Vinyl fans, take note: Octave Records has added three titles to its growing roster of LP releases: Ragtime World by melodic rockers Augustus, The Moon Leans In by singer/songwriter Tom LaFond, and Things Worth Remembering from pop/rock band Clandestine Amigo. All are available in limited, numbered editions on Octave Records’ premium 180-gram vinyl.
All of the LPs are pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl using the highest-quality Neotech vinyl compound, NiPro Optics electroplating, and GrooveCoated stampers from Gotta Groove Records. State-of-the-art temperature control is maintained during the manufacturing process using a closed-loop heating system. Each record is scrupulously hand-inspected and listening tests are conducted to ensure the ultimate in pressing quality. All of the LPs are cut from the original Octave Records Pure DSD high-resolution masters.
Ragtime World offers Augustus’ distinctive blend of melodic indie, alt-rock, post-rock and other not-quite-categorizable music. Their core two-guitars-bass-drums-vocals sound is spiced with a variety of electric and acoustic guitars and amps, lap steel guitar, mandolin and even a Mellotron. Featuring Colin Kelly (guitars, keyboards, vocals) and Jim Herlihy (guitars, mandolin, Mellotron) with John Demitro (bass, lap steel, percussion) and Forrest Raup (drums and percussion), Ragtime World offers an ear-catching and thoughtful variety of songs and moods, from the rockers “Carry All the Weight,” “Past Life” and “Leave the Lights On” to the spare, fingerpicked acoustic guitar of the title track and the ethereal “Daisies.”
As Colin Kelly noted, “Recording Ragtime World was eye-opening in terms of getting such a high quality of sound in capturing the music. A big part of our sound is working out guitar textures that are distinctive yet complement each other, and that really carried over into the sessions.”
Thom LaFond’s The Moon Leans In features a broad range of moods and styles, from stripped-down acoustic instrument-based songs to upbeat cuts, and even some early jazz and swing influences. Thom goes for a vocal-centered, conversational style, with Thom on electric guitar, vocals, synthesizer, piano and acoustic guitar, accompanied by Enion Pelta (6-string violin, backing vocals), Chris Duffy (5-string electric bass), Forrest Kelley (drums), Zea Stallings (backing vocals) and Katie Mintle (backing vocals). “To the Moon” and “So Busy in the Wild” showcase Thom and an acoustic swing quartet playing live in the studio, including Michelle Pietrafitta (drums), Octave’s Jeremy Mohney (alto sax), and John Heiland (acoustic bass).
“When I play acoustic guitar, I get more intricate with the arrangements, and when I’m on piano I tend to lean more towards a swing kind of improvised jamming feel,” said Thom. “Most record labels insist that you reign in your music to one ‘brand.’ Octave wasn’t interested in that, and encouraged us to experiment.” When asked how he came up with the album’s title, Thom noted, “On some nights, when the moon is close, it seems like it’s kind of coming in to listen. I like to play music for people, but sometimes I just like being alone, and playing music for the moon is something that feels good to me.”
Things Worth Remembering is the second album by pop/rock band Clandestine Amigo. The album finds singer/songwriter/pianist Jessica Carson, singer Giselle Collazo and the band stretching their musical and lyrical boundaries with the addition of vocalist Katie Mintle and an expanded ensemble sound. Carson notes, “when I’m writing, I usually start out with a feeling and try to find chords, music and lyrics that match that feeling. And people’s feelings and experiences are complex.”
Vocalist Katie Mintle adds a smooth, sultry element to Clandestine Amigo. “Her lead vocals really fit what the songs are trying to say,” said Carson. Mintle is featured on three tracks, “I Wish,” “Things Worth Remembering” and “Let It Be.” In addition to the core band of Jessica, Giselle, Michael Wooten (drums) and Kyle Donovan (acoustic and electric guitar), the record features guest appearances from Gabriel Mervine (trumpet), Bradley Morse (upright and electric bass), Tom Amend (organ, flute), Jonathan Sadler (vibraphone), Eben Grace (pedal steel) and Jay Elliott (tambourine).
Jessica recorded her piano parts on a Yamaha 7-1/2-foot concert grand piano. The album has a warm yet detailed, spacious, yet inviting sound that artfully combines her compelling songwriting with stunning audio quality.
All three albums are also available on gold SACD with a DSDDirect-mastered CD layer, and in a choice of download formats up to high-resolution 24-bit/352.8 kHz and DSD256.
Header image: Thom LaFond.