Monday, July 01, 2002

Party to Record Releases VII
Books and records, today.

The Harvard Book Store, one of my favorite book shops, offers an email newsletter that includes information about new arrivals, special first edition acquisitions, and notable remainders. The newsletter also features listings of author reading events, brief promotional reviews, and bestsellers lists. The new arrivals and bestsellers are the most useful elements, and while the newsletter rarely inspires me to go to the shop, I go frequently enough that it doesn't need to. If you live in the Boston area, this is the book store to visit. You can even order books online -- and pick them up at the shop on Harvard Square. Now that's click and mortar!

Victory Records, the long-running hardcore label, provides an email newsletter, as well. It's mostly oriented toward new-release information and tour schedules, but if you're not into the bands featured in a given edition, it's less than useful or interesting. The newsletter is also occasionally victim to awkward formatting and lame promo writing. Example: "Drawing from the two most prominent types of hardcore, Dead to Fall is the perfect blend of metal and mosh. They charismatically blend metallic hardcore with Euro-metal stylings and their own technical musings." Ho hum. Reads like ad copy from Metal Maniacs! Victory may have been around for awhile -- and they may be a relatively large business at this point -- but the label could learn from Lookout! Records' mix of personality, insider scoop, and humor. On the whole, Victory seems to take itself too seriously.

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