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Weekend music

Get that patchouli stink outta here - It's Record Store Day!

Plus, RIP Noah Gabbard

This Saturday, April 21, is Record Store Day.

Much like anything serious record collectors are involved with, the "tradition" of Record Store Day elicits strong opinions. While some aspiring vinyl junkies and hardcore record collectors wait with bated breath for each year's new releases, others call shenanigans on the event for reasons best explained by said music lovers. Whether you fall in the "hate" or "love" camp, however, if you prefer to do your record shopping in brick and mortar establishments, your favorite music purveyor is almost definitely impacted by the tradition.

In honor of the occasion, your friendly local music columnist checked in with some of the finest independent record merchants in town to get the lowdown on local record store offerings, new releases, vintage treasures, your fave record store staff's top "desert island" albums, and where to grab free coffee and donuts with your vinyl in time for RSD 2018.

Baby Gas Mask Records

960 E 17th St., babygasmaskrecords.com

Seth Mauzy (co-owner): "Baby Gas Mask Records as a label has been around for about six years. We focus on vinyl releases of local and some national acts. The West Foot Forward split 7" single series (10 records) of Tucson musicians is probably our biggest passion project, since all 20 tracks were recorded in our recording studio and mixed and produced in-house. As for used/collectible vinyl, I have been selling vinyl at events and record fairs for about as long as the label has been around, but we opened our current location for the recording studio and record shop on February 3 of this year. I think the fact that we have combined a recording studio and record shop is the most unique thing about our operation.We are always looking to get fresh used inventory on the shelves, but right now we have an excellent selection of world music, particularly South American and Indian music. We also have some really interesting Grateful Dead related folk art posters for sale. And of course all the Baby Gas Mask Records releases!"

TucsonSentinel.com: Best score as a record buyer?

SM: "I'd have to say that would be a collection I bought locally from a woman several years ago. She was from Peru, and she had brought about 400 LPs with her to the states around 1978. They were mostly Peruvian (with some Chilean) pressings of American disco, soul and rock albums, with a few scarce and valuable psych-rock albums by Peruvian bands. One was the soundtrack album to a lost Chilean hippiesploitation film."

TS: Do you think vinyl is here to stay?

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SM: "As long as the pressing plants and Apollo lacquers can keep up!"

TS: Any plans for Record Store Day?

SM: "Baby Gas Mask Records is 95 percent a used record shop, so we don't participate in the RSD releases, and the label has never done a RSD exclusive release. I guess I have mixed feelings on the whole thing. I have friends who own record stores in Tucson and elsewhere that do very well by RSD every year, so I'm happy for them. And there are some cool exclusive releases that I wouldn't mind owning, but there also seems to be a lot of filler material and pointless reissues."

TS: Name your top two or three desert island discs.

SM: "Ween - The Pod, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It for the Money."

Old Paint Records

201 N. Court Ave., oneoldpaint.com

Kevin Mayfield (owner): "We started selling records in December 2013 at Old Town Artisans, in the oldest neighborhood in Tucson, the Presidio. Toxic Ranch had just closed, PDQ hadn’t re-opened yet, and it was basically thrifting or bargain bins at Zia or Bookmans for vinyl back then.  We’ve been collecting records forever and we thought it would be nice for the community to start a shop with a focus on really interesting and unique titles, or at least a place that had been curated a little bit. We started with a really small space, so there was no room for any junk. Still isn't. We also wanted a spot that was aesthetically pleasing and felt inviting and comfortable to hang out in. 

"We try to differentiate ourselves from other stores by stocking interesting and historically and culturally significant titles instead of focusing on the popular mainstream. As collectors, we’re also historians, so naturally, we have a deep affinity for blues and jazz music because it’s at the root of most music you hear. So you’ll find classic and important blues and jazz titles for sure.  We love international music as well, especially African, Latin, and Jamaican. We work with several small labels to import some really great titles of nearly lost soul, funk, Afrobeat, and psychedelic rock and roll from all over the world.  You’ll also find some of the choicest soul classics and hip hop jammers around. We love our digger deejays, so we always make sure to stock all kinds of weird sample and beat records too.We try to keep it affordable so people don't have to break the bank to get some good stuff and can leave the store with a smile, knowing they got a good deal. So I guess what makes us stand out is that we’re small and quirky with an affordable stock that’s tailored to our personal interests and the interests of our customers. Our motto from the beginning has been "turning people on and stoking people out." 

"Our location is pretty interesting as well. We are in one of the most historic neighborhoods in Tucson. Our building was built in the late 1800s and has been continually occupied ever since. We are located across from the Tucson Museum of Art and right outside our door is La Casa Cordova, the oldest adobe home in downtown Tucson, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Town Artisans complex along with La Cocina is a great place for visitors to spend a day. There’s a restaurant, two bars and lots of other shops and galleries to get lost in.  

"Some of the best finds we’ve come across include a huge stack of early Blue Note Jazz 10-inch 33⅓ records with beautiful hand drawn covers acquired from an old electronics repairman in Wilcox.  Lots of times the best finds we uncover are ones we weren’t necessarily looking for.  We love coming across something we’ve never discovered that turns us on and inspires us to dig some more. We hope the "resurgence" of vinyl sticks around a while. 

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"This year we’re hosting the Official Record Shoppe Day Afterparty and "Animal Party Record Swap" at La Cocina Restaurant, in the courtyard and cantina at our shop. We’ll be spinning some groovy tunes from while folks eat, drink, shop and dance.  In addition, we’ll be having a few deejays participating in a friendly game of "rhythm roulette" where they blindly pick three records from the shop and produce a new beat by sampling and chopping the records up.  We’ll also have deals and giveaways in the shop.

"As for our desert island discs, well, on a desert island, why not have some island music? How about Arthur Lyman’s "Bwana A," or Gabby Pahinui with the Sons of Hawaii, or how about "The Sounds of Exotic Island" by the Surfmen."

Studio G Records

267 S. Stone Ave., studiogvinylrecords.com

Giulianno Ramirez, owner: "Studio G opened August 2017. I carry mostly used vinyl but also a nice variety of new vinyl as well as stereo equipment both new and used. The store's on Stone ave right by the old church and police station in downtown. My goal really is just to offer a really neat brick and mortar style record store to the public here in Tucson, something honest, fun and diverse, an additional haven for record lovers.We have over 40,000 records in stock so there's a lot for people to sift through. About 98 percent of my inventory is used vinyl ranging from ragtime era jazz to '90s rock and pop, but we also have a over 1,000 used 45's in house. We carry a few local artists also and are always interested in getting in more.

"I've been very fortunate to have come across a lot of interesting titles. Being able to open the store with 11 original copies of "Dark Side of The Moon" was a big deal to me; I know people really love that record and it's almost a must have for any vinyl lover. Finding sealed original records is always exciting so being able to get artist like The Beach Boys, John Lennon, Dave Brubeck and Metallica sealed has been mind-blowing for me. I tell customers often the hardest part of my job isn't balancing the checkbook or getting great albums in, with out a doubt the most challenging aspect of what I do is not keeping everything that comes in. It takes serious disciple, and I'm being completely honest. Also coming across a Beatles butcher cover was a definite treat."

"I think peoples' renewed interest in vinyl comes with a definite price but I do feel it's mostly positive. My generation and specifically millennials and the generation coming up now are bored with the digital medium. It's not challenging at all and it's extremely disposable. And I do feel human beings still value music over almost any other form of art and expression. Digital music, with all its convince and quality, has cheapened music to an extent. The fact that you can download brand new albums all while you're in the bathroom at work has serious downsides and one of those are that we tend to take things for granted more when it's so readily accessible. Vinyl, in my opinion, reinstates the value of music and its importance to each and everyone of us individually. Going out to buy that new Fleet Foxes or Jack White record and taking it home, unwrapping it, absorbing all the material that record presents, playing it, and taking it all in really allows you to appreciate your favorite artist. That experience is unique to vinyl. Digital music can't touch you in that same way. On the flip side of that same coin all this attention vinyl is getting has taken a toll on peoples wallets. The prices of records are now starting to inch north and over time that might drive a lot of people, specifically young people, out of the market and that's unfair. My goal will always be to offer awesome records for as cheap as I can possible sell them for."

TS: What are your top two or three "desert island" albums?

GR:"Such an unfair question to ask. Since opening the store so many people have turned me on to so much music and I tend to go through phases of either certain artist or albums. But today if I was stuck in an island and had a record player and three records inside of a bag I would hope those three records were "Tonight's The Night" by Neil Young, "Meddle" by Pink Floyd and anything by Eric Dolphy."

TS: It's almost Record Store Day. Thoughts? 

GR: "So the deal with Record Store Day all comes down to this for me: Who's benefiting the most? Is it the consumer or is it the music industry? I've figured out that customers and record stores are getting screwed big time. This is nothing short of a quick cash grab by not only the labels but also the distributors and the folks running Record Store Day since RSD is a trademark and they do get kickbacks for every record sold. It's disingenuous to even call it Record Store Day, really what it should be called is Corporate Music Industry Day. Record stores make $2 maybe $3 a record sold, customers are paying $20, $25, $30 a record that in two or three months will be selling for $10 on Amazon. With some exceptions, virtually every single exclusive title released on Record Store Day since 2007 has not held it's value or worth over time at all."

"Part of my mission when opening my store was to be myself and to reflect that onto what I have to offer. I love the idea that I can be independent and make my own decisions everyday without having someone to answer to. Record Store Day to me (and this is solely my opinion) violates that personal oath I took when opening Studio G. Instead, on April 21 we will be having a ton of discounts on everything in the store; 20 percent off all used vinyl for example. To me that's what Record Store Day should be, thanking our local music freaks, not robbing them."

Hurricane Records

636 N. 4th Ave., facebook.com/hurricanerecordstucson

Rich Hopkins (co-owner): "Hurricane Records opened up officially on Jan. 4, 2018. We specialize in selling mostly used vintage LPs: classic rock, jazz, reggae, country, blues and soul records. We have about 4,000 albums and we like to buy records primarily from 1950s on. No hip hop, sorry! I am buying a lot of my vinyl from collectors in Texas since I live there part time, so I am getting the vinyl from a different gene pool, if you will. We take pride in the quality of our vinyl and the prices are very reasonable. We have a huge collection of Beatles, Stones, George Jones and lots of really cool records like Bo Diddley, Zepplin and Moby Grape. Way too much to list here. We also sell records from local artists like Rainer, Giant Sand, Sand Rubies and Black Sun Ensemble — I have a record label, San Jacinto Records, and I just re-released Black Sun Ensemble's first album. I plan on releasing more records from Tucson bands in the future."

TS: What are some of your best finds so far? And what do you think of the renewed interest in vinyl as a medium?

RH: "I guess hearing music I would never listen to if I wasn't buying for the store like Little Esther Phillips, The Meters first album blew my mind!. I also love buying the Beatles first album on Vee Jay to find the earliest of the earliest first pressings. I think Vinyl is here to stay. All the young kids are reaffirming this."

TS: What do you have brewing for Record Store Day this year?

RH: "It will be our first so we will have a big sale on everything!"

TS: Name your top two or three "desert island" discs.

RH: "Impossible but here goes. The Beatles - "White Album," Marshall Tucker  - "Where We Belong," Grand Funk Railroad - "On Time."

Desert Island Records

2629 E. Broadway, desertislandsupply.com

Jordan Wright (owner): "I have been buying and selling records for about 6 years.The thrill of finding an amazing piece of music you never even knew existed is addicting. I opened the store almost a year ago. It has been great meeting music lovers of all types and getting know what they love about records. I would say the two differences between my shop and others in town is I specialize in vintage stereo equipment. Also that I try to carry records that maybe difficult to find in any record store.  I mostly carry used records. I do have a small new section. But most people from my experience are looking for used records and original pressings. My best find may have been when I recently had a customer sell a ton of Bob Dylan bootleg records from the '70s and just about every record in the Dylan discography. Is vinyl here to stay? I really hope it is. I think listening to vinyl is the most pleasing way to experience music outside of a live concert."

