News Page - 2012 info

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This page is dedicated to news about The dB's, 
its music, and its members.
Latest updates are here at the top.

CHRIS STAMEY SOLO ALBUM OUT NOW!
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR: GO BUY IT!!


Feb. 5 update: ALBUM RELEASE DAY, new video, another live date. As I listen to the iTunes download of Lovesick Blues (!), here's some scoop on what's next as Chris and his label sell the music world on his great new album: 

NEW VIDEO FOR THE SONG 'LOVESICK BLUES'

SHORTER, EDITED VERSION

FULL VERSION

Meanwhile, another live performance date has been added (in addition to the ones I've already listed below): Philadelphia, PA (World Cafe Live Upstairs), 3025 Walnut Street, Sunday, Feb. 17. More details are HERE

Jan. 18 update: Two more live dates for Chris. In addition to the album release show for Lovesick Blues on Feb. 8 in Carrboro, NC (details & link for tix HERE), Chris has also scheduled a live solo performance at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh, NC on Feb. 2nd (details HERE). Chris also will perform in NYC at Joe's Pub on Feb. 16. (More details and a link for tix are HERE). Finally, Ken Paulson of Americana Music News has heard the new album and, in a brief comment, says Lovesick Blues is "the most intimate and acoustic album he's ever recorded." Ken adds that it took him a while to take to the album, but after repeated plays, it's now "my favorite Stamey album." Read the rest of what he has to say HERE.

Jan. 16: Bonus tracks on iTunes release. Chris has decided to increase the attractiveness of the iTunes version of Lovesick Blues by including bonus tracks that will not appear on either the CD or vinyl formats for the release (due Feb. 5). Turns out the non-CD bonus track "Let's Go Downtown, Pt. II" (see Jan. 11 entry below) is slated for the iTunes release as well as 4 others that will not appear on any other format. iTunes lists the standard 11 tracks plus the following:
  • Let's Go Downtown, Pt. II (see Jan. 11 news item below)
  • Lovesick Blues (Orchestral Version)
  • Astronomy (Electric Version)
  • You n Me n XTC (Radio Mix)
  • I Am the Cosmos (feat. Michael McMichaels)
The final bonus track is the song composed by the late Chris Bell, the only solo song released during Bell's lifetime. If the name sounds familiar, that may be because Bell was a founding member of Big Star, the Memphis rock & pop band that Alex Chilton later joined, and a band that strongly influenced The dB's. Chris Stamey released Bell's "I Am the Cosmos" single on Car Records some months prior to Bell's death. (Michael McMichaels also sings on the Lovesick Blues track "Anyway".) Pre-Order the iTunes release for $9.99 HERE.
 
click to enlarge
Jan. 11: Save yer pennies for February... 'cuz Chris' upcoming solo album, Lovesick Blues, has an extra track on the vinyl version. Scrutiny of the above LP artwork reveals that the final track (on Side B, second disc) is a bonus song called "Let's Go Downtown, Pt. II," and it will not be on the CD version of the release. "Let's Go Downtown, Pt. II" features Caitlin Cary as well as the talented Chatham County Line (Yep Roc label mates and another of the many N.C. bands Chris has produced). Pre-order the LP directly from Yep Roc or at Amazon.


Jan. 10: Last of the 'Best of' + Chris previews
  • Here's a "Best of 2012" category that didn't show up until the tail end of the year:  "Best Live Shows" of 2012. St. Louis area musician Tim McAvin told KDHX-FM that The dB's show at Blueberry Hill in November was his fave live concert of the past year. Interestingly, McAvin seems not to have known much about The dB's before Falling Off the Sky, but he loved their St. Louis show. The blogger who writes for oldpunksrule thought one of The dB's two shows at The Hideout in Chicago last year deserved to be on his "The 12 Best of the Old" list of favorite live shows. Read about The dB's and the 11 other artists loved by oldpunks HERE.
  • Based on his review of the album back in June, we knew that Jim Desmond ("JD") from When You Motor Away loved FOtS. We just didn't realize then that it would wind up at the very top of his "Favorites of 2012" list. Jim justifies his pick by saying, "It is remarkable that a band could get back together after 30 years and make a record that not only stands up to their storied past, but start to finish is the best CD of their career." To that, I can only add, "You said it, Jim!"
  • Chris is getting more high-profile press in the Internet-based music world now that the release date for Lovesick Blues approaches (Feb. 5). Over at Earbuddy, Jay Downey has a nice interview with Chris, covering the new album and Chris' other musical interests. But if you only have time to read one interview with Chris, make it the one that Nick DeRiso conducted with him, recently published at Something Else Reviews. Nick has obviously heard the new album, and asks questions that are carefully tuned in to Lovesick Blues and other aspects of Chris' career in music. Well done, Nick! 
  • Ya never know what kind of non-musical "swag" might emerge with a new album release. If you were disappointed about the lack of official dB's T-shirts, coffee mugs, belt buckles, etc., you will be pleased to learn this: in addition to the CD and vinyl releases for Lovesick Blues, Chris' label, Yep Roc, is also carrying some spiffy-looking T-shirts with the album name and a cool design. Get yours!
  • Anyone heard of Tokyo Rosenthal? Well, I haven't, but I just read that Chris and Will both can be heard playing on the artist's new album, called Tokyo's Fifth. Read more about it HERE.
  Dec. 21: More "Best of 2012" mentions...
  • At least two of the many individuals consulted for the Philadelphia City Paper's "Best of 2012" listed Falling Off the Sky in their Top 10 of the Year. Full listings are HERE.
  • At his Things I'd Rather Be Doing blog, John Kenyon lists FOtS as #14 on his list of Favorite Music of 2012. The other 19 albums on his list are HERE.
  • Power Popaholic has FOtS at #30 in its list of Top 30 Power pop Albums of 2012. Yes, it's last place on the list. On the other hand, it apparently won't be on the site's upcoming  "Biggest Disappointments of 2012" list! The rest of The Best is HERE.
  • Some radio stations are getting in on the "Best of..." act. The NYC-area WFUV includes FOtS on its listeners' list of top albums of the year. Find out HERE where FOtS falls on the 90 that made the cut. Eddie Ashworth of WOUB-FM in Ohio included FOtS on his list of approximately two dozen Best of 2012. Eddie's complete list is HERE. Jeff Raspe of WBJB-FM radio in Brookdale, NJ lists FOtS among his 30 or so top albums of 2012. Rest is HERE.
  • Finally, in The Columbian newspaper in Washington State, Alan Sculley says FOtS is one of the Top 10 "Overlooked Musical Gems of 2012," says the band "hasn't lost its touch, as Falling Off the Sky is a stirring reminder of the considerable talent The dB's always possessed." See the rest of Alan's listings HERE. Writing for the L.A. Daily News, Sam Generre has similar sentiments about FOtS, calling it one of the "Overlooked Albums of 2012 Worth Taking for a Spin." 

Dec. 17: Chris' new album news. Michael Doherty just posted his review of Lovesick Blues, which Michael says is "more in the singer/songwriter vein" than Falling Off the Sky, "but with some gorgeous pop sounds." Rest of the review is HERE. Chris has planned a record-release show at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m. He will perform with The Fellow Travellers. More details are HERE at the Cat's Cradle web site. Triangle Music has a brief story about the Feb. 8 show HERE.

Dec. 16: More kudos for Falling Off the Sky. The dB's made it onto some more of those ubiquitous "Best of 2012" lists: 
  • Michael Doherty says FOtS deserves a #9 spot on his Top 10 of the year list. Check out the rest of his list and why he calls "The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel" one of his fave songs of the year. 
  • Another blogger keen on FOtS is Holly A. Hughes, who also ranks it in her Top 10 of 2012. Read this post at her blog to find out why she thinks Peter's "The Wonder of Love" is such a great song and why FOtS is way better than some of R.E.M.'s latter-day albums.
  • Nick DeRiso puts FOtS at #8 on his list of Top 10 Rock & Pop Albums of 2012. Comparing the 2012 album to The dB's past output, DeRiso says the group has "reclaimed everything that made them such a memorable snark-pop presence in 1980s-era rock, even as they deftly update their sound. There’s a deeper complexity to the music, and — in a few notable instances — an even harder edge to the songwriting." The rest of his list is HERE.
  • Over at Pop Underground, kingwart places FOtS at #14 on his list of Top 25 Albums of 2012. There's no write-up for our guys, but if you want to see the rest of the list, it's HERE.
  • Eric Burman's Top Albums of 2012 includes FOtS at #13. Find out who else is on his list and more HERE at Cool Album Review.
  • Stephen Thomas Erlewine, one of the chief reviewers at AllMusic, ranks FOtS among his Favorite 98 (!) Albums of the Year. His list is HERE.

Dec. 10: I guess it was inevitable. Once we began to anticipate the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary, it follows that we'd start having "Best Albums of the Year by Artists 50 and Older." It just hits a little closer to home, I guess, when your favorite band starts getting nominated in that AARP-friendly category... Writing for Rock's Back Pages, Steven R. Rosen pegs Falling Off the Sky at #19 on his list of 30 best in the category. For Rosen, this means The dB's first album in 25 years rates higher than 2012 efforts by Neil Young, Jimmy Cliff, David Byrne, Scott Walker, Graham Parker and Alejandro Escovedo. Go to RBP to see the rest (if you register, you can get free-but-limited access).

Dec. 8: Best of 2012, or...? Falling Off the Sky continues to make its way onto "Best of 2012" lists (and one of the opposite variety). Here are the latest appearances:
  • Magnet named FOtS #9 on its Top 25 Albums of 2012 list. Writing for Magnet, M.J. Fine said The dB's have pulled off something "difficult and rewarding by building on their decades-long relationships in a way that’s ultimately fresher and deeper than merely trying to recreate their former formula.... Whether Falling Off The Sky turns out to be the band’s epilogue or the first chapter of a long-delayed sequel, it’s a privilege to hear it here and now." Read the rest.
  • Diffuser FM lists FOtS as one of its nominees for Best Comeback - 2012. Right now, The dB's are way ahead of the pack in reader voting, beating out The Replacements, Garbage, No Doubt and Soundgarden, among others. Go vote! 
  • The deeBs just missed out on Holden Richards' list of Top 10 Albums of 2012. Which means they kinda made his Top 20 list for the year. See who else is there. 
  • FOtS made the "Sweet 16" list for Chestnut Radio's Top Albums of the Year. The dB's share the honor with The Shins, Jack White, Calexico and others.
  • FOtS also made the Top Albums of 2012 lists for two high-profile radio DJs: for Jim DeRogatis of WBEZ Chicago, it's #21. The rest of Jim's list is here. For Darren DeVivo of WFUV in the NYC area, FOtS made his Top 10 (or is that Top 11?). Either way, the rest of Darren's list is here.
  • More bloggers and forum posters are getting in on the act: Farmer In the City pairs The Feelies and The dB's in writing about Unexpected Albums of the Year. Last FM power user rtreynor lists FOtS as #10 in his list of Rob's Favorite Albums of 2012. Blogger Thoroughbred says the album rates a #2 placement -- on his "Biggest Disappointments of 2012" list. If you really want to read the post, you can look here.

Dec. 2: Yet another new Chris track. WXRT, the great FM radio station in Chicago, has the premiere of another previously-unheard track from Chris' upcoming solo release, Lovesick Blues. WXRT has the album's long, pensively beautiful title track HERE at its blog, in high-quality MP3. By the way, I just read that Chris has been invited to next year's SXSW Fest. He'll be showcasing Lovesick Blues, which will have been released the prior month...


Nov. 27: Smash or Trash?!? You might remember some radio stations that used to premiere a new song, then invite listeners to call in and vote "Smash" or "Trash" (do they still do that?). There's an Internet age version of this with critics and bloggers posting their Best Albums and/or Worst Albums of the Year lists online. The voting for this year has begun, and our band is already getting name-checked for the 2012 lists (usually in the "Smash" category, with one notable exception):
  • Claude Pate lists Falling Off the Sky among his 20 faves of 2012, admitting that he went back to listen to the album again after seeing the guys play Chicago recently. What he says about The deeBs and the new album and the others on his list can be found HERE.
  • Raleigh, NC based music writer David Menconi recommends FOtS along with about 10 other new discs in his list of what to buy friends & loved ones for the holidays. His LIST first appeared in The Raleigh News & Observer as well as The Charlotte Observer.
  • Blogger Dale-A-Gogo lists FOtS among his Top 50 for 2012 with the following thumbnail review: "The pop gods return with their first album in 25 years (and the first with the original Stamey/Holsapple/Rigby/Holder line-up since 1982's Repercussion). There are elements of everything the individual members have been doing over the past two and half decades, yet it still sounds like a cohesive record."
  • Over at Tulip Frenzy, John Buckley went out of his way to apologize for not putting FOtS on his Top 10 for 2012 list. The band and its fans should read his glowing explanation and note that the deeBs are in good company: Alejandro Escovedo's new album just barely missed making John's Top 10. (And when Patti Smith is the artist who nudges you off the list, I'm guessing you don't feel so badly...)
  • There's one in every crowd: the same Paste critic has once again abused his position to malign FOtS in his contribution to the mag's list of 25 Worst Albums of 2012. Consider doing what I did: going to the Album of the Year web site and voicing your opinion!
  • Meanwhile, readers of forums and blogs are starting to chime in. To date, I've seen FOtS named "my favorite album of 2012" at No Depression and Amazon.Com 

Nov. 26: Post-Thanksgiving, pre-Lovesick, non-Blues. Happy Belated Turkey Day to all. Here's the latest scoop on Chris' upcoming solo album, Lovesick Blues:


Those of us who signed up for Chris' email list received our first "newsy" update today with the above hand-written note from Chris and a link to a new, unlisted YouTube video for the previously unheard album track "Skin." The video has the lyrics to the song scrolling across the foreground, with appropriately celestial/arctic/oceanic images in the background. Nice! If you haven't signed up for the email list, go HERE to do so. After all that enticement, if you still don't want to cough up your email address, here's the DIRECT LINK for the new video.

Thanks to a friend of the blog, I can now confirm the following track listing for Lovesick Blues (at least for the advance CD, which I assume will be identical to the official release):

1.   Skin
2.   London
3.   Astronomy
4.   Anyway
5.   You n Me n XTC
6.   I Wrote This Song for You
7.   The Room Above the Bookstore
8.   Wintertime
9.   Occasional Shivers (new version)
10. Lovesick Blues
11. If Memory Serves

Pre-order the CD or LP now at Amazon. 
  
Gives us all something to look forward to in Feb. 2013!

Nov. 15: Meet me in St. Louis. The guys played Blueberry Hill Nov. 17 in St. Louis (OK, technically it's University City). As a preview for the show, Riverfront Times — which has often run some great features about and interviews with The dB's — published a new interview with Peter. Mike Appelstein doesn't really cover any new ground, but it's a solid, medium-length Q&A. I did learn that Chris held onto the old Ace Tone organ that Peter played in the early days, and it can be heard on Falling Off the Sky. The interview also includes this philosophically-minded observation from Peter at the tail end:

I don't know what the future holds for us. I've certainly enjoyed this go-around a lot. I just want to wake up tomorrow. That's triumph. I have discovered that middle age, basically, means waking up and finding friends on the obituary page or sick with cancer. And that's so disheartening. I want to just keep on the sunny side, as the Carter Family would say...wake up in the morning and make it to the end of the day. I'm happy with the little times now.... If I died tomorrow, I would feel that professionally I had accomplished most of what I wanted to do.

Full coverage of the Chicago & St. Louis shows can be found on The dB's Live in 2012 page

Nov. 12: Chicago spotlight. Chicago Reader posted two pieces of note. First is the standard (but well-written) preview story about the Chicago shows. The bigger draw for fans, however, is a great Q&A with Chris by fellow musician Rick Rizzo of the band Eleventh Dream Day. I got the feeling I was listening in on a chat between two respected musicians, trading observations about the music biz, especially writing and recording music. This choice quote, with Chris discussing The dB's band chemistry, deserves its own paragraph:

Gene and Will are—it's like nobody in The dB's really plays straight down the middle of the beat, is my theory. Gene and Will have this thing going on where they dance around it. Gene comes out of kind of a very soulful, Motown, Muscle Shoals kind of bass playing, and he's very fleet. Will can play all kinds of things; he loves country music and old rock 'n' roll. We all used to go see NRBQ all the time, and they're a great example of finding the rhythm in the crevices around the straight downbeat. So when we think about The dB's, we think of little dancing molecules of rhythm more than lyrics of longing.

Read the rest HERE (full text) - preferably right now!   

Nov. 8: Peter spoke and performed at the NC Writers Network fall conference in Cary, N.C. Peter and fellow speaker David Menconi taught a workshop at the conference on music writing (as in writing about music, as well as actually writing music). David (who's just published a new book all about N.C. music phenom Ryan Adams) wrote about co-teaching the workshop at his blog. He says Peter not only played & sang "She Won't Drive In the Rain Anymore" from the new dB's album, he also floored the participants when he sang "Don't Mention the War" (which he released last year on his Radio Free Song Club solo compilation album).
   

Nov. 8: Lovesick Blues album promotion strategy moves into the 21st century. Chris and his label, Yep Roc, seem are gearing up for a bonafide postmodern-era marketing campaign in preparation for the Feb. 2013 release of Lovesick Blues:
  • In exchange for your email address, you can download a free & legal sampler of Chris' music (including the track "Astronomy" from the upcoming release) at Noisetrade. Use this link from Yep Roc to get to Noisetrade (they have free music from lots of other artists, including complete albums, so you may want to check them out).

Nov. 1: First off the starting block... Over at Ourstage.Com, Jim Allen has the first interview with Chris about his new album, Lovesick Blues. Jim has published other admiring pieces about The dB's and the reunion album, and he brings the same sense of enthusiasm to his brief Q&A with Chris. Most interesting tidbits for me: that none of the other dB's appear on the album, why Chris wanted someone else to produce it, that he wrote most of the songs in a two-week period, and that the album is "about different kinds of lovesickness" and "what it’s like to be haunted." Read the rest HERE.

Oct. 28: Chris played a show Friday, Oct. 26 at The Living Room in NYC.
Daniel Coston photo

Fantom, friend & contributor to the blog, was there Friday evening and sent along the following report. THANKS A BUNCH, fantom! 

Nice set tonight. Chris was backed up by Jane Scarpantoni on cello, Andriana Markano on violin, and Lydia Kavanagh, accompanying vocals.

