Nellen Dryden Concert & CD

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On her debut full-length release, Little Stray Hearts, Nellen Dryden and her cohorts create a dazzling song cycle on the themes of love and death. This is a country record, full of pedal steel guitar and story telling. If one knows anything about Dryden’s musical background, however, the country tinge might come as a surprise. Dryden cut her teeth in high school and at Sarah Lawrence College playing soul, blues, and jazz. As a testament to her talent, Dryden seems equally comfortable in the country genre as she did in the genres in which she developed. This seemingly newfound sound was actually a return to the country music Dryden’s father played for her as a child.

Dryden’s voice has all the power of her soul roots, but as she engages in the storytelling of the country genre she creates clarity of consciousness concerned with life’s big themes. On the song “Me and My Buffalo Bill” Dryden imagines what it would be like to be a girl in love with a heroic figure. On “Back You Go” Dryden explores the death of a grandmother. These ventures into love and death illustrate the range of Dryden’s talents. While Dryden has always had a scorching voice, with this collection Dryden more than proves herself as a songwriter.

On November 19th, Bedrock Music & Video is proud to invite Nellen Dryden to perform an in store concert. The show starts at noon and goes until 2pm. Peoples Westfall will open the show for their second appearance at Bedrock. Nellen Dryden will headline, supported by her guitar player and co-arranger Jules Belmont. They are coming all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. Potential audience members have a unique opportunity to hear Nellen Dryden in her authentic form. While Dryden was developing these songs in New York before moving to Nashville, they were often arranged for Nellen Dryden and Jules Belmont to perform as a duo (as opposed to the fuller band that appears on the recording). Bedrock patrons will have a chance to see some very talented musicians playing in an intimate setting in an authentic context.

Little Stray Hearts is such a strong album that we sold out of all of our copies at Bedrock. Buy a copy directly from Nellen Dryden herself on the 19th! We hope this concert allows us to create an opportunity for Bedrock customers to get in on an exciting new artist that is Nellen Dryden.

-Benjamin Westfall

Painting With – Animal Collective

Painting With

Animal Collective’s new album Painting With is a triumph. For those familiar with the group, Painting With will come across as a more urban feeling version of the band’s classic effort Merriweather Post Pavilion (a more pastoral affair). Part of the reason for this distinction between urban and pastoral comes with the subject matter of the respective albums. For instance, Merriweather Post Pavilion takes it’s name form an outdoor concert venue in Maryland. The album is about being outside with friends and the interrelationship of egos in nature. Painting With, on the other hand, is concerned with the more synthetic project of art, for example painting. The tour that Animal Collective is undergoing now boasts an incredible set design in which the stage and musicians are constructed to resemble a painting in the modernist style. It is a visually stunning event as well as an auditory one.

What becomes of interest in Painting With is the relationship of art objects (synthetic things) to viewers. Indeed, it seems these synthetic things have a natural relationship to the viewer as well despite being objects of construction. It follows that synthetic objects like art have a real place in the natural ecosystem despite being removed from it and can consequently effect the environment external to it. That’s why the album is called Painting With, because the painting is painting with the viewer reminiscent of the ideas of John Dewey’s Art as Experience.

The album is very much concerned with the ecosystem. References to dinosaurs evoke a fear of extinction and our own-shared experience fading into the past. There is also reference to episodic experience felt in serial formats like television and pop music. “Recycling” closes the album, pleading with the viewer to do all that can be done to preserve this experience. For Animal Collective it seems as though art as an aesthetic object can be employed to preserve the greater object it is encompassed in, nature. Have an aesthetic experience with the object today either on Vinyl or CD at Bedrock. We also encourage you to experience Animal Collective live. Preserve the experience!

 

-Benjamin Westfall

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Chamber Band

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Recently I saw Chamber Band when they toured the West Coast, and what an experience it was! The first thing one notices about Chamber Band when one approaches them is their shoes. While Chamber Band is primarily a musical act they function as a multi-media extravaganza. The band’s bass player, Anthony, is also a painter. For the band’s fashionable fortune, Anthony painted five pairs of white sneakers in vibrant colorful splotches, which Chamber Band wears proudly. Anthony live paints to music as conceptual performance practice. Each of the members of Chamber Band hand picked their favorite album to have their sneakers painted to, making it so that all the members of Chamber Band are literally walking on music.

Chamber Band is touring behind their second album Careers, a concept album about The Hunger Games and finding a career during young adulthood. Their first album Deities is a concept album about Dungeons and Dragons. Both efforts are stellar, however, Careers marks a pivotal growth for the band. When I interviewed the band, Asarr, the band’s guitar and keyboard player, said the album was about economic oppression. It seems as though at some point all of the members of Chamber Band have been homeless so the yearning for fiscal stability and sense of purpose resonates strongly with these people and their fans. Indeed, the financial struggle may seem surprising given that all of the members attended good colleges. In fact, three of the members attended Sarah Lawrence College. But such is the state of the world for liberal arts majors these days, particularly those living in New York.

Chamber Band seems to create albums by latching onto a theme derived from some piece of popular culture, like The Hunger Games or Dungeons and Dragons, and imbuing it with more universal human concerns and emotions. Like in Dungeons and Dragons, the members of Chamber Band are concerned with role-playing. They stand steadfast with their role as a band in a world with a changing economy for creative folks, and to startling inspiring results!

I saw Chamber Band play twice when they came out to the Bay Area. The first show was at a house party in Oakland hosted by artist Laura Miller. The show was very intimate and Chamber Band played brilliantly in a room that required a delicate and unique dynamic. At the show I was told that Chamber Band was used to playing these small rooms from having the experience of playing game stores throughout their tour where they make connections with the comic book crowd. The second show I saw was at the Milk Bar in San Francisco on Haight Street. This was a more traditional rock setting and produced a powerful sound. Few bands can play to any room and Chamber Band is one of them. I urge the reader to see them under any circumstance given the opportunity.

Currently at Bedrock we have Deities on Vinyl and CD as well as a copy of Careers, which we exclusively have prior to its release date! Get it here first and find your role to play in the violent landscape of Careers!

http://www.chamberband.com

-Benjamin Westfall

Carrie & Lowell

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Sufjan Stevens’ new album Carrie & Lowell sparkles in radiant simplicity. Sufjan has had an inclination towards the epic over his last few releases. Age of Adz was a magnum opus full of electronic adventure and strings. This new album, however, is comprised of simple folk songs that tell tales surrounding Sufjan’s complicated relationship with his mother Carrie. The album seems to have to do with the problems of intimacy in a digitized world as is reflected in the lyrics of “All of Me Wants All of You”. “You checked your texts while I masturbated”. The texts are reflected on a personal phone, so even though they are sent presumably from outside sources, the consumption of them is self indulgent in the same way as Sufjan’s masturbation. “In the end I feel so used,” Sufjan concludes reflecting the sadness of the textual distraction from normal unmitigated human intimacy.

Carrie & Lowell sonically reflects a desire for this real human intimacy favoring organic sounds over the more experimental pallet of Age of Adz. It seems, however, that Sufjan is flirting with despair as he concludes in “Eugene”, “What’s the point of singing songs if they’ll never even hear you”? There is a futility in the practice of songwriting itself, an endeavor that should prove redemptive. In a certain sense these songs are redemptive. They make us think about the nature of intimacy on a profound level inspiring us towards something greater than masturbation. While a haze of melancholy is always present with Sufjan’s work, earlier efforts of his touched on joy extensively. It seems evident that the pain of family life and the uncomfortable intimacy ensuing from that seems to give rise to this more despondent outlook.

When Sufjan Steven’s is writing about the American landscape or his faith in Christ he seems to overcome his autobiographical demons. But when left to the autobiographical what becomes apparent is Sufjan’s intense desire to escape the confines of his own autobiography and point towards some “other”, indicative of a utopia to come. Through the act of sharing his concerns of intimacy in the digitized age and the lack of real relationships unmitigated, Sufjan presents us with a slew of incredibly well crafted songs that gives solace to each of our own respected loneliness and lack of intimacy, ironically providing a rather intimate sonic experience despite the somber tone. More than anything Sufjan’s choice not to employ his earlier joyous motifs demonstrates just how much he needs them in order to overcome his own sad autobiography.

In “No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross” Christianity is not written of in a redemptive way, like Sufjan has done before, but rather a heavy burden that permeates throughout all the aspects of ones life. There is no shade, no cover from the responsibilities of faith. This is in great contrast to the childlike joy of Christianity heard in Sufjan’s two box set Christmas albums. Maybe that’s why Sufjan took such great comfort in American history with his states albums. By finding inspiration in the great stories of pivotal character in the history of the country, Sufjan finds a way to make his own autobiography seem more important through his inter-textuality with the great figures of America. But with Carrie & Lowell Sufjan comes to us bare, reflecting what it is like to be just one person outside of relation, or in dysfunctional relation. The songs are of such quality, however, that Sufjan joins the cast of American icons on the landscape of history. He is still fractured from the pain of his upbringing but he finds solace in the listener who hears the songs.

Hence Sufjan’s fear of not being heard. To not be heard is to stand outside of relation, which is despair. Through the relationship with the listener there is redemption. It seems as though Sufjan Stevens is heard after all, providing a relationship of reciprocity.

-Benjamin Westfall

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman

Here at Bedrock we are celebrating the life and works of the recently deceased free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman. We erected a modest CD shrine in honor of this towering figure. We are selling The Shape of Jazz to Come, Free Jazz, and The Complete Science Fiction Sessions. So far we have had a surprising amount of success with our tribute bin, especially considering how refined one’s taste must be in order to fully appreciate Ornette Coleman. This speaks very highly of our customers and we really appreciate your exceptional sense of culture. The only quirk in our tribute seems to be that customers seem perplexed that the album Free Jazz isn’t free. Free Jazz frees your mind, not your wallet. This confusion has probably contributed to the situation of Free Jazz being the only CD of his we haven’t sold. Pity.

While Bedrock is only celebrated Coleman’s life through three CDs at the moment, Coleman has a long and rich discography, which deserves the special attention of any adventurous music fan. Coleman was at the forefront of the Free Jazz movement. In his early efforts with the new genre, such as with The Shape of Jazz to Come, Coleman made a radically different ensemble, forgoing the piano to eliminate any definitive quality of chord changes, giving the soloist greater harmonic freedom. Free Jazz sees the introduction of the Double Quartet, ushering in a powerful cacophony of horns, drums, and bass. The Science Fiction Sessions features the song “What Reason Could I Give” with vocalist Asha Puthli that haunts the listener with its beauty. This is just a small sample, however, of many innovative albums. We encourage our customers to place special orders for any and all Ornette Coleman CDs. One particularly strong CD is Body Meta, an electric guitar album made in the late 70s.

In 2007 Ornette Coleman received the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, which speaks to the depths of his work. In 2015, Coleman died of a heart attack. While Coleman has passed on he will live forever here at Bedrock and in the hearts and minds of cultured music consumers like you. – Benjamin Westfall

Tribute to the Grateful Dead

If you appreciate the Grateful Dead like I do, come get some of their music at Bedrock! To celebrate the Grateful Dead’s Fair Thee Well Tour (final shows) I have put together a collection of CD’s at the front desk for you to enjoy and take home with you! Albums include:

– Grateful Dead’s first album ‘Grateful Dead’

– Blues for Allah

– American Beauty

– Europe ’72

– The Very Best of Grateful Dead

Also, Stanley Mouse, notable for his album and poster art for the Grateful Dead, is having a retrospective art showing from July 7th – August 8th

Stanley Mouse                                                                                                                                  San Francisco Art Exchange                                                                                                             458 Geary Street

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– Jake Raymond Musselman

Vulnicura

Björk

Bjork’s latest album Vulnicura is a triumph of the heart. Having ended her relationship with Matthew Barney, Bjork ventures on a break up record. While centered on loss, the album also represents an enlightened acceptance of one’s place in the universe regardless of emotional circumstance. The heart finds solace within the universal, reconciling the micro with the macro. In the closing track “Quicksand”, Bjork sings, “When she’s broken she is whole, and when she’s whole she’s broken”. These lyrics seem to evoke neutrality in the positive and negative charge of wholeness and brokenness respectively in the atom of the soul. In “Atom Dance” the cosmic unity is brought to the forefront in which the soul radiates on universal wavelengths, in creative motion on the celestial scale. Significantly, “Atom Dance” features vocals by Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons) who had appeared on Bjork’s previous album Volta. Again, the duet seems to embody the interplay between positive and negative, finding solace in a balance between the two poles. While occupying a unique place in Bjork’s oeuvre, Vulnicura seems to recall many previously explored elements cast in a new light. The album is comprised of strings and electronic percussion with a beat that never really drops suspending the listener in a surreal state of anticipation for the suggested other state of consciousness. This is not to say that Bjork doesn’t deliver on a rejuvenated psyche, but rather that the listener is tantalized with the nebulous state of the uncomfortable in between before reaching the balanced closure the album ultimately evokes. This is one of Bjork’s stronger efforts in an already outstanding discography. We are proud to represent the work on both CD and Vinyl. Please treat yourself to an aural feast of great feat and check out this great recording.

– Benjamin Westfall