Steve Gunn’s long awaited new album, ‘The Unseen In Between’, will be released on January 18. Following the guitarist/vocalist’s 3-night residency at Brooklyn’s Union Pool this month and next, Gunn will tour with a full band throughout the US and Europe in 2019 (full dates below)
For over a decade, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gunn has been one of American music’s most pivotal figures – conjuring immersive and psychedelic sonic landscapes both live and on record, releasing revered solo albums ranking high on in-the-know end of year lists, alongside exploratory collaborations with artists as diverse as Mike Cooper, Kurt Vile, and Michael Chapman (whose most recent studio album he produced). Gunn is known for telling other people’s stories, but on his breakthrough fourth album, ‘The Unseen In Between’, he explores his own emotional landscapes with his most complex, fully realized songs to date. The lyrics evoke voyages, tempests (actual and emotional), and a rich cast of characters met along the way — the work of an artist finding a place of calm in the midst of a storm. Produced by frequent collaborator James Elkington and engineered by Daniel Schlett, the immaculately recorded ‘Unseen’ forces a reassessment of Gunn’s standing in the pantheon of the era’s great songwriters.
Getting to ‘The Unseen In Between’ itself was not easy for Gunn. In the summer of 2016, Gunn released ‘Eyes On The Lines’, his winning and elliptical debut for Matador. It should have been a triumphant moment, but exactly two weeks later, Gunn’s father and namesake died following a two-year struggle with cancer. During his sickness, he and his son had connected as never before, listening to one another’s experiences and understanding one another’s perspectives; they became not father and son but real friends.
This experience yielded the emotional centerpiece of the album. “Stonehurst Cowboy” is a duet for Gunn’s raw acoustic guitar and spare basslines by Bob Dylan’s musical director Tony Garnier, whose featured throughout the album. The song distills the lessons Gunn learned from his father and it is a solemn but tender remembrance, a tribute to his father’s reputation as a tough, wise, and witty guy from far west Philadelphia.
A sense of musical renewal and emotional complexity fits the new songs perfectly; “Luciano” seems to be about the chemistry between a bodega owner and his cat, an unspoken romance of gentle obedience and quiet gestures. But Gunn peers below the relationship’s surface and wonders about the owner’s lonely future once the cat is gone, a devastating meditation wrapped in soft strings. And then there’s “Vagabond,” Gunn’s graceful attempt to humanize a rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray, wanderers who live outside of society’s modern safety net, who pursue “a crooked dream” in spite of what the world expects. Supported by the perfect harmonies of Meg Baird, Gunn finds something lovely in the unloved.
Inspired by contemporary artist Walter De Maria’s Dia Art Foundation-affiliated installation of 400 stainless steel poles atop the high desert of New Mexico, “Lightning Field” considers what we get out of art when it doesn’t work, when lightning does not light up the night for visitors. Opener “New Moon” may begin in the mode of a deep track from Astral Weeks or Fred Neil, with its upright bass and sparse tremolo guitar. But during the song’s final minutes, strings double the melody, and then the guitar rushes headlong, pulling ahead in a wave of ecstatic deliverance. It is a brief but liberating solo, an instant release of tension from the fraught scene Gunn has built, complemented by one of his most arresting vocal performances.
In a final contrast, “Morning is Mended” is an acoustic beauty so resplendent it ranks alongside Sandy Denny or Jackson C. Frank. Buoyed by a melody that sparkles like sunlight on still water, Gunn acknowledges the hardships around him, the feeling of being a “nothing sky,” and then moves forward into the world, walking tall into the fresh morning. The song is an apt encapsulation of ‘The Unseen In Between’, a gorgeously empathetic record that attempts to recognize the worries of the world and offer some timely assurance. It is a revelatory and redemptive set, offering the balm of understanding at a time when that seems in very short supply.
Car Seat Headrest is excited to announce a newly confirmed run of headline tour dates for 2019. Kicking off on Valentine’s Day in Boston, the tour makes its way down the East Coast, making multiple stops in Florida, a first for the band, and winds its way through Texas, culminating in San Antonio on March 2nd. Car Seat Headrest’s electrifying seven-piece live band, including members of Naked Giants, has been on the road for the past month in the States, playing grandiose, sold-out shows in support of the recently released ‘Twin Fantasy’, the re-recorded and re-imagined return to the band’s 2011 Bandcamp classic. Previously only available physically as a Record Store Day exclusive, the remastered 2011 version of ‘Twin Fantasy’ (dubbed ‘Twin Fantasy – Mirror To Mirror’) will be available on all digital services on November 2nd and on vinyl on November 9th.
Snail Mail’s ridiculous global touring run in support of ‘Lush’ has been augmented with a December 29 Philadelphia date with Kurt Vile and The Feelies, and 3 West Coast shows in January playing prior to Parquet Courts. Said dates in San Diego, Santa Ana and Los Angeles go on sale this Friday, October 5 at 10pm pacific time.
Algiers continue their global campaign in the wake of the monumental ‘The Underside Of Power’, now stretching into a 3rd calendar year with 2019 UK and European dates starting January 11 in Norwich (see Robyn Hitchcock’s “Listening To The Higsons” for more specific information on this city, or perhaps just consult wikipedia). Tickets are on sale today.
Yo La Tengo’s annual series of Hanukkah shows to benefit their chosen charities resumed in 2017 at Lower Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom and continues for another 8-night (duh) run at said venue running this December 2 thru the 9th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 14 at noon eastern time, and no-fee tickets are available in person at the Mercury Lounge box office starting the same day/time (cash only).
In addition, Yo La Tengo have been confirmed to participate in next August’s Belle and Sebastian curated Boaty Weekender. Tickets/info here.
(Video by Marisa Gesualdi
Original Footage directed by Aurora Glassock)
Weeks of speculation come to an end today as details of the new Kurt Vile album can finally be confirmed: One of the most critically and commercially acclaimed artists of the last decade will release ‘Bottle It In’ on October 12th. Today’s announcement is accompanied by the release of a new song titled “Bassackwards”, the album’s beating heart and Vile’s most compelling evocation of how he sees the world: “I was on the ground circa Planet Earth, but out of sorts,” he sings over a gently psychedelic bed of backmasked guitars. “But I snapped back, baby, just in time to jot it down.”
Kurt Vile has also confirmed a lengthy run of worldwide tour dates for 2019 with backing band The Violators, in addition to previously announced tour dates coming up this fall. The 2019 North American shows traverse a multitude of East Coast, Midwest, Southwest, and Southern cities, with support from The Feelies. A special hometown show in Philadelphia has been added for December 29th 2018, which will take place at the newly rehabilitated historic Metropolitan Opera House (aka The Met Philadelphia) as part of their opening week celebration. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
Travel can inspire in surprising ways: Kurt Vile discovered as much making his first record in three years, the eclectic and electrifying Bottle It In, which he recorded at various studios around the country over two very busy years, during sessions that usually punctuated the ends of long tours or family road trips. Every song, whether it’s a concise and catchy pop composition or a sprawling guitar epic, becomes a journey unto itself, taking unexpected detours, circuitous melodic avenues, or open-highway solos. If Vile has become something of a rock guitar god—a mantle he would dismiss out of humility but also out of a desire to keep getting better, to continue absorbing new music, new sounds, new ideas—it’s due to his precise, witty playing style, which turns every riff and rhythm into points on a map and takes the scenic route from one to the next.
Using past albums as points of departure, Bottle It In heads off in new directions, pushing at the edges of the map into unexplored territory: Here be monster jams. These songs show an artist who is still evolving and growing: a songwriter who, like his hero John Prine, can make you laugh and break your heart, often in the same line, as well as a vocalist who essentially rewrites those songs whenever he sings them in his wise, laconic jive-talkin’ drawl. He revels in the minutiae of the music—not simply incorporating new instruments but emphasizing how they interact with his guitar and voice, how the glockenspiel evokes cirrocumulus clouds on “Hysteria,” how Kim Gordon’s “acoustic guitar distortion” (her term) engulfs everything at the end of “Mutinies,” how the banjo curls around his guitar lines and backing vocals from Lucius to lend a high-lonesome aura to “Come Again.”
These journeys took Vile more than two years to navigate, during which time he toured behind his breakout 2015 album b’lieve I’m goin’ down, recorded a duets album with Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Courtney Barnett, opened for Neil Young in front of 90,000 people in Quebec, famously became a clue on Jeopardy, hung out with friends, took vacations with his wife and daughters.
In April 2017, he trekked out to Indio, California, to catch the Stagecoach Festival and sit in with his friends the Sadies (“my favorite modern band”). Inspired by Willie Nelson’s epic set, Vile spent a few days in Los Angeles working with producer Rob Schnapf at his Mant Sounds studio. The two had previously worked together on “Pretty Pimpin,” the leadoff track on b’lieve that became a number-one AAA radio hit. Their second collaboration was similarly inspired: Featuring backing vocals from Cass McCombs, the eleven-minute title track is full of ominous bass rumbles, hazy-steady drumbeats from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, delicate harp stabs from Mary Lattimore, and what sounds like chewy distortion leaking out of a David Lynch flick.
Months later, when a lengthy Violators tour ended in Salt Lake City, Vile let the momentum carry him further west, where he recorded several more songs with engineer/producer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, the War on Drugs) at The Beer Hole in Los Angeles. Other songs were put to tape during sojourns to Portland, Oregon, and to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where fellow Violator Rob Laakso co-produced. The bulk of Bottle It In was bottled up at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) engineering and producing. Bottle It In captures the spontaneity of these impromptu sessions, revealing Vile as a diligent and singularly determined musician.
These recordings are the destinations, but the journeys were just as important, whether they gave him time with his wife and kids or an opportunity to get some writing done. “For a while I was terrified of flying, so I would be listening to whatever country songs I was obsessed with. I’d have George Jones blasting in my ears. Or, I would be reading something about country music. Or, I would start writing songs in that flash of being afraid, being swallowed by life. I’m up there on a plane drinking wine because like everybody else I’m afraid to die. And I wrote ‘Hysteria’ up there.” That new song, with its woozy guitar fanfare, captures mid-flight queasiness well, as Vile daydreams about escaping the flight: “Stop this plane ‘cause I wanna get off,” he sings. “Pull over somewhere on the side of a cloud.”
Bottle It In is about place only insofar as it is about the people in those places: friends and family, bandmates and music heroes, colleagues and collaborators. There’s a lot of love in these big-hearted songs, a lot of warmth toward everyone in Vile’s orbit and even toward those whose paths he’s yet to cross. “Loved you all a long, long while,” he sings on “One-Trick Ponies.” “Looked down into a deep dark well, called all of your names.” The jangly country-rock tune serves as a valentine to… he won’t say, but he and Mozgawa and Farmer Dave Scher deliver a beautifully sympathetic sing-along chorus that invites every one of us one-trick ponies to join in.
As Vile prepares for another round of lengthy tours and countless shows, these songs should prove good company, reminders of the love and responsibility he has toward those he leaves at home and those he meets along the way. That makes the sentiments resonate more strongly and lends Bottle It In an emotional weight. “It’s like that moment on the airplane,” Vile says, “when you’re on your way somewhere and you have that burst of panic. When you’re terrified of dying, that’s when you want people to know you love them.” – Stephen Duesner
01 Loading Zones
03 Yeah Bones
05 One Trick Ponies
06 Rollin With The Flow
07 Check Baby
08 Bottle It In
10 Come Again
11 Cold Was The Wind
12 Skinny Mini
13 (bottle back)
Belle & Sebastian are thrilled to announce the initial lineup for The Boaty Weekender, their curated, four-day music festival at sea and holiday experience, sailing from Barcelona to Cagliari, Sardinia, 8-12 August 2019. Joining the legendary Scottish host band is an eclectic mix of acts including Mogwai, a reunited Camera Obscura, Django Django, Alvvays, The Buzzcocks, Japanese Breakfast, Honeyblood, HINDS, Kelly Lee Owens, Nilüfer Yanya, Whyte Horses , Tracyanne and Danny and more to be announced.
“It’s the start of September, Belle and Sebastian are facing the autumn term, back in the studio, back to the blackboard, sharpening their plectrums, already dreaming of next summer.
If only there was something to look forward to, a party, an adventure, something on the horizon, something to take the chill out of the thought of winter…
The Boaty Weekender: a sail around the Med, a nice little trip with friends, some of the best people, in some of the best places!
We’ve asked around, we collected the first shipmates. They’re going to earn their passage by playing their best for you, digging deep into their musical reservoirs.
We’re really going to try to make this a great holiday. We’d love to have you along for the trip!
“I thought about a new destination
I’m never short of new inspiration
Roll out the map and mark it with a gin!”
– Belle & Sebastian
The Boaty Weekender marks the 20th anniversary of Belle & Sebastian’s legendary 1998 Bowlie Weekender – a landmark in DIY festivals. The four-day floating festival and luxury holiday cruise around the Mediterranean, is a natural continuation of the band’s special and unmediated relationship with their fans for over three decades.
In addition to multiple performance by each band across 5 stages, this fan and band holiday experience will play host to one-of-a-kind artist collaborations, insightful Q&As, storyteller and panel sessions, theme parties, group activities, custom event merchandise and more. Guests who book in the first 350 staterooms will get access to a special performance of Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant – an album never before performed in its entirety. Those who reserve a stateroom at any point during the pre-sale will receive an exclusive Boaty Weekender Vinyl for their collection.
For the best selection of staterooms, fans are encouraged to register for the pre-sale of The Boaty Weekender. For more information and news on line-up announcements, visit online at http://www.theboatyweekender.com/
In addition to today’s premiere of a 4-song session taped for KEXP, Snail Mail have confirmed 14 more U.S. shows starting with a November 30 date at Jersey City’s White Eagle Music Hall. Ticket links can be found below.
Tickets are on sale this morning for the newly-announced dates leading up to Interpol’s performance at Madison Square Garden with Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail on February 16, 2019. After releasing the new music video for Marauder-opener “If You Really Love Nothing” yesterday, Interpol began their North American headlining dates last night at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer, and will play their album release show at Brooklyn’s House of Vans tonight. The first part of that show will be live-streamed beginning at 9:45pm EDT via the band’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
Interpol’s Marauder is finally out tomorrow, and to preview their first LP in four years, they’ve shared the video for album-opener “If You Really Love Nothing.” The video, directed by Hala Matar, stars Kristen Stewart and Finn Wittrock.
Interpol kicks off their North American headlining dates with a sold out show at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer tonight, before playing their Marauder release show at Brooklyn’s House of Vans tomorrow night. The first five tracks of their set tomorrow will be live-streamed from the band’s Facebook and YouTube channel, beginning at 9:45pm EDT.
Upcoming Tour Dates, In Bold On Sale Tomorrow at 10am Local Time
Interpol have confirmed 9 additional headlining dates early next year capped off with the previously announced show at Madison Square Garden on February 16. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10am local time.
The rumors are true: boygenius, the band of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus will release their self-titled EP debut on November 9th on Matador. The illustrious trio is comprised of the most exciting and visionary young songwriters in independent rock, whose critically acclaimed albums were all released in the past year (‘Turn Out The Lights’, ‘Stranger In The Alps’, and ‘Historian’, respectively). To celebrate today’s announcement, boygenius has released a captivating triumvirate of new songs titled “Stay Down,”“Me & My Dog,” and “Bite The Hand,” which can be heard HERE.
Baker and Bridgers will hit the road in North America this fall for a co-headline tour, with Dacus opening. Each artist will play her own individual set of tunes, but fans just might be able to hear some boygenius songs along the way – though that’s another rumor we can’t yet confirm. The tour kicks off at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on November 4th, and hits major markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, culminating at The Wiltern in LA on November 30. The full list of tour dates, as well as each individual artist’s itinerary, can be found below.
It would be the height of exaggeration to say Algiers’ nearly two years on the road in support of ‘The Underside Of Power’ is unprecedented. For instance, Thirty Seconds To Mars hold a Guinness World Record for an 309 show jaunt between 2009 and 2010 which you have to admit is an awful lot of effort simply to avoid people who wanted refunds after renting “Chapter 27” on DVD. But that unfortunate example aside, Algiers’ nearly two years on the road in support of ‘The Underside Of Power’ has firmly solidified their status as one of the most electrifying & provocative live bands on this or any other circuit and if you don’t agree after attending one of these shows, I will personally refund the cost of your ticket*
( * – DISCLAIMER : Algiers headlining shows only, refund requests must be received within 45 minutes of the end of Algiers set and must include a PDF or JPG of your ticket stub & credit card statement, and a notarized affidavit including the signatures of two witnesses who can attest you watched the entire set and weren’t just fucking around on your phone the whole time. Offer not valid in the states of Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire or the District of Columbia.)
Following a seven-week US tour on the heels of the recent release of their new album, Beyondless, Iceage have shared a new video for album stand-out track, “Under The Sun.” The video was filmed in Tokyo during their ‘Opening Nights’ residencies, which was an inter-continental exhibition that saw Iceage collaborating with their favorite visual artists (also staged in NYC and LA).
Directed by XXX, the “Under The Sun” video features the vibrant, eye-catching floral designs of renowned flower sculptor, Azuma Makoto, who handpicked Iceage for his flower-music installation series titled “Crazy Garden x Iceage.” The band’s darkly beautiful and chaotic live performance is an unexpected, yet fitting, foil to the delicate blooms
After a North American co-headline tour with The Black Lips in November, Iceage will return to London for a special performance at the Hackney Arts Centre on December 7th, with Helm and Astrid Sonne opening, and set design by Christian Friedlander. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
To celebrate the release of ‘Marauder’ on August 24th, Interpol have just announced two extremely special, extremely limited shows to take place in the UK during release week.
On Wednesday, August 29th the band will play a special performance in Kingston, in conjunction with Banquet Records. Tickets go on sale at 11:00 BST on Monday, August 6th. Full details are available here
Rough Trade East will host a second performance the following day – Thursday, August 30th. Pre-order ‘Marauder’ now via Rough Trade for entry. Full details available here
Steve Gunn has announced a residency at Brooklyn’s Union Pool across three nights this Fall. Each night features guest performances, including appearances by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley, Bridget St. John and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Julien Baker is currently touring throughout North America in support of her recent release Turn Out The Lights. In May she performed four tracks from the album at the KEXP studios, which are online today. Julien performs today at Pitchfork Music Festival at 5:15pm CST. Her set (as well as Lucy Dacus’s at 2:30pm CST) will be live-streaming from Pitchfork’s YouTube Page.
During the first leg of Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ Sparkle Hard tour, the group stopped off at KEXP’s Gathering Space in Seattle to play tracks off the new album. Those performances are online now, and The Jicks are back on the road too, performing tonight at Slim’s in San Francisco. Before their show, they’ll be live-streaming a session at Light Rail Studios at 6pm EST/3pm PST, which you can watch HERE.