Friday, April 30

New dB's-Related Releases Coming Soon!

Spring & RSD 2021 Bring dB's-Related Releases

Yesterday's Tomorrow — Live 2018 N.C.-centric Release

• Chris Stamey & Peter Holsapple's Our Back Pages — on vinyl & CD

• Chris' Brand New Shade of Blue — on vinyl for RSD

Warm Up Your Wallet, Your Plastic &/or Your Crypto-Currency

Peter, Chris, Mitch, Will, Don & company
Winston-Salem musical nostalgia at its best
(details below) 

Digital-only delight to be released on vinyl & CD in June

Act fast:  just 250 copies of this one will be released on vinyl in July 

ROB SEZ:  In a mystical sign the pandemic might not actually last forever, the musical gods have smiled on fans of The dB's and their cohorts. Thanks to Omnivore Recordings (what an amazing label they are), we shall soon be spoiled by an embarassment of musical riches. While two of these titles are "new" thanks to vinyl- and CD-format releases of material that saw prior digital-only release, one of them is entirely new: Yesterday's Tomorrow: Live at the Ramkat 2018. This was a one-night-only live extravaganza that saw reunions of several bands Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Mitch Easter, Will Rigby, Don Dixon (etc.) were in once upon a time, many moons ago. Sneakers, Little Diesel, Sacred Irony, Rittenhouse Square and many others came together for the event, and Mr. Stamey and Mitch made sure the evening was beautifully recorded for posterity. This one's out May 7th on CD and download, with Our Back Pages (on CD and vinyl) to follow in June and Brand New Shade of Blue (on vinyl) in July, coinciding with the summer Record Store Day release dates.

All righty, then: what are you waiting for?


Yesterday's Tomorrow: Live at Ramkat 2018 - out May 7th on Omnivore (CD & digital)

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey: Our Back Pages - pre-order CD release on Omnivore HERE; read about RSD vinyl release HERE  (note: CD and digital re-release will have 2 tracks not found in the original download: "Darby Hall" and "In Spain") 

Chris Stamey & Fellow Travelers: Brand New Shade of Blue - read about RSD vinyl release HERE & Omnivore digital release HERE

Read a recent interview with Peter Holsapple 

about Yesterday's Tomorrow HERE

Yesterday's Tomorrow: All the Info 

Live performance by reunited, iconic members of Winston-Salem scene

Package contains detailed liner notes by Stamey and a 24-page color history booklet 

with anecdotes, artifacts, and rare photographs.

In a fun, Nuggets-like trip back to the Summer of Love era, Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating the Winston-Salem Sound, due out April 30, 2021 on Omnivore Recordings, shines a strobe light on the vibrant ’60s and ’70s Combo Corner rock scene of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Original members of bands such as Arrogance, Little Diesel, Sacred Irony, and Rittenhouse Square —including Mitch Easter (Let’s Active); Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, and Chris Stamey (the dB’s); singers Don Dixon, Dale Smith, Lynn Blakey, Bob Northcott; and many others — convened on May 12, 2018, at Winston-Salem’s Ramkat club to revisit those fuzzbox years, and this remarkable live recording shines brightly with their camaraderie and precise enthusiasm for those days of yore. In the mind-blowing songs of now-vanished local legends Captain Speed and the Fungi Electric Mothers, the classic set list of the Imperturbable Teutonic Griffin, and amid the amusing scene portrayals of collectors’ favorite Rittenhouse Square, the electric guitars soar, with plenty of feedback and sizzle. With the added oomph of the Occasional Orchestra (live strings, percussion, and brass), music direction by Doug Davis (Vagabond Saints’ Society), and stops along the way for affectionate renditions of then-faves by Bubble Puppy, the Easybeats, the Music Machine, the Electric Prunes, the Beatles, and even Kool and the Gang, there’s a lot to love here.

The impetus for this extraordinary concert was that Stamey had a book fresh off the press, a song-based memoir called A Spy in the House of Loud. A portion of the book references his time in New York, but the first part remembers, song by key song, the late 1960s and early ’70s creative rock music scene in Winston. This was sometimes called the Combo Corner scene, after the title of a short-lived column in Guitar Player magazine was repurposed to ironically christen a hangout spot at R.J. Reynolds High School. A surprising number of the Combo Corner crew went on to play and produce music professionally in the decades that followed — often with one another in different configurations (e.g., dB’s, Let’s Active, or with R.E.M., Steve Earle, Matthew Sweet, Vassar Clements, Hootie & the Blowfish, Big Star's Third Live, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Golden Palominos) and in different locales. They were still in regular contact the day Stamey suggested they try to “play the soundtrack to the book.” 

The band that most credit with starting the ball rolling here, back in 1968, was the aforementioned Captain Speed. Sadly, their bandleader, singer/bassist Bud Carlisle (real name Richard Moore), had died in 2010, and the psychedelic pioneers never released any music whatsoever, although their live shows (complete with flying duck) were still the stuff of local legend. In order to perform their essential songs, Easter, Borthwick, Davis, and Corky McMillan (Sacred Irony’s bassist) created an ensemble just for the event, later dubbed the Love Valets—a tongue-in-cheek moniker taken from “N.C.’s Woodstock,” a 1970 music festival in Love Valley, N.C. And likewise, the catch-all for the new big-ensemble groupings was the Royal Opposition, only a consonant away from Easter and Borthwick’s seminal 1968 surf-rock combo, the Loyal Opposition.

Chris explains: “From the ’50s R&B stylings of the “5” Royales’ “Think” through the dense mystery of Captain Speed’s “Reptilian Disaster” all the way to the future-punk of Little Diesel’s “Kissy Boys” and Sneakers’ “Condition Red” and the sophistication of Let’s Active’s “Room with a View,” there’s a ley line running through a scene and a city, one that you’ll find is worth exploring. Maybe every city has a beloved scene in its rearview worthy of celebration? I hope this is indeed the case. But this one is our story. Or at least a time-tunnel’s glimpse into a part of it. As Captain Speed sang all those years ago, ‘Our high kites do star those nights, where you can see beyond today, tomorrow . . . forever.’ ”

The concert was captured to multitrack, lovingly mixed by Stamey and Easter, and is now available as Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating the Winston-Salem Sound. A multi-decade tour-de-force, and an important document in itself, Yesterday’s Tomorrow is more than just a celebration. It’s a history lesson, with the present happily dressed up in the past, looking toward the future. 

Track Listing

  1. Hot Smoke & Sassafras—Rittenhouse Square
  2. Reptilian Disaster—The Love Valets
  3. Room With a View—The Royal Opposition feat. Lynn Blakey & Mitch Easter 
  4. Talk Talk—The Imperturbable Teutonic Griffin 
  5. Yesterday’s Tomorrow—The Love Valets 
  6. Hollywood Swinging—Little Diesel
  7. I See Love—Sacred Irony
  8. Black Death—The Love Valets 
  9. S'il Vous PlaĆ®t (Live) – Sneakers
  10. Got to Get You Into My Life—The Royal Opposition feat. Don Dixon
  11. Condition Red (Live) – Sneakers
  12. Every Word Means No—The Royal Opposition feat. Mitch Easter
  13. Think feat. Don Dixon—The Royal Opposition
  14. Like Wow—Rittenhouse Square
  15. King Battle of the Bands—Rittenhouse Square
  16. Kissy Boys—Little Diesel
  17. The Train Stops Here—The Royal Opposition feat. Mitch Easter
  18. I Am Your Doctor—Sacred Irony
  19. RubySneakers
  20. Maybe I’m Amazed—The Royal Opposition feat. Don Dixon
  21. Good Times—Sacred Irony
  22. Galaxies of Love—The Royal Opposition feat. Bob Northcott
  23. I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)—The Imperturbable Teutonic Griffin 

Friday, April 16

This Is the Kit - Live, Recently (2016-2021)

This Is the Kit
Compilation of Live Tracks

soundboard recordings (quality: Ex- to VG+, all are webcast/webstream recordings)

SAMPLE VIDEO: "Moonshine Freeze" - Live at Glastonbury 2019

01 No Such Thing (live in France)

02 This Is What You Did (live in France)

03 Coming to Get You Nowhere (CBS Saturday Sessions) 

04 Off Off On (live in France)

05 All Written Out In Numbers (live at The Smokehouse)

06 Bullet Proof (live at The Smokehouse)

07 Magic Spell (Paris Sessions)

08 Hotter Colder (live at Rough Trade)

09 Was Magician (live performance video)

10 Bad Feeling (live in France - Muzz cover)

11 Lemon World (live in France - The National cover) 

12 Misunderstanding (live at Wee Studio)

13 Moonshine Freeze (live at Glastonbury)

14 Coming to Get You Nowhere (New Sounds, Kate solo)

ROB SEZ:  This is the Kit — wow! Kate Stables & company are knocking me out with their latest release Off Off On. I'd heard about the band many years ago when they were labeled "alternative folk". Good stuff for what it was, but something stunning happened in the last year or two: This Is the Kit now has a uniquely compelling sound, a great blend of rock, folk, world, psychedelic, singer-songwriter, with a judicious deployment of horns, and ... I'm not sure what else. But it's REALLY GOOD in Kate and the band's capable hands. No wonder The National, Elbow, BBC6, Sharon Van Etten (etc.) have championed the group. My enthusiasm prompted me to seek out their back catalog and more recent live performances, which illustrate the onstage magic they conjure. Originally, I was gonna share the 2018 live set below as my "main post," along with some miscellaneous live tracks. My custom-made Live, Recently compilation turned out so well, I'm reversing the usual order. MEGA THANKS to Yousef for sharing the Manchester Folk Festival recording. Check out this band & give them a generous listen.

another fab photo by Chris Sikich

Manchester Folk Festival
Manchester, UK
Oct. 18, 2018

audience recording (sound quality: VG to VG+)

01 Sometimes the Sea

02 Vitmains

03 Bullet Proof

04 Empty No Teeth

05 All Written Out in Numbers 

06 Moonshine Freeze

Glastonbury Festival - getting ready
07 Greasy Goose

08 Misunderstanding

09 Riddled With Ticks

10 Sanza Tristesse

11 Solid Grease > Happy Birthday 

12 Spinney


(live comp: lossless captures of lossy sources)



Friday, April 2

The dB's - Hoboken, N.J. 2007 (sbd)

Yo La Tengo Hanukkah Show 
Hoboken, N.J.
Dec. 6, 2007
soundboard-audience matrix recording (quality: Ex-)

The dB's — invited by Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo
... and they sing "Hanukkah Time"! 
01 intro
02 We Were Happy There 
03 Soul Kiss
04 You Got It Wrong
05 The Fight
06 Ash
07 Home for the Holidays
08 Love Is for Lovers
09 Hanukkah Time
10 Big Brown Eyes
11 World to Cry
12 Excitement
13 Dynamite
14 Amplifier
15 (I Thought) You Wanted 
     to Know
16 Cycles Per Second
17 Neverland

I do love these surprise soundboard recordings that drop unexpectedly into my lap! HUGE THANKS to YLTfan for recording and to neil d for mixing and mastering this one, which sounds fantastic. Speaking of surprises, check out the super deep cut "Ash" from Ride the Wild Tom-Tom, which might not have been played live prior to this gig. This is the only known live soundboard recording of the band from 2007. 
Here's Ira Kaplan's dB's rave from his 2007 Hanukkah diary I’ve said it before, and I said it onstage last night, and I’m saying it again: Without the dB’s, it’s unlikely there would be Yo La Tengo. I’ll save the many reasons for the Director’s Cut of this diary, but suffice to say that sharing a stage with them on Thursday night was exciting and emotional beyond reason. Back to the classic quartet for the first time since their comeback shows, they opened with “We Were Happy There” from Repercussion. What followed was incredible. Some of the hits, of course — “Amplifier,” “Neverland,” “Love Is for Lovers,” “Dynamite,” “Big Brown Eyes” . . . who am I kidding, all their songs are hits in my book. And a selection of oddities — “Soul Kiss”! “You Got It Wrong”! “Christmas Time” revised to “Hanukkah Time”! “Excitement”! — that had me choked up from start to finish. They’ll be at Southpaw tonight, and so would I if I weren’t otherwise occupied. 

REPERCUSSION: Explore the connections between The dB's and Yo La Tengo HERE.