RIP: Pete Seeger

RIP: Pete Seeger

From The New York Times:

Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.


Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”

Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.

Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time.

• Pete Seeger:

Koen Holtkamp specifies his favorite aspect of physics class, announces new full-length Motion + Connected Works compilation

I don’t care if your geographical position doesn’t allow for a clear view of the nearest mountain range; hit up your friend with the super-ultra-high-powered telescope, or better yet, steal one in an elaborate display of cunning and acrobatics, and point it to the peak of your choice! Resist the allure of the stars and… holy shit, is that a fucking cougar going to town on that missing family reported on the local news relentlessly for the past week? No. Focus. A void of relatively flat landscape has somehow interrupted the symmetry of the formerly uniform Earth protrusion. Half the mountain is gone. Half of all mountains are gone. Christ, Koen, outdoorsy types everywhere would do well with some forewarning the next time you want to bugger off and attend to your solo work.

Koen Holtkamp, otherwise member of Mountains alongside Brendon Anderegg, will be releasing a new LP, Motion, on March 25 courtesy of Thrill Jockey. An option to extend that particular release comes with the CD version, which contains Connected Works, a compilation of Holtkamp’s previous vinyl-only releases Liquid Light Forms (2013), Gravity/Bees (2010), and Make Haste (2008). That would make the non-limited Field Rituals (2008) the likely point of familiarity, and speaking for myself, I have yet to get a complete handle on that one. Ambient tropes of sampled public transit and children playing mingle curiously with a genuine mix of acoustic (or acoustic-sounding) and digital sources. Motion apparently saw little straying from method, but there was a bit more composition directly in the studio this time around, making for a particularly intense listen on the home stereo.

Motion tracklisting:

01. Between Visible Things
02. Vert
03. Crotales
04. Endlessness

Connected Works tracklisting:

01. Battenkill
02. Hoosick
03. Hudson Static (Live at Shea Stadium)
04. In The Absence of Gravity Please Note the Position of the Sun
05. Loosely Based on Bees
06. Make Haste
07. Free Birds

• Koen Holtkamp:
• Thrill Jockey:

Pop-punk superstars The Swans announce new album for this spring, frontman Mikey Swan (Gira) plans European solo tour

Are you ready to get jacked? Well you better be, because everybody’s favorite pop-punk rascals, The Swans, have been making some news-shaped waves in the internet today. First off, and maybe you already knew this, but the frontman of The Swans, the always dapper and charming Mikey Swan (neé Michael Gira) will be heading out on a month-long tour of the great state of Europe this March. If you’ve somehow stumbled your way into Europe, I’d recommend heading out to take a gander at these shows (dates below).

That’s not all though. Not to be outdone by their prolific pop-punk peers, Green Day, The Swans have announced that they’ve just finished tracking their follow up to 2012’s The Seer (TMT Review) and that they’ll be releasing the new full-length, titled To Be Kind, this spring (May 13 to be exact) on Mikey Swans’ own Young God Records. It’ll be their third since re-activating in 2010, and their 13th overall (that’s of course not counting live albums, such as last year’s sold-out-in-four-days Not Here/Not Now). Though The Swans have been talking about this new full-length for a hot minute and today we found out that St. Vincent and Little Annie are contributing vocals, we still don’t know a ton about it. You can bet, however, that Mikey Swan will be joined by his spunky pals Thor Swan, Christoph Swan, Chris Swan, Phil Swan, and Norman Swan, and that the album will chock-full of the soaring hooks, passionate gang-vocals, and palm-muted guitar breakdowns you’ve come to expect from The Swans.

And, because even the poppiest of punks have a sensitive side, you can also pick up a collection of Mikey’s solo recordings, entitled The Milk of M. Gira: Collected Solo Home Recordings 2001-2010 from the Young God store right now. Collected from limited-release handmade CDs, of these songs Mikey says:

The recordings have been done with one stereo mic on my desk, no overdubs, just a casual performance in my office at home. Most of the songs presented are versions I recorded immediately after writing the song - they’ve also served as demos I can give to the musicians with whom I’m working to develop the material.

The topics covered in these songs include finding a date to the prom, being upset at your friends because they were acting all mature the other night and it was totally not fun, and trying to meet college kids who will buy you beer. You can pick it up here.

Mikey Swan solo dates:

03.06.14 - Madrid, Spain - El Sol
03.07.14 - San Sebastian, Spain - Andia Kuxta
03.08.14 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Apolo
03.10.14 - Paris, France - TBA
03.11.14 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - MC Theater
03.12.14 - London, UK - Church of St John-at-Hackney
03.14.14 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Hofteatret
03.15.14 - Oslo, Norway - Blå
03.16.14 - Oslo, Norway - Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum Museum
03.18.14 - Warsaw, Poland - Pardon, To Tu
03.19.14 - Warsaw, Poland - Pardon, To Tu
03.21.14 - St. Petersburg, Russia - Dada
03.22.14 - Moscow, Russia - Teatr Club
03.24.14 - Odessa, Ukraine - Bernardazzi Wine Club
03.26.14 - Bucharest, Romania - Control Club
03.27.14 - Bologna, Italy - Locomotiv
03.28.14 - Milan, Italy - Teatro Dal Verme
03.29.14 - Berlin, Germany - Kantine @ Berghain

• Swans:
• Young God:

Hopscotch to celebrate fifth anniversary in September, employee attendance is mandatory

To: [All Employees]
Subject: Hopscotch’s Birthday


As you may or may not be aware, the Hopscotch Festival’s fifth birthday is coming up. We will be celebrating from September 4 to September 6. Last year, nobody remembered Hopscotch’s birthday. Of course, if you caught the Raleigh, North Carolina-based festival crying in the bathroom, trying to hide its tears from the rest of us, you already know this. Let’s not have a repeat of last year. Hopscotch is a very nice musical festival that books a lot of great artists, examples being Merzbow, John Cale, Spiritualized, Public Enemy, Guided By Voices, The Mountain Goats, Big Daddy Kane, and Sleep. It deserves better than last year’s shabby treatment.

If you are interested in celebrating Hopscotch’s birthday, there’s a card going around. Additionally, you may purchase tickets on March 1 at the Hopscotch website. Those on the festival’s mailing list, i.e. its real friends, may participate in a pre-sale February 27 and 28. The entertainment (or lineup) will be released to the public in April, though you can follow Hopscotch on Twitter for updates.

We are now taking volunteers for picking up the cookie cake.

Thank you,

Your boss.

• Hopscotch Festival:

Kassel Jaeger plans Toxic Cosmopolitanism for Editions Mego, should be kept under close supervision at cocktail parties

If your headline-reading skills are up to snuff, you already know that Kassel Jaeger, the Paris-based solo and collaborative artist and member of Pierre Schaefer’s legendary Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) has a new album coming out on Editions Mego. But the headline wasn’t enough for you, was it? You’re such a ravenous consumer of music news that a mere headline won’t sate you. You need more! You need cold hard details. Like a release date (March 17) , and a pre-order link (here), the title (Toxic Cosmopolitanism), and maybe even a joke or two about that album title (it’s a concept record about how easy it would have been to poison all the Sex and the City ladies when they were out on the town drinking Cosmos)!!

Reader, it’s people like you that make me proud to do what I do. I’m not just a headline machine. No, I’m more than that. I’m a human being, with feelings, and an ego so large that I’ve got to turn every news post into a joke about myself. And you need me to tell you things like the fact that this album consists of two side-length tracks, both of which are based on the same source material. Side A, “Toxic Cosmopolitanism,” takes an array of sounds from around the world, including “the balafon, tremolo, gnbri, gee, tibetan gongs,” and pan flutes, and swirls them all up into a milkshake of creativity. Side B, “Exposure Scales,” which is divided up into four sub-pieces, uses the same sounds found on “Toxic Cosmopolitanism” to build a more static composition. Hear “Sunlight,” part two of “Exposure Scales,” below.

Toxic Cosmopolitanism tracklisting:

01. Toxic Cosmopolitanism
02. Exposure Scales

• Kassel Jaeger:
• Editions Mego:

Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium members form Inventions after prolonged argument regarding ambience and crescendo

Listen up, y’all. The top two party-rock acts out there, Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium, are teaming up, you heard? Explosions guitarist Mark T. Smith and Eluvium everything guy Matthew Cooper are teaming up to bring y’all the party-rock super group we’ve longed for: Inventions. “Sorry for party rocking” is something these two guys will never say, because they are not sorry for party rocking. They have no remorse for their party rocking. Party rock or die, et cetera. As proof of their party rocking, they’ll be putting out their party-rock manifesto in the form of a self-titled debut album. Your party-rock headquarters, Temporary Residence Ltd., will be putting out that record on April 1.

Check out a trailer for the album right here or below. You guys into the slamming beats and anthemic lyrics about having a good time, hell yeah? Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s ambient music. In fact, that whole first paragraph was a joke. But, as a reader, were you fooled? Maybe you weren’t that aware of either Explosions in the Sky or Eluvium and you were like, “Huh, those guys are party bands? I thought they did post-rock and ambient stuff.” You were really fooled then, but you were, in actuality, on the right path. Point is, watch your back.

Inventions tracklist:

01. Echo Tropism
02. Flood Poems
03. Entity
04. Luminous Insects
05. Peaceable Child
06. Sun Locations / Sun Coda
07. Recipient
08. Psychic Automation

• Inventions:
• Temporary Residence Ltd.: