Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

For nearly three decades under the Mountain Goats moniker, John Darnielle has been honing his craft as a songwriter and story-teller, shifting from those early direct-to-boombox recordings to elaborate concept albums about Professional Wrestling and Dungeons & Dragons, and generally finding a way to do whatever he wants. His latest project manifests in the new album, Getting Into Knives, “the perfect album for the millions of us who have spent many idle hours contemplating whether we ought to be honest with ourselves and just get massively into knives”. The album was laid to tape in the legendary Sam Phillips Recordings studio, an attempt to capture the spirit of the touring show that has blossomed with their current four-piece band.

The album will arrive on Merge at the end of next month, and this week they’ve shared the latest single from it, Get Famous.

While anyone who has even cast a flitting eye in the direction of The Mountain Goats’ music will probably realise, the thought of actually getting famous has never been top of their to-do-list. Instead here the idea is presented like acid in John’s mouth, spitting out his words at fame hungry stars, “light up the sky like a comet, make yourself want to vomit, shine like a cursed star, show everybody exactly who you are”. He even throws in a reference to Wesley Willis, the cult singer-songwriter, diagnosed with schizophrenia who was in some ways the antithesis of fame itself, to the point he was noted for greeting his fans with a headbutt. Like most of the best moments of The Mountain Goats, the playful lyricism is combined with some genuinely fabulous music, here they seem to channel the spirit of The Swampers or the Spacebomb House Band, combining virtuoso musical talent with a sense of undeniable fun, from the howling organ to the bright brass flourishes, surely destined for choreographed performances once you’re allowed enough people on a stage at one time. A band who know exactly what they’re doing and are at the top of their game, The Mountain Goats might never have sounded better, let’s just hope for their sake they don’t get famous because of it.

The day I wrote this song I knew the wait to share it would be excruciating AND IT HAS BEEN but today! is! the! day! across all platforms right now! Get Famous!. John Darnielle has written almost 600 songs now, and some of them are very sad, dealing with hard drugs and tragic ends, hurting yourself and others, sicknesses of both body and brain, off-brand alcohols. They are told in beautiful, unnerving, specific detail because he is a very good writer, and also some of them are just true stories about his own life.

“That kinetic rush of the record’s creation can be felt in first single ‘As Many Candles as Possible,’ which features Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges.” – Brooklyn Vegan

“The track opens with a bristling twist of guitars and rumbling drums before settling into a steady groove. A distorted crunch underpins the primarily acoustic proceedings, helping the song build to a pitch-perfect freakout, featuring Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges.” – Rolling Stone

“The album news arrives with the release of dark, squally lead single “As Many Candles As Possible,” which features Al Green organist Charles Hodges and builds to a churning catharsis.” – Indy Week

“Recorded across a single week in Memphis, the album trades between piano-driven intimacy and stormy bombast, the latter of which is on display in its lead single, ‘As Many Candles As Possible.’ Featuring Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges, the dark and swampy track reflects the Deep South milieu in which it was recorded.” – A.V. Club

Limited Edition salmon vinyl, tapes, and pins are almost sold out,

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releases October 23, 2020

RECORDED AT
Sam Phillips Recording, Memphis, Tennessee March 1–6th, 2020

John Darnielle: vocals, guitars, piano
Peter Hughes: electric and upright bass
Matt Douglas: keyboards, woodwinds, guitars, accordion, backing vocals
Jon Wurster: drums and percussion

JOINED FOR THE OCCASION BY
Bram Gielen: piano, guitars, keyboards
Chris Boerner: guitars
Charles Hodges: Hammond B-3
Sam Shoup: Mellotron
Tom Clary: horns
Reba Russell: backing vocals
Susan Marshall: backing vocals

“Bile and Bone” is the new album from songwriter al Riggs and guitar annihilator Lauren Francis.

Two years in the making, and in between countless side-projects, singles, side-albums, and a premiere at Hopscotch Music Festival 2019, Al and Lauren recorded this nine-song album in two different New York apartments, an apartment in Durham, a house on the other side of Durham, and additional recording in yet another house on yet another side of Durham.

Produced by Francis and mixed/mastered by Alli Rogers (recently an engineer on Bon Iver’s “i,i”), Bile and Bone is a culmination of familiar themes and tropes in Riggs’ songwriting (horror movie monsters, queer politics, puns) taffy-pulled into a widescreen format by Francis’ production and arrangement. Swaths of strings and electric piano are cut through by chunky acoustic guitar that sometimes teeters on the intrusive. Flirtations with soft rock (“Werewolf”) motorik pop (“Boyfriend Jacket”) and Eno-esque ambient balladry (“Apex Twin”) sit snugly against the ghosts of Fahey (“Dying Bedmaker Variations”) and the dust-clogged remnants of a pawnshop (“Love Is An Old Bullet”).

The title track is a shuffling climax of held-back fury, summarizing the overall air of the album with volatile lyricism (“I should not be in a place/where I am on my knees each night/praying for my leaders/to be shot down on sight”) with classic pop harmonies provided by Rook Grubbs (Vaughn Aed).

The end result is a patchwork of beauty with claw marks. Possibly cat, possibly wolf-person, definitely lovely.

“At the very end of the opening track, a sound is heard, a warped deviation, and you might, for a moment, think that it was Satan. Not the Satan our parents’ parents rejected in recordings, but rather a new, much improved Satan 2.0, leading by example of sensitivity and risky business, no longer mutually exclusive. Do not fear it. Give in and go forth and enjoy.”
-Adam Schatz (Landlady, expert on Satans)

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“It is their best and most compelling record yet, Riggs singing songs about self-realization during a moment that badly wants to beat you into preordered shapes, delivered with both tenderness and intensity over matching acoustic picking. A work of clarity and reckoning, it is the album that Riggs has been building toward for this busy past half-decade.”

Released September 18th, 2020

BIle and Bone is an album by Al Riggs and Lauren Francis

All words by al Riggs
All music by Al Riggs and Lauren Francis

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and night

 

Recorded across the year 2010 at Mana Recording Studios, St. Petersburg, Florida; Fidelitorium, Kernersville, North Carolina; Q Division, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Mission Sound, Brooklyn, New York

with: Bob Barrone – steel guitar / Yuval Semo – organ; piano on outer Scorpion Squadron / Yoed Nir – cello / Gillian Rivers – violin / all string arrangements by Yuval Semo / vocals on High Hawk Season arranged by Daniel Perry and performed by the North Mountain Singers: Daniel Roihl, Daniel Perry, and Darrick Yee

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Damn The Vampires, Prowl Great Cain, For Charles Bronson, and Never Quite Free produced and mixed by John Congleton; High Hawk Season produced and mixed by Brandon Eggleston; Birth of Serpents, The Autopsy Garland, Beautiful Gas Mask, and Sourdoire Valley Song produced by Erik Rutan and mixed by Brandon Eggleston; Estate Sale Sign, Age of Kings, Outer Scorpion Squadron, and Liza Forever Minnelli produced and mixed by Scott Solter

all song lyrics and music by John Darnielle

The Mountain Goats:
John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Jon Wurster

“Bile and Bone” is the new album from songwriter al Riggs and guitar annihilator Lauren Francis.

Two years in the making, and in between countless side-projects, singles, side-albums, and a premiere at Hopscotch Music Festival 2019, Al and Lauren recorded this nine-song album in two different New York apartments, an apartment in Durham, a house on the other side of Durham, and additional recording in yet another house on yet another side of Durham.

The track represents a somewhat different approach to writing for al, as they explain, “the song was a collection of lines and ideas I had for other songs…I started putting them together and it felt like creating a thrift store or pawn shop out of these ideas, so the song became about a pawnshop”. After an initial scepticism at its originality, Lauren Francis came to love the track, “at first I was like, damn this sounds like This Year by The Mountain Goats, but that’s a good thing. I wanted to make it our own…this has since become my favourite track because it’s so simple“.

Musically, like the best collaborations, this feels like the coming together of two musical worlds. Al’s background as an acoustic songwriter merges with Lauren’s contributions of guitar, piano, and, as she explains, after the pair debated the introduction of full- drums, “I added the bass drum loop just to give it some momentum”. The resultant track seems to exist in almost two different paces, al’s easy vocals and the meandering piano line seem to watch the world go round, while the prominent pulse of bass-drum throughout adds a certain urgency to proceedings.

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Swaths of strings and electric piano are cut through by chunky acoustic guitar that sometimes teeters on the intrusive. Flirtations with soft rock (“Werewolf”) motorik pop (“Boyfriend Jacket”) and Eno-esque ambient balladry (“Apex Twin”) sit snugly against the ghosts of Fahey (“Dying Bedmaker Variations”) and the dust-clogged remnants of a pawnshop (“Love Is An Old Bullet”).

The title track is a shuffling climax of held-back fury, summarizing the overall air of the album with volatile lyricism (“I should not be in a place/where I am on my knees each night/praying for my leaders/to be shot down on sight”) with classic pop harmonies provided by Rook Grubbs (Vaughn Aed).

Love is An Old Bullet will to some be a beautiful introduction, and to those who know already, a further reminder that the combination of Al and Lauren might just have made one of the year’s most compelling records.

“Bile and Bone” is out September 18th via Horse Complex Records

John Darnielle has written almost 600 songs now, and some of them are very sad, dealing with hard drugs and tragic ends, hurting yourself and others, sicknesses of both body and brain, off-brand alcohols. They are told in beautiful, unnerving, specific detail because he is a very good writer, and also some of them are just true stories about his own life. Roughly four months to the day that Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle dropped Songs For Pierre Chuvin, his first “boombox” LP since 2002, the songwriter’s back with a new Goats’ LP. Called “Getting Into Knives”, it’s described in a press release as “the perfect album for the millions of us who have spent many idle hours contemplating whether we ought to be honest with ourselves and just get massively into knives.” We are those millions, readers. Recorded across a single week in Memphis, the album trades between piano-driven intimacy and stormy bombast, the latter of which is on display in its lead single, “As Many Candles As Possible.” Featuring Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges, the dark and swampy track reflects the Deep South milieu in which it was recorded. 

The Mountain Goats have announced their new studio album Getting Into Knives. The LP arrives October 23rd via Merge Records and is led by the new single “As Many Candles as Possible.” Take a listen to that below. Getting Into Knives is the follow-up to April’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin, which John Darnielle recorded alone on his boombox.

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Releases October 23rd, 2020

Folk trio and a capella angels Mountain Man—aka Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, Daughter of Swords’ Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Molly Sarlé have released a new live album called Look at Me Don’t Look at Me” recorded in November of 2018 at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. It contains songs from their 2018 studio album Magic Ship, as well as covers of Fiona Apple’s “Hot Knife” and Michael Hurley’s “Blue Mountain,” which you can hear below.

The Look at Me Don’t Look at Me Tour was our first tour together in 10 years – it was a wild and magical ride and we are excited to share a live recording from a show we played at a beautiful verbed out church in Seattle! One of our favourite things in life is singing together to a bunch of people in a room. We hope this recording brings you some of the joy you may have been missing until the next time we can all be together.

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There are a lot of songs but also a lot of banter, and also a Fiona Apple cover, from Look At Me Don’t Look At Me, releases August 7th, 2020,

Image may contain: text that says 'MOUNTAIN MAN දදදෑද * LOOK AT ME DON'T LOOK AT ME Out now on Nonesuch Records'

Indie pop darlings Sylvan Esso have revealed they will drop their third album “Free Love” on September. 25th. Sylvan Esso is Amelia Randall Meath and Nick Sanborn. What started out in LA with Jon Hill and was finished back in North Carolina at Sylvan Esso’s home studio, Free Love asks major questions about self-image, self-righteousness, friendship, romance, and environmental calamity with enough warmth, playfulness, and magnetism to make you consider an alternate reality. These are Sylvan Esso’s most nuanced and undeniable songs—bold enough to say how they feel, big enough to make you join in that feeling.

“It’s a record about being increasingly terrified of the world around you and looking inward to remember all the times when loving other people seemed so easy, so that you can find your way back to that place,” the duo explained of the new LP in a press statement. This week, electronic duo Sylvan Esso announced their third studio album Free Love, out September. 25th via Loma Vista Recordings. Lead single “Ferris Wheel” is lush and bouncy—with synths keeping the song at a fun pace.

To give fans a taste of what to come, Sylvan Esso shared the lead single “Ferris Wheel” with the heat-wave appropriate opening lines, “August in the heat/ Sweaty in the street.”

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Releases September 25th, 2020

“Bile and Bone” is the new album from songwriter Al Riggs and guitar annihilator Lauren Francis.

Two years in the making, and in between countless side-projects, singles, side-albums, and a premiere at Hopscotch Music Festival 2019, Al and Lauren recorded this nine-song album in two different New York apartments, an apartment in Durham, a house on the other side of Durham, and additional recording in yet another house on yet another side of Durham.

Durham-based songwriter Al Riggs and guitarist Lauren Francis have teamed up for a new album called “Bile And Bone”, mixed by i,i engineer Alli Rogers and set for release this fall. It’s billed as a culmination of familiar Riggs themes such as horror movie monsters, queer politics, and puns. The lead single, though, is more of a reflection on personal rhythms and the casual familiarity of romance. It’s called “Boyfriend Jacket, Boyfriend Sweater,” and it finds Riggs drawling conversationally over a drum machine and a melancholy roots-rock mirage. “Marginalized young men out on the job,” they sing. “Never late for work, always late for work.”

Riggs explains:

“Boyfriend Jacket” is about that moment in a relationship where things start to run like a well oiled machine, and you’re wearing each other’s clothing, and meeting up after work. And how great all of that feels. This was the first song Alli Rogers mixed for us and she knocked it so far out of the park it went into another park. It was all the proof we needed to have her do the whole album.

The title track is a shuffling climax of held-back fury, summarizing the overall air of the album with volatile lyricism (“I should not be in a place/where I am on my knees each night/praying for my leaders/to be shot down on sight”) with classic pop harmonies

Boyfriend Jacket, Boyfriend Sweater · Al Riggs · Lauren Francis Boyfriend Jacket, Boyfriend Sweater ℗ Horse Complex Records Released on: 2020-07-14

The album “Bile And Bone” is out 18th September on Horse Complex Records.

Hiss golden messenger let the light of the world open your eyes

Limited edition on black vinyl. North Carolina folk rockers Hiss Golden Messenger re-record two of their original songs, “Cat’s Eye Blue” (from their critically acclaimed 2019 album Terms of Surrender) & B-side “Standing in the Doorway” at Spacebomb Studios with contributions from their in-house orchestra.I t’s the latest in the Alive at Spacebomb Studios series.

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Released June 26th, 2020

M.C. Taylor: lead vocals, electric guitar, tambourine
Cameron Ralston: electric bass
Pinson Chanselle: drums, tambourine
Alan Parker: electric guitar
Daniel Clarke: piano
Angelica Garcia: background vocals
Kenneka Cook: background vocals
Erin Rae McKaskle: additional background vocals on “Cat’s Eye Blue”
Matt Douglas: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone

Violins: Adrian Pintea, Stacy Matthews, Meredith Riley, Treesa Gold
Violas: Molly Sharp, Wayne Graham
Celli: Jason McComb, Stephanie Barrett
String arrangements by Trey Pollard
Strings contracted by Treesa Gold

recordstore day

When M.C. Taylor moved to North Carolina more than a dozen years ago now, Hiss Golden Messenger was his private enterprise, an outlet for the curious songs he composed quietly at his kitchen table in the country. But soon after Taylor and his budding family moved to a modest home nestled back from busy roads in the gentle Durham hills, he began building a network of local aces, all sympathetic to songs that documented his quest to be a better human being. Hiss Golden Messenger became and remain a community endeavor, an indelible part of North Carolina’s historic and contemporary musical fabric. The 15 songs of Forward, Children: A fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students are an instant illustration of that decade-long arc, a one-night snapshot of Hiss Golden Messenger’s metamorphosis from solitary songwriter fare to full-band jubilee.

Just days into 2020, the quintet—well-rested from a holiday respite after a busy 2019 that included some 60 shows across the United States and the release of the gripping Terms of Surrender—loaded into their home region’s legendary hub, Cat’s Cradle, for a two-night stand. For nearly 90 minutes, they smoke, sorting through the greatest hits of the Hiss Golden Messenger songbook with the intuition of a band that accepts these tunes as gospel but plays them with the verve of five folks delighted to be back on the same stage.

Lifted by trombone and organ, “Highland Grace” sounds here like a prayer for the salvation of love. Buttressed by bounding piano, “Saturday’s Song” feels like a relief anthem for these fraught times, a beaming reminder of celebration and communion. Drifting and then roaring, “When the Wall Comes Down” is an urgent reminder that catastrophe and humanity know no arbitrary borders, that we are all forever bound to one another. During “Jesus Shot Me in the Head,” they unravel into a cleansing 12-minute upheaval, the sound of self-doubt looking for the relief of resolution—and finding it, at last.

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The son of two teachers, Taylor taught for a spell at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, arguably the nation’s first public university, after finishing his graduate degree there, joining one of the country’s proudest educational lineages. His wife, Abby, is now an ESL instructor in Durham, and his children, Elijah and Ione, are in the fifth and first grades there, respectively. In mid-March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Public Schools closed like most others nationwide, at least through mid-May. The necessary move means that many children throughout the school system don’t know where they’ll get their next meal, a profound failure of our social safety network but a profound opportunity for our collective help. All profits from Forward, Children will benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation. “It’s my duty as a dad of students and the spouse of a teacher,” Taylor says, “to give what I can.”

Forward, Children is not just the sound of a great band at work, which it surely is. And it is not just the sound of the community that helped create Hiss Golden Messenger coming together to hear what it’s made in a homecoming of hundreds. It is, all told, the sound of communion, blessedly preserved to tape for times like these, when we need any communion we can get. One of the best American bands out there right now.

Released March 27th, 2020
The Band:
M.C. TAYLOR — Guitars & Singing
PHIL COOK — Keys, Guitars & Singing
CHRIS BOERNER — Guitar
ALEX BINGHAM — Bass Guitar & Singing
AL SMITH — Drums & Percussion
EVAN RINGEL — Trombone
BILLIE FEATHER — TambourineMany thanks to all who generously helped in the creation of this album, including Luc Suer, Chris Boerner, Brent Lambert at The Kitchen, Merge Records, the venerable Cat’s Cradle, Grayson Haver Currin, and Darryl Norsen. Love to the amazing Hiss crew for keeping the literal and figurative wheels on the bus: Jocelyn Romo, Ellowyn Kane, Carly Bingham and Billie Feather. Thanks to Brian Schwartz, Rachel Miller, and the whole 7S family, and to Adam Voith.
Hiss Golden Messenger is proud to support the Durham Public Schools Foundation.
All proceeds from this album support students in the Durham Public Schools system.