NEWS

FRANZ FERDINAND SHARE VIDEO FOR 'GLIMPSE OF LOVE (VERSION)'

Franz Ferdinand | 23/04/18

Image: franz glimpse of love version video still

Franz Ferdinand have shared the amazing video to Glimpse Of Love (Version), a re-working of the track from Always Ascending, their much-acclaimed fifth album which was released on Domino in February of this year.

The brilliantly entertaining video was shot just outside Paris and directed by acclaimed film maker / artist Alice Kunisue (https://alicekunisue.com)

Using the album original as a foundation the band returned to the studio, adding the kick and punch of their live arrangement, before handing the trackto master mixer Serban Ghenea (Rihanna, Lorde) building upon it to give an even more urgent & thrilling sound.

The album was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys). Nothing short of a rebirth, the album’s 10 songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation.

Watch the video for 'Glimpse Of Love (Version)' here

You can stream ‘Glimpse Of Love (Version) here and download the track here.  Additionally, having recently completed a sold-out U.K. tour, including a performance at London’s Brixton Academy, Franz Ferdinand have announced details of a headline show at London’s Roundhouse on Wednesday 26th September 2018.


Tickets for the show are on and general sale now via www.seetickets.com


Having just completed their European tour, the full worldwide dates are as follows:

24.04 – Mexico City – Pepsi City

27.04 – Minneapolis – First Avenue

28.04 – Kansas City – The Truman

30.04 – Milwaukee – The Rave

 

02.05 – St Louis – The Pageant

07.05 – Dallas – House of Blues

08.05 – Houston – White Ok Music Hall

11.05 – Phoenix – The Van Buren

12.05 – Santa Ana – The Observatory

13.05 – San Diego – North Park @ The Observatory

15.05 – Los Angeles – The Wiltern

17.05 – Oakland – The Fox Theatre

 

09.06 – Moscow – Stadium Live

11.06 – St. Petersburg – Stereoleto 2018

13.06 – Kiev – Art Platforma

22.06 – Schessel – Hurricane Festival

22.06 – Neuhausen – Southside Festival

26.06 – Dublin – RDS Arena

28.06 – Santiago Compestela – O Son Do Camino

29.06 – Vilanova – Vida Festival

 

01.07 – Beuingen – Down The Rabbit Hole

04.07 – Tallinn – Ollesummer Festival

06.07 – Werchter – Rock Werchter

08.07 – Glasgow – TRNSMT Festival

10.07 – Rome – Roma Summer Festival

11.07 – Gardone Riviera – Tener A Mente Festival

13.07 – Madrid – Mad Cool

14.07 – Alges – NOS Alive

15.07 – Aix-Les-Bains – Musilac

 

19.08 – Landerneau – Fete du Bruit

28.08 – Bergen – USF – Rokeriet

29.08 – Oslo – Sentrum Scene

 

01.09 – Copenhagen – Store Vega

07.09 – Milan – Milan Rocks

09.09 – Portmeirion – Festival No.6

22.09 – Manchester – British Sound Project

26.09 – London- The Roundhouse

 

Tickets for all shows in Ireland, UK and Europe are available to purchase now. More information can be found on the band’s website: http://franzferdinand.com

The band also recently performed Feel The Love Go from the album with special guest James Chance on sax on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Watch the performance here.

Franz Ferdinand are Alex Kapranos, Bob Hardy, Paul Thomson, Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot.

 

1996, STREAMING NOW

23/04/18

Image: 1996 Palace Music

Palace Music – Every Mother’s Son – Streaming Now

Every Mother’s Son” is a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.  Brett Ralph had made a Skynard mix tape for Oldham, and for some reason this particular song made an impression.  Oldham changed a lyric in the song from “winning horse” to “winning pig”.  Michael Udris recorded the performance in a dark living room in Providence, Rhode IslandColin Gagon played the piano and Bob Arellano the guitar.  The group also recorded “No More Rides”, a song that Oldham had written for a Sally Timms recording session.  These two recordings were released as a 7” single.  The cover art was an engraving by Diane Radford; a limited edition of the sleeves were letter-pressed by hand by Radford. 

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Arise Therefore – Streaming Now

ARISE THEREFORE was the beginning of a new thing.  All of the Palace adventures were about discovery, maybe? And here with ARISE exploration begins.  Will Oldham once again asked Steve Albini to record the songs, this time in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.  It was to be an ensemble of Oldham’s mentor/hero/friends, with Ned Oldham playing bass, and David Grubbs playing piano.  Once again, Britt Walford was invited in but he demurred.  In Walford’s stead, Oldham invited a small dusty electronic box called a Maya-tone to play drums (it belonged to brother Paul Oldham).  And once again, Albini spent significant time pulling apart the tape machine at the studio and bringing it up to snuff.  There was rehearsal/prep built into the process; Ned and Will ran through all of the songs in Birmingham while Grubbs had a cassette of all of the songs with Maya’s beats in place.  A good time was had by all out there in the woods, in the winter.  Gene Booth made the drawing for the cover of the record.  The songs were all Oldham originals except for “You Have Cum in Your Hair and Your Dick is Hanging Out”, which was written by Bryan Rich with OldhamRich had no title for the song, and during the recording sessions Albini told a joke with “You have cum...” as its punchline.

ARISE THEREFORE was released without an over-arching “artist credit”.  It’s necessary to have a recording attributed to an individual or group so that record stores (and now streaming services) have a way to organize their inventory.  All of the records that Will Oldham has overseen prior to and following ARISE have an ‘artist’ attribution attached for the sake of easing the record’s way through the systems and into the ears of listeners.  Though ARISE remains physically unattributed (there is no single artist given credit for the record on the artwork), it has been successively superficially (with a cover sticker) credited to “Palace Music”, then “Will Oldham”, and more recently “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy”.

At times, Drag City/Oldham/Palace would augment a new release with extra goodies for initial distribution to direct accounts.  A direct account is when a record store buys from the label rather than a distributor.  The catalog price for a store is slightly higher than for a distributor and the store has, ideally, a more intimate relationship with the eventual record-buying audience. Oldham had recorded songs and incidental music for an independent film called THE BROKEN GIANT (directed by Estep Nagy), and a CD of this music was included with the first shipments of ARISE to direct accounts.  Later this release was repackaged and retitled BLACK RICH MUSIC (the original title for the film had been THIS BLACK RICH COUNTRY; and one of the songs was written by Bryan Rich under the nom de guerre Roy Black).

As well, when licensing records to Japan in the 1990’s, it was not uncommon to add bonus tracks or otherwise to augment a release in order to make a record more attractive to Japanese buyers, since it was usually more expensive for Japanese music fans to buy Japanese release than it was for them to purchase imported CDs.  With this in mind, a bonus track was added to the ARISE CD, “Black Rich Tune”.

Fun Fact #1: the Arise design team of Osborn/Oldham/Booth was honored when the title sequence in the Shane Black comedy-thriller KISS KISS BANG BANG paid visual tribute to the ARISE cover.

Fun fact #2: The lead actor in THE BROKEN GIANT was a young Will Arnett.  He plays a conflicted man of God in the film.  At one point in the film, his character makes fire come from the palms of his hands (pictured in the artwork for the CD); at another point, he preaches at length from the Book of Job (text from which is printed on the CD face).  Both were signs of things to come when Arnett embodied, wonderfully, Gob Bluth in the television series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

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Palace Music – Little Blue Eyes – Streaming Now

John Peel, you may know, was a brilliant music curator under the employ of the BBC for many many years.  As part of his duties, he commissioned recording sessions from musicians traveling through London.  On the first Palace Brothers trip through the UK and Europe, they were invited by Peel to record four songs at he BBC’s Maida Vale studios to be broadcast later on Peel’s show.  In 1996, Drag City released two of these four songs on a 7” single, “Little Blue Eyes” and “The Spider’s Dude Was Often There”.  Will Oldham was deeply inspired by cassettes of Peel sessions recorded by Pavement and Royal Trux, and prepared the four songs especially for the occasion. The ensemble was made up of Rian Murphy (drums), David Pajo (electric guitar), Paul Oldham (bass), and Henrique Prince (violin).  At the time, Sasha Jansen was a graphic artist renting office space in the same building as Drag City’s space.  Dan Koretzky was aware that she was of a different ilk than other artists DC had previously worked with and suggested to Oldham that a collaboration might prove interesting.  Hence the distinct visuals of the “Little Blue Eyes” sleeve.

 

ANNA CALVI ANNOUNCES FIRST SHOWS IN FOUR YEARS IN JUNE 2018

Anna Calvi | 23/04/18

Image: Anna Live Dates press image

Anna Calvi will be playing her first live shows in four years this June 2018 with three special performances in Berlin (Berghain), Paris (La Gaîté Lyrique) and London (Heaven). This will be the first time to hear new material and to also witness the captivating brand new live show from the BRIT award and double Mercury Music Prize-nominated artist.

Anna Calvi last released music in 2014, Strange Weather, a collaborative EP with David Byrne, which followed her album One Breath and her eponymous debut.  

Tickets for the June shows are on general sale from Wednesday 25th April at 11am and will sell out fast. Dates with ticket links are as follows:

12th June - Berlin, Germany: Berghain

15th June - Paris, France: La Gaîté Lyrique

19th June - London, UK: Heaven

 

BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY SHARES NEW SONG 'WILD IS THE WILL'

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | 20/04/18

Image: Bonnie Prince Billy Wild Is The Will packshot

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy recently released Wolf Of The Cosmos, a cover version of Susanna’s Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos album in full. During the making of the record, Oldham was immersed in Susanna’s music. 

Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales asked Oldham if he was down for another collaboration (the previous one got Bonny and Louisville jammers Watter together for a demonic dirge ‘The Devil is People’).  They started talking Norway, and fortitude, and mysticism; then they retreated to their respective corners to roll up their sleeves and do their own dirty worx. 

Oldham found Susanna’s original for ‘Wild is the Will’ on her Flower Of Evil record.  The ensemble from Wolf Of The Cosmos (Emmett Kelly, Cheyenne Mize and Chris Rodahaffer) was reassembled.  Joining them were two proper Norsemen, Frode Haltli and Vegar Vårdal.

Stillwater will be releasing a beer of the same name.  The beer is a rustic sour ale aged on cedar; it pairs excellently with horse meat.

The artwork is a watercolour by close Bonny compatriot Oscar Lee Riley Parsons.

There is a wonderful video clip to accompany the music made by Amin Eshraghi-Yazdi called “A Baby Listens to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy”.

Watch the video for ‘Wild Is The Will’ here.

Stream ‘Wild Is The Will’ here.

Buy Wolf Of The Cosmos on vinyl and CD here.

 

FLASHER ANNOUNCE DEBUT ALBUM 'CONSTANT IMAGE'

Flasher | 19/04/18

Image: Flasher press photo

Today, Washington, DC trio Flasher announce their debut album, Constant Image, which will be released June 8th via Domino.  They've also shared a new single and video, ‘Pressure’. Recorded in 2017 at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY, Constant Image was produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, War On Drugs) and crackles with invention. This isn’t the sound of a band finding their feet, it’s the rare sound of three people – Taylor Mulitz on guitar, bassist Daniel Saperstein and drummer Emma Baker - who know exactly what they want to achieve from the start.

 

From their hometown of Washington, DC, with its rich history of idiosyncratic underground music, Flasher has emerged at the forefront of a vibrant musical present. The Sister Polygon label (which Mulitz helps run with former bandmates Priests) is a vital element in this moment of local cultivation and political confrontation. With their new LP, Flasher is helping to define a new generation of music in the city set apart from Dischord or any other storied DC past.

First single ‘Pressure’ gives you a perfect example of what to expect. It’s a song that zeroes in on feelings of mania and alienation but is buoyed by a darting B-52s swagger. There’s weight and lightness here. It’s not often a debut album arrives in so complete a form but when it does you know you’ve got something special on your hands.

Says the band on ‘Pressure’ and its’ video:

“’Pressure’ is a song that treads the line between queer delight and delirium, and crushing isolation and survival. The video for ‘Pressure’, made in collaboration with Weird Life films and featuring designer and Chicago based artist An Authentic Skidmark, is a compliment to the paradox of the song itself and an invitation to that world in between.”

Watch the video for ‘Pressure’ here.

Stream ‘Pressure’ here.

 

Tracklisting

1. Go

2. Pressure

3. Sun Come And Golden

4. Material

5. XYZ

6. Who’s Got Time?

7. Skim Milk

8. Harsh Light

9. Punching Up

10. Business Unusual

 

Head here to pre-order the deluxe edition LP available exclusively through the Domino Mart. The deluxe features the album on 150g starburst pink and yellow vinyl. Constant Image is also available as a standard LP, CD, and digitally. Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital 

 

Flasher North America tour dates

Thu. Apr. 19 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater w/ The Breeders

Fri. Apr. 20 - Norman, OK @ The Opolis
Wed. Apr. 25 - Birmingham, AL @ Iron City w/ The Breeders
Mon. Apr. 30 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel w/ The Breeders

Wed. June 6 - Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits w/ Dehd

Fri. June 8 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere w/ Dehd, Public Practice

Sat. June 9 - Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre w/ Dehd

Sun. June 10 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott w/ Dehd

Mon. June 11 – Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House w/ Dehd

Tue. June 12 - Montreal, QC @ Brasserie Beaubien w/ Dehd

Wed. June 13 - Toronto, ON @ The Baby G w/ Dehd

Thu. June 14 - Detroit, MI @ El Club w/ Dehd

Fri. June 15 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas w/ Dehd

Sat. June 16 - June 16 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry w/ Dehd

Mon. June 18 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon w/ Dehd

Tue. June 19 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop w/ Dehd

Thu. June 21 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl w/ Dehd

Fri. June 22 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook w/ Dehd

Sat. June 23 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Dehd
Fri. July 20 - Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party


Flasher Online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

 

ARCTIC MONKEYS ANNOUNCE SEPTEMBER DATES

Arctic Monkeys | 09/04/18

Image: AM TBHC Press shot 2

Following news of their forthcoming album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, which will be released on Friday the 11th of May, Arctic Monkeys today announce a number of arena shows in September.

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is available to order now via the AM Store

Tickets for the September shows go onsale at 9am on Friday the 13th of April, go to www.arcticmonkeys.com for more details.  Dates are as follows:

JULY

1          Sun      Glasgow                        TRNSMT Festival

SEPTEMBER

6            Thu       Manchester                     Manchester Arena

7            Fri          Manchester                     Manchester Arena                 

9            Sun        London                             The O2

10          Mon      London                             The O2                                        

15          Sat         Birmingham                     Arena Birmingham

18          Tue        Sheffield                           FlyDSA Arena

19          Wed      Sheffield                           FlyDSA Arena                                          

24          Mon      Dublin                               3Arena

27          Thu       Newcastle upon Tyne     Metro Radio Arena

The Lemon Twigs will be special guests on the September dates. 

Age restrictions: standing - 16+, seated – U14 accompanied by an adult for Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Newcastle, U15 accompanied by an adult in London and U16 accompanied by a parent or guardian in Dublin.

 

ARCTIC MONKEYS TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL & CASINO

Arctic Monkeys | 05/04/18

Image: AM TBHC ARTWORK CROP

Arctic Monkeys return with their sixth album, entitled ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ on Friday the 11th of May 2018.  Produced by James Ford and Alex Turner, the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris and London. 

Their first release since 2013’s ‘AM’ finds the band intent on continuing to explore new musical terrain with each album. ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ ups the ante in a big way; it is a bold and brilliant album reflecting Turner’s ever more comprehensive creative vision.

The LP comes with a gatefold sleeve, lyric and photo booklet and exclusively via the AM Store, on silver vinyl. It will also be available on standard CD, vinyl and digitally.  You can pre-order and pre-save the album here.

The tracklisting for ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is as follows:

  1. Star Treatment
  2. One Point Perspective
  3. American Sports
  4. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
  5. Golden Trunks
  6. Four Out Of Five
  7. The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip
  8. Science Fiction
  9. She Looks Like Fun
  10. Batphone
  11. The Ultracheese
 

Trquility Base Hotel & Casino

The band will be playing the following headline shows and festivals:

HEADLINE SHOWS

MAY

5          Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA          Sold Out

22        Columbiahalle, Berlin                           Sold Out

23        Columbiahalle, Berlin                           Sold Out

26        Cavea, Rome                                         Sold Out

27        Cavea, Rome                                        Sold Out

29        Zenith, Paris                                         Sold Out

30        Zenith, Paris                                         Sold Out


JUNE

4          Mediolanum Forum, Milan                   Sold Out

16        Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh NC        Sold Out

18        Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville TN            

19        Coca Cola Roxy Theatre, Atlanta GA        Sold Out

26        Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Dusseldorf      Sold Out

27        Royal Arena, Copenhagen          

                

JULY

10        Les Nuits De Fourviere, Lyon                 Sold Out

24        Forest Hills Stadium, NY                        Sold Out

27        TD Garden, Boston MA                              

28        Anthem, Washington DC                       Sold Out

31        Petersen Events Centre, Pittsburgh PA

AUGUST

1          Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit MI     Sold Out

5          Air Canada Centre, Toronto

FESTIVALS

JUNE

2          Primavera Sound, Barcelona

8          Best Kept Secret Festival, Netherlands

15        Firefly Festival, Dover DE

22        Southside Festival, Germany

24        Hurricane Festival, Germany


JULY

1          TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow

4          Oper’er Festival, Poland

6          RockWave Festival, Greece

8          Rock Wrechter, Belgium

12        NOS Live, Portugal

13        Mad Cool Festival, Spain


AUGUST

2          Lollapalooza Festival, Chicago Il

4          Osheaga Festival, Montreal, Canada

8          Oya Festival, Norway

9          Way Out West Festival, Sweden

11        Flow Festival, Finland

14        Sziget Festival, Hungary

Photo by Zackery Michael

 

MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER ANNOUNCES SECOND ALBUM 'BON VOYAGE'

Melody's Echo Chamber | 03/04/18

Image: Melody's Echo Chamber annonce

 

Melody’s Echo Chamber (aka Melody Prochet) has confirmed her second album Bon Voyage will be released on June 15th. Made up of seven expansive tracks, Bon Voyage marries Melody’s breathless soprano to the wildest sonic excursions, always pinned to an emphatic, clattering groove as she delivers her fables of spiritual search and emotional healing in multiple tongues (French, English and Swedish).

Bon Voyage is a collaborative record between Prochet and Dungen’s Reine Fiske and The Amazing’s Fredrik Swahn with Melody sculpting and producing the sessions as well as encouraging the players around her to experiment, often with instruments that might be less familiar to them. It also features special guests Gustav Esjtes and Johan Holmegaard (both from Dungen) and Nicholas Allbrook (Pond).

Today, Melody is pleased to share ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ from the forthcoming album.  Having gone back to her childhood music conservatory to learn drums aged 30, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ is the first song Melody played drums on. Prochet adds about the track “It’s a special one. I’m used to recording with masters of drums and accepting my drum playing as not perfect but with the right intention was a big deal to me”.

Watch the video for ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ here.

Stream ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ here.

Directed by Daniel Foothead, the animated video invites us into a mystical and magical universe as we follow a pilgrim trying to reunite with his source of inspiration and light, his muse.

A musical journey of discovery, Bon Voyage delves deep into the collective musical psyche of Melody and her Swedish fellow travellers, who she met one serendipitous summer’s afternoon in Angers back in 2015. Prochet describes the members of Stockholm’s premier neo-psychedelic overlords Dungen as “soulmates and extreme beings, uncompromisingly intense and sensitive.” These kindred souls daydreamed about making music together, and then Prochet took matters into her own hands and moved to Sweden in the winter of 2016 to begin their adventure. Working in the woods of Solna, Melody says: “Swedish nature helped me to breathe and soothed me in times of anxiety. I had a majestic forest with a lake three minutes’ walk from my home. Recording sessions were a break in our lives, an escape from our frustrations as young adults, parents, musicians and embittered life jugglers. What transpired was a kind of modern fairytale full of duality: beautiful and disenchanted, happy and painful, internal and external, childish and mature, but also violent and measured. We had no structure and no limits and we stepped out of our comfort zones.”

Bon Voyage arrives more than five years after Melody’s Echo Chamber’s debut, and it is the soundtrack to a trip back from the brink, the sound of spiritual renewal, and a pilgrimage to the sonic outer limits.

Tracklisting:

  1. Cross My Heart
  2. Breathe In, Breathe Out
  3. Desert Horse
  4. Var Har Du Vart
  5. Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige
  6. Visions Of Someone Special, On A Wall Of Reflections
  7. Shirim

Bon Voyage is available to pre-order on LP (heavyweight vinyl with printed inners featuring lyrics and bonus phenakistiscope insert), Indies exclusive LP (heavyweight violet coloured vinyl with printed inners featuring lyrics and bonus phenakistiscope insert), Dom Mart exclusive LP (heavyweight violet coloured vinyl with printed inners featuring lyrics, bonus phenakistiscope insert and 12” colour-in poster), CD (with booklet featuring lyrics and artwork) and on digital download. Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital

Melody’s Echo Chamber Online:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


 

1993 - 1995, STREAMING NOW

Palace Music | 01/04/18

Image: 1993 Palace streaming now


Palace Music - Ohio River Boat Song / Drinking Woman - Streaming Now

It was the summer of 1992 and Todd Brashear invited his friend Will Oldham to come live with him in Bloomington, Indiana where Brashear was in the Audio Engineering program at IU.  Oldham moved into a house with Brashear and his schoolmate Grant Barger, and soon they began working on music all together.  They set up a weekend session at the house with Barger at the controls, using his 8-track cassette recording machine (not to be confused with the crappy 8-track tape format popularized in the 1970s).  They invited David Pajo to come up from Louisville to play on the session.  There were three songs to tackle: “For the Mekons et al”, “Two More Days”, and “Drinking Woman”.  Brashear played drums and lap steel and sang harmonies, Barger played bass and Pajo played lead guitars (both acoustic and electric).  Oldham sang and played acoustic guitar.  The house was an older house with high ceilings and wood floors, and Barger’s engineering was impeccable so that everything sounded good and felt in line with an aesthetic that felt like a true realization of what was in Oldham’s mind.

Around the same time, Brashear and Oldham scheduled a session in the IU studios, with Brashear as engineer.  Britt Walford and Brian McMahan came up from Louisville and, there in the fancy studio using 16-track 2” magnetic tape, the group recorded “Ohio River Boat Song” and “Riding”, with McMahan playing drums, Brashear playing bass and Walford playing electric guitar.  This sound was big and clean and the songs had a polish to them that differed significantly from the house recording with Barger.  Beautiful, though maybe not quite the kind of recordings Oldham was beginning to want to be a part of.  The Barger session was all about assembling people and getting the takes right together as an ensemble, while the Brashear session was more about studio craft.  One could listen to “Drinking Woman” and hear the musicians clearly, almost imagine one is in the room as the song happens. “Ohio River Boat Song” has more of an out-of-time-and-place vibe happening.  Brashear and Barger were both great engineers, and the methods and technology used for the two sessions differed significantly.

The cover of the single was designed by Paul Greenlaw, a great visual and musical artist from Rhode Island.  Greenlaw used an archival aerial photograph of some unnamed coastline over which he superimposed lettering fashioned from a photograph Oldham had taken of Mekons violinist Susie Honeyman (when Greenlaw started the design, the idea was still for “For the Mekons et al” to be the A-side).  The lettering spelled out “palace songs”.  In the lower-right corner of the front cover was a sad yellow bird that Greenlaw had drawn.  The back cover featured a Greenlaw elephant, a “Palace Brothers” banner, a fleur-de-lis (symbol of Louisville, KY) and a photo from the “Drinking Woman” session of me, Brashear and Pajo.  There’s an alphabetical listing of contributors to the existence of the record, as Oldham was still figuring things out and didn’t know how best to attribute the existence of any fraction of the whole.  Only black and yellow inks were used on the sleeve in order to keep costs down.  The label design was a throwback to old-school labels: royal blue with metallic silver ink.  Dan Osborn is the Drag City graphics admiral and he executed the label design beautifully.

Oldham shot a video for “Ohio River Boat Song” on 16mm black-and-white film using a wind-up Russian camera.  The footage centered around the early morning horse exercises at Churchill Downs in the spring.  Osborn and Oldham edited the footage at Osborn’s office in the HARPO compound.

“For the Mekons et al” came out later on the compilation HEY DRAG CITY.  “Two More Days” came out on a compilation called LOVE IS MY ONLY CRIME, released in Europe.  “Riding” was re-arranged and re-recorded for the record THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.  The recording of “Riding” from the Bloomington session was included on LOST BLUES AND OTHER SONGS.

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Palace Brothers - There Is No-One What Will Take Care Of You - Streaming Now

Once the “Ohio River Boat Song” single went into production, the Palace Brothers were asked for a full-length record.  Over the summer in Bloomington, Oldham had been writing songs and was thrilled to find that these songs might have a welcome place in the world, at least when it came to there being a label willing to release them.  At the end of summer, Oldham moved back to Providence, Rhode Island, where he was ambivalently pursing a college degree in semiotics.  He went to ethnomusicology professor Jeff Titon and suggested an independent study class, supervised by Titon, in which Oldham would work on a set of songs derived in many ways from a variety of historical styles, forms and sources.  Oldham worked on  many of the songs with musicians Matt Fanuele, Paul Greenlaw, John Davis, Mark Cummins, and Colin Gagon.  Davis introduced Oldham to the records of the Royal Trux, and at one point during the fall the Trux came through Providence on tour.  The band stayed over at the house Oldham shared with writer Bob Arellano.  

Oldham and Brashear scheduled the recording session for December of 1992 in Kentucky.  Grant Barger would engineer, using his 8-track cassette rig.  There were two recording locations: a house on Ohio Street (which street has since lost its name to the larger Frankfort Avenue, of which it is effectively an extension) owned by Steve Driesler and a cabin outside of Brandenburg, KY, called “Merciful”.  Brian McMahan and Britt Walford would play on the record, along with Barger, Brashear, Oldham and Paul Greenlaw.  Brashear, Barger, McMahan and Walford traded off instruments (inspired, in part, by the Bad Seeds records of the 1980s), while Oldham stuck to singing and playing the guitar and Greenlaw played the banjo.  Greenlaw was a deeply inspired and unique banjoist; it was the sound of Greenlaw, as opposed to the sound of a banjo, that made Greenlaw’s presence crucial.

The record was mixed by Brashear, Barger, and Oldham at Brashear’s parents house in east Louisville.

There were fifteen songs considered for the recording.  A cover of the Rolling Stones “Hand of Fate” was dropped at the last minute.  The full-length record ended up with twelve songs.  The outtakes were “Don’t I Look Good Today”, which came out on a double 7” comp called LOUISVILLE SLUGGERS 3, released on Mike Bacayu’s Self Destruct label; and “Valentine’s Day”, which came out eventually on the Palace Music comp LOST BLUES AND OTHER SONGS.  The rest of the songs were new originals Oldham began during the previous summer in Bloomington, except “Riding”, which was begun a year or two earlier, and a cover of Washington Phillips’ “I Had a Good Mother and Father”

Auspiciously, David Berman and Bob Nastanovitch of the Silver Jews passed through Louisville and stopped by the session at Driesler’s house.  It had been the Silver Jews 7” Ep that had inspired Oldham to send out the first Palace Brothers recordings.

Greenlaw painted and/or the covers for THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.  Oldham had asked him to render the fable of the mouse and the lion and requested that Greenlaw use bright pink and yellow.  Greenlaw worked on the cover intensely, ultimately coming up with four powerful variations.  Ultimately, all four were utilized, each for a different format or pressing.  The back cover is a black and white photograph of a road in northern Scotland taken by Oldham during a hitch-hiking trip. 

The record was licensed, via a connection made by Nastanovitch, to the British label Big Cat.  The relationship with Big Cat lasted only for the one release, after which all Palace and Bonnie Prince Billy records were licensed through Domino.

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Palace Music - Come In / Trudy Dies - Streaming Now

It was 1993 and the musical ideas were flowing. Oldham wrote two songs for a 7”, “Trudy Dies” and “Come In”.  There was a live-to-DAT session done in Louisville and/or Chicago that was deemed unsuccessful.  Meanwhile, Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux were establishing themselves as freelance record producers under the noms-de-guerre Adam & Eve, and it was decided that they should guide the recording of these two songs.  The studio was King Size, in Chicago, run by Dave Trumfio.  Mike Fellows tracked the drums but Hagerty erased those drum tracks and replayed the kit himself.  Liam Hayes played the Mellotron.  Adam & Eve expressed a desire to bring out the inner Springsteen in Oldham’s songs.  The front cover of the record sleeve featured a drawing by Jeff Mueller of a bird embryo.  The back cover held a photograph by Oldham of land outside of Madison, Virginia.  Lyrics to “Trudy Dies” were included on an insert with drawings by Dianne Bellino.  There was a video made for “Come In” featuring animation by Bellino and 16mm footage of music rehearsals in the basement of David Pajo’s parents’ house.

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Palace Songs - Horses / Stable Will - Streaming Now

It was a silver age of 7” singles in the early 1990’s.  The third single attributed to a Palace conglomerate was the equine-themed “Horses”/”Stable Will”.  “Horses” was recorded by Steve Good, who has recorded live underground shows in Louisville for decades.  The session took place primarily at a house shared by Bob Nastanovitch, Will Oldham, and Britt Walford.  Photographs from the session show Brian McMahan playing the drums, Walford playing bass, and Todd Brashear playing the lap steel guitar.  Oldham sang and played a rhythm guitar.  Oldham asked David Pajo, who was away from town when the session went down, to overdub an electric guitar part including a ripping solo for the end of the song.  Pajo recorded the solo once and then called Oldham a day later saying that he hadn’t quite understood what was being asked of him the first time; he’d like to try it again.  The songwriting is credited to Timms/Langford.  Oldham heard it on Sally Timms’ solo record SOMEBODY’S ROCKING MY DREAMBOAT and had been performing it for a few years.  Jon Langford has subsequently said that Brendan Croker contributed significantly to the composition.

Hardly a “B-side”, “Stable Will” has a full life of its own.  The song was written mostly by Bryan Rich (under the pseudonym ‘Roy Black’).  The ensemble realizing the song was made up of the Pale Horse Riders with Will Oldham singing lead and playing an electric guitar.  The Pale Horse Riders were a wild and awesome noise group made up of Chris Layton, Bob Nastanovitch, Paul Oldham, and Pete Townsend.  The recording took place in the abandoned old Galt House building in downtown Louisville.  Engineer Eric Stoess had access to the building, which was supposedly haunted by a nun.  Layton smudged the room with sage smoke prior to the recording to keep evil spirits away and warned the others to “just keep playing” if the nun appeared during the session.  The musicians shot bottle-rockets at prostitutes on the street below, which was unfair and hardly laudable.

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Palace Music - Days In The Wake - Streaming Now

Towards the end of 1993, Will Oldham found himself in Moscow, staying in the small apartment of Bryan Rich.  Rich was there exploring television reporting and production opportunities.  Oldham and Rich worked out a couple of songs while Oldham was there, and Rich sold Oldham his Marantz stereo cassette recorder for a couple hundred dollars.  Once back in the USA, Oldham continued to work on the set of songs that would be recorded for the second full-length under a Palace name.  Grant Barger had moved to Chicago, and Oldham booked time with Barger to begin recording.  However, things didn’t cohere as they might have (some results ended up on the DRAG CITY HOUR release a few years later), and Oldham retreated to Louisville in frustration.  Todd Brashear had moved to Nashville and was working at a mastering studio.  Oldham began to conceive of the record as an unadorned collection, and furiously rehearsed the songs in hopes of making them fit and function together.  He used the Marantz that he’d bought from Rich (along with the microphone Rich had thrown into the deal) and began recording the record at his folks’ house.  The performances were mostly solo, with the exception of “I Send My Love to You” and “Pushkin”, which featured Paul Oldham on second guitar.  Oldham hauled the Marantz with him when he travelled to Birmingham, Alabama to visit brother Ned Oldham.  There he recorded “No More Workhorse Blues” during a thunderstorm, and “Come a Little Dog”.  On the latter song, overdubbing was made possible (percussion, barking, Jennie Oldham’s flute) by playing the cassette of the original tracking on the Oldham’s home stereo while recording the new parts onto the Marantz.  The record was mastered by John Kampschaefer in Louisville; Dianne Bellino contributed a drawing to the artwork, and the front cover is a photo taken in an Irish pub a few years earlier (on the same trip that yielded the back cover photo from THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU).  Oldham was inspired by the economy exhibited in the artwork for the then-current Royal Trux record, CATS AND DOGS.  Drag City pays artists based on profit-split (no advances), thus it made sense to deliver inexpensive package concepts if one was to hope to make a living from one’s music.  When the record was released, it had no title.  After a few months, a title occurred to Oldham, DAYS IN THE WAKE, and it was applied to subsequent pressings.  The record was licensed to Domino for Europe, beginning a relationship between Oldham and Domino that continues to this day.

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Palace Songs - Hope - Streaming Now

DAYS IN THE WAKE was made with somewhat of an urgent desperation, and feelings of fear and loss are abundant in the result.  Will Oldham then felt compelled to oppose such darkness with an expression of gratitude for what he was being allowed to do and make.  He asked Rian Murphy to oversee production of a four-song session at Acme studios in Chicago with Liam Hayes featured prominently on piano and organ.  Four songs were recorded; two of Oldham’s, one Leonard Cohen song (“Winter Lady”) and one song written by Bryan Rich (again under the name Roy Black) and Steve Baker (“Christmastime in the Mountains”).  Technologies were changing, and all of the songs were mixed from 2” tape down to ¼” tape and DAT. The formats have inherently different qualities and in the end, the ¼” mixes of the two Oldham songs were used, while the DAT mixes of the two covers were used.  Oldham wrote two more songs to be recorded in London.  Domino arranged for a session at the Stone Room with Sean O’Hagan playing piano.  Oldham had hoped that Heather Frith, a singer from Bermuda, would be able to sing on the sessions.  She was not available, so Domino introduced Oldham to Brianna Corrigan, formerly of the Beautiful South.  Corrigan joined the session, along with drummer Rob Allum.  Oldham was particularly thrilled to be working in the Stone Room, since the Mekons’ CURSE OF THE MEKONS had been recorded there.  “All Gone, All Gone” and “Werner’s Last Blues to Blokbuster”, both written in Jamestown, RI, were recorded at this session and completed what was then to be the HOPE EP.  Konrad Strauss mastered the record.  The front cover featured a photograph by Nicole Vitello of  boats docked in Essaouira rendered in the vibrant colors of modern color-copying machines.  The back cover was dominated by a photo of Liam Hayes’ magical hands.  There was also a photo of Oldham with Dianne Bellino taken by Steve Gullick.

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Palace Music - West Palm Beach / Gulf Shores - Streaming Now

Palace Music - The Mountain Low - Streaming Now

Palace Music - The Mountain - Streaming Now

The “Palace Brothers” were invited to open the 2nd stage of the Lollapalooza tour for a couple of weeks in the summer of 1994.  At the end of that run a recording session was booked at producer Kramer’s home studio in New Jersey.  The band was Will OldhamAram Stith (guitar), Jason Stith (bass) and Jack Carneal (drums) and Ned Oldham (guitar).  The Trux had done their “Back to School” 7” with Kramer, and it excited Will to think of going in and seeing how the notorious producer twiddled his knobs.  The two songs were “West Palm Beach” and “Gulf Shores”.  The band had not heard the songs prior to the session.  Will had written the songs in the weeks leading up to the summer road stretch.

Will Oldham moved to Birmingham, Alabama to live near brother Ned and family.  Birmingham was quiet and inexpensive and a few degrees warmer than Louisville in general.  Will wanted to make a record in Birmingham and looked around (the phone book) for a recording studio.  He came upon Bates Brothers Recording in nearby Hueytown and decided to do a test session with Ned and drummer Charlie Snell.  They recorded “O How I Enjoy the Light” and “Marriage”.  Eric Bates was the engineer.  The Bates’ studio was well-stocked with keyboards: piano, mellotron, Hammond b-3.  The sounds were tight and dry, reminding Oldham of tones obtained in 1970’s Serge Gainsbourg recordings.  The photographs on the cover of the single were taken by Bryan Rich.  Rich claimed that the back cover photograph was of the ruins of Mikhail Bulgakov’s house.  This record was the first under the Palace Records imprint; Oldham had begun to be able to afford to pay for recording sessions, lessening the pressure that comes with spending other people’s money. 

The test session at Bates Brothers had been a success.  Will Oldham felt comfortable inviting Steve Albini to Alabama to make a full-length record (what would become VIVA LAST BLUES).  The Bates’ ample supply of beautifully-maintained keyboards made inviting Liam Hayes to the session a no-brainer.  Oldham spoke with Britt Walford about playing drums but eventually Walford formally balked.  Instead, Will was encouraged by brother Paul Oldham to ask Jason Loewenstein to come drum.  Loewenstein (of Sparkalepsy and Sebadoh) was living in Louisville at the time.  Ned Oldham played the bass.  Bryan Rich played “lead guitar”; questions still get asked about where said guitar was leading.  Oldham has said that Stevie Wonder’s MUSIC OF MY MIND and Cat Stevens’ CATCH BULL AT FOUR were sonic influences, though such influence is hardly notable in the final product.  Albini did some significant maintenance work on the 2” tape machines at the Bates studio in order to get things properly up and running.  The record was titled VIVA LAST BLUES, in patial tribute to the movies of Russ Meyer.  The “last” aspect had to do with Oldham feeling like he was coming to the end of a certain trajectory of discovery.  The cover featured a drawing of a cheetah by Dianne Bellino.  The LP came with a poster featuring a painting by Cynthia Kirkwood; the CD featured a different Kirkwood painting in the booklet’s center spread.  A video was made by Aaron Woolf for the song “Old Jerusalem”; actress Chloe Sevigny starred in the video.

Around this time, folks (PavementKing Kong) were going to Easley Studios in Memphis to make their records.  Oldham didn’t like the inherent sounds of these records but figured he would take a first-hand look at Easley by recording two songs there.  These two songs were “(End of) Traveling” and “Lost Blues”.  Oldham asked brother Paul along with Jason Hayden (presently of One Beat Off) and Pete Townsend (not of the Who) to come to Memphis for the session.  These were ¾ (at the time) of the great Louisville band Speed-to-Roam.  Memphis’ Tiffany White sang “Lost Blues” with Will as a full duet partner, the first of many.  Studio owner/engineer Doug Easley played the pedal steel guitar.  It was decided that “The Mountain” from VIVA LAST BLUES would be released as a single with “(End of) Traveling” as a b-side.  Two mixes were run of “(End of) Traveling”.  The mix with a “dry” pedal steel was included on the 7” record.  The cover of the “Mountain Low” single was a photo that Oldham had taken in Glen Lyon, Scotland, in the shadow of Ben Lawers.  “Lost Blues” was later released on the Palace Music compilation LOST BLUES AND OTHER SONGS.

As with the 7” comp AN ARROW THROUGH THE BITCH the previous year (and the Royal Trux DOGS OF LOVE EP), it was decided to compile the “Mountain” 7” and the “West Palm Beach” 7” onto one four-song EP for release overseas on Domino.  The mix of “(End of) Traveling” used on this EP had a “wet” pedal steel.  The cover art was made by Nolen Otts.  Otts intended the art to resemble classic Cuban cigar box art. 

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Palace Music - Viva Last Blues - Streaming Now

Palace Music - O How I Enjoy The Light - Streaming Now

Oldham’s Palace Records came into being in 1995.  The twin intentions at the time for Palace Records were to formalize the new model of self-funding recording sessions and artwork commissions and to release great musics that Oldham was hearing that he figured might be a hard sell to the folks at Drag City.  Three 7”s were released in 1995 on Palace Records that were non-Palace/Will Oldham endeavors.  The first was by E/Or, a Louisville group made up of Steve Good (clarinet), Norman Minogue (drums), George Wethington (short wave radio), and Martin Williams (guitar).  The two songs are epic abstracts, “Mike” and “Martin Found a Jealous Cop...”, each stretching the limits of the physical format to its outer boundaries.

The other two Palace Records non-Will-Oldham singles released in 1995 were both by the Broadcast Choir.  From the ashes of the Pale Horse Riders came this experimental trio made up of Paul OldhamPeter Townsend and Chris Layton.  The records were “The Chapel Song”/“Down the Liver” and “Lights Out”/“Deflective War”.  Both singles are harrowing, awesome complements to any playlist.

 

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'SPARKLE HARD'

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks | 26/03/18

Image: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks press shot

“So long as he lives, Stephen Malkmus may never run out of hooks” Pitchfork

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks’ new album Sparkle Hard will be released on May 18th via Domino Records.

In February, the band shared its twangy single ‘Middle America,’ the first new music to surface from the group since 2014. As a follow up, the band today shares another taste of the new album with the song, ‘Shiggy,’ an insanely gleeful, old-school four-chord stomper.

Stream ‘Shiggy’ here.

Modesty and plain good manners might prevent them from saying so themselves, but the fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it?

Meeting that issue head on in the run up to The Jicks’ seventh record involved some “navel gazing”, according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Malkmus and not only in terms of what it means to be releasing music in 2018. If, like him, you’re a voracious consumer of all kinds of culture and feel the need to interact with it, rather than just react, then inevitably there’s a world that prompts you to put your best foot forward”. With Sparkle Hard Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. And they hit the ground running – on air treads.

It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune, a fiddle, guest vocalist Kim Gordon, one seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s Wig Out At Jag Bags balanced the lengthy prog workouts of Pig Lib with Mirror Traffic’s sparky pop moments, then Sparkle Hard bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.

Malkmus started writing Sparkle Hard in 2015. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and bought some electronic drums and had been working on the Netflix series Flaked (he penned the incidental music and the end theme song). Demos were done in one day in April of 2017 and then in May, The Jicks started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who produced the album.

Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on Sparkle Hard, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times.

Tracklisting:

  1. Cast Off
  2. Future Suite
  3. Solid Silk
  4. Bike Lane
  5. Middle America
  6. Rattler
  7. Shiggy
  8. Kite
  9. Brethren
  10. Refute
  11. Difficulties / Let Them Eat Vowels

 

Sparkle Hard is available to pre-order on LP (heavyweight vinyl with insert), indie-exclusive deluxe LP (heavyweight coloured vinyl with insert), Dom Mart-exclusive deluxe LP (heavyweight coloured vinyl, insert and 12x12” sticker sheet with 12 individual die cut designs for each of the songs on the album by the creative genius Turbo Island), CD and digital.

Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital

 

UK & European Tour Dates:

Wed 17th October – Albert Hall, Manchester Tickets

Thurs 18th October – SWG3, Glasgow Tickets

Fri 19th October – Vicar Street, Dublin Tickets

Sun 21st October – SWX, Bristol Tickets

Mon 22nd October – The Asylum, Birmingham Tickets

Wed 24th October – Hackney Arts Centre, London Tickets

Thurs 25th October – Concorde 2, Brighton Tickets

Mon 29th October – Lido, Berlin Tickets

Tues 30th October – Stadtgarten, Cologne Tickets

Wed 31st October – Melkweg, Amsterdam Tickets

On sale Wed 28th March at 9am

 
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