NEW RELEASES, 7/13: RODNEY CROWELL, DEAFHEAVEN, DIRTY PROJECTORS, THE SUFFERS, COWBOY JUNKIES, THE JAYHAWKS and more!

RODNEY CROWELL, Acoustic Classics (CD)
The concept of an artist with a multidecade career releasing re-recorded or “unplugged” versions of material originally performed to great success decades prior is too-trodden ground. It’s become a trope, an easy way for a legacy artist to cash in on his or her legacy and sell some albums or promote a tour without putting in the effort to record new, quality music. You can’t say that about Rodney Crowell, however. The guy’s been kicking around the music industry for over 40 years and he’s still a creative force to be reckoned with. In terms of critical recognition, the 2010s have seen some of Crowell’s best-received work. Between two solo releases, a pair of albums with Emmylou Harris, and a team-up with author Mary Karr, Crowell’s won four Americana Music Awards and a Grammy. The point is that Rodney Crowell doesn’t NEED to revisit a dozen of his signature tracks, as he does on Acoustic Classics, to stay relevant. But in doing so, he’s provided new insights into the versatility and timeless nature of his songwriting and interpretative skills. On Acoustic Classics, opening track “Earthbound,” originally recorded in 2003, is followed by “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” a Crowell cut made popular by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1979, and there’s no incongruity. It’s a seamless transition, bridging together Crowell’s current status as esteemed Americana performer and his early years as acclaimed scribe for some of country’s biggest stars. And therein lies the appeal of this album.

DEAFHEAVEN, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (CD/LP)
Deafheaven’s relationship with black metal has been a difficult one – not metal enough for the metal kids, too metal for the indie crowd, went the logic – but on their new album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love the band have turned that outsider status into a virtue. Their second album, 2013’s Sunbather, saw them become a genre band who operate in their own interesting grey area – in the same way that Death Grips were to hip-hop or Fucked Up were for hardcore punk. Described as “genre-agnostic”, on Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, Deafheaven tear apart the musical categories with the same zeal as a new atheist going head to head with a pious clergyman on a Sunday morning chat show. Album opener “You Without End” sees the band combine piano with Kerry McCoy’s lush melodic guitar lines, which swell as actor Nadia Kury reads a short story about the band’s former home in Oakland. It’s a new direction that has earned comparisons to the posing rock of Queen and the Foo Fighters’ stadium pomp, and at its most gentle it sounds like nothing the band have done before. There are further hints of post-rock and ambient (Near), dream-pop (Night People) and shoegaze (Canary Yellow), but the black metal that made them so divisive can still be found. Those dark hues are represented throughout by George Clarke’s vocals – which never soften – but also on the album’s epic second track Honeycomb, which sheds You Without End’s piano and serenity for shrieking guitars and unrelenting bass double-time blasts from drummer Dan Tracy. Even here though, McCoy is able to stitch in guitar licks that would be at home on a Status Quo album or something from Darkthrone. It’s a mix that could be a trainwreck but each transition from black metal to indie via shoegaze and soft rock is so carefully handled, the result is a heady mix that sees the band reach new heights that are powerful and aggressive yet subtle and disarming. It’s an approach that will not impress their metal detractors, but to be frank: who cares? Clarke, McCoy and co have made one of 2018’s most ambitious and urgent albums.

THE SUFFERS, Everything Here (CD)
It’s been a while since a release has arrived with as much baggage as The Suffers’ debut LP, conveniently titled The Suffers. After backing almost every Houston rap star you ever heard of before a massive crowd at Free Press Summer Fest 2015 and killing three songs on The Daily Show on Tuesday, it’s safe to say The Suffers have arrived. So expectations are high for The Suffers, which arrives Friday, some four-plus after The Suffers’ formation. Already much has been written (some of it here, true) about how the ten-piece group represents a microcosm of Houston itself, a supposed “melting pot” of sounds that could have only come from and combined in the Bayou City. All of that may be true, but it’s equally true for a lot of other bands here, too. The only question that really matters today is “is this record any good? The short answer is “of course it is.” The grind of every gig and every rehearsal in those four-plus years is etched into The Suffers’ ten songs. Opening with a flourish of horns that will transport older listeners to the days of wide lapels and bell-bottom trousers, The Suffers may be retro, but without even the slightest trace of hipster irony. Just because the band members are in their twenties and thirties doesn’t mean the sound they make has to be some sort of affectation. The hours upon hours they must have spent listening to all those Al Green, Gladys Knight, Staples Singers, and Earth, Wind & Fire albums in their parents’ collections (RIP Maurice White) have soaked into their music organically, because that’s the way The Suffers play these songs here. Therefore, The Suffers is a very confident, relaxed and inviting album. It’s also quite intimate; one of the most surprising things about it is how domesticated it is. Of the ten songs, perhaps only “Gwan” — which is about a slightly different kind of intimacy — sounds designed to burn up the dance floor. It succeeds admirably, but the balance of the album leans heavily toward couples’ dances and slow jams. Lead singer Kam Franklin makes an ideal hostess, ensuring her guests (i.e., listeners) are as comfortable as possible. She offers to cook and make micheladas (“Make Some Room”); pleads “would you please be my shelter?” (“Better”); and really lays it all on the line on seven-minute closer “Giver,” promising, “let me take away the pain.” Really, she has that same effect on the entire album. After they’ve come this far, The Suffers aren’t about to disappoint their fans now. Nor will they disappoint all the new fans they’re about to make on the upcoming tour that will keep them away from Texas until late April. Even a band as beloved in their hometown as this one may not have a lot of other opportunities to break through to that next level. The Suffers are well aware of that, so they make damn sure The Suffers makes this one count.

THE JAYHAWKS, Back Roads & Abandoned Motels (CD/LP)
Back Roads And Abandoned Motels consists of the Jayhawks’ versions of songs originally written by front man Gary Louris with and for other artists, including “Come Cryin’ to Me” (originally released on Natalie Maines’ Mother in 2013); “Everybody Knows” and “Bitter End” (released on Dixie Chicks’ Taking The Long Way in 2006); “Gonna Be a Darkness” (written and performed by Louris and Jakob Dylan for True Blood: Music From The HBO Original Series – Volume 3 in 2011); “Need You Tonight” (originally released on Scott Thomas’ Matson Tweed in 2015); “El Dorado” (originally released on Carrie Rodriguez’ She Ain’t Me in 2008); “Bird Never Flies” (originally released on Ari Hest’s The Break-In in 2007); “Backwards Women” (written with Wild Feathers but never recorded) and “Long Time Ago” (written with Emerson Hart of Tonic but never recorded). In addition the album premieres two brand-new songs.

RHONDA VINCENT, Live At The Ryman (CD)

COWBOY JUNKIES, All That Reckoning (CD/LP)

DIRTY PROJECTORS, Lamp Lit Prose (CD/LP)

BODY/HEAD, Switch (CD/LP)

 

 

COMING SOON:

THE PUNCH BROTHERS, All Shore (7/20)

NATHAN SALSBURG, Third (7/20)

TY SEGALL & WHITE FENCE, Joy (7/20)

 

  • Fisher REC 727 AV Receiver
    This Fisher A/V receiver has phono input, remote and 200 watts! Fire it up bro!
  • Marantz TT1060 semi-automatic turntable
    Here’s a nice entry level table that will severely outperform any newer table even close to it’s price point. The Marantz TT1060 is a semi-automatic table which means the tonearm will return to rest at the end of play.
  • Technics TT SL 1800 turntable
    Technics SL-1800 full manual direct drive turntable, circa 1977. This table is a heavy beast with a very strong motor. A new stylus has been installed on the Stanton cartridge and sounds fantastic. All tonearm features have been set correctly and the stylus tracks at a recommended 3 grams
  • Realistic Lab 430 Direct Drive Turntable
    Very nice inexpensive table with the benefit of direct drive (no belts to change) and auto return. The table has been thoroughly gone through and all features work as they should. A new elliptical stylus has been mounted on the Shure cartridge and balanced correctly.
  • Sonamp 260 from SONANCE
    Soooo nice! This super nice, modestly priced 100 watt per channel power amp has been all checked out and works great. It’s cost effective way to run lots of power!
  • Technics SL-210 full manual turntable
    The table has been thoroughly inspected and gone through with all features working correctly. This is a full manual table, simply turn the table on and move the stylus to the record surface, no auto features to adjust or be concerned with. The new stylus sounds great, is readily available and super affordable. A nice survivor from 1978!
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    A new stylus has been installed on the vintage AT cartridge and all features of the table work perfectly!
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    8 tweeters, 1 midrange and 2 woofers per. all original, very clean. extremely rare and VERY AMAZING sound!
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    2-way, classic bookshelf charmers! Sound great, woofers rebuilt like new. Circa 1980’s Epicure Productions vintage feature 8”woofers. Critically acclaimed in their day and still sound good, audiophile delivery without the high dollar price. Full-on ready, great sound, woofers rebuilt like new!
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    So fresh and so clean! This deck is in great shape and sounds like a champ. Bust out those old bootlegs and mixed tapes.
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    Unit is in really nice physical condition. Recently gone through, tested and checked, all functions have been tested and work great! ready to rock with a pre-amp!
  • ADVENT LAUREATE Mini Tower Speakers
    amazing sound, brilliant natural refined listening experience. woofers on both speakers just completely rebuilt better than new! The Advents, both large and small, sounded pretty good and gave excellent value for the money. The company was one of a long string of companies that descended from the original Acoustic Research (AR). Advents eventually lost their enormous popularity and nearly faded away. International Jensen, a company based in the Chicago suburbs, rescued Advent and resurrected it. The Advent model we tested deserves a Ph.D. Advent appropriately names it the Laureate. The Laureate overwhelmed my skepticism that a modestly priced floor-standing loudspeaker could deliver good sound
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    Excellent working and sounding Sansui SR-525 full manual direct drive turntable. A new stylus has been installed, and the cartridge has been properly aligned in the headshell according to Sansui specifications. This is a very heavy table with great Sansui build quality.
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    A classic “hoss” circa 1983/84. 100 watts per channel! Has phono input.
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    This super vintage budget receiver is the perfect starter unit for someone wanting to explore the world of hi fidelity sounds. It’s been all checked out and has a clean bill of health; and with phono input so it’s good to go with any classic turntable.
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    The essentially crossoverless design gives the 901 an unmistakable coherence, the model’s greatest strength. Its incredibly wide dispersion comes in a close second. The Bose 901s sound great anywhere in the room, After extensive listening, the Bose 901s strike me as being damn good. They have some limitations, but don’t all $1,400 speakers? For that matter, what $10,000 speakers are perfect? They are so smooth and musical.
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    You can enlarge your sound while shrinking the speakers with a reliable bookshelf system. The Polk Audio T15 speakers can blend into the background while delivering impressive tone quality. It can be a superior system that offers balanced drivers and tweeters for a wide response with low distortion.