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Apocalypse [VINYL]

Bill Callahan Vinyl
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 17.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Bill Callahan is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, who has also recorded and performed under the band name Smog and (Smog). After almost 20 years of using the alias Smog for his music, Bill Callahan switched to his given name for his releases after 2005's A River Ain't Too Much to Love. The 2007 EP Diamond Dancer and full-length Woke on a Whaleheart both mixed the intimate, ... Read more in Amazon's Bill Callahan Store

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for 9 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Apocalypse [VINYL] + Dream River + Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle
Price For All Three: 40.14

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Product Features

  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Product details

  • Vinyl (29 Mar 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B004QL24IA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,165 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Drover
2. Baby's Breath
3. America!
4. Universal Applicant
5. Riding For The Feeling
6. Free's
7. One Fine Morning

Product Description

BBC Review

On Free’s, the oddly titled penultimate song on Bill Callahan’s Apocalypse, the singer ponders what it means to "to be free in bad times… and good". Ultimately (despite some misgivings) he seems to embrace his own freedom, or at least recognise it. Because while this record draws from a sparser palette than 2009’s sun-cracked opus Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle – and even though it’s called Apocalypse, and is the latest from a singer renowned for his subversive outlook – it isn’t a bleak or downcast affair. Instead it plays out like a grand old Western, wherein Callahan contemplates his role and heritage against an untrammelled American landscape of the kind that constitutes its rich cover art.

That artwork is a painting by the artist Paul Ryan, though the apocalypse evoked over the course of these seven songs is for the most part Callahan’s own: sitting in a hotel room listening to old recordings he’s made, a flickering television on mute, revelation (not Revelation) colouring his thoughts. This vignette is relayed to the listener in the gorgeous Riding for the Feeling, which could feasibly be interpreted as a paean to the instinctive – his personal rejection of the cerebral. Forty minutes in length, each song winds itself into new and unexpected terrain, whether it’s the sense of grace about the opening Drover gradually spinning into urgent climax, or the hesitant finger-picked shapes of Baby’s Breath faltering and accelerating in accordance with Callahan’s dry, assured delivery.

Yet as Apocalypse wears on – through the wry, funky strut of America! ("I watch David Letterman / In Australia / Oh America!") and unhurried passages of Universal Applicant – it becomes more streamlined. It’s a progression felt most palpably in Riding…, and a completely earned, natural one at that. By the time he’s wrapping things up with the languid One Fine Morning, stabs of piano sit alongside lines like "When the earth turns cold, and the earth turns black / Will I feel you riding on my back?", but the effect is never jarring. Rather, Callahan has gifted us perhaps his most subversive set to date: an album less about apocalypse and ruin than it is upheaval of the positive variety, and one of the most contented and rewarding of his career.

--Daryl Easlea

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Customer Reviews

3 star
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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse 6 May 2011
Format:Audio CD
Apocalypse is a further refinement of Bill Callahan's special songwriting gift, with songs taking on - according to Bill in a recent interview - an 'expressionist' form. His lyrics are as strange and funny as ever (see 'America'). This also seems to be something of a concept album, with recurring motifs. It's a grower, too, and gets better with each play. Highly recommended.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange beauty 5 April 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In some ways "Apocalypse" is less accessible than a few of his other
albums. For most parts it's a stripped down affair, it's occasionally
distorted, and the arrangements are not as gorgeous as those on his
last release "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" or "A River Ain't
Much To Love", but after a few listens it grows on you, and I think
this holds togheter really well as an album.

A couple of the songs are jazzier than anything he has done before,
for instance "Universal Applicant" and "Bee's", with the flute parts.
Others have those surprising and unusual transitions that Callahan
handles so well; a small change of tempo, an unexpected twist,
a sigh, a whisper,"a couple of hoots, a hello and a f##k all y'all"!
He is one of very few artists that can make something quiet hit
hard, and make sparse arrangements sound like a full orchestra.

"Drover" is one of the standouts, it's the sound of the west
with an acoustic strum and climbing strings. This is a terrain
Calexico has visited a few times, but the prairie has never felt
this close. Nature, as on many of his greatest albums and songs,
is a felt presence on "Apocalypse"; rivers, deserts, horses,
cattle, valleys and mountains.
And as usual he delivers some incredibly clever and funny one
liners, among the grievous parts and the poetry.

The album closer, "One Fine Morning", is a STUNNING song.
One of the most hypnotic and beautiful things he has done.
Togheter with "Baby's Breath", "Riding For The Feeling", "America!"
and "Drover", it stands as the albums finest moment, and if there
ever was a funeral song, you won't find better opening lines than

"One fine morning I'm going to ride out,
just me and the skeleton crew..."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular album 20 Aug 2011
By q_fdb
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Repeated listening makes this record blossom. Some call the instrumentation sparse, but every single note of every single instrument sounds like it has meaning. For me, it's an incredibly rich album. The lyrics and Callahan's singing are equally compelling. I hardly ever pay attention to the words & meaning of a song, but this album makes me want to understand what it's about. After many listens I still don't fully grasp it, but like the great bedtime stories your parents might have told during your childhood, this record is a tale I want to hear again the second the last note has ended. In short, an amazing record.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SLOW BUT SURE 17 Jun 2011
By jhock
Format:Audio CD
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas For Country Songs 18 Dec 2013
Format:Audio CD
That kid who sat at the back of the class, seemingly almost monochromatic except for his Egon Schiele pink-tinged skin? You never heard of him again. You assume he was institutionalized after leaving school for the strange things he was rumored to be doing to the neighborhood pets in his bedroom. Or perhaps he even managed to drift along under the radar for a while until he finally did that hushed-up `something' that got him put away for the rest of his natural days. It thrills my soul to think, that for someone in the world, that kid has wandered back into their consciousness as a bona fide dyed-in-the-wool purveyor of American song. The signs were already apparent on the aptly named `Supper', the penultimate, most accomplished album of Smog's career to that point. The songs were sumptuously crafted, achingly poignant or else chugged-along rockingly, teeming with an abundance of astute observation delivered in his trademark laconic style. After declaring his love for a watercourse, the Smog lifted, and along with it, so did his mood...albeit temporarily, making it easy to forget that this monochromatic, Egon Schiele-skinned kid used to do strange things to his tape recorder in his bedroom.

Callahan has become the sole survivor of Drag City's original roster, standing alone as an enviable testament to their faith in experimental, discordant little upstarts. While it'd be sycophantically ridiculous to say that either of Drag City's two Dans saw in Callahan what he has now become, they clearly foresaw that the ideas that fizzed & popped away behind that blank stare were always going to lead somewhere at least interesting.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understated genius 14 April 2011
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
Cant believe there is only a single review of this fine album so far. I agree with most of what the previous reviewer says. It is a grower but all the better for that and the melodies do perforate through after a few listens. Loved the cowboy/western landscape setting for the first and last songs (Drover and One Fine Morning) which book end a wonderful album. Dont believe it is all cowboy based though as these are the only two tracks that are related to that. If there is a theme it is the title. More about gigantic personal upheavals in life than four horsemen rampaging across a prairie. I feel I will still be playing this for a long time to come. Check out 'Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle' which is one of the albums of the 21st century.
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