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Showing posts from February, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron: Me And The Devil

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American poet, Gil Scott-Heron , released his first album in 16 years this week entitled, I’m New Here . In the wake of Johnny Cash ’s American series, where cover songs ran prevalent and Cash communicated his mortality through performance, Heron’s album is apparently as rendition-heavy and prone to the same introspective tone. Robert Johnson ’s “Me And The Devil” is treated as modern-day hip hop soul in a voice both worn and engaging, withdrawing authenticity from any popular pseudo-soul crooner. With as much R&B as you hear these days, it’s tragic that none of it means anything. People like Heron are a dying breed, which makes this song even more poignant. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Fund The Arts and Promote The Overlooked: LOST ROCKERS

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Filmmaker, Paul Rachman , and writer, Steve Blush , the guys that brought American Hardcore to the masses, are working on a new documentary called, LOST ROCKERS . LOST ROCKERS basically exposes the unexposed, examining forgotten or overlooked musicians that, somehow, got lost in the “star-maker” shuffle. Rachman and Blush are in the process of making this film, four interviews with Gloria Jones , Jake Holmes , David Peel and Dr. Israel in the can, and they need outside support to fund the project. They need $15,000 by May 19th. You can find out more at Kickstarter.com . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #26: AFCGT & Nekrasov/Aderlating

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Some specialty vinyl... Siren Records , Doylestown, PA: AFCGT AFCGT (LP) White vinyl 12" & 7" Sup Pop Released 1.26.10 So far, AFCGT 's self-titled 12" is my favorite album of the year. For Valentine's Day, my wife treated me to a day at the record store. Lately, as we've all been tightening our belts and doing all we can to deal with the dismal economy, record shopping hasn't been that common an occurrence. When you get a rare opportunity you want to make it count, so I was overwhelmed at the store and I was very focused on stretching my dollars as much as I could. But, I saw AFCGT's album on the shelf. Granted, it would've been cool to get something new that I hadn't heard yet, but the only instance of certainty I experienced at the store was when I decided to pick this album up. So, it was meant to be. You have to love creation when it combines "simplistic" with "dynamic." The music itself has an a

No Ripcord: jj

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jj jj n° 3 Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours Released: 3.9.10 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Village Vanguard: February 23, 1935...

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The Village Vanguard is celebrating 75 years this week. As integral as this club was to jazz music in the early to mid-20th century, The Village Vanguard is also the venue for two of my favorite John Coltrane albums, The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings and Live at the Village Vanguard Again! . It's possible that I've gone on and on about the Vanguard recordings in the past, so I'll instead focus on the club. When CBGBs shut down in 2006, it was apparent that nothing in this big, dark, commercial world of ours was sacred. Art and commerce will always be at odds, needing each other in order to stay both stable and relevant, but ready to cancel each other out once the tides turn, the trends whither away, or people just stop caring. In 1977, it was about the music. In 2006, it was about the fucking rent. The Village Vanguard is still an active club, nurturing the newbies and keeping up with the vets. Max Gordon opened the club in 1935; a basement that,

What I Heard This Morning: Man/Miracle

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Man/Miracle 's The Shape Of Things is out today via Third Culture Records and features an interesting mix of Naked era Talking Heads and a refined and somewhat aurally considerate Minutemen . The grooves are thick and worldly, the songs quick and dynamic. A review for the album will be up within the next week or so. In the meantime, check out some songs: "Above The Salon "Hot Sprawl" 2.24 Bottom of the Hill SF, CA w/ Rogue Wave and Princeton (Noise Pop) 3.17 SXSW Austin, TX 3.18 Bay Area SXSW Takeover / Beauty Bar Austin, TX 3.24 Tin Can Ale House San Diego, CA 3.25 SLO Art Center San Luis Obispo, CA w/ Titus Andronicus Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Tunng: …And Then We Saw Land Trailer

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Earlier this month, I posted a single from Tunng 's upcoming release, ...And Then We Saw Land . A trailer for the album's release is available and features song snippets. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Listen? Listen? #2: Bowie folk, “Three Days,” and “Jackin’ For Beats...”

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This weekend’s picks are such... Sunday morning, Feb. 21: Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions The folk isn’t happening with my daughter just yet. Absence of percussion or any sort of available rhythm seems to bore and confuse her. And though this album of Portuguese David Bowie covers is something I enjoy, within five seconds of “Rebel Rebel” she was back with... Jane’s Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual Before everyone gets all “child protective services” on my ass, I own the copy with the censored cover and, thusly, my daughter’s first exposure to the first amendment will have been from Jane’s Addiction . Thank you, PMRC. It wouldn’t have bothered her anyway. She would’ve pointed at the three naked statues and said, “boobies.” It would’ve been very matter-of-fact, with little damage involved. “Stop” inspired my wife and I to dance around with her. “Been Caught Stealing,” with its barking beginnings had her going, “Doggies...ruff, ruff.” Once the dance part

Golden Triangle: Neon Noose

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Golden Triangle bassist, Alix Brown , molests a boa while looking very Nancy Sinatra during this video for their single, “Neon Noose.” Lo-fidelity girl rock seems to be the rage these days, ( Dum Dum Girls , Vivian Girls and The Splinters come to mind), but I like the mixture of 60s pop nostalgia and garage-driven new wave pounce. Vocally speaking, the harmonies are the draw. Their album, Double Jointer , will be out March 2nd through Hardly Art . Either watch the video... ...or, just listen to the track: ”Neon Noose” Golden Triangle to / from SXSW: 03.06.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Monster Island (record release party!) 03.09.10 - Columbus, OH - Cafe Bourbon Street 03.10.10 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone 03.11.10 - New Orleans, LA - Spellcaster Lodge 03.13.10 - Monterrey, Mexico - Festival Normal 03.15.10 - Houston, TX – Mango (SXSW) 03.22.10 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory 03.23.10 - Lawrence, KS - Replay 03.24.10 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen 03.25.10 - Cleveland, OH - Now T

What I Heard This Morning: Carta

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There are a million and one songs suitable for a rainy day. Here’s another one. Sort of an obscure band, (their drummer apparently plays with Howlin’ Rain ), Carta ’s “Building Bridges” is understated and minimal, though truly engaging. It eventually builds from mid-tempo gloom into a mild storm of percussion that some would call “rewarding” in a melancholy way. Their album, An Index of Birds , is out on Silber Records . ”Building Bridges” Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Daytrotter Sessions: No Age

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No Age recorded three tracks for Daytrotter, none of which have been properly released. The songs are available here . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

"Listen? Listen?" #1: Daughter's Picks Introduction

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Some may find this cute, and others stupid. Whatever... I think it's kind of cool. Lately, my daughter's grown somewhat of a fascination with my CD library, so much so that she's been routinely offering me CDs to play while asking, "Listen? Listen?" Understandably, as she picks at random, most of what I play holds her interest for 30 seconds before she's onto the next thing. As this is has been a constant for the last couple weeks, I'm going to list her picks for the week. Think of it as my Zappa / Moon "Valley Girl" collaboration series. Sunday morning, Feb. 14: Fu-Schnickens - Greatest Hits "La Schmooze" and "Ring The Alarm" amused her enough. She even danced a little bit, though, it was the jewel case that interested her most of all. I think the yellow cover caught her eye as she seemed to pick this one out twice in two weeks. Various Artists - No New York When she brought this to me I said, "Nah...

Shopping For Records #25: Iggy And The Stooges/Cave & The Seeds...

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Can you feel the reissue gods getting all seminal on your asses? Legacy/Columbia is releasing a Deluxe Edition of the very necessary Iggy and The Stooges classic, Raw Power . The release date is April 27th. From iggyandthestoogesmusic.com : — The long out-of-print original David Bowie mix of the album, newly-remastered for maximum impact! — Georgia Peaches, an 8-song, one-hour performance at Atlanta’s notorious rock club Richards in October 1973 — A full disc of Rarities, Outtakes, & Alternates from the Raw Power Era. — 48 page softcover book with essays by Henry Rollins, Brian J. Bowe and Kris Needs + testimonials by Tom Morello, Lou Reed, Cheetah Chrome, Jim Reid, Perry Farrell, Hugo Burnham and more. — A TON of previously unseen Raw Power-era shots. — 5 exquisite 5x7-inch prints, suitable for framing. — Japanese pic-sleeve 45 single repro: "Raw Power" b/w "Search And Destroy" — The Making of Raw Power documentary by Morgan Neville featurin

What I Heard This Morning: Sightings & Small Black

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Jagjaguwar and Brah Records are releasing City Of Straw , the seventh album by Brooklyn trio, Sightings . The first single from the album, “Tar And Pine,” is an avalanche of No Wave pulsation that marries Alan Vega creepy/cool with a hybridized byproduct that’s somewhere between Swans and Einstürzende Neubauten . Interestingly, Sightings is not a machined creation, just a trio of musicians set on bruising ears and scraping minds like headphone sandpaper. "Tar And Pine" Sightings will also be on a spring tour of North America: 4/16/10 Providence, RI ASS200 4/17/10 Boston, MA PA's Lounge 4/19/10 Montreal, QB Casa Del Popolo 4/20/10 Toronto, ON The Boat 4/21/10 Columbus, OH Skylab 4/23/10 Chicago, IL The Mopery 4/26/10 Seattle, WA SS Marie Antoinette 4/28/10 Portland, OR Artistry 4/29/10 Oakland, CA The Oasis 4/30/10 San Francisco, CA Hemlock Tavern 5/01/10 Sacremento, CA The Hub 5/02/10 Los Angeles, CA Syncspace 5/04/10 Denver, CO Rhinoceropolis 5/05/10

The Happy Hollows: Death To Vivek Kemp

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LA rock trio, The Happy Hollows , released their new album, Spells , in late January. “Death To Vivek Kemp” is enjoyably catchy and appropriately scuffed by indie rock guitar, marrying an Alterna-femme howl with post-hardcore change-ups. Nice bass rhythm, too. Upcoming Tour Dates: 2/18 Los Angeles, CA - The Smell 3/3 Washington, DC - Black Cat 3/4 Philadelphia, PA - The North Star 3/12 Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour 3/13 Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space 3/17 - 3/20 Austin, TX - SXSW Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Times New Viking: 2/11 Don't Forget... (Happy Birthday to My Little Girl)

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In recognition of Times New Viking 's album, Born Again Revisited , Matador Records posted the single, "2/11 Don't Forget." In recognition of my daughter's birthday, there couldn't be a more appropriate song to post as 2/11 is a date I'll never forget. "2/11 Don't Forget" Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #24: Southern Lord Vinyl Subscription & Black Cobra's "Chronomega"

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It's really happening. The music industry's mostly written them off, writers signaled the oncoming demise and now labels are accommodating the prediction. The compact disc is in the process of being tossed like a mini-frisbee from the "optional format" column. Vinyl, somehow, has regained its footing during the information age, which is certainly cause for celebration. With CDs though having been such a paramount presence in the music industry since the early to mid-80s, labels, especially independent ones, are trying to find ways to capitalize on the changing tide. Southern Lord is offering a subscription series . For one payment, you receive seven vinyl copies of popular, (relatively speaking), Southern Lord releases. Most of these exclusive releases will feature tracks unavailable on the digital versions and all will be 180 gram specialty vinyl with unique color and design. Black Cobra 's Chronomega , which came out around Fall of last year, is the fi

Lost Sounds: Memphis Is Dead

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Since it’s come to light that cocaine and alcohol led him to die too young, Jay Reatard ’s legacy does don an asterisk whose footnote reads, “Wasted talent.” Drugs, alcohol and their combination leading to an early demise is nothing new in rock n’ roll, but I do find it interesting that the most talented or noteworthy musicians to openly partake of this poison typically have the weakest constitutions. Nikki Sixx , on the other hand, can be clinically dead and come back to life like a rehab Messiah. Are rock stars just better at tolerating chemicals than musicians? Just a thought... Anyway, as I’ve been exploring Reatard’s back catalog to some extent, I found the 1+1=Nothing 7” via his ‘99 -’05 outlet, Lost Sounds . Way out-of-print, having been issued in 2000 by Empty Records , 1+1=Nothing is a synth-blackened noise album, its eerie title track something that caught my ear as I was surfing the ‘net one night in search of, coincidentally, nothing. “Memphis Is Dead” is on its

What I Heard This Morning: Tunng

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Tunng , a London-based band of electric folksters, are releasing their newest album, ...And Then We Saw Land , this April. “Don’t Look Down Or Back” is the first single off the album, and combines some choral energy with acoustic grace. Apparently, meeting the Malian band, Tinariwen , had a huge influence on Tunng and the album’s sound. This was nabbed from Stereogum : ”Don’t Look Down Or Back” Video for “Bullets” from 2007’s Good Arrows Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

The Year End Gathering: Stragglers Vol. 2

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Yeah, I know this is taking way too long to compile. After this round I’m going to do one more, but the BEST OF for 2009 is pretty irrelevant at this point. Once again, bit off more than I could chew. Bat For Lashes Two Suns Astralwerks Released: 4.7.09 Required or mandatory praise took shape in most of what I’d read about Two Suns by Bat For Lashes , a well-produced piano dirge with all the necessary fixins’ to convey its dark tonality and the harshed mellow of its “little girl lost.” The album is pretty and Ms. Lashes has a set of pipes that ensure said prettiness. “Moon And Moon” boasts the sort of lush textures I enjoy in Tori -esque balladry of this sort, “Siren Song” and “Good Love” drown in their respective and ethereal existence. The album’s single, “Daniel,” is basically a rehashed 80s pop track that softens the album’s intended impact. With this song, I envision Atreyu and Artax galloping across Fantasia, (I think I just dated myself), which basically taints

No Ripcord: VOICEsVOICEs

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VOICEsVOICEs Origins Manimal Vinyl Released: 1.26.10 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Nebula

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Jam heavy, spacey, Sabbath / King Crimson —drenched rock music? Nebula , featuring former- Fu Manchu singer, Eddie Glass , will be touring in early Spring and appearing at this year’s SXSW for the Tee Pee Records Showcase . Off the strength of 2009’s Heavy Psych , Nebula is also releasing a new split 7” with labelmates, and tour mates, Quest For Fire . I managed to nab their contribution from Brooklyn Vegan , a song called “The Perfect Rapture.” ”The Perfect Rapture” From Tee Pee press release: Nebula US Tour: 03/16/10 Channel/Meridian, Houston TX w/ Torche 03/18/10 Tee Pee Records SXSW Showcase @ Habana Calle 6 w/ Priestess, Iron Age and more! 03/19/10 SXSW TBA 03/20/10 SXSW TBA 03/21/10 SXSW TBA 03/22/10 Saturn Bar, New Orleans LA w/ ASG 03/23/10 Lenny's, Atlanta GA w/ Quest For Fire 03/24/10 Rocket Club, Asheville NC w/ Quest For Fire 03/25/10 V Club, Huntington WV w/ Quest For Fire 03/26/10 Johnny Brendas, Philadelphia PA w/ Quest For Fire 03/27/10 Pianos, Ne

What I Heard/Saw This Morning: Ariana Delawari...

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Singer Ariana Delawari released her album, Lion of Panjshir , last fall. David Lynch ’s DLF.TV , with the help of cultural guide, Flavorpill , created a promo for Delawari’s album, featuring Lynch’s trademark drapery and camerawork. Videos: Lynch’s promo for Lion of Panjshir Interview with Ariana Delawari Songs: "San Francisco" "Be Gone Taliban" Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Beatles-centric Entry # Whatever: Grammy Goes to LOVE Documentary...

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Much as I dislike the Grammys, it’s worth mentioning that All Together Now , a documentary about the making of the Cirque Du Soleil/Beatles show, LOVE , was awarded for “Best Long Form Music Video” ( Adrian Wills , director; Martin Bolduc and Jonathan Clyde , producers). The documentary also focuses on the efforts of George and Giles Martin to reconsider The Beatles’ music for the performance. 2006’s LOVE was the result which was awarded for both “Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Medium” and “Surround Sound Album.” Probably my most starstruck moment as a self-made music critic (“hack” more like it) occurred after I’d reviewed LOVE , as Giles Martin somehow found my write-up and commented . It’s the closest I’ll ever come to my heroes in suits. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Garcia Plays Kyuss...

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John Garcia , the former lead singer of desert rock band, (and Josh Homme springboard), Kyuss , will be touring as Garcia Plays Kyuss . The intent is to basically revive the Kyuss legacy while possibly allowing Garcia to reinstate his rep as one of the progenitors of our modern idea of “stoner” music, the searing heat and persistent meander a commonality amongst most bands of this sort. In 1994, as grunge was fizzling out and all its alterna-progeny were desperately clinging to their superstardom, a friend lent me his copy of Welcome To Sky Valley . Soon after, I bought my own. Around bedtime, I would throw on my headphones, hit PLAY and stare at the ceiling while I was being calmly annihilated by their swells of crunching guitars and muddy rhythms. And, without trying to sound cliché, Kyuss really could transport you to those isolating places in your head where you could call out “Hello” and hear it echo for miles. Welcome To Sky Valley always sounded to me like reds, yello

Daytrotter Sessions: Beach House

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Beach House performed some of the songs from their new album, Teen Dream , for Daytrotter on February 1st. If you're interested, the songs are available for download here . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: The Album Leaf...

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The new album by The Album Leaf , A Chorus of Storytellers , was released on February 2nd. Spinner.com is streaming the full album for the time being, (that time being a week), so give it a listen before you shell out your hard-earned. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead