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Binary"My last record was very inward-looking," says Ani DiFranco. "I was pregnant and then raising a screaming infant. But now that kid is about to turn four, so I got out of the weeds of personal space and started looking outward again, being more engaged, more big 'P' Political. As an artist, I like to be out in the world, and what initially compelled me was to try to push society to a better place. So when I'm not in heartbreak or motherhood mode, that's where you'll naturally find me."
With her twentieth studio album, Binary, the iconic singer/songwriter/activist/poet/DIY trendsetter returns to territory that brought her to the world's attention more than twenty-five years ago. One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, she has been recognized among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
She describes a moment during the writing of "Play God," an unblinking pro-choice battle cry, as a particular breakthrough. (A live version of the song was included in the anti-Trump "30 Days, 30 Songs" campaign alongside tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand, and more.)
"When I wrote the line 'You don't get to play god, man/I do,' I paused and thought, 'Can I say that?,' " she says. "It's not the first time I've thought that, but it's been a while. And in that moment, I thought, 'I'm back, mothafuckas!'"
"When you make a record about family and relationships, people assume you're mommy now and you've lost your edge, and it's going to be all buttercups from here on. So that line had the feeling of 'Take that! My kid is sleeping right now and I want to talk about some shit!"
On Binary, DiFranco tackles the challenge and necessity of teaching non-violence with "Pacifist's Lament" and the need for empathy in "Terrifying Sight." Remarkably, though, these songs-recorded, in her usual fashion, in a couple of short full-sprint sessions spread across several years-were all written prior to the 2016 elections and attendant political turmoil.
"I'm not surprised," says DiFranco. "Over twenty-five years, I've found that my songwriting is often full of premonition. It shows me, in a deep and spooky way, how we know things on levels below consciousness. I write songs and then they happen, and later I realize what they're about. I'm just happy to have some good tools in my toolbox to address what's happening now-the feminist diatribes are turned up nice and high on this record!"
She notes that Binary's title track is key to her intention on this project. "I always title a record from the song that seems to be at its core," she says. "An underlying theme in the songs, and in the feminism I want to engage society with, is the idea that autonomy is a fallacy-nothing exists except in relationship to something else. We are, in some senses individuals with individual liberties and unique powers, but that's only a surface story."
Though this concept is closely tied up in our present-day obsession with technology ("Sitting alone at home, staring at a screen, you can't really know anything, because knowing is engaging," she says), DiFranco also reveals a growing connection to nature and the physical world.
"Every year on Goddess' Green Earth, I understand my relationship to it more," she says. "My early songs were all human drama. I don't think I noticed the bigger picture at all-I was transfixed by power dynamics between people. Now I see that it's largely the providence of women to really embody nature, so I do think I'm getting back to basics, and it's a shift for me."
The backbone of Binary's sound is DiFranco's long-time rhythm section of bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins, but on much of the album, the trio is augmented with some all-star guests. "I knew I wanted to involve some of my brilliant friends this time out," she says. "We made some calls and got a party going. That was the idea, to reach out and have some other spirits enter."
Virtuoso violinist Jenny Scheinman and keyboard wizard Ivan Neville both join in for more than half of the record; "they are so captivating and they elevate my shit whenever they come near it," says DiFranco. Other contributors include the legendary Maceo Parker, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey, longtime bassist for David Bowie. New Orleans resident DiFranco takes special pride in the Crescent City funk spearheaded by natives Higgins and Neville on a number of the tunes. "Their souls are of this place," she says. "The feel they bring is something they got in utero."
For the better part of 2016, DiFranco beat the drum for voter turnout on her "Vote Dammit!" tour, focusing on registering and inspiring people to vote. In the days following the election, fans turned to her for guidance with renewed earnestness, anxious to hear music and wisdom from the longtime activist. Ani encouraged fans to take political action and did the same herself, participating in the Women's March on Washington and performing at the official Women's March after party benefitting Planned Parenthood with The National and Sleater-Kinney.
Binary, of course, is being released into a world in which music distribution and consumption have transformed rapidly and dramatically. For DiFranco, a true pioneer in the music industry with her Righteous Babe label, it's a time to reconsider the possibilities and ambitions of her business.
"While I was precedent-setting at one time with Righteous Babe and my indie crusade, I feel like, in the time it took me to nurse another baby into being, I've fallen behind," she says. "The universe and technology have continued to evolve, and the idea of harnessing technology and crowd-sourcing everything-money, knowledge, revolution-is a very powerful concept that I'm ready to get more involved with. Righteous Babe is starting to grow now into something that will hopefully become avant-garde once again- more of a collective, more dynamic."
"I'm trying to figure it out daily," says Ani DiFranco. "Just like always."1. Binary
2. Pacifist's Lament
4. Play God
7. Even More
10. Terrifying Sight
11. Deferred Gratification$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Ani DiFrancoEtched D Side
The essential early album, from the 20-yearold woman who gave folk music a bad name, was originally released on CD and Cassette in 1990.
This 140gm, two-record set includes three sides of newly re-mastered audio and a collectable etched side of the photo that inspired the Righteous Babe logo.
Packaged in a gatefold album jacket with lyric sheet.1. Both Hands
2. Talk To Me Now
3. The Slant
4. Work Your Way Out
5. Dog Coffee
6. Lost Woman Song
7. Pale Purple
8. Rush Hour
9. Fire Door
10. The Story
11. Every Angle
12. Out of Habit
13. Letting the Telephone Ring$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
ReverieReverie came to fruition when Joe Henry and his fellow musicians convened in Henrys basement studio for three days of exploration. The result is an all acoustic album more full of life, from the birds chirping through the open windows to the ticking and shifting of the musicians, than any Henry has recorded.
And thats saying a lot: for more than two decades Grammy-winner Henry has produced some of the most celebrated names in music, from Ornette Coleman and Elvis Costello to Ani DiFranco and Madonna.
Working with his regular stable of musicians and guests including master guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), singer Jean McClain and organist Patrick Warren, along with a special appearance from recently produced Lisa Hannigan, Henry has produced another masterful set of songs.1. Heaven's Escape
3. After the War
4. Sticks & Stone
5. Grand Street
6. Dark Tears
8. Tomorrow Is October
9. Piano Furnace
10. Deathbed Version
11. Room At Arles
12. Eyes Out For You
14. The World And All I Know$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
No Morphine, No LilliesTo say that Allison Miller is a diverse drummer would be an understatement. Her broad-ranging credits with Kenny Barron, Ani DiFranco and more make a statement alone. Miller's Boom Tic Boom band is comprised of leading-edge player's featuring Myra Melford on piano, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Miller on drum. Their second release as a band, No Morphine, No Lilies (April 2013). is at turns challenging and accessible, teasing and tough, virtuosic but never overbearing. It thrives on surprises and projects a vast array of tonal colors, rhythmic and harmonic shape-shifts and rich emotions. The end result is a modern sound with a full commitment to the groove.1. Pork Belly
2. Early Bird
4. The Itch
5. Speak Eddie
6. Six Nettes
7. Spotswood Drive
9. The Kitchen
10. Sun Comes Up On The Reservoir
11. Nuh-Uh, No Sir$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Avery County, I'm Bound To You...The music on "Avery County, I'm Bound To You" was played by a fantastic and diverse group of characters. The rhythm
section is Matt Weiner (Blue4Trio, Hot Club Of Cowtown) on upright and electric bass and Dan Peters (Mudhoney,
Screaming Trees, Nirvana .briefly) on drums.
The horn and woodwind section were made up of Hans Teuber (Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Ani Difranco) and Steve
Moore (Jim White, Earth, sunn0))), Laura Veirs). These two multi-instrumentalists covered a lot of sonic territory with
flute, piccolo, alto flute, clarinet, trombone, Wurlitzer and Hammond Organ.
And we did our best to keep our roots with a few local Folk and Old Time players: Charlie Beck on banjo, Nova Devonie
on accordion, and Jakob Breitbach on fiddle.
The production team was veteran producer Martin Feveyear (Mark Lanegan, Jesse Sykes, Hey Marseilles, Mudhoney,
etc) and Matt Weiner who produced my 2010 release, Together You and I...
- Barton Carroll, July 1, 20131. The Straight Mile
2. It Had To Be a Train
4. The Beech Mountain Waltz
6. What a Picture Is
7. Mama's Making Something On the Loom
8. Every Little Bit Hurts
9. The Saviors of the World
10. Avery County, I'm Bound To You$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
BirdsSeth Glier's new album Birds is steeped in conflict and contradictions. There's grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight.
Glier (pronounced Gleer) recorded Birds in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier made the album. I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the Birds, he says I'd check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.
Birds is Glier's fifth album, and the latest entry in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and a pair of Independent Music Awards while touring with artists including Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.
The songs on Birds range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place that is all the more magical for it. Glier makes that point on a large scale with Water on Fire, a terse, grinding tune that opens with a cynical reworking of a Ray Charles lyric as Glier uses fracking to dig into the false equivalence between freedom and capitalism. Hasn't Hit Me Yet has a more visceral, intimate approach: the soulful slow jam, full of warm guitars and multi-tracked vocals, is about the death of Glier's autistic brother.
Together, those songs represent the opposite poles of Birds. I was really trying to explore connections on this record, Glier says. Among those connections is the one between race and the criminal justice system on Justice for All, a raw chain-gang stomp that sounds almost like an old field recording. Like I Do takes a more oblique tack, drawing out feelings of anger through the use of noisy synthesizers and fuzzed-out bass pads.
The songs on Birds reflect a scope of sound and style: the title track is lush and & orchestral, for example, while Too Much Water pairs Glier's voice and piano with subtle accompaniment from horns, for a classic, elegant feel that calls to mind Harry Nilsson in the early '70s. People Like Us is jaunty and up-tempo, while the trebly guitar arpeggios and moaning saxophone on Just Because I Can sound like a sock-hop slow dance, until you zero in on lyrics delivered by a narrator who dynamites his domestic bliss simply for the power trip. Conflict. Contradiction.
Even the cover tune, a reimagined version of Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth, evokes urgency. Although it was written 50 years ago, it's still about what's happening right now, Glier says.
Birds began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016. My brother passing away was a huge component of where I was and what I was looking for, Glier says. In particular, I was looking for meanings, wanting his life to mean more than just being over.
For a long time afterward, Glier passed the time by writing songs and inspecting each melody with the feathered fellows by his windowsill. Instead of recording the album in a Los Angeles studio, as he did on his 2015 album If I Could Change One Thing, he decided to make Birds at home.
I thought that I should just stay close to the windows here, Glier says. I think this sort of happened by accident, but by the time I started recording the record, it was fall in New England, which is a profoundly beautiful death. The air is full of honesty, the sky is full of geese, and there is bright gorgeousness woven into the dying of things. It all seeped into the textures of this record.1. Sunshine
2. Water On Fire
4. Just Because I Can
5. People Like Us
6. Like I Do
7. For What It's Worth
8. Too Much Water
9. Justice For All
10. Hasn't Hit Me Yet
11. I'm Still Looking$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dilate (Out Of Stock)One of Ani's top selling albums available for the first time on vinyl. This 2 LP set contains a poster/lyrics sheet, download card and black slip
sleeves in a gatefold jacket. Fan favorite tracks include Untouchable Face, Napoleon and Shameless. Newly re-mastered for vinyl, the sound is as warm and luscious as Ani intended when she first mastered these tracks in 1996.Untouchable Face
Outta me, Onto you
Adam and Eve
Joyful Girl$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Allergic To Water (Out Of Stock)White Colored Vinyl
Ani DiFranco has never been afraid to take chances, and her new album, Allergic to Water, is another bold accomplishment featuring some of her most subtle music to date. Throughout the disc, DiFranco, her band and a few music guests, create melodies that are lilting and funky, imaginative and personal: so personal that she produced and mixed the record all on-her-own. DiFranco packs a world of musical surprises into the 12 low-key songs on Allergic To Water. Vibes, tones and rhythms constantly change while her band draws on its own expansive palette.1. Dithering
2. See See See See
3. Woe Be Gone
4. Careless Words
5. Allergic to Water
6. Harder Than It Needs to Be
8. Happy All the Time
9. Yeah Yr Right
11. Still My Heart
12. Rainy Parade$24.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Little Plastic Remixes (Out of Stock)Ani DiFranco's first remix EP on blue marble vinyl!
Little Plastic Remixes is the second EP released by Ani DiFranco, but her first foray into remixes. It consists of three remixes of songs from her 1998 album Little Plastic Castle and one live track from her 1993 album Puddle Dive. This vinyl was previously only available on the Righteous Babe web site. The ep of remixes from the Little Plastic Castle era was originally released in 1999. Surely a collector's item, Ani herself drew the cartoon on the cover.1. Little Plastic Castle - Hobby Lobby remix
2. My IQ - Live in Santa Rosa, CA 11/97
3. Gravel - Ahem remix
4. Glass House - Turkey Tamale remix$9.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Not A Pretty Girl (Out of Stock)First Time On Vinyl!
Ani's highly acclaimed 1995 release Not a Pretty Girl is newly re-mastered for vinyl from the original studio tapes. This 2-LP set includes lyrics printed on the inside gatefold. Fan favorite tracks include "Shy", "Not a Pretty Girl", "32 Flavors" and "Coming Up". This album is out now for the first time on vinyl.
"DiFranco clearly has a full emotional palette at her fingertips one of the few artists around who can really paint the rainbows"
- Rollingstone1. Worthy
3. Cradle and All
5. Sorry I Am
6. Light of Some Kind
7. Not a Pretty Girl
8. The Million You Never Made
9. Hour Follows Hour
10. 32 Flavors
11. Asking Too Much
12. This Bouquet
13. Crime for Crime
14. Coming Up$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Red Letter Year (Out Of Stock)The dozen tunes on Ani DiFranco's new studio album Red Letter Year celebrate existence, profess love and condemn religious fundamentalism with an infectious sense of glee. Joining Ani here are producer Napolitano (Joseph Arthur, The Twilight Singers, Squirrel Nut zippers) and a group of guest artists that includes long-time Ani collaborator Jon Hassell (Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Ry Cooder) on trumpet and the Rebirth Brass Band, which shines on the Dixieland instrumental Red Letter Year (reprise).
Ani's band, which features bassist Todd Sickafoose (who also did the string arrangements), vibraphonist Mike Dillon and drummer Allison Miller, is a major source of Red Letter Year's singular personality. On Emancipated Minor, Miller's driving beat tethers to Ani's killer electric guitar hook, while Sickafoose's strings add an otherworldly element to the proceedings. Dillon's vibes on All This are as rich and open-minded as the little folksinger's defiant lyrics.1. Red Letter Year
2. Alla This
4. Smiling Underneath
5. Way Tight
6. Emancipated Minor
7. Good Luck
8. The Atom
9. Round A Pole
10. Landing Gear
12. Red Letter Year (Reprise)
13. Emancipated Minor (Extended Mix)$15.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Which Side Are You On? (Out Of Stock)Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ani DiFranco releases her eagerly awaited album Which Side Are You On? on the Grammy-winning artists own Righteous Babe Records. The release marks DiFrancos first studio album in more than three years. The collection features 11 new songs alongside a radically reworked rendition of the classic title song, famously popularized by the one and only Pete Seeger nearly five decades ago, but no less relevant today.
Backing DiFranco is a remarkably diverse line-up of stellar musicians, including members of her own crack touring band as well as such guest players as Ivan and Cyril Neville (of New Orleans first family of funk and R&B, The Neville Brothers), avant-saxophonist Skerik (Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, The Meters), acclaimed singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee), and a host of New Orleans-based horn players known for their work in such outfits as Galactic, Bonerama, and The Rebirth Brass Band.
The newly recorded version of Which Side Are You On? is a funk-fueled epic, incorporating not just Anis band, but Pete Seeger himself on banjo and vocals alongside The Rivertown Kids, a Hudson Valley-based childrens chorus, and The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders, a brass band consisting of students from The Roots of Music, a music education program for at-risk middle-school students in New Orleans. DiFranco contributed her own straight-from-the headlines verses to the song and has used it to close her own live shows ever since. The album represents an extraordinary snapshot of DiFrancos own life as well her sense of where the country stands at this particular moment in time.1. Life Boat
3. Which Side Are You On?
8. If Yr Not
12. Zoo$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Band Of Outsiders (Out Of Stock)
Limited Edition Black And Red Splattered Vinyl
When jazz hits you in the face with a stack of bricks, Mike Dillon is there...twisting chaos into order before turning it back on itself again. -Splinters & Candy
The Mike Dillon Band is a predictably gruesome and sublime elixir of stealthy jazz vibes, street poetry raps and post-punk sonic carnage. -Boulder Weekly
A body in motion tends to stay in motion, at least when The Mike Dillon Band is supplying the dance music. The psychedelic rock group shakes and gyrates with heavy, vibraphone driven grooves, delivering a steady stream of infectious rhythms and hypnotic percussion. -Pittsburgh City Paper
How many artists can claim being praised a punk rock provocateur, jazz vibraphone visionary and percussion virtuoso in the same sentence? There's only one: Mike Dillon. Whether through his affiliation with artists like Les Claypool, Brave Combo and Ani DiFranco, collaborations such as Garage A Trois, The Dead Kenny Gs and Critters Buggin or bands he's fronted, including Billy Goat and Hairy Apes BMX, the Texas-native has set his own standard for 25 years now.
With his latest effort, Band of Outsiders-released via Brooklyn label The Royal Potato Family-Mike Dillon has conjured the perfect storm of all these past endeavors. His manic creative vision found its match in three young musicians he met in New Orleans. Carly Meyers-whom Dillon describes as "a High Priestess of Trombone who channels the energy of Iggy Pop through the chops of JJ Johnson in second-line parade"-provides harmonic counterpoint to his vibes and percussion ("All Walks of Life") as she simultaneously ups the band's art-rock ante ("Carly Hates The Dubstep"). The rhythm section of bassist Patrick McDevitt and drummer Adam Gertner turns on a dime between snarling punk rock assaults ("Homeland Insecurity"), deep funky go-go ("Head"), ska grooves ("Here The Burro") and experimental hip-hop beats ("7AM At The Jazzfest") with all points covered in between.
Dillon recorded Band of Outsiders at Studio Center in Miami with the help of co-producers Gary Vandy and Richard Maloney Jr. Vandy is an old school engineer whose work includes over 200 platinum records predominantly in the disco and dance genres. His love of Zappa is what attracted him to Dillon's work. In the age of pro-tools chicanery, the production is straightforward, capturing Dillon and his band playing live in a room.
"Two tours of Mexico and a steady dose of Brazilian music was the jumping off point for these new songs," explains Dillon. "Add our love for The Melvins, Deerhoof, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Trouble Funk and all things New Orleans and this album surpasses our intention to make the freakiest, most vibrant dance music on the planet."
Lyrically speaking, Mike Dillon draws from his love of Miguel de Cervantes, William Burroughs, Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson to tell stories of New Orleans debauchery mixed with age-old themes of travel, love, self-destruction and greed. Delivered with Dillon's trademark vocal rasp, the record has the intensity of a Tom Waits-meets-Frank Zappa black comedy. Rumor has it that Dillon lived for the past seven years in the same apartment that Waits shared with Rickie Lee Jones. Dillon discounts those rumors: This apartment has housed dudes from Morning 40 Federation, Ani DiFranco, an old Conga player and a bunch of heroin addicts."
Taken in its entirety, Mike Dillon's Band of Outsiders is a snapshot of four musicians hitting full stride. Having relentlessly toured the country in 2013-both headlining and opening for artists like Fishbone, Clutch, Primus and Galactic-its 13 songs bristle with a group mind, spill over the sides with the visions invoked during countless dead-of-night drives crisscrossing the country in a van and hit their target with a sonic assault only possible from a band that's played 400-plus shows over the last two years.
"People are always trying to figure out how to describe our music. Maybe we should call it New Orleans punk jazz Brazilian math rock? It's a gumbo of tribal percussion, The Meters, old school hardcore, Brazil, hard bop and anything else that might move us," concludes Dillon. "But you know, I really don't care what you call it. We kick out the jams harder than anyone, and we also know when to heed the lessons of The Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime and keep things straight to the point. There's a reason we called the record what we did. We're the living, breathing definition of a band of outsiders, but together we deliver simple majestic beauty, let's leave it at that."1. Head
2. Hand of God
3. Homeland Insecurity
4. Hero The Burro
5. Carly Hates The Dubstep
6. Great Lakes Tuna
8. All Walks of Life 9. Celebrate the Hate
10. 7AM at the Jazzfest
11. So Long Pal
12. Baby Flint Talk
13. Dauphine & Desire$16.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock