I've always loved small mailorder websites that carry a whole host of limited and obscure music. One of the newer jokers on the block is the mighty Tomentosa. Based out of rural North Carolina, the website specializes is small-run, handmade releases. It's the place I go especially for cassettes as the selection is wide, the prices low, and you'll always get a quick and friendly reply from Josh. There's also an excellent section of secondhand items at quite reasonable prices, so check back often as you never know what gems will turn up.
I'm not sure really how things happened. In some ways things kinda shape themselves but if there was a story it'd go something like this:
I had been doing stone masonry for several years and had trashed my back/body so I went to staying home with the kids and my wife went to work. So I suddenly had more time on my hands which initially I used to work on our house and land but then as winter set in I started looking for something else to do. That winter was a bit rough as winters can be and then my mother-in-law passed away suddenly, which made for hard times. But it did have a slight blessing as it provided a small amount of money which we initially used on our land and then Tomentosa slowly came into being.
Initially I envisioned Tomentosa to be a mail order comprised solely of used goods, cause I was tired of the whole here today, unaffordable tomorrow deal. And I kept coming back to this lack of anyplace to find used and rare items at any sane cost. And in the midst of me digging for a few LPs I was looking for, I kept finding stuff I knew other folks would appreciate so I started putting it aside.
At the same time I was digging about I started finding a groundswell of small labels, really a massive surge. And that kinda inspired me to do more distro. And things have just rolled from there.
A particular princess tree in the folds of a cow pasture on a small hill in Swannanoa, North Carolina.
Some days I’d much prefer to sit on my porch drinking beer watching the evening end than answer email but then a new package arrives and it gets me rolling. All of the madness around these days can drive one insane or make ya horribly depressed, and we're always facing that; so in the little time we have we work with our land and our neighbors in hope of some vague notion of sustainability/community but there’s something ‘bout having a connection outside of this valley as well. As well as helping in spreading sounds that hopefully can crack one into some sorta vague awareness. Every night I go outside and sit amidst the sounds of the little valley we live in and somehow that rolls back into a lot of the reasons I do Tomentosa.
Time and money, two things we try to give the least attention to that somehow seem to fester just the same. Add Tomentosa on top of family, full-time work, the upkeep and care of our small semi-dysfunctional farm, selling records, hunting down reclusive kid-friendly swimming holes and it's a lot to keep square in one’s head. Sometimes things work out fine, other days we just do what we can.
I’m pretty open. Though I keep coming back to sticking with smaller labels with more handmade releases.
Trades and lots of digging about. A bunch of the used stock was my personal collection, as I've kinda given up holding onto to CD-Rs/CDs. But I still cycle a lot of things thruugh my collection and they end up in the used section. My biggest frustration is getting something rare in and having only one copy to go around. I'm still thinking of ways to make sure everybody has an equal chance at things (and hopefully at somewhat affordable prices).
I'm just pissed the tape player in my truck finally died.
The website is a pretty decent reflection of all that’s new that's listened to around here. Otherwise, just got a LP by The Clean on Flying Nun that I'm pretty into, also been digging LPs by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, Left Banke, Autosalvage, new Mouthus on Load, Emeralds, Bee Mask, Nackt Insecten, Helm, Sam Goldberg, this track from Kool and the Gang “Summer Madness”, Scream In Blue alternative soundtrack, Texas Gladden, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and just got in a batch of cassettes by Changeling which I've been much appreciating.
Thanks to all those who've supported Tomentosa and worked with us, appreciate it.
-- Brad Rose (19 February, 2008)