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Before their exciting rise to television stardom, our friends The Cactus Blossoms held down Monday nights at the Turf Club with a residency that became the place for local fans of country music to connect. With a ‘who’s who’ band of top talent, honed a live set that they have since taken around the world.

They’re returning to their Turf Club Mondays, but only for this month. Charlie Parr and Andrew Broder are also taking on January residencies at the midway “remnant of the 40s.” They have special guests planned which includes ourselves, who will be back to DJ rockabilly and country singles on the 15th.

While their first two discs — including 2013’s Live at the Turf Club — are out of print and unlikely to return, fans can expect to hear some songs from them, as well as their debut LP for Red House Records, You’re Dreaming.

Here’s that performance of “Mississippi” from the new Twin Peaks series which won the duo countless new fans and accolades.

…Even if its a little cold out there. We’ll be open 1-6pm today.

Here’s a song by Lightnin Hopkins.

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This morning’s Star Tribune included a piece from the Tribune News Service about Carl Vinson, a Georgia Congressman who led the effort to fund an expansion of America’s Navy between 1934 and 1940. It was due to this foresight that the United States so quickly recovered from the devastation at Pearl Harbor and was able to fight a war on both oceans in the following years. A thousand-foot aircraft carrier with a compliment of more than six thousand service men and women bears his name today.

It’s a detailed but brief historical story we recommend to anyone who may be interested. There are of course many other remarkable stories to mark the seventy-sixth anniversary of the “day which will live in infamy,” including witness accounts by survivors and the recently discovered wreck of the USS Ward in the Philippines. The Ward is believed to be the first ship to fire at the Japanese, after it discovered a submarine about an hour before the notorious sneak attack at Pearl Harbor. It was later destroyed by a kamikaze attack in 1944.

And yep, we have a selection of Record Store Day’s Black Friday releases. There’s some great reissues and some great new material.

We thought the double LP 40th anniversary of Blank Generation looked pretty cool, and also the new collection of Sun Ra recordings titled Exotica. Neil Young’s Harvest Moon has been one of the more asked about Record Store Day releases this year, and there is also a reissue of Willie Nelson’s Spirit and a collection with some of Waylon’s last demo recordings.

Anyways, we also added a whole bunch of great used albums in every section of the shop. It’s a beautiful day outside, so we don’t imagine anyone wants to spend it all bustin’ doors but we do hope to see some familiar faces this weekend!

Rejoice!

rejoice pharaohIt’s a holiday week! Many of us will enjoy some time off with our families this week, and we’re looking forward to one of the very few days of the year that we close up your friendly neighborhood record shop.

We’ll be open normal hours this week except for Thursday, and on Friday we’ll have Record Store Day’s official Black Friday releases for those on the lookout! Until then, hope you all have a great week here in the most wonderful city in the world!

If you were to file Brian Just‘s latest album in your parents’ record collection you might put Changing Traffic Lights in between Donovan and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Or maybe alongside a some lesser-known psychedelic classic — in a post earlier this summer we compared the album to J.K. and Co., a late 60s gem on White Whale Records, but we could just as easily suggest a similarity to Gandalf’s cover of the Turtles “Me Without You” or a number of other trippy rarities. You could also store the new Brian Just album alongside your Yo La Tengo albums, or without taking too much of a leap some of the local psych-sters like Magic Castles.

Truthfully, Changing Traffic Lights isn’t directly derivative of anything and the most remarkable success of this album is how well its ten tracks flow while drawing from disparate sources. Tunes like “Staring into the Sun” (below) capture the celebratory sense of the Brian Just Band’s live sets, and each side ends with a lush chamber pop piece arranged by Adam Conrad. You can hear one of these, the title track, in a video posted here.

We can’t recall the first time we heard one of Just’s songs, or for that matter the first time he walked through the doors of this friendly neighborhood record store, but we also can’t imagine a world without his music. His albums have been the backdrop of life here for so long they almost reverberate off the posters and records on the walls.

Brian Just and his band have performed here a number of times over the years and will be returning this Saturday for a show with ZNAG have been eagerly anticipating.

And just who is ZNAG? Two of the band members are our own Gus and Nova, joined by Andre and Zola, two friends they met at the Music Lab‘s band camp this summer. If you have kids interested in music, we encourage you to click on that link and check out the Music Lab! They will be performing their entire repertoire (two songs)!

That was the question on our minds earlier this summer when we were trying to organize the stacks and stacks of CDs in our office. We’re always enthusiastic to give any new local recording a listen, but sometimes we forget where they came from or how they ended up here. In this case, it turned out J. Briozo was a new name for an old friend of the record shop.

This new disc, out on Friday with a release show at the Phoenix Theater, is an offshoot of longstanding roots rock band Swallows, whose own third album is now a half-decade in the works. Fans of the group are familiar with their penchants for such projects, which in recent years has included instrumental chamber music and a country album.

Swallows’ songwriter Jeff Crandall created the J. Briozo persona drawing from his mother’s Azore Island and Portuguese heritage and tapping into memories of his grandmother, who sang in her native language on a Fresno, California radio station in the 40s and 50s. The result was something entirely removed from the two and a half albums he’d written with Swallows, something much closer to the AM radio which first inspired his imagination as a child. Crandall has paid several visits to the record shop to talk more about Deep in the Waves, which may refer to the airwaves as aptly as those of the sea.

While there’s a strong feeling Deep in the Waves owes a debt to 70s airwave staples like Bread, Poco or Brewer & Shipley, one can hear the recent sounds of a Sea Change or Morning Phase or the midwest’s own Bon Iver reflected in the album. And although the album is issued under a new name, it doesn’t sound all that removed from the last Swallows record, Witching & Divining. The band’s earthy approach to Americana is just in the DNA of their recordings. If you’re eager to stream another song from the album, you can hear the first track on Soundcloud here.

There are some moments on the album perfect for old AM radio, especially the bright closing cut, “Sun Sun True” and “Beautiful Mess,” both songs which recall Everclear-era American Music Club. The song “Catalonia” finds a drifter traveling to the region where “the warm wind blows,” but the song doesn’t take a position on its current movement for independence from Spain (it was recorded well before the recent vote).

On “Deep in the Waves” Crandall’s voice comes across without any alteration and this provides one of the most earnest moments on the album, which is dedicated to his mother. She passed away from an unexpected illness as the band was finishing the project, which Crandall described to us as a life changing experience. In a conversation with us, Crandall said its difficult to lose the person who raised you, but that “you also start think that much harder about your own mortality and that you are becoming the oldest generation in your family.”

He had more to say about that title track in a recent interview on Vents Magazine:

The song “Deep in the Waves” is told from the point of view of one’s inner voice compelling you rise up and sieze the day – to be alive and awake instead of submerged and drowning. It’s easy to feel underwater in life, like you are struggling every day just to keep afloat. “Deep in the Waves” is essentially a song from the soul to the self about transforming that struggle into something more positive and constructive.

Crandall is coming up on a decade and a half of making music here in Minnesota and this album, his best-yet set of songs, is buoyed by moving performances from longtime collaborators, especially bassist/cellist Aaron Kerr, multi-instrumentalist Tyson Allison and drummer Justin DeLeon. While not in name a new album by his band, Swallows, Deep in the Waves is an excellent addition to their catalog.

The release show for Deep in the Waves is this Friday at the Phoenix Theater on Hennepin Avenue (details on their website here). Lolo’s Ghost will open up the show.

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