posted March 23rd, 2018


New - and next month! This month - and last month! Here at Drag City, it's all fair game! Everything is all-new again, for the first time, all the time! To keep our cultural expressway to your skullcap freshly paved, we're partnered with dozens of friends 'n family in the music-art-film-comedy-literature-communication-and-sometimes-just-a-t-shirt realms, all working together at the nexus point (of all things, natch! – cosmically-conscious ed.) to bring out something that changes the complexion of today/tomorrow/last week/50 years from now WITHOUT FAIL. Sure, it's an ambitious undertaking - especially without download codes to keep the sheep in tow. (Let’s not even consider the extreme possibility that 50 years from now few of us will be here to even say/hear “I told you so!” So we bought 2 Alexas and programmed them ahead. They’ve gotta last at least 50 years, right? But I regress….) Everyday, our actions leave souls spent and bodies broken - but that in exchange for hearts full and minds blown is a trade we can take! Near thirty years down the road and here's still tricks left to pull (and be pulled) - thanks to ongoing ingenuity and boundless talent on the part of both DC roster greybeards and the young and restless hitchin' a ride on our grand ol' (yet ever-fortifyin') bandwagon. Just watch - change is a-coming! We're not about declaring war on anybody or taxing exports etc. - but big announcements are on the way, regardless - as well as what will never be an old-fashioned commodity to us, great music. Words on some of which can be found in and amongst the words below....bitch.


As one generation gives way to another (ahhhhhh.....that's the stuff! put 'em in the ground, gang), the standard tropes of exchange established by the formers are, one by one, revealed to be traumas of the most egregious kind imposed upon the latters. Fortunately, the ways of music (if not always the manner in which it is taught, its pay scale or its bizness model inclusivity - way-woke ed.) manage to please us still, in all their forms even as those forms continue to evolve. On any given day, we may derive pleasure and yes, even solace, from styles of music dating back years, decades, generations and (gasp) even centuries! The old scales of eastern and western music don't really meet up, but they have proven durable over the course of time. Still, what's the point of not questioning all that old shit?

That was Ben Chansy's recognition about five years back. He'd been making Six Organs of Admittance records for 15 years, becoming a world-renowned master of the fretboard (not to mention the soundhole) in that time, but what had it brought him? A bunch of useless acclaim for the albums and fans, fans, fans! What's it all about? Fortunately, an interest-bordering-upon-obsession in combinatorial systems, and their occult-inspired masterminds, led Ben ever down the rabbit, not to the ritual sacrificing of small animals! Why you wanna go there? Nah! What Ben wanted to do was create a playing card-based system to help decision-making in the realm of music-making - on account of how well it did for Mozart and Gurdjieff maybe - all those freaks! If, in the process, he found a way to place notes on top of chords in a way that it hadn't occurred to even the freest of jazzers or any of them old 20th century longhairs did, well then, all the better! Thus was born the Hexadic System, way back in the year of 2015 - and not only did Ben write the book on it, but he designed a custom set of cards, lectured on it and made two albums of music using compositions created using the Hexadic process! Did it start a revolution? Gee, I don't know - it is a hundred years later yet? These things take time to trickle down, people! (No, not like the tax cuts the gummit just handed to our nation's billionaires - that money's not trickling down anywhere! – torn-from-last-month's-headlines-by-the-people's ed.)

A helpful first sign of the cultural shift to come is the appearance of Hexadic III - a new album of Hexadic songs and music and thought made not at all by Six Organs of Admittance, but by other musicians inspired by the opportunity to get out of their wheelhouse and into the winds of chance! To hear the likes of Stephen O'Malley, Jenks Miller, Meg Baird and Moon Duo making music via this process is, perhaps surprisingly, not like listening to the most OUT shit you've ever heard - instead, we are witness to the sound of these artists becoming MORE like themselves! Turns out Hexadic process is just another path to the TRUTH the WHOLE TIME. But more than that - as Hexadic III proves - when a number of songs written this way are strung together by artists committed to new forms of expression, it makes for an all-great listening experience full of good stuff! From Moon Duo to Jenks Miller to Meg Baird & Charlie Saufley to Tashi Dorji to Richard Youngs (and then onto side two), Hexadic III is a cohesive listening experience comprised of equal parts relaxing and enervating music. Concluding with official Hexadic scholar Phil Legard's "Zoa Pastorale", waves of completeness and sublimity effervesce the listener's inner being - which basically means you've gone Hexadic!

Next step: order the book and cards here at specially-bundled discount, attend all future Hexadic talks being held by Ben Chasny wherever fine ideas are proffered and actually valued (imagine!) and never look back. Life is better, now that you've become one with the infinite possibilities accessed by Hexadic!


It's been a lifetime of the same old songs for Alasdair Roberts, son of the Scots singer Alan Roberts, whose own music career as a folk singer in the 70s and 80s was no doubt an inspiration for his son, judging from the time he put in over the last several decades, digging through the centuries of folksong - or more adequately put, traditional songs. There's something way back there that's been worth carrying forward for singers and players like Alasdair - and since the late 90s, Alasdair has made a name for himself as one of the eminent singers of traditional songs, interspersed with his output as a singer of original contemporary song as well. Even his new songs are rooted in aspects of versions of the old ones; Alasdair spares not the research and brings all of what he's learned to the songs.

For his new album, he took a set of traditional numbers with specifically Scottish lineage into a collaboration with David MacGuiness and Amble Skuse to make the all-new collection, What News. Alasdair's desire was twofold: to hear the songs interpreted on piano rather than guitar, as they have been for eons, almost; and to sing without playing, as so many of his heroes have. David's directorship of early music ensemble Concerto Caledonia was taken into account, and with his thoughtful, idiosyncratic keyboard rendings of the traditional songs establishing effectively progressive propers, it was only natural to consider something else to thicken the brew while still allowing its delicate balance to shine. Thus was sonologist Amble Skuse drafted in. With a background in similar territories but a skill set involving sound manipulation, she provided an intriguing point of reflection to the process, adding a further layer of investment and estrangement! Check out "Johnny O' the Brine" for examples of all of the above, and a version of the song that truly stands out from all that came before in this vein. Then listen to "Babylon" - a powerfully compelling rendition that breaks the song down to a bare line of melody that builds in tension over four-plus minutes. For Alasdair, one of the most notable aspects of the album is that the songs are all Scottish traditional numbers - but for us, and for you too, this album is notable for being such a KILLER - literally! Once you've bought it, take a look at the lyric sheet - there's an average of at least one death in every song! Now THAT we call value. And as for buying it - it is OUT NOW. Don't wait for these versions to become ancient - after listening through to What News a few times, we're pretty sure that you don't have that kind of time!


Are you one of those Fuck History types? If so, it must be pretty clear by now that you gotta get the fuck out of our newsletter! The world of rock (and rock 'n roll before it) is always expanding, with new chapters being written in the book before it even gets in our hands! It's not just new stuff that makes it grow, mind you, but old things being unearthed, reintroduced and reconsidered, which people these days fairly much LOVE in concept, no matter what. Why wouldn't they - it's expanding the contextual globe of our favorite, most essential of art forms for all of us to consider (and maybe even bringing more great music to our attention)!

Just like any of the other animals who bear the wooly mantle known as Record Label, we at Drag City like to relaunch such rockets into today's skies - and with classic items from Mayo Thompson and The Red Krayola, Gary Higgins, Death and loads of others (including, quite recently, Ed Askew's A Child in the Sun and Chris Gantry's At the House of Cash!), we've got a lot to offer the used rocket crowd! Some hippie music, some trippy, some avant-garde! A few closet pop records and outsider-type releases! And of course, punk. From Death to Social Climbers to J.T. IV to The Endtables to The Fems, we've managed to get a few of the many hybrids out there. From the same Louisville KY scene as The Endtables (and roughly the same time period) is Your Food, whose pedigree seems less from the gender-confused 70s era of punk and more from the early-80s, is-it-indie-yet? phase. With a rough and muddy mix representing their spiky, danceable shamble with a powerful roll, Your Food's one and only LP, Poke It With a Stick is rife with eccentric visions, caustic pronouncements, sarcastic humor and the dirge-like intimations of apocalypse that represent side two of the album - basically, an array of the things that represented punk rock before hardcore took over.

Given the cost of the few original copies of this record still in circulation, our reissue is a steal - which of course, is what it is designed to be. New punk generation - steal this music! By which we mean, buy Your Food Poke it With a Stick at a more than reasonable price for it being available to you and being the still-potent radical expression that it is.



Hey! Drinks here! Getcher Drinks! You, gender fluid sir/madam - you look like you could use a Drinks. Don't ask us how we know - we just do! Here's a record you're not just gonna love, you're gonna lurve it! You'll luv it too! Maybe it'll just break down to emoticons for you - left completely without words! That's the sort of response we expect when we've got Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley in a room together, making music like they did on the first Drinks album, Hermits on Holiday (and what they also did on Tim's 2016 solo opus The WiNK). This means mad songs! Strange noises! Antics of all kinds! All strung into a record called Hippo Lite. This time, it's not just Cate and Tim in a room - it's Cate and Tim in a room in St. Hippolyte du Fort - yes, France! Out in le sticks, away from civilization and cellphones and the internet in the middle of a blazing hot countrified French summer! Set up in an old mill, using frogs in the night for backing, working on the old violin skillz. All of which naturally only increased the ardour of the proceedings, helping them push the songs to their (il)logical end - have you heard "Real Outside" yet? This is the sound! Captured immaculate by Stephen Black, Hippo Lite is a DEE-light.

Drinks is coming  - on 4/20, natch! Alternative means, people - keep your mind wide open! 


If this is a riddle, it's an almost stupid one - how to get Mike Donovan played in record shops? Ask for Mike Donovan to play in record shops! The Peacers' frontman is playing all over the place in anticipation of next month's sophomore solo release, How to Get Your Record Played In Shops. And what better reason to get a record or two stocked than because a former member of Sic Alps is in town to play his own hissingly nocturnal narco-vision of perfect pop music in a DIY vein? Believe us - it is well worth it, because - the record! How To Get Your Record Played In Shops is a pretty complete collection of the tuneful and the weird that Mike D has showed in his best work over the years, but this time with the added twist of Mike playing most of the stuff all on his lonesome and working a lot of key-tinkling into the mix this time around, for like, the first time ever. Mike's touch on the piano is Lennonesque - a primitive soul meaning to convey particular and essential mental and melodic thoughts, however abstract. But Mike doesn't stop at piano - there are a number of exotic sounds on How to Get Your Record Played In Shops, many of them key-based! A carnivalesque echo ripples through the album, along with a few of Mike's classic groovers, spiked with stabbing rhythm guitars and ramshackle hip-shake beats. No matter how derelict the sonic surroundings may seem, Mike's music is made up of a particular (and peculiar) joy - and the title of this record is further tribute to his own sense of wonder at the magic of record-making and the miracle of placing such an odd, left-field item in the bins of the brick-and-mortar world as a key for the collector and the allegorist alike. An item which, when chanced upon, provides a sense of discovery than no number of internet searches will replicate.

How to Get Your Record Played In Shops is out on 4/20 - but until that high-and-hallowed moment, you can search the internet for the bagged-out glory of such preview tracks as "Sadfinger" and the video track, "Spiral Tee Shirt". Listen up, see a show, and admit to yourself that you're in the presence of something that's gonna change you....for a long, long time.


Amazing, ain't it! Both Ty Segall and No Age released new albums back in January - a tremendously long time ago, in contemporary time measurement - and yet, they're only now hitting the road with strings of dates intended to cement this "new" music in the hearts, minds and ears of the listening public! Ty's been over to Korea and Japan and is preparing to hit the American road as we speak. No Age played a west coast run, a couple far-west fests and are now on the European road with their boundlessly exuberant reverberations! It just goes to show you, when a record's got legs, you can tour whenever - like, wait a couple months even, you'll be fine! Other artists demonstrating the principle this month include John Mulaney (whose album is almost a year old, FUCK, that's old!), Alasdair Roberts (who's playing a show for the new Roberts/Skuse/MacGuinness release with his partners in criminally-incredible music, but mostly doing shows in support of last year's Pangs), Bill MacKay, Mike Donovan (in support of everything he does from last years new The Peacers album, Introducing the Crimsmen to the forthcoming How to Get Your Record Played In Shops), and of course Neil Hamburger (because thaaaaaat's his....eeuuuuuuh). Plus Circuit des Yeux and Dead Rider! There's no end to the live fun (check the Tour Page for your other favorites), and sometimes there's not even an age restriction. Now, if only we could get the playing of recorded music banned in public places - attendance at shows might just spike through the ROOF then! Well, who knows what next year will bring. After the great blink and the fall of the internet, we'll all be back to reinventing this gosh-darned wheel for another go-round!


Before we go, any questions? Ah, right....the inevitable What Next? People, isn't it clear by now that part of our awesome power has to do with us not knowing what's coming? Then it hits with twice the force (first us, then you)! So, “who knows?” is a reasonable answer - but since we've already announced it, there's a new Wand record in orbit and ready to reenter the atmosphere on May 25th - the "Perfume" “EP” featuring the first single, "The Gift", already rotating in our terran locales. It's gonna be a shattering listen, when put all together - a maxi-EP of sorts, with 30 minutes of music coming from the multivarious directions that Wand are so turned on by - a perfectly flowing set of sounds! And speaking of sounds, we got the Rafael Toral reissues back on track - and they too will be ready for the brave and the bold among you on May 25th.

What else? Shhh! You'll make us ruin the surprise! Keep your ears open, that'll guarantee that you'll be among the first to know. Right after we do -


Rian Murphy

Drag City Inc.

March 2018