Monthly Archives: February 2011

Report: Dan Deacon at NoisePop 2011

 

Dateline: Tuesday,
Feb. 22, San Francisco,
the NoisePop festival….

 

By David Downs

 

Baltimore’s music deconstruction savant Dan
Deacon
returned to San Francisco
last night to play games and shred minds during his second show back since a
nerve injury put him out of commission last year.

 

The Tuesday night romp at San Francisco’s The Independent kicked off Noise Pop 2011, a 19-year-old, largely indie music festival sporting about 100
bands at 18 venues over five days including Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard, Yo La
Tengo and No Age. While Yo La Tengo rocked the Fox Theater in Oakland, the small, sold-out Independent
throbbed with Deacon’s new material, and he clearly relished playing solo in
the crowd at the foot of the stage, positioned behind just a card table stacked
with lights and busted up effects gear.

 

Short, bald, and rotund – Deacon might not be a Grammy
posterboy, but he’s managed to inspire a unique strain of Deacon fever in his
devotees. Holding a degree in composition from the Conservatory of Music at
SUNY Purchase
, he has emerged alongside Girl Talk as the reigning champ of East
Coast laptop apocalypses. But where Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis crotchets a dragnet
of pop hooks, Deacon emits anti-pop radiation on 2009’s Bromst: a mix of
chipmunk vocals, deliriously hyper-processed melody, and earthquake percussion.

 

A tireless road dog, he brought that delirium to every
live occasion until sciatica finally disabled the 29 year-old dynamo last
October
. Since then he’s been working on another album, and just announced that
he’ll be scoring a Francis Ford Coppola film. Deacon was a little less animated
than his spastic, righteous live show at Treasure Island in 2009 year, but he
demonstrated his trademark command of the crowd, starting with a “Cecilia” sing
along, then a ‘Jurassic Park vs. What-You-Wish-Avatar-Had-Been-Like’
dance contest between opposing sides of the room.

 

New Deacon track “Fertile” seemed to channel an bit of
David Bowie’s “Heroes” in the bass line. “Of the Mountains” kicked off a giant
game of Simon Says. “Silence Like the Wind Overtakes Me” had the crowd blowing
kisses at the critics in the balcony.

 

Deacon had pointed words for Southwest airlines: who lost
his luggage after canceling his prior flight. It appeared as though baggage
handlers had unpacked all his gear, then juggled and dropped it all, and stuck
it back in the bag, creating glitches throughout the night, he said. The “Wham City”
finale flickered as abruptly out of existence as Deacon’s show started, thanks
to what he called a “surge protector solo”.

 

Hyperminimal hardcore performance artists Ed Schrader’s
Music Beat
opened for Deacon in a bit of back to back B-more. Vocalist drummer
Ed Schrader and bassist backup singer Devlin Rise – both “wage slaves” from the
East Coast who make less than $10/hour – would have made David Byrne and the
Talking Heads proud with their stripped, confrontational act – featuring just
one floor tom, a bass, and the two vocalists screaming things like “Gas station
attendant! / Gas station attendant!”

 

Brought to San Francisco by
the same people who do Treasure Island each
year, Noise Pop 2011 launches into some rather strong headwinds again this
year. Situated so early in the Summer concert season as to not be in it, weather
plays a role. San Francisco
may get its first bit of snow in 30 years this weekend. About a dozen Noise Pop
shows have already sold out, but the live season as a whole suffered a serious
blow in 2010, when live show revenues dropped 20 percent in some circles. The
average youngster went to zero live shows last year. Record sales have also
contracted
as a whole, and CD sales even more so, while digital is not making
up for that lost revenue.

 

The expense of touring might be boosting the number of
solo acts, which are cheaper than taking a full band on the road. At Noise Pop
they include Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard, Dan Deacon, Max Bemis, Dam Funk, Peanut
Butter Wolf, and Kid Koala. There’s also a lot of two-pieces like No Age, Best Coast
and Wavves. But it works both ways. All across America rents are low, food is
cheap, and the kind of obscure artist Noise Pop trades in have more promotional
power and artistic control than they did under the old “star” system.

 

But money? Not so much of that lying around.

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Orlosky (from Coachella)]

 

 

Douchebag Disses Arcade Fire, Tips Em

 

Okay, yes, the headline is our own personal spin. Go
write your own news item if you don’t like it.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Aaaannnnndddd the
post-Grammys Arcade Fire backlash rolls on.

 

You may have heard that the
Merge band won a Grammy last week; something about the best album of 2010. And
you may recall that in the wake of that win, a lot of creeps – most of them
hip-hop fans, plus Rosie O’Donnell – came out of the woodwork to rain on A.F.’s parade, spouting
claims how Eminem (and in some instances Justin Bieber – now THERE’s a
juxtaposition) wuz robbed.

 

Add Translation marketing
company CEO Steve Stoute, apparently a 20-year music biz veteran (who?), to
that chorus of nattering nabobs of naysayerdom. In a story published at
Billboard.com, the record industry bible takes a look at Stoute and the
full-page ad he ran recently in the New
York Times
that was essentially an open letter to the Grammys for this year’s
“snubbing” of Eminem and, you guessed it, Justin Bieber, along with Kanye West.

 

Said Stoute, “The awards show has become a
series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any
contemporary popular artist would even participate. We must acknowledge the
massive cultural impact of Eminem and Kanye West and how their music is
shaping, influencing and defining the voice of a generation. [And] how is it
that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist,
did not win Best New Artist?”

 

Stoute singled out Arcade Fire’s “surprise”
win as proof of the Grammys having tin ears, writing, “What truly
inspired the writing of this letter was that this most recent show fed my
suspicions. As the show was coming to a close and just prior to presenting the
award for Album Of The Year, the band Arcade Fire performed “Month of
May” — only to… surprise… win the category and, in a moment of sheer
coincidence, happened to be prepared to perform “Ready to Start.” “

 

Hmmm, that’s a real smoking gun, ya know? Read
the full article here
, and you can also read Stoute’s own commentary over at
the Huffington Post.

 

Meanwhile… hey Stoute – go fuck yourself, you
constipated nitwit.

 

Incidentally, I’m not the only one who took note of Stoute and decided to point out how far up his ass he’s lodged his head. Music industry observer Wayne Rosso, in his latest “Wayne’s World” blog, penned his own open letter, this one to Stoute, and swiftly dismantled most of Stoute’s core contentions (adding that Justin Bieber is an “irritating little snot”).

 

Writes Rosso, to Stoute, “I think that you may have to go back to school. Your impassioned defense of
Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Eminem, accusations of NARAS members’ collective
pop culture ignorance and intimations of chicanery may be misguided or at the
very least uninformed…The implications of some sort of bizarre Grammy conspiracy sounds more like the
single bullet theory or a Glen Beck rant.”

 

Indeed.

 

 

First Look: Debut Album from Paper Tiger

 

On the N.C. duo’s new Me Have Fun, jazz, pop, trip-hop and psychedelia all come together in a Portishead-esque samples/keyboards/femme
vox soundscape of astonishing beauty.

 

By Fred Mills

By way of introduction: Paper
Tiger is an Asheville, NC, -based duo, vocalist Molly Kummerle (of
well-known regional jazz/pop outfit Ruby Slippers) and Isaac Gottfried (aka
MINGLE, noted deejay and remixer). Since joining forces a couple of years ago,
Kummerle and Gottfried have quickly amassed a reputation for crafting brainy
electronica that dips equally into hypnotic trip-hop and danceable, pop-tilting
sampladelica; they were among a handful of local acts selected to perform at last
fall’s MoogFest, which featured such heavy-hitters as Massive Attack, Big Boi,
Jonsi and MGMT. Me Have Fun (Boy Girl
Recordings), their debut, more than reaffirms that reputation – in its quietly
compelling, get-under-your-skin brand of understatement, it actually winds up
saying more than 99% of the new
releases that have appeared so far this year.

 

First and foremost, Kummerle
brings her jazz-trained pipes to the party with such seductive grace that you
half expect her to step out from behind the stereo speakers wearing nothing but
a sheer silk robe and a coy smile. Yet there’s also a palpable vulnerability to
that voice. The first time you hear her clearly is in the second song, the
title track, cooing “ahh-ahh-mmm” softly, but with purpose, and as the smokey, loungey tune gradually unfolds, the
singer confesses her lust and her confusion and to how her “rules start to come
undone” as she confronts that desire. In her voice, one hears echoes of Dusty
Springfield, Billie Holiday, Beth Orton and Beth Gibbons – fire and ice, ice
and fire.

 

The Gibbons comparison isn’t
a stray one, by the way; Portishead is the contemporary act that Paper Tiger
most closely resembles, along with fellow Bristolians Massive Attack. Gottfried’s
fertile trove of samples and liberal deployment of keyboards (by both Gottfried
and Kummerle, plus guest Chuck Lichtenberger from stephaniesid) all synch organically
to cast a widescreen, cinematic glow. From the sweeping strings and noirish vibe of “Hibiscus” and the
chilly orchestral minimalism of “Softly” to the eerie-yet-lush “Hugo,” whose
Beach Boys sample is guaranteed to permanently alter the way you hear “Good Vibrations,”
these compositions push beyond merely “compelling” to become insistent, the transformation occurring
on an almost subliminal level. Another band simpatico with Paper Tiger’s crate-digging
aesthetic: Saint Etienne, particularly on the surreal, flute-and-horns flecked
“Paper Tiger” and the dreamy, yearning “Freezer” (with its suite-like
arrangement that slips deliciously into breezy ‘60s pop mode, then back again,
this song is destined to find its way onto a movie or TV show soundtrack with
the right marketing push).

 

Seamlessly sequenced, with
Gottfried supplying brief (under 30 seconds) instrumental interludes between
each proper song to lend an additional filmic heft to the proceedings, and
remarkably diverse for a quote/unquote “downtempo” project, Me Have Fun is the type of record that
pays dividend after dividend with each new spin. It’s the sound of late-night
romance, of early-morning musings, and of all the refracted beauty of the
daylight that falls between.

 

Incidentally, don’t bother
Googling the band’s name; it’ll just drive you crazy, as there is also a Dutch
indierock band called Paper Tiger, a rock/funk outfit from Wisconsin called Paper
Tiger, the Doomtree hip-hop collective producer who calls himself Paper Tiger,
some teenage band that goes by the handle of My Paper Tiger, and assorted
non-musical Paper Tiger entities. If you want to chase down this Paper Tiger and hear assorted album
tunes and remixes, go directly to the official website or to the duo’s
MySpace page. But be careful: the music may be atmospheric and dreamy, but it’s
hardly toothless. Once it gets you in its maw, it doesn’t let go. Rrrrowwrrr.

 


stand alone player Quantcast

Robyn Jumps the Shark!

Actually, those are Katy Perry’s
boobs, not shark fins, poking up out of the water…

 

By Perez
Mills

 

Swedish
pop tart, in an apparent bid to demolish the critical credibility she’d been
amassing over the course of her fruitful (like, three Body Talk records released) 2010, has announced she will be the
opening act on Katy Perry’s upcoming “The California Dreams” tour.

 

“It’ll be fun
touring with Katy Perry,” said the singer. “She’s a terrific
performer and I’m really thankful that’s she’s invited me to play for her
audience.”

 

 

Not much we can add to
that. Sorry to have to break the news, Pitchfork nation.

 

Tour Dates

 

4/14           
Las Vegas, NV           The
Pool @ Cosmopolitan
Casino           

4/15           
Indio, CA           
            Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

5/28           
Quincy, WA           
            Sasquatch
Music Festival

6/12           Manchester, TN            Bonnaroo Music Festival

 

w/Katy
Perry

 

6/7  Duluth, GA          Gwinnett
Arena    
           
           
           

6/9  Orlando, FL         UCF
Arena           
           
           
           

6/10 Tampa,
FL          St.
Petersburg Times Forum           

6/11      Sunrise,
FL            BankAtlantic Center           
           

6/14 Morrisville,
NC RBC Center

6/15 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion

6/17 Uniondale,
NY Nassau Coliseum

6/18 Boston,
MA TD Garden

6/19 Newark,
NJ Prudential Center

7/22 Portland,
OR  Rose Garden Arena

7/23 Boise, IDTaco Bell Arena

7/25 Salt Lake City, UT Energy Solutions Arena

7/26 Broomfield, CO 1STBANK Center

7/28 Grand
Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre @ Grand
Prairie

7/29 Houston,
TX Toyota Center

7/30 Austin,
TX Frank Erwin Center

8/3 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre

8/5 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre/L.A. Live

8/6 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre/L.A. Live

8/7 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre/L.A. Live

 

 

 

Lykke Li Album Now Streaming Online

Wounded Rhymes arrives March 1….

By Blurt Staff

If you can’t wait to buy the new Lykke Li album next week, never fear – the good folks over at The Hype Machine are streaming it in its entirety. Check it out – and meanwhile, be watching for our Lykke Li feature in the upcoming issue of Blurt, due on newsstands in mid March.

“All
I ever wanted to do was get away,” she told our interviewer, when asked about starting the
recording process for the new record. She was feeling exhausted from the
never-ending world tour that came before and after Youth Novels dropped. “I’m always… looking… to stay true to the
moment that I’m going through, but I was feeling drained.” Big pause. “You
know, you start off hungry, a young girl, dreaming to get away. I never had
dreams of being a pop star. I just wanted something to change. But then you
wind up changing your whole life and then you want to escape from that too.”

 

 


Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (Hype Machine Album Exclusive) by LykkeLi

New MP3, Album from David Kilgour

 

First record in four years with Kilgour’s other combo the Heavy Eights. The
new song is fooking amazing, btw – check it out, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

David Kilgour of the Clean
has a new album with his other combo the Heavy Eights released on April 26 by
Merge. Titled Left by Soft, it was recorded in the Catlins, about two hours south of Dunedin, New
Zealand, in an old lodge surrounded by
native bush, birds, and the sea. David spent about a week down there with the
Heavy Eights. Thomas Bell engineered and produced but also played bass and cooked
the band awesome meals every night. After chilling out most mornings, the band
would start recording mid afternoon into the night. Apart from a couple of
overblown tracks, they kept overdubs to a minimum and when mixing left most takes
as is -no cleaning up via Pro Tools editing, etc.

“To me, it sounds like
the band on a good night, warts and all,” says Kilgour. “It’s probably the
first real “band” LP I’ve made since Frozen
Orange
or the David Kilgour and the Heavy 8’s LP from the mid ’90s.”

 

Check out MP3:

Left by Soft, his first album
in four years with the Heavy Eights (Taane Tokona on drums, Tony de Raad on
guitar and keyboards, and Thomas Bell on bass and keyboards), comes on the
heels of the Clean‘s excellent
2009 outing, Mister Pop. You could say it’s all part of a late-career
renaissance, but that implies there’s been some sort of valley in his 30 years
of making music. This time, there are more of the elegantly chiming chords and
beautifully drifting solos, all presented with Kilgour’s sparkling pop
sensibilities.

Track listing:

1. Left By Soft
2. Way Down Here
3. A Break in the Weather
4. Steel Arrow
5. Pop Song
6. Autumn Sun
7. Theme
8. Diamond Mine
9. I’ll Walk Back Up That Hill
10. Could Be On My Way
11. Purple Balloon

 

 

Terrific New Who Bio En Route

 

Author Richie Unterberger revisits
The ‘oo’s fertile early ‘70s period. Watch a video of “Baba O’Riley,” below.

 

By Fred
Mills

 

Due in
March from Jawbone Press is a new book about The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again: The Who From Lifehouse To Quadrophenia, penned
by veteran writer and former Option editor
Richie Unterberger, who previously authored Unknown
Legends of Rock’n’Roll
; the two-part 1960s folk-rock history Eight Miles High and Turn! Turn! Turn!; White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day; and The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film.
As the title suggests, it’s a focused-lens volume rather than a comprehensive
biography, basically covering the band’s incredibly creative early ‘70s period
when, post-Tommy, they created
masterworks Who’s Next and Quadrophenia and transformed themselves
into full-blown arena superstars.

 

The book’s
aimed squarely at die-hard Who fans, though, not the casual observer, no doubt
because Unterberger realized that there were already plenty of Who books out there,
some of them regarded more or less as definitive at the time of their
publication, like Dave Marsh’s ’83 biography Before I Get Old, and others the work of pure hackdom (Geoffrey
Giuliano’s 1996 Pete Townshend tome, Behind
Blue Eyes
, comes to mind), not to mention more specialized volumes devoted
to discographies, concertographies, photo essays, etc.

 

So
Unterberger decided to zero on that aforementioned inspired early ‘70s period,
detailing the day to day and week to week goings-on of The ‘oo’s world that not
only produced those two classic albums but also brought Townshend to the brink
of a nervous breakdown: in struggling to come up with a worthy successor to Tommy, with the Live at Leeds album a stopgap release buying him time to develop a
new conceptual piece, Townshend crafted a convoluted-narrative (involving
dystopian futures and mankind being saved by a “single pure note” that,
naturally, was played by a rock ‘n’ roll band) he called Lifehouse. Nobody was buying, however, particularly not the other
members of the band, so the project was scrapped and the best songs salvaged
for Who’s Next, and the rest is
history.

 

Unterberger
interviewed a number of Who associates with firsthand knowledge of
conversations and events that took place during this time, additionally drawing
upon a wealth of archival Townshend and Roger Daltrey interviews to paint a
detailed portrait of inspiration, neurosis, hubris, despair, and eventual
regeneration. Throughout this 300-page book there’s enough minutiae and previously-obscured
factual tidbits to satisfy Who lifers, and it’s also the kind of read that will
have you reaching for your Who albums – official, bootleg, and otherwise – and
revisit them, newly gifted with fresh knowledge.

 

Watch
BLURT for a full review soon.

 

Report: Godspeed You! Black Emperor Live In S.F.

 

At the ancient Warfield Theatre,
on Feb. 19, the Montreal
combo managed to sonically outflank the nearby jumbo jets.

 

By Jud
Cost

Sometimes
you think crazy things when you start to feel trapped. About halfway into
Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s opening 12-minute aural assault, I began to
wonder if a person could die from listening to music – just sitting there while
all your systems completely shut down from sensory overload. Or possibly
whether the old Warfield Theatre, an ancient structure built in the 1920’s that
has seen better days and survived recent attacks by the Stooges and Motorhead,
might give up the ghost tonight and implode.

 

A
rafter-rattling bass drone had filled the dusty old hall for the entire 40
minutes it took the band to set up tonight. As the scrawled word
“HOPE” flickered on a large screen behind them, the first selection
by the notorious Montreal-based octet started out extremely loud (even with
earplugs), then just kept getting louder and louder and louder. As someone who
had survived Blue Cheer, the ’60s poster boys for premature audience deafness
who once roamed San Francisco’s
hippie ballroom scene, Godspeed was on a totally different arc of magnitude
tonight.  

 

There
were guitars, keyboards, a drum kit and, oddly enough, a standup bass being
played onstage by members of the band but, for all you could distinguish from
any one player, there might just as well have been a platoon of
department-store dummies seated behind the gear. The upright bass is hard to
hear on some vintage jazz records. It didn’t have a prayer in hell of making a
dent in this sonic explosion. The band’s sound at full throttle was something
akin to being ferried to the space station while strapped to a NASA rocket full
of liquid oxygen. At the conclusion of round one, some people screamed and
applauded, a few got up and departed, and most sat there stunned as though
they’d just witnessed the annihilation of a heavenly body.

 

When one
of the players spoke to the full house in a distinct New
York accent after the band completed a second harrowing trip to
outer space, it took me back to the good old days of the Terrastock festivals,
held in various U.S. and U.K. ports of
call more than ten years ago. “When I was a kid, I used to love to go to Coney Island. My parents would take me there, and I even
got lost on the beach, but they found me. We used to go there at night
sometimes and sleep on the beach. But you can’t do that anymore. They’ve shrunk
Coney Island almost down to nothing.” It
was the perfect intro for one of those Alastair Galbraith-style mind-expansion
gems. And GYBE obliged with a perfectly rendered, slow, almost
acoustic-sounding coffee and scones number. And then, after a few minutes, it
started getting louder and louder again.

 

As the
one-hour mark fast approached, it was plain to see the Godspeed experience had
shown most of its portfolio. This had been the triple espresso after last
night’s bottle of house Cabernet (Beach House and Papercuts at the
Fillmore).  On the way home, I stopped
off in San Bruno
to get a cup of decaf and a doughnut to restore my chemical balance. Since the
wind was blowing pretty hard after a week of torrential rain, the air traffic
for San Francisco International had been re-routed to its alternate takeoff and
landing pattern. A 747 jumbo jet flew directly overhead, very low, just as I
walked across the parking lot. And it didn’t really sound all that loud (even
without the earplugs).

 

 

 

Booker T Backed by The Roots on New LP

 

May brings The Road From Memphis on Anti-; guests include Sharon
Jones, Lou Reed, Jim James and Matt Berninger.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Booker T. Jones’ new album ‘The Road From Memphis,’ has been announced for a May 10
release on Anti-. It’s the followup to 2009’s ‘Potato Hole‘ which won the Grammy for “Best Pop Instrumental
Album.”

Produced by Jones with The Roots’ ?uestlove and Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot
Smith), ‘Memphis‘ was recorded by Daptone Records’ Gabriel
Roth with backing by The Roots. According to the label the album title “refers
not only to Booker T’s journey but to the evolution of the soul music he helped
invent as it traveled from Memphis to Detroit, Philadelphia
and beyond.”

 

That end, a slew of guest
vocalists pitched in, including Matt Berninger of the National and Sharon Jones
on “Representing Memphis,” Jim James of My Morning Jacket on
“Progress” and Lou Reed on “The Bronx.” The album also
features a rare vocal from Jones on “Down in Memphis.” Motor City
guitarist Dennis Coffey – who has a new album himself about to drop, Dennis Coffey, on Strut – contributes to
the album as well.

Tracklisting:

Walking Papers
Crazy
Progress (feat. Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket)
The Hive
Down In Memphis
Everything Is Everything
Rent Party
Representing Memphis (feat. Matt Berninger of The National and Sharon Jones)
The Vamp
Harlem House
The Bronx (feat. Lou Reed)

 

[Photo Credit: Gary Copeland]

 

Will Oldham Narrates Slow Fade Audiobook

Drag City
to release audiobook of Rudolph Wurlitzer’s Slow Fade as read by Oldham
and D.V. deVincentis.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

En route is the audiobook of Slow Fade. It’s a novel about a man whose career, whose life, has
been devoted to the manipulation of images – on the screen and at the
conference table, with actors and technicians, even (and especially) with those
closest to him – and the story of how, in his 71st year, he tries to divest
himself of illusions and to make peace with his demons and his past. With a
geography as diverse as the streets of Beverly Hills
and the charnal grounds of India,
a Mexican beach resort and the Russian Tea Room in New York City, it is also a spare, eloquent,
and deeply informed novel about the world of the movies.

To bring voice to this story, Will Oldham takes on the main narrative, the
story of Wesley Hardin and his doomed film. Oldham
felt another voice was needed to read the text in italics, to give the listener
a true sense of the inter-relatedness of the stories. He brought in his close
friend D.V. deVincentis, a Hollywood lifer and
veteran screenwriter himself, to read Walker Hardin’s script. The combination
of these two voices, the ways they embody the ebb and flow of the narrative,
give the reading of the book a fitting, cinematic quality. 

 

 

Drag City releases the audiobook on
April 19.