Thursday, March 18, 2010

TVD's Record Store Day 2010 Label Showcase | Vanguard Records' Favorite Indie Record Stores

...wherein we canvas a few Vanguard Records acts and the folks who actually line the halls for their recommendations:

Eleni Mandell,
The Living Sisters | Moby Disc, Los Angeles, CA

I really miss the excitement and anticipation of going to the record store when I was a kid. My dad was a pretty avid collector. He’d go 2-3 times a week to shop. Whenever I asked if he’d take me down the hill to buy a record, he always, remarkably, said “yes”. In my neighborhood the two main stores were Moby Disc and Tower Records. I got my first Tom Waits record at Tower and my first X record at Moby Disc. I guess I wouldn’t be who I am without those experiences.

The Living Sisters debut album ‘Love to Live’ is out March 30. Visit the Living Sisters on

Stephen Brower, Marketing/A&R Development, Vanguard Records | Record Exchange & School Kids, Chapel Hill, NC

I was very, very fortunate to be in Chapel Hill, NC at a time when the town was served not only by (still thriving) live venues like the Local 506 and Cat’s Cradle, but also by three world class art house movie theaters and two great independent record stores, the Record Exchange and Schoolkids, whose doors were separated by about 100 feet.

These were classic indie record stores. The High Fidelity kind. I’d go in looking for Steve Earle and leave with Townes Van Zandt. I’d go back for more Townes Van Zandt and leave with Kenny Roby, a local artist who, as it turns out, was every bit Townes Van Zandt’s songwriting heir. I bought a Jayhawks record that led me to a Golden Smog record that led me to an Uncle Tupelo record that led me to a Bottle Rockets record. And so on. I found Luna on a homespun listening station. I’d buy $5 tickets for the Local 506’s annual ‘Sleazefest’ and end up seeing the Drive-by Truckers working out songs from what would become the Southern Rock Opera. I’d see local metal band Goatthrower summon the devil himself at a house party and run out to see if I could buy their home recorded EP.

Thanks to these stores, I could.

Trevor Hall | The Sound Garden, Baltimore

I always get a good feeling walking into record stores. I feel like they are the front lines of support for music. I've had the pleasure of performing at a bunch of indie stores...but one of my favorites is in Baltimore. It's called The Sound Garden.

We played an in store there one time before our concert with Matisyahu. It was a great vibe. They had all these good records and products for us to browse through before playing. A lot of people showed up...we were pretty surprised. We had only been there for an hour or so...but it felt like we were in some one's living room and could've stayed the night. Thats the great thing about the indie is so intimate.
Visit Trevor Hall on Myspace.

Trevor Hall - 31 Flavors (Mp3)

Fred Jasper, TV & Film Licensing, Vanguard Records | Record Exchange, Roanoke VA

My first love will always be the original Record Exchange in Roanoke, VA, which eventually blossomed into a 15-store chain in towns across Virginia and North Carolina. I can remember happily biking mile after mile, crossing freeways and ducking down back alleys, coasting through residential streets and gliding through business parking lots as a pre-teen to enter the mecca of cool (in my mind, at least) in my hometown, the Record Exchange, and spending all of my weekly allowance on music.

Sadly, the store is no longer around, but I’ve been chasing that indie record store high ever since my formative years. I’m glad to say that I continually find and surpass those experiences with trips to usual suspects like Grimey’s, Waterloo, Music Millennium, Amoeba, Ear X-tacy, etc. to off-the-beaten path and impulse stops at random stores I chance upon when travelling in cities not my own. For me, idle, unplanned time in an indie record store is truly one of life’s most simple pleasures.

Stephen Kellogg | The Record Archive, Rochester NY

What I love about this store is two-fold. First and most important, there is none of that "High Fidelity" sh&t where you feel dumb for not knowing much about the vast ocean of music they have available. Everyone without exception is friendly and glad you're there...eases my grade school trauma of buying "Deep Purple" shirts before I knew anything the band played and being teased for it (hey a cool shirt is a cool shirt).

Secondly, I love this store because when I go in I end up picking up 10 things I didn't know I "needed". It's a great store and is always innovating what they can do for their customers...I feel proud to be one of their customers.
Visit Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers on Myspace.

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers - A (With Love) (Mp3)

Ayappa Biddanda | Radio & Promotions, Vanguard Records

As a kid growing up in Knoxville, TN, a fantasy world I dreamt of was building a cool record store with hard-to-find cassettes (I’m old), vinyl, imports, and cds hosting live performances with some of my favorite artists that happened to be nestled on the edge of America looking over the Pacific Ocean. To my amazement, I found just such a store embodied in Fingerprints Music in Long Beach, CA.

Not only have I enjoyed finding some limited edition musical collections there, the live performances they’ve hosted have truly amazed me. Perhaps a standout show in a list of stellar artists including Nellie McKay, Trevor Hall, Peter Case, Greg Laswell, and The Watson Twins may be the in-store performance by Matt Nathanson. Playing to a capacity crowd who found out about the performance thanks to the store’s e-newsletter (illustrating the close connection between store & patrons), the performance captured an artist in the safe cocoon of my realized fantasy world playing not just to the riveted attention of the store patrons, but also to the lingering presence of artists like Smokey Robinson, U2, Nanci Griffith, Oscar Brown Jr., and so many others whose echos could be felt through the records lining every wall and crevice of the building.

Over the course of the next hour, Matt stunned the audience with music that resonated deeply within each of us yet buffered the experience with stories that alternately had us in hysterics or flat out disgust—while still laughin’ out loud. And that what was so special: within this haven of melody was an artist opening himself up and successfully connecting with each of us in the room. He wrapped up by doing an achingly gorgeous version of Springsteen’s “No Surrender.”

Matt stayed to say hello to each and every fan afterward and, at the end of the night, I think I could just about make out Bono in the corner applauding for a job well done. Not only do you get to experience once-in-a-lifetime moments at Fingerprints, but the staff—galvanized by owner Rand Foster—also finds a way to memorialize the experience with the coolest posters printed specifically for each event. Fingerprints creates the type of special womb necessary for true musical discovery to take place and I consider myself lucky to have them in my life…now, if they only carried cassettes…

Note: This Matt Nathanson performance proved to be so good, it was paired with Matt’s performance from Orlando at Park Avenue CDs for the Left & Right EP. A limited edition is now available at

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