Lissie has been playing a few new songs on her fall tour dates which come from her upcoming album My Wild West, which she announced today will be out on 2/12/2016. She’s already put a number of pre-order packages up on her online store which include orange vinyl, CD, a signed poster or a teeshirt and combinations of these. My Wild West represents the first full-length release on Lissie’s own Lionboy imprint which was also the home for her last EP of covers Cryin’ To You. The last couple of shows that I caught she was reenforcing the point that she is completely independent now, and really if anyone can pull this off with her collected base of fans worldwide, she should.
As part of the announcement today, she debuted a video for a new song from My Wild West, “Hero.” I had already heard two songs during the fall tour– one called “Ojai” which is the farewell song to her former home. She’s moving to NE Iowa! The other song is “Sun Keeps Rising” which is a tribute to her late aunt and is a gorgeous song I can’t wait to hear fleshed out on the album.
The video for “Hero” is pretty fun– made from footage shot by the filmmaker back in 1983! If you pre-order the new album, you get this song as a digital download.
The reunion of The Black Keys with Dangermouse Turn Blue came out in May. The Auerbach-produced sophomore Lana Del Rey album Ultraviolence came out this month.
In less high-profile work, Auerbach produced the new album from Nashville native Nikki Lane who fancies herself a “modern era Wanda Jackson” (what her website says). (Note: the actual Wanda Jackson is on Jack White’s Third Man Records!) Aside from that hype, Lane’s album is really good and benefited from Auerbach’s production and participation.
L.A. retro rock band The Black Tibetans packed up their dusty motorcycle leathers and flew to Nashville to work with Auerbach on their new 2-track single aptly-titled The Nashville Session.
Auerbach’s lo-fi leanings are a perfect fit for The Black Tibetans and the gear-jamming amphetamine fueled punk of “You’re Cold” lays this in spades. Check out the video for “You’re Cold” which serves as a document of the trip. The band is shown in the studio with Auerbach (who puts a signature guitar riff on the song) and checking out the local vintage shops in Nashville.
Red House Records recording artists and former Iowa City band The Pines are returning to the big stage at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, February 4th.
The Pines were here just last September as the third act to play the newly re-opened CSPS which had gone under a very extensive remodeling and updating over the previous year. The picture above is from that show.
This time the band is back as part of a tour supporting the release of the band’s fourth album Dark So Gold which came out this week and has already drawn some critical praise for its uniquely moody atmospheric approach to folk blues.
A first for the band– a video has been produced for the song “Cry Cry Crow” from Dark So Gold. Written and directed by Andre Durand who also did the “Calgary” video for Bon Iver, it captures the mysterious vibe of the song well. I hope the band will continue making videos!
The Pines will be hitting the Legion Arts CSPS Hall stage at 8PM. Tickets are $11 in advance and $15 at the door. Click Here to visit the Legion Arts website for more details.
This Saturday, March 5th brings to the Mill Restaurant in Iowa City former V2 Records singer-songwriter Charlie Mars. Charlie is wrapping up a run of dates that started at the beginning of February of East Coast and Midwest dates in support of his latest album Like A Bird, Like A Plane which came out in 2009. The bio on Mars’s site says that Like A Bird, Like A Plane is almost a “new debut.” While this album is his 5th release dating back to his 1996 album Broken Arrow.
The path to his major label release in 2004 on V2 Records (now folded– once home to The White Stripes and Moby) was an uneven one. The 150-dates-per-year touring over three years took a toll on him resulting in needing to enter rehab for substance abuse. Following that he split for Sweden choosing to recluse himself in obscurity. But, it was this move that allowed him to watershed the material that would become his self-titield major label debut in 2004. The major label backing gave his career the necessary re-launching. “I had no manager, no band, I hadn’t toured for about two years – I thought my career was done,” he says.
V2 gave him the radio exposure, backing and critical praise. That ride ended in 2006 when V2 shuttered forcing Mars to reassess his career and start the daunting prospect of a follow up to what was his most successful release. He headed to Austin to assemble a band to record Like A Bird, Like A Plane.
The release has been out for over a year at this point and Mars spent most of 2010 touring in support of it. As I listen to the release, it strikes me as a solidly written and composed album. The album has a stripped down, acoustic approach with an almost Dub-like dissasembled percussion. The album is scattered with studio chatter and starts and stops that give the album a feel of immediacy and live performance. This is substantiated by the fact that Mars says that they tended to use the first takes and left in the “happy accidents” generated as they worked through the recordings.
The standout track for me is the slightly tongue-in-cheek “Listen to the Darkside” with its double entendre use of “darkside” to mean both the classic Pink Floyd record and possibly the advice of the narrator in the middle of a relationship. The song was featured in an episode of the made-for-Showtime series “Weeds” and benefits from a music video that features”Weeds” star Mary Louise Parker.
Charlie Mars will be performing at The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City on Saturday, March 5th at 9PM tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Charlie House opens.
If last night’s Grammies shows us anything, it is that music that draws inspiration from the rich history of 70’s and 80’s Pop music is always going to be popular. Arcade Fire owes a lot to Springsteen, I think Lady Gaga should write Madonna a check for her new single “Born This Way” which is almost a direct rip of “Express Yourself.” John Legend and the Roots took home a trophy for an album of 70’s R&B covers.
Last year, I posted a couple of articles about another artist that puts her unique spin on her 70’s and 80’s new wave, soul and funk influences, Bay Area-based singer Karyn Paige. Her slamming single “Want To” and the follow up EP, known simply as the KP EP got a lot of play for me last year and I will admit that the “Want To” single sounds like it came right out of Prince’s stable of musicians when he held court in Minneapolis.
Karyn, along with video director and editor Justin Berger (who also does the popular Lyrics Born LBTV installments) and her backing band The Scoundrels (Joe Bagale (drums/vox), Matt Berkeley (keyboards), Chris McGee (bass/vox) and Teeko (keyboards/turntables)) visited Soundwave Studios for three days of shooting that make up the debut video for “Want To” Karyn’s smoky and funky testament to a paramour. The video makes its premier here, appropriately enough on Valentines Day!
The video showcases the singer by providing a number of different settings with and without the band. The video is clearly influenced by classic videos of the era she draws her inspiration but with updated video effects. This is a great song, and this video should prove to be an effective calling card for her.
Karyn’s great wardrobe in the video was custom made by Gracie Ginian.
The video premiered for the first time ever at Beta Lounge in Berkeley, CA just this past Saturday (Feb 12th) along with a special performance by Karyn and some of her friends (Aima the Dreamer, Dublin, Teeko, DJ Tap.10)
So, here for your enjoyment– I present “Want To” by Karyn Paige!
Margaret Stutt who goes by the nom d’cordion Pezzettino has collaborated with Milwaukee-based producer LMNtylist on her follow up to her 2009 release Lion. Titled LubDub, it is a 10-track EP of, well– I guess they are love songs. Well, maybe not all of them are love songs, but certainly they are related to love and appear to be roughly arranged in a timeline of a love affair that is having some fits and starts getting off the ground.
Originally the follow up to the moody, serrated toothiness of Lion was supposed to be a kinder, gentler album to be titled Lamb. In December of 2008 she posted the track listing for both releases on Facebook. When Miss Pezz blew through the Midwest last Fall it would appear that she had already moved into the mental space of Lamb in preparation for recording that album. By that time she had recorded the lead track for Lamb– the insanely catchy “You Never Know” which kind of took on a life of its own with its joyous video and vinyl 7″ release– each with a custom cover done by Milwaukee artist Dwellephant. For that Fall tour she’d already been performing “You Never Know,” “Hunting Season,” and “Falling Down” all songs that seemed fully formed and ready for the album. She also played a new song that was a quick favorite for me– “Where’d Ya Go.”
Anyone who knows Margaret well knows that she is constantly catering to her muse– typically recording inspired fragments of song anywhere and anytime they show up– many songs were written behind the wheel of her now-departed Civic on the long drives between the gigs on tour. It was a collection of these fragments that she gave to Milwaukee HipHop producer LMNTylist who was interested in trying his hand producing some pop songs. When she stopped through Cedar Rapids in January she played me the rough mixes that she had just received. I was at once shocked and excited at what I’d heard– the lead off track for LubDub “Replay” was pretty much cemented at that point as was “Cold Hard Chick.” This was a dramatically different direction for Pezzettino– she had given over to the production and the resulting songs still showed the fun and humor typically found in her music, but now had rhythm and were… funky!
The album pulls from a number of different influences ranging from the Reggae/Dub of the title track, to more the Jazzy “Only One” and “She Deserves” to the DooWop spin of “Replay” to a more “classic” Pezz piano track in “For You and Your Headaches.” Here is a video Margaret shot of a street mural painter that uses “Only One” as its soundtrack:
So, maybe it is fitting that the more mild-mannered Lamb would be quickly replaced by a more determined and immediate electronic release in LubDub. I guess the chops of Lamb will get to spend some more time slow cooking.
LubDub will be available for download on September 7th and on 12″ colored vinyl later this fall. Pezzettino has a Kickstarter drive going to attempt to raise the $1000 needed to press the vinyl. After an impressive week, she has raised over half of the funds and, at the time of this writing, still has over 30 days to go! Donations range from $1 to $1000 and have varying levels of perks at each level. Any donation over $15 gets you some copy of LubDub with pledges over $20 getting you the vinyl and the CD version of it along with four bonus tracks. Other levels get you things like cookies, her dress from the “You Never Know” video, private performance, or the ability to determine the next cover songs in her popular cover series. Click on the kickstarter widget below to see what your options are to help get this great release out.
The fantastically appropriate album art (shown above) was done by LittleTinyFish.
There are two release shows– one in each of her hometowns:
Milwaukee: September 11th at Turner Hall with Mondo Lucha, 8PM Brooklyn: October 14th at Cameo Gallery, 9PM
In the middle of these shows is a quick run of the Midwest that includes stops in DeKalb (9/12), Iowa City (9/15 at The Blue Moose Tap Room), Omaha (9/16), Des Moines (9/18 at Vaudeville Mews) and Boulder, CO (9/23). Visit her MySpace Page to keep up to date on this tour. This tour is going to be the first time in a while she has toured with a small band– so I’m looking forward to these shows!
Track Listing for LubDub:
2. She Deserves
3. Cold Hard Chick
4. Only One
5. Intermezzo I
6. Lub Dub
7. Where’d Ya Go
8. Intermezzo II
9. For You and Your Headaches
10. I Did Not Use Those Words Yesterday
Yesterday Thrill Jockey announced that they are making the Tortoise track “Ice Ice Gravy” available for download for $1.00 from Fina– their online download service. To date, “Ice Ice Gravy” was only available in the U.S. as part of the iTunes version of Beacons of Ancestorship. Outside the U.S. it is available as a bonus track on the Japanese pressing of Beacons of Ancestorship as well as what appears to be a Japanese tour EP release in May titled Why Waste Time?
According to Dan Bitney in this interview with popmatters.com he track “Ice Ice Gravy” is a 13-minute pastiche of some improvisational work Tortoise did to get inspiration while starting the recordings for what would become Beacons. From the interview at popmatters:
“It was more like experimenting,” he explains, “And we really didn’t get anything out of it. We were doing a lot of improv, just kind of set up a roomful of stuff. It wasn’t focused at all. We weren’t necessarily bringing in song ideas, we were just doing what I would describe as improv experiments. So we started out doing something like that and then we’d say, ‘Oh gee, what the hell are we doing? Is this going to work?’”
According to the article, some of these sessions are in “Ice Ice Gravy.” Ultimately, these sessions were scrapped in favor of the songs that would become Beacons. But, don’t dismiss “Ice Ice Gravy” as a mere toss-away track. It is an interesting view into the creative process that Tortoise works to make their albums.
While I was looking for the interview with Bitney where he talked about “Ice Ice Gravy” I stumbled upon a new Tortoise release titled Why Waste Time?! This is a Japan-only EP released on Commmons Records, which is a label started by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Judging by the little bit of English on the website it appears that Commmons has a relationship with Thrill Jockey to do the Japanese releases of their catalog.
Why Waste Time? contributes the cover art to the download of “Ice Ice Gravy” shown above and is a pretty cool release as it has three tracks not on the U.S. Beacons release (including “Ice Ice Gravy”), one of the Remixes from the recent Beacons Remixes 12″ and has some video content as well! Here is the tracklist:
3. Gigantes Version – Mark Ernestus
4. Ice Ice Gravy
CD Extra Video Content:
1. Charteroak Foundation (Live in Japan, 2009)
2. Seneca (Live in Japan, 2009)
3. Prepare Your Coffin (Music Video)
Updated! Thrill Jockey is carrying the CD for Why Waste Time? for $17!Click Here to order.
Click Here to listen to and purchase “Ice Ice Gravy” for $1.00. Click Here to see the Why Waste Time? page at Commmons
Lyrics Born released another new free download from the upcoming As U Were— a reunion of sorts with Lateef the Truth Speaker called “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart.” The track is an interesting sort of 80’s-inspired head bobber featuring the distinctive rapping and vocals from LB and Lateef. I liked the first track “leaked” “Funky Hit Records,” but this track has summer jam written all over it.
The first track off of As U Were offered as a free download was “Funky Hit Records” back in March. That song got a video, and so does this one, and it’s directed by Raphael LaMotta from ApSci who incidentally have a new album out as well.
The video and MP3 were shared via Urb this morning. I’ve listened to the track about a dozen times already!
One of the great records of this year for me is the new Wendy & Lisa joint White Flags of Winter Chimneys. It is a self-released record, and the promotion and distribution is handled by their little-but-mighty camp. Talking with them earlier this year I could get the sense that this release and their truly-independent approach to managing their careers was going to be a developing blueprint that other acts could look to for inspiration. They twitter, they blog, they podcast, they Facebook, they Amazon.com.
Today they released the video to the rawking “Salt & Cherries (MC5)” which features Wendy & Lisa in a live setting interspersed with fans lip-synching to the song. They asked for submissions from fans and they apparently got some really creative results!
The “Cult of Personality” is back with its first new album in five years. For those who weren’t paying attention to Living Colour (and admittedly I wasn’t after 1993) the band reunited in 2000 after a five-year separation due to the old “creative differences.” In 2003 the band recorded their comeback Collideøscope for the now-defunct Sanctuary Records. On September 15, 2009 the band is releasing the follow-up album called Chair in the Doorway on their new home– Megaforce— a label known primarily for its Heavy Metal catalog which includes Anthrax, Metallica and Ministry as well as non-Metal acts like Warren Haynes and the Meat Puppets.
At the time of Living Colour’s debut 1988 album– the Grammy-winning Vivid– the band was considered very unconventional as most African American music groups in the US were either Hip Hop acts or R&B. In fact, I guess things haven’t changed much, which is ironic considering Rock and Roll’s beginnings. Even with the big steps in heavier rock made by Jimi Hendrix and to a lesser extent maybe bands like Thin Lizzy and Parliament Funkadelic the area of African American Rock Musicians is still pretty sparse. Even following the huge success of Vivid and its smash single “The Cult of Personality” the band was considered more of a curiosity than anything.
Curiosity or not, Living Colour’s success certainly paved the way for rockers like Lenny Kravitz and Rage Against the Machine as well as Body Count.
The band met in Prague in Fall of 2008 and Spring of 2009 to start writing the material that would become Chair in the Doorway. In a similar fashion to their previous albums, the songs run the gamut of styles ranging from heavy rock to blues and soul. “We feel like this is the best record we’ve made yet and couldn’t be mroe excited to be releasing it on the legendary Megaforce Records,” says guitarist Vernon Reid.
The band will be announcing plans for a world tour with dates to start in September.
1. Burned Bridges
2. The Chair
4. Young Man
6. Behind the Sun
7. Bless Those
8. Hard Times
9. Taught Me
10. Out of Mind
11. Not Tomorrow