Tag Archive for 'upcoming release'

(Upcoming Release) Electronic Duo Loess is Back! New Album Pocosin Out 2/17

I think the heyday of bands like Boards of Canada, Autechre, FourTet and Aphex Twin was in the early 2000’s. To be fair, all of these acts are still recording today, but I know I was listening to a lot more of bands that sounded like this back then. One band I discovered back then, through a friend of mine was a duo out of Philly/New Jersey called Loess. Something about Clay Emerson and Ian Pullman’s particular approach to this music really spoke to me, and to this day I still add songs from their catalog to my rotation. There is a loneliness or desolation to their music. Spare beats and distant melodies form the structure for loops of distressed samples. To me, it’s the audio equivalent of a Quay Brothers film.

The last release of all new songs from Loess was 2006’s Wind and Water, its sounds inspired by a relocation to a woodsier southern New Jersey. After a compilation release in 2009 that had some new songs and some rarities titled Burrows, we’ve had radio silence.

Until now. Seemingly out of the blue, we have the announcement of a new album from Loess titled Pocosin, and from the two tracks we’ve heard already it has the sound I’ve come to love over the years. Also, the album art is the trademark desolate and manipulated black and white photos that always fit the mood. The album is on n5MD, the label that also released Wind and Water.

Coming out on February 17th, we have a few different formats– digital download and CD, but also two different versions on vinyl. One is transparent and the other is a white with black splatter. You can listen to “Petrel” and “Striae” from the n5MD Bandcamp page, where you can order it. You can also order it from n5MD directly.

Pocosin Clear Vinyl

Pocosin white and black vinyl.

Prince Greatest Hits Collection “Prince 4Ever” With Vault Track Out 11/22/16 – Comparison to 1993 “Hits”

prince-4ever

Warner Brothers Records in conjunction with NPG Records announced today that they’re releasing a new 40-track greatest hits collection titled Prince 4Ever. Due out strangely on Tuesday 11/22 (the release day in the US was moved generally to Fridays), this marks the first posthumous new release for Prince since his untimely death in April.

This release marks the first of the legendary “Vault” of unreleased recordings seeing the light of day since his estate has been taken over. Prince had released some things in the past– notably on the Crystal Ball box set as well as the Warner Brother contract-obligation release The Vault: Old Friends for Sale.

This release reminds me of the 1993 releases The Hits 1, The Hits 2 and the 3-CD collection The Hits/The B-Sides.  The way I remember those releases was that The Hits 1 was considered a “clean” release, and The Hits 2 was more of a “dirty” release, so people could choose to avoid the racy songs. I can’t find any reference to that being the case, but if you look at the tracklists, certainly 2 has the racy singles on it. Sadly, the epic anthem “Purple Rain” is on the 2nd disc, so it would be disappointing to just buy one of the CD’s. The 3-CD version has both 1 & 2 and adds a third disc of B-Sides. As a collector of Prince 7″ and 12″ singles, I was delighted to get CD versions of those songs, which were often as good or better than the album songs.

Prince 4Ever’s track list, as you might imagine is very close to that 1993 collection. The 1993 collection was based on the single versions of the songs instead of the album versions. I don’t have track times to compare it to verify, however. I think that Prince 4Ever does a much better job of featuring a wider selection of the Warner Brothers catalog. The 1993 collection seemed to stay away from the deeper tracks on All Around The World In A Day and Parade and we get a few more here.

Also interesting about this collection is that it stops at the same year the 1993 collection does– with tracks from the 1992 Love Symbol Album. It does not include the four contentious Warner Brothers albums that followed: Come, The Black Album, The Gold Experience, Chaos and Disorder, or The Vault: Old Friends For Sale. Admittedly, those albums didn’t have many big singles on them, so stopping at 1992 marks the last of the big singles period for Prince. Below is the tracklist of Prince 4Ever and I’ve indicated what tracks were not on the original compilation.

1. 1999
2. Little Red Corvette
3. When Doves Cry
4. Let’s Go Crazy
5. Raspberry Beret
6. I Wanna Be Your Lover
7. Soft and Wet
8. Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad
9. Uptown
10. When You Were Mine
11. Head
12. Gotta Stop (Messin’ About) ** on The B-Sides, non-album single from 1981, but was B-Side to “Let’s Work”
13. Controversy
14. Let’s Work ** not on Hits
15. Delirious
16. I Would Die 4 U
17. Take Me With U ** not on Hits
18. Paisley Park ** not on Hits
19. Pop Life
20. Purple Rain
21. Kiss
22. Sign ‘O’ The Times
23. Alphabet Street
24. Batdance ** not on Hits
25. Thieves In The Temple
26. Cream
27. Mountains ** not on Hits
28. Girls & Boys ** not on Hits
29. If I Was Your Girlfriend
30. U Got The Look
31. I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man
32. Glam Slam ** not on Hits
33. Moonbeam Levels ** not on Hits – the lone song from the Vault on here.
34. Diamonds and Pearls
35. Gett Off
36. Sexy MF
37. My Name Is Prince ** not on Hits
38. 7
39. Peach **debuted on Hits as a non-album single
40. Nothing Compares 2 U

This compilation is in many regards a better compilation than Hits was. I like the songs that they added to this, and some of the songs that Hits included are not missed: “Adore,” “Pink Cashmere (debuted on Hits 1),” “Pope” (A tribute to comedian Bernie Mac. Not a bad song, but certainly not really a great single from Prince.). The loss of the essential “Dirty Mind” is unfortunate, and I think that “Do Me Baby” is essential in the catalog. “I Feel For You” is probably better known as a Chaka Khan track than a Prince one.

The lone Vault track on here is “Moonbeam Levels” a song originally recorded in July of 1982 for 1999 and re-recorded for the aborted Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic (not to be confused with Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic which was released in 1999, or Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic released in 2001). Incidentally, “Pink Cashmere,” from Hits 1 was also a track considered for the aborted album.

According to Wikipedia, The Hits/The B-Sides sold 40,000 copies following Prince’s death, allowing it to re-enter the Billboard 200 at #6. With the Warner Brother reissue campaign in full swing, it makes sense to capitalize on Prince’s catalog with a new compilation of his best-known songs. Just in time for the holiday rush, and before Black Friday, it’s sure to end up in stockings and under trees. The only pre-sale information I’ve seen lists this as a 2 CD. I have to believe they’ll do vinyl, but It would have to be 3 or 4 LP’s.

TWINS Cover “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” Bonus B-Side For Square America

Photo by Michael Roeder

Photo by Michael Roeder

It’s no secret that the guys in Cedar Falls band TWINS are fans of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds and owe a little of their guitar pop swagger to the groundwork Lowe and Edmunds laid down in their various projects as solo artists, together in Rockpile and their production work for just about everyone in the late 70’s and early 80’s (Lowe’s work with Elvis Costello is my favorite period of his).

As a tribute, TWINS have recorded a cover of “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” a song that has been a part of every wedding reception I’ve ever attended. This cover is a bonus download for anyone who pre-orders the new TWINS album Square America which drops on July 1st! Be sure to catch TWINS with Volcano Boys at The Mill on 7/1 for the Square America release show! $8 Cover. Deets HERE.

You can read my review of Square America at Little Village Magazine.

A bit of trivia: Nick Lowe wrote “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” and the version we usually hear is his 1984 recording. That studio version has Huey Lewis and the News as the backing band, with Mr. Lewis providing the distinctive harmonica honking. The version that TWINS have done is closer to the sped-up one that Dave Edmunds recorded in 1977.

CHECK IT OUT:

Pre-order Square America at Maximum Ames!

Check out TWINS first Daytrotter Session. There will be a new one coming!

(Upcoming Release) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Kiss My Amps Live Vol. 2 for RSD 2016

Kiss My Amps II

With Record Store Day 2016 fast approaching (April 16th), I wanted to post about a few releases that I’m interested in. I already posted about the Son Volt Live at the Bottom Line previously. Tom Petty has been a supporter of RSD from the start with special reissues of his first two albums and a vinyl-only (plus download) live compilation titled Kiss My Amps for Black Friday RSD 2011.

Announced with the rest of the Official RSD list for this year is a sequel– Kiss My Amps Live Vol. 2. Volume 1 focused on the Mojo Tour from 2010. Volume 2 focuses on dates in 2013 and is made up of tracks that were given to members of the Tom Petty fanclub Highway Companions as part of their subscription as a digital download. Notably, Kiss My Amps Volume 1 was not made up of the Mojo Tour 2010 download the club got, but were different tracks.

It will be pressed on 180g vinyl and includes covers by The Byrds, Paul Revere and the Raiders/The Monkees, Little Feat and a Traveling Wilburys song. They had to take a track off of it (“Baby, Please Don’t Go”) because the original digital download was 55 minutes and it is tricky to get that much audio per side of an LP and have it sound good. (Even minus the 5:22 of “Baby Please Don’t Go” it’s pretty tight at 49 minutes (24+ per side). Optimally, you want less than 22 minutes per side to get the full bass frequencies.

1. So You Want to Be a Rock N Roll Star (Live Beacon Theatre)
2. I’m Not (You’re Steppin Stone) Live Beacon Theatre
3. Love is a Long Road (Live Fonda Theatre)
4. Two Gunslingers (Live Beacon Theatre)
5. When a Kid Goes Bad (Live Fonda Theatre)
6. Willin’ (Live Fonda Theatre)
7. The Best of Everything (Live Fonda Theatre)
8. Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Live Beacon Theatre)
9. Rebels (Live From Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival)
10. A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me) (Live From Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival)

The standout track on here for me is the 8:46 minute version of “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” For that track alone, this set is essential.

Bull Moose Records lists this at MSRP of $19.98 with their price being $17.97. So, expect your RSD participating store to have it around these prices.

In other Tom Petty news for RSD, there will be a Mudcrutch 7″ featuring tracks from the upcoming Mudcrutch album 2. The A-side is “Trailer” which is a reworking of the Southern Accents outtake. The original version can be heard on the flipside of the “Don’t Come Round Here No More” 7″ or on disc 4 The Other Sides of the Playback boxset. A really great track, and is worthy of a revisit. The song would have improved the song lineup of Southern Accents, in my opinion.

Greta Morgan of Gold Motel is back as a Springtime Carnivore

It was a scorchingly hot– but not atypically so– early August evening at Codfish Hollow Barn in 2010 when I was turned on to Gold Motel.

The barn has a tendency of stockpiling the day’s heat and the best thing you can do is get outside occasionally and look for shade or maybe a breeze. Fronted by the blond siren Greta Morgan, Gold Motel was the perfect execution of retro 60’s girl-band-meets-Debbie Harry jangly pop and by the time they hit the stage any plans I had to get outside for a respite were quickly dashed. I was quickly minted as a fan and within a few months their debut album Summer House came out on vinyl. In 2012, they followed up with their equally-wonderful self-titled album and then that was it from the band and Morgan.

Starting in 2013 Morgan started releasing songs and videos under the cryptic solo moniker Springtime Carnivore. The songs still have the beautiful soaring melodies that we came to expect from her, but the sonics are more wall-of-sound– big roomy reverb washes over everything and the spit-and-polish from Gold Motel has been replaced with the fuzziness and compression of what sounds like tape distortion. The sunny melodies songs seem to also belie a subtle darkness. Maybe that is what a Springtime Carnivore is– something that dares rip its canines into flesh during a time of seasonal renewal and birth.

This new spin on her sound seems to have been influenced by working with producer Richard Swift (also of The Shins, and currently touring bass player for The Black Keys).

Springtime Carnivore Cover Art

Cover Art for Springtime Carnivore

Springtime Carnivore was picked up by Autumn Tone— the label run by the folks at Aquarium Drunkard and will be releasing the debut LP on November 4th. The first single is “Name on a Matchbook” and along with “Sun Went Black”  you have a good sampling o the sound.

“Sun Went Black” reminds me of The Cure (like “Close to Me”).

The leadoff track on the album “Collectors” (if you don’t include the opening short instrumental “Western Pink”) was a 7″ single last year with “Two Scars” on the flipside.

Also included on the album are “Creature Feature” and “Two Scars” which where previously released as videos. They are both directed by Eddie O’Keefe whose soundtrack to his 2011 film “The Ghosts” had a song from Greta Morgan on it.

Springtime Carnivore – Creature Feature from Eddie O’KEEFE on Vimeo.

Springtime Carnivore – Two Scars from Rookie on Vimeo.

Springtime Carnivore will be kicking off a North American tour in support of Fr. John Misty and Jenny Lewis Here are the dates:

SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE TOUR DATES:

May 30 Do Division Street Fest Chicago, IL
May 31 Pabst Theater w. FATHER JOHN MISTY, Milwaukee, WI
Jun 01 Rozz Tox, Rock Island, IL
Aug 01 Town Ballroom w/ FATHER JOHN MISTY, Buffalo, NY
Aug 14 Wild Buffalo w/ JENNY LEWIS, Bellingham, WA
Aug 16 Crystal Ballroom w/ JENNY LEWIS, Portland, OR
Aug 19 Club Red w/ JENNY LEWIS, Bend, OR
Aug 20 Belly Up w/ JENNY LEWIS, Aspen, CO
Aug 21 Fox Theatre w/ JENNY LEWIS, Boulder, CO

You can order the CD or vinyl version through Amazon:

(Upcoming Release) Kelly Pardekooper Releases Milk In Sunshine 10/21 – Massive Bonus “TV Gold” compilation

Milk-In-Sunshine-600px-72dpi-Web
Even though Kelly Pardekooper resides in Indianapolis these days, Eastern Iowa still claims him as its own. The bulk of his six albums to date were written and recorded while he resided here and his sound is one that draws heavy inspiration from the Folk Country sound that originated from local artists like Bo Ramsey, Greg Brown, Dave Zollo and their circle of friends.
Kelly has enjoyed some exposure recently not on the radio, but as incidental music on quite a few big TV shows including HBO’s True Blood, CBS’s Cold Case, FX’s Sons of Anarchy. This burst of popularity among the Music Supervisors for shows has given him the freedom to go back to the studio and record a seventh record and release something on vinyl!  In an exchange of emails with Kelly, he admits that he’s “an odd fit for a record label at this point” in his career, and that this surge of publishing popularity has afforded him the ability to self-release the new album.
The new album, titled Milk in Sunshine will be released on October 14th on vinyl, CD and digital download. The CD has the eight new tracks of Milk in Sunshine plus what Kelly is calling “TV Gold” – a 16 track “Greatest Hits” of his career in chronological order by album (not including his debut release 30 Weight). The CD is also included with the very limited vinyl release of 100 which will be signed and numbered. It will also be pressed in orange and will include two vinyl-only bonus tracks! “Shit Out of Luck” by Greg Brown and “I Never Said” by Bo Ramsey!
If you pre-order you get a download of the new song “So Lovely.”
You can see the track listings of the vinyl and the CD below. I included links to the audio where I could find it– Kelly had a few mp3’s on his website (indicated with “full mp3”) and links to his CDBaby CD’s.
Certainly as the record industry machine is having to re-invent itself, it’s avenues like publishing that are helping many artists to continue pursuing this career, even if it is part-time. As a long-time fan of Kelly Pardekooper, I’m really excited for the prospects of a new record and the promise of a few more live shows.
Album Release show at The Mill in Iowa City on 11/29!
Vinyl Side A
1. So Lovely
2. She Moves
3. Milk in Sunshine
4. Release Me
5. Shit out of Luck (Greg Brown)
Vinyl Side B
6. Authentic
7. I Still Cry
8. Elliot
9. That Girl
10. I Never Said (Bo Ramsey)
CD

1. She Moves (Milk in Sunshine)
2. I Still Cry (Milk in Sunshine)
3. Milk in Sunshine (Milk in Sunshine)
4. Release Me (Milk in Sunshine)
5. So Lovely (Milk in Sunshine)
6. Elliot (Milk in Sunshine)
7. Authentic (Milk in Sunshine)
8. That Girl (Milk in Sunshine)
9. Compromise (Johnson County Snow) full mp3
1​0. Fly on the Wall (Johnson County Snow)
11. Drown in Alcohol (House of Mud) full mp3
12. Hayseed Girl (House of Mud)
13. Can’t Go There (House of Mud)
14. Not in Iowa (Haymaker Heart) full mp3
15. Wild Love (Haymaker Heart)
16. I Adore (Haymaker Heart)
17. Tell Me (You’re the One) (Haymaker Heart)
18. Brand New Bag (Brand New Bag) full mp3
19. Mehaffey Bridge (Brand New Bag)
20. Crazy Girl (Brand New Bag)
21. Yonder (Yonder)
22. Forgotten (Yonder) full mp3
23. Where’s the Love (Yonder)
24. Where I Come From (Yonder)

Snow Patrol Singer Gary Lightbody’s Side Project Tired Pony is Back With The Ghost of the Mountain

Tired Pony - Ghost on the Mountain

The Tired Pony Facebook page announced that Gary was writing new songs for the next Tired Pony record back in January– exciting news to me since I completely fell in love with the first record The Places We Ran From! Through the month of June they were posting little Vine videos of snippets which, if nothing else, demonstrated that the new album titled The Ghost of the Mountain has the same feel as the first album.

This morning they announced that the album is wrapped and will come out on August 19th in the UK and October 1st in the U.S. According to their website. Most of the key members from the first album are back, including Pete Buck and Scott McCaughey. Iain Archer from Snow Patrol returns– he provided vocals on “I Am A Landslide” on the first album. Richard Colburn from Belle and Sebastian is back as is Troy Stewart. Back at the knobs and part of the band is Garrett “Jacknife” Lee, who was part of the first album and also produced. Lee also produced the amazing Fallen Empires album from Snow Patrol and the final R.E.M. album. Lee also produced the new Lissie album which is due out this summer. Lissie provided backing vocals on four tracks on Fallen Empires.

Continuing the theme of having actresses singing on the album, we have Minnie Driver in place of Zooey Deschanel. Minnie Driver has had a couple of albums out in addition to her notable acting career. Her 2007 album Seastories had Ryan Adams and the Cardinals as her backing band!

This is the first single from The Ghost of the Mountain, “All Things All At Once”:

(Upcoming Release) Miles Davis – “The Kinda Blue Sessions ’59” 180g LP + CD- Record Store Day 2013

Kind of Blue Sessions '59

At this point the importance of Miles Davis groundbreaking work on his 1959 release Kind of Blue is well-established. Recorded over two dates in 1959 (March 2nd and April 22nd at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio) and featuring the legendary “First Sextet” lineup of  Davis, Julian Adderley, John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly/Bill Evans (Kelly was on “Freddie Freeloader”), Paul Chambers and James Cobb. This is the band that Davis started his experimentation with modal jazz and the move away from his hard bop style. Though Kind of Blue is heralded as the pinnacle of modal style, Davis had already been working with it on his 1958 release Milestones, suggesting that Coltrane was the catalyst of this move.

Kind of Blue stands head and shoulders above many other jazz releases in popularity– depending on who you believe, it may be the greatest selling jazz release of all time. It certainly represents an important release in my jazz collection. When people who are unfamiliar with jazz ask me where to start listening, it is a safe bet to suggest Kind of Blue. So much about the album lends itself to being a springboard of sorts to more jazz– Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans’s participation alone will send the newly motivated jazz investigator down some very important and landmark releases in the jazz canon.

Of course, these facts are not lost on the label custodian of Miles Davis’s catalog– Sony/BMG. I don’t think I can even count the reissues of just Kind of Blue that have happened over the years. For the 50th Anniversary of Kind of Blue in 2008, Sony Legacy released a beautifully-packaged release that included a clear-blue vinyl stereo LP (which fixed the long-standing mastering error that had side 2 at the wrong speed), 1 CD of Kind of Blue with an alternate take of  “Flamenco Sketches” and session chatter, 1 CD with five tracks from a May 26, 1958 session and a live version of “So What” from April 9, 1960 in Holland. There was also a DVD documentary of the album, and a beautiful book, posters and photos. This is the version I have in my collection.

So, I was surprised to see in the Record Store Day list diligently maintained at Wax Poetic the mention of an LP called The Kinda Blue Sessions ’59. Some quick googling turned up some information about it, but not a lot of details. It is on Birdland Records and distributed by RedEye. (Birdland also has an interesting Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Munich ’59 live release). At SpinCD’s website, they provide the tracklist and credits:

Side One
1.Freddie Freeloader session
2.So What session

Side Two
1.Blue in Green session
2.All Blues session.

Musicians: Miles Davis – Trumpet, John Coltrane – Tenor sax, Bill Evans – Piano (S1 T2. S2 T1&2) Wyn Kelly – Piano (S1 T1), Julian Adderly- Alto Sax (All except S2 T1), Paul Chambers – Bass James Cobb- Drums

Based on the research I’ve done, I suspect that this is possibly a partial release of the bootleg commonly known as Kind of Blue Studio Sessions and Outtakes.

Initially I was a little concerned that this would be a release of only the additional tracks on the first CD of the 2008 Sony Legacy release of false starts and studio sequences. In fact, these are in exactly the same order, but it’s missing the tracks from “Flamenco Sketches” making this a release that– including the “Flamenco Sketches” chatter and false starts would have only been 10 minutes long!

7. Freddie Freeloader studio sequence 1 from the 3/2/59 sessions (0:51)
8. Freddie Freeloader false start from the 3/2/59 sessions (1:25)
9. Freddie Freeloader studio sequence 2 from the 3/2/59 sessions (1:26)
10. So What studio sequence 1 from the 3/2/59 sessions (1:53)
11. So What studio sequence 2 from the 3/2/59 sessions (0:59)
12. Blue in Green studio sequence from the 3/2/59 sessions (1:59)
13. Flamenco Sketches – studio sequence 1 from the 4/22/59 sessions (0:42)
14. Flamenco Sketches – studio sequence 2 from the 4/22/59 sessions (1:09)
15. All Blues – studio sequence from the 4/22/59 sessions (0:18)

But, the notable absence of the “Flamenco Sketches” sequences and the one outtake that they released on the Legacy release of  “Flamenco Sketches” would make this, although interesting from a collector’s standpoint, a pretty lame release out of the context of full songs. Especially at $29 MSRP.

The Kind of Blue Studio Sessions and Outtakes notes lists this track listing:

Tracks 1,2,3 > March 2, 1959 (2:30pm to 5:30pm and 7:00pm to 10:00pm)
Tracks 5,6 > April 22, 1959 (2:30pm to 5:30pm)
Columbia 30th Street Studio, New-York, USA

Tracks:

1. FREDDIE FREELOADER SESSION (13’38)
2. SO WHAT SESSION (12’53)
3. BLUE IN GREEN SESSION (11’13)
4. FLAMENCO SKETCHES SESSION (24’10)
5. ALL BLUES SESSION (11’53)

Since we know that an LP can be at the most 24 minutes per side, if  you take out the 24 minutes of “Flamenco Sketches,” it would fit on one LP. Though, they could include “Flamenco Sketches” as a bonus track on the CD they are including.

The only caveat I’d mention here is that these recordings are direct dumps of the safety masters of each of the sessions (Columbia 62290, 62291, 62292, 62293, 62294) and include the tape starts and stops and have some cut outs– possibly from the tape edits? I suspect that due to the very few extra full takes available, this may include takes that were used on the official release of Kind of Blue, which begs the question about the legitimacy of the release.

Based on the wonderful Miles Ahead Sessions Information database which articulates all of the details of the sessions down to the studio chatter, here is what I know about the possible tracks:

1. Freddie Freeloader Session – This is Take 2, Take 3, Take 4 – An Edit of Take 4 was used on the official release.

2. So What Session – This is the full Take 3- An Edit of Take 3 was used on the official release. The bootleg includes Cannonball Adderley singing “with a song in my heart…” at the end.

3. Blue in Green Session – Take 2, Take 3, Take 4, Take 5 – An Edit of Take 5 was used on the official release.

4. All Blues Session – Take 1 – An Edit (faded) version was used on the official release. The bootleg includes the unfaded end with Paul Chambers panting at the end and saying “Damn…” part of  “Damn that’s a hard mother!”

If this release is the Kind of Blue Sessions and Outtakes version, I’ll be happy to have this in my collection! The sound is incredible– which isn’t surprising considering the source, but certainly one I’d play. It’s great to hear the musicians working through what would become one of the most important jazz albums in history.

Read this interesting piece on NPR called “Between the Takes” by Ashley Kahn which was also used in the hardbound book included in the 50th Anniversary box of Kind of Blue.

(Upcoming Release) Calexico Maps Alternate History in “Road Atlas” Vinyl Box Set Out 11/22/11

 

The dusty desert highway of Tuscon-native band Calexico’s 15-year career is dotted with a notable collection of passionate Latin infused Americana (for lack of another general category to place them). While the band may not be familiar to most, their music shows up in many places– from interstitial music in NPR to movie soundtracks and in their many collaborations (including one fantastic album with The Iron and Wine). If only for these works, Calexico will stand as one of the important and influential American bands.

Along this same highway of releases are the roadside attractions of Calexico’s self-released albums. These generally “tour-only” albums were released under Calexico’s own imprint Our Soil, Our Strength and served sometimes as a clearing house of studio demos and projects that didn’t make it to other albums, live albums or other experiments. Ironically, maybe, it was through one of these albums that I was first exposed to Calexico. Someone posted the instrumental collection Travelall as mp3’s on the internet newsgroup alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 which left me initially of the opinion that Calexico was an instrumental post-rock similar to Tortoise. (I didn’t know it at the time, but Travelall has Thrill Jockey artists Rob Mazurek (Isotope 217, Chicago Underground), Doug McCombs (Tortoise, Brokeback, etc.), and Noel Kupersmith (Brokeback, Chicago Underground Quartet) on it which lends some weight to that idea).

This misconception was quickly dismissed with the 2006 release of Garden Ruin which quickly made me a fan of the band and motivated me to get all of their albums, including the tour-only releases which were all limited releases and quickly fell out of print, so I had to resort to Amazon and eBay to track the ones down I couldn’t get from the band’s website and from the band during the Garden Ruin tour. All of these releases are essential to the fan of Calexico, as they provide valuable insight to the band’s creative workouts. Not forced into an album format that would have appeal to a more casual listener, we are treated to a much richer view into the true heart of the band which include an audio treasure trove of atmospheric instrumentals, audio experiments, home demos, live performances, one-off collaborations and outtakes.

After the announcement of Touch and Go/Quarterstick records– Calexico’s US label– in early 2009 that they would stop distribution of albums for a while I was concerned about the future of the band’s releases. The label managed to squeak the brilliant Carried to Dust in 2008, but that wasn’t the last release from the band– they put out the live album Live at Ancienne Belgique in 2009 on their own label, and produced the soundtracks to the documentary Circo, and the soundtrack to Don Cheadle-Brendan Gleeson Irish crime flick The Guard.

So, you can imagine my excitement hearing that Calexico is releasing a vinyl box set titled Road Atlas 1998-2011. Encased in a cloth hardbound box and limited to 1,100 hand-numbered sets, Road Atlas 1998-2011 collects the tour-only releases, plus the aforementioned live release and the Circo soundtrack as well as a 40-page book by music journalist Fred Mills. In addition to the 12-LP’s, the box will include mp3-downloads of all the tracks, PLUS BONUS other unreleased music not found on the LP’s or the band’s regular releases! Here is the breakdown:

ROAD ATLAS 1998-2011
Limited Edition Hand Numbered 12 LP vinyl boxset of Calexico’s tour only CDs
Includes:
98-99 Road Map LP (originally released on CD 1999)
Travelall LP (originally released on CD 2000)
Aerocalexico 2xLP (originally released on CD 2001)
Scraping 2xLP (originally released on CD 2002)
The Book And The Canal 2xLP (originally released on CD 2005)
Toolbox LP (originally released on CD 2007)
Ancienne Belgique-Live in Brussels 2008 2xLP (originally released on CD 2008)
Circo- A Soundtrack By Calexico LP (originally released on CD 2010)
MP3 download codes for all the albums
MP3 download code for previously unreleased Calexico tracks
A 40-page perfect bound book of photos, handwritten notes, and extensive liner notes
A heavy duty, linen wrapped, screen-printed slip case to house it all!

Priced at around $130, the box will be available via the band’s website, Touch and Go, Amazon and Insound.com. For those that don’t want to drop that kind of cash, there is also a great compilation CD of tracks from the box available as well.

I created a special 32-minute mix of tracks from the box to get you in the mood including these tracks:

“Hushabye” from Aerocalexico
“Ghost Writer” from The Book and the Canal
“Waitomo” from Toolbox
“Escrito En La Piedra” from Circo
“Two Silver Trees” from Anceinne Belgique – Live in Brussels 2008
“Dona Lupe” from Circo
“Chachaca” from Travelall
“Griptape” from The Book and the Canal
“Wind Up Bird” from Scraping
“Glowing Heart of the World” from 98-99 Road Map

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ROAD ATLAS MIX – A MIX BY PLAYBSIDES.COM

(Upcoming Release) Hiss Golden Messenger – “Poor Moon” Waxes 11/1/11 – Preorder Bundles Galore

Hiss Golden Messenger is the band name that former Court & Spark members MC Taylor and Scott Hirsch have been using since the dissolution of their previous band in 2007. Since then there have been four releases under this moniker: Live in Big Sur in 2007, Country Hai East Cotton in 2008 (which was re-released last year on Black Maps), and in 2010 we saw Root Work which was based on live in-studio Country Hai tracks and Bad Debt which was a recording of spiritually-themed songs Taylor recorded in his kitchen to a cassette recorder.

On November 1st, Hiss Golden Messenger will be releasing a new album called Poor Moon. Poor Moon will be released on a new record label, Paradise of Bachelors and will come out in a hand-numbered limited edition of 500 on beautiful 150g vinyl with a tip-on sleeve designed by Brendan Greaves from Paradise of Bachelors featuring a beautifully-detailed illustration by Alex Jako.

As if this wasn’t enough reason to jump on this purchase, there are tiers you can purchase at which get you bonus downloads. The base $20 “Oak” level gets you the vinyl on your doorstep around 11/1/11, but also a digital download of the album via Bandcamp on 10/15, so you can enjoy it whilst you wait for the physical version. (By the way, they are charging a very reasonable $5 domestic shipping and handling, as opposed to typical shipping charges seen via TopSpin these days). If you order at the $25 “Ash” level, you get an EP of demos and outtakes titled Lord, I Love the Rain which has some tracks from the Bad Debt sessions as well as some studio tracks from an “conceptual soundtrack” called He Wore Rings on Every Finger. At the $30 “Rowan” level you get the aforementioned EP, plus a live recording from 2008 called Plowed: Live in Bovina which was recorded in upstate New York around the same time that the Root Work radio session was taped.

Notably, the tracks on Lord, I Love The Rain will be the basis of the next HGM release, which is targeted for Spring 2012!

As for Poor Moon itself– the album shares it roots with the kitchen table ruminations of Bad Debt in that most of the songs started there. We get full-band treatments of  “Balthazar’s Song,” “O Little Light,” “Jesus Shot Me in the Head,” a driving “Super Blue (Two Days Clean),” Balthazar’s Song” and “Call Him Daylight” (which was a bonus track on the vinyl version of Bad Debt). The Lord, I Love the Rain EP also includes a Bad Debt version of “Westering.” So, you might consider Bad Debt and Poor Moon together as being a “deluxe” edition.

There are few songwriters today that have the ability to capture the sentiment of reaching desire that really grabs me. I think that MC Taylor is in a small group of current songwriters that includes Kurt Wagner of Lambchop and Richard Buckner that excel in this. If you’ve been following the combined story of The Court & Spark and Hiss Golden Messenger, the music on Poor Moon is not as much a revelation as it is a reinforcement of this fact.

Poor Moon captures a certain timelessness in its sound– the production doesn’t stand in the way of the music. Taylor confirms this in a recent conversation, “That was the intention. I wanted sort of a neutral production with the rhythm section fairly up front– which it is– and more acoustic instruments than Country Hai and Root Work. Country Hai was a concerted effort to feature no acoustic guitar whatsoever.”

To that end, Taylor has never been afraid to draw inspiration from his very diverse musical tastes and Poor Moon to these ears has some subtle but definite vibe and tone from early 70’s Van Morrison and Grateful Dead (more American Beauty than Aoxomoxoa, though). Certainly a more rustic setting than Country Hai, I would say, but no less enjoyable.

Below are the Bandcamp links to samples of tracks from Poor Moon and the two bonus releases and the links to order.

CLICK HERE to go to the Ordering Page for Poor Moon

Click Here for the Hiss Golden Messenger MySpace Page

Click Here for the Hiss Golden Messenger Facebook Page

Click Here for the Paradise of Bachelors Website

Click Here for Heaven and Earth Magic Recording Company

Click Here for MC Taylor’s Blog “The Old Straight Track”

 

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