My favourite of Edinburgh’s new post post post punk bands are the 2 piece Black International.*
Stewart (guitar and vocals) and Craig (drums) were kind enough to agree to play at our place to celebrate the first ever Cassette Store Day in September. They had a single out on cassette and vinyl on Glasgow’s Electric Company records.
We’ve stocked their debut album, In Debt (on CD with hand made cover) almost since opening.
CSD was almost a tongue in cheek event and was put together by the organisers at quite short notice. Some of the tapes were still being manufactured a matter of days before CSD. I knew it’d be a bit ramshackle, but that’s part of the excitement so we signed up as soon as we got the email. I suppose the day was a tribute to the DIY ethos of the small tape based labels. Just get the stuff out! Tapes are now the cheapest physical format to create. You don’t even need a tape player to appreciate them. It’s a nice piece of the band you get free with a download code. Throw in the often handmade artwork and this could be seen as a new independent punk movement.
This blog post is a tad less spontaneous coming out today in December. -The 2 camera footage was trickier to edit together and my techie dude is a bit more of a perfectionist than me. So not very punk of us. Saying that, the footage we’ve put up is mostly the rough edits that haven’t been finished.
Black International are punky but not ramshackle by any means. Both are graduates of Edinburgh College of Art and their talent shows in the album and single sleeves and posters though they don’t make an “arty” sound. Listen to the lyrics though. Stewart is someone who mumbles a bit in person but enunciates on record and stage. I find this interesting too. It’s a sure sign that the lyrics are important to the band. They are rough around the edges but well, they are a punk band with a (dark) politicised cutting edge. “You only know you exist when you exist is when you want something”.
I only recently found out that they had a BBC Radio 1 session a couple of years ago.
Check them out in their new video for The Gilded Palace single. This is dark. Certainly not Edinburgh in summer. This is the doors kicked in of Edinburgh’s real underbelly. Trainspotting’s answer to the artificially inseminated KISS pandas.
Where do you put this terrifying band? “Stewart plays LOUD” I was warned. Craig pounds the drums with hammers and he eats raw steak for breakfast.
We’ll stick them on in the kinda folksy Antiquary across the road! So everyone can get a beer or cider and, well obviously there’s more room there and they can do a nice platter of food too. Very civilised. Fortunately, Stewart and Craig are also very civilised and instead of bringing electric guitar, Marshall stack and a full kit that would deafen everyone and see us forever banned, it was a rare Black International acoustic set with guitar, knitted jumpers and a box drum.
* It’s hard when you start naming styles of music a New anything. New Wave, New Romantic, Post punk, Modern art. Modern Life is rubbish. The folk doing the labeling are showing how rooted in the present and unimaginative they are. It just confuses the issue. What are Black International? New Punk? What and when would that be? Green Day?
I prefer to use how they describe the music on their website: stripped down, economical, brutal pop songs. I might get a header made up.
Five stripped down, economical, brutal pop songs later and Cassette store Day was a real treat. I think it shows the subtlety of the playing and demonstrates that good punk takes some skill and dare I say it, practice. Those are more than 3 chords too and it helps to have something to say. But hey, do what you like. Craig turned out to be towering but he is the man quickest to smile that I’ve met in ages. A lot of fun and as Stewart might say. mmmmmmmbbllemmnn
Get your motor running!
I am incredibly pleased to be on the panel for the upcoming Born To Be Wide event at the Electric Circus on Market Street on Thursday 7th November. For those of you who haven’t noticed that the nights are fair drawing in, that date is really soon. It’s this coming Thursday. The premise of the event is this:
“A single shop can still sell hundreds of albums by a self-released act or small label, as well as providing promotional support through in-stores and recommendations to other retailers. This discussion will look at how artists, labels and managers can best work with the stores to increase the chances of success. “
So then, it’s a seminar on how artists can engage with record shops arranged by the fantastic folks at Born To Be Wide** -An important and increasingly relevant community interest group dedicated to helping Scottish artists find their way in the music industry.
More about the event and tickets, HERE.
So, Are You Experienced?
There is only so long that George and I can say that we’re a just a new shop learning the ropes. After 2 and a half years we’ve learned a lot about the local music scene and have befriended so many of our customers, several local bands, solo artists and the record company distributors, the SMIA/SAY award team and many small to medium records labels. I think we’re no longer two virgins* and even have a bit of expertise to share from the perspective of an enthusiastic new shop.
Failing that, the incredibly experienced Sandy McLean from Love Music in Glasgow and Rose from Coda on the Mound will be there too to give insights gained from their many years running Scottish record shops. I’m hoping that young artists, labels and bands will attend and use the opportunity to ask some questions and say to hello. [Tom from big boys Fopp have joined and Vicki from the label Comets and Cartwheels is on the panel too]
Questions that I’m thinking might come up are:
Who still shops in record shops? Who looks at the local stuff? Isn’t it a bit cliquey? What do shops know? Who do shops know? How should a band or label approach record shops? Don’t I need a label? Will you stock our release? Will it sell? How to help your release sell in shops. How much commission does a shop take? Instores –are they worth it? What about Record Store Day? What’s selling just now? Should I release on Vinyl or CD when downloads are doing well? I’ve made 15 albums or CD-R, do I just bring them in? Where did you get that jumper?
As a band T-shirt wearing kind of guy, my own point of view is that record shops should have local stuff all the time. We have an open shelf policy towards Edinburgh bands and I’d like to invite any artist or label from Edinburgh and throughout Scotland to get in touch and we’ll put your record or CD on the shelf.
Interestingly, Honeyblood have been featured on Wide Days/Born to be Wide. They are now signed to FatCat and have a single out Monday on pink vinyl with an album coming out next year. The girls played for us and you on Record Store Day this year and we’ll have plenty of in. It wasn’t Wide Days or RSD with us that got them a record deal or onto the stage at T-in the Park but I suppose it works as an example of the symbiosis (yes, symbiosis!) of the music community. Lots of little kicks can smash down big doors. It’s really a small world and it’s sensible that we should all be pals.
This is the strange and floaty video for Bud:
Ask not what your shop can can do for you but what you can do for… Sorry, no that’s not right.
Anyway, I hope to see you Thursday!
* A Lennon and Yoko album.
** Born To Be Wide is a Community Interest Company based in central Scotland which stages regular music business seminar and social events for anyone involved or interested in the Scottish music scene. Born to be Wide is a Community Interest Group aimed at supporting local artists and giving the best advice on how to get along as a musician.
ince April 2008, Born To Be Wide has hosted seminars covering subjects such as How To Get A Gig, Unveiling The Mind Of A Music Journalist, A&R, Music Festivals, Music PR, Record Sleeve Design, How To Get On Radio, Music Management and Booking Agents.
In addition to the regular events, Born To Be Wide hosts Wide Days, an annual two-day convention and showcase event which takes place in Edinburgh in April, as well as delivering seminars for various other music industry events including GoNorth.
Olaf is the blond D’Artagnan of the Scottish music industry has been running this important community event for ages and has become a stalwart of the Scottish music industry.
Lou Reed had a liver transplant a few months ago. He’s doing OK apparently. [Not so, he died 27/10/13, I typed this on 26/10/13]
He got Hepatitis C in the 1960s probably from a shared needle. John Cale later developed Hepatitis C, most likely as a result of sharing the same needle with Lou. I presume that Lou’s liver failure was due to that past infection more than the years of booze that were to follow.
In his biography, Cale described a treatment he received in the 1970s which made him feel unwell and he became incredibly miserable and mean, twisted and unkind. I head that Lou later had the same treatment. I dread to think what Lou became like. Lou is not known for his happy go lucky charm.
I really love the Velvet Underground. So much that I forgive Lou Reed his chronic ego and miserablism. I really love his solo albums too. Mostly that is. Some are a bit shit. But Lou can do anything as far as I’m concerned. Some lucky fella is now dead but has kept Lou alive by donating his liver. Look, I’m not keen on car crashes myself, but if a 10 tonne truck crashes into us… to become a donor to an iconic musician makes the thought of it a bit nicer.
I didn’t used to carry a donor card but hey, now I’m in. For who knows, Iggy might need some bits of me. Failing that, what the hell, any of you lot can have them.
Organ Donation Scotland
PS VoxBox George is looking for spare parts for his knee.
Other musical organ beneficiaries:
Billy Preston, (Funk musician and Beatle’s keyboardist) – Kidney transplant (ironically he had a 1970 album called Organ Transplant)
Jack Bruce, (Cream bassist) –Liver transplant
Freddy Fender (Rock and Roll musician) -Liver transplant
John Phillips (Mama’s and Papas) -Lung transplant
David Crosby (Byrds, CSNY) -Liver transplant. Paid for by Phil Collins!
Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead bassist) -Liver transplant
[Lou has been a fantastic inspiration to me over the years. My love of music owes a lot to hearing The Velvet Underground when I was 16 years old. I'll try write a bit about that later. Right now, I'm popping out for a beer and then going upstairs to listen to some records]
It’s taken me 2 years to realise that hitherto unpronounceable Meursault are not named after Neil Pennycook’s favourite sleepy French town. Is he a fan of their famous white burgundies? I had thought he was.
Meursault is the bloody main character in Albert Camus’ novel, L’Etranger, the title probably best translated as The Outsider.
I read that book when I was at University. The main character, Meursault (mer-so) is the original emo. Like The Cure, he kills an Arab and is pretty ‘meh?’ about it. He’s pretty indifferent to everything actually, including his love life, the killing, the trial and life in general. These days he’d be diagnosed with an existential Asperger’s spectrum thing and have been given extra time in his exams before settling into a job in IT.
If you’re like me and try to read some classic books from time to time, please be aware that when someone asks you if you’re reading anything just now, that Albert Camus was a French Algerian and his name is therefore pronounced Albear Camoo, not Albert Camuss like he was good old Bert from Leith. Be careful too before admitting reading Descartes and Goethe you smarty-pants.
They probably have the same problem in France. ‘Eh? avez vous read le nouvoux Eeon Ronkeen livre?’ ‘Groan, eez appellaiz eez pronouncezd Iaan Rankeen vous eembeecile.’
There is a point to this.
I went to see The Leg at Henry’s Cellar bar earlier this year.
Something that night gave the place the aura of an Amsterdam basement.* A place Jacques Brel would seek out. It had an odd otherworldly feel. The orangey lights and earlier bands had set an abrasiveness that was hard to shake and although 2 pints into the show it felt like a psychedelic coin on its edge. There was even a scuffed and battered piano that couldn’t possibly be in tune on the left of the stage. A good trip or horrorshow ahead??
What’s it to be then, eh?
They’re an odd bunch, The Leg. They’re a total mystery to me too. I never ask about who The Leg are or what else they do suffice to say I’m aware that the 3 individuals sometimes contribute to other bands’ records.
Look like they have been on shore for only a few hours. When resting, they appear intense. lick lipping, lean and meat starved hungry.
The album, An Eagle To Saturn came out a wee while ago. We have it. Yes they came onshore dressed as colourful pandas.
Back in Henry’s, their drummer had shaved his beard off since I last saw the band. The beard had been a statement beard. A long braided Jesus of a beard crucified on Dali’s moustache. A beard so distracting that……….. Anyway, I’d seen someone at the bar and thought who is this guy? For I’d never seen the beardless man’s face before.
Yet, I’d seen him before, hmm I though, then I was distracted a bit more. He disappeared and then on seeing him again, this time him on stage, the centime dropped and I realised that this man is Meursault from the Camoo book; at least how I pictured Meursault in the Camoo book in my impressionable heid all those years ago. All gallic gesture, mood and bones. And he’s drumming in The Leg! Neil from Meursault the band walks by. What the hell is going on here?
There’s a cello and a bearded cellist who doubles as the band pianist. A man with so much talent, that the only way he can play honestly is to add in bum notes to make a tune sound more interesting. He’d make Strauss waltz with a limp.
Then there’s the third man of The Leg. Woolen hat. Angry, shouty, spitty, vicious. Singing songs for the dwarves that never made the big time.
What are the songs actually about? Sea monsters obviously. Great big squid, scurvy, rum, splinters and rowing blisters. Hooks and anchors. Knots for fastening stuff. Knotted and tattooed rope for heave-ho arms. Far off lands, exotic maidens and painful exotic diseases. Missing fingers and teeth and scars from errant squid. Other small bite marks that don’t really heal. Revenge on mutinous crew. Scrimshawed orca teeth. Pirate light-saber fights. Skeletons and skulls with crossed bones. Thousand yard stares, crows nests and eyes squinting into a low sun horizon. Cartoon fish net run-ins with nuclear submarines. Drowning comrades and oil spills. Drowning Kamikaze pilots who missed the boat. Sowesters and sideways rain, 30 metre swells. Fore and aft and a’ that. Pickled food and gangways. Gifts from far off tsars, night guidance by the stars. Eaten sailors, tiger sharks. Cargo of rotting pineapple and ballast and stowaway tarantulas. Poisonous giant centipedes ate the ship’s rats. Ship’s surgeon with a bloody apron that can stand up on its own, stiffened by dead and dried blood from the work. The crew’s excrement and dead comrades thrown overboard, sown in canvas.
Okay, so I really have no idea, the songs are genuinely not of this world.
Shore time. 2 days. Don’t stray far. See if you can find some more crew to replace the stiffs and a few barrels of something that at least smells like limes. So they tidy themselves up a bit. And somehow end up in Henry’s playing this odd music.
A porthole looking into something outside that you are unsure if you even want to see. Frightened, you open your ears and take a peek.
Have a peek at this:
Whatever Happened To The Shrunken Tina Turner
That’s an older album. Track 10 is gloriously rough and a bit sweary, be warned.
A new album is nearing release on the back of this weird single, Chicken Slippers.
The band play at The Pleasance on Saturday night (Meursault on the bill too). There must be an otherworldly ship in Leith docks just now. It’ll be a few months until it comes in again. I’m looking forward to seeing this, I’ll be hiding near the front, sowester at the ready.
* Not a vinyl basement with fetish gear and that kind of stuff, nor a nice vinyl basement full of records and that. There is a true story involving this mix up but you can make one up for yourself. Just wander your character and friends into the red light district and have him say “we’re looking for vinyl”.
The nice people at Waterstones have invited VoxBox into their huge West End store as a pop up shop to help promote a book. That was an incredibly fun email to open and we jumped at the chance and ran and brought them some nice stuff to put in the window.
Yeah Yeah Yeah is the new book on POP by Bob Stanley. POP With capital letters. Bob Stanley is in Saint Etienne, he’s a well respected musician and seasoned music writer and record enthusiast who is now championing the hit parades of the past. As a vintage record shop, that’s our kind of guy!
But what to blazes is pop? I actually though that Saint Etienne were the first “serious” Pop band I was into. I saw them on The Word in 1990 when I was 13. They played You’re in a Bad Way and I fell in love with Sarah Cracknell. That was even the tune and video I picked for our very first song of the day on Facebook just after we opened in 2011.
After reading a few pages of this book it’s dawned on me that I am actually a HUGH pop fan and VoxBox is full of vintage pop. What we predominantly sell is or was popular music and that is a wide field indeed.
It’s all there though. The book is a massive 700 odd pages, so it is actually broad in its scope without trying to be definitive regarding any era. I also keep it by the bedside as a potential weapon in case of burglers. The book takes you from the 1950s crooners and the birth of the chart in 1953 through early Rock and Roll, Elvis, British Rock and Roll, Motown, Phil Spector, Joe Meek, The Beatles, Stones, Soul, Bowie, Bolan through Punk, Reggae, Prog, Hard Rock, Disco and New Wave. Then finally onto the rise of Indie music and Techno, stopping around 2003 with the download age. It basically fits in with 50 years of 7” singles and also I happy to say, is almost identical to our browser headings. The Rolling Stones are pop! Strewth, gimme shelter.
Anyway, while reading, I’ve been pulling out some 45s from our Backroom that Bob writes about. I was surprised to find that there have been a few gems under my nose for more than a few years.
Del Shannon has become a favourite artist. This was 1962 and the sound is pure garage band psychedelia. This was a great find for me. Exciting! The tune had been lost on the the B-Side. Thanks Bob!
So back to the book event! BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway will be interviewing Bob Stanley in the evening and Bob will be hosting a pop quiz. It’s on Tuesday 22nd October. We’ll have a shop on the 3rd floor by the music books and café. VoxBox George and I will have a mini pop music museum and record shop featuring much of the music in Yeah Yeah Yeah so folk can pop upstairs and have a listen. We’ll have some St. Etienne records old and new too that Bob might sign for you if you’re nice or something.
The talk and Q&A with Bob Stanley and Pop Quiz takes place later in the evening and is ticketed. Get tickets here.
I love a pop quiz and am a record geek, so this looks like good fun. As you’re reading this, you are maybe one too. If you’re only starting out buying records, this book would be a handy guide. Read it or dip in and it’s a gateway into the fascinating field of pop music history and will hopefully open your mind to where modern popular music evolved from (and from where it has so often recycled). I recommend finding the songs he mentions online while you read as there are hundreds of real gems. You can always find your favourites on vinyl later or have a trawl through our Backroom singles.
Bob manages to put the hits of the day in context. The Beatles first album may not be great by today’s standards (I’ll argue with George about this controversial idea later) but in understanding what came before and after, you can appreciate just how ground-breaking and important it was. For a youngster just getting into records, the book is the abridged bible of pop. For seasoned oldies but goodies who can remember the tunes when they came out, there’s nostalgia and the bonus of a nugget of trivia on every page.*
For instance, did you know that the bulk of Please Please Me was recorded in a day during a mammoth 10 hour recording session? Lennon had a cold, sucking on cough sweets and had a ragged throat. Twist and Shout was recorded in one take at the end of the session. A second was attempted but his voice was knackered. That’s why he sounds so gloriously rough!
Basically, I really recommend the book and am happy to plug it for that very reason. Tuesday will be busy, so if you do fancy the event, get a ticket early, or if not but you’re in town, come visit us on the 3rd floor and say hi. Just follow the sound of pop music up the stairs. Thanks also to Waterstones for helping a tiny shop like us. Our heads might even pop, as for one day only we can boast that we’re the largest record shop on Princes Street. (find us next door to HMV). Yeah Yeah Yeah!
I’ll finish with a pic of Del Shannon that I’ve made look a bit like Morrissey. Just for fun and to remind myself to buy more printer ink.
*More POP Trivia: Did you know that Iggy Pop was just plain Iggy Stooge until he shaved his eyebrows (why!?). It made him look like a local character who had a form of alopecia and no eyebrows. That guy was called Jimmy Pop.
Way before that, Jim Osterberg played drums in a band called The Iguanas. Getting called Iggy was probably folks taking the piss as the band wasn’t that good.
After a blog hiatus, I’m very pleased to say that we’re doing a radio show. Not real on the airwaves radio, but internet radio. That’s an oxymoron you say? Ssh!… don’t analyse everything. Edinburgh University have a student run internet radio channel called Fresh Air Radio and from tomorrow VoxBox has a show on it. This is good and fun news. Now, it’s a long time since I left university and I’m certainly not down with the kids, I can’t twerk, I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin so we’ll just see how it goes down with the young audience. Clearly you don’t need to be a student to listen in but if you like you can always pretend. No one will know.
I had a wee Fresh Air radio show during the festival called Plastic Passion. A terrifying two hour show broadcast live for 3 weeks in August. The shows are now somewhere on the internet and I’ll try to look them out. There were some good bits and some cringe-worthy bits. It is what it was though, and I’m chuffed to bits that I was invited on and given the chance to play at being a Radio DJ for a while.
For the August shows I roped in a radio and vinyl obsessed friend, Dominic to help out. He’s the more serious and professional one and thankfully is much less likely than me to become speechless and stammery with coffee and nerves. P-p-p-p-p-practice mak-k-k-kes p-p-p-p-p. Oh I give up. So Dom will be co-hosting the show again and I can’t rule out a cameo appearance from VoxBox George when he gets back from holiday. It’s exciting times and it feels good to get more deeply involved in the music community.
Our August shows were produced by Elyse and the new shows will be again so I’m hoping for a cozy feel. In August, she told me that it took her ages to come down to the shop. Why so? I was surprised that she had thought she wasn’t cool enough to go into VoxBox. “Now after meeting you, I realise my mistake.”
This NEW show is going for a similar feel as before. Totally uncool and unhipsterish. It’s called The Big VoxBox Radio Show and will be broadcast live on Fresh Air Radio every Wednesday from 1900-2000. I’ll figure out how to keep them as standalone Podcasts and put them up on Mixcloud or Podomatic and get a link up to the website.
What to expect? It won’t be typical music, what would be the the point of that? So, it’s more album tracks, local singles and other odds and ends that Dom and I come across in the shop or from home. Mainly new stuff though and mainly on vinyl.
We’ll make a particular point of playing Edinburgh and Scottish based bands especially if there is a new release on vinyl to plug. CDs, I’m less keen on but if the music’s new, underexposed and great, we’ll play whatever format we can get hold of. Send us your stuff is the mantra. We’ll probably play it.
For instance, this week, to help plug The John Knox Sex Club/Over The Wall split single launch gig on Friday we’ll play it. Record available at the gig, from GerryLoves.com and in your favourite Edinburgh and Glasgow’s record shops.
Siobhan Wilson (self released CD out), Rick Redbeard (album out earlier this year, vinyl sold out although Rick might have a copy or two left for sale) and Honeyblood playing on Saturday? You might remember Honeyblood from RSD at our place. Honeyblood have their debut single out on vinyl on the 21st October and have had a bit of airplay on Radio 6 Music. There’s lots of talent around!
We’ll do our best to help.
*Songs the never play on the radio is the title of a book on Nico. She was someone who made music that was rarely played on the radio at the time she made it and equally today.
I’m totally chuffed to say that we’re taking part in the very first International Cassette Store Day. Is it a gimmick? Yes! Do people still play cassettes? No, not really, you could sell probably sell blank cassettes and never be found out! But they’re still great are they? Yes. Yes they are. Yes. Yes they are. This is not a problem with copy and paste. Tapes are great, yes they are.
Imagine you were one of One Direction. At the moment so confused with the hormones and the copious amounts of new tattoo ink in yer bloodstream. Push FFWD to 80. Once you hit 80+ years, memory failing, getting stiff, hip broken, teeth missing, memory failing, needing to pee five times a night and memory like a … what’s the word for a really fine collander? Your children want something to sell to pay your nursing home fees. Somehow you remember. I’m Harry bloody Styles! I was massive for doing something. Then you start looking for the memorabilia you have…
Not to be confused with One Direction, the Black International folk have been coming in to VoxBox since we opened. I’m really chuffed to have them on board for our 1st Cassette Store Day. They’re normally REALLY LOUD but strip down to an acoustic LOUD too. New single, Gilded Palace oot on cassette tape, 7 inch vinyl, and probably download too. They’re playing at 1600. Expect something like this but with party poppers:
Sending a Scottish lad to art school does not lead to Eric Clapton. It leads to an odd brilliance of arty punky stuff.
We’ll have lots of CASSETTE STORE DAY tapes, but first may I interest you in these?
