From: DJ Jester
All you fine folks in San Francisco, I'll be doing a solo in-store performance at Aquarius Records (1055 Valencia St. in the Mission district) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 @ 6pm. Yeah, I know that's more than a month away, but I just found out and I'm really excited! At 32 years old, Aquarius is SF's oldest independent record store. This is a very special gig for me, mostly because I owe pretty much EVERYTHING to Aquarius. They've hooked me up with so much. WFMU heard about me because of their notorious e-mail outs. As did Revolver, the badass distributor of my cds. Hell, Kid Koala, took note when he read a review of my stuff on their website a few years back. It goes on and on, but you can pretty much draw a line to Aquarius from every opportunity I've received when I was first transitioning from local San Antonio DJ to selling records all over. They really do know their shit and they deserve all the respect they get.
From: Brett Levin
Can I just rave for a minute?
I realized last night that I have not bought a single bad record from you guys. Not one. Even the long-shots, the ones that I grimly accepted were a gamble, the ones I bought because the cover was cool (I cannot resist that impulse), have been gems. I don't want to foam at the mouth here, but that strikes me as amazing -- because it contravenes the experience of my whole music buying life, which is that you take your chances: you play the $16 CD roulette game and hold your breath for the windfalls, the albums which nuke your skull and remind you to live. Even the records I've gotten fromn you guys where the first few listens I've been all "ugh, why did I buy this", have turned out on further listens to yield unexpected pleasures. The result is that I've repeatedly felt my range of musical appreciation grow and grow into areas that I'd never been able to hear anything in before. I feel I can confidently pick up anything in the store and it will be good, for some definition of 'good'.
Also: I appreciate the time you guys spend on your reviews. Your care and knowledge and humor is what makes aquarius such a rad place to shop.
From: Reko Castren
I stumbled into your pages by accident and now I've been reading your reviews and listening to the audioclips for god knows how many hours and there's no stopping.. it's like I've found the recordcollection of my dreams online! Your "staff favourites" sections are brilliant to start with and the reviews in your whole catalogue are also extremely well written and helpful, just a joy to read, and of course the numerous long audioclips (you usually get like 20 sec of the worst quality) crown the site. I was especially blown away by the stuff in your "experimental" catalogue and you might imagine how hard it is to get hold of records of that sort thru shops here in Finland, maybe something like the MillePlateaux stuff is available but nothing even near your scope. THANK YOU!! I've been introduced to so much new and exciting music in such a short time that it's almost like some kind of a high! You know your stuff and - you propably hear this a lot - i think this must be the BEST FUCKING RECORDSTORE OF ALL TIME!! No bullshit!
From: Dan Koster
Receiving your New Arrivals list is like receiving a bonus edition of The Wire twice a month, except you're palpably real people (have Ben Watson and Kodwo Eshun ever been seen in the same room together?) and when a record reeks, you don't pull punches in order to get bonus power-up intellectual wank points defending its neo-Lacanian "is"ness qua Campbell-cum-Deleuze's rhizomatic schema of heroic ineptitude. I appreciate Aquarius' honesty in these matters, and your ability to pinpoint kindred strains of musical thought & emotion means you're usually able to point listeners in new, more fruitful, directions when a given well has run dry.
You guys ROCK! Thanks for the great rec's, and fabulous reviews of course, of the music you carry/are interested in....I can honestly say that I would have never, in a million years, bought a Chicago album if not for Andi's review........Also turned me onto "Orient" by Cherry (changed my life!) Thanks!!!!!!!!!! Mike
From: Elliot (Howling Bull)
Holy shit! 'Bordering on the NPR-segue-music side of things' is fucking genius! While looking through the list from a couple weeks ago I found this that you guys used to describe an Indonesian music comp. My god. That ranks up there with comparing that song from the Champs/Trans Am collaboration to a Maxwell House commercial. In both cases, forever ruining my ability to hear anything else. It is gems like these- so random, but so incredibly accurate, that make it worth reading every word you print. Thanks for keeping me from working...
From: Tracey Doyon
Thank you. Not only were you able to deliver a product apparently non-existent at the larger retail "chains" (ahem, cdnow/amazon/et al) but did so in an extremely expeditious fashion. You guys rock.
I have proudly referred all friends and family to your website.
And allow me to say, once again- You guys Rock.
From: Blake Robin
i'm in love with the AQ new arrivals email newsletter, my #1 source for rad new musical discoveries. i then get to be the first on my block "in the know" about what's new and worth seeking out, lending me much cachet. you are my hipness secret weapon, and for that, a thousand thanks!
From: Jim Morgan
your store and web site are absolutely amazing...I discovered the store when I ventured into San Francisco during a 10 hour layover at the airport a few years ago (that's the only 10 hours I've ever been in California), and have been using your web site as a resource ever since. Many things you carry can't be found anywhere near me, including New York, so I'll probably be ordering from you frequently in the future. I do a radio show on a local station that broadcasts over the internet, so I'm always looking for interesting new releases, and your very user-friendly site is the best source I've encountered yet. (I'll forever be indebted to your store for turning me on to that "Doomsday Cults Vol 14" thing a few months back.)
From: Julie in Montana
I just wanted to say that your store has the best order department and quickest replies to my e-mail that I've ever experienced. Since I live in the boonies, I have to get a lot of the stuff I like through mail order and have made some really bad choices in distributors... But you guys are swell, and you have one of the best web sites for information, music clips and overall critique. Not to mention that you're very amusing - I especially like the black metal reviews. Keep on keepin' on and know that it's appreciated.
From: Gabriel Lewis
Incidentally, your Web site has provided me the chance to hear TONS of stuff I never wanted to risk shelling money out on, and has really helped me find a lot of new music. So, for that, I thank you (and that was part of the reason I wanted to order through you guys in the first place). Finding cooperative stores here in NYC can be difficult... especially when dealing with relatively avant stuff... so the positive vibe (and helpful and pleasant manner on the phone when I called) is much appreciated.
Keep on keepin' on. You're my #1 tourist destination should I be fortunate enough to make it to San Francisco sometime in the future.
From: H Nordvargr Bjurkk
Just wanted you to know that I very often wish that I lived closer to your store... after seeing all the Neighborhood films and browsing your reviews for the last year I am totally convinced that there is no better record store on this planet.
From: Kelly Radcliffe
Not that record-store celebs such as yourselves need the ego-stroking, but I just thought I'd chime in from up north about how valuable your website is to any and all who stumble across it. You people do a fantastic job sifting through our planet's musical output, giving hope to the musically stranded, that the world does not hinge on..on..Mariah Carey (I cannot think of stronger language.) Last year I actually made it to San Francisco and became instantly apoplectic upon sighting the red bridge and the big pointy building, knowing that somewhere in that big mess of a city Aquarius Records lurked. My travel companions did not share my almost rabid need to find obscure Ruins-related projects, or source out Thomas Koner. Agonising. When I finally plied myself away from the herd and caught your scent I was in a glory, huffing and puffing with flemmen. Two hours of fervent sidewalked echolocation and an hour and a half of bottomless glee, ass-up into your collection, I emerged thirteen CD's richer and was finally ready to rejoin my friends, who had merely been to Alcatraz. Shit, I thought, Alcatraz will always be there, but the Conet Project is limited issue! Priorities. Repeating the process the next day (only eight CDs this time) I began to think that maybe I had a psychological problem. In retrospect, though, I've downgraded it to a financial problem. It's important for human beings to have healthy record collections, is it not? And to be excited about them! Elephants, dogs, spazzy Japanese prog! Yes! I get all shakey and scribbled-up thinking of the music you write about, coloured outside my lines! Keep it up! You may not be getting rich doing what you're doing, but you're definitely enriching the lives of..me, at least, and probably dozens of others - millions if I had my say. Indeed, I would single-handedly finance your store were my means sufficient.
From: Billy Jam of Hip Hop Slam
wow! I am so impressed with how you guys painstakingly put together these great lists of indepth/informative reviews....great job!
From: Tom Neely
by the way, your website is one of the best music websites i've found. i love all of the reviews you guys put up. it makes shopping there a lot easier. i used to go to your store all the time when i lived in s.f., but now i'm in l.a. and there aren't any stores as good as aquarius or amoeba down here. although they are openig an amoeba here soon. anyway thanks for having such a great website for those of us who live far away.
From: David D.
just wanted to tell you how much your record store rocks and how i always feel so happy that i can bike a few blocks down the street and you'll be there. you know my face i am sure b/c i have bought tons of shit and stuff from you guys over the past two years. i always check the website in excitement that a new edition of your latest scoop is out. but please subscribe me that way i dont have to check, it can be just sent to me. ya hoo... rarely do i ever buy any music anywhere else in the city when i can support such an amazing group of people, plus i dont have to sort through all the crap.... good heavens.. been in amoeba lately???? its a nightmare compared... just to let you know you are appreciated greatly, but probably wouldnt say this to your faces, at least not at this length, it could be a little awkward, both for me and you. a very loyal customer and always will be....
My name is Brian Roper. I just wanted to drop a line and tell all you fine folks how much I have enjoyed all the things you do at Aquarius. I found out about you guys in an issue of The Wire some time ago and have since purchased several items from your fine store. By far and away, Aquarius has the most efficient service of any of the vendors I have used. Plus, you guys are just about the nicest people to talk to on the phone. Formerly, I relied on The Wire for unique listening adventures. I have to say with all sincerity that your new release lists and the monthly selections have been my primary source of musical obscurities. I am from Dallas and we don't have anything like you guys here. Just wanted to let you know that all the hard work you put into the mailing lists, new releases, etc....are greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
From: Phil Kaffen
Aquarius was recommended to me about a year and a half ago by a friend. I used to live in Oakland, but had never heard of Aquarius and now I am kicking myself. Fortunately, you have mail order. In any event, I have always always been treated with respect by the staff at Aquarius. Whenever I have questions, even simple or stupid questions, I've never been treated with condescension or given attitude at all. This is rare and extremely appreciated. The entire staff (at least all the people I have dealt with) have been friendly and patient and that is why I consistently order music from you (in addition to the fact that you are often the only store that stocks the things I'm looking for). I've learned a great deal just from reading your monthly new music lists and look forward to many more. Above all, I have been able to hear all kinds of different music and have really grown to love lots of stuff I would otherwise never have heard. Thanks very much everybody.
your newsletter is the most useful feature of the entire internet. keep rocking ass. it's obvious that you all put a lot of work into the newsletter. i really can't believe how well it's written and how perceptive and informed the opinions are. you have a rocking staff.
From: Seymour Glass, Bananafish
excellent list. the descriptions are even more superlative than usual. i swear, i've laughed out loud several times.
Many congratulations to Aquarius Records on your 30th birthday! We loved your shop and love receiving your email communications. We have started our own small record shop here in Brighton and will be celebrating our first anniversary in December and were very much inspired by small independents in the US, including yours. Good luck with the next 30 years!
Charlie and Jo
From: Chris Knox
Just a quick thanx for the continuing adventures of New Arrivals. A fantastic resource, wish I could afford to print the bastard out!
From: Phil Sibbett
I was also glad to see you listed in Wire magazines recent 200th issue focused on the Web. Keep up the good work, there are very few stores (let alone magazines) out there willing to spend the time to pull something like this list together, I hope that you get the benefits from it that you deserve,
From: Elizabeth Reeves
Thanks very much! I received the first CD quite promptly. This is my first e-buying experience and its working out well. (I was a little apprehensive.) Its a pleasure doing business with you folks and your wild catalog will keep me coming back!
From: Jeff Dion
I've been shopping at your store for nearly ten years - even during its dreadful Not-Adjusting-to-These-Newfangled-CD-Things-Yet period in the early nineties. When you moved shop to Valencia, I figured that I wouldn't have much reason to come by. But since you made the move (and Windy assumed ownership) your store has become my favorite store to visit in the city. Frequently I walk out of your store with a few CD's in my hand, shaking my head in disbelief at what I've found.
Then I subscribed to your email service. I enjoy your dispatches immensely and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into it. It must be tedious work for you, but the effort pays off - I buy a lot of stuff at your store based upon your descriptions and your recommendations. You have taken to some self-denigration, calling your little messages "pretentious" and posting up a cartoon making mock of your little handwritten cards, but I find them to be extremely helpful.
I also appreciate the down-to-earth attitude of all of you who work the counter. A store with your kind of hipness quotient is automatically accorded the right to full-bore snobbery and contempt toward all who enter, at least in San Francisco. Thankfully, I have never been treated with altitude in your store, despite my bland wardrobe and indifferent hairstyle.
From: Jane Lerner
i am currently in chicago visiting my family, annoyed at the snow and cold and general disconnection from SF. but i just read your new arrivals email and wanted to tell you how much you rock, and how much those emails are informative, fascinating, educational, and all around excellent. they are infinitely better than 90% of the music journalism i read (and i read everything i can get my hands on!). i appreciate so much the energy and thoughtfulness you guys put into these posts, and they just keep getting better. and your formatting is just lovely...
From: Jesse Zeifman
The store is always a rejuvenator in the midst of recent "new" San Francisco anxiety. I've been feeling for a while like there's almost two separate cities existing in the same physical space. But things that are constants, like Aquarius, where I've been coming since I was a kid, remind me that there's still a San Francisco I want to be a part of. Thank you for keeping it going in such a rich, expansive, way.
I recently made a mail-order with your store and would like to express how well it went. It went very well. Not only was my order received only a few days later, but my name on the box has written in cutesy eye-pleasing letters. While I realize this may have been a computer font, it was still a cutesy eye-pleasing font. So thanks again.
From: Dale Flattum, Agent Nova -- Milk Cult
Hello. thank you so much for the kind review of the new Milk Cult record. I was thrilled to hear that it was a favorite at your store. Aquarius is one of the things I miss the most about San Francisco, and I will always be indebted to it for introducing me to so much new music.