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Archive for January, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tomahawk- Oddfellows (Album Review)

On 2013’s Oddfellows, Tomahawk abandoned the Native American concept taken on Anonymous, choosing instead to mine the hard-edged, riff-heavy metal of their 2001 breakout. Tomahawk has always found humor in the fact that their sound probably won’t land them on the mainstream charts anytime soon, as the screeching lyric from their first album “This beat might win me a Grammy!” will tell you, but cuts like “White Hats/Black Hats,” “Warratorium,” and “South Paw” show a willingness to write a memorable song within the perimeters of pop, dunk it in the evil depths of metal sludge, and keep it from floating too far into the deep end. Mike Patton continues to amaze as one of today’s most versatile vocalists, cycling through his many styles, and turning on a dime from a menacing baritone to belting it out to asking seductively, “What’s that the thing on your lip? You got some shit hanging off your lip.” In other words, classic Patton. His old running mate, bassist Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle, is a perfect addition, and has given the band the kick in the pants they needed to get back on the rails after the departure of the Melvins’ Kevin Rutmanis. Instead of working separately as they did on the great, but polarizing departure Anonymous, guitarist Duane Denison (the Jesus Lizard, Unsemble) and drummer John Stanier (Helmet, Battles), et al recorded in a live room in a proper Nashville studio to capture their chemistry; a wise move when you have a supergroup capable of locking in on such impressively heavy grooves. This may be a flashback to the sound of a decade prior, but after getting so far away from their metal roots, most fans will agree that this balance of creepy ambience and pummeling riffs is a welcome return to form.

Watch Yo La Tengo’s “I’ll Be Around” Video, Starring Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan

Yo La Tengo have shared the new video for Fade’s “I’ll Be Around”, directed by Phil Morrison (who directed Junebug). It stars Superchunk/Merge head Mac McCaughan, and it features a bunch of text, including a pretty delicious-sounding recipe.

(via pfmedia)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amoeba Music is digitizing old/rare vinyl releases

Vinyl will never die, but at this may help put some of those ultra-rare releases into your pocket and not just on your turntable:

California-based mega-retailer Amoeba Music, the last big record store on the block, has moved into the digital age with both feet, with its inauguration of a revamped website. And possibly the most intriguing element of that site, and a direct reflection of Ameoba’s dig-deeper philosophy, is the so-called Vinyl Vaults section — thousands of rare and out-of-print LPs, 78s and 45s that flow through the company’s three outlets in any given week — now available for sale via download.

“We’ve been digitizing a lot,” says Jim Henderson, who owns Amoeba along with partners Marc Weinstein, Karen Pearson and Dave Prinz. “What you see now is the lost-between-the-cracks, underappreciated, undervalued (music) from dead labels, (obscure) artists, stuff that we really stand behind. It’s mostly in the rock genre, with a lot of jazz, a lot of blues, some country, some spoken word. There are some oddities for sure.” -[Variety]

The number of titles grow daily, with more than one thousand already on hand. If it’s anything like Amoeba’s stock right now, expect some rare/obscure LPs in there. Check out Amoeba’s “vinyl vault” here.


All of the puzzle pieces are in place. Now, we just need a stellar album, but this quote makes us very optimistic. Via Spin:

Unless QOTSA are just teasing us, that problem has now been solved. Lanegan joins a roster that’s already impressively stacked. Aside from Grohl and Oliveri, Trent Reznor and Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears have turned in guest appearances for the album, which its creators have described as “ridiculous,” like “running in a dream,” and, in a particularly colorful turn of phrase, like a “codeine cabaret.” There’s also a nine-minute mockumentary where QOTSA purport to reveal “Secrets of the Sound” but actually wind up paying homage to the late Patrick Swayze — who, come to think of it, Lanegan at times somewhat resembles.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Local Natives – Hummingbird (Album Review)

Gorilla Manor: goofy name for a young band hoping to be taken seriously for their full-hearted hooks. There was no guarantee Local Natives’ 2009 album would take off the way that it did, or take off at all for that matter. As is frequently the case with debuts, there remained a sad likelihood that it would end up not as a career-launch, but rather a photo album to be looked back upon fondly. In fact, that’s exactly what it sounded like: documentation of friends holing up and having a little fun while they could.

As a result, Manor was an overwhelmingly positive album. Even in the few instances when the lyrics addressed mortality, it was to challenge it: “I bet when I leave my body for the sky / the wait will be worth it,” sang Kelcey Ayer (“Airplanes”). The glasses-raised choruses include highlights like “Shape Shifter” and “Who Knows Who Cares”, songs that burst open with their immortality complexes in full swing. Three years later, on Hummingbird, the four remaining members of Local Natives link up once again; this time, with a couple concessions about death.

Hummingbird is, in a phrase, pretty damn bleak. Between Ayer’s heartbreaking recollection of his mother’s last breaths on “Colombia” to the man pictured on the cover futilely trying to resist being swept away from solid ground, it’s clear that the Los Angeles harmonizers are no longer brazenly jumping off the deep end together. This album is full of sober surrender.

Be that as it may, Hummingbird’s sonic palette makes Gorilla Manor seem monochromatic and lo-fi by comparison. With no small thanks to The National’s Aaron Dessner, who auspiciously came on board as producer, Hummingbird is jam-packed with textural traces of several key indie touchstones: Veckatimest, Bon Iver, and yes, High Violet.

Granted, that’s automatically cause for concern. It’s one thing for a band to paint in certain contemporary colors, but there is a fine line between renovation and regurgitation. Fortunately, Ayer’s artistry is deeply introspective, and the visceral timbres and textures he uses allows this album to stand on its own. Even though Hummingbird‘s tracks were written more collaboratively this time around, Ayer’s lyrics are much more personal than those on Manor.

Even the band’s signature multi-part harmonies are reduced to give the sound a private aesthetic. On the first two tracks, he repeatedly sings about heading into “places we don’t know” and about a conversation with someone that gets into “outliving the body.” Heavy talk, but not forged. It’s Local Natives’ consistent dependence on real life for creative fuel that eliminates the risk of anything fake.

This brings us to the hallmark track, which is the one Dessner accurately calls the album’s “tent pole song”: “Colombia”. Dedicated to his late mother, Ayer’s words here are wrenching to hear. The music adds dimensions to his lyrics. This song is the corner that Hummingbird waits 34 minutes to turn. Anxiety burns into closure. If Hummingbird wasn’t there already, this momentous sentiment is what defines Local Natives. They’ve come a long way since being ‘the band that opened for Arcade Fire.’ Hummingbird proves that these guys are maturing into a sound that’s both singular and wrenching with severity.

Multiple Black Flag Lineups Reuniting in 2013, No Rollins :(

We know this may get confusing with two different Black Flag line-ups touring, but to clear it up, neither one includes Henry Rollins and only one is finishing up a new LP. The line-up with founding member and guitarist Greg Ginn is the one with a new album on the way. Via Exclaim:

The news comes via a press release from Ginn’s SST imprint, which claims Black Flag are “putting finishing touches” on their first album since 1985’s In My Head, which will arrive later in 2013. Details have yet to be given on the set beyond that, but the lineup will be Ginn on guitar, the re-instated Ron Reyes on vocals, and Ginn’s Gone-mate Gregory Moore on drums. It also looks like Ginn laid down the low-end, using his old alias of “Dale Nixon.”

… Don’t forget that FLAG, the band featuring former Black Flag members Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson and Descendents guitarist Steve Egerton also have concerts set up this year, though neither act have anything set up in Canada just yet. You can see the details on their respective tour schedules here.

Watch the Keith, Chuck Bill version below, they are seriously kicking out the jams!!

Monday, January 28, 2013


A French newspaper dropped the news earlier today that the robot duo have ironed out a deal with a new major label, since their previous EMI contract expired after their 2005 album Human After All. It’s unlikely J-Lo had anything to do with the decision, but a few new collab details about the new record have come to light.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Confirmed details about Daft Punk’s forthcoming fourth album are few and far between, although producer/Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers recently hinted that it would be out in the coming months. Singer/songwriter/ASCAP president Paul Williams, veteran bassist Nathan East, Feist collaborator Chilly Gonzales and legendary disco producer Giorgio Moroder (via a spoken monologue) are among others who have reportedly collaborated with the duo over the past couple of years, although whether and what form their contributions to the album might take is unclear.

Kendrick Lamar on SNL

Saturday night, Kendrick Lamar was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live”, which was hosted by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. He performed his good kid, m.A.A.d city tracks “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice”.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Four months after putting the project on hiatus, and one day after former bandmate Omar Rodriguez-Lopez unveiled his new project Bosnian Rainbows, Mars Volta vocalist and guitarist Cedric Bixler-Zavala has disolved the band, blaming Bosnian Rainbows for the split. Via NME:

Bixler-Zavala’s statement reads:

“Thank u 2 all Volta fans you deserved more especially after the way you rooted for us on this album. I tried my hardest to keep it going. But Bosnian Rainbows was what we all got instead. I can’t sit here and pretend any more. I no longer am a member of Mars Volta. I honestly thank all of you for buying our records and coming to our shows. You guys were a blast to play in front of. We could never had done it with out you. My dream was to get us to the point were Jon Theodore and Ikey Owens came back but sadly it’s over. Thank you a million times over for ever giving a fuck about our band.

For the record I tried my hardest to get a full scale North American tour going for Noctourniquet but Omar did not want to. All I can do is move forward with my music and just be happy that Mars Volta ever happened at all. God Damn we had a blast. Thank you again. I just feel really guilty for not even really saying the truth because a hiatus is just an insult to the fans. To all our fans all over the world thank you for giving a fuck. You all ruled! I don’t think ill ever hear a fist full of dollars the same. My record will see the light of day soon and I’m excited because it sounds nothing like my previous endeavors. And no I’m not joking about any of this, I owe it 2 you guys to all fans to be serious about this.”

“Thank you to all past members who helped Volta along as well. We blasted through like a comet and left our mark! If you ever see me in person and want to know why I’ll tell u my story. Please just be happy that it happened at all remember all the opposition we were met with for just starting a new band back in 2001.”

“And for the record I’m still in love with At the Drive-In. Proof was in my performance. I would never get on stage if my heart was else where. I have cancelled shows before for knowing full well that my heart was not in it at that moment. Why? Because its an insult to the audience. To be clear I’m not angry I just wanted to be honest with the people who have allowed me to make a living playing music. What am I suppose to do be some progressive house wife that’s cool with watching their partner go fuck other bands? We owe it 2 fans to tour.”

Does anyone else feel like we need a rock and roll Dr. Phil to help these two sort out their feelings?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to Play SXSW, Add Tour Dates.

We are pleased to announce that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will be kicking off their 2013 North American tour at SXSW on Wednesday, March 3rd. Cave and company will perform this year’s NPR showcase at Stubb’s, supporting their 15th studio album, Push The Sky Away (out Feb 18th on Bad Seed Ltd).

On Tuesday, 12th March, in conjunction with his SXSW performance, SXSW Film and Music will host Nick Cave in Conversation with New York based author Larry Ratso Sloman. Sloman’s numerous collaborators include Howard Stern, David Blaine, magic historian William Kalush and Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom he worked on the memoir Scar Tissue. Sloman also wrote an account of Bob Dylan’s 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, On the Road with Bob Dylan, and penned Reefer Madness, a history of marijuana use in the United States.

Nick Cave is an internationally acclaimed author, composer, screenwriter and actor. In recent years, Cave wrote the screenplays for The Proposition and Lawless, while he and Warren Ellis scored The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Road. The two more recently presented the Lawless soundtrack featuring Cave/Ellis originals and classic compositions performed by The Bootleggers and the likes of Ralph Stanley, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and more.

This conversation between the two prolific creative forces of Cave and Sloman is not to be missed.

The aforementioned Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds tour is nearly completely sold out in advance. See below for a full list of dates. In the meantime, head to the Cave’s website, where “Jubilee Street” from Push The Sky Away is now streaming. The album’s first single “We No Who U R” is available now.

02/21/13 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
03/13/13 — Austin, TX — Stubbs Amphitheater
03/14/13 – Dallas, TX – McFarlin Auditorium
03/16/13 – Nashville, TN – The Ryman +
03/17/13 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel +
03/19/13 – Philadelphia, PA – Keswick
03/20/13 – Bethesda, MD – Strathmore +
03/22/13 – Montreal, QC – Metropolis
03/23/13 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall +
03/24/13 – Boston, MA – Orpheum +
03/28/13 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater +
03/29/13 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater +
03/30/13 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater
04/01/13 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre +
04/03/13 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre +

+ sold out


Of course the guy from At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta called his new band Bosnian Rainbows. What else would he call them? Via NME:

Rodriguez-Lopez, who announced in late 2012 that he and At The Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler had placed The Mars Volta on hiatus, is joined in the new outfit by drummer Deantoni Parks, keyboardist Nicci Kasper and singer Teri Gender-Bender, who is also a member of noise experimentalists Les Butcherettes

Speaking to NME about his new band, the axeman revealed that the band’s debut album was recorded in Germany in late 2012 and will be released later this year. He said: “We recorded the record over in Europe, we did a tour across Europe and we recorded the album in Hamburg, Germany. It’s been done for a while and we’ve decided to put it out this year. We’re really happy with it.”

You can check out the Rainbows’ first single below.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club cover The Call on new LP (stream)

Black Rebel Motorcyle Club will release their seventh album, Specter at the Feast, on March 19 via Vagrant. The band have just released the first track from the album, a cover of The Call’s 1989 single “Let the Day Begin,” which was a minor U.S. hit. Some of you may know that BRMC bassist Robert Levon Been’s father is Michael Been who fronted The Call (and not be be confused with Micheal Biehn from The Terminator). You can watch the video for The Call’s original below as well.


As expected, the outlook isn’t looking too bright for all of those crazy rumors. Essentially, if you were thrown into a bout of hysteria by the prospect of someone performing at the desert festival, then they probably aren’t playing. Well, ok, you got the Postal Service reunion, but if you’re anything like us, they were more required listening if you wanted to talk to the popular girl with feelings in high school. Via Spin:

Reports circulated that Daft Punk were going to bring their Tron-friendly light show to the desert after an email alert from ticketing site Songkick claimed they’d be headliners (via Pretty Much Amazing). The NME later deflated that dream, reporting that Daft Punk won’t play any concerts for the entirety of 2013.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yo La Tengo: Fade (Album Review)

What a gross prospect that a 30-years-going (and at least 20-years-miraculous) band like Hoboken’s finest have to contend with critical acclaim, that tempestuous thing that doubts itself every so often when a band simmers for too long. Yo La Tengo does nothing but simmer, and their excellent records are proof that a band need not boil over to consistently make the best American music in the universe.

Yes, 2009’s Popular Songs was close as they get to repeating themselves, generic title intact, triple-boring endless coda devastating (“The Fireside” was, sure, the worst thing they’ve ever recorded). But you could still glean “If It’s True,” “Nothing to Hide” and “Periodically Double or Triple” from it, three of their easiest tunes since “Sugarcube” if not 1992’s “Upside-Down.” Then there’s the preceding two records, 2006’s riotous Nuggets-styled jukebox I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass and the mysteriously disliked Summer Sun, which spent the twilight hours of the decade’s remainder swelling into this reviewer’s favorite album of 2003. Summer Sun’s thunder was mostly stolen three years prior by the haunting …And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, presumably because critics didn’t think they could enjoy two very quiet albums in a row. 1997’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One was their jack-of-all-trades switchblade, their Sign ‘o’ the Times by most accounts, and before that their noisiest record, Electr-O-Pura, which damn near equaled anything they’ve ever done. Except for Popular Songs, every one of these is a great record. I suppose something about my post makes me not to be trusted that they don’t dip. Trust this: bands rarely get to age 30 without having streaks of miraculous albums. And OK, they relegated a lot of the crap to EPs and anthologies and other B-crap. Remember when they banged up a garage as the Condo Fucks? Hoodlums.

Despite the fact that the young year’s Fade is a great album—their best since, yup, Summer Sun—this is the odd reversal of a band who’s always given fans plenty to chew on now servicing critics to regain recognition. Inside jokes of song titles are out. As are 12-minute organ workouts. Humor is sparse. Nothing sounds like a cover tune from the vinyl deeps. Fade is just 10 distinctive, beautiful songs in 45 minutes meant to show their languid new peers (Real Estate, Beach House, Grizzly Bear, what have you) who’s boss. It shouldn’t work. It’s to that roaring 20-year streak’s goodwill that it does.

They save their songiest new song for the opener that most flaunts the “electronic” additions of Tortoise’s John McEntire (big deal, they’ve been looping drones since 1989’s “Barnaby, Hardly Working”). “Ohm” counters its funky shaker and one-chord drone with the most memorable and out-front lyrics of possibly the band’s career: “Sometimes the bad guys go out on top/ Sometimes the good guys lose/ Been trying not to lose our hearts/ Not to lose our minds.” Whether it’s about the fiscal cliff or their own uncertainty over whether they’ll ever have the energy to do another one (“But nothing ever stays the same/ Nothing’s explained”), they confront the mortality of everything on a six-minute track that never jams because the tune never lets go, cresting with doo-doo-doos and then a melody-unwinding guitar solo halfway through. They never did write an anthem, so here’s their “Teen Age Riot,” three decades late. Call it “Old Age Shrug,” since the title “Ohm” is one of those things that’s never explained.

The remaining nine tunes perform another feat they’ve rarely indulged: showcase individual parts. Sick of their murmured lo-fi getting shafted by people who’d otherwise admire their chops, they brighten each element in the mix on Fade, so you can really hear the delicate snap of the snares on “Well You Better,” the flamenco-like soloing on “Stupid Things” against vaporized fuzz bass, the acoustic guitars on “The Point of It,” the fine-china string quartet on “Is That Enough.”

Despite sanding off many of their hallmarks, every track eventually kicks in, like the fast “Paddle Forward” that you barely notice at first because the slow ones are so beautiful, and “Two Trains” which makes like Imperial Teen at half-speed and could’ve fit perfectly onto …And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. “Cornelia and Jane” is a classic Georgia Hubley torch song, with more audible momentum and horns that return for a closer with, wow, arena-rock drums. Because only “Ohm” and “Before We Run” dribble over six minutes, there’s little here to distract people from remembering every tune, which isn’t really the point of Yo La Tengo, but proves they can do straightforward/upfront/etc. nevertheless. Just remember that proving new things doesn’t negate old ones; the pastoral elegance here should inspire people to go back and learn more about Summer Sun, which is more delicate, subtle, oddly shaped. But Fade stakes out its own winning terrain. The speedy Muzak soul of “Well You Better” is Ira Kaplan’s most impressive vocal performance ever, no? Aren’t you glad you can hear it with such clarity?


Though it may be a somewhat cryptic message, the Postal Service are hinting at a reunion in 2013. The combination of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and DNTEL’s Jimmy Tamborello updated their website with the above image. The “2013” obviously hints at the two coming together this year, a theory confirmed by Exclaim:

The rumor that started it all was a simple Brooklyn Vegan post earlier this month, which suggested that the band would be performing live at Coachella. The lineup for the desert-set music festival is yet to be announced, but we’re starting to feel pretty certain that the Postal Service will be on the bill.

Billboard has confirmed the rumors.

Touring plans are also in the works. As Brooklyn Vegan first teased earlier this month with a cryptic post titled “Postal Service reunion in the works” with three related links all tied to Coachella, the band is indeed booked to play this year’s festival, according to three sources who confirmed to Billboard. Additional dates and festivals are also in the works. The band is booked by indie agency Billions, and already has an active page on the company’s site.

Well, it sure beats those Ben Gibbard/Zooey Deschanel duets, but don’t bet on a new album anytime soon. Gibbard is pretty straightforward when it comes to those rumors.

“The second Postal Service album is threatening to become the Chinese Democracy of indie rock,” Gibbard said. “It will come out eventually, or maybe it won’t.”