Yes, parents, it’s hard. But draw a deep breath, maybe have a shot of whiskey, and sit Junior down. It’s time to talk to your kids about Ashrae Fax.
Your kids may be hearing a lot of misinformation about Ashrae Fax from their friends at art school. Maybe they think that Ashrae Fax are a forgotten Projekt Records band from the late-80s or a super-secret Liz Fraser side project. No. These things are wrong. Ashrae Fax are a band from NOW who started THEN (late-90s/early-00s) but were rediscovered only RECENTLY. But really, the most important thing to tell your child is that they are wonderful.
And now, the facts. Mexican Summer reissued Ashrae Fax’s 2003 release Static Crash! a year ago. Yet vocalist Renée Mendoza Haran and producer/guitarist Alex Chesney had been creating dark, swirling, lovely music well before then, back even to the late-90s, and now Mexican Summer is dusting off some of those early unfinished tunes for the release of Never Really Been Into It, which hits stores on August 25. (They have now been finished. Mendoza spruced ‘em up in her home studio, where she re-recorded them over five months in 2013. Listen to one of those tracks, “CHKN,” below.) In sum, there’s never been a better chance to share with your kids the importance of saving all the dusty minidisc recordings of their first band, no matter what.
Never Really Been Into It tracklisting:
01. Dreamers Tied to Chairs
03. The Big Lie
04. Fits and Starts
06. Hurricanes in a Jar
07. You Make Me Question My Mind (in a thousand words about time)
09. Seconds Chances
10. In Motion
Hopefully this won’t be insulting to Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, because they seem like nice people, but here it goes: She & Him’s new album Classics will undoubtedly be sold at Starbucks. It’s pleasant indie-ish folk music. It’s a collection of covers of standards. It’s the group’s first album on their new label, Columbia, after three records on Merge. It is, for god’s sake, titled Classics. Which is fine, all that is fine! Pleasant music by pleasant people for pleasant people who like a readily-available latte. Oh boy, I’ll eat some crow if this ends up being the pair’s chance to show off their previously-undisplayed Swans and Merzbow influences.
Details about the record are scarce at the moment. It’s set for release sometime this fall. The standards making up the tracklist have yet to be announced, but it is known that the tracks were recorded live and that M. Ward co-arranged a 20-piece orchestra for the album. There is a 45-second teaser video embedded below, but it reveals little that I haven’t, besides a smidge of actual music from the record. If you want to know more, maybe ask the barista at your neighborhood Starbucks. His name is Dan.
Alex Zhang Hungtai, the mad genius behind Dirty Beaches, has finally announced the release date for his new instrumental album, Stateless. The LP, made up of four lengthy compositions, will be out on November 4 through Zoo Music. Hungtai has also shared the opening track, “Displaced.” Snippets of the album had already been featured in a trailer Alex Zhang Hungtai put out a couple of weeks ago to tease the album, and which we duly shared with you in our Chocolate Grinder section.
It’s no surprise that “Displaced” is quite reminiscent of Phill Niblock, György Kurtag, or even Ligeti’s work; Hungtai summoned Italian composer Vittorio Demarin to collaborate on the album, asking Demarin to play the viola while he tackled the saxophone, aside from the synths and effects he usually mans. A short statement accompanying this announcement would seem to suggest the album deals with the cyclicality of human experience. Hungtai has also pointed out that the album’s title and mood reflect on his transnational background: he was born in Taiwan, raised between Honolulu and Montreal, and has spent the last years in Berlin and Lisbon. Judging from “Displaced,” Stateless will offer the (postmodern) exploration of dread we find in Dirty Beaches’ previous albums, perhaps with the lo-fi electronic vibe overtaken by an uncannily opulent character — a register more than apt for the album of a man on the “never ending search of an imaginary homeland.”
The album follows last year’s fantastic double LP, Drifters/Love Is the Devil. Alex Zhang Hungtai has had a scarily prolific career; Stateless is his sixth full-length release, among a myriad of EPs, soundtracks, and collaborations. Furthermore, although Dirty Beaches has always skirted the avant-garde with a post-punk-tinged electronic music, Alex Zhang Hungtai had actually veered very close to Stateless’ sonic territory on the last album, with the several fully-instrumental sections of Love Is the Devil. Listen to “Displaced” below:
03. Pacific Ocean
04. Time Washes Away Everything
[Photo: Aja Emma]
Have you heard of Peter Boothroyd? No? Yes? Anyway, he’s 21, he lives in Manchester, England, he doesn’t have many tracks available online, he did a nicely sardonic interview with Dazed Digital, he’s been signed to Tri Angle Records, he’s putting out his debut EP Idle Hours under his surname through the label on September 30. Bam, bam, bam. News.
That’s really all I can say with dignity, because Boothroyd’s sound lends itself oh so well to overblown music writing (which, to be clear, is not a bad thing for the musician). You can’t hashtag it and, for your sake, I won’t wax poetic and end up prosaic in trying. All I can say is that if you know Tri Angle’s output, then you’ll have a good framework to approach the noxious noise-beat pipeline that is “NYC” (which apparently doesn’t stand for New York City), the EP’s lead single.
Listen to that and read the EP’s tracklist below.
Idle Hours tracklist:
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have a penchant for challenging their listeners, from their overlong name that starts with ellipses to the pummeling art-rock they wield. It’s just what they do. Now the band has taken challenging to a whole different level with the announcement of a new album, the cover art of which can be discovered via an online puzzle. A literal and metaphorical puzzle… so meta. You can test your skills and indulge in the complicated artwork here.
The album will be Trail of Dead’s ninth, and just to keep people on their toes again they’ve decided to call it IX. Which, if you paid attention in primary school math classes, is nine in Roman Numerals. It’s straightforward — with a twist!
IX will be available November 11 in America, and Europe gets the jump with an October 20 release supported by a tour with what is probably a date for every syllable in their unabbreviated name (I haven’t worked it out because I didn’t pay attention in math classes). The album artwork was done by Trail of Dead front man Conrad Keely and the tour will be supported by Midnight Masses, which features members of Trail of Dead. Talk about juche!
The band is promising more news to be coming soon. I’d guess it would be a tracklist and more tour dates, but this is Trail of Dead, so you better scratch up on your Sudoku and cryptic crossword skills just in case each new layer of news gets paired with an increasingly more challenging puzzle.
11.03.14 - Marburg, Germany - KFZ
11.04.14 - Bern, Switzerland - Dachstock
11.05.14 - Winterthur, Switzerland - Salzhaus
11.06.14 - Luzern, Switzerland - Konzerthaus Schuur
11.07.14 - Linz, Austria - Ahoi! Pop Festival (Posthof)
11.08.14 - Laufen, Switzerland - Biomill
11.09.14 - Munich, Germany - Ampere
11.10.14 - Berlin, Germany - Bi Nuu
11.11.14 - Hamburg, Germany - Knust
11.12.14 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude 9
11.14.14 - Glasgow, UK - The Art School
11.15.14 - Coventry, UK - Kasbah
11.16.14 - Manchester, UK - Ruby Lounge
11.17.14 - London, UK - Dingwalls
11.20.14 - Hannover, Germany - Café Glocksee
11.21.14 - Bielefeld, Germany - Forum
11.22.14 - Eindhoven, Netherlands - Speedfest
11.23.14 - Brussels, Belgium - VK
11.24.14 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
• …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: http://www.facebook.com/andyouwillknowusbythetrailofdead
• Superball: http://www.superballmusic.com
Okay, I’m going to have to go on the trust of others here because I live in Central Illinois and don’t use Tor so I can’t see any of this shit, but according to a number of music websites that apparently employ nothing but Sherlock Holmes cyberpunks in their news departments, Aphex Twin has a new album coming out, 250 years after the release of his last full-length on Warp, Drukqs. This first seemed likely when a neon green blimp bearing the Aphex Twin logo and the numbers “2014” flew over the Oval Space in London over the weekend, followed by some Reflektor-style stenciled logos appearing around NYC. Once the logo showed up in the aftermath of a jerk chicken dinner, it started to seem too big to ignore.
Now we get a tweet from Richard D. James’ official account:
— Aphex Twin (@AphexTwin) August 18, 2014
Again, if I were relying on my own faculties I’d probably have tweeted to Aphex Twin that he posted a dead link, but according to hacker god Miles Bowe at Stereogum, the link works within the Deep Web. And it reveals all! SYRO is the name of the album, Richard is looking cute as ever in an embedded image (see above), and we also get a tracklist. No other info yet beyond these bits, but thank God another mystery is solved before I have to think about it myself.
01. minipops 67 (source field mix)
02. XMAS_EVET10 (thanaton3 mix)
03. produk 29
04. 4 bit 9d epi+e+6
06. CIRCLONT6A (syrobonkus mix)
07. fz pseudotimestretch+e+3
08. CIRCLONT14 (shrymoming mix)
09. syro u473t8+e (piezoluminescence mix)
10. PAPAT4 (pineal mix)
11. s950tx16wasr10 (earth portal mix)
I think it’s a safe bet that, if you’re sitting here reading this, you’re probably nodding in agreement (as you sip your shitty coffee from the corner booth of the very same McDonald’s we’re both stealing wifi from right now) that Fela Kuti’s music is both timeless and badass. And it’s no secret that the Knitting Factory label thinks so too, as they’ve been steadfastly releasing vinyl box set reissues of classic Fela Kuti material (while possibly also stealing their internet from a fast food restaurant) for a hot minute or two now. One was curated by ?uestlove; another by Ginger Baker. Pretty badass dudes in their own right.
But now, as Pitchfork reports, the whole concept of timeless-badassery is about to be entrusted to none other than… Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno?
Yep, it’s true. The man whose full name is about as long as a Fela Kuti song has recently been announced as the third curator of a brand-new Fela Kuti vinyl box! His chosen albums include 1971’s London Scene, 1972’s Shakara, 1973’s Gentleman, 1973’s Afrodisiac, 1976’s Zombie, 1976’s Upside Down, and 1980’s I.T.T.. Hey, aren’t those are the same years everyone thought Eno ruled? Anyway, the box will also sport “a 12-page booklet with a foreword by Eno, song lyrics, and in-depth commentaries by Afrobeat historian Chris May.” Killer-diller!
The box set is out September 30 and can be pre-ordered here, and peep Eno’s thoughts on Fela’s influence down below. Hey! Then you can go hunt through his entire discography looking for Afrobeat signifiers, like I’m about to do!
If you read The Atlantic, I’m sure you know that millennials are entitled hooligans who don’t understand politics. And what do you know, band of certified millennials We Were Promised Jetpacks went and named themselves after the fact that I guess they think the universe owes them the ability to just zoom around wherever they like powered by a little jet engine strapped to their back. Listen, you guys, a few episodes of the popular animated series The Jetsons does not a promise make. Furthermore, as a certified follower of Neil Degrasse Tyson on Twitter, I can tell you right now that a jetpack would, without a doubt, burn the hair off the backs of your calves. Doesn’t sound great, does it?
You do, however, have to admire the band’s persistence at attempting to force the universe to make good on its imagined promise, though. Over the course of two full-lengths — 2009’s These Four Walls and 2011’s In the Pit of the Stomach — the band has honed a sort of explosively earnest sound, one that’s carried quite effectively by their jetpackless furor. Their recently announced third LP Unravelling (as in “the fabric of my universe is unravelling because jokers like Elon Musk keep cock blocking jetpack development”), which is out October 14 via Fat Cat Records and can be previewed below, is described as the band’s most “confident and accomplished record yet.” Part of that is because the band has added a new member in multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan. The album was recorded in Glasgow with Paul Savage, a producer who has worked with the likes of Teenage Fanclub and fellow Scottish millennials The Twilight Sad.
In addition to the album, the band is in the midst of a giant tour. They’re in Europe now, and they’ll make it to North America in mid-October. And you know what, even though I Was Promised I Wouldn’t Have to Format Any More Tour Dates This Week, I did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. They’re below.
01. Safety in Numbers
02. Peaks and Troughs
03. I Keep It Composed
04. Peace Sign
05. Night Terror
07. Bright Minds
08. A Part of It
09. Moral Compass
10. Peace of Mind
08.30.14 - Dumfries, UK - Electric Fields
09.11.14 - Cork, Ireland - Cyprus Avenue
09.12.14 - Belfast, UK - Limelight 2
09.13.14 - Londonderry, UK - Nerve Centre
09.14.14 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelan’s
09.17.14 - Aberdeen, UK - Garage
09.18.14 - Dundee, UK - Non-Zero’s
09.19.14 - Edinburgh, UK - Caves
09.20.14 - Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute
09.21.14 - Brighton, UK - Bermuda Triangle
09.23.14 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - PARADISO
09.24.14 - Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefaehrlich
09.25.14 - Cologne, Germany - GEBAUDE 9
09.27.14 - Berlin, Germany - Lido
09.28.14 - Dresden, Germany - Beatpol
09.29.14 - Vienna, Austria - B72
10.01.14 - Milano, Italy - Biko
10.02.14 - Turin, Italy - Spazio 211
10.03.14 - Aarau, Switzerland - Kiff
10.04.14 - Monthey Switzerland - Pont Rouge
10.06.14 - Paris, France - Batofar
10.08.14 - London, UK - The Lexington
10.17.14 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
10.18.14 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
10.19.14 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
10.20.14 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
10.22.14 - Columbus, OH - Skully’s Music Diner
10.23.14 - Cincinnati, OH - The Woodward Theater
10.24.14 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
10.25-14 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theater
10.26.14 - St. Louis, MO - The Old Rock House
10.28.14 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
10.29.14 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
10.30.14 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
11.01.14 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading
11.02.14 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
11.04.14 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo’s 365 Club
11.07.14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre
11.08.14 - San Diego, CA - Irenic
11.09.14 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
11.11.14 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
11.12.14 - Dallas, TX - Trees
11.13.14 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
11.14.14 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
11.15.14 - Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay Theatre
11.16.14 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
11.18.14 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
11.19.14 - Washington, DC - 930 Club
11.20.14 - Boston, MA - Paradise
11.21.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
11.22.14 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
12.13.14 - Glasgow, United Kingdom - QMU
Hauschildt and BNJMN — like Timon and Pumbaa, except they aren’t the potential victims of numerous hungry carnivores, so they can afford to take the phrase “no worries” to extremely enjoyable heights! You’re likely more familiar with the long-running Kompakt compilation series Pop Ambient, but what started in 2011 was something a bit more innovative than your run-of-the-mill label showcasing. Air Texture is apparently a label offshoot of Kompakt, but so far it’s been dedicated exclusively to the release of the Air Texture dual albums — where two chosen artists are tasked (on their respective discs) with keeping to the stated mission: “to present a diverse array of electronic music that is not dance floor oriented.” You probably have some sense of what this means. Now close your eyes.
No wait! Open them again. Air Texture Volume IV has just been announced, and this time Steve Hauschildt (formerly of Emeralds), alongside the typically dancefloor-oriented BNJMN will be doing the honors after Deadbeat and DJ Olive regaled with last year’s stunning edition. Obviously, Hauschildt has personal expertise in “air textures” himself, but it’ll be interesting to hear BNJMN’s take on things. Techno and/or house seem to be at his heart.
Out November 3. Here’s some commentary from the curators themselves, and here’s the tracklisting:
Disc 1 (selected by Steve Hauschildt):
01. Steve Hauschildt - Watertowers
02. Mirror to Mirror - Crush Ambien
03. Le Révélateur - Another (Terminal)
04. Heathered Pearls - In Memory Form
05. Jonathan Fitoussi - Impressions
06. Pulse Emitter - Border Crossing
07. Dino Spiluttini - The Hostile Sea
08. Günter Schlienz - Dust
09. Forest Management - Remote Rail Ex
10. Event Cloak - One or Twice
11. Sarah Davachi - as the morning
12. Steve Hauschildt - Pismo
Disc 2 (selected by BNJMN):
01. BNJMN - The Gloom / Lovelight
02. Lukid - The Air You Breathe
03. Brighton - Sendme
04. Teebs - Whirling 84
05. Samoyed & Sam Playford-Greenwell - Bullocks Running
06. Legowelt - Vanished In Tromso
07. Best Available Technology - Sectomy
08. The Hers - Mindy
09. Vaghe Stelle - Sante
10. Herva - Seaside
11. BNJMN - Forgive
12. Hieroglyphic Being - Rumori Circostanti di Melody Pops & Clic & Silenzio
01. Alex Smoke - Cosm
02. Heathered Pearls - Pacific Summits (Pulse Version)
• Steve Hauschildt: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Hauschildt/296304210396894
• BNJMN: https://www.facebook.com/bnjmnmsc
• Air Texture: http://www.kompakt.fm/labels/air_texture
Rub those palms together and think about pizza dough, because PAN’s got a new full-length out right now and you’re a fool if you think I’m not going to use a bunch of food analogies to talk about it. The full-length is from the New York-based sound artist James Hoff, and it’s called Blaster. And get this: you know how sometimes you throw some salt into your soup to make it a little tastier? This Hoff guy did basically the same thing, except instead of salt it was a computer virus (called the “Blaster” virus) and instead of a soup it was 808 beats. He used “the mutated results as building blocks for seven new compositions” which make up side A of Blaster.
Side B is a long, stitched-together piece of many of the sounds Hoff made into a “scratch record for DJs” in order to act as a “point of potential transmission” to help these virus-sourced sounds to find new hosts (i.e. other compositions by other artists). Because that’s the whole deal with Hoff’s project here: he’s interested in the capacity of viruses and sounds to self-distribute and replicate throughout a network. Sort of like how sometimes you have two sandwiches, but then you give your buddy one of them because you couldn’t possibly eat both of them in one sitting and you feel like he’ll just get more use out of it. Except in this case imagine that the sandwich went to your buddy on its own accord, like it just sprouted legs and walked on over like a weird sandwich monster thing.
Blaster is a follow-up to Hoff’s 2011 PAN LP How Wheeling Feels When the Ground Walks Away, a release that drew together the sounds of historic riots and modern warfare, and it’s available now. Do I even need to tell you that’s it’s mastered by Rashad Becker? I mean, you probably guessed already, but if you didn’t, now you know. If you’re feeling hungry (or even just a little peckish), you can make Blaster yours over on Boomkat.