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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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Best of Old Crow Medicine Show

April 14, 2017 Leave a comment

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Twelve years ago, Old Crow Medicine Show dropped it’s debut album, O.C.M.S. Since then, the band has become one of the standout new roots acts, blending bluegrass and folk with punk rock energy.

The band recently released a collection with studio highlights and unreleased tracks. Songs include “Down Home Girl,” “I Hear Them All,” “Black-Haired Québécoise,” “Heart Up in the Sky,” and, of course, the platinum-selling, crowd singalong favorite, “Wagon Wheel.”

From Folk Radio U.K.:

“With a career stretching back to 1998, nine albums released, a pretty relentless gig schedule and countless festival appearances, Old Crow Medicine Show has been in the vanguard of developing a 21st Century take on old-time, string band music. The band has been recognised and honoured with induction into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013, and the 2014’s Remedy won the Grammy for Best Folk Album, so a “best of” album might be considered a little overdue. Between 2004 and 2008, the band recorded with Nettwerk Records. They released three albums, Old Crow Medicine Show (2004), often shortened to O.C.M.S., Big Iron World (2006) and Tennessee Pusher (2008) and it’s these albums that Nettwerk has been able to draw on for Best Of, along with an EP track from 2006 and two previously unreleased tracks.”

Tracklist:

01. Wagon Wheel
02. Tell It to Me
03. Down Home Girl
04. Alabama High-Test
05. Big Time in the Jungle
06. CC Rider
07. Take ‘Em Away
08. Humdinger
09. Fall On My Knees
10. My Good Gal
11. I Hear Them All
12. Caroline
13. Black-Haired Québécoise
14. Heart Up in the Sky

Gary Clark Jr. Live

April 7, 2017 Leave a comment
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Gary Clark Jr. kind of has to be seen to be appreciated. His studio albums are impressive, but until you’ve experienced his showmanship and impressive guitar chops live —even via YouTube videos— it’s hard to appreciate his immense talent.

 

Clark’s latest offering, Gary Clark Jr. Live North America 2016, showcases the artist at his finest, pulling emotion and masterful guitar work together into a raw and revealing collection of original material and cover songs, including Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I do” and Elmore James’ “My Baby’s Gone.” As All About Jazz reports:

 

“In its pure unadulterated emotional and sonic form, sans overdubs of any kind, the honest power of Clark and his band’s musicianship sheds a discernibly different light on the polished likes of the…studio work. [T]he guitarist/vocalist depicts how forcefully he can parlay this music in practiced, natural collaboration with guitarist Eric ‘King’ Zapata, bassist Johnny Bradley and drummer Johnny Radelat. And while the cacophonous closer, “Numb,” is a carryover from the prior double live release, it still sounds so close to the artist’s heart and soul; as such, it will be sure to satiate the appetites of the most ravenous guitar hero-worshipers.”

 

Tracklist
01. Grinder
02. The Healing
03. Our Love
04. Cold Blooded
05. When My Train Pulls In
06. Down To Ride
07. You Saved Me
08. Shake
09. Church
10. Honest I Do
11. My Baby’s Gone
12. Numb

ICYMI: Lady Gaga’s Superbowl Performance

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment