Thanks to TMT’s machinations, former MVP Nat Baldwin has a new dirty project, yet must tour alone

Thanks to TMT’s machinations, former MVP Nat Baldwin has a new dirty project, yet must tour alone

When we at TMT awarded the Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca the #2 spot on our illustrious “Favorite 50 Albums of 2009” list, the band was instantly catapulted into a Madonna-level realm of fame. As Zs — who earned the #1 spot in 2010 — are learning right now, the TMT prize brings with it endless swarms of camera-clicking paparazzi and rabid, autograph-hungry fans. We knew, however, that if we forced the band to “hit the mattresses,” DP bassist Nat Baldwin would finally get some time to work on a follow-up to 2008’s Most Valuable Player (TMT Review). It worked.

People Changes, out May 24 on Western Vinyl, features five new Baldwin compositions and two covers: Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost” and Kurt Weisman’s “Let My Spirit Rise.” If the instrumentation is any sign — double bass, clarinet, violin, trumpet, alto saxophone, guitar, drums — People Changes might show Baldwin returning to his avant-garde jazz-coated roots: he’s a former student of first-generation Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) member Anthony Braxton. Either way, we’re glad we could help.

People Changes tracklisting:

01. A Little Lost
02. Weights
03. Real Fakes
04. The Same Thing
05. Lifted
06. What Is There
07. Let My Spirit Rise

Despite the album’s multiple collaborators — including saxophonist Matt Bauder and violinist Caley Monahon-Ward — Baldwin will lead up to the release date with a solo tour. You see, the killer whale-like stalker-fans TMT has created are still hungry for Dirty Projector blood, so Baldwin doesn’t want to put an ensemble at risk.

Nat Baldwin solo tour:

03.31.11 - Portland, ME - Apohadion Theater
04.02.11 - Winooski, VT - The Monkey House
04.03.11 - Palmer, MA - Diamond Junction Bowling Lanes
04.05.11 - Buffalo, NY - The Vault
04.06.11 - Toronto, ON - Double Double Land
04.07.11 - Ypsilanti, MI - Woodruff’s
04.08.11 - Gambier, OH - Kenyon College
04.09.11 - North Manchester, IN - the Firehouse
04.10.11 - Bloomington, IN - House Bar
04.11.11 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
04.15.11 - Minneapolis, MN - Mistory Theater
04.16.11 - Iowa City, IA - The Mill
04.18.11 - St. Louis, MO - LEMP
04.19.11 - Little Rock, AR - Dreamland Ballroom
04.20.11 - Dallas, TX - TBA
04.21.11 - Austin, TX - Club 1808
04.22.11 - Houston, TX - Avant Garden
04.23.11 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
04.24.11 - Lafayette, LA - Blue Moon
04.25.11 - New Orleans, LA - Mudlark Public Theater
04.27.11 - Tallahassee, FL - Charles Mansion
04.28.11 - Athens, GA - Farm255
04.29.11 - Columbia, SC - Beys
04.30.11 - Charlotte, NC - Evening Muse
05.01.11 - Greensboro, NC - The Green Bean
05.06.11 - Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church Chapel
05.07.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Zebulon
05.08.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Zebulon
05.09.11 - Hudson, NY - The Spotty Dog
05.11.11 - Boston, MA - Whitehaus
05.12.11 - Kittery, ME - Buoy Gallery
05.13.11 - Bar Harbor, ME - Lompoc

• Nat Baldwin:
• Western Vinyl:

Jeffrey Lewis releases new album with Peter Stampfel of The Holy Modal Rounders, continues to amaze in 10,000 ways

I was record shopping the other day, and a kid came into the store and asked at the counter, “Yo, can I get the new Jeffrey Lewis?” I, being a Jeffrey Lewis fan and one who tries to keep abreast of new releases (hey, what else is TMT for?), had to admit to myself that I didn’t know about anything more recent than ‘Em Are I, his 2009 album as Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard. The guy behind the counter was none the wiser.

Well, imagine my surprise when I looked into the matter. In January, Lewis released a digital album with the 72-year-old folky Peter Stampfel, a name that should drop some jaws if you’re into important figures in psych-folk history (Stampfel played in The Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs, among other groups; he even contributed to the liner notes for Harry Smith’s Anthology of Folk Music, for Pete’s sake!). The album is called Come on Board and you can purchase the digital download here, or order a physical CD from Olive Juice Music. The album is equal parts Jeffrey and Peter, and meshes Lewis’ anecdotal style (“I Spent the Night in the Wax Museum”) with Stampfel’s fiddle, banjo, and indisputably old-but-awesome-dude voice (see him wail in this video — can your grandfather do that?).

As always, Jeffrey Lewis is just as active as a comic book artist, and Fuss #8, his newest book, is now in stores. If you know much about Jeffrey Lewis, you know he’s also a comic historian (familiarize yourself with his complete history of punk rock in the Lower East Side, if you’re not). Well, the History Channel has picked up on Lewis’ talent as a pedagogue, and their official website now features 10 of his “illustrated low-budget documentaries” for the edification of young and old everywhere. (Like this one, for example.) Way to make us proud, Jeffrey!

Keep an eye on Lewis’ website for spring tourdates, as some are still being finalized. Here’s what there is so far:

03.30.11 - Charlottesville, VA - Magnolia
03.31.11 - Greenville, NC - Tipsy
04.01.11 - Durham, NC - Duke Coffeehouse
04.02.11 - Harrisonburg, VA - MacRock Fest afterparty
04.04.11 - Baltimore, MD - Bell Foundry
04.06.11 - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - Bard College
04.07.11 - Poughkeepsie, NY - Vassar College
04.08.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Silent Barn *

* The Beets, él-g

• Jeffrey Lewis:

RIP: Melvin Sparks, soul-jazz guitarist

From The New York Times:

Melvin Sparks, a guitarist whose brightly sinewy style made him an in-demand session player during the soul-jazz boom of the late 1960s and early ’70s, a touchstone during the acid-jazz trend of the ’90s and a wise elder on the jam-band scene of the last decade, died on March 13 at his home in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He was 64.

His wife, Judy Hassan, confirmed his death and said that he had diabetes and high blood pressure.

Mr. Sparks favored a clean, flinty tone, combining the brisk harmonic fluency of bebop with the bite and feeling of the blues. His early career coincided with a golden age for soul music, and he took its lessons deeply to heart. He liked to say simply that he played “jazz over a funky beat.”

• Melvin Sparks:

Wyclef Jean shot in Haiti, not seriously injured, will write a song about it

Breaking news: Singer and activist Wyclef Jean was shot Saturday night while hanging out in Haiti with Busta Rhymes. The shooting happened just hours before the country’s presidential elections, a race that Jean was campaigning in as a candidate last year, before he was determined to be ineligible. Reports claim that the singer has already been released from a hospital outside of Port-au-Prince after being treated for his injuries.

Soon after being shot, the singer’s Twitter page chirped out this bit of good news: “We have spoken to Wyclef, he is ok. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers — Management.” Former Fugees bandmate Pras Michel later chimed in and spread the good word to Blackberrys the world over: “Yes they shot Wyclef and he’s in the hospital and he’ll be fine. They just shot his hand.”

Despite the injured hand, Wyclef Jean was soon reported to be writing a new song, entitled “Elections (Right Hand Man)” while resting in his hospital bed. Additionally, unverified reports (courtesy of Billboard) are claiming that former-actor Busta Rhymes was on the scene at the time of the shooting, but is luckily uninjured (as were all bystanders), and is back in the studio phoning in his next verse.

• Wyclef Jean:

[Photo: Joe Raedle]

RIP: Jet Harris, bassist of The Shadows

From the BBC:

Jet Harris, the original bass player with The Shadows, has died of cancer aged 71.

The guitarist, who played on number one hits including Apache, died at his partner’s home in Winchester, his agent Peter Stockton said.

Sir Cliff Richard paid tribute to his former bandmate, saying: “Jet was exactly what The Shadows and I needed - a backbone holding our sound together.”

Earlier this month, Harris cancelled all his appearances due to ill health.

“Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock ‘n’ roll history,” Sir Cliff added. “Losing him is sad - but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet.”

• The Shadows:

120 Minutes, Matt Pinfield, and music videos return to television; see, America? MTV does care about music

MTV is returning to its roots, sort of, by announcing that they will be reintroducing fan-favorite show 120 Minutes, and that the show will once again be hosted by Matt Pinfield. The network also announced that they would be bringing back Liquid Television and Remote Control, but then immediately cancelled that news when the Jersey Shore folks woke up from their hangovers and remembered to sign their Season Five contracts.

For those not ‘in the know,’ let MTV’s Executive Vice President of Music and Talent, Amy Doyle, explain 120 Minutes’ place in history: “The signature of MTV’s 120 Minutes was the unparalleled passion for and perspective on the latest music and artists that were off the mainstream media’s radar.”

The respected show will return as an on-air monthly show on MTV2 and as a renamed (120 Seconds) weekly online show. The monthly TV show will begin airing later this year and the online “newsblast” starts airing… today! So start checking MTV2 and head over to the recently launched website MTV Hive. Let the Viacom Corporation start telling you what music to listen to!

Before we go, let’s let Matt Pinfield remind us why he should be back on the air: “Everywhere I go, people from all over the world talk about how much 120 Minutes shaped their musical tastes and how much they missed it. The show helped expose, and ultimately, break new artists. MTV’s historical role in breaking artists of all genres can never be underestimated. I’m looking forward to the exciting present and future of 120 Minutes and 120 Seconds!”

Ah, memories:

120 Minutes:
• MTV2:



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