posted July 20th, 2018


Right? You better like it - ‘cause what choice do you have? This is YOUR TIME! Summertime, and the heat’s...well, it’s more stifling than before, but what, really, are we expected to compare it to? Last year is DEAD and the ones before that DON’T EVEN COUNT (don’t tell that to our extensive catalog! - bean-counting ed.)! Besides, the heat’s sweet – this much pressure in the atmosphere can only inspire action, and if there’s anything this freaking world seems ready for, it’s a bit of the REAL THING, huh? Face, it, America’s ON THE BRINK, and not simply in the ‘twas-ever-thus fashion, but actually as if the revolution that’s been suppressed more than once up in this shit might finally be ready to sink its teeth into our (mentally) YOUNG FLESH! Believe us, we’re not happy about it! This might mean an end to the happy-go-lucky capitalist treasure hunt we’ve been conducting for the past few decades, and the new order will definitely want to put the kibosh on all that! Honestly, they may want to consider it – if a potential shopacalypse resulted in a purging of some of our worst elements in our society (first, the lawyers etc.), then why not rewrite the maps? Jesus, the look on your face! Relax, kids – your heart’s STILL BLEATING, and there’s gonna be several hells to pay before the grid finally goes down and you can’t access your TIDAL library anymore. So keep going! Poke your nose down the rabbit hole! Here at Drag City, there’s plenty more for you to discover before you DIE. What are you waiting for? Get started!


Around ye old ivory bunker, we’re so much about getting involved. If you ask us about our p’litical leanings, you’re gonna get the poker face. We’re much more inclined to let our actions – that is, the actions of releasing things made by other people with clear considerations of their own – speak for us. It’s better that way – do you really need another partisan member of some party or other? Recruiting voters has never been our way – but, like we say, the world is burning, our leaders don’t care about us, and there seem to be an awful lot of people out in the street there who think the taste of dogshit is somehow as sweet as caviar! So, you know, yeah – get out and vote, read the news and ALL that. When regarding all this and taking in what people have to say, ask what might have made them say it. Wonder about what’s behind them words. Get out and talk to someone. We’ve got some places you can go – pop-up think tanks around the country where performances are happening that rely on freedom and intellect and art. We call them “concerts” - or at the very least, “shows” - and over the next month, you can meet like-minded people and begin to build the social movement that just might save the country (and therefore, the world – wink, wink!)! Plus you get to hear the great sounds of Purling Hiss, Faun Fables, Circuit des Yeux, Neil Hamburger, Masaki Batoh, CAVE, Wand, No Age, Walker & MacKay as well as Bill MacKay like he came into the world, solo (Google)!) and/or Six Organs of Admittance! No matter what you might have heard, NOBODY’s tired of winning too much – so take up this win-win opportunity! Good music + change the world = I don’t know, what’s better than being a hipster?

...‘N JOY!

The return of Ty Segall & White Fence is here! That's right - here, not Hair - but six years after that debut collaboration, they’ve come back to us with Joy. The record is out now, and – spoiler alert! -- features Ty and White Fence’s Tim Presley more intimately integrated – vertically, horizontally, ridiculously – throughout every line and every song. The love and admiration these two lads have for each other is explored by a mutual unpacking of chops and old trick bags, and when the smoke clears, it’s a whole new thing! It’s not-quite-Tim mixed with not-quite-Ty, or superimposed at times, reveling in brevity, sharing shorthand,  kicking out jams and punching out pop tunes seemingly at will and together, doing stuff they’d never do on their own while doing what they love the most, making records. In other words, Joy is, you dig? It’s out now, on LP, CD and CS. And hey gang – there’s gonna be some shows, down in a few places around the country (at this point, only west coast dates are booked), but not too many! Greybeards who saw the Ty/White Fence tour of 2012 still rave about Tim and Ty going head to head – if you expect to still be alive in 2024, you’ll need something to talk about! This tour, and the album that launched it, will be one Joy-ous topic.


Earlier this month, we spread across sweet “Blueberry Jam” all yer digital platforms; an all-new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy song(!), in streamed, download and video form – so if you’ve been thinking that maybe things are changing for the better, but you aren’t sure why, that’s it! The world’s a better place when there’s new Bonny music – and not just new music, but new songs that he wrote! This one was penned in moments of deep gratitude following a powerful scare – the bogus cruise-missile attack on Hawaii from earlier this year, and realized as a tune later with a crew of heavy-hitting companions back in Nashville. The love of life resonates through the song with the effortless qualities of nature - sunshine and breezes, and moments you might not notice, if you weren’t so glad to be alive. A tribute to the mighty Blueberry! And also politics.


Yeah, 2018: if you don’t know it already, this is a year packed-to-bursting with stuff that people are one day gonna will one day discuss in such diametrically different ways! It’s gonna be great! When that time comes (and please, o Source, let it be soon), will the nature of truth have changed, or will it be a change in the nature of people? This is one of life’s mysterious secrets. From our perspective, though, the chart-topper on 2018’s mightiest mysterious secrets: The 4th Movement  LP/CD/CS reissue. After years of Death records, we were sure that people would flip over vintage performances from shortly-after-the-band-changed-their-name-from-Death-to-The 4th Movement, modulating their spiritual proto-funk-punk music into a more centrist, spiritual/rock sound (still with a pleasing number of spiky edges in evidence!). Yet people (o people!) haven’t necessarily figured it out. It’s out there. It’s beautiful, and people (in hindsight may realize they) need to know what it is. It’s unclear if the lassitude’s on account of the Christianity angle – which we might get, given how much attrition there seems to be between all the faiths (and non-faithful) right now, plus the attrition between all the races, and all the classes and all the sexualities. We generally lay ourselves down every night with the deflating recognition that people don’t like each other even more than we don’t like them, which is bound to leave a permanent stain on our shared humanity. Okay, that’s nothing new, but no need to let it affect your appreciation of MUSIC! Stuff that was made with such love and rock, and brought back from such a great distance to inspire MORE LOVE! The 4th Movement speaks to you, for you, through you (or maybe it threw you?) – lend an ear or two, people!



Also released in June with The 4th Movement reissue, John Renbourn’s Live In Kyoto 1978 is just the kind of guilt-free listening that traditionally provides balm in times of lack, and bounty in times of plenty. Coming from an indeterminate (1978! – wake-the-fuck-up ed.) past and evoking a certain kind of timeless beauty, it allows an audience to insert themselves into the picture without too much mess. The music might have been played in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and aughts – not to mention several centuries prior! Furthermore it is played with such stressless aplomb yet such devotional spleen – even though the music was recorded in a tiny coffee house some forty years back, it lands in our present reality with all visceral gifts intact. Long will this music live – God bless CDs, LPs and John Renbourn.


Hey brother – you look like you’re in need of a little transcendence. Honestly, one little dose of enlightenment can go a long way. Take, just for instance, the one and only album from Japan’s Cosmic Invention, Help Your Satori Mind. It came out way back in 1997, not even on Drag City (can you believe it?), but here we are, over 20 years later, and those who were exposed to their divine din still have psyched-out skid marks running down their back and a look of perma-surprise on their face! Some of these found souls saw most of Cosmic Invention incorporated into Ghost on their tour of the same period – and it was a maelstrom, for sure. Still, all that energy funneled through the framework of songs, recording session, album – there’s something about that that just spells neo-classic psychedelic underground legend! Now, for the first time ever, Cosmic Invention Help Your Satori Mind is available on LP – or rather, 2xLP, with a jam that didn’t make it onto The Now Sound's original CD release. Twice in a lifetime is more than any of us deserve, and with a fatter, warmer second time around. Face toward the holy city of your choice, thank the lifeforce, and don’t miss this hot-n-heavy reissue when it lands on August 17th!


Also on August 17th, the further adventures of Papa M, travelling over scorched earth on the wings of four acoustic guitars (and the occasional drum or two), appear as A Broke Moon Rises, on LP/CD/CS/DL/TEA/SEA/etc. No singing, electronics or metal on this one, as was heard on 2016’s Highway Songs, but the singing tone of David Pajo rings out as boldly as ever, flowing folk and blues phrases through his distinctive doom-rock lexicon, creating something pastoral and existential, as his incisive playing renders the acoustics into a shiny near-electrical storm. Alternately soothing and anxious, A Broke Moon Rises hits your ear right on top of the Papa M nerve, and your knee-jerk reflex action will shock you - taking you right back into the thick of times of incredible angst and abiding faith. Fuck your money – take it to the store, and go for Broke!



Don’t forget that the last two months have seen the release of two amazing new-phase Blue Chopsticks releases – vinyl-only records of guitar music from some of the best underground players around! Manuel Mota & David GrubbsLacrau is an album-length improvising session with the two players on electric guitar, and deep within a dream that is dreaming itself. Hontatedori is a Japanese group featuring vocalist Moé Kamura and guitarists Tetuzki Akiyama and Taku Umai, pursuing an equally dreamy music based in folk music, but expressed through a window of minimal psychedelia. The “Konata Kanata” 12”EP is short but shockingly sweet. This is only the second record Hontatedori, so don’t kick yourself if you haven’t heard them before. Just buy it – and throw a copy of Lacrau in for good measure.


Also announced semi-recently, more earth-shaking news that you’re probably still processing. Not sure how to feel about Bitchin Bajas on CD? Makes sense. There’s so much misunderstanding about compact discs these days, and suddenly, a band who’s never even ONCE released one of their albums on CD now has a seven-disc box set coming out? And of all previously released material? Of course they do! Bitchin Bajas music is nothing if not of a general parameter, part of a greater scope of things – and even though the sounds they’ve generated have evolved over the course the last decade, playing the records back-to-back-to-back-to-back (that's not all the backs, but you get the point) is guaranteed to bring you into a place of deep listening and feeling – and this is a place you need to be right now. Remember all that shit we talked about at the beginning of this open letter? Turns out, there’s nothing like six hours of ambient/new age-derived synthesizer music (but with serious bite) to take the edge off of your end-of-the-world blues. All without a scrape of surface noise! Such was the stuff of wet dreams back in the 1980s! Nothing says 2018 like the stuff of wet dreams from the 80s. Featuring all the split singles, 12”s and LPs (but lacking a certain relaxation mix – cassette fans, your secret is safe!) and collecting all the artwork into a book that fits alongside the seven discs into a unique album-shaped package, Rebajas is set to box your ears with peacefulness and ultimate flow. Time to dust off that 5-CD carousel - your Rebajas begins on September 28th!


Also in September and October – oh HO, you almost made us spill! There’s some shit-fun stuff to talk about, but we haven’t made official announcements on so much of it, there’s no way we can even hint about it now! Rest assured, once you hear, you’re definitely gonna want to keep living – and let’s face it, dare you really even hope for that feeling before you read this immor(t)al update? Thought so!

Come back again next month and find out why it’s important to stay alive - at least through October. If we do say so ourselves, you’ll find it well worth the sacrifice!


Rian Murphy

Drag City Inc.

July 2018