Red Jacket Mine

Recent Press

Michael Toland’s Top 10 Pop Records of 2013

The Big Takeover – December 29, 2013

by Michael Toland

#6: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake (Fin)
I often lament that no artist has appeared to assume the smart pop mantle from XTC, Elvis Costello, etc. Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine proves that I need not despair.

Red Jacket Mine: “Holiday Pathos”

Festive! holiday fanzine – December 8, 2013

by Kurt B. Reighley (aka DJ El Toro)

This time last year I augmented my Yuletide to-do list by writing a new press bio for local combo Red Jacket Mine. I was so taken with Lincoln Barr’s witty, tuneful originals and the whole Nick Lowe/Graham Parker vibe of Someone Else’s Cake that resistance was futile. Indeed, Someone Else’s Cake is one of my favorite local releases of 2013, no contest.

Fast forward to, um, now. Not only has my beloved Nick Lowe released a Christmas record, but so has Red Jacket Mine.

“I wrote both songs on spec, essentially, when a friend invited me to play a Christmas-themed show last December,” says Barr. “The sentimental holiday standbys didn’t accurately reflect my state of mind at the time, so I decided to try and pen a couple of my own. After their one and only public performance, a few friends asked me if any recordings existed, and I started to think that cutting them with a band might not be a bad idea.”

Lincoln was right. The A-side, “Holiday Pathos,” is a real corker, complete with the requisite handbells, and sits nicely on a mix tape next to Graham Parker’s “Christmas Is For Mugs” or Nick’s new “Christmas At The Airport.” And while the lyric may be a bit cynical, this little single’s heart is in the right place: all net proceeds benefit Seattle Musicians for Children’s Hospital (aka SMooCH).

(Thanks, Kurt!)

Red Jacket Mine gets poppy at Blue Pine

Bend Bulletin – October 19, 2013

by Ben Salmon

Rap. Funk. Roots-rock. Punk. Reggae. Folk. Jams. Jazz. Even classical.

Fans of all this stuff get pretty regular opportunities to hear it in Bend.

But what of the power-poppers? What about fans of Big Star and Squeeze? What’s out there for disciples of that ’70s post-punk singer-songwriter sound practiced by Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe? Not much, I tell you. Not much.

Which means Red Jacket Mine’s show tonight at Blue Pine is a must-see for those folks. The Seattle band has a new album, “Someone Else’s Cake,” and it’s a glorious exercise in vintage pop music that spills over with earworm melodies. Those melodies are delivered by songwriter and frontman Lincoln Barr, who is from Big Star’s Memphis, which explains the subtle flecks of soul and blues in Red Jacket Mine’s sound.

You can hear all of “Someone Else’s Cake” at www.redjacketmine.net and you can check ’em out live tonight. You’d better. You never know when another one of these opportunities is going to come along.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

iTunes Editors’ Notes – October 1, 2013

by Jim Allen

Many contemporary artists who push the power-pop button lean toward the genre’s frenetic, three-chords-or-die approach, but Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine favors more nuanced tactics. On Someone Else’s Cake, RJM (fronted by the Memphis-bred tunesmith Lincoln Barr) focuses on that late-’70s moment when warm, organic British pub rock began mutating into a more modern mode of power pop under the often-ambiguous umbrella of new wave. But Barr and his boys are far more than the rock ‘n roll equivalent of Civil War re-enactors — they roll these influences into a rucksack with a dash of ’60s garage rock, the melodic sophistication of ’70s art-pop crossover kings (see early Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren), and a touch of the Southern soul that’s part of Barr’s musical birthright. Even with that fertile formula in place, Someone Else’s Cake keeps throwing curveballs; the steady-rolling groove of “Engineer,” for instance, could be a cousin of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” while “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?” takes a country road.

Sonicbids At Bumbershoot

Sonicbids Discover New Music blog – September 5, 2013

by Jeff Israel

Red Jacket Mine

Need your 70?s vintage rock fix? Look no further than Seattle’s own Red Jacket Mine. Their pop-rock-blues-soul fusion hearkens back to the days when Elvis Costello and Squeeze ruled the charts. In an age where it seems like every musician is angry about something, Red Jacket Mine’s knack for writing a catchy, upbeat pop song is quite the welcome change of pace.

Red Jacket Mine: Yes, pop music can be magical

Yakima Herald-Republic – August 29, 2013

by Pat Muir

There’s danger in pop music cliche; that’s a fact. But sometimes, in just the right hands, there’s also magic in it.

In the “ooh, ooh, ooh” or “baby, baby” refrains of the right kinds of pop songs, you can find a through-line that connects rock ’n’ roll’s lineage from Buddy Holly through The Beatles to Big Star to Nick Lowe to Built to Spill, all the way up to bands like Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine, which plays the Yakima Sports Center on Saturday.

Take, for instance, “Someone Else’s Cake,” the title track from Red Jacket Mine’s latest album. There are catchy hooks at every turn, hand-claps, Al Kooper-style organ and a backup chorus of “ahhh, ahhh, ahhh” that combine to make the song sound like nothing if not a long lost Elvis Costello track. I say this not as an accusation of plagiarism — or even rip-off-ism — but as a means of pointing out that not every great song has to be built from all new parts. Indeed, much of what makes a great pop song is not an ability to create something novel but an ability to pull together old influences.

The trick is to make that sound organic, rather than forced. In other words, you can’t try to do it; you just have to get a group together that has the right mix of influences. That’s what Red Jacket Mine is.

“We’re not doing something that’s intentionally retro at all,” frontman and songwriter Lincoln Barr, 31, said in a phone interview last week. “Our influences span generations. And none of those generations are necessarily our own.”

The band has been around, in various incarnations, for about a decade and has been releasing music since 2006. But the earlier stuff doesn’t sound the same. It’s OK. It’s more atmospheric. But the tightly structured pop that makes “Someone Else’s Cake” such a great record isn’t there yet.

“It was honest to me at the time,” Barr says. “But looking back on it, I was sort of writing for the lineup I had at that time.”

The shift began in 2010 when the band’s lead guitarist left to do his own songs. Barr took over on lead guitar and new bassist Matthew Cunningham joined drummer Andrew Salzman as the band’s retooled rhythm section. The addition of keyboardist Daniel Walker completed the transformation. Red Jacket Mine had had session players on keyboards before, but having Walker in the band added a whole new level of soul.

“The keyboards are pretty instrumental to this kind of music,” Barr says. “Otherwise, you just kind of sound like any rock band.”

Instead, there’s a driving, propulsive force outside of the rhythm section that owes a debt to ’60s and ’70s soul. It’s another aspect of Red Jacket Mine that makes them stand out against the current backdrop of Seattle twee indie-folk. They are an anomaly, but they’re doing fine, booking gigs such as a Monday appearance at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.

“I don’t mind standing out a little bit,” Barr says. “I feel pretty passionate about what we’re doing right now.”

It’s an interesting circumstance in that the band’s straight-ahead sound — something that’s been the core of pop music for more than half a century — places them squarely outside the current Seattle scene.

“We’re entrenched socially with those guys,” Barr says of other Seattle bands. “But musically, it’s fair to say we’re pretty out of step with what’s gong on right now.”

Their irreverence also sets them apart. In an era of Northwest music that seems to be filled with earnest young men, playing their mandolins or whatever, Red Jacket Mine appears to be having fun.

“We’re very serious about the music.” Barr says. “But it was a conscious decision not to make music to be admired but to make music to be enjoyed.”

Bumbershoot 2013: I like Mondays (festival day 9/2)

Three Imaginary Girls – August 29, 2013

by Chris Estey

Red Jacket Mine (1:30 p.m., Plaza Stage)

Played the bittersweet frosting off of Someone Else’s Cake last year after seeing Red Jacket Mine at Barboza and picking up a copy of it, their latest full-length. “Nickel & Dime” and “Ron Nasty” were just two grit-garage-formed diamonds in a mine of ‘em throughout; my iPod had to hire James Bond to keep them from getting stolen. They put on a power pop presentation that pounces as much as it’s pro, making you believe that rock and roll can be adult and never lose steam while taking care of the house. Don’t miss ‘em.

Ten Northwest acts not to be missed at Bumbershoot 2013

The Examiner – August 25, 2013

by Tony Kay

Red Jacket Mine (Monday, 1:30pm, Plaza Stage): Winning pure-pop ensembles used to run rampant through Seattle back in the Grunge Years, but there haven’t been a lot of bands wedding creamy-sweet melodies with kick-in-the-pants rock energy of late. Red Jacket Mine more than fills that void, with a style that rolls everything that was great about ‘70s pop (galloping glam rock, spot-perfect harmonies, loping piano melodies that won’t leave your head) into one irresistible bundle.

(Wow! Thanks, Tony!)

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Maverick Country (UK)

by Alan Cackett

I’d played this album a few times before I checked up on this band and was convinced that they were British. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they hail from Seattle, the home of grunge rock. Well this certainly ain’t grunge rock. If you want comparisons, then it would have to be reminiscent of pub rock from the 1970s mixed in with a little of early 1980s sounds of Squeeze and Graham Parker given a 21st century make-over. The band is led by Lincoln Barr on vocals, guitar and songwriter, along with Matthew Cunningham (bass, vocals) and Andrew Salzman (drums, percussion, vocals). They’re augmented by producer Johnny Sangster (percussion, guitar, vocals), Daniel Walker (keyboards) and Ty Bailie (piano), with additional vocals by Jeff Brown, Jeff Conlin and Ken Stringfellow. Barr grew up in Memphis, so you’ll hear some soul inflections coming through on the organ-driving “Listen Up (If The World Is Going To Hell)” whilst “Have You Got A Permit To Preach On This Corner?” has an easy-going country vibe in the spirit of Nick Lowe. Full of great songs, inventive musical arrangements and classy vocal harmonies…what more could you ask for?

ARS interview: Red Jacket Mine’s Lincoln Barr talks about the legacy of Big Star

Another Rainy Saturday – July 16, 2013

by Chris Burlingame

The acclaimed documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is returning to Seattle for a run at the Grand Illusion Cinema this weekend. After playing at SIFF last month, it will be playing for an entire week. There will be two special screenings after the 8pm showings on Friday and Saturday night with the excellent power pop band Red Jacket Mine following the film with a set of Big Star songs.

After releasing a great record earlier this year on Fin Records called Someone Else’s Cake – one of my favorite local releases this year – it is fitting that RJM would be chosen to perform after the Nothing Can Hurt Me because no other local band embodies Alex Chilton’s influence in songwriting than RJM’s frontman Lincoln Barr (though fans of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson and Dave Edmunds will find a lot here to enjoy).

I e-mailed Lincoln Barr a few questions about Big Star and his band’s performances Friday and Saturday night at the Grand Illusion. He was kind enough to answer them all – and very promptly!

When (and how) did you first become a Big Star fan?

I spent a big chunk of my childhood & early teen years in northwest Mississippi, very near Memphis, but I didn’t discover Big Star until years later, when I was attending college in southeast Missouri. Their name started popping up everywhere, so on a roadtrip to see Guided by Voices in Columbia, Missouri, I picked up a copy of the Ryko reissue of Third/Sister Lovers. (I’d later find out that Third wasn’t necessarily the easiest entry point, but what did I know? The name “Big Star” was on the cover.)

Expecting pop bliss from note one, I was instead greeted by “Kizza Me,” which I have to admit startled me a bit. The pure-Memphis ‘doot-doos’ that open “Thank You Friends” felt much more familiar, though, and over the months that followed, I grew to love the whole record. It’s top-five material for me to this day.

Around the same time, I picked up a copy of Robert Gordon’s It Came from Memphis, which beautifully attempts to illustrate what makes Memphis such a cultural crucible. It became a sacred text for me, and Alex Chilton & his cohorts are major players throughout. I was hooked.

Later, in 2002, my wife and I were visiting Shangri-La Records in Memphis, and when I asked if they had a copy of Alex’s infamous solo LP, Like Flies on Sherbert, one of the kind clerks said, “You know they’re playing in Oxford [Mississippi] tomorrow, right?” We had no idea, but immediately made plans to drive down. The show was terrific, but I remember wondering when they’d play the ‘hits’ I knew from Third. (Believe it or not, it was another year or so before I found a copy of the Fantasy 2-for-1 CD of #1 Record/Radio City. You could only get it used at that time.)

I recently ran across of a YouTube video of the entire performance. I’d forgotten that Alex stopped the show to bum a cigarette from someone in the audience, and then smoked the entire thing onstage while the rest of the band had a little blues jam. You can even spot my wife and I in the audience a couple of times.

Fast forward a few more years, and I’m living in Seattle, making a record (2009?s Lovers Lookout) with latter-day Big Star member Ken Stringfellow (who I first saw perform that day in Oxford). Suffice to say, the music of Big Star has been real identity-defining stuff for me.

Are there any particular ways you think Alex Chilton influenced your songwriting?

Alex certainly had a knack for pairing droll lyrics with a bomb-proof hook, and his more overtly R&B post-Big Star solo work has been a big influence, too. His sense of humor and nonchalance personified cool, I think.

I can’t point to any Red Jacket Mine tunes as being particularly Big Star-esque, but maybe that’s because all of them are! I try to channel that humid Memphis vibe in just about everything that I do. It’s part of my musical DNA.

Have you seen Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me yet? What did you enjoy about it?

No, I’ve purposely avoided watching it on-demand in an effort to make the Grand Illusion shows extra-special. I’m expecting it to be quite moving…which will hopefully make the performances that much better! We’ll have our good friends Paul Hiraga (Downpilot) and Jeff Brown (Half Rushmore) pitching in…Friday night’s performance will focus on the darker Third material, and we’ll lighten things up on Saturday with a mix of upbeat tunes from the first two records.

What’s your favorite Big Star song? Why?

It has to be “Take Care.” Not one of their pop gems, but it’s always been very special to me. It’s one of those songs I can’t really imagine someone writing, actually…it feels eternal. In the months after Alex passed away, it was a staple of the RJM set, and I still close solo shows with it regularly.

What do you have planned for the near future for RJM?

We’re releasing a new single in August (a ‘reimagined’ cover of a tune by our labelmates Davidson Hart Kingsbery), and we’ve just begun recording our next album with producer Johnny Sangster. We’re also playing Bumbershoot this year. We’ll be performing on Monday, September 2 at 1:30pm on the Plaza Stage. Very excited about that!

This fall, we’ll do more regional touring in support of Someone Else’s Cake, and keep chipping away at the new LP, with an eye toward releasing it in late spring/early summer 2014. There’s also a holiday single in the offing…so, plenty to do!

{Red Jacket Mine plays after the 8pm screenings of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. You can get tickets here for $12; Red Jacket Mine also plays at Bumbershoot on Monday, September 2 at 1:30pm on the Plaza Stage.}

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

The Big Takeover (print edition) – Spring 2013

by Michael Toland

RJM are one of those bands which makes you wish you’d heard them before, and wonder how you missed them in the first place. On [Someone Else's Cake], the Seattle trio draws upon decades of pop tradition, absorbing bits of Crowded House, Steely Dan, and the Kinks to build a distinctive structure that sounds different but feels familiar. Putting as much craft into lyrics as melodies, leader Lincoln Barr seems incapable of writing anything not clever or heartfelt (or both). Spin the jaunty “Amy,” the rocking “Bellar & Bawl,” the radiant “Skint City,” the rocking “Engineer,” or the sarcastic “Novelty’s Gone” and “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” to hear guitar pop at its best. Extra kudos for paying tribute to the Rutles’ Lennon-like “Ron Nasty.” (finrecords.com)

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Carolina Orange – May 17, 2013

by Richard Rossi

Judging by the songs on Someone Else’s Cake, it’s not hard to figure out where Lincoln Barr and Red Jacket Mine get their inspiration. Sounds like they raided the Stiff Records archives.

“Amy” is a pleasant, catchy powerpop song to start off the disc. “Nickle & Dime” sounds like it could have been an outtake from an old Any Trouble record. “Ron Nasty” has a, well, nasty hook and some great Harrison influenced guitars. The horns on “Engineer” are pretty cool and “Skint City” heads back into Clive Gregson territory. And “Novelty’s Gone” has the feel of a Squeeze song.

The CD takes a pleasant and more soulful turn with “Better to be Broken Than Blind”, perhaps my favorite song here. Then we go full tilt into Lincoln Barr’s Elvis Costello record collection as the title song “Someone Else’s Cake” sounds like something off of Get Happy. And, like most of the songs on Get Happy, it kicks ass. Things get even better with “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner”, which I figure is either Barr’s George Jones tribute or his best attempt to channel Costello via Jones’ “Stranger in the House”.

Someone Else’s Cake is a pretty good powerpop record. Its chock full of good songs, yet it doesn’t quite demand my attention the way some other Seattle bands’ albums have, bands like Tripwires or Braden Blake (if we go back a few years). Being from the great northwest, it also means we won’t likely get the opportunity to see them perform live in these parts. And that sucks.

But if you must have a look at their show schedule, you can do so here.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Caught in the Carousel – April 28, 2013, Popdose – July 1, 2013

by Rob Ross

This Seattle-based 3 piece pleases with this fine effort. A great sounding album that has a very early-to-mid ’70?s feel, which is fine with me. “Amy” is a quality starter; good, soulful and grooves with a nice use of the Farfisa sound; “Nickel & Dime” sounds like something off the radio, circa 1972. “Ron Nasty” is a tribute to the nascent leader of the godly Rutles (!), while “Engineer” is another slice of the ’70?s – glam boogie and pure Bolan. “Listen Up (If The World Is Going To Hell)” sounds like it came from “A Wizard, A True Star”; “Better To Be Broken Than Blind” is a nouveau-Philly-soul, featuring the talents of Ken Stringfellow (The Posies/Big Star). The album’s title track standout immediately brings to mind vintage Elvis Costello and The Attractions – upbeat and great. “Have You Got A Permit To Preach On This Corner?” – Little Feat represented! All in all, interesting, well crafted, good and fun!

Up & Coming: Red Jacket Mine at Doug Fir Lounge

Portland Mercury – April 17, 2013

by Rebecca Wilson

Red Jacket Mine’s third album is called Someone Else’s Cake, a nice turn of phrase that matches the buttercream polish of its production. It’s an effortlessly likeable album because it’s so apparent that these guys spent their teen years listening to upbeat pop by the Minus 5 and Steely Dan. Lincoln Barr’s soulful voice is perfectly suited to his storytelling lyrics.

Five Albums I’m Loving Right Now: Lincoln Barr

Off the Tracks – April 4, 2013

by Simon Sweetman

Lincoln Barr is the singer/songwriter for Seattle band Red Jacket Mine, who recently released their critically-acclaimed third LP Someone Else’s Cake on Fin Records (finrecords.com). Red Jacket Mine embarks on a tour of the US West Coast in mid-April – see http://redjacketmine.net/shows for all dates. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…

1 – Rumer, Boys Don’t Cry: A friend first mentioned this album to me last year, but I only recently got around to checking it out. Wow…what a lovely piece of work. I hate to simply repeat the critical mantra and compare Rumer’s voice to Karen Carpenter’s, but damn if the resemblance isn’t uncanny…and there’s no higher praise in my book. Couple her wondrous instrument with a repertoire of male-penned (hence the title) gems from the American pop songbook (including an absolutely sublime version of John Sebastian’s Welcome Back) and a crack studio band, and what’s not to like? This is lush, beautiful pop music the way it used to be made.

2 – NRBQ, At Yankee Stadium: A serious contender for Greatest American Band, the classic line-up of NRBQ had it all – songs, chops, and a wicked sense of humour that imbued everything they did with a light-hearted, freewheeling vibe that is positively infectious. At Yankee Stadium contains some of their finest songs, including the Joey Spampinato-sung I Want You Bad and the Al Anderson scorcher It Comes to Me Naturally. Recommended for all fans of American music, dissonant clavinet, and fun.

3 – Joel Plaskett Emergency, Ashtray Rock: A friend turned me onto this Canadian songwriter, and it’s tough to pick just one of his albums – he’s got so many good ones. I recently compared him to Ted Leo (a comparison Mr. Plaskett himself endorsed on Twitter), and they certainly share a similar punk/folk troubadour mentality, but Plaskett mixes in some softer influences and a bit more humour. This record is worth purchasing for the anthemic Penny For Your Thoughts and sly Fashionable People alone…both just fantastic pieces of pop songwriting, bursting with personality and interesting production touches.

4 – Koufax, Social Life: My wife and I caught this band opening for Wilco in St. Louis on the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot tour, back in 2003 or so, and their taut, new-wave-y piano pop won us over immediately. We bought a CD that night, and this album became the soundtrack to our early 20s. The band sputtered in the mid-aughts, and I’ve often wondered what became of singer/principal songwriter Robert Suchan, as he appeared to drop completely off the (musical) map. I recently stumbled upon this podcast, on a random Google, and it turns out he’s spent the last five years or so working in the other side of the music industry, managing merchandise for major touring acts like Larry the Cable Guy (!) and Tim McGraw. Go figure!

Anyway, this record still stands up very well…imagine a cross between Joe Jackson (whose classic Steppin’ Out was a staple of their concert repertoire) and the Cure, if all of the Cure’s songs were peppy piano-driven numbers like Lovecats and Why Can’t I Be You?, instead of the gauzy guitar stuff. Smart songs with attitude. Here’s hoping Mr. Suchan hasn’t permanently retired from music-making.

5 – Joe Jackson, Volume Four: Speaking of ol’ Joe, I completely missed this album when it came out. Billed as a reunion of his original band – featuring Graham Maby on bass, Gary Sanford on guitar, and Dave Houghton on drums – it updates the glorious template of Look Sharp! and I’m the Man with some of the harmonic complexity of Jackson’s later work, but doesn’t sacrifice vigour in the process. Highlights include the twelve-string driven Still Alive (which quotes Steely Dan’s Barrytown in the bridge – a sure-fire path to my heart), Beat Crazy-reminiscent opener Take It Like a Man, and fuzz-bass stomper Little Bit Stupid.

Edgy, timeless: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

TODAY Singapore – March 29, 2013

by Kevin Mathews

3.5 stars

Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine favours revisiting the ’80s, with principal singer/songwriter Lincoln Barr recalling the pub-rock/new wave antics of Elvis Costello, Rockpile, or Squeeze; with an attention to lyrical smarts, melodic hooks and a traditional mixture of pop, country, folk, R&B and rock ‘n roll. To its immense credit, Red Jacket Mine manage – through songs like Amy, Nickel and Dime, Engineer and Novelty’s Gone – to not sound too derivative, giving enough distinctive attitude and personality to keep things fresh. The edgy timelessness of these songs speaks of a need to carve a path away from hip and cool trends, and there’s a greater chance that this will stand better than your average indie dance pop fodder.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Off the Tracks – March 27, 2013

by Simon Sweetman

Someone Else’s Cake is the third full-lengther from this Seattle power-pop quartet. It’s 2013-meets-1979 with obvious Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, Graham Parker influences. And then there are the American bands – everything from Big Star to The Minus 5, I thought, too, of The Grays (that wonderful Ro Sham Bo album).

Bursting out of the box as if it’s Lincoln Barr (RJM’s chief writer/singer) leading a new version of Elvis Costello’s Attractions, you’ll be thinking of slightly punked-up Ben Folds Five and remembering just how magic that early Joe Jackson stuff was (is). But for all of the obvious references and influences – Red Jacket Mine is most certainly making a version of Record Collection Pop after all – it never feels like the songs on Someone Else’s Cake have been done before; these aren’t copies, they aren’t fakes, this is heart-and-soul songwriting, full of fire and wit and guts. Call it a by-product then that in and around playing this album you’ll also be heading back to Armed Forces and This Year’s Model, to Jesus of Cool and to Rockpile.

Barr’s songs never stick around too long, here 11 of them bolt from the gate in just a little over half an hour, but there is a soul to the sound, there’s craft in the urgency and this is a tight unit too; a killer-good band nailing each tune. Red Jacket Mine

So I’ve been playing this a fair bit – and I have been back listening to Joe Jackson and (always) the early Costello and a bit of Graham Parker, some Bruce Cockburn too. The Grays. And the first Ben Folds Five record. But I don’t want any of that to be Red Jacket Mine and I don’t think Red Jacket Mine want that either. They just know all of that stuff. Inside out. And round and round. Never spoiling their own songs by throwing too much at them. Allowing you to hear a new thing in each song each time. Because, you see, they prove you can have Someone Else’s Cake and eke it too.

It’s very early to be calling this the best pop record I’ve heard this year – it might not mean a lot. (Just yet). But it is, easily, the best pop record I’ve heard this year; I’ve got well hooked on this. I love it. It’s full of the flavours I love.

(Thanks so much, Simon!)

Red Jacket Mine Takes You Back to 1979

New York Music Daily – March 22, 2013

by delarue

Seattle band Red Jacket Mine love their old new wave, and they are very, very good at it, almost to the point of parody. Their sound is period-perfect London 1979, right down to the overdone fake American drawl on the vocals- hearing this, you instantly envision a bunch of guys in skinny ties pilfering American soul music, occasionally giving it a hit of speed, a little Stonesy burn or Bowie-esque staginess. Their songs are insidiously catchy and don’t waste notes – ten tracks in 33 minutes or so. The band – Lincoln Barr on guitars and vocals, Matthew Cunningham on bass and Andrew Salzman on drums – is tight, their licks and instrumental settings (tasteful Memphis and Muscle Shoals guitar played cleanly through old tube amps, vintage borderline-cheesy electric piano) perfectly retro.

The best song on the album is the title track, a wry 99-percenter anthem that sounds like Red Shoes as Elvis Costello might have done it had he saved it for Get Happy instead of putting it on his first album. Another good one is Better to Be Broken Than Blind, which ironically outdoes all those old British guys in evoking the brooding early 70s soul ballad sound of the Stylistics: these guys spice it with brass and swirly organ from guest Ken Stringfellow. Many of the other tracks here sound a lot like Costello, musically if not lyrically. Let’s not forget that at the peak of Costello’s popularity, not everybody liked him for his vicious lyrics. A lot of people liked him because he was such a great pop tunesmith (and still is). That’s the crowd that will be psyched to discover this band.

With its fuzztone intro and staggered funk beat, Amy sounds like a song by the early Larch, or maybe a Mike Rimbaud b-side. The final track is a dead ringer for Rockpile. In between, when Red Jacket Mine does the blue-eyed soul thing, which is a lot of the time, they often remind of Graham Parker, especially on the wry, Memphis-tinged Nickel & Dime, or the brisk backbeat-driven Listen Up. And Skint City sounds like Costello’s Living in Paradise as a young Parker might have envisioned it. Ron Nasty, which is closer to new wave than soul, does not appear to be about the Speedball Baby frontman. The rest of the songs include the allusively country-flavored Novelty’s Gone, with a tasty organ crescendo from Daniel Walker; a faux honkytonk number like the ones on Costello’s Taking Liberties; and a Jean Genie ripoff. So many bands get criticized – and rightfully so – for being oblivious to music made before 1980. These guys seem oblivious to anything made afterward. But that’s ok. They aren’t missing much.

Capsule Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

The Musoscribe – March 15, 2013

by Bill Kopp

I don’t like to quote from the one-sheets that often accompany review CDs, so I won’t. But I’ll agree heartily with the angle taken on the one-sheet for Red Jacket Mine‘s album: this is an act that’s hard to pin down stylistically. Some retro elements (combo organ textures) are folded into the modern-feeling songs, but overall there’s a classicist approach that reminds (albeit not overtly) of the best AM radio rock of the 70s. Someone Elses’s Cake sounds like a record full of hits’ at least it will to those who came up in the 70s. It’s the kind of thing that can (and should) appeal equally to those with and without any sense of musical history. Because in the end, good songs and good arrangement are timeless qualities. Often those qualities are in short supply, but not here. Consistently entertaining, this will stick with you long after it’s done.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

R.A.D. Vinyl – March 14, 2013

It’s no secret that Fin Records does some of the best packaging around and they keep upping the ante. The new Red Jacket Mine album has a seriously cool pop art vibe on the sleeve art and is a hand numbered edition of 500 on white vinyl with a custom inner sleeve that keeps up the fun artwork. “Someone Else’s Cake” is an album that lives in the realm of soulful power pop that is radio friendly to the max. If dusty copies of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and Nick Lowe lps are living on your record shelf than you should make room for this lp. “Listen Up” and “Bellar & Bawl” were both released as singles as part of a limited edition colored vinyl series leading up to the release of the bands third full-length album. Leading man Lincoln Barr pairs smart songwriting with pop melodies and catchy lyrics that will have you nostalgic for the days when the power pop trio ruled the radio-waves.

We Recommend: Red Jacket Mine at the New Frontier Lounge – Friday, March 8

Weekly Volcano – March 7, 2013

by Rev. Adam McKinney

By the time “Amy,” the lead-off track on Red Jacket Mine’s latest album, reaches the totally over-the-top organ breakdown, I’m completely sold on whatever Red Jacket Mine is doing. That organ solo hearkens back to the ballsy pop-mindedness of old guards like Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. At a time when punk was reestablishing simplicity and authenticity in music, people like Costello and Jackson were doubling down on the old ways – hitting them harder and more precisely than what was expected. Red Jacket Mine continues that tradition. Instead of running from pop music, the band’s way of standing out is to do it better and tighter than its peers. The rest of the band’s album is filled with equally outstanding and effortless-sounding moments. Every brilliant addition of a honky-tonk piano or crisply hand-clapping refrain just reeks of professionalism.

(Yeah! Thanks, Adam!)

Mayer’s Playlist for February 2013, Part 2: Red Jacket Mine – “Someone Else’s Cake”

Twangville – March 7, 2013

by Mayer Danzig

Is the plethora of power pop releases a sign of spring’s arrival? It certainly seems that way. Add Seattle/Portland’s Red Jacket Mine to the list of sunshiny recent releases. This track’s 1960?s style pop song really hits the spot with its hand-claps and head-bobbing chorus.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

NeuFutur Magazine – March 6, 2013

by John B. Moore

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Lincoln Barr’s record collection stopped sometime in the late 70’s after the first couple of Elvis Costello albums came out and Big Star’s Sister Lover hit the racks…and there ain’t anything wrong with that.

With his laid back vocal delivery over strong power pop melodies Barr and the rest of the crew in Red Jacket Mine (no idea where that name comes from) deliver 11 great tacks on their first proper release. Some of these songs have been heard before when the Seattle band decided to turn out a limited edition of color vinyl 7 inches. Which is ironic once you get through the entirety of Someone Else’s Cake and realize that Red Jacket Mine is much more an “album band” than a “singles band,” as each track seamlessly bleeds into the next with ease.

Songs like the title track and “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?” become quick favorites, but there really are no bad tracks on this record. Someone Else’s Cake is a throwback to a time when bands focused on songs over singles.

Download: Red Jacket Mine – “Any Major Dude”

SSG Music – March 4, 2013

by Jean Kennedy

The quirky southern charm of Memphis pedigreed songwriter Lincoln Barr is inconspicuously displayed on Red Jacket Mine‘s surreptitiously sincere treatment of an under-appreciated Steely Dan classic, “Any Major Dude (Will Tell You)”. Barr’s emphatic, no frills delivery recalls sophisticated pop crooners Elvis Costello and Alex Chilton and nods to 70s U.K. pub-rock bands like Squeeze. Red Jacket Mine’s brand of songwriting dissects emotional paradox and societal hypocrisy with nuanced humor, while consummately affecting a modern, polished edge.

Their soulfully balanced, irresistibly blithe sound transfuses a salient sense of ease, establishing instant familiarity with the listener. The band’s third LP, Someone Else’s Cake, out now on Seattle’s Fin Records, was three years in the making. The sedulous product of this labor of love sparkles with the deliberate exuberance of conscious pop perfection, warmly dressed out in retro recording fetish by the masterful Johnny Sangster of Crackle and Pop! Studios in Ballard. “Any Major Dude” was released as the B-side to their single “Amy” on limited edition 7-inch white vinyl, but you can download it free below, courtesy of Red Jacket Mine. While you’re at it,take a moment to check out their new video for the eponymous single from their latest release, Someone Else’s Cake.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Dagger Zine – March 4, 2013

by Mary Leary

More or less in the vein of Pure Pop for Now People, we have a new set of juke-length tunes from the well-oiled, Seattle-based combo, Red Jacket Mine. There are unabashed strains of Nick Lowe, Graham Parker, and Elvis Costello in songwriter Lincoln Barr’s apparently effortless demonstrations of succinct craftsmanship. But Barr lapses into easy cliché when he throws anger at a hackneyed target (the street preacher in the country-based “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?”) and tells us nothing new with “Nickel and Dime.” The frustration with women that veins through SEC is refreshing (at least he expresses it, in this over-careful world) while feeling somewhat off-putting. I feel safe saying these things ‘cause SEC’s garnering mucho critical kudos. So I don’t feel alone in shouldering the responsibility for reporting that “Ron Nasty” has the melodic finesse of Alex Chilton, the Bolan-esque “Engineer” is sexier than anything emitted to date by Lowe or Costello, and beer’s likely to have just the right tang with “Skint City” playing. For some of us – especially those with great Rumour-love, three-minute pub rock rarely gets better, even if SEC could use the handful of edits that could remove the feeling that it’s a songwriting showdown entrant. Its cranky charm, handy compositions, and bar band excellence compensate for any excesses of testosterone, yada-yada vitriol, and ideas. www.finrecords.com

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Powerpopaholic – March 2, 2013

by Aaron Kupferberg

8/10 stars!
Seattle band headed by songwriter Lincoln Barr (also in Stag), who’s smart lyrics and casual style are a mix of both Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. Red Jacket Mine also has a hint of pub rock and Memphis soul, shown on “Amy” with its tight composition and wild outro. The big hooks come out on “Ron Nasty” as the guitar and harmonies are in perfect form.

“Engineer” boasts a sax and drum rhythm and shambling Bowie-like chorus that really wins you over too. Add a touch of Steely Dan and you get “Skint City” and “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” with its 70?s lounge vibe. It’s also got a Elvis Costello styled cynical streak that runs throughout each track. Each song is solid (no filler) and it varies the style enough, adding alt-country on “Have You Got A Permit To Preach On This Corner.” It ends with the infectious beat of “Bellar & Bawl.” Highly Recommended for sure.

Red Jacket Mine: The TVD First Date

The Vinyl District – February 28, 2013

“Confession time: records (in the physical sense) weren’t really a part of my childhood. See, I was born in 1982, and while my folks certainly were and are music fans, they’re not really collectors of anything… besides children, maybe.

In fact, I only remember three records being in the house when I was growing up: an original Beatles “Let It Be” 45 (cool), a Lynyrd Skynyrd Gold & Platinum double LP (ok…), and Glenn Frey’s The Allnighter (yikes). Despite the randy title, I can’t recall ol’ Glenn getting much action, but perhaps I’ve blocked it out.

Like most teenagers in the mid-’90s, I spent much of my disposable income on CDs, and early signs of my future fetishism were apparent – I’d spend hours ogling expensive, strangely-titled imports by popular “alternative” artists of the day at the grimy Disc-Go-Round and expansive Planet Music in Memphis. I still regarded LPs as artifacts of an earlier time, though.

The vinyl bug first bit me hard 12 years ago, when my wife bought me a turntable for our first Xmas together, along with 180-gram reissues of Alex Chilton’s Like Flies on Sherbert, T. Rex’s The Slider, the Kinks’ Arthur, and handful of other classics. (I’m a lucky man.)

That was it – I was hooked. When we first visited the Pacific Northwest in 2004, we spent most of our time hunting for records at Sonic Boom, Easy Street, Bop Street, Ditch (Victoria, BC), and Zulu (Vancouver, BC) – places that would become regular haunts when we moved to Seattle soon after. I flew home clutching what must’ve been 50 LPs – stuff I never would’ve found in southeast Missouri. (Though it must be said that Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records in St. Louis are fine establishments that have taken a great deal of my money over the years, and deserved every penny.)

Ever since I started recording under the Red Jacket Mine name back in 2003, I’ve dreamt of my songs appearing on vinyl, and our recent partnership with Fin Records has made that dream a reality.

The music on our new album, Someone Else’s Cake – lovingly recorded by Johnny Sangster – is the best we’ve ever done, and the stunning-if-I-do-say-so-myself packaging (masterfully designed by Shawn Wolfe) is the icing on the proverbial cake. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
—Lincoln Barr

Lee’s Listening Stack — Fab Picks for February, Part Two

No Depression – February 26, 2013

by Lee Zimmerman

Red Jacket Mine
Someone Else’s Cake
(Fin Records)

Red Jacket Mine — Lincoln Barr, Matthew Cunningham and Andrew Salzman — know how to stir the perfect formula when it comes to affirming their pop pedigree. Barr possesses one of those elastic, honey-soaked vocals that brings to mind the Rascals or the Guess Who, one more than capable of asserting the exuberance obvious in Red Jacket Mine’s delivery. Cunningham and Salzman give the music an edgy and exhilarating undertow (especially evident on the trudging, steamroller blast of “Engineer”), but they generally keep the music as giddy as it ought to be. “Nickel & Dime” suggests Steve Forbert’s breezy, aw-shucks folkiness, “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on the Corner” finds them in country corn realms (with honky-tonk piano no less) and “Better To Be Broken Than Blind” offers a bit of sweet soul that the Temptations would once have been proud to claim as their own. On the other hand. “Skint City” brings to mind the striking affability of Steely Dan, a band that Red Jacket Mine effectively emulate throughout. (No surprise really, considering the fact that they covered The Dan’s “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” as the B side of one of their singles). But where Fagen, Becker and company drifted into jazzier terrain and jettisoned the accessibility factor, Red Jacket Mine stick to the template established on; that is, to produce a joyful sound that makes for any number of welcome returns. And ultimately, that’s what finds this Cake so damn tasty. (www.redjacketmine.net)

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

McKeesport Daily News – February 23, 2013

by Jeffrey Sisk

4 out of 5 stars
Seattle-based trio Red Jacket Mine are more akin musically to the British pub-rock movement of the late 1970s than the grunge-fueled signature sound of their hometown, and it’s high time these talented power-poppers got the national attention they deserve. Long-gestating third album “Someone Else’s Cake” may be the one that catapults Lincoln Barr’s band to new heights. The 11-track release is remarkably consistent and a heck of a lot of fun, as Red Jacket Mine serve up one delicious tune after another. Among the many highlights are “Amy,” “Ron Nasty,” “Engineer,” “Skint City,” “Listen Up (If the World Is Going to Hell),” “Better to Be Broken Than Blind” and “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?” Sounding both retro and current at the same time, “Someone Else’s Cake” is one of 2013’s early surprises.

Featured: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Radio Free SoDo – February 21, 2013

by Scott B. Nichols

Somebody (besides me) is still listening to lots of old Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe.

Red Jacket Mine clearly has an admiration for the great British pop songwriters of the late ’70?s & early ’80?s, but these expertly crafted, catchy tunes aren’t copping anyone – this is highly authentic, original stuff. Killer polished songwriting & melodies. Someone Else’s Cake is a nearly perfect brand new early 80?s pop record from start to finish.

Goddamn, Fin Records is putting out some amazing music right now.

(Thank you, Scott!)

Video of the Day: Red Jacket Mine – “Someone Else’s Cake”

Spinner – February 19, 2013

by Shawnee Brew

Highlight: “Our keyboard player Daniel Walker described this tune as a ‘socio-sexual-economic’ treatise, and there’s a little election-year frustration there, too — a keen ear will pick out the line about ‘mitts like yours’ — but it’s basically a kiss-off in the grand pop tradition,” Lincoln Barr tells Spinner. “Given its obvious musical heritage, we thought it’d be fun to use Elvis Costello’s classic ‘Pump It Up’ video as a taking-off point, with a nod to the Stones’ Let It Bleed album sleeve (one of many references the brilliant Shawn Wolfe incorporated into the packaging for Someone Else’s Cake).”

Watch: Red Jacket Mine – “Someone Else’s Cake”

SSG Music – February 19, 2013

by Ryan Carr

Fin Records newcomers Red Jacket Mine are releasing their third LP Someone Else’s Cake today, February 19. In anticipation, the band has just released a video for the album’s title track.

The video and song both exude a classic campy, cool similar to Elvis Costello and the Attractions – lead singer Lincoln Barr even color-coordinated his suit with his Fender Jazzmaster. These practioners of tasteful pop are throwing a 21+ release party at the High Dive on February 22. They will also be playing at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID in late March.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

The Monarch Review – February 19, 2013

by Jake Uitti

Want to be in a good mood? Just listen to this song: “Ron Nasty”. It is one of the 11 tracks on Red jacket Mine’s new LP, Someone Else’s Cake. The song’s humor will have you swaying and smiling. “He’s a particular brand of aloof,” the playful lyrics begin, “with a tenuous grasp of the truth. And he don’t like you!”

The music of Red Jacket Mine is clear and crisp. Full with electric guitars, tight drumming and charmingly proficient keys. It was a joy to stumble upon their new album on a sunny Seattle day in early February. I put it on as I stood in the doorway of my apartment, watching a small woman steer a large bus north. I listened as I realized a light fixture on my ceiling is either broken or needs more duct tape. And, while listening, I didn’t mind that predicament.

The band, which partnered with Seattle’s Fin Records for three single releases in 2012, including their digital release “Amy”, is comprised of lead singer and guitar player Lincoln Barr, bassist Matthew Cunningham and drummer Andrew Salzman. But the trio does not hesitate to incorporate horns, handclaps, silky guitar leads and other components to fill the space they created with more music. Think: Brendan Benson meets the Kinks.

In “Engineer”, Barr sings, “You got a face like a magnet and you’re swingin’ from the chandelier. I strut like a rooster and my baby calls me Chanticleer,” Deep saxophones and a sweating guitar accompany the lyrics and a specific type of focus befalls you: you’re into it, tried and true.

The album’s ultimate track, “Bellar & Bawl”, leaves its listener with a reminder of what’s best about the album. You’re tapping your feet, or you’re shimmying your shoulders, or you’re ears are locked on the strum of the acoustic guitar beneath the fat drums, bright keys and joyous vocals. “You can bellar and bawl, but it won’t add up to nothin’ but one more pain in the ass. You can bellar and bawl, but it won’t make any difference you learned that lesson from the last!”

Someone Else’s Cake will be out Feb. 19. You can find more about the band at http://redjacketmine.net. They play next Feb. 22 at The High Dive in Fremont for the record’s release.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Ground Zero: Lincoln Journal Star – February 19, 2013

by L. Kent Wolgamott

Take early Elvis Costello, Squeeze and Nick Lowe, filter in some Alex Chilton, add a shade of country and you’ve got “Someone Else’s Cake” — the fine, fine, fine new album from Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine.

Kicking off with the gorgeous “Amy” and wrapping up with the pub-rockin’ “Bellar & Bawl,” the disc rambles through horn-honkin’ swagger on “Engineer,” takes a soulful trip to “Skint City” and heads full on into Elvis & the Attractions territory with the propulsive title cut.

With titles such as “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell),” which turns out to be a romantic swinger, and “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?” for a country putdown, it’s clear Red Jacket Mine leader Lincoln Barr can write smart lyrics that are perfect for his songs.

“Someone Else’s Cake” wraps up in a tidy 33 minutes, 33 seconds. Simple math tells you these are 3-minute gems, and they’re flat irresistible. Grade: A

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

One Chord to Another – February 17, 2013

by Vesa Lautamäki

The new Red Jacket Mine album Someone Else’s Cake is due out 19th of February on Fin Records. I’ve had the pleasure to listen to it for the past month or so and I really like it. I suppose it’s no wonder, because if I look at the favorites list on their website, I can’t be entirely sure I haven’t hacked the site in my dreams and written a major part of the list myself (Big Star, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Sparklehorse, Sloan, Lee Hazlewood etc).

The third Red Jacket Mine album contains a lot of that power pop thing that I love so dearly. For example Ron Nasty is such a great melodic pop song. Power pop influences are just one side of the story though. The frontman Lincoln Barr grew up in Memphis and therefore it’s not a surprise that soul music is very dear to him. Someone Else’s Cake holds a lot of soul inside. That might well be the reason why Red Jacket Mine often sounds very refreshing. I mean I’ve spent my whole adulthood listening to bands influenced by Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello and while I still love that kind of bands, Red Jacket Mine offers something new by wrapping that melodic pop inside soul sounds.

Oh. And one of my biggest musical heroes, Ken Stringfellow sings backing vocals on three songs. This opening track Amy isn’t one of them though. They also have a new video for the title track, which you can find by clicking this.

(Thanks, Vesa!)

‘Someone Else’s Cake,’ Red Jacket Mine (Fin Records, HHHHH)

Biloxi Sun-Herald – February 14, 2013

by Ricky Flake

(5 H’s!)

This Feb. 19 release comes from Seattle, but sounds more like a product of post-punk Britain, when Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker and Squeeze ended up on the UK charts along with other literate singer-songwriter pop masters. This outfit is led by singer-songwriter/guitarist Lincoln Barr. The tight rhythm section is Matthew Cunningham on bass and vocals and Andrew Salzman on drums percussion and vocals. That trio makes extremely cool music along with keyboardist Daniel Walker and producer Johnny Sangster on percussion, guitar and vocals along with other studio cohorts. There are so many good songs that it’s hard to pick highlights, so here’s a few flavorful sonic dishes, starting with the opener, “Amy.”

Early Elvis Costello and prime-time Squeeze are valid instrumental comparisons for tunes such as “Nickel & Dime,” the garage-soul “Engineer,” the insanely catchy “Ron Nasty” and the playful title song.

This is a heaping helping of intelligent, brainy music that will win many fans.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

AllMusic.com – February 11, 2013

by Fred Thomas

4 out of 5 stars

While Someone Else’s Cake is only the third album in as many years from Seattle quartet Red Jacket Mine, they already sound like they’ve been on the block for quite some time. Maybe it’s songwriter Lincoln Barr’s old soul lyrics, which manage to be intricate, smart, and casual at the same time, or maybe it’s their breezy sound, built on a foundation of slick ’70s pop influences but branching out into more updated styles almost accidentally. More likely, it’s the masterful assembly of all these influences, motivations, and intentions into a streamlined final product that sounds so cool and self-assured there’s no chance it was made by some bunch of new kids. Starting with the peppy album-opener “Amy,” Red Jacket Mine dip deep into their bag of tricks for a hook-heavy three-minute blast of power pop with dabs of Elvis Costello-style organ, the lighthearted storytelling voice of Squeeze, and the summery instrumentation of Nick Lowe’s most upbeat tunes. Tracks like “Nickel & Dime” and “Skint City” tap into the world-weary-but-grinning perspective of Warren Zevon, or even more so, Steely Dan’s plastic bohemian sheen. The bleaty horn section and crunchy glam boogie guitar shuffle on “Engineer” all but quote “Bang a Gong” without rewriting the song. Much like 2010s contemporaries Ted Leo and Spoon, Red Jacket Mine marry their vast playlist of influences to their own songwriting approach, coming off not as plagiarists, but more as enormous music nerds who actually have something to add to their jumping-off points. This is evidenced by the over the top traditional country number “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on this Corner?,” a track that sounds like something the Byrds left on the cutting room floor circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The track offers a break from the pop and highlights how deeply the band considered the songwriting, consistency, and flow of the album. Drawing on the past but building something new from the components, Someone Else’s Cake ends up being as developed, thoughtful, and satisfying as it seems at first glance. For a band not too many years into it, Red Jacket Mine have funneled a lifetime’s worth of spring afternoons listening to records into 11 cleanly polished and highly varied slices of pop music magic.

(Wow!!! Thanks to Fred and all at AllMusic!)

AllMusic Streams It All: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

The AllMusic Blog – February 11, 2013

We’re back with another exclusive album stream! Up this week is Someone Else’s Cake, the latest from Seattle foursome Red Jacket Mine. Finding inspiration in the lively, unfussy vibe of classic power pop and pub rock, AllMusic editor Fred Thomas says the album buzzes with “dabs of Elvis Costello-style organ, the lighthearted storytelling voice of Squeeze, and the summery instrumentation of Nick Lowe’s most upbeat tunes”.

Whether you dig ’70s pop or modern torchbearers like Ted Leo and Spoon, you’ll wanna take a bite out of Someone Else’s Cake. Give it a spin now!

Purchase Someone Else’s Cake via Fin Records and Amazon. Someone Else’s Cake is out February 19 on Fin Records.

Broken Hearted Toy: Slumgullion

Broken Hearted Toy – February 8, 2013

by Terry Flamm

Red Jacket Mine incorporates elements of mainstream artists like Billy Joel and Steely Dan into consistently melodic pop songs on its latest release, Someone Else’s Cake. “Engineer,” on the other hand, is a fun romp through T-Rex territory. The energetic title track also stands out, along with the blue-eyed soul of “Better To Be Broken Than Blind.” On “Have You Got A Permit To Preach On This Corner?” Red Jacket Mine sets religious satire to a toe-tapping Country & Western arrangement.

Album Reviews: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake (Fin)

WHO WANTS LOVE WITHOUT THE LOOKS – February 3, 2013

I remember being quite impressed simply by the 100×100 pixel JPEG image that presented itself within the promotional email I received for Red Jacket Mine’s new album, ‘Someone Else’s Cake.’ Immediately it brought to mind the cut-n-paste artwork often found with Guided By Voices or Pavement records. I couldn’t wait to hold the 12inch version of this meticulously involved collage.

This was my first experience with Fin Records, a name I can now tell you is significantly associated with quality. To start, the record bags they use are not your standard polyethylene bags that most companies use. I could be wrong, but I believe Fin Records might be using a museum grade archival polyester / mylar record bag. Whatever it is, the minute you grab their records, you know someone cares dearly for the contents within and they want to ensure their records are past on from generation to generation.

Another standard that quickly impressed me with Fin Records was their embossed logo you always find within the packaging. It’s a stamp of approval confirming that they ensure you won’t be disappointed, and you won’t.

The inner sleeve for ‘Someone Else’s Cake’ resembles Space Age Bachelor Pad musicians like Esquivel and labels like Command Records (one of our absolute favorites of all time for design and packaging); vibrant in color and geometric design. The exquisitely pressed stark white vinyl pulls it all together. Shawn Wolfe, who regularly breaks the barrier of the x-axis, is credited for the design. He is also responsible for Red Jacket Mine’s two like composed 7inches singles from this album, “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” and “Bellar & Bawl.” Wolfe’s style visually expands Red Jacket Mine’s sound in the same way producer Johnny Sangster does in the studio.

The album starts off strong with “Amy,” but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I wasn’t taken aback by singer / songwriter, Lincoln Barr’s, Ted-Leo-doing-an-impression-of-Jon-Bon-Jovi-like vocal style, predominantly with this track. The mature nature of “Nickel & Dime” and “Ron Nasty” instantly satisfied my pallet, loaded with thought provoking lyrics, pop hooks and harmonies at every corner reminiscent of classics spanning the past fifty years, then topped by Red Jacket Mine’s studio performance of sheer perfection. By the way, don’t take that Ted Leo / Jon Bon Jovi comment as a diss; it’s meant to describe Barr’s tasty vocal tone and texture.

“Engineer,” packed with fuzzy guitar leads and a ballsy (again with the balls) brass section, showcases Barr’s blues influence from St. Louis, MO, where he attended college. But it wasn’t until “Skint City” that a limelight clearly illuminated Red Jacket Mine’s vision of soul fusion. It was only a hint of what was to come, as I was forced to get up from my chair to flip the record over and settle in for a very enjoyable ride through side-b.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” sounds like Steely Dan doing a cover of a Curtis Mayfield song, and I love it (FYI: I am a freak Steely and Curtis fan). Everything about this track: the guitar tones, the chord changes, the organ drones, the crescendos, the fills, …I just love this track. Followed by “Novelty’s Gone,” with Andrew Salzman’s confident and enthralling drumming, side-b really begins to define the power behind Red Jacket Mine. Barr’s use of back up singers on this chorus, along with the commanding delivery of his words, are as refreshing as Neil Halstead’s similar deliverance with Mojave 3′s sophomore surprise, ‘Out of Tune.’

The title track is pure, solid, fun, well executed rock and roll, separating Red Jacket Mine from being just any bar band and putting them in a class of Elvis Costello, Young Mothers, and (again) Ted Leo (continuing with that Jon Bon Jovi twang). Speaking of twang, Barr throws us a curve ball just before he wraps up this collection of first-rate ditties. “Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?” is Red Jacket Mine’s nod-to-Nashville, and somewhat of a protest song; or perhaps a song to protest against protests. The boys wrap things up back at the local watering hole with their second single, “Bellar & Bawl.” Matthew Cunningham’s urging bass lines grab a hold of Salzman’s beats and never look back, while guest pianist, Ty Bailie, twinkles the ivories with enthusiasm. Barr’s compelling address enthralls the drunken blokes for a brief moment while they sing along, just as the band closes out ‘last call,’ and the men fall victim to the feminine touch he warned them about.

Red Jacket Mine, Fin Records, Johnny Sangster, and Shawn Wolfe really hit a grand slam with ‘Someone Else’s Cake.’ They are playing in a league of their own, unlike anything you would expect from Seattle, WA. They are the local band that done good for themselves. Their music is classic, timeless, and alive. Learn more about Red Jacket Mine via Fin Records.

(Wow, thanks! Be sure to check out their site for some very handsome photos of the vinyl package.)

Album Reviews: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake (Fin)

Campus Circle – January 30, 2013

by Kevin Wierzbicki

With “Amy,” the first cut on Someone Else’s Cake, offering a subtle nod to the Cars hit “Shake it Up,” and the second cut “Nickel and Dime” sounding like something that dropped off a Squeeze album, you don’t have to get far into the set to know what Red Jacket Mine is all about: concise pop songs that are a cut above typical radio fodder. Cleverly phrased lyrics are part of the deal. On “Ron Nasty,” singer Lincoln Barr relates rather matter-of-factly that Ron is a “particular brand of aloof/with a tenuous grasp on the truth/and he don’t like you,” but the snarky put-down doesn’t keep the song from including a sweet sing-along chorus that makes it seem like the nasty Mr. Nasty is actually being celebrated. That kind of sublime wit recalls the work of Elvis Costello, and the use of fuzz guitar and Farfisa embellishments here and there further the notion that Red Jacket Mine is quite fond of the best of the early New Wave wordsmiths. It may be Someone Else’s Cake, but the best thing to do here is grab the biggest slice you can.

Grade: A

(Thanks, Kevin!)

Album Reviews: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake (Fin)

KEXP – January 18, 2013

by Don Yates

This Seattle band’s latest album is their finest work to date. It’s a warm, soulful, expertly crafted set of ‘70s-inspired pop-rock combining elements of early New Wave, Steely Dan, glam-rock, soul, roots-rock and more into vibrant pop gems with clever lyrics and sharp song hooks.

(HUGE thanks to Don and KEXP!)

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Someone Else’s Cake

Wildy’s World – January 14, 2013

by Wildy Haskell

Red Jacket Mine is a product of disparate influences. The Seattle based quartet hails from a city known for Garage Rock, Grunge and Rap, but Red Jacket Mine is crafting their own Seattle Sound. With lead vocalist and songwriter Lincoln Barr calling on his Memphis roots, Red Jacket Mine walks the line between blues, soul, country and good old classic rock and roll. The result is familiar yet fresh, full of catchy pop hooks and a whole lot of charm. Red Jacket Mine brings it all together on their fourth album, Someone Else’s Cake, due out February 13, 2013.

Red Jacket Mine takes off with the delicious, synth-driven pop/rock of “Amy”. Infectious hooks and a sneaky-catchy chorus make this one a charmer and a great opening track. “Nickel & Dime” is a catchy Americana rocker that sounds like a cross between Elvis Costello and Blue Rodeo. Red Jacket Mine builds a wonderfully catchy vibe here while discussing the human tendency to tear down anything that works and the clash between optimism and pessimism. “Ron Nasty” is a bit generic, but “Engineer” rocks with a bluesy attitude. This is one of those tunes you just can’t sit still for, and vocalist Lincoln Barr is in particularly fine form here.

“Skint City” has a more melancholy feel, and carries a vocal harmony that’s reminiscent of a 1970’s Eagles record. It’s a solid album track with a quiet swing that’s easy on the ears. “Listen Up (If the World Is Going to Hell)” pays homage to 1970’s R&B and pop styles. Barr sounds a bit strained in small moments here, but it’s a solid effort overall. “Novelty’s Gone” walks the line between gentle rock and country, relying on a metronomic rhythm to drive a maudlin number about the reality of a relationship setting in. There’s a rote feel to this tune that carries over to the tacitly soulful “Better To Be Broken Than Blind”. Both tunes are solid enough, but just don’t carry much energy or conviction.

Red Jacket Mine comes fully awake for “Someone Else’s Cake”, a catchy kiss-off song of sorts. There’s a delicious edge to this number that underscores the Americana/Country sound. “Have You Got A Permit To Preach On This Corner” has more of a classic country sound, and takes to task someone who professes their beliefs publicly. Red Jacket Mine closes with the catchy rocker “Bellar & Bawl”. An R&B backbeat drives the song, alongside an early rock & roll piano style and a band that is clicking on all eight cylinders. This is the perfect close to the album, and a perfect song to close shows with as well.

Red Jacket Mine certainly knows how to kick things into high gear when they want to, but Someone Else’s Cake shows a supple understanding of song craft that while not always perfect in fruition, displays a distinctive understanding of melody, song structure and inspiration. Someone Else’s Cake is a complex album that finds lead singer/songwriter Lincoln Barr negotiating with his own varied musical influences with varying degrees of success. It’s an intriguing listen from a band who promises to keep growing and getting better with age.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Michael Toland’s Top Ten — Red Jacket Mine – “Amy” b/w ”Any Major Dude Will Tell You” (Fin)

The Big Takeover – December 23, 2012

by Michael Toland

Another smart, catchy and utterly delightful pop tune from this excellent Seattle outfit, plus a Steely Dan cover that stamps it with the band’s personality. RJM is getting ready to take over the world, I swear. Picks to click: both.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – “Amy” b/w “Any Major Dude Will Tell You”

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – October 3, 2012

by Sarah Elson

The latest single from this power-pop band, “Amy” is full of breezy pop melodies and plenty of doo-wops that will have you humming for days. On the flip side, it’s all smooth soul.

On the Record – Red Jacket Mine

antiMUSIC.com – August 17, 2012

by Keith Wierzbicki

Spotlight on the vinyl output of Seattle-based indie band Red Jacket Mine with their two special single releases of “Listen Up” b/w “Rosy Days” and “Bellar & Bawl” b/w “Grow Your Own”.

Red Jacket Mine
“Listen Up” b/w “Rosy Days”
Fin Records
7″ 45-RPM single, colored vinyl, picture sleeve

Jaunty pop is Red Jacket Mine’s specialty and fans of Elvis Costello will find kindred spirits in this one as the band ladles on bright organ riffs and Stax hit single references, all tied together with sugary vocals from singer/guitarist Lincoln Barr. B-side “Rosy Days” has a sound that recalls Squeeze at their best.

Red Jacket Mine
“Bellar & Bawl” b/w “Grow Your Own”
7″ 45-RPM single, colored vinyl, picture sleeve

Here again Red Jacket Mine show an enormous talent for crafting bouncy pop tunes; “Bellar & Bawl,” dressed up with twanging guitar and driving piano, has the kind of hook that must have Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe wondering, “Did we write that?” RJM know how to leave you wanting more, too, as the song comes to an unexpected cold close leaving the listener suddenly bobble-heading along to silence and ready to re-spin the record. Speaking of wanting more, the guys are working on a full-length for release in 2013 and hopefully it’ll be packed with gems like these.

(Thanks, Keith!)

Review: Red Jacket Mine – Bellar & Bawl on Fin Records

7 i n c h e s blog – July 9, 2012

by Jason Dean Egan

The never ending conveyor belt of singles from the Fin Records factory keeps right on rolling and I’m starting to realize you’d need to start your own blog to keep up. They must run a tight ship over there with deadlines and teams of artists designing sleeves, lining up recording sessions…a whiteboard of upcoming projects, phones ringing off the hook…like the trading floor of the stock exchange, but for singles. We can dream.

Lincoln Barr is the mastermind behind the bedroom 4 track project that was became early Red Jacket Mine. That kind of dense experimentation comes through on this latest single from Fin Records where Lincoln’s sparkling hyper-pop has been distilled from raw innovation with Andrew Salzman and Matthew Cunningham bringing their own live performances to the recording. His previous single on Fin brought together a lot of the masters pop, from the session groove of Steely Dan to the indie pop of Kurt Heasley on both of these brief samples for a full length out later this year.

A-Side’s “Bellar & Bawl” is a slick, clear, rocking and rolling number with those glittery doubled up vocals and polished handclaps. A sort of country honkey tonk sound, with it’s share of piano flourishes and harmonious backup vocals. He’s one of those talented songwriters who’s absorbed a tremendous amount of intelligent song craft and draws equally from across the board. This results not only in instrumentation but lyrics that you aren’t going to really get until tomorrow. Picking up heavily on the Squeeze sound, sort of timeless in that it’s not tied distinctively to any trendy genres.

B-Side’s “Grow Your Own” has got these subtle strums and an odd tom beat, Lincoln’s got an enthusiastic vocal and slight reverb on his almost 50′s bopper sound, maybe that’s where the Elvis Costello references come from, it’s an equally strong, unique vocal tying all sorts of classic early rock and roll. A similar kind of do-wop soul sound once removed; simultaneously a condemnation and celebration about that particular era. It’s the kind of thing that should actually be in a jukebox somewhere in a highway diner, the middle of nowhere….scratchy,coming out of a crappy speaker. It would actually give you some kind of energy to finish that roadtrip. Incredibly emotive, dense disjointed lyric narrative, complex songwriting that might even be his undoing at times. But then damn I’m into this crunchy, alien distortion solo that pops up towards the end of this, completely out of place, and I appreciate that borderline unlistenable sound… that hes going to take a chance on that.

Download card included on clear orange vinyl with the usual embossed stamping and color inner sleeves…get it from Fin Records.

(Thanks for the awesome review, Jason! – LB)

Video Premiere: Red Jacket Mine, “Bellar & Bawl”

American Songwriter – June 4, 2012

by Evan Schlansky

“Bellar & Bawl” is a tale of frustration with a friend who’s found love and doesn’t mind paying for it, so to speak,” says Lincoln Barr of acclaimed Seattle power pop band Red Jacket Mine.

“The title comes from a quite possibly fabricated memory of my Southern grandparents’ description of my pitiful childish blubberings… the real word is “bellow,” of course, but “bellar” sounded so much better.”

Watch the “Bellar & Bawl” video below, which proves that men will still do anything for a lady in red.

Mayer’s Playlist for Spring 2012, Part 2: Red Jacket Mine – “Bellar & Bawl”

Twangville – May 31, 2012

by Mayer Danzig

Imagine if Squeeze and Big Star had recorded some songs together, marrying the glossy sheen of the former with the grit and vitality of the latter. I’m guessing that it would sound something like the songs on this Seattle trio’s latest digital single. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Review: Red Jacket Mine – “Bellar & Bawl” b/w “Grow Your Own” (Fin)

The Big Takeover – June 1, 2012

by Michael Toland

Red Jacket Mine has been quietly building up a body of work (two albums so far, including the Ken Stringfellow-produced Lovers Lookout) and gigs (shows with everyone from Alejandro Escovedo and Chuck Prophet to Stringfellow and Hugh Cornwell and Glen Matlock) for the past few years. Now the Seattle trio is gearing up for a major push. This is the second in a series of 7-inches that showcases the band in small doses – sort of a musical handshake, if you will. Leader Lincoln Barr is something of a traditionalist, favoring new wave-ish power pop melodies and savvy lyrics – reminiscent, but not imitative, of Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and their peers. “Bellar & Bawl” rocks a little harder, while “Grow Your Own” (soul, not pot) mixes in a blue-eyed soul flavor. Both tunes indicate a sophisticated pop palette and a wry sense of humor. A perfect introduction to what sounds like a marvelous band.

(Thanks, Michael! – LB)

Review: “Bellar & Bawl” b/w “Grow Your Own” 45 – 8 stars!

Blurt Online – May 29, 2012

by Fred Mills

(Fin)
www.finrecords.com

Seattle’s Red Jacket Mine, whose Ken Stringfellow-produced Lovers Lookout (2009) generated favorable comparisons from this very publication to vintage psych, Big Star-informed garage/pop and Memphis/Muscle Shoals soul, is in the middle of a singles-issuing frenzy, of which the platter at hand is the followup to February’s “Listen Up” 45. Another single is in the wings, with a full-length scheduled for early 2013, so without further adieu:

The Faces-meets-Georgia Satellites “Bellar & Bawl” marries choppy power pop guitars to insistent Memphian ivories, and all the tuneful swagger implied by that description should not be underestimated; this is a song destined, if musical justice prevails, to be covered by bar bands across the land – at first, second, third and last call. Meanwhile, the soulful, more pub-rocking “Grow Your Own” (as in, “grow your own soul,” natch) takes things down a notch or two while providing crucial sustenance for, as the saying goes, your rock ‘n’ roll…

Wait, did the man mention soul? Yeahhhh… FRED MILLS

(Tremendous thanks to Fred & all at Blurt! We love you guys! – LB)

Interview with Lincoln Barr of Red Jacket Mine

Alright, I’m Wrong – May 25, 2012

What does your songwriting process look like? Walk me through an entire song from start to finish.
Traditionally, it’s started with the music for me – a chord progression or melody on the guitar will spark an idea, and I’ll often have the entire piece of music finished before I get too far with the lyrics. Lately, however, I find myself starting with a title or phrase more often, then working up the music and filling in the blanks from there. I’ll take them however they come, frankly!

Due to a limited amount of me-and-the-guitar time, I’ll often jot down or record an idea on the fly (usually when I’m already 5 minutes late for my bus), then mull it over in my head all day and try to solidify things when I can get to a guitar again. My favorite thing to do is write lyrics when I’m walking…if I’ve already got the melody and basic song structure down, it becomes a syllable puzzle at that point, and something about feet slapping the pavement seems to help. The early to mid-morning hours also seem more productive for me, which isn’t always convenient when you’ve gotta work, or you’ve been up til 3 the night before, but hey – I’ll take it.

Once I’ve wrestled a new tune to the ground, I’ll record a bare-bones, nigh-unlistenable demo, and the band and I will work up an arrangement in the rehearsal room. I like to start playing new songs live as soon as possible, as that’s where the real progress seems to happen.

How has music changed/influenced/made a difference in your life?
Music has pretty much made my life what it is today. I just turned 30, and it was wild to realize that I’d been playing guitar for over half my life. I’ve been tinkering around with songs for nearly as long, and most all of my important personal relationships revolve around music. My wife of ten years and I bonded over punk records in our college days, which led me to Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and so many more of my favorites. Our decision to move to Seattle seven years ago had a lot to do with finding more opportunities to play, and since then, I’ve learned a lot, made many lifelong friends, and created what I hope is just the beginning of a substantial body of work.

What make you passionate about the music you are currently making?
I feel like the songs we’re playing now are our most immediate and engaging to date – music to be actively enjoyed, not just ‘admired’ – and audience response to the live show and recordings seems to bear that out. I’m still very proud of our first two albums, 2008′s Hello, Old Cloud and 2009′s Lovers Lookout, and they were undoubtedly necessary steps toward the place we’re at today, but I do feel like that material was more difficult for listeners to apprehend at first listen…which, as you know, is often the only chance you get to make an impression.

The music we’re making today excites me, and I feel like it’s truer to my influences than ever before. Memphis soul and pure pop have always had a place in our world, but now I’m letting those horses run free, and it feels really natural. Suddenly, everything’s easier – singing, playing guitar, and most importantly, locking together as a band. Our rhythm section, Andy Salzman (drums) and Matt Cunningham (bass), is simply slaying it right now, and it makes all the difference.

Our producer Johnny Sangster also deserves heaps of credit. He’s proven to be the perfect fit for this material, and I feel incredibly lucky to be working with him at what feels like a really auspicious time for the band. The same goes for our label, Fin Records – it’s empowering and inspiring to work on these songs and know that they’ll be released and supported by folks that really care.

Video: Red Jacket Mine – “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)”

My Old Kentucky Blog – May 23, 2012

Everyone loves singles, right? Well brace yourself, Martha, cuz Red Jacket Mine have gotten in cahoots with Fin Records to drop a series of limited edition vinyl 7-inchers leading up to the release of their full-length debut. Lincoln Barr is the main man behind Red Jacket Mine, and based on the little I’ve heard, he’s a chap who has a stack of well-worn early Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello platters lurking in the basement.

Still, with the sheer number of submissions we get every day, it would have been easy to miss the smoothly grooverific “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” if not for the video. Because, if there’s two things that MOKB can always get behind, it’s animals in people clothes, and people in animal clothes.

I should also mention that Barr is showing no signs of letting up. On May 29th, Bellar and Bawl b/w Grow Your Own will become your latest morsel of RJM’s ear candy to hit retailers, but we’re giving you a taste a week early.

Today Reverb Recommends You Spend 4 Minutes and 55 Seconds With Red Jacket Mine’s “Bellar & Bawl” b/w “Grow Your Own”

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – May 11, 2012

by Chris Kornelis

Lincoln Barr and his band of urban pop tarts have been releasing a steady stream of solid singles with their new label, Fin, in anticipation of their forthcoming LP, which we understand really is forthcoming. The latest single, “Bellar & Bawl,” inspired me to spend the rest of my day devouring the Big Star catalog. Barr has a special talent for making new hits with vintage sounds that are above pastiche. “Bellar & Bawl,” and the flip side, “Grow Your Own,” are no different.

(Big thanks to Chris & all at SW Reverb! – LB)

Excerpt: Lincoln Barr, Bahamas, Loney Dear at Chop Suey

Sound on the Sound – March 29, 2012

by Brittney Bush Bollay

Red Jacket Mine lead singer Lincoln Barr opened the night with an excellent set. Performing solo but commanding the stage, his swagger and playing style hinted at the influence of great rock and roll singer-songwriters like Lou Reed and Joel Plaskett, and kept the normally-chatty early crowd rapt and “unnervingly respectful.”

(More words and photos here – thank you, Brittney! – LB)

Review: Red Jacket Mine on Fin Records

7 i n c h e s blog – March 22, 2012

by Jason Dean Egan

This sleeve from Fin Records, Red Jacket Mine is perfect foreshadowing for the sort of ’80s Graham Parsons [sic], Steely Dan direction this one is headed. The blindingly slick, warm organ, crisp metal strum…it’s a kind of Elvis Costello poppy, clean perfection. A really careful style of songwriting, pouring over the right + k of EQ on a single note. It’s that side of song craft that can happen at home, you’ve got the technology to sit around and play with every minute detail…you’d think we’d be smack in the middle of a resurgence of this kind of sound, but maybe we’re just in that rejection period of slick production again, and we’ll have to wait until it’s nostalgic again.

It’s completely alien, I can’t even figure out how this minimal gated construction adds up immediately to this groovy late ’70s sound, picked apart it can’t possibly add up to this. They were going as far as possible with the perfect sound back then, and RJM has re-nailed this period in such a bizarre way.

The lyric is about suicide, so I’d have to assume he knows exactly what he’s doing putting a demented twist into this ultra commercial pop sound. It sort of makes me put this into a Ween context, and that’s when it starts to get genius. I know he’s got to have that kind of sense of humor. It’s a little too perfect. To the point where you almost expect that ’50′s barbecue-ing dad to be a serial killer on the weekends. The repression is spot on and killing me.

A reverse masked ditty at the end of this one for the kids to try to play backwards…extra weird…it’s where the bodies were buried.

“Rosy Days” on the B-Side, get’s slicky sick into a motown backbeat, I think it’s that organ sound that goes to that Elvis Costello place? It’s all of these elements really, the abrupt melodic changes, the seamless smashing together of towering pop…you end up with glitter all over our face. It’s not coming off.

This could be the way that Stephin Merritt says he loves cheesy pop music and is deliberately trying to create the most perfect pop song but claims to just keeps failing. Well Red Jacket Mine is succeeding to a crazy degree, in an almost obsessive Tom Waits kind of place…insanely authentic, doing it as good or better. Like Nick Kershaw? He’s taken this joke to a razor degree. Keep adding blades. 6 have to be better than 5 right?

All the previous era’s influence in a blender of pop composition.

The sleeve is just like that shitting all over America sleeve of Armed Forces. Look how ridiculous trends are. Look at them.

Oh you crazy seven inches.

On brown marble vinyl from Fin Records.

(Thanks, Jason! – LB)

PoP10 – Red Jacket Mine

Power of Pop! – March 19, 2012

by Kevin Mathews

1. Why play music?

Quite simply, it’s all I’ve wanted to do since I first picked up a guitar at age 13. There’s nothing else like writing songs – the initial spark of an idea, the satisfaction of hearing it all come together, and all of the hard work in-between.

2. Who are your influences?

Craftsmen – Nick Lowe, Alex Chilton, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson. These guys might not’ve been blessed with Sam Cooke’s voice or Elvis Presley’s good looks, but they found a unique approach to songwriting and music-making and developed it, diligently, over long and winding careers, driven only by what was interesting to them at that moment. That’s what I want.

3. What is success?

See above! Finding a supportive audience, and building it slowly but surely. The ability to travel and experience different cultures through music-making would certainly qualify as ‘success’ in my book.

4. Why should people buy your music?

Well, because we spend a lot of money (not to mention time) recording and delivering it to your ears! All proceeds go toward our continued efforts in that department.

5. Who do you love?

My wife, my family, my bandmates and friends. People that inspire me. Bo Diddley, for sure.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?

I’ve already achieved a lot of the things I dreamt of when I started writing songs – I’ve shared stages with some of my favorite musicians (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Chuck Prophet, Jason Falkner), made albums with them (Ken Stringfellow), and spent countless hours in the studio and in a van with my buddies, playing music all over the western US. As I approach 10 years trading under the Red Jacket Mine name, I suppose I’d just like continue expanding in all directions – more music, more friends, more travel and shared experiences. Very few people that I know are getting rich in this business, so to a certain extent, that’s what we’re all collecting – experiences.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

Friends and friendly strangers, mostly. The occasional mummy.

8. What is your favorite album (at this moment)?

Can I choose an upcoming one? My favorite new band of the last few years, Toronto, Ontario’s Zeus (themusicofzeus.com), has a new album called Busting Visions coming out on March 27 via Canadian super-indie Arts & Crafts. Their debut album, Say Us, was my hands-down pick for 2010, and something tells me they’ll take the crown this year, too.

9. What is your favorite song (at this moment)?

Well, I’m enjoying the Staple Singers’ Uncloudy Day this fine Sunday morning, and that’s sounding pretty mighty, but my current pick comes from another brilliant Toronto artist – “Caught Me Thinking” by Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen, erstwhile guitarist for Feist, Jason Collett, and others). Check out the video, and then pick up his new record, Barchords.

10. How did you get here?

I was born in southeast Missouri in 1982, and moved around a bunch as a kid, spending my formative years in northwest Mississippi (near Memphis, Tennessee). I returned to Missouri for college, where I met my lovely wife (and started releasing four-track recordings under the Red Jacket Mine moniker), and we’ve lived in Seattle for the last seven years.

Red Jacket Mine’s new 7? single – Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell) is out now! Find out more.

(Again, big thanks to Kevin & Power of Pop! – LB)

PoPTV – Red Jacket Mine “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)”

Power of Pop! – March 18, 2012

by Kevin Mathews

I make no apologies for being a lover of ‘old-school’ pop music cuz ultimately it’s about substance and not mere form. Pleased to report that bands like Red Jacket Mine, which focus on 80s-styled soul, country, blues, rock, and pop (think: Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Style Council, Hall & Oates) are still out there, if you know where to look!

Red Jacket Mine has already released two studio albums (including 2009?s Ken Stringfellow-produced Lovers Lookout) and currently consists of bandleader Lincoln Barr, longtime drummer Andrew Salzman and bassist Matthew Cunningham. “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” is a brilliant slice of soul-infused pub rock that bears repeated listening.

So check out this surrealistic music video for Red Jacket Mine‘s new 7? single and please send them your love, okay?

(Big thanks to Kevin & Power of Pop! – LB)

Tell Me About That Song: Lincoln Barr, Vocalist of Soulful-Power-Pop Band Red Jacket Mine

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – March 5, 2012

by Joe Williams

A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Lincoln Barr, vocalist and guitarist of Seattle soulful-power-pop band Red Jacket Mine, delves into surgical procedures, sexual gratification and suicide pacts.

Song: “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)”
Album: Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)
Release Date: Feb. 21, 2012 on Fin Records

When it was written: December of 2010

Where it was written: Sitting on my couch at home, heavily sedated by pain medication.

Favorite line in the song: “If it seems to carry on would be absurd / I’ll free you from your cares, if you only say the word.”

Which part was the hardest to come up with: This song has a lot of chord changes, and it was tricky getting some of them just right. (“Should that be an F major, or an F# minor? They both have an A up top…”) Fortunately, I had plenty of time on my hands.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: Nothing. I’m sure someone else might find something to change, but this tune came together just like I had hoped – in composition, performance, and production, thanks in no small part to the esteemed Mr. Johnny Sangster.

Odd fact about song: In late 2010, I had to have a fairly serious surgical procedure, which provided the downtime necessary to write this song (and several other keepers.) I was unable to sing for nearly a month, which made the songwriting process interesting. I had to sing in my head, and sketch out melodies on the guitar, instead of singing along. It was a good three weeks before I ever heard this song out loud, and much longer before I could sing it at full strength.

What was your inspiration for writing the song: I’d always wanted to write this type of song – triumphant, groovy, heavily influenced by Gamble & Huff Philly soul. And the “come on and get with me” lyrical theme is an old standby. But I knew I had to turn it on its head somehow. What if the narrator’s ultimate goal wasn’t sexual or romantic gratification, but something darker?

When was your favorite time performing it live: This past weekend on KEXP! It was so much fun looking around the room, seeing my buddies, and knowing that our friends and family – some of whom have never had the chance to see us live – were listening in around the world.

What is the meaning behind the song: This song can be interpreted in a variety of ways, all of which I’d encourage, but the basic lyrical conceit is a lover pleading with his partner to join him in a suicide pact. This is seen as a positive, proactive step (“take some ownership of your own fate”) – the world is going to hell, after all, so honey, we might as well. (Sung with tongue firmly in cheek, of course.)

Thanks to Joe & the Weekly!

Pick Three with Lincoln Barr of Red Jacket Mine

Ardent Studios Music Blog – March 1, 2012

1. Willie Morris – North Toward Home

A fellow Southern transplant in Seattle recommended this to me, and I initially added it to the massive pile of great Southern lit that I haven’t gotten around to…but something about his description compelled me to snag a used copy from Powell’s and take it on a recent trip to the Yucatán peninsula with my wife.

Morris hooked me instantly with his vivid descriptions of his boyhood in post-war Yazoo City, Mississippi, his social/political awakening at the University of Texas in the late 1950s, and his experiences as a somewhat-ashamed provincial in the “big cave” of New York City, where he worked as an editor for Harper’s from 1963 to 1971. This beautiful coming of age story affected me nearly as deeply as Robert Gordon’s It Came From Memphis (the book I credit for opening my eyes to the value of my Southern roots). Highly recommended.

2. The Fender Stratocaster (especially as recorded at Ardent Studios)

A Jazzmaster has been my main guitar for years, but I’ve recently fallen under the spell of its less-idiosyncratic older sibling, the Stratocaster. They’re ubiquitous in rock & roll (Hendrix, anyone?), but the Strat sounds captured at Ardent are my personal Holy Grail.

Between the crystalline arpeggios of #1 Record and Radio City (the middle section of “Way Out West” is a particularly sublime example) and the juicy “squank” of the rhythm guitar sounds on ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres (see “Hot, Blue, and Righteous”), Terry Manning and John Fry should be on the Fender payroll, as far as I’m concerned.

3. The Toronto music scene

While Memphis will always be my musical Mecca, I’ve been blown away by the quality of music coming out of Toronto over the last few years. The band Zeus, in particular, has been a revelation – their album Say Us was my hands-down pick for 2010, and I can’t wait for their sophomore record Busting Visions, which comes out March 27. Also worth checking out: Jason Collett’s Rat a Tat Tat, Bahamas’ Barchords, The Golden Dogs’ Coat of Arms, and Peter Elkas’ Party of One. These folks are all friends and collaborate extensively…check the liner notes. Something’s happening up there, and I dig it.

Lincoln Barr is the singer/songwriter behind Seattle soul/pop combo Red Jacket Mine. Born in southeast Missouri, he spent his formative years outside Memphis in Horn Lake, Mississippi. Red Jacket Mine recently released a limited-edition 7” on Fin Records of “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell),” and a second single, “Bellar & Bawl,” is slated for release in May 2012. They will perform live on KEXP on Saturday, March 3 at 8pm PST.

(HUGE thanks to Rachel, Jody, and all at Ardent! – LB)

69 Local Record Reviews: Red Jacket Mine’s “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)”

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – February 29, 2012

by Ma’chell Duma LaVassar

Red Jacket Mine are a sonic respirator keeping ’70s AM pop alive and well—radio-ready vintage Top 40 flirting with soul that could blend right in on a mixtape next to Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.

Every Local Release: Download Red Jacket Mine’s Genial New Single, “Poplar Bluff,” For Free

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – January 4, 2012

by Erin K. Thompson

Seattle rock-and-soul trio Red Jacket Mine will be releasing a 7-inch, “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell),” next month on Fin Records. To tide fans over in the meantime, there’s “Poplar Bluff,” a genial single that boasts easy, mellow instrumentation, a compelling chorus, and the sharpest arrow in the band’s quiver, frontman Lincoln Barr’s sweet, smooth, and unassuming vocals. Barr ominously described the song’s subject matter to me as “a particularly unsavory southeast Missouri town I encountered a few times as a kid.”

Listen to “Poplar Bluff” on Red Jacket Mine’s Bandcamp page.

(Big thanks to Erin & all at SW Reverb! – LB)

Red Jacket Mine’s Lincoln Barr: ‘The ’90s Took the Hump Right Out of Rock, I’m Afraid’

Seattle Weekly’s Reverb – September 30, 2011

by Chris Kornelis

This post is part of the special Reverb Questionnaire series in which we ask local bands to discuss the legacy of the Seattle music explosion of 1991, as well as the class of 2011.

SW: What do you think the legacy of the 1991 grunge explosion is for the Seattle scene?
Red Jacket Mine’s Lincoln Barr: Well, most of the characters are still kicking around and playing in bands – many of them quite good – so that’s one legacy. Pick up a VCR at Value Village, pop in your long-neglected copy of Hype!, and see how many folks you recognize from the previous night’s show at the Sunset.

Do you hear many influences of the sound in today’s bands?
While there seems to be an emphasis on kinder, gentler sounds right now, I think you can draw a pretty straight line (through Mr. Elliott Smith and host of pretenders) back to the ’91 sound. The melodies and rhythms are decidedly white, for the most part, and ‘feelings’ are still the primary lyrical focus. The ’90s took the hump right out of rock, I’m afraid.

In what ways are your band influenced by the 1991 sound?
We try to ignore music made after 1982 or so. I’ve heard that listening to too much music made during your lifetime will make you go blind, and I’m not about to take that chance.

How do you describe the Seattle sound today?
Anything goes. Lots of great music being made in every genre imaginable. That doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will come to see you, but I’d bet there were some quiet nights at the Vogue back in ’91, too.

What were you doing on October 8, 1991?
Stealing my parents’ Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits tape for a recess listening session at Millersville Elementary School. I was in third grade. My classmates were confused. Little has changed.

(Thanks to Chris & the Weekly! – LB)

Pre-2011 press clippings here…