RIP: Maxwell’s :(

RIP: Maxwell's :( http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/1307/news-13-07-maxwells.jpg

If only there was an emoticon that accurately conveyed “mourning.”

As you, dear reader, have probably heard if you follow music media closely (if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you do), or if you live in the greater New York metro area, legendary Hoboken, NJ venue Maxwell’s has officially closed its doors.

Generally considered one of the best venues in the New York area, the (barely) 200-person room offered an intimate, if not unique place to see bands. “Maxwell’s staff has always treated bands and patrons like very welcome company; bands get treated uniquely well there, and so they love playing there,” says WFMU’s Scott Williams, “audiences come back for the vibe, the size, and the great sound (and the decent odds that they’ll get to hang with various members of Sonic Youth or Yo La Tengo).” If I may go on personal harangue, Maxwell’s was pretty damn cool. Bands would often book a date in Manhattan or Brooklyn and tack on a show at Maxwell’s the next day before heading down to Philly on the East Coast touring circuit, and because of that, rarely would you have to deal with apathetic audience members casually glancing up from their phones or talking through sets. All the cool people already saw the band at the Music Hall of Williamsburg or the Bowery Ballroom. Hoboken is close enough to New York that it isn’t hard to get to from Manhattan, but inconvenient enough to scare off vapid scenesters. Considering how shitty parking is in Hoboken, anyone driving in from New Jersey was more than dedicated as well. If someone was at Maxwell’s for a show, they were there for the experience.

Speaking of parking, the city’s authoritarian parking policy’s factored into co-owner and booking agent Todd Abramson’s decision to leave; “for all intents and purposes,” he said in an article for New Jersey’s Star Ledger, “[parking has] been outlawed. I’ve had bands whose vans have been booted because the signs are so unclear.” Aside from parking woes, the attitude and taste of those in Hoboken has changed; “a lot of the bars downtown are fighting with each other for who has the most giant TVs,” continues Abramson, “That’s what Hoboken nightlife has become.” So thanks to the proliferation of cheap, giant LCD TVs and this asshole’s inexplicable popularity, most of the clientele that populated Maxwell’s has moved out.

So what does this mean for music fans on the west side of the Hudson? “What it definitely means is that no one has to endure the mile-long walk of shame up Washington Street anymore,” joked Williams adding, “hopefully, what it means is that someone will pick up the gauntlet in Jersey City, which seems to be turning back from about 10 years of hostility towards live music.” Rumors of the owners moving to a new location in Jersey City sprang up on the internet quickly, but as of now they remain rumors and speculation. Nothing official has been announced.

While it had its own feel, at the end of the day, Maxwell’s was just brick and wood. It may seem to contradict some of what I said a couple paragraphs ago, but what really matters, what made the place special wasn’t where it was or what it was made out of, but the people who managed it, and even more importantly, the people who frequented it. Regardless of the zip code or address, if Abramson and company do indeed find a new location and open up shop elsewhere, what made Maxwell’s something of landmark will move with them.

• Maxwell’s: http://maxwellsnj.com

Neutral Milk Hotel announce schlong-sized winter tour! (I don’t know how big that is for you, but it’s HUGE for me!)

Greetings underground music fans! Like most of you, I was just re-reading Pitchfork for the sixth time today and saw it reported there that those crazy dudes in the band Neutral Milk Hotel (Wikipedia says that those dudes are Jeff Mangum, Scott Spillane, Julian Koster, and Jeremy Barnes) have decided to massively extend the tour that they started to announce this past spring. And at first I thought, like, “maybe they just never finished announcing it the first time?” But I did a little bit of asking around, and nah, that’s bunk. This month-long jaunt around North America in early 2014 is a totally new and special thing. Maybe you didn’t know this, but they don’t really play out very much. The Jeff dude is like Val Kilmer in that Doors movie or something; doesn’t like crowds, I guess!

Either way though, I’m a huge fan of independent rock, so I am pumped for this. I bet you are too? If so, let’s find each other on Twitter. Can’t wait to sing along to my favorite song(s) live and in person. Especially “The Fool.”

Neutral Milk Hotel dates:

10.11.13 - Baltimore, MD - 2640 Space at St. John’s Church *
10.12.13 - Richmond, VA - The National *
10.14.13 - Covington, KY - Madison Theater *
10.15.13 - Urbana, IL - The Canopy Club *
10.16.13 - Columbia, MO - The Blue Note *
10.18.13 - Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall *
10.19.13 - Chattanooga, TN - Track 29 *
10.20.13 - Birmingham, AL - Iron City *
10.22.13 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club *
10.23.13 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club #
10.24.13 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club %
10.25.13 - Asheville, NC - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (Mountain Oasis Festival) #!
10.26.13 - Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle #
10.27.13 - Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle *@
11.10.13 - Melbourne, Australia - Harvest
11.16.13 - Sydney, Australia - Harvest
11.17.13 - Brisbane, Australia - Harvest
11.20.13 - Dunedin, New Zealand - Sammy’s
11.22.13 - Wellington, New Zealand - James Cabaret
11.23.13 - Auckland, New Zealand - The Kings Arms Tavern
11.24.13 - Auckland, New Zealand - The Kings Arms Tavern
11.28.13 - Taipei, Taiwan - Hostess Club Taipei
12.01.13 - Tokyo, Japan - Hostess Club Weekender
01.16.14 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
01.17.14 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
01.18.14 - Montreal, Quebec - Olympia
01.19.14 - Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
01.20.14 - Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
01.22.14 - Port Chester, NY - The Capitol Theatre
01.23.14 - Brooklyn, NY - BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
01.24.14 - Brooklyn, NY - BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
01.25.14 - Brooklyn, NY - BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
01.27.14 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
01.28.14 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
01.29.14 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre
01.30.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
01.31.14 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
02.01.14 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
02.02.14 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
02.04.14 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
02.05.14 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
02.06.14 - Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theatre
02.07.14 - Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theatre
02.08.14 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Theater
02.10.14 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02.11.14 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02.13.14 - Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre
02.14.14 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom
02.15.14 - Dallas, TX - Majestic Theatre
02.17.14 - Austin, TX - ACL Live at the Moody Theater
02.18.14 - Austin, TX - ACL Live at the Moody Theater
02.19.14 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
02.20.14 - New Orleans, LA - Civic Theatre
05.29-31.14 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
06.05-07.14 - Porto, Portugal - Optimus Primavera Sound Festival

* Elf Power
# Half Japanese
% Circulatory System
! Daniel Johnston
@ Robert Schneider

• Neutral Milk Hotel: http://walkingwallofwords.com

RIP: Maxwell’s :(

If only there was an emoticon that accurately conveyed “mourning.”

As you, dear reader, have probably heard if you follow music media closely (if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you do), or if you live in the greater New York metro area, legendary Hoboken, NJ venue Maxwell’s has officially closed its doors.

Generally considered one of the best venues in the New York area, the (barely) 200-person room offered an intimate, if not unique place to see bands. “Maxwell’s staff has always treated bands and patrons like very welcome company; bands get treated uniquely well there, and so they love playing there,” says WFMU’s Scott Williams, “audiences come back for the vibe, the size, and the great sound (and the decent odds that they’ll get to hang with various members of Sonic Youth or Yo La Tengo).” If I may go on personal harangue, Maxwell’s was pretty damn cool. Bands would often book a date in Manhattan or Brooklyn and tack on a show at Maxwell’s the next day before heading down to Philly on the East Coast touring circuit, and because of that, rarely would you have to deal with apathetic audience members casually glancing up from their phones or talking through sets. All the cool people already saw the band at the Music Hall of Williamsburg or the Bowery Ballroom. Hoboken is close enough to New York that it isn’t hard to get to from Manhattan, but inconvenient enough to scare off vapid scenesters. Considering how shitty parking is in Hoboken, anyone driving in from New Jersey was more than dedicated as well. If someone was at Maxwell’s for a show, they were there for the experience.

Speaking of parking, the city’s authoritarian parking policy’s factored into co-owner and booking agent Todd Abramson’s decision to leave; “for all intents and purposes,” he said in an article for New Jersey’s Star Ledger, “[parking has] been outlawed. I’ve had bands whose vans have been booted because the signs are so unclear.” Aside from parking woes, the attitude and taste of those in Hoboken has changed; “a lot of the bars downtown are fighting with each other for who has the most giant TVs,” continues Abramson, “That’s what Hoboken nightlife has become.” So thanks to the proliferation of cheap, giant LCD TVs and this asshole’s inexplicable popularity, most of the clientele that populated Maxwell’s has moved out.

So what does this mean for music fans on the west side of the Hudson? “What it definitely means is that no one has to endure the mile-long walk of shame up Washington Street anymore,” joked Williams adding, “hopefully, what it means is that someone will pick up the gauntlet in Jersey City, which seems to be turning back from about 10 years of hostility towards live music.” Rumors of the owners moving to a new location in Jersey City sprang up on the internet quickly, but as of now they remain rumors and speculation. Nothing official has been announced.

While it had its own feel, at the end of the day, Maxwell’s was just brick and wood. It may seem to contradict some of what I said a couple paragraphs ago, but what really matters, what made the place special wasn’t where it was or what it was made out of, but the people who managed it, and even more importantly, the people who frequented it. Regardless of the zip code or address, if Abramson and company do indeed find a new location and open up shop elsewhere, what made Maxwell’s something of landmark will move with them.

• Maxwell’s: http://maxwellsnj.com

Emiliana Torrini ventures out of her home in mystical elfland to release new album on Rough Trade

Enchanted-fairy-songbird-trapped-in-the-body-of-a-human and maker-upper-of-words Emiliana Torrini has a new album called Tookah due this fall. Rough Trade will release the album, fronted by the single “Speed of Dark” (hear below), on September 10. Tookah, the followup to 2008’s Me and Armini, is Torrini’s fourth studio LP and is named after the mystical elfland where she was born. Just kidding! It’s a word she made up.

Says Torrini, “It came when improvising and I connected with that word or name in a very deep blissful way. It is the core of you. The “you” when you were born before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all your baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything. It is what the Sufis spin for. It is the sudden thankfulness you feel when doing nothing in particular, where everything is gently perfect for a moment. Some call it god. I call mine Tookah.” Tookah! So Tookah paired Emiliana Torrini with long-time collaborator/producer Dan Carey once again. The two have worked together on all of Torrini’s previous albums, and FUN FACT! They also co-wrote Kylie Minogue’s track “Slow,” a #1 track pretty much everywhere but the US.

Tookah tracklisting:

01. Tookah
02. Caterpillar
03. Autumn Sun
04. Home
05. Elisabet
06. Animal Games
07. Speed of Dark
08. Blood Red
09. When Fever Breaks

• Emiliana Torrini: http://emilianatorrini.com
• Rough Trade: http://www.roughtraderecords.com

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down announce tour with The Head and The Heart, force theaters to exhaust letters for marquee

Though it’s likely not a point of much contention, you should be able to name your band whatever you want. If you want your band name to be a full paragraph, go for it. If you want it to have four different curse words, that’s fine. If you want it to have a racial slur, well, that’s pretty dumb of you, but I guess I can’t stop you. While it’s great to have such a variety of band names in this world, nobody considers the one group this freedom hurts: the poor theater employees who must put up the marquee’s letters. This was a simpler job in simpler times. Bob Dylan. Eight letters. You could knock that out on your smoke break. Things get hairier these days, the days when bands like Thao and the Get Down Stay Down tour with bands like The Head and The Heart. Pity the poor soul who will spend their entire day on that ladder.

Beginning in late October, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down will crowd marquees with The Head and The Heart. Before that, though, Thao Nguyen and crew will do some significant touring on their lonesome, mainly throughout August and September. Unfortunately, for anyone in charge of those marquees or any other form of sign, all those dates will be opened by I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, and okay they’re not touring with any of those bands. For fun, try your damnedest to recall more long-winded bands in which Thao and The Get Down Stay Down could tour with. It’s a fun way to spend your afternoon! This is your life now!

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down dates:

08.10.13 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands
08.16.13 - Milwaukee, WI - Lebowski Fest
08.17.13 - Omaha, NE - Maha Music Festival
08.18.13 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
08.19.13 - Columbia, MO - Mojo’s
08.20.13 - Indianapolis, IN - Deluxe at Old National Centre
08.21.13 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Café
08.22.13 - Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre
08.23.13 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In
08.24.13 - Columbus, OH - CD 102.5 Summerfest
08.31.13 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Festival
09.06.13 - Eugene, OR - Sam Bond’s Garage
09.07.13 - Portland, OR - Pioneer Courthouse Sq. *
09.13.13 - St. Augustine, FL - Gentlemen of the Road Stopover &
09.21.13 - Canton, MA - Life is Good Music Festival
10.05.13 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10.06.13 - Santa Monica, CA - Way Over Yonder
10.11.13 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10.21.13 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel *
10.25.13 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre *
10.26-27.13 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue *
10.28.13 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Theatre *
10.29.13 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre *
10.31.13 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall *
11.04.13 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
11.08-09.13 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer *
11.10.13 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz Theatre *
11.12.13 - Atlanta, GA - Buckhead Theatre *
11.13.13 - New Orleans, LA - Tipitina’s *
11.14.13 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live *

* The Head and The Heart
& Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, The Walkmen, Willy Mason

• Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: http://www.thaoandthegetdownstaydown.com

Coachwhips’ Hands on the Controls will eat your drugs, fuck your girlfriend, and be reissued September 3

John Dwyer, the main man of everybody’s favorite fuzzed-out garage rock outfit Thee Oh Sees has a long resume to his credit. He was Brown in Pink and Brown, he played in The Drums (the San Francisco one, not the active Brooklyn group), Yikes, and Zeigenbock Kopf among many, many others. Prior to Thee Oh Sees project becoming his full-time focus, Dwyer led Coachwhips from 2001-2005.

Probably because the format hadn’t started to rebound back in 2002, Coachwhips’ 2002 studio debut Hands on the Controls was never released on vinyl. Before you get upset, you should know that Castle Face, the label Dwyer co-owns, is remedying that by reissuing Hands on the Controls on September 3. In addition to six new songs, the package will feature restored artwork, photos from Dwyer’s collection, and, knowing Castle Face, will probably be on some sort of colored wax.

The Coachwhips played a gloriously messy brand of primal, heavily distorted, lightning-fast punk rock; “lo-fi” doesn’t begin to describe it. The group’s 2002 debut studio album, Hands on the Controls, is a 30-minute, 19-song ode to sex, drugs, rock & roll, and gratuitous violence. To give you an idea of what you’re dealing with, some of the (best) songs on the record have titles like “That Bitch is Gonna End Up Dead,” “Look Into My Eyes When I Come,” and “Sex Like a See-Saw,” with nearly unintelligible vocals and blaring guitars all at a blistering pace.

• Castle Face: http://www.castlefacerecords.com