Morning Jam: James Armstrong

Jan 16, 2020

James Armstrong is Stumptown’s New York General Manager. Here’s a glimpse at what he’s listening to these days.

For many years, there was a battle for stereo supremacy on a sleepy stretch of Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where our East Coast roasting operation set up shop ten years ago. During the first six years, a wall separated the rooms between production and roasting and there would be a fair amount of bickering over who controlled the dial each day.

Eventually, we outgrew the space and had to send production members packing across the street - not unlike a messy breakup where the stereo equipment and various wall bric-a-brac was divvied up. The two separate spaces carried on, with individual members of each team now jockeying to get their hour's worth of playtime in before another teammate would try to sneak toward the dial.

It was during those first six formative years, though, where most of these discoveries were made for myself and others - sharing information about artists and joining musical allegiances.


We've been fortunate to have so many talented musicians join our ranks in the past decade - members of Nomos, Nude Beach, Anasazi, Cheena, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Barbed Wire, Warthog, Columboid, Skulk Kits, Native Sun, our own house band - Dogs on the Grill - and many, many others have spent their days prepping coffee for our customers before rushing off to shows later that evening.

But there was one moment in time when two roasters and three members of our production team came together to play music as Ancient Sky, and the stereo feud finally ended. Three of those members would later go on to form Dommengang as they moved across the country and laid the foundation for the next battle to begin. In 2020, we will move into a larger facility and the two groups will once again join one another under one roof in Ridgewood.


I've been fortunate to meet many of my musical icons and call them friends during my run with Stumptown - Iggy Pop, members of the bands Witch and Green Milk From The Planet Orange - and have also benefitted from Stumptown's generous Passion Project program to start a small label called Inferior Planet. But the thing I'm looking most forward to is sharing ideas, inspiration and discovery again when we move and watch as new hands rush toward the dial.


Witch - Seer
Ancient Sky - Two Lights
High Rise - Wipe Out
Amon Düül II - Burning Sister
Diät - Nightmare
Syd Barrett - Dark Globe
Babe Ruth - Black Dog
Baby Huey - Listen to Me
The Pretty Things - She Was Tall, She Was High
The Pink Fairies - City Kids
Roky Erickson - Night of the Vampire
Native Sun - Oedipus Race
Soggy - I Wanna Be Your Dog
The Stooges - Search and Destroy