Origami Vinyl in Echo Park is one of our favorite record stores (and record labels) in the world — and their shop dog Ali is pretty great. Peering into their bins is as lascivious and thrilling as it sounds, so we asked a few of their certified cratediggers for their picks of the week.
Neil Schield — the bicep : Chelsea Light Moving S/T
It was a sad day when Sonic Youth went on indefinite hiatus a few months back. The band has been a huge inspiration to me over the years and I was lucky enough to work with them on their Murray Street album. Then I heard about Thurston Moore’s new adventure in the form of Chelsea Light Moving. I was blown away the moment I heard the first track “Lip”. The album is not only refreshing and new but harkens back to earlier SY material that was all about sonic experimentation. Get ready to drop some guitar bombs on your stereo.
Sean Stentz — the wild beauty, bassist of NO : Beak>
Geoff Barrow of Portishead and his pals from Beak> return to form sounding like a PBS documentary soundtrack meets Mad Max: Road Warrior. Dark and buzzy, I love it for filling that ever expanding Kraut-rock shaped hole in my ears.
Emily Twombly — the brain : Palma Violets 180
Palma Violets remind me of a band you’d see in a shitty basement at a party but as soon as they start playing the party turns into the best night of your life. You can tell they’re stoked about rock music and the sincerity goes a long way. Their songs are earnest anthems about “boy stuff”…. but more specifically they are NOT about being sad about girl stuff. These kids definitely collect records — with nods to bands like The Doors, Faces and the Velvet Underground. This is definitely going to be the soundtrack to my summer…
To many, Linda Gerard needs no introduction. She has a cult following of devoted fans who journey to sunny Ace in Palm Springs to catch a glimpse and an earful of this self-described — Older, Wiser Lesbian. She’s everyone’s femme idol, the apple of our eye and one of our favorite human beings. She’s also a ridiculously talented woman with many an industry notch on her belt. That she’s decided to settle down with us in the desert, hosting Sissy Bingo every week and otherwise wowing those in the know as well as virgin ears and eyes, makes us incredibly blessed. Linda’s voice carries the oceanic vibrations of every great Broadway star before her, and she lets it ricochet ‘gainst the walls of King’s Highway when the mood is right. Her penchant for show-stopping eyewear and envy-inducing collection of let-your-light-shine sweaters and blazers leave us swooning.
We recently released a vinyl-only limited edition of Linda’s greatest hits, Fabulous Selections on our shop, and for our mutual dear friend DJ Day — another Palm Spring legend — we also present his first album, Land of 1000 Chances, on the shop. Day and Linda sat down recently to thumb through a bit of Linda’s life story — the stuff of big dreams, massive love, brave independence and a woman from whom we all have a lot to learn — entrusted to a confidante half her age but who’s definitely dancing to a similar drummer.
Find below the first of three chapters — you’ll see more in the weeks to come. And check out Linda’s and Day’s albums on our shop.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1938, to a very orthodox Jewish family. Kept kosher, did the whole bit. I was always a performer. I always got up in front of people and sang. So, when I was old enough to get on the train my parents would let me go by myself to study in New York. I studied singing, dancing, acting, elocution and all that stuff. My parents wanted me to go to private school, but I said, “No, no, no. I don’t want to go to private school.”
I went to Trenton High School and I was in all the plays and the musicals and that was fun. Then when it was time to go to college and my parents wanted me to go I said, “I want to be in show business, but I’ll go to college if I can go to New York City.” There was a college in New York City called Finch, and it was on 78th Street between Park and Madison. I knew that if I got in I could sing on the weekends because that’s what I wanted to do. I got into Finch and on weekends I sang at 1 Fifth Avenue. I was always singing. I didn’t get great grades but I didn’t care. My parents cared, but I didn’t care. So the following year I didn’t want to go back. I said to parents, “Let me audition for the American Theatre Wing,” which was a very good school, for musical comedy.
Ben Swank is a former Soledad Brothers drummer, cofounder — with Jack White and Ben Blackwell — of Third Man Records and sometimes Rolling Record Store truck driver and vinyl slinger. He was circling our block at Ace New York in the Third Man Rolling Record Store as our CMJ shindig Notes From the Underground got started — looking for a spot to land for the weekend and shill wax — and he kindly double parked for a moment to chat with us about the state of music and stuff. Catch him in the shop outside Ace New York today from 5pm til around midnight.
Do you have any insider info on the Blunder-Blue vinyl recipe?
It’s a mixture of polyvinyl chloride (CH2=CHCI), salt, oil and polymerized chlorine resin mixed with MK Ultra Blue Tab 25 disco dust.
You’ve been a pretty outspoken advocate for musicians placing their livelihoods over 90s style concerns about indie street cred. Is there anything you’d consider going too far? Would you advise an artist to license their song so that it’s activated by the opening of Big Mac boxes?
It’s all what the artist is comfortable with. It’s an individual choice in the same way a person may enjoy the disgusting endorphin rush of a Big Mac over the smug self-satisfaction of a nice kale salad. I think it’s pretty difficult to “sell out” these days. It’s tough for up-and-coming bands to get by. It’s probably weird for fans to hear The Strange Boys in a computer commercial or Eddy Current Suppression Ring hawking AT&T… but I just think, at least they are paying some bills. The corporate landscape is different now. There’s rock’n’roll kids working for advertising companies. Sounds silly, but seriously that’s ridiculous. You wouldn’t have heard Tad in a Pepsi commercial (despite having THE BEST song about Pepsi) because in the 90s slackers didn’t work at ad firms. Or work at all. Cause it was the 90s and everyone was depressed and serious.
Has somebody ever given you a demo when you totally thought the conversation was not leading to giving you a demo, but then it did, but it was cool ‘cause it was actually really good?
That hasn’t happened… but some kid posted on my Facebook page the other day with his band and at first I was pissed about it — the flagrant self-advertising. But I listened to it and it was really good and I kind of learned a lesson that day.
Has the Third Man Rolling Record Store ever gotten a flat? Does it carry a spare and a jack?
Not a flat, but it’s on the road a lot so it has had some issues pop up. Usually, it’s finding a cool mechanic that can sort it out right away that just wants to work on a cool truck. But usually they’re just like, “What the hell is this thing? You sell records?” And then they shake their heads in disapproval at us and shame us.
Will rock’n’roll ever die?
Photo of Swank in his office by Jo McCaughey on Nashville Scene.
Donovan is at the front desk at Ace Hotel Portland. He chose an LP from the lobby that describes him. And what is it?
Come by and dance with him sometime.
Donovan was also featured on a local Portland fashion blog called Urban Weeds.
Come by and tell him you like his suspenders.
Photo by Lisa Warninger of Urban Weeds