Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lodger "Kicking Sand" NPR Song Of The Day

Currently on a mini tour of the US, British guitar-popsters The Lodger catch NPR's attention.

Pop-Rock Bliss, Familiar and Timeless
'Kicking Sand' by The Lodger
The U.K. band The Lodger makes the most of its basic ingredients. Thursday's Pick Online article

Song: "Kicking Sand"
Artist: The Lodger

CD: Grown-Ups
Genre: Rock, October 25, 2007 · London and Manchester may have the vaunted musical history, but Leeds has become a major hotspot for all things Britpop, thanks to the success of bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and the local Dance to the Radio label. The latter has been responsible for supporting bands through its popular compilation CD series, which is where The Lodger made its official debut in 2005.
"You say we're in the same boat / I'm not in yours / I couldn't care less about your life," singer-guitarist Ben Siddall sings in the biting refrain to "Kicking Sand." A slab of unadulterated pop-rock bliss, the song takes familiar ingredients (memorable guitar hooks, a thumping bass line) and gives them an air of timelessness: Siddall's sweet voice even calls to mind Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits. "Kicking Sand" begs to be played to excess — and stands up to the repetition.

Remaining US tour & UK dates:
11/02 Durham, NC @ Duke Coffeehouse (Troika Festival)
11/03 Athens, GA @ Flicker Theater
11/01 Richmond, VA. @ The Camel
11/01 Leeds, UK @ The Cockpit
12/14 Leeds, UK @ 2007 @ The Library

Friday, October 26, 2007

AHAAH and Beirut in the NY Times

Published: October 21, 2007
SURE, the half-naked acrobat suspended by her ankles from the ceiling was remarkable. So was the battered tuba wrapped in red Christmas lights, played by a musician in a black cocktail dress.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Vampire Weekend sometimes draws on African sounds.

Billy Tompkins/Retna
Beirut shows the influences of Balkan brass bands.
Yet the most striking thing about DeVotchKa's circuslike show at the Spiegeltent at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan in August was the music, a quilt of sounds from the international section of the iTunes store. One could hear mariachi ballads, polkas, horas and Gypsy tunes played on accordion, bouzouki, violins. But those sounds informed songs that also echoed the rhythmic bluster and vocal drama of 1980s alternative-rock acts like the Smiths and Talking Heads. The band's cross-cultural recipe was made explicit when the young crowd began sloshing its beers to a bouncy, Balkanized version of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs."

On any given night in an American rock club you can hear bands like Gogol Bordello, Man Man, Beirut and Balkan Beat Box playing odd-metered songs drawing on the rhythms of Eastern European Gypsy music. You might encounter Antibalas or Vampire Weekend riffing on African sounds, Dengue Fever making psychedelic Cambodian pop or a D.J. like Diplo spinning Brazilian funk. On the recent "Kala," a contender for the year's most exciting pop album, the British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A., who works from Brooklyn, draws on Indian, African and West Indian sounds. The folk-rocker Devendra Banhart creates fusions with Mexican and Brazilian musicians on his recent CD, "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon." And the veteran musical adventurer Bjork toured this year with a West African percussion troupe and Chinese pipa virtuoso.

Increasingly the back-to-basics movement that has characterized cutting-edge rock this century, from the blues-based hard rock of the White Stripes to the new wave-postpunk revivalism of Interpol, is giving way to music that looks further afield for its influences. And one result is a clutch of acts, many of them from New York, that are internationalizing rock's Anglo-American vernacular.

This is not the first time. Artists like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, the Clash and Talking Heads drew polyglot styles into their mix back in the 1980s, often with politics in tow. (Mr. Simon and Mr. Gabriel were exploring African pop during the Apartheid era.) But the impulse has been largely missing from rock's bag of tricks for a while. And in the case of Beirut and Vampire Weekend, it is producing some of the year's most buzzed-about new music — music that often feels less studied and less overtly political than that of these groups' fusion-minded forebears.

Why now? Partly it seems the natural cycle of genres; every back-to-basics art movement dead-ends and requires an infusion of new ideas. And certainly the Internet has made even the most obscure global music easily available.

"Access is key," said Bill Bragin, director of the Manhattan club Joe's Pub, which books a large number of international acts. "A blogger or someone says: 'Check out this cool record by Konono No. 1. It's really bizarre, super loud Congolese thumb piano music.' And suddenly all these people are checking them. Also, bands like Antibalas and Balkan Beat Box and Gogol Bordello and Beirut are very good about positioning themselves in the context of youth culture. They're not pigeonholed as speaking only to the age-30-to-50 world-music crowd."

You might guess that current global politics have also had a role in spurring the trend. And they have, though not always explicitly. M.I.A. and Bjork both address politics directly on their recent albums. Gogol Bordello and Antibalas, two of melting-pot New York's fusion-minded veterans, also make politically charged music. Fronted by the Kiev-born Eugene Hutz, Gogol Bordello mixes Slavic and Balkan music with punk rock and plenty of other styles, peppered with lyrics addressing the immigrant experience and "cultural revolution." Antibalas has revived and advanced Afrobeat, the Africanized funk fusion pioneered by the Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti, from whom they have also adopted a strong anti-authoritarian demeanor. Both bands have addictively kinetic new records and are beginning to attract wider attention. (Mr. Hutz recently performed with Madonna at the Live Earth festival, and he and his band have contributed to her forthcoming short film, "Filth and Wisdom.")

But a new wave of bands is using ethnic styles in less pointed ways. One of last year's more left-field Internet success stories was the debut by Beirut, a project initiated by Zach Condon, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter who began a love affair with the Balkan brass-band tradition while exploring electronic music at his parents' home in Albuquerque. Mr. Condon played almost everything on that album, "Gulag Orkestar," and its arrangements for trumpet, accordion, ukulele, mandolin, violin and percussion conjure the image of a street-corner Gypsy band somewhere in postwar Europe. For the new Beirut record, "The Flying Club Cup," released this month on the tiny Ba Da Bing label, he employs a full band to play his Eurail rock, which continues to roam.

"I'm going for a style that's really outdated: 1940s French chanson," Mr. Condon said over Korean barbecue and beer at a restaurant in his neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "I'm really obsessed with Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour and early Serge Gainsbourg." Mr. Condon, waifish and blue-eyed, was dressed in an old T-shirt with a bedhead hairdo, and it was easy to imagine him ministering to swooning jeunesse back in the day. Yet his dramatic, warbly vocal style also conjures '80s rock crooners like Morrissey and the Cure's Robert Smith.

While Mr. Condon, whose ethnic heritage is primarily Irish-English, has been spending time in Paris of late, he admits his approach to international styles is more instinctive than studied. Nick Urata, lead singer of the Denver band DeVotchKa, operates similarly. Speaking from a tour stop in Germany, he noted that while some of his band mates were schooled in Eastern European music, he was not, and in any case stylistic accuracy was not the point. "The 'authentic' Gypsy brass-band stuff is great, but it's better to leave it to the masters," he said. "We figured we were never going to nail it exactly, so why not just take it into our own realm?"

Vampire Weekend, which came together while its members were students at Columbia and has a debut CD slated for January on the independent label XL, makes its music in the same spirit. It's noted for using African-flavored rhythms and guitar phrases in its upbeat pop-rock, notably on its signature "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" (, whose title refers in part to a Congolese style. But rather than replicating an "authentic" sound (the song isn't, in fact, kwassa kwassa), the band is more interested in collage, understandable for a young group weaned on the cut-and-paste aesthetic of hip-hop.

"I was always a big rap fan," said Ezra Koenig, 23, the group's singer and guitarist. "I'd go to that Web site to find the sample source for a song, and I was always excited when the music came from some weird place."

Mr. Koenig also noted his affection for older rock acts that experimented with reggae and/or world music. Records like "Remain in Light" by Talking Heads and "Sandinista!" by the Clash were cited as touchstones by nearly all the artists interviewed. Which makes sense: Just as those bands were reacting to punk rock's creative cul-de-sac in the 1970s and '80s, many of the current bands are reacting to a modern retro-rock trend that has grown stale. "That was definitely something we didn't want to do," Mr. Koenig said. "And one way to do something new was to look at different sources."

Some groups have gone to greater lengths to tap these sources. Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff, who played together in the indie-rock band Golden in the late 1990s, formed Extra Golden with local musicians in Kenya, where Mr. Eagleson was working on a doctoral dissertation in ethnomusicology. Their experience has been more challenging than that of many of their peers. For instance there was the time Nairobi police showed up at a party at Mr. Eagleson's apartment and discovered an uninvited guest had some marijuana cigarettes, an incident that cost the band roughly $10,000 to keep the members out of jail.

Then there was the problem of getting the band's Kenyan members, some of whom lacked passports, to the United States for a debut tour last year. The process took months and was not complete until an 11th-hour intervention by staff members for Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, who were assisting promoters of the Chicago World Music Festival, where the group was scheduled to play. By way of a thank-you, one of the standouts on the group's spirited new album, "Hera Ma Nono" — a fluid mix of American rock, New Orleans funk and the guitar-based Kenyan benga style on the indie-rock label Thrill Jockey — is a traditional-style African praise song titled "Obama."

American pop musicians adopting styles of other nations have often been accused of cultural colonialism or dismissed as dilettantes. In the Web magazine PopMatters ( ), one critic wondered if Beirut's music is simply "a tourist's picture postcard" that devalues its cultural source material. Vampire Weekend, perhaps hoping to pre-empt criticism, cheekily calls its music "Upper West Side Soweto." But neither group is pretending to be anything but what it is: an indie-rock band with diverse musical appetites.

Yet in an age when an Anglo-Sri Lankan pop act like M.I.A. raps over samples of Brazilian dance music that reshapes American electro-funk, ideas of authenticity and cultural ownership are slippery. And there is something encouraging in the way younger acts like Beirut and Vampire Weekend can draw on world music styles without needing to turn the act into a political statement, an imperative that doesn't always serve the art in question. It's also worth noting, as Mr. Bragin points out, that musicians outside the Anglo-American axis of indie rock, like Nação Zumbi and DJ Dolores from Brazil, are busy making cutting-edge fusions. "There's a lot more dialogue lately," he said.

A result, in some cases, is a new breed of fusion that keeps its politics implicit and exists in a nether region between genres. That's a place Jeremy Barnes is happy to be. A former member of the influential '90s indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel (which he notes was strongly influenced by Bulgarian traditional music) and briefly a participant in Beirut, Mr. Barnes now lives in Hungary, where he records neo-traditional music with local musicians and his collaborator, Heather Trost, under the name a Hawk and a Hacksaw.

"Aesthetically I love indie rock," he said by cellphone from Tura, a small town where he was collaborating with the cymbalon player Unger Balazs. "And I find the world-music industry nauseating. There's a lot of bad recordings and bad artwork. But when people define us in either of those categories, I cringe."

"We love Hungarian music and think it's beautiful, so how can we ignore it?" he added. "You can't lie to yourself."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Octopus Project Gets Some 7.5 Love From Pitchfork.

The Octopus Project
Hello, Avalanche
[Peek-A-Boo; 2007]
Rating: 7.5
Online review

Even before the MySpace community voted them their favorite band to open up Coachella last year, the Octopus Project showed real potential to connect with today's increasingly tech-happy music listeners. Unlike, say, Radiohead or Wolf Parade, bands with a bleak, often anti-technological stance despite their significant use of machine textures, this Austin instrumental act creates music sounding completely at peace with Earth 2.0. No wonder they've enchanted MySpace, the blogosphere, and any other demographic that communicates online much more frequently than in person-- they're cyberspace's ultimate guilt-free party band.

The album that netted them this buzz was their second, 2005's One Ten Hundred Thousand Million, which harnessed several indie idioms en vogue at the time without sounding derivative or self-conscious. Their sophomore effort calculated the least common denominator between disco-punk, laptop pop, and Nintendocore. At the drop of a dime, a stoic new wave drum'n'bass dirge could slouch into a Bubble Bobble jam, the electronic mêlée no more threatening than a pixilated Mario brother. Since then, the Project has directed their attention to the nooks and crannies instead of rummaging through more genres, their expansion more vertical than horizontal.

Opener "Snow Tip Cap Mountain" gently lays the groundwork, building over soothing xylophone and theremin parts until the next track, "Truck", explodes with the tectonic-moving force of a Broken Social Scene anthem. While One relied on superhuman displays of instrumental expertise (a tactic these virtuosos were totally up for), Hello, Avalanche never requires the players to carry too heavy a load. As a result, we get intricate electro-fugues like "Black Blizzard/Red Umbrella" or "I Saw the Bright Shinies", tracks that require multiple listens to parse and fully appreciate. This musical matrix avoids sounding painted by number, however, thanks in large part to changeups like the acoustic-tinged "Upmann" or fractured faux-Frog Eyes piano ballad "Vanishing Lessons", just two examples of Hello's willingness to drastically depart from the Project's default sound.

At times, the euphoria swells so suddenly you can't help but feel let down when no vocals enter to articulate the moment. Eventually, even the band can't hold back. Soothing closer "Queen" finds them breaking their vow of silence, cooing a beeping laptop lullaby that tucks the album in to bed. Despite its calm nature, the song only titillates the listener further, showing flashes of what this modest instrumental group could become. Miraculously, the Project's somehow managed to remain loyal to their digitized style (and fanbase) while also subtly growing into a more multi-faceted unit, not at all reliant on simple 8-bit or post-punk tropes, but mind-numbingly fun nonetheless.

-Adam Moerder, October 25, 2007

Octopus Pro are on the last leg of their massive three+ month North American tour. There are still plenty of opportunities to catch the fantastic live show.

10/25 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
10/26 Chicago, IL @ The Abbey
10/27 Chicago, IL @ The Abbey
10/29 Minneapolis, MN @ The 7th Street Entry
10/30 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
10/31 Norman, OK @ Opolis
11/02 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
11/03 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
11/05 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
11/06 Vancouver, BC @ The Media Club
11/07 Portland, OR @ Holocene
11/08 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
11/09 Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door
11/10 Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theater
11/11 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
11/12 Tucson, AZ @ Plush
11/13 Phoenix, AZ @ Modified
11/14 Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
11/15 Lubbock, TX @ Jake's
11/16 Austin, TX @ Emo's

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Efterklang Press Roundup

Unfortunately the release of Efterklang's new album, Parades, has once again been moved. The new street date is November 13th. Despite the woes n' boos of delay the press continues to roll in - Pitchfork, Stylus, Uncut, Mojo, Drowned In Sound, just to name a few. Here are a few highlights:

Online Article

Video: Efterklang: "Mirador"
Man, there are a lot of animated videos coming out right now. Just in the last few days we've seen clips from José González, Holy Fuck, Chromeo, and Prefuse 73. Add to the list this clip from Denmark's Efterklang, for "Mirador", from their new album Parades. The song, widescreen and dramatic, featuring massed voices singing in unison along with horns and marching drums, is in line with previous offerings from the Danish collective. The video, directed by Hvass & Hannibal & UFEX, follows a half-human/half-bird character on assorted adventures. It looks a little like a design for a very cool and rather beautiful video game. I was getting Dig Dug flashbacks at the end there.

Stylus Review



The Leaf Label
A- Online Review The only thing that fits into a pigeonhole is a pigeon," my colleague told me last week. I'm not really sure what that means, but if it means that labels aren't always helpful in describing things such as music, then he was right. Efterklang are post-rock, so they say. The simple definition of post-rock, courtesy of Wikipedia and Simon Reynolds, is "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes." That definition works fine for Slint and Mogwai and Godspeed and the like, but "rock instrumentation" must surely include guitars, and there's barely a hint of guitar on Parades—well, there is a little acoustic at the end, but that might even be a banjo. (Rock was not built on the power of the banjo.) Besides, any guitars that are here are swamped by the more prominent use of about four hundred other instruments, various wind or stringed-objects, and just as many unidentifiable creations of robot, machine, or computer. Do violins and wind chimes and oboes and mechanical seagulls count as rock instrumentation? So let's leave labels aside just now and just focus on the music. Parades is an exquisite sounding record, with so much intricate sonic detail that it demands a good pair of headphones. Initially I wondered whether it might suffer from the same problem as Björk's Volta—being beautifully rich in sound, but lacking in things like melody. Luckily, it's a real grower and, after a while, the post-rock tag actually does make some kind of sense. Parades has the complex time-signatures and shifting movements of Slint; it has the genuine dynamic force of moving from really quiet to really loud, like Mogwai; it has the building melodrama of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It just doesn't have the guitars. Instead, listen to the voices in your headphones. Efterklang use the hushed lead vocals of Thomas Sjöberg or Linda Drejer Bonde, sometimes together, as well as all-male and all-female choruses, and the grand orchestration of Sigur Ros. Of all the memorable moments on the album—and it is an album of moments, rather than tunes—one of the most affecting is on "Blowing Lungs Like Bubbles." Over shuffling brushes, a morose accordion, and a quivering violin, a whispered lead vocal is balanced by an unbearably sad, gentle wail by another singer who seems to be on the verge of a breakdown. It doesn't last long, thankfully, because it's heartbreaking. Although Sjöberg and Bonde do appear to be singing in English, it's never clear enough to decipher the story behind each song. More often, the voices are used like another instrument, as in the intro to "Illuminant" where multiple choruses of aahing and yawning swell together into a massive, rumbling wave before giving way to quietly tinkling piano and the promise of another swell. Frequently I imagine these quiet periods are played by small animals, like mice, let loose over the piano top. Similarly, "Horseback Tenors" begins with little birds hopping all over the strings. Then the chorus joins in and the reclaimed string section builds into an epic mid-section, which becomes even more epic when the brass players awaken and a marching beat arrives, melding everything into a joyous, striding finale. Except it's not a finale because it fades and disintegrates and is parachuted back to earth by a foghorn bassline. This is what saves Parades from being a predictable journey where every rise and fall is anticipated. It really has to be played as a 49-minute album in full because the peaks and troughs are distributed across that timeline, not the timeline of each individual track. "Frida Found a Friend" peaks after three minutes of meandering, and then spends a minute and a half recovering from the shock. Quieter periods may last 20 seconds or four minutes, building momentum or easing tension, climaxing or not and then building again. For the actual finale, closer "Cutting Ice to Snow" starts with Sjöberg and a backing vocalist imitating whalesong so slowly that you have to remember to breathe before the album dies. It's rejuvenated by the high-end of a piano and that aforementioned banjo, which conspire to finish the album with a sense of contented resolution. Parades, both restrained and wildly dramatic, gently touching and warmly enveloping, is not a record that sits comfortably with convenient labels. Instead, let's just say that it's as compelling as a winding ride through an unexplored mountain range: with scenery of size, light and dark skies, and a map that no one can read.

Lost at
Efterklang Parades Leaf Rating: 9/10 Online review When I was a kid living in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, I loved escaping the mundane existence of suburbia by visiting the woods near my family's home. There I would fade into the mysteries of the trees, becoming an explorer and adventurer in a land far removed from the cul-de-sacs, backyard barbeques, and riding lawnmowers of the suburbs' blissful ignorance. There in the secluded, wooded oasis my friends and I would play our version of hide-and-seek, using the cover of the distortion created by the treed expanse to mask the location of our voices. That sound of reverberation, collections of echoes that build, linger, and then fade into the surroundings, has always fascinated me. Perhaps I favor the sound of reverb because it is a lot like life. On Parades, an album of echoes and haunting sounds that continue to linger well after the last note fades away, Efterklang has produced a sort of score for those secluded moments. Efterklang, whose name is, in fact, the Danish word for reverberation, sprang from Als, a small island off the coast of Denmark in the Baltic Sea, near the peninsular border with Germany. Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen, and Rasmus Stolberg all hail from Als, and were joined by Thomas Husmer and Rune Mølgaard to form Efterklang in 2000. Parades is the follow-up to Tripper, the group's debut LP of 2004, which was itself a captivating mix of electronic rhythms, layered vocals, and strings. There is, however, very little electronica within the confines of Parades, the exception being minimal background sounds and a few synthesized melodies, particularly on "Him Poe Poe." Parades is a more natural album than its predecessor, the band preferring to ply their trade with real instruments rather than electronic ones. A mélange of organic instrumentation floods the album, which is populated by brass, strings, piano, woodwinds, percussion, and a cast of others. Layers of echoing vocals add to the wall of sound. Listening to Parades is a true auditory experience, as there is a denseness and perpetual vastness to the eleven tracks. That trait no doubt owes itself to the fact that many of the tracks were recorded in large, reverb-inducing spaces: a church, bathroom, and an echo-chamber. The songs, including the standouts "Polygene," "Caravan," and "Illuminant," begin simply before stacking layers of instruments and voices towards crescendo. Like most great albums, Parades works more as a sum of its parts than it does as a collection of individual tracks, with the songs flowing past the listener like floats in a surreal parade. With their ability to make beautiful, otherworldly music out of sounds that one might not logically pair together, Efterklang have always reminded me of Sigur Rós. Their songs are engaging, well crafted, and evocative, and will be sure to inspire nights of passion, thought, and a higher realm of consciousness. Parades is a gorgeous and flowing album that feels both remarkably large and intimate in the same moment. It's kind of like my experiences as a kid in that wood of old - wonder and familiarity around every turn, a lovely little universe all my own to explore over and over again. Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan

More noteable press quotes....
"This is their Dark Side Of The Moon, their OK Computer; it's the album Björk wishes she'd conjured in her mind when realising Vespertine, full of mystery and long-term intrigue." 10/10, Mike Diver, Drowned In Sound

"Every so often an album comes along that's so original it's difficult to accurately liken it to anything else – even Efterklang's last album, Tripper, is left behind by Parades." 4/5, Mike Barnes, Mojo Nov 2007

"More organic than their 2004 debut, Parades is just as richly rewarding" 4/5, Stephen Troussé, Uncut, Nov 2007

"Parades is, quite simply, a masterpiece." 5/5, Bruno Lasnier, themilkfactory

"Not easy to pin down and all the better for it" Phil Harrison, Time Out

"An album to blow minds and warm hearts" Graham Lynch, Rock-a-Rolla, Sep/Oct 2007

"...warmth to spare" 3/5, John Aizlewood, Q, Nov 2007

"a beautiful record of lush, and endearing electronic/indie pop music" Cillian McDonnell, Totally Dublin/Cork

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All Flying Club Cup Videos Are Up.

The complete series of La Blogtheque videos filmed for each individual song of Beirut's The Flying Club Cup album are now posted on the band's website.

Upcoming European live dates:
11/06 Manchester, UK @ Club Academy
11/07 Glasgow, UK @ Arches
11/08 Leeds, UK @ Irish Centre
11/09 Cardiff, UK @ Point
11/10 London, UK @ Roundhouse
11/12 Paris, FR @ Olympia (Inrocks Festival)
11/13 Strasbourg, FR @ La Laiterie (Inrocks Festival)
11/14 Brussels, BEL @ Botanique
11/15 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/16 Lille, FR @ Grand Mix
11/18 Copenhagen, DNK @ Vega
11/19 Hamburg, DEU @ Fabrik
11/20 Koln, DEU @ Kulturkirche
11/21 Munchen, DEU @ Elserhalle
11/22 Schorndorf, DEU @ Manufaktur
11/24 Lyon, FR @ Ninkashi
11/25 Zurich, CH @ Mascotte

Wire Makes Pitchfork News.

Wire Announce New Read & Burn EP
If the much-loved genius-punks of Wire were thirty years ahead of their time at the time of 1977's unspeakably great Pink Flag, that would mean we're all just catching up with them now (I'm looking at you, every "post-punk" band out there today). And, as such, that makes a Wire EP in the '07 the sound of the 2030s. Care to gaze into the future? Nab Read & Burn 3 when it drops November 12 on the band's own Pinkflag imprint.

Read & Burn 03 is the first in their series of EPs since the second installment dropped in late 2002. And, unlike past Read & Burns, we're assured that this material isn't going to wind up on the next Wire LP (as was the case on 2003's Send). Didja hear that? There's gonna be another Wire album in the foreseeable future! Not to mention they've gotta do seven more EPs to justify having that 0 in there holding the place for double digits. Wooo 2037!

Read & Burn 03:

01 23 Years Too Late
02 Our Time
03 No Warning Given
04 Desert Driving

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tony Joe White Is Auctioning Off Some Swampy Collectibles.

The Swamp Fox has cleaned house and is auctioning off a bunch of stuff (also know as exclusive TJW memorabilia) on Ebay. This killer watercolor has already surpassed the ONEHUNDREDBONES mark. Place your bid while you still can. Auction

EBay Description:
This is the first item in the Tony Joe White auction series. TJW is moving studios, so in the process, he has decided to auction off some of the items he's uncovered in the process of moving. The set contains 12 original watercolors and sketches inspired by the Tony Joe White album 'Path of a Decent Groove.' This painting, perhaps the most striking piece in the collection, is a deep purple depiction of TJ's face embedded in the shadow of man holding an acoustic guitar. This painting was personally created for TJW while he was working on the cover art for the album. It is not framed, but is in perfect condition. The image can be seen clearly in the photograph above, so we do not have a return policy. We do ship internationally. Shipping within the United States will be $12; international shipping will be $20. Our only accepted payment method is PayPal. Please let us know if you have any questions and happy bidding!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beirut Gets Attention From The Mighty M - T -V!

Fresh off their US tour Beirut gets full treatment from today. For a full transcript of John Norris' interview with Zach Condon go here or just watch the below vid.

Upcoming Euro dates:
11/06 Manchester, UK @ Club Academy
11/07 Glasgow, UK @ Arches
11/08 Leeds, UK @ Irish Centre
11/09 Cardiff, UK @ Point
11/10 London, UK @ Roundhouse
11/12 Paris, FR @ Olympia (Inrocks Festival)
11/13 Strasbourg, FR @ La Laiterie (Inrocks Festival)
11/14 Brussels, BEL @ Botanique
11/15 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/16 Lille, FR @ Grand Mix
11/18 Copenhagen, DNK @ Vega
11/19 Hamburg, DEU @ Fabrik
11/20 Koln, DEU @ Kulturkirche
11/21 Munchen, DEU @ Elserhalle
11/22 Schorndorf, DEU @ Manufaktur
11/24 Lyon, FR @ Ninkashi
11/25 Zurich, CH @ Mascotte

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Sixth Installment Of The Revolver USA Podcast Is Ready For Your Listening Pleasure.

On the fourth installment of the Revolver USA Podcast you can hear up and coming tracks from such righteous artist as; Octopus Project, Beirut, Pylon, Angels Of Light, Wooden Shjips, Emily Jane White, Pygmy Lush, Lamps, Blue States, Port O'brien, Akron Family, and Torche.

It's super easy to subscribe.

Simply go to

And click on the Subscribe Button (You can also hear/view them from that page as well.)

Or cut and paste the following RSS feed into iTunes' Subscribe To Podcast box (or via another podcast aggregator) :

Our podcasts will appear on a weekly (or whenever we can get our act together) basis featuring the latest distributed by Revolver USA. They are enhanced podcats featuring album artwork and links to various sites.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Vashti Bunyan Compilation, Single & Shindig Footage

Check out Uncut Magazine's review of the upcoming Vashti Bunyan early recordings compilation. Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind will be released on double CD and deluxe gatefold sleeve double vinyl at the end of October. In advance of the compilation release DiCristina has reissued a limited pressing of Vashti's debut 7” single of 'Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind' / 'I Want To Be Alone' which was originally released on the Decca label. Both songs were written by rock alumni Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and feature the then session musicians Jimmy Page & John freakin-Mahavishnu-McLaughlin. Below are two great promo clips of Vashti Bunyan appearing on Shindig to promote the single. Good stuff.

More Beirut Vidoes Posted On Band's Site

As promised Beirut has posted more vidoes to coincide with The Flying Club Cup release. Only two more to go and the whole album will be complete. Flying Vids.

Beirut Receives 8.0 Review On Pitchfork.

The Flying Club Cup
[Ba Da Bing!; 2007]
Rating: 8.0

More than three minutes into the Lon Gisland EP's "Elephant Gun", the horns pause, and the song lingers on a few of Zach Condon's syrupy syllables before returning to Beirut's strongest melody. It's the sound of Condon and his band shedding its layers of self-packed cultural baggage. As Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy wrote earlier this year of Lon Gisland: "Condon has shown that, yes, there are songs behind the international flavors, that his work would be interesting even if he kept the trumpet at home."

Surprisingly, Condon's horn remains in Brooklyn for the bulk of his sophomore album, The Flying Club Cup. Condon himself returns to France-- the place where he was first exposed to the Balkan music that colored much of this debut, Gulag Orkestar. It's clearly a place he loves. "Once we got there, we kept trying to go to other places, but we didn't feel like traveling so much as being in Paris," he said when I interviewed him a year ago. It's reflected here, with both Gallic brass and accordion and song titles that reference French cities and locations. Crucially, however, Flying Club Cup would be a triumph even with those layers stripped away; that's not to say that the cultural patina obscures the "real" songs underneath, but its removal allows us to sidestep mind-numbing questions about authenticity and intention.

Flying Club Cup deftly showcases Condon's gifts: "Nantes" sounds exotic without directly referencing a particular era or feeling, and "A Sunday Smile"-- despite being about specific people and places-- evokes universal sensations such as sleepiness and warmth. "Un Dernier Verre (Pour la Route)" and "Guyamas Sonora" show off Condon's increased love of piano-driven pop songcraft-- as well his band's frequent trick of introducing the best part of the song (here, the way the lithe percussion and ukulele contrast with the heavy accordion and his vocal layering) three-quarters of the way through. "In the Mausoleum" begins with some "Come On! Feel the Illinois!"-ish piano (Sufjan Stevens playing the U.S. cultural cannibal to Condon's worldly connoisseur), but what I like best is the violins, arranged by Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett, which are strong throughout the record and provide a perfect, light-as-lashes counter to Condon's thick instrumentation.

Vocal layering is another Beirut gift, but it also weighs heavily on each track, which is appropriate when nearly every song is about feeling weary or old beyond your years. But despite the well-traveled themes, Condon's vocal melodies, as on standout "Cliquot", are still dangerously romantic, veering closely to musical theater. Condon also does well by "Forks and Knives (Le Fête)", where the instruments hold back to give him more room to sing. And here, once you get past this spent-cigarette, empty-hotel story he's selling, it's obvious that what Condon lacks in lyrical ability, he more than makes up for in prosody. He has an impressive flow, a delicate glide that perfectly compliments the oft-commented-upon exoticism that tends to divide Beirut listeners. On The Flying Cup Club, and maybe on all of Beirut's records, this exoticism takes the form not of alienation but of a search for a familiar place within what seems (or sounds) unfamiliar, difficult, or repulsive. It's the process of searching that untethers the record from any limiting sense of place, be it an Arrondissement in Paris or a village in the Balkans.

-Jessica Suarez, October 09, 2007