Vic Chesnutt’sdebut album, Little, is a work of pure Southern Gothic genius. Chesnutt’s records are by no means easy on the heart, but they’re beautiful.Â His songs fit right in with the darker sideÂ of Southern literary tradition like the best short stories ofÂ Flannery O’Connor and Larry Brown. His lyrics take on a literary merit much like Bob Dylan’s (who’s recent Nobel Prize in literatureÂ proves that songwriting is a form of high poetry). These are important songs by an important Southern artist. We’re really excited to be able to stock all of Vic’s records in the shop. They’re all records that need to be heard, and need to be owned…on vinyl.
Little was produced by fellow Athens, GA artistÂ (and R.E.M. lead singer) Michael Stipe. The lush, rich poetry of the lyrics on Little is counterbalanced by Stipe’s stark production, with mostly live-sounding performances by Chesnutt accompanied by little more than his guitar. The recordings were done as demos, “on an October day in 1988 at John Keane’s gussied up studio…me feeling rather rough from the night before,” writes Chesnutt.
Athens-based record label, NEW WEST RECORDS, has taken on the important task of reissuing Vic’s records in chronological order. Little comes pressed on 180g vinylÂ and contains new liner notes by Michael Stipe.Â Record of the Month Club members will also get a promo poster. More info the ROTM Club right here.Â
It’s that time of the year when we share with you our favorite records of 2016. This year has been rough. We’ve lost some truly amazing artists–Prince, Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Lemmy, Phife Dawg, Leon Russell, Alan Vega, Mose Allison, and others. The best thing to take from these losses is it gives us a chance to reflect on their art and immerse ourselves in their records again…sometimes for the first time. Luckily, since the resurgence of vinyl, these artists find new life in our shop bins with a constant array of reissues and vault releases. At least we have their records. Bowie left way too soon but he may have left us the best record of the year…maybe his career? Leonard Cohen knew his time was up and his records (including his last one) seem to make more sense now…maybe? Prince was gone in an instant but worked on new material right up ’til his death. Anyways, 2016 was tough and we’ll leave it at that.
Now for our list! As tough as the year got at times there were always great records coming out. This may be the strongest year for new music since we opened our doors in 2012. Â We saw the return of Radiohead, Bob Dylan winning a Nobel Prize, A Tribe Called Quest back in the spotlight, a political cry from Drive-by Truckers, new indie-rock classics from Car Seat Headrest and Parquet Courts, and lots more! We aren’t going to put these in any order because ranking them seems too hard and a waste of time. If you’d like to purchase any of these (we are a record store after all) you can go to our webstoreÂ or swing by the shop. So here we go…
Our favorite records of 2016
–David Bowie BlackstarÂ
Bowieâs final record is a masterpiece from the cover artwork and record packaging to the experimental jazz backing band. Bowie set up the release of Blackstar in an unprecedented work of performance art as he passed away just days after the release leaving the songs bathed in mystery and new meaning. Bowie is one of the most important artists of all time and Blackstar is an excellent parting gift and ending to an amazing and groundbreaking career. If you havenât already poured over this record, now is the time. This year also sees the vinyl reissues of Bowieâs early, crucial catalog.
Life of Pablo isÂ probably the most traditional rap record Yeezy has made in years. The gospel-rap opener âUltralight Beamâ is one of Kanyeâs best songs ever–thanks Chance the Rapper. Kanye is also pushing the boundary of what it means to release a record in 2016, or if itâs possible for a record to ever be creatively finished. He’s also pushing the boundaries of live performance. If you get the chance, GO SEE HIM LIVE! This record didnât see a physical releaseâexcept for that one thing you probably saw in the store ?
–Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
Radioheadâs first album in four years is one of their greatest achievements. King of Limbs left fans wanting more as the record clocked in at just over 30 minutes. A Moon Shaped Pool is lengthier and much more minimal at the same timeâin a good way. This isnât necessarily a rock record but more a collection of songs where Jonny Greenwood flexes his orchestral muscle while Thom Yorke performs some of his best lyrics to date. The record gives fans some excellent debatable talking points for discussions on where this record ranks in the Radiohead catalogâŠwe think it should sit near the top with Kid AÂ and OK Computer.
Angel Olsen almost goes full on rock with this new record and we can’t get enough of it. We’ve been a fan of hers since her first record and she just keeps getting better and better. This is easily one of the best records of the year.
“If Burn Your Fire was Olsenâs poetic manifesto, then My Woman lives freely within its world. Together, the two albums remind me of something Patti Smith once said, in 1976, distinguishing the literary HorsesÂ from its follow-up, Radio Ethiopia, by calling the latter âtotal physical energyâ and also more implicitly feminine. My Woman walks a tightrope of love to figure out what it isâhow to find it, how to allow it in, how to feel it, how to fight for it, how to let it goâby a person who does not lose herself in the process.” -Pitchfork.com
Charles Bradleyâs third album is his first to full on politicize and the timing is perfect. Bradley sings about the need for change and the even more stressingÂ need for love to conquer all. His cover of Black Sabbathâs âChangesâ may be the song of the year. This is one of the best modern soul records to drop in recent years.
PUT ON TURNTABLE. PLAY. FLIP. REPEAT. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER. 2016 JAMMER ALERT!
“Dev Hynes’ work–populist, experimental, healing, agitating, straightforward, multi-layered–demonstrates this unfailingly. Prince’s radical pop spirit lives on in many artists. But none are channeling it more fully, or artfully.” -RollingStone
“Whatever one makes of the songs presented here, at least we should all be able to agree that another addition to Caveâs legendary, beyond comparison catalogue is in itself enough of a reason to feel very satisfied.” -Drowned in Sound
“Skeleton Tree is an extraordinary piece of work, one that might impact upon you profoundly if you choose to bed-down in its dark corridors of hurt.” -MOJO
“It feels distasteful to rate so powerful, so raw an album in any aesthetic terms and yet it brilliantly, blackly, radiates life. Skeleton Tree is a work of mourning, yes; a work of reverie, yes; and also an immensely moving attempt to reach out of blackness towards life.” -The Wire
(COPIES AVAILABLEÂ IN THE SHOP)
–Leonard Cohen You Want it Darker
Cohen’s final, and masterful, goodbye of a record. Like Bowie, this final act ranks right at the top of a beloved artist’s output. It’s bleak and sad, but it’s so damn good, and when it needs to be it’s the sweetest thing you ever heard.
“You Want It Darker could be addressed to fans pining for a return to Cohenâs bleakest songwriting; or a lover, or a higher power.” -The Observer (UK)
“This is one of his most intense albums. It feels personal too.” -MOJO
“It’s become a cliche to treat every latter-day Cohen album like a potential swansong but it’s hard to imagine a richer, finer or more satisfying finale than this.”
Primarily written while Tyler was on sabbatical in Oxford, Mississippi, where he stayed at the cabin of a family friend within a stoneâs throw of William Faulknerâs house, Modern Country is a collection of songs about the vanishing America that still exists on back roads, in small towns, on AM radio stations. In an election year when so many certainties and assurances have vanished, Tyler doesnât offer optimism or pessimism but rather a calm and measured commentary in our age of anxiety. 2016 would’ve been much tougher without this record.
“By and large, We got it from HereâŠ has the classic Tribe sound: a warm and crisp confluence of East Coast hip-hop, jazz, and more, all mixed and mastered impeccably. While some aspects of the sound are dated, others feel fresh.” -Consequence of Sound
“Completed after Phifeâs death, the recordâs also an unabashed tribute to him. Q-Tipâs the handsome one, charismatic, the versatile one with pop appeal, and so it has always been easy to think of Phife as something of a foilâa little funnier and scrappier, maybe, but not the driving artistic force. But anyone who made a home inside these records over the past quarter century knows Phifeâs the groupâs beating heart: its source of joy; the wry, horny prankster; the life of the party. Q-Tipâs an optimistâhe believes in peopleâbut Phife is the reason why. We talk about rappers as poets, as journalists, as masters of ceremony. Phife is the rapper as guy you want to hang out with. Hearing him light up a track like âWe the Peopleâ or the instant classic âBlack Spasmodicâ is at once chill-inducing and a reminder of how much life an emcee can pack into a couple bars.” -The A.V. Club
Out on June 3rd,Â the Chicago groupâs debut album is soulful and different from anything else weâve heard this year inÂ the world of indie rock.Â Formed from the core of guitarist Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns) and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich (ex-Unknown Mortal Orchestra),the band itself is something bigger, something visionary.
“Bass, horns, strings, organ and choir provide the backbone, and when Whitney allow themselves to kick it up a gear and really let rip, as on âGolden Daysâ (with its cathartic âNa na naâ outro) or the George Harrison-meets-The Band magnificence of âDaveâs Songâ, theyâre untouchable.” -NME
We first heard this record a few months ago and immediately pegged it for one of the best records of the fall. Upon first listening itâs hard to pinpoint what genre Kadhja should be placed under and thatâs a good thing. The record is free jazz, hip-hop, pop, r&bâŠall in one. Did you like the Kamasi Washington record? Do you dig Amy Winehouse? Do you listen to Grimes AND Nina Simone? This record is for you!
And on top of all that the vinyl comes pressed on GLOW-IN-THE-DARK WAX!
“A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, like all Beach Slang releases, is made for the purpose of inclusivity. James Alex may be forty-two but Beach Slang, in sound and energy, remains ageless.” -Punknews.org
“By grounding their idealism in simple, anthemic rock and a vague mythology, theyâve created an angsty, mutable codex of sorts, an inclusive machine by which to punch all the hearts.” -SPIN
“While some of the lyrics may be a little too on the nose for some, regardless of age (“This crummy town is filled with wild boredom”), there is no age limit on angst or catharsis.” -Allmusic
“Gifted a falsetto reminiscent of famed Kentucky balladeer John Jacob Niles (1892-1980), his voice soars along rural Americana and across desolate plains (“Where I’m Calling From”). Through the tense, starry twilight of “Outlands,” tranquil, meandering rivers and sprawling juniper trees (“Juniper Arms”) outline a rocky terrain wherein “Some Beast Will Find You by Name.” To that topography, add Adam Torres.” -Austin Chronicle
“Some of the purest, restorative, most unburdened music imaginable.” -MOJO
With a stellar background in gospel, Durand Jones got his start in the church, singing in the choir of his hometown in rural Louisiana. When his music career took him to Bloomington, Indiana, he was selected to join the legendary Indiana University Soul Revue, and it was through his involvement that he met writer/producer duo Aaron Frazer and Blake Rhein. The three began writing original soul music, recording themselves straight to tape in the basements of Bloomington, and now theyâre releasing their debut album. For fans of Charles Bradley and Leon Bridges.
“Indie rock may not be dying, but itâll be hard for people to make it sound as alive as Toledo does on Teens of Denial. This is the sort of record where you wish like hell you could hear it again for the first time and thatâll keep rewarding return visits for years to come.” -Paste
“With or without artfully-cribbed melodies, the music is undeniable.” -RollingStone
Many folks thought Sturgill was just going to drop Metamodern Part 2, but he didnât. He changed it all up and itâs just the move he needed to make. This isnât a country record really. Itâs more soulful than anything heâs ever done and thereâs even a Nirvana cover. Sturgill fans were surprised by the production on this one but we think heâs heading in the right direction and this just may be his best record to date.
Lee Moseswas a huge talent and if heâd had the big hit album he richly deserved, Time And Placewouldâve been it. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Moses cut his teeth in the clubs of Atlanta, the âMotown of the Southâ, where he frequently performed alongside his contemporary Gladys Knight (who reportedly wanted him for the Pips, but couldnât pin him down).
It was, however, in New York in the â60s that Moses made his greatest bid to find the solo fame he desired. Moses began working there as a session player, even playing frequently with a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, but his close relationship with producer and Atlanta native Johnny Brantley eventually saw him getting his own break via a series of 45s in 1967 â most notably with covers of Joe Simonâs âMy Adorable Oneâ, The Four Topsâ âReach Out, Iâll Be Thereâ and The Beatlesâ âDay Tripperâ.
It was 1971 before Mosesâ dream of being at stage front was realized, when he released his Brantley-produced LP Time And Place for Maple Records. Recorded with a band including members of The Ohio Players and Mosesâ own backing group The Deciples, it was, nonetheless, Moses himself whose star quality shone through, via his scratchy guitar riffs, his throat-ripping vocals and the stirring mood that permeates the LPâs heady mix of funk, soul and R&B.
The LP did no business, and Mosesâ dream quickly crumbled. Though details on his life are scarce, itâs believed he fled New York disenchanted with the music industry, feeling heâd been double-crossed by Brantley both in credit and remuneration for the countless records heâd played on. Back in Atlanta, Moses returned to playing the clubs, married twice, and fell into depression and drug dependency. He died in 1997 at the age of 56.
Time And Place soon became a much-sought-after item for collectors, and its cult has continued to grow over the years. Here’s the record on deluxe vinyl, with brand new liner notes from Sarah Sweeney including interviews with Mosesâ sister and his closest collaborator, the singer and guitarist Hermon Hitson. Through them, Moses becomes a little â but just a little â less of an enigma.
An absolutely essential lost soul record. Members will also get a Hi Records CD sampler featuring killer soul from Memphis by the likes of Al Green, Ann Peebles, Don Bryant, Syl Johnson, OV Wright, and more. Sign up here!
Adam Torres dropped a new record on us a few weeks ago and weâve had it on the turntable non-stop at the shop ever since. His latest record, Pearls to Swine, is one of the best of the year and itâll take you to that high lonesome place in the mountains of your mind. Adam will be playing with his full band (including Thorâthe drummer in SWANS) at Proud Larryâs on Sunday, Oct. 30th but heâll be swinging by the store for aÂ late-lunch show earlier that day at 1 p.m. Donât miss this and pick up Pearls to SwineÂ now via Fat Possum Records!
PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF PEARLS TO SWINE HERE AND PICK IT UP AT THE INSTORE!Â
WILCOÂ has a new record dropping on Friday, September 9th BUT you can get it a few days early from us! We’re hosting a release/listening party on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th from 5-6 p.m.Â where we’ll be spinning the new record, raffling off some Wilco stuff including a test pressing of the new record, and drinking beer!
The latest album, American Band, from the Drive-by Truckers will be coming out September 30th via ATO Records! The band is offering a limited, red-vinyl version of the record, which also includes a bonus 7″ single. This version is limited to 2500 copies and only available at independent record shops or directly from the band.
Pre-order your copy TODAY! Right here!Â And we’ll ship it to you when it’s released.Â
Check out the Truckers on tour this summer and fall!
From the Patterson Hood:Â
These are crazy times and we have made a record steeped in this moment of history that we’re all trying to live through. We’ve always considered ourselvesÂ a political band, even when that aspect seemed to be concealed by some type of narrative device i.e. dealing with issues of race by telling a story set in theÂ time of George Wallace or class struggles by setting “Putting People of the Moon” in the age of Reagan.
This time out, there are no such diversions as these songs are mostly set front and center in the current political arena with songs dealing with our racialÂ and cultural divisions, gun violence, mass shootings and political assholery. Once again, there is a nearly even split between the songs of Cooley and myself,Â with both of us bringing in songs that seem to almost imply a conversation between us about our current place in time.
“American Band” is a rock and roll call to arms as well as a musical reset button for our band and the country we live in. Most of all, we look at it as theÂ beginnings of some conversations that we, as a people very much need to begin having if we ever hope to break through the divisions that are threateningÂ to tear us apart.
Drive-By Truckers are celebrating our twentieth anniversary as a band in an election year where some people are trying to define what it is to be American.Â Definitions based on some outdated ideology of prejudice and fear. We are loudly proclaiming that those people don’t speak for us. America is and alwaysÂ has been a land of immigrants and ideals. Ideals that we have often fallen short of achieving, but it’s the striving that has given us whatever claims toÂ greatness we have had. That’s what America means to us and “We’re an American Band”.
We’ll also have copies of the limited, white vinyl version of A Moon Shaped Pool,Â along with some other freebies. Preorders on this title sold out instantly but we made sure to hold some back for folks that come through on Friday. These will sell out again but hopefully we’ll have enough to get everyone covered on Friday.
Lastly, we’re planning on making this a fun party…so stay tuned for more announcements. #freebeer
Here’s the official website from Radiohead for the event.
Here’s our original post and review on A Moon Shaped Pool.
Here’s the contest rules for winning a copy of the “Burn the Witch/Spectre” single.
Radiohead’s new single “Burn the Witch” b/w “Spectre” is dropping on May 16th. We’ve just learned that we’ll only be getting a few copies…as in 2 or 3. The single (on 7 inch vinyl) is limited to 2500 copies so it’s shaping up to be a pretty collectible item for Radiohead fans (and eBay prices are already out of hand). We’ve decided instead of selling them we are going to give them away for FREE! All you have to do is win our Radiohead contest!Â
To enter the contest please take a photo of you with some of your Radiohead swag–it can be a record, CD, t-shirt, poster, ticket stub, fan art, whatever–and post it on Instagram, tag us @endofallmusic with the hashtag #RadioheadOxford, and we’ll pick a winner on June 17th when the new record, A Moon Shaped Pool, drops. The winners will be selected based on the creativity of the Instagram post…so get weird!Â
Winners must be local and be able to pick up the single in the store on or around June 17th.
Radiohead may be one of the most important rock bands of the last 20 years so anytime they drop a new record it’s worth paying attention to. The bands ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool, dropped (digitally) on Sunday and we couldn’t download it fast enough. The record is probably the most tame, mellow album to date but it’s also probably the bands prettiest. Jonny Greenwood’s orchestrations shine through more than on any other Radiohead release and we’re not complaining. Greenwood’s work on P.T. Anderson film soundtracks have led us to this point and it’s pure minimalistic bliss–combined with Thom Yorke’s vocals and it’s really something special. The digital version of the record sounds great but we’re REALLY EXCITED about the upcoming vinyl release on June 17th.Â
We’ll be stocking the limited, white vinyl version on June 17th ONLY AVAILABLE AT INDEPENDENT RECORD SHOPS! These will be sure to go quick so come by the shop on the 17th to snag a copy or PREORDER NOW. The limited edition version will come on 2 opaque, white vinyl LPs in a silver foil gatefold sleeve and will include a digital download of the record. You can preorder the limited vinylÂ version of the LP righthere.
We’ll also have copies of the “Burn the Witch”/”Spectre” 7-inch single on May 16th. These are also limited and only available at independent records shops.
*UPDATE: We aren’t sure yet how many copies of the limited, white vinyl version we’ll be getting so we’ve suspended preorders until we know more. This record is more than likely going to be allocated, therefore it’ll be 1 copy per customer. Thanks and sorry for the confusion.Â