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  • Bastards (Remastered) Bastards (Remastered) Quick View

    $28.99
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    Bastards (Remastered)

    For the first time, Tom Waits will make available as individual records his 2006 classic 56 song
    release Orphans: BRAWLERS, BAWLERS AND BASTARDS.


    The collection of 56 songs went far beyond a simple career retrospective. It dipped
    back as far as 1984 with the bulk of its songs hailing from the mid-nineties onward.
    Over 2/3 of the material had never been heard when originally released in 2006 and
    had 30 newly recorded songs. Orphans also featured a number of songs finding a
    home on a Waits' album for the first time. They included Waits' unique interpretations
    of songs by such diverse talents as The Ramones, Daniel Johnston, Kurt Weill &
    Bertolt Brecht and Leadbelly. These outtakes, rarities and the previously unreleased
    material were separately grouped into themes and named, Brawlers, Bawlers, and
    Bastards. And now these titles will be released individually.


    Brawlers is a collection of raucous blues and full-throated juke joint stomps.


    Bawlers is a collection of Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and
    classic lyrical Waits' songs.


    Bastards is a collection of experimental music and strange tales.

    LP 1
    1. What Keeps Mankind Alive
    2. Children's Story
    3. Heigh Ho
    4. Army Ants
    5. Books Of Moses
    6. Bone Chain
    7. Two Sisters
    8. First Kiss
    9. Dog Door
    10. Redrum


    LP 2
    1. Nirvana
    2. Home I'll Never Be
    3. Poor Little Lamb
    4. Altar Boy
    5. The Pontiac
    6. Spidey's Wild Ride
    7. King Kong
    8. On The Road
    9. Dog Treat
    10. Missing My Son

    Tom Waits
    $28.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Brawlers (Remastered) Brawlers (Remastered) Quick View

    $28.99
    Buy Now
    x

    Brawlers (Remastered)

    For the first time, Tom Waits will make available as individual records his 2006 classic 56 song
    release Orphans: BRAWLERS, BAWLERS AND BASTARDS.


    The collection of 56 songs went far beyond a simple career retrospective. It dipped
    back as far as 1984 with the bulk of its songs hailing from the mid-nineties onward.
    Over 2/3 of the material had never been heard when originally released in 2006 and
    had 30 newly recorded songs. Orphans also featured a number of songs finding a
    home on a Waits' album for the first time. They included Waits' unique interpretations
    of songs by such diverse talents as The Ramones, Daniel Johnston, Kurt Weill &
    Bertolt Brecht and Leadbelly. These outtakes, rarities and the previously unreleased
    material were separately grouped into themes and named, Brawlers, Bawlers, and
    Bastards. And now these titles will be released individually.


    Brawlers is a collection of raucous blues and full-throated juke joint stomps.


    Bawlers is a collection of Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and
    classic lyrical Waits' songs.


    Bastards is a collection of experimental music and strange tales.

    LP 1
    1. Lie To Me
    2. LowDown
    3. 2:19
    4. Fish In The Jailhouse
    5. Bottom Of The World
    6. Lucinda
    7. Ain't Goin' Down To The Well
    8. Lord I've Been Changed


    LP 2
    1. Puttin' On The Dog
    2. Road To Peace
    3. All The Time
    4. The Return Of Jackie And Judy
    5. Walk Awa
    6. Sea Of Love
    7. Buzz Fledderjohn
    8. Rains On Me

    Tom Waits
    $28.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Orphan Orphan Quick View

    $18.99
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    Orphan

    "Sharp, creative and bringing a commendable freshness to the sometimes drearily derivative world of contemporary rock, Empires are a remarkably good
    rock 'n' roll band. In a world full of faceless, regurgitated rhythms and emotion-by-numbers, the band's music is strikingly compact, precise and non-excessive: There is a there there, and there are no wasted notes anywhere Their music is some of this year's very best"
    -Rolling Stone


    Produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Cloud Nothings, The War on Drugs, Explosions in the Sky), Orphan is a collection of songs immersed in classic
    post punk and indie rock 'n' roll circa 1989-1991, exploring the sonic adventurers and emotional heft of artists such as Roxy Music, Wire, and Nick Cave &
    The Bad Seeds.


