New Arrivals

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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.

duskWe 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.

 

 

Roaratorio Records remains one of our favorite labels based in Minnesota. One of their recent releases was a 7-inch with two songs by The Cleveland Wrecking Crew, a Quicksilver-ish Bay Area band from the 60s who never released any recordings.

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.

Sun Ra Intergalactic Thing

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.”

We’re pretty excited to be releasing the second album by Corpse Reviver next week. The folk trio has long been one of our favorites in town — we love them so much we hired them to play our 10th anniversary party a couple years ago, and promised them we’d release their second album on vinyl.

If you have never heard them before, you may still be familiar with some of their songs. That’s because Corpse Reviver’s repertoire is drawn from the Anthology of American Folk Music, the enormously influential compilation first released in 1952 by Folkways Records. Harry Smith collected traditional music on 78s and with the six-album series revived music which was largely being swept into the dustbin.

Adam

Adam modeling the new Lp

When Corpse Reviver released the first volume of their interpretation of the anthology (titled I’ll be Rested When the Roll is Called), we posted the original songs (here). On that disc, and on their new Lp, they’ve chosen songs which have been widely performed over the years, but its especially interesting to go back and hear those original 78 transfers from Harry Smith’s collection. Some are songs which had a long life before they were recorded in the late 20s or early 30s, and others have taken on new significance as songs associated with the mid-century folk boom or the more recent alt-country revival.

The new album opens with Adam Kiesling’s familiar fretless banjo and a confident take on “I Wish I Were a Mole in the Ground,” a song first recorded in 1928 by Bascom Lunsford. The song has been widely recorded by folk musicians, notably here in Minnesota by Charlie Parr about ten years ago, but Corpse Reviver turn the song’s perceived resignation on its ear. The same is true for “The Butcher’s Boy,” the second Buell Kazee ballad they have recorded with Jillian Rae singing. Mikkel Beckmen adds a funeral march rhythm to her reading of with his djembe, making this suicide ballad dark and dramatic.

In all, we count at least a half dozen deaths in the songs on Dry Bones. Corpse Reviver’s compartmentalization of the Anthology songs is as idiosyncratic as were the choices made by Harry Smith himself, but its clear they’ve chosen this second volume to collect some of the darker sides of the so-called “old weird America.” The result is an album much weightier than the first volume, but also a great collection of stories.

The original twelve songs, all found on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, are collected below. Corpse Reviver will be performing these and other favorites at the album release show next week. It’s possible opening performer Spider John Koerner will bring out one of them old numbers as well.

Corpse Reviver will be releasing their second album, Dry Bones, next Wednesday night at the Cedar Cultural Center (details here). Minnesota folk legend Spider John Koerner will perform an opening set, and local choir Mpls imPulse will perform with the trio during their set.

The latest release from the endlessly fascinating Roaratorio Recordsis a 7″ single featuring two songs by the Cleveland Wrecking Company.

cleveland wrecking company

Like Crystal Syphon, who are featured on two archival LPs from the label, this single presents unreleased material from the late 60s Bay Area scene. The band’s bassist Jim Moscoso wrote great liner notes summing up the band’s history, which are both fun and interesting. The story of an agent losing the band’s advance in a marijuana smuggling scene is makes for a fun read, but its also a cautionary tale.

Also inside is a picture of the band performing at the Atascadero Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

The recordings they eventually made are presumed lost. What we have here is a studio track and a live recording from a band that opened for a pretty impressive list: The Dead, CCR, Big Mama Thornton, Sons of Champlin, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Just another reason Roaratorio is one of our favorite Minnesota record labels.

We first heard a few songs from The Fuck Knights Puke All Over Themselves when Dave visited the amazing Albatross Studio for an interview two and a half years ago. With the album’s release show at the Hexagon Bar inked into our li’l black book for (when else?) Friday the 13th, the time frame begs the question: how long does it take to make a garage rock record these days?

We might have known the Fuck Knights‘ second album wouldn’t be the what we’d expect to follow Let It Bleed, a tape-saturating orgy of distorted vocals, frantically-driven drums and feedback fury. What we heard that late night in Mike Wisti’s included ensemble hand claps, Stax-sounding bass vamps and tunes that turned closer to Their Satanic Majesties Request than 12×5.

fuck knights

Maybe we shouldn’t expect less from the band which never ceases to surprise. Yep, once endorsed as “a way cool psychedelic garage band” by Maximumrocknroll,” Fuck Knights were always headed in the same trajectory as Brian Jones’ wide-eyed explorations with the Rolling Stones. And the Fuck Knights’ founder, G.D. Mills, is no less an iconoclast than Jones, though hopefully longer for this world.

