After releasing his acclaimed full-length album Electric Park Ballroom earlier this summer, and a performance from the legendary Stonewall Inn to celebrate Pride Month, Paisley Fields has kept busy in quarantine producing a new variety series The Paisley Show. In the spirit of great country variety shows of yore such as the Grand Ole Opry, Porter Wagoner Show, and the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Don Giovanni is releasing the premiere episode today, which features special guest foundational queer-country artist Lavender Country.
Regarding the inspiration to create a variety show mid-quarantine, Paisley had this to say: "I was talking with a friend about touring, and what we can do until it comes back. He suggested some sort of weekly series to stay connected with my audience and community. I've always loved variety shows, and there is a rich history of variety shows in country music. I grew up watching and performing in them every year at my school. The idea of creating The Paisley Show got me enthused, so I knew it was the right thing to do. On each episode I'll be inviting friends I've met along the way to share their talents and stories. Future episodes will feature; Willie Huston, a permaculture farmer and banjo player, Kazunari Abe, a shino-bue player I toured Japan with, Scarlet Envy, season 11 contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, country artists Jason Hawk Harris, Mya Byrne, & Karen Pittleman, comedian Amanda Van Nostrand, chef Deena Jacobs and more. For the month of October we are planning to do a series of horror themed shows with murder ballads and spooky skits leading up to Halloween."
After releasing the critically-acclaimed album The Big Freeze in 2019, a recent performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk, and giving birth to her first child mid-pandemic, Laura Stevenson has announced that her long out-of-print sophomore album Sit Resistis receiving the deluxe reissue treatment with a special edition double LP gatefold vinyl packaging, to be released on September 4, 2020. The collection is available for a limited pre-order now.
“Sit Resist, is remarkable. It is unafraid of the darkness, and allows itself to be playful-- the lyrics are tender, honest, inviting you into a vulnerable place but quelling the vulnerability with candid, gentle testaments of living drawn from a deep well of experience.” – Julien Baker
“Laura’s records are full of the sensitivity and awareness that are her particular magic… She is one of my favorite writers because she is clearly a listener, listening to herself and clearing a path for the songs to go where they want to go.” – Lucy Dacus
“This record is a great document of a bunch of scrappy weird kids laughing through the terror of an uncertain future together. Sit Resist would be THE ONE if Laura didn’t continue to put out records that feel like THE ONE.” – Jeff Rosenstock
The thirteen song album has been remastered by Miles Showell at the hallowed Abbey Road Studios in London from the original 1/4” analog master tapes, with a new half-speed processing to ensure that the vinyl represents the highest quality audio possible. The bonus LP is a collection of outtakes of nearly every album track, including never before heard pre-production demo recordings, alternate mixes and arrangements, live material, an Archers of Loaf cover, as well as a newly recorded version of the album track “Caretaker” that was recorded in 2019 on the literal last night in the house Stevenson grew up in, ten years after the song was originally written there.
The album features liner note essays written by musicians Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus who drew early inspiration for their own music and songwriting from the album. Also contributing liner notes are Pitchfork, NPR and Stereogum writer Nina Corcoran, as well as longtime friend and collaborator Jeff Rosenstock who produced and played guitar on some of the bonus demo material contained in the collection.
The packaging also features many never before seen studio photos and tour photography from the era in which the album was written, produced and released, and outtakes from the photo session at which the album’s iconic cover artwork was shot by photographer Orlando Perez.
Don Giovanni and Better Yet Podcasts are co-producing a limited episodic podcast series chronicling the making of, and lasting influence of the album. Episode One is out now, available wherever podcasts are found, and new episodes will be released every Wednesday until the reissue is released on September 4. The podcast features interviews with Stevenson, album engineer Eric Bennet, as well as longtime collaborators Mike Campbell, Jeff Rosenstock and Don Giovanni owner Joe Steinhardt. Musicians Lucy Dacus and Adult Mom’s Stevie Knipe are interviewed about Stevenson’s songwriting, and how it has influenced their own careers. Also interviewed is comedian Chris Gethard who stated “the album was a game-changer for me.”
For Immediate Release: Peter Stampfel has unearthed a forgotten gem and missing link of his mid-1980s NYC folkie rock n' roll output. A previously unreleased demo recording from he and his band THE BOTTLECAPS which dates back to 1984. This collection of songs features some of the most singular, interesting and tightest performances of Stampfel staples such as "Funny The First Time," "Lonely Junkie," and "Drink American" among several others which have yet to be heard or examined.
Stampfel himself has said he had forgotten that the recording even existed when it was discovered by Don Giovanni Records owner Joe Steinhardt in a personal collection of records, tapes and memorabilia that he had purchased from a longtime music critic.
Stampfel notes, "All these songs appeared on our first album, which won the New York Music Award for best Indy album of the year. Robert Palmer, in the New York Times, called it the 'First post-modern folk-rock album'. Some Brit twit ion a 'definitive' music review book published by Penguin called the Bottlecaps 'A dreadful aging hippie band'. He loved Indian War Whoop and The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders. Go figure."
Longtime fan, friend and sometimes collaborator Jeffrey Lewis had this to say on the revelation of this release, placing it in the context of the time it was created and among its contemporaries. Completists of Stampfel's work, will recognize this release for the Holy Grail that it is.
"The Grateful Dead were averaging an album of new songs every year, in the 13 years from their 1967 debut up till 1980… then suddenly, six years go by before their next album in 1987. That’s an unprecedented gap that would have been unthinkable previously, but it’s an example of a career gap that strikes the discographies of most 60s artists.
Bob Dylan’s average output was even higher than the Dead’s, with more than one Dylan album per year in the whole first ten years of his career, including his first six seismic albums released just within the four year period 1962-1965, but when the 80s hit, his average dipped by a massive percentage, releasing about one album every two years.
Peter Stampfel’s career shows this pattern as well, with the initial 60s-70s output essentially slowing to a full-stop by the 80s, with the 1978 Holy Modal Rounders album Last Round, then the 1980 Holy-Modal-in-all-but-name Stampfel & Weber album, aptly titled Going Nowhere Fast. Then nothing. The record buying public, or whatever oddball cult fringe of the record buying public were rabidly awaiting a new platter of Stampfel recordings, had to cross a long and barren desert of Reagan years before the emergence of the Peter Stampfel & The Bottlecaps album in 1986.
Which is part of why these 1984 Bottlecaps recordings are of such interest to me as a Rounders/Stampfel fan and completist… it’s a glimpse behind the dark curtain of that gap to see a bit of what was going on while the recording lights were off... What this brings to light is that behind the dark curtain of the dreaded 80s gap, Stampfel was brewing up a whole new explosive stew of creativity and joie de vivre, with the help of a highly charming and skilled and devoted new band. In a period that should have been relatively fallow, we hear instead some of the greatest songs and recordings of a now-fifty-five-year career! I think you'll enjoy the heck out of this stuff. Whether you're a fan of the first half of Stampfel's career or the second half, this tape is the missing link. And if you're a newcomer, this is as good a place as any to start."
Don Giovanni Records is releasing a discography of the complete works of Ronnie Vega aka Curan Cottman, in memorial of his passing away last week. Ron was a very important person in the Philadelphia DIY punk and hip hop scenes. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of his discography will be donated to the Oshun Family Center, who is currently providing free therapy for Black residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland in the wake of the impact of the current conditions of both the COVID-19 pandemic which disproportionately is affecting the Black community, as well as the continued killings of Black people at the hands of police.
Ian Winter, Ronnie's friend and bandmate, has organized a Go Fund Me for the Cottman Family for Vega's final arrangements.
"Curan Cottman aka Ronnie Vega will be remembered as a light in the life of everyone that knew him, but his music talks vividly about the trauma of racism and capitalism that he experienced as a Black person in America. To honor our friend, his band would like to make his music available for purchase with all the proceeds going to a fund, organized by Saleemah McNeil, that helps Black people in the Philadelphia area connect with free therapy. - Ian Winter
Some information about the Oshun Family Center, and the important work they are doing which this collection will be benefiting:
Saleemah McNeil, psychotherapist and founder of Oshun Family Center in Jenkintown, is now offering free therapy to Black residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Amid a pandemic that’s disproportionately impacting the Black community, the continued killings of Black people at the hands of police officers, and global anti-racism protests, Saleemah is using her platform to help the local Black community take care of their mental health right now. To support our efforts, please donate to paypal.me/oshunfamctr
Power-pop group Teenage Halloween have announced that they have signed to Don Giovanni Records for the release of their debut self-titled LP, and have released the lead single "Stationary", which premiered today via Paste Magazine.
Originally from Asbury Park, the group was founded by guitarist Luke Henderiks and has nurtured their DIY roots in the New Jersey punk scene. They have been booking basements to full-blown festivals for the last few years, touring the South, East, and Midwest and playing alongside bands such as Charly Bliss, Nana Grizol, AJJ, HIRS, Mom Jeans, Team Dresch, and others.
Predominantly a queer-identifying band, the songs reflect that experience holistically with lyrics that grapple with vulnerability, community, extreme existentialism, mental illness, and gender euphoria. Accompanied by the band’s explosive energy, each song functions as a politically charged anthem. The album maintains constant energy, and that energy also celebrates the bravery of being a queer band. Further, the songs speak in narratives, making sure people are held accountable for their actions and in the same vein, given the opportunity to communicate that self-reflection.
The self-titled debut album Teenage Halloweenwas recorded by Evan Bernard in Big Mama’s Recording Studio and will be released by Don Giovanni Records on September 18, 2020.