I have gotten the sad news that my old friend Akifumi Nakajima passed away in September. It seems the news is only just creeping out and took a while to reach everyone outside of Japan. Nakajima was probably best known for his work under the name Aube, which was one of the more prolific, and for me most interesting, noise acts from Japan in the 1990s. He had an impeccable sense of design and appreciation for the materials, taking packaging beyond just using regular old paper. His label G.R.O.S.S. presented an impressive selection of international artists and was an important part of the Anomalous Records catalog. I could really go on and on about his achievements and biography, but I think it is well documented online.
I would just like to add that I always appreciated his support and friendship, and greatly respected his honestly and commitment to quality. In 2004, I spent two weeks in Japan. Eight of those days were in Kyoto and I saw Akifumi almost every day. Seeing the temples and shrines, as well as record stores I would have never found on my own, with him gave the city much more depth than I would have found there on my own. It is heartening to know that he has left a vast recorded legacy for people to appreciate, but sad to lose such a good soul.
In memory of him, I want to share the recording of our one live performance together:
This is a little different than the noise music some may associate with him, and I suppose points forward towards the analog electronic revival that started to appear not long after this concert.
Unfortunately, this also comes in a wave of other deaths in the experimental community as albrecht/D., Bernard Parmegiani and Sten Hanson have also left this world. All three had long and productive careers. These are just more reasons to appreciate those that are still with us!
• Aube: http://rgnz.free.fr/aube
From The Guardian:
Stan Tracey, the jazz pianist and composer hailed as the godfather of British jazz, has died aged 86.
Tracey was perhaps best known for Under Milk Wood, his 1968 suite based around Dylan Thomas’ radio play. His pioneering work helped British jazz forge its own sound rather than imitate the sounds coming over from the US. In particular, Tracey persuaded many British jazz musicians to move away from cover versions in favour of developing their own original material.
The news was announced on the official Stan Tracey Appreciation Facebook Page in a post that read: “It is with deepest regret that I must announce the death of Stan Tracey OBE, CBE today, at the age of 86. After a struggle with illness, he passed away having recently celebrated his 70 year professional career as a jazz pianist/composer. He is survived by a family who love him, and will miss him profoundly. His legacy is the generations of musicians young and old, past and future who have his influential example to look to. Many thanks to all those who have shown him such love and support over these many years.”
• Stan Tracey: http://www.stantracey.com
[Photo: William Ellis]
Mutual Benefit announce January 2014 tour, but, by then the stores won’t even be selling egg nog, so who cares?
Everything great ends. The Roman Empire? Gone. Stanley Kubrick? Deader than dead. KISS? Still around, but listen here: they ain’t nothing without the Space Ace. Currently, though, we are living in a golden age. Grocery stores are selling egg nog. If you have two American dollar bills, you can be enjoying egg nog this very evening. By January, that kind of deal will be nothing but a fond memory. By January, egg nog will be gone and love will be dead. At least folk-pop outfit Mutual Benefit will be going on tour that month. For some, that will ease the blow. For others, nothing will.
Earlier this season, the season of nog, Mutual Benefit put out their debut album Love’s Crushing Diamond through Soft Eyes. Now, that album has been re-released by Other Music this week — prime nog time. Once the nog is gone (and along with it, the country’s soul), that same album will get a vinyl release from Other Music. Specifically, the vinyl will come out on January 7, but by then, will anyone even feel feelings? Write your congress person. Make nog yearlong.
Mutual Benefit dates:
12.14.13 - Brooklyn, NY - Converse Rubber Tracks (The Pitchfork Review launch party)
01.13.14 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
01.14.14 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
01.15.14 - Toronto, ON - Drake Underground
01.16.14 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Bird House
01.17.14 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
01.18.14 - Minneapolis, MN - Turf Club
01.21.14 - Vancouver, BC - The Cobalt
01.22.14 - Seattle, WA - Barboza
01.23.14 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar
01.25.14 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
01.26.14 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
01.28.14 - Los Angeles, CA - Centre for the Arts - Eagle Rock
01.29.14 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
01.31.14 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
02.01.14 - Houston, TX - Fitzgeralds
02.03.14 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
02.04.14 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
02.05.14 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
02.06.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
02.07.14 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
02.08.14 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
Guardian Alien had a Spiritual Emergency; we’re just grateful Thrill Jockey was there to put them in the astral ambulance
Spiritual Emergency, which sounds an awful lot like something someone in a Woody Allen movie would have when they had to miss a meeting with their analyst in order to visit their estranged lover in upstate New York, is now also the name of a Guardian Alien album. That’s why I put it in italics at the beginning of the paragraph. It’s called foreshadowing, reader. You learn something new every day, am I right? Pay attention, and you might learn a thing or two more. Like, oh, I don’t know, when the album is coming out (January 28, 2014). Or maybe even what record label it’s out on (Thrill Jockey). Or wait, maybe you don’t even know what a “Guardian Alien” actually is outside of its literal interpretation of an alien that stands watch over some ancient treasure? Well friend, it’s a rock & roll band from Brooklyn. You honestly couldn’t sort that one out for yourself given the fact that I was talking about albums and record labels and this is a music site? In that case, when we’re done here, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Florida’s swampland.
Before we get to the bridge transaction, though, more on the album and the band. Spiritual Emergency is the follow up to Guardian Alien’s 2012 release See the World Given to a One Love Entity (TMT Review). Guardian Alien is led by drummer Greg Fox (ZS, Liturgy, etc.), and on Spiritual Emergency he’s joined by Alexandra Drewchin, Bernard Gann, Turner Williams, and Eli Winograd. The album was also mixed live by Wharton Tiers (an engineer who has worked with the likes of Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca) so it would sound more like an actual spiritual “emergency” instead of just a spiritual “let’s see what it looks like in the morning and then decide if we want to go to the general practitioner” type of thing. Describing themselves as “anti-genre explorers,” the band sought out and decapitated the last person who tried to put them inside a genre box, so I’m just going to go ahead and say that they play “music.” Pre-order the album here, and catch the band on tour with Pontiak throughout December. In fact, if you’re in Florida and still interested in the bridge deal I mentioned, we could hang out after you sign the papers later tonight at Look Alive Fest and see Guardian Alien alongside the likes of Wolf Eyes and Chronic Youth.
Spiritual Emergency tracklisting:
05. Spiritual Emergency
12.06.13 - Miami, FL - Churchills (Look Alive Festival)
12.07.13 - Tampa, FL - Crowbar
12.08.13 - Orlando, FL - Will’s Pub *
12.09.13 - Gainesville, FL - The Atlantic *
12.10.13 - Atlanta, GA - 529 *
12.11.13 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight
12.12.13 - Charlottesville, VA - Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar #
12.13.13 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
# Great Dads
[Photo: Cheryl Georgette Arent]
Goat-sacrificing German goths rejoice! Dais Records announces multi-volume Annabelle’s Garden retrospective
All those goats sacrificed have not been in vain! Bicoastal weirdos Dais Records have spent four years laboring over their forthcoming retrospective for German “underground goth-wave/neo-folk band” Annabelle’s Garden, and now, at last, preorders are available for this fancy, ultra-limited gatefold double LP. Called Time’s No Measure (1987-1993) and limited to 500 copies, the retrospective is the first in a planned series of Annabelle’s Garden reissues. With a 12-page booklet and artwork by Eddie O’Dowd (Psychic TV/PTV3, Angry Love), the LP comes out December 10.
The Hamburg-based collective was active between 1987-1997, their music available on self-released cassettes and various indie European labels before being compiled on two CD releases in the early-to-mid-90s by Patrick Leagas’ (Death in June & 6Comm/Mother Destruction) Kenaz imprint. Annabelle’s Garden rarely performed, but when they did they made it witchy, performing outdoors in fields where once countless sacrifices had been made to the Old Gods (creative license), with loads of both traditional and homemade instruments (rusty cages, rain barrels) that would sound really cool were our generation not saddled with the legacy of early-90s traveling Broadway shows where the highlight was a dude playing 17 garbage cans and then tap-dancing across sheet metal. With a sound comparable to Death in June, Current 93, Dead Can Dance, and their ilk, the Dais retrospective features Annabelle’s Garden’s original 1993 Kenaz release Wo Sind Nur Eure Götter Hin? as well as tracks from the band’s first cassette release and a remix of their track “If.” Listen to opener “Vorwarts” below:
Time’s No Measure (1987-1993) tracklisting:
02. In ein Morgen
03. My Unknown Child
04. Thoughts on Departure
05. The Other Front
06. Winter Moon Descends
07. A Path towards Nothing
08. The Final Deed
10. Mit Blumen auf den Lippen
11. Spring Day
12. Will You Wait
13. The Tears You Cried
16. If (Flo’s Remix)
Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival books Steve Reich, Jonny Greenwood, Oneohtrix Point Never, Julia Holter, and more
Steve Reich, Oneohtrix Point Never, Jonny Greenwood, Television, John Cale, Colin Stetson, Bill Orcutt, Tim Hecker, Vatican Shadow, Laraaji, Mark McGuire, and Julia Holter all walk into a bar but wait dudes IT’S NOT A LONG JOKE IT’S REAL! And it’s happening March 28-30 in lovely/historic Knoxville, Tennessee at this year’s stacked Big Ears Festival. Steve Reich is the festival’s Artist-in-Residence for a wonderful weekend full of music, art, exhibitions, film screenings, talks, workshops, and “unexpected connections.” Sexy! Weekend passes go on sale online at noon on December 6.
Reich will perform his 1976 work Music for 18 Musicians, along with new piece “Radio Rewrite,” which was inspired by a couple Radiohead songs. In a shocking turn of events, Radiohead guitarist will perform Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint,” and So Percussion will perform Reich’s 1971 work “Drumming.” It’s a Reichstravaganza!!! You’ll also get to kick it with Ensemble Signal, Marc Ribot, Nazoranai, Julia Holter, Glenn Kotche, Susanna, Son Lux, Nils Frahm, Dawn of Midi, and Dean & Britta. All venues are located in downtown Knoxville and centered largely around the Tennessee and Bijou theatres.
• Big Ears: http://www.bigearsfestival.com
You’re in an exceedingly chipper mood, and the blaring of holiday music from department stores has, for now, the surprising effect of enhancing it. Not so fast, I say, because aside from the noxious and overlong family gatherings, there’s worse news today that may inspire and prolong the melancholy of many TMT readers, all the way into next year. Musically-inclined depressives, take heed:
Experimedia, the online experimental music store based in Ohio and run by Jeremy Bible, which saw its origins in 2000 as a weekly “experimental multimedia event” hosted in a now-shuttered Akron performance venue and morphed into its current form as shop/record label, will end (likely) all of its operations by the end of the 2014. In an announcement via Facebook, Bible leaves open the possibility of the label side continuing on a more “modest” level, but the general tone sounds reluctant, thanks to recent financial and administrative challenges.
And speaking of those latter challenges, though Experimedia’s accomplishments certainly extend outside the bounds of shorthand summary, it doesn’t take a gang of office assistants performing in-depth qualitative analyses to realize the secular Bible’s contributions to experimental music in general. A respectable label with dozens of international artists and a mail-order catalog that has regularly promoted the release of endorphins among the TMT staff… ‘tis a sad day indeed.
Some background info on Experimedia here and the full note from Bible below.
2014: THE FINAL YEAR
After much thought over the course of the past year I have decided that 2014 will be the last year of Experimedia. I am very proud of what I have built with the big 14 year experiment that has been Experimedia and thank you all for being a part of it but after an increasingly challenging year both financially and existentially I have decided it is time to transition into the next chapter of my all too short life. I do this with no regrets and no bitterness… strictly gratitude for the opportunity and experience. I’ve simply taken this as far as I can.
During the year ahead I will continue to operate the shop and work towards making a graceful exit, rather than continue to chase my tail until things reach total critical mass.
It has become impossible for me to micro manage all the details that are necessary to keep this running and I feel myself slowly but surely becoming less reliable when it comes to certain administrative aspects. I don’t want to be that guy when this is all said and done. I will of course continue to be involved in the music community as an artist and perhaps even still as a label on but on more modest levels. And perhaps I may be able to offer my services, skills and experiences to other shops and labels. I’ve had my day at this and feel it’s time to step aside and make a little extra room for others to step up and enjoy the experiences I have had the privilege of.
The truth is I miss the days when things were simple and did not bring the consistently increasing weight of more obligations than one person can possibly carry. I look forward to again being in a position where I can separate my passion for art and community from commerce and industry.
I hope for your continued support over the course of the year ahead so I can make this transition and tend to my obligations with honor and dignity… and you can continue to count on the excellent level of service you have come to know me for until the day the “doors” officially close. And you can surely count on some great sales during this time.
I will certainly have more to say on this over the course of the year ahead but for now duty calls.
Best wishes always,
• Experimedia: http://experimedia.net
Ben Chasny and Donovan Quinn form New Bums, plan debut album for Drag City, learn the value of drunken friendship
When Donovan Quinn, the streetwise rule-breaker from the California psych-folk group Skygreen Leopards, joined the force, Ben Chasny wasn’t too sure about him. Chasny, a desk-jockey with a checkered past, was just six months away from his pension, and all he wanted to do was fly under the radar, fill out his reports, and retire down in Florida. When the chief assigned them as partners, neither of them had any idea they were about to embark on the greatest adventure of their lives, an adventure where they’d learn just as much about South American horse racing as they would about each other — and about friendship itself. Sure, there were speed bumps along the way. Chasny wasn’t too happy when he had Quinn over for dinner with the family and Quinn brought his energetic ferret friend. Quinn wasn’t pleased either when Chasny got all stodgy about the rules and refused reimbursement forms that time they got Wendy’s on the way back from New Mexico. And when the chief took their badges and guns away three-quarters of the way through the movie, the two decided that, instead of going rogue and making sure justice was served, it’d actually be a better use of time to hammer out some songs about police friendship.
What’s that? You’re wondering what police friendship songs sound like? Well, you’re in luck, because Chasny and Quinn decided to record their friendship sounds, and they’ll be out on an album from Drag City on February 18 of next year. The band is called New Bums in honor of the fact that they were recently fired from the police force and are too unmotivated to complete any programs in the workforce education program down at the local community college. The album is called Voices in a Rented Room, mostly because they’re such good friends that they now share a one-bedroom apartment. Inspired by the “Old Drunk America” (because laid-off cop buddies looooovvee the sauce), the record is going to be pretty spare, mostly consisting of Quinn and Chasny’s acoustic guitars and voices. Check out the album’s first track, “Black Bough,” below, and preorder the album here.
Voices in a Rented Room tracklisting:
01. Black Bough
02. Pigeon Town
03. Your Girlfriend Might Be a Cop
04. Sometimes You Crash
05. The Killers and Me
06. Your Bullsh*t
07. It’s the Way
08. Welcome to the Navy
10. Town on the Water
11. Mother’s Favorite Hated Son
12. Cool Daughter
Let’s cut to the chase: are you going to let Richard Buckner play in your living room? Maybe we’ve cut too quickly to the chase. Let me back up. Alt-country songwriter Richard Buckner is going on a West Coast tour this coming January. But he tires of all the beer-and-urine-soaked rock clubs that are so present in a musician’s life. Instead, he wants something homier, like your home. If you live in the state of Washington, Oregon, California, or Arizona, you can host Richard Buckner in your living room. Full submission information is available here, including an outline on venue requirements. Some of these requirements are fairly specific, so if you live in a one-room shack with a leaky roof, an elderly possum that just lives there who you’ve made peace with, a 12-inch TV in the corner that only gets one channel, and a deflated beanbag, you probably won’t be able to host this show.
To further support his recent release of Surrounded on Merge, Buckner is also going on tour in Europe this December. In his way of saying “Okay, I’ll play the game,” he’ll be playing traditional venues on this trip. Tomorrow night, in fact, he’ll be supporting Destroyer, who has some great things to say about the concepts of homes.
“I love homes”
—Dan Bejar of Destroyer
Richard Buckner dates:
12.05.13 - Berlin, Germany - Hau1 (w/ Destroyer)
12.07.13 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Ideal Bar
12.08.13 - Stockholm, Sweden -Debaser Ballroom
12.09.13 - Goteborg, Sweden - Pustervik
12.11.13 - Gent, Belgium - Loge
12.12.13 - Cologne, Germany - King Georg
12.13.13 - Borger, Netherlands - Van Slag
12.14.13 - Den Haag, Netherlands - State-X New Forms
12.15.13 - Nijmegen, Netherlands - Merleyn
12.16.13 - London, UK - St. Pancras Old Church
12.18.13 - Leeds, UK - Brudenall Social Club
12.19.13 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelan’s
Good day, [adjective] readers! It’s [year] and The Men, the most prolific band in garage rock, have a new album coming out on [date]. It’s called [album title] and it’s out on Sacred Bones! They’re also going to be touring [some variation on “so much”].
There. You’re welcome, music journalists! I solved it for you. With this new, convenient The Men New Album Release formula, you’ll never have to think up how to write yet another story about yet another new album from The Men again! Guaranteed to be one of your most-used Band Story Formulas, this Mad Libs-style three sentence “story” will give your readers all the info they need to know, which is basically “Yes, the Men have a new album out. No, a NEW new album. Not that one from nine months ago or whatever. A new one. Go buy it.”
But this one, ladies and gentlemen, the follow-up to October’s Campfire Songs that followed up New Moon (TMT Review) from a few months earlier, is a little bit different. Tomorrow’s Hits is The Men’s first album recorded in a high-end studio, Brooklyn’s own Strange Weather. Back in 2012, the band had been touring pretty much ceaselessly, and ostensibly decided to take a break but come on guys no one believes you were ever going to take a break. They started practicing in founding member Mark Perro’s Bushwick bedroom almost every day for a few months, resulting in ~40 demos, which the band then cut down to 13 tracks. Then it was off for two days of magic and pleasure at Strange Weather, where they recorded everything live and hung out with a horn section on a couple songs. And thusly it was that Tomorrow’s Hits came into the world, and thusly it was that The Men prepared themselves for a brief spring East Coast tour in support of said album. Knowing The Men, these four East Coast dates will soon morph into 44, and this one album will soon procreate into 16 EPs. They’re a lot like Jesus in that way. Or rock ‘n’ roll gerbils.
Tomorrow’s Hits tracklisting:
01. Dark Waltz
02. Get What You Give
03. Another Night
04. Different Days
06. Pearly Gates
07. Settle Me Down
08. Going Down
03.02.14 - Allston, MA - Great Scott
03.03.14 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
03.04.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
03.05.14 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom