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LP $14.75


12XU 055-1 

***Gala is the first new album from JOEL RL PHELPS + THE DOWNER TRIO since 2004's Customs, a record praised by Pitchfork's Stephen M. Deunser for it's "darkly existential drama and gravity". On the Troy Glessner-recorded Gala, Joel, guitarist/bassist ROBERT MERCER & drummer WILLIAM HERZOG have returned with what might be their most powerful work to date. There are very few songwriters on this continent that can rival the former SILKWORM guitarist/vocalist Phelps, and his lyrical & instrumental prowess is as keen as ever, despite an extended stretch out of the public eye. Includes a download. (STREET DATE - 10/22/2013)  
"Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio’s fifth LP, GALA, is a post-punk record. GALA is also post-addiction and post-recovery record: It's been a full decade since the recording of Phelps' last lp, CUSTOMS; during this time we have seen Phelps' human and musical utilization rate at a very low level, only to find a recovery and return. GALA's mere completion is miraculous. GALA finds Phelps and the Downers at the very top of their game, again sounding unique within the world, a re-assertion of what a masterful musician -- a fucking badass -- can achieve when committed. I won't get into the addiction issues preceding the recording and providing much of the content of GALA, but Joel I'm sure would be more than happy to discuss them with you if you so wanted." 
"For those who don't know, Joel RL Phelps is from Billings, MT, and currently resides in Vancouver, BC. He came to be known by a moderately-sized but extremely fanatical group of fans throughout the world as a founder and member of the group Silkworm. Phelps left the group in 1994 (this is all detailed in the 2013 documentary film COULDN'T YOU WAIT? THE STORY OF SILKWORM) and started his own group, later to be known as The Downer Trio. The Downer Trio feature bassist Robert Mercer, currently fronting the Seattle band Zebra Hunt, and drummer William Herzog, a participant in the ensemble Sunn O))), Ensemble Pearl, upright bassist on the Rose Windows record, longtime member of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, and once a member Neko Case's band, et cetera. " 
"The three Downers have chemistry, or a resultant sound, that is distinct, at once relaxed and powerful: with articulated physicality, tension and space between the emitted sound. Phelps' voice is unique, assuring in some contexts, and a startling, irresistible force in others, as required. The music is strong." 
"The songs of GALA contain a point of view: observations collected during the decade of time, describing perspectives of courage and no courage, of hope and no hope, with a newfangled clarity and guts to present them. " 
--Timothy Cook, 20130911, Seattle, WA 

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