Grails set to provide the score for your life again with Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 5

Grails set to provide the score for your life again with Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 5

Grails, your favorite Portland instrumental rock band, has some new music on the horizon. The band is set to release the fifth volume of its Black Tar Prophecies series, appropriately titled Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 5, the follow-up to last year’s Deep Politics (TMT Review), on October 30 via Kemado. Finland’s Pharaoh Overlord will provide the B-side for the album, so be ready for all kinds of psychedelia and sprawling soundscapes.

The band’s finishing up an Australian tour right now. Here are the remaining dates:

10.17.12 - Brisbane, AU - The Zoo
10.18.12 - Melbourne, AU - Northcote Social Club
10.19.12 - Sydney, AU - Oxford Art Factory

• Grails:
• Kemado:

Emeralds’ Steve Hauschildt to melt your brain with Sequitur

You can’t fault perennial TMT favorites Emeralds for resting on their laurels. The Ohio psych/drone trio is nothing if not productive, with plenty of solo work from Mark McGuire and John Elliot since Does It Looks Like I’m Here? (TMT Review) came out, as well as an album due later this year.

Not to be left behind, Steve Hauschildt is looking to get back into the action with his second album on Kranky. Sequitur, the follow up to Tragedy & Geometry (TMT Review) is due November 12. Like its predecessor, Sequitur will feature more song-based music than what is generally featured on Emeralds albums, along with a slew of different instruments and sounds. Be on the lookout for vocoders, vintage synthesizers, as well as the kind of stuff you could probably find at your local Guitar Center. Check out samples here, and read Hauschildt’s lengthy description here:

This new album was recorded in both Vancouver and Cleveland. I used almost 20 different instruments, from every decade from the 60’s to the present, most of them synthesizers, drum machines and effects. This gives the album a much wider palette than my last, Tragedy & Geometry, and it also gives it a more classic/new sound, yet it is still a logical follow up to that LP. I also used some techniques in the studio where I controlled older instruments with the computer and this opened up new ways for me to explore their potential as well as their innate idiosyncrasies.

I was very interested in the artificiality of vocal or choir-like sounds that emulate a person or group singing, and how this has evolved with the advancement of musical technology over the years. I also sang myself, and used a vocoder, not to sound robotic, but to remove the connotations of gender.

Those sounds are androgynous because they carry both masculine and feminine characteristics. I was inspired to carry this idea into music mainly because of the work of Camille Paglia and Donna Haraway. I feel that the album in a sense treads the imaginary boundary between Nature and Artifice. It is postmodern, but not necessarily a post-Freudian statement on cyborg theory or feminism. Rather it is a musically mimetic domain where these ideas freely collide and coalesce.

By the time you finish reading this, there will probably be another Emeralds-related release announced, hopefully dealing with the the politics of cyborg theory in a post-Freudian world.

Sequitur tracklist:

01. Interconnected
02. Accelerated Yearning
03. Constant Reminders
04. Sequitur
05. Mixed Messages
06. Vegas Mode
07. Kept
08. Steep Decline

• Emeralds:
• Kranky:

Nadja team up with Jesus Lizard drummer for magical new record

Nadja’s Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff are the sort of people who drip gold dust, wishes, and batwings wherever they go. The road before them is paved with pixie dust and glitter, and the sun gives them a thumbs up each morning when they wake up. They’re just that cool. They’re that kind of people. COOL PEOPLE. The Berlin-based Toronto expats make beautiful, droning music together, but on their latest, Dagdrøm (or “daydream” to our non-elf, non-Danish speaking friends), they go full on Big Black/Jesus Lizard.

Which only stands to reason, since the intrepid duo put their drum machine to bed on this one and got Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly to pound the skins. Baker, it turns out, had toured with Jesus Lizard bass player David Simms a few years ago, got McNeilly’s email from him, and asked if he’d like to play drums on Nadja’s new record. And the rest, as they say, is history. Magical history. Nadja has released records on Alien8, Hydrahead, Southern Records, Robotic Empire, and their own Broken Spine Productions. They’re releasing this one through Ba Da Bing! and Broken Spine come October 30.

Dagdrøm tracklisting:

01. One Sense Alone
02. Falling Out of Your Head
03. Dagdrøm
04. Space Time & Absence

• Broken Spine:
• Ba Da Bing!:

Spotify hemorrhaging money, possibly boned

Last week wasn’t a good one for Spotify.

Amid announcements that the streaming music service is teaming with Samsung to bring its particular brand of legal streams to TVs and DVD Blu-Ray™ players throughout Europe, CNET is reporting that, regardless of their 151% jump in revenue compared to 2010, the company is operating a major loss. CNET quotes PrivCo, an organization that essentially mines data on private companies’ financial statuses, declaring Spotify “unsustainable” and confirms the numbers with a Spotify spokesperson.

It seems that, as Spotify grows, it is paying out more in royalties than any amount of advertising revenue or premium memberships can compensate for. Overall, net income dropped from -$37,555,868 to -$59,136,294. While these numbers look pretty dismal, as long as Spotify’s private investors keep ponying up the cash (Coca-Cola are in investment talks too), you can still watch your friends play the same four Ke$ha songs over and over at 4 AM via your Facebook feed.

• Spotify:
• Ke$ha:

The Beatles’ penises nigh unrecognizable after Museum of Liverpool defacement

If you’re male, ponder the importance of your penis for a moment. If you’re female, imagine you have a penis and consider its importance, as well as the details of its appearance. Few appendages are as treasured and few moments as welcome as when another person takes the time to appreciate your penis through touch. So, oblige me for a second and imagine someone’s hand slowly gliding down your abdomen, towards that venerable shaft and scrotal region. Suddenly… SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! Your penis has been flattened like Play-Doh by that ambiguous hand! Oh god!

That actually happened, albeit the penises in question weren’t actual ones, but models created by painter Jonathan Gent for a piece entitled “The Beatles in America.” That’s right — the original work depicted each member of The Beatles’ penises. According to Click Liverpool, “The Beatles in America” was defaced last week by a group of visitors to the Museum of Liverpool, who pressed the soft oil into the canvas, thereby sparking uncertainty as to whether the painting can still impregnate be auctioned and/or displayed.

A spokesperson for the museum explains, “The damage is all the more regrettable because along with other works in the exhibition the painting is due to be auctioned to raise funds for children’s charity Claire House.” How unfortu— wait, what?! A painting of penises meant to raise funds for a children’s charity? Well, I guess they don’t look like penises at first glance — more like smeared cake frosting. I hope nobody misled the children into thinking that they can lick it.

Check out this short film if you, for some reason, want to learn a bit more about the painting. In particular, note how one of the final shots is of paint slowly spilling out of a tube. Something tells me Gent has spilled his paint to more than a few Beatles photos…

L-R (top) Paul, George; L-R (bottom) Ringo, John

• Jonathan Gent:
• Museum of Liverpool:

Ulrich Schnauss to release first new album in six sad, blip-bloop-less years

After a six-year absence from the New Releases shelf at your local record store, German shoegaze/electronica maestro Ulrich Schnauss is back with a new album called A Long Way to Fall. Due for a mysteeeeerious early 2013 release, Schnauss’ latest will come out via Domino in the US and through his own Scripted Realities label in the rest of the world. On his fourth album, the My Bloody Valentine-lovin’ bleep-blip-blopper is all about the synthesizer. According to Schnauss: “While I had spent a couple of years mainly listening to songwriting based music (a lot of ‘indie’/band-type stuff), I was now rediscovering my love for electronic music based on more open structures. This provided the main inspiration of trying to record an album that would celebrate the synthesizer as the very capable musical instrument that it is, but without the need to disguise it behind a wall of echo and reverb.”

That’s right, Ulrich! Say it loud! We’re synthesizer lovers and proud! But the album isn’t just about synths and shoegaze and blip bloop blops. No! It’s also about art. And not just musical art. For Schnauss’ latest, the London-based photographers/visual artists Nat Urazmetova and Anastasija Nikitina have crafted visual works to go along with the tracks “A Ritual in Time and Death” and “I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance.” The latter track is also coming out as a single, with remixes by Tycho and ASC. As Missy Elliot once said, “Come, get your art on.”

A Long Way to Fall tracklisting:

01. Her And The Sea
02. Broken Homes
03. Like A Ghost In Your Own Life
04. A Long Way To Fall
05. I Take Comfort In Your Ignorance
06. A Forgotten Birthday
07. The Weight Of Darkening Skies
08. Borrowed Time
09. Ten Years
10. A Ritual In Time And Death

• Ulrich Schnauss:
• Domino: