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Enter here for the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Miss Sharon Jones at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at a screening of your choice between Mon. Aug 22 and Thu. Aug 25!

 

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. RADIOHEAD - A Moon Shaped Pool
2. PAUL SIMON - Stranger To Stranger
3. CASE/LANG/VEIRS - Case/Lang/Veirs
3. TRAGICALLY HIP - Man Machine Poem
5. ANDY SHAUF - The Party

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FEATURED RELEASES

Wednesday
Mar022016

VA - Saint Etienne Present Songs For The Carnegie Deli

"Ace's 2016 compilation Saint Etienne Present: Songs for the Carnegie Deli is a pop music lover's Valentine to their imagined New York City: what Londoners Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs always dreamed the Big Apple to be. Aficionados of '60s singles that they are, the pair rely heavily on Brill Building pop and uptown soul for their 24-track compilation. Heavy on girl groups and grooving soul, this collection moves along and if there are some familiar names here -- Chuck Jackson, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Lesley Gore, and the Shirelles are among the featured acts -- Stanley and Wiggs rely on deep cuts, so this winds up having a familiar feel but a fresh kick: it stays true to the ideals of a sophisticated, swinging city." - All Music Guide

Wednesday
Mar022016

VA - Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

"Known for having an impeccable knowledge and contagious enthusiasm for music, a collector and fan through and through, Bobby has compiled an album for Ace based on mood and atmosphere, building something both incredibly personal and totally universal. He finds the sadness in the sunshine pop of the Beach Boys and isn’t afraid to have three of their tracks in a row, to enjoy that melancholy. He finds the 1970s punk attitude in one-time cleancut doo wopper Dion, the politics in Link Wray and the sex in Kris Kristofferson. It’s as much a reappraisal of these artists as a love letter to them, putting them in a new context and holding a different mirror to their faces.

His sleeve-notes take you on a mapped journey, from him as a young punk gig-goer in Glasgow, seeing Suicide supporting the Clash where they had an axe thrown at them, to meeting his heroes on an equal footing both on and off stage, through to gazing at the fragile people gone too soon. It’s a paean to loving music." - Ace Records

Wednesday
Mar022016

LEE HAZLEWOOD - The Very Special World Of

"Though these albums were recorded in the space of less than two years, they sounded very different from each other. The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood, one of the most straightforward albums in his career, serves as a primer on his style and showcases all of his contradictory impulses. It’s Hazlewood at his most maximalist, building a wall of sound to rival Phil Spector’s. Most of the tracks on The Very Special World feature full orchestras passing ideas back and forth in flowery counterpoint, choirs instead of backup singers, and contributions from the in-demand studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew.

Of all the MGM recordings, the songwriting on The Very Special World is by far the most consistent, and features a handful of the most subtle and sensitive songs Hazlewood ever wrote. "I’m Not the Lovin' Kind" is a beautiful bossa nova with unusually sensitive singing, a triumphant string and horns call-and-response from arranger Billy Strange that manages to anchor just off the coast of faux-Jobim parody while retaining its humor. "I Move Around" is a travelogue Lee would re-record several times later in his career, most notably on his 1972 classic 13. Here, in a simple folk arrangement, it explodes into the kind of sweeping, cinematic climax Hazlewood seemed unable to talk himself down from during this time. His vocal performance is controlled and wistful instead of bitter and stoic—as his renditions of so many songs would become when left to his own devices. But the album’s most important contribution to the Hazlewood songbook is the lethargic, lounge ballad "My Autumn’s Done Come," which embodies his ethos as well as any standalone recording ever has. With its hypnotic pacing, odd chord changes, and dreamy but crystalline production, it’s easy to see how it would influence Galaxie 500’s Dean Wareham, who sang the song’s particular praises in a 2015 interview." - Pitchfork

Wednesday
Mar022016

VA - Still In A Dream: A Story Of Shoegaze (5CD)

"Still In A Dream: A Story Of Shoegaze 1988-1995 collects a mammoth 87 artists across five CDs in one glorious compilation, housed in a book-style box set that also includes a 12,000-word essay by esteemed music writer Neil Taylor, rare memorabilia and photographs from the era, biographies of each participating band and an American perspective of the genre by Springhouse drummer and editor of The Big Takeover fanzine Jack Rabid. It represents the most definitive document yet of a scene that was much-maligned at the time, but has since gone on to be one of the most pivotal and influential in the development of modern music.

So where did all start? While many commentators cite The Jesus & Mary Chain's Psychocandy as being the first shoegaze record, its origins start two decades beforehand. Bands like The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things were using distortion as an art form in the mid-Sixties, while The Byrds' off kilter melodies where David Crosby's rhythm guitar chimed and weaved a melody of its own beneath the main body of the song also played a part. As did the first incarnation of Pink Floyd, undoubtedly the catalysts for taking songs way beyond the traditional three-minutes structure. Fast forward a decade to the late David Bowie's 'Heroes' and you'll hear Robert Fripp's echo-laden guitar driving through the song's heart. A completely unique sound at the time - remember this was 1977 - and surely something that didn't go amiss with the main protagonists of shoegaze several years later." - Drowned In Sound

Saturday
Feb202016

MAVIS STAPLES - Livin' On A High Note

Living legend Mavis Staples delivers yet again with a testimony to positivity as a weapon against even the bleakest, more frustrating times.

"It might seem like an odd time for an upbeat message, but Livin’ on a High Note is as well timed as her 2008 live album, Hope at the Hideout, released just a week before Obama was elected the country’s first African American president. Eight years later, we’re deep into a confounding election cycle that has already defined itself by blatant concession to voters’ basest prejudices. At the same time, some of our best artists—D’Angelo, Kendrick, and Beyoncé—are making race and class dominant subjects in pop music, with songs like "Alright" and "Formation" prompting heated discussions about black identity and police brutality. 

High Note complements rather than contradicts those bleaker depictions of 21st century America and casually argues for Staples’ legacy as an agitgospel singer. Would we have Beyoncé singing, "I like my Negro nose and my Jackson 5 nostrils" in 2016 without the Staples singing, "I like the things about me that I once despised," at Wattstax in '72? In that regard, the most crucial song on here is also the shortest: "What do we do with all of this history now?" Staples asks on "History Now," penned by Neko Case. Bearing all this weight can’t be easy for anyone, but with that divine voice of hers, in fact, Staples seems uniquely suited for it. And Livin’ on a High Note suggests she may even be happy to have that responsibility, if only because it reminds her that happy doesn’t have to mean complacent." - Pitchfork

Saturday
Feb202016

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - Painting With

Pop/art savants Animal Collective keep on with their wild ways. Dizzy, intuitive, sticky, and super fun.

"So, for their 10th studio album ‘Painting With’, it’s all change. Deakin is sitting this one out (nothing sinister, just the way Animal Collective do business) and the band have returned to basic principles they never had. That means ‘jamming’. Luckily, this hasn’t resulted in an album of prog-rock atrocities. Instead, by sticking to Avey’s pre-album promise of “no BS”, they’ve reconnected with their pop smarts and come up with a concise and warm album.

America’s Sunshine State is celebrated as a “mystical place” on the toytown stomp of single ‘FloriDada’, and potential hit ‘Golden Gal’ bounces along prettily in a toast to gender equality (“You’re so strong/You should hold your head above them”). Of course it wouldn’t be Animal Collective without Avey and Panda Bear’s overlapping vocals valuing sound over meaning, or the acres of electronic noise everywhere. ‘Hocus Pocus’ disorientates with drone effects courtesy of ex-Velvet Underground guitarist John Cale, before surging into a sticky, psychedelic rush. ‘On Delay’ is busier still as its commanding two-note synth riff gives way to slammed beats and a rave break." - NME

Saturday
Feb202016

WILD NOTHING - Life Of Pause

A release wherein the bedroom dream pop project of Jack Tatum looks to grow even further beyond the widescreen ambitions of 2012's lovely Nocturne.

"Structure and connection seem to have become an increased priority for Tatum. The track sequencing is impeccable, and another element of Life of Pause that feels distinctly ‘album era’: the building opener, taking the energy up a step, then slowing it down with the third song, and so forth. Meticulously dissecting and reconstructing the familiar has been one of Wild Nothing’s strengths from the start. A chemistry built on a fine balance can be easily tipped, however, and it would be fair to wonder if the act of opening up the floor to more influences might leave less room for Tatum’s own voice.

A response might be found in “Adore”, which strums and tumbles together in vintage late ‘60s psych pop fashion, but glides above the realm of mere tribute. If Wild Nothing’s deepening playbook of new wave and half-remembered era staples ring familiar, filtering them through Tatum’s refined sensibility brings out something distinct. Getting the conspicuous but good-spirited nick from Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life” in “To Know You” out in the open early was for the best. The more covert operation at hand is to get people listening to Haircut 100 and Altered Images with fresh ears. Plus, if the marimba-surfing “Reichpop” (a titular nod to the minimalist composer Steve Reich) that kicks off Life of Pause is any indication, further change is already coming." - Popmatters

Friday
Feb122016

BASIA BULAT - Good Advice

"It’s not always the case when a singer/songwriter makes the transition from folk-rock to keyboard pop that you say “Finally” and “All right!” But Basia Bulat’s shift – or transcendence, really – from guitar, autoharp and charango to all sorts of instrumentation on fourth album Good Advice seems destined and natural. That’s thanks in part to her bright, full, soulful voice, which is big enough to cut through the album’s wall of sound. 

Produced by Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Good Advice finds Bulat in motion: breaking up, moving cities (Toronto to Montreal), looking ahead, processing stuff. It’s very sad, with tender, vulnerable vocal performances that are also immensely enjoyable to listen (and dance) to." - NOW Magazine 

Thursday
Feb112016

LUCINDA WILLIAMS - The Ghosts of Highway 20

Paired up with a stellar backing band featuring Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz, this is Williams' 12th album — a double record companion to 2014's Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone that finds her in trademark fighting form.

"Her new set mixes country influences with gospel and blues, and is notable both for the strength of her highly personal songwriting, her weathered, slurred and defiant vocals, and the inventive arrangements, featuring atmospheric, brooding guitar textures from Greg Leisz and the ever-adventurous Bill Frisell." - The Guardian 

"Williams addresses the passing of her father, renowned poet Miller Williams, using his own words on forlorn opener "Dust." Thirteen songs later, the set bookends with the nearly 13-minute-long meditation "Faith & Grace," a call to the spirits for a sense of peace that recalls similar rambles from Van Morrison. She also borrows from Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen. "House of Earth," the former's words applied to her music, describes a den of sin presented languorously and without inhibition. Springsteen's "Factory," from Darkness on the Edge of Town, adds some human desperation to the ghost stories. The Ghosts of Highway 20 finds Lucinda Williams bending Americana with jazz phrasing, lush grooves, and unrestrained spirit." - The Austin Chronicle 

 

Monday
Feb082016

JASON COLLETT - Song and Dance Man

A longtime stalwart of our city's indie scene, Jason Collett is one of the most reliable singer-songwriters we've got. Backed by members of Bahamas and Doug Paisley, Song and Dance Man maintains this solid rep for tender observation paired with moments of wry commentary, all backed by soul-infected roots pop.

Plus, in keeping with the album's artwork and old school self-promo vibe, we've got Jason Collett matchbooks to give away with each purchase! Light 'em up!

"There’s no filler on Song and Dance Man; each song bears repeated plays and throws enough curveballs and snappy lines to keep things interesting. On that title song, for example, a sardonic commentary on technology and popularity in today’s music industry, Collett sings “If you can tweet something brilliant / You got a marketing plan” and “Now that the future has swallowed the past / It’s one step forward and two steps back.”

Collett isn’t shy about crediting his influences either, as he proclaims “we all want to sing in American” in the aptly titled “Singing American”. This extends to the country textures and pedal steel guitar in “Long Day’s Shadow”, and the bouncy roots-rock of “Love You Babe”, which wouldn’t be out place on a Traveling Wilburys’ album. He extends things a bit further south (of the border) in the Mexican-flavored “If She Don’t Love Me Now”." - Popmatters

Thursday
Feb042016

FIELD MUSIC - Commontime

Field Music's 2010 LP, (Measure), was staff favourite of the year, and this Sunderland duo remain one of the more criminally unsung pop bands around today. It's easy to understand why, of course: they're prone to proggy detours, and multi-part suites, the death-knell of 21st Century attention spans; and their instrumental and studio proficiency is so articulate and controlled, it can border on being cool to the touch. But there is no greater heir to the mantle once occupied by acts like XTC than the Brewis brothers. Two gentlemen from northern England who mesh every sonic idea into a shimmering tapestry that is equally intellectually and instinctually appealing.

"There are artists who manage to translate good press into commercial success. There are artists who succeed despite the best efforts of music critics, as frequently evidenced by the charts and the schedules of the world’s stadium venues. And then there are artists who have to settle for having the phrase “critically acclaimed” attached to them so often that it almost becomes part of their name. It is, fairly obviously, to the ranks of the Critically Acclaimed that Field Music belong. Over the past 11 years, the output of Sunderland’s Brewis brothers – five albums, a soundtrack, a B-sides compilation, a covers compilation and two solo releases each – has attained rapturous reviews, a Mercury prize nomination and the public approval of an admittedly peculiar mix of celebrity fans, including Prince, Al Kooper and Vic Reeves – which sounds not unlike the seating plan for the world’s most awkward dinner party. For all its baroque string arrangements, jazzy chord sequences, vocal harmonies and beautiful, slick production, Commontime never sounds sumptuous. There’s something precise, carefully considered and economical about everything on it, from the twitchy funk of single The Noisy Days Are Over, to It’s a Good Thing’s off-kilter take on 80s pop, to the gorgeous piano-and-strings ballad The Morning Is Waiting." The Guardian

Thursday
Feb042016

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Out Of Left Field (Where Soul Meets Country)

ACE is no slouch when it comes to unearthing compilations of exceptional cohesion and surprise. Out Of Left Field -- a new collection of soul standards tweaked and crafted for the country market -- is no exception.

"The close musical relationship between country and soul music has been explored with great success across three CDs in Kent's 'Where Country Meets Soul' series. As a complement to this well-received series, Ace now presents the other side of the musical coin, with 24 tracks that show what happens in the place 'Where Soul Meets Country'. 'Out Of Left Field' brings together 24 exceptional versions of soul and R&B hits and classics, performed by some of the best-known names in country music. All titles lend themselves extremely well to country and demonstrate just how blurred the line that separates soul and country could get at times. A great compilation in its own right, and sure to have a broader appeal than many others in the genre due to the interest from soul fans. It features Hank Williams Jr, Willie Nelson, Don Gibson, Mel Street, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Ronnie Milsap and more." - Rough Trade

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years - See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.VDT5a3Vg.dpuf

In the past couple of years Ace has brought you three “Where Country Meets Soul” CDs featuring R&B and soul greats singing songs that were originally aimed at country music fans. Given how many country songs have been successfully remade as soul gems, it’s unsurprising that many country artists would try their hand at interpreting material originally aimed at soul buyers. Here in “Out Of Left Field” we reveal what takes place “Where Soul Meets Country”.

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.LX06034Z.dpuf

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years.

Tony Rounce

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.LX06034Z.dpuf

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years.

Tony Rounce

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.LX06034Z.dpuf

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years.

Tony Rounce

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.LX06034Z.dpuf

You’ll hear songs from the catalogues of some of soul music’s best-known writers and singers reworked for the country market, yet retaining much of the soul of the original versions. It’s no surprise that the songs sound so comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Many of those who wrote them heard as much country music in their formative years as they did R&B. Some, like Dan Penn, enjoyed hits in the country field long before achieving soul and pop success. And many of the featured musicians also played on soul sessions at the same studios these country recordings were made. There may be a steel guitar here where you would hear a sax solo there, but the end results sound no less soulful in the final analysis. That’s hardly surprising either, as the artists include several of country music’s greatest voices of the past 50 years.

Tony Rounce

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/out-of-left-field-where-soul-meets-country#sthash.LX06034Z.dpuf
Friday
Jan292016

HINDS - Leave Me Alone

A new staff fave from four ladies from Madrid. A gleeful stash of youthful, off-the-cuff garage pop.

"Of course, anyone can be ramshackle, the word most often attributed to this Madrid four-piece. Anyone can pay scant attention to tuning their guitar, strum it at the slacker rhythm of their choosing and allow anyone in their band to have a bash at vocals, seemingly as and when they fancy it. But 99% of the time, they will be utterly unlistenable. Hinds are great because of two crucial factors. They have bags of tunes – opener Garden is loaded with 60s soul hooks, for instance – and bags of charm, adopting the clatter of C86 but updating it with a riotous rush of freewheeling, girl-gang energy." - The Guardian

Friday
Jan292016

TUCKER ZIMMERMAN - Ten Songs

"When David Bowie put together a list of his top twenty five albums for Vanity Fair in the early 2000s, there were a few obscurities amongst the more familiar items, one of which, "Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman", has just seen rerelease by RPM International. Elaborating on his relationship with the album, Bowie said "I always found this album of stern, angry compositions enthralling", and that "Ten Songs" had a "particularly telling effect on how I would collect and listen to music in the years to come".

Zimmerman was an American based in the UK at the time of "Ten Songs..." recording in 1969, and it's no surprise that Bowie was aware of Zimmerman, with Tony Visconti producing "Ten Songs" as well as playing bass, along with an impressive band that also included Aynsley Dunbar, Shawn Phillips, and Rick Wakeman. For those hoping that the Bowie connection might produce a similar work, there may be an initial pang of disappointment, but for those interested in the crossover point between expansive folk-rock and the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement, this is a fascinating and surprisingly diverse listen.

Often compared to Donovan, the songs on here are much grittier, more politically charged, and angry than anything I can ever imagine flowing forth from the Don's pen, and often quite rollicking. Opener "Bird Lives" makes the most of its Bo Diddley beat (and slyly references the Trashmen), while "Running, Running from Moment to Moment" sounds an awful lot like what might have happened had Buddy Holly lived to see the baroque pop era." - The Active Listener

Friday
Jan292016

TINDERSTICKS - The Waiting Room

"The Waiting Room might be Tindersticks’ most subdued effort to date, but it still flashes the irreverence that enlivened efforts like The Something Rain and Falling Down a Mountain. On "Help Yourself," an uncharacteristically louche Staples shakes off his troubles by swaggering onto the floor of the Shrine in Lagos circa '72 (and the novelty of the Tindersticks going Afrobeat is savvily mirrored by Denis’ companion clip, which depicts French-Caribbean actor Alex Descas roaming the shopping-mall concourse of a French train station, nonplussed by the white European consumer culture surrounding him). An even more wondrous surprise arrives in the form of "Hey Lucinda," a wobbly-kneed waltz that finds Staples communing with the spirit of the late, great Montreal chanteuse Lhasa de Sela, an occasional Tindersticks collaborator who died of cancer in 2010. It’s like a fleeting reminiscence of someone who’s passed, but one that leaves you smiling from the warm memories rather than weeping over their absence.

The beautifully languid "Hey Lucinda" contrasts sharply with The Waiting Room’s other big-ticket matchup, "We Are Dreamers," which sees Staples joining forces with Jehnny Beth of Savages and the Tindersticks tapping into that band’s brooding menace. It’s the moment where all of The Waiting Room’s mounting tension is finally released, into an outsider anthem that recasts material impoverishment as spiritual empowerment ("You can rob us/ You can trick us/ Peer over our shoulders and steal our ideas") as Beth and Staples’ voices intertwine and overlap before locking into the song’s rallying cry: "This is not us/ We are dreamers!" - Pitchfork

"The Waiting Room has a multimedia component, which is that each of the 11 tracks comes accompanied by a short film helmed by a different director (Claire Denis, Christoph Girardet, among others). This is ambitious if not altogether surprising, since Tindersticks has been recording soundtrack work (mostly for Denis) in between albums as far back as 1996. Pretty much every Tindersticks song reaches out for late-night visual accompaniment. So the three instrumental cuts here, if somewhat uneventful and one too many, have the feel of incidental music from a film. “How He Entered,” which name-checks two of the instrumental titles, shares that cinematic momentum. A character study of sorts, it’s one of the group’s most compelling spoken-word pieces since 1995’s “My Sister.” - Paste Magazine

Thursday
Jan282016

VA - Christians Catch Hell: Gospel Roots 1976-79

"Producer and label owner Henry Stone, who passed away last August at the age of 93, was the kind of mythic record label executive who turns up midway through music biopics, or as the 'other guy' in countless photos of famous artists, singlehandedly putting Miami on the map with his early '70s label TK Records. Though TK was Stone's primary concern, he also oversaw a fleet of smaller independent labels, each of which had a different stylistic focus, but were all loosely linked to R&B. One of those labels was Gospel Roots, which Stone founded in 1976 with Timmy Thomas. 

Like all of Stone's ventures, Gospel Roots quickly amassed a sprawling discography, releasing 50 LPs in just three years. Part of this was owed to the label's canny structure—rather than shelling out for recording and production, Stone snapped up pre-existing gospel masters from regional artists and simply pressed and distributed them through Gospel Roots.

According to the extensive notes included with Christians Catch Hell, Thomas rarely met—or even spoke to—the artists whose work he was commissioned to promote. The label expired just three years after it was founded, without scoring a single notable hit. That backstory makes Christians Catch Hell—a collection of 18 tracks from the Gospel Roots label—seem like yet another in a long line of barrel-scraping reissues of 'lost classics,' but the music it contains transcends record collector arcana, providing instead a snapshot of the underexplored intersection between disco, funk, and gospel." - Pitchfork

Friday
Jan222016

TY SEGALL - Emotional Mugger

The same things that make Mugger raw and powerful, though, will also make it Segall’s most polarizing solo album yet. His music has grown more accessible for general audiences over the years, but with Mugger — which officially comes out two months after VHS copies were sent to unsuspecting journalists — he reverses that trajectory. It’s a move back toward the noisier garage rock roots he established with his 2008 self-titled debut and 2009’s Lemons. In that same Spin interview, Segall talked about touring as it relates to the rest of his musical existence: “It’s not my favorite thing; recording is. It’s so fun. You can get weird." Mugger sounds like it was a hell of a lot of fun to make, and Segall gets plenty weird here, too, with guys like producer F. Bermudez, Dale Crover, Mikal Cronin, and King Tuff all contributing to the madness. - Consequence of Sound

Thursday
Nov262015

OXFORD AMERICAN - 17th Annual Southern Music Issue

"The Oxford American is proud to present its 17th annual Southern Music issue, which celebrates the immense musical legacy, both past and present, of the state of Georgia. 

Published in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division, the issue comes with a 25-song CD compilation that features music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. This showcase of Georgia music also includes a cover of the song 'Midnight'—written by songwriting legends Boudleaux Bryant and Chet Atkins and recorded by Ray Charles—by the Athens-based band Futurebirds. This song was recorded exclusively for the Oxford American. The compilation ends with a recently discovered 1961 demo recording of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer performing 'Moon River.' The CD was mastered by Grammy-winning producer Michael Graves of Osiris Studio in Atlanta.

In the magazine, more than 45 writers take on the task of chronicling numerous musical traditions and artists from Georgia—including legends, innovators, and the state's brightest visionaries. A few highlights: Peter Guralnick on his discovery of Blind Willie McTell and the electrifying experience of seeing the James Brown Show in 1965; Kiese Laymon on the influence of OutKast; Amanda Petrusich on the Allman Brothers Band and Capricorn Records; Elyssa East on Gram Parsons and his 'Nudie suits'; and Brit Bennett on Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Records. The issue also has a special section called 'Athens x Athens,' in which musicians from the city's famous scene share stories and anecdotes about what makes the town an unmatched hub for creativity."
- The Oxford American

Thursday
Nov262015

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - The Complete Matrix Tapes (4CD)

"The first song on the Matrix Tapes is a languid, 13-plus-minute-long version of 'Waiting for the Man,' complete with a whistling break and two previously unreleased verses, seemingly made up on the spot. But what makes this collection essential is the cohesion of the band and the setlists: the shows find the Velvets at their absolute peak as a live unit, with Reed and Sterling Morrison's guitarsthe former raucous and unhinged, the latter pristine and precisemeshing with an almost subconscious cohesion. The 42-track set finds the band cruising through some 22 different songs sprawling across their entire career: 'Sweet Jane' is rendered in versions much calmer than the familiar recording on Loaded, forceful on the first round (and with yet another unreleased verse), gentle on the second. Doug Yule introduces a loping melodic bassline into 'Heroin' (first night, second set) before moving over to organ. But most of all, the clarity of the soundwhich is drastically improved from the Live 1969 album, where several of these songs were first released, and The Quine Tapes collection, which is rough-quality audience recordings of songs from the same set of shows—makes it feel as if the band is performing right in front of you." - Billboard

Thursday
Nov262015

THE STAPLE SINGERS - Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 (4CD) 

"Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 isn't career-spanning, as stated by the Concord label. The proof is right there, in the title. Throughout the latter part of the '70s and during the mid-'80s, the Staple Singers recorded strong material for the Warner Bros. and Private I labels. Nonetheless, as of 2015, this box set was easily the most comprehensive Staples anthology. Physical copies consist of four discs, as well as a re-pressing of an early-'50s single, 'Faith and Grace' b/w 'These Are They' which alone is enough to stir the interest of longtime fans. Even without those two songs, Faith & Grace would be almost as close to essential as it gets for a box set, covering the group's stints with Vee-Jay, United, Riverside, Epic, and Stax, a rich period during which they evolved from an acoustic gospel-folk group that performed in small churches into a genre-crossing main attraction for 110,000 people at the Los Angeles Coliseum (as documented on Wattstax)." - Allmusic