Digitalis’ reissue of the amazing UK duo Leven Signs’ only release opens stargate to alternate, cooler past/future

Digitalis' reissue of the amazing UK duo Leven Signs' only release opens stargate to alternate, cooler past/future

Forgotten progenitors of weirdo avant garde electropop and most Googleable band ever Leven Signs are getting some long overdue attention from the good people over at Digitalis. Like almost 30 years overdue. (And seriously, if you Google this band, you get like 10 exact results, and only one is inexplicably for an iPhone 4 case.) In 1985, the experimental UK duo of Peter Karkut and Maggie Turner released their one and only album Hemp Is Here as a cassette on Unlikely Records and as a vinyl LP on Cordelia. And then, like a shifting, shimmering dream of gamelan-studded, organ-washed, minimal electronica from an alternate future, it was gone. Gone from the pressing plant, gone from the wherever tapes are made. Gone from the collective consciousness of post-punk lovers everywhere.

Until an undisclosed date in February, when Digitalis gives Leven Signs a vinyl reissue. The phrase “before their time” gets tossed around a lot, but the mysterious and lovely Leven Signs should stir the hearts of the same people freaking out about the likes of Peaking Lights or Fabulous Diamonds. That sorta thing. Check out the track “Prague Spring” below:

• Digitalis:

Prurient’s Dominick Fernow readies first Blackest Ever Black release and more, streams new song

Following Robert Pollard’s nonchalant announcement last month that he will release three Guided By Voices albums “every year forever,” Prurient’s Dominick Fernow has tacitly confirmed a similar, if more foreboding, promise that he’ll be releasing at least three albums every year until the day the Earth is consumed in fire.

On February 25, Blackest Ever Black will be putting out Prurient’s Through the Window. With this release following Raime’s excellent Quarter Turns Over a Living Line from last year, Blackest Ever Black have cemented their position as “record label I’d be most scared of meeting in a dark alley.”

Through a Window consists of three songs recorded around the same time as 2011’s Bermuda Drain and Time’s Arrow, and it’s reportedly consistent with Fernow’s recent shift away from straight noise. Here’s what Blackest Ever Black says about it:

The three pieces featured on Through The Window, including the 18-minute title track, also represent the ultimate expression of Fernow’s affection for European techno forms, and his ability to apply them to his own uniquely lacerating purpose. Unlike his claustrophobic, inward-looking work as Vatican Shadow, this material is widescreen, open, expansive. Nonetheless the goal is exorcism and self-knowledge, not ecstasy. Through The Window is, at bottom, a work of true SM electronics. Music to listen to at night, in the hills, watching as headlights approach.

Check out “You Show Great Spirit” here:

In addition to the Prurient album, we’ve also got two dark-ambient releases from (the supposedly anonymous) Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement to look forward to. The first is a vinyl reissue by (surprise, surprise) Blackest Ever Black of last year’s Hospital Productions tape Black Magic Cannot Cross Water. According to Blackest Ever Black, the album was “[sourced] from a box of cassettes found at a market in Port Moresby, and thought to be recorded some time in the 1980s by a group of Christian missionaries shortly prior to their still unexplained disappearance.” It’s out in March.

The other release, as Fernow’s own Hospital Productions informs us, is a limited-run three-cassette package, including pieces titled “The Plant With Many Faces” and “Folklore Venom.” It’s available in a 99-copy run from Hospital, and in addition to “over 80 minutes of chance to the green devil,” it comes with a t-shirt and a full-size booklet.

Here’s to the Earth eventually being consumed in fire!

• Prurient:
• Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement:
• Blackest Ever Black:
• Hospital Productions:

Billy Bragg, milkman of human kindness/sherpa of heartbreak/bard of barking, announces first new album/record/LP in five years/annums/rotations of the Earth around the Sun

Over the course of his lengthy career, cockney rebel Billy Bragg has become just as well-known to the music-consuming public as a Woody Guthriesque rouser of rabbles as he has an accomplished singer/songwriter. But following an emotionally tumultuous 2011 and spurred on by a fan’s tweet referring to the oft-nicknamed crooner as the “Sherpa of Heartbreak,” Bragg turned his acoustic guitar’s attention to something the instrument had not experienced in some time: the composition of ol’ fashioned love songs. Bragg recorded his new batch of relationship-driven tunes in just five days at the start of 2012, laying down each track live with no retakes or overdubs.

After spending the rest of the year focused on promoting the re-release of his Wilco collaboration Mermaid Avenue and celebrating Guthrie’s centenary, Bragg will finally unleash his weepers upon a hopefully forlorn public March 19 via Cooking Vinyl, coinciding with an extended North American tour. Here’s hoping the old timer will show that Taylor Swift who’s the real Sensei of Personal Suffering in this town.

Tooth & Nail tracklisting:

01. January Song
02. No One Knows Nothing Anymore
03. Handyman Blues
04. I Ain’t Got No Home
05. Swallow My Pride
06. Do Unto Others
07. Over You
08. Goodbye, Goodbye
09. There Will Be A Reckoning
10. Chasing Rainbows
11. Your Name On My Tongue
12. Tomorrow’s Going To Be A Better Day


03.14-16.13 - Austin, TX - SXSW
03.23.13 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
03.24.13 - Albuquerque, NM - KiMo Theatre
03.26.13 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
03.28.13 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
03.29.13 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
03.30.13 - Petaluma, CA - McNear’s Mystic Theatre
04.02.13 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre
04.03.13 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre
04.04.13 - Victoria, BC - Alix Goolden Hall
04.05.13 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
04.06.13 - Nelson, BC - Live at the Royal
04.08.13 - Calgary, AB - MacEwan Hall
04.09.13 - Regina, SK - Orr Centre
04.10.13 - Winnipeg, MB - Garrick Centre
04.12-13.13 - Chicago, IL - City Winery
04.15.13 - Iowa City, IA - The Englert Theatre
04.17.13 - Nashville, TN - The Belcourt Theatre
04.19.13 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
04.20.13 - Glensdale, PA - Keswick Theatre
04.21.13 - Morgantown, WV - Mountain Stage
04.22.13 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head Theatre
04.26.13 - Ithaca, NY - State Theater
04.27.13 - New York, NY - Town Hall
04.28.13 - Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
04.30.13 - Cincinnati, OH - The Southgate House Revival
05.01.13 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark

• Billy Bragg:
• Cooking Vinyl:

Maria Minerva and a pink wig release video for forthcoming EP Bless

We here at Tiny Mix Tapes seem to be writing about Maria Minerva pretty frequently over the past few months. We talked to her late last year, in January of this year we reviewed her collaborative album with LA Vampires, and of course she put out the wonderful Will Happiness Find Me? last year (TMT Review). She’s had a pretty busy year so far and it’s about to get busier.

On April 2, Not Not Fun offshoot 100% Silk will be releasing her new EP Bless. Compared to most of the songs on Will Happiness Find Me? the EP’s lead cut, “Black Magick,” is a little (and I mean “a little”) less hazy with the drums higher in the mix, and a bouncy, synthesized electro bassline pulsing throughout the song. It’s catchy.

Alice Cohen directed a video for “Black Magick” that features a public access meets Halloween-store-in-the-mall aesthetic with healthy dashes of surrealism and collage thrown in for good measure. The video has a sense of humor about itself and is definitely worth the watch:

Not bad, eh? Here is the complete Bless tracklist:

01. Black Magick
02. Space 4 U
03. Symbol Of My Pleasure [Form Of My Pain]
04. Soul Searchin
05. Black Magick (Lady Blacktronika’s Garage Trip Mix)

In addition to the new record, Ms. Minerva is doing some globetrotting. So far she has dates lined up throughout February and into March in enough places that she’ll probably need a new passport.

02.05.13 - Brighton, UK - Green Door
02.06.13 - Manchester, UK - Kraak Space
02.07.13 - London, UK - Shacklewell Arms
02.08.13 - Berlin, Germany - Berghain Kantine
02.09.13 - Stockholm, Sweden - Sodra Teatern
02.12.13 - Geneva, Switzerland - Ecurie de L’ilot
02.13.13 - St. Gallen, Switzerland - Palace
02.14.13 - Strasbourg, France - Strasbourg Museums Auditorium
02.21.13 - Jerusalem, Israel - Uganda
02.22.13 - Tel Aviv, Israel - Levontin7
02.26.13 - New York, NY - The New Museum (DJ Set)
03.02.13 - Brooklyn, NY - 285 Kent*
03.14-17.13 - Austin, TX - SXSW

* 100% Silk Allstars party feat. Octo Octa, Pharaohs, Magic Touch

• Maria Minerva:
• 100% Silk:

RIP: Reg Presley, frontman of The Troggs

From WENN:

The Troggs frontman Reg Presley has died a year after retiring from music to concentrate on battling lung cancer.

The Wild Thing hitmaker, 71, died at his home in Andover, England on Monday, surrounded by his family.

The rocker’s daughter Karen tells WENN, “He passed away peacefully at home and myself, my brother and our mother were with him. We’re absolutely heartbroken.”

• The Troggs:

Drag City to reissue Harmony Korine’s 1998 first novel. “It’s about a race war and it happens in Florida.”

Harmony Korine, Nashville native and writer/director of the white trash cult-classic film Gummo, penned a sort-of novel back in 1998 entitled A Crack-Up at the Race Riots. He originally plugged the book to David Letterman, who had taken an interest in Korine as a regular goofy guest since his first visit promoting Kids, and described the book as… “It’s about a race war and it happens in Florida. And the Jewish people sit in trees. And the black people are run by M.C. Hammer. And the whites are run by Vanilla Ice. I wanted to write the Great American Choose Your Own Adventure novel.”

Although you can still get the book on Amazon, Drag City is reissuing it for those of us unwilling to pay $70+ for a book, and on April 16, you can own the second edition of this bizarre compilation of print, photographs, drawings, news clippings, handwriting, poetry, and clip art for a reasonable price.

The book’s release will closely coincide with the theatrical release of Korine’s latest exploitation of sub-culture, Spring Breakers, a film which, due to its star-studded cast and viral marketing, may accidentally earn money at the box-office from ticket buyers who misunderstand the stylish irony and instead watch for the bikinis and beach MTV atmosphere.

• Harmony Korine:
• Drag City: