After three long, quiet years, Blonde Redhead have announced plans to release a new album. You probably read all about it in an exclusive from these dudes a few days ago. I bet you're pretty smug. Think you got the whole story, huh? Well, you're wrong. Dead wrong. Okay, so you know that the album's set for an April 10 release. You may even know that Europeans will have to wait until April 23 for their Kazu fix. And I'm sure you've heard all about their spring tour. Heck, you may have found out that that they're calling the album 23 (4AD)... but do you know why? Huh? Do you? No, I didn't think so.
You see, kids, the album is about me. If this sounds strange to you, crawl out from under that rock. I'm pretty famous, and my life is interesting to lots of people. No small number of cultural luminaries consider me a muse. Rumor has it that [?Dave Eggers] and [?Jonathan Lethem] are currently feuding over the right to document my high school years. [?Damien Hirst] recently pickled a goat and titled the work Judy Ain't No Punk, Age 6 1/2 (it's a compliment, trust me). And now Blonde Redhead have recorded an album inspired by and released to coincide with my 23rd year on this here Earth.
The album will explore the depths of passionate, dramatic pathos that I colloquially refer to as "my quarter-life crisis." While "Silently" describes the existential angst that stalks me on my daily commute to work, "Publisher" delves into the occasional suicidal thoughts I experience while staring deep into manuscripts and wondering whether my job title will always include the words "Assistant to." "Heroine" serves as a sort of testimony to my vital presence in the universe.
Now, aren't you glad I set the record straight?
Like sands through the hourglass, so is the tracklist of my life:
On New Year's Eve, I made a resolution to try and do one thing worth remembering each and every day of this year. The point of the resolution is to have something to say to people who ceaselessly ask, "What have you been doing lately?" when all you seem to remember of the last three months is the distinctly chewy texture of slightly-stale chocolate Teddy Grahams. Last year I attempted this, and though I spent January 1 at a store called Hobo, purchasing a plush horse-head on a stick, I recall nothing of the next 12 months. This year got me a little further, but before I knew it, it was 4 A.M. on January 3 and The Mighty Ducks was blaring in the other room. I am a failure.
Islands, on the other hand, are ready for 2007 in a way that few are. They've been readying new material for their follow-up to last year's Return To The Sea (TMT Review) and are entering the studio in February to crank out tha tunez. While I was buying a gumball from the machine outside of Meijer, Nick Thorburn and his friends were making songs "10 minutes long with innumerable key & tempo changes, modulation, genre-meddling bombastic progressive rock existential death-defying dangerousness." And I'm cool with that.
"Hey!" you might say. "Did you just write Nick Thorburn?? Don'tcha mean Nick Diamonds???" I hope you might say that. Hell, I hope that someone, somewhere is reading this. Regardless, your lukewarm potential concern is touching. Yes, Nick Diamonds has indeed cast off his flashy alias and reverted to his real name, though Thornburn sounds pretty badass if you think about it. I've had a lot of time to think about it in between swigs of Mountain Dew.
Apparently the group has been so productive that it has a slew of shorter, "more subdued" pop songs on hand that they might try to do something with, if they have time. Which they will. Album title and tracklisting are forthcoming (slackers!!), but chances are they'll release that information before I get home from Blockbuster.
Berg Sans Nipple Expose New Record To January Cold; Likely to Be Hard And Small And Purple And Sensitive
Franco-American duo The Berg Sans Nipple will be releasing a new long player in North America January 23 on Team Love Records. It's called Along the Quai. These two fellas (Lori Sean Berg and Shane Aspegren) both used to be drummers once upon a time, but now team up to record great electro-funk, toy-pop, afro-looped goodness. I once saw them fill in for a guy named Pierre and almost upstage Animal Collective. They are both really nice, even when you try to speak to them in nervous French. Plus, their name is ridiculous. AND THIS IS THEIR FIRST LP SINCE 2003's TRES TRES TRES BIEN Form Of (on Prohibited Records)!!!!! I AM TRES HAPPY ABOUT THIS! TRES TRES HAPPY! Look at zee traque liste! Or go listen to some of zee tracks!!! Baguette wee wee haha.
Along the Quai tracklist:
I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said, "Stand, and ask 'When can you sit?'" Powerful words. It is the mantra I live by. Some say it is foolish of me. Others say I must be a genius for seeing such merit in a phrase so innocuous. Yes, I am a genius. And no, I am not foolish. To those that say I am, I simply recall Mark Twain's famous line, "Egypt has a lot of denial." Again, powerful.
How does it feel to be reading the words that were originally thoughts inside a genius' head? It's hard for me to imagine (but not too hard because I am a genius). The full glory of my expressions is different for me, like an approximation of what you feel. It is not unlike a photograph — a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world. Yes, truly I am your superior.
But I digress. My soul splits. One part of me wants to discuss the simpleton's view of my intellect, while the other wants to bestow upon the simpleton some earth-shattering news I just mathematically proved. So I will sew the two sides together, for your sake. The procedure is not unlike Ralph Waldo Emerson's verse, "You take the high road, I'll take the low road, and the two will diverge into one." And yet, something doesn't seem right about that.
Perhaps I am just overwhelmed by my equation. Yes, I, me, a genius, have mathematically proven that Yo La Tengo, of musical fame, are releasing an ONLINE EP through iTunes. The band, embodying my best qualities, has bestowed a gift to you, the pedestrian. Although it is not a companion piece to their recent seminal work, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, I am calling it one. The EP is a live session, featured in this particular order: "El Es Gay," "Pass the Hatchet," "I Think I'm Goodkind," "The Weakest Part," and "Luci Baines" (Arthur Lee cover). All have been mathematically proven, and I will spare you the notation because only I would understand it.
Yo La Tengo also have some tourdates planned, which reminds me of a quote from horror master Albert Hitchcock: "In life, you're gonna get a lot of chocolate, sometimes in boxes." Chilling:
Drawing: Jad Fair
Shh. Do you hear that? Shh! Under that tree stump over there! I think it's... Yes! It is! It's the distinctive call of a fully-grown Early Day Miner! Oh, my. I don't think he's seen us. He's sticking his little head out... Be very quiet; he's easily scared and will hide at the first sign of danger.
He's... Yes, I do believe that he's coming over! Have you got some food with you? Nuts or chocolate? Let him feed out of your hand. No sudden movements. Trust, that's the main thing with a Early Day Miner. If you gain his trust, you may even be able to coax him on a full-blown tour!
I do believe it's done the trick! Look at the little fella, whittling a crude guitar-like instrument out of a beech twig with his front teeth. Soon, he'll scamper off... there he goes!... and find a nice, warm, dark venue where he'll perform his traditional mating call. If you're very, very quiet, he might just let you listen. Wouldn't that be a treat?
So, maybe you live in a place that, for some reason unknown to you, is about 30 fucking degrees hotter than it should be, which makes it about 50 degrees hotter than you're used to. You're not accustomed to this, probably because your blood has yet to thin since moving to the deep south, the low country, that portion of the East Coast that has almost zero "liberals" among its population. What I'm getting at here is that due to the current summer-like climate situation, Americans find themselves clamoring for summertime jams (no Fresh Princes need apply) more than any other winter in the nation's history.
Saturday Looks Good To Me are perfect musical companions for the faux-summer(or if you prefer, the "damn this is one hot" fall)like-temps. All those crazy things you feel every couple days (happiness, melancholy, longing, love, discomfort, hotness, coldness, reverb) are found on any one of the 26 bazillion tunes in the SLGTM catalog. Their convincingly "authentic" '60s-ish song-stylings make apocalyptic-like weather situations seem like a just another day at the beach.
Now (er, the end of February) is just as good a time as any for SLGTM to go on tour. This particular jaunt finds the group playing shows with Canadian-favs Ladyhawk and fellow Michigan resident Chris Bathgate. SLGTM's 2006 LP, Sound On Sound (Redder), was a B-sides/rarities album with 30 tracks culled from many a demo tape, 7-inch, EP, and tour-only release. So, the band has to get back on the road, if for no other reason than as an excuse to record another tour-only EP that could be considered for inclusion on a future odds & sods LP. Green Mansions is that EP, a limited edition (250 copies), one-sided LP of all new material put out by head SLGTM-er Fred Thomas' own Ypsilanti Records.
The recording of the EP was done in stark contrast to the process for SLGTM's as-yet to-be-released LP, Fill Up The Room. As Thomas tells it, the recording of the future LP saw the band spend "the better part of the year meticulously recording in elaborate studios all over the place." For the EP, they returned to what Thomas calls "our early supremely lo-fi roots," even recording the EP masters "on a no-name tape found on the ground." Only one song from GM, "Peg," is scheduled to make an appearance on FUTR. GM will be made available to lame-os, slackers, and invalids who can't make it to a Saturday Looks Good To Me show on the upcoming tour or through the band's regular site or the Ypsilanti Records site and/or either one of those organizations' MySpace pages. That makes it pretty impossible to whine about not getting a chance to own one, so save it.
Green Mansions tracklist:
All featuring combos of Weasel Walter (drums) with Damon Smith (bass), Henry Kaiser (guitar), Marshall Allen (alto), Elliott Levin (tenor), John Gruntfest (reed), Jon Raskin (reed), David Slusser (reed), Phillip Greenlief (reed), Jennifer Hicks (movement), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Marco Eneidi (alto), Marc Edwards (drums), Lisle Ellis (bass), and Elliott Levin (tenor).
Ho, ho, ho! Yes, that's right, boys and girls, Santa was in a nasty mood this year and was caught giving out coal to all the artists signed to any independent music label beginning with the letter "S". While the folks over at Secretly Canadian were happy with their newfound energy-creating resource, the poor souls over at Sub Pop weren't so lucky. Word on the street is that Low were so distraught they wrote a slow song about it. Oh, that Santa! Turning the world on its head, I tell you!
The mighty trio, currently consisting of Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and new bassist Matt Livingston, have decided to turn their Christmas Crisis into a Christmas Opportunity. The group, set to release their new LP, Drums and Guns, in March, are heading out on a little romp around the globe.
The dates include a short stint at this year's Dirty Three-curated All Tomorrow's Parties in Somerset, UK, which, for those of you keeping track, will be happening at the same time as Coachella 2007 in Indio, CA.
Low Tourdates Here (sorry readers, I was running out of time)
Here's a list of all the artists you will not be seeing at Coachella 2007, because you will be happily attending ATP 2007 instead:
Nick Cave / Grinderman / The Dirty Three / Low / Papa M / The Drones / Faun Fables / Brokeback / Tara Jane O'Neil / Magnolia Electric Company / A Silver Mt. Zion / Devastations / Felix Lajko / Bill Callahan (Smog) / Josh Pearson / Mick Harvey / Shannon Wright / Conway Savage / Cat Power / Spiritualized / Mum Smokes / Small Knives / Joanna Newsom / Yann Tiersen / White Magic / Psarandonis / Ian Wadley / Art of Fighting / Afrirampo / Youpi Youpi Yeah / Alan Vega (Suicide) / Roscoe Mitchell
By the way, Santa Claus gave me a gigantic pile of coal for telling you that. Sorry, St. Nick.
Dave Longstreth: You really love me, North America?
North America: Passionately!
DL: Darling! You don't know how happy you've made me.
NA: My own Dirty Projectors!
DL: But you don't really mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't The Dirty Projectors?
NA: But your name is The Dirty Projectors.
DL: Yes, I know it is. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn't love me then?
NA: [Glibly.] Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation and like most metaphysical speculations has very little to do with the actual facts of life, as we know them.
DL: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don't much care about the name of The Dirty Projectors... I don't think the name suits me at all.
NA: It suits you perfectly. It is a divine name. It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.
DL: Well, really, North America, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names. I think Dave, for instance, is a charming name.
NA: Dave?... No, there is very little music in the name Dave, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations... I have known several Daves, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Dave is a notorious domesticity for David! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called David. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment's solitude. The only really safe name is The Dirty Projectors.
DL: North America, I must get christened at once -- I mean we must get married at once. There is no time to be lost.
The Dirty Projectors will marry North America at all of the following:
By now, I'm pretty used to reading about dumb moves by the U.S. government, but this one made me spit out my coffee. Apparently, the FBI has until recently declined to release documents containing details about John Lennon's leftist ties and activities, for fear that they would spark "military retaliation against the United States." Shit, girl! I'm thinking these "details" gotta be pretty juicy, dig? Sorry to disappoint, but it goes more like this: apparently, John Lennon committed such heinous and shocking acts as being interested in helping finance a left-wing book shop and reading room in London. Lennon never even forked the money over, but the very IDEA that he would was enough to send the FBI into a tizzy.
But wait, there's more! Another document describes an interview Lennon gave to an underground newspaper, noting that "Lennon emphasized his proletarian background and his sympathy with the oppressed and underprivileged people of Britain and the world." Clearly, John Lennon was a damn commie pig and a danger to the welfare of fine upstanding capitalists everywhere! For real.
In actuality, the FBI's reason for squirreling away these documents is shrouded in mystery, shall we say. Says the rather hi-larious Mark Rosenbaum of the American Civil Liberties Union, "The ultimate lesson of these documents is that the head of document classification for the FBI must be Stephen Colbert."
Click here to read the Super Top Secret Files rumored to bring on Tony Blair's game face.