Another week is already on top of us, June’s entering its awkward tweens, and we’ve got another issue of Getting to Know Us, the weekly column in which we go on and on (and on) about a few of the artists playing our self indulgent 25th anniversary party (the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee—July 13th—Seattle), with the tedium of proud parents in an effort to acquaint/reacquaint you with the artists playing. This week, we’re going to tell you all about Greg Dulli, Shearwater, and The Baptist Generals.
Among Sub Pop’s many prodigal sons, Greg Dulli stands out because we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with him on not just one, but three different projects: The Afghan Whigs, The Gutter Twins, and most recently, The Twilight Singers; each sonically unique unto themselves yet somehow all clearly branded “Dulli”—all with truly astonishing releases. Greg Dulli is going to have an unparalleled depth in which to pull songs from, so a performance from him is likely to be a multi-decade-spanning trip from the past to the present with stops everywhere in between—we’re excited to board any ship with Greg Dulli at the helm—it’s going to be a great ride. Watch the video for “On The Corner”, from Twight Singers’ 2011 Dynamite Steps to hear what we’re saying.
Shearwater’s prolific career has been on high speed for over a decade, but we’ve only just recently been lucky enough to work with them having released their seventh full-length record, Animal Joy, in 2012. Without a background in poetry, it’s difficult to accurately describe exactly the sound that Shearwater has so developed over the years—dark with a healthy dose of pirated optimism?—yikes, that’s not it. Check out their cinematic video for “You As You Were”, my personal favorite Shearwater song.
The Baptist Generals hold the Sub Pop Records record for longest time span between debut and sophomore record—No Silver/No Gold and Jackleg Devotional to the Heart—2003 and 2013, respectively; a full decade. It’s no small feat reintroducing a band to a generation of music listeners and record collectors who were forced to move on after the long wait, but upon our first hearing Jackleg, there was no question that we had to share this record with anyone and everyone who we could play it for, which is to say, it may have been a long time, but The Baptist Generals sound is as good as ever. They’re like the Meryl Streep of Denton, TX-based musicians. To hear proof of this well-aged sound, listen to “Broken Glass.”
With last Friday’s announcement expanding the already get-here-July 13th-no-matter-what caliber lineup for The Silver Jubilee to include METZ, King Tuff, Built To Spill, Chad VanGaalen, and brand new Sub Pop artists, clipping., this festival is shaping up to be the best we’ve ever been to—here’s to hoping you can join us.
The Sub Pop warehouse has seen its share of hustle (not to mention bustle) this week as we’ve been shipping Baptist Generals’ first full length in a decade as well as a 7" single from St. Paul, Minnesota’s hardcore punk, mutated, and art-damaged heaviness that is the band Condominium.
Watch the tragic video for the Baptist Generals’s “Dog That Bit You” in the handy player above, and check out “Carl”, the filthy and oddly wondrous a-side from the new Condominium single here.
Led by songwriter Chris Flemmons, The Baptist Generals of Denton, TX last released a full-length album in 2003 (about which and at the time, Pitchfork had the following to say… “The music is fragile and spiritual, sodden and boisterous. It’s as if the players are seeking out loosely sewn faultlines while trying to balance decay and redemption and to escape a permanent rupture in either direction”). Due out May 21st, Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, the Generals’ return to active duty is nothing short of triumphal. The Mountain Goats’ (with whom The Baptist Generals are touring in June) John Darnielle received the news “…like on an ‘unheard post-Marquee Moon pre-Adventure Television album discovered’ level…” Take “Dog That Bit You” as supporting evidence, or the very excellent “Broken Glass,” and now the video for the non-album track “Fly Candy Harvest.” And, though “Fly Candy Harvest” (featured here) did not suit the album thematically and is therefore not to be found there, we have made and are giving away a limited-edition, 7" flexi single of the song with pre-orders of the CD or LP from SubPop.com (the flexi comes with a high-fidelity download of the track, too!). More from the Sub Pop Limited-Edition Department: people who pre-order the LP will receive the limited, colored-vinyl Loser Edition of Jackleg Devotional to the Heart. But act quickly, because as soon as those are gone, we’re back to standard black vinyl. With your pre-order, you’ll also get instant access to a stream of the entire record. Because, you know what? It’s already been too g-d long since we’ve heard from The Baptist Generals.
It’s been a full decade since we released The Baptist Generals’ amazing debut, No Silver/No Gold, and as time passed, the promise of a sophomore release from this great band from Denton, became stuff of legend or myth with little stock put into rumors surrounding a return. On May 21st, The Baptist Generals fulfill the promise shown with their debut record with the long-awaited but seemingly unlikely Jackleg Devotional to the Heart. It’s been a long, long time, but like many wonderful things, absolutely worth the wait. Listen to “Dog That Bit You” in the player above, and help us to welcome The Baptist Generals back.
If you pre-order Jackleg Devotional to the Heart on CD or LP, you’ll receive a limited-edition flexi 7" single featuring “Fly Candy Harvest”, a song non-album track currently unavailable elsewhere. Also, if you pre-order the record on LP, you’ll receive the limited, colored-vinyl Loser Edition of the record. And such is the nature of limited things, these are both a while-supplies-last type of thing.
A decade is certainly a long time to have to wait for anything—it’s an especially excruciating period to wait for a sophomore release from a band you love. The Baptist Generals released the very excellent, critically acclaimed No Silver / No Gold in 2003 and we waited (and waited) for a follow-up. Rumors flew, time passed, legend became myth, and then one day, music came in. Jackleg Devotional to the Heart is the second Baptist Generals record and it’s coming out on May 21, 2013. This is exceedingly excellent news. And we hope that on hearing a new song from this record, it will be just as immediately apparent to you as it was to us: Jackleg Devotional to the Heart is worth the wait. Please listen to the brand new track, “Dog That Bit You”, and welcome The Baptist Generals back; they’re sounding better than ever.
For the Record #9 comes to you courtesy of Fruit Bats’ front man, Eric Johnson.
Eric Johnson is a good dude and a great musician (currently splitting his time fronting his band Fruit Bats and playing in The Shins). He drinks fine wine and plays in fine wineries and has a great appreciation for film and, of course, music. He’s an easy one to talk to but if you ever wanna talk about The Baptist Generals in particular then he’s really your guy. Keep reading for Eric’s thoughts on No Silver/No Gold.
This album came out right around the same time as The Fruit Bats’ Sub Pop debut, so we ended up hanging with these guys a bunch at showcases and such. I think this record is brilliant, and to call it “underrated” would be an understatement.
The opening track, “Ay Distress”, is a sparse little heart breaker that ends abruptly with a cell phone going off in the studio, followed by pandemonium. Its a moment that caught me way off guard the first time I heard it and kind of blew my mind in the process. I can’t really think of any other album that starts you off this way; its a really cinematic moment, raw and weird. Then track two, “Alcohol” kicks in almost immediately, up-tempo and sounding more like a traditional album opener. This is the kind of sweet-ass, emotionally manipulative one-two punch that I’m a sucker for.
You’ve got really heavily strummed nylon-string guitars, a guitarron (a huge plucked guitar used in Mariachi bands) in lieu of a traditional bass, and Chris Flemmons’ insanely powerful lungs singing like his life depends on it. The real hit tune is “Going Back Song,” which is a pop beauty put through the freaky dark Tex-Mex filter of this record.
I’ll stop talking about it. You should just listen.
For the next 48 hours, you can go HERE to get No Silver/No Gold at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3.
Eric’s band, Fruit Bats, recently released a fine record of their own, The Ruminant Band and it is conveniently located HERE for your listening pleasure. for you to check out!
Look to our semi-regular feature, For the Record, for reflections from staff and Sub Pop artists on some of our favorite records from the Sub Pop catalog; each featured title is deeply discounted for the 48 hours following the posted review.