Posts Tagged ‘The Jayhawks’

On July 13th, Legacy Recordings, will release Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, the new record from The Jayhawks. This is their 10th studio album from the group, and it focuses on songs that bandleader Gary Louris previously wrote with other artists (along with two new Louris compositions). Recorded in two soulful sessions in 2017, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels finds the current incarnation of The Jayhawks–Louris (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Marc Perlman (bass), Tim O’Reagan (vocals, drums, percussion), Karen Grotberg (vocals, piano, keyboards), John Jackson (mandolin, violin, acoustic guitar)–expanding the group’s repertoire with 11 new performances of Gary’s songs.  Karen and Tim each sing lead on two songs on the album. Tim performs “Gonna Be a Darkness” and “Long Time Ago” while Karen takes lead vocals (for the first time on a Jayhawks album) on the opener, “Come Cryin’ to Me featuring a soulful horn section.

For more than three decades, The Jayhawks’ deeply melodic, harmony-rich blend of rock, folk and country have earned them consistent praise from fans and critics alike. Back Roads and Abandoned Motels expands the group’s repertoire with brand-new recordings of songs that frontman Gary Louris has co-written with other acts.

The tracks include “Come Cryin’ to Me” (originally released on Natalie Maines’ Mother); “Everybody Knows” and “Bitter End” (released on Dixie Chicks’ Taking The Long Way); “Gonna Be a Darkness” (recorded with Jakob Dylan for True Blood: Music From The HBO Original Series – Volume 3); “Need You Tonight” (originally released on Scott Thomas’ Matson Tweed); “El Dorado” (originally released on Carrie Rodriguez’ She Ain’t Me); “Bird Never Flies” (originally released on Ari Hest’s The Break-In); and “Long Time Ago” (written with Emerson Hart of Tonic).

Have a listen to latest track “Backwards Women,” which was written with The Wild Feathers but never released on one of that group’s albums. Louris says, “I love the swagger to this song. I met The Wild Feathers out in LA and we banged out two songs in an afternoon, one of which was American which ended up on their eponymous debut of 2013. I always loved the other song Backwards Women which ended up on our new record. The verses are a sort of Faces/Stones 70’s thing and it is fun as hell to sing. I hope the boys like it.”

The Band

  • Gary Louris – vocals, guitar
  • Marc Perlman – bass
  • Tim O’Reagan – vocals, drums
  • Karen Grotberg – vocals, keys
  • John Jackson – mandolin, violin, guitar
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RUN OUT GROOVE: GARY LOURIS Image

The votes are in and singer-songwriter Gary Louris’ Vagabonds Expanded to a 2LP set is now available to order. This edition includes the entire acoustic VAGABONDS EP making its debut on vinyl as well as outtakes and demo recordings that have never been released on any physical format. ROG only manufactures one numbered edition so “Get ‘Em Before They’re Got!”, now through June 7th.

Vagabonds manages to sound grand and organic at once, with the arrangements and production capturing a sense of the wide open spaces of Hollywood Town Hall and Rainy Day Music, especially on the beautifully heart-tugging “She Only Calls Me on Sundays,” while also encompassing the more ambitious melodic conceits of Smile and Sound of Lies on tracks like “Black Grass” and “Omaha Nights.” … the result is an album that sounds full-bodied but natural and uncluttered, and gives Louris’ fine songs plenty of room to reveal their virtues. Anyone who has followed the Jayhawks’ career knows that Gary Louris is a major talent, and Vagabonds demonstrates he’s still capable of making remarkable music outside the framework of the band.

Revered for being one of the original alt country acts in the mid-’80s, The Jayhawks felt out of place even in the acoustic circles they shared with their fellow Minneapolis porch pickers. Instead of going the cow punk route or trying to establish themselves as Nashville outlaws, they looked to the past, to artists like The Louvin Brothers and Gram Parsons, for inspiration. Their work was unhurried and unconcerned with modernization—they mixed a potent brew of country, folk and heartland rock that spoke to the heartbroken and the overworked. And possessed of golden harmonies, immaculate songwriting chops and an utter lack of pretension, the band sought to explore and reintroduce the rustic sounds of decades past.

The band’s work felt timeless, a mixture of electric and acoustic country tendencies that fed into their fascination for the histories of various sounds. They weren’t afraid to embrace the rockier aspects of their influences, but they also weren’t averse to thinning things out a bit when they were in a more introspective mood. Looking back, their songs were insular in the best way, enclosed worlds where melody and the art of songwriting were seen as virtues and their existence not left to chance.

The band was formed in Minneapolis in 1985 when Mark Olson, after doing a tour of duty on upright bass in a rockabilly band called Stagger Lee, decided to focus on his own musical voice. He invited Marc Perlman, a guitarist who’d performed with a local band called the Neglecters, to be his bassist and brought on drummer Norm Rogers shortly thereafter. As a trio, the group began booking shows, and on one such occasion, local music veteran Gary Louris was in attendance and struck up a conversation with Olson after the show. They soon found common musical ground, and by the end of the evening, Louris had been officially invited to join the band. Hollywood Town Hall is the third studio album by American rock band The Jayhawks.

They kicked around the various Twin Cities clubs for a bit, sharpening their focus and coming to an understanding of just what The Jayhawks could be. They released their self-titled debut in 1986, and although it was only pressed in a limited edition of a couple thousand copies, the album developed substantial acclaim and success. And though it looked promising that the band would sign a major label deal on the strength of their debut, that opportunity never happened for them. They continued to tour and attained a significant following, all the while writing new songs that highlighted their alt country prowess. The Jayhawks weren’t looking to reshape the world, even if their records did suggest otherwise.

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In October 1988, there was a shift in the band’s lineup, with Rogers exiting the band and Thad Spencer taking his place behind the drums. Around the same time, Louris was in a bad car accident, and the band decided to take a hiatus while he healed. So while the band was resting a bit, their music was still going strong. In 1989, the people behind Minneapolis independent label Twin/Tone released the demos that the band had been working on for the past few years as “Blue Earth.”

After the album’s release, Spencer left the group and was replaced by Ken Callahan. The newfound attention and critical success being lavished on the band brought Louris back to the group, and they hit the road for a national tour. Their next big break came in the form of A&R representative/producer George Drakoulias, who heard “Blue Earth” playing in the background on a call he had made to the Twin/Tone offices and signed the band to American Records. The band entered the studio and recorded what would form the basis of their next record, 1992’s “Hollywood Town Hall,” their greatest and most comprehensive work.

“Hollywood Town Hall” isn’t just a single-minded alt country record—it is a curious shape-shifter that maneuvers through a handful of sounds with an ease the band hadn’t shown before. Producing a handful of radio hits, including “Waiting for the Sun,” “Take Me With You (When You Go)” and “Settled Down Like Rain,” the album works through its American rock influences with a heart filled with country eccentricities and folk earnestness. The vocal harmonies between Olson and Louris were stronger and more confident than they’d ever been, leading the band across winding trails of acoustic melodies and curiously ragged electric guitar lines.

There is an obvious yearning to break free of tradition laced within these songs but also a need to connect with the past without invoking nostalgia. And with all the songs (except for “Wichita”) written exclusively by Louris and Olson, there is a sense of continuity in each song’s rambling history. The band was helping refine the Americana sound. And while you could trace those roots all the way back to the ’60s and beyond, The Jayhawks’ contribution was so immediate and prescient that their work with these sounds from the mid-’80s to the early ’90s really set the bar for modern alt country.  A captivating experience from start to finish, “Hollywood Town Hall” is a casual and lovely record that speaks to creaky front porches, unrequited love and open fields, the kind of imagery and ideas usually reserved for old-school country artists. But it also holds tightly to its blue-collar rockiness, with sounds carried across an often-craggy, guitar-driven landscape. “Hollywood Town Hall” is many things to many people, and in its rhythmic expanse, it discovered the beating heart of America.

The Jayhawks
  • Mark Olson – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, vocals
  • Marc Perlman – bass
  • Ken Callahan – drums
  • Gary Louris – electric guitar, fuzz guitar, guitar, vocals

In the Jayhawks new video for their song “Comeback Kids,” frontman Gary Louris embarks on a mysterious trip that channels the song’s meaning in a slightly different way. “The song itself is about traveling to see someone,” he says. “Ironically, [it] centers around an airport and that is the only form of travel not touched upon in the video. We were trying not to be too literal.”

Though mostly shot in black and white, color images are interspersed throughout the four-minute clip, which Louris says was deliberate – and a point of discussion when it was being conceptualized. For Louris, the video represents a “longing” and a “deliberate and willful drifting” when he watches it back.

The video’s concept came from Chuck Statler (Elvis Costello, Devo), who Louris thinks took them up on the opportunity to make the visual for a rather specific reason. “He is in love with the process,” Louris says. “He certainly didn’t do it for the money because there wasn’t any.”

“Comeback Kids” is on the Jayhawks’ latest album, “Paging Mr. Proust.” The band is currently on tour in Europe; then they’ll start a week-and-a-half long club tour across the States.

Official music video for “Comeback Kids” by The Jayhawks, from their 2016 album, Paging Mr. Proust. Directed by legendary music video pioneer Chuck Statler. Produced by Chuck Statler and Rick Fuller.

THE JAYHAWKS – PAGING MR PROUST

Produced by REM guitarist Peter Buck, Tucker Martine, and Gary Louris, this is the first Jayhawks album since 2011’s ‘Mockingbird Time’ and is a return to the lineup of the band that made ‘Rainy Day Music’ in 2003 – the core band of Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Tim O’Reagan, and Karen Grotberg. “It’s the start of a brand new adventure.” sings Gary Louris on ‘Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces’, the opening track on The Jayhawks‘ new album ‘Paging Mr. Proust’. The band formed in Minneapolis in 1985 and the album shows their commitment to adventure and forward motion which makes this collection of songs exciting and instantly memorable.
LP – Housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.
 john doe - the westerner

John Doe – The Westerner CD/LP (Cool Rock)

John Doe calls his new album The Westerner his “psychedelic soul record from the Arizona desert.” The album features 10 new tracks from Doe with guest appearances from Chan Marshall of Cat Power, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Cindy Wasserman of Dead Rock West and Tom Brosseau. The Westerner was produced by Howe Gelb (Neko Case, M. Ward), Dave Way (Fiona Apple) and Doe. The album’s artwork was designed by Shepard Fairey and Aaron Huey to support Native American rights via a campaign called Protect The Sacred, with additional photography by Jim Herrington. Of the album Doe says, “The Westerner is dedicated to Michael Blake, author of many books, including Dances With Wolves, who was a scholar and advocate for Native American rights. He was also one of my best friends for over 30 years. Michael taught me how to ride horses (we knocked each other off them several times) and we taught each other about writing, music and art. Many of these songs are about him or use him as the main character. His presence has been with me throughout the making of the record. It’s a wild, spread-out, desert-like life that we’ve lived.”

SUN KIL MOON / JESU – SUN KIL MOON / JESU

‘Sun Kil Moon / Jesu’ is a collaborative studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon and British experimental act Jesu. The album also features guests Will Oldham aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, members of Low, Rachel Goswell of Slowdive and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.
2LP – Double LP with wide spine sleeve and a copy of the album on CD.

KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD – NONAGON INFINITY

Recording, releasing and touring a couple of albums in 18 months is beyond the realms of comprehensibility for most bands, but then King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard aren’t ‘most bands’. Forget a couple of albums, Friday April 29th 2016 marks the release of ‘Nonagon Infinity’, their fourth long-player for Heavenly Recordings in a little under a year and a half. Workshy they ain’t! After the acid-flecked cosmic jazz of ‘Quarters’ and the hazy, pastoral, acoustic bliss of ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’, with ‘Nonagon Infinity’ the Gizzard once again dive head-long into the gonzo freak-beat frenzy that mark both their Heavenly debut ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’, and their perpetually in motion, double-drummer propelled live show. Recorded by Wayne Gordon, Paul Maybury, Michael Badger and Stu Mackenzie at Daptone Studios in Brooklyn, in keeping with their indefatigable spirit the 9 track album may be the world’s first infinitely looping LP. Each of the nine, complex, blistering tracks on ‘Nonagon Infinity’ seamlessly flows into the next, with the final song linking straight back into the top of the opener like a sonic mobius strip.
LP – Black Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.

Black Honey - Headspin EP 10"

BLACK HONEY  –  Headspin 10″ Vinyl

Tracklisting:

Side A
1. All My Pride
2. Headspin

Side B
1. On Your Time
2. Mocking Swing

THE BARR BROTHERS – ALTA FALLS

Limited Red Vinyl 10″. The Barr Brothers release a new EP called ‘Alta Falls’. The 5 songs on this record are some of their favourite misfits from the ‘Sleeping Operator’ sessions. The cover art is by their elusive friend Madame Gilles, whose posters have been anonymously gracing the telephone poles of Montreal for years.

THE LIMINANAS – MALAMORE

Working in the sweetly swinging tradition of Serge Gainsbourg and the ye-ye sound of the ’60s, the Liminanas have a sound that blends sunny psychedelia with vintage pop. Based out of Perpignan, France, the group is composed of drummer and sometime vocalist Marie Liminana and bassist, organist, and jack-of-all-trades Lionel Liminana, as well as a host of guest vocalists including MU. With its combination of fuzzy organ, half-spoken / half-sung vocals, and vintage production, the band captures the sexy, ultra-hip sound of classic French pop. After releasing a series of singles, the duo released its self-titled debut in 2010 through the Chicago label Trouble in Mind. The band continued to crank out singles, and a second album, ‘Crystal Anis’, followed in the summer of 2012. After taking some time to revamp the Liminanas‘ sound to introduce more elements of French and Italian soundtrack music, the duo returned quickly with its third album for Trouble in Mind. ‘Costa Blanca’ was issued in late 2013. The band are now back with a new release ‘Malamore’
.LP – Housed in gatefold sleeve with CD Version.

LUH  – SPIRITUAL SONGS FOR LOVERS TO SING

Rough Trade Exclusive with a Bonus Six Track CD ‘Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing – Prologue’. LUH (which stands for Lost Under Heaven) is Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn. Over the past two years, they have been releasing music, art, photography, film and manifestos into the world, including 2014’s ‘Unites’ video and the expansive ‘Lost Under Heaven’ music and artwork package at the end of last year. Ellery’s name might be familiar as the frontman of WU LYF, whose raw and primal voice helped create a sound that shaped a new model for the untamed fury of youth. Ebony is an audio-visual artist based in Amsterdam, where the pair now live, and co-directed the new video with Florian Joahn. ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’ is the pair’s debut album and was produced by The Haxan Cloak (known for his own genre-bending experimental compositions and work on Bjork’s Vulnicura album) in 2015 on the remote island of Osea.
LP+ – Rough Trade Exclusive Vinyl – Limited to 350 Copies with a Lyric Booklet. Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. Comes with Bonus CD and Download. Also comes with 3 limited edition prints.
2LP – Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. Comes with Bonus CD and Download.
LP – Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. The Indie Retail Vinyl includes 3 limited edition prints. Comes with Bonus CD and Download.
CD – Comes with Bonus CD.