Dusty Groove America

Behind the Counter: Dusty Groove America (Chicago, IL)

Located at 1120 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago, Dusty Groove America is one of the nation’s top independent record stores. What started with “a few college DJs at WHPK, 88.5 FM on the south side of Chicago” is now a vinyl mecca with an up-to-the-minute online store, specializing in hard-to-find reissues. In a recent Q&A for ALARM, owner Rick Wojcik answered a few questions and selected a few of Dusty Groove’s top CD reissues (pictured below).

Gene Shaw Quintet: Breakthrough
Gene Shaw Quintet: Breakthrough

Which albums has your store sold the most over the past month?

It’s not like we have any real “hits,” since we don’t sell much contemporary music, like indie rock, which would make it easier to talk about in terms of big records that have defined a season. Every day we add hundreds of different new titles to the racks, usually just one copy at a time, so we’re less likely to have this sort of focus than other stores.

Goner Records

Behind the Counter: Goner Records (Memphis, TN)

Each Tuesday, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

Memphis, Tennessee’s Goner Records specializes in punk, soul, blues, funk, and heavy-metal LPs and 45s, with a label that is home to some ALARM favorites. What other record store can boast its own annual rock-‘n’-roll festival exhibiting bands from all across the globe?  Shop owner Eric Friedl (of The Oblivians) spoke with ALARM and shared the story behind Goner.

Goner Records co-owner Eric Friedl holds Junkpile Jimmy: Alberhill (self-released)
Goner Records co-owner Eric Friedl holds Junkpile Jimmy: Alberhill (self-released)

Behind the Counter: The Corner Record Shop (Grandville, MI)

Each week, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

The Corner Record Shop in Grandville, Michigan started out in a tiny corner room behind an old Dutch bakery.  Eleven years later, owner Steve Williamson and his “no judgment” staff cater to young and old alike, offering their talents in the two-room spot with an audio-repair shop, stereo showroom, and venue (still in the works). Employee Brian Beckwith shares some thoughts with us.

The Corner Record Shop

The Black Heart Procession works with Lee “Scratch” Perry and Eluvium on new EP

Brooding indie rockers The Black Heart Procession have announced a limited-edition mini-album entitled Blood Bunny / Black Rabbit, to be released on October 12 (Temporary Residence Limited). The EP will include three new songs, a collaboration with reggae/dub pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry, and a 10-minute orchestral reconstruction of the song “Drugs” by ambient artist Eluvium.  Listen to the EP’s opening track below.

The Black Heart Procession: “Blank Page”


Additionally, in celebration of the album release, The Black Heart Procession will tour this fall alongside label-mate The Books (coming off its recent, stellar performance in Chicago’s Millennium Park).

Yann Tiersen to release next studio album on Anti-

Multi-instrumentalist / composer Yann Tiersen won acclaim for his beautiful score in the hit French film Amelie. Though the film features pop-based rolling melodies, it was a bit of a departure from his early work, which blended classical, folk, and post-punk sounds. Tiersen’s new album returns to that earlier style, employing a wide array of instruments and spanning many genres.

The result of a two-year creative process, Dustlane will be released on October 12 by Anti-, which put out Sage FrancisLi(f)e (featuring Tiersen’s collaboration on “The Best of Times”). Tiersen plays classical instruments like acoustic guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, and banjo, while adding harder sounds with toy drums, electric guitars, bass, and synthesizers. Lofty vocal choruses contrast dramatic narration by Matt Elliot (Mogwai, Blonde Redhead).

Folk experimentalists Pillars & Tongues to tour Midwest and West Coast

Adding to the 250 performances across North America and Europe that folk experimentalists Pillars & Tongues have delivered within the past three years, the Chicago-based trio is now headed west on a month-long tour promoting its latest release, Lay of Pilgrim Park (Endless Nest).

Starting in the Midwest at the onset of September, the group will travel across the country, closing the tour with a Daytrotter session on October 3.

Read music editor Scott Morrow’s review of Lay of Pilgrim Park on This Week’s Best Albums and listen to a track from the album.

Brian Eno teams with Jon Hopkins, Leo Abrahams for Warp debut

English ambient pioneer Brian Eno has partnered with fellow crossover artists Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams to release his next album, Small Craft on a Milk Sea, out November 2 on Warp Records. The album, available as CD and high-quality download, will also be available in a limited-edition or collectors’-edition box set, both designed by Eno.

We don’t know how Small Craft on a Milk Sea will sound yet, but Hopkins and Abrahams are excellent picks for collaboration.  Hopkins’ 2009 album Insides made our list of 50 unheralded albums from last year.