Entries tagged with: Norman Blake
by Bill Pearis
Scottish musician Bill Wells has played in a number of groups over the years, most notably his own improvisational jazz combo, the Bill Wells Octet, and The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland. He's also worked with a host of indie rock bands, such as The Pastels, Future Pilot AKA, Isobel Campbell, Jad Fair, Arab Strap man Aidan Moffat and more.
His new album, Nursery Rhymes, finds him taking on kids song standards -- "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Ring Around The Rosie" -- as collaborations with a host of cool people, including Yo La Tengo, Isobel Campbell, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki, Hospitality's Amber Papini, and more. That's the artwork above and the full tracklist is below.
This isn't a kids album, however, as Wells applies his sparse, melodic style to the familiar songs. He elaborates:
They should be quite disturbing. Because ultimately part of the remit of a nursery rhyme was to give your child some of the harsh realties of life, while sugar-coating them with a catchy little melody. But I'm losing that coating and going straight to the nub of the thing.We've got the premiere of "Three Blind Mice," which is a collaboration with Yo La Tengo and NY jazz musician Karen Mantler. You can stream it below.
Bill Wells & Friends' Nursury Rhymes is out November 20 via Karaoke Kalk.
by Bill Pearis
You may remember that Half Japanese's Jad Fair made four collaborative albums as part of his Artist in Residence series for Joyful Noise. The album he made with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, titled Yes, will be out May 12. (This is their second collaboration, actually, as Words of Wisdom and Hope came out back in 2002.) The LP offers up a more polished guitar pop setting than Jad Fair is usually involved in, though it's standard fare for Blake. It's a nice combination and you can check out "Two Hearts Together," which makes its premiere in this post, below.
Jad and Norman will be touring the UK and Europe over the next couple of weeks. Make some time for North America soon, ok guys? All dates are listed below...
by Bill Pearis
Pernice and Blake
The New Mendicants, the new-ish project from non-Canadians living in Toronto Joe Pernice and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), have just announced that their debut album, Lime, will be out on January 28 via Blake and Pernice's new label, XPT Records. If you like the lush, harmon-laden guitar pop that both The Pernice Brothers and Teenage Fanclub are known for, you're gonna like this too, and know pretty much what you're getting already. You can stream "Sarasota" from the album below.
While you wait for the album, The New Mendicants have a holiday 7" out now and you can stream the A-side, "A Very Sorry Christmas," below. The New Mendicants will be touring the UK and Ireland in the new year. No North American dates yet, but Joe will be out with Wesley Stace in January, and will be playing NYC solo at Rockwood Music Hall on 1/10 (tickets).
In other news, Joe tells us that a new Pernice Brothers album is on the way as well, which will be titled either Spread the Feeling or It's a Long Way Up. Look for that later in 2014.
Streams and New Mendicants album art, below...
by Bill Pearis
Joe Pernice and Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake both call Toronto home these days and, what with their similar musical styles, have joined forces under the name The New Mendicants. They have recorded a 6-song EP for their upcoming Australian tour which includes three new songs, "covers" of Pernice/Blake songs as well as their take on INXS' "This Time" which you can stream below. The EP (cover art above) is being made available for non-Australians via the Pernice Brothers webstore. An album, titled The Book of Norman, is due out sometime in the near future.
In other news, Joe Pernice's '90s era country-ish band The Scud Mountain Boys (whose 1996 album, Massachusetts, for Sub Pop is a classic), have recorded a new album that is due out at some point this year. He's promising a new Pernice Brothers album too, though details on that are hazy at best. In the meantime, The Pernice Brothers' genuinely fantastic 2001 album, The World Won't End, recently saw its first-ever vinyl release which is well worth picking up. You can stream it below via Spotify.
New Mendicants stream and Australian tour dates are below.
Yo La Tengo with Norman Blake (photo by Liz Clayton, via)
We opened night eight with "Ohm" (recorded by John McEntire on YLT's forthcoming Fade record). Norman helped us out for the rest of the set. We took care of some unfinished business from our repertoire ("The Cone of Silence," "I Feel Like Going Home"), played some covers both observant ("Goin' Back") and non- ("Walking on Ice"). Next up was one-time Teenage Fanclub producer Don Fleming for his classic "Evelyn Marble," Dylan's "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and TFC's "God Knows It's True." We closed with "I Heard You Looking," from both the Yo La Tengo and Teenage Fanclub book, and -- what else? -- "Eight Days a Week." And that was almost that. We climbed the stairs from the basement one last time, already drumming the intro to "Antmusic," and pulled some percussionists from the front row for a little bonus thunder. Gaylord had a few more observations he wanted to make, and as long as he was there, we backed him on "My Little Red Book" and the Great Gaylord/Condo Fucks classic (by way of the Rolling Stones) "Rice Krispies." And oh yeah, my mom sang "My Little Corner of the World." I unplugged the menorah (if I only I had heard it referred to as the meNorman in time to use that joke on stage), and THAT was that.-[YLT]Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Don Fleming and Gaylord Fields joined Yo La Tengo for the final night of their annual Hanukkah residency at Maxwell's Saturday night (12/15). Ira's mom Marilyn Kaplan also made an appearance. You can check out the full setlist below.
Like all the Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's this year and every year, proceeds from Saturday's performance were donated to charity, in this case Jersey Shore Relief. The final night's curated mix cd was from Yoni Wolf of Why? who will be touring in 2013. Yo La Tengo will also be touring a lot more, with a new album, in 2013.
Past YLT Chanukah nights at Maxwell's this year included guests and openers Barbara Manning, El-P, Real Estate, The Feelies, Sun Ra Arkestra, the Raybeats, and Titus Andronicus/Jon Glaser/Jon Benjamin Andrew Bird. Click each of those nights to see more about the show and its setlist. Check out the poster from each night, and the final night's setlist, below....
photos by Lori Baily & Ted Barron
DOWNLOAD: Tift Merritt & Norman Blake - Thirteen (Big Star) (MP3)
Tift Merritt w/ Matthew Sweet & friends @ the Big Star Tribute in March (by Lori)
Tift Merritt's is now on tour with Stephen Kellogg, and though tickets are unfotunately sold-out for their show at City Winery (May 6th), she has added another NYC show and this time it's FREE. Tift Merritt will play Madison Square Park on June 22nd at 6PM after her tour with Kellogg, but before she heads out on a string of UK dates with Greg Allman. All tour dates are below.
Add the June 22nd free show to the growing list of free shows happening Madison Square Park this summer. Another is the music portion of the Big Apple BBQ.
Tift Merritt joined an all-star cast that stood up in praise of the late great Alex Chilton (of Big Star) at Baruch College on March 26th, a shade more than one year after he suffered a fatal heart attack. Big Star's Third was the focus of the show, and it featured a revolving cast of musicians on vocals....
"Stipe's performance of "Kanga Roo" was at once fragile and unbowed, while his R.E.M. cohort, singer-bassist Mike Mills, found the holiday in the Christmas song "Jesus Christ." Alternative-country singer Tift Merritt was a vital female addition, showing that the vengeful kick of "You Can't Have Me" could go both ways. Other voices included Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo ("O, Dana," "Take Care"), Norman Blake of the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub ("Nightime"), Matthew Sweet ("Big Black Car") and Django Haskins of the group The Old Ceremony, who carried the bleak weight of "Holocaust" with a wise plain poise." [Rolling Stone]During the encore Tift performed "Thirteen" with Norman Blake. A recording of that cover from the show is avaialble for download above. A set of pictures from the show are in this post. More of them, with all of Tift's tour dates, are below...
"Big Star's third album, Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album was never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations. That changed in December 2010, when an all-star band unearthed the original scores, assembled an orchestra and performed Big Star's Third at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Performers that night included Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (the dB's) - the creative genesis they experienced prompted plans for a historic concert in New York City.BIG STAR THIRD is happening at Baruch Performing Arts Center (at Baruch College) in Mason Hall (17 Lexington) on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Tickets are on presale now (password: Alex), and going on general sale Thursday at noon. More details with the lineup listed out, below...
On March 26th, a mind-boggling array of indie rock all-stars will gather to perform Big Star's Third at Mason Hall. Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Tift Merritt, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Will Rigby (the dB's), Matthew Sweet, Chris Stamey (the dB's), Jody Stephens (Big Star) and M. Ward (She & Him) will be joined by The Lost in the Trees Orchestra with Jane Scarpantoni, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Brett Harris, Sidney Dixon and Matt McMichaels to recreate the original scores and breathe life into a bittersweet album that has impacted generations of musicians. Some very special guests will be announced in the days to come. As the evening unfolds, Chilton and Stephen's musical ideas that were far ahead of their time 35 years ago will resonate in the hands of a collective of sympathetic, top-notch musicians. "We have been trying to create a concert piece that can have a life in years to come, trying to keep the spirit of the music and make it come across with the right emotions live," Stamey told Indy Week. "There's something about this record that connects with my generation, and apparently many generations."
The assemblage will perform Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety - fans can expect additional Big Star and Chris Bell songs as well. "It's easier as time passes to revisit that album because it came out of such a dark period," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told the Raleigh News and Observer. "There were brilliant moments in the studio, especially Carl Marsh's string arrangements, which really take it to a whole other world. But it could be emotionally difficult to watch certain things happen. I was so close to it at the time that I could not see what it was.""
by Bill Pearis
What do you get when you mix Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Euros Childs (ex-Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) together? A honey-voiced indie rock Reese's Cup called Jonny. Their two bands toured together in the '90s and have worked together since -- on Soft Machine singer Kevin Ayer's 2007 album, The Unfairground, and Childs played and sang on Teenage Fanclub's "Baby Lee" from last year's Shadows album.
The album's artwork, an image Blake found on a friend's website, inspired the duo's name. Musically, if you're familiar with Blake and Child's work previously you know what to expect -- harmony rich pop with a more than dash of psychedelia. The record's 13 songs were made with the help of TFC's Dave MCGowan on bass and ex-BMX Bandit Stuart McKidd on drums. Vocally, it's a little more Childs than Blake, though the latter shines on "Circling the Sun," and "The Goodnight" and the two together make for perfect pop on single "Candyfloss," the charming video for which is below.
The Jonny album is out digitally Feb 1 and physically April 12 on Merge. While you wait, you can download the duo's self-explanatory Free EP, four non-LP songs including a cover of "Michel Angelo" by cult Liverpool psych band The 23rd Turnoff. Jonny are touring Europe through March with a promised visit to North America sometime after that.
If that's not enough Euros Childs for you, he also just released a new solo album, Face Dripping, which you can download for free from the link above. It's definitely on the experimental side and not the lovely pop sounds you may associate with Gorky's Zygotic Mynci or his previous solo work like 2008's lovely Cheer Gone. You can also download Son of a Euro Child which was previously given away at the 2009 End of the Road Festival.
The "Candyfloss" video, plus European tour dates for our international readers, and album art and tracklist, are after the jump.