Blah blah blah, history is repeating itself. In three months’ time, I’ll find myself confidently droppin’ Js on my elementary school classmates and crying to the teacher about how a fiendish fourth grader unjustly claimed my best friend as his own. Oh, the forearm smudges of a left-handed-pencil-user practicing cursive — I refuse to endure such graphite-fueled cruelty again! Also during the early 90s: that whole (relatively short-lived, but sweet) shoegaze thing, of which arguably the two most principal emissaries, My Bloody Valentine and now, Slowdive, have reunited roughly 20 years later for some fun-time sneaker perusal. Assuredly, human eye-contact remains overrated.
Forgive the perception of unoriginality. Even if MBV did recently enamor the masses with an extensive global tour, and ultimately, the surprisingly atemporal — it sounded like they’d hardly skipped a beat — m b v (TMT Review), Slowdive are their own, equally worthwhile entity, undeserving of belaboring associations. The band’s collective venture into social networking, with four of the group’s members (Christian Savill, Rachel Goswell, Nick Chaplin, and Simon Scott) doing the initial following, marked the first hint. This week, they publicly confirmed performances at Primavera Sound 2014 in Barcelona, and the Village Underground in London on May 19, with additional shows explicitly said to be announced in the near future. Setlist musings by Goswell over at The Quietus indicate “all the old favourites and a couple of different ones. We’re going for the epic.”
Meanwhile, self-proclamations that Slowdive are back would suggest even more. The first rehearsal after officially reuniting was a “fun” and mostly intuitive experience, Neil Halstead remarked; we’ll see if the “initial impetus” leads to full-length fruition.
• Slowdive: http://www.slowdiveofficial.com
Somewhere in Venice Beach, CA, is a garage that time forgot. A garage filled with ratty brown couches, cheap bear, your long-haired older brother circa 1979, and some heavy riffs. Now imagine… nuclear slime!!! SEEPING INTO THE GARAGE!!! And then from the depths of a slime — in a plot line not dissimilar to the conception of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and like, human evolution in general — emerged The Shrine. The power trio of Josh Landau (guitar/vocals), Courtland Murphy (bass) and Jeff Murray (drums) have toured with Red Fang, Earthless, Dinosaur Jr., Graveyard, and Black Flag’s Chuck Dukowski, who also produced the band’s early output.
Now The Shrine are back with a new album for Teepee Records, Bless Off, which drops March 11. This ish was recorded on reel-to-reel tape with old school gear, and features “The Duke,” a track with lyrics originally written by friend-of-the-band Dukowski in 1983 for Black Flag. The album art includes the band’s favorite animal, the wolf, because DUH all bands like wolves, and is a tribute to the iconography of Dogtown Skateboards and show flyer artist Ric Clayton (Suicidal Tendencies.)
Bless Off tracklisting:
03. Tripping Corpse
04. The Duke
05. Nothing Forever
06. Bless Off
07. On the Grind
08. No Penalty
09. Spit in My Life
Neil Young announces new album A Letter Home; fans can’t wait to hear it in glorious, convenient MP3 format
Okay, here it is, folks. Neil Young doesn’t mince words; so neither will I. Let’s get you your news!
Point 1: Some sort of music industry awards ceremony — wherein people who work in the music industry sit around and pat themselves on the back for continuing to sally-forth as an industry — seems to have gone down over the weekend. And, according to Consequence of Sound, Young received something called the President’s Merit Award at something else called the “Producers and Engineers Wing’s annual Grammy party.”
Point 2: While he was at that thing, he seems to have confirmed that he’ll be releasing his newest album, entitled A Letter Home, in March of this year. Perhaps significantly, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Young called the making of this album “one of the lowest-tech experiences I’ve ever had,” and if you’re a fan of his album Tonight’s the Night, that’s kinda saying something.
Point 3: Some people seem to think that Jack White and/or Third Man Records is involved in this record and have been speculating that perhaps the album is an album of duet cover songs, but Young’s Facebook page (yup, he’s got one of those) has indicated that that information is “false.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that White wasn’t involved in some capacity, now, does it? I mean, maybe White tuned his guitars for him? Or maybe Neil Young used him as a stool to sit on while he was tracking parts? That’d be cool, wouldn’t it?!? Or would it? I don’t even know. Either way, just sit tight. Some Neil Young shit is coming out soon, and it might sound gnarly.
• Neil Young: http://www.neilyoung.com
Blackest Ever Black release Weekend’s The ‘81 Demos on vinyl (ex-Young Marble Giants, not naughty-sex-man)
Another band named Weekend! Just what the world needed! But wait — this is the first Weekend, the trio of Alison Statton, Spike Williams, and Simon Booth, an ex-Young Marble Giants project that swooned its way through the sad post-punk hearts of 1981-1983. And the good people over at Blackest Ever Black are set to release the band’s The ‘81 Demos as a 12-inch. Doing the Lord’s Work they are, surely.
Out March 3, the Demos include the first versions of “Drumbeat” (a.k.a. “Drumbeat for Baby”), “Red Planes,” “Nostalgia,” and “Summerdays,” all of which appeared on Weekend’s 1982 Rough Trade release La Varieté, but which are even more beautiful and violintacular here. Vinyl Japan released this thing as a CD back in 1995, and the tracks were included as bonus material on the recent Cherry Red CD reissue of the band’s debut full-length, but this limited 12-inch marks the first time it’s been available on sweet sweet vinyl. Check out the gorgeous “Red Planes” here:
The ‘81 Demos tracklisting:
02. Red Planes
04. Summerdays Instrumental
• Blackest Ever Black: http://blackesteverblack.blogspot.com
It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the passing of Arthur Doyle, a performer of what he called “free jazz soul.” He died on January 25. We’ll be posting an essay on him next week, so for now, we’ll just leave you with some quotes and a few videos: one solo, one with drummer Sunny Murray, and one of a track off his 1978 debut, Alabama Feeling.
“You can’t separate the singing from the saxophone. You can’t separate the flute from the saxophone. You can’t separate none of it from the saxophone. It all revolves around one instrument, and that is Me, Myself.”
“I love being underground, man.”
“When I play in front of an audience I try to communicate all the things that happen to me in this life, the life before that, and the life after that.”
• Arthur Doyle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Doyle
Cloud Nothings to release new album Here and Nowhere Else, share new single on the internet (and nowhere else)
Hey! You didn’t forget about the indie rock band Cloud Nothings already, did you? And so soon after their 2012 release Attack on Memory made us all fall in love with Pixies and Pinkerton-emo all over again? Damn. How quickly we forget! Oh man, if only main man Dylan Baldi would put out another record so that you could remember his band again! Alas and alack!
Oh wait. He totally IS. It’s called Here And Nowhere Else. Say, do you want to hear him talk about it? Sweet! Me too!
For starters, it’s apparently a little less sad than the last one. “I was feeling pretty good about everything so I just made stuff that made me happy,” Baldi says. “I had nothing to be angry about really so the approach was more positive and less ‘fuckeverything.’ I just sat down and played until I found something that I like, because I was finally in a position to do that.” Cool! I feel less angry now than I did in 2012 too! I blame Occupy Wall Street. Anyway, so yeah, Baldi wrote a lot of these songs on the road and is even “pretty sure every song was written in a different country.” Then he met up with hot-shit producer John Congleton at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey (which, unfortunately, is only in one boring country) to record it all.
Oh wait, did you still want to hear more quotes about the sound from Baldi? Sure! Let’s do it: “It’s more subtle,” he says. “It’s not just an in-your-face rock record. There’s more going on.” You want some more? BAM: “You can listen to a song 20 times and still hear different little things in there that you didn’t notice before. Every time I listen I notice something that I didn’t even realize we did.” Satisfied? Well, I hope not, because the album will hit us like a wave of mutilation on April 1 via Carpark/Mom+Pop and is available for pre-order as of today on some place called iTunes.biz. In the meantime, you can stream the first single, “I’m Not Part of Me,” below and maybe make up your own quotes about what it sounds like and share them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter! Yeah! Do that!
Here and Nowhere Else tracklisting:
01. Now Hear In
02. Quieter Today
03. Psychic Trauma
04. Just See Fear
05. Giving into Seeing
06. No Thoughts
07. Pattern Walks
08. I’m Not Part of Me
Down in a basement somewhere or maybe a skate park, some kid is handing out his band’s demo tape. Or maybe he raps. Or maybe she makes beats. Anything could be on this demo tape. And whatever’s on there, it’s probably bad. It’s probably really bad. But it might not be bad. It might be really good. Regardless, it tends to be an avenue solely occupied by new artists trying to get their work out into the world for the first time.
But it also appears to be the avenue of Isaiah Rashad, who happens to be signed to TDE. You may know TDE as the label that puts out very, very, very not obscure rappers like Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. They’re also the label that put out Rashad’s Cilvia Demo today.
In fairness, Cilvia Demo may not be an actual demo. What it is actually remains a little hazy. Demo is in the title, yet demos don’t tend to get wide releases from large labels. Rashad has called the release an EP in the past, yet it’s 14 tracks, typically longer than the typical EP. Let’s leave it at this: Cilvia Demo is a new collection of music by Isaiah Rashad. It features appearances from TDE labelmates SZA, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy Q. It is 14 songs long. It will probably not be handed out in a skatepark.
Listen to “R.I.P. Kevin Miller” below, and “Soliloquy” at the Chocolate Grinder.
Cilvia Demo tracklist:
02. Webbie Flow (U LIKE)
03. Cilvia Demo
04. R.I.P. Kevin Miller
05. Ronnie Drake (feat. SZA)
06. West Savannah (feat. SZA)
09. Menthol (feat. Jean Deaux)
11. Heavenly Father
13. Brad Jordan (feat. Michael Da Vinci)
14. Shot You Down (feat. Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q) (Remix)
So, you know White Suns, who hastily bowled over the TMT collective with their second full-length album and adequate annoyer of neighbors Sinews (TMT Review) back in 2012? Remember how that album epitomized relentlessness, save a pause on the first track? Forget all that. In the intervening two years since that album’s release, the Brooklyn-based trio have allegedly softened their approach, affected as they were by the mental tranquilizers induced by a series of marathon hot yoga sessions. It’s more like Rainbow Twinkles now. The vocal similarities of Kevin Barry and Art Garfunkel now exist to the point of being easily pointed out.
A press release does mention a “tempering” on their upcoming album Totem, but context reveals the ends and offers relief to enthusiasts of White Suns’ previous work: tempered by “deadened stares” and “slow-burn instrumentals.” That sounds like a more apparent interspersion of drone to me, but a lack of samples only leaves us to speculate. Totem comes out March 11 via The Flenser, and a noteworthy credit applies to Martin Bisi as the recording engineer, who has previously worked with the likes of Sonic Youth, Boredoms, and Swans. A fitting recruit, then. Might want to preemptively raise the volume for this one. Yes, raise.
01. Priest in the Laboratory
03. Disjecta Membra
05. Fossil Record
07. Line of Smoke
From The New York Times:
Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.
Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”
Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.
Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time.
• Pete Seeger: http://peteseeger.net
Koen Holtkamp specifies his favorite aspect of physics class, announces new full-length Motion + Connected Works compilation
I don’t care if your geographical position doesn’t allow for a clear view of the nearest mountain range; hit up your friend with the super-ultra-high-powered telescope, or better yet, steal one in an elaborate display of cunning and acrobatics, and point it to the peak of your choice! Resist the allure of the stars and… holy shit, is that a fucking cougar going to town on that missing family reported on the local news relentlessly for the past week? No. Focus. A void of relatively flat landscape has somehow interrupted the symmetry of the formerly uniform Earth protrusion. Half the mountain is gone. Half of all mountains are gone. Christ, Koen, outdoorsy types everywhere would do well with some forewarning the next time you want to bugger off and attend to your solo work.
Koen Holtkamp, otherwise member of Mountains alongside Brendon Anderegg, will be releasing a new LP, Motion, on March 25 courtesy of Thrill Jockey. An option to extend that particular release comes with the CD version, which contains Connected Works, a compilation of Holtkamp’s previous vinyl-only releases Liquid Light Forms (2013), Gravity/Bees (2010), and Make Haste (2008). That would make the non-limited Field Rituals (2008) the likely point of familiarity, and speaking for myself, I have yet to get a complete handle on that one. Ambient tropes of sampled public transit and children playing mingle curiously with a genuine mix of acoustic (or acoustic-sounding) and digital sources. Motion apparently saw little straying from method, but there was a bit more composition directly in the studio this time around, making for a particularly intense listen on the home stereo.
01. Between Visible Things
Connected Works tracklisting:
03. Hudson Static (Live at Shea Stadium)
04. In The Absence of Gravity Please Note the Position of the Sun
05. Loosely Based on Bees
06. Make Haste
07. Free Birds
• Koen Holtkamp: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Koen-Holtkamp/142996465783687
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com