39 Clocks – Subnarcotic (Preorder)
Dokken – Dream Warriors (Theme from Nightmare on Elm Street 3) (Preorder)
39 Clocks – Subnarcotic (Preorder)
Karin Krog is as axiomatically Norwegian as ludefisk– but much easier for outsiders to love. For over 5 decades, Ms. Krog has masterfully blended electronic manipulation, avant garde rock, and experimental pop jazz to make music that is supremely unique. It’s an honor to be presenting Don’t Just Sing: An Anthology 1963-1999, a concise, career-spanning anthology, curated with Ms. Krog’s own input. We just can’t get enough of her Bobby Gentry cover! Check it out below:
Says Pat Thomas, who masterminded this project,
In the article, Thomas is quoted as saying, that Karin Krog is “a diverse artist like Miles Davis was, constantly changing and reshaping her sound.”
We’ve got a treat for y’all to take with you into the weekend! We asked Leonard Sanders from The Supreme Jubilees to make us a Spotify playlist, and the man made us two! One of secular influences and one of gospel influences. Fab stuff.
Our favorite bits from Kevin ‘Sipreano’ Howes’ liners for Thin Lizzy’s third album Vagabonds Of The Western World:
“Perhaps it was the weed, perhaps it was the Guinness, but Thin Lizzy had somewhat unrealistic expectations after their recent commercial success.” The label was expecting “Whiskey In The Jar Pt. 2,” but the band wanted to reinforce that they were a serious band. They released “Randolph’s Tango,” expecting a huge hit.
“When we were on the road,” Eric Bell recalls, “we would stop at service stations, and Phillip would buy all of the music papers. The first page he’d turn to was the chart. ‘Where is it?’ he’d say. ‘It’s fucking nowhere.’ And this went on week after week. I think we got one mention.” – Bell
“Philip was … heavily into being Irish, even though he was a black man. He loved Ireland and he loved the Celtic mythology and the drawings and the Book of Kells type of artwork. Philip was steeped in that. He read quite a bit about that, and it was one of his best subjects in school. He was genuinely into that mythology of Ireland, so he started using it in his own work, you know.” – Bell
The album cover was designed by Phil’s friend, Dublin-based artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who was also known internationally for his iconic and often reproduced two-tone 1968 portrait of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara. He also specialized in Celtic art and science fiction illustrations. He’s still making art in Ireland, and the above is a piece of his.
On the Vagabonds cover you can find: Phil, Bell and Downey, a futuristic aircraft, Celtic engraved stone tablets, a floating city, and there’s even a little red mouse running across the bottom left corner.
“As kids, we all used to read Batman and The Green Lantern, but Philip had retained that. Touring England, we’d be driving down the motorway and would occasionally stop at a service station to get a cup of coffee or use the toilet. Philip would often come out with about six Marvel or DC Comics under his arm, [The Incredible] Hulk, whatever was out in those days. I remember him pointing to these little squares, and inside the square, about the size of a postage stamp, would be a drawing of Silver Surfer standing on top of a hill or Batman standing at the top of a building. All of their poses would be very dramatic, and Philip used to point these out to me and say, ‘Hey Eric, look at the way he’s standing there.’ He took that on. He started trying out these dramatic poses that these heroes would have. Very strong, static, balanced sort of poses.” – Bell
Radio Luxembourg DJ David ‘Kid’ Jensen was a huge Lizzy supporter since day one, yet band had never met him. Finally, Phil’s mother Philomena said to the boys, ‘Well, what you’re going to do now is, I’m going to get you a big magnum of champagne, the best that you can get, and you’re going to fly over and meet this man and thank him very much.’ And so they did. Kid interviewed them live on air. Bell and Downey got smashed on the champagne and spent the whole interview giggling in the corner while Phil tried to keep it together.
David ‘Kid’ Jensen is the voice that opens ‘The Hero and the Madman.’
Alec Palao knows a lot about music. Alec Palao also knows a lot of nice words. It was this killer combination that led to a Grammy nomination for the liner notes he wrote for our Stone Flower comp (which he also produced!). This music archivist, consultant, journalist, and ‘unofficial custodian’ of Sly Stone‘s musical legacy was kind enough to pause the tunes for a moment and answer a few questions for us.
What is your relationship with Sly Stone?
Just that of a fan, aficionado and, along with a few other knowledgeable folks like Neal Austinson, Ed Lanier and Edwin and Arno Konings, an unofficial custodian of his musical legacy. I first met up with Sly back in 2009 when I licensed some material from him on behalf of Ace Records for the compilation Listen To The Voices, spending several days with him in the process. We reconnected in 2013 when LITA needed to license the Stoneflower material for the I’m Just Like You set.
What was your process for writing these album notes?
I had a lot of information from my original chats with Sly back in 2009, and we conducted a specific interview at the beginning of last year about Stoneflower. I was also fortunate to have a lot of additional strong material provided by the Konings twins, from the research they have been doing for their definitive, in-depth Sly biography (with which I am also involved); that included quotes from the members of Little Sister and 6ix, as well as manager David Kapralik and recording engineer Richard Tilles (I also met with Richard and talked to him at length). The twins and I have shared a lot of Sly information between ourselves over the years, so really it was just a matter of pulling it together in a relatively linear fashion – and hopefully making it entertaining as well as educational!
What struck you as most interesting while researching these liner notes?
I’m probably a little different to most music writers in that invariably I have also compiled the set I am annotating, and have often transferred/edited/remixed the audio. The process of doing the latter, in particular, really provides an authoritative perspective on the body of work you are commenting upon. In the case of Stoneflower, going through the session tapes was particularly enlightening as I discovered just how Sly constructed this music, and its stark difference to the highly-orchestrated sound that he was known for with the Family Stone. Standing back a bit, this simply confirmed something I already knew: that the turning point in the way he made his own music – i.e. the use of a drum machine as a template – was in actual fact a turning point in popular music that still has relevance today. Not enough credit is given to Sly Stone for the creation of what is now known as “beats”. No matter how simple his stuff may sound to modern ears, it can all be traced back to “Family Affair,” There’s A Riot Going On and even before that, the Stoneflower label productions showcased on the LITA set.
Do you have a favorite Sly memory?
Well, he’s still around, so I hope to have further favourite memories of Sly! There’s quite a few already, but the time I spent with him in 2009 is something I won’t ever forget. Watching him make music on his laptop, playing old or unreleased tracks and getting his reaction, and just having the opportunity to have meaningful, one-on-one conversations about his music and his view on life in general. Forget the negative publicity out there about the man – Sly is still one of the funniest, smartest, most incisive people you could ever hope to meet.
How do you feel about the dying art of liner notes? Why are they important and can we keep the tradition alive?
I don’t think the art of liner notes is dying per se, I just think that for the most part the level of research and hard work that one would hope to find in many reissues is all too sorely absent. Using Wikipedia is just so much easier, and the frequent howlers spotted in many liners is testament to today’s over-reliance on the internet. With all due respect to anyone who writes about older music for a living, if there is a fixed amount of copy and a deadline, many tend to go into “hack” mode and trot out the cliches or the glib prose, unless they have knowledge and passion for the subject matter. There is also the “argument” – just why is this music important? Most liner notes nowadays are rather unconvincing in that department. But you can always tell when a writer does have the all important passion.
What’s the best music journalism or nonfiction you’ve read recently?
The first part of Mark Lewisohn’s massive Beatles trilogy, Turn On (the expanded version, of course). Truly astounding and revelatory research from one of the very few qualified to talk about the Fabs.
Palao’s liner notes will not only educate you about Sly, they will learn you up some big ticket vocab words too! (Like ‘terpsichorean,’ which means ‘relating to dance,’ and ‘sobriquet,’ which is another word for ‘nickname.’)
What’s the secret to your massive vocabulary… the British school system’s superiority?
Maybe a good thesaurus? I tend to show my writing to my wife Cindy first, and she frequently chastises me over the use of “fifty cent words”! Seriously, I’m not trying to be pretentious, but I hate repetition in writing, and there are times I wish to say the same thing in different places in different ways. Plus I love the English language and like many others, am appalled at how dumbed-down so much writing about popular culture has become.
Anything exciting you’re working on at the moment?
Always . . . for LITA, next up is more work on the LHI catalog. Plus some others that I won’t spill the beans on yet!
Read our favorite quotes from Palao’s Grammy-nominated Sly-ner notes here!
Today marks the official release of our two new Thin Lizzy reissues Shades of a Blue Orphanage and Vagabonds of the Western World. We’re celebrating these releases with two events in New York City and a very special doodcast from DJ Fitz!
“Thin Lizzy are hands down the greatest Rock Band of the 1970s. They had Amazing Jams, Deep Basslines, and seriously Funky Drums, ask Afrika Bambaata, he will tell you. They stood out from the pack, mainly due to the Amazing Romantic, Mythical Songs written by Phil Lynott — tales of Heroes, Madmen, dangerous men and above all, the Banshee. They hold a special place in my Heart. Peace.” - DJ Fitz!!!
(His twitter @dj_fitzdoodcast if you want to tell him how he got your heart a-flutterin’!)
In New Yawk, on Thursday, 2/26:
Super cool record shop Captured Tracks is doing a super cool thing: dedicated listening booths for individual labels. And we get to be one of the first!
If you’re in NYC come warm us up by boogying down! We hail from delicate climes… Also, Thin Lizzy’s already started shipping out, so if you haven’t yet, get yours!
Light In The Attic products are handmade. Each LITA LP that you hold in your hands has been touched by at least three other sets of hands. At the Stoughton Printing Co. open house last week, we got to shake a few of those hands, from the founders and project managers to the employees who operate the press and glue art to cardboard. Stoughton makes almost all of the tip-on jackets for our LPs, CDs, and cassettes and we think they do a damn fine job.
The Stoughton office feels like a mini Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, only instead of Patti Smith and Buddy Guy, the LP jackets themselves are the main attraction. When you walk in, there’s a wall of LP covers printed at Stoughton (can you spot the LITA titles?). And all around the office are displays organized by artist– a display of every Led Zeppelin or Neil Young product printed at Stoughton, for example.
We also got to meet the good people of Spicers Paper, who provide the high-quality paper that Stoughton prints on. Spicers had two whole tables set up with samples of every kind of paper you could imagine, including ‘the Rolls Royce’ of paper– McCoy. Who knew? “This ain’t Dunder Mifflin,” I joked to the affable Spicers rep, who laughed uncomfortbaly and replied, “Well, we don’t usually go there… but yeah. Although we do also sell copy paper, if that’s what you’re looking for. ” Did I just commit a paper faux pas?
Rob, one of the head project managers at Stoughton, has a collection of records in his office that would make even the most jaded collector green with envy. A true vinyl head, Rob recalled a recent climb he did on Mt. Whitney, during which he listened to Lee Hazlewood for a solid eight hours. Can you imagine hearing ‘Trouble is a Lonesome Town‘ with a view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas at 14,000ft?
When we’re browsing through the stacks at a record store and we see the gnarly cover of some unholy metal album, we rarely think of the printing press employee who had to see that ghastly image a thousand times in a day. It’s someone’s job to place the album art by hand onto the glued cardboard with perfect precision. And apparently some of these employees at Stoughton have been “bothered” by past album art. “They talk about it…” said our tour guide. Think of that man or woman the next time you purchase some blood-soaked horror soundtrack. *Cough* One Way Static *cough.* These people are the real MVPs!
You’re eating your morning cereal when you realize that from behind the cereal box you’re being watched. Blank, glowing eyes stare out of an iron visage. You raise your head, milk dripping from the forgotten spoon in your hand, and see that this iron man is… smiling.
Who left the Iron Giant action figure in the kitchen??
You’re part of an elite police squad, standing in the stairwell of a tenement building in Indonesia in the middle of a violent raid, when a vicious crime boss, whose headquarters is on the upper floors, shuts off all the lights. In the pitch black darkness, he announces over the PA system that the first tenants to kill the police in the stairwell will be granted permanent free residency. All is silent.
You’re back in your living room. Time to switch to the b-side of The Raid soundtrack.
These are the kind of super badass, nerd-your-heart-out, kid-in-a-candy-shop experiences you can fill your every day life with thanks to Mondo, the newest addition to the Light In The Attic distribution family.
An extremely established vinyl movie soundtrack, screen printed poster, VHS re-issue, toy and apparel label from Austin, Mondo has recently joined forces with beloved UK horror soundtrack label Death Waltz Recording Co. The two labels remain autonomous, but Death Waltz now operates under the Mondo banner. Together they are killing the soundtrack game. Their first two drool-worthy joint releases were the original Indonesian score to action film The Raid and a 7” of Frankie Vinci’s songs from the slasher film Sleepaway Camp.
On their site, Mondo says, “It’s our passion to introduce fellow enthusiasts to an eclectic mix of products and experiences from the coolest properties, brands and creators. We bring like-minded people together to celebrate, discuss and discover art and music curated just for them. Mondo fans aren’t interested in the obvious, they want to be impressed – it’s our job to make that happen.”
Never a dull moment with MONDO in the house.
Every artist has a piece of work that niggles themsomething that they wish they could redo, given the chance. It’s why Paul McCartney once reproduced Let It Be and why Kate Bush re-recorded Wuthering Heights for her best-of album. For the prolificMichael Chapman, that album is Window, the missing link in our series of Chapman’s early albums. Window sits just after the previously released Fully Qualified Survivor and Rainmaker, right before Wrecked Again.
When Chapman recorded the album in 1970, while signed to the hip Harvest label (home to Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett, among others), the singer-songwriter and prodigious guitarist was in transition from his folkier origins to his heavier future and heading for a whole mess of trouble. Immediately after recording finished, Michael took the band back out on the road with the understanding that as soon as he got back, he’d put the final acoustic guitar tracks down to replace what he’s always said were only guide tracks. Unfortunately, Harvest’s parent label decided the album was finished and pressed it up anyway. And Chapman, as a result, hates it.
Indeed, 34 years later he even set out to right the wrong, re-recording parts of the LP and noting it was a strange experience listening to “dead people on the between-track studio chatter” (Dudgeon, engineer Robin Cable, and drummer Richie Dharma have all since passed).
As part of our revival of Chapman’s early career, however, the album is presented as was originally released, with Michael’s blessing and albeit with two CD-only bonus tracks. Andru [Chapman] notes, “Warts and all, it is an important part of the Michael Chapman: The Early Years story.” Michael has been less diplomatic in talking about the album. “It is a piece of my history for those interested in that, even though I think it sounds like a piece of crap,” he says.
We’re loathe to disagree with him, but, well, why don’t you take a listen and decide for yourselves?