RIP: Doc Watson

RIP: Doc Watson

From The New York Times:

Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89.

Mr. Watson, who had been blind since he was a year old, died in a hospital after recently undergoing abdominal surgery, The Associated Press quoted a hospital spokesman as saying. On Thursday his daughter, Nancy Ellen Watson said he had been hospitalized after falling at his home in Deep Gap, N.C., adding that he did not break any bones but was very ill.

Mr. Watson, who came to national attention during the folk music revival of the early 1960s, injected a note of authenticity into a movement awash in protest songs and bland renditions of traditional tunes. In a sweetly resonant, slightly husky baritone, he sang old hymns, ballads and country blues he had learned growing up in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, which has produced fiddlers, banjo pickers and folk singers for generations.

• Doc Watson:

[Photo: Joe Giordano]

J Dilla’s mother launches record label in her son’s honor; my mother launches record label in support of well-balanced meals

On the one hand, starting your own record label is likely a more difficult and complicated endeavor than most people think. On the other hand, it seems like everyone and their mother is doing it… literally. AllHipHop got the scoop on this initially: the mother of late producer J Dilla, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, has started her own record label, Ruff Draft Records, almost exclusively dedicated to outing previously unreleased J Dilla material. The label, named for the 2003 J Dilla EP, will also feature music from aspirational young artists, who might otherwise find themselves pursuing less ethical hobbies, like brostep production.

Ms. Yancey relates, “We want to make it more feasible to interact with these children; we don’t know how many J. Dilla’s we have out there. Somebody has to find them.” More to the point, however, the label is a natural consequence of Ma Dukes recently assuming possession of hundreds of lost tapes left in storage by her late son.

Ruff Draft held their launch party last Friday in Detroit, where they also highlighted the label’s first release, Rebirth of Detroit by… I’m drawing a blank here. The album is due out June 12, and pairs unreleased Dilla beats with predominately Detroit-based rappers. You can preorder it on CD here (and a promo 10-inch with tracks feat. Danny Brown and Guilty Simpson here), or just watch the trailer below.

• J Dilla:
• J Dilla:
• J Dilla:
• J Dilla:

Cadence Weapon releases his new LP today; professional wrestling debut set for tomorrow

Rollie Pemberton, who you most likely know as Cadence Weapon, has announced to the world at large, as you most likely know, that his new album, Hope in Dirt City, will be released on May 29. Pemberton has also announced that, under his ring name of The Ultimate Weapon, he will make his professional wrestling debut in a match against “Nihilistic” Nick Nilssen, which Pemberton promises “will be won, decisively, and with little effort, but plenty of style.”

Hope in Dirt City is Cadence’s third album and first with Upper Class Recordings and is sure to show the former Poet Laureate of Edmonton at his best, mixing in new sounds with his already diverse palette as seen in previous albums Afterparty Babies (TMT Review) and Breaking Kayfabe. In fact, the press release I was sent verifies my statement: “[Hope In Dirt City] is one that will surprise you with its nuances and complexity in terms of production, rhymes and intensity. Mixing IDM, disco, funk, psychedelic soul and some old school rap, Cadence Weapon is an astounding artist that has delivered a kaleidoscopic album you’ll not soon forget.” Thanks for helping me save time, press release. I have a DVR-ed episode of Monday Night RAW to watch and not much time to get it done in.

The Ultimate Weapon will also be heading out on tour in support of both Hope in Dirt City and his new career as a pro wrestler, so check out those dates below.

06.11.12 - Seattle, WA - Neumos *
06.12.12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge *
06.14.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
06.15.12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echoplex *
06.16.12 - San Diego, CA - Casbah *
06.19.12 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge *
06.21.12 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
06.22.12 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop *
06.23.12 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern *
06.25.12 - Montreal, QC- La Sala Rossa *
06.26.12 - Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
06.27.12 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
06.28.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
06.29.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s *
06.30.12 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
07.03.12 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry *

* Japandroids

• Cadence Weapon:
• Upper Class:

Bobby Womack tells cancer to “get the fuck out of my colon,” cancer gets the fuck out of his colon

I think the title says it all but, for those who aren’t “into the whole brevity thing,” Bobby Womack, who had been diagnosed with colon cancer in March, has been given word by his doctors that the cancer is completely gone from his body. In other words: the cancer got the fuck out.

Womack, who will release his first new album in 13 years, The Bravest Man in the Universe (produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell) on June 12 via XL, posted the following on his Facedbook page:

We’re delighted to announce that Bobby Womack has successfully undergone surgery for suspected colon cancer. A tumour was removed last night which turned out to be cancer free. We wish him all the best in his recovery from the operation. Thank you for all your kind messages and support.

I bet there are fans out there who would buy that tumor as a memento. Anyway, congratulations on a continued existence, Mr. Womack.

• Bobby Womack:
• XL:

OMG, OMG, OMG: Swans to release epic double album The Seer in August, tour the US in September with Xiu Xiu

Hoo boy, it’s going to be a long, hot summer. First day back to the grind following a long holiday weekend and what do we find waiting for us on our desks? A piece of news at once exciting and insufferable, joyous and torturous, monumental and miniscule. Yes, Swans have announced an upcoming double album, but it won’t be out for another three months.

It’s no secret that TMT is very into Swans, so when news like this comes around, the site gets a bit of a metaphorical boner (as much as a website that covers music can become erect). But three months of anticipation is a recipe for internet fanboy blue balls if ever there was one.

The album will be called The Seer and will be available as a double CD or a triple LP on Young God Records August 28, with a special-edition release that will include a bonus live DVD containing footage from Swans’ epic live shows. A sample of what you can see on the DVD, and what you can experience live this fall, is available here.

But what will the album be about, you ask? How was it made?? Let’s let Swans frontman Michael Gira field those questions:

The Seer took 30 years to make. It’s the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it’s unfinished, like the songs themselves. It’s one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.
The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they’ll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.

Experience the evolution of these new tracks as Swans take on a wide swathe of the US following the album release on August 28, with veteran art poppers Xiu Xiu on hand to start things off right each night. In the meantime, good luck with making it through the summer. It might be wise to forget you ever read this news story and just be surprised when the album drops for real.

The Seer tracklisting:

01. Lunacy
02. Mother of the World
03. The Wolf
04. The Seer
05. The Seer Returns
06. 93 Ave. B Blues
07. The Daughter Brings the Water
08. Song for a Warrior
09. Avatar
10. A Piece of the Sky
11. The Apostate

Swans tourdates (each show with Xiu Xiu):

09.06.12 - Vancouver, BC - Venue
09.07.12 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading Room
09.08.12 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
09.09.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Grand Ballroom
09.11.12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Music Box
09.12.12 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
09.14.12 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
09.15.12 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s Upstairs
09.16.12 - Dallas, TX - Trees
09.18.12 - Oklahoma City, OK - ACM Performance Lab
09.19.12 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club
09.20.12 - Lincoln, NE - Bourbon Theatre
09.21.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Fineline Music Cafe
09.22.12 - Milwaukee, WI - Shank Hall
09.24.12 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theater

• Swans:
• Young God:
• Xiu Xiu:

Lil B has released a classical album, so feign surprise for the next four minutes and then go on with your life

This is a Lil B news story, so everybody prepare to assume appropriate roles. Inevitably, the story is ridiculous. There is no reason to report on normal Lil B releases, as the situation of a Lil B release coming out is considerably more common than the situation of a Lil B release not coming out. With that said, everyone sit down and settle in for something surprising that you don’t quite expect but that you still sort of expect anyway. This is your life now. Alright, we good? Good.

As FACT reports, Lil B is releasing a classical music album. What! Gasp! Shock. I am surprised. Fine, I can’t say I could have ever predicted this, but still, we’re all used to not predicting things anymore, right? Right. Point is, the album is called Choices and Flowers and it’s out now. Technically, it’s not a Lil B album by the strictest sense of the word. It’s actually listed as “The Basedgod” (though Lil B is listed as executive producer), but we all know who the Based God is, so Lil B’s not fooling ANYBODY. Unlike the majority of Lil B releases, Choices and Flowers actually costs money. Maybe that’s just how this totally separate entity The Basedgod rolls, though! Anyway, you can give iTunes money for the record right here.

Choices and Flowers tracklist:

01. Made the Right Choice
02. Lessons from the Wind
03. Walking Through Berkeley
04. My Mistakes
05. New York I’m Home
06. Where Are You Going
07. Lost in the Sky of Love
08. Save the Animals
09. Happy to Live
10. What Came First Are We Alive
11. Tokyo
12. Tribute to Lil B
13. At the Zoo With Mom
14. Dreams Are Real
15. Exhale With Love in Your Chest
16. Wooden Hotel
17. Welcome to America

• Lil B: