Saturday, April 16, 2016

Record Store Day 2016

It’s April 16, 2016: Record Store Day

Now for a lunatic like me, (almost) every day is (or could be) record store day. I frequent local record stores on the reg and enjoy being surrounded by vinyl, cassettes, CDs, books, and posters. Um, nerd alert!? Record stores are also important community hubs and places of great debate and conversation (mostly about the prices that certain rare records command online, but that’s another story).

Earlier this morning, I saw an Instagram photo of a lengthy snake-like line forming outside of Vancouver’s Red Cat Records, a good few hours before the store’s opening. Folks of all ages appeared to be rip, roaring, and ready to get their hands on an exclusive selection of limited RSD titles sold specifically on this day. I have heard reports that a great number of these titles go unlistened to by their consumers and that many who buy vinyl don’t even have a working turntable. Some are simply in it for the “collectability” factor (picture discs, coloured vinyl, special packaging, etc…) or resale value rather than the music contained within the grooves. I hope that these folks find what they are looking for.

Thankfully, some of the better record stores in the area are also hosting live performances on this special day, a celebration of music, its makers, and those who help to spread the good word in support.

As we know, in 2016, music is digital and (mostly) free. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for discussion at your local watering hole or doughnut shop (for the non-drinkers out there). Is there a need to press music onto vinyl records in this day and age? For nostalgia, yes! For aesthetics, yes! For convenience, no! For fidelity, let’s get Neil Young on the dial!

To me, the best thing about vinyl records is that they were the medium of recorded sound from the era of music in which I love, research, and champion, primarily, the 1950s-80s. Now if my math is correct, the 1990s began just over 25 years ago. This was the era of the CD boom, when vinyl production trailed off, pressing plants shut down, and new vinyl was mostly for hip-hop and dance music DJs as well as independent rock, jazz, classical, and audiophile specialists. Today, vinyl manufacturing has increased significantly and sales are up, hence Record Store Day, an opportunity to continue to commercialize what, for me is, at its best (when speaking of the world of vintage used records), a subversive form of consumerism and communication more inline with recycling than crass corporate capitalism.

Do independent retailers deserve a day to make a lot of money in a challenging market? Mostly definitely! Is RSD a gateway into the wonderful world of records for young listeners? I hope so! Do I love music on wax? Yeah, for sure! It’s just that I won’t be buying any RSD releases this year. Well, maybe that Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill demos album on clear vinyl. The rest, I can easily enjoy online.

Sipreano will be playing records at Beat Street Records (439 W Hastings St., Vancouver) at 5 pm today as part of Record Store Day

Friday, April 15, 2016


It feels like a Fall morning...
Perhaps I am thinking of Fall

When the leaves change colours and then fall to the ground

"Help me, I think I'm falling in love again..." sang Joni Mitchell

There's something about that word...

F-A-L-L (in all of its wonderful variations)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Missing Ghost Town lyrics???


*I've had the privilege of hearing Vancouver-based LT. FRANK DICKENS perform live on a few occasions, most recently at Antisocial Skateboard Shop. His music is introspective and thoughtful, yet engaging and enjoyable. It was def a treat to be hipped to his 2015 full band album, SUNBURNED, recorded by Josh Stevenson at Otic Sound and released by Horses Records. Check out more at LT. FRANK DICKENS' bandcamp page... PEACE (*come to think of it, here's another link to a related band called, you guessed it, PEACE)!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

John Angaiak - I'm Lost in the City (1971)

Available: May 6th, 2016

I’m Lost in the City (1971) is the sole vinyl LP offering from Yup’ik singer-songwriter, John Angaiak. Born in Nightmute, Alaska, in 1941, Angaiak began playing guitar at a young age, quickly learning the basics before serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Stationed in Vietnam and far away from home, Angaiak forged an astute outlook on his region, his country, and the world itself. Upon his return, Angaiak enrolled in the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he became active in the preservation of his native language as part of the school’s Eskimo Language Workshop.
Inspired by the program’s work and a friendship with music student Stephen Halbern, Angaiak recorded I’m Lost in the City, a project that helped to document and promote the previously oral Yup’ik language into a written one through a series of songs. Each side of the album, which showcases John’s intimate vocal and guitar style, shares a part of Angaiak’s culture and history: Side One is sung in Yup’ik, while the material on Side Two is delivered in English. Both are equally emotional, deeply personal and extremely affecting.
Over 13 songs, Angaiak speaks to his community and also to the world. “Ak’a Tamaani,” for one, became a regional hit in Alaska and reached as far as Greenland where Angaiak later performed in concert. Though I’m Lost in the City garnered a small mention in industry bible Billboard, regardless of the album’s cultural value, it sold poorly outside of Alaska and other northern communities, never finding a broader audience. In addition to his work as a painter and author, Angaiak is a proud family man and a source of great knowledge of his people and the changes they have faced over the years, shifting from a subsistence hunting, fishing, and sharing lifestyle to an increasingly urban influenced cash-based existence. An important statement on indigenous life and the human condition, I’m Lost in the City showcases Angaiak’s first hand perspective on this challenging transition, something that we can all learn a great deal from.

Pre-order link:

Morley Loon - Northland, My Land (1981)

Available: May 27th, 2016

Northland, My Land is the full-length vinyl debut from Cree singer-songwriter, actor, and force of nature, Morley Loon (1948–1986). Born in Mistissini, Quebec, Loon became active in music at an early age. Drawing from his Cree culture, language, and environment, Loon developed an organic style that inspired many Indigenous musicians. News of his talent even reached producers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the late 1970s. Two 7” EPs of original Cree language compositions were laid down first and later compiled into the Northland, My Land album, which was released to the public in 1981. Accompanied by percussion and flute, Loon taps into a spiritual place with this material, achieving a transcendent quality rarely heard in music. “N’Doheeno,” which translates to “The Hunter” reflects the hunting and gathering traditions of Loon’s people and region. If you close your eyes and absorb the music’s pulse (even without knowledge of Cree), it’s easy to visualize the subject of this mesmerizing song. In this quote from the original Northland, My Land liner notes, we learn more:
The call of the loon—haunting, evocative, across northern lakes and rivers, has been chosen as a signature effect by Morley Loon in his first recorded appearance. Morley and his people are close to the land and to the wildlife as part of the dominant theme of nature itself. The people have great respect for the wild creatures which they hunt, but on which they also depend. This closeness to the natural world is reflected in sentiments expressed in Cree about the traditional pursuits of the Indian.
Though a strict traditionalist who wore his hair and clothes in accordant fashion, Loon was also a seasoned road warrior, performing across Canada, the United States, and Europe. He approached things with a special joy, celebrating and promoting his Cree culture to all. Loon was active as a musician until his untimely cancer-related death in 1986. We are honored to help share Morley’s music with the world.

Pre-order link:

The Specials live in Japan