Randolph’s Leap -Brilliant! That’s not the title. I love the band and it’s brilliant that they are putting out something. We have 6 copies of a super limited run of 20 of their new EP. Twenty! Twenty copies! That’s the equivalent of U2 doing something like 100 cassettes. The fan to cassette ratio that is. Get a tape ASAP.
Adam Stafford EP Millions must work forever. Sold out Record Store Day cassette just found again in among some stuff. x1
An Inaugral Address -Gerry Loves Records, 16 track compilation label sampler. FREE to tape fans.
The Just Joans Live at the Wee Red Bar. They dropped in a few copies of their tape. It sounds like a bit like this:
Any PAWS Tigerlily demo tapes left from after the Mono and Banshee Gigs will be on sale. Basically, go to the gigs to be sure!
The Son(s) -Leviathan. Great debut by the nicest chap you could meet.
Oh, also Randolph’s Leap’s RSD tape. There’s a couple left. It contains the song ‘Crisps’.
A few other odds and sodds I’ve picked up by Garden of Elks, The Black Tambourines, The Perverts, Zaklante/Hazetomb, Roadside Picnic. (?. I know)
As far as official tapes, these have finally arrived.
JJ Doom Key to the KUFFS (Lex)
V/A Collective Hiss (Faux Discx)
Mum Smilewound (Blood and Biscuits)
Efterklang Tripper (Blood and Biscuits)
Dolfinz Pagan Dating (Tye Die Tapes)
Molly Nilsson The Travels (Night People)
Animal Collective Sung Tongs (FatCat)
His Clancyness “Covering Up” (FatCat)
Guided By Voices English Little League (Fire/Bad Paintings)
Xiu Xiu Women as Lovers (Bad Paintings)
The Fair Ohs JAMS VOLUME #2 (Supplex)
The Proper Ornaments Demos (Supplex)
Bright Light Bright Light-Make Me Believe In Hope (Self Raising Records) —->Gold tape!
Let’s Wrestle -Demos (Supplex)
Fear Of Men -Early Fragments
Loom, The Wytches, Polterghost -Sampler (Hate Hate Hate Records)
Potty Mouth The Spins (Marshall Teller Records)
Los Campesinos Live double album (Kissability)
Volcano Choir -Repave (Jagjaguwar)
Casket Girls -Coming from the USA -May be late.
Ambrosia(@) -Cordially Yours (Bomb Shop) -2 track including drone version of Anne Briggs’ “Go Your Way”
Rough Fields -You as You (Bomb Shop) – 2 track
Fierce County -Woodsman EP (Bomb Shop) -4 tracks of modern folk
Rough Fields -The hHarbour Wall (Bomb Shop) -Experimental electronic folk music
Pairs -Summer Sweat (Bomb Shop) -14 tracks thrashy Shanghai duo
God Bows to Math (Bomb Shop) Self titled album. New Zealand trio. Noisy rock music.
Sous Section 5 -Sonsuz (Bomb Shop) endless loop cassette EP (only 50 worldwide)
Mason Clinic -Prisoners (Bomb Shop) Fuzzy guitars and bittersweet melodies. Maybe New Zealand’s best band.
Preslav Literary School/Will Gresson, Analepsis/The Last Tram, split cassette (Bomb Shop)
Phew! More to come.
CHEWED TAPE RAMBLINGS
For a few years now small labels have been putting out music on cassettes. There are only a Tony Iommi handful of companies that still make tapes in the UK. Why have they been doing this? Why keep making tapes when CD-Rs are so cheap and easy to make? That question is probably the answer. CD-Rs are really shit. Vinyl is very expensive to make, especially for a short run of singles. Tapes are cheap.
Old technology is actually new technology to young people too.
They are also usually really limited. A young band may make 50 tapes of a release.
Like the band? Buy the tape! For a start, small bands get paid little for a gig. Buying tapes help bands.
Buying tapes from bands who you think might just make it is great. It helps the band. Tell yer mates about them.
The Flaming Lips putting out a tape limited to 100 worldwide is crazy. I collect records and tapes and have a shop. If we managed to get one and if I was a BIG fan what should I do?
So, like Record Store Day, some tapes are way too limited, but please remember that the day is about cassette tapes, not artists or even record shops really (How many still sell tapes?). The larger bands can create more media interest, but it’s not about the media and other stuff as much as the grass roots bands that have been grafting and making art for these years. I’ve said it. Art. These items really are, at their best, Art, and at their worst a triumph of unemployment over brainpower.
The artwork is often mindbreaking and often with individually hand-written labels and inserts. Sometimes the packaging is better than the music.
Is it a fad for status seeking retro walkman people? Yes, it is. Is it for you too?
Simply answer this question; Do you like tapes?
VoxBox is 2 years and 4 months old and we are due a party. It’s also my birthday on Saturday. There’s a party at our place all day. Food, balloons, cake and other things. Party poppers? Yes. Them too. And tapes. Lots of tapes.
Right folks, it’s in-store time.
George and I had so much fun with the bands on Record Store Day that we don’t want it to stop. Also, I’ve bought some foam letters and other arts and crafts materials that need to be put to good use. Mr Andy Loves Records has some filming equipment that he’d like to put to good use and friend of the shop He.is.William is chomping at the bit to get stuck into filming bands. The gist is. If you’d like to play, we’d like to film you and stick the result up on our VoxBoxMusicBox Youtube page. (a continual work in progress)
VoxBox Sunday Sessions start this coming Friday the 16th of August. Sunday Sessions on a Friday? There must be some mistake. Everyone knows that Friday is not on a Sunday. Everyone except VoxBox George and me that is.
Right, PAWS are playing Friday 16th, not on Sunday!
SuperMarioNation on Sunday 18th
Quiet As A Mouse on Sunday 18th
Cassette Store Day Saturday 7th September. Line up TBC.
Wave Pictures on Saturday 21st October. Strewth!
OK then, let us just say that the sessions were going to be called VoxBox Sunday Sessions but due to problems with the names of actual days of the week when bands can come in, we’ll call them VoxBoxMusicBox Sessions and bash on.
PAWS are playing a Friday session on the 16th August.
Our favourite melody thrashers are back in town on Friday 16th August to play at the HMV Picture House in support of The Cribs. Tickets and info here.
They are coming down to our place before the show to play songs from their brand spanking new (and soon to be recorded) album. This will be an exclusive preview of the new album tracks. It’s free and open to all.
The PAWS trio are renowned for their loudness and high energy performances. The PAWS’ claws will be kept in for this session though. The claws-out full on thrash being reserved for the Cribs show later that night!
It will happen at 6pm although there is a wee chance that we may bring it forward to 5pm.
A VOXBOX SUNDAY SESSION!
This Sunday the 18th August we have at 2pm SuperMarioNation‘s Steve who will be dusting off his acoustic guitar and kicking out some jams for us all. He has volunteered to make some noise for the fun of it. This will be acoustic thrashy fun that you’ll hear from across the street!
At 4pm Edinburgh’s Quiet As A Mouse will do a short session to promote their brand new single, Home Is The Hardest Place To Find.
Quiet As A Mouse – ” Home Is The Hardest Place To Find” from Sea of Lyons on Vimeo.
The band’s reputation has quickly grown from shows with Palma Violets (Rough Trade Records), The Crookes, Hey Sholay & Dingus Khan (Fierce Panda Records) as well as debut London shows at the legendary Bull & Gate and the Buffalo Bar for Club Fandango.
The single was produced by Marcus Mackay (Frightened Rabbit, Snow Patrol, Sparrow & The Workshop) and mastered by Chris Potter (Arctic Monkeys, Anna Calvi, Suede & Primal Scream).
The Daily Record said of the bands April free giveaway single “some bands don’t even achieve such a great track as ‘An Accident Waiting To Happen (Awoo Woo Woo)’ let alone give it away for free. It’s a contender for Scottish single of the year.” Their next gig is on Saturday 31st August at the Liquid Rooms -tickets available from here.
CASSETTE STORE DAY!
We’re excited to be taking part in the first ever Cassette Store Day on September 7th. Is this not just a gimmick? You can not be serious? Well, we do try to support band that put out releases on tape and the grassroots music makers tend to be tape enthusiasts. Some big bands have signed up too. Check out the releases. OK, it’s my birthday 7th September and I was planning on having a party anyway. Expect cake, party poppers, tapes and an in-store or two by some tape makers. Full line up TBC. Watch this space.
A SATURDAY SESSION TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
The Wave Pictures are playing at our place on Saturday 21st October. This will be an early one. They play The Pleasance Theatre on the night before.
If you would like us to film you or your band at our place on a Sunday or when you’re passing through Edinburgh, just drop us an email. VoxBox Darren and VoxBox George: email@example.com
For use in situations when another shop steals a photo from your website. Let off steam using arts and crafts. #Records For Sale. It’s a hashtag, honest. Anyway, there’s a few things to blow our VoxBox horns about.
Just DJ it!
Our open turntable DJ Night has been good fun. It’s held on the on the last Thursday of the month at our neighbours down the road, The Last Word Saloon. Basically, you book a 30-40 minute slot and bring records that you like. Tunes you wish were on the radio, guilty pleasures, or for people that just fancy giving DJing a go. It’s geared at complete beginners and amateurs, so any fancy stuff with crossed hands spotted over the mixer will lead to stern tutting. But hey, knock yourself out. Just send an email with your preferred time to firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us your stuff!
