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Artist: RANGERS
Title: Pan Am Stories
Format: Double LP
Label: Not Not Fun
Country: USA
Price: $30.00
"Tape-warped phantom band Rangers finally unleash the lush, soaring, expansive prog-pop opus we always knew was floating inside the fretboard (and imagination) of multi-instrumentalist mystery maestro Joe Knight. The north Dallas-raised, San Fran-residing head Ranger grew up taking classical guitar lessons from a dude who claimed to have toured with the Dead, and some of that brain-wonked jam agenda obviously seeped into the young Knight, who began recording his own loose, lo-fi jangle sprawls in 2005. But whereas last years critically lauded Suburban Tours LP found him condensing his cassette-crushed alien pop into 3 minute radio nuggets, Pan Am Stories uses the reverse strategy, letting each blurry strum pattern coast away and ride the breeze a bit before steering it into a fresh counter-melody or flanged-out guitar comedown. The extra breath and space gives the 13 songs a real sense of freedom and lightness and flight, layered in gentle blankets of fuzz, silky reverb, and audio collage riddles. A total saga, and a summit achievement of next-level invention for Knight as a musician (its insane he played/recorded every instrument on this thing!) and artist. Have been soaking in these tracks non-stop since we first heard em this summer and are thrilled to get to share Stories with the world. Black vinyl LPs (mastered by Carl Saff, who worked on Suburban Tours too) in gatefold jackets with micro-detailed collage art by Mr. Rangers himself; interior artwork by Knight and Anthony Yuen. Edition of 850." - Not Not Fun.

Artist: RANGERS
Title: Suburban Tours
Format: LP
Label: Olde English Spelling Bee
Country: USA
Price: $16.00
"Rangers is Joe Knight. "Suburban Tours" is his debut vinyl release after a string of popular cassette albums last year - including "Low Cut Fades" on Not Not Fun. His sound has been referred to out in blogland as "elevator psyche" and "mirrorball funknagogic pop" - and thats not a bad start considering his music is often bass-driven with washes of synth and prog-psych guitar riding over the top. Unlike the extended side-long collages of his cassette releases, "Suburban Tours" is a collection of eleven concise "pop" songs that were written and recorded after moving to San Francisco from his native Texas. Not knowing anyone in this new locale, he describes the period after the move as being extremely lonely and plagued with near-constant rainfall. So he holed up and focused his attentions on recording a batch of songs that reflected on his suburban upbringing outside of Dallas and what he calls the "failed connections with nature" that exist in these suburban zones (fake lighting, cranked-up air conditioning, golf courses, and gated "communities" where everyone keeps to themselves). But despite the loneliness and melancholic themes there is a remarkable amount of color to his music. Like its the sound of what hed want to have playing on his headphones while riding a bike thru these neighborhoods -- the sound necessary to make these places seem lively and fun. Music blog Visitation Rites hits the nail on the head when saying "his music reflects a parallel fixation with the tape reel as a cutting board for the psychic trappings of middle class American youth."  Rangers is drawing from an entirely different set of musical influences than the rest of his peers - combining a passion for Manchesters Northern Soul sound with early 80s rock radio staples like Rush and The Police and the 70s prog-fusion of Weather Report. Plus hes got the chops to pull off this unlikely union -- in fact the cutting engineer for "Suburban Tours" was utterly baffled and commented that it sounded to him like a lost Steely Dan session recorded onto a mangled microcassette tape. Thats a good thing, right? Full color pro-printed covers and insert - also includes a download coupon for the mp3 version." - OESB.

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