All hail mighty god Kickstarter, raiser of $13 million for musicians, savior of artistkind

All hail mighty god Kickstarter, raiser of $13 million for musicians, savior of artistkind

Two years ago, like a beneficent demigod to whom devoted mortals burn incense and sacrifice virgins, the heavens parted and Kickstarter peered down from the clouds, ready to help aspiring filmmakers, musicians, and other artistic souls achieve their dreams. The concept behind the Kickstarter website is simple. Artists start a project page and set a fundraising goal. Usually different incentives to contribute are available at different levels. If the goal is reached, the artists get the donations. If not, nobody’s credit card gets charged.

In the first two years of its life, Kickstarter has helped donors and musicians connect to the tune of $13.1 million dollars, two dead goats, and several hundred pounds of Nag Champa-brand incense. (Legal note: no goats were harmed in the launching of Kickstarter.) Films are the biggest recipients of Kickstarter funding, with music coming in second, and art, publishing, and theatre at the lower end of the spectrum.

Last month, 2,200 projects were launched through Kickstarter. That’s almost double the number of projects started in December. SAY WHAT? 20,371 projects have been started on Kickstarter, and 7,496 have been successful. That’s a 43% success rate — not bad! The site has helped fund projects by The Rural Alberta Advantage, Marissa Nadler, Time-Lag Records, hopefully R. Stevie Moore, the filmmakers behind a Mekons documentary, and most famously — or infamously— Detroit’s new RoboCop statue.

• Kickstarter:

[Photo: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid]

Amon Tobin to release ISAM on May 23, confusing fans of Islam all spring

Amon Tobin has announced that his new album on Ninja Tune, ISAM — his first since 2007’s Foley Room (TMT Review) — is set for release on May 23. What Tobin did not foresee when making this announcement was the strong reaction from confused Muslims around the world due to its title, causing the album hyped as being “[Tobin’s] most intense work of his very considerable career, an extension and refinement of everything he has achieved thus far” to be mistaken by thousands for a piece of artwork paying tribute to Islam. Now, many that preorded ISAM are speaking out against this marketing mixup.

“I heard about Mr. Tobin’s new record, ISAM,” one fellow said, “and I immediately thought it was perhaps a study tool for the Quran, or perhaps some sort of music that expressed the true beauty of Allah, but I soon found out what it was and — no insult to Mr. Tobin — was disappointed to find out what I had spent my money on. I hope I can prevent any other fellow Muslims from avoiding my mistake. I will say that my son loves the record, though.”

The new album is also accompanied by an art installation, titled “ISAM: Control Over Nature,” which was co-created by Tobin and Tessa Farmer (part of the Saatchi Collection) and is on display between May 26 and June 6 at London’s Crypt Gallery.

ISAM tracklist:

01. Journeyman
02. Piece of Paper
03. Goto 10
04. Surge
05. Lost & Found
06. Wooden Toy
07. Mass & Spring
08. Calculate
09. Kitty Cat
10. Bedtime Stories
11. Night Swim
12. Dropped from the Sky

• Amon Tobin:
• Ninja Tune:

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang announce massive tour of Florida. Just Florida? Yep, just Florida.

Drawn in by the warm weather, relaxing beaches, and quick access to Cuban food and Disney World, everyone’s favorite prince, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, along with The Cairo Gang, have announced a massive world tour of Florida. The band will be doing a series of in-store appearances throughout the Florida area to promote their Drag City album together, The Wonder Show of the World, their newer Island Brothers Haiti benefit 10-inch, and mostly their newfound love of The Sunshine State.

Now, I may have lied and said that the band would only be appearing in FL. This is so close to being true. But the band will actually be kicking off their Florida Is Right For Me Tour by playing a show in Chicago, just to rub it in as many Midwestern faces as possible how much better the weather is in Florida.

05.23.11 - Chicago, IL - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
05.25.11 - Pensacola, FL - Revolver Records
05.26.11 - Gainesville, FL - Hear Again Music & Movies
05.27.11 - St. Agustine, FL - Budget Records
05.28.11 - Orlando, FL - Park Ave CDs
05.29.11 - Tampa, FL - Mojo Books & Music
05.30.11 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Radio-Active Records
05.31.11 - Miami, FL - Sweat Records

• Bonnie ‘Fresh Prince’ Billy:
• Drag City:

GAYNGS and White Hinterland team up for West Coast tour; entire audiences in danger of pregnancy

In Chinese restaurants all across the world, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. But on music blogs, in record stores, and in many of our hearts, it’s the year of GAYNGS. The Minnesota/Wisconsin supergroup broke into the scene last year with the release of Relayted (TMT Review) on Jagjaguwar, and also with loud shouts of “Bro! P.O.S. and that Bon Iver dude are in a soft rock band????” Since then, they’ve been cranking out the baby-makin’ music and touring these United States, triumphantly appearing on Jimmy Fallon and yacht rockin’ the Coachella crowds into a smoothness-induced swoon.

And now they’re charting a mini West Coast tour! Founder Ryan Olson is takin’ it to the streets with The Rosebuds’ Ivan Rosebud, Megafaun’s Brad Cook, Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund, Zach Coulter of Solid Gold, Channy Casselle of Roma di Luna, and of course, the inimitable Har Mar Superstar. A press release only hints at the other guest star possibilities with these two little words: “and more.” But really, when you’re sitting in LA’s Natural History Museum, looking at stuffed antelopes (note: I’ve never been there, so these might not exist, but oh man I really want them to) and feelin’ the vibe, isn’t that enough? White Hinterland, who are pretty damn awesome on their own, are also along for the ride.


05.28.11 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir *
05.29.11 - Quincy, WA - Sasquatch Music Festival
06.01.11 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
06.03.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Natural History Museum
06.04.11 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah *

* White Hinterland

• Jagjaguwar:

The Black Heart Procession plan a tour spookier than two ghosts, i.e., the spookiest ever!

Fair warning, dear readers: this story will chill you to the bone. Much of your body shall stay its normal temperature, but those bones in which your skin hangs? They will drop at least a good 10 degrees. Degrees Celsius, that is! See, San Diego spooksters The Black Heart Procession are planning a tour for this whole month of May. If you think that the Procession can’t make the warm spring months a spooky affair, than I must direct a hearty “PSHAW!” your way. This tour will be spookier than a skeleton AND a goblin sharing a room. Goblin and skeleton roommates might not be able to agree on much, but they can agree on one thing: scaring you!

The Black Heart Procession, who released the Blood Bunny/Black Rabbit EP (TMT Review) last year on Temporary Residence Ltd, will kick off their tour by supporting J Mascis on a string of West Coast dates. Need I remind you that Mascis has a side project called Witch, placing his spook credentials squarely in check? After aiding that modern guitar vampire, the Procession will journey to Europe — probably by broomstick or some creepy dark magic — for another few weeks of shows. An artist’s rendition of those shows can be viewed here.


05.04.11 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
05.05.11 - Long Beach, CA - Alex’s Bar *
05.06.11 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo *
05.07.11 - San Diego, CA - Casbah *
05.12.11 - Manchester, UK - Futuresonic Festival
05.13.11 - Cambridge, UK - St. Paul’s Church
05.14.11 - Gateshead, UK - The Sage
05.15.11 - Glasgow, UK - The Arches
05.17.11 - Coventry, UK - St. Johns Church
05.18.11 - London, UK - The Tabernacle
05.19.11 - Rouen, France - Le 106
05.20.11 - Brugge, Belgium - Stadsschouwburg
05.21.11 - Athens, Greece - Gagarin 205
05.24.11 - Geneve, Switzerland - Theatre de L’Alhambra
05.25.11 - Bologna, Italy - Lokomotiv
05.26.11 - Munich, Germany - Kranhalle Feierwerk
05.27.11 - Prague, Czech Republic - Dobeska Theatre
05.28.11 - Dresden, Germany - Beatpol
05.29.11 - Poznan, Poland - Blue Note
05.30.11 - Berlin, Germany - Heimathafen
05.31.11 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Planeten in Huset

* J Mascis

• The Black Heart Procession:
• Temporary Residence Ltd:

[Photo: Chris Woo]

Ottawa Bluesfest 2011 to last entire summer, host The Flaming Lips, Death From Above 1979, Mark Kozelek, and hundreds more

Ottawa’s Bluesfest is a festival that somehow keeps growing despite being held in what’s normally considered a sleepy government town. What started as a small, accurately titled weekend event held on a small patch of grass behind the Parliament buildings has sprawled into a nearly two-week extravaganza featuring well over 200 acts of every conceivable genre. This festival is seriously long enough to warrant an intermission day — we get Monday off.

Comedy has been moved inside this year, and thus the Black Sheep Stage is available once more. The re-addition of this smallest stage is an excellent step for the festival, as it regularly featured the most eclectic and challenging acts in previous years. The organizers seem to be aware of its status based on their adding Caravan Palace, M. Ward, Yukon Blonde, Chali 2na, Mark Kozelek, Sierra Maestra, and Red Baraat to the long list of acts sharing the stage.

On the other five stages, the variety of music present at Bluesfest is made even more apparent with The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Skrillex, Shpongle, Girl Talk, Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Soundgarden, John Fogerty, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, Galactic, Joe Satriani, DFA 1979, Jennifer Hudson, Three Days Grace, Rise Against, and Infected Mushroom performing.

The list goes on from there to include comedy, spoken word, local bands, and international bands that even the most ironic and pretentious of people haven’t heard. Even if you’re not anywhere near the city and have no plans to visit the festival, I encourage you to check out the full roster, just to see the variety of acts this “sleepy government town” gets exposed to every year.

• Ottawa Bluesfest: