Artists

Shadowy Men Band

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet

Twenty-plus years after their last reverb trail dissipated, the remains of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet have reconstituted. The Men were first reanimated in 2012 and have been semi-active since, revealing a stature and distinct influence that has only grown since their original incarnation.

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet existed originally between 1984 and 1995, and released three albums and twelve singles, appeared on numerous compilations (including the formative “It Came From Canada” series), toured extensively throughout North America and England, were one of the first Canadian bands to record a Peel Session for BBC D.J. John Peel, beat David Foster out of one of the two Juno’s they were nominated for, backed B-52’s vocalist Fred Schneider on his “Just Fred” album, and scored a couple of feature films and the television series Kids in the Hall. Recent years have seen them named as finalists in Toronto’s daily newspaper, as the Best Toronto Band Ever, and be indicted into the mysterious Independent Music Hall of Fame, for being “true Independent pioneers”.

After years of being out-of-print – and for the very first time as digital downloads – Yep Roc Records will be launching an extensive reissue campaign of the Shadowy Men recordings, including the incredibly snazzy 4-LP box-set Oh, I Guess We Were a Fucking Surf Band After All…

The original three Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet albums – Savvy Show Stoppers, Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham, and Sport Fishin – follow in late summer, in deluxe gatefold sleeves, with expanded artwork, liner notes by Bon Von Wheelie, Bry Webb and Scott McCaughey, and contextual essays by band associates and a chihuahua. Translated from Latin and remastered from first generation tapes by Grammy Award winning engineer Peter J. Moore.

Founding members Brian Connelly (guitar) and Don Pyle (drums) are joined by extended family member Dallas Good, of The Sadies, playing bass guitar for the foreseeable future, with select tour dates throughout 2016. S Men bass player Reid Diamond died in 2001 after a battle with cancer, so it is an honour to have long-time friend Dallas playing his parts.

“Shadowy Men are truly the instrumental kings of the Great White North” Ira Robbins, Trouser Press Guide to 90s Rock

“Canada’s best instrumental rock band of all time” Grant Lawrence, CBC host and vocalist with The Smugglers

“It’s music that is as disarmingly fun to listen to as it is deliberate and artful, and for a kid learning to play an instrument and write songs, it laid out how a keen ear can put pop music culture and history in its place, without being a jerk about it.” Bry Webb, solo artist and guitarist/vocalist with The Constantines.

jakebrennen

Jake Brennen & The Confidence Men

Arriving on the Boston scene with a rock & roll swagger and a barroom poet’s heart, Jake Brennan is an exciting new voice. With songs that range from anthemic rockers that evoke Petty or Springsteen and a punk energy that evokes his Hardcore roots — as well as echoing the primal Sun Sessions rock sound — Brennan and The Confidence Men have proven that is possible to win over a jaded, indie-rock crowd in America’s most overeducated city and transport them into a sweaty roadhouse somewhere in a mythical American heartland.

Brennan, who walked away from Cast Iron Hike, a promising and successful hardcore band, began taking tentative steps towards a different musical career. An encounter with Paul Kolderie, erstwhile producer of everyone from Morphine to Radiohead to Hole to the Pixies to Joe Jackson, led to a fruitful recording collaboration. Paul recorded Jake & the Confidence Men for a year, searching for the spark and the song that would turn a band with potential into a band with a hit record, prodding and cajoling Jake into writing even better material. In the meantime, Jake hit the road with his band in support of Frank Black, and toured solo with the likes of Evan Dando, Tommy Stinson and The Figgs, perfecting his ability to get his songs across and connect with an audience.

Finally, with two fistfuls of finished songs, Kolderie threw a three-night party to open his new studio (at the site of his greatest triumphs,Fort Apache in Cambridge, MA) and the Confidence Men served as the house band. Local legends stopped by and sat in, and Kolderie rolled the tape. A roving film crew was on hand to capture the music and the scene. These raw tapes will serve as the basis on Brennan’s forthcoming debut album, Love & Bombs, but in the meantime you hold in your hand the first taste of the band’s recorded output (not to mention a trailer for the accompanying film footage included on the forthcoming DVD, Singer-Songriot).

Tracks like “Believe Me,” propelled by Jimmy Ryan’s (Blood Oranges, Catie Curtis) mandolin, and “Everything” demonstrate the range of Brennan’s songwriting, while blistering covers of Frank Black’s “If It Takes All Night” and Moe Bandy’s “It Was Always So Easy” demonstrate his band’s rock & roll fervor and wide-ranging tastes. With a knack for narrative and a yearning, soulful vocal delivery that belies his age, Brennan seems born to be a musician. Evidently, Boston music fans agree: Jake and the Confidence Men recently won WBCN’s 2004 Rock Rumble and have been playing shows with everyone from The Mekons to The Von Bondies in their hometown; planning to hit the road when Love & Bombs drops on September 21.

Young, driven and talented, Brennan isn’t pretentious about his craft. “Some guys are plumbers, some guys fix cars, and I sing songs. And I write ’em. That’s it.”

jeffaustin

Jeff Austin

Jeff Austin has been playing professionally for nearly 20 years, most of them as the  vocalist/mandolinist of the game-changing bluegrass jam act Yonder Mountain String Band. Austin has long harbored urges to stretch out musically — and even cast a few pop hooks of his own. He finally makes the leap on The Simple Truth, his solo debut (releasing Feb. 10th, 2015) and maiden voyage with Yep Roc Records. Accompanying him is an eager troupe of trustworthy fellow travelers chartered as the Jeff Austin Band: Danny Barnes (of Bad Livers fame) on banjo, guitars and vocals; Ross Martin on guitars; and Eric Thorin on basses and vocals, with North Mississippi Allstar Cody Dickinson on drums, percussion and electric washboard. The result is an album that truly reflects Austin’s goal of crafting a sonic document unconstrained by the limitations jamgrass, newgrass or whatever other names it wears.The Simple Truth captures the energy and excitement of that party, as well as the quiet moments of contemplation that happen after guests leave. If one must give it a label, Americana will do, but he prefers to call it, simply, “American music, written from my experience as a 40-year-old guy in America.”

bookworms

Bookworms

Nicholas Dawson has been producing music under the Bookworms moniker since 2012. His early work appeared on the New York dance label, L.I.E.S. His first record for the label, ‘Love Triangles’ remains a classic with ‘African Rhythms’ one of the most iconic tracks from the label. He runs a party and label in New York called Confused House, the party notable for its focus on hardware techno from the city, and abroad. The label released collaborative records from Bookworms and his L.I.E.S. cohort, Steve Summers. Recently Nicholas has released records on the burgeoning BANK imprint based in New York, and Barcelona based label, Anomia. His most recent work, “Appropriation Loops” is his debut full length for Break World, and is in a way a departure from previous styles.

Discussing the new album, Bookworms writes:

“Like Basinski’s tape loops morphing over time, appropriation loops are recurrent, fluctuant feedback loops in popular and unpopular culture.

Rae Sremmund talks about how they’re the new black rock stars with guitars in 2016’s “Black Beatles”, but The Beatles appropriated black American rhythm and blues music from the American South to begin with.

Kraftwerk’s mechanic interpretation of Motown hits of 60s and 70s Detroit was later echoed by Detroit techno producers who subsequently put the funk back in it and made it more minimal.

Detroit techno, for one, could never have been without the device of appropriation…but the device is often misused . People want to know where their chicken comes from (free range ,grass fed, no antibiotics ) but they don’t want to know where their music comes from. Where does it come from ? Trace the appropriation loops to find out….”

eggsovereasy

Eggs Over Easy

Eggs Over Easy is the American band that invented UK pub rock, influenced the careers of Nick Lowe, Huey Lewis, Loudon Wainwright III and Elvis Costello, and laid the groundwork for a grassroots movement that would spawn UK punk.

With roots stretching back to late 1960s Berkeley, CA, the three principals in the Eggs – songwriters Jack O’Hara, Austin de Lone, and Brien Hopkins – would by early 1971 find themselves ensconced in London’s Olympic Studios, lured by Animals bassist and Jimi Hendrix manager Chas Chandler, and an apparitional record deal.

When said deal went bust, the Eggs “did what any American band would do,” Stiff Records co-founder Dave Robinson told a journalist. “They went to the nearest bar and said, ‘Give us your worst night.’” Which is how Eggs Over Easy leapt onto the pages of pop music history.

Their humble Monday night gigs at a former jazz club called the Tally Ho – pub rock ground zero — would become the hub for a network of artists, venues, and music business machers that included back-to-basics groups Ducks Deluxe, Bees Make Honey and Dr. Feelgood, DJs John Peel and Charlie Gillett, and hustlers like Jake Riviera and Mr. Robinson.

Founding members of Eggs Over Easy, Jack O’Hara and Austin de Lone, are back together and ready to recreate that Tally Ho magic in a series of shows throughout 2016. Special guests are expected at most, if not all, performances.

“There were hippies there, skinheads, rastafarians. I remember, most especially, a Sikh bus driver with a turban on and his bus driver uniform dancing away. It was an unbelievable scene with people hanging off the ceilings. There was this fantastic feeling that you were in on something extraordinary.”

–       Nick Lowe on Eggs Over Easy at The Tally Ho

drinkupbuttercup

Drink Up Buttercup

Drink Up Buttercup may hail from Philadelphia but the geography of their debut album Born & Thrown On A Hook is less easily located on a physical map. It’s an occasionally surreal mythology filled with tales of hopelessly flawed characters, star-crossed lovers, drunks, fairy tales & bad trips.

It exists in a world touched upon previously by Tom Waits, Hans Christian Anderson and Lloyd Kaufman while musically it follows the direct lineage of classic songwriting: Bowie, The Beatles & The Beach Boys’ late 60s lysergia, early Roxy Music, Sabbath’s bass heavy pulse & the crescendos of Arcade Fire.

Recorded meticulously throughout 2009 by Bill Moriarty (Dr Dog / Man Man) and mixed by Rusty Santos (Animal Collective / Final Fantasy) it perfectly balances consistently catchy melodies with the raw energy of their trashcan pounding live show.

First brought to the attention of music fans through their debut ‘Sosey & Dosey’ 7” on Brooklyn’s Kanine Records (Grizzly Bear, Chairlift), the Philly group comprised of Jim Harvey (vocals, guitar), Ben Money (bass, organ), Mike Cammarata (drums) and Farzad Houshiarnejad (keyboards) stormed CMJ and SXSW and earned early praise. Described as, “Beatle-esque but in a kitchen sink kind of way,” (Brooklyn Vegan) and “60’s psychedelic carnival” (Stereogum) the band’s nuanced yet bombastic live show is a vital part of its growing legend, with the New York Times saying that DUB, “mesmerizes and clobbers live.”

teengirlfantasy

Teengirl Fantasy

Following last year’s journeying Nun EP, Teengirl Fantasy returns with Thermal to be released November 18. Tracing threads from their previous deconstructed dancefloor works into thrilling new directions, the Thermal EP is the duo’s most mature and cohesive work to date. It features four new songs: two instrumentals that showcase the duo’s sensual and intuitive way with texture, and two prime-time vocal tracks featuring the new queen of underground Korean R&B, Hoody (후디), and rising NYC recording artist Lafawndah.

Tracklisting:

1) Cavescape

2) Lung feat. Lafawndah

3) 7:30 AM

4) U Touch Me feat. Hoody

ianmclagan

Ian McLagen

When asked why he titled his new record United States Ian McLagan replied, “It’s about relationships. Actually it’s an anagram for Austin Texas and Nudist Estates.”

He’s always the joker, so that last part might not be accurate. But Austin resident McLagan sings and writes from his heart on his Yep Roc debut. United States is his first record in five years and first since being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of classic British rockers Faces in 2012. It’s a combination of unremitting desire and deep contemplation as well as a showcase for his beguiling way of fashioning one memorable hook after another.

His last disc, 2009’s Never Say Never, found McLagan in the state of grief. It was released following the sudden passing of his wife Kim who died in a auto accident. United States offers an experienced reflection on affairs of the heart.

“It’s a lot about, as all my records seem to be, about loss,” McLagan says. “It’s about trying to get into a relationship. It’s tough to be 68 and dating. But some of these songs are very old. “Pure Gold” I had twenty odd years ago. I recorded it once a long time ago and I wasn’t happy with it.”

With the assistance of the more than adept Bump Band – composed of some of Austin’s most highly regarded sidemen, ’Scrappy’ Jud Newcomb on guitar, Jon Notarthomas on bass, and Conrad Choucroun on drums – “Mac” delivers a mixed bag of settings for his wise observations on relationships. “I have a such a band,” he exclaims. “When I play something they immediately fall in. There’s no real discussion. It’s real easy to record with them.”

The trapping range from the ska bounce of “Pure Gold” to sultry sway of “Who Says It Ain’t Love,” the roadhouse blues of “How Blue” to 1960’s style R&B of “Shalalala.”

“”Shalalala” is really a thank you, a love song to the audience. Thank you for being here and asking me to play,” he explains.

McLagan recorded and produced the album at his own The Doghouse Studios in Manor, TX. The songs were mixed by longtime friend Glyn Johns (The Faces, The Who) and mastered by Bob Ludwig (Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones).

Throughout McLagan croons about love, real or imagined, in a way that’s affecting yet reflects his rock and roll roots. He began in the 1960’s as the keyboard player for the Small Faces, who eventually became the Faces when Steve Marriott left and Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined in. Since he’s become a successful solo artist as well as a sideman in high demand.

Over the years McLagan has performed with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and a host of others. Mac moved to Austin in 1994. Since he’s become an important cog in the bustling music scene, where he’s performed with everyone from Ray Wylie Hubbard to Eliza Gilkyson to James McMurtry.

“It’s the community,” Mac says of his time in Austin. “I’ve been thinking about this. I’m a socialist. Sorry the rest of the world. Sorry the rest of Texas. It means I care. That’s all it is. I like the fact that it’s the first place I’ve ever lived where there’s a real sense of community. People care about their neighbors. I’m proud to say this is my home.”

jimwhite

Jim White and the Packway Handle Band

When Athens, GA outfit the Packway Handle Band sought Jim White out to produce an album, the quintet learned he had a massive stash of bluegrass songs just waiting to be sprung on the world — and they would make the perfect slingshot. “When I’d heard ’em play a couple of years earlier,” White says, “I muttered under my breath, ‘I wish I could have that much fun playing music.’ When they offered me the chance to produce, I thought, ‘How can I undermine this?’” The answer is Take It Like A Man, the new Yep Roc Records release by Jim White vs. the Packway Handle Band, due out January 27, 2015.

Sounding like an ivory-tower academic one minute and a stand-up comedian the next, he explains that term versus addresses the “conflagration of opposing mindsets” as an answer to the question, “What happens when we throw these two unlikely elements together?”

The album alternates between White and Packway compositions; only one track, the campy bluegrass rave-up “Corn Pone Refugee,” is a co-write (credited to White and Packway’s Josh Erwin). The first single, “Not A Song,” by Packway mandolinist Michael Paynter, is an infectious, upbeat melody fueled by clever lyrics and la-da-da harmonies.

In the hands of White and the ebullient Packway Handle Band, the whole album adds up to a huge dose of fun, with just a dash of sorrow.

themayflies

The Mayflies

Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Mayflies USA deliver hits for a better universe! –Creative Loafing

If you know anything about Chapel Hill, NC, you know how instrumental a front porch can be. Ideas are generated, plans are made, songs are written, life is romanticized and yes, beers drunk.

Coming together by way of California, Saudi Arabia, Holland, LA, New York and Baltimore, The Mayflies USA call Chapel Hill their home. And all of their time spent on the porch has helped them form their version of rock music- it bounces with infectious melodies, glides with summer-y harmonies, sings with romantic lyrics and pops with loud squalling guitars.”The fact that our band is comprised of a preacher’s kid (Long), a product of a Moral Majority fundamentalist education (Liesegang), and a kid who was raised as an atheist (Price) has to factor into The Mayflies USA somewhere, now that I think about it. Probably we all fled to rock music in reaction,” admits singer and guitarist Matt McMichaels.Maybe their unusual upbringings explain their feverish love of rock music (and the otherworldly escape it provides), and shed some light on their meticulous nature of sound and song construction. Then again, maybe it’s just a coincidence. But, for their third studio album, Walking in a Straight Line, they turned to Keith Cleversley (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Spiritualized) at Chicago’s Playground Studios to capture the live sound of the band and the organic feel of their late 60’s, early 70’s rock influences.”We’re all on a lifelong Beatles kick. That Beatles statement notwithstanding, I think we told Keith we wanted the record to sound like Exile on Main Street. Of course we weren’t equipped with either the musical chops or the collective life experience to make a record quite like Exile, but for better or worse I think that was one of the first things we said when we got to Chicago,” McMichaels said.

The Mayflies USA toured through fall of 2001 and on their return, they locked themselves in their basement and practiced all winter long in preparation for the Chicago sessions.Says McMichaels, “I remember it was around 5am this past New Year’s Eve that we resolved to make this record regardless of what it took. What it took was practicing 6 hours everyday until it was time to leave for Chicago. Perversity and masochism certainly factored into our decision, but we really wanted to make an authentic document.”Recording straight to 2” tape, using minimal overdubs, and no computer editing, the band spent 24 hours a day in the studio, laying down tracks for up to 13 hours a day and then sleeping with the drums, guitars, amps and mics still set up around them. There were moments when they nearly cracked and hightailed it back to Chapel Hill, wanting to leave Cleversley to fix everything on Pro-Tools; but instead they endured the studio life, producing what the band call “a less idealized version of themselves”.

Walking in a Straight Line kicks off with the album’s title track in full post-punk splendor with a jangly, southern-rock zeal while “The Greatest Thing” recalls the Southern-gothic guitar treatment that Peter Buck used to give to early R.E.M. tracks. And if you want a peek into the future sound of The Mayflies USA, listen closely to keyboard-based “Sweet 16”.

Discography:
Summertown (Yep Roc Records, 1999)
The Pity List (Yep Roc Records, 2000)