In honor of our latest entry into the Good God! series being released today, we’ve bought air time in a handful of minor markets in hopes of penetrating the real gospel music world. If you’re not living in Birmingham, AL, Chattanooga, TN, Shreveport, LA, or Gulfport, MS, and not awake between the hours of 3 and 4 AM, your best bet at catching the spot is by tapping the play arrow on the screen above.
A raw cry from the dark night of one man’s soul. cloistered away from the popular culture of 1982, rural Illinois priest Tony Trosley painted a pastoral refraction of early 1970s Laurel Canyon watercolors with this stand-alone set of songs. The Sixth Station—named for a grim New Testament tableau in which Veronica washes the tortured face of Jesus—managed to avoid overtly Christian themes in favor of a mystical Humanism that resonates timelessly, and to any sort of listener. This Deep Night is as profound and eerie as the images conjured by its title.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, guitar-wielding men of the cloth came somewhat into vogue. Brother Juniper, Father Tom Belt, and the St. Louis Jesuits each found modest success with their takes on liturgical folk music. Born in 1951, Father Tony Trosley trod out of this tradition to arrive in quite a different place. Raised in the St. Louis area, Trosley entered the seminary immediately after high school. It was there that he took up guitar and set out on a musical sojourn that would result in an LP more than a decade later.
Assigned to a parish in Peoria, Illinois, Trosley charted his long course toward Deep Night, adding crew along the way to fill out the recordings. Deep Night’s title cut is its purest moment, featuring Trosley alone and transparent, his 12-string tone shaped by a phaser pedal. The entire album, tracked in a tiny chapel with rented equipment over one extended evening, was mixed live with only a handful of overdubs. A few disastrous live performances around Central Illinois sealed the album’s fate as a one-off, though producer Scott McDaniel proposed a second LP. Father Tony Trosley, cloistered as he was from popular music culture of the day, could hardly avoid recording a folk and rock anachronism, but the sound of Deep Night defies placement on any timeline, aural or historical. It’s every bit as darkly profound and eerie as its name implies.
We’ll bring Father Tony’s opus back from the darkness on June 4th. Until then, click here for a sip of the juice:
Filed under: Eccentric Soul 45s, JR., Newsworthy | Tags: James Dockery, Rokk
A debut album that never was, Rokk’s I Want To Live High is that rare misshapen pearl clenched tightly between the shells of a music industry shucked long ago. Too soulful for its disco-era release date, the sextet’s 1976 Tollie-issued 45 “Patience” (as featured in Eccentric Soul: Omnibus) tracked well in Rokk’s hometown of Los Angeles, but was withdrawn before patience ran out with the spring rains of 1977. Tracked simultaneously was this entire shelved album full of Rokk’s mid-tempo grooves, flute-lead funk, sultry female backing vocals, slap bass, chorus-drenched guitars, and lyrics about getting baked and eating baked apple pie. Jazzy, with plentiful slices of Broadway, Innervisions, and Rokk’s own stoned brand of horn-rock, had I Want To Live High ever gotten so high as actual record store shelves circa late 1977, it would’ve surely sobered up to the commercial onslaught of saturday night disco juggernauts and the pummeling forces of earth, wind, and fire.
In keeping with our recent Lewis Connection, Shoes, Syl Johnson, and Circuit Rider reissues, we’ll be issuing this title only on vinyl as part of our Jr. line, and at a price even a broke college kid can afford. Quality nuts, we’ve got you covered: Tip on jackets, 150 gram vinyl, and lacquers cut from the original master tapes
This early August release will mark our third foray into the tape archives of James Dockery, owner and proprietor of the Soul Craft label. The second will find its way to market in late May as we repress his “My Faith In You Is All Gone” b/w “Giving You The Love You Need” on 45 as part of our ongoing Eccentric Soul subscription series. We’ll be pressing the original red label version of that single, but for fans of their ’70s design.. fear not! We’re using the blue and yellow “Come Trip With Us” label for the Rokk LP. Maybe we’ll make a few shirts too.
As The Fader “reported” earlier today, we are making our first forays into ambient music this June. The full draft of the press release is as follows:
In 1989, professor Joel D. Funk, at the psychology department of Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, found that the music of Iasos bears striking resemblance to that which people hear during near-death experiences—at the very precipice between life and death, the mundane and the infinite.
By the mid-1970s—prior to ambient’s “musical furniture” and the coming age of New Age—Iasos had his hands on his first synthesizer and had made in-roads into both aborning genres. In dialogue with Vista, a benevolent music-maker from a distant dimension, Iasos conducted groundbreaking experimentation with tape reversal, feedback, and the electronic processing of acoustic instruments (phase-shifted flute, echoplex), working with some of the first commercially available synthesizers, and inventing innovative visual effects for his own mind-expansive live sets. In translating the tones of his galactic muse for the ears of Earth humans, Iasos helped midwife new genres into existence and utterly transform the compositional possibilities for every contemporary musician—all while living the life of a poor pirate eccentric in the Marin County dock system’s only telephone-equipped houseboat.
Spotlighting selections from the first decade of Iasos’ inter-dimensional output, Celestial Soul Portraits (a 2LP or CD career overview) features a bevy of never-before-seen photos and never-before-heard tracks, a 4,000-word history of Iasos, and an insight into the life and “crystal giggling energy” of Iasos, the other Greek god of ’70s exploration into music’s electronic stargate.
Listen to “Rainbow Canyon” below, then go buy a wind chime and enroll in a yoga class.
For the third year in a row, the Numero Group will “pop up” on Record Store Day as a retail store. Much vitriol and hate has been spewed at us in the past for our circumvention of “the rules,” and since we’re gluttons for punishment (but really because we’re slaves to our fans) we’re loading up our cars and renting tables in hopes of breaking last year’s record of 1062 entrants.
While last year’s bonanza found us occupying the Empty Bottle’s 3000 square feet, we’ve opted for a smaller and more low key space this year. Meet the Comfort Station:
Located triangularly at the intersections of Kedzie/Milwaukee/Logan Blvd, this turn of the century park district way station has been hosting left field artists for the last half decade. We’ve been drawn to the building for years, marveling at its odd size and multiple points of entry on our way to $3 movies at the Logan Theater. Last year’s event was a massive success, but also a massive headache. We’re hoping this cozier space leads to a more enjoyable experience for both Numero and our customers. We’ll have every Numero record that is currently in print, plus the following “exclusive” Record Store Day items:
NUM704 Hüsker Dü: Amusement 2×7″
NUM202.1 Giant Henry: Big Baby LP
NUM201.5 Codeine: What About The Lonely? CD/LP
Additionally, we’ll be manufacturing several items you can only buy at Comfort Station that day:
NUM025.5 24-Carat Black: Acetate picture disc 10″
This “acetate” features four songs from our 24-Carat Black tape archive that were scorched beyond use on 2009’s Gone: The Promises of Yesterday LP/CD. But given the quality of the songs, we’ve always felt that the material should be available for the sake of posterity alone. Now, in an edition of 500 copies, you too can experience the sorrow we felt as the source tape disintegrated in front of our eyes. All the drop-outs, hiss, warble, and degradation can be yours by attending our pop-up store on April 20th 2013. It looks like this:
We’re also making a series of mix tapes by the working staff of the Numero Group. Ken, Tom, Rob, Zach, Jon, Nate, Dustin, Leland, Michael, and Haley have created 40-minute, themed mixes of their favorite released and unreleased Numero songs. Each tape is limited to 20 copies and will be sold for $5. All proceeds go to the Numero RSD lunch fund.
In addition to our own junk, we’ll have a handful of tables filled with rare, weird, and cheap LPs, 45s, tapes. For the third year in a row, we are not recommending that you only attend our store on Record Store Day. You should definitely visit Reckless (3 locations), Dusty Groove, Permanent, Laurie’s Planet of Sound, Dave’s, Jazz Record Mart, and Saki, which will have all of our non-pop up store RSD goods.
So, where are you going to start queuing up at 7AM on April 20th 2013?
The Numero Store
2579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647
April 20th 2013
Filed under: Lewis Connection, Newsworthy, Numero Vinyl, Shoes, Syl Johnson
In the years preceding our issue of Complete Mythology, the only way you could purchase a new Syl Johnson album on vinyl was via shoddy bootleg. The packaging was terrible and the mastering was lifeless. We thought we’d solved the problem with our 6LP and 4CD box set, but it turns out there’s a whole slew of people who aren’t into “complete” anything. This week we’re making it a little cheaper to own a piece of Syl Johnson’s catalog by putting his first two LPs—Dresses Too Short and Is It Because I’m Black—back in print on their original format. There are no liner notes or extra tracks, just the LPs as they were intended, albeit with a superior mastering job, heavy weight vinyl, a tip-on jacket, and a little obi to make the albums stand out in the bins.
The best part? The price. Each LP is only $15.
Numero started the Jr. line to put rare LPs back in print at a price you can afford. We’re sick of walking into record stores and seeing new LPs at outrageous prices, and thought you might be too. Once a month we’ll issue an album in its original form, but at our quality standards.
The first eight are as follows:
And coming soon…
Jr.009 Otis G. Johnson: Everything-God Is Love ’78
Jr.010 Centaura: Lawdy Lawdy Lawd
Jr.011 Rokk: I Want To Get High
Jr.012 The Sixth Station: Deep Night
Yes, that was Marion Black’s “Who Knows” from our inaugural release, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label in the Super Bowl. Although the commercial was tucked away in the middle of the strange and unprecedented Super Bowl power outage Couchgate, “Who Knows” can now be considered the most-heard Numero track ever (not to mention its use in cable shows such as Weeds, Queer As Folk and unseen movies such as Usher vehicle In The Mix). It fulfills a vision Bill had when we first met him in 2003, that his work’s best years were yet ahead. Thanks to Blackberry for putting Marion Black and Bill Moss’ work in front of hundreds of millions worldwide. Grab the CD or LP here.
When this LP arrived in our office last week, there was a moment of sheer panic as we cracked the first box open to get a peak at our most ambitious album jacket to date. One part Odessa another part centaur scrotum, the velvet cover is bathed in twin rivers of gold and blood. No Christian household should possess this thing.
Had it ever made the leap between tape and wax, First Step Beyond could have forever altered the perception of Chicago’s horn-rock history. Instead, this mish-mash of Sabbath, Hawkwind, and Amon Duul II remained petrified in the Corycian Caverns, or rather the drummer’s basement since 1975. Art directed from the band’s elaborate original stage props and artwork, we have positioned this unreleased opus to finally reach its intended destination: the turntables of pot smoking teenagers, young and old.
The number of hits on this video tells us you haven’t watched it. Do so now:
But don’t take our word for it, listen to the UK’s critical elite:
“Adolescents of all ages will know what to do: file this record alongside the two Death albums on the shelf marked “essential never previously released mid-’70s scuzz-rock classics from the Great Lakes region.”—Mojo
“No template is adhered to whatsoever, clearly anything goes, and the end result is strange and surreal, but make no mistake, this sucker rocks mighty hard with ferocity matching improvisation step for step”—Terrorizer
“Medusa is a genuine find, flipping with abandon between almost heavy riffing and post-psych spaciness.”—The Wire
After nearly six months of toil, the 2013 Numero print catalog arrived at our Little Village office in 42 boxes yesterday morning. It was -1 degrees in Chicago, and as the truck driver had no lift gate, we were forced to take them in across the Marshall Boulevard lawn. Once we cracked the tape the sub-arctic load in was revealed to be worth it. Perfect bound, 80 pages, full color, and with complete Numero checklist(s)… this is a must-own companion to your Numero collection.
How do you get it?
First and foremost, it’s free. You can get one by ordering any Numero LP, CD, 7″, tape, t-shirt, or other physical tchotchke from our website (www.numerogroup.com if you haven’t been). And if you don’t want to spend the $7 minimum, you can get one via Paypal for just the cost of postage:
In August of 1980, Grant Hart, Bob Mould, and Greg Norton booked time at Minneapolis’ Blackberry Way Studio to record what would become their debut 7″. A deal with Twin/Tone was thought to be in the bag but was derailed by the fall 1980 signing of the Replacements—Hüsker Dü’s then-chief rival. With a Twin/Tone rejection letter in their pocket, a scathing version of “Amusement” was thrashed out live at Duffy’s, and plans were made for a self-released four song 10″, with Blackberry Way cuts “Statues,” “Writer’s Cramp,” and “Let’s Go Die” making up the balance. The enormous start up cost for a debut release forced a format change, and in January of 1981 Reflex Records #A, “Amusement” b/w “Statues,” found its way to market. The single would find two pressings over the next few years, but fall out of print as the band’s style changed from Metal Box-esque post-punk to Los Angeles-inspired hardcore.
Hüsker Dü would, of course, build from this auspicious DIY effort to record classic albums for SST and Warner Brothers throughout the 1980s, before imploding prior to the decade’s close. These early moments of brilliant naiveté have remained unknown to the band’s ever-expanding fan base, primarily discovered on out of reach walls at used record stores the world over. Until now.
For Record Store Day 2013, Numero will issue “Amusement” b/w “Statues” and the studio alternates “Writer’s Cramp” and “Let’s Go Die” as a 2×7″. The Blackberry Way cuts have been remastered from a first generation sub-master (the originals have long been lost), while “Amusement” was cut from the original live board tape. The original artwork has been polished and beefed up with a 28pt board gatefold jacket. Pressed in an edition of 4000, this deluxe reissue should satiate a new generation of Hüsker lovers. For at least another 33 years, anyhow.
List to our “Statues” remaster below: