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ha’fway 2012

4th Jul 12 (Wed) 3 comments

Happy 236th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, here are my faves of the first half of 2012… and outside of the Top 5, it’s all kind of random order on how I feel today… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):

Artist Album (style)

  1. OSI Fire Make Thunder (glitch prog)
  2. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (jazzy pop)
  3. Peter Mulvey The Good Stuff (indie songwriter playing standards with a band)
  4. Damien Jurado Maraqopa (indie rock)
  5. Celldweller Wish Upon A Blackstar (electronica)
  6. Sigur Rós Valtari (ambient icelandic)
  7. Emily Wells Mama (chamber hip-pop)
  8. Floratone Floratone II (jazz)
  9. s/s/s (Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Serengeti) – Beak & Claw -EP- (interesting)
  10. Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson & Mikael Akerfeldt) – Storm Corrosion (ethereal proggy departure)
  11. John Zorn The Gnostic Preludes (jazzy experimental)
  12. John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron) with John Medeski – Templars (noise rock)
  13. Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (drone)
  14. The Chance Brothers Growing Concern (indie rock)
  15. Regina Spektor What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (pop)
  16. Ani DiFranco Which Side Are You On? (folk pop songwriter)
  17. Buckethead Electric Sea (gentler instrumental guitar)
  18. Bad Veins The Mess We’ve Made (indie rock)
  19. Cosa Brava (Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, etc) – The Letter (rootsy jazz adventure)
  20. David Krakauer plays Masada Book Two Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas) (klezmer jazz)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet) and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2012 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Mike Patton & Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II, Ben Folds Five’s reunion studio album, Ric Hordinski’s Arthurs Garden (physical CD, though the download came out a bit ago), the Dusted debut from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Erin McKeown’s kickstarter, and I’ve heard rumors of a new Nellie McKay disc for the Fall.

Favorite concerts of 2012 (so far):

  • Penn & Teller and Cirque’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, Jan 18th & 20th
  • Secret Chiefs 3 in Eugene & Portland, Feb 6th & 7th
  • Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! in Eugene & Portland, Mar 2nd & 4th
  • Puscifer in Portland, Mar 14th
  • Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene, Mar 18th
  • Radiohead in Seattle, April 9th
  • Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Portland, May 22nd
  • Beck in Bend, May 27th
    (click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: CelldwellerWish Upon A Blackstar

Fiona’s new album & Sufjan’s RSD 7″ with Rosie Thomas

8th Mar 12 (Thu) 1 comment

Fiona Apple has a new album that’s about to pop (late June 2012 on Epic) The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw, And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.  Here it is written out, presumably in her own pen, from her FB page…

So, hunch… we’ll just call it The Idler Wheel

or… The Screw And Whipping…? ;)

Much like When the Pawn being adopted for the much longer named 2nd album – When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king what he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight and he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring there’s no body to batter when your mind is your might so when you go solo, you hold your own hand and remember that depth is the greatest of heights and if you know where you stand, then you know where to land and if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right.

Some more new music news… Sufjan Stevens and Rosie Thomas are putting out a collaborative 7″ vinyl single for Record Store Day 2012 (4/21/12).  The A-side of the single is a re-imagined version of “Where Were You?,” a song from Thomas’s album With Love. On the B-side, Sufjan offers up an answer song called “Here I Am!”  Sufjan recorded and mixed both tracks, and both artists show up on both songs.

The new version of “Where Were You?” is streaming below:

~Dan – np: John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words

Sufjan/Son Lux/Serengeti “Museum Day” & Björk “Hollow (video)

7th Mar 12 (Wed) Leave a comment

As previously announced, Sufjan Stevens will team up with Anticon artists Son Lux and Serengeti under the name s / s / s for an EP, Beak & Claw, that will drop on March 20th (the vinyl is available for pre-order now).

Yesterday, they posted a song from the release called “Museum Day,” a slow-building jam with some big, auto-tuned hooks from Sufjan.

Hear it below:

Yesterday also saw the release of the official music video for Björk’sHollow” (from Biophilia)…quite colorful and science-y… HD video below:

Talking about the video, Björk says:

It’s just the feeling when you start thinking about your ancestors and DNA that the grounds open below you and you can feel your mother and her mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother 30,000 years back. So suddenly you’re this kinda tunnel, or trunk of DNA… All these ghosts come up so it ended up begin a Halloween song and quite gothic in a way… It’s like being part of this everlasting necklace when you’re just a bead on a chain and you sort of want to belong and be a part of it and it’s just like a miracle.

Which is what we were all thinking, of course.

~Dan – np: John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words

Sufjan Stevens to Collaborate with Son Lux, Serengeti EP

27th Feb 12 (Mon) 1 comment

Sufjan Stevens is set to release his first set of new music since 2010’s The Age of Adz with a new project titled s/s/s. The project also includes Son Lux and the rapper Serengeti. The group’s four-track EP, which is titled Beak & Claw, is set for a March 20 release through Anticon.  (It’s available for pre-order on vinyl now.)

The six-minute track “Museum Day” features Sufjan singing Auto-Tuned lines alongside rap verses from Serengeti.

The EP features vocal contributions from Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond on “If This Is Real“, while Doseone from Subtle & Themselves appears on the closer, “Octomom.”  Stevens and Serengeti collaborated in 2009 on a track for the Dark Was the Night compilation.

Beak & Claw Tracklist
1. Museum Day
2. Beyond Any Doubt
3. If This Is Real
4. Octomom

~Dan – np: John ZornFrom Silence to Sorcery

The evolution of Shara Worden

18th Oct 11 (Tue) 3 comments

Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond has a new album out today… Oct 18th.  All Things Will Unwind is only her third studio album under the MBD moniker, but she’s put out a ton of other material (pre-MBD bands, side projects).  Here’s a full (but not necessarily complete) chronological video walk through her career.  And a quick & easy link on how to get her FANTASTIC new album at the bottom…

AwRy
Brave Elephant” (2001)
song only, not official music video

My Brightest Diamond
Dragonfly” from Bring Me the Workhorse (2006)

Magic Rabbit” from Workhorse

We Were Sparkling” from Workhorse

Something of an End” from Workhorse (2006)

Disappear” (remix) from Tear It Down (2007)

Inside a Boy” from A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (2008)

From the Top of the World” from Shark’s (2008)

Apples” (live) from Shark’s (2008)

Crazy On You (Heart cover)” with the Decemberists (live 2009)

The Lotus Eaters” from Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope (2010)

The Sea” from Letters to Distant Cities (2011)

I’m On Fire” with Stateless (2011)

Be Brave” from All Things Will Unwind (2011)

We Added It Up” from All Things Will Unwind (2011)

Hopefully now you see why I love her so… if you like what you hear, swing by the Amazons and pick up her newest album.  CD, vinyl or mp3 download (on Asthmatic Kitty).  It came out today…

~Dan – np: PusciferConditions of My Parole

Sufjan Stevens “Futile Devices” on WNYC

27th Jul 11 (Wed) Leave a comment

One of the most gorgeous songs from The Age of AdzSufjan Stevens plays “Futile Devices” on WNYC Soundcheck.

The video for “Pleasure Principle” was posted earlier this week.  The full show (audio) is available as a podcast and on WNYC.com.  On the audio, he also performs “Heirloom” and talks with host John Schaefer.  The album, which came out last year, is for sale on Amazon for only $5 (digital version).

~Dan – np: Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnetteAmerica

Sufjan Stevens “Pleasure Principle” on WNYC

26th Jul 11 (Tue) 1 comment

Sufjan Stevens and his winning smile playing “Pleasure Principle” (a portion of “The Impossible Soul” on The Age of Adz) on WNYC Soundcheck with Bryce Dessner of The National

The full show (audio) is available as a podcast and on WNYC.com.  On the audio, he also performs “Heirloom” and “Futile Devices” and talks with host John Schaefer.

~Dan – np: IncubusIf Not Now, When?

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