Record Store Day 2011: Ashley Brooke Toussant and Shivering Timbers

Record Store Day was not the buy-a-palooza for me this year that it was last year. The one album I was really interested in this year – the reissue of Vanguard’s Skip James Today! – was unlikely to be available at any of my record stores, and having just lost my day job Friday, spending money on a piece of vinyl I can’t play right now anyway (I have four turntables, and none of them are working properly) didn’t feel like a priority.

What was a priority was getting down to Square Records in Akron to catch in-store performances from Ashley Brooke Toussant and Shivering Timbers.

(Don’t feel bad for me. While I didn’t get the Skip James vinyl, I did pick up the Godfathers’ Birth, School, Work, Death on vinyl for a song. And I met Square Records’ resident cat, Kali. Record store cats are aces. So much less haughty than book store cats.)

Ashley Brooke Toussant

It’s difficult to think of a description of Toussant that does not include the word “adorable”. But while she is a wee thing with a cherubic face and big, blue peepers (two people remarked that she looks like she’s 12 years old – she’s actually in her mid-20s), her sweet voice is strong and her songwriting is beautifully sophisticated.

Accompanied by Chris Wise on electric bass and Joe Linstrum on acoustic guitar, Toussant played a set that mixed songs from her EP All Songs in English with songs from her upcoming full-length album Sweetheart. While she appeared quiet and shy between songs, Toussant was perfectly at ease within her music, singing out loud and clear. Much of her repertoire is of the ethereally folky variety, recalling the mason-jars-and-sepia-toned-photographs sound of some of Over the Rhine’s early catalogue, but Toussant’s sound is touched with influences from around the world and throughout time. Linstrum’s accompaniment often added a Spanish flavor with Wise’s bass providing modern-day weight.

Toussant’s talent is instantly winning, and she was encouraged by enthusiastic listeners to play just one more song at the end of her set, which she did with a characteristically charming smile.

There are five days left in the IndieGoGo fundraising campaign for Sweetheart where you can contribute and help the album release be a great one. Toussant’s whimsical official website is also a recommended visit.

Shivering Timbers

After a taking a break for a snack and a drink and doing some record browsing, I found myself too far removed by Shivering Timbers’ supporters to take any good photos, but I can assure you that they are still just as attractive as they were in January.

Having seen Shivering Timbers just twice now, I feel confident in saying that every show of theirs feels like a celebration with friends. Though the post-song applause started out light as the band warmed us up slowly, favorites like “Noble Duke of York” and “Crooked Old Man” quickly brought out the clapping and whooping from the crowd packed into the now-steamy record store. The biggest reaction came in appreciation of the band’s usual show closer, the bring-the-house-down “Evening Prayer”. But they had a surprise left for us with a new closing song, a calming lullaby to see us out.

Shivering Timbers are adding more and more shows to their schedule all the time, including a gig with Neutral Uke Hotel at the Grog Shop in Cleveland this Friday. This is definitely a band to catch live.

Bits: Cleveland Confidential, Robert Pollard, Beastie Boys, Jay Reatard, The Dirtbombs, The Due Diligence, Grandfather, Record Store Day

  • While I was too late to alert you to the Cleveland Confidential Book Tour‘s stop at the Rockhall and its attendant webcast (which was great), the tour – which features Cheetah Chrome (Rocket from the Tombs, the Dead Boys), Mike Hudson (The Pagans) and Bob Pfeifer (Human Switchboard) reading from their respective books – stops at the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, tonight (April 12) at 7 PM. And if you’re in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday (April 14), you can catch the tour with featured guest Dave Thomas (Rocket from the Tombs, Pere Ubu) at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live at 7:30 PM.
  • Speaking of Ohio, you can download a few mp3s from various projects of human music machine Robert Pollard.
  • If you somehow haven’t heard it yet, you can check out a leaked track, “Make Some Noise”, from the forthcoming Beastie Boys’ album Hotsauce Committee Part Two on their Tumblr.
  • Jay Reatard documentary Better Than Something will debut at the Nashville Film Festival this Friday, April 15 at 7 PM. (You can check out Waiting for Something a short documentary from the same filmmakers here.)
  • The Dirtbombs have announced a handful of tour dates, kicking off in Detroit, Michigan, at the end of May.
  • The Due Diligence will be playing a double record release show with the Shivers on May 29 at the Mercury Lounge in New York.
  • Grandfather will be playing a free show at The Shop in Brooklyn, New York, on April 23. This will be their first show with their rejuvenated lineup of Joshua Hoffman (vocals), Michael Kirsch (guitar), Phil Sangiacomo (drums) and Justin Mantooth (bass).
  • Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 16, and The Numero Group pop up store in Chicago, Illinois, has a unique offer available.

Bits: Cure for Pain, Rockhall Spring Benefit, SXSW, Record Store Day, Spinner

  • Cure for Pain, the documentary about the much-missed Mark Sandman will see it’s U.S. debut on April 15 at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Tickets for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museum annual spring benefit go on sale today. The May 14 concert will feature Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, Darlene Love and Cyndi Lauper, as well as Curt Smith (Tears for Fears) and Chuck Jackson.
  • Just because you’re sick of hearing about SXSW and its aftermath, that’s no reason to miss out on the good stuff. You can hear and/or see a TV on the Radio performance here, a Jessica Lea Mayfield performance here and a Felice Brothers performance here.
  • Record Store Day approacheth (April 16) and now the official RSD release list is available to help decide if you’ll have to go without food or gas for the next couple of months.
  • Lots of good shit on Spinner’s Listening Party, including Radiohead, Dirty Beaches, Royal Bangs and Willie Nelson with Wynton Marsalis. Check it out.

Bits: Shel Silverstein songs, Alan Moore opera, No Depression fest, save 924 Gilman, produce a Juniper Tar doc, RSD is crafty

  • Did you know that besides the poems that were so dear to many of us in our youth, Shel Silverstein was also responsible for songs like “A Boy Named Sue” and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”? A cadre of folky and country artists have contributed to an album of Silverstein’s songs, called Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein, that will be released on June 8. Pitchfork has a couple of songs from contributors My Morning Jacket and Andrew Bird for you to listen to.
  • A favorite of NTSIB, writer Alan Moore is working with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz to produce an opera about magician/mathematician John Dee (if you are familiar with Moore, you know this is completely unsurprising), and Pitchfork has some info on that, too.
  • Another favorite of NTSIB is the venerable magazine-now-community-website No Depression, and they have announced the line-up for their always impressive festival. This year’s festival will include Swell Season, Lucinda Williams, Cave Singers, Punch Brothers, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet and Sera Cahoone.
  • Respected punk venue 924 Gilman is in danger of closing down due to a ridiculous rent increase. Here’s what you can do to help keep it going.
  • High Frequency Media is planning a Juniper Tar tour documentary, and you can become a producer.
  • There’s a nice write-up of the Record Store Day activities in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood from a crafter’s perspective at the Jo-Ann Fabrics blog.

Yours Truly shares this video from SXSW of Nathaniel Rateliff playing “Boil & Fight”, but we’re particularly enamored of his rendition of Roger Miller’s “Oo-De-Lally” at the beginning.

Nathaniel Rateliff “Boil & Fight” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Fight for Your Right: I Need That Record

Woohoo, rekkids!

Record Store Day was a great success for all involved, it seems. It certainly was for NTSIB, and the store where we celebrated, Music Saves in Cleveland, broke their record from last year. It really did feel like a Christmas for music geeks, and I was in high spirits all day as I spun my new vinyl.

For the curious, I picked up: the Black Keys “Tighten Up”/”Howlin’ for You” 12″ – which was obtained without bloodshed – the TV on the Radio Dear Science LP, the Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros “Global A Go-Go” LP and the I Need That Record! DVD. I almost didn’t pick up I Need That Record!, but after watching it, I was very glad that I did.

I Need That Record! is a documentary by Brendan Toller on, as the subtitle states, “the death (and possible survival) of the indpendent record store”. If you are a music geek, you know that record stores do still exist. If you’ve been reading NTSIB, you know they still exist. But some people don’t even realize there are still actual, physical stores out there that do indeed sell vinyl, as well as CDs, etc. Even some of the people interviewed for this doc, like legendary noise-composer Glenn Branca, were unsure of the continued existence of record stores, illustrating the very problem this doc investigates.

For many people who follow music – or even for those who follow the plight of independent businesses in general – much of the ground covered in Record will not be news, but there will still be pieces of information that will surprise the viewer. And the treatment of the subject is fairly even-handed, spreading the responsibility among major labels, big box stores, internet downloads and consumers. But the big draw of this doc is the passion of the people involved with independent record stores, from the music makers to the shop owners to, most importantly, the music buyers. The stand-out moment of Record is when a loyal customer of Trash American Style, who gives his name as “John the Bomb”, goes on an impassioned rant about what music and the record store mean to him.

I was choked up by it, anyway.

If you’re less of an emotional twit than I am, you might be lured by the appearance of a number of serious names, such as Branca, Ian Mackaye, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil, the legendary Noam Chomsky, the fascinating Lenny Kaye or the great Mike Watt. For readers in Cleveland, there is a special thrill in seeing Melanie and Kevin from Music Saves show up.

I am very happy to have this great work in my hand in tangible form (because I’m one of those tactile junkies who loves vinyl as much for the ability to hold the cover in my hands and pore over the liner notes as I listen to the record as much as for the sound quality), but for those solely interested in the content, Pitchfork is streaming the entire documentary in their One Week Only spotlight. So there’s no reason not to watch this genuinely moving and, I’ll just say it, important documentary.

Please watch it.

I’ll be your best friend forever.

Pitchfork One Week Only: I Need That Record!

I Need That Record! Official Site

Notable shows in the greater Cleveland area & Josh Homme talks RSD

Shows worth checking out this week in and around Cleveland:

The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

  • Sat, Apr 17| 9 PM (8 PM door)
    White Hinterland
    The Sleeps
    Tavern | All Ages
  • Sun, Apr 18| 8:30 PM (8 PM door)
    Radio Moscow
    The Suede Brothers
    Tavern | All Ages
  • Fri, Apr 23| 9 PM (8 PM door)
    Detroit Cobras
    Living Stereo
    The Guile
    $12.00 adv
    $14.00 dos
    Ballroom | All Ages

Grog Shop

  • Sat, Apr 17| 9 PM
    At the B-Side Liquor Lounge: Questlove (DJ Set)
    Hosted by Babylon
    DJ K-Nyce
  • Sat, Apr 17| 9 PM
    Th’ Ledgendary Shackshakers
    Elliot Brood
  • Sun, Apr 18| 9 PM
    Red Sparowes
    Fang Island
  • Thurs, Apr 22| 9 PM
    A Night with the Davenport Collective feat.
    Afternoon Naps
    Shiny Penny
    Dreadful Yawns


  • Sat, Apr 17| 9 PM
    This Moment in Black History
    As If
  • Mon, Apr 19| 8 PM
    Maps & Atlases
    Drink Up Buttercup
    Wild Boy of Aveyron
    $9 adv

The Winchester Tavern & Music Hall

  • Sat, Apr 17|
    The Church
    $35 (includes CD)

The Kent Stage

  • Sat, Apr 17| 8:30 PM
    Simeon Soul Charger
    Nicholas Megalis

Phantasy Nite Club

  • Sat, Apr 17| 8 PM
    Ray Cash
    Reloaded f. Zel
    Cali Miles
    Skent Dukes
    DJ Jack da Rippa
    $13, ages 18-20
    $10, ages 21 & over

Allen Theater

  • Sat, Apr 17| 8 PM
    The Roots

House of Blues

  • Thurs, Apr 22| 8 PM (7 PM door)
    Echo and the Bunnymen
    $24.50 adv
    $27.00 dos
    $35.00 balcony

Here’s Record Store Day ambassador Joshua Homme with some words of wisdom.

Record Store Day! The best Christmas ever!

Just a reminder, tomorrow is Record Store Day (actually, it’s already Record Store Day in some parts of the world… oops, sorry if you missed it), and your local independent record store will have all kinds of fantastic limited-edition vinyl, as well as nifty CDs and DVDs.

For the big details, check out the official Record Store Day website, and for finer details for Clevelanders, make sure to check out Music Saves… but keep your mitts off my copy of the Black Keys 12″.

Record Store Day Site
Music Saves Site

Bits: Rekkid Store Day, Hell & Half of Georgia show, Hank’s Pulitzer, Rush for real, Prine tribute

  • Record Store Day is coming April 17! As the NTSIB hermitage is newly-equipped with a rekkid playa after years of watching the old vinyl collection sit quiet and sad, we are super jazzed for this Christmas of the music world this year. I’ll be celebrating the day at Music Saves, so if you’re there that day and happen to grab the last Black Keys 12″ before I’ve gotten my hands on a copy and you feel a sharp blow to the back of your head and then wake up in a pool of your own vomit to find that TBK 12″ gone, well…
  • Hell and Half of Georgia have a free show coming up on April 24 at Canter’s Kibitz Room in Hollywood. They also have new swag in the form of a pretty rockin’ Tee-shirt.
  • Did you know there’s a Pulitzer Prize for music? Yep, and Hank Williams was awarded one this year. I spotted a blog earlier answering the question of why Hank was awarded the Pulitzer for music, but was that really a question? Is “because he was fucking awesome” not answer enough?
  • Rush is touring. That’s right. Rush.
  • A John Prine tribute album will be hitting stores on June 22 featuring contributions from the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle, the Avett Brothers, Conor Oberst, Deer Tick and more.

We’ve been a little undecided on our feelings about Megafaun, but this performance they staged for La Blogotheque has certainly gone a long way in endearing them to us.

Megafaun – His Robe / A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.