Tag Archives: Music

Blitzen Trapper’s Destroyer of the Void out 6/8

28 May


Blitzen Trapper will deliver Destroyer of the Void on June 8, its fifth LP since 2003 and second released by Sub Pop. Despite Eric Earley’s poetic lyricism and master compositions, BT surprisingly flies under the radar (especially when like-minded folk rockers like Fleet Foxes nearly merge with mainstream success). Earley’s work has been praised by the powers that be, and the band has generated more than a cult following, but Destroyer of the Void will be BT’s biggest commercial success. Listen to “Heaven and Earth” here, the only single made available for the upcoming release:

Tracklist for Destroyer of the Void:

  1. Destroyer of the Void
  2. Laughing Lover
  3. Below The Hurricane
  4. The Man Who Would Speak True
  5. Love and Hate
  6. Heaven and Earth
  7. Dragon’s Song
  8. The Tree (feat. Alela Diane)
  9. Evening Star
  10. Lover Leave Me Drowning
  11. The Tailor
  12. Sadie
Click on the cover art to pre-order album:

Screaming Females: Anachronistic Rock

26 May

It’s nearly impossible to listen to something new without hearing something old – for better or worse, for creative familiarity or recycled garbage. Listen to Screaming Females and one hears everything familiar at once: Chuck Berry guitar, Delta 5 bitchiness, shoegaze fuzz, hardcore hostility, jazzy walking bass, no wave experimentation.

Screaming Females, coming out with their fourth LP Castle Talk on Don Giovanni Records in September, recall generations of sounds without sounding like any band in particular. The band comes from Brunswick, New Jersey and evolved by working the slum-spirited basement circuit, an underground lifestyle of unpromoted, all-age shows in basements.

Screaming Females: Marissa Paternoster, left, Jarrett Dougherty, center, King Mike, right

Marissa Paternoster sings lead and plays a mean guitar. Paternoster’s adorable appearance – no more than 5’1″, a Ringo/Mick moptop, usually wearing a colorful outdated suit dress that belongs to a rotting corpse – is beguiling. She pulls you in only to break your face with bloodcurdling shrieks and silvery metal solos. King Mike rides a bass like a Funk brother, while Jarrett sets the parameters for everything with his perfectly steady rhythms.

Starving Dog by Screaming Females:

Electric Pilgrim by Screaming Females:

Mothership by Screaming Females

Tour Dates:

06/01 – Seattle, WA – The Funhouse
06/02 – Portland, OR – Backspace
06/03 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
06/04 – San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern
06/05 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland
06/07 – La Jolla, CA – Che Cafe
06/08 – Phoenix, AZ – The Trunk Space
06/10 – Austin, TX – Emo’s (Indoors)
06/11 – Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Community Arts
06/12 – Nashville, TN – Rocketown (early show)
06/12 – Nashville, TN – The End (late show)
06/13 – Athens, GA – The Secret Squirrel
06/14 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
06/18 – Milford, CT – Daniel Street Club *
06/19 – Portland, ME – SPACE Gallery*
06/20 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground*
06/21 – Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle*
06/22 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore*
06/24 – Ottawa, ON – Zaphod Beeblebrox*
06/26 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace*
06/27 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place*

* = w/ Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Music industry blind, deaf, dumb and rude

25 May

If you remember your first free music download, raise your hand. Now go to jail.

(I was a Napster user).

Although the hunt for peer-to-peer users isn’t quite as realistic (not the case in Ireland, as you’ll read below), the search is on for those creating the software. Mark Gorton, creator of LimeWire, was ruled liable for copyright infringement by a federal judge. Gorton could be forced to pay up to $450 million, as stated in this NY Times blog.

RIAA logo. RIAA motto: "We have no idea what we're doing."

The argument against LimeWire: Because Gorton attempted to get licenses to legitimize the downloads, he revealed the fact that he knew the music was being traded illegally. “He thought with his cleverness that he could get away with it,” Mitch Bainwol, the [Recording Industry Association of America’s] chief executive, said. “He’s the Bernie Madoff of Internet crime. He was thumbing his nose at the rule of law to profiteer enormously.” At a minimum, the record association says, LimeWire needs to shut the current service and Mr. Gorton needs to pay for damages out of his own pocket.

LimeWire creator Mark Gorton

While the law seems to favor the RIAA, the record industry’s short-sightedness is much more criminal. Instead of putting the fear of suit/damages to Mark Gorton, the RIAA desperately needs to turn to him as a working partner to help settle the internet music debacle. The RIAA and independent record labels are up against the most challenging issue music will ever see, facing invisible opponents with a lack of regulations. But the RIAA has been through this before with Napster and others and once again will fail to see this as an opportunity rather than a war.

Similar goings on in Ireland, according to the Irish Times. The key difference is the record labels in Ireland are working with Eircom (Ireland’s AT&T) on a process “that will ultimately see persistent online sharers of music lose their broadband connection.” This time the labels took action against the internet service provider, who, in turn, were scared shitless and took actions against its clients. Again, another misdirected attempt by the record labels, punishing their potential buyers for something they can’t figure out how to fix.

Ireland’s The Inquirer explains the process as a three-strikes-you’re-out rule: “Apparently the ISP was so scared of being sued over copyright infringement that it decided to cut off P2P users on its network.” In a trial run, Eircom will process and monitor 50 IP addresses a week. So because record companies can’t figure out their own problems, people will be monitored by Big Brother.

There most definitely is a problem amongst unregulated nations, but the record companies haven’t yet figured out how to solve it. Attacking the users through their ISP provider is invasive and should be illegal. The RIAA have already identified the biggest culprits during a Congressional caucus last week:

“At a morning Capitol Hill news conference, IAPC Co-Chairmen Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) named China, Russia, Mexico, Canada and Spain as “Top Priority Countries” with lax intellectual property enforcement.  China’s Baidu, Canada’s IsoHunt, Ukraine’s mp3fiesta, Germany’s RapidShare, Luxembourg’s RMX4U.com and Sweden’s The Pirate Bay were identified as the priority sites.”

However, to sum up the music crisis, we turn to Nas, who says labels just need to put out more music and less garbage: “Nigga, put out music! That’s whats wrong with the music game. It ain’t the music business, it’s niggas and they shit!” Forget a dream artist collaboration, get Nas and Mark Gorton together.

And if you think this is bad, artists do not even receive royalties for television, radio or commercial play in the United Arab Emirates. According to this article in The National, artists and labels are losing millions of dollars every year.

Megafaun Announce June Tour Dates, Mini-album Details

24 May

Megafaun was given the golden go-ahead from the gauging gods: David Fricke and Rolling Stone, pitchfork many times over and Stereogum have all acknowledged and praised Gather, Form & Fly, their critically acclaimed sophomore effort (Bury the Square was their six-song debut) from 2009.

"Enjoy our lo-fi celestial rock and the horses we rode in on."

Their story is inextricably linked to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon as former-bandmates-left-behind. Before Vernon retreated to a cabin in Wisconsin and hit indie heaven, and before brothers Phil and Brad Cook and Joe Westerlund formed Megafaun, they all spent considerable time together in a band called DeYarmond Edison. DeYarmond Edison’s myspace still streams their work and it is a healthy combination of both band’s styles.

The high praise, magnificent beards and associated street cred don’t have Megafaun resting on their laurels. A third album in the Fall of 2010 is set to be released as is a mini-album called Heretofore, a collection of songs written in a six-week period in-between recent tours (Megafaun’s site refers to the six-song, 36-minute mini-album as “an exercise in songwriting and discipline.” Here is a glimpe of Heretofore, sent to us by their Hometapes label and also available on Megafaun’s site:

“Volunteers” by Megafaun

06/04/10  Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre ^
06/05/10  Clayton, NC @ Millstock Music & Art Fair
06/08/10  Arlington, VA @ IOTA Club & Cafe #
06/09/10  Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s #
06/10/10  Cambridge, MA @ Regattabar (Farm School Benefit)
06/11/10  Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall #
06/12/10  Buffalo, NY @ Sound Lab #
06/13/10  Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Big #
06/15/10  Milwaukee, WI @ Club Girabaldi #
06/16/10  Eau Claire, WI @ House of Rock #
06/17/10  Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon #
06/19/10  Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop #
06/21/10  Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
06/22/10  Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
06/23/10  Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
08/06/10  Portland, OR @ Pickathon
08/07/10  Portland, OR @ Pickathon

^  with Tift Merritt
#  with Sam Quinn

Video evidence of magnificent beards:

Scrabble-Rousers #6: Garret

23 May

I should preface each edition of Scrabble-Rousers with the concept’s explanation: A word is chosen at random by blindly flipping the pages and finger-pointing a word (in this case “garret”) from a book also chosen at random (in this case The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen). This is how Leif Garrett all of a sudden appears on a blog.

Interestingly, my computer’s dictionary defines “garret” as “a top-floor or attic-room, esp. a small dismal one (traditionally inhabited by an artist).” I’m not sure if anyone actually uses the word “garret” anymore, what with “attic” seemingly more available on the brain; I’ll try as hard as I can not to ruminate on musicals and limericks (which most certainly make lyrical use of “garret”).

The Honeydripper

The only song with the word “garret” in the title that exists in my collection (and I was shocked to even see one) was Roosevelt Sykes’ “Skeet and Garret.” Sykes was a blues artist from Arkansas known to music historians as the father of modern blues piano. He was also known as “The Honeydripper.”

“Skeet and Garret” by Roosevelt Sykes

The most popular songs dealing strictly with the subject at hand is the traditional Irish folk song “Old Maid in the Garret.” (The song title is commonly misspelled with two T’s). The song is sung in a cheerful way though the story is of a single, desperate middle-aged woman resigned to her attic. At one point, she welcomes “any man at all that will marry me for pity.” Sign me up. The traditional version, almost always sung by a man, can be construed as a horrid artifact of sexism. This is why Steeleye Span, a folk rock band of 40 years, liberated it with their own rendition featuring two female leads (Maddie Prior and Gay Woods). Here are both:

The Clancy Brothers version:

Steeleye Span version:

Sexism indeed, but try not to chuckle from this lyric: “There’s nothing in this wide world would make me half so cheery/As a wee fat manny who would call me his own deary.”

Time to cheat. There really isn’t much out there musically by way of garrets outside of show tunes, so what happens if we slyly switch synonymously over to “Attic.” Same idea, less ye olde arcane. The instinctive thought of an attic should be the same to everyone – dark, damp, Anne Frank, ghosts, grime, dust, sadness, isolation, old, musty, things forgotten. “Attic Lights” by Atlas Sound has a striking connection to all the aforementioned indirect connotations of an attic. It is a song of great pain, density and sadness, yet has an ending of pure triumph and closure.

The Antlers, when it was still just the solo project of Peter Silberman, released In the Attic of the Universe, an album he has now stated was written during a dark period in his life. In an interview with Ca Va Cool, Silberman said the album “was made at a time that I was really screwing up my life and very unhappy, and for some reason was finding some kind of comfort in the enormity of space. I was really disconnected at the time.” What doesn’t come up is the interview is the juxtaposition of the timelessness/infinite space and the confinement/claustrophobic nature of an attic. However, like Bradford Cox’s “Attic Lights” found paradise, Antlers’ “Stairs to the Attic” found  “The answer, the feeling, and the truth/ That I’m small.” In that cosmic sense, yaknow?

Scrabble-Rousers #5: Oxygen

21 May

Oxygen: Atomic number 8, symbolized by O, provides fine programming like Talk Sex with Sue Johanson and Jersey Couture.

Atom & the Ants

Today’s edition of Scrabble-Rousers is brought to you by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, of which the television series brought us the synthesized companion compositions of Vangelis:

But has there been a true ode to O? Can survival gases truly be a muse? No, not literally at least. Singers sing about survival in general, primitive/biological needs and the destruction of us. In song, writers utilize the symbolism of oxygen to depict survival, last breaths, referring to lovers as oxygen, coming up for air from heartbreak suffocation, etc.

The Donkeys (not the modrocking Donkeys from the 70s, but the San Diego Donkeys from today) sing about escaping a violent reality and retreating to the ocean where, “Dolphins make good friends/but sharks give you the truth in the end/We are all fish/No need for oxygen.” The escapism is poignant, but fish do need oxygen. Listen here: “No Need for Oxygen” by The Donkeys.

RAWWAR by Gang Gang Dance

“Oxygen Demo Riddim” was one of three songs from the 2007 RAWWAR EP from Gang Gang Dance. It’s impossible to guess how a band names an instrumental track without actually asking them, but GGD manages to insert an organic sound despite all the flying electrons: “Oxygen Demo Riddim” by Gang Gang Dance.

Most songs that reference oxygen are lame. One very famous song, however, mentions oxygen in its purest form amongst its cohorts and champions the element-lyric universe.

The Melvins: The Bride Screamed Murder out 6/1

20 May

Above is the cover of the split 12″ that the Melvins and ISIS (who announced their breakup on May 18, but will complete their tour through June 23) will be releasing during their upcoming U.S. tour that begins June 1st, the release date of The Bride Screamed Murder. The Melvins contributed alternate takes of “Pig House” and “I’ll Finish You Off” from the new album, released by Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings.

The Melvins tour looks like this:

  • June 1, 2010 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
  • June 2, 2010 – Tempe, AZ – The Clubhouse
  • June 3, 2010 – Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad
  • June 5, 2010 – Austin, TX – Emos
  • June 7, 2010 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
  • June 8, 2010 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
  • June 9, 2010 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
  • June 10, 2010 – Birmingham, AL – Bottle Tree
  • June 12, 2010 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Festival
  • June 14, 2010 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
  • June 16, 2010 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
  • June 17, 2010 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Of The Living Arts
  • June 18, 2010 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
  • June 19, 2010 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • June 20, 2010 – Boston, MA – Paradise
  • June 21, 2010 – Boston, MA – Paradise
  • June 23, 2010 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
  • June 24, 2010 – Detroit, MI – Small’s
  • June 25, 2010 – Chicago, IL – Double Door
  • June 26, 2010 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
  • June 27, 2010 – Des Moines, IA – House Of Bricks
  • June 29, 2010 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
  • July 2, 2010 – Calgary, AB, Canada – Sled Island Festival
  • July 3, 2010 – Calgary, AB, Canada – Sled Island Festival
  • July 5, 2010 – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Rickshaw Theatre
  • July 6, 2010 – Seattle, WA – Showbox At The Market
  • July 7, 2010 – Eugene, OR – John Henry’s
  • July 9, 2010 – San Jose, CA – Blank Club

Enlightening and immensely entertaining interview with Buzz Osbourne at metalsucks.com. Someone finally explains crabcore, “It’s like the [Jane] Fonda workout of pseudo heavy metal.” Thanks, Buzzy.