I have two (2) stories about Mercury Rev, and interestingly enough, they're not about the two (2) new albums they're dropping right quick. They are, however, horribly awkward and Mid-Hudson Valley (that's New York, you know)-specific. I mean, it's me we're talking about here. Or Mercury Rev. Whatever.
An illustrious mix CD thrust upon me by our very own Judy Ain't No Punk (once she realized I was listening to entirely too much of The Smashing Pumpkins and not much else) contained "Opus 40," and I remember her telling me that her father was particularly fond of it. What Mr. Ain't No Punk doesn't know is that I went out and bought Deserter's Songs one week later, much to the dismay of Adore. What set my 13-year-old world on end was when my cello teacher's sister casually mentioned she had played violins for some band she met on a train, and I ran home and opened the CD insert and stared at "Rachel Handman" for awhile. I think I got her autograph and sent it to Judy in a birthday card. Check it, I was schmoozing like y'all don't know, and I'm pretty sure I still had braces.
Obviously, by the time I was an intern for Some "Independent" Adult Contemporary Radio Station in Overrated & Overpriced Hippietown, I had gained immeasurable poise. I did Ryan Adams' grocery shopping to satisfy a concert hospitality rider. I drove a gigantic van emblazoned with the station's logo. I spotted Mercury Rev on our soundstage. I hid in the bathroom.
Eventually, I was coaxed out of the bathroom by the promotions director and took a picture of the afternoon DJ with the band:
I had style, I had grace, I had photography skills. Obviously.
Mercury Rev have suffered great injustices at my hand, but it hasn't stopped them from issuing The Essential Mercury Rev -- Stillness Breathes 1991-2006, which drummer Jeff Mercel describes as " a box of candy. We took all the maple creams out, the ones people pinch." Looks like the Rev's website (where the 2-disc set is exclusively sold) is gonna get pretty sticky! HA! That's a kneeslapper! Er, the other release is a soundtrack for a French film, and it's called Hello Blackbird, which is also available on MercuryRev.com. I am never going to try and be funny again.
Contrary to what bitter ex-girlfriends and a nervous society at large have warned me about, I am capable of reproducing life and will indeed become a father any week now. I used to think that seeing my obscenity-wielding girlfriend bearing down and producing our son covered in blood 'n' vernix was an activity that I could wait a little while longer to encounter. But when the lil' tax write-off takes one look at us with his cerulean eyes and starts screaming, spitting, and crying, it’s going to be the most beautiful thing in the world. I’m going to fucking lose it, I’m never going to be the same... and I can't wait for it to happen.
I certainly won't be the first pristine parent to get thrown into cloud-cuckoo-land on the "big day," and I definitely won't be the last. Nor is witnessing childbirth the only way to bombard your senses and awaken another layer of experience; musicians have been wrenching these emotions out of audiences for ages. Some like-minded (but dissimilar-sounding) ones have been getting together and getting off on it in Brooklyn since 2004, where and when Carlos Giffoni birthed the first annual No Fun Fest. For all the buzz about NFF being an "anti-festival," it really embodies what is good and great about live explorations into unrestricted areas of sound and performance. And despite the gathering's "No Fun" tag, it is anything but -- simply take a look at Load Records' Fun From None: Live From the No Fun Fest 2004 & 2005 DVD compendium, or ask EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has had the pleasure of attending in the past. Before they make your ears bleed with plaudits about the Fest, you'll clue in that something very special is going to go down May 17-20 at The Hook in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
No Fun vets will notice a few returnees this year, but rest assured not many sets will seem empty or played-out, even to the most jaded lovers of the subversive, extreme, or left-of-convention. Although there probably won’t be a stray placenta appearance, given the festival's inclination for delivering surprise, you can't count it out. More artists will be announced in due time, but the lineup will include these CONFIRMED acts: American Band + Air Conditioning, Ash Pool, Burning Star Core (pictured) + Zaimph, Crumbling (Pedestrian Deposit + Oscillating Innards), Deathroes (Gerritt + Sixes), Demons, Enema Syringe, Evil Moisture, Gastric Female Reflex, Carlos Giffoni, Hair Police, Hive Mind, Incapacitants, Leslie Keffer + Rodger Stella, Mouthus + Axolotl, Pain Jerk, Princess Dragonmom, Raionbashi, Tom Recchion, Ju Suk Reet Meate and Oblivia, Religious Knives, Sickness, Sissy Spacek, Slogun, and The Rita.
Festival passes go on sale February 15, single day tickets on March 15.
Photo: Phillip Berryhill
Come one, come all! Step right up, little boy! That's right, you there! Be the first on your block to Get Lonely!!!
Lonely is an all-encompassing attitude package, including such versatile attachments as:
- Existential Angst
- Feelings of Abandonment
- Fits of Rage
Take advantage of Mr. John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats' Get Lonely demonstration tour! John and the boys'll introduce you to the numerous uses of loneliness, helping you to make use of this essential, new emotion! The Mountain Goats are certified experts in the field of loneliness and guarantee full satisfaction, as long as wallowing in negative thoughts and feelings is your thing.
For the uninitiated, The Mountain Goats offer a full program of desolate sentiments, including such new laments as:
"Spend each night in your arms. Always wake up alone."
"Some time before the sun comes up, the earth is gonna crack."
Of course, Darnielle and co. will pay tribute to the old favorites, the gold standards, if you will, in miserable utterances:
"I hope you die! I hope we both die!"
"And the headstones climbed up the hills."
And yet, lying in your comfortable bed, when the show is over and your bitter medicine's been bought, you might begin to wonder whether you'll ever actually "get" lonely. You'll wonder just what made you go out looking for loneliness, anyway.
Get Your Lonely Here:
Even though the combined energy of Spencer Seim and Zach Hill is already probably enough to send your closest relatives into epileptic fits, Hella have decided to enlist a veritable orchestra of friends in their ear-slicing crusade. The kind of kick-ass orchestra that only has three members. Maybe not an orchestra. It's like they've signed up a barbershop quartet, and one of them is permanently inside getting his hair cut. Or I suppose they could all take turns getting their hair cut so that the one guy doesn't have to shave his whole head during every show. In that case, there would have to be barbershops close to every club they play in, unless of course they had one installed backstage -- but what kind of clubs provide that kind of service? On the other hand, the band could bring along a smock and some shears, because, after all, a barbershop is more a state of mind than a physical place.
Hi. The new Hella will include Carson McWhirter (who also plays with The Advantage with Seim) on bass, Zach's cousin Josh Hill (member of Chrime In Choir) on guitar, and Aaron Ross (an ex-butcher from Las Vegas) on... vocals! And by "will include," I do mean "already includes," because the trio (+2) line-up has already cranked out an album, There's No 666 in Outer Space, which will be out on January 30 through Ipecac, that most syrupy of labels.
Hella will also be proving their five-man longevity by spending most of 2007 on tour. Having seen their live Concentration Face DVD, I can only imagine what will happen. Zach sprained his friggin' ankle in Japan by playing a song. At the very least, the new Hella will cause select members of the audience to suffer from debilitating osteoporosis. Enjoy.
When we last heard from good ol’ Ted, he had just wrapped up a new, untitled album and was about to start another tour, which found him and his Pharmacists opening for Death Cab For Cutie in large theaters and hockey arenas. Now, weeks later, that DCFC business is behind him (save one show), and we have more album info. The new record, entitled Living With The Living, will be released on March 20 by the reliable ladies and gents at Touch & Go.
As you may remember, Mr. Brendan Canty produced the 15-track LP at Longview Farms Studios in Massachusetts. A few of the new songs will be familiar to anyone who has seen Leo & Co. perform recently -- or to those who look around the interweb for mp3s and stuff -- as many were road-tested before, during and after recording. Tracklist and remaining dates after the jump. What? We aren’t doing that jump thing everyone seems to be loving lately? Even with the redesign? Oops.
Living With The Living tracklist:
Boy do I sure miss the days of my innocent childhood. It's weird though; I really can't remember the broader picture of what happened during those formative years. I can recall some very specific instances from certain Nicktoons for example, but I wouldn't be able to tell you what I did on an average day. I know that this one time, in kindergarten, my teacher was going to use my homework as an example, but while she was holding it up to show the class, she noticed that I had circled something wrong. But little did she fucking know, that circle was actually erased, it was just that my bullshit pencil didn't have a proper eraser so I had to make do. I was so fucking pissed off about that, you don't even know. But if you asked me what subject that was in or what I learned from that year until last, I really couldn't say. My memory is disturbingly blurry, and I don't quite understand why.
I feel like I've been cheated because of this. Just because I couldn't comprehend the world around me from ages 0–13 doesn't mean that I don't deserve those memories. I had emotions, worries, cares, intellect, and friends (kind of). Why can I only remember that one episode of Ren & Stimpy where they're trapped in a spaceship and slowly lose their sanity until they struggle over who gets to eat the last bar of soap? (You can tell what generation I belong to now.) Why can't I remember when and how I met the friends I have today or why they still talk to me? How will I rid myself of this demonic syndrome that has no name?
I feel as if I'm growing disillusioned, and yet I'm totally aware that I have no right to make that bullshit claim. I'm not even old enough to be properly sarcastic yet. Now is the age of optimism when I'm supposed to believe in some shit and make some fucking changes in how things are done. Cynicism? Nihilism? Anarchy? Fuck that. I need someone to take me back to my innocent days – someone who knows what pure, unadulterated bliss sounds like. I need some Magik Markers to fucking help me find my way back. You don't really have to grow up. Just grab a couple and take a big whiff. You will always remember.
Don't listen to me; listen to this:
Michael Gira is back in the studio recording the follow-up to The Angels Of Light Sing "Other People." (among the best albums of 2005 in my opinion, which should also be your opinion now, FOR YOU SEE, MY FRIENDS, I AM A SEASONED MUSIC CRITIC). Instead of enlisting Akron/Family this time around, Gira is surrounding himself with a new ensemble, including multi-instrumentalist Bill Rieflin (Swans, Ministry, R.E.M.), guitarist Christopher Hahn, cellist Julia Kent (Antony & The Johnsons), and a whole crew of people I don't currently know but will love to get to know via hammer dulcimers, violins, and some sweet, sweet vocals.
The album is tentatively titled We Are Him and is scheduled for an April 2007 release through Young God, of course. The only real mystery about the whole thing is where it's being recorded. There are rumors flying around about the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, lesser-known studio Petersburn, and even Steve Albini's Electrical Audio. Oh wait, this just in: it's some studio in Brooklyn. Mystery solved, now get the fuck away from me.
It had been five days since Tiny Mix Tapes went into operation, and Shelly was excited to see how it turned out. Flashes of old memories from Geocities ran through her head -- first date, first kiss, first love. She even remembered what shirt TMT was wearing the day they met. Shelly started getting nervous. What could he be doing in there still? Why isn't he out yet? She only hoped the operation was successful. Shelly isn't normally one for surprises, but TMT assured her she'd love this particular surprise.
"Yes?," Shelly replied.
"He's ready to see you."
This was it. Shelly sprung from her chair and followed Dr. Rosenfield.
"Here's the room... I'll let you and TMT have some... privacy."
"Hey Doc... how.. how'd it turn out?" Shelly asked.
"Oh, you'll see..." he said coyly
Shelly knocked twice and slowly cracked open the door. "Hello?" On the hospital bed was TMT, wearing see-through music reviews and a tight news story. Shelly scanned his body, with her mouth open in awe.
"Oh my god, TMT... Did.. did you... Did you do what I think you did??"
"Yeah... what do you think of it?" TMT said shyly.
"But why? I thought you were perfect... I mean, the operation looks amazing, really, but.. I hope you didn't do this because you thought I wanted you to!" exclaimed Shelly.
"No, no. Don't worry Shelly. I did this because I love you. You've been so good to me over the years, and I wanted to just... you know, spice things up."
"Well... thanks TMT. It's amazing."
"Of course, it's not perfect just yet. It'll probably take through at least the rest of the year for it to be completely 100% ready... hell, you'll even see some changes throughout the day, but I was so excited I wanted to show you now. Plus, the doctor said it's alright if we want to... you know..."
After an uncomfortable pause, their eyes met. Shelly couldn't help but stare at what he had done. She started smiling, giggling nervously. TMT began taking his clothes off, as Shelly thought to herself how funny it is that years of studying the cultural implications of objectification could fly out the window so quickly. It was time to get it on.
We TinyMixMunchkins have never had much time for the whole "good is better than evil because it's nicer" adage. It's not that we’re insensitive. Far from it! In fact, sources close to us joyful minions swear they saw Mr. (mono)P(oly) just the other day drop a shiny 25-cent piece into an overturned flat cap in front of a couple of down-on-their-luck street urchins whilst declaring, "There! The world is yours, you adorable scamps!" Even though some claim it was a nickel that he spent the morning pounding out to the size of a quarter, and others say he quickly demanded a foot rub and the Caramilk secret in return, it really is the thought that counts, I guess. Nope, in our minds (and in P's... no matter what he'll have you believe!) evil kicks ass. We're all about it, hence we're busting our y-fronts to tell you that the evilest incarnate Acid Mothers Temple will once again be poaching souls across the country (yes, yes... and Canada too... calm the fuck down hosers. I KNOW Canada isn't part of the U.S.).
Set your phasers to stun, set the controls for the heart of the sun, and set your agendas to fun beginning April 14 in Los Angeles, because the band who puts the... wait a second... April? Oh well, we won't hold this distant future tour announcement against AMT, because it is clearly a band driven mad by the tour lust it needs to survive. And like the looney on the corner who walks the line between pure genius and pure nonsense and who smells a smidgen like doodie and screams passages from the "good book" (Sweet Valley High: The Pom Pom Wars), but who, at the same time, kinda starts making sense after you've had nine pints and a chicken shawarma platter and is darn near impossible to look away from, Acid Mothers Temple are just as mesmerizing when they play live.
Take the brown acid... take all the acid:
Kiwis, Crocodile Hunter, Lord of The Rings, Crocodile Dundee, kangaroos, water draining clockwise. These are the only things related to Australia and New Zealand that Americans seem to be familiar with (even though the thing about water draining clockwise is bullshit). Kinda sad, isn't it? Well, maybe M. Ward can shed some light on these oh-so-mysterious lands at the conclusion of a string of shows he has scheduled in the two countries. Look for an upcoming college lecture tour, entitled, "Australia & New Zealand: Actually, Not the Same Place" sometime in the near future.
While M. (no, I don’t feel silly referring to him as M.) has played in Australia before, these will be his first shows in the land of Flying Nun Records. He is still promoting his latest LP, 2006’s Post-War, put out by the tastemakers at Merge Records (in America, sorry if that is confusing). The album was recently nominated for three Plug Independent Music Awards, as was Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit-Fur Coat (Team Love), which Ward co-produced. The Aussie shows will have M. accompanied by his usual backing band, which features percussionists Rachel Blumberg (ex-Decembrists) & Jordan Hudson (ex-thermals), guitarist Adam Selzer, and multi-instrumentalist Mke Coykendall. On the flipside, the NZ dates will see the man playing solo. Get your tix quick, Southern hemisphere-ians, two of the shows have already sold out.