We will concede this to the latte-sipping coffee table theorists of the world. When it comes to the small slice of pop culture called American rock music over the last three decades, a profound shift did occur when the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was signed into law on July 17, 1984 by Ronald Reagan. The rock farm leaguesãtraditional rock and roll venuesãtook a big hit in the nose, and ever since rock music has been less "substance-tial."
Well, thank God for Oneida.
With their third full-length record COME ON EVERYBODY LET'S ROCK (their first full-length record for Jagjaguwar), Oneida conjure up the spirit of a forgotten past -- from the heaviosity of Deep Purple and Blue Cheer to the hooks of Humble Pie and Foghat to the attitude and dirty swagger of early Alice Cooper Band. The Brooklyn rock band also lives up to the tale of the tape, hands down being the best live band in New York City at this very moment. So infamous are their live performances that even overseas the British press makes it their business to hail Oneida as purveyors of the burgeoning New York City "Loft Party" scene (the new rock farm league?). Best of all, Oneida are smart and are as rooted in the present as they are informed by the past. Consider for instance their take on the global economy as poignantly expressed in "Doin Business in Japan":
When I do business I do it in Japan / I am signing contracts that I don't understand /But it don't matter when the deal is done / I'm getting higher than the rising sun
Stand clear of the mirror and get away from mom and dad's robitussin. This is the great rock record by Oneida we all have been waiting for
According to Oneida:Oneida -- called a whole lot of names -- "the organic Kraftwerk", "bastard prodigal sons of Afrika Bambaataa," "Brooklyn's electro nightmares unleashed" ...and it's all true. Claims of jazz refuted here. Oneida is all rock, all beat, all the time. This record is our nametag.Break your door, steal the shutters, dear landlord: there's a price on your head and Oneida's new STEEL ROD EP is embedded six inches into the back of your skull. All you old men, handing out religious brochures and telling the youth that they've lost to the devil, take a look into your own asshole. We think you just might find our new CD, the god you've lost and a nice little piece of pipe. Give or take five screaming cuts about new identities, new visions and civil war -- Oneida's Steel Rod lays down another testament to bein' free like we want it to be. Remember Watson and Crick? Well, we think that Nobel Prize needs to be recalled and delivered to the real innovators of genetics: us. Ever wonder what an "XXY" baby looks like? Listen up. I think you'll hear its fragile egg shell mind crying out on track one.Some say our "Steel Rod" is discriminate. Not so -- we smash it all up -- but ask questions later. The board rooms are still talking about the event described above. Suits and casual Friday types keep Oneida in the minutes these days. This Steel Rod we keep talking about -- look at it as our scale of justice. Eyes wide open, next stop "Tennessee." The Union presence is keeping the good people down, disguised as police. But we're not heartless. We shed a tear on this track... for the dead men in blue, piled up in our wake. Climb onto our "Hell Train" headed for the promised land. Paranoia, beer, and trucker's speed fueling the next binge on the devil's consciousness. We think it's all damn sinister. That there's an end coming. It'll get your ass. Listen up. It's knocking on your door. It won't stop here.
With Parker Paul's debut full-length Lemon-Lime Room, many wondered if the piano man wouldn't be consigned to the awkward yet prestigious league of musicians' musicians--that cadre of the pop intelligentsia which includes the Harry Nilssons, Randy Newmans, Todd Rundgrens and Ron Sexsmiths of the world. Each one is recognized for their superior songwriting talent, yet the cash register has never rung for any of them with quite the same frequency as would naturally be suggested by the multitude of airy plaudits they have each garnered. With the unleashing of the second full-length record Wingfoot--the album that no one expected to hear for another five years--Parker Paul has made it clear to the world that he is not a man to sit on his hands.
You should have no illusions. The future for Parker Paul is still unclear. But he is resolute on one thing: not relying on critical acclaim, on ivory towers alone, to spread the word. The masses will come or Parker Paul will fade permanently into obscurity. Lingering in and out of the public's eye, clutching tightly to the consolation prize of being deemed "canonical", will not suffice.
The formula remains the same. Parker Paul writes songs about people whose lives have a real lived-in quality to them. They are not overly beatific, worn-down or damaged as the subjects of most realist songwriters today are. And when Parker Paul's lyricism provides sage advice to the listener, it is accidental, not intentional. Parker Paul is never pedantic. For him, stating the obvious comes natural: "The people who tell lies / About their crappy childhoods / Probably had crappy childhoods."
To really fill out his songs of love, laughter and devotion, Parker Paul enlisted a full band of crack musicians who, performing together, sound like a New Orleans cosmic brothel jazz band. Members include Dan Sullivan (Nad Navillus), Emma Niblett (Scout Niblett), Adam Busch (Manishevitz), Fred Lonberg-Holm (Peter Brotzmann Tentent, John Zorn and Light Box Orchestra), and Jeb Bishop (Vandermark 5 and The Flying Luttenbachers).
Wingfoot was produced by the Schwartz Brothers (Michael Krassner & Busch), and various arrangements were made by Lonberg-Holm.
Released October 8, 2001.
Parker Paul is, first and foremost, an entertainer. He is then both a piano player and a story teller. He comes to your town in his little blue Pacer and gets on stage and makes you feel really good for the evening. In the spirit of the classic vaudevillean performers of yore, Parker Paul fuses his lucid sense of humor and uninhibited vision as a story teller to convey absurd truths of life -- especially those truths that profound sadness can inspire and those that, being acutely sentimental, can make you laugh out loud. From nonsense springs wisdom.On the spectrum of modern songwriters of refined yet wily wit, Parker Paul fits somewhere between Randy Newman and Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson and Loudon Wainwright III. He never succumbs to silliness yet can still whip a zinger with the best of them. At his best he makes you understand the deepest of longings.He is just a man and his piano. And LEMON-LIME ROOM, his debut record, is recorded live with zero overdubs. But don't let the piano fool you. Parker Paul is a rock and roll veteran. He has experienced the world of rock in a few of its guises -- as pivotal member of the now defunct Virginia rock groups the Curious Digit and the Fledglings and through a short stint as keyboardist with Royal Trux.
Released January 24, 2000.
Constant Future is the career-defining statement from Brooklyn-based noise-pop trio Parts & Labor. The album’s 12 tracks deliver the bare essentials that made them sui generis totems of modern art-punk: synthesized keyboard riffs distorted into oblivion, percussion pummeled hypnotically, crackling drones that haunt and soothe, fearless melodies hollered skyward. Their last release, 2008’s acclaimed Receivers, saw Parts & Labor blasting off in all directions and creating collage art from hundreds of fan-curated samples. But fifth album Constant Future finds them crashing back to earth, focusing pointedly on what they do best: unique, electronic landscapes melded with buzzing, anthemic hooks. Parts & Labor have distilled the lessons and experiences of nearly 10 years as a band into a catchy, blown-out masterwork.
Brooklyn noisepunk outfit Parts & Labor has dramatically altered their wall-of-sound: Their fourth album, Receivers, finds P&L focusing on open spaces, longer movements, expansive arrangements and loftier goals. On eight epic tracks, Receivers showcases the band's catchiest and darkest moods to date, reveling in a growing dynamic sensibility only hinted at in their previous work. Though they've maintained their love affair with glitchy oscillations and anthemic vocals, they are now utilizing the full possibilities of a band that was once a scrappy punk trio, and now a mature art-rock quartet. It's is a heady mix of psych, noise, and pop influenced by the arty minimalism of Wire, the surreal pop of early Eno, and even the spaced out psychedelia of Dark Side-era Pink Floyd.
Mapmaker is the second Jagjaguwar/Brah album from Brooklyn noisepunks Parts & Labor. Expanding on the soaring melodies and cracked electronics of 2006's Stay Afraid, P&L explores a wider array of berserk, malfunctioning instruments and intricate, pummeling rhythms. These 12 political/personal anthems about ambition and distraction boast bigger choruses, denser drones and shinier hooks.
Adding new textures to Parts & Labor's searing pop-squall, the album features guest spots from flautist/megaphonist/vocalist Natalja Kent (of The Good Good) and guitarist Joe Kremer (of labelmates Pterodactyl). Opening surge "Fractured Skies" features a horn section (led by P&L's BJ Warshaw on sax) billowing up through the kaleidoscopic fuzz of electronics. Track 10 is a distorted-toy-keyboard take on the classic Minutemen antiwar spiel "King Of The Hill."
Parts & Labor cite the following bands as influences and are totally cool with you name-checking them: Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Boredoms, Minutemen, Neutral Milk Hotel and Amps For Christ. Parts & Labor spent 2006 touring extensively around Europe and North America, playing shows with Clinic, Black Dice, Islands, Sonic Boom, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Wilderness, Man Man, Spank Rock, An Albatross, Oneida, Year Future, Hidden Cameras, Charalambides, Wooden Wand, Matt & Kim, Kyp Malone and Oakley Hall; and they can't wait to do it again.
Mapmaker was recorded and mixed by The Brothers (Oxford Collapse, !!!, Measles Mumps Rubella, Pterodactyl) at the Brothers Studio in Brooklyn, NY. Additional vocals and electronics were recorded by Parts & Labor in a windowless bedroom. In between their Jag full-lengths, P&L recorded an all-electronics EP for esteemed experimental electronic label Broklyn Beats. Warshaw and Friel also run their own record label, Cardboard Records, which has recently put out music from Gowns, Big Bear, Pterodactyl and Aa.
Brooklyn trio Parts & Labor combines tumultuous noise with enormous, triumphant melodies on their latest album, Stay Afraid. Malfunctioning electronics howl in agony, drums rupture like fireworks, battle cries are belted through a monolithic layer of distorted bass and guitar. P&L revel in day-glo noise, charred drones, punk velocity and phoenix-like hooks—a unique blast influenced by the clamor of Husker Du, the bluster of Boredoms and the homemade spirituals of Neutral Milk Hotel.
Patrick Phelan’s third full-length recording is called Cost. To Phelan, it is an understatement. For him, every opportunity explored is another opportunity forgone. More so than on previous Phelan records, Cost places an emphasis on the guttural. His voice and words take center stage. He is much less guarded on Cost than on previous records. There is no lack of desperation in these new songs, yet a hopeful tone is maintained throughout. Balance is the key. Emotion is the lock. And simplicity is the door. Like a finely-tuned architect, Phelan places all of his songs in their proper space, not letting them get crowded with unnecessary words or sounds. He also steers Cost from tipping too far in the “minimalist” direction, thanks in part to a bevy of guitar solos and to the abundance of true rock moments that occur throughout the record. It has been four years since Phelan’s second full-length record Parlor came out (released on Jagjaguwar, as was his debut Songs of…). And during this sabbatical from the frontlines of musical performance, Phelan has devoted his time to the pursuits of cooking — spending time in Italy recently doing just that — and studying local and global human rights. If one’s life energies are zero sum, these recent personal endeavors of Phelan have come at the cost of promoting and performing his recordings. The good news for his fans: the release of Cost coincides with the shift of Phelan’s focus back to both recorded and live music, confirmed by his recent formation of a new live band. Bryan Hoffa, who the record is dedicated to, returns as engineer and co-producer. The record was recorded in several stages, creating an interesting challenge for Phelan who often had to work with “one takes” as the foundation of his pieces. A celebrated cast of players provided support and, bringing their influences to the table, made things a lot easier for Phelan. Greta Brinkman, former bass player for Moby, and Ian Whelan provided splendid bass arrangements. Justin Bailey’s electric guitar arrangements are placed beautifully along-side Phelan’s finger-picked acoustic guitar. And Camper Van Beethoven’s Jonathan Segel offers a haunting violin on two tracks. Phelan’s music — acclaimed critically for its elegant simplicity and earnestness of expression — flourishes on this latest release, building on both old and new influences and contributions.
According to one writer, Patrick Phelan "plays at the fringes of desperation instead of delving head-first into melancholy." It seems that whereas elegant simplicity has become Phelan's most obvious calling card in all of his compositions, whether it is his solo work, his work as part of South or his contributions to friends Drunk or Spokane, what really sets him apart as a songwriter above songwriters is his sense of equilibrium. Balance is the key -- compositionally, lyrically and sonically. His work is neither indulgent nor haphazard. Perhaps it is even more accurate to describe Phelan not as a "singer-songwriter" but as an architect of sound and mood. The foundation of all of his designs seems to be the steady repetition of themes and the recurring states of emotion that are peppered diligently throughout all of his music.PARLOR, Patrick Phelan's second full-length recording, is different from SONGS OF PATRICK PHELAN -- the minimal, intimate debut released in 2000 -- in that much of what was written was done in the studio, a far more "collaborative" theater for Phelan. Also important to note is that much of this record was written on a piano; for Phelan, this time around, there is much less of a reliance on the guitar. Joining him both on stage when he performs live and in the studio are journeyman musicians Paul Watson (with previous contributions to Sparklehorse, Michael Hurley, House of Freaks and FSK), Jim Thomson (Bio Ritmo and Gwar) and Phil Murphy.
Released on June 18, 2001.
(they say you never forget)so get on your bike and just ride /amateur cyclist / you have nothing to hide
SONGS OF PATRICK PHELAN has a large emotional scope. The music on the record uses such instruments as the cornet and lapslide to create a broad tonal range, including, but not limited to, uptempo Brazilian beats, slower and more resonant country sounds, and the lonesome warmth of church-like organs. The words that Phelan emotes are short and to the point. But these are, for sure, sharply aimed songs about love, the loss of love, failure and transition. Phelan gets, and keeps in his head, what most songwriters forget (as they become more "serious"). That it is against the paler background of simplicity that truth is most discernible.This is the solo debut of Patrick Phelan, a principal member of South who are makers of, as one writer elegantly put it, "ambient music for people who pay attention." A Richmond native for the last six years, Phelan has found time to enter the studio and record personal music. Bryan Hoffa, a frequent Jagjaguwar collaborator, engineered and mixed the record with Phelan at The Sound of Music Annex in Richmond. Also appearing on the record are Drunk members J.T. Yost (on piano) and Via Nuon (on violin), as well as Paul Watson (on cornet) and Phil Murphy (on lapslide). The record was mastered with Brent Lambert at The Kitchen, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Released on April 17, 2000.
Peter Wolf Crier’s second album Garden of Arms is a document that paints a vivid portrait of all the pain and beauty of growth. Adapting the tenets of the grinding live show, the duo of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen transformed the fuzzy distortion, rolling and crashing drums, and laser-focused purposefulness into an intensely dynamic yet supremely polished album.
Inter-Be is the debut album by PETER WOLF CRIER, the Minneapolis-based duo of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen. The album was born on a single summer night when Pisano felt a torrent of creativity after what had felt, to him, like an interminably long dry spell. He shared the songs with Moen, and over the months that followed, at Moen's home, these rough-hewed tunes became what they are now: a confident collection of songs, but deceptive in that their very guts still reflect the thoughts of a man in transition.
Pisano's is not a new songwriting voice. He is best known for being part of the Wars of 1812, an ascendant Wisconsin-bred quartet. Their first album together, Status Quo Ante Bellum, was more than just an album. It was relocation and aspiration and Pisano's lyrical Eden. As the Wars went on hiatus, Pisano continued to hone his craft, keeping his days full as a teacher at a small private school while fine-tuning, at night, the songs that would soon become Inter-Be. Feeling confident in the songs, Pisano approached Moen, a seasoned drummer and engineer best known for his involvement in Laarks and Amateur Love. After being asked to add some percussive elements, Moen added his thundering drum rolls and perfectly timed fills, but he also added something much more: a melodic soundscape that would complete the evolution of the songs. So was born the partnership that is called Peter Wolf Crier.
Pink Mountaintops might not be the best-known band ever to make rock 'n' roll, but in Get Back they just might have written its scripture -- an exploration and celebration of what, exactly, rock 'n' roll can be. When the aliens touch down and they don't know rock 'n' roll, you can play them Get Back from start to finish and that'll be all they need.
"Outside Love" is ten songs of love and hate that read like a Danielle Steele romance novel but that would probably make for bad television.
"Outside Love" is the third album by Pink Mountaintops, AKA Stephen McBean, who has slowly emerged as a distinctive voice and a very special contributor to the North American songbook. A veteran of the Vancouver/Victoria punk rock scene, McBean is best known for his contributions to acclaimed rock band Black Mountain, as principal songwriter, guitarist and co-vocalist.
So we asked Stephen McBean to help us out with the description of this 7-inch slice of vinyl heaven he created. We got the following key phrases out of him: "European car ads" and "4 am dancing shoes". The first song called "Single Life" is yet another in a long line of great fuzzed out Velvet-styled gems by Pink Mountaintops, sped up ever so slightly to be in synch with the minds of akathisiacs everywhere. And the reverse side, "My Best Friend", is the more affecting and spiritual of the two, perhaps McBean's most beautifully crafted song to date.
Pink Mountaintops is Stephen Mcbean. His other bands to date have included a straight out punk outfit, a crusty punk/metal band, and, most recently, a psych-tinged maximal rock group whose self-titled debut record, Black Mountain, captured a great amount of critical acclaim (and meteorically became Jagjaguwar's best-selling title.) With Axis of Evol, Pink Mountaintops’ second full-length record, Mcbean has once again created something much greater than the sum of his influences. Axis of Evol begins with a forboding spiritual. It then almost immediately ramps up into a thumping, buzzing, blissful haze, at various parts sounding like the Velvet Underground or Spacemen 3 or the Jesus and Mary Chain circa Psycho Candy, and then ends with a hypnotic, Smog-like meditation. Throughout the record, Mcbean sings about love and war, the love of war, and the war of love—on the body, on the mind and on the soul. Home-recorded and largely self-produced, Axis of Evol is a further testament to the vital prolificacy of Stephen Mcbean.
From the battlefield to the bedroom, we all need a little loving. Sex, war, rock’n’roll. A history of arms. Let the hard times roll into the strawberry fields, baby! Black Mountain singer and vocalist Stephen Mcbean gives us two new songs, in anticipation of the new Pink Mountaintops full-length to come out early 2006.
Can a sexually frustrated Canned Heat seduce a hot and bothered Neu into a cheap one night stand? The rock'n'roll road can be a long and lonely one. And it leaves much time for the mind to wander, to fixate and to obsess over the human body and all its wondrously dirty parts. Enter The Pink Mountaintops. Their debut record begins with "She caught my eye and I was on fire" and it ends with a repetitive begging plea "Don't walk away!" from a reworking of Joy Division's Atmosphere. In between these bookend statements, mountains are fucked, an ode to rock'n'roll groupies is sung, and tales of loose panties and ex-models are exposed.The Pink Mountaintops is Stephen McBean, formerly of Jerk With A Bomb and now also exemplar member of Black Mountain. The debut record -- conceived at dawn, while high on a mix of trucker speed and Red Bull, and while sailing down a Colorado highway on route to Denver as the last decent Floyd record played on the cassette deck -- was written and recorded in a month with friends Amber Webber, Joshua Wells, and Christoph Hofmeister. The fore-mentioned country drone stoned drug rock band Black Mountain lent limbs, lungs, and amplifiers to the festivities.
Amplifying Host finds Richard Youngs wandering the guitar desert somewhere between Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas score and Neil Young's work on Dead Man. Yet, the randomly determined chord movements and Youngs' stretched-out vocal passes across the record are, perhaps, more akin to Jandek's Six And Six — here, removed from its gauze and dipped in a dark gold. When Youngs bends strings in this anglo-americana vision, it's like he's bending spoons.
"Make a proper pop album." Thus was the simple dare handed to Richard Youngs from his friend Andrew "Paz" Paine during their weekly Sunday meet-up. Ever the modest master, Youngs said in accepting this friendly challenge that he merely endeavored to capture the "beats and hooks" of contemporary pop. We present the results here as Beyond The Valley Of Ultrahits. Among bright, hypnotic loops, Youngs' voice finds its inner Bowie. But let it be known: this collection of house-inspired gems displays much more than a capacity for pop emulation. It's a confirmation of Youngs' craft and prowess, no matter the terrain. With enviable grace, experimental minimalist Youngs sets his sights on the pop world and claims it as his own. Youngs' heretofore unknown love of Pet Shop Boys and the Madchester sound is reimagined via his unique avant sensibility and atmospheric wand strokes. Originally released in 2009 as a very-limited CD-R on Paine's Sonic Oyster label, Jagjaguwar is honored to present Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits, remastered and on vinyl for the first time.
Richard Youngs' latest solo work for Jagjaguwar is a collection of neodruid hymns and chants for the minutiae of homelife and fatherhood — poetic transcendance through repetition and a focus on the (seemingly) micro. Once again proving himself a master of minimalist composition, Youngs also takes leaps forward as a lyricist on Under Stellar Stream, reminiscent of the list incantations of Allen Ginsberg. With this comes a change in Youngs' voice, now less pleading, deeper and more assured. In these atonal, spatial arrangements, each phrase is granted the room to work into the cerebral cortex — and perhaps a deeper consciousness. "I am remembering now the waiting on time itself. I am remembering now the value of sleep," recites Youngs' domesticated avatar on opening track "Broke Up By Night," a celtic prayer for the modern man. On "All Day Monday and Tuesday," over droning bass and slow, meandering organ, the grind of the day becomes empyreal: "All day Monday and Tuesday, the room of work, the room of work... All day Monday and Tuesday, the clarity, the clarity."
Autumn Response is a spartan folk-"pop" record filled with tinder-box intimacies, composed of some of the shortest songs ever recorded by Richard Youngs. The simplest form of trickery comes from Richard Youngs' restrained use of an acoustic guitar, bringing it back to Youngs basics. Twenty-six seconds into "I Need the Light", the first track off the album, the listener is confronted with the pivotal element of the record, the drawing line between the hardcore Youngs purists and fairweather fans: the track, like others on the record, features Youngs' double-tracked voice splitting in two - as one overlaid performance veers away from the other. This gesture warrants such a title "King of the Progressive Minimalists" - which is often used beside his name by critics - as the confident inclusion of such an effect grants it legitimacy. Youngs' voices slipping away from one another is on par with other intense representations of singularity such as Donald Judd and Malevich's Suprematist Composition: White on White. Pop is a gesture, a stance, a pose. Autumn Response is a singer-songwriter album, as Youngs' fingers slip over the steel strings with little feet and whispery toes, his gently prophetic songs evoke Roger Waters and the folk phase play is sure to appeal to fans of Animal Collective's Sung Tongs.
Richard Youngs has been making music for over two decades. The Naive Shaman, released in dual format (cd and lp), is his seventh album for Jagjaguwar and is a deeply personal work. Created on a computer at home, it is a high density digital song cycle driven by heavy, heavy electric bass guitar.
The opening “Life On A Beam” combines a modal vocal line with throbbing sonics and non-linear percussion. Elsewhere a plaintive voice threads itself through frosted atmospherics and we hear Richard’s first recorded kazoo work since 1992’s “New Angloid Sound”. At the core of the album is “Sonor In My Soul”, a bass loop on to which are collaged strangulated guitar, singing and more singing. The track climaxes in a hollered plea for “unity”. The second half of the set contrasts “Once It Was Autumn”, a succintly crafted dub chant, with the epic “Summer’s Edge II” whose sprawling 16+ minutes anchor a floating vocal melody and free-flowing drums with fuzzed bass octaves.
Originally released in 1990 in the vinyl format on Youngs' own No Fans label, this title has been reissued numerous times in the CD format (most recently by Jagjaguwar.) Jagjaguwar is now proud to reissue this very important work on viny as well. Advent became a true underground success story, a critical darling, with Alan Licht, for example, putting it on his "minimal top ten list" in the publication Halana. "It is a record by an intense young man," writes Richard Youngs, in an essay packaged with the record.
"A three-part composition for piano, voice, and ultra-nasty oboe and electric guitar, Advent indicated signs of life in a genre long dormant in the 80s 'experimental' scene. It continues the tradition from [Terry Riley's] Reed Streams on down with gusto."-Alan Licht's "Minimal Top Ten List", Halana