Entries tagged with: Elephant 6

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The Music Tapes

The Music Tapes, the project of Elephant 6 collective member Julian Koster (ex-Neutral Milk Hotel), released their newest album, Mary's Voice, this past September via Merge. You can check out the video for album single, "S'Alive to be Known (May We Starve)," below.

The band will be supporting the album on their Traveling Imaginary tour in 2013. For the Traveling Imaginary tour, The Music Tapes will be a circus tent in each tour stop for an "evening of songs, stories, games, movies, magic, amusements, and more. The tent was funded by their recent Kickstarter campaign.

The Traveling Imaginary tour hits NYC on February 2 at Church For All Nations for two shows that night. They also open for a few shows on Jeff Mangum's upcoming tour, including the shows at Hartford, CT's Great Hall in Union Station (2/8) and Poughkeepsie, NY's Barvadon Opera House (2/15). The dates with Jeff Mangum are not Traveling Imaginary shows though.

A list of all dates, the Traveling Imaginary trailer video, and that music video, below...

Continue reading "The Music Tapes released an LP, touring in 2013 (with and without Jeff Mangum)"

photo via Stephen Cramer
Bill Doss

A memorial service for Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss, who passed away on July 30, went down at the 40 Watt in Athens on August 4th. Friends and family, like Jeff Mangum, Julian Koster, Robert Schneider, Bryan Poole, Jason NeSmith, Derek Almstead, and Eric Harris, gathered to tell stories and perform songs in tribute to their Elephant 6 brother...

A slide show portrayed Doss with his family, friends and performing with band members and musicians. Others captured a combination of serious and funny portraits.

"Bill was a beautiful soul who left the world in a better state than he found it," said Jason NeSmith, lead guitarist of Casper & the Cookies. "I love him like a brother."
When a stream of performers and others who were close to Doss spoke to the gathering, they emphasized laughter, family and music.

A tearful reading of The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" started the line of conversations and acoustic performances.

Robert Schneider, lead vocalist and guitarist of Apples in Stereo, recounted the time he first met Doss. [redandblack]

Watch a 12 minute clip from the Georgia event, below...

Continue reading "watch Elephant 6 members pay tribute to Bill Doss @ 40 Watt"

Bill Doss in Austin (more by Tim Griffin)
Bill Doss

"Nuçi's Space is a non-profit health and music resource center in Athens, GA. The aim of the organization is to prevent suicide by providing obstacle free treatment for musicians suffering from depression and other such disorders as well as to assist in the emotional, physical and professional well-being of musicians."
The cause of Bill Doss's untimely death has not been revealed, but "In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations to Nuci's Space, a local musician support & resource center." That said, Athens-Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson told an Athens paper that "No evidence of foul play or suicide is evident and Doss had no history of medical problems, Wilson said."

The note, via the band's publicist, also reads: "We ask that you please respect the privacy of the Elephant 6 family at this time. Our hearts are with them, and we will release any further details and statements as it's fit in the days to come."

A memorial is set for this Saturday, August 4 (2PM-4PM) at The Fabulous 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA.

Continue reading "Bill Doss memorial set; Musician Support organization donations being accepted"

Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control) @ P4K Fest 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)
bill Doss
Bill Doss

We really hope this news, from Athens, Georgia's Flagpole Magazine music editor Gabe Vodicka turns out to be false. UPDATE: Chunklet and others confirm. UPDATE 2: Olivia Tremor Control writes, "We are devastated by the loss of our brother Bill Doss. We are at a loss for words." Rest in Peace Bill.

As Wikipedia points out, "Bill Doss (born September 12, 1971) is among the co-founders of The Elephant 6 Recording Company, based in Athens, Georgia, and one of the key creative forces behind The Olivia Tremor Control, one of the leaders of the collective, and later, following the band's break-up, The Sunshine Fix." Olivia Tremor Control played the Pitchfork Music Festival earlier this month. The reunited band played a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in June.

by Rachel Kowal

The metronome at an earlier show on the tour (more by Tim Griffin)
metronome

Given the number of reunion tours that have come through over the past few years, it can be hard to keep track of just who's together and who's defunct for good. When I told a friend what bands I went to see at Le Poisson Rouge last night (9/21), his eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. "I thought they stopped playing like ten years ago," he said. And well, they kind of did. [editor's note: he needs to read more websites!] But after a lengthy hiatus, The Olivia Tremor Control joined forces with fellow Elephant 6 Collective artist The Music Tapes to tour once again.

In keeping with the zany, experimental vibe the collective is known for, Julian Koster the front man of The Music Tapes (and also a member of The Olivia Tremor Control) began the set with something of a "gypsy circus" tune that featured mechanized organ samples and Koster on the magical singing saw.

Koster explained the bizarre instrumental introduction by way of revealing a bit about his family's heritage. "My family comes from Romania, and I like to tell this story because it helps people understand what's about to happen," he joked. That Koster's matter-of-fact explanation soon gave way to fantastical legends and impossible feats only added to the music's whimsy.

As Koster, a master storyteller, spoke, he was joined on stage by his two bandmates... or should I say three? Towering over the three men, in the center of the stage, stood a seven-foot tall metronome that joined in on at least one song before its mechanical innards started to malfunction. ("Sorry, this has never happened before," said Koster.)

But the antics didn't stop at the tall tales and the imposing fourth band member. In addition to constantly shuffling through an array of instruments/props (including a banjo Koster played with a violin bow), the three men jumped off stage at one point and marched through the crowd, chanting and playing makeshift versions of their instruments. Considering the speed with which indie bands seem to fizz and fade these days, it's nice to see a group that has not only maintained its distinct sound, but also added to it over the years.

After a short intermission, eight men crowded onto the stage. As if making up for the years of silence, The Olivia Tremor Control put on a particularly raucous show from the very first song, leaving ample time for noisy instrumental interludes and lyrical yelling.

Their set was a mix of short 2-3 minute pop songs and longer, more free form suites, like "Green Typewriters." Old songs and new (like "The Game You Play Is In Your Head, Parts 1, 2, & 3") blended surprisingly well, and each elicited cheers from the undiscriminating audience.

Were they as tight as they were in the early '90s? Hard to say since I didn't exactly make the 18+ cut-off for shows back then. But there was definitely something powerful contained in the crazy, hectic mess of instruments and multi-part harmonies - a kind of energy and fervor rarely seen these days even in the nostalgia circuit. Last night's show may not have sold out (it came close), but the dark, underground room was still packed with adoring fans who still knew every word of their songs - even after all those years.

Miss last night's show? Stream it in its entirety, courtesy of NPR Music. TOTC selist below...

Continue reading "The Olivia Tremor Control & The Music Tapes played Le Poisson Rouge, now streaming online "

photos by Tim Griffin

Olivia Tremor Control @ the Mohawk
Olivia Tremor Control

Aquarium Drunkard: Although there was great showmanship of all the people onstage in the old E6 days, I never got the sense that it was, at its heart, more than just playing with your friends because you liked playing with them, and, oh yeah, it's a great show, too. It wasn't done in a super-calculated way.

JF: No, it wasn't [calculated]. And there was still always a spontaneous element on the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour, where certain times on certain nights, you might say, "I usually play on this, but maybe not tonight!" [laughter] And maybe other nights, you'd play on something you don't usually play on.

BD: There were definitely nights where I said, "You know, I think I'm just going to watch this tonight!" Like the Sun Ra thing, marching out to that? There was a night-or maybe two-where I said, "I'm just gonna go down and watch this." I wasn't the drummer or someone really necessary. I just want to see what it looks like. I just want to be in the audience and be entertained by it.

WH: It's definitely entertaining!

JF: We're going to have a tight show for the new Olivia shows we're doing. There is a guitar player named AJ Griffin who played with a band called Laminated Cat, and he's going to be playing some extra guitar and various other instruments. He plays everything, and he has a new band called Slaw and Order that's amazing!

WH: Slaw and Order!

BD: God, they were great, it was him on the keys and a drummer, and he was ripping it up on the keys. I couldn't believe it!

JF: Yeah, so it's gonna Derek on the drums because Eric can't do the tour, but Eric is going to play with us for All Tomorrow's Parties...

DA: So there is going to be a random element! [laughs]

JF: Oh, yeah, at All Tomorrow's Parties, there are going to be all sorts of random elements with people playing with us because there are so many good musicians...

BD: The whole Holiday Surprise group...

JF: Yeah, the whole crew is going to be there.

Aquarium Drunkard: Jeff [Mangum] is the curator, right?

JF: He's the curator, but when you look at the whole lineup, I think they probably made a lot of suggestions. He probably picked half the bands and they were all "But what about them?" and he said "Okay." They probably gave him a stack of stuff to listen to and said, "Can you pick from these?"

WH: Yeah, they definitely pick some. I doubt he's heard of the Fleet Foxes ever.

DA: Well, they are there for the kids!

WH: I'm not trying to diss Fleet Foxes; I've just never heard them!

Olivia Tremor Control began their current tour in New Orleans. From there they moved on to Austin where they played their first of many tour dates with The Music Tapes at the Mohawk on Wednesday night (8/31). We stalked them to both states. New Orleans pics HERE. Austin pics (and a video) in this post.

This weekend OTC hit FYF Fest in LA and later this month it's LPR in NYC. All dates HERE. More Austin pics (where Sounder also opened) below...

Continue reading "Olivia Tremor Control talk Fleet Foxes, continue on tour, hit the Mohawk (pics & video), FYF Fest in LA is Saturday"

photos by Josh Brasted

Olivia Tremor Control in New Orleans
Olivia Tremor Control

The Olivia Tremor Control made their return to the stage last night (8/29) at One-Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. Pictures are in this post, including one of the setlist (check it out below). They played Green Typewriters in its entirety and "The Game You Play Is in Your Head Parts 1, 2, 3", which is a new song released today on iTunes and streaming at NPR who also interviewed them...

NPR: So what has Olivia Tremor Control been up to for the past 10 years?

Will Cullen Hart: Tons of stuff, really. We've all continued to work through the years. I have a lot of stuff I've been mining. We never really broke up. It was just that a lot was happening at the time and we didn't want to be pushed into doing too much too quickly or into making bad decisions...

NPR: Why are you back now? What brought you back together?

WCH: Well, in 2005 we got invited to play at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, and it was great. We did some additional shows around it, but there were my health problems -- I have M.S. -- that's been a big drain on me. And, you know, I was drinking heavily, lots of hard liquor. [Olivia Tremor Control guitarist and songwriter] Bill [Doss] was like, "You're going to kill yourself! Come on!" So Bill said let's just get together again. And we've just been so happy and having fun...

NPR: The Elephant 6 collective that Olivia Tremor Control was originally a part of has been showing more signs of life. There was the tour a couple years ago. Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, also part of E6, is playing shows. Do you still consider yourself a part of that collective, or are you doing your own thing now?

WCH: Oh, definitely a part! There was a time when we called it the "E6 backlash" back in '99. It blew our minds. E6 was referenced in magazines all the time, and we thought, "Wow, this is kind of becoming a tag word or something." We were getting referenced way too much, and I think people started getting sick of the whole E6 idea. That's one of the reasons we decided to take our hiatus. We started [the label] Cloud Recordings. But E6 is more important to me now than ever, after all these years. It was just over-hyped back then. You know, "the Elephant 6 sound." But now I love it.

The New Orleans show is part of a string of reunion dates that are mostly with fellow Elephant 6'er The Music Tapes. The tour continues on 8/31 at the Mohawk in Austin and eventually hits NYC on 9/21 at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets are still available.

While the hours tick by until September, dig on the rest of the pictures from New Orleans, with updated tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Olivia Tremor Control on tour, played New Orleans (pics & setlist), released a new song (listen)"

The Olivia Tremor Control
Olivia Tremor Control

The Olivia Tremor Control are back and reportedly working on a new release. Previously confirmed to play the December Jeff Mangum-curated ATP UK, the band has now confirmed a full North American tour with fellow Elephant 6er The Music Tapes (aka Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel). The tour includes FYF Fest, MusicfestNW and a NYC show on September 21 at Le Poisson Rouge which is on sale now.

The Music Tapes is also playing Restoration Fest in Albany in August along fellow Neutral Milk Hotel offshoot The Hawk and a Hacksaw who also plays ATP NJ with Jeff and some other dates which are listed below. All of Jeff Mangum's tour dates are HERE

The Olivia Tremor Control recorded their first new track since the reunion last year. The song, "North Term Reality," appears on AUX's compilation AUX Vol. 2. Listen to Olivia Tremor Control's contribution to the comp over at Pitchfork.

All tour dates below...

Continue reading "Olivia Tremor Control & the Music Tapes -- 2011 Tour Dates "

March 17th Cleveland show setlist (via To Eleven)
Elephant 6

"...This wasn't one of those shows where band after band gets up, plays for 1/2 hour, then leaves. The entire Elephant 6 Orchestra was on stage for the whole show, give or take a few members at a time who left to get beer or to just stand and watch. And they looked like they were having fun, which meant that everyone was having fun.

This wasn't just a concert, either. Occasionally, Julian Koster would stop the show to tell surrealist stories about his family (and how they carried dehydrated cities in their mouths as part of a magic trick). At one point, the band took a break so we could watch the Mechanized Organ-Playing Tower, a kind of animatronic puppet that pretended to play a keyboard. And at another point, an audience member was chosen to throw things at an inflatable Snowman. The whole thing might have screamed of "neo-hippy-fest" if it wasn't so genuine.

After solid 4 hours on stage, the band made its way back through the audience while covering Sun Ra's "Enlightenment." Some of us followed the band like they were psychedelic pied pipers heading out the door. And I say us because by the end of the show, it wasn't about how cool anyone was, or whether or not they were seen here. There was a true sense of unity that I've never felt at a show before. We were one audience, and the band was part of "us" too." [To Eleven]

That review snippet, like the above-pictured setlist, come from the 3/17 Cleveland show. The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour hit Brooklyn last night (3/21) at Knitting Factory where they play again tonight before continuing to Manhattan for a Wednesday night show at Le Poisson Rouge. Jeff Mangum was reportedly spotted in the crowd at Knitting Factory, but he didn't perform.

A video of the Elephant 6 Orchestra covering "Let's Get It On" in Cleveland can be watched below...

Continue reading "Elephant 6 tour underway, in NY last night, tonight, tomorrow"

Ho Ho

With both previously announced NYC shows sold out, The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour has added another gig at Knitting Factory. It happens March 21st and tickets are on sale. The full set of updated tour dates is below.

Jeff Mangum, as previously mentioned, is playing a bunch of official shows, including, as previously mentioned, two in NYC that go on sale Friday. All dates below...

Continue reading "Elephant 6 add more 'holiday' shows, Mangum on sale soon (updated 2011 tour dates)"

Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour at Knitting Factory in 2008 (more by Lori Baily)
Elephant 6

Of the two previously announced NYC shows, March 22nd at Knitting Factory is sold out, but the Le Poisson Rouge show on March 23rd still has tickets available (for now). We're talking about the 2011 "Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour" which is now announced in full. All dates and some videos below...

Continue reading "updated Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour Dates (now with 1 NYC show sold out) "

Elephant 6 Holiday tour 2008 (more by Lori Baily)
Elephant 6

Though the full set of dates hasn't been announced yet, it looks like the Elephant 6 collective is going on another "Holiday Surprise Tour," though this time the holiday is whatever happens in March. The NYC shows are March 22nd at Knitting Factory and March 23rd at Le Poisson Rouge. The latter lists the following:

Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour
w/ Elephant 6 orchestra featuring Will Cullen Hart, Bill Doss, Peter Erchick, John Fernandes , Julian Koster, Scott Spillane, Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, Derek Almstead , Heather McIntosh, Bryan Poole, Theo Hilton , Robbie Cucchiaro and others play the music of The Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Gerbils, Nana Grizol, Major Organ and and Adding Machine, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't , plus games, films & other surprises
This news comes hot on the heels of Saturday's private Jeff Mangum show, and Jeff did in fact join in the fun in 2008, but of course there are no guarantees and it will be great either way. Tickets are on sale for both shows (just click the links above). Stay tuned for all dates.

Meanwhile The Music Tapes aka Julian Koster is now on his own holiday tour.

Elf Power

"Elf Power" by Elf Power was released this week...

Elf Power is dedicated to the memory of dear friend, mentor, and close collaborator Vic Chesnutt, who committed suicide in late 2009. Chesnutt was long a guiding light in the close-knit Athens community; the Elves recorded a collaborative album, "Dark Developments," with Chesnutt in 2008 and toured extensively with him through the years. Elf Power's latest album found shape in the vacuum caused by Vic's loss, and finds the band exploring the void created by his departure.
Guest players on the album include Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss of the Olivia Tremor Control, and Circulatory System's John Fernandes and Heather McIntosh. They also apparently used a mellotron that they borrowed from REM. Elephant 6 and Athens represent. You can listen to a song below.

Elf Power are supporting that album on tour now. Their next stop is The Rock Shop in Brooklyn tonight (9/17). Also on that bill: Folklore and The Capstan Shafts who also just released an album, and who will be back in town for CMJ.

Elf Power will next be back in town even before CMJ, when they open for Broken Bells at Terminal 5 on October 11th (tickets). Between now and then they also play many other shows. All dates below...

Continue reading "Elf Power released an LP, on tour - Brooklyn tonight w/ Capstan Shafts, T5 w/ Broken Bells, other dates"

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Naza Grizol - For Things That Haven't Come (MP3)

Nana Grizol @ Bell House in March (more by Tim Griffin)
Nana Grizol

Nana Grizol's second album, "Ruth" is a potent mix of revved up melodic folk punk, laced with intricate horn arrangements and sleazy, ripping guitars. It alternates between contemplative, beautiful folk arrangements and blasting rock and roll, often within the same song. "Cynicism" kicks things off with a haunting finger picked guitar melody, mixed with a lush horn arrangement. "Galaxies" then kicks things into high gear with it's infectious swagger. "Black Box" is an album highlight, with it's urgent, tense backing of a lyrical rumination on mortality. "From Here" opens with a jubilant, group vocal, then channels Neil Young's Crazy Horse for a blazing,energetic guitar workout. "Sands" ends the album with an ominous,horn backed swell that builds into an expertly crafted pop song, leaving off on a dark but hopeful note. [Orange Twin]
Athens, GA,'s Nana Grizol are a relatively new creation, only one album into their career. But songwriter Theo Hilton and his band of E6 regulars are hardly new to the game. The band's lineup can vary, but generally includes members of Elf Power, Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel (many of which appeared on the E6 Holiday tour around this time last year).

Nana Grizol's second record, Ruth, is set to come out January 12th on Orange Twin (though it's available digitally now). The song "For Things That Haven't Come" from that is posted above.

The band is touring this November, and stops in NYC on November 8th for a show at Cake Shop. Chameleon indie-pop Golden Ghost open. Nana Grizol's live show, which visited NYC with Music Tapes last March, is a raucous, team-work filled affair, with multiple drums kits, a rotating cast of horns and frontman Theo Hilton giving his all. There's a little preview in a pair of videos from Athens's Orange Twin Music Fest in October. Those clips with album info and all tour dates are below...

Continue reading "E6's Nana Grizol - new album, MP3 & 2009 tour dates "

DOWNLOAD: Circulatory System - Overjoyed (MP3)

by Andrew Frisicano

Circulatory System

Elephant 6 showed up in full force for Wednesday's triple bill at (Le) Poisson Rouge (Sept. 9th). First up was Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't. (comma and period in place, as noted by frontman Peter Erchick). The Olivia Tremor Control/Circulatory System keyboardist donned a guitar to lead the group through a set of uplifting, celebratory songs bolstered by violin, clarinet (both played by OTCer John Fernandes) and cello.

Next Nesey Gallons, guitarist for Circulatory System and Music Tapes (in the house when they visited NYC earlier this year), played songs from his debut solo record, Eyes & Eyes & Eyes Ago, which just came out. Alone with an ancient guitar (that failed on him a few times), Gallons sang with emotion, his eyes fixed in an intense stare while his feet tangled nervously below.

With Circulatory System on stage, Will Cullen Hart sang and pawed at his paint-splattered guitar, which was fed through an ever-present echo pedal. He was healthy looking and in good spirits (Hart was recently diagnosed with MS). It wasn't until they started that I realized I'd already seen almost everyone on stage earlier in the night. Similar to the Music Tapes/Nana Grizol setup on their spring tour, Pipes & Circulatory shared nearly all their members, rotated instruments (five played bass in the span of the set), made use of multiple drummers (a great touch) and somehow culled the onstage spectacle into a night of amazing sounds.

A necessary note at these things - as far as I can tell, Jeff Mangum did not perform (though I believe Pipes did play "I Have Been Floated" with Will, a song that Mangum and others have joined on in the past). Maybe at ATP NY on Saturday.

More pictures below...

Continue reading "Circulatory System, Nesey Gallons, and Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't. @ LPR in NYC - pics & setlist "

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Circulatory System - Overjoyed (MP3)

Circulatory System (Nesey standing, left)...
Circulatory System

Pure Pop: It seems like the E6 Collective is making a big comeback. The Holiday Suprise Tour, the Music Tapes' caroling tour, [the Music Tapes' regular tour,] Circulatory System's new album [see below] -- it's all really exciting. What's it like to be right in the middle of all this? Do you see great things in E6's future?

Nesey Gallons: yes, i do. and its nice to have had a hand in making things happen. that it all worked. and its been an honor to play with everyone and have brer hart ask me to finish his album and everything. its beautiful to see everyone together doing what they ought to, building worlds. im sure a lot of wonderful things will come drifting out of what has reawoken. in the coming year i plan to live in maine and work on a bunch of projects and things ive neglected during this past year. for some reason i have to be alone to really work properly on anything of my own.

Like much of the Elephant 6-connected material, the new Circulatory System album, Signal Morning, is a collaborative effort (as is the upcoming tour, more on that in sec). First, the album, headed by Oliva Tremor Control's W. Cullen Hart, features contributions from all the members of that band as well as Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum and Julian Koster. It comes out on CD and MP3 September 8th through Cloud Recordings. For vinyl, you'll have to wait a little longer, but when they ship in October, the first 300 will come with a bonus LP of demo versions and alternate mixes. Check out a track from the record, above.

The Circulatory System tour this September will host opening acts Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't (the side project of Olivia Tremor Control keyboardist Peter Erchick) and Nesey Gallons (the E6 regular interviewed above). Nesey visited NYC recently, playing banjo with Music Tapes in March and appearing on the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise tour last fall (with Circ. System's Hart and many others).

Those three acts will play NYC's (Le) Poisson Rouge on Wednesday, September 9th. Tickets are on sale now.

A few days later, Circulatory System plays ATP NY.

Nesey also has an album of his own, Eyes & Eyes & Eyes Ago, that's coming out digitally September 8th (October 20th for vinyl) on Hurrah for Karamazov Records. See preview videos for that album, with Circulatory System's album art and tracklist and all tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Circulatory System - new CD (Jeff Mangum) & tour dates w/ Nesey Gallons & Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't (LPR, ATP) "

photos by Tim Griffin

Ladybug Transistor

The Ladybug Transistor and Of Montreal, both members of the Elephant 6 Collective, released a split 7" in 2000. This past Friday night (4/17/2009), the Ladybug Transistor opened the third of three Of Montreal shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg in their hometown of Brooklyn. They went on before Janelle Monae. More pictures from their set below...

Continue reading "The Ladybug Transistor @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - pics"

by Andrew Frisicano

The Music Tapes @ a CMJ show (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Music Tapes

The Music Tapes played Maxwell's in Hoboken on Sunday (3/1), and for those who missed the criminally under attended show (maybe something to do with the weather), you're in luck - they'll be back in town on Tuesday (tonight, 3/3) playing the Bell House with the same lineup of opening acts: musical mad scientist Brian Dewan and upbeat Elephant 6-ers Nana Grizol. Tickets are still available, and we're giving away a pair of tickets. Details below.

For the show at Maxwell's, I trekked through the blowing snow to arrive in Hoboken, a place that seems to have frozen in time the most picturesque parts of every U.S. small town. Inside the show space, hidden past the club's front restaurant-bar area, 40-50 brave concertgoer gathered around the stage, where second-act Nana Grizol rocked with warming exuberance. (I missed opener Brian Dewan - more on him later, though.)

Nana Grizol's eight-strong lineup crammed the stage, which was crowded with 7-Foot Tall Metronome and Static the Singing TV standing at attention for the upcoming Music Tapes set. But first, the Athens, GA, band shared songs and swapped instruments, which included guitar, bass, and two drum sets. One member switched from clarinet to trumpet to melodica with ease. The horn section expanded into three trumpet harmonies, then contracted to a single euphonium. The bulk of the songs were fronted by Theo Hilton, who sang with a kind of Promise Ring innocence in his voice. The roaring, clanking sound convinced me to shell out for a copy of their 2008 Orange Twin recording, Love It Love It.

Between bands, opener Brian Dewan set up a projector and screened a short film so good it made me wish I trudged out sooner to catch his solo set. The hand-drawn animated slides that populated the film told a short history of civic pride, coyly poking fun at the structures of society by connecting scenes of Aztec ritual sacrifice, paying taxes, and odious parking meters into a modern parable that paid homage to archaic public service videos. Each frame change was announced with a studious "plonk."

Shortly after, The Music Tapes took the stage, borrowing most of Nana Grizol's members (or maybe vice-versa). Julian Koster, as always, fronted the band with a banjo and saw. Elephant 6-regular Nesey Gallons also played banjo - in all, a lot of the Elephant 6 holiday tour seemed to be on board. On "Aliens," Dewan even joined the band, playing one of his homemade Melody Gins, a knob-covered oscillator contraption.

Koster played many of the same songs he did at the band's Mercury Lounge CMJ show: "Freeing Song for Reindeer," "Majesty," "Song for Oceans Falling," "Orchestra's Orchestration" and "What the Television Tells Us" (the latter two with props). A number of the songs started with just Koster and ended in double-drums, double-distorted banjo noise. On "Song for the Death of Parents," Koster played percussion by bouncing a kickball on a soup kettle with a microphone hidden underneath in a perfect melding of theme and medium.

Julian came into the crowd to play a singing-saw version of "The First Noel" and a song on his tiny electric organ, before returning to the stage and closing the show with "Manifest Destiny." (He also promised to play a crowd game with bells on Tuesday at the Bell House.)

Live, The Music Tapes continue to be one of the most consistently entertaining bands around. The scratchy, distorted sound of its recordings (can a singing saw's sound actually be recorded?), while interesting, drastically understates the buoyant joy and enigmatic energy of Koster and Co. in person.

Besides at tonight's Bell House show, New Yorkers can catch Brian Dewan when he performs a free set with his homemade-instrument project, Dewanatron (with cousin Leon), at the opening of Pierogi Gallery (177 N 9th St, Brooklyn) on Saturday, March 7, 9pm.

Video and contest details below...

Continue reading "The Music Tapes, Brian Dewan & Nana Grizol played Maxwell's (review) -- Bell House TONIGHT (win tix)"

DOWNLOAD: Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power & the Amorphous Strums - And How (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power & the Amorphous Strums - Teddy Bear (MP3)

Vic Chestnutt and Elf Power

"Athens' musical mainstays Vic Chesnutt and Elephant 6 originals Elf Power will hit the road this fall in support of their collaborative release, Dark Developments on Orange Twin Records. In addition to performing songs together from Dark Developments, Elf Power will open each night playing tunes from its most recent release In A Cave released earlier this year by Rykodisc."
They are actually going out together on two separate tours. The first tour starts tonight (Oct 29) in Oxford, MS and runs through November 22nd. The second tour starts January 21, 2009, hits Bowery Ballroom in NYC two days later (tickets) and ends with a homecoming show in Athens on February 7th. All dates below...

Continue reading "Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power - MP3's, 2008/09 Tour Dates"

Jeff Mangum plays in Pittsburgh on October 18, 2008 (Hughshows)
Mangum

Neutral Milk Hotel was performed with Jeff Mangum on vocals last night in Pittsburgh....

Continue reading "Jeff Mangum sang NMH's 'Engine' in Pittsburgh (VIDEO)"

Photos by Lori Baily

Elephant 6

Yes, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum appeared, but as someone pointed out, that was just five minutes of of a 2.5 hour Elephant 6 collective show that also included two other members of Neutral Milk Hotel, one of whom (Julian) also performed at The Music Tapes. There were also NMH's Scott Spillane and members of Olivia Tremor Control (and OTC songs) plus "Circulatory System, Gerbils, Elf Power, Nana Grizol, Nesey Gallons" and more...

have to agree that the show was overall pretty amazing...a little unfortunate that mangum didn't do any of his own songs, but it was a great surprise for him to even be there...he did seem quite pissed off in general though and especially when he was trying ot tussle with the big guy on stage...but what do i know....the one guy peaking/tweaking out on stage talking to himself was kinda weird..yea that afraid song was really good as well as the first song mangum came out for with the tuba...also really thought the drummer with the curly hair did some nice ones too... [anonymous]
More pictures from Saturday night's show below...

Continue reading "Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise (people who aren't Jeff Mangum) @ Knitting Factory, NYC - pics"

Jeff Mangum @ Knitting Factory, NYC - Oct 11, 2008 (jbeauchamp)
Jeff Mangum

As everyone hoped/expected, Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum made another one of his mysterious appearances at the NYC stop on the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour. It happened at Knitting Factory Saturday night. Anonymous said he was on stage for "for about 5 minutes total out of a 2.5 hour show". Cait wrote in with this description...

Jeff Mangum walked onstage 3 times last night at the amazing Elephant 6 collective show -- first just for the chorus of a song, about halfway through, then again for just a chorus, and finally at the last song ("The Opera House" by Olivia Tremor Control, before the encores) when he went NUTS and sang for the whole song. He was jumping around and sort of tackled Scott Spillane halfway through and put him in a headlock. He had the most intense look in his eyes the whole time he was on stage. Everyone chanted "Jeff Jeff Jeff", and someone was yelling for songs from Aeroplane ("anything from that album!!! you have to!!") but all we got from that album was Julian Koster and Scott Spillane doing a stripped-down, unpracticed version of The Fool, "dedicated to a friend", which Julian said they hadn't practiced in years. I'm sure you'll get more emails about it -- it was incredible.
We'll have more pictures from the whole show later. In the meantime, here's a video...

Continue reading "Jeff Mangum showed up @ Knitting Factory last night - pic"

Dressy Bessy

Dressy Bessy is an indie rock band from Denver, Colorado, associated with the Elephant Six Collective. Guitarist John Hill also plays with The Apples in Stereo. Lead vocalist/guitarist Tammy Ealom formed the band with drummer Darren Albert and guitarist turned bassist Rob Greene in 1996. The name was taken from a popular Playskool doll of the 1970s. Hill joined around the time they started recording. [Wiki]
AOL Spinner is streaming the new Dressy Bessy album Largehearted Boy was talking about. There's also a tour.

Tickets are on sale for a September 26th Dressy Bessy show at Union Hall. The Coast and Fred Astereo are also on that bill and it's the late show after the comedy gets done. Dressy Bessy are also playing a show with The Coast one night earlier at Arlene's Grocery in Manhattan.

A whole bunch of other Elephant 6ers (too many to list again) are also touring before the end of the year. All Dressy Bessy dates below...

Continue reading "Dressy Bessy - tour dates w/ The Coast, full album stream"

by Andrew Frisicano

Nesey Gallons
Nesey Gallons

Julian Koster (NMH), William Cullen Hart (Olivia Tremor Control), Scott Spillane (NMH), Laura Carter (Elf Power), Eric Harris (Elf Power), Nesey Gallons and many more [along with The Singing Saw, the 7 Foot Tall Metronome, Static the Television and many others] will join together as a traveling variety show this October. Julian describes the evenings as "a big orchestra, variety show, silly happy thing." The large gathering of Elephant 6 members will be playing the music of The Music Tapes, Circulatory System, Scott Spillane, Gerbils, Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Nana Grizol, Nesey Gallons and more...
The 13-date "holiday surprise tour" will swing by the Knitting Factory in Manhattan (before it moves to Brooklyn in January) on October 11th. Tickets are on sale.

The tour also marks the debut of the "Major Organ and the Adding Machine" short film, directed by Joey Foreman and Eric Harris. The film will screen at the beginning of each show on the Holiday tour.

The film is currently being submitted to film festivals and will be coming out as a CD/DVD set in the Fall of 2009. Accompanying the Orange Twin DVD Edition will be the expanded version of the film's soundtrack, originally released in early 2000, that includes several unreleased bonus tracks and illuminating new liner notes by co-director Harris. The film and album stand as the consummate collaboration of the Elephant 6 collective, and feature musical and theatrical contributions from Jeff Mangum, Kevin Barnes, William Cullen Hart, Julian Koster, Andrew Reiger, Dixie Blood Moustache and all and sundry who participated in the hypercreative halcyon days of late-90's Athens, Georgia
Mangum-spotters can take note that past sightings have occured at various Elephant 6 NYC shows: Mangum sang briefly withOlivia Tremor Control at the Bowery in August 2005, with Elf Power in November of the same year at the Knitting Factory, and then with the Instruments at the Cake Shop in 2006.
Also, generally mysterious leader of Neutral Milk Hotel Jeff Mangum is said to be in the movie as well; although he is dressed in a lobster suit so it could possibly be anybody. [Wikipedia]
Music TapesPost-tour, Julian Koster (of NMH, Major Organ, Oliva Tremor Control) and others is scheduled to return to NYC with The Music Tapes on October 25th to play the Merge CMJ Showcase at Mercury Lounge (the rest of that lineup TBA). The band just released Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes, and Koster is set to release The Singing Saw at Christmastime (currently streaming at Merge) on October 6th.

Elephant 6-ers Of Montreal will also visit NYC at the Roseland Ballroom October 10th as part of their tour supporting the forthcoming LP, Skeletal Lamping. (There's a listening party tonight - Sept 8 for the album in Portland, OR). Kevin Barnes also appears in the movie.

All tour dates and the "Major Organ" trailer (and cast listing), below....

Continue reading "Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour, Music Tapes + Major Organ and the Adding Machine - film, Merge, 2008 Tour Dates"