"What are Desert Island Records' desert island discs? Herbie Hancock - "Headhunters," Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue," and The Rolling Stones - "Sticky Fingers. "And what do the have brewing for Record Store Day? Free coffee and donuts. Naturally."

Wooden Tooth Records

416 E. 7th St., woodentoothrecords.bandcamp.com

Jacob Sullivan (co-owner) : "Wooden Tooth opened in 2015 in the back room of Cafe Passe on 4th Avenue. We started off with about six collections of used records, and a very small amount of new vinyl. Since then we’ve slowly evolved into carrying a larger selection of new vinyl. We also moved, and are now located just off 4th Avenue, on 7th Street.We try to straddle the line between carrying the staples that most people look for when starting or growing their collection, while also stocking a lot of titles that may be lesser-known but that we feel very passionately about. That’s the case with pretty much every genre we carry - garage rock, punk, soul/funk, jazz, country, hip hop, and so on."

"I think one aspect of our store that sets us apart is the amount of diversity. We try to curate each genre as well as we can, so while we might not have the largest selection, you can bet that in every section there are some real gems. Between me and (fellow store co-owner) Kellen Fortier and our staff, we all have different tastes and backgrounds in music, which leads to some really interesting and diverse titles that we are excited to share!"

"One thing we are really proud of is our large selection of local music - vinyl, CDs, and cassettes - we have a ton of great local music! If there is a local artist we don’t have in our shop, tell them to bring in their album! Beyond that, our collection is about split 60/40 used versus new vinyl, and music that ranges from old blues artists like Charley Patton to new albums that just came out this week. Within that scope, we hope that there is some kind of treasure for everyone who comes in!"

TS: What are some of the best finds you've come across since opening the shop?

JS: "Some of our best and most exciting finds actually happened when we were still acquiring inventory before we opened. Somehow we came across these amazing collections just by sheer word of mouth. One in particular belonged to one guy who just wanted more space in his studio, so he was selling off everything. He was kind of a completist, so he had every album released by a tom of different artists - Bowie, Neil Young, Dylan, Grateful Dead, Zeppelin, Sabbath, and lots more. Since then, though, we never fail to be amazed by some of the stuff that makes its way into the shop! For example, a first pressing mono copy of The Sonics’ album "Boom" came in a few weeks ago, as well as a UK mono original of "Let It Bleed." Both of those really blew us away!"

TS: Thoughts on the resurgence of vinyl and record collecting?

JS: "Reports of the death of physical recording materials have been greatly exaggerated! I think it’s awesome how many people are getting into vinyl. Mainly because to me it signifies that more people are learning to appreciate music in a different way than they do with just streaming apps and mp3s. If you get hooked on the experience of sitting down and playing a record, you haven’t just gotten hooked on collecting vinyl, you’ve been hooked on being a true music lover. Since we’ve been open, there have been about two waves of “the vinyl fad is dying” talk. Yet, we have more first-time record buyers coming into the shop than ever before!"

TS: Record Store Day is almost here! What are your thoughts on this yearly tradition?

JS: "Record Store Day is super fun for us!! It’s a day where a lot of our customers come in just to show us that they support our store and what we’re doing, and it’s also a day that we get to thank our customers for keeping us alive. We participate in the “RSD exclusive releases” and order what we think our customers will be excited about, but in the end it’s really just a day for music lovers to come out and have fun, while hopefully taking home some cool new music in the process. We’ve started our own tradition of serving free coffee and donuts all morning long, so even if you just come down to talk music and watch the excitement, it’s all good with us!"

TS: What are your (and the Wooden Tooth staff's) top two or three "desert island" discs?

JS: "Bob Dylan – "Blonde on Blonde," Gram Parsons – "Grievous Angel," Leonard Cohen – "New Skin for the Old Ceremony"

Kellen Fortier (co-owner) : "Can – "Tago Mago," Miles Davis – "Bitches Brew," Depeche Mode – "Violator"

Parisa Eshrati (staffer): "Tool – "10,000 Days," The Fugees – "The Score," The Knife – "Silent Shout"

Johnnie Rhinehart (staffer): "The Velvet Underground – "The Velvet Underground," MC5 – "High Time," Grateful Dead – "Europe ‘72"

Gilbert Flores (staffer): "The Mercury Program – "A Data Learn the Language," My Bloody Valentine - "Loveless"

Burger Records takes on Record Store Day

I've said it before, but it's still true. Tucson is kind of a Burger Records town. Label owner Sean Bohrman first came here with his band Thee Makeout Party and fell a little bit in love with our local music scene, including a catchy little punk act known as The Knockout Pills. Flash forward a couple of years to when Bohrman was looking to sign artists to his new label, Burger Records. A friend turned him on to The Resonars — a Tucson band that at that point was really more of a one-man project. That one man was songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist — and former Knockout Pill: Matt Rendon. The Resonars became the first band that Burger Records released on vinyl and the rest, as they say, is local music history. 

Since that time Burger has signed a number of local bands including Lenguas Largas, Freezing Hands and Bisbee's The Exbats and Tucson has become a frequent touring stop for Burger label mainstays like Cherry Glazerr, La Luz and Peach Kelli Pop.

Burger is also becoming the indie label of choice for some of punk and underground music's long time heroes, such as Guided By Voices' Tobin Sprout and, more recently, hardcore pioneers The Dwarves. Burger's Record Store Day 2018 release is "Tales From The Toilet" a 14 track compilation by The Dwarves' Sgt. Salt Peter featuring original four-track recordings from 1988-1991. You can check out more of Burger's new releases and RSD offerings at the label's website www.burgerrecords.com.

New Year's Day and Stitched Up Heart

While indie labels such as Burger are releasing more and more fantastic garage and indie rock releases fronted by female musicians, mainstream alt-rock and heavy metal are still largely a boy's club. Slowly but surely, though, even that glass ceiling is beginning to crack. New Year's Day and Stitched Up Heart are two such heavy-hitting bands inching their way up alternative rock music charts and making the rounds of festivals.

The two bands will attack the stage this Tuesday night with support from locals Pyrotechnica and Exit for a Dream. Catch New Years Day, Stitched Up Heart, Pyrotechnica and Exit For A Dream this Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Club XS.

Architectural landmark and Armory Park hangout the Downtown Clifton is getting ready to expand , but with progress often comes loss. In this case, the loss will be the hotel's mural of a ghostly cow couple known as "Great Loves Never Die" by local artist Danny Martin, which happens to grace the face of a wall that will get knocked down with the expansion. 

In tribute to Martin's art and celebration of the coming changes, the Clifton plans an evening of music, featuring local band the Torch Bearers, a live DJ and food from Geronimo's Revenge.  

"It's Not Adios, But Come Help Us Say Goodbye" with The Torch Bearers and DJ Ramshur RX takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. this Friday at The Downtown Clifton.

Remembering Noah Gabbard

Tucson's local music scene goes through periods of feast and famine, but much like right now, the roster of bands and musicians playing locally circa 2002 was an insanely talented crew. For your band to stand out as special in the midst of all that raw talent was an enviable accomplishment in and of itself. To stand out amid that crowd before even graduating high school? Practically unheard of.

Enter 18-year-old songwriter/guitarist Noah Gabbard, whose band Bombs for the Bored drew rave reviews from its outset. No mere youthful prodigy, Gabbard's reputation among local musicians and fans grew even stronger over the years, both for his lyrical prowess and his skill as a guitarist in bands like HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, Redlands and Great American Tragedy.

Gabbard was, also, in the eyes of the many who knew and loved him, simply a stellar human being. 

Noah Gabbard died this past weekend at the tender age of 33, but he leaves behind an enviable legacy in both his music and tight knit community of Tucson musicians and music lovers who remember him with deep love, respect and fondness. 

Check your local listing...

