Let’s Get Physical: Record Store Day 2014

Date: 16 April 2014


Audiophiles, rejoice! The 6th incarnation of Record Store Day is nearly upon us, with 400+ specialty releases dropping this Saturday and more than 2,000 independent record stores participating across the world. That’s a lot of wax to bite into, so we built you this handy little guide to RSD. Here’s what you need to know:

The Ambassador:


The ambassador of this year’s Record Store Day is Chuck D of Public Enemy, and he plans to bring the heat by repping hard for independent record stores. Here’s a portion of his official statement:

"In this age where industry has threaded the music sound with virtual sight and story I am honored to be called upon to be Record Store Day Ambassador of 2014. With the masses, neck bent into their smartphones, let all of us music lovers GPS our way into a reality that is the Record Store. It’s worth a great try, let’s do this…"
(Check his full statement here and read other artist statements here.)

Ambassadors before him included Iggy Pop, Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age, Ozzy Osborne, and Jack White.

The WillCall Shortlist:
With so many releases coming at us on a single day, we thought we’d throw down a few of our personal faves:

- Joy Division – An Ideal for Living 
- Nirvana – Pennyroyal Tea/I Hate Myself and I Want to Die
- The Flaming Lips – 7 Skies H3
- LCD Soundsystem – The Long Goodbye (LCD Soundsystem Live At Madison Square Garden)
- Notorious BIG - Life After Death
- The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine
- Pinback – Pinback
- The Velvet Underground – Loaded
- Outkast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

- Tame Impala - Live Versions

Here’s the full list: 

For the Homies In SF:
Amoeba Records is the place to be in SF for this Record Store Day. With loads of DJs, live silk screenings, free ticket giveaways, and 20% off all DVDs, Blu-Rays, turntables, and posters, it will be a day to remember. Find out more here.

For the Cool Kids in NYC:
Rough Trade NYC will host a multitude of bands and DJs including Milagres, Hospitality, Perfect Pussy, and more! Find out more and check out the full line-up here

For the Chillers in LA:
More from Amoeba Records whose Hollywood branch features a Chuck E. Weiss DJ set, Little Dragon, and DJ sets by Cherry Glazerr and Robert DeLong along with all the same deals as its SF sister. Find out more here.

Oh, and the Fastest Record Evaaah:
Jack White will break world records (heh, a pun) by recording, pressing, and releasing a single all in one day for the title track of his upcoming album, “Lazaretto,” at the headquarters of his label, Third Man Records, in Nashville.

For more info on Record Store Day and events in your area, here’s the official website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Read More

Meet Lawrence Rothman: The Dark Shapeshifter

Date: 15 April 2014


A man of many guises, Lawrence Rothman has appeared in his videos as a battered hipster (above), a golden toothed prisoner matted in black and white paint, and the beauty of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Elizabeth Taylor. We caught up with this chameleon to talk about his visual style and range of musical influences before he busts open the Bootleg Theater with TEEN.

Q. You have worked with the director of darkness, Floria Sigismondi, for many of your recent music videos and you are now signed to her label, Mamaroma. She has created unsettling videos for Interpol, Muse, The Cure, The White Stripes, Marilyn Manson, and even good ol’ David Bowie. How did you get involved with her?
A. I’m a great admirer of her work, the stars aligned and she got on board with my music and visuals.

Q. What was it like to throw on a dress and become Elizabeth Taylor in your video for “Montauk Fling?” 
A. I filmed the video at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, in a room many old film stars slept in including Elizabeth Taylor. We shot from 8 p.m. ‘till 8 a.m. running around the hotel, it was a surreal and haunting experience especially during those hours when the hotel was asleep. 

Q.Your music has been likened to a sort of gothic electro-pop, the work of a dark and modern Leonard Cohen, and a combination of Ariel Pink and Odd Future. What is the best description you have heard of your own music? And how do you describe your sound yourself?
A. Interesting, well with so much great music influencing me from both new and old artists, across many genres, and with new genres even being invented monthly I don’t really have the ideal description. I enjoy creating music that is a mix of all the varied things I listen to, concentrating on one particular sound is not something I’m focused on.

Q. The Guardian, Stereogum, and others have listed you as an act to watch out for in 2014. What are your plans for blowing people out of the water?
A. Ha, well I plan on releasing more music and videos this year, and a full length album sooner rather than later. Plus, I plan to tour a lot, as I enjoy playing live shows more than being in the studio.

Q. We hear you’re obsessed with director and photographer Cindy Sherman. Can you tell us a bit about her influence on your work?
A. I write music from a visual place first. A film or a person staring at a wall in a Denny’s will spark a song idea. Many of my songs are about friends and family in my life who have come and gone — so I’ll write a song about them and then become them visually for a live performance or video. I like transforming into the entire being of a song subject.

Q. If you could have anyone perform with you on stage (we mean anyone) who would you choose?
A. I would say Tupac Shakur with Fela Kuti’s band backing us.

Q. As someone to watch out for this year what other acts do you think we should keep our eyes on?
A. I think Mas Ysa is an amazing new band.

Grab your tickets for the show here: getwillcall.com/rothmanresidency

Read More


Date: 11 April 2014

Tough as nails in a pair of heels, our resident fast-talking Aussie curates WillCall’s show list, gives our venue partners love on the daily, and makes sure every WillCall Presents party runs smooth like butter. She’ll go down in WillCall lore as the lady who threw together a sold-out SXSW shindig in a single afternoon. In order to get a clue about how she became such a music mystic, we enlisted intern Huck to catch up with her (not an easy task) and jam about her Aussie origins, favorite tunes, and legendary office dance parties.

Huck: So it’s no secret that you’re WillCall’s favorite Aussie. Tell us a little about what you did in the land down under and what attracted you to make the big move to the city by the bay.

Lauren: I’m a Melbourne girl, born ‘n’ bred. It’s my home and always will be. Sue and Steve Kish still live there, and they’re pretty much the best parents this side of the Milky Way. But before setting sail for the states in 2010, I was working for a music distribution company in Melbourne, running their e-commerce operations. I’d lived abroad previously, and was hankering for another excuse to explore a different city. I packed up my apartment, visited Mongolia en route to the US, road tripped with some babe friends along the West Coast in a 10-seater van, spent a few months in New York, worked in Toronto for a stint, but settled in Oakland. Love brought me to Cali, but jeepers, that’s a whole other story. 

Huck: From our past conversations, you come across as quite the globe trotter. Every time I bring up a location I’ve been to you seem to be a regular. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on and why?

Lauren: Being from Australia, we generally experience what’s known as the ‘the tyranny of distance.’ We’re so damn far from everywhere [save for New Zealand which is beautiful, but just full of sheep, snow, and hobbits], that our natural instinct is to get the hell out of Australia as soon as we can. As kids we went on holiday to Bali and Fiji,  which are beautiful, tropical locales. This obviously instilled the travel bug in my sister and I because we’ve been traveling ever since. I lived in London for 2 years which was a glorious and hedonistic time. Spent some time in Canada, which was cold, and have since managed to explore several states and cities in the U.S. On the holiday tip, Berlin is a magical city, and Siem Reap in Cambodia definitely has something otherworldly about it. Sometimes I keep myself up at night, overwhelmed at the prospect of not being able to visit all the places in the world that are on my travel bucket list.

Huck: You’re obviously a music junky, but do you think there is any particular genre you most identify with? Who are you bumping these days and which acts in particular will forever hold your heart?

Lauren: I don’t usually think of music in terms of genre. I oftentimes hear something, and would never have the nous to identify it by a pre-defined category. As a kid I suppose you could say I identified with grunge and alt-rock. Not Creed, obviously, but Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Hole. Maaaaaaaybe a little Tool and A Perfect Circle. Definitely wore corduroy trousers and flannel. I dabbled in electronic music, and definitely went to my fair share of raves to see Jeff Mills, Roni Size, and Laurent Garnier in the late ’90s. These days it’s Death Grips, Grimes, Sun Kil Moon, Mykki Blanco, Savages, Adalita, Royal Headache, Teeth & Tongue, and Tinariwen. To be honest though, I tend to always go back to old faithfuls on the regular — Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Betty Davis, Neil Young, Fugazi, and Joy Division.

Huck: Since music is obviously a driving motion in your life, you choose to surround yourself with it, have you ever dabbled in playing a bit of your own? Is there a Lauren Kish solo project that I’m unaware of?

Lauren: I played the violin in grade 3, does that count? Oh, and I was in the recorder group. We used to go and perform in suburban shopping malls, playing Cat Stevens’ songs, and Pachelbel’s Canon really badly. Me and my pals had a go-go troupe called Les Go Go Soeurs, where we choreographed routines to Ween and The Darkness. But that’s pretty much the extent of my live musical output. Plus I’ve been told I’m tone deaf, so you probably don’t want to be in a private karaoke booth with me, or request that I become the lead singer of your band.

Huck: The WillCall office is obviously the best place to work on Earth. I don’t think I’ve seen a day go by where you weren’t skipping or dancing around the office. What’s your favorite thing about this company?

Lauren: I’m a bit of a maniac when it comes to energy. I do tend to bop around a little much. What can I say, I’m ‘vivacious.’ [Others have definitely called it ‘crazy.’]

The best thing about WillCall is that the world is literally our oyster. No idea is too big, or unattainable. It’s such a treat to have a supportive, ridiculously intelligent team to rely on, and who instills confidence in you. It’s pretty, pretty fun.

Huck: How about that playlist?

Lauren: Check it out!

Read More

HELLA Coachella 2014

Date: 7 April 2014

Whether you’ll be camping out on a polo field all weekend or snuggling up to your laptop and YouTubing the whole whacked wonderland; Coachella fever is breaking out and ain’t nothing can cool us down!

Dedicated to stunning visitors with visuals arts, phantasmagorical performances, and fresh-as-fuck fashion statements, this arid affair single handedly brought the American festival circuit into the current century. Continuing to flabbergast fans for almost 15 years, Coachella is the shish kabob of chic and we at WillCall tip our caps in the format of a 60+ song playlist featuring some of our favorites to grace the stage this coming weekend. Party on Wayne! Party on Garth!

Read More

Meet The WillCall Fam: Ryan

Date: 3 April 2014

More than being our head of business development, or a musician with an MBA, Ryan O’Connor is sharp as a tack and better dressed than Sean “Diddy” Combs at his yearly White Party. From giving lectures on the history of ticketing to throwing shapes at one of our WCP barn burners, this ginger tough guy is just a teddy bear in a nice pair of slacks. In order to glean a little info on what makes Ryan such a mover and shaker we asked him a few questions concerning SF’s best music venues, jamming to James Brown, and how one should wear a bow tie (with a tastefully paired pocket square).

Laura: You went to Berklee College of Music. Was it your intention to interact directly with bands and record labels, or did you always picture yourself working to reimagine the live music industry through technology?

Ryan: I had no idea what I was doing in college. I was a decent musician and loved business, so marrying the two was natural. Between undergrad and grad school, I played a lot of clubs (CBGB’s, Webster Hall, the Bitter End, etc) and watched as artists leveraged new media to build their followings, while major labels collapsed as a result of their resistance.  Since technology was the constant, I committed myself to understanding it. By the time I was out of school, the economics of the music industry were clearly stacked in favor of live, while very little tech existed to support it. That’s when I became interested in the space and what ultimately drew me to WillCall.

Laura: You’ve got some swanky moves on the dance floor. How did you acquire such agility? Are you part cat? Did you receive any formal dance training?

Ryan: Why, swank you very much. I just do what the spirit moves me to. My “formal” training stems from dancing in my living room while James Brown plays on Songza.

Laura: Bow tie or necktie? Coffee or tea? Britney or Christina? Book or Nook? Summer or Winter? Beard or clean shaven? Regular M&Ms or peanut M&Ms?

Ryan: Bow tie, paired with a square, of course. Coffee. Preferably Dunkin Donuts and served in New Jersey. Britney, bitch. Books. They’re like trophies. Winter is a ginger’s natural habitat. Clean shaven by default. My boyish good looks make growing a beard impossible. Peanut BUTTER M&M’s.
Laura: What’s your favorite venue in the city to cut a rug in? What’s your favorite venue ever?

Ryan: In SF: Bimbo’s. I love the old school feel. Also, their door staff have a strict “no-asshole” policy, which I appreciate.

Outside of SF: Brooklyn Bowl. You can bowl, eat amazing fried chicken and see great musicians. They really know how to run a venue. Also, ?uestlove DJs every Thursday.
Future favorite: The Ace Hotel Theatre in LA. They remodeled the old United Artist silent film theater. It’s immaculate and I can’t wait to see a show there.

Laura: If you could create a band right now with anyone — living or dead — who would be in it? 

Ryan: If I had to create my ultimate group it would be:

Freddy Mercury - Frontman (natch)
David Bowie - Lead Guitar / backup vocals
Flea - Bass
Stevie Wonder - Anything
Me - Drums

Laura: Finally, how about that playlist?

Ryan: Here you are…

Read More