My first encounter with Asobi Seksu wasn't exactly direct, nor was it particularly favorable. Sitting with my legs crossed on a none-too-clean couch, talking to a hardcore show promoter, and most likely listening to Failure or Quicksand at an earsplitting volume (the host had an affinity for such things), I realized that an acquaintance of mine had taken to careening around the room and announcing the same two words over and over. Problem was, I couldn't quite make it out. Like I said, shit was loud. I did, however, gauge the reaction of those who caught his message, and the responses generally ranged from raised eyebrows to, in extreme cases, running in the other direction. The Acquaintance had made a name for himself at the last gathering by prompting the purchase of a new couch cushion, for reasons unknown to me, but I had a feeling they were in the category of "unpleasant." His mere presence tonight was obviously questionable, and the fact that he was seemingly trying to spread some sort of gospel was not going over very well. Finally, I pulled The Acquaintance aside and said, "Dude. You're like, two proclamations away from a head-first ejection. What's your problem?" He looked at me wildly and exclaimed "ASOBI SEKSU! ASOBI SEKSU! THESE FUCKERS. NEED. TO LISTEN TO ASOBI SEKSU. WHY ISN'T ANYONE LISTENING? THEY KEEP TALKING ABOUT THE NEW HARVEY MILK, AND I AM JUST TIRED OF IT. YOU HEAR ME? TIRED OF IT."
In related news, Asobi Seksu have signed to Polyvinyl Records, home to other artists like of Montreal, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Joan of Arc, and XBXRX (who may also inspire the disturbing brand of exuberance described above). The New York-based shoegaze enthusiasts have been sharing their ethereal, sunny sound with the rest of the world for the past two years, and as a homecoming gift, their third studio album will be recorded this summer under the care of Polyvinyl, which suits them just fine. Asobi Seksu were previously recording with Friendly Fire, while One Little Indian will keep their overseas duties.
Guitarist and songwriter James Hanna: Homecoming gift #2: 2006's Citrus will be reissued on Polyvinyl as well, most likely bearing the label's signature meticulous packaging and detail. “I couldn't be happier to be working with Polyvinyl. They are such a well-respected label and have a great sense of post-punk, DIY ethics. Yuki [Chikudate] and I are both huge record junkies, so the fact that they are super into high-quality vinyl releases with such creative packaging is exciting." Polyvinyl co-owner Matt Lunsford is obviously really fucking upset about signing this shitty band, saying, ““We have been enamored with Asobi Seksu for a long time, but seeing them play live was an epiphany. I felt like I might need to peel myself off the wall after their set." Ooh... something tells me he and The Acquaintance should hang out.
P, I swear on Thurston Moore's grave, if this is a joke, I quit.
Instead of writing a cohesive story about ATP New York and its lineup, I will simply retype the text messages I sent once I was clued in, with explanation if needed:
9:42 PM: ATP IS COMING TO FUCKING MONTICELLO (Monticello, NY is known only for its status as an impoverished vestige of the Borscht Belt, its overabundance of exploitative casinos... and one incredibly creepy topless bar.)
9:44 PM: AND MBV ARE PLAYING, HAHA LONDON (This is the first time My Bloody Valentine have played a show in the United States in 16 years. Yes, haha, London. You thought you got them all to yourself.)
9:49 PM: oh my god and built to spill playing all of perfect from now on PERFECT PERFECT AHH (This one is pretty obvious, I think.)
9:52 PM: wow and shellac + thee silver mount zion + low + mogwai = exploding brain of heaviness (...)
9:54 PM: and i am going to eat thurston moore's FACE (Thurston Moore will be performing Psychic Hearts in its entirety.)
9:56 PM: yeah i hope we can get off work for three days and i hope i can get a press pass because uh wow no single day passes, that blows (ATP New York requires total 3-day commitment, and only 3,000 passes will be sold.)
9:59 PM: actually maybe if i tell the publicist that it's on my birthday and somehow bat my eyelashes via email this will work (The dates are September 19-21 <=== That is my birthday. The last one, I mean. My birth did not take three days. My mom would not be speaking to me if that were the case.)
10:03 PM: just in case can you go to the website and check? my boss likes to pee a lot sometimes and he has to walk past my desk so it's awkward when he sees me minimize everything that is not actual work (Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 25, here.)
O great initial lineup, I am not worthy:
The follow-up to Rise Above (TMT Review) is expected next year. Actually, I should say follow-ups, as Billboard is reporting that Dave Longstreth and co. are "preparing two releases at once, one of which will constitute its Domino debut in early 2009." So, who will get the other album? Marriage Records? Dead Oceans? Western Vinyl? Man, must feel nice to be white and have so many choices!
Cutie patooey Conor Oberst, best known for fronting the not-sellout band Bright Eyes and for looking good, is releasing his first solo album in roughly 13 years via Merge Records. Recorded in Mexico and produced by Oberst and Andy LeMaster, the self-titled (of course) release will feature a "special band" known as The Mystic Valley Band, who will surely have a little less brightness and a little more mystique, if my inside sources are to be trusted.
Conor Oberst is expected August 5. Oberst's first three solo releases were released on cassette, so if anything, this new Merge release is an indication that this boy is going places. I suppose that's what you get for having a flawless nose.
Conor Oberst tracklist:
Subtle Tour, Ready New Album + Graphic Novel, Make Funny Pictures, and Generally Do Not Live Up to Their Name
Attention all other musical acts: Independent hip-hop innovators Subtle are about to make you look like a bunch of lazy slobs, based on the fact that they will be dropping the following items on us, much to our delight. Ahem:
1. A new album! Ah-doy. ExitingARM comes out May 13 on Lex Records, promising to be the most accessible Subtle record yet. Yeah, that's what they all say. Except they seem pretty serious about all of this, so I wouldn't fuck with them. Subtle specialize in making music that's equal parts beautiful and credible, IMHO, so let's get our hopes up, shall we?
2. An online graphic novel. In case you haven't noticed, the graphic novel has total status these days, so feel free to correct anyone who jabs you for reading online comics. They're graphic novels, GOD! The Ought Almanac of Amassed Fact Vol. I accompanies the new album, and you can read it here.
3. A possible show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, featuring the collaborations of Subtle frontman Doseone and animator Ghostshrimp, with Doseone lending his vocal chops. Doseone also animates "NOTgarfield" with the help of bandmate Jeffrey “Jel”” Logan - check it.
4. A tour is a tour, of cour ... that didn't work at all:
RIAA Sues Homeless Man For Cardboard Boxes, Can of Beans, Cool Stick Thing With Tied Polka Dot Kerchief on It
Seriously. In Warren v. Berry, the RIAA recently sued a homeless man. Rumor has it they were in it for the shopping cart.
"Gonna walk around and drink some more" might be a fine credo for the generally drug-addled laze-abouts that populate the scraggly yarns spun by Brooklyn-via-Minneapolis singer and Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, but the trajectories of the real-life Finn and his chops-laden, avant-bar band members are looking infinitely more purposeful than that these days.
Well, okay... they're probably still going to do a lot of drinking, but at least they'll be doing a lot more traveling while they do (let's hope that someone else is driving, huh?).
Case in point, the famously thirsty band has recently signed a deal that will have their new album released through the legendary Rough Trade label in the UK and Europe, with the distribution rights being licensed from the boys' home team of Vagrant Records.
In a much more coherent statement than one might expect, Finn stated that the band is "really excited to begin this relationship with Rough Trade" for their fourth album, which of course will constitute the follow-up to 2006's breakthrough slice of Springsteen-on-Kerouac pie known as Boys and Girls in America (TMT Review). "From The Smiths to The Strokes, they have consistently released music from great artists and we are honoured to be a part of the roster. Rough Trade records have been part of my own collection since I started buying my own records in the early 1980s."
Hey, way to date yourself there, Craig.
Oh, and speaking of dates (seamless!), the band will also be doing a few victory laps around their new territory this spring. Catch them if you can, and maybe you can by them a drink to walk around with... or I guess "fly" around with, since they're big-time now.
05.11.08 - Camber Sands, UK - ATP
05.13.08 - Dublin, IE - Academy
05.14.08 - Belfast, UK - Spring and Airbrake
05.16.08 - Brighton, UK - Great Escape
In its latest effort to appear more "hip," "relevant," and "not like the Devil," Universal Music Group is reissuing a set of titles that will be exclusively packaged in recycled paperboard. These hippified titles will only be available at Wal-Mart, as the venture is being carried out in honor of the chain's "Earth Month." You thought your eyebrows couldn't possibly be raised any higher? Well, allow me to prove you wrong. The insert included in each CD will, when planted in the ground correctly, sprout wildflowers. Hopefully, the Happy Tree Friends will also appear to complete the circle of ridiculousness.
The albums receiving the green thumb treatment are mostly greatest hits compilations, which is an interesting roster in itself, prompting one to ask questions such as: "K-Ci & JoJo really had enough chart-toppers to warrant a ‘greatest hits’ album?" or "Would KISS really want their album insert to sprout dandelions?"
Let's get gardening!:
Bryan Adams - THE BEST OF ME
Bon Jovi - CROSS ROAD: GREATEST HITS
Boyz II Men - LEGACY: THE GREATEST HITS COLLECTION
James Brown - 20 ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS!
Jimmy Buffett - SONGS YOU KNOW BY HEART
Eric Clapton - CREAM OF CLAPTON
Patsy Cline - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Sheryl Crow - VERY BEST OF SHERYL CROW
Def Leppard - VAULT GREATEST HITS
Eagles - HELL FREEZES OVER
Melissa Etheridge - GREATEST HITS: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Marvin Gaye - EVERY GREAT MOTOWN HIT
Vince Gill - SOUVENIRS
Jimi Hendrix - EXPERIENCE HENDRIX
K-Ci & JoJo - ALL MY LIFE: GREATEST HITS
Toby Keith - GREATEST HITS
KISS - VERY BEST OF KISS
Lynyrd Skynyrd - ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS
Van Morrison - STILL ON TOP
Willie Nelson - SONGS
New Found Glory - HITS
Nirvana - NIRVANA
Lionel Richie - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Rush - THE SPIRIT OF RADIO
Scorpions - BAD FOR GOOD: BEST OF SCORPIONS
Soundgarden - A-SIDES
Steely Dan - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Styx - GREATEST HITS
Forget Facebook. Forget MySpace. Forget Friendster. (What, you've already forgotten Friendster???) I'm not telling you this because I want you to ignore the drunken messages I sent you last night. I'm telling you because your favorite major music conglomerate Universal Music Group has teamed up with Buzznet to bring you the most amazing, most exciting, most music-y new online social media content EVER.
Now, word on the street (or Billboard magazine, whatever you wanna hear) is that Buzznet has been kickin' it with a slew of new investors and partners. But, if you're like me, the only one you will really care about is this budding relationship with Universal. It's like this: Buzznet gets to use UMG's catalog for some streaming music and video action, as well as editorial content from Universal-signed artists cum guest bloggers. (Holy shit, right? Imagine the insights and life wisdom that Beck and Chamillionaire will be able to drop!) In return, UMG gets an equity stake in the company and the opportunity to disseminate the Pussycat Dolls' views on Iraq.
Blood On The Wall Found At Various American Venues Starting Friday (Though You Are Likely To Find Even More Disgusting Substances On The Floor)
New York group Blood On The Wall can, on paper, seem like a blast from the past. With vocals sounding occasionally like Thurston impersonating Black Francis, instrumental sounds sounding (in a crooked-line kinda way) like those fellows' most famous bands, and a sprinkle of early Sub Pop, some would be forgiven for thinking Blood On The Wall came out 15 years ago. Forgiven, but very wrong. See, BOTW has the type of qualities that overshadow their influences, making you nearly forget they exist. Besides, these are other things that BOTW have been compared to: a summer's day, a hearty Thanksgiving Day meal, and a swift kick to the head that alters your consciousness.
If you have checked out the band's three LPs, 2004's Blood On the Wall, Awesomer from 2005, and this year's Liferz (all on The Social Registry), then you know what I am talking about. One thing that can easily be gleaned from those records is that they must be absolutely devastating live. They've opened for bands like Sonic Youth, Black Dice, The Kills, and Dinosaur Jr., and now they are set to embark on a headlining tour of their own, starting in the place where its citizens should win the coveted "Most At Peace With Their Lives" award: Denver. For a month afterward, the band will blanket the USA with their sonic onslaught. Now, who doesn't like to be blanketed?