Monday, December 29, 2008

Best of 2008 - Ted Ryan

Ted is the bon vivant at Euclid Records, one of the up and coming generation that will mean so much to the world as the years go by, and a guy who likes a lot of good music.

1. Hayes Carll - Trouble In Mind
2. Elvis Costello - Momofuku
3. Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
4. Grand Archives - Grand Archives
5. Aimee Mann - @#%&! Smilers
6. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
7. James McMurtry - Just Us Kids
8. Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
9. Randy Newman - Harps & Angels
10. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best of 2008 - Jim V.

Jim V is the wiley veteran, returned to the major leagues of the record biz after a few years of wandering in the wilderness of working where people don't know who played guitar on which Deep Purple album.

Jim’s Likes for 2008 (no order particular order, just chaos):
The Last of the Shadow Puppets - The Age of Understatement
Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
Darker My Love - 2
Grand Archivies – Grand Archives
The Whigs - Mission Control
Longwave - Secrets Are Sinister
Black Mountain - In the Future
TV On the Radio - Dear Science
Blitzen Trapper - Furr
No Age - Nouns
Jamie Johnson - That Lonesome Song
The Moondoggies - Don’t Be a Stranger
Benji Hughes - Love Extreme
M83 - Saturday=Youth

Reissues
Rodriguez – Cold Fact
Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust

R.I.P.
Rick Wright
Danny Federici
Mitch Mitchell

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best of 2008 - Rob Wagoner

Rob has been slinging his guitar around town for 25 years, in Ultraman, Bent, and a host of other bands. He's also in charge of our auctions at Ebay, and our new LP buyer, and our all-around fix-it guru. He says the top three albums are his fave, and the rest are in no particular order.

1. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2. Last Shadow Puppets - Age of the Understatement
3. CSS - Donkey
4. Darker My Love - 2
5. Portishead - Third
6. Glen Campbell - Meet Glen Campbell
7. Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul
8. James Hunter - The Hard Way
9. Black Kids - Partie Traumatic
10. Bloc Party - Intimacy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best of 2008 - Darren Snow

Darren Snow is the host of Rocket 88 on KDHX, 88.1 FM, and he's the top design guy here at Euclid Records.

Two things happened this year that allowed me to fall a bit behind in my usually-voracious listening habits: First, I became a full-time college student and wasn't around the store as much; second, when I WAS here I was upstairs doing our graphic design tasks and seldom got to pick out what got played on the stereo. I feel kinda bad that I totally missed out on some records that got a lot of press this year, but I also feel that when a record label doesn't bother to send a promo copy of a new CD to EITHER Euclid or KDHX, it's not my fault that I didn't get to hear it...oh well. I'm a college student; I can't actually BUY stuff!

It's also a little troubling that even my favorite records of 2008 contained, at most, only four or five songs that I really, really loved. The list below includes a few CDs that coast by on a nicely sustained vibe even when individual songs aren't jumping out at me (Fleet Foxes, James Hunter), and a couple (TVOTR, Lindsey Buckingham) that seem to improve every time I hear them--so much so that I'm afraid this list will get shuffled yet again before January's out.

Breaking it down, we've got three debut albums here (I'm excited by debuts, which depict an artist who has been neither embittered or fattened up by the industry); five by female-led (or co-led) acts; and only three artists over 40 years old. If you're gonna interest me in your musings on mortality, you have to be really, really, really good at it (see #2).

Oh, and this Tune-Yards thing. You can't buy it at Euclid; sorry. It's only available as a cassette (!) or a digital download. Sample a few tunes at www.myspace.com/merrillgarbus to see if it's to your liking. It's weird as hell, but I think it's wonderful. See her live if you ever get a chance, too.

1. Thao with the Get Down Stay Down We Brave Bee Stings and All
2. Bob Dylan Tell Tale Signs - Bootleg Series Vol. 3
3. Tune-Yards Bird Brains
4. Land of Talk Some Are Lakes
5. Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws
6. Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
7. The Ting Tings We Started Nothing
8. James Hunter The Hard Way
9. TV On the Radio Dear Science
10. Sons and Daughters This Gift

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best of 2008 - Steve Scariano

Steve Scariano is a bass player in at least three of St. Louis's best rock bands, and the guy who fulfills all your internet orders.

There are good albums every year and this year was no exception. But for reasons I have yet to exactly figure out, most new music just didn’t “taste” as good to me this year and new albums on the whole didn’t do it for me in 2008. Maybe this was just one of those years where the reissues were far more interesting, with Doll By Doll, The Move, Dennis Wilson, and The Replacements leading the way for me on that front, with plenty of others right behind them.

So with the above caveat in mind, here are a few new albums I liked in 2008, in alphabetical order:

The Baseball Project---Volume 1: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails

Cobra Verde---Haven’t Slept All Year

Ray Davies---Workingman’s Café

Alejandro Escovedo---Real Animal

Future Clouds And Radar---Peoria

The High Dials---Moon Country

Magnolia Summer---Lines From The Frame

Primal Scream---Beautiful Future

REM---Accelerate

Raphael Saadiq---The Way I See It

Sparks---Exotic Creatures Of The Deep

Steve Wynn---Crossing The Dragon Bridge

No song moved me more on an emotionally sentimental level this year than “Sensitive Boys” from Alejandro Escovedo’s fantastic Real Animal album. If back in the ‘80’s you were in a two guitars, bass, & drums American rock band that wore vintage thrift store clothes, then maybe this song moved you in the same way it moved me.

In my opinion the greatest accomplishment in rock music in 2008 had to be Sparks 21 date run last May & June in London. They called it Sparks Spectacular (click the "more" icon after each album cover), and indeed it was. Over the course of the 21 dates they played every single song in chronological order off every album in their legendary 21 album catalog. As they posted on their website, “That’s approximately 250 songs, or for you musicians, 4 million, 825 thousand, 273 notes.” They had a live web cam thingy going for the shows, and the times I was able to tune in they blew me away no matter what album they were performing that evening. The Maels' top notch band (including Redd Kross' Steven McDonald on bass!) handled the ever changing musical directions of the Sparks’ history quite well, Ron Mael was as genius as always, and Russel Mael’s herculean singing earns him my vote for Musician Of The Year. All of it just total mind blowing stuff on so many levels. A “Sparks Spectacular" search on YouTube will land you all sorts of amateur videos from the shows of varying quality, so fingers are crossed in hopes the product-savvy Maels will release some sort of worthy official document of the event sometime soon.

I saw an embarrassing small number of live shows in 2008. Ian McLagan & The Bump Band at The Duck Room and Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 at Off Broadway were both great, but by far the best rock show I saw in 2008 was Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the Scott Trade Center. Best Springsteen show I’ve seen since 1975, and the fanatics are calling it the “best night of the tour” (scroll down to the 8/23 entry).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best of 2008 - Steve Pick

Steve Pick is the tallest record store employee in St. Louis, a music writer for 29 years, and host of Sound Salvation Fridays at 7 am on KDHX, 88.1 FM.

Everybody I know is either compiling a year-end list or asking if I’ve put together a list, or in some cases, both. Heck, in a lot of cases, both. It’s a crazy game of one-upmanship, as we all like to feel simultaneously superior for loving music that other people missed, and confirmed in our opinions by seeing our favorites show up on other lists.

I don’t know whether it makes any sense to really care about lists these days. One website I saw has been providing links every day to newly published lists, and there are usually twenty or thirty new ones. And that doesn’t even take into account all the individual blog lists out there that aren’t even being read by more than a couple dozen friends and family members.

Anyway, I made a top ten list. I’m not really happy with it, because while I loved all ten of the records I picked, there were fifty more that spent a lot of quality time rattling around in my head this year, and probably another couple dozen that provided serious pleasure more than once or twice.

Meanwhile, I notice that of the ten albums I chose to represent 2008 for me, only one or two of them are getting any attention on the other lists I’ve read, and of the sixty finalists I accumulated, only five or six are showing up with any regularity. Somehow or other, perfectly okay records by the likes of TV on the Radio or Fleet Foxes are being celebrated as works of art, while AC/DC, Elvis Costello, and Cassandra Wilson are considered to be heritage artists beneath the notice of those trying to connect with the zeitgeist.

And then, there’s my uneasy relationship with hip hop, r’n’b, pop, and contemporary country. I believe that there are great records made in these genres, but I haven’t spent nearly enough time with any of them. It’s all I can do to keep up with the hundreds of records that do cross my path. So, while I believe my favorite records would reward way more attention than they’ve been given by the vast majority of those tastemakers who love music, I can’t make any claim that they are truly the only ones worth noting. I do know something about art, AND I know what I like.

Without any further comment then, and in alphabetical order (if you want to see which ten I loved the most, kdhx.org will have that list up somewhere soon), here are 60 records I can recommend without reservation.

AC/DC Black Ice
Arvizu, Ervi Friend For Life
Badu, Erykah New AmErykah: Pt. 1 Fourth World War
Buckingham, Lindsey Gift of Screws
Campbell, Glen Meet Glen Campbell
Cooder, Ry I, Flathead
Costello, Elvis Momofuku
Crowell, Rodney Sex and Gasoline
Davies, Ray Working Man's Café
Dengue Fever Venus on Earth
Devotchka A Mad and Faithfull Telling
Dr. John The City That Care Forgot
Dylan, Bob Tell Tale Signs: Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Elbow Seldom Seen Kid
Escovedo, Alejandro Real Animal
Finn, Liam I'll Be Lightning
Flody, Eddie Eddie Loves You So
Future Clouds and Radar Peoria
Green, Al Lay It Down
Guy,Buddy Skin Deep
Harris, Emmylou All I Intended to Be
Helium Tapes Helium Tapes
Hiatt, John Same Old Man
Hold Steady Stay Positive
Hunter, James The Hard Way
Iguanas If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times
Kempner, Scott Saving Grace
King, B.B. One Kind Favor
LaBelle Back to Now
Landreth, Sonny From the Reach
lang, k.d. Watershed
Loveless, Patty Sleepless Nights
Magnolia Summer Lines From the Frame
Mann, Aimee Smilers
Marah Angels of Destruction
McMurtry, James Just Us Kids
Morrison, Van Keep It Simple
Mudcrutch Mudcrutch
Nelson, Willie Moment of Forever
Newman, Randy Harps and Angels
Ollabelle Before This Time
Orchestra Baobab Made in Dakar
Panic At the Disco Pretty. Odd
Phillips, Sam Don't Do Anything
Pretenders Break Up the Concrete
Reilly, Ike Poison the Hit Parade
Rollins, Sonny Road Shows Vol. 1
Rough Shop Here Today
Saadiq, Raphael The Way I See It
Sloan Parallel Play
Sweet, Matthew Sunshine Lies
The Baseball Project The Baseball Project
Thomas, Irma Simply Grand
Thompson, Teddy A Piece of What You Need
Wainwright, Loudon III Recovery
Wainwright, Martha I Know You're Married But I Have Feelings Too
Was (Not Was) Boo!
Washburn, Abigail and the Sparrow Quartet Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet
Wilson, Cassandra Loverly
Wynn, Steve Crossing Dragon Bridge

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best of 2008 - Jack Probst

Jack Probst has worked at Euclid since May of 2004, and, as of recent, can also be seen wearing a red shirt as part of The Pageant night club staff. Check out his own musical project over on the myspace. He also enjoys writing paragraphs about himself, such as this one.

2008 has been a wonderful year for music. Every year I keep track of all the records I've enjoyed in my notebook, so I don't forget anything that deserves to be praised. Maybe I'm the only one who pays attention to my list, but I work damn hard on it.


ANYWAY, here are my top 10 albums of the year, in no particular order (save for the first two):

1. Bon IverFor Emma, Forever Ago

Favorite tracks: “The Wolves (Act I & II)”, “Blindsided”, “Skinny Love”.




2. MGMTOracular Spectacular

Favorite tracks: “Kids”, “Electric Feel”, “Time to Pretend”.



3. Hot ChipMade in the Dark

Favorite tracks: “Shake a Fist”, “Ready for the Floor”, “Hold On”.



4. CSSDonkey

Favorite tracks: “Give Up”, “Beautiful Song”, "Move"



5. The Teenagers - Reality Check

Favorite tracks: “Sunset Beach”, “Homecoming”, “III”.




6. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

Favorite tracks: “Crimewave (Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH)”, “Vanished”, “Love and Caring”.


7. SantogoldSantogold

Favorite tracks: “Creator”, “I’m a Lady”, “L.E.S. Artistes”.


8. El GuinchoAlegranza

Favorite tracks: "Kalise", "Palmitos Park", "Cuando Maravilla Fui".




9. Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes

Favorite tracks: "It's Okay", "Some Are Lakes", "Give Me Back My Heart Attack".




10. Thao with The Get Down Stay DownWe Brave Bee Stings and All

Favorite tracks: “Bag of Hammers”, “Yes, So On and On”, “Swimming Pools”.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Best of 2008 - Jen Eide

by Jen Eide

Most people have a moment while watching a film where the circumstances of a particular character reveals some insight into their own personality. My defining moment came while watching, well, most of the scenes in High Fidelity in which John Cusack's character is compulsively making top 5 lists. Oh my God, I thought, I am just like John Cusack--I have all the commitment issues, but I don't own the store. And then--wow, making top 5 lists is so completely shallow.

Yet, there is a certain art to compiling a year end best of list and we music fans can totally geek out on such a task. I encourage you to post your own lists in the comments--if we get twenty or so responses, I will look for the common ground and post them as a Lockwood & Summit reader's poll. Here are some indicators that I always look for when evaluating what makes the cut and what doesn't:

  • Debut albums by up-and-coming bands
  • Career highpoints
  • Albums that work as albums--not just the fact that there are a few standout tracks
  • At some point, I've put it on repeat and listened to it more than five times in a row
So here's the things that got stuck in my head this year. What were yours?

1) Bon Iver - For Emma, For Ever Ago - (Jagjaguar)
  • This stunning debut features haunting falsetto vocals and simple guitar strums. It's subtle and takes a few listens before it sinks in--then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Here's a, uh, overly earnest review that I wrote that we now affectionately refer to as the mashed potato post. Yikes! But check out the video for "The Wolves (Part I & II)."
2) Cassandra Wilson - Loverly - (Blue Note)
  • I thought she was brilliant before, but twenty years on I think this remarkable jazz vocalist may just be hitting her stride. Here's a career overview and review.
3) Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All - (Kill Rock Stars)
  • This was the only time this year that I was present at a show with three other Euclid staffers. Here's a review that tells you some of the reasons why we liked Thao so much this year.
4) She & Him - Vol. 1 - (Merge)
  • I initially dreaded hearing this release, thinking it was just going to be an actresses vanity project, but it turns out that Zooey Decshenel is a talented singer-songwriter. M. Ward provides feisty guitar solos and lush string arrangements. Read about it here.
5) The Vivian Girls - The Vivian Girls - (In The Red)
  • Young, dumb and loud. That's what you loved about the Ramones, right? Review and video for "Tell the World."
6) MGMT - Oracular Spectacular - (Sony)
  • This got a lot of in-store play and customers always wound up buying it while we had it on. Then there was that one time we had a dance party behind the counter. Read Jack's review.
7) Xiu Xiu - Women as Lovers - (Kill Rock Stars)
  • Arty post-punk experimentalists team up with an intense free jazz drummer and the result is a career highpoint. Here's the video for "FTW" and the soundtrack to your next nervous breakdown.
8) Magnetic Fields - Distortion - (Nonesuch)
  • An album we liked so much that four of us reviewed it.
9) Santogold - Santogold - (Downtown)
  • Santogold's debut has hooks that won't quit and has inspired comparisons to both M.I.A. and Missing Persons. Euclid's late night dance party, part 2. Here's the video for L.E.S. Artistes.
10) Bob Mould - District Line - (ANTI)
  • Sometimes there's an album that doesn't fit any of your criteria. I loved Sugar. A number of tracks on District Line hit my nostalgia button big time.

Comeback of the Year:

Portishead - Third - (Mercury)
  • We talked about Portishead's first release in almost a decade here.
Best long lost soul-gospel album:

Famous L. Renfroe - Children - (Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess)
  • Just in case you missed this in 1969. Here's the review.


Favorite shows in 2008:
  • Bon Iver at the Billiken Club.
  • Xiu Xiu at the Lemp Art Center.
  • Thao with the Get Down Stay Down at the Lemp Arts Center.
  • Steven Malkmus and the Jicks at the Pageant. This was the evening that I had the stunning revelation that The James Gang's "Funk #49" and Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" are the same song. Thanks to Steven Malkmus for providing the cosmic joke.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best of 2008 - Joe Schwab

Joe Schwab is the man, the myth, the legend, the guy who knows instantly the value of every LP in the universe, and the owner of Euclid Records.

Favorite CD's of 2008
Starling Electric - Clouded Staircase
Sonny Rollins - Road Shows
Sam Phillips - Don't Do Anything
Troubador Dali - Troubador Dali
Loudon Wainwright III - Recovery
Prisonshake - Dirty Moods
Future Clouds & Radar - Peoria
Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs
Patricia Barber - The Cole Porter Mix
Rodriguez - Cold Fact
Terry Adams - Love Letters to Andromeda
REM - Accelerate
Chris Ligon - Crazy Dazy


Best Shows of 2008
Bob Pollard Boston Spaceships - Bluebird, St. Louis
Guy Forsyth - Euclid Records
Ian McLagan & The Bump Band - The Duck Room, St. Louis
The Collins Kids - House of Blues New Orleans
Big Jay McNeely - New Orleans Jazzfest
Return to Forever - Fox Theater, St. Louis
REM - Austin City Limits Studios
Robbie Fulks - Wood House Concert, St. Louis
The Gourds - Wood House Concert, St. Louis
Charlie Louvin - Gazebo Concert Series, Webster Groves, MO
Bruce Springsteen - Scott Trade Center, St. Louis
Ronnie Spector - House of Blues New Orleans
Alison Krause - Robert Plant - New Orleans Jazzfest
Ponderosa Stomp 2008 - House of Blues New Orleans
The Hard Lessons - Darwin's Pub, Austin
Steely Dan - Fox Theater, St. Louis
Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet - Wood House Concert, St. Louis
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 - Euclid Records
Future Clouds & Radar - Off Broadway

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Best of 2008 - Neil Landau

Neil Landau is the store manager here at Euclid Records. You've seen him half the times you've come in the store.

Alphabetical order

Baseball Project - Frozen Ropes & Dying Quails
Ray Davies - Workingman's Cafe
Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
Emmylou Harris - All I Intended To Be
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tounge
Aimee Mann - Smilers
Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
Loudon Wainwright - Recovery

"We are also worthy"

Ryan Adams - Cardinology
Hayes Carll - Trouble In Mind
Ry Cooder - I, Flathead
Johnny Flynn - A Larum
Randy Newman - Harps & Angels

Boxset

Previously unreleased masterpiece

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best of 2008 - Al Becker

Al Becker is the host of Voices in the Dark, every Sunday night from 9 to 10:30 pm on KDHX, 88.1 (or streamed live or in archives at kdhx.org). He's also the guy who keeps track of all our used LPs.

Album of the year

Patricia Barber
- The Cole Porter Mix - Blue Note
A work of art - exceptional in every way!

Best of 2008 in Alphabetical Order:

Shirley Horn - Live at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival - Monterey Jazz Festival
A previously unreleased set by this great lady.

Boz Scaggs
- Speak Low - Decca
He may be closely identified with the rock idiom, but this CD proves that the Great American Songbook and a feel for jazz are an integral part of his art - wonderful!!!

Diane Schuur - Some Other Time - Concord Jazz
Her best in years - she has the power to excite!

Cassandra Wilson - Loverly - Blue Note
Jazz with a dusting of blues - her best ever!!

SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Andrew Suvalsky - A World That Swings - LML Music
A New York based artist who "swings" with great promise!

REISSUE OF THE YEAR

Nina Simone - To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story - RCA Legacy
A 3 CD set (with a DVD) from the first recordings to the last - with 8 previously unreleased performances. The DVD is an Emmy-nominated 1970 special - the songs are heavy on her RCA period.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Live and Learn With the Hard Lessons


by Joe Schwab
Photos by Jim Varvaris

The Second in the Euclid Sessions Series

The second in the Euclid Sessions series took place November 23 featuring the heart poundin’, jaw droppin’, kick azzzzz Detroit Rock and or Roll unit the Hard Lessons. I stumbled into the Lessons a couple years back at a CMJ forum in Cleveland. I’d been warned about these guys earlier that day by Detroit’s resident gig poster master Mark Arminsky who proclaimed them the best band in Detroit. After seeing them warm up the Beachland Ballroom crowd that night, I knew what Mark was talking about. They proceeded to blow away the two fellow Detroit headliners, Detroit Cobras and The Dirtbombs. Sorry, I don’t mean to mock the Cobras or D. bombs, both were great that night, but it was just one of those magical evenings, the stars were aligned in the smoggy Cleveland mist and The Hard Lessons killed!


Since that fateful night, I’ve taken to making sure these guys have a place to play every time there schedule brings them through the Heartland. This is the third time the Lessons have graced the Euclid Stage, but the first time without the mighty hammer of longtime drummer The Anvil or as his friends call him, Christophe Zajac-Denek. Not to worry though, the torch was carried on beautifully by Mark Dawson the man who booked THL’s first Detroit gig.


The warm-up for the in-store was a sweaty gig at Cicero’s the night before. That show gave us a taste of what we’re going to be plopping down for posterity on vinyl this coming spring. Guitarist Augie Visocchi wrote a song about our little town on the Mississippi (take note RCGA), a rousing number called "Gateway City." References in this song could only be done by a native of St. Louis or someone who’s spent far too many hours traveling the roads between The Casino Queen and Blueberry Hill. Bet on the latter. Augie nailed it and came out swingin’ like Pujols jumpin’ on a fastball in August. This was followed by a dead on cover of Uncle Tupelo’s "Graveyard Shift" sung by the lovely Koko Louise bringing a female slant to the song but staying true to the brilliance of the finest Rock band St. Louis has produced since Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson joined forces.


The set was filled out by songs from The Hard Lesson’s latest recording B & G Sides, a box set of 4 separate 3 song EP’s and their rockin’ Wise Up EP from a couple years back. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention, guest vocalist and personal friend of mine, Mr. C.J. Schwab, who came up to croon the Visocchi/Schwab composition, "The Taquito Song."


Look for The Hard Lessons Euclid Sessions 7" this spring at our new Euclid Sessions website www.euclidsessions.com . The art print will by done by Michigan artist Craig Horky with extra goodies to be included in the package. We'll also be posting Hard Lessons videos as filmed by Bootleg John on our upcoming YouTube channel.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's Playing | Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls


By Jen Eide

Brooklyn based trio the Vivian Girls touch all of the punk rock lodestones and top it off with a haze of Jesus and Mary Chain malaise. But the two things that make this band distinctive are their cascading harmonies and a knack for writing succinct songs that say it all in three minutes or less. In a year when quite a few indie bands have indulged in some serious classic rock navel gazing, getting back to basics sounds mighty appealing.

Here's a great low budget video for "Tell The World." Is that Jack McBrayer--30 Rock's Kenneth--behind the fake 'stache?

Friday, December 5, 2008

What I Learned From Terry Adams at Euclid Records


by Steve Pick
Photos by Jim Varvaris

The Third in the Euclid Sessions Series

These are things I should have known, but unlike fanatics like Euclid Joe, or a significant percentage of the big crowd that showed up for our instore, I haven't seen NRBQ more than a handful of times, and I don't even own more than half a dozen of their records. I dig their crazy-quilt melange of rockabilly, power pop, jazz (both avant-garde and jump swing), and r'n'b, but I've never found it so overwhelming that I'll drop everything to get another fix.

It turns out that while Al Anderson was, indeed, a first-rate songwriter, and that Joey Spaminato and Tom Ardolino were a cracker-jack rhythm section, Terry Adams was the shaper of NRBQ's sound. Because, now that he's grabbed some younger and hungrier road warriors to form the Rock & Roll Quartet, I find it absolutely impossible to discern the difference from the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet which preceeded it. Apparently, Adams himself is the guy who demands those spacey rhythms, those backbeat-slapping drums, that jumping bass line, that T-Bone Walker-on-acid guitar.



I didn't get to see his longer shows either at the house concert the night before, or the Off Broadway gig the night of our instore. But, I had a blast watching Adams and crew on our stage. He is clearly willing to push the band in any random direction his mind conjures up at any given moment, and the addition of the Whole Wheat Horns made for a half hour or so of twisted takes on a lot of American music. Sometimes, it sounded as though the band wasn't sure where he was going, but then he'd snap them back in place with a quick melodic run or a pounded chord sequence, and the groove was paramount once again.

I'm listening now, five days later, to the stunning live recording from which the 7 inch single will be taken. Our recording team has outdone itself this time, coming up with something clearer than I heard in the room, yet with all the energy of that joyous good time everybody had last Sunday. Really, when we get this record out, you're gonna want a copy for yourself.