Dan Sostrom may be an iPod-lover’s worst nightmare. While many Americans are making the transition from CDs to MP3 players, Sostrom is rediscovering his love of vinyl. “I’ve been amassing so many CDs,” he explained. “It just seems so disposable to me, and with the whole MP3 thing, anyone can burn a CD.” With piles of promos reaching to the ceiling, his tiny office (home of his label, Clairecords) is a crowded space tucked discreetly behind Tone Vendor, the Midtown record store he owns with his wife, Heather. “I just started going back to collecting vinyl, and I’ve just grown to love it more and more,” Sostrom explained.
Sostrom reportedly got the idea to create a limited-edition, 12-inch collectable record series back in December 2004, after catching a show by two local acts, Knock Knock and the Feeling. “I just thought, both these bands aren’t really known anywhere outside of Sacramento. We thought there was a lot of good stuff in town that we wanted to give exposure to,” he explained. Though the label is small in relation to indie labels like Matador and Sub Pop, Clairecords, he says, has “a lot of worldwide customers or fans of the label that would appreciate a lot of things going on around Sacramento.”
The 14-record series, which will be released on Claire’s Echo (a subsidiary of Clairecords), won’t be limited to local acts. In fact, one of the first records slated for release will be by Acetate Zero, a Parisian atmospheric rock band that has drawn comparisons to Mogwai and Hood. The label also has plans to release records by Giardini di Mirò (from Italy), Casino Versus Japan (from Milwaukee), Accelera Deck (from Birmingham, Ala.) and Park Avenue Music (from Sactown). The first two albums of the series are tentatively scheduled for release in late July.
So, why buy these records? Well, each release will be pressed in a limited edition of 300 copies (100 on colored vinyl and the remaining 200 on black vinyl). Plus, each album will feature previously unreleased material that will only be available as part of this collection. Considering that most of the bands are still recording (or, in some instances, just starting to think about recording), no track lists have surfaced yet. After speaking with drummer Nicola Miller (of Knock Knock), we learned that the pop-rock quartet has plans to record four original songs and two covers (including a track by ZZ Top and one by Tom Petty). According to Sostrom, the bands are handling the recording themselves. “We don’t have the budget in this project to give recording money, so it’s basically just a break-even thing. It’s just for fun.”
If you’re interested in getting your mitts on the collection, visit the label’s Web site, www.clairecords.com, and follow the “Claire’s Echo” link. It’ll cost you $70 for six records, a small price to pay if you’re a diehard fan of independent music.