The child of two professional singers who gigged heavily within their local nightclub scene, Chris DeMakes grew up surrounded by 45's, primarily so his mom and dad could keep up with (and cover) new music. That consistent rotation of entertainment in the house fueled Chris' collector habits early on: Memorizing liner notes and label logos, as well as keeping at least one copy of every record or piece of merchandise that his influential ska/punk band Less Than Jake has put out over their career, three decades long and counting. On this week's episode, Chris dives into his recent book, the fascinating songwriting podcast he launched during quarantine, and a slew of outlandish LTJ vinyl rarities throughout the years, some of which came in pizza boxes and pie tins. Visit lessthanjake.com and chrisdemakes.com for news updates and social media, and hear Chris DeMakes A Podcast wherever you listen.
Born in Scotland but moving to Australia by the age of 14, Colin Hay grew up around a music shop owned and operated by his parents, who sold everything from pianos to LP’s. Finding worldwide success and a Grammy win in the early 80’s with Men At Work, Colin has penned some of the most endearing songs of that decade (“Down Under,” “Who Could It Be Now?,” “Overkill”) as well as unassuming yet emotionally resonant tracks since then, like “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” and “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You.” His charm has always lied in crafting bleakly beautiful melodies, blanketed by lyrics that somehow find comfort in isolation or discomfort in new surroundings. On June 4th, Compass Records will release a 20th anniversary vinyl pressing of Colin’s album Going Somewhere, and on today’s show, Colin discusses the process in revisiting that material, how moving from Scotland to Australia was like changing “from black-and-white into technicolor,” and how he became a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. Pre-order Going Somewhere from compassrecords.com and follow @ColinHay on Instagram for updates.
Over the last twenty-five years with acclaimed acts like Nickel Creek, I'm With Her and Watkins Family Hour (as well as her own solo material), Sara Watkins has become one of the most prolific musicians in folk and bluegrass. Dig into your record collection, and you'll also find her work on albums from Steve Earle, The Decemberists, Mandy Moore, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett and Father John Misty, to boot. Her latest solo release is Under the Pepper Tree, an album of lullabies, hopeful songs from kids films and tender melodies that have otherwise served her into adulthood. Today, Sara discusses the origins of Under the Pepper Tree (especially how she envisioned the album on vinyl from the very beginning), how her dad crafted a makeshift turntable out of a sewing needle and paper, and how one Nickel Creek fan went from the front row on the band's recently-released live album to testing the trio for COVID. Under the Pepper Tree is available now on New West Records, wherever you get music. Find Sara's socials, upcoming live dates and more info at SaraWatkins.com.
Beginning strictly as a dance-a-long live show, Koo Koo Kanga Roo has exploded over the last decade -- thanks to digital streaming and word of mouth from elementary teachers -- becoming a hugely popular duo amongst toddlers and grade school kids. Whether rapping about the unbridled joys of pizza, rainbows, monsters or fanny packs, Bryan Atchison and Neil Ostad are approaching 150 million views on YouTube as of this recording, and have collaborated or toured with Frank Turner, the Aquabats, the Harlem Globetrotters and members of Doomtree. Today, Bryan and Neil discuss Koo Koo's history, lessons they absorbed from Asian Man Records founder Mike Park, getting spoofed by Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa this past Halloween, and the logistical nightmare of traveling with vinyl overseas for the first time. Plus, Jim's son George makes his first official appearance on the podcast as he meets his favorite band! You can pre-order Koo Koo Kanga Roo's new album Slow Clap on vinyl and find videos + social media at kookookangaroo.com. Bryan and Neil's podcast Banter Buddies can also be found wherever you listen.
Enjoy this encore presentation of Episode 46, recorded live 01/14/17 at Pinwheel Records (Chicago) with vocalists/guitarists Bob Nanna and Chris Broach from Braid.
A songwriter and record collector since the age of 8, Patterson Hood's musical education was through his father's record collection. But what separates David Hood from a lot of dads is the fact that he's a renowned session bassist and producer who has worked with anyone from Aretha Franklin to Willie Nelson -- appearing on classics like The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" and Etta James' "Tell Mama." Patterson eventually formed Drive-By Truckers in 1997 and despite a rotating cast through the years, including Jason Isbell and Spooner Oldham, his partnership with co-songwriter/vocalist Mike Cooley has spanned nearly four decades and has fueled DBT's cult-like following. On this episode, Patterson describes his love for the test pressing process, playing it cool when you're neighbors with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, why the band has been so prolific within the last year, and how the Truckers recorded their first seven-inch on their very first day as a band. Follow Patterson @dbtph on Instagram, and visit drivebytruckers.com for news and updates.
What do Hulk Hogan, Ed McMahon, the Pink Panther and Hamm's Beer all have in common? Tony Thaxton, host of the podcast Bizarre Albums, joins us today to discuss the unique, obscure or oddly legendary records these pop culture icons created, as well as other LP's put out by actors, athletes, fictional characters and auto companies over the last half-century. Plus, we talk about our mutual fascination with the documentary film Bathtubs Over Broadway, a must-watch for any record collector. Find Bizarre Albums however you listen to podcasts, and follow the show on Instagram, @bizarrealbums.
In celebration of his debut album's 20th anniversary, this year has seen a massive vinyl reissue/remastering campaign for much of Chris Carrabba's early Dashboard Confessional catalog. This includes two LP's that the majority of his fanbase discovered him with (The Swiss Army Romance and The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most), plus the band's 2002 MTV Unplugged performance and several 10" EP's, the latter pressed by popular specialty label Mondo. On our last broadcast of 2020, Chris discusses his road to recovery after a debilitating motorcycle crash earlier this year, his own vinyl collecting habits, a new canned wine company he's partnered with, and the time Marilyn Manson sold him a Fugazi record. Plus, some stories behind rare gems in his collection from the Beach Boys, Less Than Jake and Christie Front Drive. Visit store.dashboardconfessional.
With touring off the table during the pandemic, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit have still kept their momentum: The group's latest album Reunions was released to physical indie record stores prior to digital services earlier this spring, they've played a string of socially-distanced outdoor shows, as well as continue to post archival performances via Bandcamp. On today's show, keyboardist Derry deBorja talks about all of the above, plus the musical influence of his older brother, his time as a member of Son Volt, how experimenting with a modular synth has changed how he views composition, and the 400 Unit's relationship with David Letterman. Visit jasonisbell.com for updates, and follow Derry on Instagram, @tin_pony.
Though it already cemented his legacy as one of the world's greatest songwriters, Tom Petty originally intended 1994's Wildflowers to be a double-album. Now over 25 years later, fans can finally hear these long-buried tracks, along with home demos, alternate takes, live cuts, new liner notes from Rick Rubin and more as part of Wildflowers & All The Rest, a mammoth archival undertaking that ranges from 2 CD's to 9 LP's, depending on your budget and fandom. On today's show, we'll talk with Nick Steinhardt, one of the art directors and package designers on this massive reissue about his connection to Tom Petty's music, his role as the release took shape, and his diverse catalog of work, ranging from Paul McCartney to Britney Spears to Minus The Bear. Follow @nicksteinhardt on Instagram, and visit smogdesign.com and 23in.com to view Nick's work. You can find the Wildflowers reissue, as well as the new album Lament from Nick's band Touché Amoré, wherever you get music.
This is an encore presentation of our 100th episode with Pat Sansone of Wilco. The band will be reissuing their third album Summerteeth as a 5LP/4CD box set this Friday, Nov. 6th.
Enjoy this encore presentation from January 2020, featuring our conversation with drummer Daru Jones. You may have seen him recently on SNL backing up Jack White, and his latest collaboration with Pete Rock titled PeteStrumentals 3 drops on December 11.
Kansas City native Nathan Ellis joined the pioneering experimental outfit Coalesce in the late 90's, as they made a name across the globe for intricate dynamics partnered with the fervency of hardcore punk and a live show that bordered on chaos. He later formed The Casket Lottery with more dialed-in, yet equally engaging songwriting, pointing to area bands like Boys Life, Kill Creek and Giants Chair as influences. A few years ago saw the vinyl reissue of the band's first three full-lengths, and today's wide-ranging conversation with Nathan takes us from Vincent Price to baseball, as well as obscure Robert Smith side-project The Glove to The Casket Lottery's truly-collaborative split EP with longtime friends Small Brown Bike. The band's new album Short Songs For End Times comes out November 6th, and can be pre-ordered at wiretaprecords.limitedrun.com. Visit @thecasketlottery on Instagram for further updates.
4x Grammy-winning producer, engineer and mixer Vance Powell has worked with a wide range of artists and bands including Chris Stapleton, Buddy Guy and Phish. For vinyl collectors, he's arguably most known for being a consistent studio go-to for Jack White, not only being involved with proper studio releases from Jack and his various projects (The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs) but Vance is behind the boards of most every Live At Third Man Records LP, where bands record short sets in front of a couple hundred fans, direct-to-acetate. On this episode, Vance points to his favorite Third Man sessions he's recorded (including some Radiohead demos), how Chris Stapleton's famous cover of "Tennessee Whiskey" almost didn't happen, and why Vance's own barbecue kept him from his dream of recording U2. Visit sputniksound.com for more info on Vance's work, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter @vancalot.
Early in his musical development, Dan Wilson was sure his true calling was to be a songwriter-for-hire, similar to his heroes like Carole King. And this drive continued despite the rise of his own Minneapolis-based band Semisonic in the late 90's and early 2000's, whose massive hit "Closing Time" remains one of the most recognizable singles of the late 20th century. As the trio's pace slowed, Wilson began accumulating co-writing gigs, eventually leading to a full-on second career behind the scenes, hitting a new peak by partnering with Adele on her smash "Someone Like You," which eerily enough turned out to be one of the most recognizable singles of the next century. On the cusp of a new Semisonic EP titled You're Not Alone dropping September 18th -- featuring their first new music in nearly two decades -- Dan chats about being blown away by the 20th anniversary vinyl pressing of Semisonic's Feeling Strangely Fine, how losing the band's original master tapes in the now-infamous Universal fire actually inspired a recent song, and coming full circle by co-writing with the aforementioned Carole King. Follow @danwilsonmusic as well as @semisonicband on Twitter and Instagram.
From the first time she ever put a Kylie Minogue cassette in her pink Sony stereo, Australia native Emma Swift has been a music obsessive. Her songwriting prowess brought her to Nashville in 2013 and she recently dropped the terrific LP Blonde On The Tracks, an album of Bob Dylan covers ranging from 1965's "Queen Jane Approximately" all the way to this year's "I Contain Multitudes" (which Dylan released as a single only just a few months ago), backed up by partner Robyn Hitchcock and Wilco's Pat Sansone. On this episode, Emma talks about Gram Parsons being a sort of "gateway drug" to country music, splurging on 7" Smiths singles while in Japan and why her dad was "a record collector's worst nightmare." Follow her on socials @emmaswiftsings, and get Blonde On The Tracks digitally or on vinyl from emmaswift.bandcamp.com.
Long before his flawless debut album Dying Star in 2018, Ruston Kelly had been loud and clear about metal and punk rock shaping his brand of Americana songwriting. But last year's covers EP, Dirt Emo Vol. 1, cemented that fact and laid out a confessional throughline between Taylor Swift and Saves The Day. On this episode, we’ll hear how vinyl played an important role in Ruston’s childhood, his attraction to authenticity -- be it from Eminem or the Carter Family -- and after overcoming addiction, what event made him realize "the universe is not out to get me, it’s out to show me what things are worth." Ruston’s new album Shape & Destroy is available August 28th, wherever you get physical or digital music. Visit RustonKelly.com for vinyl pre-orders and more.
For more than 20 years, Kentucky quintet My Morning Jacket has continually shifted and grown its sound — embracing folk, soul and psychedelia — leading to three Grammy nominations and a reputation as one of the best live acts working today. Half a decade after releasing their seventh studio album The Waterfall, ten more tracks from those same sessions emerged earlier this month with the surprise announcement of The Waterfall II, giving fans fresh material to digest while concerts are off the table during the current pandemic. On today’s show, bassist and founding MMJ member Tom Blankenship (aka Two-Tone Tommy) chats about thrash metal, playing 1st century coliseums while on tour in Italy, and why now was the right time to let fans know that there was more Waterfall material to be had. Visit MyMorningJacket.com for band news and vinyl pre-orders of The Waterfall II, and follow Tom on Instagram and Twitter, @sometomguy.
Los Angeles native Robert Fisher has designed records for some of the most popular acts since the alternative rock boom, including Beck, Weezer and No Doubt. But starting with 'Nevermind' onward -- including all posthumous releases following Kurt Cobain's death -- Robert is most recognized for being Nirvana's sole art director, creating iconic album covers, sleeves for singles, box set packaging and anything else relating to arguably the most important band of the last 30 years. Recently, Robert launched the @NirvanaBucket Instagram feed, dedicated to his body of work for the group and showcasing rare flyers, tapes, scrapped ideas and even items Kurt provided him for inspiration throughout their partnership.
On today's show, Robert discusses how the final version of 'Nevermind' came to be, as well as stories surrounding Beck's 'Odelay' and Urge Overkill's 'Saturation'. HIs latest work for Nirvana is on the 'Live & Loud' 2LP set, released last summer, capturing the band's 1993 performance in Seattle for MTV. Visit flyingfishstudio.us to check out more of Robert's work.
Music on today's show is from 'Every Sun, Every Moon,' the new album from I'm Glad It's You, available from 6131Records.com.
First emerging from Minneapolis in the mid-80's, The Jayhawks have become one of the most noteworthy and influential bands within Americana/folk-rock, releasing a pair of albums between 1992 and 1995 (Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass) that are cited by fans and critics alike as touchstones of their genre. Today, lead singer/guitarist Gary Louris dives into his love of Krautrock, touring the Acoustic Sounds pressing plant, hunting for weird Italian or French LP's, and the one record that cost him a speeding ticket. The Jayhawks' new album XOXO comes out July 10th. Visit jayhawksofficial.com for social media, Gary's acoustic streaming performances during quarantine and more.
Raised in Virginia, Caroline Spence grew up experiencing vinyl mainly through her dad's taped collection of Beatles records, and later absorbed that collection - along with her aunt's LP's - as she began to make a name for herself as a singer/songwriter both in and outside of Nashville. Rolling Stone heralded her 2019 full-length Mint Condition as "a gorgeous reflection on finding peace amid upheaval and confusion," delivering "deft chronicles of interpersonal complexity." This week, Caroline talks about her debut performance at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium, the current value of her vinyl releases from before she got signed, having Emmylou Harris contribute to Mint Condition's airy brilliance, and why her first face-to-face interactions with Dave Matthews were as a pissed-off seven-year-old on Rollerblades. For news, social media and more, visit carolinespencemusic.com. Watch her appearance on Craft Recordings' new record-shopping video series at craftrecordings.com/pages/shoplifting.
Influenced heavily by The Smithereens, The Replacements and R.E.M., Arizona mainstays Gin Blossoms became one of the biggest bands of the early and mid-90's. Single after single from their major label debut New Miserable Experience -- "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You," "Until I Fall Away" and more -- caught fire on MTV as well as on pop, alternative and college radio. Now recognized as a modern power-pop classic, the record eventually sold over five million copies and spent a remarkable three years on the charts. The quintet found additional success with their follow-up LP, 1996's Congratulations I'm Sorry, and hits like "Follow You Down" and "Til I Hear It From You." In 2017, both full-lengths were finally pressed to vinyl for the first time, in honor of former album's 25th anniversary. Today, Gin Blossoms lead vocalist Robin Wilson talks about working at record stores through the 80's, his obsession with Urge Overkill, fronting his childhood heroes Kiss on Letterman, and fighting for what became New Miserable Experience's now iconic album art. Keep up on band news, music, social media and more at ginblossoms.net.
An accomplished producer and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with everyone from The Shins to The Chieftains, Chris Funk is a founding member of beloved Pacific Northwest quintet The Decemberists, who mark their 20th anniversary this year. Known for a narrative heart that's half-Morrissey, half-Herman Melville, Rolling Stone has called their work "a triumph of theatrical imagination." On today's show, we discuss the formation of the band, how Chris recorded the entirety of their epic song cycle The Tain with a broken leg, and how Carson Ellis' visual components have played into the band's mystique for over two decades. We also get into Chris' production of the latest Stephen Malkmus LP and his globetrotting video series Funk Plus One, which exposed him to culture on a broader level through shared musical experiences. Visit thedecemberists.com for 20th anniversary tour dates and more. Get Chris' new solo album The Painted Porch via chrisfunk.bandcamp.com, with an exclusive vinyl variant limited to 250 copies and proceeds benefitting The Jeremy Wilson Foundation. You can also follow Chris on Twitter, @mrchrisfunk.