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CommunionWith their luminous brand of electro-pop, London-based trio Years & Years layer sweetly smooth vocals over bright and heady beats to create what they call "music you can dance and cry to." They are winners of the BBC Sound of2015 Poll (an honor previously granted to such hitmakers as Sam Smith, Adele, and Ellie Goulding).LP1
4. Take Shelter
6. Eyes Shut
7. Memo$34.99180 Gram Virgin Audiophile Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Pale CommunionPALE COMMUNION, which was produced by the band's very own Mikael Åkerfeldt and mixed by longtime collaborator and Porcupine Tree frontman/guitarist Steven Wilson, is heralded by the lead single, "Cusp of Eternity."
The new material find's Opeth once again challenging the boundaries of extreme music. In a recent interview with VICE's Noisey, Akerfeldt stated, "I wanted to do something more melodic with this album there's stronger vocal melodies and more melodies overall I was pretty consistent with that frame of mind throughout the writing process." Recently, Metal Injection's Greg Kennelty broke down Opeth's PALE COMMUNION in a track by track review, exclaiming "This record knows exactly what it's doing and nails it through and through one of my favorite records of 2014. If not my favorite record of 2014."
PALE COMMUNION follows 2011's critically acclaimed HERITAGE which proved a milestone album for Opeth, earning them widespread acclaim and an ever-growing fan following. Debuting Top 20 on the Billboard 200 and racking up numerous 'Best Of' accolades in 2011, HERITAGE landed at #2 on both Decibel's "Top 40 Albums of 2011" and Guitar World's "Top 50 Albums of 2011" lists.LP 1
1. Eternal Rains Will Come
2. Cusp Of Eternity
3. Moon Above, Sun Below
4. Elysian Woes
3. Voice Of Treason
4. Faith In Others$28.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Complete CommunionNot counting a couple of sessions he co-led with John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, Complete Communion was the first album Don Cherry recorded as a leader following his departure from the Ornette Coleman Quartet. It was also one of the earliest showcases for the Argentinian tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, who Cherry discovered during a stay in Rome. While the music on Complete Communion was still indebted to Coleman's concepts, Cherry injected enough of his own personality to begin differentiating himself as a leader. He arranged the original LP as two continuous side-long suites, each of which incorporated four different compositions and was recorded in a single take. In practice, this meant that several melodic themes popped up over the course of each side; all the musicians free-associated off of each theme, engaging in intense, abstract dialogues before moving on to the next. As the album's title suggests, every member of the group not only solos, but shares the total space selflessly. Bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Ed Blackwell both play extremely active roles, especially Grimes, who solos powerfully and sometimes carries the main riffs. Often the music sounds more like a conversation, as opposed to a solo with support, because the musicians make such intelligent use of space and dynamics, and wind up with a great deal of crackling, volatile interplay as a result. The leader remains recognizably himself, and his burnished tone is a nice contrast with Barbieri's fiery approach; for his part, Barbieri's playing has a lot of speechlike inflections, and he spends a lot of time in the upper register of his horn, which makes him sound quite similar to Ornette at times. As a whole, the project comes off remarkably well, establishing Cherry as an avant-garde force to be reckoned with in his own right.
- Steve Huey (All Music)1. Complete Communion
2. And Now
3. Golden Heart
6. Our Feelings
8. Wind, Sand, and Stars$19.99Vinyl LP Reissue - Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-JR-2502xBlack Country Communion
BCCIVBlack Country Communion the rock group comprising vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze), drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol) and blues-rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa. This is their long awaited and highly anticipated fourth album, BCCIV.1. Collide
2. Over My Head
3. The Last Song For My Resting Place
5. The Cove
7. The Crow
8. Love Remains
10. When The Morning Comes$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-JR-3885xBlack Country Communion
2Black Country Communion, the English-American rock supergroup featuring the talents of bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze, Black Sabbath), blues rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), will release their much-anticipated sophomore album 2.1. The Outsider
2. Man In The Middle
3. The Battle For Hadrian's Wall
4. Save Me
5. Smokestack Woman
7. An Ordinary Son
8. I Can See Your Spirit
9. Little Secret
11. Cold$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Roadhouse 01Pressed On Red Colored Vinyl
Roadhouse 01 chronicles Allan's retreat to an isolated cabin in the woods of Lost Springs, where he wrestles with his demons in the form of a rebellious alter ego, Mr. Roadhouse. It covers a lot of narrative territory, from the fluttery, vulnerable, hip-hop infused "Repeat" to the closing tracks on the album, where the antagonistic Mr. Roadhouse fully takes over. The album fuses R&B, hip hop, and folk influences with dark, seductive storytelling. - Vents Magazine1. Wolf
5. Shelby Moves
6. Jim's Story
7. Left Alone
8. Faust Road
9. Hollywood/My Way
10. Head Over Heels
13. God Is A Woman$21.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Music Of David LynchLP 1
1. Laura Palmer's Theme - Angelo Badalamenti
2. Love Me Tender - Donovan
3. Swing With Me - Chrysta Bell
4. In Dreams - Tennis and Twin Peaks
5. Llorando - Rebekah Del Rio
6. Blue Velvet - Sky Ferreira
7. Sycamore Trees - Jim James
8. Pinky's Dream - Karren O
1. Dance of The Dream Man - Angelo Badalamenti
2. Go (feat. Mindy Jones) - Moby
3. The Chauffeur - Duran Duran
4. Wicked Game - Lykke Li
5. In Heaven - Zola Jesus
6. Soundscape from Eraserhead and The Elephant Man - Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips
7. Twin Peaks Theme - Angelo Badalamenti
8. Poem of Unknown Origin - David Lynch$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
OceanaRecognized by many as the premiere rock keyboardist of his generation, Derek Sherinian has performed for millions via Black Country Communion (of which he is a current member alongside Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa), Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Buddy Miles and as an off-stage performer accompanying KISS. He also enjoyed tenures with Billy Idol, Yngwie Malmsteen and many others.
Favoring a guitar heavy rock based approach to fusion ala one of his musical heroes Jeff Beck, his newest release, Oceana once again displays the power and energy Sherinian creates in the studio, setting him apart from most jazz fusion ensembles in the process. He displays the rare combination of being a musical chameleon, while maintaining his signature style in no matter what genre he is playing in. With Oceana, the stage is set for Sherinians inspiration to be propelled in to the mainstream.
Sherinian has carved out a niche for himself in the progressive metal scene. He has attracted the best players on Earth to his solo album sessions, some of whom include luminaries Al DiMeola, Steve Lukather, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash, John Petrucci, John Sykes and Zakk Wylde. With Oceana, again an assemblage of some of the most talented players to ever strap on a guitar join Sherinian in the studio.
Steve Lukather once again collaborated with the keyboardist for the tracks Mulholland, Euphoria and Seven Sins. Former Planet X guitarist and fusion legend Tony MacAlpine laid down performances for Five Elements and Mercury 7. The one and only Steve Stevens is featured on Ghost Runner and the title track Oceana. Black Country Communion band mate Joe Bonamassa makes an appearance as well on I Heard That, while Doug Aldrich performs on El Camino Diablo. Simon Phillips performs all drums on Oceana, while Jimmy Johnson laid down the bass on all tracks outside of Ghost Runner and the title track which features Tony Franklin.
The 1970s saw the creation of keyboard legends, when titans including Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Jon Lord were superstars. It was a time when talent on the keys was not only appreciated, but celebrated in popular music. With Oceana, perhaps a rebirth is upon the precipice of change for the Santa Cruz-raised, Berklee School of Music educated Sherinian to witness a new dawn where keyboardists once again are heroes. Inevitably, it is only a matter of time before Sherinian is recognized as the premiere rock keyboardist of this generation.1. Five Elements
2. Mercury 7
5. Ghost Runner
6. El Camino Diablo
7. I Heard That
8. Seven Sins
9. Oceana$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
You've Got Nothing To LoseProduced By Jack White
Kiwanuka, a 25 year-old UK native of Ugandan heritage, was raised in north London where he split his time between session work and local gigs. Along the way, having found footing as a solo artist, he was signed to Communion Records, then Polydor, and has since performed throughout Europe and North America too-touring in direct support of Adele. He made his way through Nashville this past summer with just enough pause and aplomb to commit these morsels to tape. The A-side ''You've Got Nothing to Lose'' is an original composition, featuring The Buzzards' Dominic Davis on upright bass and Cory Younts on piano, joined also by fellow balladeer Lillie Mae Rische on fiddle. Their contributions transform his work into a stone-cold groove with almost orchestral underpinnings, making it a fitting extension of their previous Blue Series.
The single also features a chilling rendition of Townes Van Zandt's infamous ''Waitin' 'Round to Die'' on the B-side, the perfect compliment to the timbre and mood of the A-side.A. You've Got Nothing to Lose
B. Waitin' 'Round to Die (Townes Van Zandt)$6.997 Vinyl Single - Sealed Buy Now
The Expanding Flower Planet'The Expanding Flower Planet' is an album, a song, a cosmic ideal, a form of psychic expansion and expanded capability. It's original and personal. It transmutes ethereal abstractions into crystalline harmonies and sinuous grooves. It's music nurtured with the idea of healing, exciting, inspiring, enlightening. Drones, dissonance, warmth, and love. Even if you're unfamiliar with Angel Deradoorian's name, you're likely familiar with her voice. As the former bassist and vocalist for Dirty Projectors, her lepidopteran flights helped buoy the Brooklyn-based group. She's been a member of Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks and sang on Flying Lotus' "Siren Song." Her fist song collection, 2009's Mind Raft EP elicited praise from Pitchfork for being "passionate and lovingly crafted." The Fader hailed her "zen weed energy" and "moody dervish spirals."But her debut LP, 'The Expanding Flower Planet' reflects a remarkable creative journey. In the course of cutting it, Deradoorian realized a more profound communion with music than she'd ever experienced. It's salient in the songs, which glow and warp, burn brightly and float gracefully past sun and assorted stars.1. A Beautiful Woman
2. Expanding Flower Planet
3. Violet Minded
5. Your Creator
6. The Invisible Man
9. The Eye
10. Grow$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dear YouBlue Colored Vinyl
Reissue of Jawbreaker's seminal 90's record, which many say ushered in the next wave of emo and pop-punk sound. This collectible is finally back in print & will be pressed on blue vinyl!
Jawbreaker was an American punk rock band active from 1986 to 1996 and considered one of the most influential acts of the early-1990s emo movement. Lead vocalist and guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach, bassist Chris Bauermeister, and drummer Adam Pfahler formed the band while students at New York University, later relocating to Los Angeles where they released their debut album Unfun (1990) through independent record label Shredder Records. Relocating again to San Francisco the following year, they released 1992's Bivouac through the Tupelo Recording Company and The Communion Label. Schwarzenbach's charisma and personal, frustrated lyrics helped to establish him as a cult idol, even as he underwent surgery to remove painful and voice-threatening polyps from his throat. Jawbreaker toured with Nirvana in 1993 and released 24 Hour Revenge Therapy in 1994, attracting the attention of major labels. They signed a $1 million contract with DGC Records and released 1995's Dear You, but the album's polished production and smooth vocals resulted in a significant backlash from the band's core audience. Internal tensions led to Jawbreaker's dissolution in 1996.1. Save Your Generation
2. I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both
4. Accident Prone
8. Lurker II: Dark Son Of Night
9. Jet Black
10. Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault
11. Sluttering (May 4th)
13. Unlisted Track$24.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
What Happens Next (Pre-Order)Joe Satriani's 16th studio album is What Happens Next, a high-energy album that takes the legendary guitarist's skills to exciting new heights.
The new instrumental album features a power trio of Satriani on guitar along with two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Deep Purple/Black Country Communion bassist Glenn Hughes and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, the latter reuniting with Satriani for the first time since their work in the supergroup Chickenfoot with former Van Halen vocalist and bassist Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. This unparalleled rock rhythm section gives What Happens Next a depth of groove that sets it apart from Satriani's other work.
Satriani once again teams up with producer/engineer/mixer Mike Fraser on What Happens Next. Fraser has recorded and mixed every AC/DC album since 1990's The Razors Edge and has been a frequent collaborator with Satriani since the release of Crystal Planet in 1998, producing, engineering or mixing Satriani's solo albums as well as both studio projects by Chickenfoot.
This 12-track album showcases Satriani's gift for constant evolution and reinvention as a bandleader and composer of intricate guitar-driven rock. What Happens Next finds Satriani discovering sounds and textures never before heard from an instrument he has unquestionably mastered over his three-decade solo career.1. Energy
3. Thunder High On The Mountain
4. Cherry Blossoms
6. Smooth Soul
9. What Happens Next
10. Super Funky Badass
12. Forever And Ever$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Hell Bent For LettersAlternative Tentacles tosses our well-worn thinking cap into the no-holds-barred, no-child-left-behind ring of Educore with Hell Bent for Letters, the latest outing by Seattle's BLOODHAG. Formed in 1995 to stimulate a communion between literacy and punk/metal, BLOODHAG boasts a lineup of noted science fiction authors Prof. J. B. Stratton, Dr. J. M. McNulty, Sir Zachary Orgel and the shadowy occultist Master Brent Carpenter. They created the genre of Edu-core and operate under the motto Th e faster you go deaf, the more time you have to read.
While BLOODHAG's minute-long songs have the common theme of esteemed authors such as George Orwell and Philip K. Dick--and their live shows include between-song mini-lectures as well as pelting of the audience with books--the music counters with the blunt force of bands like BRUJERIA, PANTERA, SEPULTURA, etc.
It's open to debate whether Edu-core can actually pummel literary history into the hungry minds of head-banging youth, but we certainly can't blame BLOODHAG for trying to bridge the gap between death metal tombs and Pulizerwilling tomes or the beer-soaked venues and pristine libraries (yes, they really tour public libraries).
With their neckties and pocket protectors cocked and loaded, BLOODHAG is ready to stave off the dumbing down of America. So, invest in the leaders of tomorrow! Buy Hell Bent for Letters today!
Glorifyingly hooked on demonics, they make some of the heaviest, snuggie underwear-soiling sounds this side of SPAZZ and BRUJERIA, while mixing in some Reading Rainbow, -Thrasher Magazine
Note to bands: Always play before BLOODHAG, never after them -Stroker Magazine
Learning has never hurt this good! -Portland Mercury1. Gene Wolfe
2. Robert Silverberg
3. Douglas Adams
4. James Blish
5. Anne McCaffrey
6. Orson Scott Card
7. Iain M. Banks
8. Edgar Allan Poe
9. Philip Jose Farmer
10. Michael Swanwick
11. Frederik Pohl
12. Thomas M. Disch
13. Greg Bear
14. Franz Kafka
15. Madeline L'Engle
16. Jack Womack$10.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
This Is SteveThis is Steve, DELICATE STEVE's first new record in 4 years, and first for the ANTI- imprint, is an articulation of his spirit. Joy. Love. Positivity. Perseverance. Meditation. A general communion with the people and world around him. Easy to call such things hackneyed in this cynical time, but in Steve's case, it's very hard to separate the person from the art. It's real. It's pure. This, is Steve. Melody begins with the needle drop on This is Steve, and it's this hallmark as a songwriter on display in tune after tune that has defined all of DELICATE STEVE's work. It's his incredible capacity to write wordless songs that are impossible not to sing along to. He works in no genre, there are no words, but there is never a question as to what he is saying.
DELICATE STEVE (aka Steve Marion) had cornered the status of 'your favorite band's favorite band', as Steve himself became a fixture in and an on-demand collaborator among disparate scenes, players, and bands, making some of the most celebrated and forward thinking music today: Co-signs and work with David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, tUnE-yArDs, Mac DeMarco, Dr. Dog, and most recently, providing guitar on Paul Simon's new record. Likely the only guitarist alive who will cut records with Sondre Lerche and Death Grip's Zach Hill.
Steve produced and played all the instruments on this record. He created it as an introduction from himself to you, and named it appropriately. If there is a question as to who This is Steve's creator is, you'll find it imbued in these ten songs. As he has done from the start, Steve lets the music speak for itself. Without a word.1. Animals
3. Cartoon Rock
10. This Is Steve$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ColtraneConsidered by many to be his finest single album, Coltrane finds John Coltrane displaying all of the exciting elements that sparked brilliance and allowed his fully formed instrumental voice to shine through in the most illuminating manner. On tenor saxophone, he's simply masterful, offering the burgeoning sheets of sound philosophy into endless weavings of melodic and tuneful displays of inventive, thoughtful, driven phrases. Coltrane also plays a bit of soprano saxophone as a primer for his more exploratory work to follow. Meanwhile, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones, and especially the stellar McCoy Tyner have integrated their passionate dynamics into the inner whole of the quartet. The result is a most focused effort, a relatively popular session to both his fans or latecomers, with five selections that are brilliantly conceived and rendered. "Out of This World," at over 14 minutes in modal trim, is a powerful statement, stretched over Tyner's marvelous and deft chords, the churning rhythms conjured by Jones, and the vocal style Coltrane utilizes as he circles the wagons on this classic melody, including a nifty key change. "Tunji" is a mysterious, easily rendered piece in 4/4 which speaks to the spiritual path Coltrane tred, a bit riled up at times while Tyner remains serene. Hard bop is still in the back of their collective minds during "Miles' Mode," a sliver of a melody that jumps into jam mode in a free-for-all blowing session, while the converse is to be found in Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes," the quintessential ballad and impressive here for the way Coltrane's holds notes, emotion, and expressive intellectuality. On soprano you can tell Coltrane is close to taking complete control of his newly found voicings, as a playful, jaunty "The Inch Worm" in 3/4 time is only slightly strained, but in which he finds complete communion with the others. Even more than any platitudes one can heap on this extraordinary recording, it historically falls between the albums OlÉ Coltrane and Impressions -- completing a triad of studio efforts that are as definitive as anything Coltrane ever produced, and highly representative of him in his prime.--Michael G. Nastos
This Impulse Reissue Series vinyl features Audiophile Remastering, 180 gram Virgin Vinyl, Original Liner notes and deluxe gatefold packaging.
John Coltrane, trumpet
Elvin Jones, drums
Jimmy Garrison, bass
McCoy Tyner, piano1. Out Of This World
2. Soul Eyes
3. The Inch Worm
5. Miles' Mode
6. Big Nick
7. Up' Gainst The Wall$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
A Fallen Temple
Remastered Re-release Of Septicflesh's 1998 Classic Album
Includes Four Rare Bonus Tracks
Adorned With A Brand New Cover Artwork Designed By Septicflesh Frontman Seth "Siro" Anton.
"The Last Time" is a PARADISE LOST cover which was previously only available on a long sold-out tribute album to one of the Greek demons' biggest influences, and the last three bonus tracks come from the 1998 'The Eldest Cosmonaut' EP.
With Ophidian Wheel (originally released 1997) SEPTICFLESH took a bold step away from the classic Death Metal formula they had established with their two earlier albums Mystic Places of Dawn (1994) and Esoptron (1995). This third full-length fully explored and experimented with the possibilities offered by classic Gothic Metal as defined by PARADISE LOST's eponymous album. Gothic (1991) is an obvious influence for Ophidian Wheel with its amalgamation of harsh Death Metal, dark Gothic atmospheres and contrasting beautiful female vocals. To this recipe the Greek demons added their trademark spices like the singing guitar sound and classical elements. For the first time SEPTICFLESH featured the exceptionally talented soprano Natalie Rassoulis on Ophidian Wheel for stunning impact.
The band was founded in Athens in 1990 by brothers Christos and Spiros Seth Antoniou joined by guitarist Sotiris Vayenas. The Greeks quickly released the Temple of the Lost Race EP (1991), which was followed by their cult first full-length Mystic Places of Dawn. Both have already been re-released jointly by Season of Mist. This was followed by the reissue of SEPTICFLESH's second album Esoptron with new artwork and bonus tracks, on which the Greeks already expanded their sonic realm with hints of Gothic flavour and a heavy infusion of TYPE O NEGATIVE.
SEPTICFLESH cemented their reputation for experimental and intelligent Metal music with A Fallen Temple (1998), Revolution DNA (1999) and Sumerian Daemons (2003). Yet in October 2003 the band members decided to go separate ways. Continuous demand of their large and loyal following finally led to a reunion in 2007, after which SEPTICFLESH firmly established themselves as a leading force of symphonic Dark Metal with critically acclaimed masterpieces Communion (2008) and The Great Mass (2011).1. Brotherhood Of The Fallen Knights
2. The Eldest Cosmonaut
3. Marble Smiling Face
4. Underworld Act 1
5. Temple Of The Lost Race
6. The Crypt
7. Setting Of The Two Suns
9. Underworld Act 2
10. The Eldest Cosmonaut [Dark Mix]
11. The Last Time
12. Underworld Act 3
14. The Eldest Cosmonaut [Single Version]$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
More Than Any Other Day
Debut Album From One Of Montreal's Most Talked-about Indie-Rock Bands.
Ought has been burning with a strong and steady flame since flickering to life in
Montreal in 2011. Holed up in a shared apartment that doubled as their rehearsal
space, the four band members self-recorded a first EP and played their first show
in these domestic confines, then busted out into the city's loft circuit, and into the
city streets during the Printemps d'Erable Quebec student general strike, in 2012.
These inspired months of mass mobilization against neo-liberal austerity
measures galvanized a wide range of agit-prop expression in Montreal, and
indelibly shaped the emerging sound, vision and social mandate of Ought.
Guitarist/vocalist Tim Beeler, who previously had been writing poetry and folk
music, drew new energy from electrification/amplification and solidarity/protest
alike; his declarative, observational vocal style ranges from wide-eyed to
worried, but never submits to cool irony or emotional detachment.
Ought's earnest, stately and exuberant post-punk is dextrous, deliberate, unfussy
and fluid, with debts to Cap'n Jazz, The Feelies, Lungfish, Gang Of Four and early
Talking Heads, among many others. The band shifts from sharp angles and stuttering
counterpoint to softer edges and chiming flow, with an economy of elements and
fidelity to their basic 4-piece constitution. The instrumental interplay is
consistently whipsmart, supple and deceptively simple. Beeler's speak-singing
can give way to melancholic melodic croons and ragged, desperate yelps, always
driven by sincerity of feeling and connection to his subject matter, whether that's
the conundrum of our fractured interiority or communion with others in our
fractured social space (or, for the most part, both).
Ought are a righteous and humble young band, fiercely dedicated to grassroots
organizing and artmaking, taking as self-evident the inseparability of politics
and aesthetics; we are proud and excited to be releasing their debut full-length.
More Than Any Other Day is the result of a week of recording and mixing at
Montreal's Hotel2Tango with engineer Radwan Moumneh (Suuns, Matana Roberts,
Jerusalem In My Heart) in November 2013; the album replaces the band's previously
self-released 5-song Bandcamp EP of the same name, which comprised a separate
set of recordings. Thanks for listening.1. Pleasant Heart
2. Today, More Than Any Other Day
4. The Weather Song
6. Around Again
8. Gemini$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Live at Fillmore EastThe Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East on Numbered Limited Edition 180g Vinyl 2LP from Mobile Fidelity
Telepathically Executed Double Album At Fillmore East Among Ten-Best Live Records Ever Made
Ranks #49 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List: Includes Epic Takes of Whipping Post and In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
Peerless Sonics: Mobile Fidelity Analog Reissue Provides Fifth-Row Seat to Historic March 1971 Concerts
Fillmore East is synonymous with some of the greatest concerts ever staged. Yet the venue belongs to one group: The Allman Brothers Band. This groundbreaking double album is why. As the collective's breakthrough, it broadcasts to the world wowing improvisational flights and seamless musical fusion the likes of which no one had ever heard. In communion with the crowd, the band establishes an interactive blueprint for all shows that followed, while its high-wire displays of powerhouse soloing and time-stretching arrangements remain the stuff of hall-of-fame legend.
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity's world-renowned mastering system and pressed on dead-quiet vinyl RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 2LP of At Fillmore East joins the unparalleled reissue imprint's other Allman titles in presenting the inimitable ensemble's music in the most lifelike, uncompromising fidelity possible. Myriad versions of the 1971 set exist, yet none possesses the audiophile sensibilities found here - sonic traits that whisk the listener to the midst of the Fillmore East for four gigs performed on March 12 and 13, 1971, plunking them down in a fifth-row seat surrounded by fervent fans and a smoke-filled atmosphere. Every slippery bottleneck note, every aching vocal moan, every soulful purr from the organ, every gritty interlocking riff comes across with unfettered clarity and realism.
While the record features multiple works the band never laid down in a studio, At Fillmore East is a meticulously conceived affair. The Allmans prepped rough sketches and layouts of the tunes, carving out spaces for each member's solos, and leaving the direction of such entirely up to the individual. As a result, the effort - anchored by iconic producer Tom Dowd's stellar production - presents a jazz-drifting rock band benefiting from both a sense of assured direction as well as opportunistic freedom.
