Simon H Fell 1959–2020

via The Wire: Home

White out! Tony Herrington calls time on the monoculture that is the experimental sound and music industry

via The Wire: Home

CAS Pinch ‘Underwater Dancehall’ with Joe Muggs at Classic Albums at Home

Joe Muggs tells the story behind and discusses his personal recollections of Pinch ‘Underwater Dancehall’. After the album presentation, we encourage you all to play the entire album from beginning to end, without interruption, following the Classic Album Sunday listening guidelines: turn off our phone, refrain from conversation and give yourself over to the music.

CAS and Boiler Room present Contemporary Classics #002: Lone on Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’

Join our Album of the Month club, our monthly Friday night Classic Album Pub Quiz, our ‘Safe & Sound’ webinar for tips on improving your hi-fi and receive rewards after six months of subscription here.

The post Pinch ‘Underwater Dancehall’ with Joe Muggs at Classic Albums at Home appeared first on Classic Album Sundays.

from Classic Album Sundays

Ennio Morricone 1928–2020

via The Wire: Home

CAS Respect: The Women of Atlantic – Dusty Springfield

CAS founder Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy interviews biographer Karen Bartlett about the icon generally agreed to have been the best British female singer of her generation on this series ‘Respect: The Women of Atlantic’.

Dusty was a fascinating artist with a troubled personal life. She was also an advocate of the Civil Rights Movement who helped some of America’s greatest artists like The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix gain exposure to a mass British audience. And of course she recorded the soulful classic album ‘Dusty in Memphis’ featuring the song ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ later resurrected by the film Pulp Fiction.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Watch: Lisa Stansfield on Dusty Springfield ‘Dusty in Memphis’


The post Respect: The Women of Atlantic – Dusty Springfield appeared first on Classic Album Sundays.

from Classic Album Sundays

Alex Ross Pandemic and protest

Under Pressure. The New Yorker, July 6 and 13, 2020.

from Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

Robert Ham The 10 Most Important Albums Released on Dirtnap Records

This was supposed to be Ken Cheppaikode’s month to celebrate. The owner and sole employee of punk/garage rock-centric label Dirtnap Records had booked the packed, two-day Dirtnap Festival at the High Noon Saloon in his current home in Madison, Wisconsin, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the imprint, including a reunion of new wave dynamos the Epoxies, a rare stateside appearance by UK garage-pop ensemble Martha, and sets by groups from Dirtnap’s past and present. But as with every other festival or cool event you can think of, Cheppaikode was forced to pull the plug as the coronavirus continued its siege.

“We sold the thing out in less than a week,” Cheppaikode says. “And 80% to the tickets were for people not from Madison. It totally broke my heart to do it, but it seemed like the right thing to do.”

A decision like that might be the death knell for another small independent label, but Cheppaikode had already planned to only release one album this year (Personality Cult’s slashing sophomore full-length New Arrows). And considering everything Cheppaikode and Dirtnap have endured over the past two decades — most notably, the accidental death of three members of The Exploding Hearts, the glam/power pop act poised for big things following the release of their debut, Guitar Romantic — canceling the festival felt like a small bump in the road.

Through a move from Seattle to Portland and now across the country to Wisconsin — as well as Cheppaikode buying and then selling a record shop, Green Noise Records — Dirtnap has endured for 20 years and there’s every indication that the label will survive well into the future. As Cheppaikode gets ready to plot his next steps forward, we caught up with him from his home in Madison to take a look back, giving us the story behind what he considers to be the 10 most important records Dirtnap has released to date (in his own words):

The Most Important Albums on Dirtnap, According to Ken Cheppaikode

The Briefs – Hit After Hit (2000)

album cover brief hit after hit

That was the first full-length I did after putting out about six or seven 7-inches. I had been at what might’ve been their first club show. I was absolutely blown away from the first minute. I think I approached them immediately after and asked to put out a single. I wasn’t really sure if I was taking the label seriously enough to put out a full-length. It took a little prodding by a couple of different people before I actually agreed. I knew the band was fairly ambitious and was going to work really hard on their end, so I felt like I was going to have to step up my game a little bit.

Epoxies – Epoxies (2002)

album cover epoxies

I was going to take the bus to Portland but I missed it. I figured I may as well go to the local punk rock bar, which at the time was Gibson’s, and see what was going on. That might have been the first show the band played as Epoxies. I remember I rushed the stage as soon as they were done playing and offered to put out a record. At the time, I was living in a seedy drug motel and I was folding up copies of their 7-inch for the band to take on tour the next day and the cops kicking down the door next to mine.

The Exploding Hearts – Guitar Romantic (2003)

album cover exploring hears guitar romantic

Pretty much the signature Dirtnap record. We’ve kept it continually in print for 17 years now. The day I got the many phone calls telling me the news about the accident was definitely a low point for the label and my personal life. It’s still really hard for me to listen to that record to this day even though it’s — by a pretty good margin — the single best-selling record we’ve put out. It was a double-edged sword, all the publicity for that record. I’ve made peace with it.

The Marked Men – On The Outside (2004)

album cover marked men on the outside

They sent me a demo for what would be their first album, and though I really liked it, I thought I wanted the [Dirtnap Records] to be focused on [Pacific Northwest] acts. So I respectfully passed on it. When it came out, I picked up a copy, and when the needle hit the first track, I was like, “Oh shit, I fucked up.” Luckily, the band sent me a CD-R of tracks for their next album, [On The Outside]. I can’t remember if I even listened to it before calling them.

The Ergs! – Upstairs Downstairs (2007)

album cover ergs upstairs downstairs

I feel working with [The Ergs!] helped breathe new life into the label. They came to Portland to play a couple of shows and we hung out a bunch, and at the end of it, I said, “Hey, let me do your next record.” Like I said with The Briefs and The Marked Men, putting out that Ergs! record led me to many other friendships and relationships with bands, which was a really big help for the label.

Mean Jeans – Are You Serious? (2009)

album cover mean jeans are you serious

I love all the Dirtnap stuff, but that one is a personal favorite of mine. I moved from Seattle to Portland in 2005 and that record, and a couple of others, put Dirtnap on the map locally. Before that, we were known more outside of the Northwest. Mean Jeans signing to Dirtna,  playing Portland all the time, and becoming popular quickly after the album came out really cemented Dirtnap’s place in the local music scene.

The White Wires – II (2010)

album cover white wires ii

I read a review of the first record and tracked down some tracks and flipped out. I was running a record store at the time and got in touch with the band about buying copies of their first album for the shop. Everybody who I played it for bought one. It seemed natural at that point to offer to reissue their debut, but they’d already agreed to work with another label for that. But they said, “We’re writing songs for our second record so you can put that out if you want.” And of course I did.

Legendary Wings – Making Paper Roses (2012)

album cover legendary wings making paper roses

This was another rare case where a band sent me a CD-R in the mail, I listened to it once or twice, and I banged my hand on the table, saying, “I want to put that record out, goddammit.” That band’s low-profile and mysterious. [Legendary Wings] don’t have an Internet presence and they don’t play outside of Michigan very often. But whenever anyone asks me about a Dirtnap record that slipped below people’s radar, I always point them to that record.

Martha – Blisters in the Pit of My Heart (2016)

album cover martha blisters

I was tipped off to their existence by Dave Williams, who mastered the record. I was unprepared for how much I was going to like that band. I approached them and said, “If you ever want to a record with Dirtnap…” And I didn’t hear from them for a while until all of the sudden it was like, “Okay, here’s our record.” They got a lot more popular between this one and [2019’s Love Keeps Kicking] so I assumed I wouldn’t be putting the next one out. After a year, out of the blue, they sent me a link. “Here’s the new album. Wanna put it out?”

Personality Cult – New Arrows (2020)

album cover personality cult new arrows

I had to include that one because it’s the newest Dirtnap release. And the way things are going, it’s going to be the only Dirtnap release this year. I feel like that record came along at a good time. For the first time, I was feeling out of sorts. I didn’t have as much coming out, and I wasn’t going out as much to see bands. It had been a while since I heard a new band that knocked my socks off from the get-go, but Personality Cult is one of them. For the first time in a while, I listened to the record once or twice and then got on the phone with the band.

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from Discogs Blog

Bryan Reesman How Dave Grohl Turned Foo Fighters from Solo Project to Full Band

Grief is a process that everyone goes through, but one that people cope with differently. Artists can often find a way to express their sorrow through their work, to channel pain into something constructive. But after the death of his Nirvana bandmate, Kurt Cobain, in April 1994, drummer Dave Grohl sunk into a deep depression and was unsure if he could play music again. He and his bandmate, bassist Krist Novoselic, even scrapped plans to assemble a two-disc set of live material called Verse Chorus Verse because they were too emotionally exhausted to work on it. It was too soon. There was no clear-cut path ahead.

But Grohl eventually did start making music again. By himself. Over the course of a week that October, he recorded songs at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle with producer Barrett Jones to express himself, perhaps vent his grief, and explore some new ideas. There were no commercial considerations. He sang and played every instrument on the album himself — with the exception of the guitar solo from Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli on “X-Static” — and mostly without doing multiple takes. Grohl multi-tracked some of his vocals because, other than having sung harmony on a few Nirvana tunes and lead on the B-side “Marigold” (a song he originally recorded as Late!), he did not feel comfortable as a lead singer.

foo fighters album cover

Foo Fighters ‎– Foo Fighters (1995)

Release date: July 4

He then circulated his music via cassette to a few close friends but had no set plans to do anything with it. Some people had other ideas. Eddie Vedder showed interest and debuted “Exhausted” on his pirate radio broadcast Self-Pollution, giving Grohl some exposure. The music made its way to major label ears, and the drummer was persuaded to release the album, signing with Capitol Records (all Foo Fighters work is also signed with Grohl’s own label, Roswell Records). He adopted the “band” name Foo Fighters, a term first used by Allied pilots during World War II to describe UFOs they sighted in the skies.

“I felt like I had nothing to lose and I didn’t necessarily wanna be the drummer of Nirvana for the rest of my life without Nirvana,” Grohl told Kerrang! in June 2006 when discussing “This Is A Call,” the opening track. “I thought I should try something I’d never done before and I’d never stood up in front of a band and been the lead singer, which was f**king horrifying and still is!”

While there were inevitable comparisons off Foo Fighters to Nirvana — and some die-hard fans of that band were not happy with Grohl moving forward — Foo Fighters was not a retread of what he had done before. Sure, the grunge elements that he helped fashion were identifiable on tunes like “Alone + Easy Target” and the punk-inflected “Weanie Beanie,” but his hard rock influences were coming out as well in “I’ll Stick Around” and “Good Grief,” which prefaced the arena anthems to come such as “All My Life” and “The Pretender.” There were more melodic moments on the singles “This Is A Call” and the poppy breakthrough song, “Big Me.” Grohl varied his vocal styles accordingly from song to song. He was cryptic about many of the lyrical themes but noted that any new ones were not about Cobain.


With the Foos debut album release scheduled for July and airplay imminent, Grohl faced a quandary. He needed to form an actual band to promote his music and go out on the road. While he would play multiple roles years later in the “Learn To Fly” video, he could not clone himself to go on tour. With Sunny Day Real Estate having just broken up (for the first time), he enlisted their bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, along with recent Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear, to join him on his new odyssey. Grohl himself would sing and play guitar, stepping out into the rock frontline, a prospect that was daunting for him. But he took the plunge.

After a show for friends and family at the West Marine Store in Seattle on February 19, 1995, the Foos played select dates on the West Coast in March. Looking at early live footage, one can sense that, while Grohl was comfortable as a musician, he was hesitant to stand out front.

“It’s a funny thing when your new band decides to play in front of people,” Grohl told Kory Grow from Rolling Stone in 2015. “At first, it’s terrifying, and we thought the most comfortable way of easing into being the Foo Fighters would be to have a keg party and wait until everyone was wicked f**king drunk and then start playing these songs that no one’s ever heard.”

But they soldiered on. Their first tour with Mike Watt in April in a support role prefaced bigger things to come. Their star was rising. Over the course of the next year as their music gained greater traction with the masses, they graduated from smaller venues to festival stages in various capacities as they toured the U.S. and Europe repeatedly, played Japan and Australia for the first time. They also appeared on television, most notably on Letterman in August and Saturday Night Live in December. The tour wrapped up in July 1996.

The group’s video for the fourth single, “Big Me,” which won the VMA for Best Group Video in 1996, truly distinguished that the Foo Fighters were different than Nirvana. The music aside, “Big Me” was a cheeky clip that spoofed the goofy Mentos commercials that were popular at the time. The group called their candy Footos and showed different people popping it for courage while solving simple dilemmas in their life. Did a limo cut you off from your friends in a crosswalk? Pop a Footos then crawl through the back seat right past the lady on her phone! It became evident that, beyond musical differences, Grohl was not as intense or tortured as his late bandmate. Sure, he had serious things on his mind, but he also liked to lampoon his rock star status in videos and even in interviews.

(However, the band did have to stop playing “Big Me” for a while. Fans would toss the candy at them onstage. It might have seemed fun for the audience, but guess what? Being pelted with small candy hurts. Go figure.)

Foo Fighters made its mark. Many fans knew it was Grohl himself who made the album, but with the inclusion of the band photo within the CD booklet, many others assumed they all played on it. Younger fans today who listen to their music via streaming might make that assumption as well. The album peaked at #23 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart and sold over a million copies. “This Is A Call,” “I’ll Stick Around,” and “Big Me” were successful rock radio tracks, and, interestingly enough, those first two were among only three written after Cobain’s death. The others were selected from songs that Grohl had written over the previous few years.

While the Foos prospered with their first big tour cycle, the lineup did not quite sustain itself. For the follow-up album, The Colour and The Shape, which had a tighter, more cohesive sound, Smear and Mendel recorded guitar and bass while Grohl handled mostly everything else. Goldsmith (who returned to Sunny Day Real Estate) and the band’s next touring drummer, Taylor Hawkins (who had been touring with Alanis Morrisette) contributed some drum parts. Mendel and Hawkins have remained with the band ever since. The group’s core line-up of Grohl, Mendel, Hawkins, and guitarist Chris Shiflett has held since 2000. Smear would depart later in 1997, come back as a session and touring member in 2005, then permanently rejoin in 2010. Long-time touring keyboardist Rami Jaffee became an official member in 2017.

On a side note, the grunge movement — and Nirvana in particular — have previously been scapegoated by some metalheads as the main reason why their music got pushed off the charts and out of arenas throughout the alternative- and EDM-driven ’90s. Ironically, Grohl is a metal fan, and in 2004 he released the Probot side project, which included appearances by metal luminaries like Lemmy from Motorhead and King Diamond. One could say he unintentionally redeemed himself to some people.

While the debut Foo Fighters album is far from the group’s best work — let’s face it, it is a Dave Grohl solo project — the release served as a prelude to what would turn into the other band that has defined Grohl’s musical career. The group is currently finishing up their tenth studio album, and they have become known for their sense of humor, their ability to jam live with famed musicians ranging from Joe Perry to Rick Astley, and keeping an old-school spirit alive at a time when mainstream rock has become heavily digitized. Grohl has also kept his drum chops up over the years by recording with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, the Zac Brown Band, Garbage, and many more.

The band members are still bonded. “Still to this day, if I look over at Pat or look over at Nate, I still feel like the Foo Fighters that started in William’s basement 20 years ago,” Grohl told Rolling Stone in that same interview. “I really do. It might be a stadium now and we might have a f**king HBO series or whatever, but we’re still us.”

The Foo Fighters started humbly as a one-man project and blossomed into a lifelong career. Grohl recently stated, following arm surgery, that the band will never break up. And why should they? The thought never crossed our minds.

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Beverly Glenn-Copeland announces career retrospective album 

via The Wire: Home

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