Entries tagged with: The Music Tapes
Teenage Fanclub @ Williamsburg Waterfront, 2010 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned a couple times, Merge Records is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, culminating in the Merge 25 festival in Carrboro, NC from July 23 - 26. They've just released the full line-up which now includes appearances from Teenage Fanclub, Mount Moriah, William Tyler, Reigning Sound, David Kilgour & the Heavy 8s, Imperial Teen, Telekinesis, Eleanor Friedberger, Hiss Golden Messenger, Amor de Días, Saint Rich, The Music Tapes, Vertical Scratchers, Hospitality, and Mikal Cronin.
That's in addition to previously-announced performers Wye Oak, The Clientele, Destroyer, Caribou, Lambchop (performing Nixon), Neutral Milk Hotel, The Rock*A*Teens, Ex Hex, Bob Mould, The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, and The Love Language. Festival passes are sold out, but individual tickets to some of the shows are still available. Day-by-day lineups and ticket info below.
Let's hope this means Teenage Fanclub, David Kilgour, Caribou and some of the other out-of-country performers work in other dates while in the U.S. The Clientele are touring, as are the reunited The Rock*A*Teens.
Merge 25 line-ups & individual show ticket info below...
The Music Tapes in Chicago in 2011 (more by John Yinging)
Julian Koster's The Music Tapes project had been doing their Traveling Imaginary tour this year, and they've now announced that they'll do one final (and free!) week of shows in NYC from September 3-6 at 133rd St. Arts Center Lab before Julian heads on tour with his other band, Neutral Milk Hotel.
The shows include a dress rehearsal on the Tuesday (9/3) at 9 PM, a preview on the Wednesday (9/4) at 9PM, two shows (2 PM and 7:30 PM) on the Thursday (9/5), and one show at 7:30 on the Friday (9/6). Though they're free, RSVP is required, and capacity is very limited.
Check out a video of what to expect at these shows, below...
Jeff Mangum @ Hamilton College - 2/14/13 (via Deborah Caruso)
As mentioned, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum is on a tour now with The Music Tapes and Tall Firs which passed through New York for shows this past week in Clinton (2/14) and Poughkeepsie (2/15). Though the tour was originally supposed to end yesterday (2/16), Jeff had to reschedule some dates due to the snow storm that hit the Northeast last week.
The Portland, ME show which would have happened on February 9 is taking place tonight (2/17), and on Monday (2/18) he'll play Providence, RI at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel (rescheduled from 2/10), followed by a show on Tuesday (2/19) at The Great Hall in Union Station in Hartford, CT (rescheduled from 2/11). Tickets for the Providence show and the Hartford show are still available.
The Hartford show is the last date on this run, but he recently added other dates happening in March and April. A list of all remaining tour dates and a video of Jeff playing "Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2" at his recent Detroit show below...
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...
photo via Stephen Cramer
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.Watch a 12 minute clip from the Georgia event, below...
"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]
Jeff Mangum kicks off his sold out three-night run at BAM with The Music Tapes tonight (1/19). The Brooklyn shows are part of a longer tour for the two Neutral Milk Hotel bandmates. Updated dates, Philly included, are listed below.
Jeff himself is auctioning away 2 pairs of tickets for Saturday's (1/21) show! Each pair also comes with 2 original signed Jeff Mangum drawings. The tickets are being auctioned on ebay with a current bid (as of this post) of $300 and the proceeds will be donated to Occupied Real Estate, a project regarding the foreclosure crisis by Not An Alternative and Occupy Wall Street (not the first time Jeff has shown his support). You can bid on the tickets/drawings HERE and HERE.
Updated Jeff Mangum dates (sold out Coachellas included) below...
Julian Koster spreads holiday cheer and offends his audience at once
Business idea! Flight cases for "singing saws". Worst case scenario: you will probably have at least one customer in Julian Koster (The Music Tapes), who will need a way to protect his instruments from the elements while on the road as part of his annual Holiday Caroling Tour.
Koster's festive tour centers around caroling and spreading the holiday cheer, and you can join in at one of a few select cities.
Several houses a night will be visited in each city. Houses welcoming outside guests in each area will be listed via email auto-reply two nights prior to the Music Tapes arrival. Write email@example.com to receive open house list or to make a last minute caroling invitation. Routes are only projected and may change so check often!Philly/NYC and NYC get the looks on 12/8 and 12/9 respectively. All projected dates are below.
Koster recently posted a video for "Nantasket" from the Purim's Shadows (The Dark Tours the World) EP on Merge Records. That video, one starring "badger saw", and the list of dates below...
by Rachel Kowal
The metronome at an earlier show on the tour (more by Tim Griffin)
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...
photos by Tim Griffin
Olivia Tremor Control @ the Mohawk
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.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.
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!
photos by Josh Brasted
Olivia Tremor Control in New Orleans
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?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.
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.
While the hours tick by until September, dig on the rest of the pictures from New Orleans, with updated tour dates, below...
The 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...
by Andrew Frisicano
The Music Tapes @ The Bell House in 2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
This November and December, The Music Tapes will be bringing a comforting, enchanting, and very special evening of Music Tapes' dreamlike songs, stories and games for sleepover parties to ordinary homes across the land (US and Canada). The Music Tapes are now accepting invitations, and plan to visit over 200 homes! As with the Music Tapes' caroling and lullaby travels of years past, they will stop at several houses a night in each city visiting also far off out of the way places most tours never get to go.The Music Tapes annual holiday tour is in its third year, and the small scale events that populate the route tend to be a really good time. This trip is by far the most expansive, with tour dates running from the South to the West Coast to New England and even Canada. It kicks off November 4th, and hits NYC December 19th and 20th. Koster and friends usually plan for a few stops each night, so between the two dates there's a decent chance one performance will be near you. Remember, the dates are tentative, so email the tour address before you show up for more info.
The Lullaby evenings with include songs from the Music Tapes forthcoming 2011 record, as well as from Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes, The 1st Imaginary Symphony for Nomad, and The Singing Saw at Christmastime, along with new Music Tapes games and stories. The entertainment, though sometimes more exciting than lulling, are all in honor of the comforting moments directly preceding and following sleep when we find ourselves happily unsure of whether we are awake or are dreaming. [Merge]
The announcement is also confirmation that the Music Tapes will have a new release in 2011 (possibly titled The 2nd Imaginary Symphony for Cloudmaking)
Complete dates and how to get in touch with the tour (and invite them to your house!) are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Music Tapes in Bed-Stuy Dec. 17 2009 (more by Sarah Mulligan)
Julian Koster and The Music Tapes will be delivering lullabies at bedsides from bedroom to bedroom, and house to house in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in August. Featuring new songs as well as some of the gentler songs from Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes and the 1st Imaginary Symphony for Nomad, lucky hosts will be visited at the bedtime hour by the most lulling of music tapes songs, by the sounds of the glowing and enchanting "Ghost Orchestra," Singing Saws, Stories, and so forth.[Merge]Similar to their annual holiday caroling tour (though on a less-road-intensive scale), Julian & the Music Tapes will be visiting houses and apartments in Boston, New York and Philadelphia this August. In each city, they'll also be playing a game of "St. Nikolai the Wonder Worker's Wishing Game of Candles" at a secret location.
The 2009 Holiday Tour packed a number of New York stops into two days. Check out our long-lost review/post on those below.
Dates and info on how to invite the tour (and get invited) are below too....
by Andrew Frisicano
Nana Grizol @ Cake Shop
T.O. Snob: Most of the press material I've seen points out connections between the band and Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, and other Elephant 6 groups. Based on that association do people approach Nana Grizol's music with certain expectations? If so, what do you believe they are?Athens band Nana Grizol's tour was in town on November 8th for a show at Cake Shop. Even with ex-Neutral Milk Hotel members Laura Carter and Robbie Cucchiaro in the band and Jeff Mangum in the audience, it'd be a mistake to overemphasize the "Elephant 6"-ness of the show. The band is really Theo Hilton's gig, and as a songwriter he has his own direct, personal style. The band too has an urgency about it, with insistent melodies and rotating instruments (that pair up occasionally as double drums and double trumpets). The new album, Ruth, was present in the set list and at the merch table. The above song "For Things That Haven't Come," listed on the setlist as "Ginsburg" maybe for obvious reasons, is characteristic of their basement pop vibe (or maybe farm house pop as the case may be).
Nana Grizol's Theo Hilton: I don't know... I guess we share some personnel with those groups in particular, and pretty much all of us were part of the latest incarnation of the Music Tapes; I love those folks and I feel like in a lot of ways we're going for the same things with our music. I guess what I'd say is that it's so nice to have a LOT of friends who are really fun to collaborate with on musical projects. I don't feel like we personally go out of our way to affiliate or disaffiliate ourselves with any organized collectives or anything, not that Elephant 6 is an organized collective. I just really want to play music with my friends! And share cool weird experiences with them!! I don't think people approach our band with any specific expectations, at least I don't know what they could be, but if anyone decided to check out our band because they like our friends band, and they like our band, then great!
Nana Grizol's current tour continues through November 20th. More pictures from the NYC show and the set list are below.
Music Tapes ringleader Julian Koster (a member of Neutral Milk Hotel who wasn't at Cake Shop last week) will be coming around again this holiday season for an apartment/house tour. Currently the tour runs from December 7th to December 21st with the proposed NYC stops happening toward the end of the trip. But only if you invite them to play - and don't think they won't. Julian & Badger (his saw) unbelievably showed up at my place last year for a short set of songs before disappearing into the night. Even if they don't visit you, you can e-mail for the tour's location in your town. Details on how to do that are below. A track from his The Singing Saw at Christmastime is posted above, with the rough itinerary below...
DOWNLOAD: The Music Tapes - For The Planet Pluto (MP3)
The Weakerthans @ Bumbershoot 2008 (more by Chris Graham)
tonight in NYC
* Found Footage Festival
* Daniel Kitson @ Union Hall
* Eugene Mirman Comedy Fest
* Secret History @ Don Hill's
* Lotus, DJ DB @ Mercury Lounge
* Stryper, Manic Drive @ Irving Plaza
* ZZ Top, Tenderhooks @ Beacon Theatre
* Ben & Vesper, Kurt Wiseman @ Sycamore
* Of Montreal, Janelle Monae @ Terminal 5
* Big Daddy Kane, Groundation @ BB King's
* Lemonade, Small Black, MNDR @ 171 Lombardy Street
* Darcy James Argue's Secret Society @ Jazz Gallery
* Little Joy (DJ), Rude Crew, The Pharmacy @ Glasslands
* NY Gypsy Fest w/ Little Cow, Hazmat Modine @ City Winery
* Trevor Dunn's Madlove, Miho Hatori, Javelin @ Market Hotel
* Blowoff w/ DJs Bob Mould & Richard Morel @ Highline Ballroom
* The Weakerthans, Rock Plaza Central, Tomte @ Bowery Ballroom
* Wolfgang Gartiner (DJ), Viking (DJ), Telepathe @ Webster Hall
* Woven Bones, Girls At Dawn, Reading Rainbow, Nice Face @ Cake Shop
* This Is Ivy League, Patrick Cleandenim, Joel Plaskett @ Union Hall
* Ramona Falls, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Apothecary Hymns @ Bruar Falls
* Yura Yura Teikoku, Jessica 6, Light Asylum @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Brooklyn Country Music Fest w/ The Woes, Jack Grace Band, more @ Southpaw
* Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices), Library is on Fire, Cinnamon Band @ TLIOFHQ
* Ty Segall, The Mantles, The Holy Experiment, Dome Theater @ Death By Audio
* Golden City, forgetters, Solar Powered Sun Destroyer, Thought & Memory @ Lit
* Whiplash, At War, Deathrash, Enforcer, Cauldron, Cold Northern Vengence @ Europa
* The Trail Of Dead, Secret Machines, Midnight Masses @ Webster Hall
* My Teenage Stride, I'm Turning Into, Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk, Spanish Prisoners @ Shea Stadium
* New Languages Fest w/ Mike Pride: From Bacteria to Boys, Nate Wooley & Joe Morris, Ben Gerstein: The Gates @ McCarren Hall
The FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL ("Acelebration of odd and hilarious found videos") runs tonight and Saturday at Anthology Film Archives.
The Weakerthans, Rock Plaza Central and Tomte play again, tonight at Bowery Ballroom. Last night was at MHOW.
See Ty Segall, The Mantles (on tour together), The Holy Experiment and Dome Theater at the recently altered Maze at Death By Audio.
forgetters (ex-Jawbreaker) and Golden City play Lit Lounge with Solar Powered Sun Destroyer and Thought & Memory.
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Secret Machines begin two nights in NYC with a show at Webster Hall. Midnight Masses open.
Tonight we have Brooklyn Country Music Fest with The Woes and The Jack Grace Band at Southpaw, NY Gypsy Fest with Little Cow and Hazmat Modine at City Winery, and New Languages (jazz) Fest with Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys, Nate Wooley & Joe Morris, Ben Gerstein: The Gates at McCarren Hall.
New Languages was kicked off last night by the contemporary big band Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, who play tonight at Jazz Gallery.
A new Music Tapes MP3 is above. The video for the same song is below..
Screaming Females @ The Yard last Saturday (more by Sarahana)
tonight in NYC
* David Bazan on the LES
* The Roots @ Highline Ballroom
* Pet Shop Boys @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* The Killers & Wolfmother @ Jones Beach Theater
* Stardeath & White Dwarfs, Dinowalrus @ Maxwell's
* Bushwick Book Club: Short Stories @ Goodbye Blue Monday
* Graffiti Monsters, GDFX, Starscream, Covox @ Shea Stadium
* State Champion, Giving Up, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities @ Union Hall
* Screaming Females, Shellshag, You Without Teeth, Black Wine @ Mercury Lounge
Pet Shop Boys play the first of two nights at Hammerstein Ballroom.
Bushwick Book Club at Goodbye Blue Monday gets self-referential this month, with a night of songs based on short stories written by past Bushwick Book Club performers. The lineup includes Corn Mo, Franz Nicolay, Brer Brian, Susan Hwang, Ben Krieger, Lenny Molotov, Laura Brenneman, Deenah Vollmer, Phoebe Kreutz, Maria Sonevytsky and Buffy Rosanne. The flyer is below.
The Roots continue their weekly residency at Highline Ballroom.
MTV is streaming Jay-Z's new Blueprint 3. Jay-Z is playing a benefit show on September 11th at MSG. He recently held a press release about the planned show, which is embedded below along with a creepy video of Beyonce & Solange, who came with Jay-Z, to the Pool Party on Sunday (maybe you've heard?)..
Sorry for the delay in getting this post up. Nothing is going right lately.
by Andrew Frisicano
Mac and Britt embrace (Triangle Music)
The much anticipated XX Merge Festival took place last week in North Carolina with a five-day (July 22-July 26), Wednesday to Sunday run of shows. Last night (Sunday)'s show with She & Him, American Music Club and Wye Oak was the only fully announced lineup. The other four nights (and one day) were a grab bag of any number of Merge bands past and present. Did you go? What were the highlights?
Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, who recently played a pair of big NY shows, headlined the fest's first night (which also included Magnetic Fields). Superchunk, which features Merge founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, topped the bill of the second night. The third night included the reformed/reunited lineups of Spent, Polvo and Pipe.
Mac McCaughan came out on stage before [Pipe] instead of the night's emcee and announced that there was a lone protester outside. He invited him up on stage and it was Jon Wurster decked out in Phillies gear as Philly Boy Roy. He was holding a sign that said "Boycot MERGE." He complained that Merge didn't have any Philly bands on their roster and Mac said that they have bands from Jersey, which is close to Philly. You never compare Jersey to Philly in front of Philly Boy Roy. It was hilarious.You can see the partial setlist from Spoon, who headlined that night, below.
All of this led to the introduction of New Jersey punks Pipe. As soon as they kicked into their first song, beer cans and plastic bottles started flying. Frontman Ron Liberti ate it up and even put himself in the line of fire, headbutting some of the cans while kicking some back into the crowd. Liberti bounded around the stage, essentially taunting the crowd. The crowd loved the band's antics as did I (but that may have been different if I hadn't managed to stay dry). [triangle music]
In addition to the Cat's Cradle shows (the venue for 4/5 of the night shows), Saturday featured a day show that included Julian Koster solo as Music Tapes and Mac McCaughan with violin accompaniment as Portastatic. A few videos from that set, below.
M. Ward, who's playing the Central Park Summerstage this Saturday (August 1st), played at the fest's Saturday night showcase. Zooey Deschanel joined him for a cover of the Beatles' "Birthday." Not too big of a surprise considering She & Him headlined the Sunday night show.
Other XX Merge artists who recently stopped in NYC include The Clientele and Richard Buckner (they played Music Hall of Williamsburg last Sunday), Versus and Superchunk (they played South Street Seaport last Friday), and Spent (they played Coco 66). Spoon didn't play a NYC show, but they were spotted in the audience of Paul McCartney's third of three shows at Citi Field in Queens. Destroyer is on his way up. He plays Bowery Ballroom on Thursday. Mark Eitzel (as American Music Club) played Le Poisson Rouge and Maxwell's before XX Merge, and now he's on his way back for a show at The Bell House.
Lineups for each night of XX Merge, with videos, and a bunch of setlists, below...
Julian Koster says 'Go to XX Merge' (more from the Bell House by Tim Griffin)
Merge Records has updated the lineup for its 20th anniversary festival, XX Merge, taking place Wednesday, July 22 to Sunday, July 26 at North Carolina's Cat's Cradle and UNC's Memorial Hall. Five-day passes for the fest are sold out, but Merge will be releasing individual night tickets on Wednesday, May 13th at 10am.
Ticket info and XX Merge's updated lineup (with the Music Tapes and others) below...
words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Tim Griffin
"The big event was when julian came out in to the audience and asked everyone to sit around him. I didn't catch all of what he was saying, as he was un-mic'd, but he handed out paper and pens to everyone (from a plastic camel attached to the end of a broomstick - of course) and asked them to write down a memory on a piece of paper, and that afterward we'd all go outside and burn it. Seemed nice enough. Until everyone was outside. 11 degrees feeling like -3 with the wind. Brrrr....as the fires 'raged' in the pot, Julian lined everyone up and they proceeded to run and jump over the burning paper in a pot. Admittedly it was all very engaging and charming, however ...we were outside for at least 15 minutes, which was more than enough to make my hands completely numb. I was grateful to go back inside, where Julian and Co. finished out the set and the evening."In other Neutral Milk Hotel related news, A Hawk and A Hacksaw - Jeremy Barnes (ex-NMH like Julian from Music Tapes) and Heather Trost, will be touring as a four-piece, accompanied by Mark Weaver on tuba and Samuel Johnson on trumpet. They'll visit SXSW on Thursday, March 19, before opening for Andrew Bird, and then Wilco across North America, and then touring the UK in June.
AHAAH's fourth album, Délivrance, is set for release on The Leaf Label on May 18. Its first single, "Foni Tu Argile," comes out April 27th as a digital download and a "limited edition of 500 hand-numbered 10" singles, cut at 78rpm, with packaging that replicates the shellac records of old." (The song is streaming now at the band's Myspace. )
All Music Tapes pics (and setlist) and AHAAH tour dates below...
by Andrew Frisicano
The Music Tapes @ a CMJ show (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
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...
The Music Tapes @ Mercury Lounge (more Kyle Dean Reinford)
The Music Tapes, aka Julian Koster, "the 7 Foot Tall Metronome, Static the Television and other human bandmembers", are hitting the road again in February. Julian was last here in NYC to sing some Christmas carols, and before that during CMJ, and before that for the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour. Next he'll be here on March 1st to play Maxwell's in Hoboken (TICKETS), and then two days later again at the Bell House in Brooklyn (TICKETS). All dates below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Julian Koster & friends in a NYC apartment
The European-folk-music-influenced duo of ex-Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, is set to play two upcoming NYC shows - January 10th at Mercury Lounge (tix), with Great Lake Swimmers, and January 11th at Union Hall (tix).
Barnes didn't turn out for the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise tour earlier this winter, and so far these are A Hawk and a Hacksaw's only announced 2009 dates.
With H&H, there's always the possibility of a Beirut-related appearance, as they've worked & toured together, and are on the same label (Badabing. There's even video evidence of previous collabs (see below). Zach Condon recently appeared unannounced at an Inlets show, and Beirut are playing three NYC shows in February (ahem, for now).
In other NMH-stalking news - a while back BV reported that the Music Tapes Caroling tour would be making its way north from Georgia through New York to Maine playing living rooms and houses along the route. Fans were encouraged to invite "Julian and his friends" to their house. I [Andrew] did so, and strangely enough, on December 13th, Julian, Rudolph (dog) and Badger (musical saw) stopped by at my place with a few other friends in tow for a set of saw-sung carols, fantasical stories and a couple Music Tapes banjo tunes - all performed solo next to the Christmas tree. Even with the show's short notice - I'd just gotten an email that morning with details - about ten to fifteen fans showed up for the event. After the set, Julian paused for a few snapshots (see above) and left as quickly as he had came - I unfortunately wasn't able to follow the traveling party to the next apartment. Jesse Jarnow, contributer to the Voice, attended and wrote up the event on that blog.
Julian was recently featured on NPR's Morning Edition, which commented that The Singing Saw at Christmastime's layered saws "capture just a bit of bone-chilling terror -- just right for these uncertain times." On Christmas day, Julian and friends gave an interview and performed live for NPR's World Cafe. If you missed it, you can listen to it now at their site.
In addition to the date above, Great Lake Swimmers are also playing the Bell House in Brooklyn January 9th (tix) with Haley Bonar & Daniel Martin Moore, and a Feburary 7th date in Guelph, Ontario, near their home base of Toronto, for the Hillside Festival.
Video of Beirut playing with Hawk & A Hacksaw, and all dates, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Julian Koster - Jingle Bells (MP3)
Earlier this year, Seattle songwriter Rosie Thomas, who has collaborated with friends Damien Jurado, David Bazan and Sufjan Stevens in the past, again rounded up family and friends to put together A Very Rosie Christmas, a holiday-themed album that mixes traditional songs and covers (Peanuts' classic "Christmastime Is Here" for one) with originals like "Why Can't It Be Christmastime All Year" - a rolling indie-pop singalong truely worthy of release on Thomas' own Sing-a-long Records label. Check out the song in the video below.
Rosie's pair of NYC shows - tonight, December 2nd, at the Living Room (TICKETS) and tomorrow, December 3rd, at the Bell House in Brooklyn (TICKETS) - should be a welcome respite from long evenings locked on WCBS-FM's all-holiday programming. All tour dates below.
Thomas writes that the full band accompanying her includes "my brother Brian Thomas, Josh Myers, Andrew Rudd and my fella Jeffrey Shoop! My friend Sheila Saputo will be coming along too, opening the shows every night for us with her gift of Christmas cheer!" Read Rosie's favorite Christmas memories on her blog..
Another upcoming holiday-music event, The Music Tapes Caroling Tour, has a NYC visit scheduled for December 13th and 14th. Details are scarce but reports from the tour's earlier dates indicate that interested parties who emailed or wrote The Music Tapes in advance should be getting an email the day of with details as to a location. Someone, expect a knock from Juliian Koster between 6pm and 9pm, caroling hours...
Merge recently released Julian Koster's The Singing Saw at Christmastime (click for a preview). MP3 above. Video below...
Canadian major label singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hawksley Workman is a pretty big deal up North (and in Europe); yet in the States, both his 2008 releases - Between the Beautifuls and Los Manlicious - are import-only...as is Hawksley's amazing 2001 album of Christmas originals called Almost a Full Moon, which features eight (re-released in 2002 with ten) quirky-but-not-cloying cabaret-esque Christmas/winter odes. It's been a annual favorite of mine since finding it a few years ago. Last Friday, Workman and band opened a show at Toronto's Massey Hall with the album's title track. This Friday, December 5th, he plays Joe's Pub as part of the venue's 10th anniversary celebration. Tickets are currently still available. All tour dates and a video below...
Videos and tour dates below...
DOWNLOAD: Steinski - The Payoff Mix (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Steinski - Lesson Two (James Brown Mix) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Steinski - Lesson Three (History of Hip Hop) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bon Iver - Skinny Love (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Shearwater - Leviathan Bound (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal (Dj Doc Rok Remix) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fucked Up - No Epiphany (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fucked Up - Twice Born (MP3)
Plush's Fed & The Dodos' Visiter
It's the time of year when people start talking which album was the best this year. That usually means I start cramming and trying to figure out what I still haven't heard and look forward to what others have to say to make my selection process slightly easier. Part of what I'm saying is, I'm not ready to answer that yet. According to the aggregated critics at MetaCritic, this is what was best this year...
1 London Zoo by The BugDoes when an album actually came out matter?. Bon Iver's album actually came out in 2007, but was reissued in 2008. Shugo's album came out in 2007 in Japan. Plush's album actually came out in 2002 in Japan (I still haven't heard it). Robyn's album came out in Sweden in 2005. Steinski came out in 2008, but as the title suggests, is actually a compilation of tracks that were released between 1983-2006.
2 Fed by Plush
3 For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver
4 Dear Science, by TV On The Radio
5 Exit by Shugo Tokumaru
6 Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
7 Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
8 Robyn by Robyn
9 Hercules And Love Affair by Hercules And Love Affair
10 What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective by Steinski
Also put out albums this year: Sigur Ros, Jamie Lidell, Laura Marling, Lykke Li, Marnie Stern, Jenny Lewis, She & Him, Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket, MGMT, The Black Keys, Calexico, Crystal Stilts, Crystal Castles, Crystal Antlers, Grails, Al Green, Anathallo, Flight of the Conchords, Frightened Rabbit, Wolf Parade, Vampire Weekend, Vivian Girls, The Walkmen, Santogold, Parts & Labor, Cut Copy, Hot Chip, David Byrne, Death Cab For Cutie, Beck, Beach House, Elbow, REM, M83, NIN, No Age, Of Montreal, Destroyer, Department of Eagles, Deerhoof, Deerhunter, The Dears, and Deer Tick (though Deer tick was out in 2007 and reissued in 2008) (and I guess Radiohead is qualified too) (and Metallica, AC/DC and Guns N' Roses) (and JACK JOHNSON) (and a million others).
Who else? What are your favorites this year? Who will Pitchfork pick as #1?
The Bug is going on tour with Nine Inch Nails. Those dates are below...
The Hold Steady @ McCarren Pool (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
today in NYC
* NY Comedy Festival
* free comedy @ Caroline's
* The Gutter Twins @ Warsaw
* The Heavy, Kenan Bell @ Union Pool
* Care Bears On Fire @ 92YTribeca
* Endless Boogie & Dead Man @ Maxwell's
* Smashing Pumpkins @ United Palace Theatre
* Drive By Truckers, The Hold Steady @ Terminal 5
* The High Dials & Black Diamond Bay @ Southpaw
* Toadies, People in Planes, Mike Krum @ Webster Hall
* Rival Schools, Innaway, The King Left @ Mercury Lounge
* Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Little Annie, Paul Wallfisch, Edison Woods @ Santos Party House
* Bad Brains, Rival Schools & Trouble Andrew @ Irving Plaza
* Psychic ills, Soft Circle & Eric Copeland (Black Dice) @ Cake Shop
The Music Tapes are coming caroling this winter. Their/his new music video for the song "Majesty" is below...