Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vivians on MTV.com.

Vivian Girls' Phantom Punk Packs A Punch, By John Norris
'Wild Eyed' Jersey girls made good are among indie-dom's 2008 successes.
Original Post

What's the secret to the appeal of the Vivian Girls? How have they been able to break through in an ever more crowded punk-pop field, grabbing the attention of blog after blog, booking gig after gig? What accounted for their debut album becoming a certifiable collector's item, only a couple of months after its release?

"I would say it's that we're really, really good musicians," the Girls' Cassie Ramone said, adding, "we're like geniuses of sound." "Kind of like, you know, virtuosos?" Kickball Katy concurred. "We all went to music college."

Uh, they kid. They may not have a Juilliard or Berklee diploma among them, but the Vivian Girls — whose ranks are rounded out by drummer Ali Koehler — have certainly got a sound. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing them yet, think '60s girl group the Shangri-Las (God knows enough critics have) meets the reverb-loving indie pop of the short-lived Black Tambourine — though the VGs themselves cite Nirvana and their punk forebears the Wipers as their top two essentials. Whatever the ingredients, the result is a band that's gotten a ton of attention in indie and college ranks — first with the spring release of the single, "Wild Eyes," and then with their self-titled debut album, initially released by indie imprint Mauled By Tigers with a pressing of only 500 copies. The limited number created — to put it mildly — a demand. "We were originally going to only make 300," Cassie explained. "We thought, 'There is no way 500 people are going to buy this.' " How wrong they were. Within two weeks, the album had sold out, and, Katy said, they could hardly believe it. "We were high-fiving and were like, 'How is this possible?' " Then came eBay. "Yeah, someone sold it unexpectedly on eBay for $100," Cassie recalled, "and then suddenly everyone was selling it."

All good news for L.A.-based label In the Red, which re-released the Vivian Girls' album last month, to the tune of another 4,000 copies sold since. Need any more indication that the Vivians are catching fire? Try the list of indie names they have shared the bill with in 2008: Jay Reatard, King Khan, TV on the Radio, F---ed Up (who happen to have a song called "Vivian Girls") and, most recently, Deerhunter, a band that also likes some reverb. Matter-of-fact, it seems to be everywhere you turn nowadays — I've lost count how many reverb-lovin' acts I have talked to this year alone — but the Vivian Girls have developed as much a signature sound as any of them. It's been called "spooky" and "ghostly," a feeling certainly enhanced by the scary-drive-in-movie-complete-with-cheesy-bats-and-zombies look of their video for "Tell The World."

That resounding reverb really happened by accident, when the girls were recording their first demo back in 2007. "It was our friend Craig from the band Hunchback — they recorded it, and he was like, 'Oh, let's put some reverb on these backing vocals.' And then we decided to put 'em on all the vocals." The girls swear by the Holy Grail — an effects pedal not meant for vocals — which makes for a lot of sweet echo-y sounds, but also for lots of feedback when they play live, which causes the occasional run-in with sound men. "This guy the other day was like, 'These little girls are feeding back too much,' " Katy recalled, "so the whole time he kept turning off our mics!" As Cassie, not to be trifled with, put it, "He was a di--. But you know what? Feedback is sweet and it annoys people and we like that."

That includes one fan at a recent show — apparently uninitiated to the Girls' love of feedback, reverb and vocals buried in the middle that are often indecipherable, he decided to weigh in. "Your sound guy sucks!" he yelled. "Oh really?" replied Katy. "I don't think so. He rules. I think it's maybe you that sucks." Enough said.

The Vivian Girls' path to this point was, in their own words, a "musically incestuous" one that began in 2002 and traversed New Jersey — from high school in Ridgewood, where Cassie fronted a lo-fi/novelty band called Upholstery; down to New Brunswick, where Katy and Ali formed the "surf/ riot grrl" band Four Way Milkshake, and later, a poppier duo, the Pot and the Kettle; to Brooklyn, where, as a student at Pratt Institute, Cassie joined the punk trio Bossy. "The best band in the world," Ali said. She moved to Germany for school just before Katy, Cassie and original drummer Frankie Rose formed the Vivian Girls, who made their live debut in May of 2007.

"Beef" is something you generally encounter in hip-hop circles, or metal, maybe, but not with fledgling indie pop-punk bands. Yet the VG's did have a slice of beef this summer, when Frankie — who came up with the band's name (after Henry Darger's hermaphroditic warrior princesses, of course) and appears in credits and photos on the album — abruptly left the band just as Vivians buzz was reaching a fever pitch. The girls firmly decline to talk about the split — "Can we just move on? Next question!" — but it apparently had to do with Frankie doing double-duty with the Vivians and another of Brooklyn's finest new bands, Crystal Stilts. In any case, as a replacement on drums, longtime friend Ali proved a quick study. "I pretty much knew all the drum parts," she said. "I had been listening to them for so long already, going back to their first demo."

If there was a turbulent patch, it is decidedly in the Vivian Girls' rear-view mirror, as they spend a huge amount of time on the road. They're already looking forward to the May 2009 release of their second full-length album, about half of which they estimate is already written. "We listen to Cassie's demos on an iPod in the car," Ali explained, "then make up harmonies and stuff." Or, if they have a day off, "We go to the music-equipment store in town and 'practice' there. Everyone gets really mad, but we don't care," Ali added. Before 2008 is out, the girls will play a UK tour, and, to wind up this most momentous of years, a New Year's Eve show in Jersey with Yo La Tengo and the Feelies. Now that's a Garden State triple bill.

The Vivian Girls' debut album is out now.

Upcoming shows:
11/28 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's (w/ King Khan & BBQ Show)
11/30 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (w/ King Khan & BBQ Show)

12/02 London, UK @ Brixton Windmill

12/03 London, UK @ Old Blue Last

12/04 Nottingham, UK @ The Social

12/05 Liverpool, UK @ Club Evol

12/06 Glasgow, UK @ Captain's Rest

12/07 Leeds, UK @ Cockpit

12/08 Coventry, UK @ Colosseum

12/09 London, UK @ Madame Jojo's - White Heat

12/10 Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute

12/12 London, UK @ Vice Kills Proud Galleries

12/13 Bristol, UK @ Club Kute at Cooler

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Metalreviews.com Reviews Metal Music By Metal Band Pussygutt.

PUSSYGUTT - She Hid Behind Her Veil ...
Funeral Drone
1 songs (46'25")
Release year: 2008

Original Review

The young label from Olympia, WA, 20 Buck Spin, surprised me before with their extreme groovy death metal from Japan Coffins and now they have done it again with an obscure drone/doom act Pussygutt. With the moniker like this one could have expected some “scream bloody gore”, yet Pussygutt lays down some of the most profound and somber music I have heard in a while. And they do it with only bass and drums, as well as low frequency manipulations and violins making an appearance about half way into this one monstrous 45 min long track.

My feeble mind is separating this work by Brittany McConnell and Blake Green (who reside in the remote location outside of Boise, Idaho) into roughly three parts-movements. At first, we have the climbing wave of distortion periodically crushing, almost in relief, releasing lower sonic frequencies and waves of flickering cymbals. Throughout all this the melody is there, only it is crawling somewhere so deep and so slowly, you have to make an effort to uncover its inevitable tidal wave. Later, things climb deeper, if that was possible, into a crusty dungeon, from which eventually violins pull out this giant, turning the track into one pensive crusher, which is both classical music and funeral doom in approach. Regardless of the description you pick, in repeating its violin motions, She Hid Behind Her Veil … will suck the joy of life out of you until the last dying vibrating detuned violin melodies disappear.

SunnO))) comparisons clearly can be made, but She Hid Behind Her Veil … is more than pure amplifier worship. A few other reference points which came to mind are Asunder and Nadja, but the latter is electrically sizzling drone, while Pussygutt on this album ventures into the funeral drone territory, if there is such a thing. If not, well, I just invented a genre.

This foreboding extreme music is obviously not for everybody, but if you think today is the last day on Earth and the sun will not rise tomorrow, sample She Hid Behind Her Veil … as this requiem will provide you with both soothing and crushing way on the way to the void.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wildbirds & Peacedrums Take It To The Streets.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums support Lykke Li on North American tour Feb 2009.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums has been announced as tour support for compatriot Lykke Li on the Swedish artist's North American tour in February 2009. If that seems like a long way off, the Swedish duo are also playing a handful West Coast dates in December. All dates can be found below.

The pair has a busy extra-curricular schedule: Andreas has toured and recorded with artists as varied as Andrew Bird, Loney, Dear, Neneh Cherry and Mats Gustafsson. Mariam has recently recorded with Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, and is working on a noise solo project under the name Variam. Both are also writing music for theatre productions.

Remaining 2008 shows:

12/05 Transmission, Vancouver, BC

12/07 Neumos, Seattle, WA

12/09 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

12/11 Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA

12/12 Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA (with Radars to the Sky)

2009 dates:

02/02 Webster Hall, New York, NY (with Lykke Li)

02/03 Music Hall, Brooklyn, NY (with Lykke Li)

02/04 Club Soda, Montreal, PQ (with Lykke Li)

02/06 Phoenix, Toronto, ON (with Lykke Li)

02/07 Metro, Chicago, IL (with Lykke Li)

02/08 Varsity, Minneapolis, MN (with Lykke Li)

02/11 Commodore, Vancouver, BC (with Lykke Li)

02/12 Hawthorne, Portland, OR (with Lykke Li)

02/13 Showbox, Seattle, WA (with Lykke Li)

02/15 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA (with Lykke Li)

02/17 Glass House, Pomona, CA (with Lykke Li)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Fine Taste Of Aquarius Records.

Tobacco was deemed record of the week on Aquarius' weekly email blast. Oh yeah!

TOBACCO "Fucked Up Friends" (Anticon) cd/lp 14.98/14.98

Tobacco would definitely be a strange name for a group. But it's an even stranger name for a -person-, except when you realize, that person is in fact the twisted mastermind behind the cracked electro pop of aQ faves Black Moth Super Rainbow. In our review of the most recent BMSR record, we compared their sound to Air covering Daft Punk, but with a bunch of junky old equipment, busted up amps and rickety swap meet synths. What's not to love?!?!

For Mr. Tobacco's first solo foray, he actually sticks pretty close to the Black Moth template he created, but does manage to give that sound a little twist. The instantly recognizable fuzzed out gritty synths, the stuttery crunchy crumbling beats, the chopped up vocodered vocals, the blissy eighties sheen, all in full effect, but up the hip hop vibe a bit, mix in some ethereal female vocals, some borderline cheesy (but still kick ass) cop show theme song groove, handclaps, fluttering flutes, soaring cinematic faux strings, even some rapping at one point (courtesy of Aesop Rock, who took BMSR on tour earlier this year), and we're slipping into Fucked Up Friends territory. A few of the tracks are instant classics, sounding sometimes like a more sunshine-y hip-hop flecked Goblin, other times like a more lo-fi synth heavy Boards Of Canada, and once in a while like an LSD dosed Daft Punk doing the soundtrack for a nature special on Yo MTV Raps all about jellyfish or mountain goats or those weird fish that glow in the dark. WTF?! But par for the course with Tobacco and his Black Moth Super Rainbow. And while there does seem to be a bit more hip hop happening here, it's essentially another gloriously fractured and fucked up BMSR record, which is just fine with us!

An Excuse To Post A Shirtless David Duchovny Photo.

Jucifer poster on Showtime's Californication!
Upcoming Jucifer shows:
11/18 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth

11/20 Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits

11/21 Tallahassee, FL @ Engine Room

11/22 Tifton, GA @ The Lamplighter Pub

11/28 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn

11/29 Raleigh, NC @ Volume 11

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anathallo Review & Free download of "The River" CMJ.com Today.

ANATHALLO: Canopy Glow
Nov 17, 2008

By Tom Duffy
Original Post

On Canopy Glow, the new album from Chicago's melodramatic art-troupe Anathallo, the band returns with their signature whimsical and waltzy tunes, but fans may find a slightly darker vibe than on their 2006 debut Floating World. With an array of instruments ranging from trombones, autoharps and flugelhorns, the seven-piece create an angelic soundscape punctuated by the soaring vocals of Matt Joynt and Erica Froman. The duo's pipes are used as much as any other instrument on the album to keep the ethereal tone that delicately flows throughout the entire record.

Lyrically, the outfit tells a short story in each song, making huge strides in this area from their previous effort. From the vivid imagery in "Cafetorium," to the surreal sonic overtones of in "Northern Lights," the band touches on immortality and the massive affect it inflicts on the lives around it. Each song is a perfect blast of emotion and passion that flow in the same vein of bands like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and My Brightest Diamond. The purest example of this can be found on the strikingly beautiful "All the First Places" The gentle strum of electric guitars are perfectly paired with sprawling piano's to create a atmospheric anthem that starts to build from the first note and never makes its descend. Part Postal Service and part Simon and Garfunkel, the track assures the band will inspire lighters to be lit across every venue they play. To sum up Canopy Glow in words can never give the album it's proper due, but when you stumble upon it during one of those late night soul searching sessions, it will be the prove to be the perfect companion.

Tracklist For Canopy Glow:
01. Noni's Field 02. Italo 03. Northern Lights 04. The River 05. Cafetorium 06. Sleeping Torpor 07. All The First Pages 08. John J Audubon 09. Bells 10. Tower Of Babel

Anathallo are currently touring the world:

11/17 London, UK @ Borderline
11/18 Hull, UK @ Adelphi
11/19 Oxford, UK @ The Regal
11/19 London, UK @ Windmill Brixton
11/20 Lille, FR @ Malterie
11/21 Paris, FR @ La Fleche D' or
11/22 Nancy, FR @ Le Hublot
11/25 Duisburg, DEU @ Steinbruch
11/26 Utrecht, NL @ DB's
11/27 Haarlem, NL @ Patronaat
11/28 Offenbach, DEU @ Hafen 2
11/30 Vienna, AUT @ Arena
12/04 Sendai, JPN @ Junk Box
12/05 Yamagata, JPN @ Sandinista
12/06 Shinjuku, JPN @ Marz
12/07 Shibuya, JPN @ Shibuya O Nest
12/09 Nagoya, JPN @ Tight Rope
12/10 Osaka, JPN @ Sunsui
12/12 Kashiwa, JPN @ Alive
12/13 Kouenji, JPN @ Marble Tron

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tiny Mix Tapes Reviews The Dead C's Bowery Ballroom Show.

Dead C / Northampton Wools / Sightings / King Darves
[Bowery Ballroom; New York, NY]
Original Post

It's with some serendipity that New Zealand noise-rockers the Dead C would be making an appearance in New York at the same time the actual Dead Sea scrolls would be on display at the Jewish Museum in the very same city. Indeed, for both, a Manhattan appearance is equally rare. Though there exists no tour t-shirt to document the scrolls globe trekking, the band, the Dead C are on record as having only made one journey to the states before this tour, to play the Los Angeles chapter of All Tomorrow's Parties back in 2002. Like the scrolls, the Dunedin, New Zealand band's extensive back catalog has been ruminated over, each new release pored over for meaning and intent, and as is the case for both, new paradoxes arise out of every examination of their output.

New York City parking regulations had me circling the Bowery Ballroom 20 or 30 times before settling upon a viable spot to stash my ride. Unfortunately, I had already missed openers King Darves. Bummer. So it would be Northampton Wools that would whet my live music whistle for the night. The guitar mangling duo of Thurston Moore and Bill Nace invoked the spirit of Derek Bailey, as the two started out with spacious, delicate amblings only to build towards further rupture and the all-out guitar squall Thurston has manifested in over a bazillion projects. In a particularly pleasing moment (after several awkward silences), Thurston, in a fit of fury, slammed a file against the strings and continued to absolutely maul the guitar that sat torturously, crying out for help upon his lap.

Sightings continued the guitar abuse with their skronk 'n' pummel routine. Rich Hoffman provided plenty of dyspeptic "bass face," switching from slinky-snake charming riffs to retard rumble, while Mark Morgan danced around the stage doing a hybrid Russian folk dance mixed with a modified version of the limbo. The synth pad/actual drum drumming of Jon Lockie further accentuated Sightings half-man/half-machine hybrid attack. The whole Sightings package kind of sounds like what Einstürzende Neubauten would if they were around in the late-'60s — call it industrial-edelia if that suits you (it shouldn't). Not recognizing this song cycle from their latest Through the Panama, it stands to reason these new jams are to be featured on some sort of new album, which has me atwitter with schoolgirl-like excitement.

Dead C took the stage last and culminated a night of discordance. Mike Morley's lethargic drawl wove a dream-time musical language with Bruce Russell's guitar noisiness. Russell, in a perpetual Quasimoto slump, leaned over his guitar, not necessarily playing it, but maybe exploiting it, inserting a small metal strip between the fretboard and strings and producing a steady stream of feedback from the small amp he had in front of him. The drumming of Robbie Yeats was impressive; holding together amorphous rock tendencies can't be easy, but he pulled it off. Their set was full of peaks and valleys, build-ups and let-downs, while an underscore of atonality held it all together. The performance for the most part lacked the energy of some past recorded shows (gotta love that video of them on New Zealand television) and opted for more unilateral unfoldings and subtle crescendos. Although the sheets of sound built up by the C reached some transcendent heights, I felt, overall, they kept it mired in a sort of cosmic funeral dirge. Dead C have to be commended for their unique vision, their disregard of convention, and the sheer influence they have bequeathed, which makes it tough to decry such a seminal and legendary band for being "boring." To save face, I'll revert back to that old axiom about Wagner's music and say that, like the German composer, Dead C are better than they sound.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hank IV Reviewed On Dusted Today.

Photo ripped off from WFMU's flickr page.
Artist: Hank IV
Album: Refuge in Genre

Label: Siltbreeze

Review date: Nov. 12, 2008
Original Post

Hank IV are older men playing a young man’s game, a game that, if you’re good, you can grandfather yourself into. There’s no secret to reveal on their first album, Third Person Shooter, nor is there any in the superior follow-up Refuge in Genre, as unashamed and rambunctious as any rock record that’s been made since the Volcano Suns hung it up nearly 20 years ago. No lesson, save one: It’s uglier on the outside than on the inside. Young people, listen: the kind of loners who buy every new garage single hate a band like this because it’s a tale of what their lives might become. They call it "bad bar rock," having never truly experienced a bar rock band in all its putrid shame. Those bands play mostly covers, and couldn’t really understand where a lot like Hank IV are coming from.

So, for the benefit of those not there, here’s where they come from: Colorado, California, and elsewhere. Singer Bob McDonald was in the hardcore band Bum Kon, whose entire body of work was just unleashed on the public; as one of the kingpins behind Revolver Distribution, he’s also the reason many of you have new records to buy in the first place. Guitarist Anthony Bedard was once a member of unparalleled real-life squalor documentarians the Icky Boyfriends, who languished in relative obscurity as those who actually cared about things like success grew wild around them. If the youth turning their backs are lucky enough to survive without severe dependency issues, heart disease or cancer, they will still never be this loose, this bouncy, this rude-sounding yet together. This is the sound of an earlier generation, and the five men of Hank IV explain it through action. It’s an on/off switch of loud, forceful expression, with no time for subtlety. "I heard you say that shit, it sucks," McDonald belts out on "Symptomatic," his band chugging along behind him, unafraid of melodies and unfazed by subtleties. Nobody turns down or fades out, and these men proudly scream themselves hoarse over the din.

Those are the basics, so what are the details? Most of the 11 songs couldn’t crack three minutes if they tried, so things move along with the kind of economy these sort of records used to lack. More bands doing it for the fun, as these guys seem to be, need to take the audience’s idea of fun into consideration, so they get in and out with the necessary expedience. There’s one or two rock-solid anthems in here ("Drive the Whip" being one of them) and a fine return to repeat listenability that, in this age of tiny pressings and non-accountability, is refreshing and makes these old-sounding songs play like new. By trafficking in a brand of nostalgia that most would shun, the men of Hank IV have become their own masters, and must answer to no one but themselves.

By Doug Mosurock

Right in time for their East Coast mini tour that starts today. Keep it real dudes....
11/12 Brooklyn, NY @ The Charleston (w/ Blues Control)
11/13 Jersey City, NJ @ WFMU (live taping)
11/13 Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s
11/14 New York, NY @ Cake Shop

Monday, November 10, 2008

Alias' 11th Anticon Release Reveives A 7.0 On Pitchfork.


[anticon.; 2008]

Rating: 7.0
Original review

A lot has happened since the release of Alias' last solo album, Muted, in 2003. Perhaps most notably, Oakland-dwelling Brendon Whitney-- who had left Portland, Maine, to hook up with the rest of anticon.'s preliminary influx of artists following 1998's Deep Puddle Dynamics collaboration (alongside Doseone, Sole, and Atmosphere's Slug)-- headed back home after almost a decade out West. Despite a break in recording solo, and moving away from the community that had supported him since the early days, Alias has had little down time musically. In 2005 he released the instrumental LP, Lillian, with his younger brother Ehren, and the subsequent year he teamed up with New York-based singer Tarsier for another full-length, Brookland/Oaklyn, which paid tribute to trip-hop while expanding their combined interest in contemporary electronica. Fittingly for Alias' first solo recording in five years, Resurgam takes its title from his hometown's Latin motto, translating to "I will rise again."

Although anticon. originally provided an alternative platform for geographically disparate but like-minded hip-hop artists when it started in the late 1990s, the label, continually flexible and innovative with its boundaries, has since grown to be equally associated with electronica and indie rock. This unification of genres has been a trademark of Alias since the beginning, and on Resurgam he successfully skips and fuses musical elements from across the board. The opening track, "New to a Few", has its bearings firmly in 80s-era hip-hop and flares with energy and hard-line beats before sliding into vast electronica with the aptly named "I Heart Drum Machines". Here, Boards of Canada-style soundscapes open up the space before collapsing into an upsurge of intricate rhythms and melodic samples that alternately break the flow then bring it back forward. These beats are often fairly stock in sound, but it's Alias' melodic additions that keep the steady pace of Resurgam engaging and refreshing, throwing some unexpected turns into the mix and proving that, stylistically, anything goes.

Fellow anticon. founder Yoni Wolf (aka Why?) joins Alias on the standout track "Well Water Black", where he ties together his distinctive, introspective monologues with a falsetto melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Flaming Lips record, pitching everything against a jolly background of virtual glockenspiel, happy-go-lucky handclaps, and what sounds like the album's only (thoroughly spectacular) live drum patch. And while tracks such as this conjure images of walking down a sunshiny Oakland avenue with jingling pockets and a spring in one's step, Alias' dice have many sides. Fast-forward six minutes and he's back to an airy instrumental that makes room for all the other ideas searching for space: sad-eyed acoustic indie with the One AM Radio on "Weathering"; propulsive urban electronica on "Autumnal Ego"; clear echoes of Four Tet on "Death Watch"; and the kind of euphoric jams one might expect to hear in a European disco club on "M.G. Jack".

While Resurgam is a record of many different moods, and unashamedly derivative of Alias' influences, it maintains a distinctive, concrete consistency. This is largely due to Alias' impressive talent for arrangements; the material is deftly woven with a great ear for detail, and there really is something to appeal to almost everyone. It is precisely this autonomous yet inclusive approach to creating music that Alias and his anticon. cohorts have always supported, and what makes Resurgam even larger than the sum of its parts.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nice Little Absentee Piece On NPR.org.

Absentee: 'Shared'
By Tamara Vallejos

NPR.org, November 6, 2008 - The most immediately striking thing about London-based pop quintet Absentee is singer Dan Michaelson's deep and gravelly voice. A little bit Leonard Cohen, a little bit Johnny Cash, Michaelson immediately takes hold of listeners on the band's second full-length album, Victory Shorts.

Released this fall on the Memphis Industries label, Victory Shorts has individual moments of greatness, but sometimes feels bipolar overall. The album begins with one of its strongest songs, the lovely ballad "Shared." The combination of Michaelson's baritone and delicate female harmonies are lulling, but the calm doesn't last long. Suddenly, the pounding drums and brawny guitar of "Boy, Did She Teach You Nothing?" leap in. While it's a wonderfully catchy tune, the transition is jarring.

It's not the only time that happens on Victory Shorts. Later, the gorgeous but heartbreaking melancholia of "Love Has Had Its Way" is undercut when it's followed up by the raucous "Bitchstealer." Then again, maybe there's brilliance in how Absentee treats the subject of ended relationships. While "Love Has Had Its Way" is a passive bemoaning of love lost, "Bitchstealer" takes the exact opposite route. "I need to find a way / To try to make her stay when she wants to go," sings a determined Michaelson. The shuffling between anger, frustration and sadness will feel familiar to anyone in a failed romance.

Larkin Grimm Reviewed By Wearsthetrousers.com.

Wearsthetrouser.com, a UK online magazine dedicated to women in music serves up an excellent Larken Grimm review.

Larkin Grimm


Oct 30 / 08

By "nomad"
Original Review

Inspired by “the imaginational galaxy where orgasms come from, formed out of dreams of leggy, surgically enhanced blondes,” the new album from fiercely talented radical environmentalist Larkin Grimm is, even by her own standards, a pretty stellar collection of atmospheric, magical songs that consolidates the promising noise experiments of her previous albums. No fears of jumping the shark here, Parplar is the best thing Larkin’s done to date. It’s also “a bit of a lesbian feminist album” that explores various themes of violence, sex and spirituality and takes some of its inspiration from the likes of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse. “Becoming one with the human race is difficult,” writes Larkin on her blog, “but fortunately I’ve been inspired by the struggles of a lot of other women from my generation.”

Parplar is the 26 year old itinerant’s first release on Michael Gira’s hallowed Young God Records – home of Wears The Trousers heroine Lisa Germano – and was trimmed down from a potential 50 songs written during “a near-manic tidal wave of creative energy”. ‘Dominican Rum’ is a disturbing portrait of a beautiful, wrathful woman literally coming apart in “the ugly
world of men”. Over a frenzied piano, tambourine and banjo rhythm Larkin delivers a bizarre tirade of potent, incredible poetry – sample lyric: ”The microcosmic spiralled eggs inside my uterus are sparkling and bursting with the greenest yellow pus / the milk that feeds my baby from my breast is flowing black / it looks like oil and smells like death and I can’t hold it back.” Highly recommended.

11/07 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (w/ Holly GoLightly)
11/08 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (w/ Mountain Goats)
11/22 Peterborough, NH @ Broke Arts Fat at Toadstool Bookshop
12/12 Charlottesville, VA @ Tea Bazaar
12/13 Greensboro, NC @ Green Bean
12/14 Greenville, SC @ Reverb
12/15 Athens, GA @ Tasty World
12/16 Atlanta, GA @ E.A.R.L

Brooklyn Vegan Covers Upcoming Amebix US Tour.

Amebix (reunited) - 2009 Tour Dates (some, NYC w/ Kylesa)

by Black Bubblegum

As previously announced, Amebix have reunited, but prepare to get even more nuts... 'cause the crust punk godfathers have scheduled a short run of the US including a single show at Bowery Ballroom on January 29th with Kylesa, Thought Crime and Atakke! Tickets for the NYC show are on sale.

Amebix also have shows scheduled with Annihilation Time, Tragedy, Severed Head Of State, Morne, Behind Enemy Lines and many others.

Jan. 22 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater*
Jan. 23 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater**
Jan. 24 - Austin, TX @ Emo's***
Jan. 25 - San Fransisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall^
Jan. 27 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos^^
Jan. 29 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom^^^
Jan. 30 - Boston/Providence @ [to be announced]$
Jan. 31 - Philadelphia, PA @ Starlite Ballroom$$

* w/ Doomsday Hour
** w/ Annihilation Time, Book Of Black Earth, Amala Sangre
*** w/ Severed Head Of State, Sub Oslo, Deskonocidos
^ w/ Annihilation Time
^^ w/ Tragedy, Mass Grave, Meisce
^^^ w/ Kylesa, Thought Crime, Attake
$ w/ Kylesa, Morne
$$ w/ Kylesa, Mischief Brew, Behind Enemy Lines, Parasytic, Lost Cause

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Essie Jain Reviewed On Pitchfork Today.

Better late than never review of Essie Jain's The Inbetween CD released in May of this year. Link
Essie Jain:
The Inbetween
[Ba Da Bing / Leaf; 2008]
Rating: 6.9
Original post

Looking back, Joan Baez's high, heady trills seem eerily indicative of the unspoken melancholy that plagued the late 1960s in America: Baez's songs, no matter how upbeat, are seeped in a vague and persistent longing for something better, something less devastating. British-born singer and songwriter Essie Jain doesn't sound much like Baez-- she's not a folk singer, exactly, and her voice is often deep and direct where Baez's is light and warbly-- but her second LP, The Inbetween, is heavy with the same odd, pervasive uneasiness. From the nervous, scuttling piano notes which open "Here We Go" through the fog-horn desolation of the extra-grim "I Remember It Just Like This", The Inbetween is quiet and desperate, a trembling testament to general disillusionment.

Jain's minimal compositions-- most tracks feature only vocals and piano or acoustic guitar-- are dark and distrustful ("There is not an innocent man around us who isn't under siege," she bellows in "Please") and tinged with an otherworldliness that earns her comparisons to freak-folkers past and present-- especially Vashti Bunyan, Sandy Denny, and White Magic's Mira Billotte. The cinematic bleakness of The Inbetween can be wearying, but it's also the record's central conceit; its atmospherics are at least as essential as its songs. Consequently, The Inbetween becomes the kind of record that leaves its listeners craving melodramatic context (walking despondently down a mysterious alley, fedora deflecting light rain, face obscured)-- anything more distinctive and tortured than just slouching over on a living room couch.

Jain had a track ("Why") included on the Slim Moon-curated The Sound the Hare Heard (alongside a slew of singer-songwriters, including Death Vessel, Sufjan Stevens, Thao Nguyen, Wooden Wand, and Laura Veirs), and her ghostly 2007 debut, We Made This Ourselves, placed her squarely within the new spook-folk paradigm. All of Jain's work is focused, mostly, on her lingering voice: It can be deep and prodding or high and vaporous, depending on the moment. "Do It", one of the richer tracks on the record (it includes piano, guitar, and drums), is also one of the strongest-- Jain's vocals, raw and uncorrected, nudge and jab. In "Here We Go", a steady piano melody and twittering drums back up Jain's playful, jazzy vocal line, one of the lightest included here-- "Oh, oh here we go," she grins.

The Inbetween is a remarkably wistful album, the kind that can be trying or cathartic, depending on when and how you listen, but Jain's voice is mostly stunning-- it's indicative of her precise time and place, and, accordingly, means something to all of us.

- Amanda Petrusich, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jello Biafia Interviewed On Sundance Channel Political Blog.

Jello gives ten poignant answers to ten poignant questions about the election on the Sundance Channel political blog.

Jello Biafra, is a musician who first gained attention as the lead singer and songwriter for San Francisco punk rock band Dead Kennedys. After his time with the band concluded, he became more directly involved with political activism and took over the influential independent record label Alternative Tentacles [www.alternativetentacles.com], founded in 1979 by him and East Bay Ray. Although now primarily focused on spoken word art, he has continued as a musician in numerous collaborations.

Politically, he is a member of the Green Party and actively supports leftist political causes. Biafra ran for the party's Presidential nomination in 2000, finishing second to Ralph Nader. He is a self-identified anarchist who advocates civil disobedience, direct action, culture jamming and pranksterism in the name of political change. Biafra is known to use absurdist media tactics in the tradition of the Yippies to highlight issues of civil rights, social justice, economic populism, anti-corporatism, peace movements, anti-consumerism, environmentalism, anti-globalization, universal health care, LGBT rights, anti-capitalism, reproductive rights, feminism, and the separation of church and state.

Currently Jello has a spoken word album "In the Grip of Official Treason" [www.amazon.com] as well as a new band (currently called Jello Biafra and His Axis of Merry Evil Doers) and a 7" EP, Jezebel [www.alternativetentacles.com].

1. What's your favorite political movie?

There's so many, where do I begin - "Boat People"? "Dr. Strangelove"?,
"The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. t"?

2. What role do you feel art plays in politics?

People respect and listen to artists far more than politicians. In an
age of dumbed-down, censored, Soviet-style mass media it is up to artists to be what Chuck D once called "The real CNN". If we don't wake people up to what's going on, who will?

3. What do you think is the biggest issue for the next generation of Americans?

Preserving human rights and our Constitution. We can't fight global
warming without this. Who would have thought that we would have to struggle to have our vote counted - and stop wholesale torture and prison camps - in the alleged land of the free?

4. Who was the first political candidate you were excited to vote for and why?

Can't remember a person, but it sure has been fun voting down new
sports stadiums. Local ballot questions and initiatives may well be the most important reason to vote and vote smart.

5. What factors are important to you in choosing a president?

They must be on the right side of the issues I care most about. I will
not vote for anyone who supports the Patriot Act, the Drug War, the death penalty, NAFTA, corporate bailouts, etc. One Strike You're Out. Or to put it less politely, FUCK YOU. I'd rather work or vote for something I want and not get it than work or vote for something I don't want and get it.

6. What issues would you like to see politicians focus more on?

Standing up and saying no to the Military Industrial Complex, the
Prison-Industrial Complex, the Homeland (In)security-Industrial Complex, and now the Election-Industrial Complex. Use the money we waste on the war machine for the homeless, the poor, our underfunded schools and to repair and upgrade our crumbling infrastructure for the 21st Century. It's so much easier to get around when there are proper train systems. Imagine how much easier travel would be if our high-speed rail technology caught up with Europe or Japan!

7. Which issues would you like to see politicians focus less on?

Handouts and socialism for the wealthy while the world burns.

8. Which candidate's initiatives do you feel better address environmental concerns?

Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich. Did Al gore ever get
rid of all his stock in Occidental Petroleum?

9. This is your soapbox - shout it out! What do you need to get off your chest?

There are two things about an Obama regime that worry me the most.

1. I remember someone else who had the audacity to misuse peoples' Hope when they were desperate for a change, and his name is Bill Clinton. Let's not forget it was not Bush but Clinton who gave us
NAFTA, the WTO, the Telecom Act of 1996 that opened the floodgates for Clear Channel and Fox News, and laugh out loud Abstinence-only sex "education." Clinton signed Newt Gingrich's cruel welfare reform bill at the urging of Al Gore. And, yes, it was Clinton who planted the seeds of the economic meltdown when he gleefully deregulated the banks.

If Obama turns out to be another Clinton - and surrounding himself with Biden, Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin and Zbigniew Bzrzinsky is not a good sign - I fear he will break the hearts of whole energized
generation of voters who won't feel it's worth it to participate again.

2. When Clinton got in, people rejoined "Ding Dong, Bush is gone. Now
we can finally sleep at night" - and went to sleep for the next 8 years! We can't rest easy and sleep this time. There will be no change from Obama or a congress of corporate-owned Democrats unless we increase the pressure and keep a blowtorch up their ass the whole time they're in power. We need leaders, not more deal makers, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (remember him?) need to be replaced with people who actually give a shit.

We stopped Vietnam. We torpedoed the Gulf War. Our civil rights and
environmental awareness as we know them today didn't happen because our corporate lords granted the peasants new rights out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. They don't have any. We got where we are because we got together and fought for it. Same for the New Deal. It was us.

And the only thing standing in the way of more wars, more Abu Ghraibs and more Guantanamo Bays coming soon behind a Wal-Mart near you is us.

So don't give up, OK? Besides, causing trouble is so much fun.

10. Do you have any recommended links, books or movies so people can learn more about the issues you care about?

Don't hate the media, become the media. Don't just question authority,
question bloggers. Question this site. Help people develop better bullshit detectors.

I don't think people should be able to graduate from high school
without passing a class on media literacy. But for some reason they don't have those classes, so we need to spread our knowledge instead.

Extra Credit: Fill in the blank. _________ for change.

THINK, for a change.

Photo by Chris Saunders

According To The Rolling Stone Tobacco Is "Buzz Worthy".

CMJ's Hottest Bands: 10 Buzz-Worthy Breakouts

Each fall a thousand bands descend on New York City - here's a guide to the best, from the Uglysuit to Ponytail

Posted Oct 27, 2008 3:25 PM on RollingStone. com

When he's not fronting the day-glo psychedelic group Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tom Fec (a.k.a. Tobacco) turns out highly tuneful, vocodor-heavy synth-rock jams with titles like "Yum Yum Cult" and "Pink Goo." True, the super-groovy bong-water vibe is very similar to Black Moth's tunes, but when the stuff this jaw-droppingly great, more is definitely better. KEVIN O'DONNELL

Monday, November 03, 2008

Samothrace Interviewed In Pitchfork's Show No Mercy Column.

LinkLearn intimate details of Samothrace from their interview posted on Pitchfork last Friday:

The best way to introduce you to Lawrence, Kansas, doom crusts Samothrace is to let you listen to "Awkward Hearts", the second (and shortest) song from their excellent four-song, 47-minute debut, Life's Trade. Think Thou, Sanctum, Asunder, and Zoroaster minus the latter's recent psychedelic noodling. There are a number of delicate passages, more fist pumping/lighter territories than you can count. Much like their sound, the quartet's lyrical content-- the human condition, the powerless becoming powerful-- is bleakly triumphant, no matter how heavy it gets. I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Bryan L. Spinks while the band was on the road-- where they always seem to be.

Pitchfork: How long have you been playing together?
Bryan L. Spinks: We have been playing together for three years this fall. We had to form the band via phone and internet due to living situations, mainly one of us in Kansas and two of us in New Mexico.

Pitchfork: How did Samothrace come about?
BLS: We conceptualized Samothrace out of the respect we had for one another from our various crust and stoner bands of the past, and the level of musicianship involved. We wanted to play heavy, heavy tunes for the times.

Pitchfork: How does a crusty doom band from Lawrence, Kansas end up with a name referencing an island town in Greece? Looking at the album art for Life's Trade, I'm thinking maybe you're named after the sculpture The Winged Victory Of Samothrace.
BLS: We had a few reasons for choosing the name Samothrace, none of which having to do with heritage or lineage. It is said that Homer wrote the story of Poseidon, God of the Sea, from atop the highest peak on the island whilst watching the Trojan war unfold in the sea. We thought that was a good start. As for the statue of Nike; it was discovered at the "Sanctuary of the Great Gods." Thing is, scholars are uncertain as to exactly who/what the "Gods" were. We were thinking that a god(s) fallen to antiquity would be an even better basis. The statue was discovered with no head or arms, defeated. The Goddes of Victory, defeated. Yeah, buddies!

Pitchfork: While we're on the topic, can you discuss the concept behind the cover art? Is it something you collaborated on with the artist? How does it relate to the concepts contained within the record?
BLS: After our first bit of artwork from artist Tom Denney, we decided to stick with the imagery of the Winged Goddes of Victory. Tom drew our first shirt design depicting the statue as alive and struggling to break out of this desolate marsh, if you will. We ended up really liking the art/concept, so when we were moving forward on the art for Life's Trade, we thought we'd suggest a continuance of this imagery. All that was said to Life's Trade artist David V. D'Andrea was, "Maybe you'd like to do your own variation on the statue of Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, found at Samothrace island?" He did all the rest, and we are extremely stoked with it. We've had lots of positive comments on the artwork. Folks dig. As for relating to the album concepts, not sure how tied in it may actually be. May be a question better suited for Mr. D'Andrea, but I can say that even defeated, broken, and restrained, anything can have a bit of awe left. A bit of life. Perhaps even in death.

Pitchfork: On the topic of lyrics... In "Awkward Hearts" the lyrics refer back to the album title.
BLS: "Awkward Hearts" is about the plight of the oppressor and the oppressed, and the dichotomy between them. The basic statement of "Awkward Hearts" is that we are merely a vessel in existence, to be traded freely as those who seek to do so see fit. Basically, we are nothing to those in power, to be traded freely as human commodity. Forcing a meaningless and/or thoughtless existence. The lyric explains to the oppressor that they're pigs in shit for what they've done. To the oppressed, that they're chosen destiny is forced upon them and that all they are is a trade in life's game. The song then goes on to explain, albeit poetically, that life's trade are souls sold, the crushing of ideals and culture, and the merging and destroying of gods and religion. Man, we've heard so many staright forward, cookie cutter lyrics over the years. I wasn't setting out to confuse or beat around the bush, I just wanted to leave it up to the listener. Stretch the brain.

Pitchfork: When I think of Lawrence, I think of Burroughs. Has he had any influence on you guys/your worldview? How about Lawrence, Kansas in general... the landscape or the people or whatever.
BLS: Burroughs, nah. Lawrence, maybe? Lawrence is just where we ended up. It's an awesome little town. Good scene for all types of music, good folks, etc... Couple of great bars, too. The metal community there is strong and growing. It's a great stop on those long-ass tours where the midwest is failing you. We call Lawrence "the Dirty South of the Midwest."

Pitchfork: Your take on doom is pretty complex. There's a lot going on... it's ideal headphone music in a lot of ways-- a bunch of layers. There are moments of drone, but a ton of intricate passages with dual guitar interplay, extending soloing, big builds and crashes, extremely delicate passages. Who were some early influences? How did you develop your current sound? Did Sanford add anything in the studio?
BLS: As for influences, we are all so varied. It'd take days to explain. We have all been involved in the underground and DIY metal/punk/hardcore community for years. We all started booking shows, playing gigs, and touring when we were teenagers. We were very much involved in these communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. That totally shaped our way of life. As for current sound, we just set out to play detuned doom with our own spin. At least that's what we hope we've done. We knew we wanted a prominent dual guitar sound with intricate bass lines and varied drumming. We started playing together and over the course of a year or so we developed our formula/approach to writing and playing Samothrace's music. Kinda fell into a groove, so to speak. We love traditional doom/stoner metal, but we knew we had to play it differently for ourselves and for y'all.

Pitchfork: Dave (from 20 Buck Spin) "discovered" you guys at a live show, right?
BLS: Here is how it went down... Dave was at SXSW in Austin in 2007. He was at a party at our brother Theron's house. Theron had the non-mastered copy of our demo CD I had given him a week or two before in Lawrence. The demo was playing on the stereo and Dave heard it and inquired as to who it was. Immediately upon his return to California he wrote us and asked if we'd be interested in putting out a record on 20 Buck Spin. Needless to say he really dug it and we were equally stoked since the demo hadn't even officially been completed. After some time, here we are.

Pitchfork: Speaking of touring, when I wrote Dave for your info, he mentioned you were stranded in NOLA. What happened?
BLSs: Our faithful 1987 Chevy 20, Van Waylon aka Vantoine Lavoisier, finally had to be put to rest, or at least at bay. So, we had to search for another van. We finally got one, but had to cancel two shows due to timing issues. Sorry Pensacola and Tampa! Alas, we are back on the road with a sweet ass new van. Haven't fully decided the name, but we really like Vangela Vansbury or Vantonio Vanderas. We'll figure it out.

Pitchfork: Finally, what's with the photo of the muscle woman at your MySpace?
BLS: The muscle woman is [guitarist] Renata's proflie picture. She used to get lots of muscle heads hitting her up. Good shit! Life's Trade is out via 20 Buck Spin. Keep up with tourdates and muscle women at their MySpace.