Saturday, June 22, 2013

REVISITED: Rodan - Fifteen Quiet Years

Rodan's heavy guitar rock (post-rock, math rock? or just ROCK) was part of the Louisville alternative music scene that spawned some of the best and most important bands of the late 80's/early 90's post punk era. Having followed the scene after discovering Squirrel Bait (part of me still hopes they have another album or some undiscovered music out there somewhere), I discovered that a lot of its members (fans and bands alike) held Rodan and its album Rusty and a small fortune in limited release singles and 7" records in high esteem... and with good reason. And though Rodan wasn't around all that long, there is undiscovered music and, fortunately for us, it's been released in the form of this new compilation Fifteen Quiet Years. Here's a link to stream "Shiner".

And just for fun, here's an old video of them from Athens' 40 Watt Club in 1994:

This album includes a 1994 BBC Peel session, together with all of Rodan's long-out-of-print 7"s and compilation tracks. In 2009, Bob Weston, Jeff Mueller and Jason Noble lovingly re-mastered the tracks at Chicago Mastering Service. 

Rodan sowed plenty of seeds throughout subsequent music history: Jeff Mueller went on to play guitar and sing in the highly influential and well loved group June Of 44, and subsequently in The Shipping News. Jason Noble played bass in the classical-leaning Rachel's, as well as in The Shipping News. Tara Jane O'Neil sang and played guitar in The Sonora Pine, as well as the duo Retsin. Subsequent to the breakup of The Sonora Pine in 1998, Tara Jane began a solo career as TJO. Kevin Coultas also played drums in Rachel's and The Sonora Pine. On August 4, 2012, Jason Noble lost a three year battle with cancer and passed away at the all-too-young age of 40. On February 9, 2013, Jon Cook also passed away. 

It's a great time to look back at this very special period, and very special place, in the history of US indie rock. Louisville is rightly proud to have spawned all these great and influential bands, and Rodan belongs in the top echelon. You can read more, check out another song and buy it at Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records.

New Post-Punk Discovery: Japanese Girls - Sharkweek EP

Japanese Girls have just released a 5-song EP, Sharkweek. They cover a fair amount of ground in the 15:00 of the EP - and I enjoy the metal guitars, crazy vocals and the overall WTF spirit of this band. Here's the video for "Vancouver Grizzly":

This is heavy post-punk with a pounding rhythm section, some real virtuosity in the guitars and serious attitude in the vocals, which range from high-pitched wails to guttural roars. To me it's reminiscent of Seattle grunge and The Cult, but with the occasional seriously metallic guitar riffs. And they even show some nice pop moves on the closing track "Friday The 13th". I think this is a band to watch.

Japanese Girls website

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Discovery: Summer Cannibals - "Wear Me Out" from No Makeup, due Aug. 7

Summer Cannibals features a couple of female singers with Breeders-style harmony vocals and, well, Breeders-style great guitar and rhythm work. They're not The Breeders - they're a new band from Portland with a great sound and a full album due out later this summer. Here's a free download of their advance track "Wear Me Out":

I hope they'll forgive me for using the "B" word one more time, but seriously, if you're a Breeders fan, you will want to check out Summer Cannibals. I look forward to hearing the rest of the album and letting you know how far the comparison actually goes. Here's an album trailer:

Summer Cannibals website
New Moss Records

New Big Star Soundtrack: Nothing Can Hurt Me

The story of Big Star is told as never before in the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures). After years in the making, the movie comes to theaters, On Demand and iTunes on July 3. Alternative rock, college rock - whatever you call it - might not exist without the contributions of Big Star. The Southern (Memphis soul-inspired) spin on British Invasion-flavored guitar pop on their landmark albums, #1 Record, Radio City, and Third; inspired a large portion of the next couple of generations of guitar rock. They were frequently cited as influences by R.E.M., The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Wilco and Beck, to name a few. R.E.M. in particular took the Southern musical accent and chiming guitars to new heights, and often took time to cite the inspiration they derived from Big Star. Unfortunately, things fell apart due to lackluster record sales, personal breakdowns, and the tragic death of Bell in 1978. But the music lives on and, in this particular case, has been resurrected.

Check out this trailer:

On June 25, Omnivore Recordings will release the soundtrack to the film featuring 22 tracks, all of which are unissued versions of classic Big Star songs. But please don't hold the "unreleased" moniker against this record. In my opinion, Big Star never made better music than you will hear on this record. The demos are fragile, acoustic and beautiful, and the alternate versions, in a few cases, may be superior to the versions that were actually released. Or, at least as good... I'm envisioning the group having a hard time deciding between the version of "September Gurls" they released and the one that's on this soundtrack. Other full-blown movie or alternate mix highlights, to me: "In The Street" and "Don't Lie to Me".

If you are reading our blog, it's a good bet that you are familiar with Big Star, and may even own all three of those records and, who knows, a bootleg or two (I know I have, over time). Even so, this soundtrack plays so seamlessly and is such a good document of Big Star's music that you will not want to miss it. In addition to the terrific, never-released music, the film contains footage and photos of the band that have not been previously released, as well as in-depth interviews and a musical tribute by some of the bands they inspired.

Here's the track list:

1. O My Soul (Demo, 1973)
2. Give Me Another Chance (Control Room Monitor Mix, 1972)
3. In The Street (Movie Mix, 2012)
4. When My Baby’s Beside Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
5. Studio Banter (1972)
6. Try Again (Movie Mix, 2012) Rock City
7. My Life Is Right (Alternate Mix, 1972)
8. The Ballad Of El Goodo (Alternate Mix, 1972)
9. Feel (Alternate Mix, 1972)
10. Don’t Lie To Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
11. Way Out West (Alternate Mix, 1973)
13. Thirteen (Alternate Mix, 1972)
14. You Get What You Deserve (Alternate Mix, 1973)
15. Holocaust (Rough Mix, 1974)
16. Kanga Roo (Rough Mix, 1974)
17. Stroke It Noel (Backward Intro, 1974)
18. Big Black Car (Rough Mix, 1974)
19. Better Save Yourself (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
20. I Am The Cosmos (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
21. All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain (Movie Mix, 2012) Alex Chilton
22. September Gurls (Movie Mix, 2012)

Big Star Soundtrack at Omnivore Recordings
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me at Magnolia Pictures
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Facebook page

New Reggae: Tippa Lee - "Mr. Big Man" from Foundation Come Again, out July 16 via Dub Club/Stones Throw

Via their recording studio and reggae showcase Dub Club, Tippa Lee and Tom Chasteen have been working on a series of stellar dub and reggae albums for release on Stones Throw. I can't recommend this stuff highly enough. We previously reviewed the two dub albums (Signs And Wonders In Dub - review here and Bubble Dub - review here), and we are eagerly looking forward to the full album Foundation Come Again, due out July 16. In advance, here's Lee on vocals, in a video filmed in Kingston, Jamaica for the album track "Mr. Big Man":

Read more at the Stones Throw Website.

New Pony Time video - "Go Find Your Own" and free download "Geordie"

Seattle punk/rockabilly duo Pony Time (Luke Beetham and Stacy Peck) has released a video for the title track from their album Go Find Your Own:

Simple, direct and succinct... This is what music videos ought to be. If you don't have the album, read our review (link here) or just go to their Bandcamp (link below) to listen to more... or just buy it. It's terrific. Luke plays guitars and sings, and Stacy plays the hell out of the drums.

And here's "Geordie" - they don't mind if you download it while you think about buying the record:

Pony Time Bandcamp
Pony Time Facebook

REVIEW: TV Girl - Lonely Women

TV Girl are Trung Ngo and Brad Petering, although long-time readers of this blog need no introduction as we have stalked the musical journey of this Southern California duo for a couple of years.  Some of my most loved music of that period were from free mixtapes Trung and Brad shared with their fans.  The guys are catching on to capitalism, however.  In addition to producing the new album from Coma Cinema (review to come soon), they have released the five track Lonely Women EP and audaciously are even charging a little money for it.  On sure, you could turn your back and look for other free music, but the problem with that approach is that these guys are very talented.  They write excellent hook-filled songs with engaging melodies, biting lyrics and delightful sonic bits of flair.  So I (almost) humbly suggest that you stay on the TV Girl bandwagon for a while longer.  The world is much better place with these guys making music rather than, say, making you a sandwich, fixing your Mac at the genius bar, or hacking your phone records for the NSA.

The theme of the EP is clear from the title.  It begins with a humorous take on a women who, well, the title says it, "She Smokes in Bed"--

The second track is about "Laura", who seems to be a non-girlfriend who nevertheless is under the narrator's skin:
Well I’ve been sitting on this couch 
Feeling kinda bored and uninspired 

Writing thinly veiled fiction for the soul 
And feeling like a liar 

I’ve been thinking about you, Laura 
And thinking about the songs that you sing 

And how you sang with such conviction 
I almost forgot they weren’t for me 

And I know you’re from another planet 
And you’re crazy as a loon 
But it’s too cold down here on Earth 
To go up on the roof 

But I’ll feel a little less alone 
When I’m sitting in my room 

Writing songs about you 
The third track, "My Girlfriend", addresses a depressed girlfriend.  Track four, "Easier to Cry", focus on a lonely women's sadness, but in TV Girl's hands it still sounds damn good --
Cigarette between her fingers 
And a drink in her hand 
She thought about the times 
When her looks were still in demand 

And wondered where the time had gone 
When did everything go wrong 
No more flowers at her door 
No more phone calls to wait up for 

And she just wanted to die 
But it was easier to cry  

And if you want to see just how pointed the lads can get, try the lyrics to "Melanie".

Support TV Girl, they deserve it.  Stream and buy at the Bandcamp link.


REVIEW: Willie Nile - American Ride

Roots, punk, folk and big city wall of sound flavor American Ride, the new album from veteran rocker Willie Nile. It's a terrific journey - Nile clearly intended it as such, and incorporated not only all kinds of American musical styles (and pretty clearly masters them), but chronicles plenty of traveling, too... while spending a good bit of the album in and around that quintessentially American venue, New York City.

This album would fit nicely in your collection among your Lou Reed, Springsteen, Faces and Dylan albums. No kidding, that's how much musical ground is covered on American Ride. Nile clearly has a good bit of hard-won wisdom to dispense and you may want to take notes. This is no wide-eyed kid - Nile has been an incisive and emotionally engaged songwriter for 35 years, and enjoys the admiration of artists from Springsteen to Reed to Pete Townshend and Lucinda Williams, to mention a few of the folks who have gone out of their way to recruit Nile for touring or to share their thoughts on his journey.

Check out the flow of the music and lyrics on the title track - here's a lyric video:

There are a couple of recurring themes - the "American ride" is the first and most prominent. It's borne out in the geographical name-checking of the title track, the returning to NYC as a recurring character (including Nile's nostalgic "Life on Bleecker Street" and a fiery, heartfelt cover of Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died" that Nile dedicated to his recently-lost brother John), and the immigrant story "The Crossing". Another pronounced theme repeated throughout is a respect for God, and people who are doing God's work, and accompanying disgust with those who cloak themselves in God's mantle in order to claim power or just do evil. And perhaps that's also part of the American ride - a theme that goes back to protest songs and is echoed throughout songs like Dylan's "Masters of War" and "With God On Our Side".

In the hands of a lesser artist or songwriter, this variety of sounds and themes might be overdone or watered-down, but Nile certainly has the chops to carry it home. Whether he's featuring a full wall of sound as on "If I Ever See the Light" (on which Nile does a good job expressing the kind of "everyman's rage" that is found throughout Springsteen's ouevre) or a delicate acoustic ballad (the love song "She's Got My Heart") , his vocals remain the centerpoint, and are charming in the way Ronnie Lane's always were. American Ride features backup from Nile’s live band — guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Alex Alexander, and Nile on guitar and piano — as well as guitarist Steuart Smith and New York singer-songwriters James Maddock and Leslie Mendelson.

Out June 25 on Loud and Proud Records, is a triumphant return for an American original, to musical form, to the Big City and to the road.

Friday Nuggets: "Farmer John" The Premiers

The Premiers had themselves a better name than they may have realized. They were one of the early architects of the American garage rock sound with their 1964 top 20 hit "Farmer John". From San Gabriel CA, the Premiers were also one of the first Chicano rock bands and served as an inspiration to Los Lobos who frequently covered "Farmer John".

On this early TV appearance, the young fellas were so nervous they forgot to keep up the lip synching charade.

In what may be the highest honor a garage band can receive, the Premiers were covered by Neil Young  who gave "Farmer John" the full-on Crazy Horse treatment:

"Farmer John" was written and originally recorded by Don and Dewey from Pasadena, though the hit version was the Premiers'.  Here's the Don and Dewey original, with an R&B rather than garage rock sound, reflecting the difference of how music sounded in the US before and after the British Invasion of 1963-64:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Introducing: Them Swoops

Them Swoops is a Melbourne band playing up-tempo guitar and synth pop.  Founded by Dave McGann and Chris Goff and currently a five-piece, their number has varied in their short existence.  In 2012, they released "Work Around It", which has been well received in Australia and internationally.  Last week their Glimmers EP was released in Australia.  It will be available to the rest of the world in mid-July on New York's +1 Records.  The band also will perform at the CMJ Music Conference in New York in October, and may add other US dates.  The guys have talent, and they just may be what you are looking for in summer tunes.

"Rollerstate" is track three on Glimmers --

"Too Fast For Love" was released as a single --

Their first demo, "Work Around It" --

+1 Records

REVIEW: Delbert & Glen - Blind, Crippled and Crazy

"I ain't old, I just been around a long time" goes the joyous refrain to the opening track on Blind, Crippled & Crazy. It's the first duet recording between Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark since 1973's Delbert & Glen. And that IS a long time - 40 years! - but you wouldn't know it from the way these two play and sing together. This isn't one of those reunion tours for the money, as you would be hard-pressed to find many folks who remember those albums. This is a reunion for the joy of making music together, and it is a rousing success.

Here is a video of the pair, performing the lead track on Imus back in the fall:

Follow this link to check out the rollicking "Oughta No" - Delbert and Glen sing in harmony, and the guitars rock like a freight train, with some driving piano underneath it. Actually, you can (and should) listen to the whole thing at McClinton's website (link below).

From the Little Feat-style shuffling groove of "I Ain't Old" through the haunting, almost snarling guitars on "World of Hurt", and on just about every song here, the guitars, rhythm section and pianos mesh together perfectly. This record has an abundance of assured, technically strong but very heartfelt playing and singing, and there really isn't a weak cut on it. If you like Texas music, or any R&B or blues-based rock (say, The Meters, for example), it's a good bet you will enjoy this.

McClinton has certainly had the higher profile (including Top 40 hits like "Giving It Up For Your Love"), but Clark, whose voice is a perfect counterpoint to Delbert's, has spent the last 40 years as one of those great Texas troubadours who just kind of blends in. After he and McClinton moved on to their own careers, Clark moved from Texas to LA and has had an impressive career as a songwriter and keyboard player (including playing in one iteration of the Blues Brothers Band). During that time the pair, who started out together playing in bar bands in Ft. Worth, have never lost touch and, fortunately for us, they celebrated the 40th anniversary of their second album by getting together with McClinton's songwriting partner Gary Nicholson in Nashville to record this thing. Again, it's feel-good music, just pure joy.

The record is out this week (June 18) on New West Records.

Delbert McClinton Website

Reverberation #67

The folks at Reverberation Radio serve up another helping of sonic obscurati.  Charles Wright is not the Charles Wright of Watts' 103rd Street Rhythm Band funk fame.  This Charles Wright serves up some tasty early 60's surf.  (On a side note, I am ready for a serving of Surf Funk - a genre to which I have never been exposed.)  Los Saicos are the 60's progenitors of Peruvian RnR and punk.  Enjoy the pub rock gods Brinsley Schwarz and a massive serving of 60's garage psychedelia/. Click on the artist's name and find out more from other web sites..

1. Charles Wright & The Malibus - Runk

2. Los Saicos - Come On
3. Kim Fowley - Surf Pigs
4. Victor Zanoni - 
5. Gun Club - Mother Of Earth
6. Brinsley Schwarz - Ballad Of A Has-Been Beauty Queen
7. West Minist’r - Carnival
8. The Shelltones - Blue Castaway
9. The Fugitives - Wind Of Love
10. Jupiter's Children - This Is All I Ask

REVIEW: The Mantles - Long Enough to Leave

I have a problem.  It isn't a new problem, but it is something that crops up from time to time.  You see, I write about music, and to write about music, I need to listen to music.  But if I keep the same music in my car and iPod after I listen and make notes for a piece, I can't do my job preparing for the next review.  But sometimes, I just can't quit an album  It happened earlier this spring with Calendar Days by Dick Diver; that album is still in my car's disc changer.  As I think about it, the Ooga Boogas disc hasn't been ejected yet either.  And now I've got a slot occupied by Long Enough to Leave by San Francisco's The Mantles.  Admittedly, it is a first world problem, so I won't solicit donations.  Hugs are always welcome (some restrictions apply; photo and references required).

With that confession out of the way, I'll get to the business at hand.  Long Enough to Leave's appeal to me is founded in its core of timeless jangly garage pop, evocative of other worthies but replicating none of them.  You'll hear some VU, some of The Feelies, The Clean and The Byrds.  And a shared bill with The Bats in San Francisco last week undoubtedly highlighted some flattering similarities with my favorite New Zealand band.  But what distinguishes The Mantles from the number of bands that can ably replicate the sounds of others is their songwriting and arranging skills.  Combining a relatively clean version of a psychedelic garage pop with slightly gritty vocal delivery, lyrical themes in which darkness manages to peak through the opacity and varied, appealing melodies, the group presents a set a songs that is from the onset delightful and familiar.  But more importantly, the album (and particularly for me, the second half of the album) grows more compelling with repeated listens.

Here is my current favorite, "Brown Balloon" --

"Bad Design" seems to me an instant folk rock classic --

Here is the relaxed vibe of "Shadow of Your Step" --

The Mantles are Michael Olivares (guitar, vocals), Virginia Weatherby (drums), Matt R. (bass), Justin (lead guitar) and Carly (keys).   Long Enough to Leave was produced by Kelley Stoltz, and it is the second gem dropped on us by Slumberland Records this week (we reviewed Sob Story by Spectrals  Tuesday).  I suspect it is fair to say that the label is burnishing its claim to be one of the more relevant indie outfits on the scene.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New single from The Pharmacy - "Baby Be"

We reviewed The Pharmacy's Stoned And Alone (and liked it - review here). Just in case you didn't go right out and buy it, they've offered another song for you to check out. "Baby Be" is one of the upbeat, poppy numbers, a garage rocker with, to my ears, a strong resemblance to the early Kinks:

The Pharmacy Website

New video and free songs from Smile

Melbourne's Smile will grace us with their debut album, Life Choices, in August.  But being of generous spirit, they have published a video for a couple of album tracks, "Sunni Hart" and "Born Again".  Purveyors of engaging slacker ballads, the music this five-piece makes could well work its way into the soundtrack of your life.

Sunni Hart / Born Again by SMILE from SMILEBAND on Vimeo.

The discerning reader will note that two tracks, "The Jesus Song" and "Born Again" can be downloaded free at the Bandcamp link below.  I assure you, you will want them.  Consider them an interim drug until Life Choices drops in August.

Smile is Pete Baxter, Max Turner, Josh Delaney, Nick Mulhall, and Liam Gough.


"DIYSCO" by Tieranniesaur

Well, this is something a bit different -- an Irish band named Tieranniesaur.  Their music is packed with danceable rhthyms and upbeat melodies.  This is good summer stuff, people.  They have released a 13-track LP called DIYSCO via the Popical Island collective (on vinyl) and Soft Power Records (on cassette).  In addition, the title track and and "Horse With Melting Eyes" are being released as vinyl single by Soft Power Records.  You can stream both tracks below, and for those that want a look at the live performance, we've included a video for "DIYSCO".  The name of the album

Facebook for band

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Boy", a new song from Ski Lodge

New York's Ski Lodge is using the summer downtime from the slopes to prepare their debut LP, Big Heart, which is due in late August.  But while we wait impatiently for the album, the band is releasing album track "Boy", a bright slice of guitar pop.  There is an appealing jangle and ring to the guitars, and engagingly melodic chord progressions.  Good stuff, but we have come to expect that of Andrew Marr.

I don't want the summer to be over, but I would love to have Big Heart right now!


Young Fathers - Tape Two

We profiled Tape One, the debut from Edinburgh's Young Fathers earlier this year (review here).  Not quite six months later, we are bringing you Tape Two.  The brief period between releases is easily explained:  Tape One had been released earlier in Europe, and Anticon picked it up for the January release in the US.  However, there is no delay for Tape Two, it is out now on Dazed Digital and Anticon.

Young Fathers brings a blend of hip hop, electronica, pop and rap to the party.  It is thoughtful, creative, passionate, fresh, multi-textured and exciting.  On Tape Two they are digging a bit deeper into darker themes than on Tape One, but keeping a wide angle on the manner of expression. And at 23 minutes, they continue to leave you wanting more.  Take a test drive with "I Heard" --

The range of talent in this young trio makes their work hard to predict.  My guess is that their future efforts will go in whatever directions they choose, because I don't see any inherent limitations.

Dazed Digital

REVIEW: Spectrals - Sob Story

Bad Penny, the debut LP from Northern England's Spectrals was, in my view, an underdog success story.  While the teenage Louis Jones, aka Spectrals, did not become an international pop megastar, he did earn honest plaudits in many of the right places (including, of course, on this blog - link) for his engaging and organic take on northern-soul-cooked-in-the-garage.  Of course, those of us who are fans have been highly interested in what Spectrals would offer in the second album.  Relevant questions include whether the songwriting spring continued to flow, and whether the charming lo-fi approach of Bad Penny was the result of recording realities or an artistic channel to be continued.

Now an old man of 21, Louis delivers some emphatic answers.  First, his songwriting remains strong, personal, economical and affecting.  Moreover, Louis has acquired a more direct and mature voice in telling his story.  And perhaps not surprising, he has become more versatile in his songcraft.  Thus, even if he had continued his prior lo-fi ways, Sob Story would have been well worth our time.  But Sob Story is a big success in other ways.  Louis and his brother, Will (drums), traveled to San Francisco and brought former Girls collaborator, Chet J.R. White on board for production additional performance duties.  In addition to his undeniable talents, Chet brought in some of his buddies.  The happy result is a Spectrals sound that is broader, deeper and more textured.

Of course, Louis, being a male in his early '20s, is focused on love and relationships.  The topic provides themes, lyrics, song titles and the album title.  But such topics are timeless if the stories are well constructed and artfully delivered.  And what Sob Story reveals is that the songs Louis writes, and the way he sings them, can be presented in a variety of formats -- soul, indie pop, country -- and clean up very well with high end production.  This is an artist that will last, and you'll be glad to have added Sob Story to your collection.

Sob Story is already out in the UK on Wichita Recordings.  It is out in the US today, June 18 via Slumberland Records.

Twitter ( @_spectrals )
Slumberland Records
Wichita Recordings

New Love Language track from upcoming album Ruby Red - "Pilot Light"

The Love Language (Stuart McLamb) has a new album, Ruby Red, due out July 23, but this is the second track they've shared. The album is terrific pop-rock, and "Pilot Light" is more proof:

Love Language at Merge Records

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Jamaican Singles from Stones Throw: Duppy Gun - "What Would You Say About Me?"

Stones Throw has a new out - Duppy Gun: "What Would You Say About Me?" It is unlike anything else you are listening to right now. The music is not exactly reggae and not exactly hip-hop but contains elements of both. There are actually four songs - "versions" of both tracks are also included.

Duppy Gun 12-inch #3 includes "What Would You Say About Me," a tune by Fyah Flames with a beat by DJ High Waistline (aka Matthewdavid). The flip side is "Own Pattern" by I Jahbar, with a beat by Big Flite & Velkro (aka the Duppy producers). Both tracks were recorded in Spanish Town, Jamaica. These records come with an oversized poster — half of the records with Fyah Flames, half with I Jahbar.

Read and learn more at Stones Throw.

REISSUES: Twin Bakersfield Country Gems: The Buckaroos Play Buck & Merle and That Fiddlin' Man, due out July 23

If you've enjoyed the Omnivore country reissues we have featured recently, you're in for another treat. These two albums, released in tandem, are both instrumentals, but are played in somewhat different styles. The Buckaroos Play Buck & Merle is a combination of two old records - the 1965 LP The Buck Owens Songbook and 1971’s The Songs of Merle Haggard. It features a full, straight-up rendition of both albums - with no vocals. From the Omnivore release:

The Buck Owens Songbook was released in 1965 and gave fans a chance to sing along with their favorite Buck hits with The Buckaroos as their backing group — lyrics provided. Six years and ten albums later, the band paid tribute on their last LP to the man who named them: The Songs of Merle Haggard appeared in 1971, and featured The Buckaroos’ instrumental take on classics like “Mama Tried” and “Okie From Muskogee.” That LP, unfortunately, didn’t come with a lyric booklet like its predecessor.

Don Rich’s That Fiddlin’ Man is a 1971 release made to showcase Don's incredible fiddle playing. While instrumental, it's not missing anything. Rich's fiddle is a great lead instrument, and the album doesn't suffer for lack of vocals. It's country/bluegrass at its finest. Again, from the Omnivore release:

While  “Orange Blossom Special” was a live staple at a Buckaroos show, Don’s fiddle carried through to many of Buck’s studio releases, too. In 1971, ten tracks were compiled from a number of Buck Owens & The Buckaroos albums and released as That Fiddlin’ Man. The album was an instant hit with fans. Sadly, on his way to becoming Bakersfield’s next big country star, Rich was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1974.

Out of print for decades, That Fiddlin’ Man will be reissued for the first time ever on compact disc. Omnivore has added ten additional instrumental tracks from the Owens catalog that showcase The Buckaroos, Don Rich and his fiddle. That amounts to 20 tracks of prime Buckaroos — taken from 13 different albums recorded between 1963 and 1970.

Both will be released by Omnivore on July 23, shortly after local heroes Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are awarded honorary degrees from Cal State Bakersfield.

Within the past year, Omnivore Recordings has also issued Buck Owens’ Honky Tonk Man, a compilation of unissued early ’70s recordings from the Hee Haw era (WYMA review here), the 10” vinyl EP Buck Sings Eagles, plus an eerily appropriately-timed release of Don Rich’s only solo album, the previously unissued Don Rich Sings George Jones (WYMA review here).

Omnivore Recordings - Don Rich
Omnivore Recordings - The Buckaroos

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Video for "Green Blood" by Sonny and the Sunsets

Our review of the new fine new album from Sonny and the Sunsets was posted less than a week ago (link here), but we are highlighting the San Francisco band again because they have released a video for one of my favorite songs from that record, "Green Blood".

New video from Imperial Teen - "No Matter What You Say" from Feel The Sound

Imperial Teen has released a video to accompany the track "No Matter What You Say", to celebrate the release of their latest album in Europe. If you've already got the album, you know the song but if not, check it out. It's upbeat and catchy with good vocal harmonies. The video features actress Emily Browning and an interesting concept:

Imperial Teen at Merge Records