Vinyl Worship with Good Records on the Eve of Record Store Day 2015

Flipping through a stack of vinyl at Good Records
With plenty of ceremony and fanfare, April has now, unofficially, become the Month of Vinyl — or at least it has in 2015. Empire Records, the cult classic that preserves one chaotic day in the life of an independent record store, turned 20, and the anniversary of the film's release was marked with an intensely enjoyable, immersive film experience at Rough Trade NYC week ago. Now, Record Store Day, the annual "holiday" that takes place every third Saturday in April, is drawing nigh, and audiophiles everywhere are setting their alarms in order to beat the crowds and lines for coveted special releases, in-store appearances and more taking place at twenty-one participating record stores across the boroughs on April 18.

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Charles Hamilton Returns to Rap and Rejuvenates with "New York Raining"

Categories: New Yorkers

Courtesy of Republic Records
Charles Hamilton
Charles Hamilton is hip-hop's prodigal son, in what might be the year's most unexpected comeback (but don't call it a comeback!) After a lengthy hiatus and very public unraveling, the Cleveland native has broken his silence with his first major label single in seven years, "New York Raining." Featuring Rita Ora, "New York Raining" is a love song perfectly primed for boozy, springtime nights on rooftops and sneaking kisses while waiting for the L train.

"I was raised in New York and it's a big influence on me and my sound," Hamilton tells the Voice. "New York's beauty when it rains describes the woman I was talking about." The duo performed the track on an episode of Empire and it's slated for Hamilton's forthcoming debut album.

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A Little Frank Ocean, a Dash of '80s Hits: The Recipe for Becca Stevens Band's Perfect Animal

Categories: New Yorkers

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Becca Stevens Band
Becca Stevens isn't immune to terrible cell phone service. "There's a thunderstorm," the singer and guitarist warns, afraid our conversation will be cut short. Tornado season is well underway in the Midwest, but fortunately, she's in Columbus, Ohio, and spared that meteorological nightmare. Still, the weather-caused disturbances on her previous call, which kept dropping, put her on edge. That call was with the dreaded DMV.

"I'm trying not to get my license revoked," the 30-year-old Brooklyn resident explains. "The funny thing is, I don't really know what it's about. This random ticket showed up in the mail that was like two years late, or something." That kind of headache is less than ideal when you've got a band van to drive on tour.

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The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/17/15

Categories: Weekend

Courtesy of the Windish Agency
Ana Tijoux
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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The Dan Band Work Wedding Singer Magic on Old Covers and New Material

Photo by Sean Zanni
The Dan Band at Joe's Pub
On an otherwise normal Friday night at the start of spring, Joe's Pub is a raunchy cabaret. A bro-y, middle-finger-flipping, expletive-shouting cabaret. Onstage that night is the Dan Band, the real-world iteration of the gross, sexually charged wedding band from 2003's Old School and 2009's The Hangover (and 2004's Starsky and Hutch bat mitzvah, too): Recall the scenes featuring the Dan Band, with singer (and ultimate driving force) Dan Finnerty striking dirty little dance moves and sprinkling in obscenities whenever possible.

"Yeah, fuckin' every now and then I fall apart," he belts in Old School, Frank (Will Ferrell) and Marissa (Perrey Reeves) trying hard to have their first real dance as husband and wife. "I fuckin' need you more than ever..."

The band, of course, is real even outside of film, with cross-country live gigs, original music, and merchandise. Their act is colorful and bursting with energy, but with so many things going on (and getting shouted), it's hard to know exactly what to look at.

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Exclusive Premiere: Listen to Ximena Sarinana Cover Pat Benatar With 'Juntos Por Siempre'

Categories: Ximena Sarinana

Courtesy of Warner Music Mexico
Ximena Sariñana
The lovelorn hits of Pat Benatar may embrace all the neon, hairsprayed, and glorious youthful pop-rock balladry of the Eighties, but the highlights from her discography — "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Love Is a Battlefield," "We Belong Together" — are timeless classics at this point and will live on far beyond the walls of any given karaoke bar. To cover Benatar well is a feat in and of itself. To do so en español is another awesome thing altogether, and that's exactly what Ximena Sariñana did with her interpretation of "Juntos Por Siempre" (or "We Belong Together").

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Ask Andrew W.K.: 'How Do I Deal With Death?'

Photo by Frank Vierti
Andrew W.K.
[Editor's note: Every week, New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose, or — no surprise here — a party. Need his help? Just ask:]

Dear Andrew W.K.,

I'm afraid of death. Not just my own death, but the death of my loved ones, too. I've never really lost anyone very close to me and I just can't imagine what I will do about it.

Lately, my fear of losing someone close has been taking over more and more of my thoughts. I keep imagining my parents dying in a car crash, or getting that late-night phone call that one of my best friends is suddenly dead and gone. I feel really anxious, and the more I try to stop thinking about it and put it out of my mind, the worse it gets and the more I obsess about it. What should I do?

Dreading Death

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Brooklyn's Ava Luna Touch Transcendence on Infinite House

Photo by Renaud Monfounry
Ava Luna will celebrate the release of Infinite House at Baby's All Right and Silent Barn this weekend.
There's a mischievous air of cool around Ava Luna. With Infinite House, their third LP, they're laughing at inside jokes in between fractured funk stomps and screeds of Beat poetry. Find them recalling Janelle Monaé at her most adventurous on lead single "Coat of Shellac" or the Black Keys before they went major on the fiery "Billz." Draw lines between Infinite House and the Inherent Vice soundtrack as the hypnotic "Tenderize" echoes the neurotic snap of Can's "Vitamin C" and "Steve Polyester" finds Becca Kauffman giving a surreal monologue in the same way Joanna Newsom reads Pynchon prose. Ava Luna are quirky and confident, mysterious and compelling. Their compositions are gleefully loose rock interpretations, postmodern soul tunes perched on the line between brilliance and the abyss.

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What Do NYC's Favorite Record Store Pros Want for Record Store Day 2015?

Emily Tan for the Village Voice
Shoppers hit Rough Trade NYC on Record Store Day 2014.
Record Store Day is far from perfect. Just as sure as the Christmas of vinyl has come every third Saturday of April since 2007, so too have its detractors, with complaints ranging from how the holiday clogs up pressing plants to how people are flipping releases on eBay to how major labels have begun to nudge indies out of the picture to how the event's popularity has resulted in overcrowded stores that are generally undesirable places to spend one of the first Saturdays of spring. This weekend it's supposed to rain, so don't forget to bring an umbrella for the hour-long wait to score that heart-shaped Father John Misty colored vinyl. (Unless you're just going to flip it on eBay. In that case, fuck you, get wet.)

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How the Hell Do People Afford Coachella?

Categories: Coachella

Christopher Victorio for LA Weekly
Coachella 2015
Sierra Blackford really wanted to go to Coachella. But it wasn't easy.

The 23-year-old Hawaiian singer-songwriter juggled three jobs — waitressing, playing gigs at local bars, and working in a slipper store — to save enough for her concert tickets, heavily discounted airfare (she knows somebody in the industry), camping fees, and food.

Blackford has no complaints, though. Talking just moments after Hozier's uplifting set, she said she couldn't put a price tag on the transcendence she experiences at Coachella. This two-time festival veteran said she found inspiration being surrounded by "great art and great music," as well as the fifteen friends she came to the desert with.

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