Monday, 26 September 2011

Into the heart of darkness with noise sleaze duo HTRK

Friends, Romans, Fellow Wage Slaves! I'm calling to you from deep within the depths of Corporate America, where I'm currently sitting at my desk, struggling to claw myself out from beneath several tedious, largely pointless projects, with self-flagellating lyrics from Swans and HTRK songs floating through my head, and a weary feeling of failure about all my assorted writing/music/career goals clawing at my heart like a mangy, bubonic plague-carrying Failure Rat. I spend the vast majority of my waking hours doing nothing but non-stop Work (work, work), as the new HTRK album is called, but it's like...stuff even really simple 1950s sci fi movie robots could do, or like, highly trained meth-addicted monkeys imprisoned in a sweatshop. It's not that I got a promotion or anything.

So, I mentioned that new HTRK album out now on Ghostly International. Their publicist was kind enough to give me an advance listen and as a result, I wrote this review/article hybrid thing for women-in-the-arts-focused print 'zine C.L.A.P.. I'm proud of this article.  I like it. And all the other things I currently LIKE in my life right now are like, "I ate pizza on Saturday night and I thought it might be gross but in reality it was a pretty good pizza, I like that" or "Maybe if I have time on Wednesday night I can catch up on Gossip Girl yeahhhhhh that would be good, everyone's hot on that show, that's something I like, too."

I wanted to share said article/review thing online so I restarted my blog(s). I still don't have a ton of time to update them, but there's just so much damn good music out right now. And as science advances, so will our knowledge of funny animals. And THANK GOD in these trying times, we'll have a couple of forgotten blogs to discuss these things (and also shamefully hint at my love for CW teen dramas.) 

So, here's this article/review thing. And here's this blog...again. I hope you'll read it. And maybe consider starting a goth band with me.

(Originally published in the Twin Cities-based feminist 'zine, C.L.A.P.'s Fall 2011 issue. Check them out on FB, too!)

 Into the heart of darkness with noise sleaze duo HTRK

HTRK are a band from London-via-Berlin-via-Melbourne fronted by the scariest, toughest girl you’ve never heard of, androgynously ice-voiced Jonnine Standish. She’s probably in your basement right now, setting up her great, hulking drum, or putting the finishing touches on your new, unrequested sex dungeon, or shit, I don’t know, MAYBE BOTH. HTRK (or “Hate Rock,” as it’s pronounced) are the perfect soundtrack for the final, sputtering days of your desperate affair, 4am drugged out despondence, or just for your Leopold von Sacher-Masoch book club. In fact, next time you read the band’s name in your head, just pronounce it “Hate Fuck.” Because, really, with all the fevered sensuality and glacial detachment of their LATE NIGHT NOISE SLEAZE, that’s really pretty much what they sound like. And now, dear “kinda goth” reader, Michigan indie label Ghostly International are finally introducing HTRK to audiences in the US with the Sept. 6 release of their second full-length, Work (work, work).

A little background: nigh unto a decade ago, HTRK crawled out of the Melbourne, Australia underground scene and into the hearts of industrial noisemaker/porn star/sex intellectual Sasha Grey, the Birthday Party guitar player Rowland S. Howard, and failed musician/failed author/failed careerwoman/CLAP contributor Alison Stolpa. For awhile, the band’s main promotional photo was an aggressive, full frontal nude of HTRK members Jonnine Standish, Nigel Yang, and Sean Stewart, and the band seemed to be trying to “outskeeze Throbbing Gristle,” (as I wrote back in 2007), with song titles like “Rentboy” and “Shoot You Up.” Those songs contributed to the greatness of the band’s Rowland S. Howard/Lindsay Gravina produced 2009 release Marry Me Tonight, which came out on Mute Records (Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Liars) imprint Blast First Petite. With tours and one-off shows alongside the likes of Suicide’s Alan Vega, Lydia Lunch, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Horrors and Liars, the band seemed to be on the rise. (Well, as on the rise as a band that sounds like a female-led Swans fed through a Suicide effects processor can get.)

Then in 2010, bass player/programmer Sean Stewart took his own life. Work (work, work) is a collection of the then trio’s 2006-2010 era recordings, a sort of memento mori for Standish and Yang’s departed friend and bandmate. HTRK’s signature topics of desire, submission and degradation return for another late night slink through the flickering fluorescent lights of corporate hopelessness, but it’s a less cohesive affair than the self-proclaimed “pop record” Marry Me Tonight. There are fewer immediate standout tracks like album highlights “Skinny” and “Synthetik,” although Work contains a decent smattering of sleepers like “Bendin’” and “Slo Go.” As always, the band employs chopped-and-screwed slooooow 808s and bristling synth menace to take listeners on an atmospheric journey into the duality of seduction and desolation. Album opener “Ice Eyes Eis” is an actual recording Stewart made of late night Berlin TV sex channel ads layered over ambient noise and slowed down by Nigel Yang, in which a breathy Teutonic lust purveyor whispers empty promises to lonely viewers, and for a band so hellbent on portraying flat-lined emotions and atrophied desire, there’s nothing more poignant than the thought of the late Sean Stewart staying up all night to record the empty promises of sex and love for sale. Work (work, work) may not be HTRK’s strongest, but at times it seems almost as if, the band is working their way at a Robo-tripped out sloooooow pace towards the still beating heart of all that noise sleaze darkness.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Pitchfork 2010: Countdown to Irresponsibility

I am leaving my workaday existence behind in 18.5 work hours (but who's counting) and heading down to Chicago for this year's Pitchfork Festival. You might be surprised by this, since I neither a) own neon pants or b) rock a beard and a flannel shirt. But know this: Pitchfork is pretty awesome. There's the incredible Flatstock poster show!!! There's the possibly even more incredible record fair, including a stand from the phenomenal Permanent Records, where I dropped like 300 unplanned American dollars last year! They have vegan ice cream--that's super good and not at all disgusting!!!! There was also something else last year that I remember totally enjoying eating even though now for the life of me I can't think of what it was!!!! And best of all, WAIT FOR IT, it takes place in the same city that inspired the TGIF laugh-a-thon Perfect Strangers!

Also Permanent Records has a store cat if you go to their actual physical retail location. And lots of French noise rock. FRENCH NOISE ROCK.

This year I am jazzed about the following performers:

Washed Out!
Beach House!
Kurt Vile!

I would provide links to their tunes but I can't visit MySpace pages at work (where I am totally NOT slacking off and typing this).

Swans tour dates! Maybe this will be the year I finally go to Detroit????

You guys, I am being forced to make THE HARDEST DECISION OF MY LIFE. I have this $250 travel voucher on American Airlines, and I can't decide where to go. I want to visit my friend in LA who I haven't seen in a year plus. But SWANS are playing in New York. I would totally hate myself if I missed this Swans "not a reunion" tour. Wait...maybe that's what Swans would want????

Oh God, I drank too much coffee I think I'm going to die.

09-28 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero Theater
09-29 Washington, DC - Black Cat
09-30 Boston, MA - Middle East
10-01 Montreal, Quebec - Pop Montreal Festival
10-02 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Palace
10-04 Detroit, MI - Crofoot Ballroom
10-05 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
10-08 Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Masonic Temple
10-09 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
10-22-24 Birmingham, England - Supersonic Festival

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Crystal Castles release awesome new album, schedule NOT AWESOME tour

Crystal Castles are not coming to Minneapolis this summer. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHZKZYZYZYZYFRUSTRATION. They are playing in so many other places, though, and I am so resentful (read: lazy) that I am not even gonna type out all these locations for you. You'll just have to find out yourself by going to their MySpace page and listening to "Celestica" my #1 jam of the moment right now. In fact, after this, when I clean my room, I'm gonna listen to this song! I know, I know, I'm supposed to be telling you about music not BLOWING YOUR MIND.

Anyways, the new Crystal Castles album is awesome, and I'm intentionally writing about them because I'm trying to regain my "I like dark things" cred, but that's probably not gonna happen by writing about an album that samples both 10CC's "I'm Not in Love" and Stina Nordenstam, now is it. My other reason is because a friend once told me I look kinda like Alice Glass, and I like that because I think she's pretty hot. But also she seems way more badass than I am, which is a downer. I mean, what are Crystal Castles gonna do tonight? Probably fuck shit up in some former Soviet Bloc country and then teach monkeys how to smoke cigarettes. Tonight I'm gonna fold some towels and watch revisionist Westerns. Ok, I might go to the bar later, too, but I don't smoke so I wouldn't be any good at getting a monkey hooked on the habit. :-(

Washed Out: a side by side comparison

At the risk of this blog completely derailing from its original "I like post-punk, I'm soooooo goth!!!!" purpose, here's another band that isn't depressing. (I know, I am as confused by my recent interest in music that doesn't make you want to drink absinthe and cry, too.) This time around it's Georgia-based one man band Washed Out. "Feel It All Around" is a summery, vaguely 80s-esque song that is (YESSSS!) kinda melancholy. At least it is to me, but hey, I can find that kinda sad bastard vibe anywhere. I love this song. I am going to listen to it all summer and reflect upon the transitory nature of happiness and the changing nature of memory or something else that sounds like it was lifted from the Wikipedia description of Last Year in Marienbad.

But the real reason I chose to write about this band is because when I google imaged the phrase "Washed Out," one of the first results was a picture of Sienna Miller from a lengthy Daily Mail story about how she totally looks like shit because she has been hanging out with Rhys Ifan. (DON'T FREAK OUT, JUDE: THE STORY'S TWO YEARS OLD.) There's a lot of photographic evidence, including before and after photos!!!!! And I thought that was funny. God, I love the Daily Mail. So here's a picture of Washed Out, the band, and Washed Out, the Sienna Miller. Let's judge them together, shall we?

The band

The actress

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Prepare to have your life changed Joi Lansing and SCOPITONE!!!

From Wikipedia:

Joi Lansing="model, film and television actress, and nightclub singer"

Scopitone="a type of jukebox featuring a 16 mm film component"

They left out the part about Scopitone being completely, mindnumbingly awesome. Check out this clip of Joi Lansing singing "Web of Love." The great thing about this video is that halfway through you're like, "Yeah, this is pretty awesome 60s exotica kitsch," then it just gets...weird. Like "Should I be seeing this? Does that snake man live in the sewer system under my city?" weird. A definite must see.

Oh wow! I like a Caribou song.

I'm updating this blog! So you know that means there's something else I should be doing (in this case, a lot of something elses--I just got back from a week and a half in London), and now I've decided to procrastinate--er, update my blog because it has gone neglected for so long.

I've never been a huge Caribou fan, although I WAS a fan of when the artist--originally named Manitoba--was forced to change his project name due to pressure from the Dictators' frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba. Because that's just funny. And because YEAH there was just like this huuuuuge chance of the two getting confused. Anyways, this song is my Official London Party Anthem of 2010. This song was on constant rotation--or so it seemed--and was behind a dance party or two. I don't know what exactly is going on this video (mainly um, because I never have watched it all the way through--WHAT? I'm busy), but it doesn't matter.

May 21 MEXICO CITY, MX - Teatro Fru Fru *
May 24 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Independent
May 26 PORTLAND, OR - Hawthorne
May 28 VICTORIA, BC - Sugar
May 29 VANCOUVER, BC - Rickshaw
May 30 GEORGE, WA - Sasquatch
May 31 CALGARY, AB - Republik *
Jun 01 EDMONTON, AB - Starlite *
Jun 02 SASKATOON, SK - Amigo's *
Jun 03 WINNIPEG, MB - Royal Albert Arms *
Jun 04 MINNEAPOLIS, MN - 7th St Entry
Jun 05 DAVENPORT, IA - Rock Island Brewing Co. *
Jun 07 ST. LOUIS, MO - Firebird *
Jun 08 LOUISVILLE, KY - Zanzabar *
Jun 09 CLEVELAND, OH - Grog Shop *
Jun 10 HAMILTON, ON - Casbah $
Jun 11 HALIFAX, NS - Paragon
* with Toro y Moi
$ with Vowls

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Listen to this High Places song so I can go watch Mad Men

Check out this band High Places. I recently discovered them on my all-time favorite radio station, Radio K. (Their fund drive is coming up--give them money! I will be!) They are currently based out of LA, it seems. SIGH. Like everything but me.

Here are two reasons to like them:
1. Their MySpace has a weird picture of what looks like the English folklore figure of the Green Man made out of super stringy asparagus. Actually that may not be a reason to like them. My personal jury is still out on whether that's kind of awesome/kinda funny or just like, 80% straight up gross. But this next reason is a REAL reason!
2. Their track "On Giving Up" is sooooo good!!! I have listened to it like 15 times today. It is so good, in fact, that I actually have trouble deciding between listening to this song and watching Mad Men Season 3. And as you know, last week all I wanted to do in the entire world was watch Mad Men Season 3. I mean, WHAT IS GONNA HAPPEN WITH BETTY AND DON???? THIS SONG IS SO GOOD IT WON'T LET ME FIND OUT!

In case you're wondering, I guess it sounds like an electro Cocteau Twins/Tickley Feather on Thrill Jockey. Oh! Also they are on tour right now. Due to my Mad Men duties I will not be posting all the dates, but they're on the band's Myspace in abundance. Mpls residents, take note: they're here on Friday at the Triple Rock.

Happy Spring! Here's April March

I love this song! It just says Springtime in Paris(or possibly Pittsburgh, based on the video). It makes me think of that perfume commercial where that impossibly elegant young Frenchwoman floats above The City of Lights, hanging on to a giant pink balloon and it just makes you HATE HER because everything is so damn charming and lovely and in 10 hours you're going to have to wear business casual and answer phone calls. EVEN THOUGH THIS CHICK'S LIKE 12 STORIES ABOVE GROUND, WITH NOTHING TO KEEP HER FROM CRASHING TO A PAINFUL AND TOTALLY NASTY DEATH EXCEPT FOR A HUGE AND POSSIBLY ALIEN BALLOON, YOU'RE STILL JUST TOTALLY JEALOUS OF HER PERFECT BEAUTIFUL FRANCE LIFE. It's like that. Except for I really like this song and it just makes me feel happy. So yeah, basically nothing like what I said before.


Friday, 26 March 2010

RIP Sean Stewart of HTRK

Longtime readers of this blog know that HTRK is my favorite new(ish) band. That's an understatement. I love and adore this band's bristling Suicide-influenced synthtacular post-punk. So I am pretty bummed about this. RIP, dude. Your shows and music were/are incredible beyond belief.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Post SXSW Slow Motion Replay: Vol 1

I said this would be Vol. 1 so in case I get lazy next week, I can submit Vol. 2. You like how I did that? I took something with hardly any effort--listing bands I saw at SXSW last week--and made if even lazier! Clearly this is the work of a master.

So anyways, I was at SXSW last week for my sixth time. I am very proud of that, although I can't really say why. Congrats, me, I've been somewhere a lot! I gained 5 lbs in enchilada weight, partied at the creepy elegant Driskill Hotel, and swam in my precious, beloved indoor/outdoor pool. And now I am soooooo exhausted and hermit-y that all I wanna do is sit by myself and watch Mad Men and Twin Peaks on DVD. WEIRD. I am almost never hermit-y. Anyways, here are some of the bands I saw and liked apart from the ones mentioned last week (most of which I did end up seeing).

Zola Jesus
I can't stop listening to the song "Night." Plus all of her album artwork is amazing and makes me wish I was in her band. (Pictured above.)

A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Have I talked about this band before? I don't know. And Mad Men Season 3 is calling so I am not gonna look. Anyways, this band kinda reminds me of late Cocteau Twins. Which is weird b/c I looooove early Cocteau Twins but can't really get down with the later stuff...but I think this band is great.

You may be shocked to find that I don't spend my life constantly buying vintage clothes and skulking around graveyards hoping to meet someone else who shares my deep and undying love of Nick Cave. That is just not true. You see, I also love my dirty French rap. (Yes, I just read Uffie's wikipedia and found out she's based in France, not actually French...but I'm gonna say it anyway. Just this one last time. Gotta watch Mad Men not police the facts.) Anyways, "Ready to Uff" and "Hot Chick" are hot jams.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Annual SXSW Roundup: Via Tania, Lissie, Liars, Blessure Grave, and Ya Ho Wa 13

Spring is in the air here in Minneapolis. It's the time of the year when all the people you thought might have died and been eaten by their cats all winter reappear from their seclusion and prove you totally, joyfully wrong. It's a time when you can walk to bars without fear of falling on ice or just straight up being super cold. And so now, on this the cusp of the seasons, I am getting the hell away for the yearly magic that is...South By Southwest. And thus it is time for the Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne Annual SXSW Roundup. Yee haw!!!

