Easy Street Blog

Record Store Day 2014 Preview #15!

POSTED BY ON Tue Apr 15, 03:01 PM

Sam Cooke - Ain't That Good News

The 50th-anniversary edition of Cooke's final album and one of his best. It includes the civil rights anthem, "A Change Is Gonna Come," written shortly after Cooke was arrested during a heated argument with a Holiday Inn manager after he and his wife were turned away from the hotel. The first side of the record is described as "strong and rockin'" while the second side contains "ballads....deep and soulful." Only 1800 copies.

The Fresh Sheet! New Releases 4/15!

POSTED BY ON Tue Apr 15, 11:40 AM

The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast

"The most satisfying moments on the Afghan Whigs' first album in 16 years aren’t the soaring choruses, or the runaway guitar solos, or the thinly veiled R&B references—not even Van Hunt doing a truly killer Bobby Womack impersonation on 'It Kills.' Rather, Do to the Beast is best right before all hell breaks loose. On 'Royal Cream,' Greg Dulli and the band draw out the verse for an extra beat or two, ratcheting up the suspense before surging into the swaggering chorus. You brace yourself for the impact, as you would in a car crash… On Do to the Beast, Dulli seems less interested in rehashing the raw rock-quartet attack the Afghan Whigs mastered in the 90s than he is in building on it. The pummeling math-rock riff of 'Matamoros' and the impossible breakneck pace of 'The Lottery' recall the band in spirit if not precisely in sound, and opener 'Parked Outside' may be the heaviest thing he’s ever committed to tape. These songs are orchestrated grandly to draw out the dark drama of Dulli's lyrics, which continue to plumb the deteriorating effects of drugs, crime, and love, but overall there’s less groove than you might expect from an Afghan Whigs album. … Do to the Beast may not always sound like an Afghan Whigs album, but it operates like one, scavenging the darker corners of pop history to create something personal, vital, and urgent." - Stephen M. Deusner, Pitchfork

Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out

"Pushing the door wide open, Ingrid Michaelson has made her best album. She lost her voice for several months last year, so she has a new appreciation of her gift. Her voice is deeper and more soulful. And she still employs girlish 'ooh-ooh' harmonies, but the result is more adult, at times like an ethereal Kate Bush. She experiments with many colors, from synth-pop to funk stomp to piano ballads. And she switches her approach from writing all the songs to using 10 co-writers. Michaelson sings about loves lost, found, and otherwise, but there are breakthrough moments in the urgency of 'Time Machine,' the synth-pop of 'Handsome Hands,' and the surging 'Wonderful Unknown,' where she sings 'nothing lasts forever, but the sound of love astounds me every time that it calls.' You might expect a schizoid clusterbomb from Lights Out, but instead it's an impressively seamless mix." - Steve Morse, Boston Globe

Ingrid Michaelson - "Girls Chase Boys"

Thee Oh Sees - Drop

"For a band who've built a career out of letting their collective freak flag fly, Thee Oh Sees seem to be purposefully inching toward something resembling normality. 2013's Floating Coffin found them inquisitively poking at the frameworks of straight-up hard rock, and with 2014's Drop, Thee Oh Sees are similarly playing with pop songs. There's definitely a side portion of psychedelia folded into these tunes, as you might expect, but the oozing guitar freakouts and epic-scale noise battles that used to be a traditional feature on an Oh Sees album generally fail to materialize. Instead, Drop is a collection of songs running between two and four minutes (the relative epic 'Encrypted Bounce' is the only number to break the five-minute barrier, though it's still a modest work compared to the 13-plus minutes of Warm Slime's title track), with many boasting cleaner arrangements than usual, along with actual hooks. ... And in grand pop tradition, Drop wastes little time, spinning through its nine songs in 32 minutes, and leaving the listener wanting more. There's enough of Thee Oh Sees' personality in Drop that fans will readily recognize it, but if you've ever been turned off by their layers of skronk, or the acid-damaged travels into the sonic wilderness, Drop could well be the album where this band finally catches up with you." - Mark Deming, All Music

Thee Oh Sees - "Drop"

Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas

"Courtney Barnett's The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas has been arriving in lucky U.S. mailboxes in recent days, but the first stateside release from the languidly observant Australian garage-rock bandleader is officially out today, with a video to mark the occasion. For those not yet familiar, 'Avant Gardener' — this writer's pick for the No. 1 track of last year — is the unambitiously ambitious breakout song, the everyday-psychedelic first-person narrative with the offhand Pulp Fiction reference and the best asthma-inhaler lyric in at least a few years. 'History Eraser' is the unhedonistically hedonistic one, the arty party you could buy on a split seven-inch single, where the Stones give way to the mods and a #YOLO comment nonchalantly leads to touching tongues, which all winds up with a Triffids song. But The Double EP also has an estimable mellow streak, and 'Anonymous Club' captures that wonderfully; its slowcore-glazed tale of an intimate evening with ample wine and no phones would fit perfectly on a mix alongside the music of fellow-Aussie-accented Allo Darlin'. The song's new video (via the Quietus) delivers patient, monochrome animations — all the better for languid observation, of course." - Marc Hogan, Spin

Courtney Barnett - "Avant Gardener"

The Both - The Both

"Former Boston gal Aimee Mann and modern punk ace Ted Leo write smart, sharp pop melodies. But that doesn't mean they'd make a great duo — during emotional climaxes Mann tends to get quiet, wounded, tender; Leo blows tunes up with battering-ram power chords and shouting. For their first collaboration as the Both — the self-titled debut is out today — they meet in the middle: Mann adds a little (just a little) volume to her gentle voice; Leo whittles down the Clash homages. Turns out the middle is a warm, sweet place full of harmonies and hooks. From the opening, 'The Gambler,' Leo sings with the slow soul we rarely get on his solo stuff. A song later, 'Milwaukee,' Mann bops along echoing Leo's classic clipped cadence. With each track the two grow more intertwined until they close with 'The Inevitable Shove' — a 50/50 blend of Brill Building piano and screeching guitar." - Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald

The Both - "Milwaukee"

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing

"The third album from this Kent, OH singer-songwriter recasts her atmospheric folk-pop into something darker and heavier. Featuring a stripped-down, primal rock-band sound, the album combines thick, grungy guitars and muscular rhythms with Mayfield’s sultry deadpan vocals and dark, often-seedy lyrics." - Don Yates, KEXP

Jessica Lea Mayfield - "I Wanna Love You"

Bobby Bare Jr - Undefeated

"Neil Sedaka wasn’t kidding when he sang 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.' Some people choose to let a breakup ruin them only to become that sad drunk guy at the bar nobody can stand. Others, however, can turn a breakup into something positive. In the case of Nashville singer-songwriter Bobby Bare Jr. that positive comes in the form of a brand new album aptly titled Undefeated (Bloodshot Records). The album is his first full-length in four years and sees him returning from a long stint of mostly solo acoustic outings to his rock band the Young Criminals Starvation League, a hodge-podge lineup of musicians that has changed throughout the years but always remains a highly talented group of players. Most importantly, the album is a return to the Bobby Bare Jr. we know and love. Like his previous works, Undefeated offers up a selection of ten very different tunes that all share in common Bobby's distinctive twangy rasp and a core root of hook-driven rock with pop sensibilities. Much like an actual breakup, the songs are a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from resentment on 'If She Cared' to reflection on 'Blame Everybody (But Yourself),' and even tongue-in-cheek optimism on 'The Big Time.' As a whole Undefeated is one of Bobby Bare Jr.'s finest records to date." - Neil Ferguson, No Depression

NOTE: We only have time to spotlight a fraction of the new releases out each week in the Fresh Sheet. See our full list here!

Record Store Day - Are You Ready?

POSTED BY ON Tue Apr 15, 09:35 AM

Easy Street Records/ Record Store Day from 36 Arms Video Productions on Vimeo.

Four days until Record Store Day 2014! We're making some exciting announcements later today, but first we want to share this awesome video from Record Store Day 2013, shot by the talented folks at 36 Arms! Enjoy!

Best Sellers - Week Ending 4/13

POSTED BY ON Mon Apr 14, 11:18 AM

Last week's best sellers! 

CD - Beck - Morning Phase

Vinyl - Beck - Morning Phase

Northwest - Pearl Jam - Seattle, WA - 12/06/13

See complete lists of CD/Vinyl/NW best sellers here

Win An Afghan Whigs Test Pressing!

POSTED BY ON Mon Apr 14, 08:12 AM

The first Afghan Whigs' album in 15+ years, Do To The Beast, is dropping tomorrow, and we're giving away a prize that will surely flip your Whig....a super-limited & rare test pressing! This contest is a little different than most we run...this time we'll give the prize away at our store, on release day (tomorrow), to the tenth customer who buys the new album.

Good luck!

Win Tickets To The Jim Jones Revue At Neumos!

POSTED BY ON Fri Apr 11, 04:09 PM

I can personally attest to the power of the explosive rock & roll machine called the Jim Jones Revue. Their 2011 Bumbershoot set in 80+ degree heat remains seared in my memory as one of the powerful and entertaining sets I'd seen in ages. They blew clean away everyone who witnessed the set. So, listen, if you dig unbridled raw, greasy, garage rock & roll and showmanship in spades, you gotta see these UK lads....they will knock you straight on your ass! Enter to win a pair of tickets to their 4/22 show at Neumos (21+) by e-mailing contests@easystreetonline.com with the subject line "The Savage Heart" (title of their most recent release) and please include first & last name with entry. We'll draw a winner on 4/20. Good luck!

Or take no chances and buy tickets here!

Record Store Day 2014 Preview #14!

POSTED BY ON Fri Apr 11, 04:02 PM

The Zombies - Odessey & Oracle & I Love You

As you may know, released in 1968, the Zombies album, Odessey & Oracle, is consistently in the top 10 lists of the greatest albums of all-time.  But you may not know that the rare 1966 album, I Love You, was initially released only in Europe and Japan. This is the first time the album, a compilation of Decca singles and B-sides, is being released in the United States.


Staff Picks

Open Strings: 1920s Middle Eastern Virtuoso String Recordings
Various Artists
Open Strings: 1920s Middle Eastern Virtuoso String Recordings
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
The Soul Sessions, Volume 2
Joss Stone
The Soul Sessions, Volume 2
Black Sabbath
Option Paralysis
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Option Paralysis
Music for the Man Made
Atomic Bride
Music for the Man Made
Damn Right Rebel Proud
Hank Williams III
Damn Right Rebel Proud
Batman & Robin, Vol. 1
Grant Morrison
Batman & Robin, Vol. 1
The Sinking of the Titanic
Gavin Bryars
The Sinking of the Titanic