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RECORD STORE DAY: BLACK FRIDAY 2017 TOP TEN: PART 1

November 23, 2017 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir

 

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              10. GAME OF THRONES SOUNDTRACK — PICTURE DISC

         Okay, I’m kicking this off with a gimmicky picture disc. But for all you purists, cynics and elitists out there: GET OVER IT. After a decade of RSD releases, you need to accept the fact that gimmicks are part of the fun. So don’t be a wretched ol’ White Walker. Why not buy one of the best soundtracks from one of television’s hottest shows, and have some rad art in the process?

 

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    1. DEATH FROM ABOVE — FREEZE ME/KEEP IT REAL DUMB 7”

    Death From Above (re: Death From Above 1979) has earned themselves a bit of a cult following over the years. In 2002, Canadian duo–Sebastian Granger and Jesse F. Keeler–released their debut release, Heads Up, to minor success. Two years later they began recording their debut album, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, and released it with major, underground success. Their minimalist sound is thick as gravy and boiling hot with blues riffs covered in post-rock music. But in 2006 they disbanded, leaving fans to cling to their record. In 2011 they reunited but it wouldn’t be until this year that they would drop a second album, Outrage! Is Now. This 7” is the single and B-side to that album.

     

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    1. HIGH TIMES : SMOKE SIGNAL SONGS FROM THE MOTHER PLANT

    Every stoner has their 420 playlist. Music sites and apps like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes have made it easy to throw hundreds of fire tracks into a playlist that will keep you lit all night. But for those of us who like to spin wax, making a playlist ends up with a stack of records and constant flipping or changing, totally harshing the vibe. Thankfully, this Black Friday, High Times Magazine has released a comp of sweet, stoney tracks to keep the party going and the smoke floating featuring Damian Marley, Action Bronson and more.

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  1.       7. JOHN LEE HOOKER — BLACK NIGHT IS FALLING
  2. I love me some John Lee Hooker. He was one of the first blues musicians my dad got me into and one that remains near and dear to my heart. This is a killer live recording from the Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club (Montreal) in 1977 when Hooker was still cookin’. Featuring staples like “Boom Boom” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” this is the perfect LP for Hooker fans to spin AND for noobs to check out to get a taste of the blues master.

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    1. REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND — 16 TONS 7”

    For almost two decades Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has breathed new life into American blues, country and bluegrass. With a voice as thick as mountain mist, the Reverend, his wife–”Washboard” Breezy and drummer, Max Senteney, bask themselves in the rays of all blues genres and cultivate original tunes chock full of wholesome goodness. This Black Friday, don’t miss out on their cover of Tennessee Ernest Ford’s classic, “16 Tons,” for a rootsy sound about Capitalism’s exploitation of the working class. What’s more American than that?

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Black Sabbath Vol. 4 is 45

October 14, 2017 Leave a comment

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by Raul

In September of 1972 Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, originally intended to be titled Snowblind, didn’t hit the mark with critics, but still managed to go gold within a month of being released. 45 years later it’s still holds up with the band’s dedicated fans as well as newcomers.

Recording for the album began in June of 1972 in Los Angeles California. With the band three recordings deep in gold records and a severe cocaine habit, many problems haunted the members. Some say it was the beginning of the end of the classic lineup, but all that aside Black Sabbath produced their most experimental album to date.

Bringing in an orchestra to back “Iommi on Laguna Sunrise,” which was written after being up all night and watching the sunrise at Laguna Beach, was outside of the band’s usual heavy sound.

Other out of the ordinary recordings came with “Changes.” Adding mellotron to the piano lead song was a change musically, but they stuck to their dark side with heartbreaking lyrics of lost love by Geezer Butler.

From it’s Iconic cover to the classic songs such as “Supernaut,” “Changes,” and “SnowBlind,” Vol. 4 will forever hold its own.

Sunny & the Sunliners: Mr. Brown Eyed Soul

October 14, 2017 Leave a comment

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by Raul

This month Big Crown Records brings a Sunday evening dedication from a homeboy to his ruca (ol’ lady/girlfriend) with a collection of singles from Sunny Ozuna.

Mr. Brown Eyed Soul contains 17 tracks chosen with the cooperation of Sunny himself, to satisfy the most dedicated fan as well as newcomers.

Gaining popularity straight out of high school, Ozuna has not slowed down. Even now, over 50 years later, he is still bringing crowds to their feet at Lowrider shows and Latin oldie themed concerts with classics like “Smile Now Cry Later” and “Put In Jail.”

Aside from this, Sunny has also left another mark in music history by being the first Chicano/Latino artist to perform on American Bandstand.

Mr. Brown Eyed Soul is available on CD and LP and contains informative liner notes and plenty of rare photos. Listen to the following tracks and imagine cruising the boulevard.

Beach House B-Sides and Rarities

July 24, 2017 Leave a comment

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After releasing six albums, dream-pop duo Beach House recently dropped a collection titled B-Sides and Rarities.

Comprising Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, Beach House has never been a typical pop band with singles, so a b-sides collection is a bit unexpected. But, as the band explains on the Sub Pop website, the goal with this project was to put all the non-album tracks, of which there are quite a few, into one place.

When we announced that we were releasing a B-sides and rarities album, someone on Twitter asked, “B-sides record? Why would Beach House put out a B-sides record? Their A-sides are like B-sides.” This random person has a point. Our goal has never been to make music that is explicitly commercial. Over the years, as we have worked on our 6 LPs, it wasn’t the “best” or most catchy songs that made the records, just the ones that fit together to make a cohesive work. Accordingly, our B-sides are not songs that we didn’t like as much, just ones that didn’t have a place on the records we were making.

The idea for a B-sides record came when we realized just how many non-album songs had been made over the years, and how hard it was to find and hear many of them. This compilation contains every song we have ever made that does not exist on one of our records. There are 14 songs in total.

As NPR reports, “B-Sides And Rarities is upfront about being an exercise for enthusiasts, completists and other loving obsessives. But more casual fans shouldn’t shrug it off, either. Beach House has mounted a marvelous career on its ability to set a gloomy electro-pop mood without losing touch with its brighter side — and that gift stays on full display throughout this shaggily appealing assortment of orphaned gems.”

A Joyful Celebration of Mavis Staples

July 17, 2017 Leave a comment

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To celebrate Mavis Staples’ 75 birthday, a who’s who of musicians gathered to sing and honor the legendary artist. The result is I’ll Take You There: an All-Star Concert Celebration, now available on cd and dvd.

Staples, who is now 77, has made a massive impact on gospel, soul, rock and roots music. The album reflects her multi-faceted abilities, as well as her inimitable, indomitable spirit. As American Songwriter reports:

“The show, recorded at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater Nov. 19, 2014…came on the heels of two successful Jeff Tweedy produced albums. Not surprisingly, Tweedy appears to perform the title track of 2010’s You Are Not Alone. It’s one of 21 songs on the double CD (the DVD adds two more) in a concert that reflects all the exuberance, positivity and vibrancy you’d expect from Staples who has exuded those tendencies over the course of her 65 and counting year career (she started singing professionally with her Staple Singers family in 1950, when she was just 11).

Although not a songwriter herself, Staples is a master interpreter, owning much of the material she sings. That makes this a set of covers of covers. They run the gamut from fairly recent material like Emmylou Harris’ sparkling take on the Nick Lowe penned “Far Celestial Shore” to Staples Singers’ era classics such as a rousing “Freedom Highway” from Michael McDonald, Widespread Panic’s animated version of Pops Staples’ “Hope in a Hopeless World” and a closing, all-in “The Weight,” first sung by the Staples in 1968 and famously revived in The Last Waltz, which connect on every level.”

Tracklist:

Disc 1
1. Joan Osborne – You’re Driving Me
2. Keb’ Mo’ – Heavy Makes You Happy
3. Otis Clay – I Ain’t Raisin’ No Sand
4. Buddy Miller – Woke Up This Morning
5. Patty Griffin – Waiting For My Child To Come Home
6. Emmylou Harris – Far Celestial Shore
7. Michael McDonald – Freedom Highway
8. Glen Hansard – People Get Ready
9. Mavis & Aaron Neville – Respect Yourself
10. Widespread Panic – Hope In A Hopeless World
11. Ryan Bingham – If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)
12. Grace Potter – Grandma’s Hands
13. Eric Church – Eyes On The Prize

Disc 2
1. Taj Mahal – Wade In The Water
2. Gregg Allman – Have A Little Faith
3. Mavis & Bonnie Raitt – Turn Me Around
4. Gregg Allman, Taj Mahal, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, & Mavis Staples – Will The Circle Be Unbroken
5. Mavis, Win Butler & Régine Chassagne – Slippery People
6. Mavis & Jeff Tweedy – You Are Not Alone
7. Mavis Staples – I’ll Take You There
8. Mavis & everybody: Encore: The Weight

Dan Auerbach Takes a Turn

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

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If you thought Black Keys guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach was a one-trick pony limited to blues-inspired rock, you’re in for a surprise.

Auerbach recently dropped his second solo album, dubbed Waiting on a Song, and it not what longtime listeners expected. It’s a catchy, Nashville-inspired, country-soul throwback that showcases several dimensions of Auerbach’s musical skillset.

As Rolling Stone reports:

“[Auerbach has] taken the right tack, tapping great talent to grow his retro style without just playing dress-up, creating a Seventies country-soul-rock palette part Lee Hazelwood, part Jim Ford, plus spare parts. The title track is a zen-like meditation on craft co-written with master John Prine; “Cherry Bomb” boasts Duane Eddy’s signature twang; “Undertow” conjures the Spinners with Philly soul strings and a “Games People Play” quote, while “Stand By My Girl” mirrors the piano riff off Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You.” It’s a “Nashville Sound” the town could use more of.”

Bob Dylan’s Triplicate

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

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In 2015, Bob Dylan released Shadows in the Night, an album of standards. Fans were a bit puzzled by the move, but Dylan later explained saying, “Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better…These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life.”

Now, Dylan is back with another standards collection titled Triplicate, a three-disc studio album featuring 30 recordings of classic American tunes. As Dylan’s website explains:

Triplicate showcases Dylan’s unique and much-lauded talents as a vocalist, arranger and bandleader on 30 compositions by some of music’s most lauded and influential songwriters. The Jack Frost-produced album is the 38th studio set from Bob Dylan and marks the first new music from the artist since Fallen Angels, which was released in early 2016.”

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