Friday, October 30, 2009

Music News & Notes

Rare Beatles LPs

Earlier in the week, I told you about a gent who, for years, during the wee small hours, as an employee at a Capitol Records pressing plant created a series of magnificent one-of-a-kind LPs.

These spectacular, rainbow-coloured records were created by an unnamed former worker at a Capitol plant in Canada. After shifts at the factory, the employee "would amuse himself", according to a pair of Toronto vinyl dealers, "by creating totally unique coloured-vinyl LPs". As an employee of Capitol, this Beatles fan allegedly had access to the "original plates" for several albums. Using these, he would press his own special copies – applying coloured dye and artisanal techniques.

These copies include Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on bright baby-blue marble vinyl, the 1967-70 greatest hits compilation on swirled blue-and-white vinyl, and a translucent blue LP with side A of Revolver and side B of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album.

However, the most beautiful item in the collection is the Beatles' Love Songs anthology, made with gold vinyl. This is streaked with an abstract expressionist rainbow, like an explosion at a paint factory. Unfortunately, the set's second LP is just plain black vinyl.

In addition to the Beatles records, the vinyl guru also pressed special versions of albums by Helen Reddy, Peter Appleyard and a compilation featuring Anne Murray.

There may be more in the treasure chest, watch here for more updates.


Red Hot Chili Peppers plan 2010 release

With enthusiasm again behind them and a self-imposed hiatus scheduled to end this month, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have begun plotting their next move. And as drummer Chad Smith revealed in a recent interview with Clash Music, this next move will include a new studio album in 2010.

“We’re gonna write for a while, it usually takes us a while,” explained Smith before speculating that the release date would be “Some time next year, maybe this time [next year].”


Frightened Rabbit Returns With Highly Anticipated Third LP

Having topped myriad "Best Of" lists in 2008 with their widely acclaimed sophomore album, "The Midnight Organ Fight," Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit returns with their anticipated third album, "The Winter Of Mixed Drinks." The follow-up to their breakthrough LP will be released worldwide in March 2010 on FatCat Records. The record's first taste, "Swim Until You Can't See Land," is streaming now via FatCat's website and will be digitally released November 17th, followed by a 7-inch b/w "Fun Stuff" on December 8th.

The Rabbit's jangly, anthemic sophomore album earned them critical adoration; among those bestowing it with best-of-the-year laurels were Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Poll, The Onion, Magnet, and Pitchfork, who also designated album opener, "The Modern Leper," one of "The Best Tracks of 2008" as well as one of its "Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s." Upon its unveiling, the foursome's newest offering, "Swim Until You Can't See Land," made instant waves online, with gushing: "We suggest you find a quiet spot this afternoon, turn your desk speakers up and drink it all in."

Following an exciting but exhausting year, lead Rabbit Scott Hutchison retreated to the harbor town of Crail, along Scotland's Fyfe coastline, and was inspired to pen "Swim," an undeniably catchy song about "losing your mind in order to rest the mind and the body." The track, buoyed by chiming guitars and a shuffling beat, builds and swells as it progresses, bolstered by a sweeping string arrangement courtesy of fellow FatCat artist Hauschka.

According to Hutchison, "Swim" is the natural lead-in to the album: "It's the one that sort of sums up the record for me," he reveals. "I had the song's title in my mind before I even started writing the album; I was becoming more and more interested in the idea of a rejection of the habits and behavior most people see as normal, and in turn embracing a certain madness. This is not necessarily a geographical journey, as the 'swim' can involve any activity in which you can lose yourself. It's a good introduction to the record as the theme unravels therein."

Nautical references continue throughout the album, interwoven among recurring themes of wearied endurance, recaptured freedom, and redemption. "Thematically, this record had to be different from the last," explains Hutchison. "Nobody wanted to hear more break-up songs, and thankfully, I no longer had any in me."

While a failed relationship may not be the centerpiece of this new collection, the songs retain some of the solemnity of previous efforts. "I think even the most upbeat moments on the record are conveyed in somewhat dark language," Hutchison admits.

Frightened Rabbit will be touring the UK through the end of the year, with a string of headlining gigs followed by a weeklong run in Ireland and England with Modest Mouse.

A full North American tour is planned for the album's release.


The Band Of Heathens Appear On PBS' Austin City Limits

The Band of Heathens, whose new album One Foot in the Ether the web 'zine ponders as "the best record of 2009," will appear on PBS' Austin City Limits on November 7 on a bill headlined by Elvis Costello. On the program, the band performs five songs: "Jackson Station," "L.A. County Blues," "Shine a Light," "Golden Calf" and "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone."

Austin City Limits celebrates its 35th season this year and is the longest running music series in American TV history - the show was recently named a landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Other artists on tap this season include Kenny Chesney, Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Ben Harper, M. Ward, Asleep at the Wheel, Andrew Bird and Steve Earle.

Although both the Band of Heathens and the producers of Austin City Limits are based in Austin, ACL executive producer Terry Lickona first saw the band while in Nashville for the 2008 Americana Music Festival and Conference.


RJD2 giving away lots of free stuff ahead of new album

“Every Monday, from now until the release of “The Colossus”, I’m gonna give something away, right here at RJEC.COM. Some weeks it might be a singular physical item, some weeks it might be an unreleased song in mp3 format, I really have no idea exactly what, but it’s not gonna be pocket lint-caliber, that’s for sure. Some weeks it will require participation, some weeks it won’t. Each week I will announce the winner, and the new item.”

Per RJD2 on his plans to give lots of stuff away ahead of the January 19th release of his forthcoming full length, The Colossus.

First up is a super rare vinyl test pressing of The Horror EP, originally released in 2003 on Definitive Jux records and in line to be reissued on November 17th via RJ’s newly formed label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, now home to nearly all things RJD2 past and present. To win? Answer the follow question correctly:


Email if you think you know.

============================ Restocks:

AGAINST ME! “Disco Before the Breakdown” 7? gold/orange vinyl
GET BENT “Dead It” 7?
FESTIPALS “Gold Magic” 7?
NO FRIENDS “No Friends” LP
BANNER PILOT “Pass the Poison” one-sided LP


Jesse Malin finds new label, readies new album

Jesse Malin, aka the former frontman of legendary punk outfits Heart Attack and D Generation who is now an acclaimed singer/songwriter as well as a friend of Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams, has been signed by Side One Dummy Records. This is particularly big news because Malin has already begun work on his first release for the label and is currently held up at at Sonic Youth’s Think Tank Studio in Hoboken, NJ with producer Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Flogging Molly).

According to an issued press release, the yet-to-be-titled effort was written after a personality crisis and brief hiatus during which Malin attempted-among other things-stints as a charity auctioneer; a Las Vegas wedding DJ; and a documentarian of Rastafarian culture. But none of that, as Malin explains, has taken away from his one-of-a-kind intensity: “I wanted to mix the raw, loose energy that I got from playing in my early hardcore bands and the lonely feeling I get from traveling with an acoustic guitar.”

Expect to hear the album in early 2010, with many tour dates to follow.

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