Teaming Up with Love

Conor Oberst may not be living in New Paltz, but his record label is.

For almost a year, Team Love RavenHouse Gallery has found a home in a small shop at 11 Church St.,where locals can visit an art gallery, record store and performance venue all in one place.

Team Love, the New York City independently released record label, was founded by Bright Eyes frontman Oberst and Bright Eyes Manager Nate Krenkel. Basing the label for about six years out of an apartment in the East Village, Krenkel and his wife, Cornelia “Nelly” Calder, decided to move out of the city with their kids.

Krenkel, originally from Utah, said he came to New Paltz a few times to visit the now nationally-recognized band The Felice Brothers, who are originally from the area.

“Our sound guy for Bright Eyes also lives here, so I’ve been here a few times and other than the Woodstock area, I’ve never been anywhere in the Hudson Valley,” Krenkel said. “We just came up here one day and checked it out and thought this was as good as anywhere. We decided this was also what we thought would be the best place to set up this operation.”

The team set up shop in March 2011, two years after moving to New Paltz. Krenkel said having a physical, creative space was on the top of his priority list from the beginning.

“It was like, ‘Let’s get out of the city. If we get out of the city we can do things with the label we were prohibited from, like having a larger staff and physical space.’ A creative space that wasn’t required to make a lot of money,” Krenkel said. “That was what prohibited it in the city — you could do something like this but you would need to make a lot of money, whereas here, we can set a space driven by the creative impulse, rather than the impulse to make money.”

While the back of the store is saved for management criteria with Krenkel and RavenHouse Krenkel Manager Juan Luis Carrera, Krenkle said the storefront was created in reaction to the fast-paced digital age of music. He missed the face-to-face communication between music aficionados, instead of the depersonalized online world.

The experience of visiting a “cool, local store is going away rapidly,” Krenkel said.

“It started to seem like there was an idea out there of a new space that would not necessarily be a record store that sells all the records coming out but sells music and other things,” Krenkel said. “People can go in and have this experience where people can see things, touch things, talk to real people.”

Team Love representatives said they are not  trying to compete with the other record stores in town. Instead, they want their shop to be an addition. The store has a limited selection of musicians that are either on the label, including A Weather and Tilly & the Wall, artists the label knows and bands part of RavenHouse LTD, including Modest Mouse and Monsters of Folk.

“It’s definitely a very curated set of records. You wouldn’t be looking for the new release for whatever and come in here and find it,” Krenkel said.

They also sell T-shirts of bands and of designs by local artists.

Although the label is new to the Valley, Team Love is currently in the process of completing  its first community-based album, DIE PFALZ, based on the German pronunciation of the town. The record will feature local bands, in and outside of New Paltz, including Breakfast in Fur, Shana Falana and Cycad. The record release date has recently been pushed back until spring or summer, but Krenkel said he hopes to have an album release show at a bar or venue in town.

“We want the album to be something the community itself gets excited about,”
Krenkel said.

According to Calder, the Team Love RavenHouse Gallery space also lends itself to an art gallery.

Calder said they have displayed the works of Hudson Valley artists, their friends and even some people on the label. Art is usually on display for a few months. Last year, the gallery had a diorama show, which was “a great opportunity for a community outreach,” Calder said.

“It’s such an inviting set of windows when people walk by,” Calder said. “It’s this great opportunity to draw people in and just start the conversation about Team Love and RavenHouse and what we’re doing.”

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the gallery had an opening reception for its newest exhibit, “The Monstrous Among Us: Folly | Excess | Collapse,” featuring artist Paul Spadone. The show will be running through April 20.

The Team Love RavenHouse Gallery will be featuring other artists as well, including a solo show with Breakfast in Fur’s Kaitlin Van Pelt later this year.

The Team Love RavenHouse Gallery is open Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. More information about the gallery can be found online at