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

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:

The Pirate Bay’s European troubles continue as UK court orders the site’s blockage

The Quietus is reporting that a UK high court has ordered British ISP providers to block file-sharing website The Pirate Bay. Of the five providers, Virgin Media has come forward to state publicly that they will enforce the request to their customers, but also noted that a wider change in the culture of the internet was needed, specifically citing Virgin Media’s “agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price” as a step in the right direction.

The Pirate Bay has a storied history of troubled interactions with European courts. In 2009, a Swedish court found The Pirate Bay’s founders guilty of of assistance to copyright infringement, and that same year a Dutch court ordered the site to delete torrents and block access to parts of the site to Dutch users.

Since those earlier setbacks, The Pirate Bay has attempted to legitimize their services, though this decision serves as another major setback to those efforts. This decision is notable since it’s the first time that a court has attacked The Pirate Bay by asking ISPs to police the content that their customers are able to access, and in this light, is a direct hit against a free and open internet overall. By making ISPs gatekeepers, the UK court has essentially given the OK on future restrictions. Since The Pirate Bay is hardly alone in the services it supplies to users, it’s probably safe to assume that other blockages will follow. Shiver me timbers…

• The Pirate Bay:

Papa M tours Britain, joins a series of UK bands only to leave them moments later

David Pajo, best known for playing in every post-___ band to be formed in the 90s and early aughts, is about to embark on a jolly ol’ tour of the British Isles under his best-known personal moniker, Papa M. He’ll probably put on his Aerial M hat to make his way across the ocean, but once properly landed back on solid ground, it’s back to being Big Papa (as he likes to be called).

What’s Pajo going to play on this tour? No one knows, though don’t be surprised if he joins a different local band for each stop as part of their ‘touring group’ only to leave them for another, newer band as soon as the bus rolls out of the last venue’s parking lot. Interpol are still crying about being abandoned by Pajo in 2011, and we don’t even want to get into the emotional scars he left on Billy Corgan with that whole Zwan disaster. He’s a heartbreaker, but then again that’s what draws us to him, no? When will we learn…

Pajo will also make a single stop over in continental Europe for a show in Brussels with Dirty Three, and then he can be found in the wilds of the North Carolina Triangle area as a performer at the Hopscotch Festival in September. In between the European tour and the festival, expect Pajo to appear on at least four albums in some capacity.


05.26.12 - Cork, Ireland - The Crane Lane Theatre
05.27.12 - Dublin, Ireland - Workman’s Club
05.28.12 - Glasgow, UK - King Tuts
05.29.12 - Leeds, UK - Brundenell Social Club
05.30.12 - Colchester, UK - Colchester Arts Centre
05.31.12 - Bristol, UK - The Cube
06.01.12 - Reading, UK - South Street Arts Centre
06.02.12 - London, UK - Field Day
06.06.12 - Brussels, Belgium - AB Box #
09.06.12 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Festival

• David Pajo: