As TVD’s Jon Pacella noted well over a year ago, “There seems to be a bit of a musical civil war going on in America. The terms have been made clear, the battle lines have been drawn, and the armies have amassed.
The battle rages over country music, and the sides couldn’t be more different. On one side, you have the shallow, commercialized pop country, basically composed of love songs with an added occasional twang, or blathering about beer, trucks, or pretty girls in tight shorts. The opposing side is deep-rooted and a bit rougher around the edges. You won’t see them topping the country charts or appearing in beer commercials, and they are determined to “put the “o” back in country,” as Shooter Jennings so eloquently put it.
What you will get, in the case of someone like Sturgill Simpson, is truth. Truth about alcoholism, truth about the struggles of getting through hard times, and truth about drugs, for better or worse.”
And currently it doesn’t seem much of a leap at all given Simpson’s empathy for stories of struggle and survival for him to have lent his critically lauded 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music to the pink vinyl treatment for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He’s joined by a number of performers who “last year helped raise $30,000 for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.”
“Frank Sinatra spinning on vinyl, the rotary-dial phone ringing on the end table, family scattered across the floor in front of the fire. That’s what I think of when I think of the holidays. (In the late 1990s, to be clear).”
“I lived in an old colonial house in Massachusetts where quality always out-valued the latest fashions. My parents have a special appreciation for things that endure, and it’s that appreciation that brought me to vinyl. And in turn, brought me to music.
I could have veered away from the phonograph (and rotary-dial phone) because it was out-dated, but the truth is, I loved the way it took me out of modern reality for a moment and brought me to wherever I needed to be. Music does that. It fills you up right where you’re empty. And over the years, lying on the floor listening to records turned this music-lover into a music-maker.
It’s fitting that the premiere of the vinyl only single “Live to Love” b/w “Misty Love” comes on The Vinyl District. The roots reggae workout is the culmination of an eight year partnership between the legendary reggae artist Fred Locks and Brooklyn producer David Ondrick, better known as David O.
Locks’ legacy with reggae goes back nearly a half century in the rock steady group The Lyrics, which recorded in Sir Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s fabled Studio One in Kingston. Locks went on to solo success with 1976 cuts like “Black Star Liner” and “Time to Change” at the time Bob Marley was cutting tracks at Vincent “Randy” Chin’s studio.
Ondrick is known on the New York City Latin music scene, where he’s played with the fusion band Sonido Costeno. He’s had his hand in reggae scene, recording “Coxsone” Dodd and Skatalites saxophonist Rolando Alphonso. He was also worked on a popular reggae remix of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”
ESTRONS have just exploded onto the indie music scene with their ferocious new single “Make a Man,” which is out on December 4th via Gofod Records Ltd.
“Make a Man” is everything you want from a punk-infused indie belter—anthemic guitar riffs, pounding drums and Taliesyn Källström’s incredibly powerful vocal delivery taking centre stage.
Speaking about the track, Taliesyn explains, “It’s the story of a heterosexual female’s battle between desiring a man, whilst simultaneously finding herself having little respect for his self-important ego and misogynistic attitude towards women. She retaliates by objectifying him herself.” ESTRONS want to break the boundaries of what popular music is about, dealing with issues of sexual dominance, belonging, and self-doubt in their songs.
Celebrated as one of the prime pop tunesmiths of the 1960s, Carole King’s greatest fame is as a recording artist, her output helping to establish the phenomenon of the Adult-Oriented Singer-Songwriter. A mixed accolade perhaps, but a key development in King’s transition from Brill Building to Billboard #1 is the sole album by The City. Given her enduring reputation and achievements, the neglect of Now That Everything’s Been Said remains a stumper; possessing an amiable and unruffled temperament, it’s been remastered from the original tapes and freshly reissued on LP/CD through Light in the Attic.
Released in ’68 to no fanfare, The City’s solitary platter resulted from collaboration by a trio of NYC transplants; alongside King was guitarist Daniel “Kootch” Kortchmar, an associate of the Fugs who headed west to join undersung Elektra outfit Clear Light, and bassist Charles Larkey, also a former Fug whose previous band the Myddle Class cut a handful of 45s for Tomorrow Records, the label run by King and her co-writer-husband Gerry Goffin.
Now That Everything’s Been Said is additionally notable for the drumming of Jim Gordon. Having played on Pet Sounds, he was later recruited for Delaney & Bonnie & Friends and Joe Cocker’s group for Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and as a member of Derek & the Dominos he wrote the exquisite keyboard coda for “Layla.” There are also lyrics courtesy of Larkey’s Myddle Class bandmate David Palmer, a name some may recall from Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill; the singer on “Dirty Work,” post-Dan he went on to pen the words to King’s ’74 hit “Jazzman.”
By ’68 King and Goffin were divorced and she’d moved west. Casual jamming with Larkey and Kortchmar in her Laurel Canyon digs spawned this LP, their efforts produced by Lou Adler for his Ode Records. Amongst others Adler worked with the Mamas & the Papas, the Grass Roots (both on his prior imprint Dunhill), Scott Mackenzie and Spirit; eventually through a deal with A&M, Ode released King’s chart conquering cornerstone of grownup listening Tapestry.
Good Night and Good Riddance: How 35 Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh review – a bravura work: A biography of John Peel that weaves its way through 265 of his shows is a masterwork of close listening and scholarship
It’s Your Business: New spin for record store, “If you still like to listen to vinyl records, a new store in Urbana could be the place for you. See You CD & Vinyl opened for business this weekend in the former Error Records space at 123 W. Main St. Owner Jesse Grubbs, who will run the store with his fiancee, Alysha McDaniel, said he has been in the groove for vinyl records since he was a child.”
“I was hoping for something reasonably well done or “good enough” or attaboyish, but this rise and fall of Tower Records history is extra-level — tight, comprehensive, exacting, epic-scaled. Hanks has clearly invested rivers of feeling and loads of hard work…This thing is emotional. Especially that. If you lived through and savored the Tower Records heyday (mid ’60s to early aughts but more essentially the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s) it’ll open the floodgates big-time.”
Spinning right round: Record stores benefit from vinyl boom, “Before opening Rock Star Records, a new vinyl and CD shop in Tupelo, Leslie Jones thought about opening either a video store or a snow cone business. But after researching viable business opportunities, a sales representative told him about the recent vinyl record boom.“
The birthday card that transforms into a 7″ record player! “Essentially it’s a birthday card accompanied by a 7″ record. The idea is that, by following some ‘simple’ steps, you can transform the birthday card into a record player.“
Mew is a special kind of band. One of those bands who, when someone asks you what they sound like, you can’t think of one group to compare them to—and that’s a good thing. Led by the fantastically gorgeous, angelic pipes of front man Jonas Bjerre, Mew create epicly layered soundscapes atop unpredictable time signatures that create a musical experience like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
And that’s just how they sound on record. Add in the live element that seemingly can’t be reproduced and they deliver, better yet, they astonish and dazzle. While the band has proven itself to be one of the biggest and most influential bands on the Danish indie scene—having achieved several Gold and Platinum albums as well as winning numerous awards—they have never broken wide open here in States.
Instead, they have sort of a cult following that celebrates the band’s entire catalog. It’s mind-boggling as to why a band that can create such incredibly unique, thought-provoking music can garner such a huge audience in one country with a lopsided following in another. Then again I think that Europeans are simply much more open to music that pushes the envelope, rather than worshiping conventional radio pop.
Tuesday night, the Seventh Ward hotspot best known for many epic brass band and trad jams back in the day, will be getting considerably more electric when this new band welcomes special guest Greg Thomas, the saxophonist for Parliament/ Funkadelic, to the bandstand. Sidney’s Saloon is located at 1200 St. Bernard Avenue and it’s very close to where N. Rampart Street splits and turns into St. Claude Avenue.
Full Orangutan came into being this past summer after a casual conversation between bassist Bru Bruser, best known around town for his work with Gov’t Majik, his Fela-inspired Afrobeat orchestra, and now with trombonist Corey Henry’s Tremé Funktet, and Raja Kassis, the guitarist for Antibalas and recent New Orleans transplant. Kassis also plays in Pirate’s Choice for those keeping track.
Thomas, the longtime sax man for George Clinton, is sticking around town after the P-Funk show at the House of Blues this past Saturday night. He will have his hands full as the band will also feature Rex Gregory on sax. Gregory wears numerous musical hats around town and plays with who’s who of young musicians as well as impressing the veterans with his versatility and impeccable tone.
All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.
Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.
“Today, nobody sells five million records. Even in the good (bad) old days, it was no small feat to sell five million records. Chris Barron helmed the Spin Doctors through the ’90s. Remember the ’90s? There was a lot of wonderful music around, much of it dark and gloomy. But, like after a long stretch of rain, when the sun finally breaks through, your neck muscles melt.
That’s what “Two Princes” was like for me. A melody! It was fun, a party. I—and apparently five million others—needed a break from the maudlin grunge and punk we loved so much to have a few laughs—it meant a lot.
But, let’s not spend too much time in the past—let’s talk to Chris Barron about the future as well. You’ll hear the great music he’s writing lately, and learn that the Spin Doctors are very much alive and kicking in 2015. You’ll hear about how he learned about music at the Princeton Record Exchange and how adept he is at turning weaknesses into strengths. Of course, we’ll talk about New Jersey, too!” —EZT
“I’m old enough to remember getting my first record player one Christmas when I was around five years old. It was a Mickey Mouse record player. It came in a white plastic case, kind of like a typewriter case (I’m old enough to remember those, too), and on the inside of the lid, which had a little speaker built into it, was Mickey Mouse.”
“Mickey Mouse’s arm was the arm of the record player, and the stylus protruded from the tip of his white-gloved index finger …. I’d sit cross-legged on the floor next to it, listening to my mother’s Beatles LPs over and over again, leafing through the Magical Mystery Tour booklet and pondering the significance of the lyrics.
My mother also had a sizeable collection of folk music albums—many of them on the Smithsonian Folkways label—that were a bit smaller than a standard LP and were made of really thick, heavy vinyl. I think I liked the look and feel of those as much as or more than the music itself. They had wonderfully serious titles like American Folk Songs And Ballads and Blues, Volume 1.