RAUHOUSE, JON Steel Guitar Heart Attack (Bloodshot) cd 13.98
Few can match Mr. Jon Rauhouse's musicianship, range and artistry. On this his third solo album, he's truly outdone himself! A pure genius at capturing moods that evoke a time long passed, he moves effortlessly from romantic old time balladry to Hawaiian tiki-lit happy hour, twilight swing jazz to chilling spookiness, lonesome range mournings to kicky covers of the Mannix and The Andy Griffiths Show theme songs. There's a little something for everyone here! He's joined by his dear friends Tommy Connell (guitars), Calexico's John Convertino (drums), Joey Burns (bass) and Jacob Valenzuela (trumpet), Paul Rigby (guitar and mandolin player extraordinaire aka Rauhouse's six-string cohort in Neko Case's touring band) and many others who know what's good for 'em. While Rauhouse's main focus is on the magic of the instrumental, he ices the cake with some sweet lady vocals by his pals Neko Case, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan and Rachel Flotard. Excellent!
"Grief" MPEG Stream:
"Mannix" MPEG Stream:
"East Of The Sun (Feat. Neko Case)"
RAUHOUSE, JON Steel Guitar Rodeo (Bloodshot) cd 12.98
Fantastic! The list of Rauhouse's friends/guest players on his second solo album is enough to make you wanna nab it immediately -- a bevy of lovely ladies like Neko Case, Carolyn Mark, Kelly Hogan and Sally Timms (perhaps you've heard/seen him performing with one or all of them?), not to mention a gathering of dapper gents like Tommy Connell, Howe Gelb, and Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino! However, you'll soon discover (in case you haven't already!) that all by his lonesome Mr. Jon Rauhouse is something of a multi-instrumental magic man. With a natural ease and mastery of the full spectrum of mood, expression, and vintage style, he captures the sounds of a bygone era. Able to unfurl the amazing melodious sounds of Hawaiian guitar, smoky lounge, country, spaghetti western... you name it, but he just as readily can conjure the most dissonant thunder from the strings of his pedal steel guitar. Really folks, the only place where he stumbles is in the lyrics department, particularly on the songs he sings himself. Kooky rhyming couplets and matching guitar accents just aren't our cup of tea. But fret not! The strengths of this album far outshine those fleeting weak moments.
"River Of No Return" MPEG Stream:
"Indian Love Call"
RAY'S VAST BASEMENT On The Banks Of Time (RVB) cd 11.98
One of the most refreshing listens we've heard in a long long while, Ray's Vast Basement is a collection of perfectly-crafted, honest-to-gosh SONGS written in the tradition of gravelly-voiced observers-of-life such as John Prine, Bob Dylan, and especially Butch Hancock, one of the four founding members of Austin's legendary Flatlanders (who also spawned Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore). Oh, and Andee thinks they sound a little like the Dire Straits. "On the Banks of Time" is a fully formed aesthetic triumph. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS REGULAR VERSION OF THIS CD, WITHOUT THE ADDED EXTRAS: LYRIC BOOKLET, TIMELINE CARDS ETC. WE CAN GET THE DELUXE VERSION FOR YOU. THE COST IS $25.The lyric booklet and stunningly executed, heartbreakingly poignant series of 60 cards detailing the 100,000,000-year history of Ray's Basement, the fictional cave in the town about which all the songs are written (which were included with the original pressing) are now available for purchase at the band's website.
"Why Can't I Be Slow" RealAudio clip:
"Swan of Vancouver" RealAudio clip:
"I Can Be Alone"
RAY'S VAST BASEMENT On The Banks Of Time (Deluxe Version) (RVB) cd 25.00
One of the most refreshing listens we've heard in a long long while, Ray's Vast Basement is a collection of perfectly-crafted, honest-to-gosh SONGS written in the tradition of gravelly-voiced observers-of-life such as John Prine, Bob Dylan, and especially Butch Hancock, one of the four founding members of Austin's legendary Flatlanders (who also spawned Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore). Oh, and Andee thinks they sound a little like the Dire Straits. "On the Banks of Time" is a fully formed aesthetic triumph. The lyric booklet and stunningly executed, heartbreakingly poignant series of 60 cards detailing the 100,000,000-year history of Ray's Basement, the fictional cave in the town about which all the songs are written (which were included with the original pressing) are available in this deluxe version. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE DELUXE VERSION OF THIS CD, WITH ALL THE ADDED EXTRAS: LYRIC BOOKLET, TIMELINE CARDS ETC. WE CAN GET THE REGULAR VERSION FOR YOU, TOO. THE COST IS $12.98.
"Why Can't I Be Slow" RealAudio clip:
"Swan of Vancouver" RealAudio clip:
"I Can Be Alone"
RAY'S VAST BASEMENT Starvation Under Orange Trees (Howells Transmitter) cd 9.98
Have the usually completely d.i.y. folks Ray's Vast Basement thrown open their secret subterranean workshop to welcome other like-minded burgeoning music makin' folks? Sure seems so, and the results are nothing short of wonderful. The RBV sound is so burnished, earthy and rustic that if they do indeed have a basement, then we'd imagine it's nestled amid the roots of a great redwood instead of beneath a building somewhere here in the city. Their new album comes to us by way of young Bay Area indie label Howell's Transmitter which is home to the likes of Michael Zapruder's Rain Of Frogs, Modular Set and Black Fiction. It's a perfect fit. The music on Starvation Under Orange Trees grew forth from a soundtrack composed by band leader Jon Bernson for the Actors Theatre Of San Francisco. Each song is inspired by one of the literary works of John Steinbeck -- Of Mice And Men, Grapes Of Wrath, Cannery Row, East Of Eden, and Tortilla Flats. All are infused with an overcast gravity befitting Steinbeck's pervading themes of common man hardships. Bernson is joined by guests Tim Cohen (Black Fiction), Sean Coleman (Kelley Stoltz), Larry Crane (Tape Op Magazine), Enzo Garcia (Jolie Holland), Matt Greenberg (Charles Atlas), Nate Query (The Decemberists), and Michael Zapruder (Michael Zapruder's Rain Of Frogs). Together they strike a balance between their old intimate, crafty charms and some newer, more ambitious compositions. Recommended!
"California's Gone" MPEG Stream:
REID, JAMES Like A Buzzard Chased By Crows (Barl Fire) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. While people are wandering around with freak folk stars in their eyes, soaking up the hippie good vibes of Joanna Newsom, Brightblack Morning Light, Vetiver, Devendra, and other fringed folkies, they run the risk of overlooking some lesser knowns, that are making music equally as compelling and beautiful, if not more so. Enter one James Reid, whose first (as far as we know) record has found its home on the always reliable Barl Fire label, who in the past have focused more on drone music and sort of avant free rock, but for their first foray into folk this is most definitely a winner. Reid will undoubtedly get compared to Nick Drake, which is obviously not a bad thing, and in Reid's case is pretty spot on. His dark melancholic steel string guitar and warm honey vocals deftly woven into lush tapestries of dreamy moonlit folk. But there are bits of modern (and not so modern) production fuckery that make Like A Buzzard Chased By Crows more than just a straight up folk record. Reid employs a strange technique where he seemingly records vocals or flute and then plays them back live into the microphone during the recording. So on one track, the background is a lush garden of swirling steel string guitar, while the vocals are played back on a crappy old tape player, the vocals stopping and starting with the kachunk of the play/stop button. Another track has a flute that sounds all weird and warbly as it is played back at various tempos, so at the beginning and end of each phrase you can hear the tape speed up or slow down. Really weird but it somehow sounds perfect. Those moments though are utilized with restraint, surfacing here and there, but overall, this is just a really beautiful, dark and lovely, moody and slightly ominous folk record that all you Devendra / Newsom / New Weird America obsessives should not miss out on....
"Our Poor Lone Kestrel" MPEG Stream:
"Time Of Autumn (Hedgerow Mix)" MPEG Stream:
REINHARDT, DJANGO 1938 (London Debut and Paris Sessions) (Monk) lp 24.00
REINHARDT, DJANGO From The Ultraphone Shelves (Monk) lp 24.00
REINHARDT, DJANGO Last Years of Peace (1936-1937) (Monk) lp 24.00
RENAUT, HELENE Perfection's Somewhere Near Your Bones (self-released) cd-r 11.98
Sunny local French ex-pat singer / songwriter Helene Renaut has been playing around San Francisco for a few years now, touring with the likes of Ruthann Friedman, Bart Davenport and Sean Smith. We've always been fans, and before her new record comes out next year (recorded by Jason Quever of Papercuts), we've managed to get a handful of her self-released debut from a couple of years back. Inspired by British folk and French pop, she weaves her delicate guitar playing through wistful and melancholic original songs with a couple of covers, one a beautiful rendition of John Martyn's "Run Sally Run". Perfect for these last few warm weeks of fall! Fans of Sibyelle Baier, Ruthann Friedman, and Francoise Hardy take note!
"I Know" MPEG Stream:
"Spring Wind" MPEG Stream:
"Run Honey Run"
RENAUT, HELENE The Deer Convention (self-released) lp 14.98
Spirited debut album from this local French folk chanteuse and multi-instrumentalist. Helene Renaut teamed up with Papercuts' Jason Quever and members of Skygreen Leopards to bring us this sunny and wistful record that is perfect for the fresh beginnings of Spring. Renaut's songbird voice and dulcet harmonies with spare chamber arrangements of guitar, violin, glockenspiel and a brass ensemble remind us of singers we have loved from the past, the airy British folk of June Tabor, the folk-pop eccentrics of The Roches and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the beautiful fragility of Connie Converse, Ruthann Friedman and Kath Bloom, all with a sense of French pastoralism from her native Brittany. Limited to 250 copies, each one hand-numbered. Comes with download code too. Quite lovely, indeed!
RENAUT, HELENE / EMILY SCOTT Seasonal Sevens: Summer (Autumn Ferment) 7" 8.98
Lovely split single by local Bay Area (via Brittany) songbird, Helene Renaut and Scottish folk chanteuse Emily Pond, featuring members of Incredible String Band. This is a first of a series of four split seven inches devoted to the seasons from this twee Scottish folk label. Limited to 300, on summer yellow vinyl!!
REVERIES, THE Live In Bologna (Rat-Drifting) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We just listed the brand new Reveries album recently, a disc of all Willie Nelson covers, so we decided we'd get a few more of this live disc in for the folks who may have missed out on this last time around. Like some dusty old 78, left in the basement for 20 or 30 years, wet and warped, gritty and scratched up, thrown onto the ol' Victrola as is, and allowed to unfurl a warped and warbly, rickety detuned slow motion blues crawl. That's exactly what this latest disc from the Reveries sounds like. Recorded live in Italy in 2004, the Reveries, fronted by Eric Chenaux (who for those of you up on your nineties indie math rock, fronted Toronto's godlike Phleg Camp), magically create this sound from another time. But there's more to it than that, the sound is strangely damaged, alien even, and for good reason. The band employ a technique as bizarre as it is brilliant. Each player, in addition to wielding guitar, harmonica, bass, saw, nose-flute and thumb-reeds (!?), holds a tiny cell phone speaker IN THEIR MOUTHS!!! WHILE THEY PLAY!! OR EVEN SING!! So each of the instruments is sent first to the speaker in the mouth of another player, who much like a Jew's harp, is able to shape and warp the sound with the shape of his mouth. So you're hearing guitar come out of the bass players mouth, the bass coming out of the guitar player's mouth, the flute through another player's mouth, and on and on... Then there's the singing, which all three members do, and as you might imagine, it's pretty difficult to sing with a speaker in your mouth, and a speaker cable trailing out of your mouth to an amp or a bandmate's mouth. The result is a mumbled and warbly, mush mouthed drawl, fuzzy falsettos, a garbled croon, often sounding like a toothless old Nina Simone, but just as often, like some strange buzzing growl, perfectly complimenting the band's detuned twang flecked scrawl. It's almost like the Starfuckers playing Django Reinhardt at 16 rpm, with a countrified Derek Bailey on guitar. Cracking, wheezing and skeletal, a demented yet lovely underwater slow motion Western Swing, plenty of downtuned buzz, scraping and shuffling, whispering and whistling, seasick and gorgeously woozy. There are stretches of garbled instrumental chaos here and there, but the majority of the set is spent slithering and shimmering, meandering drunkenly through some strange sonic haze, an old timey radio broadcast, from some strange musical alternate reality, bits of classic blues and jazz muted and smeared pulled apart and tangled up into haunting and perplexing shapes. So gorgeous.
"You've Changed" MPEG Stream:
"Gone With The Wind"
REVERIES, THE Matchmakers Volume 1: The Music Of Willie Nelson (Rat-Drifting) cd 14.98
The Reveries were indeed a revelation. A modern slow-mo, off-kilter, creaky rickety avant country combo, whose sound was a bleary blend of campfire twang, woozy slowcore, and most notably, a system by which each player holds a tiny speaker in their mouths while they play, with the various other players sending their sounds and signals into the mouths of the other players, letting the various musicians shape and twist and contort those sounds, often combining them with their own vocal parts. The result was truly unique, haunting, mysterious, and gorgeously fractured. The last Reveries disc, was titled Plays The Music Of Sade. We weren't sure if that was some high concept thing, and it was in fact inspired by the Marquis De Sade, or if they were indeed covers of songs by the pop vocalist Sade (pronounced shar-day). It's perhaps a testament to the Reveries skill at reinvention that we were unable to realize that they were actually Sade covers (or it might speak to our being wholly unfamiliar with her body of work minus THAT song) Regardless, just like the record before, the Reveries created a wholly otherworld of moaning melodies, and creeping tempos, of strange voices, of detuned guitars, warbly basslines, shuffling percussion, all warped and funhouse mirrored by their circuitous journey from instrument to amp to speaker to mouth to microphone to recorder to compact disc. On this first volume, in a proposed ongoing series, the Reveries tackle, as the title suggests, the music of country music icon Willie Nelson, and it's a pretty fine match. The first track is a surprise though, fairly rocking by Reveries standards, a rollicking version on "I Let My Mind Wander", with propulsive drumming, some serious riffing, and that strange whistle like melody that the band seems to lace each song with, a sort of falsetto croon. And the vocals as always are a sort of mush mouthed garble, due in no small part to the singe having to sing around the speaker in his mouth. The rest of the record unfurls lazily, all creaking back porch blues, the guitars often drifting by in disembodied twangs, each arrangement spare and abstract and seemingly always on the verge of collapse, the drums shuffling and minimal holding it all barely together, but it's the melodies that make it immediately the Reveries, each one, each vocal line wavery and woozy, unfurled and filtered through a jew's harp like warble, keening whistle like tones tangled and ghostlike. Even the most recognizable songs, like "Crazy", become something totally and utterly different. The overall sound is dark and drunken, mournful and mysterious, some tracks add harmonica, nose-flute, singing saw, and while those elements add to the lushness of the Reveries' sound, they're almost unnecessary, their core sound is so delicate and alien even at its most stripped down, so beautifully creepy, that all it ever takes to suck us in is that slow languorous twang, some warbly vocals, and a sweetly sad minor key melody...
"Any Arms Won't Do" MPEG Stream:
"Didn't Sleep A Wink Last Night" MPEG Stream:
"I Let My Mind Wander"
REVERIES, THE Play The Music Of Sade (Bennifer Edition) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Past record of the week honorees the Reveries return with this super limited live cd-r, and while we're not always huge fans of live recordings, this one is worth it for two reasons, one, we've been dying for more Reveries, we can't get enough of their soporific warbly alien blues, and second, their sound is so strange and woozy, that the various crowd sounds, and the lo-fi recording, only add to their mysterious ambience. The Reveries, for those of you who missed their AQ record of the week a while back, are a minimal blues trio, who take their somewhat standard instrumentation, guitar, bass, harmonica, musical saw, nose flute, and augment them with what the band calls 'mouth speakers', a tiny cell phone speaker, that each member holds in his mouth while they play, the various instruments being fed to the speaker in one of the other players' mouths, where the sound can then be altered by that player changing the shape of their mouth, or singing along to another instrument. The result is so gorgeous and so completely strange. The sound is off kilter and abstract, woozy and druggy, and totally beautiful. This live set finds the band augmented by a drummer, and various members playing stuff like streetsweeper bristle bass and thumb reeds, which only serves to give these songs a bit more propulsion, not quite as languorous as their last disc, a bit more 'rocking', with some simulated wah guitars (using their mouth speakers we figure) and more of a focus on the vocals, gorgeous mournful melodies, plaintive falsetto harmonies, all draped over the band's blurred bluescapes. Folks who dig Bonny Prince Billy and Iron And WIne and the like should definitely check this out. It's that sort of modern blues twang, melancholy and melodic, but the Reveries, take that sound and twist it all up into something much stranger, and somehow much more moving. SUPER LIMITED. Totally over the top packaging, a screen printed cardboard box, each one individually augmented by various glued on pieces of paper and art fragments, inside the box is stuffed with various inserts and found paper debris, flyers, newspapers, pictures cut out from magazines, and all manner of other strange visual detritus.
"One" MPEG Stream:
REX Waltz (Southern) cd 9.99
REYNOLDS, MALVINA s/t (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
RIPTONES Buckshot (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
RIZZO, RICK & TARA KEY Dark Edison Tiger (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
Jim O'Rourke's "Bad Timing" seems to have become a seemingly influential album, oddly because at the time of its release it seemed to mostly notable as a John Fahey parody. Yet, it opened the ears of indie and alt.country fans not only to the works of Fahey and Souled American, but also the floodgates for a handful of interesting experimentations with folk & country aesthetics, such as Loftus, Tim Foljhan's Two Dollar Guitar albums, and now this collaboration between Rick Rizzo (from Eleventh Dream Day) and Tara Key (from Antietam). Interludes of farfisa and guitar distortion fit snugly in this sleepy album of delicately played instrumental folk. A strong showing.
ROBERTS, ALASDAIR Farewell Sorrow (Drag City) cd 14.98
This is the second solo outing from Sir Alasdair of Appendix Out-ville. One dozen stark, achingly heartfelt folk songs.
ROBERTS, ALASDAIR / JACKIE OATES A Selection Of Marches, Quicksteps, Laments, Strathspeys Reels And Country Dances (Room 40) 7" 13.98
Beloved Scottish troubadour Alasdair Roberts teams up with fiddle playing English lass Jackie Oates for these four tunes - three instrumentals and one with vocals - all with a reverential nod towards British and Scottish folk traditions. The interplay between Roberts' deftly fingerpicked guitar and Oates' fiddle is light, graceful and utterly at ease. The rather coldly clinical title of this record really doesn't do the sprightly passionate music justice. Sure to please Roberts' followers and offers Oates a fine introduction to those on this side of the pond! We only got 3 copies btw...
RODGERS, JIMMIE First Sessions, 1927-1928 (Rounder) cd 16.98
RODIER, ROGER Upon Velveatur (Sunbeam) cd 16.98
Wow! Yet another amazing re-issue from this exciting new reissue label Sunbeam. We haven't been this excited about a rediscovered psych-folk classic since Red Hash by Gary Higgins. Nobody knew what to expect from the cover photo of Rodier, (looking a lot like Geddy Lee) staring out at us from a hazy meadow with the strange enigmatic title: Upon Velveatur. But by the second song, we had immediately snatched up the only two copies. So we knew we had to get more and share this with the rest of you. Upon Velveatur is a dreamy French-Canadian psych-folk pop suite that varies from hushed mystical songs lushly orchestrated with strings and theremin to more rock-oriented numbers featuring stinging electric guitar. Lazy comparisons to Nick Drake are inevitable, and if we must go there, Upon Velveatur is closest to Bryter Later in terms of feel and production value. But Rodier can also sound like John Lennon with Cream as the band, Fleetwood Mac on backing vocals,and produced by Roger Nichols and his Small Circle of Friends all on one song! We get the feeling that maybe some folks like Neil Halstead were onto the sounds of Rodier as we were listening to some Mojave 3 and could totally hear Rodier's voice and stylings being transmitted by Mr. Halstead. Featuring bonus singles from an earlier psych folk project, Rodier-Gauthier, and liner notes from the man himself. Totally Recommended!
"My Spirit's Calling" MPEG Stream:
"The Key" MPEG Stream:
"While My Castle's Burning"
RODRIGUEZ Cold Fact (Light In The Attic) cd 17.98
Pop quiz! Quick: who's the "street poet" singer with no first name*, son of Mexican immigrants, born and raised in Detroit Michigan, whose debut album from 1970 sounded like a fuzz-soul-psych version of Bob Dylan and/or Donovan, and was an underground hit in South Africa of all places?? Duh, Rodriguez of course. It's about time his inexplicably obscure Cold Fact got the deluxe reissue treatment it deserves. Seriously, after listening to this for the first time, you'll feel like you just heard a bona fide '60s classic, and be amazed you had never heard these songs before. They ought to be all over "oldies" rock radio. It's ridiculous like that. Songs like "Sugar Man" and "I Wonder" seem like they should be fixtures of the baby boomer memory lane hit parade. It's so very of its era, "This Is Not A Song, It's An Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues" is certainly a sixties song title, isn't it? Likewise "Rich Folks Hoax", "Hate Street Dialogue", and "Crucify Your Mind"... But, maybe he was just a little too freaky and right on, and (crucially) never got the right sort of record label support to become well known to the Woodstock Nation, though this album had some rather random, surprising success so far off in the Southern Hemisphere, in South Africa and Australia and New Zealand, which Rodriguez himself was unaware of for many years! If left to his own devices, perhaps Rodriguez would have come off sounding a bit too much like Dylan. But Cold Fact was a "Theo-Coff" production, from the badass Motor City team of Mike Theodore and funk guitarist Dennis Coffey, and they helped accentuate the more underground and urban aspects of Rodriguez's sound. With his hip, Dylanesque poetry set amidst lush orchestration and gritty grooves, Rodriguez's Cold Fact is a super catchy, tripped out slice of street-level, soulful psychedelia, full of drug references and radical political critique. We alluded to "fuzz" above, but on the track "Only Good For Conversation" we mean FUZZ. That track's a stone(d) cold classic when it comes to heavy duty fuzz guitar crunch. This reish comes in a nice digipack, with cover embossing and a big ol' cd booklet stuffed with text (liner notes, lyrics) and photos. One of the several cd booklet essays explains in part Rodriguez's unexpected appeal in South Africa - apparently, in that repressive society, it was due to the edgy, uncensored nature of his lyrics. "I Wonder", for instance, with its lines about "I wonder how many times you had sex / And I wonder do you know who'll be next" was considered so risque that if you were a teenager and wanted to be cool, you HAD to have this record. Apparently, many folks in South Africa thought of Rodriguez as being a star up there with the Beatles, and when they didn't hear more from him, all sorts of wild rumors spread that he'd died, been accidentally electrocuted, OD'd, or even committed suicide on stage! When, in fact, he simply had no idea how "big" he was in South Africa, and his recording career had stalled out elsewhere after his sophomore album, 1971's Coming From Reality (also soon to be reissued). Turns out he's still alive and well, today, and has actually gone to South African to pay arena (?!) shows in recent years. In fact, when we've had album in the store before, it was only available on cd as an expensive import - from South Africa! So we're, again, super stoked that Light In The Attic put the effort in to do this long overdue, definitive domestic reissue. *actually, his first name was Sixto, but he usually just went by Rodriguez.
"Sugar Man" MPEG Stream:
"Only Good For Conversation" MPEG Stream:
"Hate Street Dialogue"
ROSE, BIFF s/t (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
While some of us here really love early Biff Rose records, we realize he's a very acquired taste. His jokey piano-bar delivery, quirky early musical theater-style arrangements, and Kermit the Frog-like voice (he also kind of sounds like Wayne Coyne from Flaming Lips) usually don't warm up to most people's ears right away. He definitely comes out of the same school of pop eccentrics as Mose Allison, Loudon Wainwright III, Randy Newman, The Neon Philharmonic, and Van Dyke Parks. But the thing is, when you have him on shuffle on your iPod, he'll always be that burst of warm surprise that makes you scramble for your iPod to figure out what the heck is playing. The ever-reliable The Omni Recording Corporation label has reissued this 1970 eponymous release. Not psych-folk as the label implies (or as we tend to think of it it), but the mood is much darker and somber than on any of Rose's previous records. Full of lush Van Dyke Parks-style orchestral arrangements and songs about heartbreak (he recorded this during a messy divorce), it contains our most favorite Biff Rose song, "The Captain", a haunting ode to epic loss with swirling strings and far off sleigh bells. This could easily be a touchstone for Joanna Newsom's Ys, as the mood and arrangements are similar, evoking an antique and quaint musical soundworld to touch on larger human themes of sadness and self-renewal. If you're curious about Biff Rose, or like any of the aforementioned people above, this or Children of Light are the best ones to start with. So bittersweet!
"The Captain" MPEG Stream:
ROSE, JACK Black Dirt Sessions (Three Lobed) lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It seems like every Jack Rose record we get, when it comes time to review it, we begin by saying something like "well, not sure what to say about Jack Rose that we haven't already said", and you know, that's still pretty much true, of the current crop of modern solo guitarists, neo Appalachian revisionists, whatever the hell you want to call them, few can match Jack Rose, every record is a masterpiece, equal parts classic old school solo guitar, modern interpretations of classic Appalachia, and usually a bit of drone (you can take the guitarist out of PeltÉ), and the Black Dirt Sessions is no different. More of the same, the same being dark and doleful, lovely and lyrical solo guitar, incredible slide playing, intricate finger picking, delicate strumming, gorgeous minor key melodies. As always though, there are a few surprises, the main one here is the second loooooong track on side one, "Cross The North Fork", in which Rose channels all of our favorite seventies British folk, we hear lots of Comus (you can almost imagine the flutes and bongos), plenty of Incredible String Band, sprawling, and epic, dark and so intense. Worth it for just that track alone. One of the tracks is super honky tonky and features a bit of barrelhouse piano, while still managing to sound minor key and a bit melancholy, the rest of the record plays out perfectly, more of that subtly slippery slide, dense tangles of intricate picking, long stretches of spare minimal chordal drift, it's all just so fantastic and lovely. Another absolutely essential record from one of the modern masters. Beautifully packaged in outrageously thick sleeves, and pressed on ultra heavy vinyl.
ROSE, JACK Dr. Ragtime & Pals / Self Titled (Tequila Sunrise) 2cd 16.98
A new Jack Rose disc is always cause for celebration around here. Along with James Blackshaw, Ilyas Ahmed, Richard Bishop and a few others, Rose is one of the new modern masters of the steel string guitar, helping to reinvent and redefine neo-Appalachia or modern folk or whatever you want to call it. But this disc is even more exciting, because not only is it a brand new album (recorded last year), it also includes as a bonus disc, the long out of print s/t album originally released on aRCHIVE, now available only in this set. Let's first talk about this new record. No huge changes, we're happy to announce, just more of Rose's gorgeous steel string beauty, gossamer sheets of buzzing shimmer, droning ragas, traditional bluegrass, slippery slide, melancholy melodies, jaunty pick and strum, the mood occasionally dark and ominous, sometimes playful and festive, and other times dreamy and serene, it's as much about the sound as the songs. To see Rose play live is pretty mindblowing, his mastery of the guitar is truly humbling, his playing incredibly physical, but so fluid and seemingly effortless. And the sounds that emerge from that chunk of wood and steel are consistently breathtaking. Which is true even on record, those sounds well removed from the actual recording, but retaining much of the physical act of the performance, the energy and the emotion, the sound vibrant and LIVE. This new disc is no different. Sonically, well in line with the rest of Rose's recorded works, but like every new Rose record that comes along, it manages to subtly expand and progress, sonically and compositionally, while continuing to sound classic and timeless. Fans will obviously need Dr. Ragtime, but for folks who have yet to discover the magic of Jack Rose this is a perfect place to start, and odds are those same folks will very likely find themselves wanting and perhaps even needing more! As we mentioned above, this double disc set also includes the long out of print self titled Jack Rose aRCHIVE release. Here's what we had to say about that disc when we first reviewed it way back when: By now, Mr. Jack Rose should need no introduction. Numerous releases on Eclipse, VHF, Tequila Sunrise, tons of amazing shows (including a killer instore right here at AQ) every performance totally spellbinding, with a repertoire that runs the gamut from classic bluegrass to drone drenched ragas to neo-Appalachia and probably to some styles of playing he just made up. In fact Rose was seemingly the first to not just ape the music and style of John Fahey, instead choosing to create his own sound and style, due in no small part we'd guess, to his continuing membership in drone-raga ensemble Pelt, and that raga vibe most certainly informs all of his playing, which just might explain why we find Rose so much more interesting than many of his contemporaries. This disc collects a handful of studio recordings recorded over the last year, featuring Rose exploring the slide guitar, and as always, it's positively divine. From twangy countrified bluegrass breakdowns, to dense tangles of elaborate finger picking, his slide so slipper and fluid, totally emotional and moving, every song so complex and technical, but at the same time so goddamn simple and beautiful. The highlight would have to be the 12+ minute "Spirits In The House", with its amazing harmonics over a warm backdrop of buzzing low end overtones. The main melody so completely captivating, shimmery and wavery, sounding very Eastern and very much like a sitar, the perfect blend of wistful bluegrass melancholia and buzzing Eastern style raga. So gorgeous. And as with pretty much every Rose record, absolutely essential. (There is an import jewel case version, but this is the domestic, super limited (only 1000 copies) version with much more deluxe packaging, an oversized booklet style sleeve, a Japanese style obi, and more...)
"Miss May's Place" MPEG Stream:
"Song For The Owl" MPEG Stream:
"Bells" MPEG Stream:
"Levee" MPEG Stream:
"Revolt" MPEG Stream:
"Sy Louis Blues"
ROSE, JACK Luck In The Valley (Thrill Jockey) cd 15.98
Every new Jack Rose record is a cause for celebration around here, a master of post Fahey modern Appalachia, and an incredible player, fingerpicking, slide, the last time he played here it was magical to watch this big, un assuming guy, effortlessly create this massive and intricate sound. This latest Rose record though is bittersweet, it's of course fantastic, lush, and melodic, intricate and lovely, but it will forever be saddled with the added emotional weight of being Rose's last ever recording, as he sadly passed away in December of last year. Luck In The Valley, then is not just a record, but a gorgeous tribute to his life, his music, an elegy is sound, beautiful and timeless. And it is beautiful and timeless, opener "Blues For Percy Danforth" is incredible, an intricately fingerpicked melancholy lament, accompanied by jaw harp and harmonica, the playing by Rose is some of the most fluid we've heard, a swirl of sweet melodies, warm resonant buzz, perfectly arranged into a sound classic and old timey, but still modern and original. This record is more of a group / full band effort, unlike many of Rose's other mostly solo discs, featuring lots of guests on tampura, banjo, tack piano, fiddle, harmonica and more. The tracks range in sound from bluegrass hoedown to brooding minor key folk to classic Appalachia, many of the songs have a raga like vibe (no doubt due to his time spent playing with drone rockers Pelt), others are rife with woozy weary slide guitar, which gives the proceedings an ominous haunting vibe, and those are our favorite tracks, the darker, more melancholy and introspective numbers, that make up about half the record, a good balance for the jauntier jams, which include a few covers / reinterpretations of classics from Blind Blake and W.C. Handy. Fans of Rose will absolutely want this, it's as good if not better than his other records, fans of guitar music and Appalachia and classic bluegrass would also do well do give Rose a try, but really, this is just a gorgeous disc of amazing guitar music, beautiful songs, and one more chance to get lost in the magical sounds of a man who has hopefully moved on to someplace much more magical. The cd comes in a cool 4 panel mini-LP style jacket. The lp version comes in an old-style tip-on jacket with a hand-pasted letterpressed cover, with a free mp3 download coupon and is limited to only 1500 copies...
"Blues For Percy Danforth" MPEG Stream:
"Lick Mountain Ramble" MPEG Stream:
"Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road" MPEG Stream:
"When Tailgate Drops, The Bullshit Stops"
ROSE, JACK Luck In The Valley (Thrill Jockey) lp 22.00
Newly repressed on vinyl! (Price went up for some reason, sorry.) Every new Jack Rose record is a cause for celebration around here, a master of post Fahey modern Appalachia, and an incredible player, fingerpicking, slide, the last time he played here it was magical to watch this big, unassuming guy, effortlessly create this massive and intricate sound. This latest Rose record though is bittersweet, it's of course fantastic, lush, and melodic, intricate and lovely, but it will forever be saddled with the added emotional weight of being Rose's last ever recording, as he sadly passed away in December '09. Luck In The Valley, then is not just a record, but a gorgeous tribute to his life, his music, an elegy is sound, beautiful and timeless. And it is beautiful and timeless, opener "Blues For Percy Danforth" is incredible, an intricately fingerpicked melancholy lament, accompanied by jaw harp and harmonica, the playing by Rose is some of the most fluid we've heard, a swirl of sweet melodies, warm resonant buzz, perfectly arranged into a sound classic and old timey, but still modern and original. This record is more of a group / full band effort, unlike many of Rose's other mostly solo discs, featuring lots of guests on tampura, banjo, tack piano, fiddle, harmonica and more. The tracks range in sound from bluegrass hoedown to brooding minor key folk to classic Appalachia, many of the songs have a raga like vibe (no doubt due to his time spent playing with drone rockers Pelt), others are rife with woozy weary slide guitar, which gives the proceedings an ominous haunting vibe, and those are our favorite tracks, the darker, more melancholy and introspective numbers, that make up about half the record, a good balance for the jauntier jams, which include a few covers / reinterpretations of classics from Blind Blake and W.C. Handy. Fans of Rose will absolutely want this, it's as good if not better than his other records, fans of guitar music and Appalachia and classic bluegrass would also do well do give Rose a try, but really, this is just a gorgeous disc of amazing guitar music, beautiful songs, and one more chance to get lost in the magical sounds of a man who has hopefully moved on to someplace much more magical. The lp version again comes in an old-style tip-on jacket with a hand-pasted letterpressed cover, and is likely once again limited.
"Blues For Percy Danforth" MPEG Stream:
"Lick Mountain Ramble" MPEG Stream:
"Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road" MPEG Stream:
"When Tailgate Drops, The Bullshit Stops"
ROSE, JACK Raag Manifestos (Eclipse) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The cd's still sadly out of print, but this amazing record is now available (for a limited time) on vinyl packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve. Hard to know what to write about this record. It's just so personal and lovely, dark and mysterious, and darn near perfect. Appalachian guitar stretched into droning, dense ragas, steel strings that go from delicate melody to prickly nests of intertangled notes and buzzing overtones. Always completely hypnotic even at its most fierce, and always intense and compelling, even at its most ethereal. Rose (also a member of drone rockers Pelt) has definitely become one of our favorite guitarists and record after record he never fails to blow us away.
"Black Pearls From The River" MPEG Stream:
"Tower Of Babel"
ROSE, JACK s/t (aRCHIVE) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. By now, Mr, Jack Rose should need no introduction. Numerous releases on Eclipse, VHF, Tequila Sunrise, tons of amazing shows (including a killer instore right here at AQ) every performance totally spellbinding, with a repertoire that runs the gamut from classic bluegrass to drone drenched ragas to neo-Appalachia and probably to some styles of playing he just made up. In fact Rose was seemingly the first to not just ape the music and style of John Fahey, instead choosing to create his own sound and style, due in no small part we'd guess, to his continuing membership in drone-raga ensemble Pelt, and that raga vibe most certainly informs all of his playing, which just might explain why we find Rose so much more interesting than many of his contemporaries. This disc collects a handful of studio recordings recorded over the last year, featuring Rose exploring the slide guitar, and as always, it's positively divine. From twangy countrified bluegrass breakdowns, to dense tangles of elaborate finger picking, his slide so slipper and fluid, totally emotional and moving, every song so complex and technical, but at the same time so goddamn simple and beautiful. The highlight would have to be the 12+ minute "Spirits In The House", with its amazing harmonics over a warm backdrop of buzzing low end overtones. The main melody so completely captivating, shimmery and wavery, sounding very Eastern and very much like a sitar, the perfect blend of wistful bluegrass melancholia and buzzing Eastern style raga. So gorgeous. And as with pretty much every Rose record, absolutely essential. Limited to 1000 copies. Packaged in a gorgeous diecut letter press sleeve with an old photo inserted into the cover. So nice!
"Levee" MPEG Stream:
"Revolt" MPEG Stream:
"Sy Louis Blues"
ROSE, JACK s/t (Tequila Sunrise) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Originally released as a super limited cd on aRCHIVE, and out of print in the blink of an eye, this gorgeous slab of modern Appalachian raga folk from the undisputed master is now available on lp! By now, Mr, Jack Rose should need no introduction. Numerous releases on Eclipse, VHF, Tequila Sunrise, tons of amazing shows (including a killer instore right here at AQ) every performance totally spellbinding, with a repertoire that runs the gamut from classic bluegrass to drone drenched ragas to neo-Appalachia and probably to some styles of playing he just made up. In fact Rose was seemingly the first to not just ape the music and style of John Fahey, instead choosing to create his own sound and style, due in no small part we'd guess, to his continuing membership in drone-raga ensemble Pelt, and that raga vibe most certainly informs all of his playing, which just might explain why we find Rose so much more interesting than many of his contemporaries. This record collects a handful of studio recordings recorded over the last year, featuring Rose exploring the slide guitar, and as always, it's positively divine. From twangy countrified bluegrass breakdowns, to dense tangles of elaborate finger picking, his slide so slipper and fluid, totally emotional and moving, every song so complex and technical, but at the same time so goddamn simple and beautiful. The highlight would have to be the 12+ minute "Spirits In The House", with its amazing harmonics over a warm backdrop of buzzing low end overtones. The main melody so completely captivating, shimmery and wavery, sounding very Eastern and very much like a sitar, the perfect blend of wistful bluegrass melancholia and buzzing Eastern style raga. So gorgeous. And as with pretty much every Rose record, absolutely essential. Pressed on super thick 180 gram vinyl, gorgeous heavy sleeves, new artwork and even an obi! Limited to 1000 copies!! These won't last long...
"Levee" MPEG Stream:
"Revolt" MPEG Stream:
"Sy Louis Blues"
ROSE, JACK Two Originals Of Jack: Red Horse, White Mule & Opium Musick (VHF) cd 13.98
Digital compendium of Jack Rose's (of Pelt fame) two most recent lps on Eclipse. Gorgeously fingerpicked Appalachia in the Tokuma tradition, the spirit of Fahey, Kottke, and Basho flow richly through this man. From spare six string guitar work to dense 12 string / slide guitar epics to drawn out hypntoic ragas. So so beautiful. Features extensive liner notes and guest performances from Mike Gangloff from Pelt and Glenn Jones of Cul De Sac.
"Black Pearls" MPEG Stream:
"White Mule II" MPEG Stream:
ROSE, JACK & GLENN JONES The Things That We used To Do (Strange Attractions) dvd 20.00
ROSE, JACK & THE BLACK TWIG PICKERS s/t (VHF) cd 13.98
NOW ON CD!! Sometime labelmates Jack Rose and the Black Twig Pickers finally team up for a record together. Unlike most Rose records, which while delicate and dark and beautiful, are also showcases for one of the most incredible guitar virtuosos playing these days, this collaboration is way more of a team effort. There are definitely moments where you can hear Rose doing his thing, but for the most part, he's part of the band here, and the rest of the Twig Pickers are pretty serious players themselves. Guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass drum, harmonica, vocals and bones (!), the tracks here veer from wild campfire old school blue grass hoedowns to more darkly contemplative folk explorations, and pretty much every stop in between. Tone of intricate fingerpicking, the stringed instruments getting tangled up in flurries of rapid fire notes, the vocals wild and loose, in fact the whole recording is pretty loose, like they just got together and jammed, which who knows, could be just how this happened. Folks looking for pure solo guitar Appalachia probably won't find what they're looking for, although elements surface throughout, but for folks into old timey blues, classic bluegrass, those Mississippi blues reissue lps, and the more rollicking tracks on past Rose records, this will totally hit the spot.
"Little Sadie" MPEG Stream:
"Sail Away Ladies / I Shall Not Be Moved" MPEG Stream:
"Hand Me Down My Walking Cane"
RUBY HOWL Heaven Hides There Too (Out Of Round) cd 9.98
RUSALNAIA (FEAT. SHARRON KRAUS) s/t (Camera Obscura) cd 15.98
RYAN, COLLIE The Rainbow Records (Bella Terra / Yoga) 3cd 34.00
It seems with early seventies metaphysical songstress, Collie Ryan, you either get a little or a lot. We first heard her amazing track, "Cricket" on the Numero Group's great Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies of The Canyon compilation. Then at the beginning of the year, we were treated to a vinyl only best of compilation called The Hour Is Now. But now we have the completists dream come true of all three of her self-released records from 1973 (Indian Harvest, The Giving Tree, and Taking Your Turn 'Round The Corner Of Your Day) available on a 3cd set released on compact disc for the first time. 41 songs, phew!!! Ryan recorded these songs (as well as making the paintings that grace her albums) as a means to further her spiritual investigations as a student of Theosophy. With just her voice, her unique guitar style and some cushioning reverb, Ryan's songbird voice soars through the heavens singing about mystical connections to nature, cycles of change, and thresholds of light. She only recorded these three records before going off the grid and painting hubcaps in the desert for a living. Though she can be compared to Joan Baez, Linda Perhacs and Elyse, Collie Ryan was really out doing her own thing unfettered by musical trends of the time. Three cds may be a lot to take in all at once, but such visionary singers come around so rarely that it's a truly a transcendent experience to be completely absorbed in her blissful cosmology.
"Cricket" MPEG Stream:
"High Gulls Flying" MPEG Stream:
"Summer Cat" MPEG Stream:
SABBATH ASSEMBLY Restored To One (Ajna) lp 17.98
Got something here for fans of Jex Thoth, the No Neck Blues Band, AND weird religious cults... there's probably some overlap there, we imagine! The Ajna Offensive, best known for black metal releases by the likes of Deathspell Omega and Funeral Mist, and also that fancy Bobby Beausoleil box set not long ago, now bring us the Sabbath Assembly, singing "glorious songs of praise to Lucifer, Satan, Christ, and Jehovah". Huh? These are indeed REAL hymns, and all from one church. Some would say, cult. The explanation: ever heard of the Process Church Of The Final Judgment? This is their music, "reProcessed" by a contemporary psychedelic (super)group of underground musicians, including Jex Thoth of, um, Jex Thoth on vocals, David "Xtian" Nuss (NNCK, Angelblood, Under Satan's Sun), and Randall Dunn (Master Musicians Of Bukkake)! So you can expect this will be ominous and esoteric. The subject of a recent Feral House book, the Process Church was a '70s phenomenon, of course, a kind of apocalyptic Jesus-freak cult with radical political dimensions. We're told they wore black cloaks (always cool) and had German shepherds (really?). We first heard of 'em years ago thanks to George Clinton's band Funkadelic, who for a while in the early '70s were, if not followers, at least supporters of the Process Church, who presumably had a chapter in Detroit. Several Funkadelic lps feature Process Church teachings (propaganda?) on the sleeves. The music of the Sabbath Assembly doesn't sound much like Funkadelic, though. Not quite that funky! Nor are they metal as you might assume from the label... it's actually often pretty, mellow stuff, presumably sounding close to what the Process Church folks themselves sounded like when singing the Lord's (or Lucifer's?) praises back in the day, these hymns very hippie sounding, churchy and folky, but also garagey, with twangy guitar and groovy organ, building into throbbing rhythmic psych workouts. It even gets a bit jazzy in spots ("The Power That Is Love"). Still, while this isn't heavy in the guitar dep't the way Jex Thoth's regular band is, it is definitely "heavy" in terms of subject matter. Jex is the perfect vocalist for this, her dramatic, devotional delivery at once both innocent and intense, sincere and sinister. Her exaltations and exhortations rise from a delicate whisper to commanding, demanding heights, sometimes unaccompanied, at others, with backing vocals reinforcing the message. Be warned, this ain't Sunday school. When Jex asks "will you serve the will of God?", it seems like you had darn well better answer (yes!). Dunno if the Process Church is still around (haven't read the book yet) but if they are, there's a good chance this record might recruit some converts... And at least, it's certainly making us curious to read that book. Creepy, yes, and quite catchy too, we can understand why these folks were drawn to reinterpreting these songs. Though of course curious about what the original source material was (lyrics? vintage recordings?). Perhaps it says somewhere inside the lp packaging, we haven't checked for liner notes as yet. This was produced in association with Feral House, so it would seem the Sabbath Assembly had access to whatever inside archival info there was on the Process Church's musical activities. As "religious" recordings go, this is what we dig! For fans of Jex of course, and Yahowah 13, Family Jams, Sounds Of Ascension, and other "cult" audio... recommended! 180 gram, gold-colored vinyl.
"Glory To The Gods In The Highest" MPEG Stream:
"Hymn Of Consecration" MPEG Stream:
"Judge Of Mankind"
SADIES, THE In Concert Volume One (Yep Roc) 2cd 17.98
Not only are two of the band members brothers of a musical family (Dallas and Travis of the Good Family), but The Sadies as a whole are a formidable branch of a bigger musical family which includes the likes of Neko Case (whom they back up on her own live album The Tigers Have Spoken), Kelly Hogan, Blue Rodeo, Jon Langford, members of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and Rick White (of Eric's Trip, Elevator, etc.) not to mention many Bloodshot Records brethren. All of them along with Jon Spencer, Gary Louris (of Golden Smog and the Jayhawks), Steve Albini and a whole slew more got down to business on this live recording which took place over two nights at Lee's Palace in Toronto back in February. Whew! Whoa! As you might already be aware, the core Sadies all by their lonesome kick some serious wall to wall ass live each and every time. So entertaining. So lanky'n'loose and razor-sharp at the same time, effortlessly roaming from Morricone western soundtrack to frenetic surf guitar to murder balladry and back. Now with all the other folks in tow, hot damn, they very well cause a meltdown. 2 discs, 41 tracks, 110 minutes!
"Cheat" MPEG Stream:
"Dying Is Easy"
SADIES, THE New Season (Yep Roc) cd 15.98
Known to veer wildly from style to style, tempo to tempo, mood to mood, those lanky Canadian troubadours The Sadies keep things at a relatively dour faced, slow creep this time around. Less sprawling too, notably absent on New Season are their trademark excursions into Hawaiian guitar, garage rawk and Morricone spaghetti western territories. Still they're as great as ever because these boys know just how to hit that perfect so-lonesome-you-could-cry pace'n'vibe time and time again. Awesome effortless musicianship, slightly tweaked and twisted takes on age old musical traditions injected with an ever affecting spookiness.
"What's Left Behind" MPEG Stream:
"A Simple Apparition"
SADIES, THE Precious Moments (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
SADIES, THE Pure Diamond Gold (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
No, this isn't a new release, it's the fine album which preceded this Toronto quartet's most recent Tremendous Effort which we reviewed recently. Rooted in rollicking twang that gives a hearty, respectful nod to surf guitar king Link Wray, their music can swell to Morricone spaghetti western proportions then swagger along the glinting edge of a murder balladry. Along the way they also tackle some traditional country and gospel songs ("Higher Power" and "Walking Ground"). The four fellows - brothers Dallas and Travis Good, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky (who's also played with Jale and Pernice Brothers) - kick out their tunes mainly on guitars, upright bass, keyboards, fiddle and drums. Their live show, fueled by Marlboros and whisky, is absolutely electric, leaving band and audience fully spent. On record however, their sounds expands to include dobro, banjo and harmonica and an array of additional vocalists. Keep an ear out for guest turns by Kelly Hogan, Catherine Irwin (of Freakwater on "Eastwinds"), and Don Pyle (Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet). Capturing their fiery energy, this album was engineered and mixed by Steve Albini.
"Medicine Ball" RealAudio clip:
"Higher Power" RealAudio clip:
SADIES, THE Stories Often Told (Yep Roc) cd 16.98
Another full length from those tireless, sharply suited gents, and who's complaining?! Whether they're in one of their loping or galloping moods, it just doesn't matter 'cause they smoke either way. The Sadies will hit you one way or another like a stampede of cattle or a stiletto knife in the back. Often labelled simply as a country or garage or surf band, this Canadian quartet is all of this and more. While they can definitely deliver the goods solidly in any of these departments alone, unlike many bands these days they don't just regurgitate a style. They incorporate aspects of one into another, making music that echoes of a different time, but sounds distinctly of the Sadies. Visions of the ol' west with its trusty steeds, dusty desert sunsets and ten gallon hats may come to mind but are swept away by images of scorned lovers, shifty speakeasy figures with smoking guns.
"Such A Little Word" RealAudio clip:
"Monkey & Cork"
SADIES, THE Tremendous Effort (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
These lanky Canadians have been known to assume the form of Neko Case's backing band The Boyfriends, and actually Dallas Good's tingly reverb-laden guitar stylings can also be heard on her new album Blacklisted. However, The Sadies are so much more than that! Kicking up the dust with this their third full length (the follow-up to 1999's excellent Pure Diamond Gold), they continue to unfurl their particular sonic blend: the sinewy twang of spaghetti western soundtracks, the more epic Morricone grandeur, the rawness of garage surf rock, the whisky-soaked, careening, hillbilly barn burners, and the smouldering, intense murder balladry (Dallas alone cuts a very striking, lean 'n' suave Nick Cave-esque silhouette). They do each of these styles so well that they could just stick with one and be quite impressive, but no, that's not what The Sadies have in mind. That said, they definitely don't shift gears as radically from one song to the next as much as they used to, this album is much more cohesive. And yet even still, their musical pendulum's swing shears a distinct and refreshing path through the predominantly 'alt-country' Bloodshot Records roster. Very cool!
"Empty The Chamber" RealAudio clip:
"The Last of the Good" RealAudio clip:
SAINTE-MARIE, BUFFY Illuminations (Vanguard) cd 13.98
We didn't realize this was still available until someone happened to order one the other day. And being so easy to get, we had to get more to share with everyone. Easily one of our favorite folk rock records from the day, probably our favorite Buffy Sainte-Marie album ever, Illuminations is truly strange and beautiful. A heady brew of gothic folk elements, Native American invocations and bewitching electronic effects and magical drones. Her vocals sometimes soft and saintly, othertimes heavy, rocking and intense. Originally released in 1969 on the awesome Vanguard label, no other Buffy Sainte-Marie record is quite like this one, with songs that are poetically beautiful dealing with themes of love and injustice through esoteric supernatural imagery of vampires, angels, mystical rites and creation myths, and with music that is equally beguiling. From the first spiraling electric vocal warbles that open "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot", the Cluster like drones on "The Angel", the witchy folk-funk of "He's A Keeper of The Fire" to the final track, "Poppies" that presages Grouper by nearly forty years. Fantastic!
"God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot" MPEG Stream:
"Adam" MPEG Stream:
"He's A Keeper of The Fire" MPEG Stream:
SALLYANGIE, THE Children of the Sun (Sanctuary / Castle) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Hippy Renfaire Britfolk from 1968, featuring a 15 year old, pre-"Tubular Bells" Michael Oldfield and his older sister Sally Oldfield! This was really Sally's project -- apparently she had some sort of sudden spiritual revelation that caused her to break off her University studies in literature and philosophy, and pick up a guitar to write what became the "Children of the Sun" album! Of course, musical talent and creativity wasn't unknown to the Oldfield family, as history later showed. This brother-sister duo both sang (Sally better than Mike) and played acoustic guitar, accompanied by session musicans -- flute, and harpsichord and chamber string arrangements on two songs. While much of this album is quite twee indeed, portions are rather dark and melancholic... A song title like "The Murder of the Children of San Francisco" kinda tells you where they were at. Sadness, beauty, blue birds and evening mists...that sort of thing. Contacts with British folk-rock act Pentagle got the determined Sally the recording deal for The Sallyangie's one and only album, reissued now as a delightful artifact of a long-lost era, when lush psychedelic pagan madrigal music was at its prime! Castle has packaged this reissue with a bonus disc of previously unreleased demo tracks from both Sally and Mike, recorded in the year or two after "Children Of The Sun" was first issued. These include three folky guitar improvisations from Mike, and two dreamy pop songs by Sally. But that's it for The Sallyangie, although Sally sang on several of Mike's popular albums in the early/mid seventies before striking out on a sucessful solo vocal career of her own in the New Age field. But this album, with Sally's lovely wavering voice, Mike's adept guitar picking, and an abundance of youthful, period charm, is certainly worth checking out regardless of the Oldfield siblings' later careers.
"River Song" RealAudio clip:
SANDSTONE Can You Mend A Silver Thread (Lion Productions) cd 14.98
Early '70s acid folk, from the USA but sounding very UK.
SARIN SMOKE s/t (Wholly Other) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. First release from this brand new duo, made up of one part Tom Carter (Charalambides) and one part Pete Swanson (Yellow Swans), gorgeously presented as a one sided clear vinyl lp, the other side featuring silkscreened artwork from Grouper's Liz Harris, housed in a thick clear vinyl sleeve. Both these guys bring out the best in the other, dense tangles of chiming metallic shimmer, drifting harmonics, whirring amp buzz, keening feedback, bits of scrape and shuffle, dotted with tiny squalls of burnt psych guitars, swooshing ambience and lots of drifting space. The sound is murky, but vibrant, notes and chords spread into a thick slow shifting fog of fragmented melodies and wavery bits of guitar grind. On the surface, this is raw and wild, untamed and even mildly abrasive, but these guys manage to deftly smooth it all out into something downright pretty, without losing any of the raw fire or visceral immediacy. As with most things like this, it's also super limited...
SAUL, DANNY Balance ep (self-released) cd-r 8.98
We've just received two terrific self-released cd-rs by this solo artist from across the pond -- History+3 and this one! First impressions of Danny Saul's music stir a traditional folk singer/songwriter stance, but delving deeper you become aware that there's more layers to his songs. Each one moves through subtle mood shifts and occasionally some startling dissonance. Alternately intimate and expansive, he captures a nice counterbalance between bristling electric guitars and slow smooth minimal piano strokes. Definitely check out the title track and the final one "Tracks". Great stuff! Fans of Badly Drawn Boy and Arab Strap, don't miss!
"Balance" MPEG Stream: