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Kate Stables has been recording and releasing music as This Is The Kit since 2005. In May of 2018, Kate and her band took some time off from their busy tour schedule supporting The National and treated us to a very intimate and special performance. Stables‘ uniquely-textured voice possesses a tone that quietly reels you in, and — following the tradition of exquisitely strange troubadours like Karen Dalton, Will Oldham, or Robert Wyatt — is simply arresting. The two selections on this release can be found on This Is The Kit’s wonderful early releases on Brassland Records, and don’t forget to check out Moonshine Freeze on Rough Trade.

Announcing Third Man Records FIRST live releases from TMR  This Is The Kit’s “Cold and Got Colder” out on October 26th. Limited blue versions

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J Mascis - Elastic Days

Near the end of Reagan’s first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis.

A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J’s songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool.

Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J’s own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc)  among others. But the show is mostly J’s and J’s alone.

Pre-order the Loser Edition LP on clear with purple swirl-colored vinyl

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Moaning Lisa is the product of four Canberra-based music grads who find purpose in making loud noises together. Their music operates on the edge of the grunge genre: somewhere between composed restraint and fuzzed-out, life-affirming alternative rock. Moaning Lisa create an atmosphere entirely of their own, in their raucous live shows that see them consistently pack out venues across Australia’s East Coast.

Do You Know Enough?, the band’s new EP, is the journey of a queer girl navigating her early 20s. It follows the organic passing of milestones like yearning, love, heartbreak, self-assurance and reinvention. Each track plays a crucial role in the forming of an emotional narrative, leaving no stone unturned. Musically, the songwriting was organic and gradual; dipping into punk, shoegaze, and heavy alternative rock across the five tracks. Each song harnesses their own anthemic qualities; “Carrie” being a punk call-to-arms of queer women; ‘Good’ a rich feel-good shoegaze love song; “Lily” a heart-wrenching rock ballad; “Comfortable” a momentous ode to single life, and “Sun” a mammoth adventure into seizing the next chapter. Do You Know Enough? poses a question that seems obviously answered throughout the five tracks, but leaves yourself open to the possibilities of the future.

Released October 19th, 2018

Warren Zevon was a very clever songwriter. He went were other songwriters don’t often go. This song was off his critically acclaimed album “Excitable Boy” released in 1978.

Zevon wrote this with guitarist Robert “Waddy” Wachtel. When Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, he hired Wachtel to play in their backing band. At one point, Phil Everly asked them to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called “Werewolves Of London.” Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were strumming guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, “Werewolves Of London,” and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,” and they traded lyrics back and forth until they had their song.

In 2000, a fight broke out while Zevon was performing this at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Zevon stopped, waited for the fight to end, said “I bet this never happens at Sting concerts,” and continued the song.

This track was produced by Jackson Browne. The songwriters were LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood played on this song.

On this day in September of 2003 we lost one of the great singer songwriters, after a year long battle with Lung Cancer Warren Zevon passed away leaving a legacy of some amazing songs, including one of his most well known “Werewolves of London” with bouts of depression, drugs and alcohol dependecy, fame and wealth and financial strife Zevon experienced everything throughout his nearly 40 years career with a dark and somewhat outlandish sense of humour in his songs, he was praised by many other musicians he was also keyboard player and orchestrater for the Everly Brothers he roomed with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham

His songs include“Johnny Strikes Up The Band”, “Excitable Boy”.”Roland the Thompson Headless Gunner” and “Accidently Like A Martyr and “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”

Zappa-Frank-Token-Of-His-Extreme-DVD-NEW

“Inca Roads” is one of Frank Zappa’s most cherished, covered, and appreciated pieces. It allied his ability to write a catchy song with his mastery of complex music forms, making it a favorite among progressive rock fans and virtuoso ensembles. The lyrics begin on a UFO theme: “Did a vehicle/Come from somewhere out there/Just to land in the Andes?,” referring to South American architectural structures some believed were landing sites for flying saucers. But quickly the song takes a dive into “life on the road.” The word “vehicle” is replaced by “booger-bear,” a title given to the band member who ended up with the ugliest groupie the previous night (which makes it the contrary of “Bwana Dik”). The name of drummer Chester Thompson comes up in regards to that, as it will again under similar circumstances in “Florentine Pogen.” The song ends with a tutti “On Ruth!,” a wink at percussionist Ruth Underwood’s .

“Inca Roads” was the opening track of the Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention 1975 album, “One Size Fits All”. The song features unusual time signatures, lyrics and vocals. The marimba-playing of Zappa’s percussionist Ruth Underwood is featured prominently. The song was played in concert from 1973 to 1976, 1979 and 1988. “Inca Roads” uses mixed meter time sequences.

The song starts with dominant vocals, drums, and marimba, but soon features a massive, iconic guitar solo performed by Zappa in late September 1974 at a live performance in Helsinki, Finland. An edited version of this solo recording (and part of the bass and drums accompaniment) was “grafted” onto the KCET track and forms the backbone of the One Size Fits All version . Later, George Duke plays an equally complex solo in . On the video, Zappa is seen smiling gleefully, as he plays the backup chords. After a short marimba solo, “Inca Roads” reprises its snappy intro. The song ends with the lyrics “On Ruth, on Ruth, that’s Ruth!” acknowledging Underwood for her leading on the marimba.

In an interview vocalist and keyboard player George Duke said that Zappa pushed for him to sing on “Inca Roads” and that beforehand Duke had no intentions of singing professionally and was only there to play keyboards. He went on to explain how Zappa had bought him a synthesizer (an instrument which Duke had disliked) and told him he could play around with it if he wanted. This led to Duke playing the synth part on “Inca Roads” as well

This re recorded version was featured on the Eagle Rock Entertainment Vdeo release in conjuction with the Zappa Family Trust first official release of A TOKEN OF HIS EXTREME, an original program created by Frank Zappa for TV. Recorded on August 27, 1974 at KCET in Hollywood.

“A Token of his Extreme” features Frank Zappa with five incredibly talented band members for this extravaganza of live music. The line-up exists of Frank Zappa—guitar, percussion, vocals; George Duke—keyboards, finger cymbals, tambourine, vocals; Napoleon Murphy Brock—sax, vocals; Ruth Underwood—percussion; Tom Fowler—bass; Chester Thompson—drums.

I always end up emotionally overwhelmed at the unparalleled majesty of this band’s musicianship. Ruth Underwood percussion is amazing, This is truly one of Frank Zappa’s greatest compositions. Not only is his solo jaw dropping but the band are just scorching hot too. All that knotty odd time, crazy harmony and difficult vocals just shows how great these guys were. George Duke just absolutely burns on this song.

The track was taken from the Program, as edited and thoroughly tweezed & produced by Frank Zappa for Honker Home Video includes these delights: The Dog Breath Variations/ Uncle Meat, Montana, Earl Of Duke (George Duke), Florentine Pogen, Stink-Foot, Pygmy Twylyte, Room Service, Inca Roads, Oh No, Son Of Orange County, More Trouble Every Day, A Token Of My Extreme. Stereo Mixes Produced by Frank Zappa with Kerry McNabb at Paramount Studios, 1974.

“This was put together with my own money and my own time and it’s been offered to television networks and to syndication and it has been steadfastly rejected by the American television industry. It has been shown in primetime in France and Switzerland, with marvelous results. It’s probably one of the finest pieces of video work that any human being has ever done. I did it myself. And the animation that you’re gonna see in this was done by a guy named Bruce Bickford, and I hope he is watching the show, because it’s probably the first time that a lot of people in America got a chance to see it.”- FZ appearing on the Mike Douglas Show, 1976 Because ‘Token’ has never been commercially released until now, it is one of the most sought after Frank Zappa programs.

The Band

  • Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals
  • George Duke – keyboards, synthesizer, lead vocals
  • Napoleon Murphy Brock – flute, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • Chester Thompson – drums
  • Tom Fowler – bass
  • Ruth Underwood – vibes, marimba, percussion

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Model, solo artist and singer, Rachel Trachtenburg, has been performing live since the age of just 6. Originally with The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, best known for that song about Eggs, and then in Supercute!, her music has always felt on the verge of a breakthrough. Perhaps that will come with her latest project Wooing, who have this week shared one half of their new 7″ single, Could Have Been.

Could Have Been is the first track that Wooing have worked on collaboratively, guitarist JR Thomason, and drummer Rosie Slater contributing to what is their most exciting single to date. Could Have Been is a track of beautiful contrasts; there’s an intensity to the insistent guitar line and pounding tom-heavy rhythms, that perfectly juxtaposes the lightness of the vocals and the swirling, hazy quality of the production. It’s a trick equally matched in Rachel’s vocal, one second it’s bassy and mellow, the next it leaps to yelped shrieks, as she dissects, “the disappointment of shallow friendships and the need to move on from them”. It’s a song as good as their band name, and where Wooing are concerned, consider us completely wooed.

The Clouds 7″ is out November 9th via Kanine Records.

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Hollie Fullbrook, the songwriter behind the Tiny Ruins moniker, is a songwriter who has for a long time seemed to be on the verge of  break-through. Her early, almost entirely solo material has given way to a fuller sound, with a four-piece band, which is set to be showcased on upcoming third album, Olympic Girls, when it’s released early next year.

This week Hollie has shared her new single, and the album’s title track, Olympic Girls. It is a delightfully intimate performance, intricate guitar work, textural percussion and gorgeously simple vocal lines all draw your ear, revealing all their charms only on repeat listens. Like the video that accompanies, it’s a track that offers nowhere to hide; there’s an element of exposure, and an honesty to the songwriting that’s utterly refreshing. Tiny Ruins have never sounded better.

Olympics Girls is out February 1st via Ba Da Bing Records.

The second single from Tiny Ruins album No.3

 

Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die front

1969 was a tremulous year for the band Traffic. After a successful tour in the US following their second album, Steve Winwood left the band for the short-lived super group Blind Faith. In the meantime Island Records released the album “Last Exit”, a mishmash of leftover studio cuts and live performances Traffic recorded in 1968. Blind Faith recorded one excellent album but broke up shortly after, leaving Winwood then free to start working on a solo record suggested by Island Record’s manager Chris Blackwell.

The plan was for Winwood to play all the instruments using tape overdubbing techniques in the studio. Winwood is a fine multi instrumentalist who could certainly perform such a feat, but he found the process difficult: “I began trying to make music all on my own with tape machines and overdubbing and stuff. It was a very good way of writing, but it was a weird way of making music. The whole thing that makes music special is people. I was getting to the point that I needed the input of other people. It seemed inhuman to make records just by overdubbing.”

Steve Winwood started calling on his friends from Traffic to help him in the studio. First to join was Jim Capaldi who helped writing some of the songs and contributed drums and percussion tracks. Next was reed man Chris Wood who brought his jazz and folk influences, and the three worked for a few months on the album. It became clear that the solo album, with the planned title name of “Mad Shadows”, was really a Traffic record.

Chris Wood was influenced by the folk revival that swept the British Isles in the late 60s. One song he suggested to the group was John Barleycorn, which he heard on the 1965 Watersons record Frost and Fire. The Watersons’ version, like most of their material from that period, was an unaccompanied vocal group performance.

Winwood applied himself to the song and played a wonderful guitar part on it. Capaldi added tasteful and sparse percussion parts and more importantly a brilliant vocal harmony starting on the fifth verse. Wood’s flute accompaniment is the icing on the cake on this great take on the song, which has been performed by many British folk artists over the years including Martin Carthy and John Renbourn. The Mainly Norfolk site has a good page chronicling many of the song’s covers. It is interesting that amidst the great activity that took place at the time in the British folk rock scene by bands like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Fotheringay and many others, one of the most memorable songs remains this performance of John Barleycorn by Traffic, wnot considered a folk rock band.

The album was engineered by Andy Johns, younger brother of Glynn Johns. Between them the two brothers recorded classic rock’s royalty. Before working with Traffic, Andy Johns recorded Jethro Tull (Stand Up, Living in the Past), Spooky Tooth and Blind Faith. After Traffic his career soared with Led Zeppelin (II, III, the legendary IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti) and the Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street). Quite a resume, and this is just within a span of 4 years.

Johns had a deep respect for Steve Winwood. In an interview he mentioned an experience he had when working on the Blind Faith album: “I came back from a lunch break one day and the soundproof door was cracked a little bit, and I could hear him playing the Hammond. He’s playing both manuals and the bass pedals and he’s singing. I look at him and he’s looking at the ceiling. Not only is he playing the top manual, the lower manual, the bass pedals, and singing, but he’s also thinking about what his old lady’s going to make him for dinner. So he’s doing four or five things at once and the music was just stunning. I hate to use the word genius, because it’s bandied about so much, but that guy, in the end of his little finger, has more than a whole tribe of musicality— he really does. It’s just unfair.”

When you first listen to the song you may think that you landed in the midst of a Middle Ages inquisition session. The lyrics describe all kinds of brutal methods inflicted by three men upon a poor fellow named John Barleycorn. However a closer look reveals that the distressing lyrics are actually a metaphor to the process applied to barley in order to produce beer and whiskey. While it has its roots in old folklore tales about the Corn God and religious symbolism, it is really a satire on legally prohibiting the production of alcoholic beverages while still needing the drink to get on with everyday life, as revealed in the last verse:

The huntsman, he can’t hunt the fox,
Nor so loudly to blow his horn,
And the tinker he can’t mend kettle nor pot,
Without a little Barleycorn

In short, John Barleycorn is a drinking song. Maybe the best of them all.

Steve Winwood performs a solo acoustic version of Traffic’s John Barleycorn (Must Die).

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine performing “Time”

Angelo De Augustin burst onto the scene at the back end of last year with his excellent second album, Swim Inside The Moon, a charmingly lo-fi record that was quite literally recorded in a bathtub. This week Angelo has announced details of his upcoming third album, Tomb, released again on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty Records, as well as sharing the first single from it, Time.

Tomb is the first time Angelo has worked in a proper studio, collaborating with renowned producer, Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman, and listening to Time, it seems to suit him. Time loses none of the gorgeous simplicity and minimalism of Angelo’s previous work, but in Thomas Bartlett’s hands this sounds lusher and more ambitious than ever before. Described by Angelo as, “a lovelorn examination of heartbreak and moving on”, the addition of muted piano, gentle electronics, and even whistling (!) all just work to highlight his enviable songwriting instinct.

Equally good as the recorded version is live version, where Sufjan Stevens joins Angelo on Grand Piano. An album about heartbreak that ends up as a prayer for love, Angelo might sound broken, but he’s still dreaming, still open, still ready for love. the live version of his new track “Time” with Sufjan Stevens on piano. Watch their performance live from Manhattan’s Reservoir Studios

Out January 18th via Asthmatic Kitty.  From the album “Tomb,”

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Everybody wants a story. Something to sell. I’m here to tell you that there isn’t one with this album, at least in the traditional sense, but ten. Perhaps each of them contain more stories, sitting inside each other like nesting dolls. I could sit here and tell you that some of the songs are about growing up in the Black Hills. Some of the songs are about my parents. Some of the songs are about sexuality. Some of the songs are about loss of youth, teenage parenthood, the lines of social disorder for women, or the terror of jealousy and suspicion. But what I write is borne of my own set of memories and ideas, and once they are released into the world, they do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours. What I can tell you is this: My name is Haley Bonar (rhymes with “honor”). I’m 33 years old, a Taurus, and I live in Saint Paul, MN with my daughter Clementine. I also sing in a band called Gramma’s Boyfriend.

“People are complicated, and I am no exception!” This was the crux of multi-instrumentalist Haley McCallum’s statement in regards to her latest album, Pleasureland an expectation-bucking, all-instrumental release she felt moved to do after the success of 2016’s Impossible Dream. A composer, producer, writer, guitarist, keyboard player, pianist, teacher, and mother, McCallum—formerly known to the music world as Haley Bonar—decided to shine a light on other aspects of her artistry, leaving the power-pop and barbed, lyrical observations she has become known for, behind.

Taken from HALEY’s new album ‘Pleasureland’