Mail Order Sources
Compiled by Peter Thelen
For the most part, the music reviewed here is not available in your average chain record store, or even in the average independent store. If you know of an independent store that does carry this type of music, by all means make your purchases there - that will let the local store know that support for this type of music does exist, and will ensure that they continue to stock a good selection. On the other hand, if a local 'progressive' store cannot be found, or if a supplemental supplier for certain titles is required, then I would strongly urge you to get in contact with one or more of the following independent mail-order dealers. Keep in mind that most of these are small one-person operations, and that these dealers usually work day jobs to keep food on the table and pay the rent. I've never found any one dealer that carries everything, so it might be a good idea to keep in touch with two or three of these folks. The following is a listing of some of the more reliable mail order sources I use or have used, with addresses & phone numbers if available, and some brief comments and opinions on scope, reliability, and other subjectives.
PO Box 8427, Silver Spring MD 20902-8427 USA Phone #: (301) 589-1803 (new release info)
Wayside is the Mail Order outfit that has been in business roughly for 15 years, with a good reputation. They have two catalogs: An annual "Green" catalog of Items they keep in stock all year long, plus a quarterly (?) "White" catalog that lists Items that are either new in stock or that will not be restocked after they are gone, many of these items are very limited quantity stuff, so after you get the white catalog it's best to act fast. Wayside carries a wide variety of progressive stuff, but clearly favors the adventurous fringe, RIO, and other uncategorizable material over the "melodic pop" type progressive. They have two in-house labels: Cuneiform and W.M.A.S. (Wayside Music Archive Series) featuring artists like Chainsaw Jazz, Univers Zero, Richard Pinhas, Dr.Nerve, Miriodor, However, Curlew, etc. The catalogs usually have a brief (3-6 line) description of the items they carry, which typically includes some information on the lineup and some clues as to the musical style, frequently by comparison. Complaints: First and foremost is their lack of a live telephone for order confirmation, and secondly the they take slightly longer than most to send out the orders. Usually it takes about a month. On the plus side, they've recently added credit card payment as an option, which means you no longer have to list a bunch of alternates you don't really want or receive credit slips.
Eurock Magazine & Distribution
PO Box 13718, Portland OR, 97213 USA Phone: (503) 281-0247 (10 AM - 5 PM !!!)
Eurock started as a magazine in the early-70s, specializing in European progressive and space rock. The magazine had a supplementary distribution list of difficult to find music that you could order direct. As all stores began carrying less imported material, Eurock Distribution grew in importance to the point that the magazine now has pretty much taken a back seat to the catalog. The owner of this enterprise is Archie Patterson, whose preferences lie primarily in electronic driven space music and melodic progressive rock, and his lists tend to reflect this. His lists come out about 4 to 5 times a year, and each item is accompanied by a brief description and synopsis which I've found to be very accurate for the most part. He has his own in-house label (also called Eurock) which features artists like Gandalf, Robert Julian Horky, Green Isac, Erik Wollo and others. One thing to note is that Eurock generally does not restock itens after they are sold out unless the demand is overwhelming, and he gets things in fairly modest quantities, so the best policy is to give him a call as soon as the catalog comes out to reserve the items you want - if you wait more than a few weeks some things will no longer be in stock. Generally he's happy to discuss the items he has in stock over the phone if you need more information, as long as you don't call after 5PM PST; in fact I'd recommend this, as he can get your feedback from previous orders and learn what your tastes are and make specific recommendations. I've been dealing with Eurock for about 7 or 8 years, and I have never had any problems, nor do I know anyone who has... He generally delivers within a week or two of receipt of payment. Does not accept credit cards. Subscription to Eurock magazine is $ 8.00/Year.
The Laser's Edge
PO Box 3128, Hoboken NJ 07030 USA Phone: (201) 656-2112 (6PM to 10PM EST, No Later !!!)
