Low:: Breaker (Music Video)
Breaker by Low, off their new album, Drums and Guns. In stores March 20th on Sub Pop Records.
Archive for March, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Low:: Breaker (Music Video)
Kingblind Downloads (Weekend Edition)
Here are some tracks to get your weekend off to the right start.. Kick out the jams!
Jarvis Cocker:: Jarvis (Album Review)
In November 2002, Pulp took their final curtain with a compilation album called Hits. It featured opaque sleevenotes from novelist Harland Miller and one last new song, Last Day of the Miners’ Strike, that sketched out the trajectory of the early stages of Pulp’s 21-year career against pithy recollections of life in the 80s. Hits would have counted as a well thought-out, enormously dignified coda to the career of one of the 90s’ best-loved bands if it hadn’t struggled to No 71 for one week, then immediately dropped out of the charts. It was, Jarvis Cocker recently noted, a “real silent fart” that precipitated his retirement to France: “For all this worrying and soul-searching, nobody was that arsed, evidently.”
So you can’t really blame Cocker for taking a more esoteric route to his comeback, in keeping with the rarefied, defiantly non-mainstream projects he has involved himself in since his retirement: fronting electro duo Relaxed Muscle while dressed, for reasons best known to himself, as a skeleton; winning Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes with a Rolf Harris impersonation made all the more piquant by the seriousness with which he evidently took the business of singing Two Little Boys in a false beard; The Trip, a startling compilation with a remit that stretched from the Birthday Party’s Release the Bats to Radio 4 incidental music Sailing By; and, less loveably, recommending baleful US trio ARE Weapons to his manager, Rough Trade label boss Geoff Travis (Cocker was later spotted leaving an almost wilfully pathetic London ARE Weapons gig early, wearing what looked like an extremely sheepish expression).
The comeback began in the summer with the download-only single Running The World, one of the few major releases this year for which the adjective “unprecedented” seems inadequate. It arrived with a video featuring the lyrics scrolling across the screen in follow-the-bouncing-ball style: “Bluntly put in the fewest of words,” ran the chorus, delivered in a baritone croon, “cunts are still running the world.” That was followed by a series of podcasts featuring Cocker reading Icelandic folk tales and JD Salinger short stories.
All of which suggested his debut solo album would be a far less accessible affair than it turns out to be. In Pulp, Cocker’s abilities as a lyricist tended to mean that his melodic sense was overlooked – Common People remains the solitary hit of the Britpop era remembered for its lyrics rather than its tune. It’s a balance the opening tracks of Jarvis seek to redress. Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time and Black Magic are fantastic pop songs, both based around huge glam-rock riffs that sound naggingly familiar but prove impossible to place. Meanwhile, Baby’s Coming Back To Me, a luscious ballad first heard rather disappointingly rendered by Nancy Sinatra on her eponymous 2004 album, here receives a fitting treatment, decorated with hypnotic xylophone sounds that recall Gassenhauer, the short piece by Carmina Burana composer Carl Orff with which Cocker chose to open The Trip.
It’s possibly just as well that Cocker’s way with a gorgeous tune is foregrounded: without it, Jarvis might prove an impossibly bleak listen. Running the World is relegated to secret-track status – its sudden appearance 20 minutes after the album has ended only adds to its startling, foul-mouthed impact – but its bitter, blackly comic worldview permeates the rest of the album. Even the love songs sound hopeless: by the end of Baby’s Coming Back, it’s established pretty thoroughly that Baby’s never going anywhere near him again. Fat Children shifts its ire from the ruling elite to the underclass, with its protagonist murdered by the titular overweight hoodies. With typical deftness, the lyrics balance wit (“they wobbled menacingly under the yellow street light”) with outrage: the police are “elsewhere, putting bullets in some guy’s head for no particular reason”, the attackers are the spawn of parents “giving birth to maggots without the sense to become flies”. I Will Kill Again starts out listing a vision of domestic bliss to gentle flute and piano accompaniment – wife and kids, rabbits in the garden, the occasional glass of wine – only to become steadily darker as the song progresses: boredom, internet porn, false friendship, the murderous tendencies suggested in the title. It’s all the more unsettling because it isn’t entirely clear whether the lyric is meant as fiction or as an allegory for Cocker’s return to the music business that famously led him to a breakdown at the height of Pulp’s success.
It’s the only moment on Jarvis where you ponder the wisdom of Cocker’s decision to unretire himself: the rest of the time you just feel grateful that such a unique voice has returned at full power. The question of whether it will be any better received commercially than Pulp’s final releases hangs over the album, but artistically at least, Jarvis is an idiosyncratic triumph.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Grant-Lee Phillips:: “Strangelet” (Kingblind Album Giveaway)
Kingblind is happy to be giving away two copies of the new Grant-Lee Phillips CD to TWO lucky winners. To enter just send an email to kingblind(at)gmail.com with GRANT-LEE in the Subject Line and your name and address in the body of the message. Remember if you don’t have GRANT-LEE in the subject line and your name and address in the body of the message you can’t win. We will randomly pick a winner today.
About Grant-Lee Phillips & Strangelet
Although many contemporary musicians lay claim to the troubadour tradition, Grant-Lee Phillips truly embodies the legacy of courtly poet-musicians,
crafting songs that combine lyrical storytelling and a dreamy, down-to-earth delivery. The New York Times has characterized Phillips as an artist who sings “with the conviction that rock can still be heroic.” His latest and 5th solo album in seven years, entitled Strangelet, is slated for a March 27 release on Zoë / Rounder Records. It was written, engineered, produced and performed almost entirely by Phillips himself with a little help from his friends including R.E.M. guitarist, Peter Buck.
Following on the heels of Phillips’ 2004 critically acclaimed Virginia Creeper, Strangelet’s twelve tracks smoothly blend tales of heartache, conflict, and loss with stories of love, hope, and redemption. It’s a work that is essentially grounded in the concept of confronting reality, relinquishing fear of the unknown, and refusing to be destroyed by things you can’t see, things you can’t control, and things that may not even exist. It was recorded in Phillips’ home studio in Los Angeles as well as in Seattle at Juniper Studios, home of drummer Bill Rieflin (Blackouts, REM, Ministry, etc.). Part of the intimate feel of Strangelet stems from a personal, hands-on approach. In addition to writing, producing, and engineering the material, Phillips himself played most of the instruments including piano, bass, guitars, organ, baritone and even ukulele–whatever struck his fancy and felt right in the composition. Buck sat in on a couple of tracks (“Soft Asylum” and “Fountain of Youth”) while fellow musician Eric Gorfain contributed a number of string arrangements to the album with his string section, The Section, notably on the forlorn “Same Blue Devils,” a track that Phillips describes as one of the more “intimate corridors” on the album.
STRANGELET DUE MARCH 27 on ZOË / ROUNDER RECORDS
Neil Young:: Live at Massey Hall (Album Review)
It never rains but it pours eh? A good decade and a half after taunting us with tales of boundless archive treats and multiple disc box sets Neil Young seems to have finally decided that we’ve been patient enough. Mere months after releasing the awesomely good Live At The Fillmore East (with Crazy Horse) he now brings us this historic gig from 1971 in its entirety. Boy, was it worth the wait…
Following the commercial highpoints of his stint with Crosby Stills and Nash and the platinum-selling After The Goldrush – this gig represents a triumphant homecoming of sorts. The excitement of the audience witnessing the local boy’s return is palpable, even when Young announces that he’s going to be doing a set mainly composed of new numbers! But what numbers they are.
His next album was to be his greatest commercial achievement (and ironically was to eventually force him onto a more challenging musical path) – Harvest. Stripped of either the country garage stylings of Crazy Horse or his more salubrious West Coast chums, these direct readings brim with the energy of a man hitting his songwriting zenith. Not only do we get early versions of classics such as ‘’Heart Of Gold’’ or ‘’Old Man’’ we hear songs that were either shelved for several years (‘’See The Sky About To Rain’’, ‘’Journey Through The Past’’ and ‘’Love In Mind’’) or simply never saw the light of day (‘’Bad Fog Of Loneliness’’).
Peppered with earlier material, even from his days with Buffalo Springfield, it fast becomes clear that this is no ordinary ‘unplugged’ experience. His approach to acoustic troubador chic had, by this point, been tempered by his membership of the West Coast royalty. Every chord and inflection contain the sun-drenched mellowness and harmonic sophistication associated with the period, but remain entirely Young’s due to his own gloomier perspective (‘I live on a ranch now…lucky me.’).
For all that, Young is obviously in fine spirits, joking with the crowd while still bringing a fiecre concentration to each number. The ringing applause prior to the encore of “I Am A Child” says it all, really. His producer, David Briggs, urged Young to release the gig instead of Harvest, and listening to it 35 years later, you can see why. This is the real Neil…
Trans Am:: Conspiracy of the Gods (Music Video)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
What are Earth Intruders?
Find out here
The Fall:: Reformation Post TLC (Album Review)
Mark E Smith sets out his stall early doors on “Reformation Post TLC”. It’s clear from the off that this is a two-pronged attack. Target number one: the ageing punk/post-punk/indie types displaying their beer guts, if not their initial spirit, on
money-grabbing reunion tours. Target number two: the Manchester-based musicians who either quit or were fired during The Fall’s last American tour.
Most saliently, “Reformation Post TLC” demonstrates a consistency no other band has managed in the past decade. Since 1999’s underrated, “The Marshall Suite”, The Fall have released three excellent albums (“The Unutterable”, “Country On The Click”, “Fall Heads Roll”), not including this latest effort. It’s hard to think of any younger bands who’ve managed the same feat, even with the security of proper record deals and warming blankets of hype.
Today, The Fall are as musically diverse as they have been for some time, with the departure of the Manchester boys seeming to have freed up the songwriting. It still sounds like The Fall, of course, but the staple rockabilly guitars and complaining electronics are joined by what sounds like the product of jam sessions. Those Fall fans shocked when a bearded hippie appeared behind the bass will doubtless scratch their bald pates in alarm, but comfort is at hand.
The album opens with three of the hardest tracks The Fall have recorded since “The Unutterable”, with “Fall Sound”‘s serpentine repeated riff and Smith’s rolled r’s and yelps making it the unholiest of the trinity. The ten minutes of random claps and buzzes that form “Das Boat” might try patience, but it’s become a tradition of Fall records to feature one meandering bit of nonsense. Plus, you get the feeling that some piss-taking is intended. In any case, the flickering nuances of “Systematic Abuse” prop up the tail of the album.
Importantly, “Reformation Post TLC” sees Mark E Smith putting more emotion into an album than usual. The record opens with his malevolent cackle, while “Insult Song” finds him chortling as he mocks his American band and even his stern-looking Greek wife Elena. The cover of Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever”, meanwhile, is almost shockingly tender, as the man who once exhorted ‘Mr Pharmacist’ to pay him a visit realises what a toll prescribed chemicals can exact.
Even while half the youthful bands in Britain ham-fistedly try to capture the state of the nation (see Bloc Party, Jamie T), Smith manages to nail it with the likes of “The Wright Stuff”, a critique of celebrity culture and junk TV. “Reformation Post TLC” is a record put together with care by a man who still does. Tender and loving it might not be, but one of the albums of the year? Definitely.
The Hold Steady announce US tour
The Hold Steady have announced the details of an extensive US tour.
The band will kick things off in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on May 12, and plan to hit several cities including Detroit, Denver, Portland and Los Angeles, as well as the Sasquatch! Festival in Washington on May 26.
The band, who are supporting their recent album, ‘Boys And Girls In America’, will conclude their spring jaunt at Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Festival on June 16.
The tour dates are:
Harrisburg, PA Abbey Bar (May 12)
Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom (13)
Newport, KY Southgate House (14)
Detroit, MI Magic Stick (15)
Grand Rapids, MI Intersection (16)
Milwaukee, WI Miramar (17)
Madison, WI Orpheum Stage Door (18)
Omaha, NE Sokol Underground (20)
Denver, CO Ogden Theatre (22)
Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge (23)
Boise, ID Neurolux (24)
George, WA The Gorge – Sasquatch! Festival (26)
Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom (28)
San Francisco, CA Slim’s (30)
Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre (31)
Phoenix, AZ Brick House (June 2)
Houston, TX Walter’s on Washington (7)
Austin, TX Emo’s (8)
Norman, OK Opolis Production (10)
Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Festival (16)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Arcade Fire, Air Set For Bowie-Curated Festival
The Arcade Fire, Air, Deerhoof, Secret Machines and the Polyphonic Spree are among the first acts confirmed for the inaugural High Line Festival, which, as previously reported, will be curated by David Bowie. The event will run May 9-19 at venues near the High Line, a public park being created atop a long-abandoned elevated railway line on the west side of Manhattan.
Although it was announced last year that Bowie would play an outdoor concert as part of the festival, such an event is not on the initial High Line schedule.
“The request was for me to choose artists and acts that I myself would go out of my way to see,” Bowie says on his Web site. “Although this inaugural year will be modest in scale we’ve been pretty lucky in that many whom I asked have accepted.
“I’m also pleased that many emerging artists are participating alongside more established talents that represent a fairly wide cross section of disciplines within the arts community,” he continues. “I would really hope that the exposure this festival affords will help these folk get the attention they deserve.”
The H&M-sponsored festival will also boast a May 19 show by comedian Ricky Gervais, performances by Laurie Anderson and John Cameron Mitchell, a public art exhibition and screenings of Bowie’s 10 favorite Spanish-language films.
According to Bowie’s site, the artist “hopes to be adding a few more artists plus some support acts that aren’t in place yet.”
Bagpipes, Trumpets Enliven New White Stripes CD
Bagpipes and trumpet work from a previously unknown Latin musician are among the new sounds to be heard on the White Stripes’ “Icky Thump,” due in mid-June via Third Man/Warner Bros. The 13-track set was produced by frontman Jack White and follows 2005’s “Get Behind Me Satan,” which debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200.
“Icky Thump” runs the gamut from arena rock to blues to a spoken-word prayer to Saint Andrew. “Conquest” is set to a hot tango rhythm, featuring a trumpeter that White discovered playing a Mexican restaurant in Nashville. The song describes a reversal of roles in a relationship, where “the hunted became the huntress / the hunter became the prey / she with all her female guile / led him helpless down the aisle.”
Bagpipes and a rollicking Scottish dance structure are applied to “Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn,” capped by the refrain of “lai-de-lai-de-li-oh.” Drummer Meg White’s voice can be heard a number of songs, including her banter with Jack on the playful “Rag and Bone” and on the aforementioned spoken-word track “St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air).”
There is no piano on “Icky Thump” despite the instrument’s significant presence on “Get Behind Me Satan,” though several tracks are punctuated with synths and Wurlitzer. Cuts like “300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues” and “Catch Hell Blues,” as suggested by their titles, are a return to the garage-blues that underscored the band’s earlier records.
As previously reported, the album was recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio over the span of three weeks. According to the group’s Web site, an upcoming tour “will include all 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada, as well as the remaining 16 states of the United States the band have yet to play. A few major markets that have been journeyed to in the past will also be included.”
Here is the “Icky Thump” track list:
“You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)”
“300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues”
“Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn”
“St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)”
“Little Cream Soda”
“Rag and Bone”
“I’m Slowly Turning Into You”
“A Martyr For My Love For You”
“Catch Hell Blues”
“Effect and Cause”
Monday, March 26, 2007
Band of Horses return to studio
Sub Pop sweethearts Band of Horses have headed back into the studio: Here is word from the band.
Hey Everyone. We’re in Ashville, NC at Echo Mountain Studio recording the follow-up to Everything All The Time. We’ve got plenty of songs to record with our buddy Phil Ek behind the knobs. We’re all pretty excited of course. Let’s all hope it’s not dissapointing, ok? Love you, xoxoboh
PJ Harvey – Live @ the Forum London 1993