Matmos’ Drew Daniel curates Art & Politics conference with Matthew Barney, Kode9, and not Mike Huckabee

Matmos' Drew Daniel curates Art & Politics conference with Matthew Barney, Kode9, and not Mike Huckabee

Can Art and Politics Be Thought? That’s an interesting question. Now you might be thinking, “Did you leave out a word in that first sentence or something, I don’t… really…” but before you embarrass yourself any further, understand that this is the official title of a two-day conference at UCLA curated by Matmos’ Drew Daniel and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA Kenneth Reinhard, so maybe you should just re-read the sentence and mull it over before you start running your mouth. So, let’s start again: Can Art and Politics Be Thought, You Asshole? This story wasn’t supposed to be so aggressive! Goddammit!!!

I’m back. “Can Art and Politics Be Thought?” (deep breath…) is taking place this weekend at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in conjunction with the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory, with two days packed full of lectures and performances by Matmos, Kode9, Matthew Barney, Alain Badiou, and other “contemporary artists, critics, and philosophers,” all attempting to explore the relationship between art and politics. Some of the questions being posed include:

Is a relationship between art and politics that does not compromise the specificity of each practice possible? Can art be political without becoming propaganda? Does politics have anything to learn from art? How have artists approached these questions in their concrete practices and reflections on those practices? And how have theorists conceptualized and contributed to those practices?

And here I thought the only pertinent question was, “Does the artist use a megaphone and make their voice sound sorta like Zack de la Rocha?”! We’re always learning in this life. Though the event is free, like all programs at the Hammer, tickets are still required for entry (to keep out any kids sloshed with jungle juice) and can be picked up at the Billy Wilder Theater box office one hour before the conference starts. Check the full schedule below, and sorry for the outburst earlier.

Saturday, June 4, 2011:

1:00: Steve Goodman
2:00 Joshua Clover
3:30 Lauren Berlant
4:30 Matthew Barney
8:00 Performances by Ultra-Red, Matmos, and Kode9

Sunday, June 5, 2011:

1:00 Drew Daniel
2:00 Joan Copjec
3:30 Allan Sekula
4:30 Alain Badiou
8:00 Reading of scenes from Alain Badiou’s Incident at Antioch and Ahmed the Philosopher; directed by Stephen Barker

• Hammer Museum:
• Matmos:

St. Vincent stops covering Big Black for one darn second, announces new record Strange Mercy

Now that she’s done doing (pretty amazing) Big Black covers, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark can get back to business. That business is show business, kid. To stay in the biz, you’ve got to release new albums and Miss Clark, hey, she’s got it down pat. What I mean is that on September 13, St. Vincent will be putting out her third record Strange Mercy through 4AD. One would imagine that you, my friend, already know that it’s the follow-up to 2009’s super-acclaimed Actor (TMT Review), but, heck, if you don’t, it is the follow-up to 2009’s Actor (TMT Review).

On Strange Mercy, Clark joined forces once again with Actor producer John Congleton, who you may know from producing all your favorite records, and laid down many a track at Dallas’s Elmwood Studios. Such tracks include the horn-section-boasting “Cruel” and the fuzzy-guitar-loaded “Cheerleader,” but not a single Big Black cover. Ugh! Couldn’t she even squeeze in a rendition of Shellac’s “Prayer for God?”

Evidently, all that time not recording Steve Albini covers has been put to hiring some extra hands for Strange Mercy. Fair enough. Among the players brought in for added flair are Grammy-winning jazz musician Bobby Sparks (playing mini Moog, clavinet, ARP, and Wurlitzer), Midlake drummer Mackenzie Smith, violinist Daniel Hart, Beck keyboardist Brian LeBarton, and woodwind player Evan Smith. Rumor has it that none of these people will actually be audible on the record, due to the overwhelming sound of Annie Clark’s ferocious guitar playing. I wouldn’t take that rumor too seriously, though.

• St. Vincent:
• 4AD:

Earth expands tour to include their home turf because Dylan Carlson hates the rest of you

Remember when we told you that the legendary drone-metal big boys Earth would be embarking on a US tour? Yeah, of course you do. You also know how they’re playing What the Heck? Fest as well? Cause if you don’t, you should. So now, as if the title of the article didn’t tell you everything you needed to know already, the band is using that WTHF appearance as a springboard for a quick jaunt around them Western states that we all so cherish.

As previously reported, hella cool guy Karl Blau (D+, The Microphones, other stuff) will be joining the band on tour and was also featured on their skull-piercing new album Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (TMT Review), which you can drool over at Southern Lord’s website. Now for the information you actually didn’t know:

07.13.11 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir #
07.14.11 - Olympia, WA - The Northern #
07.16.11 - Anacortes, WA - Port Warehouse (What The Heck? Fest)
07.21.11 - Santa Cruz, CA - Catalyst Atrium #
07.22.11 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s #
07.23.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex - Los Angeles, CA #
07.24.11 - San Diego, CA - Casbah #
08.02.11 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern #
08.05.11 - Bellingham, WA - The Shakedown

# Angelo Spencer et Les Hauts Sommets

• Earth:
• Southern Lord:

Yes, another news piece about Noveller, this one about her tour with U.S. Girls

In 1975, if you had told Klaus Schulze that the then-uncategorized music that he revolutionized and produced would 35 years later utterly saturate the underground music market, or that labels like Type, Weird Forest, and Editions Mego would come to exist and flourish, he probably would have thrown a bratwurst at you. Shit, if you had told him that people would still be muttering his name in relation to a relevant musical art form at this point in time he would have told you to verpiß Dich (never mind the sloppy translation). Not even he in his vast wisdom and synthetic foresight could have guessed that in this day and age, a solid 30 years after the heyday of kosmische music, we would have all these young folk making hyper-theoretical sonic wonderings.

Today it’s all about Sarah Lipstate’s Noveller project, easily one of the best examples around of something that could have easily stayed a Brooklyn living room side-project but has been brought to the masses (sorta) and with great success. At the very least, we love the shit out of her here at TMT. You can roll over to the Chocolate Grinder and scope out the video for “Alone Star,” a cut off her soon-to-be-reviewed-by-Tiny-Mix-Tapes album Glacial Glow on Weird Forest. I’ll go ahead and spare you from reading the review by telling you that we’ll really, really like it.

As you might have assumed, Noveller is also heading out on a stint of dates, this time bringing along fellow weirdo U.S. Girls. Get ready for some hardcore tuning out in a bunch of venues that I have never heard of.

Noveller/U.S. Girls dates:

06.11.11 - Arlington, VA - Queering Sound Festival Artisphere
06.13.11 - Hudson, NY - The Spotty Dog
06.14.11 - Northampton, MA - Feeding Tube Records
06.16.11 - Boston, MA - Aviary Gallery
06.17.11 - Montreal, QC - Suoni Per Il Popolo Fest Casa del Popolo
06.19.11 - Detroit, MI - Burton Theater
06.20.11 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
06.21.11 - Madison, WI - Good Style Shop
06.23.11 - Lafayette, IN - The Black Sparrow
06.26.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Bruar Falls

• Noveller:
• U.S. Girls:
• Weird Forest:

The Blow is going on tour, get the hell out of the way!

The Blow is back, so they say. If I sound uncertain, it’s because I feel like we’ve been running stories about The Blow being back for at least a year at this point. The Blow, who many humans know as the recording project of Pacific Northwesterner/Microphones member/visual artist/K Records mainstay/woman of a million talents Khaela Maricich, has seemingly been gone an awfully long time (five years since previous record Paper Television, with little touring since then), so perhaps it’s appropriate. Let the ratio of return time equal the time away divided by 2. Write your answers in your copybook.

But enough math, The Blow is back! To further prove that she’s back, Maricich is going on a tour of fairly significant length this summer. Will this tour feature new material? Almost certainly! Will that new material show up in recorded form any time soon? Well, um, probably, but I really can’t say for sure. Give The Blow some time, it’s still in comeback mode. For now, just enjoy this tour and celebrate The Blow’s triumphant return.

The Blow dates:

06.10.11 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
06.11.11 - Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
06.26.11 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
06.27.11 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
07.01.11 - Orlando, FL - The Social
07.02.11 - Miami, FL - Florida Room
07.05.11 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
07.08.11 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
07.09.11 - Austin, TX - Emo’s
07.10.11 - Dallas, TX - The Prophet Bar
07.14.11 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
07.15.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
07.16.11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
07.19.11 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
07.23.11 - Iowa City, IA - The Mill
07.24.11 - St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
07.26.11 - Columbus, OH - The Summit

• The Blow:

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy preps art book/10-inch with painter Ashley Macomber, because three 10-inches in one year is not enough

As a sort of massively public dress rehearsal for his Florida shows last week, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang played a free show at Millennium Park in Chicago last Monday, and I, [faceless TMT laborer], was there to witness it. Stuffed with sandwich and Guinness after the opening act, I stretched out on the lawn, ready to take in some ‘Prince’ classics live for the very first time. Further down on the lawn, a shirtless man was standing and doing one of those ‘my hands move all around this crystal ball, yet it remains stationary’ tricks that you see advertised on a TV display while waiting in line at Walgreens, but his attempts to dampen my enthusiasm were not going to work. The familiar pluckings of “Troublesome Houses” filled the park, and I knew this show was going to be a treat.

And then I didn’t recognize a single song ‘til the encore! Damn, Billy! I own 10 full-length albums of yours, and that whole setlist stumped me. You could have played a song by your backup singer and I would’ve had a firmer grip on things. Just goes to show that it’s impossible to keep up with even your most-treasured artists and it only makes sense to admit defeat and let pre-programmed radio playlists dictate our tastes.

If you’re still fighting the fight to be familiar with each and every Bonnie Billy song, you’re going to need to bust open your sister’s piggy bank on the sly pretty soon, because on top of the three BPB 10-inch singles that have been/are going to be released this year, a deluxier 10-inch is on the assembly line right now! This one is called Afternoon and comes paired with a book of paintings by Ashley Macomber; the songs are meant to mix with the paintings like wine and cheese, or like outdoor concerts and self-motivated magicians. Limited to 1000 copies and released by Black Tent Press, Afternoon is conceptually based on the Mallarmé poem “L’apres midi d’un faune,” written in 1865 — a year when no one could have dreamed that a crystal ball could be held stationary while hands glided across it. The poem was originally put to music by Claude Debussy, and now the baton is passed to Will Oldham. All you Mallarmé freaks can preorder the record right here and also preview some of Macomber’s art.

Afternoon tracklisting:

A. I Am a Floozy
B. Remember the Terror Time

More Bonnie + Cairo Gang dates:

07.15.11 - Saint Johns, NL - Cochrane Street United Church
07.22.11 - Calgary, AB - Calgary Folk Festival
09.27.11 - Nelsonville, OH - Stuart’s Opera House
09.30.11 - Asbury Park, NJ - ATP
10.02.11 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
10.04.11 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre

• Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy:
• Ashley Macomber:
• Black Tent Press:


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