Here are some bands I want to see at SXSW. I am not going to type out when they are appearing because my carpal tunnel, she is a-ragin'. Margaritas! Enchiladas! Iced lattes! And an overwhelming impression that everyone walking past you might JUST MIGHT be hot b/c you're drunk and a higher than average percentage of people are not wearing the Mpls Dude Uniform (i.e. flannel. It never stopped being the 80s/90s here.) We salute you, indie rock spring break!

Ya Ho Wa 13
Ya Ho Wa 13 is a psychedelic rock band from the 70s who were (are?) also part of a religious cult/commune with its own vegetarian restaurant. I think that's really all anyone needs to know. Rumours are circulating that they'll be playing with Husker Du's Grant Hart. YES.

I love Liars! But you already knew that. I was super excited to see that they had been added to the roster. I also read some interview when I was bored at work where the band cited Nathaniel West's Day of the Locust as one of the sort of inspirations behind their new album, Sisterworld. I love that book!!! OMG LOL we have sooo much in common.

Via Tania
I can't explain what it is that kinda gets me about this Australian-born Chicagoan's delicate songs. Watch this video. You might not "get" it right away, but cooking has never ever seemed so enchanted. You almost expect a unicorn to pop out of there and be all like, "Hey do you want me to stir something? Ooh, looks like the water's boiling." Truly the most culinary-minded of the mythic beasts, they are. Also "Fields" on her MySpace page is good, too. Also: our girl looks a bit like Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks so I am automatically in love with her. (That's her in the picture above, looking slightly less Audrey and more Bat for Lashes.)

Lissie is on Fat Possum. Some of her songs are getting a lot of play on radio here, but I don't really like those songs that much (possibly mostly because they are super overplayed...who knows.) You know what I do like? Her cover of Hank Williams' "Wedding Bells." Ow!!! Did you just hear that? It was the sound of my heart breaking.

I fancy that I see a bunch of roses/
a blossom from an orange tree in your hair/
and while the organ plays "I love you truly"/
please let me pretend that it's me there

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh my soooooul it is withering and will never be the same. Lissie, why are you doing this to me?? Ok, yes, I will hit repeat.

Blessure Grave
Some people I know don't like Blessure Grave. Those people suck. Indie goth bands 4eva. It is my dream to be in a band where we, too, use blurry photos of ourselves wearing cloaks.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Black Francis + Golem = match made in heaven...or something

Frank Black/Black Francis/whatever his name is scored a 1920s German Expressionist film back in 2008! How cool is that? I love 1920s stuff, The Pixies, and silent films. 2008, eh not so much. But beyond that, how can you lose?

You can't when the aforementioned film is The Golem!!!! Who doesn't wanna watch a film about golems? I'll tell you: CRAZY PEOPLE. You can--after deciding on your level of sanity/how you want to spend the next four minutes--watch a clip below.

And if you're one of 500 lucky people, you can get this fancy boxset thing of Black Francis' work on the film, which originally aired at San Francisco's Castro Theatre.

Here are some details from Pitchfork, which I have quoted in full because I want to go to bed now:

The box is for sale on Francis's website, and there's a whole lot packed into it: Two discs of music taped at the Castro Theatre, two discs recorded in the studio, a DVD with the film synced to Francis's score, photos, and a book with Francis's handwritten notes and music. Eric Drew Feldman, who co-produced Francis's forthcoming LP NonStopErotik, serves as producer. Francis himself is autographing and hand-numbering the boxes, which are limited to 500 copies.

Beach House makes world's greatest holiday, Record Store Day, even better

As frequent readers of this blog will know, there is no greater holiday than RECORD STORE DAY!!!!!!! (Ok, except maybe--definitely--Halloween.) (And also OH SO COINCIDENTALLY, you will know that no band has better press photos than Beach House. Look at 'em! They're having a seance or some shit.) Anyways, Record Store Day is the best because, if you work at a participating record store, not only do you get a commemorative t-shirt, but maybe you, the hungry employee, can prize some complimentary, congealing pizza from the greedy hands (er, I meant splendid hands, WE LOVE YOU!!!!) of a customer. (What? You're there for like 7 hours and you're hungry. That guy has been there for all of fifteen minutes.) And the best part of all is the Record Store Day exclusives.

Last year it was some thing from Jesus Lizard that I did not get but if someone wants to get it for me off of E-bay right now, that would be pretty awesome. This year my personal most coveted RSD exclusive (mostly b/c I haven't heard of anything else yet, but come on, you know I love them) is a Beach House EP entitled Zebra. It contains four tracks, including something called "10 Mile Stereo (Cough Syrup Remix)," and while I have never drank a bottle of cough syrup, I am still totally intrigued by the concept...once you factor in Beach House. (Why? I figure you'd see leprechauns and maybe Three Six Mafia. And also have the added bonus of doing something super trashy. Fascinating!) Anyways, Record Store Day falls on April 17 this year, so that's pretty much your (non-Ebay) day to get this thing. Do it! Because then later you can give it for me when you forget my birthday.


01 Zebra (UK Radio Edit)
02 The Arrangement
03 Baby
04 10 Mile Stereo (Cough Syrup Remix)

Monday, 1 February 2010

I know this video is kind of old, but it's also really good. Maybe you're thinking that the fairly straightforward indie rock of Department of Eagles doesn't really fit with this blog's exclusive Liars/Nick Cave-based news feed. Well, that's where you'd be wrong. (Seriously, that is all I write about. And let me tell you, does it ever draw in the erectile dysfunction spam bots! What are those bots saying about Liars fans? HMMM....)

