01/03/19

Record Store Day 2019 releases from Mutual Benefit and s t a r g a z e!

To kick off our 15th Anniversary as a label, Transgressive are proud to present two full cover albums as part of Record Store Day 2019.

Mutual Benefit has covered a cult classic, Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day. Frontman Jordan Lee describes the process: "When I was approached about covering a full album, it was a no-brainer to attempt reinterpreting Just Another Diamond Day. Since my school days, it's been one of those pieces of music that has been able to transport me to a calmer, more magical world than the one we currently inhabit. It was a unique assignment to use the downtime between tours to pay homage to an album I've spent so much time daydreaming with, especially since her songwriting style of soft-spoken observations — mixed with Robert Kirby's intuitive string arrangements — has been such an enduring influence on my own music.

The legend of Diamond Day is almost too good to be true. In the late '60s, feeling disenchanted from the life of people trying to make her into a pop star, [Bunyan] dropped out of society and took this long journey across the country to get to a commune, writing songs along the way. Eventually, she recorded this incredible and deeply personal album, but it was a complete commercial flop, so she decided she'd rather be a farmer instead of a singer-songwriter. It wasn't until decades later that an acquaintance came upon Just Another Diamond Day on eBay for thousands of dollars and realized that various contemporary folk artists were calling the album a lost masterpiece.

While much of the album is pretty compatible with our aesthetic, 'Jog Along Bess' was actually one of the more difficult songs to do in our own voice. The sing-songy lyrics mixed with the rollicking 'good times' story is something we had never tried to do. We are definitely amateurs at rollicking. Eventually, I started to get really into the lyrics about this misfit crew of people and doggies trying to make it across the country in a half-broken vehicle. I could definitely relate. The more people we had over to collaborate, the more the song took on its own life."

The record will be released on limited red vinyl.

We're also releasing an incredible reimagining of a classic Fugazi album: s t a r g a z e are releasing Instruments (A Track By Track Re-Composition of Fugazi's In On The Killtaker) on Record Store Day. Creative lead of the collective André de Ridder says ''This project is not meant be 'referential' at all, but for me it’s a new work of art, literally New Music, inspired by a number of things to do with IOTK and the band. I find the band’s music expresses a great deal of vulnerability and struggle, very finely balanced with some visceral outbursts not just of anger, but of energy of an encouraging and uplifting nature. Our record is also a tribute to the film 'Instrument' - the band after all had a penchant for instrumental tracks or long instrumental passages, which are in itself periods of either reflection, where the words sink deeper, or in fact where the words would fail - hence 'Instruments' in which we feature each of our group’s single 'instruments' in their individuality and their negotiation of (or 'struggle' with) the material. The loud/quiet model is just one example of a musical trope explored here over the course of the whole record, with the acoustic/busting nature of some of these pieces, relaying as a voice on the street, directly to the people. These new instrumentals (quiet wordless pieces) being maybe the equivalent of the still film portraits of the women and men waiting in line at Fugazi shows in the 'Instrument' film. That’s how I literally see them.

Then there is the coming together of all instruments in the last song, where the players also sing, as well as using their instruments: it becomes even more personal. A couple more songs are realised in smaller ensembles, too. 'Rend It' becomes a deep harmony, a lament in the way I read many Fugazi songs which make them relatable to that old vocal and operatic form musically and lyrically. 
It’s fascinating to me that the composer Greg Saunier claims to have never listened to a single Fugazi song before we put this idea to him, yet intuitively his compositions incorporate all this. Plus, his own band and his own public expressions all abide by very similar or the same rigorous musical, operational, and political principles as Fugazi’s.
 
For me the whole project is a celebration of the vital role and 'publicness' of music, its lasting impact, and its building and re-building over and over of communities and humanity.''

Instruments will be released on limited gold vinyl. For more info about both releases, and for all the RSD releases, check out the RSD website

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