While The Second Disc prides itself on connecting people to reissues and box sets they can keep on their shelves, it's no secret that listening audiences are also digital - catalogue music lovers, too - and our passion is connecting people to music from the past that they might adore. So we've introduced a new feature: The Weekend Stream, which focuses on hidden gems that recently made it to digital channels that might make your playlists a little brighter!
This week is light on releases but heavy on sentiment, as we say goodbye to one of our most important local music institutions.
Rhino reissued The Time's 1981 debut - the first in a long line of Prince productions - on vinyl today, a red and white pressing featuring a bonus disc of all the original single edits. But if that's not your thing, the remastered, expanded program is available digitally for a cool $9.99.
Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing / Tunnel of Love / Private Investigations / ExtendeDancEPlay / Calling Elvis / Heavy Fuel (Warner Music/X5)
Sultans of Swing: Amazon / Spotify
Tunnel of Love: Amazon / Spotify
Private Investigations: Amazon / Spotify
ExtendeDancEPlay: Amazon / Spotify
Calling Elvis: Amazon / Spotify
Heavy Fuel: Amazon / Spotify
A pleasant streaming-only surprise dropped this Friday with a dozen newly available singles and EPs from British rockers Dire Straits. All of these possess rare tracks, from single edits of "Tunnel of Love" to live B-side "Eastbound Train" to the contents of the long-unavailable ExtendeDancEPlay release (previously, only "Twisting by the Pool" was a compilation mainstay.) None are downloadable at the moment - possibly due to rights restrictions (On Every Street-era B-sides "Millionaire Blues" and "Kingdom Come" are available on iTunes through U.K. rights holder Mercury) - but if you're a Spotify or Amazon subscriber, now's your chance to discover (or rediscover) these.
Finally, some words from founder Mike Duquette on the closure of one of The Second Disc's favorite record stores...
Today, July 16, 2021, I made a trip to one of my favorite record retailers of all time: Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ. There were about a dozen other folks - some my age, some a little younger - perusing the racks. Chuck Berry's The Great Twenty-Eight was on the stereo, and the familiar musty smell of the racks was palpable even through the face mask I wore. I came away with some incredible finds: a few out-of-print Elvis Costello Rhino reissues, a Prefab Sprout CD single, Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide live project. It was a great time.
And it was, sadly, the last time. At the end of the month, the venerable store - in business for 42 years - will close following the retirement of owners Rob and Donna Roth. Like many record buyers around the Garden State, I have a mess of emotions about it. Vintage endured the worst of the pandemic and served as a great model for vigilance amidst this most perplexing year, offering curbside pickup to loyal customers. In a few weeks, they will be gone - at the top of their game, navigating the stormiest seas for honest record retailers through booms and busts of physical music sales.
One of my hottest takes, as someone born in New Jersey but a resident of New York for nearly a decade: none of the Empire State's record stores now can compare to what's across state lines in the land of Springsteen and Sinatra. Vintage is, thankfully, one of many - there's Princeton Record Exchange, Tunes in Hoboken, Scotti's in Summit, Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank and a host of others.They're all doing well and thriving, and they deserve all the traffic they can muster.
But Vintage Vinyl was my home base. It's where I honed the joy of collecting and partook in the thrill of discovery. Ten summers ago, I was in the store as the latest record by cult alt-rockers The Damnwells, 2011's No One Listens to the Band Anymore, played through the store speakers. I posted my enjoyment of the record on Twitter - knowing some friends who were writers had really enjoyed it - and received a kind reply from frontman Alex Dezen. I left with a copy of the CD, and it got me through the rest of that year, punctuated by a devastating breakup. Months later, I found another disc on the recommendation of some friends: Julian Velard's piano-pop opus Mr. Saturday Night. That album soundtracked the upswing of single life - and, it would turn out, I would later develop personal and professional friendships with both Dezen and Velard, a gift I treasure as much as their music.
Indeed, music is an easy source of friendship, as is Vintage Vinyl. Joe and I shopped at Vintage together more than once, and Joe accompanied our former contributor Sam Stone on a trip to the shop. There may be no better example of this, though, than the sheer luck of separately, coincidentally becoming friends and neighbors with Rob's son, Dylan Roth. A talented singer/songwriter and incurable mutual pop culture geek, my friendship with Dylan and his friends was swift. When he and a former VV clerk, Julian Ames, co-founded New York power-pop band The Hell Yeah Babies, I proudly became part of their devoted fan base, seeing them perform at VV's stage as so many great bands had before.
Dylan's been more than a friend and cool musician. His close ties to Joe Riccardello of power-pop group The Modulators - for whom Rob Roth wrote lyrics - led us to publish a really gratifying piece on their work when debut album Tomorrow's Coming was expanded and reissued. When he got married just before the pandemic turned our world upside down, I was honored to be his witness - and he and his wife Jenna's smiling faces are in photos of my wedding day last fall, one of the few able to see us in person after we tied the knot on our apartment balcony before close friends and family over Zoom.
More than any record I could get at Vintage Vinyl - or couldn't get, in the case of my attempt to ceremonially purchase the first project I ever worked on (a Record Store Day-exclusive single of Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters") - it's bonds like that I'll miss most. The kindness of the staff and the joy of hearing something good while you were perusing the shelves. Rob and Donna have a well-earned retirement ahead of them - and thankfully there are still plenty of record stores that will light up the lives of thousands of Jerseyans. I only selfishly hope that plenty of someones out there have the same kind of magical experiences with their local shops that I've had with Vintage Vinyl.