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

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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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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 ]

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1. ULTIMATE ALTERNATIVE WAVERS
Built to Spill
2. HALF THE CITY
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
3. THE SPACE PROJECT
Various Artists
4. TIME TRAVELERS AND BONFIRES
Sevendust
5. DEMOLICIOUS
Green Day
6. BECAUSE THE INTERNET
Childish Gambino
7. THE DEVIL LOVES YOU
aka Belle
8. DO TO THE BEAST
Afghan Whigs
9. DOTTED LINE
Nickel Creek
10. MEMPHIS GREASE
John Nemeth

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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 ]

January 24th, 2014

94.9 THE RIVER AND BOISE WEEKLY PRESENT THE DEVIL MAKES THREE IN-STORE JAN. 24; WRISTBAND WITH PURCHASE OF ‘I’M A STRANGER HERE’!

TheDevilMakes3-PiperFerguson-300dpi94.9 FM The River and Boise Weekly present The Devil Makes Three live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.) at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. The Devil Makes Three is performing at Knitting Factory later that evening and we have tickets for sale at the store!

Want guaranteed admission to the event? Purchase The Devil Makes Three’s new album I’m a Stranger Here on CD or vinyl starting Wednesday, Jan. 15 and we’ll give you a wristband guaranteeing admission plus a Devil Makes Three bandanna or magnet (while supplies last) — the first 10 people also get a free ticket to the Knitting Factory show! Listen to The River prior to the event for a chance to win a wristband!

We’re also giving away a Devil Makes Three vinyl test pressing and New West Records prize pack at the in-store!

ABOUT THE DEVIL MAKES THREE

devil makes three“There’s a road that goes out of every town. All you’ve got to do is get on it,” Pete Bernhard says.

The guitarist/singer and his cohorts in the raw and raucous trio The Devil Makes Three have found their way onto that road numerous times since they first left their picaresque rural hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont. Back then, they had no idea it would lead them to such auspicious destinations as the Newport Folk and Austin City Limits Festivals, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and on tours with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell and Trampled By Turtles. Along the way, they drew numerous accolades from a growing fan base and press alike.

TDM3’s travels and travails serve as inspiration for their fourth album and their New West Records debut, I’m a Stranger Here, produced by Buddy Miller and recorded at Dan Auerbach’s (Black Keys) Easy Eye Sound in Nashville.

With upright bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper McBean, Bernhard crafted a dozen tunes, part road songs, part heartbreak songs and part barnburners. While most bands are propelled from behind by a drummer, TDM3 builds exuberant rhythms from the inside out, wrapping finger-picked strings and upsurging harmonies around chugging acoustic guitar and bass, plying an ever-growing audience onto its feet to jump, shake and waltz.

TDM3’s sound is garage-y ragtime, punkified blues, old n’ new timey without settling upon a particular era, inspired as much by mountain music as by Preservation Hall jazz. “We bend genres pretty hard,” Bernhard says.

The combination could only have happened via the circuitous route each of them took to forming the band. As kids in Vermont, “all raised by sort of hippie parents” who exposed them to folk, blues and jugbands, Bernhard says, they blazed a path to nearby Boston, Massachusetts in search of punk rock shows. They found venerable venues like The Rat and The Middle East, drawn to east coast bands like the Dropkick Murphys and Aus-Rotten.

“It would be like 6 bucks for 13 bands, everyone playing for 20 minutes,” Bernhard says. “I had so much fun going to shows like that. The energy coming off the stage makes a circle with the crowd and comes back. We were really attracted to that energy.”

Bernhard and McBean, a multi-instrumentalist who plays banjo, musical saw and bass, forged a particular bond. Unlike most of their mutual friends, they both liked to play acoustic music, with McBean showing Bernhard the wonders of Hank Williams and Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys. They kept in touch after high school, when nearly everyone in their clique relocated to the west coast like the characters in Delbert McClinton’s song “Two More Bottles of Wine.”

“It was a mass exodus of kids who went out to start bands and be creative, searching for the unknown, dreaming of something different,” Bernhard says. “We wanted to get away from where we were from, as many kids do, and California was the farthest we could get.” Eventually they landed in sunny Santa Cruz, California, where TDM3 took shape in 2001. Their early gigs were house concerts, then small bars, punk shows, bigger rock clubs and theaters and festivals, all the while defying genre and delighting whomever turned up to listen.

Turino learned bass to join the band, but her unremitting sense of rhythm comes naturally from being raised by parents who were dance teachers, and from her own dance background. Attacking the strings of her upright, she understands how to infuse songs with the force it takes to get a crowd moving.

And the songs on I’m a Stranger Here tell the rest of the story, with the music often joyously juxtaposed against lyric darkness…the rootless nature of being in a touring band, traveling from town to town with little sense of community, represented by a devil-like character (“Stranger”)…thorny transitions into adulthood…struggling with relationships (“Worse or Better”), watching friends succumb to addiction (“Mr. Midnight”), coming to terms with mortality (“Dead Body Moving”), nostalgic notions of childhood (“Spinning Like a Top”). Bernhard even considers the destruction of changing weather patterns, inspired in part by Hurricane Katrina as well as a flood that wreaked havoc in Brattleboro (“Forty Days,” a gospel rave-up recorded with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band).

Bernhard wrote more than 20 songs for the album and turned them over to producer Buddy Miller, who gravitated toward the darker material but insured that the recording was lit up by the band’s innate ebullience. It was Miller’s idea to record at Easy Eye rather than his renowned home studio. “Easy Eye is like Sun Records,” Bernhard says. “There’s one live tracking room filled with amazing gear, and that defines the kind of record you’re going to make. That was exactly the record we wanted to make, and we knew Buddy was the one who could capture us playing together like we do.”

For a band that made its bones with dynamic performances, recording an album is almost like coaxing lightning into a bottle, but Miller and TDM3 succeed on I’m a Stranger Here. Now they’re continuing the journey that began when they found their way to the road that led them out of Vermont. “I can’t wait to get onstage, I love it,” Bernhard says. “Playing music for a living is a blessing and a curse, but for us there’s no other option.”

January 17th, 2014

THE RIVER PRESENTS VANCE JOY LIVE AT THE RECORD EXCHANGE SUNDAY, JAN. 19 – VANCE’S ONLY SHOW IN TOWN!

vance joy94.9 FM The River presents Vance Joy live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.) at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. This is Vance’s only show in town!

ABOUT VANCE JOY

vance joy epVance Joy’s debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing worms its way under your skin. It’s not an easy task to produce a record so evocative, yet so stripped-back; simplicity in art is often a challenging feat. For Melbourne-based singer and songwriter Vance Joy, the songs began as a collection of loose threads, which over time naturally weaved together, like they were always meant to find a life of their own.

Like the unforced orchestration of his songs, Vance Joy’s recent success developed organically. Earning his chops on Melbourne’s open mic circuit, he tested out new material at venues like the iconic Great Britain Hotel in Richmond. Naturally, his music attracted fans, press and label interest. Before long, the musician played sold out Australian tours and penned a deal with Liberation Music in Australia, Atlantic Records for the rest of the world, and Infectious Music for the UK. He’s supported Of Monsters and Men, Julia Stone, Bernard Fanning locally, Lissie & Tom Odell across the USA, and headlined sold out Canada & UK shows.

Vance Joy’s love of music was inspired by his mother’s aptitude at literature and his father’s fondness of singing.  His parents’ vast, eclectic record collection only served to heighten his partiality to it – while he was growing up he would listen to everything from The Pogues to Paul Kelly.  After completing a university degree in law, he decided to take a year’s break to focus on making music. He traveled to India and South-East Asia with a collection of songs rattling around in his head.  When he came home, they all fell into place. “I’m learning subtleties in my voice, understanding what I sound like and trying to embrace who I am,” he intimates. “It wasn’t rushed song writing at all.”

The production process for God Loves You When You’re Dancing was any artist’s dream. For just one week Vance Joy holed up with producer John Castle (Lior, The Drones) in The Shed Studios with Ed White on percussion and cello. “It was spontaneous,” Vance Joy says. “John’s style is very instinctive, and that felt really good for me. I’d have an idea, and he’d just say ‘let’s do it’. For us, the whole process felt right.”

The EP opens with the lilting ‘Emmylou’, a lullaby with a subtle streak of darkness. “The keyboard and harmonium give the song tension; a sense of pensiveness,” Vance Joy says. “The best lullabies are gentle and tender but also hint at the real world outside.” The striking element in this song is the delicate guitar, which Vance Joy wanted to sound like “rolling, pulsing momentum. Like a Bruce Springsteen song”. ‘Riptide’, the EP’s second track, gives the record a rhythmic texture, highlighting his raw, stripped-back song writing.

“I was house-sitting this awesome mansion in Camberwell which had a piano,” he says, referring to ‘Play With Fire’. “I wrote this song on that piano. It’s really just the same chords over, and over. It’s not a complicated song at all, and that’s why I like it.’’ The song, similar to Tom Petty’s simple yet powerfully expressive song structures, was written with as much delicacy as ease for Vance Joy. “That song just wrote itself.” 

‘Snaggletooth’, the EP’s second-last track plucks at the heartstrings with every strum of Vance Joy’s ukulele. His lyrics are beautifully put, with lines including “when she sings, the heavens part”. He explains that the song is about embracing the imperfections in the people you love. Just as you thought Vance Joy couldn’t take hold of your emotional core any further, ‘From Afar’ wallops you in the chest. ‘From Afar’, the latest single off the EP, tells the story of romance, friendship or life-long camaraderie gone awry.

God Loves You When You’re Dancing comes from an artist who finds beauty in darkness, and power in simplicity.

December 18th, 2013

BOISE WEEKLY PRESENTS ALL-AGES TENNIS IN-STORE SATURDAY, JAN. 4 (3P)

tennisTennis will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4. The in-store is presented by Boise Weekly. Tennis is playing Neurolux later that evening and we have tickets for sale here at the store. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages!

ABOUT TENNIS

tennisCelebrated Denver-based husband and wife duo Tennis will continue to tour to support their new EP Small Sound with a run of dates in January on the West Coast. The new EP, which is out now, is the bands first collaboration with Communion Records.

Small Sound follows their much lauded previous full length efforts, 2011’s Cape Dory and 2012’s Young and Old. Four of the tracks were produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, The Shins, The Mynabirds) with the fifth track “Cured of Youth” produced by Jim Eno (Spoon, Polica, Gayngs). The band inked a new deal with Communion Records and will return to the studio to work on new music for a Spring 2014 full length album. Small Sound is available as a limited 10” vinyl release and CD. Noisey recently premiered their lyric video for the song “Mean Streets,” which can be viewed HERE and shared HERE.

Tennis was born aboard Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley’s nearly seven-month sailing trip. Upon returning home, the duo began writing music together as a way to document the history of their shared experience. The result was Cape Dory, an intimate and concise recollection of life on a 30-foot sloop.

Moore and Riley followed Cape Dory with Young and Old, which The New York Times called “striking indie-pop” and The New Yorker described as “winsome as it is ebullient.” The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker Chart, #1 on CMJ Top 200, where it remained for three weeks in a row and debuted on Soundscan’s “New Artist Chart” at #1, remaining there for nine consecutive weeks. The band performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Conan” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.”

December 1st, 2013

94.9 THE RIVER AND BOISE WEEKLY PRESENT DAWES ACOUSTIC AT THE RECORD EXCHANGE SUNDAY, DEC. 1; WRISTBAND/LITHOGRAPH WITH CD/LP!

dawes94.9 FM The River and Boise Weekly present a special acoustic set by Dawes at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St.) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. The band will perform a short acoustic set on The Record Exchange stage followed by a Q&A moderated by The River’s Tim Johnstone and album signing. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages. Dawes is performing at Knitting Factory later that evening and we have tickets for sale at the store!

Want guaranteed admission to the event? Purchase any Dawes title on CD or vinyl and we’ll give you a wristband guaranteeing admission plus a custom Dawes lithograph (while supplies last) — the first 10 people also get a free ticket to the Knitting Factory show! Listen to The River prior to the event for a chance to win a wristband/litho combo!

ABOUT DAWES

While the city of Los Angeles has been both an inspiration and a home to the four members of Dawes, they found themselves traveling East last fall to record their third album in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with newly enlisted producer Jacquire King.  It was a chance to hunker down and work each day for a month away from familiar landmarks and routines. The tracks they laid down at Asheville’s Echo Mountain Studio have yielded a 12-song disc of tremendous sonic and narrative clarity, book-ended in classic album fashion by two very different versions of the wistful  “Just Beneath The Surface” – a misleading title, really, since the songs stacked in between dig so deep. Stories Don’t End is not so much a departure from the quartet’s previous efforts as a distillation of them. It spotlights the group’s maturing skills as arrangers, performers and interpreters who shape the raw material supplied by chief songwriter and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith into an artfully concise and increasingly soulful sound.

Once again, Goldsmith displays a particular gift for tunes that balance tough and tender, hardboiled and heartbroken. As a writer, he prowls his psyche like a forties detective, looking for clues to the mysteries of life and love.  “Just My Luck” has the irresistible pull of a vintage country tune, though the arrangement is understated and contemporary. If Goldsmith’s vocal delivery weren’t plaintive enough, the band ups the emotional ante with a beautiful wordless coda that intertwines Tay Strathairn’s piano and Goldsmith’s lead guitar. Similarly “Something In Common” is a morning-after shuffle that builds into a bigger and more dramatic track before dropping back to a quiet melancholic finish. Goldsmith takes a few simple words, like “something in common,” and uses them like chapter headings to develop a compelling story, full of unexpected twists, from verse to verse. “Someone Will” includes the same kind of word play while boasting a little more swagger. “Hey Lover,” a cover of a tongue-in-cheek tune by Dawes’ good buddy Blake Mills, is a playful mid-album break with Taylor Goldsmith and his young brother, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, trading off lead vocals.

Before he started composing for the album, says Taylor, “I went through a Joan Didion tear.” It was right after he read the legendary author’s Democracy that he found the title, Stories Don’t End, in her work. Though Didion is currently a New Yorker, she is most associated with Southern California, its culture of the sixties and seventies, a subject she examined in gimlet-eyed prose. When Goldsmith started penning new songs after several months on the road in support of Dawes’ 2011 disc, Nothing Is Wrong, his writing was even more keenly observant. “From a Window Seat” was the first he completed and, he admits, “It’s a very singular song. A lot of the songs on the record can be a little more broad, about a period in someone’s life or trying to explore a certain feeling. This song is about a specific experience of being on an airplane and that’s not a very poetic or lyrical idea.” Yet Goldsmith, employing an accumulation of small details, once again finds the bigger picture, about the narrator’s past and his (and our) uncertain future, about the history lurking beneath the swimming pool-dotted landscape below him. Just as important is the track itself — lean, propulsive and guitar-driven – lending urgency to Goldsmith’s in-flight musings. Similarly, “Bear Witness,” a last-minute addition to the lineup that the band arranged during the Asheville sessions, is an almost cinematically vivid rendering of a man having a conversation with his child from his hospital bed.

Nothing Is Wrong had garnered considerable acclaim, with London’s Independent declaring, “It’s as close to a perfect Americana album as there’s been this year.”  Up to then, the band had relied on good friend Jonathan Wilson as producer, cutting its 2009 debut disc, North Hills, at Wilson’s Laurel Canyon studio and its follow-up with Wilson at a larger room in Echo Park. But Wilson’s own career as a solo artist was taking off following the release of his Gentle Spirit disc, and the band began a search for a new collaborator.  King boasted an impressive and unusual resume, having produced an eclectic range of artists, including Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Norah Jones and the Punch Brothers. Says keyboardist Strathairn, “He’s really easy to work with. As a producer he doesn’t want to be the artist, he simply tries to make the band sound the best that the band can be. And the work speaks for itself.”

Recording with King and foregoing the quickly cut, straight-to-analog tape approach of its first two recordings was a way, says Taylor, for Dawes “to push the boundaries of what might be expected of us, or feel like a comfort zone for us, while trying to be the same band we always are. That was important to us. We didn’t want to abandon anybody’s sense of who we were and, more importantly, our sense of ourselves. We wanted to stay true to this thing that we had while starting to widen the spectrum a little bit.”

The reprise of “Just Beneath the Surface” at the end of the disc, however, is a first-take document of the band figuring out the tune together, and it was too good not to keep. As bassist Wylie Gelber recalls, “We knew the vibe we were going for and we were running through it while Jacquire was setting up. But we were completely unaware that he was recording us. We were fooling around and towards the end of it, we stopped for a minute and Jacquire said, Hey man, I think we’ve got it. We tried to beat that take but we couldn’t. You can hear it there, you can feel that it’s the first time it’s being played, it’s a simple song and there’s a subtle art to doing it. It ebbs and flows.”

“With Jacquire,” explains Taylor, “we were able to hold on to an essence of what we had been, but I feel now, more than with our first two records, that this makes a case that we’re a band from 2013. There a lot of bands that harken back to a period or style of a different time and that can be really limiting. That was never our intention.”

November 12th, 2013

JONATHAN WARREN AND THE BILLY GOATS PRE-RELEASE IN-STORE NOV. 12

13.11.16 BILLY GOATS CD RELEASEjonathan warren 200Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats will perform a special pre-release in-store at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise). The band is holding a release party on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Visual Arts Collective and we have tickets for sale at the store. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages!

Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats’ new album On This Very Evening will be available for purchase at the in-store — the first 20 people to buy On This Very Evening will receive a free ticket to the release party show at the VaC!

ABOUT JONATHAN WARREN AND THE BILLY GOATS

Born to an ever-moving military family in Texas, Jonathan Warren got his musical start in Knoxville, TN. He quickly developed an ear for traditional folk and Americana while listening to greats such as Townes Van Zandt and Hank Williams. While playing bass for Christabel and the Jons (one of the original Jons) he started experimenting with his own songwriting and playing guitar, banjo and harmonica. David Sather-Smith, born and raised in Jackson, MS, grew up alongside classical music, which helped to form his knack for the cello and operatic singing. He attended Western Illinois University where he majored in Vocal Performance and fell in love with the tunes of Frank Sinatra. Andrew Smith, born in Los Angeles, CA, spent many of his years studying jazz from legends like Charles Mingus and Count Basie. As a young-teen, he moved to San Francisco, where the diverse music scene allowed him to experiment with a variety of styles including Latin, funk and blues music. Somehow these three crossed paths and collaborated in Boise, where they created the amalgamation they call “Progressive Psychobilly Folkgrass.”

It’s a goat chewing on a can, it’s a cat scratching at your door, it’s foot stompin’ music that makes you want to eat a biscuit. Melodies you wake up humming in the morning, that stick to your bones like peach cobbler. It’s new-timey, post-retro, pre-apocolyptic, southern Appalachian, gypsy porch swing. It’s Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats.

Instrumentation:
Jonathan Warren- Vocals, Guitar, Upright Bass, Banjo, Harmonica
David Sather-Smith – Vocals, Cello, Guitar
Andrew Smith – Drums, Percussion

Discography:

On This Very Evening (2013)
A Little Something Stronger Than Wine (2011)
You Just Relax Honey (2010)
Tieton (2008)