DJ Harvey to save rock & roll? Hah! Only in his Wildest Dreams

DJ Harvey’s new band, Wildest Dreams, might just do the trick if you’re tired of rock & roll’s modern iterations. Their first album will be out July 29 through Smalltown Supersound, and, according to the press release, the self-titled work draws its sound from “the landscape of L.A. and its surroundings” with the purpose of soundtracking “your road and acid trip.” The band itself is an anonymous group, with Harvey at least contributing vocals, that supposedly compares to the legendary L.A. Wrecking Crew of the 60s… and that’s not too far-fetched.

Harvey is the man who was at least partially responsible for bringing disco and house to the UK, and he’s achieved legend status in the domain of “real” (read: vinyl-spinning) DJs for his six-plus-hour, genre-spanning, borderline-religious sets. He is a musically enlightened man, having spent countless hours crate-digging, uncovering forgotten masterpieces, and his knowledge of music is encyclopedic. So who better than a truly knowledgeable DJ to take up arms and defend the frayed, moth-eaten banner of bona fide, hard-edged rock & roll? Who else is gonna do it? The Black Keys? Nah. Jack White? Give me a break. Okay maybe Wolfmother, but I’m not actually convinced they’re still alive.

Hell, Rolling Stone once said, “If Keith Richards was a DJ, he’d totally be Harvey.” The point being that this guy’s practically a rock star already, and he’s soon to deliver some nasty riffs, sweet licks, and snappy break-beats to unsuspecting ears, all baked to the same crunchy golden-brown as your favorite blues-rock classics.

If you still have any doubts, watch the accompanying video for the album’s first single, “Last Ride”:

• DJ Harvey: https://www.facebook.com/HarveyDJay
• Smalltown Supersound: http://www.smalltownsupersound.com

Brooklyn’s 10th annual Afropunk Festival announces lineup, D’Angelo to headline

Afropunk Fest is back at Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park on August 23 and 24 for its 10th year of spontaneous utopia-generation. Seriously, the event amounts to a pop-up society, with a famously diverse crowd, a market, a cadre of food trucks, an “Art Wall” for select artists to scrawl on, a motorcycle show, and a soapbox for anyone who doesn’t like certain things to speak their piece — not to mention the music, which sprawls across four stages. And the hair, which is always quite dope.

The festival casts a wide net in terms of genre, certainly not limited to punk, and this year’s lineup features soul paragon D’Angelo as the headliner, along with Shabazz Palaces, Lianne La Havas, clipping., Valerie June, Trash Talk, and many others (check the link below for the full roster).

If you want a sense of the vibe at Afropunk, or just a quick pick-me-up, watch this particularly positive feature on last year’s fest:

• Afropunk Festival: http://afropunkfest.com

Spoon announce North American tour with Arcade Fire, offer album bundle with bloody beach ball

Austin rock & rollers Spoon took a longer-than-usual break after their 2010 LP Transference, but the five-piece have finally announced details of their eighth record, They Want My Soul, along with a North American tour. After a fruitful relationship with Merge, the band will join recent upstart Loma Vista Recordings — which is run by former Warner Bros. Records CEO Tom Whalley — for their upcoming album. Loma Vista is also the newly adopted home to artists like Little Dragon, Cut Copy, and St. Vincent. Hmm, sounds like someone’s looting all the profitable indie bands…

Beginning this week, Spoon’s 2014 tour will see them cutting across the US until October’s Austin City Limits festival, followed by a quick Euro tour. Along the way, the group will share stages with Arcade Fire, EMA, and Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser. Before They Want My Soul drops on August 5, limited pre-orders are available here, including a “TWMS T-Shirt Bundle” with a translucent blue LP, a CD, a lion shirt, a blood-splattered beach ball, eight postcards, and a facsimile of the album’s handwritten lyric sheets (the first 100 bundles will be autographed). Rumor has it that lead singer/guitarist Britt Daniel left a little dollop of his soul in five lucky bundles, drummer Jim Eno put a booger in one, and multi-instrumentalist Rob Pope thought the whole bundle idea was kind of a gimmick. He takes credit for the blood-splattered beach ball, though.

Tour dates:

07.12-13.14 - Telluride, CO - The Ride Festival
07.18.14 - Louisville, KY - Forecastle Festival
07.25.14 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party
08.01.14 - Chicago, IL - Metro
08.02.14 - Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
08.05.14 - San Diego, CA - Sleep Train Amphitheatre at Chula Vista *
08.08.14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fairbanks Lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
08.10.14 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands
08.17.14 - Portland, OR - Musicfest NW
08.30.14 - Montreal, QC - Parc Jean Drapeau *
08.30-31.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Made in America Festival *
09.02.14 - Washington, DC - Lincoln Theatre + *
09.05.14 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival *
09.06.14 - Norfolk, VA - Norva + *
09.07.14 - Boston, MA - Boston Calling Music Festival *
09.10.14 - New York, NY - Central Park
09.11.14 - Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead +
09.12.14 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room +
09.13.14 - Hamilton, ON - Supercrawl Festival
09.14.14 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Theatre +
09.16.14 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre ^
09.17.14 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre ^
09.18.14 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Theatre ^
09.19.14 - Minneapolis, MN - State Theatre ^
09.20.14 - St. Louis, MO - Pageant ^
09.21.14 - Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall ^
09.23.14 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom ^ *
10.03-05.14 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival
10.10-12.14 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival *
11.01.14 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
11.02.14 - Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefarlich
11.03.14 - Basel, Switzerland - Kaserne Reithalle
11.04.14 - Cologne, Germany - Luxor
11.05.14 - Gent, Belgium - Vooruit
11.06.14 - Paris, France - Trabendo
11.07.14 - London, UK - O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire *

* supporting Arcade Fire
+ Hamilton Leithauser
^ EMA

• Spoon: http://www.spoontheband.com
• Loma Vista: http://lomavistarecordings.com

RIP: Bobby Womack, soul singer

From Rolling Stone:

Bobby Womack, the legendary soul singer whose career spanned seven decades, died Friday at age 70. A representative for Womack’s label XL Recordings confirmed the singer’s death to Rolling Stone, but said the cause of death was currently unknown. […]

Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. “My very first thought was — I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him,” Womack said. “This is just about as exciting to me as being able to see Barack Obama become the first black President of the United States of America! It proves that, if you’re blessed to be able to wait on what’s important to you, a lot of things will change in life.”

• Bobby Womack: http://bobbywomack.com

Dama/Libra (former members of sunn O))) and Silkworm) release track off upcoming Northern Spy album Claw, tour the galactic halo

The debut of a track from G. Stuart Dahlquist (former member of sunn O))), Asva, and Burning Witch) and Joel R.L. Phelps (former member of Silkworm and current member of the “Please don’t confuse me with the author of Goosebumps” club) sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, trying to understand what, exactly, is dark matter.

Dahlquist and Phelps’ project, Dama/Libra, takes its name from an experiment at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Dama/Libra (the physics experiment, not the musical group) is apparently a “pioneer activity in the direct investigation of Dark Matter (DM) particles in the galactic halo.” Uh, okay. Apparently, it has something to do with the detection of dark matter and, I don’t know, intergalactic travel? Black holes? Donnie Darko? Clearly, Wikipedia and the rest of the internet didn’t clarify anything for me and I spent too much time reading A Wrinkle in Time as a child.

Here’s a concept that’s easier to grasp than particle detection: Dama/Libra (the musical group, not the physics experiment) have released a track off of their upcoming album Claw. It’s called “The Chant” and it’s a lovely preview of the full album, which will be out August 12 on Northern Spy (get the gatefold LP version direct from the band). They’ve also announced August tour dates. Understand that much?

Dates:

08.17.14 - Milwaukee, WI - Quarters
08.18.14 - Chicago, IL - Hideout
08.20.14 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East
08.21.14 - Brooklyn, NY - St. Vitus
08.22.14 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Brillobox
08.23.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
08.25.14 - Columbus, OH - Double Happiness
08.26.14 - St. Louis, MO - Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center

• Dama/Libra: https://www.facebook.com/DamaLibra
• Northern Spy: http://www.northernspyrecords.com

Sutekh Hexen’s discography available for free download; what to expect when you’re expecting your hard drive to become choked by the bile of a dying universe

Congratulations! You’ve just found out that California-based noise/black metal terror squad Sutekh Hexen have put pretty much all of their discography up for free download off their website (according to their Facebook, they’ll be adding more releases as they go out of print). You’ve decided to take the plunge. You’re going to download everything you don’t already have! You’ve followed them throughout their career, looking on with great longing at releases such as 2013’s Become EP and Monument of Decay, and now you’re ready to start a family of your very own. This is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one. Fortunately for you, countless years of wisdom are available at your fingertips from people just like you who have made this very same life choice.

Knowing just what to expect when you’re filling your hard drive with sounds of the inky black abyss creeping up on our limpid human lives can be tough. But I can guarantee you won’t be sleeping much for the first few months! It’s great to try to plan out a sleep schedule for yourself and anyone else who will be helping to tend to your little bundle of death and destruction, but remember that you’ll have to be flexible as the little beast that your hard drive is becoming issues forth its clammy wails throughout the night. Remember, too, that your little one will be growing quickly. It may be a small portable hard drive filled with Lil B MP3s today, but soon enough its tentacular girth will be too large to see all at once! And of course you’ve surely been warned about the messes. To be sure, every child of the ultimate heat death of the universe is different, but I’d be willing to bet you’ll want to go ahead and invest in one or two industrial-strength pressure washers, and even a Hazmat suit or two if you can find them. You can never be too prepared! And, finally, above all, never forget that God is dead, and that the year is one. Good luck with your new family!

• Sutekh Hexen: http://www.sutekhhexen.org

Land Observations to release more observational instrumental guitar travelogues with The Grand Tour on July 29

As if dedicating his entire debut album to roads built by the Romans, Land Observations (the solo moniker of James Brooks, ex-Appliance) has announced that his next album, released on July 29 through Mute Records, will be an ode to The Grand Tour. The album itself will be called The Grand Tour. Whoa.

Apparently The Grand Tour was a circuit through Europe which became popular in the 18th century that was a rite of passage for rich University graduates and marked the “beginning of cultural travel and tourism as we have come to know it.” Taking travellers from London into France and through the highlights of Western Europe, “the tour’s itinerary was designed to expand minds through experiencing the treasures of European art, music, architecture and topography.” In other words, it was MTV’s The Real World with less douchebaggery and more Italian art.

Land Observations recorded The Grand Tour with nothing but his electric guitar whilst sitting on the edge of the Bavarian Alps (sweet tax write-off) and will probably stretch the John Fahey/Takoma-style guitar explorations further into the motorik-kraut direction that his debut record did, thus becoming its own Grand Tour by expanding the mind through the exploration of the treasures of layering rhythm, timbre, and melody, inspired by key sites throughout Europe. Sample a little bit of the album along with a little bit of the album’s inspiration in the trailer below:

My only gripe with all this is that Brooks has failed to capitalize on the abundant available entendre by barely announcing a live date outside of London, let alone his very own grand tour. More dates have got to follow or I’ll have a logical-pun itch that will never be scratched.

The Grand Tour tracklist:

01. On Leaving the Kingdom for the Well-Tempered Continent
02. Flatlands and the Flemish Roads
03. From the Heights of the Simplon Pass
04. Nice to Turin
05. Ode to Viennese Streets
06. The Brenner Pass
07. Walking the Warm Colonnades
08. Return to Ravenna

Dates:

07.23.14 - Bristol, UK - Cube Cinema *
09.13.14 - London, UK - Cafe Oto

* Joe McPhee, Chris Corsano

• Land Observations: http://landobservations.com
• Mute: http://mute.com

Slint seek burritos, add West Coast tour dates in August

Slint, everyone’s favorite seminal Kentucky indie-math-post-something band must be getting along like peas in a pod, or better yet, hops in a beer, because they’ve just tacked on a few more dates to their recent slew of US tour dates.

“Westward, ho!” they said, and then their tour manager was all, “How’s about four dates in August?” And they were like, “Gnarly. I dig it.”

Slint West Coast tour dates:

08.25.14 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
08.27.14 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
08.28.14 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
08.29.14 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre

• Slint: https://www.facebook.com/Slint
• Touch and Go: http://www.touchandgorecords.com

Fort Reno shut down for 2014 season, America free from straightxedge tyranny

Fort Reno is one of those rare nice things that Washington, D.C. gets from time to time, like cherry blossoms. A weekly event where people play music in Fort Reno Park for free, the summer concert series was a nice break from the dull tedium that is the Beltway, and had been happening since 1968. Much of the D.C. punk scene made at least one appearance, and now Amanda MacKaye (Ian’s sister) helps organize the events. It’s a tight operation, but it still manages to draw a lot of people, and is pretty popular with the locals.

Which is why America had to shut it down: In the name of freedom.

On the day that Fort Reno was to announce its schedule this year, MacKaye announced that this season was cancelled. The reason? The National Park Service, whose jurisdiction includes Fort Reno Park, told organizers around the time they were supposed to get their permit that they now had to pay an additional fee to the U.S. Park Police to have a Park Ranger stationed at every show, something that never happened before. Because, you know… terrorists. In any event, the cost of this fee for all the shows combined was more than double the entire Fort Reno budget. When organizers attempted to meet with the NPS and USPP, the only person that showed up at the meeting was “one extremely kind NPS employee” who was still clueless as to the situation. With no choice, the organizers killed it off for now.

Shortly after the announcement went live, the NPS issued a response acknowledging the “security” problem, but refusing to admit that they suck at attending meetings. They did offer some hope by saying they still want to talk to organizers, only to burn a bridge by requesting approximately $2,640 in security back pay for eight previous Fort Reno shows (which, if you used some guesswork, is likely about $55/hr to whoever worked that shift), according to Jonathan Fischer of the Washington City Paper. Support came from Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, whose Congressional district sits next to the representation-less D.C., sending out a letter to the NPS asking what the hell’s going on. (A Change.org petition has also been set up.) For now, though, there shall be no punk concerts in Fort Reno this summer.

J, Zilberman, you know what you must do.

• Fort Reno: http://www.fortreno.com

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz to release debut album Tyranny in an insidious attempt to use up all the world’s letter z’s!

You guyz! You all remember erstwhile Strokes front-mumbler Julian Casablancaz, don’t you? Remember, he’s the guy who sang the line, “spaceships, they won’t understand” and got away with it? Yeah, that dude. Well, it seems like ever since then, he’s been wondering just what the hell else he can get away with.

So, yeah. The latest thing is called Julian Casablancas+The Voidz. It’s a face-melting rock band fronted by Julian. It’ll release an album too. It’ll be titled Tyranny (no z’s, sorry), and it’ll come out on Julian’s own label (Cult Records) on September 23 (there’s also a big old rock tour to follow). If you want it before then, though, you can pre-order the digital version at the label website. It’s worth $3.87 USD, by the way.

What else? In very slight addition to Casablancaz, the band features Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai (Salt & Pepper) on guitarz, Jeff Kite on keyboards, Jake Bercovici on bass, and Alex Carapetis on drums. You know those people, right? The album was also produced by Shawn Everett and “incorporates world underground music from the 70s and 80s, hardcore/punk and modern harmony, using modern and analog recording and sampling techniques.”

But since you’ve probably been not really reading any of what I’ve been writing here because you’ve been so distracted wondering what the deal is with the album’s title, here’s Casablancaz saying some stuff about the album’s title:

Tyranny has come in many forms throughout history. Now, the good of business is put above anything else, as corporations have become the new ruling body. Most decisions seem to be made like ones of a medieval king: whatever makes profit while ignoring and repressing the truth about whatever suffering it may cause (like pop music, for that matter).

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’ve read enough books to know what he’s talking about.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz tour dates:

08.14.14 - Guadalajara, Mexico - Teatro Diana
08.16.14 - Mexico City, Mexico - Ceremonia
08.23-24.14 - Los Angeles, CA - FYF Fest
10.16.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
10.17.14 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.18.14 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theatre
10.20.14 - Chattanooga, TN - Track 29
10.21.14 - Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works
10.22.14 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
10.28.14 - Birmingham, AL - Iron City
10.30.14 - Austin, TX - Emo’s
10.31.14 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
11.06.14 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theatre
11.09.14 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Center
11.11.14 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
11.13.14 - Seattle, WA - Showbox

• Julian Casablancas + The Voidz: http://juliancasablancas.com
• Cult: http://store.cultrecords.com

  

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