Tomorrow night, the Graveface Roadshow rolls into town and plays at the Vera Project. (You can check out my Underage preview right over here). A few days ago, the tour van carrying members of the Casket Girls, the Stargazer Lilies, and Dreamend was totaled in an accident; no one was injured, and no tour dates have been canceled, but the bands could use your help.
When you make a purchase over at the Graveface Records' Bandcamp, all proceeds will go towards repair and rental van costs. This includes the new album from the Casket Girls, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, along with releases from bands like Hospital Ships, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dosh, and many more Graveface artists who won't be in Seattle on Saturday night.
Get acclimated to some Graveface music before the show! Help keep the spooky and spritely pop dream alive! Click here!
Like the Black Lips, the Coathangers 1) rock hard, 2) hail from Atlanta, but to judge by their press photos, they could take the male quartet—even though there's just three of them: guitarist Julia Kugel, bass player Meredith Franco, and drummer Stephanie Luke.
I've never seen the trio play live, but I doubt they offer up the kind of soporific lullabies that would sooth a newborn to sleep, unless your offspring looks like this.* (Seriously, click that link! Best movie baby ever. Larry Cohen always wins.)
* I never miss an opportunity to reference the It Baby. My spirit animal.
Check out the record cover-defacing album trailer below.
It's not bad—I don't think they're capable of recording a bad track—but it didn't grab me like last year's "Arctic Shark" (even if the press notes describe it as "the centerpiece of the record").
The email also included a link to the unpromisingly-titled "Tired & Buttered," however, and I fell for that one immediately. Other than Issac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul, "butter" rarely adds much to a song or album title—let alone band names like We Butter the Bread with Butter. I'm not sure exactly why, but it turns me off, and the "tired" and "buttered" combo doesn't even make much sense.
In any case, Shane Butler takes over on vocals from Anna Fox Rochinski, and he's got a fine voice, too. I agree with the Soundcloud user who compares it to latter-period Beatles. I suspect she might be thinking of "Taxman" due to the fluid guitar lead and breakneck pace—plus Byrds harmonies—and I love that kind of stuff.
First of all, there's that great Mick Rock photo on the cover. Rock came to fame by way of his portraits of Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Queen, and numerous others, including the covers of Reed's Transformer and Queen's Sheer Heart Attack.
Then there's their alliance with Charles Bradley music director Tommy Brenneck, who's also worked with Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse. Based on Bradley's work, that seems like a promising partnership—in fact, "Boys in the Wood" shares a similar arrangement with the singer's stunning cover of Nirvana's "Stay Away."
Not sure what's up with that chain, but it looks they're ready to rumble.
Aaron Huffman may have something else in mind, but I wanted to nominate the design above as Poster of the Week (especially since last week's lovely PotW wasn't show-related). In this case, I couldn't make out the text the first time I walked past this poster, but it caused me to do a double take, at which point, I was able to decipher the Wooden Shjips text. Most posters don't cause me to look twice, so I consider that a plus. I also like the way the beardos in the drawing look like they sprang from an illustrated version of a Greek text, like Homer's Odyssey (or a preliminary panel from Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's 300*).
* Seen the trailer for the sequel yet? Eva Green aside, it looks like a steaming pile of...CGI.
Rather than Oakland, Belfast, or Liverpool, however, the quintet (Gick, Tristan Ivas, Jackson VanHorn, Brahne Hoeft, and Jimmy Frezza) hails from the unlikely environs of Lafayette, IN. Then again, I've never been there, so maybe times have gotten pretty grim in the Hoosier State.
To quote In the Red's amusingly pessimistic press notes circa TV Ghost's 2009 debut, Cold Fish, the group "usher in a vile and squalid new disposition to ugly art punk, and have carved out a black hole of pestilence that will delight its sufferers to no end." Well hell, count me in! See below for the more kosmische "Elevator."
I cannot tell a lie: I had to listen to this record several times before I was able to form a definitive opinion. Not that I didn't like it from the start, but Mutual Benefit's debut failed to grab me, and I hoped that it would, since it features many of the musical ingredients I enjoy the most: sunshine pop, pastoral folk, and subtle psychedelic touches. Plus: violin, saw, and lines that captured my imagination like, "We weren't made to be afraid."
There's a lot going on here, but Love's Crushing Diamond is also an understated piece of work; so understated that it recalls some of the easy-listening outfits of yesteryear, particularly the Association and Free Design—"That Light That's Blinding" could almost pass for a Bread composition (just add a sprinkling of female vocals). Jordan Lee's music isn't gonna hit you over the head, and I expected a little of that after the hype from Pitchfork ("Best New Music") and other outlets.
Most of all, I assumed that "Sometimes" would either forgo vocals, like Turner's primary outfit, or feature the timeworn voice of a middle-aged Australian musician (his previous full-lengths, Tren Phantasma, Marlan Rosa, and MOTH, were instrumental affairs).
That's not what the song delivers. Instead, the lovely, deceptively youthful voice of a woman rises above the accordion-saturated, jazz-tinged melody. Though Turner has also worked with Bonny Prince Billy and Cat Power, Melbourne vocalist and visual artist Caroline Kennedy-McCracken (the Plums, Deadstar, the Tulips) brings her own understated style to the mix (she's seven years White's junior, but registers as even younger). In theory, the combination evokes You Follow Me, the 2007 record Nina Nastasia made with Turner's band mate, drummer Jim White, except Kennedy-McCracken doesn't sound like Nastasia either (instead, she brings Lisa Germano to my mind). A really pleasant surprise.
Drag City releases Don't Tell the Driver on Nov 19. On Nov 20, Turner opens for Bill Callahan at Neumos.
What's more notable about it: the song ranks among the finest that the Dutch multi-instrumentalist has released to date (so far, he's released two singles and one full-length). Not only did Gardner play all of the instruments, except for the drums, but he also directed the wistful, montage-filled video. Not bad for a 25-year-old—not bad for an artist of any age, really.
Fun fact: Pre-mastering on Cabinet was provided by Dutch engineer Jan Audier (Q65, Golden Earring, the Motion) on his collection of '60s analog equipment.
Like the Clash, who toured with Mikey Dread, or Jon Spencer, who toured with R.L. Burnside, Callahan rejects the idea that his tour partners need to share his race, age, gender, or genre. I'm not predicting that he's about to hit the road with Swans or Lee "Scratch" Perry anytime soon, but it wouldn't completely surprise me either (his fine new record, Dream River, features dub arrangements and drumming from Swans' Thor Harris).
In the past three years, Callahan has toured with Michael Chapman, Lonnie Holley, and Mick Turner of the Dirty Three. Callahan is 47, Turner is 53, Holley is 63, and Chapman is 72. Going by age alone, they're more likely to have influenced him than vice versa, but his name gives him the clout to introduce his favorite musicians to people who might not have heard them otherwise. Not everyone will like what they hear, but I doubt that's the point, since a few new fans are better than none, and I'd rather see artists take chances on occasion, even—or especially—at the risk of alienating their least adventurous admirers.
To judge by the first song, "Shikaakwa," and its accompanying video, Threace should be worth the wait.
Though Drag City previously made a teaser video available, it was marred by goofy narration, though I love the last line: "Buy that fucker on Drag City."
The foursome (Cooper Crain, Jeremy Freeze, Dan Browning, and Rex McMurry) don't need a narrator—goofy or otherwise—to state their case. Like label mates Blues Control, they make music with enough power and conviction to stand on its own (I wrote about Crain's other fine project, Food Pyramid, in this post). For their fourth album, CAVE combined guitar, organ, and drums with flute and saxophone—then spliced the constituent parts into compelling configurations.
The video for "Shikaakwa" reminds me of those extreme close-ups of fleas and ticks, where you can see every scale on their exoskeletons such that those pesky critters gain a certain grandeur. Here's how director Nick Ciontea describes it:
This music video came as an extension of what we had already
established as CAVE's live show over the course of 2013. The style
known as "vector rescanning" or "raster manipulation" originated
with the Rutt-Etra scan processor in 1972. But, with the techno-
logy rarely remembered and devices next to impossible to find, we
used LZX industries and Brownshoesonly video synthesizers to "program" these signals and send them out to a vector monitor
where it was "re-scanned" or filmed off the monitor screen.
Gonna watch it over and over again until the rain stops—see you next year!
Her new phase began a couple of years ago with "Shake", a longform rave-disco gambit which inspired a clip that avoids the music-video-with-kids cliché by being directed, designed, choreographed, and acted out by the children themselves, and all through a charity.
More recently, however, "All For You" zeroes in on all things small and vulnerable and brand new single "Satellite" is a mega-delightful, Kylie o'clock moment that dawns like glitter at the end of the exceptional and nebulous — and yet overflowing with hooks — follow-up Nocturnes. Unlike the '70s retro-dance pastiche everywhere else these days, Little Boots glides along the rail of both the nostalgic and the futuristic.
Rare and wonderful.
And she brings a light-up dress.
Miami's finest just announced their newest tour, with Wavves and King Tuff, which will include a Seattle stop. Have you heard their third, self-titled LP out now on Hardly Art? Liiiiiiisten, up! (And sounds like Gloria Estefan? Read!)
This September, they're hitting the road as part of Burger Records' Burgerama Caravan of Stars with Gap Dream, Cosmonauts, and together PANGEA (they're also throwing their annual Beach Goth Party in October). Then, their label, Everloving Records, releases the Gilded Pleasures EP in November. But I'm most excited about the video for "One Million Lovers" off their third album, Hung at Heart. I liked the psych-country track from the start, but the silver-tinged, slightly NSFW clip, which recalls The American Astronaut, seals the deal by way of director Taylor Bonin's blend of handcrafted psychedelic effects and science fiction tropes for a fun and trippy experience.
The Growlers' Hung at Heart is out now on Everloving Records. The Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour comes to Neumos on Sept 20. Ticket and other info here.
In this Jeff Rowles-directed video, she dresses up as Snow White and visits a fairground to spread happiness and joy, which means smiling, waving, riding the merry-go-round, and posing for photo ops. She accepts no money for her services, and appears to be taking the guerrilla approach to the Wonderful World of Disney, but she's a benevolent interloper, so there's nothing here for the famously litigious Walt Disney Company to lose any sleep over—in her edgiest move, she rocks out on a toy guitar. That said, I doubt they'll be switching out "It's a Small World (After All)" with "Gun" anytime soon.
As Maricich told Stereogum about their process, "Since we aren't a band with a guitarist and a drummer the sky is the limit in terms of what sounds we can use, and it actually took a lot of experimentation before we found the elements that complemented the lyrics and melody in exactly the right way."
After joining together in Portland in 2006, the couple moved to Brooklyn in 2008 (the Blow began as Maricich's solo project before becoming a duo with former partner Jona Bechtolt, aka Yacht). Seven years later, Maricich and Dyne are finally releasing their first album, the fifth to bear the Blow name. I'm not sure why it took so long, but this single indicates that it was worth the wait.
Kanine Records releases The Blow on Oct 1. The duo plays Neumos on Oct 21.
First, there's Bradford Cox and Cole Alexander, who appear on his upcoming album, Keeping a Record of It (I reviewed his 2012 debut, Just Before Music, here).
Then, there's Bill Callahan who'll be touring with him this fall. Callahan has a knack for choosing veteran performers as his opening acts, like Holley and Michael Chapman, though Callahan's upcoming Seattle date switches out Holley with Mick Turner of Venom P. Stinger and the Dirty Three (more info at this link).
Check out album track "Six Space Shuttles and 144,000 Elephants" below.
At this point, I still follow both artists, because I like their work, but I stopped buying everything, even if quality control remains relatively high, because I don't have all the time, money, and/or shelf space in the world, and there are other acts competing for my attention (I still need to pick up Segall's Twins, the superior successor to Goodbye Bread, but I keep forgetting).
My theory is that Segall subconsciously thinks he's going to die young or to burn out on music-making, so he's trying to get as much out of his system now while he still has the energy, the ideas, and the motivation, since he might not be around in the coming decades (the fact that he was adopted may or may not figure into this scenario). Is he really that fatalistic? I have no idea, but it worked for German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He died young, and he didn't leave a particularly pretty corpse behind because he was, as they say, burning the candle at both ends, but he wrote and directed a staggering number of plays, films, and television productions that fans, critics, and academics will be reading, watching, and analyzing for centuries to come (my favorites include the towering miniseries Berlin Alexanderplatz and the wrenching melodrama Ali: Fear Eats the Soul). I seriously doubt that Segall has been looking for inspiration to Fassbinder, who was known for his prodigious drug use, but stranger things have happened.
Then, two weeks ago, Donovan announced that Sic Alps were no more, and this week, the label released the first single off his upcoming solo album. It doesn't resemble any of the raucous numbers on the EP, but it does harken back to some of the quieter moments on the band's last and, I would imagine, final full-length (fittingly titled Sic Alps).
Mostly, it reminds me of Led Zeppelin III due to Donovan's Jimmy Page-like slide-guitar moves. Wot also includes a song called "Sic Ballad." I wonder if he recounts the Alps' breakup in it? And I'll assume that another track, "Sexual Reassignment Surgery Blues," isn't autobiographical, though Mike's a man of many surprises.
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