    The guitars are rich and atmospheric, the rhythms subtle and fluid yet more powerful at the same time. Throughout the album, singer SeanVan Vleet's
    raw croon rises to match the band's musicality, conveying anxieties, secrets, and a heartfelt longing for transcendence.

    1. Silverfire
    2. Orphan
    3. Hostage
    4. Shadowfaux
    5. Honeyblood
    6. Lifers
    7. How Good Does It Feel
    8. Please Don't Tell My Lover
    9. Stay Lonely
    10. Glow
    11. Journey Kid
    Empires
    $18.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Origin: Orphan Origin: Orphan Quick View

    $16.99
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    Origin: Orphan

    The Hidden Cameras never fail to capture the imagination. Orchestrated by leader Joel Gibb, their live spectacles are unconventional to say the least, everything from blindfolded band members and string players to go-go dancers shimmying alongside gospel choirs. The Hidden Cameras fifth full-length album, Origin:Orphan, is equally ingenious as the four previous albums.


    No matter the subject, Gibb knows the power and importance of melodies and harmonies in a pop song and has displayed it with elegant indie pop orchestrations and abundant twee-choir harmonies. Under The Radar

    1. Ratify The New
    2. In The NA
    3. He Falls To Me
    4. Colour Of A Man
    5. Do I Belong
    6. Walk On
    7. Kingdom Come
    8. Origin:Orphan
    9. Underage
    10. The Little Bit
    11. Silence Can Be A Headline
    Hidden Cameras
    $16.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Orphan Black Soundtrack Orphan Black Soundtrack Quick View

    $24.99
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    Orphan Black Soundtrack

    180 gram album with full color photos on the inner sleeve and a gatefold package. This Pop Soundtrack from the
    award winning and cult phenomnena TV Series, Orphan Black, features key pop songs that helped create the soundbof the show, (Matthew Dear, Foxygen, Tears for Fears, The Troggs etc.) The album also includes the Orphan Black Theme by Two Fingers (alter-ego of electronic musician Amon Tobin).
    1. Theme From Orphan Black by Two Fingers
    2. Rain Of Gold by Young Empires
    3. It Ain't You by The Ettes
    4. Earthforms by Matthew Dear
    5. Mon Ton Ton by Humans
    6. Shuggie by Foxygen
    7. Bitch by Merideth Brooks
    8. Blame Fiction by The Belle Game
    9. Live In The Bedroom by Tim Moxam
    10. Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears
    11. Crazy by Diana Salvatore
    12. When I Was by Abroad by Daniel Romano
    13. West End Sky by Elliott Brood
    14. Love Is All Around by The Troggs
    Various Artists
    $24.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Litmus Litmus Quick View

    $13.99
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    Litmus

    The Anthology Surf Archive series proudly presents the twentieth anniversary edition of the soundtrack to Andrew Kidman's groundbreaking 1996 film, Litmus. Contributions from Galaxie 500, Yothu Yindi and The Screaming Orphans accompanied by a distinctly 90s slacker score from Kidman's The Val Dusty Experiment have earned the soundtrack a mythos within and outside of the surf circuit.
    1. Rain - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    2. Wayne Lynch Quote - By Wayne Lynch
    3. Gapu - By Yothu Yindi
    4. Listen the Snow is Falling - By Galaxie 500
    5. Derek Hynd Quote - By Derek Hynd
    6. Mo Walker - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    7. Cow - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    8. Time - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    9. Black is the Colour - By The Screaming Orphans
    10. Joel Fitzgerald Quote - By Joel Fitzgerald
    11. Green Hornet - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    12. Fire Jam - By Tom Curren
    13. Elizabeth - By Rosie Sutherland
    14. Dump Swimming - By Jon Frank and The Val Dusty Experiment
    15. Hawaiian Surf Forecast - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    16. Riding the Wind - By Kevin Baker and The Val Dusty Experiment
    Andrew Kidman
    $13.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Bawlers (Remastered) Bawlers (Remastered) Quick View

    $28.99
    Buy Now
    x

    Bawlers (Remastered)

    For the first time, Tom Waits will make available as individual records his 2006 classic 56 song
    release Orphans: BRAWLERS, BAWLERS AND BASTARDS.


    The collection of 56 songs went far beyond a simple career retrospective. It dipped
    back as far as 1984 with the bulk of its songs hailing from the mid-nineties onward.
    Over 2/3 of the material had never been heard when originally released in 2006 and
    had 30 newly recorded songs. Orphans also featured a number of songs finding a
    home on a Waits' album for the first time. They included Waits' unique interpretations
    of songs by such diverse talents as The Ramones, Daniel Johnston, Kurt Weill &
    Bertolt Brecht and Leadbelly. These outtakes, rarities and the previously unreleased
    material were separately grouped into themes and named, Brawlers, Bawlers, and
    Bastards. And now these titles will be released individually.


    Brawlers is a collection of raucous blues and full-throated juke joint stomps.


    Bawlers is a collection of Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and
    classic lyrical Waits' songs.


    Bastards is a collection of experimental music and strange tales.

    LP 1
    1. Bend Down The Branches (Remastered)
    2. You Can Never Hold Back Spring (Remastered)
    3. Long Way Home (Remastered)
    4. Widow's Grove (Remastered)
    5. Little Drop Of Poison (Remastered)
    6. Shiny Things (Remastered)
    7. World Keeps Turning (Remastered)
    8. Tell It To Me (Remastered)
    9. Never Let Go (Remastered)
    10. Fannin Street (Remastered)


    LP 2
    1. Little Man (Remastered)
    2. It's Over (Remastered)
    3. If I Have To Go (Remastered)
    4. Goodnight Irene (Remastered)
    5. The Fall Of Troy (Remastered)
    6. Take Care Of All My Children (Remastered)
    7. Down There By The Train (Remastered)
    8. Danny Says (Remastered)
    9. Jayne's Blue Wish (Remastered)
    10. Young At Heart (Remastered)

    Tom Waits
    $28.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs Quick View

    $33.99
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    Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs

    For the new album by Oriental metal pioneers, Orphaned Land, Jens Bogren once again took over mixing and mastering duties of what turned out to be the band's best and biggest production so far. Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs will feature a guest appearance of guitar virtuoso Steve Hackett as well as guest vocal appearances by no other than Hansi KÜrsch (Blind Guardian) and Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates). The great album artwork was created by Valnoir.


    Singer and frontman Kobi Farhi comments: "We are thrilled and so happy to finally reveal you the great artwork of Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs! Our music has always been a combination of anger, tragedy, protest and joy. We can't wait for you to hear the 13 brand new tracks of this album. As always it will be very eclectic, no song sounds like the other and the whole album is a one big musical journey. We feel that this album takes our feelings to a new level of anger, protest and tragedy. The cover speaks for itself and it was made as tribute to the way governments design their money. Enjoy!"

    1. The Cave
    2. We Do Not Resist
    3. In Propaganda
    4. All Knowing Eye
    5. Yedidi
    6. Chains Fall To Gravity
    7. Like Orpheus
    8. Poets Of Prophetic Messianism
    9. Left Behind
    10. My Brother's Keeper
    11. Take My Hand
    12. Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War
    13. The Manifest - Epilogue
    Orphaned Land
    $33.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Litmus / Glass Love Litmus / Glass Love Quick View

    $39.99
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    Litmus / Glass Love

    As part Anthology Recordings' Surf Archive series, we celebrate the soundtracks to Andrew Kidman's classic 1996 film Litmus alongside his 2006 follow up Glass Love. By the early '90s, surfing was on an upswing in popularity as professional surfers became marketable athletes. The three-fin, high performance, "thruster" shortboard was the tool of choice, lending to a fast-paced slashing style and ultimately a more aggressive "surf and destroy" movement in board culture. Litmus, Andrew Kidman's first avant-garde surf film, served as a soulful reaction to the pop-punk progression that dominated the "alternative" mainstream. Prior to filming Litmus, Kidman's band, The Val Dusty Experiment, recorded a total of thirty-five songs in one day. The outcome of the "one-and-done sessions was a lo-fi, rustic, experimental rock 'n' roll sound, adding a rough-around-the-edges ambiance to the surf scenes that span Ireland, Australia, California, and South Africa. Additional contributions from Galaxie 500, Yothu Yindi and The Screaming Orphans diversify the score. Litmus was a defining moment in surf filmmaking -- it sparked an open-minded retro-progressive movement as surfers formed a higher consciousness about the types of boards they were riding and why. Kidman released his second film, Glass Love, ten years later. As with Litmus, the music came first; Kidman felt his songwriting was ready to take on a new life. Thanks in part to Litmus, experimentation in board design progressed as surfers became more contemplative, questioning, 'is surfing art or sport?' Glass Love and its soundtrack highlights this mindset and time period, creating an extra dimension to surfing that is still prevalent today.
    Litmus
    1. Rain - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    2. Wayne Lynch Quote - By Wayne Lynch
    3. Gapu - By Yothu Yindi
    4. Listen the Snow is Falling - By Galaxie 500
    5. Derek Hynd Quote - By Derek Hynd
    6. Mo Walker - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    7. Cow - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    8. Time - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    9. Black is the Colour - By The Screaming Orphans
    10. Joel Fitzgerald Quote - By Joel Fitzgerald
    11. Green Hornet - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    12. Fire Jam - By Tom Curren
    13. Elizabeth - By Rosie Sutherland
    14. Dump Swimming - By Jon Frank and The Val Dusty Experiment
    15. Hawaiian Surf Forecast - By The Val Dusty Experiment
    16. Riding the Wind - By Kevin Baker and The Val Dusty Experiment


    Glass Love
    1. If They Only Knew
    2. Mama, You Been on My Mind
    3. Light Inside of You
    4. Moonshiner
    5. Flowers in the Wind
    6. Narrabeen
    7. The Dice Already Thrown
    8. Opus
    9. Blood on Your Shadow

    Andrew Kidman
    $39.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Tween Tween Quick View

    $17.99
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    Tween

    The word "tween" implies a certain, very specific kind of awkwardness, and
    those implications are rarely positive. But think about it like this: Something
    "tween" is in the process of becoming something else, and there's a very
    specific kind of beauty in that becoming. There's something rewarding in
    recognizing and celebrating it-in meeting it halfway.


    Tween is a collection of eight songs born, raised, and almost abandoned for
    various reasons during the years between 2011's breakthrough Civilian and
    2014's reinvention-of-sorts, Shriek.


    Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack described these songs as "not emblematic of
    a step forward, but a step sideways in time." In other words, they just didn't
    make sense for album number five-which will happen at some point in the
    future. But just because they didn't belong there doesn't mean they don't
    belong anywhere. To wedge them onto Shriek would've been dishonest; to
    orphan them would've been somewhere on the line between criminal and just
    plain silly.


    Now that your expectations are lowered, let's build them back up, because
    Tween is full of gorgeous Wye Oak songs whose only crime was timing and
    context, made by two people at the height of their game. At first these songs
    sounded too disparate to me to be called an album, but the more Tween sank
    in, the more it made sense: One minute Jenn and Andy are embracing their
    floatiest Cocteau Twins instinct ("If You Should See"), the next they're back
    in Civilian territory a bit ("No Dreaming"), and later they're slinky and
    electronic and gorgeously '80s ("On Luxury").


    The common thread: These are no castaways or cutouts. In fact, pound for
    pound, Tween might actually be more directly accessible than Shriek. It should
    join the pantheon of amazing not-albums of history whose names try to
    downplay how good they actually are, like R.E.M.'s Dead Letter Office, The
    Who's Odds and Sods, maybe even Dinosaur Jr.'s Whatever's Cool With Me.


    Who knows what an album is at this point, anyway? Here's what Jenn and
    Andy had to say: "We rejoice in being free to make what we like and release it
    in a way that feels true, and you are free to enjoy it or dismiss it as it suits you.
    We hope, of course, for the former. But-all gimmicks aside-we created this
    thing with love and are so happy to share it with you, whoever you are."


    -Josh Modell

    1. Out of Nowhere
    2. If You Should See
    3. No Dreaming
    4. Too Right
    5. Better (For Esther)
    6. On Luxury
    7. Trigger Finger
    8. Watching the Waiting
    Wye Oak
    $17.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Walk In Africa 1979-81 (Discontinued) Walk In Africa 1979-81 (Discontinued) Quick View

    $24.99
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    Walk In Africa 1979-81 (Discontinued)

    Remastered From Original Sources


    Vinyl Cut By John Golden And Pressed At RTI


    First Ever Anthology


    2xLP Housed In A Deluxe Gatefold Tip-On Jacket With 20-pg Book, And Download Card Full Full Anthology


    Scholarly Liner Notes By Punk In Africa Film Director Keith Jones


    Unseen Photos, Flyers, And Band Ephemera


    The South Africa of the late 1970s was neither the right place nor time to launch a mixed-race punk band. Yet, following the student-inspired Soweto Uprising of 1976, it was also exactly the right conditions to foster a band like National Wake, one formed in an underground commune, and one whose very name exists in protest at the divisive, racist apartheid regime. Never before collected together, Light In The Attic is set to release National Wake's full body of work as Walk In Africa 1979-81.


    Featured heavily in the recent documentary Punk In Africa , National Wake played punk, reggae and tropical funk, equally at home in the city's rock underground and the township nightclub circuit. Ivan Kadey started the band with two brothers, Gary and Punka Khoza. The three were from different worlds - while Ivan was an outsider, a Jewish orphan born in the traditional Johannesburg immigrant neighborhood, Gary, Punka and their family were forcibly moved to the troubled township of Soweto under the apartheid regime. Later joined by guitarist Steve Moni, the whole band grew up against a backdrop of township unrest, social upheaval and suburban tedium that characterized apartheid-era South Africa.


    National Wake released just one album, in 1981. It sold approximately 700 copies before being withdrawn under government pressure. The band subsequently disintegrated, but their influence could be traced in the racially mixed post-punk underground centered around Rockey Street in Johannesburg throughout the 1980s, their legacy transmitted through fanzines and underground cassette trading.


    Sadly, Gary and Punka Khoza both passed away in their 40s. Kadey now works as an architect in Los Angeles, but his attention eventually turned back to the band as their legacy grew in the digital era, with the emergence of specialized music websites and Punk In Africa leading to their rediscovery. Czech State Radio memorably described the band as "perhaps the most dissident music scene of the 20th century: a multi-racial punk band in a fascist police state."


    In 2011, Kadey re-released the band's self-titled album on CD in South Africa, but spoke about having more than 20 tracks that had never seen the light of day - until now. "All of these recordings put together they speak of the whole evolution of the band," he has said. "From a sort of naive, almost belief that we could miraculously change everything to realizing what a struggle it was, and what the country was going through and what it would go through."

    LP1
    1. International News
    2. It's All Right
    3. Walk In Africa
    4. Time And Place
    5. Corner House Stone
    6. Mercenaries
    7. Wake Of The Nation
    8. Supaman


    LP2
    1. Speed It Up
    2. Beat Up The Lights
    3. Black Punk Rockers
    4. Stratocaster
    5. Everybody
    6. Vatsiketeni

    National Wake
    $24.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Are A Drag (Awaiting Repress) Are A Drag (Awaiting Repress) Quick View

    $14.99
    Buy Now
    x

    Are A Drag (Awaiting Repress)

    Me First And The Gimme Gimmes love a parade! They also love munchkins, the hand jive, and red-headed orphans. See how they express their love for these and many other obscure things on their new album âAre A Drag.â
    1: Over The Rainbow

    2: Donât Cry For Me Argentina

    3: Science Fiction Double Feature
    4: Summertime
    5: Favorite Things

    6: Rainbow Connection

    7: Phantom Of The Opera Song

    8: I Sing The Body Electric

    9: Itâs Raining On Prom Night

    10: Tomorrow

    11: What I Did For Love

    12: Cabaret
    Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
    $14.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
  • The Beatles 1967-1970 The Beatles 1967-1970 Quick View

    $35.99
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    The Beatles 1967-1970


    All Analogue Master From The Original Master Tapes


    Picking up where 1962-1966 left off, the double-album compilation 1967-1970, commonly called The Blue Album, covers the Beatles' later records, from Sgt. Pepper's through Let It Be. Like The Red Album, The Blue Album was released in the wake of a pair of widely advertised quadruple-LP bootlegs, Alpha Omega, Vols. 1-2: The Story of the Beatles, which had appeared early in 1973. And like its companion volume, this set contains a mixture of hits, including singles like Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, and Revolution -- which had originally appeared only as 45s -- plus important album tracks like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, A Day in the Life, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Come Together, as well as orphaned tracks such as the single versions of Let It Be and Get Back, which had never been on any LP before. The first two sides of the original double-LP edition carry listeners through the highlights of the psychedelic era, starting with Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane and up through Magical Mystery Tour, before returning to rock & roll territory on Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, and Revolution. The second LP skims three of the more popular tracks off of the sprawling White Album (aka The Beatles) and moves into the late singles (The Ballad of John and Yoko, Old Brown Shoe, Let It Be), plus single and album highlights from Abbey Road and Let It Be. As a prÉcis of the group's final 36 months, it's all mightily impressive, even if 1967-1970 misses several great songs. But like its predecessor, this set does capture the essence (if not the full range) of the Beatles' later recordings.


    - Bruce Eder (All Music Guide)

    LP 1
    1. Strawberry Fields Forever
    2. Penny Lane
    3. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

    4. With A Little Help From My Friends
    5. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
    6. A Day In The Life
    7. All You Need Is Love
    8. I Am The Walrus
    9. Hello Goodbye
    10. The Fool On The Hill

    11. Magical Mystery Tour
    12. Lady Madonna
    13. Hey Jude
    14. Revolution


    LP 2
    1. Back In The U.S.S.R.
    2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    4. Get Back
    5. Don't Let Me Down

    6. The Ballad Of John & Yoko

    7. Old Brown Shoe
    8. Here Comes The Sun

    9. Come Together
    10. Something
    11. Octopus's Garden
    12. Let It Be
    13. Across The Universe
    14. The Long And Winding Road

    The Beatles
    $35.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Hard Times Are Relative Hard Times Are Relative Quick View

    $18.99
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    Hard Times Are Relative

    Our favorite songs are like one-night stands: passionate or sad, capable of recalling moments with Proustian power. Our favorite artists are lifelong companions: fixtures we turn to for comfort and highs.


    Over the last two decades, Jason Boland and the Stragglers have delivered and become both.


    "We've always just wanted to entertain ourselves and put out music that would be a part of people's lives, not just something passing to them," says Boland. "We want to be something more monolithic." He pauses and grins as he adds, "We're just a social experiment at this point."


    Boland is talking about the deep body of work he's created with his band of jangly honky-tonk aces, the Stragglers--Grant Tracy on bass; drummer and background vocalist Brad Rice; Nick Worley on fiddle, mandolin, and harmonies; and Cody Angel on guitar and pedal steel. Fronted and co-founded by Boland with Tracy and Rice, the band has featured only a handful of other members over the last 20 years, all of whom--whether they're currently Stragglers or not--are like brothers. As they've independently sold more than half a million albums, the outfit has packed iconic dancehalls, theaters, and other big rooms across the country.


    With their new record Hard Times are Relative, Boland and the Stragglers stack the smart, road-ready outlaw country longtime fans have come to expect alongside creative risks that flirt with punk and psychedelic sounds. The 10-song collection is a rare blend of instantly gratifying and rewarding of closer listens--a definitively Stragglers accomplishment. "It's an upbeat album--a lot of fast songs, but it doesn't try to be fast," Boland says with characteristic insight. "It just sits in the pocket."


    No one has combined Woody Guthrie's conscience with Waylon Jenning's panache quite like Boland and the Stragglers. Since debuting in 1999 with the Lloyd Maines-produced Pearl Snaps, the band has matured without taming their refreshing irreverence. "We always joke that we try to take as much as we can from Lloyd and apply it to producing our own records," Boland says. "We've worked with him so many times. The most obvious thing he taught us is: just be musical. Don't hammer through the songs like a garage band all the time."


    That mix of subtle musical sophistication and unruly Oklahoma junkyard pedigree has resulted in some of the best independent honky tonk in recent memory. "You just have to be where you are--keep plugging away and doing the best you can at any moment," Boland says, reflecting on their career thus far. "For a bunch of slackers [like us], that's not too terribly tough."


    Co-produced by the Stragglers, David Percefull, and Adam Odor, Hard Times are Relative is the band's ninth studio record. All songs were recorded live to tape and without the use of any computers--now a Stragglers' hallmark. Upbeat steel guitar kicks off album opener "I Don't Deserve You" before Boland's signature baritone thunders in, smooth and stronger than ever. When fellow sly honky-tonk champ Sunny Sweeney joins him in out-front harmonies, the two become the rootsy dream team you never knew you always wanted.


    The album's title track is a masterpiece: an epic story song about a young orphaned brother and sister depending on the land and one another. Rich details layered over strings paint a scene that's compelling and lush. The song has become one of Boland's favorites. "Folk music is hard to write. Country music is hard to write," he says, reflecting on the difficulty of spinning a long tale while keeping it simple and engaging. "When you hit your own little tuning fork in your head, that one is a hard sell, even to me. But I enjoy that song."


    "Right Where I Began" sounds like vintage Stragglers: clever wordplay and muscly guitars ready for two-steppers. Fiddle and vocal showcase "Searching for You" shows off Rice's and Worley's harmonies that are downright divine. Crunchy guitars drive "Dee Dee OD'd" as Boland offers another round of wry observations. Easy gem "Going Going Gone" makes a solid argument for fiddle in rock-and-roll as Boland deftly turns a baseball metaphor into a classic leaving song.


    Gorgeous waltz "Do You Remember When" bemoans some of modern life's emphasis on disposability and the dismissal of heritage. Rollicking "Tattoo of a Bruise" picks up the same idea, and is tongue-in-cheek country doo-wop, fueled by fiddle, steel, and drums. "I'm not judging anybody," Boland clarifies. "Our music has always called it like we see it, right or wrong, smarter or dumber."


    Praise for the past but acknowledgement of nostalgia's limitations is a career-long theme for Boland, and one that this record continues to carry. "We don't want to lose the chili recipes and the Schroeder Halls because people are moving on to faster, louder, and newer," he says. "But instead of just hemming and hawing, remembering what's old and gone, we want to have new experiences within those frameworks--make memories with what's left of the good stuff."


    With lines like "Empty pockets don't mean you need money / It's just another place to put your hands / And focus on that rock you've been kicking / One day it's going to be a grain of sand," "Predestined" challenges listeners as it soothes. The song is a lyrical victory for Boland, who's long-since become a master of distilling heady ideas into digestible nuggets.


    Penned by Oklahoma music godfather Randy Crouch, "Grandfather's Theme" serves as the album's climactic closer. Attacked with psychedelic ferocity by the band, the song picks up the record's recurring concepts of the ground's insistence on shifting, inevitability, and our complex relationship with the past. Stripped down as Boland sings, the song soars off into a trippy, robust jam-band send-off--a serious triumph especially considering it's a defiantly analog recording. "We're fighting the digital world because they can make it so huge," Boland says, discussing the balancing act of filling out songs while letting them breathe. "I'm really proud if what we did."


    As he mulls over where the Stragglers have been and where they're headed, Boland comes back to one idea over and over again: he and his band are who they are, and with that genuineness comes grit, beauty, and staying power. "We're fortunate that we're not trying to fool anybody," he says. "That's what it comes down to. We're all loners but somehow a team. Now that I can look at it all, I can see: it's been fun."


    Here's to the next 20 years.

    1. I Don't Deserve You
    2. Hard Times Are Relative
    3. Right Where I Began
    4. Searching For You
    5. Do You Remember When
    6. Dee Dee OD'd
    7. Going Going Gone
    8. Tattoo of a Bruise
    9. Predestined
    10. Grandfather's Theme
    Jason Boland & The Stragglers
    $18.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
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