To make his first album in nearly 5 years, Doug Paisley stayed in his hometown of Toronto, playing with old friends and collaborators, and recording in home studios around the city. He spent the previous few years writing, and Starter Home showcases an already brilliant songwriter getting even better. The songs are rooted in the sound of folk and country, but the themes are universal and expansive, not belonging to any genre. The recording itself is quiet, often only minimally adorned, showcasing Doug Paisley's incredible voice and guitar playing.
In cars and in kitchens and around old-time music festival campfires, Heather Summers and Anna Krippenstaple have been singing together for ten years. Born three days apart - not blood kin, but hatched from neighboring eggs - their voices lock together with a Sara and Maybelle Carter or Everly Brothers sympathetic vibration. It's a sonic convergence that contains more than the individual notes the two are singing - a Sacred Harp "hollow square" where chords are made from the space between the notes. This is a mysterious thing, like splitting an atom or finding infinity in the distance from one to zero. The Other Years is their debut album.
Third is the stunning third album by Nathan Salsburg, one of his generation's most gifted and idiosyncratic acoustic guitarists. It's been five years since his last solo record (Hard For To Win And Can't Be Won, 2013) - but not because he hasn't been playing guitar. In the intervening years he's backed up Joan Shelley on three releases and several hundred live dates; put out a collection of guitar duets with multi-instrumentalist James Elkington and teamed up with neighbor and fellow Louisvillian Bonnie "Prince" Billy on an EP. The original pieces on Third, his first strictly solo guitar record - no singing, no guests - all display a notable increase in confidence and ease, as Salsburg has quietly, persistently established a style marked by a depth and a complexity that are utterly his own.
It's hard to imagine who Forsyth's contemporaries might be, but it's always been that way: the greats tend to feel a little out-of-plumb with their moment (only hindsight lets us see it otherwise), and Forsyth's music has been sparring with some large forces from the beginning. He's always united the homely with the astral, the abstract with the visceral in his Solar Motels and Intensity Ghosts. There's something different about Dreaming In The Non-Dream, though. There's a fresh economy involved here, a sense, strange as this is to say about a record with two songs longer than eleven minutes, of not a note wasted. Despite psychedelic leanings, Forsyth's records have always trained toward concision -- plenty of space, yet never slack -- but these tunes erupt with startling swiftness, then spend the rest of their quick-burning lives teasing multiple moods and patterns out of relatively simple materials.
Aaron Burr's attempt to seize the Texas Territory for his own dominion has beguiled composers 'n bands for ages. Allegedly Aaron Copeland's 'Appalachian Spring' was originally entitled 'Blennerhassett Spring' til Martha Graham had a snit & threatened to tell his socialist pals he was active in the Lavender Maa, the fuckin' witch. But hey, it went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Lowell George supposedly had a concept album in the can (aka, 'Carolina Parakeet') what was all about it, then Neon Park said he refused to draw a bird sportin Burr's noggin, so George ended up makin 'Thanks I'll Eat It Here' instead. Then died not long after. Now that's just a damn shame! And so this fascinatin' tale of (alleged) treasonous expansion would end up in limbo until Endless Boogie took up the quill & recorded this new, inspired masterpiece entitled, 'Vibe Killer'. It's like a history lesson plundered deep outta the archives of Straight/Bizarre.
Our story opens w/a jowly narrative enunciated by Top Dollar (as Aaron Burr) callin’ out all them sissy Dem-Rep blaggards, letting 'em know he's on his own path. Naturally what follows is some tasty sun zoom riage a’tween TD 'n The Governor and the wiley Sweenhound, backed solidly by the Razo/Druzd rhythm union. In fact, through the whole of this opus, Druzd eortlessly marshals through the sonic undertow while Razo rudders his bass like a brilliant pulse in a spasmodic vortex. Top Dollar, the aforementioned Herr Sween & The Governor gnash, morph, crystallize while the jams ow it's 'Mirror Man' bum-rushin’ 'Pretties For You'. Before ya know it, we're at track 5 ('Back In '74') where the plot ostensibly takes us to a memory've Burr enterin' college, but is surreptitiously more about the year Top Dollar gave up on Grand Funk in favor of Josefus. You're followin' all of this, right So as we amble into the ether of this brilliant opus, we can surmise by title 6 ('Jeerson County') the end is near. Burr (aka, Top Dollar) reects on everything from Wilkinson's betrayal to the excellent meals while in captivity at Fort Stodden, then suddenly, NO, it's him, Top Dollar-with full Endless Boogie heft-soarin' high above the hobo res that icker along the bank've the Ouachita River, drownin' out forever the simperin' harmonica bleats've tyranny. It's almost enough to make you wanna smoke a ham. Friends & collectors, Endless Boogie have never not occupied the Catbird Seat.Winners gonna win, yo. They, like Aaron Burr himself, understand manifest destiny & no amount of port nor Madeira will take them down. Shit, might as well bring the sherry too. Who knows, maybe your mom's a fan.Roland Seward WoodbeBurr, Texas (Wharton County)2017
In December 2016, after more than a year of touring the world behind her 2015 LP Over and Even, Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg headed a few hours north to Chicago, where they joined Jeff Tweedy in Wilco's Loft studio for five days. Spencer Tweedy, home from college, joined on drums, while James Elkington (a collaborator to both Tweedy and Salsburg) shifted between piano and resonator guitar. Jeff added electric accents and some bass, but mostly, he helped the band stay out of its own way. "He was protecting the songs. He was stopping us before we went too far." Shelley says.
The Loft proved essential for that approach, as it was wired to capture every musical moment, so no take was lost. If, for instance, some magic happened while Spencer added drums to a tune he’d never heard, or while Elkington tinkered behind a piano, the tape was rolling. Indeed, half of these songs are first takes.
"The first time is always the best. That’s when everyone’s on the edge of their seats, listening to not mess it up,” Shelley says. “They’re depending on each other to get through it."
It's fitting that the resulting set is self-titled. These are, after all, Shelley's most assured and complete thoughts to date, with lyrics as subtle and sensitive as her peerless voice and a band that offers support through restraint and nuance. In eleven songs, this is the sound of Joan Shelley emerging as one of music's most expressive emotional syndicates.
Joan Shelley follows up her massively successful LP Over and Even with 2 new songs recorded in Chicago. Shelley will enter the studio in late 2016 to record a new LP, but until then she'll be on tour with Wilco and Patty Griffin with headlining dates in between.
Sam Coomes is probably best known as one half of the long running underground pop duo Quasi, who've managed to release 9 or 10 albums on labels such as Up, Domino and Touch & Go. Coomes has also toured and/or recorded with numerous other artists such as: Elliott Smith, Built To Spill, Jandek and many other less recognizable names. Bugger Me is his first solo album, and it was recently described as "Suicide meets Plastic Ono era John Lennon." "I'll take that!" says Coomes, "but actually it's probably a little more accurate to call it Suicide meets the Beach Boys. Not the sophisticated Pet Sounds Beach Boys, but more like "Surfer Girl" type stuff."
After a year of touring, The Solar Motel Band returned to the studio last spring with Jeff Ziegler (War on Drugs, Kurt Vile) to put to tape the massive and immense The Rarity of Experience. This double album (officially The Rarity of Experience part I & II) sees Forsyth and his band stretching out their sound beyond anywhere they've gone before, touching on all corners of progressive, psychedelic and post-rock.
Laddio Bolocko were a band from New York City in the mid-90's who toured the US and Europe relentlessly during their 4 year run. Pitchfork wrote in 2003 that the group, "effortlessly converged at the service of drive and trance, occasionally jutting out unpredictably into harsher realms. Live, they were a powerhouse, and though their recorded history is brief, it demonstrates a remarkable range of expression, precision and raw power." This set collects all unreleased material from the bands time living in a DUMBO (Brooklyn) rehearsal space and an abandoned ski lodge in the Catskill mountains, as well as live recordings from Slovenia. The DVD includes over 2 hours of footage shot on Super 8 film.
Joan Shelley quickly follows her acclaimed 2014 album Electric Ursa with Over and Even, a quieter, more contemplative set recorded in a farmhouse in her home state of Kentucky. The New York Times said "her music is folky and pastoral, with a sense of scale that makes her humble about her place in mankind and the universe, and her songs are serene but never complacent." Over and Even is her third record.
Zachary Cale has been self-releasing music under his own name for just shy of a decade. Duskland, his latest album and first for a label, is a work of craftsmanship full of mysticism and elegance; a collection of songs that look directly into the face of darkness yet drive beyond it. Taking cues from Oh Mercy/Time Out of Mind era Dylan and Nick Cave's work with the Bad Seeds, the record evokes a restless spirit, one that is informed by American myths and tall tales. Aquarium Drunkard have said of Cale's music "[it] casts a captivating spell" while the Village Voice recently named him "the best songwriter in New York City".
No News From Home is the 2nd LP from Portland, Oregon quartet Houndstooth and the follow-up to Ride Out The Dark. That record was labeled "one of 2013's all too overlooked delights" by SPIN while their hometown Portland Mercury called it "an extraordinarily good album, a perfect representation of the band's trademark balancing of ease and passion." News is an altogether more mature record that widens the bands sound: from Velvets-style churners to shimmering, breezy, love songs, all penned by songwriting duo John Gnorski and Katie Bernstein.
Intensity Ghost is a follow-up to last years critically acclaimed Solar Motel album, which made year end lists at The New Yorker, Uncut Magazine and Popmatters and provoked ecstatic comparisons; from Television and Neil Young & Crazy Horse to Richard Thompson and The Grateful Dead. Solar Motel came together as a solo album but the band Forsyth assembled to tour the record - bassist Peter Kerlin, guitarist Paul Sukeena (Spacin'), and drummer Steve Urgo (ex-War on Drugs) - took things to another level and quickly became a powerhouse. Forsyth brought the group into the studio in late 2013 to capture what became Intensity Ghost, a 5-track masterwork of grace and power.
With the kind of understatement that’s typical of the man, Doug Paisley describes his wondrous third album Strong Feelings as “just 10 new songs. It’s a lot less simple and unadorned than other recordings I've made, but it’s just as earnest and straightforward.” Not that Paisley has forsaken any of the delicacy and quiet rapture of his previous work. Recorded in a new analog studio in Toronto, Strong Feelings bears his usual trademark signature, but it’s altogether more assured, full of rich texture and fine detail.
Two new songs from Doug Paisley. The A-side is a haunting duet with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. B-side is the more spiritual and uplifting "Everything Is Made". Limited to 700 copies.
Electric Ursa is the second solo album by Joan Shelley. Recorded in her hometown of Lousiville, KY with producer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Andrew Bird, Houndmouth), it's comprised of eight songs, startling in their quietness and closeness. The Chicago Reader wrote that "she sings with striking intimacy, as though addressing someone sitting just a few feet away". Shelley has toured the US and Europe both solo and with her band (The June Brides). Her latest release Farthest Field (2012) was a duo album with Daniel Martin Moore, of which Jim James said was "destined to become a classic. It already is for those who know."
From Toronto, Jennifer Castle writes folk songs about friendship, love and heartbreak. Pink City is a stirringly beautiful album every bit a step forward from 2011's Castlemusic. It's barer arrangements - often just piano, guitar and voice with string arrangements from Owen Pallet - highlight just how good of a songwriter Castle is. Her singing has an intuitive style, not always following the expected melody, but soaring along on it's own current. Greil Marcus wrote in The Believer that Castle "reaches a pitch of mystical transport so gorgeously ethereal she seems to drift off into lands that don't appear on any map."
Bob Carpenter came close to being a major star. He received a glowing mention in Rolling Stone in 1970, recorded an album for Warner Brothers and had his songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Billy Joe Shaver and others. But Silent Passage, his lone solo album recorded in 1974, was pressed and ready to ship when contract negotiations shelved the record indefinitely. By the time things were resolved it was the end of the 70's singer-songwriter boom and Warner had moved on. The album saw release by the Canadian label Stony Plain in 1984 but has been out of print until now.
Two new songs and just the second solo release from NED OLDHAM whose been recording music for more than two decades now: first with Palace, then as The Anomoanon, later as Old Calf. Limited to just 600 copies. We know 7"s aren't the most popular format these days but Ned sent us these songs and they were too good to pass up.