Posts Tagged ‘Linda Pitmon’

Steve Wynn is well known as a vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, beginning as part of the renowned Paisley Underground outfit The Dream Syndicate.  After the group folded, Wynn began a solo career that garnered critical acclaim and accolades from his legion of fans.  Now, his solo career is celebrated in a new, 11-CD box set from Real Gone Music called Decade.  The expansive 166-track set chronicles Wynn’s career with deluxe versions of the albums he released from 1995 to 2005, many of which have been long out of print.  From the U.S. albums “Melting In The Dark, Sweetness and Light, My Midnight, Here Come The Miracles, Static Transmission, and …Tick…Tick…Tick”, to the rarities collections like the German compilation The Emusic Singles Collection and the European set Pick of the Litter– not to mention the 57 unreleased tracks within – the Decade Box Set promises to be the definitive word on Steve Wynn’s solo output.  It’s all been compiled and sequenced by Wynn himself, alongside archivist and box set producer Pat Thomas.  

Steve Wynn first gained fame as lead singer and songwriter for The Dream Syndicate. But his post-Dream Syndicate solo career is the equal of any indie-rock singer-songwriter you’d care to name. Now, Real Gone Music and Steve Wynn have joined forces to release “Decade” (yup, the Neil Young reference is deliberate), an 11-CD set that chronicles, with lavish deluxe editions, the guitar-driven albums Wynn recorded between 1995 and 2005, most of which have been long out-of-print. The statistics on this box set are mind-blowing: 166 tracks, 57 of them totally unreleased, plus 31 other rarities! That’s right’over half of this 11-CD set consists of either hitherto unknown recordings or tracks that have been almost impossible to find!.

So, Real Gone Music has just issued (is issuing? I’m not sure about the timeline) “Decade”, an 11-CD box set of music recorded by Steve Wynn—he of Dream Syndicate, Miracle Three, Gutterball, Baseball Project, and other fames—between 1995 and 2005, and the first album in the set is Melting in the Dark, which Steve recorded with Boston band Come back in 1995. If you’ve never heard “Melting in the Dark“, I recommend you order the box set right now so you can enjoy the fruits of our labours (plus Steve’s albums Sweetness and Light, Here Come the Miracles, and more!). We basically rehearsed and recorded all of “Melting in the Dark” in two three- or four-day sessions, and there are a lot of great songs and performances therein

Steve Wynn Decade (11-CD Box Set)

Steve Wynn first gained fame as lead singer and songwriter for the legendary Paisley Underground outfit The Dream Syndicate. But his post-Dream Syndicate solo career is the equal of any indie-rock singer-songwriter you’d care to name. Now, Real Gone Music and Steve Wynn have joined forces to release “Decade” (yup, the Neil Young reference is deliberate), an 11-CD set that chronicles, with lavish deluxe editions, the guitar-driven albums Wynn recorded between 1995 and 2005, most of which have been long out-of-print.

The statistics on this box set are mind-blowing: 166 tracks, 57 of them totally unreleased, plus 31 other rarities! That’s right’over half of this 11-CD set consists of either hitherto unknown recordings or tracks that have been almost impossible to find! As for the other tracks, they hail from the following albums: the American releases Melting In The Dark, Sweetness and Light, My Midnight, Here Come The Miracles, Static Transmission, and ‘Tick’Tick’Tick, and the German-only compilation entitled The Emusic Singles Collection (rare tracks from another European-only release, a collection of rarities entitled Pick of the Litter, appear here as well).

So where do all the unreleased tracks come from? Well, during this 10-year period, Steve Wynn recorded dozens of songs ‘ sometimes at home and occasionally in a proper studio. Many of those songs got re-recorded and revamped and became key memorable parts of his catalogue. Other songs got tossed away and forgotten. For Decade, long-time Steve Wynn (and Dream Syndicate) archivist Pat Thomas in cooperation with Steve Wynn listened to about a hundred hours of unreleased tapes and compiled this amazing box set that not only includes remastered (by Mike Milchner of SonicVision) versions of some of Steve Wynn’s best albums but also the first American release of the two rare European only titles. And ‘ it bears saying again ‘ 57 previously unreleased recordings that not even hardcore tape traders have heard!

Several of these albums were recorded with Steve Wynn’s core band of Linda Pitmon on drums, Dream Syndicate guitarist Jason Victor, and long-time Miracle 3 bass player Dave DeCastro. Along the way, there are appearances from Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas, Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb, indie chanteuse Barbara Manning, Chris Brokaw & Thalia Zedek of Come, Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu, John Convertino of Calexico, Rich Gilbert and many others. With so much material, you need a program’and so Steve Wynn himself has penned very detailed notes that tell the stories behind the origins of all 57 previously unreleased songs! Plus essays from box set producer Pat Thomas and several of Wynn’s long time bandmates. And a pile of previously unseen photos…all inside a mammoth, full-colour 48-page book!.

The first releases from Filthy Friends, the scorchingly melodic rock group whose membership consists of some of the most original musical voices of the past three decades, came as a small, delightful shock to the system. Not only because of the names associated with the project, including Sleater-Kinney co-founder Corin Tucker, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and indie stalwarts Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, but also because of how ably they were able to mesh their individual sounds into a crackling melodic whole on debut album Invitation.

Now, with their follow-up—Emerald Valley, out on Kill Rock Stars on May 3rd—the Friends have proven their collective mettle, crafting a thematic suite of songs that finds the quintet digging deeper into their bag of musical tricks and giving Tucker room to rage about and mourn the fate of our planet and the people who inhabit it.

The core idea came from a demo Buck shared with Tucker for a grinding blues song that eventually turned into this new album’s title track. The minute she heard it, Tucker says, it sparked something within her: “I had this long poem growing in my brain,” she says. “It turned into a sort of manifesto about the kind of place we are at as a country but also as a region. Just taking stock of where we’re at and feeling like I can’t believe we let things get this bad.”

While Emerald Valley starts off with idyllic imagery (“Rolling fields, they speak your name/vibrant green is here again”), the album and its title track slowly reveal the ugly underneath, with human arrogance and hubris hurting the Earth and the people who take on “backbreaking work for little pay.”

From there, the Friends address growing concerns over oil production and distribution (“Pipeline”), gentrification and income inequality within the band’s hometown of Portland, Oregon (“One Flew East”), and taking on the voice of the desperate souls that are getting crushed under the wheels of capitalism (“Last Chance County”). The band paints these themes with many different shades of the rock palette, nestling a snapping punk tune between a bit of jangly pop and an almost-shoegaze ballad, with stops along the way for songs that burn as hot and move as slow as lava and tunes that stay steady and fast as a rocket launch.

Emerald Valley is also a testament the indefatigable spirit of the Filthy Friends themselves. Scott McCaughey bounced back from a stroke he suffered in late 2017, which curtailed the band’s tour plans and is playing with more fire than ever. As well, Corin Tucker and Peter Buck were able to devise some amazing work even as their creative energies were being pulled toward other projects like Arthur Buck and Sleater-Kinney. Too, the band was able to bring a new member into the fold with drummer Linda Pitmon coming on board to replace Bill Rieflin without losing an ounce of their power.

We could all take a lesson from Filthy Friends. As proven by Emerald Valley, when a group of like-minded people gather their individual strengths together and point them toward a singular goal, there’s no telling how powerful they can become and what an impact they can make on the world at large.

Released May 3rd, 2019