Friday Link Session

  • Check out our friend Pete David of the Payroll Union and Andrew Heath of the University of Sheffield in a nice, little interview, talking about music, history, the new Payroll Union album, and their upcoming collaboration.
  • Read a 1990 essay on hip hop by the late David Foster Wallace and co-author Mark Costello at The Missouri Review. The pair also wrote a book on the subject, the now difficult-to-find Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race In the Urban Present.
  • Billy Bragg has announced a U.S. tour to begin in late March. You can get the dates, along with an mp3 of the song “Handyman Blues” off his upcoming album Tooth & Nail at Slicing Up Eyeballs.
  • Kim Deal has begun releasing a solo series on vinyl, starting with “Walking with a Killer” b/w “Dirty Hessians”. This first 7″ is already sold out, but you can still buy the digital version. Take a listen to the songs at Spacelab and sign up to get news of upcoming releases in the solo series at Kim Deal’s website.
  • Joe Strummer will be honored with Plaza Joe Strummer in Granada, … Continue reading

The Payroll Union: There Are Songs to Be Sung


Our favorite musical history professors are back. Pete David & the Payroll Union have dropped the “Pete David &” from their name (though lovely Pete David himself remains) and have released a new EP, Your Obedient Servant. The band from Sheffield continues to lay moody, moving music rooted in Americana traditions under stories of love, war, disease and death taken from the time when America itself was an infant.



Below you can get a sample from Your Obedient Servant as well as a sample from their previous EP, Underfed and Underpaid. Then you can follow the official site link to purchase both EPs. I happily and heartily recommend both.




The Payroll Union Official Website

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Pete David & the Payroll Union: Ghosts Came By and They Told Us to Go


Recently, while listening to a band whose genre was listed as “Americana” but who were not from any of the Americas, let alone the United States, I likened Americana music in the ’10s to Irish music in the ’90s – a genre named for a country, rapidly filling with non-native practitioners.

But that phenomenon is not necessarily a bad thing. Take Exhibit A: Pete David & the Payroll Union. Based in Sheffield, England, the group was formed by a couple of young Brits (vocalist/guitarist/harmonica player David and banjo player Joseph Field) who held an acute interest in the traditional music of the U.S. This makes a sort of sense since lines drawn from early American music (string bands, drum and fife bands) often lead back to the British Isles.

The lyrics of Pete David & the Payroll Union’s debut EP Underfed and Underpaid make this even more of a musical Möbius strip as David and company sing stories set during the French and Indian War, the Civil War, the Salem Witch Trials, etc. They even have the visage of America’s 7th president Andrew Jackson gracing their website. Not for the first time, the Brits have beat us … Continue reading