Hey Mr P,
Jerry from Warp Records here, just checking in to see how you've been. It's been cold lately, right? You still into music? If so, that's so funny, because I just heard about this crazy new album by Jamie Lidell that's coming out April 29 on Warp Records, and even in this personal catch-up e-mail, I just have to tell you a little about it!
Well, Mr P, as the editor of a successful mp3 blog, I'm sure you heard his 2005 record, Multiply (TMT Review), and I hope I'm not off the mark in assuming that you not only heard it but loved it, due to its deeply felt song writing and meticulous production skills. Yeah, separately we had some great times with that record, and I don't know about you, but I fostered some pretty deep connections with my peers as a result of our common interest in Lidell's balance between the spontaneous creativity of his raw ideas and the careful craft and
polish of a great record.
But like my fiancé was saying last week (yes, Mr P, we're tying the knot!), this new one, cheekily titled Jim, is even richer and more refined. Like a lot of things she says, though, the truth of her statement didn't dawn on me until I was at a concert featuring other Warp artists like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Autechre, Plaid, Vincent Gallo & many more. My mind started to wander between sets, and her positive assessment of Jim suddenly came into my head and I thought: God I love her so much, she's absolutely right! At that moment, Mr P, I knew that Jim would alternately switch me on in the morning, move me on the dance-floor in the evening, and take me down in the small hours. It was a good feeling, man, like coming home or something.
I don't know about you, Mr P, but it's been a tough year for me. The wedding is next December, which gives me something to look forward to, but in October the garage door came down on Smokey and he's been limping around the apartment ever since. It honestly just makes me want to die sometimes to know I can't afford the surgery he needs. Wait, oh my god, Mr P, you'd have to actually see this to know I'm not making it up, but I just put on a promo copy of Jim and my dog is sprinting around the house exactly like when he was a puppy. This is insane.
Although now that I'm listening to it again, it makes sense that a bold and promiscuously diverse album like Jim would work previously unknown magic. The only thing I can't pin down is what aspect of Jamie Lidell's music worked fastest to heal my dog's leg... was it the gospel grooves? The sweetly sung and fiercely passionate soul? Or was it the delicately moving ballads, the thumping early R&B, the synthed-up disco? I'm sure those all had something to do with it, but I don't think it would have been enough to heal broken bones if it hadn't been for that light touch of hillbilly funk. You can actually help me decide which track sounds most healing, if you have a free minute:
Well, now that I've just blabbed on and on about my life, how are you? You still into music?
Bowerbirds Don’t Include California In Their Upcoming Tour, Even Though Statistically It Would Be A Good Idea For Them To Do So
Because they have neglected California on every tour thus far, I am providing Bowerbirds with a list of reasons why they need to play some shows here soon:
1. The fowl for which the band is named resides solely in Australia, so the band won’t have confused wildlife enthusiasts wandering into their shows.
2. Bowerbirds are building their own house in the wilderness of North Carolina without the use of power tools. We have people who do stuff like that all the time here. There are ridiculous-looking, eco-friendly houses made of plastic or mud or cardboard boxes, and some people live in yurts. Come on, even the word “yurt” sounds potentially eco-friendly. I’m sure Bowerbirds would like yurts.
3. When I was 12, I went to Texas, and a policeman there told me he could tell I was a weirdo Commie from the Granola State. Indeed, California is literally made out of granola. Close to the southern border it’s very dry; in Los Angeles, it’s kind of grey; in San Francisco -- where I'm from -- it’s soggy from the fog; and up north, there’s a lot of weed broken up in it where there should be almonds. The point is, Bowerbirds must like granola, and here we have a lot of granola.
4. I live in California. I like Bowerbirds’ record and would go see them. So would other people I know who live in California. And the whole point of going on tour is people coming to your shows, right? If Bowerbirds came here, there would be people at their shows.
So I think it’s safe to assume that roughly 75% of the population of California would be amenable to having Bowerbirds in their state, though unfortunately less than 1% would be at Bowerbirds’ shows. Still, it’s a start.
A list of places that are not here:
If there is one thing you can always count on, it's that no matter what hijinks you're up to on a night out, there will always be the eventual letdown of returning home to find The Fugitive playing on an inordinate number of TV stations during the peak passed-out-drunk hours of 2-5 AM. You can pray all you want for a French Connection double bill to start just as you fall on the couch, but you'd be wasting your precious breath. No, The Fugitive is aired more often than While You Were Sleeping (and that steaming pile of sadness plays perpetually throughout cable-land, so that is saying something). Regardless, late-night television can lead to some truly messed-up dreams, especially when you are watching garbage and when your stomach is churning from a dozen pints of vodka-waters. Here’s the proof:
Requiem for David Nadelle’s Dream
[Our story starts with a group of camera-ready, ethnically diverse, law-and-order types standing around drinking coffee in front of a man-made lake and a dense forest. To the left, the remains of once-proud Piper Cub light aircraft smolders. Cut to Tommy Lee Jones' Marshal Sam Gerard character prepping his team of wise-crackin' lovable shlubs.]
Gerard: “Alright, listen up people. Our fugitives are named Kevin Drumm and Prurient, a.k.a. Dominick Fernow, and they will be on the road for only four days. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 35 miles per hour. Yes, you creampuffs... that is fast! These two absconders of justice are smart, manipulative, and have more tricks than a coked-up squadron of hookers at a high stakes Texas Hold ‘Em tournament. Yes, my wife did come up with that one, you smart asses! Yes, I know it makes very little sense! But do you young bastards know what that means? It means we have to hightail our cabooses hasta pronto and bring 'em in! Now move it, move it, move it!”
[After performing a hard-target search, of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in a 10 mile radius, we are made aware that Drumm and Fernow are actually in England, readying themselves for a short tour by guzzling real ale and fish pies, while Gerard and co. are somewhere in the Midwest of the United States.]
[A narrator's voice (me, but with a slight Austrian accent) plays over footage of the team making their way across the Atlantic. Some don frogsuits to swim and boogie-board across the tranquil ocean (they will inevitably wash up dead on the coast of Devon three weeks after the case has been closed), two deputies strap themselves to the undercarriage of Richard Branson's weather balloon, and Lee Jones goes via Air Force One.]
Austrian Me: “If anyone deserves a news story on TMT for a FOUR-date tour then I guess it should be the dynamic duo of Prurient and Kevin Drumm. This live pittance takes place from January 28 to 31. Later dudezzz.”
[Tee Lee Jones, in flat cap and britches, stands before his diminished posse.]
Gerard: “Alright, let’s go people! Our fugitives are guilty of everything associated with good taste, innovation, and intelligent music. You may be tempted to sit and watch these two engage then attack your eyes and ears with their pioneering brand of noise concrète (you like that label, don’t you Deputy?) but keep in mind that these agitators are animals, and our bland, generic music taste has to be preserved; it is the only thing that separates us from the animals. That and opposable thumbs. And paying taxes. There’s no time to play the hero card; that’s my job. If anyone thinks of an appropriate classic line of dialogue while they are in hot pursuit of Drumm or Fernow, please see me first so I can deliver it as one of my own. Now let's get it on!”
He then did a dance like Jean-Claude van Damme did in [Kickboxer and made-out with someone who looked a little bit like a buck-toothed Juliette Lewis.]
And Still, Wanting, Prurient's first "official" full-length since Pleasure Ground, is due February 15 via No Fun Productions. Kevin Drumm and Prurient's collaboration, All Are Guests in the House of the Lord, was released last year on Hospital Productions.
Kevin Drumm and Prurient are the Fugitives of Sound:
01.28.08 - Nottingham, England - The Chameleon #
01.29.08 - London, England - Barden’s Boudoir $
01.30.08 - Newcastle, England - World Headquarters %
01.31.08 - Bristol, England - The Croft ^
# Sunroof!, Soft Option Killing & Stomach
$ Beach Fuzz & Cheapmachines
% Romance & Brothers Yemen
^ Putrifier, Team Brick
So, how are those New Year's Resolutions going? Have you succeeded in using your new gym membership to the fullest advantage? Have you stopped smoking? Have you started saving towards that dream family vacation that 10 years from now the kids will look back on with scorn and revulsion?
Well, don't feel bad. Studies have shown that making significant behavioral changes take a good deal of time. I, for example, considered vowing to write daily in hopes of someday achieving my dream of writing an edgy, but true-to-life novel that would make me the Bret Easton Ellis/D.H. Lawrence of the new millennium. Fortunately, I realized that this would require lots of self-control, and for the sake of my social life, I decided to change my New Year's Resolution to "being even more awesome than the year before."
In the spirit of that wise decision, I'd like to present a possible solution to any feelings of inadequacy or boredom you, the new non-smoker/non-drinker/non-fun dude, may be experiencing. The answer is short and simple, and it is this: The Go! Team is embarking on a U.K. tour this spring. Imagine the fun! Imagine the music! Imagine the neon! It's all you need to get your groove back, and to do it with panache. So dress to impress, and erase the stress! This tour promises to be one of the most important steps in making yourself "even more awesome" in the new year.
John Vanderslice to Open for Stephen Malkmus on Tour, But More Importantly, I Did Not Go to Work Today
You'd think that overpriced sushi on the Lower East Side of New York City wouldn't result in me becoming BFFs with my bathroom, but my life is full of surprises. So, I'm sitting at home right now when I should be at work (this is a new job, mind you, so the anxiety level is doubled). But then I realized, "Hey! I write for a pretty kickass little pub called Tiny Mix Tapes! I work for them too! Let's get productive!" And so it starts...
Mr. Slice, who we all know and love, will be venturing out on the road in support of his new album, Emerald City (TMT Review). (Note: I am so whacked out I had to Google "John Vanderslice" to remember the TITLE OF HIS NEW ALBUM. Which I own. Please don't expect much of me here.) I am not sure how the idea of touring with Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks came to fruition, but I would like to think that he and Stevie looked at each other, agreed that each other were type awesome, and made it official in Las Vegas over Mai Tais. The wedding celebration kicks off next month, and the annulment occurs approximately one month later.
...I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore. I don't feel well.
Tourdates, all with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (my wit is broken along with my soul):
There Will Be Blood: British Sea Power’s Keyboardist Knocked Unconscious After Stage-Diving Accident
"The impact knocked him out straight away. He was unconscious for three minutes and there was a lot of blood."
That's what British Sea Power's spokeswoman told the BBC, referring to a live accident last Wednesday at the Irish Centre in Leeds, England. According to reports, British Sea Power keyboardist/cornet player Phil Sumner decided to climb up a 12-foot PA system for a theatrical stage-dive. But when the crowd didn't properly catch his jump, Sumner landed head-first onto the venue floor.
"It all looked a lot worse than it really was," according to the spokeswoman.
In addition to three minutes of unconsciousness, Sumner suffered a broken molar and received some stitches, but he returned to live performing the very next day because he's such a fucking badass.
British Sea Power's latest album, Do You Like Rock Music? (TMT Review), was released in the U.K. earlier this month, with a U.S. release slated for February 12.
Cautiously hopping off monitors at these dates:
Ladies and gentlemen, in today's Shepherd's Dog-eat-dog world of indie-cred name-checking, obscure reference one-upsmanship, and intimidating hyphen-usage, you damn well better know a thing or two about bands like Tapes ‘n Tapes if you wanna fit in at the next Zaireeka Party (hint: Zaireeka isn't a kind of wine).
After all, you don't wanna eek your way through life as "the guy down the hall who was heavy into Pearl Jam," now do you?
I didn't think so.
So, let's start boning up on factoids about one of the most basic pillars of present-day indie's charming little house of cards: the always-classic "blog-feuled-little-band-that-could" (told ya there'd be a lot of hyphens).
Take, for example, exhibit A: the much-balleyhooed Minneapolis four-piece Tapes ‘n Tapes. Let's start out simple and see if you can answer a string of quiz questions about these seminal niche-nestlers and their upcoming sophomore LP (hint: "LP" means "record"... uh, and "record" means "album").
Please Russian Circle one:
1) TRUE/FALSE: Tapes ‘n Tapes play sort of lo-fi, jittery indie-rock with pinches of spaz-country, psych, and sugary-pop thrown in.
2) TRUE/FALSE: Tapes ‘n Tapes' sophomore record will be released on April 8, 2008 by indie label XL Recordings.
3) TRUE/FALSE: This record is entitled Walk It Off and was produced by renowned producer Dave Fridmann, who has worked with such luminaries as The Flaming Lips, Sleater-Kinney, and Weezer.
4) TRUE/FALSE: Walk It Off features 12 new tracks and is the Minneapolis-based band's first record since 2006's widely lauded The Loon, which established the band – Josh Grier (guitar, vocals), Jeremy Hanson (drums), Matt Kretzman (keyboards), Erik Appelwick (bass guitar) – as a "band you'd damn well better find out about before your girlfriend does from that dude that she's in art classes with."
5) TRUE/FALSE: Tapes ‘n Tapes will be performing at SXSW this year and will be announcing Spring tourdates in support of the new album soon (hint: SXSW = South by Southwest Music and Film Festival).
Great! That wasn't toooo hard was it? Now, please score yourself 1-12 based on the following tracklist:
Well? Are you a "Dirty Dirty?" Or at least a "Demon Apple?" You'd better bone up, or you'll never be able to over-use that hyphen key.
After catching word of Radiohead's recent pledge to cut carbon emissions on their tour supporting their recent album In Rainbows (TMT Review), Low has decided to one-up those English bastards by introducing zero-emission guitars into their everyday lineup.
Spontaneously combusting guitars have long plagued those with the skills and backbone to shred wantonly. Despite the obvious need to continually purchase new guitars, the burning lacquer releases dangerous amounts of acrylic suspected of contributing to global warming into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions from guitarist Herman Li of Dragonforce in 2007 alone are believed to be responsible for the recent extinction of the Bubal Hartebeest.
"Honestly, I don't know why we didn't think [of this] before," said Alan Sparhawk, guitarist and vocalist for Low. "Just the sheer number of forests that have been needlessly clear-cut to support rock ‘n’ roll's fascination with shredding is unacceptable. I feel that these new shred-resistant ‘axes’ will really bury the ‘hatchet’ on this issue."
Don't call ‘em slow-core just cause it's Low-core:
In related news, Alan Sparhawk's side project Retribution Gospel Choir will finally release its self-titled debut March 18 on Mark Kozelek's (Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters) label, Caldo Verde. The shred-resistant axes are rumored to have been used on the album.
[Photo: Tim Soter]
Be it Radiohead or Portishead, Björk or the Breeders, Kraftwerk or... er, Kraftwork, famed mid-Spring rock festival Coachella (a.k.a. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival) rolls onward to yet another season of sweet, sweet musical ambivalence with the recent unveiling of its 2008 lineup from a press conference in Mexico.
The problem? Well, see, turns out Coachella has been forced to layoff a few "non-essential" members of their marketing department in order to pay for withered pretty-boy Roger Waters, who will be playing the entirety of 1973's Dark Side of the Moon in all of its overstuffed, hippie glory on the final night of this goofy, something-for-everyone festival.
The solution? Well, in their infinite wisdom, these vigorous California go-getters asked ME to kind of fill in the cracks in the ad campaigns for the other headliners. I figured I would start by drumming up a few slogans. You know, just to kind of get the public interested. Let's see here:
- Jack Johnson: Spring break road trip, eh, Sigma Pi brothers???
- The Verve: What was that song they did? "Freshmen," right???
- Portishead: As close to Radiohead as you're gonna get THIS year, cry babies!
- The Raconteurs: What do you mean?! This IS Jack White's real band!
- Death Cab for Cutie: Warning: Ben Gibbard's face WILL be on a jumbo screen.
- Kraftwerk: Look dad! Floyd AND Kraftwerk! Happy Early Fathers' Day!
- My Morning Jacket: The Original Band of Horses!
- Love and Rockets: Uh... who?
- Oh yeah, and don't forget Rilo Kiley, Justice, M.I.A., and The Breeders, young hipsters! Fuck the establishment, am I right? Outta sight, my man!
Well, that's about all I've got so far. But there are 125 artists scheduled for this thing, so I've got my work cut out for me before April 25-27 at Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA. I'd better stop fooling around and get crack-a-lackin'. I don't want to let down the fans, man.
Oh shit, almost forgot! A complete lineup is available at the festival's MySpace page, and tickets go on sale January 25 at Coachella.com. Get ‘em now, before your dad/frat brother/friend from the ‘90s/Jack White fan/Grey's Anatomy-lover gets there first!
Phew! How about that, Coachella? Am I hired?
Yeah, Great, Portland Produces Yet Another Awesome Band. I’m So Sick Of Portland; Talkdemonic To Exercise Their Demons With Rigorous Six-Date West Coast Tour.
Portland bands deserve Portland pomp and ceremony, so to write this piece, I made a quick transformation from Arcata Indier-Than-Thou to PDX Hipster. I've put aside my tight black pants for a pair of tight gray ones, donned a diagonal striped American Apparel t-shirt, and a black pea coat. You can see the outline of my ipod nano through my skin tight back pocket, and I'm wearing mirrored aviator glasses though it's overcast. My fixie is in the living room, and there's a single American Spirit cigarette sticking out from behind my ear, held in place by my blue beanie. Welcome to Portland. Let's commence:
Oh snap! Talkdemonic, that post-rock duo from PDX (PAUSE TO CHORUS, "Brigdetown! Bridgetown!" WITH ANYONE ELSE IN THE ROOM) are hella dank. I don't know if you herd their first album, Mutiny Sunshine (TMT Review), but dude, it was like, fuckin', best ever. They released it in 2004, and it's all folktronic hop -- I don't know, they play at Doug Fir Lounge a lot. A lot, a lot. Dude, they played at Doug Fir Lounge so often that Willamette Weekly ("Dude, I love the Willamette." "Oh, I know dude, it's tops.") called them the Best New Band of 2005, and then their shows started getting hella swamped with crazy fools who were like, "Oh yeah, Talkdemonic -- I've always loved Talkdemonic," and it's like, "Yeah right, dude, fuckin' poseur." But anyway, I still go to the shows because Kevin O'Connor does those totally mad beats and Lisa Molinaro is totally babest babe.
(CRACK OPEN PABST, SIP. LIGHT AMERICAN SPIRIT, STARE OUT THOUGHTFULLY FOR A MINUTE. COME BACK SLOWLY.) Anyway... they signed with Arena Rock Recording Co. and released their second album, Beat Romantic (TMT Review), in 2006 -- I haven't heard it though. Hey, will you send it to me? Sick dude, thanks. But they're releasing this new album called Eyes At Half Mast that they've been working on for a couple years and took like three months to mix. It's gonna be so sweet. They're going on tour with it, exclusively performing the new material at like six different places before they release it in June. I'm hella going, dude; it's gonna be so fierce, and they're playing Doug Fir when they come through, so yeah... (PAUSE, SMOKE.) Fuck man, I'm so hungover. Let's ride to Stumptown.
Dude, but really. Hella sweet dates: