Globe Factory No. 23
The Eerie Shore
If you're adrift on roiling seas, a looming coastline doesn't necessarily promise safety. Suffused in an eerie haze, it can harbor inglorious ghosts, hidden perils and uncertain futures. Not too different from life in 21st century America, as presented by Rob Seidenberg on The Eerie Shore, the sixth release by Globe Factory No. 23.
A veteran record producer and record exec in Austin, TX, Seidenberg takes a long, hard look outward (at the country's careening geo-political landscape), inward (at life's sometimes-harsh/sometimes-joyful lessons) and how the twain ever do meet and influence each other. At times defiant and loud, at other moments moody and introspective, the album responds with vivid, hook-filled, literate rock & roll built on a foundation of timeless musical roots.
The title character of Tex-Mex rocker "Tranquilo Joe" feels none too welcome in the U.S. of A. The numbskull a.k.a. "Mister Ego" enjoys testing the bounds of his narcissism-fueled power. For the border-separated lovers of "Where the Water Meets the Land," the snaky Rio Grande river feels as oceanic as the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the album's everyday workers can either resign themselves to this new reality ("The Best That It Gets") or gird themselves to fight for what's right ("Has To Be Done").
But it's not all glum and glummer. There's joy--of a still-promising life filled with adventure and surprises (the blue-collar epic "A Beautiful Day"). There's pride and hope ("Oh Buffalo," a paean to the reborn Rust Belt city). And there's a road-worn, damn-the-torpedos attitude of the 12-string-driven "Nothing Left to Lose." Ultimately, though, as stated in the album's dubious lead-off track, "Only Time Will Tell."
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Globe Factory No. 23
Through the Listening Glass
Purchase the Music
For this EP, Globe Factory No. 23, the longtime
recording entity of Rob Seidenberg, became much
more of a band. For these five tunes, Seidenberg
stepped "through the listening glass" at a studio
down the street and laid down the basic tracks live with some of his most trusted and simpatico buddies (as opposed to playing and recording most everything himself, as he usually does). This allowed him to enter a brave new technicolor world of deeper-than-ever musical explorations. Lyrically, it's a no-holds-barred view of life as we know it, full of strivers and confidence men doing their damnedest to strip away all dignity and joy, while our physical environment is wrecking-balled into oblivion. In the end, though, what wins out is truth and passion, and the power of song.
With the participation of Kevin Lovejoy (Kevin Lovejoy Trio); Bonesaw and Hoag (Full Service); Tim and Jay Bennett (Colin Gilmore); Will Maxwell (Dreamboat); Wendy Harte (Pippi Eats Cherries); Suzanne and Jonathan Thelin (Staylyns). Basic tracks recorded by James Stevens (Moonlight Towers).
Michael Macrone's Debut LP
Icicles and Sand
A veteran of the Providence, RI rock & roll band the
Prime Numbers and the Bay Area acid folk band
Dreamland, Michael Macrone finally strikes out on
his own at the tender age of 55, with Icicles and Sand. A survey of pop/rock styles from his (and the genre’s) infancy to maturity, Icicles and Sand blends power pop and post-punk, folk and psychedelia.
While its inspirations are many (you might hear echoes of Bacharach/David, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Lennon/McCartney, Teenage Fanclub, Love, Nick Lowe, The Byrds, Goffin/King, Todd Rundgren, Simon & Garfunkel, The Zombies, XTC, and even Neil Diamond), Icicles and Sand plays as a coherent whole. It is a tribute at once to the art of the radio set and to the art of the album. Sounds develop and flow from song section to song section, and from song to song.
Producer Rob Seidenberg (president of Fiesta Red Records and the artist behind the recording project Globe Factory No. 23) brings clarity, punch, and balance to the mixes. He is also the principal musical contributor besides Macrone. Tim Bennett of Chicago’s the Tornaparts takes the drums on two tracks, and Abe Baruck on another, while Sam Scribner lends his sax to a fourth. Macrone otherwise sings and performs each of his 14 original songs.
All these songs were written between 2013 and 2015, save for two. Track 3, “Strange Courtship,” began as a collaboration with Seidenberg in 2001, only to be completed this year. The final track, “Someone Else’s Fantasy,” is a very old song with new lyrics; the arrangement dates to Macrone’s years in the Prime Numbers, circa 1980.
Standout tracks include “Summer Sun,” “Springtime,” and “She Wants Everything,” the first two signalling a seasonal theme completed by “Falling Leaves” and “The End of a Year.” The faintly Dylanesque ballad “Mortal Cupid” was the first new song written for the album, and it also happens to have been composed under the influence of three different artists mentioned in the second paragraph.
Globe Factory No. 23
Interstellar Data Grab
Interstellar Data Grab offers vivid, hook filled, post-literate explorations of a modern landscape cluttered with confidence men, scofflaws, hobgoblins, liars and thieves (a description not limited to just our infamous politicians).
The fourth release by Globe Factory No. 23, the solo project of Rob Seidenberg, a veteran producer and record exec in Austin, Texas, Interstellar Data Grab begins with “Hey Baby Hey,” a search for peace of mind and body in this malignant 21st century landscape. From there it rockets to the extra-terrestrial rock of its title track (which considers the absolute loss of privacy); through a scathing (but poppy) gaze at the dangers of political buffoonery (“Still Bleeding”); and a moody, nerve-wracking Mexican border crossing under cover of thunder and night (“The Big River”); into a rapturous baptismal desire for a brand new start (“Drown Me in the Water”); and finally to a solemn consideration of the deep scars left by loss and tragedy (“I’ll Never Stop Crying”).
Though it’s not without humor and driving rock & roll, the picture painted here is not pretty. In this world, one must endlessly search for safety, security, reassurance and just plain company. Those human comforts can be found, but it’s best to remember that your most menacing enemy may live just down the street.
In the late 1800s, Globe Factory No. 23 in New York City was the leading producer of clear Havana cigars for the Seidenberg Cigar Co. Almost a century and a half later, Globe Factory No. 23 reemerged as the solo recording project of Rob Seidenberg, scion of the original cigar family.
The debut GF23 album, The Rut Not Taken, released in April, 2013, began as an outlet for some of the ideas Seidenberg developed while working with other artists as a producer, writer and record company exec. Before moving to Austin, the Buffalo born and bred Seidenberg spent many years in New York and Los Angeles, where he worked as president of Mammoth Records and a senior A&R man at Hollywood Records and Rykodisc. As an exec and/or producer, he has worked with, among others, Fastball, Cody Chesnutt’s band The Crosswalk, Colin Gilmore, Los Lobos, Amanda Shires and John Wesley Harding. In 2013, he founded the Fiesta Red Records label, which has released music by, among others, the Parson Red Heads, Full Service and Blank Slate and Lowe Country, an album of Nick Lowe compositions performed by the likes of Robert Ellis, Hayes Carll, Caitlin Rose and Ron Sexsmith.
Original Sins for Copycats, the second GF23 album, with it's single "The Summer of '72," references the early sounds that shaped Seidenberg’s sensibility, and concludes with a real-life story of music tragically silenced: the horrific assassination of a popular Mexican band (“Lament for Kombo Kolombia [The Day la Música Died]”). The album’s 13 songs form a narrative birthed at a time of relative innocence and extinguished in an exceedingly more complex, bedeviled age.
A few months after the August, 2014 release of Original Sins saw the release of the GF23 EP, Liquid Courage, a collection of six audio flights of fancy initially inspired by the craft cocktails (and their names) served at Vera, in Buffalo, NY, the beloved hometown of GF23's Seidenberg.
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GLOBE FACTORY NO. 23
THE PARSON RED HEADS
Globe Factory No. 23
The songs on the Liquid Courage EP, the third release by Globe Factory No. 23, were initially inspired by the craft cocktails (and their names) served at Vera, in Buffalo, NY,the beloved hometown of GF23's Rob Seidenberg.
In August, 2014, two weeks before the release of Globe Factory No. 23's second album, Original Sins for Copycats, Seidenberg attended a wedding in Buffalo. After the reception, he and a group of friends headed out to Vera, where he was immediately struck by the evocative names of the bar's infamous beverages. And the drinks menu seemed just like an album cover. So he decided to make it so.
His imagination loosed by the creative drink names, Seidenberg concocted six audio flights of fancy, each inhabiting a different musical and lyrical world, but all of them in the Globe Factory No. 23 tradition of hooky, literate rock & roll. "Earhart" spins the tale of a quirky young artist who roams the streets of Paris in a fur-lined aviator hat. "The Yellow King" is an American Gothic saga of a destitute farmer who imagines a far better life, ruling a kingdom with the local bartendress as his queen. "Tiger & Elephant" is a fever-fueled hallucination that kicks in during a Sumatran safari. "Blood and Sand" recounts the toll taken by a hard-lived, itinerant life. "The Old Cuban" checks in on a wise Havana resident who has seen the many ups and downs of his homeland. And the finale, "Lighthouse," is the story of unmoored soul.
The EP is AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE HERE or behind the bar at Vera.
Globe Factory No. 23
Original Sins for Copycats
For someone who came of age in late 20th century America, glorious songs provided a constant soundtrack to a life that raced by at 45 revolutions per minute. Or so it seemed. As tune after tune poured forth, sonic revelations took place at a blinding pace.
The Parson Red Heads'
3rd Album, Orb Weaver
While working on their third album, Orb Weaver, the Parson Red Heads weren’t interested in taking their time. In fact, they were dead set against it. Having released a painstakingly handcrafted LP in 2011’s Yearling, the band had established a mode of meticulousness. On Orb Weaver, the focus on recreating the improvisational bombast of their live show was stage center, resulting in flashes of sun-stroked auditory maelstroms and expansive blotter-pop Americana previously missing from the band’s recordings.
That sensation became the springboard for Original Sins for Copycats, the second album by Globe Factory No. 23, the solo project of Rob Seidenberg, a veteran producer and record executive in Austin, Texas.
Released August 26, 2014 on Fiesta Red Records, the album begins in “The Summer of ’72,” referencing the early sounds that shaped Seidenberg’s sensibility, and concludes with a real-life story of music tragically silenced: the horrific assassination of a popular Mexican band (“Lament for Kombo Kolombia [The Day la Música Died]”). In all, the album’s 13 songs form a narrative birthed at a time of relative innocence and extinguished in an exceedingly more complex, bedeviled age.
Lowe Country Update
In the fall of 2012, Fiesta Red proudly released the album Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe, which features 13 formidable artists interpreting songs from Nick Lowe’s illustrious 4½-decade career. Since then, many--in fact, most--of the contributing artists have finished recording and/or released a new album of their own. Below is a progress report, with links that allow you to delve further into the work of these fine artists (click on names to be linked to music).
Below is a progress report, with links that allow you to delve further into the work of these fine artists (click on names to be linked to music).
The Parson Red Heads - new album, Orb Weaver, out now (see story above)
Robert Elllis - new album, The Lights from the Chemical Plant, out now
The Unsinkable Boxer - new album recorded, out soon
Globe Factory No. 23 Debut
On May 14, 2013, Globe Factory No. 23 released its debut album, The Rut Not Taken. Named for the most productive factory of his ancestors' 19th century cigar business, GF23 began as an outlet for some of the musical ideas Rob Seidenberg developed while working with other artists as a producer, writer and long-time record company exec. Guitar rock, with its Americana roots showing, The Rut Not Taken has a pop sensibility and catchy choruses, but it is far from shiny. Its lyrics and moods are suffused with melancholia, nostalgia and longing in songs that look at our at-times confusing world, a world full of mendacity (often rewarded), inequity (usually un-rectified) and loss.
Blank Slate Releases 2nd EP
Austin-based trio Blank Slate has just released their second of two debut EPs (the Red EP). With this 5-song collection, which follows in the wake of EP number one (the Blue EP), the band broadens their emotional and sonic palette. It’s hard charging, guitar-based rock & roll with an impressive range. There are magnificent guitar flourishes—“Anemic Souls”
alone features two blistering solos, one a shredder, the other reminiscent of Blow by Blow era Jeff Beck--an acerbic dismantling of Me-Tooism (“Sameness-ness”); a sublime guitar pop exploration of challenging romance (“Better Than Nothin’”); an atmospheric descent into human frailty (“Fracture”); and a jaunty, sardonic look at the insanity of friends and family (“Sneaking Suspicion”).
Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe
Like the famed British Invaders of a generation earlier, songwriter/musician Nick Lowe has mined the various strains of American popular music, purposefully ignoring the lines demarking separate genres. Among the most prevalent influences on his style has been country music.
Lowe Country presents 13 artists--most of them up-and-coming and/or left-of-center--interpreting songs from Lowe’s 4½-decade career. They range in age from 23 to 48 and reside in such disparate locales as Glasgow, Toronto, Austin, Portland, Raleigh and Music City. They are the leading lights of a new generation of artists who use classic country music as a springboard for their unique musical explorations.
As a group, they have taken to heart Lowe’s equal opportunity source mining. And in these new, never before released tunes, they vividly display Lowe’s trademarks: catchy melodies; clever word play and wit; a sense of fun and musical adventure; and the appropriate delivery of a lyric, whether it be outlandish or heartbreaking.
Lowe Country artists: Caitlin Rose, The Parson Red Heads, Robert Ellis, Amanda Shires, JEFF the Brotherhood, Hayes Carll, Erin Enderlin, The Unsinkable Boxer, Colin Gilmore, Chatham County Line, Lori McKenna, Griffin House, Ron Sexsmith.
Notorious for operating largely and intentionally outside of the music business establishment, Full Service opts to build national fan-base via direct interaction. Though they tour the country extensively, it’s just as possible to catch the Austin-based band in a performing in a fan’s own living room (on what the band calls the “20 Tour”). The first artist signed to Fiesta Red, Full Service is also the subject of a new full-length documentary film called Takeover (More Film Details Here). Influenced by the Chili Peppers, the Beach Boys, Meat Puppets, Faith No More, Flaming Lips and many others, the Full Service sound and performance is one of unpredictable fun, with a surprisingly deep and thoughtful underbelly.
Full Service Single - "I Wanna Go Home/Ice Cream Cone
Available Digitally & as Limited Edition Red Vinyl , Signed by the Band