Entries tagged with: Ken Stringfellow
Grandaddy made four albums between 1997 and 2006, two of which (2000's The Software Slump and 2003's Sumday) are early-'00s indie rock classics. In 2012, Gradaddy reformed for a few festivals and the band are currently working on their first new album in 10 years, as confirmed by frontman Jason Lytle on Twitter back in August. Lytle took part in a Facebook interview in the fall where he talked about producing the new album themselves and his love of ELO:
Ha! Yes - Jeff Lynne. There is something tempting about having "my people contact his people". I've actually considered it to the point of putting it into action, then eventually I realized that if it were to happen, it would end up sounding too far off or inaccurate. I've just gotten attached to a certain way of doing certain things, and there is a certain degree of thrift store-junkpile-chaos that I need to incorporate to feel comfortable. Combining that with enough beauty and plenty of "ahhhs" - which I know you like. I even abandoned the idea entirely of bringing in an outside producer for this next LP, which I had been seriously considering. No particular reason. Just running on instinct. And realizing that the closer I'm able to emulate the working process of prior DIY Grandaddy LP's and self-produce it, the more "legit" it's going to sound.Lytle was also asked about touring when the new record is out:
I think anytime people are expecting too much of me, and - heaven forbid - demanding things of me, my immediate instinct is to rebel and retreat. There's definitely a cornered animal part of me that I have never done too well with. Having said that, I feel a lot more in control of whether or not and to what extent the touring situation might be. So I have been able to set that part of it aside for now and just concentrate on trying to make an interesting group of songs. Toward the end of Grandaddy, I really had a tough time with the expectations and the pressure to tour relentlessly.Let's hope Grandaddy do tour...in support of a great new album. Last time I saw them was on the Sumday tour at Irving Plaza with Super Furry Animals. That was a great show.
In other news, Jason is part of an indie rock supergroup, Banquet, featuring Alex from Franz Ferdinand, Ben from Band of Horses, members of Travis and Midlake. Currently though Lytle is on tour in France with The Posies' Ken Stringfellow and Chokebroke's Troy von Balthazar as part of an Elliott Smith tribute called The Color Bars Experience. With an 11-piece band (including strings and wind instruments), they reinterpret Smith's songs, focusing on his final album, Figure 8. Those dates are listed, along with a live Color Bars Experience video, below.
Lucero's new album, All A Man Should Do, will be out September 18 via ATO and the band have shared another song from it, a cover of Big Star's "I'm in Love with a Girl." They recorded it at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the original was made, and features backup vocals from Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, as well as The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (who played in latter-day lineups fof Big Star). Lucero frontman Ben Nichols told us about the cover when Andrew Sacher interviewed him earlier this month:
With the last two albums we had gone deeper and deeper into our Memphis roots and influences. We had the Sun Studios boogie piano and the Stax Records B-3 organ and the horns. We had a blast. With the new record it was time to focus on other influences. This is the only album I've played only acoustic guitar on. So right from the start it was going to have a more subdued sound and a lighter touch. That happened to fit the mood of the songs I was writing. And the Big Star cover fit in there perfectly. I've said in other interviews that this was the record the 15 year old Ben would've loved to have recorded in 1989. A lot of what I was listening to way back then influenced this record. And "I'm in Love With a Girl" has that same innocence and that same feel. AND there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity of having Jody [Stephens] and Ken [Stringfellow] and Jon [Auer] do harmony parts. They were all in town and we made it work somehow and the result is unlike anything on any other Lucero record.Listen to Lucero's Big Star cover below.
by Andrew Sacher
Kurt Vile at Bowery Ballroom in May (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Kurt Vile released his new album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, this past April. It's a fantastic double album which takes the style he perfected on 2011's Smoke Ring For My Halo to new, ambitious heights without ever overdoing it or dragging. If you haven't listened, I couldn't recommend it enough.
Kurt just released a video for the third single from that album, "KV Crimes." The video was directed by WFMU host Tom Scharpling (who has also directed videos for Ben Gibbard, Nude Beach, and Aimee Mann) and features lots of people clapping, singing along, and waving KV flags as Kurt is paraded through his hometown of Philadelphia. Check it out below.
Philly has also given their hometown hero another honor as well. Matablog reports...
By mayoral decree, August 28 will officially be Kurt Vile Day in Philadelphia! On that date, Kurt will give a free solo performance in City Hall Courtyard at 5:30pm for the season finale of the City Hall Presents summer concert series. Prior to his performance, the City of Philadelphia will present Kurt with the Liberty Bell Award, the highest honor the City can bestow upon one of its citizens. This award is given only to native Philadelphians, and is presented in recognition of outstanding professional achievements and civic generosity.Way to go, Kurt.
As mentioned, Kurt Vile will be in NYC for the free 4Knots Music Festival on June 29 which takes place on Pier 17 at South Street Seaport. The rest of that lineup is also great, and includes names like The Men, Parquet Courts, Marnie Stern, Reigning Sound, White Lung, and more. Show starts at 1 PM.
The next day (6/30), Kurt will hang around NYC for the previously announced Big Star's Third tribute show on Central Park Summerstage. In addition to KV, that show will also include vocalists Sharon Van Etten, Marhsall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Reeve Carney, Jonathan Donahue (Mercury Rev), and Beck Stark backed by a band that includes Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (The dB's), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), Charles Cleaver, and Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony). That show starts at 7 PM, is open to all ages, and is totally free.
Kurt also recently performed live on KEXP. You can watch a video of that performance, the new music video for "KV Crimes," and the list of updated Kurt Vile dates, below...
Hunka hunka burnin' love: Ken Stringfellow & Margaret Cho
Posies singer Ken Stringfellow released his fourth solo LP, Danzig in the Moonlight, last fall which found him a little more raw mode than the harmonied pop his band is known for. You can stream it via Spotify below.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Ken has released a video for "Doesn't it Remind You of Something?" which we're premiering in this post. While the album version is a duet with The Head & the Heart's Charity Rose, the video co-stars comedian Margaret Cho. Theirs is a burning love in the most literal sense. Watch it below.
Ken is also currently on tour and will be in NYC this weekend for two shows: Friday (2/15) at Union Pool with Bird of Youth and Sky White Tiger; and Saturday (2/16) at Mercury Lounge with Chris Mills (tickets). All tour dates, album stream and video premiere are below.
Beach Fossils play a record release show for their new album, Clash the Truth at Bowery Ballroom on February 23.
Tickets for that show are on AmEx presale now with a general on-sale starting Friday (12/7) at noon. (UPDATE: That show has been removed from Bowery Ballroom's website. Stay tuned.)
Balkan Beat Box are playing Webster Hall on March 17 with Delhi 2 Dublin. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
The Suzan are playing Glasslands on January 28. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, REM, Big Star, etc) is playing Mercury Lounge on February 16. Tickets for that show are on AmEx presale now with a general on-sale starting Friday (12/7) at noon.
Lushlife is opening for Steven A. Clark at Mercury Lounge on January 10. Tickets for that show are on AmEx presale now with a general on-sale starting Friday (12/7) at noon.
photos by Ryan Barkan
Just as everyone at the SXSW Music Festival was finding their groove Wednesday, news of the death of Alex Chilton hit. "Austin's in shock about Alex," read one of the countless social media memes. On Saturday, heartsick Big Star fans got to hear Chilton songs performed by a cast of guest musicians sitting in on the regularly scheduled Big Star showcase, held down by the remaining members of the band's current incarnation, Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow and Jody Stephens...The full setlist with more pictures and a video from the show, below...
But first a letter from Chilton's widow, Laura, who the 59-year-old musician had only recently married, was read by publicist Heather West [video below]...
...Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets lumbered through "In the Street," otherwise known as the theme song for That 70's Show. M. Ward of She & Him croaked an elegant "Big Black Car." Mike Mills of R.E.M. found his religion with "Jesus Christ." John Doe of X dispatched a crystal clear "I'm in Love with a Girl." And in what was the night's biggest surprise, Sondre Lerche provided an intense, harmonic "The Ballad of El Goodo."
And that's how it went for the entire hour and a half, with guest musicians including Chris Stamey, Chuck Prophet, Evan Dando, Amy Speace, the Watson Twins, Susan Cowsill, and original Big Star member Andy Hummel (who came in from Lithuania for the show) all getting a chance to pay tribute to Chilton. A rendition of the classic "Thirteen" was one of the final songs of the night, the lyrics of which encapsulated not only the special moment that was taking place in the storied Antone's blues club, but the entire SXSW Music Festival: "Rock & roll is here to stay/ Come inside where it's okay." [Rolling Stone]
photos by Lori Baily
Happy Holidays! I take on more than I can handle. That results in a lot of unposted content. In the name of catching up, while also taking it easy during this final week of the year, here's some of that lost material.
Where was Alex Chilton on Wednesday night? At the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, he was onstage, more or less, standing at the far right, sometimes even near his microphone (and sometimes even using it). But as has been the case on and off for the last couple of decades, he was frustratingly hard to find.Kurt Vile opened for Big Star at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on November 18th. More pictures and the setlist from the Scenic-presented show, (especially sorry for the delay on this post) below...
It was the first New York show in several years for Big Star, Mr. Chilton's band, still plying the songs that for a few years in the early 1970s helped shape what power pop was to become, even if it was coolly received at the time. (An impressive Big Star boxed set, "Keep an Eye on the Sky," was released on Rhino in September.)
But memories are made in a variety of ways. The resurrection of Big Star in the early 1990s cemented its legend, and also the lineup: Mr. Chilton, who also played guitar, and the drummer Jody Stephens from the original group, rounded out by the guitarist Jon Auer and the bassist Ken Stringfellow, who were enlisted more than 15 years ago to fill out the band during its first comeback and never left. [NY Times]
"Big Star served as a Rosetta stone for a whole generation of musicians." -Peter Buck, R.E.M.
Rhino is releasing Big Star's 4-disc boxed set which includes 98 tracks spanning from 1968-1975. This power pop band created music that turned artists as diverse as Cheap Trick, R.E.M., and The Replacements into Big Star fans. The 4-disc boxed set, Keep an Eye on the Sky, includes extensive liner notes, rare and never-before-seen photos, and insightful essays about the cult of Big Star and the band's history. These influential tracks will be released September 15, 2009.I'm not sure what Record Store Day has to do with anything, but that's a picture of the 7" above.
Also, on RECORD STORE DAY, a special Limited edition Big Star 7" Vinyl will be available. Only 3,500 vinyl will be pressed. These 7" vinyl will only be available at independent records on September 5th.
Big Star is:
Jon AuerJon and Ken, both members of the Posies, joined in 1993. The Posies recently got back together to perform "Frosting on the Beater" at Gramercy Theatre and The Bell House. Ken often plays solo shows, like when he opened for Robyn Hitchcock at the Bell House recently. Jon also plays solo shows, like the one he has scheduled at The Bell House on September 15th with Fountains of Wayne.
Alex Chilton (original member)
Jody Stephens (original member)
Alex Chilton still plays shows too, often in Hoboken, and sometimes with The Box Tops. In 2005 he survived Katrina. Posts about him are usually accompanied by comments like "Big Star please!"...
Tickets are on sale for a Wednesday, November 18th Big Star show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple.
Videos from a show Big Star played in Hyde Park in July, with a picture of the Rhino box set and the tracklist, below...
photos by Lori Baily
backstage shenanigans at the Bell House
On Thursday [June 11th] I saw Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 - R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey - at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Ken Stringfellow of the Posies opened in a solo capacity; he was preceded by Takka Takka.Robyn Hitchcock opened for the Decemberists at Radio City a day before that. Two days after the Bell House show, he performed at this year's Bonnaroo...
Despite owning at least eight of his albums, and enjoying them always, I'm not the world's biggest Robyn Hitchcock expert. But I was surrounded by people who were, and they rated it one of his better shows... [Tony Fletcher]
"This is the first festival I've really been to since seeing Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wright in 1970," [Hitchcock] tells Spinner. With his typical self-deprecating sense of humor -- we think that's what it is, anyway -- he recalls that after the massive Isle of Wright festival, as a performer he "decided to take a different tact and wherever there were going to be lots of people I'd be naught," says Hitchcock. "And, 40 years later, I'm beginning to reconsider my game. Should I do more public appearances where there are people? A lot of my colleagues in show business have answered with a vigorous nod -- 'Yes, Robin, play in front of an audience.'"That trend continues. His next show is at Glastonbury later this month. His next scheduled stateside gig will be at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. More Bell House pictures below...
So Robin Hitchcock and the Venus 3 did indeed take the stage, to massive applause and in front of thousands...