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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Print: Celebrate Record Store Day, and Twin Shadow's Reagan-Era Pop

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 11:24 AM

  • Andy Stattmiller

A Vinyl Occasion: For the independent record stores of the world, Christmas comes every year on the third Saturday in April. It's called Record Store Day, and since modestly beginning in 2007, this impromptu consumer holiday has grown into a worldwide celebration of music stores, rare releases, and vinyl. For struggling indies hemmed in by the popularity of online shopping on one hand and big-box retail on the other, Record Store Day provides an important influx of attention -- and revenue. "It was our biggest day of the year last year," says Tony Green, a product manager at Amoeba Music, who estimates that Record Store Day brings the giant Haight Street retailer about two and a half times the business of a regular Saturday. "It's massive."

Last year, about 200 people lined up outside Amoeba before opening time, snaking through the McDonald's parking lot and up Stanyan Street. They were waiting for a thrill that only Record Store Day can offer: acquiring ultrarare new releases on the first (and often only) day they're sold...

Twin Shadow's Smooth Pop: It's hard to blame music writers for so frequently using "Twin Shadow" and "the 1980s" in the same sentence. In the roughly one year since George Lewis Jr.'s solo project turned four-piece caught the attention of critics, Twin Shadow has been regularly compared to artists associated with the era of Ronald Reagan, Nintendo, and brooding comic books. Pick your distinctively coiffed poison -- the Smiths, the Cure, Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, Billy Idol -- and chances are some scribe has already used it as a reference point.

Those tags may seem clichéd, but they're deserved. Last year's debut album, Forget, produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, sports all the key traits of what's popularly considered "'80s music" (basically New Wave pop): It is never too jagged around the edges, cushioning guitar hooks with slinking synths and Taylor's signature dreamy production quality. And it balances glossy melodies with hints of rawness, tiptoeing toward its emotional revelations before reeling back into polished pop...

Also: We recommend shows from Wire, Lightning Bolt, and DJ Kentaro's Japan benefit.

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Ian S. Port


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