Thursday, September 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Tampa record label New Granada celebrates 20 years with three-night concert

Searching for CDs or mp3 players makes the music industry's changes over the last two decades feel very real. These days, Virgin and Tower megastores are just Wikipedia pages. Record execs still scratch their heads about the digital revolution that ruined profit margins forever because, as it turns out, selling plastic discs at insane markups never was a sustainable market strategy.

There is one music module that's withstood the test of time, though: The local record label.

Perched cross-legged on a chair in the center of his Seminole Heights record store Microgroove, Keith Ulrey can talk circles around the topic. The red-bearded, bespectacled 43-year-old is the head honcho and general do-it-all force behind beloved local imprint New Granada Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary with a three-night concert Dec. 25-27 at New World Brewery in Ybor City.

The label boasts nearly 50 releases over the last 20 years, and while many have been long out of print, Ulrey is candid about the less glamorous details of running the operation full time. A room in his house is dedicated to unmoved product, and Microgroove's New Granada listening post stands next to a box of label releases he can't give away (it should be a crime not to add a free copy of New Roman Times' 2008 indie-rock masterpiece On The Sleeve to your shopping bag).

Select titles are teetering on sold out, but he still can't hide subtle, solemn looks of disappointment while waxing about what consumers are missing out on when they don't buy physical.

"If I'm a painter, people come see my painting. Only one person can buy it, but you experience it," he said. "With physical product, liner notes, graphics, packaging — that's the art."

Ulrey knows a thing or two about making good versions of that art. The last year alone has seen New Granada utilize nearly every format to handle multiple releases. There are colored and transparent vinyl 7-inch singles from young, talented locals like Alexander and the Grapes and Atlantic Oceans. St. Pete alt-waltz quintet DieAlps! moved nearly 100 CDs at a recent release show, and Orlampa songwriter MRENC released a soundsmith's wet dream on cassettes dressed up in hand-cut artwork.

Screenprinted sleeves from Pinellas avant-punks Permanent Makeup adorn their 7-inch, and more local artistry is featured on reimagined artwork for a re-release featuring midwest emo legends Braid. The crown jewel of New Granada's anniversary releases, however, is hand-cut vinyl from the Maccabees and Pohgoh, which are manufactured one by one in Jacksonville by Jonathan Berlin, who plays in New Granada psych-freak folk outfit Sunbears!.

Pohgoh — the label's flagship band — enjoyed a dose of popularity following their debut in 1994, and a Christmas night reunion show finds the emo outfit joined by original singer Kobi Finley, who went on two tours and played on three 7-inches before Ulrey's future wife Susie eventually took over vocals. Finley, 36, will play three songs with the group. Richardson will sing during the rest of the set, and all five members of the band have recorded new music together, marking the first time they've been on the same record together.

"It's exciting," Ulrey explained, "but also, we're already nervous."

That energy grows stronger when Ulrey is queried on why someone would commit half his life to such a laborious passion project. He mentions loaning bands equipment when they're in a pinch. He'll do anything to help anyone on the roster succeed, and he says he feels the most fulfilled when a band gets as excited as he does about the way things are happening.

"It could be a good show, or press, or an Instagram," he said. "When they're stoked, I'm stoked."

There are still more releases being rolled out for the big anniversary, and as he excitedly rattles off details, it doesn't look like Ulrey wants to stop anytime soon.

Comments
Dickey Betts in critical condition, facing brain surgery after ‘freak accident’ near Sarasota; upcoming concerts canceled

Dickey Betts in critical condition, facing brain surgery after ‘freak accident’ near Sarasota; upcoming concerts canceled

Months after returning to the stage after years of retirement, legendary Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts is "critical but stable" after a "freak accident" at his home in Sarasota County, according to his website.The site says Betts was ou...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

A band will once again take the stage at the Super Bowl halftime show.The pop group Maroon 5 is scheduled to headline the annual 13-minute extravaganza this February at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, according to two sources familiar with the plan...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Ticket window: Carol Burnett, John Mellencamp and Sarah Brightman on sale this week

Ticket window: Carol Burnett, John Mellencamp and Sarah Brightman on sale this week

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:• Carol Burnett, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, $72.50-$257.50, on Sale at noon Friday at the box office, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, or by calling (727) 791-7400.• Shawn Colvin,...
Published: 09/19/18
Country Music on the Bay festival bringing Scotty McCreery, Wynonna, Jerrod Niemann to St. Petersburg

Country Music on the Bay festival bringing Scotty McCreery, Wynonna, Jerrod Niemann to St. Petersburg

An all-new country music festival is coming to St. Petersburg.Country Music on the Bay will hit Vinoy Park on Oct. 13, with a lineup that includes American Idol alum Scotty McCreery, Jerrod Niemann (Drink to That All Night), Wynonna and the Big Noise...
Published: 09/19/18
Weekend concert picks: Niall Horan, Maren Morris, Lucero and more

Weekend concert picks: Niall Horan, Maren Morris, Lucero and more

UPWARD DIRECTION: Niall Horan, Maren MorrisHarry Styles is the biggest star, rakish as always and selling out arenas. Zayn and Liam Payne have the best pop hits (Pillowtalk, Strip That Down, Get Low). Louis Tomlinson is biding his time while anxious ...
Published: 09/19/18
Clearwater’s Hispanic Heritage festival expands to two days; Gente de Zona, Olga Tanon lead lineup

Clearwater’s Hispanic Heritage festival expands to two days; Gente de Zona, Olga Tanon lead lineup

A big festival in Clearwater is getting even bigger.The annual 92.5 Maxima Hispanic Heritage concert — officially known as the Maxima Concerto Herencia Hispana — will expand from one day to two in 2018. It'll take place Oct. 13 and 14 at ...
Published: 09/19/18
Sunshine Music Festival won’t return to St. Petersburg in 2019

Sunshine Music Festival won’t return to St. Petersburg in 2019

For the last six years, the Sunshine Music Festival has broken up the wintry monotony of mid-January with a star-studded show at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.But for the time being, it's not coming back.The fest recently announced on social media tha...
Published: 09/19/18
Rainbow Kitten Surprise added to 97X Next Big Thing lineup

Rainbow Kitten Surprise added to 97X Next Big Thing lineup

Now that Rainbow Kitten Surprise has sufficiently rocked Tampa, the secret can be told: They're coming back in December for 97X Next Big Thing.The fast-rising North Carolina indie rockers have been added to the bill for this year's Next Big Thing, pe...
Published: 09/18/18
SoundBytes: Nile Rodgers, Noname, Rosanne Cash, Kyle Kinane and more

SoundBytes: Nile Rodgers, Noname, Rosanne Cash, Kyle Kinane and more

— In case you missed it, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers will open for Cher on Jan. 21 at the Amway Center in Orlando. Click here.— Jazz- and spoken-word-inspired rapper Noname is coming to the Ritz Ybor on Jan. 18. Tickets are $25.50 and up....
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18
Sarah Brightman coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Sarah Brightman coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Sarah Brightman is used to playing arenas. Since 2000, her concerts in Tampa Bay have all taken place before thousands of fans at what is now Amalie Arena.So getting to see her in a theater should be quite a treat.Brightman, one of the biggest stars ...
Published: 09/17/18