News flash for our friends beyond North America : Spoon’s classic ‘Gimme Fiction’ celebrates its 10th anniversary with a deluxe limited-edition version on 180g double-LP, double-CD, released on Matador in early 2016 (Merge‘s domestic version will be available on December 11, as will Matador’s digital download version). The reissue (released by Merge in 2005 and licensed/simultaneously released by Matador for territories outside of North America) contains the original album newly-remastered by Howie Weinberg from the original tapes, a second disc with 12 previously unreleased demos from the era, a digital download of nine additional bonus tracks, and a full-color book containing photos and an extensive oral history of the making of the album by The A.V. Club’s Sean O’Neal. The deluxe LP package will also include a 24″ x 36″ poster and a digital download of all songs.
(photo by Tom Hines)
‘Gimme Fiction’ dragged the sonic pointillism of Kill the Moonlight further into dub-influenced weirdness as the increasingly confident Spoon went crazy in the studio, experimenting with everything from warped hip-hop samples to horse whinnies. Whatever digging or strange alchemy had to go into it, they only produced more gold.
‘Gimme Fiction’ deserves special recognition as the album where Spoon took creative and stylistic quantum leaps that resulted in classics “I Turn My Camera On,” “The Beast And Dragon Adored,” “My Mathematical Mind,” “I Summon You” and so many more. 10 years later, ‘Gimme Fiction’ gets the deluxe vinyl release it so richly deserves.
Listen to and share the demo version of “Was It You?” and experience the oral history of ‘Gimme Fiction’ via the band’s Tumblr, which includes videos, excerpts, and images from the album’s creation and campaign.
HÆLOS — the London-based trio of Arthur Delaney (vocals), Dom Goldsmith (vocals, production) and Lotti Benardout (vocals) – are sharing new single “Pray” via Part II of their video trilogy. Together, with the new video for “Dust,” HÆLOS’ intriguing inaugural song, and the previously released video for “Earth Not Above,” this completes the band’s visual triptych. It’s a rare glimpse into the HÆLOS psyche as the band explores the modern big city life with the rituals and coping strategies that occupy the early hours.
Presenting a further taste of what’s to come from HÆLOS in 2016, “Pray” sees the enigmatic trio once again treading the fine line between darkness and euphoria as intensifying drum loops and cinematic strings form a backdrop for Lotti’s haunting and impassioned vocals. “Pray” and “Dust” are available to stream now and will be available as a limited edition 12” white label on December 4th on Matador.
“We’ve observed our audience all around the world and noticed that something is happening. People want to be pushed to do good, or to be good, or just to feel good. We wanted a very intense video, that felt like banging your head against the wall, focusing on our audience: a portrait of our crowd, an homage to music lovers and the good people who are coming to gigs and shouting their lungs out, or just smiling at the back. We were touched by them every night, and wanted to get their message out there: loud guitar music is still alive and still connects people.” -Savages
(photo by Colin Lane)
Savages’ second album, ‘Adore Life’, was recorded at RAK Studios, London in April 2015. Johnny Hostile was the producer and Richard Woodcraft the engineer. Anders Trentemøller took care of the mixing in Copenhagen. ‘Adore Life’ is out January 22, 2016.
All songs were written and played by Savages – Ayşe Hassan (bass), Fay Milton (drums), Gemma Thompson (guitar), Jehnny Beth (vocals). Lyrics by Jehnny Beth.
1. The Answer
3. Sad Person
5. I Need Something New
6. Slowing Down The World
7. When In Love
preorder ‘ Adore Life’ from the following with “The Answer” available instantly
any kid in america
with a gun and a phone and a wallet
any kid in america
any kid in america
walk in and you sell them a bullet
any kid in america
armed good guys are a myth
never saved no one from shit
armed good guys are a myth
never saved no one
anyone in america
wrong time wrong place in a hallway
anyone in america
angry white boys get uptight
got no right to end a life
got no right to end a life
Lyrics by EMA. Music by Alexandra Atnif and EMA
I did not produce this video. The footage is from an “active shooter” video made by the Mount Pleasant Police Department in Mount Pleasant, Texas. It was
made for training purposes. It was shot in a middle school. There are dozens of these videos online, including ones made by Homeland Security and the LA Sheriff’s department. They urge every day Americans to be prepared in all situations in case a mass shooting breaks out.
Another Majical Cloudz video directed by Devon Welsh and Neil Corcoran was released this morning. “Downtown” is the last single from Are You Alone? before the album’s official release on October 16th. There are quite a bit of new tour dates listed below for later this year and early next. Take note and make plans accordingly.
Majical Cloudz on tour :
10/17 – Smiling Buddha, Toronto, ON
10/21 – National Sawdust, Brooklyn, NY
10/22 – Halifax Pop Explosion, Halifax, NS
10/23 – Phi Centre, Montreal. QC
11/7 – Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
11/18 – St Johns on Bethnal Green, London, UK
11/20 – L’Archipel, Paris, FR
11/23 – Botanique Rotonde, Brussels, BE
11/25 – Acud Club, Berlin, DE
1/15/16 – The Garrison, Toronto, ON
1/16/16 – TBA, Detroit, MI
1/18/16 – Schubas, Chicago, IL
1/22/16 – Cobalt, Vancouver, BC
1/23/16 – TBA, Seattle, WA
1/24/16 – Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
1/26/16 – The Chapel, San Francisco, CA
1/29/16 – TBA, Los Angeles, CA
Car Seat Headrest – “Times To Die”. From the album ‘Teens Of Style’ (out October 30) ; “a meditation on Judaism, Hinduism, the Book of Job, fancy restaurants, and the music business”. Visual by Marisa Gesualdi.
Please note the updated tour itinerary below includes CSH’s first European dates.
Wednesday, October, 14 – New York, NY – CMJ at Pianos (Kanine / Collide Party)
Wednesday, October, 14 – New York, NY – CMJ at Santo’s Partyhouse (NME Party)
Thursday, October, 15 – New York, NY – CMJ at Cake Shop (NYC Taper Party)
Thursday, October, 15 – New York, NY – Elvis’ Guesthouse (Beggars Radio Party)
Friday, October, 16 – Brooklyn, NY – CMJ at Baby’s All Right (Brooklyn Vegan Party)
Friday, October, 16 – Brooklyn, NY – CMJ at Rough Trade (Aquarium Drunkard Party)
Saturday, October, 17 – Brooklyn, NY – CMJ at Space 89 (Urban Outfitter Party)
Saturday , October 17 – New York, NY – Pianos (Bowery Presents Party)
November / December tour
Tuesday, November 17 – London UK – Servant Jazz Quarters
Friday, November 20 – Paris, France – Espace B
Saturday, November 21 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Le Guess Who Festival
Friday, November, 27 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th St Entry*
Saturday, November, 28 – Madison, WI – The Frequency*
Sunday, November, 29 – Chicago, IL – Schubas
Monday, November, 30 – Detroit, MI – The Loving Touch*
Tuesday, December, 1 – Toronto, ON – Silver Dollar
Wednesday December, 2 – Montreal, QC – Le Ritz
Friday, December, 4 – Cambridge, MA – The Lizard Lounge*
Saturday, December, 5 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right*
Sunday, December, 6 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s*
Monday, December, 7 – Washington, DC – DC9*
Tuesday, December, 8 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter*
Thursday, December, 10 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl*
Friday, December, 11 – Nashville, TN – High Watt*
Saturday, December, 12 – St. Louis, MO – The Demo*
“The video focuses, albeit abstractly, on the idea of observation and surveillance in our society particularly in our cities via the relentless and invasive accumulation of information… The video takes reference from the step and repeat edits seen in Ernie Gehr’s ‘Serene Velocity,’ abstract streets scenes as observed by Peter Hutton’s ‘New York Portraits’ and the erratic patterns in Len Lye’s film ‘Free Radicals’ while also leaning towards the pace of Cabaret Voltaire’s 80’s video output.”
With Algiers’ current tour continuing at LA’s Roxy this evening, here’s the 4th video from Algiers’ widely acclaimed self-titled debut, the Lamb & Sea directed “And When You Fall”.
Following the recent release of their “Earth Not Above” 12” EP, HÆLOS now present their first video for title track ‘Earth Not Above’, which premiered earlier today via The Fader. Filmed by Jesse Jenkins, the video marks the first installment from a trilogy to come from the London trio.
Whilst currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album, HÆLOS are touring this Autumn, today announcing a pair of headline UK dates at Manchester’s Night & Day on 26th October and The Laundry in London on 27th October. Ahead of these headline dates the band support TV On The Radio at London’s Roundhouse on the 30th + 31st August. See all upcoming tour dates below.
Words written by Phyllis Rose from Jazz Cleopatra: Josephine Baker In Her Time and spoken by Henry Rollins
Footage shot in January 2016 during Savages’ NYC residency
Savages on tour
Thursday, August 20 – Pappy & Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA
Friday, August 21 – The Sayers Club, Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, August 22 – FYF Fest, LA Historic State Park, Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, August 23 – Casbah, San Diego, CA
Tuesday, August 25 – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, August 26 – The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
Friday, September 4 – Into The Great Wide Open, Vlieland, Netherlands
Friday, September 11 – La Bâtie – Festival de Genève, Lausanne, Switzerland
Friday, October 23 – Saturday, October 24 – Simple Things Festival, Bristol, UK
In 2013, the Canadian musical-performance art project Majical Cloudz released Impersonator via label Matador, garnering global praise as one of the year’s best albums. Since then, principle writer and vocalist Devon Welsh has been fastidiously crafting the band’s second studio album, while simultaneously touring the world with producer Matthew Otto. Today, Majical Cloudz announce their anticipated sophomore LP, ‘Are You Alone?’, arriving in-stores and online around the world on October 16th.
Building off a solidly-laid visual and sonic foundation, the narrative remains – simple yet emotionally forthcoming lyrics showcasing raw vulnerability, backed by sparse instrumentation and minimalist production. Welsh delivers melancholic but melody driven vocals echoing off elemental tones, praising love and friendship, commiserating over heartbreak and sadness. Written and recorded between Montreal and Detroit, it comes as no surprise that Welsh and Otto have created another soulful novella, continuing to contribute to the evolution of sound in pop, indie, and electronic music.
This morning, Majical Cloudz are sharing the first single off of ‘Are You Alone?’, “Silver Car Crash”,
3. Are You Alone?
4. So Blue
6. Silver Car Crash
8. If You’re Lonely
10. Easier Said Than Done
11. Game Show
12. Call On Me
Having been the subject and willing conspirator of many intentional lies planted in Sonic Youth bios over the years, I know first hand the way album lore can bend reality to its truth. After the infamous Byron Coley originated the SY “Trilogy” myth in the Murray Street bio, we had no choice but to fulfill those expectations with Sonic Nurse. “Why did you decide to make a trilogy?” was always the first question asked in interviews around that time.
But this is Kurt Vile’s bio, and I wont do that to him. Anyway, Kurt does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt’s words, “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”
For a record that plays like a cohesive acoustic experience, its musicality marks Kurt’s departure from an electric guitar experience to include a range of instrumentation with a large group of players. From the banjo he plays on “I’m an Outlaw” to the piano and lapsteel on “Life Like This,” and the myriad other instruments on other songs, including farfisa, resonator, arps, horns and synth, one never thinks about what exactly yr listening to as it all serves the song. The heart of the record is “Stand Inside.” The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself and celebrates a man willing to be defined by a woman and his love for her as witness to each other’s lives… Don’t stand by my side, stand inside gives up roleplaying for true exposure and vulnerability.
It’s a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband, partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding … that’s life though so sad to say… I love this record,
b’lieve i’m goin down.
TRACK LISTING – b’lieve i’m goin down…
2.I’m an Outlaw
4.That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)
6.Life Like This
7.All in a Daze Work
8.Lost my Head there
b’lieve i’m goin down… is available on standard CD and double LP. A limited-edition triple LP expanded version, b’lieve i’m goin (deep) down…, features 6 bonus tracks.
iTunes and Amazon MP3 pre-orders both have an instant grat download of “Pretty Pimpin,” as well as two pre-order-only bonus tracks that disappear on release: “b’lieve i’m goin down” and “bad omens (no faders)”
Copenhagen quartet Lower, who released their widely praised debut ‘Seek Lower Climes’ last year on Matador, unveil a new digital EP titled’ I’m A Lazy Son…But I’m The Only Son’, scheduled for September 11 release. The first single, “At The Endless Party,” premieres today via The FADER. Adrian Toubro’s baritone drips with drama and melancholy, pleading “Come on sweetheart, take me as I am / Drag me to your chamber and toss me around,” atop the pounding, ritualistic drums of a funeral procession.
The Copenhagen quartet Lower is made up of members of other bands including Age Coin, Olymphia, Vår, Marching Church, Sexdrome and more. Their intense music sparkles with the harmonic dissonance and high-strung urgency of their underground music forebears. But Lower – Adrian Toubro (vocals), Simon Formann (guitar), Kristian Emdal (bass) and Anton Rothstein (drums) – also channel the romance and drama of great singer-songwriters, from late-period Scott Walker to Bryan Ferry, resulting in hugely ambitious and deeply personal sonic spaces.
Certainly, you don’t have to dig deep to hear how far Lower’s music sits from the traditional concerns of modern rock music. Adrian Toubro’s lyrics are finely wrought emotional dramas that, in their poetic construction and raw honesty of delivery, gesture to the music of Walker or Leonard Cohen.
The new songs on I’m A Lazy Son… But I’m The Only Son are still forceful and urgent, but they mark a step towards an almost fragile sensibility. Lyrically, Toubro allowed himself time for much self-reflection between the release of Seek Lower Climes and this new recording, utilizing his inner thoughts and experiences to craft beguiling tales of sex and death, truth and deceit, glamor and decay. Asger Hartvig, leadsinger of the band Synd Og Skam and member of the deeply inspiring Af Med Hovedet community in Copenhagen, helped mold the songs beyond what was originally intended, into something theatrical and powerful, but, says Toubro, “more like resting on a divan instead of running a riot.”
1. At The Endless Party
2. Keep Me In Mind
3. Get Back On That Rack!
4. Hot And Bothered
5. Nasty Business
Earlier today, NPR premiered the first video from Yo La Tengo’s forthcoming ‘Stuff Like That There‘, a cover of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”. The clip, directed by Jason Woliner, may or may not prophecize a near apocalyptic event, though given all the bad news surrounding Seattle at the moment, we realize there’s a risk of this important story being overshadowed. That small caveat aside, killer video for a fantastic interpretation of a Robert Smith composition we all know and love (or at least know), taken from one of this autumn’s most anticipated new albums. Those in Germany can watch the video HERE.
Preorder ‘Stuff Like That There’ on LP or CD from The Matador Store, including bundle with tote + cassingle w/ 2 new unreleased tracks)
Preorder ‘Stuff Like That There’ from the following digital outlets, with “Automatic Doom” and “Deeper Into Movies” available instantly. iTunes: Amazon: Google Play:
Produced by La Blogothèque in association with ARTE France & Télénantes, DARKSIDE live at Stereolux – Nantes on March 21st, 2014. Featuring 7 sprawling and unique takes on tracks from ‘Psychic’, this live DVD captures the band at the peak of touring their critically lauded debut album. The live audio was mastered by Joe Lambert. Limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. 114 Minutes.
track listing :
1. Freak, Go Home
2. Paper Trails
3. The Only Shine I’ve Seen
6. Greek Light
7. Golden Arrow
On August 11, Matador Records will release a double LP, ‘The Secret History Vol. 1’ in North America*, the first of five compilations in a new series of Pavement rarities. The 30 tracks, 25 of which will be available on vinyl for the first time ever, are allculled from the Slanted and Enchanted era (1990-1992) (and previously available on the ‘Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe’ CD). The deluxe double LP contains essays by Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs, plus essays from Matador Records, Billions Corporation, and Drag City bosses, and a gorgeous gatefold designed by Rob Carmichael (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors).
(‘The Secret History, Vol. 1’ will be available in Europe via Domino)
The strangest thing about Pavement? Not that there were ever many non-strange things about Pavement? Even though they made their era’s finest rock albums, the albums only told half their story. Pavement also made some of the Nineties’ best albums that never happened. Until now.
Every proper Pavement album, from the out-of-nowhere debut Slanted and Enchanted to the summer-upper Terror Twilight, was accompanied by a flurry of slay tracks and stray slack—songs that got scattered on B-sides, EPs, compilations, radio sessions. But Pavement were too busy writing and recording great songs to worry about where to stash them, and they moved too fast to leave a tidy trail. So they left these songs off their albums. Some never got released at all.
Pavement made five proper album-as-albums: Slanted and Enchanted (1992), Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994), Wowee Zowee (1995), Brighten The Corners (1997) and Terror Twilight (1999). Each has its own sound. Each has its own legend. But each of their official albums has a shadow album—and it’s usually as strong as the album that actually did come out. It’s time for the world to hear the albums Pavement could have made, if they’d been a little less ambitious about music and a little more ambitious about the music business. If they’d been the kind of band to sweat the legacy. But if they were that kind of band, would they have written so many great songs? Much less these great songs? No.
Matador is finally releasing a series of these shadow albums. The first, naturally, is The Secret History, Vol. 1, collecting the songs that got away during the era of Slanted and Enchanted, which Stephen Malkmus, Scott Kannberg and Gary Young recorded on the cheaper-than-cheap in January 1991. The Secret History, Vol. 1 collects gems from Peel Sessions (“Kentucky Cocktail,” “Circa 1762”) and seven-inches (“Baptist Blacktick”) as well as live slop from the first European tours, with Mark Ibold and Bob Nastanovich in the fold. Some are outtakes from Slanted—imagine leaving these tunes off your first album, when as far as you know or imagine, it’s your only album. These tracks (some of which had never been rumored among Pavement freaks) came out on the 2002 Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe double CD reissue. But they’ve never been separately available as an album in their own right, and many of them have never been on vinyl before.
1. Sue Me Jack
2. So Stark (You’re A Skyscraper)
3. Summer Babe (7” Version)
4. Mercy Snack: The Laundromat
5. Baptiss Blacktick
6. My First Mine
7. Nothing Ever Happens
8. Here (Alternate Mix)
10. Circa 1762 (Peel Session 1)
11. Kentucky Cocktail (Peel Session 1)
12. Secret Knowledge Of Backroads (Peel Session 1)
13. Here (Peel Session 1)
14. Rain Ammunition (Peel Session 2)
15. Drunks With Guns (Peel Session 2)
16. Ed Ames (Peel Session 2)
17. The List Of Dorms (Peel Session 2)
18. Conduit For Sale [Live Brixton 1992]
19. Fame Throwa [Live Brixton 1992]
20. Home [Live Brixton 1992]
21. Perfume V [Live Brixton 1992]
22. Summer Babe [Live Brixton 1992]
23. Frontwards [Live Brixton 1992]
24. Angel Carver Blues Mellow Jazz Docent [Live Brixton 1992]
25. Two States [Live Brixton 1992]
26. No Life Singed Her [Live Brixton 1992]
27. So Stark (You’re A Skyscraper) [Live Brixton 1992]
28. Box Elder [Live Brixton 1992]
29. Baby Yeah [Live Brixton 1992]
30. In The Mouth A Desert [Live Brixton 1992]
HÆLOS’ debut Matador release is a digital EP, ‘Earth Not Above’, available worldwide on June 1 with a 12″ version to follow (date TBA) ; the track listing is as follows:
A1. Earth Not Above
A2. Cloud Nine
Starting today, you can download HÆLOS’ cover of The Beloved’s “The Sun Rising” here, or stream it above.
Upcoming dates, including this weekend’s The Great Escape can be found below.
Some things come together immediately. Others… take a little time. HÆLOS – known individually as Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout – fall into the latter bracket. But the way the music comes out sounding, you know it couldn’t have happened any other way. Each one of their vividly cinematic tracks seems to map the long journey from desperation to relief, stress to sanctuary – the basic dynamic of all urban life. If London tends to be a meandering, alienating hometown, there is a looming sense to HÆLOS’ music of a band – of three people – having found each other. Eventually.
“We’ve all arrived at this point off the back of our own paths,” says Arthur. “We’ve all worked independently for a number of years but to come together and find such a strong synergy between us has been powerful – spiritual, even.”
Calling to mind the same deserted dawn high streets stalked by the music of Massive Attack, Portishead and the rest of those electronic artists who spent the 90s finding the pain after the rave, each track HÆLOS make sounds like a ritual; a way to cope. In a world that has forgotten about the chillout room, those rituals and coping strategies are more vital than ever.
“I guess at the heart of it we are always trying to capture that feeling you get at 5AM,” says Arthur. “Jamming with your friends after a night out, treading that fine line between darkness and euphoria, fear and love. That’s the time that all our favourite music gets put on; it’s where the beauty is at.”
If HÆLOS music bears traces of its influences, it also possesses an undeniable contemporary zeal. Look around you. How much ever changes, really? The same Coke cans, puke piles and plastic bags litter the same deserted dawn high streets. And young men and women are always there, trudging through the late-night rubble, indulging the urge to leave the house and not return until they have found the edges of the night. And the one thing you need more than anything else after finding those edges will never change, either. It’s soul, and HÆLOS have stacks of it – it’s sore, it’s overworked, it’s overmedicated. But despite the night’s best efforts, it is undeniably there.
“Our songwriting process can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful,” say the band, “but we want to write evocative music that captures the spirit of what it means to be alive and human.”
This is the story of HÆLOS – of soul under attack, coming out on top.
(“The Separation” and “The Understanding”, directed by Ross Thomas)
Breakup albums mark a turning point for a band: the moment when their sound completely changes and reaches a new level of emotional clarity. All that heartbreak and malaise condensed into any single record often makes for a defining piece of work, no matter the genre. The best records explore the nooks and crannies of sadness, learning it inside and out – celebrating it.
(photo by Shawn Brackbill)
Ceremony’s fifth studio album, ‘The L-Shaped Man’, uses singer Ross Farrar’s recent breakup as a platform to explore loneliness and emotional weariness, but it is by no means a purely sad album. Rather than look inward, Farrar uses his experience to write about what it means to go through something heavy and come out the other side a different person.
In telling Farrar’s story, Ceremony have almost completely stripped back the propulsive hardcore of their previous records, turning every angry outburst into simmering despair. “We’ve always tried to be minimalists in writing, even if it’s loud or fast or abrasive,” says lead guitarist Anthony Anzaldo. “It’s really intense when I hear it. Not in a way where you turn everything up to ten. Things are so bare, you’re holding this one note for so long and you don’t now where it’s going-to me, that’s intensity.” That intensity is apparent on “Exit Fears,” the first full song on the record. It meticulously pairs Justin Davis’ loping bassline, which pulls the track along, with Anzaldo’s icy, minimal guitar work. It brings to mind some alternate version of Joy Division that hasn’t quite lost all hope. It gets close to exploding, but instead plays the shadows, never quite rising above a nervous simmer.
“A lot of the content has to do with loss, and specifically the loss of someone who you care deeply about,” Farrar says. “There is no way for you to go through something like this artistically and not have really strong emotions of loss and pain. There’s not really any way to hide that.” Farrar, for his part, is singing with a new kind of intensity, his baritone swooping and retreating from stressed angst to unsettling near-mutter as he sings, “You told your friends you were fine/ you thought you were fine too…” and later, “nothing is ever fine/ nothing ever feels right/ you have to tell yourself you tried.” It’s the first of many lyrically direct moments, and it should be hard to listen to, but Ceremony have so effortlessly nailed the sound of sadness that it feels great to live inside for awhile.
The sound is abetted by producer John Reis, who honed his sound in seminal bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes. Much of the gravelly aggression he experimented with in those bands is present on ‘The L-Shaped Man’.
There’s a story behind the title too. “I was speaking to our driver Stephen while on tour,” Farrar says. “We were talking about men in general and what shape they are…their body type. I said, ‘I guess men are in the shape of an L. The torso is straight. Vertical. And then you have the little feet at the end.’ There’s this painter named Leslie Lerner who was living in San Francisco in the ’70s and ’80s and made these beautiful paintings. He died on my 21st birthday. A lot of the record is about the similarities in our ideas. In what we’re trying to make. Things that have to do with love and losing love.”
Pre-order ‘The L-Shaped Man’ on iTunes ($7.99) and and get instant downloads of “The Separation” and “The Understanding”. Plus iTunes exclusive bonus track “Vivication” and iTunes exclusive pre-order only bonus track, “The Hide”. Both bonus tracks will be delivered with the album on May 19 release date.
You can also pre-order on Amazon MP3 and receive instant downloads of “The Separation” and “The Understanding” (click on the Amazon MP3 store option in order to receive instant downloads).
Also on the Matador Store you can pre-order a special bundle that includes the CD or colored vinyl LP along with a Ceremony T-shirt and/or a 36-page limited edition book of poems by Ceremony vocalist, Ross Farrar, which parallels lyrics from The L-Shaped Man.
Friday, May 22 – 924 Gillman St, Berkeley CA*
On sale Thursday, March 26
Saturday, May 23 – Echoplex, Los Angeles CA*
On sale Thursday, March 26
Wednesday, July 1 – Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
(Amex presale starts April 1 at noon eastern, general public sale starts April 3 at noon).
Saturday, August 8 – Visions Festival, London, UK
An obsession with notions of historical struggle, not only over political power but also meaning and memory, led us to an interest in the former Yugoslavia. There you can find towering monuments of abstract art erected by Tito in an attempt to constitute a new identity rooted in political collectivity rather than ethnic particularity. In neighboring Bulgaria sprout an entirely different set of physical remainders of a deeply contested history. They stand imposing and forlorn dotted across the countryside, looming like decaying alien spacecraft over factory towns and desolate mountain peaks.
It was really Nikola Mihov’s book, Forget Your Past, that ultimately inspired us to explore further the notion of contested spaces in an era of neocolonialism and capitalist realism. In one sense, the Irony. Utility. Pretext. video problematizes the rise of “ruin exploitation”, a strand in photography that occupies a suspiciously colonial position wherein “white creatives” invade decaying towns such as Detroit or Gary to capture images for their own atomistic meditations. Such photography in former communist countries adopts an additional triumphalist air, ringing in the end of history and the supremacy of neoliberal capitalism.
The images provide interesting parallels with the lyrics, confronting both the age-old fetishisation of the musical artifact and the neocolonial prism of development economics. In the former, ghetto artforms from Lagos to Detroit are wrenched from their social and political contexts and whitewashed for Western hyperconsumption. In the latter, a new set of educated cosmopolitans wielding the language of human rights replace our former colonial masters.
Themes of death and decay are unavoidable in this context, mimicking capital, stalking us in our sleep in search of ever increasing profits. In the end, it is the words of revolutionaries such as Robespierre, Angela Davis and Fred Hampton that flash across the screen to remind us of the precarious nature of the search for freedom and truth in these oppressive times.
(photo credit : WFN Productions)
On June 2nd, Matador is releasing Algiers’ self-titled debut album. Steeped in radical politics and deeply indebted to post-punk’s sonic trailblazing and gospel’s spiritual bloodletting, the album imbues neo-modernist hymns with caustic social sentiment and explosive noise.
Algiers comprises singer/guitarist Franklin James Fisher (deemed “one of the most powerfully guttural vocalists in rock today” by SPIN), guitarist Lee Tesche, and bassist Ryan Mahan. From the militant stomp of “Remains” to Fisher’s commanding presence on the gospel no wave blowout “Black Eunuch,” Algiers channels righteous fury into an incisive, innovative assault that Vice Noisey has called “intense…right on the beat of the current cultural climate.”
A trio of émigrés of the American Deep South, now split between New York and London, Algiers synthesizes its eclectic influences, from Nina Simone and PJ Harvey to Suicide and Public Enemy, into frightening new forms.
Algiers also announced tour dates, including a run of shows with Interpol in the spring. The band will tour the United States extensively later this year.
track listing :
3. And When You Fall
5. Old Girl
6. Irony. Utility. Pretext
7. But She Was Not Flying
8. Black Eunuch
10. In Parallax
On March 18 (Europe) and 19 (North America), True Panther Sounds is releasing ‘Highlights’, the 2nd album from New York’s Tanlines. The duo of Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm worked with producers Patrick Ford and Chris Taylor in Los Angeles and NYC respectively.
The album’s first single, “Slipping Away”, premiered via SiriusXM’s XMU earlier today, and is available for free download for the next week by signing up for the mailing list at Tanlinesinternet.com. Pre-order details for ‘Highlights’ can be found below.
2. Slipping Away
4. Two Thousand Miles
5. Invisible Ways
6. Bad Situations
7. Running Still
9. If You Stay
10. Darling Dreamer
‘Highlights’,the band’s first collection of new material since their critically-lauded 2012 debut, ‘Mixed Emotion’s began in a basement in Pittsburgh and ended in a church in Brooklyn. It trades world music sounds (as heard through YouTube) for a more alive, realized approach, the result of Emm and Cohen knowing they wanted to break from their ‘two guys, one screen’ writing style. And even if they had wanted to rely on old methods, they couldn’t: when they sat down to write Highlights in Emm’s childhood home in Pittsburgh, their computer blew up, quite literally, “with a burst of sparks and clouds of smoke. Whatever had just happened felt like some kind of omen,” says Emm.
Stranded without the samples and sounds that had previously defined their musical palette, they spent the rest of the week in Pittsburgh writing songs the old-fashioned way — with a guitar and drums. They found themselves falling back on facility they’d gained with their instruments over the previous two years of touring, and an alternative, simpler process evolved, one that set the tone for Highlights immediately.
Influenced by their time spent on the road touring in support of ‘Mixed Emotions’, they reached for the sounds of 90’s New York hip-hop drums, Detroit techno synths, and lots and lots of guitars. The result could almost be called an homage to the sonics of America, if that sort of phrase wouldn’t make the band cringe. Instead, let’s just call ‘Highlights’ “the album where things started making more sense.”
The following shows in NYC and Los Angeles go on sale this Friday at noon eastern :