I’ve mentioned Talk Talk’s final studio album before, but it has been a few years. Recorded in 1991, Laughing Stock and the previous album Spirit of Eden were a departures from the band’s more pop efforts previously. These albums represented Talk Talk stretching their creative muscles by incorporating a less-synthesizer and more acoustic instrument approach, drawing from many music styles, but employing a very jazz-influenced approach. It’s this overall ambiance and approach that confounded fans and caused a dramatic drop in sales.
Much as albums from bands like Big Star and Velvet Underground were not big sellers, it would seem that the few that did give Laughing Stock a serious listen found a completely new and compelling album, and this approach is often credited as being the first “post rock” album.
I first heard Laughing Stock when it came out– the guitarist in my college band was a big fan of Talk Talk and raved about this album. Although it was too different for me at the time, I’ve come to appreciate it.
Laughing Stock, and Mark Hollis’s first and only solo album which is similar in sound to Laughing Stock are getting the vinyl treatment on October 11th by Ba Da Bing Records— home of Sharon Van Etten and The Dead C. This will be the first time that Hollis’s solo album will be released on vinyl in the US.
According to a contact at the label, the LP’s will be “standard weight” (I take this to mean 140g-ish), mastered from the CD masters and will have jackets and art reproduced from the original art.
This release really great news and an essential addition to a collection! They are available for pre-order right now for $16.99 plus shipping.
Click Here to see the Laughing Stock vinyl reissue information at Ba Da Bing.
Click Here to see the Mark Hollis self titled vinyl reissue information at Ba Da Bing.
There is a lot that can be said about Prince, and at this stage in his life and career he has firmly established himself as one of the Rock and Pop greats and the sellout tour that he is currently undertaking is a statement made about his career to date– every night is a different lineup of songs from his extensive and prolific career and he is inviting guests to perform with him from his past and current notable artists. In this post-Elvis, post-James Brown, post-Michael Jackson time, we are lucky to have His Purple Majesty walking among us.
One thing is certain, though, when Prince chooses to surround himself with other musicians, they are usually some of the best in the business– The Revolution, New Power Generation, The Time, Sheila E., –the list goes on. One band of musicians that would have probably continued to exist as a footnote in the Wikipedia article that is Prince’s life was The Family. And, it appears that Prince would have preferred it stay that way.
The story about The Family is kind of a notorious one amongst the Prince faithful. Following the massive success of the “Purple Rain” movie and the extensive two years of subsequent touring, took its toll on The Time– who was in the movie and was supporting band on the tour– and ultimately caused key members to quit– namely Morris Day, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Prince collected the remaining members of the Time proposing a reboot including his then-fiancee Susannah Melvoin, twin sister of Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin– starting the trend of his svengali-like tendencies of producing albums of his romantic interests. In addition to Susannah, Prince proposed Paul “St. Paul” Peterson as the other lead vocalist and added Eric Leeds on Sax and keyboards.
The resulting self-titled album in 1985 was comprised mostly of Prince compositions and was performed completely by him except for the vocals and sax parts. The band was short-lived, however as St. Paul left the band, forcing the end of the group, but by this time Prince had moved on to other projects including Sheila E.’s Romance 1600 and the next two albums of Prince and the Revolution as well as the feature film “Under The Cherry Moon.” Prince was not happy with Peterson’s departure, and it seems like he might still hold a bit of a grudge 23 years later.
The story of this band would have stopped here if it wasn’t for a reunion of one of ?uestlove’s favorite Paisley Park-era bands as part of one of The Roots Pre-Grammy parties in 2007. (Athough, I think the genesis for this reunion might have really started with the band Edith Funker who ?uestlove was part of with Susannah and Wendy) It was around this time that Paul Peterson announced the reunion of the members of The Family and that they were working on a new record!
This was over three years ago! A project like this one takes a lot of time and resources and is a good example about how the Internet can facilitate. With members split geographically between California and Minnesota and having careers and lives outside of this project they slowly recorded the album supported in some cases by frequent flier and car rental miles donated by fans eager to see this project get off the ground. Periodically the band would come out of hiding streaming internet video of recording sessions and taking fans questions and posting the occasional raw unmastered track for fans to hear the progress.
The first real fruits of the reunion of the band came in the form of a live performance at The Cabooze in Minneapolis in June of 2009 as part of the “Prince Family Reunion.” The reunited band calling themselves “The Family 2.0” of St. Paul, Susannah, Jellybean and Eric Leeds plus members of Mint Condition put on a short-but-amazing set which included songs from the first record as well as newly-written songs. The crowd was excited and the band put on a high-energy set.
Since that show the band has struggled with a certain artist who has been blocking the group’s use of the name “The Family” as well as any PR that even implies their past relationship with him. The first change the band made was their name– they became “fDELUXE” last year. As awkward as that name might be, it really serves to point out that while the core of the band acknowledges a past together in a previous band, this new incarnation is much more than vocals added to tracks recorded by one man.
This week, band manager Neil Richards of Square One Entertainment announced via the fDeluxe Facebook page that the long-time-coming reunion album is going to be titled Gaslight after one of the album tracks and not The Family as they had originally planned, and will come out September 12th.
Ringing in at 11 tracks, Gaslight has the expected two-lead vocalists of Susannah and St. Paul along with the core members of Jellybean and Eric Leeds, but they also bring in an extended “family”- if you will- of Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, guitarist extraordinaire and husband of Susannah, Doyle Bramhall II, JP DeLaire, Oliver Leiber co-writing and performing… as well as members of The Hornheads, Ricky Peterson, Charlie Drayton and more helping out during the recording. fDELUXE, indeed!
The band has announced a record-release show in Minneapolis as well on September 16th at the Loring Theater. Ticket information to come as well as other tour dates!
In the meantime, you should sign up for their e-mail list to stay on top of things fDELUXE, and get a free download of “Over the Canyon.” CLICK HERE to visit the band’s website and to sign up.
Click Here for the fDELUXE Facebook Page and become a FAN!
On a snowy night in January I had an opportunity to see Rob Mazurek’s newest band in an incredibly intimate setting at Monk’s Kaffee Pub in Dubuque, IA of all places. Starlicker is a trio made up of cornet player Mazurek, Jason Adasiewicz on vibes and John Herndon on drums. The trio played a dynamic set of improvised jazz punctuated by frenetic and muscular solos by each. I had my appetite whetted for their eventual release titled Double Demon, which is due out on 5/17 on seminal jazz and blues label Delmark.
Double Demon represents another title in Delmark’s recent re-entry into the world of vinyl– Mazurek’s last release with his band Exploding Star Orchestra (of which Adasiewicz and Herndon are also members) Stars Have Shapes was part of Delmark’s first two releases, so it’s clear that they want to take advantage of Mazurek’s following, who may know of him from his Thrill Jockey releases as Chicago Underground and Isotope 217.
Following up 2009’s GRAMMY-winning Potato Hole should have been tough for Booker T. Jones to follow. In fact, who would have blamed him if he took a break, resting on the achievement– which was a tribute as much as an updating of the Southern Fried B-3 fueled sound he effectively served on dozens of sides on Stax Records with his band The MG’s. Backing Booker T. on Potato Hole was an Überband of Neil Young and The Drive-By Truckers and produced by main Trucker Patterson Hood which delivered its Hammond barbeque with a side of Gibson distortion.
The formula for following up Potato Hole was to enlist go-to backing band from Philly THE ROOTS! Titled The Road From Memphis the album also features vocals from Sharon Jones, Lou Reed, Yim Yames from My Morning Jacket, and Matt Berninger from The National. Jones himself steps up for a rare vocal as does his daughter Liv. The album is produced by ?uestlove of The Roots and is engineered by Gabe Roth of Daptone Records.
Frankly, this album has GRAMMY written all over it.
Anti- Records released Potato Hole on 2 LP 180g that sounded pretty damn amazing. For The Road From Memphis according to Amazon, it will be 1 LP. No word on weight, but I’d have to believe it will be 180g again.
Here is some footage of Booker T. and the Roots taking on Lauren Hill‘s “Everything is Everything”:
Full track listing for ‘The Road from Memphis:
Progress (feat. Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket)
Down In Memphis
Everything Is Everything
Rent Party Representing Memphis (feat. Matt Berninger & Sharon Jones)
(On April 4th, you’ll be able to download this mp3 for $0.99 from Amazon).
The Bronx (feat. Lou Reed)
Click Here for the Anti- Records Page on The Road From Memphis
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.
It’s difficult to believe that the last album from Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine has been three years ago! The sonic departure of The Shepherd’s Dog was not welcomed by everyone who felt that the Iron & Wine’s best music was their inclusion in the Garden State soundtrack. For me, I really enjoyed The Shepherd’s Dog, but I was really a later fan to the career.
The Iron & Wine have been on the seminal indie(ish) label Sub Pop for their career up to last year’s really great compilation of rare tracks Around the Well. In conjunction with the announcement of Kiss Each Other Clean, which will be available January 25th, The Iron & Wine have moved to Warner Brothers in the U.S. and 4AD elsewhere in the world.
This move, while slightly risky from an indie-cred standpoint should open up some big-label resources for the band in terms of promotion and distribution which might be a good thing for the band. I don’t see this move as anything more than Beam taking things to the next level.
On November 26, 2010 as part of the Back to Black Friday Record Store Day event with independent record stores, a 12″ and CD single will be available of “Walking Far From Home” the lead single off Kiss Each Other Clean. The single will include two non-album tracks of “Summer in Savannah” and “Biting Your Tail.” A digital download of these tracks will be available on December 6th, and 4AD will be making a 7″ of “Walking Far From Home” b/w “Biting Your Tail” on January 17th.
The tracklist for Kiss Each Other Clean:
01. Walking Far From Home
02. Me And Lazarus
03. Tree By The River
04. Monkeys Uptown
05. Half Moon
06. Rabbit Will Run
07. Godless Brother In Love
08. Big Burned Hand
09. Glad Man Singing
10. Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me
Back in May I was exchanging e-mails with MC Taylor– erstwhile of The Court & Spark and alter-ego Jai Lil Diamond of Hiss Golden Messenger— about his last release Root Workwhich was a re-imagining of some tracks fromCountry Hai East Cotton. (BTW: Root Work is available in digital and vinyl formats. The vinyl version was limited to 100 and is not sold out yet– go get it!!) In the volley that ensued he let it drop that he was already planning a release for this fall. “It’s a gospel record–” he said, “or at least some serious philosophical music– recorded with just me and an acoustic guitar into a classroom tape recorder at the kitchen table this past winter. It’s very crude-sounding, but I think it’s compelling and deserving of its own release.”
He attached an mp3 of “Jesus Shot Me in the Head” which upon the first listen had me transfixed, and frankly even now as I listen to it, I’m forced to do nothing else until its tale is told. As MC points out, it has a very low-fidelity esthetic, but the starkness pulls the listener in. My first thought upon hearing the song and its different personality from previous recordings by HGM or the Court & Spark was that it was like the “Luke the Drifter” personae that Hank Williams Sr., adopted to deliver his religious songs.
He sent me three other songs to listen to and they all were obviously cut from the same cloth. “Straw Man Red Sun River Gold,” “The Serpent Is Kind (Compared to Man), and what would end up being the title track– “Bad Debt.”
Over the summer I got small glimpses of the upcoming release– I hang in some Internet circles that MC and some of his musician friends do and they were talking about it. In late June, Anthony Puglisi– who did the mastering for Root Work— posted that he was listening to “Balthazar” from an upcoming album Bad Debt. This prompted me to search for this album title and I found via last.fm that a couple of people were listening to an album called Bad Debt! It was coming!
This last week it occurred to me that I should look to see if any more crumbs of Bad Debt had shown up on the Internet table– and they had! For one thing, I found this really great Bandcamp player of the ENTIRE RECORD! The player also informs us that the release date is November 17th, 2010!
The little bit of PR provided by the label informs us also that there will be another release before a full album in Summer, 2011! I sent a note off to MC to see if he can provide us any additional information. In the meantime, I present to you Bad Debt…
Update: Taylor sent me an e-mail yesterday with the correct cover art (the artwork on the Bandcamp player will be the art for the CD itself). Pretty cool– reminds me of the Jerry Garcia handprint. He also said that some time after the CD release of Bad Debt, he would do a very limited run of vinyl (100 copies, like he did with Root Work) on his label Heaven and Earth Magic! We’ll keep you posted on that!
Neil Young’s new solo album Le Noise will be released on September 28th. A collaboration with studio-genius and five-time Grammy Award winner Daniel Lanois— the album promises to be sonically one of Neil’s most distinctive releases in a catalog that spans over 50 years and 40 albums if you only include titles credited only to him!
Although Lanois has a notable career as a musician, he is probably best known for his work producing or co-producing such bands and artists as U2 (Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, All That You Can’t Leave Behind), Bob Dylan (Time Out of Mind), Peter Gabriel (So, Us), Brian Eno(Apollo, Thursday Afternoon), Emmylou Harris (Wrecking Ball), Willie Nelson (Teatro), Robbie Robertson (Robbie Robertson) just to name the big ones. Even though you can see from just this list how Lanois and Young worked in the same music circles (Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Robbie Robertson), this is the first time they’ve collaborated on a record.
Le Noise— which has to be a pun on Lanois’ name– was recorded in Silverlake, CA at Lanois’ home which itself is a key to the sonic textures that were brought to this recording. No band, no overdubs– “[Neil] walked in the door and I put an acoustic guitar into his hands,” Lanois says “– one that I had been working on to build a new sound.”
Considering that Lanois’ on solo recording as well as records by guitar-loop wizard Michael Brook are typically built up around a single instrument, I have an idea how this record might sound. Neil Young is generally not regarded as an artist who varies much in his sound– he’s either running full-tilt distortion with his 50’s vintage Gibson Les Paul known as “Old Black” or in a stripped down acoustic folkie mode. Certainly he has painted very complex paintings with just these brushes in his passel over the years– but he’s never to my knowledge worked with a producer that leaves such a distinctive signature as Lanois does.
Le Noise will be released in several formats, including standard CD, vinyl, digital download, and as a deluxe CD/DVD. The DVD portion, shot by cinematographer Adam Vollick, will feature eight black and white films of Young performing each song solo on acoustic and electric guitar live in the studio. In November, Reprise will also release a Blu-Ray edition, featuring Lanois and Vollick’s beautifully shot films of Young.
It is comforting to know that an artist with such a legacy and history who is being forced to look back on his career in the form of the work surroundingThe Neil Young Archivesis also looking forward– and really would we expect anything less?
Tracklisting for Le Noise:
Walk With Me
Sign of Love
Love and War
Peaceful Valley Blvd
As we count down to the impossibly-long wait to the release date of June 8th for Grace Potter & The Nocturnals self-titled album, the band is releasing a series of YouTube videos of a series of acoustic versions of some of the songs off the album– one per week starting with the album closer “Things I Never Needed “.
These videos were recorded on a Friday afternoon near San Diego, and the video for “Things I Never Needed” shows an impressive ability for Grace and the band to launch into song– at least it looks like they just decided on the spot to do the song. Some of the videos will be from this “unplugged” session and some of the videos will be from the cool black and white footage shot of the Burlington Waterfront show where the “White Rabbit” video was shot.
Grace and Co. also shot a video for the first single from Grace Potter & The Nocturnals— the smoldering to raging fire track “Tiny Light.” This song kicks off with a Bonnie Raitt-ish midtempo song and builds to an all-stops-out explosive conclusion. This is a video worth watching.
Click Here to go to the official Grace Potter & The Nocturnals YouTube Channel where you can subscribe to be notified when new videos arrive.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals is scheduled to release on June 8th. You can pre-order from Amazon.com
We’re going to begin pressing ORION — my most legit METAL record — on vinyl next week. http://ryanada.ms
At his website over the weekend, he debuted a song called “Electrosnake” from his upcoming album Orion. This song is still available for free download (as a WAV file!). There was also a survey that was shut down yesterday asking whether respondants would buy this album. On his Facebook page later that day, he posted that 69,567 people wanted a copy of Orion! “That is too many,” he said, “but it is cool getting to figure out what the manufacture numbers are before you go to press.”
Last year Ryan re-launched his PaxAm label, which in the past had been used for some rare single releases. He released three digital download singles for a very reasonable $1.49, which included digital art. Two of the releases came in FLAC format and all three had a bonus track. He also stepped into the physical waters with a very limited edition pink 7″ which was available at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC as part of an exhibition of his paintings and very briefly available on his website.
At the time he said that he was planning on releasing more of his archive of recordings and PaxAm was his way to do it. Now that Ryan is no longer tied to Lost Highway records and has disbanded The Cardinals he has time to focus on the new phase of his career and part of this is getting the records that Lost Highway didn’t release out there– and apparently there is an audience hungry for new material!
Which brings us to the new release going to press this week on PaxAm which will be Orion. According to a post by Ryan to the Ryan Adams Archive Boards on Saturday, Orionwas started by Ryan and producer Jamie Candiloro after Easy Tiger and had been in the works for over two years. Ryan says that Orion, “really wasn’t supposed to be anything other than a brutally badass thrash/metal record… Two years is a long time to work on a badass album of riffs and this is the one for me.”
Of course, this lit the boards up with contraversy– Ryan never made his love of metal a secret, and from time-to-time would post about metal bands on his various Internet accounts and would even share some of his metal noodling on his collection of vintage BC Rich guitars, still his ardent fans of his more accessible country- and folk-influenced music were torn about whether this was a good thing. Ryan was taking this furor with a certain aplomb joking about it in the thread about the album. The track “Electrosnake” is apparently the most accessible of the tracks with a discernable melody and slower tempo. “Electro Snake may have been the wrong FREE track now that I think of it,” said Ryan in a post, “but I wanted to try and find something more contemporary because I predicted no matter what track some folks were gonna be all WTF…. the rest of the record is pretty fast and pretty basic thrash. There are some poppier elements via VoiVod/Crumbsuckers but mainly it’s just sci-fi metal stuff. A few tracks, like two tracks in the middle of the record, get pretty heavy and slow and Vol 4 Sabbath-inspired kind of, but you know… I kind of handled all the guitars and bass on this so there is that. I left the drumming to the pro’s.”
So, what else do we know? I think that it will likely be released as a gatefold. He mentions that while there will be a release for people who don’t collect vinyl, the vinyl release will have some impressive art “inside.” I would take “inside” to mean gatefold. So, that is something to look forward to.
I’ve been really anxious for this post-Lost Highway period to start for Ryan. He’s been itching to get some releases out of his back catalog and he’s apparently working on new material with Candiloro this week as well. Without the restrictions of a record label, there is no telling what we will get from Ryan.
Click Here for Ryan Adams’s website where you can download or stream “Electrosnake” from the upcoming Orion album. This will be where the album will be offered for sale. ORION . ELECTROSNAKE by ryanadams