New releases from Neil Young, John Fullbright, other Americana acts this week on Strange Currency
Monday, June 2: Guitarist Ty Citerman has been making rock-inflected jazz (and jazz-inflected rock) for well over a decade with the band Gutbucket. He’s just released his first solo album, Bop Kaballah, which blends elements of traditional Jewish music and the art of improvisation. Citerman is joined by his Gutbucket bandmates Ken Thomson and Adam Gold as well as good friend Ben Holmes. The record is in part influenced by Citerman’s own experience playing both secular and religious music. We’ll hear selections from that as well as from The Adventures of Stratospheerius, the 2002 album from New York-based violinist Joe Deninzon. The record draws on influences from jazz, rock, hip-hop, classical, and heavy metal.
Tuesday, June 3: We celebrate the birthday of R&B and soul great Curtis Mayfield. Plus: Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter John Fullbright has just released his sophomore release, Songs. Having been hailed as one of the most unique new artists of 2012, this record delivers on the critical promise he demonstrated on his debut. We’ll hear from that as well as selections from A Letter Home, the latest from Neil Young. The record was recorded at co-producer Jack White’s studio in Nashville and is one of Young’s most spare recordings in years.
Wednesday, June 4: Bruce Robison and Kelley Willis are considered one of the most prominent couples in the Americana scene today. They’ve just returned with a new album called Our Year, featuring a number of a originals as well as covers of songs written by Tom T. Hall, The Zombies, and others. We’ll hear from that as well as Tom T. Hall’s 1971 classic 100 Children which featured the cautionary war ballad “Mama Bake A Pie (Daddy Kill A Chicken),” later covered by Drive-By Truckers.
Thursday, June 5: Papercuts is the moniker of San Francisco singer/songwriter/producer Jason Quever. On Life Among the Savages, Quever's dreamy mixture of baroque pop, storytelling lyrics, and detailed production work is at its most potent. Having spent nearly 2 years whittling the record down to the essentials, Life Among the Savages is the most concise and lucid of the 5 Papercuts releases. We’ll hear selections from this recording on this episode of Strange Currency as well as selections from Candy Apple Grey, the 1986 release from Husker Du, featuring June featured artist Bob Mould.
Friday, June 6: As founding members of the Los Angeles roots-punk band The Blasters, Phil and Dave Alvin were known for their uncompromising live shows and high-quality songwriting. They also had their share of personal and creative differences. When an illness almost killed Phil in 2012, they agreed that they should make more music together and record an album that pays tribute to blues great Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy was a major influence on George Harrison of The Beatles and many artists who emerged from the British blues explosion of the 1960s. We’ll hear from the record the brothers made. It’s simply titled Phil Alvin and Dave Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy. Plus, selections from Beauty and Ruin, the latest release from June featured artist Bob Mould.
Saturday, June 7: Released in 1979, Fleetwood Mac’s 12th studio album, Tusk, cost over $1 million to make—it was the most expensive record released to that point in time. The album disappointed fans and critics alike—despite spawning radio hits such as the title tune, “Think About Me,” and “Sara.” We’ll hear selections from that album on this episode of Strange Currency as well as music from June featured artist Camper Van Beethoven’s 2002 recreation of Tusk.
Monday, June 9: Indie rock stalwarts Camper Van Beethoven are back with El Camino Real, the companion album and follow up to their highly lauded La Costa Perdida. Whereas La Costa reflected the northern California back to the country side of the band with lush and trippy references to Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, The Beach Boys and Big Sur , the songs on El Camino Real are firmly rooted in a grittier earth one that lies beneath the southern half of the state and stretches all the way down to Baja California. Produced by the band and recorded in various studios and living rooms, El Camino Real s harder sonic edges capture the sounds of an entirely different road trip from Bakersfield through the Inland Empire and beyond the border to Mexico. The lineup remains Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, David Lowery, Jonathan Segel and Michael Urbano.