Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No Depression review

Can't find it on the website, so here it is as a JPEG.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

We are relics...

...so it's no surprise that we've been reviewed (not too positively, I should warn you) in Relix. It's not available online, so here's a PDF of the review.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WANTED: Guitar Paradise of East Africa

It came out around 1990 on Earthworks. I love it. I appear to have misplaced my copy (or I loaned it to someone a long time ago). I figured I'd buy a new copy. It's not on iTunes, it's out of print, and an Amazon seller wants $77.50. Before I do something stupid, does anyone out there have a copy?

UPDATE: Found (thanks, G.E.)!

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The Sandinista Project is on iTunes -- but don't buy there unless you have to

The direct URL is here, but I don't recommend buying it there, unless all you want is one track by your favorite performer. The songs are out of sequence in one of the two iTunes views, the PDF booklet isn't there, it's encumbered by DRM, and it's $19.98. Almost everywhere I've seen, the physical CDs, with Eric Mongeon's fantastic packaging, is less than $15. If you do choose to buy via iTunes, may I remind you that there are links to the liner notes and packaging on the right rail of this page.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Our record label: No longer a toddler

00:02:59 Records is now two years old. We parents know what to expect from the terrible two's, but congratulations anyway, Abe!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We've reached Chattanooga and Harp

The Chattanooga Pulse: After reading about a covers album by the hair metal stalwarts Poison, you can find out that they think our record is "highly recommended." The truly obsessive can read the same brief review here. I have no idea which is the original and which is the reprint.

Harp says we made "a tribute record with much imaginative inspiration," but I can't find the review on its website

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Amazon returns to its senses

A while back in this space, I noted that Amazon had lowered the price of The Sandinista Project from $14.99 to $13.99 and I didn't know why. Apparently, Amazon didn't know why either and this morning it bumped up the price back to $14.99. I hope you saved a buck while you could, but 37 tracks and a magnificent package are still a bargain at $14.99. Buy it. (May 30 update: it's $13.99 again. No, I don't know why.)

And while you're on Amazon, there are two other records I recommend. I'm in California now for a conference, and these two new collections kept me good company during the flight west.

The Future Is Unwritten is the sort-of soundtrack to Julien Temple's new film about self-proclaimed "punk rock warlord" Joe Strummer. It's an appropriately weird collection of songs Joe championed or played on.

And, if you adored Ethan Lipton's "Corner Soul" on The Sandinista Project, you'll want to hear a full record by him. Fortunately for you, he happens to have a new one. I played his Mr. Softy twice during my travels yesterday. I love its humor, the hard truths lurking behind its humor, its diversity (of mood, of genre). I even love the costumes (which you won't see unless you buy the physical product). My favorite favorite song (that is, my favorite of many favorites) is "Pirates of the Heart." I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a great new song live only to find it ruined when the performer got around to cutting it in the studio. But the revelation live is even sturdier, nastier, funnier, and more vulnerable on disc. Congratulations to Ethan and His Orchestra! Now go visit his website.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

The New York Times on The Sandinista Project

So there I was, on a Sunday morning, trying to get the kids ready to go to the beach, when I gave up briefly and picked up the Sunday New York Times. I saw that Jon Pareles had written a piece about a Joni Mitchell tribute record that I'm somewhat interested in. The headline made it seem like the article would have some big ideas about tribute records, which it did, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find these paragraphs within:

"Tribute albums have always been exercises in memory and continuity, mapping connections of sound and style. They trade on familiar songs or famous names, but what they promise is not an oldies experience (or for that matter, the experience provided by tribute bands that mimic name-brand acts). They aim for relevance, not nostalgia. And now, in the era of the isolated MP3 download and the randomly shuffled playlist, tribute albums aren’t just homages to musicians. They are also tributes to the vanishing idea of the album itself: that a collection of songs can still mean something as a whole. That is the strategy behind another worthwhile tribute album, “The Sandinista! Project” (00:02:59), a song-by-song remake of the Clash’s 1980 album “Sandinista!” by indie-rock and alt-country stalwarts and unknowns.

"Beyond each track’s individual thrills, a tribute album can illuminate a style and sensibility or reconsider a historical moment, as “The Sandinista! Project” does with contributions from Amy Rigby, Stew, Jon Langford and Sally Timms and dozens of others.

"The original “Sandinista!” filled three LPs with outsize ambitions: songs about violence, victims, revolution and drugs, delivered in a haze of punk, reggae, funk and glimmers of hip-hop. The remake, like most tribute albums, is hit or miss, but luckily it’s anything but reverent. A few Clash imitations show up, but so do multidirectional time warps. Songs skew toward Appalachia with banjos, plunge into psychedelic loops and echoes, unleash theremin on “The Call Up” and the Persian wail of Haale on “One More Time.” Members of the Clash wanted their songs to reverberate worldwide; “The Sandinista! Project” proclaims that they succeeded. And it not only insists that the original album hung together but goes on to take the sprawl of “Sandinista!” even further."

The full article is available here.

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More bloggers weigh in

A Shot Of Rhythm writes "If you had told me, two weeks ago, that my favorite track right now would be a cover of an obscure Clash song by the former lead singer of Katrina and the Waves (of "Walking On Sunshine" fame), I'd have probably referred you to various social services. Still, that's exactly what happened. THE SANDINISTA PROJECT, an ambitious-yet-intimate paean to the Clash's complex opus, features a whole bunch of interesting names (Jason Ringenberg, Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby, etc.) offering their takes on a song from the album that - while not the masterpiece that many revisionists and hipsters would like to claim - definitely deserves a reconsideration from its initial malign. The best track, by a long mile, is Katrina Leskanich's "Hitsville U.K.," which sounds as bright and big-hearted as The Clash, the Motown records to which they paid loving tribute, and - indeed - rock-n-soul music in general." The blog also includes an unasked-for link to Katrina's track, which is everything the blog says it is ... and more.

BlogCritics also comments, at greater length, mostly positively. (I love "Broadway"!)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The bloggers begin to weigh in

In The Architectural Dance Society: that crooked, crooked beat, blogger Jeff Norman thinks hard about our project. (Thanks for the pointer, Doug.)

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Two more in the "thumbs-up" category

The Tampa Tribune likes us and loves Katrina (who doesn't?).

The Iowa City Press-Citizen says we made "a cool roundup by any measure."

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Four pieces today .. including our first all-out negative review (hey, it was bound to happen)

The Huntsville (AL) Times mentions us.

The Evanston (IL) Review says we're "varied and often inspired."

The Chicago Free Press (scroll down) thinks we did "an admirable job."

Stylus hates us. And we've received a grade to match. It's my first C- since second-semester statistics 22 years ago. I have, however, been called "charmless" somewhat more recently than that.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Want to know more about the outstanding artist who performed "Broadway" on The Sandinista Project?

Then read this profile of the peerless Stew in today's New York Times.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Sun rises for us

The Sun in California (there are Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Encino versions) has a review. Rather than link to the big, fat full PDF of the issue, here's the text of the review:

By Bill Bentley

Various Artists, The Sandinista Project (00:02:59)

Tribute albums are tricky business. You know going in that the original work is going to be almost impossible to beat. How in the world can, say, a recreation of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album be better than the original? The list goes on and on at those taking a well-intentioned stab at these affairs, until recently it felt like there should be a total ban on the endeavors. It got so overloaded that for a bit, it seemed like there were tribute albums to tribute albums being recorded. That said, every once and awhile a collection will slip through the net and make actual sense, just like The Sandinista Project does. Based on the 1980 Clash magnum opus, this effort features a wild range of musicians, each taking one of the original songs and having a go at it. And like the law of averages would dictate, some succeed with total flair, with only a few dragging through. Producer Jimmy Guterman has wisely chosen artists on these 37 tracks, which in the end is the difference between luster and lethargy, and does what any righteous tribute album should do: send you running for the original to rediscover the majesty contained within.

If you really want the whole PDF, it's here.

Also, in what now feels like a previous life, I knew a great guy at Warner Brothers named Bill Bentley (who also took part in a spirited tribute record: More Oar). If the author of this review is the same person and sees this, please get in touch with me: jimmy @ guterman.com (spaces added in vain attempt to curb spam).

Update: Found (thanks, Cary)!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Orange Country Register weighs in

Revisiting and reworking the Clash

They like the record ("a grandly ambitious lark") -- and misspell my name (update: fixed)!

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Coverville covers us

Yesterday I was interviewed on Coverville. I haven't listened to the recording, and I do remember that I felt I sounded like an idiot while I was talking, but at least you get to hear three songs from the record.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

"a broad, globalized worldview and buoyant spirit of possibility"

PopMatters review

It's not one for the scrapbook, but it's here.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Positive review in the Village Voice ... and an opportunity to save a buck

"A track-by-track Clash tribute that cuts the crap"

On an unrelated matter, but useful if you're cheap, my friend Mark just wrote me that the price of the record on Amazon has dropped again, from $14.99 to $13.99. I don't know if it's an error, but get it cheap while you can.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Newhouse News Service likes us

The Chicago Sun-Times loves us

Another rave review, this one from The Austin Chronicle

BlogCritics review

Abe Bradshaw remembers a fateful lunch

Release date!

Four years ago, I made a joke to someone about redoing Sandinista! -- and now it's real. Happy release day!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

$14.99 is the new $18.98

As expected, Amazon has lowered the preorder price for The Sandinista Project. It's coming out on Tuesday!

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Brief mention in USA TODAY

Found by Doug Mayo-Wells of the Hyphens:

Still more album previews

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Interview with Jeff Sanchez (Soul Food, "Midnight Log")

The money quote from Local Drummer Plays on Clash Tribute: "I've definitely been obsessed with the Sandinista! record most of my life." I sympathize.

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First published review

Monday, April 16, 2007

Preorder The Sandinista Project on Amazon

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Booklet and packaging

You still have to wait several weeks to buy the record, but you're welcome to download the booklet and packaging, both as PDFs. They will also come in handy if you intend to buy or steal the record in digital form.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What's next?

Now that the record is about to come out, it's time to rethink what the point of this blog is. I've got some ideas, but I'm more interested in yours. I've turned on comments; please weigh in on what you think would make a good Sandinista Project blog or website.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sex Clark Five, "Career Opportunities"

The performance of this song for The Sandinista Project is refreshingly lo-fi; so is this video.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Advance CDs

In December 1980, when I bought an import of the original Sandinista! LP, it was snowing. Today I received a box of advance CDs (i.e., full discs in a double jewel case but no packaging) for The Sandinista Project and it's snowing, too. I promised myself I wouldn't listen to the CDs until I finished my work today, but who was I kidding? They sound fantastic: not quite as great as they did in the mastering studio, but I can't include a million-dollar mastering studio with every copy of the record.

I'll begin shipping the advances to the performers over the weekend. If you're a member of the media and would like a copy, please contact our publicist Cary Baker.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to shovel some snow...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Sneak peek

I want you all to buy The Sandinista Project when it comes out in May, but I just learned that the great collaboration of The Blizzard of 78 and Mikey Dread on "Silicone on Sapphire" is available via the iTunes store. It may be available elsewhere online as well; please let me know if it is.

UPDATE: It's also available, sans DRM, on eMusic. Thanks for the pointer, Doug.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Harp: Clash’s Sandinista! Gets Covers Treatment

Clash’s Sandinista! Gets Covers Treatment (Harp Magazine)
The press release went out yesterday. This is the first piece it generated that isn't merely a reprinting of the press release. More as they come in...

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Friday, February 23, 2007

An album cover for a covers album


cover painting by Jon Langford

cover design by Eric Mongeon

original Sandinista! cover photograph by Pennie Smith

original Sandinista! package design by Clash/Stiles

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

I hope this "Rudie" can fail

This is why someone is spinning in his grave right now. For more on why this bothers me, please see here.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

May 1 is the new March 27

In the interest of transparency, what follows is a slightly redacted version of a note I just sent to the performers on The Sandinista Project:

We have signed with a distributor for The Sandinista Project. It’s RED Distribution. RED has been the NARM Distributor of the Year two years running now and we believe the record will get the attention it deserves.

Because we now have to coordinate our schedule with RED’s schedule, we have to bump back the release date a month, to Tuesday, May 1. I’m sorry for the delay and whatever inconvenience it may cause you, but it’s unavoidable. The new date may make more conceptual sense: May 1 was one of the two biggest national holidays in Nicaragua during its Sandinista years.

We were able to get a reduced rate from Universal on the mechanicals for the Clash compositions. I would have preferred they gave us free use, since this is a charity project, but in the current music-industry climate I suppose I should be pleased they gave us even a minor break.

We have a publicist signed on, too. Starting February 15, Cary Baker, who some of my fellow old-timers might remember from when he ran publicity for I.R.S. Records, will be on the team.

We’re looking to have three concert/record-release events in late April/early May in three cities: New York, Boston, and Chicago. More info as it develops.

It’s getting real…

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

For those of you who can't wait until the record's out to listen to "Silicone on Sapphire"...

There's a preview over at Strummercamp.

UPDATE: More from the band's blog.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Amy Rigby is blogging. Who else is?

I just noted on my other blog that Amy Rigby, a contributor to this project, has begun blogging. I thought it might be useful if I put together a list here of all the contributors to The Sandinista Project who blog, so, gentle performers, please send me the URLs of your blogs (and associated feeds) and I'll put them up here. (As the release date of The Sandinista Project nears, this page will need a face lift.)

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Interpreting without copying

That's our goal with the upcoming Sandinista Project -- and it's the goal of our bands in other projects too. Check out today's New York Times for a smart analysis of the Smithereens' wonderful new Beatles tribute Meet the Smithereens. Read the article, buy the album, save some money for when ours comes out in the spring...

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

More important than any record (no matter how cool the record is)

I'll post a Sandinista Project update soon, but one of the beneficiaries of our project will be Amnesty International and I'd like to alert you all to the organization's urgent call for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Add your voice!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Strummer 2002, get it while you can

We have plenty of Sandinista Project news to unveil shortly after the first of the year, but for right now let me wish you a Happy New Year (and a happy belated 26th anniversary of the release of the original Sandinista!) and point you to a blog page filled with Strummer treasures. (Thanks, Kris!)

PS A blog not filled with treasures, at least not yet, is my revived one.

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