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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
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal SonDamien is out of his goddamn mind.
This isn't a recent development, but it's an important aspect of his work that often goes ignored. In place of
this key element is the idea that his music is a sober and in-depth excavation of the American landscape and
rural psyche. Well, folks,I'm sorry, but it's not.
Damien Jurado is every character in every Damien Jurado song. He is the gun,the purple anteater,the paper
wings, the avalanche, the airshow disaster, Ohio, the ghost of his best friend's wife. It is a universe unto its
own,with it's own symbolism, creation myth, and liturgy. You might go as far as to call it a religion, and your
religion is a character in his religion.
Level with me. You're reading this because of Damien Jurado's new album,Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal
Son (produced by Richard Swift). You are a progressive minded, left-leaning person who in parlor-style
conversation regarding the globo-political ramifications of Sky Person relationships laughs knowingly so as
not to be judgmental and very reasonably concedes "Well, I don't believe He's some old man with a beard
sitting up in the clouds" at which point everyone agrees on [insert benign middle-ground] and moves on.
Consider this:What if the only way to understand a religion is to create your own?
Who is this Silver community? Where the hell are they in the Bible? Is this heresy? Agnostic reference? Isn't
this sun business a little, I don't know, animistic? Pagan? Go ahead and answer that question for yourself. I'll
give you a second.
Do you understand the music any better?
You know that adage we all use so we have something to say while we shrug our shoulders? "People change"?
That one. Is that applicable to Jesus Christ? Maybe he's been on a personal journey of discovery since he
ascended. He went through the 60's, 70's,he turned on,tuned out, got disillusioned. Why can't we talk about
that Jesus? Does it have to be the old-timey one all the time? American folk Jesus,ugh. The one who's always
winning Best Soundtrack Oscars for people. Rarely do stories of faith make us identify with Jesus. It's
Abraham, Satan, Silver Timothy, Salome, Dr.J, Saul of Tarsus; divinely imperfect brothers and sisters who give
Gawd something to do.
Damien Jurado made up his own Jesus because a Damien Jurado album needs a beautiful Jesus. Some freaky
space Jesus that I don't recognize. The name is the same, a lot of the imagery is the same, but he's reborn.
Born again,I mean. Yeah, as if Jesus got born again. That's what this album sounds like.
Jesus is out of his goddamn mind and I want to live in Damien's America.
Sign me up.
--- Father John Misty; 09-20-20131. Magic Number
2. Silver Timothy
3. Return To Maraqopa
4. Metallic Cloud
5. Jericho Road
6. Silver Donna
7. Silver Malcolm
8. Silver Katherine
9. Silver Joy
10. Suns In Our Mind$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Audition TapesAudition Tapes is venerable luminary of psychedelic grunge, T. Hardy Morris's debut solo album, released on Dangerbird Records.
Morris is best known for his work with Dead Confederate, a band that he co-founded and has recorded and toured with since 2006. More recently, Morris formed Diamond Rugs, the raggedly righteous gang of rockers that also includes members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips and Los Lobos. Morris took some time over the past year to write a collection of songs that reflect the best qualities of his group projects while also exploring entirely new sonic territories. Audition Tapes exposes Morris' considerable depth as a songwriter and taps into his vast experiences as a performer, having toured extensively over the past 6 years with the likes of the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Deer Tick, Manchester Orchestra, Drive By Truckers and many more.
Audition Tapes was helmed by Cosmic Thug (Adam Landry and Justin Collins), the Nashville-based production duo behind the aforementioned Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs and Middle Brother projects. Hardy says of the making of the album, "For obvious reasons, I knew I wanted to record Audition Tapes onto tape, and preferably in a small studio, recorded as live as possible, late at night. So that's pretty much what we did over in Nashville."
Audition Tapes finds Morris abundantly inspired, oftentimes invoking the grand spirits of Elliot Smtih, Alex Chilton or fellow Georgian Vic Chesnutt. On songs such as "Quit Diggin", "Hard Stuff" and especially the gorgeous title track, listeners are treated to intimate, fragile performances, so informal that we are invited to hear creaks and count-offs, finger taps on guitar strings and other warm and extraneous studio noise.
The whole affair is so perfectly imperfect that you feel as if you've stumbled upon it all on your own - a hushed secret. Dangerbird Records founder Peter Walker said, "This is the kind of songwriting and performance that you can really lean into - the record cuts through any sort of pretense and nails you straight in the heart from its first breath."1. Lucky
2. Disaster Proof
3. OK Corral
4. Audition Tapes
6. Quit Diggin'
7. Share The Needle
8. History's Hoax
9. Beauty Rest
10. Own Worst Enemy$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Best Of Gloucester CountyThe whole represents a new and welcome chapter in the Danielson oeuvre-a startlingly effective new band, a new thematic field (the locally-grown opus), produced with more sonic ambition than any recent Danielson effort, but without sacrificing the brave interior journey that we have come to expect from Daniel Christopher Smith: the world is complex, slightly dangerous, full of temptations, but there is still grace, beauty, meaning, and the music that is required to suggest all this is anything but easy, but that doesn't mean it is not rewarding, beautiful, funny, sad, and generous.
Released five years after 2006's well-received Ships, Daniel Smith's Best of Gloucester County finds the Danielson Famile in a bit of disarray. While sisters Megan and Rachel and Smith's wife Erin all make appearances, the bulk of the Famile has fled the nest, but adding four new members (Jens Lekman and longtime Danielson staple Sufjan Stevens appear as well) has done little to tarnish Smith's signature blend of art school indie pop and freak folk Sunday school gospel. While Best of Gloucester County (named for the New Jersey province that serves as the members' stomping grounds) may feel a bit more settled than previous outings, the complacencies of adulthood, as filtered through Smith's manic croon, are hardly destined for commercial airplay. Closer in tone to 2004's Brother Is to Son but with Ships' loftier (but still D.I.Y.) production, Gloucester County's opening cut, Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance, sets the tone with a straightforward blast of Neil Young-meets-Frank Black folk-rock, in which Smith delivers some his most evenhanded vocals in years. The Day Is a Loaf and Grow Up follow similar suit, but overly precious cuts like Lil Norge and People's Partay come away feeling more uncomfortable than whimsical. Still, a middle-of-the-road Danielson Famile/Danielson/Brother Danielson album is hardly a disappointment, as Smith has always been the sole proprietor of his niche, and with each new collection can rewrite the rules however he sees fit. If anything, Gloucester County proves that Smith is willing to let his unique style mature, which may at some point provide some insight into one of the underground's most elusive personalities. - James Christopher Monger1.Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance
2.This Day is a Loaf
5.But I Don't Wanna Sing About Guitars
8.You Sleep Good Now
9.Hovering Above That Hill
11.Hosanna In the Forest$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Batdance (Single)12 Maxi-Single Reissue
Featuring Batdance And 200 Balloons
Batdance was written for the 1989 Batman soundtrack. Helped by the film's popularity, the song reached number one in the US, becoming Prince's fourth American number-one single, and his first to achieve the feat of topping all 3 American charts since Kiss in 1986.
Batdance was a last-minute replacement for a brooding track titled Dance with the Devil, which Prince felt was too dark. It is almost two songs in one-a chaotic, mechanical dance beat that changes gears into a slinky, funky groove before changing back for the song's conclusion (except on the single version in which it eliminates the guitar solo before the middle section, then goes straight to the mechanical Joker laughter from the end of the movie and an earlier movie soundbyte of Michael Keaton saying Stop). The track is an amalgam of many musical ideas of Prince's at the time. Elements from at least seven songs (some unreleased) were incorporated into Batdance: 200 Balloons, We Got the Power, House in Order, Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic (later released on the album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic), The Future, and Electric Chair. Some of these were mere snippets, and other segments showed up only in remixes of the track. The song was also loaded with dialog samples from the film.
The B-side to the Batdance is 200 Balloons, which was recorded for the film and serves as the musical blueprint for the main portion of Batdance. The song was rejected for the film by Tim Burton and replaced with Trust. The lyrics of 200 Balloons reference the scene which it was created for to a greater degree than the replacement track, which is only connected to the scene by the Joker asking Who do you trust? after the song ends. Prince did little more than replace the lyrics of 200 Balloons in its transition into Batdance. Only musical portions survived the transition, but full lyrics showed up in The Batmix(turn your head to the east, I be coming from the west). 200 Balloons also contains samples of House in Order and Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic; the latter was another song submitted for inclusion in the movie, but rejected (it was replaced by Partyman).1. Batdance (The Batmix)
2. Batdance (The Vicki Vale Mix)
3. 200 Balloons$12.9912 Vinyl Single - Sealed Buy Now
Researching The BluesRedd Kross is back and delivering their signature brand of genuine rock 'n' roll with a vengeance. Their Merge release Researching the Blues is the band's first new album in 15 years. Researching the Blues features 10 new songs clocking in at just under 32 minutes. With songs written by Jeff McDonald and produced and mixed by Steven McDonald, the album is by far the band's favorite record. Steve says, "It has the most singular artistic vision of any record we've done. It's just 10 really fucking awesome songs that have the ability to move you in many different ways."
Founded 34 years ago in Los Angeles during the first wave of LA punk rock by brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald (then respectively 15 and 11 years old), Redd Kross cut their teeth opening for Black Flag at a middle school graduation party. Their debut recordings caught the attention of Rodney Bingenheimer, who quickly became a fan as he spun their Ramones-inspired songs like "Annette's Got The Hits" and "I Hate My School" on the world-famous KROQ.
In 2006, Jeff and Steven announced their reunion with the "classic Neurotica" line-up, joined once again by guitarist Robert Hecker (It's Ok) and drummer Roy McDonald (The Muffs). Redd Kross have been playing to enthusiastic audiences at sold-out select shows and festivals such as the Azkena Festival; Coachella; The HooDoo Gurus' Invitational, "Dig It Up"; All Tomorrow's Parties; and Pop MontrÉal.1. Researching the Blues
2. Stay Away from Downtown
4. Dracula's Daughters
5. Meet Frankenstein
6. One of the Good Ones
7. The Nu Temptations
8. Choose to Play
9. Winter Blues
10. Hazel Eyes$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Among The Ghosts (Pre-Order)Lucero's ninth studio album, Among the Ghosts, is their first for noted Nashville indie label Thirty Tigers. It was recorded and co-produced with Grammy-winning engineer/producer and Memphis native Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive by Truckers) at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Service, the studio built by the legendary producer after outgrowing his Memphis Recording Service/Sun Studio.
Recorded primarily live as a five-piece, Among the Ghosts eschews the Stax-inspired horns and Jerry Lee Lewis-style boogie piano featured on some of the band's past recordings for a streamlined rock & roll sound that pays homage to their seminal influences as it seeks to push that legacy into the future. For a band who carried the torch of the alt-country movement back in the 90's and helped pave the way for what is now called Americana, Lucero have re-discovered what inspired them in the first place. The sound is more their own and at the same time not exactly like anything they've done before. This is a band settling into their craft. The 10-song disc's title is both a tribute to the spirits which roam the streets of their fabled city, as well as the hard road the determinedly independent band set out on 20 years ago. The band played around 200 shows per year for many of those 20 years.
With a nod to his younger brother Jeff Nichols, an acclaimed filmmaker whose movies include Loving, Mud, Take Shelter, Midnight Special, and Shotgun Stories; Nichols has written songs that are cinematic short stories, steeped in Southern gothic lore. There are nods to regional authors like Flannery O'Connor and Faulkner, as well as newer writers like Larry Brown (Big Bad Love, Fay), Ron Rash (The Cove, The World Made Straight), and William Gay (The Long Home).
As the first album he's written since his marriage and the birth of his now two-year-old daughter Izzy, Nichols approached the task as a narrator rather than in first person. It's a dark palette that includes tales of a haunting ("Among the Ghosts"), a drowning ("Bottom of the Sea), a reckoning with the devil ("Everything has Changed"), a divorce ("Always Been You"), and a shoot out ("Cover Me"). And that's just Side A. Side B is a letter from a battlefield ("To My Dearest Wife"), a crime ("Long Way Back Home"), a straight-out rocker ("For the Lonely Ones") and even a spooky spoken-word cameo from actor Michael Shannon, who has appeared in every one of Nichols' brother's films. The song's title "Back to the Night" references a line from Nick Tosches' Jerry Lee Lewis biography, Hellfire. In addition, there's a song Nichols wrote for his brother's movie Loving, which appeared in the film and on the soundtrack, re- recorded for Among the Ghosts with the whole band.
"You could also say there's a rescue, a getaway, a survival story and a middle finger to Satan himself," laughs Nichols. "It's all in your perspective."
Several songs juxtapose going off to battle with a rock & roll band's endless touring, shifting time periods like the spirits which haunt the album, the happiness of domestic bliss undercut with fears of loss and the specter of mortality. Among the Ghosts simultaneously reprises the past and looks to the future, while being firmly anchored in the present.
Musically, the band highlights range from co-founding member Brian Venable's Dire Straits-meets-War on Drugs guitar pyrotechnics in "Bottom of the Sea" and "Cover Me" to the Springsteen vibe of "For the Lonely Ones," Rick Steff's skeletal piano lines on "Always Been You," John C's bass lines in "Everything Has Changed" and "Long Way Back Home," and drummer Roy Berry's dynamic shifts from the powerful and brutal title track "Among the Ghosts" to the marching drive of "To My Dearest Wife" and the subtlety of "Loving." Throughout, Nichols' bourbon-soaked growl has become even more distinctive and commanding.
Among the Ghosts offers a timeless perspective on Lucero's distinctive sound. The lyrics could've been written 200 years ago or yesterday. Representing a new South compared to the one that's been mythologized, Lucero have formulated their own ideas and culture which, in some cases, contradicts what came before them (no Confederate flags), but also updates and reconsiders those traditions in a new light.
"I think we've tried to remake this place that we love and cherish in our own fashion. We are very proud of where we are from and we've spent the last 20 years trying to bring a bit of our version of home to the rest of the world It may have taken 20 years, but everything has fallen in place right where it needs to be," acknowledges Nichols. "There were some dark days in those middle years, but we've learned how to do this and survive. We still write heartbreak songs, but now, with a family at home, it's a whole new kind of heartbreak."
Among the Ghosts lays out that new territory with alacrity, as Lucero shines their Morning Star, burning just as brightly, if not more so, 20 years later. As one of the album's song titles so aptly puts it, "Everything Has Changed," but one thing hasn't Lucero's music remains more vital than ever.1. Among the Ghosts
2. Bottom of the Sea
3. Everything Has Changed
4. Always Been You
5. Cover Me
6. To My Dearest Wife
7. Long Way Back Home
9. Back to the Night
10. For the Lonely Ones$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Here Be Monsters
"When they didn't know quite what was there, they put Here Be Monsters. When I think of where my career has gone over the last 35 years, it's usually in that area - off the map." --Jon Langford
Here Be Monsters finds acclaimed musician/visual artist Jon Langford and his band Skull Orchard scanning the outskirts of popular culture, its title born of medieval cartographers' term for the dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical beasties that reside beyond the boundaries of the known universe. This new album will feature a unique piece of artwork specific to each track printed on individual inserts included with copies of the CD. Best known for his work in the The Mekons and the Waco Brothers, Langford has been a leading pioneer in the assimilation of folk/country music into punk rock since the genre's first evolution over 30 years ago.
The album sees the Welsh-born, Chicago-based singer/songwriter, bandleader, producer, painter, and poet plotting a clear-eyed, sharp-elbowed course through such far-flung subjects as alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love. The subtext of the album is maybe the things our civilization thinks of as fixed and immovable might actually be redundant/obsolete/discredited and it's up to us to question and find new rocks to be washed up on , says Langford, who called in Mekons/Waco Brothers veteran Mike Hagler (My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Neko Case, Billy Bragg) to record this album at Chicago's Kingsize Sound Labs. Skull Orchard used to be a fairly solitary activity - songs that didn't fit anywhere else - stuff that was too Welsh or personal to bother the Mekons or Wacos with, says Langford, but something happened with the band I formed to tour with the previous record. It turned into a real group, so this is much more of a band project than any of the solo things I've done before.
Also known for being a prolific visual artist, Langford designed all the artwork for Here Be Monsters himself, including individual designs for each track that will be showcased on separate inserts in the CD and in a collage on the LP jacket. This album really brings the art and the songs together - a chicken/egg which came first situation. The songs are very visual and in some cases came directly from the paintings, continued Langford. Star maps, strange creatures, sympathetic monsters, monsters we have created - the little poem at the top of the album is all about that.1. Summer Stars
3. Gone Without Trace
5. Sugar On Your Tongue
6. Drone Operator
7. Don't Believe
8. If You Hear Rumours
9. What Did You Do In The War?
10. Lil' Ray O' Light$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Double LP With Pop-Up Viking Ship
Swedish metal kings Amon Amarth will unleash their 10th studio album, Jomsviking, via Metal Blade Records! Jomsviking - the band's first concept record in their storied career - tells a tragic tale of love and revenge, backed by the Swedes' trademark melodic, anthemic metal, which was produced and mixed once again by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Testament, Accept) and also features special guest session drummer Tobias Gustafsson (Vomitory). The epic original story is set in the world of the Jomsvikings, the legendary order of mercenary Vikings. As front-man Johan Hegg explains: "The Jomsvikings were a shadowy and legendary sect of Viking mercenaries, as shrouded in myth now as they were when they fought across Europe and the Middle East. Ruthless and deadly warriors who fought for the highest bidder, their code was simple: Show no fear. Never retreat. Defend your brothers, and when called upon, avenge their deaths. I felt we were finally ready to use their story as the jumping off point for an Amon Amarth album. The Jomsvikings and their world is the background for the story of a young man that is in love with a girl but unfortunately she's being married off. He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee - but he swears to have revenge and win her back. He feels that he's been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The way the story evolves is not a happy story."
By far their most ambitious project to date, fans can view the video for the album's first single, "First Kill". Produced by Grupa 13 and directed by Darek Szermanowicz (Behemoth), "First Kill" was filmed in Gohrweide (Germany) and Warsaw (Poland) and features a cinematic depiction of the violent, brutal lyrics, along with powerful live footage of the band performing with their full dragon head and pyro stage-set.1. First Kill
3. On a Sea of Blood
4. One Against All
5. Raise Your Horns
6. The Way of Vikings
7. At Dawn's First Light
8. One Thousand Burning Arrows
9. Vengeance Is My Name*
10. A Dream That Cannot Be
11. Back on Northern Shores
* bonus track$30.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Knife WoundsBrothers Born is Joel Stroetzel (Killswitch Engage) and Michael Wyzik (Storm The Ohio). The project is a big departure from the metal of Stroetzel's Killswitch Engage or the indie-americana of Wyzik's bands, occupying a musical middle-ground of sorts. Wyzik and Stroetzel play nearly every note on Knife Wounds, with the exception of some background vocals and drums on two tracks. the duo recorded the record in Stroetzel's Easthampton, MA studios.1. In A Moment
2. Knife Wounds
4. With Bated Breath
5. To Lay It Down
6. Lonely Highway
7. The Border Lord
8. Until There's Nothing Left
9. Running Into a Burning House
10. 8 Am Tail Lights
11. Before Your Eyes$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Betty Davis (Awaiting Repress)One can hardly imagine the genre-busting, culture-crossing musical magic of Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots, or even the early Red Hot Chili Peppers without the influence of R&B pioneer Betty Davis. Her style of raw and revelatory punk-funk defies any notions that women can't be visionaries in the worlds of rock and pop. In recent years, rappers from Ice Cube to Talib Kweli to Ludacris have rhymed over her intensely strong but sensual music.
There is one testimonial about Betty Davis that is universal: she was a woman ahead of her time. In our contemporary moment, this may not be as self-evident as it was thirty years ago - we live in an age that's been profoundly changed by flamboyant flaunting of female sexuality: from Parlet to Madonna, Lil Kim to Kelis. Yet, back in 1973 when Betty Davis first showed up in her silver go-go boots, dazzling smile and towering Afro, who could you possibly have compared her to? Marva Whitney had the voice but not the independence. Labelle wouldn't get sexy with their "Lady Marmalade" for another year while Millie Jackson wasn't "Feelin' Bitchy" until 1977. Even Tina Turner, the most obvious predecessor to Betty's fierce style wasn't completely out of Ike's shadow until later in the decade.
Ms. Davis's unique story, still sadly mostly unknown, is unlike any other in popular music. Betty wrote the song "Uptown" for the Chambers Brothers before marrying Miles Davis in the late '60s, influencing him with psychedelic rock, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix - personally inspiring the classic album 'Bitches Brew.'
But her songwriting ability was way ahead of its time as well. Betty not only wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first, but the young woman penned the tunes that got The Commodores signed to Motown. The Detroit label soon came calling, pitching a Motown songwriting deal, which Betty turned down. Motown wanted to own everything. Heading to the UK, Marc Bolan of T. Rex urged the creative dynamo to start writing for herself. A common thread throughout Betty's career would be her unbending Do-It-Yourself ethic, which made her quickly turn down anyone who didn't fit with the vision. She would eventually say no to Eric Clapton as her album producer, seeing him as too banal.
In 1973, Davis would finally kick off her cosmic career with an amazingly progressive hard funk and sweet soul self-titled debut. Davis showcased her fiercely unique talent and features such gems as "If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up" and "Game Is My Middle Name." The album Betty Davis was recorded with Sly & The Family Stone's rhythm section, sharply produced by Sly Stone drummer Greg Errico, and featured backing vocals from Sylvester and the Pointer Sisters.1. If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up
2. Walkin Up The Road
3. Anti Love Song
4. Your Man My Man
5. Ooh Yeah
6. Steppin In Her I. Miller Shoes
7. Game Is My Middle Name
8. In The Meantime$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Big Day In A Small TownFour-time GRAMMY nominee and critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Brandy Clark is following up her 2013 smash debut album 12 Stories with the release of Big Day in a Small Town, to be released on Warner Bros. Records. With "Girl Next Door serving as the first single, Big Day in a Small Town is Clark's first major-label album. Big Day was produced by Jay Joyce.
"When I made 12 Stories, I think my dreams were a lot more realistic, in that I didn't expect a lot to happen... then it did," Clark says. "This time, my dreams are very much what they were when I was going to Vince Gill and Patty Loveless concerts and decided I was going to move to Nashville. Right now, my dreams are as big as when I was naïve enough to really dream them."
Clark is featured in The Outlaws issue of Garden & Gun with Matt Hendrickson raving, Big Day in a Small Town has the same biting wit as her 2013 debut 12 Stories, but it's an even richer collection of songs, with a life-in-the-middle-of-nowhere thread running through the album.
Big Day in a Small Town tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen, and the hairdresser because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing. "All these songs, there's some little truth in them, somewhere, that resonates with me or that is about me," she confesses.
12 Stories was featured on Best of lists from New York Magazine, NPR, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New York Post and The Boston Globe in 2013. That same year, The Los Angeles Times called it "the country debut of the year.1. Soap Opera
2. Girl Next Door
3. Homecoming Queen
5. You Can Come Over
6. Love Can Go to Hell
7. Big Day in a Small Town
8. Three Kids No Husband
10. Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'
11. Since You've Gone to Heaven$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Let Yourself Go (Pure Pleasure)Let Yourself Go is an exceptional collection of 13 tunes written by the cream of popular song writers -- Berlin, Gershwin Brothers, and others -- honoring Fred Astaire's contributions to the vocal art. With his low key, narrow ranged voice, Astaire probably introduced and/or made popular more songs that were destined to become standard entries in the Great American Songbook than any other artist. Kent delivers this selective play list with one of three musical combinations, just piano, with piano plus rhythm, and with a larger aggregation which includes sax and guitar. Irrespective of the instrumental context, all of the tunes are delivered with Stacey's pleasant nasal twang to help her create the impression that the lyrics she's singing are part of an intimate one on one conversation with each listener. There's nothing over dramatic on this album. No gimmicks, just a voice as engaging as any on the scene conveying the meaning of a melody in the tradition of the person she is honoring, the inestimable Astaire.
