There was a moment during our Som Records in-store shoot with Vanessa Carlton—you can check it out here—when we collectively realized we didn’t have a copy of Liberman, her new and warmly received LP, on premises! A plan was immediately afoot to not only remedy this post haste, but to put the LP in the hands of a few of you. And we’ve got 3 copies of the record to do just that.
We should add that “warmly received” might be an understatement, Popmatters noting last October, “…the record itself is one of the strongest and most consistent of Carlton’s career. Liberman continues further into the reverb laden, dream-pop direction of Rabbits on the Run. At times, Liberman reminds the listener slightly of Nordic dream-pop enthusiasts like the Radio Dept. or Delay Trees, although Carlton never approaches the more noisy excursions of the former.
Liberman’s ten tracks whip by, each track filled with sweet, well-timed melodies and haunting atmosphere. It is over before you know it, compelling the listener to repeated, often back-to-back listens. Opener “Take It Easy” begins with a throbbing, almost danceable rhythmic pulse that would not sound out of place on one of the ‘Italians Do It Better’ records.
PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | When I purchased my Wilco tickets last year, I didn’t realize it would be the same night as Super Bowl Sunday. No matter, as Sunday night proved to be much better than any Coldplay/Moldplay/Beyoncé/Bruno Mars half time show. Wilco played their new album Star Wars in its entirety along with classics to a sold out audience. Even Tweedy commented, “Thank you for coming out on a national holiday. We are like Jews at a Chinese restaurant at Christmas. You are our people.”
Fittingly, the stage was set simply with flickering light strands which moved at times in tandem to the experimental sounds backing up the cohesive movements of the bands’ instruments. Guitarist Nels Cline performed several excellent solo pieces and drummer Glenn Kotche beat the crap out of the drums and provided enough sweat at the end of the show to fill an oak barrel.
The encore performances included several Wilco classics providing audience sing-a-longs, including a final number—perfect and exact—David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” As for DAR Constitution Hall, the evening included a malodorous air akin to a backed-up gym bathroom—and worse, its acoustics are rather lackluster. The fact that Wilco’s performance overcame these obstacles only reinforces their talents as performers and musicians.
“The first vinyl record I ever bought was Kinda Blue at a thrift store in San Luis Obispo on a weekend getaway with friends. I didn’t own record player at the time, but Miles Davis had become one of my undisputed music heroes and the contemplative cover portrait of him mid melody just pulled me in.”
“I took it home under my arm and thus began my late long love affair with vinyl. I say late because I was in my late 20s. I grew up in a musical household, thanks in big part to my mother, Carmen. She would always be singing in the kitchen to the Bee Gees or an old bolero. She also played guitar and would wake my sisters and me with a serenade of “Las Mañanitas” on our birthdays. You could say mom was my first music programmer. She showed me The Beatles, Doo-wop, and Motown, but she had abandoned the record player of her day for the convenience of the digital era.
My mom’s brother, my uncle Abel, had a record collection that I would dare to thumb thru everyone once in a while but they seemed so antiquated and crude, I didn’t it. I thought they were more for nostalgia than anything else. When I was old enough to buy my own music it was cassette tapes. One of the first being Kriss Kross. (A purchase which I wholly stand behind, by the way.)
In high school it was 50 page CD jackets full of every album you love, riding around with you in the car with your friends. Not to be outdone by the iPod, which changed everything. Or so I thought.
We recently featured Me And My Drummer as a “Needle Drop” where we enthused over their beautifully laid back single, “Blue Splinter View.” Well, since then, they’ve gone and delivered another single and we reckon this one’s even better than the last—hence this week’s “Artist of The Week” status.
Me And My Drummer have been away for a while, taking their time to make sure their next album is 100% ready for the world to absorb in full. They have a lot to live up to—their critically acclaimed debut album The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey received a huge amount of praise across the board and so it’s no real surprise that the electro duo have been holding their cards close to their chest with their forthcoming album, Love Is A Fridge.
However, if their past two singles are anything to go by, we’re definitely in for quite a treat with this next album. As we’ve already mentioned, “Blue Splinter View” is a gorgeous Americana-influenced track that is an absolute delight to listen to from start to finish. Comparably, the duo’s most recent release “Pentonville Road” sees them fall back into their trademark electro-pop sound akin to Lykke Li and Bat For Lashes.
The history of jazz is dominated by events transpiring in New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, California, and of course New York, but all the while the music was thriving elsewhere in a variety of styles. As evidence one need only inspect the outstanding new compilation The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983; collective improvisation, full-bodied fusion, post-Fire Music free wailing, consciousness raising spoken word, and advanced composition for large ensembles all helped shape the scene. It offers an exhaustive amount of info in an 80-page book, and is available now on 2LP and CD from Cultures of Soul.
Many thousands undertook the migration to well-ensconced cultural centers in hopes of adding to the jazz discourse and achieving something immortal; a few did, the vast majority did not, and yet their accumulated sonic narrative is still a formidably mountainous accumulation of sound. A percentage of those in the early navigation stages of the established jazz canon might find Cultures of Soul’s latest compilation a daunting item to be soaked up only after contending with a few hundred records of higher profile.
This is a questionable approach. For starters, the canon isn’t going anywhere, and The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983’s standard of quality is likely to get absorbed into the annals of important jazz recordings anyway. Furthermore, Mark Harvey’s extensive notes do a fine job of illuminating the specifics of the city’s jazz environs (particularly venues and educational avenues) and relating them to the East Coast and Midwest scenes while providing background into the larger avant-garde and pinpointing a succession of noteworthy Boston players in the style.
Admittedly a wide field, Harvey details the early Boston avant motions of pianist Cecil Taylor and multi-instrumentalist Makanda Ken McIntyre, moves into groundbreaking work of pianists Lowell Davidson and Ran Blake (both of whom cut albums for ESP-Disk in 1965), bassist John Voigt (sessions with guitarist Joe Morris, saxophonist Jameel Moondoc and more), and The Fringe, a trio formed in the early ‘70s comprised of saxophonist George Garzone, bassist Rich Appleman, and drummer Bob Gullotti (their self-titled debut emerged in 1978).
Nottingham record shop The Music Exchange to close: Award-winning record shop The Music Exchange, which supports homeless people across Nottingham, is to close next month. The shop, now based at Stoney Street, has been running since 2009 and was set up as a social enterprise by local homelessness charity Framework.
That old vinyl record collection gathering dust in your attic? It could be music to your ears as some discs now sell for hundreds of pounds: Brigid Harrison-Draper, a vinyl collector and contributor to magazine Record Collector, says: ‘There is no substitute for vinyl. ‘It offers a warmer and more personal sound quality that has the power to give you goosebumps – you rarely get this feeling from downloaded music or CDs. ‘Even the needle crackle and pop can add to the intimacy. From the moment you look at the cover and pull the record out of the sleeve, the experience is more rewarding.’
Rare Rolling Stones collector’s item stolen from record shop: A local record shop says a true rarity has been stolen, a Rolling Stones record never commercially released. “We’re fighting the good fight,” said Doyle Davis, owner of Grimey’s. “We’re an independent record store in an era where that’s supposed to be in the past. The world of the record store is a very small world.” Davis said Grimey’s is meant for those who love, talk, eat, drink and sleep music. That “music is life” attitude is why it stings so much to hear what was just stolen from the shop.
Front door busted at Grimey’s record store: First came a rare Rolling Stones album that was stolen from the store a week and a half ago. Now, Nashville record store Grimey’s New and Preloved Music has gotten its front glass door busted open. It happened overnight Saturday, prompting police to come to the scene on Sunday morning.
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.
It’s fundraising time! The simple fact is this, Garden State Sound is a program supporting NJ based music and serves the fertile musical ground which is underserved in our great state. Look, our show is certainly a “local” venture, but it is something that anyone, anywhere, can enjoy—that’s why The Vinyl District has been so supportive. If nothing else, New Jersey’s music consistently goes global.
Your help is imperative to keeping this valuable musical and historical resource alive. This February we will engage in some serious pitching, so feel free to make a secure, tax-deductible donation to Garden State Sound at this link!
Many thanks for your generous support! Serious about the arts in NJ or anywhere? Click that link and help with your support. Only YOU can make a difference. (Yes, you!)
We’ve got lots of wonderful guests ready for 2016—help make that a reality.
“My father was a musician growing up and he had accumulated a healthy record collection, but as a younger child of the ’90s I was caught in that strange time when CDs were so new and beautiful.”
“To my parents the thought of no longer dealing with warped vinyl, large audio units, and broken needles was a sweet sigh of relief. Because of this I was unaware of the amazing music that sat waiting for me in my dad’s attic. It wasn’t until years later that we brushed off the dusty late ’70s silver turntable that I was then introduced to the ritual of listening to a record.
I’m pretty sure that my first experience was the Jackson 5. I remember thinking the sound was so completely foreign to me. Because those early records were recorded all live, imperfections and human error were so apparent. I had this feeling of being in the room with the artist and it definitely left a serious impact on the way I approach music and writing today. That’s why in Blacktop Queen we record everything live, no click, with one or two takes. We are trying to recapture that magic that these precious recordings had.
Well, there goes another theory shot to shit. I always thought Genesis hit the aesthetic skids the moment Peter Gabriel split and drummer Phil “The Anti-Christ” Collins took over on lead vocals, but I’ve been listening to 1976’s Trick of the Tail, the first post-Gabriel LP, and I’m afraid I was sadly mistaken. Trick of the Tail is not a great album but it’s a very good one, packed with well-constructed tunes with lovely melodies that occasionally, but not too often, stray into the prog trap of technical virtuosity purely for virtuosity’s sake.
Peter Gabriel’s departure threw Genesis’ future into question. A Melody Maker writer went so far as to declare Genesis officially dead. But the band committed itself to proving it could make good music without Gabriel, and after a fruitless search for a new lead vocalist Collins, who wanted to turn Genesis into an instrumental act, reluctantly agreed to take on the vocal duties himself. Which in hindsight seems like a no-brainer, as Collins is a virtual vocal doppelganger for Gabriel and the obvious candidate as a replacement.
Album opener “Dance on a Volcano” has muscle and a fetching melody, to say nothing of some powerhouse drumming by Collins, whose exhortations (“Better start doing it right!”) sound convincing. There is some technical showing off for its own sake, especially at the end, but this one is more hard rock than prog, thanks to Steve Hackett’s guitar work and Tony Banks’ synthesizer. “Entangled” is a bit fey for my tastes, a quiet little pretty ditty, but it wins me over with its melody, which is simply lovely. There’s a beautiful synthesizer solo, which doesn’t attempt to mime classical tropes the way your more virulent and dangerous progmeisters would, and I like it for that.