Search Results for:

DRAG CITY

Smog

Knock Knock - 20th Anniversary Edition

    Hey, it’s the 20th Anniversary half-speed master vinyl edition of the Smog classic, ‘Knock Knock’, by Smog. Placing this LP on your turntable, you find yourself drawn ever-deeper into the sound - and it’s not just the eternally-stunning co-production from Callahan and Jim O’Rourke, it’s the incredible focus brought by the half-speed mastering work done at Abbey Road, bringing out the highs, lows and even mids that OG fans of this album have taken for granted for too many years. The fresh fullness of the sound now stands as a tribute to the ol’ familiar Smog sensation of being somehow completely unfamiliar.

    Back in 1999, Bill was staking out new territory. Issued in the wake of the game-changing ‘Red Apple Falls’, ‘Knock Knock’ upped the ante of the game, pairing his naked portraiture with increasingly delicate nuances in song and arrangement. The people responded in kind, turning out in ever-increasing numbers to shops and venues alike. They weren’t quite singing along with ‘Cold-Blooded Old Times’ yet - that’s a happy post-millennial development - but there was a lot of excitement in the air back in those final old-century days.

    ‘Knock Knock’ was enough of a tour de force that staging a re-look these twenty years later was a cool no-brainer. With production values at an all-time (for then) high and a team of Chicago-based studio rats (as well as a carefully vetted-and-compensated singing children’s choir) on the case, ‘Knock Knock’ was the most colourful of Smog albums; a record that played like a real-life opera, a story told in song. Today, songs like ‘Held’, ‘River Guard’ and ‘Hit The Ground Running” are still called for at concerts. Meanwhile, the 20th Anniversary half-speed remaster of the LP allows us to perceive the expansive spaces in tunes like ‘Sweet Treat’ and ‘Left Only With Love’.

    It wouldn’t have been the 90s without a CD version and the label are re-releasing that in original, non-remastered form. Also, in tribute to where it all came from (but where it definitively wasn’t at the time), they have a cassette version of ‘Knock Knock’ for the neo-lo-fi heads to appreciate.

    Alasdair Roberts

    The Fiery Margin

      “Every song that’s nevermore sung/will sound again upon the Evernew Tongue”. Whether we understand the reference in the line, it sums up Alasdair Roberts’ approach as a singer and songwriter, now halfway through its third decade. Down the years, he has devoted himself to the history of traditional songs, playing them forward into our ever-evolving world as their meanings continue to evolve within him. Whether singing the auld songs, using inspiration from a line of text, or taking a time-honoured air as a starting point to a new song, he has pushed the tradition ahead in ways that few other singers and writers have approached.

      Since his first two solo releases, a collection of traditional songs followed by one of original material, Alasdair has followed this pattern more or less over the course of a dozen albums. The Fiery Margin follows 2018’s What News, a collaboration with David McGuinness and Amble Skuse that took eight Scots ballads and focused them through the use of vintage keyboards and modern electronic techniques to make something new that was also in the tradition. Thus, The Fiery Margin is a new collection of originals, some of which draw elements from the songs, singing and thought of the last couple millennia. With that scope in mind, it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone here!

      Alasdair’s impulse to communicate nuanced historical arcana in his music is matched with an ability to do so compactly in song, turning, say, a 1000-year-old Irish text on the mysteries of creation and apocalypse, or the peregrinatory journal of a mediaeval English mystic, into something with which we can all sing along. He’s been doing it long enough and with enough other fine players and singers to intuit what a set of songs might benefit from. On The Fiery Margin, he taps the percussive elan of Alex Neilson and the expansive bass playing of Stevie Jones, who have paired together with him on a couple of previous albums. On their previous encounter, Pangs, Alasdair focused on electric guitar, which gave the music a lean and wild quality that drew comparisons to the British folk scene of the classic rock era. The Fiery Margin has a diverse sound design, moving fluidly from acoustic to electric guitars while adding the nimble playing of Irish violist Ailbhe nic Oireachtaigh to embody and expand the parameters of the material. Additional players bring touches of accordion, pedal steel guitar, saxophone and barbershop vocals (!), aiding Alasdair’s process of excavating the enduringly mysterious roots of our shared music at a consonant, yet still enigmatic depth.

      Recorded by Luigi Pasquini at Anchor Lane Studios in Glasgow, The Fiery Margin has the distinction of being an exceptional recital whose origins could be ascribed to traditional Scottish, Irish and English music, not to mention the sounds of the world beyond. Alasdair Roberts is an underrated talent – one that we imagine will sound even better in the gifted ears of generations to come. As for you, dear citizen of today’s world – don’t wait!

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Rich and enchanting acoustic pieces here, boldened by Roberts' acrobatic vocals and ability for sketching a scene. Obviously influenced by the psych-folk movement, but unafraid to branch into other areas, 'The Fiery Margin' is a wonderfully emotive and fascinating narrative treasure.

      U.S. Maple

      Talker

        It’s now 20 years since U.S. Maple and ‘Talker’ were sent to the Drag City office. Their third album took the egressions and abrasions of their early music to a new height of quiet horror, their contribution to the summer of 1999 - a hot, trying season, one that won’t soon be forgotten.

        ‘Talker’ was recorded by Martin Bisi and produced by Michael Gira at Bisi Studios.  U.S. Maple made two more records after ‘Talker’ before dissolving in the mid 2000s. ‘Talker’ has been out of print on vinyl since 2008.

        ‘Talker’ has been newly repressed for vinyl with all original packaging (gatefold sleeve, notebook paper insert, poster, cover sticker) because some experiences, like high school, should keep getting replayed over and over again, forever.  “One of the most obliquely beautiful releases... evasive, creepy, engrossing, and lovely... No one sounds quite like U.S. Maple, and that’s the greatest compliment you can pay a band these days.” - AV Club

        “Droning, rubbery guitars, happenstance percussion and slow-burning tempos... the sonic equivalent of fresh tar: dark, hot and viscous. For all its surface chaos however, ‘Talker’’s noise has an underlying space and structure that makes it as compelling as it is initially inaccessible; once caught in its sonic tar pits, it’s fascinating to hear what else is stuck in there.” - All Music Guide

        It’s a year and a half since the release of Freedom’s Goblin. A winter of rain has buried the recent times of drought. Now voices from the garden cry of desire and disaster, but outside the gates, rebirth is happening.

        “Our salivating makes it all taste worse,” croons Ty Segall in the first salvo of First Taste. He’s talking about us: how we’re the masters of our own destiny, tellers of our own prophecy, makers of our own sickened choices. It’s a warning, but this time, the finger is pointing back at him too. He’s one with us.

        Contradictions are rife. First Taste is an introspective set after the extroversions of Freedom’s Goblin — yet just as steeped in party beats somehow, even as Ty trails through his back pages, reflecting on family, re-encountering pasts, anticipating futures. Feeling, like it was the first time, the duplexity of core truths. Lines of struggle wind through the songs. “My life is a mystery / I’d look inside but I can’t see,” as one goes — and yet, such promisingly oblique reflections act to unravel the onion, lifting the veil. Ty skates through oneness, self-esteem, the parents — all the joys of a rain-filled childhood — while reaching outward in the here and now, feeling for a shared pulse. To go on, we need to feel it.

        These are serious indoor moods, but with Ty, there’s a moment that always comes, a joke or something to crack the bubble and let some air in. It all comes together with volcanic energy — who knows what it means? One disaster ends another; mudslides down the hills into gaping canyons, freeways blocked, the sky filled with smoke. Then we go on.

        Meanwhile, the sounds — what are they? This production is INSANE, far-out, stranger than known, tones and rhythms that expand before our ears. These colors are weird. Together, they float like a flag, flashing binary lines like sirens to our eyes. There’s tons of drums, and acoustic . . . . things of all kinds. Horns, synth pads. Pianny. Boiling overtime, Ty’s creative juices suggested that First Taste be written and executed with some radical new instrumentation — koto, recorder, bouzouki, harmonizer, mandolin, saxophones and brass, voices, and sure, a sprinkling of keys. And the drumkit(S!), a position Ty occupies whenever it’s heard on the left speaker, while Freedom Band drummer (and SO much more) Charles Moothart plays the kit on the right side. Those two get DOWN together. Whatever the mood is, the pedal is pushed cleanly to the metal — and that means to the max of the lightest ballads ever, OR through the most raging rocks yet. Ty’s vocal prowess, always a highlight, sits in fresh relief against his mutant orchestra, spooling tension through some of his most patient songs, his feral scream in complete control. Taking us through it.

        First Taste is arch, full of high-energy jams, with a thing in each mix always insistently different. Ty’s song design’s all over the place — not even a surprise anymore — but unlike the freewheeling feast style of Freedom’s Goblin, these twelve numbers form a tightly revolving cycle of song and sound that focuses thoughts. First Taste isn’t really the first for Ty, or you or me. But for the latest, it’s a remarkably fresh taste. Maybe it’s the first for today — and when tomorrow is today, then too.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: It's their first since last year's 'Freedom Goblin', and Ty Segall have once again pulled a stormer out of the bag (would it ever have gone any differently?). Incendiary, rawkous, ingenious and not unexpected in the slightest. One of the most confounding and reliable bands out there at the moment. Brilliant.

        Bill Callahan

        Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest

        As you listen to Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest, a feeling of totality, of completeness, steals over you, like a thief in broad daylight. Of course it does – you’re listening to a new Bill Callahan record! The first one in almost six years! What more do you need to complete you?

        Or perhaps, after all the time, the obvious needs to be made just a little more explicit?

        First, it’s a different kind of record. Bill’s now writing from somewhere beyond his Eagle-Apocalypse-River headspace, and Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest is very much its own beast. The songs are, by and large, shorter, and there are more of them. It took almost all of the previous three albums to add up to that many. Plus, twenty’s a lot of songs! But again, it goes a lot deeper than that.

        After Dream River, Bill’s life went through some changes. Good changes – marriage and a kid - but afterwards, it was suddenly harder for him to find the place where the songs came, to make him and these new experiences over again into something to sing. His songs have always been elusive, landing lightly between character study and autobiography, as the singer-songwriter often does. This felt different, though. After 20 years of putting music first, he wasn’t prepared to go away from it completely. Or was he? The lives of a newlywed, a new parent, they have so much in them – but writing and singing, it was his old friend that had helped him along to this place where he’d so happily arrived. Was there room for everybody? While sorting it all out, he worked on songs every day – which meant that for a while, there were lots of days simply confronting the void, as he measured this new life against the ones he’d previously known.

        It informed the shape of the album. Moving gradually from reflections upon the old days in “Ballad of The Hulk” and “Young Icarus” to the immediacy of the present moment in “Watching Me Get Married” and “Son of the Sea”, Bill traces the different life lines, casually unwinding knotty contradictions and ambiguities with an arresting stillness. The sense of a life thunderstruck by change infuses Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest– the songs wander from expressions of newfound joy and great contentment to other snapshots, considerations of the not-joy that we all know. Unsettling dream-images and mythic recollections are patiently received; the undertow of the past is resisted, pulling against it instead into the present, accepting revolutions of time and the unconscious as a natural flow.

        These transcendent expressions are wedded translucently to the music. Acknowledging the uncertainty in which the songs were assembled, Bill went to the studio alone, unsure if he could find what he was looking for with a band riding along – because who knew how long it would take? This allowed the fluidity of his song-thoughts to be laid down with the right feeling. Once there was guitar and vocals, the other parts came. Matt Kinsey’s guitar partnership is an essential relationship within the music, as is Brian Beattie’s acoustic bass – but also, Bill found himself overdubbing parts himself for the first time in many years, which lent the songs an episodic drift, as if he’s passing through rooms while singing.

        In it’s final mix, Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest glows incandescent – an entirely acoustic arrangement, sounds and stories shifting seamlessly, almost like one big song made of a bunch of new stories – the kind that only Bill Callahan thinks to sing.

        It’s a joy to hear from this old friend – informing all the lives that we’ve led in the hearing. Good listeners and tired dancers, sing along.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Say what you will about Bill, but he sure knows how to keep writing the tunes doesn't he? A beautiful mix of brittle jazzy progressions, flickering percussion and swooning syncopated (but never jarring) melodic counterpoint show exactly why big Billy is still so present in our record collections and our hearts.

        Mike Donovan

        Exurbian Quonset

          Mike Donovan has seen his share of the world, making records and playing shows all over the past 20 years with, chronologically, The Ropers, Yikes, The Hospitals, Sic Alps, Ty Segall, The Peacers and most recently, himself.

          In June of 2017 Mike led The Peacers’ sophomore effort, ‘Introducing The Crimsmen’, into the world. In 2018 his own sophomore solo release, ‘How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’, hit down (in shops - it worked!). Now a third long player in the timeframe arrives, as Mike whisks us away to his remote ‘Exurbian Quonset’.  ‘Exurbian Quonset’ sticks up like a fork in the road - it was drawn together as Mike prepared to be the last man from the old gang to leave SF, where he broke so many rules and new ground, working as a driver, a trimmer and a craftsman, cementing bricks into the foundation of the new centurion West Coast rock and roll movement from his place alongside Thee Oh Sees over the past decade. It’s dedicated to the woman who married him and taught him both words in the title of the album - exurbian and quonset - and who he’ll whisk away with to somewhere just like the title.

          ‘Exurbian Quonset’ is a pure solo record - Mike created everything in the place, from voices and guitars to keys and space. It is pure pop music as well, as it has been played in dark, wet corners (and on the safety of cold, dry turntables) for the past half-century. Abstract-, post-, deconstuct- and autodestruct are as much a part of Mike’s songs and singing as the melodic evocations of personal moods and private memories, dreams and fantasy, a Proustian matrix, stamped into antic untameter.

          After a burst of Velvet clatter and noise, clamour, balladry and cavernous shimmying to open the record, the skies clear and birds appear, as if to signal a new season. Side two displays his deep propers, moving from the uncompromising Lennonist collage, ‘Wot Do Rich People Do All Day’ to the cheerful McCartneyisms of ‘B.O.C. Rate Applied’ to the Harrisonseque despondence of ‘Nowhere Descender’, creating corroded ‘White Album’-esque fx in our mind without ever leaving his own backyard - or cleaning it up. The mood is only extended with the acid-burnt instrumental ‘Zone Dome’ and the farewell ditty ‘My System’, ringing down the curtain in definitively (Mike) Donovanesque fashion. Where will we find him next?

          Purple Mountains

          All My Happiness Is Gone

            Purple Moutains is David Berman From Silver Jews.

            Wand

            Laughing Matter

              A little less than two years on from 2016’s Plum, Californian scrap polymorphs Wand are prepared to announce their newest, and fifth long playing record, Laughing Matter. By now, Wand is the shifting but unmistakable collaboration between Sofia Arreguin (keys, vocals), Cory Hanson (guitar, vocals), Robert Cody (guitar), Lee Landey (bass) and Evan Burrows (drums). Laughing Matter is marked by the confidence and exuberance of a band that has lived, feuded, thrived and grown together through years of dedicated jamming, touring and recording, across western and eastern states, continents and mind-sets. In this world that insists we must increasingly rely upon ourselves, Wand listen to each other, and this is the sound.

              Largely recorded on the infamous southern border of broken, decadent America, Laughing Matter belongs to the after-life. After the dull flood. As rock n roll lurched sideways and fell away, drunkenly lost in a funhouse mirror of…recycled Funhouses. With no major label funding, no management or lawyers, no corporate distribution, near zero social media presence and no commercial dealings whatsoever (with only poor, pitiful Drag City to help them carry the flag!), Wand have toured the world a bajillion times in five years and made four varied and compelling records while accumulating a devoted following. There may be a future in rock music beyond slapping rote regurgitations onto a lifeless syntactic grid. Wand are proof you don’t have to be an industry toy to sell records – that, with devotion and time, the seeds you plant with intention and care will grow back into the world.

              Swerving between out-of-focus parable, travel diary, pep talk, polemic, love song, and lullabye, Laughing Matter is a tough and tender album, its eyes on a lot of prizes. Where Plum held the tension of its five band members getting on their feet, the songs on Laughing Matter are concentrated and relaxed, even as they search for the right accusations to hurl at cynics and megalomaniacs. The music is distilled and sculpted from an ash heap of collected improvisations, riven with audio-verite; the methods and instrumentation are traditional handmade rock ‘n’ roll. Yet the unorthodox arrangements of “Scarecrow”, the joyous embrace of pastiche and disruption on “Walkie Talkie”, the radical eclecticism of shapes and approaches on “Thin Air”, the ascendant choruses of “Wonder” are all decidedly contemporary. This music is not revivalism or throwback; Wand are a precision instrument, a band that probes and teases style, genre, trope and anachronism into material, according to a law of motion that is aimed directly toward an uncertain future.

              Laughing Matter is a record about love in a time of terror, about making the best use of the surveillance technology available today. It calls you down from panic room labyrinths, to work the deep tissue of unravelling trauma we all carry so dear. The 15 songs on this record face their energy outward, to take with you through a common world that can’t suffer its human abusers much longer. Laughing Matter encourages you to shake hands with your old demons, to lay your pathologies to rest, to hold your spirit close, and let your body do what’s next.

              Test Pattern

              This Is My Street

                In season 2 of IFC’s ‘Documentary Now!’, the episode ‘Test Pattern - Final Transmission’ parodied/paid tribute to Jonathan Demme’s ‘Stop Making Sense’, a concert documentary of the Talking Heads. In order to get the same feel and sound, the directors organized a live performance of Test Pattern in San Gabriel, California. Fred Armisen and Bill Hader put together a band that onstage would tell the chronological story of Test Pattern, by adding band members, song by song.

                Proceedings begin with Fred Armisen and a guitar (‘This Is My Street’), then a trio with Bill Hader on bass and Jon Wurster on drums (‘Art + Student = Poor’) and then Jon Spurney on keyboards and Maya Rudolph on vocals and synth. Musicians and singers are added throughout the show but those are the key members of Test Pattern. The last song, ‘Everybody’s Moving Around’, is sung and co-written by Bill Hader, presented as that one song on an album not sung by the lead singer. 

                Ty Segall & The Freedom Band

                Deforming Lobes - Live

                In 2018, Ty Segall’s Freedom’s Goblin hit with a watershed feeling. A feeling like, how much longer will rock albums like this even exist? An epic epoch double-LP that took the heroic arc of Ty’s populist masterpiece Manipulator and wadded it up into a much more aerodynamic (and harder-hitting) ball (or 20-sided D&D die), FG was also the continued work of the Freedom Band, Ty’s crew of choice since 2016. Storming the world playing songs from throughout his catalog in a series of ecstatic setlists, they sought freedom for themselves and the audience, even it if was just one night of emancipation from world’s numbing chill. Then they went and did it again the next night!

                An all analog production, recorded live on stage at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles by Steve Albini (via mobile unit onto two-inch tape!) and mixed with Steve in Chicago at Electrical Audio, Deforming Lobes witnesses the blunt-force traumpact of The Freedom Band in full effect, updating (and upending) numbers from Melted, Emotional Mugger, Twins, Manipulator, $ingle$ 2 and Self-Titled. From the start, the “Warm Hands” suite shows the growth of the group since recording the original version for the 2017 Self-Titled album—the jam has a new life all its own, and the band explores every song with similar unrestrained curiosity, never forgetting the collective experience they’re sharing. The feeling between audience and band at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom on those January nights was its own special thing; here, the band is somehow even more front and center, making Deforming Lobes the first wholly original statement from The Freedom Band and bookending the Goblin experience with a fuck of an exclamation point.

                A year-plus later, another rock album exists—but what’s to be done with the guitar? These guys did everything they could get away with to a certain degree of (well-focused) depravity. Maybe now it’s time for a transition, away from live band rawk into whatever, who knows? But before you grieve your speculative future loss too hard, you really oughta get Deforming Lobes.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: By all accounts, Ty Segall are one of the most dominant forces in live music around today, and this perfectly captures the energy and visceral heft of this momentous experience. Grooves are stretched out and worked around, turning a simple riff into a multi-layered tapestry, rich with distortion and so huge you can almost feel the sweat dripping off the stage.

                Fountain Fire is Bill MacKay’s second solo album on Drag City. The Chicago-based guitarist’s continued sonic journeys in conversation with himself follow a travel-worn map written in his own hand. Bill has followed the trail from familiar confines to unknown places, catalyzing a style equally enamored with the traditional and the avant-garde to make his most expansive and forceful music to date.

                You can hear it in the opening track; as the lava and lakes of “Pre-California” simmer to boiling, Bill assembles a bridge of guitars, layering beams of rumbling acoustic, distorted electric, and arcing slide parts. By leaping boldly from fixed points, he makes synergetic discoveries in mid-air. This is the MacKay writing style in its most evolved state thus far, following serpentine paths within the patterns, lunging in and out of tonality with instinctive flair and a stoic sense of inevitability, forging a sonic mosaic that breathes and grows organically as it fills the space of a song.

                Yet there is far more here than straitlaced sonic captures of picker’s prowess and captivating harmonic motivation. Bill’s pieces are informed by meditation and memory, impressionistic as cinematic miniatures, inspired as much by filmic and literary passions as by sure-playing hands, and always rooted with deep soul and steady intention.

                As the pieces move in and out of focus in enticingly hallucinogenic fashion, Bill throws another element into play: a pair of stark and emotionally-charged vocal numbers that cause the hair to raise on the listener’s neck, etched as they are with a haunting and eerie beauty. Alongside the ever-shifting flows of instrumental color running through Fountain Fire, these moments shine blindingly, like mirages in the desert. The fire in the album title is a continuity in Bill’s life — part of his genealogy, his living history, his astrology, the scorching effect of the overdriven slide in the penultimate “Arcadia.” It is also a sigil for the chaos around us.

                Bill says: “While the record definitely reflects the turbulence and urgency of the times we’re living in, it also takes an autobiographical look back at the upheaval that characterized the nomadic rambles of my formative years. I learned to adapt to this constantly shifting landscape. Grasping the unfamiliar became second-nature, and the impressions made by the unknown rapidly entered my art. The bittersweet sense of fleeting time & place became a hallmark. Now is more of a time than ever to dramatize what matters to us through our art.”

                StumpWater

                Motel In Saginaw

                  A few years back Galactic Zoo Dossier / Galactic Zoo Disk Svengali Plastic Crimewave stumbled on a colourfully-labelled 1975 Aurora, Illinois private press single by StumpWater, featuring the tunes ‘White Washed Afternoons’ / ‘Watcher’s Brawl’. There was a vibe here - rural folk rock that’d make David Crosby’s ’tache bristle; latenight unwashed laments that quirky / heady troubadours like Tom Rapp, Gary Higgins or even poor, jaded Phil Ochs could groove on. A search surprisingly yielded immediate results, as StumpWater were still active and gigging. Peppering their concerts with CSN covers, StumpWater were still performing live, doing acoustic and electric sets (with a drummer, rock style) at the same gig (like the aforementioned supagroup would do back in the day) and still playing their 70s originals.

                  Crimewave interviewed the band members Joe Gloor and Dan Berg (Dan Haligas sadly passed shortly beforehand) and got their story for his Secret History of Chicago Music column in the Chicago Reader and some Earth-shattering info was gleaned: StumpWater had an unreleased 1973 LP.

                  It’s a concept LP about the characters populating a smalltown hotel (think Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Trouble Is A Lonesome Town’ maybe) called ‘Motel In Saginaw’ (a place Mike Nesmith seemed to know too). To say the homespun album was a revelation is putting it lightly - gorgeous tunes about death that’d have Simon & Garfunkel crying in their cappuccinos, creepy Dylan-esque tales that David Blue would liked to have written, maudlin hearts of gold in every groove - basically a hazy, sepia-stained song cycle for all the Judy Blue Eyes in the world to get lost in while rolling a dirtweed joint.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Deluxe LP Info: The deluxe package includes an inner sleeve with photos and info, a cracking mastering job by wunderkind Carl Saff and an original copy of their original private press 7" single. The complete StumpWater at last.

                  Tim Presley's White Fence

                  I Have To Feed Larry's Hawk

                  Tim Presley’s White Fence, informed by the extreme polarities of punk rock and psych, brings forth songs like no others. Two years on from his solo missive, the sense that something has cratered and someone has walked away, somehow alive, is heavy in the air. Vulnerability is painted with Tim’s unpredictable brush, letting down his hair in counter-intuitive steps, while intimating that any path taken, whether one of transformation or one of succumbing, may meet an ambiguous outcome. With ‘I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk’, Tim Presley meets White Fence and together, they move on.

                  “I started writing songs for this album in a small rural town in the UK called Staveley. I was staying with Cate Le Bon there during winter. While she was there going to school learning how to build & design furniture out of wood, I started writing on her piano. Staveley is in the Lake District (Northern England) and everywhere you look is the most beautiful serene British landscapes. Your eyes go quiet.

                  “I came back to SF to record, but first I had a fervent dream that Johnny Thunders asked me to be honest & simple with this album, and why dolphins were not given arms. I booked studio time with a very talented fellow named Jeremy Harris and we worked together out of a studio in the Dogpatch district of SF (owned and run by Paul from the UK band The Bees (or in US... A Band of Bees). Because I can only play the piano like a 5-year-old, Jeremy was able to learn the songs on piano, keys and finesse the parts, including most drums and also record/engineer the whole album. Also playing on the album, is S.F. Mission district native Dylan Hadley who plays drum on two songs: Until You Walk’ & ‘Forever Chained’ and H. Hawkline adding guitar and vocals on ‘Phone’.

                  “I have to re-learn how to walk. The poppy stomp. I’ve been tethered to a hawk, that I must feed on the dot. Many people get, and many people need. I can’t believe what I now hear and what I now read. It’s funny how the human moves, it’s desperate how the fog seeps through. San Francisco the city, is an artist that had become rich off one masterpiece painting, but still conflicted & inspired, trying to shake the blue. I needed to remember my heart is plausible, and not a closet of hornets & flies. Even though closing my eyes can still bring me to my knees, I think love and inspiration will lead me to free. Through life’s cycles and movements you get re-taught, but still everyday I must feed Larry’s hawk.” - Tim Presley, 2018

                  Pearls Before Swine

                  Balaklava

                    Released in late 1968, the second Pearls Before Swine record continued to deliver music with a preternatural sense of what the youth of America wanted to hear. ‘One Nation Underground’ had been a surprise hit when released in 1967 by the hipster free jazz indie label ESP, receiving an incredible organic response, with continuous underground radio play and sales. Coming from obscurity in Florida into a position of speaking to people everywhere, Tom Rapp and his bandmates felt emboldened to embark upon an evolved piece of record making.

                    The music of ‘Balaklava’ strips away the manic, post-garage band diversity of the first album, instead grounding the production around Tom Rapp’s guitar and singing, with the touches of instrumental colour all the more dramatic and striking. Producer Richard Alderson utilized breathy sweeps of reverb, sound effects, tape manipulation and spoken word recordings along with an array of instrumental overdubs including banjo, marimba, organ, clavinet, flute, English horn and strings (played by the band along with New York jazz session players Bill Salter and Al Schackman, plus The Fugs’ Lee Crabree and legendary saxophonist Joe Farrell, with Selwart Clarke and Warren Smith contributing string arrangements) to reach for the universal space sought in Tom Rapp’s meditative, existential songs.

                    The message writ between the leaves of ‘Balaklava’ - War No More - is elegantly written. From the implication of the title (Balaklava was the site of the battle at which Britain’s notorious Charge of the Light Brigade resulted in heavy casualties for no visible gain), the epigraph from Santayana, the dedication to Pvt Edward D Slovik, (the only US soldier to have been tried and executed for desertion since the Civil War) and the use of Breughel the Elder’s ‘The Triumph Of Death’ on the cover, the message is plain, without ever being directly stated - the world is a beautiful place but for the scourge of man at war. Musically, the message is conveyed with one or two passing lyrical references, letting Tom Rapp’s use of literary reference and allegory dwell on the transcendence of love and pastoral beauty in life, achieving a stinging impact, as much by what isn’t said as what is. This sets ‘Balaklava’ apart from much of other protest music from the Vietnam era - and it has allowed it to age gracefully into the 21st Century.

                    Like ‘One Nation Underground’ before it, ‘Balaklava’ celebrates 50 years of life in stunning fashion. Original producer Richard Alderson has remastered the album, restoring the precision of the original mix - and, in the process, revealing fantastically dynamic performances and dispersing the haze of the years that had gathered over latter-day editions of ‘Balaklava’. The music and message it intended to deliver to the world are still needed, the peace still sought. The fight to understand and to change is still ongoing. And so, ‘Balaklava’ has fresh purpose after all this time.

                    Tom Rapp passed away while this album was being readied for re-release. While he spent the majority of his life working as a lawyer who practiced humanist, equalrights law - “60s law,” as he put it - for the benefit of many underrepresented people, his name will best be remembered and will forever be synonymous with the music of Pearls Before Swine. We are grateful to help in pushing this music forward toward the eternity it deserves. It goes without saying that this anniversary restoration of Balaklava is dedicated to Tom’s memory. May he rest in peacefulness and live in the positivity that Pearls Before Swine bring to all who hear their music.

                    Cave

                    Allways

                      CAVE are kind of beyond time. You might feel like it’s been awhile since you’ve seen or heard them but when you see or hear them again, that moment will feel like ‘Allways’.

                      During the making of the last album, ‘Threace’, CAVE was in the process of becoming a quintet. They toured the world afterwards, playing on four continents and eighteen countries - as close to everywhere as they could get. Then they took a minute. They recorded it over time, in Chile and then Chicago. You can hear all of this, the energy of liveness, the reps, and consolidating expanded possibilities within their new alignment, the time away, the distance and the freshness of returning to recorded sounds, everywhere on ‘Allways’.

                      In the past, much has been made of CAVE’s use of particular compelling tropes but their inspiration comes from everywhere - Miles, psych, beats, exotica, library music, rock, punk, the Germans, the New York guys too, minimalists, the Dead, music from India, everywhere. This is a bunch of guys playing rock-based music in a way that pushes them forward from everything they’ve experienced. When you listen to the new CAVE you hear guitars - lots of them - bubbling under, scratching, fanning, locking in and taking off, soaring on acid-washed wings, with keys that pump, burr and whoosh in and out of the rhythms.

                      Half-speed mastering of ‘Allways’ at Abbey Road has allowed the activity at all frequencies to present with a liquid fullness and ripe detail. ‘Allways’ is a blueprint for your ears to read and a map for CAVE to follow through the world.

                      Blonde and brunette. Dog and cat. Lemon and onion. Friend and foam. The change has been made! You can scratch your seven-year itch freely now: Ty Segall and White Fence are become one again, regrooving what we once called Hair into what is now Joy.

                      Hair grew out of a simpler time, man! If, as the dyphrenic duo indeed affi rm on Joy, rock in 2018 is dead, don’t come around here looking for no burial. Instead, fi nd Joy caught up in the commencement of on-beyond rock; music made with the old tools, but emitted from a fresh new, single-celled organism. This time, the old “one and one make one” line does not apply. Hair had the quality of emulsion — drops of Segall suspended in Fence; a compound of White dispersed over sheets of Ty. With Joy, Tim and Ty arrive without travelling from the same place, occupy one single headspace, fi nishing the other’s phrases, pulling licks from each other’s places. Singing and thinking and laughing as one. Calling themselves from inside the house. C-c-c-creepy!

                      Both these fellows have been known to trifl e with tropic pasts and reactivate vintage visions within their new music. Not now. Now is the only time this time — Joy is their own sound of today, a shared individuality, prisming all possible stances into an unseamly metastasis that FLOWS for 15 ebbcentric tracks. Plus, since it ends at the beginning, it never has to stop. LOOP that shit!

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Ty Segall and White Fence bring it back for more of their collaborative journey through foggy psychedelia, simmering rock and roll and lysergic arm-swaying riffage. Yet another superb meeting of minds from these two top talents. Superb.

                      Alasdair Roberts, Amble Skuse & David McGuinness

                      What News

                        For his twelfth solo album - ‘What News’ - and his fourth album focused exclusively on the performance of traditional songs, Alasdair Roberts has chosen a typically unusual and eclectic pair of collaborators: Amble Skuse and David McGuinness.

                        On past albums ‘No Earthly Man’ and ‘Too Long In This Condition’, Alasdair relied on his deep connection to the songs to anchor often exploratory arrangements that would locate the hundreds-years-old songs in a contemporary milieu. The resulting works are magnetically compelling and have been powerfully acclaimed down the years. For his first project in this vein since 2010, Alasdair was inspired by Scottish singers such as Jeannie Robertson, Lizzie Higgins, Duncan Williamson, Elizabeth Stewart and Sheila Stewart. He had a desire to sing and not so much to play, so he asked early music scholar and Concerto Caledonia director David McGuinness (a previous collaborator) to play keyboard accompaniment for these songs, upon which Alasdair would not be playing guitar.

                        This was provocative: Alasdair was counting on David to respond to a counter-intuitive suggestion with surprising, idiosyncratic playing. David was challenged but up to the task. He started with the choosing of appropriate instruments, which he found at the University of Glasgow: an 1844 grand pianoforte and a ‘Mozart-style’ fortepiano of relatively recent vintage - the types of instrument they call in Holland ‘brown pianos’ (as opposed to the ‘black’ sound of the modern Steinway). To these, David added his own circa-1920 Dulcitone, a Glaswegian keyboard that plays tuning forks instead of strings.

                        During the process of developing the arrangements, David hit upon an idea for an additional collaborator: sonologist Amble Skuse, whose work involves interactive, electronic performance treatments. This provided a third plane for the project and thus triangulated, they were able to crystallise an approach involving a very open soundstage: David’s keyboard, Alasdair’s vocals and Amble’s structural soundscaping. This makes for beautiful and driven music that has no analogue in Alasdair’s catalogue - for while he has consistently pursued the dynamic fusion of songs from hundreds of years ago in a modern and progressive context, he hasn’t worked with a keyboard as the central instrument. The beauty of the conception is evident throughout, with immaculate engineering capturing all the nuances of David and Amble’s work. Alasdair’s singing embodies previously unheard capacities in his ever-evolving catalogue of song and he also contributes a powerful guitar obbligato and solo on ‘The Dun Broon Bride’ - no doubt in response to the fine work of his collaborators.

                        Your Food

                        Poke It With A Stick

                          ‘Poke It With A Stick’ - the only record by Louisville legends Your Food - is a sui generis gem of the American underground, now faithfully reissued for the first time by Drag City. Recorded in 1983 by four scarecrows from Kentucky subsisting largely on cheap beer and baked beans, the album is a burbling burgoo of hypnotic rhythm, uncoiling tension, and sharp invective - a proud bastard of post-punk royalty.

                          Slint drummer Britt Walford remembers seeing Your Food at age 11: “You knew you were in the presence of something powerful whenever they played. Their sound was open and catatonic. Cathartic. You recognized it right away. A lot of it was based on the bass, which was cool, and the drums were expressive, too. Like the bass, they were simple, but odd and insistent. The guitar was angular and somehow just as present as the bass and drums, which seemed like the center. Doug’s singing went right along with it. He was mocking and smart, then bare and vulnerable, without being vulnerable.”

                          In the fall of 1981, the residents of 1069, Louisville’s original punk house, began to spy three teenagers lurking outside the decrepit environs. Eventually the teens grew bold enough to approach, and soon two, John Bailey and Wolf Knapp (“that’s my real name, not my punk rock name”), were learning guitar and bass in the trashed rehearsal space within. “Their practices seemed interminable at first,” remembers Charles Schultz, “and then picked up confidence and momentum.” Charles had been the drummer for Louisville’s recently defunct Dickbrains, a band described by the Village Voice as freaky weirdos who couldn’t fit in if they tried. He started playing with John and Wolf. Douglas Maxson, the Dickbrains male singer, was lured back from New York with the promise of beer and cigarettes and soon Your Food were playing weekly shows at the local Beat Club, mostly for free beer. (The third lurking teen, Janet Beveridge Bean, formed left-of-the-dial, cracked country act Freakwater with Dickbrains guitarist Catherine Irwin.)

                          Financed by a Pell Grant and what little cash the band could scrounge, the album was cut largely live in the studio by a guy who usually recorded church groups and self-released on the band’s own Screaming Whoredog label. The prevailing themes of restlessness and isolation are palpable in songs like opener ‘Leave’, where ennui morphs into dark comic fantasy. The punk funk of ‘Don’t Be’ fits perfectly with the downtown NYC groove of bands like ESG and Bush Tetras. Doug’s sardonic wit laces each song with trenchant, first-class put-downs. “Everybody really wants to be your friend / Shit, I wouldn’t even want to talk like you.”

                          The band became big brothers and bad influences for prepubescent Slint project Languid And Flaccid (which included Will Oldham’s elder brother Ned). It was a golden age but a waning one, an adolescent state before hope or commercial prospect or any plan for the future. When no one gives a damn what you are doing, you are free to do what you want.

                          Your Food managed three short tours in a world before cell phones, social media, or global positioning and earned the admiration of the few who heard them but they were sonically out of step with the then-dominant hardcore scene, where speed and aggression alone were valued. It all came to a spectacularly bitter end on the side of some frozen, forlorn highway in West Virginia. The tour van broke down three times in four days. The money for the planned second album went to repairs and the band, beaten and broken, called it quits.

                          Various Artists

                          Hexadic III

                            2018 is Hexadic year three - the third annum since we were introduced to a new wave in combinatorial theory with powerful potentialities for music composition. The book, ‘The Hexadic System’, was written by Six Organs Of Admittance’s Ben Chasny, who demonstrated the possibilities of the system with two albums of Hexadic composition, as well as touring the music and chairing talks on the process and uses of The System around the United States and Great Britain.

                            This third instalment of the ‘Hexadic’ series had been planned from the beginning - inviting others outside of Ben Chasny’s Hexadic headquarters to make music using The System - but Ben was pleased to find that once he’d started asking like-minded music makers, such as Stephen O’Malley and Richard Youngs, they’d already begun to explore The System for their own writing. As one of the first individuals to explore The System, Phil Legard’s thought and music expressions have been invaluable to Ben and his contribution here, transposing The System, as it were, from guitar to keyboard, is redolent with ideological zeal. Likewise, the music of Moon Duo, Tashi Dorji, Jenks Miller (Mount Moriah) and Meg Baird and Charlie Saufley (Heron Oblivion) is suffused with a meditative energy, as their native understandings of how to create transfuse through the System with an invigorating flow.

                            One of the advantages of The Hexadic System is the provision of a malleable template to interface with the wide array of choices one makes when composing. With this in mind, ‘Hexadic III’ shouldn’t be listened to as a key to understanding how the system works. Instead, one should expect to hear a various artists collection that has an unusual cohesion, resulting from a new line of communication in which all are participating, even when they are using the language directives in different ways. ‘Hexadic III’ conveys a shared mode from a wide span of performers, all of whom have used The System for a means of expression that allows them to access themselves in both new and essential ways, highlighting both commonalities and diversions in their playing - and providing in the process an album of deeply stimulating new music.

                            With the world around us bruised and bloodied with teeth already dug into the concrete curb, we fi nd ourselves with the shadow of a large boot looming overhead. What better time for No Age? Remember, they are the ones who fi rst brought you the hospital-bedfeel-good-anthem, “Get Hurt” (2007). They know how to ecstatically rage and power on thru pain, because what else are you gonna do? The future belongs to the cockroaches, and this record is made for the disparate band of misfi ts who 2017 couldn’t kill.

                            Yeah. New No Age! Not new age No Age (except for the odd “Sun Spots”/“Keechie”-style shimmer that only ever makes everything better), but defi nitely an age of album-making located somewhere beyond and back from where we last heard ’em in aught-13, when they’d wrapped their process in as much deconstruction as An Object could bear. Reimagined rippers, compelling ever forward; something that provokes challenges on the ear — that was always the goal, but after a few years spent not No Age-ing, just working on that thing called life, is it any wonder that Dean and Randy wanted to pump out some rock and roll for the black hole? Does time mean nothing to you? Don’t answer that.

                            Snares Like a Haircut sounds like the good shit, and smells like the buzzy burning off of an aura, the marine layer suddenly vanished, leaving a thin layer of smog over the songs, simmering sock gazing tunes, revved and displacing enormous amounts of sound soil. This is pure driving music, for the bus racer and the car driver, with too many signs, bells and little lites fl ashing, ticking away. This is a record for the Foothill and the Valley, with a chemical sunset fl owering at the end of every day. It’s a feeling made by driving music for driving music.

                            Recorded in a few days and mixed forever, Snares Like a Haircut finds No Age in full on mode, because there was nothing else to do but go full on. In the songs inside the songs, the thumpy/thwappy drums, the desperately voiced paens to determination, the churning and the stinging-but-shiny fuck-it built into the structure, a promise from the 1980s echoes once again across today, for the undetermined in-between generation reality seekers. With Snares Like a Haircut, No Age scrub the itch in the little moments, engage actively with the process and carve/plaster/shave something in an album shape that’ll last. You don’t have to drive, but you can’t stay here. Let No Age do all the driving for you. Snares Like a Haircut.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Laura says: A welcome return from Dean and Randy. This album follows in a similar vein to 2013's "An Object", combining their raucous, hook-filled guitar fuzz gems with spacey, experimental interludes. They seem to have got it pretty much spot on this time around too, balancing everything out perfectly and seemingly knowing exactly how much of each ingredient to throw into the mix at any one time.

                            Freedom’s Goblin is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, filling four sides of vinyl nonstop, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight — but first, the process will make your head spin! Back in the Twins days, we talked about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. On any given side, we’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity.

                            So drop the needle — who can say what it’ll sound like where it lands? This is Freedom’s Goblin — one track engendering, the next one oppressing, violence up in the mix — a look at everything around that Ty used to make the songs. What will you use it for when you listen? The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too, and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed, but Freedom’s Goblin is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities — each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing. Freedom’s Goblin wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from L.A. to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F. Bermudez, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and of course, Ty himself.

                            The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins r’n’b electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape. And one about his dog, too! We’re ALL Goblins and we ALL want our Freedom. The freedom to love or to be alone; to be pretty or pretty ugly; the freedom to turn the other cheek or to turn up the volume. And of course, the freedom to make just about any kind of song you think will free people when they hear it. But there’s that goblin of freedom too — and once you let it out of the bottle, it can fuck with you, so . . . take it or leave it. Go away or go all the way in. Live free and die! BUT be careful what you wish for . . . .

                            Ty Segall

                            Fried Shallots

                              ‘Fried Shallots’ is a handful of numbers from different times and places over the past few years that all work together in a weird way. For Ty Segall, that requires rock with the gears shifting and stripping, tempos and tropes mashing up; a primal outburst, a quick-and-fuzzy soundtrack of rock, folk, R&B and pure power pop, to give us a chance to chill and do the new Century twist for just a minute. Ty Segall’s ‘Fried Shallots’ is here to help us surf the tides and not be swept under.

                              The Peacers

                              Introducing The Crimsmen

                                Introducing The Peacers’ ‘Introducing The Crimsmen’. Escalating from a disembodied voice to slowly mounting full-band hypnosis, this is a trip into the golden rod days of fandom, a dimension where a T-shirt could change your life.

                                Since their first album in the summer of 2015, The Peacers have been gigging in SF and around, woodshedding and collecting tunes for this divinely awaited moment. Lurching back into life, with buzz and hum alight and colours flashing, is the name but the instigators of the sound are almost a whole other bunch (Mike Donovan, Shayde Sartin, Mike Shoun and Bo Moore).

                                The tunes rock forth from a jukebox with a crack in the glass, with channels leaking / kaleidoscopic aspects of low-fi life directed back through the wires to form discrete detail, little shadows, backdrops, edgework.

                                Whether gentle psych, basement throb, keening ‘Time Of The Season’ nocturne or ground-glass soundscape, it’s all bubblegum boiled in pot, scripted up with stinging street smart reverie and a wink and a chill grin.

                                Life is a Rorschach, life is a Rashomon. Fuck your facts. Throw ‘em out with yesterday’s webpages. Lives lie beyond the equations of currency, border lines and government —  and truth is just a drop in the beholder’s eye.

                                Ty Segall has made whole records that wrestle with realities — fighting against some, pulling mightily to bring others into being. Of late, he’s thrown up his hands and donned clown shoes, dancing merrily in the dual role of oppressed/oppressor! His hands aren’t any more or less dirty than anyone else’s — but amidst the thunder and the chaos of the ongoing storm, he’s looking for the eye within.

                                The new self-titled record — the next record after Emotional Mugger, Manipulator, Sleeper, Twins, Goodbye Bread, Melted, Lemons, and the first self-titled album that started it up in the now-distant year of 2008 — is a clean flow, a wash of transparency falling into a world that needs to see a few things through clearly, to their logical end. It’s got some of the most lobe-blasting neckwork since the Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse (from way back in the long, hot summer of 2012), but it also features a steep flight of fluent acoustic settings, as Ty’s new songs range around in their search for freedom without exorcism, flying the dark colors high up the pole in an act of simple self-reclamation. All he wants is some truth!

                                The construction and destruction of his chosen realities has, until now, been a luxury Ty has rightfully reserved for himself, striping overdubs together to form the sound — but for this new album, he entered a studio backed by a full band — Emmett Kelly, Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart and Ben Boye — to get a read on this so-called clarity. This leads to a new departure in group sound, as well as some of the most visceral and penetrating vocal passages yet heard from Ty Segall.

                                “Freedom/Warm Hands” puts the “sweet” back into suite; “Orange Color Queen” is a supreme moment of tenderness; “Talkin’,” a roots-infused truth-attack. “Papers,” looks behind the doors of Ty’s process; “Break A Guitar” is a brutal fun-fest pitched to the back of the house. Ty Segall keeps you guessing, bracing your skin with a welcome astringency, seeking to stem the bleeding with chunks and splashes of guitar, tight beats, audio-verité toilet smashes, a Wurlitzer electric piano in a jam, blazing harmonies, and LOTS of songs to sing. There’s no concept beyond that; finding the right places to be is a momentary thing. Ty Segall is the sum of his songs — and about getting the free. The free to be!

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: Ty’s latest LP is more punky than sludgy, with more in common with early Pixies than his recent output. Driven, rocking and absolutely essential.

                                The Silence

                                Nine Suns, One Morning

                                  Faun Fables are back with ‘Born Of The Sun’. Since 1998, Faun Fables has been the musical world of Dawn McCarthy, visited in collaboration with her partner Nils Frykdhal. In early times, their wild spirit roamed the streets and hills of the SF / Oakland community while, pilgrim-like, wandering the world and issuing two albums of deeply-rooted, swirlingly other folk music in 1999 and 2001. With the release of ‘Family Album’ in 2004, Drag City got involved and ‘The Transit Rider’ (2006), ‘A Table Forgotten’ (2008) and ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ (2010) followed. Now, suddenly, it’s 2016. Six years have passed since ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ appeared. Life has happened, in the form of three children born to Dawn and Nils.

                                  Anyone who has spent time in the thrall of Faun Fables’ bewitching sound knows that this was the dream; beyond Dawn’s passion for song, dance, theatre and all manner of folklore (plus a regular regimen of yodelling), the mythic shadows of home and hearth, friends and family, have infused all of their expressions. Now, raising the family that was once only dreamed about makes for an earthier and more expansive Faun Fables album, informed by the slow and sudden progress of time that occurs when we are with the very young.

                                  ‘Born Of The Sun’ is in itself another birthing, the songs gestating over several years, then recorded mostly in concentrated periods over the past two winters. On previous albums, the passions of Faun Fables seemed to be laid firmly on the stones of the Old World. The minstrels who cavorted across the cover of ‘Mother Twilight’ seemed out of another, hard-to-place time. ‘Born Of The Sun’ continues on in this exalted tradition but also reflects the rhythms of family living, where each day is a new and irreversible step forward through the necessarily scorched earth of raising children.

                                  Where ‘Family Album’ and ‘A Table Forgotten’ looked yearningly through time at the spiritual natures of communal living, ‘Born Of The Sun’ is forged in the crucible of now and, as such, has a feeling apart from the previous days of Faun Fables.

                                  Dawn and Nils and the kids (whose vocals on ‘Wild Kids Rant’ suggest they are following their parents’ path into the forest) are embracing the phenomena of creation as they move inexorably forward. ‘Born Of The Sun’ is the bountiful and exuberant album of this place and time - an old, candlelit world of arcane beliefs in our brightly-lit world, growing ever more profound in the light of perpetual discovery that bathes all of Faun Fables’ songs.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: An enchanting and often beguiling mix of traditional medieval folk and swirling Californian psychedelic sounds. Progressive but coherent chord changes and textures develop as time goes on, building and morphing into a cacophony of instrumental depth and vocal intensity. Fascinating and thoroughly skilled instrumentation and (in places) frightening heart-wrenchingly poignant lyricism. A Journey not to be missed.

                                  Drag City presents a newly-unearthed artefact from the long history of The Red Krayola: 1984’s previously-unheard ‘Baby And Child Care’.

                                  Grooving sinuously in prime mid-80s form in a production redolent with funk, dub and new wave inflections, ‘Baby And Child Care’ is of a musical vintage whose dry complexity is even more appreciable today.

                                  The revolutionary advice found within ‘The Common Sense Book Of Baby And Child Care’ opened doors in the mid-40s that are widening still; at the time of this album project, it had influenced a generation or two of generally young parents. At that time, The Red Krayola were a band on a musical roll, having just recorded and released ‘Black Snakes’ on the Swiss Rec Rec label. When presented with the lyric qualities of Dr. Spock’s psychoanalytic texts, passages of which had been transposed by Art & Language’s Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden, Mayo Thompson immediately set them to music. The Red Krayola ‘Black Snakes’ band - Ben Annesley on bass, Chris White on drums and Allen Ravenstine on synthesizer and soprano sax - provided musical accompaniment in performances recorded by Eric Radcliffe at Blackwing Studios in London.

                                  32 years later, the conversant playing and production approach of ‘Baby And Child Care’ comes across with an enduring completeness that belies its position on the shelf for the past several decades. Despite the initial lack of release, its pride of place can now be appreciated, an example of the Red Krayola’s particular brand of collaboration.

                                  Standing tall next to the already-known classics of early-80s Red Krayola, from ‘Kangaroo?’ through ‘Three Songs On A Trip To The United States’, ‘Baby And Child Care’ is essential listening for parents and progeny alike.

                                  Bitchin Bajas And Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

                                  Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties

                                  YES! An unlikelier of collabs on the face of it comes to pass, and makes SO much sense upon consideration that you wonder why you hadn’t rioted for your right to experience this sooner. Chill, man! Life gave you a surprise — a missing peace — now GO with it.

                                  Yessir, Bitchin Bajas and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy be in righteous and TRUE collaboration on this one, flowing ideas through the air between them, which seems a rare thing in this age where records course forth without wires, pieced together out of the zeros and ones that divide and don’t define us. The air’s meant to be shared, and that’s how Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties came to pass — a morning, afternoon and evening of frisson in blissed acceptance of the eternal recurrence. And it always came.

                                  These guys GET each other. They share a passion for arresting the moment in the process of now, and both of ’em get music from this action in their way. Bajas have a fan in Bonny; their ability to stretch time and get in between the grains scratches his itch to LIVE in those instances. And this makes him a worthy co-jammer, a fourth plane to the BB triangle that quantifies and dimensionalizes the sound. Inevitable, then, that they’d do something. Their first blend was for the Shirley Collins tribute comp, a rendition of “Pretty Saro” that built from the starkness and tonal monophony of the auld ballads and opened the hatch to timeless stasis. But if more was desired (which it was), more would be needed — the full trio of Bajas in the room together, in audience with the ‘Prince.’ Following one of their many mini-jaunts around the country, Bitchin Bajas stopped by Bonnie’s aerie one day after tour to make it so.

                                  It was an epic and fortunate day.

                                  Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties contains moments of tranquility and trance, with the players integrating their separate ways, vibing off each other, making songs together. Bonny is at his spiritmelting celestial best wandering through a lifetime of fortunes that amount, when incanted, to a prayer to the god of many names. The Bajas’ access to the universal aural paintbox is unparalleled; their reach is deep. And it all went down onto a 2-track reel-toreel in primitive left-right seps that helped to define their ability to finish it in mixing. These WERE jams, with whatever preparation, gear, thought and cords — vocal and electric — backgrounded, in support of intuition and what existed AT THE MOMENT.

                                  Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties is simple and stark and empyrean and inspirational...and pretty modal, too — probably never more than three chords! — as Bonny and the Bajas pursue the life of the spirit down ever-fading vapor trails, in a bottomless (and topless — let ’em loose!) space.

                                  From the press release for ‘Emotional Mugger’:
                                  “Get in the booth -
                                  punch in the number
                                  when they pick up
                                  don’t say a word
                                  just listen
                                  shout at the double
                                  from the damned
                                  from a dry throat
                                  dry eye chuckle
                                  insistent / elastic (but never plastic)
                                  thick / butt jump pierced by the kids
                                  sweet angel voice sinister (what are they thinking)
                                  guitars sliced with scribble
                                  graffiti sprawled across the hemispheres; stuttered, stunted, dual-mono machine dreams flashing sudden stereophobic and back again / two screens alone together squeezing shaking oozing metallic pool like brain blood, slowly draining away all mental life. shaking ass / nihility at most corrodes candy’s gone no more fun.”

                                  The Silence are a storm that has been brewing across Japan for over a year and now that system is breaking into the skies of the rest of the world. Their debut, self-titled release proved to be simply a preamble to the fluid and formidable electro-acoustic display of ‘Hark The Silence’.

                                  The first record was of a song-based nature, rendered with careful beauty familiar to long-time listeners of Maski Batoh and Ghost; a sounds that turned on occasion into greater journeys. Several months after finishing that album more songs were was taped during an epic recording session in an enormous studio with an audience of listeners whose presence inspired The Silence and added to the performance. However, these recordings were only a beginning and the band returned to the studio later to refine the songs in new versions, creating a powerfully jamming album that contains all the elements of music that define The Silence in flowing and transcendent performance, all of it recorded on 24-track analogue tape, a process which brings their musical and spatial elements into dynamic balance.

                                  Everything in the universe accessible to The Silence may be found in the ‘Ancient Wind’ trilogy that fills side one of ‘Hark The Silence’. From the depths of space rolls washes of gong, through which a terse, minimal bassline comes marching. Rattles of prepared piano spark and pass through the frame, blown over with the celestial omnipotence of a flute. The now-sensuous groove is underscored with luxuriant stereophonic drums rolling across the speakers.

                                  Representing the state of nature from which all music as well as The Silence has to come, ‘Ancient Wind Part 1’ ceases to exist and explodes into a furious Bo-Diddley beat for ‘Part 2’, a chant replete with acid-rock guitar solos, an encompassing saxophone testament and an echounit driven drum breakdown.

                                  Part 3 of ‘Ancient Wind’ resumes the chant in the mode of ‘Gangamanag’ (from Ghost’s ‘Hypnotic Underworld’ opus) and extends the fury of the progression in 7/8 to include a dazzling organ solo over unending volcanic eruption. As the swirling mass subsides, a few rusty blue notes from an acoustic guitar are sounded over the encroaching Silence.

                                  Recorded completely live, ‘Ornament’ continues with resonant guitar acoustics from the fading embers of the first side, starting with a gentle mode and sung by Batoh in their native tongue, before the song ascends to explorations in space with music.

                                  ‘DEX 1’ continues the ride, a heavy jam in 4/4 dedicated to Dexter Gordon with loads of texture from keyboards and saxophone that make for very compelling physical listening.

                                  The second half of the album contains an exquisite and intense rock arrangement from Damon and Naomi with Batoh’s tremendous singing atop the pile-driving power of The Silence in full swing, plus several other awe-inspiring encounters in live performance, minimal jamming, poetry, baritone-sax breath and group-think at its best.

                                  As the album closes with the clarion call of ‘Fireball’ the graveyard of all history traversed by The Silence is illuminated by the dead’s spirit burning in the air - a great and profoundly jarring moment. ‘Hark The Silence’ is a composite of such moments, an album that travels enormous distances and captures live energies in astonishing studio sounds.

                                  ….further along and down the road apiece from where she took her leave of us, Joanna Newsom plays on. Breathe deep and equalize your today-ears to the new world of Divers…

                                  Good heavens-five years go by-what can one do? Dive, listener, knowing that diversions aplenty await: a wheeling circuit of sci-fi sea-shanties and cavalier ballads; a family of polysemic song-sets; a paranomasaic Liederkreis of harmonic sympathies and knotted hierarchies; a fanfare of brazen puns and martial lullabies, blazing in sorrow and horseplay and love, in turns symphonic and spare, joined by Mellotrons and Marxophones and Moogs, clavichords and celestas-and of course the harp, thrumming its threnodies of circadian invasions and avian irruptions and strange loops of Shepard-toned resonant-frequencies and something called goddamned Simulacreage…

                                  The music of Divers is a wonder of considered arrangements, immaculately sequenced for telescoped brevity. The music speeds with dissociative dread over montaged cityscapes; it hoofs with delight among the collaged quotations and sepia-toned codices of Popular Song; it ambles its carefree citational course through the public domain and down into the dustier corners of municipal parks, to lionize infamous airmen and anonymous Dutch Masters, to mourn pearl divers and Poorwills, and to elegize the ineluctable tragedy of relativity…

                                  At the center of the mythos and the maelstrom is the woman. Divers reminds us that Newsom is a melodist, above all—an acolyte of melody and beauty in form, a crackerjack of emotional truth conveyed with undiluted immediacy. Here, at the aortic confluence of countless strings and wires, winking beneath the lacquered layers of instrumental nacre, biding quietly between the ranges of rhapsodic arrangement—including those by Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dave Longstreth, and Newsom herself—there lies an intimacy seldom achieved, and simply heard. Divers dives forth with a pure love and respect for the traditions and mysteries of man, such that we can feel the surge of life itself passing over our bones as we hear the songs and sounds, the players and the arrangements; as basic maths are reviewed to uncover heights of joy and sorrow, all traced in triumphal arches and supernumerary rainbows through eternal amber, gleaming in analog entrapment-with that VOICE riding high atop-recorded with snow-bright, high-noon-verity by Steve Albini and Noah Georgeson, mixed in phantasmagoric, deep-sea-saturation by Noah and Joanna, and loosed, fuckin’ FINALLY by Drag City Records.

                                  We have reached Peak Newsom. Divers is coming, to incline into your many and varied lifelines, for now and then and the rest of the moments that will always return in your lifetimes again. 

                                  You thought Ty Segall’s ‘Manipulator’ was the money album of the year? Think again. ‘Singles 2’ is here.

                                  ‘Singles 2’ sweeps out the ashes of the breakneck days (and nights) of 2011 - 2013 and burns down the house all over again in the process - but not by accident. ‘Singles 2’ slinks low and flat-out sprints behind the scenes of the ‘Goodbye Bread’ / ‘Twins’ / ‘Sleeper’ trilogy, collecting all the now-out-of print sides that totally work amazingly well together when placed back-to-back-to-back as an album.

                                  The super-deadly ‘Spiders’ single is spun again here in full, along with the epically pop B-sides for ‘I Can’t Feel It’, ‘The Hill’ and ‘Would You Be My Love’. Plus there are tracks for other righteous labels too like Permanent, Castleface and Famous Class.

                                  Covering The Groundhogs, the Velvets and GG Allin, Ty reps for a good array of punk godheads too. Between the covers and the originals, ‘Singles 2’ is also a run through the SF 388 scene circa 2010 - 2013, with various local heroes like King Riff, Mike Donovan and Ty himself at the board.

                                  ‘Singles 2’ is really about the rush of getting a single for the A-side and then finding a total sunshine jewel like ‘Children Of Paul’ or ‘Mother Lemonade’ on the flip. Or a stone-solid jam on a classic like the complete retooling of ‘Femme Fatale’ or the Mackay-style sax bleatings of ‘Fucked Up Motherfucker’.

                                  Closing the album with the seemingly unlikely (‘Music For A Film’) and the seemingly inevitable (‘Pettin The Dog’, a mighty hardcore slamming of the lid) cleanses the palate for... what? Another spin, probably! Singles 2 has been designed to withstand obsessive flipping.

                                  The George-Edwards Group

                                  Chapter III

                                    ‘Chapter III’ of The George-Edwards Group archives draws from deep in the pockets of their sporadic later embodiment. With their grand 70s dreams of Hollywood stardom fading, Edward Balian and Ray George continued to track their winsome muse, perhaps a bit more aggro and with a bit more dolour than they had back in the ‘38:38’ days.

                                    Although late 60s Detroit was the seedbed for The George-Edwards Group, they had more in common with Silver Apples than the Amboy Dukes. Enamoured of keyboard effects and sonic tomfoolery, they developed their sound away from the scene, slowly developing a spacily elegant pop music as the 70s passed by outside their basement lair. Scoring their melancholic melodies with bells, pianos and synthesizer led to something you might almost call ba-roque ‘n’ roll, or perhaps like demos for Big Star’s ‘Third’.

                                    In 1977, they laid down enough tracks to produce a white-label LP pressing that they dubbed ‘38:38’; however, a trip to the Sunset Strip to drum up record label enthusiasm was a complete bust. However, without that pressing of 100 copies, where would the legend of George-Edwards be? Instead, based on oft-told tales, Galactic Zoo Disks located the music and the band brought this wayward classic to Drag City. ‘38:38’ received a first official release in 2009, to great fanfare. The 21st century discovery of The George-Edwards was also accompanied by a show or two (still in the deep underground, of course), along with, naturally, the recovery of more tapes. The 2011 GZD / DC release, titled ‘Archives’, brought to the light a few fuzzheavy rock cuts and deep synth dirges to add to the ethereal G-E signature.

                                    ‘Chapter III’ throws the vault open once again with flair: ‘The 8th Circus’ is a magisterial guitar lead couched in synth chirps and swoops, all of which has a distinctive ASW (After Star Wars) vintage to it. The classic George-Edwards murk drifts through several sweetand- sad songs before the bubblegummy bounce of ‘My Love’ pops up, followed by the trapped-in-the-funhouse pastiche of ‘Who Stole My Brain?’.

                                    Side two features a few surging tracks that recall Archives rockers like ‘Shattered Heart’, as well as several more ARP-string-laden ballads in the classic ‘38:38’ G-E tradition. All in all, an excellent third trip to the faraway heart of The George-Edwards Group.

                                    Full-tilt with tunes, aggro riffs, feedback peals, stoned soul-searching, pop turnarounds and magisterial portraits of the go-nowhere lifestyle in abstract, ‘Weirdon’ is also a new-phase Purling Hiss album, using the songwriting and guitar style of Mike Polizze to come up with a quicksilver sound touched on only briefly on previous records.

                                    Replete with handclaps, pounding pianos, tambourines and vocal effects, but steeped in guitar roar, Purling Hiss streamlines up nicely, serving the new songs and directions of ‘Weirdon’ while still slamming down hard on your ears like they like to do.

                                    Simultaneously ramshackle and overblown, tactile and free, the early Purling of ‘Hissteria’ and ‘Public Service Announcement’ used DIY limitations to soar through speakers with a new rock sound.

                                    As listeners came gathering and gathering, the call for shows and more shows and then tours became an issue, so Mike expanded Purling Hiss from just his guitar and tape recorder and him into a full-blown trio, capable of lifting heavier than even the records’ thick layers of distorto implied. Now the guitar worked together with the rhythm section rather than fighting it, ‘Sister Ray’-style. In addition to its amazing songs, their previous album ‘Water On Mars’ exploited the bombast of the live, power-trio incarnation but in order to put the next set of songs across, Mike needed to go to another dimension in his mind.

                                    After trading the distant drum of early days for a thick, upfront kit sound on ‘Water On Mars’ - additionally revealing real words attached to Mike’s vocal melodies - Purling Hiss have spread it out again, pushing Mike’s guitar tides over the top, splashing across the drums and vocals. The mix retains a certain clarity nonetheless, even when it matches the crush-and-whine of cheap rhythm sounds with mountainous body, singing leads and infinite distortion layers.

                                    If ‘Water On Mars’ was the Purling Hiss heavy rock album, ‘Weirdon’ travels into the pop dimension of Purling Hiss, making of their fastest and catchiest songs in the abiding images of punk and psychedelia. Written alone to achieve a contrast with the previous album and return in a sense to the original approach, ‘Weirdon’ was made with no concept of limitations on what could be performed live. Mike’s new songs open up, going all over the place, while still based in their home-cooked blend of catharsis and shredding, both in the guitar playing and the inner life of the album.

                                    Full of colour and rock and roll, ‘Weirdon’ is a rainbow of a record; beaming down to the stereos and streets and highways and boom boxes of today, through the unique and still-growing prism of Purling Hiss.

                                    THE SEGALL HAS LANDED. And it’s fully loaded, with everything that Ty Segall (and you and me) are gonna need in the world to come. Heads up! It’s coming down fast. Sticking his hand deeper into the machines all around him, TY is reaching ever further to the outer limits of inner space orbited throughout 'Twins' and 'Sleeper'. And now more than ever, the chunks of the world that came before are like asteroids formed in his image... picking up speed... Still fighting the power with all the energy that a determined mind-patriot can conjure, Ty’s a fighter who loves, a surfer, a spaceman, and yeah, a casualty - like you, he’ll never be free. But unlike you, he knows it - and when he goes down and his head cracks in two, out pour the multi-colored manias that make up 'Manipulator'. Sour-sweet declarations featuring freaks and creeps alike: 'The Singer', 'The Faker', 'Mister Main', 'Susie Thumb' the 'Connection Man' and 'The Crawler', to name but a mutant fistful.

                                    To see these peeps, to realize their dreams and visions, TY kept working, kept writing, laying down more tracks than ever. New musical expressions pop and surprise relentlessly throughout all the knockout tunes of 'Manipulator' with many sounds in the mix - but most of all, SO many guitars! So many. And different kinds of strings - the strangled-neck solo of “The Singer,” recalling the good old days down by the river with Neil. Numbed-and-unplugged discursions spiraling away from the funk on “Mister Main.” Three-quarter quartets raising their din in a few key places. Waves of sparkling acoustics with ominous, Love-ly undertones - and then, torrents of filthy git-grunge, exploding into the chorus, washing everything away, fusing the blackness of Sabbath with the grime and grab-ass of the Stooges and the sweet swinging tones of the Stones. All in the name of getting higher on the music. Why have one guitar solo when you can have a few in the same space? There’s so little time, and a LOT to say. In order to ensure that he got it all out, TY called a few friends to fill in special parts on certain 'Manipulator' songs. He got great touches from Chris Woodhouse (piano, synth & percussion), Sean Paul Presley (vocals), Brit Lauren Manor (vocals), Steve Nutting (drums), Irene Salzer (violin), Jessica Ivry (cello), Matthias McEntire (viola) and the Ty Segall band (Mikal Cronin, Charles Mootheart, Emily Rose Epstein). Plus, Mikal arranged the strings - and everyone played awesomely. The clarion call / siren song of his guitar . . . . clouds of guitar billowing, blood rushing to the head, the temperature going from blue to red... TY’s on a mission, working to change chemistry through music with the steam-lined pop and helium-cooled vocals of 'Manipulator'. These seventeen songs take many forms, as if TY is finally releasing all the thoughts that have been holding him down, that made him pick up the ax to begin with. By the end of 'Manipulator', you’ll feel that he must have chased all the demons — but it’s a big world, and 'Manipulator' has only begun to fight.

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Darryl says: Since 2008 Ty Segall has now released eight solo albums, numerous collaborations with the likes of Mikal Cronin and White Fence and been a member of bands like Sic Alps and last year’s fabulous Fuzz project. So it might come as a surprise then that for a man known for such prolificacy that Segall has spent close to 14 months honing his latest epic into an all-thriller no-filler long player. Containing a snapshot of everything that we’ve come to love from the man, from his 60s garage rock obsession to his 70s glam and punk influences, ‘Manipulator’ is prime Segall, but brought into a sharper focus than ever before. Right from the off it’s clear that Segall intends to push the psych-pop button, almost all the tracks on ‘Manipulator’ are potential singles from glam stompers to acoustic strummers to face melting fuzz-noise-pop, it’s an album of total craftsmanship.

                                    Smog

                                    Red Apple Falls

                                      Over the years Smog records ranged around from several completely selfplayed and recorded efforts, dictated by voices from within, to more collaborative projects involving the people outside Bill Callahan’s head. However, never before was there a Smog album made like this

                                      Produced and co-arranged by Jim O’Rourke, ‘Red Apple Falls’ combs back the passions of ‘Wild Love’ and ‘The Doctor Came At Dawn’ to make an even part, revealing a purer pop sound; all of it pressed into pure 24k gold.

                                      Why is it that Smog looks to find beauty in such unfortunate moments? Is sadness truly this wonderful? Make no mistake - Smog were always about beauty. Even back in the home-cooked early days of ‘Sewn To The Sky’ and ‘Forgotten Foundation’, the rocky sounds and found noises were a way to express wonderment and experience joy. More recent Smog releases vividly (and exclusively) catalogued the agonies of failing relationships and breaches of faith so intense that ‘the singer’ ended up isolated by belief. Placing himself in a fictive position seemed to allows Bill to tap into deep emotional trespasses. This ability to fictionalize stepped up to centre stage for ‘Red Apple Falls’.

                                      Here we have the tale of a man no longer bitter over the lonely path of his life. In the middle of the night, a ‘Blood Red Bird’ crying in the darkness is his closest companion; upon waking, even ‘The Morning Paper’ is more company than he can bear. Rather than be regarded as a friend, he recalls fondly the days when ‘I Was A Stranger’. The parade of small tales rolls out with the languor and uniform quality of the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society - one story at a time, each with its own rueful bite.

                                      It all hearkens back to the song ‘Fables’, from the first Smog album, ‘Sewn To The Sky’, a song about the people’s penchant for morality play. On ‘Red Apple Falls’, things like the song ‘Red Apples’ (a remake of an early period Smog song) present epochal imagery very much in the centuries-old mythic tradition. Smog presents fables for our troubled times.

                                      The soundtrack to this not unentirelv unpleasant state of affairs is the most visceral backing we’ve heard on a Smog album to date. Lush instrumentation threads through the material, with the sudden booming of a French horn giving way midsong to a barrelhouse, piano riff, a bloomin’ steel guitar, or a chorus of sweet Smog chanting. It’s enough to make you think you’re listening to a Nick Drake record, or ‘Forever Changes’. The orchestral feel of the record is reminiscent of later Phil Spector productions like George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ and Dion’s ‘Born To Be With You’.

                                      Now available again after far too long on CD through Drag City.

                                      ‘Chills On Glass’, Dead Rider’s third album, is as distinct from the second album as ‘The Raw Dents’ was from their debut, ‘Mother Of Curses’.

                                      The goal for Dead Rider is always super-heavy and superdriving, with more ‘up’ moments than ever before. ‘Chills On Glass’ moves forward in this tradition, juxtaposing high and low values - serious playing, danceablity, controlledoutcomes and experimentation, thick and thrashing rhythms and expertly manoeuvred tight corners, vocal textures smooth and sandy rubbing together and igniting. Synths tickle the top of one’s spine, guitars piercing like a neural system, the fullness of real drums, vocal layers and masks of all kinds.

                                      This is composition that uses improvisation as an element within a larger structure, the ultimate streamlining of production, where songs are processed on several levels, mirroring and flashing their meanings through tactics and layers, backgrounded by a panorama of yawning, silent, benevolent black velvet. Dead Rider move relentlessly around the borders of their sound, finding new textures throughout, which act as candy to the ears. Self-recorded, produced and mastered in the Dead Rider studio suites, ‘Chills On Glass’ is a self-contained statement.

                                      Todd Rittmann, infamous from his days in US Maple, is a guitar warrior with intensive craft at his fingertips. For the past five years, he’s been furthering his reputation by doing further damage with his instrument and others, and by spreading the carnage wide with Dead Rider (Matthew Espy, Andrea Faught, Thymme Jones and Rittmann for ‘Chills On Glass’).

                                      New Bums are a new band featuring two wellseasoned veterans of the underground music wars: Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance, Comets On Fire, 200 Years, Rangda).

                                      Debut album ‘Voices In A Rented Room’ tells New Bums’ whole life story and probably more of yours than you’d care to admit. The voices are two, spinning harmonies both heavenly and saltpickled.

                                      Picking their direction and floating along on a pair of acoustics, New Bums are the sound of old drunk America, dancing out of the shadows, coming forth again to stand in the light, in the hopes of repopulating those sad old single-occupancy hotels before they’re all torn down.

                                      Dub is a spiritual, abstract, visceral, mystical thing. Finite and infinite at the same time. Deeply rooted in the earth and embracing outer space. Don’t be fooled by names, dub has come and gone. Dub is a ghost, a duppy.

                                      Here you will find versions of the ‘Dream River’ songs that have been killed and resurrected, spilling tales of the other side of life in a language conceivable only if you let yourself be taken there.

                                      Introducing a worldwide audience to the bumpin’ and rollin’ new sound of Bill Callahan.

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Andy says: If you loved last year's parent album as much as we did at Piccadilly, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven when you hear this blissed-out dub version. Totally gorgeous!

                                      Michael Yonkers

                                      Michael Lee Yonkers

                                        By now, the legend of Michael Yonkers has ascended to estimable levels, at last. It should have happened long ago - after all, it was over ten years back that the word got out, when his previously-unreleased 1968 Sire album ‘Microminiature Love’ was issued by Destjil and then Sub Pop. A thousand noise-rock ears pricked up, in the same fashion as in 1967, when folks heard The Velvet Underground and Nico, when those lucky enough to stumble across said sounds formed their own bands immediately. Yes, it turns out the reclusive Minneapolis dancer had just as seminally prefigured proto-punk / metal / noise though his own brand of amped-up garage rock, but no one knew. In this blog-happy latter decade, Michael has picked up where he left off, exploring blown-out frequencies with collaborators around the globe, and his work has claimed a seat next to underground legends like The Fugs, VU, Sonic Youth and even ol’ Jimi.

                                        What a lot of folks still don’t know is that Michael put aside his hand-built fuzz boxes and bellowing vocal style in the 70s to record and self-release some truly lilting homespun folk albums, where he explored the sound of acoustic guitars, layered, madrigal-like vocals, and only the most subtle applications of electricity, all in service of some truly somber and mesmerizing songs. Of these albums, only ‘Goodbye Sunball’ and ‘Grimwood’ have been reissued, as well as Drag City / Galactic Zoo Disk’s now sold-out ‘Lovely Gold’ (recorded in 1977, but unreleased until 2010).

                                        There’s yet another musical colour revealed on the uber-rare private press, ‘Michael Lee Yonkers’, which was home-recorded in 1971-72, while Michael was working in an unheated, hundred year-old warehouse. He ran the forklift and drove the truck for the company, hauling extremely heavy loads of industrial surplus and scrap metal. His co-workers almost exclusively listened to country & western music, which inspired him to create and perform an oddly countrified set on weekends, when he would play in coffeehouses and at house parties. Yonkers would do an acoustic set of original “country” and “rock” music for the first part, then he would get out an “electronic music machine” that he had built himself and play “electronic music”, according to Michael himself.

                                        ‘Michael Lee Yonkers’ is a recording of some of the ‘country’ songs he was doing at the time, as well as a few songs he wrote for the children at the house parties (like ‘Mrs. Jennings Fruit Fly Farm’, recorded live, where you can hear the kids going nuts). The tracks were recorded on a variety of tube-type, reel-to-reel tape machines, which give them a unique analogue sound that begs comparisons to outsider hillbillies like Peter Grudzien, Holy Modal Rounders and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, as well as beloved longhair outlaws like Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson (ok, even one St. Johnny Cash too).

                                        The original art and labels have been faithfully reproduced and, with a discreet remastering touch, the tracks sound better than ever. Originals go for over $60, so get these before they fly out the door and sell for almost $60, ala ‘Lovely Gold’.

                                        After 15 years, Mick Turner has turned in the big rock record we always knew he had in him. ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ is a different kind of record from all the Mick Turner records - not just his own, but the ones he’s done with Dirty Three, Bonny Billy, Cat Power, Fungus Brains and Venom P. Stinger put together.

                                        ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ is inarguably the first post-rock rock opera of our times. It wouldn’t be a rock opera without a vague / indecipherable theme of wonder and disenchantment, and indeed, ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ delivers in spades on that account.

                                        Like all the best masterpieces, ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ came together slowly, spurred by life experiences and aided by the meditation that only time brings. Over the last four years, Mick put together the pieces at Big Moth Studios in Melbourne, working his magic with aquatic guitar-and-drums chemistry, augmenting the tracks with melodica, piano and Fender Rhodes, and then bringing in the vocalists and other additional players when the tracks were ready for them.

                                        To reach the exalted next-level listening experience that ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ arrives at by the time it reaches ‘The Last Song’, Mick had a little help from his friends - some of Australia’s most distinctive talents augment his trademark instrumental constructions. Vocalists Caroline Kennedy-McCraken (Dead Star, The Plums, Caroline No) and progressive classical / opera singer Oliver Mann, both of whose contributions rub naturally against Mick’s coarse textures. Sitting in the Tren throne mighty drummers Ian Wadley (Bird Blobs, Minimum Chips), Jeff Wegener (Laughing Clowns) and Kishore Ryan (Kid Sam, Where Were You At Lunch) do more than just fill the space equitably, they meet Mick out in his wild landscapes and ride the winds with him, bringing expert percussive colours to his soundworld. Helping set the drummers in the frame is bassist Peggy Frew (Art Of Fighting). Topping off this extensive crew and providing a strong frame for the ‘narrative’ are sweetly sentimental brass arrangements featuring trumpet and French horn.

                                        Replete with classic epics and timely reprises, ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ is an inspired and focused collection of Mick Turner music that reaches for new borders without sacrificing the dizzy wandering and painterly stillness that has typified Mick’s best work of the past.

                                        Mick is an accomplished painter whose work adorns all the records he makes, and his latest paintings cover every available surface of ‘Don’t Tell The Driver’.

                                        Mike Donovan’s debut comes following a distinguished run of tunesmithing for noise-popster poster boyz Sic Alps, so he’s well prepared to go the solo route with a sack full of songs.

                                        Lyrically, Mike’s sharpened the lead for a less random line drawn in the sand - allusive trips, lost in crystal canyons, turning a phrase with an acid flick of the wristwatch. Guitars intersecting in the manner of the old loom The Stones once used, weaving in blue. Where rubric becomes fabric becomes freecidelic. Confronting the empty in acrostic (inner) space, WOT is Plastic Ono dyspeptic arrhythmia. The dream is over, so he’s starting a new dream.

                                        Your troubadour for the new era is Mike Donovan, and he captains his own ship, known to all as ‘WOT’. Stripped of electric additions and distractions, deduced to a dialog mostly, the twelve new hot mercury tunes are departing now. Leaving on a jet stream, the soul-sound dissolves in a liquid hiss.

                                        ‘Return Of The Silkie’, 1983’s third chapter in the as-yet unfinished saga of the nomadic West Coast harpist Carol Kleyn, offers a slice of the wild and free utopian dream that changed so many lives in the 60s and 70s.

                                        Pure and simple, harp and vocals, accompanied only by scatterings of harbor seals and sea lions, this loosely woven concept album includes gentle reminders that life is short - take it in while you can and, along the way, try to preserve the magnificence of this world for the next generation. Sentiments and music as hauntingly true today as the day they were first sung and recorded.

                                        Carol’s lyrics close with: “there’s a storm over paradise and it’s we who decide… just how long we shall live… or when we shall die…” The instrumental that follows, and closes this album, reiterates that message with the cries of sea lions in the background, as the ‘Silkie’ returns, perhaps by choice, to her underwater origins.

                                        Thirty years later, Carol resides on an island in Puget Sound, where she walks amongst the eagles and the sea lions, and is guided by the beauty and the changes she observes along that beach, in the sky and on a distant Mt. Rainier. Of greatest concern to her today is that the heat wave we’re now experiencing has only just begun. That being said, there will be, without a doubt, new songs and recordings to follow.

                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                        LP Info: The vinyl format is represented by a remastered, newlypressed
                                        LP, packaged in the original album jackets and recently
                                        signed, with love, from Carol to you.

                                        In the song world of Bill Callahan, the present realities tumble ecstatically like cloth in the wind - sheets and flags and clothes. These things borne aloft are not simply physical details in the landscape, but the contours of an emotional one as well. Bill’s a cartographer way out there, tracing the coastlines, telling the tales he has discovered along the way. Some seen in life and others in mind’s eye, they float down ‘Dream River’ with humble eminence.

                                        The river that was once deemed not too much to love, that once freed convicts and their guard in a still and silent moment, is now a ‘Dream River’, fished in a variety of depths, viewed in panorama. This is a waterway that winds across the landmass, a ribbon that touches and changes and feeds and gives to and takes from many lives as it rolls to the ocean.

                                        Dialed into the mindset, the ‘Dream River’ instrumental crew man a hovercraft that bears the songs along, humming deeply with bass and percolating with the abiding resonance of hands drumming on skins, the lively popping of claves. Guitar strums fan into blooms of smoke, sliced through by other guitars taking other forms - shards of mirrors, plumes of ignition, telephone wires, snakes and ladders plunging through the depths of the sky. The musical modes are exquisite, aquatic; shifting in delicate but deliberate undetectable time as Bill’s lyrics wander from yard to yard.

                                        ‘Dream River’ is the fourth studio album from Bill Callahan, following the sweet devastation of ‘Apocalypse’.

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Patrick says: It's easy to paint Bill Callahan as a world weary traveller. After all, he's fourteen albums into a twenty year career, deadpans with the best of them and has been known to dwell on death and destruction more than a Scandinavian drama. His last offering, 2011's ‘Apocalypse’ sees two protagonists meet their maker before side-B is through, amongst a general discourse on devastation and despair. But if ‘Apocalypse’ was the storm sent to purge the earth, then ‘Dream River’ is the verdant calm that follows. Bill has always explored natural themes, even back in his days as a lo-fi auteur, and on this album they abound. As ever water is the most prominent motif, whether it be a river, ocean or rain, with Bill's warm baritone deep enough to drown in. Elsewhere, flight is the focus as arrows, javelins and seagulls all soar through clear skies adding to the lightness of what is certainly Callahan's most uplifting album to date. But what is most striking about ‘Dream River’ is the happy marriage of Callahan's trademark Americana with soul. Aside from the lyrical nod to Marvin Gaye and Bill's Callier register, the congas and claves of Thor Harris lend a temperate groove to proceedings, while Beth Galiger's flute doffs it's beret towards Brian Jackson, inspired by Gil Scott-Heron covering ‘I'm New Here’. Once again the excellent Matt Kinsey returns to add his psychedelic guitar to the record, magnifying the transportative qualities of "Summer Painter" and "Javelin Unlanding". ‘Dream River’ sees a mature Callahan at his best casting a musical spell that only breaks when the needle hits the centre.

                                        The Venom P. Stinger retrospective is on. One of the roughest groups of the 80s is back in print on vinyl and the first time ever on CD. If you think of Venom P. Stinger simply as the proving ground for 2/3rds of the Dirty Three first, then you're seriously missing the point.

                                        It was the mid-80s and everything was going fine. Melbourne had launched the career of the legendary Birthday Party, but there were loads of other interesting and great things going on, like Sick Things for instance. Dugald McKenzie and Mick Turner were part of that extremely raw and intense band, whose ‘Committed To Suicide’ had changed so many lives. Mick had also played in The Moodists and was in Fungus Brains and some others. Also on the scene was Jim White, who was playing in several bands, including People With Chairs Up Their Noses and the Feral Dinosaurs. It was a small group of people playing in bands like these back in mid-80s Melbourne and probably only a matter of time before they played in the same band together. And so, they did.

                                        Venom P. Stinger attacked in a modified, somewhat streamlined hardcore punk style, with Mick’s burnt-andtwisted guitar tone setting them apart. Also unique was Jim White’s drumming, which appeared to be born of a drum roll that grows and grows until it has eclipsed the entire kit, played with casual aplomb while never sparing the rod to any aimed-for surface. Meanwhile, bassist Alan Secher-Jensen nailed these loosely divergent styles together with nice heavy root notes.

                                        Instead of the violent pile-up that occurred in every Sick Things recording, there was instead something more organized, though coming from unique and indeed, singular corners of approach: post-hardcore with a very individual style. Unchanged from Sick Things days, however, was frontman Dugald McKenzie, whose vocalizing was a ferocious, largely apolitical transference of personal experience, all about conveying the awful qualities of life with throaty sensuousness and dirty glee. A band with this kind of errant power fronted by a reprobate like Dugald, it made for madly entertaining music.

                                        Dugald lived as rough as he sang, and when he stopped showing up to rehearsals and gigs, the rest of the band continued on with Nick Palmer on the mic. He was good, but Venom P. Stinger wasn’t the same; something deeply psychotic was missing. For Mick and Jim, the next step was a band that didn’t rehearse at all. And a new chap named Warren Ellis had just hit town...

                                        Five short years into the Ty Segall expedition and we’re farther and farther out with each and every record. Between two minds, between two places, beyond previous album ‘Twins’, ‘Sleeper’ envisions a world of haves and have-nots, but the currency that separates them is psychic.

                                        With ‘Sleeper’, Ty Segall explores your mind, coming through his own head to slip inside with thought sharing. Ty engineered this one from beginning to end, and his ultimate sonics were accessed with a freaky hand and an instinct for what makes something perfect. ‘Sleeper’ flows more colours through your mind’s eye than ever before, pushing the walls of the universe out just a micron further, making everything heavier and lighter all at once, to allow for one moment that will live forever.

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Andy says: Cracked, slightly fried, acoustic psych...a glorious departure for this most prolific artist. His best yet?

                                        Purling Hiss

                                        Water On Mars

                                          Purling Hiss records are a half-corroded, screaming roar of high-end guitars crushed together, obliterating vocals and even drums with their singular assault.

                                          With ‘Water On Mars’, Purling Hiss have broken out of the basement, run through the bedroom and are out in the streets.

                                          This time the unexpected part is how the guitars gleam so precisely as they pile upon each other, how they work alongside of the rhythm section rather than avalanching it. And how the songs embody a variety of Hiss-teric moods, from the gutbusting bellow of ‘Lolita’ and ‘Face Down’ through the acoustic flatline of ‘Dead Again’, the aromatic slide guitars and piano within ‘She Calms Me Down’, the anthemish surge of ‘Rat Race’ and the wailing march-jam, ‘Water On Mars’.

                                          ‘Water On Mars’ is Purling Hiss’s first recording outside the fuzzy confines of Mike Polizze’s inner rock utopia, where the first three albums and EP were constructed in solitude with a home recording setup. Over the past couple of years, Mike’s been working with a band and finetuning new songwriting ideas while playing shows all over the place. Now, Purling Hiss projects their sounds and ideas onto a new platform, with a visceral and soulful presence. Now there is a centre to the Hiss maelstrom, with Polizze’s guitars slugging, sizzling and spiraling their way around the rhythm throb.

                                          Polizze lyricises like a poet of the disaffected, shifting from aggro to slack and back over the course of a song. The production highlights this by buffing the raw power into a streamlined blast, hitting down hard and covering a lot of ground in just over a half hour.

                                          Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs helped produce and plays a bit of piano on ‘Water On Mars’.

                                          ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ is a new album of new music by a new incarnation of The Howling Hex, now broadcasting as a band from the big town of Denver, Colorado. After years staked out in the border country of southern New Mexico, guitarist and leader Neil Hagerty is back in the phonebook, giving the Hex an urban soapbox on which to stand for the first time in their ten years of rere- revisionist history.

                                          ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ is the first album of new music since the release of ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ in 2011.

                                          ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ weaves the wild spirits and far-flung textures of ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ into tightly compressed sing-songs, before turning the jam out to bring the levee home. Hagerty’s guitar tone is an alien wonder, and the careening beat of the band unleashes him to fill solo spots with fervour.

                                          After five years of wandering through the arid brushcountry of ‘Earth Junk’ and ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ (as well as the sidetrack soundtrack adventure that was ‘Victory Chimp, A Book’), the days of the covered wagon seem to be behind The Howling Hex for the time being. However, the depth of the earth and the true direction of the wind are lessons learned from their years out there - they can’t be unlearned.

                                          The Howling Hex are now operating out of Denver, CO, and feature Eric Allen (of The Apples In Stereo) on bass guitar.

                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                          CD Info: The CD format of The Best of the Howling Hex features a
                                          bonus secret hidden mystery track, further extending the
                                          New Border sound of The Howling Hex.

                                          ‘Twins’ is Ty Segall’s fourth full release this year. A singles comp, a fabulous collaboration with White Fence, an album with The Ty Segall Band, and now this.

                                          ‘Twins’ contains the hit single ‘The Hill’.

                                          ‘Twins’ follows ‘Goodbye Bread’, ‘Melted’, ‘Lemons’ and ‘Ty Segall’ as the prime statements in Ty Segall’s ongoing discography, dating back to 2008.

                                          Today, Ty Segall is a new man, a different kind of man from his more knuckle dragging earlier incarnations. Now he’s jetting toward Jupiter, brooding, looking around with X-ray eyes, yearning with a superhuman heart for a love to come and stay.

                                          The songs of ‘Twins’ are haunted by ghosts, shadowed by the other that we’ll never see, struggling to rise above. A fury of rock ensues; songs rigged to explode on a dime, fired from a cannon into the stratosphere. They fuse together into one multifarious projectile, a bullet from a gun marked yin and yang.

                                          During Pavement’s ‘One More For The Money’ tour of 2010, Sic Alps played some British gigs with them. It’s been written that during one long night in Brixton, Stephen Malkmus was heard uttering within shot of a microphone that Sic Alps would be one of the most important bands of the next ten years.

                                          ‘Sic Alps’ will be the fifth album from Sic Alps, if you include the compilation album ‘A Long Way Around To A Shortcut’ on Drag City. There’ve also been a number of singles and some splits. In the nearly-two-years since ‘Napa Asylum’, Sic Alps have kept busy with a series of singles, culminating in the tape-stretching double-B side ‘Vedley’ and a 7” EP of Tronics covers.

                                          ‘Valley Tangents’ is Blues Control’s fourth all-new full-length album since 2006.

                                          Now located in the Woodstock of east Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley, Blues Control conceived ‘Valley Tangents’ far from the madding crowds they’d previously swarmed with and composed among. Could this be the reason for the homegrown, natural feel of the music, with the metronomical hissing of summer mosquito-bots behind their signature Debussy via Guaraldi qua Bley qua Hornsby pianisms, and the playful juxtapositions of a full spectrum of rock colours - stadium, industrial, psych and prog (to name just a few)?

                                          Blues Control’s shape-shifting qualities hint at a mystic lounge act, with spacey guitar leads, a clarion synth and the punch of real drums, only to suddenly discover they were instead playing inside a world music bag, wrapping their mellow drugmospheres around a crisp keyboard centre, evoking heat and nature with waves radiating from seemingly formal Western scales.

                                          Upon hearing ‘Valley Tangents’, long-time listeners will surely attest that the band are increasingly capable of anything in the spectrum they feel should be integrated.

                                          As with each of their earlier efforts, ‘Valley Tangents’ is a full (r)evolution ahead of what came before, at times an unrecognizable new blend of sounds to call Blues Control. Closer listens will bring into focus the continuities that make the band who they are and have been. It ultimately doesn’t matter where on earth this was conceived and laid down and mixed, it came from two minds alone, and nobody else but Blues Control are in control of doing it quite like this.

                                          ‘In The Yard’ is the second drum and voice album from Neal Morgan, finding the writer at the drum kit considering home, wandering his neighbourhood to know and become known, calling out villains from his youth, swimming on tour, reaching out to loved ones, and paying homage to the painter Philip Guston. The album extends Neal’s commitment to composing exclusively with drumming and singing.

                                          Over the past several years, Neal has been widely heard and seen as the drummer for Joanna Newsom and Bill Callahan, having arranged and performed the drums and percussion on Newsom’s ‘Have One On Me’, and Callahan’s ‘Apocalypse’, as well as accompanying Newsom in performance since 2006 and Callahan since 2009, often times opening shows around the world.

                                          Neal’s 2009 debut, ‘To The Breathing World’, presented a particular flavour of drum and voice composition not previously presented for commercial consumption. Neal found artistic independence through the medium, a staking out of fertile ground. ‘In The Yard’ is similarly a purposeful venture into the world of song from a singing drummer’s perspective behind the kit.

                                          It’s almost 1980. Soho, New York, is fertile with young, no wave punks getting sharper and increasingly angular: Glenn Branca, DNA, Teenage Jesus, Contortions, Suicide, as well as the groups they would spawn. Coveted and revered bands for many today, this music was peripheral at the time. Within the periphery of this periphery, Social Climbers made sounds that were of their environs yet remarkably unique, leaving an indelible stamp on the scene while somehow managing to slither undetected out of all the history books.

                                          A downtown New York art band as much as any other, Social Climbers also claimed Midwestern roots and actual musicianship that many of their contemporaries lacked, and in trade dismissed and essentially protested the snotty pretensions that drove many others within the scene.

                                          Social Climbers are an absolute post punk blueprint: fat bass (often two), guitar, drum machine (dubbed ‘The Monkey’), feverish vocals, and organ.

                                          Their lone, self-titled album is agitated and impossibly wild, yet danceable and composed. And it’s here, again, sounding as relevant today as it did when it was of the moment; perhaps, even more so.

                                          Pat "P.G. Six" Gubler is still enmeshed in the mystic & the unknowable even as he feels and knows the fullness of his rock phase on his latest, 'Starry Mind'. The band featured on 2007's 'Slightly Sorry' (with Debby Schwartz coming in on bass) has grown together, and you can hear it in the powerful unity of the performances.

                                          This has a 'Shoot Out The Lights' vibe versus 'Slightly Sorry's 'I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight', played with a bit more rock abandon, and includes a guest spot from Tara Key (ANTIETAM). Fear not, Pat's serene vocalizing over a gently shaken brew of folk, rock and experimental elements is still atop the mountain, herein. To aid the long and lonely wait until the next iteration, 'Starry Mind' is here to fill our cosmos.

                                          Cliffie Swan used to be the American band called Lights who put out two CDs - a self-titled release on Language Of Stone and ‘Rites’ on Drag City.

                                          Not a debut, nor really a third album, ‘Memories Come True’ is equal parts bravado and vulnerability. A story of leaving, perhaps, unrolls over the course of these eleven songs, resulting in an album of absolutely soulful and sultry rock gems.

                                          Physically separated by the vast spaces of America during the writing of the album, Linnea Vedder and Sophia Knapp built ‘Memories Come True’ like a bridge across the air.

                                          This is a hyper real version of pop, the colours super saturated, the contrast upped. The songwriting is concise and aims straight for the heart. Linnea and Sophia sing with the voices of angels dragged through Nashville and Laurel Canyon in the 70s, crystalline and crying inside.

                                          23 year old Ty Segall has his finger on it. A finger on it, digging into your vinyl, since 2008. 'Goodbye Bread' is his 5th full length, his first for Drag City. For those who are unaware, Ty tours like a monster, plays his ass and his band's ass and his audience's ass off every night and people seem to like it. The shows are moving, almost beyond control. It's not gonna stop either! 'Goodbye Bread' will see to that.


                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          Darryl says: ‘Goodbye Bread’ is his most accomplished work to date, sounding like a long lost dusty classic from the 70's. A lo-fi production, psyche-garage guitars and glam elements combine wonderfully with his retro styled vox. A big hit on the Drag City label!

                                          Essentially an ensemble recorded live in the studio, Bill Callahan’s "Apocalypse" is the corpus delecti. Something happened here. If tape is like meat, this record is the whole hog - no cuts.

                                          Callahan, riding on the back of his band, corrals them all and guides them single-handedly with love and ferocity.

                                          Bill Callahan is a recording studio guru, a tastefully rampant singer-songwriter, a heartthrob, a visual artist, a statesman for the times and an author. His songs have been featured in films such as "High Fidelity", "Dead Man’s Shoes", and "Youth In Revolt". Artists as diverse as Gil Scott-Heron, Flaming Lips and Cat Power have recorded his songs.

                                          Lights are a Brooklyn musical troupe that have shaped psychedelic mojo pop into a serpentine smoke ring, floating over both New York's forbidding urban scapes and the West Coast's sunshine vibes. Their songs are the lovechild of American soul music, country, metal, psychedelic rock, disco and new age.

                                          Unfolding like a first view of paradise, then a slightly less ecstatic second view of paradise, and then finally a glance back over your shoulder at that ridiculous notion of paradise, "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" is awfully pretty — something's clearly making Bill Callahan feel like a natural man. And high in the saddle, with nine sweet new tunes in tow, he's riding herd over a diverse bunch of sounds by top-notch players. Arranger Brian Beattie brought some old friends back into the picture: violins and French horns. Plus, recording in the big state of Texas has given Bill Callahan a panoramic soundscreen, filled with verdant and sparkling sounds, all of which allow him access to the depths of expression, allowing a gentle and stirring view of that which we call 'soul'. Singing as personally as ever while still spinning wild yarns and melodic guitar fictions, Bill Callahan's on an idyll we hope won't ever end.

                                          Tracklisting
                                          1. Jim Cain
                                          2. Eid Ma Clack Shaw
                                          3. The Wind And The Dove
                                          4. Rococo Zephyr
                                          5. Too Many Birds
                                          6. My Friend
                                          7. All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast
                                          8. Invocation Of Ratiocination
                                          9. Faith/Void

                                          The Howling Hex

                                          XI

                                            The Howing Hex Era, alive since 05, has produced its sixth installment in "XI" .The new border sound of The Howling Hex increases its audience share with every release. Live in the studio (with guitar and six-string bass solos overdubbed), "XI" is excitement in sonic action. "XI" features a plethora of singer-songwriters — four published authors in this edition of The Howling Hex. Roaming relentlessly, The Howling Hex will never cease to change — or tour — over the face of the earth.

                                            Concentrick

                                            Aluminum Lake

                                              Concentrick is the sound of Tim Green of The Fucking Champs. "Aluminum Lake" is the fourth Concentrick CD! Tim Green tapped ex-Royal Trux, Mars Volta and Fucking Am drummer Jon Theodore for occasional skin-work on "Aluminum Lake". The results rocks. Like a new-age incarnation of The Fucking Champs, a trip to "Aluminum Lake" is cleansing and holistic in the best sense.

                                              Whereas the last (Smog) LP was steeped in lo-fi country, Bill Callahan steps out from that beloved moniker to deliver his most accessible record yet. An aesthetic shift is apparent with the polished sophistication of "Diamond Dancer", an irresistible groove featuring funk basslines and raggedy fiddle floating above a gospel chorus of female backing vocalists. Callahan's unmistakable voice and poetic lyrics are as unique as ever, tracing the timeless connections between romance and sense of place like only he can. However, whilst the R'n'B rhythms and Motown string arrangements glitter on this album, Callahan hasn't abandoned his love of country, as evinced by "A Man Needs A Woman Or A Man To Be A Man". Evoking the maverick spirit of both Neil Young and now Paul Simon, Callahan confidently stretches the canvas of his already colourful tapestry.

                                              King Kong

                                              Buncha Beans

                                                The new sounds came to King Kong from Paul Oldham's Rove Studio in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Working with Paul, Ethan gave more depth to the production, a classic rock feeling. Louisville guitar hero Wink O'Bannon showed Ethan some guitar licks to aid Ethan's pursuit of more rock-and-roll types of guitar solos. And this is the first King Kong album featuring Pete Townsend on drums, bringing fresh rhythms to the King Kong sound. Already declared 'crazy-good' by the Louisville Courier-Journal, "Buncha Beans" is now ready to take on the world. Let the musical fruit rock your funky soul! King Kong is a star in the firmament of indie rock dating back to 1989. "Buncha Beans" is the sixth King Kong album.


                                                Latest Pre-Sales

                                                192 NEW ITEMS

                                                Congratulations to Dave @Santandave1 who won this years @mercuryprize with his album ‘Psychodrama’.… https://t.co/opUjTas2Lh
                                                Sat 21st - 10:33
                                                We have FIVE pairs of tickets for @lifebanduk who are playing @yes_mcr on Sunday October 27 stashed inside five ran… https://t.co/MAiqKQKDnb
                                                Fri 20th - 1:21
                                                Happy new music Friday everyone. Check out the beautiful new banners on our walls today to celebrate three great ne… https://t.co/jjALV0moWu
                                                Fri 20th - 8:28
                                                Two copies found! First come first served! Macintosh Plus 'Floral Shoppe' https://t.co/LnCszvsT8M https://t.co/yAPQF5DHDc
                                                Thu 19th - 12:13
                                                E-newsletter —
                                                Sign up
                                                Back to top