Garbage in Studio Recording Release for Spring 2012

Today it was announced that Garbage is back in the studio in L.A. after a seven-year hiatus following their 2005 studio album Bleed Like Me, which was their highest-charting album at #4 on Billboard Top 200 Album chart. As-yet-untitled, the album is projected to release in Spring 2012, and the band posted earlier that there should be a song coming out in October.

They’ve been in the studio all summer in L.A. recording in a basement, and apparently at the infamous Western Recorders (now called EastWest Studios).  The progress of the sessions has been tracked on the band’s official Twitter and Facebook pages along with photos and small video clips, and the little bits we hear seem to point to the trademark bombastic, distorted and compressed sound Garbage is known for and Shirley Manson seems as gothic as ever.

They posted a picture of themselves recording in Studio 3, which is where the Mamas and the Papas recorded “California Dreaming.” A bit of a scenery change for the band who had recorded at drummer Butch Vig’s now-defunct Smart Studios in Madison, WI for their previous albums. Smart was the landmark of recording during the grunge period when Vig worked with bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, so it’s a little sad in light of the anniversary of Nevermind (which was demoed there) that Garbage isn’t continuing their tradition of recording there.

Apparently they are free-agents from a label perspective. From the press release: “Now free of all their corporate obligations, the band has been able to start again with a clean slate on their own terms. They add, ‘We are making a record filled with the music we love to hear. The new songs have been inspired more by what we haven’t been hearing rather than by what we have.'” It does seem that the band is coming into the record refreshed and taking a new-world-view of things. Considering that the first part of their career represents “big label” times it will be interesting to see how they embrace the new modes of distribution and promotion.

I still remember the first time I heard Garbage on the radio in Minneapolis on the late, great REV105. It was late one night and the lady DJ who spun the record– literally, it was a 7″ in a metal tin, likely the Discordant import– talked about the connection with Butch Vig and Duke Erikson and their 90’s band Fire Town (and Spooner before that). The aggressive and angry single “Vow” was earthshattering to me– I hadn’t heard anything like it with a woman lead singer. I kept my eyes peeled on AOL (pre-internet days for me) for any kind of sign that the promised album would drop. I picked up the domestic version of the CD single on Almo Sounds.

When the CD finally came out, it included an e-mail address for the band and I shot a quick note over about how much I loved the record and that I had seen Fire Town perform at Loras College in Dubuque in the 90’s and that I was a fan of their jangle-pop record In the Heart of the Heart CountryRock Music CDs)
(which I have on cassette, and has apparently been reissued). To my delight, I got a reply back from Garbage guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker, who was the sound engineer for Fire Town. He said that he remembered that particular gig, even though it was a long time ago– he had been running sound that night.

Thus, for some of us, Garbage is the “home team” coming from Madison, WI and showing what the Middle West of the US could do. I hope they play a hometown gig as part of their comeback– I know I’ll be there!

Here is a Spotify Mix I made of Garbage Songs.

Stay tuned– I’ll post updates as I get them! Meanwhile here is the official video for “Vow”

“I nearly DIED!”

Click Here for Garbage’s Website.

Click Here for Garbage on Facebook

Click Here for Garbage on Twitter

Upcoming Show: Cassie Morgan and Beth Bombara Make a Quick Run Through Iowa and Wisconsin

Right on the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money to release her new album Wish I Were You on vinyl, St. Louis musician Beth Bombara is setting out to do a quick run through Wisconsin and Iowa to play some shows with her frequent partner-in-musical crime Cassie Morgan. This tour could technically be considered a Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine tour (a moniker under which they released Weathered Hands, Weary Eyes in April of this year) and certainly they will be playing together, but there will be some time to shine the spotlight on Beth singing lead as well debuting songs from her upcoming release.

The two of them load up in a car and head to Madison for a show tonight (October 2nd) at The Project Lodge (817 E. Johnson St.) opening for Anna Vogelzang who is having an EP release show. The cover is $6 and starts at 8:30PM. Anna is also starting a tour that will bring her to Dubuque and Iowa City at the middle of the month.

Following the Madison show, Cassie and Beth will be playing a show at Monk’s Kaffee Pub (373 Bluff St.) in Dubuque on October 3rd. The lineup of bands will start at 9PM and go until 11PM. While there is no cover charge, tips are always appreciated!

On Tuesday, October 5th Cassie and Beth hit The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City for a 9PM show which will also not have a cover charge. Opening for Cassie and Beth is local folk musician Seth Wenger.

Then the pair return home after the Iowa City show. Beth has a listening party of the new album scheduled at Foam in St. Louis on October 9th (Facebook Event) which will also have  Union Tree Review and Penny Hill performing live.

Here is a recent show with Cassie and Beth performing a set of all Breeders covers. This one is of “Devine Hammer.”

Mike Droho & The Compass Rose – And The World Makes Sense Again (Review)

If you’re looking for some live music this Memorial Day Weekend, a good way to kick things off would be to catch Madison group Mike Droho & The Compass Rose. Winner of the Project M “Reality” Songwriter Competition hosted by 105.5 FM “Triple M” last year (playbsides favorite Anna Laube is competing this year and is still in the running!), Mike’s blend of acoustic pop rock draws easy and frequent comparisons to other guitar-toting singer-songwriters like Brett Dennen and Jason Mraz. Armed with his band The Compass Rose (Ida Pajunen on violin and Anthony Lamar on “vocal percussion” aka “beatboxing”), Mike’s songs on his latest release And The World Makes Sense Again are built on perfect vocal harmonies, surrounded by a delicate layer of strings and propelled with the unique “urban” rhythm.

I find Droho has a very strong sense of the pop hook and the songs stick in my head for a good while after listening to them. The album has a breezy upbeat spirit about it (even if the topic of the song isn’t)– not particularly confrontational– although not particularly edgy either. The songs are well-balanced and structured with great melodies. I think the standout track on the album has to be “It Was Not Me” with its opening horns and foottapping rhythm and strumming. In fact, it was upon hearing this track on Droho’s website that I wanted to hear the rest of the record. This song is available to stream from the Music page on his site. I recommend checking it out. Other songs that stand out for me are “Shame on You” and “Jesus Louise.” There is something about “Shame on You” that reminds me of the pining pop songs of the 80’s (in fact, the chorus reminds me of Star Search-winning band from Minneapolis Limited Warranty). “Jesus Louise” sounds like it might have escaped from a Barenaked Ladies album.

One criticism I have with The Compass Rose as a backing band might be that– at least on the album– the beatboxing isn’t featured enough to be a key part of any of the songs and the beats could just as easily been accomplished with a drum machine. In my opinion if you’re going to use  “vocal percussion” you should showcase it. Where are the Fat Boys-style breaks? On “What Holds You Down” the beatboxing really limits what could have been a song that builds to a driving rhythm. The intro has a stripped down guitar and vocals and you get a sense of building energy up to :58 and damn if I didn’t want a fill and a driving backbeat for the rest of the song, but it doesn’t deliver that promise.

I think that And The World Makes Sense Again shows the potential of what Droho can achieve as a musician and songwriter. This album has some strong songs on it that I bet really sound great in a live setting. The album falls short in some respects, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I think he’s a strong songwriter and one I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Mike Droho and the Compass Rose will be recording a session with Iowa Public Radio’s Java Blend radio show with host Ben Kieffer today. This show is slated to air on the weekend of 6/18. After that show, they will be playing at Gabe’s Oasis tonight. The show starts at 9:30PM and tickets are $7.

Click Here for the Facebook Invite for Mike Droho at Gabe’s Oasis Friday Night

Click Here to visit Mike Droho’s MySpace Page
Click Here to visit Mike Droho and the Compass Rose Facebook Fan Page
Click Here to visit Mike Droho’s Website

Upcoming Show: Mountains at The Picador in Iowa City 2/1/10

Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg of Mountains
Last year on April 24th, Mountains made their first Iowa appearance at The Picador headlining a lineup of experimental electronic musicians. They performed a piece that would become Etching, which was released by Thrill Jockey on limited edition vinyl only and is currently out-of-print.

Koen told me via e-mail they will be playing a new composition for this tour that they debuted during their recent tour of Europe. This new composition does not include their laptops  as they implemented in past shows, which will be interesting. More knob twiddling in their extensive effects pedal arrays, I imagine!

Mountains is returning to the Midwest at the end of January as part of a tour that will kick off in Buffalo, NY and wrap up with a run of East Coast dates ending on February 11th in Boston. They’ll be hitting Chicago at the Empty Bottle on January 28th,  Omaha on the 29th at the Bemis Center, Northfield, MN at the Cave which is on the Carleton College Campus on the 30th, The Project Lodge in Madison, WI on the 31st, then Iowa City at the Picador on Monday, February 1st. The Empty Bottle show will have David Daniell and Doug McCombs whose Thrill Jockey release Sycamore (still available on LP!) is one of my favorites from TJ last year! I wish they were continuing on tour with them so I could catch them in Iowa City! (update: David said that they are planning a trip out here in early March! Stay tuned!)

Supporting Mountains on this run is Swedish trio Tape. Tape is an ambient band that features guitars in kind of an Eno-esque fashion. They’ve been producing their music since 2000 and has been steadily growing their fanbase. They have a penchant for vinyl and their last brilliant release Luminarium and their upcoming release with Bill Wells Fugue are both available in limited vinyl pressings on Immune Recordings. I’m hoping they bring some with them on tour! Be sure to check out some of Tape’s music on their MySpace Page. I’ve been listening to their songs for the past couple of days and really like the dreamy atmospherics.

Click Here for Mountains’ Website

Click Here for Mountains’ MySpace Page

Click Here for Tape’s Website.

Tour Dates (from Thrill Jockey)

Wed    Jan 27    Buffalo, NY     – Soundlab    w/ Tape
Thu    Jan 28    Chicago, IL    – Empty Bottle    w/ Tape
Fri    Jan 29    Omaha, NE    – Bemis Center for the Contemporary Arts    w/ Tape
Sat    Jan 30    Northfield, MN    – The Cave @ Carleton College    w/ Tape
Sun    Jan 31    Madison, WI    – The Project Lodge    w/ Tape
Mon    Feb 1    Iowa City, IA    – The Picador    w/ Tape
Wed    Feb 3    Louisville, KY    – Skull Alley    w/ Tape
Thu    Feb 4    Lexington, KY    – Al’s Bar    w/ Tape
Fri    Feb 5    Knoxville, TN    – The Pilot Light    w/ Tape
Sat    Feb 6    Chapel Hill, NC    – Nightlight    w/ Tape
Mon    Feb 8    Washington, DC    – Bossa    w/ Tape
Tue    Feb 9    Philadelphia, PA    – The Chapel @ First Unitarian    w/ Tape
Wed    Feb 10    New York, NY    – Le Poisson Rouge (Unsound Festival)    w/ Tape, Radian, Tim Hecker
Thu    Feb 11    Boston, MA    – TBA

Upcoming Show: Umphrey’s McGee in Iowa City on 3/10/10 at IMU Ballroom

Umphrey's McGee Live at The Capitol Theatre 7-16-09
A little bit of New Year’s Umphrey’s McGee news is bestowed upon us as they announced new March 2010 tour dates which include stops in Madison, Iowa City and a three-night run in Minneapolis!

As Umphrey’s McGee is ostensibly a Chicago-based band you might imagine that they have played these cities frequently over the years and as such they have built a very strong fanbase in each of these towns. This is also bolstered due to the strong college populations in each of these towns. The Minneapolis multi-night run seems to be a recurring theme, and when I saw my first show last January it was at the beginning of a three night run as well. A lot of the great people I talked to at the show were going to hit all three nights as part of a package that also included a meet-and-greet with the band and a limited edition poster of the shows.

Tickets for the shows will pre-sale on January 5th with general sale on January 9th. As part of the announcement of the March tour dates, they also announced that they will be giving away tickets for shows through their Facebook fanpage. A week before any of the shows they will give away a ticket at random to a fan who has responded to the Facebook event for that show as “attending” and they will be able to bring a friend who must also have responded as “attending” or “maybe.” This is cool for them to do, but if you are a big enough fan you likely didn’t wait until the last week before the show to get tickets, so I don’t know how that works in reality unless you can get someone to buy the ticket you paid for. Maybe I’m missing something– feel free to explain.

The dates (from

Wed, Mar 10th, 2010
Iowa Memorial Union Ballroom

125 North Madison Street – University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
– show: 8:00 pm
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Thu, Mar 11th, 2010
Orpheum Theatre

216 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703-2215
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Fri, Mar 12th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sat, Mar 13th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sun, Mar 14th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Daytrotter Barnstormer Tour 2009 Rolls Through Iowa and Wisconsin— the purveyor of freely-downloadable mp3’s of sessions recorded by a wide-range of artists and bands– have decided that they want to take a handful of their favorite acts on a mini-tour through some Iowa towns with a stop in Madison (just because they love that place!). These shows are FREE and ALL AGES. All the bands are hoping for are some new fans, and possibly sell some merch.

It is a move which gets its tradition from the “Caravan of Stars”-type tours that happened during the 50’s and 60’s where bands would roll through a bunch of cities stopping of at ballrooms across the midwest– back when places like Melody Mill in Sageville, IA outside Dubuque would get bands like Johnny Cash, The Ventures, and the Everly Brothers. If the bands didn’t tour like that, these little towns and cities wouldn’t have been able to get this kind of entertainment.

Daytrotter reached out a couple of months ago looking for barns they could play in– I made a couple of suggestions, and one of the stops will be just outside my hometown of Bellevue, IA at Mooney Hollow Barn!

While exchanging e-mails with Sean from Daytrotter, he said that some of the impetus of this tour is to let people in Iowa know about Daytrotter. Certainly when I’m talking to folks I know about this they have no idea what Daytrotter is– even though the work that they do is world-reknowned and has been accurately  suggested to be the successor to the BBC Peel Sessions!

I’ve said on more than one occasion that we Iowans should be proud of Daytrotter and its “little studio and website that could” success!

Hopefully, this will be successful enough that this becomes a yearly event!

The lineup of bands is pretty interesting and varies slightly for each of the five stops. However, San Diego band Local Natives will be performing at all of the shows. From this lineup, I was familiar only with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Paleo. Someone Still Loves You is a great indie pop band from Springfield, Mo that has done two Daytrotter sessions already (which is how I found out about them initially) and Paleo is known as the “song a day for a year” guy. So, it will be interesting to hear those acts in a live setting.  Snowblink is a pretty dreamy type of music driven by the breathy vocals of Daniela Gesundheit.Snowblink has been compared to Cat Power, and I hear that. Catfish Haven is a surprising R&B powerhouse from the Windy City that reminds me of Mad Dogs and Englishmen-period Joe Cocker, frankly. I can’t wait to see them in a live setting! DAYUM! They’re going to be at the Bellevue stop, which is super-duper! Mac Lethal is an MC from Kansas City, MO. He has a great flow that reminds me a lot of Chief Xcel or Chali 2na.

So, a pretty wide swath of indie goodness represented. I’m going to hit the Bellevue stop and shoot some pix and provide some coverage. If you have the ability and are in the region, stop out to one of these shows!


July 25
11 am — Davenport, Iowa: Morning performance at the Bix 7 road race course at the turnaround: 110 McClellan Blvd. (Performing — Local Natives)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session

6 pm — Maquoketa, Iowa: BARN Show #1: Biehl Farm, 3437 288th Ave. (Performing — Local Natives, Catfish Haven, Caleb Engstrom)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session
Catfish Haven Daytrotter Session
Caleb Engstrom Daytrotter Session

July 26
6 pm — Bellevue, Iowa: BARN Show #2: Mooney Hollow Barn, 12471 Highway 52, Green Island, Iowa (Performing — Local Natives, Snowblink, Paleo, Catfish Haven, Stranger Waves)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session
Snowblink Daytrotter Session
Paleo Daytrotter Session
Catfish Haven Encore Session

July 27
6 pm — Madison, Wisc.: Attic show #1: 212 S. Henry St., Madison, Wisc. (Performing — Local Natives, Catfish Haven, Snowblink, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session
Catfish Haven Encore Session
Snowblink Daytrotter Session
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Daytrotter Session

July 28
6 pm — Iowa City/West Liberty, Iowa: BARN SHOW #3 at the Secrest 1883 Octogonal Barn, 5750 Osage St., West Liberty, Iowa; (Performing — Local Natives, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Snowblink, Mac Lethal)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Daytrotter Session
Snowblink Daytrotter Session
Mac Lethal Daytrotter Session

July 29
6:30 pm — Coon Rapids, Iowa: BARN SHOW #4, Whiterock Conservancy , Riverhouse Barn, 1313 Fig Ave., Coon Rapids, Iowa (Performing — Local Natives, Snowblink and Mac Lethal)
Local Natives Daytrotter Session
Snowblink Daytrotter Session
Mac Lethal Daytrotter Session

Free Download: New Lyrics Born! “Funky Hit Records” Upcoming Shows

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Lyrics Born released his last album Everywhere At Once— in fact it was released just under a year ago! (4/22/08) Not one to rest on his laurels when there is inspiration– LB has been spending time in the studio working on the release of his next album to be titled As U Were to drop this fall.

To help spread the buzz, LB has made available for FREE the old school stylee track “Funky Hit Records.”  “Funky Hit Records” is a tribute to classic 80’s style hip hop– a different direction than the production of his last two albums using only beats and scratches to propel the track from Trackademicks. A fun track with trademark tongue-in-cheek bravado from the man LB. The song has a video produced by Justin– the guy who handles all of the on-line activity for the Lyrics Born camp including the LBTV videos.

In other news, Lyrics Born is making a quick jump to the Midwest in April with Joyo Velarde and DJ D-Sharp. They’ll be at The Majestic in Madison, WI on April 14th, and Trocadero’s in Minneapolis on Friday, April 17th! I’ll be at the Minneapolis show, of course!

Apr 8 2009 9:00P
The Nightlight Lounge – Bellingham, WA Bellingham, Washington
Apr 10 2009 8:00P
Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR Portland, Oregon
Apr 11 2009 8:00P
McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR w/ The Roots Eugene, Oregon
Apr 14 2009 9:00P
Majestic Theatre Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 17 2009 8:00P
Trocadero’s – Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis, Minnesota
Apr 18 2009 8:00P
Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, CA – Adam Theis with special guest Lyrics Born San Francisco,

Click Here to download “Funky Hit Records” from the forthcoming As U Were.
Click Here to visit Lyrics Born’s website
Click Here to visit the LBTV YouTube Channel with the video for “Funky Hit Records” as well as a bunch of other videos.

Upcoming Show: Anna Laube – Two Shows at The Java House, Iowa City 1/2/09

Photo by Akshay Sawhney (c) 2008

Photo by Akshay Sawhney (c) 2008

Anna Laube is a singer-songwriter in the folk-tinged Americana vein from San Francisco via Iowa City and Madison. She lists her influences on her MySpace Page as being Lucinda, Emmylou, Ani, and Joni Mitchell in addition to Iowa City artists Bo Ramsey and Dave Zollo. She certainly delivers all of this in her debut 2006 release Outta My Head. Anna’s lazy and seemingly effortless delivery floats beautifully over spare instrumentation placing the listener with the band on the couch in the various livingrooms in the Bay area where the album was recorded.

Anna is coming back to her childhood home of Iowa City to play two shows at the Downtown Iowa City Java House location (211 1/2 East Washington Street) on Friday, January 2nd in support of her upcoming album Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge. The first show will be at Noon as part of the very cool “Java Blend” show with Ben Kieffer recorded live and aired later on Iowa Public Radio. It’s also usually video taped for airing on UITV. The second show on Friday is part of the Java House’s regular Friday Night Music series at 8 PM. Both shows are free to the public, and would be a great way to kick off the new year.

Anna sent me three tracks from Pool All The Love. And, based on those songs, and I would agree with her statement on her site that Pool All The Love picks up where Outta My Head left off. There is a song that I feel is a bit of a departure and that is the very percussive and slinky– almost ska “Hippie Boyfriend.” “Hippie Boyfriend” is funny and light song that I could see crowds of women singing along with at Anna’s shows! Anna graciously let me host “Hippie Boyfriend” here at playbsides, so download it!

Both shows Friday night are free, so if you’re in town, why not stop in? Unless I’m hung over or the weather is bad, I’m planning to hit a show.

Click Here to download “Hippie Boyfriend” from Anna Laube’s upcoming album Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge

Click Here to visit Anna’s website

Click Here to visit Anna’s MySpace Page where you can listen to tracks from Outta My Head

Click Here to listen to other tracks from Outta My Head — Be sure to check out “Goodbye Blue Monday” — a personal favorite.

B-Sides in the Bins #34 – Highway to Hell : Retail Confusion With AC/DC Black Ice Vinyl

My family has been fans of AC/DC since Dad brought Back in Black home in 1980. At the time we had a black GMC Suburban with red cloth interior and Dad wanted to put vanity license plates on it that said “BAKNBLK.” This Suburban would be traded on another one later and its next owner was appropriately enough a funeral home! When Dad brought Back in Black home, I initially didn’t like it– I was more into The Moody Blues and The Beatles, I guess. During my Honda Express-riding Jr. High years I gained the appreciation for all-things metal, and that included AC/DC. John, who was born 1976, pretty much grew up with AC/DC. As a result he has been an AC/DC fan for most of his music-appreciating years. John’s vanity plate he’s been moving from vehicle to vehicle since his first car is “HWY2HEL.” Or, “Highway to a ‘Bad Word'” according to his daughter!

When I heard that there would be a vinyl pressing of the new AC/DC Black Ice album that would be available to Independent record retailers, I knew that this would be a cool gift for him for his birthday. In the past I bought him the 180g version of Back in Black (I got it at Hot Topic of all places!), as well as an Australian version of High Voltage on vinyl that had some different tracks on it.

I figured– incorrectly as it turns out– that because of the Wal-Mart exclusive nature of the CD version of Black Ice, that there would be decent availability of the 180g vinyl pressing at other record stores since the only way a retailer that wasn’t Wal-Mart could have the biggest new releases on a major label would be by stocking the vinyl. Trying to track this down in Eastern Iowa turned out to be a comedy of errors!

The first place I called was what I considered to be my mainstay record store– The Record Collector in Iowa City.

“Record Collector.” the young girl on the phone answered.

“Do you have the new AC/DC album Black Ice on vinyl?” I asked, trying to be as specific as possible.

“The new AC/DC album is only available at Wal-Mart” she answered in an obviously-rehearsed tone.

“Yes, that’s right. The new AC/DC on CD is available at Wal-Mart, but the vinyl pressing is available at Independent record stores.”

She conferred with someone else off the phone about it, “Uh, we won’t be carrying that. We only sell used vinyl.”

This was pretty confusing to me since I have seen and purchased new vinyl there in the past. In fact, I was looking at some very cool Sundazed repressings of Skip Spencer’s “Oar” solo LP. I wondered if I should call back when the owner Kirk might be working.

I got a sinking feeling. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to buy this in time for when I’d see John if I had to order it on-line and it was less than a week before I’d see him. The other local options for new vinyl had dried up over the last couple of years. I remembered hearing that Real! Compact Discs and Records was back in business. I had been a frequent shopper there during the late 80’s but hadn’t shopped there since I moved back to Iowa in 1997. In fact, I think it might have been out of business for a while. I noticed that Bo Ramsey thanked Real! in the liner notes to Fragile, so I figured they must be in business. A quick google turned up the phone number…

“Real Records” the man on the phone answered.

“Do you sell new vinyl?” I asked hopefully.

“Yep. that’s why we are called ‘Real Records'” he cracked.

I was trying to ascertain if they had new records, not just used, but whatever.

“Do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice vinyl?”

“Wal-Mart is the only place that carries the new AC/DC.”

“Well, that’s true– Wal-Mart has the new AC/DC CD, but there is a vinyl pressing that indie record stores can carry.”

He checked his distribution lists, and said “Oh, yeah, we might be getting that next week.”

“Well, I was hoping to pick it up this week as a birthday gift, thanks anyway. By the way, what’s the deal with the Record Collector? I called there and they said they don’t sell new vinyl. I’m pretty sure I’d seen new vinyl there in the past.”

“I don’t know. I’ve been hearing from other people that they haven’t been able to find anything there.”

“Well, that’s too bad. It’s been one of my favorite record stores forever. By the way, will you be getting the Ryan Adams vinyl for Cardinology?”

He checked his lists again, “yes, it looks like we will be getting that next Tuesday. It seems to have pushed back a week.”


So, at least it looks like I should be visiting Real! some time in the future.

The next place I called was BestBuy. I’d seen vinyl there recently– notably the new Coldplay Viva La Vida. It seemed to me that if there was a big-box retailer battle between BestBuy and Wal-Mart what better field of war than the new AC/DC? After navigating through their phonejail menus I got a human.

“BestBuy, home of the Geek Squad. How may I help you?”

“Can I speak with some one in CD’s and DVD’s?”

“How can I help you?”

“Would you happen to have the new AC/DC album Black Ice on vinyl?”

“The new AC/DC album is only available at Wal-Mart” he offered helpfully. This was beginning to sound like a phone prank.

Well, I was stuck with this one. Should I explain the vinyl situation, or just assume that if they had the vinyl he would have mentioned it?

“OK, thanks” I said choosing the latter.

I remembered that I had purchased the 180g Back in Black at Hot Topic in Lindale Mall, so I gave them a shot.

“Hot Topic” a guy answered.

“Do you sell vinyl?” I asked.

“What are you looking for??” It occurred to me that based on the clothing one can purchase at Hot Topic, I wasn’t specific enough by asking about “vinyl.”

“I’m sorry, I mean vinyl records.”

“Oh! Yeah, we sell records.”

“Do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice?

“No, we don’t have that. You should try Wal-Mart. They are carrying that.”

The rest of the conversation involved me educating him on the vinyl version of Black Ice. I’m sure he appreciated it.

My last hope would be that Mad City Music Exchange in Madison, WI would have it. They are close enough that I shouldn’t have to worry about overnight shipping either. I gave them a call.

“Mad City” the guy on the phone answered.

“Hi, do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice on vinyl?”


Frankly, I didn’t know what to say! I gave him a brief version of my trials of trying to find this record. I left it that I’d call him the next day to confirm. He said that he typically visits the post office twice a day so the next day he should be able to get it sent out. I called, and we talked about shipping options. He wasn’t sure what the shipping would have been for 2-day, so I gave him my credit card information and asked him to let me know.

What I found out talking to Dave Zero is that he’s the new owner of Mad City Music Exchange taking over for the previous owner who’d had it since 1986. Here is an article from the Isthmus about Dave buying the store from last December. It’s clear that Dave is very focused on keeping the customer happy and I think went way out of his way to get me the record and he even checked up to make sure that I got it in time. As a result, I ordered Ryan Adams and the Cardinal’s new Cardinology in the limited edition clear red vinyl and unique artwork from him, and I got that this week.

The record showed up in time for me to give it to John. and I have a diligent store owner to thank in Dave. It really is a beautiful piece. Unlike the CD artwork which are white on black, all of the album graphics are matte black on shiny black gatefold with a very bright red AC/DC logo on it. It makes it a bit tough to read unless you tilt the record, but still a very impressive pressing.

There are other record stores in Madison, but certainly you should make Mad City a stop if you’re in town. Tell them “It’s Time To Play B-Sides” sent you!

B-Sides in the Bins #32 – Mad City Music – Madison, WI 9/27/08

The Tortoise show at Snake on the Lake started at 3PM in Madison, but Erik, Shawn and I weren’t interested in all of the opening acts, so we decided to hit a record store before meeting up with Tom, our taper friend. We stopped at Mad City Music which I’ve been to a couple of times. The first time Erik and I went there it was for a small Camper Van Beethoven in-store which was really cool.

This was a pretty fruitful trip in that I picked up some amazingly pristine copies of Tom Petty albums. Like freakishly mint, really. No ringwear or sleeve wear of any sort. They looked like they just shipped from the plant and were taken out of the cellophane! In addition to the four records, I bought plastic sleeves for them.

Tom Petty is one of my long-time favorite artists. Of course, this means that I need to keep an eye out for other Tom Petty vinyl… Two of the records were upgrades. I gave the replaced copies to Erik.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (LP, MCA 5105, 1979)($3.00) The third album. First Top-40 record for the band, includes “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises (LP, Backstreet BSR 5160, 1981)($3.00) This was an upgrade for me. First record to hit Top-10 for Petty.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark (LP, Backstreet BSR 5360, 1982)($3.00) First record with the late Howie Epstein on bass. The record was an attempt to repeat the formula of success by using Jimmy Iovine as producer. Sadly, it would not pan out. “You Got Lucky” was an MTV favorite, though.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Southern Accents (LP, MCA 5486, 1985)($4.00) Another upgrade for me. Rae got me my first copy for my birthday in 2006– that one was a corner-cut cutout record. The vinyl was immaculate, though. This was really the record that started my interest in Tom Petty, and probably the song “Rebel.” I started listening to this about the same time I got into the Del Fuegos, which would make sense. Lots of radio and video airplay for this one– “Rebel” and “Don’t Come Round Here No More.” Three songs were co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

What I didn’t buy: Carried to Dust by Calexico on used CD (I got this one on vinyl through Amazon), and two Dumptruck albums For the Country, and Positively Dumptruck on vinyl, and a Love Tractor LP on DBRecs. Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave (the album they won a Grammy in 1989 for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance against Metallica!). If I get back to Mad City and the Dumptruck records are there, I will buy them. Based on the price stickers they’ve been there for a couple of years.