New Studio Album From Ethio Jazz Legend Mulatu Astatke Out in March

New Studio Album From Ethio Jazz Legend Mulatu Astatke Out in March

Like so many of the Afropop artists that are finally gaining prominence in the Western musical consciousness, Mulatu Astatke, the renowned father of Ethio jazz, has been recording for years. Only in the last half-decade has his work begun to earn the recognition that it deserves. In 1998, the French label Buda Musique released a short compilation of Mulatu’s work, entitled Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-1974. However, it wasn’t until 2005 that Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers, whose soundtrack featured several tracks from the revolutionary musician, brought him to the attention of the semi-mainstream.

In 2009, Astatke reached an even greater audience after melding his style of Ethio jazz with the music of The Heliocentrics, in a collaboration which yielded Inspiration Information (TMT Review). Later that year, Strut (the label behind Inspiration) released the retrospective New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975, garnering even more success and exposure for Mulatu.

In the wake of his increasing popularity, Mulatu Astatke began work on a new studio album last year. The album, Mulatu Steps Ahead, features the same style of Ethio jazz collected on New York-Addis-London, but as the name implies, stylistic stagnation isn’t an issue. According to the press release, Mulatu Steps Ahead “explores new directions in fusions of Western jazz with Ethiopian modes, moving forward the pioneering sound Mulatu developed during the 60s and 70s.” For the album, Astatke recruited members of Either/Orchestra, The Heliocentrics, and various jazz and traditional Ethiopian musicians.

Mulatu Steps Ahead is out March 30 from Strut. Shortly after, Mulatu Astatke will begin a worldwide tour, including dates with The Heliocentrics.

Mulatu Steps Ahead:
• Strut:

The Magik Markers Announce Spring Tour; Don’t Worry, They’ve Moved Past Their Chair-Throwing Phase

The Magik Markers, the band responsible for some of the creepiest lyrics of 2009 (check out “Psychosomatic” from Balf Quarry (TMT Review) out on Drag City), are hitting the road again. The Hartford, CT natives will embark on a short North American tour in mid-March. Unfortunately, at this point it looks like you’re going to miss out on the noise if you live in most of the Midwest or the West Coast.

Oh, and you should probably bring ear plugs.

Here are the announced tourdates:

03.19.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool
03.20.10 - Philadelphia, PA - Danger Danger Gallery
03.21.10 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
03.22.10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
03.23.10 - Columbus, OH - The Summit
03.24.10 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class
03.25.10 - Buffalo, NY - Sound Lab
03.26.10 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison
03.27.10 - Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo

• The Magik Markers:
• The Magik Markers (MySpace):

Sonic Youth Drummer Forms New Band, The High Confessions; Generates Subsequent News Coverage that Causes People to Put on Sonic Youth Records

Steve Shelley has really gotten the short shrift, don’t you think? I mean, for example: WAIT, WHO IS STEVE SHELLEY?

Exactly. So pay attention, now. Steve Shelley is the sure handed, rock-solid, badass-and-don’t-you-forget-it time keeper in Sonic Youth, who makes it possible for Moore and Gordon and Ranaldo to walk all of those crazy guitar-centric tightropes that they walk. And now he’s stepping out for little walking of his own with a new band, The High Confessions, which features Shelley alongside industrial legend Chris Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface), Chicago metal mainstay Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium, Buried at Sea), and engineer Jeremy Lemos of the band White/Light.

And if the whole thing sounds a little… well, metal to you, I guess it should. Metal label Relapse Records is releasing the band’s debut album this summer. And that album’s title, Turning Lead Into Gold With the High Confessions, even goes so far as to reference two distinct kinds of metal. Relapse is describing the High Confessions’ sound as “a real heavy, psychedelic rock.” Duh.

And while there are no live dates to post as of yet for the new supergroup, Shelley is performing with Lemos’ band White/Light at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art as part of an interactive music installation. So maybe that’ll shed a little bit of light on the prospect of awesomeness to come. Man, I sure hope these guys have come to take out the hacky, metal-tinged supergroup trash that is Them Crooked Vultures, don’t you?

• The High Confessions:
• Relapse Records:

[Photo: Anna Cerniglia]

Avi Buffalo Tour in Spring with Rogue Wave and Then Ditch Them for Japandroids, Before Even Releasing Their Debut Album on Sub Pop

The young guns are on the run! Avi Buffalo, a new set of musically-inclined Long Beach bums, are hittin’ the dusty dusty with Rogue Wave and then Japandroids. Peep these youth of Cali’ at some point in their jaunt across America, because they’ll make you feel like a true geezer. But in a good way!

Avi Buffalo is a band, but it’s also the moniker for its leader, 18-year-old Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, who has gathered together his finest friends to create a nice, mood-heavy alternative to old-man-music like Wilco. They really sex up the song titles, too: “Summer Cum” and “Five Little Sluts” are tracks 6 and 4 on their forthcoming self-titled album, which is due April 27 on Sub Pop.

Avi Buffalo tracklisting:

01. Truth Sets In
02. What’s In It For?
03. Coaxed
04. Five Little Sluts
05. Jessica
06. Summer Cum
07. One Last
08. Can’t I Know?
09. Remember Last Time
10. Where’s Your Dirty Mind?

Spring tourdates:

03.01.10 - Boston, MA - Paradise #
03.02.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg #
03.03.10 - New York, NY - The Bowery Ballroom #
03.04.10 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church #
03.05.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club #
03.06.10 - Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle #
03.08.10 - Atlanta, GA - The Loft #
03.09.10 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge #
03.10.10 - Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree #
03.12.10 - Elkton, FL - Harvest of Hope Fest #
03.13.10 - Orlando, FL - The Social #
03.15.10 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks #
03.16.10 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live (Ballroom) #
03.17.10 - Dallas, TX - The Loft #
03.18.10 - Austin, TX - Radio Room (SXSW)
04.06.10 - Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop $
04.08.10 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio $
04.09.10 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall (18+) $
04.10.10 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry (18+) $
04.12.10 - Columbia, MO - Mojo’s $
04.13.10 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck $
04.15.10 - Las Vegas, NV - Beauty Bar $
04.19.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space $
04.21.10 - San Diego, CA - Casbah (21+) $
04.23.10 - San Francisco, CA - Independent (21+) $
05.01.10 - Hollywood, CA - Troubadour (record release show)

# Rogue Wave
$ Japandroids

• Avi Buffalo:
• Sub Pop:

Prolific Doesn’t Sound Like a Compliment Anyway: Black Tambourine’s Complete Works Coming ‘Round Again

For a troupe who released but a couple of singles and compilation tracks during its short existence, Black Tambourine have left a formidable legacy and one that gets revisited every few years. Once mere babes nursing at the teat of “The Sound of Young Scotland,” Tamla/Motown, and Spector’s Wall of Sound, they are now foremother and -fathers of the bubblegum jangly fuzz pop so revered by current cuties The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and Vivian Girls, to name but three.

On March 30, a new 16-track self-titled compilation will be dispatched via Slumberland. Methinks mes remembers a Black Tambourine compilation a few years back but that may just be my mental decay making its voice heard. Dementia aside, with the addition of four new songs recorded purposely for this collection and two early demos thrown in for great measure, Black Tambourine is something to get quite geeked about. Check out “For Ex-Lovers Only” at the Chocolate Grinder.

Black Tambourine tracklisting:

01. For Ex-Lovers Only
02. Black Car
03. Pack You Up
04. Can’t Explain
05. I Was Wrong
06. Throw Aggi Off the Bridge
07. Drown
08. We Can’t Be Friends
09. By Tomorrow
10. Pam’s Tan
11. For Ex-Lovers Only (First Demo)
12. Throw Aggi Off the Bridge (First Demo)
13. Heartbeat
14. Lazy Heart
15. Tears of Joy
16. Dream Baby Dream

• Black Tambourine:
• Slumberland:

Julian Casablancas to Keep Touring His Record as a Giant Middle Finger to All Strokes Fans

Strokes non-instrumentalist Julian Casablancas is prepared to go awfully far out of his way to prove to you and me that his ludicrous debut solo record, Phrazes for the Young, was really a good, well thought-out, masterful record and not the wonky, glittery, middling pile of crazy that it was.

And so, like George Costanza on his way to a fictitious home in the Hamptons, Julian Casablancas is calling our bluff and continuing to tour this thing down our throats like he means business, hoping that you and I will break before he does. Then again, his bandmates back in the studio just seem to be middle-fingering all Strokes fans also. Hmm. Alright. You wanna get nuts? Come on, let’s get nuts.

03.23.10 - Providence, RI - Lupo’s
03.26.10 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
03.27.10 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore
03.28.10 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live
03.30.10 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
04.01.10 - Montreal, QC - The National
04.02.10 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix
04.03.10 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
04.05.10 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew’s Hall
04.06.10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
04.08.10 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
04.09.10 - Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
04.10.10 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club
04.12.10 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
04.13.10 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
04.14.10 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
04.18.10 - Indio, CA - Coachella Festival

• Julian Casablancas: