Mikal Cronin’s new album and tour will cure nightmares

The other night I fell asleep while waiting for my turn in Trivia Crack and Googling “cake boss prostitute” because I was damn sure Buddy Valastro was arrested for picking up a hooker. It could have been the gallon of Gatorade I drank prior to sleeping, but I had an intense nightmare followed by sleep paralysis and an appearance by Fucko the Clown, who was basically a representation of my own weaknesses and regrets.

Luckily, when I came into the TMT offices, I started work on this very news story you’re reading right now, and I listened to Mikal Cronin’s new album MCIII. Mikal Cronin? More like Magical Cronin, because this avid Ty Segall collaborator produces nothing but sounds of magic. CDs, LPs, and cassettes of MCIII will be released on May 5 from Merge Records, and if you pre-order the album, the first 500 LP orders will be a clear vinyl that will also have a limited release at independent stores.

Cronin helped me to forget about Fucko the Clown. Also, how can you not trust someone who plays the majority of their own instruments on their album? Cronin even played a traditional Greek string instrument, called the tzouras, as well as French horn, saxophone, and trumpet. But Cronin is a guitar man through and through as you can hear on the new track “Made My Mind Up.” Let him help you forget your nightmares when he tours, starting in February.

Tour dates:

02.21.15 - Schaumburg, IL - Prairie Center for the Arts
04.22.15 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
04.24.15 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.25.15 - Seattle, WA - The Tractor
05.01.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Eagle Rock Center for the Arts
05.05.15 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
05.28.15 - Barcelona, Spain - PrimaveraSound, Barcelona
05.29.15 - Nimes, France - This is Not A Love Song Festival
05.31.15 - Paris, France - Maroquinerie
06.01.15 - London, UK - 100 Club
06.02.15 - Brussels, Belgium - Botanique
06.05.15 - Ravenna, Italy - Beaches Brew Festival
06.06.15 - Athens, Greece - Plissken Festival
06.08.15 - Berlin, Germany - Lido
06.09.15 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude9
06.10.15 - Amsterdam, Netherlands – Bitterzoet

• Mikal Cronin: https://www.facebook.com/MikalCroninMusic
• Merge: http://www.mergerecords.com

Rabit announces your upcoming Baptizm, out on Tri Angle whether you like it or not

It’s sad how Eminem getting down with Brittany Murphy on screen basically put a hold on rabbit monikers in the music world. Of course, we should pay unspoken homage to those kick-ass rap battles in which the fictional Slim Shady makes a mute through “Clarence”-shaming, but realistically, the titular neglect of those cuddly creatures was bound to have an end date. I’m letting you know beforehand that I haven’t bothered to do any research on this, but let’s agree to the extravagant claim that Rabit, producer from Houston, has single-handedly made things acceptable again. Resorting to hare references is no longer necessary, and neither is the conformist use of accepted consonants.

Rabit’s Baptizm EP is set for release March 17 on Tri Angle, and it follows up a series of dragon-inspired 12-inches disseminated to his fellow underground animals. Maybe you had a nibble while listening to Logos’ Cold Mission LP, or maybe “watch-worthy” recs from FADER have kept you unconsciously aware. Whatever the case, the lead single sure sounds grimy, which is seemingly new territory for the Brooklyn imprint:

Baptizm tracklisting:

01. Imp
02. Bloody Eye
03. Hex
04. Straps

• Rabit: https://soundcloud.com/therabit
• Tri Angle: http://tri-anglerecords.com

[Photo: Lane Stewart]

Jlin announces debut LP Dark Energy on Planet Mu, so if you like both footwork and Albert Einstein…

Most people aren’t the Hulk, and so most people aren’t capable of harnessing the extremes of their emotions into a humongous force capable of compressing a locomotive into steel taffy and then eating it whole. That may or may not have actually happened in the comics, but here in real life we have a separate example of putting sadness and anger to good use: the Gary-based footwork producer Jlin, who’s prepping her debut LP Dark Energy for release on March 23 via Planet Mu. And no, before you ask, she did not threaten to throw shoes at Mike Paradinas if he didn’t agree to release her album.

He’s doing so willingly! Following an appearance on a particular Mu compilation, as well as her participation in a particular crew of DJ Roc’s, Jlin’s Dark Energy reportedly gets its name from the producer’s primary creative motivation: anything but sunshine. As she elaborated in a press release: “My musical sense of expression comes from sadness, and anger. I can’t create from a happy place. It seems pointless in my opinion. I don’t make tracks as much as I feel them. Creating for me is about feeling and impact.”

So even though we might long for a potential Vulcan collabo, a contribution from Holly Herndon on the track “Expand” more than makes up for it, I’m sure. Preview tracks and pre-order the album here.

Dark Energy tracklisting:

01. Black Ballet
02. Unknown Tongues
03. Guantanamo
04. Erotic Heat
05. Black Diamond
06. Mansa Musa
07. Infrared (Bagua)
08. Ra
09. Expand
10. So High
11. Abnormal Restriction

• Planet Mu: http://www.planet.mu

Octogenarian Yoko Ono will soon have two more 2015 releases than your band

Some birthdays are just associated with certain rites of passage. At 16, for example, you might get your driver’s license. At 18, you verify that you’re of legal age and look at your very first pornographic image. And 21, when after years of patiently waiting, you finally drink your very first beer. Big number 82 is such a birthday, and, really, it goes without saying — you turn 82, you release two 10-inch LPs.

At least that’s what Yoko Ono is doing. Only she’s upping the ante by releasing not only the usual pair of tenners, but a book to boot! One will feature crooner Antony in a duo with Yoko, titled “I Love You Earth,” as well as his own solo cover of her song “I’m Going Away Smiling.” The other is a live recording of the recent collaboration “Blink” between Yoko and free jazz sax shredder John Zorn.

Not content to see her birthday celebrated in merely one artistic medium, Harper will publish the book See Hear Yoko by Bob Gruen and Judy Denberg on the very same day. The book will feature black-and-white photographs and interviews culled over the past quarter-century as text.

Q: But I wanted to get my auntie that fresh wax as a Valentine’s Day gift!

A: Too bad! You gotta wait til the February 18 release date like the rest of us. In the meantime, you can pre-order the records at Chimera Music and digitally via iTunes.

Sure, everyone releases a double 10-inch on their 82nd birthday. It’s almost a cliché at this point. But humor her, ok? She’s old. Why, back in my day, all we had was vinyl!…

• Yoko Ono: http://imaginepeace.com

Speedy Ortiz announce new album Foil Deer, and suddenly I could go for some chocolate!

For those of you who totally ignored or made fun of or whipped pennies at Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz back when they were mere freshmen on 2013’s Major Arcana: fuck you. Even though they’re still all snotty and punky and crude and DIY-as-balls and proudly use Bandcamp as their website; Speedy Ortiz are SOPHOMORES now. So back off, man.

The band has gotten a little sexier, a bit more political, and slightly more confident in its feminist views since you saw it last (I hear they all read The Awakening over the summer), and they’re proud to be releasing the fruits of their new and improved bodies and minds on their second full-length, entitled Foil Deer, on Carpark this coming April 21. Bandleader Sadie Dupuis wrote the bulk of it at her mother’s home in the Connecticut woods, “where the songwriter imposed a self-regulated exile and physical cleansing of sorts, finding that many of the songs came to her while running or swimming alone.” Okay, hmm; maybe they all read Walden.

“I gave up wasting mental energy on people who didn’t have my back,” Dupuis says. “Listening to our old records, I get the sense I was putting myself in horrible situations just to write sad songs. This music isn’t coming from a dark place, and without slipping into self-empowerment jargon, it feels stronger.”

Sweet. Doesn’t that make you want to hear it? Me too! But I guess giving all the tracks away early is way too Freshman-year, because there’s nothing to share with you from it right now except the tracklisting, which you’ll find down below. Oh, and there’s also some sort of original drawing by Michael Deforge on Pitchfork that details the album’s release in goofy, comic-strip form. (Hey, I said they were sophomores now, not seniors!)

Foil Deer tracklisting:

01. Good Neck
02. Raising the Skate
03. The Graduates
04. Dot X
05. Homonovus
06. Puffer
07. Swell Content
08. Zig
09. My Dead Girl
10. Ginger
11. Mister Difficult
12. Dvrk Wvrld

• Speedy Ortiz: https://speedyortiz.bandcamp.com
• Carpark: http://carparkrecords.com

RVNG Intl. announces FRKWYS vol. 12 album and film, a collab between Robert A.A. Lowe and Ariel Kalma

Hey there, friend, do I know you? Why, beyond the fact that I just compulsively referred to you as friend, there’s something about the smooth contours of your face that makes you seem familiar. Makes me want to tell you about new albums that are coming soon as we stand right here in this very Wal-Mart parking lot. For example, RVNG Intl. has just announced the next installment in their FRKWYS series. It’s the 12th, and it keeps on keepin’ on with the theme of “intergenerational collaboration,” following such groupings as Steve Gunn with Mike Cooper, Blues Control with Laraaji, and Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras with The Congos.

Is anything about the way that I gesticulate while I speak ringing a bell for you, possible friend? Pressing on: this 12th installment is entitled, quite fittingly if you ask me, We Know Each Other From Somewhere, and it’s a collaboration between Ariel Kalma and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. Kalma is a huge figure in experimental and ambient electronic music whose work dates back to the 70s and who recently had a large collection of his work reissued by RVNG as An Evolutionary Music. Lowe, who performs as Lichens, has also recently been keeping busy hanging out right near the top of TMT’s list of our very favorite movies of 2014 in the film A Spell to Ward off the Darkness. You nod your head in acknowledgement of these fine men, and yet you cannot even conceive of the times you and I have shared over the years as we stand here together in the produce aisle of a Midwestern Wal-Mart?

The album came together as the two blended their musical approaches in Kalma’s home studio in Main Arm, Australia, relying on a combination of modular synth work with the environmental sounds of Main Arm itself. It’s also accompanied by the release of a documentary titled Sunshine Soup directed by Misha Hollenbach and Johann Rashid, a film crafted from footage shot during the process of recording We Know Each Other Somehow. Both the film and the album will be out on April 13 in the United Kingdom and April 14 in the United States; pre-order and see more details here. Watch the trailer for the film and hear “Mille Voix” from the album embedded below. Also, here’s my phone number in case you suddenly decided to stop being a jerk and acknowledge all the fun we had at summer camp together back in 2006.

We Know Each Other Somehow tracklist:

01. Magick Creek
02. Mille Voix
03. Gongmo Kalma Lowe
04. Strange Dreams
05. Wasp Happening
06. Miracle Mile

• Ariel Kalma: http://www.ariel-kalma.com
• Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: http://lichensarealive.blogspot.com
• RVNG Intl.: http://igetrvng.com

Godspeed You! Black Emperor to curate a portion of Sled Island Festival in June

If you live in Calgary, Alberta, what could possibly be better than discovering that post-rock wizards Godspeed You! Black Emperor are finally paying a visit to your town? How about discovering that they are playing not one but two (TWO!) shows in your town?

Well, the clever Calgary folk who organize the Sled Island Festival figured that to make up for the town’s hitherto lack of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, they’d not only get the band to play two shows at the festival, but also hand the reigns of a portion of the festival over to them.

In addition to Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing two shows at the Central United Church, June 24-28 will be a festival of all things Godspeed in Calgary, as the band curates a portion of a bill that will end up amounting to over 300 bands, artists, filmmakers, and comedians of their choice. No word on who Godspeed have invited to play yet, and I could be way off, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Carrot Top is the band’s comedian of choice.

As we pointed out last year, if you can’t wait to June to get your Godspeed fix, you can catch them around Europe this April. Early bird passes are available for Sled Island now.

• Sled Island: http://www.sledisland.com
• Godspeed You! Black Emperor: http://cstrecords.com/gybe

PAN to reissue Spectre’s Ruff Kutz mixtape from 1998 to show y’all who’s boss

Coming out of the depths of Brooklyn in the early 90s, WordSound, a label founded by Skiz Fernando Jr. a.k.a. Spectre was instrumental in defining the sound of “illbient,” a term which has largely fallen out of use in this day and age. Maybe that’s because Spectre and his cadre of weirdos (including rapper Sensational, Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin, Doc Israel, and Metabolics) did such a thorough job cultivating this dark, grotty, experimental hip-hop meets dub sound that no one has even come close to touching it in subsequent years. To put it more concisely, they run this game.

Released in 1998, Spectre’s Ruff Kutz mixtape came when WordSound was really hitting its stride, collecting alternate mixes, unreleased tracks, and obscure beats culled from Spectre’s “underground vaults.” The tape features material from some of the biggest names of the WordSound stable: Dubadelic, Sensational, Kevin Martin’s Techno Animal project, Professor Shehab a.k.a. Psycho Priest, Djini Brown, Mr. Dead of Metabolics, Doc Israel, Scotty Hard, and Slotek. Originally, Ruff Kutz was released as an extremely limited cassette, and like most extremely limited cassettes of the era, it quickly fell into obscurity. That is, of course, until now. Thank god Bill “Fuck You, Pay Me” Kouligas and his PAN cohorts have decided to give us all a lesson in who the king of dubby, dizzy, hazy mixtapes really is.

On March 9, PAN will release Ruff Kutz fully mastered from the original DAT tapes on 140g double vinyl and in digital formats. Fans of Bootleg Tapes take note, this is some real raw shit. Check out the first side of the tape below in its original unmastered form, and let Spectre smear some of his ill shit in your ears (his words, not mine, you’ll see).

Ruff Kutz tracklist:

01. I
02. II

• WordSound: http://www.wordsound.com
• PAN: http://p-a-n.org

Calexico announce new album Edge of the Sun, lizards sunning themselves on flat hot desert rocks all simultaneously nod their slow approval

Hey readers: I think we can all agree that everybody hates winter, right? And I think we can further agree that nothing says “I’m the opposite of what winter seems like” than mile after shamble-y mile of adorable, cartoon-tumbleweed-and-cactus-strewn American desert.

And hey, what better band to bring such imagery to glorious musical fruition than desert-rock mainstays Calexico! Well, don’t look now, but THAT VERY SAME BAND THAT I JUST MENTIONED IS COINCIDENTALLY coming back around to save you from the grips of your crippling vitamin D deficiency by releasing a new album of sun-soaked, south-of-the-border-tinged rock! Isn’t that just… THE COOLEST?

Okay, now that the set-up is out of the way, Calexico’s steamin’ hot new album, the proper follow-up to 2012’s Algiers, is called Edge of the Sun, and it’s coming out via Anti-/City Slang on April 14 (just go ahead and ignore how it won’t be winter by then, please… thanks!). The record seems to be a bit of a party affair, featuring a garish, hip-hop piñata’s worth of guest spots and “collabs,” including the likes of Neko Case, Sam Beam (Iron and Wine dude), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses dude), Nick Urata (DeVotchka dude), Gaby Moreno, Mexican artist Carla Morrison, and more. Wow. This is hot, hot, hot!

Speaking of things that are hot, the whole album was recorded in Mexico City, and it was probably hot there. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s ask the band’s Joey Burns:

Going to another city to jumpstart the creative writing process helped us to know what this record is about and where we are as a band, like an open canvas with few ties to normal routines when recording and writing. Of course, we have been influenced by Mexican music and culture since the beginning, and you would imagine that a trip to Mexico City would have happened on past projects, but it hadn’t. So going to the center of Mexico and seeing an artistic community with such an impressive history as well as notable current musicians really inspired us.

Man! That didn’t seem to set the record straight about the heat in Mexico City at the time of recording AT ALL. Never mind. Just check out the album track “Cumbia de Donde” right down here and hang in there during the last half of this winter shit storm. It’s got some horns in it, and horns are definitely pretty hot.

Edge of the Sun tracklisting:

01. Falling from the Sky
02. Bullets & Rocks
03. When the Angels Played
04. Tapping on the Line
05. Cumbia de Donde
06. Miles from the Sea
07. Coyoacán
08. Beneath the City of Dreams
09. Woodshed Waltz
10. Moon Never Rises
11. World Undone
12. Follow the River

• Calexico: http://www.casadecalexico.com
• Anti-: http://www.anti.com

RIP: Joshua Prince, a.k.a. Dust La Rock, co-founder of Fool's Gold Records

From Fool’s Gold:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of original Fool’s Gold co-founder and art director Joshua Prince, aka Dust La Rock. His singular talent and uncompromising vision set a foundation for our label as a beacon for artists. He will be missed dearly by the Fool’s Gold family and the creative community at large.

• Fool’s Gold Records: http://foolsgoldrecs.com