Here we are: our fourth installment of “For the Record,” wherein we highlight some of the staff’s personal favorites from the Sub Pop catalog, wax hyperbolic on same, and then deeply discount the title(s) in question for 48 hours. And this time Carly Starr is making this feature her own by choosing not one, but two Constantines records. So perhaps this is our first “For the Record(s)”? Let’s get into it!
The Constantines are one of my favorite bands in the entire world.
Everything about Shine a Light and Constantines is perfect. How do I know? Because right now I’m listening to them (no, not at the same time) for the one billionth time and I still turned my speakers all the way up—which is what you do when you’re listening to a great fucking rock album. And that is what Shine a Light and Constantines are: amazing rock albums filled with sweet bass lines (yes, I sure did just say that!) and hand-claps all fronted by undeniable voices that you cannot resist singing along with.
I started to list my favorite songs but then I ended up with more than half of the album tracks. But really—“Arizona,” “Shine a Light,” “Young Offenders,” “Nighttime / Anytime (It’s Alright),” “Justice,” “Young Lions,” “Little Instruments,” “On to You”… SO MANYJAMS!
At the old (and what now seems really small) Sub Pop office we used to blare Shine a Light simultaneously on three stereos around 4 PM on Friday afternoons. Those were good days (who even has a stereo, besides me, at their desk anymore?).
If you ever get a chance to see this band play live you have to. No BS excuses. YOUMUSTSEETHISBANDPLAYLIVE. They might even throw you an instrument to play.
I’m not going to choose which album is my favorite so I’m picking both. I would suggest you do the same and just buy both. Play these albums really effing loud and don’t be afraid to let it out (not that).
Click here to buy Shine A Light.
And here for Constantines.
For the Record #3
Beachwood Sparks Once we were Trees
When we told you the first time: 10/9/2001
Hopefully you’ve learned the drill by now, but we’re only on installment 3 of the new subpop.com feature, “For the Record”, so here’s a brief refresher. One of us here in the Sub Pop office will periodically pick a record in our catalog that means a great deal to them, write about why that is, and then temporarily price it at $6 for the CD/LP and $4 for a digital version of the record.
The song writing and creativity on Once We Were Trees is a big leap from their s/t debut (which is also great, BTW). From the onset, the short instrumental, “Germination”, sets the tone for the huge sounding songs “Confusion is Nothing New” and “Sun Surrounds”. From there, the record moves into a more countrified territory and then it slows a bit….. actually, I’ll stop trying to describe the record song by song because of my clumsy descriptors and general inadequacies as a writer. I’ll just say that the record is remarkably well paced and that you’ll end up going on a mini, drug-free, hallucinogenic journey into amazing sonic territories (some of which are governed by guest appearances by J. Mascis and his guitar) and a year-round, California summer day, no matter where you are.
Once we were Trees was my introduction to much of the country music that I would come to love. Before Beachwood Sparks, I didn’t have a sense of why Sweetheart of the Rodeo or Grievous Angel were such revered records, to me they sounded like twangy earaches. It wasn’t an easy sell, in fact, it took a few years following the release of this record to get into a lot of those records, but I attribute OWWT to my love of John Phillips, Graham Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, and The Byrds. They were also an introduction to a family of bands that I’ve come to love quite dearly, including: The Tyde, All Night Radio, Further, Mystic Chords of Memory, and Summer Hits (for more info: http://www.thecalmingseas.com/relbands). I owe a lot to this record.
Pick it up through Thursday, July 30th here for $6 on CD/LP or $4 digitally.
Welcome to our second installment of “For the Record”, our new subpop.com feature wherein one of us picks a record we are fond of, writes a few lines about why we like it and then we put it on sale for 48 hours. Last time was Richard on the Foals, this week we’ve got Alissa talking Love as Laughter.
So in my short life (and I’m speaking strictly of my stature here, I’m actually getting kind of old) I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being overly, uh, negative. And you know, I really hate it when jerks say stuff like that! Rude. I’m not negative, anonymous commentators on blogs are negative, I’m just opinionated. Or maybe it’s spirited? Yeah, I like spirited. (See? I’m liking stuff already in this paragraph.) But just to prove how enthusiastic I am capable of being, I am here to talk about something I really like, something I can be positively the opposite of negative over – Love as Laughter. Cuz good god, I really do like me some Love as Laughter. And For The Record, I specifically happen to love “Laughter’s Fifth”.
I mean, Sam Jayne? The guy just knows his way around a great rock song. And man, that voice of his is straight up one of my all time favorite voices in music. What’s the expression? I could listen to him sing the phone book? Something like that, and yeah, I would listen to that shit. But until that phone book recording is released, I can be content just re-listening to this record, no problem.
Now I know this might go a long way towards the above-mentioned issue of perceived negativity, but it is true that it’s sometimes easier to get into what I don’t like about any given thing than for me to explain what I really love about it (unless we are talking about Zach Galifianakis but that’s another discussion).
But for once, figuring out what I like about this record is pretty straight-forward: this music is just like my favorite kind of people in this world. And by that I mean these songs have the genuine, smart, quick-witted and easy going confidence that I always am drawn to, with just enough of the slightly melancholy, self-deprecating, unkempt style for me to completely relate to them. I mean, dang, I wanna buy this music a beer or something. And I guess if I’m gonna go and personify these songs like that then it’s not that hard to figure out why I’d wanna spend so much time with them, right? Makes sense to me.
But just in case my rare exhibition of unbridled enthusiasm isn’t enough to peak your curiosity, here’s a couple of right-to-the point record reviews that can back up my claims: All Music No Rip Chord
So there you have it. Negativity be damned, this record is great.
Listen for yourself – track 6 Dirty Lives
For the next 48 hours you can pick up Laughter’s Fifth for $6 on CD and LP and for $4 digital. What a deal!
Click here to buy!