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***If “mission creep” refers to a long-haul fatigue cited with increasingly regularity in the present political moment, DAVID GRUBBS imagines “creep mission” to be a talismanic utterance in the effort to turn this ship around. Creep Mission is an album of instrumental compositions with Grubbs’s effortlessly recombinant electric guitar at its core, and its m.o. is to go both deep and wide. The album goes deep in the sense that the guitar becomes the relentless, meditative focus of these songs without words, and it goes wide in that these pieces utilize a discontinuous set of arrangements that make the most out of an extraordinary group of musicians convened for the mission at hand. Drummer and most simpatico sparring partner ELi KESZLER picks up where his brilliant contributions to Grubbs’s 2016 Prismrose left off; trumpeter NATE WOOLEY defies you to identify his range of sounds as coming from a single player; and JAN ST. WERNER (MOUSE ON MARS, LITHOPS) can hardly contain his joy in transforming the proceedings into electro-prismatic splinters. For his part, Grubbs’s guitar playing has never before so confidently mangled commonsensical distinctions between composed and improvised music. (STREET DATE - 9/22/2017)

LP $19.75

09/22/2017 781484702917 


CD $13.75

09/22/2017 781484702924 

BC 29 CD 

***Prismrose is a nearly wordless collection of six pieces for electric guitar, all given real time to breathe, grow unpredictably, mutate. It’s an album—an of-a-piece, start-to-finish listen—that documents what an electric guitar sounds like in DAVID GRUBBS hands now that we’ve stumbled into the year 2016. Prismrose comes to us—comes at us—from a stellar run of expansive, hands-thinking hands-puzzling guitar music that began with the stylistic pivot of Grubbs’s solo records An Optimist Notes the Dusk and The Plain Where the Palace Stood and the two recent albums from the trio BELFI / GRUBBS / PILLA. Prismrose begins with “How to Hear What’s Less than Meets the Ear,” an eleven-minute duo written for Tony Conrad’s 75th birthday bash with Grubbs on chiming, tolling Telecaster and wunderkind percussionist and composer ELI KEZLER on backwards-somersaulting drums. Keszler makes his presence known on three of the album’s tracks. The years reel with an errand into the 14th century for “Cheery Eh,” an arrangement of Guillaume de Machaut, and a brief stop in the 19th century with a setting of Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”—there are your words, unimpeachable ones—by RICK MOODY, originally recorded by the Wingdale Community Singers. Side two is unambiguously set in the present moment, and this suite of three instrumentals sails off the edge of the world with the breezy, eminently whistleable anthem “The Bonsai Waterfall.” (STREET DATE - 5/13/2016)

LP $19.75

05/13/2016 781484702818 


CD $13.75

05/13/2016 781484702825 

BC 28 CD 

Borough Of Broken Umbrellas by Grubbs, David

Grubbs, David

Borough Of Broken Umbrellas
Blue Chopsticks

***Strange to say, but Borough of Broken Umbrellas is DAVID GRUBBS’ first record of solo guitar improvisations. From his time in GASTR DEL SOL forward, Grubbs has frequently cast himself in the role of the composer/songwriter working with improvisers—witness his collaborations with Jim O’Rourke, Mats Gustafsson, Noël Akchoté, Loren Connors, Ken Vandermark, and many others. Borough of Broken Umbrellas emerges from a period in which Grubbs has been particularly focused on writing music. 2013 saw the release of The Plain Where the Palace Stood (Drag City), his first solo album in five years, as well as the completion of a forthcoming second album by the trio Belfi / Grubbs / Pilia and a new full-length collaboration with Susan Howe. Borough of Broken Umbrellas is a profoundly unhurried probing (sometimes worrying, like a tongue and a tooth) of a handful of gorgeously spare themes. The last time that David sat down and slowly unspooled a scroll of ideas and gestures in this fashion was his first solo record—a record of solos—the 1997 Banana Cabbage, Potato Lettuce, Onion Orange (Table of the Elements). Where Banana Cabbage was comprised of three solos on three instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Borough of Broken Umbrellas divides its sides between two long (c. 12’) tracks for electric guitar and nylon-string guitar. Comparisons are unnecessary and perhaps misleading. On the surface, the Guitar Roberts (Loren Connors’ former nom-de-guitar) albums on St. Joan? Tetuzi Akiyama in his more lyrical mode? Jozef van Wissem’s mirror-image melodies for lute?...

10" $19.75

12/17/2013 781484702412 


Plain Where The Palace Stood by Grubbs, David

Grubbs, David

Plain Where The Palace Stood
Drag City

***Drag City drops the sixth and latest DAVID GRUBBS pop album, The Plain Where the Palace Stood, which finds David once again twining together the diverse strands of his vast interests. Working with ANDREA BELFI (drums, electronics) and STEFANO PILIA (guitar) creates a sympathetic groupthink that David expects more and greater from in the years to come. The welcome return of his distinctive overdriven guitar tone is a highlight of the record. And C. SPENCER YEH (BURNING STAR CORE) plays some absolutely apeshit violin on two tracks. As in the days of GASTR DEL SOL songs float in idiosyncratic, exceptionally unhurried arrangements. The Plain Where the Palace Stood features vocals on just four of the eleven tracks, yet the album as whole flows—breathes—effortlessly alongside the most acclaimed releases of his extended catalog, not to mention those of his contemporaries and kindred artists—Oren Ambarchi, Scott Walker, Talk Talk, and Sunn O))). (STREET DATE - 4/16/2013)

LP $21.50

04/16/2013 781484055112 


CD $13.75

04/16/2013 781484055129 

DC 551 CD 

A Guess At The Riddle by Grubbs, David

Grubbs, David

A Guess At The Riddle
Drag City

***The latest solo album from GASTR DEL SOL member and Blue Chopsticks label chief, DAVID GRUBBS, and his first song-oriented album since 2002's Rickets & Scurvy. Twelve masterful tracks—including a cover of Mayo Thompson's "Magnificence As Such"—that at times blend acoustic instrumentation with electronics, and at others go full tilt with a strong backing band. Includes guest contributions from NIKO VELIOTIS, MATMOS, ADAM PIERCE, THOMAS BELHOM, and RICK MOODY (who also wrote lyrics for two of the songs).

CD $13.75

06/29/2004 781484026624 

DC 266 CD 

Rickets & Scurvy by Grubbs, David

Grubbs, David

Rickets & Scurvy
Drag City

***The follow-up to 2000's The Spectrum Between album from GASTR DEL SOL member and Blue Chopsticks label chief, DAVID GRUBBS. Ten songs that rock harder than any of his previous efforts, featuring backing from JOHN McENTIRE, MATMOS, NOEL AKCHOTE, DAN BROWN, and NICOLAS VERNES, and lyrical collaborations from RICK MOODY, author of The Ice Storm and Demonology.

CD $13.75

06/04/2002 781484022428 

DC 224 CD 

Coxcomb / Avocado Orange by Grubbs, David

Grubbs, David

Coxcomb / Avocado Orange
Blue Chopsticks

***A companion piece to The Thicket album, and a musical adaptation of STEPHEN CRANE's short story The Blue Hotel from the adventurous and multi-talented mind of guitar plucker DAVID GRUBBS. A seventeen-minute morität (the label's word, not ours) scored for three voices: The Narrator (STPEHEN PRINA), The Swede (GRUBBS), and The Cowboy (SASHA ANDRES). Features music performed by Grubbs, cellist DIDIER PETIT, trombonists YVES ROBERT & THIERRY MADIOT, and saxman QUENTIN ROLLET. Included on this disc is a reworking of Grubbs' solo piece "Onion Orange" featuring Rollet, NOEL AKCHOTE, JOHN McENTIRE, and DAN BROWN.

CD $11.25

12/19/2000 781484700524 

BC 5 CD 

***David Grubbs steps from the twisted pile of broken guitar strings that was GASTR DEL SOL and ventures out with his first solo pop LP following his highly successful Banana Cabbage... instrumental album. Colorful and inventive arrangements in the style of masters like Van Dyke Parks, Harry Nilsson, Tim Buckley, etc., with group help from folks like John McEntire, Josh Abrams, Jeb Bishop, Tony Conrad and others.

LP $17.75

09/28/1998 784184016014 


CD $13.75

09/28/1998 781484016021 

DC 160