Better to Burn Out: A Farewell

Notes on Leaving

  Apparently, this is my 600th post on Now This Sound Is Brave; it’s also my last post as owner. As the song goes, it’s better to burn out than to fade away, but I think I did both. I don’t have the fortitude to recount the whole thing in new words, so I’ll steal from a personal post I made yesterday: “My music blog is set to turn four years old around the end of this month… but I’m thinking about shutting it down. I took an official hiatus from posting when I started my current day job in early 2013, but I’d slowed way down on writing before that. I thought the seasonal layoff from the day job would give me time to get back into the spirit, but the spirit seems not to be there for me anymore. I haven’t even listened to much music in the last few months. And very little in the way of new music (I listened to an old A-ha album a few days ago, and those songs are still bouncing around my head because there’s been nothing in the meantime to replace them). I did go much longer with the blog … Continue reading

A Conversation with Pete David of the Payroll Union

Payroll Union 2

  In the three years that Now This Sound Is Brave has been going, I have come to think of some of the bands we cover as “my bands” – bands who have struck a singular chord with me and whom I have continued cover, excited to share news of their movements. If I had to rank “my bands” based on which ones hold the biggest place in my heart and spend the most time on my personal listening turntable, the Payroll Union would likely top that list. We’ve been covering the band since spring of 2011, and this year has been the most exciting in our shared history with the band yet.     This year has seen them touring the UK, beginning an exciting collaboration with historian Andrew Heath, and, best of all, releasing their first full-length album, The Mule & The Elephant . TM&TE is a more somber outing than previous Payroll Union releases – though more in sound than lyrical content as they continue to focus on the hard and bloody stories of early American history – but it is the most rewarding one so far. As Dr. Heath expounds upon in the album’s liner notes, … Continue reading

Friday Link Session

Friday Link Session feature

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, Spain. Read more about it at the Guardian.

The Payroll Union: Peggy’s Tavern

Payroll Union Peggy's Tavern feature

  Our men from Sheffield, the Payroll Union, are preparing to release their first full-length album and have offered a preview in the form of the rousing “Peggy’s Tavern” (available for free download).   Peggy’s Tavern (free download) by The Payroll Union   A reading of singer/guitarist/songwriter Pete David’s blog (a read I definitely recommend) indicates more fascinating stories of early American history will be coming our way, set, of course, to the fine stomps and dirges we’ve come to expect from the Payroll Union. If you’re in the Sheffield, UK, area, you can help the men welcome their new album, The Mule & the Elephant, into the world at their album launch show at Club 60 in Sheffield on January 19.   The Payroll Union Official Website The Payroll Union @ Bandcamp The Payroll Union @ Facebook

A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: The Payroll Union

Payroll Union

  It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Is it right to describe someone’s voice as “woody”? (Another hurdle: is it possible to do so without calling a particular Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch to people’s minds?) Because I realize that is what Pete David’s voice makes me think of: a dark, polished wood. Perhaps mahogany or a particularly richly-hued and knotty … Continue reading

The Payroll Union: There Are Songs to Be Sung

Payroll Union Obedient Servant feature

  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