Hopscotch Festival announces most of its 2014 lineup, Thurston Moore named Improviser-in-Residence

This year, Hopscotch Music Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary, which basically means that a giant birthday party will be happening September 4-6 in Raleigh, NC. Bring a present — or a bicycle or a friendship bracelet or a pet turtle. Oh, and bring a cake too! No word on how many piñatas will be at this party, but we can confirm that almost 160 bands will be playing in all kinds of venues all over the city. Those bands include Spoon, Mastodon, St. Vincent, Death, Lonnie Walker, and Valient Thorr, who will all be playing the festival’s main stage at Raleigh City Plaza, plus other acts like Sun Araw, Lee Noble, Tony Conrad, Krill, How To Dress Well, Mutual Benefit, White Lung, Potty Mouth, and The Haxan Cloak.

Check out the full list at the Hopscotch website, and keep your eyes peeled for even more acts. Founding director Greg Lownhagen says, “We’ve presented everyone at once in the past, and because the festival is still five months away, we thought it made sense to pull back and reveal artists in two stages. We hope this approach is more welcoming and makes the lineup easier to digest.” 40 more bands will be announced at some point in the next few weeks.

Also, you might remember that Merzbow served as Hopscotch’s Improviser-in-Residence last year, playing sets alongside Wolf Eyes, John Moloney, and Thurston Moore. This year, it’s Thurston Moore’s turn, so he’ll play his own set on Thursday, September 4, then he’ll be joining other bands for impromptu performances. Maybe we’ll find out what a Thurston Moore/Prince Rama collaboration would sound like, or maybe Thurston Moore will just review the birthday cakes that everyone will hopefully bring.

Three-day and VIP passes are available here, and in June, you’ll be able to get both one-day passes and tickets for the shows at Raleigh City Plaza.

• Hopscotch Music Festival: http://hopscotchmusicfest.com

Robert Beatty’s Three Legged Race plans new EP on Underwater Peoples, the first of many audio commercials for rope

Robert Beatty, you rogue. We meet again. You thought you could outrun me, what with your third leg and all, but you learned the hard way that more isn’t always better. I learned that lesson too. I learned it last night when I sat in the parking lot of my local fast food joint at two in the morning and ate six hamburgers when I knew five was my limit. It’s a hard limit, reader. A very hard limit. Anyhow, to transition into talking about Robert Beatty’s music, when it comes to albums, more is actually almost always better. What I mean by that is, I’m almost always excited when someone announces a new album, because, I mean, if people didn’t keep releasing albums and going on tour, I’d be out of a job! So, Robert Beatty, I take back calling you a rogue just now. I actually want to thank you for announcing your new Three Legged Race EP on Underwater Peoples coming out May 27, because now I’ve got something to write about!

The EP is called Rope Commercial Vol. 1, and it’s the first in a series of EPs that Beatty has planned for Underwater Peoples (a fact that people who know about abbreviations probably gleaned from the title). It’s his first release as Three Legged Race since Taboo 3 a couple months ago and Persuasive Barrier in 2012, though of course in 2013 he released the collection of video scores Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata (TMT Review) and was party to Hair Police’s Mercurial Rites (TMT Review).

Rope Commercial Vol. 1 will reportedly be of a piece with Beatty’s recent move away from the “fetishized hardware-oriented model so rampant in current electronic music discourse” (#shade), using a great deal less electronic hardware and even including acoustic instruments such as the dulcimer and piano. The whole thing will come on a picture disc with artwork by Beatty himself. Listen to “All Ajax Dial” off that album below, and give that pre-order button a clickety-click right here.

Rope Commercial Vol. 1 tracklisting:

01. All Ajax Dial
02. Aside From Each Other and Together Overnight
03. New Government
04. The Humidity Mascot
05. Rope Commercial

• Robert Beatty: http://remainsstreet.com
• Underwater Peoples: http://www.underwaterpeoples.com

Kelis announces tour dates, streams new album Food, reminds us to eat our fruits and veggies!

Thank. GOD. I’m STARVING. Where the hell has Kelis been for the last four years?!? We’ve all been WASTING away over here, suffering through endless climate change bullshit and less-robust-than-advertised job markets and cheap-ass, calorie-thin Macklemore hits! We’re positively dying for some more of the good fatty funk stuff!

Thankfully, we’re about to get our asses sated to the max. See, her new album, entitled Food, is due next week (April 22). Not only that, but the whole thing was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek (and recorded at his place in L.A.) and is coming to us via Ninja Tune (in fact, the press release says that the recipe mixes “live horns and gospel organ [with] electronics,” and damned if that doesn’t make the whole situation sound even more delicious!).

But yo, best part is? We don’t even have to wait until next week for the buffet to open up. The whole album is streaming now over at NPR and is available for pre-order on some food blog called “Apple.” And we can also get a taste of the album via this live cut of new track “Friday Fish Fry,” recorded live at KCRW last month! Cool. Whatever! Just give it to me. Now now now. Nom nom nom… oh yeah, nomnom… she’s also touring some this summer… nom nom…

Kelis tour dates:

06.02.14 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
06.03.14 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
06.04.14 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
06.09.14 - Chicago, IL - Park West
06.11.14 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
06.13.14 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
06.15.14 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club

• Kelis: http://www.iamkelis.com
• Ninja Tune: http://ninjatune.net

Ancient Astronaut to release debut LP on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint

Ancient Astronaut, a mysterious group based in Vancouver and London, are set to release their self-titled debut EP LP early next month. AND IT IS GLORIOUS.

Their moniker — a reference to the pseudo-scientific theory that extraterrestrials had made human contact back in antiquity — sets the tone for their jagged, rotting electronics; dark, out-of-focus beats; and blindingly harsh contrasts. The album is on the noisy side of the “dance” spectrum, a doomy and gloomy practice that shifts violently between transfixion and hyperacceleration, The Power And The Glory as seen through Black Light Spirals, time as a coaster, etc. — it’s a captivating debut.

Look for Ancient Astronaut May 5 on Nicolas Jaar’s subscription-based Other People imprint, and check out its incredible tracklist below:

A1. A1
A2. A2
B1. B1
B2. B2
B3. B3
B4. B4

• Other People: http://other-people.net

Nozinja, South African producer behind Shangaan Electro, speeds up his tunes to Warp levels

For various reasons, and much to my personal disappointment, compilations and individual LPs rarely get placed on equal footing come the period of mass judgment at the end of the year, but occasionally we’re dealt such a magnificent example of the former that we can’t help but attest to its qualities for years to come! I know this wasn’t what MLK Jr. had in mind for the figurative mountainside, but instead of letting freedom ring: “A notice to the people 15,000 feet below me! Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music from South Africa is an amazing listen. Also, can we please take more considerable steps to combat climate change? It’s like the fucking tropics up here. Look, there’s a goddamn camel. What’s a camel doing on a mountain?”

The Honest Jon’s compilation from 2010 was enough of an amazing listen to inspire both a remix CD two years later featuring some noteworthy names and European tours dedicated to showcasing the increasingly popular (but previously localized) quick-tempo genre. While his name didn’t actually preface any of the tracks on Shangaan Electro, Nozinja produced all of them, and he’s been the principal emissary at shows across the Mediterranean. Apparently, at some point during his intercontinental ventures, the folks at Warp pulled Nozinja off the street and into a tinted-window SUV, where they offered him a spot on their roster. So on their roster he now is.

Expect some “fresh tracks” in the coming months, as well as a new live show planned for this summer. A Warp-compiled “Introduction to Nozinja” YouTube playlist and currently scheduled European dates are below.


04.29.14 - Bristol, UK - Start The Bus
04.30.14 - Brighton, UK - Bermuda Triangle
05.01.14 - Liverpool, UK - Sound City
05.02.14 - Paris, France - La Machine du Moulin Rouge
05.03.14 - Krems, Austria - Donau Festival
05.04.14 - London, UK - Electrowerkz
05.05.14 - Sheffield, UK - The Harley
05.08.14 - Gent, Belgium - Vooruit
05.09.14 - Berlin, Germany - Urban Spree
05.10.14 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Spiegelbar
08.22.14 - Katowice, Poland - Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival

• Nozinja: https://www.facebook.com/nozinjamusic
• Warp: http://warp.net

The Mountain Goats announce duo tour because the road is all they know, and all they know is the road

Forget for a minute that John Darnielle is one of those story-telling types and that the bulk of his back catalog as The Mountain Goats is roundly not-biographical, and instead imagine that each song is written specifically about touring with pals like Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster. Like, take “The Recognition Scene” from Sweden and then imagine Darnielle, Hughes, and Wurster breaking into a candy store together, stealing “every bit of candy they had inside,” and then “gobbling it all up greedily.” Cute, right? Or “Psalms 40:2” from The Life of the World to Come (TMT Review), where the gang heads down toward Kansas and Darnielle says he “Feel[s] bad about the things we do along the way,” but actually, “not really that bad.” I just imagine Peter Hughes being all like, “Dude, John, you smell like some weird vegan soup mixed with B.O.” and Darnielle being all like, “Oh, sorry man, that’s probably because of all that weird vegan soup I ate back in Omaha. Also I haven’t showered in like three days. I feel bad about it, but actually never mind. No regrets. Yolo.”

With all of that held in your mind, I’d like to ask you to look below at the upcoming Mountain Goats tour dates. Sure the first few are Darnielle solo dates, but come June, Darnielle and Hughes will take to the road as a duo. Darnielle says this is the first time since 2007 that the band has played duo dates on the West Coast, which is cool, but doesn’t really affect me since I live in Indiana. They’re calling the tour The Twin Human Highway Fiends Tour, referencing “Twin Human Highway Flares” off of Full Force Galesburg (imagine Darnielle singing this adorable doozy to Hughes after a long day of driving: “When we shut the motel room door behind us/ we knew we’d hit the motherlode.”) The full band will regroup in July in North Carolina for Merge’s 25th anniversary. This news post is now over.


04.16.14 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre *
04.17.14 - Hudson, NY - Club Helsinki *
04.19.14 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music *
04.20.14 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music *
04.21.14 - Iowa City, IA - First United Methodist Church *
06.05.14 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre ^
06.07.14 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court ^
06.08.14 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory ^
06.10.14 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox ^
06.11.14 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom ^
06.13.14 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill ^
06.14.14 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill ^
06.17.14 - Los Angeles, CA - Mayan Theater ^
06.18.14 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom ^
06.20.14 - Denton, TX - Dan’s Silverleaf ^
06.21.14 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s ^
06.22.14 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk ^
06.27.14 - Saxapahaw, NC - Haw River Ballroom *
07.25.14 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle (Merge 25) #

* John Darnielle solo
^ John Darnielle and Peter Hughes duo
# full band

• The Mountain Goats: http://www.mountain-goats.com
• Merge: http://www.mergerecords.com

[Photo: DL Anderson]

RIAA and several major labels sue Megaupload for making the internet a little too cool and convenient

What can I say? I guess when you’re a crazed, dazed, and hungry-hungry vampire, you gotta hopelessly try to squeeze that good blood from whatever wrinkly-ass turnips you can find out there in your churchyard.

According to the website Digital Music News, the lumbering RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) filed a lawsuit against the (defunct since 2012, mind you) file hosting service Megaupload over the weekend. The suit, filed on behalf of Warner and Universal, alleges that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom — along with co-founder Mathias Ortmann, majority shareholder Vestor Limited, and head programer Bram van der Kolk — “willfully engaged in, actively encouraged, and handsomely profited from massive copyright infringement of music on the Megaupload service.” See? And you know that’s a strong argument because it’s got three parts to it.

The suit then goes on to allege that Megaupload made a cool $175 million illegally while the good old music industry underdogs lost some half a billion dollars.

Naturally, Kim Dotcom’s attorney responded this way, probably without even looking up from his chai latte and crossword puzzle: “Megaupload used copyright neutral technology and whatever allegations they can make against Megaupload they can make against YouTube, Dropbox, and others.” Boom. Cancel the internet.

By the way, a court in Spain recently ruled that “offering advanced P2P technology doesn’t automatically encourage exploitative acts nor does it promote an unfair advantage.” But fuck that shitty country, right?!? This is AMERICA. Land of the free continental breakfast! Home of the brave and ballsy lawsuit. Also, just think of all the fucking jobs that these giant suits must be creating in the field of of justice! The RIAA has always been made up of a bunch of heroes and patriots. Case closed.

• Megaupload: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaupload
• RIAA: https://www.riaa.com

Pure Ground gettin’ all analog up in Europe on first-ever overseas tour, celebrating Chondritic Sound LP

Los Angeles-based minimal synth dudes Pure Ground are about to bring some good old-fashioned American analog creepiness to Europe. With tracks referencing 20th-century science fiction and horror, lyrics about wars/other dystopian shit, and classic analog musical equipment, it’s bound to be fun for everyone! The duo’s recent Daylight & Protection LP compiles both their previous cassette EPs on Chondritic Sound, and will itself be released on Chondritic Sound! Continuing with the analog theme, they also have a limited-edition (60 copies!) VHS called Tenebrous Passages, which features five works of crazy video art paired with exclusive songs:

In May, Pure Ground will be touching down in Gothenburg, Sweden for a month-long jaunt through the Old World that concludes in Prague. They’re playing a couple dates with similar-minded L.A. synth-lovers Soft Metals. Check the dates below and see more details at the Facebook event page.

Daylight & Protection tracklisting:

01. After the Fall
02. Sharp Collapse
03. Obfuscate
04. Going Under the Wire
05. Atlantic Wall
06. From Outside
07. With the Old Ways
08. Sacrificed to Purpose


05.13.14 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Skjul Fyra Sex *
05.15.14 - Stockholm, Sweden - Kollaps Records
05.16.14 - Växjö, Sweden - TBD #
05.17.14 - Berlin, Germany - Marie-Antoinette $
05.22.14 - Antwerp, Belgium - Stadslimiet
05.23.14 - Paris, France - TBD
05.24.14 - Brussels, Belgium - Fantastique Nights %
05.28.14 - Barcelona, Spain - Niu
05.30.14 - Madrid, Spain - El Perro de la Parte de Atras del Coche
06.03.14 - Vienna, Austria - Rhiz Vienna
06.05.14 - Budapest, Hungary - TBD
06.06.14 - Prague, Czech Republic - Basement Bar ^

* Trepaneringsritualen
# Soft Metals
$ Echo West
% Soft Metals & Sally Dige
^ Animal Bodies

• Pure Ground: https://www.facebook.com/puregroundpureground
• Chondritic Sound: http://www.chondriticsound.com

Polyvinyl to reissue American Football’s lone album with tons of rare material on May 20

I first heard American Football in English class, played as inspiration for a creative writing exercise. Junior year of high school, maybe senior year. The band’s self-titled album soon became the soundtrack for every Friday night I spent holed up in my bedroom wishing I had something cooler to do.

Now I’m listening to that album for the first time in forever and reliving that adolescent despondency, which I promise isn’t as depressing as it sounds. I love American Football, and on May 20, Polyvinyl will be reissuing the band’s self-titled album as a deluxe edition. American Football was originally released in 1999, and the deluxe edition will include live recordings, demos, and practice sessions that document songs the band never ended up recording elsewhere, as well as photographs by Chris Strong, lyrics sheets, liner notes written by the band, and band pictures that no one’s ever seen before.

American Football (Deluxe Edition) will be available as a double LP, double CD, and cassette tape, as well as plain old digital files. When Polyvinyl first announced pre-orders, the label’s website crashed for the first time ever due to such high demand, a testament to how much this album means to so many people. Snag a copy here, and check out “The 7’s,” a previously unreleased track that guitarist Steve Holmes says was one of the first songs American Football ever wrote and one that they typically played as a closer until they wrote “Stay Home”:

• American Football: http://americanfootball.bandcamp.com
• Polyvinyl: https://www.polyvinylrecords.com

Gardland releasing 12-inch of improvisations ripped from live radio performances! (you gotta pay money for ‘em now)

Hey kids! Remember last year when your goofy experimental-electrotastic buddies Mark and Alex from the band Gardland totally invented twerking with the release of their double-LP Syndrome Syndrome?

Well, forget all that shit, because now they only want you to focus on the fact that they’re releasing a brand-new EP on April 29 via RVNG Intl.! Yup, it’s called Improvisations and consists of “three live performances ripped from local Australian radio in early 2012.”

“What? Ripped from the radio?” you say? “How am I supposed to know if that sounds cool or terrible?” you say?

Well, Magic Mark and Magic Alex are a step or two ahead of you, reader. Because today ALSO happens to mark the official release of this-here official music video for the track “0214 Pt.2.” Check it out below. The press release calls it a “desiccated, teleological frenzy.” But I dunno. Sounds a little more “decimated” than desiccated to my ears? Or maybe “decapitated”? Either way, definitely totally teleological. I’m feeling that.

Improvisations EP tracklisting:

01. 0214
02. 0315
03. 0214 Pt.2

• Gardland: http://soundcloud.com/gardland
• RVNG Intl: http://igetrvng.com


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