Holiday Hangout 2015 Tickets Available & Lineup Announced

IMG_64508751296426Start the countdown to December folks, because the Last Chance Records Holiday Hangout lineup has been announced and tickets are available. If you haven’t been before you should absolutely consider going: spend some time at the storied White Water Tavern in Little Rock with your favorite bands and some of the best friends you’ve never met. Tickets are available over at the LCR website, pick up a VIP weekend pass while you still can! And don’t forget to call the LaQuinta and get the special Holiday Hangout Rate for the weekend of December 5, 6, and 7!




Brent Best – Your Dog, Champ – Teaser Tracks


Something that’s been years in the making is finally happening. On August 7, 2105, Last Chance Records will release the Brent Best solo album: Your Dog, Champ. Two tracks are currently available for streaming on Brent’s site and they are fucking good! I personally couldn’t be more excited about this release and stoked for Last Chance Records to be putting it out. If those two tracks aren’t enough for you, here’s a video from Holiday Hangout 2013 to whet your appetite.


blue highways

For those of you that don’t know, JKutchma‘s new record, Blue Highways, is one 40 minute long track encompassing nine songs. It also cuts off abruptly at the end, in the middle of a chorus. All of this is by design, as you would expect from a canny veteran like Kutchma. I got the chance to talk to him about the record last week here in New Orleans, and immediately relayed the conversation to the Ninebullets writing staff before the Miller High Life washed it all away. With Jason’s permission, here’s the method behind the madness of Blue Highways:

First off, the length. The 40 minute run time of the record is designed to evoke the 40 minutes surrounding a sunrise or sunset, from the time the sky begins to change until it regains its uniformity. Much like myself, it seems, Kutchma endeavors to begin road trips before everything is fixed in place. Even if the actual rising or setting only takes 3 minutes, the change from day to night takes much longer, and that kind of transformation is what he wanted to capture.

Then there’s the single track nature of the album. Releasing the record as a single track is something Kutchma had been wrestling with since its conception. When he was debating whether or not to release the record in two versions (one 40 minutes long and one track, one divided into tracks), he heard a conversation on a music podcast he respects a lot. They were talking about an artist they’d seen at SXSW: this artist (Le Butcherettes) was so hard to find now, that to buy a record you couldn’t go to iTunes or Amazon…you had to actually go to their website. That was when Kutchma decided, in his own words, “Fuck everyone in the universe. I’m doing what I want.” If people think going to a website is so difficult, if they need art handed to them on a silver platter, they don’t deserve it.

Later, a blog asked him for individual tracks to promote the album. He weighed the idea of releasing singles, and asked his wife Beth (seen at the Holiday Hangout playing bass for Red Collar in pearls) about it. She told him, “If you want to do that just because it’s what’s done, then it’s not your artistic vision. You’re only doing it because it’s what people want, and that’s not who you are.” That sound advice settled the matter for him. If you like a song on this record, but don’t like it enough to open up garage band or audacity and select and save the track as a new mp3 yourself…you probably don’t like it as much as you think you do.

And that is the summation I can give you of my conversation with the indescribably cool JKutchma and his stellar wife Beth.

Ninebullets has a review of Blue Highways coming down the pipeline, but in the meantime you can pick it up in digital form from his Bandcamp, or nab a fancy version of the release from the Last Chance Records Store.


cover sundown

There are some artists that are just better acoustic, all by themselves, and you see this in the difference in their live shows and their albums. Now don’t get me wrong these guys are usually fucking amazing either way but the stripped down versions are more my taste. It’s pretty rare that you actually get to compare studio recordings and that’s just what Jason Kutchma has given us with Sundown, USA. He recorded this one with the Five Fifths and then went and did a solo version. Both are great because the real strength is in the songwriting but I prefer the solo version. This isn’t a slight against the full band, after all, Pastorals was a Goddamn religious experience and still in heavy rotation for me. This one just feels like it was meant to be what the solo version ended up being. Now had I only ever heard the Five Fifths version I would be damn glad I had it to put in my ears and I’d still be writing about it so don’t go thinking you don’t need both in your collection, because you do. (On his website the solo album is titled At The End Of Every Day I Make A Sunset while on Last Chance’s store it’s listed as Sundown, USA (Solo Version))

I guess the difference is that the tone of the solo album is more somber and the music feels like there’s a little less hope than on the Five Fifths version. Jason Jutchma appears to be a pretty easy going guy if you’ve caught him live or watched him on YouTube and maybe that’s because he exorcises his demons through his music and songwriting. It’s a bit of a puzzle seeing him smile while singing lines like:

I scratched and crawled I cried and bawled
I was shamed cause I believed
That somehow this, the way it is, ain’t how it’s supposed to be
How I love every one of my poor failed dreams

makes it seem like he’s pretty sure there’s something beyond the sadness he’s writing. And that’s the trick here, even on the darkest tracks there’s never really a sense of giving up or giving in. There’s always some hope in there and I get the feeling that Jason really believes it’s all gonna work out somehow. This theme ithe s there on Sundown, USA, it was there on Pastorals, and even on Red Collar’s Welcome Home. I think that’s what draws me to his work and won’t let me get the songs out of my head. For an album full of what amounts to sad songs I can’t help but feel better after having listened to it. I just can’t help it!

Some light downtown burning bright
And some dumb kid looks up to the sky
He says nothing’s gonna stand in my way

I was that kid and I still am some days. That’s part of why it’s a damn shame we haven’t talked more about Jason on here. Aside from thinking I can’t think of a single person I know that couldn’t relate to at least a couple of songs on any given album, his songwriting is damn good and the music is right at home with our usual themes. I’d say that every record I’ve mentioned here is Essential Listening. Which version of Sundown, USA ends up in heavy rotation for you is going to depend either on your taste or your mood just like it does for me but both ought to be in your collection. You listen and decide with version you like better…

Something Got In The Way
Something Got in the Way

I Believe Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
I Believe Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

I’ll Move No More
I’ll Move No More

Buy JKutchma’s music from Last Chance Records, follow him on Facebook, and drop by his official site.