Monday, January 31, 2011

New Releases Feb. 2

Civil Wars - - Barton Hollow: Brand new from the indie/folk group.

The Dirtbombs - - Party Store: Garage rock greats pay tribute to Detroit techno - you ain't heard nothing like this before.

Also new this week:

Cowboy Mouth - - Mardi Gras
The Go! Team - - Rolling Blackouts
Hot Club of Cowtown - - What Makes Bob Holler
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - - Songs From a Zulu Farm
Bobby Long - - A Winter Tale
Bob Marley & the Wailers - - Live Forever
Matisyahu - - Live at Stubb's Vol. II
Me First & the Gimme Gimmes - - Go Down Under
Men - - Talk About Body
Marcus Miller - - A Night in Monte Carlo
North Mississippi Allstars - - Keys to the Kingdom
Phish - - 08.06.10
Phish - - 08.13.10
Phish - - 08.07.10
Rippingtons - - Cote D'ajur
Todd Snider - - Live: The Storyteller

And the following reissues:

Sara Bareilles - - Kaleidoscope Heart
James McMurtry - - Childish Things

Best Sellers Week Ending Jan. 30

1. Iron and Wine - - Kiss Each Other Clean
2. Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over
3. Greg Allman - - Low Country Blues
4. Cloud Nothings - - Cloud Nothings
5. Black Keys - - Brothers
6. Cold War Kids - - Mine Is Yours
7. Destroyer - - Kaputt
8. Deerhoof - - Deerhoof Vs. Evil
9. Ryan Adams - - III / IV
10. Cake - - Showroom of Compassion

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: Zebra

If there's a safe space in the world in which to share guilty pleasures, it's the web, right? Right! Let's begin, then, our occasional look at the wonderful world of music that's enjoyed and shared only in the quiet back channels of life:

St. Louisans might (but probably won't) know of a little bar called The Little Bar. The name derives from the fact that The Little Bar is a really little bar. So much so that a few years back, when freelancing for the local daily, I was working on a story about little bars and requested an interview with the owners of The Little Bar. It made sense to me. But at The Little Bar there's already a crowd, a ready source of income, a daily arrival of mopes who want to sit inside and discuss the world's events in peace and without a bunch of hipster newcomers. I was shushed away and told "no" on the article, though, over time, I have once again infiltrated the space and have enjoyed the $1.25 Natty Lights and smoking-mandatory ambiance.

Say this about The Little Bar, safely: the jukebox is usually in play. Not to say that the music is always of the top-shelf variety, but there's sound on the PA more often than not. And you'd be safe is figuring that this deep-South City tavern gets a goodly share of classic rock pumping through the house on a daily basis, with pinches of R&B and an occasional jolt of hair metal.

A couple months back, I was sitting at the bar, just minding my own business, idling with a newspaper, when a track cut through the clutter of chatter, ringing the tiniest of bells in the recesses of my mind. After puzzling over it for a few minutes, it dawned on me that I could look at the jukebox to figure out what the song was; sure enough, in the dying seconds of the song, the revealing info was this: band, Zebra; album, "Zebra"; song, "Tell Me What You Want." My mulleted years rushed back into focus and I was hooked for days, watching, then re-watching, the class video for "Tell Me," which featured every conceit fancied by video directors in 1983, including a Playboy Playmate who'd go on to become a Housewife of Orange County.

Mind you, I don't sit around listening to Zebra's "Zebra" all that often, certainly not in totality. Usually, I seldom get past the single. But after finding a copy of the band's eponymous debut at Euclid, I now consider it one of those time-bomb tracks for DJ play; which is to say, there'll be a night at a club when a 40-something walks in, rocking the rocker look of the bygone days. He'll simply not be ready for the DJ to drop some Zebra on the turntables, but I'm gonna drop that Zebra, yes, I am. And our rocker's gonna be looking around the room, wondering about that track... that familiar track... thinking, thinking... and then he'll pull out his iPhone, he'll point it in the air and thanks to some type of music ID software smarter than all of us put together, Zebra will come back into his life, too. Can't wait for that day.

In the meantime, friends, are you open to rocking with me for a few minutes? Knew it! Thanks!

-- Thomas Crone

Thursday, January 27, 2011

33.3: Wire, "Pink Flag"

Every four or five months I browse a selection of 33 1/3 books and select a copy, based on the artist investigated, or, perhaps, from knowing the previous work of the author. Priced roughly the same as an album, 33 1/3's are a decent value, too, especially if you want to splash into the deep water on a particular musical act.

A few months back, I selected one of the pocket-sized titles from the 33 1/3 display rack at Euclid Records. Like some of their contemporaries from both sides of the Atlantic - say, Mission of Burma, or the Buzzcocks - I'd known Wire for years, but had never really developed a truly good feel for the group. By the time I'd finished the 160 pages penned by Wilson Neate on their classic debut, I was definitely ready to invest a whole lot more time into Wire, decades after the original release of "Pink Flag."

Over time, I'd come to know that the album cut "Strange" was reconsidered by R.E.M., with a version different enough to keep things interesting. And I was familiar with Elastica wholesale-borrowing the track "Three Girl Rhumba" for their cut "Connection," a reinterpretation that still pops up on commercials today. And "Mannequin" was familiar thanks to the fact that the good, local radio station occasionally pops it onto the air. (And, hey, the late St. Louis band The Painkillers even covered it back in the day.)

But the overall aesthetic of "Pink Flag"? The backstory on how a five-piece group shed one player and wound up a fully-realized act with that subtraction? The general sense of how the album helped refine and reshape what was becoming known as post-punk? All that came into focus through the solid reporting and analysis of Neate, who's brought the group's members into the story, but hasn't allowed their differing opinions on specifics to cloud the storyline.

Like many of the 33 1/3 titles, "Pink Flag" tells the story in a somewhat traditional way, setting up the overall tale with some history on the group (even if a short history, as in the case of Wire). Then comes a track-by-track summation of the album's 21 cuts, some nary a minute long, others stretching all the way past the pop-magical three-minute mark. While some 33 1/3 works take even a fictional approach to the topic, adapting the albums into backdrops for tasty novellas, "Pink Flag" plays it straight and, in doing so, gets you up-to-speed on Wire in the space of just a couple hours' worth of reading.

If you've never checked out a title from the 33 1/3 series, take a bit of time to consider the colorful spines. And, if at Euclid Records, look for the slender books near the new arrivals box at the front door. Skim them and find yourself reading about a favorite album.

Sometimes that album's already in your possession. Other times, it'll wind up a favorite soon enough. Just as soon as you finish the book.

-- Thomas Crone

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sleepy Kitty - Out and About

While all of us affiliated with Euclid Records await the band's debut, full-length disc for the Euclid Records label, there's still a bit of a wait, with a springtime release planned. In the meantime, though, there's some buzz about the band, attainable through various sources.

On the KDHX blog, for example, frequent RFT contributor Jaime Lees wrote a nice, long, thoughtful interview with local musician and recording engineer Jason Hutto. Over the past few months, Hutto's been working with Sleepy Kitty on their debut, a situation that's brought about a solid mutual-appreciation society, as evidenced by Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty singing the praises of Hutto in the piece. It's a good read. You should take a few minutes to enjoy it, if you haven't, already. And you can find it right here.

Also, on Saturday, January 29, you can catch Paige and Evan Sult in a place that they've come to know well over the past year, working the ones-and-twos at The Royale. The bar will be hosting the two as DJs this weekend. From 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m., you can get a feel for both the group's influences and their favorite tracks, past and present. Based on former DJ shifts at The Royale, they'll make the night an enjoyable one, indeed.

-- Thomas Crone

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Releases Jan. 25

Cloud Nothings - - Cloud Nothings: "A solid step forward" -

Cold War Kids - - Mine Is Yours: "Soulful, blues-inflected take on indie rock" -

Deerhoof - - Deerhoof Vs. Evil: "In their world, evil and boredom are practically the same thing, and Deerhoof vs. Evil triumphs against both" -

Destroyer - - Kaputt: Dan Bejar makes the 80s music of his dreams.

Iron and Wine - - Kiss Each Other Clean: "full of roiling emotion, tender wit, and deeply felt melodic beauty" -

Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over: Legendary rockabilly and country singer comes back to rock. Produced by Jack White.

Also new this week:

Apex Manor - - The Year of Magical Drinking
Carolina Chocolate Drops / Luminescent Orchestra - - EP
Caroline - - Verdugo Hills
Eva Cassidy - - Simply Eva
Ensemble - - Excerpts
The Get Up Kids - - There Are Rules
Robert Glasper - - In My Element
Lia Ices - - Grown Unknown
LCD Soundsystem - - London Sessions
Amos Lee - - Mission Bell
Lynn Miles - - Fall For Beauty
My Disco - - Little Joy
Pavlov's Dog - - The Adventures of Echo & Boo and Assorted Small Tails
Corinne Bailey Rae - - The Zone EP
John Renbourn - - Palermo Snow
Say Hi - - Um, Uh Oh
John Vanderslice - - White Wilderness

And the following reissues and compilations:

George Benson - - White Rabbit
The Books - - Thought For Food
Ron Carter - - All Blues
Deodato - - Prelude
Paul Desmond - - Pure Desmond
Milt Jackson - - Sunflower
The Radio Dept - - Passive Aggressive
Devadip Carlos Santana - - The Swing of Delight
Santana - - Zebop
Santana - - Shango
13th Floor Elevators - - Easter Everywhere Limited Edition

Best Sellers Week Ending Jan. 23

1. Decemberists - - The King Is Dead
2. Jayhawks - - Tomorrow the Green Grass
3. Greg Allman - - Low Country Blues
4. Social Distortion - - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
5. Cake - - Showroom of Compassion
6. Smith Westerns - - Dye It blonde
7. Jayhawks - - Hollywood Town Hall
8. Neil Young - - Le Noise
9. Avett Brothers - - I & Love & You
10. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - - III/IV

Friday, January 21, 2011

Troubadour Dali @ The Pageant, Saturday, 1/22/11

During the winter months, major venues often find themselves with extra nights, as touring bands take big chunks of the season to record, relax and generally not test the road. The side benefit, then, is that it's a perfect time of year for those rooms to offer their big stages, massive sound systems and behind-the-scenes strengths to local artists. This Saturday, evening, in fact, The Pageant will be hosting one of its regular Ticketmaster New Music Spotlights, featuring the talents of four local acts, including one that's near-and-dear to the hearts of Euclid Records' staffers. Included on the bill are:

Troubadour Dali
Tenement Ruth
Jeremiah Johnson & the Sliders
The Good Time Engineers

This spring, Euclid will be releasing the second long-player by Troubadour Dali and all signs from the studio indicate that the album will be quite a step forward for the young St. Louis group. If you've not had the good fortune to hear the group yet, please sample the band's goods at their MySpace page today.

As for Saturday night, we've got details below, noting, too, that Troubadour Dali will hit the stage around 9 p.m.. Please note that a certain record store in Webster Groves would be a good place to drop by for free tickets:

Free with ticket if 21+ | $5 cover at door if under 21 or without a ticket
Doors 7:00 pm / Show 8:00 pm
All Ages :: $5 cover at door if under 21

-- Thomas Crone

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gregg Allman - - Low Country Blues: "A roaring return to form. Allman sounds like he's singing for his life." - Uncut

The Decemberists - - The King is Dead: Features guest vocals by Gillian Welch.

Social Distortion - - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes: Veteran punk rockers still have much to say.

Also the following:

The Aquabats! - - Hi-Five Soup!
Norman Blake - - Green Light on the Southern
James Blunt - - Some Kind of Trouble
Benjy Davis Project - - Sincerely
Colorean - - The Unfazed
Fergus & Geronimo - - Unlearn
I Was a King - - Old Friends
Steve Lukather - - All's Well That Ends Well
Daniel Martin Moore - - In the Cool of the Day
Oh No Oh My - - People Problems
Smith Westerns - - Dye It Blonde
Tennis - - Cape Dory
The Walkmen - - You & Me
Warpaint - - Exquisite Corpse

And the following reissues & compilations

The Jayhawks - - Hollywood Town Hall
The Jayhawks - - Tomorrow the Green Grass Legacy Edition
Fela Kuti - - Coffin for Head of State
Klaxon - - Surfing the Void Deluxe Edition
Ladytron - - 604
Ladytron - - Light & Magic
Ladytron - - Witching Hour
Iggy Pop & James Williamson - - Kill City
Reel Big Fish - - A Best of Us For the Rest of Us
Ike & Tina Turner - - Absolutely the Best Live

Best Sellers Week Ending Jan. 16

1. Kanye West - - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Black Keys - - Brothers
3. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - - III/IV
4. The National - - High Violet
5. Cake - - Showroom of Compassion
6. Buddy Guy - - Living Proof
7. Arcade Fire - - Suburbs
8. Deerhunter - - Halcyon Digest
9. Sufjan Stevens - - The Age of Adz
10. Elton John & Leon Russell - - The Union

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Releases Jan. 11

Cage the Elephant - - Thank You Happy Birthday: 2nd album from indie-pop sensations.

Cake - - Showroom & Compassion: It's been years since these guys had something new.

Tapes 'n Tapes - - Outside: They still have everything that made them the darlings of the indie world just a couple years back.

Also new this week:

British Sea Power - - Valhalla Dancehall
Broken Records - - Let Me Come Home
Louis C.K. - - Hilarious
Joe Lovano & Us Five - - Bird Songs
Lynyrd Skynyrd - - Skynyrd Nation
Wire - - Barked Tree

And the following compilations:

Lee Dorsey - - Absolutely the Best
Elmore James - - Hits & Rarities
N.E.R.D. - - The Best of

Best Sellers Week Ending Jan. 9

1. Kanye West - - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Elvis Costello - - National Ransom
3. Elton John & Leon Russell - - The Union
4. The National - - High Violet
5. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - - III/IV
6. Sufjan Stevens - - The Age of Adz
7. Arcade Fire - - Suburbs
8. Deerhunter - - Halcyon Digest
9. Black Keys - - Brothers
10. Robert Plant - - Band of Joy

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Releases Jan. 4

Tyler Ramsey - - A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea
Music From the Motion Picture - - The Illusionist

And the following reissues & compilations:

Ella Fitzgerald - - Twelve Nights in Hollywood Vol. 1 & 2
Ella Fitzgerald - - Twelve Nights in Hollywood Vol. 3 & 4
Louisiana Red - - Sweet Blood Call
Willie Mitchell - - It's Dance-Time
Ann Peebles - - Tellin It

Best Sellers Week 2010

1. Black Keys - - Brothers
2. Arcade Fire - - Suburbs
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - - I Learned the Hard Way
4. The National - - High Violet
5. Rolling Stones - - Exile on Main Street
6. She & Him - - Volume 2
7. MGMT - - Congratulations
8. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - - Mojo
9. Broken Bells - - Broken Bells
10. Neil Young - - Le Noise
11. Jimi Hendrix - - Valleys of Neptune
12. Johnny Cash - - Ain't No Grave
13. Gorillaz - - Plastic Beach
14. Sleigh Bells - - Treats
15. Deerhunter - - Halcyon Digest
16. Mavis Staples - - You Are Not Alone
17. Kings of Leon - - Come Around Sundown
18. Beach House - - Teen Dream
19. Flaming Lips - - Dark Side of the Moon
20. Joanna Newsom - - Have One On Me
21. Belle & Sebastian - - Write About Love
22. Carolina Chocolate Drops - - Genuine Negro Jig
23. White Stripes - - Under Great White Northern Lights
24. Robert Plant - - Band of Joy
25. Devo - - Something For Everybody
26. Wolf Parade - - Expo 86
27. Dead Weather - - Sea of Cowards
28. Band of Horses - - Infinite Arms
29. Roky Erickson & Okkervil River - - True Love cast Out All Evil
30. New Pornographers - - Together
31. LCD Soundsystem - - This Is Happening
32. Jayhawks - - Bunkhouse Album
33. Robert Randolph - - We Walk This Road
34. Mumford & Sons - - Sigh No More
35. Vampire Weekend - - Contra
36. Elton John & Leon Russell - - The Union
37. Them Crooked Vultures - - Them Crooked Vultures
38. David Byrne & Brian Eno - - Here Lies Love
39. Fleet Foxes - - Fleet Foxes
40. Best Coast - - Crazy For You
41. Broken Social Scene - - Forgiveness Rock Record
42. Jonsi - - Go
43. Elvis Costello - - National Ransom
44. Sufjan Stevens - - Age of Adz
45. Built to Spill - - There Is No Enemy
46. Jack Johnson - - To the Sea
47. Old 97's - - Grand Old Theatre Vol. 1
48 Ry Cooder & the Chieftains - - San Patricio
49. Kanye West - - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
50. Gaslight Anthem - - American Slang

Best Sellers Week Ending Jan. 2

1. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - - III/IV
2. Kanye West - - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
3. Deerhunter - - Halcyon Digest
4. Black Keys - - Brothers
5. Jimi Hendrix - - BBC Sessions
6. Sufjan Stevens - - The Age of Adz
7. Arcade Fire - - Suburbs
8. Sleigh Bells - - Treats
9. Elton John & Leon Russell - - The Union
10. Robert Plant - - Band of Joy