Four observations, one hypothesis, one reaction.
1. Jim O’Rourke, one of the most influential musicians on the history of Tiny Mix Tapes (not kidding), is awesome.
3. This is also old news: Jim O’Rourke’s last “proper” solo album, The Visitor, was released in 2009.
4. Some new news: Drag City has recently teased (at least) two videos titled “Simple Songs.” One of them has been deleted. The other one is embedded in this tweet:
Simple Songs: https://t.co/JEIRPVq2hm
— Drag City (@dragcityrecords) April 6, 2015
Hypothesis #1: Jim O’Rourke might be releasing a new album on Drag City called Simple Songs. Nothing has been confirmed, but it looks like the album is slated to come out May 26 on P-Vine in Japan.
Hypothesis #2: Simple Songs might be Jim O’Rourke’s long-anticipated orchestral pop album, which has reportedly been in the works for over 10 years.
Reaction: HOLY SHIT.
You can imagine the storyline: Honey Owens a.k.a. Valet wanders into the local library with the harmless and expected goal of checking out a few books, when her proximity to the rows of public computers causes them all to spontaneously combust! A librarian runs over and looks, hands on hips, at Owens with undeniable consternation, and Owens herself decides, at that moment, to live a life thoroughly “off the grid,” where the only damage she’ll be doing will be to the leaves under her feet and to the fauna she might have to catch in order to survive. It’s tough having a self-admitted supernatural resistance to technology.
And so the title of Valet’s first album in seven years makes sense if the above tale was anything close to true, but in reality, her intermission was characterized by civilized things with Rafael Fauria — a band, The Miracles Club, and a child (whose name I don’t know). Nature maintains Fauria’s musical presence and joining the duo for something resembling psychedelia was multi-instrumentalist Mark Burden. You get the impression going back to Naked Acid that Valet wasn’t especially devoted to a particular style, but things still sound plenty bluesy to me.
Out May 25 on Kranky, btw. Here’s a track:
• Kranky: http://www.kranky.net
I got laughed out of a business meeting this morning for saying “teamwork makes the dream work.” “What are you, a poster that a kindergarten teacher hangs up on a classroom wall?” they joked, hurtfully. But I’m no poster, you jaded business cynics. I’m a man. A man who believes in the power of teamwork in such arenas as sports, business, and, yes, even music. Take for example the upcoming collaborative album from Puce Mary (a.k.a. Frederikke Hoffmeier) and Loke Rahbek (one half of Posh Isolation, operating regularly under aliases such as Croation Amor and Damien Dubrovnik) entitled The Female Form. It follows the duo’s previous collaboration on 2011’s The Closed Room, and it’s the second part of their planned trilogy. It’s out April 17.
Jumbling together industrial, drone, and electro-acoustic sounds, The Female Form reportedly deals with themes of “intimacy” and the “(im)possible relation of the sexes.” Friend, if that is not the thematic material of a dream working because of teamwork, I don’t know what is. You can hear samples of “A Body Reimagined” and “Liquefying of the Flesh” below.
The Female Form tracklist:
02. A Body Reimagined
03. Swim ll
04. Liquefying of the Flesh
05. The Female Form
06. With Complete Will
Listen up, chumps. Swedish hardcore legends Refused are here to do two things: smash capitalism and chew independently produced bubblegum. And, folks, they’re all out of independently produced bubblegum. First step in smashing capitalism: announce a string of American club dates in late May and early June. No, I’m not sure how this will smash capitalism either, but I trust it will. Check the newest issue of Cash Smasher Monthly for information on how exactly that works.
Smashing capitalism isn’t limited to this nation’s music clubs, though. An important element of any dismantling of the almighty dollar involves punk rock festivals/bowling tournaments. As such, Refused will be playing the Punk Rock Bowling Festival in Las Vegas on May 24. Knock down those pins like they are a triangle of money-grubbing fat cats.
Tickets go on sale (!) for all of Refused’s club shows on Friday, April 3 at 10 AM local time — that is, all of their club shows except for New York’s Bowery Ballroom and The Sinclair in Boston. Both of those shows go on sale noon local time. To save you some thinking, local time in both New York and Boston is also known as Eastern time.
05.24.15 - Las Vegas, NV - Punk Rock Bowling Festival
05.25.15 - Santa Ana, CA - The Observatory
05.26.15 - West Hollywood, CA - The Roxy Theatre
05.28.15 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
05.29.15 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
05.30.15 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
05.31.15 - Chicago, IL - Double Door
06.01.15 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair
06.03.15 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
06.04.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
06.05.15 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
• Refused: https://www.facebook.com/RefusedBand
Some might consider the seemingly endless swaths of light and electricity inhabiting the greater Los Angeles region a sign that we should probably start implementing 18th Century Rules. At an agreed upon time each night, and at least partially for the sake of reducing the city’s collective carbon footprint, a particular L.A. neighborhood will have their electricity completely cut off, while residents will be forced to venture out onto well-populated highways on horse, carriage, and with tricorne hats in hand (/on head) for even greater obliviousness to traffic. Really, who would dare speak out against such a clearly well-reasoned and environmentally-conscious plan!?
Actually, Lars Horntveth has an entire album prepped in opposition, as the upcoming Starfire LP from Jaga Jazzist is said to have stemmed from the luminous nights he’s spent in SoCal, the place he’s called home since 2012. Other Jaga members spontaneously joined Lars at his apartment for the sake of founding the album, but things ultimately reached their conclusion at the band’s dedicated Oslo studio, where lots and lots of hard work culminated in a press release’s hesitant claim of ehhh… a “crowning achievement.”
Guitar and electronics from Marcus Fosgren might indicate a mild shift off the jazz reservation, and box set purchasers have another to add. Out June 2:
02. Big City Music
06.18.15 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
06.20.15 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
06.21.15 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
06.22.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
06.23.15 - Asheville, NC - New Mountain
06.24.15 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
06.25.15 - Rothbury, MI - Electric Forest
06.27.15 - Calgary, AB - Sled Island
06.30.15 - Ottawa, ON - Ottawa Jazz Fest
Open Frame festival celebrates 15 years of Room40 with Jim O’Rourke, William Basinski, Grouper, and more
It’s the Third Multiple of Five (= 15[th]) anniversary for Lawrence English’s Room40 label, and while you might be inclined to warn against hasty attempts to get behind the wheel and house parties with a suspicious abundance of older guys wearing letterman jackets, the Australian imprint has something much more fulfilling in store for the obligatory celebration.
July 30 and 31 will mark the ninth edition of Room40’s Open Frame festival, which has historically been geared toward all sorts of crazy sights and sounds that you won’t typically find traversing the monotonously sunny streets of Brisbane or Sydney. Brisbane Powerhouse has been the reliable venue in years past, but this edition will be the first to take place at the renowned Carriageworks in Sydney, where the following artists will presumably do their part to justify the airy warehouse surroundings: Austin Buckett/Robbie Avenaim, Grouper/Paul Clipson, Chris Abrahams of Australian band The Necks, William Basinski, and Lawrence English himself.
Allow me to go on: Jim O’Rourke will be rejoining for the purposes of Diffusion, “a brand new electro-acoustic diffusion piece” commissioned specifically for Open Frame. And filmmaker/sound artist Makino Takashi will do more than just succumb to gimmicks propagated by TV manufacturers; his 3D audio/visual piece Space Noise looks positively… ugh, out of this world:
The clarification of a “second” announcement may suggest the possibility of more, so stay tuned. Aussies, expats, and tourists can purchase tickets here, regardless.
We all have our pet outsider artist. For lack of a better word, by this we mean idiosyncratic artists working on the fringes of the media due to their unusual personal circumstances or the uncompromising nature of their creations. Hence, it’s no surprise that characters as compelling as Daniel Johnston, Roky Erickson, Jandek, Henry Darger, or Wesley Willis have hard their lives submitted to cinematic examination with great results. But a name conspicuously absent from that list is R. Stevie Moore, a man who has rightfully been called the godfather of bedroom-recorded, lo-fi music. Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore comes to fill that void, focusing not so much on the quirks of Moore’s character or his odd 400 albums, but on his newfound fame. OK, we’re not talking about paparazzis-will-track-your-every-move celebrity here, but going from mailing CD-R copies of your albums to your friends to being profiled by major media (Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, a Wire cover story), is quite the leap. This renewed interest is in no small part due to a new generation of Moore fans breaking into the spotlight, such as Ariel Pink (with whom Moore has collaborated) and a whole cohort of home-producing musicians falling in the intersection of hypnagogic pop, glo-fi/chillwave, eccentric retropop, and neo kosmische muzik.
The idea for the Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore documentary was born after a rare R. Stevie Moore London show. Imogen Putler and Monika Baran were appalled by how little known a musical genius of Moore’s stature was and convinced him to shoot a documentary together. They’ve been following Moore since last year and have recorded hours of him playing music, hanging out at his house, and sharing his thoughts. But Putler and Baran have also had access to countless hours of home videos and public-access television footage, chronicling Moore’s career through the years. You can watch a short teaser below.
Although Putler and Baran have plenty of material ready, including interviews with musicians, fans, critics, and even Moore’s estranged father — a man who used to play bass for rock & roll luminaries the size of Elvis — the film still needs some finishing funds. That’s why the directors have launched this Kickstarter campaign to get R. Stevie Moore’s fans involved in the project. As customary for crowdfunding efforts, there are tasty rewards for your generosity. Perhaps the most savory is the $743 pledge that promises R. Stevie Moore will put music to whatever set of lyrics you decide to send him. There are more conventional rewards in line, too: exclusive posters, signed R. Stevie Moore albums, a Skype chat with the man, etc.
If the pledged sum is reached, Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore is slated for a Spring 2016 release. You can contribute here.
Horse Lords release benefit remix EP featuring Matmos, Greg Fox, and more; drop new video for “Macaw”
Horse Lords have just released a new EP featuring remixes of tracks off their excellent 2014 album, Hidden Cities — and it’s all in the name of charity! Proceeds from Hidden Cities Remix will go to Believe in Music, a project from Baltimore-based nonprofit Living Classrooms that was created to “uplift underprivileged Baltimore City students academically, culturally, and spiritually, while promoting self-expression and community awareness through music education.”
The EP features remixes by Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt of Matmos, engineer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Willett, Greg Fox (GDFX, Liturgy, ZS), 25-year music veteran Wobbly, and avant-noise-maker Jason Urick (formerly of Wzt Hearts).
Accompanying this great news is their video-by-committee for “Macaw,” one of Hidden Lands’s longer, more consuming tracks. Directors include (in order of appearance) Mary Helena Clark, Greg St. Pierre, Duncan Moore, Andrew Bernstein, Margaret Rorison, James Thomas Marsh, Andrew Bernstein, Max Eilbacher, and M.C. Schmidt. Each director gets roughly a minute of time, with all of it stitched together by Andrew Bernstein (non-Ayn Rand disciple). Watch the video here:
For a good contrast, also check out the remix EP’s single, which is the same song but remixed by Drew Daniel.
Hidden Cities Remix tracklist:
01. Macaw (Drew Daniel Remix)
02. Horsey (Jason Urick Remix)
03. Pioneer Tracking (Wobbly Remix)
04. Outer East / Anchor Song / Tent City (M.C. Schmidt Remix)
05. Macaw / All That Is Solid (Jason Willett Remix)
06. LANDR-Fox Lords (GDFX Remix)
07. Outer East (M.C. Schmidt Remix)
Meg Baird’s got a new album coming out June 23 on Drag City, and I’m really excited to tell you about it. But listen: before we get started, I want to warn you that there are going to be some aggressive metaphors in this news post. Like, for example, I might quote the press release and say that Baird’s got a “razor-sharp edge” to her voice that you last heard on 2011’s solo album Season’s On Earth or maybe on 2009’s III, her most recent work with Espers. Or perhaps I’ll tell you that her new one is called Don’t Weigh Down the Light, that it’s coming out on Drag City, and that it’s soon enough going to tackle its way into your living room and sit on your ankles with its full body weight. Built off of a sparse acoustic folk architecture similar to her previous two solo albums, Don’t Weigh Down the Light reportedly contains some of Baird’s “strongest songwriting to date.” So strong, in fact, that if you made it mad, it would literally stand up off your ankles, walk over to your TV, and snap your roommate’s Wii in half like it was a saltine or something.
I can tell already that you’re so cowed by all this aggression that you literally can’t wait to check out the album’s opening track “Counterfeiters.” Well you’re in luck because, just moments ago, I went ahead and shoved the SoundCloud embed code into the HTML on this page like it was your roommate coming downstairs to see what all the ruckus was. Have at it below, and you can pre-order the album here.
Don’t Weigh Down the Light tracklist:
02. I Don’t Mind
03. Mosquito Hawks
04. Back to You
05. Past Houses
06. Leaving Song
07. Stars Unwinding
08. Good Directions
09. Don’t Weigh Down the Light
10. Even the Walls Don’t Want You to Go
11. Past Houses (Reprise)
Wow, just look at that hair! Sorry, I was just looking at picture after picture of Black Mountain, Vancouver’s long-running (Longest-running? Who knows) group of classic rock revivalists. It’s been 10 years of gorgeous hair for those guys and gals. To celebrate a decade of looking great, the band is putting out a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut on June 23 through Jagjaguwar.
BIG NEWS: each edition of the remastered, reissued Black Mountain comes with a lock of leader Stephen McBean’s sumptuous hair! That is big news that is also not true. What the deluxe edition does have is a host of bonus tracks in a 2xLP and/or 2xCD package. For more on this anniversary release, check out this trailer, which is full of primo hair footage.
Hair hair hair! Yikes, folks, I just can’t get over this hair. Before the hair mania takes over my brain, I want to tell you that Black Mountain are going on tour this summer. Imagine a nightmare scenario with me: You go out to see Black Mountain. You’re excited to hear some great riffs and see some greater hair. Black Mountain take the stage. They’re all wearing cabbie hats. They take the hats off. They’re all completely bald. No.
Black Mountain Deluxe Edition tracklist:
01. Modern Music (2:45)
02. Don’t Run Our Hearts Around (6:04)
03. Druganaut (3:48)
04. No Satisfaction (3:48)
05. Set Us Free (6:46)
06. No Hits (6:45)
07. Heart Of Snow (8:00)
08. Faulty Times (8:35)
09. Druganaut (Extended Remix) (8:15)
10. Buffalo Swan (9:08)
11. Bicycle Man (3:21)
12. Behind The Fall (3:01)
13. Set Us Free (Demo) (5:56)
14. Black Mountain (Demo) (3:27)
15. No Satisfaction (UK Radio) (4:25)
16. It Wasn’t Arson (4:42)
Black Mountain dates:
05.30.15 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
06.04.15 - Bellingham, WA - The Shakedown
06.06.15 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver - Malkin Bowl
06.10.15 - London, UK - 100 Club
06.11.15 - Paris, FR - Maroquinerie
06.12.15 - Brussels, BE - Botanique
06.13.15 - Luzern, CH - B-Sides Festival
06.14.15 - Vienna, AT - Arena
06.15.15 - Zagreb, HR - KSET
06.16.15 - Ljubljana, SI - Menzi Pri Koritu
06.17.15 - Milano, IT - Magnolia Summer Festival
06.19.15 - Vitoria-Gasteiz, ES - Azkena Rock Festival
06.21.15 - Hilvarenbeek, NL - Best Kept Secret
07.15.15 - Ottawa, ON - Ottawa Blues Fest