Monthly Archives: January 2010

Billy Corgan’s Mash Note to Jessica Simpson / Scott Crawford


The below
correspondence was forwarded to us via an “unnamed source” so we can’t vouch
100% for its accuracy, but in light of the recent – and verified – news of Corgan and Simpson recording together with longtime Corgan associate Kerry
Brown producing, it certainly has the ring of authenticity.



Hey Jess-


Taking a break from the tracks we’ve been working to just
drop you a quick note. This is seriously some of the best material I’ve written
since my solo album The Future Embrace.
And our version of “These Boots Are Made for Walking” is going to make you a
huge favorite among the Pitchfork crowd (that’s a popular website all about “hip” music). I think even Nancy
Sinatra would approve.


Honestly, I haven’t had this kind of chemistry with somebody
in the studio since Courtney Love and I first did crystal meth for 2 weeks
straight and I wrote most of Live Through
  for her. 


I remember
the first time I saw you perform I KNEW that I’d someday sleep, er, work with
you. I’ll never forget-it was when you played the state fair to a special invite-only
crowd made up of students from the Chicago School for the Hearing Impaired. As
they stood in a muddy cow field, they hung on every overly-enunciated word you
sang. It was magical. You were wearing those denim jeans that some in the press
dubbed “mom jeans.” If that’s the case baby, you’re one HOT MILF. Even when I
saw you perform on the “Nick and Jessica Family Christmas Special” I started
thinking of ways we could collaborate. (COLLABORATE col·lab·o·rate: kÉ�-la-bÉ�-rÄ�t) – to
work, one with another; cooperate, as on a literary work: They collaborated on a novel.) I’m already thinking that we can
turn it into a longform conceptual video too, like Thriller – hell, a feature film, let’s think big!


Oh, by the way, Romo
called me last week and offered his congratulations on us getting together. He
told me to just ignore those bullshit superstitious rumors about you being bad
luck. He said that was just Cowboys team jealousy and that his fans were
clueless anyway. I told him that I agreed and that honestly, how could my
career get any worse?


And let’s just
decide right here and now-FUCK THE PRESS. They’ll say all kinds of things about
us and we have to learn to ignore it. Most of these critics are just frustrated
musicians who are obviously jealous of the kind of talent we possess. They’ve
called me everything from an “indie-rock megalomaniac” to a “stoop-shouldered
Uncle Fester.” Hell, they even panned my book of poetry. It’s something that
superstars like us have to learn to accept about our lives-plain and simple.


Honestly, together
we could become the next Buckingham/Nicks (I’ll explain who that is later-take
my word for it, it’s a good thing).  So
far I think the autotune is working out great-believe me, the indie rock kids
(my adoring fans) have NEVER heard anything like this before. Ok, gotta back to
the studio-can’t wait to see you when you get back in town from your “Large
& Lovely” promo tour!



your Billy



Earl Greyhound Gets Suspicious on New LP


Album due April 13 on
Hawk Race Records; March tour opening for Coheed and Cambria
is locked in.


By Blurt Staff



Earl Greyhound s set to
drop their new album Suspicious Package,
recorded at Red Bull Studios in Santa
Monica with Dave Schiffman (Mars Volta, Red Hot
Chili Peppers, System of a Down).

The band formed in 2002 with the collaboration
of songwriters Matt Whyte and Kamara Thomas, who began performing regularly as
a duo in NYC. All the while, they were crafting the unique sound and songs
that would form the foundation for a colossal rock band. Their influences
swept from the strident English three-and four-pieces of the 70’s, to the
dark pop and heavy grunge grooves of the 90’s, to the transcendental, noisy
acid sounds of modern rock.

In 2005, EG recorded their first album, Soft
, but they also hit their first snag when drummer Chris Bear left
to pursue his fortunes with the band Grizzly Bear. Reluctant to release the
album without a permanent drummer, Matt and Kamara vowed to play relentlessly
until their dream drummer found them. Guitar player Kirk Douglass (The Roots)
witnessed a show and brought his friend and Gold Crowns band mate Ricc
Sheridan to the next few gigs. Ricc says, “I awoke from a dream one night,
and I knew this was my band.” A few weeks later, a rockneck-inducing jam
confirmed that the band had found its soul mate, and they hit the ground
running.  Soft Targets and
EG’s wrecking ball of a live show earned them oodles of fans and critical
acclaim. The next three years were spent touring the US, Canada
and Japan
as well as opening for Gov’t Mule, Chris Cornell and Saul Williams.

Suspicious Package is Earl Greyhound’s sophomore release, and it marks a
turning point in the band’s maturation given Sheridan’s full creative involvement.


1. The Eyes Of Cassandra (Part 1)
2. The Eyes Of Cassandra (Part 2)
3. Oye Vaya
4. Ghost And The Witness
5. Shotgun
6. Holy Immortality
7. Sea Of Japan
8. Black Sea Vacation
9. Bill Evans
10. Out Of Air
11. Misty Morning

Tour Dates:

Jan 30 – Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY
Mar 23 – Harro East Theatre & Ballroom w/ Coheed and Cambrial – Rochester,
Mar 24 – The Westcott Theater w/ Coheed and Cambria – Syracuse, NY
Mar 25 – Northern Lights w/ Cohee d and Cambria – Clifton Park, NY
Mar 26 – Higher Ground w/ Coheed and Cambria – South Burlington, VT
Mar 28 – Port City Music Hall w/ Coheed and Cambria – Portland, ME
Mar 29 Webster Theater w/ Cohee d and Cambria – Hartford, CT
Mar 30 Hardware Bar w/ Coheed a nd Cambria – Scranton, PA
Mar 31 – Music Hall of Williamsbu rg w/ Coheed and Cambria – Brooklyn, New York
Jun 4 – Wakarusa Festival – Ozark, Arkansas
Jun 5 – Wakarusa Festival – Ozark, Arkansas



Least-Anticipated CDs Poll Results In!

Nick Jonas & the
Administration tie with Lil Wayne, with Vampire Weekend a relatively close
second place.


By Fred Mills


The BLURT readers have spoken: for our most recent poll we
asked you to select, from a list of a dozen first-quarter ’09 new releases
currently being hotly hyped by record labels and trendy/tastemaker bloggers
alike, which titles were the least anticipated.


As you can see from the stats tally below, Nick Jonas &
the Administration’s Who I Am and Lil
Wayne’s Rebirth, both of which arrive
in stores next week, Feb. 2, were the clear frontrunners, and it’s interesting
that they were tied for first place with 26% of the total vote apiece. (Given
Lil Wayne’s token status as a Pitchforkian hipster, maybe this represents a
reactionary vote aimed at Pitchfork – the Jonas nod was kind of a no-brainer,
after all, and we have to admit that record’s inclusion in the poll was kind of
a setup. Hey, go take your OWN poll if ya don’t like it!)



Band du jour Vampire Weekend is currently ripping up the Billboard charts with 100k-plus first week sales and counting (must have been a slow
first week – apparently every person on the planet has already bought Susan
Boyne and Taylor Swift, and the only thing that’s left to do, marketing wise,
is airlift copies of those two monster sellers to Haitian refugees). So it’s
not surprising a backlash has already started, and we’re chuffed to report that
V.W.’s Contra officially comes in at
second (or third) place. Natalie Merchant’s Leave
Your Sleep
, due March 2, comes in next. Sorry Vampire Weekend and Ms.
Merchant, it’s not us, it’s you.




Everything else is pretty well evenly spread out, although
since Liars’ Sisterworld, due March
9, received zero votes, that makes the band technically the winners here. We’re eager to hear that
one too, to be perfectly honest, so congrats to Liars, who have won an
all-expenses paid trip to Orlando to see Nick Jonas & the Administration
open their world tour – don’t forget to cover up first, boys.



Poll Results (54
votes total)


15% w/8 votes Vampire
Weekend – Contra (1-12)

4% w/2 votes OK
Go – Of The Blue Colour of the Sky (1-12)

2% w/1 vote Editors
– In This Light and On This Evening (1-19)

6% w/3 votes Spoon
– Transference (1-19)

26% w/14 votes Nick
Jonas & the Administration – Who I Am (2-2)

26% w/14 votes Lil
Wayne – Rebirth (2-2)

2% w/1 vote Hot
Chip – One Life Stand (2-9)

2% w/1 vote TobyMac
– Tonight (2-9)

4% w/2 vote The
Game – The R.E.D. Album (2-16)

9% w/5 votes Natalie
Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (3-2)

6% w/3 votes Butch
Walker – I Liked it Better When You Had No Heart (2-23)

0% w/0 votes Liars
– Sisterworld (3-9)





Independent Music Awards Winners Named

Marketers’ heads abuzz
with possibilities. Meanwhile, Holly Golightly, Gemma Ray, Spinnerette and
State Radio get to share column space with Tom Waits, She & Him, Black Keys
and Aimee Mann, so it’s all good!


By Blurt Staff


The New Jersey-based Independent Music Awards announced last
the winners of the 9th annual IMAs.  Among the top winners: All That Remains,
Spinnerette, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs (pictured above; see our recent
live review of Holly here), The So So Glos, Alaska In Winter, Beat Circus, Gemma Ray, Illa J and State Radio.


There are tons of winners who you’ve most likely never heard
of too, but hey, that’s why they’re called “independent,” so obscure or not,
congrats to everyone. You’ve got a brand spanking new marketing opp staring you
in the face now.


More than 50 categories for albums, songs, music videos and
design comprised this year’s competition, and winners were determined by the
votes of a panel of “80 influential artists and industry pros.” Those artists
and pros included Tom Waits, The Black Keys, Ricky
Skaggs, Pete Wentz, Mark Hoppus, Aimee
Mann, The Apples in Stereo, David Garrett,
Suzanne Vega, Bettye LaVette, Judy
Collins, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.


“The IMAs celebrate artists who follow their own muse and
the true music fans who support them,” IMA Executive Director Martin Folkman,
in a statement. “The artists who’ve been honored by The IMAs create some of the
best music you may never have heard, and we’re delighted to promote them at the
world’s largest music retailer,” he added, noting that iTunes has set up a section
for releases from the winters at the iTunes store “Indie Spotlight” page.


Additionally, regular every day music fans can vote on their
fave nominees for the IMA People’s Voice competition. Deadline is June 25 and
you can register at IMA and vote here.


Complete List of



Artist: Beat Circus
Album: Boy From Black
Label: Cuneiform


Artist: Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Album: Dirt Don’t Hurt
Label: Transdreamer


Artist: Joe & Vicki Price
Album: Rain or Shine


Artist: Charlie Hope
Album: I’m Me! A Collection Of Songs For Children
Label: Little Maple Leaf Productions


Album: AEMMP Records Chompilation
Label: AEMMP Records, Columbia
College Chicago


Artist: Phil Roy
Album: In The Weird Small Hours
Label: Ear Pictures


Artist: John Mandeville
Album: We Belong To Heaven
Label: I.P.O. Records


Artist: Heritage Orchestra feat. DJ Yoda
Album: G. Prokofiev Concerto for Turntables
Label: Nonclassical Recordings


Artist: Dale Watson
Album: The Truckin’ Sessions, Vol. 2
Label: Hyena Records


Artist: Alaska in Winter
Album: Holiday
Label: Milan


Artist: Gemma Ray
Album: Lights Out Zoltar!
Label: Bronzerat Records


Artist: Michael Zapruder
Album: Dragon Chinese C0cktail Horoscope
Label: Side Cho


Artist: Russell Leonce
Album: Culture of Love


Artist: All That Remains
Album: Overcome
Label: Razor & Tie Entertainment


Album: Cedille On The Move
Label: Cedille Records


Artist: Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets
Album: Echoes Of Ethnicity
Label: Owl Studios


Artist: Maestros del Joropo Oriental
Album: ¡Y Que Viva Venezuela!
Label: Smithsonian Folkways


Artist: Danielia Cotton
Album: Live Child
Label: Cottontown Records


Artist: Rocky Fretz
Album: The Path Ahead…And Steps Then Taken


Artist: Spinnerette
Album: Spinnerette
Label: Anthem


Artist: The So So Glos
Album: Tourism / Terrorism
Label: Green Owl


Artist: Michael Olatuja
Album: Speak
Label: Backdrop/ObliqSound


Artist: Illa J
Album: Yancey Boys
Label: Delicious Vinyl


Artist: Oran
Album: Kelenia
Label: Motema Music


Album: Blodeugerdd Song Of The Flowers: An Anthology Of Welsh
Music And Song
Label: Smithsonian Folkways





Artist: Joanna Chapman-Smith
Song: “Melodies”


Artist: My Cousin, The Emperor
Song: “A Long Way From Home”


Artist: Tim Easton
Song: “Burgundy Red”
Label: New West Records


Artist: Used Blues Band
Song: “Palm Reader Blues”


Artist: Charlie Hope
Song: “I’m Me!”
Label: Little Maple Leaf Productions


Artist:Christopher Williams
Song: “Anything But Fail”
Label: BiG ReD VaN Music


Artist: Codie Prevost
Song: “Spin”
Label: Goos Spirit Records


Artist: Daisy Chapman
Song: “Umbrella” Orig. by Rihanna
Label: Dandyland


Artist: Codebreaker
Song: “Follow Me”
Label: Disco Demolition Records


Artist: The Submarines
Song: “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie” from the Apple
iPhone 3GS ad
Label: Nettwerk


Artist: Wolf In the Fold
Song: “Death”


Artist: Noreen Crayton
Song: “Walking in the Faith”
Label: Angelic Star Records


Artist: Moving Atlas
Song: “Becoming Blue”


Artist: Austin McMahon
Song: “Platone”
Label: Fractamodi


Artist: Jimmy Fontanez
Song: “Mi Salsa Vocal”


Artist: Emma-Lee
Song: “Until We Meet Again”
Label: Bumstead Productions


Artist: Tom Yoder
Song: “Locked In”


Artist: fun.
Song: “All The Pretty Girls”
Label: Nettwerk


Artist: The So So Glos
Song: “My Block”
Label: Green Owl


Artist: Shoshana Bean
Song: “Superhero”
Label: Shotime Records


Artist: Miles Jones
Song: “Coast to Coast”


Artist: State Radio
Song: “Calling All Crows”
Label: Nettwerk


Artist: Lisa Carver
Song: “Bullets”
Label: Adroit Records


Artist: The Very Best
Song: “Warm Heart of Africa” feat. Vampire Weekend’s
Ezra Koenig
Label: Green Owl


Artist: Roman Miroshnichenko
Song: “Unforgiven”
Label: Raritet





Artist: Anj
Video: “Gorbachev”



Artist: The Jimmies
Video: Trying Funny Stuff DVD





Designer: Tri-Plex Packaging Corp. of New York
Package: Pete Seeger – American Favorite Ballads: Vol. 1-5


Photographer: Michael Aghajanian
Photo: Sholi


Photographer: Jason Grover
Photo: Blake Berglund


Photographer: Killshot Photography * Brooks Institute
Photo: GWAR


Designer: Matt Kelley – One Lucky Guitar
Poster: Lead Belly


New Rhodes


Razor & Tie


Music2 Management


Blame Sally




Martin Bisi on Tape Vs. Digital Myth


“Not all records made in
the golden era of tape sounded great.” Words to live by.


By Blurt Staff


Okay, all you analog heads, you think you’re holding all the cards?
Maybe, maybe not. But as BLURT blogger – and esteemed NYC producer – suggests,
the digital and tape divide may be more illusory than you want to admit. He
challenges some of the common wisdom in the latest installment of his “The End
Credits” blog
, going all the way back to the dawn of the digital era.


In “The Tape Fetish” Bisi writes, “There’s a natural fear
in people that ‘something is being lost’ with changing technologies, lifestyles
etc. It’s human nature that someone’s gonna be paranoid. So it makes sense that
at the onset of digital in the 80’s, some people asked, ‘Is the soul of music
being lost, because it’s being turned into digital 1’s and 0’s ?'”


Read Bisi’s entire blog here – it just may give you food for
thought. Remember, “not all records made in the golden era of tape sounded


And we’ve got plenty of shitty-sounding indie rock albums
from the ‘80s to prove it…



The Tape Fetish

analog recording session with the band Flaming Fire at my place.

You can see the big tape machine in the back under the window

Musician walks into the control room of the recording studio – where the band
listens back to their 1st performance of the day – and exclaims; OMG ! listen
to that TAPE ! And he takes on a look of profound satisfaction and relief. And
he owes this aural salvation to ..tape — as opposed
to digital.

 What’s wrong with this moment ? (I wouldn’t mention it had it not been
tellingly repeated with other musicians and artists). Basically, tape got all
the credit. My countless technical and creative choices were not the easy and
comfortable explanation for the excellent sounds — ahem.

Some things come with the territory.

Many musicians claim better results at analog/tape studios. Is it the gear, or
the people and ears running the gear ? Older, more experienced engineers, or
engineers with certain sensibilities at those studios might be the reason, as
opposed to the tape itself.

I solicited a quote from another Brooklyn producer, Bryce Goggin (Pavement,
Antony and the Johnsons, Phish, Sebadoh, Akron Family): “the true beauty of the medium is that analog recordings demand the
participation of more professional operators. The limitations of analog
recording enforce a level of discipline which digital does not. Sure the peak
limiting is far smoother on analog….etc”

Well, more difficulty editing and fixing performances is one of those
limitations of analog. And better musicians as well as engineers are more
likely to be willing to work with those limitations (because they’ll have less
to fix), in order to get the hoped-for enhancement of tape. Better engineers and musicians = better sounding records no matter what

Aren’t the sounds going to be only as good as the medium used to record them? And isn’t some basic quality of that medium going to define the sound?


[sure, somewhat] – but comparing top end pro digital audio to analog is a lot
closer than comparing say, film and video. Pro Digital is improving. The
quality gap is closing

Brooklyn producer Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Elvis Costello, Frank
Black) of Studio G in Williamsburg chimed in with this (and he does use tape
regularly): “None of the tape machines, which are simply tools for hanging on to
something that me and the band fought very hard to collect, EVER made the
record great for me. Conversely, none of the computer/digital based recording
systems (including RADAR, ADAT, DAT or DASH ) EVER wrecked any of the records I
made on them”

Credit and blame don’t lie with the tools. Producers/engineers do what it
takes to satisfy their ears

Producers/engineers work hard to achieve a sound, alternately working with or
against the recording medium. They try to achieve what’s in their mind’s ear.
They don’t capitulate to the sound inherent in the equipment or “capture
format” (tape or digital conversion)


Joel Hamilton
continues: “In both cases [digital and tape], I have to hear the result of the
playback and make adjustments to everything affected by the capture format, to
get the results we are looking/listening for. Mic position will always be 10
million times more important than the capture format”

Not all records made in the golden era of tape sounded great.

Please, please. When I started
engineering in 1981, I was largely motivated by how much I hated the sounds of
so many records.. not by LOVE. There was to my ear, more bad sounding records
than good. I do wonder if the rose colored glasses of history are fully in place on
this topic with most people. The great recordings of decades past are more
likely to be remembered, and great music tends to flatter the recording (and
vice versa)

Blaming the entire state of sound today on the “umbrella” technology
of digital

That would be like 20 years ago assuming that a pro analog recording would
sound the same as recording onto a consumer analog cassette. In fact on the
consumer level, digital and specifically MP3’s are clearly worse than a good
‘ole turntable was with decent vinyl. It’s not surprising that people’s vinyl
sounds better than downloads on itunes. That shouldn’t prejudice people to
digital in the studio

Something’s always retro.

Yep, there’s a natural fear in people that “something is being lost”
with changing technologies, lifestyles etc. It’s human nature that someone’s
gonna be paranoid. So it makes sense that at the onset of digital in the 80’s,
some people asked “is the soul of music being lost, because it’s being
turned into digital 1’s and 0’s ?”

  “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” or …see the
advantages, and work on the rest

find Martin Bisi music and show dates on his Myspace


Stein, Gottehrer Relaunch Blue Horizon


But what exactly are “modern
day versions” of Madonna, the Ramones and Talking Heads? Lady Gaga, Green Day
and Arcade Fire already have record deals!


By Blurt Staff


Founders of legendary Sire Records, Richard
Gottehrer and Seymour Stein
(pictured),just announced the relaunch of the equally legendary record label Blue Horizon, intended, in their
words, as “a venture that aims to introduce the world to emerging artists across
a wide spectrum of genres” and utilizing “their unparalleled talents for
discovering new and compelling music to incubate the careers of budding

Blue Horizon will leverage the global reach and innovative marketing of The
Orchard (Gottehrer’s company), while upstreaming select releases to Warner
Bros. Records (Stein’s company). Blue Horizon will be run from The Orchard’s
offices and be home to modern day versions of Madonna, The Ramones,
Talking Heads (all artists
previously signed to Sire Records), etc.


You can view a video of the MIDEM press conference
announcing the new venture here.



Fever Ray: Melts In Your Mouth, Not In…


This is what Lady Gaga
has wrought…


By Blurt Staff


With a photo like the above, making the internet rounds, you
just knew there was gonna be more…. It’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, aka Fever
Ray, aka ½ of The Knife – the latter, just to remind you, looks like this, and they have a new rec due soon too:




Of course, lately she’s been looking more, er, feverish,
posing for promo photos like this:




At any rate, Fever Ray won an award last week at Sweden’s P3
Guld, an annual public radio awards show, nabbing one for “Best Dance.” Now the
actual footage of her acceptance “speech” (term used loosely – you’ll see what
we mean) has surfaced on YouTube (thanks for the tip, Pitchfork), and it’s
pretty, er, face melting shit. Enjoy! Incidentally, she’ll be playing Coachella
on April 16, and it just may be hot enough to make everyone else’s faces melt
that day….








Apples In Stereo Travelling in April

Studio-obsessed indie rockers celebrating the
start of a new decade with the release of their seventh studio album.


Travellers in Space and Time just may be Apples In Stereo’s most
hi-fi and hook-laden production to date. Described by frontman Robert Schneider
as “retro-futuristic super-pop,” the album is the official
follow-up to 2007’s New Magnetic Wonder, and the band’s
second release for Elijah Wood’s Simian Records. The album will be released on
April 20 via Yep Roc/Simian/Elephant 6.


Travellers contains sixteen piano-driven
tracks, bubbling over with vocoder harmonies and sci-fi sound effects, like
70’s AM radio filtered through a UFO; including the robotic first single
“Dance Floor”, the four-on-the-floor dream-scape “Hey Elevator”,
the Hall and Oates-tinged “Told You Once”, and the epic, yearning
“Dream About The Future,” among many instant hits. The musical theme
heard in these songs is strung throughout Travellers: intense pop hooks and electronic sounds, mixed with a pumping,
get-up-and-moonwalk beat.


“I wanted to
make a futuristic pop record, to reach out to the kids of the future,”
Schneider relates. “It is what I imagine their more highly-evolved pop
might sound like: shiny soul music with robots and humans singing together, yet
informed by the music of our time. So we are sending a pop music message
through time, hoping they will decode it and be into it.”


It is the first
studio album from The Apples in stereo to feature new drummer John Dufilho,
lead singer of Dallas indie rockers The Deathray Davies; and sees Bill Doss
(Olivia Tremor Control, Elephant 6) and John Ferguson (Ulysses, Big Fresh),
longtime Schneider collaborators, as full-time keyboardists in the band,
alongside veteran members John Hill (guitar) and Eric Allen (bass). Original
drummer Hilarie Sidney left the band in 2006.


Anyone familiar
with The Apples in stereo’s career will know Schneider’s ever-evolving
production process is as intricate as the recordings he generates. Engaging the
same primary engineering team used to record New Magnetic Wonder, most
notably Bryce Goggin (Trout Studio’s vintage recording wizard), as well as many
studio-savvy friends and cohorts, the band spent well over a year in the studio
recasting their signature pop sounds in chrome-plated futurism, all while
adding a dance-driven vibe channeling ELO, Barry Gibb, Wild Honey-era Beach Boys and Off The Wall-era Michael Jackson.


With Travellers in
Space and Time
, Schneider continues experimenting with his
recent invention, the Non-Pythagorean musical scale based on the logarithm, a
mathematical function. Schneider is a passionate student of mathematics, and
recently composed music based on prime numbers for a play written by
world-class mathematician Andrew Granville, performed at the hallowed Institute
for Advanced Study (home of Albert Einstein) in Princeton, New Jersey. Travellers includes “C.P.U.,” the first pop song ever to incorporate this novel


In addition, the
album features songwriting contributions from all of the other Apples,
including “Wings Away” (Bill Doss/John Ferguson), “Next Year At
About The Same Time” (Eric Allen), “No Vacation” (John
Ferguson/Robert Schneider), “Floating Away” (John Dufilho), and
“Dignified Dignitary” (Robert Schneider/Bill Doss/John Hill).

The 2007 hit album, New Magnetic Wonder, spawned late night
performances on Conan and Colbert, commercial placements for The Apples’ music
(Pepsi, New Balance, Samsung, and numerous others), invitations to perform at
many prestigious festivals and venues (All Tomorrows Parties, Pitchfork,
Primavera Sound, R.E.M. Charity Tribute Concert at Carnegie Hall), and a world
tour that took the band as far away as Taiwan – not to mention a polished
performance of their hit song “Energy” by the contestants on American Idol.


Since then, the
band has been increasingly busy, gaining ownership of their spinART Records
back catalog and readying the albums for re-release, compiling the
best-of #1 Hits Explosion, and releasing Electronic
Projects for Musicians
, an album of rarities. Schneider
also made his children’s music debut with 2009’s Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine (Little Monster Records), which made it to many Year-End Best Of lists; made
numerous mathematics convention appearances; released Buddha
(Garden Gate Records), an album of lo-fi
garage-psych recorded with his brother-in-law Craig Morris (who played and
engineered on Travellers) under the name Thee American Revolution; and topped it all
off with his featured keynote talk and Australian debut performance at the Big
Sound Music Conference, where he was featured alongside many musical
luminaries, including noted Brian Wilson collaborator (and one of Schneider’s
heroes), Van Dyke Parks… and all of this while hard at work on The Apples’
most ambitious studio production yet.




[Photo Credit: Adam Cantor]





Animal Collective Rabies, er, Fever!


As we await the
long-playing followup to Merriweather Post Pavilion, let’s dip back to the
point where the Baltimore/Brooklyn band started to get our attention.


By Ron Hart

With the success of their universally creamed-upon 2009 release
Merriweather Post Pavilion and its subsequent Grateful Dead-sampling EP Fall
Be Kind
, Animal Collective bid farewell to the ‘00s in a hailstorm of happy
hype.  So what better time than now to revisit one of the great lost gems
of the group’s catalog.


Originally released in 2003 on their own Catsup Plate vanity
imprint, Campfire Songs, newly reissued on
Paw Tracks, serves as the turning point in the Animal Collective story where Panda Bear, Avey Tare and
co. transcended the electronically enhanced squalls of noise that overpowered
much of their early material like 2001’s Danse
in favor of a stoned soul picnic of mellow modality.
Recorded on a porch in the band’s native Maryland utilizing nothing more than
some acoustic guitars and mini-disc players (remember those??) capturing the
atmospherics of their surroundings like chirping birds, insects and trees blowing
in the wind, the five tracks here meditative in nature and Holy Modal
Rounders-esque in their chant-like, devotional tone as the group is captured
aiming to become one with the environment that envelops them.


Campfire Songs is one of the great products of the
early ‘00s “freak-folk” movement and a telltale precursor to the
Collective’s true masterpiece, 2004’s Sung Tongs. It’s great to see it
back in print.


[Photo Credit: Benjamin Corrigan]