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Archive for August, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Martin Scorsese to Direct Ramones Film


With Tommy Ramone’s death last month, every founding member of the Ramones is now gone. Still, it looks like the future holds a lot of treats for the band’s fans. In an interview with Billboard, Jeff Jampol, who co-manages the band’s estate with Dave Frey, revealed plans for a new film that’s set to be helmed by Martin Scorsese.

In addition, Jampol says they’re planning a new documentary, which will feature never-before-seen footage. He also hints at a forthcoming book, play, some remastered music, and more that will mark the 40th anniversary of Ramones’ debut album.

Previously, Scorsese has tackled films about Bob Dylan, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, and the Band.

James Murphy and IBM Transforming U.S. Open Tennis Data Into 400 Hours of Music

Between his score for Noah Baumbach’s forthcoming movie While We’re Young, his musical renovations for the New York City MTA, and his signature coffee, James Murphy has been keeping pretty busy lately. Now, the LCD Soundsystem mastermind has announced another project, this time in partnership with IBM and the U.S. Open, which is happening now. As Self-Titled reports, Murphy and the tech giant plan to use the raw data from tennis matches to generate an algorithm that will transform each match into a unique song. By the time the tournament ends, they estimate that they’ll have amassed have almost 400 hours of music. Isn’t technology amazing? IBM has shared a trailer for the project; check it out below.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BROKEN BELLS: “CONTROL” (Music Video)


Broken Bells have unveiled the accompanying video for their new single “Control” from After the Disco (Columbia). Join Brian Burton and James Mercer on an alien adventure through space and time. The video, as is true with the band’s previous visual pieces, features the omnipresent, extraterrestrial pink orb.

Broken Bells return to the North American highways and byways in support of After the Disco this fall. The tour kicks off in New York on September 26 and will stop at the Austin City Limits Music Festival before making its way to the West Coast. For tickets and further information, visit www.brokenbells.com/tour.

BROKEN BELLS
2014 TOUR

09/26/14 – New York, NY – Rumsey Playfield
09/27/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
09/28/14 – Richmond, VA – The National
09/29/14 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
10/01/14 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
10/02/14 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City
10/04/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/05/14 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theater
10/07/14 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom
10/08/14 – Tulsa, OK – Brady Theater
10/11/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/24-25/14 – Los Angeles, CA – Orpheum Theatre
10/24-26/14 – Las Vegas, NV – Life Is Beautiful Festival
10/28/14 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic Auditorium

J Mascis’ Video For “Every Morning” Features Fred Armisen and The Shins’ James Mercer

J. Mascis has shared a new video for “Every Morning” in which a fictional religious cult called “The Space Children Of The Forest” mysteriously disappears. The Funny or Die-helmed video takes place in 1974 and features the Shins’ James Mercer as a loyal, egg-loving devotee to Mascis, who plays a Jesus-like figure. Fred Armisen, meanwhile, plays his hilariously-outfitted nemesis. Watch the video below.

J Mascis – "Every Morning" from Funny Or Die

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers (Album Review)


For me, at least, The New Pornographers continue to stand out as one of the oddities of indie rock’s recent history; like their compatriots Broken Social Scene, the Canadian group is comprised of members who remain engaged in other projects at the same time, with a core songwriting duo putting songs aside for the Pornographers and only deciding later who should play what on each one. It’s almost like an inversion of the classic concept of the supergroup, but it’s certainly proved an effective one thus far; the band’s five full-lengths to date have been consistent in their excellence, and the relative sparsity of their releases – this album is their first in four years – making each new record feel like a real treat.

Brill Bruisers has been described as celebratory by frontman Carl Newman; it’s not that their last album, Together, was especially downbeat, but it was certainly reserved in places, and that’s something that’s been eschewed this time around; this is a consistently boisterous record. The positivity of the album is evident partly just in the way it sounds; Newman and fellow songwriter Dan Bejar have played with a light, airy palette, making Brill Bruisers a record that instrumentally sounds very open – it has its eyes fixed on the sky, as it were, rather than its feet. The title track, in opening proceedings, is a fine example; the percussion is bouncy, but lightly delivered, allowing a sing-song backing vocal line to back up a genuinely triumphant turn from Newman.

It’s actually Newman who’s written the lion’s share of this record, and it shows; “Champions of Red Wine”, lyrically playful, is driven by twinkling synths and a smooth vocal turn from Kathryn Calder, whilst she and Newman combine to stirring effect on the spaced-out “Backstairs”, which veers between straightforward, guitar-driven passages and hazy, electronic digressions – it’s an experimentation that shouldn’t work, but comes off smartly in Newman’s hands. Generally speaking, he’s pitched the delicate balance between meshing guitars and synths intelligently; on “Dancehall Domine”, for instance, there’s all the hallmarks of the classic Pornographers sound – stacked harmonies, steady builds in the guitars from verse to chorus – but they’ve been reinterpreted in a way that allows for the genuine buzzsaw of the track’s riffs to make room for some wavering keyboard backing throughout.

There’s some mis-steps, too, as always seems inevitable when you’re working as experimentally, with as diffuse a lineup of musicians, as The New Pornographers do; the inclusion of “Spidyr” late on is a jarring one, with Bejar’s hushed, half-spoken vocal delivery placed incongruously over the top of a garish mix of harmonica and juddering keys, whilst “War on the East Coast” does similarly in its instrumental breakdowns, with a mouth organ solo that sounds as if it’s trying to mimic the effect of a string section, and not quite pulling it off.

Overall, though, it’s hard to pick too many faults with a record that sees a band that previously have always sought to temper the upbeat nature of their own brand of indie rock in one way or another instead just casting off the shackles and making a brilliantly boisterous LP; the electronic elements probably won’t quite be to everybody’s tastes, but even then, the energy with which they’re delivered should be enough to make up for it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cloud Nothings Announce Tour Share Live Sessions From Spotify and KEXP

Cloud Nothings have announced plans for a brand new leg of shows behind their latest LP, Here and Nowhere Else. Closing out the year with dates in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, the upcoming tour will kick in Pittsburgh at the end of the September.

In addition to the tour, the band has shared a pair of live performance sessions for Spotify and radio station KEXP. Scroll down to listen and watch the sets, and view the full itinerary of concerts.


Cloud Nothings Tour Dates:

09/26 Pittsburgh, PA – William Pitt Union
09/27 Cleveland, OH – NEOCycle Music Festival
09/30 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
10/01 Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival Room
10/02 Bowling Green, OH – Clazel Theatre
10/03 Columbus, OH – Double Happiness
10/04 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10/05 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
10/07 New York, NY – Irving Plaza
10/08 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/09 Syracuse, NY – The Lost Horizon
10/10 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
10/14 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
10/17 Los Angeles, CA – Culture Collide Festival
11/19 Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
11/20 Brighton, UK – Sticky Mick’s Frog Bar
11/22 Utrecht, NE – Le Guess Who? Festival
11/24 Tourcoing, FR – Grand Mix
11/25 Nantes, FR – Le Férailleur
11/26 Paris, FR – La Maroquinerie
11/27 Antwerp, BE – Trix
12/01 London, UK – Electric Ballroom
12/10 Sydney, AUS – Oxford Art Factory
12/11 Melbourne, AUS – Corner Hotel
12/13 Meredith, AUS – Meredith Music Festival
12/14 Brisbane, AUS – The Zoo

(www.facebook.com/cloudnothings)

Ty Segall: Manipulator (Album Review)


Rock is replete with musicians who toil away in multiple guises, releasing album after album with confounding frequency. If, every so often, a Jack White might leap from regional obscurity to international superstardom and friend of the legends, seemingly despite not altering his modus operandi from that which made him a staple of Detroit bars for several years, it’s more common for these musicians to remain no more than beloved cults. Many, too, seem to share a dogged devotion to a form of musical conservation: think of Nick Salomon, who as the Bevis Frond has devoted decades to psychedelia and its variants, or Robert Pollard, who, whether with Guided by Voices, as a solo artist or with enough other bands to fill a substantial festival bill, has released what appears to be a total of 82 albums of what he calls “the four Ps” – pop, punk, prog and psychedelia. By way of contrast, it’s rare to find a cult artist on an indie label releasing half a dozen albums a year, under assorted names, dedicated to their love of, say, contemporary Scandinavian cosmic disco

The latest in this lineage is California’s Ty Segall. Manipulator is merely his seventh official solo studio album since 2008, which seems positively parsimonious until you consider the 17 other albums released in various guises, as well as countless singles and EPs with the likes of Epsilons, Party Fowl, the Traditional Fools, the Perverts, Sic Alps and Fuzz. Whatever else one might say about Segall, there’s no doubting his work ethic. And, like Pollard, the four Ps loom large in his life – this is a man, Wikipedia tells us, whose “main and sometimes only pedal is a Death by Audio Fuzz War pedal”. With Fuzz, for whom he drummed, he took care of the prog by covering King Crimson; the punk has tended to be of the garage variety; the pop takes a definition from the mid-60s rather than the mid-noughties, and the psychedelia is all over the discography. If you were being unkind, you might suggest his music runs the gamut of styles from the Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin, but he’s managed to prove there’s a lot of ground between those two points to be farmed before the fields fall fallow.

With such profligacy comes the issue of quality control. Even the most committed Robert Pollard fan might concede their hero appeared to be releasing records for the sake of it when he put out an album of his stage banter entitled Relaxation of the Asshole, and the very best GBV albums contained songs it was a struggle to listen to twice. Which brings us to Ty Segall. One might suspect that an album nearly an hour long from a musician who views a day without a new release to be wasted could well contain longueurs, but Manipulator is an unadulterated joy from start to finish, perhaps because, rather than bashing it out in a couple of weeks, he took a year writing its 17 songs and then a month – nothing to Coldplay, but an eternity in the garage punk underground – recording it, with the aim of producing what he has called “a Tony Visconti kind of record”.

Visconti, who produced David Bowie’s great 70s records, as well as T Rex, Iggy Pop and others, is a good reference point. Not only because of the glam stomp that appears on tracks such as The Faker, or because of the twin guitar lines, reminiscent of Thin Lizzy– another Visconti client – that occur throughout the record, but also because of the cleanliness of the production: Manipulator sounds like a 70s record in that every element is always audible; there’s no mastering everything louder than everything else. Every instrument has its place, and every instrument does its job: there’s nothing sloppy about Manipulator; it’s precise.

Best of all, the songs are almost uniformly fantastic, and extraordinarily well sequenced. The Clock has an intricate, spiralling acoustic lead guitar line and a string-drenched chorus, but still has a feeling of aggression and attack: it might have fitted comfortably on Love’s Forever Changes. That cuts straight into Green Belly, with a lazy, loping, spacious, Stonesy riff, which in turn gives way to The Connection Man, on which Segall revisits the garage, with a fuzztoned bassline and wailing guitar solos. It’s a limited stylistic span, but the order emphasises the differences between the songs, not their similarities.

From its title track onwards – a delicious descending organ riff, joined by a perfectly constructed guitar line that doubles up on itself – Manipulator feels like a statement album, as if Segall has had enough of being hailed as a god by three dozen people in tiny clubs with extensive record collections drawn entirely from labels like In the Red and Sympathy for the Record Industry. It feels like the work of a man who’s looked at his predecessors and decided he’d rather be Jack White than Robert Pollard.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Murder City Devils: The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again (Album Review)


Seattle’s Murder City Devils’ initial run was a near-breakthrough, but they ultimately only viewed the promised land from a distance while supporting Pearl Jam and At The Drive-In. Lasting from 1996 to 2001, they remain largely disregarded outside of tattoo shops and dive bars and Washington state, despite the notability of their post-breakup projects including Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Cave Singers, Triumph Of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death, Melvins, Cold War Kids, and Modest Mouse, to name the biggest. It’s easy to say things would be different had the group not existed right before the Internet shined a light on independent music, but MCD’s populist sensibility likely makes this point irrelevant, as they still don’t appeal to a culture obsessed with the esoteric.

Though MCD has reunited periodically for live appearances and released a 2011 7-inch, The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again is their first LP since 2000’s In The Name Of Blood and 2001’s Thelema EP. Predictably, this new collection is self-released, as their dissolution was coupled with an ugly legal battle with Sub Pop that would sour anyone from the recording industry. But, also predictably, this freedom is not enough to resurrect the band that was once considered the flagship rock act of the post-grunge Pacific Northwest. Their fourth full-length sounds less sharp and inspired than they were at their peak, delivering eight hit-and-miss songs that drift closer to post-hardcore than ever before. The satisfaction depends greatly on hunger.

While any band deserves the opportunity to redefine their sound and evolve, the Murder City Devils’ decision to lose the prevalent organ from this new album—a key contribution of former member Leslie Hardy—is the most disappointing aspect of The White Ghost. Hardy’s contributions to the band were invaluable, enough that their breakup is attributed by some to her exit. With Hardy only playing on one of these new songs, the album returns closer to the sound of their pre-Hardy self-titled debut, erasing the niche they carved out for themselves in the process.

That said, the boozy bar-rockers and vicious ragers that do make up the album are welcome and well-executed. “I Don’t Want To Work For Scum, Anymore” is the opener’s title and message, which Spencer Moody screams with conviction, setting a tone that finds the band evoking Queens Of The Stone Age (“Cruelty Abounds”) and Pixies (“Hey Playboy,” the refreshing, brass-wielding “Don’t Worry”). Only sometimes do they actually draw on the style present in their own back catalog. When they do, as on the foreboding, Hardy-featuring highlight “Old Flame,” it serves as both a reminder of how singular the band’s sound still is and how no one, not even themselves, can recapture what MCD had previously done.

Anyone worried about the surprising amount of members the Murder City Devils now shares with Cold War Kids (two, sometimes three) should rest assured that the band hasn’t mellowed or softened. Rather, they sound like the pros they have become, the wind out of their sails but aware they still have a sturdy boat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Drive Like Jehu Reuniting for Free Concert This Month


The great San Diego post-hardcore outfit Drive Like Jehu haven’t been around since 1995—they disbanded shortly after the release of their 1994 LP Yank Crime. One week from Sunday, that changes: They’re reuniting for a free concert in their hometown.

The show takes place on August 31 at San Diego’s Balboa Park. It’s an all ages show, and it will feature civic organist Dr. Carol Williams. Find more info here.

Jehu’s John Reis was also the frontman of Rocket From the Crypt, who recently resurfaced for some reunion gigs. Rick Froberg and Reis later went on to form Hot Snakes. Drummer Mark Trombino went on to become a successful producer (Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Rilo Kiley), and Mike Kennedy reportedly retired from music.

Tame Impala Plagiarism Accusers Say They Were Joking, But Singer They Allegedly Ripped Off Is Considering Legal Action


On Monday, Tame Impala were accused of plagiarizing their song “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from Argentinian singer Pablo Ruiz’s “Océano”. Now, the Chilean news site Rata, who made the original allegation, say they were just joking. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the site’s editors, Raúl Álvarez and Patricio Pérez, said they had no idea the charges would take off.

“It was a joke,” they said. “We were at a party and had that idea. Curiously, it was viralized pretty fast. We never thought we’d had this impact, and we’re very surprised about it.”

As it turns out, Ruiz didn’t find it so funny. Rolling Stone points out that in an interview with ESPN Radio Argentina, Ruiz said that he was consulting with his lawyers about the possibility of a lawsuit.

Álvarez and Pérez said, “Of course we think it’s funny, but we hope there are no charges against Tame Impala. We actually like them a lot.”

Reached for comment, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker told Rolling Stone, “This is a joke, right?”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tame Impala Accused Of Plagiarizing Their Biggest Hit From Argentine Pop Star


Pablo Ruiz is an Argentine pop singer who had his greatest success as a child star in the ’80s. He is not, shall we say, a person you’d imagine to be among the top influences of Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala. But a new YouTube video that’s making the rounds makes a case that Tame Impala ripped off Ruiz’s 1989 single “Oceano” for their Lonerism jam “Feels Like We Only Backwards,” which has essentially become their signature song. It seems like a coincidence, but Tame Impala will be in Argentina later this year, so maybe Ruiz can holler at them about it. Below, check out that video along with Kevin Parker’s first “FLWOGB” demo and some newly announced Tame Impala American tour dates.

Tour Dates:
11/09 New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre *
11/12 Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Auditorium *
11/13 Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl *
11/15 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater *
11/20 Bogota, CO @ Royal Center
11/22 Santiago, CL @ Placina Espacio Broadway
11/24 Buenos Aires, AR @ BUE Fest
11/26 Rio de Janerio, BR @ Circo Voador
11/28 Sao Paolo, BR @ Popload Festival

* = w/ Delicate Steve

DEATH FROM ABOVE PREMIERS NEW SONG “GOVERNMENT TRASH”


Death From Above played a warm-up show in Los Angeles last Thursday night, and the crowd received a surprise gift: CDs containing a new track from their forthcoming record The Physical World.

The show at LA’s Troubador precedes a world tour for the band, which starts next month in their home town of Toronto, Canada, and the song follows up on last month’s single, “Trainwreck”.

Friday, August 15, 2014

BENJAMIN BOOKER – S/T (Album Review)


Benjamin Booker starts off where Rough Trade label mates Alabama Shakes’ 2012 southern-blues extravaganza finished. Born in Virginia, Booker honed his craft in the southern states, moving to New Orleans and channelling the smorgasbord of musical culture that the area has to offer into his writing. What results is an album that is southern rock at its best, awash with bluesy Americana and Chuck Berry-esque 50’s rock and roll. Although Booker bares all these influences proudly for everyone to see, he pays homage to the greats rather than replicate them and in doing so allows himself to take all the good bits of the past and use them to create something new.

Opener ‘Violent Shiver’ is where the Berry-isms abound, with Booker seemingly pitching a convincing case for a name change to Johnny B. Goode. Colourful blues guitar flourishes intersperse thick, simple riffs in a track that keeps the exhilaration short and sweet, clocking in at less than 3 minutes. ‘Chippewa’ is another particular highlight. Chugging steam-roller bass riffs are bound to get even the most inanimate nodding their heads and tapping their feet, accompanied by a guitar solo that could easily be mistaken as the handiwork of one Jack White.

And then there’s Booker’s voice. Like Tom Waits after smoking three packs of Marlboro Reds before lunch, his rusty drawl and swampy guitar riffs go together like peas and carrots. It lends an air of authenticity to the genre that he peddles. It’s versatile too, sounding sensitive on the slower pace of ‘I Thought I Heard You Screaming’, and utterly ferocious on the blistering ‘Wicked Waters’. Another distinguishing factor of the record is that it often doesn’t even sound like a record at all, and more like a live set. ‘Have You Seen My Son?’ could easily finish at around the three-minute mark, but instead continues with another two of the type of guitar thrashing and cymbal crashing that you only really get at club gigs. It’s these little extras that make this self-titled debut stand-out, its writer deserving to be nudging shoulders with the likes of Jack White and the Black Keys in the upper echelons of contemporary blues rock.

Ty Segall Performs “Feel” on “Conan”


We’re just under two weeks away from the release of Ty Segall’s new album, Manipulator. Despite the nearing street date, we’ve only heard one track from the record: the fuzzy-yet-sunny “Susie Thumb”. That changed last night, however, as Segall appeared on Conan to premiere the rollicking anthem “Feel”. The performance certainly impressed Conan, and will you too. Consider Segall’s screeching guitar solos and manic stare a nice alternative to this morning’s cup of joe.

The 17-track Manipulator is due August 26th via Drag City Records. Segall has a string of tour dates lined up with Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart, and Emily Rose Epstein as his backing band. They’ll next play FYF Fest, followed by a four-night stint at LA’s Echo to close out August.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Arcade Fire – You Already Know (Music Video)


Official video for “You Already Know” from ‘Reflektor’