THE TOWN AND THE CITY
Welcome to hard times! Everywhere you go, people gots they hand out - "hey brother, you got a world to spare?" We know it! It's enough to make you believe in space travel and the potentially game-changing relief that might lie only 40 light-years away! But it's a big, bad world that's waxing and waning out there, and we've found that regardless of federally-instituted regulations (or a lack thereof) life flows on within us and without us and that, at the end of the long and winding road, we'd love to turn you on. Why do you think we founded the municipality in which you are now dipping your toe? Drag City is a fiefdom that we can call our very own - a state of mind, even! Both yours and mind. And we're the only junta in town, so nothing's gonna change our world - for at least another fiscal year. So come on in, we got some new stuff to show ya....
LOOK WHAT THE CATS DRAGGED IN
As 2017 dawned, a year of fear and loathing like no other was clamoring at the gates. WWDCD? Throw the chips on the table, that's what! Namely, the chips that said "freedom" (Ty Segall) and "the world is rubbish" (Cate Le Bon)! And lo, this helped a bit, and more importantly, did not hurt more than was already necessary. With Ty having not made a new record in a whole calendar year (fake news alert! What about GØGGS?!? - one-more-cup-of-coffee-for-the-road ed.), a new record from him was just what people order from the doctor. After the weird-up of Emotional Mugger last January, almost anything Ty does might be regarded as a straight-up/return-to-form/collection of all the best kinds of things he does (especially since we shelved his Metal Machine Music Too! for a later date), and not only was it regarded that way, people actually thought it was GOOD too! But don't kid yourself - no matter how much Ty Segall may sound like a greatest hits, it finds Ty trenchantly moving forward with his sound and approach in a record that sounds like nothing he's done before - and with jams like "Warm Hands (Revisited)", new structures for songs too! Plus, the sound of freedom is always refreshing, and people need it, needed it and will continue to need it. So the now-happening tour dates in the Pac NW (aka New South British Columbia) and then the nationwide tour in May will play to a grateful blend of eager friends and neighbors all across our crazy checkerboard of a nation. What were we saying about "the world is rubbish" again? No, that was Cate Le Bon, whose battle against the linear and expected started on Crab Day 2016 and came to a rousing (temporary) stop in the past month. While she was storming across America arm in arm with Tim Presley, we issued the "Rock Pool" EP. Comprised of four songs that may have tipped the perfect balance of Crab Day into something more or less askew than was intended, "Rock Pool" is a grand coup de foudre for Cate fans and those who haven't yet jumped into the queue alike - a great tour souvenir for all those who attended the coast-to-coast (less flyover) shows! Good copies are still available though - if you can spare any more loose coin after the new ones we've got coming up starting in the next section! Do the fucking math dude.
Case in point - how you gonna get your Organs without the requisite spondulix? We're talking about Six Organs of Admittance and cash, just sayin, and when we say Six Organs of Admittance here in 2017, we're talking about Burning the Threshold! By Hades and all the cold-hearted celestials in the universe bereft of meaning, this new alb is just about the sweet-n-tenderest 6OOA records we can recall hearing! And we can recall hearing most of 'em right off the top of our head. Who can forget that humbling feeling of being alone in existence, lost without coordinates in the black forests of time? Definitely not Ben Chasny; in fact, such a trip usually results in another set of revelatory tunes in the spirit of renewed purpose in service of those dark forces. But not this time. After his richly-blooded trip into Hexadic thought over the past few years, Burning the Threshold makes up for lost time with a full set of the kind of space-folk that only Ben can produce - in a whole new combination of his elements that seems unable not to land on the warm and fuzzy spot in our (irredeemable) souls! Surely, you heard the skittering, clenched-jaw rock of "Taken by Ascent" already? Brilliant stuff, but the clouds of limitless wonder really blossom on "Adoration Song" (whotta video, huh?) and "Threshold of Light" and actually, the whole album, which communicates not simply an individual ascension, but also the potential for a whole community to rise up! Despite this album being conceived and recorded some months back, it has arrived at a perfect time for such applied dynamics to be unleashed upon us. But the record will ALWAYS be there for you - in support of this moment, Ben is hitting the road for over a month of "Burning" North American dates with his three-star Six Organs of Admittance band. Now, when we stay 'three-star', we're talking about not just Ben but also Elisa Ambrogio and Donovan Quinn, who happen to be dear friends and collaborators as well as stars in their own skies. So step over the threshold and into Burning the Threshold. Out now!
ALAS, DERE! PANGS FOR LIS'NIN'
Coupled somewhat inextricably with Six Organs of Admittance this unseasonably warm February is Alasdair Roberts' Pangs, the Scottish bard's ninth album and first since the acoustic jam-flavored Alasdair Roberts back in January of 2015. Our Ali's in the (lifelong) process of delving through the centuries of song, but rather than the stolidly singular pursuit that this sounds to be, it is instead capable of producing wildly diverse efforts. Pangs for instance has more electric guitars and drums in the mix than Alasdair's previous record, but in comparison to the last big-band Alasdair Roberts album, which be A Wonder Working Stone, Pangs is a much more straightforward affair. There's a time to go straight and a time to wander the farther path and time enough to do both, fortunately for us! This has allowed Alasdair to traverse great distances over his catalog, and still manage to get to album number nine without having done a record quite like this before. Records of electric folk music (to put it crudely, in search of the widest possible understanding) have come out of Ali in softer and harder and more and less intramural fashions, but one thing he's avoided is playing the Brit Folk card. First of all, the man's Scottish, but aesthetically speaking, it's obvious, with no guarantee of getting him to where he's wanted to go, but gosh-fucking-dang it, when we put this on, it takes us back to old tymes with Below the Salt or A Planxty Collection and things seems alright again! Despite the fact that Alasdair's a hard-eyed realist with a fascination about how history works (and how we all end up the same in the end), which makes for bracing listening, he's also capable of summoning the people's music in a variety of different colors! This time, the summer and autumn of 60s-70s Scottish, British and Irish popular/traditional is unfurled to great effect, but without ever losing Ali's razor-eye toward how it sits today. Listen to “The Downward Road” or the title track and you'll hear a man imparting lessons from beyond his years. Ali's on tour in the UK for the next month, and hopefully he can make a mini-Brexit of his own and get away to the continent, or who knows, over to our new world that is so desperately in need of his form of entertainment! Until then, feel the Pangs.
FIND YOU FINDING LAETITIA FINDING THE SOURCE
Coming in March, and also from the auld worlds, but also crucially caught up in the world that is and that is to be, is Laetitia Sadier. She's been making records in her own name since 2010, but she has found herself in something bigger on her new album - Find Me Finding You is credited to the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble. True to the claim, the energy of this record has much more of an all-at-once feel to it, the result of a shrewdly editorial eye on Laetitia's part, and a massed power that comes from people together. Known since her earliest days in Stereolab for radical-left socio-political leanings, Laetitia has never focused the laser-beam of her concerns anywhere else but into the confused masses of our troubled world. Joy is the desired outcome of her policies, and the music the delivery system. She and the Source Ensemble create a wonderfully edgy spray of sound, which is, as is her style, contoured into aesthetically-informed shapes of grace and beauty - this time, with spiny blades of synth and an extra burst of air in the choral vocal arrangements supporting Laetitia's smooth leads. She's pushing for an answer we all need, a dissolving of the systems that we live under that bring us so much sickness - and if words on a page won't convince you, the words being sung may certainly do! Free markets and free love - that's a juxtaposition we hadn't considered, and it makes things all the better. With slinky beats, sophisticated settings and a pleasing variety, Find Me Finding You communicates a feeling of break-through and an elevation of the catharsis that Laetitia seeks from her music. What the world needs now... is sure, love, but also an understanding of the agreements that 'freedom' implies, and the implacable logic of a Frenchwoman to get it across. And something to dance to. All those things are to be found on Find Me Finding You - something for everyone, if not in this world than in the better one to come.
