Wednesday, March 2, 2011



Fact 1:  Nova Scotia = New Scotland.  Fact 2:  Joel Plaskett is from Nova Scotia.  Fact 3:  Joel Plaskett likes vinyl records.  Put it all together, and you have Plaskett's boutique label, New Scotland Records.  Yes, they put out CD's and downloads too, but around the office, vinyl is king.  And over at Plaskett's home studio, where much of the label's music is created, don't look for the latest gear.  Tunes are put to tape only, and that goes for all the outside artists Joel is producing, such as Sarah Slean and Andy Maize.

I know I'm a little late on the vinyl bandwagon, but hey, I was knee-deep in it way back when, and still have all my old albums and singles.  Thousands of singles.  I tried the trusty 30-year old Dual the other day, and I'm afraid it finally bought the farm.  So off I went for a new table, as I'm sitting on some sweet 180-gram pressings.  Geez, I'm actually pretty impressed with what you can get for $125 at The Future Shop, a brand-new Sony turntable which sounds just great.

I needed the table because the ever-friendly and smiley David Myles laid his new 45 on me the other day.  Myles, one of my Fredericton homies, now lives in the HFX, and Plaskett did the honours on his five-time East Coast Music Award-nominated Turn Time Off album.  It seems that wasn't all the music they had ready.  Myles' single features one of those album cuts, Out Of Love on the A side, but the flip is the out-take Wrong So Wrong, a kicking little rock 'n' bluegrass number, perfect for the all-important non-LP b-side just like they used to do it back in '78. 

It's just one of eight recent singles on New Scotland.  Plaskett has one of them, a three-song affair that features demo/alternative versions of tracks from his recent Three LP.  Oh, I should also mention New Scotland features that beloved, Polaris-nominated set on triple vinyl.  The other six 45's belong to local artists in the Plaskett clubhouse.  They are Ana Egge, Myles Deck & the Fuzz, Matthew Grimson, Tyler Messick, Yellow Jacket Avenger and Peter Elkas.  Cool, you can tell it's one of those 'if you like one, you'll like 'em all' labels.  It reminds me how we used to buy singles just because it was on Sub Pop or Stiff or even Motown way back when.  Hopefully your local indie shop is carrying them, but if not just head to to order.

Upcoming, there's a split singles with the king of Sackville, N.B., Shotgun Jimmie, with Plaskett on the other side.  Joel does "Jimmie's Still Jimmie" and the double-barreled one counters with "That's Not Joel".  That should arrive in April followed by vinyl from Jeremy Fisher and Ben Gunning.  And the label boss tells me his new album will be ready in the fall, and he'll release a single a week of the tracks for ten weeks leading up to the whole disc arriving, or at least that's his current thinking.  I like that thinking.

The only beef I have with any of this is the generic picture sleeves the label is using.  One of the great things about 45's and vinyl in general is the artwork, and the greatest labels always had art directors high up on staff, knowing that the cover sold copies.  Surely some smart NSCAD art student wants to pick up some valuable experience.  In the meantime, I look forward to returning to the days of stacks of wax, and I'm glad I saved my 45 adapter. 

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