Speedo? Check. Suntan Lotion? Check. Creative Concept Album? Double Check! Today Is the Day for Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer to Get All Dark and Wet and Sandy with His Side Project Blackout Beach
Although it was originally supposed to be released in December, today is the day when Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer releases his second album as Blackout Beach, entitled Skin of Evil. Issued through the Soft Abuse imprint, Skin of Evil was written, played, and recorded entirely by Mercer and features an ambitious conceptual storyline concerning a girl named Donna and her past paramours. Loyal TMT readers have had this date circled on their “Indie Stars” calendar for awhile now, but if you haven’t already gone out to pick up Mr. Mercer’s opus, maybe these quotes will help you decide to run out or log on now or to finish your Fruit Loops then go get Skin of Evil.
Let’s first hear from Mercer friend, frequent accomplice, and compatriot Dan Bejar, who seems to like the album:
Maybe it’s about a girl, about salvation’s undoing through romantic love, wreckage of this kind…No matter, the important thing is that this is the first time I’ve REALLY heard theatrics AND atmospherics in a records, and such an abundance of both. One exception is Roxy Music’s Avalon, which this record reminds me of if only for how incredibly well you can (thankfully) hear every last thing. And though Bryan Ferry’s version of control and release are slightly different than Carey’s, Skin of Evil is more just different lyrical concerns, which we’ll here call ‘worldview.’ I believe Skin of Evil is the best record I will hear this year, but let’s not get into that.
Any reason to bring in the ravaged but elegant corpse of Bryan Ferry’s early 1980s career into the mix is okay with us, but let’s see how Mercer himself breaks down his album in this stunning sound bite:
I wrote this record because I desired to make something that stays on task. I picked an easy task: desire, longing, flight, the sorrow of absence...the DNA of most good songs. The heart of the record is simple to describe: beautiful Donna and the men she has left. Eight past lovers, some bitter, some crushed, all in some state of duress, all still in love. Each dude gets his song. Donna gets her song. William, her boyfriend, gets his song.
Lastly, something is missing, so let’s pad out this newsie and read a quote I just nabbed from my neighbor Henzel, a devoted heavy metal fan trapped in 1987, a time when the only way to tell women and men apart was from their breasts or studded breastplates...
I have no idea what this is that you are talking about but I like a good concept if it has chix in it, he, he. Let me know if it has grave-rattling bass ‘n’ drums and twin blazing kamikaze guitars in the classic slow/fast manner that I am accustomed…you know, absolute savage menace! I dunno, I do like the album title. Sounds like something I would buy anyways if I saw that title. I wouldn’t mind that on my tombstone, he, he…”Here lies Henzel…skin of evil…”, he, he. If it comes on a shaped picture disc, maybe like a crucifix, or a sorcerer’s balls or sumthin’, I might buy it. Or if it was on blood red vinyl, or etched on one side with sexual magic scripture or Dio lyrics or sumthin.’ Death to false metal!!! Can I borrow an egg?
Confused? I don’t blame you. You should see how the dude cuts his lawn! When is the last time you’ve even heard talk of a scythe, much less seen a 45-year-old chartered accountant wearing a lime green tunic and chain mail wielding one on his front yard! Sorry for the distraction... but you are still excited about Blackout Beach, right? Good.
1. Cloud of Evil
2. Biloxi, in a Grove, Cleans Out His Eyes
3. Three Men Drown in a River
4. William, the Crowd, It's William
5. The Roman
6. Woe to the Minds of Soft Men
7. The Whistle
8. Nineteen, One God, One Dull Star
9. Sophia, Donna, I Was Down the River Waiting
10. Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil, 1982
I don't know about you guys, but doesn't it seem like Julian Koster of The Music Tapes has... I don't know... changed? Ever since the acclaim for last year's Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes (TMT Review), Koster has seemingly adopted a slacker attitude. Sure, 2008 was a great year for him -- Clouds and Tornadoes landed at #5 on our Favorite Albums of 2008 list; the E6 celebration he organized was a huge success; his caroling tour in support of The Singing Saw at Christmastime was met with rave reviews -- but his new claim to fame has definitely effected his creative energy in 2009. First off, he hasn't released any new music this year. C'mon, musician, do your job! Second, he's just announced a tour, but he only booked 19 shows! That's just downright crazy. (Why is that crazy? SHUT UP, that's why.)
