Posts Tagged ‘New West Records’

“It’s amazing. Twenty years. We packed a lot in, musically speaking.” John Hiatt reflects on his career over the last two decades as he prepares to celebrate the release of Only the Song Survives, a massive vinyl box set that honors his career from 2000’s Crossing Muddy Waters through 2018’s The Eclipse Sessions — 11 albums in total. “That means I started out with the records in this box set when I was about 47 years old,” Hiatt says with a chuckle in his voice, somewhat shocked at what he just said.

Only the Song Survives highlights Hiatt’s tenacious work ethic. “I was busy,” he admits. “I was busy, and I really got going in 2000.” Each of the box set’s records (listed below) is pressed on high-quality, 180-gram wax, and they’re all housed in a gorgeous leatherette briefcase, complete with gold stamping, buckle and handle.

“I was completely kept in the dark. My manager, Ken Levitan, and the folks at New West Records put it together,” Hiatt says of the curation and creation of Only the Song Survives. “It’s really flattering. I’m excited to see it. Hell, I might buy one!”

New West is not only involved with the release of the box set, but they, too, are being celebrated, as all but two of the set’s LPs were originally released on the label; in fact, the relationship Hiatt has with New West Records is the longest he’s had with any record label. On top of that, four of the albums in the set have never been pressed on vinyl, making this release much more than a greatest hits collection: Only the Song Survives is the definitive collection of Hiatt’s career over the last 20 years, 11 LPs spread out over 15 vinyl discs.

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“Isn’t that great?” Hiatt says when he thinks about listening to Crossing Muddy Waters, The Tiki Bar Is Open, Beneath This Gruff ExteriorandMaster of Disaster on vinyl, all for the first time. “I’ve got a turntable and a pair of powered speakers. It’s nothing fancy, but it feels great to plunk that needle down and hear that crackle and pop when the song kicks in. It’s going to be great to hear some of these records on that turntable.”

As Hiatt considers his love for the musical medium, he’s excited that others will be joining him in experiencing albums as they are intended to be heard: in whole, with no skipping around from one track to the next.

“We’re such a song-oriented world now,” he reflects. “It’s all about one tune, you know? But people are listening to vinyl and getting back into that experience. It’s kind of like a lost thing, but people are dialing back into it.”

When he thinks about those early ’00s records, Hiatt impresses with his signature optimism and cheer. “I remember how much fun we had making Crossing Muddy Waters,” he says with the utmost pride and gratitude. “Like most of my records, it was serendipitous. It was all about getting Davey Faragher and David Immerglück together, and then deciding that it’d be fun to make an acoustic record. It just kind of came together like that, and next thing you know we’re over at Justin Niebank’s little home studio in his basement, out in the country, and we’re recording it. I think it took us four or five days.”

He turns to 2001’s The Tiki Bar Is Open, noting that he actually started working on the LP prior to Crossing Muddy Waters. “I had started recording it for Capitol Records,” Hiatt recalls, “and we played them some stuff, and they were less than enthusiastic. So we basically got them to give us that record, and we put it out after Crossing Muddy Waters.”

“Working with Jay Joyce on that was a thrill,” he adds. “And you know, that band was the Goners. We had played together, at that point, for about 15 years. That was a fun record to make.”

Hiatt’s New West Records debut, 2003’s Beneath This Gruff Exterior, carries with it similar memories: “That album was all about saying, ‘Hey, fellas, let’s make a real band record,'” he says. “And that kind of just came about. I worked with the great Don Smith, a great engineer and producer, and that was a thrill, too. I got to work at Blackbird Studio for the first time, and that’s just a great studio.”

Hiatt then released Master of Disaster in 2005. For him, the album brings up recollections of heading to Memphis to work with his old friend Jim Dickinson and Jim’s boys Luther and Cody, of the North Mississippi Allstars.

“Oh, and Patterson Hood’s [dad], David, was on bass,” Hiatt remembers with a laugh.