A friend and I have booked a wee radio show on Fresh Air Radio during the fringe. That is, two hours from 1800 to 2000 every Wednesday for three weeks starting on the 7th August. This will be all new music and we will be playing music from tiny labels and tunes from the established medium and huge labels to see if folk can tell the difference. There will be some record shop based banter too. Sound like fun? This could be a disaster! For a start, my mate is called Dominic which leads to the awful “Dar and Dom” monicker. Dardom? Like the theme music to Jaws perhaps?
“Send us your stuff!” is the new mantra. We just want to play new stuff. For example if you think you are the best band in Leith and have a record out, send us your stuff! Same goes if you are reading this in Manchester, Los Angeles or Lebanon. Send us your stuff! Simply send us a copy and we will probably play it. The show will be vinyl only to begin with.
Every Sunday from very soon we’ll be filming bands doing acoustic numbers in our shop and if we tire of that, maybe in different shops all the way down our street. Basically impromptu stuff. Turn up, do a handful of tunes, be filmed doing them by friend of the shop William, possibly talk to me on camera for a few silly questions too. A Sunday sesh will be from 1600. Turn up, if there’s a small crowd, great! Play a few, get put on the site. Or turn up, no crowd, play a few, get filmed and put on the site.
I don’t mind if it’s 5mins or 25mins. It’s not intended to be a proper gig. It’ll just be a regular thing for a band to bash out the tunes and hopefully get a wee crowd and a bit of publicity. Begins soon…
The idea is to get bands onto our shop website and on our youtube channel. Voxboxmusicbox. A bit like the mighty Wounded Knee on Record Store Day:
Oh and we’ll put your record on the shelf too.
Er. That’s it!
The clype. It must be the thunderstorms. Shame this, as I had a nice blog bit to do about Paul Weller.
After a conversation with a local business owner in the Grassmarket yesterday, it became apparent that some people in Edinburgh may be mistaken in certain issues about our VoxBox record shop. Just in-case these rumours have spread, I wanted to clarify a few points here as you know how word gets around.
(Edited to remove prolonged ranting and swearing)
We are amateurs and part-timers who do not know how to run a record shop.
The proof is in the pudding. We are over two years into running this thing with all of our major expenses out of the way. We keep a tidy shop. Stock is well presented and the records are kept on custom made browsers with clean record dividers. Bills are paid on time. The shop opens and closes on time (Or within 10mins, one exception being when Andy Murray was playing the Wimbledon final). I am also happy to say that we have not presided over the decline and closure of 4 record shops in the past.
We don’t sell any new records.
This simply isn’t true; we do and have done for 2 years. We make no bones about slowly branching into new vinyl. In fact, if you check, it is the first thing our website mentions. In general, we keep around 200 different factory wrapped new titles.
Well, you don’t mention this on Facebook and Twitter.
Correct. We also do not announce every time we sell a particular record either. All our new records are price checked against Amazon and local competitors. We won’t stock a new record unless we can price match Amazon + P&P.
We didn’t even know who RM Hubbert was. Sorry Hubbie. However, in our favour, we actively seek out Scottish artists who have albums out on vinyl. We are a record shop after all, not a CD shop that sells records as an afterthought. RM Hubbert’s SAY Award winning album has now been pressed on vinyl and of course we will get some copies in. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BO-oRHzCAAE-ajp.jpg:large
All we do is talk about PAWS. Erm, of course I do as I think they’re a pretty special band although admittedly, not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m going to see them support The Cribs in August and have written a gushing piece for The Cribs’ Fanzine. Love those guys. It’s a shame Matt left the group though.
Record Store Day is not meant for shops like you. You are a second hand shop that sells some new stuff whereas; we are a new shop that sells some second hand stuff.
We sell records from a shop. Record stalls sell records. Record shop sells records. Records sold by a shop should make the shop a what? Am I missing something here? Patisserie? VoxBox cakes?
Photo used by kind permission of VoxBox Music Ltd
I just don’t get it. And no, we are not responsible for any of the parody accounts. I’ve not seen the official RSD rulebook. Around 1/10th of our vinyl stock is brand new records. That ratio is on a par with that of many other RSD shops in the Grassmarket area.
We sold a record on Record Store Day that was not made available to all of the other RSD record shops. This must be the very fine Beer vs. Records release. This was clearly not intended as an official Record Store Day release. We still have a copy if anyone is interested but I think they have otherwise sold out.
The final point was regarding record stalls at the Grassmarket festival which I hope to have addressed in the previous piece although I should mention that VoxBox does not take a stall and no stall holder objected to a “record shop” opening in The Grassmarket.
After a 20 minute tirade, these words followed our hero out of the shop into the glorious Grassmarket sunshine:
“I’m expecting you not to turn up”
“If I see anyone selling records in the Grassmarket during the festival, I’m going to tell them to fun off.”
Great, everyone likes to have fun. I think he said fun, mind you, now I’m not so sure.