Kranky celebrates its 20th birthday with shows by Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Grouper, is getting to be such a big boy but will no longer let you pinch its cheeks

Kranky celebrates its 20th birthday with shows by Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Grouper, is getting to be such a big boy but will no longer let you pinch its cheeks

20 years ago in 1993, on a dark stormy night, your fathers (Joel Leoschke and Bruce Adams) and I had a little too much to drink. We were on a business trip in Chicago, and when we stumbled back to our hotel room, well… let’s just say, nine months later, surprise surprise, you popped out all screaming, covered in goo, and holding Labradford’s Prazision LP! That’s right, Kranky, until we were already in the hospital, your fathers and I had no idea you were on your way! But, believe me, that doesn’t make us love you any less. That’s why we want to do something extra special on the occasion of your 20th!

You sure have made a lot of friends over the years, Kranky. How does bringing a bunch of them back together for one big four-night bash sound? Well I hope your calendar is open from December 12 through December 15, because that’s exactly what we’re planning, sweetheart. We’ll have your BFFs like Keith Fullerton Whitman, Grouper, and Tim Hecker in attendance. Topping it all off, your pals Stars of the Lid, who as Brooklyn Vegan notes, haven’t played in the US in five years, just let us know they could make it. They’ll be playing with their new buddies Wordless Music Orchestra. We know you’ve missed them pretty hard — don’t think we didn’t notice the fact that you re-issued their 1996 release The Ballasted Orchestra earlier this year. Now, our house is no Shea Stadium, honey, so remind your friends to buy their tickets from the mini-site early.

Maybe in the meantime you can look at some nice baby pictures of yourself (don’t worry, I’ll take out most of the bathtub ones before your friends get here). Or maybe you could finally take like one second and clean up your room… Tim Hecker is coming over for dinner in October, and that’s sooner than you think.

Kranky 20th Anniversary lineup:

Thursday, December 12 at The Empty Bottle

Friday, December 13 at Constellation
Benoît Poulard
Christopher Bissonnette
Justin Walter

Saturday, December 14 at Constellation
Tim Hecker
Keith Fullerton Whitman
Ken Camden

Sunday, December 15 at Lincoln Hall
Stars of the Lid (with Wordless Music Orchestra)

• Kranky:

RIP: Ray Dolby, sound pioneer and inventor of noise reduction system Dolby NR

From the L.A. Times:

Ray Dolby, 80, died Thursday at his home in San Francisco. The company he founded, Dolby Laboratories, released a statement saying he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in recent years and in July was found to have acute leukemia.

The Dolby Sound System was first used commercially in recording studios nearly 50 years ago and then adopted by the film industry.

“You could divide film sound in half: there is BD, before Dolby, and there is AD, after Dolby,” said Oscar-winning film and sound editor Walter Murch last year at the Hollywood Post Alliance Awards that honored Dolby.

Eliminating hiss, along with other sound enhancements invented by Dolby, allowed filmmakers to use far more sophisticated multi-track, surround-sound audio to transport audiences into fantasy worlds. […]

• Ray Dolby:

Nat Baldwin plans Dome Branches: The MVP Demos for Western Vinyl, doesn’t need tickets to the gun show, has an all-access VIP pass

Last time I hung out with Nat Baldwin was kind of rough for me, I’ll admit. I mean, I don’t harbor any ill will toward him in particular, but I’d be lying if I said my feelings weren’t just a little hurt. The whole time he just kept flexing his biceps and saying, “Come on, just touch ‘em, you know you want to.” And I was all like, “Nah man, I don’t want to touch your biceps again. I thought we were meeting to talk about your plumbing.” And he was all like, “You’re not even a plumber.” I reminded him that yes, in fact, I am a plumber with a high Yelp rating and a great reputation. He said he doubted whether anyone “so averse to touching his ripe, young muscles” could actually call themselves a plumber in “this economy.”

To be fair, the dude is mad fit, his muscles made ginormous from toting that double bass around all these years. He’s also got a new release out soon on Western Vinyl called Dome Branches: The MVP Demos. You don’t have to do much mental “heavy lifting” to sort out that the record is made up of demos for the 2009 release Most Valuable Player (TMT Review); the tracks were recorded in 2005 and 2006. And though all the iron pumping Baldwin does is not exactly what you’d call a team sport, these demos definitely are. They feature David Longstreth on guitar and electronics, Djim Reynolds on guitar, Nathan Horton on drums, Tim Keiper on drums, Matt Bauder on clarinets, and Jessica Pavone on viola. Baldwin said that while all those folks are great musicians (for instance, apparently Longstreth’s guitar parts were improvised on the spot for most of the recordings), none of them would stand a “blue slushie’s chance in hell” against him in a good old arm wrestling match.

Want to touch Nat Baldwin’s muscles in real life, or maybe hear what they sound like when they’re flexing right next to your face? As we’ve previously reported, he’s going on tour this fall, so you’ll have your chance. That is, unless of course your muscles are so withered that you can’t even walk. In that event, I’d say maybe stay home and listen to “Look She Said” instead (over on the Western Vinyl SoundCloud) instead.

Dome Branches: The MVP Demos tracklisting:

01. Lake Erie
02. Only to Find
03. Dome Branches
04. Black Square
05. De-Attached
06. One Two Three
07. The Felled Trees
08. Look She Said
09. Mask I Wear


09.20.13 - Jamaica Plains, MA - Deep Thoughts !
09.21.13 - Hudson, NY - The Spotty Dog Books & Ale
09.22.13 - Buffalo, NY - Perot Grain Silos at Silo City
09.24.13 - Toronto, ON - Monarch Tavern #
09.25.13 - Oberlin, OH - Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse #
09.26.13 - Cincinnati, OH - Midpoint Music Festival
09.28.13 - Champaign, IL - Pygmalion Music Festival
09.29.13 - Chicago, IL - Hideout #
10.01.13 - Youngstown, PA - Cedar’s Lounge
10.02.13 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Chapel
10.03.13 - The Gates - Ithaca, NY - The Gates @
10.30.13 - Mechanicsburg, PA - Messiah College
12.16.13 - Portsmouth, NH - The Press Room

! Sophie Dickinson and Chris North
# Justin Walter
@ Keir Neuringer

• Nat Baldwin:
• Western Vinyl:

U.S. Girls releasing new Motown-tinged, acid-tinged EP in September

White wine. Pinterest. Classic girl groups. Posting about drinking white wine while listening to classic girl groups on Pinterest. Adele Adele Adele!!! Have you heard of Adele? Everybody’s into pseudo-soul these days, it seems, and they want you to know it. Even Meg Remy of U.S. Girls is feeling a soul vibe lately, it seems. Except, of course, that Meg Remy’s take on Motown sounds nothing like a $9.99 Starbucks soul sampler and way more like, say, a scratched 45 recorded when a Motown producer and a bouffant-sporting Hollywood hopeful took too much acid (or just enough acid?) and started jamming with a talking lizard and a super stoned tree frog, both of whom were heavily informed by the North American garage rock and lo-fi traditions.

Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll see! You’ll see when U.S. Girls releases a new EP called Free Advice Column on September 24 via Bad Actors, following up last year’s GEM (TMT Review) on FatCat. Remy worked with Canadian hip-hop producer Onakabazien on this one, having previously paired up for a version of the Brandy and Monica classic, “The Boy Is Mine,” available on the U.S. Girls on Kraak LP. You can check out the new track “Overtime” below, via The Fader:

Free Advice Column tracklisting:

01. Overtime
02. 28 Days
03. Incidental Boogie
04. Onakabazien, “Disco 2012” (feat. U.S. Girls)

• U.S. Girls:
• Onakabazien:
• Bad Actors:

Amen Dunes announces two upcoming albums to beef up nearly empty Big Cartel webpage

Outside of that one 7-inch that came out last year, there hasn’t been much on the ‘Dunes front. So, in order to properly follow up 2011’s Through Donkey Jaw (TMT Review), Damon McMahon’s Amen Dunes is ready with not one but two albums over the next several months.

First up, we have The Spoiler. Released this week on Amen Dunes’ Perfect Lives imprint, The Spoiler features cuts recorded intermittently between 2009 and 2011. The Spoiler is, in McMahon’s own words, “two years of songwriting non-music songs, instrumentals, winter afternoon TV hymns, homemade industrial recordings, ballads, man music, involuntary speech, late summer slugs, and the like.” Sounds pretty cool. The bad news is that it will be limited to 300 vinyl copies sold primarily through Amen Dunes’ Big Cartel page. So hurry up! Listen to album track “Watching Cartoons” here:

While there isn’t an exact release date for the second album, let alone a name, it will be out sometime next year. 2014’s record will feature recordings from sessions up in Montreal with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Still in the mixing phase, that album will have contributions from Efrim Menuck, Theirry Amar, and Sophie Trudeau of GY!BE; Stephen Tanner of Harvey Milk; saxophonist Colin Stetson (who has played with everyone ever); and a whole bunch of other nice folks.

And finally, Amen Dunes has also set a European tour, which starts September 21. More dates in Spain and Portugal coming soon!

09.21.13 - Tilburg, Netherlands - Incubate Fest
09.22.13 - Bordeaux, France - TBD
09.26.13 - Paris, France - Garage MU
09.27.13 - Lyon, France - Kaspek
09.28.13 - Barcelona, Spain - Miscelanea
09.29.13 - Valencia, Spain - TBA
09.30.13 - Madrid, Spain - TBA
10.03.13 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Worm
10.04.13 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OT301
10.05.13 - Brussels, Belgium - TBA

• Amen Dunes:

Best Coast announces new mini-album, Fade Away, everyone who lives on the best coast celebrates by getting high

So; guys, I’m not too sure what a “mini-album” is, but Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino must be, because she’s totally releasing one on October 22 via her own Jewel City Label (er, “in partnership with Kobalt Label Services”). It follows one of our favorites from 2012 and seems to be coming at us “in advance” of some (presumably) positively enormous full-length that she plans to unleash next spring.

Now, I’m probably just riffing here, but I imagine that, since it’s a mini-album and not an EP, it’s being released on minidisc, that all the songs are 30 seconds long and recorded using only the teeny-tiny-est of audible frequencies, and that the subject matter is entirely gnome-based. That’s all probably accurate enough, right? I mean, I don’t need to check the press release on this one, do I?

Okay, fine. Here: Wally Gagel — who’s recorded over 20 iTunes Originals sessions, including one with Best Coast back in 2011 — produced and mixed it, alongside Bethany and her backing band (also known as Bobb Bruno). And then there’s the usual stuff about “new-found freedom” and “a faster-paced, energetic set of songs inspired by Mazzy Star, Patsy Cline, My Bloody Valentine and Ambien.” Okay… nothing in here really seems to preclude songs about lawn gnomes, so we’re good.

Fade Away tracklisting:

01. This Lonely Morning
02. I Wanna Know
03. Who Have I Become
04. Fear Of My Identity
05. Fade Away
06. Baby I’m Crying
07. I Don’t Know How

• Best Coast: