At the Bottom of a Canyon in the Branches of a Tree

Steve Dawson

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Steve Dawson’s new solo album tells a powerful story of faith lost and artistry reborn. 
Fans of Dolly Varden, Funeral Bonsai Wedding and Dawson’s previous solo works will recognize the beautiful melodicism, brilliant craftsmanship and emotional depth expressed in the soulful balladry of “Hard Time Friend” and “Forgiveness Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be,” the folky reflections of “The Spaces In Between,” the sublime yearning of “Beautiful Mathematics” and the gentle dreamscape of “We Are Walking in a Forest,” a duet with Dolly Varden’s Diane Christiansen. This is material that couldn’t have been written at any other time in Dawson’s life—and it addresses life in the here and now. His songwriting continues to grow in depth and lyricism while his voice has never sounded more rich or resonant. The album’s twelve songs (plus two CD/digital bonus tracks) tie together the American musical influences that span his life: the late 60’s/early 70’s folk-rock of California, where he was born; the country music of Idaho, where he grew up; and the blues, gospel and soul of Chicago, where he has spent the bulk of his adult life. AT THE BOTTOM OF A CANYON IN THE BRANCHES OF A TREE revisits depths that many of us have experienced in recent years and takes us to heights to which we all aspire.

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The Hideout Sessions

Josh Caterer

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The Hideout Sessions stands as a powerful and highly listenable document of Smoking Popes frontman Josh Caterer stretching out with a new band of accomplished players for a one-night-only, live-to-tape recording. The album is being released by Pravda Records on 12” vinyl LP in gatefold sleeve, CD, as digital download and via streaming platforms on March 26.

On October 28th, 2020, Caterer joined forces with John San Juan (Hushdrops) and John Perrin (NRBQ) to rock out 21st century versions of songs your grandparents used to dance to “back in the day.” They covered a few Popes songs, too. It was an inspired evening of music.

The recording took place on stage at the Hideout, one of Chicago’s most beloved intimate music venues. Due to the pandemic, the Hideout’s doors had been closed to the public for several months, and the room had to be empty for this performance, save for the skeleton crew of sound engineers who captured the event. As Josh and his band recorded the album, the entire thing was live-streamed as a ticketed virtual concert.

The result was a high-quality rock show – raw, sweet, honest and cathartic. Harnessing the unique blend of punk energy and Sinatra-style sophistication that has made Caterer’s work with the Smoking Popes so enduring, The Hideout Sessions throws a surprising mix of musical ingredients into the power-pop blender, and what comes out is a truly satisfying and savory sonic experience.

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The Red Step

The Red Step

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The Red Step is the eponymous debut album from the powerful pairing of The Black Heart Procession’s Tobias Nathaniel with the cream of Belgrade’s Garage-Rock music scene. The Red Step is being released on colored marbled vinyl with a download card, for digital download and via streaming platforms by Chicago’s Pravda Records on December 11.

The Red Step’s first single “Black Summer” is the perfect introduction to the group’s dynamic mix of energetic garage rock, post punk gloom, and world-weary lyrics. Further singles to look out for this autumn are “Reset,” a call against stasis and a primal scream for vitality, “Before the Storm,” a slow burner with a bitter edge, and “For the Dead,” a haunting song of resignation and regret.

Assembled in 2015 in Serbia’s capital city, The Red Step is a formidable gathering of notable Belgrade music figures: keyboardist Boris Eftovski, bassist Rudolf Cibulski, and drummer Vladimir Markoski, all hailing from the longstanding Serbian garage rock band Kazna za uši. Londoner Sarah Jane Seatherton also joins The Red Step on cello, and Tobias handles vocals and guitar. In addition, Boris and Vladimir are current members of the Black Heart Procession lineup, and Vladimir has played drums with Andre Williams.

Beyond his work with The Black Heart Procession, Nathaniel has recorded with indie rock legends Blonde Redhead, and played piano on what became the “Evil Morty” theme on the hit TV show Rick and Morty. He has also played with Bauhaus bassist David J.

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Another World

The Flat Five

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Another World was produced by band member Scott Ligon and The Flat Five. It was recorded/engineered by Flat Five drummer Alex Hall at his popular Chicago studio, Reliable Recorders with some additional sessions done at Wilco’s gearhead paradise, The Loft, engineered by Mark Greenberg.

The charms of this band are manifest. These guys are all about vocal harmony — five hardcore vocal buzz junkies — and they share a vast range of influences from The Free Design to The Three Degrees to Captain Beefheart and a restless desire to explore a song from the inside out: to see just how far out it’ll go. This sophomore album showcases The Flat Five’s trademark keen musicianship and their slightly subversive sense of humor. It’s marked by the playful wide-eyed sweetness that colors all their music, tempered with their appreciation for how freaking good it feels to listen to a beautiful bummer on repeat sometimes. Like Charles Schultz said: “Happiness is a Sad Song.”

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Mind Control

Lab Partners

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The first album in 6 years from Dayton Ohio's space rock kings. Melody, guitars, beauty, and fierceness comes through heavily on this latest release.

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Moshi Moshi

Ryan and Pony

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Ryan is a workaholic multi-instrumentalist who has been playing lead guitar in Soul Asylum since 2016. Pony is a flamboyant performer and artist raised by deaf parents. Together they have made numerous albums and toured internationally leading The Melismatics. On Moshi Moshi they fuse Dream-Pop, post-Punk, Brit-rock, EDM, and good ol' fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll into a sound all their own; irony, weirdness, and melody are at its heart. Peter Anderson (The Ocean Blue, Run Westy Run, The Honeydogs) adds his killer drum skills to the mix.

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Drip a Drop

The Flat Five

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The feel-good first single from the upcoming full length from Chicago supergroup The Flat Five is out now!

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I'm So Happy You Called

Jason Batchko

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It was 1996. No one had a mobile phone. You had a phone in your apartment. A land line. And you had an answering machine, your most precious device. There were real live humans doing what they called telemarketing back then. Sometimes you'd get two or three calls in a single day. To an emerging phone pranks artist, this was precious raw material.

Recorded by Chicago drummer and songwriter Jason Batchko, these conversations have been making the rounds among phone prank connoisseurs, bootleg comedy fans, musicians in vans and hard-laughers everywhere for over 20 years. Just a man and his answering machine, trying to amuse, confuse and possess unsuspecting telemarketers, and creating a world of bizarre characters in the process: the kindly old woman who’s "just found out" she’s Jewish, The Shaolin Priest, Ms. Carton Boxx, the excitable weirdo with a poor grasp of the insurance industry, and Jonn ("jay-o-en-en!"). Telemarketers, they and many more were each so happy you called.

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Gospel Morning

The Chamber Strings

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The Chamber Strings was the brainchild of the late Kevin Junior who passed away in 2016 at the age of 46. Junior grew up in Akron, Ohio and moved to Chicago when he was 16. After stints in the Mystery Girls and the Rosehips, he collaborated with Epic Soundtracks and Nikki Sudden in England. When he returned to Chicago, he started the Chamber Strings. The Chicago-based band would cement his legacy as a striking and luminous talent. Junior was influenced by artists like Marc Bolan, Johnny Thunders, the Faces, and the Flamin' Groovies. Not nearly enough people got the chance to listen to the music Kevin Junior made during his short lifetime. Those that did will never forget what they heard. Considered a pop masterpiece in many circles, Gospel Morning was originally released in 1997. Pravda Records is proud to re-introduce this pop gem to the world on Vinyl, CD, and streaming platforms worldwide. Pre-order the LP or CD now and receive an instant download with three bonus tracks not on the LP or CD. Lp's and Cds will ship out June 29.

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