Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Star

As a huge Big Star fan next month promises to be an exciting time, with Rhino releasing two Big Star related records.

The first being 'Keep An Eye On The Sky' a four disc box set collection of album tracks, unreleased songs and live recordings. The collection covers the entire life span of Big Star from 1968 and 1975, including tons of previously unreleased gems. A lot of stuff has been "out there" for a while for those willing to search - but what most excites me is the comprehensive collection of Alex Chilton's demo's for the 'Third/Sister Lovers' record. Some of these appeared a couple of years ago on the collection "Thank You Friends: The Ardent Story" - but as far as I know, this is the first time that they will all be collected in one place.

The second release being the 'deluxe' reissue of Chris Bell's fantastic solo album 'I Am The Cosmos'. A two disc collection - the first disc features the original release of 'I Am The Cosmos', an album made up of recordings Bell made after departing Big Star, before his untimely death in 1978. The second disc will include alternate versions of many previously released Bell songs, as well as music from Bell's pre-Big Star band Icewater.

If you are reading this and do not own any Big Star records... firstly, shame on you. Secondly, their three seventies studio records are essentials for any serious collection: check out '#1 Record', 'Radio City' and 'Third/Sister Lovers' at the earliest opportunity.

MP3: Big Star - Motel Blues (Removed By Request)
MP3: Chris Bell - You & Your Sister (Acoustic Version)
MP3: Alex Chilton - Lovely Day (aka Stroke It Noel)

Big Star On Myspace
Support The Artist: Buy.Buy.Buy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Gary Higgins

I can't believe I missed this one... at the end of September, Drag City will be releasing Gary Higgins his first album since 1973's 'Red Hash', the appropriately titled 'Seconds'.

After being "found" by Drag City, with help from Six Organs Of Admittance's Ben Chasny and revitalized by the reissuing of his 'lost' masterpiece 'Red Hash', Higgins found himself in a position where he was able to work on new material.

In Higgins own words: "The motivation to do another record was not hard to find. Having a group of new songs I was into and more than a few ‘older’ ones as well, it again seemed like a very logical thing to do. They all needed a place to be and ears, old and new, to listen. Additionally, I can’t tell you how many times I have read - “It’s too bad that Red Hash was the only record he recorded” - I knew I could fix that"

So far one track from 'Seconds', "Demons" has surfaced online - it sounds great. Musically it appears to sit on similar ground from where 'Red Hash' left off and Higgins is sounding like he is in great voice.

MP3: Gary Higgins - Demons

Gary Higgins on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy.Buy.Buy.

Previously on SOTR: Gary Higgins - Red Hash

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jim O'Rourke

I am unbelievably excited about the prospect of a new Jim O'Rourke album. 'The Visitor' (possibly a reference to 'The Man Who Fell To Earth', following on his quirk for naming records after Nicolas Roeg Films - see: 'Insignificance', 'Eureka' & 'Bad Timing ' - or possibly not!) is released at the end of this month via Drag City.

I guess I first started paying full attention to O'Rourke's work after watching the flawed, but thoroughly charming film 'Love Liza', the soundbed for which is made up of much of O'Rourkes finest song based material. All of his melody/song based releases, (he has also released a great number of more experimental records), aurally offer something new and fresh, and never disappoint. Add to this his work with "alternative Supergroup" Loose Furs which is, in my mind, faultless and equal to his best solo material, as well as his production/engineering work with Wilco, Sonic Youth, Joanna Newsom & Smog and you have yourself a whole world ready and waiting for you to go and explore.

According to Drag City 'The Visitor' features just one long track (entitled "The Visitor"), and is closest in feel to 'Bad Timing', which itself contains four sections (each approximately 10 minutes long) of slow building, guitar picking, instrumental brilliance. Indeed the new album cover could also be interpreted with reference to the artwork for 'Bad Timing' which itself contains various references to glitter balls.

MP3: Jim O'Rourke - Halfway To A Threeway
MP3: Loose Furs - Answers To Your Questions

Jim O'Rourke on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy.Buy.Buy.

Previously on SOTR: Friday Is For Covers