NEWS

SAM MEHRAN 1986-2018

30/07/18

Image: Sam Mehran

We are shocked and deeply saddened at the news that Sam Mehran has passed away.

Sam was a uniquely and supremely talented musician, songwriter and producer,  and a warm and  gentle soul. 

He will be missed by so many.

Sam's love of music was immense and inspiring, and we are blessed to have known him.

Rest in peace, Sam

 

2009 - 2011, STREAMING NOW

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | 24/07/18

Image: Bonnie2011

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Funtime Comedown - Streaming Now

It’s with great pleasure that we offer FUNTOWN COMEDOWN to the streamverse.  A live record born of good times and friendship, FUNTOWN COMEDOWN has had only  a limited availability up to this point. 

Here’s how it happened: One summer, Oscar Lee Riley Parsons asked Will Oldham what it would take to induce Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy to perform at a strange and special little place called Funtown, of which Parsons’ friend Brad Reinstedler was the mayor (and is still the mayor, by the way).  Oldham replied that all he needed was a rehearsed ensemble, and so Parsons put his own group, Thomas A Minor & the Picket Line (including Reinstedler, Bob Dixon, Jon Kempf, and Danny Kiely), to work learning a set of Bonny pieces.  Parsons enlisted Cheyenne Mize as fiddler and duet partner. They rehearsed the songs and soon invited Oldham into the rehearsal process.  Tickets were sold for the Funtown event, commemorative kazoos were purchased as giveaways (and to facilitate audience participation on “Goat & Ram”), folks gathered on a warm summer day outside of Louisville, and music and merriment went down a-plenty.  So much fun was had, in fact, that it was decided that this ensemble ought to play some more together before disbanding.  There had a been a handful of practice shows around Louisville, at Joe’s Palm Room, the Back Door, and the Nach Bar.  Now sights were set further afield...as far as Lexington, KY for a benefit show intended to raise awareness of the plight of the Kentucky Hemlock tree.  Hence the group learned Ralph Stanley’sHemlocks and Primroses”.  They were all invited out to San Francisco for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.  And then it was thought that they ought to record their efforts, and so one more show was arranged at the recording studio of bassist Danny Kiely.  Invitations were sent out, about fifty people gathered, and a little live show went down, recorded on high-fidelity multi-track recording gear by KielyOldham and Kiely spent a week or so mixing (during which time the King of Pop passed away; this will give you an idea of when all of this occurred.  Perhaps the timeline won’t match up precisely but you will forgive if a date is out of place here or there).  The record artwork is made up of photographs by Louisville photographer Dan Lubbers.  Yet another Merle Haggard song is covered by Bonny on this record, “Ramblin Fever”.  It will still be a few years before Bonny undertakes a full record of Haggard tunes, BEST TROUBADOR.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Beware - Streaming Now

In deep Kentucky winter, Will Oldham asked Cheyenne Mize and Emmett Kelly to come to his house and record a four-song EP.  The EP was to be called “Chijimi”, after a style of fabric crafted in northern Japan during snowy months.  It was just the three of them in the room together, and to Oldham it felt ideal.  Why weren’t all recording sessions like this?  The sounds of the room were captured by the microphones, the three voices worked very well with each other, the material was in turns poetic, evocative, outlandish and devotional.  It felt to Oldham like a new model had been established and that all could be right in the world of music-making from that point on.

The artist Thomas Campbell had recommended to Oldham that he apply for an artist residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts outside of San Francisco.  Oldham got himself a three-month stint living and working there in the Marin Headlands National Seashore.  It proved to be a productive time.  Among other endeavors, Oldham worked daily on new songs and planned the next performance journey (with booking agent David Viecelli and tour manager Jesse Fischler) and recording session and touring ensemble (with Emmett Kelly).  Oldham was assigned a small studio in the main building at the Headlands, but soon was able to secure a larger, more remote studio space overlooking a former missile launch site.  The building was huge and wooden with plenty of room for thinking and making noise.  The basics for all of the BEWARE songs were built here.  Oldham’s plan was to meet up with a group of musicians, assembled by Kelly, in Chicago; to tour extensively with this group; then to take a break, give all of the musicians demos of the BEWARE songs, and to reconvene in Chicago at a studio called Engine with knob-twiddler Neil Strauch at the board.  Oldham and Kelly constructed the set of songs to be performed on the tour, including four cover songs: Shaun Camp’s psychedelic country hit “Would You Go With Me?” (made famous by singer Josh Turner), the Gun Club’sCarry On”, Susanna’s “Stay” (foreshadowing the full-album cover of Susanna’s SONATA MIX DWARF COSMOS that Oldham and Kelly would record years later, in 2017, as WOLF OF THE COSMOS), and “One Day at a Time” by Yusuf Islam (known also as Cat Stevens).  The four covers would be performed every night on the tour and then recorded first at Engine, in order to get sounds established for the new songs.  The band that Kelly corralled included percussionist Michael Zerang and bassist Joshua Abrams; Oldham brought in Jennifer Hutt, a violinist he had met through Baltimore’s Dave Heumann.  All sorts of Chicago musicians contributed guest performances to BEWARE, including Azita Youssefi, Nicole Mitchell, Rob Mazurek, Jim Becker and the Mekons’ Jon LangfordD.V. DeVincentis and Greg Leisz flew in from California to play their parts.  At one point, Kelly and Oldham decided that they needed to find a Mexican accordion player to play on one of the songs, so they scoured Chicago’s cantinas one night, coming away with a significant tequila buzz and a single telephone number.  They called the number, and the following day a gentleman came to the studio with a broken accordion and alarmingly primitive musical abilities.  It was decided to find a ringer instead, and Robert Cruz was called.  Once again, Katy Kolego was hired as production supervisor, and she kept things running solid and smooth.

Simultaneous to the BEWARE recording session, Susanna Wallumrod was in Scandinavia making her FLOWER OF EVIL record.  She asked Oldham to sing on two songs, Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”.  She sent the basic tracks to Engine and Oldham did his singing on Susanna’s songs near the beginning of the BEWARE time.

The cover art of BEWARE was dominated by a drawing of Oldham sent by artist Jeff Hamilton.  The back cover and LP/CD labels were painted by Sammy HarkhamOldham and Dan Osborn worked out the poster details together: Hamilton’s skull-like drawing of Oldham’s head with a staircase rendered in primary colors leading to the top of the head, where a village is seen being established by tiny figures.  Jennifer Parsons made a video for “I Am Goodbye” featuring Oldham walking through the streets of east L.A. with a Turkish t-shirt and black contact lenses.  TV commercials were made for the record by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, including one spot featuring Neil Hamburger.

The title for BEWARE was inspired principally by two things: the first was the EP by the Misfits released in the early 1980s of the same name, and the second was Oldham’s own warning to himself and everyone else that the ideas behind this record were moving him in the opposite direction from where he felt he should be going.  “Chijimi” had established a template of meager ambition and home-spun workings and here they were with a huge (for BPB) tour, and an expensive out-of-town recording session featuring a wild and wonderful assemblage of talents.

Chijimi” came out exclusively as a 10” vinyl record.  There were two editions, the first with a rubber-stamped plain white paper sleeve and the second as the BEWAREUltraload”.  At the time, Bonnie Prince Billy vinyl purchases did not come with a free download the way that many new releases did. In this instance, a compromise of sorts was made: you could buy the “Ultraload” package, which had the “Chijimi” EP slipped into a 10” BEWARE sleeve with a download code for BEWARE included.

The recording of “Stay” was released as a 7”, with Susanna’sPeople Living” (recorded live outside of Milan, Italy, performed by Kelly/Mize/Oldham) as the B-side.  The recording of “One Day at a Time” was released as a digital single.  Yusuf Islam heard it eventually, and proclaimed it his “favorite cover”.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy & The Cairo Gang - The Wonder Show of the World - Streaming Now

Emmett Kelly (the Cairo Gang) writes:

I would receive a manila envelope at certain intervals. the envelopes contained finished works of lyric. completed music-less songs. I was living in the farmhouse that was once Will’s brother Paul’s home and studio. The house was somewhat of a husk of that previous existence placed in a small clearing inside of a 170 acre cornfield. I sought to live here as a come down from what had been the longest tour I had been on thus far. I was burnt out on people, and as what I find men in their late 20s tend to do, I had idealized the idea of being totally isolated from people. Live alone out in the nature, or.. on a farm. During this time, I would receive a manila envelope. In it would be 2 completed songs. And I would stand them up on my music stand and start playing guitar and messing about occasionally taking smoke(weed) breaks until my mind would start to sizzle, at which point I would ride my bike around the farms. i would ride and ride and ride until I was totally exhausted. No people anywhere, just bike, stop, bike. Ride to the taco stand, attempt to speak to the people working there(really good tacos in Shelbyville, KY!) ride home. Maybe veer off the path at times. Once I found a road I hadn't seen before and took it for a while to look at the tobacco fields turning brown as it was starting to get late in the season. There was a point when the road turned and there began this canopy of trees that covered the road like a tunnel. I rode and rode and when I reached the end of the tree tunnel, it was really starting to darken and I had no lights. I started riding back and of course got completely lost. Lost amidst endless tobacco and soybeans and corn. Old barns filled with tobacco. There was literally no hope of me finding the main road, and I rode in the dark for like 2 hours before I found some kids playing in their front yard. Straight out of a horror film, I rode up to them and asked hey, I'm really sorry, but I'm totally lost! Can you tell me how to get to the main rode.. the kids apprehensively walked up to me, saw that I was obviously confused and said. Yeah! You go that way for a little while and when you see a graveyard, turn left and take that road into Eminence, where you can meet up with the main road back to Shelbyville. Riding again, looking for a graveyard in the dark in the middle of nowhere, turn left, find Eminence! Get on the main road and ride along the shoulder with the semi-trucks and other trucks. Completely dark in the dark. I think I was wearing a straw hat. Eventually making it home, and exhausted went to sleep on the couch. Woke up to go and look at the words. Everyday it went on like this until one day I heard this noise outside the window. A huge and menacing noise, and when I went to open the curtain to look a giant machine came driving by. They were plowing the fields. And in a few hours, that enormous sizzling cornfield was no more. It was time to go. That was The Wondershow Of The World to me.

And this:

Recording the Wondershow was a wonderful respite from being in the studios we had been working in. Not that working the studios was particularly difficult or unrewarding, in fact they were all the opposite of that! But this was just us knowing that we could make our own record at home and do it how we wanted to, easily. Thats exactly what happened. It was immensely interesting to hear how Will would interpret the music I had written. I'm sure it was equally fascinating to him to hear how I imagined his words. But we never marry ourselves to a definitive version of anything. Everything is constantly morphing and changing. before this record, my experience making records with bonny was always an intense search party. We would be in a weird place, trying to do our best at being ourselves, which isn't exactly an easy task. Its like standing in front of a mirror naked, knowing that there is going to be a point when the rest of the world sees you standing there naked. you look there at your body thinking, yeah this is alright, its me, and no what the fuck, this sucks, I'm disgusting and back and forth. Everything you do comes back to you. My memory of The Wondershow was that it wasn't so much like this. It was us in “our” house. we are who we are. And it felt good. There were things I remember feeling during that session that are unusual to note. I remember cutting the drums for troublesome houses, we put the drum kit in the closet.. the drum kit was was one of those micro little I don't know what you call them, cocktail kits? But it fit right in there in the closet. This dead little room and I crawled in there and played it. I just remember feeling like I did as a kid making a clubhouse in my friend Jono’s weird little secret cupboard in the hallway. And the drums sound so good. Dead as dead can be just like I like them. i think that was a good moment for us in our paths making records. Because of course there are many approaches and many environments one can do this type of thing. But I think from that point, sorta it became the main place to make stuff. and its cool to realize you can do it sorta as good as anyone else can. haha. On the session we had with us Shahzad Ismaily mostly playing bass and some percussion and odds and ends. and for a little vocal addition our friend Phil Elverum was passing thru playing in town, and we convinced him to come and help us tell the “folks” to “go”.

Once we finished the album, we took a drive thru Oldham County and listened to it and signed off on it. I remember drinking a margarita with Will on Frankfort Ave once Shahzad left town. I said to him, “I cant believe its over!” To which he responded, “It’s only just started!” 

Will Oldham (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) says:

The title came from three places.  It’s the tagline for the Burt Lancaster movie TRAPEZE; it’s a mutation of the title of the awesome TV series WONDERSHOWZEN; and then our own brains loved and embraced it because it was always meant to be.  Emmett had been wrapping Bonny jams in brilliance for a number of years, and it felt like a good time to explore Cairo jams in a more fully collaborative approach, building the songs together from the ground up. I was spending a lot of time in Richmond, VA, working in a movie that eventually came out as NEW JERUSALEM, directed by Rick Alverson (who would soon direct a clip for the Bonny/Cairo jammer “New Wonder”).  In that film, I play a fundamentalist Christian, and the job required that I improvise all of my dialogue, so I was pretty deeply soaked in American Christianity at the time.  We recorded twelve songs.  In part due to the time limitations of a single LP and in part due to their sticking out a little bit, thematically and structurally, we cut two songs from the LP and simultaneously released a 7” single featuring those two songs, “You Win” and “Midday”.  My mom, Joanne, had made a lot of artwork over the years for various records.  At the time of WONDER SHOW, she was getting well into Alzheimer’s.  I asked that she make some work for the record that Emmett and I were making.  She was able to come up with a bunch of things, enough to use her spiral drawings for the full-length and a collage for the 7”.  Emmett’s dad, Chris, drew portraits of Emmett and I for the back covers of the LP and 7”.  Chris Kelly passed away soon after, and Joanne’s Alzheimer’s soon robbed her of her abilities to make further art, so the fine work that they did here represents, in tragic coincidence, the closing pieces of Chris Kelly’s and Joanne Oldham’s lives in art.

The last song on the record, “Kids”, was inspired by Piero Ciampi’sSporca Estate”, which we were asked to perform in Sicily in the year prior to the writing and recording of WONDER SHOW.

The record was made in the same little room where we made “Chijimi”.  The vocal/drum booth was a tiny cedar-lined closet that reminded us, sonically, of nothing less than the vocal booth in Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis, where the vocal sound of Al Green, Ann Peebles, and Syl Johnson was solidified.  Jim White had got us into that studio when we were in Memphis on tour.

Eventually, Bonnie Prince Billy & the Cairo Gang toured the USA and then toured the Netherlands.  Simona Dalla Valle made a documentary of the latter tour called THE ROYAL DUTCH TOUR.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy with The Cairo Gang – Island Brothers – Streaming Now

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Must Be Blind – Streaming Now

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – There Is No God – Streaming Now

Will Oldham first heard Kevin Coyne and Dagmar Krause’s BABBLE record from friends Rich Schuler (the original drummer for Louisville’s King Kong). He becameengrossed and enchanted, maybe a little obsessed, to the point where he began to envision covering the entire record from beginning to end. The biggest issue Oldham faced in undertaking this endeavor was that the music required a skilled, emotional, dynamic female singing counterpart, and he hadn’t yet met someone to perfectly fit the bill. He played the record for Emmett Kelly and Kelly was similarly compelled. Then one day Kelly called Oldham to say that he might have found a singer up to the task, a musician living in Chicago named Angel Olsen. Olsen made a demo of one of the BABBLE songs and sent it to Oldham. Trusting Kelly’s instinct along with what was evident on Olsen’s demo, Oldham asked Olsen to join the Babblers, which was the name being assigned to the ensemble who would convene to make the BABBLE project real. The full band would be Kelly, Olsen and keyboard player Ben Boye, all based out of Chicago; then Oldham, bassist Danny Kiely (of the Picket Line) and drummer Van Campbell (of the Black Diamond Heavies), all out of Louisville. The first task at hand for this band was to tour the BABBLE record. Oldham bought patterned fleece hoodie-footie pajamas for everyone in the band. Each musician had to bring his or her own stage lighting. Then a tour was booked. It was billed as a Bonnie Prince Billy tour with openers The Babblers out of Shreveport, LA. Promoters along the way were told that the two acts would share gear, and that Bonny’s tour manager would handle business for both the headliners and the openers. Audiences were not informed at all about who or what the Babblers would be. The tour was a musical success.

Next up, Oldham wanted to record three singles, each single representing a significant branch of the Bonny musical story at that time. The first single was a Bonnie Prince Billy & the Cairo Gang 10”, featuring two new songs, “Island Brothers” and “New Wonder” (a powerful video was shot for the latter song by filmmaker Rick Alverson). The aforementioned BABBLE sextet was the band, with a guest appearance from Rob Mazurek. The artwork was made up of photographs by New York Times photographer Damon Winter; the photos were from Winter’s coverage of the devastation wrought in Haiti by the massive earthquake of 2010.

Then, a Matt Sweeney & Bonnie Prince Billy 10” single was recorded in Nashville at the studio of David Ferguson, who also played bass. Sweeney and Oldham had each separately met Ferguson during their respective workings with Rick Rubin on the Johnny Cash American Recordings. The single included “Life in Muscle”, originally conceived for (but not used in) Richard Linklater’s film FAST FOOD NATION. The other side of the record was a new song for which Oldham and Sweeney switched hats: Sweeney wrote the words for “Must Be Blind” while Oldham was responsible for the music. The great Ronnie McCoury played mandolin on the session. The back cover photo features Sweeney and Oldham at the New Orleans JazzFest, with Lionel Richie performing live on the JumboTron screen in the distant background.

Finally, a third 10” single, credited simply to Bonnie Prince Billy, was recorded in Nashville by Mark Nevers. “God is Love” had been written along with THE LETTING GO songs but never fully recorded. “There Is No God” was written for an Oldham Brothers EP that was never completed. Ben Berman made a video for “There Is No God”, introducing the character of Zombie Bonnie, who would appear in many an Oldham/Berman collaboration as the years rolled on. A ringtone was made available of Rachel Korine and Cassie Berman singing the chorus of “There Is No God”. The cover art for this single was made up of monochromatic paintings by Tracy Nakayama.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Wolfroy Goes To Town – Streaming Now

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Quail & Dumplings – Streaming Now

In a first for him, Will Oldham scheduled a recording session and performed all of the material to be recorded PRIOR to the session itself. There was a free tour of Florida featuring Oldham with Emmett Kelly and Angel Olsen; all shows were at record stores and radio stations, no money changed hands. This helped the three singers work out some of their voice harmonies. There was also a show in Chicago’s Millenium Park at which all of the songs intended for WOLFROY GOES TO TOWN were performed. The band was the Babblers band: Oldham, Kelly, Olsen, Ben Boye, Van Campbell and Danny Kiely. For the recording, which took place in Louisville in the same small room that had previously hosted the recordings of “Chijimi” and THE WONDER SHOW OF THE WORLD, Shahzad Ismaily was brought in to oversee the engineering. The cover of WOLFROY was made by Sammy Harkham. The title comes from a painting by Lori Damiano. Two songs were recorded in Louisville later as B-sides to a “Quail & Dumplings” single (for which Ben Berman made a wonderful Polynesian video shot on Oahu). These were “Black Ice Cream”, which was written along with the LIE DOWN IN THE LIGHT group of songs but not recorded then, and “E Iesu”, a song sung in Hawaiian which was learned from a recording by Darren Benitez.



 

ARCTIC MONKEYS SHARE VIDEO FOR TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO

Arctic Monkeys | 23/07/18

Image: TBHC still

Arctic Monkeys release the title track from their current ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ album, today, Monday the 23rd of July.  The video for the track was directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown and shot in and around Reno, Nevada.

 

Stream ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ HERE

Download ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ HERE

The band’s new album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is out now, via all outlets – and is not only the band’s sixth consecutive number one album but also the fastest selling vinyl album of the last 25 years.


Forthcoming Arctic Monkeys dates are as follows:

SEPTEMBER

6 Thu       Manchester, Manchester Arena

7 Fri          Manchester, Manchester Arena                 

9 Sun        London, The O2

10 Mon      London, The O2         

12 Wed     London, The O2     

13 Thu      London, The O2                          

15 Sat         Birmingham, Birmingham Arena

16 Sun      Birmingham, Birmingham Arena

18 Tue        Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena

19 Wed      Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena  

21 Fri        Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena      

22 Sat       Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena                                  

24 Mon      Dublin, 3Arena

25 Tues     Dublin, 3Arena

27 Thu       Newcastle upon Tyne, Metro Radio Arena

28 Fri        Newcastle upon Tyne, Metro Radio Arena

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

 

CAT POWER TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'WANDERER'

Cat Power | 19/07/18

Image: Cat Power press shot

Cat Power to release new album Wanderer on October 5th

Global tour dates announced

Watch album trailer here

 

Cat Power, the vocalist, songwriter, musician, and producer Chan Marshall, will release her new album Wanderer on October 5th 2018, via Domino.

 

Watch an introduction to Wanderer here.

 

Produced in its entirety by Marshall, Wanderer includes appearances by longtime friends and compatriots, as well as guest vocals courtesy of friend and recent tour-mate Lana Del Rey. Written and recorded in Miami and Los Angeles over the course of the last few years, the new album Wanderer is a remarkable return from an iconic American voice. 

 

Wanderer’s 11 tracks encompass “my journey so far,” says Marshall. “The course my life has taken in this journey - going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me. Folk singers, blues singers, and everything in between.

They were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them.”

 

Cat Power will be touring internationally in support of the album. See below for all dates. Tickets will be on sale on Friday July 20th at 10am local from www.catpowermusic.com

 

Wanderer is available to pre-order now on limited pressing baby blue vinyl with exclusive 7”, CD, and digital download. Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital

 

Album tracklisting

  1. Wanderer
  2. In Your Face
  3. You Get
  4. Woman (feat. Lana Del Rey)
  5. Horizon
  6. Stay
  7. Black
  8. Robbin Hood
  9. Nothing Really Matters
  10. Me Voy
  11. Wanderer / Exit


Cat Power Tour Dates

Sat Sept 15 - Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest

Tues Sept 25 - Berkeley, CA @ The Greek Theatre *

Thurs Sept 27 - Philadelphia, PA @ Mann Center for the Performing Arts *

Fri Sept 28 - Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion *

Sun Sept 30 - New York, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium ^

Fri Oct 5 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

Sat Oct 6 - South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground

Mon Oct 8 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre

Tues Oct 9 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall

Thurs Oct 11 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater

Fri Oct 12 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall

Sat Oct 13 - Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage

Tues Oct 23 – London, UK @ Roundhouse

Thurs Oct 25 – Paris, FR @ Le Trianon

Fri Oct 26 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique

Sun Oct 28 – Berlin, GE @ Astra

Mon Oct 29 – Zurich, SW @ X-Tra

Tues Oct 30 – Lausanne, SW @ Les Docks

Thurs Nov 1 – Barcelona, SP @ Razzamatazz

Fri Nov 2 – Madrid, SP @ Circo Price

Mon Nov 5 – Bologna, IT @ Estragon

Tues Nov 6 – Milan, IT @ Alcatraz

Sat Nov 17 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox

Sun Nov 18 - Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater

Wed Nov 21 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Fri Nov 23 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC

Sat Nov 24 - San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park

Sun Nov 25 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren

Tues Nov 27 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s

Wed Nov 28 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall

Thurs Nov 29 - Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater

Wed Dec 19 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre

* with The National

 

Cat Power Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

BLOOD ORANGE ANNOUNCES FOURTH ALBUM 'NEGRO SWAN'

Blood Orange | 19/07/18

Image: Blood Orange press shot

BLOOD ORANGE
Negro Swan

Out August 24th, 2018

 

Producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist Devonté Hynes returns with his fourth album as Blood Orange, Negro Swan, released on Domino on August 24, 2018.

 

Raised in England, Hynes started out as a teenage punk in the UK band Test Icicles before releasing two orchestral acoustic pop records as Lightspeed Champion.  In 2011, he released Coastal Grooves, the first of three solo albums under the moniker Blood Orange.  His last album, Freetown Sound, was released to critical acclaim in 2016, and saw Hynes defined as one of the foremost musical voices of his time, receiving comparisons to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo for his own searing and soothing personal document of life as a black man in America.  He has collaborated with Solange Knowles, Skepta, fka twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, A$AP Rocky, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Blondie, and many other artists, and was recently one of four artists invited to the Kennedy Center to perform alongside Philip Glass.  In addition to his production work, he scored the film Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola.

 

Negro Swan was written and produced by Hynes. Says Hynes:

 

“My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.  A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all.  The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.”

 

Negro Swan will be available on August 24th 2018, with LP to follow.  The Domino Mart deluxe double LP is pressed on limited edition gold vinyl with a double sided 24 x 36 poster, and comes with MP3s. The indie retail version deluxe double LP is pressed on orange vinyl. Pre-order the album  digitally here or from the Domino Mart here.

 

Hynes will be touring in support of Negro Swan this fall.  The tour dates are below.

 

Sat July 21 - Chicago, IL - Union Park, Pitchfork Music Festival

Sun Aug 5 - Montreal, QC - Parc Jean-Drapeau, Osheaga Festival

Fri Sept 14 - Vancouver, BC - The Orpheum, Westward Music Festival

Sat Sept 15 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre

Sun Sept 16 - Portland, OR - Roseland

Thurs Sept 20 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre

Fri Sept 21 Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre

Sat Sept 22 - Las Vegas, NV - Downtown Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful Festival

Wed Sept 26 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage

Thurs Sept 27 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore

Fri Sept 28 - Washington, DC - Lincoln Theatre

Mon Oct 1 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall

Tue Oct 2 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall

Sat Oct 6 - Austin, TX - Zilker Park, Austin City Limits

Sat Oct 13 - Austin, TX - Zilker Park, Austin City Limits

Mon Oct 29 - London, UK - O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Tue Oct 30 - Amsterdam, NL - Melkweg

Fri Nov 2 - Paris, FR - Grande Halle de la Villette - Pitchfork Music Festival

Sat Nov 3 - Sun Nov 4 - Turin, IT - Lingotto Fiere, Club To Club Festival

Tues Nov 6 – Berlin, DE – Columbia Theatre

Wed Nov 7 - Sat Nov 10 -  Reykjavík, Iceland - Iceland Airwaves Festival

Thursday Nov 8 – Copenhagen, DK – The Grey Hall

 

WEBSITE || FACEBOOK || INSTAGRAM

 

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE ANNOUNCE NEW AUDIOVISUAL ALBUM TANGERINE REEF

Animal Collective | 16/07/18

Image: Animal Collective - Tangerine Reef album cover 72dpi

Tangerine Reef is a full-length audiovisual album by Animal Collective (Avey Tare, Deakin and Geologist), in collaboration with Coral Morphologic, to commemorate the 2018 International Year of the Reef. Tangerine Reef is a visual tone poem consisting of time-lapse and slow pans across surreal aquascapes of naturally fluorescent coral and cameos by alien-like reef creatures (note: no CGI or artificial enhancement was used in this film). Tangerine Reef is the sight and sound of a literal underwater collective of animals.

Tangerine Reef will be released on streaming audio services, CD, and 2xLP on August 17, 2018. The full-length film will be released on the same date at the band’s website myanimalhome.net. A limited edition color 2xLP is available to pre-order now from the Animal Collective Domino Mart store. 

Pre-order here.

Watch the music video directed by John McSwain and Coral Morphologic for “Hair Cutter” exclusively on Apple Music HERE.

 

1. Hair Cutter

2. Buffalo Tomato

3. Inspector Gadget

4. Buxom

5. Coral Understanding

6. Airpipe (To A New Transition)

7. Jake And Me

8. Coral By Numbers

9. Hip Sponge

10. Coral Realization

11. Lundsten Coral

12. Palythoa

13. Best Of Times (Worst Of All)

 

2006 - 2008, STREAMING NOW

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | 03/07/18

Image: Bonnie 2008

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go - Streaming Now

If they hadn’t before, the Bonnie recording sessions by 2006 started to resemble the assemble-the-team movie genre a la THE DIRTY DOZEN or THE DOGS OF WAR.  Here’s how the LETTING GO team members, all experts in their own spheres of musical excellence, came to be a part of the recording session that yielded such a record.

Of course, Paul Oldham was deeply enmeshed in the Bonny zone, having recorded and/or played on almost all of the Bonny sessions up to this point.  Jim White had worked with Will Oldham on multiple tours and recording sessions.  The newcomers were Emmett Kelly, Valgeir Sigurdsson and Dawn McCarthy.

Oldham had met Kelly on numerous occasions, always in Chicago, always late at night at the Rainbo Club.  It’s not what you think, although it would be fine if it were.  It wasn’t until Kelly came through Louisville as part of Azita Youssefi’s touring band that Oldham realized what kind of power Kelly had at his disposal. He asked Emmett to join the session, sending him demos for the songs as well as a copy of WORLD LIBRARY OF FOLK AND PRIMITIVE MUSIC VOLUME V: YUGOSLAVIA and asked that Emmett attempt to fuse the two in his mind.

Oldham had met Bjork through Harmony Korine, and eventually Bjork invited Oldham to join her tour as an opening act.  During this tour, Oldham got to know musician/producer/recording engineer Valgeir SigurdssonValgeir suggested that they tackle a project together, and the idea was filed away.  Oldham and Valgeir met again when Bjork and Matthew Barney asked Oldham to record the voice part for a piece on their collaborative film-and-music project DRAWING RESTRAINT 9Valgeir was the engineer on that session, and once again brought up the idea of working together on something.  Oldham had just been building the collection of songs that would be THE LETTING GO, and leapt at the chance to bring the songs to Valgeir’s Greenhouse studio in Reykjavik.

Dawn McCarthy’s main public musical endeavors existed under the name FAUN FABLES.  Oldham had first heard FF’s MOTHER TWILIGHT record in the house of a Seattle audience member who had allowed the Bonny band to pitch tents in his back yard after a show.  It was a life-changing moment for Will.  He soon contacted McCarthy and asked if Faun Fables might be willing and able to open some shows on a Bonny tour.  She agreed, and came along as a solo act, traveling in the Bonny van (the “Freedom Joint”) together with the whole band.  Will and Dawn worked out the Everly BrothersSo Sad (to Watch Good Love Go Bad)”, which they performed together during the tour.  Dawn the Faun’s mysteries only got huger, to Oldham, so he invited her to come work on a slew of new songs.  He sent her demos of the songs that he’d recorded onto a handheld cassette player.  She brought the demos with her on a Faun Fables tour and began to work out her parts, which she then laid down using a cassette 4-track machine.  When Oldham heard the first moments of Dawn’s demos, he knew the record was going to work.

On the way to Iceland, Oldham played a couple of shows in Venice, Italy with Current 93.  At one of the shows, he played most of the new songs about to be recorded in Rejkyavik.  It was winter of 2005, and the nights in Iceland were long indeed.  The assembled musicians got to work.  Once acceptable takes were gathered for all of the songs, everyone piled into a car and drove into the wilderness, to a cabin owned by Valgeir’s family.  Valgeir cooked a feast of whale meat, and the recordings were listened to.  There was satisfaction in this listening session.  It should be noted that each band member plays a keyboard solo on at least one song on the record.

Everybody flew home.  Oldham and Valgeir agreed that many of the songs called for string arrangements.  Oldham suggested his cousin Ryder McNair as an arranger, and Valgeir suggested composer Nico Muhly.  They compromised and sent the recordings to both arrangers, agreeing to listen to the results with open minds.  In the end, two each of McNair’s and Muhly’s were the obvious best choices, while the arrangements of both were put into play for “The Seedling”Oldham came back to Iceland for the recording of the strings and for the mixing of the record.

During the break between tracking and mixing, Oldham had found a book called GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT on a remainder table at a book store.  The title struck him, because Oldham recognized it as a lyric from the Mekons song “Oblivion” (he didn’t recognize it as an Emily Dickinson line, which is its original provenance).  He brought the book with him to the mixing sessions, and buried his nose in it while Valgeir twiddled knobs.  The record was originally going to be called WAI, but Oldham was concerned that such a title was more than a little confusing.  It was from the pages of Chip Brown’s GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT that the title for THE LETTING GO was fixed upon, as well as the title for the song “Then the Letting Go” (originally titled “Letting Go of a Little Girl”).  There were many Emily Dickinson tie-ins, many unintentional.  The last track on the record (not counting the ‘hidden’ cover of “Ebb Tide”) is “I Called You Back”; Oldham later learned that the epitaph on Dickinson’s headstone reads “Called Back”.

The cover photographs for THE LETTING GO were taken on the windward side of Oahu by Oldham.  British artist Becky Blair painted paintings for the artwork.  Three TV commercials were made with Neil Hamburger prior to the release of the record.  Videos were made by Oscar Parsons, Jennifer Parsons, and Will Oldham for “Strange Form of Life” and “Ebb Tide”, by Andy Bruntel for “Cursed Sleep”, "The Seedling" video by Aran Reo Mann and by Vernon Chatham and John Lee for “Lay and Love”.  Coincidentally, BPB was asked to perform on the Conan O’Brian show on the release day, September 11th 2006.  The band for this performance included Jim White, Matt Sweeney, Paul Oldham and Andrew WK, and they played “Strange Form of Life”.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Ask Forgiveness - Streaming Now

Like GREATEST PALACE MUSIC before it, ASK FORGIVENESS was more explicitly a master class than a regular record-building session.  In the case of the former, Mark Nevers facilitated an experience in which Will Oldham could butt heads, in the best of ways, with the seasoned and storied top-tier session musicians of Nashville.  And the meat of those sessions was that interaction and the subsequent interactions with Oldham’s friends and comrades on previously-recorded songs.  ASK FORGIVENESS was about working with Meg Baird and Greg Weeks, both then of the group EspersOldham had seen Espers perform in Santa Monica at McCabe’s, on a bill with Michael Hurley. Listening to the Espers records, he was particularly taken by their collection of covers THE WEED TREE.  And so he figured to ask Weeks and Baird if they’d join him in tackling a set of other people’s songs, just as an opportunity to working the same room with them on somewhat equal footing.  Further, Oldham thought it would be good to collect others’ songs that focused specifically on first-person identity themes, songs including Phil Ochs’My Life” and Glenn Danzig’sAm I Demon?”  These were songs that had been in Oldham’s brain for most of his life; a song Frank Sinatra had popularized, “Cycles”, had been in Oldham’s record collection since before his voice broke.  Oldham mashed up two Merle Haggard hits here, “The Way I Am” (written by Sonny Throckmorton) and “I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am”, in the middle of which medley he jammed a line from the Mekons’ “(Sometimes I Feel Like) Fletcher Christian”. The record was recorded in Week’s studio in Philadelphia during a very hot summer.  The mastering engineer was Paul Hammond, who went over the sparse takes with a fine toothcomb with Oldham by his side, mouth agape.  Lori D drew some of the artwork elements and designed the poster.  The front cover is a pencil drawing of Oldham, intended to mimic the solipsism of the songs’ subject matters.  The pencil artist was a high school classmate of Oldham’s, Timothy StillOldham and Still had not seen each other in many years; Oldham found one of Still’s business cards advertising his artistic skills pinned to a bulletin board in southern Indiana.  Also featured in the artwork were photographs that Oldham had taken of kids in Kashmir and Ladakh many years earlier.

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Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Wai Notes - Streaming Now

Dawn McCarthy’s work on the demos for THE LETTING GO are very special.  Though the sound quality is objectively poor, the artistry on display is epic.  It’s understandable that for a small but strong audience, audio fidelity is hardly a matter worth discussing; we get the music however we can, however it exists.  With this in mind, it was decided that a small run (though not small enough, as there are still physical copies available) of the Oldham/McCarthy demos be pressed as a CD, under the title WAI NOTES (WAI being the original intended title of THE LETTING GO).  The artwork is by Magnus Johnstone, then of Blue Hill, Maine.  Oldham had learned of Johnstone’s MANGA zine through artist Spencer SweeneyOldham had commissioned pieces from Johnstone before for t-shirts and for the Amalgamated Sons of Rest EP (made with Alasdair Roberts and Jason Molina).  WAI NOTES features most of the songs from THE LETTING GO, plus the song “God is Love” which was later rewritten, rerecorded, and released as the b-side of the “There Is No God” single.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down In The Light - Streaming Now

When Will Oldham was working with Andy Bruntel on the “Cursed Sleep” video in Atascadero, CA, he got a telephone call from his mother announcing that his father had died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  This event began a distinct shift in color and practice for Bonny endeavors.  Oldham advanced to Louisville, KY to see what was what.  He decided to buy a house there, and to lay low for a spell.  The first time he ventured out of Louisville after his father’s death, it was at the invitation of Mark Nevers, who asked Oldham to come to Nashville to sing “Knoxville Girl” with Charlie Louvin for a new Louvin record.  Oldham went to Nevers’ Beech House studio and sang his parts on the same day that George Jones came in to sing with Louvin.  The experience reminded Oldham that Nevers’ place was a strong and safe fortress for music-making, and seeds were planted for the planning of the making of the next full-length record, LIE DOWN IN THE LIGHT.

Since THE LETTING GO, Oldham had done a tour of Switzerland and Italy as a duo with Alex Nielson playing drums (Oldham had met Nielson during the recording of Alasdair Roberts’ NO EARTHLY MAN in Aberdeenshire, Scotland).  At Bad Bonn in Dudingen, Switzerland, Nielson and Oldham played a show with Faun Fables, who were themselves touring as the duo of Dawn McCarthy and Shahzad Ismaily, with Ismaily on drums.  Faun Fables and Bonny Billy did a few Swiss shows together, and over that time a friendship and musical connection grew between Oldham and Ismaily.

Then on a longer and more ambitious tour of the western USA and Canada (documented somewhat on the live CD WILDING IN THE WEST), Oldham met Ashley Webber when she opened a show in Victoria on Vancouver Island.  He had never heard a voice quite like Webber’s.  Once home in Kentucky, he began to construct duets with the hope that Webber would be able and willing to record them with him.  They corresponded, and she agreed.

Also during this period, Oldham had played a small part in a film called WENDY AND LUCY, directed by Kelly Reichardt.  On set, he met Katy Kolego, who was working in the production crew.  He asked her to come to Nashville to be the production coordinator for the recording session.  She got everybody there and kept every body fed and comfortable.

Emmett Kelly (guitar), Paul Oldham (bass), Shahzad Ismaily (percussion), and Ashley Webber (voice) joined Oldham at Beech House for the recording of LIE DOWN IN THE LIGHT.  The songs tackled were all Oldham constructions except for “I’ll Be Glad”, which was written by Shannon StephensJai Agnish, of Flygirl magazine, had sent Stephens’ music to Oldham a few years before.

Marty Slayton returned to sing as part of the choir.  Nevers brought Pete Finney in to play pedal steel; it thrilled Oldham to no end learning that Finney worked regularly with one of Oldham’s heroes, Patty LovelessNevers close friend and colleague Tony Crow brought his keyboard magic to the table, and Oldham first worked with percussionist Ben Martin on these sessions as well.

Oldham was familiar with Scott Colburn’s work on Sun City Girls’ records and hired Colburn to master this new record.  Paul Oldham remixed “Keep Eye on Other’s Gain” in Shelbyville, KY.

The front cover of the record was drawn by Joanne Oldham, Will’s mother.  She had long been fascinated by Gauguin’s paintings of Jacob wrestling with the angel, demanding salvation.  It was Will’s intention to photographically pay tribute to Gustave Courbet’sL’Origine du Monde” for the inside artwork; ultimately he balked at the self-set challenge.  Still, he asked his mother to modify Courbet’sThe Wrestlers” so that it depicted, with a wildly unnatural color palette, the biblical Jacob story.

The whole idea behind the making of the record is wrapped up in its title; when in doubt, Oldham defaulted to a relaxed acceptance of good energy and momentum as often as possible.  The record was released quietly; most of the promotional capital was spent on bus-bench advertisements in cities around the country.  No review copies were sent out, nor announcements made in advance of the record’s release.


 

PRAM ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'ACROSS THE MERIDIAN'

Pram | 13/06/18

Image: Pram press shot

PRAM

Announce new album, Across the Meridian, out July 20th 2018

Share new track ‘Shimmer and Disappear’ –Watch and Listen HERE

 

Domino is pleased to mark the return of Pram.  Across The Meridian, released on Friday the 20th of July, is a celebration of Pram’s unique vision, focused into a beautifully constructed and tautly produced soundworld.  Across The Meridian is their first album since 2007’s The Moving Frontier

As with their previous albums, Across the Meridian mixes instrumentals and songs, weaving a gleeful path through the musical territory of film scores, 30s jazz, sun-drenched pop, electronica, and post-punk experimentation. Haunting and wistful vocals are set to a variety of soundscapes, sometimes appearing as a snatched fragment of the subconscious and dreamlike, at others crafting a story of longing or regret, drawing the listener into Pram’s uncanny world through the mirror. Newcomers to Pram will find a richly detailed collage of influences ranging from exotica, Krautrock and the forgotten film soundtracks that went on to inspire contemporaries Stereolab & Broadcast.

The band convened at the remote Foel studios in Wales to improvise on ideas and record some bases for tracks, before finishing them in their studio in Birmingham. Pram have a working process that has developed over many years and reflects shifts in band personnel and technological advancements. Across The Meridian is a testament to the band embracing these new approaches without losing any of their original allure.

The band line up now consists of Matt Eaton, Sam Owen, Max Simpson and Harry Dawes.

Tracklisting

Shimmer and Disappear

Thistledown

Electra

Wave of Translation

Shadow in Twilight

Ladder to the Moon

The Midnight Room

Footprints Towards Zero

Mayfly

Sailing Stones

Where the Sea Stops Moving

Doll’s Eyes

Across The Meridian will be available on deluxe edition silver LP, standard LP, CD and download.

Pram will play at London's The Lexington on Sunday 22nd July. Tickets are available here

 

VILLAGERS ANNOUNCE FOURTH ALBUM 'THE ART OF PRETENDING TO SWIM'

Villagers | 11/06/18

Image: VILLAGERS Launch Photo - pc Rich Gilligan -  hi res 620

Always restless and inventive while always true to the power and glory of songwriting and melody, Conor O’Brien has made another great leap forward with Villagers’ fourth studio album, The Art Of Pretending To Swim, released by Domino on Friday 21st September. 

Following the exquisitely sparse, intimate aura of 2015’s Darling Arithmetic, O’Brien’s new record reconnects with the multi-faceted approach of Villagers’ 2010 album debut Becoming A Jackal and 2013’s {Awayland} while adding a new-found soulfulness, rhythmic nous and dazzling panoply of sonic detail, both analogue and digital, creating feverish moods while writing effortlessly accessible tunes. Balanced with subtle aspects and lyrical themes that embrace existential fears and hopes in this desperate, technologically-centred dystopian age, The Art Of Pretending To Swim is the most brilliantly realised Villagers album to date.

The album was written, produced, mixed and primarily performed by Conor O’Brien in his Dublin studio.

Watch the video for 'A Trick of The Light' below.

The video for ‘A Trick of the Light’, the first single from the album, was directed by Bob Gallagher. Conor says of the collaboration:

Myself and Bob got together and discussed the song thematically and came to the conclusion that there was no other option but to make a short film in which we follow a dishevelled shamanistic protagonist who mysteriously triggers an altered state of consciousness in everyone he meets, or at least believes that he does. We also wanted lots of dancing and to inspire a general feeling of "what the hell did I just watch?" in the viewer. 

O’Brien has a string of accolades under his belt including two Ivor Novello Awards (the most recent being 2016’s Album Award for Darling Arithmetic), two Mercury Music Prize nominations and is also a previous winner of Ireland’s Choice Music Prize. 

Additionally, Villagers’ music recently featured in the high profile HBO drama ‘Big Little Lies’, Conor has collaborated with the composer Nico Muhly (that track featuring in the forthcoming Paulo Sorrentino Berlusconi biopic ‘Loro 2’) and Villagers’ Spotify session of ‘Nothing Arrived’ has hit over 100 million streams.

Tracklisting:

  1. Again
  2. A Trick Of The Light
  3. Sweet Saviour
  4. Long Time Waiting
  5. Fool
  6. Love Came With All That It Brings
  7. Real Go-Getter
  8. Hold Me Down
  9. Ada

 

The Art Of Pretending To Swim is available to pre-order on Domino Mart-exclusive deluxe LP (includes 10” of a 12-minute version of ‘Ada’ and B-side ‘This Is The Art Of Pretending To Swim’ plus signed lyric booklet), Deluxe LP (includes ‘Ada’/’ This Is The Art Of Pretending To Swim’ 10”), Standard LP, CD and Digitally. Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital

 

2003 - 2005, STREAMING NOW

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | 11/06/18

Image: Bonnie 2005

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master And Everyone - Streaming Now

I SEE A DARKNESS and EASE DOWN THE ROAD sessions had ultimately proceeded well, and so Will Oldham mapped out a third full-length recording session with a similar process concept in place.  This new record would be made over the course of a month in Shelbyville at Paul Oldham’s Rove Studios with musicians coming and going for their respective tracking sessions.  For basic tracking, NY-based guitarist Alan Licht, Baltimoron bassist Drew Nelson and Belgian drummer Thomas Van Cottom were flown in and recording began.  To ease into the session and get good sounds down, a cover of Glen Campbell’sLess of Me” (learned from Roger Miller’s TENDER LOOK AT LOVE LP) was tracked.  A few originals were attempted, but the results didn’t feel right to Will, and he reluctantly pulled the plug on the whole session, sending this amazing ensemble back to their respective homes scratching their heads.  What was wrong with the proceedings?  Probably Oldham missed having a collaborator at the helm with him, looking at the big picture.  EASE had been a very satisfying experience with David Pajo co-overseeing the shaping of the record.  A conversation with David Berman persuaded Will to call producer/engineer Mark Nevers in Nashville to see if something could be done about saving the record.  Nevers had time available at his Beech House studio, so Will and Paul drove down to Music City, USA to start fresh.  Nevers brought in Paul Burch to play drums.  After a couple of days’ worth of recording, Will again felt that the songs weren’t coming together correctly.  Burch was dismissed, and the tracking began again from scratch with just brothers Will and Paul (on bass) playing the songs.  It was rudimentary, but the songs were coming across and so all proceeded until the ten songs were on tape.  Paul Oldham went home, and Nevers began to introduce Will to some of his intimate musical community, as well as to methods of studio recording in Nashville.  Nevers and Oldham would discuss arrangements, and then Nevers would get on the horn and bring in one pro or another.  Most significantly, Nevers introduced Oldham to keyboardist Tony Crow and guitarist William TylerOldham wanted a woman to sing on the record.  Nevers asked Oldham to describe what he was looking for, and Oldham said he wished for someone who combined the timbre and expressiveness of Dolly Parton and Sandy Denny.  It was up to Nevers to explain this to the singer’s union over the phone.  They recommended Marty Slayton, so Nevers called her and she came and threw down.  Watching Slayton work, Oldham realized what he wanted to be when he grew up.

With Nevers doing the heavy lifting, he and Oldham mixed the record in a few days.  It was done, but it had been an awkward and jarring experience overall for Oldham.  The songs and their recording had not been easy.  For months, Oldham listened to the mixes, convinced that they weren’t releaseable.  He thought to pare the collection down to six songs and release it as an EP titled IT’S EXPECTED I’M GONE, after the Minutemen song (which Oldham later recorded with Tortoise).  He’d become acquainted with Marianne Faithfull through Matt SweeneyOldham sent Faithfull the full ten songs, and she encouraged him to release the record as a full-length. 

He was still on the fence.  When the session was slated to go down in Shelbyville at Rove, Sarah DeVincentis was scheduled to come in and sing.  She’d joined the Bonny band for it’s first of three annual tours with RainyWood (who transmogrified into Brightblack by the third tour), an all-camping venture down the west coast of the USA (a 7” was recorded during this tour, “Barcelona” b/w “We All, Us Three, Will Ride”).  A couple of months after the Nashville session, Oldham joined DeVincentis and her family on a surfing excursion in Biarritz, where the cold and rain and generally poor surfing conditions kept everyone indoors.  Oldham played DeVincentis the MASTER AND EVERYONE recordings, and her positive (or at least non-negative) reaction pushed Oldham towards the decision to put out MASTER AND EVERYONE as the full ten-song record it is.

The front cover of the record is a photograph by Steve Gullick taken in a London hotel room.  Oldham commissioned his mother Joanne to make the back cover.  He asked her to render a blue jay.  She had just been to Alaska and was inspired by Russian iconographic works in the churches there, and so she rendered her jay in stylized two-dimensionality with a golden halo around its head.  Sammy Harkham painted a work for the record as well.  Harkham worked up pieces based on paltry notes provided by Will, coming up once again with inspired brilliance.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Happy Child / Forest Time - Streaming Now

A couple of little orphan songs were birthed in 2002, and Will Oldham felt strongly that they would be well-served by a release through channels familiar with Bonnie Prince Billy and Palace Musics.  One of these was “Forest Time”, commissioned as musical accompaniment to a small pressing of photographs by artist Erik Wesselo.  The song was recorded on home multitrack hard drive thingamajig at Oldham’s Baltimore house.  The other song, “Happy Child”, was released on a record by Tweaker.  Oldham had been approached by Tweaker’s Chris Vrenna to write lyrics and vocal melody for an instrumental bed that Tweaker had created.  The singing was recorded by Paul Leary in Austin Texas.  The cover art for the release of these two songs as a CD single was culled from paintings that Sammy Harkham had made for MASTER AND EVERYONE.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Greatest Palace Music - Streaming Now

Recording engineer/producer Mark Nevers had introduced Will Oldham to the wonderful community of Nashville session musicians during the sessions for MASTER AND EVERYONENevers noted how impressed Oldham was with how things could work at a Nashville session and suggested to Oldham that they reconvene for a future record for which Nevers would book a whole crew of A-team musicians.  Oldham first conceived of bringing in a pile of cover songs culled from the breezy pop charts of the 1970s; songs from Meat Loaf, Journey, Elton John, REO Speedwagon.  He figured to pare the fat off of the popular arrangements and build them back from the ground up, inspired in part by Dolly Parton’s cover of “Time For Me to Fly” on her WHITE LIMOZEEN record.  As the months passed, this idea transmogrified into the concept of covering Oldham’s own “hits”, bringing repertoire from Palace records formally into the Bonnie Prince Billy arsenal.  Oldham had learned that names can be confusing and misleading to the listening public, and thought he ought to record the evolution of the songs, introducing them to the BPB audience for now and future.  Drag City asked audiences to submit their favorite Palace jams for possible inclusion in this endeavor.

True to his word, Nevers assembled a mighty crew of seasoned pickers at the notorious Castle recording studio in Franklin, Tennessee.  Eddie Bayers played drums, Hargus Robbins played piano, Stuart Duncan played fiddle and mandolin.  Union rules were observed, with a few songs allowed per 4-hour session.  Things went fast.  Oldham’s head spun, gleefully.  After three days, 18 songs had been tracked with bass, drums, fiddle, mandolin, piano, and guitars, along with all of the lead vocals (except for “New Partner”, which vocals Oldham would re-sing later).

The next step, overdubbing, took months.  Oldham wanted to bring in many of the musical forces who had been crucial to the life of these songs. He brought the recordings to Milwaukee so that Colin Gagon could throw down some accordion and trombone parts; Anomoanon members Jack Carneal, Ned Oldham, and Aram Stith were recorded remotely.  Sessions occurred at Paul Oldham’s Rove Studios and at Nevers’ Beech HouseCynthia Hopkins, of Gloria Deluxe, played and sang.  Duets of a sort were recorded; David Berman joined in on the singing of “No More Workhorse Blues” (a song inspired by Berman) and Marty Slayton helped turn “Agnes Queen of Sorrows” into a functioning duet.  A few songs were scrapped from the final running order.  Oldham had been unhappy with the singing he did on “New Partner” in the initial sessions  He asked Berman to coach him for the vocal retake, which Berman did with aplomb.  Matt Sweeney came to Nashville and recorded his inimitable guitar moves and even sang a bit here and there.  William Tyler and Tony Crow were back, Bobby Bare Jr. joined in on some singing, Ned Oldham played and sang, Andrew Bird fiddled and whistled, DV DeVincentis blew his sax.

Loathe to travel and/or endure video production days, Oldham videotaped himself singing a few of the songs from the collection and sent the resulting clips to film-maker friends Harmony Korine and Braden King (he’d also sent the sole copy of his duet-with-a-puppet clip for “Agnes” to Geoff McFetridge but the tape was lost in the mail).  Korine conceived of and shot his short film for “Pushkin”. When Oldham saw it, he was both blown-away and inspired.  He asked Korine to re-fit the piece to “No More Workhorse Blues” instead of “Pushkin”.  Korine did so, and truly a mighty work is the final result.  Braden King shot an epically playful piece for “Horses” which remains vibrant and loved.

The front cover for GREATEST PALACE MUSIC is dominated by a painting by McLean Stith.  The back cover is a close-up photograph of Bonny Billy taken in a Montauk motel room.  The inside artwork was rendered by Patsy Desmond.  The vinyl edition featured three sides of playable music, with side four featuring a vinyl etching by Savage PencilBob Arellano wrote the liner notes.

Artist Kyle Field created artwork for the promotional poster.

Two physical singles were released, one for “Agnes”(again with art from Kyle Field) and one for “No More Workhorse Blues”.  Bonus tracks on these singles included a Mariah Carey cover, a Judee Sill cover, a new collaboration with Tweaker, and an outtake from the GREATEST PALACE MUSIC session.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney - Superwolf - Streaming Now

Smoke was clearing for Will Oldham from the elaborations of GREATEST PALACE MUSIC.  Digging into the older songs had a left a brain free and wandering.  For Matt Sweeney, a separate kind of smoke was dissipating, as a years-long musical collaboration with David Pajo and Paz Lenchantin had come to a close.  Sweeney had been string-tickling in another’s wheelhouse, and his own was getting restless.  Oldham had a solo show booked in London (England) and came up with a kernel of an idea, in the form of an email with the subject of “Challenge”: would Sweeney be able and willing to collaborate on some new songs in time to debut them at this London gig together, as a two-man effort? Say, three songs? So they woodshedded separately and came up with “Beast For Thee”, “What Are You” and “I Gave You” in time to perform them at Shepherds Bush Empire together. They were late getting to the show due to stopping to see their colleague David Blaine who was weeks into being suspended in a box without food for 44 days- Steve Gullick’s photo of Oldham re-stringing a guitar last minute in the taxi was no pose. Both men felt good about what they had done at the concert and figured to pursue this process further.  They met up again in New Orleans, performing many old songs and some new at the El Matador and holing up for days at the Frenchman Hotel to hash out more songs.  Days and weeks wore on, they scheduled a session with Paul Oldham at the farmhouse studio in Shelbyville, KY.  They toured their way to Shelbyville from New York, playing shows at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn and Baltimore’s Ottobar.  Landing in Kentucky, they got down to business.  Pete Townsend was brought in to throw down drums on a few of the songs.  Friend Nicky Katt had strongly recommended that they watch the Vietnam vengeance movie ROLLING THUNDER, a suggestion that proved creatively crucial to “Blood Embrace”.  Artwork was rendered by Matt and his cousin Spencer Sweeney.  The poster for SUPERWOLF is a wax painting made by Brian “Babyleg” Deran.  A Calabasas-located music video was made by Mike Piscitelli for “I Gave You”.  The week of the album’s release saw two-man Superwolf shows at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 2 sold out nights at Big Sur’s Fernwood Inn and an in-store performance at Amoeba Records on Haight Street in San Francisco. A CD single for “I Gave You” was released with an outtake from the SUPERWOLF session, “My Circle”, along with two new songs, “Birch Ballad” and “Four Screams”.  On tour, the ensemble would also perform a cover of the Walker Brothers’ “Inside of You”. The European tours around the album featured Alex Neilson on drums, Azita Youssefi on keyboards, Ben Chasny on guitar and Paul Oldham on bass. A psychedelicized headlining show at the Montreux Jazz Festival in The Miles Davis theater happened. There was a BBC session at the end of the tour with the Chasny lineup.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Summer in the Southeast - Streaming Now

In the early 2000’s, a band from Alabama called Rainywood contacted Will Oldham, expressing an interest in playing some shows.  It was agreed upon to undertake a tour of the west coast of the USA, Rainywood and Bonnie Prince Billy, an all-camping, all-swimming, all-surfing and/or hot springing journey from Washington state to Solana Beach, CA.  A good time was had by all, and it was agreed that the following summer a similar trip be undertaken, this time through the mountains and deserts to the east of the previous year’s trek.  Rainywood morphed into Brightblack (and ultimately Brightblack Morning Light), the Bonny Billy band rotated musicians in and out and back again, and once again a good time was achieved.  It was on the first of these trips that Oldham came into contact with the musics of Faun Fables and Joanna Newsom, and it was on the second of these trips that Newsom and Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables joined the bill for many of the tour’s shows.  2004 brought the third annual trip of this kind, this time rolling along the southern states of the USA from west to east, beginning in Texas and ending in North Carolina.  A split EP was recorded by Brightblack and Bonny Billy, called PEBBLES AND RIPPLESBrightblack gave Bonny three songs to cover and Bonny returned the challenge.  The Bonny band on this stretch featured David Bird and Matt Sweeney on electric guitars, Ryder McNair playing all keys, b singing and playing an acoustic guitar, with the powerhouse I SEE A DARKNESS rhythm team of Paul Oldham (bass) and Peter Townsend (drums).  Pink Nasty had arranged and recorded Bonny’sMay It Always Be” previously, and it was this rendition that she performed during this tour. Paul Oldham had to miss the final two shows and Aram Stith filled in on bass for those.  The previous years’ outings had been so fine and rollicking that Oldham invited engineer Kris Poulin along to record the shows, with the idea of making a live record out of the resulting recordings.  Will and Paul pored over the recordings for months after.  Will had thought to assemble the record from multiple shows, stitching the songs together into one flowing set.  Originally he’d thought to approach the piece like GET YER YA-YAS OUT (and most big live records from the previous decade or two), taking liberties with the idea of “live” by adding overdubs when the recording just didn’t translate.  However, they found the collection worked without more recording.  All of the manipulations had to do with selecting and sequencing songs from different shows to accommodate the new context.  The photographs on the cover of SUMMER IN THE SOUTHEAST come from a trip that Oldham took with Todd Brashear to Argentina.  Drawings inside were by Able Brown.  The record came out on Drag City’s ‘bootleg’ label, SEA NOTE.




 

NEW ALBUM HUNTER OUT 31ST AUGUST

Anna Calvi | 06/06/18

Image: Anna Calvi - Hunter packshot

Hunter, the third long player from from the BRIT award and double Mercury Music Prize-nominated Anna Calvi, will be released on 31st August 2018 via Domino.

Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Grinderman) at Konk Studios in London with some further production in LA, the album was recorded with Anna's band - Mally Harpaz on various instruments and Alex Thomas on drums - with the addition of Adrian Utley from Portishead on keys and Martyn Casey from The Bad Seeds on bass. It has a new rawness, a primal energy into which Calvi pushes the limits of her guitar and voice beyond anything she’s recorded before. 

Hunter is the embodiment of the feeling of truly letting go. For the songwriter and virtuosic guitarist, it was a catharsis, an opportunity to be more truthful than ever. The first new music since 2014’s collaborative release with David Byrne, Strange Weather EP, her self-titled debut album and the 2013 follow-up One Breath, Hunter is a visceral album exploring sexuality and breaking the laws of gender conformity. A queer and a feminist record, it is galvanising in its hunt for freedom. It was important to Calvi that it was as vulnerable as it is strong; as beautiful as it is harsh; as much about the hunted as it is about the hunter. But she’s careful not to characterise any of these traits as “masculine” or “feminine” – the whole point is that one person, of any gender, can be both. The power is in the contrast itself; in the way she oscillates between extremes, sounding freer than ever before. She wanted to express herself while being “free from the story that either gender is given, free from worrying how people would judge me on what I want to do with my body and myself. For me, that’s quite a utopian vision.”

In conjunction with today’s announcement, Calvi shares a video for the album’s first single, "Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy”. A battle cry with a rousing chorus, the song was partly written while thinking about how young children are when they’re conditioned to follow gender roles – in particular, the “heartbreaking” process through which small boys are taught not to cry or show emotions. Speaking about the track, Anna said the following: It’s a song about the defiance of happiness. It’s about being free to identify yourself in whichever way you please, without any restraints from society.”

Directed by rising star and recent Kendrick Lamar collaborator, William Kennedy and choreographed by Aaron Sillis (FKA Twigs), the video is available to watch and share below.

Anna Calvi said the following about Hunter:

I'm hunting for something - I want experiences, I want agency, I want sexual freedom, I want intimacy, I want to feel strong, I want to feel protected and I want to find something beautiful in all the mess.

I want to go beyond gender. I don’t want to have to chose between the male and female in me. I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home.

I believe that gender is a spectrum. I believe that if we were allowed to be somewhere in the middle, not pushed to the extremes of performed masculinity and femininity, we would all be more free. I want to explore how to be something other than just what I've been assigned to be. I want to explore a more subversive sexuality, which goes further than what is expected of a woman in our patriarchal heteronormative society. I want to repeat the words “girl boy, woman man", over and over, to find the limits of these words, against vastness of human experience.

I believe in the female protagonist, who isn’t simply responding to a man’s story. I go out into the world and see it as mine - I want something from it, rather than just being a passive product of it. I'm hungry for experiences. Sometimes things seem clear, and other times I feel lost. I feel strong and yet vulnerable; I wear my body and my art as an armour, but I also know that to be true to myself is to be open to being hurt.

The intent of this record is to be primal and beautiful, vulnerable and strong, to be the hunter and the hunted." 

- Anna 

Hunter will be available on DIG, CD, LP and via all DSPs. It will also be available on limited edition deluxe LP 180g red vinyl with exclusive signed print, encased in a high gloss gatefold sleeve (with download code).

The physical pre-order and stream link is here. The album’s tracklist is as follows: 

1. As A Man

2. Hunter

3. Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy

4. Indies Or Paradise

5. Swimming Pool

6. Alpha

7. Chain

8. Wish

9. Away

10. Eden

Anna will perform her captivating new live show on an extensive UK and European headline tour this autumn and winter kicking off in Belfast on 27th September 2018. The tour will culminate in her biggest show to date at The Roundhouse in London on 7th February 2019. These dates will follow her first live shows in four years this month with three special performances in Berlin (Berghain), Paris (La Gaîté Lyrique) and London (Heaven) on 19th June, which are now all sold out. Full live dates are as follows and all tickets are available here:

Tue      12 June 2018  Berlin, Germany                       Berghain [SOLD OUT]

Fri        15 June 2018  Paris, France                            La Gaité Lyrique [SOLD OUT]

Tue      19 June 2018  London, UK                             Heaven [SOLD OUT]

Thu      27 Sep 2018    Belfast, Northern Ireland          The Belfast Empire

Fri        28 Sep 2018    Dublin 8, Ireland                       The Tivoli Theatre

Sun      30 Sep 2018    Glasgow, Scotland                               St Luke’s

Mon     01 Oct 2018     Manchester, England               O2 Ritz

Wed     03 Oct 2018     Newcastle, UK                          The Boiler Shop

Thu      04 Oct 2018     Birmingham, UK                       Town Hall

Fri        05 Oct 2018     Brighton, UK                            All Saints Church

Sat       06 Oct 2018     Bristol, UK                                SWX Bristol

Mon     08 Oct 2018     Lille, France                             Le Splendid

Tue      09 Oct 2018     La Rochelle, France                             La Sirene

Wed     10 Oct 2018     Nantes, France                                    Stereolux

Sat       13 Oct 2018     Valencia, Spain                        La Rambleta

Sun      14 Oct 2018     Barcelona, Spain                                 Cruïlla de Tardor @ Razzmatazz 2

Tue      16 Oct 2018     Madrid, Spain                           Chango

Wed     17 Oct 2018     Santiago, Spain                       Sala Capitol

Fri        19 Oct 2018     Porto, Portugal                                     Hard Club

Sat       20 Oct 2018     Lisbon, Portugal                       Capitolio

Mon     22 Oct 2018     Lyon, France                            Le Radiant

Tue      23 Oct 2018     Strasbourg, France                  La Laiterie

Wed     24 Oct 2018     Utrecht, Netherlands                Tivoli Vredenburg, De Helling

Thu      25 Oct 2018     Brussels, Belgium                                 Botanique

Sat       27 Oct 2018     Odense, Denmark                    Posten

Mon     29 Oct 2018     Oslo, Norway                            Parkteatret

Tue      30 Oct 2018     Stockholm, Sweden                 Nalen

Thu      01 Nov 2018    Helsinki, Finland                                   Tavastia Club

Sat       03 Nov 2018    Lund, Sweden                         Mejeriet

Sun      04 Nov 2018    Copenhagen, Denmark                        Vega

Mon     05 Nov 2018    Aarhus, Denmark                     Voxhall

Wed     07 Nov 2018    Warsaw, Poland                                   Niebo

Thu      08 Nov 2018    Prague, Czech Republic           Lucerna

Fri        09 Nov 2018    Leipzig, Germany                                 Conne Island

Sat       10 Nov 2018    Weissenhäuser Strand, Germany             Rolling Stone Weekender

Mon     12 Nov 2018    Bratislava, Slovakia                              Nova Cvernovka

Tue      13 Nov 2018    Budapest, Hungary                              A38 Ship

Thu      15 Nov 2018    Vienna, Austria                                    Simm City

Fri        16 Nov 2018    Rust, Germany                                     Rolling Stone Park

Sat       17 Nov 2018    Fribourg, Switzerland                Le Nouveau Monde

Sun      18 Nov 2018    Zurich, Switzerland                   Plaza Club Zurich

Tue      20 Nov 2018    Ljubljana, Slovenia                               Kino Siska                       

Wed     16 Jan 2019    Munich, Germany                     Freiheiz

Fri        18 Jan 2019    Berlin, Germany                       Astra Kulturhaus

Sat       19 Jan 2019    Hamburg, Germany                  Kampnagel

Tue      22 Jan 2019    Cologne, Germany                   Gloria Theatre

Wed     23 Jan 2019    Amsterdam, Netherlands          Melkweg

Fri        25 Jan 2019    Nancy, France                          L'Autre Canal

Sat       26 Jan 2019    Nimes, France                          Paloma

Sun      27 Jan 2019    Toulouse, France                                 Le Bikini

Tue      29 Jan 2019    Bordeaux, France                                Le Rocher de Palmer

Thu      31 Jan 2019    Reims, France                          La Cartonnerie

Thu      07 Feb 2019    London, UK                             The Roundhouse


 

SORRY SHARE VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE 'SHOWGIRL'

Sorry | 16/05/18

Image: Sorry press shot

Sorry today shared their new single ‘Showgirl’ on Domino. The track and its accompanying video was unveiled as part of Sorry’s latest feature, with i-D Magazine here. The video, shot by Johnny Goddard, splices footage of the band performing the ferocious ‘Showgirl’, which was produced by Frank Ocean and James Blake collaborator Sean Oakley - who also helmed the band’s 2017 debut single, ‘Wished’. Watch the video below.

The band have already aired ‘2 Down 2 Dance’ and Home Demo/ns Vol II -the second release from their visual mixtape series - in 2018. This year, the band also landed a spot in the ‘Dazed 100’ in April; Dazed magazine’s annual list of new and emerging young creative figures with the potential to influence culture this year and beyond.

Following a string of U.K. tour dates with New Yorkers Sunflower Bean, Sorry have now announced their next hometown headline show at the Courtyard Theatre on 26 June - tickets are on sale now here.

***

Centred around Asha Lorenz & Louis O'Bryen, two 20 and 21-year-old childhood best friends, Sorry were signed by revered indie Domino after developing a reputation as the most visceral new band on London’s underground circuit. Joined by Lincoln Barrett (drums) and Campbell Baum (bass) the band have already won fans in Dazed (‘100’), The FADER (‘U.K. artists you need to listen to in 2018’), NME (‘The NME 100’), DIY (‘Class Of 2018’), Dork (‘New bands of 2018’), i-D, Loud And Quiet, Noisey, Another Man, The Line Of Best Fit, and more.

Watch the video for ‘Showgirl’ here:

smarturl.it/ShowgirlVid

Showgirl Pre-Order

Pre-order: Dom Mart

Sorry 2018 Tour Dates:

05/17  Coalition, Brighton (The Great Escape w/ i-D)
05/18  The Haunt, Brighton (The Great Escape w/ So Young)
05/26  Courtyard Theatre, London
06/02  All Points East Festival, London
07/13-07/15  Latitude Festival, Southwold
07/21  Truck Festival
08/04  Visions Festival, London
08/17-08/19  Green Man Festival, Brecon

 

1999 - 2001, STREAMING NOW

14/05/18

Image: Bonnie 2001

The Marquis de Tren & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Get On Jolly - Streaming Now

GUARAPERO session success notwithstanding, Will Oldham’s connections with the Dirty Three’s Mick Turner and Jim White continued to strengthen.  All three participated in the European tour by the Boxhead Ensemble in support of the documentary film DUTCH HARBOR.  Later, Turner sent Oldham some recordings he’d been working on.  These were solo recordings done on guitar and organ, using loops in an organic fashion still pretty much unique to Mick Turner.  The pieces were meditative, organic, and inspiring.  Turner asked Oldham if there was anything he could contribute to the pieces.  Oldham took the challenge, even as he was daunted by the task of potentially marring these transcendent musical creations.  Eventually, Oldham thought it best to triangulate, finding a third, passive, collaborator in the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.  Using Tagore’s GITANJALI collection of poems and meditative mini-stories as a lyric basis, Oldham built lyrics and melodies to complement what Turner had brought to the table.  Oldham’s voice parts were recorded by Paul Oldham at Rove Studios in Shelbyville, KY, and the results were became the EP GET ON JOLLY, credited to the Marquis de Tren (Mick Turner) and Bonny Billy.   Bonny and the Anomoanon were still operating outside of the Drag City system (though still within the Domino system for Europe), so the artwork was laid out by Louisvillian-cum-Baltimoron Jeremy Devine and featured a painting by Turner. A tour was undertaken and Jim White (drums) and Paul Oldham (bass) joined Oldham and Turner.  A couple of new pieces were created to flesh out the set; all eight pieces were recorded live in the studio in Baltimore and released as a CD-only called GETTHEFUCKONJOLLYTurner and White, around this same time, began recording and performing as the Tren Brothers

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Guarapero - Will Oldham - Streaming Now

Continuing in the Colonel Parker model, the powers that bleat saw fit to collect a patchwork of Palace Musics and Will Oldham songs for a follow-up to LOST BLUES AND OTHER SONGS.  Mostly it was an act of gentle rebellion against the failure of the GUARAPERO session in Cotati, California, which cost a lot of effort and money.  There were great performances recorded at that session, two of which, “Call Me a Liar” and “The Sugarcane Juice Drinker” are collected on this LOST BLUES 2/GUARAPERO assemblage.  Will Oldham rescued the title from the unreleased record, guarapero being a loose translation of the phrase “sugarcane juice drinker”.  It is b-sides and unreleased songs collected here, including “O Lord Are You in Need” from a Peel session; “Big Balls”, inspired by the AC/DC jam of the same name and commissioned by the label Skin Graft for a series of AC/DC tribute singles.  “The Risen Lord” and “Boy, Have You Cum” are recordings of arrangements built for a US tour with the band Run On.  There was a single copy of a 7” of these two songs preseed and given to Steve Albini.  “Gezundheit” is an early 4-track recording referencing early Oldham hero Phil Ochs.  “Let the Wires Ring” is a handheld-cassette-player recording of a demo intended for the Palace Brothers record THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.  Also featured in a hidden track on the CD (you need to skip backwards from the beginning of the disc to hear it, a mechanism which confused many who listened to CDs on their PCs), “Apocalypse, No” with productions and arrangements by Jim O’Rourke and Sean O’Hagan.  The front cover was a collage by Dianne Bellino, the back a photo by Cynthia Kirkwood.  A with the first LOST BLUES collection, painter Steve Keene was called upon again to create supplemental imagery for the campaign to spread the word about LB2, which Keene responded to with enthusiasm and breathtaking result.

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All Most Heaven - Rian Murphy and Will Oldham - Streaming Now

In early 1997, Rian Murphy had worked with a group including Jim O'Rourke in Chicago for the production of Edith Frost's Calling Over TimeIn the months that followed, Oldham suggested they do a production involving himself, Murphy and O'Rourke, in which Oldham would demo the songs and hand them over to Murphy and O'Rourke, who would create productions to be sung over with all-star singers to be determined later. A cassette with four songs was delivered, and based on the unusual, sometimes onomatopoeiac nature of the lyrics,  O'Rourke made musical arrangements with an eye towards a certain chamber-pop lushness. He and Murphy tracked the four songs at the now-defunct Solid Sound studio in northwest suburban Hoffman Estates, with a band including Jed Bishop, Michael Colligan, Kevin Drumm, Darin Gray, David Grubbs, Thymme Jones, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Joan Morrone, Julie Pomerleau, Rick Rizzo and Neil Rosario. Rian and Jim supplied scratch vocals and the songs were rough mixed in preparation for distribution to selected singers. Names like Eddie Vedder and Lucinda Williams were suggested, but nothing more than initial contact was made. This part of the process stretched over many months, and in the following year or so, lead vocals were solicited from Bill Callahan and Laetitia Sadier and recorded at Electrical Audio. During this time, Oldham also sang a set of leads for the tunes, and mixes were dispatched to a film project he'd availed several of the tracks to. Additional overdubs by Murphy, with a drum performance from Rich Shuler, were added at the also-now-defunct Airwave Studio (home to one of the city's last old-school acoustic echo chambers) in Chicago's Roscoe Village. At this point, the project was two years old and two of the four songs didn't have finished lead vocals, according to the original plan - or all four songs had Oldham singing lead, depending on how it was regarded. In the interest of finishing the EP before yet another year passed, mixes were prepared with Oldham's vocals and the leads of Callahan and Sadier reduced in scale - Callahan in "duet" with Oldham and Sadier relocated to the harmony choir. Final overdubbing and mixing was undertaken back at Electrical Audio. Archer Prewitt added a variety of things including a vocal trio arrangement sung by Archer, Edith Frost and Kelly Hogan. Then it was done! For the cover art, a photo session involving a truckload of antiques and 18th-century costumes was executed in the what is now called the Cortelyou Common building on the campus of DePaul University, where Murphy's father taught theatre. Oldham supplied the title and that was all she wrote. Murphy and Oldham subsequently played the songs together on a midwestern tour in the late summer of 2001.

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Ease Down The Road - Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Streaming Now

The I SEE A DARKNESS session had gone well; not a lot of panic, all of the desperation in the lyric instead of in the room in which it was recorded.  As he had done before and would try to do again, Will Oldham attempted to re-create some of the circumstances that helped DARKNESS come to be for the next full-length recording session.  By this time, Oldham had moved to Baltimore where his brother Ned lived with his family.  Houses were inexpensive there too, and there’s an international airport.  He met drummer Jon Theodore there, and invited him down to Paul Oldham’s Rove Studios in Shelbyville, KY for a week of basic tracking.  Mike Fellows was asked to play the bass.  Oldham had gotten to know Fellows first through the Royal Trux (for that matter, that’s how he’d first heard Theodore as well), and had gotten to know him better in New York City.  The plan this time was to head to Shelbyville for a month, bringing in musicians two or three at a time.  Along with engineer Paul Oldham, the crucial co-conspirator on this session was co-producer David PajoOldham and Pajo billed themselves as the Continental OP when they worked as a collaborative duo, named for the Dashiell Hammett character.  It was summer time, and the corn surrounding the house in Shelbyville was high.  Fellows nailed all of the bass parts but one, the part for what would be the title song, “Ease Down the Road”.  For that, Ned Oldham was brought in.  Ned stayed to lay some gorgeous vocal harmonies down.  Non-musicians Bryan Rich and Harmony Korine were brought in to beef up the ambience, and beef it up they did.  Oldham had met Matt Sweeney on the streets of New York and they became fast friends and collaborators.  Sweeney came to the sessions and ended up opening the entire record with his electric guitar lick for “May It Always Be”.  Catherine Irwin, of Freakwater and the Dickbrains, drove over from Louisville to sing sweet high and clear.  Todd Brashear and Paul Greenlaw made great reappearances, singing and playing both.  The last musical collaboration with Oldham for both had been THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOUMatt Everett came down from Providence, RI to play violin.  In all, Oldham was gathering friends and forces from the first decade-plus of his professional life-in-music to make this record; the title points to an understanding of a place in motion.  Pajo and Oldham used auto-tune for the first time here, always on the backing voices, creating surreal soundscapes in the midst of evidently ‘real’ spaces.  Oldham, Fellows, and Theodore recorded two warm-up covers: the Ramones’Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” and  Tommy Collins’ “Carolyn” (written for Merle Haggard, this was the first of many Haggard-associated songs for Bonnie Prince Billy; the relationship culminated in the big BPB Haggard tribute BEST TROUBADOR from 2017).  The cover of EASE DOWN THE ROAD is a photo by Oldham of a mown path in the state of Maine, echoing and contrasting the stark black-and-white roadway from the back cover of THERE IS NO-ONE.  The back cover of EASE shows Pajo and Oldham on the front porch of the Rove house in Shelbyville.  Sammy Harkham once again illustrated the lyrics, and Dianne Bellino and Joanne Oldham each painted a small color piece for the interior artwork.  There was a poster for the record with a photo by Natasha Tylea of Oldham playing live at the Second Story in Philadelphia.  For the initial European CD release, Domino included a second, bonus disc containing songs from a BBC Peel session recorded during a Bonnie tour, performed by Oldham with Matt Sweeney (on guitar), Mike Fellows (on bass) and James Lo (on drums).  Songs included “Stablemate”, “What’s Wrong With a Zoo?”, and “I Send My Love to You”.

 

TIRZAH ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM, DEVOTION, OUT 10TH AUGUST

Tirzah | 03/05/18

Image: Tirzah

Domino are honoured to introduce Devotion; the hugely anticipated debut album from one of London's most exciting underground talents, Tirzah. Arriving on the back of a lauded run of releases on Greco Roman, Devotion shines a brilliant new light on Tirzah's unique experimental pop, exquisitely soulful voice and potent contemporary lyricism.

Written and produced in collaboration with long-time friend and collaborator Micachu, Devotion's hallmarks are rooted in a fresh, raw emotion and feeling. The first track taken from Devotion comes in the form of ‘Gladly’, along with new video directed by Hannah Perry which is ready to watch below.

The Essex-born performer has been at the centre of the vital post-grime and UK garage sound of London for the better half of a decade but it’s only now that her work has come to full fruition, delivering what feels like a landmark debut LP.

Recorded mostly in the shared houses and makeshift studios of her South London crew of artists and friends, all while life – and love – happened in the meantime, Devotion is written and produced with musician, composer and childhood friend, Micachu, and it’s a downbeat excursion into the moody inner life of an unusually talented lyricist.

Songs about the complexity and conflict of a very human, very confusing feeling come through in listless lines like “I thought that I would call you but I never could do it, while a faltering bass line carries it through a tumbledown assemblage of samples and vocal cutups. Track titles like ‘Gladly,’ ‘Guilty’ and ‘Reach’ reveal their emotional tone with a single word, while the deconstructed beats underscore the brittle nature of desire and romance. It is on tracks such as ‘Go Now’ where you can really hear the soul and gospel influences of Tirzah’s surprising inspirations in Al Green, Barry White and D'Angelo. There’s an understatement, though, a vulnerability that is unique to her own songwriting, where a simple four syllables, like “I want your arms, can speak volumes on loss and longing.

 

Devotion is very much a journey, positioning Tirzah as a unique contemporary soul voice. It’s a deeply personal hallucination of British RnB at its best, very much its own peculiar construction, built on the sad streets and gloomy days of a forever breaking heart.

Devotion tracklist

Fine Again

Do You Know

Gladly

Holding On

Affection

Basic Need

Guilty

Devotion (feat. Coby Sey)

Go Now

Say When

Reach

Devotion (WIG394) will be released on deluxe LP, standard LP, CD and digitally.

 

Pre-order Devotion now:

Deluxe LP / LP / CD / Digitally

Tirzah Live Dates

3rd May – London – Bermondsey Social Club [SOLD OUT]

19th May – Brighton – Bau Wow, The Great Escape

 

PROTOMARTYR ANNOUNCE NEW 'CONSOLATION' EP FEATURING KELLEY DEAL OF THE BREEDERS

Protomartyr | 03/05/18

Image: Protomartyr charcoal sketch press shot

Today Protomartyr announce a new release called Consolation E.P., which they recorded in part with friend Kelley Deal and will be released June 15th via Domino. Two of the four songs feature Deal on vocals alongside singer Joe Casey, including ‘Wheel of Fortune’, which receives a video today directed by Yoonha Park (who directed the band's video for ‘Don't Go To Anacita’).  The EP was recorded by Deal's R.Ring bandmate Mike Montgomery.

Joe Casey and Kelley Deal had this to say of the collaboration and EP:

“Early 2017 proved to be a productive time for the band. We were writing songs right up to recording Relatives In Descent and wanted to keep that momentum going right after. Making 2015's split single "A Half Of Seven" with R. Ring was one of our favorite recording experiences, so the decision to head down to Dayton, Kentucky and spend a weekend in May recording the four songs that became the Consolation E.P. was an easy one.” Joe Casey

“For Mike and I, working on this EP with Protomartyr was a re-kindling of the tender spark that was struck upon our first encounter with them years ago in Texas. They were graciously tolerant and receptive to my production ideas on the songs and the project quickly grew beyond our private orb. We have cello from Lori Goldston, viola from Jocelyn Hach and even bass clarinet from Evan Ziporyn, and I do some singing with Joe. There's a lot of trust involved when an artist places their songs in your hands, and we were very mindful of that while intentionally trying to take the songs in new directions. Candyland in Dayton, KY is home-base for R.Ring recording, and it's close enough that the Proto-men could make it down to lay the tracks down. This is the second project like this we've done with them, so we're ready to flip the tables and have them produce and record some of our songs!Kelley Deal 

Watch the video for ‘Wheel of Fortune’ here.

Stream ‘Wheel of Fortune’ here.

 

Tracklisting:

1. Wait

2. Same Face In A Different Mirror

3. Wheel of Fortune (feat. Kelley Deal)

4. You Always Win (feat. Kelley Deal)

 

Consolation E.P. is available to pre-order now on limited pressing yellow/white starburst vinyl via Domino, and limited pressing gold vinyl via your local independent record store. Pre-order: Dom Mart | Digital

 

Protomartyr kick off their UK tour tomorrow before a summer of European festivals and live dates including China, South Korea, Hong Kong and North America. Additionally, Ana da Silva, Gina Birch and Vicki Aspinall of seminal post-punk band The Raincoats will be joining Protomartyr at London’s Rough Trade East for a Q&A on May 10th before Protomartyr’s Scala show that evening.

 

Upcoming tour dates

Thurs 3rd May – Kortrijk, Belgium @ Wilde Westen Tickets

Fri 4th May – Bristol, UK @ Thekla Tickets

Sat 5th May – Leicester, UK @ Handmade Festival

Sun 6th May – Glasgow, UK @ Stag & Dagger Festival

Tues 8th May – Hull, UK @ Fruit Tickets

Wed 9th May – Birmingham, UK @ Mama Roux's Tickets

Thurs 10th May – London, UK @ Rough Trade East – In Conversation with The Raincoats Info

Thurs 10th May – London, UK @ Scala Tickets

Sun 3rd June - Seattle, WA @ Upstream Music Festival

Sat 9th June - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Brooklyn Vegan Northside Party)

Wed 13th June - Hong Kong, HK @ MOM Livehouse

Fri 15th June - Beijing, CN @ Yue Space

Sat 16th June - Shanghai, CN @ YYT

Sun 17th June - Seoul, KR @ V-Hall

Wed 20th June - Kuala Lumpur, MY @ Live Fact

Thurs 21st June - Jakarta, ID @ Rossi Musik

Sat 23rd June – Athens, Greece @ Ejekt Festival

Fri 6th July – Modena, Italy @ Arti Vive Festival

Sat 7th July – Chiusi, Italy @ Lars Rock Festival

Sat 21st July - Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest

9-11th August - Haldern, Germany @ Haldern Pop Festival

Sun 12th August - Luxembourg, LU @ Rotondes

Mon 13th August - Dusseldorf, DE @ Zakk

Tues 14th August - Bremen, DE @ Tower Musikclub

Thurs 16th August – Nijmegen, Netherlands @ Doornroosje Tickets

Fri 17th August – Biddinghuizen, Netherlands @ Lowlands

Sat 18th August – Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop

Sun 19th August – St. Malo, France @ La Route du Rock

Tues 21st August - Dudingen, CH @ Bad Bonn

22nd August – Zurich, Switzerland @ Mascotte Tickets

Fri 24th August - Schorndorf, DE @ Club Manufaktur

Sat 25th August – Charleville-Mézières, France @ Cabaret Vert

Sun 26th August – Ramsgate, UK @ Ramsgate Music Hall Tickets

Tues 28th August – Sheffield, UK @ Picture House Social Club Tickets

Wed 29th August – Hebden Bridge, UK @ The Trades Club Tickets

Thurs 30th August – Liverpool, UK @ O2 Academy 2 Tickets

31st Aug – 2nd Sept – Wiltshire, UK @ End of the Road Festival

31st Aug – 2nd Sept - Vlieland, NL @ Into the Great Wide Open

 

Protomartyr Online:

Website | Facebook

 

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS SHARE NEW SONG FEAT. KIM GORDON

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks | 25/04/18

Image: Malkmus Jicks announcement pic

 

With the release of their new album, Sparkle Hard, heading our way on May 18th on Domino, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have shared another taste of what’s to come with their new single ‘Refute,’ a country-tinged reflection on marriage and infidelity, featuring guest vocals by Kim Gordon.  Per Malkmus, the idea was to “queer the duet”, by messing with “Nashville tropes in light of current trends in evolutionary psychology” and reversing “the classic He Said/She Said narrative, where in this case the ‘wife’ is the cheater, and the omniscient narrator enters at the end to offer cold comfort.”

 

Stream ‘Refute’ here.

 

Stream the previously shared ‘Shiggy’ and ‘Middle America’.

Watch an acoustic version of ‘Middle America’ here.

 

Additionally, you can calculate your “sparkle level” by taking the Buzzfeed-style Sparkle Hard rejected album art and playlist generator quiz with absurdist questions penned by the band and with corresponding playlists featuring rejected album art that didn’t make it past legal www.howharddoyousparkle.com

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, 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.

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.

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

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

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 - 1998, STREAMING NOW

23/04/18

Image: 1998

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.

Palace Music - For The Mekons, Et Al - Streaming Now

The go-to venue in Chicago in the mid-1990s was Lounge Ax.  It was there that the first Drag City Invitational occurred, where all active DC artists performed sets over multiple nights; the running order was determined by drawn lot.  It was easily Will Oldham’s favorite venue at the time.  It was decided that a 7” single containing two songs from a 1994 Palace Show would be released, in support of the venue that was now facing threats of having to close doors for permanent.  The band included Charlie Snell (drums), Pooh Johnston (keys), and Jason Stith (bass).  The recording was made by Steve Good.  The songs chosen were “For the Mekons, et al” (the ‘studio’ version of this song is on the compilation HEY DRAG CITY) and “Stable Will”.  The record came in a plain white sleeve and with a paper ID slip included in case a jukebox owner wanted to throw the single onto a machine.

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Palace Music - Lost Blues And Other Songs - Streaming Now

The 1990s were a time of transition in the music business; but then, what decade isn’t?  Vinyl was on its way out and compact discs were embraced by most buyers.  The 7” single already had a limited audience: a potential buyer needed to have access to a store that carried singles; the buyer had to have a functioning record player; the buyer needed the energy and dedication required to perform the act of putting a single onto her record player (possibly having t insert a wide-hole-to-small-hole vinyl adapter into the record or onto the player), changing the speed to 45 rpm, and then flipping the record 3-6 minutes later in order to the B-side.  Many folks were just giving up altogether, going with the flow and neglecting the vinyl format in favor of CDs.  It was with this in mind that Will Oldham and Drag City decided it might be time to assemble most of the Palace music that had been released over the previous years in one compiled album, LOST BLUES AND OTHER SONGS.  Audiences had responded strongly to the material hitherto only available on 7” vinyl records, with “Ohio River Boat Song”, “Horses”, and “West Palm Beach” among the most-loved in the live repertoires of Oldham-assembled ensembles.  It wasn’t an all-inclusive compilation, as it was deemed to be more essential that the record work as a record rather than just as a document or collection.  It ought to reward the listener.  So songs (“Drinking Woman”) were left off, and unreleased material (“Valentine’s Day” and an early recording of “Riding”) were brought in.  The cover featured a big black rectangle that Oldham intended as a mershed Rothko reference.  The font was lifted from Madonna’s BEDTIME STORIES (which contained the Bjork composition “Travelling”, inspiring Oldham’s “(End of) Travelling”).  Oldham dedicated the comp to the Royal Trux and to Paul Greenlaw for their powerful inspiration.  Supplementary artwork was commissioned from the great Steve Keene.  Keene was asked to make full-color and monochromatic paintings that could be used in print ads and posters.  Keene, in exchange for a big box of Drag City records, painted over 50 amazing pieces, all coincidentally executed on (and dated) Oldham’s birthday.

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Will Oldham - Patience - Streaming Now

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Joya - Streaming Now

It was a twisted road that led to the record called JOYA.  Someone played a sweet trick on Will Oldham and on the Dirty Three: each was told that the other artist had expressed an interest in meeting and collaborating.  It was a nice gambit.  Oldham met Mick Turner in London and they hit it off right away.  Oldham suggested that the Dirty Three meet him in Cotati, California to make a record.  The Dirty Three agreed.  After the (artistic) success of ARISE THEREFOREOldham didn’t want to mess too much with a formula and so he invited Ned Oldham and David Grubbs back for the Cotati session, as well as Tiffany White from the Memphis “Lost Blues” recording session.  At the last minute, the Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis got separated from his passport and couldn’t make the beginning of the session.  That’s when the heavy lifting tends to get done.  Oldham mini-panicked and called in Colin Gagon to bring his accordion skills to the session.  Steve Albini was the recordist.  Once again, as had happened in Hueytown and Cannon Falls, Albini had to expend some serious effort getting the 2” tape machines up to acceptable working order.  Ellis was able to get a new passport in time to arrive during the overdub/mix part of the process.  Overall, there was a lack of an emotional center to the whole affair due to the scheduling chaos, and when Oldham played the finished record for Drag City, back in Chicago, he realized that the record wasn’t something that should be released.  He went back to the studio in North Liberty, Iowa where he had recorded BLACK RICH MUSIC and re-recorded all of the songs from the Cotati sessions, this time alone with a guitar.  It was from this recording that the songs “Patience” and “Take However Long You Want” were pulled for a 7” single release.

Over the following months, the rest of the songs from the Cotati session were worked and reworked.  All was not lost; about half of the recordings ended up on singles and an EP, and friendships were struck between Oldham and Jim White and Mick Turner that would bear fruit in years to come.  The rest of the songs were rebuilt and a further handful of songs came into being in the hope that Oldham could make a full-length record.  Oldham invited David Pajo to Birmingham, Alabama.  The idea was that the two of them would make a record, with Pajo engineering, at Ned Oldham’s house while Ned and his wife were out of town.  Things didn’t click.  Oldham felt like he was forcing the issue and decided to give the whole thing a rest, fooling himself into thinking that he was through with making music altogether.  Dan Koretzky from Drag City suggested that they give the record one more try, with Koretzky and Rian Murphy acting as producers.  Oldham again asked Pajo (drums), Gagon (bass and piano), and Bob Arellano (guitar) to join him at the Chicago Recording Company with the CRC house engineer at the board.  It was exciting to be on those premises; R Kelly had worked extensively there on his R record, and Slint’s SPIDERLAND was also made there. The session was booked last-minute over the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Tracking and mixing were completed in four days.  A good time was had by all.  The front cover of the record features a photo by Bryan Rich of his pet goat “Chevre” in Bujumbura, Burundi.  Oldham visited Rich in Burundi and they ate the goat.  The back cover features a photo by Joe Oldham.  The LP sleeve was plain brown cardboard with the name of the record printed in black; the sleeve was die-cut to reveal the label artwork which was the above-mentioned photographs.  The CDs themselves were gold in color rather than the standard silver (inspired by early entries in Smithsonian-Folkways Music of Indonesia series), and the CD trays were made of a smooth shiny black plastic instead of the standard textured charcoal gray plastic.  The record was named JOYA and given the artist credit “Will Oldham” so that the stores and distributors would be able to find a place to put it.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Little Joya - Streaming Now

There was a song left out of the sessions for JOYA, called “Joya”.  The idea for the title of the song and the record was to pay tribute to the Minutemen’s 7” Ep “Joy” as well as to, well, just JOY, and then to augment both and all with an extra vowel.  After the JOYA recording, Will Oldham and Bob Arellano went to Mexico.  They landed in Monterrey and discovered that there was a soft drink factory there which mainly made and bottled a drink called “Joya”.  So they toured the factory.  They went to cockfights, to bullfights, and to the desert to feast on nature and her cactile offerings.  Upon the return to the USA, Oldham was very sick, struck by some long-dead phantom’s revenge in the form of amoeba or microbe broadcasting evil from the gut outwards.  A session had been booked in Chicago, with Rian Murphy overseeing and Liam Hayes and David Pajo playing.  Oldham was able to make it through the completion of just the one song, “Joya” before fading out all together.  Other songs were begun but left hanging on the line, never to be reclaimed.  To flesh out a CD-only release, Oldham recorded some electronic onanism on a digital sequencer. “Little Joya” became a three-track wonder.

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See A Darkness - Streaming Now

In the wee world of Palace/Oldham doings, a seismic shift occurred in 1998.  The previous years of action and reaction had helped identify, for Will Oldham, what it was to be a worker in song.  There was a tour in Australia, with an ensemble featuring Mick Turner, Liam Hayes, and Jim White.  How was it billed? We don’t know; you’d have to look up fliers or other show info to say.  On the return flight, home to America, Oldham came up with the idea of “being” someone, of embodying, officially, a singer upon whom both audience and creator could project character and intention.  He thought to name the singing thing “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy”, after R.L.Stevenson’s fictionalized Bonnie Prince Charlie vitamixed with Nat “King” Cole and William “Billy the Kid” Bonny.  He started work immediately, on the plane, on the first three Bonny jammers: “One With the Birds”, “Southside of the World”, and “Banana Blood”.  The songs were songs, with verses and choruses and middle-eights, and were intended to span the chasms between devastation and melodrama, horror and humor, honesty and constructed pretense; as authentic as any vaudevillian or thug crooner ever aspired to be.

Oldham had begun to grasp what it was to be an identified and identifiable recording and performing voice.  Rather than hide under the table, he opted to crawl furiously into the bull-ring and own the newly-created musical being.  There was a burst of singles: “I Am Drinking Again”/“Dreaming My Dreams”(a cover of the song by Ireland’s Cranberries), “Black Dissimulation”/“No Such As What I Want”, “One With the Birds”/“Southside of the World”, and “I Confess”/“Sun Shines Down”(these last two are covers of songs from Kevin Coyne’s BABBLE record, which was later covered in full by the Babblers, a band made up of Ben Boye, Van Campbell, Emmett Kelly, Danny Kiely, Will Oldham and Angel Olsen).  Rather than confuse his community, Oldham struck out with the Anomoanon (Ned Oldham, Jack Carneal, Aram Stith, Jason Stith, Willie McLean) to create an (even more) independent Palace Records.

Paul Oldham had gone to university to study audio engineering, working towards the same recording degree at Indiana University that Todd Brashear and Grant Barger had earned years before.  Paul and Will moved into an old farmhouse in Shelbyville, KY and Paul set up his Rove Studio there. 

The sessions for I SEE A DARKNESS were longer than any previously undertaken by Will.  He blocked out a month to make the record, first doing basic tracking with Pete Townsend (drums) and Paul Oldham (bass).  Lead voice and rhythm guitar were tracked live with bass and drums.  Paul was the engineer.  After basics, Colin Gagon came for a few days and played the piano, and Bob Arellano came for a few days and played lead guitar.  David Pajo played guitar on “Song for the New Breed”, the lyrics for which were written by Dianne Bellino.

The front cover was made by Joanne Oldham.  She had developed a practice of making self-referential symbolic collages, and one in particular resonated with Will as a potential cover for this record.  He asked Joanne to make a new version of the piece, extricating the personal references and leaving only the drawn skull layered over by tissue paper.  Sammy Harkham illustrated the lyric sheets and painted the back cover.  Joe Oldham took the photograph of Will wearing a leather hat.

I SEE A DARKNESS was the beginning of Bonnie Prince Billy.  The credits call the record “a Will Oldham record”.  It’s a singular piece of work masquerading as a collection of songs by an individual recording artist.  After a few years of super-independence, the Palace Records releases were brought back under the Drag City manufacture/distribution umbrella and none was the worse for the journey.


 

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.

 
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