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Archive for September, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Neil Young- Le Noise (Album Review)

Neil Young calls his new album with producer Daniel Lanois “folk-metal,” and the description is pretty apt. “Le Noise” (Reprise) was recorded with just voice and guitar, but Lanois’ sonic treatments make it sound as epic as the Grand Canyon.

Young’s voice, still a thing of spectral (if highly unconventional) beauty in its high, lonesome transparency, is intimate, confiding. He’s tackling deep subjects: the death of the planet, of soldiers in inexplicable conflicts, of the soul itself as it is degraded by drugs, failed love, time.

“I made a mistake, then I did it again,” Young sings. No sugar-coating for this guy. He’s 64, and he’s in no mood for idle chit-chat or warm, fuzzy illusions.

“Hitchhiker” is a brutal litany of a life lived on a ledge, a string of bad drugs and bad decisions redeemed only by the love of wife and family. “My head did explode,” Young sings in one of his most chilling narratives.

That singular voice is surrounded by a cocoon of what sounds like a small orchestra of instruments. It’s remarkable to think that it was all made by one sonically enhanced guitar, but one needn’t know that to appreciate the sound pouring out of the speakers. Though the album is at heart a series of small performances, easily adaptable to a living room or coffee house, it has all the scope of a wide-screen movie. In “Walk With Me,” one of the very best performances of Young’s career, thick, crashing chords give way to a cascading, wordless vocal – as if a hymn had suddenly broken out in the middle of a war zone.

The album is full of those kind of unexpected juxtapositions, a stunning statement from an artist who shows no signs of slowing down.

Trent Reznor and HBO Moving Forward With ‘Year Zero’ Miniseries

It looks like Nine Inch Nails will be heading to a TV near you, in a somewhat unusual way. Trent Reznor is working with HBO and BBC Worldwide Production to develop a sci-fi miniseries based off of the band’s 2007 record, ‘Year Zero.’

“We are in [the development phase of] pre-production with HBO and BBC to do a miniseries,” Reznor told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s exciting. I probably shouldn’t say too much about it except that I understand that there’s a thousand hurdles before anything shows up in your TV listing. It’s been an interesting and very educational process and it cleared the HBO hurdle a few moths ago and now we’re writing drafts back and forth. So it’s very much alive and incubating.”

As Spinner previously reported, Reznor revealed that the band was in talks with HBO in 2008 about using the ‘Year Zero’ to inspire a “two-year limited series” that would be set 15 to 20 years in the future.

Reznor has apparently teamed up with a bunch of TV and film heavyweights including producers Lawrence Bender (‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Inglourious Basterds’) and Kevin Kelly Brown (‘Roswell’).

“BBC [Worldwide Productions] was the first to show interest and came on as the studio,” Reznor explained. “Our writer is Daniel Knauf from ‘Carnivàle’ and he’s busy with pages right now and revising the overall world Bible. It’s been an interesting collaborative effort but I’ve learned that [television development] moves at a glacial pace.”

This is only one of many projects under Reznor’s belt. Aside from his band, How to Destroy Angels with wife Mariqueen Maandig, he also scored the upcoming film ‘The Social Network.’

Peaches Bringing ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ Show to North America

Just in time for the holidays, dirty-mouthed Canadian Peaches is set to bring her one-woman show, ‘Peaches Christ Superstar,’ to North America in December. The event involves Peaches interpreting the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Sir Tim Rice musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ with her assuming the roles of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and the disciples.

“When I was 16, I often sang the whole musical to myself all alone in my room,” Peaches said earlier this year. “It tells an entire story without spoken text, only with vocals, in the style of a rock opera. I’m a performer, my concerts are extravagant and play with exaggerations. This project allows me to do without all this. I wanted to confront this task totally exposed, because it is a possibility. It’s a question of stamina.” Peaches added, “Performing ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ is the most intense and powerful stage experience I have ever had.”

For those familiar with Peaches’ career, a show like this shouldn’t come to any surprise. This is from the woman whose albums are called ‘Impeach My Bush’ and ‘Fatherf—er.’ Earlier this year, as ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ was getting ready to debut in Germany, the production was initially halted, but resumed after a wave of negative press.

That said, Peaches herself has been busy in other realms this summer. She launched Peaches TV, released a single called ‘Jonny’ in tribute to Suicide’s Alan Vega and recently made a guest on pop sensation Christina Aguilera’s fourth album, ‘Bionic.’ Superstar level stuff, clearly.

Here are tour dates for ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’:
Dec.10 — Boston — Institute of Contemporary Art
Dec 11 — New York — The Concert Hall at New York Society for Ethical Culture
Dec 14 — Chicago — Portage Theater
Dec.17 — Los Angeles — Orpheum Theatre
Dec. 18 — San Francisco — Herbst Theatre
Dec. 21 — Toronto — Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Primal Scream take ‘Screamadelica’ on tour

Following on from their two sold out dates at London’s Olympia this November, Primal Scream will be playing their seminal 1991 album ‘Screamadelica’ at a string of UK shows in Spring 2011.

Primal Scream play:
Fri 26th LONDON, Olympia SOLD OUT
Sat 27th LONDON, Olympia SOLD OUT

March 2011
Mon 14th LEEDS, O2 Academy
Tue 15th BIRMINGHAM, O2 Academy
Wed 16th NEWCASTLE, O2 Academy
Sat 19th MANCHESTER, Apollo
Tue 22nd BRIGHTON, Centre
Fri 25th LONDON, O2 Brixton Academy

Tickets go on sale Friday October 1st.

Teenage Fanclub: “Baby Lee” (Live On Fallon) (Video)

(flash required)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (Album Review)

Across two pairs of full-lengths and EPs into which the mainstream indie rock press thrust its winner-picking prongs, Deerhunter reverse engineered the typical fate of darling newcomers. Rather than using up its quota of inspired songwriting then veering into sonic experiments to mask writer’s block, the group began enshrouded in elaborate instrumental textures then came forth through the thicket bearing the gift of memorable pop. The next step in this pleasantly surprising path, Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter’s most accessible and best effort to date — a magical little universe where novel, distinctive sounds enliven classic pop structures.

If likening Halcyon Digest to a world unto itself seems hyperbolic, consider the opening sounds of “Earthquake.” An arpeggiated, harp-like synth part resembles the soundtrack to an underwater world in the galaxy of Super Mario. Yet it’s paired with a plodding rhythm track — suction sound on the one, drum machine snap on the three — that sounds like Massive Attack is slowly invading. Hovering atop it all, Bradford Cox’s heavily distorted vocal becomes just one piece of the elaborate architecture.

“Earthquake” ushers the listener into a record with both a remarkably unified aesthetic and many standout moments. Previewed for the blogosphere well before the album release, “Revival” is a charming, jangly jaunt that sounds like the crystallized potential of that uneven but charming singles-churning ensemble The Coral. Likewise “Helicopter,” with its crisp percussive snaps awash in the same sort of dreamscape as “Earthquake,” is a melancholy, noise pop lullaby. “No one cares for me / I keep no company / I have minimal needs / And now they are through with me,” Cox muses, but the music is less bitter than sweet. Such numbers extend the fresh and endearing sound of Deerhunter’s 2009 EP Rainwater Cassette Exchange and pair it with more resonant melodies.

Yet it is the more upbeat, shimmering pop numbers on Halcyon Digest that leave the firmest imprint. On “Desire Lines,” for instance, the group updates the classic sound of The Stone Roses, layering ethereal vocal harmonies atop spiraling guitar lines in the mode of John Squire. Clocking in at over six and a half minutes, the track reconciles the Deerhunter of new and old; it’s equal parts tight, melodic pop and stretched-out, instrumental meandering. “Memory Boy” is more emphatic, its soaring guitar riff leading up to, then topping off, the addictive refrain. “It’s not a house anymore . . . Try to recognize your son, in your eyes he’s gone,” Cox sings, and when the bright lead returns, the triumph of nostalgic gloss takes on a hint of self-consciousness. Also winning is the surprising “Coronado,” where Cox, vocal-filtered a la Julian Casablancas, sings verses while a squawking yet melodic sax intermittently substitutes for a proper refrain. It’s a daring mix that might have been a mess, but somehow sounds wildly at peace with itself — like just about every experiment on a set quite deserving of its name.

Deerhunter is not a newcomer to the peaks of indie reverence. But it has grown into the hype that was prematurely bestowed. Now a long way from its days as a relatively nondescript noise-rock outfit, it can hardly be misidentified or dismissed for say, its participation in the lamentable vogue for cervine band names. Deerhunter has come into its own, and the halcyon result is not to be missed.

(This review was written at 30,000ft in a Boeing 737)

Tom Waits, Beastie Boys Among Rock Hall Nominees

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are first-timers Tom Waits, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Donovan, and Neil Diamond, along with previously snubbed artists Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, J. Geils Band, Donna Summer, Chic, Dr. John, Laura Nyro, Joe Tex, Darlene Love, and Chuck Willis. (Via Rolling Stone.) In order to be eligible, an artist must have put out his or her first recording in 1985 or before. And since Tom Waits put out his debut single in 1973, that means it took him 12 years to be nominated. Weird.

The lucky few who get enough votes from industry insiders to make it into the Hall this year will be announced in December. The induction ceremony is set to take place March 14 in New York City.

Friday, September 24, 2010 presents: Kings of the Vinyl Frontier (DJ Night)

This Saturday September 24th at Smarty Pants in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, WA. DJ Kingblind, DJ Teenage Rampage and DJ Self-Administered Beatdown will be spinning at our DJ night…


Here are the details,

Kings of the Vinyl Frontier is a DJ night on the last Saturday of every month for vinyl lovers at Smarty Pants in the georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. ( That means we are playing nothing but vinyl.. No CD’s, No MP3’s and No Serato.. Just 100% vinyl )

Every month our theme for the night changes. This month’s theme is: (Punk Rock Night US vs. UK) The best of US and Uk punk clash in the ultimate showdown!!

Cost: 100% free
Date: Saturday 24th 24th 2010
Time: 8pm till closing

Please check out the website for complete details and directions

Kings of the Vinyl Frontier (At Smarty Pants)
6017 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA. 98108
(206) 762-4777

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Flaming Lips Unveil Series of Photo Books

Flaming Lips concerts are nothing short of a spectacle, offering balloons, dancing animals, fake blood, and frontman Wayne Coyne walking on top of the crowd in a massive plastic bubble. With such a wealth of eye-grabbing visuals, it makes perfect sense that the band have released a photo book.

The collection is entitled All We Have Is Now, and of the pictures were taken by photographer J. Michelle Martin-Coyne — Wayne Coyne’s wife. She’s been following around the band with her camera for years, so the book is guaranteed to offer lots of behind-the-scenes content.

Making the deal even sweeter is the fact that this photo book is the first in a planned series. In a video explaining the release (see below), Wayne Coyne said, “These will appear every six months or so, so remember: when you come the shows, be as flamboyant and colourful as possible, and you yourself will one day end up in this photo collection.”

The Flaming Lips’ website reports that Volume No. 1 is a 10″ x 10″ paperback, and “feature events such as the annual Halloween March of 1000 Flaming Skeletons, the St Gallen Festival in Zurich, Earth Day concert in Washington DC, the 2009 New Years Eve Concert in Oklahoma City, and many more!”

You can pick up this and future editions of All We Have Is Now from the Flaming Lips’ website and at concerts.

Sufjan’s Label Takes on Amazon

It was around this time last year when singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens suffered a self-diagnosed “existential crisis”, imploring in a magazine interview:

“I definitely feel like ‘What is the point? What’s the point of making music anymore?’ I feel that the album no longer has a stronghold or has any real bearing anymore. The physical format itself is obsolete; the CD is obsolete and the LP is kinda nostalgic.

“So, I think the album is suffering and that’s how I’ve always created — I work with these conceptual albums in the long-form. And I’m wondering, what’s the value of my work once these forms are obsolete and everyone’s just downloading music?”

Twelve months, one album and one EP later, Stevens returns with a new 11-track record and it appears the period of discontent has not passed. In a lengthy email sent to fans, Stevens’s independent record label Asthmatic Kitty Records suggests that Amazon is devaluing the work of artists with its bulk discount scheme.

Says the email:

“So. We have it on good authority that Amazon will be selling The Age of Adz for a very low price on release date, not unlike they did with Arcade Fire’s recent (and really terrific) The Suburbs. We’re not 100% sure Amazon will do this, but mostly sure.

“We have mixed feelings about discounted pricing. Like we said, we love getting good music into the hands of good people, and when a price is low, more people buy. A low price will introduce a lot of people to Sufjan’s music and to this wonderful album. For that, we’re grateful.

“But we also feel like the work that our artists produce is worth more than a cost of a latte. We value the skill, love, and time they’ve put into making their records. And we feel that our work too, in promotion and distribution, is also valuable and worthwhile.

“That’s why we personally feel that physical products like EPs should sell for around $7 and full-length CDs for around $10-12 We think digital EPs should sell for around $5 and full-length digital albums for something like $8.

“So you might wonder why we’d ‘allow’ Amazon to sell it for lower than that.

“There are several reasons why, but mostly? It’s because we believe in you. We trust you and in your ability to make your own choice.”

A quick Amazon search shows the sprawling marketplace retailing Stevens’s latest CD, The Age Of Adz, at $13.99 or £6.99 from the UK store. Digital downloads of the albums weren’t live on the site at the time of publication.

Stevens’s record label goes on to point to alternative retailers and distributors of his album – SC Distribution, the exclusive distributor for Asthmatic Kitty Records and other smaller labels, and Bandcamp, a platform allowing artists to become the retailer and sell directly to fans – both apparently valuing his work at “more than the cost of a latte”, to steal the phrase.

It will be interesting to see the effect of this on sales, we’ll be keeping an eye on it. In the meantime, Stevens might want consider going the way of Peter Gabriel.

Watch Sleigh Bells Play Live As MTV’s Push Artist Of The Week

Sleigh BellsNew MusicMore Music Videos

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sleigh Bells- Infinity Guitars (Music Video)

New video from our favorite noise pop duo.. Sleigh Bells. (Flash Required)

R.E.M.,The Roots, MoveOn Team Up To Defend Open Internet

The Federal Communications Commission will meet Thursday to discuss net neutrality regulations that have pitted major telecoms, which want control of the flow of information across their broadband networks, against small businesses, bloggers, political actors and other Internet users who are resisting the telecommunication takeover attempt.

On Wednesday, a group of popular musicians entered the fray, joining with to press the FCC to write regulations that will prevent telecoms from asserting control over the flow of information. Jackson Browne, R.E.M. the Roots, Rosanne Cash, OK Go, Moby, Bonnie Raitt and They Might Be Giants are among the artists to sign the letter. They will be encouraging their fans to contact the FCC and push the commission to write rules preserving an open Internet. Telecoms are pushing the FCC to do nothing and let Congress act instead, while major corporations such as Verizon and Google strike bilateral deals that carve up the Internet.

But Congress has already acted. In 1996, the Telecommunications Act updated the original 1934 Communications Act, New Deal legislation that prevented monopolies from dominating the means of communication. In 2002, under pressure from the cable and phone industry, the Bush administration’s FCC classified broadband as an “information service” rather than as a “telecommunications service.” It is, quite plainly, a telecommunications service, but the FCC deemed it otherwise for the sole purpose of avoiding the legislative requirement that neutrality rules be written to protect the Internet from control by major corporations.

By 2005, the phone and cable companies had begun publicly discussing their plans to subvert net neutrality. “Why should [companies] be allowed to use my pipes?” BellSouth CEO Ed Whitacre told BusinessWeek. “The Internet can’t be free in that sense … for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes for free is nuts!”

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC could not regulate broadband as an “information service.” It had already ruled in 2005 that the FCC could classify broadband as a “telecommunications service.” So, following the 2010 court ruling, the FCC announced plans to reclassify broadband as what it actually is.

That’s when the telecom lobbying went into high gear. The GOP launched an attack arguing that Obama was attempting to take state control of the Internet, as if regulating broadband the way that phone lines are regulated amounted to nationalization. The telecom lobbying effort soon came to focus around an effort to pressure FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski not to reclassify broadband, but to leave it unregulated until Congress acts.

The collaboration between MoveOn and the artists is an effort to persuade Genachowski to act.

The full letter:
Dear FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski:

The Internet has facilitated an explosion of creativity and commerce, offering unprecedented opportunities to musicians and music entrepreneurs. Due to the open structures of the Internet, musicians and other creators and innovators can compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies. The result is a blossoming and legitimate marketplace that compensates creators while rewarding fans with access to an incredible array of music.

None of this could have happened without Net Neutrality — the principle that protects the open Internet. That’s why we support efforts to preserve Net Neutrality for the benefit of innovation and free expression — and urge the FCC to act immediately to ensure that the Internet is kept free and open.

As artists, we are encouraged that the Commission recognizes the importance of net neutrality. We encourage you to apply its core principles to any and all broadband points of access, including the wireless space. We also encourage you to consider the perspectives of musicians, who depend on an open Internet to compete in a crucial marketplace and express ourselves creatively.

We will continue to support the Commission on the road to achieving clear and enforceable rules of the road for the Internet for the benefit of creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and the public. However, we also feel that the time to act is now, to avoid prolonged uncertainty for all stakeholders, including musicians and music entrepreneurs. The future of the Internet depends on decisions made today, as does the future of music. We believe that Net Neutrality is the best and only way to ensure that both futures remain bright.

The Roots
Rosanne Cash
Bonnie Raitt
Jackson Browne
Jamie Kitman
Writers Guild of America, East

Download Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Multitrack and Remix the Album Yourself

As Phoenix wind down the touring cycle behind their masterful 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, they’re offering fans free downloads of the multitrack recordings– i.e., each song broken down into individual files for bass, drums, vocals, guitars, etc.– for the entire album. They wrote on their site: “We want to thank you with a few presents before our last shows in the U.S. for a while. (You never know how long we’ll take to record the next album.)”

Of course, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is probably one of the most remixed albums of all time (there’s even an official collection of redos), but maybe you can finally unlock some hidden secrets behind “Lisztomania”. Or just make a chillwave remix. Either one.

Download the multitrack files here.
(via pfmedia)

Superchunk: “Digging For Something” and “Precision Auto” (Live On Fallon) (Video)