A lot of us over here at TMT are pretty nuts about Julian Koster, head dude of The Music Tapes, integral member of Neutral Milk Hotel, and full-time magician/myth-maker. His music is great, sure, but we’re also into him because of the performance art-y pillow fights, lullabies, and caroling. But hey, we’ll settle for new music too!
On September 4, Merge will release The Music Tapes’ third “official” album, Mary’s Voice, a 14-track follow-up to last year’s EP Purim’s Shadows (The Dark Tours the World) and 2008’s Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes, full of the banjos, organs, and singing saws that we’ve been forced by gunpoint to love. Recorded once again with new and antique recording devices (we’re talking ribbon mics, wire recorders, Dictaphones, etc.), the album was reportedly inspired by Nobodaddy, as well as the many caroling and lullaby trips he’s taken over the years. According to Koster:
The magic was in the people who would welcome us into each house. We would literally go from a huge mansion on a hill overlooking the Hollywood sign, to squats with a bunch of punk kids who’d made a geodesic dome covered in moldy carpet for us to do the show in and forgot to make a hole big enough for the equipment to fit in through. We played for children of all ages — from teenagers to great-grandparents. We would visit the first house at nightfall and the last sometimes not until dawn. The fun and the warmth of each stop — how absolutely unique each was while still being so deeply familiar — was amazing and taught me how much like dreaming living can be.
Mary’s Voice is part one of a two-album series that we think is titled Imaginary Symphony No. 3. Also planned for this year: an NPR radio serial and a tour that will see Koster lugging around a circus tent. Love it. And while I’m in the mood, love you too!
Mary’s Voice tracklisting:
01. The Dark Is Singing Songs (Sleepy Time Down South)
02. Saw and Calliope Organ on Wire
03. S’ Alive (Pt. 1)
04. The Big Beautiful Shops (It’s Said That It Could Be Anyone)
05. Spare the Dark Streets
06. To All Who Say Goodnight
07. Kolyada #3
08. Playing “Evening”
09. Go Home Again
10. S’ Alive to Be Known (May We Starve)
12. Takeshi and Elijah
[Photo: Nusper Kek]