Van Dyke Parks (yes, the one who hasn’t released any new music in over 15 years) launches 7-inch series

Van Dyke Parks (yes, the one who hasn't released any new music in over 15 years) launches 7-inch series http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-05-van-dyke-parks.jpg

Van Dyke Parks is like one of those lovable a-holes who goes to a party with the goal of sneaking himself into the background of every single picture taken there. Actually, due to his adorable-grandpappy-with-mustache-and-bowtie look these days, he might just be twice as lovable as even the most lovable of lovable a-holes… either way! Back to my simile: the reason it’s like he’s in every cool picture taken at a great party is that he seems to have popped up in the credits of almost every kick-ass album of the last half-century. He’s kicked it with Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder; hell, even Joanna Newsom’s sprawling 2006 epic, Ys. As a composer and arranger, the dude is basically unparalleled, but he hasn’t released any new studio music of his own in over 15 years. Though I’m pretty sure even his mustache has at least three Grammys.

Happily, not only is Parks back in action, but he’s taking a pretty classy and 21st century-approved approach to releasing his new tracks. Namely, he’s announced that he will be releasing a series of 7-inch vinyl singles on his own label, Bananastan (to be distributed by City Hall/Runt worldwide). How cool is that? The singles, which will be released one at a time starting this August, will each be illustrated by a different (rather-famous) American contemporary artist and will be available at record stores, online, and at his live shows. Man, even Panda Bear didn’t think of that one.

Featured artists include Frank Holmes (who created the sleeve art for the lost Smile album back in the day), Charles Ray, Art Spiegelman, Ed Ruscha, Billy Edd Wheeler, and Sally Parks. The first two singles slated for release are the Ed Ruscha-illustrated “Dreaming of Paris” / “Wedding in Madagascar” and the Art Spiegelman-illustrated “Wall Street” / “Money Is King.” “They are from highly different genres, each of them,” Parks said while caressing that fantastic mustache of his. “They don’t cohere. They belong somewhere. But the emphasis on the visual art is a big, big deal. These are the pre-eminent American artists of our time. We’re calling it ‘Nouveau Niche.’” Are you kidding me?? VAN DYKE PARKS, CAN WE PLEASE HANG OUT SOME TIME AND PRETEND LIKE WE’RE GRANDPA and GRANDSON?!?

(Oh, P.S., Parks will also release a compilation album of some of his greatest arrangements on September 20. Titled Arrangements by Van Dyke Parks, the set will contain 15 songs by a bunch of no-name, no-talent singers/acts such as Arlo Guthrie, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Sal Valentino, Mojo Men, Bonnie Raitt, Dino Martin, Lowell George, and Van Dyke Parks himself. That’s my grandpa!)

Upcoming VDP shows:

05.15.11 - Dublin, Ireland - Button Factory
05.16.11 - London, UK - Union Chapel

• Van Dyke Parks: http://www.vandykeparks.com
• Bananastan: http://www.bananastan.com

Swans get their hands on some US dates, kiss their American skin, ask where the hell they’ve been

Sound the apocalypse bell! Swans cometh! And when Swans cometh, mere press releases and news stories and their ilk hardly seem appropriate. What we need is some made-up mystical nonsense, something like an ‘apocalypse bell.’ Because if I ever find myself face-to-face with head Swan Michael Gira and he looks me in the eye and asks “What have you done for me,” I don’t want to find myself answering, “Well, um, sir, I wrote a news story about you once.” That hardly seems like enough. Instead, I’ll strike the made-up apocalypse bell and announce this to the world: Swans will tour the US in September!

As you have already heard, Swans are not only touring Europe this summer but are also working on a follow-up to their much lauded 2010 release, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (TMT Review). Once they return from that overseas sojourn, they will rest for roughly 40 days. When they emerge from their period of recovery, the group will head onto the roads of America for a month of dates. Joining them on this journey will be Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls, who will fit in just fine, as he may or may not be a sorcerer.

Swans dates:

09.08.11 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar *
09.09.11 - Raleigh, NC - Fletcher Opera Theater (Hopscotch Festival)
09.10.11 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel *
09.11.11 - Charlotte, NC - Tremont Music Hall *
09.14.11 - West Palm Beach, FL - Respectable Street *
09.15.11 - Tallahassee, FL - Engine Room *
09.16.11 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse *
09.17.11 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge *
09.20.11 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue *
09.21.11 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall *
09.22.11 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge *
09.23.11 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom *
09.24.11 - Lexington, KY - Buster’s Backroom *
09.27.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
09.29.11 - Boston, MA - Royale Nightclub *
10.01.11 - Asbury Park, NJ - ATP Festival at Convention Centre

* Sir Richard Bishop

• Swans: http://swans.pair.com
• Sir Richard Bishop: http://www.sirrichardbishop.net

Andrew Bird brings whimsy/whistling to fans across America this summer/fall

Professional violinist/whistler extraordinaire Andrew Bird will spend the summer wandering through the backroads of America, bringing his unique brand of folky Americana to the good people of California and several Northern states. The tour starts with a stop at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell, where he will play a free show to a crowd of men dressed like barbershop quartet members and women who say things like ‘the bee’s knees.’ (That’s how I envision it, at least.)

The merry songster will continue his reign of mirth in the fall, as, accompanied by the turning leaves and a lingering sense of nostalgia, the seasons change and Mr. Bird departs Rochester, NY to journey through the original colonies. He’ll be playing similarly olde tyme-sounding venues, amongst them opera houses galore, with a music hall thrown in for good measure. Bird’s most recent recording was 2010’s live album Fingerlings 4. He also appeared on The Preservation Hall Jazz Society’s 2010 benefit album Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program.

Dates:

06.10.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Prospect Park Bandshell (Celebrate Brooklyn)
06.18.11 - Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor Summer Festival
06.24.11 - Bondville, VT - Wanderlust Vermont
08.05.11 - Regina, CA - Regina Folk Festival
08.09.11 - Arvada, CO - Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
08.10.11 - Boulder, CO - Chautauqua Auditorium
10.12.11 - Rochester, NY - Harro East Ballroom
10.13.11 - Troy, NY - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
10.14.11 - Concord, NH - Chubb Theatre
10.15.11 - Skowhegan, ME - Skowhegan Opera House
10.17.11 - Poughkeepsie, NY - Bardavon 1869 Opera House
10.18.11 - Binghamton, NY - Osterhout Concert Theater
10.20.11 - Northampton, MA - Calvin Theatre
10.21.11 - Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
10.22.11 - Wilmington, DE - Grand Opera House

• Andrew Bird: http://www.andrewbird.net

[Photo: gussifer]

Joker announces new single on 4AD, likely because he misses his ol’ buddy Zomby

4AD: it’s not just for wraith-like dream pop anymore! And it hasn’t been for a long time! I mean, c’mon, they’ve put out like five different Mountain Goats records. Take that, my own stated presumptions about 4AD! Still, it’s never seemed like the go-to home for dubstep guys. That’s slowly changing, what with their signing of Zomby and now, the announcement that Bristol-based Joker will be putting out a single via the label.

On May 16, 4AD will release a Joker 12-inch by the name of “The Vision.” The record’s A-side is a version of the song called “The Vision (Breathe In),” which differentiates itself from the instrumental B-side by featuring vocals from London-based singer Jessie Ware. Whether this is a one-off release or a longer relationship (as the Zomby signing seems to be) is unknown. Nobody knows it, not even Joker himself! Actually, Joker might know it.

“The Vision” tracklisting:

A. The Vision (Breathe In) (feat. Jessie Ware)
B. The Vision (Breathe In) (instrumental)

• Joker: http://www.myspace.com/thejokerproductions
• 4AD: http://www.4ad.com

Elliott Smith documentary screening at the Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival; five unreleased songs by Smith surface

It’s almost shocking to think that it’s been eight years since Elliott Smith passed away at age 34. Thankfully, he may be gone, but he is definitely not forgotten. A new documentary entitled Searching for Elliott Smith, by director Gil Reyes, is set to screen at the Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival this month. For more information on the screening times, please visit the film festival’s website.

The documentary features interviews with Smith’s closest friends, including Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant and former girlfriend Jennifer Chiba. If you don’t live in Los Angeles, you can still celebrate Smith’s life by listening to five unreleased songs of his that recently surfaced on YouTube this past March. The song titles are unconfirmed, but searching for these titles may bring back a hit:

“She Won’t Look at Me”
“Where I Get It From”
“Like a Cop”
“I’m Gonna Get Crushed”
“Shiva Opens Her Arms”

• Los Angeles International Film Festival: http://www.laifilmfest.com

Google launches Google Music Beta without those pesky label licenses while Steve Jobs chuckles by the fire in his Louis XIV hooded chair

Today’s weather forecast is cloudy with a chance of lawsuits. According to our TMT farm teams at Rolling Stone and Billboard, Google is rolling out their own cloud-based music service. Much like the Amazon cloud service that Mr P just totally made up off the top of his head as an early April Fool’s joke, Google Music is real. Terrifyingly real. Okay, almost none of that is true. But look! Paragraph two, here I come!

Google Music seems to offer a few significant upgrades to that clunky old Amazon Cloud Drive jalopy. For starters, it’s free while in Beta and comes with roughly 20,000 songs worth of storage space (in contrast to Amazon’s 1,000 songs-worth). It also seems to work a little better with all of the stupid, non-recyclable shit that a lot of us already own. A special Music Manager tool, available for both Windows and Mac, lets users add songs directly to Music Beta simply by clicking on a certain folder (like the iTunes Music folder), after which all of your songs, playlists, ratings, diary pages, and social security information are added to Music Beta. After the 800 hours it will take to upload your whole library to the ether, you can then stream all of your taste-making, list-topping music to any Google-linked device with internet access.

So what are the cons? Well, let’s see: unlike Amazon’s thing, you can’t actually purchase music with Google Music. You can only grab stuff you’ve already got. Also, it needs flash to work at the moment, so it’s a no-go for iPhones and iPads. Aaaand since its Beta, it’s invite-only right now, which I suppose is frustrating, although I’m pretty sure everyone knows someone who works for that company in some capacity. Oh yeah, and there’s also that pesky little problem of Google, much like Amazon, not actually, technically, completely, per se getting, you know, permission from the labels to go ahead with this service. But in his keynote presentation earlier today, Google’s Paul Joyce stated that he talked to some of the label’s girlfriends when he ran into them at the gym the other week and he’s “like, pretty sure” that it’s “all gravy.” God, I miss Lala.

• Introductory Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrNhKcxBbZo
• More on Google Music Beta: http://music.google.com
• Um… Google: http://google.com

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