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Labor Of LovePreviously Unreleased Late 1990s Recordings
200-Gram Vinyl Pressed At Quality Record Pressings
Taj Mahal, Loose And Casual In Informal Recording Sessions With Peers
Taj Performs With Guest Artists: John Dee Holeman, Cool John Ferguson, Cootie Stark And Algia Mae Hinton
Tip-On Gatefold Jacket From Stoughton Printing
The blues live on because the blues give people life, not the other way around. Talk about the blues with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and composer Taj Mahal, or Tim Duffy, founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and you'll quickly understand how deeply they grasp this. So it's no surprise that their shared love of blues has created a special vinyl-only album release that's got the loose, easy feel of a porch-sitting guitar strum, sipping sweet tea on a warm summer day.
Labor of Love comprises recordings made by Duffy, hanging out with Taj and other artists in a Houston hotel room and during visits to the Music Maker Relief Foundation headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Taj and Tim first connected in the mid-1990s as Tim was establishing the foundation. The foundation is dedicated to preserving Southern roots music by directly supporting senior artists in need while documenting their music and sharing their stage and recording talents with the world.
A CD collection released by the foundation featuring Music Maker artists caught Taj's attention. Tim invited Taj to his place in rural Pinnacle, N.C., where he hung out with several of the artists. Taj loved how they played and sang, but he especially loved getting to know their lives and how they made things work.
Not much time passed before a performing tour was launched, with Taj as the headliner. Meanwhile, Tim, sensing an incredibly rich opportunity, was hauling along with the tour, high-end recording gear. He set it up in hotel rooms hoping to capture an impromptu session. One night in Houston, magic happened. A few senior bluesmen, Tim, Taj and the daughter of Katie Mae, immortalized in the Lightin' Hopkins classic Katie Mae Blues hung out together in a hotel room in Houston. Taj picked up an acoustic guitar and started in on classic tunes - Stack-O-Lee, Walking Blues, and more. The tape was rolling.
During the time of the tour, Taj was also visiting during hang-out, barbecue and recording sessions at Music Maker's new North Carolina headquarters in Hillsborough. When the music got going, Taj would play some piano, bass, harp, banjo, mandolin and whatever else was needed.
Now is the time for these immortalized sessions to be heard. So here they are on a solid piece of wax. And what wax it is - a full-on 200-gram vinyl Analogue Productions masterpiece plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings, maker of the world's best-sounding LPs. Packaged in a Stoughton Printing tip-on gatefold jacket. You won't find a more intimate portrayal of Taj as a freewheeling, fun-loving, always-in-the-pocket sideman.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Stack-O-Lee
2. Shortnin' Bread (with Neal Patman)
3. My Creole Belle
4. I Ain't The One You Love (with Algia Mae Hinton)
5. Fishing Blues
6. Mistreating Blues (with John Dee Holeman)
7. African Wysie
8. So Sweet (with Cootie Stark)
9. Klondike Gold
10. Hambone (with John Dee Holeman)
11. Walking Blues
12. John Henry (with Etta Baker)
13. Song For Brenda (with Cool John Ferguson)$39.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
King Of The BeachKing of the Beach, the new Wavves album is an adventurous and ambitious record. It cuts deeper into the bleeding throat catharsis and 60s sunshine soul that Wavves is known for. It also unexpectedly flips out with elements of primitive electronics and psychedelic studio experimentation. Unlike Wavves previously released material, recorded in haphazard bursts on Williams laptop, King of the Beach was toiled over for three months at Sweet Tea Recording, a world-renowned studio in Oxford, Mississippi. Sweet Tea is also the home of Dennis Herring, producer of the last two Modest Mouse albums, and the man who dismantled and re-assembled the sound on this record.1. King Of The Beach
2. Super Soaker
4. When Will You Come
5. Post Acid
6. Take On The World
7. Baseball Cards
8. Convertible Balloon
9. Green Eyes
10. Mickey Mouse
11. Linus Spacehead
12. Baby Say Goodbye$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
You & MeThe music that inspired The Walkmen to compose You & Me follows in a tradition of song writing that goes back to early rock 'n' roll: the intimacy and energy of Elvis Presley's and Buddy Holly's early recordings, and the massive voice and orchestration of Roy Orbison. And it carries on through people like Bob Marley and Randy Newman and on to bands like The Pogues and The Modern Lovers - the sort of songs that are very much a product of their time and place while firmly rooted in tradition. The vocals were performed live right in the room with the full band, and sometimes a horn section too.
With some romance and drama, You & Me harnesses a sense of classic live-band production into meticulously constructed, unique-sounding rock songs. The sound would definitely not be mistaken for old, but it would be impossible to ignore the most timeless influences. You & Me offers a distinctive twist to the Walkmen sound of their first three records. Each song shows focus, and an up-beat enthusiasm apparent in all lyrics, music, and performances. It is a long record, clocking in at just under an hour, and it presents a wide range of ideas. The pacing is very important, as the band felt it was essential to set the right tone, and show each song in its proper light.
Writing and recording of You & Me happened over a vibrant and rigorous 2-year period, during which the members of The Walkmen were split between Philadelphia and New York. The band rode China Town busses five days a week to work in two small rehearsal spaces (an old nightclub in Chelsea, New York and a warehouse in Fish Town, Philadelphia) to freeze by the kerosene heater in the winter, and sweat it out in the summer. By the time of the records pressing there were over four hundred cast-off 8-track tapes littering both spaces.
The album was recorded in two installments, the first at Sweet Tea studios in Oxford, Mississippi (where they had worked on Bows and Arrows) with engineer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Hold Steady, Sonic Youth) and in a couple of sessions in New York's Gigantic Studios (built by Phillip Glass) with engineer Chris Zane. You & Me is a solid and complex showcase of inspired songwriting. Romantic and celebratory, this is the sound of The Walkmen returning to classic form.1. Donde Esta la Playa
2. Flamingos (for Colbert)
3. On the Water
4. In the New Year
5. Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch)
6. Postcards from Tiny Islands
7. Red Moon
8. Canadian Girl
9. Four Provinces
10. Long Time Ahead of Us
11. The Blue Route
12. New Country
13. I Lost You
14. If Only it Were True$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Gardens & VillaIn the year of the saxophone, Santa Barbaras Gardens & Villa give us the flute. And along the way, G&V effectively wipe clear the vaseline from the murky bedroom funk of recent days. G&V bang out instant classics, each crystal clear and immaculate, but no less sweeping or languid. Their debut is a youthful exploration of just how opulent and pop starkness can go. It also leaves an impression of California in the way that Richard Diebekorns Ocean Park series or the pool party scene from The Graduate both do, always sensed more than stated outright.
Gardens & Villa channel all the taut pop precisions of '90s Britpop of bands like Blur, and send it through an '80s synth filter both undeniably coastal and modern. Its Spoons Kill The Moonlight lost in a daydream, but with that same hungry energy. Gardens & Villa may simultaneously pull from Gary Numan, The Kinks and odder prog within one composition. And like a fine sweet tea, its made just that right kind of sugary, though even the most upbeat tunes have an undercurrent of the bittersweet and the lost at heart.
In 2010, Gardens & Villa traveled to Oregon to record their debut with visionary, vibemaster and labelmate Richard Swift. Together, they put some sand in the sheets of new wave (Black Hills) and pop some translucent funk (Orange Blossom). Theres also a level of effortless class maintained across the whole set. Each and every lush little gem explores the wonderful mystery between intuition and proficiency, between tension and repose. Gardens & Villa are Chris Lynch, Adam Rasmussen, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop and Dusty Ineman.1. Black Hills
2. Cruise Ship
3. Thorn Castles
4. Orange Blossom
7. Star Fire Power
8. Sunday Morning
9. Carrizo Plain
10. Neon Dove$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
"A lot of bands like to rehearse in the basement and play as
many gigs as possible before hitting the studio, but The
Lowest Pair had a different approach in mind. For their
debut album 36¢. . . started recording virtually from the get-go, pairing a two-banjo approach with earnest, earthy
36¢ is The Lowest Pair's debut record recorded
months after Kendl Winter (Olympia Washington)
and Palmer T. Lee (Minnesota) decided to form the
primarily double banjo outt. Recorded and
engineered by Dave Simonett (Trampled by Turtles)
at Suburban Dad Studios, it's the early pickin's,
sweet off the tree, a newly formed endeavor by two
seasoned pros. The duo swap lead vocals
throughout the album's 11 tracks, combining Kendl's
banjo skills with Palmer's midwestern croon. Prior to
this Kendl has released 3 full length albums under
her name for K Records and Palmer has released
two albums with his band Boys n' the Barrels.
Palmer has also performed with Drew Peterson and
The Dead Pigeons.1. Oh, Susanna
2. Tuesday Morning 10a.m.
3. Living Is Dying
4. Pear Tree
5. Rumi's Field
6. Do You Leave The Light On?
7. Last Summer
8. Moving On
9. Trying To Feel At Home
10. Magpies At Sunset
11. Dock My Boat$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Sacred Heart SessionsThe Lowest Pair features the duel banjo picking of Kendl Winter and
Palmer T. Lee. Draped in Kendl's high lonesome harmonies and Palmer's
Midwest croon, their debut release, 36¢, (Team Love Records) was
hailed by many outlets and American Songwriter praised their earnest,
earthy songcraft. Team Love will release their
sophomore album, The Sacred Heart Sessions.
Arkansas-born and now homesteading in Olympia, Washington, Kendl
Winter sprouts alfalfa beans in mason jars in the back of the tour van and
spreads her songs across the country Johnny Appleseed style. Kendl
brings to The Lowest Pair her wonderfully weaving poetry of song, old
and new, and a voice somewhere between Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent
with a little Olympia twist. Palmer T. Lee who hails from Minneapolis was
nineteen years old when he inherited a couple of banjos and discovered
he could reassemble them into his dream instrument. Former front man
for the much loved high energy bluegrass band The Boys n' the
Barrels, Palmer's songs are distilled into the warm sweet sounds of his
percussive wordplay and the melodic interludes of his own unique style
played on a pieced together banjo.
After nearly a year of traveling the country playing clubs, hotels, house
shows, back yards and street corners, they found their way back up to
Minnesota, this time to Duluth where they sat down to record the followup
to 36¢. Linking up with Tom Fabjance at an old church seemed like
the perfect way to expand on their sound without diluting their original
magical formula. The Sacred Heart Sessions is an album that allows the
listening to enter the space that surrounds its creation. One can virtually
feel the walls and vaulted ceiling of the old wooden church rising up,
creating a natural reverb and warming the air.
Be it Kendl's punk roots, her admiration for the traditional American
songbook, or the gravitational pull she sensed drawing her to Olympia,
it's her combining these talents and creative impulses with Palmer's
Midwestern charm, the long winters spent listening to a steady diet of
Townes Van Zandt and John Hartford and the strange moment of fate
that left him with two inherited banjos as a young man; this combination
has resulted in a uniquely original sound that is The Lowest Pair.1. Ruben's Fortune
4. Fourth Time's A Charm
5. Minnesota, Mend Me
7. In The During Of A Moment
8. Smile And Nod
10. Scavenger Hunt$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Swim TeamMusic thrives on freedom. Without boundaries or blueprints, songs not only come to life, but last for a very long time to come.
Dirty Heads' sixth full-length offering, SWIM TEAM [Five Seven Music], finds the group at its most free. The Orange County, CA quintet-Jared "Dirty J" Watson [co-lead vocals], Dustin "Duddy B" Bushnell [co-lead vocals, guitar], Jon Olazabal [percussion], Matt Ochoa [drums], and David Foral [bass]-traffic between alternative, hip-hop, reggae, and rock with the same spirit and spark that's powered them since the beginning.
As a result, the hooks naturally became bigger, the experimentation got bolder, and the smoke blazed brighter
"We've put in so much hard work over the years that we have the freedom to do whatever we want now," affirms Jared. "Making the new record, I re-fell in love with everything about being in this band: writing music, playing shows, having fun, and where we're at. We spent every day not only working on songs, but laughing our asses off. What other people said didn't matter. The rules of being a proper songwriter and all of that bullshit didn't matter. If something felt good, we left it in there. It was so cool to get back to that feeling. Creating music was completely free. It was just fucking fun!"
For the better part of 15 years, Dirty Heads have quietly worked towards this point. In 2008, they emerged with the fan favorite full-length debut, Any Point In A Storm. Signature single "Lay Me Down" achieved an RIAA gold certification and clinched #1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart for 11 weeks-a record run for that year. 2014 saw Sound of Change debut at #8 on the Billboard Top 200, garner acclaim from the likes of Esquire, and vault "My Sweet Summer" to the top of Alternative Radio. Most recently, 2016's self-titled Dirty Heads went Top 15 on the Top 200 and spawned the smash "That's All I Need," which racked up over 10.5 million Spotify streams and counting. Noisey summed up the album best as, "Killer." Simultaneously, they remain one of the world's most engaging and exhilarating live acts, selling out sheds coast to coast.
During early 2017, the group started writing songs with no expectations or plans and soon found themselves working on what would become SWIM TEAM. That boundless environment immediately fostered inspiration.
"We had some time off, and we were like, 'We might as well get in the studio and see what happens'," recalls Duddy. "In doing that, we were able to come up with some really good ideas. We didn't have any pressure to put out new music. It's a lot more ambient and simple. We went heavier on the hip-hop, which I love. After the first song, we agreed to just finish a record. We were all inspired."
In order to capture those moments, Dirty Heads handpicked a team of collaborators-Jonas Jeberg [Demi Lovato, Juicy J, Jason Derulo], "Lay Me Down" partner-in-crime Rome [Enrique Iglesias] of Sublime with Rome, Blueprint [Jay-Z, Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem, Nas, Prodigy], Oren Yoel [Miley Cyrus, Kanye West], HEAVY [Andrew McMahon], and The Score-and recorded between Los Angeles and Orange County.
"On the last album, it was like a mad speed dating rush with a bunch of producers to see who worked best," says Jared. "We had never done that before, and it was cool. It was a different vibe, studio, and guy every day. There are only a few producers on SWIM TEAM. The only new guys were HEAVY, and we hit it off immediately. We were molding and mutating what Dirty Heads are but with something new. We wanted to create songs we hadn't heard before."
That brings us to the first single "Vacation." Produced by Jeberg, "Vacation" sways from bright sun-soaked piano and booming horns into an unshakable and hashtaggable chant, "Hey, I'm on vacation every single day cuz I love my occupation. Hey, I'm on vacation, if you don't like your life then you should go and change it."
"We spent eight years in a van, worked hard, and now we're here," says Duddy. "It's almost like a vacation now."
"I want 'Vacation' to speak to people out there who have paid their dues and love their jobs," adds Jared. "For those who don't enjoy what they do every day, it sends a message that, 'It's not too late to do something else.' If you're not happy, life is way too fucking short to hang around and do things you don't love. We're blessed to do something we're passionate about. We hope you feel the same!"
Working with HEAVY, the emotional "Celebrate" volleys from vulnerable verses into confessional raps and a heart-wrenching refrain about being away from home. It's a classic pop ballad Dirty Heads-style with the power to resonate amongst listeners everywhere.
"It strikes a chord for those of us who travel a lot and leave friends and families at home," explains Duddy. "We miss so much on the road. We're humans. We have wives. We have kids. We're happy to do what we love, but at the same time we miss our loved ones."
Then there's "High Tea," which tows the line between 1940s-inspired crooning and grimy East Coast rhyme gymnastics like The Ink Spots guesting on Paul's Boutique.
"That's my favorite song we've ever written," beams Jared. "The melody was super catchy, and there's an old school guitar part. We juxtapose those mellow, airy, and ethereal elements with hard-hitting hip-hop. We were drinking these weed kombuchas at the time," he laughs.
In the end, SWIM TEAM represents Dirty Heads at their most dynamic, diverse, and definitive.
"When you hear it, I just want you to walk away thinking, 'Damn, that sounds like Dirty Heads'," concludes Duddy.
Jared leaves off, "I want you to feel the same way I did making it. Join this weird, odd, and wonderful secret society we've created over the past fifteen years. You're part of it now. Welcome to the team."1. Staloney
2. High Tea
3. Mad At It
6. Diamonds And Pearls
7. Get Somewhere
8. So Glad You Made It
9. God Damn Liar
11. West Coast$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now