The string trio gave off some echoes of Chris' appearance in NY last year with the Big Star's Third tribute, and seemed like it must have involved a comparable amount of preparation, with him scoring each song for each of his accompanyists.

Most powerful piece for me (though admit I missed the beginning of the set getting over from work) was “Something Came Over Me”, extended with some off-page interludes. “Occasional Shivers”, another oldie that hit home with this set up.

Have yet to really get my head (and heart) around “The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel”, even after seeing The dB's do it this summer, but it rang more true with tonight's lineup than as a rock number. 

Besides the reissued “Shivers”, other two tracks that I heard that I know will be on the new record were “Skin” and "London” (the latter he said was  written in 1992, but then again, as he said later, “I don't make up most of this stuff” in his stage patter [and interviews, it seems], so who knows). Both whetted my appetite for Lovesick Blues. Almost certainly some of the other tracks were from the new record, like the two closers, but don't think he named them and I couldn't identify. Among the other older tracks was “The Seduction” and another from Fireworks (muddy now on whether it was “Perfect Time” or “Glorious Delusion” or both.)

Blogger Johnozed apparently went to the show and took the above photo. I say "apparently" because his post doesn't mention Chris by name (except for the cutline below the photo). However, he does refer to "Jane," who I assume is Jane Scarpantoni, one of the trio of string players noted in fantom's review.

Oct. 21: Preparations are continuing for the release of Chris' Lovesick Blues album early next year on Yep Roc. Here's the album cover (with photo by Daniel Coston):

  
Here's a press release with quotes from Chris about the album:
 
CHRIS STAMEY’S NEW RELEASE, LOVESICK BLUES,
DUE OUT FEBRUARY 5, 2013
dB’s founder, esteemed songwriter and Southern alt-pop godfather
hits a creative high with intimate, expansive new set

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — “This record is the closest I’ve ever gotten to the sound I hear in my head in the middle of the night,” Chris Stamey says of his new Yep Roc Records release, Lovesick Blues, set for February 5, 2013 release. “It’s always the quiet ones that sound the loudest in the dark.”

As a solo artist, producer, arranger, studio entrepreneur and founder of seminal indie combo the dB’s, the North Carolina-bred singer/songwriter/guitarist has built a beloved and influential catalog that’s earned him the devotion of a far-ranging fan base and won him enduring status as a godfather to the Southern alternative pop community. 

Lovesick Blues is Stamey’s first full-length release since A Question of Temperature, his 2005 collaboration with Yo La Tengo. The new album follows on the heels of Falling Off the Sky, the long-awaited, much-acclaimed reunion album of the dB’s, as well as Stamey’s involvement as musical director and orchestrator for a series of all-star concert performances of Big Star’s classic Third album in New York, London, Austin and Carrboro, NC. 

While his prior work has established Stamey as an incisive songwriter, compelling performer and innovative sonic architect, Lovesick Blues finds the artist staking out some new songwriting territory, with inspired results. Such vividly forthright new tunes as “Skin,” “London,” “Wintertime” and “I Wrote This Song for You” deliver bittersweet, personal lyrics and inventive acoustic arrangements that employ strings, woodwinds and vocal harmonies to evoke the songs’ emotional landscapes. 

Those intimate numbers are balanced by more upbeat tunes like the vibrantly jangly "Astronomy" and the playful road-trip memoir "You n Me n XTC." Another highlight is the poignant late-night torch song "Occasional Shivers," which Stamey first recorded as the B side of a limited-edition Christmas single in 1986.  The album's musical and thematic centerpiece is the seven-minute "Lovesick Blues," dedicated to the late North Carolina guitar great Sam Moss, and encompassing solitary late-night heartbreak, sweeping orchestral drama and redemptive uplift.

The resulting album is a landmark for Stamey, balancing his new songs’ unfiltered emotional honesty with the effortless melodic craft that’s always been a hallmark of his work. 

“I wanted to make a record that could make you feel less alone, like someone else has been there before you,” Stamey explains. “I was thinking about records like The Ballad of Todd Rundgren and Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter and Robert Wyatt’s “At Last I Am Free” and Richard Thompson’s Small Town Romance. Those are all records that were a source of comfort to me at various points in my life. They were records that seemed to speak one-on-one, records that weren’t trying to sell you anything. It’s that old saw about the blues being sad yet making you feel better. None of the songs on Lovesick Blues are traditional three-chord blues, but some of them speak that same emotional language.”

Like the recent dB’s album, Lovesick Blues was birthed at Modern Recording, the small yet technologically advanced Chapel Hill studio that Stamey has operated for the past two decades, where he’s produced recordings by the likes of Whiskeytown, Alejandro Escovedo, Flat Duo Jets, Le Tigre and Tift Merritt. The Lovesick Blues sessions found him handing the production reins to fellow North Carolina musician/producer Jeff Crawford, who’s also a solo artist and a member of the band the Old Ceremony. The album also draws upon the talents of the Fellow Travellers, a core group of musically literate young players from the Chapel Hill area who participated in the Big Star concerts, as well as members of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.

“I wrote most of the songs during one two-week period,” Stamey explains, adding, “I’d wake up early and go into a room where the light was good and write a song every day. Then I played them for Jeff, and we picked the ones that seemed best for the way we wanted to record. On most of the songs, we first did live takes, with me playing guitar and singing at the same time. Then we’d orchestrate them, adding the string and wind and vocal colors that we thought were needed to underline the meaning of the songs.  In the process, I added a couple of older songs, ‘London’ and ‘Occasional Shivers,’ which seemed to make sense for this album.”

Some unexpected but helpful input arrived in the form of XTC’s Andy Partridge, who entered the picture after Stamey invited him to make a vocal cameo on “You n Me n XTC.”  Partridge declined the offer, but ended up getting involved in the project anyway, offering some key production, arranging and mixing suggestions via transatlantic email. 

“He didn’t like the repetitive chords of ‘You n Me n XTC,’” Stamey admits. “It was only after I played him the other songs that he started getting really into it. He became a long-distance safety net for us; Jeff and I would send him mp3s of songs in progress and he’d write back with very detailed, specific suggestions. It was like having an exceptionally intuitive Ouija board, and it really enlivened the process.”

Growing up in Winston-Salem, Stamey made his earliest ventures into recording with a series of homemade avant-garde experiments with future Let’s Active leader Mitch Easter during grade school, then studied formal composition at UNC-Chapel Hill before starting the obscure but ultimately influential Sneakers. Stamey launched his own pioneering indie label, Car Records, in 1976, and the following year moved to New York, where he played bass with Alex Chilton before forming the dB’s. 

The dB’s recorded a pair of albums, 1981’s Stands for Decibels and 1982’s Repercussion, that remain indie-pop landmarks. Stamey then departed for a solo career, turning out a series of smart, musically adventurous gems including It’s A Wonderful Life, Instant Excitement, It’s Alright, Fireworks, Travels in the South and the holiday-themed Christmas Time. His catalog also includes a pair of duo albums with Peter Holsapple, Mavericks and Here and Now, as well as the experimental instrumental departure The Robust Beauty of Improper Linear Models in Decision Making, a collaboration with guitarist Kirk Ross, and A Question of Temperature, on which he was backed by longtime friends (and early production clients) Yo La Tengo.

Having recently wrapped up a round of rocking live shows with the reunited dB’s, and energized by the understated intensity of his new solo effort, Stamey is planning on bringing Lovesick Blues to the live stage with an acoustic chamber-pop format, touring on his own and calling on local string players and harmony singers to play the notated arrangements.

By embodying the qualities that have always been at the heart of his work, while introducing some vital new elements to the mix, Lovesick Blues demonstrates that, after a lifetime of music-making, Chris Stamey’s flame still burns as brightly as ever.

“I’ve been very lucky to have been around a lot of great, creative musicians in my life,” he states, adding, “I still learn things all the time from them, and I know that I still have a long way to go.  But I think this is the closest I’ve gotten on record to expressing what is unique about what I do, the part that’s been there all along.”

For more information about Chris Stamey please contact Conqueroo:
Cary Baker • (323) 656-1600 • cary@conqueroo.com
 

Oct. 19: The news is not new, but the photos are. Jacob Blickenstaff took a bunch of great photos at the Americana Music Fest last month in Nashville, TN. Mother Jones magazine's online site not only published the cream of the photos, but also an essay by Jacob about the experience. Some of you dB's fans with good memories might recall that Chris played the festival. The following are two of Jacob's photos that include Mr. Stamey (the second is from Jacob's web site, where there are a bunch more photos to enjoy).

Chris Stamey with Emily Nelson and Brett Harris at the High Watt, Nashville
both photos by Jacob Blickenstaff

Mike Mills, singing some of Big Star's Third, while Chris strums & sings
Oct. 12 updateChris' name is getting dropped these days on account of Yep Roc Records' 15th anniversary. (Yep Roc is the label that will be releasing Chris' new solo album in 2013). The label had a series of anniversary concerts in the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.) Oct. 10-13. Chris hosted an invitation-only, multi artist, live-in-the-studio performance on Oct. 13 that might be released someday...

IndyWeek had the most comprehensive coverage of the label's history and significance HERE and, in a cool sidebar called "15 Titles That Sound Like Yep Roc," they listed one of the most obscure releases in Chris' entire discography. Find out which one it is HERE.

Oct. 5: Photographer Daniel Coston is the talented guy responsible for most of The dB's publicity photos in the 21st century. Looks like Chris has tapped him to do a photo shoot in preparation for Chris' upcoming solo release, Lovesick Blues (now slated for a Feb. 2013 release on Yep Roc). Daniel mentions the September photo shoot for Chris in this blog entry he posted recently.

Speaking of Chris' new album, I just discovered this page at Yep Roc that will let you exchange your email address for a quite lovely free track called "Astronomy" from Lovesick Blues. (You can also stream the track without giving out your email address.)

Final bit of Chris Stamey related musical news: The Spinto Band, which opened for The dB's at Maxwell's on Sept. 1, covered Chris' song "The Summer Sun" for AV Club. Watch a video of it HERE.   

What are your Top 10 CDs right now? Blogger T=bomb has Falling Off the Sky on his current Top 10 list, alongside new releases (by The Gaslight Anthem, The Shins, Alejandro Escovedo, etc.) as well as old ones (by The Byrds & The Decemberists). Check out his full list at the blog From the Corner of E Street & Abbey Road.

Sept. 30: Some things you can't find online...
 
Stereophile mag review
COVERed: The dB's make the front of Magnet




















Back in July, Stereophile chose the new dB's album as one of only half a dozen new releases to review. Did they like it? Judge for yourself (click to enlarge or do a "save as" command & open the jpeg in your viewer):
Stereophile review;
click to enlarge

Meanwhile, Issue 89 of the great Philly-headquartered Magnet magazine had a feature-length profile of the band and even name-checked our guys on the front cover (placing their preview alongside the one for Patti Smith). You can order a back issue of #89 for just $7.00 HERE. Now then, who the heck are The Hives??
 
Magnet magazine inside; click to enalrge

























OK: this one you can find online: Andrew J. Miller wrote a profile of Chris, focusing mostly on his role as producer, in a recent edition of Nashville Music Guide. Miller does mention the new dB's album and says Chris' upcoming solo album, Lovesick Blues, is due out in Feb. 2013 on Yep Roc. Read the profile HERE. (You can get a PDF of the article with this LINK.)
 
Sept. 22: Coupla recent things that are worth noting under this heading:
  • Just discovered that Chris had a call-in interview on WFMU-FM Sept. 1 as a preview of The dB's Maxwell's show later that evening. DJ Michael Shelley is a long-time advocate for The dB's music, and asks some good questions during the 8-minute segment. You can download a podcast of the whole 2-hour show or just stream Michael's interview with Chris (that begins 1 hour & 7 mins. into the show) HERE
  • Over at Broken Hearted Toy, Terry Flamm reported in his recent "Slumgullion" column that The dB's will play Chicago on Nov. 15. Terry linked to THIS Chicago venue's web site for further details.
  • There are two newly-posted Falling Off the Sky album reviews: at the blog Now This ROCKS!, Bill has a way positive review, which includes the following rave: "The melodies are so perfectly crafted that Falling Off The Sky should be textbook for pop songwriters. Hands down one of the best releases of 2012, not to mention the most welcome reunion." Read the rest HERE. Mining a similar vein of positivity in Goldmine magazine's online edition, John M. Borack says FOtS is "a joy from start to finish, as it’s packed with inspired, hyper-melodic tunes from the dynamic duo of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, clever arrangements, sweet and sour lyrical musings, and nifty little aural twists at every turn." Borack's final verdict? FOtS is "the finest album they've ever recorded." Read the rest HERE.

Sept. 14: Dirty Impound had a strong review of Falling Off the Sky some weeks back. Now, it has something a bit more lighthearted: a Q&A with Chris that's one of the sillier, but no less delightful, dB's pieces to appear online. It's the kind of thing Creem magazine pioneered a long time ago, with open-ended questions that can prompt either serious or ridiculous responses. To wit: "6. One thing I wish people knew about me is… [Chris' reply:] …that I’m very secretive. 7. I love the sound of… [Chris' reply:] A waterfall (don’t like the sound of breaking glass so much, but it is fun to see it shatter in slo-mo)." The rest is HERE.

Sept. 13: It looks like a news update is overdue. Here's an interesting mix of stuff, all of which focuses on our favorite band:
  • At The Big Takeover, Matthew Berlyant is once again raving about The dB's, this time listing the vinyl + CD + download card package of Falling Off the Sky as #6 on his Top 10 of the week, calling it "a great package and a must for dB's fans." See the rest of Matthew's list HERE.
  • At Sound and Vision Magazine, Mark Smotroff also thinks the vinyl edition of FOtS is an amazing deal. And the music? Smotroff says "this is the dBs playing with a sense of authority and conviction that can only come from years on the road and writing hundreds of songs to find the great ones. And there are many great ones on this new album." You can read the rest HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page).
  • At the most excellent IndyWeek.Com, Chris is quoted in a feature story about the influence of The dB's on other NC-based bands. Here's a choice quote from Chris in comments to writer Jordan Lawrence: "Being in a band has always seemed to me a bit like being a food dish — you start with ingredients perhaps taken from things you admire and things that have moved you. For The dB's, these included NRBQ, The Kinks, DNA, Big Star and a thousand more. But as soon as you hit the rapidly boiling water of gigs, rehearsals, recordings, you get reduced down to who you really are." The rest of the article is HERE.
  • To coincide with last week's Hopscotch Music Fest, Blurt Online re-ran a feature story about The dB's that I missed the first time around. Michael Berick did a great job summarizing the band's history. And I really like this description of the band's musical dynamics that begins with a quote from Peter: " 'Gene and Will can still weave and dip like slalom experts, and Chris and I still do our thing with the guitars where we support each other and can allow each other to fly where we need to.' Stamey cites the importance of Holder and Rigby's roles to the band's music: 'The two of them, together in the studio, make the sound of the band -- Peter and I just decorate it with some guitars and words.' " Well worth a read, the rest is HERE.
  • Our final entry is from the high-profile Salon.Com, that recently ran a very well-written feature story about the ups and downs of band reunions. Writer Scott Timberg quotes Peter on The dB's reunion and, in surveying the myriad of reasons for a band to get back together, Timberg portrays The dB's as being in it for the music and intra-band friendships. There's also this hard-for-a-fan-to-read quote from Peter: " 'I see my future as being less of a professional musician,' says the singer, who helps manage the performing arts center in Durham, N.C. 'We have a generation of listeners who don’t think they need to pay for music. I have a family and a life and I have to think of something besides beating my head against the wall as a musician. It’s sad for me.' Sometimes, he says, he wishes he’d finished college and chosen to do something more practical." The rest of the lengthy story is HERE.

Sept. 4: Another new review, this one from Americana-UK. Tim Merricks gives Falling Off the Sky a 7 out of 10 rating and says, "it’s good to see The dB’s back where they belong -- together. [The album] ... sees a return of that classic hybrid sound of geeky and cool that so few have pulled off and supplies a welcome backdrop for a lively album which includes some alt-pop gems." Read the rest of his review HERE.


Sept. 2: Relish, The Winston-Salem, NC Journal's weekend entertainment supplement, has a profile of Chris, primarily as a music producer, but also as a member of The dB's. Read the story HERE to find out why Chris doesn't mind that some of the artists he produces don't know he's a songwriter...

Sept. 1: It's September, and once again, we have a fresh album review and interview, both courtesy of Innocent Words. In his album review, Paul Barrel thinks of FOtS as a welcome return of "college rock and The dB's." He likes just about everything on it, but seems especially taken with "Far Away and Long Ago." In an interview with Barrel, Peter proclaims that FOtS is selling better than any previous dB's record (but is "exponentially selling less than Justin Beiber"). Best & funniest moments in the interview involve Peter talking about his kids' opinion of the album and, ... wait for it ... Peter's favorite vegetables. Review is HERE, interview is HERE.

August 31:   Stream the Aug. 31 Philly show now!  
Thanks to the great WXPN-FM radio station in Philly, you can stream the guys' live show from Aug. 31st. Go to the following and click the link for The dB's 8.31.12 --
 
http://www.xpn.org/concerts-events/free-at-noon
 
It's a short, but very sweet, 8-song set. I also posted a 10-song audience recording of the show on the blog's main pages, so have a look there if you like... Enjoy!


You can read more about the show and get links to a video on my "dB's Live" page HERE.

And here's one more interview with Peter, dating all the way back to June (how the heck did I miss it??). The Q&A can be found on Music Radar, a site appealing primarily to guitarists. Other than one tech-y Q & A towards the end, interviewer Joe Bosso does a nice job asking questions that will appeal to all the fans. I was particularly interested in what Peter had to say about his preference for two-part vocal harmonies and his comments about the song "I Didn't Mean to Say That."

August 23: A most excellent interview with Peter has just been posted at My Spilt Milk, a New Orleans music-centric web site. Alex Rawls asks some great questions and gives Peter enough space to give thoughtful, fully-formed answers about the new album and other related topics. The most heartening quote is one that pretty much reverses an earlier announcement by Peter that Falling Off the Sky would be his musical swan song:
"The idea of stopping it never really entered my mind. I think of the job as something that I’m doing, but I don’t see it as the end of my musical career. You might ask me another day and I might tell you that it is, but I mainly want to be able to still create. I’m not going to lose that." Read the rest HERE.

August 19: Not really an update, but a "note of possible interest" for fan geeks like me and a friend of the blog. The friend was trying to collect the titles of dB's tracks that were recorded (or rumored to have been recorded) since the 2005 reunion, but have not been released so far.

Here's the list of titles for unreleased 21st century dB's recordings that he and I came up with (please get in touch if you want to add, subtract or correct): 

Lakefront
Dear Valentine (possibly same as Dear Friend)
Orange Squeezer
Clever
So Sad About Sam
Trying to Get to the Chorus
Strong for You
cover of Canned Heat's "On the Road Again"
cover tune from the Byrds

August 16: Fewer posts these days because there's not as much "new album news" -- since it's not technically new anymore! Anyway, here are a few recent noteworthy items:
    • GLawless at Down Our Nose blog likes the new Rush album better (!?!) than The dB's, but gives FOtS a 3.5 out of 5, and has good stuff to say about it in his brief review HERE.
    • Record Collector online gives FOtS 3 out of 4 stars, courtesy of reviewer Terry Staunton, who calls the album "a master class in hard-edged jangle-tinged power pop." Read the rest of the 3-paragraph review HERE.
    • Justin McDaid of Ramp.IE gives the album 3.5 out of 5 stars. Even though it's a mixed review, he likes the album pretty well: "The dB’s flair for taking a melody ... in an unexpected direction remains undimmed -- this is a band re-discovering their stride." A worthwhile, balanced review: HERE.
    • Regular readers of this page know that I'm a sucker for English translations of foreign album reviews. Here's how Google translates a line from the FOtS review from the German-language Audio Zone: "in every way round and clever album with successful suspense and a pleasant atmosphere, all the answered questions about the justification of such a reunion only positive!" Here's the rest via Google translation.

    August 11: Rhapsody digs Falling Off the Sky. To be more specific, Justin Farrar really likes the new album. He says so here, listing FOtS among the "Top 15 Rock Albums" of August (?).

    July 31: It's certainly not long-winded, but I love kingwart's 3-sentence review of Falling Off the Sky posted over at the Pop Underground blog a few days ago. Compare & contrast what he says about FOtS and the new Beach Boys album...

    July 28: A belated "welcome to our party" goes out to these two reviewers, who both really love Falling Off the Sky: Ron Hart chose it as his "Pick of the Week" at Dirty Impound, where he makes the strongest case yet that R.E.M. fans saddened by the band's breakup should get on board The dB's bandwagon: "From the outcome of this stellar comeback, the sky’s the limit for a band whose time to enjoy the proper recognition as one of college rock’s most important and essential acts by this modern generation of Pitchfork preemies is beyond overdue." (Couldn't have said it better myself.) The rest of Ron's rave is HERE.
         There's also a glowing review from Gene Triplett, writing for the online edition of The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman. Triplett says "from the opening garage-band twang and Vox organ strut of Holsapple’s 'That Time is Gone,' you know dB’s still stand for decibels — in the high numbers." Read the rest HERE.
     
    July 25: Two more album reviews. The first is from the blog Broken Hearted Toy, which gave us some news about the album before it was finally released. Terry gives Falling off the Sky a mixed review, saying there's "plenty of good material for fans to embrace," but says some tracks are either too theatrical, too long, or too generic. Read the rest here. Over at Bman's Blues Report blog, Bman thinks FOtS is a very strong offering and can't wait to have his best friend hear it (don't stop there, Bman!). Read his review HERE.

    July 24: True to its name, Powerpopaholic.com seems to prefer the tracks from Falling Off the Sky which more or less fit the often-misapplied term "power pop." But, rather inexplicably, Mr. Kupferberg thinks songs like "She Won't Drive In the Rain Anymore" are merely "average." Read the rest of his brief, but mostly positive, review here.   

    July 23: LOST IN TRANSLATION? Here's a foreign-language album review in Polish (but already translated for your reading convenience into English). Blogger Alexx Trusc says Falling Off the Sky "regales the listener with a compilation of carefree pieces in climates of power and jangle pop." Dude -- I think that means she likes it. Read the rest in English (and in the original Polish) HERE

    July 21: Alex at the blog Clicks & Pops thinks Falling Off the Sky ranks right up there with The dB's first two albums. Welcome to the club, Alex!

    July 20: Are The dB's "mega" according to Meta?!?
    Here's an interesting Internet-era phenomenon for music fans: web sites that aggregate and quantify critics' ratings for a particular album. You've heard of Rotten Tomatoes, the site that does the same thing for movies? Well, now meet Metacritic and AnyDecentMusic, two sites that are offering the same service for music.
         In the case of our heroes, The dB's new album fares pretty well at the two sites, but there's a 10-point "spread" because of the differences re: the critics and/or "media outlets" they choose to include:
    • AnyDecentMusic says Falling Off the Sky merits an overall 6.2 positive rating (on a 100-point scale, it's the equivalent of 62%). BUT...
    • Metacritic says the same album merits a 72% positive rating. Click the links for more info.
    • Rob-in-Brevard says: my aggregation of all the reviews that give the album some sort of quantifiable rating (a number, stars, or letter grade), adds up to an overall positive rating of 77%. Hey, if it can't be 110%, I guess 77% is pretty good...   
     
    July 18: MORE REVIEWS! They keep writing & posting 'em, and I'll keep giving you the links:
    • Mike Davies, writing for Roots & Branches, likes Falling Off the Sky. (Not sure all of us were actually "wetting" ourselves over the album, but I know what he means...) Scroll about 2/3's of the way down the page to find his review.
    • FOtS is "Album of the Week" at influential WXPN in Philadelphia. WXPN is the home of "World Cafe," the nationally-syndicated NPR music show. Read the station's flattering comments about the album HERE

    July 15: The Philadelphia Inquirer's Nick Cristiano gives the album 3 out of 4 stars and calls it a "winsome return" in his brief review. England's The Guardian recently reviewed the album, which rates 3 out of 5 stars according to Maddy Costa. He singles out "Far Away and Long Ago" and "That Time is Gone" for positive mentions in his brief review, but he isn't impressed with everything. Much more fun to read is the blog review at Blailist, where Blaise gives the FOtS "Album of the Month" honors. He has one of the most enjoyable "how I discovered The dB's and why you should love them, too" essays to date. Sean Hickey is equally enthusiastic in his praises, but a bit briefer in his review for the Journal Register News Service. With FOtS, Hickey says The dB's have regained the throne as "kings of power pop."

    July 12: Falling Off the Sky made two more "Best of the Year So Far" lists: Shawn Sensiba of The Janesville, WI, Gazette includes it among about 15 albums, including new ones by Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and The Beach Boys. Meanwhile, The Austin Chronicle's Jim Caligiuri has put together a song mix with cuts from his Best of 2012 picks. In addition to The dB's "World to Cry," he also includes songs by Rhett Miller, Loudon Wainwright III and Chuck Prophet.

    July 11: Can't believe people are still writing & publishing new stuff about the album a month after its release (but that's not a complaint!). Here's the most recent stuff that's worth a look:
    • The online 'zine Ink19 has a lengthy & positive review of the album by Sean Slone HERE.
    • Writing for Rocker Music ("The Lifestyle 'Zine for Mature Hipsters"), Brett Milano has a great interview with Peter and Chris, found HERE. Insightful questions & good answers...
    • Finally, I've been looking for a foreign-language review worth a link, and I just found one HERE at the Spanish-language Rio Rojo. If you need English translation, try this link.

    July 10: Ever notice how some people (especially certain "music critics") seem to get a cheap thrill from trashing music -- music they knew they weren't going to like even before they heard it? Not sure what's behind little tirades like these (bad food? relational issues at home? favorite team lost the game last night?). But here are two recent examples, with our dB's being on the receiving end of the rants:
      • Luke Winkie apparently didn't get his obvious dislike of Falling Off the Sky out of his system when he wrote his review of the album for Paste. Recently, he had to slam it again in this intro to his list of "Eight Great Comeback Albums," saying, "I recently spent some quality time with Falling off the Sky, the new album from the recently reunited dB’s. Naturally, it was the exact sort of mediocre rock record you’d expect out of a group of graying, past-prime legends grasping at one final ride." Sure hope the next meal/relationship/ball game works out better for you, Luke.
      • Over at the Rock Town Hall blog/forum, "KingEd" just posted an insta-review of FOtS that's at least entertaining when it slams the album -- and Ed says he kinda likes the first half. (You know you're in for a rough ride, though, when someone can't find anything positive to say about "World to Cry"!) To his credit, KE confesses he's a huge fan of the first two albums, and his is not the first review that sounds disappointed the new one isn't cut out of the exact same cloth as the debut and Repercussion. (Have a look at the comments by "Oats," who disagrees with the King...)  
      On an upbeat note, the blog writer Slack-a-go-go puts the new album among his Top 20 for the first half of 2012. Judging by his other picks, I'd say The dB's are in good company...
       
      July 5: COVER BOYS! The dB's are on the cover of this month's Stomp and Stammer music magazine. Glen Sarvady interviewed Peter and wrote a feature story covering past history, personal life, and of course the new album. Read all about it HERE.

      July 3: If you didn't catch it live, you can still hear and read the great review of Falling Off the Sky by rock music critic Ken Tucker from the July 3rd episode of the nationally-syndicated NPR radio show "Fresh Air." It's the first review I've encountered that not only talks about Will's "Write Back," but also discusses the ambiguity built into the song regarding what sort of writing he's singing about. You can listen to the segment and/or download it HERE. (Hint: after you click the link, you'll see 2 segments from the show available in the upper-right window. Click the one that says "The dB's", then click the download arrow underneath the audio player. You'll get the last 8 mins. of the show...)
          
           There are also these links of note:
      • The reviewer for the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star already wrote a strong review for Falling Off the Sky. Now, L. Kent Wolgamott is listing it among his best albums so far in 2012. 
      • The music reviewer for The Pilot in Hampton Roads, VA, says the new album "fires on all creative cylinders" in his brief review.
      • Whoever writes for the WordPress blog Hyperbolium makes it clear in his worthwhile review why he thinks FOtS stands proudly alongside The dB's first two albums.

      June 30: The month closes with three positive reviews:
      • Although his piece at InternetFM is entitled "Song of the Day," Eric Berman likes not only "That Time Is Gone," but the rest of the album as well.
      • Writing for The Chicago Sun-Times, Thomas Conner gives the album 2 and a half stars (out of 4, I guess), but likes the album well enough ... so maybe he's just hard on most artists he reviews!
      • Bob Mersereau really likes the album, raving about it in his review for his Top 100 Canadian music blog.
      June 28: It's HERE! (talkin' 180-gram LP):

      The vinyl package includes the 12-track CD 
      and a download card to access 5 bonus tracks.
      June 27: GOT VINYL?!? Those of us who ordered the LP package for Falling Off the Sky have the joy of opening up that puppy, enjoying the full-size artwork, and hearing those 5 exclusive, downloadable bonus tracks. My mini review is HERE.
       
      Meanwhile, here are 4 more album reviews: 
      • A strangely mixed-bag review from Luke Winkie at Paste. Winkie tries to say the album is an important musical "event," but he thinks the actual results are rather lacking, even though it's "not even all bad." Can't wait to read the rest of it, right?
      • Writing his review for Spectrum Culture, Dan Seeger has a similar point of view: the advent of the album is significant, but he feels it only rates 2.25 out of a possible 5 (gee whiz, couldn't you have just given 'em the other 0.25?!?). The rest is here.
      • More gooder is James Kelly's brief review for Atlanta's Creative Loafing. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
      • Bestest of the bunch, though, is Steve Pick's rave review, written for Blurt online. Pick rates FOtS a 9 out of 10, and does an admirable job describing the musical dynamics of "The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel." Pick has so much trouble choosing a few tracks to download, he recommends you spring for "the whole darn record. Really." 

      June 26: The dB's made one more "Best of 2012 So Far" list: WBEZ Sound Opinion's Jim DeRogatis puts Falling Off the Sky at #4 on his Top 10 list. You can see what else is on his list and co-host Greg Kot's HERE. Listen to the podcast (where FOtS is at #3!) HERE. Thanks to Walt Falconer for the tip...

      June 25: May be a sign of the times that on a Monday, I have nothing else to post except the 6 customer reviews at Amazon.com (including one by yours truly). Other than waiting for the vinyl release this week, that may be all she wrote for new album reviews. We shall see... Meanwhile, those of you who've caught one of The dB's recent live shows, send some info about the show my way (including good photos) and I'll be glad to post!

      June 24: Falling Off the Sky appears on two music critics' lists of "best" and "worth a listen." In the second category, Erik Oster (writing for The Faster Times) says the album is one of 4 released this month that should not be overlooked. Meanwhile, Nick DeRiso places the album at #2 on his list of Top 10 for the first half of 2012. Have a look HERE to see which album came in at #1.

      June 22: I was gone again, now back again (what can I say; it's summer time...). Here's my catch-up post:
      • More "Don't Believe All the Hype"-slanted reviews are getting posted: one in Pitchfork, saying Falling Off the Sky deserves only a measly 5.7 out of 10 points. Stephen Deusner's big complaint seems to be that, lyrically, there's not enough authentic, 21st-century dB's in the album. Meanwhile, at Shuffle, Bryan C. Reed tries to damn the album with faint praise by saying it fails to exceed the quality of the music they made in the past (!). Writing for Under the Radar,
      • BUT there are also more "It's Really Awesome"-type reviews. Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago music writer & longtime admirer of the band, offers his praises here at WBEZ's blog. At American Songwriter, Hal Horowitz gives the album 3.5 out of 4 stars and calls all 12 songs "perfectly crafted" in his brief review. Writing for the Lincoln, NE Journal Star, reviewer L. Kent Wolgamott says the album deserves an A grade. Finally, the online edition of The North Coast Journal in California loves the album. Reviewer Mark Shikuma says the guys "all brought their A-game to the table and Falling Off the Sky is flush with some of Stamey’s and Holsapple’s finest songs." Read the rest HERE.
      • Bill Kopp has a terrific in-depth interview with Peter posted at his Musoscribe blog. Bill has followed the band with admiration over the years, and asks insightful questions focused on the music and the process of creating the new album. Read the whole thing HERE.
      • Richmond, VA's Style Weekly has a solid interview with Chris in its current edition. Interviewer Brian Greene coaxed an unusual response from Chris (one I haven't seen elsewhere) when asked what he'd like to see The dB's do next in the studio. Find out what Chris says HERE.
      • Paste magazine is now video streaming The dB's entire 7-song March 15 performance from this year's SXSW festival in Austin. Subscribers ($2.99 per month) can see and hear the whole thing. Everyone else can have a look at the first song HERE.
      • If you want the digital download and have an eMusic account, you'll like the $6.99 price tag for Falling Off the Sky HERE.

      June 17: Just discovered two solid posts at Caught In the Carousel: a positive review here and yet another great Q&A with Peter here. Both were written by Rob Ross, a musician-engineer-producer type of guy. Sunday is an excellent day to savor both of these...

      Amazon sales ranking update: Falling Off the Sky is #105 in overall music sales today and #75 in the Amazon category Rock music.

      June 16: Looks like the critical backlash is setting in. There's a pattern with some new releases like Falling Off the Sky in which very strongly positive reviews in advance of the general release (and, in this case, after the release) lead to skepticism among other critics who seem to say, "I'LL be the judge of whether this album is worth all the hype or not."
      • Example 1: snarky one-line review by Spin magazine critic here. Verdict: 6 out of 10 stars.
      • Example 2: Zachary Houle's recent review in PopMatters (see link at June 15). The subheading gives the flavor: "Stands for Decent Band" (ha ha). Verdict: 7 out of 10.
      • Example 3: Rock NYC's new review, with head-scratching lines like "the songwriting and inspiration are lacking" (???). Verdict: grade B.
      If you take the trouble to read any of these, though, you'll see how even the skeptics have to begrudgingly admit the strengths of the album (certain songs they like or the excellent musicianship & song arrangements, etc.) The PopMatters review really tries to have it both ways in its second half, doling out praise in one sentence and sniffy criticisms in the next. Others, like the one in Rock NYC, seem to be based on a single quick scan of the disc. How else can you come up with lines like "The hallmarks of the best dB’s tunes — indelible choruses, wondrous joy, droll irony — are nowhere to be found." Dude, are we even talking about the same release?!?

      Postscript: as if to reassure dB's fans that not all the latest reviews have it in for the deeBs, here's a 5 out of 5 review I just found at The Falcon's Nest music blog. And here's one more well-written feature, including quotes from an interview with Peter and Chris, by Natalie Elliott. It appears in Capital New York.
       
      June 15: Another set of reviews, most of them extremely positive, plus a feature story in Blurt magazine.

      June 14: Earbuddy's Chris Bell was raving about Falling Off the Sky even before he'd reviewed it (see April 26 update below). Now, his full review has been posted and the verdict is: 9 out of 10 stars and "one of the best records that will be released this year." It's worth reading the rest of what Chris says HERE.

      Following closely on the heels of Nick Deriso's great review of the new album, he has now posted an excellent interview with Peter. (Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is HERE.) Nick wrote all of these for Something Else Reviews.

      June 13: MTV Hive has a lengthy Q&A with Peter and Chris. Most of it focuses on the earlier chapters of The dB's, but stay with it until the end. If you do, you'll pick up some nuggets about the reunion and the new album (such as which songs on it were also recorded for a never-released solo album by Chris).

      Amazon Top 100, Day 2: today marks the second day the new album has enjoyed Top 100 status in Amazon's music sales listings. It's in 99th place today, but who knows? It might go up tomorrow...

      Other posts worth noting:
        • Sound and Vision online magazine has a brief, very positive review here.
        • Music blog Tulip Frenzy is in a tizzy over the new album -- a really awesome and inspired tizzy. Read why here.
        • The Associated Press has just published a very positive review of Falling Off the Sky. You'll be seeing Steven Wine's piece in lots of media outlets, such as this one.
        • Consequence of Sound is not terribly impressed. Jon Hadusek's lukewarm review is here. (Like AP, CoS reviews appear in other places so, unfortunately, we will be seeing Hadusek's opinion elsewhere on the web...)
        • Writing for Time Out New York, Mikael Wood really knows how to hurt a musician. He says about the new album (meaning to be complimentary, I guess), "what the dB’s lack in sex appeal they make up for with the strength of their songwriting" (!). Anyway, it's a short, positive review
        • Writing for Chud.Com, Jason Pollock lumps it in with just about everything else released on Tuesday (including video games), but he really likes FOtS. Scroll about 2/3's of the way down for the review.
        • Writing for the online edition of the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, Devin Grant really digs the new album. His brief review is here.
        • Music Fog has a brief story about the new album, but the bigger draw is probably the live video of "That Time Is Gone" from The dB's performance at Threadgill's in Austin, TX, back in March. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a look.
          WANNA GET THE NEW ALBUM IN HIGH-QUALITY MP3 OR EVEN LOSSLESS? If you've got a few extra dollars and you want higher-quality files than iTunes or Amazon, take a look HERE. HDTracks is offering the new album in FLAC, AIFF, or MP3 (not sure exact bit rate on the latter). But the FLAC version of the album is only $11.98. Individual downloads are available for 5 of the tracks at $1.49 each.

          June 12: I've been away for a few days, in part to attend The dB's album release show in Durham (see the new page with news about recent live shows). So, here's the backlog of what's been posted while I was gone. Hold onto your seats:
            • AllMusic's Mark Deming has an interesting, 3.5-star review of Falling Off the Sky that focuses on the "bugaboo" of what a band might/could/should sound like when it reunites after many years apart. I just wish he'd focused more on the music they actually did make...
            • eMusic has a nice spread on the new album, with two items by contributor Peter Gerstenzang. First is a brief, but positive review. Second is an excellent Q&A with Peter and Chris.
            • Writing for NPR Music, Elizabeth Nelson Bracy has a shortish (but quite sweetish) review of the new album here.
            • Something Else Reviews has a great review by Nick DeRiso, who sums it up by saying, "It’s not just that they’re back. It’s that they may be better than ever."
            • The Boston Globe has a very positive, but rather brief, review by Geoff Edgers.
            • Over at the Pop Fair blog, Haper has a nice roundup related to the new album and listing the "new" tracks that didn't make the album. It's here.
            • At MusicRadar, Joe Bosso has a lengthy Q&A with Peter. Nice job, Joe!
            • The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot reviews the album in a very positive vein & gives it 3.5 stars out of 4.
            • Brooklyn Vegan's Bill Pearls has a brief review here. The blog is also streaming most of the new album plus most of the group's first two .
            • The Big Takeover has posted a second (also quite positive) review of the new album by Matthew Berlyant.
            • Triangle Music has a great review that theorizes BBQ & Cheerwine must have something to do with NC bands' ability to age well ...
            • Writing for AOL's Spinner, Kenneth Partridge has a very solid interview with Peter here.
            • Sal Nunziato bravely bucks the trend in his Burning Wood blog and politely, but firmly, says he can't get into Peter's or Chris' vocals on the new album.
            • Finally, here's the winner of the "article about The dB's found in the most unlikely place" award: a review of the album in the arch-conservative Washington Times. It's by Andrew Leahey. 
            Those who like/love the song "She Won't Drive In the Rain Anymore" should read this brief article at GotCountryOnline that quotes Peter and his co-writer about the song's composition. It includes Kristian Bush's feelings about having a co-write on a dB's album. Or you can read the full back story here at Kristian's own site. 

            June 9: Subscribers to The dB's email list received this upbeat message today:

            "We start our album release (mini) tour today in Durham, NC at Motorco Music Hall and are wonderfully excited by the release of the album this coming Tuesday. We are thankful for the great press we've been given by our friends locally in NC as well as an album review and full album stream just released yesterday by Rolling Stone. You can listen to the full album through Tuesday so pop it on the computer while you're drinking your morning coffee.


            We will continue to check in with you and give you the upates but soon you'll be hearing us on XM Loft Sessions, Mountain Stage, Fresh Air and a few others. Thanks for your support and we'll see you soon.

            6/14 - IOTA CLUB & CAFE - Arlington VA with Brett Harris
            Doors: 8:30pm

            6/15 - LE POISSON ROUGE - New York NY with Lianne Smith
            Magnet magazine inside page; click to enlarge
            Doors: 6:30pm"

            Glad to hear about XM & Fresh Air sessions!!

            Writing for Blurt online, Steve Pick has a great, musically-minded review of Falling Off the Sky. The June print edition of Blurt magazine promises dB's material, but I haven't received mine yet...

            WUNC-FM, a Triangle-area NPR affiliate, has posted a brief interview with Peter and Chris about the new album. Stream it or download it. Thanks to Flowering Toilet (which promises to post more about the new album) for pointing me to it.

            June 8: Woah! Falling Off the Sky CD pre-orders at Amazon jumped 368% in one day, from June 6 (music sales rank #1,102) to June 7 (#235). I guess all the media focus on The dB's right now, plus the opportunity to hear the whole album via stream, has caught a lot of music fans' attention...

               thanks to Cary Baker for the scan    
            ROLLING STONE REVIEWS FALLING OFF THE SKY. The current hard copy edition (June 21) of Rolling Stone, with a rough looking Charlie Sheen on the cover, has a brief review with the headline "Beloved indie-pop old-timers haven't lost a step." There's good news and not-so-good news here. The good: the fact that Rolling Stone reviewed FOtS at all helps raise the national profile of the group at a good time, and it acknowledges the band's influence beyond its meager sales. Now the not-so-good: Jon Dolan's 2-sentence review is not terribly inspiring, and it gives the album just 3 stars. There's also a small online article with a new photo of the band here. Oh yeah, RS is also streaming the entire album.

            Icon Fetch has a 30-minute interview with Peter that you can stream or download. The interviewer asks some good questions. (Just overlook his over-the-top "radio voice" in the first 5 mins. He actually drops that later on...)

            Seen my review of the new album, right?!? It's HERE, on the main page of the blog.

            June 7: So many reviews are coming in these days that, for now, I'll just list them for you.
            • The Big Takeover - 3-paragraph review by Michael Toland, very positive.
            • IndyWeek - 6-paragraph review by Bruce Blackstock, very positive; loves "She Won't Drive In the Rain Anymore."
            • The Daily Tarheel (Chapel Hill, NC) - 13-paragraph review (short paragraphs!) by Alex Dixon, positive; wishes Peter sang on all the songs.
            • When You Motor Away blog - long review by Jim Desmond, very positive, singles out Will for special kudos.
            • John Noyd wrote a review in Maximum Ink. It reads kinda like haiku.
            • The (Raleigh) News & Observer's David Menconi has an interview with Peter, combined with a description of the album. It's here.
            The Falls Church (Virginia) News has a medium-length interview with Peter, serving as a preview of The dB's club show in Arlington on June 14.

            June 6: Jersey Beat has not just one, but two reviews of Falling Off the Sky. Editor Jim Testa has one of the best opening paragraphs of any review I've read so far, claiming you don't have to know anything about The dB's to recognize that FOtS is one of the best pop albums of the year. The second review by Paul Silver is nice enough, but doesn't really add much. Plus, he seems to think everything on the album is "jangly power pop." Listen again, folks!!

            June 5: Writing for Popshifter.com, Less Lee Moore (any kin to "None the Les" Moore, I wonder?) has a review of Falling Off the Sky. Read it here.

            June 4: After picking Falling Off the Sky as one the "Critical 5" upcoming summer releases (see May 11 update below), Critical Mob has outdone itself with a full spread on the album. First is a quite favorable review by writer/musician Jim Allen. The subheading for the 4-star review says it all: "1980s power pop heroes' triumphant return." Allen says The dB's "have pulled off the tricky task of growing up without growing old." Next is a lengthy & very well-done Q&A with Peter, again by Jim Allen. Finally, there's a Critical-Mob-curated music mix, "The dB's and the Rise of Jangle" at 8tracks.com. It leads off with "Neverland" and includes tracks from similar bands such as R.E.M. and Let's Active.

            Independent radio station KDHX-FM in St. Louis, MO has a strongly positive review of FOtS on its web site. The review says in part, "this record brims with pop gems," adding, "This foursome has tangible and rare chemistry, and whether or not they continue to make records, their legacy is sealed."

            June 3: Two new reviews of FOtS: first in No Depression by ND blogger Nancy Dunham, who says the new songs "are as vivid and joyful as they created in the early days." She singles out "The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel" as particularly swoon-worthy and seems ready to agree with those who believe this is the "best dB's recording." The second review comes from a blog/podcast called "Country Fried Rock." The written review is OK & says the new album "sounds like a dB’s record, but manages not to sound 'retro'." Yet the real draw is a nearly 30-min. podcast in conversation with Peter about The dB's and FOTS (hit the podcast button at the bottom of the post). The interviewer covers a lot of ground and Peter is as talkative and engaging as ever. Very cool!

            May 31: Twangville has a brief, but quite affirmative, review of the new album. Reviewer Chip Frazier says the guys "have re-captured what made them great" on Falling Off the Sky.

            Illinois Entertainer has an interview with Peter and Chris in its June edition. The online version implies that the printed copy of the publication has a longer version of the interview -- which is a good thing, since the briefer version only covers the band's history...

            NO MOSS GROWS ON CHRIS STAMEY: Chris took his Big Star's Third Live project to London a couple of days ago. Special guest was Ray Davies, who joined the impressive ensemble to sing lead on two encores: The Kinks' "At the End of the Day" and The Box Tops' "The Letter." Review here.

            May 30: If you really want to do such a thing, you can pre-order Falling off the Sky from iTunes for $9.99. You can't pre-order the download at Amazon, but you'll be able to buy it digitally here as of June 12. (Both offer the same 12 tracks as the CD; no sign of bonus material.) Don't forget, though: you can get the actual physical CD with all the lovely preprinted artwork for the same price as the download at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. We are recommending you buy it in both formats so you can feel great about supporting the band, get free shipping, plus those 5 downloadable bonus tracks, available only when you buy the LP set (which now has a release date of June 26).

            May 26: OK; this isn't really new album news, but it's a cool thing related to The dB's: Peter and other cohorts from the great Southern underground indie pop scene are featured in a 35-minute documentary called "We Didn't Get Famous: The Story of Southern Underground Rock" by Camilla Ann Aikin, just made available on Vimeo. (If Vimeo doesn't geehaw with your computer, try this alt. link). Peter and Mitch Easter feature prominently in the film, and The dB's were honored by the documentarian when she chose "Neverland" as the final song to play over the end credits. A bittersweet comment by Peter in the documentary: he says The dB's reunion is "my last act for music," explaining the new music landscape makes it too challenging for him to continue professionally in the field. On a brighter note, he says he feels his "work is done" when he remembers the number of musicians and bands inspired by The dB's to become musicians and/or form new groups.

            Rock Cellar Magazine online has a great preview of the new album here. Writer Jeff Cazanov is quite enthused, to put it mildly...

            May 24: Two more brief reviews from music bloggers: the first, from Michael Gallucci's Excursions of a Pop Renegade, is lukewarm about Falling Off the Sky, claiming that it "doesn't add anything new to the playbook." In his songs: illinois blog, however, CBonnell is more enthusiastic. Although not at all a full-fledged review, the blogger says FOTS "sounds great."

            May 23: Another review of Falling Off the Sky — this one by music blogger Michael Doherty. This is the first review I've seen that includes a few lines about all 12 tracks. Bottom line? Doherty says "the results are wonderful." Read the rest here.

            May 18: MAJOR interview with Peter in high-profile publication. It's a thrill for fans of The dB's and Peter Holsapple to discover a lengthy Q&A with him in today's Huffington Post (the news blog with the biggest readership on the 'Net). The interviewer, Mike Ragogna, is someone I've never heard of, but is described as a "radio personality" and "music biz vet." The feature is recommended for those who enjoy more in-depth coverage... Click either top or bottom half to zoom in.
             

            May 17: Need another reason to go see The dB's live? Here's a biggie: apparently, you can buy the new album from the band before the general release date (June 12). Here's what a forum poster said: "on Sunday I saw The dB's at the Hoboken Street Fair and they were selling the new album - Falling Off The Sky - which doesn't get released until next month." Example: if you attend the band's album release show June 9 at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, N.C., you can preorder the CD and/or LP when you buy your ticket and pick it up that evening at the show. Pretty dang cool!

            The online edition of the New Jersey Monthly has a not very lengthy piece about The dB's reunion and new album. Of interest to fans are a couple of quotes from Peter. Not surprisingly, the article plays up the group's New Jersey connections. ("Hoboken Sound" anyone??)

            May 15: CHRIS INFO UPDATE: I'm thinkin' this photo on Yep Roc's tumblr site means that Chris is working on a video for his upcoming solo album, Lovesick Blues. That's at least an informed guess... (Gadzooks; the man's wearing a button-down shirt!!). Chris rates another mention at the (regular) Yep Roc web site: the label will celebrate its 15th anniversary this fall, and Chris will co-host a special collaborative recording session. More details here.

            May 11: Stewart Mason, writing for Critical Mob, picks Falling Off the Sky as one of the "Critical 5" in a summer album preview: "For fans of jangly southern power pop, it was exciting enough to hear that The dB's were reconvening. But when we learned that Falling Off the Sky was going to feature the entire original quartet lineup -- including founder Chris Stamey, who bailed after only two albums -- this officially became an event. Advance word says it's one of those rare reunion albums that's truly worth the wait." Mason says another music writer at Critical Mob is working on a Q&A with Peter, to be published soon.

            May 9: Metacritic writers Jason Dietz and Nick Hyman have chosen Falling Off the Sky as one of "40 key albums" coming out in the summer months of this year. Of FOtS (listed in 10th position, page 1), they write, "Fans of the band — as well as those of early R.E.M. or other jangly Southern alt-rock — should find much to like on the new record, which sounds like it could have been recorded in their early 1980s heyday." Read the rest here.

            May 6: Bill Lloyd, longtime musical friend of The dB's, has written a heart-warming review of the new album for Sun209 "The Americana Music Journal". Founding member of the duo Foster & Lloyd and a contemporary of The dB's, Lloyd concludes his review by suggesting that FOtS "may be the best dB's album." (FYI: Bill's cover of "Neverland" was the lead-off track on the 2005 tribute to The dB's, "Stand-Ins for Decibels".)

            May 3: Uncut (UK music mag) says FOtS = 8 out of 10 stars. The June 2012 edition has a big featured review of Falling Off the Sky. If you're not familiar with it, Uncut is one of those glossy monthly UK music magazines with sharp writing — and good taste, as you can tell from this rating. Two pdfs for your viewing pleasure (click either one to zoom): first, the whole enchilada; the second, the text of the review. Check out Mike Mills' nice words about the group!




            May 2Looks like Blue Rose Records will release Falling Off the Sky in Germany on June 11. This is the first known release in a country other than the U.S. and on a label other than Bar/None. Blue Rose is the label that distributed The Continental Drifters' albums in Europe.

            April 28Ernie Goggins has a thumbnail review of Falling Off the Sky on his blog, 27 Leggies. He says the new album is "jam-packed" with "classic pop songs." He highlights Will's "Write Back" and pairs it with 1982's "Amplifier" as shining examples of what The dB's have done so well for so long...

            April 26: Chris Bell, writing for Earbuddy, waxes enthusiastic about Falling Off the Sky in a column titled "The Best of 2012 (So Far)." He and his fellow music writers pick one upcoming release and list them under the subhead "Our Most Anticipated Records of the Next Quarter." Referring to FOtS, Chris writes, "Like the fantastic reunion of The Feelies last year, The dB's are set to show these kids just how good a band can be. As an aside, I have already received a copy of this record and it was even more than I had hoped for." Amen and amen.

            April 25Jim Allen has recently interviewed Peter and quotes him extensively in a lovely retrospective of The dB's career leading up to Falling Off the Sky. He's got a paragraph about FOtS and this pithy-as-hell quote from Mr. Holsapple: “There’s a lot of recherch√© on this record, in that when you get to fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven years old and you realize that you’ve been doing this for quite a while … you start looking at the people through your lives to try to see what they mean to you. Do they show up as spirits in your songs, or do they show up in your will or are they just people you curse every time you open a door?” Allen's piece appears in OurStage online magazine.

            IndyWeek has a great profile of Chris' latest musical pursuits, including a brief mention of FOtS. The article includes this tidbit about Lovesick Blues, his upcoming solo album: it's tentatively scheduled to be released "early next year" on Yep Roc Records.

            April 24Here are the titles of the 5 bonus tracks that you'll be able to access with the download card that comes in the vinyl edition of FOtS: 1.Revolution of the Mind, 2. Picture Sleeve, 3. The Instrumental Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel, 4. The Wonder of Love (Ian Schreier Radio Remix), 5. Before We Were Born (Scott Litt "T Rex" Mix). Track 1 was released by The dB's as a free track via ReverbNation and Track 2 was the A-side of last year's vinyl-only Record Store Day "Picture Sleeve" 45. BIG THANKS to my source for supplying this info -- you know who you are!

            April 23: AllMusic now has a listing for FOtS. Two things are noteworthy about this: First, it indicates significant interest in the release from the most comprehensive music database on the 'Net (and the likelihood of a timely review posted at the site); second, it confirms the 10 tracks that will be included on the vinyl release, as noted in my April 20 update.

            April 20: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Best Buy, CDUniverse and others are listing the vinyl edition of FOtS, which includes the following: 180-gram vinyl LP with 10 tracks (omits Collide-oOo-Scope & She Won't Drive In the Rain Anymore), the 12-song CD, and a download card granting access to 5 bonus tracks.

            April 15Another review, this one by David Bowling & posted at Blogcritics. A strongly positive review.

            April 7: Austen Diamond, music blogger for the (Salt Lake) City Weekly, names Falling Off the Sky as one of "25 must-have albums in the 2nd quarter of 2012." He says these 25 are the releases about which he's most excited and hopes "they don't turn out sucking." I don't know about the others, Austen, but I've heard FOtS, and — believe me — it's not going to disappoint you!

            March 31: Another short review, this one by Chris Martin of the (Atlanta?) Examiner. He thinks the album is great, gives it 5 out of 5 stars.

            March 30: The first online review (that I've found) of the new album is by a blogger named Kent Newsome. He's basically ecstatic about the album, but doesn't exactly go on and on about it. Roy Trakin is more verbose in his review, but equally enthusiastic. Undoubtedly, more reviews will follow in the coming weeks...
             
            March 18: Bar/None Records has posted on its site a free dowload of two complete album tracks: "That Time Is Gone" and the debut of "Before We Were Born," which has not been available previously.
            After listening to both of them, I feel obliged to say: Yeah, they've still got it.