(photo : WH Moustapha)
In September, Mdou Moctar and band will arrive in the US to begin a much-anticipated tour, with a number of dates already sold out.
Today, listen to “Tala Tannam” (Debmaster Remix), which flips the song’s gentle acoustic guitar vamp into a pulsing and percussive rhythm track for Kenya-born/Uganda-based rapper, MC Yallah (Nyege Nyege Tapes). “I've loved to work on my brother Mdou Moctar's track,” says Yallah. “Fusing hiphop with deep desert sounds really took me to a different place. I hope we meet in real life one day!”
stream / download "Tala Tannam" featuring MC Yallah (Debmaster remix)
Purchase or stream 'Afrique Victime'
Mdou Moctar on tour (new dates in bold)
Thursday, September 2 The Grey Eagle, Asheville NC
Friday, September 3 Bonnaroo, Manchester TN
Saturday, September 4 Terminal West, Atlanta GA
Sunday, September 5 Motorco Music Hall, Durham NC
Tuesday, September 7 Ottobar, Baltimore MD (SOLD OUT)
Wednesday, September 8 Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia PA (SOLD OUT)
Thurdsday, September 9, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY (SOLD OUT)
Friday, September 10 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, September 11 Gateway City Arts, Holyoke MA
Sunday, September 12 The Sinclair, Boston MA (SOLD OUT)
Tuesday, September 14 Thunderbird Café & Music Hall, Pittsburgh PA
Wednesday, September 15 Ace of Cups, Columbus OH (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, September 16 The Storehouse, Galien MI *SOLD OUT*
Friday, September 17 Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, September 18 Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN
Monday, September 20 Globe Hall, Denver CO (SOLD OUT)
Tuesday, September 21 Globe Hall, Denver CO
Wednesday, September 22 Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City UT
Thursday, September 23 Treefort Music Festival, Boise ID
Friday, September 24 The Crocodile, Seattle WA
Saturday, September 25 Mississippi Studios, Portland OR (SOLD OUT)
Sunday, September 26 Mississippi Studios, Portland OR (SOLD OUT)
Monday, September 27 The Miniplex, Arcata CA *SOLD OUT*
Tuesday, September 28 The Chapel, San Francisco CA * SOLD OUT*
Wednesday, September 29 Starline, Oakland CA *SOLD OUT*
Saturday, October 2 Lodge Room, Los Angeles CA (SOLD OUT)
Sunday, October 3 Lodge Room, Los Angeles CA *SOLD OUT*
Friday, April 1st Het Bos, Antwerpen [BE]
Saturday, April 2nd AB-club, Brussels [BE]
Sunday, April 3rd Bumann, Köln [DE]
Monday, April 4th Paradiso, Amsterdam [NL]
Tuesday, April 5th Effenaar, Eindhoven [NL]
Wednesday, April 6th, Komedia, Brighton [UK]
Thursday, April 7th Hare & Hounds, Birmingham [UK]
Friday, April 8th The Sugar Club, Dublin [IE]
Saturday, April 9th Ulster Sports Club, Belfast [UK]
Sunday, April 10th Drygate, Glasgow [UK]
Monday, April 11th The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [UK]
Tuesday, April 12th YES, Manchester [UK]
Thursday, April 14th EartH Theatre, London [UK] (venue change)
Friday, April 15th : La cave aux Poètes, Roubaix/Lille [FR]
Saturday, April 16th Le Hasard Ludique, Paris [FR]
Sunday, April 17th Doornroosje, Nijmegen [NL]
Monday, April 18th Molotow - Hamburg [DE]
Tuesday, April 19th Alice, Copenhagen [DK]
Wednesday, April 20th Nefertiti, Gothenburg [SE]
Thursday, April 21st Blaa, Oslo [NO]
Friday, April 22nd, Fasching, Stockholm [SE]
Saturday, April 23rd Plan B, Malmö [SE]
Sunday, April 24th Frannz Club, Berlin [DE]
Monday, April 25th UT Connewitz, Leipzig [DE]
Tuesday, April 26th Meetfactory, Prague [CZ]
Wednesday, April 27th Kapu, Linz [AU]
Thursday, April 28th Rote Fabrik, Zurich [CH]
Sunday, May 1st De Post, Oostende [BE]
Mdou Moctar online
MC Yallah Online
(photo : Jed DeMoss)
The long-awaited 2nd album from DARKSIDE (Nicolar Jaar and Dave Harrington) is finally out today and available on LP, CD and via all streaming platforms.
stream / purchase 'Spiral'
- Narrow Road
- The Limit
- The Question Is To See It All
- I’m the Echo
- Liberty Bell
- Inside Is Out There
- Only Young
DARKSIDE is an American rock band formed in Providence, Rhode Island in 2011. The group consists of Chilean electronic musician & vocalist Nicolás Jaar and American multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. Jaar and Harrington first met while studying in Providence through their common friend and saxophonist Will Epstein. In the summer of 2011, they toured Europe and Australia in support of Jaar's breakthrough debut album Space Is Only Noise.
Upon returning to Providence, they continued to write together, releasing their self-titled EP in 2012 and their critically acclaimed debut album 'Psychic' on Matador in October 2013. The album was met with glowing reviews, including a 9.0 from Pitchfork and the New York Times calling it "the soundtrack to a lost David Lynch sci-fi movie."
In the years that followed the 'Psychic' tour in 2014, the musicians moved on parallel and occasionally intersecting paths. Jaar would release five albums under his name and two collections of club music as Against All Logic. Harrington worked as a producer and composer, releasing two albums with his Dave Harrington Group. During that time he also played some 300 shows in NYC and Brooklyn, becoming deeply entrenched with a wide-ranging community of improvisers and collaborators, performing and recording with Yuka Honda, Brian Chase, Ilhan Ersahin, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Joe Russo, Innov Gnawa, Angel Deradoorian, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, Nels Cline, and more.
In the summer of 2018, Harrington and Jaar rented a small house on Lenni-Lenape territory, which is present-day Flemington, New Jersey. The group spent a week there, making a song a day. While it would take another year and a half to complete their second album, six songs from the band's new record 'Spiral were written and recorded during this initial session.
"From the beginning, DARKSIDE has been our jam band. Something we did on days off. When we reconvened, it was because we really couldn't wait to jam together again,” says Jaar. Harrington echoes this, “It felt like it was time again,” he said. "We do things in this band that we would never do on our own. DARKSIDE is the third being in the room that just kind of occurs when we make music together."
Darkside online :
Darkside at Matador
Out today, Spoon has released live recordings of two Tom Petty covers, "Breakdown" and "A Face in the Crowd" captured last October at The Catacomb in Austin TX.
Both songs are available to stream / purchase through the link HERE.
Video captured by Peter Simonite, Scott Cremeens & Chris Rusch, edited by Sabrina Nichols. Audio recorded by Britt Daniel and mixed by Jim Eno.
"Heatwave" - lyric video by Sabrina Nichols), from 'Little Oblivions', out this Friday, February 26
"Maybe it's a trite or well-trod topic, but ‘Heatwave’ is really just about being confronted with how much time I spend worrying about things that are trivial. I was stuck in traffic because a car had randomly combusted, and it made me feel so stupid for being concerned with the things I had been anxious about earlier that day. It was just such a poignant thing, an event that communicated a lot of complex things in a single image. So I wrote a song about it. I know I'm not the first person to witness an atrocity and consider my own mortality or life's fragility because of it, but that truly was my experience. Theoretically the lesson or symbolism to be interpreted there is that life is precious and it's not worth it to give your time and energy to negative thoughts, but jesus, how could you be a person alive on earth right now and not have negative thoughts? It's certainly less romantic to say that the consideration of life's fragility made me feel relieved at my own inconsequence, but it's true; it is comforting to think of the minuscule role everyone plays in the human drama, to realize we have more choice about what we give power over us than we maybe thought." - Julien Baker
photo by Alysse Gafkjen
stream / download "Heatwave"
presave / preorder 'Little Oblivions'
Julien Baker Online
"Splat" (director, Julie Hermelin
(photo Jill Greenberg)
As previously touted in this space, the 25th anniversary remastered edition of Bailter Space's 'Wammo' is available today via all streaming services, finer record shops and mail order. Author and labelmate Andrew Earles once wrote of 'Wammo', "Bailter Space's final album for Matador (fifth overall) finds the band showing everyone how skilled it was at erasing any lines of demarcation separating wickedly catchy pop songs and washes of guitar noise and toothy dynamics." Alister Parker, Brent McLachlan and John Halvorsen are still erasing lines (sonic and otherwise) to this very day, so where's their Hall Of Fame nomination?
Preorder / stream : 'Wammo'
(Flying Nun are releasing a limited green vinyl edition of 'Wammo'.)
At Five We Drive
"Favor" (lyric video by Sabrina Nichols)
"Favor" is the third track from Julien Baker's eagerly anticipated 3rd album, "Little Oblivions", out February 26.
“I used to think about myself, like I was a talented liar,” Baker sings on the track, “turns out that all my friends were trying to do me a favor.” Here those friends are Baker’s boygenius collaborators, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers. Phoebe says, “Julien is one of those people whose opinion you want to hear about everything. A true critical thinker with an ever-changing and ridiculously articulate worldview. Her music changes in the same way, and this record is my favorite thing she’s ever done. I’m sure I’ll think the same about the next one.”
Lucy noted, “We sang on "Favor" in Nashville the same day we recorded vocals for Graceland Too and a song of mine. That day had the same atmosphere as when we recorded the boygenius EP. Making music was just a natural result of being together, easy as can be but also rare in a way that feels irreplicable. I love the song for its stark but sensitive picture of friendship, what it looks like to recover from broken trust. Makes me think about how truth only ever breaks what should be broken, and how love is never one of those things. I’m always honored to be brought into Julien’s life and music.”
(photo : Alysse Gafkjen)
presave / preorder 'Little Oblivions'
Julien Baker Online
"Hardline" - from 'LIttle Oblivions', out February 26
presave / preorder
Following the debut earlier this month of Joe Baughman's amazing video for Julien Baker's "Hardline", this morning we're showcasing Sabrina Nichols' lyric video for the same track.
Julien Baker Online
After previous release via digital auspices, today is the official release date for Kurt Vile's 'Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)' on the resilient vinyl and compact disc formats.
Track List :
Speed of The Sound of Loneliness
How Lucky (with John Prine)
"How Lucky" (with John Prine)
"Prine, KV and Ferg as Babies" drawing by Delphine Vile in Nashville.
purchase / stream 'Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)'
Stream/Purchase Bottle It In
Kurt Vile Online
[caption id="attachment_35649" align="alignnone" width="537"] Photo by @WillByington[/caption]
(photo : Will Byington)
"The Boy With The Arab Strap"
(video by Wide Eyed)
"My Wandering Days Are Over"
(video by Wide Eyed)
On December 11th, we're releasing Belle and Sebastian’s 'What to Look for in Summer', a live double album gathering choice selections from the band’s 2019 world tour, including last summer’s epic “Boaty Weekender” cruise.
Today, the band release new videos with the audio of live renditions of their classic songs “The Boy With The Arab Strap”, in a special near 8-minute version featuring the band in their respective Glasgow locations and a clip for “My Wandering Days Are Over,” (both above)
presave/preorder 'What To Look For In Summer'
stream/download "My Wandering Days Are Over"
All live records are a time capsule to some extent, but Belle and Sebastian’s 'What To Look For In Summer' is perhaps a bit more evocative than originally planned.
“We'd been badgered by our fan base to put out recordings of the shows,” frontman Stuart Murdoch teases. So they began multi-tracking their 2019 tour, including all three sets from the “Boaty Weekender” festival, which took place on a cruise ship. Which of those things feels more like an out-of-reach fantasy right now, simply seeing some live music, a festival, or getting on a cruise ship?
Whatever your answer, What To Look For In Summer takes you there. With COVID-19 cancelling not only 2020 live shows, but Belle and Sebastian’s plans to make a new record in Los Angeles, what started out as a between-albums, “for-the-heads” release wound up getting a bit more care and attention.
“It was something to focus on,” says Stevie Jackson. “That was very, very nice.”
“It was quite nice to be doing that when we couldn't even see each other,” echoes Sarah Martin.
When Murdoch polled Belle and Sebastian fans on Twitter, most said that their favorite live LPs were of a single concert. But hey, the fans don’t get to make the set list either. The band decided picking the best recordings from different shows was the way to go, taking their inspiration from such live albums as Yes’s Yessongs' and Thin Lizzy’s 'Live and Dangerous.
“For a while, the working title of the record was Live and Meticulous,” Murdoch says. “The record company really wanted it to still be called Live and Meticulous. But I don't like derivative things really.”
Neither a retrospective nor a back-door greatest-hits, What To Look For In Summer is the sound of a band that’s always moving forward, a picture of Belle and Sebastian in 2019 that gives equal weight to early days (“My Wandering Days Are Over,” “Seeing Other People”) and recent years (“Poor Boy,” We Were Beautiful”), with a track selection Murdoch says was almost random. “I’m a Cuckoo,” #2 on the band’s Setlist.FM stats, didn’t even make the cut. But you get three songs from 2000’s Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant (which the band played in full at the Boaty Weekender).
You also get a full picture of a group that’s always been built around Murdoch’s songs, but has three other writers in Jackson, Martin and guitarist Bobby Kildea (with all songwriting credits shared by the entire band). Martin, in particular, has become more and more prolific as a songwriter and lead vocalist over the past decade - her “I Didn’t See It Coming,” with its indelible refrain (“make me dance/I want to surrender”) is always a highlight, as is her show stopping vocal on “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” originally sung by Norah Jones on 2010’s Write About Love. “It's always a little bit of a moment when she steps up and goes into the song,” says Murdoch.
Once a more introspective live group (Stuart's staying in and he thinks it's a sin/That he has to leave the house at all,” they sang on 1998’s “This is Not a Modern Rock Song”) Belle and Sebastian’s live shows for the past two decades have featured both an incredibly high level of musicality and a bit of a variety-show vibe. At one point on the album, Murdoch wonders why the band stopped its tradition of having someone bring gin cocktails to the stage mid-set.
“It just feels like you're having your friends around for dinner and you want everything to be right,” he says. “No matter how miserable your songs are - maybe most of the fans have learned to love these songs in a bedroom or a kitchen - when you come out to a show, it's a different thing. You just want everybody to feel good.”
Never is that more true than towards the end of every show. “The Boy With The Arab Strap” is both Belle and Sebastian’s “Born To Run” - they’re never not gonna play it - and their “Dancing in the Dark” to the nth degree, as scores of fans end up on stage for a bit of participatory dancing. It's a once-in-a-lifetime highlight for the kids, an occasional nightmare for the band’s production manager, and the greatest bit of fun for everybody else. Sometimes Jackson has to fight his way through the dancers to get back to the mic for his harmony vocals, while Martin gets a close-up view of people surrounding Murdoch on stage, or sometimes even hijacking the song. “I kind of enjoy it when people overstep the line,” Martin admits. “But not with me!”
Murdoch never gets tired of playing it “I genuinely look forward to it,” he says. “If the concert’s going great, it just feels like a natural vibe. And if the concert’s going okay - maybe it's a Sunday night and everybody’s a little bit flat, or still in their seats - it’s definitely the time to send it home.”
He also never gets tired of playing, period. “Touring the band is something that I never thought we'd do. It’s turned into the thrill of a lifetime, really, in a manifest, physical way. It's just the nicest experience that I think I've had in my life.”
— Jason Cohen
1. The Song of The Clyde £ >
2. Dirty Dream Number Two *
3. Step Into My Office, Baby *
4. We Were Beautiful +
5. Seeing Other People %
6. If She Wants Me @
7. Beyond The Sunrise &
8. Wrapped Up In Books +
9. Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John $
10. Nice Day For A Sulk (digital only) #
11. I Can See Your Future *
12. Funny Little Frog ^
13. The Fox In The Snow+
14. If You’re Feeling Sinister*
15. My Wandering Days Are Over*
16. The Wrong Girl #
17. Stay Loose%
18. The Boy Done Wrong Again #
19. Poor Boy%
20. Dog On Wheels%
21. The Boy With The Arab Strap+
22. I Didn’t See It Coming+
23. Belle And Sebastian #
£ recorded Banchory Studios, Glasgow, August 6th, 2020 (digital version)
> recorded by Kenneth McKellar (vinyl + CD versions)
* The Boaty Weekender, August 10th, 2019
+ Royal Oak Theatre, Michigan, July 21st, 2019
% Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA, July 12th, 2019
# House Of Blues, Boston, MA, July 13th, 2019
^ M-Telus, Montreal, QC, July 15th, 2019
@ Carnegie Hall - Pittsburgh, PA, July 18th, 2019
& House Of Blues, Cleveland, OH, July 19th, 2019
$ Auditoria Baluarte, Pamplona, Barcelona, November 4th, 2019
Belle & Sebastian online
"Faith Healer" - directed by Daniel Henry
(photo by Alysse Gafkjen)
Julien Baker will release her third studio album, 'Little Oblivions', on February 26. Today she reveals the first look at the album via “Faith Healer.” She says, “Put most simply, I think that ‘Faith Healer’ is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song 2 years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For awhile, I only had the first verse, which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel-- the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides. When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche."
“There are so many channels and behaviors that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction. I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever-- a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer-- when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing.”
“Faith Healer” introduces the exhilarating, widescreen musical palette and infectious spirit of risk-taking found on Little Oblivions, a transformative sonic shift from Baker’s more spare and intimate previous work. Engineered by Calvin Lauber and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Florence & the Machine, Arcade Fire), both of whom worked with Baker on 2017’s 'Turn Out the Lights', the album was recorded in Baker’s hometown of Memphis between December 2019 and January 2020. Baker’s tactile guitar and piano playing are enriched with newfound textures encompassing bass, drums, synthesizers, banjo and mandolin, with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker. The album weaves unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and often hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for starkly galvanizing storytelling to breathtaking new heights.
If you are lucky enough to have a future where the present anxieties of distance become romantic memories, I hope there are people who turn this album over in their hands years from now and remember the world it tumbled into. A world that, in whatever future moment exists, will likely be defined by the work people undertook and the fights people continued to show up for. But it will also be a world defined by how many of us exist on the other side of distance.
In the moment, here is a new Julien Baker album that arrives as a world comes to newly understand its relationship with touch, with distance. At the time of this writing, I shouldn’t want to run into the arms of anyone I love and miss, and yet I do. In an era of hands pressed on the glass of windows, or screen doors. An era of hands reaching back. An era where touch became an illusion. If we have been unlucky enough, our own lifetimes have prepared us for the ever-growing tapestry of aches.
To wrestle with the interior of one’s self has become a side effect of the times, and will remain a side-effect of whatever times emerge from these. The first time I ever heard Julien Baker, I wanted to know how an artist could survive such relentless and rigorous self-examination. I have been lonely, I have been alone, and I have been isolated. There are musicians who know the nuances between the three. What whispers in through the cracks of a person’s time alone. Julien Baker is one of those artists. A writer who examines their own mess, not in a search for answers, but sometimes just for a way out. A lighthouse to some newer, bigger mess.
It is hard to put into words what this feels like. Little Oblivions is an album that steps into that feeling and expands it. Sonically, from the opening swells of sound on “Hardline” rattling the chest, loving but persistent jabs to the way “Relative Fiction” spills into “Crying Wolf,” which feels like speeding down a warm highway that quickly turns into a sparse landscape, drowning in a hard rain. Lyrically, too, of course. There are writers who might attempt to bang at the doors of their listeners, shouting their particular anguish of the hour. And there are undoubtedly times when I have needed that to get from one sunrise to the next. But there are also writers who show up assuming anyone listening already knows what it is to crawl themselves back from one heartbreak, or to shout into an enduring darkness and hear only an echo. Little Oblivions is an album that details the crawling, details the shouting. An album that doesn’t offer repair, or forgiveness. Sometimes, though, a chance to revel in the life that is never guaranteed. Yes, the life that grows and grows and is never promised. How lucky to still be living, even in our own mess.
The grand project of Julien Baker, as I have always projected it onto myself, is the central question of what someone does with the many calamities of a life they didn’t ask for, but want to make the most out of. I have long been done with the idea of hope in such a brutal and unforgiving world, but I’d like to think that this music drags me closer to the old idea I once clung to. But these are songs of survival, and songs of reimagining a better self, and what is that if not hope? Hope that on the other side of our wreckage – self-fashioned or otherwise – there might be a door. And through the opening of that door, a tree spilling its shade over something we love. A bench and upon it, a jacket that once belonged to someone we’d buried. Birds who ask us to be an audience to their singing. A small and generous corner of the earth that has not yet burned down or disappeared. I can be convinced of this kind of hope, even as I fight against it. To hear someone wrestling with and still thankful for the circumstances of a life that might reveal some brilliance if any of us just stick around long enough.
Julien, how good it is to hear you again. And now, in all of our anguish and all of our glory. I miss the way the outside world reflected myself back to me. Now, I make mirrors out of the walls. I am so thankful for a better noise than the howling of my own shadows. Julien, you have done it again. You expert magician. You mirror-maker. Thank you for letting us once again watch you maneuver through all of your pleasant and unpleasant self-renderings. If there is a future, there will be people in it who might not remember how this album came at a time when so many hungered for a chance to put themselves back together. When the imagination of a person, a city, a country, was expanding. When, despite all of that, in the quiet moments, there were people who still wanted to be held by someone they maybe couldn’t touch. Thank you, Julien, for this comfort. This glass box through which a person might better be able to see a use for their own grief. This kingdom of small shards of sunlight, stumbling their way in to disrupt the darkness.
— Hanif Abdurraqib
03. Faith Healer
04. Relative Fiction
05. Crying Wolf
09. Song in E
11. Highlight Reel
stream / download "Faith Healer"
presave / preorder "Little Oblivions"
Julien Baker Online
photo : Kate Taylor Battle
Kurt Vile’s Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep) was recorded and mixed in sporadic sessions that spanned four years at The Butcher Shoppe studio in Nashville, TN. It includes five songs — covers of John Prine and “Cowboy” Jack Clement as well as two originals — and was recorded alongside a cast of local heavies like Bobby Wood, Dave Roe, and Kenny Malone with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Superwolf) tossed into the mix as well.
Most importantly, it features what KV has called "Probably the single most special musical moment in my life” – a duet with the late John Prine on the songwriter’s well-loved tune, “How Lucky.”
“The truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into The Butcher Shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me. And, man, I was floating and flying and I couldn't hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night,” notes Vile in a personal statement that accompanies the record.
“A couple nights later we were playing ‘How Lucky’ together again; this time onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on New Year's Eve at the turn of 2020. Nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage in Nashville, TN... and, yup, that's just how lucky we all got that night."
Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep) is out digitally on October 2nd. A physical edition will arrive early next year on pink-colored vinyl and CD.
presave / preorder
Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)
By Matt Sweeney
His body left this planet in 2014, but “Cowboy” Jack Clement still brings seekers like Kurt Vile to Nashville to find the wild and mellow musical spaces he created.
Jack was Nashville’s Wizard of Oz. As a producer, songwriter, and mentor he had a profound guiding hand in the careers of Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, and Kurt Vile’s hero John Prine. Clement’s still-out-of-print ’70s solo album All I Want To Do In Life is a holy grail for KV.
So Kurt asked me to introduce him to Jack’s protege, the great David “Fergie” Ferguson. Ferg is a Nashville studio legend in his own right and the owner/operator/house producer of The Butcher Shoppe, a recording studio he started with Prine. He was also Johnny Cash’s right-hand man and recording engineer. He’s a heavy, to say the least.
I’d told Kurt about meeting Ferg in 2005, when Rick Rubin asked me to play guitar on Cash’s America V and VI albums. Raised working in Jack’s studio, Fergie is hilarious. He’s very gruff, yet lovable and a unique mix of hillbilly and worldly. He’s the youngest of the Old Guard -- utterly unpredictable and surprising while always maintaining a deep sense of the traditional. I hung on his every word during the Rick Rubin sessions and learned every song he showed me.
In 2006 Ferg called me and said: “Man, you gotta come to Nashville and meet Jack Clement, get with the real guys before they’re all gone.” This invitation was daunting -- my NYC ass certainly didn’t know any “country licks”. He reassured me: “Hell, we don’t need any more country licks. We need something different. Besides, nobody’s really from Nashville ’cept for me and Jack loves weirdos so you’ll be fine.”
So I went and my life changed. Ferg opened the doors to the Nashville I’d dreamed about. I kept my cool on that visit and as a reward he told me I could bring my non-Nashville friends to town so he and I could produce records for them “as long as they got songs and can really hang”.
The friends I brought in became new wild cards for Fergie to shuffle into this magic deck. A lot of recording ensued. Jack Clement was in his twilight years, but burning bright. Jack’s home studio and The Butcher Shoppe were full of musical legends dropping by to pick songs, have a smoke, get weird, tell jokes, and make records. For years.
When Jack died in 2014, Ferg assumed the mantle and kept Jack’s loose-but-laser-focused studio-style going at The Butcher Shoppe with the same gang of musicians that came up in Clement’s world.
And Kurt Vile wanted in on the action.
It took a couple years for Kurt and Ferg’s schedules to line up, but they finally lined up like a motherfucker in May 2016 for a recording of KV's version of the Prine original “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," among other songs.
Then KV came back again in late September 2016. Ferg booked two more days at the Butcher Shoppe and made another band for Vile, including keyboardist Bobby Wood (Dusty In Memphis, Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds”) bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed), Kenny Malone (George Jones and the rest!), Pat Mclaughlin (ripping solo artist and Prine's mandolin player for many years) along with me on guitar as a bridge between that gang and Vile’s East Coast freakness.
That first day at The Butcher Shoppe we recorded a cover of Cowboy Jack's "Gone Girl" and a remarkable blissed-out Vile original. We had to finish early, though, cuz Ferg had also lined up a big night: Some more of his friends to join Kurt for a loose evening of live music at The Station Inn, Nashville’s realest music venue.
KV: "It was backstage at the Station Inn where Ferg introduced me to John Prine for the first time. And the first thing John told me was that he heard and liked my version of ‘Speed of the Sound of Loneliness’. I knew Ferg had showed him that recording, but it was wild to hear him acknowledge it to say the least.... meeting him then was a perfect moment to do so, but also comical... I had my daughter Awilda back there with me at that moment -- who was 6 at the time -- and other interesting people were around like Billy Ray Cyrus, who was being really funny and cool... the other big reason I was there in Nashville at that time was to catch Prine's two 70th birthday shows at the Ryman... so to see him a couple nights before his big shows, warming up on such a tiny stage in a moment when i was sort of "in the scene" was a real treat and a trip... i had to break the ice by asking Billy Ray in front of everyone if he ever heard that Cypress Hill song where they namedrop him, to which he replied ‘no, i never heard it!’"
Our mind-blown and hungover selves returned to the Butcher Shoppe the next day to work a little more. It took another three years before Kurt could get back to mix what we did, but on that return trip he finally got to record a song with his hero John Prine.
KV: "Probably the single most special musical moment in my life."
Jack Clement was already gone when Kurt first came to town to catch his vibe. Now John Prine is gone and The Butcher Shoppe building has been sold. But the music Jack Clement made is about an energy between people, an unbroken thread. I’m grateful to witness how Fergie plugged Kurt Vile into Jack’s electric mainline of American music that he’d wired and switched on back in 1958. The songs Kurt recorded at The Butcher Shoppe have that continuous electrical charge running through them.
The new Butcher Shoppe Studio is 14 miles outside of Nashville in the countryside and the sound keeps rolling.
"speed of the sound of loneliness" was the first song recorded for this ep on May 26, 2016.
the last song, captured 3.5 years later on December 29, 2019, is called "how lucky" and that's exactly how i felt.
both are John Prine songs. "speed" was recorded to get John's attention. "lucky" was recorded to get John IN the studio.
welp... a couple-o-missions accomplished and that's how I'd prefer to roll on the regular. (thanks, Ferg!)
the truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into the butcher shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me and, man, I was floating and flying and i couldn't hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night. speaking of John talkin to me, well, his songs, they speak to my soul. that's the real reason I picked them to play. (but the other reasons are real as well.)
a couple nights later we were playing "how lucky" together again; this time onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on New Year's Eve at the turn of 2020. Nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage in Nashville, TN... and, yup, that's just how lucky we all got that night.
recording with Ferg at the butcher shoppe was just the best. no bullshit, just solid music...
i never met Cowboy Jack Clement in the flesh on this earth but his "gone girl" cuts clean through to my soul for true.
we got that down in September 2016 on the same day as "dandelions" which i had just freshly written. "pearls" is a song i composed in my early 20s, finally galvanized to tape with the right boys on the same day we got "speed".
so many great and legendary musicians grace these sides ...heavy hitters across the multigenerational spectrum...
each played their parts like a songbird sings... (see liner notes)
-KV, Philadelphia 8-22-20
presave/preorder 'Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)'
Stream/Purchase Bottle It In
Kurt Vile Online
(photo : Noah Kalina)
This morning, Yo La Tengo has released a second song from their forthcoming EP, 'Sleepless Night' (October 9) . “Bleeding” is the record's standalone original composition, a windswept ballad where delicate guitar melodies give way to cyclonic fuzz. The five-song record will also feature covers of songs by The Byrds, The Delmore Brothers, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Lane, and The Flying Machine.
The tracks on Sleepless Night were initially released as one side of an LP included within a limited-edition catalogue (published by LACMA and DelMonico Books/Prestel) for the LACMA exhibition, "Yoshitomo Nara", the first international retrospective for the artist Yoshitomo Nara. A longtime Yo La Tengo fan, Nara worked in collaboration with the group -- Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew -- to choose the EP’s songs.
This Matador version of the EP is a single-sided 12” with original cover art by Nara, a drawing of the band by Hubley, and an illustration by McNew etched on the record’s flip.
preorder / presave 'Sleepless Night'
Yo La Tengo online:
Stephen Malkmus presents “Juliefuckingette,” an A-side-worthy B-side off Traditional Techniques, his album released earlier this year. Additionally, he announces a rescheduled North American tour slated for March and April 2021. As with Traditional Techniques, “Juliefuckingette” is new phase folk music for new phase folks. Malkmus’ wry lyricism unwinds over his 12-string acoustic guitar: “Abolish the fanfiction set // I don’t wanna clean up the logorrhea mess // It’s the last brand standing // You know you wanna kill it but you can’t kill that quite yet.”
Traditional Techniques presents Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. Informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, Malkmus drew from a whole new musical palette for Traditional Techniques--including a variety of Afghani instruments--to support an ache both quizzical and contemporary. Alongside gorgeous folk music, Traditional Techniques presents occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger, straight-up commune rock, and mind-bending fuzz. He’s joined throughout by Matt Sweeney and Chris Funk.
Stream / Purchase Traditional Techniques
Stephen Malkmus on Tour
Tuesday, March 2 Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis MN
Wednesday, March 3 Turner Hall, Milwaukee WI
Thursday, March 4 Thalia Hall, Chicago IL
Friday, March 5 Headliners, Louisville KY
Saturday, March 6 Cannery Ballroom, Nashville TN
Sunday, March 7 Terminal West, Atlanta GA
Tuesday, March 9 Orange Peel, Asheville NC
Wednesday, March 10 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC
Thursday, March 11 The National, Richmond VA
Friday, March 12 Black Cat, Washington DC
Saturday, March 13 Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA
Sunday, March 14 Webster Hall, New York NY
Tuesday, March 16 Royale, Boston MA
Wednesday, March 17 Higher Ground Ballroom, Burlington VT
Thursday, March 18 L'Astral, Montreal QC
Friday, March 19 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON
Saturday, March 20 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH
Sunday, March 21 Majestic Theater, Detroit MI
Friday, April 9 Gothic Theatre, Englewood CO
Saturday, April 10 The Waiting Room, Omaha NE
Sunday, April 11 Granada Theater, Lawrence KS
Monday, April 12 Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa OK
Tuesday, April 13 Granada Theater, Dallas TX
Wednesday, April 14 The Mohawk, Austin TX
Friday, April 16 Lowbrow Palace, El Paso TX
Saturday, April 17 The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix AZ
Sunday, April 18 Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach CA
Monday, April 19 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles CA
Tuesday, April 20 The Fillmore, San Francisco CA
Thursday, April 22 Wonder Ballroom, Portland OR
Friday, April 23 Imperial, Vancouver BC
Saturday, April 24 The Showbox, Seattle WA
All shows with openers Qais Essar & the Magik Carpet
Stephen Malkmus Online
Spoon has released a new track "Rainy Taxi (Big Beat)" available exclusively on Bandcamp. A new take on "Rainy Taxi" from the 2014 LP They Want My Soul, the single was recorded remotely in May 2020 by Spoon's Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel in Austin TX and Los Angeles CA respectively.
During Bandcamp's 24 hour fee-waiving period today (Midnight PST Fri Sep 4 to Midnight PST Sat Sep 5) Spoon and Matador will donate all proceeds earned from the "Rainy Taxi (Big Beat)" single to Austin Community Foundation.
The premiere of the new track coincides with the release of Spoon's full discography on Bandcamp.
Buy / Stream Spoon catalog classics HERE.
Spoon online :
"Wasn't Born To Follow"
(photo : Noah Kalina)
On October 9th, Matador Records will release Yo La Tengo’s 'Sleepless Night' -- a six-song EP with one new song (“Bleeding”) plus covers of songs by The Byrds, The Delmore Brothers, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Lane, and The Flying Machine.
(photo : Ryoichi Kawajiri)
The tracks on 'Sleepless Night' were initially released as one side of an LP included within a limited-edition catalogue (published by LACMA and DelMonico Books/Prestel) for the LACMA exhibition, "Yoshitomo Nara", the first international retrospective for the artist Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959). A longtime YLT fan, Nara worked in collaboration with the group -- Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew -- to choose the EP’s songs.
The Matador version of the EP is a single-sided 12” with original cover art by Nara, a drawing of the band by Hubley, and an illustration by McNew etched on the record’s flip.
Ira Kaplan on 'Sleepless Night':
We met Yoshitomo Nara in 2003, would see him at his art shows and our concerts. We dj’d at an opening at the Asia Society, and on another occasion he drew a picture of Georgia strangling me on a Gloomy pencil case that became one of Georgia’s prized possessions until it was stolen from her at the bar at the K-West hotel in Shepherd’s Bush. To make the catalogue of his 2020 exhibit at LACMA more personal, the idea came up to include an LP of some of Nara’s favorite songs as part of a deluxe edition. We were asked to provide one side of the LP (and that one track be a new composition), with the other side being another six songs selected by Nara, in their original versions. Here are the six songs we contributed to the LACMA record, chosen in collaboration with Nara.
I probably was introduced to "Blues Stay Away from Me” on NRBQ’s Workshop lp, working backwards to the Louvin Brothers and the Delmore Brothers (with a detour to Doug Sahm and Band). Our version was recorded by Mark Nevers in February 2011. Charlie Louvin had died just a couple of days before. We were on a tour with William Tyler that came to an end in Nashville. The three of us and William and Kurt Wagner threw together an arrangement of “Blues Stay Away from Me” as a tribute and closed our show at the Exit/In with it. Since we were hanging around Nashville for a few days before going home, we went to Mark’s studio and recorded it.
“Wasn’t Born to Follow” was recorded by Gene Holder as part of the sessions that resulted in Stuff Like That There. Dave Schramm on lead guitar. I’m sure I heard the Byrds’ song for the first time when my mom took me and a bunch of my friends to see Easy Rider. (One kid was forbidden by his parents from joining us, as was my younger brother. My dad took my brother to see Butch Cassidy instead, and I’m guessing my friend stayed home and did homework.)
Ronnie Lane didn’t write “Roll On Babe,” but his is the version we’re covering. James recorded it in Hoboken. (And that song was among the songs Georgia played when we dj’d at the Asia Society.)
While making 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out' in Nashville, Roger Moutenot recorded Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” for a John Peel birthday show. As best as we can tell, we sent the one and only copy of the master to England. Yes, we’re as dumbfounded as you are, if not more so. After a lot of sleuthing, we came up with this.
“Bleeding” was written by us, recorded in Hoboken by James.
James also recorded The Flying Machine’s “Smile a Little Smile for Me” for Michael Shelley’s Super Hit Tsunami!, available to people who pledged to WFMU’s 2019 fundraising marathon.
Blues Stay Away
Wasn’t Born to Follow
Roll On Babe
It Takes a Lot to Laugh
Smile a Little Smile for Me
preorder / presave 'Sleepless Night'
stream / download "Wasn't Born To Follow"
Yo La Tengo online:
(photo : James McNew)
In case you haven’t caught on already, Yo La Tengo have spent the week quietly seeding the web with new music -- posting one song a day via their freshly minted Bandcamp page.
Today, we’re gathering it all into a single tidy zip file: 'We Have Amnesia Sometimes'. This digital collection features five instrumental compositions that Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew recorded over 10 days in late April and early May during socially distanced sessions at their rehearsal space in Hoboken, NJ. A vinyl edition will be available at a later date on Bandcamp via Egon.
Improvisatory and atmospheric, the music expands upon the moods and processes that informed the trio’s now-more-timely-than-ever 2018 full-length, 'There’s a Riot Going On'.
If you’ve spent any time hanging out with us at our rehearsal space in Hoboken — that pretty much covers none of you — you’ve heard us playing formlessly (he said, trying to sidestep the word “improvising”). Most of the songs we’ve written in the last 25 years have begun that way, but often we do it for no other reason than to push away the outside world.
In late April, with the outside world weighing on everybody, we determined that the three of us could assemble in Hoboken without disobeying the rules laid out by Governor Murphy, and resumed . . . “practicing” hardly describes it, because we’ve done no practicing per se, and anyway what would we be practicing for . . . playing. James set up one microphone in the middle of the room in case we stumbled on something useful for the future. Instead we decided to release some of the things we did right now.
Initially exclusive to Bandcamp, 'We Have Amnesia Sometimes' is today available via the streaming service of your choice.
'We Have Amnesia Sometimes' - Track List
5. "Ira searches for the slide, sort of (Friday)"
This weekend Yo La Tengo will be streaming two performances shot at their rehearsal space, Saturday, July 18 at 9pm EDT and Sunday, July 19 at 1pm EDT, under the name 'We Have Amnesia Live'.
The sets will be unique, approximiately 30-45 minutes in length and generated in the “formless” style of the 'We Have Amnesia Sometimes' recordings. Tickets will be $10 (or $18 for both shows) . All proceeds from the event will benefit the Brennan Center For Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute fighting for democracy – to ensure fair elections, to end mass incarceration, and to preserve civil liberties.
stream / purchase 'We Have Amnesia Sometimes'
preorder 'We Have Amensia Sometimes' on vinyl
(photo : Lera Pentelute)
On Friday, July 3 boygenius -- Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus – will make three demos from their 2018 EP available digitally exclusively through Bandcamp.
The music will remain online for one day only, coinciding with the site’s 24-hour waiver of its revenue share.
Proceeds will be split between three charities, each member having selected an organization local to them :
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus.
OUTMemphis, Downtown Women’s Center, and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Richmond.
The demos are voice memo recordings of the songs “Bite the Hand,” “Me & My Dog,” and “Stay Down” that were taped in rehearsal on June 5th, 2018 the day before the group would enter the studio to record its eponymous EP.
1. Bite The Hand (June 5, 2018 demo)
2. Me & My Dog (June 5, 2018 demo)
3. Stay Down (June 5, 2018 demo)
Julien Baker Online
Phoebe Bridgers online :
Lucy Dacus online :
Perfume Genius' cover of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" is now available to stream or purchase via Amazon Music and can also be heard on the newly relaunched PROUD playlist.
stream / download "Fade Into You"
stream / purchase 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'
Perfume Genius Online
Today, ALGIERS will release a special edition 7” to support the struggle to end state violence against Black people and destroy white supremacy.
"Can the Sub_Bass Speak" b/w "It All Comes Around Again" will be available physically only through Bandcamp during the 24-hour period that the site is waiving its revenue share on June 5th. The songs will remain available online indefinitely.
All proceeds from the single will be donated to Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund, As They Lay and Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
“This release has been created to support, in a small way, those who continue to struggle under life and death circumstances to end the miserable condition that exists for Black and other oppressed people in this country and its colonial world," writes the band." “We dedicate this to the families of those who have been murdered by the police state in America and encourage our supporters to continue to donate in their memory.”
The A-side -- previously released as a standalone single -- is drawn from the band's audiovisual collaboration of the same name and features contributions from saxophonics pioneer Skerik and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. "It All Comes Around Again" is an unreleased track available here for the first time.
purchase "Can The Sub-Bass Speak?" b/w "It All Comes Around Again" from Bandcamp
stream/purchase 'There Is No Year'
Algiers Online :
There Is No Year
(Photo by Camille Vivier, Illustrated by Andrew JS)
Last month Perfume Genius released the single, “On The Floor,” off of his forthcoming album, 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'. Today, he drops a remix of the track from Tokyo-based producer, Initial Talk, noted for remix work for Dua Lipa, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga and is known for infusing early MTV-era 80’s sounds into his work. Here, “On The Floor” is reimagined into a dance club track that falls somewhere between Prince and Pet Shop Boys.
stream / download "On The Floor" (Intial Talk remix)
presave / preorder 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'
Perfume Genius Online