Monday, July 20, 2009

come see Copeland for free

Saturday July 25th at 3 pm Copeland will be playing a live acoustic set in the store!
Come on down and meet the band

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Astra The Weirding

The Weirding
purchase album here

Every year there is a record that comes out of nowhere that absolutely floors me. Several years ago it was Witchcraft with their self-titled monster, resurrecting the classic Black Sabbath and early Pentagram sound and last year it was fellow Swedes, Graveyard doing nearly the same thing with even longer hair and an artillery of Orange amplifiers. With artists such as these, I was almost sure that anything I was going to go mad for in the future would indeed be from Europe, where musicians seem to do things the way they did when rock and roll was at the top of its game in the late 60's and early 70's. However, this year you can raise the flags, blare the trumpets, and bang a gong because 2009's discovery is actually from the good ol' United States of America. Hailing from the west coast of course (San Diego to be exact), Astra with their debut, The Weirding on Rise Above Records has taken listeners by storm and sent everyone into a frenzy to get their hands on a copy of this album. In fact, if you are at all curious at the end of this review, you should call and reserve your copy, because as soon as a shipment comes in, they are long gone by the end of the day.
Labeling Asta's sound as vintage would indeed be an understatement. Unlike a great deal of the bands out there that exhibit a retro vibe, Astra makes their own distinct music and doesn't borrow too heavily from any of their diverse range of influences, which include Meddle-era Pink Floyd, early Genesis, and King Crimson, all cloaked in the darkness of the Black, both Sabbath and Widow. Recorded and produced by the band themselves in their own Black Widow Studios in the Autumn of 2008, this album is arranged absolutely beautifully and evokes the rich instumental tone and song craft that only could have been captured by Astra in their own element. With five members all of the same mindset, Astra brings forth a sound that ventures far beyond the typical effect-laiden guitars, bombastic drums, and organ swells, complete with Moog electronics, Arp Odyssey synthesizers, mellotron, flute. and echeplex. The opening track, "The Rising of the Black Sun" serves as more of an intro of sorts and sets the tone of the album with windchimes, cymbal screams and scrapes, flute trills, and various guitar drones that build and expand into a creshendo that results in a driving tempo complete with a frantic rhythm section underneath soaring guitar harmonies and thick layers of synthesizer. Following is the title track to the album, which clocks in at over fifteeen minutes and is arguably the strongest song on the record. Both Richard Vaughan and Conor Riley's vocals harmonize perfectly overtop of the big, but never overpowering wall of instruments and sound eerily close to the tambor of David Gilmore and Rick Wright on Pink Floyd's epic, "Echoes", mixed at times with just a smidgen of Ozzy Osbourne's vocals circa Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Other highlights include "The River Under" which sounds as though it could have been plucked from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and the seventeen minute instrumental beast "Ouroboros", also known as the bastard child of King Crimson, Goblin, and Zombi.
What is most impressive with this paticular album is the strong attention that was paid to the detail and dynamics of the songs themselves, never getting too out control and leaving the space in between the cracks in order to keep the instrumentation from getting too busy. At the same time, Astra does an incredible job at keeping things fresh and avoiding redundantcy which is of immense importance on this album that falls just short of the eighty, yes 80, minute mark. Though a long record, it flows together perfectly and can hold the listener's attention through its entirety. The Weirding is without a doubt one of the strongest records for 2009 and a great introduction to Astra, a band that is no doubt just getting started. -Andrew Bryant

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dead Weather

the Dead Weather Listening Party!!

Tuesday July 14th - Noon
Free Pizza and Sodas!!

Jack White's most recent project, the Dead Weather's story began when another of White's groups, the Raconteurs, was completeing a US tour with the Kills. White was ailing from bronchitis, so Kills singer Alison Mosshart sang most of his songs. After the tour ended,White and Mosshart enlisted Raconteurs bassist, Jack Lawrence, and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist, Dean Fertita, and the Dead Weather was born...

After releasing two very successful vinyl singles the Dead Weather's debut album Horehound is due out next week. Come see what all the fuss is about next Tuesday, July 14 at Noon. The Disc Exchange will provide some refreshments so come spend your lunch hour with us and sample Horehound, from the Dead Weather. Horehound will of course be ON SALE...

Brian Olive

Brian Olive
Brian Olive
purchase here

Brian Olive's solo debut, released on the all-mighty Alive Records, is a warm, fuzzy adventure in the world of vintage, psychedelic soul. Part Memphis rhythm and blues, part British psychedelia from the Nuggets era of the 1960's, this album is the perfect complement to your summer merriment. Recorded and mixed by Brian himself on analog tape, this album screams a throwback sound along the lines of such artists today as A Band of Bees and The Blue Van. This album sounds so vintage that I can almost guarantee you that, like myself, you will have to keep checking the production and release dates to make sure that you haven't stumbled upon some long lost gem from yesterday. Olive sings, plays a multitude of instruments (guitar, keys, and saxophones to be exact), and drowns it all in thick, syrupy reverb that alleviates any of the modern era from seeping through. Joining him on this musical kaleidoscope are a revered group of musicians including Jared McKinley and Craig Fox of the Greenhornes, Mike Weinel of the Heartless Bastards, and Dan Allaire of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Opening the album with "Ida Red", Olive and company leave absolutely no wonder as to what kind of album that we are in store for; fuzzy vocals, background harmonies, and acoustic guitar rhythm lines that are eerily similar to the banjo attack of the Monks. Following suit, Brian brings several other mid-tempo garage numbers to the table including "The Day is Coming" and "Killing Stone." Shaking things up a bit, Olive and company add some blistering soul numbers to the pot with the Beale Street beat of "Strealin" and the open, celebratory choruses of "Jubilee Line" that could have graced the Stax label many years ago. Though one of the softer selections on the album, "Echoing Light" is the icing on the cake. The slow, acoustic subtleties, wind chimes, and percussive brush work make me want to fire up the tiki-torches and sip on some umbrella drinks out in the garden. What more could we ask for in a summer time album? -Andrew Bryant