Sled Island: a place where Swans, Mount Eerie, and The Jesus and Mary Chain share tunes and cheery mugs of cocoa
Sled Island! It sounds like a magical winter playground where it’s never uncomfortably cold, snowmen dance and sing with you, and everyone’s skis are made of candy canes. Sled Island! Yes, that’s right: for seven years, Calgary, Alberta has kept the plains rockin’ with its wondrously-named festival, and this year over 250 bands will converge upon good old Stampede City, which is, according to Wikipedia, a nickname for this fair town situated “in an area of foothills and prairie.” Sounds bucolic!
From June 19-22, the likes of OFF!, The Thermals, The Besnard Lakes, and Suuns will descend upon this hard rockin’ prairie city, taking over 30 or so downtown Calgary venues. Art! Film! Comedy! It’s all there at Sled Island, where Swans wander into gumdrop forests to build snowmen that sing Mac DeMarco songs and everyone toasts each other with a cheery mug of hot cocoa spiked with heavy quantities of cheap whiskey. The lineup also includes The Jesus and Mary Chain, Explosions in the Sky, Divine Fits, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Iceage, Superchunk, Colin Stetson, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Torche, Metz, Tim Hecker, Thee Oh Sees, The Night Marchers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, John K. Samson, Mount Eerie, BadBadNotGood, Ryan Hemsworth, White Lung, Javelin, The Ghostlamp Killer, Jerusalem Is My Heart, Keys N’ Krates, Ken Mode, THEESatisfaction, Samantha Savage Smith, Renny Wilson, Cousins, and Pete Swanson.
And, of course, like 200+ more bands. Tickets are available online, so nab ‘em.
• Sled Island: http://www.sledisland.com
Matias Aguayo advocates spontaneously dancing into your neighbors’ homes, announces The Visitor LP for June release on Cómeme
So, the crux of this article should understandably center around the news of Matias Aguayo announcing his first album in four years, but it would be a mistake to assume that the Chilean-born producer/DJ, what with his palpable energy and gibberish-laden enthusiasm for ice cream, had ever really been absent from the music scene. Sure, we can point to his recent contributions to the annual Kompakt compilations, but what else has he been doing since Ay Ay Ay (TMT Review), aside from making cl-cl-clubgoers around the world realize the faults of boilerplate minimal techno?
The Visitor will be released on June 24, and it’ll be Aguayo’s first via Cómeme, the label that he founded in 2009, and has been pushing as an international (though mostly South American) beacon for musical integrity ever since. As far as album titles go, this one’s duly fitting when you consider both Aguayo’s personal history and the production of the record itself. Aguayo was raised in Germany, has otherwise lived in both France and Argentina, and The Visitor was recorded, according to Resident Advisor, over a five-year period in locations around the world, including Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, France, and Germany. I’m not a fan of the term either, but I’ll bite down for the sake of its appropriateness — you’re a citizen of the world, Matias.
Joining him on the record are fellow Cómemers Phillipp Gorbachev, Daniel Maloso, Ana Helder, and Alejandro Paz, as well as numerous guest vocalists. Adding to the credit intrigue, Scott Monteith a.k.a. Deadbeat handled the mixing duties. Pluralize the title, and listen to the obscenely groovy track “El Sucu Tucu” below.
The Visitor tracklisting:
02. Dead Inspector
03. By the Graveyard
04. Llegó El Don
05. Una Fiesta Diferente
06. El Sucu Tucu
08. El Camaron
09. Do You Wanna Work
10. Levantate Diegors
11. Las Cruces
12. A Certain Spirit
• Matias Aguayo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matias-Aguayo/17836647687
• Cómeme: http://www.musicacomeme.com
In times of old, site relaunches tended to occur on the simple Rule of Sexy and/or Cool: If your site’s design looks old and busted, you create a new site design and relaunch, trumpeting with the glory of a dehydrated Coachella attendee on psychotropics. With the new site design, people will come back and think of your site as cool and sexy again and keep coming back… assuming, of course, you made a good site design. Design, like content, is King (thus making the two Co-Kings), and is an important aspect of making sure your site is with it.
In the case of seminal site Decoder Magazine, they kind of did that last Thursday. However, their motives were more than just getting sexy down: back in February, we (or rather, I) announced the end of another seminal site, Foxy Digitalis. In its conclusion, owner Brad Rose stated that, in working with editor Dwight Pavlovic at Decoder, the writing staff would be joining the latter site as part of the now-hip relaunch (exception given supposedly to Jonathan Patrick, who was found mewing on Mr P’s doorstep on the Floating Platform one morning). Originally, the planned relaunch was said to be February. However, as any site designer will tell you, you should read any completion date and add three weeks or three months to it, depending on how much the designer is paid.
In any event, the new site design is a lot less bloggy, and a lot more site-y. Previous entries pre-launch remain mysteriously hidden from human sight, but that may be subject to change. Additionally, the site hints at possibly expanding its scope, with links to future articles on food, fashion, literature, and art. Hopefully, this means we will finally get to learn how Michael Gira makes spicy fondue. I hear it’s a hit at house shows.
• Decoder: http://www.secretdecoder.net
TMT Action News is excited to bring you the EXCLUSIVE story of a brand spanking new Ryan Power album to be released on NNA Tapes June 25. TMT: unless you like know Ryan Power’s mom or something, you heard it here first.
Titled Identity Picks, Power’s sixth album (and second for NNA, following last year’s I Don’t Want to Die) offers up eight lusciously intimate jazz-pop gems crafted to make you smile as you drive down the boulevard with your windows down, the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair. Unless you listen to the actual lyrics, that is, which are cuttingly personal and a bit of a contrast to the smooth stylings of the album’s overall tone. Think Kaputt with a little more atmosphere as penned by Will Oldham and produced by Hot Chip. Believe me, it works! Listen to “The Prize” below.
In other news, I kept typing Powter instead of Power, which lead me to read all about Susan Powter, so I’m going to go eat something healthy for my body now to accompany the highly nutritious ear candy my auditory canals just digested thanks to Mr. Power. Yum! Mark your calendars and get in on the action next month.
Identity Picks tracklisting:
01. Sample Lives
02. The Prize
03. New Attitude
05. Earth to Fuckface
06. Identity Picks
07. Well on Your Way
08. Rip the Blood
Kanye West tweets “June Eighteen” indicating a possible album release date; people on the internet get kind of excited
Picture this: it’s an alternate universe and Kanye West is riding a massive dragon over the Southwestern US. A whole bunch of music writers and dedicated fans are tethered to the dragon’s tail, riding on hover-skateboards and getting their thumbs ready for the Tweet-frenzy of their lives (this is how music journalism gets done in the alternate universe). It’s nighttime, and alternate universe urban America pulses below, the denizens of which are only dimly aware of the fire that ‘Ye is keeping at bay.
All of a sudden, there’s a crackle, like a massive heavenly loudspeaker resuscitated by pure egotistical will. And then: “JUNE EIGHTEEN!”. It booms forth, slow and authoritative, with low frequencies powerful enough to re-ruffle the already ruffled hair of the nearest tail-attached Tweeters. “A new album!” they all shout in unison. “That’s what this must mean!” Without warning, however, the power to the hover-skateboards suddenly fails, and the dragon tethers are cut. The Tweeters find themselves plummeting, helpless.
Kanye looks on, uncaring, as he pats the dragon on the head. As he and the dragon ride off into the night accompanied by the opening chords of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (TMT Review), the dragon burps forth a cloud of flame that incinerates most of Tucson. Moments later, Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson comes by with a generator for the hover-skateboards. “He’s saving us!” the falling Tweeters cheer as their hover-skateboards power back up. Wilson booms (quieter than Kanye, though can you blame him?) “Chris Atlas at Def Jam confirmed. Kanye West. New album. 6.18.13.” However, moments later, the generator fails, and he’s all like “Oh wait, never mind, my bad, that info is not actually confirmed.” He goes on to repeat, “Oops, my bad” several times, though it offers little solace to the plummeting hover-skateboarders whose iPhones and mangled bodies will soon dot the alternate landscape of the Southwest.
• Kanye West: http://www.kanyewest.com
Dim Mak pulls TAI EP Indian Kill from stores due to backlash; racism apparently not the key to running a successful business
Though he may be delivering his mea culpas with the utmost of urgency now, it’s hard to wrap your head around just what the fuck Germany-based DJ and producer TAI was thinking with the release of his latest EP, Indian Kill. Regardless of how small a percentage of the world’s population a particular demographic is, let it be known, it’s definitely not okay to casually suggest, or make light of, that demographic’s systematic wiping out — their genocide, in other words. That’s speaking generally of course — it makes even less sense when it’s associated with a music release, unless, you know, you’re actively trying to court that type of crowd.
You know the title. You see the cover art above. Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red was one of the most prominent initial voices speaking out against the EP, remarking on his Facebook page, “I can’t believe this is ok… This makes me sick on how violent racism like this is acceptable in the EDM. I’m so upset right now.” And so a flurry of vocal and textual outrage rightfully ensued.
Nigh instantly, as though TAI and Steve Aoki (owner of the Dim Mak record label to which the offender is signed) anticipated such a reaction, both issued apologies. A post on the Dim Mak Facebook page attributes the label’s initial compliance to a belief in creative expression, while TAI himself talks, somewhat believably, about his “Eastern Hemisphere”-borne ignorance. Here’s an excerpt:
Having been born in London and raised in Thailand, I was raised with a strong respect and affinity for all cultures. But being from the Eastern Hemisphere, I was unfortunately not fully versed in the negative connotations that my EP’s content would have, and I am truly sorry for any offense I have caused. I know that my ignorance of these matters cannot be used as an excuse in any way, but I want to make it clear that I in no way intended for the EP to be offensive or to stir controversy, etc. Those who know me personally know that I am anything but a racist, and I now understand fully that the track and artwork were poor choices to represent my artistic direction.
Read the whole thing here. At TAI and Dim Mak’s request, Indian Kill is in the process of being removed from all stores, and any proceeds so-far earned will be donated to the Native American Heritage Association. Well, that was fast.
Take heed, fans of obscure New Zealand singer-songwriter pop gems! You too, people who just straight up like being bummed out! Lasso your cat and your rainfall and your finest tea/malt liquor and find a window to cozy up to/wistfully stare out of! Because the fine folks over at De Stijl are reissuing The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World, the fantastic, and fantastically overlooked, 1990 solo debut by Peter Jefferies of seminal New Zealand post-punk band Nocturnal Projections. The album, which has been out of print since the mid-90s, comes back to life on June 4.
Initially released as a cassette by the New Zealand label Xpressway and later picked up and given CD/LP release by Chicago’s Ajax label, the album has since gone to that great SoundCloud in the sky (whatever that means). Yet music fans have not forgotten; Cat Power has covered Jefferies (see below), as has Amanda Palmer (see somewhere else). And with the De Stijl reissue, fans get two bonus songs from a Jefferies 7-inch, “The Fate of the Human Carbine” and “Catapult.”
Peter Jefferies left professional music in 2002 after a slew of releases with Nocturnal Projections and five solo albums. He now teaches drums, music composition, and recording technology at a high school in New Plymouth, New Zealand. So, if in addition to liking sad music and antipodean singer-songwriters, you’re also one of those weirdos who pretends to be a teenager in order to live that timeless dream of going to high school to hang out with teen girls and cool teachers long after you’re free of its hellish halls, well, there’s that info for you.
• De Stijl: http://www.destijlrecs.com
What’s up, Mr. Parks? Since I know you’re reading this as you gear up for the release of your new album Songs Cycled, I thought I’d shoot a couple questions your way. Vanny D., do you remember which country raised you? Do you remember which country instilled in you the belief that the only way to make yourself truly valuable was to amass as much property and capital as possible? Do you remember which country taught you that there should be no taxation without representation, and that apple pie and baseball are the only pure pleasures in this world? Have you forgotten???
Dear readers, it would appear as if Mr. Parks has turned his back on the great nation of America! Though, of course, Songs Cycled will be available, eventually, in the US, it won’t be released until July 23. That’s over two months after the UK release date of May 6! This is an OUTRAGE!! A travesty! And, okay, maybe you’re sitting at home saying to yourself, “Chill out a little bit, Taylor. I mean, yes, America is the greatest country in the world and all, but come on, at least we can stream the album ahead of time online, let’s take solace in that!” Well, if you are indeed saying this to your computer, I would first remind you that I cannot hear you, and second, I would suggest that you, as the saying goes, “check yourself before you wreck yourself,” because, dear friends, the online stream of Songs Cycled hosted by The Guardian is NOT AVAILABLE IN THE UNITED STATES! Don’t believe me? Check for yourself right here. (There are rumors, unconfirmed on my end though they may be, that if you can fake a British accent well enough while on the page, it will let you listen to the tracks. I say give it a shot).
So yes, of course Songs Cycled will still feature a probably delightful array of tunes, both covers and originals, with guest vocal spots from the likes of Gaby Moreno and Irana George. And yes, Vanny D. is still very much the king of American songwriters (er… I mean the president), and it’d take a whole lot more than a little British favoritism on his part for us to be able to quit him. We Americans are nothing if not forgiving and possessed of short memories! Even so, it’s stuff like this that wounds the square-jawed and barrel-chested patriot in me, ya know? If you can get over the pain of your wounded patriotism, maybe catch him at a few dates throughout May, listed below.
Songs Cycled tracklist:
01. Dreaming of Paris (original)
02. Hold Back Time (re-recording of song from Orange Crate Art)
03. Sassafras (new recording, originally by Billy Edd Wheeler)
04. Black Gold (a fantasy on the sinking of The Prestige, off the coast of the Bay of Biscay, recorded in 2002)
05. Aquarium (cover of Saint-Saëns piece, recorded in 1971 with the Esso Trinidad Steel Band)
06. Money Is King (picks up where “Wall Street” ends, written with Growling Tiger, a.k.a. Trinidadian Calypso musician Neville Marcano)
07. Wall Street (original)
08. The Parting Hand (version of a Sacred Harp hymn from the 1800s)
09. The All Golden (a re-recording from Song Cycle)
10. Wedding in Madagascar (version of traditional folk song)
11. Missin’ Mississippi (original)
12. Amazing Graces (ft. The Van Dyke Parks Orchestra)
Upcoming Van Dyke Parks dates:
05.05.13 - London, UK - ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror
05.19.13 - Brooklyn, NY - Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge
05.23.13 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg (Speaking on a panel as part of the Red Bull Music Academy)
Do you ever come home from a hard day at work with an urge to unwind by a sea of sludgy monochromatic nihilism? Yeah, me too. Well, that sharp thirst just a got a little easier to slake now that the interweb has gotten a lot doomier; as The Quietus report, sunn 0)))’s ENTIRE discography can now be streamed FOR FREE via their Bandcamp page (and purchased for ~$8 per release if you’re so inclined).
Is there anything more comforting than drone? It’s the wombadelic sound of pre-ego existence, the sonic warmth of a life free from the burdens of the world, music awash in the primal need to express our thoughts through sound. sunn 0))) helped renew popular interest in this musical form, producing albums that act as metallic reflections of Tony Conrad’s seminal drone visions. There’s a certain unplaceable gratification in confronting oblivion head on, facing an aural void of absurd existential derangement with a welcome sense of masochism.
In light of our many debts to sunn 0))), go on, get comfortable, and gratify yourself already; and while you’re at it, you might as well digitally purchase a masterwork or four for good measure. I know I will.
• sunn 0))) Bandcamp: http://sunn.bandcamp.com
Big Freedia going on tour with The Postal Service; HEIGHTS EVERYWHERE HEIGHTS EVERYWHERE HEIGHTS EVERYWHERE
Recently, I was at a wishing well. You know, hanging out at a wishing well, just like people do on a Saturday or Sunday. Since it was a, you know, wishing well, I threw a quarter in and made a wish. The same wish I always make: that Big Freedia would go on tour with The Postal Service.
LOOKS LIKE MY WISH CAME TRUE.
As absolutely insane and amazing as it sounds, bounce MC Big Freedia is going on tour with the recently-reunited Postal Service this July. This means that thousands of misty-eyed, sweater-wearing (yes, even in the summer) folk will face a phalanx of shaking butts and the mighty cry of “ASS EVERYWHERE ASS EVERYWHERE ASS EVERYWHERE” this summer. I doubt anything better is happening all year.
Here’s how Freedia herself puts it: “I’m so excited to open shows with The Postal Service. I love being put with artists that people wouldn’t expect — and they are raw as hell.” When I die, put that on my tombstone. “Eric Nagurney 1987-2052 ‘[The Postal Service] are raw as hell’ - Big Freedia”
Big Freedia + The Postal Service dates:
07.16.13 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
07.17.13 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden Arena
07.18.13 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena
07.20.13 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
07.21.13 - San Diego, CA - SDSU Open Air Theatre
07.23.13 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
07.26.13 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre Berkeley