Monthly Archives: September 2011

PJ Harvey Bonus! Mentors & Muses

 

Over the years, PJ
Harvey has had a host of gifted collaborators, literally and spiritually. Here
are a few. (Read also: our interview with Harvey.)
– Fred Mills, editor

 

 

Rob Ellis

As drummer, backing vocalist and string arranger on Harvey’s first two albums,
Ellis was a key component of her early sound. Since then they’ve intersected
frequently, including Harvey
guesting in ’96 on Ellis’ debut release under the Spleen name and he appearing
on several of her records. Ellis has a knack for the distaff: most recently he
produced stellar albums by Dot Allison and Anna Calvi.

 

 

John Parish

Since 1995, the producer/multiinstrumentalist has been a Harvey mainstay both live
and on album, including the new Let
England Shake
; the duo also has two jointly-credited records, 1996’s Dance Hall at Louse Point and 2009’s A Woman a Man Walked By. He’s got three
solo releases, while his list of scoring, production and collaboration credits
is extensive. Among them is…

 

 

Howe Gelb

…and Gelb’s Arizona
band Giant Sand. The Parish connection led to an introduction at a 2001 U2
concert (Harvey was the opening act), and upon accepting an invitation for a
brief desert vacation she not only wound up on 2002 GS album Cover Magazine, she also was the
surprise guest at a show, leaving gig-goers (yours truly included) gobsmacked
as Gelb and Harvey’s blitzed through X punk classic “Johny Hit and Run Paulene.”

 

 

Nick Cave

He’s not the only Bad Seed in her life; Mick Harvey has
appeared on various albums since 1995’s To
Bring You My Love
. But Cave was Harvey’s
paramour in the mid ‘90s, and she also made a star turn on Bad Seeds classic Murder Ballads. No word on whether the
romance and break-up directly inspired any subsequent PJH releases, but her
ghost is all over Cave’s 1997 release The
Boatman’s Call
.

 

Captain Beefheart (pictured at top)

Trainspotter alert: references both overt and veiled to
the late Don Van Vliet may be found on Harvey
albums, in the sonics, lyrics and even album titles (there’s an ‘85 DVV
painting named Woman and a Dog Walked By).
In interviews she’s never been shy about her admiration for him, and it’s known
that the two corresponded and spoke on the phone, Beefheart reportedly offering
feedback on her songs.

 

PJ Harvey Bonus! Mentors & Muses

 

Over the years, PJ
Harvey has had a host of gifted collaborators, literally and spiritually. Here
are a few. (Read also: our interview with Harvey.)
– Fred Mills, editor

 

 

Rob Ellis

As drummer, backing vocalist and string arranger on Harvey’s first two albums,
Ellis was a key component of her early sound. Since then they’ve intersected
frequently, including Harvey
guesting in ’96 on Ellis’ debut release under the Spleen name and he appearing
on several of her records. Ellis has a knack for the distaff: most recently he
produced stellar albums by Dot Allison and Anna Calvi.

 

 

John Parish

Since 1995, the producer/multiinstrumentalist has been a Harvey mainstay both live
and on album, including the new Let
England Shake
; the duo also has two jointly-credited records, 1996’s Dance Hall at Louse Point and 2009’s A Woman a Man Walked By. He’s got three
solo releases, while his list of scoring, production and collaboration credits
is extensive. Among them is…

 

 

Howe Gelb

…and Gelb’s Arizona
band Giant Sand. The Parish connection led to an introduction at a 2001 U2
concert (Harvey was the opening act), and upon accepting an invitation for a
brief desert vacation she not only wound up on 2002 GS album Cover Magazine, she also was the
surprise guest at a show, leaving gig-goers (yours truly included) gobsmacked
as Gelb and Harvey’s blitzed through X punk classic “Johny Hit and Run Paulene.”

 

 

Nick Cave

He’s not the only Bad Seed in her life; Mick Harvey has
appeared on various albums since 1995’s To
Bring You My Love
. But Cave was Harvey’s
paramour in the mid ‘90s, and she also made a star turn on Bad Seeds classic Murder Ballads. No word on whether the
romance and break-up directly inspired any subsequent PJH releases, but her
ghost is all over Cave’s 1997 release The
Boatman’s Call
.

 

Captain Beefheart (pictured at top)

Trainspotter alert: references both overt and veiled to
the late Don Van Vliet may be found on Harvey
albums, in the sonics, lyrics and even album titles (there’s an ‘85 DVV
painting named Woman and a Dog Walked By).
In interviews she’s never been shy about her admiration for him, and it’s known
that the two corresponded and spoke on the phone, Beefheart reportedly offering
feedback on her songs.

 

Meet SF’s Wet Illustrated

 

Debut album arrives
Oct. 25 on True Panther Sounds.

 

1x1x1 (preferably
pronounced one by one by one) is the debut LP from Wet Illustrated, conceived
slowly and methodically over the past two years in San Francisco. After playing and touring in
various Bay area bands for years Robbie Simon (drums/vocals), Tim Hellman
(guitar), and Chrys Nodal (guitar) decided to start a group committed to
celebrating the legacies of weirdo pop outsiders like the Soft Boys, Guided By
Voices and the Swell Maps- writing jagged pop songs imbued with skewed hooks
and personal yet playful lyrics.

After self-releasing their first 45 on freshly minted Corvette City Records
they conceived, accumulated and eventually recorded an LP in Portland, OR
with Justin Higgins (Hunches, Exit Dreams) in the summer of 2011. Enthralled by
the amount of sound that could be packed onto the 2″ reel-to-reel tape at
Higgins’ Old Standard Sound studio adorned their songs with spiraling and
playful guitars and ancillary sounds. The end-result is an ecstatic 13-song
collection that is both is explosive and littered with hidden subtleties and
textures. The often hard-panned interplay of multi-tracked guitars evokes the
guitar heroics of early Sonic Youth. The song structures which at first appear
straightforward unravel to reveal sophisticated arrangements and evocative
lyrics in the tradition of homespun pop-ists like The Homosexuals or Cleaners
From Venus, all channeled through Wet Illustrated’s own idiosyncratic punk/pop
visions.

The Bay Area is currently in what seems like a bit of a creative explosion with
guitar-led garage/punk music. Wet Illustrated comes from this world, but
doesn’t exist solely inside of it…1x1x1 does
not rely on aping familiar relics from bygone eras or manufacturing new genres.
Wet Illustrated use a familiar sonic pallet to project a layered and natural
sound…distinctly Californian, psychedelic, shambolic, heart-felt and unique.

 

 

Treasure Island Music Fest Announces Sked

 

October 15 & 16 in
San Francisco, plus additional “special shows” 14th, 15th & 16th.

 

It’s the
annual festival’s fifth anniversary, featuring headliners Death Cab For Cutie and Empire of the Sun, as well as sets by
the likes of Death From Above 1979,
Explosions in the Sky, Chromeo, Beach House, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks,
St. Vincent and more. The confirmed performance schedule for the fifth
annual Treasure Island Music Festival is now up at the fest’s official website HERE.

 

(Photo above taken by David Downs at the 2009 event. Go here to read his recap, or here to read his coverage of 2010.)

 

 

Saturday, October 15th

Bridge Stage

9:35 – Empire of the Sun

7:55 – Cut Copy

6:15 – Chromeo

4:35 – Dizzee Rascal

3:00 – The Naked and Famous

1:30 – Shabazz Palaces

12:00 – Geographer

 

Tunnel Stage

8:45 – Death From Above 1979

7:05 – Flying Lotus

5:25 – Buraka Som Sistema

3:45 – Battles

2:15 – Yacht

12:45 – Aloe Blacc

 

 

 

Sunday, October 16th

Bridge Stage

9:20 – Death Cab For Cutie

7:40 – Explosions in the Sky

6:00 – Beach House

4:20 – Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

2:50 – St. Vincent

1:25 – The Antlers

12:00 – Thee Oh Sees

 

Tunnel Stage

8:30 – The Hold Stady

6:50 – Friendly Fires

5:10 – The Head and The Heart

3:35 – Wild Beasts

2:05 – Warpaint

12:40 – Weekend

 

Absolutely Kosher Label To Fold

 

Cites music piracy,
the current state of the economy and a lack of consensus among music lovers.

 

By Fred Mills

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the idea is to
have MORE voices, not fewer. While I’ve usually deployed that statement to
refer to the music print media, it also applies to indie record labels. Even
though one might argue in a certain context that there are far too many labels
and not enough quality control – a lot of music gets released prematurely and
indiscriminately – that’s not the case with long-running Berkeley label
Absolutely Kosher, which has been responsible for classic titles from the
Mountain Goats, the Wrens, Xiu Xiu and others over the course of its 13-year
run.

 

That run comes to an end on Oct. 11, however, when Absolutely
Kosher releases Hard Times from
Canadian band Himalayan Bear. After that, founder/owner Cory Brown will be
shutting the doors of the label.

 

According to the SF
Weekly
, the label’s finances have become increasingly shaky, partly due to
the current economic climate and largely due to the internet which has not only
made music piracy commonplace but has also led to a number of record stores and
music magazines to go under. “The decision to stop releasing new records was
made so that [Brown] can focus on repaying debts the label owes.”

 

“My resolve has been slowly chipped away to the point
where I really am left with no choice here,” Brown told the SFW. “I’d love to continue, but I
can’t…. We’re out of vogue as far as labels go right now. No matter how hard we
try, no matter what publicists we work with, we just seem to be outside of
people’s focus.”

 

“There’s more variety for more people to find stuff
[with blogs], but that had a really strange effect on consensus. There’s an
incredibly tight consensus on a small group of records, and then very little
consensus on the rest. So it’s great if you’re Neon Indian or somebody like
that … But if you’re not, it becomes exponentially more difficult.”

 

On the Absolutely Kosher website Brown added, of his
decision, “We should’ve been celebrating the label’s bar mitzvah this
year, but it’s not to be. I wish I could tell you there’s a grand plan, a new
chapter waiting to be written, but the truth is, we’ve been struggling for
years and the only thing on my plate right now is to eliminate our debts and
rejuvenate my spirits.”

 

Read the entire (depressing) story at the SF Weekly “All Shook Down” blog. Good
luck, Cory – your label will be missed.

 

 

 

Listen to 2 ½ Hour ATP Mixtape

 

Dig that awesome poster
art, too.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties bash coming up
quickly – it’s being held next weeken, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, in Asbury Park – the organizers have compiled a
neat little gift for fans: a free
downloadable 2.5 hour mixtape featuring nearly every artist on the festival
line-up as chosen by Portishead & ATP. It can be streamed or downloaded now
from www.illbeyourmirror.com/mixtape

 

Meanwhile, take note
of Shepard Fairey poster art, above. Fairey will be having a gallery showing of
his album cover art at ATP, and he will also release a limited edition
print of the poster he designed for the event, featuring the iconic Paramount
Theatre and Convention Hall. Limited to an edition of 500, the prints will go
on-sale Friday September 30th at doors at 4pm from the merchandise stand,
exclusively available to ATP ticketholders, and strictly limited to one per
person.

 

Adny Shernoff Does Residency, Issues 45

 

Raise your
hand if you still have copies of the man’s classic protopunk fanzine Teenage
Wasteland Gazette…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Seminal NYC proto-punk Andy “Adny” Shernoff will be
inaugurating a regular Wednesday night residency at Manhattan’s Lakeside Lounge starting
Wednesday October 5 and continuing weekly through December. He’ll be performing
at 7PM sharp with a regular backing band, featuring a rotating cast of special
guests. He will also be releasing a new 7″ vinyl single “Are You Ready To
Rapture” c/w “Tremble” – latter featuring the late Joey Ramone guesting.

 

 “Are You Ready
To Rapture” will be accompanied by an animated video created by world famous
cartoonist Brian Musikoff.

 

 

 

Queens-born Shernoff is a
musician, songwriter, record producer and oenophile.  He is a founding member of The Dictators, one
of the seminal New York proto-punk bands, for which he composed the lion’s
share of the material, played bass guitar, keyboards, sang back-up and
occasional lead vocals. He has been involved with a variety of other musical
projects over the years, most notably the heavily Dictators-populated Manitoba’s Wild
Kingdom and Joey Ramone’s
sole solo studio album, Don’t Worry About
Me.

 

In the fall of 2009, he
embarked upon a series of solo shows playing songs he wrote or co-wrote and
telling the stories behind them. In the spring of 2010, those shows would
become “When Giants Walked the Earth – A Musical Memoir by Adny
Shernoff,” with several tour dates scheduled in the Eastern U.S. and Canada.
Shernoff sang “California
Sun” in the official Major League Baseball promotional video for the 2010
All-Star Game. Other projects include garage-rock band The Masterplan,
featuring members of The Fleshtones and the Waxing Poetics.

 

First Look: New Talkdemonic Album

 

Due Oct. 4 from
Glacial Pace, “Ruins” finds the duo stretching out.

 

By Jennifer Kelly

(Glacial Pace)

 

www.glacialpace.com

 

Portland’s
Talkdemonic stretches out on this fourth full-length, extending its
electro-chamber-sonics into epic landscapes of drone, melody and dissonance.  Kevin O’Connor has sublimated his fascination
with glitchy hip hop beats here, subsuming the rhythmic element of the band’s
aesthetic into luxuriant swathes of string and synth sounds. Lisa Molinaro is
the primary “voice” in this all-instrumental band, injecting bursts of
tuneful-ness via pedal-effected viola (and sometimes cello). O’Connor builds
intricate textures in percussion, guitar, keyboards and synthesizer around her,
sometimes emphasizing  pastoral serenity,
in others conjuring the storm and roil of post-metal bands like Red Sparrowes
or Pelican.

 

The duo have, in the past, favored brevity, but here play
with duration, volume and discord in the monumental “City Sleeps. Here
swooping, swooning layers of distorted viola sustain over an urgent
clip-clopping drum rhythm and sudden angst-stricken bursts of electric guitar. “Midnight Pass” ventures even further into
Hendrix-y manipulations of Molinaro’s viola sound, sculpting bowed tones into
towering cumulus clouds of dissonant sound. “Revival,” the first single, is
downright calming by contrast, couched in bright thickets of acoustic guitar
strumming and a steady, multi-toned cadence of drums. Here, as elsewhere, the
wildest, most unexpected impact comes from the viola parts, which run like a
river, now sweet and bubbling with sunny warmth, now roaring over tumultuous
rapids. The rock instruments – drums, keyboards and guitar – set the framework,
but it’s the chamber music instrument that blows the doors down.

 

 

Report: Reading Rainbow/Eternal Summers Live

 

 

 

September 15 at the
Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., it was a post-punk buffet par
excellence.

 

Live Photos & Text by Jennifer Kelly

Lots of bands these days are splicing intense post-punk
propulsion with sweet, female-sung pop melodies, interjecting a wistful
tunefulness into their bristle-y volleys of eighth-note strumming, slathering
explosions of drums with twee harmonies. Two that are pretty good at this game
– Philadelphia’s Reading Rainbow and Roanoke’s Eternal Summers
– made the trip to Western Mass last week for a double bill that was as
abrasive as it was soothing, sometimes right at the same time.

 

 

 

Eternal Summers started the night off, singer/guitarist
Nicole Yun in a black, turtle-necked mini-skirt, drummer Daniel Cundiff wearing
his allegiance to Brooklyn’s Kanine on his
back in the form of one of the label’s tee-shirts. A new bass player, first name
Jonathan (last unknown) filled out this duo’s road sound, wearing hipster
horn-rims and an I Love Lucy shirt.

 

The band plays jittery concoctions of guitar and drums, Yun
sawing up and down on her guitar at blur speed, as she sings in a high, very
feminine voice that leaps and swoops and gulps and yelps, recalling
Sleater-Kinney and Deerhoof, the Slits and the B 52s. Cundiff surrounds her
with unmitigating rhythm, pummeling fast, hard multi-tonal cadences on tom and
cymbal, snare and cymbal, tom and tom. The band’s melodies have a tendency to
fly off in unexpected directions, skittering upwards in oddly shaped intervals.
Cundiff grounds them in very steady beats, whacking the kick drum hard on the
fours, driving them forward in a haze of bludgeoning bursts.  The frenzy breaks, from time to time, for
sounds that spill out in limpid pools of haze, the drums slow and heavy, the
vocals stretched into dream-like clouds of tone. At one point, Cundiff takes
the mic in a driving, kraut-like, new-wave tinged entry that sounds completely
different from the rest of the set.

 

I come to the show woefully ignorant of Eternal Summers’
catalogue, but even committed fans might have trouble recognizing some of the
material. About halfway through Yun announces that the band has been trying out
some new songs. “We’re a little bit free tonight…a little bit interpretive,”
she says. Indeed.

 

 

The band I’m really psyched to see, though, is Reading
Rainbow, whose Hozac debut Prism Eyes was a late 2010 favorite of mine, for the way that it injected shadowy
minor-key harmonies into the pulsing, jittering post-punk formula. Elsewhere I
wrote “There’s a slow song hidden within every fast one here, a choral elegy
spliced into even the peppiest banger. Here’s what happens when you shine punk
rock through a prism and it breaks into a million different colors.”

 

Reading Rainbow formed around the husband and wife duo of
Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia, though they have added a second guitarist
recently – that’s Al Creedon with the big board full of pedals – to fill out
the live sound. Everton is the band’s drummer and, with Garcia, one of two
primary vocalists. Garcia, tall and bespectacled, plays the other guitar and
sings.

 

You recognize immediately, when the band starts playing,
that their live show will be a little louder, a little more abrasive and a
little heavier on the guitar effects than Prism
Eyes
. The first several minutes of the set, in fact, are pure guitar/amp
manipulation, as Garcia and Creedon weave tones with their dual electrics. Then
the haze clears, the beat kicks in and Everton and Garcia link their voices in
those heartbreaking sustained harmonies.

 

 

 

 

The singing is a bit rougher and more aggressive than one
the record, with Everton putting a bit of a shout into her parts, and yet she
and Garcia find a shivery groove as they match up in drifting, dreaming modal
melodies that splinter into parts. There’s a keening, country-style croon in
the high notes that I haven’t heard before, and a Spectorish Wall of Sound
element going in the instrumental accompaniment. They sing “I See Light”
together beautifully, drawing the slow tones out over a rackety big beat, then
pick it up a bit for the “oh-oh-oh” embellished punkish-ness (very
Sleater-Kinney) of “White Noise”. There’s a new song called “Missing You”, full
of vocal swoops and dives and big cymbal crashes. “Always On My Mind” performs
its superlative Pylon-channeling trick, while “Animals Take Control” is as
dreamy, drifty, beautiful as a foggy morning.

 

Through it all Creedon plays difficult riffs that employ
many different pedals, his long bangs flopping over his forehead as he bangs at
and on his guitar. Everton’s part is simpler, relying on booming kick drum
downbeats and perky snare upbeats, yet it can’t be easy to do even that amount
of drumming while remaining in those shade-y, drawn out harmonies with Garcia,
even in the fast songs, even in pummeling, pulse-racing “Wasting Time,”
everybody’s favorite from Prism Eyes.

 

The two bands are close friends, and you can spot Yun and
her bass player grooving in the front rows of Reading Rainbow’s set. (Everton
and Garcia were, similarly, up and dancing for the Eternal Summer set). All in
all, a good night, if you like jagged songs draped with gauzy harmonies and
glowing faintly under the stage lights.