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Tuesday, November 22

CTD Press Update 11/21/11!

CTD Press Update 11/21/2011
Now Available Exclusively/Semi-Exclusively from CTD:

Please note: CTD will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday/Friday, November 24th/25th

saki will be closed on Thursday & open normal hours on Friday!

Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid/Mats Gustafsson
“Live At The South Bank”
Smalltown Superjazzz: stsj211
On South Bank -- the most vital and essential document of Reid and Hebden's five-year partnership-- it feels clear that, at least onstage, they were finally able to go the distance. The invocation ‘Morning Prayer’ opens slowly, circling in space with a meditative calm. For 17 minutes, the pair traces lines around the other's rhythm, Hebden's electronics and keys shaping a cradle for Reid's busy tom-and-cymbal patter, and vice versa.”

The order at which they chose to perform these tunes shows a deep mastery of conveying a message through the constraints of abstract instrumental music. From start to finish, this album plays like a day of life, from 'Morning Prayer' to 'The Sun Never Sets'. The message is timeless: in the eternal present, one is always alive - there is no death among the living.”

PITCHFORK Forkcast of "Lyman Park":
On June 20, 2009, Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet), late jazz drummer Steve Reid, and Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson performed in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's Southbank Centre as part of that year's Ornette Coleman-curated Meltdown Festival. That performance was recorded, and on November 15 Smalltown Superjazz will release a recording of the performance, Live at the South Bank. "Lyman Place" is taken from that release.”

Given that this is likely the final entry in Reid's catalog, it is a very fitting one: it showcases his astonishing skills as soloist and ensemble player; it also delightfully illustrates deeper and wider aspects in both Hebden's and Gustafsson's musical personas.”

'Steve (Reid) is the greatest musician I have ever encountered,' Hebden once said. 'Not only was he the best player I've worked with but he was into music like no one else I know... Knowing someone be that into it was truly inspiring.'”

After playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and Ornette Coleman, jazz drummer Steve Reid linked up with Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) for a number of projects before passing away last year. Now a new live disc believed to be the final authorized recording of Reid is primed to demonstrate the bond between the pair.”

Recorded in 2009 and evocative of the four LPs the pair recorded before Reid's death last year, the set approaches a kind of electronic free jazz, with Reid's complex live percussion providing the bedrock for Hebden's electronic experimentations and Gustaffson's powerful sax work.”
Live at the South Bank is a double CD documenting a performance held on June 20th, 2009, in the foyer of Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre, part of the Meltdown Festival curated by Ornette Coleman. Kieren Hebden on laptops and electronics; Steve Reid on drums and percussion; Mats Gustaffson on saxophone. I’ll have to have this record, too. Why should I deny myself such beautiful pleasures?.”

It would be fair, then, to consider this fifth and final recording between the two to be a tribute to Reid, and what ended up being a providential confluence of two innovative musical figures.”

What’s happening here is a special relationship, like Miles and Coltrane, or Dizzy and Bird,” said the jazz drummer and percussionist of his work with Hebden (aka Four Tet)….”

The Olivia Tremor Control
“Music From The Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle”
“Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One”
Chunklet: chklp006, chklp007
PITCHFORK BEST NEW REISSUE 9.1 Dusk At Cubist Castle / 9.4 Black Foliage:
The music on these two impossibly strange, eclectic psych-pop records-- 1996's Music From the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle and 1999's Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One -- are worlds unto themselves, the finest realizations of whatever sonic utopia Olivia Tremor Control spent much of the 1990s etching into a canvas a million cassettes wide. Veering wildly between elegant sunshine-pop and sloppy ambient noise, catchy hooks and conversations with the godhead, they're both driven by an impossibly expansive vision....it's the records themselves -- insistent, wise, daringly imperfect-- that are really the thing here. They remain the sound of a few old friends, a few more new acquaintances, and a thousand wasted sunny days spent carving out a couple mind-bendingly complex masterpieces.”

On November 15, Chunklet Industries will release expanded vinyl reissues of two out-of-print double LPs from Elephant 6 psych-poppers the Olivia Tremor Control: 1996's Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle and 1999's Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One. Both reissues will include tons of bonus material on download cards containing hours of rare and unreleased music.”

AQUARIUS (Dusk At Cubist Castle):
“If one had to pick THEE most iconic and essential indie rock records of the nineties, you'd no doubt have Pavement's Slanted And Enchanted, some Stereolab, some Yo La Tengo, both the Neutral Milk Hotel records, and without a doubt, this, the debut from Olivia Tremor Control, a practically perfect slab of experimental psychedelic pop, that sounds as good today as it did nearly 15 years ago when it was first released

AQUARIUS (Black Foliage):
“...while the band focused more on the 'pop' on their classic debut Dusk, relegating the trippy weirdness mostly to intros and brief interludes, we had previously mentioned (in our original review way back when) that on Black Foliage, the ‘ambient’ weirdness came closer to overindulgence, but again, with fresh ears, and a little time since our last listen, that overindulgence doesn't really sound all that overindulgent anymore, in fact, it positions Black Foliage, as rife with Beach Boys vocal harmonies, Sgt. Pepper's baroque excess, and mid-'70s Eno-esque surreal pop as it's predecessor, as way better than we remember it, that weirdness almost making it a more interesting, and certainly more tripped out, record, a seriously crafty concoction of psychedelia - the Olivias able to create near perfect pop songs and then dose 'em with lysergic clusters of experimental tinkering

"Six Cups Of Rebel"
Smalltown Supersound: sts221
PITCHFORK Best New Track “De Javu”:
The whole thing has a pop audaciousness that recalls ZTT Records in their 1980s prime, and as ‘De Javu’ is brought to an abrupt halt after so much building up and coming down, you’re left wanting to hear what follows all this ecstasy on the album proper. That’s the great thing about this guy: whatever he’s doing, you never want it to end.”

Ghostly International: gi147
...if the track "Dare-gale" is any indication, Glimmer could make a good companion to Hecker's Ravedeath, 1972 that came out earlier this year.”

Certainly, one of the most blatant and appealing characteristics of Treny was how outwardly emotional it was and how inspired it felt. Therefore, it can only be a positive that Jacaszek appears to have taken a similar approach with Glimmer.”

Part ambient, part avant-garde, part baroque, this is some intriguing stuff.”

RCRD LBL premier of “Dare-Gale”:
Jacaszek is back and coldly serious as ever on ‘Dare Gale.’ The Polish composer treats airy, abandoned noise with classical hands to make dark ambient music that could easily soundtrack the next time you get trapped in a cave.”

Like much of his past work, including last year's RA Podcast, the LP blends classical music with modern ambient production.”

'Dare-gale,' armed with loads of classical timbres, drones ominously in waves of sound that progressively get louder. The concept seems like a simple and uninteresting no-brainer, but the layers and detail here make this track absolutely gorgeous!”

Jacaszek’s latest album, Glimmer, is marked by a noticeable battle between melancholy and beauty, like it’s hovering in some gaseous grey area between both.”

the Jesus Lizard
Chunklet: chklp008
Chunklet will release the soundtrack to The Jesus Lizard: Club, a DVD document of their first U.S. show in over 10 years, which took place in 2009 show at the Exit/In in Nashville.”

'It may have been the only reunion show I've ever seen where I forgot almost immediately that the band hadn't played together in more than a decade' - Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker.”

Part Chimp/Torche
“Split Tour EP”
Chunklet: chklp009
Part Chimp turn in two scorchers, ‘Dr. Horse’ and ‘The Watcher’ while Torche send a love letter to the boys from Dayton and cover three Guided By Voices songs (‘Exit Flagger’, ‘Unleashed! The Large Hearted Boy’ and ‘Postal Blowfish’).”


Silver Tongues
“Black Kite”
Karate Body: kbr016
THE 405:
Incorporating some of the soulful melancholy that originates from their Kentucky home, Black Kite glides opaquely from beginning to end.”

Cronin’s voice is, by the way, one of the main draws here. Cool and unruffled, without much vibrato, it carries easily, the kind that seems to dominate without much strain. You never hear a real break in it, even at the highest registers. And yet there’s an untouchability to it, perhaps coming from the way Cronin surrounds his sound with echo. Even the earthiest songs, blues-vamping ‘Wet Dog’ for instance, have a remote quality, their warmth seeming to come from a long way away.”

It’s a spiritual encounter of more than 30 minutes, offering vocals with trails of prayers, nostalgia, gospel structures and a smooth integration of music elements. Music that gives wings to your soul, that’s how Silver Tongues sounds to me.”

Midium Records: mid018
ULTIMATE EARS premier of “A Ways To Uprise”:
When you march your barbarian horde through the streets of a fallen city, atop a fifteen hands high silver wildebeest (using their horns as handles), laser beams sparkling and shimmering over the smoking battlefields, a thousand million pearlescent snakes coiling slowly through the dead city streets, tiny unicorns cowering in their cages, ‘A Ways to Uprise’, the first single from Kerretta’s sophomore album Saansilo, will be your soundtrack.”

CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND premier of “A Ways To Uprise”:
'A Ways To Uprise' kicks off the album with a sludgy trudge through the trenches of something like The Melvins or the sharper edge of post rock.”

On their sophomore album, Saansilo, New Zealand–based instru-metallers Kerretta unleash as much mythic riffing as a Peter Jackson–led Lord of the Rings script meeting. The group covers a lot of ground on the CD’s seven tracks, which abound with snaking guitar lines and delicious hypnotic effects.”

The New Zeland trio’s latest release, though merciless and fierce, is heaven in disc form. Saansilo is nothing shy of stunning and quite possibly one of my favorite releases of the year.”

Royal Trux
"Singles, Live, Unreleased"
Drag City: dc93
As a 3xLP collection of the band's early-90s ephemera, Singles, Live, Unreleased may not seem like the most logical entry point into the Trux's phantasmagoric universe. But for newcomers, it's the stand-alone release that provides the best big-picture perspective of Royal Trux's see-saw relationship with rock music and the avant-garde.”

“They Sweetheartstammers”
Soft Abuse: sab053
ALTERED ZONES Artist Profile:
They Sweetheartstammers, out next week on Soft Abuse, is packed with hypnotic psychedelia, Francophilia, cobweb-laden sonic spaces, and shadowy retrofuturism, balancing moods of wonder and foreboding with an artisan's acumen.”

BROOKLYN VEGAN video for "Tournoi”:
Speaking of Pigeons, who play the Chouette/De Stijl/FatCat/Soft Abuse day party at Bruar Falls, their LP They Sweetheartstammers will be released November 8 via Soft Abuse..”

Their forthcoming They Sweetheartstammers LP exudes the same sense of mystery, sedation, and austere melodicism as last year's Liasons, but with an added sonic density and an expanded lineup (roping in members of No Neck Blues Band and Black Twig Pickers).”

ALTERED ZONES video for "Tournoi”:
The result is a fuller-sounding Pigeons that still maintains their brooding beauty, but with pronounced hints of Hope Sandoval and brighter guitars that meander densely.”

Hauschildt, Steve
“Tragedy & Geometry”
Kranky: krank160
ALTERED ZONES premier of "Batteries May Drain":
In ‘Batteries May Drain,’ there's a sense of liberation from the endless chatter of myriad devices as they silence themselves; there's a brief and sweet respite in its modern take on classic kosmische sounds.”

FADER premier of "Already Replaced":
Some of you might recognize Steve Hauschildt as the dude from Emeralds, while others might just be looking to end their Monday with gorgeous, spaced out twinkles of synth. Whatever the case, this song will calm you down. Like, if you are midway through a heart attack you can put this on, and you will magically be healed.”

SPIN 7/10:
It's a visceral display of synth prowess that makes exhilarating use of contrasting textures and subtle dynamics.”

‘Batteries May Drain’ boasts much of the same drifting analog synth melodies and indelible warmth that we loved on Emeralds' Does It Look Like I'm Here? record, but without the guitar noodling and with some driving, krauty rhythms carrying it all into spacey oblivion.”

XLR8R premier of “Batteries May Drain”:
... for those listeners already converted, Hauschildt has presented you with an hour’s worth of unscented analog bliss. And for those others hoping for a primer, look no further.”

The purposeful usage of analog technology means the record has a strong personality. The music is ambient in its delivery and the album as a whole is a fine offshoot from the Emerald family.”

The two beacons of the album's namesake hover over every note of Tragedy and Geometry and becomes a precision delivery of the former as refracted through the technological prism of the latter. Here, Hauschildt has taken his step out from the fold of Emeralds and truly created something that stands alone; a pulsing, bittersweet sweep through the kosmiche wires of the heart.”

Using his own chosen forms of technology, Hauschildt has done something massive and emotionally gripping in inexplicable ways. I can't often explain why or how his music affects me, but I can most certainly feel it.”

Steve Hauschildt has crafted one of the finest albums of its genre this year.”

Drag City: dc472
With hit after hit of urgent-sounding synths and drums, CAVE never let up or get faster, either. That's what they do best on Neverendless -- they just keep going.”

Mannequin Men
“Mannequin Men”
Addenda: nda006
SPIN preview of "Hobby Girl":
The gloriously ramshackle Lose Your Illusion, Too by Chicago's Mannequin Men was one of 2009's highlights, so pardon our excitement over the follow-up (self-titled so as to avoid the problem of having to top that gag). The first track from the band's fourth record, out Nov. 8, is the midtempo cruiser ‘Hobby Girl’....”

A.V. CLUB preview of "Hobby Girl":
'Hobby Girl' marks a more mature age for the Mannequin Men. Replacing the band’s formerly rowdy sound with pop briskness, the track begs a lover to get her life together instead of wasting space on the couch”

CHICAGOIST preview of "Hobby Girl":
Last fall, rough-around-the-edges Chicago garage rockers Mannequin Men debuted two new tracks from an then-upcoming Hozac Records single. One of those songs, 'Hobby Girl,' has re-emerged as the first single from their upcoming self-titled third record, which sees release in November on Addenda Records..”

Whether Mannequin Men meant to or not, this so called ‘mature record’ of theirs is probably their best, and that’s a hurdle that many bands who start young simply fall flat on their face trying to jump.”

This track is so smooth, the hooks are so clean, it’s as if they’ve been a power pop band all along.”

With tracks like 'Hobby Girl,' Chicago-based Mannequin Men are proving that bands can be influenced by Van Morrison and not suck”

Ghostly International: gi145
WIRED Feature on Tycho:
When making his latest album, Dive, which came out last week on Ghostly International, Hansen fell in love with the Minimoog and ended up using it to create many of the sounds on the record. He also used string synths to get the ambient, atmospheric vibes he was looking for.”

You can find the work San Francisco-based artist Scott Hansen under two different names, ISO50 and Tycho. Here, he's embracing the latter on Dive, his excellent, shimmering sophomore album under the guise of Tycho.”

XLR8R Interview with Tycho:
From the propulsive drift of dreamy lead single ‘Hours,’ to the seaside-conjuring atmospheres of ‘Coastal Brake,’ to "Adrift’’s six minutes of understated melodic anthems and woozy bounce, Dive is an immersive record right down to the psychedelic album artwork.”

SPIN: Dive Album Stream:
Tycho is Scott Hansen, a San Francisco producer who's gearing up to release Dive, his excellent new full-length under that pseudonym, on November 16 via Ghostly International. It's an elliptical, sun-shot slab of electro-pop that came to be during a break from Hansen's other gig as well-known designer and blogger, ISO50. Note how many of the bright tones that permeate his visual work are also at play here.”

SPIN 6/10:
Peaking with its eight-minute title track, Dive is a pretty and sturdily crafted collection of techno maybe-memories -- hypnagogic pop for a very discerning Ikea shopper.”

PITCHFORK review of "Hours":
While his world-of-tomorrow arrangements justify the boast, there's still something familiarly melancholic in those synths that could evoke someone's past, as the shimmer and echoes invite listeners to attach their own memories to the song's self-contained universe.”

There’s a warmth and vibrance to Dive that is unrivaled, but more importantly, and why this is album is undeniably important, is its ability to tell a story without words. Say what you will about Tycho, maybe you’re not a fan or maybe you’ve never even heard of him, but Dive is one of those transcendental records that should appeal to anybody with a rooting interest in independent music.”

Dive, his latest album, is by far his best, both in terms of quality and reception. The ambient electronica instrumentals manipulated by a guitar give the listener the closest feeling they will ever have to lounging around on an intergalactic space beach.”

ALL THINGS GO premier of "Hours":
The song immediately brings me to the beach just in time to watch the sun fall below the horizon. While the track could be categorized as ambient, the up-tempo beat gives it a steady dance groove perfect for some late-night head-nodding. 'Hours' comes from Hansen’s new LP, Dive, set to drop November 15 on Ghostly International, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, this is a can’t-miss release.”

Tycho achieves something totally new in his aesthetic—something that could have been extended…Perhaps he’ll expand on that flickering moment on future singles and the next LP, but he certainly deserves to be proud of Dive.”

The relaxed tempos, achingly pretty synthscapes, and sweet as punch melodies conjure up fuzzy, sun-saturated images of hazy summer days and cool neon evenings. Put him firmly in the Boards of Canada and Plone school of electronics, in other words.”

Says Tycho 'I always have visuals, but it was a crutch…The goal is to have moments when you get lost in the visuals and then bounce back and forth to the people playing instruments'.”

San Francisco's Tycho makes rich sonic soundscapes that always calm me down when I'm stuck in bumper to bumper on the 405 at 5pm on a Friday and all I want to do is get home to my kung pao chicken leftovers from the night before. Quite a feat.”

CHINASHOP MAGAZINE: End of Summer MixTape featuring "Quiet Place":
This song seems to be about transition; something is leaving us and on the horizon is the unknown, but we can only sit in acceptance and ponder the space between. The lyric, ‘A quiet place and nature’s way, A season comes and whispers life’ is about as fitting as you’ll find, and while I prefer the warmth of summer to the grey of winter, there is a beauty in the quiet place that separates them.”

Electronic artist Tycho just shared the first track, 'Hours,' from his upcoming LP, Dive, set to drop internationally November 14/15. The new track features a cascade of delightfully lazy, modulated melody and halcyon textures that have come to define Scott Hansen's aural project.”

As seamless as his two creative outlets have been, nearly a decade passed before the release of Hansen’s first proper Tycho LP, Sunrise Projector (originally released in 2004 on Gammaphone Records, later expanded and reissued under the title Past Is Prologue on Merck Records, and ultimately reissued again by Ghostly). And while three striking singles have emerged since then, the sum of all those sepia-toned parts is nowhere near the double-exposed soundscapes of his new, forthcoming album Dive.

The track puts out a nice analog warmth that recalls Boards of Canada's soundscapes.”

Producer Scott Hansen — aka Tycho — could almost fit into the ‘glo-fi’ microtrend, since he has all the required attributes: warm, bubbly, laptop melodies; dinky programmed drumbeats; songs that loop on and on. By contemporary standards, though, he's sophisticated.”

XLR8R premier of “Hours”:
The song is just plain pretty, yet smartly avoids twee territory with its thick bassline and organic drum sounds. More like this one please.”

Dive pays tribute to Tycho’s prismatic past, but spends most of its time pointing to the project’s not-so-distant future. That can mean any number of things, really, from the halcyon hooks and hopeful horizons of ‘A Walk’ to the expansive, wildly expressive tone poetry of the title track, an eight-minute epic that unfolds like a compressed concept album.”

Hansen says he tries to make music that's an artifact from a ‘retro-future, like what people in the '70s thought 2020 was going to look like.’ That cinematic and highly visual style comes through on Tycho's first full-length record for the Ghostly International label, Dive, which will be released in November.”

his beats will put you straight into one of those indescribable music moods—alert-yet-spacey, awake-but-dreamy, reaching a higher plane of existence.”

With Tycho's upcoming new album Dive set to drop on November 15 via Ghostly International, we have high hopes for Scott Hansen's electronic project this year. Along with the new release, he's now got us all excited about a tour as well.”

Tycho mesmerizes listeners with warm, nostalgic synths, engaging beats, and occasional guitar riffs. Appropriately, Tycho performed for Decibel’s Optical series last year as well. This time, he’ll be previewing songs from his upcoming LP, Dive, along with beautiful visual projections.”

PERFECT MIDNIGHT WORLD premier of "Costal Brake":
'Coastal Brake' is a great jam to kick off the weekend. The track has been floating around blogs for a while, but it’s featured on the new Tycho album coming out in November on Ghostly International. It’s a gorgeous, glimmering dream of a track that feels like the sun going down as you blast north on the PCH.”

NITE VERSIONS premier of "Hours":
Tycho returns with another great single, and even better – a new album. 'Hours' is the second track (out of 10) listed on his upcoming Dive LP, expected on November 15.”

“...his new single, “Hours,” a nearly six-minute, surfer-wax bumper that doesn’t belie Tycho’s trademark synths-and-keys atmospherics and penchant for more modestly uptempo and tripper-friendly jams.”

INDIE SHUFFLE premier of "Hours":
Ahh, Tycho. You’ve done it again. You’ve created a dreamy soundscape of soothing, ambient beats that lull the listener into a surreal alternate reality, where everything sounds softer and more subdued.”

Dive establishes its position as the most diverse musical statement of Hansen’s multi-medium career; the point where his skills as a performer finally catch up with his vaporized vision of a world that doesn’t belong to any particular time or place.”

If ever a 400ft high Casio RZ-1 were to rise out of the waters off the coast of San Francisco, like an electronic kraken intent on spewing synthetic beats from its innards to sooth the people of the city at sunset, then Scott Hansen would be the man to soundtrack that moment. Otherwise known as Tycho, Hansen produces dreamy, electro beat, chillers.”

Ghostly International’s Tycho turned out to be one of my favorites of the festival. His music was warm, upbeat, more structured than the previous artists on the bill and involved visual themes of surfing, knee-boarding and winter landscapes. For me, it was a set full of nostalgia for sun-drenched beaches, reminiscent of Delorean or a warmer Boards of Canada, warm flashed of yellow and read synchronized with the downbeat. It set the stage perfectly for a night of harder electronic music that followed.”

...the beautiful single ‘Hours’ invokes a vague and endless shoreline on a timeless beach somewhere in a contented recollection of the most meaningful September of your life. Each and every track on Dive carries a similar emotional weight.”

We’re praying for another hot day before August is done. Partly so we can crank this hazy slice of heat-shimmer electro in an appropriate climate, but mostly because we fucking refuse to believe that summer is over so soon.”

Sex Church
“Growing Over”
Load Records: load135
“...while there is a certain amount of noise and cacophony going on here, these guys traffic in something wholly different, a gloomy post punky sort of downer pop (much like Daily Life, who also had a record on Load), all clanging minor key chords, pounding dirgey rhythms and buzzing swirling synths, the opening track sounds like a slightly noisier take on some lost Joy Division live jam, or some classic goth group revved up and supercharged

Mungolian Jetset
Smalltown Supersound: sts209
“The whole thing is reeled off with such intention and gusto that to call it trite would be like criticizing a steamroller for being big. While it would be sad to see them go too far down this road, Schlungs does nothing to diminish Mungolian Jet Set's reputation as one of the most genuinely entertaining acts around.

“This Norwegian techno duo of Pal Nyhus and Knut Saevuk serve up a giddy mix of club-friendly disco combined with delightfully cheesy EM effects and intricately layered counterpoint

Phantom Family Halo
“Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die”
Karate Body: kbr005
“This next-gen psychedelic rock band effortlessly combines acid-inspired progressions with gummy hooks that will bounce around in your head for hours. Their music is like eating candy-flavored mushrooms

Christina Vantzou
“No. 1”
Kranky: krank159
No. 1 calls to mind massive vast spaces and forms that have loomed for millennia. It’s a tautly constructed, tightly played work, and a fine re-introduction to a talented composer

“A concept growing in our minds, sounds that need to escape our dreams somehow, so they will stop haunting our feelings like words we are certain we have never ever listened or spoke before. This kind of music reminds me of that feeling

TEXTURA Spotlight Series Christina Vantzou interview:
“Our third chapter in the Spotlight series presents a diverse quartet of artists, namely the orchestral mini-symphonies of Christina Vantzou's No. 1, which amply rewards one's attention

her solo debut is filled with the kind of lush symphonies and gentle rushes of ambience that make the average Stars of the Lid performance seem like an exercise in exuberance. It’s beautifully controlled and quite, quite mesmerizing.”

No.1 will definitely be enjoyed by all those that love the sound of the Stars of the Lid and, more recently, A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Like the latter, the compositions are somewhat more 'down to earth' than those of the Stars of the Lid. They are carefully balanced, introspective but never too sweet. Sometimes somewhat melancholic, maybe - which perfectly fits this autumn time of year.”

ALTERED ZONES premier of “Homemade Mountains” video:
Vantzou has a knack for delicate contrasts. Here, her juxtaposition of absence in darkness and existence with color enhances the track's natural, whimsical ambiance.”

The album, made with synthesizer, vocals and samples - reinforced with strings, brass, clarinet and flute, thanks to the collaboration of Minna Choi from the Magik*Magik Orchestra - holds ten songs between weightless ambient and neo-classical, melancholic instrumentals. Fans of Max Richter, Stars Of The Lid and A Winged Victory For The Sullen won't be disappointed.”

Hecker, Tim
“Dropped Pianos”
Kranky: krank161
They're compelling mostly because they sound intimate. Where Ravedeath, 1972 had a widescreen flavor, these sketches feel personal and individual. You can imagine Hecker sitting alone at a piano spinning simple yarns, rather than at a huge organ generating worlds of sound.”

At the heart of those works are the piano and delay experimentation of the sketches present on Dropped Pianos. Though we’re given that glance it doesn’t diminish either work. When you see demo collections you’re often given a glance at the progression of a song from idea to fully formed song. The difference here is that even Hecker’s sketches came out fully formed and ready to be consumed on their own merit.”

Ambient noise deconstructionist Tim Hecker already released an album this year, Ravedeath, 1972; on October 10, Kranky will release Dropped Pianos, an album of sketches recorded by Hecker last year while preparing to record Ravedeath, 1972.”

ALTERED ZONES preview of “Sketch 5”
“Kranky just announced a follow-up to the release by the name of Dropped Pianos, though its contents-- a series of preparatory sketches for Ravedeath, 1972 -- suggest a wry reversal of narrative causality. ‘Sketch 5’ showcases some delicate alchemical reactions between piano and delay pedal that, in addition to providing a glimpse into his working process, are pretty bewitching in themselves.”

Kranky: krank158
The album's patient songs stop time in its tracks, freezing moments of thought and emotion so they can be viewed from all angles.”

This is a record for the somber and focused. Yet more than anything, Exile is defined by a skeletal atmosphere that threads through every track despite the varied density of the instruments and voices droning along, stark in the way more friendly folk music often avoids.”

“...a series of spellbound songs that shimmer and shake for as long as 14 minutes at a time. Getting caught in a K-hole just got its free-folk counterpart.”

“...the struggles they recount are individual ones, and the tongues they speak in now are their own. This is a heavy record, and yet, a reassuring one.”

“Tom and Christina have returned to concentrating on their duo work in more recent years, fusing introspective, open-ended, and often spacious song structures with blasts of feedback and explosive sound often startling to fans familiar only with the band’s deceptively low-key reputation.”

Bonnie “Prince” Billy
“Wolfroy Goes To Town”
Drag City: dc502
His new one, Wolfroy Goes to Town, came out last week. It's friendly, slow, and spare. Like all of his work over the past five or six years, it feels like a half-turn away from what came before it-- a new stage with a familiar scene, or vice versa.”

Already this year, the singer-songwriter has dropped a series of singles and an audiobook, and on October 4th, he’ll return with a new full-length record. Titled Wolfroy Goes to Town, the 10-track effort features a supporting cast of Ben Boye, Van Campbell, Shahzad Ismaily, Emmett Kelly, Danny Kiely, and Angel Olsen.”

Bonnie Prince Billy announces new album:

Lynch, Julian
“Music For How The Mata Hari Lost Her Head and Found Her Body”
Soft Abuse: sab049
Mata Hari's extraordinary escapades as a Dutch woman posing as a Japanese princess sets the scene for some pretty arresting hallucinations of the colonial "orient," and provides an interesting parallel with Lynch's knack for weaving a miscellany of pan-world cues into a psychedelic sound all his own.”

Cronin, Mikal
“Mikal Cronin”
Trouble in Mind: tim031
NPR Song of The Day “Apathy”:
Mikal Cronin's self-titled debut came as a pleasant surprise: a bracing, 30-minute blast of unpolished but smartly arranged garage-punk. Musically, Cronin sticks with bare-bones production and standard classic-rock tropes, but his ear for inventive arrangements sets him apart from the pack. Cronin even finds a way to fit a free-jazz sax solo into ‘Apathy’ without breaking a sweat or compromising its punky dishabille. Although Cronin likely hasn't yet figured it out himself, it'll be exciting to see where he heads next.”

This is music for folks who want to freak out, and not worry about the consequences. It’s possible you may hear some California sunshine in here, and a bit of Glasgow downpour, too, but you’ll certainly wake up somewhere else, and I can’t guarantee what the weather will be. Not that that actually matters, as it’s going to be throbbingly marvelous wherever you wash up.”

BOWLEGS interview with Mikal Cronin:
We’ve been hooked on Mikal Cronin’s self-titled album ever since it was released. Its garage pop sound has been intravenously dripped into our ears on a daily basis, feeding our new music gland a treat.”

Mikal Cronin, who's self-titled debut is a fully formed swaggering confident garage rock masterpiece....A joyous surprise.”

On his eponymous debut, Mikal Cronin proves he can hold his own. It's an album of wistful, psychedelic pop that pits lush and layered arrangements against needle-pinning power chords.”

“...sonically, it’s a powerpop fan’s dream, a stew of falsetto harmony vocals, heavy acoustic strumming, fuzzy powerchords, psychedelic guitar leads, surf stomping, doo-wop reverie and garagey bashing. Cronin is a punk at heart, but with the mind of a classic pop sophisticate, and he has the smarts to stitch together his broad ambitions seamlessly.”

“...we’d like to again draw your attention to one of his longtime collaborators in the San Francisco scene, whose self-titled solo debut, Mikal Cronin, provides answers to such questions as, ‘Would it sound ok if this flute solo were to sit atop the crunchiest of guitars? How about if someone started whistling out of nowhere? Can another hook be squeezed in here somehow?’ The answers, in the hands of Cronin, would seem to be yes.”

“...his new solo album is all kinds of aceness and he's always been in the shadows until now. Out on Trouble In Mind, the album starts with 30 seconds of harmonies nicked straight out of Brian Wilson's back pocket, before turning into a mid-90s Evan Dando demo and then going haywire when a load of REALLY FUCKING LOUD drums kick in.”

“Mikal's self-titled LP on Trouble in Mind (produced by Ty) is far and away the best thing he's ever done, is one of my albums of the year, and I like it more than Segall's Goodbye Bread to be honest. The album has great song after great song, killer hooks and harmonies -- SoCal garagey surf-pop at it's finest.”

like many of California’s rock revivalists, Cronin’s debut is incredibly loose and feels fresh and innovative on repeated listens.”

“Mikal Cronin is more believable as a garage outcast. The surf-rocking punker opens his self-titled debut with lots of bashing and blurry greatness. Even the acoustic moments maintain a Beatlesque pop fury.”

Mikal Cronin knows all sorts of examples of what can be described as classic pop/rock is obvious from the first notes of ‘Is It Alright’ -- harmonies out of the Beach Boys, a building burst of melody that the Raspberries could have loved, and an echo-swathed verse that's both Phil Spector and the Jesus and Mary Chain. But by the time the keyboard drone pop of ‘Slow Down’ arrives, it's clear that Cronin's debut release, however tied together by his singing, seeks to not simply be yet another power pop showcase above all else, whether served up clean or with layers of scuzz.”

Segall moves fast, though, and the very latest recordings that he’s been involved with - both involving a new name to me, Mikal Cronin - are pretty fantastic…Cronin’s S/T is no less exciting, but draws from a much wider range: the very first seconds are filled with a capella harmonies indebted to The Beach Boys’ ‘Our Prayer’.”

A rare pearl of gritty yet melodious garage fun tucked away amidst the usual bevy of electronic offerings. This is spot on execution of great songwriting and the venerable melody hook with lots of grease on the collar to boot by one Mikal Cronin.”

as heavy and guitar-dominated as the mix is on tracks like "Get Along" and "Apathy," it's Cronin's vocal melodies and delivery that really shine and sink their hooks into the listener as they cut their way through walls of fuzz. Two listens deep and I promise you'll be singing along.”

Judging from ‘Get Along’ and ‘Apathy,’ the upcoming LP sounds pretty promising. The two tracks build on the lo-fi fuzz of Mikal’s many West Coast affiliations but noticeably follow a more pop route with cleaner vocals, plenty of harmonies and nods to ’60s psych. It all creates a heavily infectious blend of garage rock.”

CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND Top 10 MP3s of the week - “Apathy”:
This song is all kinds of amazing, from the machine-gun snare fills to the catchy-as-shit chorus where Cronin implores that he “don’t want apathy”, and you’ve no choice but to believe him. It’s a perfect mix of pop and fuzz to draw ears of all kind. Put it on, and put it on loud, why don’t ya?.”

‘Apathy’ sounds like a forgotten MTV Buzz Bin hit from about 1994, with its soft acoustic intro and relentlessly catchy chorus. The song then rises into a noisy climax complete with what sound like off-kilter saxophones. It's pretty rad.”

As soon as the first few lines of ‘Apathy’ flew out of my stereo, I was sold on Cronin– not just as a musician, but as a composer. The way this song fits together reminds me of the way I felt when I was listening to early Beck records; this isn’t a completely new venture, but it feels new and fresh. I love the way the instruments in the song jump in and out; I love the controlled chaos. If ‘Apathy’ is any indication, this guy is fantastic.”

Just like his work with Segall, Cronin's LP promises a collection of gritty and attitude-laden garage rock. I've professed my undying adoration for Segall's Goodbye Bread too many times to count on this here blog. I'm already considering this album a perfect counterpart for the second half.”

Opening itself up wider with each play, this is a good record in the truest sense of the word.”

Cleaner than we've heard him in a long time, the record packs a huge whollop in its three-minute garage-pop punches. Scraping its way through fuzz, jangle, slow burn motions and even a few psychedelic breakdowns, the record is nothing if not infectious; opening itself up wider with each play.”

If you toss in a little more melody on Segall’s formula for psych-rock, perhaps remove a bit of hazy tones, and this is pretty much what you’re going to get. I know, right! Sounds pretty awesome, so jump on the wagon now…”

Much like Segall's excellent Goodbye Bread, Cronin is maturing beyond the grimy scuzz with little hint of growing pains.”



Cronin’s band of six people were an excellent show opener, busting in with ‘Is It Alright’, flute solo and all (apparently Cronin’s first time playing live with a flautist). It’s a record that deserves the proper live treatment, and it was well done, to say the least.”

Mikal Cronin started the evening off with selections from his recent solo debut, a record that Segall turned in production for. After playing a selection of psych-pop odes delivered with a lighter touch than most of his contemporaries, Cronin ended his set with a cover of the Flamin' Groovies' ‘Shake Some Action’ with vocal assistance from Trouble In Mind's Bill Roe.”

The eponymous album from Mikal Cronin is a lo-fi mixed bag with moments that reflect on grunge, surf-pop, and psychedelia. It’s a youthful, daring debut that will delight those who like their music to be full of unexpected twists.”

It is hard, in fact, to fault a album so likeable, so full of energy and so effortlessly able to drop moments of melancholy into the shadows that are cast by the record’s love for the Californian sun (and a passing love for jamming in the garage).”

It's a crime that Ty Segall isn't ten times more popular than he already is, and the fact that Mikal Cronin isn't even as popular as Ty Segall suggests even more strongly that something's out of whack with the universe. Cronin has earned what small popularity he has by making a collaborative album with Segall and fronting Charlie & the Moonhearts, so his recent self-titled solo debut for local label Trouble in Mind - his best work to date - ought to raise his profile at least a bit. The influences that seem to have gone into the album (Smile-era Beach Boys, maybe a little of Thee Oh Sees, the Beatles' DayGlo period filtered through Apples in Stereo) aren't terribly surprising, but the quality of Cronin's execution—particularly on ‘Get Along,’ which ought to be a smash - very much is.”

Jing-janglin’ pop-infused guitar ditties lacquered with a charming patina of primitivism that’ll have you hunkered down and hankering for a hanky, they’re that heartfelt.”

This week's list is chock full of contenders for pop record of the year, but if any of the other ones are gonna come out on top, this is gonna be the one to beat.”

Jackpot Records: jpr019
Seim is credited with the spazzy, sputtering drum work so I assume that Commes handled all of the other instrumentation and vocals. Most of Commes' melodic vocals are low in the mix so the listener can hear his melodic harmonies but his lyrics are mostly unintelligible. Coomes delivers his vocals with the punk fervor of Nation of Ulysses' Ian Svenonius but when the vocals are on top of the mix.”

...it's a pretty irresistible combo, one that definitely straddles the line between indie rock and full on noise rock, in fact we'd probably qualify this as noise rock if it weren't so warm and melodic and dreamily fuzzy. But it IS noisy, and loud, and kaleidoscopic, and weird as fuck, but somehow still crazy catchy. The perfect mad scientist fuzz pop concoction, and quickly becoming one of our new favorite records.”

YOUTUBE video for “Eat Your Hat Out”:
‘Eat Your Hat Out’ by Crock featuring Sam Coomes of Quasi and Spencer Seim of Hella.”

“The band's sound is built off the fuzzed-out / freaked-out urban electonica of bands like Suicide to which the band add elements of space rock, Zappa / Pavement style free-form deconstruction, dark stoner riffs and pounding industrial squiggles and rhythms.”

“This collaboration really does appear to be equal parts Hella and Quasi...”

A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Kranky: krank157
“On A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Adam Wiltzie provides the blissful seas of sound he perfected with Stars of the Lid, while Dustin O’Halloran’s piano work, mixed with evocative string arrangements, pushes out from that sea of sound to create a sonic landscape that both experiments with classical progressions and shows a mastery of emotional resonance.”

“What's interesting about the sound they've hit on isn't so much what the two musicians bring to each other's styles, as it is what each sacrifices from his own.” http://www.pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15809-a-winged-victory-for-the-sullen/

“In the end, Wiltzie and O’Halloran’s collaboration stands as an impressive album on its own merits and one of the strongest efforts in the world of Stars of the Lid offshoots. No small achievement.”

“Music like this only comes along so often, its even better when it comes out during the proper season. What you would expect from these two artists has indeed unfolded in a grand manor that will hopefully be replicated on a new album sometime in the near future. If this (see track 5. 'Steep Hills..') is only the beginning of this bands career ..I don't know how much more emotion my ears can handle, but I'm willing to risk it. More please?”

“Wiltzie shapes patient drifts of sound while O'Halloran contributes melancholy, minimal piano melodies, and the components feel organically linked—the ethereal orchestrations are like rays of light emerging from each one of the piano's hammer strikes as they float, refract, and decay.”

“Don’t sleep on this record; it’s probably the best collection of ambient music you’ll hear all year.”

“The material breathes with a natural grace, and the occasional ambient trace of the recording context that sneaks in only makes the recording feel more alive. Listeners familiar with the work of the participants won't be surprised by the music's stately and oft-reverent character, with the album's seven exquisite settings filled with longing. Like the music of Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen's is music of quiet grandeur that's all the more powerful for being delivered with such understatement.”

Crisis of Conformity
"Fist Fight"
Drag City: dc490
PAPER MAG Fred Armisen/Crisis of Conformity Interview:
The idea behind it was to write a love letter to my teenage years, to all the bands that I grew up listening to. It's a tribute to Black Flag and Hüsker Dü. In the sketch I put all kinds of details that referred to people from different bands. On the opening card, it says ‘The Cadena-Norton Wedding.’ And that's a reference to Dez Cadena of Black Flag and Greg Norton of Hüsker Dü. And I remember very specifically from that time that bands would name politicians, like Ronald Reagan. But now looking back, it's like, ‘Who were they talking about? Who's Alexander Haig?’ I just love it. It's just a love letter. It's a thank you to all the bands who inspired me.”

Sollee, Ben
“Learning To Bend”
Karate Body: kbr003
NOLA Live Blog:
Sollee expressed his gratitude and excitement to be playing in such a historic room almost any chance he got, while playing at a tempo and volume that was in keeping with the general, unspoken sonic policies for the venue – just loud enough to hear every scratch on the cello, key change, box tap and vocal adjustment clear as a bell.”

California Guitar Trio
Karate Body: kbr013
“...CGT was much more classical, technical and precise. This was most evident in ‘Toccata and Fugue,’ a piece originally composed by Johann Sebastian Bach on the organ. Amazingly, CGT was able to replicate the sound of an organ in their performance with three acoustic guitars

“they’ve toured internationally, playing their virtuosic blending of pieces ranging from Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. In their concerts, one minute they will play a pop piece; the next, a classical suite. For this trio, no music is too esoteric or off-limits

what I did see was exactly as advertised: virtuoso performances by three amazingly talented players…The group's current tour is a celebration of two decades together, and they worked from a set list careful to touch on all aspects of their lengthy career.”

“Sunshower EP”
Karate Body: kbr006
“This is the essence of Ume, whose lyrically raw songs expose emotional uncertainty and wanting buffeted by the countering forcefulness of a power tri

RIVERFRONT TIMES interview with Lauren Larson:
“Ultimately, I just want them to connect with the music. I try to be passionate on stage and I hope that can translate to people. I want people to realize that there's no pretension in what we're doing, but there's an honesty and a genuineness about it and I hope that resonates with them

Sun Araw
“Ancient Romans”
Drag City/Sun Araw: sa012
ALTERED ZONES: Artist Profile:
Guns blazing, the Los Angeles artist returns with his most sonically acrobatic and, depending on your taste, accessible material yet. It's the type of work that has the potential to broadcast Sun Araw's Technicolor pastiche of cosmic riddim, sacramental chants, scorched dub, and aquatic ambience far outside the niche catacombs where these sorts of abstract meditations like to dwell.”

Musically, he rubs shoulders with the great free jazzers, outside funkers and psychedelic avatars of years past. Aesthetically, he has constructed his own po-mo philosophy that borrows as much from West Coast hippy and new age detritus as critical theory approved by the academy. Rarely do we find a musician so self aware and so willing to explore the conceptual framework of his own music.”

Ancient Romans takes over your mind, scorching and reeling like some ancient desert swept under a kaleidoscope, all noodly, lost-in-the-moment guitars, thick synths towering like old ruins, and all manner of brain-warping noise tricks strung out together.”

The hypnotic fifth LP by Sun Araw — the five-year-old solo project of Angelino Cameron Stallones — is a double-vinyl spiral through deep zones of neo-primitive psych-drone noise.”

While Ancient Romans preserves the grainy and galactic analog dub sound of Sun Araw's own brief history, the concept and expanded instrumentation demonstrates exciting new directions, maturity, and ambition.”

SPIN 8/10:
Sun Araw main man Cameron Stallones has become adept at getting neck-deep in swampy dub, even as he drizzles syrupy Afro-beats atop his psych-tinged noise.”

“Program 91”
Smalltown Supersound: sts210
“Friday night at Cameo Gallery, the Norwegian band Razika played its inaugural American show. Its members have yet to turn 21, though the music the quartet specializes in is straight out of 1981's seven-inch singles bins. Their feather-light guitars, simple harmonies, and ska-tinged beats recall heroes of early twee like Orange Juice and Dolly Mixture; the single ‘Vondt i hjertet’ is bittersweet and bubbly, its Norwegian title translating to ‘pain in heart.’ They were absolutely charming during their brief set, splitting their lyrics between their home tongue and English and discussing how excited they were to be in the States.”

Program 91 has provided an unexpected summer pop blast - at least for the two weeks I've had it. My interest could fizzle soon - sudden infatuation is sort of how this kind of stuff lives and dies - but for now I'm hooked.”

Program 91's basic makeup is spiky, sharp, post-punk-inflected pop, executed with laser-precise accuracy....”

“Razika plays naively sweet and imperfectly rhythmic ska-pop. Program 91, the band’s first album on Smalltown Supersound, is light as air, with lyrics about young love and frustration, and guitar tones so transparent they sound almost African.”

“Razika - four teenaged girls from Bergen, Norway - could make even the most staunch of ska’s critics take note. Their take on the genre is a shimmering update, one that crosses with pop.”

“Razika, however, a group of four teenaged women, actually write their own songs, play their own instruments, and make danceable pop/ska that makes you want to pogo like a Norwegian troll. It's got energy enough to make you forget Norway is dark half the year, and spunk enough to bring you to the brink of giddiness.”

“We’ve only known about the Norwegian band Razika for a couple months now, but our love for their girly melodies and soft vocals is definitely growing by the day…it’s basically what we’d want the soundtrack of our life to sound like.”

NME 8/10!!:
“Scandinavian dream-pop at it's best…it’s pretty perfect.”

“This is music imbued with wonderment and freedom, far removed from the cynicism and concerns about marketing you can hear creeping between the bars of so many fledgling bands.”

“This promising debut is a thing of such utter and ruddy brilliance it feels at once irresponsible to get carried away with praise and uppity to proffer anything so improbable as a perceived shortcoming.”

“Razika is cheery. Razika is crisp. Razika is catchy. Razika is Norwegian girl power pop made with two scoops of 2 Tone, rainbow sprinkles of '60s garage, and a cherry of jingle-jangle guitars on top. Yum!”

“Norway’s Razika made a sweet, sweet album Program 91 (91 as in 1991 as in the year they were born!) that’s so sugary it almost gave us a toothache. That’s a compliment. They’re 20 years old, high school’s over, things are good. So many people are trying so many complicated things with music, it can be nice to hear something that’s just about the joy of being young and wanting to go on strolls in the park with boys you like. The Ramones understood that, and so does Razika.”

“...we need great pop rock like this. It’s infinitely listenable.”

“This is faithful stuff, pretty straight and unreconstructed, with nice choruses, sweet vocals and a bubblegum bounce.”

“...they’re totally brilliant; using the regular set up of bass, drums, guitars and all that polava, that they somehowe manage to create snappy, breezy and lime-fresh sound. Why don’t millions of bands sound this magical?”

Night Beats
Trouble In Mind: tim028
Monophonic beach blanket garage music that sounds like it was recorded by Kill Spector in his death row jail cell - and with song titles like ‘Dial 666’ it probably was.”

If I wasn’t quite so quick on the uptake to their sharp percussive, screeching, meandering rock and roll, a chance to see them live certainly set my head right… I have to say I think I really enjoy this band and set them a bit apart. There is something just a little more ramshackle in their play that even throws itself into the mix with bands who I consider a bit more of the garage band mold.”

In two short, too short, minutes, The Night Beats will make you think that you’ve done too much acid and ended up a few decades back… The band manages to capture not only a sound but a moment in time. So go ahead, dial 666 but it might be safer to listen to the song instead.”

Upon first listen, you are transported in time. What part of time? You find yourself not in just a certain era, but throughout the centuries. From the times of Egypt, to the old west, to the far out 60s. The music drives you fast. The tempo has you flying at the speed of light, but there it can quickly change…slowing down to give you a chance to catch your breath before you find yourself in another part of time again. The energy is high. The haunting guitar is sprinkled throughout. Sending shrills not just down your spine, but throughout your whole body. Makes you want to just jump up and reach to the skies. The rhythm section is there to drive nails hard into your bgeing. Pushes you, and pushes you, sending you into the darkness…into the night.”

P.G. Six
“Starry Mind”
Drag City: dc480
P.G. Six’s skill lies in reanimating age-old sentiments, polishing them a bit and underlining them with spiraling, transcendental arrangements. Even with the element of rock chaos added, it’s a craft he’s working, a well-defined exercise in making beauty out of traditional elements. Amping up doesn’t change that, but it does make it a bit more exciting.”

Despite the nearly omnipresent feeling of ennui, there's a haunting beauty to this stuff that manifests itself in Gubler's subtler touches, as well as in his peculiarly detached demeanor.”

Starry Mind is a complete immersion into a country-tinged, psychedelic album, and an ode to his song-writing talent. Bringing forth melodic, country-infused, twang-laced songs the album mixes an almost psychedelic rendition of life with the existentialism of country and folk music.”

Starry Mind, to my ears, takes its template from Richard & Linda Thompson’s classic run of LPs in the mid-70s — I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Hokey Pokey, and Pour Down Like Silver. Those records are pegged as ‘UK folk rock,’ but they’re actually more wide-ranging than that, incorporating bits of country, pop, psychedelia, and other disparate genres. And so it goes with P.G. Six — the overall sound here is cohesive, but not monochromatic.”

'Crooked Way' is a master class in pitch-perfect American rock idioms, beginning with an extended instrumental of dueling guitar lines and chugging percussion that kicks into high gear with the appearance of a gorgeous vocal from Gubler and Schwartz, spinning a plaintive narrative of loss. The rest of Starry Mind follows suit, recalling the pleasant mid-tempo jams of classic Dead and the eclecticism of early work by The Incredible String Band.”

McGill, Cameron & What Army
“Is A Beast”
Post-Important: post04
“Full of killer vocals and song-writing, it is the way that the band smokes on gems like smoldering ‘My Demons Are Organized’ and thick, tumbling ‘Houdini’ that push the album onto this list


Action Beat
12/16 - Derby, UK @ Old Bell Hotel

12/01 - Baltimore, MD @ The Golden West Cafe
12/02 - Brooklyn, NY @ Secret Project Robot
12/03 - NYC @ Cake Shop
12/04 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
12/05 - Biddeford, ME @ The Oak & The Ax
12/06 - New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine
12/08 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s

Meg Baird
11/25 - Tampere, Finland @ Telakka
11/26 - Helsinki, Finland @ Kuudes Linja
11/28 - Edinburgh, UK @ The Wee Red Bar
11/29 - Glasgow, UK @ Captain’s Rest
11/30 - Liverpool, UK @ Leaf
12/01 - Coventry, UK @ Taylor John’s House
12/02 - Kirkbymoorside, UK @ The Band Room
12/03 - Hebden Bridge, UK @ Traders Club
12/04 - Bristol, UK @ Cube Cinema
12/05 - London, UK @ Cafe Oto
12/06 - Brighton, UK @ The Basement

Chris Bathgate
11/25 - Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door
12/02 - Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door

Benoit & Sergio
12/02 - San Francisco, CA @ Som Bar
12/03 - Los Angeles, CA @ Making Shapes 8
12/09 - Chicago, IL @ Smart Bar
12/10 - NYC @ Le Bain
12/16 - Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
12/17 - Toronto, Ontario @ Footwork

Andrew Bird
12/03 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
12/21 - Chicago, IL @ Museum of Contemporary Art
12/22 - Chicago, IL @ Museum of Contemporary Art
01/12 - Honolulu, HI @ Hawaii Theatre

Bonnie “Prince” Billy
01/23 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Tivoli
01/24 - Gent, Belgium @ Vooruit
01/25 - London, UK @ Hackney Empire
01/29 - Glasgow, UK @ Old Fruitmarket

Peter Brötzmann/Paal Nilssen-Love/Fred Lonberg-Holm
02/19 - London, UK @ Cafe OTO
02/20 - London, UK @ Cafe OTO
02/25 - London, UK @ Cafe OTO

11/21 - Berlin, Germany @ Comet Club
11/22 - Vienna, Austria @ Fluc Wanne
11/24 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Exil
11/25 - Paris, France @ Petit Bain
11/26 - Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique
01/19 - NYC @ Kaufmann Concert Hall (New York Guitar Festival 2012)

California Guitar Trio
02/24 - St. Louis, MO @ The Old Rock House
02/26 - Lexington, KY @ Natasha’s Bistro
02/27 - Frankfort, KY @ Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe
03/01 - Charlotte, NC @ The Evening House
03/02 - Asheville, NC @ The Altamont
03/03 - Atlanta, GA @ The 5 Spot
03/04 - Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythym & Brews
03/05 - Birmingham, AL @ Workplay Theatre
03/22 - Okoboji, IA @ Pearson Lakes Art Center
03/23 - Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS
03/24 - Hartford, WI @ Knoll Theatre
03/25 - Evanston, IL @ Evanston Space
03/29 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Grand Rapids Community College Center
03/30 - Rockford, IL @ The Sullivan Center
04/12 - Terrebone, Quebec @ Theatre du Vieux Terrebonne
04/13 - St. Hyacinthe, Quebec @ Espace Rona du Centre des Arts
04/14 - Quebec City, Quebec @ Palais Montcalm
04/17 - Burlington, Ontario @ Main Theatre Burlington PAC
04/21 - San Louis Obispo, CA @ Spanos Theatre
04/22 - Saratoga, CA @ Carriage House
04/25 - Napa, CA @ Mondavi Theatre
04/27 - Bend, OR @ Tower Theatre
04/28 - Forest Grove, OR @ McReady Recital Hall
05/12 - Pomeroy, OH @ Fur Peace Ranch

Bill Callahan
11/21 - Malmo, Sweden @ Palladium
11/22 - Aarhaus, Denmark @ Vox Hall
11/24 - Brussels, Belgium @ Autumn Falls Festival at Cirque Royale
11/25 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Le Guess Who Festival at Tivoli
11/26 - Paris, France @ La Gaite Lyrique
02/08 - NYC @ Lincoln Center/Allen Room (American Songbook Series)

11/21 - Arcata, CA @ Empire Squared
11/22 - Sacramento, CA @ Press Club
11/23 - San Francisco, CA @ Bay Area 51
11/24 - Oakland, CA @ Thanksgiving House
11/25 - San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
11/26 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Pioneer Warehouse
11/28 - Los Angeles, CA @ Pehrspace
11/29 - Los Angeles, CA @ Permanent Records LA
11/29 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
11/30 - Goleta, CA @ BIKO Garage
12/01 - San Diego, CA @ Tin Can Alehouse
12/02 - Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
12/03 - Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture
12/05 - Dallas, TX @ Bryan Street Tavern
12/06 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk Inside Room
12/07 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
12/08 - Lafayette, LA @ Feed & Seed
12/09 - New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
12/11 - Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

Com Truise
11/23 - Gent, Belgium @ Charlatan
11/24 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Le Guess Who Festival
11/25 - Madrid, Spain @ Primavera Club
11/26 - Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Club
11/27 - Porto, Spain @ Maus Habitos
11/29 - London, UK @ White Heat/Madam Jojos
12/01 - Sunderland, UK @ The Little Room
12/02 - Manchester, UK @ Ware House Project
12/03 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
01/11 - Chicago, IL @ Tomorrow Never Knows Festival 2012

11/26 - Manchester, UK @ The Roadhouse

01/30 - 02/05 - Berlin, Germany @ CTM Festival 2012

The Ex
12/09 - Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival
12/10 - London, UK @ Rick Mix
03/16 - Strasbourg, France @ La Laiterie Club
03/23 - Rouen, France @ Le 106

Faun Fables
01/11 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/12 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/13 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/14 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/18 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/20 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible
01/21 - Oakland, CA @ The Crucible

The Fervor
12/04 - Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

Laura Gibson
01/28 - Norfolk, VA @ Attucks Theatre
01/30 - NYC @ Mercury Lounge
02/04 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern

Girl Talk
12/31 - Dallas, TX @ Lights All Night

Rachel Grimes
12/02 - Catania, Sicily @ ZO
12/03 - Caltanissetta, Sicily @ I.T.I. Mottura
12/04 - Palermo, Sicily @ I Candelai Club
12/06 - Vittoria, Sicily @ Teatro Comunale
01/04 - Madrid, Spain @ La Casa Encendida

David Grubbs
12/14 - Brooklyn, NY @ Zebulon
04/20 - Berlin, Germany @ Hebbel Am Ufer HAU1

David Grubbs & Susan Howe
03/06 - NYC @ The New School
04/05 - New Haven, CT @ Yale University

Half Japanese
03/09-12 Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties 2012

Neil Hamburger
02/10 - Miami, FL @ Bruise Cruise Festival

Tim Hecker
01/30 - 02/05 - Berlin, Germany @ CTM Festival 2012

The High Llamas
12/01 - Norwich, UK @ Norwich Arts Centre
12/02 - Milton Keynes, UK @ Stables
12/03 - York, UK @ Fibbers
12/04 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
12/08 - Leicester, UK @ The Musician

11/24 - Sydney, Australia @ Goodgod Small Club
11/25 - Melbourne, Australia @ St. Michael’s Uniting Church
11/26 - Brisbane, Australia @ The Bridge Club

11/24 - Berlin, Germany @ C3 Festival
11/26 - Essen, Germany @ C3 Festival
12/01 - Gdansk, Poland @ C3 Festival

Sharron Kraus
12/05 - London, UK @ Cafe Oto

Pokey LaFarge
12/07 - Paducah, KY @ Maiden Alley Cinema
12/08 - Carbondale, IL @ The Hangar 9
12/09 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
12/10 - Stoughton, WI @ Stoughton Opera House
12/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
12/13 - Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
12/14 - Rock Island, IL @ Rozz Tox
12/15 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway (7pm show)
12/15 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway (9:30pm show)
12/16 - Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
12/17 - Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s

Lia Ices
12/02 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
12/03 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
12/04 - Arcata, CA @ Jambalaya
12/05 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
12/06 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
12/07 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah

11/24 - Brussels, Belgium @ Cirque Royal
11/25 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Tivoli
11/26 - Frankfurt, Germany @ Sinkkasten
11/28 - Milan, Italy @ Magazzini Generali
11/29 - St. Gallen, Switzerland @ Palace St. Gallen
12/01 - Lyon, France @ L’Epicerie Moderne
12/02 - Paris, France @ La Gaite Lyrique
12/03 - Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival
03/09-12 Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties 2012

Mannequin Men

11/21 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
11/23 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
11/24 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
11/25 - Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe
11/26 - Nashville, TN @ Springwater Supper Club
12/03 - Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
12/10 - Rock Island, IL @ Daytrotter Session

Man...Or Astro-Man?
12/15 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
12/16 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s
12/17 - Dallas, TX @ Sons of Herman Hall

12/01 - NYC @ Double 7 (DJ Set)
12/02 - Miami, FL @ Wall Miami (DJ Set)
12/06 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Cove (DJ Set)
12/25 - Erlangen, Germany @ E-Werk

Marissa Nadler
11/26 - Zwolle, Netherlands @ De Statenzaal
11/27 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Le Guess Who
11/27 - Bontanique, Brussells @ Autumn Falls Festival
11/28 - Duisburg, Denmark @ Grammatikoff
11/29 - Dachau, Denmark @ Dachauer Kultur-Schranne

Scout Niblett
11/30 - Olympia, WA @ Capital Theatre
12/01 - Seattle, WA @ Comet Tavern
12/02 - Eugene, OR @ Sam Bonds
12/03 - Seaside, CA @ The Alternative Cafe
12/04 - Santa Monica, CA @ Sanctuary
12/05 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
12/06 - Los Angeles, CA @ Handbag Factory
12/07 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
12/08 - San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
12/10 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
01/10 - Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang
01/11 - Cologne, Germany @ King Georg
01/12 - Lucerne, Switzerland @ Schuur
01/13 - Erfurt, Germany @ Franz Mehlhose
01/14 - Cologne, Germany @ King Georg

11/21 - London, UK @ HMV Forum
11/22 - Saint Ouen, France @ Mains D’Oeuvres
11/24-27 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Le Guess Who? Festival
11/27 - Berlin, Germany @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
11/30 - Oslo, Norway @ Bla
12/01 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Hornstull Strand Etablissement
12/09-11 - Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties

Olivia Tremor Control
11/23-27 - Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Club 2011
11/28 - Toulouse, France @ La Dynamo
03/07 - London, UK @ Cargo
03/09-12 - Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrow’s Parties

Part Chimp
11/24-27 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Le Guess Who? Festival
11/25 - Amsterdam, Netherlands @ OCCII
11/26 - Brussels, Belgium @ VK
11/27 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ dB’s Studio
11/28 - Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang
12/17 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

Phantom Family Halo
11/27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio

P. G. Six
11/26 - Hudson, NY @ Jean Deux Records

Alasdair Roberts
12/15 - Sheffield, UK @ The Greystones
12/17 - Oxford, UK @ Modern Art Oxford
12/21 - London, UK @ The Wilmington Arms

Laetitia Sadier
1/19 - Porto, Portugal @ Casa da Musica (Clubbing Optimus Festival)

Ty Segall
12/09 - Portland, OR @ East End
01/14 - Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant Street
02/02 - Middletown, CT @ Wesleyan University
02/03 - Hanover, NH @ Dartmouth University
03/02 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
03/03 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
03/04 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah

11/21 - London, UK @ Rhythm Factory
11/22 - Paris, France @ La Bellevilloise
11/23 - Nuremburg, Germany @ Desi
11/24 - Geneva, Switzerland @ L’usine
11/25 - Moscow, Russia @ Duma Club
11/26 - Saint Petersburg, Russia @ Electro Mechanica Festival
11/29 - Zhengzhou, China @ 7 Livehouse
11/30 - Wuhan, China @ Vox
12/01 - Shanghai, China @ Shelter
12/02 - Nanjing, China @ Castle Bar
12/03 - Changsha, China @ Freedom House

12/08 - Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
12/10 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
01/13 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

12/31 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s East
02/12 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
02/14 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
02/15 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux
02/17 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
02/18 - Vancouver, BC @ The Media Club
02/19 - Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
02/24 - Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour
02/25 - Pamona, CA @ The Glass House
02/26 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
02/27 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
02/28 - Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
03/03 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown

05/24-27 Baltimore, MD @ Maryland Deathfest 2012

Ken Vandermark/Pall Nilssen-Love/Lasse Marhaug
11/22 - London, UK @ Vortex Jazz Club
11/23 - London, UK @ Vortex Jazz Club

11/27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

White Magic
11/30 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
12/01 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
12/04 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
12/06 - Vancouver, BC @ Electric Owl
12/07 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
12/08 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
12/09 - Eugene, OR @ Cozmic Pizza

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