Monday, February 28, 2011

New Releases Mar. 1

Baseball Project - - Volume 2: High and Inside: 13 extra innings of great new baseball songs.

Devotchka - - 100 Lovers: Amazing new record from one of the most intriguing bands anywhere.

Dum Dum Girls - - He Gets Me High: Essentially a solo EP from Dee Dee.

Buddy Miller - - The Majestic Silver Strings: The band includes Buddy Miller, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, & Greg Leisz - that is some serious guitar.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - - Departing: "More confident, explosive, and produced than their lovable . . . debut" -

Lucinda Williams - - Blessed: Her best album in fifteen years - 8 different cover variations.

Also new this week:

Acrylics - - Lives and Treasure
Beady Eye - - Different Gear, Still Speeding
Big Head Blues Club - - 100 Years of Robert Johnson
Anna Calvi - - Anna Calvi
Harry Connick, Jr. - - In Concert On Broadway
Dropkick Murphys - - Going Out In Style
Eisley - - The Valley
Fred Hersch - - Alone at the Vanguard
Ari Hest - - Sunset Over Hope Street
Aaron Lewis - - Town Line
Lykke Li - - Wounded Rhymes
Middle Brother - - Middle Brother
Papercuts - - Fading Parade
John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours - - John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours
Ron Sexsmith - - Long Player Late Bloomer
Paul Wall - - Politics As Usual
Various Artists - - Troubadours (DVD & CD)

And the following compilation and reissue:

James Brown - - The Singles 1975-1979
Scott Kempner - - Tenement Angels

Best Sellers Week Ending Feb. 27

1. The Decemberists - - The King Is Dead
2. Drive-By Truckers - - Go-Go Boots
3. Adele - - 21
4. Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over
5. Mogwai - - Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
6. PJ Harvey - - Let England Shake
7. Hayes Carll - - KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories)
8. Destroyer - - Kaputt
9. Black Keys - - Brothers
10. Lifeguards - - Waving At the Astronauts

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Super Covers: Superjam

There are certain truisms about rock'n'roll in St. Louis. For one, our town will never tire of cover bands. No matter how hard original groups work, it seems that clubs here will always pack in the bodies with the tried-and-true formula of booking groups that can really nail the sound and mood of a cover track, or era. Also, KSHE 95 will forever have a hold on the radio-listening habits of countless fans, even in the weird, current version of modern hits and quirky oldies.

If we accept these ideas as fact, then the rise of Superjam should've been expected. And, yet, it's a still a surprise that what the talented five-piece is doing wasn't already in play.

Taking their name from the Busch Stadium mega-shows of the mid-'70s, Superjam play tribute to a wide swath of hook-heavy, radio rock from about 1973 to 1982. So you'll get your KSHE Klassics, ala Uriah Heep, April Wine and the Edgar Winter Group, but you'll also get the radio pop of Toto, the prog rock of Kansas, the hair metal of Loverboy and the one-off wonders, ala Gerry Rafferty.

Hand-picking an outfit after three years of semi-serious thought, bassist Jeff Gallo first sought out his friend Joe Meyer, which completed the rhythm section. He then recruited more friends like guitarist Eric Lysaght, Dave Aholt on keyboards, and Dave Farver who handles lead vocals and the sax. (And if you think sax is an indulgence in 2011, then you've never heard "Frankenstein" or "Baker Street" played properly.) Learning songs in early 2010, the group left the woodshed over the summer and now have a 65-song catalog, with more added monthly.

Onstage, they pull off a neat trick, playing the songs exactly as recorded, giving the diehards a thrill. But there's also a subtle wink-and-nod taking place, as evidenced by the stage show, decorated by black-light posters, a giant logo banner and oversized lava lamps. Attempting to give the feeling of "your brother's room in 1979," the band achieve the fun-meets-serious need that a proper tribute band requires.

Playing every Thursday night at the perfect venue for them, South County's House of Rock, the group will entertain folks who were then when it was all happening, man. And if you weren't around for all that, Superjam will put you in a time machine, sending you back to Granny's Rocker and Stages.

Ask nicely and they'll give you some Rush, Zebra or Boston. But don't ask for "Mustang Sally" or "Sweet Child o' Mine." 'Cause that ain't what they do. And what they do, they do oh-so-well.

(Superjam will put you in this mind-space, man:)

-- Thomas Crone

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wave Wednesdays: Cats Can Fly

Who knew there was such a rich vein of Canadian new wave? Well, YouTube knew, that's who. Frankly, this video's got more than a bit of representation from all the hallmarks: stacks of hair, trench coats, slap bass, roto toms, a China cymbal and a dancing keyboardist. Score!

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Releases Feb. 22

G-Love - - Fixin' To Die: New album produced by the Avett Brothers.

Robert Pollard - - Space City Kicks: 19 new songs from the most prolific songwriter ever.

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX - - We're New Here: Remix of Gil-Scott Heron's 2010 release I'm New Here.

Also new this week:

Joan Armatrading - - Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Jeff Beck - - Rock'n'Roll Party
The Books - - The Lemon of Pink
Builders and Butchers - - Dead Reckoning
The Caribbean - - Discontinued Perfume
The Cave Singers - - No Witch
Chain & the Gang - - Music's Not For Everyone
Cult of Youth - - Cult of Youth
Danielson - - Best of Gloucester County
Earth - - Angels of Darkness. Oedons of Light
King Creosote's Thrawn - - King Creosote's Thrawn
The Low Anthem - - Smart Flesh
The Luyas - - Too Beautiful To Work
Malachai - - Return to the Ugly Side
Brad Mehldau - - Live in Marciac
Puro Instinct - - Headbangers in Ecstasy
Lauren Pritchard - - Wasted in Jackson
Sean Rowe - - Magic
Toro y Moi - - Underneath the Pine

And the following reissues and compilations:

Albert Collins / Robert Cray / Johnny Copeland - - Showdown!
The Crystals - - Very Best of
The Flying Burrito Brothers - - Authorized Bootleg Fillmore East Late Show Nov. 7, 1970
Darlene Love - - Very Best of
The Monkees - - The Monkees
The Monkees -- More of the Monkees
The Monkees - - Headquarters
The Monkees - - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Thin Lizzy - - Johnny the Fox Deluxe Edition
Tower of Power - - 40th Anniversary
Johnny Winter - - Live Bootleg Series Vol. 7
Various Artists - - Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Collection
Various Artists - - The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961-1966

Euclid Records to Release Painkillers CD

Euclid Records is excited to announce the first ever compact disc release of music from one of St. Louis’ most beloved rock and pop bands of the 1980s, the Painkillers. In time for Record Store Day, 2011, the original 8 song cassette-only album of the Painkillers, from 1986 will be available on CD, augmented by many never-before-issued extra cuts. This 25th anniversary release will be provide valuable documentation of a band that deserved much greater recognition. Liner notes will be written by local St. Louis music aficionado Thomas Crone.

Begun as a project by two Webster Groves High School students, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Jeff Barbush and keyboardist/guitarist Carl Pandolfi, the Painkillers played frequently and developed quite a local following between 1982 and 1986. With a rhythm section of bassist Mike Martin and drummer Jack Petracek, the Painkillers were a furious live band, rocking out on cover material from the Beatles, the Clash, and Run-DMC. Barbush was a terrific songwriter, too, and fans loved to hear such gems as “Dork on the Moon,” “The Blast,” or “What’s Inside.”

While the Painkillers were touted as legitimate contenders for national popularity by critics in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Riverfront Times, fortune never quite smiled on them when it came to breaking out of the local area. They recorded frequently, sending out demo cassettes to college radio stations and record companies, and releasing this single album-length cassette, sold in stores such as Euclid Records back when tapes were dominating the pre-recorded music sales market. Limited in release to a few hundred copies, it has been a collector’s item among local pop music fans and those who remember the good times catching the Painkillers in Mississippi Nights, Bernard’s Pub, or any of a number of other local hotspots.

After the band broke up, the individual members continued to make music in a wide variety of local acts, including the Deadbeats, the Lettuce Heads, Three Foot Thick, Tinhorn, and the Deciders. Martin and Petracek have each produced, engineered, and recorded dozens of local musicians over the years, as well. In 1999, Jeff Barbush unfortunately committed suicide, ending the life of a tremendously talented musician.

The CD release party will be at Off Broadway, Apr. 15. There will be performances by several current St. Louis bands paying tribute to the Painkillers, and the three surviving members of the group will appear as well. Details are still being put together for this event.

Peter Case Euclid Sessions 7" Is here!

When Peter Case visited Euclid Records last July 23 to perform in the store, he met St. Louis drummer Joe Meyer, who was immediately recruited to form a two-piece band. The impromptu duo rocked out on a version of Chuck Berry’s classic “Nadine,” and Case’s own “Dig What You’re Putting Down,” among other songs. These two numbers recorded on stage that day can be found on the brand new Euclid Sessions series 7” single available now.

Peter Case has been a cult figure since the late 1970s, when a member of the Nerves, one of the first truly underground New Wave bands to appear in Los Angeles. Their claim to fame was that they recorded the original “Hanging On the Telephone,” later covered by Blondie. Case then formed the Plimsouls, a first rate power pop band whose classic “Million Miles Away” was featured in the movie “Valley Girl,” though record company shenanigans kept that film’s soundtrack from being actually released, thus preventing the band from having the hit single that seemed all but guaranteed. From there, Case reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter troubadour who has recorded eleven terrific solo LPs over the last 24 years.

The cover for this new single was designed by the legendary Art Chantry, who has designed concert posters and record covers for many of the biggest names out of the Seattle music scene, including Nirvana, Hole, and Soundgarden.

This 11th release in the Euclid Sessions series is, like all the others, strictly limited to only 300 copies. Because of the limited run, we will sell only one copy per customer. $1 for each one pressed is donated to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund (NOMRF) to benefit musicians displaced or suffering loss of equipment in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Euclid Records has a website devoted to the series: Here you can find out about upcoming in-store events, read up on past events, subscribe to the series or order/pre-order upcoming 45's.

In the coming months, expect new releases in the Euclid Sessions series from the Spampinato Brothers, Chuck Prophet, and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound.

Best Sellers Week Ending Feb. 20

1. Bright Eyes - - The People's Key
2. Drive-By Truckers - - Go-Go Boots
3. Gregg Allman - - Low country Blues
4. Hayes Carll - - KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories)
5. Black Keys - - Brothers
6. Mumford & Sons - - Sigh No More
7. PJ Harvey - - Let England Shake
8. Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over
9. Iron & Wine - - Kiss Each Other Clean
10. Decemberists - - The King Is Dead

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Jans Project: Studio Views

Euclid Records' own Steve Scariano has been recording with the Champaign-based The Jans Project for a bit of time now. According to some Facebook chatter, the record is being targeted for an April release and you know who'll be carrying it.

Quick-sketch results of the sessions are being seen/heard on YouTube. Here's a quick clip of a recent session.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sleepy Kitty: Lo-Fi Session

Have we reminded you recently to check out this bit of live performance by Sleepy Kitty, shot and edited by Bill Streeter?

If not, let's remind you now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Releases Feb. 15

Asobi Seksu - - Flourescence: New one from the kings of atmospheric pop.

Bright Eyes - - The People's Key: "The most devastating songwriter of his generation" - Spin.

Drive-By Truckers - - Go-Go Boots: New LP from one of UNCUT's 100 Most Important Bands of the Decade.

Mogwai - - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will: As if anything we say could top the album title.

Eddie Spaghetti - - Sundowner: Solo record from 1/4 of the "Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band in the World" - the Supersuckers.

Twilight Singers - - Dynamite Steps: New music from Greg Dulli, once of the Afghan Whigs.

Also new this week:

Hayes Carll - - KMAG YOYO
Chixdiggit! - - Safeways Here We Come
Cowboy Junkies - - The Nomad Series Demons Volume 2
The Dears - - Degeneration Street
East River Pipe - - We Live in Rented Rooms
Tommy Emmanuel - - Little By Little
Kyle Fischer - - Open Ground
Ginuwine - - Elgin
PJ Harvey - - Let England Shake
La Sera - - La Sera
Ben Ottewell - - Shapes & Shadows
Rev Theory - - Justice
Charlie Sizemore - - Heartache Looking For a Home
Telekinesis - - 12 Desperate Straight Lines
Shugo Tokumaru - - Port Entropy
The Warriors - - See How You Are
Young Galaxy - - Shapeshifting

And the following reissues and compilations:

Canned Heat - - Human Condition
Smokey Robinson - - The Solo Albums: Volume 4
The Wailers Band - - Majestic Warriors
Various Artists - - The Ace Records Rock'n'Roll Story

Best Sellers Week Ending Feb. 13

1. Gregg Allman - - Low Country Blues
2. Black Keys - - Brothers
3. Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over
4. Robert Plant - - Band of Joy
5. Iron and Wine - - Kiss Each Other Clean
6. North Mississippi All Stars - - Keys To the Kingdom
7. Akron Family - - Vol. 2 Cosmic Birth & Journey of Shinju TNT
8. Civil Wars - - Barton Hollow
9. Destroyer - - Kaputt
10. Arcade Fire - - Suburbs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Now Playing: Crocodiles

Best part of going to a record store? Well, one possible answer: there's something in that little Now Playing rack, right up by the counter. And that something in the rack might be an album that makes you stop shopping for a minute, giving you enough time to bum-rush the counter for the inevitable "what's that you're playing?" moment of you're-in-a-super-fast-musical-crush desperation.

To draw an example, let's say that DJ Jackieboy is behind the counter of Euclid Records and is cranking some Crocodiles, on a random weekday afternoon. And you don't know the band, you have no idea what's in this world you're listening to. But, in the space of a few minutes, you really wanna know the band. You know?

Some of us have had that experience. Let's demonstrate, using the popular YouTube video-sharing service:

Do you, at least, kinda like Crocodiles? Hope so! Know I do!

-- Thomas Crone

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Local Section: STL Loud

The other day, a group of Webster University students came through STL's Euclid Records, seeking information about the ways that a brick-and-mortar store like Euclid offers a different buying experience from online sources. (What kind of cool professor would come up with that kind of outing for a Mass Comm class? Oh! That's right, it was me.) While most folks could tick off a legitimate list of differences between the forms of purchasing, one interesting nugget was a conversation about local music and whether St. Louis' scene was strong, or not.

With two bands from STL signed to the Euclid Records' label, the store and ownership obviously believe that there is, in fact, a good chunk of talent calling this city home. And a brief glance at the local section, found at the check-out counter, shows that plenty of local bands are offering releases, with no small amount of them still coming out during these digital times. One piece that called attention to itself - largely through the bright, red-and-yellow design of Off Broadway's Kit Kellison - was STL Loud, the first volume of locally compiled tracks from R&R Music Labs. Run by Ryan Lewis and Ryan Albritton, the series is intended to release CDs on a quarterly basis, featuring new bands on a consistent basis.

Their website notes:

STL LOUD is St. Louis’ music EP and concert series featuring unreleased music from local bands.

Late in 2010 six local groups met with the team at R&R Music Labs and got LOUD recording new music. The recordings were combined into the first volume of STL LOUD.

With each release 6 local artists will have a chance to gain exposure through the EP and the release showcase that will provide a venue for each artist to perform for new audiences. Each volume will provide a snapshot of the diverse musical scene in our city and hopefully unite artists and fans and provide further strength for our community. Look for the EP in local record stores starting after January 14th and check back for information on upcoming releases.

The artists represented on the first disc are The Warbuckles, Andy Berkhout, Via Dove, The Orbz, Langen Neubacher and The Dive Poets, represented by a single track; the disc is priced at $4.99.

-- Thomas Crone

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Operation Reggae

If my reading comprehension hasn't failed me, Malcolm Gladwell suggests in the book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a subject, whether that be heart surgery or playing hockey. We live in a fast-twitch society and my attention span is taking a beating, leading me to believe that I'm not exactly going to commit to achieving expert status in much more than goofing around, of which I'm already working on multiple advanced degrees.

But smaller chunks of knowledge, sought through spending time on a variety of subjects? That I'm down with.

My notion is this: for the rest of this year, I want to commit to learning what I can about reggae. In figuring out a system or approach, I'm thinking that a monthly schedule is the way to go. Each month until December, I'm going to read one book, watch one movie and commit to one album on the topic. While leaving me far short of mastery, the process will give me at least some confidence in carrying on a partially-informed conversation at the end of it all. You know, for those hip dinner parties that we dream of attending, if only we were invited.

Yesterday, I perused the Webster University Library and selected the book Reggae Island: Jamaican Music in the Digital Age by Brian Jahn and Tom Weber. It's got a few years on it, but highlights a number of different performers. I also snagged the classic Jimmy Cliff film The Harder They Come, which I'm completely embarrassed in not having seen, already. For an album, I'm going to spend time this month with Ossie Dellimore's Reggae Music; the album name kinda works for the project (doesn't it?), and the disc was personally laid on me by Professor Skank of KDHX's Positive Vibrations, whose Skank Productions released the disc.

Open to suggestions, of course. Drop 'em in the comments section here, or over at Facebook.

-- Thomas Crone

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Releases Feb. 8

Teddy Thompson - - Bella: Strongest collection of songs yet from Mr. Thompson, with killer rock band & string arrangements.

Akron / Family - - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead - - Tao of the Dead
Nicole Atkins - - Mondo Amore
Cut Copy - - Zonoscope
Miles Davis - - Bitches Brew Live
Kurt Elling - - The Gate
Esben and the Witch - - Violet Cries
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant - - Black Ribbons (Bullet Version)
Jessica Lea Mayfield - - Tell Me
Over the Rhine - - The Long Surrender
Various Artists - - Waylon: The Music Inside

And the following reissues & compilation:

Stan Getz - - Quintets: The Clef & Norgran Studio Albums
Frank Sinatra - - Best of Vegas
Thin Lizzy - - Jailbreak Deluxe Edition

Best Sellers Week Ending Feb. 6

1. Iron and Wine - - Kiss Each Other Clean
2. Wanda Jackson - - The Party Ain't Over
3. Decemberists - - The King Is Dead
4. Greg Allman - - Low Country Blues
5. Black Keys - - Brothers
6. Oh No Oh My - - People Problems
7. Destroyer - - Kaputt
8. Jayhawks - - Hollywood Town Hall
9. Deerhoof - - Deerhoof Vs. Evil
10. Cloud Nothings - - Cloud Nothings

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Remembering: Rain Parade

We remember concerts for all types of reasons.

It was the night of an amazing first kiss. It was the night that a band lost its collective mind and imploded, right there on-stage, in front of everyone and their cousin. It was the night that: a war started; a President was elected; a wall fell; or a band simply played the set of their short life together. Sometimes, that set rings out, years later. That damned show by (fill in the blank) sunk in and it's not going to leave your head anytime soon.

Back when the flagship rock club in St. Louis was Mississippi Nights, Rain Parade played a gig at the venue, with local openers Blank Space. I recall enjoying Blank Space and would later become friends with a member, or two. Rain Parade? Well, I wouldn't become friends with them, but I do remember my friend Kevin falling asleep during their set, his head laying heavy on his arms, a kid dead to the world despite Rain Parade playing the loudest set of music I'd heard during my entire teenage years, a blistering set that covered their then-most-recent album, "Crashing Dream" (Island); which remains a huge favorite, years later.

What's strange about this, true that night and years later, is that Rain Parade is a band you can listen to with the sound down low. The group's songwriting was nothing short of impeccable and the instrumentation was often subtle enough to demand a listen, or two, before the brilliance fully set in. But when out the road, the group may've enjoyed turning those amps up. Or, maybe, there was something about St. Louis, on that night, on that tour, that made them want to keep things closer to a deafening blast than to a subtle come-on.

Lucky. I'm lucky to have seen Rain Parade, in whatever lineup, at whatever volume. It's a treasured memory, brought back to life by pulling a piece of wax off the shelf. Their albums all hold up well, the production quality colored by a tinge of the '80s studio sounds, but not to excess; in fact, their records hold up as well as any of their contemporaries. Whether they ever grace the world with another tour, a one-off show for the Internet, a reunion album or a box set for the (non-)masses, they've given us something worthwhile.

They counted, the Rain Parade. They registered and earned the memories attached to them, no matter how tenuous they may be. Thanks, Rain Parade.

-- Thomas Crone

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patti Smith: Featured Wednesday at Late Night Lit

This one's for the St. Louis readers, in particular:

For the past few months, one of The Royale's barmen, John Fausz, has been hosting Late Night Lit readings on the first Wednesday of the month. Considering that he began the tradition in the dead of winter, the events have taken place both inside and outside the bar, starting with a reading from behind the counter, then moving outside, to the ample fire pit. With weather conditions being a bit extreme in the St. Louis region this week, Wednesday's reading will likely be indoor-only affair, featuring a subject who'll be familiar to readers of this blog.

After a couple months of reading the beats, the attention this month goes to legendary songwriter/author Patti Smith. Selections from her most recent title, "Just Kids," will be sprinkled alongside words from her other books and lyrics.

According to The Royale's Facebook page, "February's feature is Patti Smith, the 'Godmother of Punk' and vibrant poet who received the National Book Award for her 2010 memoir 'Just Kids.' The event will kick off at 10:30 with a brief introduction inside, followed by readings around the firepit and discussion of Smith's style, life, and her influence on American poetry and rock and roll."

Whether, or not, there will be fire involved, The Royale will be open on Wednesday. And fans of Patti Smith are invited to delicately tread their way down.

-- Thomas Crone