RIP: John Holt, reggae singer and songwriter

From Jamaican Observer:

Veteran Jamaican reggae singer John Holt died in a London hospital on Sunday. He was 69.

Copeland Forbes, Holt’s manager since 2006, confirmed the entertainer’s passing.

“John died at 2:40 am English time. His [John’s] nephew informed of his death,” Forbes told OBSERVER ONLINE.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Holt first gained popularity in the 1960s as the lead singer of the Paragons.

• John Holt: http://bit.ly/1sGiLGO

Kronos Quartet chosen as Big Ears Festival’s 2015 Artists-in-Residence, artists at slightly lower level of commitment to be announced soon

Big Ears and Kronos Quartet sitting in a tree, R-E-S-I-D-E-N-C-I-N-G. As suggested by that awkward re-imagining of a children’s taunt, Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival has chosen San Francisco modern classical outfit Kronos Quartet as their 2015 Artists-in-Residence. In accepting that position, the group follows in the footsteps of artists such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley. If those old farts can do it, surely Kronos Quartet can, too! (NOTE: We here at Tiny Mix Tapes greatly respect Steve Reich and Terry Riley.)

Other artists at somewhat lower levels of commitment will be announced on November 4, when the festival unveils its full line-up. Passes for the fest will available a scant few days afterwards, beginning November 7. Then as time marches on, the festival will actually occur on March 27-29. Then, further along the road we’ve all been set upon, our bones will turn to dust and our Earth will die. So, hey, go see Kronos Quartet and Big Ears Festival and everything else you wanna see while you’re still here and breathing.

• Big Ears: http://www.bigearsfestival.com
• Kronos Quartet: http://www.kronosquartet.org

Alex Calder (ex-Makeout Videotape) announces new solo album Strange Dreams, streams first single

Once upon a time, Edmonton native Alex Calder had a little something going on with Mac DeMarco: Makeout Videotape. Not an actual make-out videotape; the duo played under that name between 2008 and 2011, leaving
a string of charming lo-fi songs behind, but enjoying a rather limited impact. I don’t need to tell you what happened to Mac DeMarco, whose career rocketed in the past couple of years, a time Alex Calder took to set his drum kit aside and polish his songwriting chops, preparing Strange Dreams, his first solo LP.

This is actually Calder’s sophomore album, following last year’s EP Time. Just like what happened with Mac DeMarco’s solo music, which took Makeout Videotape’s promise toward a more classic pop route, Calder’s compositions refine the psych aspects of the duo’s songs. As you can hear in “Strange Dreams,” the album’s first single, there’s a lysergic shade to Calder’s warped take on indie pop; enough to link it to Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza, eminent practitioners of said style. And it’s not just the orphic imagery, so ingrained in Bradford Cox’s work, that these two have in common; Calder’s voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Cox’s. And that’s a great thing, if you ask me, meaning we will not be deprived of hazy garage psychedelia while Cox sorts out Deerhunter’s creative future, a process last year’s spotty Monomania hinted at.

Further softening the lo-fi remnants still audible in Time, “Strange Dreams” hooks you with delightful melodies, a dozy vibe and a rhythmic vivacity telling of its creator’s percussion-playing roots. You can stream it below. Strange Dreams is out on January 20 via Captured Tracks.

Strange Dreams tracklisting:

01. Retract
02. Strange Dreams
03. Out of My Head
04. Memory Resolve
05. The Morning
06. Marcel
07. Lola
08. No Device
09. Life Purpose (feat. Caitlin Loney)
10. Mid Life Holiday
11. Someone

• Alex Calder: https://www.facebook.com/AlexCaldermusic
• Captured Tracks: http://capturedtracks.com

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson to score upcoming Stephen Hawking biopic

Of all the amazing twists and turns in the narrative of popular music I never would have guessed that astrophysicist and archetypical geek/genius Steven Hawking would be trending so heavily in music news, well, ever. Lo and behold, this week alone we’ve been hit with the news that Hawking has a vocal performance in Pink Floyd’s long awaited next and possibly final album and now Icelandic experimental composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has drawn himself into the vortex of the Stephen Hawking hype machine.

