Woodsist Fest announces lineup, boasts the biggest “sur” of any festival

“Wow! That’s one hell of a sur!” — explorers in 1452, after spotting the largest sur they had ever seen, shortly before naming the area Big Sur.

It is with that spirit of exploration that Woodsist Festival is powered, the event held by the titular record label in Big Sur for the past six years. Some venture to the event in hoping to find a secret map, left by fifteenth-century explorers, detailing the whereabouts of an even larger sur. Others know that is pure folly and simply come to experience modern sounds of psych and folk. Both sets of people are set to attend Woodsist Festival 2015, taking place May 18 at Big Sur’s Loma Vista Gardens.

Amidst all that incredible sur, this year’s headliners will be Real Estate and, fittingly enough, Woods. Currently, White Fence, Little Wings, and Simon Joyner & The Ghosts are booked for the single-day event, though more acts are expected to be announced. Like in the past few years, the event is presented by (((folkYeah!))). Tickets go on sale today at noon, but sur goes on sale never, for sur should be available to all.

• Woodsist: http://www.woodsist.com
• (((folkYeah!))): http://folkyeah.com

Whirr get loud on US spring tour

As T.S. Eliot once said, “April is the cruellest month.” Perhaps, T.S. Perhaps, if you live in a place where Whirr will not be touring. Because for the rest of us, it’s gonna be pretty great.

The Bay Area shoegaze quintet released Sway last year via Graveface after a 2013 tour with Nothing. The Nothing tour led to bassist Nick Bassett moving to Philadelphia to jam with Nothing’s Dominic Palermo in a band called Death of Lovers, which means that Whirr’s latest was created via a good old-fashioned (digital, probably? no one’s talkin’) tape exchange across the country. In any case, the band’s sludgy yet dreamy sound is still as raw as ever, and the whole band is reuniting to merrily skip through the daisy fields of America when they tour this spring.

You’ll experience Whirr! You’ll experience Pity Sex! (The band.) You’ll experience Adventures, Wild Honey, and Wild Moth, depending on where you live! Yes, many experiences will be had, many of whose names will be evoke images of overpriced organic food products and heritage blanket lines, and all of which will be LOUD. Ladies and gentleman, Whirr.

Dates:

04.02.15 - Denver, CO - The Moon Room
04.03.15 - Omaha, NE -O’Leaver’s
04.04.15 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean *
04.05.15 - Lansing, MI - Mac’s Bar **
04.06.15 - Lakewood, OH - Mahall’s **
04.07.15 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Roboto Project **
04.08.15 - New York, NY - Baby’s All Right **
04.09.15 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs **
04.10.15 - Washington, DC - DC9 **
04.11.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb’s (early all ages) **
04.11.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb’s (late +21) **
04.12.15 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter #
04.14.15 - Atlanta, GA - The Drunken Unicorn %
04.15.15 - Nashville, TN - Cafe Coco %
04.16.15 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone %
04.17.15 - Fort Worth, TX - Lola’s ^
04.18.15 - Austin, TX - Red7 ^
04.19.15 - San Antonio, TX - Korova ^
04.20.15 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls ^
04.21.15 - Phoenix, AZ - Pub Rock ^
04.22.15 - Las Vegas, NV - Bunkhouse Saloon ^
04.23.15 - Bakersfield, CA - Muso’s Gym ^
04.25.15 - Oakland, CA - 1234 Go Records! ^

* Pity Sex
** Adventures
# Adventures, Wildhoney
% Wildhoney
^ Wild Moth

• Whirr: http://whirrband.tumblr.com
• Graveface: http://www.graveface.com

The New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder finally has a moment to damn self, uses it to announce new LP

Guys, it’s a tough job being Kathryn “Katydid” Calder. And if you’re scratching your ass and picking your nose right now while asking “who?” then case-in-point. See, Calder hangs out in the background and plays all the cool synthy shit at The New Pornographers’ gigs. She’s kinda like Eno in Roxy Music, you know? She kinda keeps Brian Ferry/A.C. Newman from seeming lame while never really getting all that much camera time herself. And! As an added bonus, she’s not nearly as hideously ugly as Eno from back then either… although, I guess that’s not all that tough to accomplish. Yeesh.

Anyway, second case-in-point: Calder has just announced the release of a self-titled solo album on April 15 via the File Under: Music label. And damned if I didn’t just assume that this was her first one. Wrong! Good thing I actually READ the press release for a change! Turns out Kathryn’s latest offering “is the follow-up record to her critically praised and Polaris-recognized sophomore album Bright and Vivid.” See? Holy shit! Boy would my face have been red! Or maybe not. I don’t know! Whatever!

Either way, the album was co-produced by her husband Colin Stewart and recorded in his Vancouver Island Studio, and it features “the talents of her good friends Dan Mangan, Jill Barber, and Hannah Georgas, among others.” See, now I have no idea who those people are, but I’m NOT gonna dismiss them! Cuz they could be regular Katy Calders in their own right for all I know. I mean, what am I gonna do? Sit here and google everyone anytime ever? Suck a D. Who the hell are YOU, anyway?

Kathryn Calder tracklisting:

01. Slow Burning
02. Beach
03. Take A Little Time
04. Blue Skies
05. When You See My Blood
06. My Armour
07. Song In Cm
08. Pride By Design
09. Arm In Arm
10. Remembering

• Kathryn Calder: http://www.kathryncalder.com
• File Under: Music: http://fileundermusic.tumblr.com

The Silence rise from the ashes of Ghost with debut album on Drag City

Here’s an existential consideration for you: If ghosts are the spirits of the afterlife trapped in this world, then what happens when a ghost dies?

The answer is now quite simple: silence.

The metaphysical truth of that remains to be tested, but in the musicological sense, it’s now a fact, because the excellent Japanese psych band Ghost have recently disbanded after 30 years of melting faces, only to see a new band called The Silence form, featuring most of the members of Ghost.

The mastermind of both projects, Masaki Batoh (who also brought you the Brain Pulse Music Machine), describes The Silence as “heavier than any sound pressure and the silence which thunders the ears can only be expressed by the silence in the subconscious mind of consciousness and unconsciousness.”

You’ll be able to aurally actualize that concept when Drag City release The Silence’s debut album The Silence on March 24. We have a time machine and have listened to the album in the not-too-distant-future and can assure you that it’s more of Batoh’s excellent pastoral tinged rock tunes, so rest assured, the future is bright despite any existential conundrums this news item might have otherwise provoked.

Plus, you can get a taster of the album via lead single “Lemon Iro No Cannabis” below. According to the band’s Facebook page, they are already recording their second record, which is tentatively slated for an August release with Drag City.

The Silence tracklist:

01. Lemon Iro No Cannabis
02. Gotter im Exil
03. Jewels in Tibet
04. Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
05. Tango Whiskeyman
06. Triptycon
07. Nana No Open Back Banjo
08. Pesach
09. Overture

• The Silence: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Silence/1462181737395695
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com

[Photo: Minoru Tsuyuki]

RIP: Lesley Gore, pop singer/songwriter

From ABC News:

Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, “It’s My Party,” and followed it up with the hits “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and the feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me,” died Monday. She was 68.

Gore died of lung cancer at New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, according to her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson.

“She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian,” Sasson, a jewelry designer, told The Associated Press.

Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature.

Gore’s other hits include “She’s A Fool,” ”Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” ”That’s the Way Boys Are” and “Maybe I Know.” She co-wrote with her brother, Michael, the Academy Award-nominated “Out Here On My Own” from the film “Fame.”

• Lesley Gore: http://www.lesleygore.com

Carpark plans sweet 16 celebration with shows, release, and loss of virginity

If I learned anything from MTV’s ol’ My Super Sweet 16 show, it’s that teens expect a car on their 16th birthday, and if you’re an independent record label named Carpark Records, then there better damn well be a gift “car parked” at every upcoming Sweet 16 show. What Sweet 16 shows you ask? First of all, stop trying to communicate with a news article, weirdo. Yes, there will be special shows in March to honor the 16th anniversary of Washington, DC and Brooklyn-based Carpark Records that include various alumni and current members of the label. If you don’t believe me, watch this trailer for Carpark’s Sweet 16:

Besides hitting puberty within their 16 years of living, Carkpark has released over 100 albums from artists like Dan Deacon, Toro Y Moi, Cloud Nothings, Beach House, and Speedy Ortiz. In addition to the anniversary show, Carkpark is releasing a limited-edition basketball-themed picture disc of nine exclusive songs and 19 locked grooves from various artists. Proceeds from the release will benefit Little Kids Rock. That’s a fucking mature thing to do on your 16 birthday, and my daughter, Vampula, could learn or thing or two from Carpark. We all could.

Carkpark Sweet 16 anniversary shows:

03.06.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right *
03.07.15 - Washington DC - DC9 @
03.19.15 - Austin, TX - Swan Dive (SXSW) $

* Lexie Mountain Boys, Greg Davis, Greys, Chandos, Ear Pwr, Safety Scissors, Adventure, Jimmy Whispers, DJs Young Magic & Montag
@ Lexie Mountain Boys, Greys, Chandos, Adventure, Jimmy Whispers
$ Cloud Nothings, Skylar Spence (fka Saint Pepsi) DJ set, Dent May, GRMLN, Chandos, Keath Mead, Average Cock

• Carpark: http://carparkrecords.com

Sasquatch! Music Festival 2015 lineup announced, featuring possible Mars rover appearance

With the ultimate cancellation of Sasquatch’s inaugural second weekend last year (originally set to take place about a month after the first, during the weekend of July 4), there was an infinitesimal risk of artist backlash following the abrupt denial of scheduled performances. Kraftwerk could’ve used their rejection as a legitimate excuse to unveil their actual machine-men army, who would’ve henceforth barricaded the Gorge in order to prevent any future Sasquatches/scenic overlooks. But instead, they and a few other acts opted to book replacement shows in Seattle, where fans made barely a whisper about the supplemental musical excursion that never was.

Passes are already on sale for the indelible single weekend of Sasquatch! 2015, which will feature the following artists performing during the typical Memorial Day Weekend: Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant, Modest Mouse, Tame Impala, St. Vincent, The Decemberists, James Blake, Gogol Bordello, The New Pornographers, Lana Del Rey, Jenny Lewis, Spoon, and many others brandishing (not too) widespread appeal. See the full lineup here. I like the spacey poster design.

• Sasquatch! Music Festival: http://www.sasquatchfestival.com

Shrimper becomes a 25-year-old record label, shares retrospective sampler including The Mountain Goats, Sentridoh, announces new Refrigerator LP

Okay, good news: Shrimper is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a record label and I’m here to tell you about it. Maybe you’re all like “wait, what’s a Shrimper,” and well, besides literally being someone who collects shrimp from the ocean, it’s also a small label run by Dennis Callaci run out of California, which found its start back in 1990 because Callaci was “in a band that was never going to put out any kind of music otherwise.” That was Callaci’s band with his brother Allen and few other collaborators. They were called Refrigerator. They are as good as they are difficult to Google.

Like a lot of people who are only two years older than the label itself, I came to Shrimper’s back catalog by way of my boy John Darnielle in The Mountain Goats. I was probably scouring the liner notes to Bitter Melon Farm, or listening to “The Rain Song” in particular or something and I noticed a seafood-related trend and so I set out in search of comps and tapes various digital castoffs from the likes of Franklin Bruno, Nothing Painted Blue, Refrigerator, WCKR SPGT, Furniture Huschle, and Sentridoh — Abridged Perversion in particular was a pretty thoroughly clutch intro. Not gonna lie and say “I was there when it all started,” because I obviously wasn’t, but I can tell you for certain that I got there once everything was underway and that this shit continues to hold up. Case in point, the celebratory sampler up on SoundCloud right now that collects tracks from throughout the label’s run, including The Babies, Dump, Woods/Amps for Christ, and “Certain Dance-Circumstance” from Sentridoh which is maybe my all time favorite Lou Barlow-sourced track in existence. You can listen to the whole thing below — it’s great.

That’s not all, either. There’s a new Refrigerator album coming out February 17 — order it here. It’s called Temple City and it follows 2011’s demos collection Dangerous. Dennis Callaci says he wrote the song “This Woman Here” (also embedded below) for a “false started R&B project,” and you can heart that just a little in the lilt of the structure, though overall it’s Refrigerator’s shambolically sparse textures that creep out to the fore. The band plans to tour a bit behind the album in conjunction with vocalist Allen Callaci’s book tour behind his Heart Like Starfish.

Temple City tracklist:

01. Your Hometown
02. As Advertised Please Don’t Touch
03. The Real Thing
04. This Woman Here
05. Pocket Thousandaire
06. Cul De Sac
07. Friendloverwhatever
08. Secret Knock
09. Ozu
10. Thinking Man’s Fool
11. Rest of the Lonesome
12. Run Down Rings
13. Percy Sledge
14. As I Was Before
15. No Fun
16. Sophia Loren
17. Smile Kid

• Shrimper: https://midheaven.com/label/shrimper#.VN4Tzi473j0
• Refrigerator: https://midheaven.com/artist/refrigerator

Wreck & Reference announce US tour throughout March and April in honor of ampersand awareness month

Yo yo yo, to all my friends around the world, I’d ask that you pour one out for all the collections of humans and/or puppets with ampersands in their names. This goes out to you Statler & Waldorf, and you Iron & Wine, and you Simon & Garfunkel. And yeah, to you Wreck & Reference. Actually, I wanna spend a little extra time thinking about Wreck & Reference right now, and not just because y’all just announced a tour that I’m supposed to be writing about. Without you, everyone would probably think that an ampersand means you’re either an insult puppet or a couple of dudes with acoustic guitars. Without you, no one would know the true range of the ampersand vis a vis the naming of musical groups, and for that we are grateful.

Ahead of last year’s excellent Want, a lot of folks were prepared for a band called Wreck & Reference, what with their ampersand and all, to turn on, folk in, and puppet out. But as we all know, that’s pretty much the opposite of what happened. It was more like Want was an immersion blender and our collective guts were the substance into which the blender got immersed, and after that, everyone thought just a little bit differently about a certain punctuation mark. And so now, with all that behind us, I’m sure you’re just itching to know their tour dates. Well, that’s why I’ve listed them below! I am very considerate! All the dates are with California’s So Stressed, and a few of the dates have additional support slated, which I’ve indicated with punctuation marks other than the ampersand, because I’m not only considerate, I’m also playful, dammit.

Dates:

03.13.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Jewel’s Catch One @
03.20.15 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Sweet Springs Saloon
03.21.15 - Oakland, CA - The Golden Bull #
03.22.15 - Eugene, OR - Wandering Goat
03.23.15 - Portland, OR - High Water Mark
03.24.15 - Seattle, WA - The Highline
03.26.15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Bar Deluxe
03.27.15 - Denver, CO - Mutiny Info Cafe
03.28.15 - Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Saloon
03.29.15 - Ames, IA - The Pentagon
03.30.15 - Chicago, IL - The Burlington
03.31.15 - Lafayette, IN - The Spot Tavern
04.01.15 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class
04.02.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
04.03.15 - New Paltz, NY - The Alter

@ Naomi Punk, PC Worship
# Bosse-de-Nage, Beast Nest

• Wreck & Reference: https://wreckandreference.bandcamp.com
• The Flenser: http://theflenser.com

Mac McCaughan, the most believable man in indie rock, announces new album, Non-Believers! Unbelievable!

Believe it, professional-grade music listeners. And mark your calendars. On May 5, 2015, the history of rock is going to change forever. Because that’s when Superchunk frontman and Merge Records’ own Mac “Barack O’Brien W. Bush Trump Gates” McCaughan will release Non-Believers, his VERY FIRST EVER solo record under his VERY OWN and VERY COOL name (no Portastatic bullshit to hide behind here). Prior to that red-letter date, Mac “McCartney” McCaughan will also pull a “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever”-type thing on us and release a limited-edition, hand-numbered 7-inch of the titanic mega-song “Box Batteries” backed with the Earth-shattering “Whatever Light”! I know how unbelievable this all sounds, but it’s all true. SHOCKINGLY TRUE.

In a rare interview with the press, the god-like McCaughan fired off a beautiful and completely unrehearsed speech about how his intention was to “use the album to explore his attraction to that early-’80s era of music when punk evolved into something more introspective, focusing on themes of isolation and eventually turning into post-punk and new wave.” In other words: the best, most authentic, and ONLY kind of important music ever. Bar none. Period. The record “is about a fascination with art that could only be made by someone far from where you are, but who maybe shares the frustrations and awkwardness of youth” and “the irony that comes with being 16 and having a car but not knowing where to go in it, or having a keyboard or a guitar and not knowing how to play it.” A lot of the attendees fainted when they heard these words… but somehow I scribbled it down for you guys.

But that’s not even the most mind-blowing OR authentic part. The real killer is that you can actually pre-order this high watermark of the twenty-first century humanities now on CD and LP in the Merge store, as well as digitally via iTunes. And not only that, but the first 250 LP orders will receive Non-Believers on light gragy vinyl. LIGHT. FUCKING. GRAY. Unbelievable! Oh yeah, and the “Box Batteries” 7-inch is also available for pre-order as of right this authentic second, todays-ville, USA. What a time to be alive, music fans! We really can have it all. This truly is the best of times.

Authentic, hand-drawn Mac McCaughan tour dates:

04.17-19.15 - Winston-Salem, NC - Phuzz Phest
05.07.15 - Washington, DC - Black Cat Backstage
05.08.15 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
05.09.15 - Wilmington, NC - Bourgie Nights
05.15.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
05.16.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right
05.21.15 - Atlanta, GA - 529 Club
05.22.15 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight
05.23.15 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle Backroom

• Mac McCaughan: https://twitter.com/macmerge
• Merge: http://www.mergerecords.com