June 5, 2007

Today's Hotness: Shellac, Bedhead, Dinosaur Jr., Assembly Now

Shellac -- Excellent Italian Greyhound>> Venerable label Touch + Go has launched a digital music storefront selling 256Kbps MP3s of albums from its impressive catalog. Fine. But the big news is that Touch + Go is selling the wares of storied grind trio Shellac as well -- we just never thought fronter and renowned recording engineer Steve Albini would ever agree to release the stuff digitally, given his anti-CD stance over the years. Since MP3s are even more of an aural abomination than CDs, who would have thought the Shellac catalog would ever get sold digitally? It turns out Touch + Go is honoring Albini's audiophiliac (even a word?) beliefs, as the new Shellac set (out today) Excellent Italian Greyhound is being sold digitally as CD-quality 16-bit and above-CD quality 24-bit WAV files. Apparently, the 24-bit WAV format available for purchase at touchandgorecords.com does not play and/or burn with certain Mac and PC software. So there you go.

>> Incidentally, we got Excellent Italian Greyhound on vinyl in today's mail (with the label-less CD version of the album inserted in it, natch) and we are about 80% of the way through the opening track "The End Of Radio." We love the tune, in part because we have a soft spot for all songs that talk about radio. As a greyhound owner, we're obviously completely nutty for the gatefold album art and slip cover (pictured) for Excellent Italian Greyhound. If you haven't seen it, it's worth walking into your local indie rock store and checking it out.

>> But wait, there's more: according to the web site for the Touch + Go MP3 shoppe, the label is the first place to present the digital-only reissue of two stunningly good Bedhead EPs first released in the mid-'90s by Trance Syndicate. The slow-core heavyweights' two titles are 4Song19:10CDEP and The Dark Ages. The former includes one of the best covers of Joy Division's "Disorder" ever recorded. The title track to the latter may be the best Bedhead song ever written. In short, these are crucial records. Get them now, or when they arrive at other digital storefronts July 10.

>> Speaking of new things, we watched the just-released Dinosaur Jr. DVD Live From The Middle East Saturday night after a day of painting, and here are our very brief notes from the screening: "Very good. Very trebly. Holy Crap -- "The Wagon." Holy Crap! "Raisins." Soloing is complete mayhem. Murph looks like [old time pro wrestler] George "The Animal" Steel when the shirt comes off and the light is just wrong."

>> Remember a couple of weeks ago when we said here that one of the new Spoon numbers sounded a bit like Thin Lizzy? Well, the veteran quartet's tune "The Underdog" has been made an official promo track and now you can judge for yourselves by downloading the MP3 linked below. This is the sole track on the new record recorded in LA with producer extraordinaire and former Jellyfish / Greys guy Jon Brion (of whom we are a big fan -- have you heard the Jon Brion solo record from 2000? Hot.); the rest was recorded in Austin with a fellow named Mike McCarthy. Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga will be released July 10 on Merge, and you can pre-order the set here and stream it at the Merge site. We've heard the whole leak and can say Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is our favorite Spoon record to date.

Spoon -- "The Underdog" -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
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>> London-based indie rockers Assembly Now, previous featured here in Show Us Yours #6, will release a new single in July. Few details are available currently, but the platter will be issued on Kids Records, which, in addition to releasing (or at least selling) two earlier Ass Now singles, has also issued recordings by The Wombats and Band Of Horses. Assembly Now has a broad slate of dates schedule from June 14 through the end of July in the UK. Check them out at the band's MySpace yert here.

5 comments:

Flatlander said...

If it wasn't for "Liferaft", I'd agree with you about "The Dark Ages". Although we are in complete agreement on the greatness of the 4songEP.

Weren't they on Trance Syndicate? I guess it's The New Year connection that is putting those songs up on T+G now.

jbreitling said...

Yeah, "Liferaft" v. "The Dark Ages" is a tough call. I'd probably through "Crushing" (or is it "Crushed"?) and one or two of the more rocking cuts from Transaction De Novo close to the top of the pile, too. I don't know if Trance Syndicate is still around -- always get it confused with SFTRI. Maybe if it is that is why T+G only is doing the digital release...

jds said...

I was blown away by the Shellac release as well at first, but it's just like Albini to be just a bit untouchable. 24-bit WAV, serously? Next thing you know he'll have a BETA only release of concert vids!

jbreitling said...

I wish. Well, no I don't.

I'm surprised he doesn't try to bring back reel-to-reel.

keith said...

agreed on 'the dark ages' being the best song bedhead ever put to tape. i used to torture my college's radio station requesting that song late at night...