BIG STIR RECORDS presents the first 2021 installment in the ongoing series of CDs collecting our celebrated weekly Singles Series. BIG STIR SINGLES: THE NINTH WAVE is out Saturday, April 10 and available for preorder at www.bigstirrecords.com/store
and everywhere now. It continues the documentation of our pandemic-era releases by presenting all of our A- and B-sides released between August 28 and October 3 of 2020, from 12 top artists on the global pop rock scene, with 23 tracks (many of them exclusive), striking graphic design from John Lathrop (The Stan Laurels) and liner notes from Mike Lidskin of Woody Radio.
The CD continue BSR's commitment to giving a physical media home to the immediate, timely, or between-albums dispatches from vital artists in the UK (THE VIEWERS, NICK FRATER, ROSIE ABBOTT) and all corners of the US. THE NINTH WAVE represents the label's native California (THE BROTHERS STEVE, BLAKE JONES, DAVID BROOKINGS) alongside the Pacific Northwest (IRENE PEÑA and JIM BASNIGHT) and points further east (Chicagoland's DOLPH CHANEY and ATHANOR, Minnesota natives THE PERSIAN LEAPS, and MIKE DALY & THE PLANETS of New Jersey). Each installment of the CD series seems to find more and more listeners eager for a primer on what's what and who's who on the global pop rock scene. Lidskin's liner notes let the listener know what to expect, and why the series is so worth your time:
Greetings, future citizens of the world. I come to you from an earlier time. A time when musical tastes were shaped by the music you heard on the radio. Sure, we had to sit through some commercials, and maybe the news, traffic, and weather. But that was a small price to pay to gain access to a steady diet of great rock and roll. Cultural enrichment thanks to the magic of AM and FM.
The magic happened everywhere. In your car, racing down the highway. Blasting from a boombox at the beach. Doing your homework. Falling asleep with a transistor radio under your pillow.
What was the secret sauce, that turned generation upon generation onto this great music? It was the mix. Always the mix. A blend of varied artists, tempos, and musical styles. Great lyrics--sometimes obvious, sometimes inscrutable. Keep it interesting, and we'll keep listening. And boy, did we.
I'm pleased to tell you that you no longer have to spring for a hopped-up DeLorean with an aftermarket flux capacitor to duplicate this music discovery experience. This collection you're holding in your hand, or have loaded on your phone, Big Stir Singles: The Ninth Wave, does all that for you.
Rex and Christina have done this before, eight times to be exact. They've steadily released singles, legit A- and B-sides from an artist, on a weekly basis for the past few years. And maybe you've missed a few here and there. This is where you catch up. Like the other Waves, this Ninth Wave has been lovingly curated to bring you maximum fun and variety. As a radio programmer, I'm a wee bit envious at how well these guys do it. But I'm also thrilled at how easy they make my job.
The first half of this album is all the A-sides, followed immediately by the B-sides. Just like in great radio programming, you don't hear the same artist twice in a row. But those B-sides are lurking there for you to do your deep dive. And take it from me, the B-sides are where you want to go for extra credit--the tracks that don't always make it onto an album, but are a vital window into the heart of the artist. The quirky stuff and alternate versions live there.
I think you're ready for this musical journey. Just start at track 1 and press play. You'll be knocked back by the sheer variety. Heartfelt, funny, and clever lyrics from Dolph Chaney, a real hero to us at Woody Radio. Soaring power pop vocal harmonies from The Viewers. Soulful yet alternative sounds from Rosie Abbott. Let's get personal here--my friend Blake Jones appears in two forms (no--he's not a shapeshifter): solo, and with his band The Trike Shop, with their arty, quirky, yet accessible melodic pop. A couple of examples of Mike Daly's wonderful vocals will make you swoon. You want covers? Big Stir has YOU covered. A tasty remake of Gilbert O'Sullivan by Nick Frater, and a driving Fountains of Wayne cover by Irene Peña--another longtime favorite on my radio shows. Speaking of Irene--she's recently taken over the labor of love of curating these Big Stir Singles, but that's another story for a future Wave compilation. And probably my personal highlight on this album, The Brothers Steve with their quirky, upbeat earworm "Beat Generation Poet Turned Assassin". But that's only their A-side, which we learn is the "unabridged" version. Their B-side contribution to The Ninth Wave turns out to be an alternate version of this song--longer than the original, it's labeled as the "abridged" version. It takes you on a couple of musical detours--piling quirk upon quirk, and makes for an even spacier, harder rocking version. There are no more stops left--these Steves have pulled them all out!
All right. Stop reading. You've got some serious musical enjoyment ahead. The future is looking pretty bright, at least if the next hour or so that you spend listening to this is any indication. Enjoy!
Mike Lidskin, Sacramento, California
DJ, Woody Radio