Thank You For The (Record Store) Days

The adrenalin has worn off and I’ve been collapsed in a heap since Monday. Record Store Day was a tremendous success. More people than ever came down to the shop. There were loads of new faces and the Sun was shining. I couldn’t have asked for more. The VoxBox team would like to thank everyone who came down. Both the regulars customers and newbies. And heck, everyone that couldn’t make it down but wanted to. And why not, everyone who couldn’t make it down are are quitehappyaboutthisthankyouverymuch as well. Record shops need customers.

When I was thinking about who to thank for the day it became apparent that record shops need much more than customers. There was quite a large team of people involved in putting on the day.

The Oscars!
Best book launch: Thanks to Simon Goddard and Ian Rankin for kicking off the afternoon with the Q&A on The History of Postcard Records. A book currently sitting on my bedside table. We sold out of books.

Best bands in Scotland on RSD: Thanks to the musicians. Yusuf Azak, Book Group, Broken Records, LAW, Stanley Odd, Pictish Trail and Tuff Love. I think that’s what RSD is really about: Showing off the amount of talent on our doorstep. More on this later.

Best behind the scenes team: Thank you to Andy and Paddy at Gerry Loves Records for all the help organising the day and looking after the crazy M&M demands of the bands above.

Best merch stall: Thanks to Charlotte!

Best PA hire company: Matthew Toad

Best venue: Thanks to the Antiquary down the road for letting us take over the bar all day.

Best record shop staff: Chiquita and Andy for their hard work and my Freshair Radio co-presenter, Dom for joining in.

Thanks to Matthew for helping with filming at short notice and Niall for taking care of the sound for the bands. I’m really looking forward to seeing the footage.

Best after party: The Electric Circus (and full band Stanley Odd and The Cairn String Quartet)

Best Street: erm St Stephen Street obviously

Best family: Thanks to Helen for putting up with all the cardboard boxes at home and all of the family that came down.

Thanks also to VoxBox George and co. and all the friends that offered help.

The shop is still a mess and there’s still a full drum kit in the backroom.

Next year…

I’ll scratch my chin a bit about next year.

Thanks again,

Darren

original_just-for-the-record-card

The Merch

Finally I’ve priced everything!

The Preposterous Story of Postcard Records. We have lots of books for sale. These come with limited edition poster (only available in Scottish shops). We have 5 copies of the RSD reissue of Edwyn Collins’ Gorgeous George and some of the Orange Juice albums that were reissued last year. Original copies are getting much harder to find.
Roddy Frame’s RSD release Western Skies
More books:
The new Jesus and Mary Chain book Barbed Wire Kisses -prerelease!
New Edition of Last Shop Standing (We’re in it)

Stanley Odd have an official RSD release out. The EP Chase Yirsel with artwork by Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit. They play LoveMusic in Glasgow then come to us. Then play the afterparty at the Electric Circus. Hardworking folk.

LAW Holt will make a limited number of her new EP available on the day before the official release.

Tuff Love have their debut EP coming out soon. We’ll have pre-release 10 copies. As featured on BBC Radio 6 recommends this Thursday.

Yusuf Azak’s Debut LP Peace In The Underworld will be available in limited quantities ahead of the official release date.

Times:

12.00-12.30 Goddard & Rankin Q&A
12.35-1.05 Yusuf Azak
1.30-2.00 Broken Records
2.30-3.00 Book Group
3.15-3.35 Law
4.00-4.20 Pictish Trail
4.40-5.10 Stanley Odd
5.30-6 Tuff Love

*******
Dewars have given us 10 copies of a truly wonderful record by King Creosote et al. This is really special. There are 20 copies in Edinburgh. We have 10 copies. (OK the others are in CODA)
*******

Scottish related RSD RELEASES:

BIS New LP and single.
CAMERA OBSCURA x5
CHVRCHES x5
DJANGO DJANGO x2
FRIGHTENED RABBIT release was US only. (Too dear to get the import, sorry)
THE TWILIGHT SAD -We have 25 copies.
EDWYN COLLINS Gorgeous George x5
GARBAGE x5
RODDY FRAME x5
STEVE MASON x20

Please remember, we’re a tiny shop. There will not be a queue to the counter system as we prefer that everyone can come in a and browse. To avoid a crush though, we’ll have to limit the amount of people in the shop to 25 or so. I promise to have nicest bouncers you have ever met.

Free Stuff!
Richer Sounds are offering a 10% off voucher.

The lovely people at Universal have created a boy band of the Busted ilk that swear a lot. 5SOS! 10 cassette tapes arrived to be given away free to people that know the password.

A handful of promo CDs.

The list:
10″, 12″ and LPs only

5 Seconds Of Summer
Albert Ammons x2
Aerosmith -3x all of them
Horrace Andy
Allman Brothers
Alvarius B
Annathema
Africa Express Maison Des Jeunes
Adam Ant
Matt Andersen
Barclay James Harvest
Breton Tape
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Beach Boys
Bis
The Black Angels
Black
The Black Heart Procession
David Bowie Rock and Roll Suicide x15 copies
Brown Brogues (This box is missing just now. Should find it for tomorrow)
Built TO Spill
Jake Bugg
Bombino
Bonobo
Charles Bradley
Tim Burgess
Captain Beefheart
Circles
Coves
Crillo
Camera Obscura
Nicola Conte
Creedence Clearwater Revivial
Michael Chapman
Corduroy
Cults
Curved Air
Holgar Czukay
Deep Purple
Diana Doors
Dream Theater
Dresden Dolls
Davy and Bert
Dunedin Double
Darq Freaker
The Darkness
Dillanger
Disclosure
Dylan
Echo and the Bunnymen
Steve Earle
Caro Emerald
Everything but the girl
Everly brothers
The Fall
Fear of Men
Fenech Soler
The Field
John Foxx
Jullian Gomes
John Grant
Robert Glasper Experiment
Garbage
Get Cape Wear Cape Fly – Mexican wrestler mask and d/l code. (Brilliant!)
The Glitch Mob
Gonga
The Grateful Dead
Greenday
Haim
Hawklords
Ossie Hibbert
Husker Du
Ice T
Inspiral Carpets
J B’s
Jay Z
Grace Jones
Paul Johnson
Jon Spencer BLues Explosion
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Joy Division
Stephen John Kalinich
Katatonia
Al Kooper CD
Kode 9 and the Space Ape
Lemonheads
Levellers
Liars
Little Dragon
Logistics
London Grammar
Lux Lewis
David Lynch
Machine Head
Dean Martin
James Vincent McMorrow
Mastodon
Marnie
Steve Mason
Marillion
Moriarty
Mudhoney
Melt Yourself Down
MGMT x2
Jenks Miller
The Moles
The Mor Paranoids
Motorhead
Joey Negro
Notorious BIG
Neon Neon
The Nits
The Notwist
Oasis
Of Montreal
O Level
Opeth
Outkast
Ozric Tentacles
Gram Parsons
Pagans
Jaco Pastorius
Placebo x3
Pussy Gold 5000
Johnny Osbourne
Pet Shop Boys
Pixies
Lee Scratch Perry
Phosphorescent
Power Glove
Pil
Pissed Jeans
Bobby Rush
Sikth
Sunra
Rammstein
Otis Redding
Ringo Deathstarr
The Ruts
Gil Scott Heron
Screaming Trees
Shonen Knife
Slipknot
J Spaceman
STANLEY ODD EP Chase Yirsel (artwork by Scott Hutchison)
Status Quo
String Driven Thing
Omar Souleyman
Yma Sumac
Surfer Blood
Tame Impala
Roger Taylor
T Rex
Teenage Film Stars
Sebastian Tellier
The Twilight Sad
The Ukranians
Ulver
We Have Band
Paul Weller
Whirlwind Heat
Wilkinson
Wreckless Eric
Xiu Xiu x2
Yardbirds x2

Comps/soundtracks
The Last Mimsy
Black Symbol
The Last House on the Left
Amarcord
Medical Records ECT
The Cartel
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Faux Discx
The Heavy Soundz
The Sun Records Comp
Rough Guide the Psychedelic Bollywood
Rough Guide To Latin Rare Groove
Battle Recordings Curates
Non Violent Femmes
Earache Presents Masters of Misery
The Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra
Psychedelic Rock from Singapore and Malaysia
In The Wall
Filth
The Bronx Warriors
The Perfume of the lady in black
The Degredation of Emanuelle
The Terminator
King King
Wall of Dolls

Box Sets
REM
Spacemen 3
ESG
LCD Soundsystem
Dinosaur JR
Dead Kennedys
The Space Project
Soundgarden
Ed Banger Records
Songs Ohia
The Action
The Creation
Xtra Mile Recordings
Musically Yours Pressure Sounds Presents
Sex Pistols
Bolan at the BBC

Singles:
Loads!
Anne Briggs
Strypes
Marianne Faithfull
Tremblin Bells
Twin Atlantic
Deep Purple
Ronnie Lane
M/O
Shocking Blue
Link Wray
Rolling Stones
Strypes
Stranglers
Specials
PSB

AND LOADS MORE

We don’t have the One Direction single, The Boss or the Ghostbusters single. Everything else we should have we have.

There’s also a box that hasn’t arrived yet. -The box from this company arrived at midday last year.

Must dash.
See you tomorrow!

Oh these won’t make it to shops in time:
Paramore 7″
Asgeir – Here It Comes – 7″
The Exit – The Exit EP – 7″
Poison Idea – Getting The Fear – 7″
Otis Clay – I Can’t Take It – LP
Cuz (Mike Watt & Sam From Go Team) – Tametebako – LP
Roddy Frame – Surf – LP
Hawkwind – Church Of Hawkwind – 2LP
Motorhead – Motorhead – 2LP
Neil Young – Cow Palace 1986 – 3LP
Various Artists – Bad Vibrations Presents: Live At Bad Vibes #1 – LP

Record Store Day 2014 Edinburgh

It’s that time of year again. It’s the run up to Record Store Day!

The list has been out for a wee while and there are more releases than ever before. A staggering 600 or so, ranging from the terribly exciting to the wow, that’s crazy! The VoxBox orders are finally in and I’m pleased to say we’ll have more different titles than in our past two record Store Days combined. That’s a whole lotta of stuff!

The shop will open at 9.30am and we will be crowded with RSD releases, as well as our usual selection of the best new and used records. A real vinyl paradise.

At 12 noon at a venue very close by we have Simon Goddard in a Q&A with Ian Rankin about Simon’s new book, Simply Thrilled: The Preposterous Story of Postcard Records which is released to record shops exclusively that day (before being released to Waterstones etc).

From 12.30 till 6pm we’re bringing you some of the very best bands from Edinburgh and beyond:
STANLEY ODD (have an official RSD release)
TUFF LOVE (have new EP out on Lost Map Records)
LAW (is simply fantastic)
BOOK GROUP (have some vinyl out)
THE PICTISH TRAIL (is always out and about)
BROKEN RECORDS (are back!)
YUSUF AZAK (New album out soon)
Our Born To Be Honey exhibition continues and features photos of Stanley Odd, Tuff Love and LAW.

This is all free entry and also open to children (accompanied by an adult).

Last year was a fantastic celebration and we are going bigger and better this year as we approach our 3rd anniversary in the music business.

We are celebrating what we love. A wide selection of music, the vinyl format, the grass roots record industry, the local bands and record labels as well as our fantastic regular customers that give our shop such a positive feel and of course our wonderful street.

SIMON GODDARD & IAN RANKIN Q&A
Simon’s new book is released by Random House on Record Store Day. Come down and hear them discuss all things Postcard, arguably Scotland’s favourite and the original modern indie record label. (featuring Josef K, Orange Juice and Aztec Camera). You’ll be able to pick up a book and have it signed by the author.

Simply Thrilled
Simply Thrilled; The Preposterous Story of Postcard Records

 

Here is a bit more about the bands:

TUFF LOVE
http://reallytufflove.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ReallyTuffLove

LAW
http://www.lawholt.com/

STANLEY ODD
http://stanleyodd.com/

BOOK GROUP
http://gerrylovesrecords.com/artist/book-group/
http://bookgroup.bandcamp.com/

THE PICTISH TRAIL
http://thepictishtrail.com/

BROKEN RECORDS

http://brokenrecordsband.com/

YUSUF AZAK

http://gerrylovesrecords.com/release/loves015/

http://yusufazak.bandcamp.com/

So there you go. I’m looking forward to this! A list of RSD records will be provided on the day and posted on the blog as soon as I find out what has been allocated to us. (hopefully soon). It’s not about the records really though. Right?

Check here for updates too:
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/280140585479899/
Twitter: @voxboxmusic

Born To Be Honey (Thursday, March 27th)

Get your motors running folks!

Before we opened VoxBox, we had thought seriously about being a music and art shop. Graphic designer Kate George designed the VoxBox logo and we wanted to be able to sell her other work in the shop; but alas, we decided against it in the end. That was about 3 years ago now and we’re now revisiting the music and artwork idea.

Something about music and visual art makes them simply belong together. The 2 forms are as deeply entwined in our heids as synesthesia. Many musicians are artists and vice versa. All album sleeves are works of art, aren’t they? A square foot of art free with every lovely record.

I love being in the shop with iconic album covers around about. Deep breath… Ah sweet heaven… and exhale, calmly.
Back here on earth, the new and exciting news is that VoxBox is hosting an exhibition. Not of album art as such, but the next best thing; the art of great band photography. The press shot, live action guitar stances, gravity-defying-rock-and-roll-sun-god-hair-action, behind the scenes intimacy and plain old bouncing around super-fun.

eagleowl's Bart has a (really) good hair day!

eagleowl’s Bart is a Golden God

Jannica Honey is a professional photographer, originally from Sweden, who now lives in Edinburgh. -Not that far from the shop in fact. Her pictures are great. She’s been photographer to Edinburgh and Glasgow based bands as well as those passing through town for several years now as well as pursuing her other creative photography themes. From family based portraits to full on, warts and all, nudity.  A snapshot of real people, well combed and prim or tussled and tangled, but with no airbrushing or fakery at all. You can check them out via her website. Did you have a look? Aren’t they just “Crikey!” Did I mention that she is great fun too?

The event is called Born To Be Honey and it ties in with the Born To Be Wide 10th anniversary celebrations on the 9th and 10th April. The exhibition focuses on musicians who have played Born To Be Wide’s annual Edinburgh Night – which features ten acts performing ten-minute sets – and several bands who have showcased at the Wide Days convention. They include Honeyblood, Stanley Odd, Withered Hand, Roman Nose, Plum, eagleowl and more.

Dan (Withered Hand) Willson will be playing a short set on the opening evening on Thursday the 27th March so keep the evening free. His fantastic new album, New Gods, just came out on Monday and he’s now hot stuff and off to play SXSW in Austin Texas. This is him, hot stuff, intimate, in his kitchen, almost just got up and daring you to volunteer to do the washing up.

withered-hand

Barney’s Beer have contributed some of their lovely beer and there will be some food and so on. It’ll be a Smörgåsbord of fun, so do pop along!

The exhibition proper, will grace our walls for the month of April.
Facebook event.

Contact Jannica here:

 

More (exciting) news coming up.

 

 

Orange Juice

At the end of the year, I like to look back, and as the John Lennon lyric goes, “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?”

What have you done? Hmm, what have you done… A check to see if you have been squeezing as much orange juice out of being alive as you can.    E v  e  r   y     l     a       s        t

d              r                  o                                                                                                                 p.

The Edwyn Collins guide to life.

The Edwyn Collins guide to life.

We’ve had a really good year. Each year I think that the VoxBox shop is building and getting a wee bit better. The music industry is in a state of flux and I’ve been actually surprised that records are being made in such big numbers again. Every new release is getting a run of vinyl apart from the X Factor stuff. It is a strange place to be on the periphery of this as a wee shop open just twenty-five and a half hours per week.

It has meant that we have to work more. Heaven forbid! By work I mean we need to order more of the new stuff in order to keep our shelves topped up and stay relevant. The vinyl revival does also mean that pre-owned records get a little harder to source. Don’t worry though, we have some contacts. Wink wink. We can now sell back catalogue items that you never see originals of. This pleases both George, who now can sell his favourite album (Forever Changes) and me (probably The Stooges) quite a bit.

Some of the re-issues do seem crazy as they are often plentiful on the pre-owned market (eg Paul Simon’s Graceland) and the quality of some of the new pressings is a bit dubious (The 4 Men With Beards label) but it would be churlish of me to complain. Edinburgh sold out of turntables in the run up to Christmas! This is great news for our record shops.

The year highlight of 2013 was celebrating our 2nd Record Store Day back in April. Wounded Knee singing his Anti Fascist Rant on our steps was a joy.

"BNP Feck off" (pic by Matthew Toad)

“BNP Feck off” (pic by Matthew Toad)

All of the bands were incredible and St Stephen Street was buzzing all day. In fact I was buzzing so much, I couldn’t sleep for three days afterwards. An incredible experience! Other things we have been proud of are starting our open turntable DJ night and our new Fresh Air Radio show, both of which will return in the new year. In-stores from SuperMarioNation’s Steve (for the hell of it) and Black International on Cassette Store Day was great fun. Oh, and the Phillip Taylor (PAWS) new album preview in-store was pretty special too.

The biggest musical disappointment for me was that Iggy and the Stooges new album Ready to Die was so ordinary. Iggy redeemed himself a bit last week with his superb Christmas Day radio show on Radio 6. He’s on again with a new show on New Year’s Day at 1300. I won’t be tuning in live though as it clashes with this Scot:Lands thing which looks too good to miss. Local and Scottish music, Dance & Theatre and it’s FREE. You should come too.

 

So, at the end of this fine year, what would be the VoxBox album of the year?

Erm, as usual, I haven’t done a list. The MOJO magazine tends to write for the record collector market. Their top 50 albums are here and it’d be hard for me to argue as I’ve not heard anywhere near them all.

There have been some notable albums by big Scottish bands too. Primal Scream, Mogwai, Nina Nesbitt, Texas, Boards of Canada, Biffy Clyro, Frightened Rabbit, Chvrches and indeed one by Edwyn Collins.
I would have added in some of our local bands too although it’s hard to be objective as I’m either friends or on friendly nodding terms with many of the folk below who all released albums this year.

Song by Toad label: Adam Stafford, The Leg, Sparrow and the Workshop

Fence/Lost Map: Kid Canaveral, The Pictish Trail, eagleowl, Monoganon

Chemikal Underground: RM Hubbert, Rick Redbeard

Olive Grove: Randolph’s Leap

Comets and Cartwheels: Quickbeam, There Will Be Fireworks

Soft Power: The Rosy Crucifiction

Other folk that brought their albums/EPs in include: Spook School, The Little Kicks, Delta Mainline, Ziggy Campbell, Book Group.

And there are loads more! So I’d say Scottish music is thriving the noo.

My favourite of those? All are really solid. I’ll try to make up my mind for sure before the Scottish Album of the Year Award next year where we might even get a vote…

SAY-horizontal

So I’ll keep my powder dry until then. I will say that the favourite things I’ve heard this year and have been listening to a lot weren’t even released this year. Glorified Demons by (the mysterious) Siobhan Wilson and Weald by Rob St John. You should check them out.

For what it’s worth, the biggest sellers in the shop over the past year, I think can be broken down like this:

Out of 2013 albums, it’s the Les Revenants soundtrack by Mogwai which is also a contender for VoxBox George’s favourite.

The best-selling new re-issues? That’ll be Love’s Forever Changes.

Out of local stuff, eagleowl’s debut album, This Silent Year I think has sold most. Well done Bart and co.

As to pre-owned stuff, selling by the landslide, it has been and will probably forever be, Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac.

 

Who’s counting anyway? It’s not a competition. I hope you’ve found something old or new that you really love and listen to it without fear of music snobbery. Make up your own mind and go yer own way.

VoxBox George and I would like to thank all of our customers for coming in and making the work such fun and we wish you all a Happy New Year!

Here’s to 2014.

Hip Hip Hooray!

William Henry Miller

I moved to Craigentinny a year and a half ago and have been plinking around with DIY in my spare time. DIY tends to be dusty business and dust as we know is the enemy of records.

While mosying around my new neighbourhood I came across a giant tomb. There is no other way to describe it except to use capital letters and the bold function; A MASSIVE old monument with carved marble panels on the sides. In among the 1930s bungalows this was a gigantic thing. A giant thing with a plaque attached.

I love living in Edinburgh, there are lots of plaques everywhere. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) stayed up the road from us on George Street after he eloped. There’s a wee plaque next to a hairdressers that says ‘Percy woz ere’ or words to that effect. I was sure that this monolith in Craigentinny was a monument to war dead. But which war? That was the question. So I went and had a read…

William Henry Miller
…and found out that it’s not a war monument to our pro patrium mori at all; it’s a family tomb!! A bizarrely huge gravestone.

This is the last resting place for William Henry Miller (1789-1848). And he’s not going anywhere soon.
I recognised the name because there is a song about this very man by Edinburgh’s very own Meursault and after a wee bit of research, (a really interesting piece) the lyrics all start to make sense.

From the internet: “William Henry Miller was an Eighteenth Century politician, possibly a hermaphrodite, who asked to be buried face down, 40 feet beneath the Earth, under a gigantic mausoleum.”
The Neil Pennycook banjo plinking still doesn’t make sense.*

Bury me face-down…

The joke finishes with      “…so the world can kiss my arse!”
A scurrilous rumour began after William Henry Miller’s death that he was a hermaphrodite, partly because of the 6 week period between his death and eventual interment and the odd request to be buried so deep and to be covered with a massive slab. But, no wonder it took 6 weeks, they had to dig a 40 foot hole first!
He was maybe afraid of grave robbers or simply fond of the Pharaohs. I think he wanted buried face down so he could look down on the world when he was ascending, Felix Baumgartner–like to heaven. Cometh the resurrection, I think he’ll be left be, Mr God would need a winch to get the lump of stone off of him and probably wouldn’t approve of his spending of £20,000 on his funeral arrangements back in 1848.

If you like, you can watch this ancient video of Meursault and friends playing their masterpiece at the monument itself and looking strangely coy.

 

Shop favourites, PAWS have been covering this song live too and there’s a video where Josh on drums looks like a thrashy Ringo. I’ll let you find it yourself. (At the spotty dog.)

However, PAWS front man, Phillip played an acoustic cover of the song at our place earlier in the year too.

 

And with that, I can tie in a plug for the PAWSault gig on Saturday 21st. Yes it’s a hybrid group never before seen, performing at the Song by, Toad label’s Christmas Party (and celebration of 5 years in the business) at Henry’s Cellar Bar. You can be pretty sure this will be the LOUDEST version yet. Somehow, I don’t think William Henry Miller would have approved. Luckily, it’ll be peaceful and quiet where he is…

 

 

The real William Henry Miller.

The real William Henry Miller. Immortalised in song and stone.

 

 

*A gentleman is someone who can play the banjo…. but doesn’t. Copyright, Mark Twain (1835-1910).

Some Thoughts On The HMV Picturehouse Closure

The HMV Picturehoose has been bought by JD Wetherspoon with the intention of turning it into a pub. Here is the statement. A massive pub; and I’ve been left a wee bit confused by this. You’d think that a venue that regularly holds 1500 customers who pay to get in and then buy the overpriced beer would make a decent profit. Of course, the ticket money goes to the promoter who then pays for the venue hire or there might be some other kind of deal but the venue hire must still be a very decent slice of the pie.

On top of that, the beer and cider is an unbelievable £4.40. Maybe I’m getting old but 2 pints and you don’t have enough change left from a tenner for a bus fare home. There certainly is not a selection of microbrewery niche ales to choose from and on top of that the plastic glasses are so thin and bendy that they almost collapse in your hand.

It is safe to say that if the HMV Picturehouse is making a profit, then that is not a good sign for the balance sheet of its parent company HMV, [och, since writing this, I found out that the Lloyds Predatory Bustard Division bought the building from HMV last year. They had no intention of running a business, let alone a music business. They only buy a distressed businesses assets with the intention of selling off later on for a quick profit, then they move on. Good grief, the government own 1/3 of Lloyds bank], as you don’t sell off the successful parts of your business unless you’re in a LOT of trouble or asset stripping. Council tax is expensive for large businesses. Who knows, maybe that’s the problem.

Since the Picturehouse’s revamp in 2008 it has hosted a load of great gigs and for a wee while in the last few years it felt like I was never out of the place. John Cale, The Darkness, Frightened Rabbit, The Fall, Adam Ant, Stiff Little Fingers, Noah and the Whale, The Cribs, The Magic Band, Vintage Trouble and The New York Dolls. Perfect record shop owner pleasing music. Some real cool times, so I will miss it as a venue. Often local or smaller Scottish bands get to play the stage in the support slots to crowds they’d struggle to reach otherwise. (The support bands get paid a paltry £100 or so -but that’s a separate issue)

NYDs**

It’s hard for venues I think, for example The Usher Hall (capacity 2200 seated, 2900 standing) is publicly owned and required a £40 million refurbishment which took 10 years. It has recently hosted Jack White, Sigur Ros, my partner’s graduation ceremony (which reminds me, New Order played there in 2012 too) and Blondie. Next year it will be hosting er… Simon Cowell’s Little Mix. So the more the merrier and nobody’s perfect.

The Queen’s Hall (capacity 900 seated) only stays open due to a subsidy of £200 000 per year and has been struggling to get funding for renovation. Therefore, it is under constant threat of closure especially so with this government’s Austerity. I suppose a Wetherspoons is open all day and gets the breakfast market, the lunch market, the supper market, the evening pub quiz market and finally the weekend meat market. Maybe all venues should open as gastropubs during the day?*

I really feel that we risk the slow erosion of these concert halls and venues; a cultural vandalism that we need to confront head on. That is why I would recommend people sign the petition to keep the Picturehouse as a venue. It may not succeed but a firm show of support will let the planners in Edinburgh City Council and the Creative Scotland team see that we are serious about our music and that we will fight for our venues. They might even be kinder to those who act as a platform for live music, at all levels, in the future. – I am keenly await the exciting new and not for profit, Sound House.

The Picturehouse is not particularly close to being my favourite of Edinburgh’s larger venues and I am very aware of the faults of the place. I’m also not against JD Wetherspoon as a company and I’m sure they pay their taxes. It’s only that faced with the choice between access to a very nice and great value Wetherspoon’s 2 for 1 piri-piri chicken main meal with diet coke and no ice please, we’re at table 56; and getting to see The New York Dolls in a venue in my own city, every single time I will turn down the nice food so I can go out and dance like a monkey and get Trashed with the Dolls.

* I’m only half joking. I like the Mono model in Glasgow which I think makes the best use of a venue’s space without losing identity. It’s a café during the day, bar and venue in the evenings while also incorporating one of the best record shops in the UK.

**Yes, I keep my ticket stubs and I am not the only one, check out The Edinburgh Gig Archive for a real jog down Edinburgh’s musical memory close.

stripped down, economical, brutal pop songs -Black International

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.

New Song.

New Song.

* 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

BLKNTRNTNL

Born To Be Wide -The Record Shop Seminar

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. “

Born To Be Wide

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.

I’ll be your Liver

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

Donor Card

[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]

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The Shop

VoxBox Music became the newest record shop in the world on May 21st 2011. We buy and sell vinyl and other formats of music. We are independent and sell mostly pre-owned records although we are slowly branching into new vinyl too.

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