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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
No News From HomeNo News From Home is the 2nd LP from Portland, Oregon quartet Houndstooth and the follow-up to Ride Out The Dark. That record was labeled "one of 2013's all too overlooked delights" by SPIN while their hometown Portland Mercury called it "an extraordinarily good album, a perfect representation of the band's trademark balancing of ease and passion." News is an altogether more mature record that widens the bands sound: from Velvets-style churners to shimmering, breezy, love songs, all penned by songwriting duo John Gnorski and Katie Bernstein.1. Bliss Boat
3. No News From Home
4. Green Light
5. Wasted Hours
6. Witching Hour
8. Yellow Stone
9. Double Vision
11. They’re Racing Tonight
$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Intensity GhostIntensity Ghost is the first studio release by Chris Forsyth with the Solar Motel Band (the new group formed in the wake of his critically acclaimed 2013 solo record Solar Motel) and it's a career-defi ning statement of purpose and a near virtual history tour of late 20th century electric guitar, touching on widescreen psychedelia, art rock, the late-70's New York scene, and the melting pot of early 90's underground bands, but writing a whole new chapter, unforeseen by most in 2014.
Solar Motel was received as a singular work of guitarroristic finesse, turning up across many year ends lists (Uncut, New Yorker, etc) and provoking ecstatic comparisons to psychedelic visionaries and the countless champions of guitar-based music who tend to outlive the trends.
Whereas Solar Motel was a Forsyth solo album recorded with an ad hoc studio band, upon its release Forsyth put together a group of players to tour the record – bassist Peter Kerlin, guitarist Paul Sukeena (Spacin’), and drummer Steven Urgo (ex-The War on Drugs) - who took his vision to another level. Forsyth brought this group, now called The Solar Motel Band, into the studio in late 2013 to make Intensity Ghost, largely forsaking the epic sprawl of Solar Motel in favor of a startlingly diverse and focused set of songs. The result is a 5-track masterwork and a rare combination of power and grace.
Just as The Grateful Dead or Popul Vuh were able to embrace broad spectrums of sound and transform those infl uences, the Solar Motel Band distills Forsyth's message while avoiding any genre-exercises. Intensity Ghost is a giant sounding record, it's hall sized psychedelia fi lled with hooks and an immediacy rarely found in such sweeping, cinematic music. The in fluences are not hard to spot, but this is no retro reenactment trip. Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band synthesize rather than emulate what has come before, producing something all their own. Their music is expansive, yes, but also profoundly compelling and lyrical; no one is missing a singer in the Solar Motel Band. Forsyth's guitar makes sure of that.1. The Ballad of Freer Hollow
2. Yellow Stone
3. I Ain’t Waiting
4. Intensity Ghost
5. Paris Song
$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Electric Ursa“Heartbreakingly gorgeous... she sings with striking intimacy, as though addressing someone sitting just a few feet away." – Chicago Reader
Joan Shelley's music is startling, but not for its racket. It startles because of its closeness, the near-instant sense of familiarity we feel when we hear it. Her songs fill up the air around us, echoing like a voice lost in the later American and British folk revivals - some Anne Briggs here, a little Hedy West there. But none of them are "trad arr. Shelley." Joan wrote them all. Listen to her sing and it's evident. You've never heard that voice before, either.
Electric Ursa was recorded in Louisville, Kentucky and marks Joan's first release for No Quarter. It includes collaborations with new labelmate Nathan Salsburg, as well as several other of Louisville's fine musicians. In the eight songs that make up this record, we are seeing an artist in her stride, able to move seamlessly between darkness & light, attempting to reconcile the wild expanse of the future with the burdens of memory. And at the center of it all are songs of a nature beautiful, precise, and clear, delivered to us by her singular voice.
Over the past five years, Shelley has recorded several albums, toured with her band, on her own, and as a duo with Daniel Martin Moore, playing concerts for spellbound audiences all over the globe. She’ll continue touring the US and Europe this fall.1. Something Small
2. Rising Air
3. First of August
4. River Low
6. Long Way To Night
7. Moss & Marrow
8. Electric Ursa
$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Strong FeelingsWith the kind of understatement that’s typical of the man, Doug Paisley describes his wondrous new album Strong Feelings as, “just 10 new songs. It’s a lot less simple and unadorned than other recordings I’ve made, but it’s just as earnest and straightforward.” This is all in keeping with the Toronto songwriter’s low-key approach to his art, preferring to let his songs speak for themselves. A fact borne out by the nature of the effusive praise given to Paisley’s last effort, 2010’s Constant Companion.
Strong Feelings expands on that albums preoccupations, but this time Paisley has also opened up the sound - tunes like “A Song My Love Can Sing” and “It’s Not Too Late (To Say Goodbye)” find Paisley crooning like a seasoned country veteran, his voice crumpled with the same weary heartache as Don Williams or Hoyt Axton in their prime. The steady tick of “Our Love”, meanwhile, with its folksy grain and unfussy guitar, already feels like a classic Nashville ballad. The rockist “To And Fro” conjures visions of the open prairies, all golden skies and roving antelopes, essayed by warm electric guitar and a sort-of-boogie chug, while “Growing Souls” could be Dylan kicking back with The Band on an old spiritual in Big Pink’s basement.
Strong Feelings is an album that tries to articulate the speech of the heart in universal terms. One of its key tunes, “Radio Girl”, can even be taken as a microcosm of Paisley’s overarching theme. “It draws on some of the things people derive from their relationships with music and with musicians: longing, comfort, intensity, importance,” he expounds. “I try to always be working in service to the songs I’ve written."
“Near-perfect singer-songwriter album” - Rolling Stone
“A quiet wonder” – The New Yorker
“Sure-footed and ageless…uncluttered, sad and unerringly lovely.” – Uncut
“An anti-star is born” - Mojo1. Radio Girl
2. Song My Love Can Sing
3. It’s Not Too Late (To Say Goodbye)
4. Our Love
5. What’s Up Is Down
6. Old Times
7. Growing Souls
8. To And Fro
9. Where The Light Takes You
10. Because I Love You
$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Hard For To Win And Can't Be WonI suppose it’s not terribly difficult to play a guitar – to hold the thing in your arms, to move your hands across its body in all the prescribed and proven ways, to coax a little melody into being. But what Nathan Salsburg – an acoustic guitarist and the curator of the Alan Lomax archive, a Pennsylvania-born Kentuckian who has logged good time in coastal Maine – does with his instrument is singular, nearly mystic: his are agile, engaging compositions, songs that feel desirous and questioning and vital, as if they weren’t just channeled into being, but demanded revelation.
Nathan’s 2011 solo debut, Affirmed, directly addressed a trio of thoroughbreds – Affirmed, Eight Belles, and Bold Ruler – which also made it at least in part about Salsburg’s Kentucky: the land that sustained and nurtured those horses, the ancient traditions that anointed and sometimes undid them. Its follow-up, Hard For To Win and Can’t Be Won, is also a record about place, although its landscapes are less specific. Some of them are memories, even: spaces that were real once, but have to be conjured now, willed to or from mind. Most of the album’s songs are instrumental, save two re-workings of older material: “Coll Mackenzie,” written and first performed by Archie Fisher, and “To Welcome the Travelers Home,” a composite of two traditional nineteenth-century pieces; one sacred, one less so. Both songs concern homecomings, what it feels like to be enveloped by a place that you know will sustain you, will nurture what needs nurturing.
Musically, Nathan has emerged from a venerable tradition that includes Lena Hughes and Frank Hutchison, John Fahey and Ry Cooder. I’m reluctant to make too much of his virtuosity – and he is virtuosic, a staggering craftsman – because he is also in the unique position of having that be the least interesting thing about his playing. There are moments in Nathan’s pieces – these nimble rhythmic shifts, steps from one place to another – that make my knees quiver. Listening to him play, it’s hard not to feel subsumed by gratitude.
I’m just as hesitant to frame his work as subversive, and yet – he is such a remarkably courageous writer and musician, and Hard For To Win and Can’t Be Won is so matchless a document, so inimitable in its moves. This is the sort of record that could change the course of your year. It certainly changed mine. – Amanda Petrusich1. First Field Path
2. Mrs. Gristle’s Reel
3. Paraffin & Turpentine
4. Coll Mackensie
6. Dog At Bay
7. Chief Wants
8. To Welcome The Travelers Home
9. What Can’t Be Won
$14.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Born With The CaulCian Nugent’s ﬁrst widely available album Doubles was released in the summer of 2011 to great acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR and The Wire, and rightly so. Nugent’s playing is a lorious thing – it twists and turns as if telling a story, with each chord change revealing something new. Over the past year, the young Dublin-based guitarist linked up with a 4-piece band called The Cosmos, a motley bunch interested in mining the same far out musical styles. Born With The Caul is their ﬁrst studio album and the group is a force, existing some place out of time. Not only is their sound an era-less one but the songs themselves are never in a hurry as they build and unfold, never wasting a note. Tours of the United Kingdom and Europe have clearly tightened them up, though the looseness and ﬂuidity of their playing is an envious thing. Born With The Caul captures an artist and a group at a peak moment.1. Grass Above My Head
2. Double Horse
3. The Houses of Parliament
$15.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. That was also right around the time that Nirvana and Pearl Jam fueled the grunge rock explosion.
And when you want the full and real alt rock experience, you’ve gotta try it out on vinyl, and SoundStage Direct is your one-stop shop for all the best alternative rock vinyls.