John Cale: Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006

John Cale
Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006

March 6, 2012
Big Beat

Film directors have always been lionised by their industry and by fans who made household names of Ford, Hitchcock and Spielberg. On the other hand, Phil Spector notwithstanding, record producers have by-and-large laboured in near-anonymity outside the music business and the most devoted of followers. To help remedy that situation, a few years back, we instigated our Producers series, spotlighting the studio outputs of Jack Nitzsche, Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns, Kim Fowley, Brian Wilson, Martin Hammet and other visionaries who lived to bring the sounds in their heads to the grooves of a record. Another master of the art is John Cale.

Cale’s career has many facets. Since leaving the Velvet Underground in 1968, he has released over two-dozen solo albums – their scope ranging from minimalism, through guitar-based rock to full-scale orchestral. A tireless live performer, he is currently readying a new album for release, having not long returned from a tour of Europe. As a multi-instrumentalist who thrives on collaboration, he has contributed to recordings by William Burroughs, Nick Drake, LCD Soundsystem, La Monte Young and very many others. He has also composed the scores for several ballets, an opera and many films. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2010 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. On receiving his decoration from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace that November, he commented, “Someone has decided that you have done something right, and it is your job to figure out what that is.”

Here on “Conflict & Catalysis” the focus is on Cale the producer. Spanning 40 years, the collection contains everything from the proto-punk of the Stooges and the Modern Lovers to Euro-pop princess Lio and no-wave enigma Cristina and comes with a stylish 28-page booklet which includes a 9000-word essay incorporating specially commissioned memoirs from several of the featured performers.

Elvis Heard Them Here First

Various
Elvis Heard Them Here First

April 3, 2012
Ace Records UK

From his debut recording session to his last, Elvis Presley loved to reinterpret. The first song he ever cut, ‘My Happiness’, was one he probably learned from the 1948 recording by John and Sondra Steele. The last song, ‘He’ll Have To Go’, probably came via Jim Reeves (although Jim was not the first to record it – that honour went to one Billy Brown). In 24 years of studio and stage activity, Elvis cut over 150 songs that had been recorded previously – and put his own stamp on all of them, regardless of who sang them first. All of which makes him a guaranteed shoo-in for his own ‘special edition’ in Ace’s popular “You Heard It Here First” series.

Most people who buy Ace CDs will already know what the originals of songs such as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘One Night’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ sound like. We could have gone the obvious route with this project and stuck to Elvis’ revivals of R&B, blues and hillbilly material, but we’ve elected to compile “Elvis Heard Them Here First” from songs he cut after his military service put his career on hold for a while. We’ve tailored our selection to embrace the originals of some of his biggest hits – ‘Always On My Mind’, ‘Girl Of My Best Friend’, ‘Guitar Man’ – and some of his most obscure B-sides and albums cuts. Believe us, they don’t come much more obscure than Duane Dee’s ‘True Love Travels On A Gravel Road’, the Bards’ ‘Goodtime Charlie’s Got The Blues’ or Roger Douglass’ ‘Never Ending’. In doing so, we hope more than a few of even the most hardcore Elvis collectors will discover some original versions of songs they may not have even suspected were ever recorded by anyone other than Elvis.

Andre Williams & The Sadies: Night & Day

Andre Williams & The Sadies
Night & Day

28 May 2012
Yep Roc

Canada’s finest live band, The Sadies, have reunited with explicit soul singer/cult legend Andre Williams for Night and Day on Yep Roc Records. Night and Day is the result of sessions that began in 2008 at Key Club Studio in Detroit and captures Andre, then 70 years old and still using at the time, at his most raw, honest, and immediate. No filter.

Andre is aided by a stellar cast of musical friends, dirty bluesers who have earned the trust of the ancient hustler, including Jon Spencer (who directed these sessions) and Matt Verta-Ray of Heavy Trash, Danny Kroha of Detroit’s own gutter-blues superheroes, The Gories, the unsinkable Mekon, Jon Langford, and of course, behind it all, The Sadies’ long-time line-up of Dallas Good on guitars and keys, his brother Travis Good on guitars and fiddle, Mike Belitsky on drums, and the mighty Sean Dean on the bass. The result is a raw, gritty slice of raunch rock that has attitude in spades and the hooks and playing to back it up.

Sun Kil Moon: Among The Leaves

Sun Kil Moon
Among The Leaves

29 May 2012
Caldo Verde

“Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek revels in the succulent melancholy of sad autumn evenings in the backseat, garlanded with the shadow words of life’s heaviness, clearly woven by a master of spiritual spelunking.”Filter

“Kozelek manages to sublimate his pain into a grandiose yet good-humored catharsis throughout the uniformly superb Among the Leaves.”Under The Radar

Among The Leaves is the 5th full length album by Mark Kozelek under the Sun Kil Moon moniker. Played almost entirely on nylon string guitar, this 17-song all original album was recorded between October 2011 and January 2012 in San Francisco. Among The Leaves – words which caught Mark’s attention from a John Connolly novel – finds Mark relaxed, singing playfully about his life as a musician while retaining the melancholic spirit of his 20 year catalog. Mark’s love for San Francisco and Northern California are at the heart of this new album. “My first album (Down Colorful Hill) was released in 1992” says Kozelek, “but creatively, I feel like I’m just beginning. The new album was written and recorded impulsively, without second guessing. I didn’t have that kind of confidence in the past.” Unlike Red House Painters’ epic Rollercoaster, described by Rolling Stone as “the slowest and mopiest self revelations ever put to tape” or Sun Kil Moon’s Ghosts of the Great Highway, which Billboard Magazine called “heartbreaking,” Among The Leaves displays a more raw and humorous side of Mark’s songwriting. Aaron Prellwitz, recording engineer of Red House Painters and all 5 Sun Kil Moon albums describes the latest effort as “wonderfully direct.” Kozelek curiously ties together legends Joe Frazier, Bobby Fischer and Ed Gein in ‘The Winery’, ‘‘Song for Richard Collopy’ is a touching tribute to the late San Francisco guitar repairman, and ‘Sunshine In Chicago’ – written just before taking the stage at a Chicago venue last year – is a funny, self deprecating poke at life on the road. Though Among The Leaves is mostly in the solo, nylon string style of Admiral Fell Promises, a new ensemble of players joined Mark for a portion of the record, recalling the same spirit as April and Tiny Cities, but with a fresh, new sound. The album will be available digitally, on vinyl, and as a LIMITED EDITION DOUBLE CD SET.

Glenn Jones: The Wanting

Glenn Jones
The Wanting

September 13, 2011
Thrill Jockey

“Like all the best dreams.”Mojo

“The Wanting boasts both technical excellence and a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. A simple combination, perhaps, but a hugely rewarding one.”Drowned in Sound

The Wanting, Glenn Jones’ first album for Thrill Jockey, was recorded in a fourth floor apartment on Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, overlooking the commuter train line. If you listen carefully to the record, you can occasionally hear trains going by in the background. Reuben Son recorded the album between December 12, 2010, and April 20, 2011. The Wanting was mixed and mastered by long time collaborator Matthew Azevedo. Simply put, The Wanting is a collection of original compositions for solo acoustic steel string guitar, six-string, 10-string and bottleneck, and 5-string open-back banjo. A little background and context may help. So in his own words:

“The ‘60s, as has been drummed into our heads to the point of tediousness, was a period of musical growth and exploration. And while there does seem to have been something in the water back then that everyone of a certain age was sipping, I came of age late in that decade. In 1967, my head was blown off by Jimi Hendrix’s second album. After hearing it, I bugged my old man till he bought me my first guitar. I was 14. Today, I consider myself to be part of a tribe of acoustic finger-style guitar players whose main inspirations are the “American Primitive” or “Takoma school” guitarists, those centered around John Fahey.

The model par excellance, and the fountainhead, John virtually single-handedly created a style of solo guitar playing, as well as an audience to support it. He was also, for people like me, the inspiration to try making some kind of coherent music utilizing the acoustic guitar myself. Playing like the people who influence you, however, only gets you so far. No matter how much one loves a particular player, or how long one studies their work, it’s all but impossible to beat them at their own game. You’re always at a disadvantage. Better, therefore, to make up your own game, devise your own strategies, invent your own rules. This is what Fahey and Robbie Basho did, as well as such lesser-known players of the early-to-mid ‘60s as Max Ochs, Harry Taussig, Fred Gerlach, Dick Rosmini and others.

Featuring Recent Posts WordPress Widget development by YD