Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Willowz announce Nov-Dec U.S. tour with the Electric Six, new videos posted from latest Dim Mak album Chautauqua directed by Paul Gondry others.

“Big ballsy tracks plus trippier, genuinely engaging psych rock with loads of good, basic melodies and expertise.” – Rolling Stone

“Coyly ambitious and in-the-moment exciting.” – Spin

“The Willowz’ sonic revelry is a riotous romp through rock’s back pages. It’s neither ramshackle nor imitative. The Willowz are an ingenious hybrid, devising clever arrangements and deploying convulsive vocals and slowly but surely getting under your skin.” – Harp

L.A.’s garage-punk-teens-gone-full-scale-rock-opera The Willowz return to the road yet again in November with everyone’s favorite disco-punk band Electric Six. The tour kicks off November 13th in Philadelphia (please see full dates below.) The Willowz released the band’s third album Chautauqua on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label earlier this year and has toured nearly non-stop ever since.

The band beloved by revered director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind) -- who co-directed The Willowz 2006 DVD video collection Seeinsquares -- has released four new videos for Chautauqua.

Willowz Videos:
“Evil Son” –
“Jubilee” –
“Take A Look Around” –
“Nobody” –

The Willowz were conceived in a bedroom in Anaheim, CA in the early summer of 2002 by Richie James Follin singer/guitarist and bassist/singer Jessica Reynoza, who were both at the time in their late teens. The name of the group came to Jessica in a dream when a willow(z) tree told her it would bring her musical enlightenment. The first 7-inch was recorded that summer with producer Paul Kostabi in NYC, with Tony Mann on drums (GG Allin, New York Dolls) and released on the infamous Posh Boy records by way of Robbie Fields.

The Willowz then began playing shows anywhere and everywhere around Los Angeles and Orange County, with an ever changing lineup of drummers and guitarists. The band soon caught the eye of Dionysus Records, who would release the first disc, The Willowz in early 2004 which was chosen by the OC Weekly as one of the top 10 albums of the year. For that album, the band set up a studio in a Whittier garage with Paul Kostabi as their producer, recording everything in just a few days with little idea what they were really doing... and the raw sound is proof of it.

Soon after rigorous touring of the greater North America and Europe, the band’s music was featured in Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind while Kirsten Dunst danced on a bed in her underpants. The soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy. Gondry had a dream about The Willowz song “I Wonder” and soon flew them out to NYC and paid to make a video for them. What followed was another single release, this time on XL Recordings and more European and North American touring with such bands as The Weirdos, New York Dolls, The Dirtbombs, The Greenhornes, Wolfmother, The Ponys, Tom Vek, Ted Leo, OK Go!, The Gossip, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dwarves, Burning Brides, John Cale and many others.

In February, 2005, The Willowz re-released its self titled album on Sympathy For the Record Industry, changing the title to Are Coming and adding four new songs. The follow-up Talk In Circles was released June 2005 (also recorded in a garage by Paul Kostabi, this time as a four piece and with a little more focus on making an album) on the Long Beach, CA label Sympathy for the Record Industry by way of record mogul Long Gone John. Talk In Circles received extraordinary reviews, including “46th Best Album of The Year” by Rolling Stone and was also featured in another one of Gondry’s films, The Science of Sleep. The Willowz were nominated by LA Weekly as one of the top bands of 2005. More singles followed on such labels as Contaminated, Acid Bird and Sympathy. In 2006 the band released the DVD Seeinsquares on Sympathy. Seeinsquares contained 27 unique videos, all by different directors, and additional live concert footage at a Catholic school summer camp in Oklahoma, several of these videos have gone on to win national and international awards.

For the third album Chautauqua, released on Steve Aoki’s Los Angeles label Dim Mak, The Willowz headed to the eastern countryside and set up a studio, this time in a basement, with Paul Kostabi again producing. They recruited Aric Bohn on guitar and Loren Shane Humphrey on the drums. Chautauqua provides the energy and rawness of the first albums with a thicker rock sound more focused on songwriting. Chautauqua has already been voted by the OC Weekly as the best album in the past 12 months. Rolling Stone gave it 3 1/2 stars, naming “Siren Song” as best song of the week and “Waiting To Fall” song of the day at

Chautauqua is an engaging and desperately needed resuscitation to raw fundamentals of rock in this digitally perfected age. Flawlessly executed, attention grapping, and joy inducing, Chautauqua is a renaissance rock masterpiece.” – Jive Magazine

“I like The Willowz. They defy categorization, drawing on a wide palette of influences, from metal to country/ folk and from post-punk to grunge. An early contender for record of the year.” – Razorcake

“With Chautauqua, The Willowz prove their mettle (and metal) as a big expansive rock machine cleverly disguised as an economical indie garage band.” – Amplifier

“You could do a lot worse than to have famed director Michel Gondry as your number one fan. The deserving subjects of his adoration are The Willowz, a five-year-old-rock quartet from California. It is the group’s guitar-heavy melodies he loves or the way the fivesome reinvents classic rock licks on Chautauqua? Either way, if we had a hidden camera on Gondry right now, we’d surely observe him headbanging to Willowz tunes like “Evil Son” or zoning out to the folky, Zeppelinish ‘Jublilee.’” – Bust

“In true Willowz fashion, the musicianship manages to simultaneously sound both rough and impeccable - if a contemporary version of the Nuggets box set were put together, a few songs on Chautauqua would be a natural fit.” – Performer Magazine

“Lo-fi darlings of critics and Michel Gondry, young California band The Willowz may finally be ready to make their mark on everyone else.” – Filter Magazine

“Willowz has always been one of ear-splitting ferocity. Lead singer Richie Follin’s charm has always been a yelping recklessness combined with a natural ear for melody.” – URB

The Willowz Live:
All w/ Electric 6
11/13 Philadelphia, PA The Khyber
11/14 Cambridge, MA Middle East
11/15 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
11/16 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
11/17 Washington, DC Black Cat
11/18 Baltimore, MD Sonar
11/20 Savannah, GA Savannah Smiles
11/21 Atlanta, GA The Earl
11/23 Orlando, FL The Social
11/24 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
11/26 New Orleans, LA The Parish
11/27 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
11/28 Houston, TX Engine Room
11/29 Austin, TX Emo’s
11/30 Dallas, TX House of Blues
12/01 Kansas City, KS The Record Bar
12/03 St. Louis, MO Creepy Crawl
12/04 Little Rock, AR The Rev Room
12/05 Nashville, TN Mercury Lounge
12/06 Indianapolis, IN Birdy’s
12/07 Covington, KY The Mad Hatter
12/08 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop

Chautauqua Tracklisting:

01. Beware
02. Take A Look Around
03. Jubilee
04. Nobody
05. Evil Son
06. Siren Song
07. Warship
08. All Need
09. Waiting To Fall
10. Choose A Side
11. Once and A While
12. Big Knob
13. Yesterday’s Lost
14. Lonesome Gods

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Coathangers assaults the East Coast with a don’t-miss-it live show. Band hits NYC for Halloween. Message to The Donnas: Bring it on!

“‘Don’t Touch My Shit’ is the jam. When the singer shrieks, “Don’t touch my SHIIIIIIIIIIT!” it really makes you not want to touch her shit.” – Vice

“Simple, powerful punk-rock party anthems infused with giddy, girly energy that sways between juvenilia and avant-garde primitivism.” – Creative Loafing

“…a joyously lobbed spitwad of sexy screeches and scratches. It isn’t all punky abandon, though. ‘Wreckless Boy’ brushes up on vintage Rough Trade dubbiness before bursting into a pep-rally chorus. ‘Bloody Shirt’ tickles tenderly. And ‘Nestle In My Bobbies’ is a Casio-stabbed sleaze anthem that Gravy Train!!!! would be proud to call its own.” – The Onion

The Coathangers has quickly become Atlanta’s most talked about new band and with its recently launched tour, the chatter is spreading throughout the nation. The Dirty South’s premier ladies graced the cover of August’s Southeast Performer Magazine, were recently named’s “Band of The Day”, were the subject of a fashionable spread in Atlanta Magazine (suitable for parents and family alike), and also grabbed five or ten pages in Atlanta’s monthly music tome Stomp and Stammer. The love just keeps on coming The Coathangers’ way. Put your arms around them when the band rolls through your town along its East coast trek supporting its debut album (STREAM) on Rob’s House Records. Scoll down for dates.

More about The Coathangers:
Since July of 2006 Julia Kugel (guitar/vocals), Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals), Candice Jones (keyboard/vocals) and Meredith Franco (bass/vocals) have hammered out a bat cave crunk-punk dirge that explodes with energy and creativity. Don’t be fooled by playful early song titles, like “Nestle In My Boobies” and “Don’t Touch My Shit.” These women are real deal feminists, armed with a brash and irreverent sense of humor. They’re more likely to be caught cracking jokes with Andrew W.K. than sharing tea and vegan cookies with Kathleen Hannah’s crew. Simply put, The Coathangers get the party started. They say what they want to say, do what they want to do, and they write songs because they want to have fun.

Imagine if you will a marriage of The Beastie Boys circa Some Old Bullshit and The Slits when they were still a punk band and you’re in the right ballpark. The group’s manic pep rally chants in “Wreckless Boy” morph into the sneering caterwauls of “Tonya Harding” over simple and powerful rhythmic plods. “Bloody Shirt” transcends the power of three-chord tension with the sounds of ratchets and a sparkling piano slurring to the tune of heartbreak and revelation. And an accordion has never channeled so much punk melancholy as it does in “The Missing Letter.” Jones found the toy accordion in a Texas gas station for ten dollars, and the song is a very personal one about Kugel’s grandmother, sung half in Russian and half in English. She tells Stomp and Stammer, “When I wrote the lyrics, I didn’t want them to sound like a seven-year-old wrote them. I only got the education of a seven-year-old in Russia, so I didn’t want them to sound trite. But this Russian friend of a friend was like, ‘Oh, the lyrics are really good!’ So that made me feel proud.”

The Coathangers Live:
10/30 Boston, MA PAs Lounge
10/31 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
11/01 New York, NY Death By Audio
11/03 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class
11/04 Detroit, MI Lager House
11/05 Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
11/06 Chicago, IL Ronny’s
11/07 Lafayette, IN Zooleger’s
11/08 Nashville, TN The Basement
11/09 Memphis, TN Murphy’s
11/10 New Orleans, LA Saturn Bar
11/11 Mobile, AL Blind Mule
11/12 Orlando, FL Peacock Room
11/14 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn

The Coathangers Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE

01. “Why This Record” Intro
02. Tonya Harding
03. Wreckless Boy
04. Haterade
05. “A Real Honey”
06. Shut The Fuck Up (MP3)
07. Parking Lot (MP3)
08. Buckhead Betty
09. Don’t Touch My Shit! (MP3)
10. “Roll Dem Dice”
11. Parchezzi
12. Where The Hell Were You?
13. “Fatty Pad”
14. Nestle In My Boobies (LIVE!)
15. Bloody Shirt
16. The Missing Letter
17. “Larger Success” Outro

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Bring Back The Guns to bring the noise to Midwest and Dry Futures to the rest. Houston quartet’s vast arsenal hints at Hot Snakes, Pixies and more.

“There’s something compelling about a band that manages to sound like the Shins hopped up on mathcore, with just a dash of early Modest Mouse... There’s a weird, utterly unreasonable energy here that makes it worth playing over and over.” -- Impose Magazine

“Opening with Futures’ “Radio Song,” wiry frontman Matt Brownlie jerked, jumped and flung himself pell-mell across the stage, his spastic movements mirroring the music’s jittery vocals and guitar parts. Drummer Thomas Clemmons, his parts as animated as Brownlie, broke into a sheen of sweat visible from several yards away, while bassist Ryan Hull stood like a statue as his lumbering basslines acted like the glue holding BBTG’s schizophonic sound together. Their music seems to be based on duality - tension/release, quiet/loud, pensive/unhinged - and it was all there Thursday.” -- Houston Press, live review 10/4/07

Houston quartet Bring Back The Guns has announced tour dates throughout the Midwest beginning in late November to support the release of its debut album on Feow Records, the new label founded by Devendra Banhart cohort Jana Hunter and BBTG’s own Matthew Brownlie. The band plans to deliver its taut, wiry live show to the rest of the country soon thereafter. Until then, its Dry Futures album -- already praised by Alternative Press, Paper Thin Walls, Impose, Houston Press and more -- should hold audiences over sufficiently. Please scroll down for complete tour dates. Stream Dry Futures HERE.

Bring Back The Guns is a messy experiment in taking pop and punk tropes to the classical museum hoping to get thrown out. There's a mathematical precision that belies the boiling underneath, a surface of timing and beats, wordplay, performance, persona that performs the same function as a paper plate during an eclipse. BBTG twists its primal screams into exquisite sculpture and invites you to knock over the ropes on your way to touch the art. BBTG is anger and love and other short words with long definitions: pop, math-rock, post-Pavement, anti-cool. Its sound somehow simultaneously references elements of such disparate bands as Hot Snakes, The Shins, The Pixies and Fugazi on the young quartet's debut album Dry Futures.

Previously, Matthew Brownlie, Blake Powell, Thomas Clemmons and Erik Bogle (ex-The Octopus Project) were the award-winning Groceries, and in five years they released two albums: the 1999 EP Knuckleheads & Icons and a 2001 split EP with DrillboxIgnition. Powell took off in late 2002 and now flies airplanes through the sky. The rest of the band toured twice with The Toadies, once with Lozenge (Sickroom Records) and did the West Coast with The Octopus Project (Peek-a-Boo). In 2004 Ryan Hull joined on bass, and the band became known as Bring Back The Guns. Soon they were freaking everybody out in their hometown Houston, TX scene. The music got uglier, the beats got faster, and the anger got redder. All the while, the praise got louder -- winning the Best Indie Rock award in the Houston Press in 2005 and 2003, with nominations every year from 2001-present.

For the next 1 and 1/2 years, scads of touring took them all over the lower 48 states. The boys hit the Midwest and South repeatedly and both coasts twice, doing stretches with the likes of Old Time Relijun (K Records), The Show Is The Rainbow (Tsk Tsk), Danielson (Secretly Canadian), and Emperor X (Discos Mariscos.) Recording and mixing on the full-length that was to become Dry Futures technically ended December 31, 2004, but since that date BBTG released a 7” on Discos Mariscos and appeared on two nationally distributed comps.

Imagine the bow-tied rage of a chess genius at his first lost tournament, a spelling bee prodigy after missing an easy word. Imagine the anger irrational numbers feel, when they realize they'll never make the big time. Imagine the neighbor dog over the fence, that wants out so badly he's frothing at the mouth. Where do you go when you can't get out? Imagine being shushed in the library when you weren't even the one talking, a kid so pissed off he's going to walk until he doesn't want to fight anymore. Set the rage to music. That's Bring Back The Guns.

“Bring Back The Guns is making some of the most original music in the city. The band's music crackles with energy and makes the heart race. It isn't simple, and it's often weird, but these are the very reasons it engages you. You listen, you try to piece together what is being said and why, and then the key changes or the song stops and the rug is pulled out from under you.”—Sara Cress, Houston Chronicle

“Bring Back The Guns are incredibly fun. They are masters at taking completely unrelated segments of music, stabbing them together and making them work as if they serve to tell some sort of immense, epic tale.” —Lance Walker, 002 Magazine

“ of the coolest bands I’ve ever seen/heard, from Houston or otherwise...chances are that nobody in this town will ever realize how good they are, even though they might well be the closest we’ve got to the Archers of Loaf, Spoon, or Pavement...Skewed, mildly ‘progressive’ pop songs that are smart as hell...”—Jeremy Hart,

Bring Back The Guns Live:
11/ 23 Fort Worth, TX 6th St. Live
11/24 Norman or Oklahoma City TBA
11/25 Springfield, MO TBA
11/26 St. Louis, MO The Bluebird
11/27 Chicago, IL Ronny's
11/28 Madison or Milwaukee, WI TBA
11/29 Minneapolis, MN TBA
11/30 Des Moines, IA TBA
12/01 Omaha, NE Slowdown w/ Antelope (Dischord)
12/02 Hot Springs, AR The Exchange w/Clipd Beaks

Dry Futures Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE

01. No More Good Songs
02. The Art of Malnutrition
03. Let's Not
04. Dry Futures
05. Take It Like A
06. Face Smear Pt. 1 (All Right Now)
07. The Family Name
08. The Season for Treason
09. Radio Song '04
10. I Am the Voice of Sarah Strickland's Rage
11. In Piles/On File (MP3)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

The dueling front women of Atlanta staple R&B-punk-garage rock band Tiger! Tiger! return with new album, The Kind of Goodnight.

