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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!


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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.


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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. Purple Rain
2. Tired of Tomorrow
3. A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Sturgill Simpson
4. Red Rocks 1978
Grateful Dead
5. Purple
6. Singalongs
Thomas Paul
7. Rest in Chaos
Hard Working Americans
8. The Concrete Confessional
9. Lovers and Leavers
Hayes Carll
10. Sounds Like a Reasonable Thing for a Band to Play

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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.




first thursday eventJoin The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) on First Thursday, May 5 (5:30pm) for a Thomas Paul Album Release Party and Idaho Gives “Friendraiser” for The Peregrine Fund. Free beer courtesy of Payette Brewing Co. (21+ with valid I.D.) will be available. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

Paul is celebrating the May 5 release of his new album “Singalongs” with a special in-store performance. “Singalongs” will be available for purchase at the event.

The evening also doubles as the closing party for “The 22 Are Coming” art exhibit. On March 12, DeAngelis unveiled 22 life-sized California condor silhouettes on the roof of The Record Exchange. On First Thursday, guests can observe a live raptor and hear from DeAngelis and representatives from the Boise City Department of Arts and History and The Peregrine Fund‘s World Center for Birds of Prey as we raise money for The Peregrine Fund during Idaho Gives, an annual day of mass fundraising for the state’s nonprofits.


Thomas Paul’s winkingly-titled “Singalongs,” his first all-instrumental album, was captured in Room 242 of The Modern Hotel on May 7, 2015 amid the hustle and bustle of Modern Art, the annual art happening where Boise artists and musicians transform rooms into galleries, installations, performance spaces or, in Paul’s case, a recording studio. “East River Road,” the album’s opening track and first single, is streaming now via Bandcamp.

Unlike traditional recording sessions, however, friends, fans and complete strangers were there to intimately observe Paul and his supporting cast (Bob Nagel, upright bass; Todd Chavez, drums and cajon; Eric Dewitt, saxophone and synthesizer; Jonah Shue, violin; Jeffrey Barker, flute). A team of volunteers at the door managed the crowd – once the tape was rolling on a song, the room was closed off until the recording was complete; the guests inside then were treated to a playback of the first 15 seconds of the finished song before they were escorted out and a new group entered for the next recording.

The musicians operated in this fashion for five hours – the duration of Modern Art – “and then fell over,” Paul says.

“The challenge was to make an album with several people milling in and out. For us, it was a way of taking the music off the 40-foot stage, so to speak, and literally rubbing elbows with the audience while we played. It was a fun experiment to watch people attempt to stand still in silence for 4 minutes at a time.”

The concept was partially inspired by Beauty Pill, an arty Washington, D.C. band associated with the otherwise punk-infused Dischord Records scene that was commissioned to turn a D.C. arts center into an immersive recording studio/art exhibit. For two weeks, the public was invited to observe daily 10-hour recording sessions; the resulting album, “Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are,” was released in April 2015, shortly before Paul’s “Singalongs” session at the Modern.

Paul worked under much stricter time constraints and stressed “no overdubs” in the album’s final mixing and editing, which was overseen by Nate Agenbroad of Mixed Metaphor Recording, who also recorded and engineered the Modern Art session. “All sounds were captured at the Modern that night,” Paul says.

Cinematic and tinged with noir moods, the “Singalongs” material was sonically influenced by several of Paul’s instrumental favorites, everything from film scores to Chicago post-rock to the wordless segments of ’70s prog suites. Paul also drew from his previous experiences collaborating with filmmakers and theater groups.

“I’ve always writing non-lyrical music, always had odd-duck musical ideas that weren’t verse-chorus-verse songs,” he says. “Playing and recording at home before I had a professional career, I started noticing how music was used in movies, or how even punk bands like Fugazi and Minutemen would include instrumentals on their albums. Lyrics are great, but they’re not always needed.”

Paul also was intrigued by the idea of taking his impressive vocal range – which has drawn comparisons to Jeff Buckley, among others – completely out of the picture.

“Some would consider my voice to be my best instrument, so the challenge was to take it away.”

Thomas Paul is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter from Boise, Idaho. Regarded as one of the region’s most versatile, gifted musicians, Paul’s output as a bandleader/solo artist and in-demand sideman and session performer covers a wide range of genres, including garage rock, lounge blues, alt-country and folk.

In baseball terms, Paul is both the big bat carrying the team and the utility player contributing everywhere on the field – in short, “a talented dude,” as Idaho Statesman critic Michael Deeds wrote. “He’s been in more Boise bands than any sane musician should, and he plays essentially any instrument with strings or keys plopped in front of him. He’s also eccentric. Can music be funky and ominous? Paul’s can.”

Paul’s talents are demonstrated on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, mandolin and accordion in live performances and on his albums “Goodbye, Waterloo…” (2011) and “House On Fire” (2009) and EPs “Yours, Etc…” (2004) and “Interference” (2015).

When he’s not leading his own band, Paul adds sounds to several established Northwest outfits, including Nick Jaina, aka Belle, New Transit, Andy Byron Band, The Country Club,eLDopamine, LarkSpur, Ryan Bayne, SFM-Steve Fulton Music, Tracy Morrison and others. Paul also has been a member of the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale since 2013. Past contributions include work with Circle, Rung, Wheel Of Fish, Clock, Mystery Date, Me & My EgoMayerForceOne, Tim Andreae’s Gem State, Bill Coffey, Gizzard Stone and many more.

Paul has shared the stage with dozens of musical luminaries, including Buddy Miles (RIP), John Hammond, Mike Watt, Built To Spill, Charlie Hunter, Royal Crown Revue, Michael Martin Murphey, Teddy Thompson, Q & Not U, Calobo and Pickwick.

In addition to performing, Paul also shares his love of music as a DJ and radio host for Radio Boise‘s V3 (9am-noon Fridays), private teacher at Old Boise Music Studios and instructor at Boise Rock School and TrICA (Treasure Valley Institute for Children’s Arts).

Paul is currently at work on his third through fifth albums, in no particular order.


HG_webHoly Grail will visit The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise) for a guitar clinic, Q&A and signing at 6pm Friday, April 29. Holy Grail is performing at Knitting Factory with DevilDriver, Incite and Hemlock later that evening and we have tickets for sale at the store. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

Purchase Times of Pride and Peril at the event and get a FREE TICKET to the Knitting Factory show! You can bring a guitar if you wish, but it’s not required —  if you want a critique of your playing chops, Holy Grail will listen and give pointers!


418457140407Los Angeles heavy metal rockstars Holy Grail recently released Times of Pride and Peril, the highly awaited followup to 2012’s Billboard charting, critic favorite Ride the Void. Times of Pride and Peril was recorded with Grammy award-winning producer John Spiker (Tenacious D, Filter). Featuring 10 tracks of solid, classic heavy metal, the album meshes the band’s definitive sound with even catchier vocals and shredding solos while conceptually showcasing the rise and fall of a kingdom.

The band was recently seen on the road with acts including King Diamond, Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam and Night Demon and have previously appeared with the likes of Anthrax, Exodus, Orange Goblin and Wednesday 13, in addition to playing at the nationally televised opening home game for the L.A. Kiss arena football team.

Decibel Magazine recently claimed, “You’d have to go back 20 years to find a metal record that achieves this level of instant infectiousness” while praising vocalist James Paul Luna as “the finest metal singer of his generation.”


FullSizeRenderThe Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.) is honored to host the Idyltime “Rimrock Country” Album Release Party at 6pm Thursday, May 26. “Rimrock Country” will be available for purchase at the party. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

Rimrock Country, Idyltime’s second album, consists of 11 original and four traditional songs delving into the time and space of love lost and found. Driven by fiddle and banjo, tied together through harmony, and energized by the bass fiddle, Idyltime’s new album is a toe tapping retrospect. It was recorded at AudioLab by Steve Fulton and Pat Storey in December 2015.


cover onlyMost people can hear a certain song and it will take them back to a prior experience, maybe to a feeling had and relived through a melody. Idyltime is comprised of four souls eternally searching for the source of this nostalgia. People often say that their music takes them back to a memory and reminds them of the good in the world.

Idyltime, a band originally playing bluegrass out of southern Oregon, reformed in 2011 when Beth and Tate Mason moved to Boise, Idaho. There they joined with Dave Daley and Ava Honey, who were hosting the weekly old-time jam at Pengilly’s Saloon. Delving into their common love for acoustic roots music, Idyltime’s sound is at once traditional and original.


Ava Honey – Guitar, upright bass and vocals
Beth Mason – Upright bass, guitar and vocals
Dave Daley – Fiddle and vocals
Tate Mason – Banjo, dobro and vocals


Photo DBubblecrownCROPLODressy Bessy (Elephant 6, Yep Roc Records) will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6:30pm Tuesday, April 26. Dressy Bessy is performing later that evening at Liquid. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages!


418457030370“We never broke up,” Dressy Bessy singer/guitarist Tammy Ealom says on the occasion of the release of KINGSIZED, her band’s first new album in seven years. “It was never our intention to drop out, it just sort of happened. We were dealing with life, but we never stopped making music.”

Indeed, the 13-song KINGSIZED makes it clear that, nearly 20 years into their career, Dressy Bessy are making some of their most compelling and accomplished music. Such melodically infectious, lyrically barbed new tunes as “Lady Liberty,” “Make Mine Violet” and the anthemic title track are potent examples of the band’s uncanny ability to wrap Ealom’s personally-charged, pointedly subversive lyrics in sparkling, irresistibly catchy songcraft.

In addition to showcasing the band’s musical chemistry, KINGSIZED also draws upon the talents of a wide assortment of friends, admirers, and contemporaries. R.E.M’s Peter Buck adds distinctive 12-string guitar on “Lady Liberty” and “Cup ‘O Bang Bang,” while legendary Pylon frontwoman Vanessa Briscoe-Hay adds her voice to “Get Along (Diamond Ring).” Minus 5/Young Fresh Fellows mastermind Scott McCaughey plays keyboards on “Make Mine Violet” and “57 Disco” and R.E.M’s Mike Mills sings on the band’s distinctive rendering of the George Harrison classic “What Is Life,” which appears as the b-side of the 7″ single release of “Lady Liberty.”

KINGSIZED, after the departure of original bass player Rob Greene, features an assortment of notable guest bassists as well, including Eric Allen of The Apples In Stereo, Jason Garner of the Polyphonic Spree and The Deathray Davies, Mike Giblin of Split Squad and fabled punk progenitor Andy Shernoff of The Dictators.

KINGSIZED also marks a return to the band’s early recording approach. As Hill explains, “With our first two albums, we were a completely D.I.Y. operation, and we recorded everything at home. Then we did our next three albums in the studio. Three or four years ago, we revamped our home studio, so we could record complete works at home. Now we have the sound quality of a real studio without the time constraints. We have enough time for stuff to jell and enough time to work things out.”

While KINGSIZED features some of the most focused, organic music Dressy Bessy has ever made, the new album is consistent with the pursuit of joy and transcendence that’s been the band’s mission from its early days in its hometown of Denver.

Although such seminal Dressy Bessy releases as Pink Hearts Yellow Moons, The California EP, SoundGoRound, Little Music: Singles 1997-2002, Dressy Bessy and Electrified earned the band an enthusiastic fan base with their effervescent, uplifting pop tunes, they also caused some observers to miss the tougher edge of Ealom’s lyrics.

Now that they’re back in action with some of their strongest music to date, Dressy Bessy is happy to be back at work. “I feel like we’re just starting to get good at what we do,” Ealom states. “We’ve had a lot of time to hone in our sound, knowing what we want to sound like and figuring out what we need to do to get that. I’m really excited about the future.”

“We actually kind of know what we’re doing now,” adds Hill with a chuckle. “We used to always be flying by the seat of our pants, but we’re better players, Tammy is a better singer, and we’re a better band. I think we’ve recorded the best album that we ever have, so our plan now is to just get out there and rock, then keep on rocking. We need our fans and we feel like they need us too.”