Posts Tagged ‘Jason Isbell’

In “Mr. Tillman” the single off his 2018 LP God’s Favorite CustomerFather John Misty sings through a bizarre conversation he had with the person working the desk of his hotel. Jason Isbell makes a cameo shortly after a member of the hotel staff casually mentions Tillman has a few outstanding charges and that Tillman left his passport in his room’s mini fridge: “Did you and your guests have a pleasant stay? What a beautiful tattoo that young man had on his face / And oh, will you need a driver out to Philly? Jason Isbell’s here as well and he seemed a little worried about you.”

Isbell later joked about the instance on Twitter, but refrained from popping out for a cameo when Misty — a.k.a Josh Tillman — played “Mr. Tillman” at Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park on Wednesday night (June 19th) and was met with a round of cheers when he sang through the verse.

A year after Father John Misty unveiled God’s Favorite Customer, Isbell and his band, the superlative 400 Unit (which includes renowned fiddle player Amanda Shires, Isbell’s wife), find themselves on the road with Father Misty and Jade Bird. The trek is proving to be an ideal match-up for two of the best songwriters in American rock, and they have plenty in common — to the point where it’s shocking no one’s made the call to pair them up on a co-headlining tour before.

Pristine tenors with exceptional musical acumen aside, Tillman and Isbell share a brave propensity to stare, unblinkingly, into the churn of crisis. Disintegrating relationships, loosening grips on mental health, the pressures that come with striving to be a good partner (and father, in Isbell’s case), and facing all of the above in a world gone mad and growing madder by the minute — none of this is off-limits or too far afield for either songwriter. Isbell’s “White Man’s World” from 2017’s The Nashville Sound is a master class in this allergy to bullshit put to paper, and the song directly confronts the racism, sexism and classism that shaped the American experiment in a radical call for empathy. Even his contribution to the soundtrack for A Star Is Born, “Maybe It’s Time,” throws to this (and played over well in Brooklyn).

Tillman explores the consequences of these destructive forces across both 2017’s Pure Comedyand God’s Favorite Customer, and though he’s the one who called the planet a “godless rock that refuses to die” (on Pure Comedy’s “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution”), it could’ve been an Isbell line. On their own terms, they each unpack the scariest issues of the moment while condensing them into songs listeners can absorb and sing along to, as both artists were met with a near-constant sing-along from the crowd of 5,000 that gathered to join them in the rain in Prospect Park.

But neither Isbell nor Tillman remained fixated on the doom and gloom, and both managed to keep from overwhelming the masses by working plenty of swoon-worthy balladry and deeply funny banter into their sets. Tillman and Isbell’s love songs are just as potent as the discourse of their heaviest cuts, and those remain rapturous crowd pleasers on this current jaunt. Isbell rarely plays “Cover Me Up” if Shires isn’t present (which, given her own career and the touring it requires, can lead to weeks or months apart), but when she is, it’s a breathtaking duet and an intimate glimpse into the love they share.

The finale “If We Were Vampires” has them both considering their mortality while celebrating the eternity of their love, and was just as stunning. 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear was one long love letter to his wife, Emma, and Tillman soared through the songs off that album that directly pull from significant moments their marriage, from the moment they met (set closer “I Went to the Store One Day”) to their wedding and honeymoon (“Chateau Lobby #4 [in C for Two Virgins],” complete with mariachi interlude courtesy of his killer brass section).

In between songs, Isbell and Tillman kept their musings brief (and briefer than most would’ve liked, as one dude in the crowd actually screamed “I WANT BANTER!” five songs into Tillman’s set). Isbell praised Tillman and his band, joking that they played “songs that I can listen to where I don’t get mad” from backstage; Tillman praised Isbell and Bird in turn, but first took a few minutes to try to find a hair tie for his mane and requested a scrunchie, which one fan happily met. (He was surprised that he wasn’t met with “a blizzard of scrunchies,” which, same.)

The new material popped, too: though the well-worn gems from their catalogues were roundly applauded, both Isbell and Misty — who’ve been hard at work on the follow-ups to both The Nashville Sound and God’s Favorite Customer — played brand new material. Isbell’s “Overseas” is clearly a throw to making a relationship work across long distances (“Does your heart rest easy where you are? / Do they treat you like a star?”), while Misty’s fresh cuts (name TBD) offered a stylistic gear-shift with ‘80s synths, harmonica solos and a drum beat Ronnie Spector would covet. In spite of the dreary weather a Misty night for Misty and Co, Isbell, Tillman and the magnificent musicians that join them onstage each night proved that they should’ve circled their tour buses a long time ago. We’re all the luckier they finally did just that.

Fever Breaks Cover

Last fall, I went to Nashville and made a record. My friend Jason Isbell produced it and the 400 Unit backed me up. It was a blast to work on.

It’s a rainy November evening in Nashville and Josh Ritter and Jason Isbell are huddled in front of the console at Sound Emporium Studios, an historic space located in an otherwise nondescript building in the city’s Belmont neighborhood. It’s the last recording session for Ritter’s new album, which Isbell is producing and playing on as part of the 400 Unit, and they’re in the thick of adding fiddle to one of the album’s tracks.

The song, an optimistic, mid-tempo rambler called “In Passing,” is the group’s penultimate to finish after a week in the studio, following initial sessions held back in August. “In Passing” is anchored by the acoustic warmth and unpretentious erudition (“Love the thorn and hate the rose,” Ritter sings in the hook) endemic to Ritter’s earlier work, with a gently twangy, studiously meaty heft lent by the 400 Unit. It’s classic Ritter on Muscle Shoals-bred steroids.

Jason’s Wife Amanda Shires layers three fiddle parts atop one another, the second and third layers played ever-so-slightly more loosely than the first, making for a sound that’s at once fat and chiming, stretching across the backing music like thick, lustrous strands of taffy. Shires isn’t hearing what she’s wanting after the first couple of takes and has a few choice words for her fiddle in the interim.

The album is called ‘Fever Breaks’ and it comes out April 26th. I’m so excited to share it! You can listen to “Old Black Magic” now.

‘Fever Breaks’ – new album out April 26, 2019.

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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – Live From the Ryman

Americana icon Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit release a new live album release. The album is set in none other than the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium. Live From the Ryman was recorded at Nashville’s famous auditorium, and will feature live versions of songs from Isbell’s three latest releases, Southeastern, Something More Than Free andThe Nashville Sound. Songs included on the project are Last of My Kind, Hope the High Road, Something More Than Free and the Grammy Awards-winning If We Were Vampires, among others.

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The Lucid Dream – Actualisation

The Lucid Dream return with the release of their 4th album, Actualisation. Driven by fans raising £10,000 to help replace all equipment robbed after a Paris show in early 2017, a new album became the instant focus in the summer of 2017 for a rejuvenated The Lucid Dream. Actualisation is soaked in the influence of acid house, amalgamated with dub and kosmische. The album was penned over the summer of 2017 by Mark Emmerson (vocals/guitar/synths), using only the classic Roland 303/808 synths, bass and vocals as tools for writing. Inspiration for the writing was formed via continuous listening to the Chicago to UK acid house works of 1986-1992, the focus predominantly on the groove. Several months on from those writing sessions and The Lucid Dream have completed their 4th album in 5 years. A record made for the dancefloor. Recorded at Whitewood Studios, Liverpool, with Rob Whiteley, the album is produced alongside long-time collaborator Ross Halden (Ghost Town Studios, Leeds), with mastering via Dean Honer (All Seeing I/I Monster/The Moonlandingz). The confrontational techno-punk of Alone In Fear opens the album, a 9-minute attack fuelled by the frustration and anger spawned by Brexit, government and a realisation of what 2018 Britain currently is. Recent single SX1000 (the first work from the album, unveiled via 12′ vinyl in April this year) is the band’s first move into pure acid house. The acid house fusion runs throughout the record, represented furthermore by Ardency, a track already praised by live critics when aired live for the first time earlier this year as ‘even on first hearing, would’ve raised the roof of The Hacienda’. The 2-part opus of Zenith follows, commencing with a space-dub / house instrumental groove before building into a track that will go for your head as much as your hips. Only Breakdown harks back to sounds of old for the band, a little reminder of the skull-crushing impact they can make when stripped to the bare bones. No Sunlight Dub closes the album, a dark-dub that invites the classic acid-house tool (Roland 808) into the dub. The track makes a stop-off into drum ‘n’ bass / jungle along the way before rounding up in a manner suited to Lee Perry, King Tubby, Augustus Pablo and other Jamaican greats.

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Titus Andronicus – Home Alone on Halloween

Limited to 1,300 for world on Orange Vinyl with Download. With Home Alone on Halloween, noted rock band Titus Andronicus celebrate the spookiest of the seasons by staring into the abyss and confronting the bone-chilling terror which lies at the haunted heart of our human experience. Bearing the justly feared catalog number MRG666, the 12-inch EP spans 31 minutes and features three tracks recorded concurrently with the group’s most recent full-length A Productive Cough, offering an autumnal tableauof dread and decay to complement its LP companion’s springtime visions of rebirth and new possibilities. The title track remixes A Productive Cough’s hardest-rocking selection, foregrounding its ominous strings and swelling organ and featuring a soulful new lead vocal from frequent captain Matt “Money” Miller, while Only a Hobo plucks an oft-forgotten gem from the dusty corners of the Bob Dylan songbook to paint a grim portrait of hopes dashed and potential squandered. Eeriest of all is A Letter Home, which, across nearly 17 minutes and more than 1,200 words, drags the listener along for a harrowing descent into the darkness and proves definitively that this ceremony is no mere monster mash.

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Kiran Leonard – Western Culture

Kiran Leonard is a 22 year old musician from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester. Debut album proper Bowler Hat Soup(2014) and follow-up Grapefruit (2016) were both recorded at home, with Kiran playing virtually every instrument himself. Dervaun Seraun (2017), a concept album in five movements inspired by five pieces of literature and arranged for piano, strings and voice, was an ambitious departure from his usual sound. Western Culture now sees him return to the signature sound of his first two records, yet marks a huge sonic progression thanks to the involvement of his venerable live band on record for the first time, as well as being the first to have been made in a professional studio (Old Granada Studios in central Manchester).

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Novo Amor – Birthplace

Novo Amor, aka multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Ali Lacey comes from deep in the Welsh mountains. Recording, mixing and producing everything in his home studio, Lacey’s emotive vocals and the sounds he uses, often formed through sonic experimentation, make for fantastically atmospheric songs that are moving and striking. On his debut album Birthplace, the sounds of his home bleed in – the chatter of a party across the street, Bonfire Night fireworks, the seagulls that gather on the building site next door. Even the sound of the late-night recording hours kept to avoid the sounds of construction make their presence felt. The songs cover many theme and thoughts – Repeat Until Death deals with friends experiencing drug addiction, Seneca is rooted in the story of a town in Nebraska that tore itself apart over a dispute over how many horses might be kept in a yard.

LP – Single LP made from recycled vinyl, housed in full-colour printed inner sleeve and full-colour printed reverse board outer sleeve. Includes download card and 8-page 12’’ tracing paper booklet, featuring gold Pantone detail to mirror the effect of the original artwork used on the cover. As using recycled vinyl every record will be unique, no two colours will be the same. All cardboard used is FSC certified.

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The Oscillation – Wasted Space

The Oscillation are back with their sixth and most ambitious album to date, Wasted Space. A meditation on the nature of existence in the face of what can be insurmountable odds, Wasted Space finds The Oscillation painting from the darker shades of the kaleidoscopic scale. “The origins of Wasted Space go back to Monographic in 2016,” muses Demian Castellanos – themastermind behind The Oscillation. “That was a very bleak and heavy record and I really needed to move out of that mindset. Making U.E.F freed me up to write a coherent collection of narrative songs and compositions. Wasted Space is a partial continuation of a journey started with U.E.F., but one that re-incorporates more song-based ideas again.”What’s immediately apparent is that Wasted Space sets it stall well away from the prosaic third-eye tropes that have become orthodoxy. Album opener ‘Entity’ establishes the pace with a focus on the dance floor as much as on the navigation of existence. Fusing muscular grooves with an industrial wall of sound,these are bold steps into wholly new territories. “There’s an irony at play here,” considers Castellanos. “It’s a twisted party song, albeit a party for one.” But what a party it is. The mutant disco is bolstered by the rhythmic call-and-response of ‘Drop’, a track that eschews conventional methods of dance sensibility for more instinctive and primal urges. This is music that calls out to the suitably attuned.

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Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning

Last Building Burning is the product of eight days with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room, Boris) in Texas studio Sonic Ranch. Clocking in just over half an hour, the eight-song album sees Cloud Nothings capture their onstage appeal with help from Dunn, who Dylan Baldi describes as “technically minded without relying on technology to perfect the live sound.” In that, Last Building Burning is a return to Cloud Nothing’s sharpest form – the unhinged, feverish, guitar-heavy sound that they explode with onstage – without their early angst. “It’s not an angry record,” says Baldi. “It’s a very joyous thing for me. And it feels so nice to scream again, especially when you know people in the crowd will be screaming along back at you.”

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Peter Holsapple vs Alex Chilton  –  The Death Of Rock

Newly discovered recordings of early solo Peter Holsapple and Like Flies On Sherbert–era Alex Chilton. Liner notes by Peter Holsapple and author / filmmaker, Robert Gordon. Previously unseen photos from the collections of Peter Holsapple and Pat Rainer. It’s 1978 at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN. Peter Holsapple had rolled into town chasing the essence of Big Star. He hooked up with musician / engineer / friend-of-Big-Star, Richard Rosebrough after approaching, and being turned down by, Chris Bell who Holsapple had hoped might be interested in producing him. Together Richard and Peter started laying down tracks during the off hours at the studio. Chilton meanwhile, was knee deep in the making ofLike Flies On Sherbert, also being tracked at Phillips. He told Peter, “I heard some of that stuff you’re working on with Richard . . . and it really sucks.” Alex promised to come by and show Peter “how it’s done.” The results? Alex’s tracks definitely line up with the chaos found on Flies, while several of Peter’s songs found homes on The dB’s albums (Bad Reputationand We Were Happy There) and on an album by The Troggs (The Death Of Rock retooled as I’m In Control), so not a loss at all. What we have in these newly discovered tapes, is a fascinating pivot point with both artists moving past each other headed in distinctly different directions. Chilton moved toward punk/psychobilly as he began playing with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and produced The Cramps debut, Songs The Lord Taught Us, within a few months of these recordings. Holsapple was off to New York to audition for The dB’s and enter the world of “sweet pop.” Liner notes by Peter Holsapple tell the story of these recordings firsthand and author / filmmaker / Memphian, Robert Gordon, helps pull the time and place into focus. Previously unseen photos included in the package are drawn from the collections of Peter Holsapple and Pat Rainer.

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Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow

ATO records release Dave Matthews Band’s long-awaited new albumCome Tomorrow. Come Tomorrow is the band’s ninth studio release and its first since 2012’s Away From The World, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200. Working between tours at studios in Seattle, Los Angeles and Charlottesville, Dave Matthews Band chose to record with several different producers, including John Alagia, Mark Batson, Rob Cavallo and Rob Evans. The cover art for Come Tomorrow is by Béatrice Coron, who creates narrative allegories in silhouette to render archetypal stories.

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Insecure Men – Karaoke for One: Vol 1

Insecure Men return with a 10 track covers record, featuring takes on Bruce Springsteen, The Pogues, The Carpenters, Peter Andre et al.

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R.E.M.  –  Live At The BBC

REM grew up with the BBC, and this historic relationship is lovingly celebrated across an incredible collection that beautifully illustrates the career trajectory of one of modern music’s greatest bands. The collection comprises a treasure trove of rare and unreleased live and studio recordings culled from the BBC and band archives. This is a must-have collection for REM fans and an authoritative introduction for newcomers.

9CD – In-studio performances featured in the 8-CD / 1-DVD box set include a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003) and a glorious Radio 1 Live Lounge performance (2008). Live broadcasts include a rough-and-tumble show from Nottingham’s Rock City (1984), the stunning 1995 Milton Keynes Monster Tour (their first after a six-year break), a blistering 1999 Glastonbury headline set and an invitation-only 2004 show at London’s St James’s Church. The DVD kicks off with a sixty-minute intimate retrospective of the band’s legendary performances at the BBC in the Accelerating Backwards film – previously broadcast only in the UK and available commercially for the first time here. Accelerating Backwards also includes revealing interviews with Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, further testifying to R.E.M.’s long, special relationship with the BBC. The DVD also offers a complete 1998 Later….With Jools Holland episode uniquely dedicated to the band, plus TV appearances on Top of the Pops and more.

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There’s some rather good albums out tomorrow. We have new records from Cowboy JunkiesMattielLulucRayland BaxterDirty ProjectorsLoticBody/HeadThe HunnaThe OpheliasImmersion and a new ‘Black Mirror‘ soundtrack, this time from Alex Somers and Sigur Ros on limited white vinyl.

Some nice reissues as well, with coloured vinyl from Tom Waits for the ‘Foreign Affairs‘ album which hasn’t been on vinyl for some years. We also have old albums made new from The LibertinesGrateful Dead, a repress of the King Gizzard ‘Polygondwanaland’ coloured vinyl on Fuzz Club (in standard sleeve packaging) and a Trojan Records 50th anniversary picture disc. Special mention must go to the Holger Czukay/David Sylvian ‘Plight & Premonition and Flux and Mutability’ albums released as a double LP.

Dirty Projectors – Lamp Lit Prose

‘Lamp Lit Prose’ arrives just over a year after 2017’s self-titled ‘Dirty Projectors.’ Here David Longstreth’s band returns with a new album that is the yang to the yin of the 2017 effort. The songs signal a page turned for Longstreth: hope instead of heartbreak, a restorative balance. Guitars have returned to the Dirty Projectors’ world, intricate and gorgeous vocal harmony too. The album begins with “Right Now,” David singing, “there was silence in my heart, but now I’m striking up the band.” In addition to the core musicians and guests, LA string group the Calder Quartet, and The Brass Players of Los Angeles both appear on several songs. ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ is a recommitment to the sounds and ideals of Dirty Projectors, embracing the band’s trademarks while pushing forward the sonic envelope.

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Cowboy Junkies   –  All That Reckoning

With Cowboy Junkies’ new album, All That Reckoning, the band once again gently shakes the listener to wake up. Whether commenting on the fragile state of the world or on personal relationships, this new collection of songs encourages the listener to take notice. It also may be the most powerful album Cowboy Junkies have yet recorded.

Jason Isbell  –  Sirens Of The Ditch

The debut album from accomplished guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive By Truckers, is reissued with four unreleased tracks from the original recording sessions. The addition of those extra songs finds ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ clocking in at 15 total tracks.

Sirens Of The Ditch’’s mystical quality can be partially attributed to the FAME recording studio (Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding) in Isbell’s hometown of Muscle Shoals, AL, where the album was recorded.

Co-produced by Isbell and Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers), ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ features Isbell singing lead vocals and playing guitar throughout, joined by Shonna Tucker (formerly of Drive By Truckers) on bass and Brad Morgan (Drive By Truckers) on drums. Several musicians pop in for cameos including Spooner Oldham and David Hood (Patterson’s father) on ‘Down In A Hole’, John Neff (formerly of Drive By Truckers) on ‘Dress Blues’ and Patterson himself guests on ‘Shotgun Wedding’.

“A strong debut, full of the kind of confident, charismatic songwriting that just can’t be taught.”

Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Deafheaven’s new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, finds them working with old friends again. The Jack Shirley-produced and Nick Steinhardt-art directed (of Touché Amoré) collection gets its title from Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair, referencing a moment when someone is looking for love, in all of its imperfection and simple beauty. This sentiment is carried throughout the hazy, yearning romanticism of the record with song titles and words as sumptuous as the sounds around them.

Clarke describes the composition of Ordinary Corrupt Human Love beginning with “small seeds of healing, repair, and rebirth,” and like each subsequent Deafheaven album, this record is, in fact, a revelation. Defeat has inspired some of our best art. If you survive something terrible, you surface on the other side, walk toward the light, and come back to life. If you’re an artist, this kind of new self-knowledge can lead to creating something universal and remembered, something that can live longer than you do.

While Deafheaven have managed to cross over this road in the past, they’ve nailed the feeling wholly with Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, a feeling that comes with experience and wisdom. Yes, everybody deals with hurt, everybody’s been the cause of their own implosions, and everybody has the capacity to overcome and love again. Deafheaven have found a way to externalize all of this, and in making their most complete record to date, they turn it into a balm and a cathartic exorcism.

Body/Head – The Switch

Body/Head, the duo of Kim Gordon (CKM, Sonic Youth, Free Kitten, etc.) and guitarist Bill Nace (X.O.4, Vampire Belt, Ceylon Mange, etc), will release their second studio album, ‘The Switch’, on the 13th of July on Matador Records. Their debut album together as Body/Head, ‘Coming Apart’, from 2013, was more of a rock record

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Ben Folds  –  Brick

Brick – The Songs of Ben Folds, 1996-2012 features 13CDs housed in a unique brick box set.
This collection of 194 tracks spans the career to date of one of the most adventurous and exciting songwriters and performers of his generation, who has not only worked with a diverse range of artists including William Shatner, Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor, but authors Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman.
In addition to featuring all the Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds’ solo studio albums, the box set also includes the 2002 Ben FoldsLive album, the live album Songs For Goldfish which accompanied the 2005 album Songs For Silverman, the alternative Seeds versions from Stems And Seeds, and all the bonus tracks, b-sides and rarities from the whole period. Ben Folds Five formed in in 1993, accompanied by Robert Sledge (bass, synthesizers, backing vocals) and Darren Jessee (drums,backing vocals), with Folds on lead vocals and piano, this outstanding musical trio forged a path as an incendiary live band. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1995, the album featured such BFF’s classics as Underground and Philosophy. This was followed in 1997 by Whatever and Ever Amen. The album featured the singles, Battle Of Who Could Care Less and Kate, as well as UK Top 30 and mainstream radio hit in the USA and Australia, Brick. The third and final BFF’s album (until their 2012 reformation) was The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

In 2001 Folds released his first solo album, Rockin’ The Suburbs, which was recorded in Adelaide, Australia, where he was living at the time. The title track was remade for the 2006 film Over The Hedge, featuring William Shatner on vocal duties (both versions appear on this box set, as well as the five other songs recorded for the film). This was followed in 2005 by Songs For Silverman, which reached no.13 on the Billboard chart. The next year Folds released Supersunnyspeedgraphic, a compilation of songs,which were originally released on the EPs Sunny 16, Speed Graphic and Super D. The final Folds solo album to appear in this box set is 2008’s Way To Normal, which is his highest-charting solo album to date in the US, having entered at no.11 on the Billboard chart. The album featured a guest appearance by Regina Spektor, as well as are mastered follow up version, Stems and Seeds. For this Folds created a different track order and stem files, which allowed the listener to use computer applications to produce their own remixes. In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited to record new tracks for a Ben Folds retrospective. Excited by the experience, the band reconvened in Folds’ studio and recorded what would become the first BFF’s album for 13 years. With the title track’s lyric supplied by Folds collaborator Nick Hornby, The Sound of the Life of The Mind was to be their highest charting album, reaching no.10 on the Billboardchart. The box includes a 60 page booklet featuring a brand new interview with Paul Myers.

Grateful Dead  – Anthem of the Sun: 50th Anniversary Edition

Anthem of the Sun: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes two versions of Grateful Dead’s original album, both of which have been newly remastered: first, the original 1968 mix, and second, the 1971 remix. Both mixes of the albums were remastered by Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser from the original analog master tapes. The second disc boasts a previously unreleased complete live show recorded on October 22nd, 1967 at San Francisco’s Winterland.  It’s been newly  remastered by Jeffrey Norman and marks the first known recording of the Dead with Mickey Hart, who joined the band in September 1967.  A picture disc vinyl edition features the remastered 1971 mix only.

The Rolling Stones  – From the Vault: No Security – San Jose 1999 

The Rolling Stones revisit a 1989 performance from their No Security tour which extended from the band’s Bridges to Babylon outing.  This title will be released on DVD, 2CD/SD (Standard Definition) Blu-ray, 2CD/DVD, 3 LP, and digital audio and video platforms.  Whew!  (The 1998 concert album entitled No Security featured tracks culled from the Bridges to Babylon tour.)

Ben Folds Five  –  The Complete Sessions at West 54th 

This week brings a release from another longtime favorite!  Real Gone Music has the audio debut of Ben Folds Five’s June 9th, 1997 performance for PBS’ Sessions at West 54th of 15 songs including “Brick,” “Kate,” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less.”

This Week’s Releases

Rick Astley – ‘Beautiful Life’ LP
Rayland Baxter – ‘Wide Awake’ LP
Body/Head – ‘The Switch’ LP
Cowboy Junkies – ‘All That Reckoning’ LP
Holger Czukay & David Sylvian – ‘Plight & Premonition/Flux & Mutability’ 2LP reissue
Mikaela Davis – Delivery’ LP
Dirty Projectors – ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ LP
Grateful Dead – ‘Anthem Of The Sun’ picture disc LP reissue
The Hunna – ‘Dare’ limited sparkle vinyl LP
Immersion – ‘Sleepless’ LP
Jason Isbell – ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ 2LP reissue
The Jayhawks – ‘Back Roads & Abandoned Motels’ LP
The Libertines – ‘Time For Heroes: The Best Of’ red vinyl LP reissue
Lotic – ‘Power’ limited LP
LULUC – ‘Sculptor’ limited maroon vinyl LP
Mattiel – ‘Mattiel’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Nightmares On Wax – ‘Deep Shadows Remixes’ 12″
The Ophelias – ‘Almost’ green vinyl LP
OST: Alex Somers & Sigur Ros – ‘Black Mirror: Hang The DJ’ limited white vinyl LP
Pariah – ‘Her From Where We Are’ LP
The Rolling Stones – ‘From The Vault: No Security – San Jose 1999’ 3LP
Tom Waits – ‘Foreign Affairs’ LP reissue
Wolf Eyes – ‘Dread’ LP reissue
Yes – ‘90125’ limited coloured vinyl LP reissue
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaeed Muhammad – ‘The Midnight Hour’ 2LP
Various Artists – ‘Trojan Records 50th Anniversary’ picture disc LP

There were an astonishing amount of forthcoming albums announced this week that we now have for preorder.  Paul Weller has a new record ‘True Meanings’, out 14th September and a week later there is a new one from Christine & The Queens; you can choose between an English version, a French version or a deluxe box set that contains both versions. October 12th sees a brand new album from John Grant, ‘Love Is Magic’ is released on standard black vinyl 2LP and a limited deluxe clear vinyl 2LP that only us indie stores will have. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds release a live EP on the 28th September called ‘Distant Sky’.

Lots more new albums coming soon too on the way from Seasick Steve, The Proclaimers, Mikey Collins, Slaves,The Lemon Twigs, Black Honey, Nothing, Paul Haig, The Joy Formidable, Mudhoney,Marissa Nadler, Black Peaks, Birdpen and a limited remix 12″ from Parquet Courts.

New West Records is set to release Jason Isbell’s debut solo album, Sirens Of The Ditch, in a deluxe edition with four never-heard-before tracks from the original studio recordings.

Originally released in 2007, Sirens Of The Ditch was met with critical acclaim upon its release calling it “…a gorgeously whiskey-soaked country-soul masterpiece,” American Songwriter declaring it, “…a decadent debut,” and Pitchfork stating that it was “…a strong debut full of the kind of confident, charismatic songwriting that just can’t be taught.”  When Jason Isbell left Drive-By Truckers in 2007, his future was by no means secure: His time in the band had been marred by substance-abuse issues, and he wasn’t a known quantity as a solo artist after years spent sharing the spotlight with other songwriters. But when Isbell released Sirens of the Ditch that same year, it was clear that he’d been working from an almost bottomless well of talent and star potential.

Sirens’ forthcoming reissue features four previously unreleased studio tracks: “Racetrack Romeo,” “Crystal Clear” and two songs you can hear for the first time here. “The Assassin” is a Patterson Hood composition Isbell still plays in concert, while the churning original roots-rock ballad “Whisper” burns slowly and wearily. Notably, both fit seamlessly alongside the singer’s later songs about stumbling hard and finding saviors on the road to peace and redemption.

This new deluxe edition features four previously unreleased songs from the original sessions at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, bringing the new, expanded track listing to 15 total songs. NPR Music premiered two of the unreleased tracks today, including the Patterson Hood-penned “The Assassin,” which Isbell performs in concert to this day, and the track “Whisper.” The former Drive-By Truckers lead guitaristalbum was released on July 10, 2007

After leaving Drive-By Truckers amicably in 2007, Isbell released Sirens of the Ditch on New West Records. Sirens of the Ditch was recorded at Fame Studios, where among the musicians helping to record the album was Patterson Hood of Isbell’s previous band Drive by Truckers and Spooner Oldham, famous for his work with Aretha Franklin and Neil Young among others . The first single from the album was, “Brand New Kind of Actress,” deals with the death of Lana Clarkson in Phil Spector’s mansion.  Another single, “Dress Blues,” concerns the death of Corporal Matthew Conley, a US Marine from Isbell’s hometown who was killed in the Iraq War.

Jason Isbell’s third album in a row with outlaw-country “it” producer Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton) is the pair’s most fruitful collaboration yet. Title notwithstanding, it certainly doesn’t sound like your typical Nashville product. Marked by a tangible intimacy and warmth and loaded with crisp performances from the 400 Unit, this is a true band album. It also happens to feature Isbell’s finest songwriting to date, with lived-in melodies that resonate and a remarkably varied narrative perspective. Cobb tinkers with the Isbell formula in interesting—but never obtrusive—ways, coaxing the accelerated pace that makes “Cumberland Gap” such an exhilarating rocker and adding a vaguely progressive intro and outro to “Anxiety,” one of the most harrowingly direct studies of emotional turbulence ever written. In quieter moments, Isbell continues to extract plainspoken poetry from the numbing predictability of life’s harsh realities. “Maybe we’ll get 40 years together/But one day I’ll be gone, or one day you’ll be gone,” he concedes on “If We Were Vampires,” a gorgeously delicate duet sung with wife Amanda Shires. Yep, death is inevitable—about as inevitable as another great Jason Isbell album.

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When you’re an artist like Jason Isbell, the bar gets set higher and higher with each and every new album release, creating a tough hurdle for his album The Nashville Sound. Though he has established himself as one of the all-time greats in the world of songwriting during his time with the band Drive-By Truckers and over the course of three solo albums to date, it didn’t seem like a broader fanbase opened up to him until his 2013 LP, Southeastern. Isbell ripped his heart right out of his chest and slapped it on your turntable so you could hear every ounce of pain and sorrow, every ounce of joy and happiness, that he had experienced up until that point. The grooves of his arteries showcased a delicate artist, one who could capture the story of falling in love in a matter of minutes, or highlight the depths of pain that cancer brings to a relationship.

The Nashville Sound finds a recharged Isbell waving the flag for his adopted hometown’s left-of-center roots musicians. The city has changed markedly since his arrival, with exports like Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price challenging the public’s perception of what Nashville – a town whose very name remains synonymous with mainstream country music – actually sounds like. His roots sunk deep into the Tennessee ground, Isbell digs in for his biggest, boldest album to date, one that skirts the tired trends of Top 40 twang and, instead, sets a new watermark for accessible, articulate Americana.

Once again, the songs were written at home – this time in a modest place somewhere south of the city limits – with Amanda Shires pulling triple duty as muse, editor and bandmate. Also contributing to the album’s pointed punch are the 400 Unit’s Sadler Vaden, Chad Gamble, Derry DeBorja and Jimbo Hart, all of them whittled into sharp shape after touring in support of Southeastern and its chart-topping follow-up, Something More Than Free. For the first time since 2011’s Here We Rest, Isbell’s backing band receives co-billing on the album – a move that’s well-deserved.

There was something about his songwriting on Southeastern that perhaps felt more accessible than ever before with new and old fans alike, and since 2013, the expectations for Isbell have continued to rise to seemingly unachievable levels. Yet, a couple of years following Southeastern he met and exceeded those expectations with the Grammy-winning album, Something More Than Free. And now, in 2017, Isbell is facing the most anticipation he has likely ever faced in his career with the release of The Nashville Sound.

Isbell is a master storyteller, he’s also a master autobiographer, and opening The Nashville Sound is a pensive look at, potentially, his own career and life. As he sings “Am I the last of my kind?” over and over, he’s asking an honest question, one that could easily be applied to the musical world in which he lives. But it’s also a question that he could be applying vicariously to the working class across the country, those who convinced themselves that they were the forgotten minority leading up to last year’s election cycle. And still, it could simply be an homage to the great John Prine, a living legend whom Isbell (and his wife and member of the 400 Unit, Amanda Shires) has grown closer and closer with over the last few years.

The same interpretive trajectory could be placed on any of the songs found on The Nashville Sound. The flat-out rocker, “Cumberland Gap,” has one of the greatest lines of any Isbell tune—“As soon as the sun goes done / I find my way to the Mustang Lounge / And if you don’t sit facing the window, you could be in any town” — and while one fan might interpret that as a nod to the indistinguishable similarities found in Small Town U.S.A., another may go deeper and look at the overall theme of the song as one that follows the struggles of an alcoholic, something Isbell knows a thing or two about.

That’s the beauty of a Jason Isbell tune, and even more, the beauty of a Jason Isbell album. In a recent interview, he said, “I have learned that the process of trying to figure out what my album is about is better suited to critics and listeners than to me,” and he leaves that door wide open on his latest effort.

The one thing that is not left to interpretation, though, is the completeness of The Nashville Sound. Never has Isbell constructed a more unabridged record than this; though fans and critics may enjoy jumping on one individual track and heralding it as Isbell’s crowning achievement, the real story with The Nashville Sound is simply how perfect it is as one cohesive, full LP.

The opening trio of songs includes the aforementioned “Last of My Kind” and “Cumberland Gap,” neatly wrapped up with “Tupelo,” a track that starts out by continuing the “struggles of an alcoholic” interpretation that preceded it. The most powerful movement on The Nashville Sound is found in the next few tracks, though, as Isbell and company — keyboardist Derry deBorja, drummer Chad Gamble, bassist Jimbo Hart, guitarist Sadler Vaden, and fiddler Amanda Shires — shine on “White Man’s World,” “If We Were Vampires,” and the magnum opus, “Anxiety.”

The former two tracks have been unveiled to fans prior to the album’s release, and both have been examined ever so closely. In “White Man’s World,” Isbell is clearly stating where he’s at in both the current political landscape and the music industry. The title itself beckons the listener to consider the results of the presidential election of 2016, but the lyric, “Momma wants to change that Nashville sound / But they’re never gonna let her,” seems to take aim at Music City.

That song is followed with what many are proclaiming to be one of Isbell’s most beautiful and heartbreaking tunes ever, “If We Were Vampires.” A reflective look at life, death, and love, “Vampires” is an emotional reminder of both Isbell’s and Shires’ staggering talent, being able to shift from a politically- and professionally-motivated track like “White Man’s World” to a crushing song like this, one that reveals more and more poignant depth with every spin.

“Anxiety,” though, is the song that will be discussed and praised by fans and critics a hundred years from now. It is Isbell’s masterpiece, and the most dynamic, well-rounded song on The Nashville Sound, not because it merely showcases the frontman’s talents (though it does), but because it highlights all of the powerful and moving aspects of the 400 Unit. From start to finish, every single instrument and note, every single lyric, joins together to create an achievement that serves as a reminder of the power of Americana music, and Isbell’s place in the genre’s history books.

As that second movement wraps up, the rest of the record flows smoothly into “Molotov,” the quintessential “song of the summer” if Isbell ever wrote one, and “Chaos and Clothes,” a song that we think was inspired by Isbell’s good friend, Ryan Adams. (We’re serious. Spend some time with the lyrics and compare it to the heartbreak that Adams has experienced over the last few years, coupled with the themes in “I See Monsters” from 2004’s Love Is Hell—not to mention the “black metal T-shirt” reference.)

From there, Isbell gives fans the final two tracks, “Hope the High Road” and “Something to Love,” the former highlighting his rock and roll personality and the latter his softer, singer-songwriter edge. That last track takes the thoughts of the opening tune and, though it doesn’t answer the question “Am I the last of my kind?,” it does provide the listener with a bit of guidance as the record comes to a close: “I hope you find something to love / Something to do when you feel like giving up / A song to sing or a tale to tell / Something to love, it’ll serve you well.”

If Isbell ever pondered giving up — if he ever truly questioned whether he is the last of his kind — he has found hope in singing songs and telling tales, and he has never told a more complete tale than that of The Nashville Sound. As the needle runs out on side B, you won’t be putting the record back in its sleeve; you’ll flip it back and start listening all over again as you try to determine what exactly that Nashville sound is, and why it’s so damn important.

“The Last of my Kind”
Opening the album on a mellow note, “The Last of my Kind” spins the sad story of an Arkansas native who loses himself – geographically, emotionally, mentally – within the big city. “Nobody here can dance like me / Everybody clapping on the one and three,” Isbell laments during the initial 30 seconds, delivering the album’s first of many killer lines. Behind him, the 400 Unit fades in and out, waiting until the song’s second half to make a proper entrance.

“Cumberland Gap”
File this pissed-off rocker beside “Decoration Day” and “Go It Alone.” Recasting himself as a boozehound in an Appalachian coal-mining town, Isbell feels angry and spiteful, his horizons filled with mountains whose peaks have been blasted away in search of cheapening coal. He funnels that fury through distorted guitars and an epic chorus, nodding to his days with the Drive-By Truckers along the way.

“Tupelo”
Isbell is on the move once again. This time, he’s driving back home, reeling from a bad breakup and a hard fall off the wagon. His plan? Finish the last of his “plastic cup of real good wine,” sober up and relocate to northern Mississippi, where “the summer is blistering, so there ain’t no one from here that’ll follow me there.” Punctuated by some swooning slide guitar, “Tupelo” is equal parts Southern soul and sad-eyed folk, the soundtrack for slow Sunday afternoons.

“White Man’s World”
Taking a hard look at his place in Trump’s America, Isbell tackles social privilege, gender politics and the desire to shield his daughter from the harsh realities of a country that remains divided along cultural lines. The anger is pointed and palpable here, hitting a high mark during the song’s solo section, where Isbell’s electric guitar and Amanda Shires‘ fiddle chase each other in fuming circles.

“If We Were Vampires”
The Nashville Sound’s stunning standout, “If We Were Vampires” shatters the love song’s familiar mold, focusing not on the never-ending power of Isbell’s affection for Shires, but the pair’s limited time together. “This can’t go on forever / Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone,” the two sing during the song’s chorus, acknowledging their own mortality. The real gut punch arrives during the second verse, though, where Isbell’s voice briefly falters, a sign of an emotional recording session.

“Anxiety”
A mid-tempo pop/rock song at its core, “Anxiety” is bookended by two sections of dramatic, guitar-driven crunch, like the musical manifestations of the unease that gives the song its name. On a track dominated by first-rate lyrics, it’s those instrumental breaks – particularly Sadler Vaden’s chromatic guitar riffs, which could’ve found a home on Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Mojo – that steal the show.

“Molotov”
Caught halfway between Tom Petty’s poppy punch, Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic nostalgia and R.E.M.’s ringing guitars, “Molotov” takes a look backward, setting its scene “in the year of the tiger, 19something.” “I hope you still see fire inside of me,” Isbell sings to a former flame, seconds after rhyming “three wishes” with “being facetious.” Well played.

“Chaos and Clothes”
“Chaos and Clothes” roots itself in the double-tracked vocals and fragile beauty of Elliott Smith’s bedroom recordings. It’s like nothing Isbell has ever made before, with soft, woozy textures replacing the bombast of the two songs that flank it. “You’re in the fight to the death, my friend,” he sings to the song’s narrator, a heartbroken single man struggling to forget the woman who’s left a trail of memories in his mind and the occasional garment in his apartment.

“Hope the High Road”
With a disappointing election behind them and an uncertain future on the horizon, Isbell and the 400 Unit mix politics with benevolence on this optimistic heartland rocker. “Wherever you are, I hope the high road leads you home again to a world you want to live in,” goes the final chorus, addressing the marginalized, the left out and the pissed-off.

“Something to Love”
A close cousin to Something More Than Free opener “If It Takes a Lifetime,” “Something to Love” unfolds like a front-porch folk song, mixing coed harmonies with brushed percussion and understated guitar. Here, Isbell sings to his toddler daughter, willing her the resolve, patience and curiosity needed to survive in modern times. “I don’t quite recognize the world you’ll call home,” he admits, urging her to “find what makes you happy, girl, and do it ’til you’re gone.” That’s good advice.

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With an artist like Jason Isbell, the bar gets set higher and higher with each and every new album, creating a tough hurdle for his upcoming release The Nashville Sound. Though he established himself as one of the all-time greats songwriters with his previous band Drive By Truckers and so far over the course of three solo albums,  Isbell ripped his heart right out of his chest and slapped it on your turntable so you could hear every ounce of pain and sorrow, every ounce of joy and happiness, that he had experienced up until that point. The grooves of his arteries showcased a delicate artist, one who could capture the story of falling in love in a matter of minutes, or highlight the depths of pain that cancer brings to a relationship.

This isn’t to say that Isbell wasn’t doing this exact same thing on his debut solo record, Sirens of the Ditch, or the following two albums, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and Here We Rest. His debut rings eternal with tracks like “In a Razor Town” and “Brand New Kind of Actress,” while the self-titled LP brought with it unforgettable journeys through “Cigarettes and Wine” and “No Choice in the Matter.” Here We Rest produced many fan-favorites to this day, including “Alabama Pines” and “Codeine,” among others.

There was something about his songwriting on Southeastern that perhaps felt more accessible than ever before with new and old fans alike, and since 2013, the expectations for Isbell have continued to rise to seemingly unachievable levels. Yet, a couple of years following Southeastern he met and exceeded those expectations with the Grammy-winning album, Something More Than Free. And now, in 2017, Isbell is facing the most anticipation he has likely ever faced in his career with the release of The Nashville Sound.

Jason Isbell is a master storyteller, he’s also a master autobiographer, and opening The Nashville Sound is a pensive look at, potentially, his own career and life. As he sings “Am I the last of my kind?” over and over, he’s asking an honest question, one that could easily be applied to the musical world in which he lives.

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Singer-songwriter is joined by wife Amanda Shires for powerful meditation on love and death from ‘The Nashville Sound’ Jason Isbell has always recognized how joy is meaningless without pain, and that life’s real beauty lies not in the promise of forever, but in treating the ephemeral with the delicacy and respect it deserves. That knowledge is what makes “If We Were Vampires” the newest single from his forthcoming LP The Nashville Sound, so affecting: it’s a love song dosed heavily in reality, packed both with the gut-wrenching truth that death is the inevitable divider and the powerful conclusion that immortality would actually render true passion pointless.

“It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever, likely one of us will have to spend some days alone,” sings Isbell alongside harmonies from his wife Amanda Shires to some understated acoustic guitar. Isbell’s love songs are savvy enough to exist outside of fantasyland even at their most intense: though Southeastern’s “Cover Me Up” finds two lovers shunning the world in favor of each other, it’s not without knowledge that something, somehow, will force them to leave the comforts of a private embrace. “If We Were Vampires” though heartbreaking in its honesty, offers our limited lifespans not as a terrifying bookend, but a qualifier that makes love worthwhile. As Isbell puts it, “maybe time running out is a gift.”

The Nashville Sound will be released June 16th via Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers.

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One thing that Jason Isbell doesn’t always get to do is just rock the hell out. As a former member of Drive-By Truckers, and now as a solo artist, one picture of Isbell is as a thoughtful and introspective dude who documents the whole “Southern thing” as well as anyone going, while kind of keeping the amps dialed down.

That couldn’t be further from the truth on “Cumberland Gap,” the second single from his soon-to-be-released sixth album. With his former band The 400 Unit backing him up, Isbell blazes through the dusty and abandoned trails of the titular Appalachian pass. The song’s character at every turn and every squall of guitar is just trying to get out of Dodge. A small town’s bars are no longer an escape but another form of oppression. There’s not much wealth to be spread around. The mines have shut down, and one of the few opportunities for employment is to go fight in some bullshit war. It’s as though the man of “Outfit” has stuck around for too long and the realization has hit him like a ‘69 Chevy with a 396 going 80 mph. The Cumberland Gap swallowed his daddy up, and now it’s doing the same to him. It’s certainly one of the more darkly affective tunes Isbell has crafted, and absolutely one of this year’s best rock songs.

The Nashville Sound is out June 16th on Southeastern Records.