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Author Archives | Randy Reynolds

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Raised Eyebrows: Finally Drag City (Randy)

April 13, 2018

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For the longest time, Chicago’s Drag City label was one of the big holdouts in the great Spotify migration. I’m really happy to report that they are now streaming and the world is a better place for it. The 28 year old indie label (first beginning in 1990), has been home to such greats as Royal Trux, Bill Callahan, Slint, Will Oldham and on and on and on. I’ve put together a few highlights from their prized catalog as well as some of the truly amazing reissues the label has unearthed over the years.

PS – This writer waits patiently for Jim O’Rourke and Neil Michael Hagerty albums to be made available. Thank You Drag City!

Palace Brothers – Ohio River Valley Song

One of the great early singles put out by DC

Scott Walker – Tilt

In the words of Ahmet Ertegun upon hearing Television’s Marquee Moon, “This is not Earth Music.”

Squirrel Bait – Sun God

Pre-Emo Louisville rock that DC kindly reissued.

Smog – Teenage Spaceship

I could have picked a bunch of songs, but I put this one up as his finest offering as Smog.

Papa M – Drunken Spree

This may be one of DC’s most important releases.

David Grubbs – A Cold Apple

I’m a huge fan of Grubbs as an artist and a guitar player.

Purling Hiss – Rat Race

Remember when rock didn’t suck, yeah uh, Purling Hiss does too.

Meg Baird – I Don’t Mind

Incredible British folk leanings found on this LP. F YES!

Cate le Blon – I’m A Dirty Attic

Great stuff here.

Ty Segall – My Lady’s On Fire

TS makes no bones about his T Rex obsession and he pulls off a pitch perfect homage on this track. A great song Marc Bolan would gladly call his own.

A list of killer reissues that also made the playlist that DC released long before this became a cash cow for smaller labels all over the world.

Mickey Newbury – Heaven Help The Child
Mayo Thompson (of The Red Krayola) – Corky’s Debt to his Father
Bill Fay Group – Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Gary Higgins – Red Hash
Chris Darrow – Artist Proof
Sandy Bull – And The Rhythm Ace/Live 1976
Spur – Spur of the Moments
Chris Gantry – At The House of Cash
Bert Jansch – A Rare Conundrum
These Trails – These Trails

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Raised Eyebrows: Classic Rock Hidden Gems (Randy)

March 23, 2018

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During SXSW this past few weeks, I did something to help me fight the onslaught of music blaring from every bar/restaurant/art space/garage seemingly in Austin; I listened to classic rock. It not only made me feel like I needed to wear a “I Got This” t-shirt while idling through traffic, but I also discovered/rediscovered a few tunes.

Classic rock is a strange genre that leans remarkably UK/British. Bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Kinks and The Who rule the roost. There are some American artists like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and The Grateful Dead that also oddly qualify.

Here are some gems…

Black Sabbath – “Supernaut”

I think Billy Corgan once talked about this song in a guitar magazine I read when I was 18. Total ripper.

Badfinger – “Come and Get It”

A Paul McCartney toss off that was given to the new signees of Apple Records. Incredible tune.

Bob Dylan – “Driftin Too Far From Shore”

I don’t listen too much to Knocked Out Loaded. This is obviously my bad. The drum sound here is just great!

Led Zeppelin – “Ten Years Gone”

There are a ton of hidden gems in their catalog. Ahem…”Achilles Last Stand,” “Carouselambra,” and “Down By the Seaside” come to mind immediately. Still, this tune is way up on there on the Zep list.

The Kinks – “Sitting In My Hotel”

My favorite Kinks song. Incredibly written piano ballad finding Davies thinking deeply (after an incredible stellar 10 album run) about rock stardom and what it all means.

The Rolling Stones – “When The Whip Comes Down”

I haven’t always been a fan of The Rolling Stones. I’ve been making an effort and I gotta say that I love this song.

Queen – “Hammer to Fall”

This might be a perfectly written 70’s rock tune. Huge hooks, a flawless bridge and extended guitar solo all hit the mark for me. A great song.

Pink Floyd – “Lost For Words”

I have memories of high school where dudes wore Division Bell T-shirts to school everyday. I get it now!!!!

Bruce Springsteen – “Tougher Than the Rest”

This is Bruce’s greatest song. It’s just so damn tough and sure of itself. I hope to feel like this song does one day.

The Who – “The Song Is Over”

I’m going on the record here that Who’s Next is the best R-O-C-K record ever made.

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Raised Eyebrows: Overlooked 00′s (Randy)

February 16, 2018

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With the rush of February comes a personally curious + overwhelming nostalgia for the 00’s. Within the decade that saw Y2K, September 11th, Napster, and the death of the CD, there’s a small but considerable wealth to revisit and enjoy. Here are 10 underrated releases from the 00’s that deserve to be (re)heard.

Broadcast – Tender Buttons

Trish Keenan’s finest work.

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi

Continual mind melter from this genius duo.

Sonic Youth – Murray St.

SY had a renaissance in the early 00’s when Jim O’Rourke joined the band. Murray St. and Sonic Nurse are high marks in an incredible discography.

Lambchop – Damaged

The outsider Nashville band’s greatest release.

Neil Halstead – Sleeping on Roads

Slowdive/Mojave 3 frontman made a timeless record here.

Deerhoof – The Runners Four

I’ve never gotten past this record. It contains some of their best songs. Some jam, some chill, some weird.

Aphex Twin – Drukqs

Underrated in the AT catalog.

Windy & Carl – Consciousness

Breathtaking record that was not meant for the time it was released. This statement only gets better with time. Brilliant.

Fennesz – Venice

One of the finest works of the decade.

Califone – Quicksand/Cradlesnakes

This is what the band had been working toward for so many years. They went on to perfect it on Heron King Blues.

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Raised Eyebrows: Say Yes 2018 (Randy)

January 19, 2018

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I hate to start my year by re-thinking the last, but it seems to be my path over here at SOTO. 2017 continues to be a year of oddity and occasional brilliance (musically anyway.) The music created/released/reissued is a great example of its bizarro irregularity.

Here’s a rundown of a few things I failed to mention last year or am late to the party on, and also a few things coming soon that I am way excited about. May the universe give you all,  all the good it is willing to allow in the new year.

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Raised Eyebrows: 2017 RIP (Randy)

November 17, 2017

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Before the holidays kick in, I wanted to take a moment here to look back on the incredible artists that we have lost in 2017. 2016 hit hard with Bowie and Prince, and 2017 did not let up. Here are a small group of musical artists who each found their own unique space within this dimension we inhabit. We’re all better as a people for their contributions.

Tom Petty

This one man was able to intelligently say so much with very few words and my god could he write a bridge.

Walter Becker

The run from Countdown to Ecstasy to Gaucho is nothing short of amazing.

Chuck Berry

His solos always started straight but could get pretty fried towards their end. This man stands at the very front of the rock n’ roll line.

Maggie Roche

One of the greatest altos of the underground.

Larry Coryell

The lead man when it comes to fusion guitar. One of the heaviest rock/outsider guitarists ever.

Fats Domino

Swamp/Choogle pianist extraordinaire.

Glen Campbell

This man deserves his own constellation. His contributions as a solo artist and session musician are just BEYOND.

Grant Hart

Husker Du drummer and insane-o talented songwriter.

Fred Cole

Dead Moon were a powerful lo-fi force unmatched by any other psych/garage throwback outfit during or since.

Gregg Allman

“Dreams” by The Allmans is an all-timer for me. That voice and that leslie tone!

Chris Cornell

Soundgarden was a big band in my youth. Superunkown and Badmotorfinger differentiated the band as something darker than their contemporaries. Much of it had to do with the voice of Cornell.

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Raised Eyebrows: Greatest Ladies II (Randy)

October 19, 2017

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Last month I talked about some legendary female artists, and it was so much fun that I’d like to continue on with the theme. So for October, I’ll be focusing on some important contemporary female artists. Each one of them represent uniqueness and impending importance.

Courtney Barnett

Barnett’s perspective is singular. Rock is safe in her hands.

Julia Holter

Holter is a visionary. There is a willingness for exploration within her songs.

Broadcast

Trish Kennan created music that had unbelievable depth and range. She is missed.

Kara-Lis Coverdale

I am of the belief that Kara-Lis Coverdale should be as revered as some of the top shelf/legendary male ambient artists in the game. Go ahead and make a space between Basinski and Eno for KLC in the ambient legend category.

Georgia Hubley

Yes, Yo La Tengo have been around awhile. It doesn’t change the fact that Georgia is as important to music as Moe Tucker. Her voice and tenderness are beyond measure.

The Weather Station

Tamara Hope has a way. Her delivery is unlike anyone else. Her lyrics and voice are a perfect union of rough and smooth.

Pauline Oliveros

Oliveros passed away last November at the age of 84. She was a pioneer in the realms of electronic and 20th century classical musics. Her work will continue to stand the test of time. An incredible artist.

Matana Roberts

Roberts is a poet, a musician, an improviser, and a storyteller. Her music is beyond whatever genre you can throw at it. She’s creating a sonic quilt where each new record is connected to the last.

Mary Lattimore

A harpist from Philly that creates openings to other worlds with arcane compositions.

Noveller

Sarah Lipstate makes lands of clear colors with offset guitars and endless imagination.

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Raised Eyebrows: Greatest Ladies (Randy)

September 15, 2017

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Women are amazing. They offer a unique sensitivity and viewpoint to music that just can’t be matched by men. This month, I’d like to focus on some seminal female geniuses who have graced this planet with art that continues to look forward, inform, and inspire.

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is a brilliant artist/musician. Anderson’s music is still so far ahead of now and her viewpoint is beyond original/intelligent.

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is a genius. Her music is a living/breathing/everlasting thing.

Christine McVie

Christine McVie is one of the most consistent songwriters of Fleetwood Mac. Her songs have a heightened awareness. No one sings about love like Christine McVie.

Yoko Ono

The dynamism of Yoko Ono should not ever be doubted. Her music is extraordinarily important.

Alice Coltrane

Alice Coltrane is a moving figure that emits peace and consciousness through her music. Coltrane’s music only allows you to feel hope and encouragement, even at its darkest.

Kate Bush

The music and voice of Kate Bush has its own environment. The art she creates will always inspire more art.

Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)

Kim Gordon single-handedly pushed Sonic Youth into everlasting cult status. Her cutting poetics and hard/soft delivery are irresistible.

Nico

Lou Reed and John Cale get a lot of credit for The Velvet Underground. What about Nico? This woman is her own planet. Her voice is like no other. Her ability to blur minimalism with traditional and contemporary song is challenging and ultimately brilliant.

The Roches

Maggie, Terry, and Suzzy Roche rule. Their songs are unlike anything you could imagine anyone singing about. Lyrically obtuse and harmoniously divine is what I’d say.

Mary Margaret O’Hara

In 1986, Mary Margaret O’Hara released Miss America. It is her only LP. O’Hara’s songs are very particular and personal yet speak to the larger human condition.

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Raised Eyebrows: 2017 So Far – Part II (Randy)

August 18, 2017

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This year is brimming with excellence on the recorded music front. In my second installment of noteworthy records from 2017, I’m finding female artists to be totally ruling; continuing to transcend the lines of genre and influence.

1. James Elkington – Wintres Woma

This is based purely on the ecstasy of the single “Make It Up,” which is as close to a perfect song as you can get these days.

2. The Stevens – Good

Australia’s The Stevens are God’s answer to my endless pleas for a band to master the psych leanings of Flying Nun and combine them with the bold tape hiss of Siltbreeze.

3. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

Michelle Zauner is brilliant.

4. Kara-Lis Coverdale – Grafts

One of THE leading voices in ambient music today. This is her masterpiece. Coverdale is headed right up there with Basinski in my book.

5. Kelly lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens

“S.O” is one of those revelatory songs; dreamlike and immediate.

6. Sarah Davaci – All My Circles Run

Davaci is the 21st Century’s answer to Pauline Oliveros. This record contains some of the most pleasingly monastic drones on the planet.

7. Lal and Mike Waterson – Bright Phoebus

One of the great “lost” Brit-folk records is finally re-issued. This thing has got it all; sombre folk, Sgt. Pepper tomfoolery, and Richard Thompson!!!

8. Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss – Synthwaves

This is a masterclass in synth music.

9. UMFANG – Symbolic Use of Light

Made entirely with a Boss DR-202, this record is exhausting in the very best way. The patience and care she took to create such a contemplative record is beyond me.

10. The Courtneys – II

Sometimes you gotta rock n’ roll. This one gets you there from the first track to the last.

See my other 2017 picks here.

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Raised Eyebrows: NMASS 2017 (Randy)

July 14, 2017

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The dog days of summer are here in Austin, TX folks. It’s HAF. Overwhelmingly so. And though there may not be a way to beat the heat, there is a way to profoundly radiate over at the New Media and Sound Summit (NMASS) at Springdale Station (979 Springdale Rd Austin, TX 78702) THIS WEEKEND!

NMASS is entering it’s 8th year as Austin’s premiere 3-day collaboration and creation festival, celebrating and exploring the work of musicians and sound artists; both local and international. Over the years, the fest has been host to giant experimental talent including Jandek, Gary Wilson, and Man Forever.

This year, NMASS plans to host several experimental workshops, have a Q+A with N.Y. artists Rucyl, and present a discussion on 20th Century female composer Maryanne Amacher, with Amacher biographer Amy Cimini (Assistant Professor of Music at UC San Diego.)

This will be the first year the festival will be held at Springdale Station. Organizers are feeling positive about the change, saying “Our program is somewhat limited in quantity this year due to the space but the quality of this year’s performances should be really great.”

Big props to this festival and its organizers. In a city where commerce is becoming increasingly important and art less so, NMASS is a great example of an event that puts art, discussion, and community first.

See the full NMASS 2017 Schedule HERE

Here are my picks for NMASS 2017:

C Spencer Yeh
Who knows what the hell he will have up his sleeve for this performance. Whatever it is, you can bet it will be rad.

Alex Keller and Sean O’Neil
I’m a fan of Keller’s 2016 LP Indian Lake. From what I’ve heard, these guys create a space within a space. You know, like a door that leads to a room that has no door.

Amy Cimini’s Maryanne Amacher Presentation
UC San Diego Professor of music and Amacher biographer Amy Cimini talks about Amacher’s 30 year career as composer and installation artist. Should not be missed.

A/B Duo
One of the most accessible and exciting acts on the bill at NMASS this year.

Rucyl
Brooklyn artist Rucyl is RAD. Her mix of analog synth, hushed vocal, and minimal soul is ULTRA. She will part of a Q+A during the fest, installation and performing a solo set!

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Raised Eyebrows: 2017 So Far (Randy)

June 23, 2017

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2017 is looking pretty, pretty, pretty good thus far for records. Ambient music is having a true renaissance, some artists are making pure statements and others are successfully treading new ground. So let’s take a look at the some of the best releases thus far in 2017, shall we?

1. Hayden Pedigo – Greetings From Amarillo

My pick for album of the year without question. I don’t think this one can be beat. A highly authentic 30 minute contemplative journey that demands repeated listens.

2. Chuck Johnson – Balsams

A remarkable veer in direction for Johnson. Balsams is positive music. At his highest moments, Johnson’s steel is divinely reassuring.

3. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – On the Echoing Green

I can’t think of anything that blends ambient and shoegaze better than this LP. On The Echoing Green is completely addictive; as blurry as the highway lines in the Texas heat.

4. Happyness – Write In

These guys get my vote for best Pop album in 2017 until further notice. Write In hits that spot between Baroque Rock, Power Pop and Indie slack perfectly.

5. Brokeback – Illinois River Valley Blues

Illinois River Valley Blues is already one of those records for me that represent a specific time and place in life. That’s a very special thing for a record to do. This band deserves so much more attention. Since Brokeback and the Black Rock, they haven’t missed a fucking note.

6. Billow Observatory – II: Plains/Patterns

Totally gorgeous ambient workouts. Relaxation cannot be escaped.

7. Jake Xerxes Fussell – What in the Natural World

This one sneaks up on you and bites you on the ass. What in the Natural World is a reminder of the meditative spirit that eternally lives deep within southern traditional musics. Fussell has made a record that hangs as heavy as anything by Ry Cooder or Mississippi John Hurt.

8. Ryan Adams – Prisoner

I don’t give a shit. I love this record. Prisoner has more honesty than anything by Adams since 2005. In 10 years time, it will be considered the classic that it is.

9. Chihei Hatakeyama – Mirage

Another stunning ambient work to come out this year. Mirage sounds exactly like its title; an illusion.

10. Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness

Thurston Moore can do what he wants. So why/how does he continue to slay? I can only assume it can’t be helped. Rock N Roll Consciousness is Moore’s best solo record by a country mile.

See my 2016 picks – Here and Here

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Raised Eyebrows: Dick’s Picks Vol. 1-36 (Randy)

May 19, 2017

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Since the long-awaited release of The Grateful Dead’s historic May 1977 run a few weeks back, my eternal love for The Dead has been rejuvenated and endless ultraness has been revealed. 5/8/77 is without a doubt one of the Dead’s finest hours. It includes one of the few “New Minglewood Blues” I will proudly jam, the ultimate version of “Loser” in my book, and a peak version of “Brown Eyed Women.”

Beyond 5/8/77, I have continued to mine the wealth overflowing in the Dick’s Picks series started by Dick Latvala back in ‘93. I thought I’d share some of my favs & new discoveries from the series with a playlist that features a pick from all 36 releases. Buckle up!

Vol. 1 12/19/72 Tampa, FL

Finest “Weather Report Suite” they ever did IMO. Bob’s phaser is LOCKED. End coda is crucial and one of the few times they circle back to it to end.

Vol. 2 10/31/71 Columbus, OH

Highest “Dark Star.”

Vol. 3 5/2//77 Pembroke Pines, FL

This “Eyes” is a long one and I have a soft spot for it. Some of Jer’s most gymnastic playing.

Vol. 4 2/13/70 New York, NY

Though a little thin sound-wise, this “Dire Wolf” is PEAK. This has mostly to do with Jerry’s ability, around this time, to carry the whole crew on his back.  The man was touched.

Vol. 5 12/26/79 Oakland, CA

Not usually a choice for me but, this “Big River” is GREAT. Jer plays his ass off and Bob doesn’t stray.

Vol. 6 10/14/83 Hartford CT

A rare and rad version of “Althea.”

Vol. 7 9/9/74 London, England

One of my fav Picks as a whole. You can’t go wrong with much of anything here but the “Stella Blue” is PURE.

Vol. 8 5/2/70 Binghamton, NY

Getting into earlier versions of “Morning Dew.” This one is LOCKED.

Vol. 9 9/16/90 New York, NY

A No-Brainer. “Hell In A Bucket” opener. Great song that gets a solid treatment here.

Vol. 10 12/29/77 San Francisco, CA

Monster “Terrapin Station.” Complete with that sweet chill end they were doing in ‘77.

Vol. 11 9/27/72 Jersey City, NJ

Jer is unstoppable on this “Cumberland Blues” and the singing is good too!!!

Vol. 12 6/26/74 Boston, MA

Another almost perfect Picks release. I could have chosen a lot from here but this “To Lay Me Down” is DEEP.

Vol. 13 5/6/81 Uniondale, NY

‘81 was a good year for “Cassidy.” This one has got some HEAVY AURA through the pre-chorus/solo.

Vol. 14 12/2/73 Boston, MA

Top 5 “Half-Step.” Vol. 34 11/5/77 is another.

Vol. 15 9/3/77 Englishtown, NJ

More ‘77 HEAT. All-time “FOTD.”

Vol. 16 11/8/69 San Francisco, CA

Peak garage Dead RIGHT HERE.

Vol. 17 9/25/91 Boston, MA

Don’t sleep on ‘91 folks. Gold in them hills. Nice “Tennessee Jed” here with Jer sounding strong and the band on their game.

Vol. 18 2/3/78 Madison, WI

RAD early set “Cold Rain and Snow.” Need I say more?

Vol. 19 10/19/73 Oklahoma City, OK

When it comes to “Playing In The Band,” you can’t go wrong with ‘71 or ‘73. This is a strong one from ‘73 that goes WAY OUT.

Vol. 20 9/28/76 Syracuse, NY

I am in love with the jam that precedes “The Wheel.” Vocals and playing here are ON POINT.

Vol. 21 11/1/85 Richmond, VA

One of the worst Picks releases due to the band’s halfhearted performance. “Stagger Lee” manages to get Jer stoked for 5 minutes or so.

Vol. 22 2/23/68 Lake Tahoe, CA

KILLER version of “Viola Lee Blues.”

Vol. 23 9/17/72 Baltimore, MD

OH MAN. DO NOT MISS THIS “Sing Me Back Home.”

Vol. 24 3/23/74 Daly City, CA

This release is pretty rough due to it being a Wall of Sound-era soundcheck. The band manages a soothing “Black Throated Wind.”

Vol. 25 5/10/78 New Haven, CT

This “Deal” is a pleasure from start to finish.

Vol. 26 4/26/69 Chicago, IL

SG-era Jer is up there for me. This “Cryptical Envelopment” is one of the band’s best.

Vol. 27 12/16/92

Jer’s vocals in the early 90’s have just got this black magic. The band is TIGHT by this time. There was room to explore like there hadn’t been since ‘71. Check the solo on this “BEW” and my fav bridge in any song ever.

Vol. 28 2/26/73 Lincoln, NE

A celestial “Jack Straw” from a very solid show.

Vol. 29 5/19/77 Atlanta, GA

One of the best Picks in the series. YOU CAN’T GO WRONG. Highest “Peggy-O” they ever did IMO.

Vol. 30 3/28/72 New York, NY

Tight “Mr. Charlie” happenin’ right HERE.

Vol. 31 8/4/74 Philadelphia, PA

Not my fav Dead song but this “Scarlet Begonias” cannot be denied.

Vol. 32 8/7/82 East Troy, WI

A lackluster Picks release overall with a couple highlights. This “U.S. Blues” features Bobby on slide and Jer having an OK time.

Vol. 33 10/9/76 Oakland, CA

A crisp “Franklin’s Tower.” A grower.

Vol. 34 11/5/77 Rochester, NY

High flying and rare “Candyman.”

Vol. 35 8/7/71 San Diego, CA

‘71 versions of “Casey Jones” do not disappoint. SICK TONES.

Vol. 36 9/21/72 Philadelphia, PA

You know it’s on when “Black Peter” shows up in the set.

Read my other SOTO article on The Dead HERE.

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Raised Eyebrows: Choice Ra Cuts (Randy)

April 21, 2017

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Sun Ra was an artist who was way ahead of the curve. He was so ahead of the curve, that we may never catch up to his music or his views in our lifetime. But it’s fun to try! This month I’ve got some choice cuts from the realm of Ra spanning from 1956-1970.

Photo courtesy of lib.uchicago.edu

“Sunology Pt. 2” from Supersonic Jazz (1956)

This is an all-timer for me. The head on this tune is absolutely timeless. Sun Ra does not get credit for being an absolutely brilliant hard bop composer/improviser.

“Angels and Demons at Play” from Angels and Demons at Play (1960)

This album is where the Arkestra jump ship and begin going into their own territory. Without a doubt, one of Sun Ra’s finest moments on record.

“New Horizons” from We Travel the Spaceways (1961)

A beautiful ballad (recorded in 1956!) that makes a left turn towards funk/fusion.

“And This is My Beloved” from Bad and Beautiful (1961)

One of Sun Ra’s most accessible records. This tune (not a Sun Ra original) achieves a raw and haunting kind of sound. Brilliant playing across the board on this album.

“When Angels Speak of Love” from When Angels Speak of Love (1963)

This album is where Sun Ra and the duo of Marshall Allen and John Gilmore begin to veer farther from bop and more towards freedom jazz than ever before.

“Mu” from Atlantis (1969)

A very playful meditation from Sun Ra and his solar sound organ. A joyful noise.

“The All of Everything” from The Night of the Purple Moon (1970)

A wonderful record featuring the rare small Sun Ra group session. Roksichord and flute abound!

Sun Ra recommended albums:

Angels and Demons at Play

Bad and Beautiful

Interstellar Low Ways

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Raised Eyebrows: RIP Larry Coryell (Randy)

March 24, 2017

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Photo courtesy of @JYPSEYE

First wave fusion guitarist and Texas native Larry Coryell passed away in February at the age of 73. Coryell was born in Galveston, Texas and spent his formative years in Seattle before moving to New York in the mid 60’s. There he cut his teeth with Chico Hamilton, Gabor Szabo, and Gary Burton. Coryell is perhaps best known as the founder of The Eleventh House, one of the premiere fusion bands of the era.

In his book, Improvising: My Life in Music, there’s some really rad stories including when he turned down being in Miles Davis’ band and still doesn’t know why, where he turned down an offer to record a solo on one of Hendrix’s bigger tunes (photo of Coryell and Hendrix featured above) and the time he found himself ill-prepared in the studio recording with Robbie Robertson.

Coryell’s playing bridged rock and jazz unabashedly. Evidence of his unique, savage style lies on a number of recordings; ranging from his early 70’s Vanguard LPs to The Eleventh House to Mingus’ later recordings. He is missed and there will definitely never be another like him.

Here are my top 5 Coryell cuts.

“Lady Coryell” from Lady Coryell (1969)

This track is LC at his wildest and most PURE. Shit gets real at 3:30. The track features Roland Kirk’s drummer, Bob Moses and LC on guitar and bass. STUNNING.

“Ann Arbor” from The Restful Mind (1975)

LC in an acoustic setting. One of his finest compositions. Leaves me speechless every time. The track features ECM artist/guitarist Ralph Towner.

“Scotland I” from Offering (1972)

LC at his highest powers and his BEST RECORD. Offering finds Coryell and his band Foreplay, whose lineup includes the great Steve Marcus, just SLAYING.

“Stiff Neck” from Lady Coryell (1969)

Another from Coryell’s first solo LP on Vanguard. The track features the legendary Elvin Jones and according to Coryell’s book was also supposed to feature Jimmy Garrison on bass but he was late to the gig … so they went on without him. SO MUCH VIBE.

“Scotland Part One” from Aurora Coreyllis (2016)

Finding this compilation that was released just last year has been a revelation. The first four cuts find Coryell performing most of Offering at a jazz workshop in Boston, MA in September of 1972. Heavy improvs here and of course, Coryell is ON FIRE.

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Raised Eyebrows: Jazz Freedom (Randy)

February 16, 2017

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Things aren’t great right now for lots of reasons. I think often of a quote from Sun Ra that says, “The real aim of music is to co-ordinate the minds of the people into an intelligent reach for a better world and an intelligent approach to the living future.” I have little other commentary except than that to me, Jazz is the purest sound of freedom and one of America’s greatest global contributions. Below are some pieces (all from Bandcamp) that may aid in processing, coping, enlightening, accepting, observing, and ultimately resisting all negatives. Jazz continues to give our collective freedom new voicing against all evil.

Jessica Ackerley Trio – Coalesce

Ackerley’s “‘merica” is all form and chaos and may be a telling fortune of our trajectory.

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio – Desire & Freedom

“Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword” is not only a true statement but also a PURE expression.

Charles Rumback – In The New Year

“In The New Year” is a devotional piece that speaks directly to the hopes and disappointments we have had already or will have in 2017.

Sunwatchers – Tomb Howl

This band is not fucking around. “Herd of Creeps” is the second line at the jazz funeral for the current regime.

Bad Luck – Three

“Ideal City” by Bad Luck is a free drone worthy of every moment you’ve spent trying in vain to find the sliver of light.

William Hooker – Heart of the Sun

“Reflector of Truth” is immediately brilliant. If you need inspiration today, THIS IS IT.

Shabaka and The Ancestors – Wisdom of Elders

One of the best albums of 2016 and “The Observer” is one of its finest spiritual moments.

Henry Threadgill – In For A Penny, In For A Pound

Henry Threadgill won a Pulitzer Prize for this astounding LP in 2016. His works are embodied duality, much like the world we inhabit.

The Claudia Quintet – September

“The Coping Song” by The Claudia Quintet is a reminder of the passing of time and somehow clarifies how we got to now.

Makaya McCraven – In The Moment

“In The Moment” is an improv’d meditation and a good reminder on how to approach life under any climate.

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Raised Eyebrows: 2016 Hangover (Randy)

January 20, 2017

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2016 was a year many of us of would like to have forgotten for a variety of reasons. But as stated before, for better or worse, 2016 was one of the finest years for music this century. I was able to wrangle together mixes featuring 90 different records from 2016 that needed your attention in a few articles for SOTO. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Now that the sun has set on 2016 and the shit is prepared to hit the fan in 2017, I’m taking a look at a few records that didn’t get their due and a few rad LP’s about to be released. Peace attack 2017.

Suzanne Kraft – What You Get For Being Young

After obsessing over Kraft’s wonderful 2015 LP Talk From Home, I was stoked to have this meditative effort around to close out the year/be hopeful for the new one.

Wovenhand – Star Treatment

Ex-16 Horsepower leader is now taking his solo acoustic project into foggy, whip chain noir territory.

East of the Valley Blues – EOTVB

A sort of acoustic instrument ambient record. Waging heavy peace.

Pete Astor – Spilt Milk

I was late to the game on this one. A superior pop record and a shooting star in the Astor catalog.

Immersion – Analogue Creatures Living on an Island

Each song a journey with no real destination. Every sound adds to the dream.

Chris Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band – The Rarity of Experience

Late on this one too. This band hits every pleasure point. Best descriptor is PURE HEAT.

Shearwater – Jet Plane and Oxbow

I am a sucker for the motorik groove found on Radio Silence.

Scott Hirsch – Blue Rider Songs

Hiss Golden Messenger engineer gets his Double-J Cale groove on.

The Mood Illusion – Strangers in the Night

Austin’s Bob Hoffnar leads you and his band through a non-ordinary trip through the places behind the places that you thought you were headed to.

Rob Noyes – The Feudal Spirit

Guerilla guitar soli.

Noveller – A Pink Sunset For No One

Drowning in sound, lost in dream, followed by land. Truly original scapes from Sarah Lipstate.

Brokeback – Illinois River Valley Blues

I love this band. Interplay for days from these Chicago heavies.

Michael Chapman – 50

Living legend Michael Chapman celebrates 50 years in the tunnel with an album made with friends and admirers.

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