The early warning signs are clear in retrospect, with Hawking’s previous collaboration with Orbital and Jóhannsson’s passion for the hardcore geek stuff like his 2006 album/ode to the IBM 1401. Now Jóhannsson is applying his considerable, minimalist skills to soundtrack the forthcoming biopic on Stephen Hawking called The Theory of Everything.

The soundtrack is described as being “derived from very simple elements that are announced in the first frames of the film - a four-note piano ostinato which then slowly expands into more complex forms and appears and re-appears evolved, deconstructed and re-assembled in various
renderings throughout the film,” and any auteurs of Jóhannsson’s work will know that all this points to being pretty far-out yet awesome.

The soundtrack will be released on November 4 via Back Lot Music and the film will be hitting screens around the same time. Get pumped by boning up on all the other pop-cultural moments in the sun that Hawking has enjoyed here, and watching the trailer below:

The Theory of Everything: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack tracklist:

01. Cambridge, 1963
02. Rowing
03. Domestic Pressures
04. Chalkboard
05. Cavendish Lab
06. Collapsing Inwards
07. A Game of Croquet
08. The Origins of Time
09. Viva Voce
10. The Wedding
11. The Dreams that Stuff Is Made Of
12. A Spacetime Singularity
13. The Stairs
14. A Normal Family
15. Forces of Attraction
16. Rowing - Alternative Version
17. Camping
18. Coma
19. The Spelling Board
20. The Voice Box
21. A Brief History of Time
22. Daisy, Daisy
23. A Model of the Universe
24. The Theory of Everything
25. London, 1988
26. Epilogue
27. The Whirling Ways of Stars That Pass

• Jóhann Jóhannsson: http://johannjohannsson.com
• Back Lot Music: https://www.facebook.com/BackLotMusic

Pixies’ Doolittle gets 25th anniversary reissue treatment, can now rent a car

The Pixies’ Doolittle is turning 25! Which means the album can now get a rental car, make people a generation older than me feel worse than I felt when I saw the Interpol’s 10 year anniversary edition of Turn on the Bright Lights, and of course… be reborn as an extra-special, more expensive anniversary edition with MORE liner notes and BONUS tracks. Because that’s just what you DO to mark the special birthday of a special album.

And if it’s extra EXTRA important, that album will get a slightly newish name such as Pixies: Doolittle 25. Now, naturally this thing comes with demos, B-sides and — ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please — Peel Sessions. The 3CD version will wrangle you a hot 50 tracks, with disc one dedicated to the original album, six B-sides and two Peels on CD 2, and the complete demo version of the album plus many a bonus track on the third disc. A gatefold double LP is also in the works with a B-sides/Peel Sessions LP and an original Doolittle demos LP.

Pixies: Doolittle 25 tracklist:

Disc 1 - Doolittle
01. Debaser
02. Tame
03. Wave of Mutilation
04. I Bleed
05. Here Comes Your Man
06. Dead
07. Monkey Gone to Heaven
08. Mr. Grieves
09. Crackity Jones
10. La La Love You
11. No. 13 Baby
12. There Goes My Gun
13. Hey
14. Silver
15. Gouge Away

Disc 2 - Doolittle: Peel Sessions & B-Sides
01. Dead (Peel Session)
02. Tame (Peel Session)
03. There Goes My Gun (Peel Session)
04. Manta Ray (Peel Session)
05. Into The White (Peel Session)
06. Wave of Mutilation (Peel Session)
07. Down To The Well (Peel Session)
08. Manta Ray
09. Weird At My School
10. Dancing The Manta Ray
11. Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
12. Into The White
13. Bailey’s Walk

Disc 3 - Doolittle: Demos
01. Debaser
02. Tame
03. Wave of Mutilation (First Demo)
04. I Bleed
05. Here Comes Your Man (1986 Demo)
06. Dead
07. Monkey Gone To Heaven
08. Mr. Grieves
09. Crackity Jones
10. La La Love You
11. No. 13 Baby - VIVA LA LOMA RICA (First Demo)
12. There Goes My Gun
13. Hey (First Demo)
14. Silver
15. Gouge Away
16. My Manta Ray Is All Right
17. Santo
18. Weird At My School (First Demo)
19. Wave Of Mutilation
20. No. 13 Baby
21. Debaser (First Demo)
22. Gouge Away (First Demo)

• Pixies: http://www.pixiesmusic.com

Not Not Fun unleashes Filthy Huns, Robedoor, and Regional Curse this fall, has some new tapes coming out too

Ever up to their reputation of lords of all things horror, analogue synths, and playfully dark mischief, the folks at Not Not Fun have announced a new batch of tapes ready to soundtrack your Halloween: Filthy Huns’ Leopard on My Right, Robedoor’s Primal Sphere and Regional Curse’s s/t. They are also reissuing Samantha Glass’ Midnight Arrival (originally out in 2011) on vinyl, in case you prefer your music delivered in a pitch-black plastic container and punctured by a needle. There’s a very limited number of copies of Midnight Arrival available, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

While the three tape releases are very much in line with NNF’s overall aesthetic, each one has intriguing particular features. Take Filthy Huns, Nick Koening’s (Daughters of the Sun) solo project, which sounds like something out of a damp Düsseldorf basement in the 80s, with a droning Neu! tinge, the deadpan delivery perfected by European minimal wave acts, and the leather-clad malevolence you’d expect from someone composing anthems for skeleton bikers. Robedoor, on the other hand, take a more mechanistic, quasi-industrial spin, subjugating the listener with a poisonous miasma of distorted synths and blunt drum-programming, to which they add unnerving Suicide-like vocals here and there; a nightmarish combination for your body to succumb to. Finally, Regional Curse, with her droning modular synths and skeletal beats, recalls the ominous darkness only John Carpenter’s scores capture. All in all, the perfect soundtrack for an incantation ceremony or a sinewave-gazing party, courtesy of Stacey Wilson (a.k.a. Rites Wilde, pictured above). The portentous C Monster wrote a bit more about her on our Chocolate Grinder section. Damn, he actually wrote about Filthy Huns too!

Regional Curse was mastered by Lawrence English and is limited to an edition of 100. Leopard on My Right brings artwork by Eric Carlson and Chris Hontos and is also limited to 100 copies. Primal Sphere is even more scarce, down to 50 chrome-tape copies of Robedoor’s debut album reissue. You can get them all via Not Not Fun right now.

• Not Not Fun Records: http://www.notnotfun.com

Mark McGuire announces Noctilucence EP, since The Mars Volta didn’t already call it

Noctilucence… it’s really more than a state of mind. Clouds that you can see in the night, shimmering on the water; that is true noctilucent bliss. It’s also the title of former Emeralds member Mark McGuire’s latest EP, which follows up this year’s exceptionally chill record Along the Way. Expanding on the cloud theme, McGuire says, “It’s a recording about the discovery and understanding of the shadow, entrance to the realm not controlled by the light of day, or the logic of reason.” And noctilucence is also a really cool word that most people (save for meteorologists and crystal healers) haven’t heard of or used before. In fact, the members of now-defunct prog band The Mars Volta are kicking themselves as we speak.

Along with the EP announcement, McGuire has shared the 12-minute title track, which sprawls out in waves of shimmering guitar, stiff low-end, and a cosmic, insistent rhythm. The song’s dynamic as hell, and it seems determined to bury itself deep in your psyche. Nobody blends new age style, heavy guitar texture, and an electronic pulse like McGuire. Before Noctilucence drops via Dead Oceans on November 11, gorge on the title track and ponder the next phase of our collective consciousness.

Noctilucence tracklist:

01. Freedom of Spirit
02. Earth Grid (Activation)
03. Noctilucence
04. Entity (Presence)
05. Astral Projection

• Mark McGuire: https://soundcloud.com/mark-mcguire
• Dead Oceans: http://www.deadoceans.com

Umor Rex announces archival release of modular synth compositions by M. Geddes Gengras

It seems a little surprising that an artist as recently active as M. Geddes Gengras would require two archival volumes of past work. However, Gengras’s work pace for the past seven years has been pretty damn astounding. Aside from collaborating with Sun Araw (on the Congos cooperation Icon Give Thank and Duppy Gun) and participating in Pocahaunted and Akron/Family, Gengras has also issued a hefty pile of solo works, most operating in the limited cassette format, which is a difficult world to keep track of.

Thankfully, Umor Rex is here to guide us hapless collectors through the labyrinth of Gengras fetishism. UR has announced a follow-up to their past archival release, Collected Works Vol. 1: The Moog Years, which came out last year.

On November 18, Rex will deliver Collected Works Vol. 2: New Process Music. Vol. 2 documents a time in Gengras’s development (2011-2012) when he began to apply lush, expansive post-production techniques to his already well-practiced long-form modular drones. For these recordings, Gengras limited himself to using only a small eurorack synth and magnavox tape echo.

Pick up New Process Music on sweet, sweet colored vinyl when it drops in November; until then, enjoy “The Last Time We Were Here” below.

Collected Works Vol. 2: New Process Music tracklisting:

01. Pure
02. Slider
03. Ricochet
04. Glass dance
05. The last time we were here
06. Relation
07. New Process
08. Pure (Reprise)

• M. Geddes Gengras: https://www.facebook.com/mggengras
• Umor Rex: http://www.umor-rex.org

Grab your post-glowsticks for post-rave artist Clark’s US tour dates

Warp Records describes electronic musician Clark as “more Berghain than Guggenheim,” which is both an awesome and sorta snotty way of saying his music is more “hands in the air” than “blip blip blip bloop blip.” But yooooooou knooooow, in a more CULTURED way than in a FRAT BRO way. In a “post-rave” way. In a “robots encountering humanity and vice versa” way, but not in a Daft Punk “get down and twerk to Robin Thicke” way, more in an “existential and lonely yet beautiful and dark” way.

But what good are words — cold, distant, overly quotation-mark-using WORDS — when you can actually peep this Clark track yourself? “The Grit in the Pearl” comes to us off of Clark’s upcoming self-titled album, due November 3 via Warp. Until then, you can catch the man/the mystery/the post-rave at a few events here in the ol’ USA, including doing a special ambient set before Massive Attack in L.A.

Dates:

10.16.14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Greek *
10.18.14 - New York, NY - The Bunker at Output

* Massive Attack

• Clark: http://warp.net/records/clark
• Warp: http://warp.net

Discogs launches VinylHub database with every record store in the world, minus Urban Outfitters

The cherished music catalog and online marketplace Discogs has announced its latest project, VinylHub, which aims to list information about every record store on Earth. This will be a much easier task than Discogs, of course, since record stores continue to be an endangered species and may only number in the thousands. Created for “diggers and travelers everywhere,” the new database helps reposition Discogs as an ally to record stores, rather than its main competition.

As of this writing, users have already uploaded info on 2,125 shops to VinylHub, and I was happy to learn that my day job — Bleecker Street Records in Greenwich Village — had already been added to the directory, along with details on legendary shops like Amoeba, Hardwax, Rubadub, and many others. Currently, the database allows members to enter a store description, address, phone number, hours of operation, a store URL, and a logo. There’s also an embedded Google Map that shows you exactly where the store is. Pretty basic, but it does the job. Anyone can sign up and contribute to the site, so if your favorite record store in the middle of nowhere still isn’t listed, you can create a page for it in a few minutes.

The most exciting aspect of VinylHub might be the “Explorer” page, which shows a map of the entire world and every record store documented so far. Right now, North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are covered in red Google pins. Angola, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan — not so much. But that’s sure to change in the coming months, as Discogs users hear about the new service, and then you can finally get directions to that goth metal shop in Oman that you keep hearing about.

• VinylHub: http://www.vinylhub.com