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Golden Hour (Awaiting Repress)Kacey Musgraves presents her 4th album Golden Hour to be released on March 30th via MCA Nashville. The multiple Grammy-winning artist co-wrote and co-produced the album with Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian.
Kacey reveals, "I had a different mindset this time, which was feeling rather than thinking - leading heart first." Her most intimate album to date, Golden Hour, is introduced with two key tracks, the captivating and melancholic "Space Cowboy," and the uplifting, dreamy "Butterflies."
Golden Hour follows the massive success of Kacey's critically-acclaimed albums Same Trailer Different Park, Pageant Material and A Very Kacey Christmas. Both Same Trailer Different Park and Pageant Material debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, with Kacey becoming the first solo female in 5 years to top the chart with a rookie release and only the seventh to do so in Nielsen SoundScan's 22-year history. Kacey has won 2 Grammy Awards for Best Country Album and Best Country Song ("Merry Go 'Round"), 2 CMA Awards for "New Artist of the Year" and "Song of the Year" ("Follow Your Arrow"), and an ACM Award for Album of the Year.1. Slow Burn
2. Lonely Weekend
4. Oh, What a World
6. Love Is a Wild Thing
7. Space Cowboy
8. Happy & Sad
9. Velvet Elvis
10. Wonder Woman
11. High Horse
12. Golden Hour
13. Rainbow$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
East Is EastIn East is East, Pepi Ginsberg and her collaborators step into the golden hour of the day and embrace The most ephemeral of seasons. A mood and a time where we know that change is coming in the form of a cool wind; we hold on until we let go. The song 'Summer Sick as Love' accomplishes this feeling, with its mythical descriptions of gutter punks and wind ravaged stop-signs. Ginsberg, with arrangements expertly handled by her band, creates a world with East is East, that is the season in between, and parts the waters, navigating change in the sea of these strange times.1.Shake This
3.East is East
6.Gravity in 20/20
7.Navy and Sand
9.Coal to Diamonds
10.Summer Sick as Love$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Worship The SunAllah-Las met while working at Amoeba Music, a key destination for music lovers in Los Angeles. While this experience helped shape their sensibility, their sound was forged in an underground basement where they came together as a band. They began gigging in Los Angeles in 2008, refining their live performance, and finally released their first 7" single Catamaran / Long Journey in 2011. In 2012, they began their relationship with Innovative Leisure, releasing their first self-titled album, Allah-Las, anchored by their second single Tell Me (What's On Your Mind) / Sacred Sands. The release was met with critical acclaim and the band toured extensively in the States and abroad before going back into the studio to record their follow-up.
Allah-Las' second album, Worship The Sun, expands on the sound established by their maiden effort, honing their fusion of West Coast garage rock and roll, Latin percussion and electric folk. As richly textured and timeless as a Southern California beach break, the songs are evocative of Los Angeles' storied past. Beatniks, artists, surfers, nomads. Remnants of a bygone Sunset Strip. Golden tans and cosmic sunsets. One can feel the warmth of the sun, but the band deftly avoids the kitsch so often indulged by lovers of these things. Hints of Byrds, Love, Felt, and those who follow are threaded into the tapestry.
LA's seminal Ferus Gallery - the home of Wallace Berman, Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston - is paid homage in an eponymous instrumental, broadening the scope beyond mere sea, surf, and sand. The lyrics reveal a new maturity; reflections of a band that has grown together through experiences on the road and in the studio. Worship The Sun is at once the perfect soundtrack for the greatest surf film never made and for a golden hour drive through Topanga Canyon. Yet, while grounded in the Southern California experience, the appeal of the album is not limited by locale. It is a teenage symphony to the sun, for all those who know its grace.1. De Vida Voz
2. Had It All
4. Ferus Gallery
6. Nothing To Hide
7. Buffalo Nickel
8. Follow You Down
10. Yemeni Jade
11. Worship The Sun
12. Better Than Mine
13. No Werewolf
14. Every Girl$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Thrill Of It AllFollowing an incredible success with his debut album In The Lonely Hour - including four GRAMMY Awards, both an Academy Award & Golden Globe, three Brit Awards, and amassing over 8 billion streams to date - Sam Smith is back with his upcoming sophomore record The Thrill Of It All (all info embargoed until 10.6). His first single off the upcoming record "Too Good At Goodbyes" debuted #1 on multiple global charts.1. Too Good At Goodbyes
2. Say It First
3. One Last Song
4. Midnight Train
7. Baby, You Make Me Crazy
8. No Peace (feat. YEBBA)
10. Pray$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Thrill Of It All (Special Edition)Special Edition Contains 4 Additional Bonus Tracks
Following an incredible success with his debut album In The Lonely Hour - including four GRAMMY Awards, both an Academy Award & Golden Globe, three Brit Awards, and amassing over 8 billion streams to date - Sam Smith is back with his upcoming sophomore record The Thrill Of It All (all info embargoed until 10.6). His first single off the upcoming record "Too Good At Goodbyes" debuted #1 on multiple global charts.LP 1
1. Too Good At Goodbyes
2. Say It First
3. One Last Song
4. Midnight Train
7. Baby, You Make Me Crazy
1. No Peace (feat. YEBBA)
4. Nothing Left For You
5. The Thrill Of It All
7. One Day At A Time$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Rather RippedRather Ripped was recorded through the waning hours of 2005 into the dawn sunshine of 2006 at Sear Sound Studios in NYC's fading theater district. Mixed at Sear Sound and at Hoboken, NJ's Water Music by the golden ear of John Agnello, the album exhibits SY in positive vibration mode. Rather Ripped features twelve songs of forward motion and harmonic/melodic surprise with vocals shared by Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo with Steve Shelley gluing the rhythms to the floorboards.1. Reena
3. Do You Believe In Rapture?
4. Sleepin' Around
5. What A Waste
6. Jams Runs Free
8. Turquoise Boy
9. Lights Out
10. The Neutral
11. Pink Steam
12. Or$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
In Rolling WavesBeyond a life hardwired to pop culture via the 24 hour news feed, The Naked and Famous elicit a romantic connection inspired by the golden era of
alternative rock; a shared response to a teenage soundtrack of epic, emotionally charged mid-nineties music.
Released in March 2011, their ambitious debut Passive Me, Aggressive You featured singles Young Blood and Punching In A Dream. Lauded by
NME, it was a 'classic case of lovely and beautiful: TNAF's passive melodicism and aggressive innovation clash in a dazzling blaze of psych/sonic
fireworks and Rolling Stone magazine described Young Blood as one of the year's best singles. Fronted by Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers, The
Naked And Famous lit a fire under an online fan base, with a video subculture built through YouTube and into radio. M83 invited TNAF to remix a single
and a Tiesto remix transformed Young Blood into a club smash. Agencies fell into The Naked and Famous slipstream, and theirs became the go-to
soundtrack for gaming, Hollywood and TV shows mining a zeitgeist of young and interesting.
By June 2012, the New Zealand quintet had played to more than 600,000 people in 24 countries, but the band chose to hit pause and embark on a
second album. The resulting album, In Rolling Waves, delivers darkly nuanced, intricately rocking electro gems once again born in bedroom studio
sessions, then demoed in studios in Wales and Australia ahead of recording at Sunset Sound in Hollywood.
Thom Powers sought out Alan Moulder (NIN, Foals, My Bloody Valentine) to mix this daydreaming dark-wave experiment. In 2013, The Naked And
Famous are matured and determined to deliver new music to their fans as soon as possible.LP 1
1. A Stillness
2. Hearts Like Ours
4. Rolling Waves
5. The Mess
6. Grow Old
1. Golden Girl
2. I Kill Giants
3. What We Want
4. We Are Leaving
5. To Move With Purpose
6. A Small Reunion$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Big Fish SoundtrackImport
180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
Gatefold Sleeve / 4-Page Booklet
PVC Protective Sleeve
The soundtrack to Tim Burton's neo classic moving picture Big Fish (2003), starring Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham Carter, Marion Cotillard and Jessica Lange, collects classic Pop songs and a score of longtime collaborator Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks! and others).
The 2LP soundtrack also contains a new song from Pearl Jam, specifically written for the movie: Man of the Hour. The soundtrack's Pop songs range from Bing Crosby's early-'30s Jazz hit Dinah to the '50s nostalgia of Buddy Holly's Everyday and Elvis Presley's All Shook Up, right up to the '60s and '70s recollections of Canned Heat's Let's Work Together and Ramblin' Man by the Allman Brothers Band.
The album was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.LP 1
1. Pearl Jam - Man Of The Hour
2. Bing Crosby - Dinah
3. Buddy Holly - Everyday
4. Elvis Presley - All Shook Up
5. The Vogues - Five O'Clock World
6. The Allman Brothers Band - Ramblin' Man
7. Canned Heat - Let's Work Together
8. Danny Elfman - Pictures
9. Danny Elfman - Big Fish (Titles)
10. Danny Elfman - Shoe Stealing
11. Danny Elfman - Underwater
12. Danny Elfman - Sandra's Theme
1. Danny Elfman - The Growing Montage
2. Danny Elfman - Leaving Spectre
3. Danny Elfman - Return To Spectre
4. Danny Elfman - Rebuilding
5. Danny Elfman - The Journey Home
6. Danny Elfman - In The Tub
7. Danny Elfman - Sandra's Farewell
8. Danny Elfman - Finale
9. Danny Elfman - End Titles
10. Danny Elfman - Jenny's Theme
11. Bobbi Page And Candice Rumph - Twice The Love (Siamese Twins' Song)$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Dope MachinesEvery so often, one song can change everything. For The Airborne Toxic Event, that particular number happened to be an A Capella version of Queen and David Bowie's classic duet "Under Pressure".
"Somebody played it for me, and it blew my mind," declares vocalist and guitarist Mikel Jollett. "I made a decision to change my whole approach to music. I just wanted to be joyful about it. I wasn't going to worry anymore. For the first three records, I thought mostly like writer. My mindset changed. It was about inventing a musical logic that was unabashedly catchy and rhythmic, but way weirder than anything we've done in the past."
That "logic" came to life while Mikel composed "Hell and Back" for the Dallas Buyers Club soundtrack in August 2013. Under a tight deadline, he had no choice but to produce the track himself-a first for the Los Angeles outfit. However, he didn't stop there.
The frontman would go on to personally produce The Airborne Toxic Event's fourth full-length album and first for Epic Records Dope Machines with the blessing and support of Steven Chen [guitar, keyboards], Anna Bulbrook [violin, keyboard, backing vocals], Daren Taylor [drums], and Adrian Rodríguez [bass].
"Producing was massively challenging and super fun," admits Mikel. "When we finished the last record, our producer Jacquire King said to me, 'I think you're ready to produce an album now.' I felt like we had reached the apotheosis of being a proper rock band. This was the exact opposite. It was me alone in a room for 12 hours a day working harder than I'd ever worked."
Early in the process, Mikel tapped into a boundless aesthetic, embracing electronic elements as well as pop structures and unbridled rock 'n' roll bombast. At the same time, it defied categorization at every turn. "That's one of the hallmarks of the record," he affirms. "It doesn't sound like anything else."
The first single "Wrong" merges striking synths and an electronic swing with an evocative refrain punctuated by a robust groove. It's borderline danceable, but always chant-able.
"It's just about a guy feeling insecure," explains Mikel. "I wrote it at a time of massive upheaval in my life. We all have that moment. You look over everything and think, 'I am an idiot!' It's not every day, but you wish you could start over. That's the idea."
"California" turns a spotlight on a different side of the Golden State from the perspective of a true native. All the while, it still boasts an unshakable refrain and intricate instrumentation.
"I grew up in California," he goes on. "My parents were hippies, and I was born in the back of a VW bus on the beach. I was around everybody from Beatniks to gang members to kids who just emigrated from Guatemala or Ethiopia. None of this had anything to do with the popular image of what California is-that idea of palm trees and movie stars. As soon as you've got an idea of utopia, it begs a dystopia. It's an idea of apocalypse right around the corner in a place that's considered ideal."
Simultaneously, the title track tempers a distinct guitar bounce with entrancing harmonies, making for a provocative and potent dichotomy.
"You can interact with all of these dope hand devices, but they make you sort of dopey an hour later," he sighs. "You make music with them. They can save you from a heart attack. They're little extensions of the things that make us fundamentally human, which is the desire to interact with one another. The machines are all of these things at the same time."
In the middle of 2014 after moving on from Island Records, Epic Records C.E.O. L.A. Reid reached out and signed them-for the second time.
"L.A. signed us way-back-when at Island," recalls Mikel. "He literally saw us at Bowery Ballroom in New York, came backstage, and offered us a record deal. The moment we were free, he sent us a deal memo. It's a pleasure to be working with him again. He's a big believer, and he brings a lot of energy to this."
They've carried a similar energy through three full-length albums: The Airborne Toxic Event , which spawned the gold-selling single "Sometime Around Midnight", All At Once , and Such Hot Blood . In addition to reaching gold status, iTunes named "Sometime Around Midnight" the "#1 Alternative Song of the Year", and it spent a staggering eight weeks at #1 on Billboard's Heatseakers Chart. HBO utilized it on their high-profile Network Season Promo. The group has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman four times, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno four times, and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! three times. Moreover, they've taken the stage at festivals including Coachella and Lollapalooza and sold over 50,000 tickets in 2013 alone.
In many ways though, Dope Machines signals something of a rebirth.
"It's like debuting a new phase," concludes Mikel. "It was a new approach. We've got a new label. We threw out everything we were tired of and moved on to a brand new palette. That was the goal. This isn't what The Airborne Toxic Event is supposed to be. This is who we are.1. Wrong
2. One Time Thing
3. Dope Machines
5. Time To Be A Man
6. Hell And Back
7. My Childish Bride
8. The Thing About Dreams
9. Something You Lost
10. Chains$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-SIL-1890xChris Robinson Brotherhood
Anyway You Love, We Know How You FeelThe Chris Robinson Brotherhood have announced the release of their fourth studio album, Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel, via Robinson's own Silver Arrow Records. The band relocated to northern California for the sessions, recording on the side of a mountain overlooking the foggy Pacific Ocean and channeling the natural majesty of their surroundings into the album's eight sprawling tracks. Having spent the prior two years touring relentlessly, the CRB were road-tested and in peak form to capture their kinetic chemistry and immersive sound, which Uncut Magazine called, " a celebration of how American musical traditions can be at once honored and psychedelically expanded."
