Its humbling to think of a record you owned as a child as a ‘classic,’ because it really couldn’t be that old, could it? Turns out License to Ill, really is thirty years old this November. When the Beastie Boys albums came back into print on LP a couple years ago — have you heard? Records are coming back — this one, released by Columbia, was not in the mix.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find a nice copy of License to Ill, considering there are over ten million copies of it out there. Presumably, a lot of those are cassettes, because that’s how we listened to this album when we were pre-teens. It could also be because people played the hell out of this album.
License to Ill is finally being reissued next month, which is sure to introduce the album to as many new fans as it delights old fans like us. The album was produced by Def Jam in its early NYU infancy, and was the first rap album to reach #1 on the Billboard chart. It was also a completely unique blending of genres.
Like many kids in the 80s, we were introduced to the Beasties by MTV. And now, our kids have discovered their records through this hilarious video.
License to Ill will be back in stores, including ours, in the middle of October!
Ask any small record label here in the Twin Cities and they’ll tell you new singles are a tough sell. Most collectors interested in hearing new music are more inclined to buy albums, and most 45 collectors have little to no interest in new music. Like so many aspects of running a record label, singles become a labor of love.
Some do sell well for the labels, like for instance the single of two new songs by L’Assassins released by Piñata Records around this time last year. The band isn’t playing anymore, but the records are nearly sold out, and for good reason. We loved the single’s b-side from the first time we heard it (and posted it here), even ultimately choosing “Liar” as our favorite local song of the year.
Our in-house label (creatively named Hymie’s Records) released its second single last month, featuring two great new songs by Tree Party. And there have been several other great singles from Twin Cities labels this year, including another with a b-side that’s one of our favorites right now.
Both sides of this single are excellent, and on this record they’re joined by occasional member Kyle Sobczak, of Rupert Angeleyes and formerly Sleeping in the Aviary (both great groups but we’re really going overboard with the links today). The a-side is really a cathier pop tune, but something about the ‘moodiness’ (they are called Teenage Moods after all) of “So Low” has really hit a sweet spot here. You can stream the other tune, “Sadness,” here, and that’s the second to last link for today, we promise.
If you like Teenage Moods, your next chance to hear them here in town is Saturday October 8th at the Cedar Cultural Center, where they’re opening for Bambino. And the details for that show are on the Cedar’s website here, and that’s our last link for today.
We’ve already posted that we’re excited for the next release in our catalog, a 45 with two new songs by Tree Party, but tonight’s show at the Cedar Cultural Center will also celebrate the release of even more new music. The Brass Messengers, have treated us to a long-overdue new album.
We listened to it last night while we were working on assembling the Tree Party singles, and one of them had just the right assessment of the Messengers’ new album: “This is such happy music!” The eleven new songs (plus a “Dancehall Remix”!) are filled with such joyous energy Thigmonasty has already become our cure for the rainy day blues…and there have been a few of those kinda days around here lately.
The first half of the disc is recorded live in Creation Studios with an enthusiastic audience, which is essential to the celebratory nature of the Messengers’ music. The group evolved out of the brass bands that played the Heart of the Beast‘s May Day parade, which is one of the biggest celebrations in the Twin Cities. Their two earlier discs present their interest in brass music from around the world, including Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, and Thigmonasty has really successfully blended this with the dozen members’ other experiences in different bands around town.
While they often play covers ranging from cajun classics to Black Sabbath, Thigmonasty is entirely originals by the duodecet.* Trombonist J.B. McLain, who also performs around town as a solo guitarist, contributes several original songs which have more of a street band, New Orleans feeling. These are definitely the sort of songs which gets you moving, and which have that energy which vibrates within you when you see a performance by the Messengers. Tony Randazzo, the band’s tubist and also the album producer, offers songs with more of the Eastern European feel, highlighted by inventive, suspensful arrangements (especially the brief tune “Leo Nursha”). Another song in this vein is a re-recording of the title song from Paul Fonfara’s 7 Secrets of Snow, which we featured here. One last tune is by composer Andy McCormick (of Dreamland Face), and pays tribute to the ruler of Wisconsin’s mythical colony of dwarves. Or so we assume.
The second half, recorded without an audience features some of these more intricate arrangements, but there is still a lot of energy behind them, especially in Randazzo’s “Leo Nursha.” And as we mentioned, there’s a remix at the end of the album. It’s a surprisingly sweet conclusion, and works very well.
We think this is one of the best local albums of the year so far, but the best way to appreciate the Brass Messengers is surrounded by other celebrants smiling and dancing. We’re looking forward to doing just that tonight.
*Had to look that one up!
The Brass Messengers and Tree Party have a joint release show for their new music at the Cedar Cultural Center tonight. Details on the Cedar’s website here.
Its interesting to visit seasonal records during their down-time. We don’t necessarily mean pulling out all the Christmas albums in August, although we do have a customer who tells us she does that every summer. Instead, we think of music with a strong seasonal connotation, which becomes an entirely different experience out of that context. For instance, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, which is commonly called “Winter Dreams,” has a very different feel this time of year. Then again, we find ourselves listening to a lot more Tchaikovsky in the winter altogether.
Tree Party’s most recent disc, Iced Over, now has a couple winters under its belt and we still enjoy the disc as much as we did the first time around. The album of songs centered around Minnesota legends isn’t entirely as wintery as the cover implies, but it is one which seems to get set aside when summer sets in.
We’ve been thinking the same is likely true for the summery-est of songs, too, and we’ve been working on a playlist of songs to re-visit in December when we’re trudging to the shop in snow drifts taller than Irene.
Between now and then, we’re very excited to be participating in Tree Party’s next release, a 45 on our in-house label of two new songs. The sleeves are distinguished by prints from the negatives member Joey Ford found in his father’s photography, and each copy of the single includes a postcard you can send to a friend to share the music. That’s right, each copy comes with two download codes: one for you and one for a friend!
The new single will be released a week from tomorrow with a show at the Cedar Cultural Center. Also performing are the Brass Messengers, who have a new album out as well. Details can be found on the Cedar’s website here. We’re not streaming the songs from the single yet, but here’s a peek at what the singles look like. This is the first of two new 45s with picture sleeves we’ll have out this year from Hymies Records!
Physical copies of Radiohead’s new album, A Moon Shaped Pool, are in stores throughout the country today. The album was first made available online last month and quickly became a new fan favorite. The band has provided live streaming events since its debut, including an entertaining description by artist Stanley Donwood on how to paint the album cover.
We’ll have copies of the new album here at your friendly neighborhood record shop, but not until the UPS truck arrives, so don’t rush in!
We knew a guy who went to college in Appleton, Wisconsin, and had a chance to visit there a few times. There’s really no short route from the Twin Cities to Appleton, but at the time (nearly twenty years ago) there were a couple good record stores there which made for a nice reward. Also there were some good diners along the way.
We really like this single by Dusk, a country-rock band from Appleton. The A-side is a straight ahead rocker fit for the neighborhood bar, and the B-side a little more in the direction of Gram Parson’s “cosmic American music.” Both songs are filtered through the Uncle Tupelo school of country-rock for your pleasure.
The single was released by Minneapolis’ own Forward Records. We’re hoping this suggests the band might be invited to play a show here in town this summer. We’d love to hear a whole set.
And the label’s most recent release is the next in a series of un-issued recordings by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It is the third such collection they have released, and the first which is a double LP. Owing to the ongoing interest in Sun Ra’s music, the other two are already out of print.
The tracks on The Intergalactic Thing are taken from rehearsal recordings at the House of Ra, the Philadelphia residence of Sun Ra and many members of his Arkestra. This collection contains much more information about the recordings than the previous two Roaratorio releases, including recording dates and personnel. All tracks are from the early winter of 1969, presumably the same era as Atlantis and My Brother the Wind.
We have several copies in stock, but anticipate that this release will also quickly fall out of print. We have been really enjoying it, although we suppose the astro-infinity music of Sun Ra isn’t for everyone. We really liked this track, “In Over and Under,” which reminded us of other clavinet classics in his catalog, like “Love in Outer Space.”