Saturday, September 24, 2011

No Ripcord: Nirvana

Back in February, I posted a nod to Nirvana's Nevermind, being that 2011 makes its twentieth year as a very significant release in rock n' roll history and my own personal development as a music fan.  No Ripcord was in need of an article to mark the occasion, so a reedited version of the article has been submitted as a feature.

As a title, I appropriated the "it was twenty years ago today" line from The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I agree that it was probably the least original idea I could come up with and maybe even arrogant to take the standard of importance The Beatles still hold over popular music and apply them to a band like Nirvana.  But, in truth, for many of us, Nevermind was our Sgt. Pepper and our moment of triumph.  If generations continue to be recognized by their contributions to art, or represented by its celebrities or figureheads, then Nevermind will forever maintain a level of importance and a true summation of the world that inspired it.  With that in mind, whether you agree or not, today celebrates an awakening for many of us, a point at which plasticity and excess were exposed and authenticity became vital.  Granted, this lasted maybe a year, but it happened and it's all thanks to this little rock trio from Seattle. 

At the expense of The Replacements, The Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Big Black and The Pixies to name a few, Nevermind's success may have denied some genuine articles their collective day in the sun.  But, time and history have recognized the contributions of those that were on the road well before Nirvana, realizing through fact and documentation that Nevermind was the culmination of a need for change.  Saying that, the spoils and disillusionment led to an early demise for the band itself, but many of the movement's authors carried on and still do.  Consider this anniversary then the allowance of alternative culture to prosper in the hearts and ears of many more than may have were it not for Nevermind's window into the unknown: left of the dial where the music is of the utmost importance.

Nirvana
Nevermind
DGS
Released: 9.24.91




Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, John Coltrane

Going with Interstellar Space today to mark the occasion.



Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Giant Squid: Figura Serpentinata

Fans of Giant Squid's 2009 release, The Ichthyologist, will be happy to know that the band is putting out a 5-song EP dubbed, Cenotes, in late October via Translation Loss Records.

Revolver Magazine premiered Giant Squid's first single, "Figura Serpentinata," about a week ago.  The EP itself won't disappoint.


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Kicking Against The Pricks: 1991: The Year Punk Broke (20th Anniversary Edition)

I was very excited to finally score an opportunity to see 1991: The Year Punk Broke, which is now reissued on DVD in a 20th anniversary package.  This concert film featuring Sonic Youth and a still obscure Nirvana had been out of print for a long time.  

Check out issue #11 of Kicking Against The Pricks.

1991: The Year Punk Broke (20th Anniversary Edition)
Dave Markey
We Got Power Films
Originally Released: 1992
Reissued: 2011


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shopping For Records: Southern Lord Records and the Remainder of 2011

I just got a press release from Earsplit PR that details all of Southern Lord's recent and remaining output for the year.  Most notable on the list is Sunn O)))'s ØØ Void reissue, which has been out of print for almost a decade.  See below for details.



Southern Lord: Upcoming 2011 Releases


In their continued reign of bringing some of the most talented, underground bands on the heaviest end of the musical spectrum to the public, Southern Lord have just unveiled their upcoming schedule for the remainder of the year, including releases from NOOTHGRUSH, DEAD IN THE DIRT, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, BLACK COBRA, CRAFT, HEARTLESS and SUNN 0)))

This coming Tuesday, September 27th, prepare for a crushing live release from one of the sludge metal scene’s most underrated, unsung, and recently reformed acts; NOOTHGRUSH. Southern Lord will drop the notorious Bay Area act’s Live for Nothing CD, bearing an hour and 20 minutes of some of the most low-end sludge/doom known to man. The record hosts two live radio broadcasts from NOOTHGRUSH; the first from KZSU from 1996 and the other from KFJC in 1999. Both recordings are a precise document of the powerful group in their prime, the recordings were mastered by From Ashes Rise guitarist Brad Boatright. The label will then release the gatefold 2xLP vinyl edition of Live For Nothing on November 8th.

DEAD IN THE DIRT’s debut 7” Fear will be released will be released next week as well. The Atlanta-based band's unhinged style draws from the discordant heaviness His Hero is Gone, the urgency of Cursed, the speed of DropDead and the blackened darkness of Deathspell Omega. Fear, is literally one of the heaviest and most brutal recordings from a new act to come out in recent times, and will see a one-time pressing of 1500 copies via Southern Lord on September 27, 2011, and once it's sold out, it's dead. Catch DEAD IN THE DIRT still on their current tour through next week and watch for much more in the coming weeks. And find a full stream of DEAD IN THE DIRT's Fear EP via BrooklynVegan RIGHT HERE.
A record as dynamic as it is devastating, Invernal, the almighty fourth full-length from San Francisco’s BLACK COBRA, will finally bulldoze its way into the hands of North American fans on CD this October 11th, and on gatefold-jacketed LP to be released in the months ahead. Raging with whiplash-inducing time change-ups and wreaking more damage than lineups three times the size of this brutalizing duo, BLACK COBRA will be on the road with Kyuss Lives! in November and December and will be announcing countless more support and headlining tours through 2012, as always proving to remain one of the hardest-working bands on the scene.

Washington’s WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM recently set free their fourth full-length Celestial Lineage on CD September 13th, boasting some of the clan’s most majestic and mammoth black metal magic to date, and bringing their ongoing trilogy of albums to a brilliant finale. Celestial Lineage has been overtaking their fans and the media, bringing hundreds of fans to nearly every show of their ongoing North American tour. The new opus will be presented on 2xLP this October 25th. Following their currently ongoing North American tour, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM will embark on their European phase in support of Celestial Lineage.

On October 25th, Swedish horde CRAFT will once again threaten humanity with their gritty, orthodox style of blackened might via the official North American release of their newest full-length, Void. followed by a 12” vinyl pressing on November 8th. Void delivers a nine-track convoy of black hymns over forty nine-minutes, showcasing CRAFT integrating more black 'n roll vibes and slow-motion suicidal stomps, and ultimately spewing forth some of this hateful Scandinavian crew's swiftest and cruelest punishment to date.

Pittsburgh hardcore warriors HEARTLESS will make their Southern Lord debut this autumn, with the release of Hell Is Other People. HEARTLESS’ sound is exactly what their moniker implies; brutal, suffocating, and void of remorse. Bellowing with sinister, mayhem that diehards of metallic hardcore in the vein of Integrity, Cursed or Nails, rushing with crust/powerviolence intensity. Following a rash of 7” releases via an array of D.I.Y. labels over the past handful of years, the band’s debut full-length Hell Is Other People will see a North American compact disc release on November 8th, and on LP November at a later date to be announced shortly. Stay tuned for continuous updates on this unit into 2012.

Closing out the 2011 release schedule, Southern Lord will proudly reissue SUNN 0)))'s long out-of-print sophomore album ØØ Void, finally finding its proper resting place. Following the duo's Grimmrobe Demos debut, ØØ Void was initially released in 2000 via HydraHead in North America and Rise Above in Europe, with only a limited reissue via Daymare Records in Japan in 2008, making these hymns virtually out of print for some eight years. Not only featuring the core guitarists Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson, ØØ Void features bass by Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Goatsnake), as well as guest contributions from Petra Haden (QOTSA, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists) on violins and vocals, as well as Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool, Goatsnake, QOTSA) contributing vocals, and was recorded on 2" tape by Scott Reeder (The Obsessed, Kyuss, Goatsnake). This 2011 reissue features revamped artwork by Stephen Kasner and a layout by Stephen O'Malley. Now this highly sought-after catalog piece for worshippers of the pulverizing SUNN 0))) drone style will be available again via a proper Southern Lord reissue. The reissue of ØØ Void will hit North American streets on November 22nd via CD, with an LP pressing at a later date to be announced soon.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Warpaint: Rough Trade sessions videos

Warpaint's The Fool is going Deluxe next week, so the band recorded Rough Trade Sessions to mark the occasion.  The videos are worth your attention, especially "Composure."









Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

R.E.M. (1980-2011)

Thirty-one years is a good stretch for any band.  And while R.E.M. has had their slip-ups, their contribution to the underground, college and indie rock circuits are essential.  The band announced on their website today that R.E.M. is no more. 

"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." — R.E.M.  




Reviews:
R.E.M.Fables of the Reconstruction (25th Anniversary Edition)
R.E.M.Lifes Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary Edition)

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Soft Moon: Total Decay

Luis Vasquez's The Soft Moon is releasing a four-song EP titled, Total Decay.  The title track is streaming via Pitchfork and it's as spacy and ghostly as anyone familiar with their self-titled debut would expect.  The Soft Moon is easily one of my favorite discoveries of the year.

All info comes courtesy of Life Or Death PR.

THE SOFT MOON PREMIERES "TOTAL DECAY" VIA PITCHFORK

TOTAL DECAY
EP DUE HALLOWEEN ON CAPTURED TRACKS

FALL TOUR DATES WITH MOGWAI, JOHN MAUS AND MORE

Coming up on a year since their debut self-titled LP release, The Soft Moon presents
Total Decay. Luis Vasquez continues to conjure a sound fueled tempest that intoxicates with its own post-apocalyptic dust in this new EP, which will be released on Halloween, fittingly. What began as a side-project has quickly gathered a cult following that has culled a spotlight in its own right, no longer in a cloaked corner.

After two stirring 7 inches and a full album, it was apparent that Vasquez is digging his own niche, an intimate well-spoken whisper, carrying a heavy load of synths that creep and drums that command an uncontrollable pull from within. This intimate peak into another world, Vasquez's mind, has garnered a number of comparisons to some of the most iconic and influential bands of the post-punk and krautrock movement.

Live, the band takes on Justin Anastasi and Damon Way to help transform the listening experience cogently with an array of sound and light effects that translate the energy of the recordings.
Total Decay solidifies that The Soft Moon is on its own path, not to be compared. Just listen, hold the shadow of his hand on this journey into the darkness, as he whispers directions through the obstacles, to the light.

The Soft Moon: "Total Decay" -
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/12362-total-decay/

THE SOFT MOON TOUR DATES
09/10 Portland, OR - Rotture (Music Fest Northwest)
09/26 New York, NY - Webster Hall *
09/27 New York, NY - Webster Hall *
09/28 Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom *
09/29 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
10/1 Boston, MA - House of Blues *
10/2 Montreal, QC - Il Motore ^
10/30 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo (Part Time Punks) #
10/31 San Francisco, CA - The Independent (Halloween EP release show!) #

* = w/ Mogwai
^ = w/ John Maus
# = w/ Led Er Est




THE SOFT MOONTOTAL DECAY
(CAPTURED TRACKS)
Oct. 31, 2011


1. Repetition
2. Alive
3. Total Decay
4. Visions


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shopping For Records #56: Dinosaur Jr. is Reissued Vinyl(ly)... (Revisited)

It's worth mentioning again that Dinosaur Jr.'s Dinosaur, You're Living All Over Me and Bug will be getting reissued by Jagjaguwar in early October. News of their west coast Bug dates and links come courtesy of the good people at Jagjaguwar.

Dinosaur Jr.'s Vinyl Reissues Now Up for Pre-Order
Announcing West Coast Bug Tour
Dinosaur Jr. by Bob Bayne
Over the last 25+ years, Dinosaur Jr. has influenced a countless number of bands, both peers and protégés, by wailing their classic union of melodic bass, seething drums, virtuosic guitar shredding and listless vocal delivery through the iconic Marshall stacks.

Jagjaguwar is honored to reissue the band's first three albums on vinylDinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug, on October 4th, 2011. Originally released on the venerable Homestead and SST labels in the 1980’s, the reissues stay true to form and include the cardinal track lists.

The vinyl reissues are now available for pre-order. Click here to pre-order at SC Distribution. Dinosaur Jr. will do a short west coast tour performing Bug in its entirety with Henry Rollins interviewing the band prior to each performance. 

Dinosaur (1985)

 

Bug (1988)

BUG TOUR DATES:
12/12/11 Costa Mesa, CA: Segerstrom CFA w/Henry Rollins interviews, Pierced Arrows
12/13/11 Solana Beach, CA: Belly Up Tavern w/Henry Rollins interviews, Pierced Arrows

12/14/11 Los Angeles, CA: The Music Box w/Henry Rollins interviews

12/15/11 San Francisco, CA: The Fillmore w/Henry Rollins interviews

12/16/11 Portland, OR: Crystal Ballroom w/Henry Rollins interviews, Pierced Arrows

12/17/11 Seattle, WA: Showbox at the Market w/Henry Rollins interviews, Pierced Arrows

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Daytrotter: RYAT

Back in March, Philadelphia-based electronica duo, RYAT, released Avant Gold.  I liked the album and meant to write about it, but was unfortunately overwhelmed by countless other albums/demands/deadlines and the album consequently fell too far from relevance to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that RYAT, the combined energies of Christina Ryat and Tim Conley, have a Daytrotter session available.  "Not For This Lifetime" is marked as unreleased, though it appears in Avant Gold.  This version is notably different, however.  The other unreleased track, "Nose Art," is thick with reverb, sampling and deep low end.

Avant Gold is a worthy listen if you get the opportunity to hear it.  There's a good amount of live instrumentation incorporated into the more electronic aspects of the band's sound, which is adventuresome and deeper than what I've come to expect from most trance, techno or electronic music.

9.14.11: RYAT's Daytrotter set



Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: AIDS Wolf

I'd actually heard of AIDS Wolf before, knowing the Canadian No Wave-based, artcore troupe as students of Get In The Van and D.I.Y. ideology; as the creative force behind the art crew, Seripop and as the band that had their promotional photographs taken while they were naked.  (Can't find those, by the way.  Sorry).

Their fourth album, a double-LP titled Ma vie banale avant-garde, is being release October 4th by Lovepump United and will likely bleed more than a few sets of ears.

Don't believe me?  Check out this single, "Please Hold The Line."

  Aids Wolf "Please hold the line" by terroreyestv

Tour dates and links courtesy of the press release.

ALBUM LAUNCH: 10/7/11 - Montréal, ON @ Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal facebook rsvp

10/20/11 - Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio
10/21/11 - Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class facebook rsvp

10/22/11 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/23/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry last.fm rsvp

10/24/11 - Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s Oasis
10/25/11 - Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge

10/26/11 - Normal, OK @ Opolis
10/27/11 - Austin, TX @ 29th St. Ballroom / Spiderhouse

10/28/11 - Denton, TX @ Rubberglove facebook rsvp | last.fm rsvp
10/29/11 - tba
10/30/11 - Birmingham, AL @ Firehouse facebook rsvp

10/31/11 - Athens, GA @ Farm 255

11/3/11 - Miami, FL @ Churchill’s facebook rsvp

11/4/11 - Tampa, FL @ Crowbar last.fm rsvp

11/5/11 - Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub facebook rsvp

11/6/11 - Atlanta, GA @ 529
11/7/11 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight
11/8/11 - Harrisonburg, VA @ Festival Ballroom at JMU

11/10/11 - Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
11/11/11 - New York, NY @ 92Y Tribeca
11/12/11 - Binghamton, NY @ Pajama Kazama facebook rsvp

11/13/11 - Boston, MA @ Church of Boston facebook rsvp | last.fm rsvp


All October dates w/ Henry and Hazel Slaughter (feat. John Olson)
All November dates w/ Unicorn Hard-On
facebook rsvp for entire tour


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trash Talk: Awake

Good ol’ screaming-yelling variety, skate-laced hardcore! With the notable exception of OFF! and some of the various metal offshoots that Southern Lord’s been cranking out, there haven’t been many “punk” or “hardcore” bands I would grant a moment of attention. Trash Talk, though? An intense groove, a solid riff and an attitude you can take seriously.  Check out the video for "Awake."  Their EP of the same name is coming out October 11th.



