Although not on the Official RSD list for this month, Red House Records has announced a special release to coincide with Record Store Day (which is Saturday, April 18th this year).
In celebration for their newest label signee, Duluth, MN resident Charlie Parr and the release of his lucky 13th albumStumpjumper, Red House Records is pressing a limited-to-3000 7″ of album track “Over the Red Cedar” b/w his take on the folk standard “Delia.” The B-Side is available on the CD and download, but didn’t fit on the vinyl LP, so if you want “Delia” on vinyl, you need to get yourself one of these!
According to Red House, they will be distributing the singles to record stores to use as a free giveaway (likely with store purchase as other RSD promos have been in the past). It’s a given that the great record stores in Minnesota will carry these, but if you want to get one, you may want to reach out to your favorite store and see if they will be getting these.
Stumpjumper is coming out on April 28th and will be available via all your favorite ways to get digital downloads and CD/LP’s. I’ve been listening to it for a couple of weeks and in my opinion is the most polished album in his catalog and has some of my favorite songs of his already! Phil Cook of Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger helped produce the record.
The fine folks at Daytrotter recorded a session with Charlie and had the sense to press it up on vinyl with labelmate Dale Watson’s session. Click the picture:
This Friday, November 28 is Black Friday 2014, but more importantly is “Back to Black” Friday, or Black Friday Record Store Day. There are a few releases this time that I’m looking forward to, so I’m going to make the trek to Moondog Music in Dubuque– my regular RSD haunt.
According to the Wikipedia article on Bob Dorough, Columbia asked Davis to contribute a track to their upcoming Jingle Bell Jazz compliation and he called on Bob Dorough to collaborate since Davis was a fan of Dorough’s 1956 album Devil May Care. The resulting sessions yielded the dark and antithematic holiday track in “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern).” During those same 2-day sessions, Dorough also tracked “Nothing Like You” which would eventually end up on Davis’s 1967 album Nefertiti. Davis wrapped those sessions up with a version of “Devil May Care.” This single for RSD is “Blue Xmas” on the A side and Davis’s version of “Devil May Care” on the flip.
The two tracks were previously also included in the 1970 import collection Facets Vol. 1.
Here is “Blue Xmas”
Here is “Devil May Care”
So, a release with a really interesting pedegree and one that is pretty essential for Miles Davis fans.
Prior to that we got the ultra-rare 15-LP Live After Deaf box set compiling most of the 2011 solo tour in 2012.
The 7″ which is available right now, has new songs “Gimme Something Good” on the A side and “Aching For More” on the flip. We have no other details about the songs or who else may be participating in the songs. We also don’t know what style or genre the typically-chameleon Adams may have used for these songs. I’ll update this article as more details emerge.
The ordering site says the records will ship to arrive for July 1st and cost $5 with $7.50 priority shipping.
The A Side “Gimme Something Good” comes from the upcoming Ryan Adams album confirmed to be on Blue Note Records and has Adams on Electric Guitar and Vocals, Jeremy Stacey on drums, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on Organ, Tal Wilkenfield on Bass and Mike Viola on 12-string and vocals. Viola also co-produced the A and B side.
The B Side “Aching For More” has Adams on Electric Guitar and Vocals, Johnny Depp (!!) on Electric Guitar and Solo, Gus Seyffert on Bass, Jeremy Stacey on Drums and Percussion, and Mike Viola on Acoustic Guitar, 12-string and vocals.
You can pre-order the new album from Amazon. It is apparently self-titled and should release on September 9th:
We’re just getting the early reports of what the brick and mortar treasures will be, and I’ll be reporting on the ones that I think are interesting. The first one up is a limited-edition 7″ 45 RPM single from Hiss Golden Messenger of the Poor Moon song “Jesus Shot Me In The Head” b/w a Dub reworking of the A side titled “Jesus Dub” appropriately enough. This record will be on Tompkins Square Records which is primarily a folk and Americana reissue label which recently has been expanding into new releases, which will include a CD reissue of Hiss Golden Messenger’s 2011 release Poor Moon, which had been a digital and vinyl only release originally.
The record will be in stores on Record Store Day (4/21/12) and a limited few will be available through MC Taylor. The record will be distributed by Fontana, so ask your favorite local record store to order one for you to avoid the inevitable eBay inflation!
Read this interview with Tomkins Square label head Josh Rosenthal where he mentions HGM.
Here is a promo video for the release with a sample of “Jesus Dub.”
Today it was announced that Garbageis back in the studio in L.A. after a seven-year hiatus following their 2005 studio album Bleed Like Me, which was their highest-charting album at #4 on Billboard Top 200 Album chart. As-yet-untitled, the album is projected to release in Spring 2012, and the band posted earlier that there should be a song coming out in October.
They’ve been in the studio all summer in L.A. recording in a basement, and apparently at the infamous Western Recorders (now called EastWest Studios). The progress of the sessions has been tracked on the band’s official Twitter and Facebook pages along with photos and small video clips, and the little bits we hear seem to point to the trademark bombastic, distorted and compressed sound Garbage is known for and Shirley Manson seems as gothic as ever.
They posted a picture of themselves recording in Studio 3, which is where the Mamas and the Papas recorded “California Dreaming.” A bit of a scenery change for the band who had recorded at drummer Butch Vig’s now-defunct Smart Studios in Madison, WI for their previous albums. Smart was the landmark of recording during the grunge period when Vig worked with bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, so it’s a little sad in light of the anniversary of Nevermind (which was demoed there) that Garbage isn’t continuing their tradition of recording there.
Apparently they are free-agents from a label perspective. From the press release: “Now free of all their corporate obligations, the band has been able to start again with a clean slate on their own terms. They add, ‘We are making a record filled with the music we love to hear. The new songs have been inspired more by what we haven’t been hearing rather than by what we have.'” It does seem that the band is coming into the record refreshed and taking a new-world-view of things. Considering that the first part of their career represents “big label” times it will be interesting to see how they embrace the new modes of distribution and promotion.
I still remember the first time I heard Garbage on the radio in Minneapolis on the late, great REV105. It was late one night and the lady DJ who spun the record– literally, it was a 7″ in a metal tin, likely the Discordant import– talked about the connection with Butch Vig and Duke Erikson and their 90’s band Fire Town (and Spooner before that). The aggressive and angry single “Vow” was earthshattering to me– I hadn’t heard anything like it with a woman lead singer. I kept my eyes peeled on AOL (pre-internet days for me) for any kind of sign that the promised album would drop. I picked up the domestic version of the CD single on Almo Sounds.
When the CD finally came out, it included an e-mail address for the band and I shot a quick note over about how much I loved the record and that I had seen Fire Town perform at Loras College in Dubuque in the 90’s and that I was a fan of their jangle-pop record In the Heart of the Heart CountryRock Music CDs) (which I have on cassette, and has apparently been reissued). To my delight, I got a reply back from Garbage guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker, who was the sound engineer for Fire Town. He said that he remembered that particular gig, even though it was a long time ago– he had been running sound that night.
Thus, for some of us, Garbage is the “home team” coming from Madison, WI and showing what the Middle West of the US could do. I hope they play a hometown gig as part of their comeback– I know I’ll be there!
When news broke earlier this year that Capitol and the remaining members of the Beach Boys gave the long-awaited green light to dig into the Capitol Vaults to finally release the great lost SMiLE album from the original sessions, all of the Beach Boys aficionados, vinyl freaks and collectors started heating up the various boards on the internet. My favorite navel-gazing crowd of record collectors is the Kevin Hoffman Boards, which has already spawned seven very active threads on the topic with experts and Smile-ologists chiming in with track speculation and session history dating back to the missed release in 1967. A good place to start is the Wikipedia article on the topic. However, a quick synopsis for the uninformed:
Brian Wilson stepped into the role as leader of the Beach Boys around the time of the brilliant and revolutionary Pet Sounds. Tired of touring, Brian wanted to focus more on studio efforts. The often-told story goes that Paul McCartney hearing preliminary tracks from Pet Sounds was motivated to create Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So influential was Pet Sounds, that Brian wanted to up the ante and create an even more involved creation.
So, work began on the follow-up– originally to be called Dumb Angel— in early 1966. Wilson brought in the best session people in L.A. at the time– the Wrecking Crew– and also elicited help from his friend Van Dyke Parks to assist with the writing. The album was centered around some basic concepts– the elements– which allowed the two of them to try to craft a very American epic. Between April and September of 1966 many hours of writing and recording happened for the album, but by November of 1966 it was clear that the stresses from depression, drug abuse, and maybe the prospects of trying to achieve such a lofty goal– a “symphony to God” caused the project to end somewhat abruptly in early 1967 over disagreements over the direction of the album. A kind of salvaging of the album work appeared in the very stripped-down Smiley Smile release that September.
And, that might have been the last anyone ever heard about the album– just a footnote in an impressive career. However, leaked recordings from the sessions started appearing in the late 1980’s as a result of Capitol’s interest in remastering and reissuing the catalog. That, plus the inclusion of Smile sessions in the 1993 Good Vibrations box set sparked an avalanche of interest resulting in more session tapes showing up on the Sea of Tunes bootlegs in astonishing quality which resulted in the cottage industry of attempts by fans in creating the “definitive” SMiLE based on speculation and history gathered. The most famous of these– the “Purple Chick Presents” series was one that most fans stand behind (at least the ones I know do). The advent of easy digital editing by consumer computer hardware made this a relatively easy task compared to the work that would have had to be done to the original tapes. And, when Wilson himself decided it was time to finally release SMiLE in 2004, he did it as a completely new recording based on what he and Van Dyke Parks recalled about the compositions and likely even listening to fan reconstructions, actually. Everyone was excited for the release, and it gave a kind of “definitive” version of the track listing. The Purple Chick made a new version based on this “Brian Wilson Presents” version. I wasn’t as excited about this release as most fans were because it really didn’t sound like the original Beach Boys. Wilson’s voice has changed over the years, and the Wondermints who were the backing band on it weren’t the Beach Boys.
In February of this year the announcement was made by The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson and Capitol across many outlets that they were going to release a massive box set of SMiLE. Titled The Smile Sessions, it would have as accurate a reconstruction of what Smile should have been as would be achievable from the tapes they had. It’s important to remember that Smile was never finished. Lots of studio backing tracks were recorded as well as a lot of vocal takes from the Boys, but many of them were never assembled– so there were lots of studio trickery needed to make things line up. The first releases from these sessions were a Record Store Day “Good Vibrations” single in the form of a 78 RPM record. The next release was a bonus clear yellow 7″ that was included in the UK magazine Mojo of “Cabin Essence” and “Wonderful” in a special “Mojo 60’s” magazine with interviews from the members of the band. Lots of chatter ensued– it wasn’t clear how fans could get copies of this issue– although stores like Barnes & Noble carried Mojo, they didn’t tend to carry the special issues. I spent a lot of time calling around trying to figure out if stores were carrying it. In the end, I ended up getting three issues– one from Parasol Records in Champaign, IL, and two copies from Prairie Lights in Iowa City (one of these was for a friend who is as big a Smile fan as I am).
After much speculation from the many experts and critics on the internet boards, a likely mock up of the box set showed up. This is the picture at the top of the article, followed quickly by entries on Amazon’s website for preordering the three versions of the release– a massive box set and two “album” releases (CD and LP). The original release was likely slated to only be one LP, but there was enough completed sketches that it easily fills out two LPs, plus, Wilson himself did not limit himself to the 45-minute barrier for his 2004 version, so that becomes the template. In fact, it really becomes a three-sided release for the CD and LP versions with the fourth side being “bonus” material in the form of some stereo versions and session chatter.
The definitive version of SMiLE has always been a MONO one. Wilson had hearing loss in one ear and thus stereo production was never a priority for him. So, we are presented SMiLE in mono, the way it was meant to be.
Here are the details on the big Smile Sessions Box which includes 2 LP’s, and 5 CD’s of music, 2 7″ singles, a hardcover book, a poster and a reproduction of the photo booklet that was supposed to be in the original release. (From Amazon.com) As of 8/28 it is at $149 (up from $110 on Friday?)
5 CDs / 2LPs / 2 7″ singles
Three-dimensional shadow box lid featuring the original artwork of Frank Holmes.
The Box Set measures 13″ x 13″ x 2.5″
60 page case bound book features liner notes by:
– Brian Wilson
– Mike Love
– Al Jardine
– Bruce Johnston
– Frank Holmes
– Peter Reum
– Tom Nolan
– Dominic Priore
– Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford
– Diane Rovell
– Dean Torrence
– Mark Volman
– Michael Vosse
– David Anderle
– Danny Hutton Timeline Sessionography Lyrics Frank Holmes drawings Producer’s Notes More than 60 previously unreleased photos
Box also contains:
6 panel folder holding 5 CDs and singles. Features photos of original session tape boxes.
7″ vinyl singles
“Heroes and Villians” in sleeve art
Vega-Tables” in sleeve art
Gatefold 2 LPs
Features full tracklisting of proposed unfinished album +
Stereo mixes and session highlights (not available on CDs)
12″ x 12″ booklet created for original release features:
Photos by Guy Webster
Drawings by Frank Holmes
24″ x 36″ poster of Frank Holmes cover art
Track Listing for the Full Box Set (from Amazon.com)
1. Our Prayer
3. Heroes And Villains
4. Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)
5. I’m In Great Shape
7. My Only Sunshine (The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine)
8. Cabin Essence
10. Look (Song For Children)
11. Child Is Father Of The Man
12. Surf’s Up
13. I Wanna Be Around / Workshop
16. Wind Chimes
17. The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow)
18. Love To Say Dada
19. Good Vibrations
20. You’re Welcome (Bonus Track)
21. Heroes And Villains (Stereo Mix) (Bonus Track)
22. Heroes And Villains Sections (Stereo Mix) (Bonus Track)
23. Vega-Tables Demo (Bonus Track)
24. He Gives Speeches (Bonus Track)
25. Smile Backing Vocals Montage (Bonus Track)
26. Surf’s Up 1967 (Solo version) (Bonus Track)
27. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Piano (Bonus Track)
1. Our Prayer “Dialog” 9/19/66
2. Our Prayer 10/4/66
3. Heroes And Villains: Verse (Master Take) [Heroes And Villains Session: 10/20/66]
4. Heroes And Villains: Barnyard (Master Take) [Heroes And Villains Session: 10/20/66]
5. Heroes And Villains: I’m In Great Shape 10/27/66
6. Heroes and Villains Intro (Early Version) circa 12/66
7. Heroes And Villains: Do A Lot [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
8. Heroes And Villains: Bag Of Tricks [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
9. Heroes And Villains: Mission Pak [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
10. Heroes And Villains: Bridge To Indians [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
11. Heroes And Villains: Part 1 Tag [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
12. Heroes And Villains: Pickup To 3rd Verse [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/3/67]
13. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
14. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 (Cantina track) [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
15. Heroes And Villains: Whistling Bridge [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
16. Heroes And Villains: Cantina [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
17. Heroes And Villains: All Day [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
18. Heroes And Villains: Verse Edit Experiment [Heroes And Villains Session: 1/27/67]
19. Heroes And Villains: Prelude To Fade [Heroes And Villains Session: 2/15/67]
20. Heroes And Villains: Piano Theme [Heroes And Villains Session: 2/15/67]
21. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
22. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 (Gee) (Master Take) [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
23. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 Revised [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
24. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 Revised (Master Take) [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
25. Heroes And Villains: Part 3 (Animals) (Master Take) [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
26. Heroes And Villains: Part 4 [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/20/67]
27. Heroes And Villains: Part Two (Master Take) 2/27/67 [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/27/67]
28. Heroes And Villains: Fade 2/28/67 [Heroes And Villains Sesssion: 2/27/67]
29. Heroes And Villains: Verse remake [Heroes And Villains Session: 3/1/67]
30. Heroes And Villains: Organ Waltz / Intro [Heroes And Villains Session: 3/1/67]
31. Heroes And Villains: Chorus Vocals [Heroes And Villains Session: 6/14/67]
32. Heroes And Villains: Barbershop [Heroes And Villains Session: 6/14/67]
33. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Remake) [Heroes And Villains Session: 6/14/67]
34. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Master Take Overdubs Mix 1) [Heroes And Villains Session: 6/14/67]
35. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Master Take A Capella) [Heroes And Villains Session: 6/14/67]
36. Heroes And Villains Piano Demo (incorporating “I’m In Great Shape” and “Barnyard”) Brian with Van Dyke Parks and “Humble Harve” Miller, KHJ Radio 11/4/66 (Bonus Track)
37. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Microphone 11/4/66 (Bonus Track)
One thing is certain, Stuart Bogie is a busy dude. Just a quick look over his bio and you see an impressive list of bands he has recorded with and performed with including steady gigs in Antibalas, Iron & Wine, TV on the Radio, plus any number of acts related to those. It’s pretty obvious that he is a very in-demand horn player in the indie music space. So, you might not think that he would have time to have his own project. But, he does. It’s calledSuperhuman Happiness.
Bogie started work on the first release by Superhuman Happiness on the heels of a long tour with Antibalas. A Christmas gift for his family, Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight released in 2008 was a collection of songs that he had been working on for ten years.
In July, 2010 Bogie released a super-limited 7″ of “GMYL” b/w “Hounds” which sold out very quickly. “GMYL” stands for the joyous refrain “God Makes You Live” in the hooky sax driven afro-rhythmic head-bobber. The single was recorded at Dave Sitek‘s (of TV on the Radio) Williamsburg studio Stay Gold. Some of the upbeat happiness of the tracks have to do with the fact that Bogie starts the compositions with handclap exercises to establish the rhythm– no sad songs based on hand clap rhythm- right?
On March 1st the single is going to be reissued by Electric Cowbell records with new label and a colorful sleeve (one side pictured above). Electric Cowbell is a cool singles-only label located in Brooklyn. I recommend you check their site out and try to score some of their releases! Superhuman Happiness shared a now-out-of-print single with the incredible CSC Funk Band. In addition to the “GMYL” single, Electric Cowbell released a collaboration between Superhuman Happiness and Sahr Ngaujah, “Gravity” b/w “String Theory.” Sahr performed the part of Fela Kuti in the “Fela!” Broadway show that Antibalas scored and Bogie performed music for. This single is worth checking out as well.
For the record geeks: I compared both the original 7″ and the Electric Cowbell release of “GMYL” and they share the same master plates as they have the same matrix information. SHH-002A/B and U-6368IM-A/B are in the deadwax for both releases. Also scribed was “PCMJR” with a “U” in a circle. This is the marking for Mark Richardson of Prairie Cat Mastering out of Belvidere, IL.
Coming up for Bogie and Superhuman Happiness is a couple more singles to come out this spring or this summer followed by another full length that is currently in early stages of production.
Margaret Stutt who goes by the nom d’cordion Pezzettino has collaborated with Milwaukee-based producer LMNtylist on her follow up to her 2009 release Lion. Titled LubDub, it is a 10-track EP of, well– I guess they are love songs. Well, maybe not all of them are love songs, but certainly they are related to love and appear to be roughly arranged in a timeline of a love affair that is having some fits and starts getting off the ground.
Originally the follow up to the moody, serrated toothiness of Lion was supposed to be a kinder, gentler album to be titled Lamb. In December of 2008 she posted the track listing for both releases on Facebook. When Miss Pezz blew through the Midwest last Fall it would appear that she had already moved into the mental space of Lamb in preparation for recording that album. By that time she had recorded the lead track for Lamb– the insanely catchy “You Never Know” which kind of took on a life of its own with its joyous video and vinyl 7″ release– each with a custom cover done by Milwaukee artist Dwellephant. For that Fall tour she’d already been performing “You Never Know,” “Hunting Season,” and “Falling Down” all songs that seemed fully formed and ready for the album. She also played a new song that was a quick favorite for me– “Where’d Ya Go.”
Anyone who knows Margaret well knows that she is constantly catering to her muse– typically recording inspired fragments of song anywhere and anytime they show up– many songs were written behind the wheel of her now-departed Civic on the long drives between the gigs on tour. It was a collection of these fragments that she gave to Milwaukee HipHop producer LMNTylist who was interested in trying his hand producing some pop songs. When she stopped through Cedar Rapids in January she played me the rough mixes that she had just received. I was at once shocked and excited at what I’d heard– the lead off track for LubDub “Replay” was pretty much cemented at that point as was “Cold Hard Chick.” This was a dramatically different direction for Pezzettino– she had given over to the production and the resulting songs still showed the fun and humor typically found in her music, but now had rhythm and were… funky!
The album pulls from a number of different influences ranging from the Reggae/Dub of the title track, to more the Jazzy “Only One” and “She Deserves” to the DooWop spin of “Replay” to a more “classic” Pezz piano track in “For You and Your Headaches.” Here is a video Margaret shot of a street mural painter that uses “Only One” as its soundtrack:
So, maybe it is fitting that the more mild-mannered Lamb would be quickly replaced by a more determined and immediate electronic release in LubDub. I guess the chops of Lamb will get to spend some more time slow cooking.
