Sled Island: a place where Swans, Mount Eerie, and The Jesus and Mary Chain share tunes and cheery mugs of cocoa

Sled Island: a place where Swans, Mount Eerie, and The Jesus and Mary Chain share tunes and cheery mugs of cocoa

Sled Island! It sounds like a magical winter playground where it’s never uncomfortably cold, snowmen dance and sing with you, and everyone’s skis are made of candy canes. Sled Island! Yes, that’s right: for seven years, Calgary, Alberta has kept the plains rockin’ with its wondrously-named festival, and this year over 250 bands will converge upon good old Stampede City, which is, according to Wikipedia, a nickname for this fair town situated “in an area of foothills and prairie.” Sounds bucolic!

From June 19-22, the likes of OFF!, The Thermals, The Besnard Lakes, and Suuns will descend upon this hard rockin’ prairie city, taking over 30 or so downtown Calgary venues. Art! Film! Comedy! It’s all there at Sled Island, where Swans wander into gumdrop forests to build snowmen that sing Mac DeMarco songs and everyone toasts each other with a cheery mug of hot cocoa spiked with heavy quantities of cheap whiskey. The lineup also includes The Jesus and Mary Chain, Explosions in the Sky, Divine Fits, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Iceage, Superchunk, Colin Stetson, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Torche, Metz, Tim Hecker, Thee Oh Sees, The Night Marchers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, John K. Samson, Mount Eerie, BadBadNotGood, Ryan Hemsworth, White Lung, Javelin, The Ghostlamp Killer, Jerusalem Is My Heart, Keys N’ Krates, Ken Mode, THEESatisfaction, Samantha Savage Smith, Renny Wilson, Cousins, and Pete Swanson.

And, of course, like 200+ more bands. Tickets are available online, so nab ‘em.

• Sled Island:

Decoder rises a third time, made with the gestalt of ex-Foxy Digitalis writers and a sexy CMS

In times of old, site relaunches tended to occur on the simple Rule of Sexy and/or Cool: If your site’s design looks old and busted, you create a new site design and relaunch, trumpeting with the glory of a dehydrated Coachella attendee on psychotropics. With the new site design, people will come back and think of your site as cool and sexy again and keep coming back… assuming, of course, you made a good site design. Design, like content, is King (thus making the two Co-Kings), and is an important aspect of making sure your site is with it.

In the case of seminal site Decoder Magazine, they kind of did that last Thursday. However, their motives were more than just getting sexy down: back in February, we (or rather, I) announced the end of another seminal site, Foxy Digitalis. In its conclusion, owner Brad Rose stated that, in working with editor Dwight Pavlovic at Decoder, the writing staff would be joining the latter site as part of the now-hip relaunch (exception given supposedly to Jonathan Patrick, who was found mewing on Mr P’s doorstep on the Floating Platform one morning). Originally, the planned relaunch was said to be February. However, as any site designer will tell you, you should read any completion date and add three weeks or three months to it, depending on how much the designer is paid.

In any event, the new site design is a lot less bloggy, and a lot more site-y. Previous entries pre-launch remain mysteriously hidden from human sight, but that may be subject to change. Additionally, the site hints at possibly expanding its scope, with links to future articles on food, fashion, literature, and art. Hopefully, this means we will finally get to learn how Michael Gira makes spicy fondue. I hear it’s a hit at house shows.

• Decoder:

Ryan Power seduces your ears next month with a new album for NNA Tapes

TMT Action News is excited to bring you the EXCLUSIVE story of a brand spanking new Ryan Power album to be released on NNA Tapes June 25. TMT: unless you like know Ryan Power’s mom or something, you heard it here first.

Titled Identity Picks, Power’s sixth album (and second for NNA, following last year’s I Don’t Want to Die) offers up eight lusciously intimate jazz-pop gems crafted to make you smile as you drive down the boulevard with your windows down, the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair. Unless you listen to the actual lyrics, that is, which are cuttingly personal and a bit of a contrast to the smooth stylings of the album’s overall tone. Think Kaputt with a little more atmosphere as penned by Will Oldham and produced by Hot Chip. Believe me, it works! Listen to “The Prize” below.

In other news, I kept typing Powter instead of Power, which lead me to read all about Susan Powter, so I’m going to go eat something healthy for my body now to accompany the highly nutritious ear candy my auditory canals just digested thanks to Mr. Power. Yum! Mark your calendars and get in on the action next month.

Identity Picks tracklisting:

01. Sample Lives
02. The Prize
03. New Attitude
04. Sweetheart
05. Earth to Fuckface
06. Identity Picks
07. Well on Your Way
08. Rip the Blood

• Ryan Power:
• NNA Tapes:

Kanye West tweets “June Eighteen” indicating a possible album release date; people on the internet get kind of excited

Picture this: it’s an alternate universe and Kanye West is riding a massive dragon over the Southwestern US. A whole bunch of music writers and dedicated fans are tethered to the dragon’s tail, riding on hover-skateboards and getting their thumbs ready for the Tweet-frenzy of their lives (this is how music journalism gets done in the alternate universe). It’s nighttime, and alternate universe urban America pulses below, the denizens of which are only dimly aware of the fire that ‘Ye is keeping at bay.

All of a sudden, there’s a crackle, like a massive heavenly loudspeaker resuscitated by pure egotistical will. And then: “JUNE EIGHTEEN!”. It booms forth, slow and authoritative, with low frequencies powerful enough to re-ruffle the already ruffled hair of the nearest tail-attached Tweeters. “A new album!” they all shout in unison. “That’s what this must mean!” Without warning, however, the power to the hover-skateboards suddenly fails, and the dragon tethers are cut. The Tweeters find themselves plummeting, helpless.

Kanye looks on, uncaring, as he pats the dragon on the head. As he and the dragon ride off into the night accompanied by the opening chords of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (TMT Review), the dragon burps forth a cloud of flame that incinerates most of Tucson. Moments later, Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson comes by with a generator for the hover-skateboards. “He’s saving us!” the falling Tweeters cheer as their hover-skateboards power back up. Wilson booms (quieter than Kanye, though can you blame him?) “Chris Atlas at Def Jam confirmed. Kanye West. New album. 6.18.13.” However, moments later, the generator fails, and he’s all like “Oh wait, never mind, my bad, that info is not actually confirmed.” He goes on to repeat, “Oops, my bad” several times, though it offers little solace to the plummeting hover-skateboarders whose iPhones and mangled bodies will soon dot the alternate landscape of the Southwest.

• Kanye West:

Dim Mak pulls TAI EP Indian Kill from stores due to backlash; racism apparently not the key to running a successful business

Though he may be delivering his mea culpas with the utmost of urgency now, it’s hard to wrap your head around just what the fuck Germany-based DJ and producer TAI was thinking with the release of his latest EP, Indian Kill. Regardless of how small a percentage of the world’s population a particular demographic is, let it be known, it’s definitely not okay to casually suggest, or make light of, that demographic’s systematic wiping out — their genocide, in other words. That’s speaking generally of course — it makes even less sense when it’s associated with a music release, unless, you know, you’re actively trying to court that type of crowd.

You know the title. You see the cover art above. Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red was one of the most prominent initial voices speaking out against the EP, remarking on his Facebook page, “I can’t believe this is ok… This makes me sick on how violent racism like this is acceptable in the EDM. I’m so upset right now.” And so a flurry of vocal and textual outrage rightfully ensued.

Nigh instantly, as though TAI and Steve Aoki (owner of the Dim Mak record label to which the offender is signed) anticipated such a reaction, both issued apologies. A post on the Dim Mak Facebook page attributes the label’s initial compliance to a belief in creative expression, while TAI himself talks, somewhat believably, about his “Eastern Hemisphere”-borne ignorance. Here’s an excerpt:

Having been born in London and raised in Thailand, I was raised with a strong respect and affinity for all cultures. But being from the Eastern Hemisphere, I was unfortunately not fully versed in the negative connotations that my EP’s content would have, and I am truly sorry for any offense I have caused. I know that my ignorance of these matters cannot be used as an excuse in any way, but I want to make it clear that I in no way intended for the EP to be offensive or to stir controversy, etc. Those who know me personally know that I am anything but a racist, and I now understand fully that the track and artwork were poor choices to represent my artistic direction.

Read the whole thing here. At TAI and Dim Mak’s request, Indian Kill is in the process of being removed from all stores, and any proceeds so-far earned will be donated to the Native American Heritage Association. Well, that was fast.

• TAI:
• Dim Mak:

De Stijl reissues New Zealand singer-songerwriter Peter Jefferies’ 1990 Xpressway solo dazzler

Take heed, fans of obscure New Zealand singer-songwriter pop gems! You too, people who just straight up like being bummed out! Lasso your cat and your rainfall and your finest tea/malt liquor and find a window to cozy up to/wistfully stare out of! Because the fine folks over at De Stijl are reissuing The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World, the fantastic, and fantastically overlooked, 1990 solo debut by Peter Jefferies of seminal New Zealand post-punk band Nocturnal Projections. The album, which has been out of print since the mid-90s, comes back to life on June 4.

Initially released as a cassette by the New Zealand label Xpressway and later picked up and given CD/LP release by Chicago’s Ajax label, the album has since gone to that great SoundCloud in the sky (whatever that means). Yet music fans have not forgotten; Cat Power has covered Jefferies (see below), as has Amanda Palmer (see somewhere else). And with the De Stijl reissue, fans get two bonus songs from a Jefferies 7-inch, “The Fate of the Human Carbine” and “Catapult.”

Peter Jefferies left professional music in 2002 after a slew of releases with Nocturnal Projections and five solo albums. He now teaches drums, music composition, and recording technology at a high school in New Plymouth, New Zealand. So, if in addition to liking sad music and antipodean singer-songwriters, you’re also one of those weirdos who pretends to be a teenager in order to live that timeless dream of going to high school to hang out with teen girls and cool teachers long after you’re free of its hellish halls, well, there’s that info for you.

• De Stijl:


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