For one thing, this song is called "No One Does It Like You," and I tend to really like songs about the unparalleled awesomeness of the performer, or the person the performer is singing about. I take it as a personal compliment. (Possibly this is why I have a fondness for mainstream rap. I'm talking about you, Rick Ross' "Magnificent.") As in, "no one does it like you, Alison. No one haphazardly blogs about funny animals and the same three bands like you do, girlfriend. And the way you accidentally cut your bangs too short but then they ended up looking like Penelope Cruz's in Broken Embraces? That's incredible! That would only happen to you." Whoa--Penelope Cruz, you say? MY GIRLFRIEND???? It's true, song, I really am remarkable. Why yes, I WILL press the repeat button.

This is Pene and her hair. Our bangs are JUST EXACTLY ALIKE!!!! But unfortunately that's about where the similarities end.

The other thing awesome about this video is that it was directed by Marcel Dzama and it's a poignant meditation on ghosts at war. Or something like that. Adorable and weird, all in the same place=my kind of video.

Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and friends put their powers together for non-evil

It has been awhile ONCE AGAIN since I posted. This is due to a combination of me being super super busy, suddenly realizing that I can't stop watching Big Love and TERRIBLE TERRIBLE writer's block. Which is why I'm back to writing about music and funny animals; I have to write 5 pages of a screenplay for Thursday (See the "super super busy" comment. I'm taking several classes this winter.) and I figured, "hey, I can write some bullshit about this weird new Nick Cave/Shane MacGowan Haiti benefit single and then I'll stop feeling like there's a Berlin Wall between the part of my brain that should be having thoughts and the part that should be putting them into articulate statements." So behold! Here you go! Ugh, what am I talking about. I promise you that nothing good can come of taking the 2 minutes or however long it takes to read this. You will instantly want that 2 minutes of your life back.

Still reading? Your loss. Anyways, Shane MacGowan of the Pogues/living-with-Pete-Doherty-in-the-most-ridiculous-roommate-pairing-ever fame has assembled an all-star cast of people too cool for Simon Cowle's "Everybody Hurts" Haiti benefit single or that destined-to-be-abysmal remake of "We Are the World" to make A WAY BETTER CHARITY SINGLE. (Seriously, "We Are the World" people. Haven't Haitians suffered enough????) The single of choice is a cover of Screaming Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You," which is obviously a pretty fantastic song. Rumored participants include MacGowan himself, DFCC favorite Nick Cave, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and um, Johnny Depp. Because why not? He was so awesome as Hunter S. Thompson.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Some crap I wrote about the Liars new album/tour

I am back to updating the blog, in case you couldn't tell from my drool-covered post about the latest minimal details available concerning the new Swans album/tour. Sorry for the delay. I will try to suck less at updating this...but you and I both already know I will fail. WHAT? Sometimes you wanna go to the bar more than sit alone with your computer. Ok, all the time.

Anyways, you may already know that a new Liars album is in the works. Entitled Sisterworld, and set for a March 9 release on Mute, the album now has the added bonus of some pretty rad artists contributing remixes. People like Thom Yorke, Tunde Adebimpe, Bradford Cox, Chris & Cosey, The Melvins, Blonde Redhead and Alan Vega (who also contributes a duet to the album.) If you wanna get deep into it, check out the new album's website. You can also get a download of Liars' new single "Scissors" there. The site looks pretty awesome but for all I know it could be some next level Myst the game style marketing shit. My computer is being all crazy slow and messed up. (I think it has SAD. This winter is depressing kinda.)

Here's a tracklisting:

No Barrier Fun
Here Comes All The People
Scarecrows On A Killer Slant
I Still Can See An Outside World
Proud Evolution
Drop Dead
The Overachievers
Goodnight Everything
Too Much, Too Much

And here are some tour dates! The "More TBA" better get expanded to a Mpls tour date. Because as has previously been mentioned on this blog, it is my goal to one day marry Angus Andrew in spite of my oft-discussed "I'm never getting married" stance. Dude, I know like five people who became ordained ministers through the internet. We can make this happen. I will love you in spite of your new mustache.

Liars - 2010 Tour Dates
4/10/10 - El Rey Theatre @ Los Angele
4/14/10 - Rock & Roll Hotel @ Washington, DC
4/15/10 - Bowery Ballroom @ NYC
4/16/10 - First Unitarian Church @ Philadelphia
4/17/10 - Paradise @ Boston
4/18/10 - Music Hall of Williamsburg @ Brooklyn
4/27/10 - Slim's @ San Francisco
4/29/10 - Hawthorne Theatre @ Portland, OR
4/30/10 - Venue @ Vancouver, BC
5/1/10 - Neumos @ Seattle
More TBA

New Swans! New Swans! OMG!

It's a 2010 miracle! Today Michael Gira, or his intern, or whoever updates the Swans MySpace page changed the band's display name from "Swans Are Dead" to "Swans Are Not Dead." Like a hard-rockin' phoenix rising from the ashes of the late 90s, the group's reformation announcement has sparked a light of nihilistic hope (???) in my icy goth heart.

A new song, "Jim," is available for your listening pleasure on the aforementioned MySpace page. It and several other acoustic versions of tracks that are being considered for the new Swans album will be available on a super limited (1000 copies only) release called I Am Not Insane, which also includes a DVD of two live Gira performances. This is a homemade release. YEAH THAT'S RIGHT MICHAEL GIRA IS SITTING ON THE FLOOR IN HIS LIVING ROOM RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW SEWING UP THE LITTLE PAPER SLEEVES AND CUTTING OUT PICTURES FROM FASHION MAGAZINES TO USE IN COLLAGES FOR YOUR VERY OWN PERSONAL ALBUM. I know because I put a camera in his house.

