• charles douglas Statecraft - Expanded Edition (double CD, £9.50)

    label: Broken Horse

    Fifteen years ago, Charles Douglas wandered out of a Manhattan recording studio where he was putting the finishing touches on what was to become his final album, Statecraft. Featuring Joey Santiago of the Pixies on lead guitars, and recorded by Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. producer Wharton Tiers, the album was intended as a huge step forward for this iconoclastic indie rocker, who had started his recording career when he was a teenager in Dayton, Ohio. His previous studio album, The Lives of Charles Douglas, had been a raw Ramones-meets-VU-meets-Jonathan Richman blast of energy, featuring Maureen Tucker on drums and production, recorded mostly live in the studio. Statecraft was meant as a much more fleshed-out affair, featuring offbeat horns and strings alongside the guitar assault of Douglas and Santiago's unmistakable signature sound. Upon its initial release, Statecraft would go on to gather praise from the likes of David Bowie (who sent a fan letter) and John Waters—as well as rave reviews in music magazines in the US and UK. "David Bowie's letter arrived in a large white envelope that looked like some sort of bizarre wedding invitation. My girlfriend got it from the mailbox. To my surprise, when we opened it, there was a letter from Bowie inside saying that he loved Statecraft, and that I must keep up the good work, and make more music for him to enjoy." (from the Statecraft: Expanded sleeve notes) Statecraft brims with skewed, gritty pop tunes like "Free at Last," "Blues for Catalina," "Ancient Mysteries" and "Splitting the Atom," and it suggests that Charles Douglas was at the culmination of his demented artistic powers. But unfortunately, Douglas didn't see it that way. Unhappy with the album's protracted recording process, and concerned about relapsing into the substance abuse which had left him briefly homeless a few years earlier, he left New York City and abandoned the sessions. When he walked out of the studio in 2002, he never returned. Instead, he sold and gave away all his instruments and moved to North Carolina and quit music forever, turning down a major label record deal in the process. Wharton Tiers ended up mixing and sequencing sixteen of the songs, and overseeing the initial release of Statecraft in 2004 on a subsidiary of Virgin Records. Despite the initial burst of acclaim, the album quickly drifted into obscurity. But luckily, the story doesn't end there… After Broken Horse reissued The Lives of Charles Douglas in 2010, as well as a two-CD retrospective of Charles Douglas's late-90's home recordings called Not Your Kind of Music, we learned that Douglas had actually recorded over thirty-five songs in the studio for Statecraft, and initially planned to make a double album. Many of the songs that were recorded and discarded are hidden gems: from the buzzing Pavement-esque pop of "The Paradox" to the stripped-down rock of "Among the Boys & Girls" to the giddy weirdness of "One Day Old." Broken Horse's Statecraft: Expanded reissue now presents Charles Douglas's original vision by collecting all of the studio tracks from the sessions on two CDs—adding nineteen rare and unreleased songs to the sixteen original tracks. The reissue also includes an extensive 28-page booklet of liner notes written by Charles Douglas himself, detailing his misadventures making Statecraft, which serve as a brilliant snapshot of life and music in NYC in the early 00's. According to Douglas, who has not recorded any music in the fifteen years since Statecraft, he is delighted to be "unknown but still alive." We hope to change the "unknown" part of that equation with Statecraft: Expanded, and introduce his genius to a brand new audience who missed out on him the first time around. CD 1 1.Free at Last 2.Crackerjack 3.Ancient Mysteries 4.Blues For Catalina 6. The Island 7. Splitting The Atom 8. I Don’t Care 9. Close To Me 10. Revelation in Chapel Hill 11. The Day of Creation 12. Statecraft 13. Take it off 14. Game Over 15. Chan 16. The Rabbit Never Gets The Carrot, Part 2 / CD 2 1 The Paradox 2 She’s An Angel 3 The Great Escape 4 Among The Boys & Girls 5 Julie 6 Bombay Avenue 7 One Day Old 8 Happier Now 9 Canyons on Fire 10 Brand New Flavor 11 Salt 12 Outside In 13 Rest Assured 14 The End of Today 15 Bone Machine 16 Cocaine Christmas 17 The Lost Domain 18 Blues For Catalina (Demo) 19 I Like To Drink And Take Pills

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