photo : Kate Taylor Battle
Kurt Vile’s Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep) was recorded and mixed in sporadic sessions that spanned four years at The Butcher Shoppe studio in Nashville, TN. It includes five songs — covers of John Prine and “Cowboy” Jack Clement as well as two originals — and was recorded alongside a cast of local heavies like Bobby Wood, Dave Roe, and Kenny Malone with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Superwolf) tossed into the mix as well.
Most importantly, it features what KV has called "Probably the single most special musical moment in my life” – a duet with the late John Prine on the songwriter’s well-loved tune, “How Lucky.”
“The truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into The Butcher Shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me. And, man, I was floating and flying and I couldn't hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night,” notes Vile in a personal statement that accompanies the record.
“A couple nights later we were playing ‘How Lucky’ together again; this time onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on New Year's Eve at the turn of 2020. Nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage in Nashville, TN... and, yup, that's just how lucky we all got that night."
Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep) is out digitally on October 2nd. A physical edition will arrive early next year on pink-colored vinyl and CD.
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Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)
By Matt Sweeney
His body left this planet in 2014, but “Cowboy” Jack Clement still brings seekers like Kurt Vile to Nashville to find the wild and mellow musical spaces he created.
Jack was Nashville’s Wizard of Oz. As a producer, songwriter, and mentor he had a profound guiding hand in the careers of Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, and Kurt Vile’s hero John Prine. Clement’s still-out-of-print ’70s solo album All I Want To Do In Life is a holy grail for KV.
So Kurt asked me to introduce him to Jack’s protege, the great David “Fergie” Ferguson. Ferg is a Nashville studio legend in his own right and the owner/operator/house producer of The Butcher Shoppe, a recording studio he started with Prine. He was also Johnny Cash’s right-hand man and recording engineer. He’s a heavy, to say the least.
I’d told Kurt about meeting Ferg in 2005, when Rick Rubin asked me to play guitar on Cash’s America V and VI albums. Raised working in Jack’s studio, Fergie is hilarious. He’s very gruff, yet lovable and a unique mix of hillbilly and worldly. He’s the youngest of the Old Guard -- utterly unpredictable and surprising while always maintaining a deep sense of the traditional. I hung on his every word during the Rick Rubin sessions and learned every song he showed me.
In 2006 Ferg called me and said: “Man, you gotta come to Nashville and meet Jack Clement, get with the real guys before they’re all gone.” This invitation was daunting -- my NYC ass certainly didn’t know any “country licks”. He reassured me: “Hell, we don’t need any more country licks. We need something different. Besides, nobody’s really from Nashville ’cept for me and Jack loves weirdos so you’ll be fine.”
So I went and my life changed. Ferg opened the doors to the Nashville I’d dreamed about. I kept my cool on that visit and as a reward he told me I could bring my non-Nashville friends to town so he and I could produce records for them “as long as they got songs and can really hang”.
The friends I brought in became new wild cards for Fergie to shuffle into this magic deck. A lot of recording ensued. Jack Clement was in his twilight years, but burning bright. Jack’s home studio and The Butcher Shoppe were full of musical legends dropping by to pick songs, have a smoke, get weird, tell jokes, and make records. For years.
When Jack died in 2014, Ferg assumed the mantle and kept Jack’s loose-but-laser-focused studio-style going at The Butcher Shoppe with the same gang of musicians that came up in Clement’s world.
And Kurt Vile wanted in on the action.
It took a couple years for Kurt and Ferg’s schedules to line up, but they finally lined up like a motherfucker in May 2016 for a recording of KV's version of the Prine original “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," among other songs.
Then KV came back again in late September 2016. Ferg booked two more days at the Butcher Shoppe and made another band for Vile, including keyboardist Bobby Wood (Dusty In Memphis, Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds”) bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed), Kenny Malone (George Jones and the rest!), Pat Mclaughlin (ripping solo artist and Prine's mandolin player for many years) along with me on guitar as a bridge between that gang and Vile’s East Coast freakness.
That first day at The Butcher Shoppe we recorded a cover of Cowboy Jack's "Gone Girl" and a remarkable blissed-out Vile original. We had to finish early, though, cuz Ferg had also lined up a big night: Some more of his friends to join Kurt for a loose evening of live music at The Station Inn, Nashville’s realest music venue.
KV: "It was backstage at the Station Inn where Ferg introduced me to John Prine for the first time. And the first thing John told me was that he heard and liked my version of ‘Speed of the Sound of Loneliness’. I knew Ferg had showed him that recording, but it was wild to hear him acknowledge it to say the least.... meeting him then was a perfect moment to do so, but also comical... I had my daughter Awilda back there with me at that moment -- who was 6 at the time -- and other interesting people were around like Billy Ray Cyrus, who was being really funny and cool... the other big reason I was there in Nashville at that time was to catch Prine's two 70th birthday shows at the Ryman... so to see him a couple nights before his big shows, warming up on such a tiny stage in a moment when i was sort of "in the scene" was a real treat and a trip... i had to break the ice by asking Billy Ray in front of everyone if he ever heard that Cypress Hill song where they namedrop him, to which he replied ‘no, i never heard it!’"
Our mind-blown and hungover selves returned to the Butcher Shoppe the next day to work a little more. It took another three years before Kurt could get back to mix what we did, but on that return trip he finally got to record a song with his hero John Prine.
KV: "Probably the single most special musical moment in my life."
Jack Clement was already gone when Kurt first came to town to catch his vibe. Now John Prine is gone and The Butcher Shoppe building has been sold. But the music Jack Clement made is about an energy between people, an unbroken thread. I’m grateful to witness how Fergie plugged Kurt Vile into Jack’s electric mainline of American music that he’d wired and switched on back in 1958. The songs Kurt recorded at The Butcher Shoppe have that continuous electrical charge running through them.
The new Butcher Shoppe Studio is 14 miles outside of Nashville in the countryside and the sound keeps rolling.
"speed of the sound of loneliness" was the first song recorded for this ep on May 26, 2016.
the last song, captured 3.5 years later on December 29, 2019, is called "how lucky" and that's exactly how i felt.
both are John Prine songs. "speed" was recorded to get John's attention. "lucky" was recorded to get John IN the studio.
welp... a couple-o-missions accomplished and that's how I'd prefer to roll on the regular. (thanks, Ferg!)
the truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into the butcher shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me and, man, I was floating and flying and i couldn't hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night. speaking of John talkin to me, well, his songs, they speak to my soul. that's the real reason I picked them to play. (but the other reasons are real as well.)
a couple nights later we were playing "how lucky" together again; this time onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on New Year's Eve at the turn of 2020. Nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage in Nashville, TN... and, yup, that's just how lucky we all got that night.
recording with Ferg at the butcher shoppe was just the best. no bullshit, just solid music...
i never met Cowboy Jack Clement in the flesh on this earth but his "gone girl" cuts clean through to my soul for true.
we got that down in September 2016 on the same day as "dandelions" which i had just freshly written. "pearls" is a song i composed in my early 20s, finally galvanized to tape with the right boys on the same day we got "speed".
so many great and legendary musicians grace these sides ...heavy hitters across the multigenerational spectrum...
each played their parts like a songbird sings... (see liner notes)
-KV, Philadelphia 8-22-20
presave/preorder 'Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)'
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Kurt Vile Online
(photo : Noah Kalina)
This morning, Yo La Tengo has released a second song from their forthcoming EP, 'Sleepless Night' (October 9) . “Bleeding” is the record's standalone original composition, a windswept ballad where delicate guitar melodies give way to cyclonic fuzz. The five-song record will also feature covers of songs by The Byrds, The Delmore Brothers, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Lane, and The Flying Machine.
The tracks on Sleepless Night were initially released as one side of an LP included within a limited-edition catalogue (published by LACMA and DelMonico Books/Prestel) for the LACMA exhibition, "Yoshitomo Nara", the first international retrospective for the artist Yoshitomo Nara. A longtime Yo La Tengo fan, Nara worked in collaboration with the group -- Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew -- to choose the EP’s songs.
This Matador version of the EP is a single-sided 12” with original cover art by Nara, a drawing of the band by Hubley, and an illustration by McNew etched on the record’s flip.
preorder / presave 'Sleepless Night'
Yo La Tengo online:
Stephen Malkmus presents “Juliefuckingette,” an A-side-worthy B-side off Traditional Techniques, his album released earlier this year. Additionally, he announces a rescheduled North American tour slated for March and April 2021. As with Traditional Techniques, “Juliefuckingette” is new phase folk music for new phase folks. Malkmus’ wry lyricism unwinds over his 12-string acoustic guitar: “Abolish the fanfiction set // I don’t wanna clean up the logorrhea mess // It’s the last brand standing // You know you wanna kill it but you can’t kill that quite yet.”
Traditional Techniques presents Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. Informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, Malkmus drew from a whole new musical palette for Traditional Techniques--including a variety of Afghani instruments--to support an ache both quizzical and contemporary. Alongside gorgeous folk music, Traditional Techniques presents occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger, straight-up commune rock, and mind-bending fuzz. He’s joined throughout by Matt Sweeney and Chris Funk.
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Stephen Malkmus on Tour
Tuesday, March 2 Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis MN
Wednesday, March 3 Turner Hall, Milwaukee WI
Thursday, March 4 Thalia Hall, Chicago IL
Friday, March 5 Headliners, Louisville KY
Saturday, March 6 Cannery Ballroom, Nashville TN
Sunday, March 7 Terminal West, Atlanta GA
Tuesday, March 9 Orange Peel, Asheville NC
Wednesday, March 10 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC
Thursday, March 11 The National, Richmond VA
Friday, March 12 Black Cat, Washington DC
Saturday, March 13 Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA
Sunday, March 14 Webster Hall, New York NY
Tuesday, March 16 Royale, Boston MA
Wednesday, March 17 Higher Ground Ballroom, Burlington VT
Thursday, March 18 L'Astral, Montreal QC
Friday, March 19 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON
Saturday, March 20 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH
Sunday, March 21 Majestic Theater, Detroit MI
Friday, April 9 Gothic Theatre, Englewood CO
Saturday, April 10 The Waiting Room, Omaha NE
Sunday, April 11 Granada Theater, Lawrence KS
Monday, April 12 Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa OK
Tuesday, April 13 Granada Theater, Dallas TX
Wednesday, April 14 The Mohawk, Austin TX
Friday, April 16 Lowbrow Palace, El Paso TX
Saturday, April 17 The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix AZ
Sunday, April 18 Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach CA
Monday, April 19 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles CA
Tuesday, April 20 The Fillmore, San Francisco CA
Thursday, April 22 Wonder Ballroom, Portland OR
Friday, April 23 Imperial, Vancouver BC
Saturday, April 24 The Showbox, Seattle WA
All shows with openers Qais Essar & the Magik Carpet
Stephen Malkmus Online
Available everywhere today: Reissues of Spoon's "Gimme Fiction," "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga," and "Transference." Purchase/Stream Spoon catalog classics HERE.
Spoon online :
(photo : Nacho DelaGarza )
On Saturday, September 19 Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas) will appear live from The Palace Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The show starts at 12pm PST and the stream will be available through Sunday, September 20 at midnight, PST. Perfume Genius will be joined by a 6 piece band as well as a string quartet and the set will include music off his recently released album 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'. Tickets are on-sale today, September 4 and are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. For an additional $5, viewers will have the opportunity to watch a special intimate, acoustic solo encore. Further items also being made available include a limited edition t-shirt and long sleeve, autographed limited-edition posters, 'Set My Heart on Fire Immediatel' vinyl, and the ability to pre-order Perfume Genius’ forthcoming book, the companion to the album (set for release in December). Featuring iconic portraits of the artist from celebrated French photographer Camille Vivier, this limited edition monograph will reveal the unseen procedures beneath the music, vivid conjurings that became songs, and tactile byproducts from exercises in world-building. Tickets and all merchandise information is here: perfumegenius.veeps.com
stream / purchase 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'
Perfume Genius Online
the 2XLP 25th anniversary edition of Yo La Tengo's 'Electr-o-pura' is out today and is available to purchase or stream at your leisure (though merchants tend to keep their own hours).
02 Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
03 The Hour Grows Late
04 Tom Courtenay
05 False Ending
06 Pablo And Andrea
07 Paul Is Dead
08 False Alarm
09 The Ballad Of Red Buckets
10 Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2
11 (Straight Down To The) Bitter End
12 My Heart’s Reflection
13 Attack On Love
14 Blue Line Swinger
stream / purchase 'Electr-o-pura'
Yo La Tengo online: