Saturday, February 5, 2011

Michael Fremer Album Review

The Shepherd's Dog

(2007 release)

Iron and Wine

  • Sub Pop SP-710 LP+MP3
  • Produced by: Brian Deck
  • Engineered by: Colin Studybaker
  • Mixed by: Brian Deck
  • Mastered by: Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
  • Lacquer cut by: John Golden



Fine Songwriting From "Under the Radar" Indie "Group"
by Michael Fremer
January 01, 2011

This is not Sam Beam's (A/K/A Iron and Wine) latest album. It dates from 2007. His first release, The Creek Drank the Cradle, was released back in 2002. Somehow that one, this one, his newest and all of his work escaped my attention until last year's AXPONA audio show in Jacksonville Florida where I saw the collected works in the bins of a Florida audio store owner who had a room at the show. I asked to hear something and he played a cut from this introspective, atmospheric and sonically enticing and well-produced album. I was hooked.

Beam was a professor of film and cinematography at the University of Miami before his musical career took off. The music on this extremely well recorded album simmers and bubbles on very low heat with Beam rarely raising his lyrical voice above a closely miked, often double tracked whisper. It draws you in to a web of complex instrumentation packed with percussives that likewise have the arrangements whispering and never shouting.

The lilting rhythms percolate in time with King Sunny Ade's Nigerian Yorubu Jùjú music along with elements of Jamaican dub, while the arrangements are sprinkled with acoustic and pedal steel guitars and other stringed instruments. Beam's introspection occasionally is reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens'.

Lyrically, Beam is most often densely packed and allegorical. You'll have to listen and/or read carefully to get them and even then comprehension is another, more difficult task. The album's insert has the lyrics and song titles as one long run on sentence block. However, the dense lyrics require patience and probing even when laid out in verse. Consider the album opener, "Innocent Bones":

Cain got a milk-eyed mule from the auction

Abel got a telephone

And even the last of the blue-eyed babies know

That the burning man is the color of the end of day

And how every tongue that gets bit always has another word to say

Cain bought a blade from some witch at the window

Abel bought a bag of weed

And even the last of the brown-eyed babies see

That the cartoon king has a tattoo of a bleeding heart

There ain't a penthouse christian that wants the pain of the scab, but they all want the scar

How every mouth sings of what it's without so we all sing of love

And how it ain't one dog who's good at fucking and denying who he's thinking of

Cain heard a cat tumble limp off the rooftop

Abel heard his papa pray

And even the last of the black-eyed babies say

That every saint has a chair you can borrow in a church to sell

That the wind blows cold across the backs of a master and the kitchen help

There's a big pile of innocent bones still holding up the garden wall

And it was always the broken hand we learned to lean on after all

How God knows if Christ came back he'd find us in a poker game

After finding out the drinks were all free but they won't let you out the door again

(lyrics reprinted without permission)

My favorite lines are: "That the cartoon king has a tattoo of a bleeding heart /There ain't a penthouse christian that wants the pain of the scab, but they all want the scar"

Ain't that the truth?

Yes, the poetry is dense and the meaning often obscure, but the imagery is clear cut and the melodies haunting. Add texturally rich arrangements and a well-focused carefully presented recording and you have a treasure of an album that's easy to recommend, particularly for cynics who think "they don't make records like they used to."

They do.

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material.  Stop by for more reviews and features.

©2010 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted by Permission

Vinyl Record News & Notes, Did You Know?

I can't help myself, I know this isn't really vinyl record news, but....

MTV Brings Back "Beavis and Butt-Head"

Reuters reported that the classic MTV cartoon "Beavis and Butt-Head" will return to the air later this year with new episodes. It's speculated that series creator Mike Judge will once again voice both characters, however, MTV hasn't revealed any further details about the new version of the show.


The Beast Of The Apocalypse To Release New Album "Henosis"

Dutch metal act The Beast of the Apocalypse are scheduled to release the new album 'Henosis' on February 7th, 2011. Here is the cover artwork for the album. The track listing is as follows:

1. One
2. Vision of the Twelve Priests Before the Altar
3. I Am Not Worthy to Utter thy Name
4. Henosis
5. An Enlightened Acon
6. The Immortal Realm of Barbelo
7. Yaldabaoth


Ramadanman Talks Vinyl

"I like its convenience" he explains

Posted by Robin Murray

Dubstep producer Ramadanman has attempted to explain his love affair with vinyl.

Dubstep has a curious relationship with vinyl. Initially, all the big DJs on the scene had a series of exclusive dubplates, one off pressings which they would whip out when the crowd started warming to the sound.

This led to a fetish for vinyl, particularly amongst older heads. However recently DJs have begun cutting back, with even the likes of Oneman beginning to introduce Pioneers into his set as a means of coping with mp3 only releases.

As a kick back against this trend, Ramadanman recently opened a new night in Leeds. Vinyl only, it has seen the DJ get back to his roots with a series of titanic sets. Confirmed to curate a new FabricLive mix, the producer recently spoke about his love affair with wax.

Read the rest of the interview at


The Revitalization of Vinyl

By Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news

As Jerry Rawles talks about the old country dances he used to attend at the Grange Hall in Montana, he slips a “Best of the Mom and Dads” record out of its cover, places it on one of his 15 turntables in his garage, and begins bouncing to the music. A big grin lights up the 82-year-old's face, and he dances a few steps, saying, “it's an easy rhythm, easy music.”

Rawles stores about 4,000 records in his garage, each neatly stacked by genre and alphabetized. His big band collection ranges from Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass to Lawrence Welk. In other cabinets (all of which have rollers on the bottom for easy access that he picked up at garage sales) he stocks male vocalists, female vocalists, blues, jazz, country, bluegrass, Dixie and instrumental (from accordion to zither).

Hiding in the back corner of his garage, there's the music he calls “goofy.” It includes everything from The Allman Brothers and AC/DC to ZZ Top.

“I call it goofy because you can't understand the lyrics,” Rawles said. “ZZ Top isn't bad, but some of that stuff is just noise in my ears.”

Read the rest HERE


Store caters to fans of vinyl

Owner says market exists for old-fashioned record albums

By Bob Caylor
of The News-Sentinel

There's a market in Fort Wayne for $1,000 turntables, audiophile record-cleaning machines that cost hundreds of dollars, and – most important – more than 100,000 vinyl records under one roof. That's what Morrison Agen is counting on as he prepares to open his record store at 1836 S. Calhoun St.

Agen is renovating the interior of a 2,800-square-foot store just south of The Oyster Bar, 1830 S. Calhoun. He plans to open Neat Neat Neat Records & Music on March 1.

Why vinyl? Didn't old-fashioned record albums become obsolete back when compact discs were introduced?

Read the rest    HERE


Suidakra - Unveil New Album Cover Art

Book Of Dowth, the new album of German folk-influenced melodic death metal band Suidakra, will be released on March 25th through AFM Records. The album's cover artwork was created by Kris Verwimp.

Cool cover art!


Trail Of The Dead “Tao Of The Dead” Is A Bone-Shattering Opus

The worst-named band in indie rock–or at least the band that best suggests a Swedish thrash-metal collective–also creates some of the most glorious noise. Who else but these boys from Austin could make relentless drums, sharp guitars, and furiously spat vocals feel so tuneful and affecting. OK, the Pixies, but good company, no?

Read the rest HERE


Alan Lomax and the Global Jukebox

Written by Jim White

The cover art for the second album in the Southern Journey series - "Worried Now, Won't Be Worried Long."

Many blues and folk music fans have no doubt heard of John Lomax and his son, Alan. Both were pioneers in the discovery and field recordings of folk music and musicians all over the world.

That's just a very brief summary of what they did (check the links to their names above for much more). They were both pioneers in their field, finding and recording thousands of songs that created a roadmap for the history of American folk music.

Read the rest HERE


The View Unveil Album Cover

by Robin Murray

The View have unveiled the cover art for their forthcoming album 'Bread And Circuses'.

The View are working class boys made good. Growing up on the council estate of Dryburgh in Dundee, the band kept down odd jobs before deciding to focus on their music, often practising for up to 12 hours a day.

Remaining close to their roots, the band are now set to release their third album 'Bread And Circuses'. Due to hit the shops on March 14th, The View have decided to unveil the art work for the new LP


Yes, House is a great musician as well, read about it here:

Hugh Laurie's Let Them Talk CD To Be Released in May

Author: Mindy Peterman

Besides being a fine actor, Hugh Laurie has proven himself to be a singer and piano player par excellence. A few months ago, I talked a bit about Laurie’s highly anticipated blues record and its imminent release. With heavy hitters such as Irma Thomas, Dr. John, and Sir Tom Jones on board, the album looks like it’s going to be something special.

Now more fuel has been thrown on that anticipatory flame with a title, a (U.K.) release date, album cover art and (joy of joys!) a track listing.

The album title, Let Them Talk, is also the last song on the CD and presumably a cover version of the great old James Booker tune. The CD is set for a May 9th release on the U.K. Amazon site and May 17th on the U.S. site. But before you pull out your credit card, be warned. The CD being sold on the U.S. Amazon site is the import and is priced as such. There is no U.S. release date yet.

Read more:


Tennis sets sail with retro-pop debut album, ‘Cape Dory’

By Julia Sklar

Alaina Moore poses seductively on the cover of Tennis’ lo-fi, ’60s-sounding debut album, “Cape Dory.”

Why a band whose debut album was inspired by a nautical adventure would call itself Tennis is an enigma to me. This puzzlement, however, doesn’t stand in the way of thoroughly enjoying Tennis’ first album, “Cape Dory,” which was released last month.

The masters behind this band are husband-and-wife-team Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, who, in addition to being talented newcomers, appear to be time travelers. Their mellow, breezy pop reeks of the ’60s, while their album cover features Moore looking like something straight out of “Footloose.” Yet, on top of all of this, recent pictures of the young couple evoke today’s Williamsburg hipsters so well that I was surprised to learn the two actually hail from Denver, Colo., where they met at college.

Read more HERE


Bringing Sunshine to the music biz for many years


In a world torn by religious and political strife, terrorism, rioting and economic malaise, Harry Wayne Casey has a way for all of us to cope with the stresses of living in the 21st century.

'Do a little dance ... make a little love ... get down tonight ...'

And if that doesn't work, 'shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty.'

Casey, who is better known to the world of music as K.C., as in the leader and musical inspiration behind seminal 1970s dance music sensations K.C. and the Sunshine Band, said he is busier now, touring North America with his popular, upbeat stage shows, than he ever was during the group's initial heyday of the mid-1970s

Read the rest HERE


SERJ TANKIAN To Release 'Imperfect Remixes' EP; Artwork Unveiled 

SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman Serj Tankian has announced plans to release the 'Imperfect Remixes' EP, a collection remixes of select cuts from his 2010 album, 'Imperfect Harmonies.' The cover artwork for the effort was created by Patrick Call


Dum Dum Girls He Gets Me High EP Set

Los Angeles-based Dum Dum Girls follow up their fuzzy,girl group-inspired 2010 Sub Pop debut 'I Will Be' with 'He Gets Me High,' an EP composed of three originals and a cover of the swooning Smiths’ classic “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Lead singer/songwriter Dee Dee, Richard Gotteher (who also worked on I Will Be and is best known for penning “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy”), and Sune Rose Wagner of the Raveonettes produced the EP.

Released: March 1, 2011
12 INCH EP - $9

1. Wrong Feels Right
2. He Gets Me High
3. Take Care of My Baby
4. There is a Light That Never Goes Out

Order it SubPop

SubPop Top Sellers

Mogwai - Rano Pano
Fleet Foxes - FF Blue
J Mascis - Several Shades of Why
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps
Low - C'mon


URIAH HEEP: U.S. Tour Dates Announced

Legendary British hard rockers URIAH HEEP have scheduled the following U.S. tour dates:

June 14 - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA
June 15 - Riverbend Festival - Chattanooga,TN
June 17 - Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts - Kettering, OH
June 18 - Rams Head on Stage - Annapolis, MD
June 19 - State Theater - Sun Falls Church, VA
June 20 - Sellersville - Sellersville, PA
June 22 - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
June 23 - Showcase Live - Foxborough, MA
June 24 - Penn's Peak - Jim Thorpe, PA
June 25 - Ridgefield Play House - Ridgefield, CT
June 27 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
Aug. 12 - Rocking the Rivers - Three Forks, MT
Aug. 14 - Mayo Park - Rochester, MN

URIAH HEEP recently inked a deal with Frontiers Records for the release of the band's 23rd studio album, tentatively due in April.

Following the completion of URIAH HEEP's 40th anniversary tour, the band started the recordings for its new CD in January at Liscombe Park Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. Entitled "Into The Wild", it will contain 11 brand new songs, including some epic additions to the band's huge catalogue of rock classics.

Read more HERE


Macabre Celebrate 25 Years With Anticipated Album

Chicago's infamous murder metal trio Macabre are preparing to eviscerate the public with their first album in eight long years. Recorded over the course of the band's 25th anniversary, the highly anticipated 14-track platter of splatter "Grim Scary Tales" presents the classic Macabre style fans have come to bloodthirstily expect, cleverly combining nursery rhyme sing-along quirkiness with ultra-tight, high-speed, gore/grind/death ingenuity

Read the rest HERE


The Cars' New LP Gets Release Date

The Cars are back. The seminal Boston late 70's/early 80's "new wave" rockers have reunited with frontman/creative force Ric Ocasek and will release their new album 'Move Like This' on May 10 via Concord Music. This is the first album from the original band -- Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson (minus the late Ben Orr) -- since the band officially broke up 23 years ago. "Sad Song", the retro-sounding lead single from 'Move Like This,' will arrive mid-March.


found a cool new blog, interesting stuff!

The Beatles' Revolver LP artwork – Lost and Found

Released on August 5, 1966, The Beatles’ Revolver album was yet another milestone in their amazing recording career. The album followed the more acoustic and folky Rubber Soul album of the previous year.

Many observers of the era believe that Revolver ushered in the psychedelic era of rock music. Critics point to the many sonic innovations found on the album. Just a few significant examples include: the mariner-like sound effects on Yellow Submarine; the backwards guitar riffs of I’m Only Sleeping;
George Harrison’s use of sitar on Love You To; and the vari-speed noise effects and seagulls mixed with the “Dali-Lamitization” of John Lennon’s voice, all with a lot of innovation from Beatles’ recording engineer Geoff Emerick.

During the recording of the album, John Lennon called their old friend from Hamburg days, Klaus Voormann. Klaus was, and is to this day, a multi-dimensional artist who has worked as a photographer, graphic artist and bass player. “We had seen his drawings,” says Paul McCartney. “And we always liked his style and it was like, ‘Would you see if you can come up with a cover’

Read the rest of the story HERE

Rock And Roll Detective ®
The Rock And Roll Detective® blog is a fun and educational way to learn about the many stories behind the history of rock and roll. The Rock And Roll Detective® will take his readers on a search of all the myths and mysteries of rock while also discussing how some of rock and roll's rarest relics and artifacts have been unearthed. It will also help collectors of rock memorabilia learn how to discern real from fake memorabilia.


SSgt Barry Sadler's 'Ballad of the Green Berets' No. 1 With a Bullet -- Twisted Tales

The Beatles had a big year in 1966. So did the Stones and the Monkees. The Sinatras sold a lot of records, too -- both Nancy and Frank hit the No. 1 spot on the US pop charts that year.

But the biggest single of the year in America was recorded by one of the more unlikely pop stars of the modern era. Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler was a former Air Force enlistee and Green Beret medic who began recording songs when he was sent home from Vietnam after being wounded in action. Sadler's first single, 'The Ballad of the Green Berets,' hit the charts in early February of '66; a month later, it sent 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin'' on a hike from the top spot.

Read the rest HERE


Vinyl record collectors causing change in some music sales

Check out the new updated Record Collector Shows in left column!  Find a Record Show near you and buy some records!


Did You Know?

more stuff everybody should know...

One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen!

Over 10,000 birds a year die from smashing into windows.  Dumb birds....

The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year.

Thomas Edison, lightbulb inventor, was afraid of the dark!

Windmills always turn counter-clockwise. Except for the windmills in Ireland...why?

A lion's roar can be heard from five miles away.

Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a spacesuit damages them.

and on that note, on to a little bit of music history for the day:

In 1957, Bill Haley arrived from New York on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth at Southampton for his UK concert debut and was greeted by 5,000 fans. He was the first major American Rock artist to tour the UK.

In 1962, Ringo Starr appeared live with The Beatles for the first time when he filled in for an ailing Pete Best. They played two shows that day, a lunchtime date at the Cavern Club and an evening show at the Kingsway Club in Southport.

In 1966, an instrumental called "No Matter What Shape" by The T-Bones reaches the US Top Ten after being featured in Alka-Seltzer commercials. The group contained Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo and Tom Reynolds, who would go on have a number four hit in 1971 called "Don't Pull Your Love" as Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.

In 1972, Paul Simon releases his first new song without Art Garfunkel, "Mother and Child Reunion", which will peak at number four in the US. Simon got the idea for the song's title from a chicken-and-egg dish called "Mother and Child Reunion" that he saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu.

The first record I ever bought, Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" was released in 1972. The record will prove to be his only US number one solo hit. Background vocals were provided by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

In 1983, after cracking the US Top 10 in 1978 with "Hold The Line" (#5) and again in 1982 with "Rosanna" (#2), Toto has their first and only Billboard #1 hit with "Africa". Over the next five years, they would reach the Top 40 five more times.

In 2005, Paul McCartney performed during the half-time show at Superbowl XXXIX (39) in Jacksonville Florida and pocketed a cool $3.3 million for his 12 minute performance. That translates into $278,000 per minute. Sir Paul played in front of an estimated TV audience of one billion and sang the Beatles songs "Drive My Car", "Get Back" and "Hey Jude", plus his Bond theme song "Live and Let Die".

and Birthday wishes to:

Duff McKagan of Guns 'N Roses (1964)

Cory Wells (1942) - vocalist for Three Dog Night - "Eli's Coming"