Free Basin’ Friday | Record Store Day Special!

April 18th, 2014

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Happy Record Store Day Eve! This year is shaping up to be a good one. The LITA record store in Seattle will be open bright and early (9am – 5pm) on April 19th,  selling LITA’s official RSD titles, plus over 70 other hand picked RSD exclusives. We’re starting the party early with a special Record Store Day Free Basin’ Friday giveaway! Today we’re offering up a copy of all three of our RSD titles: Built to Spill – Ultimate Alternative WaversStephen John Kalinich – A World Of Peace Must Come, and Michael Chapman –  Playing Guitar The Easy Way.

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For this week’s challenge, we would like you to take a Built To Spill inspired band portrait and create a name for your fictional band.  Please send submissions to social@lightintheattic.net. The winner will be chosen next Friday via email. 

Weekly Distro Roundup with Jon Treneff!

April 17th, 2014

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Easter tidings to you and yorn! In the spirit of rolling away the stone, we’ve got a trio of heavy ones catching some overdue rays on their pasty white bods. No matter what your spiritual denomination or de-motation may be today, I think we can all agree that everyone looks better bronzed in a bikini. So brush that cave dirt off your shoulder and go soak it up! You only live twice.

 

Simon Jones – Melanie & Me
(Strawberry Rain)

Melanie & Me was originally pressed up in a miniscule run to promote an Australian film of the same name, whose single 1975 screening became as much a rarity as the album. The good news is that Jones’ soundtrack plays just as well without the intended visual accompaniment, riding on a billowy cloud of atmospheric psych-folk that recalls everything from early Neil Young to Mike Nesmith’s bucolic, stunning concept album The Prison, to modern day off-shoots from the Japanese branch office, Maher Shalal Hash Baz and Nagisa Ni Te. A standout from the always-on-point Strawberry Rain label.

 

John Harrison – Creepshow soundtrack
(Waxwork)

Wow – Waxwork went whole-hog on this one! All you horror enthusiasts will know the Creepshow soundtrack was never officially released at the time, going missing for nearly 30 years. Lucky for us, the tapes were uncovered and restored and are now finally seeing the light in this deluxe reissue. Beyond the audio restoration, the packaging is gorgeous, featuring a booklet attached to the gatefold with art, interviews, and liner notes from George Romero and John Harrison. The full monty!

 

Twilight Nuages – Twilight Nuages
(Folk Evaluation)

Really unique and heartfelt DIY pop, and unlike most records you’ve heard lately. Twilight Nuages was a Connecticut high school teacher and a rag-tag team of his students coming together to make some truly transcendent homemade sunshine pop. For anyone familiar with the Langley Schools Music Project record re-issued a few years back, this will be icing on your muffin. Joyful, heartfelt transmissions that recall the insulated naiveté of the early Elephant 6 scene. Shine on!

All titles mentioned above are available through our online shop or at our Seattle record store (913 NW 50th St., Ballard). The LITA record shop will be open on RSD, April 19th, from 9 am-5 pm.There will also be a 25% off sale on any non RSD products, along with some sweet giveaways throughout the day. 

Record Store Day Raffle Giveaway | Built To Spill – “Ultimate Alternative Wavers”

April 11th, 2014

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We’re postponing this week’s Free Basin’ Friday to tell you about our special Record Store Day raffle giveaway! Only 8 more days left until RSD 2014! This year is shaping up to be a good one. The LITA record store in Seattle will be open bright and early (9am – 5pm) on April 19th, selling our three RSD official titles, plus over 70 other hand picked RSD exclusives. We’re going to start the RSD party early this week by offering raffle tickets to anyone who comes into our Seattle record store today from 12-8pm or tomorrow 12-4pm. The ticket will give you two chances to win a copy of Built To Spill’s Ultimate Alternative Wavers, one on green wax and one on gold wax. We will do two giveaways on RSD, one at 10am and one at 11am. Winner must be present with ticket to win, otherwise we will pick a different name.

There will also be a 25% off sale on any non RSD products. The shop is located at 913 NW 50th St., Ballard and open on RSD from 9 am-5 pm.

