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The Record Exchange - Culture Spot

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[ 2015 staff picks ]

2015 staff picks

After weeks of scrutiny, Record Exchange staffers have completed their 2015 Top 10 lists. Visit the store to view the lists in realtime and preview our picks. Let the judgment begin!


[ sell us your stuff! ]

sell us your stuff!

The Record Exchange buys and trades used CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and vinyl in good condition Monday-Saturday until 9 p.m. and Sunday until 6 p.m.


[ rx amazon store ]

rx amazon store

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!


[ pono is here! ]

pono is here!

Pono is here! The Record Exchange is now carrying the PonoPlayer, a high-resolution digital music player created with the intent of providing a higher quality digital listening experience.


[ outside the heard ]

[ record store day 2016 ]

record store day 2016

Mark your calendars: Record Store Day 2016 is April 16 at The Record Exchange! We'll have 350+ exclusive releases, live music 20% off used music/video and more all weekend long!


[ rx top 10 ]

rx top 10

1. Rimrock Country
2. Purple
3. I Still Do
Eric Clapton
4. 2
5. Coming Home
Leon Bridges
6. Love Letter for Fire
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop
7. The Impossible Kid
Aesop Rock
8. Paging Mr. Proust
The Jayhawks
9. A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Sturgill Simpson
10. Fallen Angels
Bob Dylan

[ payette brewing company ]

Basic CMYK

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!


[ go listen boise ]

go listen boise

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.




10917269_10153063145404875_822613094648878245_nPayette Brewing Co. presents Howlin Rain live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.) at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 3. We’ll be serving free Payette Brewing Co. beer for guests 21 and older with I.D. starting at 5! As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. Howlin Rain is performing at Neurolux for Radio Boise Tuesday later that evening and we have tickets for sale at the store!


“I walked out of the back end of my major label run and the first 9 years in Howlin Rain with no band, no label, no foreseeable immediate move forward and a figurative suitcase full of songs, my talent, invigorated by having nothing else to lose, exhausted by the bullshit and grind of the music business, this musical life, and all its absolute bullshit and fucked tests, cynical but not bitter. I still wanted to make more records. I wanted to track the journey from nothingness back to creation in musical form in a set of three albums and rock bottom was the perfect place to start from. There’s nothing to fake down here! It’s a dark and beautiful and pure cave to create something truthful from. The first album in the trilogy is Mansion Songs.”

– Ethan Miller on the making of Mansion Songs

418456257317-500Redemption comes in a multitude of forms. For Ethan Miller, it has arrived amid catharsis and transformation. The Howlin Rain we thought we knew has evolved, on Miller’s newest, Mansion Songs, into something strange and true and beautiful, a sound made of cigarette ash and swollen moons, salt air and the eggshell light that comes just before the dawn.

“When I began this record, I most certainly hadn’t given up, but I was in a dark and trying place,” explains Miller, “I wanted the album to reflect a dignified despair. Often times that’s what art is; elegant sorrow, pushing through despair with some kind of dignity, in search of a reasonable justification of life.”

The result is an album that pines and yearns, lusts and wails. “Meet Me in the Wheat,” “Big Red Moon” and “Wild Bush” push the album into high gear, up-tempo jammers that form the yang to the mellow yin of the album’s deep feel ballads. Tracks like “Restless” and “Lucy Fairchild” ache like raw wounds or sway like lost, half-sunken ships. “New Age” is bright and clear-eyed and full of wary joy. “Coliseum” prowls, red-veined and hungry – claws out and teeth sharp.

But wait – before we go on, let’s get it all out of the way – the back story, the multi-threaded narrative that leads to the hear and now. Miller is one of those triple threat talents, an endlessly charismatic front man, prolific songwriter and powerhouse lead guitarist. His vocals, writing, and playing are executed with an impassioned fury which verges on religious ecstasy. His music has left a trail of fans in his wake – among them looming names like The Black Crowes, Queens of the Stone Age and iconic music producer Rick Rubin.

Miller first emerged amid the bright psych roar of NorCal’s beloved Comets on Fire, a band that blew fast and wild and left us awed in its wake. As Comets’ lead singer and guitarist, Miller defined himself among a new wave of pioneers who were grasping at the ragged roots of hard rock and tearing them out to hold up to a new sun.

It was in 2004, while still in the throes of Comets, that Miller began to first experiment with the sounds and players that would eventually evolve into Howlin Rain. “A very earthy rootsy thing for fun,” Miller remembers of the band’s nascent years, “there was a part of the nihilism and chaos and bombast of the music of Comets on Fire that wasn’t totally fulfilling the full spectrum of my desire to make and create different kinds of music. I was looking for something more melody and harmony based.”

That desire resulted in a first, self-titled album for Howlin Rain, released almost simultaneously with Miller’s third record with Comets on Fire. ”The sound and concept of the first album was sort of taking Grateful Dead’s American Beauty and flooding it with layers of heavy fuzz guitars,” he explains of Howlin Rain’s debut, “It was made fast and it’s loose, sloppy but fully confident, with a shambolic, lost, AM rock glory.”

It was during the recording of the band’s second album, Magnificent Fiend, that producer Rick Rubin first stepped into the picture. “Rick called me one day out of the blue, invited me down to his house in Malibu and there asked me if I’d consider signing to his label American Recordings.”

