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Archive for May, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


If all the world’s a stage, Pulp would be headlining. We’re at Primavera for the Sheffield troupe’s first performance in almost a decade and Jarvis Cocker is addressing the Spanish contingent in the crowd. “It’s irritating when people from other countries make comments,” he says, “but I know some shit went down in the main square today. When the police put 100 people in hospital, it’s not a good thing.” Dedicating the next song to the ‘indignados’ (‘angry ones’) of the ongoing 15-M protests, he draws the biggest cheer of the weekend from revellers at the festival.

If you cast your mind back to Pulp’s heyday, you’ll recall Cocker had a talent for this kind of provocation. Sometime in the downwardly mobile mid-nineties, the charismatic frontman developed a happy knack of plugging his cause into the national consciousness. Whether mooning Michael Jackson at The Brits, sending up a class system Britpop had brought unwittingly to the fore with ‘Common People’, or tapping into end-of-the-millennium nostalgia (‘Disco 2000’), this trenchantly funny outsider who’d had his nose pressed to the glass of mainstream culture for a decade-and-a-half suddenly found himself writing its biography.

All that seems a lifetime ago now, of course, and since then we’ve had the comedown (This Is Hardcore), the convalescence (2002’s largely forgotten We Love Life) and a solo career that suggested Cocker’s mojo may have slipped irretrievably down the back of the sofa somewhere along the way. If his stints as a radio disc jockey were predictably great, there was still a suggestion that this was a man in need of reacquainting himself with what made him such a fascinating figure in the first place. And then the eerie prospect of a Pulp reunion raised its head.

Remarks from the band ahead of the comeback shows were awash with self-deprecatory humour, acknowledging the doubts some people had regarding their motives for the reboot. But in the end they needn’t have worried, since tonight’s Different Class-heavy set doesn’t only do justice to their back catalogue — and paint an electrifying portrait of a performer reborn — it also transcends the nostalgia that inevitably surrounds such an event, thanks to Cocker’s expression of unity with popular sentiment.

Truth is, the band could scarcely have picked a better platform on which to resurrect their bitterly acerbic, socialist pop. Even more than the UK, Spain in 2011 is a picture of economic and political disarray. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s leftist PSOE party were comprehensively routed at the regional and municipal elections, with anger boiling over at his perceived mismanagement of the economic crisis. The result paves the way for a likely People’s Party (PP) victory in the forthcoming general elections — another triumph for Europe’s resurgent right — but even that story fails to take into account the million spoiled or blank votes tendered at the polls, which in turn reflects the reality of the 15-M protests that have been gathering pace throughout the country since May 15. Economic growth is sluggish in the wake of Zapatero’s drastic cuts, unemployment is stalled at 21 per cent (as opposed to 7.8 per cent in the UK at last count), and protestors claim that half the country’s amply well-educated youth is unable to find work.

On the Primavera festival site as well as in the city, reality makes its presence felt; banners showing their support for protesters in the scenic alleyways of the Barri Gotic and on portaloo doors alike. A walk up the tourist-friendly Carrer de Ferran gives out onto an impressively vocal (and lightly policed) protest outside the Catalan government seat. And one early-hours foray onto the Plaça de Catalunya (completely by accident, we’re not treading in George Orwell’s footsteps just yet) reveals the vibrant site of Barca’s 15-M protest, already into its second week by the time of our arrival.

When a Barcelona resident and friend of The Stool Pigeon informs us that 100 people were injured the following day (Friday May 27) when police rolled up — ostensibly to clean the square before letting protesters back in — we are shocked to say the least. The site had looked to be in respectable shape only the night before, and there was no hint of an aggressive mood as we walked among the scores of people camped out for the evening. The banners hardly struck a chord of terror, either; ‘Yes, we camp!’ and ‘Poco pan para tanto chorizo’ (‘So little bread, so many crooks’) being choice among them.

In a country where any act of public aggression from the police inevitably raises the spectre of Franco’s Guardia Civil, such an incident is bound to mobilise support for the (admittedly ambiguous) 15-M cause — and, at the risk of sounding glib, Jarvis hit all the right notes in dedicating ‘Common People’, his definitive statement of underclass bile, to their efforts. As the man himself puts it at the beginning of the band’s set: “It’s not about ancient history, it’s about making history.” What happens next is anyone’s guess.


Business Insider:

Jobs is still not working at Apple on a full-time basis due to health issues, so it’s good to know he’s feeling well enough to deliver another big keynote. (He revealed iPad 2 earlier this year.)

Apple says Jobs and other execs will be talking about iOS 5, the next version of its iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch software.

It also says we will hear about something called, “iCloud,” which could be a revamped version of its MobileMe software, as well as its web-based music service…

And a portion of Apple’s press release (via CrunchGear):

Apple to Unveil Next Generation Software at Keynote Address on Monday, June 6

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011
CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

WWDC will feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers. Mac® developers will see and learn how to develop world-class Mac OS X Lion applications using its latest technologies and capabilities. Mobile developers will be able to explore the latest innovations and capabilities of iOS and learn how to greatly enhance the functionality, performance and design of their apps. All developers can bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Album Review)

It would take a committed contrarian to argue that Thurston Moore’s output is not prolific. His record label, critics and public seem entirely unsure as to how many of the slew of releases he’s stuck out over the years should count as solo albums. A serial collaborator, even when on sabbatical from that big rock band he plays in, we can at least say that Demolished Thoughts is the third song-based collection to come out under Moore’s own name. As a trio, the three records can be seen as a sonic journey: from the heady electric brew of 1995’s Psychic Hearts, through 2007’s Trees Outside The Academy, which switched between electric and acoustic guitars, to this effort, on which our lanky guitar hero sticks unswervingly to his steel-stringed acoustics.

So although its name is cribbed from a lyric by Washington hardcore act The Faith that Moore previously utilised as the handle of an all star punk covers band in which he featured (alongside J Mascis, Awesome Color’s Allison Busch, Fucked Up’s Jonah Falco and Gumball’s Don Fleming) for a one-off performance at last year’s SXSW, Demolished Thoughts’ explorations take Moore as far from his punk roots as he has yet travelled, towards some pastoral folk hinterland.

A glib appraisal of his solo career’s three-staged shift from electric to acoustic might gauge that this trip marks the now 52-year-old Moore’s aging process; a move in his case away both from youth and from the ‘Youth. That would be to ignore the commitment to electric improvisation pocked across that aforementioned slew, the continued rollicking form of Sonic Youth, and the actuality of the nine songs collected on this LP. For while the precisely picked and strummed acoustic lines are backed violin and harp, old habits die hard, and Moore’s persistence with unconventional tunings and extended guitar techniques has produced songwriting is recognisably his own.

‘Circulation’ pits an unending guitar strum against flecked violin patterns and the occasional explosions of colour, with Moore’s hushed threatening vocal producing a claustrophobic atmosphere. ‘Mina Loy’ both opens with a tense solo guitar exploration which is wound ever tighter as various instruments enter the fray one after the other before the addition a finely wrought sorrowful lyric. These are intense songs, and Moore has been quick to credit his producer, one Beck Hansen, with sharpening them up. His taut arrangements stretch the form and draw out the essence of each track.

The beautiful ‘Benediction’ – a graceful love song that could be a companion piece to Trees Outside the Academy’s marvellous ‘Honest James’ – is etched with ethereal washes of harp and a careworn string section and eventually sidles off with some lightly brushed drumwork. The lush lines of bowed stings punctuating ‘Blood Never Lies’ and ‘January’ pointedly hark back to Robert Kirby’s flowing arrangements for Nick Drake, but elsewhere on the album, as on ‘Illumine’, precise, plucked violin and harp hold songs for moments of cryogenic stasis. ‘Orchard Street’’s cession from warm memorial to a Branca-like slurry of chord repetitions is carefully orchestrated to end with Moore’s lone guitar picked under the bridge, which in turn segues back into the warm wonderings of ‘In Silver Rain With a Paper Key’.

Thirty years in arguably the most significant act to come out of the American alternative underground of the Eighties has clearly not dimmed Moore’s desire to explore new territory, and this record is as much testament to that as any of his many others.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Malkmus Announces Beck-Produced LP

Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has hit the studio with his band the Jicks and one Beck Hansen. But because Malkmus was busy with the Pavement reunion tour all last year, that collaboration had to go on the back burner. Now that Pavement is once again in the rearview mirror, Malkmus is back on his solo grind. The Matablog announces that Matador will release the Beck-produced Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks album Mirror Traffic on August 23.

The Matablog also reports that Mirror Traffic will be the final Jicks album to feature former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, who’s keeping herself busy with Wild Flag, her new band with Mary Timony and ex-Sleater-Kinney bandmate Carrie Brownstein. At future Jicks shows, Joggers drummer Jake Morris will take over for her.

Below, we’ve got footage of Malkmus and the Jicks playing the new song “Senator” at a Portland show in 2009:

Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi: Rome (Album Review)

one of the albums in 2011 you need to hear is from danger mouse and daniele luppi featuring jack white and norah jones. some five years in the making, the conception of ‘rome’ actually dates back even further, to the 2004 meeting of brian burton aka danger mouse and italian composer / arranger daniele luppi. burton was emerging from the aftermath of the media storm around his ‘grey album’ and beginning work on gorillaz now multi-platinum and grammy winning ‘demon days’. luppi was amassing acclaim for his album an italian story, which paid tribute to the cinematic sounds that shaped his childhood, while writing music for the screen (sex in the city, nine, etc.) and soon thereafter contributing arrangements to burton projects including gnarls barkley, dark night of the soul and broken bells. united in their shared passion for classic italian film music, burton and luppi have created a record like no other: intense songwriting periods both together and apart and travels to rome during which luppi reunited for the first time in decades original musicians from the scores of ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ and ‘once upon a time in the west’ including the legendary marc 4 backing band and alessandro alessandroni’s ‘i cantori moderni’ choir laid the groundwork. recording took place in rome’s cavernous forum studios formerly ortophonic studios, founded, amongst others, by the great ennio morricone – employing vintage equipment, for which burton and luppi would pay with bottles of wine, and making every effort to replicate the recording practices of the 1960s / 70s golden age, recording live to tape, with no electronics, computers or 21st-century effects. crucial to the completion of rome has been the enlistment of two lead vocalists who not only do justice to but complete the three songs each written for a man and a woman. while on tour with gnarls barkley, burton met jack white and a year later, white recorded his contributions the rose with the broken neck, two against one and the world in nashville. white s counterpart, in a revelatory turn, is norah jones, who flew to burton’s la studio from new york to sing on ‘season’s trees’, ‘black’ and ‘problem queen’.

Play based on life of AC/DC singer Bon Scott opening in Australia

A play based on the life of the late AC/DC frontman Bon Scott is set to open in Australia in July.

The play, ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be – The Story of Bon Scott’, will open on July 12 at the Anthenaeum Theatre in Melbourne for an initial two-week run. The show will tell the life story of Scott, who died in 1980 aged 33 after choking on his own vomit in the back of a car after a night of heavy drinking in London’s Music Machine, now re-opened as KOKO.

Scott was the lead singer of AC/DC from 1974 though to his death but was also in several bands before that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rapture announce new album and UK shows

The Rapture are set to release their comeback album ‘In The Grace Of Your Love’ on September 5 in the UK.

The album from the New York band will be their first studio LP since 2006’s ‘Pieces Of The People We Love’ and will come out on September 6 in the US. The band have also announced two UK shows, set for the Manchester Academy on September 7 and London’s XOYOon September 8.

The album features 11 songs and sees the band making a return to DFA Records, whose founders LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy produced their 2003 record ‘Echoes’.

The Dismemberment Plan To Release Live Album

90s/early-00s D.C. post-punkers the Dismemberment Plan were one of the great live bands of their era, but they somehow never got around to releasing a live album. Earlier this year, the band reunited for a tour, celebrating the reissue of their landmark 1999 album Emergency & I. And now, the D-Plan will finally correct that whole no-live-album oversight. On June 1, the Japanese label Bad News Records will internationally release Live in Japan 2011, a 23-song document of the D-Plan’s February 9 show at Tokyo’s Shibuya O-nest.

Below, we’ve got the album’s tracklist, as well as a video of the band playing “The City” live during that same run of Japanese shows.

The Dismemberment Plan only have two shows left on their touring schedule. They’ll play at the Roots Picnic in Philly on June 4 and on July 16, they’ll appear at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Live in Japan 2011:

01 Spider in the Snow
02 A Life of Possibilities
03 The Face of the Earth
04 Sentimental Man
05 You Are Invited
06 Bra
07 What Do You Want Me to Say
08 Pay for the Piano
09 Memory Machine
10 Time Bomb
11 If I Don’t Write
12 Following Through
13 The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich
14 Do the Standing Still
15 Girl O’Clock
16 The City
17 I Love a Magician
18 OK Joke’s Over
19 Ellen and Ben
20 Gyroscope
21 The Ice of Boston
22 That’s When the Party Started
23 Back and Forth
(via pitchfork)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Rolling Stone:
Though iTunes has declined to comment on exactly what went down, it appears as though someone at the company accidentally put the entirety of Bon Iver’s new album on sale a la carte when the disc’s first single “Calgary” was made available for purchase on Tuesday. Apple fixed the error shortly after it occurred, but that didn’t stop a number of customers from buying and leaking the full album well before its June 21st release. Within an hour, Bon Iver was all over torrents and other file sharing services.

Bon Iver’s record label Jagjaguwar and frontman Justin Vernon’s attorney both declined to comment…

The Guardian:
iTunes declined to comment on the allegations, and if there was indeed an error it has since been fixed. However, the service has previously been accused of accidentally leaking music – in 2008, with the Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely album, and in 2009, with a record by Kelly Clarkson. The problem may reflect the difficulties in dealing with music in such volume: the Apple-owned digital store is the No 1 music retailer in the US, and has sold more than 10 bn songs since 2003…

Fleet Foxes Play Fallon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Kinks Reissue Three More Albums

Earlier this year, Hip-O-Select/Sanctuary reissued the first three albums from British Invasion greats the Kinks. On June 13, we’ll get another set of three reissues, as the same labels will release expanded double-disc editions of 1966’s Face to Face, 1967’s Something Else, and 1969’s Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire).

The reissues include mono and stereo mixes, BBC sessions, and interviews, remastered by Kinks historian Andrew Sandoval. The packages also include rare photos. We’ve got all the tracklists below, as well as footage of the Kinks playing the Arthur track “Victoria” live.

In other Kinks news, frontman Ray Davies serves as curator of this year’s Meltdown Festival, which comes to the Southbank Centre in London June 10-19. Davies will perform, as will people like Yo La Tengo, Wire, the Sonics, Nick Lowe, Madness, Anna Calvi, Current 93, and Lydia Lunch.
(via pitchfork)


From Business Insider, the simple, slick solution Apple has come up with for streaming music to your phone:

That’s why Apple is going to store small pieces of all of your songs on your device, even if you choose to get all your music on-demand from their cloud music service.

At least that’s what a patent Apple Insider uncovered indicates.

We’re betting they’ll store the first 10–20 seconds of each of your songs on your device, so when you choose a new song, it’ll start playing immediately as your device hooks up with the cloud and starts downloading the rest of your song…

And from Cnet, some label negotiation developments:

Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing agreement with EMI Music and is very near to completing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, multiple music industry sources told CNET.

Warner Music Group already had a deal in place with Apple, CNET reported last month. The licensing agreements will enable Apple to launch a fully licensed cloud-music service to rival unlicensed offerings of rivals Amazon and Google.

The negotiations with Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group could be wrapped up as early as next week, the sources said. What this means is that signed contracts with all four of the top four record companies will be in Apple’s hip pocket on June 6 when Apple kicks off the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The sources who spoke with CNET did not know when Apple would announce the deals or roll out the cloud service… on Apple’s inevitable domination:

If the reports are true, Apple has locked in licensing deals with two of the four major labels for its long-rumored cloud music service. According to CNET, EMI is the latest to officially sign on, joining Warner Music Group, which reportedly finalized agreements with Apple last month. And deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are “close.”

A Sony spokesman declined to comment, while representatives from the other majors were not immediately reachable. Apple also declined to comment.

If true, that would put Apple well on track to unveil some kind of cloud service at its June 6 developers conference. Exactly what will be launched remains an active point of speculation, but the assumption is that it will be another music locker that allows customers to store music on Apple’s servers, to be streamed to any Web-connected device…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Josh Homme Serenaded by Fans at Queens Of The Stone Age Birthday Gig

Buoyant fans sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Josh Homme on Tuesday night, May 17, when Queens of the Stone Age played The Roundhouse, London, in what was a celebratory night all round.

The Californian rockers were on a relatively short tour to promote the re-release of the band’s 1998 debut album, the one where Homme devised his own stripped-back sound distinct from his early years with desert rockers Kyuss.

That record was overshadowed by QOTSA’s breakthrough release two years later with ‘Rated R,’ though this live set showed the early material stood up on its own. Certainly you could hear Homme laying the groundwork for later success with the driving riffs and high, dreamy vocals on ‘Regular Jon.’

Homme has explained that on this first album, he sought a new sound based on insistent rhythms and grinding repetition that would get girls dancing, though what was striking was the variety he managed to eke out of that premise. The heavy, yet lithe, groove of ‘Mexicola’ was a clear stand-out, though also memorable were the abstract soundscapes of ‘I Was a Teenage Hand Model’ (Gotta love those song titles), anchored by a metronomic piano, and the drawn-out jam over Joey Castillo’s spacious drumming that was ‘You Can’t Quit Me Baby.’

Responding to the crowd’s adulation, the five-piece returned for two encores, beginning with further excursions into the depths of their back catalogue — notably ‘Monster in the Parasol’ and ‘Hangin’ Tree,’ originally sung by occasional Queen Mark Lanegan — before closing with ‘Go With The Flow’ and ‘Little Sister.’ QOTSA’s current, settled line-up was brutally competent, though you wonder how much Homme needs a foil such as the ex-Screaming Trees singer.

It has been four years since his main group released the variable ‘Era Vulgaris,’ time punctuated by super group Them Crooked Vultures and festival appearances last year to play ‘Rated R.’ Homme dismissed the band’s generosity on the night by saying they would be gone for some time, presumably to record that belated sixth album. Now they have revisited their founder’s roots, QOTSA should return revitalised.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CBGB film to chronicle birthplace of punk rock

The birth of punk rock in New York City will be chronicled in a film about the club CBGB and its owner, the late Hilly Kristal, according to the film’s producers, one of whom is Kristal’s daughter.

Brad Rosenberger, Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Kristal’s daughter Lisa Kristal Burgman will produce the film, tentatively titled “CBGB,” that will cover the years 1974 to ’76 when the Bowery club became a haven for the Ramones, Talking Heads, Television and Patti Smith.

Miller and Savin are writing the script; Savin will direct.

Kristal, who died in 2007, was a trained violinist who opened CBGB with the intention of booking country, bluegrass and blues bands. Instead he found a new breed of rock acts that he wound up nurturing.

“It was an old-fashioned salon in an awful part of New York where people could fail while they worked to find their voice,” Savin told “He provided a voice to the disenfranchised. It’s a heroic and flawed story.”

Through Burgman’s extensive connections, the producing team has been interviewing artists about Kristal and the club. The “surrogate parent” relationship he had with many of the artists, Rosenberger said, has the producers confident they will be able to secure music rights from various bands for the film.

Scheduling is being worked out, but a late fall start is being eyed. The film is being financed by independent backers and individuals.

Monday, May 16, 2011

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS EXPANDED COLLECTORS EDITIONS OF FOUR CLASSIC ALBUMS GIVEAWAY is proud to be part of a giveaway of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Expanded Collectors Editions of 4 classic albums:
Let Love In (1994), Murder Ballads (1996), The Boatman’s Call (1997) and No More Shall We Part (2001)

We will be randomly picking a winner this week.. So how do you enter? Simple, read below.

Please send your email with NICK CAVE GIVEAWAY in the Subject line with your mailing address in the body of the message to Info(at)kingblind(dot)com
Remember!!! NO SUBJECT LINE AND ADDRESS= NO WINNER.. So please follow our simple instructions.

About the Reissues:
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds announce the latest in a series of reissues of their classic albums. Let Love In (1994), Murder Ballads (1996), The Boatman’s Call (1997) and No More Shall We Part (2001) — their eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh studio albums, respectively — will be released on May 17, each as a separate deluxe double-disc Collectors Edition.

These latest releases are the third set of reissues from a series that will ultimately see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ entire album catalogue digitally re-mastered and remixed for 5.1 Surround Sound for the first time since their original release.

Each deluxe double-disc Collectors Edition contains the re-mastered stereo album, the new surround mix, a specially commissioned short film made by UK artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, plus b-sides from the singles, videos and exclusive sleeve notes.

The first three consecutive albums in the re-mastered deluxe edition series — From Her to Eternity, The Firstborn Is Dead, Kicking Against the Pricks — were released in 2009. The next four in the series — Your Funeral…My Trial, Tender Prey, The Good Son and Henry’s Dream – were released last year. All were received with unanimous critical welcome.

The Bad Seeds are: Blixa Bargeld, Martyn P Casey, Mick Harvey, Conway Savage, Thomas Wydler