Record Store Day 2015!

ils-rdsMake sure to visit your favorite record store for the eighth annual Record Store Day Sat April 18th to pick up some rare vinyl and check out some local DJs and bands.

If you don’t know, RSD takes place on each year on the third Saturday in April putting out about 400 exclusive vinyl releases at record stores — no cd’s or mp3s but surprisingly one release on VHS!

It’s a chance for vinyl lovers and collectors to get rare reissues, exclusive and early releases on vinyl. Not all are releases are available at every store so if you looking for to pick up something in particular be sure to check out what’s coming to your store and get there early as popular items run out quick. Aside from a slew of new releases, there is a rare Paul McCartney reissue, Steve Reich, unreleased Foo Fighter demos,  reissues of J Dilla, KMD, ESG, Wu-Tang, Sugarhill Gang and Grand Master Flash.
Also of note, split 7″s featuring different artists doing their take of the same song, like Bowie and Tom Verlaine doing “Kingdom Come”, the Black Keys and Junior Kimbrough doing “Meet Me in the City” and Robert Johnson and Steve Earle doing “Terraplane Blues” See a complete listing of releases at the official RSD page.

Most of the stores are having special guests of one kind or another with people like Kim Gordon, the Buzzcocks, Fred Schneider and official ambassador of RSD — Dave Groll, all taking part in this years events. Check out Dave talking about it here.

As an example of what you can expect, In Living Stereo on Great Jones Street will have DJs spinning all day, food, drinks and three bands playing, they will also be giving away etched In Living Stereo martini glasses if you spend over $200 on records.
You can find a pretty good run down of DJ’s and bands appearing around NYC here from Brooklyn Vegan.


A Century of Lady Day


Born Eleanora Fagen Gough or Elinore Harris either in Philidelphia or Baltimore depending on who you believe…Apparently she was born into poverty and dropped out of school in the 5th grade, possibly running errands in a brothel and her father may have been the jazz musician Clarence Holiday. It turns out we don’t really know with certainty a lot about Billie Holiday’s childhood…but there is no question about the impact she had on the musical world as an adult. People do agree that she was born on April 7th and that 2015 marks 100 years since her birth. In 1929 at the age of 14 she moved to Harlem to join her mother who had moved there the previous year.
She was ‘discovered’ at the age of 18 by the producer John Hammond (a member of the Vanderbilt family), he arranged for her first professional recording session with Benny Goodman in1933 which took place at 55 Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in Manhattan. She went on to work with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and many others, famously performing in the jazz clubs along Swing Street (52nd). Her singing forever changed the universe of jazz sining and beyond.
She had an amazingly successful career, in spite of or perhaps partially facilitating her troubles with substance abuse, touring and appearing in films, eventually performing to a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall in 1948 with a fantastic 6 encores. Among many other accolades she was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 and in 1994 she was given her own US postage stamp. Among her many memorable recordings are: “I Love You Porgy”, “Willow Weep For Me”, Strange Fruit”, “God Bless the Child” and so many others. Happy Birthday Billie!!

#SaveNYC stand up for NYC Mom-and-Pops

Change is inevitable and can often be good as part of a natural evolution but not all change is good. There are some things that need to be preserved and protected by those who care. As Jerimiah Moss of Vanishing New York calls it “Hyper-gentrification” — raising rents from $10,000 to $60,000!!…rents that can only be afforded by national chains — is draining NYC’s cultural life blood and identity. #SaveNYC is a campaign to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which you can read more about here, and you can sign a petition for the cause here. Anyone who has lived in New York long enough knows there’s a certain amount of churn that is inevitable but there’s a point when the greed of the market is just not good for the city or its residents.

In the video below, Bruce, really sums up what we all have seen happening to NYC over the past many years. His story is also an example of why the #SaveNYC campaign makes a lot of sense. Of course, the devil is in the details but with enough support maybe us real New Yorkers can stop NYC from turning into a giant mall. Maybe are children can still have some small locally owned book stores, music stores and small places with live music…imagine that!!!

Check out this post to hear some free jazz from Bruce’s record store Downtown Music Gallery one of the few music stores left. It specializes in Jazz and rare recordings. Not only is the music free jazz but you can actually go there and hear jazz for free!

A Latino History of Hip-Hop in NYC pt1

Here’s a great podcast from Latino USA and NPR. Part 1 about the, mostly forgotten, history of Latino contributions to the birth of Hip Hop in New York City.

Pyramid Club’s Eternal Afterlife

IMG_8996Is it possible that Pyramid Club is the last of the downtown punk club still in existence? As I walked past it the other day I started trying to think of all the great small original punk venues that have disappeared through the years…Max’s, CBs, Botany, Studio 10, A7, Downtown Beruit…okay I can’t actually remember the names of most of them. But I remember playing Pyramid with The Gamma Rays and Nastyfacts, and maybe even The Stimulators and seeing MC5 and Bad Brains there. Mojo working the door. Pyramid was always cool but I never imagined it would outlast all the others….the ancient Egyptian pharaohs would be proud. I’ll have to do a little more research to be sure but if anybody knows of any other old original punk clubs still open in NYC please comment. I spoke to an old friend who just happened to have been there recently. Apparently it’s still a good place to dance your butt off in that “who cares” kind of way that’s so hard to find these days.