Entries tagged with: Super Furry Animals
Sexwitch / Songhoy Blues / St. Vincent / SFA / GOAT @ Green Man 2015
The Green Man Festival has been taking place in Wales' beautiful Brecon Beacons for the past few years, drawing an increasingly impressive line-up of worldwide and Welsh musicians to the sprawling Glanusk Estate. The 2015 edition happened August 20 - 23 and added enough extras (Hot tubs! A cinema! A beer festival! A science garden!) that you didn't really even need to see any bands at all. But that would be silly, because the bands are great. Read on for some of the best bits from the last two days.
Most anticipated set: Sexwitch - the act billed only as "Special Guest" turned out to be the debut performance of a new project from Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan, TOY and Dan Carey - dark, droney and insistent.
Best set by someone we hadn't heard of before: Hannah Lou Clark and her band, equal parts angsty and dreamy.
Best place to hide out to during the sudden three-hour heatwave on Saturday: The Cinedrome tent with Gulp, because angel-voiced dream pop makes everything better, even when you're simultaneously horribly sweaty and covered in mud (somehow singer Lindsey Leven was immaculate in head-to-toe white, which reinforces our theory that Gulp are slightly magic.)
Most fun to shoot portraits of: Girl Ray, three London ladies who were finalists in the Green Man Rising competition and are very fun to hide between tents with.
Song we still have stuck in our heads: "Moons in My Mirror" by H Hawkline, whose pleasingly intriguing songs and deadpan demeanour were so appealing that the tentful of watchers were quite happy to comply with his request that they whistle the theme from the Great Escape while he tune his guitars, twice.
Most talked-about performance we failed to see: Northumbrian balladeer Richard Dawson [and not the late Family Feud host - Ed] in the Walled Garden, who we are assured was brilliant and unusual.
Youth enterprise award: The three children at the festival entrance with an acoustic guitar busking Super Furry Animals songs: Charlotte, Amelia and James. "Fire in My Heart" was a delight:
Most packed tent: Songhoy Blues from Mali, because they manage to combine deeply cool rock-star stage presence with an overwhelming sense of glee. Plus singer Aliou Touré does really good dancing, and everything they played was brilliant.
Most unfortunate scheduling: Stealing Sheep, who are great but played at the same time as (and right next to) Songhoy Blues.
Most committed crowd: Super Furry Animals. Fans stood ankle-deep in mud and didn't seem to mind the torrential rain, and in return received a predictably first-class set. There can't be any better setting to hear "Mountain People" than the Mountain Stage at Green Man. (Extra points to the gentleman who crowd-surfed all the way to the front sitting in an eight-foot inflatable dinghy.)
Best between-songs chat: Welsh folk legend Meic Stevens, who at one point delightedly exclaimed, "I've had cancer for three years, you know, and I've had 150 hours of radiotherapy on my throat - they said 'I wouldn't have thought you'd be able to talk after that, let alone sing!' but you've got to sing, don't you?! Because it makes people happy!"
Most appropriate name: Towel, who played just after the 21-hour rain storm (complete with 6am wake-everybody-up thunder) stopped.
Best impromptu special guests: Deep Throat Choir who, 24 hours after Matthew E White apparently asked them to join him, appeared en masse at the end of his set and started making up dance routines while singing the outrageously catchy backing vocals to "Rock & Roll is Cold."
Most rapt audience: Father John Misty, who was throwing himself on the floor by the first chorus of the first song and had row after row of grown adults grinning with glee like kids on Christmas morning.
Most apt headliner: Goat, whose vaguely pagan masked glory closed the final night of the Far Out stage and were followed by the ceremonial burning of the giant Green Man. Plus, "Run to Your Mama" might've been the best performance of the entire festival.
Pictures from the first two days of Green Man 2015 are HERE. Lots more pics from the final two days, below...
photos by Gretchen Robinette; words by Bill Pearis
SFA / Malkmus / Screamales / crowd @ 2015 4Knots Fest
The 4Knots Festival happened on Saturday (7/11), its first year on the Hudson and as a ticketed event. You couldn't have asked for a nicer day and, though things got off to a late start resulting in some slightly truncated sets, good vibes abounded. Pictures from the day are in this post.
For me the real draw were Super Furry Animals, playing their only North American show on this visit and first since 2009. With no new album to plug, apart from a reissue of their Welsh Language LP Mwng, it was a Greatest Hits show, both in song and in stage antics. Singer Gruff Rhys had the cue cards for the audience and an alien mask for opener "Slow Life," vegetables were chewed as percussion on "Receptacle for the Respectable" (Bok Choy making its debut as veggie of choice), and they finished with an epic rendition of the Steely Dan-sampling "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" which had them in their yeti costumes and crossing aloft guitars for the finish. Gruff also thanked both Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, as well as fans who traveled far for the show. Setlist and a few videos are below.
The Jicks' set had the biggest crowd of the day. They put on a fun show -- heavy on 2013's Wig Out at Jagbags -- and all seemed to be in a good mood. Twin Peaks and Screaming Females probably had had the wildest crowds. It was hard to tell how many people were there as Pier 84 is a big place and lots of folks were more than happy just to hang out back on the lawn and not get near the stage. Then there was this year's VIP boat (which you could buy tickets for this year), a big party cruise ship that many people never left either. One member of early performers Surfbort left the boat, though -- by jumping off it and into the questionable waters of the Hudson. Once he got out of the water, he was ejected from the festival. Though he tried to get back in wearing a variety of different outfits, and it apparently worked? Video of his high dive is below.
The day also included sets from Mikal Cronin, Heaters, Meatbodies (who played Baby's while in NYC too), and pictures of their sets are in this post. Due to a torn calf muscle (ouch!), our photographer missed Heaven and Happyness but she soldiered on -- and is now on the mend. Lots more pics from 4Knots below...
The Village Voice 4 Knots Festival is next Saturday (7/11) at Pier 84 in Hudson River Park, with headliners Super Furry Animals and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. Since our last post, the fest has added Heaven and Surfbort who will be the first two bands of the day. In between will also see performances from Twin Peaks, Mikal Cronin, Screaming Females, Happyness, Meatbodies and Heaters. 4Knots has also released its schedule/set times which you can check out below.
Tickets are still available, and they're offering a special where you can buy four general admission tickets for the price of three. There's also the $50 VIP option that gets you onto the VIP boat with complimentary snacks and three complimentary drinks (not a bad deal).
4Knots Fest schedule, below...
The lineup for the 2015 4Knots Festival has expanded once again. In addition to headliners Super Furry Animals, we'll also now get another '90s indie great, Stephen Malkmus and his band the Jicks, providing direct support. Also added are the shredding NJ punk trio Screaming Females. Those additions join Mikal Cronin, Twin Peaks and more.
This year's fest happens July 11 on Hudson River Park's Pier 84. Tickets are still available.
photo: Super Furry Animals in London earlier this month (more by Rachel Juarez-Carr)
The 2015 4Knots Festival just got a whole lot more exciting (and furry) as they've announced this year's headliner will be Welsh greats Super Furry Animals. This will be their first NYC show in six years. 4Knots happens this year at Hudson River Park's Pier 84 on July 11 and the rest of the announced lineup includes Mikal Cronin, Twin Peaks, Happyness, Meatbodies, Heaters with more bands to be announced. Tickets are on sale. Poster below.
This is currently Super Furry Animals' only announced North American show. All dates are listed below.
Super Furry Animals @ Brixton Academy 5/8/2015
Super Furry Animals have been mostly on hiatus since 2009, but now they're back as a boiler-suited, laser-firing gang of musical superheroes to celebrate the 15th birthday of their all-Welsh-language, all-beautiful-sounding album Mwng (newly rereleased by Domino). They've taken time off from their other bands -- such as Cian Ciaran's Zefur Wolves and Guto Pryce's Gulp -- to play a quick tour and hit some festivals, and lot of people are very happy to have them back, even if it is just for the summer (so far no word on what happens after that).
They brought everything everyone wanted them to bring to the Brixton Academy on Friday (May 8): yeti costumes, a Power Ranger helmet, a so-pretty-it's-almost-like-being-high light show and a two-and-a-half-hour tour through everyone's favorite songs. They have so many first-class tunes that it wasn't till the next day that I realized they'd skipped my favorite favorite songs, because my second-favorites are still so good. "Demons" and "Mountain People" were beautiful, "Fire in My Heart" and "Northern Lites" life affirming and "Hello Sunshine" had a 30-second pause before the second verse that provoked school-girl-esque screams of glee from a crowd who, if we're honest, are no longer school-girl aged (I was 14 the first time I saw SFA, and almost lost my glasses in the mosh pit during "Something 4 The Weekend". That was 1996.) Spontaneous "SFA OK!" chants broke out between songs; ; someone in the front row said she needed another drink because her face was starting to ache from smiling.
No one on stage said much beyond a modest "We're Super Furry Animals" a few songs in, and the odd "danke schön" in between, till the very end when Gruff Rhys suggested the best answer to everyone's General Election results depression would be to "get angry" (with a muffled "fuck 'em!" yelled from the back)... had there ever been a more appropriate day to end a set with "The Man Don't Give A Fuck" than one when the country had woken up facing another five years of Tory government?
More pictures and setlist from SFA's May 8 show at Brixton Academy, and an updated list of their upcoming dates, below...
The 2015 Glastonbury Festival, which sold out in 25 minutes back in October, has announced it's initial lineup. In addition to Lionel Richie, which they confirmed a while back, this year will feature Patti Smith, Kanye West, Florence and the Machine, Pharell Williams, Motorhead, Alabama Shakes, The Fall, Alt-J, Suede, Fat White Family, The Chemical Brothers, GOAT, Caribou, fka twigs, George Clinton, Father John Misty, Kate Tempest, Run the Jewels, Future Islands and more.
The annual UK festival takes place June 24-28 on Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, England. All announced Glastonbury 2015 performers are listed below...
After teasing us with a few videos, Super Furry Animals officially confirm they're back in action, announcing a few UK tour dates for May. Those are listed below and let's hope for North American dates sooner than later. They haven't played here in six years.
The other news on the SFA front is they're reissuing their long-out-of print fourth album, Mwng, via Domino on May 5. Originally released in 2000, it's the Furries' only full length sung entirely in Welsh -- the title translates to "Mane" -- and remains the biggest-selling Welsh album in UK chart history (and, therefore, probably the world). Despite the scarcity of vowels, there are no shortage of great, catchy songs and it's one of SFA's best albums (it's my second favorite, next to Radiator). The deluxe edition vinyl is on three discs, containing the Mwng Batch bonus disc that came with the original US edition of the CD, plus a previously unreleased Peel session from the time and full live set recorded at ATP. Pre-orders are available now, and you can stream a few songs from Mwng, and check out the deluxe vinyl/CD tracklists, below.
photo: SFA @ Highline Ballroom, 2009 (more by Ryan Barkan)
After a five-year rest, it looks like Super Furry Animals are finally coming out of hibernation. There hasn't been an official announcement, but the band (who haven't played the US since 2009) just posted a video of the giant, blow-up bear from their 1997 album, Radiator, getting inflated for the first time in ages, with the only message being "Deffro'r arth o'i drwmgwsg" (Google says it's Welsh for "Woke from his slumber bear") and the hashtag #sfa2015. What, exactly, the 'Furries have planned remains to be seen. Watch the video below and stay tuned.
Meanwhile, you can catch up on your SFA history via their just-published official biography, and there are a number of side-projects to listen to as well. In addition to that teaser video, there's a few classic Super Furry Animals videos below...
by Bill Pearis
Super Furry Animals keyboardist Cian Ciaran and partner Estelle Ios are Zefur Wolves and will release their debut album via Strangetown Records on April 13. While you might expect, given Ciaran's role in SFA, that the duo would make synthpop or something, Zefur Wolves produce sludgy guitar pop. You can stream two songs and watch the album trailer below.
In other SFA side project news, drummer Dafydd Ieuan's other band, The Earth (not to be confused with Seattle drone trio of the same name), has a new single "Married 2 Me" where singer Dionne Bennett duets with Gruff Rhys. You can stream that below as well.
While, Super Furry Animals are still on hiatus. You can read their story in Ric Rawlins' officially sanctioned book Rise of The Super Furry Animals which was released this week as a paperback. It features new interviews with all the members as well as Pete Fowler's instantly recognizable artwork. Here's what Gruff says about it:
Revolutionary, crazed and beautiful musical events and conversations that originally happened through the medium of a cracked youthful version of the Welsh language are presented here for the first time in quality English. Ric lifts the lid on these millennial events through comic re-enactments, cosmic speculations and passionate research for the recordingsYou can watch a trailer for the book, below. 1996 will mark the 20th anniversary of SFA's debut album, Fuzzy Logic, so maybe we'll get some official band activity then. Or at least some vinyl reissues? Stay tuned.
Streams and videos below...
photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
Gruff Rhys @ Rough Trade 11/09/2014
Gruff Rhys was in NYC over the weekend, the start of his tour supporting his new multiformat project American Interior which is about John Evans who went to North America in the late 1700s in search of a tribe of Welsh-speaking natives. On Saturday (11/08) at Videology, Rhys introduced a screening of the film (in which he follows Evans path in search of the explorer's last resting place), and played shows at Baby's All Right. Sunday (11/09) he played a free matinee at Rough Trade. The concerts mixed a multimedia slide show about Evans with songs off the album (plus a few older songs). I attended all three (BV presented the screening) and Gruff is always an engaging performer and his sly, low-key sense of humor makes for an entertaining time, even at noon on a Sunday (the Rough Trade show). Pictures from Rough Trade, including a couple from the post-show LP signing, are in this post.
Gruff told the Videology crowd that next year might see a release of both American Interior and his first film, Separado!, on one DVD in North America, so keep an eye out for that. Once this solo tour is done, perhaps Gruff and the rest of Super Furry Animals will reconvene...2015 marks the 20th anniversary of their first single.
More pics from Rough Trade below...
Gruff Rhys @ BVSXSW 2014 (more by Tim Griffin)
Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys will release his new solo album, American Interior, in North America on November 4 and will be touring in support of it, including an NYC show at Baby's All Right on November 8 (tickets). He's just added a second NYC show, the next day (11/9) at Rough Trade. It's a noon matinee and is
free with purchase of American Interior at Rough Trade between 11/4 and day of show. UPDATE: show is now just free, no purchase necessary.
in other news: as you may know, American Interior is also a film (as well as a book and mobile app), all based around Gruff retracing the steps of his distant relative John Evans as he traveled through North America in the 1790s. The film, co-directed by Dylan Goch, will make its NYC premiere at a free BrooklynVegan-presented screening on November 8 at Videology in Williamsburg. It's at 5 PM SHARP screening (Videology is just a few blocks from Baby's), and Gruff will be there to introduce the film. RSVP here; entrance based on capacity. Please arrive early. Hope to see you there!
In other SFA news, bassist Guto Pryce's other band, GULP, makes their NYC debut tonight (10/23, 6:45 PM) at Drom as part of CMJ. It's their only show this week.
Trailer for American Interior (and stream of the album), plus an updated list tour dates, below...
Gulp, the Welsh baroque/psych/kraut/tropicalia group which features Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce, released the very good Season Sun over the summer. That album's closing track, "I Want to Dance," is the basis of a new EP which is out this week (10/14) via Everloving/Sonic Cathedral, featuring three previously unreleased tracks. You can listen to the whole thing -- a stream of the EP premieres below.
In other news, Gulp will be making their NYC debut next week for CMJ. Right now they've just got one show: Drom on October 23 (6:45 PM), with Hamish Anderson, The Ocean Party, Bad//Dreems, The Prettiots, Dreamers and Mainland. Tickets are on sale, or you can get in with a CMJ badge.
EP stream and a video below...
by Bill Pearis
Gulp, the Welsh band featuring Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce and Lindsey Leven (drums/vocals), have been working on their debut LP. That record, Season Sun, will be out next week (7/8) via Everloving. If you enjoy your krauty psychedelia with baroque and Brazilian touches (perhaps the most delicious variety), it's time to sit up straight and dig into this LP. We're premiering the album stream in this post. Have a listen, and check out the video for single "Vast Space" below.
Gulp, who are now a quartet, were over for SXSW but didn't play outside of Texas. Still no word on North American dates but we can hope. They do have a couple Welsh dates this month and those are listed below. SFA main man Gruff Rhys, meanwhile, will be over this fall for sure. In the meantiime, stream the Gulp album and video below...
Trust / OFF!
Like the one the day before, the second of our three BrooklynVegan SXSW day parties happened on both stages of Red 7 on Friday (3/14). Outside, the show opened nicely with Columbus, OH indie rockers Connections, followed by intense garage rock trio The Blind Shake, whose members were all decked out in uniform with tight black zip-up jackets and shaved heads. Then came together PANGEA with more garage rock but more on the melodic/accessible side, and they were followed by the punky pop of Upset, who count ex-Vivian Girl Ali Koehler and ex-Hole drummer Patty Schemel as members. After them came a wild set from more veteran musicians in the Keith Morris-fronted hardcore supergroup OFF!, and they were followed by ex-members of Women making shouty, jammy post-punk in their new band Viet Cong. Then came more (but darker and backed by a drum machine) post-punk from Beth Israel, and finally the show wrapped up with a headlining set from Parquet Courts...
"I can't remember a better show in the last five years--maybe 10--than the one Parquet Courts put on at the Brooklyn Vegan day party. It all depends on the show, right? Sometimes you can be transformed by an arena show or knocked over by some random punk band in a shoebox. But this was seeing a band that is RIGHT NOW! They have 1.5 albums under their belt, they have no fat, they have no gimmicks, they just flat-out torched the landscape. This was it, this is what seeing live music is about, this show--THIS BAND--is why I love music so much. A jaw dropping show." [The Portland Mercury]
Parquet Courts photos by Tim Griffin
Meanwhile, inside things got off to an eccentric danceable start with Parisian band La Femme, who were part new wave, part surf rock, part ye-ye, and highly entertaining. (NYC: We're presenting their show this weekend at Glasslands.) It stayed in upbeat mode for psych rock trio The Entrance Band, but then calmed down a lot for the orchestral indie pop of Mutual Benefit. Tomas Barfod was supposed to go on next but had to cancel at the last minute, unfortunately, though once Classixx took the stage it returned to dance mode. Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys followed with a set that was partially solo, partially with accompaniment and fully entertaining, and then we got downtempo electronic pop from Jessy Lanza before inside stage closed with the gothy house pop of Toronto's Trust.
Gruff Rhys / MixRadio thing & Marshall stack
Shiner beer was on special and we gave away free Jameson, not to mention all the Veri organic soda that was on hand to keep you hydrated. We also let in 20 people each day who were taking advantage of Esurance's SXSW-wide #EsuranceAccess program.
Indiegogo was there too. Maybe they fed you a free piece of pizza?
Special thanks to all of our bands and partners and sponsors for making this party possible. Pictures from Thursday HERE. Check out more pictures from the whole day Friday below (and a second set at BV Austin)...
BrooklynVegan will be at Red 7 in Austin four days in a row this SXSW! Wednesday night is our 1-stage official showcase there. Then we take over both stages during the hours of noon-6pm each day on Thursday (3/13), Friday (3/14) and Saturday (3/15). Thursday's lineup was announced. Saturday's lineup was announced. Here is Friday!
FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014 @ RED 7 (FREE)Please RSVP, and show up early to see all the bands and to ensure you get some complimentary drinks courtesy of Jameson (while supplies last).
12:00 La Femme
12:45 The Entrance Band
01:30 Mutual Benefit
02:15 Tomas Barfod feat Nina K
03:45 Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals)
04:30 Jessy Lanza
12:45 The Blind Shake
01:30 together PANGEA
02:15 Upset (ex-Hole/Vivian Girls)
03:00 OFF! (ex-lots of great bands)
03:45 Viet Cong (ex-Women)
04:35 Beth Israel
05:15 Parquet Courts
We'll also have Shiner beer specials all day long, free Veri organic soda, and free popcorn at the Marshall Headphones booth where you can pose in our photobooth and where someone will win a pair of headphones every hour on the hour!
Interesting fact: this show contains members or ex-members of the Pixies, Super Furry Animals, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Redd Kross, Burning Brides, Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Earthless, Women, WhoMadeWho, Hole, Best Coast, and Vivian Girls (Paz Lenchantin of the Entrance Band is currently also in the Pixies).
Again, this is one of three free BrooklynVegan day parties at Red 7 this year. Please RSVP once for entry to all three. SXSW badges are also welcome and be sure to stop by the Esurance Glove Box at the Austin Convention Center or their Fuel Lounge at 6th and Trinity to pick up an Esurance Access Pass. Then follow @esurance on Twitter to find out when and where you can hop the line for our party and others around Austin.
by Andrew Sacher
As discussed, a few of the members of Super Furry Animals are knee deep in side project mode at the moment, including bassist Guto Pryce, who formed the band Gulp with singer Lindsey Leven. Their debut album will be coming out later this year, but ahead of that, we've got the premiere of its new single, "Vast Space." Less off-kilter than some of Super Furry Animals' work, the new song is driving, moody, and a little psychedelic with Lindsey's cool, hushed vocals casually taking the lead. Check it out, with the album artwork, below.
Song stream below...
by Bill Pearis
Just last week we posted about some of the many Super Furry Animals splinter projects currently happening. Add one more to that. Or four rather, all connected: Gruff Rhys will release a new album, book, documentary and mobile app, all titled American Interior, which will be out in May. It is, needless to say, high concept and we'll let Gruff explain:
In 2012 I embarked on an investigative concert tour of the American Interior, retracing the steps, and looking for the grave of a relative called John Evans.Dylan Goch, who worked with Rhys on his film Separado!, shot the whole thing (that 2012 tour didn't hit NYC), as well as reenactments with a puppet version of John Evans. Rhys wrote a book about it too which was the basis for the album, and the mobile app will combine all those things in some cross-pollinated way. Sounds pretty cool.
John Evans left Wales for Baltimore in 1792 and walked into the wilderness of the Allegheny mountains in search of a lost tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans, believed to be the descendants of Prince Madog.
Over seven eventful years, with very little in the way of resources, he embarked on a series of incredible adventures, lived with several First Nation tribes and left a trail of political chaos from which America never recovered. I took his cue and travelled through the Midwest playing gigs and writing songs. In St Louis I picked up Kliph Scurlock from The Flaming Lips, who joined me on drums. We powered up the Missouri River by boat, playing more shows on the shore. In Omaha we went to Mike Mogis's Arc studio and cut a record, then carried on upriver to play the UMOnHOn and Fort Berthold reservations.
You'll also be able to experience this live as a concert/powerpoint presentation tour that will happen over the summer, details still to come. In the meantime, watch the trailer for American Interior below.
by Bill Pearis
Super Furry Animals have been on hiatus since 2010 or so following the previous year's Dark Days/Light Years. The band are still together just working on individual projects at the moment. Frontman Gruff Rhys is probably the most prolific, having released solo LP Hotel Shampoo in 2011 and last year put out a second Neon Neon album with collaborator Boom Bip. You can check out the video for "Hammer & Sickle" from Neon Neon below.
Bassist Guto Pryce, meanwhile, formed Gulp with singer Lindsey Leven who have put out two singles to date. Both blend elements of late '60s British folk, groovy bachelor pad rhythm sections and glitchy electronics. SFA keyboardist Cian Ciaran mixed the records. Classy and cool, you can stream them below. Gulp, which live also includes Gwion Llewelyn of fellow Welsh band Race Horses, will be coming over for SXSW and while there have been no dates announced outside Austin, let's hope that changes.
Speaking of Ciaran, he put out his second solo album, They Are Nothing Without Us, in September 2013, loaded with anthemic, melodic rock (and angry protest lyrics) and is not that far off from songs he contributed to SFA's late '00s albums. You can stream his album via Rdio.
SFA drummer Dafydd Ieuan has been spending his time apart from the band with The Earth a group started by Mark Roberts of Catatonia (if you remember them) and is fronted by Dionne Bennett who used to sing with Rhys Ifans' band The Peth (Ieuan was in that band too). The band's debut album, Off On One, came out back in October 2012 and might be described as "widescreen soul." You can stream the album below too.
by Bill Pearis
Neon Neon, the musical collaboration between Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys and beatmaker Boom Bip, will release their second album Praxis Makes Perfect, on April 30. Much like their 2008 debut, Stainless Style (which was about infamous carmaker John Delorean), the new record is a concept album too:
Praxis Makes Perfect is inspired by the life and times of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Born in to one of Italy's wealthiest families, Feltrinelli was a left-wing political activist and published some of the greatest literary works of the 20th century, including The Leopard and Doctor Zhivago. He died in highly suspicious circumstances in 1972.The record features help from Sabrina Salerno, Cate Le Bon, Josh Klinghoffer and others. Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip have also teamed up with playwright Tim Price, director Wils Wilson and National Theatre Wales to create theatrical live performances in Wales in May.
The album's lead single, "Mid Century Modern Nightmare," is subversively bouncy new wave, featuring Asia Argento reading excerpts from a Feltrinelli pirate radio broadcast. Rhys told The Guardian, "It's a protest against the stylistic mid-20th century cultural stranglehold that continues to clog up our pop culture and strangle our forward-minded spirits to this day." You can stream it below. Actually, for some reason, you can
stream the entire album right now via Spotify below as well (UPDATE: stream is down, we thought it seemed strange).
by Bill Pearis
Gruff Rhys will release his third solo album, Hotel Shampoo, on February 14 in the UK. No release date (or label) for North America yet, which may be why Rhys will be in America next month playing a two shows, including one at Rockwood Music Hall on January 13 (tickets on sale). He plays LA's Bootleg Theater a couple days before on Jan. 11.
The album's first single, "Shark Ridden Waters," is out now which you can download for the price of your email address via widget at the bottom of this post. Also down there is the single's video which is definitely worth watching. As for the album's title, Rhys has apparently been collecting little bottles of hotel shampoo since the early days of Super Furry Animals and decided to do an art project with them -- build a model hotel out of them. The piece made its debut in Berlin's September Gallery last week. You can read more about it further down this post.
The Super Furry Animals frontman has had a busy year already. No SFA records, but he starred in and co-directed the quasi-documentary Separado! which followed Rhys across several continents in search of a lost uncle. The official synopsis:
Star Trek meets Buena Vista Social Club in this psychedelic western musical as Welsh pop legend Gruff Rhys takes us on a pan continental road trip in search of his long lost Patagonian uncle, the poncho wearing guitarist RENE GRIFFITHS.Sounds amazing. Too bad Separado! still doesn't have an American distributor, though those of us with an all-region player can now buy the UK DVD. You can watch the trailer at the bottom of this post. While in South America, Rhys met Tony Da Gatorra, "a Brazilian TV and VCR repairman, musical freedom fighter and the inventor of his own unique 'Gatorra' instrument," who features in the film. Their meeting also spawned an album, this year's The Terror of Cosmic Loneliness, which was recorded in a day (five hours, specifically) and is fairly weird.
In 1880, following a controversial horse race that led to an unresolved death, Gruff Rhys' family split as Dafydd Jones took his young family to join the burgeoning Welsh community in Patagonia, South America. There was to be no contact between the families for almost a century when in 1974 Rene Griffiths arrived in Wales with his Latin infused Welsh love songs and became an over night sensation.
Read more about Hotel Shampoo, watch videos and download "Shark Ridden Waters" after the jump.
words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Ryan Muir
some of the stars of ATP NY 2009
What's almost the exact opposite of a soothing set of Seven Swans performed by one of the most delicate singers in indie rock? Try nine drummers (including Hisham Bharoocha, Zach Hill, and Kid Millions among other notables) bashing your fucking skull for so long that the stage manager has to come out to unplug their gear and remove toms from underneath them! That's how I started my ATP Day 3... with the Boredoms blowing my mind.
Starting off with sparse chords on the monstrous multi-neck guitar/percussive device, Eye set a calm and reflective mood... and then the cymbals. And then the toms. And then eight drummers pummeled away led by Yoshimi P-We. And then the synced rimshots that recalled an Animal Collective beat. All of this happened before a ninth drummer was carried into the show like an emperor while doing a call and response with the other eight.
Within about 10 minutes, I knew that Boredoms would take the prize as best show at Kutsher's that weekend. The sheer power of the coordinated drums, along with pregnant pauses and killer synth effects performed via keys, CD-DJ tables, and broomsticks (!) were beyond jaw dropping.
Following Boredoms, I poked my head into Oneida's Ocropolis for the first of many times. For 10+ hours, Oneida basically had the small and very decorated room all to themselves for a long jam session with their friends. Reportedly, the band had tape rolling the whole time (Ocropolis is the name of their Brooklyn recording studio) and had visuals provided by the Mighty Robot AV Squad. With local standbys like BJ Warshaw of Parts & Labor/Shooting Spires fame, Chris Weingarten (ex P&L), Todd P, and many others spotted in the Sportsman's Bar, it seemed like Brooklyn in the Catskills. Unfortunately, I missed every single special guest appearance (word is, and in part according to a sign on the door, Soft Circle, Yoshimi, Aaron from Tall Firs, Zach Hill, Steven Drozd and many others all popped in) but the band was very interesting to watch, alternating between songs, and droney ambient jams.
Caribou was next in the main room and the 16-piece(!) band including Sun Ra Arkestra member Marshall Allen, Koushik, Kieran Hebden (Fourtet) and many others. I had no expectations heading into the set and was pleasantly surprised, although I found the mix to have waaay too much low end.
I ducked out of Caribou early to catch the last twenty minutes of Hopewell who was billed to be playing "The Desperation Suite," "complete with a female choir and avant-garde saxophonist Mark Marinoff". From what little I saw, the three person "choir" did little but coo, ooh, ahh, and coordinate a dance, but the band did close with a rousing cover of Jane's Addiction's classic "Of Course".
photos by Fresh Bread
The Aquarian: So how important is the visual counterpart of your music to you?The thoroughly entertaining, sonically and visually, Super Furry Animals visited NY for a trio of shows over the weekend. I managed to catch the one at ATP on Sunday. The other two were Maxwell's on Saturday, and Highline Ballroom on Friday (9/11) which is where the pictures in this post are from. More of them, along with the setlist, below...
Gruff Rhys: It's part of our identity really. It's a continuation of the music on a slightly different level. Sometimes that helps give the music a context beyond the sleeves.
And are you concerned with balancing the visuals and music? Because I heard that that was a concern with Rings Around The World when you released that CD/DVD.
In what sense?
In making sure that when you're pairing visuals with music, that proper attention is being paid to the music and that the visuals aren't necessarily overpowering the music so the music just becomes a background track.
There's something to be said for having a video playing rather than people staring at five sweating Welsh people and sometimes it's nicer to look at an animation or something. It is funny, it can be very comforting to hide behind a projection, although we haven't used projection for a while now.
But we've got experience with it doing two albums there where we had the visual representation for every song, we worked with a lot of friends who made films and they were quite mind-boggling projects then to take. We got a collection together that kind of features film material for every album, which was great to do, but I think we missed being able to just go to a studio to record the album quickly and put it out quickly. Maybe someday we'll have the time and patience to do another visual project.
'this week in indie' PART TWO actually...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Super Furry Animals - Inaugural Trams (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Intelligence - Thank You God for Fixing the Tape Machine (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Desolation Wilderness - Boardwalk Theme (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Woven Bones - Yr Sorcery (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Box Elders - Hole in My Head (MP3)
STREAM: Kings of Convenience - Boat Behind (asx STREAM)
Earlier this week we had two nights with Sondre Lerche and tonight (9/10) is more Norwegian jazz pop when Kings of Convenience play a sold-out Bowery Ballroom, their only U.S. show, that I'm guessing they're playing while in NYC doing press for their new album, Declaration of Dependence, which is out next month. Quiet remains the new loud for Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye if the reports are true that the single "Mrs. Cold" is the really the most upbeat track on the record. If so, it's going to be a super mellow one, though really you could say that about all their records. I think we tend to remember singles like "I'd Rather Dance With You" and forget that the rest of Riot on an Empty Street was pretty spare too. I've only heard a few tracks from the new one, so I'm looking forward to more tonight. Hopefully we'll get a lot of everything, as they don't play America very often. As there's no opener, we can hope for an epic "evening with Kings of Convenience." The band's on at 9:30.
As I'm sure you've heard if you read this site with any regularity, this weekend is All Tomorrow's Parties and if you're not going there's a little runnoff with bands playing New York shows around it. Case in point: Super Furry Animals will do their only U.S. shows in support of new album Dark Days/Light Years. Specifically, tomorrow's (9/11) show at Highline Ballroom (Tickets still available) is the "only U.S. club show for 2009" and Saturday (9/12) at Maxwell's (tickets) is the "only U.S. restaurant concert this year!"
I'm a huge SFA fan, think they're one of the most consistently great bands of the last 15 years. I've seen them upwards of 20 times and they're always entertaining. Their live shows got a little over-the-top around 2005's Love Kraft with electric jumpsuits, synched video projections and prerecorded backing tracks, but they've scaled back the last couple years and there's a more spontaneous vibe these days. And the new album is really good, a nice mix of punchy rockers, sunshine pop, epic space rock, Welsh boogie, and weird disco. In other words, a Super Furry Animals album.
Did I mention this weekend is super-packed? Austin's Woven Bones are on a fairly extensive U.S. tour, making two stops in NYC this weekend with Seattle's The Spits. They play the brand-new Knitting Factory on Friday (9/11) and Cake Shop on Saturday (9/12). Woven Bones spew out dirty, fuzzed-up blues-punk surf rock. Their new EP, which they will hopefully have for sale this weekend, is on San Diego's Zoo Music who put out the first Crocodiles single and a Dum Dum Girls EP, so that right there should give you an idea what to expect. You can download the a-side from their "Yr Sorcery" single at the top of this post. The Spits, meanwhile, straddle the line between straight-up garage punk and Devo-esque lo-fi keyboard proto-punk. Both are pretty catchy, but I think the latter is more interesting as you just don't hear that sort of thing so much these days. And something tells me their show might lean toward the theatrical. If you can't make either of these shows, Woven Bones play Monster Island Basement next Wednesday (9/16) with Box Elders, and then Cake Shop again next Friday (9/18) with Girls at Dawn and Reading Rainbow.
We'll continue with the garagey sounds because Seattle's mighty Intelligence hit New York this weekend too, playing Market Hotel on Friday (9/11) and Cake Shop on Sunday (9/13). The Intelligence's new album, Fake Surfers, has yet to get old for me, I listen to it at least once a week. I think it's one of the year's best. While the building blocks are the same (surf, garage, reverb, distortion), Lars Finberg exists in his own weird universe of lyrics and sound and his songs just come out different than your Oh Sees or Sic Alps or Ty Segalls. (All of whom I love too, btw.) I know this weekend is choc-full of must-see shows, but make some time for the Intelligence.
The Market Hotel show also features Brooklyn's own (and awesome) Golden Triangle, plus Wild Yaks, Arrington de Dionyso (of Old Time Religun) and Smarts.
The Intelligence Cake Shop Show on Sunday is with fellow Seattle band Desolation Wilderness who are worth seeing as well. If you like the breezy beach music that is coming out of NJ's Underwater Peoples (or anything Dean Wareham's ever done), then you'll probably dig Desolation Wilderness if you if you're not already familiar with them. Their new album, New Universe, is their second for K Records and is just lovely stuff -- languid, dreamy melodies, with guitar flourishes that ebb in and out, perfect for this late summer weather. You can download "Boardwalk Theme" from the new album at the top of this post. They also play Silent Barn on Saturday (9/12) with Real Estate and "The Maze" at Death by Audio on Monday (9/14).
As mentioned fleetingly in the bit about Woven Bones, Omaha, Nebraska trio Box Elders are here next week before hitting their record label's garage rock extravaganza, Gonerfest in Memphis from Sept. 24 - 26. They play Cake Shop on Tuesday (9/15) and Monster Island Basement the next night. These are their first NYC shows since April, and their first since the release of their debut LP, Alice and Friends. With that Leslie speaker keyboard sound and their major chord melodies, Alice and Friends is like '60s bubblegum and R&B as reproduced by a bunch of kids in a basement. Which I guess it kind of is. They are really entertaining live, with drummer Dave Golberg simultaneously manning his kit as well as the keyboards, and brothers Jeramiha and loin-cloth clad Clayton McIntyre rocking and bouncing in the foreground. It's a fun show.
So that'll do it for this weekend. For more picks (Marmoset, Wild Beast) see yesterday's TWII Pt 1. Videos and tour dates for most bands mentioned can be found below...
by Black Bubblegum
DOWNLOAD: Hopewell - "Stranger" (MP3)
If you haven't noticed, ATP NY is a little more than a week away, and though there will be a ton of one-off appearances at the festival, one could ATTEMPT to see all of the bands in their NYC appearances. I prefer to kill all of it in one fell swoop, and that's why the ATP set times are below. For those that prefer the former, this post is also for you, as we rounded up some of the NYC shows that surround this mammoth festival.
One show we haven't mentioned thus far is Hopewell, who in addition to their support slot for Dead Meadow on 9/9 on a Rocks Off Cruise, will also play an "ATP warm-up show" at The Cameo Art Gallery show on 9/10 with a full choir (!) and projections. To be more specific, they will actually be performing the Desperation Suite set that they put together for ATP NY.
Want to go to Dead Meadow/Hopewell on the boat? I have TWO PAIRS of tickets to give away. More details on how to enter at the bottom of this post.
The Drones are scheduled to play all of their LP Wait Long By The River at ATP, and will also play The Bell House on 9/9. Tickets are still available. Bridezilla will support The Drones at The Bell House and are also playing The Annex on 9/10.
Check out the ATP NY Set Times below....