Julien Baker works hard, despite currently being on the road with label mates Belle & Sebastian for the UK stretch of the Glaswegian troupe’s tour, she’s just this morning announced plans for a stint of European shows this coming September.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16th at 09:00 GMT
Julien recently released a collaborative cover of a Pedro The Lion track, recorded with Manchester Orchestra, continuing her streak for engaging in thoughtful song-craft that we last got a glimpse of on last year’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’
Following King Krule’s recent U.S. tour announcement surrounding both weekends of Coachella, Molten Jets has released “King Krule: Live On The Moon,” an exclusive session featuring King Krule’s full group performing eight tracks from The OOZ. Watch the video at the newly launched website where you can also find a mysterious link to some 12″ Moon Rocks, see upcoming dates, and purchase an exclusive webstore-only baseball cap designed by Archy’s brother Jack Marshall.
Following on from an impressive sold-out, over-subscribed, full-to-bursting debut UK show in January at The Lexington, Snail Mail has announced a short run of dates in May – playing debut shows in Belgium and Amsterdam along the way.
Tickets go on sale at 10:00 GMT on Wednesday, March 7th
Adding to the band’s relentless global routing in support of ‘Hot Thoughts’, Spoon have announced 7 summer shows with Grizzly Bear and special guest Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, including a June 20 date at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. $1 per ticket for these dates will go to PLUS1 in support of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund’s mission to prevent gun violence and build safer communities. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 9 at 10am eastern — links and new gigs in bold below.
Copenhagen’s Iceage — Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) — will release their fourth album, ‘Beyondless’, on May 4th. After returning last month with ‘Catch It’, their first new material since 2013’s ‘Plowing Into The Field of Love’, Iceage now share Beyondless’s “Pain Killer”, featuring Sky Ferreira (the first guest vocalist to ever be featured on an Iceage song). Additionally, the band is announcing March residencies in New York and Los Angeles and dates in Japan in April, with their previously announced European and North American tours to follow in May and June.
The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted, and recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone).
I can totally imagine myself as a kid lying in my closed-door room in the dark, listening to this band and getting what I need, the way a band can make a person feel seen and bring confidence, sometimes even represent an ideal. Or maybe I’m already all defiant and self-certain, and I identify with Iceage because they are too, and they’re who I want to represent me in music. It’s a weird combination of qualities that a rock and roll band and their recordings presents to their young crowd, imparts to them. The music being pure emotion, the strong emotions of youth—anger, sadness, contempt, longing—as well as energy and sex, and the band’s demonstration that it gracefully owns and provides those things, consoling their followers in all the confusion.
What is it that Iceage in particular brings? A large number of extraordinary things. (Poetry! But more about that later.) The band members were childhood friends, which is always good news. They’re like a small urban gang, faithful to each other, suspicious of outsiders (of which music journalists like me are the most suspect examples). At the same time, they seem mature and competent, which is almost too much to hope for. They not only play and compose well, but the production of their records, from the very beginning, and at the music’s most chaotic, is impeccable. Their presentation is as hardcore anarchic as any, but much better played, mixed, and recorded than most.
And then there’s the poetry and the intelligence. The members of Iceage are not only smart but hyper literate. Interviews with E. Rønnenfelt, the lead singer and lyricist of the band, find him mentioning Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Genet’s Thief’s Journal and Miracle of the Rose; The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau; Henry Miller on Writing; and James Agee’s A Death in the Family, and that’s in a total of four interviews. It’s not that he flaunts it; he’s simply honest and naturally acknowledges it.
The lyrics of Iceage songs have the most sophisticated vocabulary I can remember finding in rock music. Here’s a favorite example, from “Pain Killer” on the new album:
“Praying at the altar of your legs and feet /Your saliva is a drug so bittersweet / I’ll arrogate what’s there to take. In an evanescent embrace.”
…“Arrogate”??? I half know the word, but I had to look it up to be certain. It means “to claim or seize without justification.” It’s funny because its Latin root also underlies the word “arrogant,” which one might be tempted to apply to Rønnenfelt for the contempt he shows for people who try to understand him. But I sympathize. It is extremely annoying to be characterized by other people. And the shading of meaning of the word “arrogate” brings a subtlety to those lyrics of his that “take” or “seize” or “claim” wouldn’t. Frankly, though, what I really like about those lines is the concept of praying to his lover’s feet. That’s good. It makes me think of a similar instance in another poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote in his “Hymn to Beauty”:
“Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the infinite I love and have never known?”
We’d like to remind you as deliberately as possible that the 2018 edition of Car Seat Headrest’s ‘Twin Fantasy’ is out today on LP & digital formats, along with a 2XCD edition (shown above) including the original 2011 recording. Following a packed instore at Hollywood’s Amoeba on Wednesday, the band are back in action tonight at Seattle’s East Street for a set + signing. July dates in the western portion of the USA have just been confirmed (see below).
This morning, Iceage release their first new music since 2014 in the form of the self-produced, “Catch It” (recorded at Göteborg, Sweden’s Kungsten Studios by Mattias Glavå) with an accompanying video directed by Adam Hashemi, mostly shot on 8mm in Los Angeles. In addition to previously announced European dates, Iceage kick off a North America tour on May 10 at Seattle’s Nordic Museum (dates and relevant ticket links are below)
Following Tuesday’s all-too brief teaser, we’re thrilled (and maybe a little relieved) to be unveiling the first new music from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks since 2014 in the form of the new single, “Middle America”. The Jicks hit the road for a major (and minor) market tour this June ; you can probably expect more than just one new song (BUT WHO ARE WE TO DETERMINE OR EVEN SPECULATE ABOUT THIS GREAT AMERICAN BAND’S REPERTOIRE?). Tickets are on sale this Friday at 10am local time, dates are below.
Earlier today, “My Boy”, the latest single from Car Seat Headrest’s forthcoming ‘Twin Fantasy’, premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats One program. Tickets for a one-off show at Brooklyn’s Market Hotel are on sale now.
Following Friday’s release of the 2nd EP in Belle and Sebastian’s ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ trilogy, the band have added to an already impressive global tour (below, new shows in bold) with 16 June stops in the U.S. and Canada including a June 8 show at New York’s Forest Hills Stadium (with Perfume Genius and Frankie Cosmos in support). Tickets go on sale this Friday (January 26).
Belle and Sebastian have partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from every ticket sold will go to support the volunteer rescue workers, the White Helmets, who risk their lives every day to help those affected by the conflict in Syria, regardless of their religion or politics
Julien Baker first performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert in early 2016, several months after the release of her debut album Sprained Ankle. Today she becomes one of the few artists to perform at Tiny Desk for a second time. Joined by her touring violinist Camille Faulkner, Baker performed three tracks from her sophomore LP Turn Out The Lights, “Appointments,” “Hurt Less,” and “Even.” This session comes on the heels of Julien’s late night debut, performing “Turn Out The Lights” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Baker has also announced her first U.S. tour dates of 2018 today, through the Midwest and Northeast this spring after traveling to Europe in March with Belle & Sebastian. Tickets for the new dates are on sale this Friday, January 12th at 10am EST.
Car Seat Headrest fans, new and old alike, will be elated to learn that Will Toledo’s 2011’s Bandcamp masterpiece, ‘Twin Fantasy’, has been re-recorded and re-imagined for release on February 16th (*pre-order breakdown below). With a seven-piece band in tow (including members of Naked Giants), Car Seat Headrest will bring its explosive and live show to Australia, Europe, and select West Coast cities through the first half of 2018, with a full US tour to be announced at a later date.
Today’s album announcement comes with the release of “Nervous Young Inhumans” and its accompanying video, which can be seen above. It is a frenetic, anthemic, split-screen choreographed crescendo, and the result of Toledo’s visionary work as a first-time director.
Toledo always knew he would return to ‘Twin Fantasy’. He never did complete the work. Not really. Never could square his grand ambitions against his mechanical limitations. Listen to his first attempt, recorded at nineteen on a cheap laptop, and you’ll hear what Brian Eno fondly calls “the sound of failure” – thrilling, extraordinary, and singularly compelling failure. Will’s first love, rendered in the vivid teenage viscera of stolen gin, bruised shins, and weird sex, was an event too momentous for the medium assigned to record it.
Even so, even awkward and amateurish, ‘Twin Fantasy’ is deeply, truly adored. Legions of reverent listeners carve rituals out of it: sobbing over “Famous Prophets,” making out to “Cute Thing,” dancing their asses off as “Bodys” climbs higher, higher. The distortion hardly matters. You can hear him just fine. You can hear everything. And you can feel everything: his hope, his despair, his wild overjoy. He’s trusting you – plural you, thousands of you – with the things he can’t say out loud. “I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends,” he sings – and then, caught between truths, backtracks: “I never came out to my friends. We were all on Skype, and I laughed and changed the subject.”
You might be imagining an extended diary entry, an angsty transmission from a bygone LiveJournal set to power chords and cranked to eleven. You would be wrong. ‘Twin Fantasy’is not a monologue. ‘Twin Fantasy’ is a conversation. “You know,” he sings, “that I’m mostly singing about you.” This is Will’s greatest strength as a songwriter ; he spins his own story, but he’s always telling yours, too. Between nods to local details – Harper’s Ferry, The Yellow Wallpaper, the Monopoly board collecting dust in his back seat – he leaves room for the fragile stuff of your own life, your own loves. From the very beginning, alone in his bedroom, in his last weeks of high school, he knew he was writing anthems. Someday, he hoped, you and I might sing these words back to him.
“It was never a finished work,” Toledo says, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” He has, now, the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker. According to him, it took eight months of mixing just to get the drums right. But this is no shallow second take, sanitized in studio and scrubbed of feeling. This is the album he always wanted to make. It sounds the way he always wanted it to sound.
It’s been hard, stepping into the shoes of his teenage self, walking back to painful places. There are lyrics he wouldn’t write again, an especially sad song he regards as an albatross. But even as he carries the weight of that younger, wounded Toledo, he moves forward. He grows. He revises, gently, the songs we love so much. In the album’s final moments, in those “apologies to future me’s and you’s,” there is more forgiveness than fury.
This, Toledo says, is the most vital difference between the old and the new: he no longer sees his own story as a tragedy.
On March 2, Matador is releasing the hotly anticipated 2nd album from Richmond, VA’s Lucy Dacus, ‘Historian’, the followup to her unanimously hailed 2016 debut, ‘No Burden’ that established her as one of modern music’s top new voices & songwriters. The album’s first single, “Night Shift”, can be heard above.
‘Historian’ is a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent that finds Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions — the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realizations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.
Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with ‘No Burden’ producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving ‘Historian’ the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers, on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.
The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens — touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”
Earlier today, Spoon confirmed a short run of shows in the UK, France and Germany for next June ; dates in question are in bold below, tickets are on sale Monday. In addition, last Wednesday’s sold out show from Brooklyn Steel can now be viewed on demand, courtesy Pitchfork Live.
On the heels of selling out all 8 nights at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom for their most-certainly-on-again Hanukkah Residency, Yo La Tengo have confirmed a long list of North American shows below (new gigs in bold). Much like the previously announced European tour, you are free to speculate whether or not these shows may or may not have something or other to do with new recordings that are typically played on turntables, compact disc machinery, car stereos, telephones, etc. Though we shall not confirm or deny anything of the sort, we are powerless (sadly) to stop you from wondering out loud just what’s happening.
Despite Algiers being currently on the road, filling venues brimful with their firebrand sound and polemic appetite for change, they’re already making plans for next year.
Next year the band will pass across the shadow of the old Iron Curtain, visiting Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Macedonia ontop of a massive seven dates in Germany, and more shows in Italy, Switzerland and France.
Algiers are set to play two dates at the Moth Club in Hackney, London, on the 28th and 29th of November – capping off a hard month of touring across the continent.
Wed, Jan 24th – Strom – Munich, DE
Fri, Jan 26th – Mocvara – Zagreb, HR
Sat, Jan 27th – Pogon Kulture – Rijeka, HR
Mon, Jan 29th – A38 Ship – Budapest, HU
Tue, Jan 30th – B72 – Vienna, AT
Wed, Jan 31st – MENT Festival @ Kino Šiška – Ljubljana, SI
Thu, Feb 1st – Dom Omladine – Belgrade, RS
Fri, Feb 2nd – MKC Youth Culture Centre – Skopje, MK
Sat, Feb 3rd – Live Terminal 1 – Sofia, BG
Fri, Feb 9th – Mylos Club – Thessaloniki, GR
Sat, Feb 10th – Temple – Athens, GR
Wed, Feb 14th – Locomotiv Club – Bologna, IT
Thu, Feb 15th – Palace – St Gallen, CH
Sat, Feb 17th – La Rodia – Besancon, FR
Mon, Feb 19th – L’Aeronef (Club Room) – Lille, FR
Thu, Feb 22nd – Indi(e)stinction Festival @ Frank K – Reutlingen, DE
Fri, Feb 23rd – Artheater – Cologne, DE
Sat, Feb 24th – Brecht Festival – Augsburg, DE
Mon, Feb 26th – Zoom – Frankfurt, DE
Tue, Feb 27th – UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE
Wed, Feb 28th – Nochtspeicher – Hamburg, DE