The most recent release from Golden Sound Records is Hidden Pictures' Rainbow Records, a sunny, indie-pop joint with boy-girl harmonies and crunchy power-pop tones. (Think She & Him if they existed in the days of 105.9 the Lazer.) The Pitch recently chatted up frontman and songwriter Richard Gintowt about the record.
The Pitch: We talked earlier about Hidden Pictures working with Golden Sound, which is interesting because I feel like a lot of this new record is about things like record labels and record shops, and how those things are kind of disappearing.
Gintowt: Yeah, that's all in there. I didn't set out to write a themed record, but half to two-thirds of the tracks have something to do with music I grew up with or am nostalgic for. I think it's partly about taking stock of what I imagined my music career being when I was 18 versus what it is now that I'm 30. It's not a raging success or a massive disappointment, just somewhere in between.
"Solo Record Shop" seems like it's along those lines, about the conflicts involved with aging and maturing as a musician.
I think some of that stems from a conversation Michelle and I had about how most songwriters have this 15- to 20-year epoch of productiveness. I was making the argument that bands could make great records in their 50s. The central point of the conversation, I guess, was Wilco. I still like their more recent records, but Michelle [Gaume, Hidden Pictures' singer] doesn't. I guess I just kind of refuse to accept the idea that all songwriters eventually go through a decline. Because there's guys like Dylan, Waits and Leonard Cohen who have done some of their best stuff in their later years.
So how does that connect with the idea of a solo record shop? What is a solo record shop?
I guess that was sort of also inspired by Erik [Voeks], who has worked in record shops his whole life. I was imagining a record store that sells only solo records by the frontmen of once-great bands. Like some old Stephen Stills record that nobody cares about and wasn't that good. Just this vacant place where these old songwriters go to rot. But I think there's something hopeful in that, too — they're going down swinging. I think there's probably a lot of that on the record: a little bit of nostalgia, a little bit of a bittersweet feeling, but still some hopefulness and excitement about music and record stores.
Is Rainbow Records an actual place or thing? or a metaphor? or both?
Rainbow Records was a record store in suburban Chicago that I used to frequent. The guy who owned it was a little older and very chatty — if you started talking to him about classic rock, he'd never let you go. It wasn't the hippest store around, but I loved that I could find cool indie stuff in the dollar bin. The song "Rainbow Records" is mostly a lie: I never skipped class in eighth grade and I barely listened to GNR. But I did love my first New Kids on the Block tape, and they were my first concert, and I'll never forgive my mom for making us leave early to beat traffic. I guess the song seemed to encapsulate some sentiments present in the other tracks, so I made it the title of the album.