Indeed, At Fillmore East is the rare sound of a group letting it all go, fearlessly maneuvering through bluesy shuffles, exquisite laments, graceful instrumental passages, and frenetic swamp-laden boogies. Achieved via a combination of virtuosic skill, visionary ambition, and natural chemistry, the six-piece burns white-hot with intensity and persuades via a padlock-tight rhythm section on which Duane's searing slide playing and Gregg's bottom-of-the-stomach vocals glide, each aural utterance coaxing on their respective mates to strive for new heights.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Statesboro Blues
2. Done Somebody Wrong
3. Stormy Monday
4. You Don't Love Me
5. Hot 'Lanta
6. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
7. Whipping Post$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
In A Silent WayFloat Into the Ether: Gorgeous 1969 Experimental Treasure Among the Most Atmospheric Jazz Albums Ever Recorded
Delicate, Immersing, Dynamic: Mobile Fidelity Reissue Magnifies the Bold Textures, Soothing Ambience, and Transcendent Moods
Davis First Fusion Album Features John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, and Tony Williams
Sketches of Spain, Kind of Blue, Milestones, Round About Midnight, and Four & More Also Available from Mobile Fidelity
Shhh. The command to be quiet is no just part of the title of one of the two sprawling compositions on this pioneering album. Its also an apt metaphor for the relaxed hypnotism and spaced-out atmosphere that define In a Silent Way, a record that pushes the boundaries of studio possibilities, artist-producer relationships, and rock-jazz chasms. Recognized as Miles Davis first full-on fusion effort and part of his electric era, the 1969 landmark claims a Whos Who lineup that sends the music into an ethereal stratosphere.
Part of Mobile Fidelitys Miles Davis catalog restoration series, In a Silent Way now immerses the listener in linoleate landscapes starlit by the intuition, suspension, and paradoxes wrought by a once-in-a-lifetime collective. Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, this unsurpassed 180g LP edition lifts the veil on the cutting-edge assembly process that created the pair of lengthy suites. Helmed by three electric instruments, the beveled compositions melt away all preconceived notions of jazz, rock, and ambience, following a loose theory Davis dubbed New Directions.
Few albums are so delicately textured. And on Mobile Fidelitys meticulous analog reissue, such sulcate elements pour over ink-black backgrounds on a canyon-wide soundstage. In particular, Tony Williams inventive percussive touch he causes the cymbals to shimmer as a pieces of silver tend to do when exposed to sunlight is broadcast with lifelike three-dimensional qualities, the panoramic view extending to Davis nocturnal trumpet, Wayne Shorter's ribbon-unfurling saxophone, Dave Hollands extrapolative bass, and the mosaic of keys.
If the records only accomplishment is its introduction of guitarist John McLaughlin to the world, it alone would be enough. Yet In a Silent Way continues to bedazzle, puzzle, and inspire for myriad reasons not the least of which is the seemingly telepathic communicative methods employed by the groups members. The lineup is great on paper, but, if its even possible, the octet sounds even better in practice, with the instruments and tonalities conjoining in avant-garde communion like hyper-sensitive tentacles exploring the stippled landscapes of an undiscovered planet.
Diverting from expectation, tubular grooves twist, turn, and spin, sometimes piling atop of each other, always shying away from structure and melody. Ellipsoidal solos provide hesitant guidance, ranging from Chick Corea's Fender Rhodes phrases to Davis decorative spirals. And as color is the primary unit of currency on Davis Sketches of Spain, laidback episodes, geometric spaces, and quiet sensuality reign here, with the sets maverick reputation attained via musings on solitude rather than explosions of noise.
Controversial for the period, the heavily edited production of In a Silent Way blew open the once-locked doors on what producers could attempt and how artists could assist them. Knitted together as one would construct a cross-hatched quilt, songs contain grafts of repeat passages that provide unifying structure and experimental continuity. What a statement.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Shhh/Peaceful
2. In a Silent Way/Its About That Time$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
With Loving And Open ArmsTHE CAUSEY WAY IS NOT A CULT. They wish they were, but they are not. Sure, they are building a compound in a remote and undisclosed place, outside of Gainsville, Florida.(oops) Sure they offer Causey Blood (vegan) in communion cups before their services. And, of course, concert goers are encouraged to fill out membership nametags at their concerts. And it goes without saying that they're more than merely terrified about Y2K. But they are not a cult. They can't be because Alternative Tentacles Records can't sign cults; they're supposed to sign bands.
Causey formed the band in 1997. His requisites were stringent in recruiting his flock. The future parishoners were not allowed to have been in a band - not in their current life nor in prior lives. They made one exception though, they allowed Boy Causey to join the band. Boy, aka Brian, you see, is currently in a ROCK N ROLL band called Man Or Astroman? as well as serving in Servotron. Causey, believe it or not, used to be a professional skateboarder using the phony last name Stanton. He used to defy gravity with corporate sponsorship emblazoned upon his bosom (in interviews he would explain it was the closest feeling approximating that of walking on water) when one day he landed on his nose and finally saw the light. This revelation changed Causey. He wanted to start anew, he suddenly felt a greater purpose. He needed to remain true to his new self while at the same time start something new & exciting and not merely regurgitate putrid bile like some old Linda Blair movie. He dreamed that his followers would release doves in asking for an encore, rather than lighting lighters. He had a mission, and the mission was THE CAUSEY WAY.
Shortly after this period Jello Causey received a care-package from THE CAUSEY WAY. It contained a digital testament of their musical sacrifices, and some thoughtful Y2K preparedness items such as generic bleach, generic toothpaste, and enough cotton swabs to clean out an entire chapel-full of ears. Shortly after receiving the package, he quickly filled out his membership nametag, and the rest is history. (Jello has adamantly denied journalists' claims that he was 'brainwashed'.) It was exactly the type of new 'testament' wave, and pulpit punk that was missing in his life. (Some heathen have made references to Devo due to the presence of keyboards.)
Jello wasn't the only soul converted. Rain Phoenix (sister of late River Phoenix) quickly signed up and did penance by singing background vocals on With Open and Loving Arms. One openly famous musical celebrity superstar, Michael Stipe of the rock quartet REM, was so healed upon experiencing THE CAUSEY WAY service, that he invited the pulpit back to his house for a serving of grits to show his gratitude. The band declined.
Prior to their debut full-length sermon With Open and Loving Arms, THE CAUSEY WAY released an ep by the name of WWCD (that rose to #30 on CMJ's charts) and released an ep called Testimony for the skankedly trendy label Fueled By Ramen.(Less Than Jake's label) before releasing their latest one Causey vs. Everything on Alternative Tentacles in January 2001.1. Message From The Pulpit
3. Carousel Of Progress
4. What Power Is
5. The Electronic Church(You Sell God)
7. Fact Finding Mission
8. Light Of The World
9. Institutional Man
10. Bed Is Where
11. Love Me
12. Word Problems$7.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Parts Of SpeechFrom its first track, Dessa's new full-length Parts of Speech announces itself as something different. The Doomtree veteran and inveterate wordsmith - having proved her mettle in the fields of creative non-fiction, spoken-word and hip-hop - jettisons all genre expectations on "The Man I Knew" and croons a heartbreaking lament to a disintegrating relationship at an explosively-building clip.
From this moment on Dessa - oft-described as "Mos Def plus Dorothy Parker" for the wit and flow shown off on previous solo albums A Badly Broken Code and Castor, The Twin - proves she has truly coalesced as an artist, transcending the restrictions of genre to reveal an astonishing multi-platform voice.
"I wanted to investigate the idea that a cohesive record isn't always made cohesive by having twelve songs that sound the same. I figured when you make a mixtape for a friend, you can get away with a range of genres and a lot of dynamic change. Why can't I approach an album like that? The sequence has to be just right, and we worked hard to nail it, but the thing that holds this record together is the sensibility of the lyrics, rather than a uniform theme."
Track two kicks off a stunning hat-trick of the record's standout numbers. "Call Off Your Ghost" is an admittedly haunting dirge on the "struggle for grace in the wake of a long relationship." An arena-sized chorus tucked into a melancholy lullaby, "Ghost" has that unique ability to perfectly soundtrack new love or bitter breakup at the same time.
Dessa then puts her fists up for "Warsaw." The track boasts a beat like Azealia Banks playing Pacman, which provides a background for our emcee's confident, hypnotic flow. Narrative takes a backseat to mood here, as Dessa spits impressionistic one-ups like "I sleep with both eyes open, standing up," daring you to blink first.
"Skeleton Key" contains Parts of Speech's mission statement: "I haven't met a locked door yet." An ode to female self-reliance that doesn't waste ambiance for message, the track plays like a great, lost M. Night Shyamalan movie, calling forth an era out of time in the story of a woman, a key and a bottomless reserve of courage.
"This record involves multiple narratives. It explores the same themes of love, loss, connection and communion as a lot of my work, but the angle and lens through which they're explored sets this album apart from my previous ones. The production techniques were new for me too - we spent a lot of time crafting a record that could include live players, Doomtree production, and sometimes a blend of the two."
While the album is born of Dessa's artistic vision, it benefits from the collaboration of her varied friends. Parts of Speech owes much of its impact to its diverse production. Dessa got her start as a member of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree - eventually going on to help manage the group's business affairs as they launched their own label - and members Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger lend their production to several tracks.
The players in Dessa's live ensemble all contributed to the record, as did several top-flight Minneapolis musicians working in rock, folk, and opera. She even enlisted a cellist she found on Pandora to make the gorgeously-layered foundation of penultimate track "It's Only Me."1. The Man I Knew
2. Call Off Your Ghost
4. Skeleton Key
5. Dear Marie
6. I'm Going Down
7. Fighting Fish
8. The Lamb
11. It's Only Me
12. Sound the Bells$19.99Vinyl LP - LP Sealed Buy Now
Sorceress (Black Vinyl)Pressed On Black Vinyl
There are few bands that can or will match Sweden's Opeth. Since forming in the tiny Stockholm suburb of Bandhagen in 1990, the Swedes have eclipsed convention, defiantly crushed the odds, and, most importantly, crafted 12 stunningly beautiful, become one of the best bands on the planet; on album or on stage. Ask any Opeth fan. Enquire with any band that's shared the proverbial pine with the Swedes. Or, get a label representative to talk Opeth. They'll all tell you the same thing: Opeth are peerless. And they're only getting better.
Opeth's new album, Sorceress, their first for Nuclear Blast via the band's imprint label Moderbolaget Records, is proof chief architect Mikael Åkerfeldt has a near-endless well of greatness inside. From the album's opener "Persephone" to "The Wilde Flowers" and "Strange Brew" to the album's counterpart title tracks "Sorceress" and "Sorceress II", Opeth's twelfth full-length is an unparalleled adventure, where visions cleverly and secretly change, colours mute as if weathered by time, and sounds challenge profoundly. Sorceress is, by definition, moored in Åkerfeldt's impressive record collection-his one true vice-but, as always, there's more invention than appropriation at play.
"This time around I didn't think about what I wanted to do," Åkerfeldt reveals. "I was forced to write. But once I started, it was easy. This record, like the last record, didn't take long to write. Like five or six months. The thoughts behind this record developed as I was writing. The only thing I was thinking about with this record was to write that songs didn't musically connect. I made sure if I had a song that was new sounding for this record, I'd make the next song completely different. I think the songs are very different from one another. It's very diverse."
Certainly, every Opeth record has had diversity. In 1995, Orchid reset the rules of death metal. Six years later, Blackwater Park hit the high note for musicality in a genre generally devoid of it. Damnation, in 2003, was the work of a band determined to upend the norm. Five years after that, Watershed closed Opeth's chapter on death metal by visiting its darkest corners and holding its native brutality aloft. And in 2014, Pale Communion officially bridged the progressive music gap by twisting the intrepid sounds of '60s, '70s, and '80s into contemporary brilliance. So, really, what's so different about Sorceress?
"My music taste got a little wider," grins Åkerfeldt. "I started listening to jazz. I bought a lot of Coltrane records. I never really thought Coltrane would be for me because I like 'dinner jazz.' I like comfortable, soft, nice, and lovely jazz. Like Miles Davis' '50s stuff. Porgy and Bess, for example. I guess Dave Brubeck fits in there, too. So, that's the only new influx of musical inspiration for me. Other than that, I've been buying the same type of records I always have. Prog, symphonic rock, singer/songwriter, metal, hard rock But there wasn't anything that set me off like The Zombies or Scott Walker. Nothing got me going this time."
Actually, that's not entirely true. Åkerfeldt's always mining for progressive gold. Good, rare music is particularly good at getting his motor running. He found double-gold in one-off Italian outfit Il Paese dei Balocchi and Bobak, Jons, Malone's ultra-obscure Motherlight album. To wit, get Åkerfeldt talking about either and he's all too pleased to discuss the finer points of Il Paese dei Balocchi's string-based darkness or how he fan-boyed Malone via email to get the famed British orchestrator and one-time Iron Maiden producer to contribute to Sorceress.
"I absolutely love Il Paese dei Balocchi," Åkerfeldt professes. "They did one album. It's insanely good. It has everything I love about progressive rock in it. This album is so orchestrated and epic. It's got lots of string sections. It's very moody, dark, and sad. It's a mystery they didn't do any more. As for Will Malone, he did the strings and stuff for the Sabbath records-Sabotage and Never Say Die! But now he does strings for pop artists like Joss Stone, The Verve, Depeche Mode. I looked him up, mostly because he was the house engineer for Morgan Studios in the '60s. He was also in a few bands. Like Orange Bicycle and played on the Motherlight album. He also had a solo record, which is also amazing and superbly rare. It's orchestral. The bulk of it is strings. It's kind of like Nick Drake."
Åkerfeldt's quick to point out, however, his newfound progressive music loves didn't directly inspire him to write Sorceress. The majority of the album was penned in Opeth's rehearsal space, where, nestled comfortably in a corner, a computer, a keyboard, and a microphone sit ready for the next Opeth epic. It isn't plush, but it's exactly the type of environment the frontman needs to focus his creative self into song.
"When I'm in a writing mode, I have tunnel vision," says Åkerfeldt. "I have a really good work ethic. I go down to the studio everyday early in the morning and I work. I absolutely love it. It's so much fun. It's much easier now, too. I write complete demos. I sequence the songs in the order I want them to be on the record. I do mixing. I do overdubs. Once I'm done, I give copies to the guys so they can listen to the album. They practice to it on their own. When it's time to go into the studio, everybody does their own thing. It obviously works."
For Sorceress, Opeth returned to Rockfield Studios in Wales, where the Swedes had tracked Pale Communion in 2014 with Tom Dalgety. The experience was so positive and historical-the countryside studio was also home to pivotal Budgie, Queen, Rush, Judas Priest, and Mike Oldfield recordings-there really was no other option for Opeth and crew. Rockfield Studios or bust! The studio, with Dalgety yet again in tow, provided the necessary isolation, the right bucolic atmosphere, the best gear, and three square meals a day for Sorceress to come out the other end spitting fire. All in 12 bittersweet days, too.
"There was a time when I came out of our recordings a wreck," Åkerfeldt bemoans. "But now I come out with a wish. I wish it wouldn't have gone so quickly. There's emptiness after I leave the studio. I love writing and recording in the studio. It's lovely at Rockfield. It's in the sticks. It's got horses and cows. There's lots of sheep in Wales. But the studio is just a studio. It's so beautiful there. So quiet. It's a residential studio as well, so we live there while we're recording. We have chefs for us, too. So, we can just be there, playing, recording, and hanging out."
If life is like a Peter Max poster, the lyrics to Sorceress aren't. There's color, but they've been treated, corrupted, and befouled. That is to say, they're much darker. Some of bleak lyrical tones stem from Åkerfeldt's personal life-and are thusly contorted beyond recognition-while others touch grimly on topics like love and what happens to people on the other side of it. In fact, some of the lyrical ideas are similar to what was happening on Blackwater Park.
"I made sure to write good lyrics," Åkerfeldt laughs. "This sounds very old-fashioned black metal to say, but the lyrics are misanthropic. It's not a concept record, so there's no theme running through the record. Most of the record deals with love. The negative aspects of love. The jealously, the bitterness, the paranoia, and the mind games of love. So, it's a love record. Love songs. Love can be like a disease or a spell."
Luckily, for Åkerfeldt and crew-bassist Martín MÉndez, drummer Martin Axenrot, guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, and keyboardist Joakim Svalberg-the lineup doesn't have to deal with Sorceress' main theme. They've been together since Heritage was completed, and according to Åkerfeldt he's not been in a better band situation before. Not since Orchid. Not since Still Life. Not since Ghost Reveries.
"It's the best band situation I've ever had. Fans will look at our eras and have their favorite lineup, but this is the best. Even the happiest days of the first and second lineups aren't comparable to what I have now. We never fight. It's like a good work team. We know each other professionally and personally. As much as we're a band, we're also friends. We hang out when we're not doing Opeth."
A core team is a good thing, when Opeth's credibility is in full view of fans and critics. Åkerfeldt's very aware of what the masses have had to say about Opeth since Watershed. While some disliked the musical shift on Heritage, most have applauded it. They've come to expect something new from Opeth. True to form, Sorceress will give long-time fans and weary critics reason to re-think Opeth and what it takes to be musically fearless.
"I hope they'll like the record," posits Åkerfeldt. "I can only talk from my perspective and taste here, but we offer diversity that's not really present in the scene today. Whatever genre. We've always been a special band. We've gotten a lot of shit for being different. We still do. Our time will come, I think. It comes down to perseverance. It comes down to not giving up or giving in to public opinion. Music is about doing your own thing or going your own way."1. Persephone
3. The Wilde Flowers
4. Will O The Wisp
6. Sorceress 2
7. The Seventh Sojourn
8. Strange Brew
9. A Fleeting Glance
11. Persephone (Slight Return)
12. The Ward
13. Spring MCMLXXIV$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Home AgainFew records make such an instant impression as Home Again, the debut album by Michael Kiwanuka, winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 prize. Immersing the listener in a sound that is both modern and at the same time as familiar as the classics, it manages to strike the balance between being contemporary and somehow utterly timeless. For Kiwanuka, key musical touchstones include Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Shuggie Otis, Roberta Flack's First Take, Bill Withers' Live At Carnegie Hall and D'Angelo's modern soul landmark Voodoo.
Born in Muswell Hill to Ugandan ÉmigrÉ parents, Kiwanuka was brought up in a home from which music was largely absent, with his first introduction to rock (Nirvana, Radiohead) arriving at the same time as he began to hang with the skater kids in the north London suburb during his early teenage years. Later coming across a soul compilation album given away with a music monthly, he was enthralled by the sound of Otis Redding's studio talkback discussions with his engineer while recording an outtake version of (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay. From this point on, he resolved to make music that sounded raw and authentic.
Though deeply into soul and jazz, he found real inspiration in the cross-pollination of the two styles with folk in the music of Bill Withers. "Bill Withers was very rootsy and earthy," he points out, "but people branded him as a soul singer. To me, he was a folk artist. So that encouraged me to keep going, 'cause I didn't know where I would fit in as a black guy with an acoustic guitar."
While performing on the acoustic circuit around London, Kiwanuka quickly attracted interest and made connections, not least with his current manager who in turn garnered the attention of Communion Records, the label that in 2011 released the singer's first two acclaimed EPs, Tell Me A Tale and I'm Getting Ready. Both of these EPs, as with Home Again, were produced by Paul Butler (The Bees) in his vintage equipment-stuffed basement studio at his house in Ventnor on the Isle Of Wight. Together the pair played almost every instrument to be heard on the album, with Butler's remarkably intimate, detailed productions adorned with everything from flute to brass to sitar to aching strings, perfectly matching Kiwanuka's visions for his songs.
"The way we made the record was very modern," the singer points out. "There was loads of editing. We manipulated it to get exactly what we wanted." From the opening bars of the stirring Tell Me A Tale, it is instantly clear that Home Again is a very special album. While its more upbeat characteristics are embodied in the Prince Buster-like loping of the lovelorn but irresistibly catchy Bones and the rolling soul groove of I'll Get Along, elsewhere it proves itself to be a record of real stripped-down beauty.
In I Won't Lie, with its gospel-infused echoes of The Staples Singers, Kiwanuka offers something akin to a modern spiritual, while in Rest he turns in a tender love lullaby and in Always Waiting, he blends classical elements with the confessional intimacy of Roberta Flack. It is with the title track of Home Again, however, that Michael Kiwanuka feels the record's sounds and themes are ultimately encapsulated. "That's the song that really for me ties everything together," he says. "It's one of the earliest songs I wrote for the album and even though I progressed and changed stuff in the studio, it was the one I could never throw away. Like a lot of them, it's a hopeful song. I use home as the metaphor for contentment and peace within."
Other parts of the record, on the other hand, find Kiwanuka struggling for peace of mind and using his songs as a form of self-empowerment, not least in the soulful I'm Getting Ready, the darker, unburdening Any Day Will Do Fine and the self-explanatory Worry Walks Beside Me. "It can really paralyze you, if you worry too much," the singer admits. "I do tend to overthink things. All of these songs are me talking to myself, really. Trying to encourage myself to believe."1. Tell Me A Tale
3. I'll Get Along
4. Home Again
5. I'm Getting Ready
7. Always Waiting
8. I Won't Be Long
9. Any Day Will Do Fine
10. Worry Walks Beside Me
11. Lasan$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Freedom & SurrenderFreedom and Surrender
The circuitous dance between the beginning and the end.
Something amazing and terrifying happened to me as I entered into my 30s. I realized that I had run far off the course of my scripted plans, my projections for who I'd be, what I'd be doing, and how it would feel at this point. Then, the realization the mapped trail couldn't be recovered. A hound without a hunt, I was captured by unfamiliar woods far from earshot of the original game and players. Untethered by marriage with a scrap pile of maternal designs that never took root, I found myself forced, thank goodness, to let go.
The pageantry of over-identifying with past experiences and old ideals had ended. In review, I found that life's unfolding had exceeded my most elaborate visions while other hopes had slipped into ruin in the clasp of my determined hands. Meanwhile, a new meekness and curiosity made all of my experiences sacred and overwhelming, something akin to a reverent depression. Desire was quieted in my heart, and I was uneasy in the cool of my newness, wondering what I really wanted to do next.
When the label suggested that I consider working with Larry Klein, my entire focus shifted with a warm shrug, Why not? He's produced some of my favorite records. Within a few conversations I had found plenty of reasons to trust the voice on the other end of the line. I knew that I was respected for my potential and achievements, and he wasn't new to dealing with strong women. Another shrug, Why not? I had plenty to sing about now, a heart cracked open by disappointment, a will broken by the truth. I was ready for a new project, the kind of baby that I knew how to make.
It was suggested to me initially that I make a record of covers. It was the very moment my hard head became bent on writing my way out of my valley, no matter how hard or long I'd have to work for it. I'd count my steps and tell stories until I met the ridge line without borrowing anyone else's view. This was not my hour to cover, but to uncover, and hopefully, the reveal would be worth something. I trembled in the wait for my own revelation.
I scurried around the country (Nashville, New York and LA) to have collaborative conversations with old and new friends. I remembered how to just sit with people and talk, even though I was on a schedule and budget. We all spoke like we were on Grandma's porch, but the work got done. To my delighted surprise, much of this record was written with Larry himself.
My average day of preproduction with him looked like: A sunrise run and swim at Santa Monica pier, showing up to his studio sandy, salty, and red faced, talking through beautiful rambles with him and David Batteau while high on espresso. Then we'd get snagged by a soulful riff from Larry's acoustic bass guitar as he noodled along (seemingly) aimlessly. Often a story would present a hook and we'd return the next day with responses. This felt like an old and dignified pace of work, but also kind of risky. However, I looked up after a few months of these weeklong neighborly sits and real songs were following us, a train getting longer, each car intact and connected as we rolled on.
In the evenings I listened to demos of the budding songs on my phone as the sun set over the Pacific. I could see them, unmade movies. The tide of communion would pull back and the shining pieces left could be made into anything. This is when I knew that I had, in these mosaic sessions, stumbled upon a new page of my life.
I remembered the feeling of being found. One of the most moving songs from it's inception was, Somewhere Down the Mystic. Playing on the simple wonders of my rustic Appalachian life, we imagined a love lost to death and the feeling of it's lasting warmth, a nod to love's reach across life's threshold.
Months later, on February 20th, I had a near death experience, sliding across 300 yards of ice coated mountain curve. I softened my body and rested my hands in my lap. The heavy car floated silently towards a 75 foot ravine that ended with a wide band of frozen creek. Ok was the only thing I could get out in a sigh. I was stopped by a young bellwood tree that grew out of the bank like a hook. I slowed my breathing and meditated in suspension. About 20 minutes later, a young neighbor pulled the door open, reaching in with a strong arm to guide my climb out. Now when I sing the chorus, I see the gracious hole and the sweet sapling that grows over it. It threw me back, a fish returned to the river with a cut lip.
The pink bells of the tree can be seen on my homepage, and I want to keep such simple things close from now on. Why not? They were strong enough to save me. In surrender I experience freedom. The gift of an end is a beginning. I greet the sun with the only reason I've ever needed, why not?
-Lizz Wright1. Freedom
2. The Game
3. The New Game
4. Lean In
5. Right Where You Are
6. River Man
7. Somewhere Down The Mystic
8. Real Life Painting
9. To Love Somebody
10. Here And Now
12. Blessed The Brave
13. Surrender$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now