Sleigh Bells announce US tour dates for April, just in time for this coincidental news story!

Sleigh Bells announce US tour dates for April, just in time for this coincidental news story!

Hey, perfect timing. No sooner does spring begin to thaw out our creaky-ass crank-bones, crippling seasonal depression, and aversion to any music that’s louder than whisper-level-quiet, than Brooklyn-based noise pop duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller (whom, you’ll recall, released their third studio album as Sleigh Bells, Bitter Rivals, last year on the Mom + Pop label) come out to deliver the goods!

They’re still promoting that same album as last year, but there’s several super-dooper jammin’ festival stops in the mix this time — including stops at SXSW, Coachella, and Firefly — as well as some boring old regular-type shows here and there. I mean… shit, did I say “boring”? No. That’s winter-talk! Everything’s going to be amazing and warm and fun and sunny and loud and brash and killer-diller from now on! Say it with me, kids! KILLER! DILLER! We got this. Killer diller.

Sleigh Bells tour dates:

03.14.14 - Austin, TX - SXSW
03.21.14 - New Orleans, LA - BUKU Festival
04.05.14 - Norman, OK - University of Oklahoma - East Lawn
04.06.14 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
04.07.14 - San Antonio, TX - White Rabbit
04.09.14 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
04.11-13.14 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
04.15.14 - Mexico City, Mexico - El Plaza Condesa
04.18-20.14 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
04.21.14 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theater
04.22.14 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
04.23.14 - Des Moines, IA - Wooly’s
04.25.14 - Gambier, OH - Kenyon College - South Quad
04.26.14 - Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle
04.27.14 - Atlanta, GA - Counterpoint Music Festival
04.29.14 - Charlotte, NC - Fillmore
04.30.14 - Charleston, SC - The Music Farm
05.02.14 - Tampa, FL - Big Guava Music Festival
06.06-09.14 - Randall’s Island, NY - Governors Ball NYC Music Festival
06.13-22.14 - Toronto, ON - NXNE - Yonge Dundas Square
06.19-22.14 - Dover, DE - Firefly Music Festival

• Sleigh Bells:
• Mom + Pop:

Neil Young finally reveals Pono, and it’s sounding quite different than was originally hyped

Neil Young has been talking up Pono, a high-fidelity alternative to the MP3 format, for years now, even using space in his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace to discuss its possibilities (called “PureTone” then). Now, finally, the details of PonoMusic have been revealed and you can pre-order your very own PonoPlayer at a discounted rate ($300; retail is $400) via this Kickstarter campaign. You also have the option to pay the full $400 and have your PonoPlayer “signed” (via laser engraving) by your choice of Beck, Jack White, Patti Smith, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson, and many others.

But hang on. Maybe it’s all the SXSW “innovation” chatter this week, or the fact that PonoMusic’s CEO is named John Hamm, but I’m seeing something very different described on this Kickstarter page than what has been previously hyped. It was my understanding that Pono was going to be a file format combining the convenience of small-size MP3s and the full-spectrum audio quality of FLACs. This was far more exciting to me than the details of the Player, and I know that I was not alone in this basic assumption. In fact, here’s part of Pitchfork’s announcement today:

The Kickstarter page clarifies that Pono is not just a new audio file format. “It is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating,” the Kickstarter reads. “PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.”

Cool quotes, but what the Kickstarter actually clarifies is that Pono is not a new audio file format at all. Instead, the PonoPlayer is equipped to play FLACs. “CD lossless” FLACs, “high-resolution” FLACs, “higher-resolution” FLACs, and “ultra-high resolution” FLACs, but still the same FLACs that have been available as a format since 2001. Also, how could a 128 GB PonoPlayer hold the long-promised “1,000 to 2,000 albums” if they’re all in massive FLAC files? Well, it couldn’t! Not even close! As an updated post on Consequence of Sound reveals, “the device will hold up to 5,000 tracks, which would be about 417 12-song albums.” And that’s at “CD lossless” quality, the lowest of four available on the PonoMusic store.

Does that not matter to you? Seems pretty important to me.

• PonoMusic:

Members of Slint and Grails form Watter; self-liquefaction deemed less important than the release of their debut LP

I’ll try not to dramatize. Get ready for the musical equivalent of the famous Predator handshake, complete with subsequently-added nuclear explosion, and if the theatrical version had a third muscly limb slowly inserting a lubricated drumstick in between the two mutually grasping palms. Of course, the original was some sort of handshake-mid-air-arm-wrestle hybrid, so in order to replicate the competitive aspect, Britt Walford of Slint would have to start drumming some knots into the forearms of his now-official bandmates — all in the name of playful camaraderie! Because comrades they are and have been, leading to the more recent happenings that are the subject of this article.

Watter is the new band consisting of Zak Riles (Grails), mutli-instrumentalist Tyler Trotter, and the aforementioned Britt Walford of Slint (among other projects). So, while it might be slightly misleading to label this a true amalgam of Slint and Grails (for which atomic imagery might be more justified), the resulting music earns, perhaps, the expected description. This World, their debut LP out on May 27, is a “stunning combination of heady psychedelic rock, vintage cinematic New Age explorations, and sinister Krautrock,” according to a press release. The album was recorded in their collective studio in Louisville, KY. Okay? Kentucky!? Quit bugging me to give your state a shout-out.

Here’s a somewhat ethereal track off the new album, and beyond that, a few April dates with Om:

This World tracklisting:

01. Rustic Fog
02. Lord I Want More
03. Small Business
04. Bloody monday
05. Seawater
06. This World

04.16.14 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall *
04.17.14 - Los Angeles, CA - Center for the Arts Eagle Rock *
04.18.14 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom *
04.19.14 - Albuquerque, NM - Sister *
04.20.14 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *

* Om

• Grails:
• Slint:
&bull: Temporary Residence Ltd.:

Forecastle Fest has Outkast, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, tUnE-yArDs, The Replacements, Spoon, and a shit ton of bourbon

Is Forecastle the answer to this nation’s “Oh God, I want to see the bands at Coachella but please don’t make me go to Coachella ughhhhhghhh Paris Hilton was there I saw it in US Weekly please in the name of all that’s holy” drunken slobbering? Well, “we’re a better Coachella” MAY not be the exact message Forecastle Fest is trying to send, but with Outkast, Slint, The Replacements, Jack White, and Beck all performing, well let’s just take a moment to mutter a few words of thanks/sacrifice a goat/whatever your religious beliefs motivate you to do because now we can all go to Louisville, where the people are gracious, the ponies are a-racin’, and the natives worship the old gods, i.e. Bourbon.

Which isn’t to say that Forecastle has the same acts as Coachella just sans mind-numbing heat and loud hippie tent sex reverberating through your campsite! No! Forecastle also has Spoon, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, tUnE-yArDs, Waxahatchee, Band of Horses, Dwight Yoakam, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Local Natives, and more! Are any of those other people playing Coachella? Shit, I don’t know! I’m on my 17th mint julep! And so shall it also be for you, when you’re basking in the summery glow of downtown Louisville from July 18-20, buying a shit ton of juleps because you saved so much money (weekend passes start at $144.50 plus fees) from the Bourbon Lodge, where they’ll have bourbon education, offerings, booze-inspired food, and more! (More means t-shirts. Always in this context. XXL t-shirts.) Tickets are now on sale, and full lineup (so far) is below.

Outkast, Jack White, Beck, The Replacements, Ray Lamontagne, Band of Horses, Spoon, Nickel Creek, Dwight Yoakam, Twenty One Pilots, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Local Natives, Gary Clark Jr., Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Jenny Lewis, Trampled By Turtles, Lord Huron, tUnE-yArDs, JJ Grey & Mofro, Action Bronson, Slint, Flume, Against Me!, Sun Kil Moon, Sharon Van Etten, The Black Lips, St. Lucia, Brett Dennen, Tourist, Lucius, Nightmares on Wax (live), Charli XCX, Claude VonStroke, Spanish Gold, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, The Soul Rebels, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Reignwolf, Waxahatchee, Chrome Sparks, Hayes Carll, Willie Watson, Foy Vance, Hurray For the Riff Raff, The Districts, Benjamin Booker, Johnnyswim, Leagues, Old Baby, Blue Sky Black Death, Matrimony, Mount Moriah, Seluah, The Weeks, JaLin Roze, Young & Sick, Jill Andrews, The Wans, Goodbye June.

• Forecastle Fest:

White Lung attempt to out-punk this winter by signing to Domino and releasing a new 7-inch

If you’re like me (and you live in a non-tropical climate), then you’ve been coping with this bleak, terrible, colorless, and never-ending winter the only way one possibly can: by listening to as much soft, spacey, ambient Harold Budd shit as possible. Fuck you, winter. I’ll be in my cocoon a.k.a. the Pavilion of Dreams!

However, if you’re less of a wiener and more like Vancouver’s incredibly brash and fearlessly noisy punk sons-of-bitches White Lung instead, you’re probably coping with it a little more like they are: by signing with Domino for a new apocalyptic mindfreak of a shredder called “Drown with the Monster.” They’ll be releasing said track as a 7-inch on April 29, and you can pre-order it now at Domino’s website. Granted, winter will probably be long-gone by the end of April when this actually comes out; but GOD KNOWS we’re all going to be residually angry about it for, like, the next three years, easy.

Either way, you’ve got options. Either check out the official video below, or meet me back in the cocoon in five. I’m gonna go take a piss real quick and reload on patchouli and dandelion root tea…

• White Lung:
• Domino:

[Photo: Pooneh Ghana]

Yann Tiersen, new most interesting person alive, drops an album on May 20 via Mute

Yann Tiersen is like that kid in elementary school who was always more interesting than you. Your family went to Disney World over spring break? This kid’s family went to Brazil. Your mom taught you how to ride a bike? This kid’s uncle taught him how to sail a BOAT. Your dad works as a private investigator? This kid’s dad is a motherfucking CIA OPERATIVE. But it’s cool everybody, because Yann Tiersen wants to share the wonder of being Yann Tiersen with you all. And that’s why he’s giving the world ∞ (Infinity), the most unGoogleable album title this side of Prince’s whole early-90s deal.

Infinity, the followup to 2011’s Skyline, comes out May 20 via the always lovely Mute Records. You can check out two video “prologues” to the album below, filmed on Ushant Island in Tiersen’ native Brittany. The album was crafted in both Iceland and Ushant Island, and features speakers of crazy-awesome languages like Breton (Ar Maen Bihan), Faroese (Grønjørð), and Icelandic (Steinn). It was produced by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Einstürzende Neubauten, Wire) and Mute founder Daniel Miller. Tiersen’s intimate 300-person show at London’s ICA sold out within five hours, but he’s playing selected glamorous cities over a very leisurely few months.


05.14.14 - London, UK - ICA
05.31.14 - New York, NY - The Highline Ballroom
09.26.14 - London, UK - Royal Festival Hall
10.27.14 - Paris, France - Olympia

∞ (Infinity) tracklisting:

01. Slippery Stones
02. Midsummer Evening
03. Ar Maen Bihan
04. Lights
05. Grønjørð
06. Steinn
07. In Our Minds
08. The Crossing
09. Meteorite

• Yann Tiersen:
• Mute: