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The Record Exchange - Culture Spot

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Go Listen Boise is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization with the mission of fostering a vibrant and diverse musical culture in the Boise area.

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[ 2013 staff picks ]

2013 staff picks

After weeks of scrutiny, Record Exchange staffers have completed their 2013 Top 10 lists, and leading up to Christmas we're posting individual lists here on the website. You can also visit the store to view all the lists in realtime and shop our special '13 Staff Picks display. Let the judgment begin!

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Visit The Record Exchange's Amazon Marketplace store to shop for rare and discount CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books. Live in Boise? Order online and arrange for in-store pickup!

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the right price

Think local. Think indie. Think $9.99 CDs at Record Exchange.

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RSD exclusives/events

Okay, here it is: the Record Store Day exclusives list. Over 400 limited-edition CDs, vinyl LPs, 7-inches and more available Saturday, April 19 at The Record Exchange. Follow the link to peruse the list and read about Record Exchange RSD events!

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payette brewing company

The Record Exchange is a proud partner with Boise's Payette Brewing Company! Enjoy Payette Brewing Company beer (and for free!) at Record Exchange events such as Record Store Day, the annual holiday Bonus Club Sale and our singer-songwriter Birthday Bash celebrations!

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[ rx top 10 ]

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1. Hooray For Love
Curtis Stigers
2. Let’s Go Out Tonight
Curtis Stigers
3. Black Market
Rise Against
4. Ultraviolence
Lana Del Ray
5. Once More ‘Round the Sun
Mastodon
6. In The Lonely Hour
Sam Smith
7. Yes!
Jason Mraz
8. Mandatory Fun
Weird Al Yankovic
9. Terms Of My Surrender
John Hiatt
10. Redeemer Of Souls
Judas Priest

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krbx card savings!

The Record Exchange is proud to be part of Radio Boise's KRBX Card program! Present your card on Sunday and New Release Tuesday (6-9 p.m.) and get 20% off all gift shop items and 20% off used CDs, vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray and cassettes!

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[ INFOTAINMENT ]

HILLFOLK NOIR ALBUM RELEASE/SXSW SENDOFF PARTY TUESDAY, MARCH 6!

The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise) is proud to host the Hillfolk Noir Album Release/SXSW Sendoff Party at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 6. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

The band’s new album Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour will be available for purchase at the party. Please join us for an evening of live music and a sendoff for the band, which is leaving on March 9 for a two-week national tour that includes an official showcase appearance at SXSW on March 14! Hillfolk Noir also is performing at Boise’s inaugural Treefort Music Fest on Saturday, March 24.

Archie’s Place will be here from 5 to 7 p.m. serving delicious soup and joes (vegan sloppy joe = awesome). There’s an Archie’s reference on the new Hillfolk record, so it’s a natural fit.

ABOUT HILLFOLK NOIR AND HILLFOLK NOIR RADIO HOUR

Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Travis Ward, Hillfolk Noir‘s peculiar take on traditional acoustic mountain music is filtered through a half-century of folk, country and rock ‘n’ roll and fed by an affinity for medicine show culture and Depression-era string-band blues. The band calls it Junkerdash, which has multiple definitions up to and including “psychedelic swamp-shack rags.” However, if you’re looking for something neat and tidy to place in print or casual conversation, feel free to use current music-journalism parlance and call it “indie folk.”

Hillfolk Noir Radio Hour is a full-length studio recording sequenced like an old-timey radio program straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, complete with commercial breaks plugging a bunch of fake products they made up. The album is available on CD, MP3 and limited-edition 10-inch vinyl packaged to resemble a 1920s-era 78 (but sounding much better).

Hillfolk’s performance lineup usually but not always consists of:

Travis Ward: Resonator guitar, vocals, harmonica, kazoo, words
Mike Waite: Stand-up bass
Jared Goodpastor: Snare, washboard, tambourine, harmonies
Alison Ward: Singing saw, washboard, banjo, harmonies
Shaun King: Banjo

Hillfolk Noir has performed with Built to Spill, James McMurtry, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, Deer Tick, Gourds, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Gerald Collier, Heroes and Villains, Train, Jesse Dayton, The Dusty 45s, Neva Dinova and tons of other great acts that you may or may not have heard of. The good Junkerdash word also has been spread on countless American street corners because the Hillfolkers hold the busking tradition in high regard and, well, sometimes they need the gas money.

TREEFORT MUSIC FEST WARMUP PARTY FEATURING RADIATION CITY ON FIRST THURSDAY, MARCH 1 (6PM); FREE BEER!

The Record Exchange is proud to present the Treefort Music Fest Warmup Party featuring Radiation City at 6 p.m. First Thursday, March 1, at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise). As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

The party includes a live set by Portland Tender Loving Empire recording artists Radiation City and free craft beer (21 and older with I.D.) courtesy of our partners Payette Brewing Co.! Radiation City is playing Visual Arts Collective later that evening (8 p.m.) with Atomic Mama and Shades. The VaC show is free for anyone who purchases a Treefort Music Fest 4-day pass before 2 p.m. March 1; full details HERE.

We’ll also have Treefort 4-day passes for sale in physical form and Treefort-related raffle prizes!

And since it’s First Thursday, there’s all kinds of sexy savings throughout the store, including:

• Buy 2 get 1 free used CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray and vinyl!
• Buy 2 get 1 free stickers and patches in the Gift Shop!
• Buy 2 get 1 free coffee and espresso drinks!

ABOUT RADIATION CITY

The inspiration for Radiation City’s newest output stems from an old piano. The piano has lived in drummer Randy Bemrose‘s basement for eons. It’s old, cumbersome, and on it’s last legs. The band used sounds from the piano throughout the recording of its new EP Cool Nightmare … not just the keys, though, the clicks and clacks from the body, the slamming of the lid, and virtually every other sound you can imagine making on the piano. After they were finished, the piano was beat up, out of tune, and falling apart. Having used the old piano of all it’s worth, and as a celebration of an intense year, Radiation City engaged in the ceremonial destruction of the old piano documented on the first single’s video, “Find it of Use.”

Cool Nightmare is the followup to the dream-pop quintet’s acclaimed debut, The Hands That Take You, released this past fall on Tender Loving Empire (Finn Riggins, Typhoon, Loch Lomond). Originally out via cassette on Radiation City founders Cameron Spies and Lizzy Ellison’s cassette-only record label Apes Tapes, The Hands That Take You has been lauded by MTV, ELLE, Brooklyn Vegan, Paste, FuseTV, Prefix, and The L Magazine.

Radiation City is influenced by certain staple macro-genres such as ’60s bossa nova and Chicago jazz, but their version of this classical sound is supported by irresistible pop vocal hooks and the employment of minimal electronics, which provide rhythm but leave plenty of space. The band will soon embark on their first trip to SXSW as part of a tour that will take them down the West Coast and through the Midwest.

Radiation City is Lizzy Ellison (vocals, keys), Cameron Spies (guitar, vocals), Randy Bemrose (drums, vocals), Matt Rafferty (bass, vocals), Patti King (vocals, keys, bass).

PRESS QUOTES

“The music lives up to the buzz…Plus, Lizzy Ellison’s gorgeous vocals are infectiously charming.” — ELLE

“Their dreamy, faraway sound reminds us of a sunshiny marriage between Reading Rainbow and the Dum Dum Girls…Either way, let’s just say it’s really good.” — NYLON

“One of the year’s more charming debuts, which drifts between moody, organ-driven numbers and more upbeat pop.” – Brooklyn Vegan

“Super dreamy … some of the most pleasing music of the last few decades thoughtfully time-warped into a fresh new tune.” — My Old Kentucky Blog

“This is superbly crafted, easily pinpointed yet unmistakably captivating, pop music.” — Death + Taxes

“They’ve got a sly bossa nova thing going on too, and a slight gothic-pop thing, and a Phil Spector girl-group thing, and a clear-blue vocal thing … We’d like to make a bid for them to move to Brooklyn, please.” – L Magazine

SOJA RECORD EXCHANGE IN-STORE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 29 (6 P.M.)


SOJA will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. SOJA is playing Knitting Factory later that night and we have tickets for sale at the store!

ABOUT SOJA

Mention folk music to the average listener and the list of usual suspects come to mind: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Woodie Guthrie, etc. Talk to SOJA lead singer/guitarist Jacob Hemphill, however, and you’ll walk away with a different perspective. “To me, Rage Against The Machine, Wu-Tang Clan, Sade, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley – they’re all folk artists,” he says. “There’s no difference between Raekwon saying, ‘I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side, where staying alive was no jive,’ to Bob Marley saying, ‘Cold ground was my bed last night and rock was my pillow, too,’ to Johnny Cash saying, ‘I know I had it coming, I know I can’t be free, but those people keep on moving (around) and that’s what tortures me.’ Folk is all about storytelling and passing on a legacy. It’s timeless, it’s limitless and it crosses all boundaries. That’s what this band is striving for. It’s a tall order,” he laughs, “but we’re making our way.”

They’re raising the bar with Strength to Survive, their fourth full-length album, an intoxicating mix of hot-rod reggae grooves and urgent, zeitgeist-capturing themes. The album, produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, O.A.R.), will be the band’s first for ATO, the label co-founded by Dave Matthews.

Hemphill says the album was greatly inspired by Bob Marley’s Survival.  “That’s the greatest reggae album ever made,” he says. “It has the best basslines and the best lyrics ever heard on one record. Marley wrote it after he went to Africa. I was 13 or 14 when I listened to it for the first time and it triggered all these long-forgotten memories of when I lived in Africa as a kid. My dad was an IMF res rep in Liberia in the late 80s. I remember when the coup first started — my family had to hide in these iron bathtubs for 3 days because the military was shooting at everything. I was 7 and that was one of my first memories. We made it out on the last flight. So Africa was always a big part of our lives — it defined our family, in a way. Music came right after that, so, for me, music was always tied to Africa and music was always something powerful.”

Shortly after returning from Africa, Hemphill met Bobby Lee (bass) in the first grade in Virginia. The two instantly became best friends, finding common ground through their love of hip hop, rock and reggae, which they performed together at their middle school talent shows. Throughout high school, they met Ryan Berty (drums), Kenneth Brownell (percussion) and Patrick O’Shea (keyboards) and together formed SOJA. The band gigged locally in the DC area while a couple of the guys finished school, all the while making plans to hit the road after graduation. They actually wound up owning the road.

Over the course of the past few years, SOJA has sold more than 150,000 albums, headlined large theaters in more than 15 countries around the world, generated over 20 million+ YouTube views, amassed more than a half-million Facebook fans, and attracted an almost Grateful Dead-like international fanbase that grows with each tour, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. Most impressive of all, they’ve accomplished all this on their own. This 7-piece band has spent the past year and a half grinding it out from venue to venue, playing more than 360 dates, including headlining sold-out tours of North and South America, as well as opening for O.A.R. and sharing stages with everyone from Dave Matthews Band to Matisyahu.

With Strength to Survive, the band makes an impassioned call for unity and change with universally relatable songs about faith, hope and love. “I could go on and on about the horrible damage we’ve done to the earth or the problems that arise when countries compete for money over an imaginary border, but the album has one central theme,” says Hemphill, “and that’s our hope for the world to be one family.”

It’s a concept best exemplified in the song “Everything Changes.” “People out there with no food at night,” sings Hemphill, “And we say we care, but we don’t, so we all lie/But what if there’s more to this, and one day we become what we do, not what we say/Maybe we need to want to fix it. Maybe stop talking, maybe start listening/Maybe we need to look at this world less like a square and more like a circle.”

Among the album’s many highlights is the ethereal “Let You Go,” about the road not taken, “Mentality,” the disc’s hard-hitting opening track, and the one-two punch of “Be With Me Now” and “When We Were Younger,” the latter bringing together the macro and the micro with the simple yet resonant line, “All of my answers, now that I’m older, turn into questions.”

Hemphill says the band’s simple and honest approach to music is what’s enabled them to break through obstacles of language, distance and culture in amassing an international following. “What’s the alternative — pop music?” he laughs. “Pop music — especially American pop music, is about having money, sleeping with models, living in mansions, spending all of our time in clubs and generally being better than the rest of the world. It’s funny, ‘cuz everyone here is broke. We sing about different things — things that actually matter. I think our fans appreciate that.”

“When I look out in the audience and I see these kids with tears in their eyes, not because I’m singing a love song, but because I’m singing about how the world is dying and we’re the only ones who can stop it, that is huge. I live for that. We played a festival in Brazil in front of 80,000 people, and everybody was singing every word — in English. After one of the songs, I told them, ‘We’re on the road a lot, and people always ask me, Don’t you ever get homesick? Don’t you miss your family? I said, ‘It took me awhile to realize this, but this is my home, and you all are my family.’ The place just blew up. It was amazing. But it’s the truth — those are my people and I always want to do right by them. It’s is the only game in town for me.”

CURSIVE IN-STORE WEDNESDAY, FEB. 15; BUY NEW ALBUM BEFORE STREET DATE!

Cursive will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6:30 p.m. (new time) Wednesday, Feb. 15. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. Cursive is playing Neurolux later that night and we have tickets for sale at the store!

Cursive’s new album I Am Gemini comes out on Tuesday, Feb. 21, but as a special treat for our customers, the album will be available for purchase at the in-store six days before street date! (If you don’t come to the in-store, you won’t get to buy it at the RX until the 21st like everyone else.)

ABOUT CURSIVE

Cursive (cursivearmy.com) is the longtime trio of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass) and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), with Patrick Newbery (keys) and Cully Symington (drums). I Am Gemini, the band’s seventh LP, is the follow-up to 2009′s critically praised Mama, I’m Swollen, which caught the attention of publications including Alternative Press, Billboard, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Time Out New York, among others, and earned the band their network television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. Cursive has released six full-length albums — including the heralded Cursive’s Domestica (2000), The Ugly Organ (2003) and Happy Hollow (2006) — two EPs, a disc of rarities and numerous singles since the band’s 1995 inception.

The band is also known for their vital, magnetic live show, earning rave reviews from outlets including the Cleveland Scene’s C-Note music blog (“[Tim Kasher's] effect on the crowd was chilling last night… Cursive was focused and on-spot, composed and gripping”), Nuvo Weekly (“…the five-piece slashed through a near-perfect set of songs from their last nine years of albums”) and the Orlando Sentinel’s Soundboard blog (“…the band still knows how to rock on stage… [Cursive] thrashed away with an abandon that heightened the passion of Kasher’s dense, emotionally charged wordplay”).

I Am Gemini is the surreal and powerful musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils and twin sisters conjoined at the head.

Recorded in the summer/fall of 2011 at Omaha’s ARC Studios and mixed at Red Room in Seattle with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus The Bear, Isis), I Am Gemini marks the first time front man Tim Kasher, holding the completed story already in mind, wrote album lyrics in a linear fashion, in order, from song 1 to song 13. The result is thirteen singularly cohesive song chapters that blend effortlessly into one unique narrative. The moody and playfully sinister I Am Gemini is Cursive’s musically heaviest in years, with alternately muscular and angular guitars, pounding drums and driving bass. From the eerie introductory sounds of epic barnstormer “This House Alive” and the irresistibly catchy, insistent “The Sun and Moon,” to the searing “Double Dead” and the split personality prog-pop of “Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton,” to the roaring, mournful closing track “Eulogy for No Name,” the album is a dynamic, mind-bending and imaginative ride.

MUTEMATH IN-STORE SUNDAY, FEB. 12!

MUTEMATH will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. MUTEMATH is playing Knitting Factory later that night and we have tickets for sale at the store!

ABOUT MUTEMATH

Primarily written and recorded at singer/keyboardist’s Paul Meany’s New Orleans, Louisiana home, MUTEMATH’s new album Odd Soul is the band’s third studio release and their first self-produced effort.  After the departure of longtime guitarist Greg Hill, Meany, bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas and drummer Darren King were staring at a crossroad as they pondered how to move forward. “As we began to work on songs, we quickly realized that having fewer people in the creative process was better. Roy’s a great guitar player, and we all started feeding off of this new inspiration for the kind of record we could make … all we needed was to be left alone until we got there.”

There’s a spontaneity and spark to all of the songs on Odd Soul that’s unmistakable, something Meany credits to the fact of starting the recording process right after working on their 2010 DVD Armistice Live. “We really wanted to just cut to the chase on this album and compose music that would work for us on stage. We were craving more high-spirited music for this album, so any song idea that came close to depressing got nixed,” he continues. “We’re not good at being dark so we wanted to see how far we could go into creating something glaringly bright.”

That uplifting nature permeates all thirteen tracks on Odd Soul, however each song has its own distinct musical feel. From the bombastic Zeppelin-esque groove of “Allies” to the syncopated soul of “Blood Pressure” and electro-ambience of the ballad “In No Time,” Odd Soul showcases how much the band has grown over the past few years, most notably when it comes to Meany’s vocals. “I’ve certainly never pushed my voice as hard as I did on this record,” he adds, “We all pushed ourselves to the brink of our ability on this record … we recorded it as if this would be the last record we’d ever make.”

Despite the fact that many of the songs on Odd Soul—such as the garage-inflected title track—will inevitably make bodies move, the album simultaneously addresses some deeper themes hovering around all of the head nodding. “The lyrical idea of this record is loosely based on our upbringing in what I guess you could call eccentric Christianity,” Meany explains, adding that this is also the first album where Meany and King fully collaborated on lyrics. “We wanted to address a lot of the stories we’ve gathered over the years in what is an admittedly odd culture,” he continues. “And not only that, it’s our culture, and we know it well… I think writing this record certainly gave us a new appreciation for it, and it gave us a chance to be much more up front about ourselves.”

“I learned through these years to treasure my hyper-literal, overly-ambitious, loose wire adolescent adventures in attempting to out-Jesus even Jesus,” King adds. “We wanted to celebrate, up front and center, what we used to think was best kept in the shadows, our weird religious roots. The challenge we took on with this record was to become more lyrically honest, vulnerable, and specific than before, with music that was as exhilarating as some of the most charged up shows we had done up to that point. I am proud to have been raised in an environment that valued intensity, that felt it was important to have something to get all worked up over, that allowed music to be spontaneous and loud and innocent (aka youthful). So this record is the start of us telling the stories that surrounded all of that.”

Artistically, MUTEMATH has made a rock album that is unmistakably and inherently their own. Rooted in New Orleans rhythm and blues, fusing elements from psychedelia to traditional gospel to modern electronica, Odd Soul is constructed to live up to its title. “I think the title describes this record in every context.” Meany summarizes, “It’s who we are, where we’ve been, and what we incidentally sound like when set to music.”