- Lowest Price
- Highest Price
So Long So Wrong'
So Long So Wrong (Awaiting Repress)Available for the very first time on vinyl. This is the best AKUS album to date. (AKUS is the band's own acronym for Alison Krauss & Union Station). The best songs, the best playing, the best singing and the best sound! This must have 2-LP set gets more addictive with every play. Call it bluegrass or call it acoustic pop, either way Alison Krauss and Union Station have created an incredible montage of music. As usual, it is Alison's beautiful vocals that gives it that high, lonesome sound.
There are thirteen vocal songs and one instrumental on this two-record set. Krauss is the lead vocalist on eight of the songs and Union Station members share the other lead vocals. The virtuoso musicians comprising the group are Barry Bales (acoustic bass), Ron Block (banjo, guitar), Adam Steffey (mandolin), and Dan Tyminski (guitar). Of course Krauss started her career as a violinist (fiddler to the bluegrass world) and she doesn't leave that instrument out either. Due to the unmatched resolution of the Gain 2 Ultra Analog Cutting System, all the acoustic instruments and voices on the record are reproduced with an exceptional sense of space and clarity.
The tunes are mostly new material and alternate from bluegrass to acoustic pop. The standouts on the album are Alison's numbers: It Doesn't Matter, Looking in the Eyes of Love, and the gospel There is a Reason. These are all quiet, reflective pieces with the haunting, almost angelic quality of Krauss' voice demonstrated to its fullest. The harmony singing on every cut shows off the vocal prowess of the entire ensemble. The title track in particular stands out for its use of harmony and incredible accurate presentation of acoustic instruments. The male vocalists are superb in their own right and each of the band members has the spotlight somewhere on the album. MFSL
This title is not eligible for discount.So Long So Wrong
No Place to Hide
Deeper Than Crying
I Can Let Go Now
The Road Is a Lover
Little Liza Jane
It Doesn't Matter
Find My Way Back to My Heart
I'll Remember You Love in My Prayers
Looking in the Eyes of Love
Pain of a Troubled Life
Blue Trail of Sorrow
There Is a Reason$49.99Gain 2 Ultra Analog 1/2 Speed Mastered 180 Gram Audiophile High Definition Vinyl LP -2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Give More LoveRingo Starr's 19th solo album, Give More Love, is set to be released by UMe.
Recorded at Ringo's home studio in Los Angeles, Give More Love has 10 new tracks featuring collaborations with friends including: We're on the Road Again featuring Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter and Steve Lukather; Laughable co-written and performed with Peter Frampton as well as Benmont Tench, Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page and Amy Keys; Show Me the Way co-written and performed with Steve Lukather and with Paul McCartney; Speed of Sound co-written with Richard Marx and featuring Steve Lukather, Peter Frampton and Nathan East; Standing Still co-written with Gary Burr; King of the Kingdom including performances by Dave Stewart and Edgar Winter; Electricity co-written with Glen Ballard and featuring Joe Walsh and Don Was; So Wrong For So Long co-written and performed with Dave Stewart; Shake It Up co-written and performed with Gary Nicholson and including Don Was and Edgar Winter; and Give More Love co-written with Gary Nicholson including Timothy B. Schmit and All Starrs Richard Page and Gregg Bissonette.1. We're On The Road Again
3. Show Me The Way
4. Speed Of Sound
5. Standing Still
6. King Of The Kingdom
8. So Wrong For So Long
9. Shake It Up
10. Give More Love$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
All Or Nothin'For her hotly anticipated sophomore album Nashville
songstress Nikki Lane teamed up with Dan Auerbach
of the Black Keys for a record that turns the vulnerable
singer-songwriter stereotype on its ears. With songs
that crucify ex-boyfriends, celebrate one-night stands
(as long as she can bolt town right after) and proclaim
it's "always the right time to do the wrong thing," Lane
comes across like a modern-era Wanda Jackson, albeit
with more oats to sow. "My songs always paint a pretty
clear picture of what's been going on in my life, so this
is one moody record," she says. "There's lots of talk of
misbehaving and moving on."1. Right Time
2. Good Man
3. I Don't Care
4. You Can't Talk To Me Like That
5. Seein' Double
6. Love's On Fire
7. All Or Nothin'
8. Sleep With A Stranger
9. Man Up
10. Out Of My Mind
11. Wild One
12. Want My Heart Back$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-MUT-2460xNick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Your Funeral...My TrialReduced to a quartet for the most part, with Barry Adamson joining Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Mick Harvey and Thomas Wydler on only a couple of tracks, the Bad Seeds turn from the interpretive triumph of Kicking Against the Pricks to another strong high, the mostly-original Your Funeral...My Trial. The one cover is a sharp, unsurprisingly dramatic version of Tim Rose's Long Time Man. As for the rest of the album, Trial shows the Seeds working as, again, a remarkably accomplished and varied act, ever available and ready to explore a wide range of musics distilled into Cave's often dark, always passionate vision. Arguably Cave and company have by now so clearly established their overall style that Your Funeral...My Trial is much more a refinement of the past than anything else, but so good is their work that resistance is near impossible. If anything, the brooding power of the Seeds is more restrained than ever, suggesting destructive endings and overwhelming love without directly playing it. Songs like Jacks Shadow and the gentler but still melancholy moods of Sad Waters, detailing a riverside scene between a couple, are simply grand. The opening title track sets the mood well, Cave handling not merely vocals but Hammond organ, adding a strangely sweet air to the late-night atmosphere of the piece. The Carny is a definite highlight, the cracked music-box/carnival accompaniment courtesy of Harvey utterly appropriate for Cave's tale of a circus gone horribly wrong in ways Edward Gorey would appreciate. Hard On for Love, as the title pretty clearly gives away, is at once sensual and blunt right down to the lyrics, Biblical references and all, as the feverish music rises in a tide of emotion.
- Ned Raggett (All Music)1. Sad Waters
2. The Carny
3. Your Funeral, My Trial
4. Stranger Than Kindness
5. Jack's Shadow
6. Hard On for Love
7. She Fell Away
8. Long Time Man$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-CON-2618xGodspeed You! Black Emperor
Luciferian TowersPressed On 180-Gram Vinyl
Housed In A Gatefold Jacket With Printed Inner Sleeve
Includes 24 x 24 Poster
this long-playing record, a thing we made in the midst of communal mess, raising dogs and children. eyes up and filled with dreadful joy - we aimed for wrong notes that explode, a quiet muttering amplified heavenward. we recorded it all in a burning motorboat.
1. UNDOING A LUCIFERIAN TOWERS - look at that fucking skyline! big lazy money writ in dull marble obelisks! imagine all those buildings much later on, hollowed out and stripped bare of wires and glass, listen - the wind is whistling through all 3,000 of its burning window-holes!
2. BOSSES HANG - labor, alienated from the wealth it creates, so that holy cow, most of us live precariously! kicking at it, but barely hanging on! also - the proud illuminations of our shortened lives! also - more of us than them!
3. FAM / FAMINE - how they kill us = absentee landlord, burning high-rise. the loud panics of child-policemen and their exploding trigger-hands. neglect, cancer maps, drone strike, famine.
4. ANTHEM FOR NO STATE - kanada, emptied of its minerals and dirty oil. emptied of its trees and water. a crippled thing, drowning in a puddle, covered in ants. the ocean doesn't give a shit because it knows it's dying too.
finally and in conclusion;
the "luciferian towers" L.P. was informed by the following grand demands:
+ an end to foreign invasions
+ an end to borders
+ the total dismantling of the prison-industrial complex
+ healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right
+ the expert fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again
much love to all the other lost and wondering ones,
xoxoxox god's pee / montrÉal / 20171. Undoing A Luciferian Towers
2. Bosses Hang
4. Anthem For No State$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Last Days of OaklandFantastic Negrito is the incarnation of a musician who is reborn after going through a lot of awful shit. In fact, the name Fantastic Negrito represents his third rebirth, literally coming back from death this time. The narrative on this man is as important as the sound, because the narrative is the sound. Songs born from a long hard life channeled through black roots music. Slide guitar, drums, piano. Urgent, desperate, edgy. Fantastic Negrito is the story of a man who struggled to make it, who got it, and who lost it all. For anyone who ever felt like it was over yet hoped it wasn't, this is your music; blues harnessed, forged in realness. For anyone who ever considered getting their old high-school band back together, this is your inspiration. These are singular songs by a true musician who writes and produces. They are his fuel as he embarks on the third comeback of his life.
The first life ('who am I and where am I going?'). Fantastic Negrito was raised in an orthodox Muslim household. His father was a Somali-Caribbean immigrant who mostly played traditional African music. When, at the age of 12, Negrito's family moved from Massachusetts to Oakland, he was hit with an intense culture shock. Oakland in 1980s was a million miles from Negrito's conservative childhood. He went from Arab chants to Funkadelic in one day, living in the heart of one of the wildest, most infamous, most vibrant black communities in the nation. Shit was extra real in Oakland.
By the time he was 20, Negrito had taught himself to play every instrument he could get his hands on. He was recording music, but he was also caught up in street shit. This went on for several years until a near death encounter with masked gunmen. After that Negrito packed his bags and headed to LA, armed with a demo on cassette.
The second life ('I want to be a star I think'). It didn't take long for Negrito to find himself entrenched in the 'Hollywood' lifestyle; clubs and bitches and bullshit politics that have nothing to do with great music. Negrito signed with a big time manager and soon after that, a million dollar deal at Interscope and soon after that, creative death.
The record deal was a disaster. Gangsta rap was ruling the airwaves and Negrito was in the wrong place at the wrong era. Negrito came out of the deal with a failed album and his confidence gutted. He was infected by the constant emphasis on 'what would sell'; which looks, hooks and gimmicks would attract an audience. He lost all sense of himself. The songs stopped coming to him, so he quit. He sold all of his shit and he quit.
In 2000, Negrito was in a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma. For four weeks it was touch and go. Because his muscles atrophied while bedridden, he had to go through months of frustrating physical therapy to regain use of his legs. Rods were placed throughout his body. And worst of all, his playing hand was mutilated. Though he rehabbed intensely for several years, the damage was permanent. In 2008, he returned home to Oakland.
The third life (the birth of Negrito). Back in Oakland, Negrito forgot about life as a musician. He settled down, planted vegetables, raised his own chickens, and made money growing weed. He also settled into being a man, on his own, clear of the distractions of wanting to be a star. This is when his specific POV of the world came into focus. His conservative Muslim values melded with the liberal, multi-cultural world of Oakland. The cynicism that comes from struggle made room for the hope that comes from cheating death. He truly knew who he was. He was confident about his place in the world because he understood it as much as any man can. And then his son was born.
With his son's entrance into the world, all the creative energy Negrito bottled for years came rushing out. His musical choices were sharp and without doubt. He began recording without the hindrances that come with chasing trends. Fuck what's hot now, what moves me? Negrito turned to the original DNA of all American music, the Blues. The beating life had given him primed him to channel his literal and musical forefathers: the Blues musicians of the Delta.
For Fantastic Negrito, derivative is the devil so to ensure his sound is his own, every chord comes from a place of immediacy. Immediacy opens the door for instinct. Instinct is God's tool that makes an artist into an individual. Negrito leaves the original sounds of Lead Belly and Skip Woods intact and builds bridges to modernity by looping and sampling his own live instruments.
When you listen to Negrito, you're invited to hear the story of life after destruction. Your dream can die. You probably will give up. But from there, you can start everything over.1. Intro - The Last Days of Oakland
2. Working Poor
3. About A Bird
4. Scary Woman
5. Interlude - What Would You Do?
6. The Nigga Song
7. In the Pines (Oakland)
8. Hump Thru the Winter
9. Lost In A Crowd
10. Interlude 2 - El Chileno
11. The Worst
12. Rant Rushmore
13. Nothing Without You
14. Push Back
15. The Shadows$23.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Very Special World of Lee HazlewoodLee Hazlewood was a late bloomer. Following a meandering career as a disc jockey, producer, songwriter, label executive and solo artist, Hazlewood hit the jackpot at the ripe age of 37 with "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," the song Nancy Sinatra took to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Its success convinced MGM Records that Hazlewood was a bankable star, and they signed him as an artist in his own right the same year. But as a self-described "non-singer" whose cult 1963 debut, Trouble Is A Lonesome Town, was little more than a happy accident, they'd perhaps gotten the wrong end of the stick where Lee was concerned.
In three years on the label, Hazlewood delivered three albums and sundry odds and ends, beginning with 1966 album The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood. The LP found Hazlewood gunning-in as much as he ever did-for commercial success, blending country, pop, novelty, mariachi, and lounge music into something unusually of-the-moment.
Lushly orchestrated and-like the album that preceded it-half-sung, half-spoken in a way that Hazlewood made all his own, the album collected solo versions of songs made famous by Sinatra and others ("Sand," "Boots," "So Long Babe," "Summer Wine"-included as a bonus duet with Suzi Jane Hokom) alongside some of his career-best solo compositions, among them the Morricone-like opener, "For One Moment." It's a record of extremes: "When A Fool Loves A Fool" is as light and throwaway as anything he ever laid down, while the wistful "My Autumn's Done Come" (sample lyric: "Let those I-don't-care days come in, I'm tired of holding my stomach in") is as raw and honest.1. For One Moment
2. When a Fool Loves a Fool
3. Not the Lovin' Kind
4. Your Sweet Love
6. My Autumn's Done Come
7. These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
8. I Move Around
9. So Long, Babe
10. Bugles In the Afternoon
11. My Baby Cried All Night Long$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DreamlandNatalie Bergman has had her picture taken on countless occasions -- hundreds of studio portraits and live shots and backstage festival snaps. But the simple, gorgeous black & white photo of Bergman on the cover of Wild Belle's Dreamland that she describes as just me and this sort of abyss That one was lensed by the person who best knows how to capture her essence on celluloid: Her older brother and bandmate, Elliot Bergman. Besides being Wild Belle's multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Elliot has an equally impressive flair for visual arts, from painting and sculpture to bronzemaking and photography. An avid collector of vintage cameras, Elliot brought along a recently acquired Polaroid Land Camera to a show Wild Belle played in Denver this summer: The duo grabbed a quick moment at their hotel to take the portraits of each other that grace the front and back of their new record. The pictures Elliot takes of me are always really beautiful and it's because he knows me better than anyone else on this Earth, says Natalie. Adds Elliot: I like that it's a photo of Natalie just being Natalie. And the stark contrast of her in the foreground with the dark background really fit with these collages she has been doing. Natalie is in the light but the shadows are pretty heavy and you can't really tell where she is or what's back there.
Recorded at studios in their native Chicago, Natalie's new home of Los Angeles, Nashville and Toronto, Dreamland -- Wild Belle's bold, evolutionary new album -- derives from an era in the singer's life when she was struggling to get control of what she describes as the anger and deep sorrow that plagued her at the end of her most recent romantic relationship. For a woman whose music has always been inspired by her desire to translate her complicated feelings into immediately relatable songs, there was certainly plenty of grist for the mill. Dreamland tracks such as Losing You and It Was You (Baby Come Back) offer glimpses of the darkness that Natalie battled during the early months writing for the duo's sophomore full-length. But there are also genuine moments of lightness and ecstatic triumph, like Giving Up On You -- an irresistibly kinetic, punk number Wild Belle recorded with TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek producing.
I was very heated when we were making this record. My body, my heart and my soul were filled with a flame, which sounds very dramatic but it's the truth, says Natalie. I had a healing moment when I moved to LA earlier this year, because I was far away from my ex and I felt like I was getting rid of a lot of baggage. That was the redemptive, triumphant time for my lyrics. On 'Giving Up On You,' I sing: 'Now I smile so bright, you can see me from outer space, look at me shine. Baby it's about time, I was so miserable and now I feel so alive.' All the songs I wrote near the end of making the album have that sentiment: 'Now look at where I am, after all the turmoil that was inside of me, I'm here and I'm happy and I'm ready for whatever comes my way.'
The follow-up to 2013's Isles, Dreamland expands the band's ambitions in every way. It's deeper, it's more fun, it's more haunting, it's got more grooves, Elliot says. There's sorrow and pain but there's also hope and joy -- all those things can coexist in the songs because they coexist in life. He continues: Dreamland, that's not some kind of idealized notion of where we live and I hope people hear that as a question: What is the Dreamland What is our dream here The album doesn't get overtly political, but we're dealing with a lot of the things that are dark about what's happening now. 'Throw Down Your Guns' is about a relationship but is also kind of about the messed up situation that we're in right now. The chorus, 'Throw down your guns / In the name of love, I put my hands up,' to me can be heard in a number of ways, including as a prayer for peace or a cry out against violence.
Importantly, the album also shares its name with one of the first songs Natalie remembers Elliot introducing her to: Bunny Wailer's 1970 reggae classic, Dreamland. One year for Christmas, he gave her a compilation of female artists who recorded at Jamaica's legendary Studio One, and it included Della Humphrey's version of the song. Natalie listened to it over and over and over again. I was so in love with it, she says. From there, I started my exploration of rocksteady and ska and lovers rock and anything that had to do with Jamaican music from the Fifties onward.
The duo started writing music together several years ago, after Elliot took a sixteen year-old Natalie on tour to play percussion with his acclaimed Afrobeat ensemble, NOMO. I can present a song to Elliot and he has this foresight -- he can see things further than I see them, and he helps me realize things, she says. I'd been writing very simple melodic love songs since I was fifteen years old. I definitely have a pop sensibility in my style, and that's a great platform for Elliot to work from, because it's fun for him to have a cool little pop song and combine it with more eccentric sounds and make it into a weird, unique percussive jam. Sometimes he'll bring the jam to me and because we've got this routine together, we can write a song together wherever we are.
Work on the album began in early 2014, in Chicago. The song that opens Dreamland -- Mississippi River -- was also the first one to come together in the studio. It was sparked by a moment of musical serendipity: The record starts with this pulsing ARP drone, says Elliot, which is a very expensive esoteric nerdy synthesizer that's complicated to program. Natalie and I had this weird, symbiotic thing where I was playing three chords off the ARP and she started playing different three chords on this out-of-tune autoharp she brought over. They were both completely in the wrong key, and yet perfectly in tune with each other. That was like the new bar for the record. It was like, 'Yeah, we're going to put synthesizers and saxophone and kalimbas on these songs, and we're going to have lavish string arrangements if we want to. We were getting comfortable with all of the materials that we love, and being like, 'I love this, so let's do it.
They tracked several songs at home in Chicago last year, and then at the start of 2015, Natalie packed all of her belongings into the Wild Belle van and drove from Chicago to Venice, California. She rented a house where Elliot joined her a couple weeks later. When I had my place in Venice, Elliot would wake up earlier than I would and start making dope beats, says Natalie. One day he made this ridiculous song, 'The One That Got Away,' and the beat and underlying track were so exciting that it didn't take very long to write. Our friends came over and were jumping on the tabletops, dancing, getting naked because they loved the song so much.
Playing the new songs at Lollapalooza for the first time with an eight-piece band, says Elliot, I had a feeling onstage that I'd never had before with Wild Belle, where you're part of a sound that's much bigger than you could make on your own. It's this charged-up badass feeling. It's about a groove and rhythmic energy and force and momentum and making a big, dark, deep sound -- something that moves people and makes you want to dance and makes you want to shout. It's tapping into a deeper musicality that I've always been looking for.1. Mississippi River
2. Losing You
6. Giving Up On You
7. It Was You
8. Throw Down Your Guns
9. The One That Got Away
10. Our Love Will Survive
11. Rock & Roll Angel$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Concrete ConfessionalAn institution can be relied on forever. Its foundations don't shake due to the winds of change or tides of trends-no matter how volatile, omnipresent, or tenuous.
With steadfast determination, drive, and dedication, Hatebreed cement themselves as one of heavy music's strongest institutions on their seventh full-length offering and very first for Nuclear Blast worldwide, 2016's The Concrete Confessional. Since 1994, the Connecticut quintet-Jamey Jasta [vocals], Chris Beattie [bass], Wayne Lozinak [guitar], Frank Novinec [guitar], and Matthew Byrne [drums]-has risen to the ranks of hardcore and heavy metal elite with a GRAMMY® Award nomination, main stage slots on festivals, and countless fans worldwide. 2013's The Divinity Of Purpose earned their highest entry on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #17 with impressive first-week sales in excess of 17,000. When it came time to return to the studio after two years on the road, Jasta and his cohorts clung to the bedrock on which their legacy stands firm.
"There's nothing better than loud amps, riffs that hit you right in the chest, and lyrics that spark a new thought and give you a charge," he declares. "That's our musical DNA. We could just be who we are. We don't need to incorporate whatever the trend is. We can just be Hatebreed. There are some new highlights to the game, but you know it's us."
The Divinity Of Purpose saw them become a headliner in locations such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Japan, and beyond. They would perform at Poland's Woodstock in front of 400,000 people. Stateside, the band supported longtime friends Slipknot on an extensive 2015 run in between festival appearances at Rock On The Range, Welcome To Rockville, and more as well as Motörhead's Motörboat with Slayer and Motörhead.
"Riding into this album, I realized we could play with bands of every genre nearly anywhere without deviating from who we are," continues Jasta. "The Motörboat was really a highlight of our career. We played this exclusive event with some of our chief influences. We got to literally chart new territory."
Returning home in the Fall of 2015, they entered the studio with longtime producer Zeuss [Rob Zombie, Soulfly]. Immediately, they channeled the spirit that's long defined their signature sound. By January, the record was mixed by Josh Wilbur [Megadeth, Lamb Of God] and primed for ignition.
"We had a really good vibe in the studio," he says. "The record is a snapshot of this time for us."
It also reflects what's going on outside. The opening track and first single "A.D." fuses together torrential thrashed-out guitars, double bass drums, and Jasta's immortal growl before an incendiary lead. The singer dissects what the American Dream means in a climate of upheaval. "Fight fire with fire, you'll see everyone's burning," he screams. Think of it as "Vote With A Bullet" or "Holy Wars The Punishment Due" for the Instagram age.
"It's a mirror of both sides of the story whether it's what you believe in the media or what you actually see," he explains. "Musically, it came together quickly. It's about all of the frustrated feelings that come out when I turn on the news. So much of our attention is focused on the wrong areas. People want to one-up each other with better clothes and cars, and it's all bullshit. Nobody goes to the grave with any of that stuff. It's not all instant gratification. What exists on the phone and computer isn't what exists in real life. What is the American Dream anymore?"
The machine gun chug of "Looking Down The Barrel Of Today" proves equally uplifting and undeniable. "I wanted something to get crowds pumped up," he admits. "So many fans will tell us, 'Your records help me get through my life.' I needed to encourage this cyclical power to get up and face the day. You either make the best of today, or you're done in by it."
"Something's Off" carries an ominously lyrical bass line into a guttural chant, showcasing Jasta's chilling vocal dynamics in the process. "I've written songs about depression, alcoholism, and falling back into destructive patterns," he says. "However, I never felt like I could really put my finger on what anxiety is. It's not just social anxiety but this unexplained feeling of unease. I've felt it since I was in kindergarten. You can't control when it happens. Heavy music has kept that beast at bay-in addition to exercise and experiences with my family. I had to confront it directly in the lyrics here."
Elsewhere, "Remember When" and "Slaughtered In Their Dreams" juxtapose visceral lyricism with a searing sonic backdrop as chaotic as it is catchy. Through and through, The Concrete Confessional is classic Hatebreed.
In order to transfer this message to the masses, the band inked a global deal with Nuclear Blast. "They're world-renowned mainstays in the metal community," he smiles. "We get to be in the company of career bands we look up to." These musicians have come a long way from the East Coast's storied nineties underground scene. Their journey has seen them achieve a 2005 GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of "Best Metal Performance" for "Live For This," sell over 1.2 million records, and land a #1 debut on Billboard's DVD Chart with 2009's Live Dominance. Moreover, they've annihilated audiences from OZZfest Japan and Download Festival to Wacken, Hellfest, and beyond.
Now, The Concrete Confessional fits right into the bold, bloody, and beating heart of the Hatebreed institution.
"The title had to be something that was heavy and hard, but also vulnerable and honest," Jasta leaves off. "Heavy music is this cleansing, therapeutic, and cathartic experience. You're on that concrete floor, the guitars are crushing you, and someone's screaming their head off-sharing their pain and aspects of their life through words, poetry, or songs. There's nothing like it. You confess you have negative thoughts, and you purge them. For however long you're at the show, there are no bills to pay, issues to deal with, or problems holding you back. You can be free."1. A.D.
2. Looking Down The Barrel Of Today
3. Seven Enemies
4. In The Walls
5. From Grace We've Fallen
6. Us Against Us
7. Something's Off
8. Remember When
9. Slaughtered In Their Dreams
10. The Apex Within
11. Walking The Knife
13. Serve Your Masters$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Such Jubilee (Awaiting Repress)After the breakout critical success of Mandolin Orange's Yep Roc debut, This Side of Jordan, you'd expect the relentless onslaught of touring that accompanied it to seep into the writing of the North Carolina duo's follow-up. You'd expect the sound to reflect long days on the road, long nights onstage, unfamiliar cities, countless miles. You'd expect the classic "road record." But you'd be wrong. "All of these songs are definitely a product of being on the road," says multi-instrumentalist/singer Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange's gorgeous new album, Such Jubilee, "but they're not about the road." "They're about home," explains song-writer/multi-instrumentalist/singer Andrew Marlin. "Not because we were missing it, but because when you're gone so much, you start realizing what you have and what's waiting for you. You realize there's this place to come back to at the end of the journey, and that's where a lot of these songs come from." Such Jubilee is a record about home, both the place and the idea. Some days it's a safe, warm, loving refuge from the world outside. Other days it's cold and empty and too quiet. Either way, it's always waiting for you at the end of the road.1. Old Ties and Companions
2. Settles Down
3. Little Worlds
5. From Now On
6. Jump Mountain Blues
7. That Wrecking Ball
8. Blue Ruin
10. Of Which There Is No Like$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
The Blood Of Gods (Pink Vinyl)Pressed On Pink Colored Vinyl
The story of GWAR is carved across the history of this barren and hopeless planet, but GWAR themselves are not of this world Their story begins in the deepest reaches of outer space. Long ago, the beings who would become the rock band GWAR were part of an elite fighting force, the Scumdogs of the Universe. For eons, they served as thralls to a supreme being known only as the Master. But one by one, each future member of the band earned a glaring reputation for being an intergalactic fuck-up. And so, they were banished, sent away on a fool's errand to conquer an insignificant shitball floating in a dark corner of the universe: the planet Earth. Once here, GWAR shaped the face of the globe, destroying and rebuilding the natural world, and giving rise to all of human history. Aliens to some, gods and demons to others, our erstwhile Scumdogs fucked apes to create the human race, and this fateful unplanned pregnancy would prove to be truly disastrous!
Their new album, The Blood of Gods, is nothing less than a sacred text chronicling the rise of humanity against their makers, and the massive battle between GWAR and the forces of all that is uptight and wrong with the world. Along the way, the band challenges the sins of their great mistake, from politics, pollution, and organized religion, to fast food, and factory farming. Humans are shown as what they are: a parasitical disease that must be eradicated before they suck the planet dry. Meanwhile, Sleazy P. Martini, the crooked entrepreneur who discovered the Scumdogs, and has always envisioned them as a sort of horrific boy band, finally managed to convince the group to write a hit song called "I'll Be Your Monster." If all goes according to plan, it may be just stupid enough to work!
Of course, The Blood of Gods is the first GWAR album without the band's fallen leader, Oderus Urungus. The title of the album refers to the loss of Oderus, and the struggles and triumphs that produced the new sound of the band. Born of adversity, The Blood of Gods is a sonic scar a question asked and answered Death cannot kill GWAR. Nothing can. GWAR LIVES MOTHERFUCKERS!1. War on GWAR
2. Viking Death Machine
3. El Presidente
4. I'll Be Your Monster
7. The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo
8. Death to Dickie Duncan
9. Crushed by the Cross
10. Fuck This Place
11. Phantom Limb
12. If You Want Blood (You Got It)$35.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPsSealed Buy Now
Shadowed By VulturesPolar have been teasing us for 'Shadowed By Vultures' since the release of 'Glass Cutter' in October and 'Mountain Throne' earlier this week and it still isn't enough. This early on it is clear that 'Shadowed By Vultures' is one of the best things to come from 2014 already, Polar are always reliable for epic pit inducing, crowd chanting tracks but this full length has taken it to the next level. Polar have matured and developed bringing depth, musicianship and ingenuity to create a inspirational and remarkable album that will form an iconic place in their discography.
'Shadowed By Vultures' opens with 'First Breath' which immerses the listener in, calling them out with a dominating and prevalent riff heaving them to the forefront of the album. In 52 seconds we have already had all our attention drawn out by a tyrannical Polar calling card that preludes what is unleashed throughout the entire album. And they continue to dominate our ears with 'Blood Lines' pulling Woodford's vocals forward in an anthemic chorus, his vocals are one of Polar's unique points that through every rasp, growl and shout there is nothing but clarity, you can hear every word and shout it back.
First single 'Glass Cutter' premiered on Radio 1 in October and still stands out as one of the most influential tracks from 'Shadowed By Vultures'. The track ignites crowds and echoes out venues with 'I am the water that fills your lungs' and spurs images of people climbing over each other in frantic Polar induced fits. However, 'Before The Storm' then brings the full length to a hauntingly unexpected halt, the female vocals juxtaposing Woodford's rawr into an eloquent and fragile track that delves deeper into anything we could have expected. A longing, fervent track that commands notice among the destructive album as we go into the second single 'Mountain Throne'.
Within days of the video being posted fans have begged for the lyrics so they can sing them back. As guitars rise up and haul us through every breaking breath of the track you can see why 'Mountain Throne' has swept up fans all over the internet sitting behind their screens desperate to shout 'We are, we are condemned to be criminals!'. And Polar do not cease there as they rip into the neck breaking 'Vipers' which finds itself as another example of Polar's outstanding song writing before title track 'Shadowed By Vultures' that never relents. The track falls on intricate, resilient and winding riffs that form around unrelenting percussion. As instruments rile up in pauses into incessant uproars before piano keys fall in and we seamlessly find ourselves in 'Paradise' . The articulate and delicate track forms the most beautiful breather in such a hefty album allowing a moment of recollection before 'Create'.
If you didn't know 'Create' from their previous EP 'Inspire Create Destroy' then you don't know what Polar excellence you have been missing. Although they have clearly developed from their previous work 'Create' still commands every second of savage attention it deserves. If Polar don't have you chanting 'Inspire! Create! Destroy!' by the end of their set, you are definitely in the wrong place, or they have already broken you. As the album closes on 'Our Legacy' Polar unleash a rasping raw space before strings wind us into a frenzy that leaves us desperate to play the album again. Twangs and stomps winding down a diverse and prodigious album that will be splitting our headphones for years to come.
- Amber Carnegie (Hit The Floor)1. First Breath
2. Blood Lines
3. Glass Cutter
4. Black Days
5. Before the Storm (Featuring Ellie Price)
6. Mountain Throne
8. Shadowed By Vultures
11. Our Legacy$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
My Midnight ThingsSince 1983, the name Lizzy Borden has been synonymous with heavy metal music of the highest caliber. With My Midnight Things he has reaffirmed this standing, delivering the biggest, most dramatic, moving and cinematic record of his career, and one of the most essential additions to the genre in 2018. While showcasing a diverse range of sounds, tones and moods, it is unmistakably the work of the man who released a string of classic albums in the 1980s and two more in the 00s, but with a new fire burning at the heart of the record, it is one that he has lovingly crafted for those who scream along with every word at his shows. "On our last tour across Europe, Asia and South America, I noticed that the audience had changed," he states. "It got a lot younger. I looked out to see all these kids in every country singing at the top of their lungs to songs that were written before they were born, and that made me want to start writing some full-blown albums just for them. I wanted to make songs that would be theirs, albums that they could be a part of."
Having not dropped a record since 2007's mighty Appointment With Death, fans have understandably champed at the bit waiting for new material. Though penning numerous songs throughout that period, when it became time to seriously focus upon writing an album, the multi-instrumentalist did what needed to be done to be sure of creating the best possible music. "I knew the only way I could find what I was looking for was to lock myself away and experiment, so that's what I did. I wrote and recorded in my studio in North Hollywood in a very industrial area all night every night, with only sirens from fire trucks and these songs to keep me company. It was a lonely time, but very fruitful. You might even hear some of those sirens in some of the songs if you listen closely." Starting with between forty and fifty songs, he steadily whittled these down to fifteen, and finally to the ten that made the record, only wanting the very best to make the cut. As with all of his albums, once Borden hones in on a core subject matter he builds the album around it, and in the case of My Midnight Things, the theme is that of love. However, adopting a different approach to writing than usual, rather than starting with music, he instead focused on the lyrics, and penned the music later to best serve the stories being told, wanting every song to stand up on its own while keeping the storyline of the record moving forward. "I just let the lyrics drive the mood and the way I would sing each song, but overall I kept it varied and engaging enough so that listeners will want to devour the whole album in one sitting, without you hearing me repeat myself."
The diversity of the record makes it abundantly clear that he succeeded, and it makes for a thrilling ride from start to finish. Opening with the titanic stomp of the title track, the cinematic feel kicks off from the start, a serpentine seductiveness coiling through it, and the likes of "A Stranger To Love" and the bruising "Our Love Is God" inhabit similarly dark territory. The more stripped down, haunting strains of the reprise of the title track - which was in fact the first version penned - is achingly frail, and then counterpointing all of the record's darker and more brooding moments are the upbeat "Long May They Haunt Us", the hugely anthemic and uplifting closer "We Belong In The Shadows", and the frankly glorious "Run Away With Me". While the title of the album "means many different things" to Borden, he chooses not to disclose these, allowing listeners to find their own meaning in it, which is something important to him. In terms of the record's central theme, he acknowledges that while "love" seems somewhat obvious, he tried to find a way to see it through a different lens. "Sometimes being in love is the worst thing that can happen to you if you're with the wrong person and you can't stop it, and sometimes it's the best thing in the world. I knew I could find things in between every other song that's been written about it. So that was the challenge. But, even though I write with a theme in mind and with different personalities singing each song, I never write in storyboard form. I always try to write in poetry form. I think you can search for more meaning that way, from one line to the next there can be multiple meanings, as opposed to being trapped telling a story."
Having signed a new contract with Metal Blade on the strength of three demo tracks, Borden opted to produce My Midnight Things himself, with Joey Scott as co-producer, who also handled all the drumming duties. Having an old school approach to his drumming, feeding off the vocals, lyrics and melody rather than just acting as a time keeper, he was perfectly suited to Borden's approach to the record, which also applied to his role as co-producer. "I knew what I was going for and had doubts that I could find a producer who would understand that. My approach is very different than what is happening in today's music, but Joey got that and wanted the same thing." With Marliese Quance Mildenberger handling the majority of the keyboards, her unique melancholy playing style added even more "emotion and dimension" to each song, while Borden himself handled all of the bass, guitars, some keys and all of the vocal parts. Anyone exposed to My Midnight Things will find it hard to deny that like all of his records, it is a true vocal tour de force, each track endowed with a phenomenal amount of layering to create something that is uniquely Lizzy Borden. "The style that I record vocals harkens back to The Beatles and Queen. It's time consuming and tedious, but the result gives you a more multi-dimensional feel than you would get with a single vocal. When I recorded 'Master Of Disguise' (1989), I was clocked in at a seven-octave vocal range between all the backing and lead vocals. It gave the feel of multiple personalities within my voice, and I've used that technique on the last four albums."
That every song on the record could be released as a single is testament to just how strong this collection is. While truly a record for his fans, its appeal will easily reach much further, and Borden is as eager to get back on stage as his devout followers who cannot wait to see him back up there. "I've already started working on the 'My Midnight Things' Show, and I really can't wait to play these songs live. There are so many talented players out there in the world, I know I will find the right guys or girls to be on stage with me in my touring band, and just based on what is being talked about, so far it will be the best show I've ever done. I really do feel a new excitement that I have not felt in years. The best is yet to come."Tracklist coming soon!$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
OBH-15MK2 MM/MC Phono Pre-Amplifier
With modern amplifiers expected to cater for so many new source devices, the Phono capability, once very common, is one of those built-in features that has disappeared in recent times. The engineering team at Creek Audio has always loved the benefits of vinyl records and continues to work on technical and sonic improvements to its range of Phono amp options, be it the stand-alone OBH or Wyndsor or plug-in Sequel types. Tasked with designing a replacement for the long running OBH-15, the team came up with some valuable improvements and additional features; surprisingly they made them all fit into the original OBH-sized casework.
The OBH-15 mk2 has a completely new circuit design, with a discrete transistor MC and integrated circuit MM stage. Unlike its predecessor, the new amp has multiple gain settings and matching capabilities for capacitance and resistance. The signal required by most modern amplifiers is described as being 'LINE' level which is, in technical terms, between 200 and 500 milli-Volts sensitivity with a flat frequency response. Unless your amplifier has a specific 'Phono' or Disc input, the level will be too low to play vinyl and the frequency response will be wrong.$595.00Creek Audio OBH-15Mk2 MM/MC Phono Pre-amp Buy Now
UnvarnishedUnvarnished is the 14th studio album by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released on the Blackheart Records label.
Joan Jett has been through some dark times over the last 10 years - so many that she refers to it as her 'decade of death.' But she's channeled that grief into a new album, 'Unvarnished,' that contains some of her most personal work.
I wrote a lot about what teenagers write about: love, sex and partying and having a good time. As you grow up, things change, she explained. You have responsibilities and realize you've got to do stuff. I suppose you could run from that, but you've got to be there for your family and your friends.
Jett's 'decade of death' included the loss of both parents, which - as one might expect - proved difficult to cope with. They made it possible for me to do this. They encouraged me. They got me the guitar, she recalled. My father, who hated rock & roll, put up with it. He didn't come down on me to stop it. So losing my parents was big, and I think it translated to the music in songs like 'Fragile,' which is about life being fragile, love being fragile, how easy it is to break hearts.
Those themes carry over into other songs on 'Unvarnished,' as Jett went on to explain. 'Hard to Grow Up' is about responsibility and realizing that I've got to do this, she continued. The song 'Make It Back' is about Hurricane Sandy and people's attitudes. You don't see a lot of press about it as I go around the country. It was very devastating. My town is still beat up. People were really crushed. It gave me a sense of what it's like to be in a war zone.
It wasn't just personal or communal tragedies that stood between Jett and new material, either. I convinced myself I had writer's block, she explained. It was 'Reality Mentality' that was the song that took me a long time to write. I used to think that songs just came to me. They didn't - you had to sit down and work at it. Just be patient, write a couple of lines, leave it, come back to it and stuff will pop out. And all of a sudden, stuff started coming, and I realized: You don't have writer's block. Your expectations were wrong.
What it all adds up to, in Jett's opinion, is a record that should resonate with fans. The songs have a serious tone, but they're relatable, she concluded. They're songs about stuff everybody goes through.1. Any Weather (606 Version)
3. Soulmates To Strangers
4. Make It Back
5. Hard To Grow Up
7. Reality Mentality
8. Bad As We Can Be
10. Everybody Needs A Hero$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hear! Here!Hear! Here!, the Hollies second American album, was issued stateside in 1965 by Imperial Records. Its a reworkedand, for many listeners, improvedvariation on the original British LP known simply as Hollies, with the U.S. version adding the hits Look Through Any Window (the Hollies first American Top 40 single) and Im Alive. Hear! Here! finds the band members original compositions beginning to dominate the Hollies repertoire, with their songwriting skills shining on such standout tracks as Put Yourself in My Place, So Lonely and Ive Been Wrong. Elsewhere on the album, the groups interpretive skills shine through on Curtis Mayfields You Must Believe Me, Roy Orbisons Down the Line and Lloyd Prices Lawdy Miss Clawdy.
Of all the English bands who achieved international success during the first wave of the British Invasion, none combined youthful rock n roll energy with musical sophistication more compellingly than the Hollies. The Manchester quintet effortlessly combined the effervescent, Everly Brothers-inspired vocal harmonies of Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and Tony Hicks with a muscular rhythm section driven by the brilliant drummer Bobby Elliott, creating one of their eras most beloved and enduring musical catalogs.
As was standard practice with British acts at the time, the Hollies early albums reached American shores in very different form than the versions that were released overseas, with alternate track listings and different cover art than their U.K. and European counterparts. Although these unique variants are the form in which millions of American fans first experienced these historic albums, they have been out of print for decades, and have long been obtainable only at inflated collectors prices.1. I'm Alive
2. The Very Last Day
3. You Must Believe Me
4. Put Yourself in My Place
5. Down the Line
6. That's My Desire
7. Look Through Any Window
8. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
9. When I Come Home to You
10. So Lonely
11. I've Been Wrong
12. Too Many People$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl Mono LP - Sealed Buy Now
Illinois Blues 1973Colored Vinyl
The Heat get down and dirty in Illinois on this vintage live album recorded in support of the group's 9th studio album, the 1973 classic The New Age!
CH stalwarts Bob Hite, Henry Vestine, and Fito de la Parra are joined by Bob's younger brother Richard on bass, guitarist James Shane, and keyboardist Ed Beyer for smokin' hot versions of blues classics "Shake, Rattle And Roll," "So Long Wrong," "Goodbye For Now" and more!1. So Long Wrong
2. Harley Davidson Blues
3. Sore Back Blues
4. Shake, Ratte And Roll
5. Keep It Clean
6. Looking For My Rainbow
7. Rockin' With The King
8. Goodbye For Now$25.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
On The CornerMiles Davis On the Corner on Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity
Get Down and Make It Funky: Miles Davis' Groundbreaking On the Corner Focuses on the Groove and Bottom End
Mastered From the Original Master Tapes: Mobile Fidelity 180g LP Reveals Multiple Levels of Rhythm, Visceral Bass, and Pioneering Production Techniques In Transparent Fashion
Exotic, Bold, Streetwise: Spirited 1972 Album Embraces Davis' Jungle Sound With Percussive Foundations, Trance Loops, and Transformational Arrangements
Miles Davis' boundlessly influential On the Corner was so far ahead of its time upon release in 1972, the jazz cognoscenti rejected its groundbreaking concoction as middling in nature. Yet time has a way of righting wrongs and shifting views by adding needed context and perspective to visionary ideas, music, and approaches - the likes of which fill Davis' boldest and most controversial - undertaking. Designed to bring the focus back on the groove and bottom-end frequencies, the funk-loaded On the Corner revolutionized jazz. It also set new standards for record production, presaging remixing and electronica by more than a decade. And the work has never sounded more thrilling.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's numbered limited-edition 180g LP of On the Corner exposes the internal mechanisms, free-associated playing, and then-unmatched studio techniques in vivid audiophile-grade sonics. The low end, crucial to every composition here, is both heard and felt, with locked-in bass lines and low-range percussion conveyed as taut, solid, and visceral passages. You can even discern the multiple levels of rhythm Davis employed on complex tracks such as Black Satin, as On the Corner stands as his first effort to use overdubbing and multiple tape machines.
New degrees of spaciousness and airiness - equally important to the musique concrete arrangements - give the impression Davis and Co.'s creations float in space. Instruments are portrayed in three-dimensional manners, rhythmic loops retain tonal purity, and horn solos skitter across an extra-wide soundstage that takes listeners into Columbia's Studio E. Mobile Fidelity's analog version captures Teo Macero's innovative production - and the trumpeter's cutting-edge aural collages - in definitive fashion.
Heavily inspired by Sly and the Family Stone, On the Corner portrays street vibes and remains Davis' blackest-sounding record. The conscious attempt to connect with youthful audiences tapped into rock and funk is evident not only on the colorful cartoon cover art depicting hot-pants and zoot-suit revelers, but in the music's emphasis of recurring drum and bass grooves. Distinct from Davis' earlier fusion experiments, the record's long-misunderstood set dials back improvisation in favor of beats, loops, and atmospherics that generate trance-like effects. While Davis utilizes his band for core duties - Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock prominently figure - he also relies on an all-star cast of sidemen for concentrated soloing and additional support.
With rhythm providing the basic foundation, other notes fall into place, with their positioning steered by Macero and Davis' editing-room techniques. Looking to the manipulation-based work of Karlheinze Stockhausen and teaming with Stockhausen disciple Paul Buckmaster, Davis re-imagines what grooves constituted and could accomplish throughout On the Corner. The shapes of the songs become completely transformed as they progress. Faint melodies, spacey chords, chunky riffs, wah-wah fills, and repeated motifs bounce in and out of a sonic funhouse that wouldn't be out of place at a Harlem block party. Exotic, intrepid, and filled with Davis' jungle sound, On the Corner remains daringly hip more than four decades later.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. On the Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin' One Thing and Doin' Another/Vote for Miles
2. Black Satin
3. One and One
4. Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Handwritten (Awaiting Repress)
Blue Colored Vinyl
The late Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard famously defined the ingredients of a great song as three chords and the truth. Every songwriter knows three chords, but laying bare the truth? Now that can be an altogether trickier affair. In January of 2012, The Gaslight Anthem piled into their old tour van and headed across the New Jersey state line for a 14 hour road trip to Nashville on their own quest for the truth. Their destination was 2806 Azalea Place, Nashville, Blackbird Studio, where the New Brunswick quartet had booked five weeks recording time with producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, AC/DC). Their mission: to reconnect with rock 'n' roll in its most feral, pure, stripped-raw form.
Brian Fallon was thirteen years old when he discovered The Clash's self-titled debut album in the racks of Sound Effects Records in Hackettstown, New Jersey: the owner of the store promised the young teenager that the record would change his life. He wasn't wrong. But there was a time, not so very long ago, when The Gaslight's Anthem frontman had grown weary of the sound of electric guitars. After three albums of soulful, impassioned, hearts-on-fire punk rock, Sink Or Swim (2007), The '59 Sound (2008) and American Slang (2010), Fallon needed a change of pace, a change of scenery.
And so, in January of 2011, together with TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins, he formed The Horrible Crowes, a darkly melancholic side-project inspired by his love of The Afghan Whigs, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey. After the band's acclaimed debut album Elsie dropped in September, Fallon joined fellow punk rock troubadours Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) on the acoustic Revival Tour, airing stripped-down versions of Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes songs to packed rooms across Europe. And then he returned home to New Jersey and Gaslight, re-energized, renewed and ready to make a full-tilt rock 'n' roll record again.
After six weeks of that there's nothing you want to hear more than a Marshall stack turned all the way up, he says with a laugh. The result is Handwritten, the most committed, affecting and compelling album of The Gaslight Anthem's career to date. Introduced by muscular lead-off single 45, which received it's world premiere on BBC Radio 1 as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World on April 30, it finds the Jersey boys in inspired form, decanting '60's soul, '70's stadium rock, '80s hardcore and '90's grunge into eleven white-knuckle, blue-collar everyman anthems. Fallon likens its incandescent electrical storms to Tom Petty songs (being) played by Pearl Jam. Put more simply, it's a supercharged American rock 'n' roll classic.
We've taken everything we do and gone to 10 with it, explains Fallon. This is definitely the Gaslight Anthem record I would want next, if I were a fan. American Slang was cool, but this sounds like a band who has plugged back into the electric socket again. I think these songs are the closest thing to what we should have always sounded like, adds guitarist Alex Rosamilia. We just hadn't figured out yet how to play it right.
Fallon credits Brendan O'Brien for capturing the raw, live-off-the-floor feel of Handwritten. Fine-tuned in the living room of the small rental house the band shared in Nashville, its eleven tracks were recorded with the whole band eyeball-to-eyeball in one room at Blackbird, vibing off one another's energy. The electricity in the recordings is tangible. Brendan taught us a ton about songwriting and recording as a band, Fallon notes. The whole experience was amazing. That's the guy that recorded Pearl Jam, that's the guy that recorded Bruce Springsteen, that's the guy that did Rage Against The Machine; and that's the guy you want to say 'It's good', because when he says it's good, that's when it's good.
The purity of O'Brien's stark, unadorned recording process served to inspire Fallon's approach to the lyrical themes on Handwritten too. Where previous Gaslight Anthem albums evoked deathless images of Americana, all Cadillacs, jukeboxes, Ferris wheels and wistful, romanticized vignettes of star-struck lovers disappearing into the great wide open, Handwritten is rooted in Fallon's own experiences, lending the record a more immediate, emotional edge. Now I am no angel but I got nothing to hide, the singer rasps on the brooding grunge-noir of Too Much Blood. Can you say the same thing for yourself tonight?
It's supposed to be a letter to whoever is listening, says Fallon. Like, this is what we got beat up by and maybe you did too. There's so many things that I just never wrote about, real personal stuff that I just wasn't ready to talk about yet. Now I think being an adult I have some reflection on it. We wanted to look back on the music that we first found when we were in high school. The truth is, if you're my age, you were listening to Peal Jam and Nirvana and Soundgarden. When that music came out these were guys that we could relate to. They weren't the biggest bands in the world by accident.
And it's no accident either that with Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem themselves sound built to take on the world. After years paying their dues in the punk rock underground, their major label debut is assuredly the work of a young band who know their time is now. And their laidback, charismatic frontman is ready. I've always been ready for arenas, Fallon smiles. I've just been waiting for them to catch up to me. I want to play Giant Stadium, I always wanted to be a major label, major league band. If I can be the kid that's on the cover of Time magazine, I'll take it. And I'll buy you a drink while I'm at it.1. 45
3. Here Comes My Man
4. Mulholland Drive
6. Too Much Blood
8. Biloxi Parish
11. National Anthem$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Hard Times Are RelativeOur 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
10. Grandfather's Theme$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now