Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BXI? (Revisited w/Film and Art)

The BXI EP will be out in August. In the meantime, here’s a promotional poster nabbed from Southern Lord and a clip of Ian Astbury and Boris perfoming “The End” by The Doors.

In regards to Boris, Astbury says, “If you’re not listening; you’re not paying attention and, Lou Reed, I don’t understand why you fall asleep to hear this music. These are your children.”

I think I got the quote right.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Paul A. Rosales

Another in a series of self-recorders that seem to be making some interesting musical strides of late, (Ariel Pink and Wavves garnering many headlines lately), Paul A. Rosales will be releasing his debut album, Wonder Wheel I, on July 27th. His new single, “Crimes,” is now available on 7” through Care in the Community Recordings.

“Crimes” is a mostly mellow rock track, Rosales’ voice steeped in stretched layers of reverb. The bass line reminds me of some low rent variation of “White Wedding,” though the song itself is rich in inexpensive lo-fi and very loose in terms of composition.


Here are some details on the young Rosales:

When Paul A. Rosales isn't busy with college, he's helping produce tracks for bands like LA lo-fi female duo Pearl Harbor (Mexican Summer), performing in his hometown of Los Angeles, and coming to the East Coast to collaborate with the father of home & tape recording, R Stevie Moore. In addition to all that, Rosales is also writing songs as Wonder Wheel, his most recent and widely known moniker which has given this, his first, commercial release via London/NY's Care In the Community Recordings its title.

In a 2008 recording manifesto, Rosales notes influences from Schoenberg to Eno, however it's the electronic pop of 50s British producer Joe Meek that is most recognizable in the hurried pop gems of
Wonder Wheel I. It may seem oxymoronic to speak of lo-fi music being progressive, but there's a continual inventiveness beneath the heavy echo and distortion of the 12 very different songs on Wonder Wheel I that either exemplify genres when Rosales works within them, or that otherwise begin to carve out what can only be described as new ones. But underscoring this unique sound is a strong pop sensibility that brings a familiarity and warmth that perhaps marks Rosales out from the burgeoning scene from which he's emerged.

Although barely in his 20s Rosales is already a seasoned and charismatic performer and has recently moved from a performance that put his solo vocals and tape effects front and center, to a slightly more expansive performance establishing a band for a fuller live effect. He is making his first solo trip to the UK this June as part of an Upset the Rhythm night also featuring Ganglians in order to promote his 7" single, the loose high-tempo synth groove-driven "Crimes" which is an excellent introduction to the Rosales cosmology. That track also kicks off the journey that is
Wonder Wheel I.

Letters From A Tapehead

John Lennon: His 70th Birthday Is Commemorated With a Lot of Reissues/Releases

I’m not sure if this will outdo the amazing Beatles remasters that came out last year, but this is still a pretty significant undertaking. Because there are so many releases to keep track of, I’ll let the press release explain.

Via EMI Press Release:

Photo: Iain Macmillan. © Yoko Ono.




Sweeping Catalogue Initiative Overseen by Yoko Ono and EMI Music Commemorates Lennon’s 70th Birthday

London, England – June 29, 2010 – Eight of John Lennon’s classic solo albums and other standout recordings have been digitally remastered from his original mixes for a global catalogue initiative commemorating the music legend’s 70th birthday, which falls on October 9.

Overseen by Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” campaign will launch on 4 October (5 October in North America) with the worldwide release of eight remastered studio albums and several newly-compiled titles.

Double Fantasy, 1980’s GRAMMY Award winner for Album of the Year, will be presented in a newly remixed 'Stripped Down' version remixed and produced by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas, co-producers of the original mix with John Lennon. The new stripped down version of the album comes in an expanded 2CD and digital edition pairing the new version with Lennon’s original mix, remastered.

The campaign’s other new collections include:

• A hits compilation in two editions titled
Power To The People: The Hits
• A 4CD set of themed discs titled
Gimme Some Truth
• A deluxe 11CD collectors box with the remastered albums, rarities, and non-album singles, titled the
John Lennon Signature Box

All of the remastered albums and collections will be available on CD and for download purchase from all major digital service providers.

YOKO ONO said: “In this very special year, which would have seen my husband and life partner John reach the age of 70, I hope that this remastering / reissue programme will help bring his incredible music to a whole new audience. By remastering 121 tracks spanning his solo career, I hope also that those who are already familiar with John’s work will find renewed inspiration from his incredible gifts as a songwriter, musician and vocalist and from his power as a commentator on the human condition. His lyrics are as relevant today as they were when they were first written and I can think of no more apposite title for this campaign than those simple yet direct words 'Gimme Some Truth'.”

The albums have been digitally remastered from Lennon’s original mixes by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at EMI Music’s Abbey Road Studios in London and by George Marino at Avatar Studios in New York. All of the remastered titles will be packaged in digisleeves with replicated original album art and booklets with photos and new liner notes by noted British music journalist Paul Du Noyer. The albums to be reissued are:

• John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
• Imagine (1971)
• Some Time In New York City (1972)
• Mind Games (1973)
• Walls and Bridges (1974)
• Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975)
• Double Fantasy Stripped Down (2010) / Double Fantasy (1980)
• Milk and Honey (1984)

YOKO ONO added: “Double Fantasy Stripped Down really allows us to focus our attention on John’s amazing vocals. Technology has advanced so much that, conversely, I wanted to use new techniques to really frame these amazing songs and John's voice as simply as possible. By stripping down some of the instrumentation the power of the songs shines through with an enhanced clarity. Double Fantasy Stripped Down will be complemented by the original album in the 2CD format. It was whilst working on the new version of this album that I was hit hardest emotionally, as this was the last album John released before his passing."

Power To The People: The Hits gathers 15 of Lennon’s most popular songs, and will be available as a 15-track single-disc and digital package, and as an Experience Edition with additional content. Both versions will be packaged in digisleeves with booklets including a new liner note essay by Du Noyer.

Gimme Some Truth, to be packaged in a slipcase with rare photos and a new liner notes essays by respected American music journalist and author, Anthony DeCurtis, presents 72 of Lennon’s solo recordings on four themed CDs:

Roots – John’s rock ‘n’ roll roots and influences
Working Class Hero – John’s socio-political songs
Woman – John’s love songs
Borrowed Time – John’s songs about life

The John Lennon Signature Box is a deluxe 11CD and digital collection of the eight remastered albums, a disc of rare and previously unreleased recordings, and an EP of Lennon’s non-album singles. The CDs will be housed in digisleeves within a deluxe box including a collectible limited edition John Lennon art print and a hardbound book featuring rare photos, artwork, collages, poetry, and new liner notes by DeCurtis.

One of the world’s most celebrated songwriters and performers of all time, John Lennon was killed at the age of 40 on December 8, 1980. Lennon has been posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award and two special BRIT Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him in the Top 5 of the magazine’s “100 Greatest Singers Of All Time” list.

In celebration of his 70th birthday on 9 October, 2010, John Lennon’s life and music will be specially feted with a variety of commemorative releases and events around the world. Please visit for official announcements and updates.

Did you get all that?

Letters From A Tapehead

The Mailbox Giveth: Microphonies

Track Number Records
Released: 6.15.10

Were Microphonies a living character, he’d be the quintessential iNerd, overdosing on Butthole Surfers and Captain Beefheart albums with caffeinated exuberance, a network of plugs and snot coursing through his veins. The vision of musician Sam Farfsing, Microphonies is turbulent and often ridiculous, his ramblings about asymmetry, Los Angeles, Beatles loathing and copycats somewhat lost in the midst of his self-generated computerized bleeps, garage instruments and oddity.

His album, Tttiiimmmeeekkkiiilllsss, (or Time Kills as it will heretofore be referred), is a disjointed byproduct of Farsfing’s ambition, segment length songs seeming to cater to an American hardcore fan’s attention span. Having noted hardcore, the music does have attitude and snarl to it, ensuring that songs like “Vexxxed,” “Vatican City Pretties,” “Bowwowwow,” and “Flakey MC Flackerton” some level of resonance with the punk/alternative crowd. Songs like “In 3’s” seem more a New Wave or synth pop taste, a Devo flair on display, while “Everlasting Gob-Stopper” perfectly merges Farsfing’s electronic world with post-punk bass rhythm.

Other tracks like “Nnnmmm,” “Cut Your Fins And Learn To Swim,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Blank” seem more rooted in the Aphex Twin school of electronic experimentalism, playful with rhythms and sounds but resistant to any real rhythm or melody.

Though Time Kills feels rough and unedited, Farsfing’s Microphonies is an interesting peak into the artist’s head. Time Kills, at times, sounds like a thousand mid-eighties arcades being piped into one studio. At others, it sounds like potential.

"Cut Your Fins And Learn To Swim"

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 28, 2010

Raekwon: Wu-Gambinos

The following is a quote from The RZA’s Twitter: ”It's my birthday! BONG”

In recognition of The RZA’s birthday, I’d like to turn your attention to “Wu-Gambinos” from Raekwon’s classic, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... Aside from the fact that this album encompasses some of RZA’s best and most innovative production work, (Gotta love those crudely collaged orchestrations), I was always drawn to his appearance on this track, particularly the muted reprise of the song’s chorus just before RZA, vocal impediment in place, rattles off his phrases with a commanding presence that almost outshines everyone else’s contribution.

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Woven Bones

Austin’s Woven Bones released In and Out and Back Again on May 18th through HoZac Records. “Your Way With My Life” is the type of song that makes you glad you’re into rock music, its reverb-laden sneer almost blissful along with the song’s unpolished edges. There’s something refreshingly analog about both the song and the video, the VHS grit deep enough to hear. The sing is fairly high-tempo, tendrils of down tuned guitar sounds and scratchy bass rhythm churning out a really great Monday morning listen. Another 2010 release to add to the wish list.

Via Stereogum:

Via Force Field PR:

West Coast Dates:
06/26 - Chicago, IL — Reckless Records Wicker Park In-Store 5pm
06/26 - Chicago, IL — Empty Bottle
06/27 - Indianapolis, IN — Vollrath Tavern (My Old Kentucky Blog Presents) ^
06/28 - Fort Wayne, IN — The Brass Rail
06/29 - Cleveland, OH — Now That's Class
06/30 - Pittsburgh, PA — Brillobox
07/01 - Brooklyn, NY — Bruar Falls ~
07/02 - New York, NY — Pier 17 / South Street Seaport (
07/03 - Baltimore, MD — The Ottobar @
07/06 - Athens, GA — Caledonia Lounge
07/08 - New Orleans, LA — Circle Bar
08/06 - Austin, TX — United States Art Authority /
08/07 - Dallas, TX — The Nightmare +
08/10 - Denver, CO — Hi Dive -
08/11 - Salt Lake City, UT — Kilby Court TBA
08/12 - Boise, ID — Neurolux TBA
08/13 - Portland, OR — Plan B
08/14 - Seattle, WA — Wildrose >
08/15 - Olympia, WA — Northern }
08/17 - Reno, NV — Lincoln Lounge [
08/18 - San Francisco, CA — Bottom of the Hill <
08/19 - Los Angeles, CA — Spaceland
08/20 - San Diego, CA — Casbah
08/22 - Phoenix, AZ — Rhythm Room
08/24 - Albuquerque, NM — Launchpad
08/25 - Lubbock, TX — Bash Riprock's

^ = w/ We Are Hex
~ = w/ Beach Fossils
( = w/ YellowFever
@ = w/ Reading Rainbow
/ = w/ Residual Echoes and Happy Birthday
+ = w/ Bipolar Express and Nervous Curtains
- = w/ Woodsman
> = w/ Idle Times
} = w/ Christmas
[ = w/ The Madanna Bangers and The Humans
< = w/ The Splinters and Sandwitches

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Queens of the Stone Age: I Think I Lost My Headache

"I Think I Lost My Headache" may be one of the most hypnotic rock songs I've ever heard. With news of a 2-disc reissue of Rated R, the second album (and first major label release) from Queens of the Stone Age, my mind goes directly to this song, its steel drums shuffling behind cymbal crashed rhythm, the stringy guitar phrases an eerie and magnetic introduction to sonic dismay and then that trumpeted outro that goes on forever. It's one of those moments that make Rated R as monumental as it is, a rock album that derided the so-called "garage revival" before it had really even begun to take shape while acting as a blueprint for their breakthrough album. Consider it QOTSA's Revolver, a drug-induced headtrip of excited neo-psychedelia, quick-chord retro punk and experimental proto-punk that wasn't quite refined enough for mass consumption, but perfect for anyone that knew what they were listening to.

With follow-up Songs For The Deaf, QOTSA took the music a step further, crafting a full-on rock experience for the millennium that took as many chances but laced every song in aggression. I don't want to say that it was more radio-friendly than Rated R, but Songs For The Deaf grabbed a lot of attention and it only helped that Dave Grohl was there to add some star power to the release.

Rated R is being expanded into a 2-disc version for its 10 year anniversary, and will be out on August 3rd. All the frills aside, offer this album your undivided attention. Rated R is an unfolding and developmental portrait of the band and its progression into a signature sound, and it offers more than just a glimpse of exactly how important they are and were to become.

Check out this link for details.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shopping For Records #31: Blonde Redhead, No Age

A couple days ago, I posted a link for a free download from Blonde Redhead, an electronic piece of light and airy New Wave dubbed, "Here Sometimes." According to Beggars Group, this is the single from their upcoming album, Penny Sparkle.

Via Beggars Group:

Blonde Redhead return this fall with the release of Penny Sparkle, the sublime new album from the fêted New York trio.

Released on September 14th (13th outside the US),
Penny Sparkle – the band’s third for 4AD - marks another sonic twist in their already adventurous canon. It was made over the last year with the band journeying between New York and Stockholm to work with production duo Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid (Fever Ray, Glasser) and as with their previous album, 23, Alan Moulder (Depeche Mode, My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) was enlisted to mix it.

Kazu Mazino from the band speaks of the record:
“I can't say what
Penny Sparkle is about just yet. I remember talking to Ed (from 4AD) one day and telling him that I had a vision that I was traveling to far away places to complete it. (Then) I landed in snowy slippery Stockholm... and here.
I fell in love with the music like falling for someone you've known for a long time. It was dreamy and sometimes was very stormy. At times I felt like a shepherd who was trying to herd five stallions into a yard (unsuccessfully). I felt like I was a link to everyone. I remained still and the others were constantly moving around it.
I am not sure what Penny Sparkle is but I hope I offered to them as much as they offered me. I know that we have never made a record this way and if I could go back in time, I would do it exactly the same way again.”

No Age will also be coming out with a new one for September called, Everything In Between.

Via Sub Pop press release:

Recorded in Los Angeles from the end of 2009 and into 2010, Everything in Between is the new album from No Age, the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall. They emerged from former band Wives in 2005, to become No Age, worldwide glowing talismans for the DIY art-punk scene in LA, now famously known as having its epicenter at The Smell, a clubhouse where art-life/music-life welded and inspired a creative movement and attitude which has fertilized a purple patch of likeminded punkers and artists around the globe. Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, their 2007 debut album (on FatCat Records), through Nouns, the band’s 2008 follow-up on Sub Pop, and beyond, No Age has earned enthusiastic notice from an incredibly wide array of sources; from Pitchfork to The New Yorker (“Let It Rip,” Nov. 19, 2007), and found themselves unlikely Grammy nominees (for “Best Recording Packaging” in 2008). No Age have risen from sweaty basement shows and art galleries to having their songs blast off the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to performing at unconventional spaces both close to home and abroad.

Everything in Between is a bold step in their creative evolution. It documents their lives and their artistic progression more prominently welded into a permanent union. It is a culmination of reflecting upon life’s ruptures and triumphs; the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised, yet better off for the wear and tear. They’ve pushed themselves in challenging and different directions, deconstructing their weird-out pop songs while still maintaining their original aesthetic and intent. Melody is formed from noise and samples; disorienting rhythms, howling tones, fuzzed-out scuffs, cuts and grazes, and heart-wrenching skree are all vital to embellishing the raw sentiment of the album.

No Age of course comes complete with tour dates:

Jul 03 Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Canada
Jul 04 Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Canada
Jul 10 Glass House, Pomona, CA
Jul 24 Whartscape, Baltimore, MD
Jul 31 Field Day Festival (UK), LONDON E3, United Kingdom
Aug 02 Studio 24, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Aug 04 Tanci , St. Petersburg , Russia
Aug 06 Solyanka, Moscow, Russia
Aug 08 Off Festival, Mysłowice, Poland
Sep 11 Hop Scotch Music Festival, Raleigh, NC
Sep 12 Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN
Sep 13 Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
Sep 14 Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
Sep 16 LC Pavillion, Columbus, OH
Sep 30 Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Black Mountain (Revisited)

A couple weeks ago, I got to post Black Mountain's newest single, "Old Fangs." Today, I get to post its visual accompaniment:

Once again, Black Mountain's Wilderness Heart will be out September 14th and is now available for preorder if you want the album a couple weeks before it hits the shelves.

I guess the world is one big shark tank.

I may as well re-post the band's upcoming tour dates:

06/23/10 Kamloops, BC - Pogue Mahone w/ Lord Beginner
06/24/10 Calgary, AB - Republik w/ Lord Beginner
06/25/10 Edmonton, AB - Starlite Room w/ Lord Beginner
06/26/10 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's w/ Lord Beginner
06/27/10 Regina, SK - The Exchange w/ Lord Beginner, Orbital Express
06/28/10 Winnipeg, MB - The Garrick Centre w/ Lord Beginner, Sleepy Sun
06/30/10 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon w/ David Vandervelde
07/01/10 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall w/ David Vandervelde
07/02/10 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick w/ David Vandervelde
07/03/10 London, ON - Call the Office w/ One Hundred Dollars
07/09/10 Hultsfred, Sweden - Hultsfred Festival
07/10/10 Brugge, Belgium - Cactus Festival
07/11/10 Balado, Kinross-Shire, Scotland - T In The Park Festival
07/13/10 London, UK - The Lexington
07/14/10 London, UK - The Lexington
07/16/10 Suffolk, UK - Latitude Festival
07/17/10 Dour, Belgium - Dour Festival
07/18/10 Ferropolis, Germany - Melt Festival
07/23/10 Toronto, ONT - Horseshoe Tavern w/ Quest for Fire
07/24/10 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom w/ Quest for Fire
07/26/10 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews w/ Mondo Drag
07/27/10 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room w/ The Dodos
07/28/10 Denver, CO - The Bluebird Theater w/ Spindrift
07/30/10 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge w/ Spindrift
07/31/10 Boise, ID - Neurolux w/ Spindrift
08/26/10 Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater w/ Lower Heaven
08/30/10 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory w/ The War on Drugs
09/03/10 Stradbally, County Laois, IRE - The Electric Picnic Festival (Electric Arena)
09/04/10 Oxford, UK - Academy 2
09/05/10 Birmingham, UK - Hare and Hounds
09/08/10 Brighton, UK - Concorde 2
09/09/10 Tourcoing, France - RADAR at Le Grand Mix
09/10/10 Isle of Wight, UK - Bestival
09/11/10 Dorset, UK - End of the Road Festival
09/12/10 Leeds, UK - TJs Woodhouse Club w/ Ladyhawk
09/14/10 Glasgow, UK - Oran Mor w/ Ladyhawk
09/15/10 Manchester, UK - Academy 3 w/ Ladyhawk
09/16/10 Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms w/ Ladyhawk
09/17/10 Tilburg, Netherlands - Incubate Festival
09/18/10 Groningen, Netherlands - Take Root
09/22/10 Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
09/24/10 Oslo, Norway - John Dee
10/06/10 Amsterdam, Holland - Paradiso
10/07/10 London, UK - Shepherds Bush Empire

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stone Axe: Riders of the Night

Stoner rock band Stone Axe is releasing a split 7” with Mighty High, which sort of tells you that the album is going to be a smoked out 45rpm revolution. Curious, I checked out a video from Stone Axe’s self-titled LP, a song called “Riders of the Night.” Stone Axe kicks a solid groove. I won’t say that they’re much different from a lot of the so-called inhalant bands out there, but they’re tight and the song is really good.

The 7” is out June 25th via Ripple Music and Stone Axe will be opening for Saint Vitus during a small tour out West.

Via Ripple Music:

Stone Axe and Mighty High Pair Up For A Searing Slab of Fuzzed-Out Stoner Rock

Just in time for their West Coast tour in support of the godfathers of Stoner Rock, St. Vitus, Stone Axe has announced that they will be releasing an exclusive split 7" with the Brooklyn-based stoner cretins Mighty High. This two-song disc features ground-breaking material from both acts. For Stone Axe, "Metal Damage" shows the band venturing into the lands inspired by the NWOBHM sound. For Mighty High, "Don't Panic, It's Organic" is the most focused, aggression-filled musical tantrum the group has unleashed to date. The 7" will be available on tour starting June 25th, 2010 and from the Ripple Music Store in early July. However, pre-orders are being taken now.

June 25th, 2010 - 9:00pm El Corazon (w/Saint Vitus), Seattle, Washington, US
June 26th, 2010 - 9:00pm Satyricon (w/Saint Vitus), Portland, Oregon, US
June 27th, 2010 - 9:00pm DNA Lounge (w/ Saint Vitus), San Francisco, California, US
June 28th, 2010 - 7:00pm Origami Vinyl, Echo Park, California, US
June 29th, 2010 - 9:00pm The Viper Room (w/ Saint Vitus), Los Angeles, California, US
June 30th, 2010 - 9:00pm The Casbah (w/Saint Vitus), San Diego, California, US
July 1st, 2010 - 9:00pm Waysted Space @ Hard Rock Hotel (w/Saint Vitus), Las Vegas, Nevada, US
July 3rd, 2010 - 10:00pm The ALIBI, Arcata, California, US

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead have a new song out titled “Here Sometimes” that’s available for download on their website.

Photo By Pier Nicola D'Amico (picked up from 4AD)

“Here Sometimes” is an electro-rock track, the band possibly embracing New Wave possibilities in the same way that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs did with last year’s, It’s Blitz!. Not that Blonde Redhead haven’t entertained some sort of technological revolution within their music at points, but they’ve always been more of a rock band and have never seemed so fully entrenched in this sort of digitized easy listening.

As usual, for the price of an email address, the song can be yours.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 21, 2010

To all Dopesmokers and Holy Mountaineers: Sleep's Touring This Fall

Via Earsplit PR:

Legendary stoner rock band SLEEP split in 1997 after two hugely influential albums. Members went on to form underground heroes OM and High On Fire, and more recently metal supergroup Shrinebuilder. This Fall, original members Al Cisneros and Matt Pike will be joined by drummer Jason Roeder of Neurosis to perform the seminal Holy Mountain album as well as selections from Dopesmoker and more.

SLEEP debuted with 1991's
Volume One album, recorded for San Francisco label Tupelo. Earache Records received the band’s next recordings in the mail as a demo. The label -- impressed by SLEEP's single-mindedness and unique vision -- immediately signed the band and released the tape exactly as it was received. Record stores worldwide stocked SLEEP’s Holy Mountain from November 1992 to this day.

The band then signed to London Records. Their debut album for the major took the form of one mammoth 63-minute leviathan of a track entitled "Jerusalem." The band resisted the label’s attempts at radio edits and bringing in their own engineer to remix the album in view of “marketability.” London baulked at the prospect of promoting what probably still is the most extreme music ever recorded for a major label, so shelved the recording and dropped the band.

SLEEP's music has been featured in films by Harmony Korine and Jim Jarmusch.

SLEEP 2010 US Tour
9/03/2010 All Tomorrow's Parties - Monticello, NY
9/07/2010 Starlight Ballroom - Philadelphia, PA
9/08/2010 Brooklyn Masonic Temple - New York, NY w/ Lichens
9/09/2010 Logan Square Auditorium - Chicago, IL w/ Lichens
9/10/2010 Mohawk - Austin, TX w/ Sub Oslo
9/11/2010 Roseland Theater/Music Fest NW - Portland, OR w/ Scott Kelly, YOB
9/12/2010 Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA

So, in spite of their successes with High On Fire, OM and Shrinebuilder, Pike and Cisneros are reviving the beast. Chris Hakius is evidently still unavailable, having left OM after 2007's Pilgrimage LP. Still, a show revolving around Holy Mountain and the hour plus Dopesmoker will be one to remember.

Some reviews and Sleep-related write-ups can be found below:

High On Fire - Snakes For The Divine
Om - Pilgrimage
Om - Live Conference
Shrinebuilder - s/t

Here's a review of an OM show from 2007.

I also wrote up a quick blurb about a vinyl edition of Sleep's Holy Mountain.

If you couldn't tell, I like these bands a lot.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, June 19, 2010

68: A Birthday Letter to Paul McCartney...

To Paul,

Writing as a fan and not so much a critic of your work, I've taken the unpopular position that your post-Beatles output took the most risks and made the largest impression from an artistic standpoint. But, because you've always been a titan of public relations, your reputation at times overshadowed your work. Next to John Lennon, who for a time did strive to embody an avant-garde and subversive ideology, (thanks to the influence of his artist second wife), you're the "safe" Beatle, the contemporary rockstar who's aged along with the people running the show. As The Beatles once stood as somewhat of a societal downfall in the eyes of parents, because nothing speaks of the onset of immorality and anarchy louder than long hair, you're now "one of them" I guess. It's something even you've acknowledged. Didn't you put yourself in line with being "twee" in your song "English Tea?"

I think that both you and Lennon needed each other as advisers, editors and writers, your ideas seeming to gel perfectly once collaboration was enacted. Even when you worked with Nigel Godrich for the wonderful Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, your ideas seemed fresh, your perspective rejuvenated. Inasmuch as I consider you one of the best songwriters that's ever picked up a guitar, it's undeniable that you need guidance to some extent. Even the best writers need an editor, someone to reel them in a bit and offer them options.

But, that's the critic talking.

You're 68 years old today. You still write and play music. You still get something out of what you do, and so do your fans. As long as I've been able to draw breath, your voice has been in the background somewhere, making me feel better, inspiring conversation, providing something enjoyable for me to listen to. I'll always be grateful that, even if I wasn't alive to witness The Beatles and the brilliance that transpired between the four of you, I at the very least grew up in a household where your albums spun and your name was revered.

Happy Birthday, Sir Paul McCartney.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wire: The 15th

154 really doesn't get the credit it should.

Preceded by the seminal Pink Flag and Chairs Missing, 154 is considered Wire's break-up tape and was apparently developed under the stress of creative differences and pressure from EMI to produce an album's worth of accessible singles. "The 15th" was intended to be the bullet and I could imagine it appealing to a more generalized public, more so at least than "12XU" or "I Am The Fly" may have. But, Wire refused to release it as such because the song wasn't performed by the full band. In essence, 154 was Wire's White Album, its entire being shaped by individuals as opposed to band members. They broke up the year after its release in 1980.

Out of their initial phase, 154 has two of my favorite Wire songs: "The 15th" and "Two People In A Room." "The 15th" could've been the inspiration behind My Blood Valentine's Loveless, it's sensitivity and walls of angelic sound as enveloping as the sonic canvases Kevin Shields is accredited for originating. When I got to see Wire in 2008, they played this song and that could've been their entire set as far I was concerned.

"Two People In A Room" is a perfect culmination of punk energy and tension. There's something remarkable and unsettling about it, Robert Gotobed's acoustical drum and Colin Newman crying out loud amidst the guitars that race each other to some imaginary finish line that never quite materializes. It almost feels like the song continues long after it fades.

Though 154 will never be regarded as a standalone achievement, out of Wire's most celebrated output I think it's their most progressive and dynamic work. Pink Flag and Chairs Missing excel at technique and songwriting, but 154 is dark and emotional. It resonates more because obstacles like struggle, irrationality and frustration had to be compromised in order to make it work. If any one track ably conveys the stress associated with 154, it's the closing minutes of "A Touching Display" where a veritable howl of distorted guitar seemingly drowns under water but persists in an effort to be heard and understood.

Letters From A Tapehead

Daytrotter Sessions: Phantogram

On June 9th, electro-rockers, Phantogram, contributed some tracks for Daytrotter. Not being all that familiar with the band, I very much enjoyed their set, especially the mesmerizing "Make A Fist," which is a fairly tense and nervous mix of repetition and dissonance.

You can find the session here.

Letters From A Tapehead

VOICEs VOICEs: Flulyk Visions

VOICEs VOICEs' Origins was an album I reviewed back in February. Their single, "Flulyk Visions," has just received the video treatment and an EP by the duo dubbed, Sounds Outside, is being reissued by Lefse Records.

Check out the video and, if you're interested, you can find the review for Origins at No Ripcord.

VOICES VOICES "Flulyk VIsions" Music Video [HD] from CrazyGoodness on Vimeo.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stereokiller: Coffinworm

When All Became None
Profound Lore
Released: 4.13.10

Stereokiller review

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No Ripcord: The Melvins

The Melvins
The Bride Screamed Murder
Ipecac Recordings
Released: 6.1.10

No Ripcord review

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 14, 2010

“Come back anytime, Black Breath:” Black Breath at the Kung-Fu Necktie

Black Breath
Kung-Fu Necktie
Philadelphia, PA

Indulge for me a moment while I recompile all the wondrous images that I’d gathered in my head a little over a week ago during Black Breath’s impressive display the night of June 2nd: Beat-up Vans, cut-off shorts, t-shirts tattered with crackled silkscreened names like Brutal Truth and Septic Death, the stench of heat, B.O. and rock music, my sizzled eardrums squealing high frequency dialing that made any subsequent silence that night less than golden.

It was a good night at the Necktie, a night of noise pollutant sweet enough to convince the most depressed individual that he should carry on at least one more night, long enough to at least enjoy some aggro-tinged thrash metal. Had it been an all-ages night, there would’ve been some fucked up children to deal with having gained sooooooo much newfound appreciation for the truth that their Disturbed records had been denying them for so long.

For clarity’s sake, the aforementioned foaming of the mouth just introductory masturbation, it should be known that Black Breath is a fucking monster of a band. Their new album, Heavy Breathing, won points from me simply because it was a relentless and aggressively paced piece of hell-spawned thrash that evoked the good ol’ days when Tipper was crying behind parental advice and Swaggart was shouting outrage against the metal years while scoring sinful strange on the sidelines. It lost points because I felt Black Breath was simply delivering the goods, fastening themselves to a sound that had been tried, true and dark enough to infuriate parents.

That assessment has taken a backseat.

As it was Black Breath’s openers, the progressively ambitious Hollenlarm and Philadelphia metal group Javelina, had set a fairly retro tone, one that I recall in local metal shows that I’d attended in my youth before hoodies and backpacks became scene-crucial staples.

Hollenlarm were the night’s most challenging listen: a band with ideas found in classic rock, 70s blues rock, thrash and black metal. More prone to art than fury, but not at the expense of intensity, Hollenlarm has a greatness to them that requires an attention span, which will be their burden to bear so long as they continue to expect more out of any audience.

Javelina, however, was a surefire crowd pleaser, a riff-heavy locomotive push the likes of Motörhead and they tore through their set in what felt like five minutes. They were fast, heavy and never dull, a real deal dressed up in local royalty. When one of Javelina’s vocalists, (three members were at the mic), mentioned Black Breath it was to modest acknowledgment.

“That’s it?” he asked, “Give ‘em more than that. They came all the way from ANT-ARC-TICKAAAAAAAAA!”

Introducing themselves, and hailing from Seattle, Black Breath’s lead singer, Neil McAdams, proved himself a threat seconds into their set. He has one of those hardcore voices that many of us fanboys wish we had and it’s not as if his stage presence required much movement or strenuous activity to keep people interested. Truth be known, it’s not as if the Necktie supplies ample stage room for vocalists to move around or be spastic and brutal. But, he does demand attention, and it only helped that the guys behind him were delivering loud, heavy and hard in a perfect exhibition of riffs and drum hits.

Songs like “I Am Beyond” truly spoke out loud, basically expressing the severity of what the band played in terms you couldn’t possibly translate on an album. “Children of the Horn” burned a hole in my face, and me with my stupid notebook meaning to take notes on everything I was witnessing, I had to drop it on the floor just so I could make devil horns with both my hands. It felt like an obligation. Even “Unholy Virgin,” a song I thought to be the weakest moment Heavy Breathing had to offer, made better sense as a live track. McAdams was nice enough to dedicate “Unholy Virgin” to the ladies before metal blues poured from the monitors.

McAdams didn’t say a whole lot between songs, but he didn’t have to. If I can say one thing about Black Breath, (as if I haven’t said enough already), it’s that the band’s obvious intention was to demonstrate why they were there and why they should be taken seriously. They didn’t hold back or refrain from any expenditure of energy for a fairly meager crowd out on a Wednesday night and it would’ve been real easy for them to say, “fuck it,” and give the crowd just enough.

When I spoke to McAdams after their set, he did mention that he was happy to be playing smaller gigs. It was difficult to carry a conversation with him in the club with my ears ringing and music playing overhead, but I thanked him for the show and couldn’t have been more outright with my admiration for his band.

On my way out, I also got to speak to drummer Jamie Byrum, basically repeating any praise I’d expressed to McAdams and telling him his band is always welcome in Philadelphia. We shook hands and I was on my way home.

Letters From A Tapehead

P.S. — Show flyer was lifted without permission. If the artist wishes me to take it down, just let me know.

What I Heard This Morning: Nachtmystium

Last week, psych-meets-black metal band Nachtmystium released their new album, Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II. The first single off the album, “No Funeral,” really didn’t do much for me, its pop metallic dance punk combo a real stretch, albeit a ballsy one. It’s like listening to Duran Duran loaded up on downers and Venom records, which, on paper, carries the potential for train wreck fascination. But, once the novelty wears off, there’s little else to fall in love with.

However, “Every Last Drop,” which is the album’s closing track, finds Nachtmystium wallowing in one of the more interesting and cavernous epic eight minutes worth of clanging reverb and spatial dismay I’ve heard in recent memory. It opens with throat singing, chants and drives like slow moving doom, acoustic strings and guitar solos layered collage-like, thickening the maelstrom.

Both tracks can be found at Stereogum.

Also, Nachtmystium leader Blake Judd’s other band Twilight released a fantastic album earlier this year entitled, Monument To Time End. A review can be found at Stereokiller.

Letters From A Tapehead

The Besnard Lakes: Albatross

So, I can and will say that one of my favorite releases to come out this year is The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night by The Besnard Lakes. I can and will also say that one of my favorite singles to come out this year is their impassioned and anthemic song, “Albatross,” which now has a video. Just a warning, since this is now the second time I’ve posted this song: I will do anything and everything I can to make sure this album is heard and appreciated, (if not loved), by all.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Shapes and Sizes

Candle To Your Eyes, the new album by Montreal quartet, Shapes and Sizes, has been one of the more pleasant surprises I’ve experienced this year. Their first single, “Tell Your Mum,” has some math, some pop and some Beet-like narratives spoken overtop the song’s otherwise disciplined and determined bridge.

Candle To Your Eyes will be out August 3rd via Asthmatic Kitty and it’s a very enjoyable album. A review will follow.

“Tell Your Mum”

Via press release from Terrorbird Media:

It's one of the first days of spring here in Montreal. The sun feels warm, and new green is imminent. There's a buzz all around on days like these. The winter was cold and long, but it makes the spring sweeter. Shapes and Sizes settled here three years ago. I say "settled" because prior to their arrival here they kept a rigorous touring schedule. Touring with The National, Yeasayer, opening shows for the Silver Jews, Sufjan Stevens; too many shows to get into specifics. So when they arrived in Montreal, there was a feeling of resolution, maybe even hibernation. They carried out their daily chores: one sold books, another records, one studied music and perception while delivering groceries at night, and another never kept her eyes too far from the road.

But all this while, the band was quietly tinkering. You see deep down, Shapes and Sizes never really settle. Each record starts where the previous left off, and forays into new territory. The first album, which initially caught the attention of Asthmatic Kitty's Sufjan Stevens, was really just a collection of crafted pop songs. The second was a glorious mess, jagged guitars matched with gentle banjo, as obnoxious as it was sensitive.

And the third? Well, it took long enough to drag out of them. After two years of writing songs, recording the album took another year. Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (A Silver Mt. Zion, Tim Hecker) recorded the album at the Hotel 2 Tango, and it was mixed at the Pines by David Bryant (Growing, Set Fire to Flames). Set-backs and indecision played their part, but the lengthy incubation period seems to suit the record: the songs are measured, paced. They are neither shouting in your face or wallowing in their own mood. Cohesive and reliable, this is the record where Shapes and Sizes becomes a band, not just a collection of songwriters. Some might talk about the album's flirtation with modern soul, its darkness, its reverberant space, or argue over whether or not it is a rock album. But for me, this kind of talk has no importance. At the core of this record is a self-assuredness, a calm, consistent fire. And just like the promise of this beautiful spring day, this record is a new beginning, new life.

Shapes and Sizes eponymous debut saw the band in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. With fresh, keen faces, this island town was a perfect place for the band to spread its roots. Shapes and Sizes quickly became entrenched in Victoria's music scene. With fortified optimism, they embarked on a nine week tour of the United States and Canada. A 1979 Dodge camper van provided travel and accommodation as they crept from one $100 show to another - the west coast, Texas, the Midwest. A pivotal show in New York followed by a breakfast meeting with Sufjan Stevens gave the band further reason for shiny-eyed enthusiasm. Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label released the debut album in the summer of 2006.

What made Victoria, B.C. an ideal place for the band's formative years soon proved constricting, so Shapes and Sizes packed their bags in favour of Vancouver's brighter lights. These were the fighting years. The band kept an ambitious touring schedule. They smelt it and they wanted it. It was here that they recorded their sophomore album.

Dissonance needs resolution, and for Shapes and Sizes that resolution is Montreal. They settled here three years ago. And while their lives are filled with the stuff of everyday life, their evolution hasn't slowed. The band's third record,
Candle To Your Eyes, is a set of strong, measured songs that are neither shouting in your face or wallowing in their own mood.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Black Mountain

Black Mountain’s new album, Wilderness Heart, is being released September 14th of this year. They’ve released the single, “Old Fangs,” (as opposed to Them Crooked Vultures’ “New Fang”), for download per your decision to submit them an email address.

The song is a very cool, very rock n’ roll merging of arena rock Boston style and the surf-drenched slacker tones of Fu Manchu. Anticipation level is pretty high for this one.

Via Jagjaguwar press release:

Black Mountain's third LP, Wilderness Heart, was built on the west coast of America, in part at London Bridge Studios in Seattle with producer Randall Dunn (Boris, Sunn O))), Kinski) and predominantly in Hollywood at Sunset Sound with producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Wolfmother, LCD Soundsystem).

Each studio's environs and producer had a great impact on what was recorded there - the LA sessions having a free and summery vibe and the ones in Seattle a chillier, more claustrophic feeling.

The new record is packed with succinct rock songs that pulse and pound with startling precision: it pummels you, you ask for more.
Wilderness Heart is arguably Black Mountain’s tightest, most concentrated outing, but there’s still plenty of raw rock energy at work. It’s their most metal and most folk oriented record so far. It’s a Black Mountain pop record, which is to say it's nothing like pop at all.

Tour dates:
6/23/10 Kamloops, BC - Pogue Mahone w/ Lord Beginner
6/24/10 Calgary, AB - Republik w/ Lord Beginner
6/25/10 Edmonton, AB - Starlite Room w/ Lord Beginner
6/26/10 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's w/ Lord Beginner
6/27/10 Regina, SK - The Exchange w/ Lord Beginner, Orbital Express
6/28/10 Winnipeg, MB - The Garrick Centre w/ Lord Beginner, Sleepy Sun
6/30/10 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon w/ David Vandervelde
7/01/10 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall w/ David Vandervelde
7/02/10 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick w/ David Vandervelde
7/03/10 London, ON - Call the Office w/ One Hundred Dollars
7/09/10 Hultsfred, Sweden - Hultsfred Festival
7/10/10 Brugge, Belgium - Cactus Festival
7/11/10 Balado, Kinross-Shire, Scotland - T In The Park Festival
7/13/10 London, UK - The Lexington (SOLD OUT)
7/14/10 London, UK - The Lexington (SOLD OUT)
7/16/10 Suffolk, UK - Latitude Festival
7/17/10 Dour, Belgium - Dour Festival
7/18/10 Ferropolis, Germany - Melt Festival
7/23/10 Toronto, ONT - Horseshoe Tavern w/ Quest for Fire
7/24/10 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom w/ Quest for Fire
7/26/10 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews w/ Mondo Drag
7/27/10 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room w/ The Dodos
7/28/10 Denver, CO - The Bluebird Theater w/ Spindrift
7/30/10 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge w/ Spindrift
7/31/10 Boise, ID - Neurolux w/ Spindrift
8/26/10 Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater w/ Lower Heaven
8/30/10 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory w/ The War on Drugs
9/04/10 Oxford, Academy 2
9/05/10 Birmingham, UK - Hare and Hounds
9/10/10 Isle Of Wight, Bestival (SOLD OUT)
9/11/10 Dorset, End Of The Road Festival
9/12/10 Leeds, TJs Woodhouse Club w/Ladyhawk
9/14/10 Glasgow, Oran Mor w/Ladyhawk
9/15/10 Manchester, Academy 3 w/Ladyhawk
9/16/10 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms w/Ladyhawk
9/17/10 Tilburg, Netherlands - Incubate Festival
9/18/10 Groningen, Netherlands - Take Root
10/07/10 London, Shepherds Bush Empire

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Carissa's Weird

The Hardly Art label is releasing a retrospective compilation of the underappreciated Carissa's Weird entitled, They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003. The compilation will be out July 13th with reissues of their albums, Ugly But Honest, Your Should Be At Home Here, and Songs About Leaving, slated to release this Fall.

A run of 7” singles featuring the songs “Die” b/w “Sharing A Hole” are being made available through a preorder offer with Hardly Art. “Sharing A Hole” is apparently exclusive to this release, having only ever appeared on a tour EP that was self-released. First 50 orders gets the 7” and, for those who care, it’s pink.

“Die” does get a bit epic at points, but the melodies and vocals are sort of amazing in their own way, emotionally quilted together and impossible to ignore. Not being too familiar with Carissa’s Weird, I’d take “Die” as an indication of quality, convincing enough that the compilation would be worth a moment or two to absorb.


Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

BXI? (Revisited)

From Earsplit PR:

Southern Lord proudly announces an incredible collaboration between label artists Boris and Ian Astbury of The Cult and The Doors! This finely-crafted four-song mini release, simply entitled BXI, was tracked and mixed in Tokyo in late April. Astbury's vocals are a perfect match for Boris's straightforward, laid-back, but still raw and imaginative songwriting constructed for the EP; another intriguing display within the band's ever-morphing, extensive résumé of releases, tours and collaborations.

To see official CD, LP and digital release this September via Southern Lord, BXI will showcase the already unclassifiable rock of Boris in an entirely new light, and shows a new side one of rock and roll's most notorious singers. The release features three new original tracks, as well as a cover of The Cult's song "Rain", ethereally vocalized by Boris guitarist Wata. Art and design for the release was commissioned to Stephen O'Malley (, SUNNO))), etc.).

Pitchfork briefly interrogated Boris drummer Atsuo about this collaboration this week. Check out this exclusive piece on the EP and find out how this collaboration came to light:

This past weekend, Ian Astbury made an unannounced appearance with Boris at the band's performance at Sydney, Australia's Vivid LIVE appearance, blowing fans away with this unexpected set which showcased some of the material from the
BXI EP as well as a cover of the classic "The End", by The Doors.

BXI EP Track Listing:
1. Teeth and Claws
2. We are the Witches
3. Rain
4. Magickal Child

As previously announced, Boris will rock North America once again this summer alongside Russian Circles for half of the tour and Red Sparrowes for the latter. The usual Boris lineup of Wata (guitar, vocals), Atsuo (drums, vocals) and Takeshi (bass, guitar, main vocals) will once again be joined by additional guitarist, companion Michio Kurihara, as on several previous live and studio ventures together.

BORIS North North American Summer Excursion 2010:
7/24/2010 The Casbah - San Diego, CA
7/25/2010 Plush - Tucson, AZ
7/27/2010 The Loft @ Palladium Ballroom - Dallas, TX w/ Russian Circles
7/28/2010 The Mohawk - Austin, TX w/ Russian Circles
7/30/2010 Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA w/ Russian Circles
7/31/2010 The Engine Room - Tallahassee, FL w/ Russian Circles
8/01/2010 The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA w/ Russian Circles
8/02/2010 Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC w/ Russian Circles
8/03/2010 930 Club - Washington DC w/ Russian Circles
8/04/2010 Starlight Ballroom - Philadelphia, PA w/ Russian Circles
8/07/2010 The Middle East - Cambridge, MA w/ Russian Circles, Cave In
8/08/2010 Le Tulipe - Montreal, QC w/ Russian Circles
8/09/2010 Lee's Place - Toronto, ON w/ Russian Circles
8/10/2010 Magic Stick - Detroit, MI w/ Russian Circles
8/11/2010 Southgate House - Newport, KY w/ Russian Circles
8/13/2010 Metro - Chicago, IL w/ Russian Circles
8/14/2010 Firebird - St. Louis, MO w/ Russian Circles
8/15/2010 Granada Theatre - Lawrence, KS w/ Russian Circles
8/16/2010 Marquis Theater - Denver, CO w/ Red Sparrowes
8/17/2010 *TBA - Salt Lake City, UT w/ Red Sparowes
8/19/2010 Republik - Calgary, AB w/ Red Sparowes
8/20/2010 The Starlite - Edmonton, AB w/ Red Sparowes
8/22/2010 Rickshaw Theater - Vancouver, BC w/ Red Sparowes
8/23/2010 Neumo's - Seattle, WA w/ Red Sparowes
8/24/2010 Hawthorne Theatre - Portland, OR w/ Red Sparowes
8/26/2010 Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA w/ Red Sparowes
8/27/2010 El Rey - Los Angeles, CA w/ Red Sparowes
8/28/2010 The Glass House - Pomona, CA w/ Red Sparowes
9/05/2010 Kutsher's Country Club - Monticello, NY @ ATP Fest - "Altar set" w/ SUNNO)))

Letters From A Tapehead

Levi’s Jeans: Covering asses and classics...

From Cornerstone PR:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 24, 2010) - The Levi's® brand continues in its tradition of bringing great jeans and great music together with today's launch of Levi's® Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings - a new and innovative campaign that champions musical artists who embody the pioneering spirit of the Levi's® brand. An original series of musical recordings by a diverse roster of talented musicians, Levi's® Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings features remakes of hits from past decades inspired by renowned artists. The first two songs in the series will be released this week - hip hop superstar, Nas, covering "Hey Young World" by hip hop trailblazer Slick Rick and folk rock duo, The Swell Season's rendition of the 70s disco hit, "Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton. Both songs will be available for free download, May 24th and May 27th respectively, at

Beginning today through the first of July, The
Levi's® Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings series features the release of two singles each week by an exciting score of bands that includes:

Nas - "Hey Young World" by Slick Rick
The Swell Season - "Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton
She & Him - "Fools Rush In" by Rick Nelson
The Dirty Projectors - "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" by Bob Dylan
Colbie Caillat - "Maria" by Blondie
The Shins - "Goodbye Girl" by Squeeze
Raphael Saadiq - "It's A Shame" by The Spinners
Bomba Estereo - "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotronic
Jason Mraz - "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum
John Legend and the Roots - "Our Generation" by Ernie Hines

Details regarding the remaining artists who are going to complete the current roster of releases will be announced in the weeks to come.

Now, I suffer greatly from the paranoia that our post-record label music will be controlled by the likes of corporate sponsorship, personal preference potentially playing a discriminatory role in terms of content. Not that I’m one for conspiracy theories, but sponsors are quite fickle when it comes to controversy and the potential loss of revenue that can sometimes follow if associated with controversy. That being said, I’m not so much a fan of music campaigns being funded by brand labels.

However, because performers like Nas and bands like The Swell Season, The Shins and The Dirty Projectors are taking part in this project, I figured it was interesting and relevant enough to post about it. Besides, at the very least, while Levi’s is not necessarily focusing on the most off-kilter of artists, they’re using artists with longevity when it would be easier to go the disposable route and find this week’s flavor to promote their compilation.

To find the latest performances go to . The contributions from She & Him, The Swell Season and Nas are available for download.

Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — Emma Ruth Rundle, Tropical Fuck Storm, Primitive Man, Private Life, Uniform, Erika Wennerstrom, Djrum, Windhand

Starting August off with some new singles. Emma Ruth Rundle:  " Darkhorse " (via Rarely Unable /  Sargent House  / YouTub...