If you’re a record collector, you’ve probably read that there are very few vinyl pressing plants left in the USA today, causing massive delays for popular releases on vinyl. But, if you’re a cassette tape collector, you may not know that there is only ONE factory still making analog, magnetized cassette tapes for music.
When all the other manufacturers moved to CD replication in the 1990s, the National Audio Company held on tight to their tapes, even buying out their former competitors’ equipment. With a major re-emergence in the last decade of cassette-only music labels and album releases from independent musicians everywhere, this Springfield, MO, plant is busier than ever.
Learn all about National Audio Company in this cool little video from Bloomburg Business and relive the salad days of the Walkman.
Marin singer-songwriter Audrey Auld-Mezera died at her home in Stinson Beach after a battle with cancer on Sunday, August 9, surrounded by family and friends. She was 51. Auld was a beloved figure in the North Bay country music scene, a gifted lyricist and vocalist who was generous with her time and talents.
Born in Tasmania, Auld spent most of her music career living in Marin County, until she moved with her husband Mez Mezera to Nashville in 2007 to be a part of the music business there. Though she was never far from Marin, returning often to perform and visit with friends. Diagnosed with cancer last year, Auld returned to her “American home” as she called it to spend her final months in the North Bay.
In the wake of Auld’s passing, the community has praised her music and her character. On the KRSH’s weekly Monday night program ‘Evening Muse,’ host Robin Pressman spoke of Auld’s ” irrepressible and radiant” spirit; and she echoed those sentiments in an email to the Bohemian. “Audrey’s smile entered the room first, followed closely by her laughter, and then that sassy Aussie accent. And she used her joyous nature to help others,” said Pressman.
Auld built up an impressive resume of music over the course of 11 albums and three EP’s on her own Reckless Records label. Her last album, Hey Warden, especially highlights her authentic and generous personality. Released in November of 2014, the album was recorded with inmates at San Quentin Federal Prison, a passion project for the songwriter who had lead workshops and offered performances at the institution since 2006. Her ability to connect to others, no matter the circumstances, and to positively impact those around her will be remembered as fondly as her music.
San Francisco string band the Brothers Comatose are beloved in the North Bay and beyond for their stirring original tunes and striking vocal harmonies. Formed four years ago by siblings Ben and Alex Morrison, the band imbues their traditional roots folk music with an infectious and accessible modernity that’s been drawing in crowds young and old alike. Already a mainstay on West Coast music fests and a headlining act in California, the Brothers this year have decided to take things to the hills and host their own festival in the Sierra Mountains. They’ve dubbed it “Comatopia.”
Taking place throughout the weekend of August 14-16, Comatopia is billed as a string summit at the Sierra Valley Lodge in Calpine, CA, about an hour north of Truckee. Joining the Brothers are a cavalcade of other Bay Area and North Bay folk, rock and jazz acts, giving the fest a versatile sound.
Comatopia kicks off on Friday, Aug 14, with headliners Hot Buttered Rum String Band joined by Steve Poltz and the Easy Leaves. Saturday, Aug 15, sees the Brothers Comatose headlining with support from the Sam Chase, Dixie Giants and Steve Poltz once again. Sunday, Aug 16, includes an All Star Bluegrass Jam in the afternoon with all the players taking part and getting down in the picturesque setting.
Comatopia takes place August 14-16 at the Sierra Valley Lodge, 103 Main Street, Calpine. $25 and up. 503.562.7051. Tickets are available now, with optional VIP, camping and room packages.
The musical minds running Gundlach Bundschu Winery are at it again, working with Bay Area concert curators (((folkYEAH!))) to bring the best in indie-minded bands and songwriters to Sonoma Valley. Today, the two partners announced a pair of new shows, with Gun Bun welcoming Cat Power on Wednesday, September 2, and Bonnie “Price” Billy on Sunday, September 27.
Enigmatic singer and songwriter Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, has evolved from a lo-fi punk singer to an acclaimed and eclectic songwriter in her 20-year career. Her most recent album, 2012’s Sun, was praised for its passion and pop sensibility. This summer marks the famously introspective artist’s first live dates since announcing she gave birth to a baby in late April.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy is the stage name for songwriter and occasional actor Will Oldham. Since 1998, Oldham has released the majority of his musical works under the pseudonym, crafting a traditional roots rock and Americana folk with a gutsy, avant-garde approach that always satisfies. His latest LP, 2014’s Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, exemplifies Oldham’s willingness to bend the rules by acting as a covers album to his own previous material with rollicking reworkings and stark new translations of his older tunes.
These two shows are in addition to Gun Bun’s already highly anticipated upcoming concert with Seattle grunge legends Mudhoney and the excellently loud San Francisco garage rockers Fuzz, featuring Ty Segall. That show is scheduled for Friday, October 16.
Huh. Today in totally unexpected news, aging alternative rock group Soul Asylum just switched up venues on their upcoming concert scheduled for Sunday, July 26, from the Uptown Theatre in Napa to the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma.
Last week, the Bohemian covered the band’s current tour and upcoming album, and front man Dave Pirner even volunteered to do an over-the-phone interview that was in every way positive. It seems odd that Soul Asylum and co-headliners the Meat Puppets both pulled out of Napa “for financial reasons,” according to an Uptown box office employee. Translation: not enough dough to play the show.
Theoretically, they believe they can make more money in Petaluma, but does that venue really offer a larger crowd? Seems Napa’s small population and relative isolation (due to really only being accessible by long and windy one-lane roads) has bit their live music scene in the butt once again. Weird.
In America, records came out on Tuesdays. That’s how it had always been, for the last 26 years at least. But, this week, many vinyl seekers may have walked into their favorite brick and mortar record store and found the ‘new release shelf’ conspicuously empty. Beginning today, the record industry is changing their new album release day from Tuesdays to Fridays in a move meant to synch up international markets.
“Its something people are a little confused about,” says Josh Staples. Working the counter at Santa Rosa’s Last Record Store, he says many people think it’s strictly a digital situation, but the new release day affects vinyl and CD sales too. Overall though, he’s not worried about any long-term effects.
“I think its going to be a good thing,” says Staples. He explains the move will actually ease shipping costs for the Last Record Store and that soon “New Music Fridays” will become as easily accepted as “New Music Tuesdays” was back in 1989.
With that in mind, the albums that had to wait an extra 72 hours to come out today, July 10, range from metal-heads Cradle of Filth to Sitar performer Anoushka Shankar. Stop by the store today and get your hands on those sweet end-of-the-week records.
Noah Benjamin Lennox is best known as a member of experimental indie rock group Animal Collective, and under the pseudonym Panda Bear, Lennox has evolved considerably as an electronic artist with a pitch perfect penchant for expansive melodies in his sampled beats. This week, Panda Bear released his fifth solo album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, to universal acclaim; and today at noon tickets go on sale for Panda Bear’s upcoming concert at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma on April 16. This is a great chance to see the indie star in the intimate setting of Gun Bun’s newly restored Old Redwood Barn. Click here to grab tickets to the show, and watch the official video for “Mr Noah,” the first single off the new album.
As I write this, TMZ is reporting that Michael Jackson has died.
While I, like the rest of the world, keep refreshing the New York Times and CNN for a more reputable confirmation, I share a piece of my discussion with Kate, the Bohemian calendar editor.
“What if,” I posited, “he wasn’t actually dead? I think that’d be crazier than him actually dying—if TMZ jumped the gun and got it wrong.”
“Yeah, right,” Kate replied. “Like, wouldn’t it be awesome for Michael Jackson if he actually wasn’t dead?”
She paused. “I mean, other than he’d get to be alive?”
(Update: He’s Gone.)