassette and VHS tapes, refurbished turntables and more. Its windows are decorated with strings of old 45s and its walls are plastered with album covers and music posters

Co-owners Chris Wolfe, John Nahwooksy and Jamie Waller got the idea for the store when they realized the worth and appeal of their extensive record collections, which number in the thousands and run the gamut of musical styles, genres and eras.

"Why should I own all the records I've bought and not listen to them when there are other people with the same interests as me who could be listening to them? We're giving back to the community," said Wolfe, a 2003 Middletown High School graduate and Ecstasy the Flower's bassist. "We have everything on record, from Dalton and Dubarri to Wham!, and from AC/DC to Spanky and Our Gang."

Nahwooksy, a 2003 Gov. Thomas Johnson High School graduate and the band's front-man, said he thinks the timing is right for records.

"... Vinyl's making a comeback and we want to be at the forefront of the revolution," he explained.


Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Interesting Punishment

Judge sentences rap music fan to Bach, Beethoven

URBANA, Ohio - A defendant had a hard time facing the music.

Andrew Vactor was facing a $150 fine for playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo in July. But a judge offered to reduce that to $35 if Vactor spent 20 hours listening to classical music by the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.

Vactor, 24, lasted only about 15 minutes, a probation officer said.

It wasn't the music, Vactor said, he just needed to be at practice with the rest of the Urbana University basketball team.

"I didn't have the time to deal with that," he said. "I just decided to pay the fine."

Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott says the idea was to force Vactor to listen to something he might not prefer, just as other people had no choice but to listen to his loud rap music.

"I think a lot of people don't like to be forced to listen to music," she said.

She's also taped TV shows for defendants in other cases to watch on topics such as financial responsibility. As she sees it, they get the chance to have their fine reduced "and at the same time broaden their horizons."

Information from: Springfield News-Sun,

More News from

TP/PO: FALCON “God Don’t Make No Trash” 10″

FALCON “God Don’t Make No Trash” 10″ transparent red vinyl
FALCON “God Don’t Make No Trash” 10″ royal blue vinyl

Drum roll please….this is exciting. I feel like we are making independent music history as this is the only cooperative that I know of that has over 200 members who work together to release vinyl. Sure, major labels have share holders and board members, but all those people care about is making chart topping profits regardless of how shitty the music is. The cooperative on the other hand’s sole goal is to release those incredible albums that have yet to be released on vinyl and I think the vinyl collectiving community will be a better place becaase of it. Thanks to everyone out there who have helped to make this coop exist.

Sorry about the rant, but I am psyched. There will be one pressing of the very rocking debut EP by the Falcon which features Brendan and Neil from the Lawrence Arms, Dan from Alkaline Trio, and Todd formerly of Rise Against. The record will be housed in a 10″ gatefold jacket and be pressed on 2 colors:

333 on Transparent red vinyl
667 on Royal Blue vinyl

Since the 210 unit holders, 10 board members, band and label get copies of the red vinyl, there will only be 40 copies for sale. These will sell out in 2 minutes so please do not be upset if you do not get one. Do not however let that bum you out to the point where you decide not to pick up the blue vinyl as the blue vinyl too will sell out more than likely by next week. Regardless of what color you end up with, this is going to be a highly sought after record.

We are also doing a test press contest for all of you who have ordered the record. Good luck. Records should be in hand by the first week of November.

Indie Vinyl Sales

Ever wonder how sales of Indie artists fair at a Indie Record Store? My friend, Virgil, over at brings us up to speed!

VC’s Top 40 sales for September 2008

1 V/A “All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash” LP half pink/half black vinyl
2 SLAPSTICK “25 Songs” dbl LP clear vinyl
3 V/A “All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash” LP pink w/ black splatter vinyl
4 THE BROADWAYS “Broken Star” LP grey blue marble vinyl
5 JOEY CAPE “Bridge” CD w/ free button, poster, and coozie
6 V/A “Revival Road” LP (w/ Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, and Ben Nichols)
6 TIM BARRY “Manchester” LP black vinyl w/ free button, poster, and coozie
6 FAKE PROBLEMS / LOOK MEXICO “Under the Influence Vol 1″ 7″ turquoise/ white
9 Jawbreaker - Etc. double LP
9 FAKE PROBLEMS / LOOK MEXICO “Under the Influence Vol 1″ 7″ set of both colors
11 V/A “Revival Road” LP (w/ Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, and Ben Nichols)
11 TIM BARRY “Manchester” CD w/ free button, poster, and coozie
13 PORTUGAL THE MAN “Censored Colors” LP purple w/ white and green splatter
15 TIM BARRY “Manchester” LP brown vinyl w/ free button, poster, and coozie
16 V/A “Revival Road” LP (w/ Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, and Ben Nichols)
16 EVERY TIME I DIE “Hot Damn” LP clear w/ red, black, and silver splatter
18 TWO COW GARAGE “Speaking In Cursive” CD w/ free button and cozie
19 JOEY CAPE “Bridge” LP army green vinyl w/ free button, poster, and coozie
20 ALKALINE TRIO “Remains” dbl LP clear vinyl limited edition repress
21 Jawbreaker- Dear You 2xLP
21 GHOST MICE / BROOK PRIDEMORE split 7″ mixed color vinyl (hand#d/Colored)
23 EVERY TIME I DIE “Gutter Phenomenon” LP pink/black half and half
24 EVERY TIME I DIE “Hot Damn” and “Gutter Phenomenon” LPs (all 6 colors)
24 V/A “All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash” LP all 4 color set
26 V/A “All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash” LP pink vinyl
27 TWO COW GARAGE “Speaking In Cursive” LP gold vinyl w/ free button,cozie
28 AUSTIN LUCAS “At War With Freak Folk” 10″
29 THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM “Sink or Swim” LP 3rd pressing purple
29 ALKALINE TRIO “S/T” LP orange w/ white swirl vinyl
31 THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM “Sink or Swim” LP 3rd pressing green vinyl
31 V/A “All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash” CD
31 PINHEAD GUNPOWDER “West Side Highway” 7″ red vinyl
31 DILLINGER FOUR “More Songs About Girlfriends” 7″ blue vinyl (new covers)
35 TWO COW GARAGE Speaking In Cursive deluxe edition 2 LPs,1 CD,pint glass,t-shirt,
35 TWO COW GARAGE Speaking In Cursive deluxe edition 2 LPs,1 CD,pint glass,t-shirt,
37 TIM BARRY “Live at Munford Elementary” 7″ white vinyl
38 USELESS I.D. “Lost Broken Bones” LP tranparent green w/ free button,cozie
38 THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM “Senor and the Queen” 2×7″ clear vinyl
40 BOYS NIGHT OUT “Make Yourself Sick” LP blue/black half and half vinyl
40 TIM BARRY “Manchester” LP limited deluxe edition (2 LPs,1 CD,pint glass,t-shirt,
40 TIM BARRY “Live at Munford Elementary” 7″ set of white and brown
40 ONLY THUNDER “Lower Bounds” LP orange/grey/black splatter vinyl

Release keeps Muscle Shoals legacy alive

By Russ Corey
Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.

FAME records is about to open the doors to its vaults and release some of the classic recordings that helped create the Muscle Shoals sound.

The label, sister company to the world famous FAME Recording Studios founded by Rick Hall in 1959, plans to release other historic reissues, new recordings, and never-before-heard tracks from its extensive archives through a new arrangement with EMI Distribution Co.

"It's been nearly 50 years since my father built FAME Studios, and the music made here is more influential now than ever," said Rodney Hall, vice president of FAME Records and son of Rick Hall.

"Our mission with FAME Records is to keep the legacy of this essential American music alive and show the world that Muscle Shoals still thrives as a music mecca today."

