Holy Money, Holy Love: Holy $#!T! Michael Gira Working on Swans/Angels of Light Hybrid, Debuts New Material in NY with James Jackson Toth (Who Is Set to Embark on His Own Tour)

Over the past decade, Michael Gira’s output has shifted from the ultra-menacing noise rock of legendary New York band Swans to the more quietly eerie folk songs released both under his own name and under the Angels of Light moniker. Gira, whose early work generally messed up people’s hearing and made listeners vomit, now more closely resembles the just slightly creepy olde tyme traveling salesman or itinerant preacher with a deadly secret who I imagine to live somewhere in the dusty backroads of Nick Cave’s mind at all times.

And now, at last, these two very different sounds shall finally be united.

On July 25, Gira is playing a solo set in Brooklyn with James Jackson Toth (a.k.a. Wooden Wand or Wand), a recent signee to Gira's Young God Records. Songs from both the Angels of Light and Swans catalogues are on the setlist for the night, as are some NEW songs Gira has been both working on and is expected to release as a Swans/Angels of Light hybrid.

Could a joint tour be far behind in support of this album that does not even exist yet? According to the man himself, “maybe.”
07.25.09 – Brooklyn, NY – Issue Project Room

Meanwhile, Toth has his own dates lined up, in support of the recently released Hard Knox (out now on Ecstatic Peace). And don't forget that he has an exclusive track on our TMT Darfur comp, too!

Wand tourdates:
07.22.09 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
07.23.09 - Fairmont, WV - River City Grill
07.24.09 - Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery @
07.25.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Issue Project Room
07.26.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall Studio
07.28.09 - Northampton, MA - Artifacts of the 20th Century
07.29.09 - Albany, NY - Valentine's
07.30.09 - Portland, ME - Apohadian Theatre
07.31.09 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
08.02.09 - Columbus, OH - Rhumba
08.03.09 - Bloomington, IN - Russian Recording
08.05.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
08.06.09 - Rock Island, IL- Daytrotter (session and show)
08.07.09 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
08.08.09 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's
08.09.09 - Montreal, QC - Green Room
08.11.09 - Washington, DC - Rock + Roll Hotel &
08.12.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle &
08.13.09 - Atlanta, GA - E.A.R.L. &
08.14.09 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree

@ Crazy Dreams Band

& Akron Family

[Photo: Anne Helmond]

According To A New Study, British Music Fans Still Prefer CDs To Downloading, Probably Also Still Love The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Roxette, And The Cranberries

In a recent survey from two British research companies, The Leading Question and Music Alley, both concluded that UK music fans prefer buying CDs to downloading music. Straight from the source itself:

The Leading Question/Music Ally Speakerbox survey is the biggest face to face survey of UK music fans. The syndicated, proprietary project involves 1,000 face to face interviews with music fans aged 14-64 and a series of in depth focus groups which took place throughout the UK.

Of course, every study has multifarious factors that confound the results, but if this survey is a somewhat "accurate" portrayal of British music consumption, I have to ask: how can the Brits be so far behind the times? Despite the overwhelming growth of digital downloads, the survey found that:

- 73% of music fans are still happy buying CDs rather than downloading
- 66% of 14-18 year olds prefer CDs
- 59% of all music fans still listen to CDs every day
- CD burning is top of all sharing activities (23%), above bluetoothing (18%), filesharing single tracks (17%), and filesharing albums (13%)

Well, kudos to them for purchasing physicals, but I'd prefer to buy vinyl (sounds and looks better, more longterm investment, etc.) rather than waste my pounds on CDs and a new Sony Discman. Though, I guess I still can't find a vinyl copy of The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.

Zero 7 would have gotten away with new album Yeah Ghost in September, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.

Fire up the Mystery Machine, or at least burn some incense in your garage, because semi-spooky ambient pop duo Zero 7 are to release their new full-length Yeah Ghost September 8 in the U.S. Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns have hatched a plot to set the clocks back to 2004, a time when you couldn’t make out unless you were listening to their Garden State soundtrack hit “In The Waiting Line.” With soul/jazz artiste Eska Mtungwazi, folkster Martha Tilston, and electro-hopper Rowdy Superstar as their hired goons, Zero 7 hope to hypnotize more fans than their Grammy-nominated, but radio-absent 2006 LP The Garden did.

Their nefarious scheme begins with the free download of “Everything UP (Zisou)” from Stereogum . The terror continues at their official website, with the arachnid- and scorpion-infested video for the song’s remix by Joker and Ginz. Finally, Zero 7 will bring the chills to British auditoriums and European music festivals in the fall.

Will the gang foil Zero 7’s plan and place leaked copies of Yeah Ghost all over the torrentsphere? Find out next episode.

Yeah Ghost tracklisting:

1. Count Me Out
2. Mr. McGee
3. Swing
4. Everything Up (Zizou)
5. Pop Art Blue
6. Medicine Man
7. Ghost sYMbOL
8. Sleeper
9. Solastalgia
10. The Road
11. All Of Us

08.07.09 - Sudwest, Portugal – Sudwest Festival
08.20.09 - Kiewit, Belgium – Pukkelpop Festival
09.04.09 - Stradbally, Ireland - Electric Picnic Festival
09.28.09 - Bristol, England - Colston Hall
09.29.09 - Oxford, England - Oxford Academy
09.30.09 - Norwich, England – University of East Anglia
10.01.09 - Manchester, England - Manchester Academy
10.03.09 - Sheffield, England - Plug
10.04.09 – Glasgow, Scotland - ABC 1
10.05.09 - Leeds, England - Leeds Academy
10.06.09 - Brighton, England - Dome
10.09.09 - London, England - Round House
10.11.09 - Preston, England - 53 Degrees
10.12.09 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Queens Hall
10.13.09 - Birmingham, England - Birmingham Town hall

Fruit Bats to Release The Ruminant Band, Tour, Lift Spirits of The Surrounding Community

Fruit Bats are set to release their newest full-length, The Ruminant Band on Sub Pop August 7. The album is full of more solid, unpretentious, folk/pop hits that will bring about feelings of hope, nostalgia, joy, regret, and beauty. This is because Eric Johnson, main songwriter and driving force of the band, taps into these worlds of humanity more acutely than most. It's just a vibe I get, true, but it's a vibe I'd put money on. This guy has a knack for finding diamonds buried in the coal of everyday life, and tell me, who doesn't love diamonds?

Here's a good sense of who we're dealing with here. From his blog:


This picture above was taken by me, with a blue plastic Fisher Price 110 camera. I'm guessing the year as 1986. That tiny brownish plateau in the far distant middle of the picture was (and is) a landfill. I had never really seen a mountain yet in 1986, and this was as close as it got. I was pretty obsessed with this thing. It was the most dramatic piece of the horizon for miles until you hit the towering skyscrapers of Chicago. In the winter it would get covered in snow like a little tiny Matterhorn. If you ever got up close enough you'd see that the whole mound was covered in busy flocks of gulls, crows, and garbage trucks zooming up and down the side. The area around it was no less captivating to me - a patchwork of corn and soybean fields, some natural prairie, a trickly little river, a Civil War era cemetery, and an old stone quarry that, like all old stone quarries, was haunted by the ghosts of drowned boys. And this big garbage heap towering over it all. It was creepy and weird and beautiful and rad.

I went back to visit my folks not too long ago and now the mountain is much bigger and covered in wavy green grass and purple clover. They took down the barbed wire fence around it and stopped filling it, and put a hiking trail right up to the top. The field in the foreground is all McMansions now, though, stealing the view for themselves. These days I live in a place with gigantic gorgeous snow capped beastly peaks, but I still will always love that little trash pile the most of any mountain.

08.18.09 - Victoria, BC - Lucky Bar*
08.19.09 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club*
08.20.09 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile*
08.22.09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir*
08.24.09 - Sonoma, CA - Gundlach Bundschu Winery~
08.25.09 - San Francisco, CA - Independent~
08.26.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland~
08.27.09 - Tucson, AZ - Plush~
08.28.09 - Santa Fe, NM - Corazon~
08.29.09 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge~
08.31.09 - Norman, OK - Opolis~
09.01.09 - Dallas, TX - The Loft~
09.02.09 - Austin, TX - Mohawk~
09.03.09 - Houston, TX - Walter's~
09.04.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon~
09.05.09 - Oxford, MS - Red Star Bar~
09.06.09 - Atlanta, GA - The EARL~
09.08.09 - Nashville, TN - Exit In^
09.09.09 - Knoxville, TN- Square Room^
09.10.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506^
09.11.09 - Washington, DC - Black Cat^+
09.12.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie^+
09.14.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg+@
09.15.09 - Cambridge, MA - TT's+@
09.16.09 - Buffalo, NY - Soundlab+@
09.17.09 - Newport, KY - Southgate+@
09.18.09 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar+@
09.19.09 - Madison, WI - Orpheum+@
09.20.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas+@
09.21.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas+@

* Johnny & the Moon

~ Death Vessel

^ Pronto

+ Kevin Barker

@ Iran

K Records Announce Sleepover at Helsing Junction; Don’t Forget Your Smurfs Pajamas With the Cute Footsies Or Your “My Buddy”

In classic K Records fashion, Calvin and crew are havin' a sleepover, and everyone's invited! Set for late August, the Helsing Junction 2009 Sleepover will see the the crew hopping on big wheels and riding 55 all the way down to rural southern Thurston County to join forces with the 30-acre Helsing Junction organic farm (30 minutes from Olympia, an hour and a half from Portland and Seattle, and an hour from Tacoma). In addition to swimming, camping, picnicking, and other summer camp-style fun, there will be plenty of underground films and of course sincere, heartfelt music during which you can find a warm blanket to cuddle in with your snookums.

There will be performances by Kimya Dawson, LAKE, Desolation Wilderness, Tender Forever, Mirah, Karl Blau, Calvin Johnson, Arrington de Dionyso, Joey Casio, Christmas, Angelo Spencer, Hooliganship, Brainstorm, Danny Kelly, Gary May, Why I Must Be Careful, Inside Voices, and others. And if that's not enough, there will be a DJ party too in the orchard with Jeffrey Jerusalem, film screenings curated by Vanessage Renwick, and plenty of fresh organic cooking from the Helsing Junction crew, who have been providing organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers to the surrounding areas for years and running an 800-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Together, Helsing Junction and K Records will be celebrating all things locally produced, whether it be fruits, vegetables, or music.

Passes for the three-day fest, from August 21-23, are $30 in advance or $35 at the event. For more info, click here and here.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth Releases Solo LP, But Who Will Clap Hands, Say Yeah?

Everybody knows clapping your hands and saying yeah isn’t a one-man job. You can clap hands or you can say yeah, but doing both at once? Preposterous. It took four men, under the guise of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, to properly clap hands and say yeah. Properly clapping and saying yeah must have been even harder than imagined, though, as CYHSY have been silent since the mixed reception of their 2007 album Some Loud Thunder (TMT Review).

Lead, um, Clapper Alec Ounsworth intends to break that silence, but all by his lonesome on his debut solo album Mo Beauty, out October 20 on ANTI-Records. Well, not entirely by his lonesome: Backing up Ounsworth are New Orleans music staples George Porter, Jr. (bass), Stanton Moore (drums), Robert Walter (keys), and Mark Sutton (baritone and pedal-steel guitars). Those guys seem like they’re capable of clapping and maybe even saying yeah. If not, they’ve got plenty of help on the album with appearances from New Orleans musicians Mark Mullins, Craig Klein, Greg Hicks, Washboard Chaz, Shannon Powell, John Boute, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, and Meschiya Lake.

That’s an awful lot of New Orleans. Makes sense, too: Ounsworth says that “New Orleans informed the spirit of the record, as it should.” But don’t get any big ideas that it’s a specifically New Orleans record, as Ounsworth also says “most of the songs weren’t written specifically for New Orleans.” Okay, so, some New Orleans, but not too much. Got it.

Mo Beauty, mo tracklists:

1. Modern Girl (...with scissors)
2. Bones in the Grave
3. Holy, Holy, Holy Moses (song for New Orleans)
4. That is not my Home (after Bruegel)
5. Idiots in the Rain
6. South Philadelphia (Drug Days)
7. What Fun.
8. Me and You, Watson
9. Obscene Queen Bee #2
10. When You've No Eyes