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NRP: The Hot Dogs – Say What You Mean

The bases on reissues are regularly covered here in the Re-released into the Wild column, though I’ve found that while the steady stream of reissues picks up a lot of the great bits from the past (some I’ve been waiting for and some I’ve discovered through labels I love) there still remain a lot of records that are consigned to the purgatory of out of print status. This is especially frustrating given that the pressing plants are all too often packed out with garbage reissues of dollar bin titles looking to cash in on a nostalgia trip. So, with Necessary Repress I’m going to look at a few records I think absolutely deserve to work their way back to the stacks. Now, I know that the complex web of licenses, rights, and royalties are often what holds up a new issue, so I’m not holding my breath, just making my case.

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Red River Dialect’s David Morris on The Dead Texan – S/T

Red River Dialect’s fourth album pushed songwriter David Morris’ vision to larger vistas. The album is rooted in touches of his native Cornish folk, but also encompasses the sweeping embrace of tender, yet tangled pop touchstones like Talk Talk, Shearwater or Okkervil River. His songs are personal wrangles with sadness and longing and faith in the face of the world. As such I’d have imagined David to reflect on something similar, an English folk nugget buried in the past or a bit of ’80s pop that perhaps showed similar attention to emotional depth. But, as always, I’ve learned that going into these pieces with expectations always leads down a broken path. Morris mentioned that he was on the verge of picking just such an artist, as he has had a recent interest in Scottish folk musician Jackie Leven, but couldn’t narrow his rabbit hole down to one record. Instead he’s gone in the opposite direction, picking the 2004 eponymous record by The Dead Texan.

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Pete Astor on The Carter Family – A Collection of Favorites

It’s been a few years now since Hidden Gems’ debut, and while some true RSTB faves have worked through the ranks this might be the first time I can say a true legend is contributing. In the halls of jangle-pop Pete Astor has anchored some gems of his own, helming Creation bands The Loft and The Weather Prophets as well as Matador alums The Wisdom of Harry. In later years Astor has delivered two sterling solo albums (with some help from James Hoare) that cement his status as one of the deft hands in indie pop. He’s also an accomplished writer, having contributed to the 33 1/3 series with a critique of The Voidoids’ seminal Blank Generation. Now he’s dug back to his early days (hence the provided baby faced ’81 portrait up there) for one of the albums that drew him into music in the first place, shining light on a collection by The Carter Family that sparked an early drive towards songwriting.

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Amen Dunes’ Damon McMahon on The La’s – S/T

Years ago Damon McMahon contributed a track to one of RSTB’s first free download compilations. At the time his debut, Dia was just released and it was a flickering window of static rimmed folk that played well with the lo-fi crowd that dotted an indie landscape. Years later he’s embarking on his most ambitious and stridently pop album yet and he’s back to contribute to Hidden Gems, an exploration of albums that haven’t necessarily gotten their due in the pantheon of pop. Damon’s chosen an album that’s often lauded for its single but forgotten as a whole piece. The La’s 1990 debut will always be known for “There She Goes,” but as an album it lies squarely on the fault lines between jangle and Britpop.

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Eric Allen (of The Apples in Stereo) on Chris Knox – Songs of You and Me

Working down the list of wishlist contributions to the Hidden Gems series has brought me to a fairly big influence on RSTB in general. For a good swath of the ‘90s, and to be honest a good portion of the ‘00s, the works of the Elephant 6 Collective reigned supreme in my listening habits. So, it’s with some excitement that this contribution comes from Apples in Stereo founding member and bassist Eric Allen. Eric’s taken a stab at an album that he’s found has missed its due and remains a treasure among ‘90s CD stacks. Check out below as he tackles Chris Knox’ 1995 sprawler Songs of You and Me and listening back again, I can see how this one made its mark on the band’s sound for sure.

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RSTB Best of 2017

So this year is drawing to a close, or almost, we’re still a few weeks away from pushing the broken pieces of 2017 into the trash. There’s no real solace from a lot of the events that took place this year, but, independent of any current events, music has been kind to us all this year. These are the records that spent the most time on the turntable over here. Yeah, I know its kind of a lot, but there were far too many good ones that haven’t been getting the shouts they need elsewhere. Lets say this serves as both a best of and a most overlooked in one go. If you enjoy ’em, buy ’em if you can. Don’t do them the disservice of just bumping up the streaming numbers.

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John Dwyer on Eddie Harris – I Need Some Money

There have been a few artists that remain the cornerstones of RSTB coverage, and without a doubt those are ones I’ve had on the wishlist for the Hidden Gems feature since it started up a couple of years back. Teetering near the top of that list has always been the madman John Dwyer. Thee Oh Sees have spanned 20 releases now and show no sign of slowing. Dwyer’s seared psych has always shown nods to some deeper cuts in the ’60s canon, and his latest LP stripped things back to a decidedly glycerine, serene version of the sound. I’d expected maybe a run towards that route, but that’s what keeps these pieces so interesting. Catching up with Dwyer, he gave an account of how Eddie Harris’ 1975 album I Need Some Money came into his life and the long-lasting impact it’s had on him.

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Event Rundown: Basilica Soundscape 2017

I’m not usually one for live coverage. There are those that do it well and photographers with a better eye and I’ll usually leave it to them. This, however, being my fourth year in attendance at Soundscape in a town I’ve called home for as long, it feels fitting to at least weigh in. This might be even more true given that the mass that descends on Hudson is so often swept up in telling you to check out this “cute” hamlet nestled by the river that they forget to stop and reflect on who and what Hudson really is. So, while I’ve always appreciated Soundscape for giving an easily accessible glut of great artists (both literary and musical) it’s often hard not to grit at the parade of weekend goths gawkin’ up real estate prices during Fall Musical Recess 2017 sponsored by Warby Parker clear frames.

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Omni’s Frankie Broyles on China Crisis – Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms – Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain

After splitting from Deerhunter, Frankie Broyles has taken a tumble through post-punk’s most angular avenues with his band Omni. The band’s debut for Trouble in Mind was a loving run at Television, The Voidoids and Wire, a sound which they only crystallize on their follow-up this year. For the latest Hidden Gems, Boyles takes a run at an album he feels has been left out of the public conversation, the synth-pop debut from Brits China Crisis. If the album’s cover is any indication, they’ve at least lifted a bit of aesthetic vision from the band but Frankie explains how the music has seeped into his own life below.

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Zola Jesus on Magdalith – S/T

There have been a lot of artists that have popped up repeatedly on RSTB over the many years, but few with the consistency of Zola Jesus. Nika Danilova’s first appearance was in 2008 on a year end list of 7″s, marking her “Souer Sewer” cut as one to watch in the coming years. Seems like she’s not only been one to watch, but one to anticipate with great hopes as each release nears. Her work has set a high bar not only for those enamored with the dark strains of industrial and goth but for any electronic or pop record in a given year. Her latest, Okovi is one of her most personal albums and a stunning reminder of her power as a vocalist – confronting tragedy with a strident battalion of sound. For her entry to Hidden Gems, Danilova has picked a record far from the beaten track, the 1973 eponymous work of French Gregorian singer Magdalith, whose works echo Zola Jesus’ own balance of desolation and heart-stopping vocals.

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