All info below is courtesy of Life or Death PR & Management. The video is courtesy of the always in-tune Terroreyes TV.

TRASH TALK ANNOUNCES NEW 7" EP, AWAKE, DUE 10/11 ON TRUE PANTHER

WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR
"AWAKE" VIA PITCHFORK

PRE-ORDER AWAKE NOW



trashtalk
Trash Talk photo courtesy of Brick Stowell

Forwards ever, backwards never. In a perfect world, those four words would tell you everything you need to know about Sacramento thrash-punk juggernaut Trash Talk. But in a perfect world, these four furious scions of guitar-wrought destruction wouldn't exist. Lee, Garrett, Spencer and Sam are fueled by our ugly, and they give it back in spades. The Trash Talk live grind is a notorious thing -- an anarchic, energetic and often painful paean to otherwise oppressed angst that's unsurprisingly found footing all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe, to Australia and Japan. And in between that nearly ceaseless touring, the band's matched its on-the-road fervor with an impressive collection of recorded brutality, from 2009's "East of Eden" single featuring vocals from hardcore icon Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Off!), to last year's ragged full-length masterpiece
Eyes & Nines, to their recent split 7-inch with Wavves.

On this brand new 7-inch EP for True Panther Sounds, Trash Talk continue to bodily propel their sound down the gnarled, grime-swathed path they've hewn for themselves. The aptly named opener "Awake" careens through the gate in a hail of shred. "Slander" squeals, stacks, smashes and releases in one minute flat, while "Blind Evolution" seems epic at over two, progressing from rapid thrash to a grungy, halftime sludge. Then, in comes "Burn Alive," tailor-made to elicit air punches (be aware of your surroundings when you drop the needle), with its screeched out anti-wisdom: "The good die young, but the great survive." Finally, "Gimme Shelter" brings things to a punishing, pummeling close and it all happens so quickly, so feverishly that the listener's left beaten, bruised and ears bleeding with no real sense of what just happened. Which is, of course, how Trash Talk likes it. Forwards ever, backwards never.

The Awake EP is due 10/11/11 on True Panther Sounds and is available for pre-order immediately right here: http://www.truepanther.com/store/releases/awake

To celebrate the news of the release, the band is sharing the video for title track, "Awake," which you can watch right now here: http://youtu.be/DG5YJvcbEl4

 

TRASH TALK TOUR DATES

10/08 Portland, OR - Branx w/ Japanther
10/11 Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Music Hall 

awake 
TRASH TALK
AWAKE
(TRUE PANTHER SOUNDS)
OCT. 11, 2011

PRE-ORDER AWAKE:

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Dirty Projectors & Björk: “On and Ever Onward”

Last year, Björk and Dirty Projectors released a collaborative digital-only EP dubbed, Mount Wittenberg Orca, which is now being physically issued in late October. I happened upon “On and Ever Onward” through Terroeyes TV and enjoyed the track enough I figured it would be worth posting.



Domino is issuing the album and it’s available for preorder. 

  Dirty Projectors + Björk - On and Ever Onward by DominoRecordCo

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Buried In A Good Mixtape #6: A Night in the Record Room (9.12)

It's late: a school night for some; work night for others.  A little wired tonight despite zero caffeine since this morning, so I decided I'd spend some time locked in my record room making a mix tape.  It's been CD-Rs lately, so I'm going analog tonight, manual pauses and audio playback, winding tape by hand for cuts, the works.  No real concept, though.  Just stuff I want to hear.  Some of the songs I've chosen have been in mixes before, so maybe I'm not venturing far enough, but...  It's just what I'm in the mood to hear. 


Right now, I'm playing through the 9+ minutes of "Footprints" by Miles Davis, feeling relaxed for the time being.  I don't get to do this nearly as much as I probably should, allotting myself a minute or two to sit down, uninvolved in anything pressing, nary a deadline or obligation in hand.  For a few minutes, I can just breathe deeply and listen.  

How many of us get to do this now?  How many of you reading this listen to music in solitude?  I'm thankful for the time I have now, even if the responsible side of me realizes that sleep would be the more sensible option.   

Side A (so far):
Zach Hill — "The Primitives Talk" (Face Tat)
Flipper — "Love Canal" (Sex Bomb Baby! (Reissue))
Black Mountain — "Wucan" (In The Future)
Butthole Surfers — "The O-Men" (Locus Abortion Technician)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — "That's What Jazz Is To Me" (B-Sides And Rarities)
Bad Brains — "Attitude" (s/t)
Black Flag — "I've Got To Run (TV Party EP)
Buzzcocks — "Boredom" (Spiral Scratch EP)
Miles Davis — "Footprints" (Miles Smiles)
Talking Heads — "Mind" (Fear Of Music)
Wire — "Two People In A Room" (154)
Tom Waits — "Book Of Moses" (Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards)

Probably going to try and play it back tomorrow just to see how the tape sounds.  I was playing around a bit with the recording level, too, as the CDs and vinyl I used suffer varying definition. 

I'm not sure what I'll be doing for the B-side yet, but as it's now past midnight I think a pillow is in order.  It was good to hang out in a here a bit, though, and commune with my stereo.



Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11...

Momentarily putting aside the politics that have since torn us all apart on EVERY issue, Americans are all mourning the events of September 11th, events that have left an indelible impression in our hearts and minds no matter our race, class, religious affiliation or political position.  This has all been said before and it's been readdressed over and over again the type of citizens we were on September 12th, as in "unified."

I spent that day at work, hearing news updates as they happened, but trying to keep my mind off of it.  The second plane hit maybe two minutes after I began watching the news and the burst of flame that shot across the New York skyline from the south Tower's side has stayed with me.  I kept myself occupied until well after 5PM that day, driving home in a daze and then meeting up with a few friends at the neighborhood bar so we could sort of ponder what had happened and really consider the weight of America's attack.  I'd be lying if I said that the subsequent appropriation of 9/11 as a political tool didn't activate in me a rather bitter and cynical outlook and reaction to the event, but in its essence this is about people: The people who died, the people who've lost loved ones, the people that sacrificed themselves to save others and the people who stood up and did the best they could to help.  Anyone that's taken this event and twisted it into a reason to hate or exploited it so as to discriminate, harass, kill or promote some lucrative ideology to better suit one's philosophies (political, religious or otherwise) is no better than the tragedy's architects.  Hatred, for any reason, leads to destruction and I believe this to be the lesson of 9/11.

Yo-Yo Ma performed Bach's "Sarabande" during today's memorial ceremony and I find this piece of music much more fitting than anything Toby Keith or Darryl Worley had to contribute.  The only way we can work through chaos, is to find enough serenity to approach every problem with a clear head, observe the situation and try and work together to solve problems.  This is of course just my opinion. 

Ten years.  Unreal.



Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, September 10, 2011

1991: The Year Punk Broke (The Bank)

Dave Markey's long out-of-print concert documentary, 1991: The Year Punk Broke, is being reissued on DVD.  Sort of a grunge-era Woodstock, 1991: The Year Punk Broke features Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Babes In Toyland, Gumball and The Ramones during a two-week festival run just before alternative music peaked and breached the confines of the underground.

A trailer for the documentary was recently made available.



A review will (hopefully) be featured at Kicking Against The Pricks.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, September 09, 2011

Battles: My Machines (w/ Gary Numan)

 



Gloss Drop by Battles has been achieving a respectable level of press following the acclaim that 2007’s Mirrored received. My opinion being humble as ever, Gloss Drop is good, not great.  Saying that, “My Machines,” featuring Gary Numan, is one of my favorite tracks on the album and not just for its use of Numan to carry it out.  There’s a good amount of droning energy that I enjoy, the campy electro-keys that amplify the song’s persistence and, of course, John Stanier, himself as automatic and precise as any machine.

The video’s kind of stupid, (seriously, how difficult is it to walk on an escalator), but here it is.




Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Yuck: Cousin Corona


So, if you thought there was the slightest tinge of Pixies to Yuck’s self-titled LP, “Cousin Corona” is pure emulation. “Cousin Corona” is a B-side of the upcoming “deluxe edition” of Yuck’s recent release, which expands the album from twelve to sixteen tracks. You can hear “Cousin Corona” below.

  Cousin Corona by Yuck

Yuck’s album was reviewed by No Ripcord. You can find the review here.

All info comes courtesy of Force Field PR.

Yuck announces deluxe edition of debut LP with six bonus tracks, hear new track "Cousin Corona" now

STREAM: "Cousin Corona" -
http://soundcloud.com/yuck/cousin-corona/



Dear Barack Obama,

When we were writing the songs that would become the
Yuck album we were just writing songs rather than an album. We put the tracklisting together on a whim, and even on the day of mastering we were adding tracks and changing things around. Sometimes it's felt strange that songs like "Milkshake" and "Soothe Me" aren't on there. We like playing "Milkshake" live, and "The Base Of A Dream is Empty," that one's nice, and Jonny loves "Cousin Corona." Anyways, Fat Possum said we could make a double disk edition if we wanted, so now we have a double disk coming out. Thanks for Fat Possum and for the triple disk that is now coming out Oct. 11.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Blumberg and Yuck

***

Dear Barack Obama,

I love it. I think we are only putting out 2 CDs and not 3.

Yours,

Matthew Johnson
Fat Possum Records

YUCK
9/22: TT The Bears, Boston, MA
9/23: Popped Festival, Philadelphia, PA
9/24: Pop Montreal, Montreal, QC
9/25: Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON
9/27: Ninth Ward, Buffalo, NY
9/28: Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA
9/29: Magic Stick, Detroit, MI
9/30: Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
10/01: Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN
10/03: Double Door, Chicago, IL
10/04: Firebird, St. Louis, MO
10/05: Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
10/06: The Earl, Atlanta, GA
10/07: Crowbar, Tampa, FL
10/10: The Social, Orlando, FL
10/12: Black Cat, Washington DC
10/13: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY *
10/14: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY *
1/19 - 1/23 The Weezer Cruise Miami, FL - Cozumel, MX

* = w/ Gross Magic




Yuck
Yuck Deluxe Edition
(Fat Possum)
Street Date: Oct. 11, 2011

Track List:
1. Get Away
2. The Wall
3. Shook Down
4. Holing Out
5. Suicide Policeman
6. Georgia
7. Suck
8. Stutter
9. Operation
10. Sunday
11. Rose Gives A Lilly
12. Rubber


B-Sides:
1. The Base Of A Dream Is Empty
2. Milkshake
3. Coconut Bible
4. Cousin Corona
5. Doctors In My Bed
6. Soothe Me

YUCK LINKS:
Official site - http://yuckband.blogspot.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/yuckband
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/yuckband
Label - http://fatpossum.com/

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead 

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Body & Braveyoung: Song One

Experimental tormenters, The Body, toured earlier this year with drone band, Braveyoung.  A clip of their collaborative performance of "Song One," now the obviously titled opener to their upcoming new album, Nothing Passes, was sent along with information regarding the album and tour dates by Earsplit PR.




Nothing Passes will be released via At A Loss Recordings.



THE BODY & BRAVEYOUNG:
At A Loss Recordings Confirms Collaborative Album And Tour

At A Loss Recordings have confirmed an collaborative full-length release between Rhode Island's apocalyptic noise/doom duo THE BODY and North Carolina's orchestral/drone rock harbingers BRAVEYOUNG.


With both bands having already performed live together multiple times, including a mini-tour earlier this year where the members of both THE BODY and BRAVEYOUNG performed collaborative material live in several cities of the tour, the time came for the bands to unite their sonic crafts together on tape. After a collaborative recording session at Providence's Machines With Magnets (Battles, Daughters, Lightning Bolt, Chinese Stars) earlier this year, the end result has surfaced as Nothing Passes, a layered but cohesive voyage through cavernous, noise-laden tumult and chaos, ethereal horror-soundtrack creepouts and even serene acoustic passages, exploring new styles for both acts. The album also features vocal contributions from members of The Assembly Of Light Choir who have also previously collaborated live with THE BODY and BRAVEYOUNG, as well as a cover of Exuma's song, The Vision.


At A Loss will release
Nothing Passes worldwide on September 27th in CD and digital formats, with the vinyl pressing due early in 2012. View the cover art as well as THE BODY and BRAVEYOUNG performing the first song from the upcoming release, live at Machines With Magnets earlier this year, at this location.

Nothing Passes Track Listing:
1. Song One
2. Song Two
3. Nothing Passes
4. The Vision

In support of the upcoming release, THE BODY and BRAVEYOUNG are putting the final touches on a month-long tour across our nation. THE BODY kick things off in Brooklyn's Saint Vitus Bar on September 6th, en route to meet up with BRAVEYOUNG in Greensboro, North Carolina to begin their collaborative tour. THE BODY will take a night off from the tour on September 9th to take part in North Carolina's three-day Hopscotch Festival, where they will join Earth, Liturgy and Whatever Brains on stage at King's Barcade, with over 150 additional artists appearing at the massive event. From there the tour will continue clockwise through the South and Southwest, up the West Coast and then back through the Midwest and Southeast.


THE BODY/BRAVEYOUNG Tour:
9/06/2011 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY (*no Braveyoung)
9/08/2011 Legitimate Business - Greensboro, NC
9/09/2011 Kings Barcade - Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival [info] (*no Braveyoung)
9/10/2011 Farside - Tallahassee, FL
9/11/2011 The Firehouse - Birmingham, AL
9/12/2011 War Room - Baton Rouge, LA
9/13/2011 Downtown Music - Little Rock, AR
9/14/2011 Bryan Street Tavern - Dallas, TX
9/15/2011 Train Yard - Las Cruces, NM
9/16/2011 Shakedown Bar - San Diego, CA w/ Dead Ghosts
9/17/2011 The Smell - Los Angeles, CA w/ Street Buddy
9/18/2011 Vacation Vinyl - Los Angeles, CA
9/19/2011 105 Pioneer Street - Santa Cruz, CA
9/20/2011 Hemlock Tavern - San Francisco, CA
9/21/2011 Oakland Metro - Oakland, CA
9/22/2011 Big Tree - Arcata, CA
9/24/2011 Plan B - Portland, OR
9/25/2011 Comet Tavern - Seattle, WA
9/26/2011 Shredder - Boise, ID
9/28/2011 Blast-O-Mat - Denver, CO
9/29/2011 TBA - Kansas City, MO
9/30/2011 APOP - St. Louis, MO
10/01/2011 Little Hamilton - Nashville, TN
10/02/2011 The Get Down - Asheville, NC
10/03/2011 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
10/04/2011 TBA - Baltimore, MD
10/05/2011 TBA - New York, NY

Stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming collaborative album and tour as it all draws near in the coming weeks.

http://www.myspace.com/thevisionshallcometopass
http://www.facebook.com/pages/the-body/334047229514
http://www.braveyoung.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Braveyoung/130891160221
http://www.atalossrecordings.com
https://www.facebook.com/atalossrecordings

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Ital & Touch People






So, Daniel Martin-McCormick (Mi Ami) and Darren Keen (The Show Is The Rainbow), both of whom I've interviewed, are wrapped up in circuits, wires and plugs, generating electro-based side projects.

Martin-McCormick, even before he converted Mi Ami from avant-garde noise rock to an electronic translation, worked in this medium as Sex Worker, so Ital shouldn't be that much of a stretch, though Ital seems to be a more enhanced and involved project.  Martin-McCormick released a three-song Ital album earlier this year via his own Lovers Rock label, Culture Clubs.

Altered Zones
recently posted a live set, which isn't a bad listen, and a video of the track, "Only for Tonight (Dubout/Saviour's Love Megamix)."

   Ital - Live @ Shea Stadium by LiveatSheaStadium


ITAL - ONLY FOR TONIGHT (Dubout/Saviour's Love Megamix) from 100% Silk on Vimeo.

Reviews:
1). Mi Ami — Watersports
2). Mi Ami — Steal Your Face
3). Mi Ami — Dolphins

Interview:
Daniel Martin-McCormick


********

When I met Darren Keen, he was touring as The Show Is The Rainbow with Beep Beep, supporting his then-new LP, Wet Fist.  I got to see him perform his set, his self-assembled music played through a laptop while he sang, writhed and enthusiastically unsettled the venue's attendees.  His new project, Touch People, is fully described via PMA PR and you can check out his new single, "Depth Of Width (Part 1)."


DARREN KEEN AKA THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW DEBUTS NEW TOUCH PEOPLE PROJECT ON RCRDLBL TODAY

LP AND EP COMING IN OCTOBER VIA ILLEGAL ART

MP3 "DEPTH OF WIDTH PART 1" AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD


Touch People is the newest musical project from Lincoln, Nebraska's Darren Keen and the latest addition to the Illegal Art roster (Girl Talk, Junk Culture). Until recently most of Keen's efforts were focused on his project The Show Is The Rainbow, which has released four albums of underground eclecticism, mixing elements of rock, electronic, and hip-hop into a totally over-the-top spectacle. While the outlandish personality behind Touch People is the same, Keen has reinvented himself with a new sonic concept and name.

As Touch People, Keen records guitars, drums, bass, and keyboards, and then assembles his compositions via experimental/modern production that is both visceral and cerebral. The resulting sound bears resemblance to artists such as Steve Reich, Battles, Dan Deacon, and Tortoise. With this digital-yet-human approach, Touch People poses the question: "Do people even want to be touched anymore?" As technology grows, Keen sees a disheartening trend, where people "stay connected" without connecting at all.

Dive in and sample the goods with "Depth Of Width (Part 1)", one of several tracks that make up the A side of Touch People's forthcoming sophomore LP
Show Me Your Dimensions. This song kicks off the record, blending rhythmic layers of bells and quasi-solfege style vocals, introducing the melody that will later become the biggest synth bass drop on the album (Part 3).

LISTEN / DOWNLOAD "Depth Of Width Part 1" by Touch People on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/pma/depth-of-width-part-1-touch


Illegal Art will release not one but two new recordings from Touch People on October 25th.
Show Me Your Dimensions will be issued as a limited edition vinyl LP and represents the full Touch People experience as two compositions are spread over a series of tracks (one composition on each side) that iterate intense variations on melodic and song-based themes. In contrast, Sound Expression is being released on CD-EP and represents a slightly more hook-laden and vocal approach to the Touch People sound.

Keen recently married and in May 2011 embarked on his "Honeymoon Tour" with his wife as his touring manager. The tour will last 10-14 months and already has legs scheduled in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (where Keen will release some singles on the legendary Flying Nun records). Having sold their home, the newlyweds are touring around the world for each of his currently active projects (Touch People, The Show Is The Rainbow, and Bad Speler), and with all three one-man bands also releasing new material this year Darren Keen could easily be the hardest working musician alive.


CONNECT:
Touch People: http://www.facebook.com/pages/touch-people/129288513764265

Illegal Art: http://www.illegal-art.net


Review:
The Show Is The Rainbow — Wet Fist

Interview
:
Darren Keen (The Show Is The Rainbow)


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Empty Space Orchestra’s Rocking & Elsewhere…

Empty Space Orchestra
s/t
Empty Space Music
Released: 5.10.11

Dark Matters EP
Empty Space Music
Released: 8.23.11

Buzzwords and preconceived notions abound when it comes to lazily coined “prog” rock, though Oregon raised rock quintet, Empty Space Orchestra, is falling under the “post” designation. One such buzzword is “pretension.” Another might be “snobbery.” Easy enough considering the genre’s rep, its head having historically run so far up its own ass that it ultimately led to the breakdown of a creative and accomplished musical height, rock & roll’s only chance at survival the regeneration of its balls, eyes and teeth. Bare essentials became en vogue. Thank you, Ramones.

It was both necessary and unfortunate that PROG-gressive music failed to connect with later generations intent on being either alienating or angry, but the musical ideas of King Crimson, Rush, Yes and even (Aja’s a great fucking album, so eat me!) Steely Dan to some extent began to seep into the output of those bands that once decried prog’s “rock-as-academia” approach. Even if CBGBs and Sid Vicious had depleted the music’s credibility, Television and Public Image Ltd. could both be seen as looser variations of the progressive model. Even hardcore began to complicate itself musically, alienating its already alienated loyalists from the familiarity of simplistic noise and violence and from the relative comfort of their familial asylum, happily unattached from the monotony and sanitization of real life.

Without tracing its origins or following its course over the last 40 years, prog rock seemed to experience somewhat of a reawakening once The Mars Volta came to be, which has been both refreshing and somewhat disheartening. As much as the music impressively winds and twists, shifts and shapes, TMV is also guilty of the very same self-importance that drove fans away from the arenas years ago. In 2002, TMV’s Tremulant EP announced progressive endeavors while The White StripesWhite Blood Cells found re-release on V2 Records, rekindling two sides of interest you can trace back to 1969 with The Stooges and Yes, both of whom released self-titled albums that more or less introduced a new decade’s increased lack of interest in jam bands, folk and psychedelia.


As sophistication seems consistently at odds with blues-informed garage, generationally speaking, Empty Space Orchestra combine both, taking riff rock and time signatures and coming up with the least condescending form of progression. The tunes are impressive, but not at the expense of energy. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your hard-on for recycled variations of Tales From Topographic Oceans, this ain’t it. Roxy & Elsewhere, though? Maybe. Feels So Good? Sure. At least, I heard some of both in “Brainjar,” the first song from the self-titled LP. Brass powered and off-kilter, saxophonist Graham Jacobs and guitarist Shane Thomas layer their instruments like multi-tracked vocals, harmonizing lengthily atop a jazzy rhythm section. Already, the value of drummer Lindsey Elias is more than understood, her technique and power a draw for most of what ESO has to offer. The song transitions into desert rock midway, bringing some stoner-laced Kyuss sensibility to it, suggesting not only a strong attention to detail, but also a cosmic and chemically influenced consciousness. You can hear this also in the rather theatrical “Intergalactic Space Cruiser,” which has a campy tone to it. The band toys with wisps of Hawkwind sci-fi (“Exit Strategy”), experiments with overt post-rock (“El Viento”) and expanse (“Tiger Puss”). Albert Ayler meets Zappa for “Get Some,” a honking sax leading into Hammond-backed rock music which then stretches into a gorgeous solo section. Stoner blues jam “Tennessee Red” almost acts precursor to the haunting piano piece, “The Hangar,” (band member Keith O’Dell at the forefront for both lap steel and keys), a strange contrast of styles opening the album’s grand closer, “Clouds.” You can hear the ghostly sensitivity of post-rock mainstays Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai and the layered key and brass experiments Menomena typically dish out, combined of course with ESO’s want of riffs and rhythmic shifts.



Empty Space Orchestra from TERROREYES.TV on Vimeo.

Dark Matters is a two-song EP that ESO put out as a free download. Beginning with “New Breed Of Skank,” muddy bass notes from bassist Patrick Pearsall tread the declarative statements of Jacobs’ saxophone and Thomas’ chords. Dub Trio pursuits of rhythm and dub-informed constructs offer the piece a ton of momentum as ESO work with unifying variance of tone and speed into one fully formed musical idea. While I won’t say “New Breed Of Skank” outdoes a good amount of the LP, Dark Matters has a more rugged and loose approach that, next to the more refined “Brainjar” or “Exit Strategy,” brings a more “live” sound to the music. It’s as if Dark Matters had been recorded in a hall as opposed to a studio and the notion that this EP might possibly provide a closer translation of the band from the perspective of live performance makes ESO all the more authentic. The album’s 9-something minute “Sad Panda,” (which is apparently a reconsidered version of a song from the band’s Big Bang album, “Pandiamon”) generates that sort of endless quality of sound with its bass line cutting deep into infinity as instruments drift and wallow. They also conjure enough drone to maybe acknowledge SunnO))) as an influence even if, at their most exploratory, ESO eventually come back to the riffs, grinding to a percussive and colossal halt and making you wish you were there to see this all come to fruition in a live setting.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Hardcore Ben Franklin...

Amorphia Apparel: Monsters of Grok: These t-shirts treat scientists like rock stars and some of the treatments are pretty inspired.


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Notes from the Record Room: Bring on the Kill Taker

I was in Ocean City, New Jersey with a friend, sitting outside on a deck with a boombox resting between us. It was 1993. On this particu...