Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, September 23, 2006 ]


Workin' on a building

A few new things you can point your attention to regarding the Labor Day arson at Inner Sleeve records, which I, along with a few other folks, talked about on this blog in recent weeks.

-First is a detailed report of the situation from Brian Leaf, another Sleeve devotee:

"The place is gutted,everything gone. There's a note on the door that says he's planning to reopen and that anyone who had ordered music can call him at home to pick it up. The door was open but Mike wasn't around. I left a note, declaring that I loved the campfire Northwoods smell in theplace and hoped he find a way to keep it in the store after it isremodeled.

Later, I stopped by his house. He was in the backyard, standing overa large garbage can full of broken jewel cases, pulling CDs out of damaged cardboard cartons and shucking them like pearl oysters. At this point, they are pearls to Mike -- used inventory to help relaunch. He's salvaging discs and liners that were ruined by heat or water and will sell them as used. Liner notes and cover art were hanging by pins on the clothesline. And he regularly sprayed his hands with cleaner so soot wouldn't soil what he was trying to save.

It will be a great sale when he reopens, tentatively mid-October, as his inventory was incredibly diverse. If he so chooses, he could get an early start. Dave Junion [a local photographer] has offered to let him use the blue housenext to his studio for free to help him get back on his feet andallow him to run his business until he can move back in. Mike is down, but not out. He's been down this route before. He saysthat there have been several times during the 30+ years that he'sbeen open that he believed he was just about to make it, thensomething unexpected would happen. Vinyl was dumped in favor of CDs, he was forced to move or now the fire. He's a survivor and a fighter. He says he's really moved by the reaction from the community and feels awkward taking their money. I told him that people who contribute to his rebuilding fund are doing so because of the value he and Inner Sleeve have added to their lives and their community by giving them a place to find music that they might not otherwise hear or be exposed to while giving Wausau a hip reputation around thestate as that music store that you could find stuff that you couldn't find anywhere else. He's so hyper humble."

-Next is a Wausau Daily Herald article about recent benefit activities

-Finally, connected to both of these, is the warm reality of at least two more benefit shows coming up in the next half-month, each put together by a community of people who believe the same as me, Brian, and the many other voices you've heard weigh on in this incident. While I, like everybody, have both positive and negative things to say about my hometown, I look upon the aftermath of this mystifying tragedy with tremendous fondness and pride. Sometimes, it turns out, you can go home again.

More details as they become available. Back to music in a couple days.

On the box right now: Cee-Lo, BEST.


Dove With Claws [8:55 AM]

[ Wednesday, September 20, 2006 ]


New release round-up

Three nice things to spotlight this week, none of which are groundbreaking, but all of which are worth some much-needed pleasure in this weary world.

-Dan Bern's reputation as a "New Dylan"-esque writer of smart, witty epics is well-deserved to a point, but I - for one - think that his current trademark continues to obscure perhaps his true brilliance, which is as a big-voiced pop/rocker with the heart of a true romantic and a pen as sharp as any sword. His new album, BREATHE, features some of the "New Dylan" stuff, and it's good, but, as usual, I'm finding myself more appreciative of the poppier end of Bern's rich catalog. This guy deserves a spot in the 21st century Brill Building.

Dan Bern - "Remember Me," from BREATHE

Dan Bern - "Another Man's Clothes," from BREATHE

-Aaron Neville's new album of soul classics, BRING IT ON HOME TO ME, is entirely inessential, which may be the reason that I like it as much as I do. Putting Neville's singular vocal style together with some of the best American songwriting of the 20th century...or, hell, any a comfortable and affecting combination.

Aaron Neville - "Stand By Me," from BRING IT ON HOME TO ME

Aaron Neville (w/Mavis Staples) - "Respect Yourself," from BRING IT ON HOME TO ME

-I've been waiting for a Jane's Addiction compilation for literal years, and Rhino's finally answered my prayers, with a disc that (in the best way possible) is the only Jane's disc most folks will ever need. A surprisingly accessible collection, which captures all of the band's eccentricity while coherently expressing their odd gifts, this disc is worth having beyond its historical value. Nothing unreleased on it, although the below version of "Jane Says" is from KETTLE WHISTLE, an odds-and-sods compilation from a few years ago.

Jane's Addiction - "Jane Says" (live), from UP FROM THE CATACOMBS: BEST OF JANE'S ADDICTION

On the box right now: Lupe Fiasco, FOOD AND LIQUOR. This one came out this week as well, but I'm just getting to it now. If it's as good as the hype (big "if," I know), I'll be posting something from it soon.


Dove With Claws [7:08 PM]