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The Record Exchange - Culture Spot

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[ 2014 staff picks ]

2014 staff picks

After weeks of scrutiny, Record Exchange staffers have completed their 2014 Top 10 lists, and leading up to Christmas we will be posting individual lists here on the website. Visit the store to view the lists in realtime and shop our special '14 Staff Picks display. Let the judgment begin!


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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!


[ 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.


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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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[ ritter treefort bundles ]

ritter treefort bundles

Josh Ritter is returning to Boise for a special performance at the Cathedral of the Rockies during Treefort Music Fest, and The Record Exchange has exclusive album/ticket bundles (CD and LP) that get you a guaranteed-admission ticket to the show and Ritter's new album Acoustic Live Vol. 1!


[ black friday exclusives ]

black friday exclusives

Black Friday is over, but The Record Exchange still has dozens of vinyl and CD exclusives you can’t get anywhere else in the Treasure Valley!


[ rx top 10 ]

rx top 10

1. Acoustic Live Vol. 1
Josh Ritter
2. What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
The Decemberists
3. No Cities to Love
4. Fear and Saturday Night
Ryan Bingham
5. Pale Emperor
Marilyn Manson
6. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Belle and Sebastian
7. Evermotion
8. Lost in the Dream
The War on Drugs
9. B4.DA.$$
Joey Bada$$
10. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Panda Bear



10805584_10152605102517709_8198870099363565454_nJosh Ritter is returning to Boise to play the Cathedral of the Rockies during Treefort Music Fest, and a limited supply of single-show tickets are available for those without Treefort passes or those with passes who want to guarantee entry into this special show inside the main stain-glass windowed chapel of the cathedral!

Tickets ($25 plus tax/fees) are on sale (and disappearing quickly) at The Record Exchange and online at The Record Exchange also has exclusive album/ticket bundles ($30 plus tax/fees for CD/ticket or $35 plus tax/fees for vinyl/ticket) in conjunction with the release of Ritter’s new indie store exclusive Acoustic Live Vol. 1: Somerville Theater March 2014. LIMIT 4 TICKETS PER CUSTOMER.


Josh Ritter live at Treefort Music Fest
Wednesday, March 25
Cathedral of the Rockies
717 North 11th Street, Boise, ID 83702
6:30pm doors
7pm show


71WfEKlI2cL._SL1500_Josh Ritter’s very first acoustic live album! Ten favorites from two incredible nights at Somerville Theater in Somerville, Massachusetts. During the winter of 2014, Josh toured as part of an acoustic trio, bringing along Zachariah Hickman (upright bass, high-strung guitar, pump organ, vocals) and Josh Kaufman (electric guitar, nylon string guitar, vocals). The shows were immensely rewarding for Josh, the band, and the audience, so a few nights on the road were recorded. This album marks the first release of the Acoustic Live album series. The vinyl version is 180-gram marbled orange vinyl and includes a full album download code. The CD is housed in a thick, heavy-gauge cardboard jacket.


“How refreshing and inspiring it is to encounter a young artist whose achievements match his ambitions.” —The Washington Post

“The 10 Most Exciting Artists Now” —Entertainment Weekly

“100 Best Living Songwriters” —Paste Magazine

Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. The son of two neuroscientists, he was on his way to follow in their footsteps when he discovered Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” in high school. He has since released seven studio albums and has been recently named one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine, alongside Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young. Joan Baez has covered one of his songs; Stephen King named one of Ritter’s albums the best of recent years and David Letterman has requested him twice, so far. His debut novel, Bright’s Passage, was a national bestseller.


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.”

January 26th, 2015


vinyl tuesday poster reduced 475It’s New Release Tuesday, and it’s also Vinyl Tuesday — customers receive up to $5 in used vinyl* with every $25 in new vinyl purchased all day long every Tuesday!

* Must be redeemed at time of purchase. Offer valid during regular business hours (10am-9pm) on Tuesdays only. The Record Exchange will not issue store credit for any unused portion of the Vinyl Tuesday used vinyl bonus.

Here’s a quick look at the bright and shiny new releases this week at The Record Exchange:


Hollow Wood – Wallflower EP

The Lone Bellow – Then Came the Morning

The Dodos – Individ

George Ezra – Wanted on Voyage

Mogwai – Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.

Gov’t Mule – Sco-Mule

Twerps – Range Anxiety

Milo Greene – Control

Twiztid – Darkness

Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat

Periphery – Juggernaut: Alpha

Periphery – Juggernaut: Omega

Papa Roach – F.E.A.R.

Ne-Yo – Non-Fiction (deluxe edition also available)

Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again

Venom – From the Very Depths

Johnny Winter – Gangster of Love: The Early Years

Nada Surf – Live in Brussels

Doomtree – All Hands

Lord Dying – Poisoned Alters

Jamie Cullum – Interlude

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Psychedelic India

Kenny G – Brazilian Nights (deluxe edition also available)

2Cellos – Celloverse (deluxe edition also available)

Gorgon City – Sirens

Joe Simon – The Chokin’ Kind: The Soundstage 7 Collection

The Body and Thou – You Who I Have Always Hated/Released From Love

Jim White Vs. the Packway Handle Band – Take It Like a Man

Amason – Sky City

Danny Kroha – Angels Watching Over Me

Ron Nagle – Bad Rice

The Shadows of Knight – Live 1966

Standells – Live 1966

Level 10 – Chapter One

Jamie T – Carry on the Grudge

Jimmy Barnes – 30:30 Hindsight

Dana Gould – I Know It’s Wrong

Michael Kosta – Comedy for Attractive People


The Lone Bellow – Then Came the Morning

The Dodos – Individ

Rush – Fly By Night

Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand

Mogwai – Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.

Twerps – Range Anxiety

Gov’t Mule – Sco-Mule

Scott Tuma – Hard Again/The River

In This Moment – Black Widow

Twiztid – Darkness

Various Artists – ShadyXV

Corrosion of Conformity – Blind (purple colored vinyl)

Corrosion of Conformity – Deliverance (green colored vinyl)

Om – Live

Doomtree – All Hands

Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat

The Body and Thou – You Who I Have Always Hated/Released From Love

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Mosaic

Wayne Shorter – Adam’s Apple

Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles

Various Artists – King Strings: King Federal Deluxe Guitar Grooves 1949-1962

Amason – Sky City

Passafire – Vines


Cyndi Lauper – Front and Center DVD

January 26th, 2015


ritter treefort bundles1. Acoustic Live Vol. 1, Josh Ritter
2. What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, The Decemberists
3. No Cities to Love, Sleater-Kinney
4. Fear and Saturday Night, Ryan Bingham
5. Pale Emperor, Marilyn Manson
6. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, Belle and Sebastian
7. Evermotion, Guster
8. Lost in the Dream, The War on Drugs
9. B4.DA.$$, Joey Bada$$
10. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Panda Bear