But perhaps most alarming are his new musical inventions. While his live performances up to this point have shared the stage with fantastic self-made band members like The 7 Foot Tall Metronome, Orbiting Human Circus Tapdancing Machine, The Clapping Hands Machine, and Static The Television, his newer toys are simply uninspired. Don't believe me? Here are exclusive looks at a couple inventions he plans to bring on his upcoming tour:
They're named "Amplified Hamster In a Wheel Thingy" and "Blender Machine Something Something." Like I said, uninspired
02.10.09 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
02.11.09 - Norman, OK - The Opolis
02.13.09 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture Gallery
02.15.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
02.17.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
02.19.09 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
02.20.09 - Anacortes, WA - Department of Safety
02.21.09 - Portland, OR - Backspace
02.24.09 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
02.25.09 - Chicago, IL - AV-aerie
02.26.09 - Ann Arbor, MI - The B-side
02.27.09 - Toronto, ON, Canada, Lee's Palace
02.28.09 - Buffalo, NY - Big Orbit's Soundlab
03.01.09 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
03.02.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
03.03.09 - Brooklyn, NY - The Bellhouse
03.04.09 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church - Basement
03.05.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
03.07.09 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt
Mott The Hoople Announce Two Anniversary Show Dates, Set Out To Prove To Kids That They’re More Than Just “That Band That Got Juno Soundtracked”
British Rock ‘n’ Roll 101 Professor: Okay, listen up students. Who can tell me the name of the band that released the song “All The Young Dudes” in 1972? And extra credit goes to anyone who can tell me what famous glam-rock star wrote the song?
Student #1: I love that song! I just listened to the Juno soundtrack the other day!
[Professor looks dumbfounded.]
Student #2: Ohmygod, like, you know that song was in Clueless too, right? Which is, like, so much better than Juno!
[Professor opens desk drawer and discreetly pulls out a gun.]
Student #3: Y’all are so wrong! I just saw that movie The Wackness with one of the Olsen twins and Method Man, and that bald dude, damn I forgot his name! But, anyway, I heard the song in that movie too!
[Professor cocks the trigger and aims the gun at his head.]
Professor: No, no, no! What is wrong with you, people?! “All The Young Dudes” was released by Mott The Hoople and written for them by David Bowie! They were about to break-up, and, and, and Bowie wrote them that song and revived their career! And now it’s considered one of the greatest songs of all time! God, you kids just don’t get it!! AHHHHH!!! [KA-BOOM.]
Save the life of a disgruntled college professor and go see Mott The Hoople’s two 40th anniversary shows in London this year. Tickets go on sale January 22.
10.02.09 – London, England – Hammersmith Apollo
10.03.09 – London, England – Hammersmith Apollo
Living in a mid-sized Midwest city with a thriving, contemporary music scene and a storied past as a center for seminal 1980s punk groups like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, eventually -- no matter who you are -- you start to hear stories about how someone you really admire, someone in, say, an influential no wave band lives in the same city as you. In this story, for example, that person would be Laura Kennedy, original bassist for the New York post-punk band Bush Tetras and recent liver transplant recipient. To help defray the costs of medical bills and to celebrate some damn good tunes, an extra special benefit is happening this Saturday at Nick & Eddie in Minneapolis.
It's a win-win situation: Ms. Kennedy gets the proceeds, you get to experience a lineup that would be the envy of any ATP attendee and its constant Jesus Lizard/My Bloody Valentine/Etc. reunions. Last fall, New York friends put on an another benefit for the Liver Fund, featuring legends like James Chance, Lenny Kaye, Voidoid Ivan Julian, Tetras drummer Dee Pop's Radio I-Ching, the B-52s' Pat Irwin, and the aforementioned Bush Tetras. Round 2 in Minneapolis features -- in addition to the headliners -- David Thomas of Pere Ubu, Suicide Commandos, and Skoal Kodiak. There's also a raffle, involving tons of fairly awesome prizes and an option to donate at the Laura Kennedy Liver Fund blog.
01.17.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Nick & Eddie
Singer Tim Kasher of Cursive has recorded some of my favorite vocal freak-outs of the past five years or so, and, hell, the band even used to feature a rocking cellist! Probably the best use of cello I've heard from a rock band of their variety whose name is Cursive. Indeed, when I was a teenager, filled with all that angst that goes with being a teenager, Cursive was there for me. For these personal reasons, I'm compelled to tell all of you out there to go partake in (a.k.a., buy tickets to) the latest Cursive tour, which has already begun and will continue through March. I can't report a release date for new material or anything, but they are indeed in the midst of recording their seventh full-length album.
01.16.09 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's Tavern #
01.17.09 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
01.18.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall #
01.19.09 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge #
01.20.09 - Philadelphia, PA - The Barbary #
01.21.09 - Columbus, OH - The Summit
01.22.09 - Columbia, MO - Mojo
01.23.09 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
01.24.09 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
03.09.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall Of Williamsburg
03.10.09 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
03.13.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
03.14.09 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
03.15.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
03.16.09 - Albuquerque, NM - The Launchpad
# sold out
Sadly, after being inundated with questions concerning the alleged consumption of his own piss for years, the subject rarely rears its purple head in Mike Patton’s interviews these days. Nope, it’s all about the music and pushing envelopes now with the ever-ready Patton. And not even piss envelopes either! Sigh. That’s good, I guess -- it’s always a smart move to shake off any persistent and lazy interview pigeonholes -- but us part-time fetishists and new age nutritionists need some urine monologues before taking the plunge. I know everyone else is sick of it, but I really have no problems beating this dead horse for ’nother decade or two. Unfortunately, fans of "real" music news win out this time around, because Patton’s always exciting Fantômas combo will be playing some dates in Australia and New Zealand and that is more important than any crass showering of golden affection. No shit.
Fantômas -- Patton, with, presumably/possibly, Buzz Osbourne, Trevor Dunn, and Dave Lombardo or Terry Bozzio or Dale Crover -- will participate in Australia’s and New Zealand’s six-city Big Day Out Festival starting January 16 in Auckland, New Zealand and will also play a few side shows opening for System of a Down’s Serg Tankian while there (who is also playing Big Day Out, along with Neil Young, TV on the Radio, Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip, Lupe Fiasco, The Prodigy, The Ting Tings, and a bunch of acts freeze-frothing at the mouths to scoot down under during this harsh winter chill). The Fantômas shows will feature 2001’s The Director’s Cut heady homage album in its entirety. While Patton will steal the scene on a hundred albums this year, there is no concrete news on when the next Fantômas album is due. Rumor has it set for June, but all dates are tentative at this time. Piss or get off the pot, Fantômas!
What a waste:
01.16.09 - Auckland, New Zealand - Big Day Out 2009
01.18.09 - Gold Coast, Australia - Big Day Out 2009
01.21.09 - Brisbane, Australia - The Tivoli #
01.23.09 - Sydney, Australia - Big Day Out 2009
01.24.09 - Sydney, Australia - Enmore Theatre #
01.25.09 - Melbourne, Australia - The Palace #
01.26.09 - Melbourne, Australia - Big Day Out 2009
01.30.09 - Adelaide, Australia - Big Day Out 2009
02.01.09 - Perth, Australia - Big Day Out 2009
# Serg Tankian
Last week, we reported to you two days late about Apple's revelatory news of changing their pricing model from a fixed 99Â¢ to a "flexible" model of 69Â¢, 99Â¢, and 129Â¢. To make up for it, we're going to report on the industry response early. Why? Because we're awesome like that.
For its upcoming issue, Billboard sat down with Warner Chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen to discuss recent developments, including Apple's announcement, as well as their pulling out of YouTube. On the matter of Apple, Cohen said the exact following:
I think it's important to make sure that the consumer has a choice and that we have the flexibility to give them an offer that makes sense. It's very hard to explain to Jimmy Page why "Stairway to Heaven" is 99 cents and Chumbawamba is the same price.
Eh, let's put this whole thing into context. So, Jimmy Page is the "consumer" in question? And he wants to buy "Stairway to Heaven," his own song, for 99Â¢? And he has beef that a pseudo-anarchist band sold themselves (not just any song, the entire band itself) for the same price? And he wants some form of "choice" and "flexibility," even though he could just choose not to buy either?
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Chewbacca Defense.
Head explosions aside, Cohen did make some sense in the interview. For example, his wording has suggested that the labels have shown little-to-no interest in changing the iTunes pricing model on the album level, something that was unclear from Apple's official announcement and press release. Further, he amazingly admitted to the old industry practice of packaging singles with albums that could be at best described as "shoddy" and at worst as "why did I spend $15 on one good song?"
Then there's this slightly mind-bending nugget:
I would love to get to a point that when T.I. has 175 million impressions, I can for a one-month period bring the single up to $2.99 as a bundle [with other content] or cut it out like I used to if I feel good about the album.
Putting aside the fact that he is describing a business model that is done in every other frickin' part of the world, 175 million people like T.I.? I'm... the only word I can think of at this point is "horror," so I'll go with... "stupefied."
My eyes slowly open. It's morning, and the sun is streaming in through gaps in the curtains. I'm on my back, with her head resting partly on the pillow and partly on my shoulder, her left arm across my chest, and her legs tangled with mine. I feel her soft breath against my skin, smelling her musky perfume. The smell immediately transports me back to last night -- the unforgettable moments of carnal lust, the moments of softness and intimacy that only flows between two lovers. I bury my face in her hair, which has now spread out over her pillow, marveling at its richness, its softness, remembering how she had teased me with the end of her braid last night, sending jolts of sensual feeling coursing through me.
I lightly trail my fingertips over her stomach, watching the sensitized skin quiver at my touch, still enthralled by her beauty. As our lips meet, her mouth slowly opens wider, allowing my tongue to sensually twist with hers. But what starts out as a gentle dueling of tongues soon turns into a frantic devouring of each other. Her eyes shoot wide open as her arms wrap around me, holding my head still as her mouth leaves mine, her big blue eyes full of passion and lust, taking little bites of my neck as she presses and rubs her body against me.
“You’re so beautiful Merriweather Post Pavilion,” I say. "I'm so lucky to have you."
She didn't say a word, but I know she felt the same, too
01.16.09 - Paris, FR - Bataclan
01.17.09 - Leuven, BE - Stuk
01.18.09 - Berlin, DE - Postbahnhof
01.20.09 - New York, NY - Grand Ballroom
01.21.09 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
01.22.09 - Chicago, IL - Metro
01.23.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theater #
01.24.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour !
03.04.09 - Oslo, NO - Rockerfeller
03.05.09 - Lund, SE - Mejeriet
03.06.09 - Copenhagen, DK - Amager Bio
03.08.09 - Cologne, DE - Gloria
03.09.09 - Heidelberg, DE - Karlstorbahnhof
03.10.09 - Fribourg, CH - Fri-Son
03.11.09 - Lucerne, CH - Konzerthaus Schuur
03.12.09 - Florence, IT - Viper Room
03.13.09 - Rome, IT - Auditorium -Teatro Studio
03.14.09 - Milan, IT - Rolling Stone
03.16.09 - Strasbourg, FR - Laiterie
03.17.09 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
03.18.09 - Brussels, BE - Ancienne Belgique
03.19.09 - Lille, FR - Aeronef
03.20.09 - Nantes, FR - Olympic
03.22.09 - Bristol, UK - The Trinity
03.23.09 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms
03.24.09 - London, UK - The Forum
03.25.09 - Leeds, UK - TJs
03.26.09 - Liverpool, UK - The Static Gallery
03.27.09 - Dublin, IE - The Tripod
03.28.09 - Belfast, UK - Stiff Kitten
09.12.09 - Monticello, NY - All Tomorrow's Parties
# Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
The Decembrists Set to Release Hazards of Love, A Concept Album About A Shape-Shifting Animal – ’Nuff Said
Colin Meloy and his INCREDIBLE band The Decemberists are back. After some odd missteps last year, like that singles collection (TMT News) and that Colin Meloy live album (TMT Review), the band is back with an honest to goodness follow-up to that wonderful creature of an album known as The Crane Wife (TMT Review). Coming off the high seas, The Decemberists will be releasing Hazards of Love March 24 on Capitol Records (home of that hotty that kissed a girl “and she liked it”).
Now for those of you familiar with The Decemberists, you should know to expect anything but “normal” from this crew -- and for those of you not familiar with The Decemberists? You’re dead to me. Living up to expectations, Hazards of Love will tout 17 new songs that apparently need to be listened to as a whole to get the picture *cough, concept album alert, cough, cough*. As mentioned in the headline, Hazards of Love features a tale of “a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake, who recounts with spine-tingling ease how he came to be living so easy and free.” Awesome!
The album’s first single “The Rake Song” is available on their official site, but it will require some signing up to hear the tune. The album will also feature several guest musicians in “supporting roles,” including Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden in the female roles, and My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, and The Spinanes' Rebecca Gates. Of course, The Decemberists will also tour in support of the album, with dates to be announced soon. Ambitious? I sure think so. Good? Most likely.
Hazards of Love
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen’s Approach
7. Isn’t it a Lovely Night?
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake’s Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)
The abridged version of the history of rock ‘n’ roll: America invented it, the British perfected it, the Japanese made it totally insane. Acid Mothers Temple, the Kawabata Makoto-helmed mountain of aural annihilation with the ever-changing lineup and name, is prepping a no-time-to-rest whirlwind tour of the United States (and three choice dates for our friendly neighbor to the north) throughout the month of April. Gongs, long beards, skull foraging, and screeching shamanistic jams are the least of what you can expect from psych rock's most immovable object. We're all in big trouble.
DC's Sonic Suicide Squad, who are the self-proclaimed "no God damn jazz band," are scheduled to support all dates. With all the driving, you have to wonder what a cop pulling over their freak wagon would think upon asking for "license and registration, please"... especially in Texas. Would a good, suspenseful movie scene that would make
04.03.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo
04.04.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
04.05.09 - Portland, OR - Holocene
04.06.09 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
04.07.08 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
04.10.08 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
04.11.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
04.12.09 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
04.13.09 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
04.14.09 - Toronto, ON - El Mocambo
04.15.09 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa
04.16.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
04.17.09 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
04.18.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
04.19.09 - Washington, DC - DC9
04.20.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
04.21.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
04.22.09 - Atlanta- GA - The Earl
04.23.09 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone Cafe
04.24.09 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
04.25.09 - Austin, TX - Emo's
04.27.09 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
04.28.09 - San Diego, CA - Casbah