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On the group's sixth album, Passwords, inspiration pulls guitarist/singer
Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie
Gelber, and keyboardist Lee Pardini into their most universal, topical
territory to date. This is a record about the modern world: the relationships
that fill it, the politics that divide it, the small victories and big
losses that give it shape. Taylor's writing is personal at points - the
result of his recent engagement, which lends a sense of gravity and
self-reflection to album highlights like Time Flies Either Way and I
Can't Love - but it also zooms out, focusing not on the director
himself, but on everything within the lens.
Passwords, produced by Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Roger
Waters, Conor Oberst) is Dawes' sixth studio album.LP 1
1. Living In The Future
2. Stay Down
3. Crack The Case
4. Feed The Fire
5. My Greatest Invention
2. I Can't Love
3. Mistakes We Should Have Made
4. Never Gonna Say Goodbye
5. Time Flies Either Way$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
All Your Favorite Bands
"With its modern take on old-fashioned songcraft and interplay,
Dawes may ultimately be the most satisfying American band of its generation"
- CHICAGO SUN TIMES
The new album, All Your Favorite Bands, produced by David Rawlings, is Dawes' fourth studio album.1. Things Happen
2. Somewhere Along The Way
3. Don't Send Me Away
4. All Your Favorite Bands
5. I Can't Think About It Now
6. To Be Completely Honest
7. Waiting For Your Call
8. Right On Time
9. Now That It's Too Late, Maria$19.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
We're All Gonna DieDawes' highly anticipated new album We're All Gonna Die will be released via the band's own HUB Records.
Of the album, Taylor Goldsmith (guitar, vocals) explains, "Pretty much every song on this record explores a difficult situation and tries to find a way to find the good in it, or at least remind yourself that it's not always that big of a deal. After all, as scary as it is, we are all gonna die."
The album was produced by Grammy nominated producer Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes) and includes backing vocals from Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius, Mandy Moore and Will Oldham.
Dawes has toured extensively playing headline shows worldwide and major festival appearances including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza and Newport Folk Festival. Recently, they have toured with My Morning Jacket, Bob Dylan, Mumford and Sons, Conor Oberst, and Jackson Browne.
In the fall of 2014, Goldsmith contributed to Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, an album project which found collaborators Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) and producer T Bone Burnett writing and creating music for a treasure trove of recently discovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of the legendary Basement Tapes.
Fellow collaborator Jim James proclaims about We're All Gonna Die, "The record sounds so fresh-yet fills me with a strange nostalgia for things that haven't happened yet...I hear it at the beach and blasting out of car windows on future summer nights...easily having become a natural part of people's lives."1. One Of Us
2. We're All Gonna Die
3. Roll With The Punches
4. Picture Of A Man
5. Less Than Five Miles Away
6. Roll Tide
7. When The Tequila Runs Out
8. For No Good Reason
10. As If By Design$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Nothing Is Wrong (Awaiting Repress)Dawes self-proclaims themselves as an American rock n roll band, which at first blush sounds absurdly vague. Obviously they play rock n roll in America so did Dead Kennedys and arguably Taylor Hicks. But the roots rock country folk that the LA band churned out on their 2009 debut North Hills may just be the new touchstone for a true and specific American rock n roll band. Dawes is back to let freedom ring on their new album Nothing Is Wrong due out June 7th via ATO Records.
We didnt change up our approach too much and yet we were able to create something that I feel has a new identity from our first record, singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith says. Its definitely taking a step in a direction and at the same time, its maintaining what it needs to maintain.
The album also features appropriate guests spots from Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers and Mr. Jackson Browne, and will be ushered out on the road this summer.1. Time Spent in Los Angeles
2. If I Wanted Someone
3. My Way Back Home
4. Coming Back to a Man
5. So Well
6. How Far Weve Come
7. Fire Away
8. Moon in the Water
9. Million Dollar Bill
10. The You Laugh
11. A Little Bit of Everything$19.99Vinyl LP 45 RPM - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
North HillsAs you begin to listen to Dawes' debut album and especially songs like the bittersweet That Western Skyline and the patient Love Is All I Am, you start to realize that this band isn't interested in the bells and whistles. The Los Angeles quartet, Taylor Goldsmith (vocals, guitar), Griffin Goldsmith (drums, vocals), Wylie Gelber (bass) and Tay Strathairn (piano, vocals) seem to get all their musicianship and expression across through the inherent nature of the instruments. They seem to have their utmost respect for the song itself, only stepping out when a song calls for it, relying on the other to keep the holes filled and the ship sailing smoothly, letting the music reflect their own personal relationships to the listener.
Recorded live to tape (all analog) at Canyonsound Studio in Laurel Canyon, CA. Produced by Jonathan Wilson (Elvis Costello, Johnathan Rice, Jenny Lewis) and mastered by Rob Fraboni (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton) at Effortless Mastering in Weston, CT.1. That Western Skyline
2. Love Is All I Am
3. When You Call My Name
4. Give Me Time
5. When My Time Comes
6. God Rest My Soul
7. Bedside Manner
8. My Girl To Me
9. Take Me Out Of The City
10. If You Let Me Be Your Anchor
11. Peace In The Valley$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Professor 3Professor Rhythm's 1991 recording Professor 3 is a vivid reflection of urban
South Africa as apartheid was ending. Thami Mdluli's production
project had young and old dancing to a sound that sought to unite Blacks
within Southern Africa. "Our music gave hope to the hopeless," he says.
Mdluli's third instrumental album (which contains some background vocals,
to be exact), portrays the moment when the dominant mbaqanga
and American R&B-based bubblegum sounds being produced in Johannesburg
and other urban centers were transforming into house and hiphop-inspired
kwaito. The pop of the 80's and all that went with it-from the
models of synths and drum machines to the lyrical style-gave way to a
changing melodic emphasis and new, much slower tempi using a completely
different rhythmic skeleton.
Upbeat, chipper bubblegum, often with double-time breakdowns and upstroke
syncopations, faded and the sounds began to more closely resemble
those of contemporary Black America-where hip-hop was slowing
down and the bass-lines and melodies were getting moodier, darker in
general. At the same time house music had briefly reached mainstream
acceptance in the States and that popularity continued to feed into awareness
overseas. These two influences blended with the burgeoning house
music scenes in Johannesburg and Pretoria as Professor Rhythm 3 was
being produced in March 1991 (the same year apartheid ended). Mdluli
explains, "We were Influenced by foreign bands and so people updated
According to Mdluli, the evolving sound was bolstered by widening availability
of house and rap records from abroad while, most importantly, an
increasing sense that apartheid might soon be finished was met with a
new positivity vibe society. "1991, '92, '93 Mandela was released. People
were upbeat, they were happy, the music was good."
Professor 3 came out on vinyl as the LP business was dying in South
Africa and sold around 20,000 copies. It was mainly distributed on tape,
which sold closer to 100,000. With the help of engineer Fab Rosso, the
recording features backing vocalists from Mango Groove.
After making a half-dozen records as Professor Rhythm, Mdluli once
again shifted his focus musically. By the mid-90's he had veered off
gospel music-and left playing in bands and started making his own solo
recordings. His enormous success in the gospel realm in the years since
is a remarkable story in its own right, but for now we are only dancing.1. Uskamosothotsa
2. Ubohisa Kanna
3. Via Zimbabwe
4. Raditaba (Nozindaba)
5. Professor 3
6. Zabalaza$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Volume 3 (Awaiting Repress)Na Hawa Doumbia's La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 marks the first release for new label Awesome Tapes From Africa, a blog and DJ project known worldwide for shedding light on obscure and wonderful musical treasures from the African continent. This early recording, made in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1982, captures the dualities inherent in Doumbia's music from early on: a stripped-down, raw backdrop supported by warm sonics; feminist expressions of social issues imparted through stark refrains.1. Koro Dia (a Mamaye Drame L'inoubliable)
2. Kungo Sogoni
3. Danaya (a Sidi Konate Pour Toujours)
4. Dan Te Dinye La$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Volume 7Bola's music aggressively melds sheer force of spirit with a sound not often heard by ears outside the remote Upper East Region of Ghana. His bold fury stems from the kologo-a two-stringed lute with a calabash gourd resonator-and Frafra-language vocals, emitted in raspy bursts. This is some of the most distinct and dynamic music to come out of Ghana since the emergence of hiplife music in the mid-90s. Volume 7, which came out in 2008, is just one entry in a brilliant series of recordings Bola has released.1. Burilbunbol Suma
3. Yine Ntaripaga
4. Tivona Vonbubo
5. Yine Mmema
7. Hoyenbesa Nini
8. Abayetidu Ma$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Volume 5 (Awaiting Repress)Remastered from a Cassette Copy Source
From the late 1960s until the early 1990s, a vibrant music scene in Somalia's capital Mogadishu was teeming with pop and folk musicians exploring the boundaries of regional sensibilities. With inuences spanning several genres of Somali traditional music, often meshed with Western pop, jazz and Middle-Eastern elements, a swirling diversity of sounds were being created, consumed, supported and encouraged.
Dur-Dur Band emerged during a time when Somalia's distinctive contribution to the creative culture in the Horn of Africa was visible and abundant. Thousands of recordings made at the Somali National Theatre, Radio Mogadishu and other studios, were complemented by the nightclubs at Hotel Juba, Jazeera Hotel and Hotel al-Curuuba, creating a ourishing music scene.
This recording, which was remastered from a cassette copy source, is a document of Dur-Dur Band after establishing itself as one of the most popular bands in Mogadishu. The challenge of locating a complete long-player from this era is evidenced by the delity of this recording. However, the complex, soulful music penetrates the hiss.
By 1987 Dur-Dur Band's line-up featured singers Sahra Abukar Dawo, Abdinur Adan Daljir, Mohamed Ahmed Qomal and Abdukadir Mayow Buunis, backed by Abukar Dahir Qasim (guitar), Yusuf Abdi Haji Aleevi (guitar), Ali Dhere (trumpet), Muse Mohamed Araci (saxophone), Abdul Dhegey (saxophone), Eise Dahir Qasim (keyboard), Mohamed Ali Mohamed (bass), Adan Mohamed Ali Handal (drums), Ooyaaye Eise and Ali Bisha (congas) and Mohamed Karma, Dahir Yaree and Murjaan Ramandan (backing vocals). Dur-Dur Band managed to release almost a dozen recordings before emigrating to Ethiopia, Djibouti and America.
Dur-Dur Band was considered a "private band," not beholden to government pressure to sing about political topics. They practiced a love- and culture-oriented lyricism. Government-sponsored bands like those of the military and the police forces, as well as many of the well-known folk musicians, made songs that were chiey political or patriotic in nature.
In a country that has been disrupted by civil war, heated clan divisions and security concerns, music and the arts has suffered from stagnation in recent years. Many of the
best-known musicians left the country. Music became nearly outlawed in Mogadishu in 2010. Incidentally, more than ten years after Volume 5 (1987) was recorded at Radio Mogadishu, the state-run broadcaster was the only station in Somalia to resist the ban on music briey enacted by Al-Shabab.
Dur-Dur Band is a powerful and illustrative lens through which to appreciate a facet of the incredible sounds in Somalia before the country's stability took a turn. But Somali music of all kinds continues to thrive thanks in part to the diaspora living in cities worldwide. An extensive network of news, music and video websites, along with dozens of voluminous YouTube channels, makes clear an exciting relentlessness among artists. Reports of musicians returning to Mogadishu from years abroad bodes well for the immediate future of music and expression in Somalia.1. Dur-Dur Band Introduction
5. Ilawad Cashaqa
6. Garsore Waa Ilaah
7. Aada Fududey Iga Ahow
8. Tajir Waa Ilaah
10. Amiina Awdaay
11. Dooyo$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: ShemonmuanayeHailu Mergia is a one-man band. In 1985, master accordionist and veteran bandleader, arranger and keyboardist released the Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument cassette. In a nostalgic effort to bring back the vintage accordion sound of his youth, Hailu gave Ethiopian music a sonic makeover. He was already celebrated for his work with the groundbreaking Addis Ababa ethio-jazz and funk outfit Walias Band. With imagination and a visionary sense of the self-contained possibilities of modern music, he captured the popular sounds of the past using the modern tools of the day.
The reissue of this recording brings back a moment when Ethiopian music was
shifting from acoustic-based performances to recordings using more and more
synthesized elements. While the resulting sound of that shift has its critics Hailu
Mergia's initial experiments with switched-on solo instrumentals based on
Ethiopian folk and popular music captures a singular feeling dripping in
ambiance and a very human emotional energy1. Shemonmuanaye
5. Hari Meru Meru
6. Amrew Demkew
7. Anchin Alay Alegn
9. Hebo Lale
10. Belew Beduby
11. Shilela$23.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Shaka BunduThe remarkable story of South
African singer and dancer Penny
Penny is t for Hollywood. A
nearly homeless janitor without
formal education gets a record
deal, becomes a multi-platinum
selling pop star, plays
stadiums acrossAfrica, then
builds a career as a popular
politician for Nelson Mandela's
African National Congress
party. Penny Penny's debut
recording Shaka Bundu,
recorded in 1994, is the album
that launched a 34-year-old
Giyani Kulani Kobane from the
streets of Johannesburg to the
national political spotlight.
After a chance meeting with Tsonga disco producer Joe Shirimani, just six months
after apartheid was lifted, Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu was released and entered
the consciousness of the entire country. Penny Penny became an immediate
sensation, against the expectations of everyone involved. The album went on to
sell more than 250,000 copies in SouthAfrica and Penny Penny has played to
thousands on stadium stages from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Namibia and
Using anAtari computer, Korg M1 synthesizer and reel-to-reel tape for vocals,
Penny and Shirimani cut the entire record in just seven days. The music was
something new for Tsonga disco. Penny s sound was dominated by slow tempo
house rhythms rising and falling against his anthemic vocal exultations and steel
drum synth sounds. Variations on call-and-response singing with a female chorus
had been a characteristic of Tsonga music for generations and Penny adopted
and twisted that approach with his rap-like delivery. Penny s husky, playful vocal
performance is relatively light on lyrics and heavy on vibes. Shirimani
constructed a signature sound for Penny was a static bass line, the sound of
which contains the root tones of an organ but with a peculiar richness and
depth. The producer won't reveal the secret of his trademark sound.
Amidst all the success of subsequent albums and tours, Penny's passion grew
into working with the people back in his home province. Eventually, Penny got
into politics. In 2011, he was elected ward councillor for his region under the
African National Congress party banner.
Today, nearly 20 years since Shaka Bundu could be heard blasting from
speakers across a new SouthAfrica, the music still sounds larger than life and
worldly.And even today, despite shifting his energies from stadium shows to
municipal matters, Penny Penny still sports his inimitable top-bun hairstyle.1. Shichangani
3. Ndzihere Bhi
4. Dance Khomela
5. Shaka Bundu
7. Milandu Bhe
8. Shichangani (Remix)$23.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-AWE-0816xAby Ngana Diop
LiitalSenegalese griot Aby Ngana Diop was famous for her taasu, a form of oral poetry spoken to the rhythmic accompaniment of sabar and tama drums. Taasu is typically created and performed by griot women (a class of poets, storytellers and/or musicians), with a lead taasukat (practitioner of taasu) performing her distinct style of heightened, rhythmically declaimed speech in call-and-response with a small chorus of female vocalists. (Taasu is seen by some to be a predecessor to rap.) Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Diop developed a reputation for being one of the most sought-after taasukats in Dakar, performing with her backup singers, dancers and drummers at parties, weddings and baptisms of the Dakar elite, including government officials and dignitaries. Aby Ngana Diop was undisputedly the best taasukat of her generation.
In 1994, the Dakar diva released her one and only studio cassette recording, Liital, to the Senegalese market. Liital was groundbreaking in the history of Senegalese music because it was the first commercial recording to feature a traditional female taasukat performing to the modern accompaniment of mbalax, Senegal's quintessential pop genre. The combination of Diop and her backup vocalists with their powerful taasu, along with the driving, complex rhythms of the sabar and tama drums, mixed with key elements of mbalax (such as the syncopated, polyphonic marimba sounds played on the Yamaha DX7 keyboard) was something the Senegalese public had never heard before. But it wasn't only because of the fusion of taasu with mbalax; unlike in other mbalax tunes, the musical arrangements on this cassette are instead peculiarly minimalist and almost trance-like, with static harmonies and melodic figures
playing more of an atmospheric role. The cassette became a huge hit, propelling Diop to a new level of superstardom. It could be heard blasting from taxis and from loudspeakers at house parties, weddings and baptisms for years to come. Liital bridged the gap between the more traditional taasu and the modern mbalax sound, thus appealing to all generations of the Senegalese public - and they simply couldn't get enough of it.
When Aby Ngana Diop died unexpectedly on July 4, 1997, the country mourned her passing, but continued to celebrate her music. Other artists such as Cheikh Lô, Thio Mbaye and Lamine TourÉ released recordings based on some of Diop's taasu and accompanying drum phrases, paying further tribute to her musical legacy. Although this cassette has caught the attention of some African music aficianados who have stumbled upon it in recent years, it remains largely unknown to the wider world. Hopefully this re-release from Awesome Tapes From Africa will change that.1. Dieuleul-Dieuleul
3. Yaye Penda Mbaye
6. Ndadje$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-AWE-0915xHailu Mergia and the Wallas
Tche Belew (Awaiting Repress)The acclaimed and highly sought-after LP by Hailu Mergia and
the Walias, Tche Belew, an album of instrumentals released in
1977, is perhaps the most seminal recording released in the
aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The story of the Walias band is
a critical chapter in Ethiopian popular music, taking place during
a period of music industry flux and political complexity in the
Hailu Mergia, a keyboardist and arranger diligently working the
nightclub scene in Addis Ababa, formed the Walias in the early
1970's with a core group of musicians assembled from prior
working bands. They played Mergia's funk- and soul-informed
tunes, while cutting 45rpm singles with various vocalists.
While the Walias performed at top hotels and played the
presidential palace twice, their relationship with the Derg regime
was complex, evidenced by the removal of one song from the
record by government censors.
Decades later, Hailu Mergia was surprised to see the album
fetching more than $4,000 at online auctions (it helped that the
most popular of all Ethiopian tunes "Musicawi Silt" appeared on
the record). Now everyone has the chance to listen again-or
for the first time-to this timeless pillar of Ethiopian popular
music.1. Tche Belew
2. Yemiasleks Fikir
3. Yikirta Lemminalehu
4. Musicawi Silt
5. Lomi Tera-tera
7. Ibakish Tarekigne
9. Eti Gual Blenai
10. Yenuro Tesfa Alegne$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Obaa SimaAta Kak's cassette Obaa Sima fell on deaf ears when it was self-released in Ghana and Canada in 1994. The music on the recording-an amalgam of highlife, Twi-language rap, funk and disco-is presented with the passion of a Prince record and the DIY-bedroom-recording lo-fi charm of early Chicago house music. The astute self-taught song craft and visionary blend of sounds and rhythms has made the album a left-field cult favorite among adventurous listeners worldwide.1. Obaa Sima
2. Moma Yendodo
5. Daa Nyinaa
6. Yemmpa Aba
7. Bome Nnwom$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Stories Don't EndWhile the city of Los Angeles has been both an inspiration and a home to the four members of Dawes, they found themselves traveling east last fall to record their third album in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with newly enlisted producer Jacquire King. It was a chance to hunker down and work each day for a month away from familiar landmarks and routines. The tracks they laid down at Asheville's Echo Mountain Studio have yielded a 12-song disc of tremendous sonic and narrative clarity, book-ended in classic album fashion by two very different versions of the wistful "Just Beneath The Surface" - a misleading title, really, since the songs stacked in between dig so deep. Stories Don't End is not so much a departure from the quartet's previous efforts as a distillation of them. It spotlights the group's maturing skills as arrangers, performers and interpreters who shape the raw material supplied by chief songwriter and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith into an artfully concise and increasingly soulful sound.1. Just Beneath The Surface
2. From A Window Seat
3. Just My Luck
4. Someone Will
5. Most People
6. Something In Common
7. Hey Lover
8. Bear Witness
9. Stories Don't End
10. From The Right Angle
11. Side Effects
12. Just Beneath The Surface (Reprise)$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Mini Mansions (Awaiting Repress)On a break from Queens of the Stone Age, Michael Shuman melded heads and locked arms with longtime friends Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes in a dusty room in the San Fernando Valley. Here, they began a collaborative sÉance out of which birthed Mini Mansions in January of 2009. Though their triangle is usually confined to piano, bass, and a cocktail drum kit, the LA-based trio generates a technicolor spectrum of sound drawn from the baroque, gothic, psychedelic, and cinematic realms. Their debut self-titled release, due out via Dangerbird Records/Rekords Rekords, curtseys to the past, bows to the present, and foreshadows a progressively more abstract future.1. Vignette #1
2. The Room Outside
3. Crime Of The Season
6. Seven Sons
7. Vignette #2
8. Kiddie Hypnogogia
9. Majik Marker
11. Vignette #3
12. Thriller Escapade$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Gentle SpiritJonathan Wilsons music is steeped equally in the woodsy contours of his Blue Ridge origins and the atmospheric guitar reveries of Neil Young and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Gentle Spirit, an expansive double set conceived specifically for vinyl, was recorded to analog tape and is remarkably evocative of that golden late 60s, early 70s period when rural and urban sensibilities colluded to produce some of rocks most imperishable recordings.
Gentle Spirit was recorded at his former studio in Laurel Canyon, the location of the very scene Wilson is credited with revitalizing through his personal studio and well-known jam sessions. In addition to making his own music, Wilson is also a producer, engineer and custom guitar-maker.
Whether hes producing young artists like the band Dawes or collaborating with renowned artists like Erykah Badu, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson or Elvis Costello, Wilson is as dedicated, visionary and soulful as anyone in music today, qualities that can be heard in the many textures, layers and easy born nuances prevalent throughout Gentle Spirit.1. Gentle Spirit
2. Can We Really Party Today?
3. Desert Raven
4. Canyon in the Rain
5. Natural Rhapsody
6. Ballad of the Pines
7. The Way I Feel
8. Don't Give Your Heart to a Rambler
9. Woe Is Me
10. Waters Down
11. Rolling Universe
12. Magic Everywhere
13. Valley of the Silver Moon$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Upside Down MountainThough only 34, Conor Oberst has been a recording artist for more than two decades, starting with raw, acoustic guitar-based bedroom tracks he cut as a young teenager and initially released on cassette. After his early Omaha-based band Commander Venus broke up, Oberst recast himself as Bright Eyes, an umbrella name for Oberst, producer-keyboardist Mike Mogis and multi-instrumentalist/arranger Nathaniel Wolcott, and a shifting group of collaborators. By the time he released Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground on Saddle Creek, the label he helped found with friends in Omaha, Oberst was a word-of-mouth success, with an avid young audience that helped to sell out his tours. The critics soon followed. Rolling Stone called him "a true American original: the ghost of Walt Whitman setting up shop in the wraith-white, rail-thin frame of an acoustic-strumming Nebraska Cure fan." The 2005 simultaneous release of two markedly different Bright Eyes albums-the more singer-songwriter-oriented I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and the darker, computerized Digital Ash in a Digital Urn-displayed the breadth of his talent. Time Magazine listed I'm Wide Awake among its top 10 albums of the year. Since then, Bright Eyes has continued to evolve, its lineup morphing with each successive tour. While supporting his 2007 Cassadaga album, Oberst took over New York City's Town Hall for a week of sold-out shows, with his large, string-augmented ensemble outfitted spectacularly in white suits. He's also recorded and toured with Mogis, Jim James, and M. Ward as Monsters of Folk as well as with his own Mystic Valley Band. For the first leg of his summer 2014 tour, he's bringing along Wilson's other pals, the Southern Californian quartet Dawes as his support act and backing band.
"I feel lucky that I have been able to do this for as longs as I have," declares Oberst. "I've seen so many talented friends come and go, for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes they stop making music because they can't pay the bills or they lose the passion for it. At this point it is my life. I don't know another way to live. There is something fundamental in myself; I have to be this way. It completes what I am."
Upside Down Mountain features many other friends of Oberst's, including producer Jonathan Wilson, engineer Andy LeMaster, bassist Macey Taylor, multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills, and the Swedish sibling folk-rock vocal duo First Aid Kit. What started as exploratory demos with producer-musician Jonathan Wilson at his Fivestar Studios in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, in a home Wilson rents from Oberst, became the first de facto album sessions. Returning to his native Omaha, Nebraska, Oberst kept rolling with the help of frequent collaborator, engineer, and friend Andy LeMaster at his own ARC Studios. Even more tracking followed in Omaha last November and December. Then Oberst and Wilson moved south to Blackbird Studio in Nashville.
"This is a return to an earlier way I wrote," Oberst says of the songs on Upside Down Mountain. "It's more intimate or personal, if you will. Even if all my songs come from the same place, you make different aesthetic decisions along the way. For me, language is a huge part of why I make music. I'm not the greatest guitar player or piano player-I'm not the greatest singer, either-but I feel if I can come up with melodies I like that are fused with poetry I'm proud of, then that's what I bring to the table. That's why I'm able to do this."1. Time Forgot
2. Zigzagging Toward the Light
3. Hundreds of Ways
4. Artifact #1
5. Lonely at the Top
6. Enola Gay
7. Double Life
9. Night at Lake Unknown
10. You Are Your Mother's Child
11. Governor's Ball
12. Desert Island Questionnaire
13. Common Knowledge$32.99Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Life. Love. Flesh. BloodImelda May's fifth studio record, entitled Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, is set for release via Verve Records.
It is clear that one of Ireland's biggest exports has found a new groove, here presenting the most personal and intimately autobiographical album she has ever written. The album is produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, who said of Imelda: "When I first happened onto her music, she was a punky Irish Rockabilly singer with a great band. When I ran across her several years later, she had gone through a change of lives and was writing about it with a wild intensity and singing about it in the most open-hearted way."
The album marks a new direction for May who, in the time since her 2014 release Tribal, ended her marriage of eighteen years. Imelda May's new sound sits firmly outside of any sharply defined genre box, widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz. Life, Love, Flesh, Blood breathes new life into a classic sound, with Imelda's powerhouse vocal as distinctive as ever, cementing her position as one of the strongest vocalists of her generation. The singer herself describes the record as her most "honest" yet. Imelda's life changed considerably in the run-up to recording, and this is documented in the only way she knew how. Imelda explains, "It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read. Some of my favorite songs don't say much, but they reveal everything."
Recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, the album features musical contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck ("Black Tears"), piano legend Jools Holland ("When It's My Time") and an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John & Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.
First single "Black Tears" is a personal and heart-wrenching ballad, it features a distinctive slide guitar part, coupled with a unique picking and guitar tone that could be the handiwork of only one man - the legendary Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck says of Imelda, "I knew it from the start you cannot ignore talent this unique."
Imelda showcases her raw yet restrained breathtaking lead vocal, complimented by rich backing vocals and a super tight rhythm section. Written with Angelo Petragalia (Kings of Leon), the inspiration for the song's visual and poignant lyrics was inspired by a very personal moment for Imelda: "I wrote Black Tears with Angelo Petraglia after a heart-wrenchingly difficult goodbye. I closed my door and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror with black tears rolling down my face. It's a sight and situation most women have unfortunately seen ourselves in at some point in life. Angelo had a beautiful guitar piece that fit the mood perfectly."
