A swirling fire of new Cool Ghouls!
As the last days of summer fall off the calendar, California – as is custom – has fallen under a great wave of wildfire. We peek over our sunglasses at the looming forest, swept asunder by nature’s fury. We cast our glance to the city; and indeed, the Mission is engulfed in flames. We close our eyes, and lo! Projected onto our meager hungry brains, it is A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, the brand new LP from SF’s Cool Ghouls!
We, you, and I have been waiting a good many months for the boys to pull through with another foot-stomping, tension-melting, inner-eye blinking masterpiece, and it has finally arrived, mixed, re-mixed, mixed again, mastered and ready to find purpose, glistening on your turntable. This new album, recorded by the notorious Sonny Smith and mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), delivers on all the expected levels, and then some. The songwriting has matured, the harmonies have grown tighter, and the songs are imbued with a new sense of sonic adventure. Infectious and utterly compelling, A Swirling Fire will lay waste to mere saplings of the post-digital age. This is real rock and roll!!! Available 11/11 (wish day) on limited (300 copies) deluxe swirling fire-colored vinyl from Empty Cellar and on cassette from Burger Records. Pre-order yours here. And… if you still have doubts, check out lead single “The Mile”, which debuted over at Noisey (Vice):
…and the follow-up “And It Grows” over at Brooklyn Vegan:
…and the follow-up to the follow-up “What A Dream I had” over at Wondering Sound:
“On “The Mile,” the first single from A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye, the SF band touch on classic 60s rock like The Byrds, CSNY, and more, astonishing their way through multi-part harmonies on the Sonny Smith-recorded (Sonny & the Sunsets), Mikey-Young-mixed (Total Control, ECSR) track.” — Noisey (Vice)
Release date: November 11th (Pre-order here)
1. And It Grows
2. The Mile
3. What A Dream I Had
4. Orange Light
6. Get A Feelin’
7. Across The River
9. New Moon
10. Sweet rain
Praise For Cool Ghouls:
“The San Francisco-based quartet blends psychedelic and upbeat into their rhythms and vocals to produce a sound that’s wholly unique. And we love them for it.” — FILTER
“Their Tim Cohen-produced self-titled presents a group who has contributed to San Francisco’s indie rock fabric where the exhaled chord rhythms of yesterday ghost through the great tomorrow that never knows” — Impose Magazine
“Perfectly lo-fi without being a caricature, you can picture how well this song will go over as you look around and actually see green grass.” — KCRW
“Cool Ghouls’ eponymous album hit all the right buttons for spring around here, laying wide open and loose with the kind of breezy pop gems that feel good year after year.” — Raven Sings The Blues
“It is uncontrived and unapologetically filled with joy in the most refreshing way.” — The Bay Bridged
New Grace Sings Sludge (of The Sandwitches) cassette!!!
Empty Cellar Records is very happy to announce the addition of Grace Sings Sludge (Grace Cooper of The Sandwitches) to our roster, and we’d like to present to you her latest self-released album, Red Light Museum, to kick off the celebration.
Red Light Museum is the third installment of home recordings from Grace Sings Sludge. Following two limited edition cassette releases with San Francisco’s Secret Seven Records, This Time It’s Personal and Last Year’s Friend, Red Light Museum offers ten new emotionally captivating songs in Grace’s inimitable style. From title to title Grace Sings Sludge gives us an exclusive peek into a new chapter in her own personal hell/heaven. Narrated by her stunning vocals and accompanied by sparse layers of guitar, piano, samples and drums (courtesy of Dic Stusso), each listen reveals another subtlety in the mix – a cinematic clue – to help us put the pieces together. Keeping with tradition, the album artwork is drawn and painted by Grace Cooper; and this time, each cassette version comes with a unique hand-drawn original (priceless) mini-artwork. Available in cassette (hand-dubbed by Grace) and digital. Get it from us HERE or directly from Grace HERE!
Check out the video for ‘Difficult to Luv’ over at Raven Sings The Blues.
Grace Sings Sludge – ‘Difficult to luv’ from Empty Cellar on Vimeo. Directed by Culita of Tirando Terror
…and the VHS video for ‘Such a vision’ over at My Old Kentucky Blog.
Grace Sings Sludge – ‘Such a vision’ from Empty Cellar. Dedicated to the loving memory of its director Johnnie Roberto Russell.
1. Difficult to Luv
2. Bullshit Ceremony
3. Haunt Me Albert
4. Such A Vision
5. S. Sludge
6. Red Light Museum
7. The Change
8. Fanatical Fanny
9. A Sore Place
10. …and Only
New 7″ single from Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Cairo Gang
Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Cairo Gang are at it again!
Empty Cellar is proud to announce the latest single by Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, “We Love Our Hole” b/w “I’ll be Alright”. This latest product of their fruitful collaboration finds Will Oldham and Emmett Kelly sitting barefoot on a sand dune, plucking the last rays of an Australian sunset from the sky. These two songs were recorded for “SPIRIT OF AKASHA”, a film/soundtrack celebrating 40 years of the classic 1971 Australian surf film “Morning of the Earth.”
“We Love Our Hole”, a warm and fuzzular take on the notorious Aussie localism, recalls the carefree back to earth acoustic jams on the original “Morning of the Earth” soundtrack. Twangy leads punctuate the bongo-driven tune (music by Kelly / lyrics by Oldham) exalting their hole… the kind of place you discover by following your bliss, “a cove where love is free”. Unbridled, the duo’s dueling voices find rare, compelling, moments of unison amidst rich harmonizing. The B-side, “I’ll be Alright”, is a stripped-down take of the Terry Hannagan song from the original soundtrack. Equally melancholy and reassuring, Hannagan’s meditation on the drag of modern life is dispensed thoughtfully by Oldham in his fearless, self-assured, voice. The recording as a whole finds Oldham and Kelly stepping confidently across the beach, fully trusting each other in these songs as only seasoned brothers can.
This 7” vinyl record comes packaged in a high-gloss photographic jacket featuring a golden still by “SPIRIT OF AKASHA” filmmaker Andrew Kidman. Limited to a single pressing of 1000 copies, this release is a perfect assurance that summer is coming through the clouds, and its music positively sparkles like a sun-lit sea. Bonus points: Each 7” comes with a special fart-cloud sticker drawn by the great Nathaniel Russell that you can place in the wind of your favorite Surfer pic! Get yours HERE!
Castle Face and Empty Cellar Team Up For New Dylan Shearer Album, garagearray
Cut from the cloth of early Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers-isms, garagearray by Dylan Shearer is a lofty, loopy flight in a candy floss-clouded sky, with an ever-present darkness just below the surface. It’s wonderfully off the cuff, in moments reminiscent of a Syd Barrett session where the band must’ve just closed their eyes and felt it out in the dark. Coming together in all the right moments, sometimes absolute in its nick-of-timeness. Dylan Shearer is joined on this LP by Petey Dammit on bass (Thee Oh Sees) and Noel von Harmonson on drums (Comets On Fire). Produced by Eric Bauer (Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin…etc) this session maintains a lighter than life vibration, like a breeze weaving through a tree far overhead. The production smacks with that lost in time quality of a BBC session piloted by a natural on the knobs genius. Although I don’t know Dylan Shearer all that well, he has a sort of shy quality that seems to fall away when singing these songs live. Sometimes singing is much heavier in truth than speaking small talk, I guess. It’s really quite lovely and full of sad and poetic moments and we are VERY proud here at Empty Cellar to be co-releasing this with Castle Face Records, with whom we’re making two special and limited handprinted jacket + colored vinyl editions, featuring artwork by Dylan’s childhood friend Michael Sean Coleman. Get a copy while they last HERE!
Listen to track “meadow mines (fort polio)” on NPR
Listen to track “mold in the fold” on Brooklyn Vegan
Read some thoughtful interviews with Dylan Shearer about his writing process on Impose and The Bay Bridged (with Logan of The Dodos)!
Praise for Dylan Shearer:
“Dylan Shearer makes psych-pop, that rare combination of drugged-out bliss and crystal clear melody that evokes The Beach Boys on acid, or The Free Design on ketamine. Not to say that Shearer invokes the more sinister edges of the drug-addled, oh no, this is psychedelia that wraps you up in a Fall sweater of guitar and woodwinds. This is psych and pop mixed in the most classic of ways, the tenuous edges of free-form psych brought together under the deceptively superficial happiness of best sort of pop.”
— Side One Track One
“Shearer’s vocals have the same eccentric bohemian aristocracy of Kevin Ayers circa Joy Of A Toy, alongside touches of melancholy Nick Drake-isms and some classic, dislocated Syd Barrett/Madcap Laughs style confusion. The songs are great, memorable acoustic constructs that conjure all sorts of phantom hooks from out of the air. Highly Recommended”
— David Keenan
Truly one of my favorite songwriters working today. If a more sullen Ray Davies sounds up your alley, get excited.”
— Chocolate Bobka
Comparisons to Syd Barrett are apt, but the nostalgic and tender domesticity of songs like “meadow mines (fort polio),” from his upcoming record garagearray bring to mind Ray Davies, with whom Shearer shares a prenatural talent for finding pathos in the homey.
Drown in the River of Souls on Magic Trick’s new album
River of Souls is the third enchantment from the hat of Tim Cohen (The Fresh and Onlys) and his band, Magic Trick. Picking up from where he left us with Ruler of the Night (Hardly Art), Cohen brings us ten new intimate tracks, polished as yet unseen. Recorded in The Tree House, his attic studio, River of Souls whirls with parables of change amidst emotional flotsam and jetsam. Insecurities, sarcasm, escapism, optimism, vanity, honesty, and bona fide love… it is all there, but in comforting form. Tim’s well-skewed pop songs remind us that things can always be better, but also that what we have is pretty amazing.
River of Souls signals a new approach for Magic Trick. As in The Fresh and Onlys, Tim has begun to distinguish his muses from those of the foggy San Francisco lo-fi movement that he helped to shape. Mixed at Lucky Cat Studios with Phil Manley and mastered by Paul Oldham, this album exudes presence and confidence. Now, more than ever, the vocals break through the clouds, and the mix champions the artistry in each player’s performance. Tim’s baritone spars with angelic female chants (Noelle Cahill and Alicia Vanden Heuvel) over the crisp unmistakable pulse of James Kim‘s drums, and the melodic drive of Alicia’s bass throughout. San Francisco’s gifted guitar workhorse, Tom Heyman, channels Mark Knopfler; one-man metal mystery, Steve Peacock, brings the right kind of shred; and Marc Cappelle’s horns retort the melodies, as Tim jettisons his woes upriver. It is clear with each downbeat the band has honed its language and tempered its chemistry.
Change permeates this record, but Tim Cohen diehards need not fear. The songs on this album are classic Tim Cohen jams through and through. Still present are the first-thought-best-thought off-the-cuff style and the genre-spanning I-can’t-quite-pinpoint-who-this-reminds-me-of assimilation of influences. Still here are the heartbreaking nonsense and the litany of brilliant guest appearances. River of Souls begins with an invitation to “Come Inside”. The songs stick with you from that point forward, and what’s more… the record ends before you are ready to leave the party. Altogether, this album makes it clear that there is not a man more worthy of thee Muses than Tim Cohen.
Keeping with tradition, the LP version on half-red/half-blue vinyl is presented in a classic tip-on sleeve featuring artwork by Kevin Earl Taylor. Get yours HERE!