RIP: Charles “Skip” Pitts

RIP: Charles "Skip" Pitts

From Billboard:

R&B, soul and funk guitar architect and Bo-Keys member Charles “Skip” Pitts-whose signature riffs are forever immortalized in the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and the wah-wah on Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft”-died yesterday (May 1) in Memphis. He was 65 and had suffered from lung cancer.

Pitts’ pioneering skill with the wah-wah pedal is one of the focal points in the 2011 documentary “Cry Baby: the Pedal That Rocks the World,” alongside Buddy Guy, Slash and Eddie Van Halen. In addition to his collaborations with the Isleys and Hayes, Pitts performed and recorded with several other R&B and blues legends, including Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas and Albert King. He first learned to play guitar in his native Washington, D.C., getting tips from neighbor Bo Diddley. Pitts’ first recording was as a 15-year-old on the Gene Chandler hit single “Rainbow 65.”

• Charles “Skip” Pitts:

Black Bananas go on tour to support Rad Times Xpress IV, actual black bananas continue to be gross


Gross. Who left these bananas out so long? Either eat these bananas within four days or throw them away. We’re not running an orphanage for gross food orphans. We’re not running an orphanage at all!

There’s only one Black Bananas I like and that’s the band, Black Bananas. Once Jennifer Herrema was in Royal Trux. Then she wasn’t. Then she was in RTX. Then RTX changed their name to Black Bananas, so now she’s in Black Bananas. Under the new name, Herrema and crew released their “debut” earlier this year, a little record by the name of Rad Times Xpress IV. Now it’s time to bring that record to the masses! Yeehaw. Go see them as they cross through the United States, also go throw away those bananas, they are nasty.

Black Bananas dates:

05.09.12 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
05.11.12 - Laredo, TX - Old No. 2
05.12.12 - Austin, TX - Red 7 *
05.13.12 - Houston, TX - Walter’s *
05.14.12 - New Orleans, LA - Siberia *
05.15.12 - Atlanta, GA - 529 *
05.16.12 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook *
05.17.12 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club &
05.18.12 - Nelsonville, OH - Nelsonville Music Fest
05.19.12 - Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig &
05.20.12 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall &
05.21.12 - Madison, Wi - High Noon Saloon &
05.22.12 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar &
05.23.12 - Fargo, ND - The Aquarium &
05.25.12 - Missoula, MT - The Palace &
05.26.12 - Seattle, WA - The Comet ^
05.27.12 - Portland, OR - Star Theater &
05.30.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore &
06.05.12 - Costa Mesa, CA - Galaxy

* Magik Markers, Dwarr
& Kurt Vile and the Violators
^ Broken Nobles

• Black Bananas:
• Drag City:

[Photo: Douglas Harrison Neill]

RIP: Thomas Gartz, founder of Träd, Gräs & Stenar and member of Pärson Sound

From East Village Radio:

A Swedish newspaper is reporting that Tomas Mera Gartz, drummer and founding member of psych-rock legends Trad, Gras & Stenar, died suddenly yesterday at the age of 67. In 1967, Gartz, along with future Trad Gras & Stenar members, guitarist Bo Anders Persson and bassist Torbjörn Abelli, founded drone-rock collective Pärson Sound. Taking cues from psychedelia, modern minimalist composers and avant-garde jazz, Pärson Sound was short-lived, having issued no recordings during their existence (a two-disc compilation of all known recordings by the band was issued in 2001 on Subliminal Sounds). In 1968, the group changed its name to International Harvester and issued their first official album, Sov Gott Rose-Marie. By 1969, the band lost the “International” and released Hemat as Harvester—another key piece of underground rock that has been retroactively hailed a masterpiece. At the dawn of the ‘70s the group settled on the name Trad Gras & Stenar (English translation: Trees, Grass and Stones) and issued a self-titled long-player that saw them moving closer to the blues without sacrificing the mesmerizing minimalism that informed their early work. Favorites on their homeland’s free festival circuit, the band released a couple of insanely limited live LPs that demonstrated their improvisational prowess and a second studio album in the first half of the ‘70s before all but disappearing. Renewed interest in all things lysergic and Scandinavian in the late ’90s/early ’00s spurred the group to reconvene and record a new studio album (‘02’s Ajn Schvajn Draj), reissue the bulk of their ‘70s output via Subliminal, and begin to show the kids how it’s done by playing live shows again. In recent years, Persson retired as a touring member of the group and Abelli passed away in 2010, but not before bringing the magic of their music to new fans across Europe, the USA and Japan. Fare thee well, Mr. Gartz. (Thanks to Max Burke for the tip.)

• Thomas Mera Gartz:

PLVS VLTRA (Enon’s Toko Yasuda) to release uncomfortably catchy Parthenon LP on Spectrum Spools

We’ve written a bit about Spectrum Spools in the past. As an imprint of the notoriously noisy Editions Mego, and as the figurative offspring fathered and still being dutifully breast-fed by curator and Emeralds member John Elliott, you wouldn’t be faulted for expecting the label to fit, at least on a superficial level, rather neatly into two, admittedly large categories — “electronic” and “experimental.” And so far, with releases by such artists as Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Hive Mind, and Drainolith, Spectrum Spools has mostly lived up to those expectations.

But screw expectations. Elliott didn’t plant those expectations directly into your head. As he remarks in an interview with FACT: “I generally just try to put out music that I’m naturally attracted to, or more importantly feels natural to me.” In other words, un-cock that eyebrow and and un-glare those skeptical eyeballs, readers; Parthenon by PLVS VLTRA is getting released on June 12, despite the fact that it’s essentially, according to Elliott, a “straight-up pop album.”

Going even further, Parthenon is a straight-up pop album with alluring (because “sexy” sounds misogynist and creepy) female vocals. Toko Yasuda assumed her PLVS VLTRA moniker following the disbandment of Enon, and in between her role as touring keyboardist for St. Vincent. She’s been formally involved in the independent music scene for roughly 20 years, so if you’ve been following her throughout her career, first: stop. That’s called stalking. Second: you’re probably wondering why she hasn’t pursued the solo thing before. Answer: I don’t know. Head on over to the Chocolate Grinder to get a sense of the rather stark contrast between Parthenon and the rest of the Spectrum Spools catalog. A sign of things to come for the label? No objections here.

Parthenon tracklisting:

A1. Flowers to Bees
A2. The Level
A3. Sweet Tooth
A4. Yume
A5. Parthenon
B1. World in Words
B2. Fender Benderz
B3. Like Spice
B4. Sunkissed
B5. Birthday Party
B6. Closer

• Spectrum Spools:

[Photo: Andrew Huff]

Purity Ring and 4AD have a special album in the oven! Dust off your broomsticks and ball gowns!

Hey fans of witchy club jams, dust off your white ball gowns and “close and deeply affectionate, but chaste, relationships between fathers and daughters”! (Note: do not fall down this Wikipedia hole. Yikes.) Because youthful Halifax/Montreal-based duo Purity Ring have found a loving union with 4AD… and now they’re expecting a brand new kickin’ baby album! (Other note: creepy abstinence metaphors may have gotten mixed in the making of this article.) They’re calling it Shrines, and you can break out the figurative bubblegum cigars come July 24, when the venerable 4AD releases this debut puppy into the waiting world. Shrines’ 11 tracks will make their way into homes and hearts via colored vinyl, and as an added incentive, the first 200 people to order through 4AD’s online store will get a limited edition Polaroid photo taken by the band. Check out the album track “Obedear”:

Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick and Megan James have only been making music together under their vestal moniker since late 2010, but that hasn’t stopped the Canadian duo from generating a buzz. They’re heading out on tour again this summer to rep Shrines, and they’ve got all your international festival stops covered; there’s a Primavera, Sasquatch, a Forbidden Fruit, and a Pitchfork date thrown in their for those of you with private planes or — this is Purity Ring, so why not — working Transatlantic broomsticks. Make sure your dad or your familiar (yeah, this is now a Choose Your Own Metaphor Adventure) has their fanciest tux in order, because the last few dates have a mighty special tourmate attached: Dirty Projectors.

Shrines tracklisting:

01. Crawlersout
02. Fineshrine
03. Ungirthed
04. Amenamy
05. Grandloves
06. Cartographist
07. Belispeak
08. Saltkin
09. Obedear
10. Lofticries
11. Shuck


04.27.12 - Rockdale, TX - Nocturnal Wonderland Texas
05.22.12 - Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo
05.23.12 - Ottawa, ON - Café Dekcuf
05.26.12 - George, WA - Sasquatch Festival
05.31.12 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival
06.03.12 - Dublin, Ireland - Forbidden Fruit Festival
06.05.12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Vondelkirk
06.08.12 - Berlin, Germany - Berghain Kanteen
06.11.12 - Paris, France - Chez Moune
06.12.12 - London, UK - White Heat @ Madame Jojo’s
06.14.12 - Toronto, ON - NXNE @ Wrong Bar
07.06.12 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall *
07.07.12 - Montreal, QC - Club Soda *
07.08.12 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club *
07.10.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Celebrate Brooklyn *
07.11.12 - Millvale, PA - Mr. Smalls Theater *
07.13.12 - Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Festival
07.14.12 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater *
07.15.12 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue *

* Dirty Projectors

• Purity Ring:
• 4AD:

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (not to be confused with ‘Bony’ Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid) announces reissues, new EP

…And so, like I was saying in the first six paragraphs of this epic news story, Domino is releasing the fuck out of six of Will Oldham’s (not to be confused with Old Willham, the creepy old prospector) classic Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy/Palace Brothers/Palace Music records on July 30 of this year. Per that hilarious joke I made in ‘graph 2, the campaign will range from 1996-2004 and includes 1996’s Arise Therefore and 1997’s Joya (originally recorded under the Palace Brothers moniker), as well as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s I See a Darkness (1999), Ease Down the Road (2001), Master and Everyone (2003), and Greatest Palace Music (2004). But yeah, you’re right; the best part was when I was talking about how he’s also releasing the Now Here’s My Plan EP – a “collection consisting of new versions of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy classics” that was recorded by veteran line cook and sometime-recordist Steve “Albo Grease” Albini, via Drag City and Domino on July 24. And I don’t know about you, but I thought the writing got especially fresh and funky when I started talking jive about how the EP will feature members of the band that played on last year’s Wolfroy Goes to Town album (Ben Boye, Van Campbell, Emmett Kelly, Danny Kiely, and Angel Olsen, specifically), and then about how you can preorder that shit now on the Domino site, which, literally incidentally, is where I got all this other information from. Classic! I can’t wait to go back and read those first six paragraphs again right now, actually. I want to do a little bit of light editing.

Now Here’s My Plan EP:

01. I Don’t Belong to Anyone
02. Beast for Thee
03. No Gold Digger
04. After I Made Love to You
05. I See a Darkness
06. Three Questions

• Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy:
• Domino:
• Drag City: