New Rob Mazurek on Delmark – sound is To Be Released 2/17/09

Glancing through coronet player-slash-self-proclaimed “abstractivist” Rob Mazurek’s list of albums he either performed on, or led one gets the idea that he’s a pretty busy guy. Indeed, in 2008 alone he had three releases– one with the Exploding Star Orchestra and Bill Dixon on Thrill Jockey, one as part of his Sao Paulo Underground on Aesthetics and a solo release called Abstractions on Robert D’Arbrissel on AdLuna.

Rob has a number of releases on his second Chicago label home (the other being Thrill Jockey) the seminal Jazz and Blues label Delmark dating back to 1998’s Playground as part of Chicago Underground Orchestra. On February 17th, Delmark will be releasing sound is (Delmark DE 586). Featuring 14 new compositions, sound is is the debut of Rob’s new quintet which includes John Herndon from Tortoise on drums, Josh Abrams of Town and Country on acoustic bass, Jason Adasiewicz from Loose Assembly on vibes and Rob’s bandmate in Isotope 217 Matthew Lux on bass.

Click Here to visit Rob’s website

Click Here to visit Rob’s MySpace Page

Click Here to visit Delmark – Chicago’s Home of the Blues and Jazz

B-Sides in the Bins #23 – Chicago Suburbs 3/2/08

This weekend my wife Sherry was attending a conference for Skin and Hair people at McCormick Place in Chicago. I came along for moral support and some time away– and the hopes of hitting some record stores. Sherry booked a cheap hotel online in Des Plaines North of O’Hare off I-90. Saturday I hung out at McCormick Place loitering at a Starbucks waiting for Sherry. Sunday morning I dropped her off around 10:30AM and I made my way back up to Des Plaines. This gave me the option to hang at the hotel with free parking and to venture out to the surrounding burbs.

A quick search of Google for “record stores near Des Plaines, IL” turned out a mix of interesting and not-so-interesting results. I quickly jotted down three places to try out. The plan being that I’d hit the closest stores first and work my way out.

The first place I tried was promisingly called “The Record Room” on Golf Rd (641 W Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL). No website. I called first, and the phone company said the “number is being tested” so I ended up driving over anyway. Rest In Piece Record Room! It is now a chiropractic office.

So, the next place I decided I wanted to hit was called “Sunshine Daydream” in Mt. Prospect, IL and has a current website, so that seemed promising. However, their hours are “Noonish to 6PM” on Sundays. I made my way up to the store and it exists and seemed to have inventory. It’s a tie-die, posters, Grateful Dead/Jamband type store. However, it was 12:15, so maybe that wasn’t “Noonish” enough for them. So, I headed back down to a restaurant I passed on River Road called Dick’s River Roadhouse for a Blue Moon (with requisite orange slice garnish) and a wonderful BBQ Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The bar music was some 80’s station (likely XM). Rick Spingfield, Prince, New Order, Toni Basil, etc. The food was served quickly.

After I ate my food and finished my beer I called Sunshine Daydream (2027 E Euclid Ave., Mt. Prospect, IL) to see if they were open– they were. I paid my bill and headed up to the store. As I opened the door, I was overcome by the smell of inscense. The store was pretty much what one would expect for a store that advertises itself as “the hippy general store.” They had a large array of “natural fiber” bags and other clothing– a lot of it tie-died. Posters, rolling papers, gag greeting cards and other sundries were available as well. The rack that had the CD’s was half used CDs and half new titles. Most of the new titles were jambands including a lot of titles that you’d normally only see on the bands’ websites– the Live Phish series, the Wart’s and All moe. series, Dick’s Picks. I think that if someone was looking for any release from the jamband genre this would be the place to go. I flipped through the selections, but didn’t find anything I was interested in. I looked briefly at the Infrared Roses CD that was in the used bin. Infrared Roses is a mashup of a whole bunch of performances of “Dark Star.” I also noted that they had a copy of the Traveling Wilburys Three CD for $7.99. I guess the release of the box set last year really dropped the bottom out of the used market on Traveling Wilburys– I remember seeing copies of the first CD going for over $100! The owner of the place spent the entire time I was in there dealing with some personal issue involving a relative who was freaked out about either moving into a new apartment or getting new neighbors.

From there I ventured over to Disk Replay (13 Golf Center, Hoffman Estates, IL). Disk Replay is a chain used CD/DVD/video game store. There are 4 or 5 in the Chicagoland area. They have a very large DVD selection and two sizable rows of tables of CD’s. The selection was pretty good. Lots of duplicates. They have a “buy three get one free” deal which I took advantage of.

Grant Lee Buffalo – Jubilee (CD, Slash/Warner Bros. 468789-2, 1998) ($4.99) Gold-stamped label promo. I still consider Mighty Joe Moon one of my favorite 90’s albums. I especially loved “Lone Star Song.” I own Moon and Fuzzy. I’ve never heard Jubilee, so I’m looking forward to hearing this. Apparently I only need Copperopolis and I have all of the releases. Jubilee is produced by Paul Fox, who did some great work with 10,000 Maniacs. Helping out on the album are Michael Stipe, Robyn Hitchcock and E. Jon Brion contributes vibes to the album as well.

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense – Special New Edition (CD, Sire/Warner Bros. 47489-2, 1999) ($7.99) I own most of the Talking Heads releases. I purchased most of them back in the early 90’s, but never bought Stop Making Sense on CD. Frankly, it kind of annoyed me that the original release was a very abbreviated version with only nine of the 16 songs from the movie. I made a cassette of the video tape a long time ago and that was the version that I listened to years ago. It’s great to have this at last.

Reminder – Continuum (CD, Eastern Developments Music EDM 013, 2006) ($3.99) This is why I love to dig through Chicago used bins! Reminder is the side project of Thrill Jockey friend Josh Abrams. I mentioned Reminder’s new EP in B-Sides in the Bins #15. Josh has some help on a couple of tracks from Nicole Mitchell of Thrill Jockey band Frequency. The track “Terradactyl Town” is credited as a remix of “Toy Boat” from Jeff Parker’s amazing solo album The Relatives. Very good cut-and-pastish album. Considering the Jazz bass work Josh does for other artists, it’s interesting to hear such a departure.

Nellie McKay – Get Away From Me (2 CD, Columbia C2K 90664, 2004) ($0.00) This was my “free” CD from purchasing the other three titles. It was sitting in the bin for $2.99! The case and CD’s are in perfect condition. Who knows why it was so cheap! Nellie’s first album. On Columbia, produced by the incomparable Goeff Emerick. This is the album that started it all. Jumps around stylistically from Rap to lush pop a la Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Probably regarded as her best effort, but time will tell. The clock is ticking for the show we’re seeing in Minneapolis. I’m very excited to see her!

I had hoped to spend another day in Chicago, but Saturday nights storms moving to Chicago had us worried about the road conditions so we headed back to Cedar Rapids rather than chance getting stuck in Chicago.

“This ain’t no Mudd Club, or CBGB’s…

B-Sides in the Bins #15 – Cedar Rapids and Internet 9/11/07

I made a trip to CDWarehouse in Cedar Rapids on 9/11 specifically to pick up the new Joe Henry. I’ve also picked up some other titles from ‘Net…

Civilians – Joe Henry (CD Anti- 86890-2, 2007) ($13.99) Joe’s second release on Anti- is pretty much a continuation of the sound and style he established with 2003’s Tiny Voices.

“Oh Yeah” – Yello (12″ Mercury 884-930-1, 1985) ($0.50) This is why I love hitting CDWarehouse. John deliberately drops cool stuff in his cheap vinyl bin. Ever since I took a huge haul of early Eighties 12-inches from Goodwill a couple of years ago, I’ve been keeping an eye out for deals like this. MINT condition. It has the single version of the song plus a 5 minute “Indian Summer Music” remix and a 6:25 “Dance Mix.”

In the used vinyl bin there was a copy of Welcome to the Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and another Yello title. If the FGTH title is still there next time I’m in, I’ll probably pick that one up. I still remember playing the “Relax” 12″ at home after I purchased it at Musicland in Dubuque and having Dad asking me why I was listening to that “shit.” A brother of a friend of mine bought the cassette of Pleasuredome and I copied it. I hadn’t heard anything like it at the time. That was the summer of Zang Tum Tum Records it seemed. Zang Tum Tum was the odd little label from the UK that had The Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 808 State and Seal among other acts on it. There was kind of a mystery surrounding the label and its acts. I remember there were three or four versions of the “Relax” video– some of them not appropriate for Prime Time and I could catch them on Night Flight on USA on the weekends. Night Flight was how I heard about The Art of Noise whose “Close (to the Edit)” and “Beat Box (Diversion 1)” were also in constant rotation along with Yes’s “Owner of the Lonely Heart.” Apparently Madonna and Sean Penn used the AoN song “Moments in Love” as their wedding march. All of these songs and their albums were produced by former Buggle (“Video Killed the Radio Star”) Trevor Horn. AoN was effectively the house band for ZTT and backed FGTH and would later be the band for Seal’s first album.

Double Roses – The Court and Spark (CD Absolutely Kosher no catalog number, 2003) ($10) With the annouced split of the Court and Spark I figured I’d better pick up the titles I didn’t have. Double Roses is really more of an EP at nine tracks than a full album. It is a collection of some unreleased studio tracks as well as a couple of live ones. The packaging is hand-made and numbered. Mine is numbered 126 of 400. Along with the CD there is a URL which provides the actual liner notes. I should probably snag those pages and cache them in case the website goes down. Order this directly from Absolutely Kosher as it is the cheapest you will find this title. $10 included shipping!

Ventura Whites – The Court and Spark (CD Glitterhouse Records GRCD 504, 2000) ($13.80) This is the import release of the CD. Ventura Whites was distributed by Tumult in the US. Very OOP, unfortunately. Not really my favorite release from them. I think their sound matured quite a bit between this release and Bless You. Bought on Amazon.com from a seller.

Solitude – Volebeats (CD Safe House SH-2128-2) ($1.13) Exchanging e-mails with Dave from the 100’s got me looking at the Volebeats again. The 100’s cover “Annabel” by the Volebeats. The Volebeats are/were a band from Michigan who record a roots rock/country style. I had been doing some research on the Volebeats back when the movie The Shopgirl included one of their songs but never followed through to purchase anything. I seem to remember the Calexico/Friends of Dean Martinez-ish instrumental “Desert Song” being in some movie, too.

Westside Cabin EP #1 – Reminder (download Ropeadope Digital Release R509) ($7.99) Reminder is the solo project of Josh Abrams who lends his bass skills to Thrill Jockey alums like Town & Country, Prefuse 73 and was also on Sam Prekop’s solo record. I found out about this from Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker’s MySpace page. Jeff lends his riffs to “Halfsies.” Jazzy, mellow, sample-based electronica. Good stuff and good price. You can either download this from Ropeadope or buy it from Reminder - West Side Cabin #1 - EP . The Ropeadope version is cheaper than iTunes and is DRM-free.

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