New vinyl pressing! Welcome to the world’s first (and only) post-punk-industrial-trance-psychedelic-surf album! The fact that it took so many adjectives to describe Tragic Figures lets you know just how unique of an album it is. Sure, there are echoes of other artists, like krautrock legends Can, post-punkers Public Image Limited (Savage Republic opened for PiL on their 1982 West Coast dates), avant-garde guitar players like Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham, scrap metal industrialists Einstürzende Neubauten, and Bay Area sludgecore nihilists Flipper—but really, this unlikely product of (mostly) UCLA undergrads sounds like no other record before or since.
For its 40th anniversary edition, Real Gone Music worked with Bruce Licher to preserve and expand on the magical, talismanic quality of the initial release. The original album has been remastered from the original tapes by Mike Milchner at Sonic Vision, while both the CD and LP editions both boast an extra disc of largely unreleased rehearsal recordings taped in the bowels of UCLA parking garages, where the band used to practice to take advantage of the extended reverb afforded by all the concrete surfaces (imagine being an unwitting undergrad happening upon this unearthly din coming out of nowhere)! Richie Unterberger’s liner notes feature interviews with band members Licher, Philip Drucker, and Jeff Long, and the LP comes with the original cover graphics expanded into a gatefold jacket pressed in heavyweight “chipboard” paper stock. Clear your calendar and set aside a couple of hours to listen to Tragic Figures…you won’t end up where you started.
New Vinyl Pressing: Sam Hall’s new album as Ghost Orchard, Rainbow Music, is a collage of patience and meditation. It’s filled with nuances as quietly imperceptible as the seasons, or the profound movement of time, where one day looking back you realize your whole spirit has shifted. Where 2019’s critically revered Bunny was a love letter to a romantic relationship, Rainbow Music documents the culmination of Hall’s first personal experience with loss in several forms. At the end of 2020, his longterm childhood pet passed away, and with it the last continuing threads of familiarity between being a kid and adulthood. Still based in the Grand Rapids, Michigan town he’d grown up in, the static ease of familiar living seemed to be coming apart at the seams, as friends moved on to bigger cities, relationships shapeshifted and in a short period of time, another kitten he’d adopted passed away prematurely, leaving Hall to question the trajectory in which he himself was headed.
Like “songs in the key of life,” the title ‘rainbow music’ refers to the myriad of colors and qualities within Hall that are refracted throughout. It’s a symbolization of hope and the aftermath, the flickering light at the end of the tunnel (or “when a rainbow shows up after a big storm”). “Wish I could have fun anymore,” Hall ruminates on “dancing”, as well as confessing he “wish he made more upbeat bangers.” But reality packs more of a punch, and this collection of songs sees him finally be at peace with the current state of affairs. Relatable to anyone who has contemplated what it means to settle down, or even just catch your breath in an era where anguish is commonplace, the release of ‘rainbow music’ is a happy ending in its own right, a marker of survival that remains close to the bone.
Produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Alpenglow is the Minnesota-based sextet’s tenth album. The album, named after the optical phenomenon that takes places when the sun casts a reddish glow across the mountains at dawn and dusk, opens with the wistful beauty of “It’s So Hard To Hold On”. The narrator contemplates the passing of time and how imperative it is to savor it while you have it.
10 of the 11 tracks on Alpenglow were written by lead singer Dave Simonett, whose introspective and literate songwriting is the foundation of the unwavering connection the group’s music has with its fervent and ever-growing audience. “On The Highway” expresses a longing to wander but struggles with the value in maintaining roots. “Central Hillside Blues” addresses nostalgia and loss while “Quitting Is Rough” deals with having inner strength to not lose sight of what is real, with its beautiful and inspiring refrain “climb out, climb out, climb out” The Tweedy-penned “A Lifetime To Find” features a simple back-and-forth dialogue with Death, which ends as one might expect.
At long last, a new album of Eilen originals is arriving in August, 2019! Eilen is calling this her favorite album yet. New sounds. Old sounds. Electric guitar driven rockers. Classic country. Tender ballads. A Pinto Bennett cover. A protest song. Preorder now!
Following Guided By Voice’s sprawling double-album Zeppelin Over China, Robert Pollard has written and recorded another full-length in record-breaking time. It’s Warp And Woof, exuberantly barreling through twenty-four songs in just thirty-seven minutes with a brevity similar to mid-90s GBV albums Alien Lanes and Vampire On Titus. GBV kicked this one out in a flash, recorded in studios, club soundchecks, hotel rooms and even in the tour van.
After completing Zeppelin, Pollard felt the itch to record a few EPs. Just as GBV had done back in 1994, he would use them to channel his everflowing ideas to an outlet. But when a magical boombox writing session produced six fully formed songs in under half an hour, Pollard realized he had an album on his hands. What to do?
With a band so formidable they’ve been dubbed the Golden Age of GBV, they completed much of the recording on the road. The 2018 Space Gun Tour provided impromptu recording venues. Pollard recorded vocals in hotel rooms, complimentary condominiums, and small studios. Doug Gillard cut guitar tracks for “End It With Light” through his Mesa Boogie rig at the soundcheck at the Ottobar in Baltimore. Bobby Bare Jr. recorded his spacey main rhythm guitars for album closer, “Time Remains in Central Position” at the same show, but in the backstage green room. Kevin March added drum tracks in a studio in his hometown Montclair, New Jersey. Gillard played guitar on “Bury the Mouse” in a van hurtling at 60-plus m.p.h., and Mark Shue laid bass on “Angelic Weirdness” as he balanced on the speeding van’s bench seat….
Ian Noe’s highly anticipated full-length debut album, Between The Country, will be released May 31 on Thirty Tigers. Recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, Between The Country includes 10 new songs written solely by Noe. In addition to Noe (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals) and Cobb (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), the album also features Adam Gardner (bass, organ piano), Chris Powell (drums, percussion) and Savannah Conley (backup vocals).
Huntertones brings people together around the globe with fun, imaginative and fearless music. Their high energy, horn-driven sound fuses inspired improvisation and adventurous composition melding jazz, funk, rock, and soul. Adding depth and contrast to their live set, Huntertones shift from a dynamic six-piece ensemble to a trio featuring saxophone, sousaphone, and beat-boxing, keeping their listeners’ eyes and ears open at every turn.
Huntertones formed in Columbus, Ohio at The Ohio State University and hosted their first shows at a house on Hunter Avenue. They have since relocated to New York City, released three albums, and toured North and South America, Europe and Africa — experiences which have pushed the band to expand even further, stylistically. What started as a group of classmates finding a voice has developed into a highly collaborative group of musicians traveling, sharing, and growing together.
Individually, members of Huntertones have compiled a diverse resume of collaborations with top artists in pop, jazz, soul, and musical theater. This includes work with Jon Batiste and Stay Human, O.A.R., Snarky Puppy, Stevie Wonder, Andy Grammer, Ed Sheeran, Allen Stone, Gary Clark Jr., Phillip Phillips, We Banjo 3, Umphrey’s McGee, Vulfpeck, and more.