While you may normally think of spring as the season where life begins again anew, perhaps any season will do. Summer is here, and for many that means SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER or something like that. It also means that Circuit Breaker Record Club members (like you?) are in for a real treat as we’ve just reissued the very first Hallelujah Boy record, first released in 1998. 18 years ago saw the beginning of this long-standing recording project, in a dimly-lit basement in Charlottesville, Virginia, and this self-titled record exhibits the usual exuberance of debut records as well as the influence of HB’s lo-fi heroes such as Chris Knox and Bob Pollard.
To celebrate this reissue, we have a few tunes here from the record. Speaking of Mr. Pollard, “Eyes vs. Smiles,” this month’s A-side, is pretty much a tribute to him and the alien lanes/bee 1000 records playing constantly in the car at that time. B-side “Hearts Deciding” is a Casio keyboard-driven, drony love song, its sweetness tempered only slightly by the deficiencies in recording quality
Also, thinking about the beginning of this project has inspired Hallelujah Boy to begin recording and releasing some new music! While plans are already underway for a joint Witchcatcher/Hallelujah Boy record later this year, to kick off the summer Hallelujah Boy will also be heading into his new home studio to record a series of newly-written singles. Stay tuned for more info on these and other new recordings set for release later this year!
May has come and gone (ok, it’s going..). We hope everyone in the US enjoyed National Burger Month and that our friends in the UK are enjoying National Pet Month. Weird to celebrate both simultaneously wethinks, especially for people who keep cows for pets. There’s no such domestication or husbandry here at CBR HQ. Instead we’re featuring two songs from our favorite Infinite Transmissions Projectrecord, the wonderful “Second Hand Rubbish“. Released simultaneously with “Deflate the Stars” in 2005, this record finds the record_by_mail_and_somtimes_in_person crew at the height of their collective powers.
On the A Side, we’ve got “I’m Gone” a tune that introduces the theme of “sales”, short for “yard sales”. Capturing the exuberance of a caffeine-fueled morning spent combing the neighborhood for other people’s trash that one might treasure, the lead track from the albums appropriately asks “how can you say that the joke’s on you”. The song sets the tone for the record with reverb drenched pianos, dirty guitars and of course the trusty drum machine.
Pared with “I’m Gone” is this month’s B Side, “The Wrong Track”. The album closer, this bookend tune celebrates the art of making mistakes. A slow build of a tune with a trash heap of tracks, the careful listener will enjoy picking out the layered lines and lyrical interplay.
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Man, April gets a bad rap. Most often, the month is remembered as a rainmaker or tagged for it’s tax day by our Estadounidense peeps or as Terribly Sexy Eliot says, “April is the cruellest month” (sic). Even Samuel Clemens couldn’t resist a dig when he said, “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.” We couldn’t disagree any more. That’s why we’re going to throw down the gauntlet for a very special April’s Fools day show next year. Mark your calendars!
In the meantime, we’ve had a great April. Circuit Breaker Records has held not one but two California summits (sort of). The last of which surrounds our great friend Denton’s (Fast Friends/Gifthorse) nuptials to Leigh Ann, the best thing that ever happened to him. Salud!
And after all this time in California, it only feels right to feature two songs from Infinite Transmissions ProjectDeflate the Stars. Recorded simultaneously with Second Hand Rubbish, this album explores the cult of celebrity. The album takes aim at teenage millionaires, and Songs About California. Musically, the additions of Frank Dubec (Vevlo Eel), Greg Landry (Train in Vain) and Kimberly Hellweg find the collective exploring an increased use of live drums and increased layering of instrumentation. You can still find searing guitar leads (see Automatic Freedom Fighter), trumpet (see Not About You) and cleverly delivered lyrics (see all). From the opening crash of a wave on Don’t Count Me Out (that is a wave crashing, right?) to the final jet wash on “Drive Away“, you will find an album chock full of sonic subtlety. Easter egg hunters saddle up, this album rewards the close listener. We hope you hold on!
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Spring is here again, and we’ve all got an acute case of March Madness here at CBR. If you’re in Vegas this weekend, look for several Circuit Breaker Records associates over by the sportsbook, secretly wishing they could be betting on UVA. (Congrats to our buddy and soon-to-not-be-a-bachelor Denton, aka Fast Friends!)
Maybe you also fancy a wager from time to time, but mister let me tell you’ve found a sure thing when you sign up for the Circuit Breaker Record Club. This month we’re releasing to our loyal members the towering 2003 classic debut album from Charlottesville’s Vevlo Eel, entitled The Sound of a Thousand Chryslers Rusting. Featuring hits like “Soy Bomb” and “Home by Ten,” this record nicely captures the raw energy of a super tight power trio at its peak, and it’s yours with just one measly click (well, maybe a couple clicks to finish the whole subscription process).
For a preview, why not give “Best We Got” a spin (above)? We’ve paired this month’s A-side with another tune from the record, “Payday.” Ok, maybe we are a little desperate for you to subscribe to our Record Club. Did I mention the Record Club?
Gifthorse live shot at the legendary Tokyo Rose, circa 2000
It may be the year of the Goat/Sheep now that the Chinese New Year has passed but it’s always the year of the Horse here at Circuit Breaker Records. The year of Gifthorse, that is.
This month we’ve got not one but two timeless Gifthorse singles. The first, National Treasure originally appeared on the first ever Gifthorse (and Circuit Breaker Records) release, “&“. The song begins delicately with a salute to change and continues with meterological references of dropping mercury, local radar and fairer weather. A contrast to some of the other more straightforward and raucous Gifthorsematerial from this era, this love song is harbinger of some of the more developed music to come in later days.
Our B-Side this weeks comes is a good example of the latter era of the Horse. “Reach Through”, the venerable third track from the final Gifthorse record, “Rest on Your Laurels” was recorded at David Lowery’s Sound of Music. Here we find the horse playing with song structure and growing lyrically. For example, as a nod to what is to come, “crystal ball sees, forsee walking away form projects, decrees”. It sounds like the Horse knew the end was nigh, or was it neigh.
We have some good news for Gifthorse fans however. Rumors are swirling about a second 3/4 Horse reunion recently in Los Angeles. All signs are pointing to a new release in 2015. Stay tuned, Beezlebub, our witness!