Remember records? You know, those flat plastic discs that hold music in their grooves? You might think, in this digital age, that records are dead. And what with the rise of the iPod and cell phones that play music, with even CDs becoming a thing of the past, not to mention music sales moving online, you might figure that the record store is a relic, a dinosaur facing extinction.
It might not seem like an opportune time to open up a new record store, but that's what Arcata residents Adam Pokorski and Matt Jackson have done. Missing Link Records, a hole-in-the-wall on J St. snuggled between the 3 Foods Café and Rita's Mexican Market (behind the Co-op) officially opened for business Monday and will celebrate its grand opening Friday.
"It's pure stubbornness," said Adam, when I visited MLR last week. "I'll be damned if I'm going to watch record stores go under. I love them. I'm a music junkie. Every city I go to, record stores are the first places I hit."
"You hear a lot about the death of the independent music store -- that record stores are dying -- but when you talk to people in the business, you find out there are indie record shops opening up all over," said Matt, another self-professed record head. "It's more that people are tired of the big guys.
"For us it's a labor of love," he continued. "A lot of the stock came from our own collections: LPS, CDs, 45s, all the posters. We've done a few orders with small-scale distros, ones who offer limited run things so we can have new stuff too. Where else in town are you going to find the new black-metal cassette from Xasthur?"
"What we love to do is drive around looking for records, spending hours digging through tons of musty old records to find two that are awesome," said Adam. "I love turning people on to music they've never thought about before."
Matt picked up his train of thought: "What we want is a place where music heads can come and just hang out and talk about music. I think there's a niche for small stores where you can get things that are only pressed 500 or a thousand at a time, or records that are from Spain or Portugal, or Peruvian soul. They can be a little pricey because they're small run, and most stores aren't wiling to take the gamble, but people want them. I want them. I think there's a market for that kind of thing in this town."
If you're into Peruvian soul or just curious, stop by Friday night during Arts! Arcata. Journal music reviewer Mike Mannix and his partner Sarah Spears will have their photography on display, and Mike promises, "There will be snacks."
Also on Friday evening, the return of ace guitarist Bill Horvitz (Wayne's brother). Bill, who came through for a Redwood Jazz Alliance thing a while back, was once part of the downtown New York scene leading his own band exploring melodic instrumental music, jazz, blues, rock and, as Horvitz put it, "adventurous electric guitar sonic excursions." He's since moved to Sonoma County and shifted into folk with Tone Bent, a duo pairing him with guitarist/songwriter Robin Eschner.
"My musical path has been looping back, a long circular arc to where I began," says Horvitz of Tone Bent. He's "playing guitar and singing songs, getting to sing harmonies and play songs, to work out parts, hone the craft and add, hopefully, the inspiring guitar note or twelve -- as I feel Robin's inspiration throughout -- seeing our audiences being moved by the songs, this is what it's all about."
Tone Bent plays a 90-minute set at the Jambalaya Friday starting at 7 p.m. It's a two-show night at the Jam. Later on the Humboldt-based Senegalese reggae singer Elhadji performs with members of Massagana and special guest Stevie Culture.
CenterArts and AS Presents call it a "jampacked April," but it's actually a packed week, with four indie rock shows in eight days on top of a classical concert by pianist Yuja Wang (Friday in Fulkerson Recital Hall), Amy Goodman's book tour (Saturday in the KBR) and next Thursday's Joshua Redman Trio show (again in the KBR). On the indie rock side you have Eef Barzelay with his band Clem Snide plus Chris Otepka, aka The Heligoats, on Thursday, April 9, at Humboldt Brews. SoCal reggae-punks The Aggrolites play Friday with L.A. reggae-rockers Tomorrows Bad Seeds, again at HumBrews. Then AS Presents has the mellifluous harmonies of Seattle's Fleet Foxes with this week's Portland band, Blitzen Trapper, stopping off on the way to Coachella for a Monday, April 13, megashow at the Arcata Community Center. Thursday, April 16, brings Vetiver and songster Richard Swift to the Depot, while Josh and company play upstairs in the Kate Buchanan Room. More on those shows next week.
Have you checked out Nocturnum yet? Saturday they have Faux Punk, a space-suited "comprehensive" tribute to Daft Punk straight-outta-Brooklyn. Friday at Nocturnum, it's Bronx-based hip hop duo Camp Lo, who Gil says are "most notable for lyrics that consist almost entirely of Blaxploitation-style Dadaist slang."
Friday at the Mateel catch the return of kiwi-reggae-dub band Katchafire plus S.F. Latin-hip hop-funk combo, Bayonics.
Ran into Matty Roberts of World Famous Productions at the Arcata Theatre Lounge last week. He has a thing Saturday at the Red Fox with Colorado's "crunkadelic basstraveler" VibeSquaD (aka Aaron Holstein) plus Ana Sia from Glitch Mob and Danny Corn, followed by a post-midnight after-party at the New World Ballet Studio with Akaboom Sound, Zanapod and some surprise special guest.
Brad Van Pelt from the Red Fox now has his own "community-minded grassroots production company," Every1 Productions (and, conveniently, a club for E1P shows). Coming this Friday: Wolf Navarro's Silent Giants, with a set by Totter Todd, the mustachioed Heavyweight Dub Champion, who will also sit in with the Giants. (Note: the full Heavyweight Dub Champion plays the Mateel April 24, with Goddess Alchemy Project.)
Monday, April 13, the Fox/E1P has JamBang, a hard-driving "audio/visual experience" featuring former Black Flag guitarist Gregg Ginn with Bobby Bancalari on mandolin, Steve DeLollis on drums, and A/V artist Joey Keeton. The Red Fox Acid Jazz AllStars open; expect Ginn to sit in with B. Swiz and Co. Then on Tuesday, April 14, it's a Passion hip hop show at the Fox with Lifesavas and an opening set by Subliminal Sabotage.
Coming to the Arcata Theatre Lounge Thursday, April 9, "An Evening of Experimental Film and Music" with films and video by Kevin Chili-Collando, Michel Sargent (ATL's movie guy and an alt. filmmaker) and "a surprise French experimental filmmaker no one has ever heard of," mostly providing a visual backdrop for three of Humboldt's finest deep underground bands: international floorcore stars Starving Weirdos, the inimitable Pipe(s) of The Doctor of Witchcraft (who invite you to "experience the modern day cult of Pythagoras") and acousto-electro-improv collective thelittlestillnotbigenough. In between bands they'll screen short films by assorted experimentalists.
Saturday is reggae time at ATL with former Black Uhuru lead singer Junior Reid, plus JA-born Humboldt transplant Stevie Culture and Arcata's own Jah Sun.
Buried in the recent story about the revival of the Arcata and Eureka theaters was brief mention of the Garberville Theater, another classic old movie house struggling to stay alive in trying times. A series of fundraisers for the Garberville kicks off Saturday with a concert featuring tons of music by SoHum/NoHum bands and musicians including NPK, St. John and the Sinners, The Nestburys, NightHawk, the SoHum Girls (who are not all girls), half a dozen solo/duo acts and visual effects by Mark Zachary's Cosmic Goo. "We are committed to keeping the theater open, so we have to find new ways to try and cover the ever increasing costs," said Chris Brannan, who owns the place with his partner Brigette Brannan of NightHawk. Show your support and help save the Garberville!