Buffet, the band.
Everything might happen for a reason, sure. While I can’t rule that option out, I’m thinking probably not, though. Most of the time any reason, or reasons, would be as random, or illogical, or inexplicable, or downright dumbass, without meaning, devoid of any planning, only turning out to be the result of the endless, boring, repetitive, and random mysteries of the moment with no more malice or forethought or “divine” engine behind it than the simple passing of time, the passing from youth into older age, from inexperience into experience: humans being humans. If there are happy accidents then surely there must be unhappy other things as well, all fuel for those hunters after drama and darkness.
Sometimes I wonder how I would be able to live my life if every time I make a mistake someone was there ready to put it down in print, to attribute it to a grand plot to upset the balance of right and wrong. I’d be so fucked if that were the case. Most of us would be. So fuck the recent bad press about Calvin Johnson and K Records and the upsets and sinking ships and legal briefs and drama hunters. We weren’t there, we don’t know, and those who were there are on it now, searching for a way out, a way back into the light. So we can all get back to the music, and our collective humanity.
Thing is, Calvin Johnson gave us so much cool: cool music, cool radio, cool record label, cool analog retro recordings, cool vinyl, cool cassette tapes, cool interviews, cool discoveries, all flowing through his teeming creativity and restless mind searching for the “new,” the exciting, to entertain and enthrall us. To have him close out the first night of The Business Presents, the mini music festival and brainchild of Nick Rennis and his own teeming, restless imagination for what a modern-day record shop might be in a ruined landscape where most people have no idea how to sell music, in a world where most people hate new music, was a brilliant healing moment at a time when the darkness seemed poised to win big victories against all of us who just want more great music, who just want to pause to remember fallen friends, who want kindness more than the hammer blows of media bullying. Johnson’s Selector Dub Narcotic is just another band in his evolution as a performer, human, and unique creative explorer. Meeting him was exciting. Watching him perform was happy healing escape.
Things break. In Japan, they fix broken objects like tea bowls with gold to celebrate the break, to make it visible, to make it more valuable as a thing mended than as a broken thing to be thrown away. We all break things. We crash through our lives and leave our scratch marks on everything we smash into pieces. Polymaths like Johnson and Rennis, surveyors and purveyors of what might be, challenge us by asking the important larger questions about why we’re here and what we should do with the time we have before us. The answers can be found, but it’s hard work. Each new insight slowly downloads into our brains and we move ahead, haltingly, randomly. We all run out of time. This is just a crazy experiment in being alive, people. Just do shit. Make shit. Be kind. And fix it when it breaks.
Austin-based loner, wanderer, song-collector, explorer, experimenter, Afrolachian, curator of cultural inheritance, Ralph White is a man who would have amused the likes of Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” even as his versions of bluegrass cross boldly into the exposed and unprotected lands of punk. His tunings would have impressed the likes of Nick Drake. White lives and works outside of the small definitions that rule the rest of our lives. Just imagine what it must take, to let go that much, of all the structures and desires that bind us and keep us trapped in our limitations. Here he’s playing an in-store show at the exciting new space at The Business, two one-hour sets, unflagging in the summer heat, in Anacortes, WA; storytelling and camping and playing his unfolding songs up the West Coast, living close to the earth, traveling in light. The original riverman.
They’re back. Overcoming the loss of their lease at their previous location in Anacortes, Washington, and then recovering from a fire in their new location (before they officially took possession), The Business record shop has started its new life in Anacortes, in their stunning new digs at 216 Commercial Avenue (just a couple of blocks from where they were). It’s been emotional for Nick Rennis and Evie Opp, but they’re back with an expanded shopfront, an expanding distro business, and now a new subscription program. Browsers and subscribers needed. Their new subscription program is available for both in-store pickup and can be shipped globally.
According to Nick and Evie, you can choose from:
Distro- Cassette Subscription – One tape from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($60)
Distro- CD Subscription – One CD from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($120)
Distro- Vinyl Subscription – One record from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($200)
Custom Vinyl Subscription – One record selected by their experts for you each month for 12 months (includes a fun questionnaire). ($240)
Premium Distro-/Custom Vinyl Subscription – One record from their family of labels plus one record selected by their experts for you and one 7″ each month for 12 months. ($500)
(Domestic shipping adds $50 to any subscription.)
Music is life. And The Business has been part of that life in Anacortes since 1978. It’s a project. It’s an experiment. It’s a testament.
216 Commercial Ave.
Anacortes, WA 98221 USA
A local sighting of Ever Ending Kicks (Paul Benson) playing an in-store at The Business in Anacortes, Washington. The Business is becoming one of the most sought-after vinyl distro hubs in the U.S. I’m not kidding. It’s also a tour stop for many bands. There’s a lot of history in that small record shop. We at Untide Records are damn proud to be distributed by The Business. Damn proud.
Our next LP from Untide Records is officially at the plant, a double LP reissue, first time on vinyl, of Chris Pureka‘s haunting “How I Learned to See In the Dark.” This collection will include the full CD release, mastered for vinyl, and one side of bonus live-studio tracks done at the legendary Daytrotter Sessions studio. A modern master recording artist, this is a career-defining record for Chris. Vinyl is good.
And here’s a video of Chris performing “Wrecking Ball,” which is on “How I Learned to See In the Dark.”
A rare sighting of the recording artist Karl Blau playing on the steps of the Unknown Studio in Anacortes, Washington. From my archive.