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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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

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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