Ten years old, Sunn O)))'s seventh album, Monoliths & Dimensions is coming out of the vortex May 18 on Southern Lord. Fans of walls of sounds, loud noises, and feedback, mark your calendars, because this album is promising to be a doosey just given the sheer size and shape of the ensemble surrounding it. The band, however, emphatically states that this is not "SUNN with strings." Instead, they "took an approach concentrating on more of allusion toward the timbre of feedback and the instruments involved, so the piece is really illusory, beautiful and not entirely linear."
Not sure what that means, but I do know the facts, and the facts are that, in addition to Oren Ambarchi and Attila Csihar (man, I hope his mom named him that on her own), this time they are working with Eyvind Kang (who has played viola in or with the likes of Bill Frisell, Secret Chiefs 3, Mike Patton, Blonde Redhead, and Laura Veirs to name a handful), Julian Priester (who has worked with Sun Ra, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock), Dylan Carlson (Kurt Cobain's total BFF and lead guitarist/singer/basically only constant of droney band, Earth), and Stuart Dempster (a horn player who not only won the Guggenheim in ’81, but is also credited for introducing the didjeridu to North America) as well as three upright bassists, French and English horns, a harp and flute duo, piano, brass, reed and strings ensembles, and there's rumor of a partridge in a pear tree, but that has not been confirmed as of yet. Oh, and there's also a Viennese woman's choir led by Jessika Kenney.
Monoliths & Dimensions tracklist:
2. Big Church [megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért]
3. Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)
[Photo: Mike Burns]
London-based 12-string guitarist James Blackshaw has shown scant loyalty to record labels in his relatively short album career, giving a bit more love to Tompkins Square than others, but it seems he has finally found a home with Young God Records. Young God houses early works by acoustic wunderkinds Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family, who, come to think of it, should probably tour with Blackshaw immediately. If you're unfamiliar with him, this label switch should convince you to give him a listen, even if “12-string acoustic guitar, instrumental only” makes you want to run screaming off a cliff. Blackshaw is completely one with his instrument, creating exquisite, rolling landscapes of sound that completely consume the senses, never losing momentum for a second, leaving you hanging even after the song surpasses the 10-minute mark. I especially recommend him to city-dwellers who want to make their fire escapes feel like wraparound porches. Blackshaw's first YGR release will be called The Glass Bead Game and will drop in late spring of 2009.
But wait! You don't have to hold out till then, because he's touring in support of his last release for Tompkins Square, Litany of Echoes. Michael Gira of Young God described his live show as “no effects, nothing, just a mic on his guitar, [and] the room was filled with swirling overtones and a million points of light.” Sounds like someone's excited about his new toy, but can you blame him? For these dates, Blackshaw is joined by equal parts Portland rockers Grails and Drag City folkie Meg Baird.
Finger cymbals discouraged:
02.19.09 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord #
02.20.09 – Santa Cruz, CA – Folk Yeah Presents #
02.21.09 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland #
02.22.09 – San Diego, CA – Casbah #
02.24.09 – Oakland, CA – Stork Club
02.26.09 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern @
02.27.09 – Portland, WA – Dantes @
03.02.09 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung-Fu Necktie %
03.03.09 – Baltimore, MD – Talking Head Club % $
03.04.09 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge % &
03.05.09 – Boston, MA – Brattle Theatre % +
03.07.09 – Brooklyn, NY – Issue Project Room %
03.08.09 – New Haven, CT – BAR %
@ Earth and Sir Richard Bishop
% Meg Baird
& Heather O'Donnell
+ Michah Blue Smalldone
Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart Announces Spring Solo Tour, Launches Subscription Series of Experimental Works; New Xiu Xiu LP Slated for Next Year
Jamie Stewart, front dude of Xiu Xiu, has announced his first solo tour since 2003. Drawing from over 80 songs, the setlist will feature a mixture of new and old tunes, all played with an electric guitar, bird call whistles, and a stylophone ("a late 60s toy synth that one plays with a pen," according to his publicist). The set will also feature songs from Xiu Xiu's forthcoming full-length, Dear God, I Hate Myself, which is tentatively scheduled for release in 2010.
I've seen Xiu Xiu live plenty of times, but the prospect of seeing Stewart perform solo is enough to let him take nude photos of me holding a plastic doll. Actually, I sorta have that chance, as Stewart and David Horvitz will be taking a photograph of every single person at every single show. Yes, EVERY single person, from the sound people to the janitors, the promoters to that stupid TMT journalist jotting down the setlist. Each photo will be published on Xiu Xiu's blog, and the "best 300" will be published in an upcoming photo book. There'll also be lots of merch, including some hand-decorated mix CDs.
Finally, Stewart is launching a one-year, 12-disc subscription series in an edition of 50. Each will be hand-wrapped and hand-numbered, featuring experimental and minimalist works by Stewart. Costs $100, but if you throw in an extra $10, you'll get some hand-made chocolate made by Stewart himself. Order here, and check 'em out here:
Jamie Stewart solo dates:
04.02.09 - Greenville, NC - The Spazzatorium
04.03.09 - Norfolk, VA - The Boot
04.04.09 - Richmond, VA - The Triple
04.05.09 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
04.06.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Monkey Town
04.09.09 - Durham, NH - The Stafford Room
04.10.09 - Chicago, IL - Ronny's Bar
04.11.09 - Grinnell, IA - Gardner Lounge (Grinnell College)
04.14.09 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
04.15.09 - Portland, OR - Backspace
04.17.09 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord
04.18.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo Curio
04.19.09 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
04.21.09 - Austin, TX - Salvage Vanguard Theater
04.23.09 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
04.24.09 - St. Augustine, Florida - Cafe Eleven
04.25.09 - Atlanta, GA - Wonderroot
[Photo: David Horvitz]
I like to copy-paste bullshit:
Change the graffiti on the bathroom wall, get your tattoo fixed, get your t-shirt airbrushed and change the name on your year end list- Santogold is now Santigold. She’s not telling you why, that’s just how it is. No unpronounceable symbol, no numbers where they shouldn’t be, no random capitalization, just plain ass Santigold so remember that.
Downtown/Lizard King released Santigold’s self-titled breakthrough CD in April and it instantly became one of 2008’s most acclaimed albums garnering international raves. Critics and radio have championed the record’s standout tracks “L.E.S. Artistes”, “Creator” and her latest single “Shove It”.
Travels Return with a Sweetheart of an Album, Despite Pat Benatar Warning That “Love Is a Battlefield”
It doesn’t take a degree in Obamanomics (didn’t take long, did it?) to realize that we could potentially be in store for a new era rife with personal freedom and consideration. A more caring would would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, it’s hard to be optimistic for a liberating life in a “nice” place. In fact, it would probably take a mandate to reanimate the corpse of Mr. Rogers just to guilt everyone into showing an ounce of respect to their fellow beings. Oh well, maybe you just gotta take niceties when they are offered, like when the duo of Mona Elliott and Anar Badalov, a.k.a. Travels, will self-issue their latest album called The Hot Summer.
Hackily described on this very website by this very same hack as "a safe house in a world of confusion," the debut Travels disc caught many unaware with its unassuming, fragile beauty. This time around, Travels give us more tender tracks, a few curveballs, and a variation of one of their previously recorded songs: “Olivia Hurt.” If you couldn’t feel enough of the love, here is a mellooooow cover version of [“My Funny Valentine,”->
http://www.bradleysalmanac.com/songs/misc/Travels-MyFunnyValentine.mp3] recorded by the duo to celebrate the release of “The Hot Summer” on Valentine’s Day (that’s February 14, for you unattached apathetics). Ah, the things some do for love. I’m as romantic as the next person, and I have as healthy a relationship with my right hand as other well-adjusteds have with actual, separate human beings, but I never felt the need to perform a duet with my “Mighty Righty.” Call me an olde-fashioned romantic...
Hit me with your best shots:
1. The Forgotten
2. Favorite People
3. Olivia Hurt
4. Happiness (you woke up)
5. Buzzards Bay
8. Fairy Tales
10. A New Year
Travels abroad (but really at home):
02.14.09 - Somerville, MA - PA’s Lounge #
02.20.09 - Baltimore, MD - Talking Head Club $
# Animal Hospital, Arms & Sleepers, Mary Page
$ Mr. Moccasin, Ari Schenck, The Owls Go
From the BBC:
Buena Vista Social Club founding member Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez has died in Cuba aged 76.
The double bass player died in a Havana hospital from complications after having prostate surgery.
Lopez became a worldwide sensation as part of the group of elderly musicians who were living quietly in Cuba before being brought together in 1996.
He was considered to be Buena Vista's "heartbeat" in the band's mix of traditional Cuban rhythms.
While Twitter kept you informed about the Grammy Awards against your will, you probably didn't see Death Cab for Cutie sauntering around wearing light-blue ribbons. The cause: an anti-Auto-Tune campaign.
The digital manipulation of people's voices is affecting thousands of singers, Ben Gibbard told MSN UK, "So we just want to raise awareness while we're here and try to bring back the blue note... The note that's not so perfectly in pitch and just gives the recording some soul and some kind of real character."
It was only a matter of time before some sort of Auto-Tune backlash emerged. Let's look at its pros and cons:
- Makes people "sound good"
- Can be used as an instrument
- Ribbons bring out your eyes
- Not what "real people" sound like
- Nation looks to American Idol for talent
- Sounding like T-Pain
No word yet on the 5K run against Auto-Tune
03.07.09 - Miami, FL - Langerado Festival
04.07.09 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre #!
04.08.09 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall #!
04.09.09 - Davidson, NC - John Belk Arena/Davidson College #!
04.10.09 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Palace #!
04.11.09 - Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre #!
04.12.09 - Tulsa, OK - The Brady Theater #!
04.13.09 - Omaha, NE - Holland Theatre #!
04.15.09 - St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkings Auditorium #
04.17.09 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom #!
04.18.09 - East Lansing, MI - Breslin Events Center/Michigan State University #
04.19.09 - Waukesha, WI - Van Male Fieldhouse/Carroll College #!
04.24.09 - Spokane, WA - McCarthey Athletic Center/Gonzaga University #!
04.25.09 - Boise, ID - The Morrison Center #!
04.27.09 - Sacramento, CA - Memorial Auditorium #!
04.29.09 - San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena/UC San Diego #!
05.01.09 - Austin, TX - Austin Music Hall #$
05.02.09 - New Orleans, LA - Contemporary Arts Center #$
05.04.09 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium #$
05.05.09 - Birmingham, AL - BJCC Concert Hall #$
05.06.09 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre #$
# Ra Ra Riot
! Cold War Kids
$ Matt Costa
Legendary drone band Earth, better known to you as both the band that destroyed most of your inner ear during freshman year of college and the band that released its well-received seventh album The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (TMT Review/TMT Feature) last year, is packing up the Sunn amps and heading to Europe this spring. In addition to promoting last year's album and split LP with experimental guitarist and Sun City Girls member Richard Bishop, the band will be spreading awareness about Wikipedia's terrible disctinction between its pages for Earth (the band) and Manfred Mann's Earth Band
03.26.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
03.27.09 - Leuven, Belgium - Stuk
03.28.09 - Nantes, France - L'olympic
03.29.09 - Poitiers, France - Le Confort Moderne
03.30.09 - Bilbao, Spain - El Balcon De La Lola
03.31.09 - Porto, Portugal - Passos Manuel
04.01.09 - Madrid, Spain - Caracol
04.02.09 - Barcelona, Spain - La
04.03.09 - Lyon, France - L'epicerie
04.04.09 - Paris, France - Glaz'art Moderne
04.05.09 - Kortrijk, Belgium - Sonic City Festival
04.06.09 - Hamburg, Germany - Molotow Club
04.08.09 - Oslo, Norway - Inferno Festival
04.09.09 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
04.11.09 - Berlin, Germany - Prater
04.12.09 - Leipzig, Germany - Ut Connewitz
04.13.09 - Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
04.14.09 - Stuttgart, Germany - Club Schocken
04.15.09 - Koln, Germany - Gebaeude9
04.16.09 - Brighton, UK - St Andrews Church
04.17.09 - Birmingham, UK - Hare and Mound
04.18.09 - Manchester, UK - Islington Mill
04.19.09 - Glasgow, Scotland - Stereo
04.21.09 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelans
04.22.09 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
04.23.09 - Bristol, UK - The Croft
04.24.09 - London, UK - The Borderline
04.25.09 - Tilburg, Net - Roadburn Festival
Ratatat Tour North America; If Ratatat Isn’t Your Cup Of Tea, This Article Also Talks About Animal Collective!
Ratatat seem pretty cool to me; their signature guitar-electro sound evoke ecstatic feelings that tingle throughout my body. That is why I recently slapped on LP3 (TMT Review) and proceeded to do a “happy dance,” which was not a pretty site but certainly worth it for the band. Then I realized the band would not be touring anywhere near me, so I began to sulk. But I suppose that is another story for another time... Anyway, according to The Beggars Group, Ratatat will take their show to the masses this March and April, which must be exciting for those of you who can actually attend.
One thing that has always made Ratatat that “extra” kind of special are their mixes, where they remake rap songs to fit their own personal aesthetic (Ratatat, if you are reading this, please send us a sign that Volume 3 is in the works). However, it looks like another pretty popular act, Animal Collective (TMT Review) have stepped up to give Ratatat the remix treatment, turning the track "Mirando" into a 10-minute techno ear-orgy. The track has been available since February 3, so if you haven’t scooped it up yet, get over to your iTunes store and get downloading!
03.21.09 - Cincinnati OH - Bogart
03.22.09 - Pontiac MI - The Crofoot
03.23.09 - Chicago IL - Metro
03.24.09 - Columbia MO - Blue Note
03.25.09 - Omaha NE - Slowdown
03.27.09 - Aspen CO - Aspen Gondola Plaza
03.28.09 - Boise ID - Knitting Factory Boise
03.29.09 - Seattle WA - Showbox SoDo
03.30.09 - Portland OR - Crystal Ballroom
04.01.09 - San Francisco CA - The Fillmore
04.02.09 - San Francisco CA - The Fillmore
04.04.09 - Los Angeles CA - Hollywood Palladium
04.08.09 - Houston, TX - Meridian
04.16.09 - Washington, DC - 930 Club
04.20.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
04.21.09 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
By the second half of 2009, Live Nation (LYV) and Ticketmaster (TKTM) hope to merge into one giant entity called Live Nation Entertainment, "the world's premier live entertainment company." The deal would be a tax-free, all stock merger, totaling roughly $2.5 billion. According to the official press release, Live Nation Entertainment hopes to:
- Improve Access and Transparency
- Improve Ticket Pricing Options
- Invest in Better Ticketing Technology
- Increase Event Attendance
Sounds pretty good right? WRONG. If the merger goes through, don't be too surprised if you have to start fighting with your concert buddies for those tickets ("ticket-moshing"?): among the many fears is that the new company would bypass the primary ticketing market and begin auctioning tickets (through the Ticketmaster-owned TicketsNow) in the secondary market. Not only would this system favor the tech savvy who have the cash to pony up, but it'll also create a ridiculously overwhelming presence in both the primary and secondary markets for a single company. Hell, even if the company chooses to focus on the primary ticketing market, there would be significantly less competition for venues and tours after the merger. And those much-hated "convenience" fees? They'll probably be rolled into the face charge.
Of course, the actual merger hasn't taken place yet, as the companies still need to go through the usual legal process -- namely, the regulatory review -- and I'd expect to hear some loud antitrust cries resonate throughout the industry (there are already plenty, including this one from LiveStub CEO Michael Hershfield). Hopefully the cries will be loud enough to reach the smellholes of the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. Obama, where are you?
Meanwhile, TMT's rebranding experts hail the possible enterprise a great idea, as the word "Ticketmaster" itself is already among the chief causes of high blood pressure in music lovers between the ages of 15 to 28. TMT's in-house critics, however, are puking as I type this.