Championed by some today’s biggest names on the fringes of country music, singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah released her most recent album, Wary + Strange, last year to rave reviews. Upon its release, Pitchfork dubbed the record “an intensely personal document (that) examines the realities of being a Southern Black LGBTQ+ woman in songs both defiant and vulnerable.” One of those tracks in particular, the Grammy-nominated “Black Myself,” matches a hypnotic groove and gritty distortion with lyrics addressing the horrors of chattel slavery and the Brown Paper Bag Test, making for an unforgettable statement that channels both Odetta and Public Enemy. On today’s episode, Amythyst discusses “Black Myself” in detail, as well as growing up with an audiophile father, being intrigued as a kid by a particular Santana album cover, and how an a cappella Tori Amos song inspired her to share her most personal struggles. Visit amythystkiah.com for tour dates, social media and more.
This year, the record industry hit arguably its greatest bottleneck yet: Though Taylor Swift and Adele have recently delivered two of the largest vinyl sales weeks of the modern era (with revenue on an incline for physical indie retailers during the pandemic), COVID-19 has made materials like PVC, cardboard, dyes, shrink wrap, paper for inner sleeves and even wood pallets increasingly harder to find, afford and ship around the world. Thus, an album by your favorite artist that comes out digitally today may not see a physical vinyl release for months. On this week's episode, Billy Fields (VP of Sales, Account Management for an arm of Warner Music Group), Eric Astor (President/CEO of Furnace Record Pressing) and Dustin Currier (an independent, Chicago-area musician whose latest album on vinyl has been delayed due to the aforementioned circumstances) participate in a roundtable discussion separating fact from fiction around these headaches, and how their own personal stake in promoting, releasing or pressing music has been affected.
Here's a brief update on what you can expect for our final episode of 2021, airing next week, and what's coming up in early 2022!
Over six proper studio albums and a slew of EP's and seven-inches within 15+ years, Seattle's Minus the Bear established themselves as one of indie-rock's most unique, shape-shifting bands. On today's episode, vocalist/guitarist Jake Snider discusses the band's new triple-LP live set recorded over several shows of their last tour in 2018, and how the band focused on the quality of the vinyl master with each recording.
Nashville-based producer/singer/songwriter Jon Randall has collaborated with a who's-who list of country royalty for two decades, from Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire and Dwight Yoakam to Maren Morris, Little Big Town and Lyle Lovett. But this past year has brought Jon a bit more out from behind-the-scenes: He’s got his first solo album in 15 years available now, as well as The Marfa Tapes — a joint project with long-time friends Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram — which captures the trio’s lo-fi, single-take performances under the stars of the Texas desert. On top of astounding songs and rich three-part harmonies, The Marfa Tapes’ genuine intimacy and lack of studio gloss are unheard of for mainstream country music in 2021, and the approach suggests why Pitchfork championed the LP as “a late-night love letter” to the genre’s myths. On this episode, Jon muses about ZZ Top's early cover art, his family’s bluegrass background, and how approving vinyl test pressings recently gave him hope that in the age of the digital streaming, listening to music at home can once again become a communal experience. Stop by jonrandallmusic.com for everything regarding Jon's projects.
Enjoy this episode of the podcast Rock And Roll Brunch, with guest Jim Hanke of Vinyl Emergency, from August 2021. Follow @rockandrollbrunch on Instagram and subscribe to the show on YouTube (with full video of every episode), or however you get podcasts!
Natalie Hemby has earned the type of career most Nashville artists dream of, without necessarily being a household name. She signed her first publishing deal before the age of 21, and has co-written hits for superstars like Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow and Lady Gaga, the latter of which nabbed Natalie her first Grammy. Natalie’s friendships with fellow singer/songwriters Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires led to the formation of The Highwomen, and their hit debut record, in 2019. Despite the pandemic not allowing them to tour in 2020, the supergroup has spawned legions of fans and another Grammy for Natalie’s co-write on the heartwarming single “Crowded Table.” Today, Natalie talks about an early Prince obsession, a recent collaboration with Alicia Keys, the traits one needs to be a great co-writing partner, and The Highwomen’s influence on a fierce, flourishing generation of new songwriters. Pre-order Natalie’s new solo album Pins and Needles on vinyl (out October 8th) at nataliehemby.com.
Enjoy this encore presentation from February 2020 with guest Jason Narducy of Split Single. His new album Amplificado is out now!
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.