Sunday, April 27, 2014

Editorial: Record Store Day 2014

Last year, Record Store Day officially claimed Jack White as their ambassador to the masses. Now this makes sense due to the man’s accomplishments with the vinyl medium (pioneering the triple decker record, the liquid record, and the 3rpm record), but it seems to me like all he did was walk around URP and touch stuff. This year, the ambassador is Chuck D, who challenges independent record stores to start their own pirate radio stations.

It’s noble enough of a proposal, and while RSD boasts impressive releases every year and continues to enrich the record store community throughout the country, the list on their website is the standard that people follow when drafting their picks for the holiday. This year had plenty of great releases on the list including pieces from LCD Soundsystem, Pharaoh Monch, Built to Spill, Christian Death, Sam Cooke, The Yardbirds, Devo, and everything inbetween; the only problem is that the list is incomplete year after year, excluding most of the country’s independent label releases (don’t worry though, there’s a link to Warner’s online store on every page of their website). In order to consider this flaw effectively, one has to acknowledge the duality of RSD’s existence: there is Record Store Day the organization, and Record Store Day the third Saturday of April.

The organization was founded in 2007 when a coalition of record stores met to discuss an event similar to Free Comic Book Day, the following year spawned the first RSD celebration at Rasputin Records in San Francisco. Since then it’s been an annual event, expanding to most of the independently owned record stores in the country.

I started observing Record Store Day in 2010 when the Flaming Lips released their version of Dark Side of the Moon with Henry Rollins, Peaches, and Stardeath and White Dwarfs. Since then it’s been a ritual; I think I’ve only missed it once but I could be wrong. Every year it’s the same people at the same record store, Toxic Beauty in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The event’s created quite a loyal community, none of us even live in Ohio anymore but for some reason we all make the trip up and camp out in front of the store the night before. Likewise, when the sun rises there is a line down the block and store owner Josh Castleberry sprints with a smile to open up for his best business day of the year.
The campers.
The line.

I never can buy much but it’s always fun and I’ve been able to add a little flare to the collection. This year my little brother Hayden camped out with us and we were the first two in line. He was the only one who's ever thought to bring a deck of cards. I just picked up the Ramones’ MELTDOWN 10” and Nirvana’s Pennyroyal Tea 7” at the store and saved the rest of my money for Culture Cringe’s Megajoos/Roman Polanski’s Baby split 7”.
Just trying to kill those last couple hours.
As the event continues to strengthen, the presence of the independent record store in the US and abroad, one must ask “what are they doing for the independent record label?” With hundreds of releases each year and thousands of participating locations, why is it that the majority of the pieces on the official website are put out by major labels? In an interview with NME, Chuck D said “The record stores are sonic libraries that can offer the curation that the record companies cannot and will not do.” Though the ambassador’s speech is on point in exposing the major labels’ exclusive pursuit of profit, the organization still caters to them.

Music retail has been on the decline in the past decade and the independent record label is gaining an audience through online and small-run releases; the money in the music industry is shifting toward live performance and merchandise sales. So with such a powerful presence in the record community and such goodwill for the future of music, why is it that releases like Gubbey’s New Brovado single isn’t an “official” RSD release, and bands like The Pass and Megajoos are having their singles postponed by pressing plants to make way for said “official” RSD releases? Would it be so hard to draft a regional, submission-based list and send out stickers to the small labels who self-distribute? I still love record store day and will continue to attend as often as possible, but the true spirit of the event remains lost in its organization. 

New Brovado's RSD single "Sol Similar" may still be available at better record stores near you.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Week: Whistle Peak in Horse Play Exhibit

This week, the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs opened up their exhibit Horse Play, which documents Derby games for children and adults over the last 140 years. This interactive exhibit's soundtrack features eight new instrumental tracks from David Boston and Billy Petot of Whistle Peak. Learn more here and be sure to drop by, it's open through December.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Free Music for your Summer Soundtrack

The weather is changing, you are cutting your pants into jean shorts, and  you are almost ready for that summer road trip. all you need now is a soundtrack for your summer fun, and we got you covered! here is a list of some absolutely free downloads to get your summer jam started  right.

Basement Up + Jay Elly - The Get Back (2014)
The Basement Up crew from Lexington Ky has doing doing some fine work lately, including a FREE EP from nov. 2013 (Who They Thought We Were, find it here), and a brand new track released just this week called The Get Back (grab it here) with Jay Elly. their website boasts "In an over saturated art form we are increasingly mindful of quality." Hopefully you will agree.

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap (2013)
37FLOOD writer Logan Nichols told me about this album "it's the future of Hip Hop" I don't know about that but it is a damn uplifting album, and has recently hit certified platinum. If you are one of the few that hasn't grabbed this free album do it now.

It’s easy to dismiss DMX due to his off stage antics, and let’s face it; his personal life has exceeded  R. Kelly proportions.  In 2013 alone he has been arrested 5 times for really stupid things and is currently in a mental institution. But we can’t forget his first 5 albums hit like a brick before his tour of correctional facilities. And even now, exiled in South Carolina, and in between incoherent video diary rants, he is still slaying tracks. In 2012 he released 2 hard hitting LPs, the first ‘The Weigh In’ for free (in current hip-hop mixed tape style) as a prelude to ‘Undisputed’. I think both albums  are well worth any DMX fan's collection, but I keep finding myself going back to the free download, as it is more gritty and with unabashed inflections that read like a prison diary that DMX was so good at in his early albums such as ‘It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.’ Start with the free album, it costs you nothing, and if you need more grab ‘Undisputed’ as he could definitely use a win right about now. (for further viewing, will let you know if DMX is in jail at any given time).

Logan also said "It's the future of Hip Hop" about Deaths Grips, and on this one I will agree, even if their personal future is uncertain. Logan also said "there is a 100% chance that they will be dead in 4 years." I might also agree with this. Their completely insane punk rap explosion will force you to reconsider everything you know about music. and possibly reality. and their offstage antics might make you want to smack them, but if alienating the world around them is their conduit for making albums like Exmilitary then so be it.
It's my favorite of their impressive 4 albums in 3 years, and a great introduction to the force that is Death Grips. download it for free on their website. 

Team Totoro - Invites You to Enjoy LASER BEATS (2013) 
Ok we have told you about this one before, but if you are looking for summer jams with Morris Day style antics look no further than Louisville's own Team Totoro. the tracks 'Rompin' and Stompin' and 'Southern Rep' is summer-in-the-south style certified. Download it here for free, and it comes with extra bits and pieces as well for your summer pleasure.  

37FLOOD has here by declared summer 2014 THE SUMMER OF BALLIN' and now you got the jams to prove it..  But If you need more, read our 'Best Free Downloads' list from Summer 2011.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Release: Foxy Shazam (FREE)

Foxy Shazam just announced and uploaded their new album "Gonzo" to their website this morning. In their press release, the band states:

"This is the band's first independent release since 2005, self-produced and recorded entirely live in one room in running order, vocals and all, with famed engineer Steve Albini. Gone are the theatrical backup harmonies, stripped are the multilayered guitar tracks, wiped away is the polished finish of a pop producer's mentality. In their place remains a smoldering, gutsy work of pure desire. Fervor. Agitation. Honesty. Insanity. Rock and roll, but so much more."

Along with the new release, the band announced a North American tour set to start next month. The album is available as a free download here, and there's also a vinyl pre-order option. Tour dates are posted below.

MAY 27 Harrisburg, PA, Fed Live
MAY 29 Boston, MA, The Sinclair
MAY 30 New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
MAY 31 Philadelphia, PA, Theatre of Living Arts
JUN 02 Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Soundstage
JUN 03 Richmond, VA, Canal Club
JUN 05 Nashville, TN, Exit/In
JUN 06 Columbia, SC, New Brookland Tavern
JUN 07 Charlotte, NC, Amos Southend
JUN 09 Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Culture Room
JUN 10 Tampa, FL, Orhpeum
JUN 12 Orlando, FL, The Social
JUN 13 Jacksonville, FL, Freebird
JUN 14 Atlanta, GA, Terminal West
JUN 17 St. Louis, MO, Firebird
JUN 18 Omaha, NE, The Waiting Room
JUN 20 Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights
JUN 21 Chicago, IL, Lincoln Hall
JUN 22 Detroit, MI, Magic Stick
JUN 24 Toronto, ON, Lee's Palace
JUN 25 Buffalo, NY, Town Ballroom
JUN 27 Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop
JUN 28 Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
JUL 12 Cincinnati, OH, Bunbury Music Festival