In retrospect, it’s painful how obvious an open avenue this was for Grouper’s Liz Harris, at least partially because so few of us took the time to acknowledge it during our gazing out of droplet-covered windows. The drowning vocals on aural display across her discography (excepting the unusually clear Ruins, one of our favorites of 2014) were and are perfectly suited for something in the vicinity of a psychedelic rock outfit! You might not have predicted it, given the minor key that pervades most of her songs, but a certain hint came back in 2013, when a band named Helen quietly released a single on iTunes. Supposedly, some sort of “thrash band” was included in Helen’s initial mission statement, so the question now becomes… have we arrived?
Click play below (or here!) to listen to the first single off Helen’s debut album The Original Faces, set for release September 4 on Kranky. Joining the distinctly Elizabethan (nickname: Liz) presence on the track and in Helen generally are Jed Bindeman (also of Eternal Tapestry) on drums, Scott Simmons on bass and guitar, and an apparitional being known only as the eponymous “Helen” supposedly contributing backup vocals. Sounds creepy to me, even if the ghost of the Greek adulterer did earn respect over the album’s years in the making.
Neither thrash nor creepy though, here’s the promising track:
The Original Faces tracklisting:
03. Covered in Shade
04. Felt This Way
05. Pass Me By
06. Right Outcome
08. Dying All the Time
10. City Breathing
12. The Original Faces
• Kranky: http://www.kranky.net
As a consumer, you have choices. Perhaps you are thrifty with your money, always looking for savings. Maybe you like that expensive shit. Confusing and intimidating as it may be, choice is good. I’m beyond thrilled to tell you, the consumer, that your Fela Kuti-purchasing options are about to increase… dramatically. What would you say if I could put in your hands, by the year’s end, six Fela Kuti albums reissued on vinyl by Knitting Factory and Pledge Music?
I know what you’d say. “Hot dog, give me those albums!” Well, great news, consumer: the trusted sources at The Vinyl Factory confirm that is happening. The albums in question are the following: Alagbon Close, Beasts Of No Nation, Everything Scatter, Fear Not For Man, Na Poi, and Roforofo Fight. Although our market experts have yet to pin down an exact date (the market is always fluctuating) on these reissues, they are expected to arrive in October. Do we have a deal? Before you answer, do the words “individual vinyl colors” mean anything to you? I knew they did. My friend, that’s exactly what we’ve got here. Different colors for each vinyl.
Step inside my office. Now, sit at my computer. Now, pre-order the albums at Pledge Music. Now, I’m sorry but I must ask you to leave. I have 18 meetings today.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Mica Levi wonderfully scored last year’s Under the Skin (our favorite film of 2014), and now she returns with Micachu & The Shapes for a new album, Good Bad Happy Sad.
Check out the first single,“Oh Baby,” a soulful, drone-scape, that previews the more industrial textures explored on the new album.
Good Bad Happy Sad is due September 11 on Rough Trade. Below is the track listing, tour dates, and all that good stuff. Now excuse me, but I gotta run and pick up my new Clozapine prescription that the doctor said would help with my humor issues. Thanks a lot, OBAMACARE!!
Good Bad Happy Sad tracklisting:
04. Sea Air
05. Thinking It
07. Oh Baby
11. LA Poison
09.12.15 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
09.13.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
09.16.15 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz
Attention, pop archaeologists! If you’ve been dreaming about unearthing another unjustly forgotten folk artist (which of course you have been, because OF COURSE), then today is your lucky day! For the venerable Light in the Attic is reissuing Minneapolis singer-songwriter Goldberg’s obscure 1974 solo LP Misty Flats on July 24, when it will be available on deluxe LP, CD, and digital download.
Born Barry Thomas Goldberg, the singer was 23 when he recorded his solo LP after the breakup of his power-pop group The Batch. The LP features Goldberg and his pal, cult figure Michael Yonkers, who helped finance the album after receiving a sum of money after suffering from several crushed vertebrae at work. “I wanted to make the first punk rock album, and if I’d recorded those songs with a band, maybe that’s what it would’ve been,” he said. What you’ll get instead is an album recorded in mono on a two-track Ampex tape machine that was originally pressed in a run of 500 copies. The reissue contains an exclusive interview with Goldberg and previously unseen archive photos. (Fun fact: Goldberg currently works for the Minnesota Twins baseball team.)
Preview the track “Hollywood” here:
02. Stars In The Sand
03. Never Came To Stay
04. Golden Sun
05. Cry A Little Bit
06. Misty Flats
07. China Doll
08. Pop and Ice
09. Magic Cloud
10. City Rain
11. Never Stop Dreaming
• Light in the Attic: http://lightintheattic.net
Perhaps this is an outdated trope, but Built To Spill: patron saint band of the record store clerk, right? Not a bad thing. Built To Spill have done incredible work and continue doing so with greater consistency than nearly all of their peers. Maybe I’m letting personal experience cloud my judgement, but possessing an employee whose Built To Spill fandom stretches across eternity, that just seems an integral part of a record store. It’s a load-bearing love.
Those vital clerks shall soon celebrate. Built To Spill have extensive touring plans this year, including a string of just-announced headlining dates for September and October. Those same clerks will reach a boiling, directionless frustration when learning that Built To Spill are spending a trio of dates opening for Death Cab For Cutie. Then those same clerks will lurk to a corner while mumbling something about Something About Airplanes.
Built To Spill dates:
07.08.15 - Troutdale, OR - Edgefield Amphitheater *
07.09.15 - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Amphitheatre *
07.10.15 - Sacramento, CA- Harlow’s
07.11.15 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theater Berkeley *
07.12.15 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
07.13.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
07.14.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
o7.15.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
07.16.15 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy & Harriet’s
07.17.15 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up
07.18.15 - Santa Ana, CA - Observatory
07.19.15 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
07.20.15 - Arcata, CA - Humbrews
07.21.15 - Eugene, OR - WOW Hall
07.22.15 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
07.23.15 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
07.24.15 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party
07.25.15 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
07.26.15 - Victoria, BC - Phillips Backyard
08.29.15 - Sparta, KY - NiFi Festival
09.09.15 - Billings, MT - Pub Station
09.11.15 - Lincoln, NE - Vega
09.12.15 - Maquoketa, IA - Codfish Hollow
09.13.15 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
09.14.15 - Bloomington, IN - Bluebird
09.15.15 - Columbus, OH - The Basement
09.16.15 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
09.17.15 - State College, PA - State Theatre
09.18.15 - Toronto, ON - TURF Festival
09.19.15 - Montreal, QC - Club Soda
09.20.15 - Ottawa, ON - CityFolk
09.21.15 - Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
09.22.15 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club
09.23.15 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
09.24.15 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
09.25.15 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
09.26.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Bowl
09.27.15 - New Haven, CT - College Street Music Hall
09.28.15 - Portland, ME - Asylum
09.29.15 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
09.30.15 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
10.01.15 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
10.02.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
10.03.15 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.04.15 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Smalls
10.07.15 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
• Built To Spill: http://www.builttospill.com
Women want to be it, men want to be with it. I’m speaking, of course, about Roland’s new short-run synth, the Driftbox-R Limited. According to Resident Advisor, this hot little number first began life as a small-format synth called the Driftbox by Japanese manufacturer Reon. But now, my pets, it will be available as an updated, limited-edition version of the original, with AIRA styling. You get stuff like two VCOs, VCF, Envelope Generator, CV/Gate I/O, and a free “basic level” invite to the annual owl-worshipping fest of world leaders at Bohemian Grove.
There are less than 100 of this lovely analog synth available to North American buyers, but word on the street is you can cop it for $499 from Sweetwater.
• Roland: http://www.rolandus.com
In addition to having one of the top ten names of all time, Pearl Charles will also have an EP released July 28 on Burger Records. Naturally, she’s opted to capitalize on the fact that she has one of the top ten names of all time by calling her debut EP Pearl Charles.
Those unfamiliar with the 23-year-old’s solo stylings may recognize her as the L.A. scenester who was one half of The Driftwood Singers, the drummer for The Blank Tapes, or a collaborator with Jonathan Wilson or Stephen McBean or Farmer Dave Scher or Jonathan Rice. If none of those names ring a bell, then you should return your “L.A. scene credentials” to the nearest venue and take our word for it when we assure you that Pearl Charles can play.
Get a taste of the Pearl Charles fuzzed-out country stomp via lead single “You Can Change” below and/or sample some of her live shows.
01. Night & Day
02. You Can Change
03. Indian Burnout
04. I Ran So Far
05. What Can I Do
06. Idea To Her
07.28.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Old Style Guitar Shop (EP Release Party)
08.15.15 - Murphy, CA- Family Folk Explosion: Murphy Hotel
08.29.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom w/ Nick Waterhouse
09.26.15 - Joshua Tree, CA - Desert Stars Festival (Pappy & Harriet’s) *
* Swerverdriver, Lemonheads, Lou Barlow, etc.
Naytronix (tUnE-yArDs bassist Nate Brenner) announces new album, shares new track, still plays bass in tUnE-yArDs
Even though bass guitar is clearly the coolest instrument ever invented, people still usually have no idea what the NAMES of those people up on stage playing them are. Take Nate Brenner, who’s been the funky low-end of tUnE-yArDs for quite some time now. I had no idea his name was Nate! I also had no idea that he, you know, did any STUFF besides play bass in tUnE-yArDs!
But apparently, ol’ whatshisname has done all kinds of other stuff! Most notably, he’s ALREADY put out an album as Naytronix in between grueling and presumably-thankless tUnE-yArDs tours (kidding), and now he’s already onto his second one. It’s called Mister Divine and is coming out October 16 via the City Slang label. That’s a long time for me to have to remember that his name is Nate… but whatever!
But in case all you REALLY care about is tUnE-yArDs and not Nate B, rest assured that, according to the press release, the new album was “conceived in tour busses, hotel suites, and basement studios initially as fodder for DJ sets” and captures “the feeling of déjà vu between delirious post-show fevers and the road-torn sleep through the night on the way to the next city, driving the circumference of the Earth in nine weeks, dreams of Pangaea, of forever ago and infinity from now.” So, shut up and stop worrying. It’s tUnE-yArDs-y.
Recorded at Oakland’s New, Improved Recording studio, Brenner’s collaborators included guitarist Mark Allen-Piccolo and percussionist Robert Lopez, as well as Matt Nelson and Noah Bernstein (tUnE-yArDs saxophones) and synth master *Michael Coleman* (of Beep!). You can listen to one of the tracks down below and judge for yourself the extent to which the music does/doesn’t sound enough/not enough like tUnE-yArDs. Just try not to forget the name of the dude or his band between now and the time the song’s over… let alone between now and October.
Mister Divine tracklisting:
01. Mister Divine
02. Starting Over
04. Back in Time
05. The Wall
06. I Don’t Remember
08. Living in a Magazine
Mykki Blanco has her own label now. Dogfood Music Group, an offshoot of !K7, to which Blanco is signed, will feature artists who, in her own words, “come from backgrounds outside of the black American norm.” “People all over the world are only fed this singular image of ‘African American Music’,” she writes in the press release, “we want to disrupt that […] the world deserves to see our culture as much as anything else.”
True to that, the first release, a compilation album titled C-Ore, will include tracks by Rahel Ali under his hip-hop and noise-based Yves Tumor moniker, Baltimore-based electronic producerViolence, and audio-visual // IRL-digital artist Devin Kyle Cuthbertson as Psychoegyptian, along with a couple by Blanco. It’s available September 18 and pre-orderable through iTunes.
As important to DMG will be live performance. According to the press release, “The goal is to present releases that also have the potential to function as an easily transmutable ‘happening’,” and “Dogfood Music Group seeks to create site-specific installations to perform in, with purposefully nonlinear narratives that actively engage the listener and audience.” The entire collective will be touring this fall.
You know, if this were someone else, I likely wouldn’t be quoting the press release so much, but Mykki Blanco does not often leave her word by the wayside. As far as artist-run labels go, this is about as exciting as it gets.
Why don’t you watch the gorgeous video for Blanco’s 2014 single “She Gutta”? The C-Ore tracklist is below it.
01. Violence - This Is Going To Be Disgusting, Unholy, And Pleasurable
02. Psychoegyptian - Lbcd
03. Mykki Blanco - Coke White, Starlight
04. Yves Tumor - Histrionic I
05. Psychoegyptian - Don’t I Look
06. Yves Tumor - Childish
07. Yves Tumor - Histrionic II
08. Violence - Saturn
09. Yves Tumor - Histrionic III / Skunk of the Earth
10. Mykki Blanco - Paw
11. Violence - Stillborn Song
12. Psychoegyptian - Lullaby (feat. Slum Savage)
Since 1998, the sugar drink corporation known as Red Bull has hosted Music Academy events around the world, inviting up-and-coming musicians and established artists (past participants include Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, and Salva) to come together and “foster creativity in music” while possibly also drinking sugar drinks or wearing shirts with the sugar drink logo on them or perhaps just later telling their friends at a later date how truly kind the sugar drink corporation was. There has been a great deal of discussion as to how we ought to feel about all this, but there will be no such discussion in this news post, which is about the recent announcement of the artists selected for the 2015 Red Bull Music Academy in Paris. If you want a controversy-baiting thinkpiece like that, I suggest you hit up the Wikipedia page for “capitalism,” bud.
Anyhow, this year’s Red Bull Music Academy will run from October 25 through November 27 at la Gaîté lyrique in Paris, and it’ll feature 61 participants from 37 countries, including Lil Jabba, Suicideyear, Wheez-ie, Taskforce, and a whole bunch of others. The Academy will take a number of shapes across its length, including performances, workshops, lectures, and an exhibition titled Paris Musique Club, which is designed to “bring the stories and aesthetics of French creative collectives to life.”
More info is forthcoming on the specifics of some of the events in the coming weeks, and you can peep a playlist containing a number of the participants below.
So, reader, what do you think of all of this? Where do you land on the old capitalism debate? Write your thoughts in the comment section!
• Red Bull Music Academy: http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com