How to Support Local Record Stores During Quarantine

Grimeys-Closedvia Twitter

Yesterday, we outlined some ways to help local venues in need, amidst a total halt in live music while the world grapples with the spread of COVID-19, not only endangering venues whose revenue has been entirely cut off (a particularly devastating blow for smaller, more independent spaces), but also displacing countless staff members.

As cities and states take increasingly more substantial but necessary measures to enact shelter in place policies and to limit all but essential services (and as artists, freelancers, gig economy and service industry workers, and many others feel the burden of recent closures), another facet of the local music community, independent record stores, now closed to the public, have, like many other small businesses, been left without their primary means of revenue, and are seeking ways to help stay afloat.

Though store to store philosophies seem to differ regarding whether any employees should be working right now, even without public contact, most of the area’s record stores are offering at least some way to still shop from home, with options to ship (and in some cases, carefully pick up) orders, or to support them in other ways like gift card purchases. Sure, it might be quicker and perhaps a tad cheaper for vinyl fans to turn to big retailers like Amazon when online shopping in these isolated weeks, but, like all local business, this is when your local shops need your support the most, and we encourage you, if you’re still in an economic position to do so, to shop with them if at all possible (and/or, try alternate ideas like making a shopping list of what you want, invest in gift cards if available or set aside the money, and stream those records for now, then shop once it’s safe again to do so in person).

Below, we’ve put together a list of how you can currently help and/or shop from home at many of the area’s independent stores (some not listed, like McKay’s, Boulevard, Alison’s, and CD Warehouse appear to be closed with no alternate purchase options at this time). As things rapidly change and develop, however, we encourage you to check stores’ sites and social media for the latest updates. Finally, we should note that this year’s Record Store Day, originally scheduled for April, has been postponed to June 20 (another great chance to support your local shops).

3/26: Updated with latest online sales info for Vinyl Tap.

4/3: Updated with current links and the latest shopping info for Grimey’s.

4/21: Updated with ‘Other Music’ doc info for Grimey’s, The Groove, and Luna.

_

THIRD MAN RECORDS

As a local record store with a global following (and as an arm of their own label), Third Man Records has always operated an online store, which is still live. You can shop online here (be patient if there are any shipping delays). The boutique also rolled out home delivery, curbside pickup, and appointment-only shopping last week, though given the rapid developments of recent days, it’s unclear which, if any, of those services are still active.

GRIMEY’S

Grimey’s is currently still selling merchandise and gift certificates, the latter perfect to save for a future shopping trip, or both a great gift for yourself or someone else from afar. The shop is also in the midst of ramping up online sales once again, after briefly hitting pause to strictly comply with the city’s Safer At Home order. You can shop from Grimey’s own site for new releases, or check out their Discogs profile for preowned, which will both continue to see further releases added. As with all local stores looking to maintain sales while keeping employees safe, please be patient with shipping. For a limited time, you can also digitally rent a new documentary about New York’s legendary, now defunct record shop Other Music for $11.50, with a portion of proceeds set to benefit The Groove (or, if you’d prefer, The Groove or Luna).

THE GROOVE

Fellow East Nashville record shop The Groove is still selling through their own website, as well as a Discogs page with hundreds of great listings, and will deliver within the neighborhood. The shop also encourages you to DM them on social media or e-mail [email protected]m if you have any requests for a special order. You can also snag an official Groove shirt from nearby Friendly Arctic, which will benefit the shop. For a limited time, you can also digitally rent a new documentary about New York’s legendary, now defunct record shop Other Music for $11.50, with a portion of proceeds set to benefit Grimey’s (or, if you’d prefer, Grimey’s or Luna).

VINYL TAP

Vinyl Tap has also launched a Discogs page for online sales, and they’re also still offering sales for delivery (within the neighborhood) or pickup Wednesday-Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.. You can e-mail [email protected] to verify your selection, arrange payment, and find out delivery/pickup details. Being a bar in addition to record store, Vinyl Tap also benefits from the new beer to-go policy, so if you’re in need of some brews, you’re able to put in a beer order (menu here) along with your vinyl as well (with a portion of sales going to help out their employees). With the bar and kitchen staff entirely displaced, they’re also running a GoFundMe to help aid employees.

THE GREAT ESCAPE

While both locations of The Great Escape are closed, the local record, comic, movie, and speciality shop is still selling online, with a massive selection of titles up on their Discogs account, and tons of music and more on their eBay account. If you’d rather wait and browse their eclectic selection later on in person, you can also help out TGE in the interim by buying a gift certificate online.

LUNA RECORD SHOP

Situated in The Factory at Franklin, Luna is currently offering to ship records, delivery for those who live nearby, and scheduled pickup. Check out their Instagram for selections, or reach out by phone (615.806.9435), DM, or e-mail ([email protected]) to inquire about selection and special orders. You can also buy merch to support the shop! For a limited time, you can also digitally rent a new documentary about New York’s legendary, now defunct record shop Other Music for $11.50, with a portion of proceeds set to benefit Grimey’s (or, if you’d prefer, Grimey’s or The Groove).

[NO COUNTRY PREMIERE] Hardcastle Reach New Heights with Hook-Laden Single “Growing Pains”

Hardcastle2020-620

Though their roots trace back a number of years, formed by brothers and lifelong musicians Graham and Miles Laderman, and close friend Val Hoyt, in their native Atlanta, it wasn’t until individually relocating to Nashville, regrouping and rounding out their lineup with Noah Christian, and undergoing something of a formal reboot of their sound and style (including wiping prior material from the internet), that indie rockers Hardcastle really caught our attention back in 2018, erupting with a string of buzzy singles that year like “I Never Knew” and “Invisible.”

In the short time since, the band have seen breakout success online, amassing millions of streams and attracting a passionate following, priming them to follow in the footsteps of fellow Nashville based kindred spirits like COIN and The Band CAMINO (for whom they’ve already supported on tour). Citing inspiration from acts like Coldplay, Oasis, and U2, the group’s poppy, indie sound harbors a distinctive quality from some of their peers, fitting in just as easily with the contemporary, genre-bending stylings of acts like The 1975 and LANY, as with ’90s and ’00s alternative pop and rock, and leading Hardcastle to shows with the likes of Parachute, K. Flay, and Angels and Airwaves.

Continuing to hone their impressive and captivating sound through a regular stream of singles, most recently “What If I’m Happy” earlier this year, Hardcastle are set to drop their latest, “Growing Pains” tomorrow, March 25- however, we’re thrilled to bring you an exclusive early premiere today, which you can stream right now below!

Produced by Kyle Dreaden and co-written with Danny and S.E. Berrios, the group’s Graham Laderman tells us that “‘Growing Pains’ feels like something of a milestone for us. Definitely the clearest example of the band feeling like a living, breathing thing beyond just the sum of its members. We’re looking forward to spending the next year leaning into the most honest version of ourselves.”

The result is an endlessly catchy, propulsive, and earnest track that channels hints of alt rock acts of eras past like Third Eye Blind, with some pop punk bite, huge harmonic hooks, and perhaps the band’s most refined songwriting to date. Not only is it our favorite Hardcastle song yet, but also further proof that to simply lump them in with the current indie pop rock scene (including some of the comparisons we’ve made above) really undersells just how far-reaching and unique this group’s influences are. Certainly primed to be one of Nashville next breakout acts, hear Hardcastle’s “Growing Pains” below, then find it everywhere tomorrow!

Finally, we should also note that as of right now, Hardcastle are also set to headline The Basement on April 24, but we’d recommend keeping an eye on the calendar, as it is still unclear what things will look like in a month in regards to live music (fingers crossed).

Continue Reading→

Local Venues Drkmttr, The End, The East Room, Exit/In, & More Call on Community for Help Amidst Closures

TheEnd-GoFundMevia GoFundMe

It was only a few weeks ago (though it feels like an eternity) that our community was aching from the aftermath of a devastating tornado, which among other things, destroyed beloved local venue The Basement East, dealing a huge blow to Nashville’s music scene. In the weeks since, with nearly every aspect of daily life and society alerted by the spread of COVID-19, live music has come to a total halt, displacing countless freelance and service industry employees, and particularly affecting the creative community, displacing venue and freelance music and entertainment workers, while also cutting off an important source of revenue for performing artists.

While it’s hard to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel in these trying times, we have no doubt that Nashville’s tough and resilient creatives will find a way through (and/or sources of help and aid), incredibly difficult though it might be, but for some live spaces- particularly the smallest, most independent, lowest profit-margin venues whose continued existence in an ever-more-expensive city is a daily struggle in the best of times- many weeks or months without business could be a death blow.

There are so many big, new, flashy venues opening or in the works to be excited about, and certainly Nashville isn’t in danger of all venues disappearing, but without small rooms like Drkmttr, The End, The East Room, Springwater, and others, not only does the smaller, more underground, more creative side of the local music scene lose its outlet, but also some of the most essential up and coming national acts lose their places to stop through. These spaces are what helped make Nashville so cool in the first place (and, ironically, what attracted the corporate backed venues and developers who threaten their existence), and it would be an unimaginable shame to lose them because they’ve shut down to help protect us.

As many artists,  stores, restaurants, service and gig economy workers, and freelancers have been forced to do, local venues have begun taking to crowdfunding in recent weeks, not only to offset their own costs while unable to host shows, but, in the case of some (particularly larger rooms), to directly support their displaced staff. Please, if you can, if you’re in a financial position to do so, consider donating to help protect some of Nashville’s most important musical spaces at the links below.

LOCAL VENUES IN NEED:

DRKMTTR (donate here)

All ages, DIY, indie venues like Drkmttr are often overlooked, but absolutely essential in fostering a thriving, creative, inclusive community of artists and show-goers. They run on the lowest of margins and are always a labor of love, organized and maintained by people who understand the importance of these types of spaces. After years in impermanent locations (and a year displaced), Drkmttr settled in a more formal space in East Nashville last year, and it would break our hearts to see it disappear again. They’ve already reached their funding goal, but small venues like this can always use all the help they can get- donate to Drkmttr here.

THE END (donate here)

Like Drkmttr, legendary Rock Block staple The End is an important, often overlooked space that is essential to the young, alternative, up and coming side of the local music scene and burgeoning touring acts (and even plays host to some fairly big bands from time to time- always a treat in such a crammed, punk space). Even before all of this, development in Midtown has been threatening the area’s venues, and losing The End, above all, would be a blow the scrappy, underground side of our local music scene. They still need a lot of help and you can donate to The End here.

THE EAST ROOM (donate here)

Since the old days of East Nashville Underground, The East Room has been a consistently great and important independent venue spaces for an incredible variety of local shows and national artists. Their dedicated staff are integral to our independent music scene, and the venue is raising money to help support them while closed. You can donate to The East Room here.

EXIT/IN (donate here)

Though a tad larger than the venues above, the Rock Block’s Exit/In has been a Nashville staple since the early ’70s, and with recent external pressure from pricey development in the area and a growing number of new corporate-backed venues in competition, it was already one of the city’s most vulnerable independent spaces even before all of this. Along with its sister bar space Hurry Back, the Exit/In employs a sizable staff, and they’re asking for donations to help support them. Donate to Exit/In here, and/or consider buying some merch. If you’re holding a ticket to a show that’s being rescheduled, you could also consider not requesting a refund at this time.

THE COBRA (donate here)

Though it’s also a great, rock and roll spirited dive bar in its own right, East Nashville’s The Cobra has also long been a live music staple as well (carrying on the legacy of its former history as fooBAR), hosting shows both in their front bar and dedicated venue space in the back, where we’ve caught some unforgettable nights like Thunderbitch, Mineral, and countless local fests. In an effort to support their staff while closed, they’ve also launched a GoFundMe, and you can donate to The Cobra here.

SPRINGWATER SUPPER CLUB (donate here)

Tennessee’s oldest bar is also one of Nashville’s best underground music venues, where several of our favorite local acts cut their teeth over the years: Springwater Supper Club. As much a bar as it is a music venue, the west end neighborhood haunt is aiding their bartenders and staff by asking for donations, and you can donate to Springwater Supper Club here.

THE 5 SPOT (donate here)

Five Points staple The 5 Spot had only just re-opened from the tornado before shuttering again due to COVID-19. They book some of the highest frequency of acts of any venue in town, and are going above and beyond in their fundraising, attempting not only to keep the venue afloat and to help pay staff, but also to send money to around 150 acts they’ve had to cancel for the month (hence their hefty funding goal), with the promise that any extra will go to community health charity The Ben Eyestone Fund. You can donate to The 5 Spot here.

3RD & LINDSLEY (donate here)

Another longtime live music staple, 3rd & Lindsley has played host to a wide variety of small and mid-sized performers over the years, with their Lightning 100-sponsored Sunday showcase, Nashville Sunday Night, a consistent weekend favorite. They’re a bit larger than some of these other spaces, but as an independent venue in a neighborhood being swiftly developed, they need help too- especially with a staff of around 50. To help support their employees, donate to 3rd & Lindsley here.

CITY WINERY (donate here)

City Winery is probably bigger and better funded than the other venues on this list, and it’s part of a small chain, rather than a local, independent, single-location venue. We’re including it though, because their venue does employ dozens of people who, like many service industry workers, are totally displaced right now. Their goal is so high because it benefits employees at all of the venue’s more than half a dozen locations, and you can donate to City Winery here.

RUDY’S JAZZ ROOM (donate here)

Gulch situated Rudy’s Jazz Room, another of our city’s great small, independent venues, and the best spot to catch quality jazz every night of the week, is also running a GoFundMe to help cover costs and take care of employees during the closure. You can donate to Rudy’s here.

THE BASEMENT EAST

We’re listing The Basement East last because as far as we can tell, they haven’t formally launched a fundraiser as of yet for the venue or staff in response to COVID-19. In the aftermath of this month’s tornado though, they did launch a donation page which more generally benefits the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (an effort that is unfortunately now being eclipsed by more recent events), and they’re selling a t-shirt to benefit the United Way Fund. We’ll update if we seen any specific funding efforts for The Basement or BEast.

If we missed any local venues currently running relief efforts, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update accordingly!

Hayley Williams Brings in boygenius for Hypnotic New Song “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris”

HayleyWilliams2020alt2-620

After kicking off the year with the surprise announcement of her first-ever solo LP, Petals for Armor, set to arrive May 8, then wowing us with a series of singles and narratively-woven music videos, and, later, lyric videos, culminating in a five-song EP, Petals for Armor I, Paramore singer Hayley Williams, who also recently announced her first solo tour, with a pair of dates tentatively slated for Brooklyn Bowl Nashville in late June, has just made our time in quarantine a whole lot sweeter by gracing us with yet another new tune- “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris”!

As teased in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Williams’ latest features background vocals from esteemed supergroup boygenius- singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus- and was co-written and recorded with her Paramore bandmate Taylor York and Canon Blue’s Daniel James, with further instrumentation from Joey Howard, Aaron Steel, and Benjamin Kaufman. Like her first crop of songs, “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” is a genuine stylistic departure from Paramore, tapping into a more moody, groove-laden, orchestral, and experimental style, again with strong Radiohead vibes but also giving us shades of Solange, Canon Blue, Sucré, and Sigur Rós.

According to a statement posted earlier this week, Hayley had originally intended to release another EP’s worth of songs at once, but in light of recent world events, changed her plan to a more gradual release (as with the initial three tracks of Petals I), giving people more time to connect with each new song, and giving us all something ongoing to look forward to. With each and every personal and sonically distinct track, it’s clear that this album is going to be something incredibly essential and special; a cathartic release for Williams and a glimpse at a whole new side of her artistry- one without any prior baggage or expectations- for fans, so far leaving us spellbound with every song.

As we eagerly await more from Petals for Armor II, hear “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” below, accompanied by visuals from local artist Mike Kluge!

Continue Reading→

[NO COUNTRY PREMIERE] The Blam Blams Preview Forthcoming Concept Album with Soaring New Single “Isabella”

TheBlamBlams-620

If you keep up with our local show recommendations, you’ve almost certainly seen us mention rising local glam rock outfit The Blam Blams in recent years, who, since first coming together in late 2017, have become an increasingly buzzworthy fixture in Nashville and beyond.

The glitter-soaked combo have, already, amassed a reputation for their theatrical, harmony-soaked, and dazzling live performances, despite only an EP’s worth of tracks out so far. Largely influenced by ’60s psych-pop and ’70s glam and rock staples like Bowie and Queen, it should come as no surprise that the band’s forthcoming debut LP, Opening Night, which is due out May 22, is a concept album, and ahead of its release, we’re very excited to bring you an exclusive premiere of brand new single “Isabella”!

With the album set to tackle themes of sexuality (3/4 of the members are queer), gender, love and living without a mask, we’re told the conceptual theme, as told by a narrator, “explores the life of Sydney Fabel, the record’s fictional protagonist,” who is “a bisexual actor/ artist in 1970’s London is stepping out onto the stage both literally and figuratively as he begins to discover his own agency amidst starring in a production with the Galactic Theater company.”

The subject of this single, the band explain that the character of “Isabella was Sydney’s girlfriend when he founded his theatre company, and this song introduces his relationship with her. The narrator describes Sydney’s infatuation with wearing his girlfriend’s clothes when she’s out of the house.”

In line with the band’s previous work, “Isabella” is soaked with retro flair, awash with psychedelic harmonies, old school arrangements, and tons of theatrical, earnest, musical spirit, and hooks that’ll stay in your head for days. Though, originally, the group were set to celebrate it with a release show this weekend, in light of the current state of live music as we all lock down for COVID-19, we’re told a virtual concert is in the works instead. Keep an eye on the social media links below for the latest updates, and stream “Isabella” now!

Continue Reading→