LITA Update: Rodriguez at Bowery, Doug Randle, Serge Gainsbourg Reissues

Rodriguez - Cold Fact

Last year Seattle’s archive specialists, Light In The Attic Records, released Cold Fact, the long out of print debut album by 60’s cult icon Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, (otherwise known as Rodriguez). Aside from it being meticulously reissued in a gorgeous package with expanded liner notes and a deluxe digipak, Cold Fact was a real musical discovery for me and one of my favorite “new” records of 2008. Since the re-release of Cold Fact, Rodriguez has played a few live shows here and there, including his first ever NYC appearance in September of 2008 at Joe’s Pub. If you weren’t lucky enough to be at that show (I was), the good news is that the “Sugar Man” is coming back to New York and playing for a real crowd this time at the Bowery Ballroom on May 15, 2009. Tickets for that show go on sale February 27, so don’t miss it, who knows when he’ll be back.

In other LITA news, the label just put out another long lost record by Canada’s Doug Randle, called Songs For The New Industrial State. Randle’s album “successfully merges swinging sunshine pop and atmospheric orchestrations with a groovy backbeat performed by the cream of Toronto’s heralded studio scene.” When I first heard the track “Coloured Plastics“, I was instantly transported back to 70’s CBC Radio, but once I started listening to the album a little more, it actually reminded me a lot of The Doors album, The Soft Parade (minus Morrison’s distinctive vocal style). In addition to The Doors, the album also brought back memories of The Beach Boys, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, and Curtis Mayfield (Randle himself referred to his efforts as a bunch of “bitter and twisted Simon & Garfunkel songs”).

Doug Randle Serge Gainsbourg

Histoire de Melody Nelson was released in 1971. This concept album, produced and arranged by Jean-Claude Vannier, tells the story of a Lolita-esque affair, with Gainsbourg as the narrator and Jane Birkin as the eponymous English heroine. It features prominent string arrangements and even a massed choir at its tragic climax. The album has proven influential with artists such as Air, David Holmes, Jarvis Cocker, Beck and Dan the Automator. [Wikipedia]

As you might have guessed from the above quote, LITA is about to reissue Serge Gainsbourg‘s Histoire De Melody Nelson with its usual Cadillac treatment. The new version of Nelson (available for the first time on US CD) includes a 40 page deluxe booklet containing all the original album art, complete song lyrics, a detailed story on the making of the album, and a 1971 Q&A Interview with Serge. Though I’m not really that familiar with Gainsbourg’s output, according to the LITA press materials, “Nelson is often cited as Gainsbourg’s master work…” Serge fans can preorder the record now over here, the album will be officially released on March 24, 2009.

A few more Rodriguez tour dates after the jump.

Rodriguez 2009 Tour Dates
05/14/09 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA
05/15/09 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
06/27/09 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA