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Lemonade And BrowniesFirst Time On Vinyl!
Sugar Ray became widely known through their infectious Pop single "Fly", and a consequent lighter musical direction displayed by songs like "Every Morning", "Someday", and "When It's Over". However, at Sugar Ray's earliest conception, they were a Rock/Metal band at heart, with enough goofy energy to land them a deal with Atlantic and a debut record produced by DJ Lethal.
Lemonade and Brownies was released in 1995, and it showcases Sugar Ray in their most youthful and idealistic phase. Their major-label debut is a competent set of Alternative Funk/Metal, with a few Punk anthems to boot. Even though the album did not chart, the band stayed on the label going on to huge success a few years later.
DJ Lethal (of Limp Bizkit fame) produced the album. Named one of the sexiest covers art in the history of recorded music, actress Nicole Eggert (known for her role in the insanely popular '90s TV drama series Baywatch) is featured on the cover.1. Snug Harbor
2. Rhyme Stealer
3. Iron Mic
4. Hold Your Eyes
5. The Greatest
6. Big Black Woman
7. Mean Machine
8. Dance Party Usa
9. 10 Seconds Down
10. Danzig Needs A Hug
11. Drive By
14. Streaker$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Beautiful Letdown180-Gram Colored Vinyl
Mastered For Vinyl And Lacquers Created By Stan Ricker
Plated At RTI
High Gloss Gatefold Jacket
11 X 22 Insert
The Beautiful Letdown is the fourth studio album by alternative rock band Switchfoot. Originally released on February 25, 2003, it launched the band into the mainstream on the strength of two top 20 singles: ''Meant to Live'' and ''Dare You to Move.''
For a band who took their name from their beloved surfing hobby, Switchfoot are anything but posterboys for the slacker mindset. The San Diego quartet spent little time resting on the laurels of their Best Rock Gospel Album Grammy nomination for 2000's LEARNING TO BREATHE, opting for a tireless tour schedule instead. Their first offering with new label Red Ink finds the band further refining their pop-rock craft. Switchfoot's music makes no secret at making musical nods to their contemporaries, most notably Foo Fighters (''Ammunition''), Third Eye Blind (''Dare You To Move''), and Sugar Ray (''Gone''). With THE BEAUTIFUL LETDOWN, Switchfoot succeed at making a document reflecting on real life with a consistent undercurrent of hope and humility.1. Meant To Live
2. This If Your Life
3. More Than Fine
5. Dare You To Move
7. The Beautiful Letdown
9. On Fire
10. Adding To The Noise
11. Twenty-Four$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP Buy Now
Morning ViewDouble gatefold sets presented on 180-gram audiophile vinyl.
Fans who discovered Incubus and their album Make Yourself through their massive radio hit Drive may be surprised that the band released a follow-up album so quickly. Yet the reality is that Make Yourself was a definitive sleeper hit, never peaking past the Top 50 of Billboard's album charts, but staying on those same charts for close to two years and in the process shifting over two million units. With each successive single that was released, the band gradually moved away from the nu-metal/Ozzfest crowd they had been initially lumped into and revealed the solid songwriting and talent for a good melody underneath the layers of surging guitars. The lessons learned from Make Yourself have definitely been applied to Morning View. While there is still a fair share of aggressive numbers (Circles, Blood on the Ground, and Under My Umbrella arguably the strongest of the harder tracks), the ratio of softer and mellower numbers have increased dramatically, to the point where hardcore fans of earlier material may be bewildered. For the most part, the transition works. Mexico is a sparsely arranged acoustic ballad that gives lead singer Brandon Boyd an opportunity to demonstrate his formidable vocal range. Are You In is an upbeat, funky tune reminiscent of Sugar Ray (and that's meant in a good way). The most offbeat track is the album closer, Aqueous Transmission, a tranquil, exotic-sounding ballad that sees the band successfully experimenting with Middle Eastern string arrangements. Not all the experiments gel (Echo), and there is a tendency, especially in the middle third of the album, for the songs to sound too similar in sound and tempo, but on the whole, Morning View is a fine follow-up to Make Yourself and a natural progression in the band's musical evolution. While it may not appeal to fans of the harder material, music lovers who like their rock a little less aggressive and a little more ambitious and, well, sensitive should give Morning View a spin.
1. Nice To Know You
3. Wish You Were Here
4. Just A Phase
6. Blood On The Ground
3. Have You Ever
4. Are You In?
5. Under My Umbrella
6. Aqueous Transmission$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Begin To HopeRegina Spektor's last album, 2004's Soviet Kitsch, garnered praise from Time, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vanity Fair, The New York Times and many others. But this Russian-born, Bronx-bred singer-songwriter-pianist, who emerged from the NYC cafÉ circuit, continues to expand her vision. On Begin To Hope, produced by David Kahne (The Strokes, Sublime, Sugar Ray), she broadens here palette with electric guitar, drum machines and seductive electronic loops, finding new canvases for her provocative vocal style. Hope for pop has arrived with Regina Spektor.1. Fidelity
4. On the Radio
5. Field Below
6. Hotel Song
7. Apres Moi
8. 20 Years Of Snow
9. That Time
11. Summer In The CIty$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
We ThreeWe Three, recorded in a single session on November 14, 1958, was the first American studio date as a bandleader for the diminutive and legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, although with pianist Phineas Newborn on board (along with bassist Paul Chambers), it really is a set dominated by Newborn, whose busy, two-handed technique here works in tandem balance with Haynes' cool refinement. Newborn was all about amazing and dazzling piano runs that on some dates created simply too much flash and clutter to allow pieces to flow and breathe properly, but Haynes has always been about grace and flow throughout his career (if a drummer's style can said to be elegant, Haynes fits the bill), and here he rubs off on Newborn, who exercises just enough restraint to keep him in the proper orbit, resulting in a fine album. Highlights include the easy, pure swing of the opener, a version of Ray Bryant's Reflection, a wonderful and bluesy rendition of Avery Parrish's After Hours (which finds Newborn in perfect balance between explosive ornamentation and smooth functionality), and a jaunty, fun spin through Newborn's own Sugar Ray, a tribute to boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. This trio had a brief recording career together, but as this solid set shows, they made the best of it.
- Steve Leggett (All Music Guide)1. Reflection
2. Sugar Ray
4. After Hours
5. Sneakin' Around
6. Our Delight$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Psychic Temple IIIt may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets' Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.
Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life - as he puts it, "a dream ensemble that could never actually exist." The ensemble's sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.
"I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities," Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell's ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010's Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.
"It seems like a crazy combination of people," Schlarb says, "but they're all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it's always worth reaching further."
Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. "I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate," Schlarb says of the new album's unique direction. "What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward."
Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," Frank Zappa's "Sofa No. 2," and Brian Wilson's "'Til I Die," a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets' Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize's Nedelle Torrisi.
Psychic Temple had its origins in Create (!), a large improvising ensemble with which Schlarb used to perform. The free-form group would often incorporate multiple drummers, a concept that Schlarb decided to pursue in a more composition-oriented setting. No matter how much Psychic Temple mutates from track to track, the rhythmic possibilities of its two drummers (in this case, Tabor Allen and Andrew Pompey) remain intact.
Schlarb's imaginative leaps are evidenced from the outset of Psychic Temple II, on the intoxicating opening track, "Seventh House." Featuring the sinuous vocals of Sarah Negahdari, who recently served as touring bassist for Silversun Pickups, the song weaves together lyrical and musical references to Neil Young's "Will To Love," to the Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers album Pisces, and to Sheena Easton's notorious Prince-penned pop hit "Sugar Walls."
Then there's "The Starry King Hears Laughter" and "She Is the Golden World," two songs that pay simultaneous homage to poet William Blake and jazz legend Bill Evans; or "Solo in Place," Schlarb's attempt to filter classic soul through his own "weird prism," a missing link between the Isley Brothers and the Alan Parsons Project that features guitar wizard Paul Masvidal of the death metal bands Death and Cynic.
Despite such a mind-blowing array of talent from the farthest reaches of the musical spectrum, Psychic Temple II is a surprisingly cohesive album, a testament to Schlarb's clear controlling vision. "One of the fundamental flaws of modern music is the idea of the record as a pastiche," he says. "With hip-hop and R&R records starting in the '90s, you had ten tracks with ten different producers so every track sounded completely different. There was no aesthetic where you could just put on a record and listen to it beginning to end. I admire people who are control freaks."
Schlarb has wielded control over a number of vastly different projects himself. The New York Observer called his debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, "40 minutes of avant-garde bliss," while Interoceans, recorded with experimental jazz duo I Heart Lung, was chosen by NPR as one of the top five jazz albums of 2008. He composed the score for Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren's video game Nightsky and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Meet the Composer. In 2001, Schlarb founded the eclectic Sounds Are Active record label, which has released music by the likes of Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Castanets.1. Seventh House
2. The Starry King Hears Laughter
3. Solo In Place
4. Bird In The Garden
5. 'Til I Die
6. She Is The Golden World
7. Steppin' Out
8. All I Want Is Time
9. Sofa No. 2
10. NO TSURAI
11. Hyacinth Thrash Quarter$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now