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Posts Tagged ‘Superchunk’

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sunspots

Bob Mould revisits Workbook

Photo By Marc NorbergMarc NorbergI first got into Bob Mould in the early ’90s via Sugar, but quickly found myself seeking out his older works; obviously this included Hüsker Dü, but also his two late ’80s solo records Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain which preceded his return to a band format. At the time they seemed like oddities, sounding neither like the hardcore-punk-pop evolution of the Dü years, nor the Alternative Nation-signifying roar of Sugar.

Rain was more characteristic of what people expected from Mould, built on layers of electric guitar and Mould’s angst-filled roar and probably not as well-regarded as it should be today because of some dated production values. Workbook, on the other hand, was filled with jangling 12-string acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin adornments, and major key melodies (though raging electric guitar and throat-shredding vocals also featured) – elements that would inform the next two and a half decades of his work, but as his first post-Hüsker Dü release, it must have been a head-scratcher. I took to it immediately – remember, for me 1991 was far more about Out Of Time than Nevermind – and Mould’s contribution to the seminal No Alternative AIDS benefit album in 1993 was also along those lines and one of my very favourites off that album.

All of which is to say as much as I love Bob when he’s perforating eardrums, as he’s been lately, I also totally dig his quieter stuff and I’m glad to see that Workbook is getting the respect that it deserves. It had already been announced that Mould would be marking the 25th anniversary of the release with a performance at Noise Pop next February where he’ll presumably – but not confirmedly – play it in its entirety. But Under The Radar now reports that the milestone is getting commemorated in somewhat larger fashion. A deluxe edition of the record – Workbook 25 – will be coming out on February 25 with the original album being accompanied by a second disc containing a b-side and a complete live show from the era. Granted, many of those bonus tracks appeared on the 1994 Poison Years compilation, but there’s still some unreleased goodies in there and isn’t it the thought that counts?

It’s a shame that the expanded slate of tour dates around its release don’t make it up here, but don’t forget that those Copper Blue recitals were only supposed to be a limited engagement and he toured that everywhere. So fingers crossed.

Video: Bob Mould – “See A Little Light”
Stream: Bob Mould / Workbook
Stream: Bob Mould – “Can’t Fight It”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have a new video from Wig Out At Jagbags, out January 7. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on February 22.

Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Cinnamon & Lesbians”

Broken Bells have a new video from their next album After The Disco, out January 14. They play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Pixies have put out a fourth video from their EP1, which should be the last because there are no more songs but then they’ve already released multiple videos for one of the songs so who knows, maybe they’ll milk it another decade before putting out EP2. They’ll be at Massey Hall on January 15 with their new bassist – no, newer – Paz Lenchantin, whom you may remember from A Perfect Circle and Zwan. Or not.

Video: Pixies – “Another Toe In The Ocean”

Rolling Stone talks to Robert Pollard about matters Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. The new GBV record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Phantogram have come clean with details on their second full-length album, entitled Voices and coming out February 18. Pitchfork has details and a stream of a new song while Metro and AMNY have interviews with the band.

Stream: Phantogram – “Fall In Love”

NPR welcomes Superchunk to their World Cafe for a session.

Speedy Ortiz have released a new video from this year’s debut, Major Arcana.

Video: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”

NPR has a KCRW session with Glasser.

Magnet talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about how he feels about having The Silver Gymnasium named their album of the year. What’s he gonna say? Maybe, “thanks – how about contributing to my Kickstarter to fund a short film video for ‘Down Down The Deep River’?” Maybe. Also, at Salon, Sheff talks about how he wish he knew as a kid that being nerdy would eventually be cool. Nerdy, yes, though being a touring musician, also helps.

Dazed and Confused has premiered the new video from Blouse’s second album, Imperium.

Video: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”

Billboard Q&As Janelle Monáe, whom they have declared as Rising Star of 2013.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart.

The Skinny talks to Janet Weiss about her current work with Quasi, the fact that Wild Flag is no more, and that a Sleater-Kinney reunion might be inevitable – as proven by the fact that they reunited to play “Rockin’ In The Free World” with Pearl Jam a few nights later in Portland.

Stereogum tracks the final days of the now-defunct Walkmen.

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”

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Chords I've Known

Tribute to Sparklehorse seeks tributes from fans

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSparklehorse were never an especially commercially successful band during their lifetime, their heartbroken transistor radio cosmic country finding only a cult audience, but a lot of that cult audience were other artists. And so almost four years after Mark Linkous took his own life, the Box Of Stars organization, which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues through music, has gathered together an impressive roster of those fans for Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous.

Amongst the contributors you’ll find Sparklehorse forebears, contemporaries, and followers including The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Cowboy Junkies, Phantogram, and The Joy Formidable. Financing for the release is currently being sourced through Indiegogo and with nine days to go, they’re 40% of the way to their $50,000 goal. It would be a shame on so many levels if this project didn’t happen so if you were a fan of Sparklehorse – or are a fan of any of the contributing artists and would like to be introduced to the sad and beautiful world of Sparklehorse – see about contributing.

Pitchfork has more details on the project and a stream of Mercury Rev’s track.

Stream: Mercury Rev – “Sea Of Teeth”
Trailer: Last Box Of Sparkers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous

The National have made their contribution to the new The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack – due out November 19 – available to stream and guitarist Aaron Dessner gives NME some insight into their plans for their next album.

Stream: The National – “Lean”

Unofficial ambassador of Arizona to the world – never mind that Walter White fellow – Howe Gelb has made a date at The Drake Underground on December 7 to play songs from his new solo record The Coincidentalist, his first visit since bringing the ‘Sno Angel Like You gospel project to Lee’s Palace in December 2006. Tickets for that will be $17.50.

Stream: Howe Gelb – “Vortexas”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to Stephen Malkmus about his new album with The Jicks, entitled Wig Out at Jagbags and due in January 7; details at Matablog, lyric video for a new song below. Sing along!

Lyric Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

The whole of Warpaint’s set at the Pitchfork Paris festival earlier this month is available to watch online; I would expect some tracks from their new album Warpaint, out January 21, are included in the set.

Video: Warpaint live at Pitchfork Paris 2014

Though just here last last month, San Francisco’s Weekend are coming back to town and bringing Philadelphia’s unbelievably loud Nothing – themselves just here in August – for a show at The Garrison on January 21; tickets are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Weekend – “Coma Summer”
Video: Nothing – “Downward Years To Come”

Le Tigre alumnus JD Samson & MEN are touring behind their new record Labor and will be at The Garrison on January 26. Noisey has an interview with Samson.

Video: JD Samson & MEN – “Making Art”

Rolling Stone has premiered a stream of the new song by Hospitality, taken from their sophomore album Trouble, coming out January 27.

Stream: Hospitality – “I Miss Your Bones”

Austin’s White Denim have announced Winter dates behind their new, Jeff Tweedy-produced album Corsicana Lemonade; dates and a stream of the album can be had at Exclaim, and they include a March 3 date at The Horseshoe, tickets $15.50. The Irish Examiner has an interview with the band and NPR a video session.

Stream: White Denim / Corsicana Lemonade
Video: White Denim – “Pretty Green”

Billboard talks to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers about their new album, recorded in a fortnight and set for release in March of the new year.

We Are Scientists have slated a Spring tour behind their new EP Business Casual – which includes a cover of Berlin’s love theme from Top Gun which itself has a video – and they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on April 22.

Video: We Are Scientists – “Take My Breath Away”

Innocent Words has an interview with Tanya Donelly.

Superchunk have made the latest edition of their Clambake live album series – a 1996 vintage show in Melbourne – available to stream for free.

Stream: Superchunk / Clambakes Volume 7: Shut the F*ck Up!…No, We Love You – Live at the Corner Hotel 1996

NYC Taper is sharing a record of Built To Spill’s visit to Irving Plaza in New York last week.

PopMatters, The Georgia Straight, and San Francisco Examiner talk to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

The Alternate Side has a session with The Dismemberment Plan.

eMusic, Paste, and Filter have interviews with Midlake, who also offer instructions on how to make an old-fashioned.

Noisey talks to Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.

Spin and The Fly talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

The 405 interviews The Men.

Rolling Stone has a eulogy for Lou Reed by his wife Laurie Anderson, as well as video of his final interview.

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”

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

We Looked Like Giants

Death Cab For Cutie celebrate Transatlanticism‘s 10th with naked baby photos

Photo By Peter EllenbyPeter Ellenby2013 marks the tenth anniversary of all kinds of things – the US invasion of Iraq, Lost In Translation, the passing of both Johnny and June Carter Cash – but also the debut of a television show called The O.C. which hand to god I have never watched but know of because it catapulted one of my then-favourite bands in Death Cab For Cutie from bubbling-under buzz band into bona fide (indie-scale) stars. Well their endorsement, plus the momentum of Ben Gibbard’s other project The Postal Service, and also the release of the band’s most beloved album in Transatlanticism. I personally preferred its predecessor The Photo Album, but a generation of indie kids came of age to this record and so its decade anniversary is almost certainly making a lot of people feel really old right now; my world and welcome to it.

In any case, it’s a milestone that merits commemoration and the band’s former and spiritual home of Barsuk Records is doing so with the re-release of the album on double vinyl, after several years out of print, and as a bonus have released the original demos for the record alongside it. The set of song sketches comes as a download with the LP or can be purchased on its own. Both versions of the record are available to stream right now at NPR before being officially released next week on October 29.

Entertainment Weekly and Consequence of Sound have pieces on why the album endures, and if you’re more about living in the now than the past, Billboard reports that they’re back in the studio working on their next record.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Title and Registration”
Stream: Death Cab For Cutie / Transatlanticism 10th Anniversary Edition

Another tenth anniversary of a much sadder note came to pass this week; the passing of Elliott Smith a decade ago this week. Tributes abound online, but Pitchfork has assembled an impressive oral history of the songwriter’s career.

Spin has an advance stream of Widowspeak’s new EP The Swamps, which sees official release on October 29. They’re in town at The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Stream: Widowspeak / The Swamps

Paste talks to The Head & The Heart, in town for a show at the Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Matablog has posted a new track from the forthcoming and inevitable deluxe edition of Kurt Vile’s last album Wakin’ On A Pretty Haze: Deluxe Edition (Post Haze), out November 19.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Feel My Pain”

Tone Deaf chats with James McNew of Yo La Tengo. The deluxe edition of their latest album Fade comes out November 19.

Sub Pop is really emphasizing the “Pop” with the release of a Low/Shearwater split 7″ for Black Friday Record Store Day on November 29; the a-side will feature Low’s already-released Rihanna cover, while the b-side unveils Shearwater’s take on Frank Ocean. Proceeds go to charity, vinyl is limited to 3500 copies, and both tracks will be made available digitally.

Stream: Low – “Stay”

Pixies have released another video from their recent EP-1, which they’re using to justify their show at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “Andro Queen”

Electronic duo Darkside have released a new video from Psychic; they’re at Lee’s Palace on January 15.

Video: Darkside – “Metatron”

Brooklyn’s Hospitality have announced a January 27 release date for their second album Trouble; check out a trailer for it and check out their 2012 self-titled debut if you don’t know why they’re a good band.

Trailer: Hospitality / Trouble

The reunited Dismemberment Plan continue to be a topic of discussion with MTV Hive, Stereogum, Paste, and The 405, and NYC Taper has posted a recording of their recent Terminal 5 show in New York.

Dean Wareham has released a video from his solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts.

Video: Dean Wareham – “Love Is Colder Than Death”

Jim James has put out another video from his solo record Regions Of Light and Sound Of God.

Video: Jim James – “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)”

DIY talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River talks to The Guardian.

The Big Takeover and examiner.com interview Charlie Hilton of Blouse.

To celebrate their 20,000th Twitter follower, Superchunk have posted an acoustic version of “Breaking Down”, which appears fully electrified on their latest I Hate Music.

Stream: Superchunk – “Breaking Down” (acoustic)

Aquarium Drunkard interviews the Kadane/Johnson/Bazan-powered beast that is Overseas.