Esmerine refines the art of breaking hearts on new album Dalmak, due this September on Constellation

Esmerine refines the art of breaking hearts on new album Dalmak, due this September on Constellation

If 3OH!3 is the sound of narrowly avoiding getting roofied at a frat party and Don Henley is the sound of waiting in line at the DMV, Canadian chamber pop group Esmerine is the sound of getting your heart broken — but in, like, a totally beautiful, uh, Sofia Coppola-penned sorta way. Consisting of marimba dude Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), cellist Rebecca Foon (Silver Mt. Zion, Set Fire to Flames), percussionist Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson, Esmerine’s latest, Dalmak, is also awash with the sweet sounds of tenor banjo, bass, trumpet, and electric guitar, plus instruments used in traditional Turkish music like bendir, darbuka, erbane, meh, barama, and saz.

See, after a European tour in 2011-2012, Esmerine went to Istanbul, where they got such a swell response, that they stuck around for an artist residency, and to record what would become Dalmak with a little help from Turkish friends Hakan Vreskala, Baran Aşık, Ali Kazim Akdağ, and James Hakan Dedeoğlu. Further recording took place back home in Montreal. Dalmak, a verb meaning “to contemplate, to be absorbed in, to dive into, to bathe in, to rush into, to plummet, to send your friend a Starbucks gift card for their birthday on Facebook” (j/k on the last one), will dive into/plummet into/whatever your collective lives this September via Constellation Records. Check out an album track below (first premiered over at Decoder) and pick up the album here.

Dalmak tracklisting:

01. Learning to Crawl
02. Lost River Blues I
03. Lost River Blues II
04. Barn Board Fire
05. Hayale Dalmak
06. Translator’s Clos I
07. Translator’s Clos II
08. White Pine
09. Yavri Yavri

• Esmerine:
• Constellation:

Blondes plan release of Swisher in August on RVNG Intl., are still just as cute and ditzy as ever

The other day I came in to the kitchenette at the Tiny Mix Tapes offices to grab myself a little snack. While there I noticed ditzy cutiepies Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, the two guys from Blondes, painting the walls a really nice shade of puce. This in and of itself isn’t actually too weird. We pretty regularly let artists come in and perform tasks for us here at TMT in return for more positive coverage (hate the game, not the players!). What was weird, however, was the fact that the guys were both wearing two winter coats at once! In the middle of summer! Out of politeness I let that drop for a minute and asked them instead about their new record.

Haar spoke up first, and I was surprised to see that he had somehow covered his entire face in a thin layer of paint, the silly guy! He said, “Well, the record’s called Swisher, and we’re pretty happy with it. It’s out on August 6 from RVNG Intl. as a limited-edition double LP and CD. We actually totally re-hauled our setup and went into a new studio space before working on it, and it turned out a lot more expansive than the self-titled record (TMT Review). We tried to draw more from German synth sounds of the 70s while sticking with a really percussive backbone.” He also used the phrase “mini-epics” to describe the flow of songs on the record, but before I could ask him what that even really means, Steinman, in turning around to join in on the conversation accidentally fell off his ladder.

After Haar and I helped him, Steinman contributed his two cents. “Sam actually totally forgot to mention that the digital release of the album just came out, you can buy the files from the RVNG site right now! You can also listen to the whole record on YouTube backed with visuals by Greg Zifcak if you’re one of those smarties who knows how to work the internet.” He might have hit his head a little too hard though, because he totally forgot to mention that they’re also touring in Europe this summer. No worries, bros, I’ve got your back!

After all this talk I finally felt comfortable asking the guys what I was really most curious about. I said, “Dudes, why are you both wearing two winter coats? It’s the summer!” They looked at each other for a second, then Haar brought one of the paint cans over to me and pointed to a spot on the label that read, “For best results, apply two coats.”

Swisher tracklist:

01. Aeon
02. Bora Bora
03. Andrew
04. Poland
05. Clasp
06. Swisher
07. Rei
08. Wire
09. Elise


08.02.13 - Katowice, Poland - OFF Festival
08.03.13 - Olganitz, Germany - Nachtdigital
08.09.13 - Barcelona, Spain - Razzmatazz
08.16.13 - Berlin, Germany - Panoramabar
08.17.13 - Bergen, Norway - Ostre
08.22.13 - Edinburgh, UK - Sneaky Petes
08.23.13 - Bristol, UK - Start the Bus
08.24.13 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
08.25.13 - London, UK - Bussey Building
09.01.13 - Stradbally, Ireland - Electric Picnic Festival

• Blondes:
• RVNG Intl.:

Ashrae Fax make amends after exchanging insurance information, to reissue Static Crash, entire discography via Mexican Summer

Bonafide appreciators of any art form are constantly on the lookout for hidden gems; case in point: the modus operandi of this publication and others like it. With that in mind, it’s necessary to point out an all-too-obvious disclaimer: there’s no way that anybody, individual or conglomerate, can have their radar set to all worthwhile signals simultaneously. If there wasn’t so much quality and innovative music constantly being released, it might almost bring on the melancholy to ponder the fact that there’s so much quality music out there that’s also not being heard — either due to its depth in the underground, your preoccupation with other artists/albums, or because you have an undiagnosed ear infection. Might want to get that checked out.

Cue Static Crash, the least unknown release from the short-lived North Carolina band Ashrae Fax, originally self-released in 2003. Per the About section of their curiously well-developed website (curious, because of their abbreviated existence), it’s apparently one of the best albums hardly anybody has had the chance to listen to. An excerpt:

Static Crash is magic, one of the most gorgeous collections of Gothic ethereal pop/noise of its kind to rise from the American underground in decades… Released by the band in DIY fashion on spray painted CD-Rs, Static Crash found nearly no takers at its inception outside of a small but dedicated local following, but somehow its legend grew, even as the group fell apart.

“Legend” isn’t supposed to be a word that one easily throws around, and I’m not seeing an analogy to the dreamy movie starring the Devil and Tom Cruise here. Let me listen? Thanks Mexican Summer, and thanks for pledging to reissue Ashrae Fax’s entire discography, while also acting as a friendly accomplice to the band’s reunion. A handful of live dates are also planned, and an entirely new album is scheduled for release in the coming year. Believe the whispered hype? The reissue of Static Crash is in stores as of June 25.

Static Crash tracklisting:

01. Unndup
02. Daddystitch
03. Pointbreak
04. Ultravaca
05. Uprlxrq
06. Armpit
07. Dynamite Dust
08. Ectome

• Ashrae Fax:
• Mexican Summer:

Pixies travel Europe, reveal Kim obsession with new bassist Kim Shattuck

Last month, when the Pixies announced the departure of Breeders lead Kim Deal as their bassist, one would think it would take them some time to get their accounts settled before hunting down a new bassist. This seems especially important when you consider the band is now finally producing new material for the first time since their 2004 reunion. They need some time to set things straight, find the right slapper, you know?

However, it took them only two weeks to settle the matter. Apparently, the standards for Frank Black and company were low: the bassist needed to be known as Kim, and needed to play bass decently. Didn’t have to be a girl (plenty of male Kims out there), just had to be named Kim. You see, Frank and the others were having trouble adjusting in the post-Deal era, and they needed someone named Kim in the mix, for a combination of some Feng Shui balance and so they could avoid the issue of accidentally calling the new bassist Kim. So they saved themselves the trouble by hiring Kim Shattuck of The Muffs and The Pandoras to play with them on their upcoming tour through Europe, including the UK.

Will Shattuck’s placement be permanent? It is uncertain. Perhaps her presence will wean them off the need to have a Kim in the first place. But who knows, maybe they will have a new Kim and all will be well with the world. As it stands, not only will the band be playing new song “Bagboy,” which was released shortly after Deal’s departure, but also some other new songs that may include the lyrics “where are you” and “we miss you” subliminally. If that requires someone named Kim at the bass, so be it.

Keep your Kims at home:

09.29.13 - Paris, France - Olympia
10.02.13 - Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
10.05.13 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
10.08.13 - Berlin, Germany - Huxleys
10.10.13 - Prague, Czech Republic - Lucerna Music Hall
11.01.13 - Vienna, Austria - Gasometer
11.02.13 - Geneva, Switzerland - Thonex
11.04.13 - Milan, Italy - Alcatraz
11.07.13 - Madrid, Spain - La Riviera
11.09.13 - Lisboa, Portugal - Coliseum
11.13.13 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Falkoner
11.14.13 - Oslo, Norway - Sentrum Scene
11.15.13 - Stockholm, Sweden - München Brewery
11.18.13 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia
11.21.13 - Manchester, UK - Apollo
11.22.13 - Glasgow, UK - Barrowlands
11.24.13 - London, UK - Hammersmith Apollo

• Pixies:

Neutral Milk Hotel and Massive Attack share hummus with The Wallfowers at Australia’s Harvest Festival

In 1998, Neutral Milk Hotel released In The Aeroplane Over the Sea. That same year, Massive Attack released Mezzanine. These two records are generally considered each artist’s defining statement. While all that was happening, The Wallflowers were a band. Now, it’s hard to believe we ever lived in such a world. Thankfully for humankind, top Australian scientists have worked tirelessly to return us to that beautiful year. Their solution: book Massive Attack, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Wallflowers for this year’s Harvest Festival. They also booked Franz Ferdinand, Primus, Goldfrapp, Desparecidos, M. War, Eels, Superchunk, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, CSS, and more, but a lot of those folks weren’t around in 1998.

These same scientists also figured out how to have a festival in more than one location. Their solution: have a festival in three locations! This year’s Harvest Festival will take place at Melbourne’s Werribee Park on November 10, Sydney’s The Domain on November 16, and Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens on November 17. Tickets for all those dates can be purchased here. Tickets for the year 1998 can be purchased nowhere, ‘cause you can’t ever go back, buddy.

• Harvest Festival:

Yoko Ono announces new Plastic Ono Band album, Take Me to the Land of Hell; already has a record distributor down there, so that’s good.

Remember when it was funny to make jokes about Yoko Ono? Hey, me neither! Because that was like 50 years ago, or some shit. Anyway, point is, you crass a-hole, that the talented and hardworking Ms. Ono has just announced a new Plastic Ono Band record, due for release September 17 via Chimera Music. So quit being such a PESSIMIST for one fucking second and listen up! With your eyes.

The new album, her first Plastic Ono Band release since 2009’s Between My Head and the Sky and first new-thing-in-general since this YokoKimThurston thing, is called Take Me to the Land of Hell. It was recorded, oddly enough, NOT in Hell but in New York, and was produced by Yoko, that dude Sean Lennon, and some woman named Yuka Honda. But the neat thing about any Plastic Ono Band release is, of course, its plasticity, a.k.a. its revolving cast-members. And this one’s got a few neat ones: Cornelius, Cibo Matto, tUnEyArDs, Questlove, Nels Cline, and Andrew Wyatt. Oh, and the album will also feature remixes by Mike D & Adrock and Cornelius.

In case you were just thinking to yourself “Cool, Nobodaddy, but enough already; I wonder what Yoko’s take on recording this album is,” here’s Yoko’s take on recording this album:

My new album comes at a very special time for me. I’m so happy that it’s being released after all the incredible shows that made up Meltdown. The energy I have right now, and the desire to continue to make as much great work as I can, is really moving me forward all the time. This album is the culmination of a lot of ideas I’ve been having over the last few years and I feel proud to release it at such an exciting time of my life.

No other details have surfaced yet, but check out a track from the album below and stay tuned for more updates. Or don’t. Whichever. I’m feeling pretty plastic about the whole situation right now.

• Yoko Ono:
• Chimera: