Ben Glas to release Music to Interact To on Blankstairs, premieres new track

So, I’m not sure about you, but as far as my life experience is concerned, the difference between all the “art students” I know and Portland-based, interdisciplinary artist Ben Glas (who is currently attending the Pacific Northwest College of Art) is that, unlike all of them, Ben is MAKING STUFF and then actually SHOWING IT TO PEOPLE.

What kind of stuff? Well, let’s see: there’s your good ol’ sturdy multimedia installations, your sound and video work, and most importantly, he’s also releasing an album next month on the Portland-based Blankstairs label that’s put out out some other beat-based internet jams that we’ve told you about in the past. The album, titled Music To Interact To, will see the light of day on cassette and digital on September 15 and explores the “highly personal interactions that take place between an audio (or musical) production and its audience” over the span of six, slowly unfurling Jan Jelineck-esque electronic-y soundscapes. According to the label:

At the foundation of all organized audio (music) there exists systems. These systems provide a simple (preconceived) context for the listener and guides their perceptions through the piece. If an artist produces a piece based in these systems, but also allows for experimentation in an unrestricted environment, then naturally the end result will lead to these systems endlessly building on top of each other, cascading ultimately into complete nothingness. Meaning without meaning; conclusion without conclusion. This is the relationship that artist Ben Glas is most interested in, and is arguably the most crucial element to his productions.

Check out the track “Halbdruck” from the forthcoming album down below and hear for yourself.

Music To Interact To tracklisting:

01. Sonic Primer I
02. Haldbruck
03. Hause
04. Sonic Primer II
05. Stagnation, Happydrone
06. Digital Serialism

• Ben Glas: http://blnkstrs.com/ben-glas
• Blankstairs: http://blnkstrs.com

Wax Idols announces dates ahead of new album American Tragic, releases second single

Bay Area post-punk project Wax Idols want to share a song with you. “Deborah” is their second single off the forthcoming American Tragic, but it’s also my mom’s name! We have so much in common, this song and I. Wonderfully-named band mastermind/multi-instrumentalist Hether Fortune wrote and recorded everything on the album (and when I say “everything,” I mean “errrrrrrrrrything”), apart from drums. Rachel Travers handles drums on this one.

Co-produced by Fortune and Monte Vallier (Weekend, Mark Eitzel, The Soft Moon, Vaniish), American Tragic drops October 16 via Collect Records. You can get it as a CD or LP. Fun fact: last year, Fortune performed as a touring member of White Lung. Less fun fact: the new album was inspired largely by her recent divorce and the spectrum of grief associated with that change. Which isn’t to say that it’s a downer — oh no! If you’re not the kind of post-punk who likes to stand in a corner and subtly nod your head to tunes, you might even find yourself tapping a toe or hitting the dance floor (subtly).

Check out “Deborah” below, and look for Wax Idols in a town near you, who’ll be touring with Them Are Us Too in support of the new album. Dates are listed below.

Tracklisting:

01. A Violent Transgression
02. Lonely You
03. I’m Not Going
04. Deborah
05. Goodbye Baby
06. Glisten
07. Severely Yours
08. At Any Moment
09. Seraph

Tour dates (all dates with Them Are Us Too, unless otherwise indicated):

08.28.15 - Oakland, CA – Life Changing Ministries (w/ VANISH) *
10.18.15 - San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill (w/ Screature & DJs Justin Anastasi and Omar)
10.20.15 - Portland, OR – TBA
10.21.15 - Seattle, WA – The Highline (w/ Charms & Dead Spells)
10.24.15 - Lincoln, NE – Knickerbocker’s
10.27.15 - Chicacgo, IL – The Empty Bottle
10.28.15 - Detroit, MI – Marble Bar (w/ Blood Stone)
10.31.15 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus (w/ Azar Swan & DJ Becka Diamond)
11.02.15 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
11.04.15 - Austin, TX – Mohawk
11.05.15 - San Antonio, TX – Paper Tigers
11.07.15 - Phoenix, AZ – TBA (w/ Body of Light & Ascetic House DJs)
11.08.15 - Los Angeles, CA – Complex (w/ Pleasures & DJ Shannon Cornett)

* without Them Are Us Too

[Photo: Dustin Senovic]

• Wax Idols: http://waxidols.tumblr.com

Paul Thomas Anderson’s documentary on Jonny Greenwood, Junun, premieres next month

Alright, so Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood probably can’t pull off early-20th-century greed and misanthropy as convincingly as Daniel Day-Lewis, but does that make the award-winning composer’s life any less deserving of cinematic tribute?

Longtime director-collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson saw an opportunity to return the artistic favor during a recent trip that Greenwood took to Rajasthan, India, for the purposes of recording his new album. The documentary Junun is set to premiere at the New York Film Festival in September/October, and the film itself is roughly an hour-long feature chronicling the frequent guitarist’s musical collaborations with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, as well as at least 12 Indian musicians who Greenwood cites as coming literally close to eating and breathing music (despite the alleged protein shortcomings). Oh, and supplemental Radiohead guy Nigel Godrich also accompanied the troupe under the guise that, “But Jonny! You’ll need an engineer over there!”

Ultimately, NYFF prefaces Junun’s upcoming world premiere with a promise of “pure magic,” showcasing the “close camaraderie of artistic collaboration.” Let the rest of us belatedly thank the Maharaja of Jordhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort for allowing foreign residents.

Here’s a reminder of the PTA/Greenwood relationship:

• Jonny Greenwood: https://twitter.com/jnnyg

Bat for Lashes’s Natasha Khan returns as Sexwitch with TOY and Dan Carey

Natasha Khan must’ve noticed that it’s been a minute since her last full-length album as Bat for Lashes, 2012’s The Haunted Man. Now, she’s back with a set of folk and psych covers, produced by Dan Carey and backed by Brighton noisemakers TOY. It may sound entirely detached from the sleek balladry of, say, “Laura,” but it does have precedent in 2013’s “The Bride” single off of Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label, which also featured TOY. Howsa ‘bout that, eh?

As the story goes, Khan and Carey found some obscure gems while crate-digging in Morocco, Thailand, Iran, and North America, before translating the lyrics and heading straight to the studio for a “spontaneous” and “instictive” recording session. The result: SEXWITCH, with six tracks that saddle love, sex, death, and everything in between. It’s out September 25 via Echo/BMG, with a one-off at London’s XOYO on the 29th. Tickets for that can be scoped here; in the meantime, give “Helelyos” a listen down below.

SEXWITCH tracklisting:

01. Ghoroobaa Ghashangan (Iran)
02. Ha Howa Ha Howa (Morocco)
03. Helelyos (Iran)
04. Kassidat El Hakka (Morocco)
05. War In Peace (North America)
06. Lam Plearn Kiew Bao (Thailand)

• Natasha Khan: http://www.batforlashes.com
• TOY: http://toy-band.com
• BMG: http://www.bmg.com

Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue returns with first LP in over 10 years

What hibernates for 10 years in total silence and returns in fall, beset by red? No, reader, it’s not a riddle. It’s the lead to an informative news post on the new album from Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue! You see, way back in ol’ 2004, Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue recorded O Clouds Unfold!, what would go on to be their last album before disbanding. It wasn’t released until 2009, but by then, the band was long gone and Melchior was deep into a solo career.

But, as per my introduction, Melchior’s getting the b(r)and back together on a new full-length for In The Red Records. It’s called Lords of the Manor, and it’s out August 28. Don’t expect a repeat of O Clouds Unfold!, though, no sir. Where that album stretched over an ambitious 23 tracks and drew in all manner of sonic layers, Lords of the Manor is “stripped to the bare bones.” Short pop songs are swapped for sprawling compositions. Clouds are swapped for sprawling manors and horses, lots of horses. Riddles are swapped for informative intros. It’s 2015! What the hell else are we supposed to do?

Pre-order Lords of the Manor here, and do it fast, because the first 200 LPs are on green vinyl.

• Dan Melchior: http://danmelchior.net
• In The Red Records: http://intheredrecords.com

Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp announce second joint LP, share “Long Beach Idyll”

Chris Forsyth and Koen Holtkamp have banded together to create the follow-up to 2012’s Early Astral, and one can only imagine how intense the recording session for this disc must’ve been. Titled The Island, the four-track album boasts dreamy, subdued instrumental work that somehow feels like the aftershock of a two-day studio tsunami: priceless musical instruments shattered over mixing boards in a fit of rage; drunk hangers-on playing with their Euroracks in the hallways; bathtubs full of “psychedelic fruit” and circus performers. Just check out this account of the debauchery: “Rehearsals for the sessions amounted to spending a couple days drinking wine, cooking, and hanging out on the beach at the Jersey Shore, and the rhythm and motion of the water seems to have had an undeniable effect on the session’s results.”

And we all know Forsyth is a certified rock star, with an appetite for destruction and albums of slow, attentive guitar-work — and, let’s not forget, righteously spacey collaborations with Koen Holtkamp. They’re exactly the kind of guys to throw a middle finger to life as industry pawns, strike out on their own, and rescue experimental music from its preoccupation with the nature of time or dying and being born in the same instance, or something. Both artists approach studio work with different perspectives, though: Forsyth with his guitar as a tool that can be captured and manipulated, Holtkamp using the space to elaborate on live electroacoustic work that emphasizes slow, methodical layering. I’m surprised both of them made it out of the astral plane alive.

The Island is out October 16 on Trouble in Mind Records. Check out the first single, “Long Beach Idyll.” It’s a blissful, slow-burning song and a big step away from Early Astral. Maybe this new LP signifies Forsyth and Holtkamp leaving their hard-partying rock star days behind them, but I doubt it.

The Island tracklist:

01. Sun Blind
02. Long Beach Idyll
03. Alternator
04. Cosmic Richard

[Photo: Ryan Collerd]

• Trouble in Mind: http://www.troubleinmindrecs.com

Another former Coil member, Drew McDowall, announces debut solo album Collapse

Announced shortly after news of Tim Lewis’s return as Thighpaulsandra, another former Coil member Drew McDowall has detailed his first solo album, Collapse. The Scottish post-punk/industrial journeyman’s career has been devoted to exploring the dark confines of electronic music, using analogue synthesis as a common ground for drone-based compositions, industrial collages, and post-punk to coalesce. McDowall’s solo debut offers precisely that, recruiting Hiro Kone’s Nicky Mao to provide cut-ups and digital samples to his droning magma. The album’s first cut, “Hypnotic Congress,” is the best proof of that: featuring repetitive, ominous-sounding textures that throw back to “Warm Leatherette” or Richard H. Kirk’s work, but would not be out of place in Blackest Ever Black’s catalogue.

Born in Glasgow when it was one of the most violent cities in the world, McDowall was a gang member in his teens, until he found a way out of juvenile delinquency in punk rock. Around 1978, he formed The Poems alongside his wife Rose McDowall (who would later gain notoriety with the dream-bubblegum pop act Strawberry Switchblade). In the 80s, McDowall moved to London, becoming a member of the industrial/experimental circle of Throbbing Gristle offshoots Psychic TV and Coil. Although he played as a live musician with both bands, McDowall went on to become a full-fledged member of Coil in the 90s, taking part in over a dozen albums, including Astral Disaster, Musick to play in the dark Vol. 1, and Time Machines, where McDowall’s signature modular synth drones become the most apparent. Currently based in New York, McDowall very rarely performs live, though in recent years he has released several remixes and a string of collaborative albums with Psychic Ills’ Tres Warren under the Compound Eye banner.

Collapse is out of September 25 via Dais Records.

Collapse tracklisting:

01. The Chimeric Mesh Withdraws (Parts 1-3)
02. Hypnotic Congress
03. Through Is Out
04. Convulse
05. Each Surface of Night

[Photo: Gillian Leigh Bowling]

• Dais Records: http://www.daisrecords.com

Former Coil member Thighpaulsandra announces The Golden Communion on Editions Mego

Maybe a partnership with Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego label will allow Thighpaulsandra (Tim Lewis) to overcome the distributional road blocks that affected some of his previous solo work; try as we might to subtly condition people through the prominent grocery display of particular fruits touching each other, it seems a good portion of the world is still tragically bigoted and therefore irrationally disturbed at the sight of male homoeroticism. The final covers of Double Vulgar and Double Vulgar II are relatively tame compared to preferred imaginings, and Lewis’s desire to push the envelope and ignore society’s comfortable standards naturally extends to his music, which has previously seen incorporation in the music of legendary outfits Spiritualized and Coil.

Out this September, The Golden Communion is Thighpaulsandra’s first solo full-length in almost 10 years, which is around the time that Coil ceased to be, following founder Jhohn Balance’s unforeseen passing. The album is more than two hours long, and considering it’s been in the works more or less since that album “hiatus” began, you might be surprised that the physical two CDs or three LPs aren’t bearing their own wrinkles. Longtime collaborators Martin Schellar and Sion Orgon (who’s actually the other guy on this cover) helped to craft the epic, genre-shirking whole.

Here’s a track! It should sound like you’ve heard him before:

• Editions Mego: http://editionsmego.com

iLoveMakonnen to release debut album in October

According to Billboard, iLoveMakonnen’s long-awaited debut album is set for release in October on October’s Very Own (OVO). The news was dropped Sunday by Makonnen himself at the Billboard Hot 100 Fest. No tracklist confirmations yet, but the Red Dragon has reportedly been in the studio with heavy-hitters like Rihanna, DJ Mustard, Diplo, Skrillex, and Aubrey Graham (Drizzy [Young Angel {Drake}]). (Maybe that Miley Cyrus collaboration will finally see release? Maybe another track with Lil B?)

News of the October release date for the new album, possibly titled ILoveMakonnen 2, was hinted at a couple weeks ago on Twitter.

In the meantime, make sure you’re properly in love and well-hydrated. More news coming soon.

• iLoveMakonnen: http://www.ilovemakonnen.com

Jim O’Rourke & Akira Sakata team with Chikamorachi & Merzbow on album for Family Vineyard

The sweet overlapping middle sector of the Venn diagram of the noise and free-jazz traditions continues to expand. A great harsh static jammer or electronics manipulator, like a great drummer or a great guitarist, can be transplanted into any sympathetic musical context and make his or her mark known in a diverse ensemble — just as a great guitarist or drummer can skronk with a ferocity analogous to an overdriven oscillator. With their mammoth catalogs preceding them, we can ID those infinitely versatile heavyweight players who can lock into informal collaborations, shred out some raw improv, and emerge with something unprecedented, simply because such a opportunity to work together hadn’t come along before.

Enter Flying Basket, the forthcoming 2xLP mega-jam monolith, featuring more noise/free-jazz heavyweights than one room should seemingly be able to contain. You’ve got living legend Akira Sakata pouring out the unhinged sax spirals, not content to rest on the laurels of four decades of boundary-pushing post-jazz transgressions. You’ve got Jim O’Rourke ripping out lacerating distorted guitar leads, taking a break from being a world-class producer, songwriter, synthesist, electro-acoustic wizard, bassist, etc. You’ve got Chris Corsano on the drums and Darin Gray on the bass, who shred so fiercely in their tandem hive mind (not to mention separately) that they’ve earned one name between them (Chikamorachi). And… you know, just one more casual bud thrown into this crew: Masami Akita a.k.a. Merzbow. No long explanatory clause necessary. And this is the first time Akita has ever played with Sakata??? What??

There’s this photo that appears around the 30-second mark of the album trailer video above, in which O’Rourke appears to be yelling into the pickups of his own guitar, Sakata is busy wailing, Gray and Corsano are vibing, all while Merzbow peers through sunglasses at his laptop like he’s the supreme yokozuna don of Noiseville. It’s beautiful. Enough to inspire me, for the first time, to utter the phrase “squad goals”* sincerely.

If the trailer doesn’t sate your hunger for shred, stream the nine-minute sample below, and look for Flying Basket September 18 via Family Vineyard.

Flying Basket tracklist:

01. Flying Basket, part 1
02. Flying Basket, part 2
03. Flying Basket, part 3
04. Flying Basket, part 4

*[a brief compendium of some other peerless squads: A, B, C.]

• Family Vineyard: http://family-vineyard.com