We sat down for a beer with Mills here at Hymie’s last week to once again chide him over the band’s name, but also talk about the relationship between the Fuck Knights’ first and second albums, and the awesome bill of bands for their release show on Friday. Here’s a li’l of what we talked about…

Hymies: When we first heard tracks from Puke All Over Themselves, it was alongside songs from Grant Hart’s magnus opus, The Argument, which was being recorded at the same time you started working on this album. The Argument, which was a pretty labored-over album, has long ago been swept from the ‘new arrivals’ bin, and you’re album is just coming out. What took so long?

GD Mills: Money. I drive a taxi. Everyone else who’s played in this band are service people, tending restaurants or doing whatever else to get by. If I had an advance from some label, or if I were independently wealthy or had rich parents, then it wouldn’t have taken that long.

We play a gig, and the best we make is something like seventy-five dollars. Per gig! And that’s before you pay off your bar tab, and on that night you might sell one record. There’s no money in this and that’s why it took so long. But I wanted to do it well, and that’s why work [at Albatross] with Wisti. The recordings are entirely analog. Until we mastered it for the CD to go for the manufacturer, it’s entirely recorded and mixed in analog.

Hymies: How would it be different if you were independently wealthy?

Mills: It would have been done a lot more quickly. Either way, I had to make something better than the first album. It was really important to me, because of lineup changes and because of what I wanted the band to be.

And I should mention it was co-released last fall by two Italian labels, Area Pirata in Pisa and Boss Hoss in Pesaro. This is just the first time it’s been available here, which obviously is really important to me.

Hymie’s: Taking your time in that studio had its benefits. When I was there Grant Hart was there working on The Argument.

Mills: It helped us with that Brian Jones attitude, to try everything but the kitchen sink. We did that. ‘Oh, here’s this instrument, let’s use it.’ There’s that instrument, try that next. Grant had all kinds of stuff set up, and we come along in between the weeks when he was working. And, ‘What’s this?’ Once it was these tubular bells hanging from the ceiling, and I asked about them. Mike just said, ‘Grant is using those. You hit ’em with this little mallet.’ So we tried that. He had his twelve-string guitar there and we used it on “13 Dead Cats.” There was also a bouzouki, which we used.

Hymies: The album explores a lot more territory than Let It Bleed.

Mills: I was trying to escape being typecast. I don’t want to be pigeon-holed, whatever you’d like to call it. I listen to so much music, just like everyone here, and I have a wide frame of reference. With the first Fuck Knights record, I was focused like a laser beam on making a garage punk album. And here I’m reacting against that. There was the thesis, and the second step is the antithesis, which is this album. The third one, the Tarzan tape, is the synthesis of the two. You know, like Hegelian dialectical reasoning, now the synthesis will be the thesis of the next step.

So that’s why there’s short things, some Motown girl group stuff or some Stax leaning stuff. They’re asides. I kept them short because if we took it to a full length it would be corny, like ‘Now we’re gonna be … a reggae band.’ However we do incorporate dub into one of the instrumentals.

People confuse method acting with the person, the performer. It’s not the case a lot of time, with the actor, or with me. People confuse me the person with me the method acting garage rock dude, and that causes a lot of misunderstandings. Especially in a small town like this.

Hymie’s: How much of the new album is Fuck Knights the band, and how much is it G.D. Mills and his band?

Mills: It’s both, because there’s so many itirations of the band. And there’s also pockets where people weren’t there and it was just me. And Mike was the only other person. Can you play the guitar while I play the drums, and I’ll finish the song out doing each overdub. Bass, singing, handclaps, whatever it would be. It helped to have Mike playing the guitar, to keep it in synch. Otherwise it starts to sound like one guy doing everything.

Hymie’s: But has Fuck Knights become like Alice Cooper, where it started out as a band and eventually Alice Cooper became his identity.

Mills: [Laughs] Or its like Raw Power, where it becomes Iggy and the Stooges.

There’s I think three different bands on the album. To round it out there’s stuff which is just G.D. Mills. And every song is mine in the sense that I wrote them. Or in some cases wrote seventy-five percent of what I wanted and worked with David from Liquor Beats Winter, or Jason Medieros, or Ben Bachman from Nightingales, and we’d finish it. Structure it out. That’s how it had been with Joe [Holland] and Joe [Hastings]. That was a divicive thing when Joe Holland left, that I had taken songwriting credit. The person I’m working with needs that credit to feel invested, so those songs are credited that way on the new album.

Hymie’s: Do you need to have a name, like Iggy and the Stooges, at this point?

Mills: I don’t want to change the name, because I’ve already invested so much in it, Fuck Knights as a band. And why do I have to change the name as the band changes? Either way, I’m not going to call it Sir Gregory and his Fuck Knights. The Velvet Underground after John Cale split was still the Velvet Underground

Hymies: Even on that last record.

Mills: And that one, Doug Yule, the King Kong album or whatever. For me the other reason to keep the name is that I wanted the three albums to be my legacy with this band, just like the three Stooges albums. There’s the goal.

Hymie’s: Not that we’ve ever been fans of the band’s name. It’s hard to put on the marquee here when you play in the shop.

Mills: I never thought it was offensive. The word ‘fuck’ isn’t offensive to me, and I wasn’t interested in airplay. I never gave a fuck about it. In Europe we were Make Love Knights, and Caballeros de Fuck, and in France we were Chevaliers de Amor. I don’t think we were trying to stir the pot with the name. We just thought it sounded cool.

Hymie’s: And the title of the new album, Puke All Over Themselves?

Mills: It’s poetic in the sense that it’s excessive. I’m exploring all these ideas in excess. I’m not focused on one thing, like with Let It Bleed.

Hymies: And the look of the new album is different. Where in the past Fuck Knights singles and the first LP had ghoulish cartoons on the covers, almost like R. Crumb meets the Cramps, Puke All Over Themselves has pretty designs. Even the release show poster has the style we’ve started to associate with the Fuck Knights, but the album cover is different.

Mills: Yeah, I did that. I wanted to connect with those classic records which inspired me, Odyssey and Oracle or Their Satanic Majesties Request. It’s also, again, to make it different from the first album.

Hymies: There’s a pretty awesome list of bands on this poster, too. Tell us about the show on Friday.

Mills: We’re gonna bring in a second PA, and have a second stage between the bar and the stage you’re used to. And go back and forth from there. I’m calling them “Target Arena Stage” and “Xcel Center West Stage.”

And these are my favorite bands since I’ve lived in Minneapolis. They’re all fun and awesome and there songs are well-written. Cozy, what can I say, they dress awesome and their songs are great. Fuck Knights tried to play Cozy once, and there songs have little nuances that make them hard to learn. Just like the Ramones. You think it’s easy, but there’s little things they do different. I love that band, they might be my favorite in Minneapolis.

And Narco States, you know those guys. And they were on one of my Four Way Split compilations. What Tyrants, I’d never heard of those guys, but they asked us to play a Monks tribute, probably because of the record we did with Gary Burger. And I told them we could only learn a few songs because we were working on that tape, and they insisted come along and play your own songs for the rest of your set. Then these guys came out and BOOM! They sounded exactly like the Monks. They had the whole energy two, that palpable energy. It was amazing, like you were in Hamburg in ’65 watching the Monks.

Rounding out the bill are Driftwood Pyre, who have a new album out [We have these in the shop], which is like a phoenix reborn from Bridge Club and First Communion Afterparty, FCAP to those of us who were there. And Dead Skull. I really liked the quote from Pork Magazine where they said this band was like AC/DC meets Black Flag. So all Minneapolis bands I’ve come to really love.

Fuck Knights’ album release show for Puke All Over Themselves is Friday the 13th at the Hexagon Bar. Details on Facebook and more about each of the bands can be found here.

 

 

 

 

This month marks six years we have been posting records here nearly every morning, from universal favorites to (to quote The Simpsons) “the tragically ludicrous! The ludicrously tragic!” Along the way, we’ve done our best to introduce interesting music from the past and present, with a particular emphasis on all you can find without leaving the Twin Cities. We’ve also done our best to get in a cheap shot at Paul McCartney at least a couple times a year.

Remarkably, the Hymies blog has survived in spite of Dave’s minimal talents when it comes to anything with a screen or keyboard. On rare occasions we’ve had to enlist help (our record label, for instance, has been able to host its download codes here entirely thanks to one of the fellas from this underrated band, who sadly aren’t playing anymore).

The Hymies blog survived our five block move, three shows by the Taxpayers, and the time a guy on Yelp called us “trashy,” but this week the MP3 player finally became so obsolete it doesn’t work with our updated site. If you take a scrolling stroll down memory lane, you’ll find the songs embedded in earlier posts appear different. They’ll still play as before with an additional click (a problem we may or may not begin to explore fixing in the more than 1,650 posts in our past). Many hundreds of the records heard here are ones which passed through the shop briefly and were recorded and photographed to share with you, so we couldn’t reproduce the files even if we had the time.

marriage of figaroThis week we introduce a new MP3 player! It will allow us to continue sharing records here for another six years or more. It’s fairly new software and its developers have announced plans to add a variety of additional features (maybe one day you’ll finally be able to smell the records through the internet). One of its most appealing features is that it should be more adaptable to smart phones and other devices Dave simply doesn’t understand.

Today, instead of welcoming our new player to the team with a track from the “Difficult Listening” section, we’ve chosen to present Mozart’s magnificent overture to The Marriage of Figaro, performed here by the Vienna State Opera in 1958. For the record, our new player can present stereo recordings as well.

What other improvements will the future hold? Maybe someday a new digital camera which doesn’t take blurry pictures of the jackets!

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