...which is pretty cool.
A random encounter over the weekend with Blue Cheer’s “Babaji (Twilight Raga)”—why it took me so long to hear this fantastic track is a mystery—made me think about songs in bands’ catalogs that are great and totally anomalous from their usual output. “Babaji” is a gorgeous, blissful, Indian-influenced tune that’s light years from the proto-heavy metal and gutsy hard rock that Blue Cheer discharged on albums like Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside (the YouTube commenter who compared “Babaji” to Ananda Shankar was right on).
Some other wonderful anomalies come to mind: Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”; the Beatles’ “Flying”; Mercury Rev’s “Girlfren”; the Stooges’ “We Will Fall”; Spacemen 3’s “Big City”; Billy Cobham’s “Inner Conflicts”; Pavement’s “Western Homes”; Dinosaur Jr.’s “Poledo”; Parliament’s “The Silent Boatman”; Can’s “Turtles Have Short Legs”; Roxy Music’s “The Bogus Man”; ELO’s “Whale”; Faust’s “Jennifer”; the Clash’s “The Call Up”; Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Cellophane Symphony.” I could be here all day coming up with examples, but your eyes are probably already glazing. So, what do you think are some of the top anomalies in your favorite bands’ canons?
Daryl Hall & John Oates / Wiz Khalifa / Ray La Montagne & the Pariah Dogs / Broken Social Scene / The Presidents of the United States of America / Macklemore & Ryan Lewis / The Kills / The Reverend Horton Heat / Minus the Bear / Fitz and The Tantrums / Butthole Surfers / Mavis Staples / Carbon Leaf / Little Dragon / Leon Russell / Toro Y Moi / Over the Rhine / Anti-Flag / Phantogram / Grant Lee Buffalo / Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue / Urge Overkill / STRFKR / Das Racist / Shabazz Palaces / The Lonely Forest / Warpaint / Vetiver / Jessica Lea Mayfield / Dam-Funk / NoMeansNo / Charles Bradley / Atari Teenage Riot / Vusi Mahlasela / MarchFourth Marching Band / Vendetta Red / Sharon Van Etten / Brite Futures / Tennis / Dennis Coffey / Thee Oh Sees / EyeHateGod / Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible / Väsen / Head Like a Kite / YACHT / Greensky Bluegrass / Mad Rad / Quadron / The Jim Jones Revue / Ian Moore & the Lossy Coils / Champagne Champagne / Grand Hallway / You Am I / Astronautalis / Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside / School of Seven Bells / PS I Love You / Joe Pug and the Hundred Mile Band / Davila 666 / My Goodness / AgesandAges / Wayne Horvitz / LAKE / Yuni in Taxco / Kore Ionz / Campfire OK / Meklit Hadero / Craft Spells / Beat Connection / Sol / Purity Ring / Whalebones / Caleb Klauder Country Band / Truckasaurus / Valient Thorr / Jayme Stone: Room of Wonders / Pickwick / Allen Stone / Scribes / Massy Ferguson / Tycho / Wagons / Shelby Earl / Red Fang / Ravenna Woods / Free the Robots / Ivan & Alyosha / Witchburn / Kaylee Cole / Nice Nice / Kris Orlowski & The Passenger String Quartet / Emancipator / Lemolo / Splatinum / Legendary Oaks / Com Truise / HTRK / The Horde and The Harem / Lusine / Gail Pettis Quartet / Kasey Anderson and The Honkies / Tomten / Pezzner / 214 / Lawnchair Generals / WD4D / Shigeto / Ill Cosby / The Sight Below / The Great Mundane / Natasha Kmeto / DJ Introcut / DJ Nordic Soul
They've got some pretty strong programming in the rock and punk departments. A few real surprises, like Davila 666 and Thee Oh Sees (two of my favorite live acts), Red Fang, Nomeansno, Butthole Surfers, PS I Love You, My Goodness. Local hiphop gets a decent shake: Mad Rad, Champagne Champagne, Shabazz, Astronautalis, who was a highlight at SXSW for me. All that with the addition of Decibel programming, nixing Memorial Stadium for Key Arena (where they hope to serve beer), and moving the bigger comedy acts to the 842-seat Bagley Wright Theater. Today is the last day to buy the $29 any day tickets, with which you can buy now and choose later. Get 'em here. Stay tuned for the schedule announcement, coming sooner than you think.
See the press release, which includes all of this year's changes (.pdf) here.
Previously, I wrote about this Atlanta shitgaze band when they were known as Hips Like Cinderella. Now one (or two? it's unclear) name changes later, they've got a new Bandcamp album online called Youth on Pills. The album's even more submerged in distortion than previous efforts, and with a continuous flow from one song to the next, it makes for a pretty mordantly pleasing listening experience. The standout track for me, so far, is the album closer "Space Age Love Song."
On their blog, Hips Cry describe the aim of this new pay-what-you-want release:
"i wanted a lot of noise on this EP, a lot more than the last releases. Musically, its not all about the song. its about the song and the atmosphere that it sits in. I really wanted the songs to have a setting. theres a lot of non musical elements, that was also something i tried to do, using noise along side the music, its like using non objective markings in a painting of fully rendered woman. The music is trying so hard to breathe under suffocating layers of distortion and feedback and random noisez and fuzz."
Check out the rest of Youth on Pills here.
And look for Jason Baxter's article on the band in tomorrow's edition.
Seapony play Vera Project June 2.
If you are kicking yourself for missing the Flaming Lips at Sasquatch this weekend (or if you are already going into withdrawals after having seen them and NEED. MORE. NOW.) then look! The Flaming Lips are playing the Puyallup Fair September
The pre-sale started today. Click here and use the code "puyallup."
Tickets officially go on sale this Saturday at 10 am here.
Tender Forever is an "Alien With Extraordinary Abilities"
This is what I remember Tender Forever's Melanie Valera saying to a group for friends, non-friends, and myself at a Western Washington University's "Underground Coffeehouse". Has anyone else who didn't go for a higher education in Bellingham ever been there? Because it's not underground
It's on the side of a hill. That's beside the point though.
Melanie has been making wonderful multi-media performance art / music for I don't know how long. Probably definitely longer than her 3-year US work visa has been in effect. Tender Forever played at the Henry Art Gallery open house earlier this month and on stage mentioned something about the fact that if she doesn't produce close to $4,000 to cover renewing her visa, she can't stay in in the PNW (which is part of America) and will have to go back to France.
In 2008, she was granted a 3 year artist visa (O1). She is now in the process of renewing this visa but is seeking financial aid from her fans, all over the world. Her fees for this juridic procedure are reaching $3975.
That's a lot of money to raise, but it's okay because Melanie has some ways you can help her on her site (digital music pack, she can make a custom song, play a show, or you can straight up give her money).
I think this is the best and most traditional way you can help someone out without a business (Kickstarter) taking a cut.
You can read more about her plight here.
Wehrwolve, the former Seattle-based psychedelic project led by Anders Covert, bows out with "Vanishing Luna, Vanishing Sol," which is redolent of the quicksilver percussion and distant, morose melodies of '00s Autechre, with somber grand piano accompaniment dolefully tolling in the background. The track was written and recorded last summer. In September 2010, Covert told me, "I'm going to disappear... Leave the state and go to college. I'll be back with new music in a few years, nobody will know it's me. Thank you for your support and goodbye." Let's hope that wherever Covert is, inspiration continues to flow through him.
So my notes were lost. Fuck it. Let it be known that I certainly didn’t see every single band, as I occasionally like to nourish myself, and I might not be the best “critic,” as I was more often than not either singing along and smiling or circling the pit with the rest of the hooligans. That being said, I know the madness that ensued inside the walls of Neumo’s this weekend and it needs to be documented.
The tension had been building all day long Friday. Hardcore kids from around the globe had been lined up for hours, waiting for their wristbands and the Neumo’s doors to open. Inside, a three-day-all-ages hardcore festival awaited them. Scheduled to play: 7 Seconds, Figure Four, Black Breath, Owen Hart, Supertouch and about 35 more.
For the previous four years, Rain Fest had been held at now-defunct DIY Tacoma all-ages venue, The Viaduct. With the venue owners being longtime show goers themselves, everything was under the control of the kids. It wasn’t uncommon to catch an elbow or a spin kick in the pit from a member of a local band who happened to be donning a bright yellow “Security” t-shirt. Everything was one in the same. After the venue closed, fest organizers Matt Weltner, Zack Ellis and Brian Skiffington were forced to consider a new venue, and ultimately decided to hand over a large portion of their responsibility to the Neumo’s staff.
As I watched Bellingham local’s Envision set up their gear, I thought to myself, “I don’t envy these dudes at all.” It’s not easy being the first band to play on the very first day, with hundreds of out-of-town hardcore kids watching, some probably confused. See, Envision is sort of a hardcore band. Their unique brand of driving post-rock inspired heaviness tends to make them sound a bit more like Godspeed than Hatebreed. Nonetheless, they destroyed all expectations, as every head in the venue slowly banged along to the tasteful yet crushing breakdowns that sent the crowd into the first frenzy of the day.
“I’m not going to be able to stay tonight so I want each and every one of you to do ten stage dives later,” said vocalist Dan Mohtiak. “No, not to my band, to Trial.”
The sound was perfect; allowing fest-goers to dissect the different layers of awesome Envision was presenting us with. Ok, realistically, the sound at Neumo’s wasn’t perfect, but it sure sounded that way in comparison to the smaller stage set up at The Viaduct for past years whose soundboard was being controlled by volunteers.
Much more after the jump - including photos, video and ramblings...
The idea of comedy at the Sasquatch Music Festival (from now on referred to as TSMF) is somewhat funny itself, as the constant surround noise made it hard to hear set ups & punch lines. The laughs were scheduled during the day in a tent called the Banana Shack, which then turned into the place for electronic blips and bleeps in the evening. I was excited to see the Great White North's Trailer Park Boys in the flesh as I've been a fan of the television show for ages. I've always thought that their movies didn't deliver the same wit, but the series was consistently laugh-tastic. We arrived early in what seemed to be the middle of Tig Notaro's set, which was absolutely brilliant. Her style is rather monotone and charmingly almost misanthropic, her jokes more psychological than typical. She spent ten minutes attempting to imitate the sound of a clown horn, unhappy with her results and then repeating the same noise. Her rapport with the audience was perfect as she dealt with the wits and dolts with candor. If you like subtle and intelligent humor, Tig Notaro has heaps of it to offer.
Twenty minutes later, the Trailer Park Boys performance started with what seemed like a prerecorded video sequence that was poorly recorded and hardly audible. Eventually Ricky, Julian & Bubbles appeared on stage in what seemed like a hysterical fit. It was hard to hear much because they were all talking at once. Eventually they pretended to be astronauts and a video was shown of them taking off in a rocket. Rickey threw a piss jug into the crowd & a sex doll was tossed onto the stage. The biggest disappointment for me is that Bubbles didn't seem like Bubbles at all. His voice was different and his demeanor was much more abrasive than usual. He always struck me as the calm & stable foil to the two other characters, but here he seemed like a mix between Jim Lahey, Randy & J-Roc. It was confusing. After the show a friend of mine came upon all three actors hanging out behind the tent. He heard one of them mention that Trailer Park Boys and TSMF wasn't a good fit and that they didn't have the best time. While I was walking away from the tent, three young men covered in body paint walked by drinking tall-boys of Corona Extra. I overheard one of them say, "Fuck, that shit was so fucking funny, I have to piss so bad."
And the world keeps turning and turning and turning and turning.
I had to stay at home and be an adult this weekend. However, while at home I took a sec to dig through my 45s boxes and, um, I'd forgotten I had this heavy bit of genius...
(sigh) Yeah, RULIN'!!!...Birth Control were German, natch, and prolly best known for their Hoodoo Man LP. I'm not sure how often this 45 turns up...but if you see it, GET IT...it never gets tired!!
I just came across this blog post, which has a nice, concise rundown of some of legendary musician/mega-producer/potential space alien Brian Eno's tips and exercises for creative stimulation. Here's my favorite:
In the ‘70s Eno developed his Oblique Strategies cards, a series of prompts modeled after the I Ching to disrupt the process and encourage a new way of encountering a creative problem. On the cards are statements and questions like: “Would anybody want it?” “Try faking it!” “Only a part, not the whole.” “Work at a different speed.” “Disconnect from desire.” “Turn it upside down.” “Use an old idea.” These prompts are a method of generating specifics, which most creatives respond favorably to.
It also links to a free e-book version of a 1988 interview with Eno by Eric Tamm, which I cannot wait to read.
This weekend I visited 1991 and watched (the terrible but entertaining) Nothing But Trouble starring Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Demi Moore. And Digital Underground! Joined by Tupac before Tupac was famous!
It is easily the best part of the movie:
Ask them almost whatever you want! Ask Kerry Zettle about his thousands of tattoos! Ask P Smoov what his sign is! Ask everybody else how they got so dang good!
UPDATE: Now with actual working link!
All that and more right here!
Portland-based producer Benoît Pioulard will be doing an in-studio session on DJ Shani's show on KEXP (90.3 FM; kexp.org) tonight (technically Wednesday at 1 am). He'll be previewing new material specially created for his set at the experimental/drone-oriented Substrata Festival, happening July 15-17 at Chapel Performance Space.
It's true! Local pop rockers the Divorce, who broke up in 2007, are PLAYING THE CROCODILE JULY 30th! It's the original line-up, too: Shane Berry, Garrett Lunceford, Jimmy Curran, and Kyle Risan.
I AM SO EXCITED!
Tickets are on sale now for only $10 a pop.
More info coming soon, but for now: YAAAAAY!
Good morning! Did everyone make it through the long weekend of music (or Memorializing) intact? My own festival delegation is just packing up all of our things before the nice people who rented us a place to stay with beds, showers, kitchens, and intriguing home decorations evict us and set us back on the dusty trail to Seattle.
But before we're evicted, here are a sampler of photos from the final day of the four-day Sasquatch Marathon of Music Festival, where Wilco's lovely set closed out a day that, despite notably thinning crowds, saw a mindblowingly enthusiastic a beach toy dance explosion for Chromeo and found nearly everyone at the Gorge squeezing around the tiniest stage to catch a glimpse of Foster the People (the dangers of blowing up a month after being booked). Meanwhile, Guided By Voices chain-smoked, chugged tequila, and brought the high kicks out of retirement for a few curious onlookers.
In their mainstage set, the Decemberists bidding a temporary farewell to Jenny Conlee, tried to incite a repeat of the hillside "carnal embraces" that marked their last Sasquatch appearance, and appeared to conjure a terrifying-looking lightning storm that just missed the festival grounds. On the Bigfoot Stage, Macklemore thrilled and delighted legions of earnest hands-in-the-air fans, !!! seemed to have had the energy to perform all night despite being cut off at their appointed set time, and Deerhunter provided a searing alternative to Wilco's more earthy mainstage delights. By their fourth song, Jeff Tweedy declared that this was Wilco's best performance at the Gorge (their worst was also at Sasquatch), and I think that he was right.
Photos after the jump, more to come later tonight.
This comes as a welcome surprise: new material from Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt's solo venture, Lotus Plaza, is apparently on the way from new FatCat offshoot imprint Palmist. Anyone who complained that the Lotus Plaza debut LP was a little too reverb-doused and ephemeral will be pleased to hear that the sounds on "Out of Touch" are a little crisper and clearer. Pundt's always been a maestro with cool guitar FX and filters (remember the crazy pitch-bending at the climax of "Nothing Ever Happened"?), and the alien gurgle of his main line here is no exception. The vocals are enveloping and pensive, and the guitar squall outro is expected, but totally awesome nonetheless.
Pitchfork has the stream.