Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recommended Pairings for the Bill Mallonee "Selling the Decade" Deal

Bill Mallonee has recorded a ton of music, and it's all good. His output has only increased (in volume and quality) since he married, went solo (from former band Vigilantes of Love), and moved from Athens, GA.

To celebrate, Bill is hosting a "Selling the Decade" deal at his Bandcamp site. It's a BOGO deal on downloads; a chance to dive in or clean up when it comes to your Bill Mallonee album collection. Here are my recommendations for making the most of the sale.

Package #1: The Latest & Greatest

Bill's last two albums, both recorded in the high desert of New Mexico, have garnered some of the best reviews of his 25+ year career. The desert figures prominently as a character and as a backdrop. These are great folk albums, built on nuanced instrumentation and first-person, narrative lyrics.

Grab Lands & Peoples for $10.99, get Winnowing free.

Package #2: The "VOL" Reunion Albums

Shortly after moving to New Mexico, Bill & Muriah routed back east a bit to record in a studio in Indiana. Three albums total came out of these sessions. For the most part, these records provide the definitive versions of previously released WPA tracks. Oh, and they rock. The closest thing to an old VOL album since 2001, both The Power & The Glory and Amber Waves feature Kevin Heuer on drums, while the latter also benefits from the bass playing of Jake Bradley.

Download Amber Waves for $12, get The Power & The Glory free.

Or, if you want to grab something that never made it to hard copy, go with Beatitude for $8.99, get Hymns for the New Idolatry free.

Package #3: The Live Set

Bill's art has always thrived in the live setting. Concerts are getting scarcer these days, but some fine live documents have released over the last decade. The most recent, official entries highlight the strengths of Bill & Muriah as a duo, plus a few surprises. A few tracks overlap between the two albums, but that's just what a devoted bootlegger wants to hear--enjoy the differences a few years and a few thousand miles can make to a song's performance.

Purchase Town Hall for $7.99, get Songs of Heartland and Grieving free.

Package #4: The Best of the Works (in) Progress Adminstration

Shortly after the Billtunes subscription service ended, Bill started releasing EPs of demos. The early entries in the WPA series offered a glimpse into Bill's learning curve with home recording; from Cabin Songs on, the series was a way to get great, new material out to the public ASAP, sans a budget for the usual studio albums. The best of these EPs have been culled for full-length, fully-produced albums, but the EPs themselves hold up on their own merit.

Download Ghost Waltz for $7.99, get Hardscrabble Dreams free.

Alternatively: Get any and every studio album/EP/live album/collection you don't already have. Purchase early & often!

*The sale lasts from August 5 to August 8. Simply checkout with one of the albums from your desired pairing, and include a message to Bill with the name of the free album you'd like to pair. You'll receive a download code by email within 24hrs or so.