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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.”

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

Happy 45th, Thick As a Brick

March 27, 2017 Leave a comment

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by Raul

Released on March 10th, 1972, Thick As A Brick was the fifth release for British rock band Jethro Tull.

After the success of Aqualung, frontman Ian Anderson decided to go with another concept album.

Though it was received to mixed reviews by the critics, Thick As a Brick reached the top of the charts and earned Jethro Tull another gold album.

Happy 40th Foreigner

March 9, 2017 Leave a comment

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by Raul

On March 8, 1977 the British-American band Foreigner released its self-titled debut on Atlantic records.

With two top ten singles, “Feels Like The First Time” and “Cold As Ice,” Foreigner’s debut was a huge success. It stayed in the top 20 for a year after it’s release and is going on four times platinum.

On the strength of their singles Foreigner was a headlining arena rock band months after the release of the debut.

Fresh (Blue) Stuff from Son Volt

March 6, 2017 Leave a comment

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Pioneer alt-country band Son Volt is back with a new album draws inspiration from legendary bluesmen Skip James and Mississippi Fred McDowell, as well as British singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Notes of Blue sees Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar digging into both the blues and the fingerpicking beauty of Drake’s folk-pop songs to create something familiar and fresh.

As Farrar told Rolling Stone, “Over the years I’ve done a couple blues-oriented songs here and there, but this time around there was an opportunity to focus a bit more on it all the way through.”

The album is the eighth from Farrar and company and the first in recent memory to feature electric guitar alongside acoustic strummers.

Kate Bush Live, at Last

January 12, 2017 Leave a comment

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In 2014, Kate Bush embarked on a 22-date tour, her first in 35 years. Bush’s latest release, Before the Dawn is a three-disc, 155 minute documentary of that tour.

The album provides a long-awaited, no-frills overview of the singer’s creativity and music. As Pitchfork reports:

“There are no retakes or overdubs bar a few atmospheric FX. No apps, no virtual reality, no interactivity. [Bush has] also said there won’t be a DVD, which is surprising given the show’s spectacular theatrics, conceived by the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a host of designers, puppeteers, and illusionists. The show, and this release, aren’t credited to Kate Bush but the KT Fellowship, in recognition of the vast ensemble effort. Yet in shucking off half the production, this set…is also the best way that Before the Dawn could have been preserved, allowing it to tell its own story uninhibited by the busy staging.”

Springsteen’s Chapter and Verse

December 6, 2016 Leave a comment

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In September, Bruce Springsteen released his autobiography, titled Born to Run. He also released Chapter and Verse, the audio companion to the book that has been described as an “extraordinary” work.

The album features 18 tracks, five of which have not been previously released.

As Springsteen’s website states, the Boss selected the songs on Chapter and Verse to reflect the themes and sections of the book Born to Run.

“The compilation begins with two tracks from The Castiles, featuring a teenaged Springsteen on guitar and vocals, and ends with the title track from 2012’s Wrecking Ball.  The collected songs trace Springsteen’s musical history from its earliest days, telling a story that parallels the one in the book.

Recordings from Steel Mill and The Bruce Springsteen Band feature musicians who would go on to play in The E Street Band. Solo demos of “Henry Boy” and “Growin’ Up” were cut in 1972 shortly before Springsteen began recording his debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.”

Here’s the tracklist:

1. Baby I — The Castiles (recorded May 2, 1966, at Mr. Music, Bricktown, NJ; written by Bruce Springsteen and George Theiss; previously unreleased)
2. You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover — The Castiles (recorded Sept. 16, 1967, at The Left Foot, Freehold, NJ; written by Willie Dixon; previously unreleased)
3. He’s Guilty (The Judge Song) — Steel Mill (recorded Feb. 22, 1970, at Pacific Recording Studio, San Mateo, CA; previously unreleased)
4. Ballad of Jesse James — The Bruce Springsteen Band (recorded March 14, 1972, at Challenger Eastern Surfboards, Highland, NJ; previously unreleased)
5. Henry Boy (recorded June 1972, at Mediasound Studios, New York, NY; previously unreleased)
6. Growin’ Up (recorded May 3, 1972, at Columbia Records Recordings Studios, New York, NY; previously appeared on ‘Tracks’)
7. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (1973, ‘The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle’)
8. Born to Run (1975, ‘Born to Run’)
9. Badlands (1977, ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’)
10. The River (1980, ‘The River’)
11. My Father’s House (1982, ‘Nebraska’)
12. Born in the U.S.A. (1984, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’)
13. Brilliant Disguise (1987, ‘Tunnel of Love’)
14. Living Proof (1992, ‘Lucky Town’)
15. The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995, ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’)
16. The Rising (2002, ‘The Rising’)
17. Long Time Comin’ (2005, ‘Devils & Dust’)
18. Wrecking Ball (2012, ‘Wrecking Ball’)