In 1994, after announcing their presence with a pair of EPs, the UK combo Cornershop released Hold On It Hurts. Eventual chart breakouts, that debut full-length instead positioned them as part of the burgeoning Riot Grrl movement. A shade over twenty years since, they reflect on the milestone not by giving it a souped-up anniversary repressing but by reimagining it as an Easy Listening album. On the surface Hold On It’s Easy might seem a joke taken to a confounding extreme; it’s actually just the latest savvy maneuver from a consistently smart band, out on vinyl/digital February 2nd via Ample Play.
1997’s “Brimful of Asha” and its corresponding long-player When I Was Born for the 7th Time raised Cornershop’s profile on both sides of the pond, but it also served as an indicator of significant stylistic development and effectively marked the end of their formative phase, an era that found them initially crafting rough-hewn guitar-based post-punk and fruitfully joining it with the influence of Indian music.
The early rumblings of the Brothers Tjinder and Avtar Singh, Ben Ayers, and David Chambers culminated in the arrival of Hold On It Hurts, a scrappy affair blending sturdy punk knowledge (the opening track from their “Lock, Stock & Double-Barrel” EP is titled “England’s Dreaming”) with a decided contemporary relevance. To elaborate, it was issued by Wiiija Records, a UK indie spanning back to the late-‘80s that gained prominence throughout the next decade partially in association with Riot Grrl.
Wiiija released/licensed items from Skinned Teen, Huggy Bear, Frumpies, Free Kitten, Bikini Kill, and indeed Cornershop, who are described by Ample Play in connection to Hold on It’s Easy as the only all male band to be a part of the whole Riot Grrl explosion. And listening again to Hold On It Hurts, an LP of fleeting melodicism, inspired stabs of post-punk, the aforementioned Indian elements (to blossom on When I Was Born for the 7th Time) and bursts of squalling feedback, Ample Play’s claim is easy to believe.
“Cassidy Fletcher said she didn’t realize how much the Arctic Monkeys could rock until she heard the English band on vinyl. The 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pennsylvania scored a turntable for Christmas in 2013 and has been slowly building a collection of LPs since. “It does seem like it’s better quality on vinyl,” she said. “I like it better, even more than listening to music on my phone.”
“Swap-meet shoppers look for music that’s on the record: For scores of shoppers gathered in the lobby of Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville Saturday, vinyl never left.”
“…Numero Group will release a box set compiling Ork Records’ entire 16-single 1975-1979 output. Co-founded by Television manager Terry Ork and Charles Ball, it was a DIY label that released seminal punk, power pop, no wave, and proto-indie rock music, including the first-ever releases by Television, Richard Hell, Alex Chilton (solo), and many others. That’s Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel Pt. 1″ above—the A-side of their debut release.”
“The Vinyl Record Collectors Association (VRCA) recently donated US$1,000 to the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, a non-profit organisation with 18 affiliated cites worldwide.”
“Untouched for decades: Photographer takes amazing series of images of perfectly preserved home abandoned by its owners: …found musical instruments, including a gramophone and a stereo system that would have been state-of-the-art at the time, books and family photographs – offering a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the former occupants.”
PHOTOS: BRENDAN O’HARA | If you do almost anything consistently for six years, you have to pause to wonder if people might still have the same enthusiasm for an endeavor like they might have had in year 1, 2, or 3.
A line around Penn Social’s considerably long block and over 1,400 people through the door yesterday confirmed that yes…people certainly still dig records and frankly, the enthusiasm might be at an all time high. We tasked photographer Brenda O’Hara to capture the day in pixels for us.
We extend our thanks to our hosts at Penn Social, the DJs, the dealers, Zeke’s Coffee, Electric Cowbell Records—and to all of you who left with records under your arms. If you’re also wondering as many had yesterday when the next DC Record Fair might make a return, look for us in the Spring…with a few surprises.
All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.
Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.
“This week, Garden State Sound invites Brian Musikoff from Stuyvesant and Al Crisafulli of Sugarblast Music Co. up to talk about their newest release, Shmyvesant.
Plus, the unselfish Mr. Musikoff brings a few records from his collection of his favorite NJ bands to spin, which—of course—we do. Tune in for the full-length saga of the Stuyvesant story.” —EZT
I know, Francoise, I know. If you’re going to buy an album by the late French Chanson singer Serge Gainsbourg, you would have to be crazy not to buy 1968’s Bonnie & Clyde, his collaboration with Brigitte Bardot, or 1969’s Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, which includes the notoriously salacious (as in hubba hubba) “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” which was so orgasmic the Vatican actually felt compelled to issue a public statement declaring it offensive.
But I am crazy, certifiably so, and I heartily recommend that while you get your hands on the aforementioned LPs as fast as possible, you also pick up a copy of 1975’s extraordinarily surreal Rock Around the Bunker. Where else are you going to find songs like “Nazi Rock,” “Rock Around the Bunker,” and “S.S. in Uruguay”? Nowhere, that’s where.
Rock Around the Bunker purportedly looks back at Gainsbourg’s experiences as a Jewish youth growing up in Nazi-occupied France. But I’ve read that Gainsbourg’s real intent in releasing Rock Around the Bunker was to mock both the “Nazi chic” of the era, as personified by the film “The Night Porter” and David Bowie’s outrageous statements about wanting to become a fascist dictator, as well as the fifties rock’n’roll revival. Nazism and “Rock Around the Clock” may be an odd couple to satirize, but Gainsbourg was an odd guy. And in creating Rock Around the Bunker, the singer managed to produce an LP whose only real antecedents are The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the imaginary play Springtime for Hitler from Mel Brooks’ The Producers.
A look at the origins of yesterday’s DC Record Fair that over 1,400 of you attended—as well as yesterday’s in Houston.
“While vinyl record sales enjoy a resurgence that shows no sign of slowing, the future of the industry depends on the manufacture of new vinyl pressing machines—and San Francisco’s Pirates Press is first in line.”
“Vinyl’s pressing problem: The sudden comeback of a nearly dead music format has left North America’s aging fleet of pressing machines—and the few specialists who know how to operate them—scrambling to meet demand.”
“How the digital revolution actually helped save HMV: While other record chains have gone the way of the point-and-shoot camera, HMV Canada has remained an unlikely retail stalwart in shopping malls across the country, due in no small part to the intersection of geek culture and a large pepperoni with cheese.”
“A man has been ordered to hand over £17,000 under proceeds of crime laws after he was caught selling bootleg vinyl records on the internet.”
“Australians are streaming more music, buying less and have fallen in love with vinyl again, according to the annual industry sales report…Australian music fans have been slower to switch to downloads than the rest of the world because of slow internet speeds and a preference for physical product over digital files.”
“Couple taps into passion for vinyl at new Anchorage store.”
Those of you following the DC Record Fair on Facebook might deem the forthcoming news a bit old, as we revved up the gears on the Winter 2015 edition of the record fair while we were on our holiday break, yet it bears an official announcement: the DC Record Fair returns to downtown DC’s Penn Social on January 25, 2015!
And six years in, some things are still a given—the 40+ vendors from up and down the East Coast, the curated DJ line up, the bar, the food, and the many other surprises that make the DC Record Fair a special community event for all ages.
Additionally, Zeke’s Coffee will once again be on hand with a special blend brewed just for the DC Record Fair, and our friends at Electric Cowbell Records will be on site passing out free records just for attending!
THE WINTER 2015 DJ SCHEDULE:
11:00 – 12:00: Crown Vic, Electric Cowbell Records
12:00 – 1:00: Brendan Canty, Fugazi, Deathfix
1:00 – 2:00: Daisy Lacy, Smash Records
2:00 – 3:00: Brian Proust, Georgia Soul Recordings
3:00 – 4:00: DJ Singh Slim, DC Vinyl Headz
4:00 – 5:00: DJ Alizay
Mark your calendars!
THE DC RECORD FAIR
Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00
RSVP at the Facebook invite!
The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and us!
Greetings from Laurel Canyon!
Starting the year with a three-day holiday weekend was just what I needed—a tiny bit of space to get my head around 2015. Events did unfold however. Sadness spread up in the canyon with the news that former CSN&Y drummer Dallas Taylor had passed at 66.
Legendary canyon party boy turned rehab guru to the rock elite, everybody knew ol’ Dallas. I ran into him a couple of months ago and I told him that I had spun the live audio of “Long Time Gone” with Tom Jones on the Idelic Hour, and teased him about being a much more soulful player than he ever got credit for. He chuckled, saying he always wanted to see the footage of that performance. Dallas, your legend will live on.
To go along with the Dallas news, I also read somewhere online that in a matter of days a huge asteroid will zoom by, narrowly missing the Earth (and I dare say our canyon!) It didn’t seem like anyone else noticed that news, but it did get me thinking—what if I did know an asteroid was heading our way?
London is changing, and has been for a while now. For as long as people can remember, the city’s character has been siphoned off, bit by bit, in a strange tidal flow that sees areas attract creativity, gain popularity, and then implode under the weight of sanitised gentrification. The creativity moves on, the cycle repeats. It’s happened to Camden, which has been a glorified open air shopping mall for a while now. It’s happened to Shoreditch, where anyone with an unlimited budget and a recipe for cupcakes can get their big break. It’s happening East, West, North, and South. Soon, the city will be nothing but bankers, expensive boutiques and coffee shops, and pseudo artisans who own said boutiques and coffee shops.
What does this have to do with White Ape’s “Kick It Down”? Quite a lot. White Ape represent part of the city’s culture that is slowly getting phased out. Living in London is becoming increasingly expensive and before long, bands like White Ape will be confined to the provinces once again as pubs and venues, once champions of the local live scene, are shut down, redeveloped, and replaced with luxury accommodation.
In short, that’s what this EP is about, and it’s fitting that the band have tipped their hats to ’70s British punk, with surfy guitars, two-tone beats, and lyrics with an overt message. “Kick It Down” is a fist raised in the air and a shout of defiance from kids forced to pay the previous generation’s tab.
If you have a place in your heart for honest garage rock that rallies against the status quo, then you need this—White Ape’s “Kick It Down”—in your collection.