Rich Hopkins is in a heroic struggle against mediocrity and complacency. A prolific writer, singer, guitarist, producer and humanitarian, Hopkins is concerned for the well-being of his fellow man and wonders about the events that have shaped us as a nation and a race. Letting him into your life with his music and stories on “Tombstone,” just might help you make sense of it all in some small way.
Hopkins, who has been a part of the American music scene since 1985, is, amazingly, still an undiscovered talent to some. Founding the Tucson, Ariz. based Sidewinders(RCA 1989-91)/ Sand Rubies (Polygram 1993), Hopkins toured the U.S. and celebrated success with college/indie rock classics “Witchdoctor” and “We Don’t Do That Anymore” (both went to #5 on the CMJ charts). In 1991, Hopkins formed Rich Hopkins and The Luminarios as a side project; it soon became his full time band when the Sand Rubies stopped touring. He has consistently cranked out new records (26 in all) and tours yearly in Germany/Europe (25 tours) where, in 1996, he was one of the first artists signed to Germany’s Blue Rose Records.
A new member of the Tucson Musicians Museum (Class of 2013), Hopkins enters music history as the quintessential desert rocker, a constant in the bedrock of alternative music. Showcasing an ability to create unmistakable guitar tones that drive a hallmark sound, as the years pass, Hopkins continues to reinvent and motivate himself for yet another album and tour as evidenced on “Tombstone,” the latest release from Rich Hopkins & The Luminarios.
You’re Dead! is a shamanic pilgrimage into the psychedelic unknown of the infinite afterlife. A sonic, visual and metaphysical fusion of technological innovation and technical virtuosity that amounts to a transcendent, mind-expanding plasm that could only exist between our world and another. The enduring universe of Lotus supporting cast has expanded and evolved to feature in order of appearance, Herbie Hancock, Kendrick Lamar, Captain Murphy, Snoop Dogg, Angel Deradoorian, Thundercat, Niki Randa, alongside mindblowing original artwork by Japanese comic book artist Shintaro Kago. The album isnt about the end, it s really the beginning. Its a celebration of the next experience. Its the transition and the confusion. Its not hey you’re dead. Its hey you’re dead! You’re Dead! is released on 7th October 2014 on Warp Records.
Sukierae features 20 new songs penned by Jeff, performed by Tweedy father and son along with a host of musical guests. “When I set out to make this record, I imagined it being a solo thing, but not in the sense of one guy strumming an acoustic guitar and singing, ” Jeff said. “Solo to me meant that I would do everything write the songs, play all the instruments and sing. But Spencer’s been with me from the very beginning demo sessions, playing drums and helping the songs take shape. In that sense, the record is kind of like a solo album performed by a duo. “
The cassette is back by somewhat popular demand and we’ve got fun stuff on deck to celebrate the format’s continued resurgence. Sure, the cassette tape was sure to warp and melt in your car while losing sound quality with every play, but you know that you love it.
Cassette Store Day at Cactus Music
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH
– Freddie “Steady” Krc – 1PM
– Def Perception – 3PM
SAVE MONEY ON NEW MUSIC
Present any old cassette tape and receive $2 off any regularly priced LP or CD priced $9 and up.
SAVE MORE MONEY
Pick up a Back To Old School coupon sheet on CSD that includes 10 coupons good for the next month. 1 per person.
SELL YOUR CASSETTES
Present any pre-loved, factory prerecorded (no old mix tapes please) cassette tape and, if we make you an offer, tell us “I heart Cassettes” we’ll pay you 50% more than the original offer.
DEF PERCEPTION CASSETTE RELEASE
Local Houston Hip Hop act and Houston Press Music award nominee, Def Perception will be making a short run of their recent self titled CD available on Cassette for this special occasion. Their last in-store performance was a monster so we wanted to present an opportunity for you to catch them if you missed them a few weeks ago.
In honor of the cassette, we are presenting a poetry contest. Create a Haiku about the cassette tape and you might win a Cactus gift card loaded with $100 in credit. You’ll not only walk away with a buncha cool loot, but you’ll be the star of the Cactus weekly email and we’ll post your winning poem in our store. The winner will be picked by the Cactus staff and announced on Friday 10/3. Submissions are due by 9PM on Saturday 9/27.
C’mon, you should enter. It’s easy and fun.
LOTSA COOL CSD RELEASES
Many exclusive releases from and of course, Burger Records.
Like a modern-era Wanda Jackson, Nikki Lane turns the vulnerable singer-songwriter stereotype on its ear, craftingsongs that crucify ex-boyfriendsand have no problem with one-night stands as long as she can bolt town right after. Her cooing-yet-brutal vocals are a perfect fit with an aching, mournful guitar. Her upcoming album, tentatively titled Seein’ Double—produced by, yes, Dan Auerbach—is one of Nashville’s most anticipated releases. “My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what’s been going on in my life, so this is one moodyrecord,” she says. “There’s lots of talk of misbehaving andmoving on.”
Born in South Carolina, Lane moved to New York City and, after a messy breakup, picked up a guitar and set her sights on a music career. But the cost of living in New York proved to be too high an obstacle, so she turned to Nashville, a city she had visited extensively. “I was hell bent on living in a big city and I just couldn’t work up the nerve to come back to the South,” she says. “[When I did,] Nashville was the obvious choice for me because of my fondness for it.”
Once in town, she released the 2011 album Walk of Shame to rave reviews, as well as opening High Class Hillbilly, a pop-up vintage clothing stall, where a chance meeting with Auerbach turned into a full-fledged partnership. “During the first round of recordings, I was in an awkward mood every night I left the studio,” she says. “It was hard for me to trust that Dan was right when he said I should move a verse around or add an extra chorus. He pushed to find the right feel for each track one by one, and a few months later I found myself with a damn good record.” – Garden & Gun, April/May 2013
The late Memphis producer Jim Dickinson once called Jimbo Mathus “the singing voice of Huck Finn.” Outside the South, Mathus is likely known as the ringleader of the hyper-ragtime outfit Squirrel Nut Zippers. In his native Mississippi and throughout the South, however, Mathus is the prolific songwriter of born-in-the-bone Southern music, the torchbearer for Deep South mythology and culture. Think Delta highways, bowling-pin Budweisers and “innerplanetary honky-tonk” for the masses.
Jimbo Mathus remains a rising-star powerhouse that feeds the soul. His latest band, The Tri-State Coalition, features solid talent cut from the same Delta cloth. Mathus describes Tri-State’s sound as “…a true Southern amalgam of blues, white country, soul and rock-n-roll. As Dickinson would say, ‘If you don’t like this, there is seriously something wrong with you.’”
You know what they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
In Theory of a Deadman’s case, they go right to the studio. In the middle of 2013, the platinum-selling Canadian quartet began working on what would become its fifth full-length album, Savages [Roadrunner Records/604]. However, everything in their lives rapidly and unexpectedly changed. Whether it be a shakeup at their label, waning interest in rock at radio, or the downturn of society at large, a myriad of issues weighed heavy on members Tyler Connolly [Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar], David Brenner [Rhythm Guitar], Dean Back [Bass], and Joey Dandeneau [Drums].
So, Connolly channeled it all into his songwriting.
“It’s such a different record for us,” he asserts. “I’m known as the guy who writes all of the ‘breakup’ songs. It would have been typical to write more, so I did just the opposite. There’s something very brutal about our culture. I got nightmares from Terminator as a kid and, now, you can watch real murders on YouTube. We’re so desensitized. I went from writing about crazy women to how screwed up we are. That’s the theme. I’d spend twenty hours a day at my home studio. I became a weird recluse, and I even grew a beard. I dug in deeper than ever for these songs. I just said, ‘Fuck it’ and went for it.”
Once again teaming with super producer Howard Benson [My Chemical Romance, Halestorm] in the studio, he tapped into the same robust riffing and primal power that coursed through the group’s 2008 platinum-certified breakthrough, Scars & Souvenirs—which yielded the #1 Mainstream Rock Radio smash “Bad Girlfriend” as well as “So Happy” and “By The Way”. Lyrically, Connolly turned his attention to the state of the world around him and churned out the band’s catchiest and most crushing statement yet.
“This is Theory of a Deadman on steroids but not with the shrunken balls and b-acne side effects,” he assures. “It’s always been with us. This nodded back to our early material but with more musicality. I got to write about something other than relationships too, and I was excited to tackle new material. People seem surprised when they actually listen, but what were you expecting a fucking OneRepublic record?”
The band don’t apologize for anything. The first single “Drown” ebbs and flows between a staggering wall of distortion and an infectious chorus from Connolly. The tide comes in with one of the group’s biggest anthems.
“I tried to get up every morning and write a song, and that lasted three days before I quit,” he chuckles. “I wrote ‘Drown’ during the second day. It’s about being alone and finding contentment within that. It’s a metaphor. No one cares if you drown or not. It’s based on how I felt at the time.”
Meanwhile, the title track functions as the album’s clarion call, and it enlists a chilling spoken word and hypnotic harmony from none other than the legendary Alice Cooper. “I had never met him before,” recalls Connolly. “I got to fly to his house in Phoenix and work on the song. He’s a super nice guy. I stole the spoken word idea from Vincent Price in Thriller. Alice killed it. I was so happy to work with him.”
The album does uphold a tradition for Theory of a Deadman, bringing another ballad to the fold, though it’s not a “breakup song” per se. This time, “Angel” swings from a bright guitar into a heavenly refrain about a different kind of love.
“I thought about being in love with an angel and how bad of an idea that actually is,” he explains. “Once you fall back to earth, you realize you have nothing in common, and you have to let her go.”
“Blow” treads the tongue-in-cheek terrain that the band excel at. Connolly even slyly sings, “Sometimes, it makes me want to blow my fucking head off” with a swaying swing.
At the same time, they also stomp into new territory altogether with their first-ever proper “country” track. For “Livin’ My Life Like a Country Song”, the boys enlisted the guitar and vocal talents of Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney. As a result, they collectively tell a rollicking and raucous little tale worthy of Nashville.
“We’ve always had a bit of Southern rock swagger,” he goes on. “In this case, Joe Don Rooney countrified it, and it turned out great. We wanted to give our take on how all of these country songs are about losing your woman and your house. All you’ve got left is a case of beer, your dog, and your trailer. She’s gone, and you’re living your life like a country song!”
That songwriting prowess solidified Theory of a Deadman as a major contender in modern rock since their self-titled 2002 debut. Most recently, 2011’s The Truth Is… landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart upon its debut, while topping the “Top Rock Albums”, “Top Alternative Albums”, and “Top Hard Rock Albums” charts. In addition, it spawned the #1 radio hit “Lowlife”, which ruled Rock Radio for three weeks straight. Along the way, the group has toured with everybody from Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, and Godsmack to Daughtry and Mötley Crüe. However, Connolly and the guys always have the same goal in mind.
“We want to give fans a great Theory of a Deadman record,” Connolly leaves off. “We owed them this album. It’s completely real, unrestrained, and unbridled. We want their acceptance above all. This is for them, and we’re all extremely proud of it.”
Savages is as tough as rock ‘n’ roll gets.
On Mandolin Orange’s third release, This Side Of Jordan, there’s a Lightnin’ Hopkins lyric, “If fate’s an old woodpecker then I’m an old chunk of wood.” “I love the imagery that creates,” Andrew Marlin, the duo’s lyricist says, “You just picture death as this woodpecker that lands on your shoulder and starts chipping away at you until there’s finally nothing left.” In 2011 around the release of Mandolin Orange’s acclaimed Haste Make/ Hard Hearted Stranger, Marlin had a near fatal accident. “It was scary,” Emily Frantz, the other half of the North Carolinian duo says, “But ultimately it brought us together during a time when we needed a nudge in that direction.”
This Side Of Jordan is the story of that healing process, with tales of love and loss, told honest and bare. The opener, “House of Stone,” quietly fades in with the hush of Frantz’s fiddle then Marlin’s guitar joins her, blooming. This moment of beauty is a gentle easing into the record that’s drenched deep in the traditional music of Southern Appalachia. Since meeting at a local jam in Chapel Hill in 2009, Marlin and Franz have intertwined gospel, folk, and bluegrass but never so seamlessly as now.
Recorded at the Fideltorium in Kernersville, North Carolina with bassist Jeff Crawford and a backing band, This Side Of Jordan still maintains Mandolin Orange’s modest aesthetic with pure and calming sounds. It’s a fitting juxtaposition to Marlin’s undeniable lyricism. Religious faith and fable thread throughout the record with Biblical references used to “convey a different point,” Frantz says. “In the south especially, we hear the Bible construed in any and every way to justify people’s comforts and discomforts,” Marlin further explains, “and it’s so frustrating to watch those stories be used to limit people’s happiness.” This sentiment inspired “Hey Adam,” where Marlin and Frantz urge in unison during the chorus, “Our Father loves you all ways.”
But this is not strictly a lyrical record. The duo’s understanding of classic country, rock, and blues naturally appears. “Waltz About Whisky” swings like a honky tonk thanks to Nathan Golub’s bending pedal steel as Marlin and Frantz plead, “Won’t someone dance with me to a waltz about whisky and turn my sad songs to lullabies?” When Marlin’s busy guitar weaves “Black Widow,” Josh Oliver’s sparse piano chords frame the track until its eerie conclusion. And “Morphine Girl” lazily trudges to James Wallace’s drum while Ryan Gustafson conjures on electric guitar.
The closer, “Until The Last Light Fades,” was written before Marlin met Frantz. With just Marlin’s mandolin and Frantz’s guitar, it’s the most fragile track on the record. Although it’s always been one of the duo’s favorites to play, it didn’t feel right on either of their previous releases. “It was so rewarding to have held out and have it come full circle,” Frantz explains in choosing the track to end the record. And as Frantz sings, “Born to die, born to die, darling you’ll live no longer than your years,” it comes across like an old adage, something faintly familiar.
Marlin and Frantz have rambled through the dark and came out together on This Side Of Jordan more confident than ever. They’ve made simply structured songs with easy chords and humble harmonies. These are the hymns that Mandolin Orange was meant to offer.