Friday April 20

  • The Torch Bearers w/ DJ Ramshur RX - 5 p.m. The Downtown Clifton (Downtown) 
  • Adara Rae and the Homewreckers - 6 p.m. Playground Bar and Lounge (Downtown)
  • La Santa Cecilia, Diluvio - 8 p.m. 191 Toole (Downtown)
  • Sundust Road, Freddy Parish - 7 p.m.  Hotel Congress (Downtown)
  • Los Streetlight Curb Players - 7:30 p.m.  Borderlands (Downtown)
  • The Unday, Lowlife, Douglas Beat Market - 8 p.m. Club Congress (Downtown)
  • Miss Olivia & the Interlopers, The Determined Luddites - 8 p.m. Saint Charles Tavern (North of Downtown)
  • Drew Cooper CD Release Party - 8 p.m. Rialto (Downtown)
  • Opossum Sun Trail, JL6, La Cerca - 8:30 p.m. Flycatcher (Downtown)
  • Petra Glynt and Nyssa with Shame Agent - 9 p.m. Owls Club (Downtown)
  • Bloody Knives, Tearful Moon, Gondola - 9 p.m. Sky Bar (Downtown)
  • Bryan Thomas Parker, the Demons, Distortionists -  9 p.m. Surly Wench (Downtown)
  • Till I Fall, Cement Shoes, Yum! - 8 p.m. The Loudhouse (North)

Saturday April 21

  • The Metros - 6 p.m. Playground (Downtown)
  • The Tucsonics  -  7 p.m. Club Congress (Downtown)
  • The Carnivaleros - 7 p.m. La Cocina (Downtown)
  • Amigo the Devil, Blacklidge, Scattered Guts, Saalythic, Sorrows Ruin, Endavus - 7 p.m. Rialto (Downtown)
  • Slow Motion Cowboys - 7 p.m. Rialto  (Downtown)
  • Michael Valentine - 9 p.m. Dusty Monk Pub (Downtown)
  • CO-OP, Sectas, Scare Card, The Billymoon Project, We Killed The Union - 6:30 p.m. The Rock (Downtown) 
  • Ghost In the Willow, Damn The Weather, Still Life Telescope, Glass Walls - 8 p.m. The Loudhouse (North)
  • The Surfbroads - 10 p.m. Che's Lounge (Downtown)

Sunday April 22

  • Hot Club of Tucson - 10:30 a.m. Hotel Congress  (Downtown)
  • Mariachi Luz de Luna 11:00 a.m. Playground  (Downtown)
  • Tara Belger - 4 p.M. Crooked Tooth Brewing  (Downtown)
  • Mik and the Funky Brunch - 12:30 p.m. La Cocina (Downtown)
  • Imarhan (Members Of Tinariwen), the Myrrors, Tom Walbank - 7 p.m. Hotel Congress  (Downtown)
  • In This Moment, The Word Alive, Ded - 7 p.m. Rialto  (Downtown)
  • Prof, Mac Irv, Cashinova, Willy Wonka - 7:30 p.m. 191 Toole (Downtown)
  • Dirt Friends, Pleasures, Ned & the Dirt - 9 p.m. Flycatcher (Downtown)
  • John Nemeth and the Blue Dreamers - 6 p.m. House of Bards (Central)
  • Turnstile, Touche Amore, Culture Abuse, Razorbumps - 7 p.m. The Rock (Downtown)

Tuesday April 24

  • Tom Walbank - 6:30 p.m.  Sky Bar (Downtown)
  • Covenant, the Shift and Tristan/Iseult - 8 p.m.  Hotel Congress (Downtown)
  • Songs with Steff Koeppen - 8:30 p.m. Sky Bar (Downtown)
  • New Years Day, Stitched Up Heart, Pyrotechnica, Exit For A Dream - 6:30 p.m. Club XS (Central)
  • The Stalk, Shitbear, Black Baptist, Ijsyd, Depressive 8 p.m. House of Bards (Central)

Wednesday April 25

  • Miss Lana Rebel & Kevin Michael Mayfield - 6 p.m. La Cocina (Downtown)
  • Indigenous, The Cody Blackbird Band - 7 p.m. Sea of Glass (Downtown)
  • The Moondoggies, Louise Le Hir - 8 p.m. Club Congress (Downtown)
  • Panic Baby, M Crane, Juju Fontaine - 9 p.m. Flycatcher (Downtown)
  • Leila Lopez & Mitzi Cowell - 6:30 p.m. Monterey Court (North/Central)
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