In our spare time, [husband and co-owner] Marc Shafler and I listen to our LP collection—Barbara Lynn, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Betty LeVette, and [1985 Earthworks Records compilation] The Indestructible Beat of Soweto. I listen to old friends who have played Helsinki that I love, like Olu Dara and Mose Allison. Local artists are particularly important to us. I'm always wondering what new bent Tommy Stinson is taking. Otto Hauser is always up to something interesting. Bobby Previte and the monster players for his Voodoo Orchestra North series are hot stuff. There's Simi Stone, Gail Ann Dorsey, Alexis P. Suter, the Wiyos, Stephen Merritt, Kris Perry, Jordon Weller and the Feathers, the Faux Meek, Young Paris, Lady Moon, Murali Coryell, my duo, the Double D's, and many others. I'm looking forward to music in 2014 from Trapper Schoepp and the Shades, Holly Williams, Lake Street Dive, Devon Allman, Emily Wells, Simone Felice, Frankie Lee, Swear and Shake, Elvis Perkins, King Krule, and Chic Gamine.
I started the year off listening to a Chilean double-header: Föllakzoid's 2 brings a super-tight, poundingly austere, modern, motorik sound, while the Holydrug Couple's Noctuary (both Sacred Bones Records) tends more toward hazy meditations ruminating between equal parts sun and shadow. She Beats (Chapter Music) by Beaches has nice hooks and a great balance of fire and air. After years of reaffirming my love for the classic Wire LPs Chairs Missing and 154 (1978 and 1979, consecutively; reissued by Pink Flag Records), I realized maybe it was time to stop sleeping on Colin Newman's solo material from relatively the same era. So, so good! I continue to be amazed by Craig Leon's Nommos (1981; reissued on Superior Viaduct). I've dug performances locally from Lea Bertucci, Silent Isle, and Alexander Turnquist. I'm looking forward to new releases from Amen Dunes, Sunn O))), Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, and the new collaboration by Donovan Quinn and Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance.
This year, the albums we've spun the most include Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer's Child Ballads (Wilderland Records), the Murphy Beds' The Murphy Beds (Independent), Robert Sarazin Blake's Robert Sarazin Blake (Independent), A. C. Newman's Shut Down the Streets (Matador Records), the Milk Carton Kids' The Ash & Clay (ANTI Records), Dan Bern's Hannukah Songs (Independent), and Aoife O'Donovan's Fossils (Yep Roc Records). I saw Leonard Cohen this year, so I dove pretty deeply into his catalog. There's always some classics on our turntable: early Beatles, the Clash, Bob Marley, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Jack White, Dave Van Ronk, Donovan, The Band, Clarence Carter, '60s ska. Amy Helm is making incredible music and doing a lot to champion local players, and Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton remain central to the scene. Natalie Merchant has a new record coming out next year that I'm excited to hear. Connor Kennedy's band is sounding great. We love the Big Takeover. I heard some great recordings by Lovesick recently. And I hear Josh Ritter just moved to the area. We're releasing a live record this winter, as well as starting work on a new Mike and Ruthy studio record.