"It was an opportunity to see where our expression could take us. For us, when it comes to making records, the looser it gets the better," says Robinson. "It's all about taking our intuition and following it to where our ideas can really manifest themselves. This turned out to be the most spontaneous record I've ever been a part of."
Indeed, when the Chris Robinson Brotherhood entered the studio to begin recording the album, no one knew just what to expect. These would be the band's first recordings with new drummer Tony Leone (Ollabelle, Levon Helm) and their first time producing themselves. Robinson purposely left as much open-ended as possible. Rather than coming into the studio with a collection of finished songs as he had in the past, he would present the group with sketches-a verse and melody here, a chorus and chord progression there-and let the band follow its collective muse to bring the music to life. They'd lean into the improvisational nature that makes their live shows such enthralling spectacles and thrive on the unexpected.
"All it takes is one good, small idea, and then if everyone's focused and in the moment, a few hours later, you can have something that you realize you'll be playing for as long as you're making music," Robinson continues. "I think when everyone's aware that that's the sort of magic that we're looking for. More than any other session that I've ever been a part of, that's how all of these songs were done."
The album kicks off with "Narcissus Soaking Wet," a psychedelic toe-tapper that marks Robinson's first co-write with keyboardist Adam MacDougall. It touches on everything from Dylan and Parliament Funkadelic to psych rock and Chicago rhythm and blues. "Ain't It Hard But Fair" calls to mind the soulful Americana of The Band, while "Oak Apple Day" is a mediation on life in the CRB, and "Forever As The Moon" came together in a stream of consciousness between The CRB's lead guitarist Neal Casal and Robinson. "Leave My Guitar Alone" was a song Robinson had been sitting on for nearly 15 years, but only once he presented it to the rest of the band did it roar to life in a way that had eluded him for more than a decade. Some of Robinson's finest writing to date arrives in the album's final minutes, with the country-soul, gospel-tinged closer "California Hymn," which finds him singing "Glory glory hallelujah / It's time to spread the news / Though my good words may sound profane to some."
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood emerged in 2011 by playing close to 50 shows over nine weeks in California before ever leaving the Golden State or officially releasing music. Their introduction on the national stage came in 2012 when they'd release not one, but two acclaimed full-length albums within a few months of each other. Critics hailed their sprawling debut, Big Moon Ritual, as a revelation, with The Independent raving that Robinson had "finally found the ideal vehicle to indulge his taste for 'Cosmic California Music.'" The reviews were similarly ecstatic for its immediate follow-up, The Magic Door, which was praised by Relix as "classic rock in the finest sense." The band's epic tour schedule brought their shimmering acid-Americana around the world for a staggering 118-date tour, firmly establishing the CRB as the new standard-bearers of the psychedelic roots torch. In 2014, they returned to the studio for Phosphorescent Harvest, a masterful collection that showcased the blossoming songwriting partnership between Robinson and Neal Casal. Rolling Stone raved that the album was "electrifying boast[ing] a vintage rock vibe that's at once quirky, trippy, soulful and downright magnetic," and Guitar World called it "a treasure trove of soul that advances the band's bluesy, kaleidoscopic sound."1. Narcissus Soaking Wet
2. Forever As the Moon
3. Ain't It Hard But Fair
4. Give Us Back Our Eleven Days
5. Some Gardens Green
6. Leave My Guitar Alone
7. Oak Apple Day
8. California Hymn$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Bringin' ItIconic bassist Christian McBride has been doing what the title of his upcoming big band album implores for years: Bringin' It. This highly anticipated release, which follows the Christian McBride Big Band's 2011 Grammy® Award-winning debut, The Good Feeling, puts his status and skills as an all-around entertainer on full display. With a list of growing accolades including his recent appointment as Artistic Director at the Newport Jazz Festival, hosting shows on SiriusXM ("The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian") and NPR ("Jazz Night in America," as well as frequent online contributions to various programs including "All Things Considered"), speaking engagements, and occasional DJ performances under the alias DJ Brother Mister, he's more than just a bandleader: Christian McBride is transcending that title to something more complete.
If it is true that jazz is a sponge for musicians to absorb and then squeeze out what they hear to produce their own sound, McBride has been "bringin' it" for quite a long time. From his amazing quintet, Inside Straight, to his avant-garde leaning quartet, New Jawn, the contemporary sound of his fusion group, A Christian McBride Situation, to the critically acclaimed music he's made with his trio, the bassist has always disseminated his own unique 360-degree view of jazz.
While the music played by the Christian McBride Big Band is on the cutting edge of 21st century large ensemble music, the orchestra's presentation, like its sound, respects the past while looking forward. Danny Ray, the legendary stage announcer for James Brown, travels with the group to give the leader an old-school intro before playing his thoroughly modern music. "I love having the show aspect of it as well, with Danny Ray there, and being able to create somewhat of a show while also having Melissa there as our vocalist."
That would be Melissa Walker, who graces Bringin' It on two tracks: "Upside Down," originally done by Brazilian superstar Djavan, and the unlikely slick arrangement of "Mr. Bojangles." In addition to maintaining a career in jazz, Walker is also the co-founder of Jazz House Kids, the award winning jazz education center and she's Mrs. Christian McBride.
Only two tracks on this 11-song set were not arranged by the leader: the "Upside Down" arrangement was contributed by Norman Simmons, while "Optimism" is from the person he's known the longest in his band, trombonist Steve Davis. Davis has the distinction of being the very last Jazz Messenger that Art Blakey hired before he died in 1990.
"I saw that last Jazz Messengers band that Steve was in," McBride remembers. "Blakey was a huge influence on me and because of that, Steve and I share the same compositional and arranging DNA. You see, even though I've been influenced by every great big band and every great arranger I've ever heard, three of my greatest influences - not just as composers but also as improvisers - are Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Cedar Walton. I mean before, after and during the period when they were with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers."
McBride played bass for Freddie Hubbard's quintet for nearly three years starting when he was 18. One of the songs he loved to play with the legendary trumpeter was "Thermo." A few years ago he brought this arrangement to a gig with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. When the four trumpeters had to work hard to go over the riffs in the tune, McBride felt a certain pride. "I just thought that Freddie was somewhere up in heaven laughing," says McBride.
Perennial poll-topping arranger Maria Schneider has also been an influence on McBride. He cites times when he'd just bug her for hours, peppering her with questions, particularly on a recent trip to Europe. He honors her with his rendition of "I Thought About You." "She has an arrangement of 'Giant Steps' where she arranged the melody over a D pedal so I said let me try something like that," McBride recounts. "That's where that came from. She really gave me a lot of information and has been a great influence on me."
Another aspect that has helped the bassist find his voice as an arranger is the fact that, except for drummer Quincy Phillips, this is the exact same band that recorded with him six years ago. "These guys know my sound. They know my style. They know what my compositional and arranging DNA is. I've been able to keep the exact same unit, so like Duke Ellington used to do, I can write for my guys because I know their sound and style.
"As for my originals, they all have been recorded with my small groups," he continues on about the tracks "Gettin' To It," "Youthful Bliss," and "Used'ta Could." "As an arranger I'm still in the early stages of my development so it seems to me the best way to really make my hopeful ascension into a better arranger is to obviously take a song I've already written and try to add to that and make it a worthy large ensemble song."
While the Wes Montgomery smoker "Full House" isn't a McBride original, it is part of his development as an arranger - it's a big band chart he first created for guitarist Russell Malone at Jazz Aspen in 2009. He says he's tweaked it since then for his go-to guitarist Rodney Jones. For the McCoy Tyner classic "Sahara," the bassist channeled his 20+ years of playing with the legendary Chick Corea, for which McBride won two of his five Grammys. Another one of his Grammys came from a co-op project with Tyner. "I always thought of Chick, in his early years, as being a branch from the tree of McCoy Tyner, if you will," he commented.
McBride's work ethic is evident in the challenge he set for himself on the steamy old ballad "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning." "I decided to torture myself by writing that arrangement in the key of B. To me that's a very pretty key, but it is a very hard key for a double bass because I get to play no open strings," McBride explains. "When I play it live, every bass player in the house comes to me and says, 'is that in B? Why do you do that?' Maybe it's because I'm crazy, but I really wanted to do something difficult and keep myself on my toes."
Planning to keep this group simmering while he simultaneously resurrects his Inside Straight band and introduces his new trio, Tip City, McBride is most excited to embrace the golden age of big bands while they continue bringin' it with more gigs and their first European tour. "With my big band I try to combine all of my journeys and goals as a musician and then try to put it in a wrapper of show business," the five-time Grammy® Award-winner comments. "I really think in that sense I'm following something of a big band tradition."1. Gettin' To It
3. Youthful Bliss
4. I Thought About You
6. Upside Down
7. Full House
8. Mr. Bojangles
9. Used 'ta Could
10. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
11. Optimism$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullersWhen Suzanne Vega first discovered the novelist and short story writer Carson McCullers as a teenager, she thought, "If I ever want to play a character at any point in the future, I could play this woman." That time has arrived. On Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Vega inhabits McCullers' extraordinary character and renders the life of a woman who, revolted by the politics and racism of her upbringing in the American South, arrived in New York in her early twenties and became one of the literary lights of the 20th century. In such esteemed books as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) and The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ (1951), McCullers used the South as a lens through which to view the painful, nearly always unrequited, search for love in a world that often punishes individual self-expression and rewards repression and emotional compromise. McCullers battled those limits in her life as well as her work - a personal heroism that makes her, in Vega's view, a figure of great contemporary significance. She was an instinctive rebel whose message of personal freedom resonates profoundly in our own insurgent age, nearly fifty years after her death at the age of fifty in 1967.
"I feel that McCullers' ideas and thoughts are very modern," Vega says, "and she incarnates them in a way that other authors don't. She tried to live them and paid a price for it. She would refer to herself in a kind of transgender way - she would say things like, 'I was born a man' -- and she probably was bisexual even if she didn't always act on it. She was one of the first females to write about civil rights and the struggles of blacks in the South. Also, she suffered several strokes and was disabled for pretty much the second half of her life. To use today's parlance, her life and work embodied human rights on just about every level - race, gender, trans, queer, disabled, youth."
The ten songs on Lover, Beloved are part of a two-act play in which Vega and another actress perform the role of McCullers at two historical moments that bookend her career: the first, set in 1941, when The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter propelled her to literary fame, and the second shortly before her death, as she movingly reflects on her life and work. There are also plans to perform it as a one-woman show. Vega wrote the script, and co-wrote eight songs with Duncan Sheik, the singer-songwriter whose keen theatrical sense helped create the Broadway hit show Spring Awakening and the current groundbreaking musical, American Psycho. (Two additional songs, "Carson's Blues" and "The Ballad of Miss Amelia," were co-written by Vega and pianist/composer Michael Jefry Stevens.) In songs like "New York Is My Destination," "We of Me" and "Lover, Beloved," you can hear the signature cool detachment of Vega's singing and revel in the characteristically incisive observation of her lyrics, many of which deftly draw on McCullers' own writing.
But the songs' elastic melody lines, loping rhythms, idiosyncratic instrumentation (including clarinet, harmonium, banjo, ukulele, trombone and accordion), and surprising arrangements (by guitarist extraordinaire Gerry Leonard, who also produced the album) are like nothing we've heard from Vega before. "It was great working with Duncan Sheik," Vega says. "All you have to do is give him the barest bones of an idea and then he delivers this fabulous piece of music." For "Annemarie," an aching ballad about an androgynous adventurer with whom both McCullers and her husband fell disastrously in love, Sheik delivered a lovely, simple melody that, Vega says, "practically made me cry. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I wanted something with all that yearning, and I love what he came up with." For "New York Is My Destination," which describes the youthful McCullers' vision of her future as a celebrated novelist, Vega says she wanted "something classic, something that sounded like Rodgers and Hammerstein, something glamorous," and, once again, Sheik delivered a melody that perfectly complemented the heady excitement of Vega's lyrics.
Overall, Lover, Beloved finds a sound that exists outside of time. It's traditional enough to suit the iconic quality of its subject; clever enough to capture her originality and daring; and contemporary enough to help establish McCullers as an avatar for this century as well as the preceding one. Most of the instrumentation is acoustic, but, in particular, Gerry Leonard's evocative, atmospheric electric guitar playing lifts the music into another, more imaginative realm. That McCullers herself was an accomplished, classically trained pianist - and that the lyricism of her writing reflects that innate musicality - only further enhances the shivery dynamic between words and music on the album.
In order to realize the theatrical quality of this project, Vega, with Sheik's encouragement and assistance, also handled her vocals in a different way. "Duncan really pushed me out of my comfort zone," Vega says. "I was shocked at how high he wanted me to sing. But he was like, 'No, no - you can hit that.'" Sheik's goal was to achieve a kind of sonic drama in Vega's vocals, "as much drama as he could squeeze out of me," she says. "It works for the character. McCullers is kind of childlike, and you can believe her singing in that naïve, simple way. I'm pushed beyond my limits in both the low notes and the high notes, and also the emotion. I definitely feel as if I was being pushed beyond what I usually do."
Unquestionably, rendering a character like McCullers in words and in sound represented a serious creative challenge. All the songs on the album attempt to capture the innermost feelings of a writer who was highly ambitious, immensely complicated and fiercely dedicated to her conception of herself and her work. She was simultaneously shy, introverted and wildly provocative, as "Carson's Blues," the album's opening song, announces: "A childish liar/A devilish bitch/I can be innocent and charming/And suddenly switch." "Harper Lee," a song Vega describes as "upbeat and bitchy," chronicles McCullers' sense of her place in the literary pantheon - a spot, in her view, well above the wildly successful author of To Kill a Mockingbird. ("I'd like to kill more than just that mockingbird," she sings.) "Instant of the Hour After" and "We of Me" all explore the loving and loathing, the sexual adventurism and missed emotional connections, that swirled inextricably in McCullers' marriage to a bisexual man who shared her literary ambitions but was never able to realize them. On the title track, Vega limns the dizzying dance of unsatisfied desire at the heart of McCullers' work: "The lover pursues,/The beloved one flees Each one alone/In the land of the heart."
"12 Mortal Men" indicts the provincialism and brutal racism of Columbus, Georgia, where McCullers grew up. "The Ballad of Miss Emilia" essentially recounts the plot of McCullers' novella, The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ, a saga, like so much of her writing, of failed joinings, loneliness, and proud, if isolated, survival. By the time the album concludes with "Carson's Last Supper," McCullers has abandoned the ideal of erotic desire in favor of a more universal love that could embrace all the various characters in her books and the many people in her life - as well as, perhaps most importantly, the ravaging contradictions within herself that both drove her art and caused so much hardship in her life.
With Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Suzanne Vega achieves a new peak in her already distinguished career. With these songs and the play they inhabit, she hopes that "a new generation of people will discover Carson McCullers, that they will realize how cool she is and how compellingly her work can speak to them. I want to put her on the stage again so that her spirit lives. Really, no one is excluded from the vision she defined. I'm so excited by the possibilities." In these beautifully transporting songs, many of those rich possibilities have already been realized. - Anthony DeCurtis1. Carson's Blues
2. New York Is My Destination
3. Instant of the Hour After
4. We of Me
6. 12 Mortal Men
7. Harper Lee
8. Lover, Beloved
9. The Ballad of Miss Amelia
10. Carson's Last Supper$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dancing at the Blue LagoonOn their last album, Bigfoot, Cayucas debuted in a way that defied their namesake, the sleepy seaside town
of Cayucos, CA. They grew from bedroom strumming to a band that toured the world and whose songs
raced across the radio. But as Zach Yudin and his twin brother and bandmate, Ben, went in to create what
would become their new album, what it all came back to was something more personal. While they now call
Los Angeles home, they drew from the nostalgia of their childhood growing up in Davis, CA; the nostalgia
in their music that is as much about a place they've never been (that maybe no one's been to) as any actual
experience. It was a freedom to imagine, to explore ideas. And it was that wandering imagination and
a punchy California dream that eventually grew to become Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.
While their sun-drenched, jangly, sometimes melancholic sound is quintessentially Californian, the album
very much their California. It's the sound of kids from the suburbs who fantasize in Technicolor, whose view
of the Golden State is its own form of idealism. You can hear it loud and clear in the easygoing confidence
throughout on the crisp, backbeat-driven "Hella" or as "Moony Eyed Walrus" takes surf guitar into
fragmented, unpredictable places. The impossibly catchy and heartbreaking "Backstroke" is a Murakamiinspired detective story, neo-noir that is equal parts stylization and gut-level emotion.
That said, Dancing at the Blue Lagoon is all about a band testing its comfort zone and asking us to do the
same. "Big Winter Jacket" is a world away from sun-kissed pop, with acoustic guitars that build
into something grand and expansive. The after-hours piano ballad "Ditches," like much of Dancing at the
Blue Lagoon, takes pop conventions and digs into them. Like the Beach Boys of Sunflower or Surf's Up,
it reminds us that sadness and uncertainty are never far from the surface, even in Cayucas's most carefree
moments. It casts some like the title track "Dancing at the Blue Lagoon"-a lilting tropical fantasia-in
an entirely different light.
As the primary songwriter, Zach depends on this kind of versatility. "I write on a song-by-song basis," he
says. It's been that way ever since he started taking music more seriously in college. Zach and Ben would
"create bands that were more like a musical idea," record a few songs, and then move on. Cayucas grew out
of this period of experimentation.
The real core of the record is the almost harrowing "Blue Lagoon (Theme Song)." Accompanied by a lone
guitar, Zach's performance is emotionally raw and technically precise, the kind of statement that
gives Dancing at the Blue Lagoon real substance. Like a great actor whose art rings true because of an honest, human streak, Cayucas has taken sound we thought we knew and turned in into something personal and complex.1. Big Winter Jacket
2. Moony Eyed Walrus
6. Dancing at the Blue Lagoon
8. A Shadow in the Dark
9. Blue Lagoon (Theme Song)$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Elvis' Gold Records Volume 5 (Gold Vinyl)
180 Gram Translucent Gold Colored Vinyl
Elvis Aaron Presley was born during the Great Depression into a poor family in Mississippi. They moved to Memphis during the early fifties, and as a struggling young truck driver, Elvis cut some demos as a gift for his beloved mother Gladys. The folks at RCA Victor knew that this young fellow named Elvis was destined for superstardom. They quickly signed the legend to a long-term deal, forever etching "The King Of Rock And Roll" trademark to his name. He would eventually become the most successful solo artist of all time! Throughout the late 60's into the early 70's, Elvis returned triumphantly to the studios of Memphis and would go on to record many chart topping singles and smash albums, as well as numerous appearances on stage and television that have kept his legacy alive now for over 7 decades.
In 1984, RCA Records created another chapter in his Golden Records franchise with the stellar Elvis' Gold Records Volume 5. Ever proving that he was always on top of his game, the amazing album featured a treasure trove of his most important later works like Burnin' Love, Suspicious Minds and If I Can Dream which was also featured in his Elvis NBC TV Special (also on Friday Music Vinyl). The early 80's collection soon went on to achieve gold and platinum status and become one of his most memorable hits collections in his huge arsenal of masterful albums.
Thanks to more great hits like his important Mac Davis interpretation In The Ghetto, his vocal prowess on the rocker Way Down and of course the soul drenched Kentucky Rain, this collection of Elvis Presley's hits were just what the fans were screaming for, and the entire album was built around the framework of hit singles and album tracks that spanned his later career.
In honor of the Man, the Music, the Legend, the King Of Rock And Roll, Friday Music is very proud and honored to announce the first time limited 180 Gram Gold Audiophile Vinyl release of the RCA Victor classic Elvis' Gold Records Volume 5 by Elvis Presley. As another installment in our exciting Elvis Presley/Friday Music 180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl Series, we are pleased to present this masterwork in all its stereophonic and monophonic glory.
Mastered impeccably by Joe Reagoso at Friday Music Studios and manufactured for a very limited time at R.T.I. on first time translucent gold vinyl, Elvis' Gold Records Volume 5 will be a much anticipated audiophile dream release for Elvis fans everywhere!
We are also including rare gatefold artwork presentation including the original 1984 artwork elements, truly enhancing your Elvis Presley listening hours.
As usual, we are also enclosing a poly bag to protect your album cover and poly sleeve to help keep your Elvis vinyl in mint shape. Elvis' Gold Records Volume 5 A history making rock album from an historic legend, an audiophile dream release now an audiophile gold vinyl dream come true From your friends at Friday Music1. Suspicious Minds
2. Kentucky Rain
3. In the Ghetto
4. Clean Up Your Own Backyard
5. If I Can Dream
6. Burning Love
7. If You Talk In Your Sleep
8. For the Heart
9. Moody Blue
10. Way Down$32.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP Buy Now
Old RamonOld Ramon, the sixth Red House Painters album, recorded in the
fall of 1997 through the spring of 1998, was intended for release
that summer. But the mega-major label merger catastrophe that
left hundreds of bands homeless spared few. Red House Painters
looked for a brief moment like survivors, but subsequent delays
eventually turned into permanent layoff. Old Ramon sat in limbo
and grew into legend as another great, lost album only the
privileged few would ever properly hear. They've unintentionally
put the wait back into the term "long-awaited."
Singer Mark Kozelek kept busy with a series of other projects. He
served as producer for Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver.
As archivist for the 4AD Red House Painters Retrospective album,
assembling rarities and live tracks. As solo artist with several
tracks on the Shanti Project album, and two albums Rock 'n' Roll
Singer and What's Next to the Moon, a collection of AC/DC songs
reinterpreted. As live performer, touring the United States, United
Kingdom, Spain, Sweden and his first ever shows in South Korea.
As film scorer for the independent film Last Ball. And, finally, as
actor in Cameron Crowe's critically acclaimed Almost Famous.
But while playing a musician in a movie-Kozelek appears as the
bassist of Stillwater in Almost Famous-was an exciting diversion,
it also pointed out the absurdity and irony of the situation. He'd
been writing and performing his own music since the 1980s, with
Red House Painters since the early 1990s. He was a musician, not
just someone who might play one on TV.
With Old Ramon sitting on the shelf, it was like reading a book
with a chapter missing. Kozelek had written most of the album
throughout 1996 and 1997. There were "Between Days" and
"Wop-a-din-din," written during the months he stayed in Oaxaca,
Mexico about his time there and his cat waiting at home in San
Francisco; "Cruiser" written on an airplane ride from Los Angeles
to San Francisco about a friend he'd met during the John Cale
tour; and "Golden," a song in tribute to John Denver, written and
recorded in a single day during December of 1997, just a few
months after Denver's tragic death. "Michigan" and "River" had
been road-tested on the band's previous tour.
The album, in fact, had come together with a good feeling, reuniting
the band with their old friend and engineer Billy Anderson,
who'd worked on their earlier records Down Colorful Hill and the
two self-titled releases (Rollercoaster and Bridge by their covers).
Sessions in San Francisco, Mendocino, California and Austin,
Texas resulted in several hours' worth of music being recorded.
The band had spread out and worked up various arrangements for
a majority of the tunes. Sadly, a twenty-minute version of "Michigan"
fell to the cutting room floor.
But the ten songs packed onto Old Ramon (the title comes from a
Spanish children's book that caught Kozelek's fancy) well
represent the band that will take to the road for the first time in
several years with extensive touring throughout the United States
and Europe. Once freed from their major label commitments,
reputable independent labels bid for the band's services. This,
however, is the album exactly as it was intended-untouched-three
years to the month of its completion. Good news:
The wait is officially over.1. Wop-A-Din-Din
2. Byrd Joel
4. Between Days
10. Kavita$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now