“With a refreshing dollop of confident restraint, Tiger! Tiger! hurls a cohesive sonic menace that equals Aguero’s tough-girl image (one that looks as if this chica could cut ya just as easily as flash ya that infectious ruby-red smile).” – Flagpole Magazine

“…It’s what you might call “bar music,” if more bars actually cut loose enough to play stuff like this. But there’s just enough danger here to ensure that they won’t.” – Atlanta Journal & Constitution

Since 2005 Tiger! Tiger! has become an important figure in Atlanta’s underground music scene, working at the cross roads of garage rock, punk and R&B. The group’s second full-length, The Kind of Goodnight is a catty and cool collection of retro rock and roll rhythms that dive headlong into the dark side of the tensions that bind and repel the sexes. The album is by turns sultry and frenetic, obsessive and triumphant as vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Buffi Aguero cruelly croons away, kicking at the rubble of love in the ruins. Sam Leyja (organ), Susanne Gibboney (bass, vocals), Mario Colangelo (drums) and Shane Pringle (guitar, saxophone, vocals) craft a gritty and careening big beat that wanders into the most menacing parts of the ego and the soul. This is the battle cry of strength, reckoning and psychological vengeance that kicks like a Stiletto to the guts. Each song tells a tale of hurt feelings, deceit and rising above with extreme prejudice.

Opening number, “Stand In” is a Velvet Underground inspired ditty that serves as a primer into the simple, powerful plod of the group’s pace. And yes, “Garage rock” is the inexorable catch phrase of Tiger! Tiger!’s approach. It is a dominate strain in the group’s genetic make-up, which makes sense. Aguero also plays drums for Atlanta’s long-standing garage rock legends The Subsonics (who will be featured on a split 7-inch with The Black Lips later this year on Rob’s House Records). Songs like “Black Daggers” (MP3 VIDEO) and “Cheap Imitation” are not only cut from the same cloth as younger ATL siblings The Black Lips, The Carbonas and The Coathangers, the group contains fragments of the same cornerstones upon which new Atlanta is built.

Tiger! Tiger! draws power from real life experience, and even though there are more than three chords bounding throughout each song, the impact of it all remains in a direct and uncomplicated channeling of very complicated emotions. Dueling front women Gibboney and Aguero bring the pressure to a fine point - the wrath of not one, but two women scorned has never been so enticing.

Goodnight is an exercise in catharsis and sheer triumph of will, but it is so sculpted from so much more than spun-out punk aggression. Pringle’s restrained saxophone blasts in “Cheap Imitation” reveal hidden layers in the music that summon an affinity for the artful bend of ‘70 post-punk and ‘80s new wave, but it all comes back together in Leyja’s long, sustained organ drones and staccato rhythms. “How Much Can You Take” and “Seaside Romance” sidestep the explosive connotations of such punchy and ragged descriptors to follow the course of a slow burn that is no less volatile, and The Kind of Goodnight is white hot.

The Kind of Goodnight Track Listing:
Stream The Album HERE

01. Stand In
02. The First Thing
03. Black Daggers (MP3 VIDEO)
04. Two By Two
05. The Kind of Goodnight
06. Fake It
07. Cheap Imitation
08. How Much Can You Take
09. Seaside Romance
10. Misfortune, Bad Weather and Debt
11. So You Won’t Deceive Me
12. Sometimes
13. Every Word Is True
14. Pretty Perjury
15. Windows
16. Substantial Difference

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Culture-jam your Christmas! Negativland’s greatest hits DVD release date gets bumped into holiday season - band releases controversial statement.

“Declared heroic by their peers for refashioning culture into what the group considers to be more honest statements, Negativland suggests that refusing to be original, in the traditional sense, is the only way to make art that has any depth within commodity capitalism...” – The New York Times

“Twisted genius...compelling...parody and satire as a grassroots weapon of consumer resistance.” – Rolling Stone

“Negativland isn’t just some group of merry pranksters; its art is about tearing apart and reassembling found images to create new ones, in an attempt to make social, political and artistic statements. Hilarious and chilling.” – The Onion

Negativland’s long-awaited DVD release of its greatest hits titled Our Favorite Things has been delayed until November 20th due to a manufacturing glitch discovered on early promotional versions of the disc. The epic career-capping project -- several years in the making -- was originally slated to be issued via Other Cinema (Sonic Outlaws, So Wrong They’re Right) on October 23rd. A sizable number of DVDs were found to have problems playing through its bonus features, which has necessitated the remanufacture of its full run.

Sure to please the group’s old fans, this very accessible DVD is also an incredible introduction to Negativland’s work for new ones. Created with a crew of 18 other experimental filmmakers from all over the USA, Our Favorite Things is a collaborative project that takes a striking visual leap into the same legally gray area that Negativland has been exploring with sound for the last 27 years. A dark and charming film collection of unforgettable collage and classic cut-up entertainment for all ages, it also comes with over 90 minutes of bonus material, as well as a truly silly and bizarre 50-minute bonus CD of 100% acapella versions of Negativland’s work by The 180-Gs, a five-person black acapella group from Detroit, that has endeavored to “cover” Negativland’s cut up collage work in R ‘n B, Doo-Wop, and Gospel styles. The resulting album 180 D’Gs To The Future! is extremely fun, funny, and very weird.

Negativland issued the following statement regarding the DVD in its absence on its original release date:

“Aside from all your desperately unanswerable questions about Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, about half the countries in Africa, American politicians, and arctic polar bears, you’re undoubtedly wondering why the new DVD/CD from Negativland, Our Favorite Things, is no longer immediately available for making art whoopee regardless of all that other vexing and hexing of the American soul we are currently subjected to.”

“Due to technical difficulties beyond our control, Negativland’s new DVD release has been delayed by one month. While none of the above human problems, or the polar bears, can be fixed now, and some of them can’t be fixed in your lifetime, Negativland’s Our Favorite Things DVD is being rapidly fixed as you read this. No problem. That’s why art is more satisfying than politics - it sometimes might be a little late, but it seldom involves senseless death.”

“Look for Our Favorite Things, Negativland’s career spanning DVD/CD of old and new works made visible for the very first time on its new release date of November 20, 2007. We can’t change the world, but we can give you another way to look at it, and better late than never.”

Recently released without difficulty is the long awaited reissue of Negativland’s legendary 1983 difficult listening conceptual suburban epic A Big 10-8 Place. Over three years in the making, and with ten-thousand-million-billion analog tape splices, this insanely cut-up and uniquely weird release remains the hands down favorite of many fans of Negativland’s work. The disc comes with a 60-minute bonus DVD of Negativland’s No Other Possibility video, created in the mid-1980’s.

As if all of this Negativland activity weren’t enough to cause a government reaction, the band recently brought a new version of its weekly radio broadcast (“Over The Edge” – on the air since 1981) to the live stage, mixing music, found sounds, found dialog, scripts, personalities, and sound effects within a “radio” theater-of-the-mind.

Time Out New York featured the band in anticipation of its first New York City performance since a sold-out show at Irving Plaza in 2000 (LINK). “It’s All In Your Head FM” is a two-hour-long, action-packed look at monotheism, the supernatural God concept, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs. Dr. Oslo Norway is your “radio” host, and Christianity and Islam are the featured religions, as Negativland asks you to contemplate some complex, serious, silly, and challenging ideas about human belief in this audio cut-up mix best described as a “documentary collage”. “It’s All In Your Head FM” is a compelling and uniquely fun presentation of sticky theological concepts, which has actually been known to provoke arguments for days after the show is over.