UNTOUCHABLE AND INCREATE
....no those aren't the names of them two broke girls! Though they might be once they turn into two DRUNK girls. Strike two also: it's not a hot anti-comedy duo either. Give up? Try this - the names of two of fresh and frabjuous new records on two of our favorite distributed labels (we can count 'em on two hands, I bet! - ultimately democratic ed.): GOD? and Sun Ark! Hailing from ALL OF THE WORLD REALLY (but passed through the no-longer-so-dry washes of SoCal), the curations of GOD?head Ty Segall and captain of the Sun Ark, Cameron Stallones follow their respective desires for freakness and outdom, and the releases always manage to grab a bit of lightning in a mug (or a couple of jugs), no matter what. From GOD? this time, lightning's struck twice, in the form of a second album from The Cairo Gang. Untouchable is the name - but before you start thinking of it in an NBA-style way, like you can't touch this, think! AGAIN! Cast your mind to the far shores of India, and to the bottom rung of the caste system that classically formed Indian society. Yes, Emmett "The Cairo Gang" Kelly is implying that his songs are the writing of a sub-Gibran (actually Khalil was Lebanese - let-em-in-anyway ed.), an outsider whose vantage point allows him to see the sickness and light that flows between us all! So what's the outsider see? Kaleidoscopic visions of international dysfunction, all delivered via a deep-cutting whip that cuts down through the subcutaneous layers of all the worst (and best) relationships you've ever had. Tongue in cheek (but freshly pulled out of a another's mouth), The Cairo Gang run through a bittersweet eight tunes, all gleaming with the guitar and vocal harmony that distinguished Goes Missing, but this time with the earthy flavor of drums as drummed by GOD?man Segall, who adds a nice rootsy bottom to Emmett's soaring pop songs. Ty co-produced with Emmett too. Untouchable just doesn't quit! Neither does Sun Araw, driving further with each opus into the dusty and sun-scorched outback of the mind. Where once Sun Araw sailed on wet and reverberant seas rich with vegetation, the last five years have found them deep within inutterably dead environments, without a breeze to be found outside of their digital and otherwise direct-patched utterances. Both directions turn out to be equally head-spinning, as a back-to-back play of Ancient Romans and Belomancie will show ya! But don't spin out yet, because here comes the Jackfruit Rodeo to end all Jackfruit Rodeos, The Saddle of the Increate. Sun Araw goes country-western! Well, yeah - but without abandoning the thorazine hop that informs their own personal groove - and when you hear the synths and guitars scraping as Cameron intones his holy foolishness and then the steel crying in the background, you will know the sound of 21st Century Mojave blues! Sun Araw records are always best when they come in packs, and The Saddle of the Increate is no less an opus than almost every one of the rest, stretching almost endlessly over four sides, bringing the sunspots and heat wave with an increasing ever-increasing chillaxiness. Saddle up, with Sun Araw and The Cairo Gang - on March 24th.
GOING ALL THE WAY-PRIL
We don't have a new release date in April! Instead, every single (work) day of that month is gonna feature some wacky sales which, in the name of inclusivity, may contain any and all of you. Bring it! So you get your heads-up and your head together for this experiment in every day being a good day to buy records. Of course, not new-releasing deprives us of another subsect of favorite partners-in-commerce, so you better believe we'll be dropping it HARD in May and June! So hard that we....sheesh, we can't tell you right now. So hard that we're gonna take a little more time to set it up JUST RIGHT to blow all the involved niche groups out of their little ponds! That's right - there'll be something in the air in May and June - don't be surprised if it's actually YOU.
IN THE COMPANY OF MAN
The Ivory Bunker's a virtual hall of (in)fame(y) of introverts and extroverts in equal measure - sometimes both in the same body, depending on the presence of the right meds etc. Making and listening to records alike can be a lonely but satisfying endeavor - but the endeavor is ultimately pointed outward, whether the world there is hated and feared or fervently desired (or both! - polyamorous ed.). Which brings us to that essential aspect of the business, the live show. Back in the age of rock and roll, there was a time when the live show wasn't just good box office - fans in the 70s bought certain artists more plentifully on their concert albums than the studio ones! We'll give you the chance to do that soon - but in the meantime, go to the show! Six Organs of Admittance, Alasdair Roberts, Wand, Ty Segall, Royal Trux, Rangda, Sir Richard Bishop, Laetitia Sadier, Neil Hamburger, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (with and without Bitchin Bajas) and Bill Callahan all have something special for you - a one-time only experience in the town of your (and their) choice. Show up!
And yeah - so will we. Before you/we even know it....
Drag City Inc.