The Mystery of Lewis – “L’Amour” | Pre-order

April 8th, 2014

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Lewis - L’Amour
LITA 117 (LP | CD | Digital)
Available:
Digital – April 8th
CD – May 13th
LP – June 24th
Pre-order Now!

In 1983, a man named Lewis recorded an album called L’Amour, which was released on the unknown label R.A.W. And that’s about all we know.

The record itself is a delicate, whispered album, reflecting the way the artist himself, spectral and movie star-like, almost disappears into the grey of the cover. It should come as no surprise that it failed to shout loudly enough to be noticed, another private press album that sank without a trace.

The ingredients are simple: smooth synthesizers, feather-light piano, ethereal, occasionally inaudible vocals, and the gentle plucking of acoustic guitars. But the effects are arresting: a spine-tingling, somber album that echoes Springsteen’s Nebraska or Angelo Badalamenti’s atmospheric soundtracks. Later, Arthur Russell would grasp for something similar on the epochal World Of Echo LP.

L’Amour is a true discovery of the blog age, uncovered in an Edmonton flea-market by collector Jon Murphy, passed on to private press fanatic Aaron Levin, shared on the internet and speculated over by lovers of curious LPs. There’s almost no information about Lewis or the album on the internet. There’s precious little on the sleeve: a dedication to Sports Illustrated supermodel Christie Brinkley, a photo credit for Ed Colver, the noted L.A. punk rock photographer, and credits for engineer Bob Kinsey and synth player Philip Lees. All that was known of Lewis is conjecture: a rumor that he was a con artist who fled after not paying for L’Amour’s photo-shoot and a dubious theory that he was not actually of this earth.

When we looked to release the album, we set out to investigate the mystery. Along the way, we found some answers, but more intrigue too. Colver was able to fill in some blanks. Firstly, Lewis is a pseudonym. The man the photographer met was named Randall Wulff. He stayed in the Beverley Hills Hilton, drove a white convertible Mercedes, and dated a girl who looked like a model. He paid for his photo session with Colver with a $250 check, which bounced.

Eventually, the trail led to Alberta, Canada where that first LP had been found. Liner notes writer Jack D. Fleischer, along with master detective Markus Armstrong, found Randall’s nephew, who remembered Randall as a stockbroker. His vague recollections include a visit to Randall’s apartment with all-white furniture and that beautiful girlfriend in situ. Crucially, he offered another one of Randall’s pseudonyms which led to a Vancouver studio and the revelation that Lewis had recorded three or four albums of “soft religious music” there. Alas, even the new nom de plume led only to dead ends.

Lewis remains a ghost, a total mystery, but the music will be heard. The album is being pressed for the first time in more than 30 years and widely distributed for the first time ever. Lewis’s royalties will be placed in escrow until he makes himself known. Perhaps you know Lewis. Perhaps Lewis is you. The only certainty is this: Lewis is about to find a whole bunch of new fans.

  • First ever LP reissue, first time on CD & Digital
  • All tracks newly re-mastered
  • LP housed in deluxe Stoughton “Tip-On” gatefold jacket
  • New liner notes by Jack D. Fleischer
  • Unseen photos by legendary photographer Ed Colver (Black Flag, Circle Jerks)
  • LP includes download card
  • Color vinyl editions (housed in Silver Foil Stamped jacket):
    - 200 on Grey wax (LITA Vinyl Subscriber exclusive)
    - 700 on Clear wax (LITA.net pre-orders exclusive)
    - 100 on “Romantic red” wax (LITA Shop exclusive)

Stream the track “I Thought The World Of You” from Lewis’ L’Amour below….

Free Basin’ Friday | Betty Davis – “Betty Davis” !

April 4th, 2014

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Friday, the weekend is finally upon us and you know what that means….. time for Free Basin’ Friday! This week we’re giving away a LP of the recently back in print Betty Davis – Betty Davis.

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Betty Davis was an innovator way ahead of her time. Her style of raw and revelatory punk-funk defied any notions that women couldn’t be visionaries in the worlds of rock and pop.  She was provocative and flamboyant, often flaunting her female sexuality. She greatly influenced many artist such as Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots and Red Hot Chili Peppers. So for this week’s challenge, we would like you to come up with five fictitious song titles that best represents Betty Davis. The most creative answers win. The winner will be chosen next Friday via email. 

Donnie & Joe Emerson – Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81 | Pre-order

April 2nd, 2014

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Donnie & Joe Emerson - Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81
LITA 115 (LP | CD | Digital)
Available: June 17, 2014
Pre-order Now!

Some people have to wait for fame; some people wait even longer than most. Donnie and Joe Emerson are in a league of their own.

As teenagers in Fruitland, Washington in the late ‘70s, the farming brothers dreamed of being heard. The synthesizers were sometimes crude and the 8-track recorder had its limitations, but the brothers aimed at nothing short of perfection in their home studio on the farm. They titled their 1979 debut Dreamin’ Wild, and, as multi-instrumentalist Donnie later admitted, “Joe and I basically lived the dream of the title of the album.” The same goes for their parents who heavily believed in their sons’ musical dreams, taking out a second mortgage on the farm and investing $100,000 in a dream that refused to die. But their privately funded, private press record sank without trace, the family lost most of their 1,600 acre farm, and as Joe focused on the family farming business, Donnie focused on his solo career.

As for Dreamin’ Wild, things began to change three decades later, when record collector Jack Fleischer bought a copy of the album for $5 at a Spokane thrift shop. Something about the brothers’ smiles, bouffant hair, and matching white jumpsuits gave him a good feeling. Fleischer’s blogging about the album brought it to the attention of cult musician Ariel Pink, who recorded his own version of standout track “Baby.” Eventually re-released on Light In The Attic and widely available for the first time, the album chimed louder a lifetime after its conception: Pitchfork described it as a “a godlike symphony to teen hood.” The New York Times flew out to the family farm, while Jimmy Fallon took to Twitter to proclaim his love for the duo.

But Dreamin’ Wild does not tell the full story. In a relatively short span of time – just two and half years – the boys put close to 70 songs down on tape, all recorded at that magical home studio on the farm. A dozen of them are included here on Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81 and ready to be enjoyed for the first time ever. With a familiar blend of FM rock, power pop, and new wave, these 12 tracks cover the entirety of that fruitful period, stretching from the second song Donnie ever recorded (“Everybody Knows It”) – to tracks documenting his temporary move to L.A. in 1981.

Donnie’s life story is in these songs. Where Dreamin’ Wild captures the teenage experience, Still Dreamin’ Wild tells a broader story, one in which teenage dreams turn to painful yearning. So where the Beach Boys indebted “Ooh Baby Yeah” is inspired by a teenage girlfriend, “Big Money” shows the emergence of a naive political awareness. Later, 1981′s “One True Love” captures the sound of what Donnie described as “the city as imagined from the farm,” and the epic closing track, “Don’t Disguise The Way You Feel” found Donnie after high school, feeling stifled and frustrated in the isolation of the countryside and mourning the loss of his friend and occasional backing vocalist Dwayne. It is, quite simply, heartbreaking.

The long-belated success of Dreamin’ Wild has given the Emerson brothers – still close, and still the heart of a loving family – a new lease of life. They’ve finally taken their music on the road, performing at Seattle’s Showbox followed by New York’s Mercury Lounge. Still Dreamin’ Wild proves that the album wasn’t a fluke, and that Donnie’s songwriting is as consistent as it is rare. All this time later, we finally have the pleasure of hearing the brothers’ music. And the good news? They’ve still got the jumpsuits.

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* Photo by David Black

  • First ever release
  • All tracks newly re-mastered from original tapes
  • LP housed in a deluxe Stoughton “Tip-On” gatefold jacket
  • Liner notes by Jack D. Fleischer, interviewing Donnie & Joe
  • LP includes download card
  • Color vinyl editions (comes with a “Jingle Demo Reel” 7″ featuring 4 unreleased jingles Donnie wrote for local Washington businesses back in the day)
    - 200 on “Snow White” wax + 7″ ( LITA Vinyl subscriber exclusive
    - 500 on “Baby Blue” wax + 7″ (LITA.net pre-orders exclusive – limit 2 per customer)
    - 100 on “Red/Black Shag” wax + 7″ (LITA Shop exclusive – limit 2 per customer)

Stream the track “Ride The tide” from Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81 below…

The Brothers and Sisters – “Dylan’s Gospel” | Out Now!

April 1st, 2014

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The Brothers and Sisters – Dylan’s Gospel
LITA 106 (CD | LP)
Available: April 1, 2014
Out Now!

Out now, Dylan’s Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters!

Of all the great back catalogs in the history of rock, Bob Dylan’s is among the most covered, his acolytes ranging from The Byrds to Adele via Manfred Mann and Guns N’ Roses. But something tells us you haven’t heard anything quite like Dylan’s Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers brought gloriously to the fore for a very special, one-off record.

Originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, this rare and sought-after album finds the California collective covering a clutch of Dylan classics in the era’s revolutionary gospel style. Produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole King’s mega-successful Tapestry, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Merry Clayton, the powerhouse singer best known for sparring with Mick Jagger on Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” (and star of the recent documentary 20 Feet from Stardom), appears here, as does Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of “Tainted Love” in 1965.

The cast of 27 singers also includes Ruby Johnson, Shirley Matthews, Clydie King, Patrice Holloway, Julia Tillman and more. The tracklist includes some of the best-loved Dylan songs from the singer songwriter’s most productive decade, including “Lay Lady Lay”, “All Along The Watchtower”, “My Back Pages” and “Just Like A Woman”.

The genesis of the project was Lou Adler, the music business visionary who staged the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. He imagined a project that combined the songs of Dylan with L.A.‘s most sought after session singers, most of which began their singing in the Baptist churches of South Los Angeles. “Listening to Dylan’s songs, I felt there was a gospel-like feel to them, both spiritually and lyrically,” Adler says in the liner notes. “So those two ideas, to work with these singers and to explore that side of Dylan – came together.”

Presented in this long-overdue reissue is an often-overlooked album and a must for Dylan fans. The word of Dylan has rarely sounded so stirring.

You can watch our short doc below, featuring interviews with Lou Adler and Mary Clayton…

Join us tonight in celebration of Dylan’s Gospel  at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Come hang with the LITA gang as we DJ upstairs on the rooftop of the Ace. Copies of the album will be available for sale!

Dublab’s “Creative Cultivation” Fundraiser Salon

March 31st, 2014

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We need your help! Our good friends at Dublab are gearing up for their annual “Creative Cultivation” Fundraiser Salon on Thursday, April 3rd. Dublab is a community supported web radio station and creative collective celebrating over 14 years of sharing music. As a non-profit organization they rely upon community contributions. The event brings together the most turned-on minds in the Los Angeles community. Attendees will converge in a vibrant atmosphere filled with live music, tasty food, delicious drinks, inspiring art and other elevated offerings.This also serves as the inaugural party for the new JF Chen showroom. The stunning space will be unveiled to host a gathering of LA’s creative community in support of dublab.

SOUNDS:
Sets by some of dublab’s favorite musicians in an intimate setting:
Teebs
Secret Circuit
The Album Leaf (solo set)
Carlos Niño
dublab DJs

VISIONS:
Art installations by Tanya AguinigaClare Graham & Doron Gazit.
Floral installations by Tigers to Lilies.
Stop motion photo booth by Grace Oh & Theo Jemison with original backdrop by Kiel Johnson.
Green screen video booth and installation by Experimental Half-Hour.
Sun Araw’s Second System Vision Radio Viewing Center.
Free tote bags custom screen printed live by HIT+RUN.

TASTES:
Inventive culinary creations by SQIRL.
Tastes of Tunisia from Petit Takett.
Spicy Vegan Chili by LIL’ SNEAKS.
Sweet treats by Rosewood Pantry.

SIPS:
Open bar serving specialty cocktails crafted by The VirgilLagunitas BeerTito’s Handmade Vodka, wine be Stack WinesTopo Chico Mineral Water. Coffee & tea concoctions masterfully blended by G&B Coffee.

SPACE:
JF Chen
New Showroom at 1000 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

TICKETS:
$100 tax-deductible donation
All proceeds benefit dublab, a creative 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS

Free Basin’ Friday | LITA Survival Pack

March 28th, 2014

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Friday at last! Time for another installment of Free Basin’ Friday. This week we’re giving away a Light In The Attic survival pack: tote bag, patch, slipmat and the latest issue of our zine (available April 19th for Record Store Day).

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To win this week’s prize, we would like you to tell us what your favorite Light In The Attic release is and why. The winner will be chosen next Friday via email.

Weekly Distro Roundup with Jon Treneff!

March 27th, 2014

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Why’s the man always tryin’ to keep us down?!  After taxes, social security, insurances, extractions, pet acupuncture, and new swaddling threads, we barely have two quarters to rub together for half a taco on the dollar menu.  It’s enough to make us wanna DROP-OUT.  For good!  This week we pay tribute to the weirdos, outsiders, and straight-up ahead-of-their-timers who didn’t give a flyin’ fig for the central scrutinizer and his rules – including the original WTF-er’s – creepy old white people!

Spike – Orange Cloud Nine
(Golf Channel Recordings)

Hot tamales! Just when we think there can’t possibly be anything left in the abandoned mine of forgotten/outsider/pop-weirdos…well, don’t look down – it’s a pit of SPIKE! Spike was a lone gunman in the profile assassination plot if ever there was one. An officially certified “fool” (by the Dutch government), Spike Wolters was a drop-out of all things drop-out-able. But instead of frittering away his unlimited free minutes playing Mario Kart, he got down to recording four home-made LPs of staggering originality and imagination. Orange Cloud Nine collects the best of these recordings and makes a pretty unimpeachable case for sticking it to the man, forever. Spike perfected a form of lo-fi, instantly memorable pop groove that brings to mind Ariel Pink, Cleaners From Venus, or Dire Straits on acid. Seriously amazing stuff here, and one of the more exciting, out-of-nowhere finds we’ve come across in awhile.

 

Various Artists – Anthology of American Folk Music Vol. 1-4
(Mississippi Records)

Big week for blowing it out of the water here! Mississippi went and did what they were born to do and reissued EXACT reproductions of Harry Smith’s indispensable Anthology of American Folk Music compilations! Each volume is two LPs – all sleeved in beautiful cloth-bound reproductions of the original packaging – including the booklets! That’s already three exclamation points, I know – but these records deserve it (!). Unavailable on vinyl for years, and never with the painstaking attention paid here, these are beyond essential documents of the Old Weird America. Highly limited, one-time limited pressings here. Get in touch with your haunted past before it disappears again forever.

 

Icecross – Icecross
(Rockadrome | Lion Productions)

Rippers Alert: Heavy shreddage on board! Icelandic skull-bangers Icecross unleashed their sole slab of raw power in the pivotal year of 1973 (the best year for music, according to sources). Neither punk nor metal were totally a “thing” yet, but this Arctic blast of insanity managed to channel the dark girth and complexity of emerging stoner bands like Black Sabbath while predicting the raw, fevered intensity of the punk scene to come. There’s also more than a hint of early Blue Oyster Cult and the Detroit garage contingent in here, somehow forging a totally unique take on all of these inter-related yet disparate influences. Incredibly obscure for decades, this is a heavy MUST for heavy heads.

 

 

George Brigman – Jungle Rot
(Obscure Oxide | Lion Productions)

The label describes this as “the sound of broken Baltimore,” and from the album cover depicting a young Brigman (monster doobie in lip) posed amongst the ruins of an abandoned building, to the fried sounds housed within, we can’t argue one bit. Jungle Rot was conceived in 1975 by the teenage Brigman as a conceptual tribute to British psych-blues band The Groundhogs. While the ‘hogs influence can certainly be felt, this is a distinctly American take on it – meaning way more punk and garage – and home-recorded. More psychedelic and blues-y than The Stooges, too raw and damaged for traditional heavy blues-rock fans, Jungle Rot also had the misfortune of arriving just a nose or two ahead of the punk movement – ensuring that the audience for this was limited to the pile of rubble on the album cover. Psych/Punk/Blues before you even knew!

All titles mentioned above are available through our online shop or at our Seattle record store (913 NW 50th St., Ballard).