Opening the NYC performance were two other significant contributors to the history of re-appropriation of found sounds – Steinski and Double Dee. In 1983, Tommy Boy Records held a promotional contest, in which entrants were asked to remix the single “Play That Beat, Mr. D.J.” by G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid (members of Afrika Bambaataa’s Soulsonic Force). The entry submitted by Steinski and Double Dee, “Lesson 1 — The Payoff Mix” was packed with sampled appropriations from other records -- not only from early Hip-Hop records and from Funk and Disco records that were popular with Hip-Hop DJs, but with short snippets of older songs by Little Richard and The Supremes, along with vocal samples from sources as diverse as instructional tap-dancing records and Humphrey Bogart films.

Double Dee and Steinski followed up this success with “Lesson 2 — The James Brown Mix” in 1984, which began with a sample from “The War of The Worlds” before quickly running through a montage of memorable breaks from classic James Brown records, with sampled appearances by Dirty Harry and Bugs Bunny. In 1985 came “Lesson 3 — The History of Hip-Hop Mix” which attempted a survey of the great breakdancing favorites, along with snippets from Johnny Carson and Hernando’s Hideaway. The Illegal Art label, home to notorious musical collage artist Girl Talk will issue a definitive compilation of this long unavailable material in 2008.

Our Favorite Things DVD Chapter Listing:
Release Date: November 20th, 2007

01. Learning To Communicate
02. No Business (VIDEO)
03. Gimme The Mermaid (VIDEO)
04. U2
05. Time Zones
06. Freedom’s Waiting
07. The Bottom Line
08. Yellow, Black and Rectangular
09. Guns
10. Over The Hiccups
11. The Mashin’ of The Christ
12. KPIX News
13. Truth In Advertising
14. One World Advertising
15. Why Is This Commercial?
16. The Greatest Taste Around
17. Taste In Mind
18. Humanitarian Effort
19. Drink It Up
20. Aluminum or Glass (VIDEO)
21. My Favorite Things (VIDEO)

180 d’Gs To The Future Bonus CD Track Listing:

01. Intro (Everything’s Going Fine)
02. Christianity Is Stupid (MP3)
03. Helter Stupid (Excerpt)
04. Greatest Taste Around
05. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
06. Car Bomb
07. A Nice Place To Live
08. Seat Bee Sate
09. Roy Storey’s Sports Line
10. I Am God
11. Playboy Channel
12. Oven Noises
13. Theme From A Big 10-8 Place (Live)

A Big 10-8 Place Track Listing:
Release Date: September 25th, 2007

01. Theme from a Big Place
02. A Big 10-8 Place, Pt. One (MP3)
03. Clowns and Ballerinas
04. Introduction
05. Four Fingers
06. 180-G, A Big 10-8 Place, Pt. Two

More About The 180-Gs:
The 180-Gs began in 2001 when David Minnick and his four or five brothers got together to sing and perform in their family’s two-car garage in Rochester, Michigan. Soon the whole neighborhood knew of the “Singing Minnicks” and the crazy ruckus that David, Chris and the triplets set up on those hot summer nights. It wasn’t long before their pastor, Reverend Al “Sugar” Sweet heard them and decided to take the youngsters under his wing. It was in Reverend Al’s venerable Airstream Trailer home that David Minnick found, under a dusty anorak, the album which was to transform the sound of the group: Negativland’s Points.

Under Reverend Al’s tutelage the Minnick boys redirected their energies into the delightful and stunning arrangements found on the recordings. Christened The 180-Gs, their performances went from basements and garages in Bloomfield Hills to crowded church halls and Elk’s Lodges in the entire Detroit Metro area. Their soulful styling of such Negativland classics of “Car Bomb” and “I Am God” were particularly uplifting in the tough times that followed 9/11, and their popularity came to the attention of local DJ and impresario D’Andre Xavier Jones, who produced their first singles. Jones sold these out of the trunk of his car – often moving as many as three crates in a weekend – first to folks in the neighborhood, but later to people all over who had heard bootleg cassette recordings of the Gs at block parties and dance clubs throughout the city. What started as a local phenomenon had broken out into the world, and The 180-Gs were going to ride it to the top.

“The mission of the 180-Gs is to bring music with a positive message to the youth of today. Their music is the complete opposite of the gangsta rap and techno devil music and all the stuff kids think they’re supposed to like. They’re 180 degrees away from that. In fact, the sound of their voices is an insult to the entire gangsta rap community. Coming up in the streets, the Gs learned the hard way that you’ve got to use your head to get ahead. There’s just no other possibility.” – Reverend Al “Sugar” Sweet

More About Negativland:
“Negativland, longtime advocates of fair use allowances for pop media collage, are perhaps America’s most skilled plunderers from the detritus of 20th century commercial culture. Negativland are media addicts who see society suffering under a constant barrage of TV, canned imagery, advertising and corporate culture...the band’s latest project is razor sharp, microscopically focused, terribly fun and a bit psychotic.” – Wired

“Brutally hilarious...a compelling argument for the anti-copyright movement.” – Village Voice

“Fearless artists or foolhardy risk-takers.... by constantly haranguing the audience with authentic advertising spiel and highlighting its transparency, they kill the messenger, kill the message and produce highly entertaining art simultaneously.” – L.A. Weekly

Since 1980, the four or five Floptops known as Negativland have been creating records, fine art, video, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sound, image and text. Mixing original materials and music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture, Negativland re-arranges these bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural opposition and “culture jamming” (a term coined by Negativland in 1984), Negativland have been sued twice for copyright infringement.

Okay, but what, you still ask, is Negativland exactly? That’s hard to answer. Negativland definitely isn’t a “band,” though they may look like one when you see their CDs for sale in your local shopping mall. They’re more like some sort of goofy yet serious European-style artist/activist collective - an unhealthy mix of John Cage, Lenny Bruce, Pink Floyd, Bruce Connor, Firesign Theatre, Abbie Hoffman, Robert Rauschenberg, 1970’s German electronic music, old school punk rock attitude, surrealist performance art, your high school science teacher…and lot’s more.

Over the years Negativland’s “illegal” collage and appropriation based audio and visual works have touched on many things - pranks, media hoaxes, media literacy, the evolving art of collage, creative anti-corporate activism in a media saturated multi-national world, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, file sharing, intellectual property issues, wacky surrealism, evolving notions of art and ownership and law in a digital age, artistic and humorous critiques of mass media and culture, and, of course, so-called “culture jamming” (a term now thoroughly and somewhat distastefully commodified by Adbusters Magazine.)

While they have been, since getting sued, aggressively and publicly involved in advocating significant reforms of our nation’s copyright laws, and are often perceived as creative and funny shit-stirring anti-corporate activists, Negativland are artists first and activists second, not the other way around. Their art and media interventions have (often naively) posed questions about the nature of sound, media, control, ownership, propaganda and perception, with the results of these questions and explorations being what they release to the public. Their work is now referenced and taught in many college courses in the US, has been written about in over 30 books (including No Logo by Naomi Klein, Media Virus by Douglas Rushkoff, and various biographies of the band U2), cited in legal journals, and they often lecture about their work here and in Europe.

In 1995 Negativland released a 270 page book with 72 minute CD entitled Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2. This book documented their infamous four-year long legal battle over their 1991 release of an audio piece entitled U2. They were the subjects of Craig Baldwin’s 1995 feature documentary Sonic Outlaws. Negativland also created the soundtrack and sound design for Harold Boihem’s 1997 documentary film The Ad and The Ego, an excellent in-depth look into the hidden agendas of the corporate ad world that goes very deep into the gross and subtle ways that we are adversely affected by advertising.

Negativland is interested in unusual noises and images (especially ones that are found close at hand), unusual ways to restructure such things and combine them with their own music and art, and mass media transmissions which have become sources, and subjects, of much of their work. Negativland covets insightful wackiness from anywhere, low-tech approaches whenever possible, telling humor, and vital social targets of any kind. Without ideological preaching, Negativland often becomes a subliminal culture sampling service concerned with making art about everything we aren’t supposed to notice.

A complete discography of Negativland’s work is available at the band’s website (LINK).

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Monday, October 22, 2007

A beautiful new voice arrives on the national scene in the form of Kate Tucker. New album with The Sons of Sweden out soon.

Kate Tucker & The Sons of Sweden plays a brand of melodic indie pop that springs from a melancholy hope. On her self-titled debut, Tucker sings stories of loves, lost hours, inevitable ends, and broken towers. The songs alternate between night-blue longing and emerald sparkle, borne on the wings of Tucker's haltingly rich voice. One of the album’s featured tracks, “Faster Than Cars” (MP3) has ended up on repeat for just about anyone that has heard it. Tucker’s self-titled debut was recorded and produced by Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, Holy Ghost Revival, The Octopus Project) at Bear Creek Studio and features guest vocals by Seattle folk luminary Damien Jurado. This is the first collaboration between Kate and the Swedes.

The roots of it all began in Ohio with Kate and her acoustic guitar, and then a long drive west. The story goes that Tucker ventured out to Seattle, where she found the band wandering among the old Swedes of Ballard. And so Midwest folk met Northwest indie, finding that the same themes shine through the occasional grey: isolation, hope, transition, communion, green fields, blue skies, and empty hands.

What happened with the music was quite a surprise for all of them, as they all came into the circle with previous experience and inclinations. In 2006, Tucker had released a solo EP, Eros Turannos, working with Nic Danielson and Ryan Hadlock on the arrangements. By the time the Sons of Sweden were in effect, Danielson and Tucker had already become accustomed to long hours in Nic’s bedroom amongst sound machines, wires, and bottles. Tucker’s new songs were surer of themselves structurally and Danielson had built an arsenal of samples and strange sounds to flesh them out. Bringing the Sons of Sweden into the arrangement process added a fresh pop driven perspective that anchored Tucker's inclination toward ethereal wanderings.

On the debut, Cameron Herrington’s steady understated groove compliments Tucker's folk-influenced picking patterns, and Mark Isakson provides texture on shimmering Tele’s, sustained ad infinitum with an army of delays. Add Nic Danielson's obsession with the Cocteau Twins and Air, and you have a lushly layered record of bright melodies, which running through even the minor keyed tracks.

The band lists influences as diverse as The Police and Sonic Youth and Tucker's vocals recall Beth Orton and Neko Case. What they take from such artists is the idea of big sound and an attempt to create dramatic compositions in big rooms with small means: that is, five people in a barn in rural Washington.

This debut album is a confident start for Tucker and her band, and they offer a promising future. Though they may be currently veiled in the mists of the emerald city, the Sons of Sweden are on the rise and shining through.

Some Fun Facts About Kate Tucker & The Sons of Sweden:
Tucker was born in a barn in Ohio and that's how she chose to record at Bear Creek which is also a barn.
Kate was sick with typhoid fever during the recording of the new album.
BJ Myers, Cameron Herrington, and Mark Isakson live together in sunny Ballard, Washington. (Tucker has a key.)
Cameron Herrington's grandfather was named Ole Johnson.
Mark Isakson and Cameron Herrington are the only true Swedes. Danielson's status remains up in the air.
Kate's previous EP, Eros Turannos, was featured in Starbucks stores nationwide for the duration of 2006. Likewise, more than half-a-dozen tracks from her latest album will be featured in Starbucks stores.
Damien Jurado joined Kate on vocals on “In the End.” This meant a lot to Kate who had been great admirer of Damien's work since, while in high school, she saw him play a show on Kent State's campus. There she heard him sing “Ohio” which she now counts as one of her all-time favorite songs.

Kate Tucker & The Sons of Sweden Live:
11/04 Seattle, WA Sunset Tavern

Kate Tucker & The Sons of Sweden Tracklisting:
Release Date: October 30, 2007

01. The Hours
02. Faster Than Cars (MP3)
03. Saturday Night
04. In Your Dreams
05. The Way You Went
06. Maybe A Pirate Stole Her Soul
07. Everything Went Down
08. On The Radio
09. The First Day of The Year
10. In The End

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Saint Bernadette to play CMJ gig at NYC’s Highline Ballroom this weekend. Band premiers the mysterious video for “Sidestep”.

“The debut album from Connecticut’s Saint Bernadette hits the sort of notes and touches that make me weak in the knees, by expertly melding things I’m a sucker for: ballsy broads, smoke-filled jazz clubs, and, of course, the element of surprise.” -- Sentimentalist Magazine

“The music on In The Ballroom, is seductive, eclectic, sophisticated and a natural fit for DiMenna’s superlative voice.” -- Stamford Advocate

Saint Bernadette is celebrating the recent release of its debut album In The Ballroom by playing the CMJ Music Marathon this weekend at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom on Saturday, October 20th. Filter Magazine will present the show and Saint Bernadette will serve as opening act to the Grammy award winning leader of Dirty Vegas, Steve Smith, who will be debuting songs from his upcoming solo debut. Saint Bernadette takes the stage at 12:30AM. The first video from In The Ballroom is now ready for consumption as well. The clip for “Sidestep” (VIDEO) is a mysterious ride with a hot car through some murky and ominous fog.

In The Ballroom has already received much praise from the press -- not only for the gorgeous pipes of singer Meredith DiMenna, but also for the unique sound of the record which was recorded live in the abandoned ballroom of Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Bijou Theatre (pictured on the album’s cover) in a marathon three-day recording session.

DiMenna, a professional vocalist by day -- she is well-known as the voice of MTV’s “Chunky Pam” (VIDEO) -- gets to show off her personal side with Saint Bernadette, making beautiful, loungey music that harkens back to Motown or early Atlantic releases. To make In The Ballroom, DiMenna, and her husband, guitarist Keith “Touch” Saunders, put together the lineup that would appear on the record and went north to a small cabin in Vermont to learn and arrange the songs. Inspired and invigorated by the results, they began the search for the perfect recording location.

“We knew we wanted to record it live. Because of the instrumentation, the dynamics depend on a real-time push and pull between the different elements and we felt we couldn’t achieve that in an overdubbing situation,” says Saunders. “We really wanted the record to reflect the energy of a live show.”

Recent transplants to Bridgeport, DiMenna and Saunders found that a local redevelopment project, the historic Bijou Theatre, was hiding a large and beautiful ballroom circa 1908 on the second floor. The developers gave the band permission to use the space for five days – one each to load in, load out and three to record. The album was recorded completely live - with everyone in the same room at the same time. It was nearly non-stop recording, except on breaks to go to the bar next door and keep tabs on the World Cup. When recording was finished, the band took the record to Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Mates of State, Tokyo Police Club) of Bridgeport-based Tarquin Studio.

“Not only is he in Bridgeport, which was important to us – we really wanted it to be a hometown effort – but he’s also really talented. Working with him in his studio was a great experience,” says DiMenna. Saunders adds, “We had to wait a few months for him because he was busy working on The National, which was so hard since we were so excited about the recording, but it was well worth the wait.”

In The Ballroom will be followed up by a pair of EPs in 2008. One, a new Saint Bernadette collection entitled I Wanna Tell You Something and another, a six-song collaboration with singer-songwriter Brian Grosz, a label mate of DiMenna’s. Interestingly, the second EP is a planned covers collection of some famous and not-so-famous duets from the past and present featuring tunes originally sung by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits & Crystal Gail, Morrissey & Siouxsie Sioux, Tricky & PJ Harvey, and Elvis & Ann Margaret.

Lastly, famed hip hop producers, Black Panther and Shaad Almighty have decided to put their own take on In The Ballroom and are working on remixes of the album tracks “Lay Me Down” and “Money In The Air”. More information on the remixes will be announced in the near future.

Saint Bernadette Live:
10/19 Bridgeport, CT Acoustic Cafe
10/20 New York, NY Highline Ballroom (CMJ)
10/23 New York, NY 11th Street Bar
10/30 New York, NY 11th Street Bar
11/17 Danbury, CT SUB ROSA/Cousin Larry’s
11/29 Knoxville, TN TBA
11/30 Athens, GA TBA
12/01 Asheville, NC Westville Pub
12/02 Philadelphia, PA TBA
12/11 New York, NY Piano’s

In The Ballroom Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: October 2, 2007

01. I Own The City (MP3)
02. Bound To Do
03. She’s a Natural
04. Money In The Air
05. Pieces
06. Sidestep (VIDEO)
07. Such Ease
08. Lay Me Down
09. Universe
10. No Dreams

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Illegal Art sampler of upcoming releases surfaces on Pitchfork -- features tracks from Girl Talk, Steinski, Oh Astro and Realistic.

The Illegal Art record label continues to birth its Negativland-inspired, Deconstructing Beck credentialed and Girl Talk reinforced releases into a world where copyright laws are beginning to crumble. Case in point – the label will release new albums from two of its roster artists – Oh Astro and Realistic in the coming weeks.

Also on deck for Illegal Art is a career spanning collection from hip hop pioneer Steinski and an album of brand-new material from Girl Talk. A sampler featuring tracks from these upcoming records (save for Girl Talk – the track featured on the sampler is from a long out-of-print compilation) was recently made available for free download by Illegal Art in hi-resolution MP3 format. A post by Pitchfork linking users to the sampler download promptly crashed Illegal Art’s server. The problem has now been remedied – read the story (LINK) and download the sampler (LINK).

Listeners should take note of the Oh Astro track “Hello Fuji Boy” (MP3) which features a sample from Lionel Richie’s infamous tune “Hello” immortalized in the wonderful video featuring a blind sculptress creating a model of Mr. Richie’s oversized noggin. The song appears on the band’s groundbreaking new album Champions of Wonder (on your desk now!) XLR8R recently chimed in with some early praise for the record, saying: “In true Illegal Art fashion, Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler’s first full-length as Oh Astro is comprised almost solely of sampled material, but this is far from a Girl Talk record. Champions of Wonder is an experimental conglomeration of glitchy techno, ambient, and broken-beat, all layered with distorted vocals that offset the album’s poppier moments with ghostly eeriness.” Also not to be missed is the album’s exquisite cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu.”

The way-ahead-of-the-game publication also recently praised the upcoming Jib Door release of the retro-futuristic self-titled collaboration of comic book beats and rhymes between Chicago producer Yea Big and rapper Kid Static. Coincidentally, Big also appears on the upcoming Oh Astro record, lending his skills to three of the album’s tracks (one is a significant remix of a track from his debut release, The Wind That Blows The Robots Arms.) XLR8R says: “This LP is worth listening to just for Deejay Yea Big’s production. Stuttering, glitchy, and just plain jaw-dropping, Yea Big’s beats are up there with the big guns of Prefuse 73 and Daedelus. With Kid Static’s humorous, yet angst-filled rhyming filling it out, this duo have put excitement and innovation back into hip-hop.”

Also on tap from Illegal Art this October is Perpetual Memory Loss, the latest album from James Towning a.k.a. Realistic. With Realistic’s latest release, the Illegal Art label continues to challenge the restrictions of copyright as perceived by the larger music industry. The uniqueness of Realistic in comparison to other artists on the label further illustrates that sample-based music is strikingly some of the most original, innovative, and exciting music being made in the 21st century. Illegal Art claims Fair Use for all of its releases and has professional legal counsel nearby if needed.

More about Oh Astro:
Married duo Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler are both rooted firmly in experimental music, but with the Oh Astro project they continue their move towards odd interpretations of popular forms. Club music, children’s songs, and fragmented samples of pop/rock all intersect on their first full-length album, Champions of Wonder, under the Oh Astro banner.

Jane Dowe entered the international electronic music scene in 1998 on two critical CD releases, Institutional Collaborative on Mille Plateaux, and Deconstructing Beck on Illegal Art. On Institutional Collaborative, Dowe and Terre Thaemlitz created abstract music that was described as a “table-tennis mixing game with ‘lounge’ and ambient soundclips” (The Wire). Dowe resurfaced in 2005 on Illegal Art with the debut Oh Astro mini-album, Hello World, which was hailed as “funky and pretty, Hello World’s bite-sized samples concoct a weird pop universe” (CMJ New Music Monthly). While Hank Hofler peripherally contributed to the project, it wasn’t until after Hello World that he became significant collaborator in Oh Astro. Besides creating music Dowe has also done installations in galleries internationally and codes idiosyncratic software for her various projects.

Hank Hofler’s first performances were in Japan as part of the live electronic improvisation scene from 1998-2001, playing shows with Japanese artists such as Otomo Yoshihide, Merzbow, Ikue Mori, and Sawako. As Dowe was too shy for live events, Hank’s earliest shows were actually performing as “Jane Dowe” (further confusing the identity of the pseudononymous Dowe). As he developed his own reputation, Hofler began to be billed under his own name, began street performing in Tokyo, and later also took on the live shows for Oh Astro. As a tenure-track professor, Hofler currently teaches in an Arts Technology program at Illinois State University. Both Hofler and Dowe hold advanced degrees from prestigious institutions such as Dartmouth College and Keio Univeristy (Japan), but have strong reservations about the esoteric qualities of academic art/music.

The purposely-pixilated digipak artwork for Champions of Wonder was created by the internationally known producer/artist Terre Thaemlitz utilizing illustrations by Aiko Tsuji. The physical release also contains surround sound mixes of the first three tracks by Aaron Paolucci (who also mastered the stereo mixes) that can be played on a computer connected to a 5.1 sound system.

One of the common techniques on Champions of Wonder is the manipulation of vocals by spectral software that is coded by Dowe and long-time mentor Christopher Penrose. Even the more experimental or ambient tracks contain ghostly sounds of vocals that have been stripped from their original context and placed into the pulsating electronic world of Oh Astro. The other common practice on the album is that every sound, with the exception of some of the vocals, is sampled from pre-existing recordings. The types of music sampled range from top 40 songs to indie hipster music to the obscure. In the end, it’s more about what is done with the sample than what was originally sampled.

More about Yea Big + Kid Static:

“What Andy Kaufman did for comedy, Yea Big has done with their new album...” – Treblezine

Ever wonder what happened to the fun in hip-hop? What happened to the Digital Undergrounds, the Biz Markies and the De La Souls ? With all this serious rap, who fills in the gap for the people who just want to get their dance on? The answer: the dauntless duo of deejay Yea Big and emcee Kid Static.

Yea Big a.k.a. Stefen Robinson is a detail obsessed mad scientist of the mix reared on Ravi Shankar, bluegrass & Motown. He released his first full length CD, The Wind That Blows The Robot’s Arms, in 2006 on Chicago’s Jib Door label to much confusion and praise. One dude called The Wind “an ADD trip through instrumental spaz-hop”. Yea Big has done remixes for Minneapolis avant-hip hop outfit Kill The Vultures, the 12 Apostles label, Illegal Art, and continues to produce tour only mash-up and remix EP’s, the first two of which feature The Mae-Shi and Rapider Than Horsepower. In the fall of 2005, Yea Big took a beating on one of Chicago’s largest hip hop message boards for reasons no one really remembers too well these days. Kid Static watched as the crossfire obliterated this unheard of deejay and, after checking out some of his music online, invited Yea Big to collaborate with him. Drawn to Big’s atom splitting beats, Static says, “he’s doing the music I always heard in my head”. For his part, Yea Big, was mesmerized with Static’s presence. “His voice has an energy & grit. His phrasing, texture and flow did it for me.”

Over the last two years of collaborating together, Static and Big have played for Michigan meth farmers, cape cod yacht rockers, snacked on cheesesteaks behind the backs of Philly vegans and played grabass and smacked hi-fives with each and every one of them. Because in the world of high misadventure of Yea Big and Kid Static, the odd man out is always in.

More about Realistic:

“Following the aesthetic of Negativland and John Oswald, Realistic borrows material from every possible source: classic rock, disco, self-improvement records, soap operas [and more]. Towning demonstrates a knack for unconventional looping, sonic accumulation, and a good joke.” – All Music Guide

Realistic’s third album, Perpetual Memory Loss, features sixteen tracks of intricate sample-based compositions -- a beautifully sophisticated celebration of found sound, recorded media, technology, and electronic composition. Slices of field recordings mesh with surreal electronic melodies, which creates enjoyably odd multi-layered musical fun. Realistic is the guise of sound collage artist James Towning, a musician and graphic designer originally from OhioIn 2003 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and currently works a full-time job as a motion-graphics designer in Manhattan.

Realistic has also appeared on releases with (or been remixed by) The Evolution Control Committee, Girl Talk, The Bran Flakes, Wobbly, Sawako, Pimmon, and Monochrome (Charles Noel).

A recurring source in Towning’s compositions is the nostalgic sounds of 70’s and 80’s techno-pop and rock artists that were personally influential over the years. As well as using computer-based waveform editing and sampling, Towning carries a portable digital recorder to capture various audio environments on a daily basis. Whether the source samples are found around the house, on TV, on a busy Chinatown street, or a crackly sound effects record, Realistic’s juxtaposition of head-spaces always creates something surreal and altogether new.

“There’s such a rich texture of sound and visuals in New York. I’m constantly entertained with the sounds that I record,” said Towning in a recent interview. An ever-increasing collection of thrift-store records and cassettes is another likely source of audio inspiration. “I love composing little sound pieces using whatever source material I choose. It’s a cathartic, fun, and essential part of my life,” said Towning.

With Perpetual Memory Loss, the Realistic sound has evolved into a tighter and more structured mesh of musical patterns and mangled beats. Tiny rhythmic patterns and subtle textural layers are revealed upon repeated listening. Sampled dialogue is used more sparingly than in previous Realistic releases allowing the musical voices to be heard more clearly. Each complex track is its own self-contained little world, with disjointed characters, funky grooves, and odd but familiar musical samples. Throughout the 45-minute album, expressionistic patterns of sound twist and fold into one another as the tracks evolve. At times the entire audio spectrum degrades and distorts in groovy syncopation. The tracks on Perpetual Memory Loss are more complex and refined, but what remains is the underlying sense of humor, rich production, and an offbeat composition style that is distinctively Realistic.

Regarding the album’s artwork, Towning explains, “The CD art was designed by me. It consists of many thumbnails of snapshots I’ve taken over the past three years or so. That timeframe coincides with the production of the audio tracks, too. The snapshots represent memories in a very literal way. They vary in subject matter from pictures of my cats, still-lifes, industrial landscapes, detailed textures, and random found art. The inside artwork reveals more snapshot thumbnails in varying degrees of clarity.” Towning further elaborates, “Beneath the CD, a collage of found images and photographs explodes and bleeds over into the snapshots. The technique of collaging with found and personal imagery reflects the style of the audio tracks too. The primary colors of red and green that I chose were inspired by and derived from a vintage Christmas card I received from a friend a few years ago. Again, a nostalgic reference.”

As for the title Perpetual Memory Loss Towning says it “speaks to the process of growing older and the mind’s ability to store, lose, and constantly distort memories. And how sometimes those memories are recalled in a random and overlapping order. As we get older, more and more memories are stored while others are buried deep or lost. The title also references the similarities between the ever expanding human mind and a computer’s finite hard drive and its ability to retrieve random and corrupt data.”

Oh Astro Live:
11/06 Normal, IL University Galleries
11/27 Normal, IL KRH
01/22 Joliet, IL Laura A. Sprague Gallery

Oh Astro
Champions of Wonder Tracklisting:
Release Date: November 6, 2007

01. Snow Queen (MP3)
02. Hello Fuji Boy (MP3)
03. Lucy Sees the Moon
04. Candy Sun Smiles
05. Empty Air
06. Xanadu
07. Journey to the Center
08. Itch Box
09. Robot Love I Love You
10. Quiet Mouth
11. Pet Apples

On The Web:

Yea Big + Kid Static Live:
10/18 Jamaica Plain, MA The Milky Way
10/19 Brooklyn, NY Sound Fix (Fanatic CMJ Showcase)
10/21 Chicago, IL The Note
10/26 Kankakee, IL Myrtle House
10/31 Bloomington, IN Uncle Festers
11/09 Chicago, IL Darkroom
11/16 Chicago, IL Kinetic Playground

Yea Big + Kid Static Tracklisting:
Release Date: October 23, 2007

01. The Screaming Starts At Sundown
02. We’ve Built A Time Machine That Runs On Beats. We Shall Only Use It For Good.
03. Static Leads The Coup
04. Transmission Ended
05. Joining Forces
06. Speak The Facts
07. Low Budget Battle Scene
08. The Basement / Enfant Terrible
09. On The Blink
10. Repairs Are Needed
11. Duck, Mother Fuckers! (MP3)
12. Revel In The Aftermath
13. The Life Here
14. Things Have To Change, Pete
15. Why The Fuck Does This Keep Happening
16. Back Into The Sleeve

On The Web:

Perpetual Memory Loss Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: October 23, 2007

01. The Camera Track (MP3)
02. Music in the Round
03. Conversation Hearts
04. Post-Corporate Fantasy
05. Amazing Fall
06. Welcome to Heaven
07. Brand Name Sunday
08. Library Music
09. Wandering Aimlessly
10. Have a Nice Trip
11. April and August Sixth
12. There is Always More
13. In Loving Memory
14. Snowday Plaything (MP3)
15. The Numbers Test
16. Uneventful Fall

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Arch Enemies adds tour dates and hits the road behind leader Steve Goldberg’s promising next project.

“Steve Goldberg's senior project is an orchestral-pop gem -- this eponymous album with his band, The Arch Enemies, is possibly the most elaborate, orchestrated indie-pop effort Pittsburgh has ever produced.“ - Pittsburgh City Paper

Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies first spread the good news of its debut album to the eastern US this past summer, and now the band has set its sights on the west coast with a tour that launched in Las Vegas on October 10th. The band has been posting daily notes from the road on its website (LINK) where fans can also find some recently unearthed acoustic demos of tunes from the band’s self-titled debut, as well as some fun cover versions of Neutral Milk Hotel's “In the Aeroplane Over The Sea” and “King of Carrot Flowers” as well as John Vanderslice's “When It Hits My Blood.”

The Arch Enemies first materialized as a rotating cast of live backing musicians for Pittsburgh pop auteur and music student Steve Goldberg who was studying music composition and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University. It began innocently, as these stories often do, with a trumpet here or a violin there. But before he knew it, Goldberg was living on the outskirts of London and performing with a tuba player named King Wang. It wasn't long before he got to experimenting with string quartets.

And it was there, under the influence of meat pies, ale, and low brass, that most of the songs that would become Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies were conceived. Soon after returning to his native shores, armed with a head full of ideas and a healthy moustache, Steve sequestered himself in a secret underground recording studio. Enlisting an elite squad of orchestral mercenaries, he built his pop fortress lovingly, brick by brick.

The band’s self-titled debut album, recorded over eight months during Goldberg’s final two semesters as his thesis project, contains parts for 22 different instruments. All of the musicians were recruited from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, and most of them hadn't heard the music before showing up to record. The album was engineered by another CMU student and all vocals were recorded with a custom tube microphone built by an electrical engineering student. The album artwork and layout were created by CMU design students, as well. The record was mastered by Garrett Haines (Starlight Mints.)

By the time the final overdub was put to hard disk, The Arch Enemies' ranks had swelled to include harpsichords and trombones, vibraphones and glockenspiels, flutes and French horns. A powerful juggernaut to be sure, but such a behemoth was unfit for maneuvering in small spaces. A tour was devised -- an away team was needed, one that would be powerful yet nimble and capable of performing surgical strikes and counter-intelligence operations anywhere in the globe. Goldberg put out the call.

J.J. Josephs (fiery fiddlist and renowned medicine man) and The Duke (lead bass guitarist extraordinaire and international poker champ) were retained from the studio crew. The new squad was completed by the inimitable Mink Shoals (martial arts expert, accomplished golfer) on the skins. Like some sort of rock and roll Planeteers, their powers combined to create a heroic force for combating bad vibes. Now, you can experience that force for yourself. Keep your friends close, and The Arch Enemies closer when they arrive in your town.

Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies Live:
10/16 Los Angeles, CA Knitting Factory
10/17 San Luis Obispo, CA Frog and Peach Pub
10/18 San Francisco, CA Edinburgh Castle
10/19 Chico, CA The Salem House
10/20 Redding, CA Red White and Brew Pub
10/21 Eugene, OR The Black Forest
10/23 Portland, OR Kelly's Olympian
10/25 Seattle, WA The Mars Bar
10/26 Olympia, WA 4th Ave. Tavern
10/27 Bend, OR, 541 Lounge
10/28 Arcata, CA The Green House
10/30 Sacramento, CA The Press Club
11/01 San Diego, CA The Casbah
11/03 Las Vegas, NV Beauty Bar

Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies
Stream The Album HERE

01. The Road
02. February Third
03. Julia
04. The Spy (Part 1) (MP3)
05. The Spy (Part 2) (MP3)
06. 23rd Century Identity Crisis
07. The Battle of Agincourt
08. Artichokes
09. Hideaway
10. Summer's Ending (MP3)

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HEALTH cares: L.A. underground quartet to play multiple CMJ parties, posts MySpace remix site, tours U.S. and tops U.K. charts. Yes, all at once!

HEALTH, the L.A. underground music quartet whose -- ahem -- infectious music is catching everywhere from online press (ranking a stunning #5 on the “most blogged about” list) to U.K. radio (its recent collaboration with Crystal Castles hitting #9 on the Indie Charts) is slated to play no less than SEVEN events during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City this week, including a secret rooftop video shoot for a very popular website named after farm tools. See full performance schedule below. Not only do the members of HEALTH rock the rock, they also talk the talk. To wit: the ambitious group will be available to chat with the media during its week in NYC and writers are encouraged to sign up for interviews by contacting as soon as possible.

HEALTH has also set up a separate MySpace page from its regular band site (LINK) for all of its myriad remix/collaboration projects. Check it out HERE. The impressive word-of-mouth excitement about HEALTH has quickly become an international phenomenon. The band recently ripped a swath across the U.K. -- garnering praise from the NME, BBC radio and many more -- and HEALTH is currently healing cynical souls all across the U.S. (see complete dates below.) HEALTH’s live shows are sweaty, packed fits of beautiful noise that could perhaps be best compared to Liars, Animal Collective and latter-period Black Dice.

HEALTH’s self-titled debut full length on the ultrahip Lovepump United label hit shelves on September 18th. Soon, L.A. based Cold Sweat Records (Battles, Phantom Family Halo, This Moment in Black History) will issue the vinyl version of the album as well. As if that weren’t enough HEALTH activity, the band has announced a slew of commissioned remixes to follow hot on the heels of the album. The impressive list of remix collaborators includes Pink Skull (Minneapolis), David Gilmore Girls (Amsterdam), Crystal Castles (Toronto), Curses! (NYC), Toxic Avenger (Paris), CFCF (Montreal), Juiceboxxx (Milwaukee), Narctrax (Tokyo), Lovely Chords (Buenos Aires), et al.

The group’s surging notoriety is also due in part to the magic of the Interwebs. In addition to the blog attention described above, Anthem Magazine recently posted and amazing live performance of the HEALTH song “Glitter Pills” shot at The Smell in downtown L.A. Watch it HERE. Additionally, director Nik Mercer shot a collaboration between HEALTH and Aa (Big A Little a) reworking the former’s tune “Crimewave” (LINK). Plus, recently posted a raving track review of “Glitter Pills” HERE.

Regarding the remix onslaught, HEALTH recent issued the following statement: “HEALTH likes to make scary noises, we like to chant until our faces go red, we like to beat on drums until there’s blood on the floor. But we also like to boogie, and sometimes we need help from people we admire. There is a great big world full of music and there is no excuse for standing in the corner with your eyes closed. You can always make friends with the other kids in class, even If your favorite band is Slayer and theirs is Bell Biv Devoe, so let’s hold hands.” An MP3 of the CFCF remix of”Triceratops” is already available. Click HERE.

More about HEALTH:
Instead of finding a room where the only thing one can hear is their heartbeat, HEALTH recorded its debut full length in one of the band’s favorite places. The Smell is an all ages music venue in downtown Los Angeles. It is open and brick and dirty and dark, but when you sing a church hymnal or hit a drum as hard as you can the sound is beautiful. They did both of these things on the record. They also went out and found equipment built the same time as The Smell, mostly ribbon microphones designed by the BBC for radio broadcasts in the 1930’s, things George Martin liked to use, and other things they didn’t know about. The record is 11 songs in less than thirty minutes - on it there is new music with old sounds.

HEALTH was six months old the first time they played for real people. Before that, there was more talk than music, mostly about art, food, sex, animals, records, drugs, politics and sleeping. After two more shows in Los Angeles, the group self released a 7-inch and went on tour. While they were traveling, people told them their music was weird. When they got back they played on a bill with Ex-Models and Death Sentence Panda. They felt like grown men. After that, people let them play shows more often, mostly at all ages art spaces like The Smell and Il Corral. They became friends with other L.A bands like No Age, The Mae Shi, Mika Miko, BARR, Captain Ahab, Anavan, and Abe Vigoda. Then they went on three more tours and a trip to SXSW.

HEALTH have also had a hand in 8-bit glitch duo Crystal Castles’ recent success. In addition to a Crystal Castles/HEALTH split 7” (released concurrently on Lovepump United with HEALTH’s LP), Crystal Castles highly anticipated Crimewave EP is named for a HEALTH remix for which the two bands recently shot a video. Watch it HERE.

HEALTH Live at CMJ, 2007:
Monday – 10/15

05:00PM – Secret Rooftop Shoot
Wednesday – 10/17
04:30PM – Fader Magazine Side Show
at 146 Orchard (btw Stanton and Rivington)
Friday – 10/19
02:30PM – Brooklyn Vegan Party at R Bar
10:15PM – CMJ Showcase at Knitting Factory
02:00AM – Vice Magazine Party at TBA
Saturday – 10/20
06:00PM – Soundfix Records In-Store
10:00PM – Death by Audio at 49 S. 2nd St (btw Wythe & Kent)

*w/ Crime Novels
^ w/ Yip Yip
% w/ Aids Wolf
10/15-10/20 CMJ (See schedule above)
10/16 Purchase, NY Suny Purchase*^
10/17 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY Bard College*
10/18 Philadelphia, PA Danger Danger Gallery*^
10/19 New York, NY Knitting Factory CMJ^%
10/21 Baltimore, MD The Depot^
10/22 Washington, DC Civilian Arts Project*^
10/23 Charlottesville, VA Bridge Progressive Arts Space*
10/24 Charleston, SC Tin Roof*
10/25 Savannah, GA The Sentient Bean*
10/26 Atlanta, GA Lenny’s Bar*
10/27 Birmingham, AL Bottletree*
10/29 Houston, TX Proletariat*
10/30 Austin, TX Emos*
10/31 Denton, TX Eighth Continent*
11/01 Lubbock, TX Bash Riprocks*
11/02 Tucson, AZ The Living Room
11/03 Los Angeles, CA The Smell* (Dave Clifford Birthday Show)
11/15 San Diego, CA Che Cafe%
11/16 Los Angeles, CA The Smell%
11/17 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the the Hill%

HEALTH Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Released: Sept. 18, 2007

01. Heaven
02. Girl Attorney
03. Triceratops (MP3) (CFCF Remix MP3)
04. Crimewave (MP3)
05. Courtship
06. Zoothorns
07. Tabloid Sores
08. //M\\
09. Glitter Pills
10. Perfect Skin (MP3)
11. Lost Time

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