Okay. We’re done with Black Friday, Shat-erday Saturday, Stupor Sunday, DONE Monday, Offline Tuesday, When-will-this-end Wednesday, Is this Still Going On Thursday...you made it, to Drag City's much-awaited and completely exclusive Next Friday!
This Christmas season, we know what you really need: friends. The kind that can be bought with gifts. But not just any gifts. OUR gifts, grifted from the gifted, snatched from the cradle of the current and ready to ship TODAY.
THE LAST KNOWN COPIES KNOWN TO MAN
It’s been psychologically proven that nothing succeeds quite as well under the tree as something you can’t get anymore! A couple titles that came out new this year are almost gone and all amazing in completely diverse styles: StumpWater Motel In Saginaw, Russ Waterhouse 1 Minute 2 Midnight and Circuit des Yeux Reaching For Indigo: Gaia Infinitus. Get ‘em before they’re not! And why not try for the hat trick? Buy all three!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
Everybody loves to hear the album of the year for Christmas, but it’s a close tie this year! You might have to choose based on who you’re buying for and who you think you are:
Tim Presley’s White Fence I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk fragile, pale pop tunes and meditative electronica. Album of the Year!
Masaki Batoh Nowhere death-obsessed folk, blues and psychedelia from the Japanese master. Album of the Year!
Neil Hamburger Still Dwelling: a yecch-nicolor grab-bag of “classics” for America’s Funnyman (and a cast of thousands) to sing. Album of the Year!
Wand Laughing Matter a true Wandopus, through the glass ceilings, a redefinition of ‘songs’ on every one of it’s four sides. Album of the Year!
Mike Donovan Exurbian Quonset mellow moods and groovers in a let’s-move-out-of-the-city and back to the land vein. Album of the Year!
Bill Callahan Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest warm return to an unnerving humanity rarely seen in roots-based music. Album of the Year!
Purple Mountains S/t what’s not yet been said? A legendary beyond-the-pale break up/ bottom out record with exquisitely ravaged heart. Album of the Year!
Ty Segall First Taste free to be Ty and whatever he wants to be. No guitars? No problem – get up for fuzz koto and double drums. Album of the Year!
Major Stars Roots of Confusion, Seeds of Joy immaculate hard rock, orchestrated for triple guitar sextet, a primer in primal moves. Album of the Year!
Alasdair RobertsThe Fiery Margin: folk-obsessed pop tunes from Scotland's reigning prince of traditional songs. Album of the Year!
The Silence Metaphysical Feedback an intricate pileup of prog-psych-rock modes played in analog glory with power and precision. Album of the Year!
Chris Gantry Nashlantis 55 and up for an old Nashville songwriting hand. He’s still got it and lays it down in spades. Album of the Year!
Sean O’Hagan Radum Calls, Radum Calls vapors of life, with nostalgia, activism and whimsy framed by unerringly creative production. Album of the Year!
Xylouris White The Sisphyeans new world music meets old world, as Cretan lute and traddy Greek tunes waltz with modern rock percussives. Album of the Year!
OM BBC Radio 1: new versions of two songs each from God Is Good and Advaitic Songs recorded perfectly at Maida Vale. Album of the Year!
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy I Made a Place the ‘Prince’ calls at last, with a deep hand of future memories and past visions and resolute heart and soul. Album of the Year!
TEXTILES, WE GET TEXTILES
It’s a rock and roll record company – sure, we’ve gonna be able to move some t-shirts and patches and who knows, even a hoodie every once in awhile! Shirts from Death, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Ty Segall, Silver Jews and more are always there to replace that warm human embrace (hint: order one size too small). And wouldja just check out these exclusive Joanna Newsom Newsom tour T shirts - striking, eh? Just a handful of commemoratives left after her recent Carmel and San Francisco shows. Whether you were there or not, wear this and who might say otherwise? Or if you want something that really says it all about Drag City, you’re looking for our signature Pushead Dylan and Banana Girl designs – now available in onesie form!
"Cute", huh? The next generation starts here.
BEHIND THE PIG-IRON CURTAIN
It’s no secret that Ty Segall likes to make lots of music and release it all the time, but did you know that he also likes to do it twice, just to make sure it’s right? The first round is called ‘demos’, and everything after that is called ‘beat the demo’ - and if it can’t, then the demo is the finished record! In most cases, the first version provides a blueprint that is then expanded upon, as you’ll hear a LOT OF if you buy the 4xLP box set Pig Man Lives Vol. 1 – his after-the-fact version akin to epic Prince boots like “Crystal Ball” and “Dream Factory”. While you're at it, we’ve still got a few copies of Gemini, the demo version Twins LP on Sea Note. Peek behind the curtain….
THE WORDS TO SAY IT
Yes, we said above that we mostly have records. Which is mostly true. We’re also mostly modest. But we’ve got other stuff too – like, for the last 25 years or so, books! Our classic titles from John Fahey have been a go-to for many a young searcher over the years, and we’d be remiss in not pointing you toward the latest reprint of Bill Callahan’s Letters to Emma Bowlcut, a spleen-splitting epistolary exhumation of the days of young and virile intellectual discourse. It’s got a bit of everything! PLUS, new on shelves this year is Brandan Kearney’s Official On Cinema At the Cinema Reader, Volume 1, 2010-2018 – a true watershed in modern entertainment, exhaustively cataloging another true watershed in entertainment in the painstaking, literally weird detail it literally deserves. AND ALSO David Berman’sActual Air. This classic work from the late poet is a form of beauty that will last forever and come off your shelf in future days with the immaculate effect that words have when strung together with craft and care and breathing. Thoughts like pure breath for us to share on paper.
LOOKING BACKWARDS TO OUR FUTURE
Next year’s coming together nice – we’ve already announced new releases from Hamerkop and Six Organs of Admittance, and both records are already rumbling the foundations of our still-standing ivory bunker – but for those of you who don’t know, why not dive into the back story? For Hamerkop is the continued work of Annabel Alpers, whose Bachelorette records wove together strands of folk, psychedelic and synth-pop into seamlessly beautiful, shimmering works of introspection. Any one of these: Isolation Loops, My Electric Family and Bachelorette will fill your days and nights and weeks and months until Hamerkop’s Remote drops in February. Same’s true for Six Organs of Admittance – Ben Chasny’s music has ceaselessly wandered through highly-motivated phases, like the controls-set-for-rock space jams of Ascent, the visionary combinatorial writing of the Hexadic albums or the translucent acoustic rock of his most recent, 2017’s Burning the Threshold. These records from the last couple decades are just one more reason to look forward to our past!
THE SIX-SHOOTER'S WAY
We’re only human; we love our fanatical solo guitar players. Ben Chasny counts as one of them on occasion, as does Sir Richard Bishop, whose Polytheistic Fragments and Tangier Sessions are two completely different albums for all seasons. Jim O’Rourke’sBad Timing was an early entry for us in that department as well – and let us not forget the two albums of fantastic solo guitar from the late Mark Fosson. However, there’s a twinkling new star in our firmament the past couple years – Chicago’s genial Bill MacKay, whose six-string playing on electric and acoustic is augmented by expansive improvisational technique and an equally airy touch with the glass slide. Bill’s solo records for us have showcased a wide range of polyglot fascinations – Esker with often-full climatic arrangements including piano and percussion and Fountain Fire more guitar oriented with an equally broad application of avant touches. Meanwhile, his duo releases – SpiderBeetleBee with guitarist Ryley Walker and STIR, with cellist Katinka Kleijn, push composition-based improv in different directions dictated by the players. We look forward to hear what he gets up to next – but while we’re waiting, there’s four distinct phases to choose from one of the most interesting players around these days. And one of them, the new STIR is available on colored vinyl for a few copies more, get 'em while they're still around!
CHRISTMAS MUSIC FOR CHRISTMAS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE
….finally, some freakin' seasonally-appropriate music! Whatever happened to good old fashioned exploitation? Our own Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is finding out with his just-released album, I Made a Place which makes a great holiday gift - especially in one of the tote-bag bundles! - on the deeply human level that we discussed at the top (and which, as a matter of fact, infuses all the expressions being hawked for your capital here!). The record we’re actually talking about here hails from the long stretch between his new album and last of original songs back in the early teens. While hiatusing from new songs, Bonnie made a number of tribute albums, and the “Christmas Eve Can Kill You,” 7” with Dawn McCarthy was a part of his Everlys' tribute, What the Brothers Sang. In addition to having an awfully pretty snow-white sleeve (and all-black vinyl), this is just the sort of Xmas espousal we’d expect from our Darkness-seeing Prince, made all the more zesty by having first been sung by the voices that made “Wake Up Little Suzie” famous. That’s a fine Happy Christmas for you!
It’s just the tip of the old Drag City iceberg, and probably any old slab of ice will say “I Love You” in the current climate – but these are potentially a few fruitful suggestions. Best tidings of the season, and after you order from us, shop local (and think regional) the rest of the way!