Joseph Childress – Self-Titled (Out October 6th)

Joseph Childress- Self-Titled album Art

“to be young is to be sad is to be alive, and Childress here is alive to the edges of his being.” – Flood Magazine

Presenting Joseph Childress’ Self-Titled sophomore album, following his 2013 collection of home recorded demos, The Rebirths. The tracks on this LP are borne from Joseph’s adventures throughout the West: working on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, riding trains and living out of his car. His poignant lyrics about loneliness and the western landscape are right at home with a stronger country sound that defines itself on the record’s opening track “My Land.”

Joseph Childress

For this new record, Childress traveled to Portland to record with veteran Americana musician and producer Mike Coykendall, known for his work with artists M. Ward, Bright Eyes, Jolie Holland, She & Him and Old Joe Clarks. Joseph began with tracking guitar and vocals solo. Additional musicians Aaron Robinson (Linda Perhacs, Sean Rowe, Bridget St. John), Joey Ficken (Swords), Tom Lucas (Crooked Jades) and Coykendall layered guitars, percussion, fiddle and bass to create a hearty mountain band that pivots between spartan country, gritty pop, and outsider americana. The results are a close sound that follows in the tradition of earlier troubadours: Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Kate Wolf; and modern alt-country artists: Jason Molina, Jayhawks and Will Oldham, without feeling derivative. The album is permeated with authenticity in his delivery of psychedelic memories and emotional landscapes. Joseph explains, “I tried to keep it very organic, not a lot of special treatments. My goal was to make it sound as if we were playing in your living room.”

In tracks like “White Castle Creek Mother” and “I Am the Dust”, Joseph’s acoustic guitar and vocals hang in the air with such intimacy that you do feel that he’s playing in a small room just for you (in fact Joseph was living and composing in a closet bedroom in San Francisco at the time these tracks were recorded). In the song “Leaving the Barren Ground” Joseph paints a picture of bitter heartbreak with lines like “You threw my love to the ground” and “This was neither of our plans/to be each other’s end” that have a weary sincerity rivaling any track of Nebraska-era Springsteen. Joseph’s romantic despair and cautious optimism are a snapshot of a modern journeyman’s life, a man who is confronting the myths of the West while attempting to create his own. Coykendall’s production, with the mixing assistance of Chris Arnold (The American Opry) and mastering by Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers), clears a spot for you along the rafters of an old barn somewhere deep in the Oregon night, allowing you to peer down and witness Joseph and his band playing for no one but themselves.

Out worldwide on October 6th of this year on LP/CD/Digital. Physical editions come in gatefold packaging featuring artwork by David Wilson. Vinyl LP is available in standard black vinyl and a single limited edition pressing of 200 copies in coke bottle green.

Pre-order Joseph Childress – Self-Titled HERE

Track Listing:
01. My Land
02. Footsteps
03. White Castle Creek Mother
04. Whispering Tide
05. Leaving The Barren Ground
06. I Am The Dust
07. 11 Mile Canyon
08. 10,000 Horses
09. Virginia Bound
10. Rebirths



Introducing San Francisco’s The Lovebirds!

Introducing – for the very first time – The Lovebirds (San Francisco) on Empty Cellar Records! Founded by Thomas Rubenstein and Eli Wald of Melters Records, The Lovebirds make superb jangly power pop with grit…

“San Francisco’s The Lovebirds make the kind of fuzzy, hook-filled indie rock that was all over college radio in the mid-’90s: think Teenage Fanclub’s sense of melody with Pavement’s sense of tuning.” – Brooklyn Vegan

Man, I don’t ever go out nowadays. I don’t know what to say, I’ve got the blues. Usually though when I am creepy crawling, I’m out to catch The Lovebirds, they being San Francisco’s best new guitar band. I’ve been watching them carve up the dank air of many a fine Mission saloon for about a year now and they always have the edge. They’re Of and Raised in SF and they’re youngish. All of them jam their instruments with technique and style, in accordance with the Old Ways. They have a budget Scott Gorham riff inside a jangly scorcher called “Filled With Hate,” which is about leaving Los Angeles for San Francisco.

You can go pretty far nowadays on the idea of a Band, but The Lovebirds don’t have time for that shit. Whether you wear denim, leather, or tie-dye it’s only worth about an El Rio drink ticket if you don’t know how to write the tunes and The Lovebirds wear a cloak of many colors. The guitars weave together beautifully, leads, hooks and riffs arranged like an American cheese platter. The rhythm section takes the cheese and deftly makes a deli sandwich, playing with smarts and panache. This is the kind of band that you can smoke weed with the drummer outside the bar and talk in-depth about the annexation of Hawaii and then walk inside, look the guitarist straight in the eye and say, “R.E.M is better than Teenage Fanclub” and he’ll still drive your fool ass home. They’ve even got a dude in the band who says funny shit on stage. You can take one look at them and know they learn things from books and write songs with instruments (no, seriously).

“They’re packing a satchel full of chiming chords here, but rather than throw a nod to SF’s ’60s roots, they channel College-ready literate charmers and powerpop dandies alike, drawing a line from the Groovies on down to Elvis Costello and Teenage Fanclub waiting in the wings.” – Raven Sings The Blues

These songs have tons of moves and NOBODY puts moves in their songs anymore besides The Cacamen, and that was only one move, once. Moves are great, they’re like skate tricks you can put in your songs. Seems to me, the only move a band will pull nowadays is the downward dog, am I right? The Lovebirds are punk, but in the classical sense, not the ebay sense. They dare to believe that R.E.M is better than Big Star. Just kidding, they’re not there yet. But this is an excellent start. I end in verse:

A bouquet of riffs from The Lovebirds
On a chilly Francisco night
Was thundering through my laptop
I was homeless came morning light

-Herbal Caen

Charlie Ertola – Bass
Eli Groshelle – Drums
Thomas Rubenstein – Guitar & Vocals
Eli Wald – Guitar & Vocals

Recorded Summer 2016 by Peter Avery at Secret Studios, San Francisco CA
Mixed by Glenn Donaldson and Edmund X
Mastered by Mikey Young
Insert Artwork by Sam Woo Staar
Jacket Artwork by The Lovebirds

Limited to 300 7″ records at 45rpm

Pre-order Filled With Hate HERE

Track Listing:
01. Filled With Hate
02. Streets of Rage
03. Ready To Suffer
04. Up and Down

Tour Dates:

7/5 – Portland, OR @ Black Water
7/6 – Seattle, WA @ Victory Lounge
7/8 – Vancouver, BC @ Troll Town (Under The Bridge / Spartacus Books if Raining)
7/10 – Portland, OR @ The Church Bar
7/22 – San Francisco, CA @ The Ave



Life With Dick by Grace Sings Sludge

Life With Dick is the new album by Grace Sings Sludge (The Sandwitches, The Fresh and Onlys). It’s the continuation of a world Grace Cooper began illustrating as one of the lead songwriters of the San Francisco band The Sandwitches, and on her previous three collections of solo home recordings (released as limited run cassette tapes). As with the other solo albums, Grace does the artwork for Life With Dick. Her delicate yet disturbing pen and watercolor creations are the perfect accompaniment for her songs, and seem as though they’ve emerged from the same troubled dreams.

“A Man Doesn’t Want” is a deeply haunted, yearning lament, Grace’s eerie, pained vocals wafting like a heartbroken ghost’s moan through rundown motel walls. – Gorilla vs. Bear

Though understated, there is a sense of urgency that permeates this record. Grace’s voice dances through the songs with a chameleon quality that’s sultry and commanding on “In Spite of Doom” and desperate, vulnerable and sharp on “Can’t Play” and “Everlasting Arms”.

Her lyrics contain the weariness of a woman giving in to a love requited, and the unsettling realities of maintaining love. In some places it seems she no longer knows where to direct her endless yearning. She observes on “Bad Timing Pt. 2”, “Two boats they don’t meet up in the night, they glide by each other and forever out of sight… they might just be the lucky ones.”

Grace Sings Sludge

The spookiness of Grace’s sound — a sound influential in some The Sandwitches’ best songs like ”Joe Says” and “In the Garden” — is still present here and especially on the darker B side of this record. Piercing guitars and heartbeat drums on “Everlasting Arms” warn us as Grace gently sings, “Something’s growing in the basement,” and of something that comes “from within”. The recording quality of Life With dick is raw but it is far from being a “garage record.” It is a recording brought down from the attic, with no date and with no intended audience, and is best listened to alone.

Performed and recorded at home by Grace Cooper with Nick Russo on drums.

Track Listing:

01 A Man Doesn’t Want
02 Runaway (Bad Timing)
03 Bad Timing Pt. 2
04 Can’t Play
05 In Spite of Doom
06 Everlasting Arms
07 U.C.B.
08 Dedicated 2

Pre-order Life With Dick here.

International Street Date: June 2, 2017



New Transmissions from Earth Girl Helen Brown

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Empty Cellar is pleased to announce the forthcoming Earth Girl Helen Brown release, MERCURY, featuring The Boogeyman (Emmett Kelly), Sunshine Lady (Sonny Smith), Loro Valiente (Tahlia Harbor), Ziggy Spec (Ty Segall), José Deseo (John Dwyer), L.F.F. (Tim Cohen), Jim Win (James Finch Jr.), the Former Future (Sean Smith), and Jasmine Ivanov (Jamin Barton).

MERCURY is the first in a seasonal series tributing our fellow solar satellites Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and Venus, and benefiting organizations committed to popular planetary intelligence, energy management, communicative freedom and love.

Announced today on the vernal equinox Mercury will be released April 14th on our planet in limited edition post-consumer cassette and digital (along with EGHB apparel). There will be a party and performance by Earth Girl Helen Brown and more that night at HM157 in Los Angeles

All proceeds from the sale of Mercury benefit, in equal parts, the following organizations in their commitment to the cessation of fossil fuel use, the protection of shared resources, and the preservation of physical health on Earth:

350.org, NDRC, Stand-LA

Cassette-Request

For more information on Earth Girl Helen Brown please visit her official internet site.



MAGIC TRICK – ‘OTHER MAN’S BLUES’ OUT 8/26!

Empty Cellar Records is proud to release the newest album by Magic Trick, Other Man’s Blues. This offering from the band finds songwriter, Tim Cohen at a crossroads. It was written and recorded during a year that split his time between two lives, in two worlds. The newer of these worlds was on a horse ranch in the northern Arizona desert where he and his partner spent their first year with their newborn daughter. The other was the music world. The latter took place on the road, on tour with Magic Trick or with the Fresh & Onlys. And in the case of Other Man’s Blues, it took place for one week at Phil Manley’s Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco.

Tim arrived at the studio with a color-coded composition book of songs he’d been writing while bouncing to and fro. This book would have to suffice in lieu of rehearsal time with the 13 other musicians who appear on the tracks. About half of the tracks feature James Kim on drums, the other half James Barone (Beach House). Alicia Van Heuvel (Aislers Set) and Paul Garcia split time on bass. Joel Robinow (Once and Future Band / Danny James) contributes on keys. Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang / The Muggers / The Double) provides a couple stunning guitar solos. There are omnipresent vocal harmonies from Alicia, Noelle Cahill and Anna Hillburg, the latter of whom also plays some trumpet. San Francisco standbys Dylan EdrichTom Heyman, and Marc Capelle all contribute. It was a loose, largely improvised affair.

The album’s roster is less the product of grand ambition, and more the result of an open-door policy at the studio. These sessions also served as an opportunity for Tim to hang out with friends while in town. He’d see who was around, they’d swing by. Allegedly tequila was centrally involved. A “hit the joint and come up with a bit” approach. “Here’s a chord chart. Go.” And guest appearances are more than just a little icing on top here. It’s the principle that warranted giving this project a band name five years ago: when Tim’s non-onlys oeuvre stopped being credited to Tim Cohen and instead was attributed to Magic Trick. Especially in the case of Other Man’s Blues, the players on the album define what shapes these songs take.

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And it’s a wide variety of shapes you’ll find on this album. Take this less as a conscious display of versatility (although it does demonstrate Cohen & Co.’s ability to shape-shift) and more as a result of the freewheeling, haphazard recording environment described above. A ghostly choir of female voices open the album like a seance. And the spirit they conjure proceeds to flit about over the course of the ensuing ten tracks, animating various stylistic forms, from the baroque pop of “Forest of Kates” to the icy post-punk of “I Held the Ring.” There’s the air-tight R&B groove of “Startling Chimes,” the krauty “Purest Thing,” a jammy side-to-side trot that moves “First Thought” along, taking a detour into country before culminating in a glorious Grateful Dead indebted coda. But throughout, it’s Tim’s lyrics that are pushed to the front of the mix. This album is a display of solid songwriting – collectively fleshed out, but from Tim’s composition book, and with Tim’s lyrics about family and about himself. These songs are the sound of his friends helping him suss through the conflicts of his new dual existence as father and musician, between old self and new.

Magic Trick’s 2013 offering, River of Souls, opens with Cohen asking, “Should we live from the mirrors other side?” Maybe, what you have here on Other Man’s Bluesis an attempt to do just that. You can hear that his scope is widening, is being forced to widen by his circumstance. These songs are full of empathy. They reckon with notions of sacrifice and devotion, acknowledge the “winds of desire” and admit that “musings come from below” like a force of nature. Our protagonist is mid-transformation or maybe even pre-transformation. He is able to “regard his gruesome self” only because he is becoming a new man. Both sides are present. Which is the Other Man? Who is Tim Cohen? What is this magic he is trying pull off? Is it a trick? Or true sorcery? Either way, he must evolve.

PREORDER NOW

Track Listing:

1. More
2. Forest of Kates
3. I Held the Ring
4. Scorpio
5. First Thought
6. Mockingbird
7. Eternal Summer
8. Purest Thing
9. Startling Chimes
10. Oysters

Magic Trick Dates
8/3 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop w/ The Cairo Gang (Tim Cohen Solo)
8/18 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel (Record Release Show)