LubDub will be available for download on September 7th and on 12″ colored vinyl later this fall. Pezzettino has a Kickstarter drive going to attempt to raise the $1000 needed to press the vinyl. After an impressive week, she has raised over half of the funds and, at the time of this writing, still has over 30 days to go! Donations range from $1 to $1000 and have varying levels of perks at each level. Any donation over $15 gets you some copy of LubDub with pledges over $20 getting you the vinyl and the CD version of it along with four bonus tracks. Other levels get you things like cookies, her dress from the “You Never Know” video, private performance, or the ability to determine the next cover songs in her popular cover series. Click on the kickstarter widget below to see what your options are to help get this great release out.
The fantastically appropriate album art (shown above) was done by LittleTinyFish.
There are two release shows– one in each of her hometowns:
Milwaukee: September 11th at Turner Hall with Mondo Lucha, 8PM Brooklyn: October 14th at Cameo Gallery, 9PM
In the middle of these shows is a quick run of the Midwest that includes stops in DeKalb (9/12), Iowa City (9/15 at The Blue Moose Tap Room), Omaha (9/16), Des Moines (9/18 at Vaudeville Mews) and Boulder, CO (9/23). Visit her MySpace Page to keep up to date on this tour. This tour is going to be the first time in a while she has toured with a small band– so I’m looking forward to these shows!
Track Listing for LubDub:
2. She Deserves
3. Cold Hard Chick
4. Only One
5. Intermezzo I
6. Lub Dub
7. Where’d Ya Go
8. Intermezzo II
9. For You and Your Headaches
10. I Did Not Use Those Words Yesterday
I’m always concerned when an established band decides to change their name.
Chicago bandThe Right Now started life back in 2005 as R&B/Funk band Eli Jones and the Bare Bones by Brendan O’Connell. A live EP was recorded by this band in 2006. A few lineup changes and the addition of Stefanie Berecz as lead vocals prompted the truncating of the name to just Eli Jones. The album Make It Right was released in 2007 under this moniker while still continuing to hold true to the band’s R&B and Funk influences.
History shows that bands with names that seem like they would belong to one person tend to be confusing– just look at Jethro Tull, for example. Add in the fact that Eli Jones didn’t have the domain name for the band and the name was becoming somewhat cumbersome. So, it was the switch in name to The Right Now in 2009 that allowed the band to kind of re-invent itself. All of the fans of Eli Jones who had seen the high-energy shows in the small bars across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa were going to follow the band even after the name change.
When I saw the band in December of 2008 at Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids, they were still called Eli Jones, but had already incorporated a lot of the songs that would make up their new album which they had planned to release in 2009 into their live sets. Carry Me Home is the first release by the band under it’s new name, and listening to the CD, I was taken back to that show with its memorable performances of “Ain’t Going Back,” “I Could Really Hold On,” “Doing Nothing,” “Carry Me Home,” “Nobody,” and “Before I Know Your Name.”
Getting ready for this review, I pulled out my copy of the Eli Jones album Make It Right for comparison. It’s an album I listened to quite a bit back when the band was rolling through the area. I thought it was really good– certainly the work of a band accomplished in R&B and Jazz, but felt ultimately it didn’t capture the energy of their live set. Make It Right really seems to be the sound of a band in a transition– some of the tracks have the familiar throwback R&B strut, while other tracks evoke a more jazzy step.
Carry Me Home is the result of a very focused effort in the studio, apparently. The whole CD sounds like it was recorded in one marathon session– a balanced, almost live-to-tape sound. It has a polished production for certain, but not at the risk of the continuity. I find myself listening to the whole album when I put it on– I anticipate the next track at each song.
In some respects Carry Me Home is an album out-of-time– at once holding true to a retro R&B sound with its horns, stomps and claps and sneaking in a more current R&B edge in the form of lead singer Stefanie Berecz powerful lead vocals.
The album runs the gamut of emotion and energy from bright, sunny Tower-of-Powerish horn-driven songs like “You Will Know,” to the Motown harmony-mixed with clean funk picking “Before I Know Your Name” to the distinctly Southern R&B swing of “Doing Nothing” to the slow burner “Carry Me Home.” “Before I Know Your Name” was co-written by Stefanie and Brendan O’Connell (the conductor of this Soul Train) to her then-unborn child– the idea of which makes me smile when I listen to the lyrics.
It seems there are a lot of notable acts delivering the Stax/Motown-influenced sound today– Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings seems to be leading this front, certainly the last Amy Winehouse album (which uses members of the Dap-Kings), Joss Stone— so it takes a strong but distinguishable effort for a band to not get lost in the comparisons. It’s clear that The Right Now shows respect for the legacy of R&B, Soul and Funk that came before it, but in my opinion the band is building from that tradition.
One can consider the new band name as the answer to the question of what period of popular music they might draw from– no specific period, but obviously writing and performing in The Right Now.
The band just kicked off a run of shows which will bring them back to Eastern Iowa in April. On Friday, 4/16 they will be taping a second Java Blend show (the first as The Right Now), doing an on-air on IPR and hitting The Blue Moose Tap House. On Saturday, they’ll be performing at The Redstone Room in Davenport opening for Daphne Willis and hitting their favorite Iowa stop, Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, 4/18.
Click Here to visit The Right Now iLike page with videos and mp3’s.
Upcoming Shows (from MySpace):
Mar 8 2010 Bullfrog Brewery – CD Release Show! Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Mar 10 2010 Puck Live – CD Release Show! Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mar 11 2010 Groove – CD Release Show! New York, New York
Mar 12 2010 The Saint Asbury Park, New Jersey
Mar 13 2010 Shadow Lounge – CD RELEASE SHOW! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 18 2010 Vocalo 89.5FM – In-studio Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010 Fearless Radio – Live In-Studio Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010 WLUW – Radio Free Chicago (Interview) Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010 WGN Television Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010 Lincoln Hall – CD RELEASE SHOW! Chicago, Illinois
Mar 26 2010 This Must Be The Place Lemont, Illinois
Apr 9 2010 KSDK – Show Me St. Louis Saint Louis, Missouri
Apr 9 2010 The Gramophone – CD Release Show! St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 15 2010 The Frequency w/ Unicycle Loves You Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 16 2010 Java Blend Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010 KRUI 89.7 FM – In-studio Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010 The Blue Moose Taphouse – CD Release Show! Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 17 2010 Redstone Room Davenport, Iowa
Apr 18 2010 Mahoney’s Pub Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Apr 24 2010 Downtown Holland Groovewalk Holland, Michigan
Apr 30 2010 Marly’s Pub – CD Release Show! Springfield, Illinois
Apr 30 2010 Alice at 97.7 – Studio A Sessions Springfield, Illinois
May 17 2010 Cosmic Charlies lexington, Kentucky
May 20 2010 Rogue Tavern w/ Deep Fried 5 Birmingham, Alabama
Jun 4 2010 Upfront & Company Marquette, Michigan
Jun 5 2010 Upfront & Company Marquette, Michigan
Next weekend– 10/18– we see a couple of female singer-songwriters both making their debut in Cedar Rapids and at CSPS. While both take a distinctively different approach to their art, they both are utilizing a business model that involves direct contributions from their fan base.
Melissa Greener is described as an up-and-coming singer-songwriter with “quirky and literate songs” and compared to the energy often attributed to Ani DiFranco. Based in Manhattan, her goal is to move back to Austin, TX where she lived and worked for a time and considers home. For her sophomore release Melissa is fundraising at different levels with the goal of completely paying off the recording she has completed which will allow her to be debt-free and able to focus on the business of touring.
Opening for Melissa is Margaret Stutt who performs as Pezzettino (“Little Square”). Like Melissa, Margaret is also doing a direct-to-fan type of self promotion and sales. Someone who seemingly doesn’t need to sleep, she is a constant stream of activity and creativity. To fund her tour of houses and art spaces which has her stopping in Cedar Rapids for two nights, she has been taking donations and requests for songs– mostly cover tunes– where she deconstructs the song in question, rebuilding the song in her own distinctive way and making a video for the song. Sometimes dark and moody, sometimes quirky and funny, but distinctly Pezzettino these pieces are generally created and completed within a day! Margaret is a classically-trained pianist (at least until she was 12), but her instrument of inspiration is the accordion. She takes the squeezebox to task with her very personal and emotional songs on her release Lion and the follow up Lamb to be released in 2010 will be a more subdued affair.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see two these two up-and-coming artists. The show will be at 7PM at CSPS. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Because the show is on Sunday, it starts early, it will end early for all you concerned with getting up for work the next morning!
Pezzettino is pressing a very limited edition (300 copies), random color vinyl 7″ single of “You Never Know” with artwork by Milwaukee artist Dwellephant. As Margaret says, the b-side will be a surprise because, “you never know,” right? Click Here to learn more and order one!