Imelda May, born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, has become one of Ireland's most celebrated female artists in history. Discovered by Jools Holland, who asked Imelda to support him on tour, Imelda has gone on to perform alongside legendary artists including Lou Reed, Bono, and Smokey Robinson.1. Call Me
2. Black Tears (feat. Jeff Beck)
3. Should've Been You
4. Sixth Sense
6. How Bad Can A Good Girl Be
7. Bad Habit
9. When It's My Time (feat. Jools Holland)
10. Leave Me Lonely
11. The Girl I Used To Be$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dad CountryNashville songwriter Jonny Fritz's work ethic and boldness have paid off in spades. It's been a big year for Jonny with opening stints for Alabama Shakes, Deer Tick, Dawes, Shooter Jennings and kudos from CMT and Rolling Stone, among many others. He signed his deal this week (he actually signed the deal with gravy at Nashville landmark Arnold's Country Kitchen), and his third full-length album, Dad Country, is set for release on April 16, 2013.
Produced by Jonny and Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith, recorded at Jackson Browne's Los Angeles studio and finished up in Music City, USA; this breakthrough album balances Jonny's trademark earthy humor and unfiltered worldview with some of his darkest material to date. Co-producer Goldsmith says, "Funny as they can be at moments, his songs access realities and experiences that we're all familiar with but sometimes fail to consider the depths of."
While immersing himself in the music world, Jonny began running marathons from Philadelphia to Barcelona and pounding out his signature leather works - the dog collars and guitar straps - seen all over Nashville and half the musical universe. He found himself in NYC for year trying to save a relationship, and its slow, painful unraveling (and demise) inspired Dad Country's bleakest, heartrending tracks, including "All We Do Is Complain" and "Have You Ever Wanted to Die."
These days, life has never been better for Jonny Fritz. He's back in Nashville again and putting down roots- and has even gone and bought himself a house. "It just keeps getting better. Now, the band is getting paid, I'm getting paid, everybody's happy, and we're packing 'em in when we play."
"This is the dream life. I couldn't really ask for anything else."1. Goodbye Summer
2. All We Do Is Complain
3. Holy Water
4. Social Climbers
5. Ain't It Your Birthday
6. Shut Up
7. Wrong Crowd
8. Have You Ever Wanted to Die
9. Fever Dreams
10. Trash Day
11. Suck In Your Gut
12. Instrumental$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
FanfareJonathan Wilson returns in 2013 with Fanfare, an epic, grandiose and highly ambitious production that builds upon the success of his Bella Union debut.
With 2011's critically-lauded Gentle Spirit, audiences worldwide were introduced to the prodigious talents of singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and unrivalled guitar hero Jonathan Wilson. Gentle Spirit's authentic exploration and modern updating of the Laurel Canyon sound earned it high marks on many year-end lists, including those of MOJO (#4), Uncut (#16) and The Guardian (#28). The eagerly-awaited follow-up, Fanfare, is an even more ambitious production that instantly conjures thoughts of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue.
'Fanfare as a word represents a fanciful showing, a bodacious movement of energy, a celebration of sound, Wilson explains. Something to signify an arrival, a special occasion. In this case, it's also the immense opening song that builds into a multilayered cinematic poem from the artist to channel the perfect love song through his piano. As a declaration of intent, it's a powerful statement.
From the initial idea of the record, I knew I wanted a concert Steinway piano to be the centerpiece--the beating heart--of Fanfare. I was going for this sort of widescreen sound. I wanted strings, horns, vibes, voices, solos, improvisation and a full orchestra on some of the tunes. Having that 9-foot Steinway was central to achieving the sound that I wanted.
Fanfare was made in Los Angeles over a 9-month period. Featuring vocal and instrumental contributions from heavy friends like Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), Wilco's Patrick Sansone, Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, the album is a celebration of friends and family. Additionally, Wilson and British folk legend Roy Harper co-wrote several songs on the record.
Sometimes Wilson seems to need a pinch to believe his good fortune: There are an awful lot of wizards on this album. Wizards of all ages and life experiences. All these amazing voices and musicians. There is a high degree of musical prowess and pedigree here. Cross-generational musical sharing and passing down traditions is very important to me and something that must continue. This is the way you keep the Fanfare's blowing, this is how you keep the energies interacting.
- Contact Music1. Fanfare
2. Dear Friend
3. Her Hair Is Growing Long
4. Love To Love
5. Future Vision
6. Moses Pain
7. Cecil Taylor
9. Desert Trip
11. New Mexico
13. All the Way Down$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Della MaeWith an approach that's steeped in tradition yet firmly rooted in the present, Della Mae draws from a well of
influences to create vibrantly original music that conveys their expansive musical vision with timeless lyrical truths and a contemporary sensibility all their own, placing them alongside such young acts as the Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, and the Lumineers. Produced by Jacquire King (Of Monsters and Men, Dawes, Kings of Leon), this is the all-female combo's 2nd album for Rounder.1. Boston Town
2. Rude Awakening
3. Can't Go Back
4. For the Sake of my Heart
5. Good Blood
6. To Ohio
8. Take One Day
9. Long Shadow
10. No Expectations
11. High Away Gone$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Middle BrotherMiddle Brother (Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, John McCauley of Deer Tick and Matthew Vasquez of Delta Spirit) played their first show at 2010's SXSW, a tiny late-night unannounced event under the moniker MG&V. Other than recording the album and rehearsing once, they had never played the songs live. The audience (and the mob of onlookers crammed in the doorways and windows) were treated to an impossible-to-forget set by a band of musical comrades who seemed genuinely surprised by the fire that was ignited on stage. It was a rollicking and boisterous show that could have fallen apart at any moment and instead centrifuged into melodic and harmonic brilliance. What held it together was each member's sense of song and performance, a perfect, intuitive balance of craft and feel, equal parts playful and earnest.
In a time when synthesizers and laptops are taking over stages, Goldsmith, McCauley and Vasquez are leading the pack of young rock songwriters who strive to carry on the tradition of figures such as Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon and Tom Petty. Middle Brother came together in mid-2009 when the three song-smiths realized, after several on-stage collaborations, that they shared a unique vision and wanted to take it one step further, into the studio. Their songs are anthemic, soulful, passionate and confessional.
The 12 tracks on Middle Brother are the result of their off-the-cuff yet diligent workshop experience. The songs are world-class, the performances raw and immediate as each member pushed the other to bring the best of what they do to the proceedings. The record captures a potent moment in time for these three burgeoning songwriting stars who are just beginning to feel the real power in their respective talents. The members of Middle Brother are confident, but not resolute and stuck. They are willing to explore and are open to each others ideas as they work towards the common ideal of the redemptive power of the song.1. Daydreaming
2. Blue Eyes
3. Thanks For Nothing
4. Middle Brother
8. Me Me Me
10. Blood and Guts
11. Mom and Dad
12. Million Dollar Bill$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hardly CriminalCrash's story unfolds with that particularly Southern swagger and with a tale of a Louisiana boy bred on Waffle House breakfasts and monster truck rallies, local Rodeos and the flicker of family bonfires. There was college for a hot minute, there was a move to the Irish Channel, there was the soaking in of all that is New Orleans, wet heat and Sazeracs, the wailing horns of jazz funerals, the teetering handmade floats of Mardi Gras, crawfish and etouffee and howling at the moon. There was work where he could get it, toiling as a PA on the studio sets, Hollywood coming south for the tax credits. It was on these film productions where crash earned his nickname, something to do with a questionable work ethic and repetitive tardiness (he admits you d have to ask one Ms. Rita Wilson for the real deal details). And yet despite his reputation (or perhaps because of it), he was anointed "assistant" to Johnny Knoxville during The!Dukes!of!Hazzard s run. (One can only imagine ) crash later joined the critically adored local act The Deadly Syndrome as lead singer and frontman, bringing his gris gris into the beautiful belly of the L.A. beast. Since then, crash has been barreling ahead, recording prolifically with The Deadly Syndrome, working with famed producer Daniel Lanios, composing a live stage score, acting in a few national commercials, and finally, after Deadly disbanded in 2013, heading out on the road with his pals, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, as percussionist and angelic vocal accompaniment. And somewhere in that heady mix in that combination of the rolling road, of California eucalyptus sway and dark NOLA mysteries, he discovered his true self - the wildaeyed, slyatongued, strutting, winking and wonderful crash of this here solo debut. Produced and engineered by the multitalented Ed Sharpe lead guitarist, Mark Noseworthy, (and featuring friends from the Zeros, Dawes, The Mystic Valley Band and more ) Hardly Criminal is the culmination of all that is strange and sad, hilarious and harmonious, about crash s own true tale. It is story a moving, funny, weird, and stunningly beautiful. You can hear the South, yes, Neville swing and Dr. John juaju, but you can also hear smooth soul, booty funk, and ragged folk, a mix of sounds taken from his past and pushed into the future, all accompanied by a deadpan storytelling prowess and a voice like a Cajun Prince (as in "The Artist Formerly Known As"). Hardly!Criminal! is the sum of crash s best parts - the sonic celebration of his story so far. So, set down a spell, cool yer bones, cher... and listen1. Hardly Criminal
2. Motion Animal
3. All My Friends
4. High Wall
5. Mine Always, Lioness
6. Britches Catch Fire
7. Song For The Birds
9. Mad At The Clouds
10. If God Was A Cajun
11. Almighty Equal$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now