Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Decemberists’

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Come As You Are

Giving thanks for “Whatever happened to Alternative Nation?”

Photo By Charles PetersenCharles PetersenFell into a long-form musical journalism rabbit hole recently via The AV Club’s “Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?” 10-part series which actually ran almost three years ago but somehow got back on my radar, probably bubbling up to the surface in the wake of their recent redesign. If you haven’t read it, it covers the years from 1990 to 1999 through the lens of author Steven Hyden’s teen years, beginning with the rise of grunge at the start of the decade through the supremacy of nu-metal and chaos of Woodstock ’99 at the end of the century.

It was of particular interest to me because, though a few years older than Hyden and situated in the suburbs of Toronto rather than Wisconsin, it roughly documents my own journey of musical discovery in high school. Though Nirvana didn’t ultimately end up meaning much to me, I still very clearly remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the very first time on a friend’s Walkman in the cafeteria in the Fall of 1991 and being impressed that I could hear the string squeaks on the opening riff. And while I would like to pretend that I was into all the ’90s bands then that I love now – your Britpop, shoegaze, college rock, what have you – most of that was discovered retroactively, and that sort of personal revisionist history is addressed in part six; fact is, I was listening to the same now-acknowledged-as-awful radio rock as everyone else – yes I owned Throwing Copper but at least knew even then that Bush was awful – and only discovered or came to appreciate the good stuff after the fact. But better late than never, right?

In any case – it’s a well-written series that covers a lot of what anyone in their 30s lived through with the benefit of hindsight and historical insight, and worth reading if you’ve got some time on your hands and a copies of Siamese Dream and Definitely Maybe handy. Plus it lets me segue into some newsy bits from acts of that era who’re still doing stuff.

Video: Nirvana – “In Bloom”

For anyone who missed it, Tanya Donelly released the fourth volume of her Swan Song Series late last week and the bonus materials are particularly sweet and topical – ten demos of Belly’s debut, Star. And lest you think that’s the end of it, a fifth EP is in the works and I think I read somewhere that it’ll be out around February.

Stream: Tanya Donelly – “Salt”

Stephen Malkmus lists off the music he grew up listening to for The Guardian; his new album with The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags – comes out January 7.

Black Francis of Pixies discusses the band’s second act with The Guardian; they kick of their new tour at Massey Hall on January 15.

Seeing as how Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter opened for Jeff Mangum when he was here solo in August 2011, it makes sense that they’d bring the whole band with them when he does the same; Elf Power will open up both sold-out Neutral Milk Hotel shows at The Kool Haus on January 19 and 20. They released their latest album Sunlight On The Moon earlier this year.

Video: Elf Power – “Darkest Wave”

Guided By Voices has settled on a February 18 release date for their new record Motivational Jumpsuit – their fifth since the reunion and presumably the last with the so-called “classic lineup” with now-booted drummer Kevin Fennell. Rolling Stone is streaming the first preview track from the record.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Littlest League Possible”

Superchunk have released another video from this year’s I Hate Music.

Video: Superchunk – “Void”

The 405 chit-chats with Sebadoh.

Dialing the Wayback Machine a little further, influential ’80s Los Angeles outfit and Paisley Underground pioneers The Dream Syndicate have made a date at The Garrison for February 8, tickets $30 in advance. The Chicago Tribune talks to leader Steve Wynn about the reunion.

Video: The Dream Syndicate – “That’s What You Always Say” (live)

And back to the 21st century, Entertainment Weekly has premiered the new video from Broken Bells’ forthcoming After The Disco, out January 14, and if you’d prefer a studio session version rather than a movie star-featuring version, head over to The Guardian. Broken Bells are at The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Saddle Creek songstress Maria Taylor has made a date at the Drake Underground for February 9 in support of her latest album Something About Knowing. Tickets for that are $11.50 and examiner.com has an interview with Taylor.

Video: Maria Taylor – “Up All Night”

Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have announced a Winter tour in support of their second album Held in Splendor, which comes out January 28th and from which there’s a video and stream to preview. They’re at The Drake Underground on March 3, tickets $10. Philthy has an interview.

Stream: Quilt – “Tired & Buttered”
Video: Quilt – “Arctic Shark”

Under The Radar gets a track-by-track walkthrough of Shearwater’s new covers album Fellow Travelers. The play The Horseshoe on March 27.

The Hold Steady are crowdfunding a new covers EP via PledgeMusic while they continue to work on a new album, due out in the new year.

Paste checks in with Colin Meloy about matters solo and Decemberist.

Magnet interviews Midlake, this week’s guest editors on their website.

The War On Drugs.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with A Place To Bury Strangers.

Bassist/organist Peter Bauer of The Walkmen tells The Washington Post that their upcoming shows in Washington DC and Philadelphia could be/will be the band’s last. Ever. For serious.

Having covered “Kill The Turkey” on last year’s Thanksgiving episode, it’s not really a surprise that The National would again spend American turkey day with Bob’s Burgers, and lo – Entertainment Weekly has an animated video of the band doing this year’s musical number, a salute to gravy boats. Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Video: The National – “Sailors In Your Mouth”

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Lost Boys And Girls Club

Rumours of a third Dum Dum Girls album are Too True

Photo By James OrlandoJames OrlandoOf all the throwback, garage-rock bands that surfaced over the last few years, it’s been Los Angeles’ Dum Dum Girls who’ve been most likely to both break away from the pack and out of the stylistic pigeonhole. Besides having by far the best visual aesthetic, formidable melodic sensibilities, and Dee Dee Penny’s uncanny Chrissie Hynde-alike vocals, they had songs that were more sophisticated than their peers’ by half. Penny made no efforts to hide her fondness for classic British indie rock or prevent their influence from imbuing her own compositions, and by doing so her slow, melancholic numbers are as stirring as the rockers.

As a result, the breadth of the Dum Dum Girls sound has grown immensely over the course of two full-lengths and a handful of EPs without ever abandoning their girl group in a garage roots and so the announcement of their third album, alluded to in a Stereogum interview last week, is exciting news to those curious what they’ll do next. The new full-length will be called Too True and be released on January 28 of the new year. Pitchfork has all the specifics that there are to be had right now, and there’s a first video available to watch.

Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Lost Boys And Girls Club”

Stereogum and NPR talk to Eric Pulido about stepping up to become Midlake’s new frontman. Their new album Antiphon is out this week and they’ve got a new video for the title track.

Video: Midlake – “Antiphon”

Wall Street Journal is streaming The Coincidentalist, the latest album from king of the desert Howe Gelb, which is out as of this week.

Stream: Howe Gelb / The Coincidentalist

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Sebadoh’s stop in New York last week; the band have also offered an interview to The Village Voice and made a new b-side available to stream via Stereogum. They’re going to be at The Horseshoe on November 8.

Stream: Sebadoh – “No Wound”

Albert Hammond Jr talks to PopMatters ahead of his solo show at The Phoenix on November 10. He’s also released a new video from the AHJ EP via Complex.

Video: Albert Hammond Jr – “Carnal Cruise”

Grizzly Bear are streaming another of the bonus tracks that will appear on the Shields: Expanded edition coming out November 12.

Stream: Grizzly Bear – “Listen and Wait”

Stereogum and Rolling Stone talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about their new Peace Sword EP, out digitally now and physically on November 29. You can hear one of the new songs via Rolling Stone and check out an in-studio Tame Impala cover for good measure.

Stream: The Flaming Lips – “”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Elephant” (Tame Impala cover)

Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are coming back to town for a headlining show in support of their new record The Speed Of Things on March 14 at The Hoxton; English electronic artist Chad Valley will open up.

MP3: Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – “Vocal Chords”
MP3: Chad Valley – “Fast Challenges”

Wye Oak talks to Spin about the directions their third album, coming in 2014, is taking. Apparently that includes less guitars, which makes perfect sense since Jenn Wasner is such a terrible guitarist </sarcasm>.

Neko Case and company got in the seasonal spirit when recording a Hallowe’en Tiny Desk Concert for NPR; she’s also interviewed by The Boston Globe.

Rhett Miller talks to Rolling Stone about keeping it loud and loose on the next Old 97’s record and teaming up with some Decemberists for his next solo record. He also chats with Jambands.

And as for The Decemberists, Colin Meloy tells Rolling Stone he’s been writing new material for the band while attending to his solo pursuits.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River chats with Drowned In Sound.

The Rumpus interviews Dean Wareham.

Merge Records has announced details of their 25th anniversary subscription series, which will run throughout 2014 as the Or Thousands Of Prizes box set. And to mark the occasion (as well as the occasion of Hallowe’en last week), Superchunk have released a new Misfits cover.

Stream: Superchunk – “Children In Heat”

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Now We Hurry On

Bowerbird/Andrew Bird-watching season is here

Photo By D.L. AndersonD.L. AndersonIt’s unlikely bird videos will ever achieve the same degree of online adoration as, say, cat videos, but when said clips come courtesy of artists who push the boundaries of what can be called folk music the way that North Carolina’s Bowerbirds and Chicago’s Andrew Bird do, a little more attention should be paid. Both artists released their new albums this week – The Clearing and Break It Yourself, respectively – and both have marked the occasion with the release of a new video.

Both are also streaming the new records in whole – not new news, but always good to be reminded of – and are doing quite a bit of press to promote their records. Bowerbirds are featured in The Quietus, The 405, Consequence Of Sound, Interview, Paste, and NPR while Mr. Bird has chats with each of Interview, PopMatters, The Stool Pigeon, The Guardian, Spinner, and The AV Club.

Where they differ is in their migratory patterns – Bowerbirds have long had a March 27 date at The Garrison in Toronto booked as part of their Spring tour, whereas Andrew Bird’s tour dates come as close as Detroit, but no closer – at least for now. I don’t think he’s been here since Spring 2009 so it’s reasonable to say he owes us a visit.

MP3: Bowerbirds – “Tuck The Darkness In”
MP3: Bowerbirds – “In The Yard”
Stream: Andrew Bird – “Eyeoneye”
Stream: Andrew Bird – “The Crown Salesman”
Video: Bowerbirds – “Tuck The Darkness In”
Video: Andrew Bird – “Eyeoneye”
Stream: Bowerbirds / The Clearing
Stream: Andrew Bird / Break It Yourself

Shearwater is named for a kind of bird, so they’re up next. Rolling Stone talks to frontman Jonathan Meiburg about their new record Animal Joy.

Mother Jones chats with Sharon Van Etten, who just premiered a new video from Tramp at The Los Angeles Times.

Video: Sharon Van Etten – “Leonard”

Perhaps hoping to get people talking about something besides their collaboration with a corporation as ethically vile as Urban Outfitters, Best Coast have announced the May 15 release of their second album The Only Place and accompanying tour which hits The Phoenix on July 21, tickets $18.50. Details on the record and full tour dates over at Tiny Mix Tapes.

MP3: Best Coast – “Boyfriend”

The Decemberists are spreading the love around, streaming both discs of their forthcoming live set We All Raise Our Voices at two different sites – Rolling Stone and Paste.

Stream: The Decemberists / We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11) disc one
Stream: The Decemberists / We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11) disc two

They haven’t fessed up to the accuracy of reports that their new album would be called Bloom and released on May 15, but the fact that a new Beach House song showed up to stream on their website the other night certainly makes it seem to be the case. The track is called “Myth” and it sounds like Beach House. Update: Okay, the above new album info is officially official.

Stream: Beach House – “Myth”

NOW welcomes EMA back to town; she’s at The Garrison on March 13. The Chicago Sun-Times, Montreal Mirror, and Playback:STL also have interviews.

Death & Taxes, Clash, and DIY have interviews with Sleigh Bells, making up a cancelled date at The Phoenix on March 26 and supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers at The Air Canada Centre on April 27 and 28.

For a guy with a reputation for being a tough interview, Stephin Merritt sure is entertaining a lot of inquiries. The Magnetic Fields mastermind chats Love At The Bottom Of The Sea with PopMatters, Rolling Stone, Clash, Beatroute, Salon, and Vulture. They will play The Sound Academy on March 30.

They Shoot Music has a video session and Magnet and Beatroute interviews with Nada Surf. They play The Opera House on April 4.

co.create looks at the marketing campaign being organized to help make Minneapolis’ Howler your new favourite band. They may or may not include this video session and interview at The Alternate Side or this interview about their already in-process second album at Paste, and if they work, you may find yourself seeing them at The Drake Underground on April 5.

Also courtesy of The Alternate Side is a session and interview with Perfume Genius, and also worth reading is an interview with Mike Hadreas at Slutever. Perfume Genius is at The Drake on April 8.

If you ever need a reminder of how gorgeous Low can be, this performance recorded in a Duluth church for a new television programme called Audio-Files should do the trick. They’re here on April 19 at Massey Hall opening for Death Cab For Cutie.

Video: Low – “Point Of Disgust” (live for Audio-Files)

Interview gets to know Hospitality, in town at The Garrison on May 5.

The Fly talks to James Mercer of The Shins, whose Port Of Morrow arrives March 20. They are at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Clash talks to Jay Farrar about the Woody Guthrie tribute project New Multitudes, of which he’s a part.

Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline discuss the guitar (read: gear) side of Wilco’s The Whole Love with Guitar World.

Also talking the gear: St. Vincent’s Annie Clark with Guitar Player.

Pitch, The Daily Nebraskan, and SXSW interview Lauren Larsen of Ume.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Telekinesis.

NYC Taper has shared a recording of one of Craig Finn’s recent performances in New York while Allentown Morning Call shares an interview.

The Quietus talks reunion with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs.

Dirty Laundry hangs out in a laundromat with Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers Of Loaf.

Loud & Quiet talks to Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices.

PopDose talks to Bill Janovitz about the 20th anniversary of Buffalo Tom’s excellent Let Me Come Over.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

When No One's Watching

Craig Finn lets Full Eyes stream

Photo By Jeremy BaldersonJeremy BaldersonAt first, it’s hard to imagine what need there is for a Craig Finn solo album. After all, he gets to run roughshod over The Hold Steady records with as many words as he can manage to pair with their classic rock attack – has he really got a backlog of ideas that don’t fit that broad and welcoming template? As Clear Heart, Full Eyes, out next Tuesday but now available to stream in whole at NPR demonstrates, yeah he does.

It’s not as though any of these songs couldn’t have easily been made into Hold Steady numbers; Finn’s character-driven songwriting style is still immediately recognizable. But the mood is more thoughtful and the musical accompaniments chosen are simpler and slower – though not acoustic and strummy, it should be made clear – and allow Finn to occupy enough of a different timbre and cadence to clearly distinguish him from the manic character who fronts The Hold Steady. It’s the sort of record that fans will enjoy for its own merits but also make them appreciate the next Hold Steady record even more.

Clash gets into the literary inspiration that goes into his work while Pitchfork and Hitfix talk to him about going solo and what’s next for The Hold Steady.

MP3: Craig Finn – “Honolulu Blues”
Stream: Craig Finn / Clear Heart Full Eyes

School Of Seven Bells have revealed details of a Spring tour in support of Ghostory, out February 28. The Toronto date is May 2 at The Hoxton.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “The Night”

Hospitality were just here last week but they’ve already scheduled a return date for February 29 when they’ll be supporting Tennis at The Horseshoe. Their self-titled debut is out January 31.

MP3: Hospitality – “Friends Of Friends”

Beirut have announced a July 19 date at The Sound Academy, part of a Canadian tour in support of last year’s The Rip Tide. Tickets are $35 general admission, $50 VIP.

Video: Beirut – “Santa Fe”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Real Estate, who play a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace this Friday. The Boston Globe and Montreal Mirror have interviews.

Nada Surf has made their new record The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy available to stream ahead of its release next week over at NPR. They play the Opera House on April 4.

MP3: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”
Stream: Nada Surf / The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

Stuff like iTunes sessions don’t typically get my attention, but one coming out on January 24 does – because a) it’s by Wilco and b) it’s all of eight songs long, picked from all throughout their existence and featuring a cover of “Cruel To Be Kind” with Nick Lowe. So yeah, maybe I’ll buy that. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, and there’s interviews with Jeff Tweedy at The Denver Post and Glenn Kotche at The Los Angeles Times.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Chairlift about their new record Something, out January 24 and followed by a show at The Horseshoe on March 28.

Stereogum checks in with Sharon Van Etten about the state of her new album Tramp, out February 7. She plays Lee’s Palace on February 21.

Opening up that show are Shearwater, who’ve offered up another track from their new one Animal Joy. It’s out February 14.

MP3: Shearwater – “You As You Were”

The first official preview of Sleigh Bells’ forthcoming Reign Of Terror is now available to hear. It’s out February 21 and they play The Phoenix February 18.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

Another tune from the new Lambchop record Mr. M is available to download ahead of its February 21 release date.

MP3: Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”

The Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, and Metro talk to Joe Pernice about the Scud Mountain Boys reunion tour, which kicked off this week in Boston and hits Lee’s Palace on February 25.

The Decemberists will be entering their hiatus in grand fashion, with the released of their first live album, the double-disc We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11). It will be out on March 13; Rolling Stone has specifics.

Rolling Stone has an MP3 from Threads, the new record for Minneapolis’ Now, Now. It’s out March 16 and they may or may not be opening for The Naked & Famous at The Sound Academy on April 5 – I’ve seen both that they are and aren’t.

MP3: Now, Now – “School Friends”

Rolling Stone has got an MP3 from the new Justin Townes Earle album Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now available to download. The record is out March 27.

MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now”

DIY profiles Howler, who are at The Drake Underground on April 5. They’ve also released a live session video recorded at the Rough Trade store in London.

Video: Howler – “Back Of Your Neck” (live at Rough Trade)

Wayne Coyne talks to Rolling Stone about a new The Flaming Lips record that will be made up of collaborations with other artists such as Bon Iver (who, let’s be honest, would probably agree to collaborate with anyone who asked) and which may be out as soon as April.

Lower Dens have announced a new record – look for Nootropics on May 1 – and also released the first MP3 from it, which is kind of great.

MP3: Lower Dens – “Brains”

DIY has a feature piece on Guided By Voices, who aim to release their second reunion album Class Clown Spots A UFO in or around May.

Ryan Adams has released a new video from Ashes & Fire.

Video: Ryan Adams – “Chains Of Love”

There’s also a new video from Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes & Keys.

Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “Underneath The Sycamore”

aux.tv talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

Dean Wareham gives an interview to Music Times Two and offers some thoughts on a Luna reunion (not likely, but not impossible).

Filter has a two-part feature piece on Tom Waits.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

"Cuyahoga"

The Decemberists cover R.E.M.

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI opened the year with a Decemberists covering R.E.M. post, and oh what an 11 months it’s been for both bands since then. Back then, Colin Meloy and company were readying the release of their sixth album The King Is Dead, while R.E.M. were known to have finished their fifteenth album Collapse Into Now and would eventually put it out at the start of March.

And in February, while touring and promoting The King Is Dead, The Decemberists stopped in for a session with KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. In addition to playing some of the new record, they offered a cover of R.E.M.’s “Cuyahoga” – after all, Peter Buck guested on a few tracks on their new record and the band were an obvious influence. And coincidentally, Life’s Rich Pageant, the album from which said song was taken, was also set to re-released that Summer in double-disc, remastered and expanded format.

And now, The Decemberists are about to go on an extended hiatus – one on the span of years – to decompress and pursue other creative interests and R.E.M. have disbanded entirely, capping a 30-year career. But they don’t depart without leaving gifts in the form of new releases; The Decemberists put out an EP of King session outtakes in Long Live The King a couple weeks ago and R.E.M. will put out a career-spanning compilation – which includes their final recordings as a band – in Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 this week.

R.E.M. is dead; long live R.E.M. The Decemberists will be back. No worries.

MP3: The Decemberists – “Cuyahoga”
Video: R.E.M. – “Cuyahoga” (live on MTV Unplugged)