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The Record Exchange - Culture Spot

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[ 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.


[ 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!


[ the right price ]

the right price

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

[ outside the heard ]

[ RSD exclusives/events ]

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!


[ rx top 10 ]

rx top 10

Built to Spill
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Various Artists
Green Day
Childish Gambino
aka Belle
Afghan Whigs
Nickel Creek
John Nemeth

[ 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!




Like a Rocket will perform a special Album Release Party set live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6 p.m. First Thursday, Jan. 5. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages.

Like A Rocket‘s debut CD Hey Man will be available for purchase at the Album Release Party, and we will be serving free craft beer (21 and older with I.D.) courtesy of our partners Payette Brewing Co.!

Like A Rocket‘s debut CD Hey Man is an intentional throwback to the band’s favorite records of the ’70s. Like a Rocket wanted each song to stand alone, in content and in style, but taken as a whole to be about “something.”

Crafted like a classic rock LP with the idea of two sides (1-5, 6-11), Like a Rocket tried to recreate the experience of putting on a record and following a storyline of relationships, both intimate and political, to a conclusion.

“We hope you like every song on its own, but even more we want you to listen to it as a whole and that you can find something in a song or the experience that speaks to you,” says frontman Speedy Gray. “It was a blast to make, and we hope you feel the same way when listening.”


Often compared to earlier Who/The High Numbers and later Alex Chilton, Like A Rocket ( mix great alt-pop with deep cut NOLA R&B to bake a blisteringly funky cake. A serious love of dancing and rhythm, the songs, fast or slow, have something to move your body. At the same time, the lyrics are extremely personal, about broken relationships with mates, band mates and the surrounding world of politics and dissatisfaction. You find yourself grooving along while picking up on choruses that speak to the world around you.

Led by singer/guitarist Speedy Gray, Like A Rocket is a dynamo live. Gray is an award-winning songwriter, getting nods from heavy hitters such as NPR’s nationally broadcast Mountain Stage.

Boise’s Like a Rocket do the alt-country genre one better by ditching the often over-hyped Old West motif. The band has dubbed its sound “Southern rocking funk and alt-country.” On “8th Ave Love Poem #1,” lead singer/guitarist Speedy Gray croons about his love for a New York girl with a bluesy tone reminiscent of Mark Knopfler. It’s the kind of song you want to learn all the lyrics to so you can belt it out while you hug the stage. A catchy drum line and guitar riff melt into an addictive tune as Gray sings, “Maybe what’s wrong with me / is what’s wrong with you?” on the opening song “What’s Wrong With You.” The flute accompaniment on “Every Time Sweet” might catch you off guard, but you stay with the guys because they so perfectly fill their roles. The band is akin to The Animals in its early years, with a style that’s somehow classic and modern all at once. — Andrew Crisp, Boise Weekly


Payette Brewing Company and The Record Exchange proudly present the Neil Young 66th Birthday Bash at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at The Record Exchange. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.

Neil Percival Young turns 66 on Nov. 12, and Payette Brewing Company and The Record Exchange are hosting a celebration in his honor.

The festivities include:

• Live Neil Young covers performed on The Record Exchange stage by Thomas Paul, Steve Fulton, Bill Coffey, Ryan Peck, a.k.a. Belle, James Coberly Smith, Bernie Reilly, Chris Gutierrez, Johnny Shoes, Dan Costello, Speedy Gray, Robert James, Divit Cardoza and Fonny Davidson, and more!

• Free craft beer courtesy of our new partner Payette Brewing Company (21 and older; ID required).

• Huge storewide sale on Neil Young CDs, vinyl, DVDs and more.

• Neil Young raffle prizes, including an autographed movie poster from the forthcoming Neil Young Trunk Show video, limited-edition Vapor Records Lionel Train box cars and CDs from the Neil Young Archives Series!


The Record Exchange just got our new koozies in, and we’re really happy with the way they turned out. So happy, in fact, that we’re giving away koozies to the first five people who arrive for the Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs in-store (delicious Inversion IPA not included).

How do you get one? Just come to the counter and say, “Koozie me!” We’ll know what you’re talking about.


Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages.

Star Anna’s latest album, Alone in This Together, just happens to be an indie-store exclusive that The Record Exchange carries. It was released through Pearl Jam’s Monkeywrench label, and it’s pretty great. We’ll have it for sale at the in-store, naturally.


When a woman shuts up hundreds of people with her voice, it’s a powerful thing. Star Anna ( — her given name — has been steadily wowing audiences and accumulating a rabid and dedicated fan base (including canonized musicians like the folks in Pearl Jam and Guns N’ Roses) since she was discovered busking outside a café in Ellensburg, Washington, at age 16. She is whip-smart. She is street-smart. She is a private person who unhinges her jaw to release a voice that has punched many Pacific Northwesterners in the face over the past several years—a voice that brings to the table an authentic pain and strength that defies her 25 years.

It would be easy to introduce Star Anna as an artist through the lens of her story, which is an almost archetypal tale of the journey from small means in a rough town to the big stage. There is, however, so much more to Star than the story of her path from then to now. Namely, her music. Namely, her unforgettable, preternatural talent.

Star and her band, The Laughing Dogs, released Alone In This Together in July 2011. The single and title track, “Alone In This Together,” features Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on guitar. Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs signed to Local 638 Records, run by fellow lady rock musician Rachel Flotard of Visqueen. The album received added support from Pearl Jam’s Monkeywrench Records, which partnered with Local 638 to distribute it to the masses.

So, the record: let’s not fall into the pre-set trap of discussing incredible female musicians without discussing the actual music they make. The Seattle Times’ Nicole Brodeur put it well: “There’s a tenderness to Star Anna’s alt-country sound, but under that is a steel rod of strength and seen-it-all that sets her apart from the girls who play and pout. She’s not trying to impress anyone, and in the process, she stops you in your tracks.” Anna started playing drums at age 11. Her voice and songs are often shorthanded as a channel of Patsy Cline through Tom Petty. Alone In This Together finds Anna transcending 2008′s torch-twang debut Crooked Path and 2009′s more rock-heavy The Only Thing That Matters. It is deeper, it is richer, it is more heartbreaking and jaw-dropping.

This unassuming, impending real life folk hero is, everyone feels, at the beginning of her rock and roll ride.

November 7th, 2011


Mastodon will visit The Record Exchange for a CD signing at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7. As always, this Record Exchange event is free and all ages. The band is performing at Knitting Factory later that night and we have tickets for sale here at the RX.

Purchase Mastodon’s new album The Hunter or pre-order the vinyl (out Nov. 15) prior to the signing and we’ll give you a wristband granting you priority placement in line the day of the event! We expect a big crowd, and wristband holders will get to line up and meet the band before anyone else! (One wristband per CD purchased.)



Mastodon ( have never really done anything the “conventional” way. The Atlanta-based band formulated their own brand of highly-skilled hard rock over a decade ago when others were rehashing 80s metal, and went on to mastermind a string of complex concept albums while much of the music world was centered on making digestible singles. The fact that Mastodon has received an outpouring of critical kudos along with public praise from respected icons from Metallica to The Melvins, The Flaming Lips and CeeLo Green and back, they’ve been humbled by the magnitude of appreciation. But rather than taking time to revel, they prefer to focus their attention on pushing musical boundaries even deeper by exploring their own creative process to the fullest.

The Hunter is yet another universe bending, high energy masterpiece from the band that helped shape hard rock for the 21st century with their previous albums: Remission, Leviathan, Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye. Though each consecutive album has transcended the one before it in terms of expectations, musical innovation and sales, The Hunter is the band’s most ambitious to date. Guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders and guitarist Bill Kelliher all continue to explore the outer limits of their own imaginations and as a result, deliver an album that stands apart — even in Mastodon terms. While their last four CDs explored complex themes rooted in earth’s elements, The Hunter is more about following one’s free will than a particular storyline. “We’ve always had this umbrella or a theme that we’ve written everything under,” says Troy. “To us, it made sense as one cohesive story. This time, we freed ourselves up to try something new. It was really the next step for us, and I’m glad we took it.”

That new-found spontaneity can be felt throughout The Hunter, from the melodic yet pummeling “Blasteroid” to the frenetic, muscled single “Curl the Burl.” The album is full of surprises—from melodic, close harmonies to downright demonic growls—but predictably, the musicianship is leagues beyond what anyone would expect to find on such a hard-hitting album. The Hunter is also the band’s most emotionally charged record to date, largely due to the difficult events that surrounded its making. Tragically, Brent Hinds’ brother died of a heart attack in December of 2010 while on a hunting trip. Not long after, a friend of the bands died after a drawn out battle with cancer. “There were a lot of stressful things going on while we were making this record,” says Brann. “I wanted to ignore all the stress, which felt like it was threatening our band’s existence. We were kind of waiting to see where everything landed. But Brent didn’t want to sit and wallow in it. He wanted to do the exact opposite. So we started coming up with all these really triumphant moments for the record. It was like, fist up in the air. Like fuck that – here we go.” And they dedicated the album to Hinds brother, an avid hunter.

The material for the record was largely written on the road when the band was touring with Alice in Chains, and was recorded between Los Angeles and Atlanta over a six-week period earlier this year. Continuing their tradition of breaking tradition, Mastodon decided to team up with Mike Elizondo, a highly respected producer more synonymous with hip hop than metal. “After meeting him and hearing his ideas and unique perspective on our band we thought ‘This could be really interesting,’” says Brent. “We’re all about doing things that other people don’t, so let’s do an album with the guy who just worked with 50 Cent and Eminem. How crazy is that? We always try and embrace the unexpected.” And again, Mastodon’s penchant for taking risks paid off.

The Hunter is at once space age yet earthy, aggressive but thoughtful, articulate and guttural. The guitar work here is, of course, masterful as always, as is the band’s ability to flip musical directions on a dime. All of Mastodon contributed to writing the album, and Sanders is now singing on considerably more than on previous recordings (“I never thought I’d be one of the main vocalists . . . on any record,” he laughs.) Following some fine vocal performances on the last album, Dailor’s role also as a contributing vocalist has become more prominent on The Hunter as well, adding even greater freedom to the sonic textures and overall expansiveness inherent of the new album.

As an example of the themes behind some of the new songs? They’re best described first hand by Brent and Brann:

Brann on “Curl of the Burl”: It’s about meth heads in the woods of West Virginia who look for certain types of knots in a tree. That would be the curl of the burl. They cut it out of the tree, drive it into town, sell it to furniture makers then go buy more meth. It’s like crackheads who steal copper from Lowes and sell it. We really couldn’t think of a better subject matter. It fascinated us.

Brent on “Blasteroid”: It was the name of a video game that was in the studio where we recorded. We thought it was hilarious—asteroids mixed with hemorrhoids. It had this crazy star that crapped out these asteroid looking thingees. So we mixed that ridiculous name with this sugary melody, then pushed it all up against, uh, somewhat aggressive lyrics. [Sings] ‘I wanna break some fucking glass, I wanna drink some fucking blood . . .’ Fun stuff.

Brann on “Stargasm”: It’s about having sex in space, or maybe not in space, just great sex where the orgasm brings you into space. When we sing ‘You’re on fire!,” I imagine swirling flames around these two people enjoying this sexual experience so good that they end up in outer space. Very Barbarella.

Brent on “The Sparrow”: It’s about Susie Polay, our accountant’s wife, who passed away of stomach cancer when we were recording the album. Her motto was pursue happiness with diligence, and that motto became the lyrics to the song. It’s such a pretty song, and it’s so sorrowful as well. It’s in her memory and for her husband Robert, to pass on her inspiration to the listener.

One of the many ways in which Mastodon challenged itself on The Hunter was in simplifying their otherwise complex way of making music. In the past the band thrived on squeezing as much as possible in one space, and then making sense of it. With this record, they challenged themselves to pare back and let the songs breathe on their own. The result is an album where sublime interludes prove just as powerful as dense layers of sound. “Our last album Crack The Skye was such a deep, long record,” says Bill. “It was very heavy. We thought, let’s make a spontaneous record based off music that comes off our fingertips in the moment. We didn’t over think it—like Hey, we gotta really dazzle the kids!  It’s like, let’s not overdo it. Just let it fall naturally, and we did.”

By following their instincts, Mastodon has come up with the best record of their career. But then, should we really be all that surprised? Their slow-growing trajectory from flat-broke obscurity to the stages of Coachella, Europe’s Sonisphere and Bonnaroo has presented Mastodon to an inordinately eclectic cross-section of music fans who have embraced the band as much as any audience who are more interested in the quality of the music rather then fall into the trappings of narrow-mined genre dwellers. This is the result of taking the road less traveled with nothing more than their instincts—and love of a good riff—to guide them. “We can never go in the studio saying we’re gonna make a heavy record because that’s what people expect,” says Brann. “Or a progressive record, because that’s what they want to hear. You can talk all day about what you’ll do artistically, but once you sit down and it starts coming out, you find out it’s not really in your control. Things move in the direction they move in — much like life. It might not go the way you want, but that’s when great things come out that you had no idea were there. That’s when you tap the unexpected.”