Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
You're A Sign
Review of Ken Stringfellow’s Danzig In The Moonlight and giveaway
Cecil MathieuThere are few musicians out there with a more impressive alt.rock resume than Ken Stringfellow. Starting out as co-frontman of the criminally under-appreciated Bellingham power-pop outfit The Posies, he was part of the final incarnation of the legendary Big Star, he was an unofficial member of R.E.M. both on stage and in the studio for a number of years in the post-Berry era, is part of the massive rotating cast of The Minus 5, he fronts a Norwegian garage rock band called The Disciplines, and oh yeah when he’s not doing all of that, he puts out gorgeous solo records.
Danzig In The Moonlight, out last Fall, is the latest of which and the first since 2004’s Soft Commands. And while that record was commendable for its stylistic ranginess, it lacked the coherence of the gorgeous, country-tinged Touched, which when all is said and done with Stringfellow’s impressive career may well stand as his masterpiece. Danzig does not even attempt to recapture that degree of aesthetic focus, but its forays into jangle-rock, prog, country, and R&B – to name but a few of the flavours that surface – don’t so much strive for authenticity than a reasonably convincing, “in the style of”. This allows Stringfellow’s sweet tenor and melodic gifts to tie it all together, which combined with the rich arrangements let Danzig sometimes feel more like the score to some ambitious musical production than a conventional album. In less deft hands, juggling this many ideas may have resulted in a grandly ambitious failure, but Stringfellow not only knows what he’s doing, he makes it look easy.
MyNorthwest.com and The Santa Barbara Independent have interviews with Stringfellow, who makes a rare Toronto appearance at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets are $15 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “I want to see Ken Stringfellow” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, February 14.
Because the ’90s are back and you know you love it, The Breeders have expanded their reunion tour in support of the 20th anniversary of Last Splash and will be playing the whole of the album at the Danforth Music Hall on May 11, tickets $22.50 for balconies and $25 for floors.
Ra Ra Riot have released a video for the title track of Beta Love and Jambands has an interview with violinist Rebecca Zeller. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 6 and are back again for the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Fort York on June 8.
Video: Ra Ra Riot – “Beta Love”
The Strokes have confirmed a March 26 release date for their fifth album, Comedown Machine. Advance word is that despite everyone complaining it sounds nothing like The Strokes, it will indeed sound like The Strokes.
Pitchfork talks to Steve Drozdt about The Flaming Lips’ forthcoming full-length The Terror – out April 2 – while Exclaim uncovers evidence that the real terror may be the fact that the band are endeavouring to record their own version of The Stone Roses’ first album, which it goes without saying would be a TERRIBLE IDEA.
Steve Earle has announced a new album entitled The Low Highway for release on April 16, and it’ll be the first one since 1990’s The Hard Way to be credited to him and The Dukes, though this one also credits The Duchesses, albeit in parentheses. All of which is to say this ain’t no solo record.
Video: Beach House: Forever Still