Talking with frontman Richard Gintowt about the band's latest, Rainbow Records.

Hidden Pictures' pot of gold 

Talking with frontman Richard Gintowt about the band's latest, Rainbow Records.

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.

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