Entries tagged with: Cocteau Twins
by Bill Pearis
Simon Raymonde stays very busy running his label Bella Union which is the UK home of Flaming Lips, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, John Grant, Midlake and more. But he spent the '80s and most of the '90s as bassist for Cocteau Twins, perhaps the quintessential 4AD band from that label's first decade. (His father, Ivor Raymonde, did arrangements for Scott Walker and Dusty Springfield.) Bella Union was set up to release Cocteau Twins albums and related projects and when the band broke up in 1997 the label took on a life of its own.
While Raymonde has produced some of his label's releases, he hasn't really made much music of his own since the Cocteaus broke up. That changes soon, though, with the debut album from Snowbird, the group he formed with singer Stephanie Dosen whose 2007 album for Bella Union, A Lily for the Spectre, he produced. The group was loosely formed in 2010, covering Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" for a MOJO compilation CD (stream it below), but Moon will be their first album of original material. The first track from it, "Porcelain," will definitely remind people of his former band, with Dosen sounding remarkably like Cocteau Twins' singer Elizabeth Frazer (who was just in NYC playing with Massive Attack). Says Raymonde:
Stephanie was the first singer I had worked with since Elizabeth that I had a real musical empathy with. She could do anything. No one had ever sung with Midlake on record before Stephanie, while Massive Attack asked her to be their lead singer on tour --- ironic really given that Elizabeth had too! She also sang with Chemical Brothers. But we'd never written music together at home...You can stream "Porcelain" (which has a little This Mortal Coil vibe to it too) below. Adding to the old school feel, legendary 4AD graphic designer Vaughn Oliver did the album cover. Raymonde also got a few other Bella Union artists to contribute, including Phil Selway (and his Radiohead bandmate Ed O'Brien), Eric Pulido and McKenzie Smith of Midlake (who play NYC tonight), Jonathan Wilson, and Paul Gregory of Lanterns on the Lake (who'll be in NYC in February).
...I wrote every piece of music at night, in semi-darkness so that the space didn't feel like my living room. The moon was very important for the light it reflected.
Look for Snowbird's Moon in January. Streams below...
words by Bill Pearis
Massive Attack V Adam Curtis @ Park Avenue Armory, 9/28/2013
Having premiered at Manchester International festival in July, Massive Attack V Adam Curtis made its North American debut on Saturday night (9/28), the first of six shows at the cavernous Park Avenue Armory. Projection screens covered three sides of the main hall, including a translucent one in front of the stage. Massive Attack played behind it and were occasionally spotlighted though the screen and, when singers Elizabeth Fraser (of Cocteau Twins) and reggae legend and longtime collaborator Horace Andy were singing, occasionally projected onto it.
Co-creator and filmmaker Adam Curtis calls this "a musical entertainment about the power of illusion and the illusion of power." It is engrossing, powerful, and a little depressing. And not what really I'd call a concert, though one person near me tried really hard to dance through the whole thing. This is more a lecture with a live soundtrack. Using exclusively archival footage, Curtis fashions a complex essay on where he thinks politics, the media and the world went wrong starting in 1980 or so. The way he connects the dots -- Butterfly Effect style -- between seeming disparate happenings around the globe (involving Nicolae Ceaușescu, Donald Trump, Ted Turner, to name three) is fascinating, if heavy-handed (Curtis is on the Oliver Stone end of the Subtly Scale).
Massive Attack meanwhile, help the narrative with well-chosen covers (sometimes a little too on-the-nose), everything from The Archies to Bauhaus to Leadbelly (via Nirvana) and many points in between. Undoubtedly the most moving, haunting musical moment is when Liz Fraser sings "Everything is Going According to the Plan" by '80s Russian postpunk band, GrOb. Her voice, not heard live in NYC since the Cocteaus broke up, is still a magical, ethereal wonder and is, for some, reason enough to consider ponying up the dough for this.
The performances continue tonight (9/30) and then Wednesday - Friday (10/2 - 10/4). Friday is sold out but tickets are available to the other shows. We are also giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's show as well as the afterparty.
A few more pictures below...
1,500 people are surrounded on three sides by huge translucent screens on which Curtis's dystopian film essay, Everything Is Going According to Plan, is projected, using all the digital drama of Massive Attack's regular technicians, United Visual Artists. At the far end the band provide the live soundtrack to the footage - mostly powerfully driven cover versions, ranging from Siberian punk to Barbra Streisand - and occasionally emerge from the shadows to become part of the film itself. The audience, many of whom have come to dance, stand pretty much motionless throughout, rapt or trying to keep up with the dizzying and seductive images that Curtis presents and sometimes sonorously narrates. From time to time you are reminded that this is a musical as well as a visual adventure - particularly when guesting Liz Fraser, once of the Cocteau Twins, steps forward to sing, with her rare dreamlike clarity, The Look of Love or later in haunting Russian - but mostly, even if the bass is making the walls shake, it is the film that overwhelms your attention. - [The Guardian]Massive Attack V Adam Curtis, the cinematic / live music / thinkpiece assault, which first premiered at Manchester international festival in July, comes to NYC starting Saturday (9/28) and running for six performances: September 28 - 30 and October 2 - 4 at the Park Avenue Armory. Something we didn't realize when we first posted about it: both reggae legend Horace Andy and Cocteau Twins singer Liz Fraser(!!!) will be on hand to provide live vocals for these performances. The opening and closing night shows are sold out (9/28 & 10/4) but you can still get tickets to the other four shows. You can also still get tickets to the closing night afterparty which is a benefit for the Amory. For a taste of the sensory overload that is this show, you can watch the trailer below.
And if you'd like to go for free we're giving away a pair of tickets to the sold-out Oct 4 final performance AND the afterparty. Details on that, along with the trailer, are below.
BEAUTIFUL NOISE is an in-depth exploration of a music movement in the late 20th century, a fascinating period when some innovative musicians mixed guitar noise into conventional pop song structures while maintaining a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself.Legendary shoegaze/dream pop bands My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and The Jesus and Mary Chain are subject of new documentary, Beautiful Noise, who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money for the film to be distributed in film festivals and released on DVD/Blu-Ray (via Pitchfork). In addition to those three bands, the film will feature interviews with/appearances by members of other shoegaze pioneers like Ride, Slowdive, Lush, Curve, Swervedriver, Medicine, Pale Saints, and more, plus appearances by Wayne Coyne, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, and Robert Smith, and performance videos (and some interviews) with current bands like Sigur Ros, M83, A Place to Bury Strangers, Grouper, Serena Maneesh, and others. The Kickstarter campaign has reached just over $17,000 of its $75,000 goal as of this post, and is open until December 15. More info and rewards details at the documentary's Kickstarter project page.
Although many of the people interviewed are notoriously press shy they have opened up about their music and experiences from over 20 years ago; how they defied the rules and became sonic innovators that have inspired so many.
Currently the documentary is in the final stages for worldwide release, and we need your help to raise the $75,000 to pay for limited run licensing and finishing costs to distribute in Film Festivals and on DVD/Blu-Ray.
This documentary will finally be released only if the fans of this music believe in this project and contribute.
This comes shortly after the news that My Bloody Valentine plans to release an album by the end of the year.
Campaign video below...
Brendan Perry / Robin Guthrie
Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard [not pictured above] are set to commence work on a new album later this year. To coincide with the albums release in 2012, Dead Can Dance will embark upon an extensive two month world tour including dates in Asia, Australasia and South America......No U.S. so far, but more imminently, you can catch Brendan Perry (of Dead Can Dance) & Robin Guthrie (ex-Cocteau Twins) on the road in the tail end of May during a string of North American dates, hitting both coasts and Chicago during a two-week+ jaunt. Those dates include May 31st at Irving Plaza, and tickets are on sale. All dates are listed below.
The shows mark Perry's first U.S. appearances since playing with Dead Can Dance in 2005, and Guthrie's first US outing since a 2009 showing at ATP New York (where he ruled). Both are welcoming a new LP. Perry's new album Ark is due via The End on May 24th, and Guthrie's new LP Emeralds is due on May 12th via Darla.
All tour dates and some video is below.
DOWNLOAD: Robin Guthrie - Some Sort of Paradise (MP3 premiere)
"When it comes to School of Seven Bells' sound, they're frequently, very frequently, compared to My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins - but there is more to them than 'just' being shoegazers - there's an emphasis on electronically-created sounds that underpins each track, and on songs like 'TranceFigure' the vocals take on a tribal feel. "I love My Bloody Valentine and you know, Robin Guthrie did a remix of one of our early demos, 'My Cabal', so I can understand where that idea would come from - [but] we didn't do that intentionally to be completely honest," says Alley. "It's cool because usually the people who say that are people who love shoegaze, so it's a good thing, you know. But we weren't really thinking about that when we made the record."School of Seven Bells, interviewed above, come to NYC for a free Seaport Music show on August 14th (and another date in October). But the real point of this post is the new track from ex-Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie, above. "Some Sort of Paradise" is off Guthrie's forthcoming album, Carousel, due September 28th on Darla Records.
[School of Seven Bells said to Sweet Oblivion Blog]
This spring, Guthrie released a four-track EP called Angel Falls. Before the year's out he's set to release another, titled Songs To Help My Children Sleep. Album art and tracklist below...
photos by Zach Dilgard, words by Black Bubblegum
After a great (and late) Saturday-night, morning (3pm) bloomed with Robin Guthrie (co-founder of Cocteau Twins) and his shimmering ambient soundscapes in the main room. Backlit by projections of fractals and waves, it was the perfect way to ease into Sunday. Le Volume Courbe and Wounded Knees (both opening for MBV tonight at Roseland) had already played on stage two, but sadly, I missed them.
While Guthrie shined on, I scooted on over to stage deux and caught a few minutes of sunny pop by The Lilys (opener for MBV in NYC night two).
Check out the track above and a lot more like it at Apollo Height's MySpace page. Their "Everlasting Gobbstopper EP will be released on iTunes and other fine online stores this August. It will feature four unreleased tracks including the extremely rare 'Angel Heart' with Robin Guthrie."
Check out Apollo Heights tonight (August 20) if you're in NYC. They play Blender/Gramercy Theater with three other bands and according an email I have, it will be "Free for the first hour (7-8pm), and $5 after 8." Either way it is pretty cheap. A video below...