The Laser's Edge is a label and mail-order CD only distribution run by Ken Golden. Ken gets the medal for having positively the most descriptive and informative catalog of any mail-order outfit I've ever dealt with, every disc is reviewed carefully, and opinions are offered - one of the few people I've ever seen who will tell you that a disc he carries is crappy if it really is! The in-house label (TLE also) has many releases mostly by long forgotten independent artists from the 70's, but there are some new releases as well. Artists include: The Load, A Triggering Myth, Werwolf, Landberk, Spring, Nightwinds, SFF, Yatha Sidra and others. His tastes lean more towards early post-psychedelic proto-progressive stuff, and this is evidenced in many of the releases on his own label. One must remember this when using the descriptions in his catalog to make a judgement on something. He tends to get unusual stuff that, like Wayside, nobody else seems to want to carry. Although I've found him to be friendly on the phone <%-3>(except when I called at <%-2>11:30PM !),<%0> he generally won't go into any further elaboration on items he has in stock, "I think I described that adequately in the catalog" is his stock answer. He's been very dependable, but since he's a one-man operation, things get a little slower if you order right after the catalog comes out (2x/year); he does take Visa and Mastercard. Strongly recommended.
Box 652, Ellington CT 06029 USA. Phone: (203) 875-2315 3-10PM EST
Cleefo (that's his name) specializes in cutout CDs, Cassettes and Videos of all types. He used to send out a list, but rarely does anymore as his stock turns over so quickly. Just this year (92) he was able to get me two long-out-of-print Synergy CD's and Dixie Dregs "Dregs of the Earth" CD. It's best to just call and let him know what you're looking for. I've never had any problems with his service, he's always been friendly and helpful on the phone, and has a network of other record-show type dealers that he works with, which in some cases allows him to get some long-lost obscurities in record time. (he couldn't find me a copy of Utopia's POV though!!). Overall very good prices.
17 Airport Road, Nashua NH 03063 Phone (800) 648-7972, Fax: (603) 883-9220
Noteworthy is a mail-order only outfit who deal only in domestic product, and only the best known of it as well. They still have a very good selection and might be especially helpful in rounding out your collection of Kansas, Pat Metheny, Zappa, King Crimson, Tull and others common domestic stuff. Why order from these guys, you might ask? Because their prices are about two dollars cheaper than you'll find in almost any record store, and when you order enough the shipping is next to nothing. In some cases their prices for new product are a dollar less than you could get the same used disc for in a store. And for those of us in California with the 8% sales tax, Noteworthy is out of state, an added savings - for a little while longer at least. Real nice catalog, call and ask for it.
139 Hawkfield Crescent NW, Calgary Alberta, Canada T3G 1Z4 Phone: (403) 241-9073 (5-9PM PST)
Tim is a guy who deals mainly in used LPs and works shows in his area, he's got good contacts with a lot of other dealers & collectors in his area, and seems to have no trouble finding rare and out-of-print stuff if you give him a little time. He found me 6 o/p (out-of-print) albums by Maneige over the course of the last year, and found the whole FM catalog for a friend of mine, including the rare first album "Headroom", all for very reasonable prices. His service is extremely good, turn-around-time is quick, and he's a really friendly chap to talk with on the phone. Recommended for o/p stuff.
62 Crane St., Caldwell NJ 07006 Phone: (201) 226-6332
Doug has a very extensive list of all kinds of progressive from all over the world, and his prices are fairly reasonable. A really easy guy to deal with and not too opinionated about things. If you call (after 4PM EST) he'll take your order right then and ship it as soon as he gets payment. he sends everything out priority mail, which all makes his TAT (turn-around time) very quick. From the west coast, my experience has been typically 7 working days from the day I placed the order and sent payment, to the day the discs arrive. That beats everyone else hands down, even guys on the west coast - Doug's definitely the fastest Turnaround in the business. He handles a really good selection of Italian 70's prog, I'm really impressed with his selection of other types of stuff too. He advertises regularly in <MI>Goldmine<D>, which is a good way to keep up with the new stuff he gets in stock. He's also got an extensive list of rare and o/p LP's. Highly Recommended.
Progtron / Ranjit Padmanabhan
566 Crystalberry Terrace, San Jose CA 95129 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Such a clever idea: Sell CD's over the net via email. Progtron is a very impressive single-handed operation run by Ranjit Padmanabhan. He sends out periodic "Descriptive" catalogs over the net, as well as simple lists that list everything he has in stock. All you need to do is email him and ask him to send it. He's a very friendly guy, knowledgeable and helpful, his selection is extremely good and his prices are good also. Once your order is confirmed, he holds it for you, you send him the payment, and he sends you the discs. Very simple, very convenient. He also carries all currently available issues of Audion Magazine, as well as a good stock of progressive rock videos. Highly recommended.
P.O.Box 2034, La Habra CA 90631 Tel/Fax: (714) 894-9506
Syn-phonic is owned by Greg Walker, who also has an in-house label which specializes primarily in American progressive artifacts, but he also has some current artists signed. The roster includes Kalaban, Now, Babylon, Mirthrandir, Northstar, Cathedral and others. For years he was releasing this stuff on vinyl only, notorious for their marginal pressing quality. However, since around 1991 Greg has been releasing CDs only, and unlike the LPs, no quality was spared on these, either in the pressings or the booklets, which tend to have extensive information on the artists, much like America's answer to Musea. He has gone back and re-released much of his vinyl on disc now, and eventually plans to re-release everything and then some. His mail-order list is extensive, and includes imports from all over the world. His prices on Japanese product are the best anywhere, frankly I don't know how he can do it, but his prices are roughly the same as one would pay in Tokyo! He also has an amazing selection of 70's Italian product. His service is very good, prompt TAT, and although he seems to be difficult to get hold of on the phone, when you do catch him he is very helpful and honest. He's one of the few that'll tell you something on his list is lousy if it is. I was ready to order something once, and he strongly recommended that I save my money!! Also, for those who are into vinyl, he still stocks things on both formats, whenever available, although I imagine the LPs will disappear from his stock eventually.
575 3rd St., Apt. 1-D, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA
A mail-order operation run by Tony Coulter, who writes for i/e magazine and has his own radio show on WFMU. He's an extremely knowledgeable guy, with a friendly disposition and a good perspective on the whole progressive/RIO/experimental scene. He puts out a price list periodically with very brief descriptions, which he will gladly elaborate on if you call. He stocks CDs and vinyl, including many things you will find nowhere else.
P.O.Box 58040, Louisville KY, 40268-0040 Phone: (502) 933-7078
ZNR is a mail-order disributor as well as a Label, featuring artists like Mastermind, Easter Island, Radio Piece 3 and others; They have a descriptive catalog of CDs which comes out annually, plus periodic lists of new and used vinyl for sale. Their service is prompt and prices are fairly reasonable.
OK, Here are some additional progressive sources I am at least aware of, and in some cases have used.
JEFF BAKER, R.D.2, Box 294, Camden DE 19934 USA
MUSEA, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE Fax: (33) 87366473
SHOP 33, 47 Cours de la Marne, 33800 Bordeaux, FRANCE
ULTIMA THULE, 1 Conduit Street, Leicester, LE2 0JN, UK
STANISLAV HAPLA, Jungmannova 7/692, 736 01 Havirov-Mesto, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
CORIOLIS RECORDS Box 3528, Orange CA, 92665 USA
AEON MUSIC, P.O.Box 6185, Torrance CA, 90504 USA
ABCD 33 N Main St, Port Chester, NY 10573 USA (914) 939-2223
ART CONTROL ENTERPRISES, P.O. Box 415, Lakewood, OH 44107 USA
FOT RECORDS/PASSED NORMAL COMPILATIONS, PO Box 505, Bloomington, IL 60108 USA
WORLD DISQUE, 404 SY Bldg. 3-15-18 Shimo-Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 161 JAPAN
VOICEPRINT, PO Box 32827, Kansas City, MO 64111 USA
BEASTONE, SB Heights Ten # 301, 9-1 Kikusui, Shiroishi-Ku, Sapporo 003 JAPAN
G.A.S.(Gong Appreciation Society) PO Box 871, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA69FE, UK
SI MUSIC, Postbus 938, 3800 AX Rotterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
MIKE LLOYD'S, 14-20 Brunswick Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent,Staffs,ST1 \1DR, UK. Phone: ???
EDUARDO GOMEZ KODELA, Casilla De Correo 237,(1000) Correo Central, ARGENTINA
LINDEN MUSIC, PO Box 520, Linden, VA 22642 USA
OF SOUND MIND, 5615 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21206, USA
EDISON, 7-15-14 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, JAPAN
PLAYING BY EAR, 1244 Mojave Dr. Colton CA 92324 USA
PROGRESSIVE INTERNATIONAL, 3180 Washington Bl. Suite 310, Ogden UT, 84401 USA
If you know of any others, please let me know as I will be doing updates periodically. Also let us know about any progressive oriented stores in your area...at some point in the future I will do a listing of stores that cater to progressive/eclectic/experimental tastes.