Posts Tagged ‘The Dream Syndicate’

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!.

 

Today, we’re taking a look at four recent titles pressed for audiophile-level vinyl excellence by the Run Out Groove label!

Run Out Groove embraces the Paisley Underground with the vinyl premiere of The Dream Syndicate’s The Complete Live at Raji’s.  Recorded on January 31st, 1988 (not 1989, as indicated on the original CD release of the truncated album), the set captured the underground heroes prior to the release of their Ghost Stories album – and a year prior to their breakup.  But the line-up, at this point consisting of Steve Wynn (vocals and guitar), Paul B. Cutler (guitar, vocals), Mark Walton (bass, vocals), and Dennis Duck (drums), was as tight and attuned to each other as possible.  The fifteen songs played that evening at the Hollywood club and preserved here on four sides of 180-gram, colorful swirl vinyl attest to that.

The original Live at Raji’s was released by Rykodisc as the band’s final album, following Ghost Stories. The 2004 expansion – the basis for this vinyl release – added four tracks including two covers (the fast and furious opener, Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave is Kept Clean,” and Bob Dylan’s ominous “All Along the Watchtower,” rendered with a dollop of Hendrix inspiration) and two Dream Syndicate favourites – “When You Smile” and “Tell Me When It’s Over.”  The sound on the vinyl as mastered by Paul duGré is full and warm, with dynamics that well translate the intimacy of the venue and the power of the performance – particularly in Cutler’s searing lead guitar and Wynn’s fiery growl.  The spare, aggressive overall sound owes to the swaggering likes of Television and The Velvet Underground as well as to the rawer, electric side of Neil Young, whose frequent collaborator Elliot Mazer produced the original live album.

The two LPs are housed in a sturdy gatefold containing liner notes by Pat Thomas, who co-produced the reissue with Run Out Groove’s Matt Block.  Now Sounds’ Steve Stanley has designed the bold jacket, and both of the discs are happily stored in black protective sleeves as per Run Out Groove’s typical attention to detail in packaging.

Though never commercially successful, Paisley Underground darlings – the Dream Syndicate were critically acclaimed and held up their version of neo-psychedelic rock n’ roll through the vapid MTV-dominated synth years of the 1980s. Influenced by the Velvet Underground, Neil Young and Television, the Syndicate led by vocalist, guitarist and band leader, Steve Wynn, formed the original version of the band with guitarist Karl Precoda in 1982 after moving back to Los Angeles.

Drummer Dennis Duck, who played in the Pasadena band, Human Hands, joined the Syndicate and suggested the band’s name in reference to Tony Conrad’s early 1960s NY experimental ensemble that included John Cale. The band performed their first live show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood on Feb 23, 1982 and later signed to Slash Records’ subsidiary, Ruby Records, releasing their enigmatic and best known album, “The Days of Wine and Roses.” After a brief hiatus in the latter 1980s, Wynn, Duck and bassist Mark Walton joined with guitarist Paul Cutler who had produced the band’s very first EP. By 1988 the band was on Enigma Records and began a relationship with producer Elliott Mazer, who produced Neil Young’s “Time Fades Away.” Mazer produced “Live at Raji’s”. 

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When the Anti- Records’ publicist tells us we’re all likely to write that the follow-up to 2019’s These Times is “new and different,” it turns out that this time to be accurate.

The Universe Inside takes a dramatic left curve from the more traditional singer/songwriter neo-psychedelic alt/pop and alternative rock that has dominated the work of Steve Wynn, who led The Dream Syndicate in the 80’s, had a long and storied solo career, and re-formed the band in 2012 with original drummer Dennis Duck, Mark Walton, the longest lasting of the early bassists, and new guitarist Jason Victor. Together they’ve produced two full-length studio recordings and a live album, which solidified their earlier psychedelic leaning while also rocking harder and greater intensity. But if you can remember all the way back to Wynn and Dream Syndicate’s first and most significant breakthrough in 1982, The Days of Wine and Roses, a 7-plus minute mix of Dylanesque verses with lengthy guitar jams, which points in the direction of the band’s newest work.

Even so, nothing prepares one for the 20-plus minute opening track, “The Regulator,” a groove based jam that relies on the guitar interplay of Wynn and Victor, but features additions from Chris Cacavas on electric piano, Marcus Tenney on sax, and Stephen McCarthy on electric sitar. Wynn offers on vague paragraph of lyrics that’s repeated which suggests “songs and sounds that soothe the savage soul,” in a voice that’s a mix of Leonard Cohen’s deep bass and Tom Waite’s gargled gravel resonance. But the emphasis is on the repeated question, “have you heard?” and the band’s expansive instrumentals, mixing jazzy moments with more ethereal sounds, all driven by Walton’s relentless bass line and the song’s refusal to end, repeatedly rebirthing into the long, lasting groove.

Similarly, the not to the same degree or length, the four other tracks feature extended instrumental interplay. “The Longing,” which features Wynn in his more comfortable singing voice describing that inner desire to live, to love, to communicate, coming in at 7 and a half minutes. The other three are all in the 10 minute range, but not all these lengthy jam oriented pieces are created equal. “Apropos of Nothing” is appropriately titled, while “Dusting Off the Rust” is a superior instrumental built on a more substantial jazz riff and relying on Tenney’s fuller horn sound, playing trumpet as well as sax. They slow things down to a haunting, slower pass with long searching jazz tones on the guitars and horns as Wynn at first talks through his poetic lyrics, but it builds of course again to an expansive, psychedelic feel to match Wynn’s mention of “psilocybin lysergic psychedelic dreams.”

These long trippy jams recall an era in the 70’s when bands like the Grateful Dead and Allman Bros. were notorious for long, spacey instrumentals, but the addition of Tenney mostly on sax, give The Dream Syndicate a decidedly jazz orientation which will appeal to some who appreciate the idea of seasoned musicians jamming freely. But compact, singer-songwriter pop/rock, this is not.

“The Slowest Rendition” by The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘The Universe Inside,’ available now

In the ever-expanding universe of Americana music, I have a few criteria, two of which are 1) is the instrumentation, for the most part, real and 2) can I drive to it .When considering the newest release from neo-psychedelia practitioners The Dream Syndicate, I found The Universe Inside chock-full of amazing musicianship and suitable for a long, winding road trip.

The songs on The Universe Inside are, to say the least, expansive, clocking in between seven and a half and 20-plus(!) minutes. That latter opus is the lead track, “The Regulator.” Paired with a video shot by David Dalglish, the song, at times lounge-y, other times nearly frantic and swirling with sax (courtesy of guest Marcus Tenney), paints a picture of adulthood in decay and youth stepping up to take over. Band founder Steve Wynn, in heavily-manipulated vocals, sings of “Calendar boys dusting off the rust/The scarcity of the soul/Blown fuses.” A little apocalyptic, but aren’t we all feeling a little that way right now?

Since the band’s 2012 return, their music has been based around four-minute rock songs with an experimental flair, with occasional detours into jam territory. Here, though, there are no such limits or boundaries. Perhaps guided by a sense of mortality that shows in his lyrics, Wynn has decided to make the album he’s long wanted. “(All That’s Left Is) The Longing,” a somewhat more straightforward song, directly addresses a life of efforts made, summed up during one last death rattle – “All that’s left from before/Is the final twitch and spasm.” “Apropos of Nothing” has a little bit of twang amongst its nine and a half minutes before a drastic tempo change two-thirds of the way through. And “Dusting Off The Rust” has the band doing just that, prog playing their hearts out in a nearly 10-minute instrumental.

The Universe Inside wraps with its most song-like offering, “The Slowest Rendition,” a two-parter stretched across eleven minutes. Part One, the most lyrical offering on the record, is a frank examination of putting away childish things – “To think I once would have welcomed/In delight, this chaos that flickers in the night” – and a true look at aging – “The waking hours and questions slowly seep/Into one another.” It’s a good damn song. Part Two features a tempo change, more sax, and a man grasping one last time for some measure of control: “I’m the amateur director/On a badly lit mystery.” We all want control. And, right now, none of us have it.

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The Universe Inside was produced by John Agnello, Adrian Olsen and the band, recorded and mixed by Agnello and Olsen, and mastered by Greg Calbi. The Dream Syndicate is Wynn (lead vocals, guitar and harmonica), Jason Victor (guitar), Chris Cacavas (keys), Mark Walton (bass), and Dennis Duck (drums). Featured players include Stephen McCarthy (electric sitar, guitar, bass, pedal steel and background vocals), Marcus Tenney (sax and trumpet) and Johnny Hott (percussion).

“The Longing” by The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘The Universe Inside,’ available April 10th

The Dream Syndicate is:
Steve Wynn – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jason Victor – guitar
Chris Cacavas – keyboards
Mark Walton – bass guitar
Dennis Duck – drums

Special guests: Stephen McCarthy (electric sitar, guitar, six-string bass, pedal steel, backing vocals)

released April 10th, 2020

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When one thinks of the Dream Syndicate, it’s not just the wild abandon with which singer/guitarist Steve Wynn, drummer Dennis Duck, bassist Mark Walton, and lead guitarist Jason Victor perform – it’s the carefully constructed songwriting of Wynn that comes to mind.

By now every rock critic in the country has predetermined who he or she feels Wynn reminds them of and what they think of that style of songs. This time, don’t! Which brings us to The Universe Inside. Every article or review ever written will claim “this is new and different”- well, it is! Just look at the song lengths: 20:27, 7:36, 8:56, 9:55 and 10:53. Ok, sure – the Syndicate have occasionally committed a long song to vinyl, “John Coltrane Stereo Blues” was 9 minutes with live versions over the ten-minute mark.

For the first time, every song is a group songwriting effort. What seeps in are Dennis Duck’s knowledge of European avant-garde music, Jason Victor’s passion for 70s prog, Mark Walton’s experience in Southern-fried music collectives and Wynn’s love of vintage electric jazz.

Special guests: Stephen McCarthy (electric sitar, guitar, six-string bass, pedal steel, backing vocals)

Steve Wynn says “The Regulator” is a microcosm of The Dream Syndicate’s new album “The Universe Inside”. “It was just a formless, trippy mass as we all started playing together,’ says Wynn. “There was an early 70’s drum machine—a Maestro Rhythm King, the same model used on Sly Stone’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”—with Dennis locking in and setting the pace. Stephen grabbed an electric sitar because it was the first thing he saw. Jason and I were kicking pedals on like lab monkeys in a laboratory and Mark was a lightning rod, uniting all of those elements into one tough groove. I collected a list of random, unconnected lyric ideas that I kept on my phone. I tried them all out in random order in my home studio just to see how they would feel and that one-take test run is the vocal you hear! There’s just so much lightning-in-a-jar, first take excitement on this record.”

The Dream Syndicate is:
Steve Wynn – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jason Victor – guitar
Chris Cacavas – keyboards
Mark Walton – bass guitar
Dennis Duck – drums

Special guests: Stephen McCarthy (electric sitar, guitar, six-string bass, pedal steel, backing vocals)

“The Regulator” by The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘The Universe Inside,’ available April 10th

Expanded version of seminal debut from cult band, includes unheard extras and a bonus 7” by 15 Minutes.

• a reissue of “Days of Wine & Roses” endorsed by the entire band!
• a vinyl reissue of their original 4 song 12-inch EP (long out of print)
• exact facsimile replica of Steve Wynn’s rare “15 Minutes” 7-inch single

Plus: new interviews with Kendra Smith, producer Chris D., & Paul B. Cutler (who recorded the “Down There” EP), ephemera from the Dennis Duck archives – Lovingly curated by Dream Syndicate archivist Pat Thomas.

An exceptional early ‘80s guitar-powered gem, remastered in full and includes the band’s debut indie EP and both tracks from main protagonist Steve Wynn’s earlier combo 15 Minutes.

With few exceptions, the bands that rose from L.A.’s Paisley Underground scene in the ’80s had only one real thing in common — all of them were obsessed with the rock & roll touchstones of the mid- to late ’60s, whether it was psychedelia (the Rain Parade), country rock (the Long Ryders), or AM pop (the Bangles). But while most of these bands looked to the sunny side of ’60s rock, the Dream Syndicate were the Paisley Underground’s juvenile delinquents, smart but cynical and happy to spread bad vibes for the hell of it.

Nearly all of the Paisley bands were audibly Californian, but while they hailed from Davis, Californiathe Dream Syndicate’s key influences were significantly from the East Coast: the Velvet Underground (particularly White Light/White Heat), and mid-’60s Bob Dylan (think Highway 61 Revisited). At the core of their sound was the bracing thrust and parry between Karl Precoda’s lead guitar, noisy and elemental but inspired in its wanderlust, and the sharp report of Steve Wynn’s rhythm guitar, yielding a tougher and more abrasive sound than their peers. Consequently, the Dream Syndicate’s debut album, 1982’s The Days of Wine and Roses, is arguably the finest LP to come out of the Paisley Underground’s salad days, and ultimately atypical of the movement, a blast of beautiful but ominous rock & roll chaos whose speedy guitar-based attack was held in place by the intelligent minimalism of bassist Kendra Smith and drummer Dennis Duck. While the Dream Syndicate’s influences were obvious (the initial vinyl pressing of The Days of Wine and Roses included the helpful run-off groove message “Pre-Motorcyle Accident”), the way they manifested themselves were not; the skronky impact of the guitars recalled the Velvets, but Precoda’s billows of noise had a personality all their own, and though Wynn’s vocal delivery had the bite of both vintage Dylan and Lou Reed, his lyrical voice was his own, offhand but deeply personal at the same time. And Chris D.’s no-frills production captured the Dream Syndicate gloriously, and the greatest pleasure of The Days of Wine and Roses is how well this band plays together, like a miraculously contained explosion that seemed to be going a dozen places at once but confidently and fearlessly rolls forward, and the expressive jams on “Then She Remembers,” “Until Lately,” and the title cut are outstanding. The Dream Syndicate would be a very different band when they cut Medicine Show two years later, but while they would remain an interesting band to the end, The Days of Wine and Roses captures them at their peak, and it’s essential listening for noise guitar fiends and anyone interested in ’80s alternative rock.

The Days Of Wine And Roses’ is as timelessly potent as the records that inspired it.” Uncut
Central to the hugely influential Paisley Underground scene of the early 1980s that spawned Green On Red, The Bangles, Long Ryders and Rain Parade. 

“Arguably the finest LP to come out of the Paisley Underground’s salad days.” AllMusic

With a nod to the Velvet Underground, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Dylan, packed into an incendiary slow-burn punk fuse, ‘The Days Of Wine And Roses’ is a glorious, upbeat sprawl, everything that rock ‘n’ roll should be.

Robert Crumb

This week we have the superb new LP from Maps, taking this psychedelic atmosphere and injecting it with a healthy dose of percussive heft and placing more of an emphasis on the jagged time signatures and heady vocal reverbs. Moving beyond this heady mix and into more grounded territory, we get the big new indie release everyone’s been waiting for, and the brilliant ‘Here Comes The Cowboy’ certainly doesn’t disappoint. Filled with all of the smooth and sweet vocal flourishes you’d expect from Mac Demarco, a smooth loungey groove into his already super relaxed sound.

Please check out the new A.A. Bondy this new LP guarantees melodic undercurrent of folk and Americana being all but completely disguised by shadowy synths and cavernous reverbed bass, not to mention a plethora of technological flourishes to really ramp the enjoyment up. The new one from Holly Herndon, bolstered with Herndon’s HUGE vocal presence. Coming soon is the new Raconteurs LP ‘Help Us Stranger’ released on the 21st of June.

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Charly Bliss – Young Enough

Charly Bliss have evolved from the bunch of scrappy upstarts behind their brash punk debut Guppy, to the confident, assured artists who have produced the comparatively dynamic and unapologetically pop Young Enough. But, for lead singer Eva Hendricks, the path of this evolution was fraught, as her lyrics inspired by a past abusive relationship show. Songwriting became a source of respite, and, eventually, redemption. “You go through experiences of loss or extreme pain and you just keep moving,” Eva says. “You look around and go, how has the world not stopped? But it is also powerful. It’s like, I’m still here, I’m not a person who is ruled by pain, I still like who I am.”

Chat Room and Young Enough are new sonic lynchpins, as is the soaring, mini epic, Fighting In the Dark. The delicate synth confessional Hurt Me also felt, as Eva puts it, “like something we hadn’t explored yet.” The entire record sounds like a new realm, from the deceptively easeful confessional Capacityto the propulsive, more classic pop of Hard To Believe. In the end, Young Enough feels joyful and celebratory, but also infused with a new sense of depth and maturity. “I want people to feel strong when they listen to this record,” says Eva. “Like you’re working through some shit but you feel really strong and beautiful, even if you’re in a lot of pain. That’s what I want people to feel. The opposite of broken.” For fans of Veruca Salt, Pixies and The Breeders.

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Holly Herndon – Proto

Holly’s third full-length album Proto isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I. ‘baby’, Spawn. For the album, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers and an inhuman intelligence housed in a DIY souped-up gaming PC to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion.

Eternal follows the 2018 release of Holly and Jlin’s collaborative song Godmother (feat. Spawn). The skittering track, which was created by Spawn reimagining the artworks of her ‘godmother’ Jlin in a trained model of her mother’s voice with no editing or sample trickery, was praised everywhere from NPR to The Guardian to New York Times, and elsewhere.

You can hear traces of Spawn throughout the album, developed in partnership with long time collaborator Mathew Dryhurst and ensemble developer Jules LaPlace, and even eavesdrop on the live training ceremonies conducted in Berlin, in which hundreds of people were gathered to teach Spawn how to identify and reinterpret unfamiliar sounds in group call-and-response singing sessions; a contemporary update on the religious gathering Holly was raised amongst in her upbringing in East Tennessee.

Just as Platform forewarned of the manipulative personal and political impacts of prying social media platforms long before popular acceptance, Proto is a euphoric and principled statement setting the shape of things to come.

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Songs: Ohia – Love and Work: The Lioness Sessions

The Lionessis the first Jason Molina project to fully turn away from the battlefield folk and deconstructed Americana of earlier Songs: Ohia recordings. At the dawn of the 21st century, the album felt modern. It aligned Molina with a new set of peers – Low, Gastr del Sol, Red House Painters and, most importantly, the influential Scottish band Arab Strap, whose producer and members were crucial in the creation of The Lioness. The avant-garde tones and arrangements of Arab Strap are absorbed here into Molina’s songwriting to create what would become, for many acolytes, the archetypal Songs: Ohia sound. Love and Work: The Lioness Sessions, the box set reissue, will serve as the seminal log of the era, complete with lost songs, photos, drawings, and essays from those who knew Molina best.

We know Molina was diligent in both love and work. He treated songcraft like a job at the mill, and his approach to romance was not so different. We know that when he fell in love with his wife, he was dutiful in his adoration. There were strings of love letters and poetic gesture. Included in this edition are replicated examples of this relentless love – an envelope with a letter from Molina, a photograph of Molina and his to-be wife, a postcard, a Two of Hearts playing card, and a personal check for one million kisses. Some of these items were gifts he would send to his new love from the road; others, like the 2 of Hearts, were totems he’d carry with him around this time as a symbol for his burgeoning love.

And so, the head-over-heels album that is The Lioness has its workman counterpart. Nearly another album’s worth of material was recorded in Scotland during the album sessions. While similar in tone and structure, the songs seem to deal in the grit and dirt of being. These are songs for aching muscles getting soothed in the third-shift pub. But they’re also examples of Molina’s diligence as he constructs what would be the essential elements of The Lioness. In addition to these outtakes, we also have a 4-track session made weeks earlier in London with friend James Tugwell. Comprised of primarily guitar, hand drums and voice, these songs are raw experiments that mostly serve to illustrate Molina’s well of words and ideas. But then, there is the devastating Sacred Harp hymn Wondrous Love. While he may have had his new love in mind, one can’t help but think of Molina’s legacy as he softly warbles “Into eternity I will sing / Into eternity I will sing.” You don’t have to try too hard to mythologize Molina. He did all the work for you.

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The Dream Syndicate – These Times

There are two phases of The Dream Syndicate. There was the band with revolving lineups that existed from 1982 to 1988 and made four albums includingThe Days of Wine and Roses and have influenced bands and delighted fans in the years since. And then there’s the band that reunited in 2012 and is closing in on its seventh year with nary a lineup change. This 21st Century version of the Dream Syndicate releasedHow Did I Find Myself Here in 2017 to universal acclaim, no small feat for a band reuniting after almost three decades. With that reintroduction and a full year of touring behind them, the Dream Syndicate had the freedom to take it all somewhere new, to dig a little deeper, get outside of themselves a little bit. Their new album These Times feels like a late-night radio show that you might have heard as a kid, drifting off into dreams and wondering the next morning if any of it was real.

So, what does it sound like? If How Did I Find Myself Herewas a 10 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then These Times is the 2 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial, the band acting as DJs of their own overnight radio station, riffing on an idea of what a Dream Syndicate album could be at this moment in time. It is Radio DS19.

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Lydia Ainsworth – Phantom Forest

Lydia Ainsworth’s third album, Phantom Forest, introduces a lush, complex dream world that the singer, composer, and producer created and inhabited largely on her own. She produced all the songs, and wrote and performed everything on the self-released collection outside of a re-imagined cover of Pink Floyd’s Green is the Colour and 2 other tracks (The Time, Give It Back To You), which started as instrumentals written by Survive’s Kyle Dixon (who composed the Stranger Things soundtrack with his bandmate Michael Stein), to which Ainsworth wrote melodies and added lyrics. Phantom Forest is a beautiful, vast collection that mixes the historical and the hands on, with hooks about the apocalypse and people obsessively using face-recognition software to see what paintings their face match with, in search of some kind of connection. It’s a journey that holds up to close listening (and lyric reading) and to dancefloors, but that can also exist on a purely emotional plane. In all cases, it asks that you listen, and take some kind of action.

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The Beths – Warm Blood

The Beths debut EP – available for the first time on (Pink) Vinyl. This EP is the prequel to their debut album Future Me Hates Me which is much loved release. The Beths’ Warm Blood is a strong contender for the catchiest record you’ve never heard. Formed when four jazz students at the University of Auckland bonded over their shared love of the pop-punk sounds of their youth, The Beths bring new energy to the genre. This 5-song debut EP, a deliriously pleasurable statement of purpose, comes crammed with enough blissful hooks to carry through most bands’ careers.

Listeners for whom the tag “New Zealand indie rock” brings to mind the Flying Nun sound of bands like The Clean and The Chills may be surprised to find Warm Blood’s five unstoppable tunes landing closer to artists like Slant 6 and The Breeders. The nimble guitar work here moves from heavy riffing reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney to hazily bending lines that would make Stephen Malkmus and Mary Timony beam, while the joyous vocal harmonies from all four members bubble and swell to ecstaticcrescendos that channel The Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle.

With impeccable production from guitarist Jonathan Pearce and stellar musicianship across the board, Warm Blood is a non-stop delight. Tracks like lead off track and first single Whatever, the ridiculously addictive standout Idea / Intent, andRush Hour 3, a playful ode to romance in this era of download-and-chill franchise films, take delight in the challenge of breathing new energy into the limitations of the 3-minute pop song.

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Morrissey – Wedding Bells Blues

Limited Clear Yellow 7″ vinyl from Morrissey’s covers album California Sun featuring Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day on Wedding Bell Blues originally by The Fifth Dimension. Lydia Night of the Regrettes also joins Armstrong and Morrissey on the track. It comes backed by Brow of My Beloved

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Mikal Cronin – Undertow / Breathe

Mikal Cronin is back in the Famous class fold with his beautiful new 7”. This is Mikal’s first new solo material since his excellent album MCIII back in 2015. It’s two tracks of perfect guitar-pop craftsmanship

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Linda Guilala – Estado Natural

Spanish shoegaze trio Linda Guilala’s new single is the third instalment in the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club.

Estado Natural(which translates as ‘natural state’) is the follow-up to last year’s Mucho Mejor and is an indie-pop classic in the making, all driving rhythms and synths swooping and fizzing like Stereolab in a Soda Stream. The flipside, Espacio De Tiempo (‘space of time’), is a much more Lush and laid-back affair. Limited edition of 350 on red vinyl.

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Coming soon is the new Raconteurs LP ‘Help Us Stranger’ released on the 21st of June.

The Dream Syndicate Release Mind-Bending New Album 'These Times'

Los Angeles’s the Dream Syndicate is thrilled to release these times today, their second album of new music since their 2012 reunion nearly thirty years after they first influenced California’s paisely underground scene. if 2017’s how did I find myself here was a 10 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then these times is the 2 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial with the band acting as djs of their own overnight radio station as the listener drifts off into dreams and wonders the next morning if any of it was real.“when i was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a dj, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. i was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though i was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. you might not automatically put the Dream Syndicate and j-dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.”.

The Dream Syndicate recorded these times once again at Montrose studios in richmond, virginia. co-produced by John Agnello (Phosphorescent, Waxahatchee, Hold Steady, Dinosaur jr.), Wynn wrote all of the song’s lyrics in the studio after the band finished tracking, so that the words would be dictated by the sound rather than the other way around. this process contributed to the urgency of the album’s title.“not content to deliver ‘the days of wine and roses 2019’ [the Dream Syndicate] have emerged with a vibrant collection of songs that ranks among the best the veteran group has recorded,” popmatters said of these times. “this is not a band competing with its past but instead carving out a bold new future.”

The Dream Syndicate has a long and storied history. but where are they right now? they’re here. right here. in these times.

The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘These Times,’ available now

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Matt Piucci broke the news yesterday; for long-time fans of the Paisley Underground it called for an extended “wow”. The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, The Rain Parade and The Three O’Clock had all convened (or re-convened) to record a set of each other’s songs. It’s kind of like Rainy Day II. Rainy Day being a compilation from back in the 80s of the same bands covering earlier songs that had influenced them.

At the dawn of the 80s these were new bands in Los Angeles forming the core of the small yet influential Paisley Underground scene. In 2013, the four ensembles got back together to share the bill at L.A.’s Fonda Theatre for a charity concert to benefit the non-profit Education Through Music. The show went so well and everybody had so much fun that Danny Benair (The Three O’Clock), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), and Vicki Peterson(The Bangles) started talking about doing some type of album to celebrate their Paisley Underground beginnings.

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The idea quickly formed that each band would cover one song of the three’s. Plans were discussed but lingered. The project didn’t take off until Benair mentioned it to Yep Roc Records co-owner Glenn Dicker, who loved the idea. The four groups then got to work, resulting in the terrific twelve-song collection succinctly entitled 3 x 4: The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade which Yep Roc will issue on purple swirl vinyl double LP and CD for Black Friday Record Store Day (November 23rd, 2018) with a wider release (including digital formats) coming on January 11th, 2019.

The album’s dozen tracks represent a wonderful melding of the original rendition with the personality of the new interpretation. Rain Parade retain the wild sonic assault of the Dream Syndicate’s ‘When You Smile’ but add a twist by going acoustic on the chorus. The Bangles enlist an Indian percussionist to enhance the dreamy quality of Rain Parade’s ‘Talking In My Sleep’, while swapping guitars for the keyboards that were on The Three O’Clock’s original ‘Jet Pilot’.

Because these bands were, and remain, friends who started off performing together at the same time and places, 3 x 4 holds a more personal quality that most tribute projects don’t have. The tunes that each group chose to cover all had deep connections to them. These were their friends’ songs that they admired, that they saw played originally in tiny clubs, in studios, or at parties.

Michael Quericio (Salvation Army/Three O’Clock/Permanent Green Light) recalls, in the liner notes, of being shocked and awed when he first heard ‘Getting Out Of Hand’ by the then-still-named Bangs and Rain Parade’s ‘What She’s Done to Your Mind’ on the radio. Wynn, similarly, remembers how he was blown away when he listened to the first Salvation Army single after it came into the record store where he worked; he also admits to just how personal the Bangles’ ‘Hero Takes a Fall’ is to him.

Without giving away too many stories, the liner notes are packed with fond, and perhaps not so fond, remembrances from members of the four groups. They reveal the importance of backyard BBQs and KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, as well as offering several different recollections about an ill-planned group trip to Catalina Island. Quercio and Benair both share their memories of being asked during an interview with the L.A. Weekly if there was a name for their collection of bands, and Quercio casually blurting out “Paisley Underground,” although no one had used that term before. British rock mags soon picked up on the phrase, however, and the name “Paisley Underground” got stuck on them, for better or worse.

Paisley Underground, in fact, wasn’t so much a musical genre as a small scene. The bands didn’t share a specific sound but rather similar musical sensibilities. They were all record geeks who were — as Steve Wynn says of the Salvation Army/Three O’Clock in the liner notes — “hip to the grooviest sound of the ’60s but at the same time had been informed by punk rock.” Taking elements of the Velvets’ drone, Sunshine Pop harmonies, British Psychedelia, and choice Nuggets pieces, each group mixed them in varying amounts to create their own distinct sound.

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As Vicki Peterson relates in the liner notes: “We joke about it now, but it really is like we went to school together. Paisley High, Class of ’83. We were each a little different: diligent students and fuck-ups, eager newbies and experienced band veterans … but we all shared an anachronistic fascination for the music and culture of the 1960s. When we eventually found each other, in 1981 and ’82, we bonded together like social outcasts on the Quad”.

These grads of Paisley High, Class of ’83, all went on to enjoy long careers in music, and are still active today. The Three O’Clock released several albums in the 80s for Frontier, I.R.S., and Prince’s Paisley Park labels. They reformed in 2013, with principal members Michael Quercio (vocals/bass),Louis Gutierrez (guitars) and Danny Benair (drums) along with keyboardist recruit Adam Merrin, to perform at the Coachella Music Festival. The Bangles enjoyed wide success on Columbia Records throughout the 80s with hits like ‘Manic Monday’, ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, and ‘Eternal Flame’. Their 3 x 4 recordings feature a lineup consisting of all four original members, including bassist Annette Zilinskas.

Rain Parade made albums on Zippo and Island during the 80s before splintering.Matt Piucci spent time with Crazy Horse. David Roback formed Opal with Dream Syndicate’s enigmatic, Kendra Smith, before teaming up with Hope Sandoval in Mazzy Star (‘Fade Into You’ fame). Roback’s brother Steven founded Viva Saturn with fellow Rain Parader John Thoman in the 90s. Those two joined Piucci in reviving Rain Parade in 2012. Between 1982-89, Dream Syndicate put out a quartet of acclaimed albums. After years of solo or short-term group projects, Steve Wynn reconstituted Dream Syndicate in 2012 with original drummer Dennis Duck, long-time bassist Mark Walton, and guitarist Jason Victor.

3 x 4: The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade winds up not just celebrating these bands’ shared past but also celebrating how the musicians are today. As Steve Wynn puts it: “I’m glad we’ve kept this thing going. I’ll go on a limb here and say that we all like and respect and admire each other as much as we did back in 1982, maybe even more. We’ve lived lives and learned a few things and know how important and lucky it is when like-minded souls find each other and collide on something really exciting. It’s all still happening!”

CD Track List:

1. Getting Out Of Hand (The Bangles) – The Three O’Clock

2. That’s What You Always Say (The Dream Syndicate) – The Bangles

3. You Are My Friend (Rain Parade) – The Dream Syndicate

4. As Real As Real (The Three O’Clock) – Rain Parade

5. Tell Me When It’s Over (Dream Syndicate) – The Three O’Clock

6. When You Smile (The Dream Syndicate) – Rain Parade

7. Talking In My Sleep (Rain Parade) – The Bangles

8. Hero Takes A Fall (The Bangles) – The Dream Syndicate

9. Jet Fighter (The Three O’Clock) – The Bangles

10. Real World (The Bangles) – Rain Parade

11. What She’s Done To Your Mind (Rain Parade) – The Three O’Clock

12 She Turns To Flowers (The Three O’Clock) – The Dream Syndicate