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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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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!


[ 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

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
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

[ 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!




Twin Sister will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. Twin Sister is playing Neurolux later that night and we have tickets for sale at the store!


After having spent last winter recording In Heaven and spending this past summer and fall touring relentlessly, opening for the likes of Beirut, Explosions in the Sky, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Wild Beasts and Real Estate, Twin Sister ( are currently on their first headlining U.S./Canada tour.

Twin Sister create the kind of hypnotic pop you’ve been dreaming about since Galaxie 500 fizzled, cut with Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac thump and a shot of Lynchian weirdness for good measure. They’re slack yet focused, a spark in the dark distance on a desert highway where speed is relative. Formed in Long Island two years ago, Twin Sister want to make music that you could feel comfortable cheating on someone to.

As might be implied by the title, In Heaven improves on 2010‘s critical darling Color Your Life EP in every possible way, showcasing Twin Sister’s wildly imaginative songwriting paired with flawless execution, by way of intense dedication to both musicianship and recording. While that record is a beautiful struggle against the realities of recording in apartments and between day jobs, In Heaven is the band unfettered by limitations — it is them streaking across a highwire under complete and total control.

As this is a debut, a little background is in order — having met while playing in various bands across both coasts of Long Island throughout their teenage years, each spied on one another covetously, while Andrea Estella (vocals) and Eric Cardona (guitar, vocals) formed an intense songwriting bond, around which the core of the band’s lyrics and imagery are built. Gabel D’Amico, Bryan Ujueta and Udbhav Gupta were friends and impressive songwriters and musicians themselves (all play keys, Gabe bass and guitar, Bryan drums and guitar, Dev a talented sampler/engineer). When their other projects fizzled, Twin Sister inevitably formed, and the band began posting demos and ideas freely to their website with remarkable consistency (100+ over a two year period, still up on the site). Polishing their favorites, they released Color Your Life and toured relentlessly, earning praise for their raucous live show in equal measure with a torrent of fawning record reviews.

To the core, Twin Sister is a capital-P Pop band. The songs on In Heaven radiate and glow, a firework show set against a broad black canvas; youthful exuberance echoes throughout. Taken as a whole, In Heaven proves itself a document of endless preparation and excited execution, the fulfilled promise of bliss.


a.k.a. Belle 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, Feb. 2. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages.

a.k.a. Belle‘s debut CD Disappearing Night 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.!

Before a.k.a. Belle’s set, the RX will be holding a Mark Lanegan Listening Party at 5 p.m. Lanegan’s new album Blues Funeral comes out Tuesday, Feb. 7, and 4AD sent us a vinyl test pressing to play for our customers — and to give to one lucky duck once we’re done spinning it! 4AD also sent a few signed 7-inches to hand out with pre-orders of Blues Funeral.

We’re also debuting our new monthly First Thursday specials, which include:

• Buy 2 get 1 free used CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray and vinyl!
• Buy 2 get 1 free select gift shop items — this month ALL gift items are eligible!
• Buy 2 get 1 free coffee and espresso drinks!


Out of the studio after months of hard work, a.k.a. Belle ( brings you their debut album Disappearing Night, produced and mastered at Audio Lab. The 9-song CD, released December 2011, has ranked in the top 20 best sellers at The Record Exchange five weeks in a row, with tracks such as “Austin Calling” getting airtime on 94.9 FM The River, and selected tracks being played on KRBX (Radio Boise 89.9 FM). Guest appearances include Steve Fulton, Brenton Viertel, Michael Rundle, Jason Flores and Todd Chavez.

Melding influences ranging from Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and The Clash to Wanda Jackson and Phil Spector’s girl groups, the Boise foursome delivers a distinctive, rich and dusty take on indie folk-rock, with frontwoman Catherine Merrick’s smooth yet pleasantly twangy voice providing an emotional complement to the rootsy, desert-noir of the arrangements.

It’s easy to see a.k.a. Belle have fun with their music, too, as evident on songs such as their bonus track “I’m Giving Mice Elf (To You)” (a new Christmas classic) and “At Least I’m Stupid” (sung by guitarist Sam Merrick).


Workin’ On Fire will perform a special Album Release Party set live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. Workin’ on Fire’s new album Metaphoria will be available for purchase at the in-store.

Recorded as Workin’ On Fire‘s last (of three) underage CDs as a band (all of them age 17 at time of recording), Metaphoria spends half its diverse journey sampling the acoustic guitar and half studying its electric guitar brethren. This 12-song original LP (two songs re-recorded from their sophomore CD) represents the beginning of a senior year victory lap for this Southeast Boise alternative rock power trio.


Workin’ On Fire (,, a teen (12th-graders) alternative rock power trio, played their first gig August 1, 2009 at The Venue. Since then, they’ve recorded three CDs (EP: Exit; LP/Album: Mike Smith; LP/Album: Metaphoria). With over 150 gigs together (including in Portland and Seattle), this 2011 Boise’s Got Talent Grand Champion has headlined at the CenturyLink Arena (formerly Qwest) and is a regular at the Knitting Factory Concert House.

In the media they’ve been featured on TV (KTVB Channel 7, FOX 12 News), in print (Idaho Statesman, Argus Observer, Emmett Messenger-Index, Boise Weekly) and on radio (The X, The River). They have performed for one of their now raving fans, Chef Duff Goldman (Food Network’s Ace of Cakes and Sugar High), played with All Time Low and opened for Middle Class Rut.

AUSTIN WILLIAMSON: Band co-founder and the lead guitarist, vocalist and writer, Austin is a singer-songwriter whose passion since picking up the guitar (classically trained) at age six is music. One of the top all-around high school guitarists in the Pacific Northwest, Austin began being noticed at age 13, first for his guitar play when pulled on stage by Tommy Castro and Kenny Neal (BB King R&B Champ) and also that same year for recording a Dunlop Crybaby guitar foot pedal video demo in his bedroom and receiving hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube for its creativity. In ninth grade, he won first prize in the ArtsWest Guitar-off (with a perfect score) and recorded his first original scratch-track. A committed poet and lyricist, Austin is currently enrolled at the Berklee College of Music (Boston), simultaneous to his high school studies.

ZACH BONAMINIO: Zach is a self-taught drummer and co-founder of Workin’ On Fire. A grade school friend of Austin, Zach is an avid biker, photographer and snowboarder (Bonaminio Sausage family). He is currently a music theory student, and many of the band’s photos are his handiwork. Zach is known to play gigs with a broken arm (broken from snowboarding, of course).

PETER MAGUIRE: Peter is a thoroughbred slap bassist who also contributes backing vocals for Workin’ On Fire. Known to tinker on the drums and keyboard, Peter is also the 2011 5A state track and field 110 hurdles state champion (and a varsity letterman in soccer). Interestingly, Peter’s grandfather (Walt Maguire) was the executive vice president for London Records, with his famed productions including “Monster Mash” and the signing of ZZ Top.


94.9 FM The River presents Scars on 45 live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise) at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. Scars on 45 are playing Neurolux later that night and we have tickets for sale here at the RX!


Making music was the furthest thing from Scars on 45 co-founder Danny Bemrose’s mind until the professional soccer player for England’s Huddersfield Town F.C. broke his foot at 21 and his world came crashing down. “I was in limbo, without knowing what to do with myself,” he says. It wasn’t the first time that fate would intervene in the band’s formation.

Danny put down the soccer ball and picked up for his father’s guitar. “I’m quite an obsessive person. I became kind of addicted,” he says. “I used to lock myself away to write songs and record on a four-track recorder.”

Those early years led to creation of Scars on 45, a quintet from Leeds, England, that combines the gentle melodic intensity of Snow Patrol or Keane with the added allure of co-ed vocals. Tension, often propelled by drummer Chris Durling’s insistent beat, builds throughout the songs as the emotional ante rises. Hearts are broken and seldom rendered whole again before new wounds pierce through.

Highlights on the group’s self-titled 10-song debut include the gracefully propulsive “Heart on Fire,” on which Danny and fellow lead vocalist Aimee Driver play out a couple’s anguished conversation. “That song came out of nothing,” Danny says. “It just seemed to pour straight out. I must have sung it 4,000 times and it feels fresh every time I sing it. I’m sure one day, I’ll fully understand it.”

On the lilting, yet melancholic, “Give Me Something,” Danny, his voice vulnerable and aching, searches for some sign — any sign — that there’s a reason to believe in a lasting love. “Everyone’s been in that situation of wanting someone and it not being reciprocated,” he says. “It just rules your entire life.”

On album opener, the piano-driven, pulsing  “Warning Sign,” Danny and Aimee’s voices weave around each other to create a spellbinding story about trying to fix “the hole inside they will never see.” Crunchy guitar riffs lure the listener into “Don’t Say,” as Danny pleads with a lover not to say “it won’t get better.” On the stripped bare “Change My Needs,” Aimee quietly, but with heartbreaking resignation, wishes she could ask for less, but simply can’t.

But all of that’s getting ahead of the story. After teaching himself guitar, Danny and one of his football buddies, bassist Stu Nichols, began playing together in various bands. “We were awful,” Danny laughs, but “we were always passionate about it and had this belief that we’d probably make it some day.”

Soon keyboardist David “Nova” Nowakowski joined the pair and the trio began recording demos and playing live around Leeds. This is where Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and country legend Emmylou Harris come in. “A friend of ours who was drumming for Noel asked us if we wanted to meet him,” Danny recalls. “He said, ‘This is Danny and Stu – they’re in a band.’ Noel said, ‘What’s your band’s name?’ and we said, ‘We don’t really have one.’ Noel said, ‘A band without a name? What kind of fucking band is that?’ and walked off.”

Indeed. On search for a name, the nascent group ultimately picked Scars on 45, taken from a radio interview that Danny heard with Harris, in which she recalled her father telling her as a young girl that she better not get any “scars on his 45s” as she played them.

The trio became the axis of the band, with other members coming and going. “We must have been through at least 500 members,” Danny says. And then, amid the revolving door, the second serendipitous event occurred that firmly set Scars on 45 on its path. Danny wrote a song that required a female voice. Out of the blue, Nova heard his friend Aimee singing along with the radio to The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.” Although she wasn’t a performer and had never sung in public, he was struck by her innocent, sweet voice. She ultimately joined the band, ditching plans for a two-year trip around the world.

“I just started singing along when Nova rushed in seeming really shocked,” Aimee recalls. “I thought his dad had a heart attack or something! He made me stand there in his living room and sing another song to him – which was the scariest thing ever at the time. At first I wouldn’t do it, but he wouldn’t shut up so I just put my tea down, shut my eyes and sang ‘Rhiannon’ by Fleetwood Mac just to stop him pestering me. Danny recorded me on one of the songs and it just seemed to work. The next thing I knew I was in the band. When I told my family and friends they were saying, ‘but you can’t sing, can you?’”

Then began a series of joys, heartbreaks and near misses.  The band, now expanded to a quintet with the addition of Chris on drums, placed songs on A&E’s since-canceled series, “The Cleaner,” and came close to signing a record deal only to see it fall apart at the last moment. Then came the moment they had been waiting for: “CSI: New York” selected the group’s song, “Beauty’s Running Wild,” for an extended closing scene. The music caught the attention of noted music supervisor, Alexandra Patsavas, who signed the band to her Atlantic Records-distributed label Chop Shop Records.

The band recorded the self-produced Scars on 45 on their own, first starting in “Fawlty Towers,” as Danny and Stu called their crumbling apartment, and then moving to the basement of a church that a friend has purchased to convert into apartments. “He let the congregation live there for awhile, so there was this little rock and roll band recording in the basement  and we had a lot of praying going on next door,” Danny recalls. “They were lovely people.”

Although enjoyable, the studio is “the work part,” Danny says, whereas the real fun comes in playing live. “Just to be able to put yourself out there and let people know who you are is wonderful,” he continues. “What I write about is who I am really. When people listen and react to one of your songs, there’s no better feeling.”


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