Among so many other musicians and friends, Drive-By Truckers member Hood plays a significant role in Only the Song Survives, sharing his own memories of Hiatt and his influence in a beautiful 48-page book that is also housed in the record suitcase. Alongside Hood — who calls Master of Disaster an “often overlooked gem in Hiatt’s vast catalog” — other contributions to the book come from James McMurtry, Steve Earle, Bob Seger, Rodney Crowell, Suzy Bogguss and even Hiatt’s daughter and fellow New West labelmate, Lilly Hiatt. When he hears the ongoing list of friends and family who pay tribute to him, Hiatt appears speechless for a moment.

“It’s surprising,” he confesses. “I’m honored. When you line all of these people up like this, and you see it in this book … it’s overwhelming.”

As Hiatt examines his past body of work — reflection is not something he’s particularly fond of, although he admits that “there’s a lot more behind me than there is ahead of me” — he is quick to assure fans that Only the Song Survives is far from a farewell box set. “I’ve been doing a little bit of writing and been talking to some people, kicking around some ideas for a project,” he shares.

“We’ll see. I think I’ve got some more in me,” Hiatt continues. “It’s sort of been my habit since, well, since 1974. I like writing songs, I like singing them, and I like recording them and putting them out.”

As Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times shares in the set’s book, Only the Song Survives is a celebration and commemoration of the “third act” of Hiatt’s storied career. Hiatt considers the idea that the dawn of the 21st century marks the start of his third act, pausing for a brief moment as he does so.

“I might have a fourth act in me,” he says. “It might be brief … but who knows.”

Only the Song Survives is available via New West Records. The limited-edition box set will be released on December. 6th. The vast box set includes eleven albums, spread across fifteen long play records, all pressed on high quality 180g vinyl. Four releases – Crossing Muddy Waters (2000), The Tiki Bar Is Open (2001), Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003) and Master Of Disaster (2005) – have been remastered for vinyl and pressed on wax for the very first time. The box set’s 48-page book is autographed by John Hiatt and features rare photos, testimonials, essays and insights from many of Hiatt’s co-conspirators throughout his career.

John Hiatt, Only the Song Survives Box Set Album Listing:

Crossing Muddy Waters (2000) *
The Tiki Bar Is Open (2001) *
Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003) *
Master of Disaster (2005) *
Live from Austin, TX (2005)
Same Old Man (2008)
The Open Road (2010)
Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns (2011)
Mystic Pinball (2012)
Terms of My Surrender (2014)
The Eclipse Sessions (2018)

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Despite coming up in a Georgia scene that also spawned R.E.M. and the Black Crowes, and spending time on the road touring with Neil Young and Soul Asylum following the release of their successful 1991 album Fly Me Courageous, Drivin N Cryin are generally overlooked in the discussions of Southern rock. As this new vinyl reissue makes clear, they certainly deserve to be part of the conversation. The LP is a sparklingly remastered and renamed version of the group’s 1997 self-titled album, originally released on the little-known Ichiban International label. And what it reveals is a band that is comfortable working in the vein of cowpunk (“Paid In Full,” a stomping cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane”), jangling power-pop and dreamy psychedelia as they are in muscular barroom rock. Beneath it all, front man Kevn Kinney’s bruised lyrical sensibilities prove to be the true heart of the group, capturing the desperation, thrills and weathered spirit of a born romantic.

Drivin N Cryin proved much more resilient than many of their peers as well, as the band is still going strong today and still releasing quality music. It’s well past time catch up with these rock lifers.

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released July 27th, 2018

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“Power,” the title track from Shreveport based rock group Seratones‘ upcoming record, is probably this week’s most aptly-named cut. After two-and-a-half minutes of driving, all-out performances from the entire group, almost everything drops out, leaving vocalist AJ Haynes alone with a tremolo string section, before suddenly diving back into the opening groove, fuller and more powerful than before. Power is out August 23rd on New West Records.

A super-compact jam at just over two minutes, “Gotta Get to Know Ya” is based around a fuzzed-out, punk-funk bassline and Haynes’ versatile vocals, which range from sultry purrs to siren wails. Building on the soul and garage-rock elements of their debut album, Haynes and the Seratones keep the pace by laying down a ridiculously tight groove, sprinkling in some spacey synth effects and live-wire guitar skronk along the way. But it’s clear this is Haynes’ show: “Feel the heat of my fire/I gotta gotta gotta gotta get to get to get to know ya,” she sings, switching from smooth, Lenny Kravitz-style layered harmonies

From the new album ‘POWER,’ available August 23rd

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Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz create candid music with deep emotional and personal resonance. The sisters, who record under the moniker Lily and Madeleine, boldly explore what it means to be women in the 21st century, and aren’t afraid to use their music to call out injustice or double standards. This fearless approach has permeated their three albums, which are full of insightful lyrics and thoughtful indie-pop. But with their fourth studio album, Canterbury Girls – named after Canterbury Park, located in their hometown of Indianapolis – the sisters are coming into their own as women and musicians.

Using an eclectic playlist of songs as sonic inspirations – soul tunes and waltzes, as well as cuts from Midlake, ABBA and Nancy Wilson – Lily and Madeleine worked quickly, recording Canterbury Girls in just 10 days. Although the record contains plenty of Lily and Madeleine’s usual ornate music—including the languid Analog Love, on which twangy guitars curl around like a kite twisting in the wind – the album also finds the siblings exploring new sonic vistas. Supernatural Sadness is an irresistible slice of bubbly, easy-going disco-pop; the urgent Pachinko Song hews toward interstellar synth-pop with driving rhythms, and Can’t Help The Way I Feel is an effervescent, Motown-inflected number. Vocally, the sisters also take giant leaps forward. The dreamy waltz Self Care is a rich, piano-heavy track on which their voices intertwine for soulful harmonies, while the meticulous Just Do It has a throwback, ‘70s R&B vibe.

From the new album ‘Canterbury Girls,’ available February 22nd, 2019:

Aaron Lee Tasjan is set to release his new album Karma For Cheap on August 31st via New West Records. This will be Tasjan’s second solo venture and signals a different sound for the artist, a change he described  as “… a little more rough and ready, more raw than anything I’ve done before.”

The 31-year-old from New Albany, Ohio has already enjoyed a varied music career, having played with Semi Precious Weapons and the New York Dolls, in addition to his work as a solo artist.

Of the new record, Tasjan says: “I needed this album to have a sense of adventure and mystery, to feel a little shaky and dangerous at times — something that wasn’t the obvious choice in terms of what people already like about what I do.  I’ve come to realize that I’m a searcher, which means I’m going to be searching forever.”

Tasjan says the new project is influenced by his childhood favorites the Beatles, David Bowie, and Badfinger, to name a few.

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.

The Nude Party – one of 2018’s most groovy and dynamic rock records is produced by Oakley Munson of The Black Lips and recorded in Woodstock, NY at Dreamland Recording Studios, the circa-1896 former St. John’s Church. The self-titled album finds that formidable music machine cranked all the way to cosmic. Maybe it’s the electric waters of Lake Norman, NC where the band spent a primordial summer, or the upstate New York vibes that have beckoned American spiritualists and storytellers for a dozen generations, but something gives these cats a glow. At very least the numerology scans. Even when heartbreak crashes the party, like on the hilarious “Records,” the buoyancy of the band’s demeanor negates the inevitable bummer. From the self-aware irreverence of “Chevrolet Van” to the apocalyptic resignation of “War Is Coming,” The Nude Party surfs heavy wavelengths with elegance and grace.

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on New West Records

Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Joseph Arthur recently formed a new band, Arthur Buck, they released a brand-new video for the second track from the forthcoming album  “Are You Electrified?” Arthur Buck will release the self-titled debut album on June 15th via New West Records.

Following their latest track, “I Am The Moment,” their “Are You Electrified?” video sees the duo performing outside on the beach and alongside graffiti-painted walls, with colorful visual effects and flourishes adding to the video and song’s overall trippy feel.

All of the album’s 11 tracks were co-written by the pair and mixed by Tchad Blake (U2, Pearl Jam, The Black Keys). Recorded at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, Ore., the album was produced by Arthur at his studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The collaboration came about after the pair met up in Mexico near the end of 2017. Arthur recalled, “My first thought was, ‘Hey, I’ll get Peter to play acoustic guitar on some of the stuff I’m working on!’ So I started showing him songs. But he was like, ‘That’s cool. Now check this out.’ And he started playing chords and whatnot. So I put my guitar down and began singing over his changes, and it was magical. It was easy. And these great songs just started popping out.”

“It was all new songs, and it was spontaneous,” Buck said. “And the great thing about working that way was that it didn’t have to be anything in particular. It was liberated from any expectation. It was free.” Talking about his new bandmate and the album’s lyrics, Buck also added, “Joe is going through that searching period we all go through in life. And those experiences he’s having make this a very forward-looking record, lyrically.”

 

Joseph Arthur and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck will release their debut LP, Arthur Buck, on June 15th via New West Records. The duo previewed the album with upbeat lead single “I Am The Moment”

“Becoming free/ It’s not as easy as I’d like it to be,” Arthur sings over a lush arrangement that builds with a raw blend of percussion, vocal samples and strings.

The Arthur Buck collaboration originated toward the end of 2017, when the pair rain into each other during respective visits to Todos Santos, Mexico. They wound up pooling their material and crafted eight songs in three days; on the fourth, they performed a show for a small group of locals near Buck’s home. “It was really spontaneous and kind of magical in its own way, as [being in Mexico] we were kind of disconnected from everything,” said Buck

In an interview with NPR, Arthur recalls writing “I Am the Moment” “within the first 10 minutes of seeing each other.” He continued, “Same way as we wrote our other songs. He had the chords and arrangement and I did the top line  except when I sang, ‘I am the moment ,’ he sang back, ‘Waiting for you.’ Peter said, ‘Okay, finish the lyrics so we can play that tonight.’ And I did, and we did. And the crowd completely sang along to it.” Arthur said that the song arose through his ritual of listening to inspirational YouTube clips.

From the album ‘Arthur Buck,’ available June 15th . Arthur Buck is Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur Animation/painting by Joseph Arthur

The Nude Party are a six-piece from North Carolina . The fine folks at New West Records will be releasing their debut LP on June 8th. While you wait, check out how they came up with such a unique moniker.

The members of The Nude Party first came together in the freshman dormitories of Boone, North Carolina’s Appalachian State University in 2012. Patton Magee, and later Austin Brose, linked up with childhood friends Connor Mikita & Alec Castillo and stepbrothers Shaun Couture & Don Merrill. The following summer, the young men moved into a lake house outside of town to begin learning their respective instruments and jamming on rudimentary riffs. Friends came by the lake house to swim and party and soon there developed a group obsession with performing in the nude.

They quickly gained a following as the house band at a notorious Boone party palace referred to as the 505 House, and the bare honesty of their performances was so contagious that their audience also started partying au naturel. While these traditions may appear risqué to the casual observer, the band explains, “These weren’t orgies, they weren’t sexual even. It was just kind of a wild exhibitionism that we felt gave us freedom.” Best known around campus as “the naked party band,” this informal aggregation of musicians became a defined unit and chose to call their group simply “The Nude Party.”

THE NUDE PARTY: 
Patton Magee – Guitar, Vocals
Shaun Couture – Guitar, Vocals
Alec Castillo – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Don Merrill – Organ, Piano, Vocals
Austin Brose – Percussion, Vocals
Connor Mikita – Drums, Cowbell