By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Maybe our memory is failing us a little bit, but we'd swear Lift to Experience started working on its debut, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, more than three years ago. However many years it took, it was long enough for the band to completely record and scrap one version of Crossroads and more than enough time for the group to attract the attention of one U.K.-based label (Bella Union) and five important fans (the members of Radiohead). They even had time to secure a lucrative publishing deal, which, if the figures we heard are accurate, is enough scratch to keep Josh Pearson, Andy Young and Josh Browning supplied with black T-shirts and Lone Star State souvenirs for the next decade or two, with plenty left over.
For the last several months, it's seemed as though the album--a double album, actually--has been on the verge of release every other week, especially after the group signed with Bella Union, the label run by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde. (Guthrie and Raymonde were both in the Cocteau Twins, but they don't like that fact overshadowing Bella Union or any of the bands on the label. So forget we said anything.) Of course, when your record label is U.K.-based, deadlines and release dates can be a little dodgy, if not completely unreliable. Same goes for American labels, too, but, hey, if we can muster a little jingoistic fervor every now and then, it makes us sleep better at night.
The point of all of this is Bella Union has finally issued The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads overseas, though for now, Lift to Experience is without a domestic label. If you're thinking that means expensive import prices, well, you're right. But don't go special-ordering the double-disc set just yet. The band spent some time in Europe recently, and now that at least a couple of them are back in the States, you can pick up a copy of the album, and without paying double; try Good Records in Dallas or Johnny Law Records in Denton. There's not a whole lot of them to go around, so you better hustle. That's just a good rule of thumb, anyway...
Lift to Experience isn't the only local group with a new record in stores, or one headed there soon. The Polyphonic Spree's debut, Beginning Stages of..., is available now--we'd assume the best place, and maybe only place, to go is Good Records--and the group has also been selling it at some of its more recent gigs. (If you want to save yourself a trip, go see the band June 2 at the Ridglea Theater, where you can pick up a copy of the disc, and from what we've been told, be a guest at the wedding set to take place onstage before it plays.) From the rumors we've heard, Beginning Stages of... might be the only disc the band will have to put out on its own. Apparently, V2 Records, the home of Polyphonic pals Grandaddy, is interested in signing the two-dozen-strong group to the label. But who knows? There's so many people in the band itself, we'd be surprised if a bit of information was able to make the rounds without coming out completely false on the other end.
Also in the pipeline is [DARYL]'s first full-length, The Technology, which should be released later this summer on Washington, D.C.-based Beatville Records. Beatville, for those who don't follow such things, not only put out last year's fantastic album by the pAper chAse (Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know) but is also set to issue the forthcoming disc by Lucy Loves Schroeder. [DARYL] guitarist Dave Wilson gave us a copy of The Technology, and from what we've heard of it, everyone needs to pick up two when it hits the streets. And speaking of the pAper chAse, its new EP (ctrl-alt-del-u, on Divot Records) should be available at live shows in the very near future and in record stores shortly after that. If you want it on vinyl, however, Quality Park Records won't have those ready until late July. Trust us, July isn't that far off; it's going to be OK.
Of course, we couldn't mention upcoming releases without including Centro-matic, since it always has something ready to go, whether you like it or not. The boys have shown remarkable restraint this time around, holding off on releasing the upcoming Distance and Clime until late summer, though the record has been finished for quite a while. In the meantime, you can get your fill of Centro-matic and Will Johnson at live shows this week; Johnson will play a set, along with solo outings by The Foxymorons' Jerry James and Slobberbone's Brent Best, at Dan's Bar on May 24, and the entire band will join him for a gig at Gypsy Tea Room on May 27.
The last disc we've heard of recently may not come out this summer, and for all we know, it may not come out at all. Legendary Crystal Chandelier has hinted (at least one of its members has) at releasing an EP made up of new versions of some of the songs on their two albums, 1998's Love or the Decimal Equivalent and this year's Beyond Indifference. The proposed disc would include, among others, the rock version of "Pictures" they've been performing recently. Again, this might never happen, so don't get your hopes up too high. And don't blame us. For anything. Ever...