RSD2020 Drop 1 Hits Portland

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I’m taking this first drop of Record Store Day 2020 as a sign of some possible good changes that can happen for the worldwide event. It was postponed once, then re configured to socially distanced in three drops. And a wonderful way to get our minds off the violence here in Portland. 90 + days of strain here and COVID on top of it. It made all of us a bit giddy finally being about to go to an event.

Still The Wee Hours

Yes, it’s the much delayed RSD 2020, postponed and reformed into three drops, the last Saturday of August, September, and October. The split of the RSD only vinyl releases into three drops makes it a thrill for some to come back three times, for me, it was all or nothing on the first drop. Plus, I had other strategies.

It’s 5:00 am on Saturday 29th, 2020. I hit the corner of Burnside where Music Millennium resides (3158 E Burnside St, Portland, OR), a real brick and mortar record shop. Yes, it’s actually brick and mortar. I see a few people milling about sort of in a line, socially distanced. Not too many, is this a good sign? List in hand, I meet the owner of store, Terry, handing out wee passes to stand in line at 9:00. Got a few hours to kill.

Back Up Plans

I had called the smaller shop I go to second on the day, Jackpot Records (3574 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR), and they had a strategy of putting half the stock on line, half in store. I was told they didn’t know how many were coming to physically stand in line. You see, we’re are still on social distancing restrictions and no crowds above 20 people at this point. Many of the shops were afraid they would get shut down by the health department when they had just reopened their doors. So I had the records I wanted the most, bookmarked in the phone, ready to buy in line and pick up later. 

Back at Music Millennium, my pass that I was given amounts to a boarding pass for a record shop. I am to arrive in a lot of 20 people at 9:00. Since my flight doesn’t depart for some time, I catch a few laps at the now infamous Laurelhurst Park, and find a socially distanced coffee stop, read a book, go back to car, read some more. Finally at about 8:45 a.m. I get in the line, standing on my number. People are somewhat confused, we are so used to the camp out.  We start joking with each other, it’s the traditional” What are you hoping for?” The record store workers remark, “Hey, maybe we are onto something. Maybe this is how we should have been doing this.” I have to agree, it’s a lot less stress on the standing in line, not so bad in groups of 20 or so.

I managed to get in during my time slot, it was eerily quiet and standing on taped x, scanning the shelves. Luckily my list I had been encouraged to bring, the one I had obsessively put the pictures of each record and title next to,  worked really well. I was only able to to find three of the records, my top pick of Tones on Tail rerelease of POP, the first time on vinyl since original release, was already gone. Yup, the speculators had been there. I came back with David Bowie’s John I’m Only Dancing Live, the Cure Seventeen Seconds Picture Disc, and Ultravox 12 inch single of Sleepwalk.

I had planned in advance if the other two records had been wiped out, the strategy of both standing in line at Jackpot and having their order page up for that 10 am release, bookmarked Amoeba Records, who had their RSD sole online sale because of moving locations, and several other UK and US online record sites I have bought from before. Sadly right at 10 am, even though I had had it on the ready, both POP and New Order John Peel Sessions had been wiped out, while I was standing in line. I was also on the lookout for the Jamaica Ska collection that seemed to not make it to Portland shops? Sigh. And Amoeba and Rough Trade were crashing.

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On To The Speculation Battle

After begging in the store that they check their back up area, and looking around a second time, I sat in my car and started the now yearly task of trying to  find the UK shops that put up their spare copies at GMT time 7 pm, which with the 8 hour difference it was about that time. Was getting hit with $28.00 to $30.00 shipping fees and gave up. I Twittered with my friends in the UK who were already hunting their EBay copies. The ones I could find were all from the UK and speculation hunters had them on auction already. Never lose hope. I kept looking and finally found a domestic shop in Seattle, WA, Zionsgate, that had POP at price plus shipping. I wondered if it could be true, because Amoeba’s site was crashed, as was Rough Trade and other online shops. I took a chance and ordered it, and sent a message to them via eBay. I got a reply, yes, it had been set aside for me. Well, this was eBay, and well, you know how that can go. So I looked for the website and Googled info on them. Yes indeed, they were a real live shop. So I called, because I had a hunch, a feeling in my gut. I talked to a very nice lad and confirmed that he had set it aside and it was my order, I then asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have gotten any copies of the New Order John Peel Sessions 1982 in?”, “Yeah we had that come in, I’ll check….” He claimed to have a copy, banded it together with POP. The next morning I had a bill through eBay. It’s due to hit our mail facility today at 8pm. Here’s hoping that the disasters at the USPost machines made hand sorting keep it pretty clean.

The Take Away

Overall, I want to thank all of the independent record stores in the US, Canada, and world wide for not giving up on RSD this year. The tradition was started as a way to help support small, independent stores, keep vinyl alive, and in this time of COVID forcing many brick and mortar shops to close for good. Many had to sell RSD strictly online due to local ordinances. Many of the shops have learned that doing the distanced and limited access by ticket, may actually be an overall good thing to do in the future.

Suggestion for next drop in September and next year: Create a website ticket boarding pass the night before online at an allotted time to reserve a space in line. Keeping to groups of 20-30 per hour. It was a lot less stressful for shoppers and employees. Just a thought.

Encourage people to bring lists. There are a lot of covers to look at. 

Stop the speculative buying. Yes, then there is the never ending evil speculator shopping deal. While it looks like this social spacing and some record stores forced to do online sales only kept some of the speculation at bay, it still was a problem. It’s time that RSD worked with eBay to not allow RSD titles to be sold online until a specific date, giving legit record stores time to get their copies up and make it a bit more fair. In some countries they have rules on this, apparently not in the US.

One last thing. Take a stroll to the shops a day or two after RSD. Sometimes records get misplaced in the shuffle or someone decides against a purchase. It may be under the artist in the regular slot the next day. I was strolling through a shop looking for Dead Kennedys and came across a Bob Marley RSD that my friend in the UK had not been able to find. I bought it and asked him if he still wanted it. He was thrilled. And all he had to do was pay shipping, I owed him a record or two favor myself. Pay it forward.

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RSD at HOT POOP Records

Amoeba Issues Apology for RSD Day Downed Servers

NME RSD

Flipside’s Alternative London Tours

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So, after three-plus months of lockin and going through your vinyl collection several times, you are crawling the walls. Looking at the fact that vacation has been curtailed for many people, travel restrictions and concerns over COVID have created a very limited travel situation and forced us to put trips outside the country on hold. So, what can you do? Plan for that really big “the world has opened up again” tour? And since you love music, head for the music cities.

Being a musical fiend, a traditional tour just won’t do. It’s alternative tours for you. If you are starting your next trip in the UK when quarantine rules stop, there are several large cities that have great music scenes. Starting in London, you’ll want to hit up Aidan McManus at Flipside Tours. Flipside Tours features a David Bowie Soho Tour, Strummer Walk Tour, and Westway Walkin Notting Hill. And if you want to get some local insight on what’s going on in the Portabello Road area before you go, start listening to Portabello Radio.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 1.01.44 PMInterview with Aidan McManus

How did Flipside Tours Come about? What drove you to make music tours come about?

Nobody else was covering punk, I thought there was a market for it, I was looking for a new way to make a living.

With the current COVID crisis, tourism has of course shut down. Have you been able to adapt your tours at all, or still in lockdown?

I haven’t done any tours since March due to lockdown.

Have you thought of doing virtual tours as some people are mad for travel, crawling the walls but restricted right now?

I have, and had a little go but it looked shit. 

You have a great digital presence, a great following, and there’s a radio show? 

FlipsideLondon Radio on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/aidan-mcmanus/ and live on Portobello Radio. 

What are some future projects you may be developing, a new tour, or a show?

Always trying to think up new tours, it usually comes to me when I’m not expecting it. 

How do you develop one of your tours?

I only do stuff I’m interested in, so I have the basics and then immerse myself in the subject, it never really stops as you’re always finding new stuff. It’s like The Ramones, don’t worry about how good it is, just get out there and do it and it works or it doesn’t. 

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your tours?

On the show and Glen Matlock, Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible have all walked past while I’m doing it and said hello. 

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Decided to come on a tour?

Joe Strummer’s widow, Campino from Die Toten Hosen, and Micky Gallagher’s daughter.

Is it hard to get information sometimes for research?

Not sure what this means, some books are just unobtainable

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

I’ve been listening to lots of stuff I’d nearly forgotten about and I’m still doing the radio show.

What famous music places and venues have been ‘gentrified’ out that you really wish you could show people on your tours, the way it was?

The Marquee

What blogs, Twitter/Instagram, or Zines are you obsessed with right now?

ReelStreets 

Consumer Questions:

The first record bought? Hunky Dory

How did you listen to new music when you were young? Records

First gig you went to? Bad Company, Earls Court, 1976, it was shit

Favorite bands or artists in your youth? Bowie, Bolan, Sex Pistols, The Clash

What are your favorite new artist/s? Warmduscher, Fat White Family, Sleaford Mods, Eight Rounds Rapid

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately? None

Favorite music venues? The 100 Club

Music venues you are dying to go to? The 100 Club

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What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? Hendrix, The Pistols in 1976 

If money were no object, who would you go see and where? (If you were the booking agent) Not really sure

 

Plan your emergence from the chrysalis post-COVID.

New York, NY

https://walkonthewildsidenyc.com/

Glasgow, Edinburgh Scotland

https://glasgowmusiccitytours.com/

Liverpool, UK

http://liverpooletc.com/a-walk-through-the-city-liverpool-music-tours/

Manchester, UK

https://manchestermusictours.com/

POWERPOP: Are You Children of The Revolution?

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Why yes, we all are. Now more than ever! With this past month of finally crawling slowly out of the pandemic shell shock on varying levels, it’s good to keep looking and listening for that bit of happenstance pandemonium that will keep you going. You know, uplift your spirit when the politics are on serious scary retro revolution mode. What better place than to hit up Simon Philo’s shows, Children of the Revolution on Radio Free Matlock (UK) First Thursdays, and The Sweet Spot, bi-weekly on Stranger Radio in New York. He’s also agreed to clue us in on the music of Pop in Society! Oh, yes he actually does teach a course on this very subject, talk about a dream teaching job. OH, not to forget, he wrote a book on one of my favorite periods, GLAM!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pop_society

The Interview

What possessed you to create not one but two radio shows?

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Always been obsessed with all kinds of pop music. I always wanted to find ways of channeling this life-long passion into something tangible.  Used to make ‘radio shows’ as a kid – which only my long-suffering parents got to hear besides me.  In my job as a university professor of American Studies I made it my ‘mission’ to include music on my classes wherever possible.  Eventually got to write a couple of music books – see below. In 2017 I started teaching a degree course in Popular Music in Society – the only one of its kind in the UK. But, despite all this, I still wanted to do more ‘pop business’, and when my wife spotted that a local internet radio station – Radio Free Matlock – were open to show proposals, I took the plunge.  In January 2019, after a 40-year wait, I finally realised my childhood dream and got to present the first episode of Children of the Revolution – a show that plays tracks from any and every genre from between 1969 and 1982. And then in July of that year, I also started my powerpop show The Sweet Spot on the NY-based station, Stranger Radio.        

Untitled design (1)What are some future projects you may be developing?

Nothing cast-iron right now.  Only been doing the radio work for 18 months.  But I would like to find ways of building the Pop Society ‘family’ of shows. Watch this space!

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your broadcast full of great content? 

Time, or the lack of. Full-time ‘proper’ job, family-life, grown-up stuff, etc. 

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing and shows? 

Met a very drunk Marco Pironi at the Louder Than Words music and literature festival in Manchester a few years back.  I’d presented the case for glam rock in a mock ‘heavy-weight boxing bout’ that pitted glam against prog, and unbeknownst to me Marco and his missus were in the audience.  As we went for a post-match beer, I was introduced to Mr. Pironi, who it turns out was very pleased that glam had ‘won’ and also made it very clear that failure on my part was not an option!  I also met punk icon Jordan at the same event. Although not at the venue but in a local Pret A Manger, where we both reached for the sole remaining sandwich at the same time.  I graciously deferred to her, and we proceeded to have a very pleasant chat about the Pistols, Adam Ant, the chaos post-Grundy TV interview, etc. Charming lady.

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Listened in to your show? 

Bobby Bluebell (Robert Hodgens) listens in, and in fact kindly donated a live Bluebells’ cover of ‘Three Imaginary Boys’ for a fund-raising LP RFM put together last year. (Although copyright issues meant that, sadly, it didn’t make the final cut.) I’ve also had ‘likes’ from Nick Heyward, Steel Pulse, and Midge Ure – all of whom appear to handle their own social media accounts.  My powerpop show plays plenty of new music, and as a result featured bands from both sides of the Atlantic, e.g. Transonics, Garlands and Project Revise, ‘follow’ me and listen in.    

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected? Any adaptations you want to share? 

I’ve continued to work full-time, delivering classes, etc on-line.  So, I’ve been as busy as usual, if not even busier. I have though put my recently acquired broadcasting ‘skills’ to good use by turning lectures into podcasts. Working from home has meant I listen to music pretty much 24/7. And because they have been building a new house next door, I’ve been grading papers with headphones on to cancel out the noise!     

What media, blogs, or Zines are you obsessed with right now? 

I don’t watch TV. So I am always on the look-out for great radio or podcast content.  My current favourite podcast is The Bugle. 

Where can people discover your media or publication?

Children of the Revolution can be found on radiofreematlock.co.uk (and via Alexa, Simple Radio app, smart radios) – first Thursday of every month, 8-10pm (UK)

The Sweet Spot can be found on strangerradio.com – fortnightly on Tuesdays, 9-11pm (UK) 

Books British Invasion: The Cross-Currents of Musical Influence (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) Glam Rock: Music in Sound and Vision (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)

Writer and Radio Show Host as consumer questions:

 The first record bought?

 Sweet, “Teenage Rampage” (1974)

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

Radio (Radio 1, Radio Luxemburg)

Vinyl and cassette

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear? Did you pick up gear (Badges, teeshirt, posters, setlist, still have ticket stub?)

U2, January 1983 at the Birmingham Odeon. I went with some school friends.  Picked up a ‘War’ Tour sleeve-less (?!) T-shirt.

 Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

 Boomtown Rats were my first love. Then, in my late teens, got into the Cure, the Smiths and Psychedelic Furs

 Your favorite new artist/s?

 Kurt Baker – not new, but new to me!

 What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

 Scottish Post-Punk (@ScotsPostPunk) 

Favorite music venues?

De Montfort Hall, Leicester. Birmingham Symphony Hall.

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? 

T Rex in 1972. 

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Buzzcocks Reunion LP at Cherry Red Records

I got my BUZZ Splatter yesterday in the mail! Cherry Red Records has released a previously unreleased reunion record demo from the band from 1991. It’s a great little number with a great feel for nostalgia and a great way to remember Pete Shelley.

Watch out, they will sell you anything and everything they can.

The band had disbanded in 1981, and reformed in 1989. They worked on a demo and released a demo cassette that went into circulation in 1991. It features demo tracks and songs that appeared on later records, some of which were not heard until now. That punk energy never left.

Order: Buzzcocks: The 1991 Demo Album, Black & White Vinyl LP
Buzzcocks

TRACK LISTING
SIDE ONE
1. DREAMIN’
2. ALIVE TONIGHT (This One!)
3. NEVER GONNA GIVE IT UP
4. WALLPAPER WORLD
5. SUCCESSFUL STREET
6. WHO’LL HELP ME TO FORGET

SIDE TWO
1. SERIOUS CRIME
2. WHY COMPROMISE
3. LAST TO KNOW
4. RUN AWAY FROM HOME (Another good one)
5. SEARCHING FOR YOUR LOVE
6. TRANQUILLIZER
7. WHEN LOVE TURNS AROUND YOU

Also, they have released a whole bunch of music from the last 30 years, just about everything!

Buzzcocks: Sell You Everything (1991-2014) Albums, Singles Rarities, Unreleased, 8CD Boxset
Buzzcocks

160 tunes! If you are a big fan, keep yourself busy and dancing.

The Show Got Cancelled

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die Exhibit New York

 

Bauhaus News: New Tour Dates and COVID-19 Charity Shirt

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It was with great excitement earlier this last year that Bauhaus reformed for a few gigs. Several have been canceled or postponed to later dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with many other acts.

Have no fear, or do, it’s Gothy, Bauhaus to the rescue! They have created a fundraising tee shirt to help benefit COVID charities. Great for all of you dying to add another Bauhaus tee to the coffin. Here’s the official information:

Available at HIFI 24/7 Fidelity Entertainment

https://hifi247.com/bauhaus/bauhaus-hope-t-shirt.html

UPDATE: If you are outside the US, please try for better UK shipping rates at MUSIC GLUE.

https://www.musicglue.com/bauhaus/products/hope-t-shirt for better international shipping rates. 100% going to COVID charity and each band member  choosing a charity.

2021 Tour Dates

Bauhaus has just added a spot at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2021 June 2-4. Check out peter Murphy’s site for  updates as postponed concerts in the US and world get re-scheduled for 2021.

https://www.petermurphy.info/

David J Facebook David J

David Haskins

Daniel Ash

 

 

 

Welcome to UNAMERICAN Radio, Mike Hunt’s Fantastic Blast Into The Past

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Birds of a feather meet on Twitter together? Nevermore so than when digging deep into my youth and trying to get back that fabulous feel of college radio that propelled me into my love of alternative music, and post-punk, I stumbled upon a fantastic resource account on Twitter, @ScotsPostPunk. Fabulous music tastes, a lot of Scottish post-punk, funk, Ska, post-punk music, and managed mayhem. I had always had a hard time accessing this kind of music on vinyl here on the US west coast in the late 70s and early eighties, so glad to revisit it with Mike and his followers. Be careful, he’s the pied piper of the internet airwaves.

After getting to know Mike a bit over some months and chatting with him during one of his shows, I told him my sorry tale of trying to get to Scotland in 1982 to buy some vinyl when I was a kid on my first trip to the UK, and getting thwarted by a huge wind storm (train shut down). He surprised me with some extra copies he had of some independent Scottish music in the post and has helped encourage my fiendish addiction to vinyl since. Don’t ask about the last vinyl purchase! He blames the cat. I think we vinyl fiends tend to bond, especially when our partners and spouses just shake their heads at the obsession. “What, another color vinyl record??? Oh, is that Joy Division?” Hide the shipping box, now.

Mike has a fabulous radio show on Strangerradio.com called UNAMERICAN Broadcasting that just had its 50th by-weekly radio program. To celebrate, Mike put together 100 songs, which he had to split over two episodes. I asked him to tell us about his musical passions and how he got this show, featuring his vast collection of attic vinyl. And hopefully, his wee cat Monkey Man may start spinning along with. Now there’s a radio mascot, because cats don’t just hit drums.

Interview With Mike Hunt UNAMERICAN Radio

Name:  Scottish Post-Punk 

Twitter @ScotsPostPunk

Catch UNAMERICAN Radio Show on Strangerradio.com

https://www.strangerradio.com/unamerican-broadcast

What possessed you to create the SP-P social media feeds?

I set up the Facebook presence after a conversation with a friend who knew I was behind several other artist-related official/semi-official/official pages (Josef K, Fast Product, Orange Juice, Paul Quinn, Bourgie Bourgie, etc) and suggested that if anyone should set up a Scottish Post-Punk page, it was me!

You just had your 50th show of UNAMERICAN Radio, did you think you’d get to this many shows?

No, I thought there was 10 shows in me. After the second hour-long show I upped it to two hours and often go over that!

And…how long did it take to put the what became a two-part show together, for episodes 50 and 51?

On paper, it took less than an hour to list probably 60 acts I wanted to play. That gradually rose to 72. It took another hour, or so, to choose what tracks to play.  Another couple of hours to pull it together and record and then had to split it down the middle. So the next show is almost good to go!

What are some future projects you may be developing? 

I have a semi-secret pet project for Josef K that (probably) won’t happen; I’m involved with Scars Author! Author! album reissue and a top-top secret one I can’t tell anyone about (only 10 people know about it)!

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your Twitter/FB full of great content?

Just when I feel the well’s drying up I come across some great new content, or “meet” someone who has a treasure trove of memories and photos. It looks like I can continue to annoy followers for some time to come. 

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing? 

I’ve met Malcolm Ross of Josef K, Dave Carson & Mike Barclay (Boots For Dancing), Paul Research (Scars/Voicex), Russell Burn of Fire Engines/Win – all of them lovely people!  

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? 

Chuffed that Paul Haig, Lloyd Cole, Ian Rankin, The Bluebells (Ken & Bobby), Boy GeorgeGrahame Skinner, Cornershop, Steve Diggle, Monochrome Set (and others) all follow my feed.

DD and SPP

What was the hardest article to get data for and why was it so important?

I tend to publish whatever is available, or takes my mood and have no set agenda for content, other than for updates where I may have some involvement.

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

I’m lucky to be able to do my day job from home via the magic of Internet connectivity.  We start our day by going for a 6AM walk – anything between 2 and 4 miles, then get ready for the day – my 30 second commute to my office is a particular joy!  I listen to vinyl occasionally, but am mostly playing music from my computer (locally ripped albums, Internet radio – strangerradio.com obviously – and streaming services). Playing old favourites or new (to me) artists has been an uplifting experience.  Luckily Mrs. Hunt and I are fairly anti-social, so have adapted really well to this new normal.

If someone approached you to do a live show, like at local college radio, would you do it? Perhaps partner up with a young broadcasting student?

I’d be happy to – not sure that I have the presenter skills though! The musical taste (in my view) and knowledge (to an extent) maybe…

What blogs or Zines are you obsessed with right now?

Enjoying punkgirldiaries.com Twitter and old style ‘zine. @razurcutsmag (also on Twitter) have an old style paper magazine and is a good read.

Where can people discover your media or publication?

https://twitter.com/ScotsPostPunk or https://www.facebook.com/scottishpostpunk (and a dozen or so other band or label related pages)

The Blogger and DJ as Consumer OJ T-shirt

The first record bought? 

Neither of them cool…

45 rpm: Rolf Harris – Two Little Boys 

33rpm: Geoff Love and His Orchestra play Big War Movie Themes

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

A mono Philips cassette player – tapes bought mail order from The Britannia Music Club. That’s when I got all trendy, hip, and groovy… 

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear? Did you pick up gear (Badges, teeshirt, posters, setlist, still have ticket stub?)

Genesis (with Peter Gabriel) playing the entire The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album at Usher Hall, Edinburgh in April 1975. I went with my older brother. I bought a t-shirt and programme – still have the programme, but not the ticket stub. 

Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

Early Genesis, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stones, Who, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Nazareth, Average White Band, Stevie Wonder 

What are your favorite new artists?

Mysterines, Honeyblood, Walt Disco, Snuts, Catholic Action & Voicex, amongst others. 

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

Same as blogs above, really. There are some Twitter feeds/Facebook pages that engage periodically.

Favorite music venues?

Nite Club, Valentino’s, Clouds/Coasters, Astoria, Tiffany’s, Odeon (all closed); Playhouse, Queen’s Hall (all Edinburgh); Apollo (Glasgow); Marquee (London)

 Music venues you are dying to go to?

CBGB’s; Harlem Apollo; Max’s Kansas City

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? 

Prince, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Stevie Wonder (backed by Parliament/Funkadelic) at the Harlem Apollo, please.  Or Frank Sinatra at the Sands.

Check Out Mike’s Sites for Fans of Post-punk

UNAMERICAN Broadcasting

Rock Against Racism

Orange Juice Band 

Boots for Dancing

Post-Punk Radio Station

Josef K Official

Bourgie Bourgie

Paul Quinn and the Independent Group Official

Jazzateers

Keeping it Fun With The Cat & Drum

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 3.27.35 PMWe’ve all been suffering withdrawals for a nice, intimate fun DJ nite at our local small clubs, pubs, bars, and taverns. As some countries and states start slowly inching to Phase 1 of getting back to life as we sort of knew it, many DJs and musicians have been using social media to have Tiny Kitchen concerts, Zoom in be-ins, and hosting small turn-your-abode-into-dance-party celebrations with playlists and Zoom Rooms while people dance. Break out the Cosplay and other fun silly costume bits and dance.

One such small social club is The Cat & Drum Social Club, which of course lately has been running under Social Distancing mode. The wee club has been operating out of Manchester City area of the UK, and several great venues, and I caught up with Liam to ask him about how he got going on this little adventure and how he’s adapted to our new norm. If you are in the UK, or even if not, check out their sites for fun ideas and music sharing. Eventually, we can travel responsibly to the UK again soon.

 

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Interview With Liam of The Cat & Drum Social Club

Catch Liam Moody on Twitter and Facebook

All photography by Liam Moody

@CatAndDrumSC

Cat & Drum on Facebook 

Gig photography here

What possessed you to create a social club and DJ fun time, and juggle the other aspects of writer and photog?

I’ll split this one up into the separate parts so I’m not tripping over myself. The DJing came about because I used to do it at a nightclub in Preston when I was at university there- I was brought in to do the indie/alternative/retro night on Saturdays at a club called Blitz. After the original site closed and Blitz moved/remodeled, I’d left it alone for a while, until they asked if I could come in at short-notice to do a set for an afterparty after an Evil Blizzard gig. It went really well and I had a lot of fun, so after chatting with my amazing friend Sam she encouraged the idea to pursue it further, and even designed a logo based on the kitten drawing that Postcard Records used to use, keeping a DIY mentality to it all. The general philosophy is that we’d just play music we’d listen to if we were just hanging out at home- indiepop and post-punk, mainly- and if other people liked it and wanted to dance too, all the better. We had a couple of false starts due to venue double-booking and a couple of other problems, but we got a huge helping hand from a grunge/alternative rock night called Zero Club who brought us in as a feature, as I’m also a big alternative rock/college rock guy and Sam is into riot grrrl, so we fit in with their ethos. After an attempt at running a night at a venue in Manchester called YES, they asked if I fancied a monthly slot, and then alongside that The Night & Day Cafe became interested in bringing Cat & Drum in too. We’ve also guested at clubnights for Let’s Make This Precious and their sister show Super-Electric, which are always great fun!

The writing and photography came about almost by chance- I’ve not got a journalist background at all, but I’ve had a bit of experience writing stage comedy. I got a message out of the blue asking if I would be interested in reviewing a gig for Manchester event website BagThing (Events and Shows), and thankfully they liked my work! From there, I was approached by Liverpool-based Sounds From Nowhere and then Louder Than War. I’ll be honest, there’s a good chance that I only get work because I’m something of a novelty, shooting gigs on film in a really unusual way using long exposure times and color-gel flash (with no post-production or editing) creating all kinds of strange shots that can’t really be replicated any other way. I found my gimmick and I’m sticking with it! I love being asked (or asking) to work for up-and-coming independent artists as well as getting to write about/photograph some of my all-time favorites!

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You have a great digital presence and a great following, what made you want to do an old skool ‘Zine? 

It’s actually something that I’ve chatted with Sam about, who has a background in graphic design and used to make her own zines. I’ve thought a couple of times about self-publishing a photozine, because I’ll go through a full reel of film at a gig but only a handful of photos will get used for the review- so I’d love to have a way to showcase the ones that don’t make the cut!

What are some future projects you may be developing?

Right now I’m just hoping that the momentum I’d managed to make over the last few months will still be around once things start to resume, with both the DJing and writing aspects. I also make music with some analogue synthesisers and drum machines under the name The Mode 7 Project– I’ve played a handful of gigs but I want to eventually record some of the stuff I’ve worked on- most likely on cassette because of the a-e-s-t-h-e–i-c.

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your blog/FB/Zine full of great content?

With nothing to show and nothing to advertise for the foreseeable, it’s quite hard to come up with any content at all. There’s been a definite switch from Facebook over to Twitter, where I can just put a quick post up showing what record I’m playing, or join in on conversations about music. It’s a way to connect to the outside world, which is so important right now.

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing or DJ gigs?

My favorite meeting was Martin Moscrop and Jez Kerr of A Certain Ratio- I was asked if I could do press(meet) for A Certain Ratio’s 40th anniversary mini-festival in Manchester, and a couple of days before got asked if I’d be interested in interviewing the band as well as doing photos. Never done an interview before so had no idea what to ask or anything- thankfully Jez was great to chat with! I still see both of them now and again in Manchester and get to have a bit of a chat- one time getting incredibly nervous as they came into the bar when I was DJing, and even came over to say hello! I was in Tokyo over the New Year for WrestleKingdom while they were over there playing a couple of gigs- turned out they were staying in a hotel in Shinjuku literally next door to where I was, and we were amazed that we managed to never cross paths at a grocery store or a coffee shop or wherever!

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out?

I got stupidly excited to learn that King Edwyn (Collins) follows us on Twitter! Like our name and logo suggests, that’s a huge deal!

What was the hardest article to get data for and why was it so important?

Because it’s so important to get articles written and uploaded while still relevant, I try and at least have my review emailed across to an editor within 24 hours- enough time to develop the film, choose the shots to send etc. Sometimes I like to add references and quotations from books or movies that I like and feel relevant, so it can be a pain skimming through various books trying to find a quote that I’ve possibly misremembered. I wrote a review of Drab Majesty that was bookended with extracts of The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis, but I couldn’t remember the exact passages I wanted to use, so it became a race to find the book, quickly skim through it to find the quote I was looking for, copy it down and then hope that it didn’t derail the piece entirely. Thankfully it all worked!

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected? 

…honestly? It’s been a huge struggle. I live alone in Manchester in a small studio flat- my mom lives on the other side of the UK and is isolating due to immune system issues, while my girlfriend (hi Steph!) is over in Portland and I’ve already had to cancel a visit out there to see her. I’ve been working my (stressful, monotonous and thankless) office day job from home, but without anything else, anything to make it worthwhile- gigs, pro wrestling, seeing my friends and hanging out, even just having a wander into town and have a look in the record stores or comic book stores or going to the gym to zone out on a treadmill listening to music for an hour- it becomes so hard to keep going, to find hope that things will ever get back to how they were. I’ve taken to playing pretty much every record I own while working, sometimes showing them off on Twitter, just as a way to try and stay connected with the outside world. It’s hard. I shouldn’t whine or get down about it because I know that so many people are in far, far worse situations, but it’s difficult to find positives.

What blogs or Zines are you obsessed with right now?

One of the most interesting video series I’ve come across is The New British Canon by Trash Theory, who explore some of the most important songs and artists in the post-1976 pop music landscape. They are incredibly well-researched and go in massive amounts of depth without feeling over-academic, and using interviews and archival footage of the bands they talk about is always a big plus! Oregon Zoo has also been a huge stress-reliever, being able to watch the animals- if they aren’t decked out with Nacho The Penguin merchandise once they open back up I’ll be very disappointed.

Where can people discover your media or publication?

The main places are on Facebook and on Twitter- both are @CatAndDrumSC. The reviews and photos can be found at BagThing.co.uk, soundsfromnowhere.com and louderthanwar.com. Hopefully when things get back to normal, you’ll be able to find me playing records at YES or at Night & Day Cafe in Manchester.

As a Consumer

The first record bought?

Bought myself? I honestly don’t remember- if I was to take a guess, it was probably one of the old Shine compilations. Shine were like the britpop/UK indie equivalent of the Now That’s What I Call Music! series during the mid-to-late 1990s that seemed to vanish without a trace once britpop disintegrated away.

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

I used to read NME and (if I had a little extra cash that week/month) Q magazine, and every so often they would talk about a band that jumped out at me like The Raveonettes, Glasvegas and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart in particular- bonus points if the magazine came with a free CD!

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear?

First gig I went to Runrig at Stirling Castle in Scotland with my parents in 2003. Think a bilingual, slightly more politicised Big Country and you’re not too far off. The first band I reviewed was Erasure at the Apollo (filling in for a friend who couldn’t make it), and the first I photographed was Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs at Soup Kitchen in Manchester.

Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

One of the most important for me was seeing Sonic Youth on Later With Jools Holland. This was my equivalent of seeing Bowie doing Starman on Top Of The Pops. These 5 ordinary-looking people making all these weird noises, tuneless yet melodic and catchy, everything looking so cool and effortless. From there I got into the likes of Pavement and Pixies, both of which led to The Wedding Present (who to this day are probably my favorite band ever), and from there it branches out into indiepop and alternative/college rock. I’ll also fully admit at a solid 60% of the stuff I like and DJ with actually comes from my mom, who’s a big new wave/post-punk/synthpop fan- I got my love of Blondie, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, (early) Simple Minds, OMD etc from her.

What is/are your favorite new artist/s?

Right now I’m obsessed with the Italians Do It Better label, and I haven’t shut up about either Drab Majesty or Black Marble for at least a year now. Current favourite album of the year is The New Abnormal by The Strokes but this may well change. I’ve also been collecting the Optic Nerve reissues of cult indiepop singles from the mid-80s, all on beautiful colourful vinyl- there’s a fun mix of more well-known bands like The Wedding Present and The Primitives, alongside more semi-obscure acts like Meat Whiplash and The Revolving Paint Dream– they’re all worth tracking down.

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

Tim Burgess’ listening parties have been nothing short of wonderful. Chopstick’s Twitter Top Fives are a daily staple, along with Memorial Device, and @RichardS7370’s weekly best-of-the-year lists are always fun to join in on Fridays. It’s fun seeing other people’s thoughts and favourites about music or movies- sometimes not even actively participating, just reading through and seeing people enjoying themselves.

Favorite music venues?

So many! Night & Day Cafe, YES, Soup Kitchen, The Ritz, Albert Hall, Deaf Institute, The Peer Hat, Band On The Wall, The White Hotel…

Music venues you are dying to go to?

The first that comes to mind is Barrowlands in Glasgow, but there’s probably so many! In the same way that there’s so many venues I want to see a wrestling show in (my other hobby is travelling around the country/world watching pro wrestling): the Globe Theater in LA, the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, York Hall in London…

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed?

One gig? LCD Soundsystem, Madison Square Garden, 2011- The Long Goodbye. I know that I would be a sobbing mess by the end but it would be worth it. ‘Losing My Edge’ is very nearly the C&DSC mission statement, while  ‘All My Friends’ is one of the saddest, most beautiful songs ever written- it’s a staple of a Cat & Drum DJ set and it’s kinda cathartic to scream along with it from time to time. Plus you can jump into ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads immediately and it works perfectly. Trust me.

If money were no object, who would you go see and where?(If you were the booking agent)

How much would it take Talking Heads to reform? However much that would cost, plus Blondie, plus James Murphy DJing in between if he wants to? Maybe check the NHL and NBA schedules, see if Madison Square Garden is free on a Saturday- if not, maybe give Radio City Music Hall a call…? The more you think about this kind of thing, it quickly gets out of hand!

Lene and Vim Go Crazy With Punkgirldiaries Blogzine Vol 1

Razur Cuts ‘Zine With Derek Steel

 

 

They’re Back! Jackpot and Exiled Records on Hawthorne Open

IMG_4813I can’t tell you how many times in the last two months I have driven or walked by Exiled Records (4628 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) and Jackpot Records (3574 SE Hawthorne Blvd), two boutique record shops here in Portland, and sighed. The curse of COVID-19 has kept a favorite Sunday pastime, to have a bit of coffee, go for a stroll, and then go thumb the bins at the shops. I know you have been missing it too. Wells here’s back to the new normal.

I have had concerns, like many in Portland, and the world for that matter, if this might be the demise of the independent record shops. COVID-19 lockdowns have shuttered many a business. Despite the last three years of vinyl and independent record shops making a comeback, many more have been crushed by the weight of high rents and a large inventory of, let’s face it, passion merchandise. With restrictions on only necessary stores being open, those with services usually for food, all other small shops had to shut down and lay off workers.

Most record shops turned to online sales, which many of them do on a regular basis with Discogs and eBay back up sales, as their main source of income. Many of the local shops that were larger, such as Millenium Music, started doing curbside pickup with phone sales. Well, at least some of them survived. I saw the neon open signs for Exiled last week, but I guess I was in a stupor, denial. Naw, that can’t be true? Then today I walked up to Jackpot and the door was open, there were rules for shopping boards. I had my mask and whipped out my nitrile gloves. I totally got my mind off of Portland in lockdown curfew days.

Thank you for managing to stay alive guys. My Sundays are getting back to normal.

And Record Store Day lists revised comes out later today. https://recordstoreday.com/Home

The UK Release List

Exiled on Facebook

(503) 232-0751

Jackpot on Facebook

(503) 239-7561

 

 

Lene and Vim Go Crazy With Punkgirldiaries Blogzine Vol 1

punkgirldiaries

Lene Cortina and Vim Renault

There no doubt about it, Lene Cortina and Vim Renault, came pummeling in the music blog scene with their tenacious drive for articles about women in punk, what is punk, and celebrating women musicians. For these two, punk was never going to be dead. I first starting following them on Twitter promoting their blog, Punkgirldiaries, and discovered a force of nature and DIY spirit that refuses to die.

So Kapow!! It’s on to the quintessential blog of Punk GIRLS, celebrating all women singers and musicians that were, and still are, part of the punk movement. Lene and Vim even delve deep into what defines punk, or just celebrate female artists that personify punk. Whether you are old skool fans or new, see what inspires women to keep playing and being punks. Punk is a state of mind after all, isn’t it?

I caught up with them, very socially distanced, and asked them if they would talk about where they have been, what they are doing during the lockdown in the UK, and future projects.

 

Lene Cortina 1983 RailcardCROPInterview with Lene Cortina and Vim Renault

You can find Lene and Vim at https://punkgirldiaries.com/

Punkgirldiaries Blogzine Vol 1 now available, order onsite https://punkgirldiaries.com/store/

Also a Spotify playlist here

So how did the “I gotta blog about women in punk!” come about?

Lene – We’d already discovered through talking, that although we didn’t actually know each other as teenagers, there seemed to be so many parallels to our lives growing up. Whether that was listening to music, learning to play guitars, starting teenage bedroom bands, writing fanzines or doing art. We thought that if we felt this sense of shared history, then others might too. We were going to be in a band, but live too far apart, so the band became the blog. Vim We knew at the start that it wasn’t going to be just about us, nor just an information blog about women who were punk musicians. The idea was to filter our experiences in the late ‘70s and ‘80s and also get across the feelings that we, and others had at that time. It was a way of regenerating fun!

You have a great digital presence and a great following, what made you want to do an old skool ‘Zine?

Lene – We liked the idea of producing a printed document, something more permanent, and also something that wouldn’t just disappear whenever the internet packs up! Vim-The digital world has made so many things much quicker and easier, but physical products have that visceral quality. We’re all for the pleasure of rippling through a ‘zine! People’s eyes are so much better at focussing in and out of graphics on a page than zooming in digitally. Hopefully the punkgirldiaries blog is a good read, but the printed zine is a treat for the eyes!

What are some future projects you may be developing?

Lene – Punkgirldiaries Blogzine 1 was published in May 2020, and we’re already working on laying out Blogzine 2.  Vim – We do still want to be in a band together and hope to do a one-off single sometime as a start! Some established older women artists carry on writing and performing past their 40s, 50s, 60s even ….. but women that age don’t tend to start new bands in the way that teenagers do. Now the zine’s a reality, let’s form a band!

PGDZ1 FRONT RGB WEB

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your blog full of great content?

Lene – Probably time. Enthusiasm and ideas have never been a problem. Vim – In 2018, we blogged nearly every day for a year, despite us both having full-time jobs. There’d be a race on to get something researched, written and posted for 8pm and we kind of synched it together. If one of us had a busy week at work, the other would write more posts. As the year went on, though, our standards rose. The first posts were really short, with maybe a link to a video. By the end of 2018, we’d set a standard of researching widely, taking our own angle on things and aiming for high writing standards!

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing? Any great followers you were astounded checked you out?

Vim – Sorry not really. We’re still relatively small and unknown … or should we say ‘cult’?

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

Lene – Both of our normal daily routines have been put on hold throughout lockdown, hence we’ve had more time to devote to the blog and the zine. Vim – We had discussed the idea of producing a printed zine, but with plenty of spare time, we were able to produce the whole thing in just over a month and it helped keep us both focussed and sane.  LeneIn terms of music habits, I think the time at home has allowed both of us to catch up on current sounds as well as old favourites, and we’ve both been listening to BBC Radio 6 music. Vim has also been playing her guitar in a field. 

The first record bought? 

Lene – David Bowie or TRex probably

VimParents bought me Bay City Rollers and Abba. But a Patrick Fitzgerald EP I’d heard John Peel play was the first I can remember buying myself.

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

VimAll music was new music when I was young. My parents had records but they didn’t listen to them. I remember listening on a stereogram – which was like a big piece of furniture – to The Beatles, Four Tops, The Supremes. But also Radio 1 was on a lot and I used to sing along to that. Friends were very influential, and most of my punk listening was done at other, much cooler friends’ houses who always had the key singles and a record player. I had a cassette player, but when the Sony Walkman came out, I wouldn’t get one because I didn’t like headphones – and I still don’t. 

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear?

Lene – Adverts – Slough College – October 1979. My first, their last. 

Vim – School English trip to see John Cooper Clarke (with Warsaw supporting) doesn’t really count, so Young Marble Giants at Nottingham Boat House 1980 – although strangely, I’d been playing gigs with my band The Devices before I’d actually been to see a gig! No idea what I wore – maybe the Royal Navy jacket with the stuffed budgerigar on it – see below.

Vim Renault aged 17 1979Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

Lene – Buzzcocks, Slits, Dolly Mixture, Adverts, X-Ray Spex 

Vim– Buzzcocks, Raincoats, Au Pairs, Gang of Four, Selector, Elvis Costello

Favorite music venues?

Lene – Currently -100 Club London, The Lexington London. 

VimUsed to love The Charlotte in Leicester (now closed) I like it when venues have a community purpose as well, like the Hebden Bridge Trades Club, the 1 in 12 Club in Bradford. Always prefer very small venues or ones with theatre seats; I’m over pogoing or even standing amongst hundreds of tall sweaty men. 

Music venues you are dying to go to? 

Vim I really prefer to be in the band. It is so much more fun than just watching! So I am looking forward to getting a band together and playing some big outdoor festivals maybe even next year. Or maybe I could just slip down to do solo acoustic at the lovely local venues in Leicester – The Musician, The Soundhouse, Music Café, The Donkey, The Shed, The Cookie, Firebug – hoping that they all survive!

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? If money were no object, who would you go see and where?

Lene – X Ray Spex on the Moon.

VimA relaxed afternoon that had periods of silence interspersed with top songwriters popping by for 10 minutes to sing a couple of songs, giving me time to think about them. I think I’d need a bass player (Carole Kaye – Wrecking Crew) and drummer (Cat Myers – Mogwai) to back up the piano/guitar. But it would include Elvis Costello, Carole King, Bob Marley, Laura Nyro .. but maybe some newer ones too – Billie Eilish, Sia, Alicia Keys … for me it’s all about the songs and my ears are too wrecked for noise now!

Vinyl, cassette, or digital fiend?

Lene – They all have their uses, I’m a fan of all of them for different reasons.

Vim – I am not someone who constantly listens to music. There seems to be music in my head which is quite good to listen to, and I’m constantly singing classic old songs from all eras. I woke up singing ‘Sheena is a punk rocker’ today. So, deliberately putting on some music is a bit of a faff for me. I frequently check things out digitally, but I do love a 7” vinyl. 

Did you take up an instrument(s) and teach yourself to play because of a band?

Lene – Of course! But not one particular band. I liked bands like Dolly Mixture or the Buzzcocks for their structured songs with a catchy chorus, but at the same time, I loved The Slits for their raw power.

Vim – It was an awareness that girls were doing it – probably The Raincoats that convinced me I could do it. I never had lessons but now I think it’s probably a good idea for girls to learn conventionally after your first experimentation so that you can survive in the music industry long-term. 

 

The Show Got Cancelled

IMG_4796It’s May 26th and I will be playing Buzzcocks records all night and watching a concert video. I was planning to do so anyway, only it won’t be the warm-up for the concert I’d been waiting months for. All the music venues are shut, and tours have been canceled. Artists are in dire straights, those that don’t have a large music catalog and savings, have had to go online to communicate with each other and fans. And many music venues may be shut permanently. Portland the music town is in danger.

The arts are suffering and many governments will not take the entertainment industry seriously. It’s a serious revenue and tax base for local governments, however bailouts won’t happen for small venues, some may not get the SBA Pandemic relief loans either. Venues pay taxes, artists pay taxes. Along with the film industry, music revenues are suffering massive losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down. What is as a whole huge money-driven industry of sound, has come to a grinding halt on the promotion scene live. Everything has gone online broadcast, with some members of bands doing Zoom concerts. Online sales have gone up for digital and vinyl. The industry is adjusting, however, the classic music magazine is struggling, as the print industry was already starting to collapse, and many had shifted to online presence, however, with live shows not playing to physical audiences, the landscape has changed and adapted.

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Steve has assured me that they hope to come back, let’s hope there’s a venue for them to play in.

Same thing going on in your town? Check out Change.org and other artist fundraising platforms. Help them pay rent.

Portland COVID Relief FUND on Go Fund Me https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/covid-19-oregon-musicians-relief-fund1

Articles:

Portland Music Gets Hit Hard by COVID Closures

Music Magazines Failing Amid COVID Crisis

Buzzcocks Farewell Performance 1981

Portland Musicians Relief Fund

San Francisco Relief for Artists

Seattle and Washington State

Los Angeles CA

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