Josh T. Pearson | Sweetheart, I Ain’t Your Christ

photo by scott 1212 hartzler

Josh T. Pearson, where art thou? You gave us the melodic cacophony of Lift To Experience with The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, and then you disappeared. Since then, there have been sightings–a 7″ with the Dirty Three, some shows with My Bloody Valentine–but nothing that could be called a second coming. Word has it now that you’ve recorded an album of Leonard Cohen via Townes Van Zandt country tunes set to be released this year. Here’s to hoping that word is true. 

The Black Angels | Phosphene Dream

Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels are set to release the follow up to 2008’s Directions To See A Ghost. The new album was recorded in Los Angeles with Dave Sardy who, after fronting one of the best noisy 90’s rock bands there ever was–Barkmarket–focused on a career producing albums by just about everyone. The band is calling the album Phosphene Dream and dropping it via Blue Horizon Records.

The Black Angels are the first signing to Blue Horizon, a legendary UK blues label, notable for releases by Otis Spann, Champion Jack Dupree, and Fleetwood Mac, among others. The label  is set for a relaunch with Phosphene Dream, its maiden voyage, sailing the psychedelic seas on September 14.

For just a taste to get jonesing fans through the summer, the band is offering a free download of album track “Bad Vibrations” at their recently tricked out, tripped out website. Turn on, tune in, drop acid, surf on over and check it out. In addition to the new song, the site offers WOXY in-studio performances of older tunes and tons of videos, including one of The Black Angels performing with Roky Erickson. Now that’s the shit.

Hear Here | Internet Listening Stations

One of the best things about the independent record store I worked for is its policy of opening anything in the store so a customer can have a listen. It’s a policy that goes above and beyond the standard pre-programmed listening station at the average chain store, and it’s one of the things that I miss most about spending my days surrounded by dusty racks of cds and vinyl–it provided instant gratification for my need to know what some new band or some old record was all about. After leaving the record store and no longer able to feed this need 40 hours a week (and on the clock), I turned to the internet for my fix.

Despite offering access to countless blogs, album leaks, and myspaces, the internet generally gave me just enough to keep the shakes at bay, but rarely enough to satisfy my craving for more, more, more! I shot my fill of snippets and songs and youtube posts, but there just wasn’t any place set up like an old school record store that allows a music junkie with an appetite that far exceeds his means to listen before buying. There were, to my dismay, no internet listening stations–but this seems to be changing.

These days, bands and labels seem to be taking hold of the internet flame and exerting more control over how their music hits the web.  Bands increasingly stream not just songs but entire albums on their websites and myspace pages. Labels, in the run-up to an album’s release, stream albums on their own websites or partner with sites such as NPR or The Colbert Show to stream, and promote, an album prior to its release, usually in conjunction with a band being featured on those shows. With artists and labels becoming more proactive about how fans are able to engage new music on the internet, things are looking good for the internet finally reaching its potential as one big-ass, old school listening station.

I’ve always thought that the best way to sell an album is to let the album sell itself–here’s to hoping that as artists make their music more available for preview online, fans make their dollars more available, whether it be online or in person.

For those who, like me, don’t always have the time to make it down to the local record store to check out the new arrivals, here’s a few internet listening stations worth checking out while you’re surfing for porn: | right now, new Ozzy!

npr | right now, new Alejandro Escovedo!

the colbert show | right now, nothing, but it seems ol’ Colbert has some pretty good taste in music as his show has streamed albums from the Flaming Lips and the Mountain Goats, to name just a couple, so keep your eyes peeled.

and just a quick heads up to check out the Wolf Parade myspace page for a stream of their new album, EXPO 86, out June 29 on Sub Pop.

Fakebook: Frank Black

Frank Black has had an interesting career arc.  Some might say he peaked early with the Pixies, but they might not be aware of his excellent post-Pixies solo work.   His split with the Pixies liberated him to explore a more diverse pallette of influences and desires.  You do not find the whisper to a scream dynamics in his later work, but rather a meditative focus on songs, simplicity, and directness.  I found Honeycomb (2004) an unexpected turn for Black.  The production has a stripped down clarity that reflects the circumstances of its inception.  It was recorded in four days in Nashville with some notable studio veterans.  Black took the opportunity here to record something personal and meaningful, just before his reuniting with the Pixies for their comeback tour.  I like the record as a whole, but the stand out track from the get go was Song of the Shrimp.  A cast off from an early Elvis movie, the song chronicles the life of a shrimp and his contemplating a move to broader horizons.  The humor and craft in the song are irresistible, and I find myself singing along every time I hear it.  Sadly, given the present circumstances in the Gulf of Mexico, I do not think the shrimp will be able to sing for a long time.
Frank Black – Song of the Shrimp– Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett 1962

minorkey melancholia milk&honey harmony

I feel like the first time I became aware of Teenage Fanclub was eyeing the unmistakable album art of their third record, Bandwagonesque, in the cd bins of my favorite record store. I heard it a bit later at a friend’s place, and I found it was a bit beyond me at the time, being enamored with noisey, punkish, fuck-you-hard in the ears music.  After hearing and (re)hearing that music through the years I find it still holds up when a good deal of what I  purchased at the time would not make it into my current rotation of music.  A few years back they re-emerged in my consciousness with their excellent ninth album – Man Made.  It was a happy reunion for me.   see the singleits all in my mind.”  They have just released a new record on Merge Records called “Shadows.”.    Full stream for a limited time. “…the Rolling Stones wrote a song for me, It was a minor song in a major key…”