Kent's pianist, David Newton, is one of the premiere accompanists in the U.K., having worked with such top flight singers as Tina May. He and Kent display their musical attraction to each other on a relaxed, suave rendition of Isn't This a Lovely Day and They Can't Take That Away From Me, where Kent and Newton gently joust as they deliver an elegant rendition of this tune. 'Relaxed' is as good a word as any to describe the atmosphere for this session. There's nothing frenetic here. S'Wonderful, usually performed at a fast pace, gets a languid, medium tempo treatment with Newton's piano, an effortlessly lilting Colin Oxley guitar and Jim Tomlinson's tenor sharing the mike with Kent. A Fine Romance is about as upbeat as it gets, with Oxley's cleaned line guitar setting the pace. Newton engages in a bit of Erroll Garner-like humming during his solo on this tune. Tomlinson's romantic tenor is featured on Let Yourself Go and They All Laughed. On One for My Baby, he brings out his clarinet, using the middle register to help create the proper melancholy mood for this definitive 'drowning my sorrows in booze' tune.
This is another excellent album by American born, U.K.-based singer Stacey Kent, and is happily recommended.
- Stacey Kent (vocal)
- Jim Tomlinson (tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet)
- Colin Oxley (guitar)
- David Newton (piano, keyboards)
- Simon Thorpe (bass)
- Steve Brown (drums)
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.LP 1
1. Let Yourself Go
2. They Can't Take That Away From Me
3. I Won't Dance
4. Isn't This A Lovely Day?
5. They All Laughed
6. He Loves And She Loves
1. Shall We Dance?
2. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
3. S' Wonderful
4. A Fine Romance
5. I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan
6. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
7. By Myself$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Rat FarmDesert-rock legends Meat Puppets returns this spring with their 14th studio album - the 12-track Rat Farm, which Curt Kirkwood dubs "real blown-up folk music"
The album - the band's fourth since the return of Cris Kirkwood in 2007 - is due out April 16 on Megaforce Records. In addition to the Kirkwood brothers, the band now features drummer Shandon Sahm, son of Doug Sahm, as well as Curt's son Elmo Kirkwood on second guitar.
Of the new album, Curt Kirkwood says:
"I tried to write stuff that would stand on its own - just the chords and the melodies, and play it kind of straight. I think that was the guiding boundary that I gave myself. It was one of those things where a lot of times, in the past especially, Cris would go, 'Well, that's all there is? Let's put a prog rock part in the middle.' But I tried to hold it off as much as I could."1. Rat Farm
2. One More Drop
4. Leave Your Head Alone
6. You Don't Know
8. Time and Money
9. Sometimes Blue
10. Original One
11. River Rose
12. Sweet$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Which Side Are You On? (Out Of Stock)Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ani DiFranco releases her eagerly awaited album Which Side Are You On? on the Grammy-winning artists own Righteous Babe Records. The release marks DiFrancos first studio album in more than three years. The collection features 11 new songs alongside a radically reworked rendition of the classic title song, famously popularized by the one and only Pete Seeger nearly five decades ago, but no less relevant today.
Backing DiFranco is a remarkably diverse line-up of stellar musicians, including members of her own crack touring band as well as such guest players as Ivan and Cyril Neville (of New Orleans first family of funk and R&B, The Neville Brothers), avant-saxophonist Skerik (Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, The Meters), acclaimed singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee), and a host of New Orleans-based horn players known for their work in such outfits as Galactic, Bonerama, and The Rebirth Brass Band.
The newly recorded version of Which Side Are You On? is a funk-fueled epic, incorporating not just Anis band, but Pete Seeger himself on banjo and vocals alongside The Rivertown Kids, a Hudson Valley-based childrens chorus, and The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders, a brass band consisting of students from The Roots of Music, a music education program for at-risk middle-school students in New Orleans. DiFranco contributed her own straight-from-the headlines verses to the song and has used it to close her own live shows ever since. The album represents an extraordinary snapshot of DiFrancos own life as well her sense of where the country stands at this particular moment in time.1. Life Boat
3. Which Side Are You On?
8. If Yr Not
12. Zoo$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock