You might know Fred Armisen from his time as a cast member on Saturday Night Live or as co-creator, co-writer and co-star of Portlandia with Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney. He’s bloody properly famous! Tomorrow night he’ll be at The Astor Theatre for his show, Comedy For Musicians But Everyone Is Welcome, but before that, at 1.00 pm tomorrow afternoon (1 Sept, folks), he’ll be making a sneaky in-store appearance at Fremantle’s Junction Records.
Armisen will be playing a setlist of punk songs from bands like The Clash, The Damned, Devo, The Stranglers, Husker Dü and a whole lot more. It’s going to be a fun-packed hour and you’d better get there early, because there’ll be a queue right around the block for this one.
As the news broke, we spoke to Junction Records’ proprietors, Stu Loasby and Sam Farringdon, who were as excited as a dog with two tails to be able to bring Armisen to their den of vinyl iniquity.
“Yeah it’s pretty exciting,” said Loasby, “our first in-store. We’ve been in direct communication with him (Armisen). A genuinely lovely person. This will be a pretty unique performance. Pat Monaghan, ex-Perth who runs Rocksteady Records in Melbourne, said Fred popped in there three days in a row just purchasing Melbourne bands so no doubt he’ll show WA the same love when he gets here.”
Which got us to thinking, Loasby and Farringdon are record store proprietors, they know their stuff, so we asked them what they think the hottest releases of 2019 are, so far.
Farringdon: “Local? Carla Geneve’s EP. It toes the line perfectly between tender confession and the visceral abandon of youth. Elsewhere? Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? by Deerhunter, cos it’s a worthy question, and it’s answered with wry humour and an adventurous spirit.”
Loasby: “Local? I nominate my own band, Datura4’s Blessed is the Boogie. Not because I play in it but because I think it’s the best batch of songs Dom Mariani has written. Elsewhere? Springsteen’s latest, Western Stars, is a perfect start to finish listen. A proper singer-songwriter album in the classic tradition.”
Nice picks, gentlemen. We have to heartily agree about Carla Geneve’s EP, definitely a star on the rise. And, although Loasby’s obviously not averse to a good dose of self interest, he’s dead right about the recent slab of vinyl from Datura4. When Around The Sound had a sneaky pre-release listen earlier this year, we labelled Blessed Is The Boogie as the record of the year and nothing has knocked if off that perch so far.
Then we got onto vinyl. The market has been shrinking for years and this year has seen Perth’s iconic 78 Records go out of business, yet stores like Junction Records keep on keeping on. We mused with Loasby and Farringdon about the viability of vinyl.
Farringdon: “There’s a romance to vinyl that the compact disc just didn’t quite manage to capture. Until you try to move house, and you begin to wonder! Working in a record store, I like to think we’re less arbiters of taste and more archaeologists. We aim to shine a light on the records you might have missed otherwise.”
Loasby: “The sound is infinitely better and the pictures are bigger. Vinyl is something to cherish, CDs are something that perish!”
Wise words, gents, but maybe don’t take up comedy any time soon! Or poetry…
Get down to Junction Records tomorrow and you’ll be part a unique event in an environment that is a cornucopia of everything that’s good about music, run by people who genuinely love what they do. And keep an eye out for more from the people at Junction Records. The next in-store is with Perth’s finest purveyours of dirty blues, The Floors, on 7 September.
“Apparently they’re gonna strip it back,” Farringdon told us. “No doubt we’ll still be handing out earplugs!”
Junction Records is located at 27-35 William St, Fremantle.