Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Now Distributing Polysom!

Thursday, August 7th, 2014


We are happy to announce that we are now distributing the Brazilian label Polysom. Hidden in the Rio suburb of Belford Roxo, Polysom not only reissues some amazing classic Brazilian LPs but also runs the only pressing and production plant in all of South America.

Polysom was founded by Nilton Rocha in 1997 with equipment purchased from Brazilian major labels Poly Gram and Continental. When demand for vinyl slowed in the 90s due to the onset of the compact disc era, manufacturers in South America began to slip into extinction. Rocha made it decades before the diminished demand forced him to pulled the plug on Polysom. However, the owners of the Brazilian independent label Deckdisc purchased Polysom in 2009 and reopened it the next year. Since then, Polysom has been full steam ahead, producing top notch vinyl with quality on par with its northern hemispheric counterparts. The future is now bright for Polysom as they plan to begin offering picture discs and colored vinyl.


Michael Chapman & Julie Byrne | Live In Todmorden, England!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014


*Poster by Jess Rotter

We will be hosting our first ever official event outside of North America in Todmorden, England on Sunday August 24th!

The Unitarian Church in the town centre (2 minute walk from Todmorden Station) will play host to an evening with the local folk maverick MICHAEL CHAPMAN. Also on the bill is JULIE BYRNE who will be in the town on her first trip UK tour. Julie’s recent debut album Rooms With Walls and Windows is a stunning slice of front porch psych folk and live she’s even more enchanting.

Our very own Matt Sullivan will also be spinning records throughout the night. Doors will be at 6pm and the live music will be over by 10pm (plenty of time for last trains to Manchester and Leeds).

For those of you who aren’t in a rush to hope a train, the after party (it’s a bank holiday afterall) will be down the road at the 3 Wise Monkeys. Live Dj set from local favorites White Rabbit, aA and Duende.

For additional information and to purchase a ticket visit

Friends of LITA | Q&A With Bill Bentley

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014


*Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle

Bill Bentley, the Texas/LA music journalist, publicist, label executive, and producer, has had an impressive and lengthy career in music. Bill first cut his teeth as the music editor at the Austin Sun and later at the L.A. Weekly. He was also a club promoter, publicist at Slash Records, Senior VP of media relations at Warner Bros., and now A & R director at Vanguard Records. However, Bill is the antithesis of a typical music industry tie. Kind, sensible, and extremely humble, Bill is a beloved figure whose work is a labor of love driven by respect and admiration for the musicians he works with.  We recently caught up with Bill for a short Q&A, in which we discussed his friendship with Lou Reed, The 13th Floor Elevators last show in Houston, telecommunicating with Skip Spence, and lots more. Read the interview in its entirety below.


You’ve had a very expansive career, working with tons of great artists such as Lou Reed, Neil Young, Roky Erickson, Skip Spence, Jimmy Scott, and many more. Who’s your most memorable artist?  Maybe the one that you’ll tell the great grandkids about?  

My most memorable artist was Lou Reed. That could be because since 1967 and hearing the first Velvet Underground album, I fell under his spell. Or it could be because in the ’70s in Austin I became close with Velvet guitarist Sterling Morrison, who had an encyclopedic memory of the entire life of the Velvet Underground and had been waiting for someone to tell it to. I joke that I graduated from VU, just listening to Sterling’s stories for three years. But Lou himself was beyond heroic. He was an artist who always thought of his creations first and then let everything else come second. He wanted to be popular, but more importantly he was driven to follow the sound in his head. He was a genius songwriter as well. We met in 1988 and I worked with him for 20 years. We were talking about a new album the summer before he died (October 2013). He remained on fire forever, and I learned so much about being true to yourself from him. He told me once, “Don’t let anyone change your mind,” among so many other valuable things. I still get shivers with what I learned from Lou. He definitely changed my life.


I hear you have a funny story about the first time you meet Lou Reed. Care to share it with us?

The first time I met Lou was when I went to New York in fall of 1988 to interview him for a promo CD about the debut Sire album New York. We were going to send that recorded interview to the press. I had written Lou a letter a month before saying how excited I was about working with him and also about my years of friendship with Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison in Austin during the ’70s. So I walked into the studio to meet Lou, who saw me and said, “Come with me.” We went into a small room and he said, very factually, “Sterling remembers everything and I remember nothing. Do we have that straight?” I said, “Absolutely,” then we went back into the studio and started a 25-year friendship. I think Lou wanted to make the point that this wasn’t going to be about the past and whatever Sterling had related about the ’60s. Boy was he right: Sterling remembered EVERYTHING and wasn’t shy about sharing it.


Last year, we reissued Roky Erickson‘s first three solo albums. You’re a longtime Roky and 13th Floor Elevators fan. You produced the 1990 Roky Erickson tribute album Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, which helped raise funds for him and revamped his career. What is it about Roky’s music that resonates with you? 

During the 1960s when Roky Erickson was the lead singer in the 13th Floor Elevators, I became a rabid fan of the band in Houston, where their label was located. They played there all the time, and we would follow them from gig to gig like total true believers. Roky’s voice had the fervor of Little Richard but also a massive dose of mysticism in it. Maybe that was because the Elevators’ lyricist Tommy Hall was a person who believed in expression, the power of spiritualism in music, and the way LSD could help listeners get there. We joined the cult, and never quit.


I also read that you were at the last 13th Floor Elevators show in 1968. Can you tell us about that performance?

I saw the last 13th Floor Elevators show at the Love Street Light Circus and Feel-Good Machine in Houston in 1968. It was a club where you could lay down on the floor with pillows and watch the band. The Elevators were in tatters, and Roky sang with his back to the audience for most of the night. He was also singing a different song than the band was playing, which was accidentally avant-garde, to say the least. Guitarist Stacy Sutherland looked in bad shape, and by the end of the night he wasn’t even onstage. He left. I knew it was over that night.


*Interior of Love Street, circa 1968

One of our favorite records here at Light In The Attic is Skip Spence’s 1969 solo album Oar. You’re also a big fan of Skip, and, much like with Roky, you produced a tribute album: More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album, which helped raise money for Skip’s medical bills and garnered greater attention to his music. What was it like working with Skip?

Working on the Skip Spence tribute album More Oar was a complete trip. Skip was living in a trailer in Santa Cruz and wasn’t really conversant on the phone, but his publisher Lynn Quinlan was speaking with Skip to get all the lyrics so other artists could do his songs. It was like a tag-team affair. After everything was done, I heard Skip was in the hospital, so I took the finished tape and went there to play it for him. He was in a coma, so I had to leave the tape with the nurse. I did get to sit in the room with him for an hour and try to telecommunicate a bit. I heard the next week when he regained consciousness, his family played him More Oar, and Skip listened with a smile and when the last song finished, he closed his eyes and died. Right then. I got chills when I found out, but it sure made me ecstatic that Skip got to hear how much all the artists loved his music.


This year for Record Store Day, we reissued Stephen John Kalinich’s 1969 LP A World of Peace Must Come. You’ve been friends with Stevie for a long time. How did you first meet and get turned on to his poetry?

I met Stephen John Kalinich in 1982, shortly after I moved to Los Angeles from Austin. He was friends with an artist named Renee Ciral, who was friends with my then girlfriend and now wife Melissa. So we got to be friends really fast, and he told me about the album Brian Wilson had produced of him in 1969, but the tape had gotten lost for over thirty years. Then one day Stephen found the tape, and then we started our quest to get it released. Luckily, Light in the Attic came to the rescue.


The jazz singer Jimmy Scott recently passed. Jimmy had an unquietly beautiful contralto voice, which was the result of a medical condition he had since birth. You co-executive produced his album All The Way in 1992. How did that project come about? 

I read a story about Jimmy Scott by Jimmy McDonough in the Village Voice in 1988. Almost a year later, I saw he was playing a club in New York so I went and fell in love with his voice right then. I began a crusade to get him signed, but no one would go see him. Then Jimmy Scott sang at Doc Pomus’ funeral, and Seymour Stein from Sire Records was there. Seymour immediately said he’d sign Jimmy, and that first album, All the Way, is the end result. It started a long adventure with Jimmy that was second-to-none for me. He did it all, from world tours, documentaries, collaborations with Lou Reed, David Lynch, David Byrne, Bruce Springsteen, and dozens of others and on and on. It never ended with Jimmy. We spoke a week before he died, and he was as hopeful as ever to keep going. Jimmy Scott never said goodbye. When it was time to sign off, he’d always say, “In a minute.” I loved that about him, among so many things. He was a true hero to me.


Do you have any unique memories of Jimmy you care to share?

One of my great memories with Jimmy was his first night in L.A. after his comeback. It was a small club, but he had so many fans there, from Jack Nitzsche, Ry Cooder, Joe Pesci, and a dozen others. He took me aside, held my hand, and thanked me from the bottom of his heart. He knew a new life was starting for him, and it almost didn’t happen. It touched me to the core. So many things were to come, but that moment I was so grateful to have met a man like that. Then, years later, there was big Hollywood premiere of his documentary If You Only Knew. 800 people were at the Egyptian Theatre to see it, but the projector didn’t work. So before the audience filed out very disappointed, they rolled a piano out onstage and Jimmy sang two songs. Everyone was so overwhelmed they almost forgot the movie projector didn’t work.That was Jimmy’s strength: to inspire and heal his listeners.



We recently reissued two Vanguard titles by Bob Frank and Peter Walker as part of our ongoing Vanguard Vault series. As the A & R director of Vanguard, what album do you think we should reissue next from Vanguard?

If I could pick the next Light in the Attic reissue from the Vanguard vaults, it would be Garland Jeffreys and Grinder’s Switch’s only album for the label. It came out in 1970 and is like an intriguing mix of The Band and Velvet Underground, which makes sense, because Jeffreys went to Syracuse University with Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison from the Velvets in the early ’60s, and then his band backed John Cale on Cale’s first solo album Vintage Violence. On that album, they called themselves Penguin, which got to me right away because I’m a big fan of penguins. Jeffreys went on to establish a great career starting with his Atlantic Records album in 1973 that is still one of my favorite releases ever. He produced it with Michael Cuscuna, and has people like Bernard Purdie, Paul Griffin, Dr. John, Fathead Newman, Richard Davis, and even the Persuasions on it. Also, he was one of the first rockers to record in Jamaica, and the song from those sessions, “Bound to Get Ahead Someday, is a classic. Jeffreys writes songs that mix so many influences, but they always have an extremely personal vision which no one else has quite matched. He’s just as good now as he has always been and carries the rock & roll torch proudly. The last time I looked on Amazon, the one copy available of the CD that was briefly out is listed for $566.41. Seriously. It’s time for action, Light in the Attic!


Before we let you go, can you share with us what you’ve been listening to lately?

Right now I’m obsessed with a singer-songwriter named John Fullbright. He’s from Oklahoma and is right on the edge of greatness. It reminds me of the time I first heard Townes Van Zandt in 1965. You could tell something serious was up, and it was just a matter of time before the world found out. I think Fullbright has that greatness in him, and while not every song gets there, enough do that you can tell he’s on the list of those who really can make a mark.

Also, lately I’ve been listening to this deep singer-songwriter from Scotland named Richard Macintyre. His band is named Siiga, and he’s from the Isle of Skye there. I can’t stop listening to his debut release. He played in Los Angeles a month ago at Hotel Café, and I got to see him live, then found the album. It hit me right where great music always does: the heart. Hopefully we’ll work together someday. No matter what, the world will definitely discover Macintyre. You can just feel it coming. When I hear his music, it makes me wonder what it must have been like at Warner Bros. Records in 1967 when they first heard Van Morrison’s test pressing of the Astral Weeks album. Coming off the huge Top 40 hit “Brown-Eyed Girl,” I would bet the label thought they’d be getting something different, but hopefully they knew they were in the presence of something timeless with songs like “Madame George” and “Cypress Avenue.” Music is something without rules, and my feeling is always to look for surprises, because today’s surprise could well be tomorrow’s legend. When you really think about it, the cosmos is in control anyway.

Free Basin’ Friday | Summer Edition

Friday, June 27th, 2014


Summer is here! Time to bust out the BBQ and fill up the kitty pool.  In celebration of the summer solstice, this week for Free Basin’ Friday we’re giving away a copy of Kindred Spirits reissue of L’Orchestre Sidi Yassa De Kayes - L’Orchestre Sidi Yassa De Kayes!


For a chance to win this week’s prize, tell us what’s your favorite summer record (an album that always gets loving during your 4th of July BBQ) and why. The winner will be notified next Friday via email.


Weekly Distro Roundup with Jon Treneff!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014


Happy Father’s Day week! Here at LITA World HQ (LLC, Inc. ) we feel the mixed emotions you may be going through leading up to this most holy of days. Namely, what to buy for the Dad who has everything, and hates everything he doesn’t have? We feel your pain, my brethren! But no matter who yer daddy is this year, we’ve got something to put the spring back in his Buster Browns! What’s that you say – YOU’RE the Daddy here?! Even better! Treat yourself, Big Papa!


Staple Singers – Uncloudy Day / Will The Circle Be Unbroken? / Swing Low

Hallelujah! After decades of basically ZERO presence on vinyl, Mississippi brings the Staple Singers back into the 12″ realm. These are exact repros of the famous family’s first three albums, and as important to gospel and American music as Johnny Cash or Loretta Lynn were to country. Though they went on to great Top Ten chart success in the ’70s with the Stax label, these early Vee-Jay recordings are arguably their most enduring legacy. Far from the typical soul-groove recordings still heard on the radio today, these records are basically (barely) electrified Southern spirituals – minimal and haunting songs stripped to the marrow, with only Pops’ Staples heavily reverbed guitar and his offspring’s heavenly voices holding the music aloft. Timeless, transportive hymns that transcend decades, centuries, and tastes. You need this in your life.


Guy Skornik – Pour Pauwels
(Lion Productions)

Big SKOR for fans of French pop – and eccentric art-pop in general! Guy Skornik was a mystic explorer, gifted musician, and member of the forward-thinking Popera Cosmic collective. When he wasn’t busy presenting television reports on Eastern mysticism and LSD, he was recording orchestrated prog-pop, culminating in 1970′s Pour Pauwels LP. Inspired by counterculture hero and author Louis Pauwels’ revolutionary bestseller The Morning of the Magicians, Pour Pauwels is a heady concept album that manages to forge all of Skornik’s interests into a classic of French prog-pop. Right up there with Serge Gainsbourg’s Melody Nelson and the trailblazing work of Jean-Claude Vannier. Limited to 500 and going fast!


Country Lips – Nothing To My Name
(Country Lips)

After years of road-testing in the West Coast’s top dives and speakeasys, Seattle’s rowdiest sawdust stompers bring forth their debut album. What’s all the ruckus about?! These guys pretty much spell it out for you in the name – COUNTRY music, with a lotta LIP!!! Rolling through nine members deep, this wrecking crew takes the M.O. of ’70′s outlaw country a la Willie, Waylon, and Johnny Paycheck and cranks the foot-stompin’ factor up to 11! Incredibly, Nothing To My Name manages to translate the energy of their raucous live show to wax, while spotlighting the group vocal harmonies that can get lost in the heated moment of a live hootenany. Get your summer off to a proper rip-snortin’ start!

All titles mentioned above are available through our online shop or at our Seattle record shop (913 NW 50th St., Ballard). The shop is open Friday 12-8pm and Saturday 12-4pm.

Weekly Distro Roundup with Jon Treneff!

Thursday, June 5th, 2014


Shadoks vinyl!!!  Shadoks vinyl!!!  Shadoks vinyl!!!  Shadoks vinyl!!!  Shadoks vinyl!!!  We’re over the moon over here!  After all, it’s not every day (or life, for that matter) you get the chance to work with the esteemed and legendary Shadoks label! Shadoks has been at the forefront of amazing boutique psych reissues since boutique psych reissues were just a glimmer in yer pappy’s aviator shades. Every release is a hand-made, painstaking labor of love, with high-quality packaging, sound, and liner notes – in strictly limited editions of 500.

We have stock on the ENTIRE Shadoks vinyl catalog, as well as the fresh slices highlighted below -  all making their debuts on North American shores!  Check the website for the full rundown.


Ernan Roch / Lazarus  / Young Flowers 

Ernan Roch’s La Onda Pesada is one of the great lost Mexican psych-folk classics.  Sung entirely in English, this has a laid-back West Coast groove that we might incline to call “folk-funk,” a la Relatively Clean Rivers, but with fuzzed-out guitar leads that will ring the bell of Quicksilver Messenger Service freaks.  So good!  Lazarus showed up with far more ambitious plans on their impossibly rare debut.  Imagine Soft Machine or Caravan recording a concept album about Lazarus coming back from the dead as a hell-bent zombie and you’re on the right path.  Killer hard-blues/psych – the sound and playing on this is out of this world!  Any heavy head will tell you - Young Flowers were THEE definitive Danish psych/blues act, and “Blomsterpistolen (flower pistols)” is their masterpiece.  Heavily influenced by Hendrix, Cream, Canned Heat, and the like, this record holds it’s own, with an insane guitarist and heavy musical lifting across the board.  There’s a whole world out there – stop and smell the blomsterpistolens!


L’Orchestre Sidi Yassa De Kayes – L’Orchestre Sidi Yassa De Kayes
Le Kene-Star De Sikasso – Hodi Hu Yenyan
Amadou Ballake – Bar Konon Mousso Bar
Woima Collective – Frou Frou Rokko
(Kindered Spirits)

New mother lode of African reissues par excellence from the always reliable Kindred Spirits folks. L’Orchestre Sidi Yassa De Kayes and Le Kene-Star De Sikasso are two peas in a pod, showcasing the movements of some of the scene’s key players. The Mali orchestras worked much as the jazz combo might have worked on this continent – as a revolving door and training ground for young players to cut their teeth in an established group before casting off to form their own combos. Both of these records feature slightly altered combinations of the same players, and follow the same strange, magic thread – sounding as natural as the dirt under foot, and completely unlike anything of the known world. Like catching a phantom satellite signal on your transistor radio, under the sheets.

Amadou Ballake and Woima Collective are the then and now of rambunctious Afro-beat. Mr. Ballake was a James Brown-indebted wailer from Burkina Faso. Bar Konon Mousso Bar was a massive hit in his homeland, for good reason – this whole record is a scorcher that warms up at 360 degreez and just keeps going from there. Top shelf! Woima Collective are an offshoot of German Afro-soul-beat revivalist ground-floorers, Poets of Rhythm (check Daptone’s boss vinyl anthology), and probably one of the more real-deal units doing it, to our Mrs. Dash-seasoned ears. Hotter than a dutch oven in Georgia!


The Vampires – The Vampires Underground
Edip Akbayram – Edip Akbayram
(Pharaway Sounds)

Stop us if we’re windbagging – but it’s been awhile! So many new jams, and they’re all worth your time! Both of these new Pharaway platters are gonna blow doors on your next Go-Go shindig – trust! The Vampires Underground is by far one of the most obscure, and strangest, psych-funk exploitation albums ever. A band of Indian guys in East South Africa playing instrumental psych-garage-surf-funk, The Vampires put their unique stamp everything from “Unchain My Heart” to “Funky Broadway,” making it their own with fuzzed-out guitars, bongos, and a killer rhythm section. The best kind of great record – an accidental one. Along with Erkin Koray and Baris Manco, Edip Akbayram is one of the Big Three when it comes to Turkish delights. This is an exact repro of his debut album, and a totally essential psych-fuzz tome for any and all of the above. Woo-hoo!

All titles mentioned above are available through our online shop or at our Seattle record shop (913 NW 50th St., Ballard). The shop is open Friday 12-8pm and Saturday 12-4pm.

Friends of LITA | Q&A With Dust & Groove’s Eilon Paz

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014


Collecting records is much like collecting anything else. The thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction when you find something really unique or rare is a rewarding experience. There is a zen to collecting, whether it’s vinyl or baseball cards, that is comforting. Vinyl, however, is unique because of it’s abundance and diversity. The wide spectrum of genres, formats and geographical categories could keep a collector occupied for many life times. Our buddy Eilon over at Dust & Grooves recently published a book documenting the art of record collecting. Eilon traveled the world, from Australia to Cuba and Argentina to Ghana, in pursuit of intriguing and memorable subjects. What resulted was a accumulation of over 130 vinyl collectors profiles with photographic essays and in-depth interviews. We recently sat down with Eilon for a short Q&A to talk about his new book.

How did Dust & Grooves first get started?

I was always a record collector. I grew up with vinyl back in Israel. Music was always important in my life; I was always that boy in school who people would come to for music advice. In the ’80s, vinyl was the only format available (except for tapes), until it slowly switched to CDs. But I remained a vinyl person, and as time passed, it started to become associated with nostalgia for me, and with special attention paid to music. That’s also the reason I keep collecting now—the fact that it makes music special, but I’m not an audiophile or a purist.

I moved to NYC in 2008, at the beginning of the big recession, and was jobless for a while. So instead of being busy with work, I found myself spending a lot of time (and money) in record stores. In these periods in life when you have a lot of time, when you’re in a new country, there’s a strong drive to justify the sacrifice you made by leaving your family and friends and coming to a new place; I felt a real drive to do something worthwhile. I was impressed by the abundance of records here and by the vinyl community: people talking about records, buying and selling—even in the streets. So my interest in vinyl perked up when I came here, but what really ignited the flame was reading this article in the Village Voice about this German guy, Frank Gossner, who digs for records in Africa. It was a mind­ blowing story. I found out he was living in Brooklyn and asked him if we could meet, and I told him about this new idea I had to document the vinyl community here. He was supportive, he liked the idea, so he took me to some record stores and I met Joel Oliveira of Tropicalia in Furs, who was great. And that’s where it all started.

I never thought this would be a website or a book. I only wanted to work on a personal photography project, and I found that my unemployment was a good opportunity to do something that I really cared about—to combine these elements of my life that I really loved: music, photography, and vinyl.


You recently published a book which documents record collectors from all around the world, can you tell us a little about the book? What lead you on this epic journey?

It was an evolution of a project that was very dear to me. As I said before, it was never meant to become a book, but the support and encouragement from the vinyl community all around had pushed me to work harder and realize that this little photo project of mine is not just about my personal interest with vinyl; it’s about a whole community that was kind of hiding in the shadows. There were books and articles about record collectors in the past, but I guess there weren’t any projects that were dealing with the subject in that depth and with a photographic angle.

I think it was about two or three years after I started the blog, when King Britt—an artist who had a big influence on me (I used to DJ in bars in Tel Aviv playing his records)—approached me and asked if I would come to his place and profile him and his collection. It was a real pat on the back for me and it made me believe in this project, and it confirmed that I’m on the right path. I spent five hours in King’s house, going through his records, listening to his favorite tracks, shooting, and just having fun. He then pulled out a photo book from his library and started telling me how much he loves photo books. Then he asked, “Why don’t you make a book out of this project?”

Weirdly enough, I dismissed him immediately telling him that I don’t think I have enough material or enough depth for a real book. Thank god King is a man of vision and that he dismissed my comments and insisted that I do have what it takes for a great book. It took me a few more months until I decided to print some of the photos on real paper, not just look at them on the screen.

I spent the entire day in my studio printing 5×7 prints of my favorite shots and then it hit me! It was obvious that these pictures deserved a better format. Just like music on vinyl, these photos just resonated on paper, and also being able to see them all together, made a real impact. (look here) From that day, I started to take the project much more seriously. I decided that this book will become a reality and prepared a plan to raise the funds through Kickstarter and get on a long road trip across the US to collect more material for the book.


(*Photo by Eilon Paz from the book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting)

How long did it take you to complete the book?

A little over two years since I launched the Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been collecting collectors since 2008, but I actually started working on the book in 2012. It was a long and interesting process. I learned so much from it. At first, I was only trying to make a small self­-printed book, 8×8 inch, soft cover, about 200 pages. But the success of the Kickstarter campaign and the support from the vinyl community encouraged me to push my limits and believe in my project and then eventually think much much bigger. The book turned out to be a huge 416­ page hardcover, with two different paper stocks, a fancy slipcase (limited edition) and in-depth interviews and essays by some of my favorite artists.


What is your process when shooting your subjects?

It’s pretty simple and straightforward. I come by myself usually, no other people, no complicated lighting, no writers. It started out like that since I was always doing this project on a low budget, so I couldn’t pay anyone to come and work with me. But then I discovered that this is actually what gives me the ability to get up close and personal with my subject. It’s just two dudes (or a dude and a girl) geeking out about records and occasionally taking some photos. Most people are a bit hesitant in the beginning, but when they drop the needle on one of their favorite albums, they immediately lose all their inhibitions and open up. I always considered music as the number one cure to any mental or emotional illness, and in these moments, it was so clear. Music brings people together.


What have been the most valuable record you have come across?

I don’t care about valuable records.


Who’s collection maybe sticks in your mind the most?

So many! What a tough one. Joe Bussard who I named “King of 78s” has an amazing basement filled with 78s all meticulously lined up and categorized. His record basement is a door into our history. Amazing and important.

Then, on the other end, Dante Candelora, a young kid from Philadelphia, collects all the Sesame Street records that ever existed. Such devotion… Haha.


(*Photo by Eilon Paz from the book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting)

As a connoisseur yourself, what’s your most prized record?

Like I said, I don’t really care about monetary value. It really misses the point. Vinyl is cool and helps you connect with your music and feel more attached to it, but for me, it really doesn’t matter if it’s rare or if it goes for $1000 on eBay.

About a week ago, while traveling in Europe on our book launch tour, I lost my bag of records on the train from Amsterdam to Paris. I was really bummed about it. It took me a full day to really recover, but hey, these records were nothing “special,” all of them were cheap records. So why was I so bummed? It’s because each record had a story. I remember where and when I got each one of them, and they resonated with a period in my life. A record I used to listen when I was 16 back in Israel—gone. A record I picked up from a farmer in Ghana while shooting a story for the book—gone. A James Brown record that always made me feel good—gone. I guess all of these records were my prized possessions. Now, two weeks later, I have moved on, but in
some really weird way, I am now looking for these records when I go and dig.


Although you travel the world documenting record enthusiasts, your home base is in Israel. What’s the scene like there? Are there many serious collectors in Israel?

I grew up in Israel and lived there most of my adult life, but I was never a serious nerdy collector. I always loved music, but I wouldn’t go out and search for records in weird places. Record stores and flea markets were the furthest I would go.  Now, after working on this project for quite a while, I’ve discovered a digging scene in Israel, a scene that I wasn’t part of before I left. It’s fascinating to see what is considered a collectible or a white whale in the Israeli digging scene.

Like so many other things in Israel, which you can label as “it’s complicated,” the music scene was governed by a few elitist “Ashkenazi” dudes, who looked down on any music that came from the North African Jewish music, like Egypt, Morocco, and Ethiopia for example. I guess you can compare it to the black music “revolution” in the mid-century here in the US. Anyways, that music was overlooked or dismissed by the radio and the mainstream media, but in the recent years, people are rediscovering it with a new appreciation of its tradition, and all of a sudden, there is an entire digging scene built around old and forgotten Middle Eastern records, which 20­-30 years ago, nobody gave a shit about.


What do you think it is about vinyl that leads people to amass these huge collections?

We humans share the same illusion of eternal life. We can’t really grasp the idea that we are gonna die and be forgotten one day. Collecting records is a way to deal with that, I think. Same as collecting coins or stamps. The good thing about records is that they play music, and music is the cure for everything. ;­)


Before you take off on yet another vinyl adventure, can you tell us what are you listening to these days?

Whatever comes my way, and a lot comes my way these days. I was getting into some Word Jazz on my recent trip to the UK. Ken Nordine is a genius. My friend Julia turned me onto the music and compositions of Floating Points, which then led me to other artists like Shigeto and Four­Tet. Zach Cowie and Jess Rotter turned me onto a special niche—a combination of old school rock, with a dark smokey cloud above it, kind of psychedelic, experimental artists. Their mixes on Dust & Grooves are among my favorites.

Classics from Jess Rotter for Dust & Grooves by Dust & Grooves on Mixcloud

The Dust & Grooves book is available online and in select record stores.

Please join us this Thursday and Saturday on our book launch parties at Sonos Studio. Details

Friends Of LITA | Q&A With DJ Supreme La Rock

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


(*Photo by Eilon Paz from the book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting)

Wheedle’s Groove - Seattle Funk, Modern Soul & Boogie: Volume II 1972-1987 is now available! Ten years since the release of Volume I,  we’re back with another amazing volume of unheralded Seattle soul and funk. The man that helped bring the Wheedle’s Groove project to life is our bud, the World class DJ and record collector devotee, DJ Supreme La Rock. Without him, the sound of Seattle’s soul and funk scene would still be rotting away in dank dark basements and thrift store dollar bins. We checked in with Mr. Supreme for a short Q&A about the origins of Wheedle’s Groove, collecting vinyl, and the merits of computers in the DJ booth. Read the interview below…


You helped to compile tracks for both Wheedle’s Groove Volumes I & II. How did you first get turned on to these relatively unknown Seattle soul/funk 45s/LPs?

I started buying soul & funk records in the mid 80′s. I found a 45 once on a whim by the Black on White Affair that I liked and the address on the record label was in Seattle. That made me start looking for other local stuff to see what was out there that I didn’t know about.


Do you have a favorite track from the latest Volume II set? And how’d you find the record?

I’d have to go with “Holding On” By Unfinished Business. I obtained the record direct from the lead singer on it after tracking him down in a roundabout way after searching for two years straight. It was his only copy and he was generous enough to let me have it to add it to my local archives.


What’s unique about the Seattle soul sound? How did the scene in the Northwest differ from other parts of the country like the Midwest and East Coast?

The Seattle sound was a well blended mix of different genres that created a unique sound during this time period. The difference between it and anywhere else was the collaboration of different races creating bands as where most funk/soul bands from the Midwest & East Coast were pretty much 100% black. These bands were black, white, asian, native, etc.


You’re known as one of the world’s preeminent diggers and record heads. What advice could you give to an aspiring vinyl collector?

Never judge a record by it’s cover and don’t be afraid to explore genres you WILL be surprised.


You have an impressively expansive record collection. What are your most prized records? Which record alluded you the longest?

It’s hard to say what are my most prized record would be. Each one has a different sentimental meaning to me but the one that alluded me for years was Black Out by the Douglass High School band. I looked for years for my copy. I bought it from a friend that said he’d never let it go but finally did. Of course I’ve found about 4 more copies after adding it to my collection for about half the price I paid. Seems to always work out that way no matter the record. Digging law.



Which record are you still on the hunt for?

I’d still like a Salt “Hung Up” 45. I’ve missed out on a copy about 6 times now. Who’s got me?


As a DJ who spins vinyl, what is your thought on DJs who use computers?

I love technology, I use a computer/serato in about 50% of my DJ sets. There’s nothing wrong with it. My problem is with people that get a computer on Monday and have booked a DJ gig by the Friday. Everyone is NOT a DJ and shouldn’t try to be.


Is there a record you always bring with you when you DJ? Which song is always a surefire way to get the crowd moving?

Songs that always work with crowds are familiar ones. The average club goer isn’t there to get their mind blown by some rare unreleased 45 no ones ever heard before that was discovered in an old studio that has shut down. No matter the crowd they need something they’re familiar with. Things are changing now as well, meaning I used to drop a Jackson 5 record at almost any party and the crowd would go nuts. I dropped one at closing last week and the crowd turned and looked at me like they wanted to hang me. Plus all crowds are different. I can’t drop the same set to a bottle service night club that I can at a hipster club so a true working dj needs to be diverse and know his (or her) sh*t. One record that does almost work for any crowd though would be Aretha Franklin “Respect”. Ladies love to sing along to it and almost everyone knows it.


What’s on your turntable these days?

Ivan Neville “Dance Your Blues Away” has been getting a lot of run…….


Thanks again, Supreme, for chatting with me. Before you go, can you tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on?

As for now just promoting the new Wheedle’s release, and rockin’ parties nightly in a city near you.

For more info about Supreme and to catch him rockin’ a party near you visit

Donnie & Joe Emerson Spotify Playlist!

Thursday, May 29th, 2014*Photo by David Black

We’re less than a month away from the release of the forthcoming Donnie & Joe Emerson album, Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81, and all of us here at the Light In The Attic HQ are gleaming with excitement. For the past few months, the album has been on heavy rotation here in the office. Naturally, the more you listen to an album, the more you start to liken it to other music you’ve heard. This got us wondering what music influenced Donnie & Joe’s songwriting. The brothers recorded in near isolation on their family farm in eastern Washington state, the closest record store way hundreds of miles away, so their music was heavenly influenced by what they heard on their local radio station. We recently ask Donnie & Joe to list some of their favorite radio jams from back in the day. Below you can stream a playlist of the songs that inspired Donnie & Joe.

Friends of LITA | Q&A With Saul Conrad

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014


All of us here at the Light In The Attic clubhouse are excited to be distributing the latest album from Boston’s Saul Conrad. A Tyrant And Lamb, out now on Cavity Search Records, is his third studio album and is on heavy rotation here in the office. We recently caught up with Saul for a short Q&A. You can read our interview with him below and stream his new album A Tyrant And Lamb from!


1. What was your process like while recording this new album? Can you tell us a little about the approach you take when you’re in the studio?

We (Jason Bitner, who produced this album, and I) started working with an idea in mind that had very little to do with where we arrived. I’m normally too anxious after finishing one record to sit around waiting for the release to pan out. So often a flood of new bits and pieces of songs starts a couple months after finishing something and I get pretty involved in it. In this case I started with a whole idea about a drum feel that was on the line between straight four rock and country shuffle. And some honky tonk progressions and melodies.

We had much of the album we imagined we were going to make close to completion, with 6 or 7 tracks recorded — and then it was time to go on tour for the previous album. So we dropped everything and worried about shows, traveling with a parrot (my parrot at that stage wasn’t well and was refusing to eat on his own–he’d only accept food from me via a syringe, so we had to bring him and feed him 4x/day in the van), and motel rooms that often smelled of fresh crack. We were terrified the fumes would do Chico in–many nights we had his little travel perch (his “bird motel”) set right above the TV in order to keep a close eye on him. We’d watch with a silhouette of a parrot missing from the center of the screen. There were some great shows at alternative venues–for example in a house on a block where 5-10 abandoned houses were being squatted by a whole community of friends. There were awful nights in about equal measure—one particularly, in Dallas, where we played for a few businessmen in black suits with black ties and shiny black shoes (looking like demented preachers doused in oil) who were casually whispering over mixed drinks and fake candle light to their dates.

When we got back to Boston we trashed much of what we already had recorded. It sounded put on–forced into this style I was obsessed with at the time, but not emotionally true, or that relevant to how I was feeling anymore. If its relevance had faded that quickly and it wasn’t holding together I knew we had to get rid of it and chalk it up to a first stage that would hopefully lead us somewhere more meaningful. I actually ended up taking pieces of those original songs and building new songs around them. Seeing that one could trash large amounts of work, and that in some cases it freed me to find more rewarding solutions to finishing the songs was kind of a revelation for me.


2. Do you have a favorite track from the album?

I think I might like Galga the best–I’m usually excited to perform it. It returns me to a place, or a kind of terror I felt a lot in the past, but allows me to sort of share it, aggressively, on my own terms, and escape, or reverse the feelings of real life, for a couple of minutes.

3. Your new album is titled A Tyrant And Lamb. Can you explain the meaning behind the title?

It comes from the characters that can crawl into your head if you get into one of William Blake’s prophecies. I guess the lambs and the tyrannical forces are even in play in some of his earliest works too. This album intends to take a very careful look at the voice of the protagonist (myself, I guess), without making any approximations or averages. To see some truth I have to be able to watch and chart myself turning from a lamb into a tyrant (in a long-term sort of way, chronologically through my life), and back and forth all the time. It also studies a couple of the relationships that are and have been extremely important to me, and how those relationships often seem rooted in the opposing force between the tyrant and the lamb. But the roles can switch–which is why, though the cover may implicate one person at first look, both people have a bit of satanic blush on their cheeks, and the eye is slightly discouraged from associating anyone permanently with either role.

4. You mentioned that while you worked on this album you read a lot by Søren Kierkegaard and William Blake. Do you feel that the themes of what you were reading manifested themselves in your lyrics?

The lyrics were meant to reflect things I found within myself, but the method of search and excavation is largely indebted to what I learned from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and Blake’s The Four Zoas. The whole ebb and flow of the album–the slow revelation of various horrors, broken and lost parts of human potential, weakened relationships, with turn-arounds, potential ways to find the good path & strength mixed in, and leading up to the final accusation at the end of “Bulls”–is deeply informed by the Zoas, which is a massive and torturous journey to the threshold of hope.

Particularly in the song “Hollow”, the idea of a personally disastrous paradox, of the need to destroy your origin to become someone real, the climax of that song if you love someone kill their family in their mind / and set them free / climb into a balloon is something I learned from The Sickness.

5. What other artists or musicians have influenced your music and songwriting?

Blaze Foley Wanted More Dead Than Alive (I especially tried to sing in a way akin to Blaze in the middle section of the 7th track “Bumbling Fool”), Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt (High, Low and in Between, Flyin’ Shoes, Delta Momma Blues) Syd Barrett (The Madcap Laughs), Harry Nilsson (the vocals, specifically on his album of standards A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, Nilsson Sings Newman, and Son of Schmilsson), Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on the Hill (his vocal sound, and the way he mixed distorted dissonant, aggressive electric guitars with sweeter, picked acoustic)

I guess it’s hard to know for sure because a lot of stuff (especially from when I was younger playing classical music) may be floating around in my head somewhere that perhaps I’m not even aware of, but that is leading me places and informing what I’m trying to do with songs and melodies.

6. You hail from a long lineage of musicians. I read that your great uncle escaped Nazi Germany during WWII and went on to become an acclaimed pianist. Have you ever collaborated with him or asked his advice when writing music?

I actually have performed with him–Mozart’s double piano concerto. When I went to NYC to practice with him, for hours on multiple days I couldn’t get through the first few measures without a meltdown from him. My approach, my attitude, speed, technique, musicality, rhythm…everything was a disaster. But we got through that stage (and I got through the headaches and nerves that accompanied these rehearsals) and he came to show me a level of rigor, technically, but also in terms of interpreting a piece of music, and having a detailed, studied, thoroughly conceived plan for musicality and dynamics. It was an honor and once in a lifetime experience to play with him.

I’ve never talked to him about writing music, and he’s quite old now (and wasn’t really as present in my life for the period when I started writing). He never composed (as far as I know), but at birthday parties he would play Happy Birthday in the styles of 10 or more different composers. He was so intimately aware of their work and their voices–it was like they’d walked into the room in a casual mood and started making up variations to the melody themselves. His creative energy was completely tied up with his interpretations and understanding of others’ compositions. For most of his life he could play any Beethoven sonata by heart.

7. What are you listening to these days?

Josh from Light In The Attic gave me Bob Frank’s first record, which is stunning. Each song is a story. And some of them are riddles, or something like that–there’s room to draw a lot from the sparse outlines, and try to interpret. Maybe it’s sort of Biblical: The ellipsis, and the beauty. I’ve been listening Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers. No one seems to share my opinion on this, but I really don’t much care for Big Star’s first two records. This one though has blown me away. The sounds–the strings mixed with all kinds of electric sounds–Jim Dickinson’s production, the writing, the singing…It’s got maniacally upbeat ecstasy in some songs, true tender veins elsewhere, and the sad calm when all those feelings burn out too.

I got a new record that collects a lot of Luke McDaniel’s songs…I am particularly moved by “Drive On”, “Homeward Mule”, and “You’re Still on my Mind”.

I’ve been returning over and over to Mozart: Don Giovanni (Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Josef Krips with Cesare Siepi) and the Requiem Mass (the Harnoncourt version). And then, to try to undo the hypnotizing beauty, the terror, the turning feelings, to relax, or move to a completely different, simpler mood, I’ve been counter-balancing that listening with the Dead: Workingman’s Dead, Europe ’72 (mainly for the set of “China Cat Sunflower” “I Know You Rider” and “Brown-eyed Woman”) and Live at The Fillmore East (for “Bertha”!).

Denny at Cavity Search Records sent me Jerry Joseph’s self-titled, which I think is a subtle record with stunning guitar work, and lyrics that are bold in scope and tackle –it seems to me– mangled, complex and deep-mind emotions. (My favorite tracks are “Pony” and “Bouncing Very Well”–the romantic songs)

I played with Joey Molinaro in Pittsburgh this winter and got his record The Inalienable Dreamless. He performs virtuosic, high energy sets on violin with a foot-pad to add percussion and a bit of vocal additions too from time to time. It’s like war music to me in a sense–fascinating, aggressive, demanding and different.

8. What’s on the horizon for you? Any plans for an upcoming tour?

I’m going to be on tour for a lot of the summer…in June a loop from Boston up through upstate New York and west to Chicago, down to Baton Rouge, and then back up the east coast. In August a trip that starts in Montana, heads west and then down the coast from Seattle to southern CA. (all the dates are HERE)

I’m also getting pretty far into work on a new album–musically a completely different sort of thing–a kind of Mass. Anyway, A Tyrant and Lamb is out this Tuesday. The guys at Musicol pressing remastered the whole record for vinyl, and it really sound its best like that. (And it’s not coming out on CD right now). It’s a limited edition of 300 copies.

Check out the music video for Saul Conrad’s “Carousel” below.