Posts Tagged ‘Yep Roc Records’

After three long years, an announcement of a new album from the Felice Brothers.

“Undress” was recorded in the late summer of 2018 in Germantown, New York. “Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says songwriter Ian Felice. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days, there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.”

Undress follows the band’s 2016 album Life In The Dark, and finds the group in a very different place three years later. Between personnel changes, families growing and the political landscape, the result is a tighter, more-paired down release. “Every song is a story,” said James Felice. “On this album everything was a bit more thoughtful, including the arrangements, the sonic quality and the harmonies.”

The Felice Brothers are long standing faves. Their wonderful blend of storytelling, lyrical genius and ramshackle Americana began in 2006, playing subway platforms and sidewalks in NYC and they have gone on to release nine albums of original songs and to tour extensively throughout the world. The new album is out on Yep Roc Records on the 3rd May.

The title track from the upcoming record, Undress, out May 3rd on Yep Roc Records.



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.

Image may contain: 5 people

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.


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

The son of Mexican immigrants, Alejandro Escovedo mines his own backstory for “Sonica USA.” Featuring the MC5’s Wayne Kramer on lead guitar, the punky track finds him looking back on his childhood days as a Chicano punk-rocker in the American Southwest. Escovedo covers similar ground on his upcoming album, The Crossing, a concept record revolving around a pair of migrant musicians

Alejandro Escovedo has one of the most fascinating career paths in music and his upcoming album is another example of his singular vision. The Crossingdue out this September, is a suite of songs that chronicle the stories of two young immigrant rock and rollers, Salvo from Italy and Diego from Mexico, as they meet working in a Texas restaurant while each pursuing their vision of the American Dream.

The albums’s version of that dream is soundtracked by punk pioneers The Stooges and MC5 and populated by people who read both Mexican philosopher-poet Octavio Paz and the beat poets of the 1950’s. In fact, that’s very much the story of Alejandro Escovedo and this song cycle is a return to his punk roots as much as it is an exploration of the themes of cultural identity.

“Sonica USA” is the first single off the upcoming album and the track is a loud and boisterous reflection — featuring Wayne Kramer of MC5 on guitar — on Escovedo’s youth growing up in Austin when he and his brother Javier played in a punk-before-it-was-punk band called The Zeros.

Alejandro Escovedo has one of the most fascinating career paths in music and his upcoming album is another example of his singular vision. The Crossingdue out this September, is a suite of songs that chronicle the stories of two young immigrant rock and rollers, Salvo from Italy and Diego from Mexico, as they meet working in a Texas restaurant while each pursuing their vision of the American Dream.

The albums’s version of that dream is soundtracked by punk pioneers The Stooges and MC5 and populated by people who read both Mexican philosopher-poet Octavio Paz and the beat poets of the 1950’s. In fact, that’s very much the story of Alejandro Escovedo and this song cycle is a return to his punk roots as much as it is an exploration of the themes of cultural identity.

“Sonica USA” is the first single off the upcoming album and the track is a loud and boisterous reflection — featuring Wayne Kramer of MC5 on guitar on Escovedo’s youth growing up in Austin when he and his brother Javier played in a punk-before-it-was-punk band called The Zeros.

In the song, and in a quote released with the track, Escovedo insightfully positions Mexican American youth as a critical part of punk history.

“When we were playing as the True Believers early on [in the 1980’s] we’d play San Marcos, San Antonio and get all these Chicano kids in denim vests and Iron Maiden patches,” Escovedo says. “I remember thinking they were into us, not necessarily for the music, but for the fact we were there on stage. They loved that we were doing what we were doing.”

True to Escovedo’s nature, the upcoming album comes with a curious twist: It was recorded with Don Antonio, a group of young Italian rockers he recently toured Europe with as a backing band. He developed such a strong bond with the band leader, Antonio Gramentiere, that they ended up writing the songs for the album after riding around Texas soaking in the open landscape and eating both pasta and tacos.

The result is The Crossinga power collection of songs that may in fact be the most succinct statement of Alejandro Escovedo’s musical and personal story ever. “Sonica USA” only whets your appetite for what lies in store on the rest of the album.
The Crossing is due out on Sept. 14 via Yep Roc Records.

Kim Richey

Gearing up for a UK tour supporting Gretchen Peters, “Edgeland” is Kim Richey’s eighth album, a follow-up to her 2013 Thorn In My Heart that finds her working in Nashville with producer Brad Jones and a bunch of seasoned studio hands that include Dan Dugmore, Pat McLaughlin, Chuck Prophet and Robyn Hitchcock. It’s also very much a collaborative affair in terms of the writing, Richey taking only one solo credit with the twilight and starry skies atmospherics of the mellotron and keyboards-based ballad  Black Trees.

With Chuck Prophet on guitar, Doug Lancio on resonator and Chris Carmichael providing fiddle, the album opens in punchy form with the chiming train song swagger and circling riffs of The Red Line, presumably a reference to the Boston rapid transit line. The pace is maintained for the done-running, changed my ways themed Chase Wild Horses, co-penned with Al Anderson and McLaughlin, the latter on mandolin and bouzouki.


The first of four Chuck Prophet writing collaborations, Leaving Song, a duet with McLaughlin, has a good-time bluesy lope, Dan Cohen handling electric banjo and Pat Sansone bolstering the drive on resonator. Again co-penned with Prophet, the mid-tempo, domestic abuse-themed  Pin A Rose also has a bluesy tone to its country groove, although tempered here with instrumentation that includes bouzouki, slide, banjo and electric sitar and has, at times, vague echoes of The Waterboys. I suspect it’s also Prophet who brings the Tom Petty influence in the chiming guitar and tumbling chords of their third co-write, Can’t Let You Go.

A song about getting your shit back together and doing something, High Time, written with Mando Saenz and featuring puttering percussion from Brad Jones with Gareth Dunlop providing harmony as well as the guitar solo bridge, is a gentle train time country chugger. Meanwhile, co-writer Saenz takes the duet role on The Get Together, its dreamy, fluid melody rolling on Dugmore’s pedal steel and Chris Carmichael’s strings with Jones giving it a jazzy tweak on vibraphone.

I Tried chugs pleasantly along without making any waves while Your Dear John, co-written by Jenny Queen, the album’s only female co-writer,  is a quietly reflective number that puts a spin on the topic ( “if I don’t read your letter, you can’t make me your dear John”), the melancholia coloured by cello and wistful recorders.  The last of the shared credits belongs to Australian songwriter Harry Hookey on Not For Money Or Love, a slow sway unfulfilled dreams/back home from the war number firmly evocative of The Band’s bucolic post-bellum moods with Dugmore’s keening pedal steel augmented by violin and harmonium.


It ends with the last of the Prophet collaborations, duetting and playing both guitar and Casio keyboard on the whimsical, bubbly fingerpicked Whistle On Occasion, its simple acoustic arrangement and affirming positivity leaving things on a mellow upbeat note. Back in 1996 Richey earned a  Grammy nomination for writing Trisha Yearwood hit Believe Me Baby (I Lied), it’s about time she had another, this time for her own album.


Kim Richey will be on tour in the UK supporting Gretchen Peters in May/June. The album Edgeland available on Yep Roc – 30th March 2018

Having reached the age of retirement this weekend, I’ve decided not to retire and instead play even more shows. I had a great birthday at home in Nashville with my friends and felines. We capped off the celebrations with an epic karaoke groove.
Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes, I love you all. I’m a dismal Brit in many ways, but I’m also I’m a chronic sentimentalist. Go Pisces! Wait ’til you see the silk fish shirt I bought to celebrate my 65th.

In May I’ll be playing solo and band dates in the UK. In June you’ll find me in Ireland and France. Full details on my website.
In other news, in 1982 I went to Norway and I never came back. The place has an empty ghostliness that entered my soul for life. My 2011 album “Tromsø, Kaptein” was released in Norway only as a loving tribute. I’m happy to say the album is now available in the US, UK and other countries by request. CDs are ready to be shipped and vinyl pre-orders will be sent out in April. I’ve been playing these songs live for quite a while, so you may have already heard “The Abyss”, “Old Man Weather” and “Light Blue Afternoon”.
By the by, my occasional collaborator and harmony singer Emma Swift has recorded a gorgeous version of Neil Young’s ‘Mellow My Mind”.

If you’re looking for something new to watch on tv, I can recommend “Electric Dreams”. I contributed a cover of Syd Barrett’s “Octopus” featuring Graham Coxon from Blur on lead guitar and harmonies. I was delighted to watch the episode it appears in and see Steve Buscemi apparently listening to it on repeat. Good on you, Steve! Good on you, Syd! . 

It’s a nice rainy night here in Tennessee, so I am going to curl up with the cats and a new book. Don’t worry, I’m still addicted to social media and if you want to keep in touch, Peace, love, polka dots.
Robyn H x

From the new self titled record from Robyn Hitchcock – out now on Yep Roc Records

Yep Rock is delighted to announce Robyn Hitchcock’s new video “Autumn Sunglasses” Starring Gillian Welch and shot on location in East Nashville, the video was devised, directed, filmed and edited by Jeremy Dylan.

Of the video, Hitchcock offers, “This song was written and set in Sydney, but the mood was just right this September in East Nashville. Gillian Welch, Harlowe Quinn from the 5-Spot (glimpsed onstage there with his band Prayer Flags), and Tubby my Scottish Fold cat are all local characters; they helped Jeremy Dylan and I crystallize the feel of summer turning to autumn here in Tennessee.”

From the new self titled record from Robyn Hitchcock – out now on Yep Roc Records

Yep Roc Records is excited to announce that for the first time in decades, you can now own Nick the Knife, The Abominable Showman, Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit, The Rose of England, Pinker and Prouder Than Previous, and Party of One all on CD and LP! Bundle all of them together and get a great discount PLUS a limited edition Nick Lowe lunchbox is for free!

Nick Lowe first came to prominence during the British pub-rock scene of the early ‘70s as a member of the legendary band Brinsley Schwarz. Between 1969 and ’75, Lowe sang, played bass, and wrote songs for the band’s six albums, which today are cherished collectibles for the faithful pub-rock fan. After the break-up of Brinsley Schwarz, Lowe tinkered around as a solo artist, releasing singles like “So It Goes” for Stiff Records, where he also worked as the label’s staff producer (working with Elvis Costello, the Damned, and Dr. Feelgood). Lowe also performed as part of the band Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. Lowe released his solo debut, Jesus of Cool (titled Pure Pop for Now People in the U.S.) in 1978, followed by the hit album Labour of Lust.

After marrying singer Carlene Carter (Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter) in 1979, Lowe recorded a single album with Rockpile, 1980’s Seconds of Pleasure, the band enjoying a modest hit when the album charted Top 30 in the U.S. After the break-up of Rockpile (whose members had also played played on various Lowe and Edmunds solo LPs), Lowe returned to his solo career with Nick the Knife. Recruiting former Rockpile bandmates Billy Bremner (guitar) and Terry Williams (drums), Lowe brought friends like guitarist Martin Belmont (from the Rumour) and keyboardists Steve Nieve (the Attractions) and Paul Carrack (Squeeze) into the studio. Nick the Knife features a solid set of Lowe’s pop-rock originals (including two songs co-written with Carter, who also sings on the album) as well as a version of the Rockpile song “Heart.”

The following year’s The Abominable Showman found Lowe returning to his pub-rock roots, recording with a stripped-down band that included Belmont, Carrack, and drummer Bobby Irwin, who formed the core of Lowe’s Cowboy Outfit backing band throughout the decade. The album offers up some fine rockin’ country-tinged moments and a few great songs like “Ragin’ Eyes,” “We Want Action,” and “Time Wounds All Heels,” the last two co-written with Carter. A cover of Moon Martin’s “Paid the Price” fits nicely on the track list.

Reissues of both of these long out-of-print albums is certainly welcome, and comes at a nice time as Lowe’s friends and Yep Roc labelmate’s Los Straitjackets will be releasing their tribute to the songwriter with their new album, What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and

Chuck Prophet’s smart new collection of songs, “Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins”, begins with a celebration of the enigmatic one-hit rock curiosity who sang “I Fought The Law” in 1964 and then, shortly after the song took off, he was found dead in his car at the age of 23 years old.

Fuller’s death remains a mystery, and perhaps as a result, his song and story has resonance for record lovers like Chuck Prophet. He begins the second verse of “Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins” by talking about the experience of listening: “I hear the record crackle, the needle skips and jumps,” he half-sings as the pedal steel guitar careens Byrds-like . That leads to Prophet’s central confession.

With that, we’re off, riding shotgun down some mythic highway with a rock true believer who is not sure of much beyond the primacy of two guitars-bass-and-drums and a handful of raggedly hacked chords. On this journey, the 53-year old Prophet whose past discography includes the pioneering psychedelic Americana band Green On Red and a stack of strong solo albums .

Prophet has described his new work as “California Noir.” With a few exceptions the gloriously leering “Your Skin,” a gem of a song that is most impassioned, the record bears little resemblance to the stylized L.A. noir of  maybe say a James Ellroy novel. It’s murky, coated with fog and shadows – in some ways, it picks up where Prophet’s high-concept history of San Francisco, 2012’s album “Temple Beautiful” .

Its narratives are often dark: Several songs are set in the aftermath of gun violence – one pays homage to Alex Nieto, a Bay Area man killed by police; another tells of the tragic encounter between a shop girl with a song in her heart and a brutal “Killing Machine” who offs people at a store . Mostly, though, Prophet is drawn to the romance of rock culture.

Chuck Prophet has been on the road forever, he’s spent lifetimes amongst its traveling circus of savants and misfits. Sometimes his passion gets misplaced: The album’s most obvious misstep is “Bad Year for Rock and Roll,” which deserves an award for stating the obvious, over and over again. Its chorus ends with a telling couplet: “I wanna go out, but I’ll probably stay home.”

It’s an odd moment, especially since the rest of Bobby Fuller deals with what happens when you don’t stay home. The unsparing, possibly autobiographical “We Got Up and Played” finds Prophet and band standing around after soundcheck, facing the prospect of another night in a grimy club. Prophet goes acidic as he sketches the scene’s less-than-glorious aspects – the cast of characters includes “the bartender standing in the middle of the street with his pants around his neck.” It’s slightly sordid, sure, yet the song captures something fundamentally compelling about people who, despite long odds and great indifference, climb onto a stage and attempt to create music night after night.

Chuck Prophet – “Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins” – 11/1/2017 – Paste Studios, New York, NY

Chuck’s new album features 13 original works that explore doomed love, loneliness and fast-paced violence via Chuck’s muscular songwriting craft. They include songs about Fuller, the death of David Bowie, and the killing of San Francisco security guard Alex Nieto that drew international headlines as “Death By Gentrification.”

‘Bobby Fuller’ finds Chuck coming full circle. He cut the album to tape at Hyde Street Studio in San Francisco, which also happens to be the same studio where Prophet did his very first recording session, while still in high school. Chuck brought out his ’64 Stratocaster for the sessions, conjuring a sound that Jonathan Richman once described as “gasoline in the sand, like a motorcycle at a hot dog stand.” He’s backed by The Mission Express, a band featuring his wife Stephanie Finch (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Kevin White (bass), Vicente Rodriguez (drums, vocals) and James DePrato (guitar).

Chuck Prophet“Open Up Your Heart “– 1/11/2017 – Paste Studios, New York, NY

Lead single “Bad Year For Rock and Roll” is a timely homage to rock greats lost in 2016: “The Thin White Duke took a final bow / there’s one more star in the heavens now/I’m all dressed up in a mohair suit / watching Peter Sellers thinking of you.” “Jesus Was A Social Drinker” starts as a punchy mid-tempo rocker with clanking cowbell before unfurling into an explosive, psychedelic coda.

Chuck Prophet – “Bad Year for Rock and Roll” – 1/11/2017 – Paste Studios, New York, NY

“To me, euphoria lives inside an electric guitar,”says Chris Stamey of his new Yep Roc release. “That’s a place I find freedom, passion, exhilaration: in the spaces between the notes, in the distance between the frets.”

“Euphoria” is a distinctly compelling entry in a body of work that already contains a startling amount of acknowledged classics and underappreciated gems. As solo artist and founding co-frontman of the seminal indie combo The dB’s, the North Carolina-bred singer-songwriter-guitarist has built a beloved and influential catalogue that’s earned him a devoted international fan base and established him as a godfather to the Southern alternative pop community.

Arriving on the heels of his widely acclaimed 2013 chamber-pop excursion Lovesick Blues and 2012’s long-awaited dB’s reunion album Falling Off the Sky, Euphoria finds Chris Stamey embracing his electric roots with an emotionally resonant set of rocking, melodically infectious, sonically bracing new tunes, with expansive arrangements incorporating horns and other unexpected sonic textures, and a supporting cast that includes Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, Pat Sansone of Wilco, Django Haskins of the Old Ceremony and longtime cohort Mitch Easter.

“I found these songs inside the same dilapidated old Silvertone lipstick guitar that I’d written my first records on,” Stamey asserts. “Maybe that’s why it sounds a bit like those records in some ways.”

While Euphoria‘s songs carry echoes of Stamey’s earliest work, they also explore some unfamiliar sonic and compositional territory. “The songs sound simple, but I’ve been listening to Gershwin and Cole Porter, and trying to use chord changes in places where, on other records, I might have used echo or mixing tricks,” he says. “On songs like ‘Where Does the Time Go?’ and ‘Make Up Your Mind,’ it seems like the parts repeat, but actually they’re shifting around all the time, with little modulations and variations. I’m finding new places to go.”

In addition to Stamey’s own memorable compositions, Euphoria‘s highlights include the rousing opening track “Universe-sized Arms,” a previously unreleased Ryan Adams composition that Adams suggested he record.

While the heartfelt “You Are Beautiful” ranks with Stamey’s finest ballads and “When the Fever Breaks” is one of his punchiest rockers, the propulsive “Rocketship” offers a tip of the hat to legendary punk progenitors the MC5, whose 1971 visit to Stamey’s hometown of Winston-Salem was a seminal event in the lives of those who witnessed it.

“I’ve grown very fond of the last several Wes Anderson movies,” Stamey notes. “I love how handmade and ‘auteur’ they look, and I wanted to make a record that sounded a bit like that. At the same time, my teenage daughter got a turntable and regularly spun some of the Beatles’ records, including Rubber Soul and Revolver, albums that I’d not paid much attention to when I was growing up but that now drew me in.

“That sound—of a few musicians working up a song and playing it together, leaving a little room for George Martin-isms to fill in the gaps—was very appealing to me,” he continues. “I liked how funky and natural it all sounded. A lot of modern records sound like they’re made by people wearing new, shiny clothes who are scripting in car crashes and Marvel superheroes and the Perfect Snare. But I wanted a T-shirt sound.”

To that end, Stamey assembled some longtime friends from Chapel Hill’s fertile musical community—Tony Stiglitz, F.J. Ventre, Wes Lachot, Matt McMichaels and producer Jeff Crawford—and did some literal woodshedding.

“We started rehearsing in a tiny old shack out in the woods, and I wrote some new songs so we’d have something to play together,” Stamey recalls. “Then we ran down the road to Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium studio to cut tracks together as a band, with Mitch on guitar as well.”

Having already explored the possibilities of string and woodwind arrangements on Lovesick Blues, Stamey, using the Beatles’ Revolver as his inspiration, incorporates a horn section—including members of New York’s legendary Uptown Horns—throughout Euphoria, along with some “Tomorrow Never Knows”-style loops on the album’s title track. The latter element was drawn partially from a woodwind piece that Stamey wrote in his youth. That composition, like several other early classical pieces he’d written, was long thought to have been accidentally destroyed, but a recording of it resurfaced last year at the tail end of the master tape of the dB’s’ 1978 debut single “If and When.”

Euphoria‘s birth cycle also found Stamey reacquainting himself with another early source of inspiration. “I was joyfully reunited with my old family piano, a Steinway baby grand that I’d first played when I was six,” he explains. “‘Make Up Your Mind’ and ‘Where Does the Time Go?’ both came from this beloved instrument.”

For the wistful, bittersweet “Invisible,” Stamey, seeking to capture a classic Winston-Salem sound, reunited Easter and Let’s Active drummer Eric Marshall, with Stamey playing bass.

The sense of discovery and adventure that energizes Euphoria is a consistent thread that runs through Stamey’s expansive catalog, which he began assembling while making avant-garde home-recording experiments in his teens. Those early efforts set the stage for obscure, but ultimately influential, independent releases with his early outfits Rittenhouse Square (with his future dB’s bandmate Peter Holsapple) and Sneakers (including dB Will Rigby and future Let’s Active leader Mitch Easter).

Moving to New York at the dawn of the ’80s, Stamey launched his own pioneering indie label, Car Records, and he played bass in Alex Chilton’s band, before making a pair of now-classic albums, 1981’s Stands for deciBels and 1982’s Repercussion, with The dB’s. He then began turning out a series of personally charged, musically adventurous gems including It’s A Wonderful Life, Instant Excitement, It’s Alright, Fireworks, his 2004 Yep Roc debut Travels in the South and the holiday-themed Christmas Time.

The Stamey oeuvre also includes a pair of duo albums with Peter Holsapple, Mavericks and Here and Now, and A Question of Temperature, on which he was backed by Yo La Tengo. He’s also worked as a sideman with the likes of Bob Mould and the Golden Palominos.

Stamey has also produced and recorded a wide variety of artists at Modern Recording, the Chapel Hill studio that he’s operated for the past two decades, including recordings by the likes of Whiskeytown, Alejandro Escovedo, Flat Duo Jets, Le Tigre and Tift Merritt.

Since 2010, Stamey has also been the musical director and orchestrator for a series of all-star international concert performances of Big Star’s classic album Sister Lovers aka Third, with a rotating musical cast that includes Big Star’s Jody Stephens as well as members of the Posies, R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub, Wilco and Yo La Tengo.

Prestigious as Stamey’s resume is, Euphoria makes it clear that the veteran artist is presently making some of the most vital and expressive music of his career.

“A lot of people who’ve heard this album have expressed the opinion that it’s very much a Winston-Salem album, and I can definitely hear that,” Stamey says, adding, “To me, these songs really lend themselves to be played live, and I’m really looking forward to doing that.”