Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Elephant 6 collective to tour North America yelling, “surprise!”
Ground ControlSo maybe some of you heard that Jeff Mangum, that guy who used to be in that one band, played a surprise show of Neutral Milk Hotel tunes to a Brooklyn crowd of about 75 this past weekend (MP3s or it didn’t happen). And while that’s a pretty cool thing in and of itself, not to mention giving those in attendance bragging rights in certain circles for the rest of their lives, that it happened just before word that the Elephant 6 collective of which the Neutral Milk was a founding member was planning a big Spring touring to-do was… interesting. Not implying anything untoward, simply observing that if it was a coincidence, it was a well-timed one.
Said to-do is the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour, which was first rolled out at about this time of the year in 2008 by former Neutral Milk Hotelier, current Music Tapes leader and all-around Christmas fan Julian Koster. It consisted of a massive and random group of Elephant 6 alumni past and present, including members of Apples In Stereo, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Olivia Tremor Control amongst others – which is to say about 1/10 the population of Athens, Georgia – who trekked about performing holiday songs and each others’ compositions and generally celebrating the spirit of pop, psychedelia and community that informed the movement back in their heyday of the mid-’90s. And apparently they had such a good time of it, they’re doing it again.
The details on the who and the what are unclear as of yet – Koster will certainly be driving it again, covering much of the same terrain as his ongoing Lullabye Tour – but the itinerary is up, showing dates across North America running from late February through the end of March. You know, exactly when there aren’t any real holidays. Unlike the original Holiday Tour, this one includes a Toronto stop on March 18 at the Horseshoe, which is great for those of us who will be hundreds of miles away at SxSW at the time (that’s not a plea for sympathy, just statement of fact), particularly since none of Elf Power, Circulatory System or the reunited Olivia Tremor Control have come up this way in forever. But it is what it is and what it should be is an excitingly unpredictable treat for fans and you can bet no one is forgetting that Mangum made appearances at some of those shows in 2008… Will he be along this time out? Maybe he just needs to get re-accustomed to playing live OH WAIT.
MP3: Music Tapes – “Majesty”
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”
MP3: The Apples In Stereo – “Benefits Of Lying With Your Friend”
MP3: Elf Power – “Stranger In The Window”
MP3: Circulatory System – “Yesterday’s World”
MP3: Circulatory System – “Now”
It’s understandable if you thought that The Wooden Sky’s show at Lee’s back at the start of November was their last local hurrah for the year, but they’ve got one more engagement on the calendar – an intimate December 19 show at the Music Gallery with Philadelphia’s Strand Of Oaks. It’s an all-ages gig, tickets $25 and all proceeds going to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Akron/Family will follow up the February 8 release of S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT with a date at The Horseshoe on February 20. And if you haven’t read the background on the record, Consequence Of Sound has details… which sound mental.
The Low Anthem, who are readying their Smart Flesh for a February 22 release, have made a date at The Great Hall for March 2 – tickets $17.50 in advance. You can grab the first MP3 from said record in exchange for your email at their website.
Exclaim has details on the long-awaited second Rural Alberta Advantage record. Departing will be out on March 1 and you can expect to hear at least some of it at their sold-out Lee’s Palace show next Thursday, December 16.