And so it began. There were shows with Queens of the Stone Age, The Black Crowes, Mudhoney and Roky Erikson. There was the long road to the band’s third album, The Russian Wilds. And although Miller is now no longer working with Rubin, he doesn’t repent time spent. “Rick impressed upon me the idea and the execution of being a prolific songwriter and that was hugely beneficial to the technique and outcome of Mansion Songs.”

Miller began Mansion Songs by seeking the unfamiliar, facing down ghosts and demons with a new sound, strange and foggy music, music full of lament and deep and primal desire. Recorded in San Francisco, in musical cohort Eric Bauer’s studio (known as “Bauer Mansion,” where Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and Mikal Cronin have also recorded), this new Howlin Rain record somehow feels both familiar and bracingly fresh.

Miller is exploring in unknown lands here, but at the same time, returning back to himself, back to his heart…and to his home. “I wanted to make an album that was very San Francisco (where I often work and play) and very Oakland (where I live and love). A removed, slightly mossy, mutant thing brewed up in a basement studio where Chinatown, North Beach and the Financial District meet at a street corner in SF far from the concerns of album sales and marketing. I wanted to make a record that junkies in the Tenderloin could feel at home wandering through, a place where broken hearts could wander around…and smolder out.”

And that is exactly what Miller’s done. Mansion Songs is a living, breathing, and thrillingly imperfect thing. It sweats, it bleeds, its skin is rough and calloused. Bringing in a revolving cast of collaborators, musicians he had known and worked with, as well some he had never met, Miller and producer Bauer left it loose and raw, keeping many of the shambling, ragged-at-the-edges, first or second takes. “I wanted something that showed raw nerves in the end, something that painted the elegance of hard-won fatigue and showed off-color bruises.”

Mansion Songs is Miller and Howlin Rain pushing away the stone and stepping out into the sunlight. It marks next chapters and fresh starts and new roads (and a new label, LA-based Easy Sound Recording Company). In the end Mansion Songs is one of those rare albums made by running with eyes closed and smile wild – straight into uncharted territory.

“Sometimes we regain control over ourselves and our lives by allowing our psyche to give in and accept chaos and let it blow us to the place it must for us to begin to have clear emotional sight again,” says Miller of making the record, ”These songs are the sound of despair in various forms, the giving up hope, the darkness, the shock and sadness of isolation, the romance of despair, the ecstatic light and dark energy of despair, irony and humor in the face of despair and ultimately – redemption and rejuvenation on the other end.”


secret in-store schedule fbOnce again, The Record Exchange and Treefort Music Fest are planning a series of Secret Treefort In-stores during the festival, and we’re pleased to announce our first confirmed show:

Wednesday, March 25 (6 p.m.)
The Record Exchange
1105 W. Idaho St., Boise (two blocks from the Treefort main stage)

The secret in-store will take place right before the official festival kick-off with the History of Boise Rock Showcase across the street at the El Korah Shrine.



Wednesday, March 25 6pm RSVP
Thursday, March 26 5pm RSVP
Friday, March 27 TBD
Saturday, March 28 2pm RSVP
Sunday, March 29 TBD


All Record Exchange Secret Treefort In-stores are free and all ages, and a Treefort pass is not required to attend (but you really should get one because this festival is gonna rule).

The RX and Treefort will announce the artist on the morning of March 25 via social media and The Record Exchange email list, which you can sign up for HERE.



20141217041653!Smoke_and_Mirrors_album_cover1. Smoke + Mirrors, Imagine Dragons
2. Shadows in the Night, Bob Dylan
3. Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, Robert Earl Keen
4. Terraplane, Steve Earle and the Dukes
5. Terminal Current, The Ravenna Colt
6. Hozier, Hozier
7. Onward & Sideways, Joshua Radin
8. Lost in the Dream, The War on Drugs
9. I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty
10. Wallflower, Diana Krall


Payette Brewing Co. presents The Ravenna Colt (ex-My Morning Jacket) album release party preview in-store at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.). We’ll be serving free Payette Brewing Co. beer for guests 21 and older with I.D. starting at 5! As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. The Ravenna Colt’s official album release party for Terminal Current is Friday, Feb. 20, at Neurolux and we have tickets for sale at the store!


“It shimmers like summer heat waves off a rural blacktop road.” – Twang Nation

“It sounds like he’s got some more of that early MMJ sound he was a part of in him.” – Will Ford,

“Breezy sweet country.” – Post to Wire

“Well constructed folk-pop.” – Never Nervous

the ravenna colt terminal current coverThe Ravenna Colt is the alias of Kentucky-born musician Johnny Quaid. The Ravenna Colt creates dreamlike Americana sounds that range from folk to rock while maintaining a cosmic connection. With a collective-like structure, Quaid is joined by musicians and artists who help create his vision of stories and soundscapes as told from the eyes and ears of a carpenter and troubadour.

In 1998, Quaid joined Jim James on a project that would change their lives – My Morning Jacket. The group worked feverishly touring and recording and has not slowed down since. Quaid lends his guitar licks and engineering style to the first three albums, The Tennessee Fire, At Dawn and It Still Moves, as well as a barrage of EPs and singles.

Quaid departed from the group amicably at the start of 2004. He left his native Kentucky, headed west to California and worked as a carpenter while keeping a writer’s pen at hand. After moving back east to Tennessee, Quaid released The Ravenna Colt’s debut album Slight Spell in 2010.

Quaid has since relocated to Boise, Idaho, where he pulled talent from the city’s fervent indie/roots music scene to assemble the latest incarnation of The Ravenna Colt. Terminal Current was recorded in Boise and Louisville, Ky., at Above the Cadillac and La La Land studios.