This release, which will be available from Young God Records, goes towards defraying the cost of recording the new Swans album.

But what I'm really excited for is...TOURING. Yes, tours (multiple) have been promised.

In addition to M. Gira, the following people have signed on:

Norman Westberg – Guitar (original swans)
Christophj Hahn – Guitar (mid period swans and most angels)
Phil Puleo – Drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc (final swans tour and most angels)
Chris Pravdica – Bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din)
Thor Harris, Drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, etc etc... (angels, now also with shearwater)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

SXSW 2010 woooooooooooo!!!! Um, let me tone that down a little.

OK. I'm skipping town today for that family holiday where my family makes fun of me for being a vegetarian and helpfully suggests, "Have a dinner roll! There's six different kinds of Jello!" So this post is a race against time. I have 18--no 17 minutes--in which to wash my water glass, use the bathroom, and make a brief, futile attempt at humor in this post, the only post I will be making this week because the internet we steal from our neighbors has been suspiciously on the fritz and frankly I plan on spending the whole extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend boozing it up, reading a book, and going to that new movie where foxes dress like English country gentleman. (You dress up anything like an English country gentleman and I'm guaranteed to love it. Including English country gentlemen, although mainly I'm talking about voles and dormice and stuff. Except for (people-wise) Bridey in Brideshead Revisited. He was just a TOOL.)

So I'm just going to link to THE FIRST ROUND OF BANDS LISTED FOR SXSW 2010. I KNOW YOU'RE EXCITED. YOU'RE THINKING "OMG, THIS IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY GOOD LAZY, LAST-MINUTE POST." Yeah, well, you'll stop thinking that when you click on the link. I haven't heard of most of these bands, which is weird for me, and I don't particularly feel like I've been paying rent to live under a rock. So if you guys have any suggestions as to which of these bands I should've heard of, I'm all for it. Suggest away!! Eh, Acid Mothers Temple is always cool.

Friday, 6 November 2009

New Liars album allegedly happening

So, this is barely news (it's distinctly lacking in "facts"), but I don't care because I love the band Liars and I have this creepy--let's call it an "interest"--in lead singer Angus Andrews. Because, as previously mentioned, I think he looks like a young Nick Cave and sometimes he wears a white suit and you know, again, it's like that Pet Shop Boys song I quoted on my funny animal blog:

Love comes quickly/
whatever you do/
you can't stop falling/
ahhhh-oooo ahhhh-ooo

It's like that.

So rumor is that Liars have a new album, based on the "cryptic" appearance of this website. And purportedly this album, presumably titled Sisterworld, will be coming out early next year on Mute. WOW! Information Overload!!!!! Let's hope this means a tour...a tour into MY BEDROOM!!!!!!!!!! Oh dip.

Peter Murphy, nooooooooooooo!!!!

Pitchfork is reporting that Peter Murphy of Bauhaus has signed on to play a hard-working city cop torn between the blue collar camaraderie of his urban Philadelphia squad and his secret life as a super flamboyant Miley Cyprus impersonator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!/interior decorator in the next Twilight movie. Not the one that's out or coming out now (sorry, I don't keep track, sometimes I just see the previews when I'm watching highbrow ADULT entertainment like, um Gossip Girl.) The next one. And of course I made all that crap up. He's playing...a vampire. OF COURSE.

Dude, I love you, but do you have to be the vampire-on-call? Murphy also appeared in The Hunger, which for obvious Catherine Deneuve/David Bowie/it was the 80s reasons, was way cooler. Oh hey, um, Peter, I'm hosting a spooooky Halloween party at my house next year, do you think you could portray a vampire? JK, Peter, I love you!!! But still.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Yay! Halloween Videos from Screaming Jay, Screaming Lord Sutch, and um, Nick Cave

Okay. This is it. I am satisfied. I have found my Halloween post. And if I do say so myself, I am rather pleeeeeased with my selections.

Dear UK friends:

"Rediscovered 60s garage psych blah blah blah guy" Rodriguez is coming to visit you! What an enchanting holiday season it will be. But enough about that.

I'm really miffed that I couldn't come up with any spooooky Halloween news, or even a video, to post today. I mean, I think I posted the video for the batacular (Get it? Like "spectacular" but with the word "bat"? Yikes, the fact that I wrote that bums me out possibly even more than it does you. But I gotta turn the Halloween factor up to 5,000 in this post SOMEHOW.) awesome Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's Dead last year or maybe two years ago, so what else can even compare? OK, I'm gonna find something. ANYTHING Halloweeny.

12.07.09 - Manchester, England - Deaf Institute
12.08.09 - Bristol, England - Thekla
12.09.09 - London, England - Union Chapel

Two great things that will be evident from this post: 1) I have rediscovered how to keep images from turning into giant close-ups of nothingness that go off the page and are usually like, people's arms or a guitar fret or something, anything, that is not what I chose the picture to convey and 2)Marissa Nadler is touring!

I first heard of Marissa when I was living in London and decided to check her out because the description in Time Out sounded vaguely like it might be cool. Again, this is one of those artists I figured was all hype and wouldn't resonate with me at all, but WOW was I totally wrong b/c now I absolutely love her and am eagerly awaiting November 18 when she comes here on her tour with Alela Diane. See? I am so into it that I MEMORIZED THE DATE. (Yeah, I know that's not exactly impressive. What can I say? I am counting down the hours till I can leave work and start doing Halloweekend activities. My brain is dried up.)

Marissa's latest, Little Hells is a continuation of all the stuff that's fantastic about her: haunting melodies, depressing songs about people who sound like they all lived during the Depression and worked on a carnival or possibly a traveling medicine show. (So yeah, basically now that I think about it, my entire imagination is just a replay of early 90s teen girl slumber party fave Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. Weird.) The fun thing about updating my blog at work is that I can't post music links, though,so you'll just have to google that shit on your own.

10.30.09 - La Jolla, CA - The Loft
11.01.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
11.03.09 - Austin, TX - The Cactus Cafe
11.04.09 - Fort Worth, TX - The Fort Worth Modern Museum
11.05.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Chelseas
11.06.09 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
11.07.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
11.09.09 - Carrboro, NC - Arts Center
11.10.09 - Washington DC - DC9
11.11.09 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe
11.13.09 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
11.14.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
11.15.09 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa
11.16.09 - Toronto, ON - Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
11.17.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas
11.18.09 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
11.20.09 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
11.21.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Nick Cave FACTS revealed

Did you like how I did that? All Inside Edition style? I led you to believe I have exclusive facts--which I do--facts "gleaned" from Pitchfork. You just experienced shoddy journalism in action!

Here's what's going on with Mr. Nick:

-Just released a new novel, The Death of Bunny Munro. Someone let me know how it is, as I am trying to save money/have been reading the same 800+ page book forever because I like going out too much to actually stay in and read it and so I can't afford/have time for a new book, even Nick's. (The book I'm reading is Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country. In case you were wondering, I love every single one of the aforementioned 800 pages. Swoon!)

-He has teamed up with John Hillcoat, director of the Cave-pennedThe Proposition and the Grinderman videos PLUS MORE, to write a new screenplay. But don't take it from me! "I've written another film script for John Hillcoat for a new movie. It's from a book called The Wettest County in the World, and it's set in the depression," he says. GREAT! I love Nick Cave. I love books about the Depression. And I have a lingering feeling that SO DOES NICK CAVE. Wow. We have SO MUCH IN COMMON. We're both Virgos, too, in case you forgot!

-I told my best friend that the only way I'd ever get married is if a) I could rent peacocks and that monkey and organ grinder that does events on the East Coast and b)if Nick Cave would officiate the ceremony. I also told her that "I bet he would because it seems weird." I wonder how many crazed superfans have already requested for Nick to join them in holy matrimony....I guess this technically isn't anything Nick Cave did. It's something I said whilst on a roadtrip. MEH.

-He did the soundtrack for the upcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

-The work he and Warren Ellis have done on some recent soundtracks (The Road, The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesses James by the Hot Coward Portrayed By Casey Affleck in an Uncharacteristically Hot Role, as well as some little known documentaries like The English Surgeon and The Girls of Phnom Penh is now available in one place, the 3-disc compilation White Lunar.

In support of his new book and such, Nick and co are heading out on a very limited tour. :-(

10-11 London, England - Palace Theatre
10-12 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street
10-13 Edinburgh, Scotland - Picture House
10-14 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Royal Theater Carre
10-15 Antwerp, Belgium - Arenbergschouwburg
10-19 Paris, France - Theatre Marigny
10-20 Stockholm, Sweden - China Theatre
10-22 Milan, Italy - Teatro Dal Verme
10-24 Barcelona, Spain - Casino Alianca Poble Nou
10-25 London, England - Palace Theatre

Also, for those of you who are wondering, the 2nd glass of absinthe is going pretty well. Nothing exciting yet. BUT WHO KNOWS BY THE TIME I GET TO THE POINT WHERE I START UPDATING OMGWHATISTHAT.BLOGSPOT.COM.

Oh dip another trip-hop story: Massive Attack remixes Burial

I mentioned in the last post that I was consuming a glass of absinthe because it was the only cocktail sort of thing I had in the house. I also mentioned how I deserve to be enjoying a nice stiff drink before 10:30pm (my usual going out time) because I cleaned the bathroom tonight. I did not mention before that work was not the bestest today. So you see, I deserve it even more! And yes, laugh it up all you want that I am sitting here posting about all this gothy trip-hop/post-punk stuff (and in like 30 min, funny animals and drinking absinthe. I will make no excuses for myself! (Except for the 5 or so I already did.)


But also, I shall proceed. Because, as you see, I have yet another trip-hop themed story, this time about Massive Attack. That's all well and good (I like Massive Attack, but have never, say, HUGGED a member, or even seen the group perform. See previous post.) but the fact that MA is remixing Burial makes this story a true score.

The thing is, see, that Massive Attack has a new album coming out next year. It features contributions from the likes of Hope Sandoval, Damon Albarn, Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio, in case you can't remember), Tim Goldsworthy of the DFA and Guy Garvey aka the guy from Elbow. And now it's getting the Burial treatment a la Mad Professor's No Protection rework of Massive Attack's Protection album. AND IT'S NOT EVEN OUT YET. It's's like...magic! Yes, it's like magic. No word yet on when the album, or the Burial remix thing come out, though.

Wait, what? A NEW new Portishead album?

I am going to New Orleans next week for my oldest friend's wedding, so I won't be updating either this blog or my funny animal blog, OMG What Is That? dot blogspot dot com. I will, however, be writing three stories this week. WOW! Contain your excitement, please!

Let's lead off with a story about the love of my high school life, Portishead. I have both a) shaken vocalist Beth Gibbon's hand and b) given her a frankly pretty giddy hug outside a solo show in like, 2003. I will tell you about both at length if I've been drinking, but not here because I sound like an ultra nerd. (Although technically I guess I am drinking now; I am having a glass of--wait for it--absinthe, which I bought, coincidentally, while drunk, and now it's the only cocktaily thing I have in the house and I just cleaned the bathroom and it was kinda gross so I deserve it.) BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT. I saw Portishead a couple years back when they curated the Christmas ATP in Minehead, England, which was one of their first shows for the long-awaited Third album. As expected, it was amazing. And now they are working on another album! Portishead member Geoff Barrow (whom I have also met, although not hugged) told the BBC that "we're going to start writing [the album] and if all goes well it could be [out] in a year's time." The group is currently without a label, and Barrow keeps dropping cryptic comments about how it'll get released. My guess: minidisc.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

WFMU Fest: Teenage Jesus, Faust, Pissed Jeans and more this very weekend

So there's this festival in New York this weekend. And Teenage Jesus and the Jerks are playing, along with Faust and Pissed Jeans. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just like last year when I really wanted to go to Pop Montreal because Nick Cave was playing, but I couldn't because I do not live in Montreal and oh, I am soooo poooor, and so I just talked and talked about it for so long that it just kind of made me depressed. Except for this time, with this festival, I will probably forget about it because right now I have TMZ on really loud in the background (yeah, that's right, I said TMZ; I'm too lazy to get up and change the I love that Hardcore Surfer guy. So irreverent! So many Black Flag shirts!) But until that time, behold the small yet mighty line-up and ohhhh maaaan I don't know what it is, but I just cannot look away from this TV show. I am learning so much about Lady GaGa. So much more than I evvvver wanted to know.

RJD2 readies new album, provides first non-Bat for Lashes-oriented post of the past 2 months

I figured I should write about something for once that didn't involve Nick Cave or Bat for Lashes. Something that didn't involve screaming or just moping. Something that would make it seem like I have a personality--a multi-faceted one, no less--and am not just some dour, 80s nostalgia-fueled young female record nerd who just happens to really like teen drama (GOSSIP GIRL 4EVA!!!) and funny animals. So imagine my delight when I read about this new RJD2 album.

I've been a big proponent of RJ ever since his phenomenal 2002 debut Deadringer hit the radiowaves. I've gone to almost all his shows (including the kinda horrible one I went to where some dude grabbed my ass and so I spit on his foot--I was like, 20!!! (Or maybe, erp, 21.) I thought I was PUNK ROCK. And no foot--spit contact actually happened, by the way. This is also the show where some dude from indie rap group Hangar 18 (or some dude impersonating a dude from indie rap group Hangar 18) gave me a drink and said, "Now you can say someone from Hangar 18 bought you a drink," as if "Hangar 18" was equivocal to--oh...say...Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick and "a drink" to a magical, wish-granting unicorn that smells like cotton candy. ANYWAYS.) So yes, anyways. I'm pumped to hear that the man has an upcoming album, entitled The Colossus. Slated for a January 19 release on his new RJ's Electrical Connections label, the album features guest vocals from the likes of Little Brother rapper Phonte Coleman and Kenna. It also features a track called "Giant Squid." (Is there any other kind???)

01 Let There Be Horns
02 Games You Can Win [ft. Kenna]
03 Giant Squid
04 Salud 2
05 The Glow
06 A Spaceship for Now
07 The Shining Path [ft. Phonte Coleman]
08 Crumbs Off the Table [ft. Aaron Livingston]
09 A Son’s Cycle [ft. the Catalyst, Illogic, NP]
10 Tin Flower [ft. Heather Fortune]
11 Small Plans
12 Gypsy Caravan
13 The Stranger
14 Walk With Me

Friday, 25 September 2009

Did I already write about the next Future of the Left tour? If I did, OH WELL

You know, I thought I had written about this, but it turns out I had not. Which--while it may later come back to bite me in that "oh, if only I had scrolled down a little bit more I would've seen that I HAD actually written about this oh dip" sorta way--is also kinda awesome because it's 5:13 on a Friday and I have 17 min before work is done (and I go to Work Part Deux, but that's another story), and I really need to write something on this blog before I run out of time with a reliable internet connection.

So here ya go. Future of the Left, everyone's favorite loud young Welsh band (and a direct descendant of everyone's favorite now defunct loud young Welsh band Mclusky) is back on tour here in the ol' USA. I saw them this summer in St. Paul, and let me tell you it was WOW. It was just that--not mindblowing, not a sonic assault, just WOW. (And, like all of those things, too.)

Go see them! Their newest album Travels with Myself and Another is out on 4AD. And you'll have to find yer own MySpace link, sorry: I can't do that here at work.


10.08.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda *
10.09.09 - San Diego, CA - Casbah *
10.10.09 - Visalia, CA - Cellar Door *
10.11.09 - San Francisco, CA - Independent *
10.12.09 - Portland, OR - Dante’s *
10.13.09 - Seattle, WA - Neumos *
10.14.09 - Vancouver, BC - Venue *
10.16.09 - Edmonton, ALB - Starlite *
10.17.09 - Calgary, ALB - Warehouse *
10.19.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge *
10.20.09 - Denver, CO - Bluebird *
10.23.09 - Oklahoma City, OK - Conservatory *
10.24.09 – Austin, TX - Beauty Bar
10.26.09 – Atlanta, GA - 529 Club
10.28.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
10.29.09 – Washington, DC - DC9
10.30.09 – Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
11.01.09 – Boston, MA - TT The Bears
11.02.09 – Montreal, PQ - Zoobizarre
11.03.09 – Toronto, ON - El Mocambo
11.05.09 – Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
11.06.09 – Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry
11.07.09 – Madison, WI - Annex

* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead