She might be best known as the drummer for Natalie Merchant and Ani DiFranco, but Allison Miller is an accomplished artist in her own right, standing out in a crowded NYC jazz scene with her compositions and skills behind the kit. Her sophomore album with Boom Tic Boom — a group that includes pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman (Bill Frisell), and bassist Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco) — is another such testament.
Each week, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.
POPshop & Spazz Records in West Monroe, Louisiana, is a record store and art boutique run by Brad and Leslie Richman. With a focus on metal and punk, the dual-purpose storefront is, according to its owners, the only store in the area to carry new vinyl releases. For its favorite-record photos, Brad, Leslie, and employee Erica Hijazi went all out, coordinating their clothing (and beverages) with their picks. It’s that attention to detail that makes POPshop & Spazz the focus of this week’s column.
What is Spazz Records, and how does POPshop figure into the equation?
Spazz Records has been in existence for about four years. It began as a small record store and venue for weekly open mic performances, band shows, and other events. We’ve recently moved and expanded to become both a record shop (with used and new vinyl, CDs, and cassettes) and a unique boutique, POPshop, full of local art, handmade goods, and other cool stuff. We still host free monthly all-ages shows for local bands, and participate in local events and charities.
What is the musical community like West Monroe, Louisiana?
Our area is made up of Monroe, West Monroe, and several other smaller towns in Northeast Louisiana. There has always been a strong musical presence at any given time, with styles and bands changing through the years. We have outdoor festivals such as Delta Fest and Celtic Fest, as well as year-round schedules of local and touring bands playing at various bars, clubs, and other venues. We are proud to carry several local bands’ releases, and we are active in helping promote local music.