"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" is a fitting inaugural release for FAME.

Read the rest of the article here:

Classic Rock Videos

Jerry Lee Lewis- Great Balls of Fire

Album Cover Art

Continuing our look at the list of the top 50 controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers, we explore #20 on the list


20. The Beatles: Yesterday and Today Why this isn't ranked in the top ten is beyond me, rest assured that this cover caused quite a stir. The original cover -- showing the band surrounded by decapitated, dismembered baby dolls -- created so much controversy that it was quickly replaced a studio photo of the band posed around a foot locker.

Released in June 1966, this album's controversial cover marked the first time that the Beatles' judgment was severely criticised by the media and the public. Nevertheless, the album reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard charts by July 30, 1966 and was certified gold soon after. Apart from the butcher cover, this album is of interest to collectors for the appearance of unique mixes of Revolver-era tracks unavailable elsewhere.

The record was released just after John's infamous interview in which he stated that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus", which angered Americans and provoked many bans on their music and public incinerations of memorabilia. In early 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker had The Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece entitled "A Somnambulant Adventure." For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. The group played along as they were tired of the usual photo shoots and the concept was compatible with their own "black humour." Although not originally intended as an album cover, The Beatles submitted photographs from the session for their promotional materials. In particular, John Lennon pushed to use it as an album cover. A photograph of the band smiling amid the mock carnage was used as promotional advertisements for the British release of the "Paperback Writer" single.

In the United States, Capitol Records printed approximately 750,000 copies of Yesterday and Today with the same photograph as "Paperback Writer". They were assembled in Capitol's four U.S. plants situated in different cities: Los Angeles; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Jacksonville, Illinois. Copies from the various plants may be easily differentiated by examining the number printed near the RIAA symbol on the back; for example, stereo copies from the Los Angeles plant are designated "5" and mono Los Angeles copies are marked "6". Mono copies outnumbered stereo copies by about 10 to 1, making the stereo copies far more valuable today. A small fraction of the original covers were shipped to disc jockeys and store managers as advance copies. Reaction was immediate. The record was immediately recalled. All copies were ordered shipped back to the record label, leading to its collectability. It has been substantiated that the record was indeed for sale in some stores in limited areas, probably for only one day.

Capitol initially ordered plant managers to destroy the covers, and the Jacksonville plant delivered most of its copies to an area landfill. However, faced with so many jackets already printed, Capitol quickly changed course and decided instead to paste a new cover over the old one, cropping the open end of the album jacket by about 1/8 inch to address problems where the new sheet was not placed exactly "square" on top of the original cover. Tens of thousands of these were sent out. As word of this manoeuvre made the rounds, people attempted, sometimes successfully, to peel off the pasted-over cover of their copy of the album, hoping to reveal the original image hidden below.

Copies that have never had the white cover pasted onto them, known as "first state" covers, are very rare and command the highest prices. Copies with the pasted-on cover intact above the butcher image are known as "second state" or "pasteovers"; today, pasteover covers that have not been altered in an attempt to remove the white cover are also becoming increasingly rare and valuable. Covers that have had the white cover steamed or peeled off to reveal the underlying butcher image are known as "third state" covers; these are now the most common (and least valuable, although their value varies depending on how well the cover is removed) as people continue to peel second state covers to reveal the butcher image underneath. In December 2005 a "first state" copy of the album was sold for $10,500.

Then-president of Capitol Records, Alan Livingston, has in recent years confirmed the existence and private sale of twenty "first state" butcher covers, salvaged from his personal collection. These still-sealed pristine items with the controversial cover are the very rarest specimens. The so-called "Livingston Butchers" today command prices of $40,000 and up among collectors.

At the time, some of the Beatles defended the use of the photograph. Lennon said that it was "as relevant as Vietnam" and Paul McCartney said that their critics were "soft". However, not all of them were as comfortable with it. George Harrison commented, "I thought it was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naïve and dumb; and that was one of them." Capitol Records apologized for the offense. Yesterday and Today was the only Beatles record to lose money for Capitol.



20. Blue Oyster Cult: 'Heaven Forbid' Heaven Forbid is a Blue Öyster Cult album released in 1998. It was the band's first studio album in a decade. American science fiction and horror writer John Shirley wrote lyrics for several songs on the album, so the album cover, a half mutilated face and a woman screaming in the background, fit perfectly and certainly complimented the lyrics on the album

Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band formed in New York in 1967 and still active in 2008. The group is well known for three songs: The 1976 single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from the album Agents of Fortune, the 1981 single "Burnin' for You" from the album Fire of Unknown Origin, and "Godzilla" (1977) from Spectres . The band is a pioneer in heavy metal music both for its hard-edged musical assault and its use of sci-fi and occult imagery. They have sold over 14 million albums worldwide.

The name "Blue Öyster Cult" came from a 1960s poem written by manager Sandy Pearlman. It was part of his "Imaginos" poetry, later used more extensively in their 1988 album Imaginos. Pearlman had also come up with the band's earlier name, "Soft White Underbelly", from a phrase used by Winston Churchill in describing Italy during World War II. In Pearlman's poetry, the "Blue Oyster Cult" was a collection of aliens who had collected to secretly guide Earth's history.



20. Orleans – ‘Waking and Dreaming’ What? Makes the worst list with those pleasant male bodies so elegantly pictured? Yep, and I would rate it even higher on my list. A popular myth suggests that the band posed nude for the cover of the Waking and Dreaming album. In fact, they were wearing jeans but the photo was cropped above their waists. Oh, now that makes it better!

Orleans is an American pop-rock band best known for its hits "Dance With Me" (1975), "Still the One" on the album Waking and Dreaming (1976) and "Love Takes Time" (1979). Orleans was formed in Woodstock, New York in February 1972 by guitarist/songwriter John Hall, vocalist/guitarist Larry Hoppen and drummer/percussionist Wells Kelly. In November of that year the group expanded to include Larry’s younger brother Lance on bass. Drummer Jerry Marotta later joined, thus completing the quintet.

Now approaching their 35th anniversary, Orleans continues to play live and record. Their latest studio album, Dancin’ in the Moonlight, was released in late 2005. The current lineup includes Lance and Larry Hoppen, youngest brother Lane Hoppen on keyboards, Dennis "Fly" Amero (replacing John Hall) on guitar and, on drums, Charlie Morgan (best known for his 14-year stint with Elton John). During his 2006 bid for a US Congressional seat, Hall appeared with the group on rare occasions. On November 7, 2006 Hall was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives from the state of New York.



20. Pink Floyd: ‘Atom Heart Mother’ - Atom Heart Mother is a 1970 progressive rock album by Pink Floyd, engineered by Alan Parsons and Peter Bown. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, England, and reached number 1 in the UK, and number 55 in the U.S. charts, and went gold in the U.S. in March 1994. A re-mastered CD was released in 1994 in the UK, and in 1995 in the U.S.

The original album cover shows a very ordinary cow standing in a very ordinary pasture, with no text nor any other clue as to what might be on the record. (Some later editions have the title and artist name added to the cover.) This concept was the group's reaction to the psychedelic "space rock" imagery associated with Pink Floyd at the time of the album's release; the band wanted to explore all sorts of music without being limited to a particular image or style of performance. They thus requested that their new album have "something plain" on the cover, which ended up being the image of the cow. Storm Thorgerson, inspired by Andy Warhol's famous "cow-wallpaper", has said that he simply drove out into a rural area near Potters Bar and photographed the first cow he saw. The cow's owner identified her name as "Lulubelle III". More cows appear on the back cover (again, with no text or titles), and on the inside gatefold.

Somehow, this cover with a 'rump' roast as its feature makes the best list.
I love cows, especially on a bun with ketchup and mustard.