Author Archives: Evan Toth

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 36: Gary Numan

Can you remember the first time you heard the song “Cars”? At that moment, it must have been obvious that Gary Numan looked at things a little bit differently than you or I do; that he was full of a wisdom and intellect that we mere Earthlings do not possess. The good news is that Gary Numan is still putting his unique insights to music.

Gary’s new album is titled Intruder and it is an exploration of the concept that the Earth is tired of us lowly humans kicking it around and has decided to fight back. At an earlier time, the thesis Gary posits might have garnered a few chortles and eye rolls, but in today’s climate, well, it feels as though we ought to sit down with Gary and hear him out; he might be onto something. Don’t say Gary Numan didn’t warn you.

Gary joins me all the way from England to talk about his newest release, but we don’t stop there. We also talk about how music production has changed since the late seventies, his feelings about the vinyl comeback, and how hard he’s worked to stay true to his musical voice.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 35: Gina Schock

If you’re hoping to be a rockstar, you’ve got to have drive, ambition, a sense of luck, faith and—perhaps, most importantly—you’ve got to have a great sense of humor. Gina Schock has all of those attributes, and more, and she needed those tools to hold down the backbeat for the most successful all-female band of all time, The Go-Go’s.

If you saw the recent Alison Ellwood directed documentary, The Go-Go’s, you’ll know that the band soared to the highest showbiz highs and sank to some pretty lousy lows. Witnessing the entire rock and roll rollercoaster from the drum throne was Gina Schock who joins me to talk about many things currently buzzing in the world of The Go-Go’s, but specifically the 20th anniversary and reissue of their 2001 reunion album, God Bless The Go-Go’s which will be released on May 14 (Eagle Records).

Gina and I discuss the making of that album, including Billie Joe Armstrong’s contributions. You’ll hear Gina rifle through her vinyl collection and pick out some of her favorites. We also chat about a book that she’s currently completing about her experiences in The Go-Go’s. Most significantly, we talk about the band’s nomination for this year’s roster of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you want to be a rockstar drummer, you’ve got to be in tune with your heartbeat and keep the tempo tight and unwavering. If you walk away from our chat learning nothing else about Gina Schock, it’s that Gina doesn’t just have the beat, she’s got the heart.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 34: Frank Ene

“What are you about, man?” That’s the question Frank Ene asked himself when writing and recording the music for his latest EP, “No Longer.” As Frank explains, this was his opportunity to gaze into the mirror and paint a musical portrait of who he is, or who he was.

The music on “No Longer” is dark, and the ’90s kids in the room might hear some influences in the way of Enigma, or late-stage Duran Duran, and Frank is happy if that’s what you hear because he loves those sounds from the 1990s as well which he fuses into his own subterranean musical landscape.

But, Frank will not be typecast. Nope, in fact, the way he tells it, he’s already completed his next album and is working on the next one and neither of those records will sound like this one. So, while we hope you enjoy the music you hear from “No Longer,” don’t get used to it, you may not hear it again, at least not from Frank.

Or, maybe you will. That’s the fun thing about Ene: he seems to always be driving himself to the next destination, but if he’s so inclined and can find a good artistic reason for doing so, he might just turn that car around. Perhaps from the back seat you’ll see Frank’s eyes flash in the rearview and hear him ask, “What are you about, man?” Will you have an answer?

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 33: Pete Krebs

PHOTO: ANDREA BOHON | Pete Krebs is a musical chameleon. It was the 1990s when his career began in the band Hazel which was a very popular alternative rock and roll group on Sub Pop Records. In those days, Krebs even formed a friendship and musical partnership with indie rock hero and legend Elliott Smith. Yes, I’ve been trying to track down their split-single for many years, but that’s another story. He’s also been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Since then, Krebs has continued experimenting and expanding his musical palate. Catching one of his shows, or listening to one of his records, might find one encountering Western swing, jazz, country, or just straight up, no holds barred rock and roll. While some musicians work hard to stay in their lane, Krebs enjoys grabbing his guitar and exploring wherever his ears lead him.

Krebs’ latest album (with his band The Gossamer Wings) is titled All My Friends are Ghosts and one might say the record is a sort of an amalgam of the many styles and sounds that Krebs can make with his voice and some steel strings in his hand. It’s an excellent recording and deftly showcases his compositional skills.

Krebs isn’t through exploring yet. As you’ll hear in the following conversation, he is still searching out unique sounds to play on his stereo. When he’ll try to figure out how to make those sounds himself is anyone’s guess, but you can be sure he’s thinking about it.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 32: Jon Klages

Some of us were just born to do the things we do; it’s in our blood, in our genes. Jon Klages is one of those folks whose lineage belies a musical connection.

His grandfather was a popular and successful producer during the latter half of the 20th century, Enoch Light. Light was known for his exciting and fun recordings on his own Command Records label. Often his productions were worthy of an audiophile’s discerning ear. Light was also known for the groundbreaking abstract and minimalist album art that graced the covers of many of his recordings: some the designs that artist Josef Albers created for Light are now on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

So, it’s no surprise that Klages felt the tug to finally fuse his own musical proclivities with those of his familial forebearers. But Klages’ background is a bit different from that of his grandfather, Klages is a guitarist by trade and performed with The Individuals, the Richard Lloyd Band, and was also a part of the Hoboken, NJ music scene in the early 1980s.

His new album, Fabulous Twilight (Danbury Fair Recordings), is an eclectic effort that features all the best of what Jon has explored in his past: twangy guitars, clever and slick production, and, of course, lots of fun. Join Jon and I as we discuss his new album and the myriad influences that brought it to life.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 31: Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham can do it all. You might remember her from the late ’90s when she released The Burdens of Being Upright abum and screamed right into the faces of the alternative rock world. Or, maybe you learned about her through her terrific albums and career that followed over the course of the last twenty years, but now, she’s back and she wants to teach you a lesson!

No, like a real lesson. Tracy takes a studious approach to music and wants to share her musical training with kids who have an interest in learning about it. Her newest project, Young Maestros, Vol. 1 has the goal of instilling into students some solid musical theory without pandering to them or talking down to them (kids hate when you do that!).

Join Tracy and me as we talk about her career and Young Maestros; you might even walk away learning some music theory; maybe even a little math. Did I just use math in an attempt to hook someone into listening to a show? Don’t worry, you’ll love it! Don’t forget to take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Ryan Martin,
The TVD Interview
and Vinyl Giveaway

Ryan Martin has a new album out on High Moon Records titled, Wandercease, but is he really ready to cease his wandering or is he just exploring the idea of settling down?

With producer Kenny Siegal, Martin’s new album was crafted into a large scale work that defies being tied down into one specific genre. He’s also enlisted a very talented group of musicians to help him bring his latest batch of songs to life. Of note is the very talented Mikaela Davis who continues to build an excellent solo career of her own.

Mixed by Paul Kolderie and mastered by the great Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, the vinyl version of this album sounds great. So great, in fact, that we want you to hear it! 

We find you packing up your apartment; it sounds like you haven’t ceased wandering yet.

Well, very accurate to the record in that way. No, I haven’t ceased wandering. I’ve always moved around and I’ll probably continue moving. I have my eye on Europe. So, that might be in the foreseeable future in the next few years. And yeah, man you know, I’m born with a wanderlust. It’s a real thing.

I’m always interested in titles of things, of books and movies and albums. Even though you have this wanderlust happening, do you feel like you should cease wandering? Where did the title come from for you?

Yeah. I mean, I do feel like at some point I would like to. For me, Wandercease is the point where you’ve finally found home and I suppose I haven’t found that yet. I have a daughter and that’s the closest thing that I found to home and a greater sense of home in my life so far, but as far as like where I’m supposed to be living, the east coast is great, but I think I’m going to travel around Europe for a while. I’m going to try that out. I haven’t been struck by the feeling like, ah, you know, like this is where I’m supposed to be yet in my life.

And you’re in New York City at this time, but where are you from originally?

I’m from Los Gatos, California which is the South Bay area in between Santa Cruz and San Jose. That’s where I grew up, spent my life until I was 18.

Well, east coast, west coast and Europe—you can’t do better than that. You’re getting the full picture!

That’s right! Yep. Spent some time in Kansas City, too. A little time in Texas. I just can’t help it.

This album is a big production and I’m tempted to say it’s like a ’70s production, but I don’t want to say that because it’s more contemporary than that, but there are a lot of other elements: the female vocals, a lot of little musical phrases that really push the tunes along. What are some of your thoughts about the production and assembling this record? Tell me about working with Kenny Siegel and the overall production of the album.

Yeah, it is a big production. I always tell myself that I’m going to avoid it after the first record that I made back in 2010, but it always ends up being a production. So, I guess that’s just where my tastes lead me. I mean, as far as the vision for the record, I really worked hand-in-hand with Kenny Siegel on that. The previous records I made, I think I was more in the driver’s seat as far as the vision and down to the instrumentation and the genres, the sounds, the styles, and with this one I kind of let guide it and I kind of relinquished some of my more, you know, I let him make some decisions with me.

There’s a lot of inspiration that I get from music from the ’60s and the ’70s, but at the same time, it was kind of about just assembling the musicians, being inspired in the moment, and letting people make choices that inspired them, and so whether that be someone playing a Mellotron for most of the songs or making it a bigger production—even more than I would’ve thought—certain songs like “Wandercease,” they tended to be bigger productions than I had envisioned and that was kind of like Kenny’s guiding hand. In the end, man, I try to make sonically interesting and dense music. There’s always more that I hear and Kenny actually kind of seems to be on that page, too. So, having to check myself and limiting myself is usually a struggle as I’m making records.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 30: Sunny War

PHOTO: RANDI STEINBERGER | It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I drop the needle on a record and can feel something special happening; a sort of groundswell. As if something is growing, or getting ready to burst. This was my experience when listening to Sunny War’s new album, Simple Syrup (Hen House Studios). I won’t even pretend that I’ve fully immersed myself in the album yet, as there is a lot left for me to unpack and figure out—lyrics that I’m still uncoiling and processing. It’s an album to revisit for years to come.

Sunny War bills herself as a folk-punk musician from Los Angeles. Her backstory is intriguing: she’s lived on the streets and traveled around by hopping on trains. However, she’s a little more settled now and—as you’ll hear—continues to look toward having some of that newfound stability influence her future music. She’s performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and has entranced many audiences along the way.

Join Sunny and me as we have a hang and discuss her new album, but also get into the nooks and crannies of her musical development, her impressive guitar skills, and how the pandemic and lockdowns have influenced her writing.

Simple Syrup is a great album to be sure, but there’s an excitement in the air regarding the future of Sunny’s music. Listeners might wonder: what’s around the next corner for Sunny War? Maybe you’ll get a clue, or two, right now.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 29: Suzi Quatro

It’s not often we get to throw around the phrase “legend” or “trailblazer” without hyperbole, but that’s exactly what we’ve got on this week’s program. Suzi Quatro is credited as being the first instrument playing female to lead a successful rock and roll band which—when she came upon the male dominated music scene in the early 1970s—was no small feat.

Suzi has done it all: several top ten hits throughout the world, a starring role in Happy Days as Leather Tuscadero, and she recently saw the release of an excellent documentary about her life titled, Suzi Q (2019). When she’s not doing that, she’s hosting radio programs on the BBC, writing a book of poetry, or finding some other way to explore her wealth of talents and energy.

After 50 plus years of performing, she has not slowed down as evidenced by her brand new album, The Devil in Me which was written and recorded during the pandemic. In fact, Suzi contracted coronavirus and, because of travel restrictions, was forced to spend several months away from her husband, but, as Suzi often does, she made the most of the extra time on her hands.

The Devil in Me rocks just as hard as her earlier releases and Suzi describes it as “the best album in my career to date.” Helming this production is her son, Richard Tuckey, whose goal was to make sure Suzi’s hard-rocking clarity, power and wild-abandon remained audibly obvious and evident.

So, join Suzi and me as we discuss the last six decades of her career, the turbulent last 12 months, and try to uncover why and how—in many ways—Suzi is at the top of her game right now.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 28: Jude Warne

2021 marks the golden anniversary of the band America. That’s 50 years of unique and carefully crafted rock music that was always adorned with strummy acoustic goodness, the best harmonies this side of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and sui generis lyrical content. The band has released 18 studio albums (many produced by George Martin of The Beatles) and they still have a formidable presence on the touring circuit.

While bands of similar stature have had their histories dissected and anthologized, the story of America has never endured such an investigation. Author Jude Warne saw the opportunity to fill the void and—with the blessing and participation of the band—began the journey of writing the history of America. Her new book, America, The Band –an Authorized Biography details the nuts and bolts of the band in a scholarly yet easy to read style.

And, there’s no denying that Warne is the right person for the job, following in the lineage of Greil Marcus and other authors who approach writing about rock and roll from an erudite standpoint, she has written about The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, The Band, Bowie, and she wrote her NYU master’s thesis on the Boss. Warne understands rock and roll from the ’60s and ’70s and so she’s in a fine position to write the definitieve bio about America, a tale she has skillfully and exhaustively crafted.

So, join Jude and I as we talk about how she sifted through America’s archives and combined them into what will almost surely stand as the final word on all things America.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 27: Lorenzo Wolff

Judee Sill was a California-based songwriter who came of age during the peak of the Laurel Canyon scene in the early 1970s and she mingled with the likes of Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell. In fact, Sill was even the first artist to be signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records label. But, Judee—and her music—generally tapped into something a little darker; more dangerous than her colleagues did. Sill relied on Christianity, mysticism, and occult imagery that could sometimes be comforting and uplifting, yet simultaneously looming and foreboding.

Judee released two very well-regarded albums, her self-titled debut Judee Sill was released in 1971 and her follow-up, Heart Food, came out in 1973. However, she never hit the big time. After years struggling with addiction, Sill died in 1979. The limited body of music that she left behind is, however, exquisite.

New York multi-instrumentalist and producer, Lorenzo Wolff, also loves Judee Sill and has crafted an EP reimagining some of Judee’s classic tunes. It’s titled “Down Where the Valleys are Low: Another Otherworld for Judee Sill,” released on StorySound Records. Wolff’s vision was to avoid simply recreating Sill’s excellence, but rather to funnel her music through an edgy and contemporary lens. Some Sill fans might initially be taken aback by the treatment Wolff has given these tracks, but that’s the point: he’s fostering a conversation about Sill and her music whether you like it, or not.

While Lorenzo performs on all of the tracks, he’s chosen to showcase different vocalists in an effort to get the right voice behind the right songs. Some of the artists in his stable are Bartees Strange, Michael Cerveris, Mary-Elaine Jenkins, Grace McLean, Emily Holden, and more.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 26: A.J. Croce

Let’s start with the bad news, so we can get it out of the way. Musician A.J. Croce lost his father—famed singer-songwriter, Jim Croce—before he was two years old. As if that weren’t enough, A.J. went through a long period of blindness as a child, and in 2018 he lost his wife from a rare heart virus. Faced with those challenges, most of us might not be able to find the strength to carry on, let alone produce a rich catalog of music and maintain a busy performing schedule, but that’s exactly what Croce has done, and that’s the good news.

His brand new album, By Request on Compass Records, features Croce utilizing his impressive piano skills and vocal stylings on a number of familiar songs, but with his own reworkings and unique spin. The goal behind the album was to give listeners an experience as though they were attending a house party thrown by Croce and hearing him entertain the intimate gathering with well-known chestnuts and unexpected gems.

Join Croce and me on this episode of Radar as we discuss the new record, his very eclectic vinyl collection, and the importance of the healing power of music; how sometimes music is the only prescription that truly succeeds in mending our wounded souls.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 25: Jim Keller

PHOTO: JIMMY FONTAINE | The path to success for most successful people in the entertainment business—or any business for that matter—is rarely a straight one.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, but it’s all about keeping one’s cool and choosing directions that make sense, even if there is a bit of risk involved. Jim Keller knows he didn’t just wake up one morning to become the longtime manager for Philip Glass who is one of America’s most celebrated composers and a Kennedy Center Honors recipient who was presented with the U.S. National Medal of the Arts by President Obama. It was a certain sequence of events that got Jim there.

Keller, of course, is a musician. You’ve all heard Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny” blasting from car radios and being played by bar bands, and so has Jim Keller; and he loves it! Except, in his case, he happens to be co-writer and performer of that song and was in Tommy Tutone! After releasing that power pop classic, Keller continued to make music under his own name, on and off through the years, but now he is back with a brand new album produced by the great Mitchell Froom. The record is called By No Means and features Keller’s direct, infectious music that can cut so sweetly you don’t even recognize that you’ve been wounded.

Join me and Jim on this episode of Radar as we talk about the twists, turns, and many lives of his career, seeing the music industry from both sides of the stage, and the production and splendid songwriting that went into his new album, By No Means.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 24: Mason Williams, A&R for Craft Recordings, Concord Music

The good old days of record collecting are over; the cat is definitely out of the bag. You don’t need me to tell you how sales of vinyl records have been increasing in the last few years. There used to be a time when one could walk up to a garage sale, or into a thrift store, and buy grails for a dollar, or less, but those days are now gone. Additionally, Discogs has created an environment where record stores are well aware of the value of the items displayed on their walls; so the chance of a hidden gem slipping by has grown increasingly slim (though not impossible for us veteran diggers).

Well, what’s the next best thing to do in this hobby? Things will probably never go back to days where mere pennies would procure a serious collection, but there are opportunities. One of the best things for a collector to do is to find a label who cares deeply about music, has access to original master tapes, has them mastered by an expert in the field and sells them at a reasonable price. Enter Craft Recordings and Mr. Mason Williams.

Williams is a Grammy nominated producer in A&R at Craft Recordings who has teamed up with the Vinyl Me Please company (and Craft’s own Jazz Dispensary imprint) to release five, difficult to find, funk-jazz albums; all cut from the original tapes and all mastered by the great Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio, pressed at RTI on 180 gram vinyl and tucked away in heavy stock tip-on jackets. The albums are as follows: Idris Muhammad’s Black Rhythm Revolution!, Bernard Purdie’s Purdie Good!, Jack DeJohnette’s Sorcery, David Axelrod’s Heavy Axe, and Leon Spencer’s Where I’m Coming From.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 23: Howie Klein

It’s not always about money and it’s not always about fame; sometimes an artist has a desire to just share the music that they can’t help but create, but every so often the industry gatekeepers also have more of an interest in art and creativity than just dollars and cents.

Meet Howie Klein, a writer, concert promoter, disc jockey, music producer, record label founder, record label executive, progressive political activist, and adjunct professor of music. He’s about as music industry as you’d like to get: he was general manager of Sire Records and was the president of Reprise/Warner Bros. Records. He was responsible for signing Lou Reed to the Reprise label and was an early industry champion of Wilco. Currently, he helms DownWithTyranny!, a popular political blog.

Through it all, he didn’t care about the money. He cared about the music, the people, the message. You know what he didn’t care about? He wasn’t entranced by those gaudy baubles that hypnotize most of the folks who reach the top of any industry. No way, no how. Howie plays by Howie’s rules.’

I would jump to discuss any number of fascinating subjects with Howie, but this conversation is focused on the reissues and re-releases of a record label that he founded with Chris Knab and Butch Bridges, 415 Records. The reissue campaign is led by another record label, Liberation Hall. The goal of the label was simple: to release independent music focused on local punk and new wave bands from the fertile San Francisco music community.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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