Recording Ryan Adams
The title of Ryan Adams’ new, eponymous album is quite fitting: It is the first full-length release recorded at his new PAX-AM Studios with his own creative team in place. The sessions began after Adams made the decision to cut bait on another Glyn Johns-produced collection of songs. (Johns also sat behind the board for 2011’s Ashes & Fire, which marked the end of Adams’ two-year hiatus following a diagnosis of Meniere’s disease.) Adams describes the course of events that led to his new record in a conversation with Editor-in-Chief Dean Budnick, sharing a candid account of his upbringing along with a personal narrative that spans his career and touches on Jack Kerouac, Phil Lesh, pinball and comic books.
Primus: Willy Wonka’s Wild Ride
It sounded like the perfect comeback: After reuniting their classic lineup for their first full-length studio album in almost 20 years, Primus created an adult song cycle inspired by the children’s classic Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. But just as the trio geared up to release their new album and embark on a hefty fall tour, drummer Tim Alexander suffered a heart attack, forcing the band to look to Tool drummer Danny Carey for help. Emily Zemler spoke with Alexander and Primus “narrator” Les Claypool, and the always colorful alt-metal-jam heroes offer a state of the union on Primus’ next, wacky chapter. As it turns out, Primus had to reclaim their past—and receive a bit of childhood inspiration—in order to step into the future.
The New Pornographers: Brill Seekers
The New Pornographers have always felt more like an extension of the Brill Building songwriter model than your typical indie-rock band. And those similarities have never been more apparent than on Brill Bruisers, their first album in four years. A collective of inspired songwriters, singers and three-dimensional personalities, The New Pornographers have produced a festival’s worth of talented artists, including country-pop firebrand Neko Case, Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar and the band’s leader, Carl Newman. While the band
members’ solo careers have helped each New Pornographer spread his or her wings, their extracurricular activities have occasionally overshadowed the band’s own output. Stacey Anderson traces their history through the lens of the Brill Building.
Old Crow Medicine Show: Growing at the Speed of Asparagus
Old Crow Medicine Show had been on the road for more than a decade before the Americana and roots music scenes crashed into the mainstream, thanks to groups like Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers. But then, things started to change: After participating in the train tour captured in the award-winning film Big Easy Express, Old Crow were appointed the godfathers of new generation of string bands. The ensemble also received a second boost when none other than Darius Rucker turned their late-‘90s classic “Wagon Wheel” into one of the biggest country songs of the year. Copy Editor Amy Jacques sat down with frontman Ketch Secor in New York City while he explained how his band’s gradual growth is the ultimate callback to their folkie roots.
SOJA’s Righteous Noise
Just how did a group of East Coasters grow into one of the biggest reggae bands touring today? For SOJA, it is all about patience and persistence: Since forming in the ‘90s, the jamband-embraced, Virginia-bred reggae group has slowly amassed one of the genre’s most dedicated audiences. As Justin Jacobs finds out, SOJA’s surprise success also has a lot to do with frontman Jacob Hemphill’s passionate storytelling abilities and a string of well-produced, infectious albums that explore deeper matters than your average party album. And, if the early buzz is any indication, then their new ATO release Amid the Noise and Haste is poised to be the troupe’s biggest record yet.
Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain
Prince has been back in the spotlight as of late, following some electric, live performances and the news that he is releasing two albums this fall, Plectrumelectrum and Art Official Age. 2014 also marks the 30th anniversary of Prince’s Purple Rain —the song, album and film. Celebrated journalist and steady
Relix contributor Alan Light recently completed a new book that explores Prince’s initial multimedia efforts. Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain is set for publication by Atria Books in December. We are proud to feature an excerpt from the forthcoming work, which focuses on his songwriting.
Plus: Philip Selway, Bill Kreutzmann and Aron Magner, Marco Benevento, Robyn Hitchcock, Foxygen, Trampled By Turtles, Steve Gunn, Bear In Heaven and much more!
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