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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 at the rx

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

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rsd exclusives list

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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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 ]

rx top 10

1. Primus and the Chocolate Factory
Primus
2. Songs
John Fullbright
3. 5: The Gray Chapter
Slipknot
4. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
Lucinda Williams
5. Songs of Innocence
U2
6. Standing in the Breach
Jackson Browne
7. You Can't Stop Me
Suicide Silence
8. Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso
9. From the Ground Up
John Fullbright
10. This is All Yours
Alt-J

[ krbx card savings! ]

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 ]

CURTIS STIGERS RECORD STORE DAY ALBUM RELEASE CONCERT APRIL 21 AT THE RX; WRISTBANDS AVAILABLE NOW!

Curtis Stigers will perform a special Record Store Day album release concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise. (Note: The Record Exchange will close at 7 p.m. to set up for the event.)

Wristbands guaranteeing admission to the concert are available now at The Record Exchange with preorders of Stigers’ new album Let’s Go Out Tonight (one wristband per CD preorder). Let’s Go Out Tonight will be available on Record Store Day at The Record Exchange, three days before its official U.S. release on Tuesday, April 24.

ABOUT LET’S GO OUT TONIGHT

An epic work: 5 Stars … Let’s Go Out Tonight is perhaps the most impressive genre crossing release for the year. — Critical Jazz

His eye for classy material is as sharp as ever … Stigers remains one of the most thoughtful and uncategorisable of artists. — The Sunday Times

… Nocturnal, jazzy but modern. Spare treatments of Dylan’s “Things Have Changed” and “Into Temptation” provide other highlights. — The Mail

On April 24, 2012, singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers will release Let’s Go Out Tonight, his seventh album on Concord Music Group. A departure from Stigers’ previous projects, Let’s Go Out Tonight sidesteps the Great American Songbook completely.  Rather, it includes a vibrant cross-section of pop, folk, country and soul songs from songwriters ranging from Bob Dylan, Eddie Floyd and Richard Thompson to Jeff Tweedy, Hayes Carll and David Poe, whose “Everyone Loves Lovers” was crafted expressly for Stigers.

Though jazz has been integral to Curtis Stigers’ musical vocabulary throughout his career, his transformation from rock/pop headliner (of the sort that filled stadiums and made Leno and Letterman appearances) to jazz vocalist is barely a decade old, dating from the release of his debut Concord album Baby Plays Around in 2001. Stigers is often placed at the forefront of post-millennial jazz singers, but isn’t a pure jazz artist in the tradition of, say, Mark Murphy or Mel Tormé. Nor does he want to be. Critical to his unique vocal style and his inimitable interpretative skills is his ability to draw upon his checkered professional past and his wide-ranging musical tastes to synthesize myriad influences, coloring tracks with various shades of pop, country, folk, blues and classic R&B. Stigers’ genre-blurring instincts have never been never been more defined than on his latest album, Let’s Go Out Tonight.

Stigers also describes the new project as “probably the most autobiographical album I’ve ever made. It hits so many places I’ve been and things I’ve gone through and am currently going through.” Ironically, given its deeply personal nature, Let’s Go Out Tonight is the first album since 2003’s You Inspire Me that includes no original Stigers songs.

While shaping the playlist with producer Larry Klein, Stigers says he “played him a few songs I’d written, but I hadn’t been writing that much. It’s been a tumultuous year, and I haven’t been able to focus on songwriting. He didn’t think the ones I played fit in with what we were going for, and I had to agree with him.” Instead, Stigers and Klein each drew up long lists of song possibilities. “Then,” Stigers explains, “I started flying down to L.A. [from Boise, his birthplace, and once again his hometown, after many years in New York] every couple of weeks and we’d play songs for each other. He came up with a lot of songs, but I came up with a lot, too; and we ended up using more of my suggestions, which I’m very happy about. They’re songs I’ve had in my back pocket for years and have always wanted to record. So, in a way, it feels like I wrote the album anyway.”

The set opens with Stigers’ rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed,” Dylan’s Oscar-winning song from the film Wonder Boys. From the Eddie Floyd canon, Stigers selected the relatively obscure “Oh How It Rained,” originally recorded by Floyd in 1971.  “You Are Not Alone” was written by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy for Mavis Staples. Another standout is the Neil Finn/Crowded House song, “Into Temptation,” about which Stigers says, “Give me a song about sex any day of the week.”

The David Poe song, “Everyone Loves Lovers,” on which Poe sings harmony, is, says Stigers, “A song I wish I’d written. Instead, David wrote it for me to sing, after hearing me with my band at The Blue Note in New York. It’s sweet and romantic, until you get to the part where it kicks you in the stomach. I love that brutal twist. We’ve all been there. No matter how perfect a relationship seems, there’s always a place down the road where it’s going to get rocky.” Another highlight is Steve Earle’s harrowing “Goodbye,” of which Stigers says, “We all spend periods of our lives numbing ourselves to block out what’s going on around us. I spent an unhealthy amount of my adult life doing that in different ways. It was a little scary how easily it fit.”

Stigers closes with the title track, The Blue Nile’s “Let’s Go Out Tonight.” “I’ve been a fan of The Blue Nile since their first album. Everything they’ve recorded is so understated and haunting. Basically, this song is about that unfortunate place that a relationship gets to, where you know everything is broken but all you want to do is pretend that it’s not. I spent years doing that. It’s about the saddest thing I can think of, and every time I hear it, I get choked up.”

THE RAVENNA COLT RECORD STORE DAY EVE IN-STORE FRIDAY, APRIL 20; FREE PAYETTE BREWING CO. CRAFT BEER!

The Ravenna Colt will perform a Record Store Day Eve in-store at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise). As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages.

We will be serving free craft beer (21 and older with I.D.) during the in-store courtesy of our partners Payette Brewing Co.!

ABOUT THE RAVENNA COLT

The Ravenna Colt is the alias of Kentucky-born musician Johnny Quaid, a founder member of My Morning Jacket. 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 that help create his vision of stories and soundscapes as told from the eyes and ears of a carpenter and troubadour.

In 1902, University of Pennsylvania professor Dennis Magner wrote The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse. In it, Magner describes an interesting case of The Ravenna Colt, a virtually untamable, yet not necessarily barbarous animal.

The Ravenna Colt, in today’s incarnation, is Quaid finally realizing and returning to his troubadour roots. He first conceptualized the group’s approach to alternative country more than a decade ago. Quaid was well immersed in music, from his own songwriting and performing to his work as a recording engineer at Above the Cadillac Studios — chops that would serve the young songwriter well.

In 1998 Johnny joined Jim James, a.k.a. Yim Yames, 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 on 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.

He addresses this immediately on “South Of Ohio,” singing “I lost my drawl in California.” It was upon moving back east that Johnny not only picked up where he left off with Above the Cadillac, but also felt it was time to get The Colt running free.

You hear a myriad of influences in The Ravenna Colt’s debut album Slight Spell (Karate Body Records). “According to the Matador” combines the Flying Burrito Brothers’ dark, spacious twang with a traditional folk in the vein of Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan. The reverberated swamp boogie “Forsake and Combine” evokes southern rock with a delicate, thinking man’s edge. The dreamy and windswept “Loner in Disguise” truly highlights the cosmic in Gram Parson’s description of insurgent country as “cosmic American music.”

April 20th, 2012

GO LISTEN BOISE RECORD STORE DAY BAKE SALE AND BUSKERS APRIL 21!

Go Listen Boise (golistenboise.org) will hold a Record Store Day Bake Sale on Saturday, April 21, outside The Record Exchange, while local musicians busk on the RX sidewalk all day long!

Bring treats to donate, buy treats, tip the buskers … enjoy the day! The Record Exchange also is donating an Audio-Technica USB turntable ($150 value) and a stack of vinyl ($150 value) to raffle off to benefit Go Listen Boise. Raffle tickets ($3 for one, $5 for two) can be purchased at the bake sale table.

Proceeds from the bake sale will benefit Go Listen Boise, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization with the mission of fostering a vibrant and diverse musical culture in the Boise area!

BUSKING SCHEDULE

10 a.m. – Sam Lay
10:45 a.m. – Fleet Street Klezmer Band
11:30 a.m. – Hillfolk Noir
12:15 p.m. – Michael Blumenstein
1 p.m. – Matt Hopper
1:45 p.m. – Zach House
2:30 p.m. – aka Belle
3:15 p.m. – Josh Gross
4 p.m. – Lisa Simpson
4:45 p.m. – Scott Knickerbocker
5:30 p.m. – Joey Corsentino
6:15 p.m. – Ryan Peck/Boise Rock School

April 20th, 2012

RISE AGAINST RECORD STORE DAY SIGNING FRIDAY, APRIL 20 (4:30 P.M.)

Rise Against will visit The Record Exchange during Record Store Day Weekend for a signing at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 20. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. Rise Against is performing at CenturyLink Arena later that evening (6 p.m.).

Tune in to 100.3 FM The X for your chance to win one of 20 wristbands for VIP line access and meet the band before everyone else!

ABOUT RISE AGAINST

Doomsday scenarios are often predictive about an ending in life, revealing just what would occur if the world pushed itself to the brink of extinction. And the term “endgame” typically parallels such thinking, often evoking concepts of finality or termination.

But for Rise Against, this particular endgame might just be their beginning.

As the title of the band’s sixth full-length studio album—and the moniker of the album’s title track—Endgame is indicative of both a world that has run its course, and perhaps ushering in an entirely new start.

“It’s about a dangerous time in civilization, the end of life,” says vocalist/guitarist Tim McIlrath. “What if the life that we’re living right now is this unsustainable bubble that cannot go on and perhaps does not deserve to go on? What if the world we created is a place that is so unnatural and ugly that it is a world that needs to come to an end, so that we could have a world that is better for everybody? It sounds very utopian, but it’s not about a perfect place, but maybe some of these things we’re doing, they need to come to an end.”

McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, drummer Brandon Barnes and guitarist Zach Blair have been making these striking personal and political statements, and providing prompts of great magnitude throughout their remarkable catalog by offering songs that aren’t just merely sung, but very much thought about.

And it’s thought that has made Rise Against such an important band to its ever-expanding fanbase. For the Chicago-based punk group, the creation of dialogue and discourse with listeners has allowed for a response and career trajectory that’s been overwhelmingly positive since the band’s launch over a decade ago.

Rise Against’s previous effort, 2008’s Appeal to Reason, further escalated the noteworthy attention already generated by prior successes, including The Sufferer and the Witness (2006) and Siren Song for the Counterculture (2004), which had provided such hits as “Swing Life Away,” “Ready to Fall,” “Prayer of the Refugee” and “Savior.” And Endgame simply picks up on such highlights.

Endgame was largely assembled in the latter half of 2010. The band opted to return to production veterans Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colo., and mixed with Chris Lord-Alge, who also worked on Rise Against’s previous two albums.

The album’s first single, “Help Is On The Way” was inspired by McIlrath’s recent visit during a retreat in New Orleans.

“It was a post-Katrina New Orleans, and I was down at the Gulf, going to the Lower Ninth Ward, seeing the damage and meeting people,” he recalls. “It was so eye opening to see how important the city was and to realize that a city like this existed within American borders at all and to see how much it was hurting was something that was really emotional and dramatic.”

McIlrath notes that the song stems from a lot of that imagery that remains embedded in his thoughts.

“I wanted to paint a picture of what happened down there and what is happening down there, and even though New Orleans is moving away from the spotlight a little bit, there’s still a lot recovery that people don’t see that takes place every day and it’s still an important place in America and in the world. It’s a place that should not be forgotten about. It’s a hopeful title in a sense, but there are a couple different things, as in help is on the way but it never came. It still needs a lot more help, it still needs to happen.”

On Endgame, Rise Against also shifts the spotlight to homophobia via “Make it Stop,” a topic McIlrath says really hasn’t been addressed in the rock scene. The catalyst for the song occurred in September 2010, after a wave of gay teen suicides. According to McIlrath, the band received e-mails from gay fans who had contemplated suicide due to the harsh climates in which they live and the harsh world that judges who they are.

“That’s something I’ve seen firsthand,” he says. “It’s bummed me out to create this community of fans, where you want everybody to feel accepted, but then to realize that there are people that don’t feel accepted, even at your own shows, even at a Rise Against show, where we go out of our way to let you know that if you are here, you belong here, no matter who you are. It’s a place where everyone is welcome. But we’d hear from fans about homophobia in the scene, or even hear from fans who are unsure about how Rise Against feels about homosexuality. That was what alarmed me the most, was to have a fan that even had a question in their mind about where we stood on it. I guess I looked back on our career and Rise Against had never made a definitive statement.”

The definitive statement Rise Against makes on Endgame is that the band is open to any sexual preference. “It’s something that we certainly don’t judge,” McIlrath says. “I felt there needed to be a song, which came from our world, because I feel that the rock world stays pretty silent. I wanted to put water where the fire was. I wanted to do a song that, first, lets fans know that we don’t tolerate bigotry in our audience and, second, empower fans who are coming to grips with their own sexuality, empower them to be proud of who they are and that we accept them, and create a community that accepts them.”

Endgame also features “Architect,” a song inspired by the forefathers and historical figures of civil rights and activism, including Thoreau, Malcolm X and Howard Zinn.

“They were designing a world in which we would be able to live in,” McIlrath says. “They fought for the design of everything that we can enjoy as Americans and people in the world today. The song is posing the question: Is our generation producing those architects now? It’s wondering if our generation is so overcome with cynicism and apathy that we are in danger of not creating these architects. Every right that we enjoy as Americans, somebody was out there with a picket sign to get it.”

And McIlrath sees Endgame’s “Survivor Guilt” as a sequel to “Hero of War,” which appeared on Appeal to Reason, hailing from the perspective of a ghost of a soldier who fought for his or her country.

But it’s important to note that the spectrum of material presented on Endgame is counterbalanced with a number of personal subjects, including the song “This Is Letting Go” which is based around a story McIlrath had penned.

“The songs to me are a selection of who we are as people,” says McIlrath. “We’re not 100 percent political or 100 percent personal. We’re people with many different cares and passions. Many different things make up our daily lives. I don’t consider myself any more political than those out there who care about the world they live in.”

And as for the pressure in following up its string of successes—which now includes three gold-awarded albums and gold singles—McIlrath says it’s all internally generated.

“The pressure that we feel is the pressure that we put on ourselves,” he says. “We try to step up our game on each record and create something that’s relevant, new and fresh, and is still Rise Against. I want to give my perspective, and from the punk community, take in what’s happening, interpret that and put it into a song, letting the world know how we feel about it. That’s the goal behind a lot of the music.”

HEARTLESS BASTARDS IN-STORE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11 (6:30 P.M.)

Heartless Bastards will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. The band is performing at Neurolux later that night and we have tickets for sale here at the store!

ABOUT HEARTLESS BASTARDS

Brimming with confidence and creativity, Arrow sees Heartless Bastards pushing their distinctive sound forward with their most eclectic, energetic collection thus far. The album – the Austin, Texas-based band’s first release with Partisan Records – is marked as ever by singer/guitarist/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom’s remarkable voice, at turns primal and pleading, heartfelt and heroic. Songs like “Parted Ways” and the searing “Low Low Low” expertly capture the Bastards’ multi-dimensional rock in all its strength and spirit. Following upon the difficult introspection of 2009’s acclaimed third album, The Mountain, Arrow stands as a powerhouse new beginning for the Heartless Bastards.

The Mountain was me going through some things after being in a relationship for nine years,” Wennerstrom says. “This album is kind of like me being comfortable again.”

Arrow serves as the recorded debut of the Heartless Bastards’ current iteration, their latest and greatest line-up since Wennerstrom first convened the band back in 2003. Drummer Dave Colvin and bassist Jesse Ebagh – both of whom played on the Bastards’ first-ever demo recordings – returned to the fold in order to play live behind The Mountain. Soon after embarking on tour, Wennerstrom decided to put more meat on the band’s raw bones by enlisting guitarist Mark Nathan, who had ostensibly come aboard to handle the live sound.

‘I wanted to add another guitar,’ Wennerstrom says, ‘so I asked Mark, ‘What do you think of joining the band?’ and he was into it. I’ve always planned on being a four-piece, but it just takes a while to find somebody that you feel you click with. I’d rather have it be stripped down than just have somebody there for the sake of having them there.”

The expanded line-up brought additional color and dynamism to the Heartless Bastards’ already colorfully dynamic rock ‘n’ roll. With their sound honed to a razor’s edge by night after night of playing live, the Heartless Bastards were soon ready to record for posterity. But having spent so much of the past year on tour, Wennerstrom knew she needed some downtime in order to turn her musical ideas into fully-fledged songs. In Fall 2010, she embarked on the first of what would be several solo road trips designed to clear the cobwebs and help focus her songwriting. Wennerstrom visited friends and family in Ohio, hung out at All Tomorrow’s Parties in the Catskills, spent alone time in Arkansas, a lake cabin in the Allegheny Mountains and at a ranch in West Texas.

“It was really nice,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I was getting much done, but I realized that a lot of that experience ended up being reflected in the songs. I didn’t get a lot of the writing done right then, on that trip, but I feel like getting out there really helped me later on.”

2011 saw the Heartless Bastards hitting the highway once more, taking the opportunity to road-test Wennerstrom’s new songs on a bare-bones “acoustic” tour as well on a series of dates supporting Drive-By Truckers. The band set to work on Arrow just two short days after their return to Austin, a revved-up, well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine.

“We just went right in,” Wennerstrom says. “There’s a definite sound that comes from a band that’s been on the road and I really feel like it’s translated on the album.”

The band spent the next month with producer Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi home studio. Eno – known far and wide as the drummer in Spoon – guided the Bastards through the recording process, helping them to infuse their myriad influences and ambitions into the songs.

“Jim was really great to work with,” Wennerstrom says. “He asked me what kind of approach I wanted to take towards each song and we’d take it in that direction. It was like, ‘What were you thinking for each song, as far as inspiration?'”

Arrow showcases the depth and breath of the band’s indelible sound, with songs like “Got To Have Rock and Roll” and “Down In The Canyon” lighting upon spaghetti western film scores, Seventies soul, psychedelia, funk, blues, glam, and mudhole-stomping hard rock. Two years of nearly non-stop touring resulted in an astonishing musical telepathy among the Heartless Bastards, with all four players intuitively able to craft Wennerstrom’s songs into maximum form.

“I’m so in synch with this band,” she says. “Songs seem to go where I want them to go and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Even though I’m not very communicative, they know me well enough and get it.”

Kicking off with the widescreen vision of “Marathon,” the album is more wholly fleshed than anything in the Bastards’ prior oeuvre, while simultaneously securing the band in all their straight-on, unadorned majesty. Arrow is the glorious sound of a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll outfit in full flight, with little outside accompaniment bar conga player Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes’s performance on the evocative “Skin and Bone.”

“It’s a pretty stripped-down album in a lot of ways,” Wennerstrom says. “There’s really not a lot added to these tracks, they’re really mostly live takes. We talked about adding things, but when we listened back, we thought, ‘I don’t know if this really needs more.'”

With Arrow complete, the Heartless Bastards are now itching to get back out there. Inveterate road warriors, the band is at their electrifying best while on stage, making deep connections with both their audience and their music.

“It can be hard at times,” Wennerstrom says, “but I love it. I love playing on stage. It’s that hour and a half, that time that we’re up there, that I love most. There’s a lot of sitting around, trying to find things to fill in the time, but then we finally start to play, it’s so worth it and rewarding.”

Arrow sees the Heartless Bastards doing what all great bands do – furthering their artistic scope with each successive effort. With its impressive range and undeniable vigor, the album flies straight, honest and true, the finest distillation yet of this extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll band’s fiery, unforgettable sound.

“I feel like this is the strongest record I’ve ever done,” Wennerstrom says. “I feel like playing with these guys, us all being so connected, really helped make it so fully realized. I’m really, really happy with it.”