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Three years ago we closed the record store for a day to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was the only time — aside from the two weeks we were closed to move the record shop in 2009, that we have been closed, aside from holidays. Today on our anniversary we want to tell you we appreciate that you all support a neighborhood record store. Everything wonderful about this place begins and ends with all you folks who visit every day, week or month.

And yep, we’re open today until 7pm.

ken griffin anniversary songs

Our old friend Ben Weaver is releasing his new album, Sees Like A River, tonight at Creation Audio. Here is a link to information about tickets, but it appears online tickets are sold out — the good news is that a few seats for the intimate show have been reserved for walk-ups.

For the first time since 2008’s The Ax in the Oak, Ben recorded the album with a backing group — this time with the members of Alpha Consumer, who are some of the most talented musicians in the Twin Cities. The album also includes several short spoken word pieces, such as this one, “Uncle Whistle Bone.”

Sees Like A River is being released in a limited edition letter-pressed package which includes poetry as well as the disc. The band fits seamlessly along with Ben’s songs, but you’ll have to get yourself a copy to hear for yourself. Tonight’s performance is certain to includes the new songs as well as poems and stories from Ben’s bicycle travels and clean water advocacy projects.

Next Friday we’ll be hosting an in-store performance by Land at Last, a folk blues duo featuring two of the finest guitar pickers in Minnesota, Jake Illika and Mike Munson. Their first disc together was released early this year, and you can hear it below.

Longtime readers of this here site are likely already familiar with Mr. Munson, whose music we have featured many times over the years. If you enjoyed what you’ve heard, you will also likely enjoy Jake Illika’s solo music, his duo with Joel Ward, and his band, The Heavy Set. You can hear all of these on his website here.

Last night the Minnesota Orchestra began its annual Sommerfest with a live performance of the 2009 Star Trek score. Once again, they’ve invited your friendly neighborhood record store to provide some entertainment for the mezzanine. Once again there will be listening stations in Orchestra Hall and this year we’ve selected some albums connected to each night’s musical program. Also throughout the lobby are giant versions of popular games like chess, Connect Four and Scrabble.

You can check out the whole calendar for the Orchestra’s Sommerfest program on their website here. And when you visit Orchestra Hall between now and the first week of August you can take a rest and listen to albums like Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space during the intermission.

It has been eight years and a week or two since Michael Jackson passed away in a rented mansion in Los Angeles, and twelve years since he was acquitted on all counts by a jury after a trial so that bizarre the prosecutor himself was seen at one point with his head in his hands as one of his witnesses perjured herself.

The very idea that he was living in a rented mansion at the end expresses the absurdity of Jackson’s life. His residences are legendary locations: the Jackson’s Hayvenhurst mansion in Encino is set to become a tourist attraction and of course there is Neverland, the 3000 acre ranch whose zoo and carnival rides have not seen life in years. Also there is the Jackson’s original home in Gary, Indiana, which is a destination for devoted fans. A quick look over what folks have to say on Trip Advisor about their visit will remind you that there most certainly are two Americas.

While never found guilty of a crime, Jackson’s pariah status is the reason he never had a home after the 2005 trial. To this day people stop by one of the posters of him in our record shop and make a “Wacko Jacko” joke. As life-long fans we’re insulted. As human beings we’re appalled by the ability of the media to crucify public figures without consequence. And we’re tempted to ask how much they really know about the people who made the allegations, or the people who propagated the rumors and innuendos which have so widely been proven to not only false bust shockingly self-serving. We wish the people making jokes would read this 2011 essay by Charles Thomson about the media’s shocking bias against Jackson in coverage of the trial.

If only people would recognize how transparent the motives of the Arviso family were, or how unethical television ‘journalists’ like Diane Dimond used the case to benefit their own careers, often making entirely unverified claims under the unscrupulous umbrella of ‘un-named sources.’ Anyways, we agree with Thomson’s argument that the media’s treatment of Jackson was “shameful.”

People seem unwilling to listen when you point out that the Arviso family had already filed a questionable lawsuit against J.C. Penny after the mother and children were caught shoplifting. Or that she had spoken with an attorney about suing Michael Jackson before her family had even met the pop star.

Instead they’ll be quick to point to the 1993 claims against Jackson as evidence of a pattern, but that earlier case was also¬†fraught with suspicious motives. The father of that accuser, Evan Chandler, was ostensibly a dentist but also acted as a drug dealer to celebrities, as described in the late Carrie Fisher’s 2011 memoir, Shockaholic. Fisher, who admits having unnecessary dental work “just for the morphine,” described about how Chandler seemed to be scheming to put Jackson in a compromising position and was using his son as bait. “This was the time I knew I had to find another dentist,” she wrote. “No drug can hide the feeling of one’s skin crawling.”

The most unsettling aspect of this case is a recorded telephone conversation between Chandler and his ex-wife’s new husband, in which he describes how he will win the case against Jackson. It took place on June 8, but Chandler later claimed he learned about the alleged abuse on June 16.

In her book, Fisher defended Jackson:

I never thought that Michael’s whole thing with kids was sexual. Never. As in Neverland. Granted, it was miles from appropriate, but just because it wasn’t normal doesn’t mean that it had to be perverse. Those aren’t the only two choices for what can happen between an adult and an un-related child hanging out together.

Anyway, another year has passed and things will remain the same. Sony will make millions of an artist they could hardly recognize when he struggled, and people will stop in the record shop and make “Wacko Jacko” jokes.

Your friendly neighborhood record shop will be open from 11-4pm today. Have a fun and safe holiday!

living in america

“Eddie Murphy, eat your heart out.”

 

Like many Americans, we had to look up the history behind Canada Day, which was celebrated by our neighbors to the north yesterday. Its sort of like their Fourth of July, in that it celebrates an anniversary — On July 1st, 1867 the first of the British North American Acts became the law of the land, establishing the Canadian government as it is known today.

Until 1982 it was known as Dominion Day. An act of parliament that year established Canadian sovereignty.

We are a day late, but it was because we had to find this record. Chris Beard’s 1967 musical Canada Observed is the perfect album for Canada Day. Heard here is “In the Beginning,” which sets the stage for the history of Canada is story and song. The album also includes a retelling of the story of War of 1812 heroine Laura Secord and “The First Hockey Game.”

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