The Black Twig Pickers pack their bags and hit the road. Other band names they considered: The River Parade Gentlemen, The Lonely Gulch String Band, and The Cider Train Cats.

The Black Twig Pickers pack their bags and hit the road. Other band names they considered: The River Parade Gentlemen, The Lonely Gulch String Band, and The Cider Train Cats.

The Black Twig Pickers play lots of shows just a stone’s throw from my neck of the woods, and even though my aunt plays the banjo, a friend of mine plays the fiddle, and an old high school teacher writes songs about people he met during the year he lived on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I really don’t know this sort of classic folk music as well as I could. I’d like to say I grew up surrounded by it, that my parents played dueling banjos in a bluegrass band and that I’ve been playing harmonica since before I could spell, but really, I spent my childhood listening to The Monkees and The Ramones and wishing I could play electric guitar.

But this isn’t about me, it’s about The Black Twig Pickers — Mike Gangloff, Isak Howell, and Nathan Bowles — a trio who don’t seem terribly interested in the perhaps ubiquitous sounds of psych-punk fuzz or ambient drone. They’re busy studying field recordings and old-time pieces by Appalachian musicians and playing the hell out of not only the guitar, fiddle, and banjo, but also the bones, fiddlesticks, jaw and mouth harps, and washboards. They can shake up a crowd with lightning-fast strumming or hush them with slow, sad blues, but always playing to preserve the tumbledown spark of local music. They like to record on front porches and in woodsheds — often in only one take — and they’ve collaborated with the likes of Charlie Parr and Jack Rose. They’ve put out a handful of albums on VHF, Klang, and The Great Pop Supplement, and in 2010 they released their Thrill Jockey debut, Ironto Special. Later this spring, they’ll release 7-inch of “Yellow Cat” b/w “You’ll Never Miss Your Mama,” and they’re hitting the highway for a slew of shows too — a few in Europe, and lots close to home.


03.24.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
03.24.12 - Shawsville, VA - Meadowbrook Dance
03.25.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Swoop House Gallery ^
03.30.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
04.06.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Pie Contest & Crooked Dance
04.07.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Blacksburg Square Dance
04.19.12 - Brighton, UK - The Prince Albert
04.20.12 - Antwerp, Belgium - TBA
04.21.12 - Brussels, Belgium - Le Viaduc
04.22.12 - London, UK - The Slaughtered Lamb
04.23.12 - Edinburgh, Scotland - The Banshee Labyringth $
04.24.12 - Newcastle, UK - Morden Tower
04.25.12 - TBA - TBA
04.26.12 - Paris, France - Batofar %
04.28.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
05.11.12 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival
05.12.12 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival
05.18.12 - Ripplemead, VA - Giles Fiddlers Convention
05.19.12 - Ripplemead, VA - Giles Fiddlers Convention
05.19.12 - Mount Airy, NC - WPAQ 740 AM Merry-go-round
05.25.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
05.26.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
06.01.12 - Mount Airy, NC - Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention
06.02.12 - Mount Airy, NC - Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention
06.10.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Beliveau Estate
06.14.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Gillies
06.15.12 - Williamsburg, WV - Badlands Bluegrass Festival
06.16.12 - Newport, VA - Newport Jamboree
07.26.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Gillies
07.27.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
08.03.12 - Clifftop, WV - Appalachian String Band Festival
08.04.12 - Clifftop, WV - Appalachian String Band Festival
08.09.12 - St. Cloud, MN - Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival
08.10.12 - St. Cloud, MN - Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival
09.01.12 - Catawba, VA - Catawba Farm Fest
09.28.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
09.29.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Blacksburg Farmers Market apple tasting
11.16.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance

^ Steve Gunn
$ Sir Richard Bishop
% Cath & Phil Tyler, Awesome Tapes From Africa

• Black Twig Pickers:
• Thrill Jockey:

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire signs to Universal Republic which is like getting “favorited” by @aplusk

In the most eX-rated news of the week, it’s come to our attention that Brooklyn’s (perhaps) finest (living) rapper, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, has been moving up in the world. For he has signed his life away to those bigwigs otherwise known as Universal. The “Huzzah” rapper made the announcement at the only spot for announcements in the month of March: #SXSW.

During the Austin festival he found the most choice opportunity during his panel, entitled “The Importance of Online Video & Social Media,” to reveal his huge news. As Billboard pointed out, the BK lyricist revealed via his blog:

What a ill fuckin journey this year has been for me, when that New Years Ball dropped I would have never thought i’d be on TV, Magazine’s, Websites, and all this shit man 9 months ago I was in a fucking small ass booth checking parking tickets now i’m a starving artist shit fuck’s my head up. I just be wanting to stop right here cuz i never thought i’d make it this far. Too late now tho, I told my nigga Trax once “We gotta make money now, cause we can’t get no broker!

Ya see, rappers are just like us, mang: in hopes of making himself much more than “broker,” Mr. MFN eXquire hustled the shit outta his valet job and now, here he is, another success story. If only our own mothers could be as proud as his own must feel right now.

• Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire:
• Universal Music:

Alexander Tucker (1/2 of Imbogodom) to release Third Mouth on May 15, right after he takes you on a weird adventure

There’s a house on a hill somewhere that’s built from broken glass and has dried seahorses under the floorboards and bookcases filled with Lord of the Rings novels and imaginary science-fiction novels. The woman who lives there will tell you she speaks in tongues. You’re wondering where in tarnation this crazy place is, and I’ll tell you it’s nowhere. I’m just trying to blend the various subjects of Alexander Tucker’s sixth solo album, Third Mouth, which will see a May 15 release via Thrill Jockey.

Third Mouth follows Tucker’s Thrill Jockey debut Dorwytch, which came out last year, as well as Imbogodom’s And They Turned Not When They Went, which came out in January. Compared to Imbogodom’s surreal tape loop experiments, Tucker’s solo work is certainly a horse of a different color — an intersection of psych-rock and ambient pop as well as an exploration of progressive song structures.

Also, Tucker painted the album art himself — maybe it’s a clue to finding the broken glass house. Good luck looking for it.

Third Mouth tracklist:

01. A Dried Seahorse
02. The Glass Axe
03. Mullioned View
04. Window Sill
05. Andromeon
06. Amon Hen
07. Third Mouth
08. Sitting in a Bardo Pond
09. Rh

• Alexander Tucker:
• Thrill Jockey:

El-P doesn’t like you, but he IS releasing a new album called Cancer for Cure so that’s something

In “The Full Retard,” the first single off Cancer for Cure, El-P shouts, “you should pump this shit like they do in the future.” Honestly, I just don’t know if I can get on board with that — I’ve always assumed they’d be pumping this shit in the future, because we’ll all be living on space stations then. Right?

According to some weirdos who really like farm tools and decimals, El-P will release Cancer for Cure on May 22 via Fat Possum, and it’ll feature appearances from the likes of Killer Mike, Danny Brown, Paul Banks, and (recently signed to Universal Republic) Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire. Even though this will be his first album since 2007’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (TMT Review), El-P hasn’t just been hanging out since then. He appeared on Das Racist’s 2010 mixtape, Sit Down, Man (TMT Review) as well as on their 2011 album, Relax, released two volumes of his Weareallgoingtoburninhell mixtape as well as an Adult Swim single called “Drones Over BKLYN,” contributed a verse to Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire’s “Huzzah,” and produced Killer Mike’s forthcoming album, R.A.P. Music. Damn.

You can stream “The Full Retard” over at Pitchfork too, and make sure you pump that shit, like they presumably do in the future.

• El-P:
• Fat Possum:

Kishi Bashi to release debut full-length 151a on Joyful Noise — oh my god, that’s my apartment number!

No, Kishi Bashi (real name: K Ishibashi) isn’t, in fact, a former competitive eater from Japan who once inhaled 64 hot dogs in a 12-minute span at Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest; that would be Takeru Kobayashi. My apologies to the former; as a third-generation American almost exclusively accustomed to Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic names, names originating from the Land of the Rising Sun tend to, for me, blend in to one another. But really, who cares about some guy who’s been genetically blessed with an unusually large gullet? I can only think of so many professions where such a quality would be advantageous. I’ll let you use your imagination.

Needless to say, Kishi Bashi’s musical talents are much more impressive than the ability to shove diabetes down one’s throat, and you may even be familiar with some of his work, despite a possible insistence otherwise. As a violinist, he’s recorded, toured, and has close relationships with two rather popular acts — Regina Spektor and of Montreal — and is also the founding member of Jupiter One, a Brooklyn-based band specializing in mostly traditional-sounding indie rock. Now, after self-releasing his Room for Dream EP last summer, he’s set to release his debut full-length 151a via Joyful Noise on April 10.

If Room for Dream is any indication, expect a sound sporadically (and eerily) reminiscent of the kind that of Montreal are particularly known for — “avant pop,” as a press release fairly describes it — you know, suitable for happy folk, or at least those aspiring to be.

151a tracklisting:

01. Intro / Pathos, Pathos
02. Manchester
03. Bright Whites
04. It All Began With a Burst
05. Wonder Woman, Wonder Me
06. Chester’s Burst Over the Hamptons
07. Atticus, In the Desert
08. I Am the Antichrist to You
09. Beat the Bright Out of Me

• Kishi Bashi:
• Joyful Noise:

Joanna Newsom gives away brand new song!! (New to us; it was recorded when she was 17)

Harp to swallow, I know, but the gentle lioness Joanna Newsom was already plucking/plinking earthly melodies out of her chosen musical instrument long before The Milk-Eyed Mender came out in 2004, and even before those early self-released CD-Rs. While we were driving around our suburban backstreets, thinking we were King/Queen Shit for cruising past our math teacher’s house at 10 PM, Ms. Newsom used her 17-year-old time to get serious about her life’s passion. Hours of material were recorded around this time (though she hadn’t yet found her voice), with “an eye towards modern classical music,” according to Drag City. This was 13 years ago!!

So now we can all bear witness to the sounds of a very young Joanna by heading to Drag City’s main page and streaming/downloading the track “Instrumental 1999” immediately. This song was included on a just-released CD comp benefitting the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (NOT the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. like Mr P thought… such disillusionment and negativity…) and it has the awesome title Harpfelt Connections.

Interestingly (for shut-ins), this lone track has an official catalog number on DC’s sub-label Sea Note, so maaaaybe this is a little preview of a larger archival release? SPECULATION IS IRRESPONSIBLE BUT SO FUN!!!

• Joanna Newsom:
• Drag City:
• Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation: