Much has been made about California garage grom Ty Segall’s ultra-prolific output. Seeing as he released the Manipulator LP more than two months ago, it was high time for him to announce something new. And here it is, $ingle$ 2, Ty’s second singles compilation. Covering the Goodbye Bread, Twins, and Sleeper years, the comp collects B-sides from all of the 7-inch singles released during that creative period.
To sweeten this already great deal, Ty is including three righteous covers of The Groundhogs, The Velvet Underground, and GG Allin. It just keeps getting better! Who hasn’t thought about young Ty shredding his vocal cords to “Femme Fatale” in his best Nico impression? There’s even an obscure Ty cut on here called “Fucked Up Motherfucker.” Naughty, naughty [whip cracking sound]. For those garage heads who yearn for the years before Ty moved to L.A. with its fame and high-pressure jacuzzi jets, this is the album for you. It’s pure San Francisco Ty, it’s Dolores Park Ty with a neon hula-hoop, Fisherman’s Wharf clam chowder bread-bowl Ty… I think you know what I’m trying to say. Drag City will release $ingle$ 2 on November 18; peep the tracklist below.
$ingle$ 2 tracklist:
02. Hand Glams
03. Cherry Red
04. Falling Hair
05. Children of Paul
06. It’s a Problem
07. Mother Lemonade
08. For Those Who Weep
09. Fucked Up Motherfucker
10. Femme Fatale
11. Music for a Film
12. Pettin the Dog
You’re hanging out with your buds around the piano, and you get a call from your mom. As you reach for the phone, you drop it on the strings inside the piano right as Mitch, the most mercurial member of your social group, hits the climax of his rendition of the Leonard Cohen song he just learned that morning, and everyone groans. You’ve ruined the moment. We’ve all, including Germany’s Andrew Pekler, been there, but Pekler, in all his wisdom realized there just might some music there. And thus, Pekler’s latest album, The Prepaid Piano and Re-Played, was born. Mitch might complain, but as Carl confirmed on your solo coffee date last Wednesday, no one likes Mitch anyhow.
The Prepaid Piano and Re-Played follows Pekler’s excellent work in 2013 both on his own with Cover Versions and collaboratively with Giuseppe Ielasi on Holiday For Sampler. The release, inspired as it is by the culturally salient experience of dropping a buzzing cellphone on piano strings as a friend named Mitch fumbles through a Leonard Cohen cover, consists of two pieces. “Prepaid Piano” is the first — a pun on “prepared piano” — and it consists of a collection of sounds created by audience members at a performance calling five cellphones set to vibrate that had been placed on the strings of a piano. The sounds made were then routed through contact microphones and a synthesizer to create an ever-evolving soundscape. “Replayed,” then, finds Pekler converting the audio from this performance into MIDI data via Ableton’s audio-to-midi function (shout out to John Crowell’s piece on just this feature for TMT from last November), taking advantage of the system’s limitations and quirks in order to create an entirely new piece of music. Cool, right? No hate, but I bet if Mitch is reading right now, he didn’t even understand half of that!
If you follow the Latin American electronic scene, you know by now that 2014 was a bit of a lackluster year. Notwithstanding Alejandro Ghersi’s debut LP Xen as Arca, nor the pleasant-but-predictably-minor works put out by Helado Negro and Matías Aguayo, there are very few albums worth singling-out. Lucrecia Dalt has a new EP out, and by the two tracks we’ve heard so far, it sounds promising; but still, 2014 has been yet another year full of melodic, dance-beat-heavy, female-fronted synth pop acts in Latin electronic music. We’re not dissing Javiera Mena, Fakuta, Desert, or La Bien Querida, all of whom have released enjoyable albums this year, but it’s been eight years since this format started dominating the scene; its appeal must be starting to wane. But do not pass judgment on 2014 just yet. The young Mexican producer Jessica Smurphy is poised to steal the end-of-year momentum with her first album, #Geminiss, which you can stream below, perhaps the most invigorating piece of electronic music released in Latin America this year.
Best known as DJ Smurphy (she recently dropped the DJ prefix), the Mexican artist launched her career in 2012, contributing a track to the epochal underground electronic compilation Negative Youth Mexico, and has kept on releasing material steadily ever since. Her debut album comes out via N.A.A.F.I., a label/collective associated with experimental electronic artists like Fonobisa and Siete Catorce. Smurphy’s music is very much in tune with N.A.A.F.I.’s aesthetic, with uncanny atmospheres, bass-heavy tracks, and distorted beats galore. She also sticks close to Arca’s trail, though adding snappier rhythms, ominous old-school techno synths, and her own vocals, which she disembodies, ravages, and ultimately transfigures beyond the conventions of the chanted voice. There really is a lot going on in these tracks, oscillating from sense-altering loops to torrid dance rhythms and tripped-out vocals — more than enough to make this an outstanding first album, all tags and scenes aside.
So, she’s opened for Dean Blunt in Mexico City, collaborates with D/P/I, was the breakout act in the recent Mexican version of the MUTEK festival, is a Gemini (duh), owes her nickname to a goof-off track she once produced, includes vocals so high-pitched you could mistake her for a Smurf, and now lets us all stream her new album #Geminiss in time to edit her into our year-end lists.
The theoretical outcries from millions of streaming music listeners have been acknowledged… finally. Apostasy is a necessity, but by converting to the recently-unveiled TIDAL, users of Spotify and its less popular brethren will no longer have to endure the aural and mental anguish imparted by audio quality that’s slightly less than perfect. I’m commuting to my day job, and as I stream Bee Thousand through my iPhone and attached $500 pair of earphones, I can’t help but wonder what it would sound like if I knew that I was listening to lossless. Will I make the lo-fi-ness more apparent? Will I be able to hear an extra “s” as Robert Pollard tells me to “speed up” and “sslow down”?
A wealth of actual evidence suggests otherwise! But depending on your source equipment (or whether you’re really that adamant an audiophile), you may be interested to know that the brand new TIDAL service attests to 25 million songs, all of which are in CD-quality FLAC and ALAC formats. Contrast those formats with the 320 kbps MP3s that streaming services commonly offer you at max, and you have something that’s technically better — and essentially the best — quality. But again, we’re basically talking about how superhuman your ears are… plus, whether or not the perhaps totally imagined discernible difference in quality is worth the extra cash. $19.99/month is twice the price of Spotify Premium. Maybe the Norway-based Aspiro/WiMP are ahead of the trend? I can think of worse things to get behind.
• TIDAL: http://tidalhifi.com/us
First things first: yep, Roxy Music — a.k.a. the one kind-of-halfway-cool band that your dad likes — is apparently still a thing (and, for that matter, it seems that they were even “still a thing” during that huge gap from 1983 to 2001 when they did pretty much absolutely nothing for 18 years!). Or rather, I should say — Roxy Music WAS still a thing until guitarist Phil Manzanera talked to Rolling Stone for like two seconds a minute or two ago. Oh well. Easy come, easy go?
Given the premise I’ve already pre-assumed on your behalf in the paragraph above, you probably don’t remember that Roxy Music singer and main-dude Bryan Ferry, along with Manzanera and other non-Brian Eno band members Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson, have managed to remain kinda, sorta, more or less active since they met back up in 2001 with occasional tours and releases and whatnot. I mean, sure, whatever, right? But yeah, NO MORE, I guess? Here’s what Manzanera said to that magazine I mentioned:
I don’t think we’re going to do any more shows. I think our job is done. When we stopped touring in 2011, Andy [Mackay] and I looked at each other and said, ‘Our job is done here.’
I know, I know; at this point, you’re all like: “say it ain’t SO, Phil Manzanas, or whatever your name is! WHYYYY?” Well, OBVIOUSLY it’s because “musicians like to do new things,” man. See, it’s “unfortunate for the fans, really, because they would like you to play the same old stuff forever and ever. And they go see it and they feel, like, ‘Man, they aren’t as good as they used to be.’” Yeah… well, either way, I think these “new things” mostly refer to Phil Manzanera’s recent co-producing of Pink Floyd’s sure-to-be-great reunion album. Roxy Music still have “some fantastic box sets of the first two albums out next year,” though. And Brian Ferry — you know, the ACTUAL GUY IN ROXY MUSIC PEOPLE CARE ABOUT, PHIL MANZANERA, YOU DICK — still regularly includes “more than a dozen Roxy Music songs a night” on his solo tours. So all is definitely not lost. Uh, not that it ever really was to you, since you didn’t care one way or another. Or me either. But… our poor dads, yeah?
Whatever. Here’s cool footage of Brian Eno shrinking into his boa behind Ferry’s ghastly on-stage glam persona.
• Roxy Music: http://www.roxymusic.co.uk
Dean Blunt, ever the lovable hellion, has done it again. As you already know, Black Metal is out tomorrow via Rough Trade, his first label-backed release since last year’s The Redeemer (one of our favorite albums of 2013). But as if that weren’t enough, he has now put out a statement to tease the LP — a hallucinatory piece he uploaded to archive.org, which basically amounts to this in written form:
I’m not even going to try to sum up what the text file touches upon, but “I’m not here to put smiles on peoples faces, I’m here to SPEND, and blaze all races” is a pretty representative quote. Add a rogue Daniel Lopatin reference (“How to break a brick? Point Never”), a list of (not-so)-tongue-in-cheek “excuses” in case his album flops — the album’s already befuddled a few critics with its abundance of Sarah Records-esque guitar riffs — a whole lot of sentimental evisceration (?!¿), and a couple of Beyoncé and Wu-Tang Clan verses, and you still haven’t got a clue. So why don’t you just go read the whole thing yourself?
And as if all that weren’t enough either, Blunt will be playing two shows this weekend, in what is nothing short of a bi-coastal marathon: he’ll be in New York on Friday and Los Angeles on Saturday. I saw him in Barcelona last Friday; he still had the (infamous) Redeemer tour bodyguard in tow, but was also joined by a sax player and (presumably) Joanne Robertson. He did the usual bit of stepping down the stage to play 15 minutes of noise, but also dropped a couple of tracks from The Redeemer among a whole lot of Black Metal songs, and finished it all with a lights-out stare down with the audience that went on for what felt like some very angry five minutes. Trust me, this something you do not want to miss. Check the dates below:
11.06.14 - New York, NY - The Studio at Webster Hall
11.07.14 - Los Angeles, CA - Jewel’s Catch One
Black Metal is out tomorrow on Rough Trade.
Great news: life will still exist in three months time! Phew! It was touch and go there for a while. Like always, life’s impending existence or lack thereof has been determined by whether a drone-metal band is going on tour. As my grandfather always said, “Drone band on tour, life goes on some more; drone band at home, blood to your dome.” My grandfather was a great man.
This time around, the drone band in question is Pacific Northwest legends Earth. Fresh off their newest Southern Lord-released record, Primitive and Deadly, the group is headed to Europe for an extensive run of dates in January and February. Although Earth, much like their namesake planet, have shifted in many iterations, this tour finds them existing as guitarist (and Earth mastermind) Dylan Carlson, bassist Don McGreevy, and drummer Adrienne Davies. McGreavy is actually pulling double duty on the tour, as Don McGreevy & Rogier Smal Duo will be opening nearly every date, along with Oakland’s Black Spirituals.
In celebration of life’s continued perseverance, Ninja Tune is releasing a 12-inch called The Bug vs. Earth in December, as we recently reported. It is exactly what it sounds like: Earth’s Dylan Carlson fighting English electronic musician Kevin Parker (a.k.a. The Bug) to the death. Finally, we can hear the simultaneous deaths of two great musicians in warm analog audio. Barring that, the 12-inch may well contain two tracks by the titles “Boa” and “Cold” that find the two musicians collaborating with each other.
Earth dates (all with Black Spirituals and Don McGreevy & Rogier Smal Duo):
01.22.15 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OCCII
01.23.15 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
01.24.15 - Lyon, France - L’Epicerie Moderne
01.25.15 - Bern, Switzerland - Dachstock Reitschule
01.27.15 - Geneva, Switzerland - Antigel Festival (Earth only)
01.28.15 - Milan, Italy - Lo Fi Club
01.29.15 - Rome, Italy - Init Club
01.30.15 - Bologna, ITaly - Freakout Club
01.31.15 - Graz, Austria - Orpheum Club
02.01.15 - Ljubljana, Slovenia - Kino Siska
02.02.15 - Vienna, Austria - Arena
02.03.15 - Zagreb, Croatia - Mochvara Klub
02.04.15 - Budapest, Hungary - A38
02.06.15 - Nurnberg, Germany - K4
02.07.15 - Schorndorf, Germany - Club Manufaktur
02.08.15 - Berlin, Germany - Volksbuhne
02.09.15 - Moscow, Russia - PIPL (w/ Nadja)
02.10.15 - Helsinki, Finland - Kuudes Linja (w/ Janne Westerlund)
02.11.15 - Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser Strand
02.12.15 - Oslo, Norway - Vulkan Arena
02.13.15 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Truckstop Alaska
02.14.15 - Aarhus, Denmark - Voxhall
02.15.15 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Jazzhouse
02.17.15 - Dortmund, Denmark - FZW
02.18.15 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
02.20.15 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall
02.21.15 - Birmingham, UK - The Oobleck
02.22.15 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
02.23.15 - Newcastle, UK - The Cluny
02.24.15 - Brighton, UK - The Komedia
02.25.15 - Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kreun
02.27.15 - Athens, Greece - Kyttaro Club (Earth only)
02.28.15 - Istanbul, Turkey - Borusan Müzik Evi (Earth only)
• Earth: http://www.thronesanddominions.com
It is morning in America, democracy has fallen, and we are in need of a new king. There are several pretenders to the throne out there, but none seem possessed with quite the ability to write lonesome guitar songs that we, as a newly monarchic nation, require. A man stands in the shadows; it is Joseph O’Connell, otherwise known as Elephant Micah. Whether he knows it just yet, he will be our king. Where In Our Woods is a new transmission from this future king, notable in part for its minimalism — a simple drum kit, a few stringed instruments, O’Connell’s indisputable voice. Will Oldham contributes vocal harmonies on a few songs. It’s out January 20 from the kindly record label Western Vinyl. It will find its way into our homes.
Over the course of nearly 14 years, O’Connell’s immutable future as grand overlord has been firmly established. One need only to consult 2010’s double release of Echoer’s Intent and Plays the Songs of the Bible Birds, or 2013’s release of Globe Rush Progressions to be firmly convinced of this. O’Connell’s facility with the acoustic guitar, with melody, with the surprising twist on a familiar arrangement is unparalleled in our modern era. Those who seek it may find it at this pre-order link. Those with pointer fingers to click might find company at the below-embedded SoundCloud player. Those with eyes to see might see O’Connell fully embodied at one of his few upcoming tour dates on the East Coast or gaze upon the preview video for the album, also embedded below.
Where In Our Woods tracklist:
01. By the Canal
02. No Underground
03. Albino Animals
04. Slow Time Vultures
05. Demise of the Bible Birds
06. Monarch Gardeners
07. Light Side
08. Rare Beliefs
12.06.14 - Raleigh, NC - King’s*
12.07.14 - Washington, DC - DC9*
12.09.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot and Saddle*
12.11.14 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade*
Guys like Ethan Miller have badass beards that make me want to inject hormones to boost my own bum fluff. Guys like Ethan Miller don’t get down when they have no record label or when the group that they’ve been playing with for years — in the case of Miller, under the Howlin Rain moniker — has dispersed. No, when times get tough for guys like Ethan Miller, they wake up the next day, pour some whiskey on their Corn Flakes, and get on with things by turning the dark times into art. I wish I was Ethan Miller.
All of which is a roundabout way to say that the latest incarnation of Howlin Rain have a new album called Mansion Songs coming out January 27 via Easy Sound Records. After rising out of the ashes of Comets on Fire and a nine-year run of amazing fortune and killer tunes, Howlin Rain had seemingly ran the end of some sort of course, and instead of putting the band behind him, Ethan Miller has pressed on with a record that ropes in a revolving cast of musicians, raising all sorts of down-home hell around Miller’s glorious creations.
Apparently, Mansion Songs is the first in a trilogy of records Miller laid down during the aforementioned “dark times,” and by the strength of the lead single “Big Red Moon,” we’re all set to benefit from Miller’s depths of depression.
01. Big Red Moon
02. Meet Me In The Wheat
04. The New Age
05. Wild Bush
07. Lucy Fairchild
08. Ceiling Fan
Hey. What’s up?
Stereogum reports that Bob Dylan has a new album titled Shadows in the Night coming out in 2015. Pretty neat, I suppose. How was your day?
Evidently, the record will consist entirely of Frank Sinatra covers. Earlier in the year, Dylan released a cover of Sinatra’s “Full Moon And Empty Arms.” So, hey, I guess this move makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it. But anyway. Any big plans this weekend?
There’s no release date or further details on Shadows in the Night. Dylan last put out Tempest, the one with the romance novel cover art, in 2012. So, yeah, nice talking to you.
• Bob Dylan: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/home