MIDWESTERN ROOTS IN SEATTLE’S NEW LABEL
The return to vinyl has taken the musician-dominated town of Seattle by storm. With major labels gearing up to put pop stars onto vintage equipment, an online vinyl store with Midwestern roots has emerged as a leader... by banking on the Midwest
Knick Knack records began selling classic collector vinyl in 2010, with mint condition LPs from The Stooges, The Black Keys, The Ramones, Black Sabbath and the like. A chance meeting with a transplanted Midwesterner turned a successful online store into a unique record label.
In fall 2011, Knick Knack Records encouraged Wisconsinites cum Seattle anti-folksters The Foghorns to release their seventh album on vinyl. Blue vinyl, no less.
The Foghorns have built a following in Wisconsin, Seattle, and, strangely enough, Iceland and Scotland, with their unique take on traditional folk, country and rock. Their seventh album, on gleaming blue vinyl, has already received strong reviews. Here’s what Seattle press has to say:
From Reverb Magazine, author Chris Kornelius (blogs.seattleweekly.com)
“Pig is one of the most substantially listenable local albums of the year; easy to access, and hard to put down. It's soothing and comforting in the right ways, without being excessive or cheap. Its subtleties - hints of organ and accordion -- are smooth, but smart. Easy listening doesn't have to mean easily forgotten.”
From Ball of Wax, author Jon Rooney (www.ballofwax.org)
“Get a little closer and the songs on To the Stars on the Wings of a Pig, the band’s latest LP, reveal themselves to be funny, bitter little laments about the hell that is other people and, quite frankly, ourselves. Despite the context clues of traditional instrumentation and standard folk song structures, the Foghorns craft savvy, biting reproaches more in line with Dylan’s “Positively Fourth Street” or Lou Reed’s SallyCan’tDance than a knee-slapping hootenanny... To the Stars on the Wings of a Pig is a quietly stunning piece of work and, on beautiful blue vinyl, an album worth having on hand for whenever the mood strikes.”
As for how a few displaced Midwesterners are managing to make a profit selling vinyl while larger labels struggle, Joe Johnson, founder of Knick Knack has a theory: “I sell stuff I actually listen to.”