“That Upstream Sound” of Old Bear Records (Batavia, NY) is less about one unifying genre and more about shared passion and values. The belief in honesty, community and creativity drives their vision and has resulted in increasingly eclectic releases spanning and blending the Gospel, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and Avant Garde genres. But once the honesty has been caught on tape, the commitment to live out their often faith based and socially conscious message keeps this tribe of artists moving forward.
In addition to Old Bear’s recording studio and stable of artists, the collective has begun reissuing some deserving albums that have influenced its founders over the years. This year, Old Bear Reissue will be partnering with Light In The Attic Records and Distribution to release classic LPs from The All Saved Freak Band, The Trees Community, Twin Sister, and All the Bright Lights. With many more to follow!
The Trees Community was a 1970’s Episcopal religious order that created and performed original world music on over eighty instruments. They were first a group of searching young people exploring many faiths and cultures. By the beginning of 1971, they became a Christian community that explored new music as a form of communion and worship.
Later that spring, the group’s five women, six men, 2 cats, and small dog became nomads, living on a scripture coated bus. They called life on the road “a pilgrimage without a destination” though eventually the group shared their musical worship on organized church tours through the US and Canada.
The Trees’s musical meditation called The Christ Tree showcases the band’s style as both experimental and experiential. Ethereal voices and complex avant-garde arrangements of ancient sounding folk music are the hallmark of the Trees Community sound.
For years, only one published recording of their music has existed: The 1975’s The Christ Tree vinyl record. Over the decades this recording has garnered a ton of indie credibility, being referred to as an influence of the Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. The original vinyl pressings of The Christ Tree are rare and are purchased by collectors for hundreds of dollars.
In 2004, music engineer Timothy Renner of Dark Holler Arts digitally remastered the album from the original studio tapes and salvaged other Trees recordings, and with the official blessing of the Trees’ surviving members, released the music onto Compact Disk.
A new vinyl recording, however, although discussed at the time, wasn’t made. This past year, in 2020 (50 years after The Trees’ inception) we at Old Bear Records received the rights to the digital remastered The Christ Tree and can not wait to release this double vinyl LP to you through Old Bear Reissued!”
Old Bear reissued is excited to announce that we will be reissuing the self titled debut album by atmospheric instrumental rock band, All The Bright Lights on vinyl to commemorate the ten year anniversary of its original release. All The Bright Lights was a North Carolina based trio that quickly made a name for themselves with alt rock and indie fans due to their unique brand of melodic swirling guitars, brooding arrangements, sonic patchwork, and a masterful approach to writing and performing instrumental music that cuts right to the heart. Members James Duke, Jon Duke, and Jacob Arnold’s musical chemistry is still ear candy for the music lover and we simply couldn’t be more excited to add this release to our growing instrumental Old Bear catalog. All the Bright Lights’ debut album will be a delight for fans of the Cure, the Smiths, Radiohead, Swervedriver, and Arcade Fire. Grab your copy today!
What happens when you mix the experimental production of Old Bear Records producer, Chris Hoisington with the Old Bear Session Squad and an award winning science fiction author? You get Welcome Up by Paul Levinson, that’s what! We can honestly say, we’ve never done a project like this and we are really proud of the results of this artistic collaboration with Paul!
Chris Hoisington knew of Paul from his 1972 album release Twice Upon A Rhyme that has since been reissued four times (once in Japan and once in South Korea!) Chris felt that Old Bear could make a great album with Paul that combined Paul’s penchant for all things science fiction with Paul’s natural musical bents towards sunshine-pop and psychedelic folk-rock. We believe Chris was right!
Welcome Up: Songs of Space and Time is a collection of eight songs that beam you up into a creative galaxy where you take on the persona of an astronaut exploring sonic spaces that at times are reminiscent of The Beach Boys on tracks like “Welcome Up” and “Tau Ceti,” and at other times can feel like the MC5 being shot out of a ray gun on tracks like “Samantha.“ Some of the songs were directly inspired by Paul’s novels. “Alpha Centauri” was written at the same time as Borrowed Tides (2000), which is about the first starship to Alpha Centauri. “If I Traveled to the Past” explores the paradoxes of time travel which Paul has taken up in many of his stories and novels, especially The Plot to Save Socrates (2006). The difficulty of love across alternate realities in “Samantha” is the theme of many of Paul’s short stories, including The Other Car (2015). Paul’s stories and novels become more complete with his songs and vice versa.
Pre Order the Vinyl here…
Bob Gebelein- Uncle Bobby’s Record
‘Uncle Bobby’s Record’ is a private press gem from folk artist Bob Gebelien. Put this record on the turntable and you’ll be transported to a Greenwich village coffee house in the era of Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan. As Bob was working on the album, his neices began referring to it as ‘Uncle Bobby’s Record’ and thus it received its title.
While the sound is endearing in its stripped down approach, deeper listening to his societal commentary on a song like ‘Civilized Blues’ reveals a surprisingly punk kind of edge. Uncle Bobby is to be taken more seriously than you thought when initially hearing his quaint folky strumming. Uncle Bobby doesn’t care what you think, he’s just being himself.
Discussions with Colombia Records never panned out for Bob, but listening to this album it isn’t difficult to imagine a parallel universe in which he ended up on the 60’s folk Mount Rushmore.
Order you copy today!
Soulfood 76 – Original Soundtrack
In the mid 1990’s the Seattle based band Soulfood 76 was one of the most eclectic and forward thinking bands in the alt-christian underground. Their bold experimental guitars, in-your-face rhythm section, and vulnerably idiosyncratic lead vocals garnered them a dedicated indie following.
Modern ears hearing the psychadelic power funk sound of SF76’s 1996 release ‘Original Soundtrack’ for the first time will be pleasantly surprised at how well this album coexists sonically alongside bands like The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, and The Black Keys. It’s difficult to pin them down on one particular sound, however. Dial up the racous fuzzed-out bass line on ‘Zebra 3’ followed by the the falsetto chill track ‘Huggy Bear’, or the tender faux closing track ‘Purple’ and you’ll see that this band has a lot of influences and the versatility to pull off a lot.
At Old Bear Reissued we are pleased to be releasing ‘Original Soundtrack’ for the first ever time on vinyl in our gorgeous special edition packaging. Whether you’ve been a fan since seeing them at a festival 25 years ago or you’ve just heard of them today, we think this album will blow you away and is a must-have for your vinyl collection!
Pre Order you copy today!
Twin Sister – Twin Sister LP
Old Bear Reissued is set to release its second LP reissue of 2019. This release comes from Portland, Oregon based Star Wars Tribute band – Twin Sister! Their 9 song album that was originally released in 1996 is somewhat of a cult classic and one of Old Bear Reissued president, Anthony Hoisington’s favorite albums ever. When OBR approached lead vocalist Todd Fadel about sharing the story of Twin Sister’s origins; and the road that led them to record their self titled album, we were so taken and amused that we felt the story of Twin Sister is best told by the band leader himself. So check out the hilarious history of Twin Sister below and go get your pre-orders in for the vinyl LP in through Light in the Attic distribution starting Saturday, May 4th! Today!! Be forewarned about this LP, “the force is strong with this one!”
“Place and time: Southeast Portland, OR – 1994
After a routine band rehearsal, the members of Sometime Sunday start goofing around with funk-rock riffs with the drummer switching to guitar and the singer to drums. I (Todd) was sitting in and was encouraged to get on the microphone and make something up. I started singing catchy melodies to actual spoken lines that I could remember from Star Wars movies (ep. IV-VI). The bassist asked me what I was saying, and I told him. He was so excited and suggested we do that for a whole project and dress up for the concerts. We all wholeheartedly agreed that the idea was, indeed, a righteous one!
Originally, we thought Boba Phett was a funny name for us and we performed under that name for at least a year. When we played the inaugural TOM Festival in Stevenson, WA in 1995, the buzz was so intense that a label friend decided to “sign us”. Without any real experience in copyright law, I made a fateful phone call to Lucasfilm. I spoke with someone about what Lucasfilm would do if a rag-tag group of 20-somethings used a character name for their band name. Their answer – we would definitely pursue legal action against them. That scared our label friend enough to urge us to change our name to something more cryptic. The Skywalker twins are the heart and soul of the earliest-released Star Wars films (SPOILERS), and there’s a great line Vader speaks in Return of the Jedi where he says “Soooooo, you have a TWIN SISTER.” So, we grabbed it. Fast forward 6 years and the official fan club magazine, Star Wars Insider, does a full spread about bands based on Star Wars. Guess how many used character names in their band names? All but us.
Sometime Sunday’s singer had been coordinating recordings for his musical projects for a few years and it was easy for him to talk to folks in Portland about getting time in a studio for a low cost. Northstar had been a regular help in that scene, and Andy Prickett (guitarist for The Prayer Chain) expressed enthusiasm about helping engineer a record. So after about a year of performing the songs for our adoring public (really, they did), we decided to spend a day laying it all down on a recording. The process took only 16 hours – from setup to mixing a final master onto DAT.
People had asked us if we were going to release anything, and I guess we were having so much fun performing – we hadn’t really given it much thought. Plus, for us, it was a joke band, in that, we took it less seriously than our other projects. The album itself is more of a chronicling of what we sounded like that day. We had concerts were we sounded 10x better – we did the whole thing in – pretty much – one take. But now that I’m writing this – if that was true, why did it take 16 hours? Huh…. Anyway, the album originally was only meant to give our fans something to have. The songwriting still stands up as great funk rock ala Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine – if some weird singer fronted them, that is.
Fast forward to 2019 via light speed! Old Bear expressed interest in pressing the album on VINYL?!?! I was so grateful. I just hope new fans get a chance to get excited about these songs, and old fans enjoy playing it on those new-fangled turntables they’re coming out with now! Mp3’s are so 80’s!
The band-members are sort of all over the place, and we haven’t performed together since 2001. When we did perform, it was a bit tricky to round up costumes. I was Darth, Chewie was on drums (we were the first to think of that!), Yoda and a Tusken Raider on guitars, and, of course – a Stormtrooper on bass guitar. You wouldn’t believe it, but back then you couldn’t just get Star Wars outfits at a Target like you can now. We had to rent these gross ratty costumes from a costume shop, which was expensive for us. So, sometimes we’d get asked to perform and just show up wearing ponchos with name-tags that said “Hello – My Name Is Darth” and whatnot. I know most folks loved it the best when we donned the outfits, but one – we aren’t interested in any Empirical entanglements (looking at you, Disney), and two – that helmet gets dang hot when you’re dancing around like a raging Sith Lord!!
If people want us to come and do our thing in their city, it would take some coaxing, but we’d probably be into it. But before you send that request – ask yourself, we’re all approaching 50, do you really want to expose yourself to that level of scum and villainy?” ~ Todd Fadel
So there you have it! Get Twin Sister’s self titled LP on vinyl today!
The All Saved Freak Band – Brainwashed LP