Akron/Family form harmonious new record label, Family Tree Records

Akron/Family form harmonious new record label, Family Tree Records http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-10-family-tree.png

Those familiar with the Akron/Family album Love Is Simple (TMT Review) may recognize the following lyrics: “I’ve got some friends that you should meet/ All good men, all good women… are their names/ But don’t go see them if you are shy/ ‘Cause they are always in embrace beyond proprietttyyyyy.” Whether the song “I’ve Got Some Friends” is about anything specific at all is pretty ambiguous, but one can be reasonably certain that the above lyrics are not only an accurate representation of the values that the relentlessly eccentric experimental folk group hold dear, but also serve as the basis for the founding and operation of their brand new record label, Family Tree Records. Although the label has already been semi-established since the co-release of <bmbz> (a reconstruction from seven artists of Akron/Family’s latest album) earlier this year, things have become officially official with the announcement that, in 2012, they will issue Sunkissed by the Denver band Bad Weather California.

According to a press release, Family Tree Records is said to be influenced by similar artist-run labels, like Takoma Records (started by John Fahey), Elephant 6, and Young God (the label through which Akron/Family first gained notoriety). The idea is to create a musical environment “driven by a sense of independent thinking, ideas, and values,” and tethered by an ever-growing and evolving group of friends, artists, and collaborators. So, in a sense, it’s like forgoing the random college roommate assignment and instead opting to reside with a close pal with whom you actually have something in common. And we all know that having a friend as a roommate never ends horribly, with endless lawsuits and a mutual destruction of personal property. No, no, in all seriousness, the members of Akron/Family seem way more peaceable.

• Akron/Family: http://akronfamily.com
• Family Tree: http://www.familytreerecs.com

Dust-to-Digital releases 4-CD collection of ultra-rare African 78s for your gramophone listening pleasure

The mystical leprechauns over at Atlanta’s Dust-to Digital have followed the world music rainbow to yet another pot of undiscovered tune-gold. This time, the wise record geeks who brought you such drool-worthy compilations as I Belong to This Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings, Melodii Tuvi: Throat Songs and Folk Tunes from Tuva, and the just-released John Fahey collection are taking you on a time-traveling journey to all parts of Africa, where the discerning collector will come face to face with the 100 tracks of Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM. Over the course of four CDs and a 112-page book, fans will travel with LA-based compiler/writer/researcher/collector Jonathan Ward across the entire continent and several decades.

Opika Pende (which means, variously, “be strong,” “stand firm,” and “resist” in the Lingala language of Central Africa) starts off in Egypt and ends in South Africa. The collection includes traditional music and popular jams, all of it never before available on CD. For, as you can guess from the name of the collection, 78s were the preferred method of music listening in most of Africa till the mid-60s, when most of the population still used hand-cranked gramophones. Opika includes songs from 1909 all the way to the mid-60s and, and it’s available now from the Dust-to-Digital website, where you can also see the full tracklist (with language/country specified when possible).

• Dust-to-Digital: http://dust-digital.com

[Photo: The Wire]

Pete Swanson releasing a solo LP on Type Records. Squint really hard and it’s a new Yellow Swans album.

Remember 90s Nickelodeon? I still can’t believe some of those dumb kids on Legends of the Hidden Temple couldn’t put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Remember how for years you had to scour the sketchiest corners of the internet to find episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Remember recently when 90s Nickelodeon (sort of) came back? I don’t actually know what channel it comes on now, because I don’t have cable, but I’m fairly certain the lineup includes Clarissa Explains It All and Doug.

So, speaking of cool things ending, then returning in a slightly different fashion, remember when Yellow Swans disbanded back in 2008? Then remember in 2010 when Pete Swanson, one half of the noise duo, released a solo LP titled Feelings in America on Root Strata (TMT Review)? And remember how earlier this year, Swanson released another LP called I Don’t Rock At All on Three Lobed Recordings as well as a 7-inch on Emerald Cocoon?

Well, come November, Swanson will release yet another new album, Man With Potential, via Type Records. He recently explained the LP’s sound to Altered Zones:

The album is mainly comprised of fairly fractured electronic sounds, tape loops of voices, and field recordings, with occasional melodic themes and kick drums emerging to ground the pieces in some more accessible sonic territory. At the time of this recording, I was fixated on out-of-sync looping patterns and creating very dense work by layering very brief sounds.

Not exactly Yellow Swans, but definitely Yellow Swans-esque. Over at The Wire, you can stream four recent Pete Swanson songs, including one from Man With Potential.

• Pete Swanson: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Pete+Swanson
• Type: http://typerecords.com

The Flaming Lips unveil website to stream their 24-hour Halloween song (Note to self: take off work on November 1)

Given the rapid and uncontrollable mutation of The Flaming Lips’ “batshit gene” in the past two years or so, it was hardly a stretch to imagine that The Flaming Lips would eventually get nuts enough to attempt the ultimate cosmic apogee of weed/skulls evolution: the 24-hour-long song. But what not even Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm could have predicted that, in the process, they would also become super-intelligent enough to make a specific website for it. And not just because he’s not a real person (though, yeah, mostly because of that). But according to Prefix, life once again found a way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Flaming Lips 24 Hour Song Dot Com. And right now, the only thing that’s on there is a picture of one of those USB gummie skulls (apparently titled “7 Skies H3”?) and a countdown clock to 12 AM CST on Halloween, at which point the stream of the massive party track will begin. As of the time of this writing, you’ve got a little over three days and 11 hours to charge up all of your web-enabled devices, buy a boatload of coffee, and empty your mind of all the extraneous bullshit like work and family and spatial reasoning and motor skills that could interfere with your being accosted for an entire day by what I can only assume is the sound of Stephen Drozd feeding a bale of hay to a hungry baby grand piano on which Michael Ivins is simultaneously playing J.S. Bach’s entire catalog to accompany Wayne Coyne as he speech-sings the entirety of Ulysses through his megaphone to a hungry crowd of disgruntled seniors in a nursing home cafeteria. Or heck, maybe it’s just “U Smile 800% Slower, 8000% slower.” Either way, see you guys in hell in a couple days!

• 24 Hour Song: http://flaminglipstwentyfourhoursong.com
• The Flaming Lips: http://www.flaminglips.com

Cloud Nothings release sophomore album recorded by Steve Albini in January; the sky is the limit!

This summer I forced an old high school friend to listen Cloud Nothings, telling him that that singer Dylan Baldi had an appealing (if possible) voice reminiscent of Tom DeLonge of Blink 182. My friend, an ex-Blink 182 fanatic, said he didn’t like Baldi’s voice, and that I was wrong.

Often, I am wrong, but if you like an album for nostalgic reasons personal to you then the musicians must have done something right. But, if Cloud Nothings self-titled full-length debut did nothing for you, well then possibly the follow-up Attack on Memory, to be released on January 24 on Carpark Records, will place you on cloud nine.

A cloud joke, get it?

According to Exclaim!, the entire staff of the Canadian music zine listened to some of the new album and claims it sounds like a mix of Superchunk and Cap’n Jazz. Big whoop! My mom made the same comparison about my diarrhea sounds in the bathroom last night.

Luckily, Steve Albini in Chicago (No, not Steve Albini in Phoenix!) recorded this album and probably made the album sound exactly like Blink 182, which is something we all hope for with most albums.

Now, get your head out of the clouds and watch a teaser for Attack on Memory via Carpark Records!

• Cloud Nothings: http://www.myspace.com/cloudnothings
• Carpark: http://www.carparkrecords.com

RIP: Charles Hamm, musicologist and author

From The New York Times:

Charles Hamm, who helped establish the field of American popular music history with two books that have become standard texts, died on Oct. 16 in Lebanon, N. H. He was 86.

The cause was pneumonia, his son Stuart said.

After beginning his career as a specialist in Renaissance music, Mr. Hamm became frustrated with the condescension of his fellow musicologists toward contemporary popular music. He began to write and lecture on the subject.

“There was no literature in my own discipline to guide me,” he later recalled in “Putting Popular Music in Its Place,” a 1995 collection of his essays. “My first attempts were shots in the dark, guided only by the germ of a conviction that popular music should be approached as a complex field encompassing composers, performers, audiences, the music industry, the media and the state.”

• Charles Hamm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hamm


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