Thursday, November 28, 2013

Extension Chord Records 2013

A happy holiday season to all.
Announcing a year-end special to celebrate the beginning of The Union Electric's new Extension Chord Record label.

The link above will go to our friend Beth Bombara's website where you can order the special discount package of all of the label's 2013 releases.

Extension Chord Records was founded earlier this year by Tim Rakel and Melinda Cooper of The Union Electric. More releases are in the works for next year.

The first two releases this year came out on Record Store Day in April.
The first was a split 7" record between Beth Bombara and Melinda's band Town Cars.
The second was another 7" by The Chainsaw Gentlemen, a band composed of Tim and two members of Rusty Nail, Chad Ross and Alvan Caby.
The third release by The Defeated County hit during the summer. This band is fronted by Langen Neubacher and also includes The Union Electric's guitar player Glenn Burleigh.
The fourth and fifth records from Extension Chord were released in October.
A 7" vinyl EP by The Union Electric in tribute to Samuel Beckett collects four pieces and features guest appearances from The Defeated County's Irene Allen-Sullivan and Grace Basement's Kevin Buckley.
The final release for the year comes from our friends Pretty Little Empire, one of the most talented bands on the Saint Louis scene over the last few years. Their third CD is a self-titled collection that builds on their previous efforts.

All five of these records (two CDs and three 45s) are available as a package for $30 until the end of the year. Shipping is included.

Upcoming schedule:
Town Cars with Nina Diaz of Girl in a Coma at The Heavy Anchor - 9pm - Thursday, December 5 

The Defeated County with Jump Starts at The Heavy Anchor - 9pm - Friday, December 6

The Chainsaw Gentlemen at Urban Chestnut Brewery - 8pm - Saturday, December 7

The Union Electric with Ransom Note and Tok at the Schlafly Tap Room - 8pm - Thursday, December 26

Monday, July 8, 2013

Two shows and one fundraising campaign

Hey everyone,
Two shows to announce this week

Monday, July 8 - Off Broadway (lemp, just north of south broadway) -
The Union Electric opens the show for Milagro Saints, a North Carolina band touring with a new EP of Woody Guthrie cover songs. 7:30PM.

Wednesday, July 10 - Foam (south jefferson at cherokee) -
Tim Rakel solo, trading acoustic sets with Kevin Buckley of Grace Basment and Joe Eisenbraun. Free show at 9PM.

The Union Electric's fundraising campaign ends this Saturday evening, July 13 - act now!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Union Electric and Samuel Beckett

The Union Electric is at work on a new EP which will be released on our own Extension Chord Records label.

We are currently raising funds on Kickstarter (link below) and will also be releasing a series of cover songs for free download on Soundcloud throughout the campaign.

A tentative title in tribute to Beckett is "From Bad To Worstward", containing three songs and an appropriated fiddle tune.
a) Left at The Side / Every Word a Stain /
b) Day of the Dead / Nothing to be Done //

I wrote an earlier piece inspired by the play "Endgame" for my first CD in 2001. The song "End. Repeat." took some of its lines from Beckett. From the same source comes a new batch of recordings, being produced in the studio of Kevin Buckley.

"Left at the side" comes from a couple of Samuel Beckett's novels, "Watt" and "Mercier and Camier". Both novels were written in the 1940s with an Irish landscape as their setting. The latter is a precursor to the characters from "Waiting For Godot" which made Beckett famous in the 1950s. Although many of the lines and details come from Beckett, the characters of "the fool and the blind man" were also borrowed from a poem by W.B. Yeats.

"Every word a stain..." employs an Irish fiddle tune called "Man Of The House" to reclaim part of Beckett's work for Ireland. His roots there are apparent throughout much of his writing, including the house and country side in the novel "Watt" from which this track takes it's excerpted pieces of text. Kevin Buckley picked out the reel.

"Day of the dead" started with a quote from Beckett, not from his writing but rather his conversation with a friend who proclaimed upon a walk outside that it was a lovely day. A similar sentiment opens his play "Happy Days". Beckett's response was "I wouldn't go that far" and I took it from there for a sneering rock song.

"Nothing to be done" began as a tune written by Irene Allen for a play by Jason Lauderdale called "Zombozo". I took the music and set to writing a version of "Waiting for Godot" as a drinking song. It's menacing and bleak, sure, but who doesn't look forward to going to the bar?

Bloomsday, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

The May Day Orchestra - new songs (and all the old ones too)

All the recordings from The May Day Orchestra are now on-line for listening, download and purchase of physical records. Visit the site above.

'May Day, or Songs for Lucy Parsons' is the 2009 debut, acoustic arrangements featuring members of The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra to tell the story of the Haymarket affair in 1880s Chicago and the anarchist involvement in the labor movement.

'Ota Benga' tells the tale of the pygmy brought to the Saint Louis World's Fair in 1904. A slightly different line-up presents a folk-rock opera to tell the sad tale. The story of Roger Casement is interwoven into the narrative. This one was recorded in 2010 and is available on CD and LP.

Finally, two new tracks previewing the work in progress: 'Wake'. One strand of the story concerns a little-known 17th century pirate called Yusuf bin Hasan, former sultan of Mombasa. Modern-day Kenyan history plays into the story as well. The band that brought you 'Ota Benga' returns.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Union Electric - project 3 of 3

The Union Electric will follow up its 2012 CD "Time Is Gold" with a new 45 for Record Store Day. You can hear the two new songs on our bandcamp page as of next week
Vinyl maybe pre-ordered or found at some stores on Saturday, April 20.

"Out In The Streets" and "Mysteries of Saint Louis" were recorded by Kevin Buckley and feature Mic Boshans and Brad Vaughn on drums, side A and B respectively.
The band will be playing about 5PM at Apop Records and again that night at Off Broadway.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The May Day Orchestra - project 2 of 3

The May Day Orchestra, active since a show at Black Bear Bakery in early 2008, has released two full-length albums, "May Day" in 2009 and "Ota Benga in 2010.

The third project was readily conceived but slow to be executed. Two songs, however, will be released as a 7" for Record Store Day to preview our new record still in progress. The band, featuring members of Tenement Ruth who also played on the "Ota Benga" record, will play the new single as well as some other new songs at Off Broadway on the evening of April 20. This single works in the same storyline as The Chainsaw Gentlemen track mentioned in an earlier post. A few songs about a 17th century Muslim pirate will comprise on part of the next record. More recent Kenyan history fills out the rest of the work. More later.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Chainsaw Gentlemen - project 1 of 3

The Chainsaw Gentlemen, a project started with Chad Ross and Alvy Caby of Rusty Nail, began playing occasional gigs at the Urban Chestnut Brewery in 2011.
This past January we met up learned a new song by Alvy and a new one of mine and set to recording them. Alvy and Chad added mandolin and accordion to my track while I threw in a guitar track with a lot of reverb on theirs.
Side A is called "Rag and Bone Man", the first of a series of songs about a junk collector that Alvy has in the works. My song on Side B is called "A Sort of Buccaneer", one part of a larger work in progress called "Wake" which involves one storyline about a particular Indian Ocean pirate of the 17th century.
The Union Electric's new spin-off label, Extension Chord Records*, will release this first Chainsaw Gentlemen single on Record Store Day 2013. This limited pressing will be on splattered color vinyl. We will also have a batch of t-shirts for the occasion. The group will play at Urban Chestnut on April 13 and again May 3.

*note: Extension Chord Records will also be releasing another single for Record Store Day, a split single by Town Cars and Beth Bombara will be the first of the label's catalog.