(El Corazón) Look, heshers—I know it's easy to take High on Fire for granted. They've toured relentlessly on a consistent slew of records for damn near 15 years. It's easy to think a sweaty, shirtless Matt Pike will always be around to deliver his otherworldly overtone howl and that furious barrage of weed-n-speed-fed riffs. Brothers, this is not the case. Yes, last year's De Vermis Mysteriis is every bit as savage as their Art of Self Defense debut; the band shows no signs of mellowing out. But Pike has had a flawless track record stemming back to 1990 with his work in Asbestosdeath and Sleep. The dude is bound to eventually either drop a Load on us or simply drop dead from exhaustion. No man is a god (sorry, Kanye), though Matt Pike comes pretty fucking close. Worship the riff while you can. With Kvelertak and Windhand.
(PONCHO Concert Hall) Yes! Gamelan Pacifica, with Stranger Genius vocalist Jessika Kenney and four baroque music specialists, explore links between music of the baroque period in Europe (1600–1750, Bach's time) and Javanese Gamelan. This should be unusual and grand.
(Barboza) Lee Ranaldo was always something like Sonic Youth's George Harrison: consigned to one or two songs per album, holding it down with subdued flair on guitar, going underappreciated. As leader of his own band in recent years, Ranaldo's flaws become more apparent. His voice's dullness doesn't stand up to scrutiny over an entire album, and his songwriting lacks the fiery dynamics and tonal adventurousness of the best Sonic Youth material. Sadly, I don't think Lee has an All Things Must Pass in him. His last two joints as a leader—Between the Times and the Tides and Last Night on Earth—chug and jangle with the underwhelming pleasantness of late-era R.E.M. Nothing quite unsettles or seethes like earlier Ranaldo songs like "In the Kingdom #19," "Eric's Trip," or "Pipeline/Kill Time." Mellowing with age isn't a crime, but it does often lead to shrug-worthy releases.
We're at @TheGRAMMYs for #Grammynoms tonight. Tune in to see our live performance....hopefully we walk away with a nomination. Let's go!
— Macklemore (@macklemore) December 7, 2013
Win, lose, or draw, congrats are in order. Nominees for the major categories, which always provide a fascinating and/or head-scratching Rorschach test of the previous
year eligibility period* listed below; ponder the full list of categories oddball and otherwise (Best Improvised Jazz Solo, anyone?) at Grammy.org.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
"Get Lucky" - Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams "Radioactive" - Imagine Dragons "Royals" - Lorde "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Bruno Mars "Blurred Lines" - Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Blessed Unrest - Sara Bareilles Random Access Memories - Daft Punk Good Kid, M.A.A.D City - Kendrick Lamar The Heist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Red - Taylor Swift
SONG OF THE YEAR
"Just Give Me A Reason" - Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Pink Featuring Nate Ruess) "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Bruno Mars) "Roar" - Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters (Katy Perry) "Royals" - Joel Little & Ella Yelich O'Connor, songwriters (Lorde) "Same Love" - Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert)
BEST NEW ARTIST **
James Blake Kendrick Lamar Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Kacey Musgraves Ed Sheeran
CATHEDRALS 6: SERA CAHOONE, GRANT OLSEN, TOMO NAKAYAMA, S
Just by taking a look at the local musicians on the bill, you can see that this round of Cathedrals should live up to its promise as a "rare contemplative indie concert." Sera Cahoone headlines the show at St. Mark's Cathedral, and if you slept on her album last year, Deer Creek Canyon, here's an opportunity to get familiarized. The title refers to the Colorado foothills where Cahoone grew up, and the album is all about returning home. The instrumentation vacillates between melancholic folk and gentle honky-tonk while Cahoone describes eerie visits to distantly familiar places. She strips away illusory membranes of comfort and safety in her songs, and eventually being back home for Cahoone arouses a kind of shapeless anxiety. When she begins to interact more with the people she's left behind, Cahoone becomes a shaking, nervous wreck. I couldn't recommend this album more to anyone who feels deeply ambivalent about notions of "family" and "home," especially during the holidays. Performing as S, Jenn Ghetto (whose earlier band, Carissa's Wierd, featured Cahoone on drums) is a coltish and gut-wrenching artist. Hushed vocals scurry over spindly guitars on Ghetto's humble eight-track recordings, their bleakness tempered by an alluring agony.
(Lo-Fi Performance Gallery) Seattle supergroup alert! Ron Nine and Kevin Whitworth of the great Love Battery, Garrett Shavlik of the Fluid, and Kurt Danielson of TAD have formed Vaporland. Just a gut feeling, but I don't think these seasoned, Sub Pop–affiliated veterans of the '80s and '90s hard-rock wars will be joining their old label's roster. (The band also includes percussionist/vocalist Katie Scarberry.) What little Vaporland music is available to hear online reveals that they have pretty much channeled Love Battery's surging, sinewy psych rock and the Fluid's uproarious melodic touch. You may be a TAD disappointed, but I'm cool with this. With Tokyoidaho, Jupe Jupe, and Death By Stars.
(Paramount) I was in grade school at the time, but according to now-defunct UK music rag Melody Maker, the Black Crowes were "the Most Rock and Roll Rock and Roll Band in the World" back in the mid-'90s. And who am I to argue? Their commitment to reviving the dormant "traditional" rock sound of the '70s was probably commercially risky given what was in vogue at the time, but it paid off handsomely for them: Multiple platinum albums and critical adoration were quick to follow their 1990 debut. Worshippers of Southern rock deities like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes also grapple with the demons of vintage Rolling Stones–style raunch. Plenty of beards, blue jeans, and a heaping dose of white-man blues. Not my cup of tea, but hey, if you've sold nine gajillion albums, you're probably doing something right, and if you're a fan, you bought your tickets months ago anyway. File under "you had to be there," which I wasn't.
(Heartland) It's not hard to be a fan of Chastity Belt. On their (awesome) new album, No Regerts, they rocket from the dreamy, oceanic indie rock of lead single "Black Sail" to a pretty little ditty about being drunk and wanting chips in the span of a mere four songs. A little something for everyone! Plus, there's a verystrong B-52s vibe happening on "Giant (Vagina)," which is never a bad thing. Equally crowd-pleasing are volcanic punk duo Pony Time, who've been tearing it up around town for nigh on four years now with a killer live act, their trademark assault of vamping guitar-and-drums stomp, and sneering vocals turned to 11 every time. If the musical genres you enjoy typically come prefixed with "stoner" or "slacker," put the knife hit down for a minute and go dance yourself dumb. With Darto and American Dream.
• Who do you like best? Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pearl Jam, or The Stranger's blog Slog? Prove it by being a good fan and a good person at the same time! In an epic battle to help teens in need, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pearl Jam, and Slog are combining forces this holiday season to help raise money for Seattle's Orion Center (a safe haven for homeless teens). The internationally famous musicians or semi-widely-read local blog whose fans raise the most money by December 24 will be declared THE WINNER! Read more about this glorious charity challenge on page 17.
• At the Nacho Picasso and Avatar Darko show at the Crocodile on Friday, Picasso wore a Voodoo Lounge–era Rolling Stones shirt, taking it off early in the set to reveal the top of his shark (or fish or fox or something) boxers. Darko's boxers appeared to be marijuana-leaf-themed.
• This Saturday, December 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., Fantagraphics in Georgetown will be hosting a reading and book signing for Sub Pop cofounder Bruce Pavitt's new book, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989. You won't want to miss this—legendary photographer Charles Petersen will guest DJ, and who knows who else might show up.
(Neptune) Washington, DC, band Dismemberment Plan pulled off what might've been one of the most successful band reunions ever in 2011, after being on hiatus for almost a decade. The fact that this means "The Ice of Boston"—one of the best nerd-punk scream-along narrative anthems ever written by humans—can be performed in front of (or alongside, once the crowd rushes onstage) live audiences across the country again makes it almost entirely worth it on its own. Luckily for Plan fans, their recently released Uncanney Valley (their first album since 2001's Change) shows that Travis Morrison and co. have aged well—you can't exactly call it "gracefully" when they're still writing songs with a "You say 'cluster'/I say 'fuck!'" call-and-response—and their new material manages to capture some of the intangibles that made the band's late-'90s output so memorable.
Here is the original version of the Mummies fave rave, "Babba Diddy Baby!!"
This Virginia Beach group, the Heart Attacks, were actually known as the Beach Nuts. From what I can tell they issued one more 45, "What Makes You Think" b/w "Professional Loving Man" in 1968. It was decidedly heavier!
Here is a cool feature from Indy Week, a North Carolina weekly published in the Triangle area (where I grew up), featuring an interview with David Sullivan of Red Fang. He talks about his time in Raleigh, NC and copping riffs for Red Fang jams from songs he wrote in his former bands: Willard, Shiny Beast, Mercury Birds, Facedowninshit, Last Of The Juanitas, and Party Time.
...the Portland, Ore., band's accessible hard-rock hybrid arrives through a knotty backstory that starts in Raleigh, where Sullivan began his first bands while a student at N.C. State University in the '90s. In its short existence, Willard picked up a following and a contract offer from Mammoth Records. When Willard dissolved, though, Sullivan took some songs he'd been working on to drummer Brian Walsby and started Shiny Beast. Heavier and more serpentine than Willard, Shiny Beast took cues from Honor Role, Bastro and The Minutemen. They married the thickness of Shellac to the agility of Polvo. The songs immediately floored Walsby. "It almost sounded like [Sullivan] had been saving that stuff," he remembers.
(ahem) "Shiny Beast took cues from Honor Role, Bastro and The Minutemen..." Derp. Why no mention of the obvious CAPTAIN BEEFHEART influence AND reference, bro!? Anyways, it's true. When Shiny Beast started playing it was a departure from the post-hardcore and dual guitar action which was the foundation of Willard; a group which sprang from post-HC group, Days Of... I saw Shiny Beast play prolly every time they played till late '94, they were amazing. This too was concurrently with Richmond VA's Breadwinner's and Polvo's ascension; for a few years in the early '90s Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, the Triangle, was really ground zero for the underground's progression.
Shiny Beast's heavy and abrupt instrumental rock earned a strong local following, but the band never took off, despite tours with Polvo and Erectus Monotone. They broke up after a half decade. Sullivan then joined Red Fang drummer John Sherman's Greensboro-based Mercury Birds. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, they moved together to Portland.
There was a time when everyone in Raleigh wanted to move to Portland because, it was "so much like Raleigh." A notion I never understood. Oh yeah, as for the band reappropriating riffs, "FUCK IT!!" I love this...
To wit, Sullivan admits that Red Fang often lifts from its members' collective catalogs. "I would call it a natural progression," he says. "We do tend to cannibalize old riffs. But we're like, well, fuck it. It's never the exact same riff and nobody knows those songs anyway."
...is the Dave Segal that just opened a deluxe Lee Hazlewood boxed set (which includes four CDs and a 172-page book and is reportedly very heavy), compliments of Light in the Attic Records.
We are all very jealous.
Happy freezing Friday! Do you want to see some music? Will that warm you up?
Ticket giveaway #2: Win a pair of tickets to see Mike Stern Band on December 10 at Jazz Alley! (Dude played with Blood Sweat & Tears in the mid-'70s, AND played with Billy Cobham and Miles Davis’ band in the ‘80s!)
Be the first person to send your name to email@example.com with the name of the show you want to go to in the subject line and the tickets are yours. You can enter to win tickets to both, but you'll need to send two separate e-mails.
Tomorrow, 12/7, is the official release of Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt’s excellent new book EXPERIENCING NIRVANA: Grunge in Europe, 1989 at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, from 6-8 pm.
“Part rock and roll travelogue and part voyeuristic pop culture rubbernecking—an unromantic yet nostalgic glimpse into a rock social movement just prior to its explosion.”—Kim Thayil, Soundgarden
EXPERIENCING—through 200+ photos by Pavitt and Steve Double, with words from Pavitt's candid diaries—chronicles Nirvana’s 1989 (and first-ever) tour of Europe, with label mates Tad. This '89 tour also included the band's career making appearance at the Lame Fest Sub Pop UK Showcase in London with headliners Mudhoney.
Pavitt will be there, and the signing will surely be a momentous moment in Seattle history:
"In addition to special guests Mark Arm and Tad Doyle, both Obama and Lady Gaga "will most likely show up around 7, for the free beer" according to Larry Reid, event organizer. Stoked."—Bruce Pavitt, via Facebook
More photos from the book, after the jump...
John Lee Curtis "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Aleck or Alex "Rice" Miller were both Sonny Boy Williamson. Both were blues harp players and both had a great impact on the blues in general and on generations of subsequent blues harp players. Sometimes, they are referred to as Sonny Boy I and Sonny Boy II, with Rice Miller landing in the number two spot. Although it appears that Miller was the older of the two by either a dozen years or just two, depending on whose research you choose to believe, he didn't cut his first records until three years after the death of Sonny Boy I who had waxed his first sides in 1937. John Lee had a string of successful records, including the blues standard "Good Morning, School Girl," and was poised to lead the transition of down-home country blues into a modern electric ensemble style with his harp as the lead voice. He was making inroads with this transition when he was murdered during a robbery on the way home from a night-club gig. His influence would linger, but it would be left to others to make the change to urban electric blues.
The likely cause for this confusion of monikers was flour—King Biscuit Flour to be precise. In 1941, Rice Miller landed a gig on Helena, Arkansas station KFFA, a 15-minute spot during which his band would play, promoting the flour and their upcoming gigs in the area. The owner of King Biscuit Flour claims to have bestowed Miller with the name Sonny Boy in a duplicitous attempt to have listeners believe a nationally recognized recording star was promoting his flour. Whether or not people believed this, or if they cared at all, the segment was a hit and Miller milked it for a few years before moving on to other radio stations and other promotions for alcohol-based elixirs like Talaho and Hadacol. For a time his face appeared on "Sonny Boy" brand corn meal bags. Biscuits, booze, and blues—such is the way of commerce.
Sonny Boy II cut his first records in 1951 for the Trumpet label, but he really hit his stride when he landed on the Chess Records roster in 1955. His Chess sides, along with those of the legendary Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, are arguably among the most exciting and most important post-war electric-blues sides ever waxed. These are the sides, along with some early country-blues performers who were being compiled on LPs in the early 1960s, that lit a fire under the asrses of the burgeoning British blues scene and you know the results of that. That Sonny Boy II toured Europe and that some of these young blues acolytes were able to function as sidemen in his ad-hoc bands only stoked the fires further.
A raconteur to the end, Sonny Boy II liked to tell a tall tale. Along with the claim that Robert Johnson died in his arms, he insisted that he was "the original Sonny Boy Williamson, the only one." Blues historians, rabid collectors of minutiae that they are, have sorted out the particulars and we now know the chronologies and the revealed myths of the Sonny Boys. All that is left is to sit back and enjoy their music.
This year RA Scion and NYC producer Rodney Hazard clicked up via the internets to make The Sickle & The Sword. It's dope—the best stuff from RA since Common Market, and the most interesting, for my money; I wrote this about it:
RA Scion has a history of album-length collaborations with producers like Sabzi (Common Market), MTK (Victor Shade), and Todd Sykes (uh, RA Scion and Todd Sykes)—his latest, and perhaps boldest, sonic move is his newest album (The Sickle and the Sword) with New York–based producer Rodney Hazard. Hazard's gauzy, vaporous cloud-work suits the spirituality in RA's devotional bars.
Today, Industry Rule #4080-something was invoked, as RA Scion announced via his Facebook page that Hazard officially put the kibosh on selling the album:
the business of music is ugly.
I realize it's poor form to air your dirty laundry in a public forum, but sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is, and this is one of those instances..
yesterday Rodney Hazard and his management company, Blind Barber Productions, Inc., registered a formal complaint with our digital distributor and demanded immediate removal of The Sickle & The Sword from all online retailers, including iTunes, amazon, etc.. they're citing copyright infringement, claiming I've used Rodney's work without permission - as if I don't have a thread of emails about 75-deep chronicling the creation of this project from its conception to its release..
this supreme bitch move is the direct result of my refusal to sign a contract that was presented to me back in October by Rodney's manager, Andrew Kelley.. despite the fact they continually refer to the contract as a "standard producer's agreement," it's a 10-page antiquated fossil of a document that's poorly written, sloppily edited and impossible to understand.. I sent it to some industry folks I trust, they said "don't sign it." I told Rodney I didn't feel good about it, he offered to get his attorney on the phone to explain it to me.. I suggested instead that we draw up a more simplified, mutual agreement between us, splitting everything 50/50 - they refused..
and then this. we're taking our ball and going home..
Instead, Abeo is giving the album away for "free.99". Get it here.
fine, you don't want me to sell the album? i'll give the shit away for free.. sure, that's unfair to the folks who've already paid good money for a download, but i'll ask them to kindly consider the fact that i'm still making payments for the recording, mixing and mastering; still trynna recoup the expense of the video production and its release.. i'm the ONLY one who's invested any real capital in this project, and now I'm being arbitrarily denied the ability to sell it to make some of that money back.. talk about unfair..
fuck it - you win some, you lose some.. let my loss be your gain, friends - go to rascion.com and download the living shit outta this album, for free! share it with everybody you know, for free! it really is a great album - i'm hella proud of it even though i'm thoroughly disappointed my co-d turned state's witness.. fuckin' asshole..
major thanks to all of you who have supported this project - I sincerely appreciate you and i'm sorry if this whole thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.. bottom line is I worked too goddamn hard on this album to just let it die, and I felt like offering an explanation to people who give a shit..
whatever - I've already said too much.. i'll leave you to get back to your own life drama now..
The Seattle Weekly posted an official response from Hazard:
It is quite unfortunate that our album had to be taken down as a result of certain obligations not being met. The contract we submitted (that the other party considers "unreadable") is written by a reputable lawyer that works at one of the leading entertainment companies in the country.
We approached the situation with total transparency and even offered free legal advice at our expense which was refused immediately. We received word that the other party wouldn't hire a lawyer therefore the contract was never even read by another member of the legal system. Our attempts at providing a document that protected both parties were dismissed and the only agreement we were approached with was a googled document that just had our names replacing another's.
I provided all the production and creative surrounding the album - in return - everything was submitted to the third party distributor without consulting us, giving us any login information to check the back end, or providing us with the correct publishing information. I never received any calls or text messages prior to the announcement and believe that the other party has been unprofessional every step of the way.
It's truly a shame that it had to come to this but I will learn from this and continue to make great music. I'm excited for the future.
Lastly, RA's response to Hazard's statement:
I don't dispute any of the claims made - there's no glaring contradiction between their account and mine, just a slightly different perspective on the truth.. I do take issue with the indictment that I somehow failed to fulfill my "obligations;" I did my part, pulled my weight and then some..
here's the rub, folks: we started this thing with a gentleman's agreement - an electronic handshake, if you will, and I've got the email from August 5th to prove it.. there was never any mention of a contract at all until Oct. 11th.. we can argue all day about the way the contract's written, but the point is moot when you consider the fact it wasn't the original understanding - we had an agreement, man to man, and they changed up the game plan in the fourth quarter..
it's not about the money, goddammit - it's about the integrity of your word.. I never gave those folks a single reason to doubt me, but they insisted on doing business their way.. call me unprofessional, that's perfectly OK by me - I have never in my natural born life intended to make music my career, I do this shit cause I love it..
in the end, it's our actions, not our words, that speak the truth about our character; no more talkin, it's time to do work..
Yeesh. This sucks to see, especially surrounding such a promising collaboration. Check the video for their "Constant" after the break:
(KeyArena) Ladies and gentlemen, you've waited a long time for this: Seattle's own Flannel Royale. In one corner, we have Pearl Jam, playing angsty, deep-feelings garage rock since 1990. Known for their intense live performances and leading man Eddie Vedder's silky hair, PJ can and will make thirtysomethings tear up while yell-singing "Even Flow" around the campfire at 2 a.m. In the other corner, we have defiant underdogs Mudhoney, who formed in 1988 and have been busy not giving a shit ever since. Known for their wit, durable punk/garage sound, and frontman Mark Arm's inability to age, and for that one song everyone you know absolutely loves. Which band has the nicest bassist? Whose previous band names were more ridiculous? How old is grunge in dog years, anyway? See also Charity Challenge.
(Barboza) Welsh singer/songwriter Cate Le Bon sounds like a sensitive aristocrat on the mic, her voice a distinctive combination of Nico's stolid delivery and umlaut-y vowels and Joni Mitchell's mellifluousness. Le Bon's 2012 album, Cyrk, is a banquet of high-IQ'd rock full of elegant, baroque melodies built to last and sporadic, shockingly great raveups. Her new full-length, Mug Museum, sounds slicker than past releases, but Le Bon's songs retain certain structural peculiarities and melodic quirks—revealing affinities with Pavement and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci—that keep blandness well at bay. Pay close attention to her. With Basia Bulat and Kevin Morby.