Saturday, February 21, 2009

3 More Hard-to-Find Albums You'll Wish You Had Someday

Colin Gilmore - 4 of No Kind

This first EP from Austin singer/rocker/songwriter/son-of-a-flatlander Colin Gilmore is an incredible collection of 4 songs that probably best reflect Gilmore's west Texas roots. Colin has recently made this album available on itunes, so it's not super rare, but I don't know that the hard copies are still being produced. I may be wrong on that, but I haven't seen any site selling new copies of the CD for some time. Whether he meant for them to or not, "Sunset" and "Winds of Heaven" sound like they were written by Jimmie Dale's son - trust me, you'll think the same when you hear them. Probably not that rare really, but for Colin and/or even Flatlanders fans, this EP is an essential.

Availability: A few used hard copies left on Amazon, and otherwise, widely available for download.

No River City - This is Our North Dakota

This first album from the (apparently) now defunct No River City is yet another casualty of the downfall of Miles of Music. That is, MoM has been the place to buy NRC's CD's for some time, and was additionally a strong champion of the band's music. Thus, given that No River City seems to be generally done as a band, their CD's are likely to become increasingly hard to find. I think a number of the guys from the band still play live shows together, but at least from the last announcement I heard, I think NRC is no longer in existence. That said, their two CD's are full of amazing songs, great vocals, and harmonies that fit the music perfectly. This first release is a great listen all the way through. I guess it falls in the vein of what you would call straight up alt country. I don't mean that in a bad way, by any means, but it's just a great collection of songs that don't need any fancy business to cover up various weaknesses that bands are wont to cover up with novelty sounds and the like. The entire album is a great listen, but "Corrinne" and "Last Thing I Remember" are a great place to start. You can download Corrinne here, and I've also found that various other blogs seem to have other songs of theirs for download if you look hard enough. Honestly, I don't know if there is an actual way to buy the music from them anymore so that they actually get the money for it, given that MoM was, as best I can tell, their exclusive seller (and who knows when the last time they got money from Miles of Music was). None of their stuff is available as itunes or amazon DL's either. My hope is that this album and their second album Wolves and Fishes, will not be the last we hear from the folks from NRC, whether it is under that name or another, as they have shown a great consistency for putting out great songs, and deserve wider listenership than they have.

Availability: Moderate - a few used copies up on Amazon, but haven't seen many others.

Rhett Miller - Mythologies

I'm just kidding about this one really. You are unlikely to find it anywhere except ebay, and even I cannot advocate anyone spending the kind of money this album goes for, no matter how big of a fan you are. This pre-Old 97s release from Rhett is more a novelty than anything. The songs are pretty good, but probably not worth paying $15 a song for. Only 1,000 copies were made, and apparently they are all signed and numbered, at least from Rhett Miller folklore that I've heard. Given how rough the economy has been, I think more than one of these may pop up on ebay, but you'll probably pay $150 or more for it if you really decide you want it. This is one on the list of albums that people like me dream of finding in a used CD store for $3.99, but the odds are heavily stacked against it now, given that most used sellers check their stuff on ebay now. Good luck, but this one has been essentially unavailable since shortly after Rhett became a 97.

Availability if you don't want to pay $200 for it: 1 in a million chance of finding it somewhere other than ebay.

In other news regarding hard-to-find music:
  • The Avett Brothers have recently re-released their early Country Was album for download on itunes.
  • I have been on a diligent search for an mp3 copy of the version of the Old 97s song "The Other Shoe" with Waylon Jennings singing the vocals. Apparently this recording dates back to 1997, in their days on Elektra, and was available for a short while on the Hit By a Train site as a real audio file (your grandkids will ask you about why anyone used real audio someday). Apparently the Waylon estate has not agreed to release this song yet, but from what I hear the band still hopes to make it an official release some day. Write your congressman about this one, because it will be more than worth it, 10 years plus after the fact, when it finally sees the light of day.

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