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The Way Is ReadNonesuch Records releases The Way Is Read, a twelve-song album by the English trio The Staves-Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor (all vocals)-and New York City-based ensemble yMusic. After being commissioned in 2016 by Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires Festival to collaborate on a live performance piece, The Staves delved deep into yMusic's catalogue of contemporary classical compositions to find pieces suited to their lyrics and vocals. While the Festival is known for bringing musicians together for one-off performances, this is the first time one of those partnerships has made the leap into a studio album. The LP was produced by Rob Moose and Jessica Staveley-Taylor and mixed and engineered by Brian Joseph at his studio, Hive, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The two groups will come together live again at a series of special shows at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on December 1 and 2, and they also will perform on public radio's A Prairie Home Companion on December 16. The Way Is Read is available to pre-order now from iTunes and the Nonesuch Store, along with an instant download of the album track Trouble on My Mind, which can be heard on Spotify. You can watch a video for that song, directed by yMusic flautist Alex Sopp, here:
Emily Staveley-Taylor says of the collaboration, Our aim from the outset was to truly collaborate with yMusic. We wanted to feel like instruments and join in with some of yMusic's existing work, using our voices in ways we hadn't previously explored. We chopped up compositions and put them together again in new ways. We took old folk songs and made them abstract. The idea of forming an orchestra with these incredible musicians was fascinating. What we have ended up with is everything we'd hoped, more than we dreamed, and hopefully the tip of the iceberg.
Rob Moose of yMusic adds, When Justin raised the possibility of our groups collaborating, we immediately upped the stakes by focusing on a combination of new Staves songs and transformations of yMusic's composed works. It was as much a thrill to hear songs emerge organically over sections of intricate chamber music as it was satisfying to strip songs of the instrument that created them, whether guitar or piano, in order to craft new connective tissue. This project was born of voice memos sent back and forth across the seas, two frenetic days in a Manhattan rehearsal space, a festival set, and a single day of recording in the woods outside of Eau Claire.
The Staves, also known as Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor, moved to Minneapolis from London in the summer of 2016, where they lived for a year in order to be closer to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, friend and collaborator Justin Vernon's hometown, which has become a creative hub and second home to them. The sisters have worked with Stones and Who producer Glyn Johns, as well as Laura Marling and Ryan Adams producer Ethan Johns. In addition to their three albums and several EPs, The Staves have headlined tours across North America and Europe and performed on tours with Bon Iver, Florence and the Machine, Angus and Julia Stone, and The Civil Wars. The New York Times said of their 2015 Vernon-produced Nonesuch debut, If I Was, the songs are illuminated from within, and Magnet said, The perfection just goes on and on until you start to wonder: Are they human?
Hailed by Performance Today's Fred Child as one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music, yMusic comprises six New York City instrumentalists-violinist Rob Moose, violist Nadia Sirota, cellist Gabriel Cabezas, clarinettist Hideki Aomori, flutist Alex Sopp, and trumpeter CJ Camerieri-flourishing in the overlap between the pop and classical worlds. Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration has attracted the attention of high profile collaborators-from Paul Simon to Ben Folds to JosÉ González-and inspired an expanding repertoire of original works by some of today's foremost composers, including Nico Muhly and Andrew Norman.1. Hopeless
2. Take Me Home
3. Trouble on My Mind
4. Bladed Stance
5. All My Life
6. Silent Side
7. Year of the Dog
8. Courting Is a Pleasure
9. All the Times You Prayed
11. Sprig of Thyme
12. The Way is Read$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
An Argument With MyselfIn the symbology of Jens Lekmans songbook, motion is a means to stave off insanity or succumb to it and the songs on the An Argument With Myself EP deal with many types of movement, both big and small, from why he moved to Melbourne to the societal change/movement in his old hometown of Gothenburg to simple map directions.
The opening song and title track begins with this excellent Jens archetype, recounting an inner battle while walking home through the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. While on its face, Waiting For Kirsten seems to trace an ultimately futile odyssey to track down Kirsten Dunst while she films in Gothenburg, its really an attempt to work out the complex relationship one has with ones hometown. The comfort and disappoint of whats changed, and what seems to never change. Alternately, the horn driven New Directions brings a slightly manic roadmap of directions to any place but here and any time but now. The songs are witty, literal, and impeccably location-specific, and theyre all heading somewhere as a means to either go crazy or keep from doing so.
With more fractured textures that combine horns, flutes, string swells and arpeggiated guitars, the opening of the EP finds Jens in constant state of transition, musically, as well. However, as An ArgumentWith Myself comes to a close the arrangements get looser,more reggae-tinged and relaxed, like a music box winding down. For a moment, the motion almost stops. For now.1. An Argument With Myself
2. Waiting for Kirsten
3. A Promise
4. New Directions
5. So This Guy At My Office$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Detroit Twelve String Blues & Rags (Awaiting Repress)Todd Albright is a Country Blues, finger-style 12-string guitar player and singer living in Detroit, Michigan. An evening's sonic evocations of pre-WWII Blues covers an extensive selection of material recorded in the 1920's and 30's. Playing the 12 string guitar, Todd brings to life an era composed of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sylvester Weaver, Blind Willie McTell and Leadbelly, among others. Todd's history playing the Blues reaches over 25 years, though he does not remember a time that a guitar wasn't in his hands.
He first heard the Country Blues at the age of twelve, thanks to a gifted John Lee Hooker record from his sister. The experience was a profound one-the Blues felt right, and he immediately became a self-taught student of the genre aiming solely to interpret the sounds of the masters. Todd has performed across the U.S, both as a solo musician and alongside his former country blues string band, The Staving Chain. Throughout the years, Todd has enjoyed sharing the stage with notable musicians and friends such as Dakota Dave Hull, Roy Book Binder, Charlie Parr, and Paul Geremia.1. Savannah Mama
2. Kill It Kid
3. Rising River Blues
5. Sweet Mary Blues
6. Cherry Ball Blues
7. My Money Never Runs Out
8. Train That Carried My Girl From Town$9.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Santana III (Awaiting Repress)Santana III on Numbered Limited Edition LP from Mobile Fidelity Silver Label
Last Santana Album Recorded With Famed Woodstock Band
With Guitar Virtuoso Neal Schon in Fold, Santana Makes Musical Magic That Truly Spans the Globe years Before "World Music" Became a Genre
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity's World-Renowned Mastering System and Pressed at RTI: LP Breathes With Sumptuous Warmth
The final Santana album recorded with the leader's famed Woodstock lineup, one of the most capable and explosive bands ever assembled, Santana III (commonly referred to as The Third Album) is a beacon of Latin-tinged rock, melodic creativity, and cohesive interplay. The record also marks the debut of young guitar virtuoso Neal Schon, who functions as the ideal foil to Santana, whose playing on this 1971 set rivals that of the finest in his career. If not for arriving after the monumental Abraxas, it is likely Santana III would be mentioned in the same breath as groundbreaking psychedelic classics such as Bitches Brew. It's that good.
Embracing the concept that all of the members should share their musical ideas, Santana added two crucial components to his band: Schon, discovered at the age of 15 playing in a Palo Alto club, and Thomas "Coke" Escovedo, who during the sessions temporarily replaced ill percussionist Chepito Areas, and whose percussive assistance helped define the album's feel. With Schon in the fold, Santana strives for the unknown, and yet, manages to stave off the numbing excesses that define much of the period's output.
From the opening "Batuka," peppered with Schon's stirring guitar lines, to the sensitive "Everything Is Coming Our Way," infused with a mesmerizing Hammond organ underpinning that supports Santana's vocal pathos, the record teams with inventiveness. Involving albeit accessible concoctions of funk, jazz, rock, blues, and soul run throughout the set. Spanish-styled flavors infuse a majority of the material, ranging from the salsa piano on "Guarjira" to the distinctive "No One to Depend On," a lively take on the cha-cha-cha.
A globe-spanning armada of percussive instruments-timbales, congas, drums, vibes, tambourines, and more-as well as the existence of a three-person percussion team that fits in harmoniously with Santana, Schon, and company makes Santana III a masterful accomplishment in musical chemistry and the exploration of true world craft.
The Silver Label LP of Santana III breathes with sumptuous warmth and you-are-there realism. The tension of Schon's guitar lines, the album's open sound, and extensive use of studio echoes (check the presence of the backward echo on "No One to Depend On") fill the soundstage, replete with the kind of depth and dynamics one expects from a first-rate audiophile recording.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Batuka
2. No One to Depend On
4. Toussaint L'Overture
5. Everybody's Everything
7. Jungle Strut
8. Everything's Coming Our Way
9. Para los Rumberos$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
M.A.S.H Original SoundtrackImport
First Pressing Of 750 Individually Numbered Copies 180 Gram On Red Vinyl, Black Vinyl Thereafter
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, M*A*S*H from 1970 is one of the most commercially and critically successful films in television history. After the release of the film a spinoff series was released and gained as much as success.
The film displays the setting of the 4077th MASH, located just three miles from the front line in Uijeongbu, where the doctors and nurses perform meatball surgery and otherwise do what they can to patch up the physical (and, occasionally, psychological) wounds of the conflict's casualties while staving off their own fear, stress, boredom and fatigue by fair means or foul.
Johnny Mandel's work on the soundtrack largely involved arranging period tunes and effect music (especially military and football-related themes), although he also wrote a memorable main title theme.
Song from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) is written by Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics), which was the theme song for both the movie and TV series M*A*S*H. Mike Altman is the son of the original film's director, Robert Altman, and was 14 years old when he wrote the song's lyrics.
Several instrumental versions of the song were used as the theme for the TV series. It became a number one hit in the UK Singles Chart in May 1980. The song was ranked #66 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs.1. Suicide Is Painless (Main Title)
2. Duke And Hawkeye Arrive At M.A.S.H.
3. The Operating Theater
4. Major Houlihan And Major Burns
5. Painless' Suicide, Funeral And Resurrection
6. "Hot Lips" Shows Her True Colors
7. Moments To Remember
8. The Football Game
9. Going Home
10. Good Morning Max$36.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hell Bent For LettersAlternative Tentacles tosses our well-worn thinking cap into the no-holds-barred, no-child-left-behind ring of Educore with Hell Bent for Letters, the latest outing by Seattle's BLOODHAG. Formed in 1995 to stimulate a communion between literacy and punk/metal, BLOODHAG boasts a lineup of noted science fiction authors Prof. J. B. Stratton, Dr. J. M. McNulty, Sir Zachary Orgel and the shadowy occultist Master Brent Carpenter. They created the genre of Edu-core and operate under the motto Th e faster you go deaf, the more time you have to read.
While BLOODHAG's minute-long songs have the common theme of esteemed authors such as George Orwell and Philip K. Dick--and their live shows include between-song mini-lectures as well as pelting of the audience with books--the music counters with the blunt force of bands like BRUJERIA, PANTERA, SEPULTURA, etc.
It's open to debate whether Edu-core can actually pummel literary history into the hungry minds of head-banging youth, but we certainly can't blame BLOODHAG for trying to bridge the gap between death metal tombs and Pulizerwilling tomes or the beer-soaked venues and pristine libraries (yes, they really tour public libraries).
With their neckties and pocket protectors cocked and loaded, BLOODHAG is ready to stave off the dumbing down of America. So, invest in the leaders of tomorrow! Buy Hell Bent for Letters today!
Glorifyingly hooked on demonics, they make some of the heaviest, snuggie underwear-soiling sounds this side of SPAZZ and BRUJERIA, while mixing in some Reading Rainbow, -Thrasher Magazine
Note to bands: Always play before BLOODHAG, never after them -Stroker Magazine
Learning has never hurt this good! -Portland Mercury1. Gene Wolfe
2. Robert Silverberg
3. Douglas Adams
4. James Blish
5. Anne McCaffrey
6. Orson Scott Card
7. Iain M. Banks
8. Edgar Allan Poe
9. Philip Jose Farmer
10. Michael Swanwick
11. Frederik Pohl
12. Thomas M. Disch
13. Greg Bear
14. Franz Kafka
15. Madeline L'Engle
16. Jack Womack$10.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
StiffThree years on from their critically acclaimed "barbeque" record Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim are back with more than just a new album to commemorate. Their sixth record, Stiff - out 25 March 2016 via Downtown/Sony Red - is a return to the Austin quartet's frenetic rock band roots, and is both a jubilant thrill ride and joyous celebration of their past ten years. Heading into the studio with an external producer to oversee a whole album for the first time - and even writing a tune with Cass McCombs ('Thank You') - the band teamed up with the legendary Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, The Staves) to produce their first truly live record, one teeming with a cool '70s undertow, tumultuous riffs and a feverish energy that's resulted in arguably some of their biggest and brawniest songs to date.
With drummer Joshua Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins now pursuing other production ventures, vocalist/guitarist James Petralli and bassist Steve Terebecki spent a long time reassessing exactly what White Denim meant to them. "The big thing for Steve and I was trying to define what made us want to keep going," Petralli explains of the album's early days. "What's our partnership about? What's cool about this? We learnt a lot making D and Corsicana Lemonade. We wanted to take some of those lessons and apply it back to our original mission statement. We were trying to get back to some of the things that made us excited about the band in the first place."
Opener 'Had 2 Know (Personal)' is the embodiment of that mission statement. Described by Petralli as "a reassertion of our initial intent to make songs that satisfy our urge to play fast", it sets the tone brilliantly for the bulk of Stiff, right from its idiosyncratic, Red Krayola-sampling beginning to its huge, golden era chorus. While it remains distinctively White Denim, there's a reinvigoration permeating through its riffs via new guitarist Jonathan Horne and a beefed-up rhythm section thanks to the work of new drummer Jeffrey Olson. Every single high octane turn - from the tremendously fun 'Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)' to the outrageously shredding 'Holda You (I'm Psycho)' - sounds like a band re-energised and revitalised, resulting in what Petralli describes as a "high heat, high energy, good times record". Having previously sold out Shepherd's Bush Empire and having toured with Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, Stiff is full to the brim with songs that sound ready to now lift White Denim to similar heights.
For the most part, Stiff is an album crammed with adrenaline-fuelled sing-alongs that show off the band's staple technical abilities. But it's also one that sees some new shades that they've developed along the way, too. Citing new wave and the razor-sharp pop punk of Buzzcocks as influences this time round, there's an addictive Elvis Costello circa This Year's Model quality to 'Real Deal Momma', a tune that highlights the band's love for hummable synthesisers and curious, affecting oddities. Then there's the cow bell calm and backing vocals laden brilliance of 'I'm The One (Big Big Fun)', that along with 'Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)' (a song Petralli says "wants to be on a collection of doo wop songs written in 2016") shows a softer and more intricate side to the band while fully emphasising Petralli's vocal excellence.
Of the artwork - which was created by collagist Eugenia Loli - was inspired and worked from the band's previous album covers and videos as a visual template. Ultimately, it's a fleeting visit to a place the band have been before, with the covers of Workout Holiday and D being collages too. Stiff was even originally stylised 'Stif', which when spelt backwards spells out the title of their second full-length Fits. Then there's 'Mirrored In Reverse', a nod to the Fits track 'Mirrored And Reverse'. "I mean, we're ten!" Petralli says in disbelief while explaining all of the record's throwbacks. "We did think about naming this record Ten and referencing the Pearl Jam cover!"
Recorded with nothing but equipment that Petralli describes as being "past a certain point in the '70s", he explains that Stiff is an album made "entirely the old way". "It was tracked live to 16-track tape with very little overdubs," he says. "It was very hardcore record making - traditional in every aspect." Recorded with Ethan Johns in Asheville, North Carolina over a twenty-day period, Petralli and the band had an intense but deeply educational time with Johns. "It was really cool. The guy had these stories that were just unbelievable. He started talking about playing with Jimmy Page when he was a kid, and he lived in the studio where The Rolling Stones and The Faces would just hang out. Having Ethan in the room pushing us really made it more of an 'in the moment' and a visual thing. Capturing live performances is what he does really well."
To make things even more celebratory, there was an extra ten day stint spent with go-to White Denim man Jim Vollentine, who Petralli describes as "my guy, man". He continues: "we've made a lot of records together now. When we left the studio in Asheville with Ethan, we thought we gotta work on this record some more, you know? Though it was really just mixing, which we did with respect to Ethan's arrangements and his recording. I feel like I really haven't made anything like this before."
Ultimately, Stiff is the sound of a band finding their feet again and having the time of their lives. It's a record that refuses to buckle under the pressures of life, instead offering up a soundtrack to sing, dance, shout and scream along to. As a White Denim album, it's a joyride through the past ten years of the band's idiosyncratic catalogue while simultaneously pushing things further forward into new territories. "It's similar to our first record [Workout Holiday] in that we found the initial energy and just went with that," Petralli says of the initial studio spark that started it all. "We thought, what's the fundamental thing that made us want to get into a van and quit our terrible jobs and start this whole thing in the first place? And it was loud, fast-playing, rock and roll."1. Had 2 Know (Personal)
2. Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
3. Holda You (I'm Psycho)
4. There's a Brain in My Head
5. Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)
6. (I'm the One) Big Big Fun
7. Real Deal Momma
8. Mirrored in Reverse
9. Thank You$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now