HITS Daily Double
Critics' Choice

Sly Stone will release his first autobiography, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), on 10/17 via AUWA Books and MCD/FSG. It will be available on hardcover, e-book and audio. The release marks the inaugural title from AUWA Books, Questlove’s new publishing imprint.

'One of the few indisputable geniuses of pop music, Sly Stone is a trailblazer and a legend,' the description reads. 'He created a new kind of music, mixing Black and white, male and female, funk and rock. As a songwriter, he penned some of the most iconic anthems of the 1960s and ’70s, from 'Everyday People' to 'Family Affair.' As a performer, he electrified audiences with a persona and stage presence that set a lasting standard for pop-culture performance.

'Yet his life has also been a cautionary tale, known as much for how he dropped out of the spotlight as for what put him there in the first place. People know the music, but the man remains a mystery. In Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), his much-anticipated memoir, he’s finally ready to share his story—a story that many thought he’d never have the chance to tell.' 

The Sly and the Family Stone namesake co-wrote Thank You alongside Ben Greenman and was created in collaboration with Arlene Hirschkowitz, while Questlove penned the foreword. The book follows the “wild ride of a once-in-a-century talent” through the ‘60s and ‘70s—from Sly’s humble beginnings to the heights of stardom, his struggle with addiction and ultimate triumph. It also promises to include all the “gritty details” leading up to his bittersweet return. We, on the other hand, will spare you ours. Pre-orders for Thank You are available here


Decades Rock Live is back with another installment of the popular concert series, this time with Chicago & Friends. The two-day event takes place 11/17-18 in Ovation Hall at Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort. Each show is being filmed on a custom-built LED stage set with more than 30 4k cameras for global distribution airing in late December. Full distribution info will be announced in the coming weeks.

Produced by Decades Rock Live creator and FanTracks co-founder Barry Summers, the show will feature Chicago performing their greatest hits alongside several special guests, including Steve Vai, Robin Thicke and Chris Daughtry. The band will also celebrate the 55th anniversary of their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, by playing several cuts from the project on both nights. 

“We're looking forward to working with Barry Summers, our producer on this concert film, and celebrating Chicago's 55th anniversary of our debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, with our fans in Atlantic City that will be filmed over two nights,” Chicago keyboardist/songwriter Robert Lamm said. “We’ll be performing a set list of songs exclusively for these two shows, and we’re very excited to be performing with some special guests, all captured on film.”

Summers added, “I grew up on Chicago's incredible music and their songs were the soundtrack to my childhood. Getting this opportunity to build the show from the ground up, and capture on film Chicago's incredible musicianship and legendary horn arrangements, along with some new surprise nuggets never before performed live in many years, will give fans a once in a lifetime memorable experience and concert captured in 4K film to enjoy for many years to come.' 

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday (7/21) at 10am ET via Ticketmaster and the Ocean Casino Resort box office. Speaking of decades, we can’t believe we're old enough to remember when 'Saturday In The Park' came out. 


By Bud Scoppa

The most popular indie acts, including boygenius, The National, Spoon, Phoenix, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, hit eight figures on the DSPs, fill amphitheaters and have achieved a modicum of mainstream visibility. But a surprising amount of exceptional music is being made by musicians who create their art in relative obscurity, purely for the love of it. They’re part of a widespread DIY rock, soul and blues underground whose members persevere out of a belief in themselves, the desire to keep currently unfashionable styles alive and an underlying sense of community.

Cut Worms Max Clarke, one of these musicians, recently told me, “I don’t know if there is a community or an element that unifies it, but if there was and I had to guess, I think I’d say it has something to do with trying to make something meaningful within a mode of expression that’s been highly commodified, oversaturated, and voided of meaning by advertising and consumerist trends, along with probably a lack of interest in what currently—sometimes inexplicably—passes for being ‘good’ in a broader sense.”

There’s a lot of connective thread between the bands and artists I’ve been listening to, who appear to be perpetuating and at the same time recontextualizing the music of the mid-20th century. This 50-track Spotify playlist juxtaposes popular and little-known indie talents, from The Lemon TwigsBrian (26) and Michael D’Addario (24) to 77-year-old soul singer Bettye LaVette and 70-year-old Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, now half of Those Pretty Wrongs, both of whom continue to inspire younger generations of musicians.

As for what keeps these artists making music when positive reinforcement is intermittent, Clarke offers, “You never really know how other people feel; you only know how you feel. All I try to do is record that [feeling] as close as I can, for my own sake. If other people resonate with that, then that’s beautiful, but it’s a mystery… I don’t think I could put a name to that feeling, nor would I want to—it would likely be different for everyone, often changing—but if many people really were to feel the same thing, I think that would be enough in and of itself.”

Inspirational lyric:

I got a picture of us playing in a bar
And your shirt cost more than your guitar
But you played so heavy, and you always let me sing a couple
Even though you were the star...

From “When We Were Close” by Jason Isbell


Interview by Bud Scoppa

Jaan Uhelski and I go way back—she started at Creem in 1970, a few months after my first review was published in a New Jersey underground paper whose name escapes me. We learned the ropes of music criticism from some of the best: Dave Marsh, Ben Edmonds and Lester Bangs for Jaan, Paul Nelson and Jon Landau for me.

After leaving Creem in 1979, she went from Detroit to San Francisco and has spent the last nine years in Palm Desert; I moved to Greenwich Village in 1969 and four years later relocated to L.A., where I’ve been ever since. One of the first female rock journalists, Jaan has written for NME, Mojo, Rolling Stone, USA Today, Classic Rock, Uncut, the San Francisco Chronicle and Relix, for which she’s editor-at-large while taking gigs at, among others, online-music service Rhapsody and working as a media trainer in order to pay the bills, which freelance music writing merely supplements. My list of outlets is similar to hers, while I edited Music Connection and Cash Box and worked at a bunch of labels to cover my overhead before starting my second stint at HITS in the first month of the 21st century. That we’re both still going more than a half century later seems like a small miracle at certain moments but business as usual most of the time.

So naturally, when J.J. Kramer, the son of Creem founder-publisher Barry Kramer, decided to resurrect the magazine five years ago, Jaan inevitably wound up doing the heavy lifting. She convinced J.J. to put his initial focus on a feature documentary—2019’s Creem: America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine—which she wound up producing, co-writing and narrating. And when the film had created the momentum to continue the undertaking, Jaan put the pieces together to make J.J.’s dream a reality. As editor emeritus of the relaunched Creem, she’s deeply involved in the task of keeping what she calls “the Creem ethos” alive.

We hadn’t spoken in years when I gave Jaan a call in conjunction with the second anniversary of the relaunched magazine—the summer 2023 issue is just out—but talking with her about print magazines, other writers and musical favorites felt instantly familiar for both of us. A couple of rock critics shootin’ the shit.

How on earth did you get involved with Creem again?

I just couldn't let other people fuck it up, so here I am. That's how I got involved with the documentary too. I put the director together with J.J. Kramer, because he was going to leave his job as a head counsel at Abercrombie & Fitch. And I was having breakfast with his mom when I was in Detroit, and I said, “Oh, it’s a terrible idea. He’s going to give that up and try to resurrect Creem magazine? Why doesn’t he just put his toes in the water? Why doesn’t he just meet with Scott Crawford”—the guy who owned Harp—“who’s been bugging me for a year about making a documentary about Creem, and see what happens?” And that’s what this all grew out of. The documentary was the baby steps, and that did fairly well.

When we found the right people and backers, we just went for it. But that’s always been J.J.’s dream. He identifies with Creem because his dad died when he was four and left him the magazine, so he’s been the CEO since he was four. So I was like, “Okay, stop being an obnoxious little brat and just get down to business like a 43-year-old brat.”

It sure seems counterintuitive to start a rock magazine in 2022.

Tell me about it. [Fellow Detroit native and magazine editor] Brad Tolinski and I talked about that forever. He wanted to start a magazine about psychics; he loves woo-woo stuff. And we talked it to death. And it was like, “No, it’s just seems like surefire recipe for disaster.” The first cover said, “Print is dead and so is rock.” But that whole “Make me” ethos of Creem was right there. I get worried every month, but God bless, I hope it keeps on going. I hope it has a lot more birthdays.

I remember you writing a couple of things when I was there, but I think you did more when Bill Holdship and Dave DiMartino were there in the late ’80s.

Yeah, they were in L.A. at that point, so it was pretty convenient. But I did occasionally contribute to the old Creem.

Yeah, I remember a Neil Young interview. The thing is, Bud, our whole lives, you and I have always had the same taste. We always write about the same people.

Yeah, I know.

I loved the piece you did on The Allman Brothers, but I’m not sure it was Creem. But I do remember the Neil Young one, because I’ve always been Neil Young-forward. I remember some reviews too. I don’t know whose person you were. I would say probably Lester, right?

I knew Lester through Richard Meltzer, because he would come to New York and stay at Meltzer’s apartment and we would hang out. But I don’t remember having an editorial relationship with him.

We all had our own people. But I was still a baby then, so I didn’t have a lot of people. Although I was very loyal. I still keep in touch with my writers. I’ve been trying to sneak in more and more older people. I do listen to new music because how can I not doing this for a living? And mostly because I media-train so much. Now they’ve got a “True Crime” series, which I love. I had Joel Selvin do one on Jim Gordon, and then this month they did a punk Black Dahlia. That’s probably my favorite section. But it’s not too much like the old Creem. You probably noticed that.

I haven’t seen it in print, but I do look at the stuff that comes up online.

The magazines show up and they’re so oversized they don’t fit in my bookcase, so I’m just always opening up the PDF so I can read it.

Oh, it’s bigger than the old Creem, huh?

Oh my God. It’s giant. It’s like Guitar Aficionado, really oversized. And it’s five-color, glossy. It’s heavy too. The subscriptions are expensive.

Why did you go high-end on the production?

I wasn’t in on that discussion, but I think that they just wanted to set it apart. They don’t have a newsstand model; it’s just a subscription model. So you have to buy it. It looks classy. It really does look like an art magazine. They knew that newsstand magazines weren’t selling, so they figured this was going to work. So far, so good. Their subscriptions are up.

I wonder what the profile of the typical Creem subscriber is.

I don’t even know. This is probably a skewed sample, but the people who write the letters seem to be old Creem subscribers because they write that they’ve been reading Creem since inception. There’s a bunch of 60- and 70-year-olds.

In the landscape of rock magazines—I almost want to put that in quotes at this point—Creem is certainly to the left of Rolling Stone, which is really no longer a rock magazine. That puts it closer to Mojo and Uncut, I suppose.

I think so too. But then part of it’s my taste too, because those are about the only rock magazines that take writing seriously. I think it’s more an English model. I think the biggest difference from the old Creem is we were at war with the rock stars, and this current staff is a little more in-crowd-y with them. They’re writing about their social group, by and large. There’s a piece on ZZ Top in this issue, but otherwise there seem to be a lot of Brooklyn bands.

And I’m always telling them in these editorial meetings, “No, no, no, no. They’re not our friends. You get better stories if you have a distance from them. Poke them a little bit.”

So you’re still doing media training. I imagine that’s necessary to keep your head above water?

Oh, yeah. This just pays okay. And you know what other journalism pays, so that’s pretty much the bread-and-butter thing. I’m finishing Ben’s book. When Edmonds was dying, he said, “Will you come and help me finish the MC5 book?” So I went to Detroit for three weeks thinking he’d show me what he wanted, and I’d take it back with me, but he hadn’t written a word. And that was unnerving. I spent those three weeks reading all of his interviews, but he wouldn’t let me take them with him. He died about eight months afterwards, and his girlfriend/widow asked me if I was still going to do it. And I go, “Yeah, but I have to figure out how.” So she scanned everything he had, and I convinced Brad Tolinski to help me turn into an oral history. So we sold it and we’ve got to turn it in by November. So Kick Out the Jams: An Oral History will come out for Ben because you’ve got to keep your people, even if they’ve passed over. That was a hard one, but his interviews were great. Ben was a great journalist.

I’ve never written a book. I’ve written chapters, but I feel like I’m more of a sprinter. I like journalism, and I always get to who’s going to care. Can I really give up three years of my life? This book has taken a lot longer than I thought. But again, it’s an oral history.

But yeah, rock books. When you do proposals, they go, “Rock books don’t make money.”

Rock doesn’t make money.

Exactly. Remember, rock is dead. Oh, God.

Well, there’s still a few of us left. Bob Christgau is still pumping away.

I interviewed him from the documentary, and I swear he was like my role model because he was as feisty and as nasty, and sitting in that ... I’m sure you’ve been in this apartment, every spare space is records. There’s no living space. He’s an inspiration. And Greil Marcus is still doing it. So why shouldn’t you and I?

Yeah, why not, as long as they pay us.

Exactly. It’s really funny, sometimes I do feel like the last woman standing. It’s like, okay, I’m here just by dent of everybody else going away or passing away. We’re still here. I think of you and I as the tentpoles of that.

When you think about the perpetuation of rock criticism, if you want to call it that, there are a few people I read voraciously. Elizabeth Nelson and Amanda Petrusich are really good.

Yeah, I love Amanda too.

And Steven Hyden has just the right kind of attitude and the smarts to pull it off. He’s probably closer to an old-school Creem writer than anybody else I can think of. But after that, I’m not sure I can add anybody to the list who really turns me on.

The one that I found, again, because what they wanted me to do initially was to read everything that was going to go in the magazine and to see if it passes the Creem test. And the first couple of issues and the things that we were doing online, I sent a lot of them back and said, “No, not that.” But I fell in love with this woman’s writing. Her name is Hether Fortune. She’s smart and funny, and she’s got that Creem spirit. There’s a couple of good people, but nobody has emerged as the new Lester Bangs. She’s the closest, and I love that it’s a woman.

I don’t know Elizabeth Nelson and Steven Hyden; I wrote their names down to check them out. I have this quote that was in Amanda’s Iggy piece on my computer. It says, “The idea is to feel how a person displaces the air in the room. To learn something about them that you don’t realize they’re telling you.” And I thought, Wow, that’s so key. When you’re doing a feature on somebody, you are actually taking it all in. You’re a forensic scientist of rock. That’s what she is, and I love that she does that.

But I’m with you; the people I read are older people or people who aren’t writing about music. I’m cutting out their things and putting them in a book, my own version of a lyric book. So when I’m out of words, I can read their stuff and go, Yeah, I can write something like that. But I haven’t found anyone I’m so enamored with either.

What about current bands?

I do like current bands. The best thing for me about Creem is we do these playlists every other Friday. So I just go to Spotify playlists and go through stuff, and I love doing that. It’s so not me, because I’m like a headbanging Detroiter, but I love that band Christine and the Queens a lot. On paper, I love Phoebe Bridgers, like love. I can’t listen to a whole album, but I like the idea of her. I like EDM a lot now. Maybe it’s just because I can have it play in the background. I like that band Odesza a lot. If you can even call them a band. They have billboards down here. It’s this big mystery, but when I put their music on, it really elevates me.

There’s one artist that I trained, G Flip. She just married that reality star Chrishell Stause from Selling Sunset. But when I went through the songs this week, I loved her “Be a Man,” which is about being a lesbian and non-binary. She talks about it in that song, and I think she’s brave and good. She’s a drummer from Australia, and she used to teach drums to elementary-school kids. I love really rhythmically driven music anyway, a big beat, a rock beat. So she’s rock and it’s a little poppy and it’s a little power anthem, but I really like her a lot.

I’ve gotta look at your playlists on Spotify. Are they under Creem?

What I do is, I go to New Music Friday, and I just play it in the background when I’m working. And if something piques my interest, then I’ll stop and I’ll listen to the whole song. Then I’ll look at the lyrics and I’ll put it on the playlist. I swear this has been the best thing for me at Creem. When I used to work for Rhapsody, we had to choose all the music that we would put up on the platform. I left there in 2008, so I haven’t really got my fingers in any new music. I’m ghetto-wise because of Uncut. and Classic Rock; I was just writing about classic-rock bands, the bands that you and I have been writing about forever. I could indulge my Allman Brothers love. Anytime something came out, I grabbed it, because God knows, if I didn’t, they’d call you.

So this is the first time in a long time that I’ve been really involved with new bands. I should have done this on my own years ago, but nobody was asking me to write about new bands. Please don’t print my age and I won’t print yours, but who’s asking a [redacted]-year-old what new music they’re listening to? I don’t want to be zapped with the ageism stick. They can figure it out how old either of us is, so do the math. I wasn’t at Woodstock, but I could have been.

That makes two of us.


Gravitas Ventures will premiere the documentary feature John Waite: The Hard Way on 12/06. Filmed during the pandemic, the doc offers an intimate look at the life of '80s British rocker Waite—from his time with the pioneering rock-video band The Babys in the 1970s to touring with Ringo Starr and fronting the supergroup Bad English.

It also features lost and rare archival music videos and photos, interviews with songwriter Diane Warren and songwriter/guitarist Neil Giraldo, among others, feature footage from Waite’s tour with Starr and his collaboration with Alison Krauss.

Mike J. Nichols, who helmed ZAPPAEcho in the Canyon and The Play at Shea, directed the feature and co-produced with Scott 'Shadow Steele' Wright and Michele Farinola (Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My VoiceDavid Crosby: Remember My Name). It will be available on multiple streaming platforms, including Apple atat TVAmazonRoku and Google Chromecast as well as DVD and BluRay Discs via Amazon. 

“Opening the front door at the crack of dawn in my boxers to a film crew signified how the documentary would go,” Waite said. “It’s an unvarnished take on my life, just the cold hard truth.”

Throughout the course of his career, Waite penned a dozen Top 40 singles—including the #1 hits 'Missing You” and “When I See You Smile'—and sold a total of approximately 10m copies. Waite’s greatest hits album Singles and four-song EP Anything arrived via No Brakes Records earlier this year. He's currently on a U.S. tour in support of both. Find the dates here and trailer here while we try and correct our own bad English. 


By Bud Scoppa

For some of us, making lists of the movies, TV series, books and records that capture our attention is more than a pastime—it’s an addictive way of expressing ourselves through our taste.

In that sense, my interactive relationship with music has changed very little over the years. As soon as I got my first Sony stereo cassette deck in the early ’70s, I began assembling mixtapes of songs that grabbed me. I was obsessive about this activity, spending hours meticulously transferring tracks from vinyl albums to tape, giving each compilation a title and decorating each J-card with ink and highlighters. The fact that I knew and often worked with the musicians whose music I was compiling made the process that much more intimately involving.

A few months back, my vinyl-collecting grandson’s purchase of a Walkman inspired me to dust off a bunch of the scores of cassettes in my garage, buy a new tape deck and revisit them. Some of them still sound surprisingly good and bring the memories flooding back.

With the advent of iTunes in the early aughts, the process became much less labor-intensive, as I made playlists, burned them onto CDs and gave them to friends. Now, it’s practically effortless to make and share playlists, thanks to Spotify.

Even so, a part of me is still drawn to collecting what’s now referred to, inelegantly, as “physical product,” and admiring those increasingly uncommon bands and artists whose ambition leads them to create coherent albums. In 2021, there were five LPs that conjured worlds I wanted to explore from one end to the other—records that magically compressed the distance the 1970s and the 2020s for me: The War on DrugsI Don’t Live Here Anymore, Big Red Machine’s How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night SweatsThe Future, Robert Plant & Alison KraussRaise the Roof and Kings of Leon’s unexpected return to peak form, When You See Yourself. Haven’t spent enough time with Lindsey Buckingham’s self-titled LP yet, but from the echoes of Tusk and and Out of the Cradle in the delectably twisted tracks I’ve sampled, I suspect it’ll make the cut as well.

Diving deeper, I also found the box set Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal—containing renditions of 41 songs from the discography of the last artist I signed during my years at Zoo Entertainment—to be a consistently moving tribute to this gifted, sensitive artist, who died in 2019. And Tom Petty’s Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) hits me just as hard. Can’t believe those guys are gone.

All of the above and more are represented on—what else?—a playlist of my go-to tracks released in 2021.



If there is a consistent element in the bulk of Bob Dylan studio recordings released in the first 15 editions of Columbia/Legacy’s Bootleg Series it’s the sense that had Dylan had an astute command of when a song was finished.

Particularly when one listens to alternate takes of the songs from the mid-1960s when he added electric instrumentation to the mix and his ‘90s material when he was on the brink of churning out a series of brilliant albums, there’s evidence that Dylan was just a hook, a new tempo or an altered chorus or arrangement away from a definitive take.

That’s not the case with Springtime in New York, 1980-1985, released Friday as a five-CD set with a fabulous book of photos and as a two-CD “best of.”

In Vol. 16, Springtime in New York, we’re treated to outtakes that may as well be titled Another Side of Bob Dylan were that title not already taken. Through covers of blues, gospel and folk old songs plus rehearsals and alternate versions of songs that appeared on Shot of Love, Infidels, and Empire Burlesque, the five-CD set provides a thorough reappraisal of an oft-dismissed period that came on the heels of his Christian-themed albums and finds the Bard adapting to recording styles that prevailed at the dawn of the MTV era.

The revelation from the Christian era Bootleg Series was how strong a band Dylan employed for those tours and recordings and it continues on Springtime’s offerings with bands that included Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, members of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Ringo Starr and the reggae masters Sly & Robbie. Similarly, over the five years covered here, Dylan’s voice is remarkably consistent in timbre; he alters the intensity rather than the range to make point, song after song.

Since each recording is a full take, the five CDs feel like complete artistic statements; it’s one of the most listenable editions of the Bootleg series featuring studio recordings. And from start to finish, it’s a great sounding set.

Particularly revelatory are the sparse reading of “Lenny Bruce”; “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anyone Seen My Love)” stripped of its au courant 1985 production sheen; a striking reading of The Temptations’ hit “I Wish It Would Rain”; a haunting piano-guitar version of “Blind Willie McTell”  with Knopfler; “Clean Cut Kid” run through the throwback machine that landed at an early Chuck Berry Chess session; and “I and I” sounding like it was pulled from a choir’s hymnal. The truly never-before-released gem “Julius and Ethel,” from 1983, is a post-“Hurricane” romp and precursor for the more recent “Murder Most Foul,” a sign Dylan never lost his story-telling abilities.

The set closes with two of his best songs of the decade, “New Danville Girl” and “Dark Eyes” in versions that resemble the Dylan his fans loved in the ‘60s and again in the 21st century: Raw, urgent, vibrant records that out the songs and the singer at the fore.



By Bud Scoppa

Spotify’s scintillating new playlist Hill Country Blues is now streamable, with the inaugural list co-curated (in collaboration with either humans or algorithms) by The Black Keys. The Hill Country Blues playlist illuminates the history and heritage of an exotically funky subgenre indigenous to Northern Mississippi that inspired The Black Keys back in their Akron days and comes full circle with their new covers album, Delta Kream, out Friday on Nonesuch.

The playlist includes two tracks from the LP, including a kickass falsetto reimaging of from R.L. Burnside’s “Going Down South” featuring incendiary slide work from local hero Kenny Brown, alongside classic and obscure cuts from the likes of Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Little Jr. Parker, Jessie Mae Hemphill, T-Model Ford and Robert Belfour

If we’d been co-curating with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, we would’ve insisted on a selection or three from modern-day perpetuators the North Mississippi Allstars, but perhaps they’ll get a shot when the list turns over. 

'There would be no Black Keys without this music,” Dan and Pat readily acknowledge. “Hill Country Blues represents the concentric circle where we crossed over musically as teenagers. Artists like Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell and T-Model Ford are heroes to us. We made Delta Kream with Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton to remember where we come from and celebrate the music we love. The raw sound of Hill Country Blues and songs represented on this list are some that kept us going in those early days of touring, driving all night in the van. We hope fans can do a deep dive on these artists and realize how important they are to the canon of American Music.”


Willie Mays, the personification of perfection on the ballfield, turns 90 today and scribes across the land are weighing in on the distinct qualities of the spectacular home run-hitting, base-stealing centerfielder for the Giants and Mets from 1951 to 1973. ESPN has this; a NY Times piece is here.

The jump blues combo The Treniers, led by identical twins Cliff and Claude Trenier, were among the first to introduce the word “rock” in their material and in 1955 they released a tribute to Mays, who had a spectacular season the year before. After losing two prime seasons to Army duty, 1954 was the year of The Catch and a World Series victory for the New York Giants.



Black-owned indie label Gearbox has operated with a vinyl-first ethos since being launched by Darrel Sheinman in 2009.

The London-based label, which focuses on jazz, electronic, funk, Americana, ambient and lo-fi soul, has accumulated over 50 releases in its 12+ years and is hitting new milestones this year, including opening its first office in Japan. 

“This is the second-largest music market after the U.S., and our music and products are a good fit there. Having a local presence will help us exploit the nuances of that market,” shared Sheinman.

Additionally, Gearbox inked its first Japanese artist, Chihei Hatakayama, released a series of 15 Japanese Editions with Japanese liner notes and obi strip, which are available in the U.S. with the last few arriving in March, as well as other limited vinyl series available on their direct shop.

The series includes new pressings of vinyl from legends likes Thelonious Monk, Buddy Rich and Abdullah Ibrahim, newcomers like Theon Cross and Butcher Brown, as well as a Don Cherry 1965 session that was previously unreleased until a 2019 limited Record Day Store release, which included three new compositions and will be available via standard edition and Japanese edition LP in the U.S., plus more.

They also dropped a limited edition pressing of London duo Binker & Moses’ live album, Escape the Flames.

Mentored by Blue Note engineer Rudy Van Gelder, Sheinman has amassed the same gear that Van Gelder previously used, including a Studer C37 valve reel-to-reel tape machine. The studio also has direct-to-disc capabilities.

Audiophiles can learn more about Gearbox here.