Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

MICHAEL CHAPMAN REMEMBERED

Friday, September 10th, 2021

Michael Chapman’s guitar playing slays me ! It is HIGHLY unusual for someone to play guitar that well and ALSO possess such keen songwriting skills. Also in his quiver was a voice that could express exactly what it needed to, timeless because he always sounded weary and craggy even in his twenties. He was just the complete package in a way that so few others really ever are. He was a great, expressive instrumentalist – bluesy with dark, minor shading – a crafty songwriter – especially his Harvest records – but there is plenty of later stuff to explore too. All the twists and different styles !

‘Leaving the Apple’ from Imaginational Anthem vol 2 (2006) is that kind of signature MC evocative instrumental just stacked with gravitas, levitation and emotion, maybe my favorite of his. It SOARS ! It is so, so heavy.

I became aware of Michael Chapman from Jack Rose, saw Michael open for Jack at the Knitting Factory, and that’s the first time we spoke. We decided to release some career-spanning instrumental recordings of his as a double-CD in 2010, ‘Trainsong’, his first official stateside release in many years. While we were putting it together, I learned that Light in the Attic were not only reissuing some of the Harvest records, but they were doing so in the same month as ‘Trainsong‘. It was fortuitous, as a whole load of press came down, and that started Michael’s “renaissance” as the newer breed of artists were becoming aware of Michael’s genius. Tompkins Square released ‘Oh Michael, Look What You’ve Done” which combined some of his wife Andru’s tracks she’d assembled by MC’s contemporaries for his 70th birthday, along with some new tracks that I sought out. Thurston Moore, Hiss Golden Messenger, William Tyler, many more stepped up. Michael was especially touched and honored by Lucinda’s rendition of ‘That Time of Night’, which we released as a split 10″ for Record Store Day one year.

In 2015, Michael graciously flew out to NYC’s Rough Trade to play the Tompkins Square 10th Anniv show with Ryley Walker and Bob Brown. We released his solo album ‘Fish‘ around this time (his final solo acoustic album ?), which featured his tribute to Jack Rose, “Jack.” He was so flattened by Jack’s death as they had such a close bond. About a year ago, Michael sent me a CDR of ‘Another Fish’, intended as a follow up of sorts. The recording quality is so rough that I was not interested in releasing it – I need to listen again….

I will always cherish the time I spent with Michael at my home in SF and in NYC. The experience was similar to working with Charlie Louvin. The stories, the legacy, I was simply in awe of everything he had done, and there was so much road in his rear view mirror that you really felt like you were talking to a ghost sometimes. He was really in tune with younger musicians, and his love for Andru was always apparent. I think he’d be the first to admit she kept him going perhaps longer than anyone had a right to expect.

What an honor to share some time with you, Michael. We’ll be listening forever.

JR.

Russell Potter Private Press LPs Reissued

Friday, May 7th, 2021

Russell Potter’s private press LPs A Stone’s Throw (1979) and Neither Here Nor There (1981) will be reissued for the first time 6/25 and are now available for pre-order.

“Though these albums landed at a time when American Primitive guitar music’s 1960s & 1970s heyday was in the rear view mirror, they absolutely look ahead to the genre’s eventual 21st Century resurrection, anticipating both in form & content many of the same concerns you find in the great contemporary work of the last two decades by Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, Daniel Bachman, et al., and as such provide about as fine a stepping stone between these two eras as you’re likely to find.”

- Michael Klausman

PRE-ORDER


ELSA HEWITT – LUPA

Friday, May 7th, 2021

London-based producer and musical polymath Elsa Hewitt releases LUPA. Hear/download/pre-order the vinyl LP via bandcamp.

“As a document of her consistently evolving skills, it’s both inviting and elusive, as likely to please curious dabblers as those with an undying jones for electronic sounds.”
- The Vinyl District (A-)

Bobby lee – Origin Myths

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Bobby Lee – Origin Myths – out March 5th digitally worldwide.
LP out May 7th. PRE-ORDER NOW
LP will have FOUR extra songs than the digital version, which has eight.
600 copies worldwide.

Bobby Lee trades in a wide screen brand of cosmic country-folk, full of space and pawn shop guitars. There are touches of JJ Cale’s analogue Americana, the swampy groove of Tony Joe White and Richard Thompson’s sinewy, modal guitar work. Amps hum in the warm afternoon sun, kids and dogs snooze on the grass and broken drum machines keep time with the universe… Open sky/scorched earth improvisations recorded to four track tape during the rare moments of solitude afforded by lockdown and early fatherhood. Bobby Lee’s “worn-denim psych-country” remains, but the ancestral spirits of Ashra, Popol Vuh and Terry Riley are present here too. Time and technological limitations have been embraced. A song dreamt up, tracked and mixed in an afternoon, never to be tampered with again. Imperfections allowed to stand; knowing that nothing is ever truly finished. The Bob Ross school of philosophy.

Mason Lindahl – Kissing Rosy in the Rain

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

Ltd Ed of 500 LPs

“He can flip deftly between dense arpeggiated picking and stark, singular chords : “Sky Breaking, Clouds Falling” and Deep Wish” open with what almost resembles an unplugged Glenn Branca.” – WIRE

Mason Lindahl is a guitarist and composer based in New York City. His finger-picking style is largely influenced by minimalism and classical music. He grew up listening to folk and country music in Northern California, where he was first taught to play the guitar by his father.

Kissing Rosy in the Rain was recorded in Oakland, California and Brooklyn, NY with Lindahl’s longtime friends – Jay Pellici (Dilute, 31 Knots, Natural Dreamers) Robby Moncrieff, and Ben Greenberg (Uniform/Hubble).

A word from Tompkins Square’s Josh Rosenthal :

Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself gravitating towards a certain kind of music. It was happening before Covid, but Covid accentuated it. My interest in this sound probably originates from my love of Terry Riley. It’s not limited to “drone,” or “ambient” sounds. It’s more about an artist staying in a zone, not caring about variation for variation’s sake, content with an artistic statement that doesn’t move from its core. I like that. I also think there’s something courageous about it. Recent examples of “it” are albums by Daniel Schmidt, Kali Malone, Luke Schneider, and Steve Tibbetts’ masterpiece, Life Of, which I wrote about for Aquarium Drunkard – each with its own sonic solar system.

And if you follow Tompkins Square’s catalog, there are some examples of “it” – notably, music by Richard Skelton (A Broken Consort) and Ran Blake. Of course a lot of the acoustic guitar music I’ve released falls roughly into this space as well.

So when my old friend sent me Mason Lindahl’s Kissing Rosy in the Rain, I saw it as yet more serendipity, a sense of things falling into place for a reason – something I have experienced so many times with the label over the past 15 years. First, I love the way it came to me. When I started the label in 2005, I needed a place and a person to help me record stuff. We recorded Max Ochs and Bern Nix in my friend Carter Matschullat’s apartment on St. Marks Place, formerly The Dom, where the Velvet Underground used to play. Carter never sent me any music to listen to until Mason. And when I heard it, I immediately loved it. Something in the Spanish guitar reminded me of Leonard Cohen. There were sonic artifacts all over the recording like little Easter eggs. The music was desperately sad and dark, but somehow uplifting and hopeful. I just loved it.

Mason has done it. He has created his own sonic world.

And it is his alone.

JR

Technical notes ::
Mics: Neumann U48/Lucas C1/DPA 4006
Forgot what mic we put on the amp, but the amp was a Gibson Falcon. Preamps are mostly Neve 1073 and 33114, maybe a Millennia pre or Ampex 351 or DW Fearn, as well. Prob also some weirdo Stromberg-Carlson tube pre that sounds crazy. Compressors were prob Retro Sta-Level, 1178, neve 33609, Distressor, LA22? That filter that Robbie went crazy over is an Allison Labs passive filter.
Limited Ed LP : TSQ 5760

Robbie Basho – Song of the Avatars : The Lost Master Tapes

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Robbie Basho – Song of the Avatars : The Lost Master Tapes – A 5 CD set. All tracks previously unreleased.

Robbie Basho (1940-1986) is widely regarded as one of the progenitors of what’s commonly known today as American Primitive guitar. Growing up in Maryland alongside neo-traditional guitar explorers John Fahey and Max Ochs, Basho’s path would take a decidedly different turn, bringing Hindi, Indian, Japanese and Native American musical traditions into his work. His albums for Takoma and Vanguard have left an indelible trail of influence across generations of musicians, from William Ackerman and Pete Townshend to Ben Chasny and William Tyler.

Liam Barker first became aware of Basho having purchased Tompkins Square’s reissue of Venus in Cancer, released in 2006. This led him on an incredible fact-finding expedition, unraveling the many layers of mystery surrounding Basho’s life and death, all deftly compiled and depicted in his documentary film, Voice of the Eagle : The Enigma of Robbie Basho.

During the research process, Barker came across a large cache of unheard Basho tapes recorded throughout his career, ranging roughly from 1965-1985. By arrangement with Basho’s Estate and the original custodians of the tapes, Tompkins Square is set to release Song of the Avatars : The Lost Master Tapes, a 5CD set of previously unreleased material, on December 4th, 2020. The set includes notes by Barker, Henry Kaiser, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Glenn Jones and Richard Osborn, as well as many unseen photographs.

Selections from Song of the Avatars : The Lost Master Tapes vinyl LP was exclusively available at independent record stores worldwide on September 26th.

TSQ 5715 – Robbie Basho / Song of the Avatars : The Lost Master Tapes (5CDs)

Tompkins Square is distributed by INgrooves/Universal and Revolver in NA, Cargo UK for Europe

NEW LABEL MERCH !!

Friday, September 4th, 2020

Tompkins Square Label’s 15th Anniversary is next month ! To celebrate, we’re rolling out some exclusive merch directly to our fans : A baseball hat, and a hoodie, both with our classic label logo designed by Grammy-winner, Susan Archie. We’ve only made one shirt – about ten years ago – so this is special stuff !

(US Orders Only for now due to limited postal access)
Hoodie : $30.98 + $15 Priority Mail = $45.98
Hat : $16.98 + $10 Priority Mail = $26.98
For both, combined shipping is $20

Simply add it up and pay using this PayPal link

Thank you for your support, as always !

Specs on hoodie :

Comes in only one size : LARGE

Black Full Zip Sweatshirt embroidered with the Tompkins Sqaure insignia, made by Bella+Canvas. Environmentally and Ethically produced, 100 % Sweatshop and Cruelty Free.

7 oz., 52% Airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 48% polyester fleece
32 singles

Features:
Retail fit
Unisex sizing
White cord drawstring
Full-zip closure with white taping
Kangaroo pockets
Ribbed cuffs and waistband
Sideseamed
Pre-shrunk

Specs on hat :

Yupoong Snapback, adjustable

Duck Baker – Plymouth Rock : Unreleased & Rare Recordings, 1973-1979

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Tompkins Square has just released a new compilation by legendary guitarist Duck Baker !

Plymouth Rock : Unreleased & Rare Recordings, 1973-1979

Spotify

Apple

Amazon

The album is a companion piece to our 2018 release, Les Blues Du Richmond : Demos & Outtakes, 1973-1979.

Mossy Kilcher – North Wind Calling

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Mossy Kilcher’s 1977 Private Press Double-LP ‘Northwind Calling’ available via every digital platform, worldwide !

SPOTIFY

AMAZON

Over the years, unearthed folk records by lost sirens have made their way beyond hardcore collectors into the collective consciousness of the indie music-buying public: Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs, Sibylle Baier, Tia Blake, Connie Converse, to name a few.

One such artist recorded a self-released (and now, very expensive) double LP in 1977, issued under her name at the time – Mossy Davidson – mainly for her family and friends. What sets Mossy Kilcher apart from the other Lost Women of Song is that she is from . . . Alaska. And the album is a love letter to the land outside of Homer where her family built a homestead and lived as pioneers beginning in the late 1930’s, and where she resides to this day.

Some may remember the Kilchers from a reality show, ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier,’ which premiered on Discovery Channel in December 2011. A musical family, the Kilchers also produced Alaska’s most successful recording artist of all time, Mossy’s niece, Jewel. Jewel lived with Mossy at Seaside Farm in Homer as a teenager. “Jewel would be my horse-riding sidekick, helping me out on the farm,” Mossy said. The two performed together on a televised Christmas special filmed in Nashville in 2016.

Musically, ‘Northwind Calling’ is fascinating all on its own, even without the backstory. The gentle accompaniment of 12 and 6-string guitar, harmonica, banjo, flute and piano is so sympathetic and exquisitely placed. Mossy’s reedy woodwind of a voice is full of feeling and seemingly untainted by and firmly outside the era’s commercial singer-songwriter machinery or conventions. A tinge of unintended psychedelia and natural sound effects take it all over the top.

Tompkins Square’s Josh Rosenthal made a special trip with his daughters to Homer last summer and spent time with Mossy at Seaside Farm. It was an unforgettable experience, and the beauty of Mossy’s album coupled with the natural surroundings and Kilcher Homestead – it all came together. Tompkins Square is very proud to bring this album to many more ears – in Alaska and all around the world!

Josh Kimbrough – Slither, Soar & Disappear

Friday, June 19th, 2020

BUY

Josh Kimbrough is a fingerstyle guitarist and composer from Chapel Hill, NC. For the last 15 years he’s been a core member of the NC collective, Trekky Records (Lost in the Trees, Phil Cook, Sylvan Esso). He learned to play by studying Freddie King instrumentals and Fernando Sor classical guitar exercises. Josh has teamed up with producer and bass player Jeff Crawford (The Dead Tongues, Big Star’s Third) for the first full length under his own name. Slither, Soar & Disappear is an intimate and immersive song cycle inspired by the natural world, fatherhood, and the joy of solitude. On it, small ensembles of double bass, flute, strings, mandolin, banjo, and drums adorn his nylon and steel string guitar work.

Casey Toll – bass (Jake Xerxes Fussell, Nathan Bowles Trio)
Jeff Crawford – bass (The Dead Tongues, Big Star’s Third)
Andrew Marlin – mandolin (Mandolin Orange)
Peter Lewis – drums (Skylar Gudasz, Loamlands)
Leah Gibson – cello (Bowerbirds)
Bobby Britt – fiddle (Town Mountain)
Wilson Greene – banjo (Mipso)
Rachel Kiel – flute