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Archive for February, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox to release soundtrack for Teenage documentary

At the end of 2012, it was announced that Deerhunter / Atlas Sound frontman Bradford Cox had provided the score to the forthcoming documentary Teenage. Now, with the film finally hitting theaters nationwide next month, Cox’s soundtrack has been given a March 11th release date from Cinereach Music.

Based off the 30-second previews now available on Amazon, the 17-track effort proves to be an eclectic repersentation of Cox’s career, running the musical gamut from lo-fi dub to ambient music to trippy electronic soundscapes and beyond. While Cox’s musical constructs aren’t exactly the archetypal soundtrack for the normative teenage experience, his unmitigated experimentalism does have a kind of youthful exuberance. In addition to Cox’s compositions, the soundtrack features a song called “Kate”, a post-punk anthem written in the ’80s by then-12-year-old singer Chandra.

Directed by Matt Wolf, Teenage is based off the Jon Savage’s 2007 book Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945. According to its website, the film is “an unconventional historical film about the invention of teenagers,” one which “reveals the pre-history of modern teenagers and the struggle between adults and adolescents to define youth.” Wolf worked with a wealth of archival material and also directed 16mm recreations with modern actors that were based on actual diaries. Savage also wrote the screenplay.

Teenage hits theaters nationwide on March 14th. Check out the trailer below, followed by the soundtrack’s tracklist.

Teenage Original Soundtrack Tracklist:

01. Natural Harp Monitor
0
2. Skeleton Disk Loop
03. Snow on Cape Bradford Cox
04. New Prairie Blackout Pattern
05. Canopy
06. Daphne Duck
07. Harlem Crepescular
08. Paprika Expose
09. Pastel Ruins
10. Milk Glass Metronome
11. Planetarium
12. Doctor October
13. Chandra – “Kate”
14. Wireless Fantasy No. 1
15. Dream Logic
16. Spanish Plastic
17. VHS Dream (Teenage)

Beck: Morning Phase (Album Review)


Increasingly, I found that all Morning Phase brings to mind (at best) is people far past their prime, and much of the work in getting to grips with the record comes with understanding how that might be the case for Beck too. After all, this is the notional sequel to (which is as good a marketing ploy as any) Sea Change, but where that record played with menace, Gainsbourg, desperation, horror, metaphor, melody, all kinds of stuff, this is so middle of the road it’s pretty much a strip of white paint. This is to Sea Change what every band described as the new Radiohead was to OK Computer, which makes this the Travis of Beck albums.

Let me be more specific. There’s Beck making an album that heads toward the middle of the road that keeps him intact — a Beck MOR (Middle of the Road) album (Mutations, Sea Change) — and then there’s an MOR album made by Beck. Morning Phase is the latter, and it sits a heck of a lot more comfortably next to James Blunt than it does Odelay. He might have decided to play it straight, but he’s forgotten to even show up here. Strange as it is to think of Beck being in a creative twilight — hear “Deadweight” and you can still witness whole worlds of weird assemble at the dude’s feet — things feel out of his grasp throughout Morning Phase, whether it’s the thinness of the melodies, the well vague hedgings of the lyrics, or the way in which the the record constantly gestures at darkness — emotion, anything — without ever remotely delivering it. This is a pair of dark sunglasses on a mannequin.

There’s a magic gone here. Things aren’t lining up. There are points of positive droop (“Unforgiven” is just a big ol’ leaden gargle), sure, but even for a record that’s clearly approaching the listener from an angle that’s almost cynically stark, there are few moments of actual pathos. When they do appear, it can be shiver-inducing in a way Sea Change wasn’t. Like, the opening lines of “Turn Away”— “Turn away/ From the sound of your own voice/ Calling no one/ Just the silence” — keen with a genuine quiver, and the word “silence” arrives in layered harmonies that call back to “Sounds of Silence” in a way that’s pretty bone-chilling. But therein the moment scatters. The lyrics drift off point, as he starts talking about avalanches, which is interesting, because so much of the record’s flatter points see Beck talking about natural events as a placeholder for expressing any of his own feelings. The most key of these is “Wave,” which has been touted as the centerpiece, the dread seasick currents of the string arrangement easily making it the most affecting piece of music Beck’s written since “Sexx Laws” (polar opposites I know, but). However, the lyrics can’t carry the conceit — eventually he tapers off to a flub, simply intoning “isolation” over and over again in a way that pretty aptly synecdoches Morning Phase’s connection problem.

So, largely unimaginative arrangements, flat delivery, a surfeit of vague ecological metaphors that wash like spray on the rocks (you can have that one for free, Mr. Hansen), and a lack of any sense of connection, of need, of reality. I could listen to The Foo Fighters, you know? He used to be able to sell even the most bizarre bill of goods, but here Beck can’t get me convinced on meat and potatoes. Here’s my plan for this record: rename it, rename Beck, put a layer of dust on it, give it a summer of 1971 refried acid painting or a real dusty earnest lonely photograph for a cover and bury it in a Williams-Somona loft that’s been walled up since at least the Carter administration. Then you can find it on a blog (probable tags: lost, loner, masterpiece, laurel canyon), download it, listen to it, and give up on spending time blog-trawling for a while just because of how much of a bummer of a failed bum-trip this record is.

01. Cycle
02. Morning
03. Heart is a Drum
04. Say Goodbye
05. Blue Moon
06. Unforgiven
07. Wave
08. Don’t Let It Go
09. Blackbird Chain
10. Phase
11. Turn Away
12. Country Down
13. Waking Light

Sub Pop Announces Record Store Day Lineup: Mudhoney, Notwist, Pissed Jeans, Chad VanGaalen


Record Store Day is on April 19, and Sub Pop have announced four records they’ll be releasing that day: releases by Mudhoney, the Notwist, Pissed Jeans, and Chad VanGaalen.

Mudhoney will offer On Top: KEXP Presents Mudhoney Live on Top of the Space Needle, which features their 2013 performance atop the iconic Seattle building. It’s got a limited pressing of 2,700.

Pissed Jeans are putting out The Very Best of Sub Pop 2009-2013: “Live” at the BBC, a 12″ EP featuring four new versions of songs from Honeys and King of Jeans. It’s got a limited run of 3,000.

The Notwist’s Close to the Glass cut “Run Run Run” will be released as a 12″ single featuring two remixes and an exclusive B-side called “Magnificent Fall”; 1,900 copies will be pressed.

VanGaalen’s “I Want You Back” 7″ features four new songs, none of which will appear on his upcoming album Shrink Dust (out April 29). Chad did the artwork; 2,300 copies will be pressed.

Mudhoney – On Top:
01 Touch Me I’m Sick
02 I’m Now
03 The Final Course
04 Into the Drink
05 Chardonnay
06 Who You Drivin’ Now?
07 What to Do With the Neutral
08 I Don’t Remember You
09 Suck You Dry
10 The Only Son of the Widow From Nain

Pissed Jeans – The Very Best of Sub Pop 2009-2013:
01 Romanticize Me
02 False Jesii Pt. 2
03 Cafeteria Food
04 Teenage Adult

The Notwist – “Run Run Run”:
01 Run Run Run
02 Run Run Run (Ada remix)
03 Magnificent Fall
04 Into Another Tune (Nuel remix)

Chad VanGaalen – “I Want You Back”:
01 I Want You Back
02 Candle
03 It Must Be Alright
04 She Calls for Me

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

St. Vincent: Saint Vincent (Album Review)


Annie Clark’s two greatest strengths are her songwriting and her uncanny shredding ability — in that order, and only separated by a hair’s breadth. But for as much as she’s shown off her fiery fretwork in the past, she always gives the listener a little bit of space to get acclimated to her dreamy, surrealist pop songs before she plugs into a distortion pedal that sounds like a jet engine, and gets to business with some inhuman guitar-neck manipulation. Only Marry Me’s “Now, Now” actually begins any of her albums with the sound of guitar, and even that’s relatively subdued. She dissolves into woodwinds on Actor’s “The Strangers,” and phases into a heady throb of synths on Strange Mercy’s “Chloe in the Afternoon.”

So it goes with her fourth, self-titled St. Vincent album. First track “Rattlesnake” opens not with guitar but rather pulses with a playful video-game beat — distorted, buzzing and gleefully inorganic. But by the time Clark does, indeed, fire up her six-stringer, it’s hard to know where it ends and the song’s exclamation-punctuated arrangement begins. This sets the surreal and noisily disorienting vibe that much of the album follows. Clark’s weapon of choice is even more processed than usual, punctuating her powerful pop songwriting with the biggest and boldest sounds she’s ever launched from her melody cannon: squawking skronk riffs on “Every Tear Disappears”; meaty “Back In Black” riffs on “Regret”; and big, brassy pop on “Digital Witness,” which is the strongest link here to Love This Giant, Clark’s collaborative album with David Byrne.

It isn’t as if Clark prepared a bold musical statement without the lyrical kick to match, however, infusing her all-caps jams with alternating one liners and profound statements. It’s hard not to be taken aback by the blunt opening of “Birth In Reverse”: “Oh, what an ordinary day/ Take out the garbage, masturbate.” And when Clark directs the line “I prefer your love to Jesus” to her mother in “I Prefer Your Love,” the underlying familial bonds outweigh whatever cheekily sacrilegious slant-rhyme she’s attempting.

St. Vincent is an overwhelming listen the first, second, maybe even third time around. It’s a sensorially disorienting experience that throws a lot at you simultaneously, whether or not you’re ready for it. Though, you do get a little bit of warning here. The regal look of the silver-haired, enthroned Clark on the cover is a vaguely intimidating one. And at the start of “Digital Witness,” when she commands the listener to “Get back to your seat,” it’s a demand you’d best obey. St. Vincent will flatten you like a steamroller the first time around, but it’s the kind of clobbering that grows immediately addicting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Listen: James Murphy Previews Music for New York City Subway Symphony

James Murphy recently revealed his ambitious ideas for reimagining the sounds of New York City’s subway stations. His hope is to create a system wherein turnstile swipe tones shift as stations fill up with more riders, so that turnstiles will effectively be playing pleasant music as the frequency of swipes increases. WSJ has a new clip of Murphy discussing his ideas, along with a brief preview of what the proposed tones would sound like.

“I started noticing that the subway sounds quite brutal,” Murphy says. “There’s a missing opportunity at the turnstile.” That opportunity could be seized as New York prepares to begin a big project to reposition the subway turnstiles to increase efficiency in stations. “Given that all that information is already at the turnstile, why don’t we just make it a nice sound? Just make it pleasant,” Murphy says.

Sounds like a nice idea, right? But New York City officials aren’t really buying it—MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told the WSJ that the current sounds are grating because of a “natural technical variation and we don’t really care.” Lisberg also pointed out that many people have had similar ideas over the years, and it would require a lot of resources “for an art project.” So Murphy has ramped up his efforts with a website and a petition for the project—find it here.

Sub Pop To Open Record Store in Seattle Airport.


Sub Pop has announced plans to open a record store in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. While details haven’t been confirmed, the store will likely stock current and reissued LPs from their artist catalog, as well as other Sub Pop merchandise. The retail store will open spring 2014, and will remain open 365 days a year.

If this is exciting news for you, be advised that Sub Pop is currently looking for someone to manage this store. (The label is seeking someone with “knowledge of the Sub Pop catalog, Pacific Northwest music, the Seattle music community, and the city of Seattle”. You also have to live in or near Seattle.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Watch Arcade Fire Play “Afterlife” on “Fallon”

Last night’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” welcomed Arcade Fire as its musical guest. The band performed “Afterlife” off of last year’s Reflektor—the segment began with frontman Win Butler filming the band selfie-style and ended with him singing from singing from the crowd. Watch below. Arcade Fire were among the first of Fallon’s guests on “Tonight”, following performances from U2 and Lady Gaga earlier this week.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guided By Voices: Motivational Jumpsuit (Album Review)


There’s no end in sight for the seemingly endless stream of album releases from lo-fi rock gods Guided By Voices. Following yet another announcement from mastermind Robert Pollard that GBV were throwing in their 31-year-old towel after last year’s English Little League, Motivational Jumpsuit, the band’s fifth studio album since the band’s recent reformation finds the band continuing to the mix of psychedelia, garage-rock, post-punk and pop that they’ve perfected over time.

Right off the top, the album opens with perfect pop tune “The Littlest League Possible,” an upbeat, catchy song that sets the tone. “Writer’s Block (Pycho All The Time)” has a steady churning guitar hook that changes midway with the aid of a great bridge, while “Child Activist” has a deep, sludgy guitar-fuelled rhythm and muffled Pollard lyrics. This begins a trend of garage-rock influenced tracks until halfway through, on “Evangeline Dandelion” and “Shine (Tomahawk Breath),” when Pollard’s brilliant songwriting takes effect. Vocals and lyrics begin to be more within the foreground and Pollard’s tongue-in-cheek wit and clever wordplay takes hold.

As most GBV songs clock in at two minutes or less, the most surprising track here is a nearly three-minute “I Am Columbus.” The only fear with Motivational Jumpsuit is that, 21 albums and countless members into GBV’s career, it will get lost in the shuffle, but given the quality, who’s counting?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Karen O to perform “Moon Song” at The Oscars


Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O was nominated for an Oscar for “Moon Song,” the song she co-wrote with Spike Jonze for his film Her, which Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and Owen Pallett scored (they’re nominated too). It’s since been announced that Karen will also perform “Moon Song” at the awards ceremony. U2 and Pharrell will perform too. The ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, airs on Sunday, March 2 at 7 PM on ABC.

In related news, Karen just released another version of “Moon Song” which features a duet with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. You can stream that, along with the original version, below…


Phantogram: Voices (Album Review)

When you think of Phantogram, you’d never imagine the source of their sound would be a rural setting. Surprisingly, the pair—Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter—record their music in a barn in upstate New York, near where they grew up. Combining an electronic pulse with steamy vocals, their music is more suitable for a late-night, big city drive than a rustic getaway.

Their latest album, Voices, showcases more maturity and focus than their previous work. This time they seem to delve into a heavier sound with a lot more dark, bass-laden tracks and a slew of down-tempo songs that are as close to ballads as the electronic duo could get. Whereas their previous album, 2010′s Eyelid Movies, displayed a variety of styles, Voices lacks a bit of spontaneity, but gives us a more cohesive collection of music with more attention to details.

Right off the bat, you’re hit with the powerful, high-energy Nothing But Trouble which sets the stage for the rest of the album’s haunting tone. The most recognizable single for which they’ve recently released a video, Fall In Love, is probably the most rhythmic and dance-worthy track with jagged synths and a pounding bassline, but also switches gears to lighter sections until you’re hit again with the aggressive chorus. Shortly after that, the album takes a more subdued, almost somber tone until the very end. The curiously titled Bill Murray is a passionate track that harnesses Phantogram’s dreaminess, but is more melancholy than the comedian it is named after.

When you think of Phantogram, you’d never imagine the source of their sound would be a rural setting. Surprisingly, the pair—Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter—record their music in a barn in upstate New York, near where they grew up. Combining an electronic pulse with steamy vocals, their music is more suitable for a late-night, big city drive than a rustic getaway.

Their latest album, Voices, showcases more maturity and focus than their previous work. This time they seem to delve into a heavier sound with a lot more dark, bass-laden tracks and a slew of down-tempo songs that are as close to ballads as the electronic duo could get. Whereas their previous album, 2010′s Eyelid Movies, displayed a variety of styles, Voices lacks a bit of spontaneity, but gives us a more cohesive collection of music with more attention to details.

Right off the bat, you’re hit with the powerful, high-energy Nothing But Trouble which sets the stage for the rest of the album’s haunting tone. The most recognizable single for which they’ve recently released a video, Fall In Love, is probably the most rhythmic and dance-worthy track with jagged synths and a pounding bassline, but also switches gears to lighter sections until you’re hit again with the aggressive chorus. Shortly after that, the album takes a more subdued, almost somber tone until the very end. The curiously titled Bill Murray is a passionate track that harnesses Phantogram’s dreaminess, but is more melancholy than the comedian it is named after.

PUSSY RIOT MEMBERS DETAINED ON SUSPICION OF, WAIT FOR IT, STEALING A LADY’S PURSE…

Despite being recently freed from prison, the turbulent saga of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina continues.

The two were part of a group of ten people, including fellow activists and journalists, who were arrested in Sochi. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were told that they were being detained stemming from an alleged theft from a nearby hotel. Although the duo had not made their trip to Sochi public, they did start live tweet their arrest on Tuesday. Via The Guardian:

The women arrived on Sunday night and were arrested immediately – supposedly to determine their identity, said Alexander Popkov, a lawyer for the women: “Then on Monday they were detained again and questioned for several hours. And then today, for supposed theft from the hotel. Which is being investigated by 12 specialist investigators.”

Eventually, the police decided to drop the charges, and five women including Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina pulled on brightly coloured balaclavas and ran down the steps, singing: ‘Putin will teach you to love the motherland’.

“Our authorities have this amazing ability to organise a scandal,” said Popkov. “If they hadn’t arrested them, there would have been none of this crazy media attention.”

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were later released.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Afghan Whigs Share “Algiers” Video, Announce Tour

On April 14 in Europe and April 15 in North America, the Afghan Whigs will release their first album in 16 years, Do to the Beast, via Sub Pop. Today, they’ve shared the first taste of the album—check out the video for “Algiers” below. The violent Western movie-themed clip was directed by Phil Harder, who helmed several of the band’s videos between 1989 and 1994. It was shot on location in Agua Dulce (near Santa Clarita, California).

The band has also announced the Do to the Beast tracklist, as well as a series of tour dates surrounding their appearances at Coachella. Check out both below the video.

Monday, February 17, 2014

R.E.M.’s Peter Buck releasing second vinyl-only solo album, touring with Alejandro Escovedo


Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is back with his second solo album, another vinyl-only release — ambitiously titled I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again — that he’ll support with a short round of dates later this month in the Midwest and South opening for and then backing roots-rocker Alejandro Escovedo

Like his 2012 self-titled solo debut, Buck’s new album is being released through Mississippi Records, and can be ordered through the label. Amazon.com also shows it being released Tuesday.

Buck announced the effort via a recent posting to R.E.M.’s website (see below), and more recently, discussed the pending tour with Escovedo, which opens next week in Milwaukee: “I’ve known Alejandro since the ‘True Believer’ days, and it’s an honor to be able to open for him. I’m also looking forward to backing him during his set. See y’all there.”

See full tour dates below.

From Peter Buck: “Bo Diddley 3AM”

Hey everybody, this is Peter. I am back in Mexico gearing up for the 3rd annual Todos Santos Music Festival. By gearing up I mean that I am drinking tequila at 3am and listening to Bo Diddley. What a mighty, mighty man he was, ever changing always the same. But that has nothing to do with this screed. I am here to talk about my second solo record.

The record is finished and will be available any day now. It is called “I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again.” No false modesty, maybe no modesty at all, I once saw an orangutan try to break into a box of live lobsters on Hollywood Blvd. That blew my mind. I am hoping my album does the same for yours. If you can’t find it at your local small retailer the best way to obtain it is on the web at www.littleaxerecords.com. They will be taking orders soon and the record should be available to ship by the end of the month. This being indie world all dates are approximate.

The last record I put out I gave the working phone number of the record company as a contact point. I got a panicked phone call at 12:30pm the next day from Eric who owns and manages Mississippi Records. He was completely freaked out, their answering machine was full and the phone was ringing every 15 seconds. In an outraged voice he told me, “We had to unplug the phone!”

A sane person might ask, who wants to be on a record label who unplugs their phone on the day of release because of too many orders? That person would be me. I spent over 30 years in what is laughably called the professional music business, and I came to the conclusion that there were 3 things that I loved: writing songs, recording songs, and playing songs. So that is how I run my business in conjunction with Mississippi Records: no interviews, no photos, no videos, no promo copies for radio play or reviews. The record is out there. It can be found. And I am pleasured beyond belief that 6,000 of you managed to find the last one. We have pressed up more this time so they should be easier to get. I am doing exactly what I love in exactly the way I want to do it.

I will be hitting the road in certain places this Spring, starting in February with Alejandro Escovedo. Keep up with REMHQ.com. It’s the only way I seem to be able to communicate regularly with the outside world beyond personal conversations.

Peter Buck

Alejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck tour dates:

Feb. 20: Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 21: The Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI
Feb. 22: Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
Feb. 23: Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville, OH
Feb. 25: The Kent Stage, Kent, OH
Feb. 26: Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
Feb. 28: The Georgia Theater, Athens, GA

Watch: Slint Documentary Breadcrumb Trail Trailer

Breadcrumb Trail is a 90-minute documentary about Slint and their classic 1991 album Spiderland. It’s directed by Lance Bangs and includes interviews with the band, plus James Murphy, Steve Albini, David Yow, Ian MacKaye, Matt Sweeney, and others. It’s included in the Spiderland box set and screening in select cities. Check out the trailer below.

Here’s what Bangs says about the film in a press release:
“My new feature length documentary Breadcrumb Trail is about Slint and the Louisville music culture they emerged from. It includes footage going back to the early 1990s that I shot when repeatedly driving up from Athens, GA to Louisville to try to chase rumors of what they guys were up to. Over the years I tracked down more stories about them, then began filming interviews with each of the band members and their contemporaries. We also unearthed some unseen/uncirculated footage from their few live performances as well as the writing and arranging of Spiderland.”
The Spiderland box set is out April 15 via Touch and Go.

Breadcrumb Trail:
03-11-13 Los Angeles, CA – Cinefamily *
03-14-15 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA *#
03-20 San Francisco, CA – Roxie Theater *
* Q&A with Lance Bangs
# Q&A with Slint’s David Pajo

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Doyle Is Working On Getting The Classic Misfits Lineup Back Together

Having recently performed some well-received sets with Danzig, it looks like Doyle is officially trying to get a full Misfits reunion on the go.

Though the horror-punk icons have continued to exist in various, increasingly tenuous forms over the years thanks to bassist Jerry Only, a “classic” lineup reunion has never taken place since Glenn Danzig left the band in the mid-80s.

With Doyle and Glenn now chummy again, however, it looks like the titanically-built guitarist could play peacemaker in the ranks.

“I’m the only one that’s gonna get the original lineup back together,” Doyle tells Alternative Press. “So I think I’m going to work on that, and hopefully I can pull the two bulls together and get them to fucking stop.

“You know what? I’ve just decided this week that I am going to make an attempt, and I wanna do it. I’ll put what I’m doing right on the fucking side. I’ll go do it tomorrow.”

Given that Danzig seems to have been on pretty formidable form recently, we’d definitely back this. MAKE IT HAPPEN, DOYLE!